We are back on line !
Sunday September 27th
We attended Church and met with the YSA and the First Councilor Brother (Nestor Martinez) in the Bishopric taught our YSA class. He speaks excellent English and would fill us in from time to time what he was talking about so we had some idea what was going on in class. After Church we worked on our journal / blog and read. It was a good Sunday.
Monday September 28th
We arrived at the office early for our staff meeting and was told by the Assistants that President Da Silva was coming over at 10 AM and wanted to meet with us. Not much was scheduled for the week so the meeting was short. President arrived about 10:30 and called us into his office. He said that he had found the most beautiful place in the mission and he was going to send us there to La Paloma (the dove) to help a struggling Branch of members. He told me that I was going to the the new Branch President and would be in charge of finding and training my replacement and I needed to do that in 6 months. We were not totally shocked because that was the recommendation from President Bowen to make us the Branch President in a struggling Branch somewhere. We asked when he wanted us to go and he said by Wednesday. That was a day and a half to get all our affairs in order and move. Wow that really shocked us that it was happening so fast. We reminded him that there was a Zone Leader Conference on Wednesday and all the vehicles would be busy so he said okay you have until Thursday. I asked if we could take a vehicle and go find housing and come back more prepared for what we would need to take to our new home. He said no. That we should just go and we could live in the Church (which is actually a home that they use as a meeting place). He said there is a room above the Church that we can stay in until we find a home. We asked about the Branch and what it was like and he did not have much information about it. We were told just to be there by Thursday. Wow this was overwhelming. I told him that we would go and do the best that we could do but reminded him that we did not speak the language and would need a translator. He indicated that there were 2 missionaries in the area and one of them spoke English. They are Elder Walbeck and Espinola. They are the Zone Leaders for the area. Walbeck arrived in the area the past Wednesday and did not know much about the area yet. I put them to work trying to find housing for us. They looked in the Church and Walbeck said that the small room which is actually a loft above the main room in the house would be to cramped for us to live in so they kept looking around the town trying to find more housing for us to look at.
We worked on office stuff the rest of the day at tried to get the Secretaries and Financial Secretaries up to speed on what we were doing for them and how to do it. I my opinion they are really going to miss not having us around!
We invited Elder Session and Jacobson to come to our home later that evening to share the news with Cristina our Landlady. They could explain it to her in Spanish if I could not make her understand in English. I was able to explain to her how transfers work in the Mission and that we would be leaving on Thursday. She was shocked but okay with it when we all parted that evening
Tuesday September 29th
We worked on wrapping this up at the office and preparing to teach our last English class in the Buceo Barrio. Some of the stuff at the office I will not miss at all but I will miss the interaction with the Missionaries each day. We left the office in better condition than we we arrived so it should be easier for the Missionaries to keep up. We are going to take Wednesday and spend the day packing and getting ready to move on Thursday morning at 6:30AM.
We told the 2 YSA that came to our English class that we had been transferred to La Paloma and that we would be leaving on Thursday morning early. They were shocked and disappointed to hear the news but said it was a very pretty area but it was cold and the wind blew all the time. We told them that we would be a volleyball the next evening and would tell the others in the group.
Wednesday September 30th
The last day in Buceo. We spent the day packing and cleaning and were making great progress towards being ready so we could go to the volleyball game and share the news with the others in the YSA group. That is until about 7PM when our Landlady came by and told us that she was still in shock about that fact that we were going to be moving out and she did not have any notice so she could advertise the house for rent. She was looking for additional money to help offset the fact that she had turned people away and did not have time to advertise the house. I tried to calm her down and then about 8:30 Elders Session and Jacobson happened by the house and then she got all spun up again. She finally agreed to let us give her 2 months additional rent and and then she would be satisfied. This finally wrapped up about 9:30 PM and we were just going to stay home and not go to volleyball when Carolina called and asked when we were going to be there. We walked to the Church and the word had spread. We walked into a room that lights we out and we got a big surprise most all the YSA and the Bishopric was there to give us a going away party! We were overwhelmed with the love and support they showed us. They had all made signs which said Hermano & Hermana Hegerhorst we love you! They had a cake and soda and other treats to snack on. We visited with them and shared our love with them and they with us in our very limited communication abilities. We both knew that we loved each other and that we would all miss each other! We finally got home about 11PM and still had a lot of stuff to do to get ready for the truck that would arrive at 6:30AM. We had made arrangements that we would drive the truck down and find a place and return in a day or so. At the last minute President Da Silva changed the plan and said that 2 missionaries would have to accompany us. We finally go to bed at 1PM
Thursday October 1st
We awoke at 5AM to prepare for the truck coming at 6:30. Cristina our Landlady got up to tell us goodbye (and to make sure we did not take any of her stuff). Carolina and Valeria from our YSA group came by to say goodbye and to offer some help loading and packing and cleaning things up. It was great to see all of them. The missionaries Elder Van Wagenen, Esparsa, Sessions and Jacobson all arrive at 6:30 and started to help me load things in to the truck. It was a very awkward looking load since the back seat were now going to be full of people we had to leave some things behind. We gave our 5- 20 liter bottles of water to Cristina our Landlady since we did not have room for them on the truck. We put the mattress on top of the boxes of stuff with the box springs on the top and tied everything down. The weather report called for a sunny day so we did not cover the load. It was a very hard morning emotionally to leave everyone and everything that we had struggled for the past 2.5 months to get used to and now we were going into a totally unknown situation that we were not able to prepare for. This is type of thing is extremely difficult for Janice to deal with. She likes to plan and prepare and she could not do that in this situation. She really had a tough time leaving. It takes about 3 hours to get to La Paloma from Montevideo and on the way I noticed that Janice was having a tough time controlling her emotions. I did not say anything to her because it would have embarrassed her in front of the missionaries but it was tough not being able to try to consul her some how.
