We will be returning to Renton Washington
May 19th 2011.

Our Homecoming Report in the Soos Creek Ward will be
June 12, 2011

Monday, December 28, 2009

A few Christmas Pictures

This nativity is handmade by a man in Montevideo. It is made out of burlap.

Our Christmas dinner

Sis. Smoot, Sis, Orme and Ruben

Dan and Janice and Ruben Bica

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Week 23 in La Paloma ( a bit out of order but.....)

The Mission Conference (Christmas 2009)

Hermana Lee & Beneagas

Hermana Lee and us

Sunday December 13, 2009

Today is branch conference that remains that President Grande and Augilar and possibly others will be coming to visit a branch today. I have to speak and they will both speak. The topic that I have chosen for the branch conference theme is unity and service.

I gave my talk on unity indicating that in the scriptures we are commanded to one, we are commanded to help support each other and sustain one another.

I also spoke about service and how we needed to help each other and organize service projects for each other and go from one person's house to another helping to do projects that they could not do themselves.

President Grande and Auguilar both spoke also. Since it was in Spanish I'm not sure what they talked about.

During Sunday school time I gave the last lesson of the temple preparation class. This lesson focuses on returning to the temple and continuing to learn. I asked the class members if they enjoyed the temple trip and if they wanted to return to the temple soon and they said yes can we go back tomorrow! It was great to know that they enjoyed the temple trip.

We had Rubin and the missionaries for lunch today. Elder Walbeck shared his curry that his family had sent him. Janice made a curry sauce and rice and it turned out good. Elder Walbeck was excited to be able have that meal before he left us. He realized he will probably not have a kitchen as good as ours any other time in the mission.

Rubin had painted us a picture of the temple. We had given him a photograph of a sunset and the temple. And he recreated it in his painting. Janice and Ruben were negotiating the price of the painting and before long both of them were crying. Janice was explaining to Ruben that his painting was going to be a remembrance of him to her.

Tonight we find out where Elder Walbeck and Espinola are going to be transferred to. It is a sad day as we wait. The missionaries came home from working and told us that Elder Walbeck as being transferred to Chuy and will remain as Zone leader in the Rocha Zone and Elder Espinola is going to be transferred to Durazno and be a trainer.

They told us that we're going to be receiving two sister missionaries, Hermana Orme and Hermana Smoot. We have met Hermana Orme before and she is great. We have not met Hermana Smoot but the missionaries say she is great.

Monday, December 14th 2009

Today we helped the missionaries prepare for the transfers. Cleaning, washing clothes etc. They leave at 5:05 in the morning.

We went out with the missionaries to visit a family (Richardo and Denise) in the Branch that had not been to Church for over a year. They have a little girl named Victoria. They had another little girl that died about a year ago. It was a real tragedy for the family and they pulled away from everyone including the Church. Richardo was working so we talked with Denise and invited her to a Ward family home evening later that night.

Denise and Victoria and Denise's mother came to the Family Home Evening (FHE). It was great to see them at the Church. The FHE was really a going away party for Elder Walbeck and Espinola. There was about 25 people there and everyone had a great time!

Tuesday, December 15th 2009

This morning the Taxi showed up at about 4:30AM and Elder Walbeck and Espinola loaded up all their luggage and headed to the bus station and Montevideo where they will meet their new companions and then head to their new areas of service. We got up with them and helped them load up their stuff and Janice made them a breakfast sandwich they could eat on the bus. She is going to miss those two Elders.

We spent the rest of the day cleaning and preparing for the Hermana's to arrive.

While we were cleaning the phone rang and it was President Da Silva. He asked if we could come to Montevideo tomorrow and help them prepare for the Mission Conference that is being held on Friday December 18th. We told him that we would be on the 9AM bus and should get into Montevideo about noon.

The Hermana's ended up getting a late bus and did not make it into La Paloma until 7:30PM. We met them at the bus station and helped them load up all their luggage into 2 taxis. Hermana Smoot had 11 bags of stuff. We quickly rode our bike home and met them at the house and helped them move all their stuff into the house. We told them that we had dinner waiting and they asked if we could do it at 9PM because they wanted to go out and make 20 contacts with people. So we told them where the most people would be in town and off they went. What great dedication and energy they have towards spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are a great example to us and everyone.

When they came back we had a great meal and enjoyed getting to know them better. Hermana Smoot is from Centerville Utah and it turns out that her dad was the same age as my cousin Bruce Hegerhorst and my uncle Ronald Hegerhorst was their scout master while they were growing up in Centerville ( I found this out when the Hermana's went back into their rooms and I called their parents to let them know that their daughters had been transferred and they were doing great). It is a small world. Hermana Orme is from Gridley California. Both of them have been out on their missions about 15 months. They are both due to return home in March. They both speak Spanish very well and have been great missionaries. We are looking forward to working with them in the area.

Wednesday, December 16th 2009

We were on the 9:05 AM bus heading to Montevideo to help the Da Silva's prepare for the Mission Conference. We felt bad to leave the Hermana's alone and not be able to help them in their new area the first few days, but we had spent some time going over maps and explaining where the members lived. It is tough here since none of the houses have numbers and most of the streets are unmarked. It makes finding people tough.

