We enjoyed watching General Conference in English in the Secretary’s office at the church with our English-speaking missionaries. This picture also includes their Latin companions. We feel right at home watching conference with 18-20 year olds. It reminds us of the old days with our children at home.
|The missionaries in Tupiza getting ready to listen to conference.|
We also loved having General Conference on Easter Sunday. We didn’t see a lot of the celebrations here, because we were at the church most of the time with Conference. We did see some people setting up stations of the cross down town. I made a traditional Bolivian orange cake for the occasion.
I had a good visit with our landlord Nora about Easter and the sacredness of the holiday. She feels the same way about the sacredness of the day. I think she appreciated hearing stories of our “Easter Becky”. (We preferred to not emphasize the Easter Bunny, but to focus on Christ. Our oldest daughter, Becky, used this as an opportunity to do special things to remind her brothers and sisters and parents about what Christ did for us.)
We didn’t do much in the way of April Fools day. One of my young friends, 11-year old Salma, tried to make me believe her mother was in the hospital having her baby. When I found out she was teasing me I had to tell her about April Fools day. (Her mother did deliver a sweet baby girl a week or so later).
A couple weeks later we had our District Meeting (which is like Stake Conference). I love having all 5 branches together. We have grown close to members from each of these branches. We were asked to get a musical number together for the conference. Charlie had arranged a medley of “I Love to See the Temple” and “Families Can Be Together Forever” while we were serving in the Cochabamba Temple. He put the music and the words on WhatsApp (which is the preferred form of electronic communicating here). That way the people from Uyuni, Villazón and Quiriza could hear about it and participate as well.
Our first practice was right after General Conference. We had a lot of people attend. They sounded really good. We had a couple more practices during the week after Noche de Hermanamiento of each branch, with a final practice 30 minutes before the Conference on Sunday.
As people came for conference I invited them to sing with us. Our last practice was probably 20 people, most of which came from Uyuni, Villazón and even some from Quiriza. Our mission president’s wife even sang with us. There were about 30 members who ended up singing for the conference. I was so touched as they sang. It was beautiful and heartfelt.
Charlie and I were asked to bear our testimonies and I told them how sweet it is for us to see all of them together, how I feel like family, that families are forever and that I will never forget them. I don’t know how they could take that as we are leaving soon, but they did. After the meeting a lot of people asked us when we are leaving, and many wanted to take our pictures. We were even invited to dinner. At least they understood my Spanish, even if not my meaning. So here are some of the pictures from District Conference:
|President and Sister Montoya|
|The Mendoza family from Villazón.|
|The Villalobos family from Villazón.|
This is another family from Villazón, the Villalobos family. The girl next to me, Nohelia, left for her mission to Brazil right after the conference. She lived in Tupiza while she was going to college so a lot of people here were able to see her off.
|Abigail, Cassandra, Nohelia, and Sandra - Young Single Adult (JAS) friends.|
|Hermana Davila, grandaughter of Clementina, Clementina, Hermana Lyon, and Hermana Teresa|
These are some of our favorite sisters. Rocio Davila, Clementina Tejerina and Teresa Orellana. Teresa is the Relief Society President in Rama Tupiza and Clementina is one of her Counselors. Hermana Davila is the wife of the District President. They are amazing and faithful sisters.
|The Arce children and grandchildren from Titioyo.|
These darling people live in Titioyo. They walk two hours to attend church in Quiriza. Or they walk three hours to attend the Tupiza branch where their father attends. Filipe is a counselor in the branch presidency in Quiriza. Mirtha is the one that often walks by herself the three hours to Tupiza. Rosario, with the braids is the mother of the two young girls and Reina is on the right. I met Reina the first time we went to the branch in Quiriza and was so impressed with her comments in Relief Society and we became fast friends. We just missed their father. He is one of the most faithful members in the Tupiza Branch.
|Eduardo Vedia, District Secretary|
This is our dear friend Eduardo. He is the District Secretary. He loves to pick Charlie’s brain. We have enjoyed him in our home often for dinner and a visit. He is very intelligent and has a strong testimony.
|Vickie (Presidente Davila's daughter) and Vanessa (grandaughter of Clementina)|
Vanessa and Vickie. Two little girls in Rama Tupiza that love Elder Lyon.
One Sunday after Relief Society in Rama America I asked the sisters if I could take their picture. I love these sisters.
|Prima Cuevas Isnado|
This is Prima. I like to say she is my twin, because I aspire to be like her. She is loving, spiritual, an immaculate house keeper, fun and very funny. She was one of the first members to greet us in Mercado Campesino the first week we were here in Tupiza.
