Sunday, May 24, 2015

Family Home Evening with the Smylies

Dear Family and Friends:
    We have had a wonderful week here with the temple filled daily, but more about that in a minute.  First let me tell you about our family home evening.  We met with the Spanish group on Monday.  Hermana Tanner was in charge and she invited the Smylie family to come and put on the lesson.  The Smylie family are members of our ward and Hno. Smylie works for the American Embassy here. 
      Hno. Smylie is a music major from BYU and he sings and plays the piano wonderfully.  Hna. Smylie also plays the piano.  The children each told us a story about Joseph Smith and then Hno.  Smylie sang "Oh How Lovely Was the Morning".  Then we got to play their favorite FHE game.  They put chocolate chips in squares on a paper and we would pick a square.  If you picked the chocolate chip on that square, you lost and didn't get to eat any more. But as long as you didn't pick the chip on the square, you got to eat every chip that you picked. 

      Jane enjoyed eating the chocolate chips but didn't get to eat them all.  Hna. Guzman, Hna. Caballero, y los Rosados enjoyed the evening.

      The kids really enjoyed watching the Senior Missionaries play the game.  Hna. Wilson
     Hermana Rosades didn't get to eat too many as she picked the wrong one right off the bat.  After the game, we were able to persuade Adeline to play her violin for us. 

     She was very bashful at first but after I told her that Lucy Broadbent used to play for us, she was willing.  She and Lucy know each other.  Lucy and her family lived in El Salvador while we were there.  We had a wonderful FHE.
                     Lucy Broadbent in 2012
     When we were walking on Wednesday morning, we saw a man cutting down a tree with his machete, one branch at a time.
      The branch fell with the next stroke of his machete. 
     As we walk each day, Lon is amazed at the condition in which that we see cars and tires.  Sometimes I have the camera to capture these and sometime I don't.  But here are a few of the examples that testify that we throw away tires way before we should.  They have learned to use everything that they own to its full potential before throwing them away. 


Some of the cars are in even worse shape than the tires.  This picture really doesn't show the rust as well as I had hoped.  The whole front end is rusted and there are circles of rust all over the car.  But it still runs and is used as it is here one day and gone and then returns.

     On Friday Patzicia came to town.  They always fill the temple.  Patzicia is a small farming town about 1 1/2 hours away from the city. They brought about 80 people.   We spoke in their Stake Conference last year.  We had gone to the temple on Friday morning to attend a session and were privileged to be able to officiate a session with some of these Saints.  We remembered a lot of their faces from their conference and these three ladies remembered us.
     They are always dressed in their traditional skirts and blouses.  They speak both Spanish and Quiche, a Mayan dialect.  They were so cute in the session.  The little grandma would fall asleep and the lady on the right would kick her feet and wake her up.  They had to be up and on their way very early to get to the temple by 6:30am.  What a sweet blessing it is to serve these dear Saints.  Our testimonies are strengthened as we feel of their spirits and their love for their Heavenly Father. 
     On Saturday our little temple was filled and overflowing.  It was a wonderful, exhausting day.  What a wonderful week.  What a difference between last week and this week. 
     Today we attended church in a small ward with President and Hermana Burk.  They attend a different ward or branch each week that they don't have an assignment for a Stake Conference.  We went to the La Villa Ward.
 The building was the smallest we have seem.  It is just a long building with the chapel on the far end and the classrooms along each side of the hall leading to the chapel.  They had about 110 people in attendance, which filled the chapel.  They had a real organ, very small and different than anything I have ever seen, but it worked and I was able to play for Sacrament meeting as they have no one who can play.  It hadn't been played for 2 years.  We pulled off the main road and down an alley and there it was.
Our van barely fit down the alley with the other car parked there.  The church is behind the wire fence.  It is amazing how the church finds places to build.
 We had to wait for several cars to leave the parking lot before we could navigate the turn and get out of the gate.
      It is always fun to visit the Saints in their own neighborhoods.  We have learned to appreciate the sacrifices and difficulties in the lives of these dear people. 
     We got home in time to have lunch with the Allred's and the Brubaker's.  Hna. Allred invited us to dinner so that we could try her special enchiladas.
  Hna. Murri made us enchiladas similar to these.  You begin with a tortilla, layer of meat and sause, another tortilla then top with lettuce, guacamole, tomatoes, onions, olives, sour cream.
They are delicious.  We ended our meal with an apple deep dish casserole.  The Brubaker's and Lon at dinner.  Hna. Allred is a 3 year breast cancer survivor and didn't have her "hair" on because it was hot so I didn't take a foto of her today.  Lon is now at the Temple for a special training meeting for the men coordinators. 
     We have had a great week here with rains to bring rich green color to our trees and grasses and flowers are blooming everywhere.  We have enjoyed serving our Lamanite brothers and sisters as they filled the temple each day this week.  Life is wonderful.
     We send our love to you all.  We are excited that we will be seeing you all soon, but sad at the same time to be leaving our friends here that we will never again see in this life.  Have a great week.  Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma, Lon and Nancy 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Estaca Molino 2nd time