We arrive in Montevideo and did a bit of shopping and then took a taxi to the Mission Home and arrived just as the Da Silvas were arriving back home. They indicated that they were just heading to the store and asked if we could come with them. We quickly put our suitcases into the garage and got into the van and went right back the store we had just came from. While we were there Hermana Da Silva asked Janice to make the meals for the next 2 nights for 6 people. Janice was in charge of the menu and making the meal at a moments notice. She pulled herself together and we tried to remember the ingredients from recipes so we could buy everything that we needed. We decided on making Chicken Teriyaki and Chicken Alfredo. We arrived back at the Mission home and ate lunch and then the work started! Hermana Da Silva had been baking since last Friday. She was in the process of making 6 cookies (2 chocolate chip (chips from USA) 2 Snickerdoodles and 2 oatmeal raisin) each for 188 missionaries. That is over 1100 cookies!! I got to put the cookie dough on the pans and take the cookies off the pans as they came out of the oven. Janice started preparing the dinner for the evening. Doctor and Hermana Peterson, the Da Silva's and us would be at dinner each night. There were a few cookies that did not make it to the pan and a couple that did not make it far from the oven. Well, I had to test them to make sure they were going to be acceptable to give to the missionaries!!

Thursday, December 17th 2009

We spent the morning packaging the cookies in plastic sacks with a red ribbon and a Santa attached to the ribbon. 188 packages of cookies and then 188 packages of candy also.

When we were done there was a couple of hours before dinner so we went to visit Keith and Teri Wilson, Temple missionaries in the Montevideo Temple. They have become great friends. It was great to visit with them and enjoy some laughs with them.

We made Chicken Alfredo for dinner and it turned out great. They all liked it so much they volunteered me to make breakfast in the morning. After dinner we visited with the Petersen's for a couple of hours and then helped the Da Silva's finish up a few letters they had written to missionaries that do not receive any support from home.

Friday, December 18th 2009

I got up early and made breakfast from leftovers and 5 eggs. It turned out great and everyone enjoyed it. Then we all went to the Malvin church building for the Mission Conference. It was great to see all the missionaries we have met since we have been here in Uruguay.

The conference was great. President Da Silva spoke about the real reason why we give gifts at Christmas time. That is because the best gift of all was given to us, that is the Lord Jesus Christ. He came to this earth to live and die and take upon himself the sins of this world that we all might come back and live with him and our Heavenly Father. What a wonderful gift this is to all of us that repent and live the commandments of God. We will all get to live with our families and Them again. We then broke for lunch. It was a catered lunch and was good. It was nice to talk to the Hermanas at our table. I told hermana Brittany Lee that if she gave me her families phone number I would call them for her and if she gave me their email address I would email the pictures of the Conference to them. She did so I did.

President Da Silva then gave everyone letters that their family, Stake President, Bishop or President Da Silva had written them. There was then a quiet time for everyone to read their letters. It was touching to watch the missionaries read their letters through tears and sniffles. The missionaries were very grateful to receive this letters and it touched them deeply.

Each Zone then gave a musical number and the conference ended. Everyone headed back to their areas. We went to the bus station and waited for the 6PM bus back to La Paloma.

Saturday, December 19th 2009

Tonight is our Branch Christmas party. There was about 15 people that came and those that did enjoyed the time together. It started raining during the party and most of the people that came were on motorcycles, bicycles or walking. Most of them including us got wet on the way home. While at the party President Picarrdo told me that he had a nephew that repairs bicycles and he was going to talk him on Monday to see he would be willing to take the missionaries bikes and repair them. The bikes are in bad shape and desperately need repairs.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Week 22 in La Paloma

Marta, Ali, Natalia, Alba and Ruben at the Montevideo Temple

Ruben and us outside the Hostal in Montevideo

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Today is our daughter Christina's birthday, she is 25 years old today. We sent her an e-mail wishing her a happy birthday.

Today is Fast Sunday in Church and the spirit was very strong as some of the new members shared their testimonies. We had 36 in attendance in sacrament meeting.

I released the Relief Society Presidency today and sustained a new Presidency. I think the new presidency will do a wonderful job.

Leonardo was ordained an Elder by his father-in-law today.

Leticia and Leonardo have decided to wait until their wedding anniversary in May to go to the temple. I think this is best as it will give time for them both to learn more and to accept the things that they have been taught.

Monday, December 7, 2009

This morning Janice and I got up and went for a long bicycle ride.

Today is preparation day and Elder Walbeck made a Japanese meal for us called Katsudon. It was very delicious and we enjoyed it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Today's district meetings will be the last one before the changes next week. Some of these missionaries we may never see again.

Elder Jimenez came and did splits with Elder Espinola. He is from Panama and has suffered health problems while on his mission. He is the only member of the church in his family. He was told if he joined the church that he would receive no support from his family. He joined the church and a short time later was called on a mission. He has such a great attitude and Spirit about him.

The Leticia accepted the called to be the Young Women's president in the Branch. We had Leticia and Leonardo and their family over for dinner tonight. We fed them waffles and pancakes. Leonardo loves peanut butter and maple syrup on his waffles and pancakes. He was quickly growing to love the buttermilk syrup that Janice made also. We had a great time and enjoyed their visit.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Today we went over to Ruben Bica's home and helped clean it and organizing it. We could not help singing the song silently to ourselves "count your many blessings". He lives in such a humble home and has such a great attitude and testimony the gospel. He is a great example to all of us. It was nice to be able help him.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Five months ago today we left the United States for Uruguay. In some way the time has flown and in other ways it has been real slow.

