Sunday, August 20, 2017

An Evening with Lindsay Stirling

I don’t get to use that title much.  Lindsay Stirling is on tour through South America and Uruguay.  As a favor to the people of Uruguay she did a “Face to Face” event last Monday night in the Chapel where the Mission Home is located.  To say it was spectacular is an understatement. She performed a few pieces on the violin and also answered questions.  Her message was very clear.  If you want to be happy you have to decide to be happy and then do things to make yourself be happy.  Great advice for people that are thirteen or sixty-three.  One of our friends was able to come for part of it.  It was wonderful.  You can see her perform on you tube.

Saying goodbye to Sister Campbell
This is one of those weeks when we just have too much to tell.  I’ll try to keep it short.  This was change week.  It usually starts off with the new missionaries coming in on Tuesday.  This time we got to start it off by saying good bye to Sister Campbell on Monday afternoon.  I could spend several blogs just talking about what she did for our Mission.  We will miss her.

We had nineteen oros or new missionaries that arrived.  They came in on 5 flights that started about 2:00 A.M.  The last ones came in about 2:00 P.M.  It was a lot of trips to the airport for the mission president and the assistants.  We did not have to go to all of trips which saved our old tired bodies.  This is quite an animated bunch.  It was fun to see how excited they are.  I hope you can see what a fun group they are.  It will be exciting to see them grow.  Too bad we won’t be around much longer to see them.  They really got into milking alfajores.  That’s a good sign.  They were also pretty excited when they met their trainers.  It was fun to see their enthusiasm for the work.

Right after we sent the oros off with their trainers, the Valientes or missionaries that are going home come in to the mission home.  This was very difficult as we remember when most of them came and can see how much they have grown.  We had three missionaries in this group that served in the office with us.  Also, Hermana Nava and Anderson were in the group.  They are the missionaries that taught and baptized our friend Cristina, so we are especially close to them.  Elder Montiel wanted to get some more alfajores to take home so I gave him and Elder Rodriguez a ride to get them.  It was our last trip of many.  I already miss them terribly.
Elders Rodriguez and Montiel on one last Alfajore trip
We enjoyed dinner with the Valientes on Wednesday night and then said good bye to Elder Filigrana and Sister Lizarazo as they had a flight to Colombia at about 5:00 A.M.  We didn’t start until 7:00 A.M. when we picked up Elder Montiel for his flight to Argentina.  What a great friend he has been.  It was hard to say good bye to him because we may not see each other ever again.

We no sooner sent him through security when the next bunch arrived.  These were the Latinos.  Elder Rodriguez was headed home to Panama and Elder Ruiz to El Salvador.  It was hard to say good bye.  Luckily we have face book and other ways to communicate.   Then it was t time for the North Americans to come.  We sent them off about 5:00 P. M.  In all we were in the airport for more than 10 hours, mostly waiting.

I want to say a little about the task of a mission president.  President Eddy started Tuesday in the middle of the night.  Then, besides all the meetings to teach the new missionaries he did 19 interviews with the new missionaries.  After the meetings ended at about 9:00 P. M. he got together with the assistants to make the final assignments of the new missionaries.  Wednesday was filled with meetings and final interviews of the missionaries going home.  Then Thursday he and his wife were at the airport starting at about 5:00 A. M.  He made at least three different trips to the airport through the day and finally was able to go home at about 5:00 P. M.  What a schedule!   We appreciate him and his wife so much.

In the middle of the Missionaries going home we also said good bye to Elder and Sister Jensen.    They just completed their Temple Mission.  That leaves us the only North American Senior Missionaries serving in Montevideo.  It’s going to be kind of lonesome.

Friday we had a more or less normal day as we did inspections in the La Costa zone and also cut the grass for three of the houses.  The La Costa houses are interestingly enough on the coast where it is the most humid and has the most problems with mold in the houses.  We were please to find out that for the most part the missionaries are working to take care of the mold.  We really appreciate it.
As part of the inspections, Renee always makes cookies.  She made lemon bars Thursday after we got done with the “rodeo” we call changes.  I guess it’s a complement when a missionary likes the cookies so much that he takes a picture of them.  But, that is Elder Larson.  He is a very fun and happy missionary that just happens to like lemon bars.

