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.

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