Look At Me – Look At Us

Look at me – Look at us.                            December 23, 2017

Some members of Carter’s family have what they call the “look at me” gene. It’s fun for me to watch the ones who have it have so much fun in the limelight. I don’t have that. Carter doesn’t either. But looking back, as I still do sometimes, I can see that we started to exhibit  a little of that family trait a few months after Ashton died, in a different kind of way, and it lasted for a few years.

I believe it was a plea in an unconscious way saying, “Look at me (Please notice that this is hard for me)…Please help me…..I need help from you…I can’t handle this alone.” We were unknowingly reaching out in a big way because it was just too hard to bear by ourselves. Knowing that others knew seemed to help us.

We are in Salt Lake City, Utah for Jacob’s wedding. Candace’s family arrives tonight and then everyone will be here, together again for a week. We’ve all been in our own isolated world connected by instant messaging. What a blessing for that. We are soaking in the grandchildren and just met our new little Ashton last night. He is 3 months old with big brown eyes…..sweet and pure from heaven.

Coming out of Costco today, I saw raspberries in someone’s cart. Ashton’s favorite. It reminded me that it’s not so important this year that we have Ashton’s favorite things. What is important is that we are together.

Many people we meet on our mission….missionaries young and old, members, mission presidents… have a heartache of some kind. It seems that our focus has changed now to “look at us”. Look at all of us. Look at how many people struggle. Let’s help each other through them.

Counting Ashton – The Census in Peru 

Counting Ashton – The Census in Peru             Sunday – October 22, 2017

Today was census day in Peru. Everyone is supposed to stay home from 8-5. No businesses are open. We got special permission along with the other leaders at the CCM to be here instead of our home.  The census workers came right when it was time for Sunday school, so we missed Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society meetings. They taught us how to fill out the census form and then we helped the missionaries fill theirs out.

One question on the form for women was, how many live births have you had? I wrote down 4. The next question was, how many are still living? I wasn’t expecting that.

One thing I have to say is that I always count Ashton. When I send an email to my children, I send it to him too, still. When I’m praying for my children, he gets prayed for too. When someone asks how many children I have, its always four. I always include him. I did have 4 live births. I do have 4 children. I always will.

Today I couldn’t count him. I had to write down the number 3 on that second question. It was hard. Harder than I thought it would be. The question was in Spanish and I had to ask Carter to be sure I read it right. We looked at each other, knowing what I needed to write. Carter didn’t know how hard that was for me then. I told him later. I pushed back the tears until we went back to the auditorium to help the missionaries fill out their forms. I rushed to the bathroom, thank goodness no one else was in there, because I needed to cry. I cried softly and prayed that I could have some help to feel peace again. I asked for Ashton to come help me. I don’t ask for him as much any more, but felt like I needed to. I had to be helping missionaries in a few minutes, a class to teach on Faith in Jesus Christ after lunch and I needed help. I blew my nose, wiped my eyes and went back in. It was good to feel peaceful again. I needed to cry. Glad I found a safe place to do it.

This is proof those sneaker waves still will come….even when writing that simple number 3.

Breathtakingly Perfect

Our daughter Candace has a hidden talent…. she discovered recently she is an artist! She took on a personal challenge to sketch her brother Ashton. She misses him. She says he came alive to her a little under her pencil as she sketched. The name of the picture is inspired by the talk “Like a Broken Vessel” by Jeffery R Holland in the October 2013 General Conference:

I bear witness of the day when loved ones whom we knew to have disabilities in mortality will stand before us glorified and grand, breathtakingly perfect in body and mind. What a thrilling moment that will be! I do not know whether we will be happier for ourselves that we have witnessed such a miracle or happier for them that they are fully perfect and finally “free at last”.

 

 

This picture gives me peace and calms my struggle.  Today is Ashton’s Angel Day……four years closer to seeing him again.

Thanks Candace. You are an artist and the name is perfect.