Dear Family and Friends:
     We were at the temple on the 13th for Presidency meeting and were told that Elder Sorensen was there and was looking for us.  Elder Sorensen is the grandson of Dick and Gudren Johnson, the son of Martha.  We had ran into him at one of our conferences last year.  He was at the temple for the last time and would fly home on the 14th.
      We waited for his session to end so that we could say good-bye to him.  He has such a special spirit about him.  We know that he has been a great missionary and has touched many lives.  The Elder taking the photo was more interested in the name of the temple than in the faces of the people.  I tried to zoom it in.
      We are a little fuzzy but you can see Elder Sorensen better.  He sure does resemble him Mother.  He felt like a giant here.  It is hard to believe that he is home now.
     We went to breakfast on the 15th with Elder and Hermana Wilson.
     We went to the Ihop and again we were parked in the "senior" parking place. 
     We had a wonderful breakfast and then went shopping for some dress shoes.  Only President Thompson found a pair so we didn't go home empty handed.  We also went grocery shopping at the large Paiz Shopping Market that is in the same mall. 
      We had thought that we only had one more speaking assignment, but on Friday morning we were assigned to speak at the Molino Stake Conference on Sunday, the 17th.  We had spoken at their conference 6 months ago so we had two days to come up with new talks.  The Stake President apologized about the short notice, he had forgotten to call. 
     We went downstairs to wait for our ride.  It was a beautiful, clear morning.  Moroni showed up very well.  It is so fun to live so close to the temple.
     President y Hermana Crapo, the mission president of the East Mission, picked us up.  It was a wonderful conference and we were delighted to see a lot of temple workers there. 
     When the meeting started, the chapel and cultural hall were not even half filled, by the time the meeting ended, the building was full. 
                 The Stake Presidency
1st Counselor Hno. Espinosa, President Mendez, 2nd counselor Hno. Portillo, Los Thompsons

     The choir was very good and asked us to take a photo with them. The pianist is on the end in the red dress, Hna. Tarin Barrera and the director is in the black, Hna. Mendez, both of them are obrera's.
     This is the family of Brenda Baltrons, one of the temple secretaries.
     Hna. Estrada is also one of our obrera's.  She has a novio so we don't expect her to be serving for too long.  She is very sharp and so fun to serve with. (She is wearing 4 inch heals so she is really not as tall as she looks)
   Hna. Quevedo, Hno. Vaszuez, Hno. Moreno, Hno. Diaz and Hno. Alverado were all there but we didn't get photos. 
     Our attendance in the temple this week was very small.  It was Family Week here and the Area Office had scheduled activities for each and every evening for the stakes.  The only problem was that they didn't schedule the temple.  We had very few obrero's and even fewer participantes.  It just breaks our hearts to have the temple so empty.  We pray that something that we say in the Stake Conferences will inspire just one family to put attendance in the temple on their priority list.  And then that through their example, a few more will also become converted to attending the  temple regularly. 
     We still have no counselor to replace us when we go home, but we are going home.  Our tickets have arrived and we will leave here on the 15th of June.  We are heading straight to Atlanta, Georgia to spend some time with Mindi and Justin and their family.  It is always hard to think about leaving but we are excited to be with our family again. 
    We pray that you have had a wonderful week.  You are always in our thoughts and prayers.  We send our love to all Lon and Nancy, Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma

Monday, May 11, 2015

Estaca Atlantico Conference

Dear Family and Friends:
     Hope that you have all had a wonderful week.  Ours went by very fast as usual, however the temple was not filled this week.  We are always a little sad when the people don't come, but we were able to do a lot of needed training so it was a productive week.  Every obrero is to be re-certified in all areas of the temple work each year and Hermana Burk is determined to have this done before she is replaced on November 1st.  We have some shifts which will be done by July, but the Saturday shifts have a long way to go.  Saturdays are just so busy that we don't have much time for training.  The men struggle with this more than the ladies because there are so few of them on most shifts and their coordinators are not as organized as the women.  But we just keep trying to get everyone on the same page and serving the correct way.
     We went downtown to the Central Market with President and Hermana Burk on Monday the 4th. 
The plaza just outside the Central Market is over run with pigeons.  We didn't think it would be very smart to stand under the pillars as they are filled with pigeons. 
      The Central Market is right in the heart of the city and we would never be able to find it ourselves.  There are no street signs at the intersections and if you didn't know where you were going, it would be so easy to get lost.  The top floor of the market has hundreds of small booths were you can buy almost anything that you can think of.  If one booth doesn't have what you want, the owner will go to another booth and bring it to you.  We had a good time shopping and found all of the treasures that we needed (wanted). 
     The lower floor of the Market is the fruit and vegetable stores. 
      We wish that we could shop here every week as the fruits and veggies looked so much better than at the regular markets.
               President y Hermana Burk
     There were rows and rows of foods and each area was owned by a different family so if you bought food from one side of the aisle and turned around to buy something from the other side, you had to deal with someone new.  The best way to shop is to try and get everything from one person as they will try to give you a better deal if you stay with them.  We had a great time.
      On Sunday we were assigned to visit the Estaca Atlantico and speak at their stake conference.  This stake is in a very poor area of the city. We had spoken here in August of 2014 at a Fireside.  Their stake conference has to be in two sessions as there is not a building large enough to hold the whole stake at once. 
     As it was Mother's Day (here it is always on the 10th, no matter what day of the week it falls on) the attendance was not what the Stake Presidency had hoped for but each session was full.  We spoke in the first session, 8:00-10:00, and then were treated to a sandwich and juice.  We then spoke in the second session, 11:00 - 1:00.  As usual, the best part was meeting with our obrero's who live in this stake.
 Hermana Xicara and her son and daughter who are all obrero's on Saturday Morning

 The stake choir.  They too sang in both of the sessions.  They did a good job.

