Puerto Rico San Juan

On September 14, 2013 I received my call to serve as a Mission Nurse Specialist in the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission for a period of 18 months. I am always up for a new adventure and look forward to sharing my journey with you.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Safe arrival!

I arrived safely in San Juan Puerto Rico!  The MTC shuttle driver picked me up at the Residence Inn at 2:30am Friday morning.  I arrived at the SLC airport at 3:15am and noticed that the American Airlines counter did not open till 4:15.  Oh, well...it gave me time to weigh my bag and shift a little bit over to the other suitcase so they each weighed less than 50#.  I caught a 6:15am flight to Dallas....2 hr layover...4 hr flight to San Juan.  Brother and Sister Patterson picked me up at the Airport and brought me to their apartment.  I will stay here until an apartment is located for me.  We looked a one which would be great, but need to get the owner to agree to a short term lease.  There are several Senior couples leaving by May/June, so there will be a choice of unexpired lease apartments to choose from.  There is no indication of any new couples.  The area reminds me of El Paso in some respects, so not unfamiliar.  I will pick up my car tomorrow...have the keys already.....2013 Chevy Cruze - not too shabby!  The Mission President is discontinuing cars and bicycles for most of the mission so the missionaries are more among the people.  I will go to a Spanish ward tomorrow with the Pattersons.  No more news for now...will update more next week!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Medical Missionary Training - 3 days down.....1 to go!

   Taking time to catch up...was chastised by a friend for not keeping up :o)  First of all, our lunches this week are not provided by BYU.....rather, it has been Zupas, Cafe Rio, etc.  A different menu each day....show up at class, place the order and eat yummy food at lunch!
    On Sunday, the 19th, our Relief Society speaker was Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, General Primary President.  She highlighted 3 points: Trust in Him (Let go of our will and seek to do His), Jesus Christ is our strength and our song, and Our salvation is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (When we do the will of Jesus Christ, we have access to the atonement).  After lunch, we came back to our rooms and returned later to the MTC for dinner and the Devotional.  Sister Sheri Dew was our speaker.  She encouraged us to think about this time of focus in our lives.  We have one purpose - to change the world.  
    Monday was the beginning of the Medical phase of our training which concludes tomorrow.  We have had training on the Missionary Medical website which is, truly, nursing school in a box and on steroids.  It is an amazing resource. Six of us ventured out to Outback for dinner in the evening.
    Yesterday was focused on Disease Prevention and Management.  Today was additional computer training as well as Nurse Specialist training.  Tomorrow will finish up with Mental Health issues and Magnifying our missionary callings.  I am so impressed with the great efforts of the Church to keep the missionaries safe and healthy.  We have many resources available to teach re: safe drinking water and food as well as management of illness/injuries.  There are numerous power point presentations prepared to be presented at Zone Conferences, etc.       Nurses have Area Medical Advisors (MD's) and Area Mental Health Advisors readily available and there are physicians of numerous specialties available on-call in SLC.  Additionally, there is technology which allows transmission of CT, MRI, etc for consultation from the mission to SLC.  Eventually, many outlying areas will be provided with smart phones and/or I Pads so photos may be taken of injuries, rashes, etc. for evaluation by medical professionals miles away.
   I am so blessed with this opportunity for growth and adventure.  Since we will finish up early tomorrow, Sister Steadman and I plan to see the movie Saratov Approach.  Then, it will be a short night for me as the shuttle will pick me up at 2:30am on Friday to catch a 6:15am flight to San Juan - arriving at 7:15 pm.  I will try to update y'all over the weekend from sunny Puerto Rico - a vast temperature change from the teens and 20's in Provo....no new snow though!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Residence Inn, here we come!

Today, we moved from the MTC to the Provo Residence Inn for the second phase of our training.  We will begin the medical segment of the training on Monday AM.  Soon after we arrived at the Residence Inn, Dr. and Sister Drake arrived with our 12 passenger van which will be available for the Medical folks until Tues AM.  No one else was around or needing to go anywhere, so Sister Steadman and I headed off to University Mall for a shopping trip, stopping at A&W for dinner.  I knew I could drive it after that big banana van we had when all the kids were home.  No problems and we returned with no damage to us OR the van :o)

Pretty nice accommodations for Missionary Training - just some encouragement for anyone thinking of serving a Senior Mission.  Life is much different than that of the younger missionaries.  While we pay a nominal charge for the first week at the MTC and the meals we eat there, the Church is covering the cost of our rooms here and lunches catered by BYU during training.

Friday, January 17, 2014

MTC Companions
   Pictured are my MTC companions, Sisters Steadman and Cisneros.  We have had a great time.  "Preach My Gospel" training was an amazing experience. We completed that training this afternoon.  I can totally see why all missionaries receive that training even if they have served previous missions.  I have grown so much in my testimony and ability to invite and feel the spirit while teaching.  I have met so many wonderful Senior Missionaries this week and look forward to becoming better acquainted with the Medical Missionaries next week.  
   Tonight, Sisters Steadman, Jenson and I attended a session at the Provo Temple.  We caught the shuttle up, but could barely get into the van since there was no stool and only a HUGE step up.  We walked home since it was all down hill.  It was still quite a hike at 22 degrees F.  It has been about 11 degrees in the AM.  I think I have really acclimated, but will probably be hot in Puerto Rico.  We haven't had any wind or snow.  I found out today that language training is available for 6 months in the mission.  It is conducted by SKYPE with two one hour lessons per week and an hour of individual study each day.  I am anxious to get started with Spanish.  Tomorrow is a free day.  The shuttle will pick us up at 1:20 pm to take us to the Residence Inn in Provo for the remainder of our training.  Maybe the Mall and a burger tomorrow?  Had Papa John's Pizza for dinner tonight....missed the cheeseburgers at lunch :o(
Elder/Sister Jenson in our classroom/Primary room at Stadium Chapel

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

It just gets better!