Christmas Comfort

This is a letter to my family from Sunday.
Dearest Family,
    I have been missing Ashton especially acutely this week. Part of it may be the holidays and thoughts of getting together with family for Jacob’s wedding…and Ashton not being physically with us. Another part of it, though, I think was to help me prepare for my talk on The Plan of Salvation in Sacrament Meeting in the MTC this morning. I felt like I needed to talk about the hope and comfort that comes from the Atonement of Jesus Christ during some of the most difficult days in my life. Some of these missionaries have faced or are currently facing difficult times as well (if they haven’t yet, they most certainly will). They will encounter others (investigators, members, other missionaries) who are also facing difficult times. Certainly, adversity is one of the very purposes for our coming to this earth, to “…prove [us] herewith, to see if [we] will do all things whatsoever the Lord [our] God shall command [us].” President Eyring taught, “When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half the time.” We really don’t know what burdens others are carrying, but approaching them with this attitude will help us know how to serve them and to learn from them.
    One of the other senior missionaries and I have gotten to be very good friends. These good friendships has been one of the un-anticipated blessings of serving a mission. He is the branch president of the English-speaking branch and I am one of his counselors. We have been going for a walk for about 5 minutes several times per day just so we are not sitting for prolonged periods. We have had some good chats during these walks. He has had some health concerns and I sometimes ask him how those are doing. Almost as an afterthought at the end of one of our walks, he asked me, “And how are YOU doing?” A little surprised, I said, “Well, funny you should ask. Physically, I’m doing well. However, emotionally, the last couple of days have been kind of rough as I have missed Ashton.” I think he was inspired to ask that question. We had a nice chat about that, also. He asked me something that has stuck with me: “How do you ‘plug into’ the Atonement of Jesus Christ during trials like this?” I hadn’t really thought of it in that light, but that is exactly what we have been trying to do as we have attended the temple, served in and out of the Church, prayed, read scriptures, fasted, partaken of the sacrament, etc., etc., etc. I am grateful for the power, peace and comfort that has come as I have done that. That comfort is very real.
    My patriarchal blessing states, “I bless you…that the Heavenly Father will take care of you if you will put your trust in Him even though reverses and obstacles and heartaches come to you you should learn to accept them in all humility and acknowledge that the hand of the Lord is in all things…put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ…I bless you with faith in the Lord to follow Him, and to believe in Him, and to trust Him in all things.” This is a blessing given to me when I was 17. I had absolutely no idea what reverses and obstacles and heartaches would come to me…but the Lord did. Can I tell you with perfect confidence that I know exactly what will happen to Ashton in the Final Judgment? No. But I trust God. He has a Perfect Plan. That Plan includes a Plan for Ashton. One of Ashton’s favorite scriptures was 1 Nephi 11:16-17, when Nephi is receiving a vision from an angel: “And he [the angel] said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God? And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children;  nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.” There are many, many unknowns in this life. But there is also one constant: God loves His children. I love knowing that.
    I have been reading the Isaiah chapters in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi, where Isaiah talks about barren lands being fruitful, etc.
  • 2 Nephi 8:3 “For the Lord shall comfort Zion, he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.” As parents, we all have hopes and dreams for our children and the posterity that will come through them. Right now, it looks like Ashton’s “branch” of our family tree is a “waste place,” a “wilderness” and a “desert.” I am grateful for the knowledge, peace and comfort that comes from knowing that “No blessing will be denied the faithful.” I look forward to how the Lord will fulfill His part of the promise to “comfort [our] waste places,” “make [our] wilderness like Eden,” and [our] desert like the garden of the Lord.”
  • 2 Nephi 8:22 “Thus saith thy Lord, the Lord and thy God pleadeth the cause of his people: behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, the dregs [the worst and lowest part part of something] of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again.” I love knowing that Christ knows how I feel. He has experienced personally the depths of my grief. I don’t know how others feel in their trials…but I know Someone who does know.
    I also love the imagery in 3 Nephi 10, where Christ speaks to those in Bountiful who were not destroyed when He was crucified. “…[How] oft HAVE I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings and have nourished you. And again,…how oft WOULD  I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,…how oft WILL I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart.” I have watched mother hens protect their chicks. Pity the person (or animal) that tries to bother one of her chicks! She becomes very aggressive! I love thinking of how God is anxious to protect, nourish and comfort me!
    I have heard it said that “God will not give us more than we can bear.” Well…yes, He does…all the time…if we try to bear it alone! He gives us (or allows us to have) trials that we cannot bear without the help of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted [my addition: “tried”] above that ye are able; but will with the temptation [my addition: “trial”] also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
    I witnessed a small miracle this week: a missionary was diagnosed with cancer and was not expected to survive. He was brought to Lima for treatment and responded very well to the treatment. His cancer is in remission! Faye and I attended “Romeo and Juliet” ballet Friday evening. During one of the intermissions, a member approached me and asked what my mission was. I told him I was a physician overseeing the health and safety of the missionaries. He was there with the parents of this missionary whose cancer is in remission! He introduced us. We chatted for awhile. I hope I said something helpful for them. I just don’t think it was a coincidence that I “ran into” them at a ballet in Lima!
    On Tuesday, there was a Christmas devotional at the MTC. Faye and I sang in a Senior Missionary Choir that sang “Silent Night” and “Still, Still, Still.” I thought we sounded good. Then Elder Godoy, the Area President, spoke to us. It was a nice evening.
    On Thursday, Faye and I traveled to a children’s hospital in downtown Lima. We were going to meet the parents of a 9-month-old girl with multiple birth defects. It turns out that she was released from the hospital that day, so we didn’t get to meet them. However, we met with an LDS neurosurgeon, who may need to operate on her in the future. He was very gracious. He seems very competent and compassionate. I feel comfortable with her care in his hands. I think the major purpose for our trip was to meet him (rather than the parents).
    Well, TTFN. I love you and am SO proud of you! Dad/Carter

