Monday, October 22, 2012

A Belated Happy Mother's Day!!!

Sunday was Mother's Day in Argentina.  I think it's the only country that celebrates in October and we enjoyed the day.  The ward Relief Society, the women's organization in the church, made aprons or little boxes for all the mothers in the ward.

Here we are with our wonderful Mother's Day gifts:  Elvita Alduncin and her twin sister who's visiting from La Plata, Argentina, Susana Diaz, and Gladys Brandan. 

                                                 Susana Diaz with her son Santiago. 

Gladys with her daughter Daniela.  Daniela is in her final year of medical school.  It's a 6 year program and no bachelors degree is required before being accepted into medical school.  She came up from La Rioja, where she's in school, to be with her mother for the weekend.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Alejandro Castro's Baptism

Yesterday evening was Alejandro's baptism, something he has looked forward to for months.  It was a very emotional time for him.

Mirta and Ricardo Valente, Andres, Yolanda, Alejandro, and Jonathan Castro.  Ricardo and Alejandro first became friends about 30 years ago in Córdoba and he came to Catamarca from Córdoba to perform the baptism.

The elders from Ambato Ward all came to support him.  From left:  Elders Puma/Peru, Espinola/Argentina, Larson/AZ, Thorup/UT along with Alejandro and Ricardo.

Ricardo and Alejandro, Mario Bazan with Elder Chavarry/Peru.  Second row: Nildo Ledesma, Elder Draut/VA, Elder Skinner/UT, Marcela Luis - who introduced her friend Mario to the gospel.
Third row:  Sisters Castro/Uruguay (and not related to Alejandro) and Saez/Chile, Elder Thorup/UT. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Castro Wedding Fiesta

We began the evening with Alejandro surprising Yolanda with a little ring ceremony in the chapel.  Then as they walked into the cultural hall "Here Comes the Bride" music started playing. 

                                                         Showing off their new rings.

Hermana/Sister  Ramonita Rojas made these cakes and they were absolutely gorgeous.  Here she is doing the finishing details on them.

Aren't they gorgeous, beautiful, elegant, and just wonderful to behold?

Above:  The first pix is Andres and Jonathan with their parents.  The next one is Andres, Yolanda's mother, Hortencia, and another son, Mauro with his darling daughter.  As you can tell, Andres is an extremely serious young man.
Below:  These men with Yolanda and Alejandro are whom Alejandro works with.  The man in the blue shirt, next to Alejandro is his boss, the man who hired him on the spot when he saw Alejandro helping to unload a delivery truck. 

Pictures show many of the friends and family who came to celebrate with them.  We learned that the newlyweds are quite the dancers!  It was a great evening and we're happy we were able to share it with them.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Castros are Married!!!!!

Alejandro and Yolanda Castro are now married!  They've been together for about 30 years and couldn't get married because Alejandro's first wife was kidnapped and missing back in the 1970s.  That was the time when the military was in charge of the government.  As her body was never found, he couldn't prove she was dead.  About 10 years ago her body was found in a mass grave with 9 other people.  Today they made it official!

Here they are waiting for their appointed time.  In Argentina everyone must be married in a civil ceremony before anything else.  They told us they were nervous and anxious for their turn.

Here are Alejandro and Yolanda with their 2 youngest sons, Andres on the left and Jonathan.  They have 5 sons.  Jonathan is ready to start his paperwork for serving a mission.  We're hoping Andres will be able to serve a mission in a year (he just joined the church). 

Hortencia is Yolanda's mother.  She dearly loves Alejandro and they have fun teasing each other.  She was baptized earlier this year. 

Alejandro had to provide a thumbprint before we started.  Doug and I were the witnesses. 

The two people presiding took turns performing the civil ceremony.  They were advised on the importance of the family, what the husband's and wife's roles are, and how to care for one another.
They stood for the formal ceremony part.
They hugged...and we hope live happily ever after.
From left:  Mario Gomez, Hortencia, Andres, Yolanda and Alejandro, Jonathan
                                 Alejandro and Yolanda with their marriage certificate.

