Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Slumber Party for 18!

Eighteen new missionaries arrived last night. Previously, new missionaries (Elderes) spent their first night in the Assistants' apartment...picture 3 sets of triple bunk beds, a light bulb hanging from a wire and one bathroom and you get the image of a chain gang work camp (the Hermanas always stayed in the guest bedrooms in our house).

I had the idea of having the Elders sleep in our Quincho, which is the large meeting hall building behind our house. We buy each new missionary their own pillow and blanket anyway, so we just purchased some foam camping cushions (liberally interpreted) to put on the floor and let them sleep away. After 30 straight hours of buses and planes to get here, they could sleep on a bed of nails.

They all came to the Quincho from the airport. We fed them, chit-chatted with them, had a short devotional/bedtime story (I talked about Jonah and Nineveh) and then took the Hermanas to the house and let the Elders stay in the Quincho. At 10:30 pm sharp the lights went out in the Quincho.

Here is a peak at 6:30 am...

The passage way through the courtyard from our house to the Quincho...

Elders in various stages of getting up. A few were saying morning prayers.

One of the Elders said it was like sleeping on clouds...I think I'll need to keep an eye on him...

Two bathrooms in the Quinco! A total of 4 sinks and 2 showers...

There is no better substitute for the security of the womb than having your very own blanket...

While the Hermanas slept and got ready for the day in the (relative) luxury of the guest wing of our home!

Postscript: My children will tell you we were strict parents who did not allow sleepovers while they were growing up...I have two responses....(1) this is different; and (2) my children seem to have successfully worked their way through any psychological damage caused by their sleep-over deprivation!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanks, Mom!

Today is November 26th. It is my birthday. I have always thought that the recognition given to the major players in birth is disproportionate to the effort required of them. I get all the recognition for being "delivered". My Mother gets virtually none for her hours of "labor". So each year I thank my Mom for giving birth to me. This year I am a little far from home, so I'll post it on my blog, "Thanks, Mom for giving birth to me".

Here are a few things a son remembers about being with his Mom over the years:

Laughing so obnoxiously at Johnny Carson's corny and predictable monologue jokes that Dad would try to preempt us by giving the punchline first and then when we would still laugh when Carson repeated it, Dad would get up and leave the room. At that point we could not stop laughing. And it happened at least once a week!

Eating the box of peanut clusters before we made it to the check-out stand at Shop-Rite and proudly putting the empty box on the conveyor belt. That happened alot, too.

Getting stuck on the railroad tracks and having to drive (bust) through the wooden cross-arm to escape. When you are only 5 years old it does not take very long for your life to flash before your eyes, but it does leave a lasting impression!

Wondering where you learned the phrase, "Listen kid, don't you get snippy-snotty with me!"

Sunday dinners of london broil, salad, egg noodles, rolls and angel food cake.

Roger and I trying to figure out which was of us is, "Rayger" and which one is "Rogmond".

Dad's face when he could not pull his car into the 2-car garage because you tried to exit it by making a U-turn (rather than backing out) and gave up at the point where the car was sideways and blocking both entrances.

Watching you do puzzles...jigsaw, cross-word, Jumble, whatever...for hours and hours.

Saturday morning doughnut deliveries.

"Mom, you are his 85 year old grandmother, you can not yell, "Kill'em Taylor!" at his lacrosse games anymore!"

And, yes, you are, "The One and Only!"

Happy Birthday to us!

Musical Airports

Tomorrow we go to Goya for a district conference. Tonight we were to pick up Elder Chappe of the 70, from Montevideo, Uruguay to go with us. Early this afternoon I learned that the airport in Resistencia closed today until December 8, because it no longer has a fire truck there. I called Elder Chappe and he was able to get a flight into the Corrientes Airport. We left the house around 8 pm to arrive in time. The police closed the only road to the airport just outside of Corrientes. We followed some cars down a few dirt side roads and let the GPS make a few suggestions after that and we ended up crossing a blockade and back on the road to the airport!

At the airport we received a call from Elder Chappe indicating that his flight had not yet left. We ate ham and cheese sandwhiches at the little airport restaurant and then went back in the car where Diane worked on her iPad and I read the news on my iPhone. Around 10:00 I ventured to the Aerolineas Argentinas desk and asked if the flight from Buenos Aires had left yet. I was told it would leave at 11:30 pm and arrive around 1:00 am. So, I went back to the car, told Diane and reclined the driver's seat to prepare for the long haul.

