Traffic jam, alley, and tire shop...
Were we ever blessed to have a tire shop be right where we had a flat tire when we were in a traffic jam yesterday.
...well let's back up a little earlier on Saturday morning, January 25.
It was our day with no shift and we were tired from having put in extra hours getting ready to have an Apostle in our home (more about that in this post, too). So we slept in.
Our plan was to be up and ready to leave at 8:40 for Walt's physical therapy appointment, allowing 20 minutes for the 10-minute drive in normal traffic.
(More later....gotta get ready for Church now and then we have a 2-hour training meeting for the temple workers from the west right after dinner today.)
Just as Walt was dressed and I was about ready, Hna. Caballero came and reminded us there was a breakfast going on out on the patio on the first floor given by the Saturday afternoon shift as a farewell for Elder y Hna. Clark.
Walt hurried down, and I followed a few minutes later.
So we are on our way at 8:50, knowing we need good luck to get to the appointment in ten minutes. On the first street by the temple--Espino--the traffic is backed up, stop and go....but by 3 minutes to 9:00, we figure we're within 5 minutes of Dr. Olivares office.
Then.......the street by Kreef's is closed off. We turn left...but after a couple of blocks could tell that wasn't working. We turn back and ask them at the closed road where we should go. As we turn to get back into the lane, someone points and says: "You have a flat tire."
Since it's in Spanish, I didn't understand, and I heard Walt say something about a flat tire, so I'm looking around to see which car by us has the flat tire.
But we're already back in the traffic jam, so as we go a couple of blocks, turn and are a little ways when Walt repeats that "We have the flat tire."
"We just drove by a tire shop," I tell him. (Their sign was in English because I would not have known that "LLANTA" is the word for "tire" in Spanish.
"Where?" he asks.
"Right over there," I say pointing a little behind us and to our right.
Just then a space opens up in our opposite lane, and there's an alley (I never see alleys here either), so Walt pulls out of our lane's traffic jam and turns up into the alley and back onto the street going the opposite way.
A kind driver stops where it's bumper to bumper and lets us through to turn into the Cooper Tire Shop.
In the craziness of leaving our apartment in such a rush, Walt had forgotten to grab his cell phone.
The tire shop people let him call Pte. López to have him call the doctor's office to explain our situation and that we aren't going to make it. Walt also explains about the tire and that they don't have any tires of the same brand.
Pte. López says to just have them put on the spare and he'll find a shop later that has the right brand.
Pte. López calls back to the shop and tells Walt that the Physical Therapy people can still take him if he can get there by 10:00.
Two of the shop workers are looking for the spare--it's not in the back of the van, not between the front and back seats...then they find it under the passenger seat of the middle row.
The culprit that caused the flat....a bolt. The nice tire shop people did not charge anything for their services.
Another tender mercy is that this didn't happen Wednesday night, all day Thursday, or Friday when they used this same temple van to pick up Elder and Sister Cook at the airport, drive them in it all day Thursday to and from the Stake Center, then the next morning drive them back to the airport (an hour drive) where they flew on to Costa Rica.
We made it to the doctor's office at 10:03, and Walt was able to get his #6 and final hour of physical therapy on his shoulder.
Now, back to Thursday, January 23 when we cooked dinner for an Apostle. Now that the stress of it is over, it was a tender mercy to have an Apostle and his wife in our home.
We were told they would come at 5:30....so we were just ready to cook the rice so it would be hot. They came right then--at 4:55. Panic!
But we did have the dinner ready exactly at 5:30 as we were told to for Elder Quentin L. Cook and his wife, Mary, and Elder Carlos H. Amado, and his wife, Mayavel.
We served Hawaiian Haystacks, fresh fruit, rolls, and a Peppermint Refrigerator dessert to the Apostle, our Area President, their wives, and our temple presidency.
We got this photo after dinner, just at twilight. Then the group asked if they could do a walk through the temple before the 7:00 meeting.
(More later....Walt's just home from the satellite broadcast from our Area Presidency and we're invited over to the Clarks.)
During the walk through the temple, Elder Amado tells Walt that we are invited to the 7:00 meeting. We had not been told this before.
So we had another tender mercy of being able to hear Elder Cook speak to an overflow congregation of all the ward councils from throughout the 18 stakes in El Salvador.
He spoke about prophetic priorities and hastening the work of salvation.
He said that three years ago there were 56,000 full-time missionaries, and now there are close to 86,000. In the past three years in Central America there are 3 more missions and 3 more temples.
"You are a great people. You can receive inspiration from Heavenly Father to bless your families," Elder Cook taught.
Elder Amado spoke in Spanish, so I wasn't able to take any notes.
Hermana Cook, with Shaulee Curtis translating her message, said that we are all engaged in the same work--bringing up our children in light and truth. We can't do everything but we can do something--we can make a difference. We are all engaged in the work of salvation.
She quoted Boyd K. Packer saying that the ultimate purpose of all we teach is to unite parents and children to be sealed in eternal marriage and linked to generations.
She shared the story about the boy throwing the star fish back into the ocean. When he was chided that he could never make a difference with all the many star fish who had been washed up on the shore, he picked another star fish up, threw it back into the ocean and exclaimed: "It made a difference to that one!"
We make a difference with every youth who goes on a mission, with every couple that is sealed in the temple.
In closing Elder Cook invoked an Apostolic Blessing on the country, on the people, on the families, for those who have challenges. As a special witness he shared his testimony of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
How blessed everyone felt to have an Apostle in our midst for one full day.
We pray you have had a restful and peaceful Sabbath Day today and we share our testimony that through the Prophet Joseph Smith, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ restored the true Gospel back to the earth.
We have had 16 Prophets during this Last Dispensation.
We have a living Prophet today, Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The First Presidency currently serving are President Thomas S. Monson, President Henry B. Eyring, and Dieter F. Uchtdorf.
And the Quorum of Twelve Apostles are:
Boyd K. Packer, L. Tom Perry, Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks, M Russell Ballard, Richard G. Scott, Robert D. Hales, Jeffrey R. Holland, David A. Bednar, Quentin L. Cook, D. Todd Christofferson, Neil L. Andersen.
Of these truths we testify, and pray the work of salvation will be hastened for all.
Con amor, Walt and Eileen Petersen - El Salvador