Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas morning all of the temple missionaries went to a state owned orphanage.  The facilities leave something to be desired.  A couple here asked their ward to contribute, then along with each of our contributions we were able to buy a new washing machine for them.  These are two of the children there.

We gave each child a large stuffed animal and a sister made hats for each one.  The table with the benches is new and we have ordered 2 more for the orphanage.

This little child was lying in a crib when we got there.  Sister Dibb picked him up and carried him out to be with the others.  Then he was put in a stroller after a diaper change.  He was one of a few that we could get to smile when we rubbed his arms and talked to him.

This little guy wanted Elder Dibb to pick him up, but he was pretty heavy, so Dale just hugged him.  We found that the children did not talk.  All are handicapped in some way, blind, lame, etc.  All had been abandoned.

This little girl sat in her chair the whole time, but enjoyed the hat, stuffed animal and ball that she was given.

Keri Ann is the mission president's daughter and has come from the U.S. to spend a couple of weeks with her parents.  This little boy clung to her.  She has her masters degree in social work and sat on the concrete loving him with tears streaming down her cheeks.  She said,  "He just needs to be loved."  It was sweet.

This picture shows some of the children at the table with their toys and hats and blankets.  They seem really happy.

This little guy is tasting the car.  He is blind and can't walk.  We spent some time with him.

Elder Kennedy with a couple of the children, just sitting with them, reading and holding them.

A little blind girl who is playing with cars.  She laid down on the concrete.  Connie (temple pres. wife) took the hat and put under her head.  This was a unique experience.  We felt a deep love for these little ones and couldn't help but know that our Heavenly Father is aware of them and all will be made right through the atonement.  Love the opportunity to give little things to them as well as some time on this Christmas day.

Never in the U.S. would you find anyone, especially "old" people riding in the back of the truck.  Rather than shuttle people back to the temple after our visit to the orphanage, some of us rode in the back of the truck.

The Rojas family invited us over to their home on Christmas Eve in the morning.  We visited and had saltenas.  Graver (the father) is a colonel in the military and was stationed in Georgia, teaching at a fort there.  So his children speak very good English.  He showed us a picture of a lot of the military officers and he was sitting next to the president of the country.  So he's pretty high up and hopes to become a general.  We had a nice visit.

We had a Christmas party with the missionaries.  This is the desert table.  I made the pumpkin roll.  It turned out pretty good.

Part of the group at the dinner table.

We played a game called "musical spoons".  We passed the spoons to the music.  The little lady standing up by Elder Dibb is Hermana Cortes.  She was so excited.  She had to be right in the middle of things.  Luckily, she won one of the games.  She is very competitive and is delightful to watch.

We got in groups and did a little spoof on "The Night Before Christmas" with a rat and a cat.  It was pretty funny.

The Campero family came to visit at 10:45 p.m.  In Bolivia, everyone celebrates with a big dinner around midnight, so they were all up and caroling to several families.  Their children, 3 and 5 sang right along with them.  Their dad and mom also sang some harmony.  They said that they were alone for Christmas this year (no family around) and decided to start a new tradition.

Here we are in our pajamas and roges with the Campero family.

We went to a down-syndrome school with Pres. Crayk and his wife.  They were having a Christmas program and invited us because we had given them paper, colored pencils, coloring books, etc.  It was a special experience to see how clean and organized this school is.  The parents of the children run the school, so they all have an interest in giving these children every opportunity to develop and live in society.  This little boy grabbed Elder Dibb's hand and took him all around the school, even upstairs to show him every part of the building.

Some more of the parents and children.  Many are teenagers, but they have some very young ones, too.

Dancing during the program.

A little guy with Pres. Crayk, president of the temple here in Cochabamba.

Sunday night some of the temple missionaries went caroling.  It helped us feel the spirit of Christmas.

The group in front of the temple.

We found this huge "bug" on our way home.

Singing by the nativity on the temple grounds.

La Cancha

We went to "La Cancha" to shop one day.  It is in the south part of the city and is a huge "market".  There are shop after shop of shoes in one part.