At 11:00 pm, I received a call from Elder Chappe, they had just cancelled the flight. We got to drive home...he has to find a hotel and a flight to Corrientes tomorrow...and then drive to Goya with us. And then he has to try to get back to Montevideo on Sunday.

You have to be flexible. By the way, the road out of the airport was no longer blocked on our way home. Still trying to figure that one out!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Link To The Video Of Elder Christofferson's Visit

Here is the link to the video the Church made of Elder Christofferson's visit. When you get to the page just click on the video. Many of the missionaries shown are from our mission, others are from Salta. The members shown in Corrientes are in our mission. The portion where Elder Christofferson is being interviewed and there is a bulletin board behind him is just outside my office where the office elders work. Enjoy, we did.

Click Here to see the Video of Elder Christofferson

Sunday, November 20, 2011

You Know It's Time To Pick Up The Ball And Go Home When...

You do this from the left side...

And then do this from the right side...

What are the odds? I couldn't do that again if I tried...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tender Mercy

People have emailed asking me to share more of the serious or personal aspects of the mission. I have shied away from that because I tend to think that personal experiences should be shared personally.

However, I promised Diane I would share this one.

While in Buenos Aires we were treated to a cultural show of Argentine music and dance. One of the performers is a concert violinist who played two numbers, the last of which received a standing ovation.

After the show we all attended an asado of beef, chicken, fruit, vegetables, etc. that was exceptional. At one point, I saw the violinist move from table to table and ask if people knew where President Heyman was. When he came to me he said, "President Heyman, I am Leandro Curaba, President Omar Righi's grandson. I knew of you and heard you would be here and send my grandfather's regards."

President Righi was my Mission President 34 years ago! He lives in Rosario and is 87 years old. I mentioned that about a year ago, I had received an email from President Righi which said that when his wife died, they found a copy of a talk I had given on my mission together with her Patriarchal Blessing, and that I was very moved by that.

Leandro looked at me funny and asked what the name of the talk was. I said, "Pagando el Precio". He asked if it talked about winning the lottery and I said it did. He then said that when he left to serve his mission, his grandmother had given him a copy of the talk and told him to read it, as it would help him be a good missionary. We were both amazed and grateful these years later to make the connection. Here I am with Leandro at the asado:

And, here are pictures of the pages of the talk that I wrote on my mission, from the email that President Righi sent me.

Speaking of paying the price, how could I ever put a value on an experience like that? Truly one of life's tender mercies.

PS...Blog Press still works on Diane's iPad


Miles and miles of them...

Diane in the Sunflowers...

Diane sitting behind Elder Christofferson...

Back of my head sitting in front of Elder Christofferson...beware, I was asked to answer one of the local leader's pressure.

Our favorite BYU Lacrosse player, # 26, Taylor Heyman...

And, the orgami white shirt and tie...

Is This One of Those Times I Should Not Listen To You?

Diane has been asking that question a lot lately. The answer is almost always, "Yes". There is a long history behind that question over the years. "Should we bring raincoats?" "No". And it rains. "Are people bringing presents to the party?" "No." Everyone has a present but us. "Are you sure you know how to get there or should I ask for directions?". "I know". I have no clue. "Did you touch the stack of bills I put on the table to pay today?" "No". Oops I threw them away with the goes on and on and on.

So this month for Zone Leaders Council, Diane was going to show the missionaries how make orgami white shirt and tie thank you cards.(I wish BlogPress was working so I could show you them). I was against it. "It is too hard. These young men will never take the time to do this on their own. They have no patience, etc, etc.". Diane showed them anyway and had them each make one following her instructions. After the meeting they all thanked Diane and told me that was the best part of the Council(so much for my brilliant training...I guess I am no threat to Socrates)because now they could leave unique thank you, congratulations and other notes. I even went to a District Meeting the next day and the Zone Leaders had spent the night making a white shirt and tie card for each of the companionships.

I have seen it many times, but yesterday I recognized it for what it was. We were talking about something yesterday and Diane paused and smiled and changed subjects. It dawned on me that smile was a non verbal means of communicating both the question, "Is this one of those times I should not listen to you?", and the answer, "Yes".

