Saturday, December 29, 2012

La Noche Buena/Christmas Eve

 We were invited to our bishop's home for La Noche Buena/Christmas Eve.  As I mentioned previously, it was a VERY hot day and evening and night - well over 100^.  We ate outside by their front door and at midnight, when the fireworks started shooting off, we raised our glasses to toast the new Christmas  Day.  I realized at the end of Christmas Day that we never took pictures of all the missionaries at our home.  We had a great group and enjoyed our time with them and they were happy to be fed and to use our phones and computer to talk to their families.
From left:  Gladys Brandan, Gabriel Rasgido, Bishop Brandan (standing), Ruben Ceballos, Ana Maria Lemos, and Daniela Brandan.  Gabriel and Ruben are cousins and Ana Maria and Gladys are sisters.  Gabriel's parents went to Uruguay to be with his sisters who are living in that country.  Ruben is basically alone so the Bishop and Gladys invited them to join their family for the night.  Both young men are working on their papers for serving a mission. 

The only difference in the picture below is Doug has joined the group and the Bishop is the one taking the picture.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Zone Conference

First of all...MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!  We're waiting for the clock to tick by for our 10:30 p.m. dinner invitation at our bishop's home.  I'm currently watering the backyard as it's summertime down here and it's plenty hot.  Today was only 108^ and we were told it felt like 111^.  I had to agree 100%.  In fact, it's 105^ outside right now and it says it feels like 109^ so we're cooling off.  I must admit, it feels like anything BUT Christmas with this kind of heat but the calendar tells us it's December 24th so it must be Christmas Eve.  A week ago we went to Cordoba for a combined zone conference with 3 other zones and it was wonderful seeing so many missionaries and even other senior missionaries.

For lunch we were served pork and beef sandwiches.  That's a big pork leg and the bowls have various kinds of mayonnaise sauces to add to the rolls.  There were tossed salads on the tables for everyone.

Elder Green/CO is on the left with Elder Ramos/Brazil on the right.  I don't know the names of the 2 elders in the middle but some certainly look very interested in that pork leg, wouldn't you say? 

One satisfied group of missionaries!

And another...

                                                                                                        And another...

And one more!  Missionaries are always happy when food is being served to them!

Here we are with Elder and Sister Mahr who are from Buenos Aires.  They're currently serving in Dean Funes, which has an independent branch (doesn't belong to a stake nor district), where Elder Mahr served as the branch president for a year.  Now a local man has been called to be the branch president and he's training him until the end of their mission, which is in March.  They told us they were married and living in the Buenos Aires 5th ward when Doug and I were both serving in the mission office and in that ward 40+ years ago!  Small world!  We don't remember each other but they were able to update us on the status of many members in that ward.  They still are from the same area. 

Our final goodbyes to Elders Puma/Peru and Gallacci/WA as they left last week for home.  Elder Puma served in Catamarca from the end of January until the middle of December, serving in 3 different areas.  Elder Gallacci served with us for 6 months.  They're both outstanding elders and served the Lord well as missionaries. 


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Feeding the Elders, a Christmas pagent, and the Cordoba temple

Last Wednesday, December 12th, we took lunch down to the elders in La Rioja.  On the way down we passed this rather large dust devil and had to snap a picture of it.  There were several cars along the side of the road taking pictures of it with us.  While crossing the road it fell apart so this was the last of it right here!
We made pulled pork sandwiches and they were very happy with it.  In front and to the left are:  Elders Peyton/UT, Shumway/UT, Shumway/UT, Kohler/UT, Wood/UT, Chiroque/Peru, Hunt/UT, and Ojeda/Argentina.  Yes, there are 2 Elder Shumways in La Rioja. 
This group I'm not sure of all the names but I'll try.  From the left:  Elders ?, Lindsey/UT, Harper/NV, Diamond/UT, Zanartu/Peru, ?, Canales/Chile, Cabrera/Argentina, ?  Several of these elders serve outside the city of La Rioja so we don't work with them one on one. 

We had a small program where we sang a couple Christmas songs then a community choir of retired people sang several Argentine, folkloric Christmas songs.  Following the music we went outside and had a Christmas pageant with the traditional story from Luke 2 as well as prophecies from the Book of Mormon.  All the youth in Catamarca were able to participate.  It was wonderful!


The Cordoba temple is moving along with its construction.  It was fabulous seeing all the progress they've made since we were there about 7 months ago.

It's now easily visible from above the mission home fence.  It was also a gloriously cool day, only in the low 80's, which was such a relief from the 107^ temperature we were "enjoying" the day before in Catamarca. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our Thanksgiving Feast and a Fun Car

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year.  I made all the fixings for the missionaries again this year:  turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, tossed salad, rolls with copycat Texas Roadhouse butter, and apple crisp with vanilla ice cream along with Lawsonelli's - our version Martinelli's.  The missionaries all seemed to enjoy their meal again this year.
Sisters were the first in line.  Sisters Gugliottella/Argentina and Saez/Chile were very curious about their first Thanksgiving feast.  Unfortunately, we just don't have enough nice serving dishes nor tablecloths but it seemed to work for everyone. 

From the left:  Elders Silva/Brazil, Thompson/UT, Ramos/Brazil, Puma/Peru, and Sisters Saez/Chile and Gugliottella/Argentina. 
 From the left side of the table at the bottom:  Elders Thorup/UT, Sanchez/Argentina, King/AZ, Argyle/UT, Harper/ID, Chavarry/Peru, and Espinola/Argentina          From the right side of the table at the top:  Elders Lopez/Mexico, Gonzalez/Argentina, Gilman/ID, Silva/Brazil, Thompson/UT, Ramos/Brazil, and Puma/Peru.   
Doug always enjoys taking pictures of interesting cars and this one is no exception.
 Notice the extra 3 headlights?
                                         And extra tail lights?  Unique, wouldn't you say?!!!