Our Family

Our Family
DAC Family At Devin & Ashley's wedding Aug 2007

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mission Visit Panama/Costa Rica

We are encouraged to visit 2 missions a year...to participate however the president wishes and to have a focus group of missionaries help us know what was helpful at the MTC and to make suggestions if they have any. Most of our visits have been nearby, but we were delighted when the Area Presidency approved a visit to Panama and Costa Rica, Aug 11th-15th-our final mission visit. Above we are with President & Hna Madrigal of the Panama Mission. The chapel is across the street from a Jewish synagogue (see menorah in background). We participated briefly in 2 zone conferences and loved seeing missionaries who have come through the Guatemala CCM(only Latins...no North Americans for these missions come to our MTC). We loved seeing the presidents interact and teach, the enthusiastic singing, the attention the missionaries put into their work, and just observing. On the evening we left Panama, David held a fireside for preparing missionaries which too was sweet.

After the zone conferences, the Madrigals were wonderful to show us a little of Panama. We were delighted with a small 'mock Panamanian village' of yesteryear called "Mi Pueblito". See the beautiful dress and hair decor above.

We found Panama to be much cleaner and almost like being in Florida. The weather was quite hot. Both these pictures were part of "Mi Pueblito".

A replica of an evangelical church.

There is a unique native culture called the Kuna. These are women in their native dress, which definitely identifies them. They wear this all the time..the binding bracelets on their arms and legs. We saw them all over the city. I can't imagine how hot they must be. These cute ladies allowed us to take their pictures for $2. They had the cutest smiles...I don't know why they didn't use them for the photo.

We walked along the boardwalk with the Madrigals. It was breezy and refreshing in the heat. This view is looking toward the old city. Directly opposite are the skyscrapers and new city.

We loved our drive to the rain forest and a remote hotel area. It used to be the housing area for the North Americans when they were building the canal. The colorful housing is now only used seasonally. The bamboo were thick and tall and the forest green and beautiful.

Here we are visiting a beautiful hotel (no we didn't stay here), but just visiting and viewing the area was delightful. We saw only 2 cars and 8 people there,including the workers. I don't know how they stay open.

Here was a little seat right in front of where David is standing in the above picture.

One of our absolute favorite parts of the trip was visiting the Panama Canal. We only had 20 minutes to pass through the museum near closing, but the Madrigals reserved the best seat on the balcony of the new canal restaurant called "Miraflores" for a wonderful evening. We enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner, a beautiful sunset in the cooled-down evening, the coming and going of vessels with the lights making the view more romantic than in the daytime, and a wonderful building of a friendship as we visited. It was a memorable experience.

From the top of the Mission Home apartment building the view of the city was beautiful in all directions. We didn't take time to swim in the pool :)

One of the best parts of our visit was a session at the Panama temple. It was crowded because they are celebrating the 1 year anniversary of it's dedication. Our Area President says it is the most beautiful temple in the world. That is because it is surrounded by acres and acres of green, protected land and is away from any traffic or business. The gardens are beautiful. It did feel like a little piece of heaven. We loved the decor inside which is like all beautiful temples...yet unique with the imprint of the special lily of Panama called the "Holy Spirit" lily because you seem to see a little dove inside the petals. That design is in the carpet, the backs of the chairs, and the door handles. We loved being with a Stake group were were doing the full ordinances for each of the names they brought that day. We are so happy to have had this experience.
Lunch on one of the three islands which have been connected by the land fill taken from building the canal. There are resorts all along these connected islands. Notice the whole fish of our hosts...head, scales, tail all fried in a batter. David & I settled for chicken and shrimp.

A visit to Panama Viejo the only ruins found in Panama dating to 1400's. We climbed 156 stairs to the top of the lookout/bell tower and the view was spectacular. They were setting up for a celebration event in the evening. Would have been fun to stay.

We stopped at the artisan shops at the ruins, but it was so miserably hot, we wanted to run out. Finally I found the only air-conditioned shop and we all stepped in to try and breath. Sister Madrigal and I found one blouse that we both loved, but it had a flaw. So the proprietor, who could talk a mile a minute, said she would have 2 made for us. So we are going to be twins...it is a handmade design white on white. She will bring it to me in November for our seminar. I felt like Hna Madrigal was a sister. In the three days, we talked and talked and talked. Except for the fish, our likes and interests were very similar. I love her. She gave me a little necklace of the 'holy spirit' lily to remember her and Panama. (see in photo below). Our only purchase was these Panama hats. It just seemed the thing to do. Panama and the Madrigals were delightful!

We arrived very late (delayed plane) to Costa Rica and were off with Galvez to zone conference next morning. Pres Galvez was our Branch President in the CCM for 1 1/2 yrs and she taught RS, so we were delighted to see them again. They have only been in the mission for 6 wks, so it was a little unfair to visit them, but they seem to be doing very well in a great mission. We loved the spirit of their conference and the manner in which it was organized. And we loved being with their family...they have 3 children with them.
After the first day conference we drove to find Volcano Irazu. We drove for over an hour and once we got to the countryside the view was beautiful. But when we finally got just about to the top, there was a locked gate stating that it had closed about the time we started our drive. Oh well, you can see how beautiful it was and how we were above the clouds. And we visited all the way, which was so fun.

Our dear friends Presidente Sam y Hna Melina Galvez.

This cute little family who are their cousins (and St Pres of one of his stakes, and brother of Eld Cordon of the 70 in Guatemala) stopped by and joined us for dinner. We laughed all evening. Oh those little girls were so cute, with dimples, and so friendly. I love the latin greetings of kissing the cheek. All little children melt my heart when they do that.

We did take lots of pictures with the missionaries we know, but how do you choose. Here were the only 2 sisters in a multi zone of 50. And this elder knows Wyeth's in Arizona. Dad met one elder and found out he had taught her mother in seminary when he was 23. Small wonderful world. When we were leaving a visitor came in and introduced himself. He and his wife had been taking a class from Aaron at BYU-I and he had returned to visit his mission in Costa Rica and knew we would be there, so they came to find us and to say hi to former companions.

The Costa Rica temple is only open for certain hours and our time didn't allow us to attend, but we drove by to feel the spirit there and to see another spot of heaven on earth here in Central America. It is in the middle of other buildings, like our Guatemala temple, but still very beautiful. In January a lightning bolt struck Angel Moroni's trumpet, then a small earthquake tremor made the trumpet fall off. But it has been repainted and renewed.

We returned home happy and renewed ourselves. It was wonderful. When we returned it was cute to see the missionaries so happy to see us. One of the Latins with big brown, sweet eyes said he had missed me more than his own mother. This is a sweet group...a good one to have left to the charge of the office staff. We are thankful for the experience, but it was good to be home.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

July in Guatemala

The picnic quilt we found at the Museo Ixchel. I love all the colors here, but can never make up my mind on one color. This takes care of the indecision. I can enjoy all the beautiful colors and it is something we will use forever. I love it! Now I can donate all the jean squares I have been collecting for years to make a quilt...to one of you. :)
Our friends...temple missionaries who came for Sunday dinner. The Williams & the Brady's.

Two delightul, happy ladies!
This little lady is 105 yr old. Elfride took her picture in Solola. Still doing her part in her family.

We enjoyed a wonderful visit with Dana & Brenda Willis. Here in Antigua at el centro.

Lunch by the gardens of Santo Domingo. Tacos or coconut chicken with Asian rice noodles. Yum!

Some of our favorite people in some of our favorite settings.