Friday, December 11, 2009

This morning we prepared to go up to Montevideo on our temple trip with the five members from the branch. Four are going to the temple for the first time and one will help as an escort for them. Ruben, Ali, Alba, Natalia are all going through for the first time. Marta is helping as an escort. Elder Walbeck, Espinola and Janice and I are going through with them.

When the missionaries moved into the house we discovered that there were termites in the false ceiling in their bedroom so we're going to bug bomb the house as we leave for Montevideo.

We all met at the bus station to go on 4:20 PM bus that goes to Montevideo. Elder Walbeck had told everyone to be there at 3:20 to make sure that everybody got there on time. Everyone was there and we made it to Montevideo and got off at Portones. Janice and I went shopping at Tienda Inglesa while the others got in taxis and went to the Hostal by the Temple.

Everyone was excited to be there. The hostal has all the women sleep in one room and all the men sleep in another room. In the men's room there were four beds and in the women's room there were six beds.

Satuday, December 12, 2009

The exciting day of going to the temple started out different than we had expected. Ruben awoke feeling tired and groggy. He took his blood sugar measurement and it was 38. Which is very low, normal is around 120. He was quickly heading towards the diabetic coma. We gave him orange juice, sugar, candy and bread trying to bring his blood sugar up. He was getting very groggy and non responive to us so we had the front desk call for a Doctor. By the time the Dr. arrived he was feeling a little better and a little more responsive. The Dr. took his vital signs and said he was going to be OK and left. He slowly came back around and was fine the rest of the day. While all this was going on Janice and the other Sisters from the Branch went to the Distribution Center and got the things they would need for the day. We all met back in the Hostal and had breakfast.

While we were getting ready to go the the Temple at 10AM one of our YSA from the Buceo ward came by to tell us the Vichy (Virginia) was getting married at 9AM today and then being seal for eternity at 1:30. It was almost 9AM so we hurried to the Chapel and got to see the wedding but had to leave before we could visit with them.

We made it to the 10AM Temple appointment. Janice was an escort for some of the Sisters. Elder Espinola was Ruben's escort. Elder Walbeck and I got to wait until the 11:30 session. We all went through the session and it was wonderful to see their faces when it was complete.

We all went back to the Hostal for lunch and to clean up our rooms. We called 2 taxi's and waited for them to come but they never showed up so we had to call 2 more. This delay caused us to miss our bus and we had to wait in Tres Cruses (the bus terminal) an extra 2 hours for the next bus to La Paloma. We finally made it to La Paloma about 9:30 PM. It was a long and wonderful day. When we got home we had to clean up after the bug bomb.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Feliz Navidad 2009 La Paloma

We wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas! So we had our zone do it for us! Sorry they are the only ones that got cinnamon rolls this year! They said to tell you they were great!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chuy & Spring Blossoms

A blossom from a flowering tree that is real common in La Paloma,
most are red and a few are yellow
A rose blossom

The tree next to the Church in Rocha was covered in violet blossoms.
The picture does not do it justice. It was very pretty

This is the Chapel in Chuy.
The town straddles the Uruguay and Brazil border.

We had to get a picture showing that we had been in Brazil.
Mitch our son served his mission in Northern Brazil in Manaus (sp?)

La Paloma Pictures

Jenny & Alvaro after their wedding
Elder Walbeck and Espinola helping cut up the potatoes and apples for Thanksgiving Dinner
The Rocha Zone at the Thanksgiving Dinner table
The Rocha Zone in the Chuy Building at the end of change 1
First Row Right: Elder Draper, Cardona, Roisum, Sandigo, Manning, Walbeck
2nd Row Right; Elder Bulloch, Jiminiz, Hegerhorst, Castillos, Sister Hegerhorst, Espinola, Chuism, Solano
Janice and I on our bicycles, out visiting the members

Week 21 in La Paloma

Sunday, November 29, 2009.
Today's election day in Uruguay, they're selecting a new president today! In Uruguay they must vote or they get fined. Because of this we have only the sacrament meeting of the full three hour block of meetings. Elder Espinola give a talk on sustaining your leaders and not murmuring or gossiping. Marta Huton gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. After sacrament meeting we had lunch with the missionaries and Ruben.

Monday November 30, 2009
Today is preparation day and Elder Walbeck has requested another Asado (BBQ) so he can learn how to cook the chicken that we had for thanksgiving. We marinate it in a sauce of oil, soy sauce and 7-up. Then soak to meat overnight and it really turns out well. We also made teriyaki sauce and rice and stir fried vegetables. It was a great meal that everyone enjoyed although Elder Espinola does not like teriyaki sauce.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009
This evening we went to the home of Leonardo and Leticia. Tonight I gave the temple recommended interview to Leticia. I explained what would happen throughout the day that we go to the temple. Answered her questions and gave her some counsel. Leonardo at this time has some things he is working on and will not be able to join her in the temple trip. After the interview they shared some chocolate drink and bread and some bakery treats. It was fun to get to know them better and enjoy some time with them.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Today is a busy day. We have district conference in Rocha, following district conference we have zone conference and President and Sister Da Silva will be at zone conference. We will also be interviewed by President De Silva after the zone conference. Janice and I met with President Da Silva after the Zone conference for our interviews. I asked him to communicate directly with us in the future instead of going through the missionaries. This would allow us to communicate better with him and to understand his desires and the big picture. It would also allow us to communicate our concerns and frustrations to him. I told them that in the future that when we're transferred that we needed time to organize ourselves and to plan and to be able to go find a home that my wife would be comfortable and secure in. He indicated that he would do these things in the future.
After zone conference we went to the church in La Paloma for the interviews of the five people going to the temple. The interviews went well and everyone passed!
After the interviews President and Hermana Da Silva came to our home for dinner. Janice had made a delicious meal of Chicken Alfredo with a Caesar salad and bread. For dessert she had made a lemon meringue pie which turned out wonderfully.
While she was preparing the meal I took the President and Hermana Da Silva to their hotel, which is located right on the beach. Their hotel room was on the top floor overlooking the beach. It was an awesome view, specially with the sunset going on!
Janice did not sleep well tonight, she was up thinking that she should have spoken to Pres. Da Silva and told him her frustrations and concerns. She had fought the feeling but finally had the Lord tell her to speak with Pres. Da Silva.

