Monday, October 27, 2014

Hello, All  --  This probably will be my last post from Bolivia.  We leave one week from tomorrow, and I can't really imagine having time enough in our last day to post anything.  However, we will be attending a musical presentation this evening and I may get some photos that simply must be shared, so check back next week and see if there is anything here.  :-)    Meanwhile, some photos from the last two weeks . . .

First of all, two weeks ago (October 12) we were practicing for a special devotional to be held here at the temple on October 19th, and after the practice, Elder Calder took this picture of our "hospedaje missionary choir".  L/R  Myself, Elder Jim Calder, Sister Rosa Lara, Sister Ann Calder, Sister Lynda Westover, Sister Celia Benitez, Elder Glen Westover, Elder Tim Parker, Farron, Elder Eduardo Benitez, Elder Don Runquist, Sister Karren Runquist, Sister Teresa Delgado, and Elder Juan Delgado.  We are standing in front of the beautiful temple doors - of which you'll see some close-ups below. 

Elder Calder then took a picture of each couple separately,
so I thought I would share those with you.  He takes GREAT pictures. 
 First, the Delgados - Juan and Teresa - who are from Arica, Chile.
Just FYI, Juan worked for the government in Chile and only retired 2 or 3 years ago.

Next, Elder Tom and Sister Merna Summers, from Idaho Falls, Idaho.
They did not sing in the choir because they both had colds,
but luckily they came up to have their pictures taken. 
FYI, Elder Summers was with the FBI for 30 years.

Sister Marina Valdizan from Peru by way of Provo, Utah (where she has lived for 20 years),
and Sister Rosa Lara, a native Bolivian who has lived in Argentina for almost 40 years.
Sister Valdizan is a cosmetologist and Sister Lara was a nurse.

Glen and Lynda Westover, from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
Glen is our resident chiropractor and has saved Farron a LOT of pain in the last year.
Working on the computer all the time when he only has the use of one eye has caused Farron to have terrible neck and shoulder problems.  Glen has been our lifesaver!

Karren and Don Runquist, from Cardston, Alberta, Canada.
Don was a physical therapist and Karren ran the office for him.

Eduardo Benitez (originally from Ecuador) and Celia Benitez, a native Bolivian.
They too have lived in Provo, Utah for over 20 years before coming down here as missionaries.
Just realized I don't know what Elder Benitez did for a living.  I know Sister Benitez worked in retail.
Elder Jim and Sister Ann Calder, from Provo, Utah.
Elder Calder is our nearly-professional photographer.
He is a CPA and Tax Accountant (he has two offices.)
Ann still teaches part-time in the Education Department at BYU when they are home.

And last of all, the two of us.
Here we are with a young couple who were married for time and all eternity
on Friday, October 24th.
They are from Yacuiba, Bolivia - about a 20-hour bus ride from Cochabamba.

The next major event was our "farewell dinner" with the North American missionaries.
(Elder and Sister Parker aren't in the picture, because he was sick.)
We went to Chifa Lai Lai (Chinese Lai Lai) and the food was great.
Even better, we had this little room all to ourselves 
and we had a round table so we could all talk to each other.
This was Saturday night, October 25th.
L/R:  Jim and Ann Calder, Tom and Merna Summers,
Lynda and Glen Westover, and Karren and Don Runquist, with us seated in front.
(We got out of the temple late, so we didn't even take time to change clothes -
just came in our suits.)

This afternoon - Saturday, October 27th - we had a farewell luncheon at the temple president's house,
just for the presidency and the Cabreras.  Elder Rene Cabrera is the Temple Recorder.  We love him and his wife Teresa; they are WONDERFUL.

President Luis Garcia is first counselor in the temple presidency.
His lovely wife Rosario is first assistant to Sister Jensen.
Rosario has been a wonderful help to me.  
She helps me when I can't remember a word I need in Spanish,
and I translate for her when she doesn't understand something Lona says in English.

 Last but not least, a picture of all of us
in the dining room at the president's house.
L/R:  me, the Garcias, President and Sister Jensen, and the Cabreras.

Okay, that's it for today.  Have a safe, happy, healthy week . . . y vayan con Dios!

Monday, October 13, 2014

No blog post today, sorry.  We are very busy - running around like crazy trying to get everything done before we leave in 3 weeks - but we're not doing "picture worthy" stuff and we're certainly not doing any sightseeing.  I'll try to have something for you next week.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hello, All --

I am sorry!  I don't have anything supremely interesting to tell you today.  It's been a good week - and the weekend was wonderful since we were able to watch General Conference both Saturday and Sunday at the President's house.  No photo ops, though, so I'll share the September photos I haven't shown you yet.

