Tuesday, December 11th: We were on the morning shift today and we had 3 young men come to receive their endowments. Each had been called to serve in Venezuela, each in different a mission there. Each was there with both parents and in addition one had one set of grandparents. This is very unusual for here in Bolivia. Many times a young man will show up with no one accompanying him. Sometimes he is the only member in his family. To have all three, with both parents was a real surprise and shows the maturing of the church here in South America. It was fun to talk to them about their families. Each had been a member since childhood. One of the fun things that falls to the presidency and matron of any temple is to explain the ordinances of the temple.
Wednesday, December 12th: We are on schedule to have attended the temple each day this month that it is open as patrons. This morning we did initiatory. During our shift in the afternoon, the sealer did not show up. So I got to seal a young couple. These experiences are very precious and sacred and they strengthen my testimony and understanding of the eternal nature of this work.Saturday, December 15th: We attended the early morning session today as patrons. I had a sweet experience with Sister Cortez, a missionary from Colombia.
Sunday, December 16th: President Crayk had to go to La Paz today. He left me with the car so that I could go and pick up Doug Thayne from the airport. He also left me with the assignment to go to the Rosedal and Linde wards in the Cobica Stake and pass out small polished crystal-like rocks to all the members who would make the commitment to attend the temple more frequently during the coming year. At their stake conference on the 25th of November, Pres. Crayk had promised everyone in the stake who would make this commitment, a rock to help them remember their commitment. So I had my assignment to visit these two wards. I took Sister Crayk and mom and we headed out at 7:30 a.m. so we could be to the first sacrament meeting at 8:00am. I asked the bishop if I could make an announcement before the sacrament and then I explained that I had the rocks and that I needed to leave to go to the airport, but that I would be back during Sunday school to pass them out. The 3 of us then left for the airport.
|Doug Thayne arriving in Cochabamba.|
|Elder Thayne and Elder Norman plus 40 years.|
Doug Thayne is an old missionary companion from when mom and I and Pres. Crayk served in Ecuador from 1971-1973. He has been building the interiors of temples for the last 15 years. In fact, he and his crew installed the woodwork for BDL in the Ghana and Nigeria temples when I was President of BDL. He arrived and looks exactly like he did 40 years ago, bald and with a big grin. Really, he was bald in the mission field. He told me that more than once, people would ask if he was his companion’s father. We then went back to church and passed out rocks. We then attended the Sacrament meeting for the Linde ward and passed out the rocks after Sacrament meeting. We brought Doug back and got him settled in the patron housing and then fed him lunch. We then went and picked up Pres. Crayk from the airport. We showed Doug the temple and the patron housing building and then Pres. Crayk had to leave for another meeting. That evening we had a wonderful dinner prepared by Sister Crayk and we sat around the table reminiscing and laughing about our many memories in the Ecuador mission.
Monday, December 17th: With Doug here we decided to show him around a little. We had purchased a bunch of school supplies for a school for children with Down Syndrome. We delivered these and got a tour.
|The school for Down Syndrome kids.|
The kids were on vacation, but the facility is very nice and was constructed over the past 10 years by a parent association. We will try and help them with some other things during this next year. We had a great steak lunch and then we attended a Christmas Party for the Deseret Club.
|Lunch with Doug and Pres. and Sister Crayk.|
This is a club made up by the employees of the temple. It is an annual party for the kids of the employees and Santa comes and all the kids get a present.
|Santa and Mrs. Claus aka Elder and Sister Perez.|
One of the temple missionaries, Elder Perez from Venezuela, played Santa and made all the children sing for their presents.
|Santa handing out presents.|
Sister Crayk, who is a professional story teller, told a folktale in Spanish. The kids loved it.
|Sister Crayk telling a story to all the kids at the party.|
|I got to hold one of the employees kids.|
|Look what Santa drinks!|
Tuesday, December 18th: Pres. Crayk had to work this morning so we took Doug to the convent and he thought that was worth a visit.
|Doug and I at the convent.|
|Mom and Doug at the convent.|
|Wood carved alter piece at the convent.|
We then went to the last session in the morning and then with the Crayks we went to lunch at Tuesdays and then for ice cream. Pres. Crayk had to talk to a group from La Paz at 4:00pm so we all went to that meeting and Doug bore his testimony. We then took him to the airport. Short stay, but it was great to see him and get caught up. He was here in South America because he will be doing the interiors of the Trujillo temple in Peru.
Friday, December 21st: First thing this morning we went to SEGIP to be photographed and finger printed for our carnets, a resident ID card. We have to get this in order to renew our visas for another year. There is no way to describe this process, but it has required multiple trips to multiple bureaucracies with multiple payments and standing in multiple lines. As most of you know, this is my idea of hell. I then spent the afternoon making a huge batch of my super-duper spicy BBQ sauce. We are going to give all the missionaries a bottle for our Christmas gift. We were off today, but President Crayk called and asked us to speak to another group from La Paz. It was a ward from the stake that I had just visited for their Stake Conference. They had 17 youth and only 4 of their parents were with them.
|The group from La Paz.|
I talked about how their parents were home working and sacrificing so they could come to the temple and have a special experience. It was a good meeting we got done about 9:00pm.
Saturday, December 22nd: We were on turn for the morning shift today, so we were to the temple early. The sealer didn’t show up again. I got to seal a family, first the parents and then 3 living children and 2 deceased children. This is the first time I think I have had a combination of living and deceased children. It was so fun to do this sealing. Mom represented the deceased daughter. The children and parents afterward where so emotional, but this just made it all the more enjoyable. Then I spent the afternoon making more BBQ sauce. I have made 2 triple batches of BBQ sauce this week.
Sunday, December 23rd: We attended the Temporal Ward today and I asked the Bishop if I could have 5 minutes. He made me the last speaker and I had 20 minutes. I didn’t have my book of talks so it was off the cuff. But it was easy to speak about Christmas and how wise men still search for Christ and how we can find Him in the temple. I left 5 minutes so the stake president got up and spoke. I felt really good about my talk. Mom said afterward that she is not sure if the Latinos know how to deal with emotion, because I was bawling during my talk. Yea, so what’s new? But she also reminded me that Pres. Eyring is very emotional during his talks too. We came home and had leftovers and now I am blogging. Mom has organized a caroling party for tonight. Merry Christmas to one and to all.
|Carolers in front of the temple.|
|Carolers in front of Pres. Caryk's house.|
|Carolers in front of the stable on the temple grounds.|
|Our mascot we found caroling.|
|Some of the carolers.|
|Santa and Mom in front of the stable.|