Saturday, September 13, 2014

The past two weeks in El Salvador, Minnesota, then back to El Salvador...

September 1-14... Temple closed for two weeks...
We were ready for a quiet fourteen days of R&R...
but it didn't turn out to be "Rest & Relaxation," but "Return and Repair." We returned to Mayo Clinic to repair...well there must be a better word for "repair" that starts with an "r." (Any one have a suggestion?)
   Walt has many keratoses on his face and scalp.  He has had three previous ones removed that on biopsy showed they had become malignant.
   On August 21 he went to a dermatologist here to have one on the top of his head biopsied.  (We had sent a photo of it to Dr. Jerry Brewer at Mayo Clinic. You will remember that Jerry is our son-in-law, married to our youngest daughter Jennifer...who now goes by "Jen.")
   Jerry had confirmed Walt's suspicion that it could be malignant.
   We received the results of the biopsy on Aug 28: "Malignant squamous cell carcinoma."  
    The first impression of the skin specialist here in San Salvador was to freeze it off.  However, we are hoping that he had not seen the closer results of the biopsy that showed it deeper than at first thought.  
When Dr. Brewer saw the photos of the biopsy results, he felt that MOHs surgery was needed to be able to get all the margins removed.
    So on April 3rd we were on our way to Minnesota, and the next day in Rochester at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Brewer not only removed this tumor, but found four others that on biopsy that day showed malignancy.  One was bigger than the others, but it was still better to have the "baby cancers" removed also.

Back to the start of September...
September 1 - Monday 
Beginning of our two-week temple closure for the semi-annual maintenance, painting, and deep cleaning.
      Elder y Hna. Udall finish their six-month temple mission here and fly back to their home in Eager, Arizona.
Some of us gathered at 4:00 a.m. to help them take their luggage down and give them a final good-bye: Los Alas, Caballero, and us, plus Presidente López drove them to the airport.
    We and the Haroldsen's went to lunch at Shaw's.  
Here are Elder y Hna. Haroldsen, temple missionaries have extended there 18 month mission to 21 months.  DeVar and Sharon will return to Idaho Falls in March. The photo is outside by Shaw's where we had lunch.
We didn't do any shopping that day because we were working out plans with Dr. Brewer to see if we needed to go to Mayo Clinic.  
And during the temple closure we don't have Family Home Evening as a group since everyone is going different places.

September 2 - Tuesday
We worked out plans with the Temple Department and Dr. Brewer about having the surgery done and our flights to go to Minnesota.
Then we packed.
September 3 - Wednesday
Up at 3:15 a.m., left for the airport at 4:30 a.m.
Arrived in Minneapolis at 4:00 p.m. and got to Rochester by
6:00 that evening. It is always great to be with Jen & and Jerry and their six children (plus a baby girl due on Oct.  3).
September 4 - Thursday
Bright and early Jen drove us over to Mayo Clinic and we went up to the Dermatology floor 17 for the morning surgery.  
  
Walt was surprised that he had no pain after the deadening wore off.  As we were leaving the Clinic he asked: "Do I look funny?"
"Kinda like Frankenstein," I honestly answered.
This next photo shows more of the white dressing on the surgery spots.
Sept 5 - Friday
We did take it pretty easy the day after his surgery. That evening we "double dated" with Jerry and Jen.  They took us out to a delicious dinner at "Prescott's" a family restaurant that not only has great food but specializes in fresh vegetables grown in a huge garden they plant each spring.
Our custom is to order a fish and a steak, then we share.  Walt got red snapper and I got a filet. I should have taken a photo of Jerry's spinach.
We did get a photo of the four of us, but not one of the "Prescott" name. Most of you know that Walt's grandparents were "Byrum Heber and Maria Prescott."

September 6 - Saturday
Seth and Sarah, age 12, auditioned for the Rochester Symphony and will now be violin players in this community cultural organization.
   Then after a bar-b-que lunch, we had dessert at Flapdoodles.

Jerry brought home chips 'n other yummy treats (well the "Sour Patch Kids weren't too yummy) to snack on while we watched the BYU game.  The pre-game broadcast had us revved up to watch the Cougars and then the BYU channel switched to golf or something bizzare.  That's when we found out that Texas had not given permission for BYU to broadcast the game, nor to re-broadcast it.
(That made me extra glad that the Cougars whooped them 41-7.)

So we huddled around the radio as we tuned to KSL to listen to it.
  (Reminded Walt and me of the 'olden days' growing up in the 1930s, 1940s and first half of the 1950s before we got TV in 1955 in our little town of Wendell, Idaho.) 

