Here we are right after our 9:00-Noon Church block.
We did have a Thanksgiving dinner, but it was on Monday, November 25 when the temple is closed and all our temple presidency and temple missionaries and friends can be together.
Yes, our Christmas tree was up...because we will only be here for 3 weeks in December so Walt--relunctantly at first--said we could go ahead and put it up before Thanksgiving this year.
And he even decorated it. He is much better at this than I am.
So the tree was up on Monday, November 18.
For our first Christmas here in 2011, we bought red and gold ornaments for the tree because it was our "Golden Wedding Anniversary Year."
We had not had a real tree skirt for here, but last week found the perfect one in red and gold at PriceSmart (our Costco here).
Notice the table in the corner behind the tree. It became the perfect spot for the new Nativity we also found at PriceSmart to leave in the Temple President's apartment.
This time I got back to add some more. Surprise.
And back to our Thanksgiving celebration. Here are the 24 who were together in our apartment on our temple square.
Front: Roberto y Irma Carallero, Karla Méndez, Gladis López, Sharon Haroldsen, Marilee Clark, Juan José and Rebeka--g-children of Presidente Rafael y Hna. Aida Majano right behind them.
Second row: Presidente Jaime López, our stake president and the temple recorder; Gabriel Méndez, assistant temple recorder, DeVar Haroldsen, John and Kari Kerr, Dale and Lisa Wegkamp, Presidente Eduardo y Hna. Consuelo Alas, Walt, Joseph Clark, and Dora Winter.
Below are Presidente y Hna. Majano and two of their 7 grandchildren. Since Hna. Kitley wasn't here to make the Pilgrim and Indian hats this year, Hna. Majano made some as a fun surprise.
Walt did get a photo of me when I got to sit down for a minute.
Walt does a great job roasting the turkey each Thanksgiving.
Then in the late afternoon when 5 of the men from the Service Center who helped take our couches, other furniture and the exercise bike out of the living room to the patio terrace to make room for the extra tables (brought in from the temple missionaries' apartments) came back to bring it all back in, we had a "second Thankskgiving for them. They thought it was great!
Clockwise from left front: Romel Castro, Russel, Alex, Ricky Bonilla, and Erwin.
Tuesday we had a day with no shift so we catch up on things at our apartment. Wednesday we opened the temple at 5:15 a.m. and our shift ended at 2:00. Thursday, Nov. 28, the actual "Thanksgiving Day," we had an afternoon shift in the temple from 12:30 noon to 9:30 p.m. However, I did make Walt his favorite breakfast: Biscuits and Sausage gravy. (They don't sell sausage in the grocery stores, so we buy plain cooked sausage patties at McDonalds and I break them up into the gravy. Whatever works, right?!)
We had a fun serendipity when we finished our shift that night. Hna. Haroldsen had made turkey soup out of the turkey carcas we gave her. She invited the temple missionaries to stop by for a touch of "turkey" late on Thanksgiving evening. We didn't get there until 9:40 p.m.
Some were too tired to eat that late and just took their bowl of soup to their apartments. Here are the ones who lasted.
Elder y Hna. Clark, Sister Haroldsen, Elder Haroldsen; Bro. Steve and Sis. Cristine Beaton, from Canada are part-time temple workers.
Friday, even though we had no shift, we went to the temple for my bi-monthly meeting with my Assistants. Walt also comes to this meeting to help translate between Hna. Majano. Hna. Alas and me.
Before we went over to the temple, I saw some Sister missionaries taking photos by the temple, so I ran downstairs and had them come up to get some photos from our terrace patio. Hna. Groneman is the daughter of Jon and Bonnie Groneman who we were on the 10-day Mediterranean Cruise with "In the Footsteps of Paul the Apostle" in May and June 2010. She and her companion are on the right. It was cloudy and cool for here--66º.
Later we saw some of the Elders from the Santa Ana/Belice Mission who had also come to do the 10:00 session in the temple.
We also invited them to come and take photos from our apartment patio terrace.
Friday, Nov. 29 we couldn't believe they had "Black Friday" signs throughout the city....in English. So this infamous day has spread beyond the U.S.A. Sergio Oliva drove us Friday evening to the Miravalle Ward where we had been invited to speak about how the temple sealing helps marriages be happier.
He told us that he thought the "Black Friday" name came from the Friday when the stock market crashed back in Oct 1929. Does anyone know for sure?
Here we are after speaking to the High Priests and their wives.
We didn't realize this was Hna. Celina Alberto's ward. She is our coordinator for the Wednesday morning temple shift. She and her husband had to leave for a funeral that evening. (The funeral and burials often take place the same day someone passes away here because for the majority there is no embalming done.)
Here we are with Sergio y Penelope Oliva, and the Bonillas.
They served tamales, beans and rice combined, and Chinese chicken. (Pupusas are wrapped in the paper.) Their hot chocolate is made with water, but it was very delicious. It had dropped below 70º and everyone was freezing--winter hats and jackets.
Here are some more of our friends from this ward.
And the final table of the Miravalle High Priests' group and their wives. Hno. Bonilla told us the cold weather and the funeral had kept some away. However, it was a very friendly and cozy group and we loved being with them.
November 30th, we had the early morning shift, so opened the temple at 4:00 a.m. Saturday is always our busiest day, and we love to see the temple filled to overflowing. We had several first-time endowments and one family had six children sealed to them.
Our shift ended at 11:30 a.m., but a young couple had requested that President Petersen seal them, so we went back in mid-afternoon. Then later when we were out and about, they were still taking photos, so we got a photo with them.
They are from San Vicente, which is a District, so President and Sister Glazier were at the sealing. He is the Mission President who is over this District and its Branches.
Saturday afternoon we also went to see how Hna. Kari Kerr was doing after the surgery on her broken arm. She tripped on a big bolt in the sidewalk on Wednesday, and had surgery on it Thursday morning. Walt had kept in contact during her 1/2 day in the hospital and after she and John got back to their apartment that day and on Friday.
We are relieved that she is not having a lot of pain and is recovering well. Brother and Sister Kerr have come here for six months from Provo, Utah, and have been called as full-time temple workers from the Los Heroes Stake.
And that brings us up to today with the photo that we started with right after Church. We had a quiet day together.
Tomorrow, Monday, December 2, we are having a "Christmas Dinner" for our temple missionaries and the full-time temple workers--so there will be 12 of us.