Sunday, September 29, 2013

Argentina at Last!

Two weeks ago we got word that Joseph finally got his visa to Argentina!  A week before that, after reading his weekly email message, I had a distinct impression to specifically pray that Joseph would get his visa.  This was different!  Before this, I had not prayed for this.  I knew that Joseph was where he should be - in the Utah Ogden Mission, that he was loving his area and his companion, and that it was in the Lord's hands and it would come when it was right.  But then that Monday, that changed.  In 3 Nephi 19:24, it says, "it was given unto them what they should pray".  I felt like that day, I was given "what I should pray".  I also visualized the whole thing - files coming out of drawers, lines being signed, buttons being pressed on the computer, messages being sent.  Within a week, we got the word that Joseph had his visa!  It was a complete tender mercy of the Lord.

So Wednesday morning, we got to talk to Joseph on the phone!  He sounded great - all grown up and mature-like.  ha ha  The funniest part was talking to him in Spanish, and telling him that when he got to Angentina, they would think he was mexicano.  He laughed and said that he would tell people that his mother was Mexican, and they would say, "Tú mamá es mexicana?  Tú eres huero!  Eres gringo!"  Ha ha - I laughed so hard!  It was the way he said it - exactly how a mexican would say it.  For the record, I am Caucasian by race, but I was born in Mexico City and lived there until I was nine, and my parents and some of my grandparents were born and raised there.  Doesn't give me a right to say once in awhile that I'm mexican?  :)  Anyway, Joseph got some good conversations going with that story.  He had a 34 hour trip from the Salt Lake Airport to Mendoza.  He traveled with some other missionaries up until his last flight.  He was the only one that arrived in Mendoza.

On Friday morning I got this great picture from the mission office.
This is Presidente y Hermana Avila in the mission home with Joseph.  I love these pictures - they are so great.
And then, we got this great picture from the AP in the mission, Patrick, who is also the younger brother of Becky, who five out of my six children have taken dance from, and who is my good friend.
 Well, we didn't get it directly from him - we got it from his mom, who forwarded it to Becky and then on to us. He said, "We got an Elder ______, who already has great Spanish and is going to be a great missionary."  He also gave us the heads up on his new area and companion - it is Elder Gutierrez, who is not Latin, and the are is Pocito, in the San Juan District.  Click on the name of the town to see great pictures of it from google maps.  With the Andes mountains so close, it looks surprisingly like the Wasatch Front.  Like Tremonton!  I'll bet he's just hitting the sky with his figurative hat, he's so happy to be there!  I'm so excited and happy for him I can hardly stand it.

Joshua is having a great time with his companion, Elder Soriano, and they are serving in San Salavdor.  Click on the name of the city to see pictures.

He also was very privileged to have the baptism of Jorge a few weeks ago. 

Jesse has put in her application to go here!  Click on the link to see pictures of Vienna, Austria!  Jesse is applying to go to the Spring and Summer Terms of 2014 to the Study Abroad Program with the BYU School of Music.  This is an absolute dream of hers.  Some of her course work will be a German language class, and private piano lessons with Viennese professor.  The group will also have several group activities in Vienna, a day trip to Eisenstadt, and a week-long excursion to Salzburg, Florence, and Venice.  They also have a few long weekends where groups of students can go and tour Europe.  Since Bruce and I went to Israel Study Abroad and had such a fantastic experience, when Jesse asked if she could do this, I told her that I would do anything in my power that I could to make it happen!

Mary went on two day field-trip with her Idaho Geology Class this past weekend. 
They went to the ice caves in central Idaho and camped overnight in Carey. 
Her friend Nathan had the class with her, so it was fun to be with him.
He's also the one who asked her to Homecoming!  We went dress shopping this week, and she got a great deal on a beautiful dress and some stylin' shoes.  She's excited to go to her first dance!

Peter got his Boy Scout Life Award this week!  Wahoo, Peter!  He has been thinking about what he wants his Eagle Scout Project to be.

