Saturday, November 30, 2013

Turkey Weekend

Happy post-Thanksgiving! Glad you guys got to have a nice day with some fellow missionaries. You guys have ipads yet? Most of the elders here are getting them so they can skype other people around the world and teach that way. No more tracting, say what? Bunch of lazy missionaries these days i swear....pretty cool tho huh? We've had baptisms like crazy around here: one guy's been coming with his wife for over 30 years and finally decided to join. Most people didn't even know he wasn't a member!!! Then another one tonight and I've been in charge of the refreshments table which is SO not my thing but I had lots of help and it's been pretty cool to have so many baptisms here. 

Our turkey day started with Dal playing tackle football-only injury was a cleat to the neck; I went to the gym; we made pies and stuffing and rolls; Dal's cousins and a coworker friend came over for the festivities and we just hung out and had a nice time; BLACK FRIDAY deal of the day--we scored a sweet TV finally and we totally lucked out b/c Wal Mart was insane which was our first plan of attack but then there was a better deal online at Best Buy but then they couldn't ship to our area BUT THEN it said available in-store so Dal went at like 11pm, walked right in and they had like 3 left! It felt like Christmas getting it all set up so late at night with babies sleeping except it was our present, not theirs!! Plus we went to Target that night too and i stood in line for an hour and we got a blu-ray so we have netflix and pandora and YouTube and everything else everyone else has had for years and years! Target wasn't as bad as Wal Mart(plus it's walking distance) and i got a bunch of clothes for Jettmeister and stocking stuffers so it was fun. 

Been nice to all be together at home and just play. Jett has been walking now for a while and follows Brynn EVERYWHERE! That kid is her shadow...has to try whatever she does which has resulted in a constant supply of bruises, scratches or blood. The dude is accident prone! Alright, well let me know when you get your package...hopefully before you come home! Good to hear from you both and take care. Love you love you, xos!

Post Thxgiving

Thx for the turkey-day well-wishes.  Glad several of you were able to get together for the weekend.    Have to say we were just a little envious but we had a good time feeding our missionary zone.  As you can see, they thoroughly enjoyed it -- it's not very often they get to just relax and enjoy a good meal together.  You might also notice that they all have on T-shirts -- the ZL's had shirts silk-screened with everybody's "nick-name" and area of labor -- a big hit and a nice mission memory.  

This is a little private park area along the river that Mom and I went to for a picnic the other day.  It was so tranquil and nice -- complet with a tire-swing.  Nearby was a boat launch which several locals used to put their boats in the water -- it brought back a lot of memories of all our trips to the lake to ski and picnic -- sweet times for sure.

This is Daiana -- one of Mom's piano students.  She made Mom the little box she's holding -- it has a humming bird on the cover -- without knowing of course that Mom's partial to humming birds.  She's really a sweet girl and one of the many that we're going to miss when we go home -- but we're still going home!! 

Meanwhile, thank you all again for your love and support -- we're getting really anxious to see everybody.

Dad & Mom

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!

With it being Thanksgiving tomorrow I wanted to post a short video with Jadon, Heidi and Karliana before they flew to Utah in the morning.  I apologize the lighting is not very good but it's better than nothing I guess!  I sure hope you feel our love even though you are so far away during the holidays but at least it's the last time : )   Well, until you serve another mission or something.  Things are going well here.  We love being in Vegas and seeing family regularly, we love the weather too.  The kids are making some great friends and we stay busy with go-karting, guitar lessons, gymnastics, bball in the driveway, swimming (well when it's a bit warmer), shooting guns in the dessert, workout classes, school, church callings, going to get-togethers, playing Bunco, doing projects, planting palm trees, painting, hanging up pictures, going to birthday parties, and anything else we can think of!!  Looking forward to you coming to visit : )

Hey, by the way, did you ever get the package I sent forever ago?  I sure hope so.  Anyway, we hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I'll take some pictures over the weekend with people in town.  I promise!  Well, here's the video for now.  Love you!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

In Review....

Well, sufficeth to say, a lot has happened in the last several weeks.  So I thought I'd upload a few pictures since they are worth 1000 words and that might help tell the story.