September 7 - Sunday
On the way home from their 1:00-4:00 Church block, Lizzy, 4, wanted to run the last several blocks.  It seems she was born running.
Then we got a family photo on their front porch.  It was hard for those boys to keep their ties on that long after Church, but they made their grandmother happy by doing so.
The Jerry and Jen Brewer Family
Jerry, Jen, Seth, 12; Sarah, 12; Benjamin, 9; Joshua, 7; Elizabeth/Lizzy, 5 in Nov; Adam, 2 in Nov;
and Baby Girl due Oct. 3.
Then it was time for the traditional 
Mormon Sunday Roast Beef Dinner.
China and goblets make for a
beautiful table setting for the Sabbath.
An added treat was fresh veggies
from their great garden, and
nothing beats hot-from-the-oven
homemade rolls.
We ended this special few days with our family
by watching the wonderful DVD 
Jerry made for
Jen's 40th birthday of August 26.

September 8 - Monday
We were up early for Jen to drive us to the 5:00 shuttle for the hour and a half drive to the Minneapolis Airport. 
The clouds seem extra fluffy and pretty during the flight.
We had quite a crazy 2-layover flight back:  East to Newark, New Jersey.
Across from the New Jersey airport we could 
see the skyline of New York City.
From there we flew back west and south to Houston, Texas, with only a 59 minute layover at this middle stop.  And by the time we were off the plane, it was only 20 minutes to get from Terminal C to Terminal E.  As we hopped off the indoor airport vehicle at our gate--well more like hobbled off--they had us board immediately.
I didn't get any photos of us at the airport, but as President y Hna. Majano were driving us away from the airport, I hurried and snapped the wheel chair that Walt had been pushed through the airport in.  We can no longer stand in those long lines to get through immigration, nor hurry fast enough.  And I use my walker to keep up with Walt's wheelchair.  
We're "older than dirt" and feeling our 80 and 75 years.
It's always great to see the temple after we've been
 "out of the country."
And we thank our dear friends, Rafael y Aida Majano
for picking us up again at the airport.
A piano had been delivered for the Temple President's apartment. Since we weren't there, they had put it in the Haroldsen's apartment, which is right next to our apartment.
Elder y Hna. Haroldsen had hot, homemade soup, 
salad, and rolls waiting for us. 
It tasted so good after our leaving at 5:00 that morning and
arriving at our apartment after nine o'clock that night.
DeVar and Sharon are also good friends.
All those we've worked with during our 
four missions we consider 
ETERNAL FRIENDS!

And that's our first eight days of September.
I'm worn out now, so hope to post the next seven days
of September tomorrow.

We pray you have had a restful and peaceful 
Sabbath Day.

As we said in our talks this morning
at the Cuscatlán Stake Conference,
happiness comes by 
keeping the commandments,
receiving our endowments,
and being sealed in the temple
so we can be 
families together forever.
We loved being with our Brewer family
for four full days, and look forward
to our eternal connection.
We are thankful for Walt's having all the
squamous cell carcinoma removed
by a priesthood blessing and by
Dr. Brewer's medical expertise.

We look forward to becoming 
even "older than dirt."

Happy Birthday to
two of our sweet daughters-in-law...
last Friday, September 12
to Kathy Anderson Petersen, 
and
to Julie Black Petersen
tomorrow, September 15.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

This week in El Salvador...

August 25-31, 2014

Before I do our blog today, we're having a short nap.  We left at 6:45 this morning for the 2 1/2 hour drive to San Miguel.  However, with Hugo driving us it only took 2 hours and 10 minutes.

We got back about 3:00, got together a Sunday dinner of frozen lasagna (it's never as good as the photo on the box looks, is it!).
Here's a photo of us as we returned from our last stake conference in San Miguel.

Exactly two months from today we should have landed in Salt Lake City on our release trip home.
Oh, I forgot, I may not get to the blog again today.
I'm going to get a power point remembrance together for Elder Michael and Hna. Udall who leave tomorrow morning at 4:15 a.m. for the airport.  Their 6-month mission is here and they are returning to Arizona.  This is their 6th mission -- two of which were in the Guatemala Temple, where we first met them.  They have been great temple missionaries here.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

This week in El Salvador...

Monday, August 18 to Sunday, August 24, 2014
August 18 - Monday tour to Acajutla Seaport without seeing the Seaport.
While we were having lunch -- about 20 minutes away from the Seaport, President López received a call that the President of El Salvador was making a surprise visit there and because of the heightened security no one else was being allowed to enter the Port.
So we finished our lunch and drove right on past the famous Acajutla Seaport. (Very sad.)

We stopped for ice cream before we returned to our Temple Square.
It's fun to go travelin' but it's always nice to come home!
There were 13 of us who went:
Los Haroldsen...DeVar & Sharon--from Idaho Falls...
Los Caballero - Roberto y Irma--from Canada (but native El Salvadorans)...
Los Udall - Mike & Jeanne--from Arizona...
Los López--Jaime y Gladis...
Los Oliva--Sergio y Betsabe Penelope...
Hno. José Peña...
And us--Los Petersen- Walt y Eileen...
Oh, and our bus driver, Andres...
August 19 - Tuesday
Hna. Udall taught us how to make "Easy, Delicious Cinnamon Rolls...   Then everyone did their afternoon temple shift - except Hna. Majano, who had a day with no shift.