We hosted all the Activity Days Girls this week.  This is a bi-monthly activity for the girls ages 8-11 in our ward (congregation).  Libby showed off her goats, Buck and Lilly, and then we had all the girls take a turn milking the cow.  They all got their hands in there and tried it!  Buttercup was a good sport - she let all those girls hang out all around her and didn't move a muscle (except in her tail and her chewing muscles.)  At the end we had homemade doughnuts and hot chocolate.

Bruce had interesting adventures in Colorado hunting.  (I often wonder why he think this is fun).  When they got to Colorado, after a 12 hour drive, they hiked in for 3 hours up over a 11,500 foot pass to get into the "bowl" where all the elk were.  Unfortunately, there was 3 inches of snow on the ground when they got there, and this drives the elk out of the bowl.  So they spent 4 days trying to track elk that are usually ubiquitous in the bowl.  Bruce said they did get pretty close and got to see a lot of animals, but they didn't come away with anything.  On Thursday night, when they got back to the trailer at about 9 pm., they were ready to load up the llamas and drive home.  Bruce left three of the llamas, tethered together and packs still on, on one side of the trailer while he went and put his bow away.  When he came back around the trailer, the llamas were nowhere to be seen.  This set off a 2 1/2 hour search in a snow storm until 11:30 pm, when Randy and Bruce were too tired to look any longer.  The llamas had all Bruce's gear, so he found a flimsy blanket in the truck and slept with that all night in the back seat.  Randy slept in the front.  It was a cold night for Bruce!  In the morning, they started to search again.  They went for hours, but found nothing.  Bruce figured he had about $4000-$5000 tied up in those llamas, between the animals themselves, their packs and saddles, and the equipment in the packs.  About mid-day a group of hikers came in to hike up a trail.  Bruce told them about the llamas and asked them if they saw them, to bring them back.  This was a long shot, but he asked anyway. Some time later, as Bruce was high up on a ridge, he saw the llamas from afar.  He started to hike down to the trailer, and when he got there, the llamas were tied up to the trailer.  The hikers HAD brought them back down!  That was just a miracle!  Bruce learned the lesson that sometimes the Lord answers prayers through other people, and you have to be patient and let the answer come.  Bruce and Randy got home about 3 am on Saturday morning.  I was so grateful he was home safely!

I had an amazing week, even though I missed Bruce a lot.  I had more appointments this week for Raindrops, Foot Zones and balances than I've ever had.  It was exciting to be doing what I love and believe in!  I had some really good results too - some really great blessings for people, for which I am so grateful.  I had some eye-popping answers to prayers this week.  That sounds like I am exaggerating, but I am not.  That's how I felt, when I realized what the Lord had done for me.  One I can share:  Peter on Wednesday night could not find his Scout shirt.  The time was getting closer and closer where he had to go to get his Life, so it was crucial that he have his shirt.  Finally, I gathered he and Mary together, and said, "We need to say a prayer."  Peter said in frustration, "We shouldn't have to!"  I replied, "Sometimes the Lord allows us to get into desperate circumstances so that He can show us without a doubt that it was Him who helped us."  After the prayer, I felt we should go up to his room again, so we did.  I looked in two different piles and then Peter said, "What...?"  His Scout shirt was sitting right in the middle of the shelf, clearly in plain sight.  Ha ha ha It was awesome.

I know with all my heart that I can trust in the Lord.  I lean not unto mine own understanding, but with all my heart, I acknowledge him and He directs my paths.  I loved the General Relief Society Meeting last night.  I believe the theme of covenant-keeping was inspired!  I have made covenants that I will keep!  They are sacred to me, and I strive with all my heart to make sure my life is in line with them, that my obedience is exact, and that my heart and intentions are pure.

One of my favorite quotes is this:  "The ability to recognize, receive and act upon personal revelation is the single most important skill we can acquire in this life."  -- Julie B. Beck.
As I contemplated this quote some time ago, I realized that our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, has fine-tuned this skill through a lifetime of practice.  What a Prophet to follow!  I love him, and I'm ever grateful for his example.  I love how he continually trains us on the development of this skill, sharing stories and feelings and direction.  I am grateful for a Prophet!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Labor Day!

