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Monday, March 14, 2016


At the last branch council in February the date of March 8th was set for the next meeting.  President Polla asked us if we would be attending the meeting.  We explained that on the 8th we would be very busy preparing to leave and packing our suitcases because our flight home was the next day.  He all but insisted we attend so we told him to pencil us in and we would see.  As it turned out we got a call from President Goates on the 7th informing us of a new couple from Brazil that would be assigned to La Consulta and would we please cease from liquidating all of the items in our apartment so they could move in.  This was great news for the mission and us as it freed up some time in our preparations to leave. 
So we went to the meeting on the 8th and as we walked into the room where we normally have our meeting we were surprised to see the room set up for a large dinner. 
President Polla was out back cooking up some yummy asado. 
We had a very scrumptious meal and got a chance to say farewell to many of the our wonderful friends.  It was a tender moment as we went around the long table and embraced each one for the last time.  We will never ever forget our experience in that part of the Lord's vineyard. 
Our twin daughters and their families met us at the airport in Sacramento to welcome us and drive us to our home in Vacaville.  We enjoyed our mission tremendously but are happy to be home.  We tried to make our blog interesting for all and hope you enjoyed it.  We are grateful to our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ for this opportunity we have had to serve in Argentina.  This is the last entry as we sign off!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Despedidas Argentina

We are definitely winding things down here in Argentina with a lot of "last time" for this and that. We had our last monthly outing with the other missionary couples the other day in the form of a polo match. 
It took a lot of time to locate one but found a polo club in Tunuyan and they were happy to have a few more spectators.  It was a great outing with plenty of time to sit and chit-chat with our fellow missionary couples for the last time. 
President Goates and his wife were not able to make it so we played a prank on them by sending a picture of a white car with a broken windshield to them just saying OOPS. 
He answered back asking if that was the mission car.  He felt relieved to find out we were just pulling his chain. 
We have been teaching right up until this last week. We have been turning over the work to the Elders who were happy to get new people on their list. 
The Morales family, partially pictured here, is the last family we have been teaching.  We've been enjoying their great hospitality and wonderful friendship for over a month.  We call Gladys, the mom, the Queen of Empanadas because she loves cooking them as much as we love eating them.
We also have been treated to a constant stream of farewell dinners and lunches.  In Spanish it is despedida.  It was very humbling for us to be treated with such love and respect as we attended the various events.  They ranged from a formal dinner with President & Sister Goates and the other couples (forgot to take pictures)
 to meals at farm houses where we ate beef and sausage cooked over an open fire (asado) along with homemade pizza (nothing like our pizza except it is round) and other yummy stuff
to a humble meal in a one room self-constructed wood house with no indoor plumbing or windows and a dirt floor where we had corn-on-the-cob.  No salt, no butter.....just corn on the cob for the meal. We knew many were breaking their humble budgets to give us the best despedida that they could.  But in these circumstances the words from an old Bob Dylan song always seem to come to mind......"May you always do for others and let others do for you".  It made that delicious corn even sweeter.
We are leaving with very mixed emotions.  On the one hand we will deeply miss the people here that we have grown to love and appreciate.  On the other hand we know many in our family have been counting down the days for us to get home.  We have especially missed our grandkids and look forward to their baseball, basketball, track and whatever other endeavors they may be involved in.  Special thanks to Tom, Heather and Heidi for looking after our house and other administrative affairs for us.  You guys were great!  And Richie for doing the Christmas Family duty this last year.  Bishop Sandifer thanks so much for making our donations process run so flawlessly from afar.
Oh yes.....there is also Fred's pals Bill, Rod and Ed at Cypress Lakes golf course that I am sure will easily and gleefully take advantage of the fact that he has only played one lousy round of golf in over a year!
One last piece of news we received from President Goates this morning is that there is a couple from Brazil coming soon to take our place!
We arrive in Sacramento on the 10th and look forward to seeing ALL of our friends very soon!  

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Not Too Trunky YET

Well it's been a long busy time since we have updated so here we go.
First, we have a great District Leader in Elder Lawrence.  
I am told that his mom reads our blog so here is a shout-out for Elder Lawrence who is doing a stellar job as District Leader here in Valle de Uco!  Sister Lawrence you and your entire family can be very pleased with your son's service here in Argentina.  It has been a pleasure getting to know him and working with him.
We have been passing by a metal sign with metal letters in downtown Eugenio Bustos for months that has had broken letters U and I that were hanging sideways. 
We have been gonna gonna gonna fix it one of these days so we finally got around to a small community service project and finally did it.
We helped teach Maria Bautista, who was baptized last year. 
She had a beautiful baby in January that weighed over 10 pounds!  Maria and Emanuel are proud parents of not-so-little Roberto.
We had another of our monthly outings with the other couple missionaries in January which is the middle of summer down here. 
We went horseback riding through the dangerous wilds of the grape and olive vineyards of Lujan, just outside of Mendoza.  It was a lot of fun after a big lunch at the best steakhouse we have experienced here in Argentina.  The Argentine saddles are way different (no saddle horn) and not as good and stable as those in the US but nobody fell off!
Another family we have been teaching is the Auca family from Bolivia. 
Wilbur and his father Basilio live in very humble circumstances on a farm in a one room house they built themselves that has a dirt floor.  If you look carefully you can see the unfolded cardboard box insulation on the interior walls.  Basilio is an Evangelical Minister and we have had some interesting discussions with him.  They have not yet decided to be baptized but are getting closer as time goes on.  We love these guys!
We have been teaching Nilda Ortiz who has had a son on a mission in Bolivia for the past two years.  
David just got home this month and we took Nilda, her daughter Cintia and grand daughter, Flori, up to the airport in Mendoza to pick him up.  Arrivals at the airport of returning missionaries are ALWAYS very special and tender experiences whether you are family or not.  He is a fine, handsome young man who won't last long being single!
Linda had the Young Women over to our house for a cooking activity for the Personal Progress program.
They all had fun making white sauce for chicken soup.  We all enjoyed the yummy fruits of their labors at the end of the activity!
We had two more baptisms this month. 
Dario (10) and Malena (8) Condo are the newest members of the La Consulta Branch. They are great kids and are reading the children's Book of Mormon and attending church every Sunday.
We have been wondering what our good friends Paul and Debbie Hom have been doing since they have returned from their mission in England.  Well, we have discovered that they are secretly spending time here in the Eugenio Bustos area in Argentina. 

We spotted them driving around in their Ford Fiesta with their personalized license plate the other day.  Those sneaky critters!
We now have only 10 days left on our mission which ends March 9th. We may have one more blog post before we leave.