Sunday, October 26, 2014

Our next-to-last-week in El Salvador

Time always goes by...
     Our time here is going by faster and faster.
     This week ends the last full week we have here.

October 24 - Friday
Here we are Friday night after the Despedida with the Area 70, Stake Presidents (who live close) and two of the three mission presidents...
A few had left before we took this group photo...
Trying to see everyone better...

Here we are this morning with Hna. Ana Díaz after our Los Heroes Stake Conference...
Our stake president, Jaime López and his counselors were released after 10 1/2 years.  We are grateful for their service.
With every calling there also comes a release.  Here is the released stake presidency with their wives.
The new stake presidency.
Our new stake president is someone from our Campestre Barrio--
Benjamin Joseph Markland.  He will be great and has chosen two excellent counselors.
    After being set apart, the new stake presidency was having their first meeting.
    I talked with Delena Markland as she was ready to drive home.  She said they are somewhat in shock.
They are a wonderful family who came to El Salvador in Oct 2011 for one year, and the business he came to get off the ground is doing so well they are planning to be here for a long time.
Their twins have grown so much since June 8, 2013...and their blessing day of July 7, 2013.  Delena with Mateo, Dallin, Joseph, Ben with Dixie.
Delena asked me for some counsel, since I was alone a lot when my husband was a stake president.  I passed on something I'd been taught by Elaine Cannon in an Education Week class: "When he's late for dinner, or misses dinner with you and your family, just know that he would rather be with his wife and family, but his stake president duties sometimes keep him gone from home more often than he wants to be gone."  To which I say: "I felt blessed to have a husband who was worthy for each calling he has had, and I was willing to share him with those who needed his help."
Elder Kevin Duncan, our Area President, presided at the Stake Conference and Cesar Morales, Area 70, had accompanied him from Guatemala City.
Our stake choir, led by our Bishop, Eduardo Figueroa, and accompanied by René Hernández, sang two of our favorites: ♫♪ "O Divine Redeemer" and "El Cristo Es" ♫♪ (in English "This is the Christ").  During the "O Divine Redeemer" number my mind went back to when Hermana Nancy Thompson sang this touching song about the Savior at this very pulpit during her time here with our first group of temple missionaries.  
As a prelude before the conference started, the primary children came to the stand and sang ♫♪"I'm trying to be like Jesus♪♫."  We were sitting right behind them; so touching to hear their pure, sweet voices.
Here's another photo of the choir with René Hernández and Eduardo Figueroa sitting in front.
Here's Josue Peña taking the official photos.  He is an outstanding photographer, and is in our Campestre Barrio.
Herbert y Daniela Castillo have invited us to a farewell dinner of pupusas at his mother's home on Wednesday evening.  Daniela is expecting twin boys in February.  We have many special friends here that we will miss.  We're trying to remember:
"Don't cry when it's over.
Smile because it happened."
This is just one of the hundreds of things we will miss: Seeing this beautiful temple when we come out our chapel doors on Sundays.
We will miss the happy smiling faces...
We will miss faithful members of our Barrio Campestre.
(We will miss looking out our window and seeing the flag of El Salvador waving in the tropical breeze. You can see it behind Hna. Patty Herrera up by our temple apartment complex.)
We will miss the greetings from temple workers. This is Hna. Robertha Santos, our coordinator for the Thursday afternoon/evening shift.  She is also the sister of Hna. Aida Majano, one of the Assistants to the Temple Matron.
We will miss faithful temple workers like Berta Anaya, age 84, who hardly ever misses her several temple shifts during the week

We will miss seeing all the beautiful children here...
We will miss being in this beautiful temple many days during each week and greeting the faithful patrons.
Yes, we will miss many things here.  But we have missed our family, not only during the 3 years and 3 months of this calling, but also 6 1/2 additional years in three other missions.  Now it's time to go be with them.
This is our family on our 50th Wedding Anniversary - June 2011 - the month before we left for El Salvador.
Trying to get a larger view. (Can someone please tell me how to show the photo in x-large?)
On this Sunday evening we testify that because of the restored Priesthood sealing temple ordinance, families can be together for time and for all eternity.
We pray you have had a peaceful and restful Sabbath Day.
With love, Walt & Eileen Petersen

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