   Yesterday, I failed to mention that the nurse I met on Sunday, Sister Steadman from N. Carolina, has been assigned as my MTC companion.  We are different in some ways, but two peas in a pod in others.  Both of us have been in nursing for 45+ years.  She has been a Family Practice Nurse Practitioner in a Rural practice and retired 11 days prior to reporting here.  She is assigned to the Indiana/Indianapolis Mission.  Today was classes all day re: Preach My Gospel.  Tomorrow is our first opportunity (?) to 'teach' an 'investigator'.  We are a great team and laugh a lot :o)  We have an additional companion who arrived late yesterday from Peru.  She is a Spanish-speaking sister who is assigned to the New Mexico/Albuquerque Mission.  Surprisingly, we have been able to limp along with my limited Spanish.  She spends a lot of time with RM translators.
   Tonight was an amazing meeting.  The speaker for the Tuesday Evening Devotional is a closely guarded secret/surprise, but we had been told that we should not miss it!  Elder David and Sister Susan Bednar were our speakers.  What a treat!  An area of chairs near the front (padded, I might add)  are reserved for the Senior Missionaries.  Earlier today, one of the sisters in our group from Rogers, Arkansas had mentioned that she was Stake RS President when Elder Bednar was Stake President.  She and her husband were seated directly in front of us.  When Elder Bednar saw them, he and his wife came down off the stand and greeted them.     I was reflecting tonight about the blessings I have already enjoyed by deciding to serve a mission.  I know we always talk of the growth and changes in the young missionaries, but that is, also, a blessing for Senior Missionaries!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Awesome Sabbath Day at the MTC....

   Relief Society was awesome with the lesson re: Joseph Smith, his trials in Liberty Jail and the companionship of his brother, Hiram.  A sister recited the First Vision in Korean - what a beautiful language!  The meeting began with a tearful rendition of As Sisters in Zion sung by hundreds of sisters in the big assembly room.  
   At lunch, I met another nurse (going to Indianapolis), so we started 'hanging out' since our rooms are across the hall from each other.  We had an evening Devotional - the speaker was MTC/Provo Directior, Richard Heaton.  Following that meeting, we stayed for a film of a talk by Elder Bednar at the MTC Sacrament Meeting on 12/25/2011.  He spoke of the Character of Christ - primarily his focus on others - not himself ie. he sent angels to comfort John who was imprisoned even though Christ, himself, had just endured Gethsemane.  He encouraged all of the missionaries to remember that it 'isn't about them', but about helping others to come unto Christ.  He recommended that we not take detailed notes re: his talk likening such a record to the large plates -(history of the meeting) as we frequently don't refer back to those notes.  Rather, we should record feelings/impressions similar to the small plates - more of a spiritual record.
   Today, we "officially" reported to the MTC and completed our orientation and were assigned to Districts for the classes for the remainder of the week.  All except our meals will be at the Chapel within easy walking distance.  There are a large number of Senior Missionaries - some of the assignments are to Croatia, Lithuania, Moscow, Hungary, Philippines, Fiji, Peru, Guatemala, New Zealand and various US assignments.  One couple is from Flower Mound, TX and another from the Fort Worth area. Our classes will be pretty much 8am-5pm with 90 mins for lunch.  I am playing piano for the hymns tomorrow and an Elder who is Moscow bound will lead the music.  Need to get busy and study for lessons tomorrow!
   I received my flight info for the flight to San Juan on the 24th....can you believe that I will be flying on American with a layover in Dallas?   :o)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

MTC arrival...

When I arrived at the Missionary Training Center (MTC), I was assigned a room in an adjacent building.  The room is similar to a hotel room with all the amenities.  This will be my home until 1/18. Tomorrow will be a quiet Sunday with the usual Church meetings.  On Monday AM, I will receive orientation for the week ahead.
MTC Check-in (Thanks, Heidi!)

MTC...Here I come!

Today, I flew to SLC via Denver where my trusty driver, Heidi, scooped me up and delivered me to the MTC in Provo after late lunch/early dinner at Applebee's in American Fork.  It was a great opportunity to catch up since we haven't talked for a while. (Heidi is the daughter of Rich's sister, Janice.)  Steph took the following photos at DFW Airport this AM:
Luggage Angels
Now, Mom, are you sure you don't have any aerosols in your carry-on??
Security Ahead!!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

It's Official - Sister Heidenreich, Full time missionary....

Son, David (L) President Jones (R)
Tonight, President Jay Jones, Allen TX Stake President came over and officially set me apart as a fulltime missionary. He was here about 9 weeks ago before Taylor left on his mission to Rio de Janeiro Brazil.  Getting to be a habit!  Jaren was concerned that he would need to call me Sister Heidenreich instead of Grandma....not so.....always Grandma!

Counting down........

Today is a pack and organize day.  Yesterday was rehab day - hair/teeth/nails!  It's as good as it's going to get :o)  I will be flying to Salt Lake City on Saturday - my niece, Heidi, will meet me there and drive "Miss Daisy" to the Missionary Training Center in Provo where I will begin classes on Monday, Jan 13th....stay tuned!  There are 24 Medical Missionaries/spouses in our group......the largest so far.