the fan

the fan

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A day in Cholula

On Saturday we traveled to Cholula with the Assistants and the Office Elders... Elder Nepomuceno, Elder Gonzalez, Elder Hurtado and Elder Alvarez. There is a huge pyramid which was buried by the Spanish and then a large church was built on top of the pyramid. My understanding is that it was an effort to squelch the beliefs of the existing people and introduce them to Christianity.

The pyramid is the largest in the world, one third larger than the Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.

These guys climbed this really tall pole and wound their ropes around the center pole, then they dropped off the frame and slowly their ropes unwound from the center pole as they twirled around the pole down to the ground. Really interesting to watch...

this shows just how high up they were. When they swung around the pole, they descended very slowly. It was very beautiful to watch. Sorry, I couldn't get a video to load...

This is a replica in the museum outside of the pyramid. You can see how the vegetation part has been cut away to see what is underground. This part to the right is a part that was rebuilt to resemble what was covered.

This is inside the museum and shows what the walls probably looked like at the time that it was being used as a pyramid. Elder Hurtado, Elder Alvarez, Brian, Sister Reeves, President Reeves, Elder Gonzalez and Elder Nepomuceno.

this is taken from another angle of the pyramid where some of the original pyramid has been unearthed. In the middle of the picture you can see some people on a path. That gives you an idea of how large all this is. In the replica, this area is in the top right hand corner.

This is a picture of a man who was painting pictures of Popo (the large volcano) on plates with his fingers! Kind of like finger painting, but a whole lot better! We actually bought a plate, we loved it so much. It turned out that he is a member of the church, but not real active, so President Reeves was able to visit with him and encourage him to come back. He was a very sweet and humble man.

This is looking from on top of the pyramid with Puebla and Cholula in the background.

This was a much easier climb than Malinche!

The Church on top of the pyramid. It was so beautiful inside, all the details of the architecture were amazing...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Where we live...

These are some pictures of the house we're living in. We really like it and it's very comfortable...

the front door... it's inside the garage, not off the street. it's actually quite convenient and the only thing you see from the street is our garage door...

This is the living room and it's right inside and to the right of the entry way. President Reeves has an office to the left of the entry and the kitchen is straight ahead. The dining room is right next to the living room. They make one long room.

the kitchen is very spacious and it's very easy to keep everything clean. We also have a sister from the ward come in every day to tidy up and keep things looking nice. We love Magdalena!

This is the upstairs sitting area. There are five bedrooms that are off of this area.

This is the family room upstairs and it's where we spend most of our time. It's right between our bedroom and Brian's, so it's the natural gathering place for games, computers and hanging out.
We love it!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Two weeks down...

Well, we've been here for two weeks and it seems so normal! Aside from the fact that everyone speaks Spanish... We had a great week. Not as busy as last week.

On Monday we dropped off our first missionary to return home from the mission. Sister Munoz impressed me greatly even though I only spent one morning with her. As we sat in the Bus Terminal waiting for her bus to depart, she approached a family sitting near us and asked if they would be interested in learning more about the church. She is a sweet and beautiful young woman.

After seeing Hermana Munoz off, we waited for the 11 missionaries coming in by bus from the Mexico City MTC.

Our first
group of Missionaries!

These missionaries will be the first group of missionaries to be with us for their whole two years. We were very excited to meet them and start their training. They were very excited to meet their first companions and trainers.

As soon as we were done at the Mission Office, we drove two hours to Mexico City with the assistants to meet another sister coming from the Peru MTC. When we got there, we found our good friends (past Stake President and co grandparents of our grandson, Van) the Hickens! They are presiding over the Mexico City East mission and were also waiting for missionaries, so we got to visit with them for two hours while we waited for our missionaries to come through customs (how fun!). Sister Nunura is very sweet and I think she will be a very powerful missionary. After driving back to Puebla, we drove out to the Puebla airport and waited for our last missionary of this transfer... Elder Painter from the Provo MTC. We had the opportunity to meet Elder Painter while we were in the MTC for the Seminar, so we were very excited to meet him again. It was a long day, but very fun and exciting to welcome so many missionaries to the mission.
President Reeves spoke at a stake meeting for the youth who didn't go to EFY on Wednesday. Usually when he speaks, he asks me to bear my testimony. I'm fairly confident in doing that in Spanish and I've started to venture out in the things that I say, but did you know that the word in Spanish for "sin" and "fish" are very similar?

