Friday, August 30, 2013

Where's (my missionary) Waldo?

Missionary parents just love to see pictures of their children. Well, Moms and Dads, enjoy!

And just in case you want to get out the magnifying glass...


Ok, unless you know our children, you won't figure out the last two pictures. They are of our son, Taylor, who is on his mission in Concepcion, Chile. We are missionary parents, too!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Angie Lythgoe, This One Is For You

This is one of my favorite pictures. I took it of Diane while we were standing looking out at La Garganta del Diablo at Iguazu Falls.

It is the first time that we were back after Diane's stroke. She suffered the stroke in the jungle not too far from Iguazu Falls. We were just standing there in silence wrapped up in our thoughts. Remarkably, to get to this spot we had to walk from the parking lot through the park and take a train to the spot where the trail over the rivers begins. From there we walked about a kilometer to the observation area. Here is what the trail looks like.

It was the journey that Diane took to get to that spot that makes the moment and the picture so meaningful. For instance, at that time she could only walk holding on to me or the railings...against and with the flow of people coming from and going to La Garganta...over the cross current of several the heat. That was just part of the physical aspect of the moment. The contrast in the picture of the (1) stoic Diane and calm waters (2) with their inevitable turbulent drop over the falls (3) and then their return to the natural smooth flow of the river left a permanent impression. And, the longer Diane just looked out over the falls in silence the more I wondered what she was thinking, but out of love and respect never asked.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Show de Talentos

President Ruben Yáñez of the Resistencia South Stake and I were visiting a few weeks ago and talked about the talented members and missionaries that we have. We decided one way to utilize their talents and have a good experience for the members, the missionaries and their community would be to hold a talent show. So, last night we did at the Stake Center (Barrio IV). The cultural hall was packed and the talent was amazing. Diane provided some welcoming music on the electric piano as people were arriving.

Elder Bowhill, the Zone Leader, was the Master of Ceremonies. He did a great job making everyone feel welcomed and keeping things moving.

First was Leandro Palacios, a member of the Stake who also served a service mission in the Mission Office for a year. Leandro is a classical guitarist and guitar teacher. He played a few Argentine folklorico songs with incredible fingering and picking and strumming.

Anyone who brings his own footrest to play has got to be the real deal! Leandro has a rare disease that requires him to get blood transfusions every month. But he is a healthy, active and talented young man. He was a great missionary. And, later this year he is marrying Noelia Aguirre, Graciela's daughter who has appeared in the blog on several occasions. Next up was El Coro de Niños Canteros de la Provincia de Chaco. This is a choir of young people who sing all around the province. None of them are members of the Stake but know some members and agreed to sing a number of songs...even one in French. They were great. We could not get them all in one shot, so here are a few pictures of them singing.

I think everyone had their favorite member of the Choir. Mine was the sole male voice second from the end. He had a few attention span issues during the longer songs! Diane's favorite was the young girl on the end on the right side next to the young man. She was locked in and very sweet the whole time. After they performed I went on stage to thank them and their directors and families as well as give them certificates of appreciation and Books of Mormon. The missionaries handed out books and pamphlets to the Choir and their families as they left.

Next up was an incredible father and daughter. The Ayalas. The father plays saxophone in the Resistencia Police Band. I loved his stance and toe tapping music. He was awesome.

And then his 11 year old daughter absolutely stunned us with her professional sounding voice and presence. She sang a couple of modern songs and had everyone clapping their hands along with her.

The finale was Sister Molinas who is a missionary serving in Resistencia from Buenos Aires. She is a flautist soloist. Before she started her mission she and I became friends on Facebook and I kept seeing entries of her performing concerts in Buenos Aires. When she arrived I asked her to play at a few Zone Conferences and other meetings. She is absolutely fantastic. There was such a great feeling among everyone as we watched her and heard her play. I am not sure which was more mesmerizing the music or her playing.

It was a great event all the way around. I pointed out to the Choir that there were people in the audience not just from Resistencia but Brazil, Spain, Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Chile, Canada and the United States. And, there is a lesson to be remembered that there are incredibly talented people all over the world. Sometimes you just have to get to know people to find out!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

La Primavera

La Primavera is an aborigine colony located about 40 minutes away from the town of Clorinda in the province of Formosa. Missionaries first arrived there in is a very primitive area and the people mostly farm corn, mandioca and soybeans.

Actually, most of the people do not work and are subsidized by the Argentine government. Over the years the activity of the Church has ebbed and flowed. Recently, this baptismal service took place there...

Today, I drove out to La Primavera to check on the people and our wooden church building. Here are some photos of the building...

Presidente Gonzales of Clorinda was my driver. The dog is a local.

There are "neighbors" right next to the fences surrounding the building and I discovered why. This is the brand new water tank the Church installed for the building...

This is where the "neighbor" cuts the fence to go and fetch his water every day, especially when no one is around and the building is not in use...the log hut is the permanent home to a family with a father and mother and little children.

It is hard to be upset when you see the need they have for the water. Here is a picture of the "neighbors" to the other side of the building...

But these are remarkably happy people. I was able to sit and visit with some of the local leaders and learn about their goals and their needs.

I promised them some supplies and other improvements to the building as well as some missionaries to periodically visit. I also promised them I would return with Diane in a few weeks. When we were all finished and as I was walking out to leave, the leaders casually mentioned a little issue they were having in the chapel office...

That would be the termites' nest on the light fixture and wall. And inasmuch as the chapel is a WOODEN building, I assured everyone I would have that removed and the building treated THIS WEEK! Needless to say I made a few phone calls on my way back to Resistencia...and Diane and I will be back, unless the termites take down the building before we can get there!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Visit From The Holms

Last week Brad and Barbara Holm came to visit us. They are from Chandler and Brad and I served in the Stake Presidency together. They arrived in Resistencia at the airport just like our new missionaries do.

We whisked them home and then the action began. Sunday we went to Reconquista in Santa Fe and back. Then Monday we had training for 44 new missionaries.

Tuesday we had a dinner and entertainment with Graciela's family.

Wednesday we went to Paso de los Libres in Corrientes, stayed the night and came back Thursday.

Friday was Brad's birthday and we went to the grocery store, Carrefour, to see if he wanted to pick up a motorcycle to take home, because at 4:15 pm on Friday they left for the U.S.! It was a whirlwind of a trip but a great visit.

Thanks, Brad and Barb.........but let's not forget the story of when the gas station attendant put regular gas in my Hi Lux instead of diesel and they had to siphon it all out and refill the tank!!!