Waiting & Baby Ashton

October 7, 2017

I really don’t have time to write. I don’t. It’s late. I should be in bed already. Our days  are long here. But I have had something on my mind. It won’t leave me. I haven’t felt this for some time. I know that when I feel like this… I need to write. It’s been awhile since I’ve written this way on the blog. I feel driven to get this down.

I watched Elder Hales’ funeral on Friday. Elder Russell M. Nelson quoted something by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I must have not not been paying attention because I only caught the last few words which were,”learn to labor and to wait.” The word “wait” caught my attention. I wanted to know  what else was connected to those words, so I looked it up online. It’s a poem entitled “A Psalm of Life.” Here are the last few lines:

Waiting…….it’s been on my mind lately.

I have this relationship with the veil that occupies my mind sometimes. Sometimes when I have a quiet minute. It happens at times as I’m laying down to go to sleep, when I’ve had a particularly close conversation with my Father in Heaven and I feel the veil a little thinner than usual. The waiting doesn’t seem so difficult when I have felt that closeness to my Heavenly Home….and have felt closer to that sacred barrier between Ashton and me.

In January of 2015, a friend sent me a song. It’s a Christmas choral arrangement, “We Wait.”, by Ruth Elaine Schram.   I couldn’t remember the name of it earlier today, so I emailed my friend asking about the song. Tonight, as it was time to get ready for bed, I felt like I hadn’t finished something. There was something more to do. I couldn’t figure out what it was. I checked my email and my friend had sent me the link to the sheet music. I read the words and then listened to the sample arrangement. (That thing I needed to do was write about my discovery.)

It came to me then, that what I’m really waiting for…. is Christ. I can’t see Ashton until Christ comes again. Jesus Christ has to come again first.

I’m waiting for Christ!

I’m waiting for “his promise of peace, his promise of love,” as it says in the song.

I have many friends now who have lost a child or a family member. We are all waiting until we can see these people we love again. I can testify that we will see them again. It will take some waiting. But there is much good we can be doing while we patiently wait and look forward to the coming of Christ. I also need to remember all that Christ is and offers… His peace, His love & His light… is available to me now. I don’t have to wait for that.

Maybe I’m really writing about patience.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf has said: “I have learned that patience is far more than simply waiting for something to happen—patience requires actively working toward worthwhile goals and not getting discouraged.”

 

Speaking of waiting….. the wait is over for us in one other really sweet aspect!!!!

Ashton Rey Mayberry was born to Jordan and Rubi Mayberry on September 20, 2017

He weighed 8 lbs, 12 oz. –  20 1/2 inches long

WE ARE IN LOVE WITH HIS NAME!!!

 

We got to be “in” the room with them and heard his first, soft little cries! Candace was a big help during the labor and their first week at home.

 

 

 

 

Big sister is in love!

Written by Faye

 

Random Thoughts & Pictures

I keep a little book with me to write on when I have a thought I want to remember. Here are some random thoughts from my book and some random pictures:

 

The next 3 pictures are from one of the many downtown destinations in Lima. This one had some beautiful architecture. It is called Plaza de Armas.

 

Peanut Butter costs $19 soles for a small 16 oz jar of Peter Pan creamy, which is about $6.33. Gotta have it for when Carter gets hangry!!

 

June 20 – Our taxi got a flat tire on the way home from a concert we attended. We paid the taxi driver anyway, felt bad for him,  and walked the rest of the way home, about 25 minutes. We could have just flagged down another taxi but decided to walk with the other couple we were with. It was a nice night, 11:00 pm,  and it was rally nice to experience La Molina with hardly any traffic, all the stores closed down and hardly anyone on the sidewalks. It was refreshing to walk with no traffic fumes.

