Friday, April 8, 2016

More Adventures and Sweet Experiences

[April 8, 2016]

While Charlie was coordinating the afternoon shift at the temple  I ventured out of the gates and for the first time in 9 months went alone. I just went to the little store across the street to buy some juice. Percy Avila was the guard. He was surprised to see me without my companion. We talked briefly. I also went to the distribution center here.

Once "safe" back home, I washed the bottles of juice. Then I proceeded to make pancitas (little breads) from the recipe that Hna. Altamirano gave me. My first authentic Bolivian bread recipe. Very yummy.

When we got home from our shift one afternoon there was a package for us at the office. A dear sister that I met in the temple who was staying in the hospedaje left it for us.  It was two kinds of sweet breads. One big round one that looked like it had a "tree of life " design and the other was something I've always wanted to try. Everywhere we go we see these big round donut-like breads that are covered in a thick, gooey, white sweetness. Very interesting and very sweet of her to think of us.

We finally found the pizza place open. We have tried several times and it has always been closed. You can see the big round brick ovens from the sidewalk. It was delicious and so fun to watch them make it. There were about four working at the same counter space. They are very generous with their toppings and the pizza cooks in about 5 minutes due to the hot temperature of the oven. We also watched them make a big calzone that they cooked on the edge of the oven, for a longer time of course. It was very interesting and delicious. I think we've found the place to satisfy my pizza cravings.

On Monday we had a real adventure. We went with the Hills, Russells, Hno. Angle (Sue Ellen, his wife was sick) and Hna. Butler. Hno. Hill arranged for a driver with a nice big van and a guide who was a daughter of one of the gardeners here at the temple. We left about 8:00 and got home around 3:30. We would not have been gone so long if the main roads hadn't been blocked due to some disgruntlement in the workforce of Cochabamba who caused the bloqueo. We went up towards Mount Tunari, a mountain close by. The scenery was beautiful. We drove through some interesting and quaint little towns. The road was narrow, windy, and paved with cobble stone. We saw lots of llama, alpaca, sheep, some donkeys, horses, one bull and a few cows. Sister Butler and I also saw some really cute woolly worms.

The summit was about 15,000 feet. We stopped up there for lunch by a lake. There weren't any trees to speak of at that high altitude and the "grass" was little clustering plants clinging to the ground mixed in with beautiful, delicate, tiny flowers. We sat on big rocks to eat our lunch until it got extremely cold with the wind and the cloud it brought with it.

Eating lunch by the lake
A panorama near Mount Tunari.
We thought we were headed home and finally found the pavement "ahhhh", when our guide decided we needed to find a route to Liriuni that wasn't blocked off. We stopped and asked someone for directions. Back to the cobble stones and the narrow winding road. We found the turn off which was dirt now and more narrow and steep. We even forded a stream where people were washing their clothes.

Liriuni is a balneario or spa. With natural hot springs to keep everything warm and healthy, they have two large pools, one with a scary cement slide that was not in use. There were some families vacationing with their kids and swimming in the pools. They had small rooms you could rent with your own tiled hot tub. There were also rooms with twin sized beds for longer stays. It was a regular resort up in the middle of these gorgeous mountains. Somehow people find their way through the narrow windy roads to this "fun" vacation spot. There was also a comedor (dining room) and a gift shop of course. By our standards it looked a bit run down, but it was still being used and people looked happy to be there.

[In the picture below, you see the BAÑO - they had toilets, but you had to carry a bucket of water in with you to pour in it to "flush" it.]

Liriuni "Resort"
It was a fun day. Another reason to love this place.

One of my Temple assignments this week was the sealing coordinator, which means I get to welcome and help the sisters who are coming to the temple for the first time as well as help those who are being sealed. Hna. Camacho was one of these sisters. She was receiving her own endowments and then being sealed to her living 98 year old mother and deceased father who died three years ago at the age of 95. 

Her sister was her acompañante (escort)  and her nephew was proxy for her father. Such dear people, the Spirit was very strong the whole time with them, especially in the sealing.  I love these experiences.

Another day I was assigned the Baptistry.  There were 8 boys and 8 girls. They were a very talkative, not disrespectful, just talkative, group. After Pres. Mogrovejo gave the bienvenida (welcome), I gave the instructions. I felt inspired to testify that this is the House of the Lord, He loves them and will give them inspiration and even revelation if they are reverent. They were quite receptive and cute. It was a good experience. Hno. Chalmers was in charge and his wife Sally came down to help me. They are cute together. A good example for the youth to see.

On the home front our  Danielle Renae Freese had her 7th birthday on the 5th. We enjoyed Face Timing with her before she went to school. We even got to see the yummy pink cupcakes that her mother was making for her to take to school.

We love visiting with our children, grandchildren and parents each week via the internet. What a great time to be a senior missionary.

We even got to view all of General Conference in real time via The Temple President's satellite service from their home. We enjoyed every minute of it. 

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