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

Sunday, August 17, 2014

This week in El Salvador...

Monday, August 11 to Sunday, August 17, 2014
August 11 - Monday
I forgot I had posted about last week up to arriving at the Salt Lake Airport Monday morning.  We took off a little late and landed in Houston just in time to get to our gate as our plane was boarding for San Salvador. After our 3-hour first leg, and 3-hour second leg, we landed at 7:45 and took about an hour to get through immigration and customs.  We got to our apartment about 9:45 that night.
Walt uses wheelchairs at the airport now, and I use my walker.  We cannot stand in those 45-minute lines to check in, nor the long lines going through immigration and customs. They whisk us right through those places and board us first...even before First Class.
President Rafael and Hna. Aida Majano picked us up.  He is a great first counselor, and she is a great assistant for me.  I didn't get a photo of her this time.
And as we walked in, Elder DeVar and Hna. Sharon Haroldsen brought us homemade hamburger soup and hot rolls. We hadn't had a meal all day and this just hit the spot.  
The Haroldsen's just extended their mission from 18 months to 21 months. So instead of going home the middle of December, they are here until March 17, 2015.
Daniel and Kelly came over to see us while we were unpacking. They were hungry and enjoyed the hot soup and rolls, as well.
August 12 - Tuesday
Our two counselors and their wives insisted that we keep Tuesday as a day with no shift, even though we wanted to make up some of the shifts they covered for us while we were gone.
    Instead of having breakfast with Daniel and Kelly, the four of us decided to go to an early lunch at "Rusticos," which is rated as the best hamburger place in El Salvador.
We told them the hamburgers were big, but they were extra hungry so each ordered one.
Daniel was able to eat all of his, but Kelly took half of hers home.
Walt and I always split one.
These hamburgers remind us of the great ones from the 1950's, except these are twice as big. (Remember when a hamburger with fries was 25 cents, and a milkshake was 25 cents?  We call those the good ol' days. But to know if that was really a bargain we would need to figure out what percentage that was of the average daily wage then, vs what the percentage would be now for these $9.50 hamburgers with fries.)
Daniel pointed out to us that they have a Star from the Michelin Star restaurant rating.  We'd just heard about this rating when we saw the movie 
 the previous Saturday with the Fishers in Rexburg. (Rated PG.  No "R" rated movies are played in any of the Rexburg theaters.  How great would that be if all movie theaters followed that rule.)
    The certificate with the * is to the right above Kelly's head.
Maybe it's not a Michelin Star, but a star. (Daniel did I get that right?)
 Daniel and Kelly have been seen dancing their way through El Salvador these past 3 months. When we went in to scope out the bakery, music was playing.....and yes, they danced.
Then I had them sit at this table by the mural on the inside wall.
We only had two more full days with them, so we got lots of photos.
(Taking a break at 8:42 p.m. to watch a section of our "Bible" video that we've watched on Sundays since receiving it from the Fishers last Christmas.)
   Adding a little more before calling it a night.
Tuesday when we were about to pull into our parking spot, Walt had me get out and take a photo. 
Last Friday when we were in Wendell, Idaho, for the funeral of Walt's sister, Phyllis, lightning struck the temple and our stake center beside the temple.  It zapped the two projectors and the entire computer system in the temple, plus the phones and Internet in our temple apartments.
     The experts came over Tuesday and Wednesday and finally got everything back to normal.
   Everyone who comes to repair something in our apartment gets a choice of chocolate: M&Ms or a Snickers candy bar.  All four of these men chose the M&Ms.
August 13 - Wednesday 
We had the morning shift, so opened the temple at 5:25 a.m.
Daniel and Kelly had their last day of volunteering at the San Rafael Hospital and received a nice plaque for the 72 hours donated.  This will go on his application for medical school.  (Actually on their first several days there they didn't understand how to clock in properly so they didn't get credit for the total time. They figured they had a touch over 100 hours.  )
They had asked if they could go eat at The Royal, our favorite Chinese restaurante here in the city.
We told them the servings were really huge.  Sure enough, we took about half of it home.
It was dark when we got back. 
We had a scary experience with a lot of runners in the road. We hardly ever drive after dark.
August 14 - Thursday
This was our shift for afternoon/evening 12:30 noon to 9:30 p.m.
Daniel and Kelly wanted to go have pupusas at Lili's for breakfast but Walt wasn't up to driving.  So the next best choice ws to have breakfast down in the comodore (the cafeteria on the main floor of the temple auxiliary building--below our apartment.)
It was a tipica breakfast with beans/rice combined, chorizos, fried bananas, and their hot chocolate drink made with water instead of milk.
Two or three zones of missionaries from the El Salvador San Salvador West/Belize Mission have been coming to the temple this week.  Here is part of one of the zones that came on Wednesday.
Then we chatted for a while before we went over for our temple shift.
August 15 - Friday
Our last breakfast together--they chose French toast and fried spuds.
We're going to miss their faces across the table from us, and their always jumping up to clear the dishes and load them in the dishwasher.  We've had a "magic" kitchen for these three months.
 They wrote us a very sweet farewell and thank-you note on a darling card made by some of the children at the hospital. 
One last photo in front of the temple before we headed to the airport.
President López drove us all to the airport.
Our last photo together in El Salvador.
Then it was time for  Daniel and Kelly to fly away in the friendly skys of Delta.  It's been such a choice experience having them here. They are a perfect match!  We love them to the moon and back, and beyond.  
August 16 - Saturday
Saturday the Majanos had asked us to trade our morning shift with them for the afternoon shift.  What's not to like about that?  We didn't have to get up at 3:00 a.m. because our shift began at 10:15 a.m. and we were finished at 6:45 that evening.  I didn't take any photos on Saturday.
August 17 - Sunday 
We didn't visit a different ward because we had training this afternoon with temple workers in the temple from 3:00-5:00.
I got many photos of them as they came out the front door of the temple.
The temple could not function without all our dedicated and faithful temple workers. We are grateful for each one!  We love them with all our hearts.
Many husbands and wives work in the temple.  Here are Hno. y Hna. Recinos.
Then we got a photo of the temple presidency together.  
Presidente Rafael y Hna. Aida Majano, us, and Presidente Eduardo y Hna. Consuelo Alas.  Walt had great inspiration when he chose them.  They have been wonderful in all ways!
We're going on a P-day outing with 14 others in the morning.
Watch for it in our next week's post.

We pray you have had a peaceful and restful Sabbath Day.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true.
Heavenly Father loves each one of us.
Jesus Christ is His Son, the Redeemer and Savior of all.
The Bible is the Word of God as far as it is translated correctly.
The Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
Joseph Smith is the Prophet of the Restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
President Thomas S. Monson is the Living Prophet of God today for the entire world.
The Temple Priesthood Ordinances prepare us to live with Heavenly Father.
The Sealing Power makes it possible for families to be together forever.  This Sealing Power is the greatest power in the Universe.
Of all this we testify in the name of Jesus Christ.
Walter R. Petersen, President of the San Salvador El Salvador Temple and Eileen A. Petersen, Directora of the Obreras of the San Salvador El Salvador Temple.