 

 

June 28,  3:00 am – Woke up suddenly, felt the bed shake a bit and the building make some creaking noises. I thought to ask Carter about it in the morning and went right back to sleep. I forgot about it that morning. I was reminded when getting into work and someone asked if I felt the tremors last night. Then I remembered! She said there were 3 of them, the last one being the biggest. Maybe that’s the one I woke up for? Carter didn’t feel them and no one else in my office felt it. They all slept through it. I learned there was no damage anywhere.

June 30 – Took a taxi and went grocery shopping all by myself. First time! Liberating!! Carter is happy I can do that. He was very good and patient when we first got here. He is not a fan of any kind of shopping.

 

 

 

 

It is winter here. Temperatures range in the 60’s and low 70’s. All the locals bundle up with coats and scarves and we are loving the coolness.

Sunday, July 2nd, at the MTC, I wrote down some things the missionaries  said: “I’ve never been so happy to be so tired.” “It’s such a gift to work so hard.”  “I love this work, I can’t wait to keep going.” “This is a happy gospel.” After the meeting, I told Hermana Moore, wife of the MTC president, “What a blessing to be here with these new missionaries.” She said, “Wouldn’t their mothers love to be here.”

I love missionaries!

 

Carter brought one suit with him and realized he needed to wear suits more often than he thought. It is very inexpensive to get a suit made here. He and Ron Asay, the other Area Medical Advisor, both had a suit made out of the same brown fabric. Here they are modeling their new suits after meetings at the MTC.

 

July 3rd – We have a devotional every Monday morning at 8:0o at the area office before everyone starts work. We have a prayer, sing a hymn and someone gives a spiritual thought. The man giving the thought said, “It is a blessing and a privilege to work at the area office.” I agree. It is such a blessing.

The Peruvians can sing. Most sing on key when I listen at church. I don’t hear much harmonizing. Once when we were downtown, we heard some singing coming from a  beautiful old Catholic church. We walked over to listen and a saw young woman singing during the mass. She had a beautiful voice.

There are some tiny woman here. They are usually older ladies. They are adorable. I look straight down at them and they look straight up at me. I am only 5’6″.

 

Some sweet ladies peeling potatoes at a downtown kitchen that feeds an orphanage and seniors. Notice the cute one in the pink hat. I asked if I could take and picture and she started giggling.

 

When Carter was working at his medical office in Benson, he would go around the office and greet everyone personally when arriving in the morning. He has started doing that here. It’s fun for him and it’s fun for me to watch. I think others like it too. He can’t greet everyone because there are maybe 100 employees/missionaries there. He just greets the ones we walk by on the way to our office. Everyone can hear his, “Buenos Dias!” down the hallway. He sure is a kind person.

July 8th, 8:15 pm – Had another little tremor. I was packing up for Bolivia. My hand was on the kitchen table getting some books to pack and felt some motion. I thought… is that the dryer? The dryer wasn’t on. Then the building shook for about 3 long seconds. Carter was on the phone in the back room and came quickly up the hallway ready to go out the door. The shaking had made our doorbell ring. All was well after that. I learned that a few blocks down it lasted a little longer and everyone quickly came out to the street. No damage.

 

Sunday, July 9th – We had a little fuga, flood, in a spare bedroom one Sunday evening from the apartment upstairs. Carter was wringing out wet towels and said, “Take a picture.” It was just water, not sewage. Thank goodness! We never made it to the devotional at the MTC that evening but we got to know our neighbors better.

 

You can get a bucket of chicken at McDonalds here! Lima is all about chicken.

July 14th – I almost have the chorus memorized in Spanish to the hymn, “Called to Serve”. We sing it a lot at the MTC and at zone conferences. It is called, “Llamados A Servir” in Spanish and there are 4 verses instead of 2 like the English version. The missionaries love to sing it.

 

This is John & Susie Boswell. They just finished their 3 years in the Lima East mission a few weeks ago. They came over to give us some goodies from their pantry and chat for bit the last week they were here. Carter and John served in Venezuela together as missionaries. Good people!!

 

Sunday, July 16th – I love watching the President of the MTC watch his missionaries give their first talks in Spanish. He smiles from ear to ear and I can see his love for them.

More missionary quotes. I learn so much from them: “Today’s trial is tomorrows testimony.” “This is not our time, this is the Lord’s time.” One elder said in a prayer, “We pray that we can learn to love to obey.”

Did I say I love missionaries?

