Monday, February 2, 2015

2015 February

Last week we completed a year in our mission.  We went to the temple to mark the occasion.  We tried a new restaurant in Quetzaltenango - one of the best meals we have had.  We don't eat out much because we can't trust the cleanliness of the places and the way the food is prepared.

Things have been happening in the mission that affect us.  The mission president said we might have to move to help take care of some small branches on the other side of the mission.  I know he doesn't want to move us if he can help it.  We hope to know for sure this week.

Elder Ochoa of the 2nd quorum of 70 is the 1st counselor in the Central American Area Presidency.  He came to tour the mission last week.  On Thursday night we had a dinner with him and the mission presidency.  The meal was good, and it was good to get to know the other members of the presidency.

On Sunday, 3 days later, we had another meeting with Elder Ochoa and all of the Stake Presidencies, Bishops, and Stake Relief Society Presidencies in the area - probably 3 hundred attended.  He and 2 local area authorities laid out the plans for this year, the areas to focus on:  Conversion, Retention, Reactivation.

 This is our house, next to an empty lot.  If you look closely you will see a guy in his 40s up in the coconut tree.  He just cut the bunch of coconuts that is falling down,  It is better to cut them than to let them fall and cause damage to whatever they might hit - like a car.
A field of tobacco.  They make a space in the middle where they start the harvest, and put up bamboo racks.  As they cut it they hang it upside down on the racks to dry in the sun,

Anyone want a watermelon?  Vicky just had to have one,

 Shot thru the windshield, a grove of rubber trees.  Some 20-30 years ago a mission president served here.  When he went home he brought back a new industry - rubber.  At the base of the tree is a cup and the rubber runs into it.

  Our favorite tree is below.

 A week ago we saw 2 wooley caterpillars parked on the ceiling in the carport.
2 days later they had their cocoons finished (below)
Now we will wait to see what kind of critter comes out.
2 weeks later:  We were gone for 3 days on an assignment.  The critters have hatched and gone, so we don't know what they were.

When we have rinds, orange peels, etc. we throw them over the wall into the vacant field next to our house.  2 months ago we saw a vine growing and started watering it.  2 days ago Vicky harvested her water melon.

It tasted as good as any she has bought in the market,

This is a melocotón.  We are not sure what kind of fruit it is but it sure smells sweet.  Inside is yellow, like a pumpkin, but texture of a cantalope, with rows of black seeds.
So, my new name tag got here.  You probably can't see it: Presidente Wetzel, 2nd counselor in mission presidency.  It reminds me of when President Hellewell was chosen to be the new Stake Patriarch.  He remarked, "It just shows that, in this church, if you wait long enough, anything can happen ☺☻

Field of tobacco.  You can see the racks of it drying in the sun,

I had an asignment from the mission president to travel to Tierras Frias (Cold Land) to do some temple interviews.  Sat. afternoon we traveled 2 1/2 hours to San Marcos (about .  The next morning we left after 6:00 a.m. to get to Rio Blanco by 8:00.  This is taken from our hotel window. Rio Blanco is just on the other side of that mountain, at 8700 feet.  Where we live in Coatepeque it is 2000 feet - hot and humid.  Here it is cold and dry.

In the hotel where we stayed they had some cool antiques.  Vicky's mother used to use an iron like this, where you put live coals inside.

There is the Mr. Potato Head we used to have.  In the middle is a Campbell soup doll.

None of the sewing machines were Singers.  One this one has a wooden handle on the wheel that folds in when not in use.

Welcome to Rio Blanco, Land of Apples.  This is where a lot of this kind of fruit is grown - apples, peaches, etc.  On the way here we started at 7º centigrade, then dropped to 1º centigrade as we hit the mountain top, then went back up to 7º.

Somewhere over the mountains in the background is Mexico.

The 2 Elders to the right were our guides and came with us to take us to Rio Blanco.  There are no maps, few road signs, to tell you where to go.  It is common to stop and ask someone, "Which way to Rio Blanco?" or wherever, and they will give you directions

We went to a Quetzal refuge site.  The Quetzal has been voted the prettiest bird in the world.  The are almost extinct.  I want to see one before I leave Guatemala.  We saw a couple of Tucans this trip.  This was about 40 yards away, thru the branches, 12x zoom.
No fish here.  It would be a perfect place for brown trout,

This is what Ben wants in his backyard.

A circus came to town.  They pulled these guys around as advertisment.

Last month Elder Ochoa from the 2nd Quorum of 70 came to tour the mission.  Here he is with the mission president and wife, and our zone in Coatepeque.  The next night we had dinner with him and the mission presidency.
I finally got a picture of a whole pig, cooked up for tacos.  In one night it is served up and gone.  There are several of these around town.

One of the branches that I am assigned to visit is Ocos.  There are about 24 members who attend on Sunday.  It is on the pacific coast, right on the border of Mexico.  This big buganvilla needs a trim.

Yesterday there were 2 of these birds across the street from our house.  HIs long black tail is hanging thru the palm leaves.   This is at 20x zoom

We took another family to the temple.  Here are Carlos and Gaby with their children and her grandmother.

 The Jimenez family lives out in the mountains.  They have 3 other daughters, one on a mission
Not long ago Luis and Carol Quiñones saw us downtown and they pulled up on their motorcycle and invited us to come visit them.  They are taking lessons to go to the temple,  Here they are seated in front of the chapel.