A Week of Dinners

 This week we only ate dinner in our apartment one evening! Seriously! I think there is stuff in my refrigerator that is going bad because it needed to be used, but we just haven’t gotten to it.

The first dinner was Monday evening. Let me give you some background. When we got our mission call, it confused us because it said we were called to be area missionaries and would be working under the Area Presidency, but it also included information about the Mexico City West mission president. The best explanation we got of how it works is that it’s like the Mexico City West mission president is our bishop, but we have a stake (area) calling. Because of the way it works, we don’t have a lot of interaction with the mission, but they oversee taking care of things like paying our rent and making our travel arrangements when we return home at the end of our mission. We got a new mission president about a month ago, President Grant. Bob Alsop arranged for the Grants to go out to dinner with some of us, so we could get to know them. We saw them at church the first week they were here, and he came over to Ron and said, “Weren’t we in Peru together?” They didn’t have time before the meeting started to explore the connection more than to verify that they had both served missions in Peru at the same time as young men. Monday evening they got to talk more about it. They were only in the same mission for a few months before it was divided and they ended up in different missions, but they did know some of the same leaders and places, so that was fun. The whole evening was delightful and we had a great time getting acquainted.

Tuesday evening we had dinner at the Barnett’s. Their son, Jake, is here with them. He has Downs Syndrome and has such a sweet spirit about him. He loves to watch movies. One of his favorites is the old “That Darn Cat” with Hailey Mills. I’ve been telling him I wanted to come over and watch it with him. So his mom, Debbie, invited us on Tuesday, and we had dinner and a movie. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, but it’s still a fun show, and the company was great, so again, it was a delightful evening.

The Alsops had us over for dinner on Thursday and again on Friday for leftovers. But Friday afternoon was a BIG event Ron’s been working on for quite a while. Our department is working with the welfare department, which is over the Church’s humanitarian arm, on a project for Christmas. It hasn’t been officially announced yet, so I can’t go into details, but we’ve invited six other humanitarian organizations to participate. Friday afternoon we had a lunch with representatives from all the organizations to explain the project. Ron was in charge of making arrangements for the lunch. It turned out great! When we go home, he could start a second career as an event planner. The groups represented at the meeting do wonderful work. One works with people who are deaf, helping them get hearing aids, education, and work opportunities. Another has a train which is a fully equipped medical center. It travels around Mexico to poor regions and provides medical care free of charge. These are just a couple of the groups. It is hard to describe how strong the Spirit was in that room filled with people who are dedicating their lives to helping others. It felt a lot like the feeling in the temple. They were all so open and friendly. After just that one meeting together, I felt like they had become good friends.

We held the dinner at the Hotel Barcelo, which was very nice and did a great job on the catering. The door on the upper level is the entrance to our meeting.

This is the room all set up before people arrived.


Gustavo presenting the plan.
I took this photo of the Lloyds (on the left) visiting with one of the representatives from a humanitarian group. They are humanitarian missionaries and have become dear friends to us. We always love when we get to be involved in projects together.


A couple of peope had left before we thought to take a photo, but this is most of the group.

Saturday we had a dinner with the missionaries by the temple. We normally use the stake center when we have dinners together, but we couldn’t that evening because the Area Presidency was having a meeting there. Instead we met at a complex behind the temple where several of the missionary couples live. It was fun to get to see that place. The dinner was a farewell to the McClellins, who have been serving in the temple presidency, and a welcome to the Edelmans, who have been here a week and are area mental health advisors. It is always fun to get together with that group. Such good people! It’s a blessing to rub shoulders with them.

As we were waiting for our Uber after the dinner, I looked over at the temple visitor's center and thought how beautiful it looked, so I had to take a picture.

All these dinners have been great and usually dessert has been involved, which is delicious but not very good for our waistlines. Plus, our exercise room is closed for a few weeks. So for exercise, we’ve been going on early morning walks around our neighborhood. It’s nice to be out early in the morning when the sun is just coming up and hardly anyone is out—just a few people walking their dogs. We’ve walked on streets we haven’t explored before and are getting to know what is around us even better. Here are a few pictures of the area in the early morning light.

The houses along the right side of this picture don't look very big from this angle, but they sit on the edge of the ravine, and they go down three of four stories, so they are actually quite large and nice.


That last photo is of a beautiful apartment building which is very close to ours, but I hadn't seen it before we started our early morning walks. Another day this week we walked home from a store on a little different route than normal. It made it so that we walked down the opposite side of a street than we normally do. It gave me such a different view that I would have sworn we'd never been on that street before. Doing things just a little differently sure can change your perspective, and sometimes that's a good thing.


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