I would loooooove to find a hairdresser that speaks English!!!!!!

 

Written by Faye

 

Bolivia

Tuesday – July 11, 2017

We are in La Paz, Bolivia visiting Presidente and Hermana Ocampo who preside over the La Paz, El Alto mission. This is our second day in La Paz. We both have felt a little bit of the altitude with a small headache the first day but not as much as Colombia. No dizziness this time. We started taking some medicine before coming to prevent altitude sickness and we’re glad we did. La Paz is 11,000 feet. Our hotel is in La Paz.

This morning the Ocampo’s picked us up at about 9:00 for a multi zone conference in El Alto, consisting of 4 zones. It should have been a half hour drive but the road was blocked when we got about halfway there and we had to turn around and take the teleferico which is an arial tram across the city. Each car holds 10 people at the most. Presidente said he never knows why the roads are blocked sometimes. Riding on the teleferico was really awesome. We got to see the whole city from above.

Hermana Ocampo took a picture of us riding in the teleferico

 

It did make us about an hour late for the conference though but we got there. Elder/Doctor Mayberry was the only speaker. He did a great job. He talked for about an hour and half to the missionaries about some of the health concerns of the mission. The 3 main ones were, stomach issues, back issues, and knee problems. Much of the mission has knee problems because of the steep inclines they walk up and down and the back issues are related to the knee issues. The missionaries had lots of questions.

They had  lunch for us at the church and Carter then saw 13 missionaries individually for about 3 hours. And me? I had a great time while waiting talking with the assistants and other elders who wanted to speak English. The 3 hours flew by! Two of the elders spoke really good English. They asked lots of questions. We talked about our families, our missions and about how important it is to know English. Other elders wanted to talk too, so I used the Spanish I knew and they used the English they knew and we had some great conversations. I love missionaries!

At about 5:00 we toured a clinic that the church uses for the missionaries here. In South America, a clinic is a privately owned hospital with better care and usually more expensive.  A hospital is owned by the government for the general public and is usually cheaper. This clinic was like a small hospital. They seemed to have good doctors and good care.

 

At Clinica del Sur with Dr. Garcia, the Ocampos, us, and Maria Luisa Land, the administrator

 

It is cold here. It was cold in the chapel and cold in the clinic, so when we got back to our hotel we ate some warm soup and hot chocolate and got to bed earlier than usual. The hotel is nice and warm.

Wednesday – July 12, 2017

The Ocompo’s picked us up at 6:00 am to drive to another zone conference in Oruro which took us about 3 1/2 hours. Mucho frio!!! We passed many little towns and country sides where they grow quinoa, potatoes and ava, which is a large bean. It is winter here so nothing was growing. I would have loved to stop and take pictures of la gente, the people. They were beautiful! I love the way the women dress.

Carter was the only speaker again. There were fewer missionaries this time, only 2 zones, and Carter spoke on the same subjects. He had his little clinic in the back room seeing 9 missionaries and, again, I had a great time talking to missionaries. This time we took a picture. It was their idea. I would like to have hugged all of them, but I just gave them an extra tight handshake hug. Carter wondered if I remind them of the mom that they miss. If that’s one of my duties here, I’ll take it. I love it. I can see how they love Hermana Ocampo. One elder gave her a late Mother’s Day present today. How adorable is that?

 

Selfie with some great missionaries who spoke some great English!

 

Did I say I love missionaries? Well l love missionaries! They carry a special spirit. There’s a happiness and a light with them that is contagious. They are doing the Lord’s work, bringing souls to Christ. It’s my favorite thing about this mission….those missionaries. I know they are doing an important work. It’s a blessing and a privilege to associate with them and help them.

Trivial little tidbit: They took us to a hamburger and fries place today for lunch. The hamburger smelled and tasted like a hot dog. It was weird. Carter liked it!  :o)

 

