Sunday, November 24, 2013

The third week of November 2013 in El Salvador...

Today we were invited to speak at the Juayúa Stake Conference. It's in the mountains about an hour and a half north and west of San Salvador.
The whole temple presidency went, with Presidente Majano driving.
Presidente Danny Solis and his wife are both physicians. Their little girl Gabby just turned 3.
We love the people in Juayúa.
Since their stake center is too small to hold all the members, they had two sessions today. Presidente y Hna. Alas spoke at the morning session.  Presidente y Hna. Cordón of the El Salvador Santa Ana Mission spoke at both sessions.
Their daughter, Sabrina, is with them on this mission and their son returns from his Tawain Mission on Dec. 28. Their two other daughters are attending BYU-Idaho.
We were served a nice lunch between the sessions.
A choir of 10 hermanas and 3 hermanos provided music.
We had arrived about 45 minutes before the morning session.
When we first walked in they had these sunflowers in front of the pulpit.
Then these two hermanos brought in these beautiful fresh flowers.
I never can get a photo fast enough to show all the members and investigators in the congregation.
Be back soon to finish....I hope.
We're feeding 24 tomorrow for our "Thanksgiving Dinner" so am
getting the place cards typed.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The second week of November...

Today Walt left at 6:15 for a Regional Correlation Council which is held every three months.  So after Sacrament Meeting in our ward, everyone was asking me: "Is President Petersen okay?"  One member said: "It doesn't seem right for you to be here without President Petersen."
He got back about 1:30, just in time to have some of the delicious brocolli cheese soup that Hna. Kerr made for dinner, and the Texas chocolate sheet cake I made for dessert.  They had served a light lunch at the RCC so he was too full to have the Clark's fresh veggies, the Haroldsen's fruit salad, and the Caballero's rolls.
David Ogden is here from Virginia this week, so Hna. Clark invited him to come to dinner.  The Clarks had the dinner in their apartment because the Kerrs have no usable pans in their apartment which is about a half-mile from the temple. They walk to the temple in 12 minutes.  They are full-time temple workers called from the Los Heroes Stake. They are here for six months - October 1 to March 28.
Hna. Clark always sets a beautiful table for dinner.
Here are the guests from the other direction.  And as you can see, the Clarks have their Christmas tree up. There is no "Thanksgiving Day" in El Salvador so some people start putting up Christmas decorations in October--but mostly in November.
Then we got the group photo before everyone departed.
Left to right: Marilee Clark, Irma Caballero, Sharon Haroldsen, Kari Kerr. Back: Walt, Joseph Clark, Roberto Caballero, DeVar Haroldsen, John Kerr, and in the back, David Ogden.
Now we have had our Sunday nap and are relaxing and catching up on the blog plus e-mailing family.
     Elder Ricardo Valladares was the Area Seventy presiding at the Regional Correlation Council this morning with the six stake presidents in the El Salvador San Salvador East Mission, along with President David Glazier of that mission, and Sergio Oliva, the Executive Secretary for Elder Valladares. Sergio drove President Petersen the 45 minutes to this meeting at the Illopango Stake Center.
  Elder Valladares was the President of the Nicaragua Managua Mission when we served as Medical Advisor and Assistant of the Central America Area - Mar 2005 to Feb 2007, and we stayed in his mission home when we traveled to his zone conferences.
Since I wasn't at the RCC this morning, here is an earlier photo of this Area Seventy when we were with him at the El Salvador San Salvador Stake Conference June 2, 2013.  Daniella Hernández de Castillo and her husband Herberto Castillo had been our guides that day and they are pictured with Elder Valladares.
      Here are Sergio and his wife, Bestabe, last night where he also drove us to the Layco Stake Conference Saturday evening meeting.
Elder German Laboriel was the Area Seventy presiding at the Layco Stake Conference. He was called in April 2009 at age 55 to the Fourth Quorum. He lives in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Presidente Kai and Hna. Diane Hintze of the El Salvador San Salvador Oeste-Belice Mission also spoke at this Stake Conference session.  They are in their first year here and are doing a great job.
Friday and Saturday, November 15 and 16, Romel Castro, the assistant engineer for the temple came to get Walt's computer working after it crashed a few days before.
Some others had tried unsuccessfully to get his old laptop working. "I think Romel knows the most about computers of anyone here," Walt said.  We are so thankful for him!
 Friday morning before our shift at the temple, Alex and Ricky brought our Christmas tree and decorations up from the basement storage area.  We usually don't put the tree up until after Thanksgiving, but since we will only be here three weeks in December, Walt reluctantly said it's okay to put it up early this year.
So the tree is up, but not decorated yet.
Thursday morning, November 14 we had the morning/afternoon shift in the temple.  We love our temple workers and those who come as participants.

Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 13-14, Presidente y Hna. Hintze had all their 200-some missionaries come to the temple.  Other than when new missionaries arrive and when they are going home, the missionaries come every six months to the temple.  They always bring a great spirit with them.  We love missionaries--both the young ones and our older temple missionaries!!
As we were leaving our shift on Thursday, we came out just as the last few missionaries and the Hintze's were leaving the temple. It's rare that we can get a photo of those who come to the temple.
Monday, November 11, for P-day the temple presidency, their wives, our eight full-time temple missionaries and the set of full-time temple workers had the great blessing of doing a special session for the new presentation of the endowment.  So it is now in Spanish in our temple.
We also did a session on Wed, Nov. 13 on our day with no shift.
So that's how our week of November 11-17 has been.  
We hope you have had a good week and a peaceful and restful Sabbath Day.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true.
Joseph Smith is the Prophet of the Restoration of this true Church.
The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. If you read it, it will change your life for the better.
President Thomas S. Monson is the current Prophet for the whole world.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the World and the head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Of these truths we testify. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
President Walter R. Petersen and Sister Eileen A. Petersen

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November is moving right along...

Today - Sunday, November 10, 2013 - we were invited by the Area Seventy presiding: Elder Cesar Morales, to speak at the Ahuachapán Stake Conference.  This is about an hour and a half west of the city of San Salvador.
   To pronounce it correctly I think: A-watch-a-pán.
    (I do wash these clothes between each Sunday.  Since we are in a different stake conference each Sunday, I choose the same outfit to wear...less stressful for me.)
Hugo Ernesto Martínez drove us the 100 kilometers (60 miles) this morning.  We are thankful for all the help we are given to get to our various assignments throughout El Salvador. Hugo is in the middle below.  On the right is the counselor in the stake presidency.
Here is the stake presidency.  The Stake President in the middle is President Zamora.  I don't know the names of the counselors.  We were not given a printed agenda today like most of the stakes have for us.
We had a fun serendipity right after conference when one of the sister missionaries came up and introduced herself: "I'm Hermana Groneman.  My parents told me to be sure and look you up if I got to the temple here.  And now I get to meet you at our stake conference. You were on the Mediterranean Cruise with my parents, Jon and Bonny Groneman in June 2010."
We were very excited to meet Hna. Groneman.
We met the Groneman's when we went on this Cruise called "In the Footsteps of the Apostle Paul," for our 50th Wedding Anniversary (a year early) so we could hear the lectures of D. Kelly Ogden, Professor of Ancient Scriptures at Brigham Young University in Provo.  He was President of the MTC in Guatemala the second year we were there and became friends with him and his darling wife, Marcia.    
Below are Jon & Bonny Groneman.  I think they live in Provo...but are staunch "Ute" fans.d
Here's a photo of our friends - D. Kelly and Marcia Ogden.
D. Kelly & Marcia Ogden, and Marcia's darling mother who is almost 100 years old.
    We have great memories of times with these friends.
Now back to the present...
   The choir today had the 16 hermanas in red dresses and the 10 men in red ties.  We always love to hear their choirs and appreciate all the practice hours they spend in preparing to sing at stake conference.
Time out....will be back after we give talks at a Family History Fireside tonight in our Los Heroes Stake.  (Never a dull moment nor a free Sunday here.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A new month in El Salvador...November 2013

