Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"I am with you even to the end"

I had a Peruvian experience a couple weeks ago, when I went to the doctor to have a cortisone shot in my shoulder. I have had pain in my shoulder for about a year and thought that if I didn't use it a lot that it would get better. It did not and it has steadily gotten worse. It got to a point where it was unbearable, so I gave in to the encouragement of my husband to get a cortisone shot. He had done the same thing just a few weeks before. I have had them before in my foot and it had never been too bad or painful of an experience, but that was in the United States...

                                          Weekly District Meeting. Studying the Scriptures.

I finally made an appointment and the dreaded night came. Most doctors in Peru see patients in the evening. Sometimes they show up for the appointments and sometimes they don't. They make other plans and let the receptionist know that they will not be there. The only way to find this out is to go to the appointment. They do not give you a courtesy call to let you know that plans have changed. We had a missionary who had a tonsillectomy two weeks ago. He went the appointed morning at 8:00 am and the doctor was not there. They told him to come back the next day! Needless to say, many of our missionaries have wasted a lot of time because of traveling, sometimes 30-40 minutes, to a cancelled appointment.

                                           The New Crop! We are getting much smaller
                                                                      groups now.

Luckily (or unluckily) my doctor did not cancel. He determined from a short examination that I probably had an inflamed tendon and insisted that I get an x-ray before getting a shot of cortisone. Then I would have to come back for another appointment to see the results. Mark and I both groaned. Mark begged the doctor to just wait because it would only take 15 minutes to get the x-ray. We hurried the technician as much as we could and when we went back the doctor was gone.  For our second appointment, a week later, the doctor did not show up. We groaned again. Our appointment was for 5:00. They were able to get another doctor to come in at 6:00. So we waited and then waited for four other people who were ahead of us.

                                                                     Happy Sisters!

The x-ray did not show any problem, so the doctor suggested I get an MRI (which is another big hassle) and then have therapy. Once again we groaned. My husband was able to talk him into giving me the cortisone shot, instead of an MRI and therapy. This meant that we would have to leave and go and purchase all of the medicine and needed equipment from the hospital pharmacy. Most of the doctors here do not have their own office, so appointments are given in an examination room in the hospital. When doctors are done with their appointments, they leave very quickly. There isn't much else to do when you don't have an office nearby. My husband asked the doctor three times if he would really be there when we got back. He assured us that he would.

                                                  Happy missionaries!

Next, we had to wait in line at the pharmacy. We needed to buy a needle, a syringe, gloves, lidocaine and cortisone. The pharmacist informed us that they had all of the needed supplies except for one. They just happened to be out of cortisone! My husband asked if it was possible if we could buy the cortisone at another pharmacy and they said "Yes" that we could. So we ran to our car out front and we rushed to the nearest pharmacy which was a couple of blocks from the hospital. Mark bought the cortisone without any problem (which was amazing) and we rushed back to the hospital. We ran back to the pharmacy and bought all the other stuff, then we ran down to the room where we saw the doctor, and you guessed it, he was gone! The receptionist assured us that he was visiting a patient in the hospital and that he would be back.

                                       Home Improvement Project. Building a little carport.

We waited about 15 minutes and he did come back. We sat down in his office and he began removing all of the supplies from the bag: A syringe, a nice huge needle, gloves and two huge bottles of lidocaine and cortisone that was all going to go into my arm. He assembled the shot and sucked up all the medicine into the syringe right in front of me as I watched. He didn't have the courtesy to do this in the secrecy of another room where I couldn't see the torture that awaited me. I started to get a little nervous. Next, he marked my arm with a pen. He slowly put the needle into my arm and kept asking me, "Esta bien?" "Si, estoy bien." "Does it hurt?" "Yes, of course! But only a little!" After about five minutes of injecting medicine, the doctor removed the needle and he was done. When we left the hospital, we really felt like we had accomplished Mission Impossible! The next day my arm hurt worse, but I tried to have hope. Gradually, it has been feeling better each day. It's not perfect like we hoped, but much less pain than before. I guess it was was worth it!