Thursday – July 13, 2017
We had some unexpected surprises and blessings today. First of all, Carter was up most of the night with diarrhea. He said it was the worst he’d ever had. He was supposed to teach at another zone conference for the Bolivia, La Paz mission at a chapel in downtown La Paz. We got up and got ready, Carter called President Vallejo, told him the situation and asked for a blessing. Hermana Vallejo came with their assistants. She brought some diarrhea medicine and Gatorade. The Elders gave Carter a blessing and we went forward in faith. Carter was still sick, using the bathroom right when we got to the chapel and and once during the presentation. He had not eaten anything that morning and he was weak from the illness. I prayed earlier that morning before Carter called the mission president and told Heavenly Father that I do not hold the priesthood and cannot lay my hands on my husband’s head but I can pray and I know that my prayers are heard and that my prayer can be answered. I told him that we  were called to do a work today and asked that we would be able to do it. During his presentation I prayed that angels could please be sent to Carter to carry him through. I said prayers of gratitude and then asked again for angels. He was drinking Gatorade through out the presentation.
Carter talked for 2 hours, the longest presentation of the week and saw 17 missionaries individually afterwards, eating crackers and drinking water during it all. He  shows the missionaries different exercises during the presentation to stretch and strengthen their knees and back and he got a little winded while doing those but  I was amazed that he did so well.   Our prayers were answered.  Carter said he did not feel weak during his presentation.
This time there were no missionaries who wanted to speak English with me. I would walk up to a group and ask them, “Como esta su ingles?” How is your English? I got blank stares, crooked smiles and “No ingles.” Ha! We were in the mission office so I went into Hermana Vallejo’s office and started studying for my next talk in the Preach My Gospel manual, which is on faith. She came in after a while and asked if I wanted to go for a walk. Si! It was freezing in the mission office and the sun was shining. We walked up the hill and the sun felt so good. We walked by some beautifully dressed ladies. I asked about their beautiful skirts and Hermana Vallejo told me they are called polleras. The women are called Senoras de Polleras. Their skirts are all different, big and flouncy, using lots of fabric. One of the women let us take a picture. She was proud to do it. The other was shy and hid her face with a paper she held in her hand. So cute!
Hermana Vallejo doesn’t speak English very well but she is so kind and gracious and we could talk together slowly and carefully. I thawed out and we went back to see if Carter was done. He had a few more patients to see so I started studying again. One of the office elders walked in to file some receipts and he started talking to me. His English was not very good but I could tell he really wanted to tell me something. Slowly and surely I heard, “One big blessing from my mission is that my mother got baptized. I work hard and the Lord bless me.” It made me teary and he said, “Your mother got baptized too?” I said, “No, I’m happy that your mother was baptized. These are happy tears for you!” He understood and then smiled real big. He then said, “I have 4 more months and I still working hard.” I wanted to hug that sweet missionary! Instead I shook his hand really hard and said, “Un abrazo por su mano!” A hug for your hand.
Hermana Vallejo had some chicken soup for us at her home when all was finished. Carter was feeling better and could eat. We talked with their two high school children in English and then they took us back to our hotel.
We had a few hours on the first day to walk down the street from our hotel. Here are some pictures of the beautiful Bolivian women. They love their hats. I would love to know the tradition behind them.
Shout out to my family this weekend!!! We are missing my Richardson family reunion. Hope you all had fun together. I sure love and miss you all!!
Written by Faye

Our New Friend

This is Margaret Noelia Gonzales Pinedo. She is 19 and has recently been baptized. The Elders taught a new member lesson to her in our home on June 24th. Our apartment is a central, quiet location and the missionaries like to come here.We invited her to have Family Home Evening with us the next week. She wanted to learn about it. We had a great time. She is very outgoing and fun. We showed her some of the apps that the church has for young people, watched some videos on those apps and had a rock, paper, scissors tournament.  :o)  This last Monday, she called and said “Can I come for Home Evening again at your house?” Of course! She showed up with these Peruvian chocolates that she made herself. She calls them Chocotejas. They are strawberries with manjar blanco (caramel sauce) covered in chocolate. She was really proud of them! They were super sweet. We looked up her family history information on Family Search and she already has her ancestry recorded back four generations and is preparing to do some baptisms in the temple. We also played the card game, SkipBo. She liked it. Margaret is a smart girl. She’s a college student majoring in marketing. She has been to the United States on a 3 month scholarship and knows some English. She is like I am with Spanish. She understands a lot, but has a hard time getting the words out of her mouth. She will be bringing a game to play for next week. It’s fun to have her over. She takes great selfies. She’s a little sponge and loves learning about the church. Our Monday nights will be a lot more fun with this cute little thing around.

Written by Faye

New Assignments & Colombia Trip

I meant to post this last week but our Sundays are BUSY now with our new assignment at the MTC……

 

We have some new assignments.

1. I , Faye, have been asked to facilitate an English language learning class from the church’s Pathways program. The students will be some of the local employees at the area office. I’m going to a class that is already in session to watch and learn this Thursday. The class is starting this September and will meet in one of the area office conference rooms after work on Thursdays at 5:00. I won’t be teaching, the students teach themselves with the curriculum provided. But I’m excited! I can do English!!!