Thursday, December 3, 2009
We texted Pres. Da SIlva and asked him to call us before he left town. He stopped by the house at about 10AM and Janice talked with him for about an hour and after she felt much better about things that had been bothering her.
I baked cookies to share with others today.

Friday, December 4, 2009
We went to two weddings today and two receptions. They were getting married so they could be baptized into the Church. The first wedding was for Alvaro & Jenny at 3:00PM. When we arrived at the justice of peace they were already there waiting. The wedding was pretty low key, they signed a bunch of papers and stood in front of the Justice of Peace and she said a few thing and they said "yes" and it was over. We took some photos of the family and that was about it. The other wedding was Adriana and Velo at 5:00PM. When we arrived at 5:00PM none of the participants were there. A few friends were there, Velo showed a few minutes later and about 5:20 the bride showed up. It all worked out fine and they were married the same way.
The reception for Adriana and Velo was at their house right after the wedding. We went home to get a plate of cookies to take to the receptions. When we got to Adriana and Velo's with Elder Walbeck and Espinola there was only one other person there. They had set up a table outside of the house and prepared some snacks for eating. A few more people showed up and we all sat around and talked and looked at each other. After about and hour and a half we left to go to the reception for Alvaro and Jenny. It was at their house (they are living with his family). There was loud music going and about 10 friends and family in the yard. Jenny and Alvaro were busy preparing food for everyone to really enjoy the party. We stayed until 9:00PM and left with Elder Walbeck and Espinola. It was dark when we got home. They next day was the baptism for Adriana (Velo is not interested in getting baptized at this time) Jenny and Alvaro.

Saturday December 5 2009
Today is the baptism in Rocha for Adriana, Jenny and Alvaro. All those that were going needed to be at the Bus Station to take the 5:25PM bus to Rocha. We were walking to the Bus Station and walked by a vacant lot where there was a party going on and we saw Jenny and Alvaro. Jenny waved at us as we walked by. Elder Walbeck had told me earlier that they were in Rocha and would meet us at the Church. I tried calling Elder Walbeck but he did not answer the phone. When we arrived at the Bus Station I told Walbeck what I had seen and he called them and they said that they were trying to make the bus but if they did not they would take a taxi to the Church. Alvaro is a singer and he had a singing engagement at the party. It turned out they were having all sorts of technical difficulties with the microphone and other equipment that was delaying him singing. The bus came and left without them on it! Walbeck was stressed out!! We delayed the meeting in Rocha for about 15 minutes but still no Jenny and Alvaro! Finally we started the meeting at 6:45 so we could have a chance to make the 7:30PM bus back to La Paloma. The meeting went well and Adriana was baptized. We were all back in the Chapel ready to end the meeting and Jenny and Alvaro arrived they went directly into the locker rooms and changed into the baptism clothes and we proceeded to baptism them. It was really quick but they were baptized. We all made the bus and made it back to La Paloma.
When we arrived I decided to try to help Ruben get off the bus. He climbs on my back and I give him a piggy back ride out of the bus. He got on and we headed down the aisle and everything was going fine until we reached the door that separates the driver from the passengers. It is really narrow and once you get through it there are steep stairs to get to the outer bus door. The problem was that my shoulders were to wide to fit through the door and with Ruben on my back I could not turn sideways to get through the door. I am not sure how we did it but some way we wiggled through the door but I was facing the wrong direction to go down the stairs, so I had to back down the stairs to get out of the bus. We finally made it out and to his wheelchair where I sat him down into it. We walked (rolled) Ruben back to his home where we got to inspect his work. He is a painter and does mostly seascapes. We had asked him to paint the Uruguay Temple for us. We had taken a few good photos and asked if he could recreate them. He was well under way with the painting and it looked good.

Week 20 in La Paloma

Sunday November 22, 2009

We were told that a translator would be coming to Church at 9AM to help us. He got lost and arrived at 1-1/2 hours late. While we were waiting for the translator I attended Relief Society with Janice to experience the contention that she is feeling is going on during the meetings. The sisters get louder and louder trying to make their opinion heard. It is all part of the problems that the Branch is having in the Relief Society.

During Sacrament Meeting the translator sat next to Janice and translated for her. She had a very hard time understanding his English with his heavy accent. She finally told him to stop translating so he would not interfere with the others around her. We hope that she will be able to better when it is a one on one translator situation. He is supposed to come to La Paloma on Wednesday so we can go visit some members.