We have been having the Assistants drive us around town because it is very confusing here and we don't really know our way around yet. But... President Reeves successfully navigated us to the Mission Office and back home yesterday. Woo Hoo! Of course, the Assistants were in the back seat...

Today was Zone Leader Council. We had the Zone Leaders from the 8 zones, the Assistants and the Office Elders for a meeting in our home that lasted from 9 am till 2 pm. They received training about finding new people to teach and being obedient, among other things. We have such good assistants. They are amazing teachers and they are so loving towards the other elders. After the meeting we served Cafe Rio for lunch and it was a big hit. Elder Alvarez got very excited when I told him there were jalapenos in the dressing...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Zone Conference Week

We started out our first week in the Mission by having Zone Conferences in each of the Zones so that we could meet all the missionaries in the mission. What an amazing week! The first Conference included 4 different zones, but we met all together in Puebla at the Stake Center right next to the Mission Office. We had 97 missionaries and the Stake President in attendance. We introduced our family to the missionaries through a slide show, listened to testimonies of several of the missionaries, were instructed and uplifted by the Assistants, the Stake President and finally by President Reeves. It was a long meeting, but so good. Brian and I couldn't understand most of what was said, as it was all in Spanish, but the Spirit was strong and I could feel the testimonies of those in attendance.

On Wednesday, we traveled to the Tlaxcala Zone and along the way we got a good look at Popo, the volcanoe which borders one side of Puebla. We had the same format each day, but would have a Stake President speak to the missionaries from the Stake in the area. Brian was a good sport to come with us and sit through 5-6 hours of Zone Conference in Spanish. He did enjoy meeting the missionaries and getting to know a lot of them. He even bore his testimony in Spanish.

This is a picture of the two zones in the Tlaxcala area. We had 30 missionaries in attendance. Brian was a great help to me in preparing and presenting the slide show. I couldn't have done it without him. We showed pictures of each of our children and their families in an effort to let the missionaries get to know us. We have to thank Mel & Linda for the idea. We loved their presentation to their missionaries and so decided to do the same.

Elder Hurtado with a couple that he worked with when he was working in this area. This brother was recently baptized and his wife is serving as the Relief Society Secretary in their ward. Elder Hurtado was so excited to visit with them for a bit before we headed back home.

Thursday we traveled an hour and a half to Atlixco and again had a wonderful time. There were 24 missionaries in this group. I really love the missionaries. They are so humble and friendly and are so eager to learn. I'm so impressed with their willingness to sacrifice so much to serve the Lord for two years.

On Friday we traveled two hours to Tehuacan. I love the traveling! I usually fall asleep in the car, but there's so much to see and the countryside is beautiful, I enjoy it so much. Tehuacan is a beautiful city and when President Reeves asked the missionaries if any of them were ready for a change, they all said no! They love this area and I can understand why. This was our smallest group, with only 18 missionaries. I was a little worried about being with such a small group, but I loved the fact that I was able to learn ALL their names while we were there. Again, I was impressed with the missionaries and their willingness to serve.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Welcome to the mission...

On Sunday we went to church at our new ward and it was a great experience. The Assistants went with us as we don't know our way around Puebla yet. It is a crazy place and we don't know any of the streets yet or where we're going. Because it was Fast Sunday and we wanted to get to know the members of the ward better, we decided to bear our testimonies. So we did and we did it in Spanish... It went well and after the meeting a lot of the members came up and introduced themselves to us and welcomed us to the ward. They all made us feel very welcome and it was a great first Sunday.

On Monday Brian got to play soccer with Elder Dominguez, Elder Hurtado and Elder Alvarez. He was a little worried because he hasn't played soccer in 4 years, but he did great and had a good time. It was a little hard playing at this altitude (7,000 ft.) but he survived!

Robert was very busy with meetings with the Assistants on Sunday and Monday getting ready for the Zone Conferences. He was able to go with us to watch Brian play soccer, though. Even when he's home from the mission office, he seems to be on the phone a lot with the Elders.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mexico, here we come!