First of all, Elder Westover's birthday was September 18th but for one reason or another, we didn't celebrate on his birthday, so on Sunday, September 21st Sister Westover made two great big cakes and invited everyone in the hospedaje to come and wish him a Happy Birthday.  In this picture, President Jensen is on the left, then Elder Westover, Elder and Sister Runquist, and with their backs more or less to us, Elder and Sister Calder.

Same group more or less, but adding Sister Valdizan nearest the camera on the left,
and Sister Jensen enjoying the chocolate cake, on the right.

The Benitez' came a little late, so this is picture mostly for them.
Sister Westover is at the bottom right with her back partly to us.

The Paredes' came late, too, but there was still cake left so they are enjoying it here.

This is really a random shot and I know it's very dark.  I was at IC Norte (the grocery store) and saw this little cholita with her traditional (and very "un-color-coordinated") outfit so I tried to take a quick picture.  The flash was slow to operate, hence the darkness of the photo.

Can't remember exactly which day it was, but one lovely afternoon in September 
we decided to ride the bus down to where this enclosed walkway crosses the avenue,
and then walk across the walkway to the Cine Center for lunch.  
This is what the walkway looks like from the bottom of the metal stairs 
you have to climb to enter it. 

This is what it looks like from the top of the stairs, just before you enter it.

The Runquists went with us; they are just about to enter the "tunnel".

 Inside the tunnel.

From inside the tunnel, looking back toward the entrance.
I couldn't take a picture looking out because the plastic covering is too scratched and dirty.

Emerging from the tunnel on the other (south) side.
Going down the metal steps to ground level.

Looking back from ground level on the Cine Center side of the avenue.
The Cine Center building is to our right, out of sight.

Two weeks ago we were coming back from church in a taxi and we saw this herd of sheep grazing just across the street south of the temple grounds.  The white house and green lawn you can see on the right is the President's house and back lawn.  If you look closely - or preferably zoom in - you can see the cholita who is there to watch the sheep.  Can you imagine even this small a herd of sheep grazing in the downtown area of your city?  (Actually, we're not really downtown, but we definitely are in a totally-populated and urban suburb.)  Crazy.

Lastly, we're in the rainy season now (just starting)
and I took this through our living room window one rainy day two weeks ago.
The fuzziness is due to the screen on our windows,
but I loved the sight of the Angel Moroni against the dark sky.
Sort of symbolic of our times, don't you think?

That's it for today.  Have a safe, healthy, happy week . . . y vayan con Dios!

Monday, September 29, 2014

This has been a good week, but without any special "photo ops", so I thought I'd share some pictures of a Bolivian get-together we went to last month.

We were invited to the home of one of our temple workers, Lily Oroza.  She is a widow and I don't know what her husband did for a living, but whatever it was, he did it well.  I am kicking myself for not taking a picture of the "street" down which we turned from the main boulevard to reach her home. It looked like an easement or an alley.  It wasn't paved - only dirt and a little gravel - with high block walls on each side.  There was no street sign and there were no house numbers (typical here). There was absolutely no indication that we were in an area of nice homes; we really weren't sure what to expect. We stopped by a door in one of the walls, and when we went through the door, this is what we saw:  a lovely big lot with a beautiful home.

This is looking back toward the door in the wall.

 There were about 20 people invited and we sat on the veranda
 and visited while waiting for everyone to arrive.

This is another view of the veranda.

 And another view, looking back toward the entrance.

 Looks like Southern California, doesn't it?

Lily had planned this as a sort of "Family Home Evening". President Jensen gave the "lesson", which really was interesting because she had asked him to share reminiscences of the General Authorities, especially the Quorum of the Twelve, with whom he served for so many years.  By the time we had our closing song and prayer, it was almost dark and we went into the house for refreshments.

The buffet was all Bolivian dishes - several kinds of very dry bread (they eat it with hot chocolate here), a couple of apple-pie-like desserts, and a couple different kinds of small empanadas with cheese filling.

As you can see, Lily has a lovely home 
(and lots of collectibles in those glass-fronted cabinets).

She wanted pictures with each of us.  L/R Sister Rosa Lara, one of our temple missionaries (from Bolivia via Argentina), Karen and Don Runquist (from Cardston, Alberta, Canada) and Lily.

Our wonderful first counselor in the temple presidency and his wife:
Luis and Rosario Garcia
 Farron and me.

Lily (on the right) with Carlos and Amelia Pedraja.
Brother Pedraja was the first missionary to serve from Bolivia.
He was also the first stake president and a lot of other "firsts" I can't remember.
A number of years ago he had a back surgery that went awry 
and unfortunately now he can't stand up straight and is only about 2/3 of his original height.
That's why he looks so short sitting here.

Two of our temple workers - Luis and Jasmine Sandoval on the left.  On the right, our super-wonderful temple recorder (who is also an Area Seventy), Rene Cabrera and his wife Teresa. 