 Hermano Jacome is the Wednesday Evening Shift Coordinator

Los Thompson's, First Counselor Pte. Cabrera,  Pte. Velasquez, Second Counselor Pte. Gomez
  Pte. Velasquez also works here at the temple.  He is in charge of the temple housing.

Hermano y Hermana Maldonado who serve on the Wednesday morning shift
     There were others in the sessions but we didn't get photos of them; Hna. Mendoza, Hna. Cuque, Hno. Jimenez, Hno Estrada, Hno. Arias to name a few.  It was a great way to celebrate Mother's Day.
     We are so thankful for our Mothers.  They taught by example and love.  They showed us how to work and to play.  They showed us that by serving our Heavenly Father, our lives can be filled with peace and happiness.  We are thankful for their testimonies of the restored Gospel that has strengthened our testimonies.  We have been so blessed with two amazing Mothers. 
     We send our love to all.  We look forward to the new adventures that this new week is sure to bring.  Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma, Lon and Nancy

Sunday, May 3, 2015

National Secretary Day

Dear Family and Friends:
     April 28th was National Secretary Day so we as a Temple Presidency took all of our temple secretaries out to lunch.  We have four paid secretaries plus Hermana Guzman and Hermana Wilson who take over in the evenings when the others go home. 
         Brenda, Marta, Hermana Guzman, Evelyn
              Back row: Hermana Wilson, Maggie
      We had been told that it was a must to go to the restaurant El Portal del Angel to see the view of the city.  This was the first time that we had the opportunity and this was the view that we saw on this day.
     Between the volcano's letting off steam and the black smoke from the old buses and trucks, we have a lot of smoggy days like this.  This is one of those "Find Waldo" pictures.  The spire of the temple with Moroni on top is actually visable in this photo.  Look careful and maybe you can spot it.  We were so disappointed that the view was so bad.  President Burk sent us some photos that they had taken on a clear day.

This one gives you a good shot of the whole temple.   This city just goes on and on forever.
             The Guatemala City Temple

These two photos of the temple were taken from the building just behind the temple.  You can see our chapel in the lower right hand corner and in the lower left hand corner is the cross over that the church built to cross over the four lanes of Vista Hermosa Avenida. 
     We left right after the last session of the morning, about 1:00pm with a carful to the restaurant to get things set up and order the food because the secretaries and the recorder and President and Hna. Burk had to get back for the afternoon session no later than 3:00.
             El Portal del Angel Restaurant
     We had 15 of us at the lunch to celebrate the service that our secretaries do for us and the temple.  They do so much to keep everything running smoothly.  We would be lost without them.
 Hno. Carranza, Pte. Rosales, Hna. Rosales, Pte. Burk, Evelyn, Hna. Guzman, Marta, Brenda
 Hna. Thompson, Hna. Burk, Los Wilson, Maggie, Hno. Abadillo
     The food was good.  They served
grilled Argentina meats with all the trimmings.  We were stuffed!  We were glad that we didn't have to go to the temple this afternoon as we felt like a nap.  This restaurant decorated with the wax drippings of their many candles.
I wonder just how many hundreds of candles it took to make these piles of wax drippings?
     We got the President back to the temple in time for the preparation meeting but the second carful was delayed because of traffic and the secretaries were late.  But it was a nice lunch with good friends, good food, and almost a good view.
     Friday, the 1st of May, is a holiday here.  It is Dia de Asueto National, a day off or a day of rest.  We closed the temple after the morning shift.  It was a very busy day in the temple.  We had all of the Presidency there plus all of the missionaries and we were all busy all morning.  The last session was to be at 11:00am but we ended up with a 12:20 session.  We just love to see the temple so busy and full of people. 
     We took advantage of having all of the Presidency at the temple at one time and got a picture of the new Temple Presidency.
  Pte. y Hna. Thompson, Pte. y Hna. Burk
                    Pte. y Hna. Rosales
     We had just snapped the last photo when the afternoon rains began.  It is officially the rainy season so you never go anywhere without your umbrella because you never know.
     I am writing this a day early as we are going down to the Center Market tomorrow with the Burks so I won't have time to write tomorrow.  One last shopping trip for any souvenirs that we might need (want). 
     We have had a wonderful week here and look forward to next week.  Each and every day brings surprises and new adventures in and out of the temple.  We send our love to all.  Have a great week and enjoy each and every moment.  Life is great and very unpredictable.  With Love Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma, Lon and Nancy
( By the way, in the Waldo photo, the temple spire is in the lower left hand corner, right in front of a tall building.)