When we arrived we met up with the missionaries serving in the area. Elders Walbeck and Espinola are the zone leaders in the area called Rocha. We went to their house and unloaded some of the stuff out of the back seat and they climbed in to help navigate us to some houses that they had located for us. The first 2 houses were VERY rustic with no hot water at the kitchen sink and other issues. Janice did really good controlling her emotions as we looked at the houses. The 3rd house was much better and would have been acceptable but they wanted to rent for $22 per day until December and then the rent would go up to $80 per day. The rent would stay at $80 December through March. We could not afford that kind of rent. The city is a tourist area that most of the houses are only rented for a few months in the summer. Most of the people we called said “no” we only rent during the Summer months or they wanted a long term contract of a year. We only found one house that was willing to rent for the year. We spent 8 hours looking for houses in the rain. It started to rain when we got to town and all the business were closed for “siesta” for 2 hours and we could not find a tarp to cover the load on the truck so our mattress and other stuff was getting soaking wet! We finally found a car wash that you could drive into, so we did and waited out the storm and ate lunch. When it finally stopped raining we went shopping for a tarp and found a small tarp that covered the load on top but not the all the way down the sides of the load. We put the tarp on and then it started raining really hard and the wind was blowing so the tarp would lift up and the sides were getting soaked. We spent 8 hours looking for houses both calling the telephone numbers from the many for rent signs posted and 4 or 5 Realtors that control the rental market in the area. We looked at several houses and found a couple that were livable. They were very expensive, one wanted over $9000 up front to rent the house for 6 months and the other one was very similar in cost. There was one house that would rent for a year but it would take about 15 days for all the contracts to be finalized and they needed someone that owned property in Uruguay to guaranty the rent. We did not have the time or anyone to guaranty the rent. It was raining really hard now so we went back to the car wash and waited for a lull in the storm. The missionaries called and told President DaSilva that we were not having any luck finding a house. He told them that they could stay the night but that they need to take us and our stuff to the house they use for a Church and drop us off in the morning. We found a hotel with a restaurant and had dinner and rented us and the missionaries rooms for the night. It was after 10PM when we finally made it to our room. During dinner the missionaries got a phone call telling them that they need to be on the road back to Montevideo by 7AM at the latest. This mean that we had to be up at 5AM to get to the Church and unload our stuff so they could be on the road by 7AM. We were not very happy about the situation. We could not find a house and we were being dropped of without transportation and not being able to speak the language. It was a very hard night for Janice and I.
Friday October 2nd
This morning we just decided to get to work and try to clean out the loft in the church and try to make the church our home while we were in La Paloma. The loft is above the main living room area where the church services are held and it was piled full of the home owners junk! There were old mattresses, dressers, tables, tarps, tents and boxes full of old dishes and other junk. The missionaries helped us unload the area and then they had to get on the road back to Montevideo.
The stuff from the top of the truck like our mattress and box springs was soaking wet. Fortunately there were 2 fans at the Church and we had bought along an electric heater. We set them all up to hopefully dry out our mattress so we could have a place to sleep that night. We spent most of the day moving stuff and cleaning the loft and other rooms in the Church. It felt good to have a plan and be working towards something together! We finally got the loft cleaned up. The mattress was getting drier. I was sure it was going to take a month to dry it out it was very wet. We took a break from cleaning and went to Antel who provides the internet in Uruguay and were lucky enough to find a lady who spoke some English. We were able to get a wireless modem to use in the laptop. She even gave us a break on the DSL we were still under contract for. The modem would not be usable for 24 hours. By bedtime the mattress and box springs were dry and we were able to make the loft into our bedroom. We both were very tired but felt good about all that we had accomplished and the adversities were had overcame. We both slept great.
Saturday October 3rd
It is General Conference weekend. (in our Church we have a worldwide conference every six months. The leaders of the church speak to us and it is broadcast worldwide via satellite and the internet.) Since the broadcast in live from Salt Lake City we had a 3 hour time difference on Saturday but due to Daylight savings time in Uruguay it was 4 hours on Sunday. To watch conference meant that we had to catch a bus at noon that took us to the City of Rocha and then walk a short distance to the Stake Center (Church house) where the broadcast would be shown. They had a small room with a TV that broadcast it in English while the main Chapel area the broadcast was translated to Spanish. The broadcasts started a 1PM, 5PM and the Priesthood session (which Janice stayed for) started at 9PM. We caught a bus at 11:30 to get back to La Paloma at about 12:30AM. It was a very good day even though it was so long. The talks and messages given by the Prophet and other Apostles of Jesus Christ were very inspiring and uplifitng. The Spirit of God was very strong and taught us much during the conference. It was great to be able to see it and listen to it in English. We enjoyed getting to know the missionaries in our zone during the breaks along with some of the members and investigators of the Church in La Paloma and Rocha. One of the people (Brother Augilar sp?) we met is the 1st Councilor to the District President (President Grande). Brother Augilar is in charge of La Paloma and he was excited to see me and know that some of his responsibilities would be shifted onto me.