Here we are in front of the mammoth ship that is called Oasis of the Seas as we docked in Falmouth, Jamaica. There were 6,000 people on board.  We had so much fun. The kids had a great time. One of our best vacations.  The other stops were Labadee, Haiti which is owned by the cruise line, and Cozumel, Mexico where we did some snorkeling.

This was our zipline crew.  They were wonderful and since we were the only ones there that day we got the full VIP treatment.  The kids weren't afraid at all.  I tried to upload a video, but couldn't. If I ever get it figured out I'll try again.

Miniture-golf was a popular activity for the kids on board. They played daily. There was also a rock-climbing wall and nightly soccer on the sports court with the English speakers vs the Spanish speakers.  Alex loved it and got lots of practice in that week.

This is, of course, Roger's funeral.  It was such a beautiful service.  The kids each had their moments, but did really well. I did place a rose on the casket as you requested. He is already missed greatly.  It still doesn't seem real. But we know he is busy with the work on the other side.

Halloween 2013 brought us a Pirate, Where's Waldo, and MorphMan.  I'm not really sure what the morph suit is all about, but that's what Alex wanted to be. The head was too small so he didn't even wear it after the picture.  Hey, I'm just the mom, what do I know?  Reagan's was a last-minute find and Vienna's was a combo of stuff I had from Alex and my friend Julie.

I went to Goodwill looking for Halloween stuff and had looked through all of the stuffed animals for a parrot, because what good is a pirate without her trusty squawking parrot? None to be found.  I got distracted by so many other things and last-minute decided to look through some open bins full of random toys and with a little digging came up with the perfect parrot to complete the outfit. I love it when that happens!!! She was a happy pirate all night long.

This is us with our good friends, the Garrison's, after we'd completed a 5k obstacle race last Saturday.  No, that's not snow in the background, it's foamy soap bubbles or something. The shirts say, "Obstacles on course are closer than they appear".  Ha Ha  We had a great time and are already planning on doing it again next year.  We would've had Alex participate, but it's for ages 13 and up.

Reagan finished her swim season and the coaches have asked her to return to her club team so she can continue to improve her times.  That was encouraging for her.  Alex and Vienna are finishing up their soccer seasons in the next few weeks.  All continue to do well in school.

We are eagerly anticipating the dedication of the Gilbert Temple in March.  Our stake will participate in the cultural event that will proceed that.  There are lots and lots of people who are very interested in going through the open house and we will be taking several friends to see it.

So, in a nut-shell, that's what we've been up to. It's hard to believe, with the exception of the race, all the other photos are just what took place in October! What a whirl-wind month that was. Sorry we haven't been in better touch.  We think of you and pray for you daily.  We are anxious to have you back!  Love and kisses!! XOS

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Mission Experiences

Sorry it's been a while since we posted anything, but thanks to those who recently have.  We can't wait to get back and play with those cute little babbies.  But in the meantime, we've had some interesting experiences we thought we'd share and then we have some pics.

One morning a few weeks ago the mission president called and asked us to focus primarily on one struggling little branch here in Goya.  We decided what we'd do is first search out less-active previous leaders and invite them to come back and help rebuild the branch.  Later that same day we were at a little produce store and in walks an older sophisticated looking gentleman who milled around while waiting for Mom to make her purchases and upon seeing our name tags eventually introduced himself as a member of the Church.  Lo and behold he is a former District President who'd fallen into inactivity but had recently felt the need to return.  We shook hands and I invited him to come back telling him that the Church still needed him.  Come to find out he and his wife had been having some serious difficulties but they came to Church anyway and have continued to come for the past several weeks.  Today he stood up and bore his testimony and paid a tender tribute to his wife of 44 years, after which she stood and tearfully thanked the Lord for the return of her husband.  He's also accepted the calling to serve as the priesthood quorum instructor and is an outstanding teacher.  So what are the chances we would run into each other in a little produce store the very day the mission president called and asked us to focus on this struggling little branch?  There are no coincidences in the Lord's work.