We left at 7:30 Friday morning for the airport. Our flight was at 10 and we had plenty of time so we didn't feel too rushed or anxious. By the time we got to our gate, they had already boarded everyone and we were one of the last ones to get on! So much for not rushing... We flew to Houston and had a 3 hour lay over there, but we were able to eat and have a bit of dessert while we waited. We also took a little bit of a nap...

The flight from Houston to Puebla was on a smaller plane, about 50 people were on the flight. It was a great flight, but a little bumpy the closer we got to Puebla.

this was a very small plane!

We landed at 8:30 pm and it was dark, so all we could see were the lights of the city as we came in. As we exited the plane onto the tarmac we saw 3 armed Federales at the bottom of the stairs... armed as in carrying machine guns... I thought about taking their picture, but decided they might not like that so I didn't. It took awhile to get through customs, but eventually we did and I didn't get my bag of jelly beans confiscated. So relieved! However, two of our bags were left in Houston! We were told that they will arrive on the flight tomorrow night... we'll see.

The departing Mission President and his wife, President and Sister Rex, were there to meet us and they drove us to the Mission Office where we met the office staff and the Assistants, and also the Counselors in the Mission Presidency. They are cousins and so they are both Hermano Sandoval! Makes it easy to remember... We had a little bit to eat and then visited and they all expressed their love and gratitude for the Rex's. It was very touching and I can see that we have some big shoes to fill. The missionaries love the Rex's very much. It was about 12 when we left the mission office and headed for the Mission home. After a lot more instruction we finally got to bed at 2:45 am! I asked Sister Rex what time they were leaving because I thought I could make some breakfast for them, but she said they were leaving in an hour! They were catching a bus to Mexico City and catching a flight from there. Wow! I guess they will sleep on the plane!

Saturday was busy with meetings for Robert and the Assistants. They worked at the house for a couple of hours then continued at the office until 3 when they came to get Brian and me to go shopping at Costco. It was the same but different...

Elder Hurtado and Elder Alvarez, ate dinner with us that evening. They are wonderful missionaries and they already have a spot in my heart. We've spent a lot of time with them in the last couple of days! They have shown an interest in Brian and are trying to teach him Spanish every chance they get. He likes them, too, and has been invited to play soccer with them on Monday, their preparation day.

The Mission Home is beautiful and I feel at home here already. I have been looking at pictures of it for a couple of months now, so it doesn't seem so foreign to me. It's very comfy and welcoming.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Moving Out

This week was spent packing up our house and moving out. On Monday morning we arrived back home from the Seminar. Taylor surprised me at the airport (Dad already knew he was coming) and that was so fun to see him! We got a call from Brian that the movers were at the house and ready to start. They were amazing! They packed up everything after we identified which things were to go into storage and which things would go with us to Mexico. We had to be careful about leaving things laying around because they were so quick that they packed a few things that shouldn't have been packed! But they were good to find them again for me. By Tuesday evening this is what our house looked like...

On Wednesday, we cleaned, cleaned, cleaned. Thanks go to my sons Taylor, Brian and to Maria and her son, who did all the hard stuff. Jerry and LaDeane Garner also helped immensely by fixing things that needed to be fixed and by taking all the "stuff" that I needed a home for. Also, my children were so good to take a lot of things that we didn't want to put into storage but that we couldn't take with us. The renters had already started moving in their belongings and by Thursday they were completing the job. Kimber and Ryan opened their home to us and Max for a few nights before we left for Mexico.

Wednesday night we went to dinner with the kids and grandkids one last time! How fun it was to sit and visit with all of them. I will miss them all terribly. We dropped Taylor off at the airport and on Thursday Robert and I took Max to the airport to put him on a cargo plane headed for Atlanta, Georgia. It's funny to me how many family members we have on the East Coast right now... Anyway, after an hour and a half delay in Atlanta, Max arrived in Norfolk, Virginia and Taylor picked him up. He was happy to be out of his kennel, I'm sure.

sorry, I didn't know how to turn it!

This is his favorite thing to do...

Friday morning Larry came to pick us up for the airport. When we got there, we noticed some children who looked a lot like Catherine and Ethan... wait! It WAS Catherine and Ethan! Melanie had brought the kids to the airport to see us off... so sneaky! Then we found the Garners and Rick Hansen there also. We had a wonderful time visiting and reminiscing at the airport before we had to board our plane. Such good friends and family!