Last Sunday we had a great game of Rook.  After a lot of up and downs, the score stood at Libby 485 and Bruce 455, and Mary, Peter and I way down from there.  (I was barely out of the hole).  Bruce won the bid and called for Libby as his partner!  Being very competitive, Bruce had to decide whether to win the hand and let Libby beat him, or loose on purpose to bring her down.  He chose the former, and Libby won with 615 points!  He has lived to rue the day that his eleven year old daughter beat him in Rook! (We play Mormon Colony rules, by the way, and it makes the game really fun!)

After the game, Bruce and I left to go out to the farm.  I don't go with him very often, so it was really enjoyable to be with him.  In the afternoon, we went to float the river with Jay and Leah, Brian and Marci, and Dan and Claudia, who all went on trek with us in July; and also friends of Jay and Leah's - Kim and John, and Rob and Rhonda.

Rob and Rhonda and family, with the tubes on top!
It's so fun to float the river.  It never fails to remind me of Las Estacas, the river we used to float as a family when we lived in Mexico City.

Wednesday, Peter had his first soccer game.  He only played about five minutes, however, before a storm came rolling in with thunder and lightning, and they eventually called the game.  He had another game on Saturday, but he missed that because he went on a Scout Campout up to Blue Lake.  Bruce went with them, and they took our two llamas, Achacachi and Huacuyo.   They had a fun time.  Bruce slept out on the island all by himself.  Hearing about that makes me miss Joseph and my nephew Corbin!

Wednesday after the rain, we were graced by a double rainbow over our Valley.  It was a sight to behold!

Jesse started school this last week at BYU. 
Amidst a lot of ups and downs, the highlight was that she made Women's Chorus!!  She didn't think her last to auditions went very well, but apparently they did.  She thinks it was her sight singing that got her in.  The professor said, "I always like to hear piano majors because they do well on this..."

This is Jesse and two of her roommates, Melanie and Talia.
  This is a shot of her before the rain delay at the BYU Football game.  Fun fun!

Friday night, Mary went on a date with Austin, and Nathan & Brooklyn.  They went to a local roller skating rink.  She turned a weird way, went up and caught air, and then landed flat on her tailbone.  She said she couldn't feel her leg after she landed, but she managed to shuffle off of the rink.  She had to be carried around the whole rest of the night.  Nathan carried her into my office at about 10 pm, sat her down on the chair and said, "She's hurt - really bad."  Well, no Mom likes to hear that!  I gave her a Raindrop, which is an application of essential oils on the feet and the hand with some Vita flex techniques on the back.  I had her sleep on the massage table, because I didn't know how to get her up to her bed!

She slept well, and then when I got her up in the morning to go Choreography Camp for her ballroom dance team, she was walking on crutches.  I set her up on a chair so she could watch what was going on, and then left her there.  When I came back, she was up walking around!  She said it had started to feel better, and she could move and stretch.  Wow - this was really a dramatic return to functionality from where she had been the night before.  I'm so grateful for Young Living Essential Oils, and knowing how to do the Raindrop!  It was a miracle, and I acknowledge the source of healing, which is our Savior Jesus Christ.

We got big news this week that Joshua has been made the AP (asistente al presidente).  It's a great honor and responsibility to be an AP, and although it's not something he aspired to, he is grateful to have this opportunity!  Josh is in San Salvador, then, for the first time in his mission.  The best part about the whole thing is that he is back with his companion from a month ago, Elder Soriano, and he's so excited to be with him again.  He is a great missionary!

Joseph is in Logan with an English speaking assignment, but he is companions with Elder Saldaña, who is from Mexico, so that helps.  He is still waiting for his visa to arrive!  But he doesn't worry too much about that.  He loves his area and his companion!

Peter and Libby are doing really well on the saxaphone and flute, respectively.  Peter has had to work hard because he is really a beginner in intermediate band, but he is so talented, that he is already playing some pretty good scales.

We got a new Bishopric today!  I can't put last names, so I'll just say the names of the couples involved:  Bishop Greg (and Rachelle), Craig (and Sondra), and Bryan (and Dana).  They are going to be wonderful!  I'm so excited about what the future has in store for our ward!