This week marked our 1-year-left mark on
Friday, November 1, 2013.
    We know our last year here will go by in the blink of an eye.
This photo of our presidency and temple missionaries was taken one year ago.  So we know how fast the time has zoomed by since then!
And now we have four different Sr. Couple Temple Missionaries.
Josue Peña took a group photo of the temple presidency and our temple missionaries today after Church.  
     When we get these photos we will post them.
We always love being with our friends in our Campestre Ward.
The next three Sundays in November we will be at Stake Conferences or Walt will be at a Regional Correlation Council.
Today we had dinner at the Clarks apartment with the Wegkamps and the Glaziers.  
         We were gone most of yesterday to a special
gathering of 550 Church leaders from all over El Salvador.
Walt was one of the invited key-note speakers.
      So it was very nice to be invited to dinner today.
Left to right: Joseph & Marilee Clark; Walt & Eileen Petersen; Dale & Lisa Wegkamp; David & Beverly Glazier.
Hna. Clark always sets a beautiful table with fresh flower centerpieces. And today added a fun touch of Autumn.
She served sweet and sour chicken over rice, Lisa brought fresh veggies in a rice paper wrap plus cooked green beans, and we furnished the strawberry jell-o apple-pineapple salad topped with whipped cream.  Then for dessert Marilee had made a yummy white cake topped with cream cheese frosting and coconut.
More later....
         we're going to Skype some of our kids. We got to talk with a couple of our sons, so that is always a great blessing on Sunday evening.
Here are a few photos from the grand leadership-training all-day activity yesterday.
    From the entire country of El Salvador--the 18 L.D.S. stakes were invited to have their stake presidencies, high councilor over the youth, stake young women and young men leaders and spouses there.   It turned out to be 550!
The gathering for registration began at 8:30 in the morning where they were greeted with the welcome sign:
"Bienvenidos S O Y" 
which stands for "Strength of Youth."
The training was for them to have a 5-day "SOY" gathering for the youth in their stake next December 2014.
Everything was so well organized that each stake got registered very quickly. 
President Petersen enjoyed greeting many of the leaders whom we have learned to love from being invited to speak at most all of the stake conferences and from their coming to the temple.
After registering, the "SOY" young adult staff in the yellow shirts who were assigned to each stake, led them in "getting to know you better" activities.  The outdoor soccer stadium was filled with 18 different circles of fun and games.
From here there was a long walk over to the huge amphitheater of the big Military Base where we were gathered.  
These young single adults sang a choreographed song of welcome to the 550 sitting in front of them.
For the conclusion of the program, there was a videotaped message from Elder Angel Durate, the Area Seventy over this, who was in Salt Lake for the sealing of his youngest daughter.  He gave an excellent speech about helping our youth grow in the right direction.
   Then Walt had been invited to speak about family history, eternal families, and temple work.
Of course, when it was time for him to speak, he had taken off the baseball cap and put his suit jacket back on (even though the dress of the day for the leaders was casual--jeans and sports shirts.)
He had me go up on the stage with him to share my testimony.
Then there were workshops for teaching about how to have a successful SOY gathering for their youth.  "Strength of Youth" used to be called "Especially for Youth," but it translates better into Spanish for the initials "S O Y" which in Spanish makes the word: 
"I AM."
For having these workshops outdoors, the electronics and sound systems worked extremely well.  The presenters were enthusiastic and well prepared in describing how to help our young people become the best that they can be.
The president of the San Miguel Stake told how the first two "Especially for Youth" gatherings that have already been held in El Salvador have "changed people's lives" for the better!
Then, as one of the leaders announced: "It is time for everyone's favorite part -- lunch."  We were surprised at how quickly they passed 550 people through the many serving tables that were set up.
Los Cebollines - a great restaurante chain here - served a yummy lunch of chicken with mushroom sauce, green salad, rice, rolls, and cake.  
Walt and I each shared our extra roll with new friends we sat by.
Then it was time for us to drive back into the city.  Walt was nervous about driving back on our own.  Presidente y Hna. López had driven us out in the temple van.  But they stayed for the rest of the afternoon activities which ended at 5:30p.m. They rode back in the mini-bus that had brought all their stake leaders, bishops, and spouses. We left at 2:15 and were back to our apartment by 2:55.
Several wanted their photo with us...which we know it isn't because of "us," but the "calling" that we currently have.
All in all we were very impressed with all the months of planning that had gone into this and how well everything turned out.
The youth are in good hands with these excellent leaders for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints here in El Salvador.

The Church is true, and is led by a Prophet of God--President Thomas S. Monson. Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Redeemer of every person who has lived on this earth or who will live on this earth in the future.
Joseph Smith was asked by Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father to restore the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to translate and bring forth The Book of Mormon.
If you read this book of Scripture 
it will change your life for the better.
Of this we testify.
In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.