Sunday, June 8, 2014
I am amazed after seeing the example of the people here in Panama. I would put in my two hours at the temple in the States and return home thinking I was tired. The people here often come for four hours. Sometimes they spend the night and come for another four hours the next morning. Or they come work during the four hours in the morning and come back for four more hours in the afternoon. I'm talking about the patrons, not the temple workers. However, sometimes the Panamanian temple workers do the same thing. I should be more appreciative of living close to temples in the States.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Being on a Temple mission is a different kind of mission, not one to easily write about since so many of our experiences are evolved around being in the Temple. Leon and I have been very busy this week learning new things. You would think that after 3 weeks we would know everything, but since everything is in Spanish, it is a little harder to learn and remember things. Just when I think they will let me just practice what I know and give me time to solidify my knowledge, someone teaches me something else or they push me to learn something new.
At this point, I have memorized most of what I need to memorize to get by. There are other things I can read if I haven't memorized them. However, I have noticed that sometimes it is difficult for me to see with my glasses, so I have realized it will ultimately be better if I have everything memorized. We have been here 3 weeks so I feel like I have done well. I was thinking maybe the rest could wait until next month, but I might as well keep myself moving and challenged.
This Thursday, there will be a new couple arriving from temple training in Salt Lake City, just as we did almost 4 weeks ago. The day they arrive, we will have been here for 4 weeks! It has been a very busy 4 weeks!! This couple is from Canada. Sister Boren, the Temple President's wife, thinks that the Sister knows some Spanish, but the Brother doesn't know as much. It will be interesting to meet them. I don't know how much temple experience they have, but it is probably a lot more than Leon and I had when we came. We will probably be glad that we had a little bit of a head start by getting here when we did so that we will be able to keep up with them!!
Last Monday, we went to Portobelo with President and Sister Boren and with President and Sister Martin (2nd Counselor in the temple presidency). You probably read "Martin" as "Martin", but actually, you pronounce it as "Marteen". The Martins are from Argentina, and are wonderful people. Sister Martin has been so loving and kind to me as she teaches me in Spanish how to do things in the temple. A few years ago, Brother Martin was released as Stake President, and they moved to a small village where there was only a branch of the Church. They went to Church one week, and the next week he was called to be the Branch President! He went from being President of a Stake to being President of a Branch. He was only released when he was called to come here on a mission!! He is a very humble man whom you would never know was a Stake President at one time. This is the nature of our calling in this land. We brush shoulders with former Bishops, Stake Presidents, Mission Presidents, and a General Authority, and they are such humble people, who never wear their callings on their shoulders.
Back to Portobelo; it used to be a Spanish fort, and still has old, rusting cannons all around the old, crumbling fort. People have taken up residence all around it, and probably in some of the old buildings. No historical society has done anything to preserve it so it continues to crumble and decay. There is a Church there with many Catholic statues and carvings including a famous Black Christ. It was very beautiful and very old. I enjoy seeing historical places, but this place was almost sad because everything wasn't kept polished and clean.
On Wednesday, we went with the Mohicas, another temple missionary couple, and President Garcia, 1st Counselor in the temple presidency, to Ancon Hill. It was beautiful, but a lot of uphill walking!! Brother Mohica and President Garcia went up and down the hill twice! Sister Mohica and Dad and I just barely made it to the top and took a couple of pictures and it was time to go back down the hill! We left here at 5:45 a.m. and started walking about 6:00 a.m. It took us about an hour up and down the hill. It was a long way up and a very high hill!! President Garcia has a farm on a hill, and he likes to keep himself in shape for his farm by walking up and down the hill. This next week he will return to his farm while he has some time in order to supervise the planting of his farm. He will be gone for about 2 weeks, and then he'll leave his farm to his family and return to the temple. He is a very humble person and has the most beautiful shy smile. "Leon and I love him to pieces" (quoting Leon).
We have been asked to speak in Church next week, one of us in Spanish and one in English. In this Ward, the Cardenas Ward, everything is in Spanish and English! We sing some songs in Spanish and some in English. Usually the Sacrament prayers are one in each language, but today they were both in Spanish. The same goes for talks; two talks today were in English, and one in Spanish. Sunday School has a lesson in English one week and Spanish the next; today was in English. Relief Society and Priesthood lessons are in Spanish, though. Very interesting and fun Ward.
Today they celebrated Mother's Day with a long stemmed rose for the Mothers and with a Mother's Day talk. However, Mother's Day in Panama is really December 8th. So I get two Mother's Days this year!!
Leon says I wrote enough so I'll quit for now!!
Thursday, May 1, 2014
DIY Temples and the Ten Virgins May 1, 2014
Being in the Temple here in Panama is an amazing experience! I have been impressed at what it means to be a worker in the Temple. I thought if no one showed up to do the ordinances, we could go home early. But no, this is a Do It Yourself Temple. If no one shows up or if only one or two people show up, the workers do the work for the dead themselves. Leon and I have done all the ordinances with one or two patrons, or just with the workers. This Temple does not close down early just because no one comes. Actually, one night we did go home a little early because no one came for the last session, but only after doing as much as we could on our own. Then the next night a lot of people showed up, so we went home late! It all works out!!
If not enough people show up for a session, the workers fill in at one point during the session. I was impressed one day that the women waiting to help looked just like the 10 virgins who were waiting to go in to the wedding feast. Those who were admitted were those who were prepared with temple recommends.
One evening, a sister got left out of the session—no one was there to give her a name to take through the session, and they started without her. Once a session starts, it cannot be interrupted so we did something else with her. At the end she was crying because she realized that for one of the names that went through, the sister had to wait 6 years after being baptized to return to the temple for more work. Don’t know what happened, but the Hermana was so glad this person could finally have her name taken through the temple again.
Friday, April 4, 2014
We are resurrecting our Blog!
Leon and I received our mission call on Thursday, December 19, 2013! We are going to the Panama City Panama Temple Mission! We are so excited! Can you tell ? (All the exclamation marks!) and a little scared! Me, anyway!
Almost ready to go. We've planted trees so they can grow while we are gone, delivered truck and trailer to "babysitters", "planted" silk flowers so Raeann doesn't need to trim them; we're almost ready . . . But how do you fit the contents of a house in 4 suitcases? Just not going to happen!