Sunday, September 15, 2013

Finishing our experience at the border of El Salvador...

What happened at the border coming back in to El Salvador?
    The officer came out to the mini-bus and asked for Walter Petersen to please step out.
   In a quite voice he said to him: "We have a slight problem here. Your visa residency expired yesterday."
     It was more than a "slight" problem. It was a BIG problem.
...long story, short. We were at the border 2 hours versus the 40 minutes the day before.  
     ...because the official tried to work it out for us not to have to pay the $114 fine each--both Walt's and my visas had expired.
   He had Walt come up into the offices and he called his superior.
This higher official asked Walt why we were living in El Salvador.
When Walt told him we were on assignment by our Church--the Mormon Church.
   "Oh, the Mormon Church," the officer said with a pleasant tone.
(Later that week when we were working this through with the Church's attorney here, I asked him why they were favorable to the Mormon Church.  He said it's because the Mormon Church follows their rule and does everything by their laws and rules--nothing is underhanded with them.)
    The Immigration Officers at the border had to type up documents that stated we would immediately begin the process of renewing our visas, and gave us a 5-day temporary visa to get everything worked out.
Everyone made the best of the situation, and Janie figured out a "worst case scenario" of having to go back to the last town  to have us two "visa-expirees" stay until the Service Center people could come pick us up and they would go on to San Salvador for their flight out the next day.

    One time when Walt was able to come back down to the bus (all the offices were up about 10 steps from the parking area) the driver took a photo of us all by the bus.  Little Michael must have been sleeping in the bus.
I'll see if he's in another is Michael next to Sam and Shawn at breakfast that morning.
    From the bus we could see Walt and the officers.  One time they took Walt around the corner and I asked: "What do you think they're doing now?"
    "Flogging him," someone in our group said.
          Then an officer came down and asked for Eileen Petersen to come up to the office.  
    "Now they're going to flog you," the same voice said.
         I had to sign the document with my name on it. after two hours, paying the fine, and signing several things, we were on our way.
    And neither of us were flogged.
  Janie and I were figuring out how long it would take to cook what we'd planned to have for dinner that last evening. We had something planned but it would take a while to cook.
    No one had had lunch....just some snacks, so everyone was getting hungry.  We were about 3 1/2 hours from the capital.
Walt suggested that we stop in Santa Ana to eat. That was just a couple hours away.
   So at 7:00 p.m. we arrived at the food court in a big fancy, dancy Santa Ana mall, and everyone got to choose where to eat.  Katie got her wish of eating at a McDonald's in a foreign country--a tradition of hers.  
And below is the last photo I got of the trip because my camera's battery gave it's last breath.
The next day, Wednesday, Sept. 4 was the time for "Goodbyes" after a waffle-strawberry-whipped cream breakfast.
Two vans to the airport...
Janie and her Dad together for the last time until Nov. 2014...
The farewell airport photo...
And now they're all back in Idaho...  It seems like they were here and gone again in the blink of an eye! But we have sweet memories of their 8 precious days with us.
    The next Sunday, September 8, we spoke at the Cuscutlan Stake Conference. The first stake conference we've been to with the new mission president and his wife.  President Kai Hintze y Hna. Diane Hintze of the new El Salvador San Salvador West Belice Mission are from Salt Lake City, Utah....well, somewhere in Utah, although they have been on assignment throughout the world for his work with the Church.
That same Sunday evening, Walt and I took a walk around the temple grounds.  The apartment has seemed so quiet and lonesome since the Fishers and Mechams left.
When Walt told the Majanos about our visas expiring, Hna. Majano said: "Oh, you're wetbacks!?"
We spent the week catching up on things we don't get done during the normal times that the temple is open.  Walt did a lot of filing, and I did some. I worked on my Mom's Life Story, and did some 
    We have been taken twice to different places to get these visas renewed -- once to the National Police Station. Because we let our visas expire when we were out of the country, we had to begin from scratch as though we had never been in the country....with the police check, a medical exam, finger prints, mug shots, etc., etc.
And one day we went to Price Smart....and yes, Sept. 7 they had Christmas stuff out.
Here we are after spending Tuesday, Sept 10 having a great 4 hours being in meetings where Bonnie Oscarson, Young Women General President, spoke with Stake YW Presidencies and then Stake and Ward YW Presidencies about how to better fulfill the Young Women's program.
Our Campestre Ward Young Women's Presidency were thrilled to be trained with Sister Oscarson.  
    The Church officials here used the temple president's van to drive Sister Oscarson in during her day and a half here.  Carole Stephens, Counselor in the Relief Society, was also here at another Stake Center, training the local R.S. leaders - Sociedad de Socorro is Relief Society in Spanish.
Here are L-R: Janis Nielsen, Stephanie Dawson, Bonnie Oscarson-YW General President, and Aida Palacios. Aida is our ward YW president, and Stephanie and Janis are her counselors. They do a great job.
The young women from our ward came to our apartment on Sunday, September 1, where the ward YW presidency had asked me to speak to them about temple marriage. Janie and Aimee helped me out by also talking with them about this tender topic.
Today - 
Sunday, September 15, 2013
We spoke at the Soyapango Stake Conference.
    Since September 15th is the El Salvador Independence Day.
     Minos González, a high councilor from the stake, drove over to guide us to the Soyapango Stake Center.   normally just under a 30-minute drive....but with many roads closed because each suburb was having their own parades and celebrations, it took an hour.
Luckily we walked in just as they were ready to start.
     The members love to hear their temple president speak as he teaches them more about the importance of the ordinances and covenants of the holy temple.
     I share about how my mother's death is not as sad as I thought it would be because I know she is now young again...can see, hear, run, dance, and remember....and is with her eternal sweetheart because she and my Daddy had received their temple endowments and been sealed for time and eternity in the holy temple.
We are always relieved when our talks are over and we can greet the members.
Here is Minos González with us as we returned to the temple grounds this afternoon.
We came home to a quiet Sunday dinner.  When 10-y-o Michael Fisher saw this photo, he said: "When they're alone they sure don't have big Sunday dinners like we had with them. But their grape juice looks good."
Then it was time for our Sunday naps...
Tomorrow morning we are serving a breakfast of
Biscuits 'n Gravy
to the 6 couples in our 
temple complex apartments...
President & Sister Majano,
President & Sister Alas,
Elder y Hna. Clark,
Elder y Hna. Caballero,
Elder y Hna. Winter,
Elder y Hna. Haroldsen.
Then in the afternoon we're going 
to help in the temple
putting the sacred items back 
in place after the two-week
closure for maintenance
and repairs.
We hope you have had a peaceful 
and restful Sabbath Day.
The Gospel has been restored in 
these latter days
through the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Read the Book of Mormon.
It will change your life.
We are thankful for the 
of the Savior,
and the hope of 
His forgiveness as we
repent of our short-comings,
and that we will all
be resurrected,
and with temple ordinances
can live together
forever as families.
Con amor, 
Walt and Eileen Petersen

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