Monday November 23rd, Thanksgiving for the Rocha Zone!!!

We had Elder Walbeck and Espinola over at 8:00 AM to help cut up potatoes and peel and cut up apples for the apple pie. We had started marinating the chicken breasts last night. I started the fire for the Asado (BBQ) at about 10:00AM. We prepared and cooked, stuffing, beans (uruguay version), mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, Apple pie, pumpkin pie (squash, they don't have pumpkin here). I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Asado turned out. The chicken turned out great! The rest of the meal was great and the Missionaries were all very full when they left for their various areas. We took some pictures and emailed them to some of the parents of some of the Missionaries.

Tuesday, November 24th

We cleaned up after Thanksgiving dinner and went with the Missionaries around the area to find the houses of the members.

Wednesday, November 25

Our Translator did not show up today and did not call! We don't know if he will come or not. He finally called at 8:30PM and apolgized for not calling. He claimed he was sick. I guess his phone was out of minutes and he could not call. He said he would come tomorrow at 2:00PM to go and visit the members

Thursday, November 26

Today is Thanksgiving but we did not celebrate it because we did it on Monday.

2:00 PM came and no translator, he finally called at 2:15 and said his bus was late and he would be here at 2:30. He came and we went to visit some of the members, unfortunately not many of them were home and we could not find some of them. We sent him home after about 4 hours. The translating worked out pretty well having one on one. We have an appointment for next Thursday and Friday. We will go out with the Missionaries and find some more people to visit.

Friday, November 27

We went with the Missionaries on a bike ride to find members homes. We only found a couple more. The records of the Branch are not very good. They don't have house numbers on the houses and most of the streets are not named so it is very hard to find addresses since it is usually something like close to street X and between streets X & Y.

Saturday, November 28

The Branch has been doing a clothing drive to help the people in the other part of the country where they have had flooding. They gathered 10 large garbage bags on clothes. Elder Walbeck, Espinola and Janice and I put them on our bicycles and took them to the bus station and paid to send them to the area where the flooding is occurring. It was great to see how quickly and generously the members gave to help others.

Week 19 in La Paloma

Sunday, November 15, 2009
Today we went to church as normal. Elder Walbeck and Elder Espinola were waiting for Ruben Bica to arrive to start priesthood meeting. Ruben was typically early to the meeting so when he did not arrive we got worried. Elder Espinola called his house and he did not answer. He then called the taxi company that told him that Ruben did not come out when they came by the house. I sent the missionaries over to check on Ruben to make sure he was okay. The missionaries arrived at Ruben's house at the same time the ambulance was pulling up to the house. Ruben's sister had found Ruben fainted in the shower and had called the ambulance. Elder Espinola helped helped Ruben's who was unconscious into his wheelchair and the ambulance technicians administered some type of the solution to bring Ruben's blood sugar to the proper level. Rubin is diabetic and his blood sugar had gotten too low when he passed out in the shower.
Elder Walbeck and Elder Espinola watched as the sugar solution started to to work in Ruben's body. Ruben went from glassy eyed comatose to alert and attentive and asking questions and then realizing what was going on and started to cry. The missionaries left them in with the doctors and went in a taxi to pick up some of their investigators that were walking to church.

Since Ruben and the missionaries were not at the meeting and they were all the priesthood members that attended that day, I went in and then visited with the Relief Society. During Relief Society Elder Walbeck and Espinola returned with a young couple and their baby.

Elder Walbeck and I taught the Temple Elder Walbeck and I, the Temple preparation class to three people that were there, they were Alba, Ali & Natalia.

During sacrament meeting I conducted the meeting and blessed and pass the sacrament along with the missionaries. It was the first time that I had given the sacrament prayer in Spanish and I must not have been a really good job because Elder Walbeck offered to give the prayer on the water. Just before the sacrament the door opened and Ruben and came in. He looked a little tired but other Than that he looked OK. Later in the meeting he gave a talk on the priesthood. We were all shocked to see that he was there. He is typically in a wheelchair work today he wore his prosthetic legs and stood before the congregation and gave his talk. He did a great job, I think, I still can't understand Spanish!

Elder Walbeck and I interviewed Alba, Ali & Natalia and Ruben for a temple recommend after the meetings.

Elder Walbeck, Espinola and Ruben joined Janice and I for lunch after all the meetings. Janice and I have prepared a large pot of chicken noodle soup with lots of vegetables. It was very good!

At 3:00 PM we all went to church to meet with the district president and his counselors. I wanted to meet with them to find more thing: that there are out what their goals and expectations were for the La Paloma branch. It was a good meeting and I'm learned more of what they expected and they learned more about us.

Monday, November 16, 2009.
Today's preparation day and Janice and I did our laundry. At 10:00 AM the missionaries came over to do their laundry and to learn how to cook Chicken Alfredo. They also had a recipe that one of the members (Esther) had given them for a desert that they wanted to try. The Chicken Alfredo and the desert turned out great!
The missionaries left and about 2:00 PM. We met back up with them at 6:00 PM to go visit some members. We tried to visit the Piriz family that they were not home so we went to the Dominici family. We gave them a lesson and challenge one of the granddaughters to be baptized and she accepted. She accepted the date of December 12th. I am a bit concerned that she is ready, she seems to be just saying what the missionaries would like her to say.