Yesterday was finally P-day for us.  We cleaned to mold off our walls, cleaned the rest of the house and just relaxed while it rained cats and dogs outside.  We were glad for the breather.  Our testimonies continue to grow as we have a chance to serve.  We appreciate the opportunity.  We appreciate all of the love and support from home.  We love you all.

Love, Gordon and Renee

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

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Hitting the Road

We spend a lot of time in the car.  I mean a lot of time.  Several months ago the Elders were moved out of the La Capuera house as the missionary numbers have fallen.  We have waited to close it because we are not certain what the numbers will do.  In the meantime, some of the houses needed some of the furniture that was in the house.  So on Monday we took the mission van and trailer up to move stuff around.  We picked up the Sisters in Pan de Azucar and the Elders in Piriapolis to help.
When we arrived at the house, the owner had tied up a pit bull right next to the door of the apartment.  It was barking but not growling.  Nobody really wanted to get bitten so we were quite cautious.  Eventually we were able to calm the dog down and move it to a better place.

The first step of our little project was to take the beds to La Paloma to replace their broken ones.  We soon had the beds on board and ready for the two hour trip up the coast.  You may remember that we spent Friday and Saturday night in La Paloma on our trip to Castillos.  We don’t seem to get enough of traveling to La Paloma.  When we got to La Paloma we had to wait for the Elders to get back.  All of a sudden we had not only two elders show up but five of them come around the corner on bikes with fishing poles in hand.  It was P-day and the zone was taking advantage of the opportunity to do a little fishing.  It was fun to see them and see how happy they were.  They were real good to help us get the beds changed.

After a short site seeing trip to show the missionaries La Paloma we headed back to La Capuera for the rest of the stuff.  Renee and the Sisters did a little cleaning and Elder Rodriguez and Elder Mereles helped me load the trailer and van.  We got most everything on.  Then we had to drop off the missionaries at their houses and head for home.  On the way home we dropped the kitchen table and chairs at the El Pinar house along with the stove.  Our final stop was to drop off the fridge at the Lomas de Solymar house.  We got home about 9:30 P. M.  We were tired.

Tuesday morning we still had the use of the van so we took the closet and mattresses to 18 de Mayo.  This is only about an hour each way so it was quite a bit easier.  On Wednesday we took it easy.  We have both been battling colds so it was good to rest up a bit.

Thursday was our trip to do inspections in Melo and 33.  It is over 1,000 kilometers round trip.  As if we needed more miles.  We were curious about the trip to 33 as the missionaries had painted three houses since we were there last and we were curious about the quality.  We were quite happy with the result.  The spearhead behind the project was Elder Montiel.  You may remember him from last year when he worked in the office with us.  He is a great friend and missionary.  We are so grateful for all of the work the missionaries do to take care of their houses.  We inspected all of the 33 houses and even had time to go to Rio Branco.  Rio Branco is over 450 kilometers from Montevideo and is the furthest of any house.  By the time we got to Melo we were tired but still had time to see a couple of the other houses.  The missionaries in the Melo Zone have worked hard to clean their houses.  We really appreciated it.

Friday morning was one of the key parts of our trip.   The Zone Leader house in Melo has a real mold problem.  The whole zone met and we cleaned it.  It is a big house with tall ceilings so it was quite a job.  The missionaries were quite the troopers pitching in to help.  We were so appreciative.  We even had time to go to the Centenario house to clean their walls too.  We got all the inspections and cleaning done by noon.  It was a big job but done quite quickly with all the good help from the missionaries.

So now for another adventure.  Melo and 33 are on a main highway, Ruta 8.  Ruta 8 is a challenge because of all of the truck traffic.  But, Ruta 7 also goes to Melo so we decided to take it on the way home to see some new scenery.  We were a little worried about the quality of the road but we ventured anyway.  It is about the same distance and it was fun to see some new scenery.  So the truck traffic was quite a bit less but the quality of the road left quite a bit to be desired.  It was a fun trip but not one we will take again.

