Monday, August 24th
We went to the office and then to the meeting / lunch with President and Hermana Da Silva. President announced that he would not be having the meetings in this format any longer. He wants to meet with the Assistants and then will come to the office to sign any other papers that the Executive Secretaries or Financial Secretaries need him to sign. The Elders will really miss the meals that they looked forward to each week. The Da Silva's had a great cook, Mari that came in to help with the meal.
Tuesday, August 25
Another day at the office........
Wednesday, August 26
We prepared for our first English class which will be Thursday evening at 7:00PM. We don't know how many to expect so I made 12 copies of everything and hope I will have enough. We are going to teach them an overview of the language and then introduce the alphabet to them and see how many know English and if so how much do they know.
We prepared the meal for the Elders for the Thursday lunch. The menu request this week by Elder Sessions was “Hawaiian Haystacks”. For those of you who have never had them they go something like this.
First layer is typically a layer of crunchy Chinese noodles. ( the layer can be put in any order baseb on the preference of the builder).
Second Layer is a layer of white rice.
Third is a cream chicken sauce.
Then it is a free for all with topping like green onions, diced tomatoes, diced pineapple, mushrooms, olives, grated coconut.
There is lots of cutting, slicing and preparing for a group of 10 hungry missionaries.
Thursday, August 27
We finished the preparation for lunch and then took a taxi to the office. We are getting pretty good at calling our own now and don't have to rely on anyone to get around now. Well the buses except for a couple are still a bit of a mystery. There are several different bus companies down here and none of their websites provide a map and a schedule of where the buses are going and when they will be there. One give street names but it is very difficult to follow the routes on a map. We spent several hours with and map and the website and finally gave up trying to figure it out.
Lunch was a great success and desert a delicious apple cobble with a dulce de leche and whipped cream topping was very well received by the missionaries.
After lunch Elder Baker and I went to what is called Ciudad Viejo or Old City. It is the old part of the downtown district and it is an adventure in driving and navigation. We also looked for a Panasonic repair store without any luck but we did find a nice day pack that will help transport stuff to and from the office on the bus or walking.
We went by the Church on the way home to make sure we had the supplies we would need for the English class later that evening. We went to the class at 6:30 PM and prepared the classroom. At 7:00 we had 2 students ( Virginia & Bernardo) arrive, 15 minutes later we had 1 (Flaviana) more arrive and 5 minutes later Carolina arrive from work. We had a great time getting to know each other and learning what they knew about English. The 3 young ladies were pretty proficient and Bernardo is starting from the beginning. There is a weekly soccer game that takes place at 8:00PM and we had 3 of the soccer players drop in and participate some. Bruno, Gonzo & Julius. We will see if they come back next week and if we get any other new student from the ward members or if they will bring any new friends.
The class went pretty well for the first time.
Friday, August 28
An other day at the office.....
Saturday, August 29
We walked to a Panasonic store that I seen the sign of while riding the bus. It was a mile or so walk and on the way back we walked through a street market. We had seen it before but never had the time to explore it. The fringe vendors haul miscellaneous stuff most of it junk and lay it out on the ground or on blanket on the street. We found a vegetable steamer tray and bought it for 20 pesos. The more we walked into the market the more sophisticated the vendors and their displays got. They were selling packaged groceries, clothes, hardware and then there were many vegetable vendors and meats and cheese vendors. We spent a couple of hours wandering the market and came home with some super glue, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, squash, garlic and the desire to check it out again in the future.
Later in the afternoon we had and wonderful opportunity to support 4 of our Office Elders in the baptisms the were conducting. The first was a 14 year old young lady that was baptized by Elder Bennett. He and Elder Heaps make a great companionship and it was great to support them. There were many of the young ladies friends and family in attendance and the Spirit was very strong. After the baptism we went by the Mission Office to drop off the car we had borrowed. We had about 1 hour before the next baptism so I called the Wilson's that work in the Temple to see if they were home. They were and invited us over for a quick meal and visit prior to the baptism service. It was great to visit with them they are really great people and very kind to us.
The next baptism was an 8 year old young man that was really excited to be baptized and covenant with Jesus Christ that he would keep the commandments and always remember him. Elder Van Wagenen baptized him while Elder Baker and I acted as witnesses to insure that the prayer was said properly and the person was fully submerged into the water. Everything went well and the Spirit was very strong. We got to visit with some young people (the Dacoli's) that were friends with Bernardo who attended our English class Thursday night. They spoke very good English and it was great to visit with them. As we were waiting at the bus stop a car stopped on the street and rolled down the wind and asked if we were going home in English. It turned out to be a member of the Buceo Ward and he invited us into the car and took us home. It was great to get a ride because we were just about to try to find a cab because the buses slow down or stop their schedule about the time we started waiting for a bus. We got to discuss some missionary ideas with Brother Gonzalo Risso and hopefully helped him know how to invite his friends to know more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.