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I have been thinking about humidity lately. I have lived, among other places in humid areas, such as New Jersey, New York, St. Louis and San Diego. But the humidity here is more...well...humid. So what exactly is humidity? How can it be 100% humid and not be raining? Is a dry heat really more comfortable than a humid heat? Here is what Wikipedia has to say:

Humidity is a term for the amount of water vapor in the air, and can refer to any one of several measurements of humidity. Formally, humid air is not "moist air" but a mixture of water vapor and other constituents of air, and humidity is defined in terms of the water content of this mixture, called the Absolute humidity.[1] In everyday usage, it commonly refers to relative humidity, expressed as a percent in weather forecasts and on household humidistats; it is so called because it measures the current absolute humidity relative to the maximum. Specific humidity is a ratio of the water vapor content of the mixture to the total air content (on a mass basis). The water vapor content of the mixture can be measured either as mass per volume or as a partial pressure, depending on the usage.
In meteorology, humidity indicates the likelihood of precipitation, dew, or fog. High relative humidity reduces the effectiveness of sweating in cooling the body by reducing the rate of evaporation of moisture from the skin. This effect is calculated in a heat index table, used during summer weather.

So, here is the bottom line...whether it is absolute humidity, relative humidity or specific humidity you are never going to feel completely dry after a shower, you better eat all of your bread the same day you buy it or you will have penicillin in the morning and tile floors will always be just a little slippery. But, on the other hand, the grass is always green, mirrors are always clean...and they say humidity is good for your skin. Now, the truth is it makes little difference to me, I am in air conditioning all day...home, office and car!

Monday, November 14, 2011

You Are Going To Have To Use Your Imagination!

When I updated my iPad to the new operatimg system, BlogPress crashed. They say they have submitted a fix to the App Store, but it is not available. So, I am using the old fashion way to compose this entry without pictures.

Diane and I went to Reconquista in the province of Santa Fe for district conference this weekend. On the way there and back we drove through miles and miles of yellow sunflower fields. It was an incredible sight of green, brown and golden yellow. Here is where the picture I took of Diane standing in one of the fields would have been...

The sunflowers were as tall as she is!

Today we had Zone Leaders Council and it rained. Some of the missionaries came without raincoats and were soaked. Here is where the photo of Elderes Fernandez and Lucana looking like drowned rats would have been...

And of course no Zone Leaders Council would be complete without an extraordinary meal by Diane (only 40 people to feed). Here is where the picture of the shredded beef sandwhiches, fruit salad, chips and banana splits would have appeared!

Really, it was all much better than it looks. The photos just don't do justice to what we have experienced this past week!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Business Casual

This is what a Mission President and his wife look like when they dress in business formal...

Here is what two Mission Presidents and their wives look like when they dress in business formal...

Here is what five Mission Presidents and their wives (who started their missions at the same time) look like when they dress in business formal to take a picture to show that they are surviving just fine...

Yep, our photographer was struggling a little's what happened next when our own version of Ansel Adams told us to smile at the count of three and took the photo at the count of five...

Finally, we managed this little family portrait...

And here is what a Mission President and his wife look like when they dress business casual to hit a few of the Tango Clubs in downtown Buenos Aires...

Ok, that is not really Diane and me...

But this is...on El Puente de las Mujeres in Puerto Madero...(notice the lack of a that is business casual)...but this...?

I was a little concerned that someone in a blue shirt was dressed a little too casual, but I didn't want to make a scene, so I went ahead anyway and just pretended his shirt was white! Thank you Carters for taking good care of us while we were in Buenos Aires. The fact that the radar wasn't working in the Resistencia Airport and so we landed at the Corrientes Airport was an appropriate reminder that we had returned home!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mission Presidents' Seminar

We are in Buenos Aires until Wednesday afternoon to visit President and Hermana Carter from the Buenos Aires West Mission. In our free time we have been attending the Mission Presidents' Seminar.

Twice a year all the Mission Presidents in the Area (Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) get together for training and to share ideas and experiences. We have the privilege for this training to have Elders Christofferson and Jensen here with us. As is always the case, the training is invaluable and the question and answer portion very timely. And, it is always good to know that you are not the only one dealing with certain issues, and to hear how others are handling those matters.

It has been fun being back in Buenos Aires. I certainly see it through different eyes this time. The Carters showed us the area they live in, their home and a great ice cream place. Just looking at the different buildings, homes and parks as we drove around reminded me why Buenos Aires is called the "Paris of South America". I wonder if the French call Paris the "Buenos Aires of Europe". I think I know the answer to that.

