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.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

More photos! The captions will tell the story.....

Elder Scott, a Samoan from Hawaii - He provided entertainment and decorations for a Toa Baja Stake Luau

Elder Scott even did a fire dance outside after the dinner/program!

Just proof of how hard a Sr Mission is :o)  Elders Eakle/Wentzel watching BYU football at my apt -
we even had hot dogs/nachos for the 'tailgate' party!

One of our many Sun night dinners at the Mission Home
L to R Elders Eakle/Porter/Pres/Larsen/Wentzel/Berger
Sisters Porter/Me/Boucher/Larsen/Wentzel/Berger
Sisters Eakle/Allred

Sister Zwick requested a photo of the Seniors on the Stairway :o)
Top to bottom: Rays/Porters/Lees/Wentzels/Eakles/me/Bouchers

I forgot to mention - while we were finishing dinner, President Boucher received a call that Elder Cornish (Our area president) was on his way over to the Mission Home to visit.  We all sprang into action to get the table cleared and dishes washed before he came.  Elder Wentzel is king of the kitchen clean-up and gets the job done - with or without the rest of us!  By the time he arrived, we were all calmly chatting.  He answered questions re: the Church in Haiti and Cuba as well as what it would take to get a Temple in Puerto Rico - when the people are ready, a Temple will be built.......not build a Temple and then get the people ready!  Many rich blessings and friendships develop with Senior Missionaries.  I highly recommend it!

Monday, September 22, 2014

More Chikungunya!

We are up to 12 cases of Chikungunya now - 3 Elders and 9 Sister Missionaries.  They have a couple miserable days of rash, fever, and joint pain, but then seem to bounce back pretty quickly.  All we can do is encourage rest, fluids, and ibuprofen or tylenol for fever and pain.  They seem to be scattered all over the island.  I am thinking that we have more sisters since they are not as covered as the Elders with their long pants/shoes/socks.  

We have been busy with 13 new missionaries and 5 more went home.  As of last night, we have 201 missionaries including 5 Senior couples in the islands (St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua and Tortola) as well as 2 office couples and one couple who works all over the island contacting Stake and Ward Leaders.  They are really catching the vision of the importance of teaching individuals/families about the Plan of Salvation and how to return to Heavenly Father as Eternal Families.  Our young missionaries are truly an inspiration - even those with Chikungunya are hesitant to take time to rest.

September 13-14th was Stake Conference for the San Juan Stake.  I was humbled to be asked to play the piano for the meetings as well as for the choir.  I never dreamed I would ever have the opportunity to play for Stake Conference in Puerto Rico.  The Stake Center only has a piano while some of the wards have an electronic keyboard which will also switch to organ tones.

We have been having dinner at the Mission Home nearly every Sunday Evening as we have received new Senior couples.  The last to arrive was the Rays from Gilbert, AZ.  They flew to St. Kitts today.  The others are: Larsens - St. Croix, Starrs - Antigua, Wrights - Tortola and Bergers - St. Thomas.  The Lees arrived recently, as well, and are working in the office as secretary and finance while the Eakles handle cars and housing.  That is a big job with the recall for the Chevy Cruzes - about 70% of our cars need the repacement part and it takes a while for the dealer to get the new part.  Sister Boucher and Sister Eakle will be hitting hard on apartment inspections beginning tomorrow.  The expectations have been set and now comes the accountability.

I have been taking some miscellaneous photos:

Isabella Chapel

Elder/Sister Larsen

Elder/Sister Porter - Self Reliance Center

Elder/Sister Berger

Met up with the Elders (Montero - Dominican Rep and Ibarra - Argentina) on the Tren

Photo from the Tren

San Juan area from the Tren window

Another one!

Tren Interior - 75 cents each way

San Juan Stake Sisters Choir - New Blouses this time!!

Elder Paredes/Peru and Elder Siles/Bolivia

Thursday, September 4, 2014

And then it was September!

Here we are - nearly a year since I received my mission call!  I still remember the shock of a call to Puerto Rico - had never thought of an assignment in the Caribbean - what a choice experience!  On the 13th, I will have completed 8 months already!  I looked back over my planner to see where the past month has gone.  Thanks to a special friend for reminding me to update this blog.....a bit humbling to know that there are folks who are interested in sharing this journey!

Well - the month of August - Week 1 was mostly missionary visits - variety of complaints; Week 2 - Dave and Steph arrived on 8/13 and we toured the island until they had to return home on 8/18.  We tried to fit as much as possible into that time - started with a trip to Fajardo to catch the Ferry to Vieques island.  SWA had temporarily misplaced a suitcase which we picked up enroute.  We knew we would be too late for the 9:30am Ferry anyway, but spoke to a family from PA who had been there at 8am and all tickets were sold by then.  We caught the 1pm Ferry - chose to ride on the second level since there were larger windows - not a good choice with the rock/roll of the choppy Atlantic.  We enjoyed another overnight stay at Casa La Lanchita.  One of my tasks was taking an iron, rice cooker and baking dishes to the Elders assigned there.  Dave had a great time utilizing his Spanish language skills with the Elders from the Dominican Republic and Argentina.  Ironically, Dave's favorite companion from his mission in Argentina was Institute teacher and mentor for Elder Colmenares.  After Dave and Steph took a tour around this small island, we met the Elders for lunch - the trip back on the Ferry was much better and we stayed on the bottom floor with minimal windows (a bit like the Jaredites???) and played Phase 10.  The next day we drove around the entire island of Puerto Rico with stops at the Arecibo Observatory, San German Elders where we got a bag of fresh avocados from trees in their front yard, and Ponce (pork and chicken pinchos - grilled and served on a stick) and helado (great frozen treat - cross between ice cream and sherbet).  In the evening, we met other senior missionaries for dinner at an Argentine restaurant.  Dave enjoyed familiar foods and had an opportunity to chat with a waiter from Cordoba, Argentina where he had served.  We ended up eating at The Crepe Maker twice while they were here - Steph's favorite!  Week 3 - more missionary visits.  The last week of the month, I flew to FL again to visit Mom.  She was getting a bit weary of a long summer - when the 'snowbirds' go home, the activities in her neighborhood slow down.  We had the opportunity to go to the mall for shopping and pedicures, a trip to the Chiropractor, dinners out and odds & ends that she wanted to do while I was there.

Sisters Boucher, Eakle and Wentzel met me at the airport when I returned from FL and we joined the 'special meeting' at the Mission Home (BYU football on TV and yummy food! - about 14 old/young missionaries :o)

Well, I didn't think I had much to write about......

The Outlet at Route 66/Rio Grande, PR

Inside the Mall - many familiar name-brand stores

Mall Carousel

Looking down the driveway from the Rio Grande Elders' House - hard to tell, but it is like climbing a rock wall without a Jeep

Dave/Steph in Esperanza, Vieques, PR

L to R - Elder Colmenares/Argentina, Elder Jenkins/Utah, Elder Paniagua/Domican Republic, Steph and Dave

Dave/Steph in front of Arecibo Observatory dish, etc.
 Looking forward to my next visitor - Heidi will be visiting from Salt Lake City in mid-October!  Should be a bit cooler by then although we had really good weather when Dave and Steph visited as well.....