We just passed the shortest day of the year so we are in the middle of winter. Last year it was pretty cold. This week it has been unseasonably warm. It was almost 80 degrees today. This is much better than freezing like we did last year.
We are trying to get some apartment inspections done before changes in two weeks so we took the time to do the Maroñas Zone. This included cutting the grass on three apartments. Most of the apartments look pretty good. We think they are making an effort to keep things clean. We have threatened to send pictures to the mothers of a few of the missionaries but so far, they do a pretty good job.
On Friday we had a conference for the new missionaries. They come in for more training after about a month. This group is especially happy and ready to go. I was having too much fun to take any pictures. Lunch was chili on baked potatoes with corn bread that included honey butter. That’s when the overeating started.
From there we headed to Castillos. Friday evening we shared brownies with Jhonny Lopez and his family and they shared homemade alfajores and biscochos with us. Everything was real sweet. I could feel the insulin racing in my veins. Biscochos are treats made a variety of ways with bread, chocolate and dulce de leche. I love them way too much.
Saturday morning started off with biscochos for breakfast at the Hotel. These are really good. For lunch we had Canelones at Narda’s. I should have only eaten two, but she gave me three so I had to do it. Again, way to full. For supper Saturday night, we had way too much to eat at the branch party. The food included empanadas, sandwiches and biscochos. They were all so good. I had “one more” about 20 times. Not too good for the waistline. Instead of taking it easy today, we started out with the biscocho breakfast at the Hotel and then enjoyed lunch at the Eguren home where they served us Uruguayan Lasagna with dulce de leche filled crepes for dessert. Uruguayan Lasagna is made a little differently. They put ham, cheese, corn, peas, lettuce and spinach in between layers of crepes. An excellent meal. So now we are eating nothing for the next week.
Along with the great food we had some real good experiences in Castillos this week. Friday night as we enjoyed the treats at the Lopez family we also had the chance to talk about the power of the Priesthood. We read and discussed 1 Kings 18 where Elijah calls down fire from heaven. I know of no greater example of the power of the Priesthood than this. Too bad we weren’t able to call down fire from Heaven that day in White Clouds when we almost drowned from the rain. After that scripture we talked about Malachi where Elijah will come to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers. We finished it up with D&C 110 where Elijah comes to give the keys to Joseph Smith. The Spirit was there to testify of the importance of families. It was a neat experience. The Lopez family is such a great family. We love going to see them. We have an appointment in two weeks to share some more treats. This missionary work is pretty neat huh?
Video of Games from the Branch Party
Saturday we made some good visits to various members. The people of Castillos are so kind and friendly. In the evening they held a branch party to coincide with the branch conference on Sunday. It started off with a video that had a good message about working together. Then we had the games. The shouts of joy are still ringing in my ears from the kids. They had so much fun. And because they did, we all did. We love the feeling of love between them as they play and enjoy the food. They all lingered to enjoy the night as much as possible. After, everyone pitched in to help clean up. It was done in no time.
So that set the stage for today. We had 28 people in Church. That is a record since we have been there. The lessons were so well presented and the members participated with their thoughts and testimonies. It was a real special day. After the meetings, everyone lingered to visit some more. The Missionaries and the members are working together to build the branch. It is so good to be able to go and share the love they have for one another and for us.
After Church we had lunch with the Eguren family. The food was excellent but the feeling of love they have for us was even better. It does take extra effort to go to Castillos twice a month but it is so worth it. We are grateful that we are able to go and strengthen our testimonies as we share them with others. It is the highlight of our mission.
We love you all and hope you are enjoying summer.
Love Gordon and Renee