August 20 - Wednesday
We had a day with no shift. Except Walt was there all morning in the weekly temple presidency meeting.  Then he called me to come over for a photo of the temple presidency, matron and assistants so it could be printed in the Temple Workers' Devotional for Sunday, August 24.  I don't think I got a copy of the photo.



August 21 - Thursday
Then Thursday, after our morning shift, we met with the gal who is over our shipment to move our things back to Idaho.
After that, Walt had an appointment with a dermatologist for some spots on his head...
August 22 -  Friday
We had the afternoon shift in the temple.
Then when we were off, Jaime López picked us up for the 50th Birthday Party for Waldo Reyes.

We got there at 10:00 as the soup was being served.  Then at 11:00 the salad was served.  At 12:00 midnight the main course of turkey, spare ribs, shrimp, veggies, rice, and rolls was served.

     Between all these courses, entertainment consisted of Mariachi singer, full 10-piece band for dancing, then dancers performing every dance known to man.
Waldo Reyes is now "50" - half a century~~!
We left at 1:15 a.m. before they had served the birthday cake. We had no temple shift the next day, but Los López had a temple shift at 4:00 a.m., so that was less that 3 hours away.
    
We are usually in bed 4 hours before this.
And this "party girl" (not) was partied out (true).
August 23 - Saturday
We were invited to a "farewell breakfast" for the Udalls at 8:30 for which I baked a "Spanish Omlet," plus we were to speak at 8:30 to over 100 youth from the Chalchuapa Stake before they were spending the day doing baptisms at the temple.
I just had time to take the Omlet down, then dash over to the chapel where Walt had gone.
I got to the chapel but they didn't start until 9:00. (We could have had breakfast.)  When we finished and had taken some photos, we met the Saturday afternoon temple coordinator and her assistant, plus other workers who had put on the breakfast, headed over to the temple.
We were really hungry.
When we walked into our apartment, there were two plates brimming with all the goodies from their breakfast.  What sweethearts we work with!
The hot chocolate was even still hot.
It would have been nice to eat with all of them, but as Walt pointed out: "We were where we needed to be."
That afternoon Romel drove Walt to a speaking assignment at the San Salvador Saturday Priesthood Meeting of their Stake Conference.   I was only assigned to speak with him the next day, so I got to stay in our apartment and relax.
Well, if you can call preparing two talks for the next day relaxing.
August 24, 2014 - Sunday
Our first speaking assignments were at the Sunday morning 9:00-11:00 a.m. session of the San Salvador Stake Conference.
Their stake presidency: Presidente Carlos Alfredo Flores González and his counselors José Dario Rodríguez Lizano and Carlos Antonio Gómez Chevez.  We are impressed with the great leaders they have here in the stakes and wards as we visit many of them.
We are always so thankful for those who drive us to each of our speaking assignments. Yesterday it was Romel. I wasn't with them so I didn't get a photo.  But here is Hugo Martínez who drove us this morning.
We got back to our apartment just in time to have a quick snack then head to the airport with President López to pick up our Area President, Kevin Duncan, who was coming in to speak at our annual Temple Workers' Devotional.
The full-time temple missionary couples passed our the printed programs and greeted everyone, then served the refreshments after.
I got a photo of them with President Duncan.
Elder y Hna. Caballero, Elder y Hna. Udall, President Duncan, and Elder y Hna. Haroldsen.
There were 344 temple workers and their spouses at the Devotional.  We got a photo of each stake's workers.
Then it was time to whisk Elder Kevin Duncan back to the airport.
President López picked him up and then drove him back. 
Gladis López got to come on the drive back.
We are very impressed with our new Area President and felt very at ease with Elder Kevin Duncan.
As we returned, we took a photo of Presidente y Hna. López by the temple that they can send to their missionary son, Elder Diego López, in their Monday e-mail to him tomorrow.
We pray you have had a peaceful and restful Sabbath Day.
We are thankful for our many blessings.
The Lord blesses us in each speaking assignment.
We hope the youth yesterday were touched by something Walt or I said to them.
We hope they had a spiritual experience as they were baptised for the dead yesterday in our temple.
We hope the members and investigators at the stake conference this morning gained a deeper understanding about the temple and went away with a stronger desire to enter this House of the Lord to do work for their kindred dead and others.
We hope our temple workers feel appreciated and loved after this special Devotional for them tonight.
And we hope you have had a good week past and will have a good week coming up.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ has once again been on the earth since a young boy went into a grove of trees to ask Heavenly Father which of all the churches was true and which he should join.  Ask any Mormon missionary or Mormon what his answer was.
     Con amor, Los Petersen - Walt and Eileen