So guess what we did Saturday?  Nothin’!  We took it easy to rest up from the long week of travel.  It was good to get a little rest.  Today we traveled about 30 minutes to the Norte Stake to attend the meetings and help train a High Councilman on how to do the Capilla Abiertas.  We love meeting all of the different people in Uruguay.  They have certainly made our lives better.  Last week was filled with a world of great experiences as we were able to rub shoulders with the missionaries.  We are grateful for the opportunity.

We love you all.
Gordon and Renee

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Tenedor Libre

I hope no one confuses this blog with the movie “Nacho Libre”.  Actually I do, that’s why I put the title that way.  Tenedor Libre is the name for an all you can eat buffet.  There is a pretty nice one on a main intersection in Montevideo.  Renee and I have commented several times that we would like to try it sometime.  So, when the office Elders said they were going we decided to go with.  It was an interesting experience.  It was quite a bit more expensive than we had anticipated but we were still anxious to try it.  After we tried it we were not quite so anxious.  Uruguay is on a big health kick to not use salt to improve your health.  I’m thinking with all the meat and pasta, the salt is not the big problem.  Either way the food was so-so.  Kinda bland and kinda cold.  They had a typical open flame BBQ grill so I was hopeful on the meat.  Not so good either.  Now I know what Chuck-a-rama does with their day old food.  You can tell by the picture that the missionaries thought it was pretty good.  If you have been reading our blog, you will recall that our food experiences have been great so I hope this one clunker doesn’t make you think we don’t like the food.

Another project we had this week was getting things ready to paint in Florida. We took a trip Wednesday to deliver the paint and supplies.  The missionaries had everything lined up with the members to paint the Zone Leader house on Saturday.  We still have not heard how it went but we are hopeful it went well.  We have no problem going to help with the painting but it is actually better if we don’t go.  That way, it teaches the missionaries and members to work together to take care of the houses.  It is part of our plan as we are winding things down to go home.

We still have quite a few things we need to do to keep the houses fixed.  For example, one day I received two phone calls from Elders.  One had a broken door knob and couldn’t get into their bedroom and the other had a broken water heater.  They were able to work with the members to get both problems fixed including a repaired water faucet at the house with the broken door.  I sometimes feel guilty sitting back to let the members help but in the long run it is better as the missionaries and members learn to follow the directive from the area office to have the members do more of the maintenance and upkeep on the houses.

On Wednesday we went to Pando to help the sisters with their washing machine.  As Renee worked with them I went to get them a new microwave.  While I was gone I noticed we had a low tire.  That ended up being a two hour project that ended up with two new tires.  After some troubleshooting, Renee and the Sisters found out the washing machine filter was clogged.  With a clean filter the washing machine worked well.

That brings us to Friday.  We needed to do inspections in Maldonado.  It is always good to stop in to see the missionaries.  All of the houses were neat and tidy.  You could see that they were making an effort to keep them clean.  You can also see from the picture that we are teaching the missionaries to clean the filter on the washing machine now so we can prevent a few problems.

Then we were on to Castillos.  The missionaries have been good to help set up Charlas for us.  On Friday night we had a Charla with a good member, Oreales and her family.  We showed the “He is Risen” video in the Gospel Library.  It is a brief history of the Savior's last days including his time in Gethsemane, scourging, on the cross and resurrection.  It is a powerful video that helps us understand the importance of the Savior.  We have shown it several times and it seems to be a powerful teaching tool.

After that we went to the Jhonny Lopez family.  This included Daniela’s homemade corn dogs and Renee’s fudge filled cookies.  We all ate too much and then were able to enjoy the same video.  They have such a strong family and it is fun to spend time with them.  We love our time with them.

Saturday we had two more charlas set up and had good visits in both places.  Spending time on real missionary work is our favorite activity.  In the afternoon we helped with the branch fellowship activity.  It was great fun as usual.  The missionaries had a good message about the Savior and then we played games including, button, button, who’s got the button and I have a little doggy that won’t bite you.  If you don’t know those games you’ll have to come to our next family reunion.  The kids had an especially good time.