2. President Moore from the MTC  met with us on Tuesday to ask if we would serve in the branch presidency for the English speaking missionaries at the MTC. We are still learning what our responsibilities will be. I do know that we both will be giving a talk in Sacrament Meeting on different basic gospel subjects once a month. The couples in the branch presidency take turns speaking along with the missionaries. Spending time with the missionaries is one of my favorite things here! What a blessing to have this responsibility! We will pretty much spend most of the day on Sunday at the MTC.  President Moore said that even though these missionaries will be learning Spanish, Sunday meetings are in English except for the opening and closing prayers and the sacrament prayer. The meetings on Sunday are so we can be ‘fed’ spiritually, not to learn Spanish. I agree. I had just decided that I was going to start going to all of the English speaking classes in our La Molina ward for that very reason. I’ll miss the good people there but looking forward to the MTC experience. I need to get used to calling it the CCM. That’s what they call it in South America. It stands for Centro de Capacitacion Misional.

 

 

Last week we spent 4 days in Bogota, Colombia. Here’s part of a letter I wrote to our children:

June 13, 2017 – Dad and I flew to Bogota, Colombia yesterday to do some teaching at the MTC here. Yesterday, we taught a health class to the Spanish speaking missionaries and tomorrow we teach some new missionaries that will have just arrived. That will be a bilingual class. The class is 10 Laws of Health for South American Missionaries. Today, we have a free day to sight see and do some shopping. One thing I am shopping for is hairspray. They don’t have it in Peruvian stores. I have looked and looked. You can only get it in expensive salons and it is indeed expensive. I’m told it is a regular item here like in the United States. I will be stocking up.

There is one little wrench in this trip… We both have some altitude sickness going on. We didn’t realize that Bogota is over 8,000 feet. Yesterday when we got here, we both had headaches. We thought it was from the “headache” at the airport. It took FOREVER to get out of that place once we landed. There are much more efficient ways to move people and luggage! The class was supposed to start at 2:00 but we didn’t arrive on time so it started at 3:15. The MTC president’s wife, Sister Hansen, gave us something like Excedrin, I think it was, for our headaches and we felt better at dinner time. We went to dinner last night with President and Sister Laney from the Bogota North mission. They are from Gilbert, AZ and know my sister, Diane’s, family and Carter’s sister, Michelle’s, family. He was Michelle’s stake president for 6 years until he got called to be a mission president. There was another couple at dinner with us also who were going home today, the Meyers. The first part of their mission was in Peru and they knew Curt and Joyce Mayberry who served in their mission. Super small world!!! We took pictures!

 

After dinner with the President and Sister Laney

 

No more headaches this morning, but I am a little light headed and Carter is just plain tired. We both slept really good last night, but it is 9:30 in the morning and he is back in bed for a half hour to see if he can have some energy for the day. He is also on the healing end of a cold. There’s no time difference here and he is not feeling sick from his cold anymore, so I hope we can make it out of our hotel room. It a nice hotel room, but I don’t want to stay in it all day long. There’s hairspray to buy and there’s a beautiful city to see. The air is fresh and clear here. It feels like mountain air. The Laneys said they drink water right out of the tap. We are told that Bogota is more Americanized. There is a Costco type store here and lots of American restaurants, but I’m not really interested in going to those restaurants. I like to see what the local fare is like. We are told they have some good Mexican food! We are going to pretend it is local fare.  :o)  We haven’t found any Mexican food in Peru…or chocolate chips or brown sugar.

Carter is snoring lightly as I type. Good sign! 

We both felt better later in the day…. found some hairspray….ate some Mexican food. It wasn’t good old Southern Arizona Mexican food but the chips and salsa were good. The restaurant had a Nacho Libre theme! We did go to Costco and bought a bag of Kirkland chocolate chips and some sheets for our bed. They barely fit in my carry on, but I got it zipped! Something else I can’t find in Peru yet is corn tortillas…. only flour tortillas. I should have looked for those in Costco too.

 

 

 

Mexican food with the Hansens

 

Wednesday morning, before teaching the second health class, we went up to Mount Monserrate to see an old Catholic church. It was beautiful at 10,000 feet overlooking the city of Bogota.

 

 

Beautiful archways in the Catholic church on Mount Monserrate

 

 

We ate lunch at a little restaurant up there. Here’s a receipt for 2 bowls of soup, 2 bottles of water and a coconut lemonade. At first glance it looks like it cost almost $43,000 but that’s in Colombian pesos. In American dollars we only paid about $14.34. It’s weird to be paying for everything in million denominations!