Janice started coming down with a cold this afternoon.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009,
Today is our 30th wedding anniversary

Janice didn't sleep well last night, her cold made her cough.

We had district meetings today in Rocha. The meetings went well and we were able to do some other errands in Rocha.

We were supposed to meet with President Augilar after the District meetings to give him our curriculum order for 2010 but he had to work and was unable to be at the meeting. So I gave my the curriculum order to Elder Sandigo to pass along to him.

I had a meeting with the Branch Relief Society President ( Susana) tonight. I have been informed by the missionaries that she is having a feud with her councilor. She has apparently borrowed money from them and then not repaid it along with some other problems.
She also informed me of a Sister whose husband had just passed away and she did not have the money to pay the light bills and it was going to be cut off on Monday.
I ask her if the accusations of her borrowing money and not paying it back were true and she said that she did not owe anyone any money.

Wednesday , November 18th 2009
Today we studied Spanish and read during the day. Tonight we found out that the missionaries were invited back to visit with Elizabeth. It turns out that while she was in Montevideo she got on the internet and found some anti-mormon stuff and she is denying everything that she knows to be true so she will not have to pay a full tithing. Elder Walbeck said there was the spirit of Satan in Elizabeth home and he did not want to go back there anymore. They are going to leave her alone for a while a hopefully she will realize the peace and good feelings that she had while they were teaching her are gone and she will want them back in her life!

Thursday, Novemeber 19th 2009
Janice has decided to cook a Thanksgiving dinner for the Rocha Zone on Monday the 23rd (P-Day). There are 14 Missionaries in the Zone including us. Uruguay does not have turkey for sale at the stores so we are going to have improvise with something else. We went to the store and purchased 30 chicken breasts which we will marinate and I will attempt my first Uruguation asado(BBQ).

Friday, November 20th 2009
We got up early and caught the bus into Rocha and then on to Montevideo. We have a joint mission conference with the other mission in Uruguay. We both get to hear Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak and train us. We got to Montevideo and we got of the bus at Portones and walked to Tienda Inglesia (English Store) and purchased a long list of items that we cannot find in La Paloma. We then checked into the Hostel by the Temple and hurried to get to the Malvin Stake Center where the conference was being held. It was great to see all the Elders from the Offices that we had made friends with while we were there. Along with Elder & Sister Bednar there was Elder & Sister Snow of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder and Sister Bowen, the Area Seventy and both the the Mission Presidents and their wives. We got to hear from Sister Bednar, Sister Snow, Brother Snow and Elder Bednar. During his presentation he would have Elder Bowen and Snow talk also. They taught us how to learn by the Spirit. It was a great 3 hours.
After the conference we hung around and talked with the Elders and our YSA from the Buceo Barrio that meets in the Malvin building. It turns out that Elder Bednar was giving a talk to the YSA at 7PM so we got to see most of our YSA. It was great to see them. We found out that one of them is getting married on December 12th. That is the same day that we have scheduled a Temple trip for our Branch so we will get to see her get married also!
After meeting with our YSA we walked to our old house and rang the bell of our old landlady and surprised her. I think we were the last people that she expected at the gate. She let us in to see all the improvements that she had made on the house. It looked much better than it did while we were renting it. She had tiled the concrete wall in the kitchen so and repaired cracks in the other walls and repainted. It looked much better. We visited for a short time and said goodbye and went back to the Hostel to have dinner with Elder Keith & Sister Teri Wilson that are serving in the Temple in Montevideo. We had a great meal and a wonderful visit with the Wilsons.
We spent the night in the Hostel. It cost $ 200 hundred pesos which is about $10 dollars.

Saturday, November 21, 2009
We awoke early and went to the 10:00 AM session at the temple. We were given translator headsets so that we can listen to the session in English. As we have done before we turn it way down so that we could hear the Spanish as well as the English and we found that we were recognizing many more Spanish words than we were previously. So maybe we are getting it!?
While we were at the temple we met Sister Shurtliff, her husband is the new Temple president. We had a great visit with her and she counseled us on several things that we had questions on.
After the visit with her we went to the distribution center and picked up some items for the Branch and for ourselves.
We went back to the hostel and cleaned our room (part of the reason why it is so cheap) and checked out. We had the desk clerk call us a taxi to go the bus station (Tres Cruces).
We caught the 4:15 PM bus heading back to La Paloma and arrived at about 7:30 PM. We walked back to our house dragging our suitcases which were heavier due to all the items that we purchased in Montevideo. It was a great trip!

Week 18 in La Paloma

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Today Janice and I both spoke in Sacrament meeting. Janice had Elder Walbeck translate for her. I had written my talk in English and then put it through a translator program on the Internet and then I read it in Spanish to the congregation. President Riso of the Mission Presidency visited our branch today. He is on his way to Chuy to a priesthood conference that will be held later in the afternoon. He spoke some English so I was able visit with him.

After lunch Elder Walbeck, Espinola, Ruben and myself were picked up by President Picardo in his car and taken to Rocha to catch the bus to the Priesthood conference in Chuy. At the conference Ruben and the Leonardo were approved to have the priesthood and be ordained an Elder. After the meeting Ruben was ordained and got to help ordain others. It was a great opportunity for him. Leonardo unfortunately had to work and was unable to be at the meeting.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Today is preparation day and Elder Espinola made a dulce de leche torta (dulce de leche is similar to caramel and a torta is a cake). We had found the recipe for teriyaki on the Internet and Elder Walbeck was making teriyaki chicken for us. The teriyaki chicken turned out great the torta had too much flour in it and it was hard.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We have been in Uruguay four months today.