Today I gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting on the importance of the Holy Ghost.  I used 1 Kings 19 where the Lord comes in a “still small voice.”  I likened the Light of Christ and the Gift of the Holy Ghost to having Wi-Fi or a direct line to the internet.  It is always kind of sad to leave our friends in Castillos.  If not for the fact that we are so worn out from the travel and visits we would stick around longer.

The weather has been a little cooler lately but we can see that it is starting to warm up as the days get longer.  We hope our health will continue to hold out until we go home.  We love you all and appreciate your support.

Love, Gordon and Renee

Sunday, July 16, 2017

And They Were Sore Amazed

 There are several places in the Scriptures where the Savior does something that astonishes his disciples.  Likewise this week we helped missionaries clean the mold off their walls and they were astonished or “sore amazed” also.  The first instance happened last Monday.  We drove up early to help the Florida Zone clean the mold off the walls of the Zone Leader house.  It is a big house and the mold was pretty bad.  But in spite of the size of the task, it was completed in about an hour.  Several of the missionaries commented on how they had learned how to clean and would now be able to tackle the task in their own houses.  It really was a pretty fun activity including the Hot Dogs and Cookies afterward.   We always have fun when we are with the missionaries.

Tuesday we stayed pretty close to home as I am working on a head cold with the typical cough and aches.  It isn’t very fun.  I am feeling better.  We also spent some time cleaning our house and working on some office stuff.

On Wednesday we helped with the District Leader Conference.  This means that Renee cooks and I do office stuff.  In the afternoon we went to see our friend Cristina in the Hospital.  She continues to struggle from stroke symptoms.  She was feeling pretty good and we had a good visit.  The best part of the visit was when she got her fingernails painted by Sister Perales.  That made all of us happy.  We hope she can continue to get better.

Friday we did inspections on the Las Piedras Zone.  This is a big zone and is really spread out.  We were pleased by the efforts the missionaries are making to keep their houses clean.  You can see it in their eyes that they are happier, healthier and certainly can find the Spirit easier if they live in a clean environment.  While we were doing the inspections we did a little OJT or On the Job Training with Elder Holland.  He also was amazed at how easy it is to clean the walls if you get on the mold early.  It also helps if you are tall like him so you can reach way up high.    Elder Palomino and Elder Holland are the Zone leaders.  We expect that they will teach their zone how to keep the houses cleaner.

We hope you enjoy the pictures of the missionaries.  They are so happy and filled with the Spirit.  I had to take a picture of the sisters with their pajamas on under their skirts to stay warm.  It hasn’t been too cold yet but it is winter and not warm in the houses.  I wore my over coat to Church today.  One of the things you notice in Uruguayan Churches is that there are not coat racks.  That is because if someone wears a coat to church they keep it on to stay warm.  I kept my over coat on all through church and was glad to have it.

Speaking of weather, it has been quite pleasant for much of May, June and July.  Yesterday started out warm, but a front came in and it rained and the wind began to blow.  It is still blowing about 30 miles per hour and it is quite chilly.  Last night we went to dinner with Elder and Sister Jensen to celebrate Father’s Day in Uruguay.  The dinner was real good but the wind was terrible.  We are glad we are inside and pray for the missionaries to be warm and safe.

We had a neat experience Friday.  On Wednesday Elder Texeira came to the District Leader Training.  He was just transferred from the Norte Zone to the Las Piedras Zone and one of his suitcases was left behind in the transfer.  He asked me if I could go get it and bring it with on Friday.  This took a little extra effort on our part but not much.  When we showed up at his house and he saw the suitcase he gave me a great big hug.  He was so glad to get it.   It really doesn’t take much to be appreciated.  Elder Texeira is a good example of all of the missionaries.  He is happy and wants to do what he can to help the work.  He is also grateful for what he has.

We are grateful too.  We continue to have experiences that teach us about the love the Savior has for us.  As we build our relationships with the people in Uruguay we come to love them more and more.  It is going to be hard to leave them.

So while we sit here in Uruguay trying to keep warm, we hope you  can find a shade tree to enjoy the summer back home.  We love you all and appreciate what you do for us.