From left:  Jonathan, Mercedes, Ada holding Tamara, Daiana, Alejandro and Yolanda, her sister, and her mother Hortencia.  It was a happy group, special day, and very special moment to be able to be part of.  Alejandro couldn't get the day off work as he recently started a new job.  He didn't want to walk back down alone to where his moto was parked so we drove him there before taking Yolanda, Hortencia, and Andres back to their home.  Yolanda said she planned on making empanadas during the siesta for the little fiesta being held at the church tonight before heading out the door to her afternoon job.  Life definitely goes on, even though it's their very special wedding day.  We wish them all the best and look forward to hearing about their temple sealing in a year.

Missionary Choir

Our stake hosted a program with several choirs and a few soloists.  Our little choir consisted of mostly missionaries, with a few youth and other members joining us.  As it was for the community and the missionaries would be singing, we chose a medley of Families Can Be Together Forever, I Am a Child of God, and As I Have Loved You and it was well received.

                            It was a great experience for both the missionaries and members. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Another birthday in Argentina

Last Wednesday, October 3rd was my birthday - the 2nd celebrated in Argentina.  I had a wonderful day as the pictures show:

We started the morning with district meeting.  From left to right:  Elders Thorup/UT, Chavarry/Peru, Hernandez/Chile, Bridge/MT.  Our district was a zion district for both sets of missionaries baptizing last month.  We don't teach investigators so never baptize. 
Then Doug surprised me with this beautiful - and delicious - cake, which we shared with all the missionaries. 
Following the fun birthday surprise with the zone, we crossed the street to have lunch - the main meal of the day - with Pablo and Edith Quiroga and their children along with a few others.
Fabiana B., Edith Quiroga, Ramonita Rojas, me, Pochi, Ruth Rojas.  Fabiana and Ruth are Ramonita's daughters and Pochi and Ramonita are cousins.
Matias Quiroga came out with these funny glasses on and Malena decided she, too, needed a turn wearing them.
Back row: Matias and Edith Quiroga, Lawsons, Pablo Quiroga, Julio Barrionuevo
Front row: Malena Quiroga, Ruth Rojas, Fabiana Barrionuevo
Pablo Quiroga, Lawsons, Mario Gomez, Ramonita Rojas, Pochi (nickname) Nievas
                                            The beautiful cake Ramonita made - YUM!!

                        Happy Birthday to you...  Quite the candles,wouldn't you say?!!

Ramonita made every flower and leaf - and as she put it...with love.  The top layer filling is chocolate and the bottom layer is Dulce de Leche with almonds.  More yum!!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Gold and Green Ball

The youth in Ambato and Catamarca Wards had a Gold and Green Ball a couple weeks ago.  Doug and I stopped by on our way home from working in La Rioja and loved seeing the youth all dressed up and having a wonderful time. 

Many of the young women came dressed in bright green and many of the young men came dressed in suits.  They ranged in ages between 12 and 19.

For many it was their first dance and they all had smiles to go along with the music.

                             The leaders had a great time chaperoning and being with the youth.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Zone Conference

We haven't had Internet access for awhile so I'm getting caught up on meetings and activities we've been able to be part of. 

We had zone conference on Sept 21st.  This picture is of the La Rioja Zone.  We're now working with these elders as we travel down to La Rioja several times each week.  They're a great group of missionaries!  There are 7 missionaries who have served in Catamarca at some time before serving in La Rioja so it's fun to see them again from time to time while we're down there. 

Here's the Catamarca Zone.  Front row:  Elders Puma/Peru, Larson/AZ, Sisters Saez/Chile, Castro/Uruguay, President and Sister Salas, Lawsons
Middle row:  Elders Lindsay/UT, Thorup/UT, Auma/Peru, Gilman/ID, Hernandez/Chile, Skinner/UT, Draut/VA, Bridge/MT, King/AZ, and Short/CA
Back row:  Elders Chavarry/Peru and Melendez/CA
Another great group to work with!
Elders Hunt and Bridge/MT first met in the Provo MTC.  They found they had talents to share with Elder Hunt's harmonica and Elder Bridge's sound effects.  Enjoy!