                                                    Tired mission president after a long
                                                    stressful day. Watering plants in crocs
                                                    and apron. What a sight for me!

It has been an amazing experience to witness the dedication of our missionaries. It has literally brought me to tears at times. Sometimes we have to insist that they slow down and take a rest.The other day, a missionary called me with symptoms of diarrhea, headache, weakness, no  appetite, etc. that he had had for about a week He went to the doctor and had some tests, A couple of hours later he called me with the results. About thirty minutes later I called him about his medication. There was no answer. In a few minutes, he called me back and said, "Sorry I couldn't answer. We were contacting someone." I talked to him about the medication and then hung up. I start thinking about this.  A missionary is told he is sick, then he immediately goes out and starts working. Sometimes we have to intervene and remind them that we are not supposed to "run faster than we have strength."

                                                  Sister leaders after Zone Conference

A week ago today, a missionary had an operation. The surgery was not until 9:30 at night. We kept waiting to hear from his companion that he was out and okay. At 10:30, my husband felt impressed that he should go to the hospital, even though it was past visiting hours. He changed his clothes and went to the hospital and begged the security guard to just let him go in for five minutes to see that the missionary was okay. She finally relented and Mark was accompanied by another guard to the room. When my husband got there, they were just wheeling the missionary into the room. The first thing the missionary saw after his surgery was his mission president thanks to the promptings of the Spirit.

                                          Four of these missionaries came in the mission
                                          field the same time we did: Elder Goff, Elder
                                           Hansen, Elder Lewis and Elder Lewis. Four of
                                           them came six weeks later: Elder Haddock,
                                           Elder Anderson, Elder Sheide & Elder Unruh.

We finished Zone Conferences last week. That is about all we lived and breathed for almost two weeks, but we felt like it was a success because we all felt the Spirit and we were edified. We focused on the Doctrine of Christ, Our Area Plan, the Missionary handbook (rules) and Family History Work. It is a proven statistic of the church that converts who go to the temple in the first year after their baptism are more likely to remain active in the church. So we encourage the investigators and new converts to record information in a "My Family" Booklet and then to go and do baptisms for these ancestors in the temple. Those who go to the temple have a life changing experience and want to have that experience again. This booklet has really simplified family history work and made it much less overwhelming.

                                                        Zone Conference Activity

Many of our missionaries shared the special experiences they had going to Family Search and reading stories about their ancestors. One sister shared that she has never liked family history work. But this time it was different. As she read about her ancestors, she was touched by their hard work and determination and realized that she is where she is in her life because of them and what they did for her. There is a song called "Nunca Pense" (its in Spanish) by David Archuleta about Family History work. One line says, "Now I understand why I am here." Family History helps us to understand how we got to the point we are at in our life and to feel gratitude for those who sacrificed so we can have the blessings that we enjoy.

                                                       Zone Conference English Activity

We had Elder Carlos Godoy of the Seventy here in Chiclayo to reorganize the Victoria Stake. It was a great experience. Mark and I spoke Saturday night (Mark in Priesthood Meeting also) and then got to relax and enjoy on Sunday. I was about to write the counsel that Elder Godoy gave in my journal, but thought I would share it here. He talked about the reorganization of the Stake and said that this is a good time for us to reorganize things in our lives that need changing. He quoted counsel that Pres. James E. Faust gave about how to have a strong successful family. He shared 5 points: 1) Have individual and family prayer (He also added prayer as a couple) 2) Hold Family Home Evening 3) Have individual and family scripture study 4) Pay tithing 5) Attend the temple and give service there. He promised that all of these things will strengthen our families. These are all things that Mark and I have gained a testimony of in raising our family. I know that all of these traditions are a great blessing to families.

                                          Mother's Day Gift from my sweet, loving husband.