In another part of the market are hats, etc.  It's kind of like a WalMart, but spread over a huge area.  So you need to know where to find the different things you want.  Each isle in WalMart would be a long row of many different shops in La Cancha.  We did get some shoes and a "wide brimmed hat" for Elder Dibb.

We stopped at a church on the way home and the paintings on the ceiling were amazing. 

The condor is the "bird of Bolivia".  We saw some real ones at the zoo in La Paz, but this is the first statue in a park that we have seen.

We watched some workmen building this "city of Bethlehem and the stable" out of bricks in one of the round-a-bouts.  Pretty amazing.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

All the missionaries had a FHE and watched "The Life of Christ".  Afterward, we had a "sundae bar".  Fun times with the temple missionaries.

We had to fly back to La Paz to renew our visas on Wednesday.  We got up at 3:45 and flew out at 6:00 am.  Of course, Bolivian ways are crazy and we had to go to several different buildings and wait to sign papers - back and forth - to the bank to pay the money and back to immigration.  Anyway, this is one of the traffic jams we were in.  We are trying to turn left.  Finally, our taxi driver turned and went down the wrong side of the street.

A picture of part of the lights at the temple.  They look so beautiful with the temple in the background.  Down below there are lights on the trees.  In the evening there are tons of birds singing in these trees.

Sitting on the front of the manger scene at the temple.

This is one of the missionaries, Elder Cuellar, from Cochabamba who was in the La Paz Mission.  He returned home a couple of months ago.  He came to visit us and brought his girlfriend.  We took them to lunch and had a nice visit.

They do have some of those "instant parades" in Cochabamba.  I love their costumes.

We had a wonderful devotional at the temple on Sunday, Dec. 9.  There were 13 choirs that participated - from Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, and La Paz.  They were wonderful.  There were about 4,100 people that attended.  The missionaries had tents set up and got a lot of references.  The whole parking lot was filled with chairs and people.  It started at 4:30 and ended about 7:00.  It was a special experience.

One of the choirs had the primary children dressed to represent the manger scene.

This is the choir.  Adults in the colors and the children in white.  Two of the little girls sang solo parts.  It was a big hit.

This choir was from La Paz.  We know several of the people in the choir.  The choir director was an institute teacher in La Paz and plays the piano and had a wonderful choir last year.  He and his family are awesome.  They are in the ward that we are assigned to in Cochabamba.  What a beautiful night.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

We had dinner at the Mission Home with Pres. and Sister Dyer.  They invited this gentleman who just turned 100 years old.  He has been an avid scouter and knew Baydan Powell - the founder of the Boy Scouts.  He's really alert and shared some of his experiences.  His daughter (in the pink) speaks very good English.

This is our apartment.  It's fixed up better now with a few plants, pictures on the wall etc.  The place is quite nice, but very uncomfortable chairs and couch.

The kitchen is really quite nice with much more storage space than in the one in La Paz.

They gave us two twin beds that we put together to make one King Size.  It's pretty comfortable.

We walked up around the temple on P-day this week and saw some beautiful flowers and other landscaping.

There are several trees with these sharp spikes on the trunks.

A picture of the back of the temple with all the flowers and scrubs.  It's really beautiful.

Here's one of those trees again.

This is the Mission Home for the Cochabamba Mission.  It is right across from the temple and is beautiful.  We enjoyed a Sunday dinner and Thanksgiving Dinner here with the Dyers.

This is the hospedaje that we live in.  There are several apartments like ours for the temple missionaries, then the other side is for people to stay in when they travel far to attend the temple.

Our Thanksgiving Dinner at the Mission Home/Office.

After dinner we saw a couple of videos, then played a game about what we were thankful for.  Sister Norman made some cards and put things like "water, musical instrument, Gospel, books, language, etc."  It was really interesting to hear the thoughts of the missionaries on these topics.   Some shared special experiences that had to do with their topic.  It was a special Thanksgiving.  We all missed our families, but felt a wonderful spirit being together.