 

The bill for our lunch up at Monserrate  –  $14.34

 

At the airport returning home,  we ran into 3 missionaries who were finishing their missions in Bogota and on their way home. We had 3 hours to spend talking with them. Two of them knew some English. One of the missionaries was from, (you guessed it), Venezuela!……… and is from San Cristobal where Carter served! He and Carter hit it off and had some great conversations about San Cristobal and the people there. We talked about our families. He asked about our children and it was so sweet to witness his caring concern when Carter told him about Ashton.  Elder Callejas was sitting across from him at the time and immediately moved to sit right beside him, looking him straight in the eye and would look at me intermittently. I’ll bet he was a kind, caring missionary.

 

Elder Callejas and Carter

 

 

Elder Callejas, from Venezuela; Elder Chaves, from the Dominican Republic; Elder Acosta, from Argentina? (not sure); and Elder Mayberry in the Bogota, Colombia airport

 

Written by Faye

 

 

 

Our Little Patch of Peru

June 10, 2017  –  I’m sitting at my computer on a Saturday evening, listening to the little kid birthday party next to us. When someone here has a birthday party, the whole area around them has a birthday party too! But, we don’t get any cake! We can hear everybody’s everything. There are 2 little doggies that live above us and we can hear when they run across the floor. We hear the little girl next door cry at night when she’s tired. I’m sure our neighbors can hear our blender going when we make a smoothie for breakfast or the conference talk Carter listens to when he takes his shower in the morning. That’s just life in our little patch of Peru. We’ve been here for 2 months and we are getting used to it. It’s a lot different than our 1 acre chicken farm in St. David, AZ. We sleep pretty well at night. Our bedroom is at the back of the apartment away from the street so we don’t hear the traffic noises very loudly. We live on the 3rd floor of our 4 story building. There’s a walkway on one side and on the other side are homes that are just one story, so I can see down into their courtyards. I can see their laundry hanging. Every day there is different laundry on the line. It is not normal for Peruvians to have a dryer, but we have a little one to use. Thank goodness! We also have a rack on the ceiling of our laundry room that we can bring down to hang things on. We put our towels on it every morning with a fan blowing on them. They don’t get dry otherwise.

It takes 3 keys to get in our  place. There’s one outer gate, one inner gate and then the key to get in our apartment once we get up the 3 flights of stairs.

 

Looking out our bedroom window, this is the first gate we enter to get in.

 

The second gate to get in.

 

Carter on the stairs inside our building

We feel very safe here. The streets and walk ways are well lit at night. There are vigilantes, security guards, that patrol every little street. We pay them 70 soles monthly, which is about $23. The vigilante rides up and down our street on a bike at different times during the day and night and blows a  whistle that sounds like the whistle referees use. We are still trying to figure out when and why he does that. There are lots of different horns, whistles and clangs we hear. One is from the bread guy in the morning. He rides his bicycle around and honks his little horn to tell you he is there. People come out and get fresh rolls from him for their breakfast. Carter has been out a few times when we first got here to sample the bread. The guy sells 4 different kinds of buns. They are OK, but not wonderful.

Another  sound we hear is the garbage truck when it comes around in the morning. A bell clangs to let you know they are coming. There are raised metal containers along our street that people put their little bags of garbage in. They are picked up every morning. Another sound we hear are the horns honking from the the taxis, cars and trucks that pass by. It is very popular to use your horn here when driving. When we walk down the street, taxis that pass by honk at us letting us know they are there. There are LOTS of taxis. LOTS!

An empty garbage container and a vigilante riding his bike in the back ground

 

We see this adorable doggie sometimes when we are walking to work in the morning. He is always on the same doorstep. He never barks, just lifts his head up and looks at us through the flap of fur over his eyes. I don’t think he’s a stray. I think he lives in the home. We don’t see stray dogs here much at all. We see lots of people walking their dogs. If a dog barks at us, it is from the top of a building. We do see stray cats sometimes. We are told that we live in  a middle class neighborhood. It is mostly kept clean and neat.

 

I named this good & gentle doggie Chet! I wonder what his real name is and is he a he or a she?

 

 

Last week we had an earthquake drill at the office. We are supposed to leave the building and stand in circles like these while we wait. The S stands for siesmo, earthquake. We are told that they get tremors here in May and October. We didn’t get any this past May. This is one of the siesmo circles at the MTC next door.

 

 

Some of the beautiful fruit here

Written by Faye