Janice and I went to Leonardo and Leticia's and gave them another temple preparation class. We had a great visit with them and invited them to dinner on Thursday.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

We went with the missionaries to visit with Esther at her home. While I was there I noticed that her front door hinges were broken and the door was hard to open.

Leonardo and Leticia came to dinner and we had a great time visiting with them and getting to know them better. Janice made pineapple chicken which was a new taste for them but they seemed to enjoy it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

We went for a bicycle ride with the missionaries today and visited with Alba and Pedro. After our visit I went to Esthers house and fixed her door for her. She was very grateful. Janice and her got to visit while I was at the hardware store getting the hinges. It is very hard not being able to communicate with people.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Today we went to visit Luz and Beatina and her son Kevin. Ruben and was not feeling well because of blood sugar problems.

Week 17 in La Paloma

Sunday, November 1, 2009
While we're talking to the Taggart's yesterday they mentioned that several people in our Stake and Ward back home were going to be fasting and praying for us that we might learn the language.
Today the District President and his counselors and the Primary President came to visit the Branch. Janice had been babysitting Joaquin and he kept trying to open the door to the church so she had locked the door. The Sacrament meeting had already started when the District Presidency arrived. I could see them looking through the windows at the back of the chapel. The next thing I saw was them walking past the windows on the side of the chapel. Then they walked back past the windows on the side to the back of the chapel. When they walked by the side of the chapel Janice saw them walk by and then realized what the problem was. She had locked the door and they could not get in. She was sitting in one of the middle rows and could not communicate with the people sitting by the back door to tell them that the door was locked. She finally was able to talk to Leticia and Leticia told them to unlock the door. I'm not sure what kind of message if any the District Presidency took by having a locked door greet them.

Elizabeth was not a church today so we made a plate of cookies for her and took them to her and gave her a hug. That was about all we could do since we could not speak to her. It is very frustrating not being able to communicate with the people.

This afternoon I (and Elder Walbeck) gave interviews for the priesthood to Ruben and Leonardo.

Monday, November 2, 2009
Today's preparation day, we deep cleaned the house, fixed bicycles and studied Spanish.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Today I gave Janice her second haircut since we have been in La Paloma. This one was a little more stressful than the first one. But we made it through it.
During one of Janice is conversations with her mother. Her mother had mentioned that they had a translator while they were in Mongolia on their mission. She asked if we could hire a translator. This was an interesting idea that we gave some serious thought to and came up with having one of our young single adults from the Buceo ward come and live in our home and teaches us Spanish and go out with us to visit the members and be our translator.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009
We prayed about the idea of having a translator and in particular having Gabriela be the translator. We felt good about the idea and so I emailed Gabriela and asked for her input and about how much we should pay a translator. Gabriela thought it was a great idea but she is in school and would not finish her classes until late December so it would be January before she would be available.

Week 16 in La Paloma

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Today is the preliminary election day in Uruguay. We were told by District President to only have Sacrament meeting today. After Sacrament meeting we had Ruben and the missionaries over for lunch.

After lunch I wrote a 10 page letter to President Da Silva explaining the advantages of having sister missionaries in La Paloma. I sent this to him via e-mail.

Monday October 26, 2009

Today's preparation day. After clean around the house in the morning we went with the missionaries to visit the Faro lighthouse which is just a few blocks away from our home. Just before we left to go visit the lighthouse I checked our e-mail and we had a response back from President Da Silva. He had written a response in Spanish so I could not read it. I took it with us to the lighthouse and had Elder Walbeck translated for us. President Da Silva told us that he was not going to send sister missionaries to La Paloma and that we should seek help from the district level. This response was very discouraging. We had prayed about it and the missionaries had prayed about it and everyone had thought and it was a great idea. The assistants to the president were requesting help for housing sister missionaries and we had housing available, everything was falling into place like it was supposed to happen and and the President tells us no. We felt like we were all alone and that we were not a part of the mission. That we were out here with no support!

That evening we went to Elizabeth's for a discussion. The missionaries were reviewing the questions that she would be asked in her baptism interview. When they came to the question about tithing she proposed a solution to her tithing problem. She offered the missionaries a certain amount of money and asked them to accept it as her tithing. The missionaries asked if it was 10% of her income. She indicated that it wasn't and they told her then it was not a full tithe. They tried to teach that tithing is the Lord's way of finding out if we're willing to sacrifice for him. She got really upset and decided that she wanted to be alone so we all left and she went for a walk on the beach.

Not a really good day!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Elizabeth will not respond to the missionaries phone calls or text messages.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

We got this morning and went for early morning bicycle ride. It was good to get up and get loosened up from the night's sleep.

Still no response from Elizabeth!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Today we are invited to President Picardo's for lunch. He made us an Asado (BBQ). I don't know why but the meat that they want to grill is mostly fat, gristle, bone and very little meat. Once you make it to the meat it is pretty good. We had ridden our bicycles to his house and while we were eating lunch a thunderstorm came in so while we were riding home we got wet!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Today we had been invited to Leonardo and Leticia for lunch. We took the desert. While we were there I taught them a temple preparation class that they had missed on Sunday. Leonardo needs to be interviewed to receive the Priesthood. I was not sure what questions I needed asking during the interview so I called back home to speak to Bishop Bigelow but there was no answer at his number so I called President Taggart who was home and gave me the answers that I needed along with some scriptures that I could use to help teach Leonardo the importance of the priesthood. It was great to talk with him. Janice spoke with him as well and he helped her understand some of the questions that she has. We both appreciate his strength and advise.