At one point during one of our meetings I looked around and thought, there are not only a lot of wonderful missionaries volunteering their time, there are a lot of incredible mission presidents and their wives doing the same thing. Diane and I feel pretty fortunate to get to know some pretty special people from all over the world.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Los Mejores Misioneros En El Mundo

A picture is worth 192 missionaries and words do not suffice!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Where Did the Women Go?

Today we were with Elder D. Todd Christofferson of The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife Kathy, Elder Jay Jensen of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife Lona, Elder Brad Foster of the Seventy and the Area Presidency and his wife Sharol Lyn and Elder Juan Avila of the Seventy.

We started the day with a special missionary meeting. We had all 192 missionaries from the five provinces of the mission in Resistencia. It was an incredible experience. The schedule was tight and the Church had a film crew there, so we did not get any pictures. However, the film crew is following E. Christofferson during his trip and will be posting excerpts on When it does, we will post the link.

Then we had a lunch with our visitors and the stake and district presidents with their wives. Diane picked the menu and prepared everything but the salad (Ritz Chicken, salad, twice baked potatoes, rolls and Lace Toffee Cups filled with ice cream and strawberries) for 40 people. I thought that inasmuch as we were sitting at the head table it would be bad manners to take a picture, so I "James Bonded" these with my iPhone.

After lunch the men went into a 4 hour training meeting and the visitors' wives went to our home for this...

A cooking class on making empanadas put on by Graciela, our helper and her three cute, cute daughters.

Diane had aprons custom made for each of the wives and also printed the empanada recipes for each of them.

They had a blast and loved tasting the empanadas. Here are the women modeling their aprons...

From left to right: Hermana Patricia Boyden (new matron of the Asuncion, Paraguay Temple), Hermana Sonia Larson (our only senior couple wife), Diane (the awesomest Mission President's wife in the world), Hermana Kathy Christofferson, Hermana Sharol Lyn Foster and Hermana Lona Jensen (showing that each of the aprons is reversible).

Then, five more young ladies came to the home and the women had a round table discussion with each generation asking the other questions. Here is a picture of the whole group.

I saw Hermana Larson afterwards and asked her how it was. She said, "Great! We talked, we got to relax, we shared stories, we laughed, we know how it is..."

That says it all!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Argentinaization of Diane Heyman

First it was this...

Then it was this...



This frightful day...



And now this...

Diane is making homemade chipas! And we have only been here 4 months...who knows, after 3 years maybe she'll run for Intendenta!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Where Was That In The Job Description?

12:15 am, I went to bed. 3:45 am the phone rings, it is the security company. The alarm in the mission offices went off. I am invited to meet the security man at the office to let him in so he can see what has occurred.

My thoughts:

I really just want to sleep.

If I get up, do I have to put on a white shirt, tie and suit with my missionary badge to meet the guy or can I just throw on some sweats? Answer, I didn't bring sweats with me.

Why do I have to meet this guy anyway? Why doesn't he have a key (he is our security guy) or get in the building the same way the intruder did? It is starting to feel like we are paying the security company just to let us know when the alarm goes off, not to keep the place secure.

And, what am I supposed to do after I let the security guy Robin to his Batman?

My actions:

I get up, get dressed in a white shirt, tie and suit with the missionary badge (I need to make sure the security guy knows that the only person in the city at 4 am in a suit, white shirt and tie is really me) and meet the security guy at the offices. I am surprised at the number of sidewalk cafes that are busy at 4 am in Resistencia.

I open the door for him and play Robin following right behind Batman as we walk in a circle (think Marx Brothers) and look at each other trying to figure out why the alarm went off because everything is in place and every window and door is locked.

Exchange the "chau", "hasta luego" y "disculpe la molestia---no es una molestia, gracias a Ud, no, por favor, gracias a Ud" pleasantries with Batman and get back into the HiLux to go home.

Avoid every temptation to stop off at one of the cafes and sit down at a table to order a hot chocolate and media luna with dulce de leche and say, "Que pasa, amigos?" and go straight back home.

Undress and realize that it is now 4:45 am and I am wide awake! Guess I'll just have to get ready and dressed and head off to the office...I wonder...did I set the alarm when I left the office? Maybe I'll call the security guy and ask him!