Sunday morning he gave counsel to the youth and to converts. Elder Godoy joined the church as the only member in his family when he was sixteen years old. He shared with us that he had a long ponytail and always wore black when he joined the church. It is very hard for me to imagine him like that now! The two things that strengthened his testimony were seminary and the scriptures. He was invited to seminary at 6:00 in the morning and did not want to go until he found out that his future wife attended the class. That changed his mind. He said that she was a girl that always made his heart beat very hard when he saw her. He felt she was a person way above him and she helped him want to strive to be a better person. He admitted that it has been that way his whole life. It was a sweet tribute to his wife.

                                       Mother's day fruit salad. The creation of my husband!

I need to pay tribute to the man I have lived with for 35 years. He has made me a better person. He has helped and supported me through the many challenges of my life. He is the most faithful friend to me that any person could have. He has never said anything bad about me to anyone else. His love for me is the pure love of Christ because he only sees the good in me and his love has never failed. I feel that I have been extremely blessed to have the eternal companion that is perfect for me. I will be eternally grateful for him. Yesterday was our thirty fifth wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe we have come this far, that our children are raised and we have grandchildren now. But what a grand journey it has been. Our life together has been perfect because we have each other and the gospel. Perfect does not mean there have not been challenges and struggles. It means there has been good and bad and the bad is what makes the good so sweet. We need the good and the bad to make our lives perfect. We we look back through the years, the hard things seem to fade and the good things bring has wonderful memories and great joy!

                                                  Thirty-five years! What a Journey!

Yesterday was a perfect day because we spent it together. There is nothing very exciting to do in Chiclayo, but we had a picnic and enjoyed the beauty of the earth. Our missionaries gave us the most special gift that we have ever received in the mission. They brought us a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a huge gold envelope full of notes from every single missionary in the mission! I don't know how they pulled that off, especially without us knowing about it. It has been very fun to read their expressions of love and congratulations. We were so touched that they would do something so thoughtful for us. Our assistants Elder Pacherres from Lima and Elder Wallce from Arizona are very loving, thoughtful people. We are so grateful for them.

                                              Thoughtful gifts from loving missionaries.

As we draw closer to the two year mark, I have felt many different feelings. I have felt that the last year will be the best because the second year has been so much better than the first. The other day I came across a scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants 100:12.  "Therefore, continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice: for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end." In that moment, I felt the Savior's love and His encouragement to keep going, and that He has truly been with us, and will not leave us alone. For a few minutes I felt enveloped in His love. Verse 15 brought me comfort also, "Therefore let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for your good to them that walk uprightly." I know that year 3 is going to be another great year for us!

Each of us are on a journey in this life, a journey to learn and grow and make our way back to our Heavenly Father. What a comfort to know that our Savior is with us. We just need to draw near to Him and He will draw near to us and we will be "encircled about eternally in the arms of His love." (2 Nephi 1:15) Another scripture that gave me great comfort this last week is D&C 98:18. After 23 moves, living in Peru and all the challenges of life, the thought that there is a mansion prepared for me and that I will dwell with my Father and my Savior, gives me such great joy. I know this is the Plan of Salvation and something I have known my entire life, but it becomes more and more important to me each day that I live and each challenge that I overcome. "Let not your hearts be troubled; for in my Father's house are many mansions and I have prepared a place for you; and where my Father and I am, there ye shall be also." What a wonderful thing to hope for! No matter what we experience in this life, it really will all work together for our good.


  1. Such a lovely post! I totally concur that getting a new member to the temple within the first year of baptism greatly increases the chance that their conversion will "stick". Having new converts find names to take to the temple is inspired! Thank you for writing these blog posts. They have meant so much to me as a parent!

  2. I love reading your blog. Such great insight to the country and what our missionaries are living each day. Very thoughtful for the missionaries to do such a nice gesture. Happy Anniversary!

  3. I really, really like it! Love to reading your article. Thanks for sharing.