Elizabeth finally answered the missionaries they were able to come back and visit with her. While they're visiting with her Janice and I realize that they were there so we knelt down and prayed that her heart would be softened and she would have the Spirit teach her the truth. The missionaries told us later that at about the same time that we were praying her heart softened and she became more interested in listening to them. Another testimony that our Heavenly Father answers our prayers.

Week 15 in La Paloma

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I conducted the sacrament meeting today. Our landlord Pedro attended the meeting along with his wife Beatrice. It was great to see them and they seem like they're enjoying the meeting. Afterward Pedro agreed to let the missionaries come over and visit him later in the week.

The missionaries received a text message from the assistants to the president's asking if anyone had any housing available for sister missionaries. They immediately answered back that they had housing available and would love to have them in the area. It looks like we might get the sister missionaries after all.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Today we made a lunch for the missionaries today. In the evening we went to a discussion with Elizabeth. We pretty much don't know what's going on during the discussion until at the end Elder Walbeck asks us to bear testimony of what ever he's been teaching that day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Today is our grandson Gavin's birthday! We tried to call him to wish and a happy birthday but there was no one home.

We rented bicycles to see if we would be able to ride them and if our bodies would agree with riding them. We rode them out to visit Leonardo and Leticia. We also went to visit President Picardo and went to another discussion with Elizabeth.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

On Wednesday we returned the bicycles that we had rented on Tuesday and discover that our bodies didn't mind riding bicycles except for the sore bottom.

We asked our landlord Pedro if he knew of any place and we can rent or buy bicycles and he said no just use mine. He said he had two very nice bicycles that were never been used that he would let us use. He just needed get them out of storage and filled the tires up with air.

We met with Pedro and Beatrice and they told the Missionaries that they were not religious people and were not interested in the Church.

Friday, October 23, 2009

This afternoon while we was eating lunch with the missionaries we found out that one of our Branch members Ruben Bica does not have any food in his house. The song “Because I have been given much I too must give” kept running through our minds. We had just enough time before our appointment with Leonardo and Leticia to go to the store and buy some food for Ruben. We decided to do a knock and run. So we left the bags of groceries at his door and went to our appointment.

It was great to visit with Leticia and Leonardo, they speak English and have a little baby for Janice to hold. Leticia really wants to go to the temple and be sealed to her husband and boys. About a week ago Leticia sister-in-laws sister's husband was killed in an airplane crash. He was a member of the Carrasco ward in Montevideo. This has really emphasize the importance of being sealed together with her family. They have a good spirit in their home and it's fun to visit with them.

Later that evening we went to a discussion with the missionaries at Elizabeth's. Elder Walbeck told me before the discussion that he was going to ask Elizabeth if it was OK if I baptized her. This would be a great honor but the missionaries have done all the work in teaching her and should be the ones to baptize her. I told Elder Walbeck that she should be able to choose whom she wanted to have baptized her. So when he asked her the question he phrased it in such a way that she would automatically choose me. So I went home and immediately started to learn how to say the baptism prayer in Spanish.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

We awoke early because the assistants to the president's Elders Parraga and Zanutini are coming to town. They're delivering a new stove and refrigerator to us along with two garment racks. We had invited them for breakfast of waffles, pancakes and scrambled eggs. When they arrived we had breakfast ready. We quickly unloaded the items and had a wonderful breakfast. Elder Walbeck and Espinola joined us also. After everyone had left we started to organize our back bedroom for the sister missionaries that would be coming.

Week 14 in La Paloma

Monday, October 12, 2009

Today we got to see our granddaughter Jenna via Skype and the Internet. It was great to see her, Christina, Logan and Brian.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This morning we went to district meetings and afterward were invited to lunch with Elizabeth an investigator of the church. She made an awesome meal and the food just kept coming and coming. Elizabeth is very excited about the gospel and about the feelings that she is feeling.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Janice came up with the idea of asking for a companionship of sister missionaries to be assigned to La Paloma branch for one change (6 weeks) or more. They could stay in our home free of charge. They would be able to translate for Janice in Relief Society and Sunday School. We would be able to use them to go out and visit the members which would allow the zone leaders Elder Walbeck and Espinola to continue to set a good example for the rest of the zone. We asked Elder Walbeck and Espinola what they thought of the idea and they thought it was a great idea. They called President Da Silva and asked him if what he thought and he was supportive of the idea.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I was in the kitchen when I heard this screen from Janice in the bathroom. The water heater had sprung a leak and was leaking all over. I ran outside and turned the water off to the house. I tried to contain the water and drain the house so that the water would not run all over any more. I called Pedro our landlord and told him that we have water leaking in the house. He came right over and looked at the water heater and said it was “dead” and went to the store and bought a new one. When he got back I remove the old one and replaced it with the new water heater and everything worked fine.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Today we got to go to Esther's baptism in Rocha. There was several members of the Branch there to support her and the missionaries. Janice met an 11 year old girl from Rocha named Macarena. They hit it off off real well and become instant friends. It was fun watching them try to communicate with each other.