Love Gordon and Renee

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Rainy Days and Transfers

Change week or transfer week is always busy.  It makes it more busy and hectic if it is raining.  We had a big storm system come in for the weekend that made everything look dreary.  Even with that we had a good week.  I have talked about change weeks several times.  This week was very typical.  The new ones arrive on Tuesday, the trainers come in Wednesday to get their new companions and the old missionaries spend Wednesday getting ready to go home and then going home on Thursday.  All went as planned this transfer except we could not put the missionaries up in the Temple Hostel.  We ended up traveling to some of the nearby apartments and back each morning and night.  It was not too big of a group so it worked out pretty good.  I had to include photos of the new missionaries milking alfajores for the first time.  This group started out pretty subdued and ended up really getting into the game.  It was a real fun time.

The next group of pictures is all of the missionaries going home.  It gets harder and harder.  The only thing that keeps us going is that we will soon be able to see them again.  The sisters got here after we arrived and are now going home so we have had them for our entire mission.  This is a real fun group.  We got to know them all real well.

I have to say something about Elder Poulson and Elder Ucanan.  You can’t let them take pictures or they always have to do a selfie.  Also, we have been putting together some emergency food packages for the missionaries.  It includes some spaghetti.  Well one of the packages ripped so I gave it to the office Elders.  They started eating it raw!  Just like boy scouts!  Some things never change.

Friday was the Zone Leader Conference.  It is always a good day as we are able to see the leaders of the mission.  You can see from the pictures that they really enjoy lunch.  I can always count on Elder Cabrera for a good picture.  He’s from Paraguay.  The Paraguayos always are happy and fun loving.
Thursday after changes we were pretty tired but still found the energy to visit Humberto and Cristina.  We went with four Sisters.  It was a full house.  Good thing too, as they made “tortas fritas” or fry bread that would feed and army.  It is real good with dulce de leche, not to good for the waistline but real good for your spirits.

The meat and potatoes of this week really started late Friday afternoon.  We had several appointments set for Castillos for Friday night but they all fell through.  We racked our brains and tried to listen to the Spirit to go where the Lord wanted us to go.  We ended up stopping to see Tito and Patricia to give them some cookies and thank them for the chukar eggs that they gave us the last time we were in town.  It was a wonderful visit.  We showed a video of the Savior and had a short talk about what He did for us.  It turned out real well.  We ended up with more eggs and a demonstration of how they hatch out more chickens.  They are a real special family.  We have plans to go see them again.

On Saturday morning we had overcast skies and a long list of members to go see.  Not one of them ended up being at home.  Instead of getting discouraged we dug into our old list and tried to listen to the Spirit to find out where we should go next.  We ended up trying to find a family on Mevir.  When we asked a guy where Mevir was he kind of laughed and told us it is not a street but a Barrio.  With simple instructions, we found the barrio and the house.  We received a warm welcome from Lirio and his wife.  We had a short charla and were welcomed back the next time we come.  This was really a neat experience.  The charla made us a little late for lunch with Narda but not too late.  Again we had such a wonderful time at lunch.  She is definitely family.

After lunch we went with the Elders to see Zulma.  Zulma broke her ankle a couple of weeks ago and is on bed rest for another month.  In spite of this, she was in good spirits.  She made us all feel better.  We finished our visit with her just in time to go to the branch activity.  You can see from the pictures that we had pretty good attendance and really had a good time.  Renee made copies of the pictures of all of the Prophets and we played the “match game” with them.  Everyone had a good time.  The Elders are doing these activities twice a month and it is really helping draw the branch together.  After the activity we stopped to see Rosanna.  She has not been feeling well and we gave her a little support.    

Today we had pretty good attendance in Church.  I was asked to teach the Priesthood Class and Renee helped Narda with Primary.  We had a good time and really feel good when we can be helpful.  We finished off the day by driving home in the rain and dropping off a vacuum cleaner in Maldonado.  It was a little bit out of the way but not too bad.

We ended up having the opportunity to share our testimonies several times this week.  That really makes the week better and builds our spirits.  We love being part of the missionary work and helping the missionaries.  With the change we have a new list of things to do and are anxious to get started.

We love all of you and appreciate your support.

Gordon and Renee