This is Sandra. She is 19 years old, a convert of about 4 years and the only member in her family. She is very faithful and willing to do anything that is needed. She is serving as the Primary President right now and is getting ready to serve a full-time mission. She will be greatly missed.
|Ruth Lopez and Benjamin|
This is little Benjamin and his mother, Ruth, the Relief Society President. He is getting ready to lick a squash called chayote. A couple of sisters planted a lot of squash and corn in the planters behind the church. On this day after the block of meetings we all went out and harvested. They broke the big ones up and passed them out.
Here are some more pictures of Benjamin’s family. We wrote about them in our last blog entry.
|Jorge and Sarai Lopez|
I get to hold this sweet little Saraí every Monday when we do our laundry. She always smiles and talks to me even though she is so little. I think she is telling me all about my new grandson that will soon be born.
|Benjamin, Jorge (dad), and Jorge (son) Lopez|
I love this picture. Little Benjamin is in front wearing Elder Lyon’s sun glasses, his dad Jorge and brother, also named Jorge. Drinks are sold in plastic bags with a straw. Jorge is drinking mochochinchi. It has a little dried peach in it for flavor and to eat. Motorcycles are a common mode of transportation. It is not uncommon to see a young family of 5 on a motorcycle. They are such a smiley family. No matter where we are, when Benjamin sees Elder Lyon, he yells “Lyon!” and runs and jumps in his arms. And Jorge gives the best bear hugs.We have gotten to know this family pretty well. In fact, we learned a week or so ago that they were sealed in the temple while we were serving there. They recognized us. It was our second week serving in the temple.
When Saraí was born I wanted to make her something. But of course, I couldn’t leave out the boys, so I decided to crochet them some lions, because we are Lyons and maybe that would help them remember us.
It took a while to make them and I learned a lot with each one. I would work on them whiIe I waited for Charlie when he had a meeting or during Relief Society in the other branch. A sister asked me what I was making and when I showed her the picture on my phone they all wanted me to teach them how.
These sisters know how to crochet very well and they make very beautiful things, but they are not used to following a pattern. I didn’t realize that, until I had translated the pattern and gave out copies. I learned a lot of new terms (different from the Spanish terms I found on the internet). It’s been fun. I know I have learned the most.
|The Lopez family.|
|Benjamin with his friendly lion in an aguayo.|
Little Benjamin is carrying his in an aguayo on his back
We left 14 grandchildren when we came on this mission. We do miss them and are very grateful for Skype and the ability to see them and talk to them. When we go home we will have two more grandchildren that we have not yet met in person. We have adopted quite a few grandchildren while we have been here. Even one of the elders calls me Grama (when he comes to eat at our house he says our house smells like his grandmother’s cooking- so I take that as a high complement).
|The missionaries with Gerson at his baptism.|
The baptism of Gerson with all the missionaries in Tupiza.
One night an unusually tall young man in the Tupiza branch asked Charlie if he could borrow his suit coat. He needed to take a formal picture and suit coats are not all that easy to come by in Tupiza, especially if you are Elder Lyon’s size.
|Miguel Palenque and his grandparents.|
We didn’t realize that we were going to get a ride to our house to pick up the suit coat. This is the mode of transportation we took. The picture is taken in front of our house. The tall young man is standing up in the back. His grandmother is sitting in the back and his grandfather is driving. That is my seat in the front. Charlie had one just like it on the other side. With these bumpy roads I was afraid I would pop right out of the seat. What an adventure.
|Virginia and her husband. They live in Cochabamba.|
This cute little lady cornered us one Sunday and asked if we could meet her at the bus terminal the next day. She had something she wanted to give us.
Her name is Virginia. She lives in Cochabamba. I remember her. She and her husband have been out here working in the fields. She gave us a big bag full of choclo and goat cheese. Choclo is a type of corn that they eat a lot of here.
I took some to our landlord and asked her how to prepare it. She said it was very nice choclo and was already cooked. There are different ways of preparing the choclo, but her husband said he likes it in a salad. So I cut up some tomatoes, onions, green peppers and locoto peppers topped with some lime juice and salt and pepper with the choclo. She sliced me off some thick slices of the goat cheese and told me to fry it. Goat cheese doesn’t melt and it was really yummy. I gave most of the choclo and the rest of the cheese to them.
|Elder Smart - son of my cousin Lois Smart from Salt Lake City.|
Before we left for our mission we learned that Charlie’s cousin’s son had just left to serve in the Cochabamba Bolivia mission. We have been hoping to be able to meet him while we are here. He just arrived in Tupiza last week and we are really enjoying getting to know our very own Elder Smart.
There are so many dear people we would love to tell you about, but It will have to wait. They will forever be in our hearts. As our dear 80-year-old, fence climbing, Isabel from Quiriza told me, when we get to the other side of the veil we will have to find each other and if I see her first I am to yell “Isabel!”.
|Diogenes Martinez, a great-grand daughter, and his wife Isabel.|