Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Escuela Hogar-Eva Peron-4 Stake Service Project

This was a service project to clean the school grounds for this orphanage here in Mendoza. There are about 350 children that attend school here, from ages 4-14.

Members and friends from 4 stakes gathered to clean and make the grounds safe for the children to play.

Steve and I even got into the act. It was great to be a part of such a great thing. To help is what it is all about.

The San Martin Young Women all came ready with their sticks and their smilesto pick up paper.

Elders in action. Some working a little harder than others, The smiles say it all.

They all wanted to show off their big muscles. There were not many tools, so they just got in and pulled with their hands. Many huge truck loads of weeds and debri were hauled away.

A tired, but very happy bunch of missionaries from Mision Mendoza. And a very grateful school for the service rendered.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Belated Birthday Adventure!

Well, it is never too late to celebrate a birthday. Mine was delayed due to the visit of the Mision Area President and critical medical situations. No time for birthday parties! Although it was not forgotten by friends and family. Thank you for all your messages. The missionaries all sang Happy Birthday to me in both Spanish and in Ingeles. And the Office Elders gave me a bottle of treasured pure grape juice.

The Mision business was over and all the Senior Missionaries; Us, the Javis's, and the Lindahl's all decided to celebrate. They let the decision be mine. I hate that. I chose to do an outdoor adventure--visit Villavencencia and the cemetery in Las Heras. So off we went, dressed in our P-Day best.
The park we went to is in the foothills of the Andes, due west of Mendoza. As we entered the park, the vegetation changed to trees and grass. We stopped at the visitor center. This comemorated the passage way over the Andes by San Martin and his army--hundreds of years ago.
The high light of the visit was going to the old hotel, no longer in use. I could just imagine it filled with elegant people. The gardens and the patios were still beautiful.

Tucked next to the hotel was a beautiful, quaint, old chapel--almost 90 years old. Inside is one of the most beautiful murals of the last supper I have ever seen. The individual apostles were each a work of art.

Before we left this beautiful place, I took time to pretend to cook on the Argentine type oven where they do their "asados", and of course I could not pass up the opportunity to pet this friendly lama.

Next was the trip to the Las Heras Cemetery. Whew, what a scary experience. This was like no cemetery I have ever seen. I have always been fascinated by cemeteries. This was amazing, covering over 8 city blocks and still room to grow. Their were areas very old and crumbling--like something out of a horror movie, and then other areas where wealthy families owned family tombs. You could look right in and see the caskets, and family members could go into them and be by their deceased. The poor people were just buried in the ground with little white crosses. We were told that you rent your space for your coffin. If you stop paying your rental fee, they just take your casket out and dump the bones out in the garbage. They do not embalm down here, so funerals have to be held, by law, the day after the person dies.

Places for ashes and coffins.

One of the main walk ways, lined with individual family tombs.

The wall around the cemetery. The small graves for the poor people.

This is what was on the inside of the wall. Old, crumbling, decrepit casket slots. Creepy!
But this is part of the Argentine culture. This is part of their life.

We finished the day off by eating at our favorite restaurant down in Central Mendoza. I was given a small silver angel complete with magic wand by Sis Jarvis, and Sis Lindahl gave me a pair of leather and sheepskin slippers. I loved both gifts. It was a great birthday.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Super Bautismo!

This was a special day that the Valle De Uco zone had waited for . Their super "White Baptism". They had been working hard! Their goal was to have 25 people ready for baptism. These are very humble people. The branches and wards are very small. They wanted the new converts to get the feeling of belonging to a larger group. To give them strength in numbers. So the decision was made to have all the baptisms for the month of August to be done on a special day, at a special time, all at the Stake Center.
We have grown so close to so many of the missionaries from this zone, that it became an event we didn't want to miss. This is what a mission is about, bringing people to that first step, becoming a member of Christ's Church.
We drove down with three of the Elders. One of them, Elder Miles was finishing his mission the following Monday, so this was his last weekend in the mission, and he had served for months as a zone leader there. We arrived, and there was just a flurry of activity in every direction. Elders and new converts all dressed in white everywhere. The Chapel was packed with friends and family awaiting the special event. The poster in the lobby gave the names of all those to be baptized. 18 in all. That is awesome.
It was very difficult to round up everyone for a group foto, but here is the majority. What an amazing site. Young and old. Ready to be baptized.

One of the young women ready to be baptized by Elder Manqui!

The smiles on the faces tell it all. What joy that comes when you are doing the things Jesus would have us do.

A group foto. Once again only part of the people. We were so touched by the testimonies and love shared by these people. We drove home knowing we had been witness to the work of the Lord.