Another experience we recently had was visiting an elderly inactive member who was one of the first to join the Church here in Goya -- a bonafide pioneer.  He is now in his 80's, blind, and confined to a wheel chair, having had his right leg amputated at the hip.  We visited for some time and offered what comfort and encouragement we could and were about to leave when he asked for a priesthood blessing.  He had his caretaker daughter wheel him inside their little home and after the branch president annointed him we both placed our hands on his soiled head.  As I sealed the annointing and began to pronounce a blessing upon him I could feel the love the Lord has for this seriously disabled but faithful old man.  I began to feel emotional and heard myself promise him that the Lord has a place prepared for him in the Celestial Kingdom.  This man who has suffered so much under such deprived circumstances has a place waiting for him in the kingdom of our Father.  God is indeed no respecter of persons -- all He cares about is what's in our heart.

Finally, we were visiting another less-active family one night -- a young man and his wife and two small children.  He comes from a large extended family of members but had slipped into inactivity.  We chatted for a while and per usual invited him to come back and enjoy all the blessings the Church has to offer.  Just as we were about to leave he asked if he could share something.  So he related a dream he'd recently had and wanted to know what it meant.  He said he envisioned the Savior walking on the surface of a river toward him and as he got closer he was captivated by what he saw.  But then the figure he was watching turned and he could see a tail sticking out behind him.  He was confused by that and wondered what it meant.  As soon as he related the dream it was as though the interpretation was given to me and I told him the person he saw was a false Christ -- someone who was attempting to deceive him and he needed to be very careful.  I told him he was at a cross roads and he needed to follow the right path -- and that path was activity in the true Church.  He began to attend Church again, last week was ordained an Elder, and today bore his testimony thanking his Father in Heaven for the blessing of the priesthood in his life -- which he said is much better now that he's active again in the Church.  What a fine young man who just needed a little encouragement.

Well, those are just a few of the kinds of experiences we're having regularly.  This mission has been a sacrifice and challenge, but when we think of these kinds of things, we're thankful the Lord has permitted us to participate in his great plan of redemption.

Now let's see if we can get a few pics to post.


This is the Rodriguez family -- we had a family home evening with them.  Great people who are dirt poor but happily preparing to go to the temple.

This is 12 year-old Daniela -- our branch president's daughter playing "jacks" -- "cachua" in spanish.  But there's no rubber ball -- she just tosses a rock up in the air and tries to gather the other rocks in her hand and then catch the rock in the air before it hits the ground.  She's pretty good.


Just us with a couple of our missionaries and the branch RS president -- who's only been a member of the Church for about a year.

Guess we'll close with this one -- your friendly neighborhood senior missionaries posing in front of the Parana' River on a beautiful spring day.  There are some really nice areas down here -- and this is one of them. 

So adios for now.  Thank you all for your posts and personal e-mails -- we really appreciate them and more than that, we really appreciate all of you -- our beloved family.  We love you and can't wait to be together again.

Dad and Mom

Friday, November 1, 2013

What up Halloween?

So here are some pics of Emma from last night. Didn't do a whole lot b/c Mandi had to work late so we just walked around the neighborhood as other kids were out trick-or-treating. She wasn't too excited about posing for pics as you can see. Eventually I left the bucket 'o candy on the front porch and watched Best of Chris Farley with my neighbor. Emma had a sucker so she was happy sitting there. Then we went to Manda's co-workers haunted house that he puts on every year. Quite the setup and apparently it was a little too scary for Emma. She started crying as we were in the first room so I had to take her out. Literally scared the poop out of her b/c I had to change her diaper right after that! (she had a dirty diaper already but that makes the story sound better).

Anyway, pretty low-key this year but here are some pics nonetheless.

Trick or Treat

We had our ward carnival last night which they couldn't have cared less about and then we went to the trunk or treat at the church tonight which lasted all of about 15 minutes...there was hardly anyone there SO all the candy and good stuff i was expecting to steal off my 19 month old didn't happen. Oh well. It was still fun to see them dressed up so cute. We went as African safari tourists and they were the wild animals we photographed but people didn't really get it. Lame. Until next year when we come up with our next idea. And of all the stuff to eat, Brynn chose an apple. We did just visit the dentist tho...ok xos!