 And lastly, President Garcia and Farron at the left with Lily.
Those seated are Glen and Lynda Westover (from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho)
and a friend of Lily's whose name I don't know, sorry.

It was a new experience to be guests in a member's home - our first time - and we had a lovely evening.

That's all for today.  Have a happy, healthy, safe week . . . y vayan con Dios!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hello, All --

Getting a late start on this today, but hopefully I can still post something worth viewing.  I thought I'd share some more pictures from our final trip to Sucre in late August.

One of the places we loved was the Convent of the Recoleta which as you can see dates back to 1600!  Only when I'm here in South America do I realize how "young" our United States society really is.

This is the convent from the outside.

This is the inside of the chapel or worship area.
Actually, up close you can see the wear and tear,
but from this view it is beautiful.

I thought a "convent" was by definition run by and populated by nuns,
but in fact, this one is run by an order of monks (Franciscan, I think.)
This group were walking across the parking lot to the door (in the center) 
of the area where they live.

In back of the convent stands this tree - the oldest tree in the city of Sucre.
It dates back to 1600 too!  Our Sucre group from L/R:  Don and Karen Runquist, Glen Westover, Helen Beckman (Lynda Westover's 91-year-old aunt), Lynda herself, Harriet (whose last name I can't remember - she is the friend who traveled with Helen), then Farron and me.

This is the entry to the living quarters and courtyards, etc.
We were able to take a little tour.
 This is one of three patios.
The guide told us there are only 27 monks who live there now.
This place is BIG and even includes some vegetable gardens in back.
I don't know how 27 men - especially if any are elderly - could maintain the place.

This is part of the old choir area above the chapel.
The figures represent the first known Christian martyrs in Japan, of all place.
I think the martyrdom occurred in the 18th century, but I'm not sure.

These are the stairs leading up to the "cells" in which the monks sleep.
VERY austere and bare, believe me.

This private Catholic elementary school takes up one side of the square.
The convent and church are out of sight at your left.

This must be one of the steepest streets in Sucre.
We walked down it to get back to our hotel.
We hoped by putting Farron and the Westovers in the picture,
you would be able to get some perspective on how steep the descent is.

We also visited the "second oldest" church in Sucre.
I am sorry that I don't have better notes to tell you the name of the church.
We were fascinated by the size of this 400-year-old door!

This was where the priest stood to address everyone before the days of sound systems.
It is halfway down the nave (if that's the right word),
more or less in the center of the chapel.

This is the central altar.

This is looking down the center of the church. 

This is the original organ they used for years. (Notice the pedals.)
Now they use taped music, the guide told us.  No one plays the organ anymore.

This is a confession box - still in use, I think (?)

The guide was kind enough to open a locked gate inside the chapel and let us take a picture of the baptismal font.  I do not know what the post with the numbers on it signifies, sorry.

On another day, we visited the Ecclesiastical Museum of Sucre.

Sucre is the "religious capital" of Bolivia.  In this museum they have all the ecclesiastical vestments and items that the Archbishop used and uses for various ceremonies and masses.  I can't remember all the names - things like chalice, cruet, ciborium, paten, and thurible.  In this museum all of these items are made of gold or silver (predominantly silver) and many have precious and semi-precious jewels in/on them, sometimes to an astonishing level of decorate.  Most unfortunately, NONE of those items could be photographed!  In fact, the part of the museum in which they are kept is under armed guard and they watch you like a hawk while you're in there.

We were able to take pictures of the cathedral from part of which the museum was made.  It is one of the oldest in the city and also, we thought, one of the best-maintained and most beautiful.  Especially we appreciated how "light" it seemed to be, since many cathedrals are very dark.

This is taken looking down the length of the cathedral.
A close-up of the beautiful ceiling.

One of the side altars.

This is the choir area,
and it is behind the central altar.

This is a shot of the left side of the choir area as you face the choir, with your back to the altar.  Notice the brown thing in the lower right corner.

This is a music stand, believe it or not!  It rotates, too.  
I'm not sure if the choral director would turn the stand rather than turning pages, or what.
The guide showed us how easy it is to turn.  I've never seen anything like this before, have you?
VERY interesting.

Lastly, the night before we left Sucre there was a parade of school children in the streets near our hotel.  They were honoring the founder of their school.  A police band preceded them and provided ear-splitting marching music.

They marched in "grade-levels", I think.  These are the younger children.
Those are some kind of luminaries they're carrying.

Some of the girls with their luminaries.

More children.

Lastly, one of many happy parents who walked the sidewalks and kept pace with their children. 

Okay, that's it.  We LOVE Sucre and are so glad we got to visit one more time.

Have a safe, happy, healthy week . . . y vayan con Dios!