Sunday, August 13, 2017

Taking Care of Business

This week was the week before changes so we spent time getting ready for changes and taking care of some of the issues in the mission office.  We started out Monday with lunch for Elder Ucañan and Elder Poulson.  Elder Ucañan completes his 4 changes in the mission office so we had a little lunch of Chicken Stroganoff and rice to celebrate.  He is a gifted Elder.  He is from Peru and speaks English as good as I do and speaks Spanish quite a bit better.  Imagine that!  It is fun to get to know the missionaries and find out about their families and other things in their lives.

This was also the week of water problems.  Last Saturday night we received a call from Sister Wickel and Sister Southway from Vergara.  They had water all over their floor.  We made some calls Monday and the owner of the house sent a plumber to investigate.  Turns out the galvanized pipes inside the concrete walls are rusted out.  It is going to be quite a job fixing them.  The owner was good to work with so we hope it gets resolved this week.

We also have been working on a few high water bills.  Two of the houses had repairs done on the leaks in the bathrooms.  We also found out that another house had a high water bill because there was not only our house on the meter but two others also.  We have a good Bishop in Sarandi Del Yi that was so helpful in getting this resolved.  I don’t know if you noticed but there was not a lot of “preaching the Gospel” in these last two paragraphs.  But if we don’t keep the houses repaired then things really go south.

Monday night we attended family night with the Temple missionaries.  It was Elder and Sister Jensen’s last time.  They invited us to their house beforehand to have omelets.  We never pass that up.  Afterward, they lead the lesson on listening to the Spirit.  They taught it by blindfolding one of the people and then having one talk them through the maze while the rest of us yell at them.  It was a pretty good object lesson.  Then we enjoyed treats, which are always good.

Wednesday night we were able to have dinner with our friend Gordon Little again.  We love him so much.  He is going to move to Mexico with his daughter about the same time we go home, so maybe we can go see him.  He told me there was fishing so that helps encourage us to go.

On Friday we took off for Castillos.  We inspected the Rocha Zone houses on the way including going all the way to Chuy.  The houses were being taken care of okay although a little bit more love wouldn’t hurt.  This also gave us an excuse to take Elder Ruiz to lunch before he goes home next week.  He is the only Elder from El Salvador.  He has such a happy spirit and makes the room light up when he is with us.  If you look back at some of the other blogs you will see that we tend to eat lot when we are with him.  I guess he and I are soul mates.

Friday evening and Saturday we visited several families in Castillos.   Some of the members are under the weather so it was good to visit with them and cheer them up.  We also were able to talk fishing with some of the families using John Chapter 21.  This is where Peter decides that now the Savior has left that they might as well go fishing.  It is a real good chapter to help us understand that we need to keep serving.

Friday and Saturday came with a lot of rain so it made things a little more difficult.  In spite of that we had a few come to the fellowship activity on Saturday afternoon.  The Elders had a good lesson on the Priesthood and then we played games.  We started out with the balloon game where you tie a balloon to your ankle and then try to pop each other’s balloon.  It was wild.  Then we played the game where you put a ring or washer on a string and then pass it around while someone tries to guess who has it.  This was a lot of fun also.  We finished it off with treats.  All in all a good time.

Today we enjoyed Church in Castillos.  Renee helped with Primary and I blessed the Sacrament.  We love spending time with our friends.  We are going to miss them.    So this week was the calm before the storm.  We have 14 missionaries going home next week and 22 coming down, so it should be interesting.  We love all the help and support we get from home.  We love you all.
Love , Gordon and Renee

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Great and Spacious Building

For the last 19 months we have been curious about a big red building on a hill next to one of the main routes we always take.  It seems like we are always in too big of a hurry or it is dark or something.  Well this week we had time.  It turns out it is a large Catholic Church built in 1919.  You can see that it is quite the building.  We made the stop on one of our trips to deliver stuff to the missionaries.

This week did not include quite the travel as last week.  We started out Monday by going to Florida to pick up the paint supplies from the Elders.  We are so impressed by the good job they did.  I can’t thank them enough.  It takes quite a bit of leadership and desire to go the extra mile and paint your house.  Elder Johanson and Elder Zacarias are the Zone Leaders.  Elder Waite and Elder Rivera are the other two Elders in the house.  I can’t thank them enough.

