Sunday, December 13, 2015

Loving Our Mission

[December 13, 2015]

This week in the Temple has been a little different for me. Saturday I served in the Guardaria (nursery in the Temple for the children while their parents are receiving their endowments).

The first family had 3 children. I had about 15 minutes with them before we were called to go upstairs to be sealed. I felt very blessed to get to be in the sealing room with them.

The children were a boy Jaido (14), Camila (7),  and Isaac (2). What sweet kids. They were already dressed and looked beautiful in their white clothes. I have been practicing the song Sonrisas - "Smiles", or "If You Chance to Meet a Frown" - for such an occasion. However, when I sang it, Isaac cried and didn't want a thing to do with me for a good while. I guess my frowny face is a scary one. He did warm up to me eventually. After we got back I read some books with Camila while Jaido helped Isaac. Then I visited with Jaido. I loved talking with him. He said his mother had been an inactive member for a long time and one day the missionaries knocked on their door. They had the lessons and his dad accepted the gospel. He and Jaido got baptized on the same day (like me and my Dad). Now their family was being sealed. What a sweet story. A very sweet handsome young man.

The second family had three boys, Jose (10), Mateo (8), Tiago (6). They were all dressed in matching suits. They were so smart and taught so well in their home. I had a lot of fun with these boys. We read books and played I spy with my little eye (yo veo con mis pequeńos ojos alguna cosa qué es ____?). They love to sing and we got the Children's Song book out. They took turns choosing songs which we all sang. They all told me stories, and they even played the "Hand" game with me. We also talked about being a forever family.

What a sweet experience for me to be with these sweet children. I miss playing with my own grandchildren so I enjoy being the "White Grandma".

Three days this week I was assigned to the baptisty, twice with my own companion. I always love serving with him. The youth are so fun. There is a room that they all wait in for the Temple President to speak to them and for me to give them instructions. I like to visit with them before the President comes.

One group was from Tarija, which is very far away. I was asking them what it was like to take a flota "bus" all this way. They said it was like a party without food. They wanted to know what State I was from. When I told them Utah, one girl gasped and said "Where the Prophet lives?" They asked if I ever get to see him. I told them I hadn't met him but I did get to meet President Uchtdorf at Deseret Book with my mother. They are so enthusiastic about everything and I love working with them.

I got to be in charge of the Roperia (clothing rental) one day. It was my first time (in charge). The most challenging part for me in the Roperia was putting the person's ID number in the computer. I don't hear numbers very often and when they are said fast it is a bit tricky. I really enjoyed it. There was really only one brother that was hard for me to understand.

Yesterday, December 12 is my father's birthday. He was born in 1908 and passed away July 3, 1993. I think of him a lot here in Bolivia. He would have loved these good, hard working, humble, soft spoken, gentle, loving people. He was like that himself. He was one of the most Christ-like people you could ever meet. He truly loved all people and never judged them. He was always helping someone. He was genuine. He was honest and kind and very hard working. You could always count on him. He lived what he believed. He loved the Lord and he loved his fellow-man. He was a fun Daddy, who taught by example, usually while he was working the horses or mucking out the stalls or while he was driving us somewhere. He knew and loved the Bible. I loved to hear him tell the stories in the Old Testament in chronological order. They were his Heroes. He loved his daughters and most of all he loved our mother. To him, she was the most beautiful, charming, witty, intelligent, most perfect woman on earth. I'm grateful for the example of their good marriage.

There is so much more I could say about this great man. But if I only had one word to describe him it would be "love", which in his words is the greatest thing in the world and without love there is nothing. His love is forever. 

The Cochabamba Temple in December - Summer. 
The Cochabamaba Temple in July - Winter.

[This is Charles]
René Tapia called me today. He was my first companion in Punata. I learned a lot from him about the Bolivian culture, the people, and how to work hard and enjoy life at the same time. He lives in Montero, now, and says he has white hair! That's pretty unusual for a Bolivian. He's coming to Cochabamba in January - I look forward to meeting him.

I inserted the pictures above to give you a feel for how different everything is between winter and summer here. I the first picture, the lawn looks worse because they ripped it out and it's just growing back. But the flowers and everything else around the temple is so beautiful at this time of the year. The weather is a bit warmer - it actually gets up into the high 80's on some days, but the nights cool off into the 60's, so it allows us to cool off the apartment and makes it very pleasant.

Our service in the temple is so sweet. Not a week goes by without our meeting and assisting members in doing the work for their families. This week, we both worked with a young man and his mother who had come from Sucre to do the work for and seal his great-grandparents on his father's side. They finished everything just before the temple closed on Saturday afternoon. It was so sweet to see him and his mother working together on this.

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