Wednesday we had kind of an unusual day.  Sister Marreiro, from Brazil, had to go home early on the change so she could get enrolled in college.  Before she went home she wanted to do some Temple Work for her Grandmother as her home is a long ways from a Temple.  We picked her up about noon at the bus station and brought her to the Temple.  We decided to help her so I ended up baptizing her for her Grandmother and also several others.  It was kind of fun to do this again, as I haven’t done it for quite some time.  After the baptism, we went through the session with her also.  On Thursday, while they held Oro Conference, Renee and I were able to take her to the Airport.  We remember when she arrived.  She has grown so much and done such a great job.

Also on Thursday, while Renee did the cooking for the Oro Conference in the morning I ran the finance elders to the bus station to buy bus tickets for the return trip for those that were attending Oro Conference.  Are you kind of seeing a trend here about going to the Bus Station?  I seem to do it about 20 times a day.  So Thursday was a busy day of service.

Friday we had the Minas Zone Scheduled for inspections.  This zone only has four houses.   They were four of the worst houses in the mission with walls filled with mold and other gunk.  But in the last couple of months we have painted three of the four so now they are bright and happy.  There was a little mold starting on some of the walls but we got that off pretty quick.

If you have followed the blog you will remember the term “Minas Pizza”.  There is a pizza shop in Minas that makes pizza just like in the states.  It is really, really good.  You can see from the picture that we didn’t need to push the Elders to go with us.  They also helped with the painting so it was kind of a pay back.  We had a good time.  Three of the four Elders go home about the same time we do.  Let’s just say things got “a little trunky”!  It started with one of them saying, “So what is there to do around Blackfoot?”  Wow, the flood gates opened.  But enough about that.

After that we stopped at the Pan de Azucar.  Look how the bright smiles of the Sisters are highlighted by the bright white walls.  I hope you can imagine how much fun it was to visit with them.  They don’t have pizza in Pan de Azucar so they had to settle for Renee’s lemon cookies.

After that we stopped at the Piriapolis house.  Elder Rodriguez and Elder Mereles also had a clean house.  I didn’t take a picture of them because I have some from them from a couple of weeks ago when we cleaned out the La Capuera house.  Also, Elder Rodriguez served in the office and I probably have more pictures of him than any other Elder.  I have to say his face likes the camera and my camera likes his happy face.  When he served in the office we would often stop at McDonalds to eat or at least get a treat.  Instead of saying McDonalds we would always say the jingle, Buda bump bump bum!  So when I called and told him we were coming I asked him what we should do and he sang the jingle.  It made this old guy pretty happy.  Sad news though, the McDonalds in Piriapolis is closed for the winter.  So we settled for another ice cream shop.  It was still a lot of fun.

Saturday is supposed to be our P-Day.  I think that means we are supposed to relax.  Elder Richmond went home on the last change.  His parents came to get him and brought us Maple Syrup.  That meant we had to do Wafflemania ll.  We did wafflemania l about a year ago with Elder Brumble and Vallecillos.  This time we did it with all the office Elders.  Renee mixed up a mixing bowl of pancake batter and a bowl of waffle batter.  They ate all of it.  They can really put it away.  It was a lot of fun.

We had to hurry and scoot them out the door so we could go pick up Sister Campbell, Sister Ortega and Sister Parada at the bus station.  Sister Campbell came to Montevideo from Melo with the other sisters to attend the Temple with a family she baptized a year ago in La Paz.  What a fun day for them.  So we picked them up about noon and then took them back afterwards.  They had a little extra time so we brought them over to our house to relax for awhile.  Sister Parada is in the middle in the picture.  She is from Santa Cruz Bolivia and remembers Emily Park who served there about a year ago.  Small world.

We finished off the week with Church and the monthly Fast Day lunch afterwards.   We certainly have some good friends.  I have started to read Jesus the Christ.  It really helps build my Testimony and understanding of the Savior.  I think that is one of the reasons we are here.  We love and appreciate you all.

Love, Gordon and Renee