We were called last week to a special senior missionary Island Conference in Puerto Rico followed by a whole mission conference with an apostle of the Lord. We arrived in PR Thursday afternoon, while most of the 7 "island" couples arrived late Thursday or early Friday. We all met Friday from 1:00 to 5:00 in our island couple’s conference which also included the young zone leaders for the islands. You gotta love those young elders! Everyone had been fasting Friday in preparation for Elder Neil L. Anderson's arrival on Saturday. It was a great meeting and fun for us to meet the other couples. We broke the fast with a big pizza, salad, cookies and root beer float meal. We all enjoyed it but the young elders devoured it with glee! They matched most seniors up with an office couple to stay with which was great because we just loved our hosts – Elder and Sister Pietz. Their job is transportation (cars and bikes) and some housing, etc. Probably all the mission couples in the world are really working overtime these days!! They were very hospitable and lots of fun to get to know.
Saturday was our missionary meeting with Elder Anderson. All the missionaries from the whole Puerto Rico San Juan Mission were there and he shook every hand! He was accompanied by his wife Kathy, and Elder Rasband and his wife. They all spoke and they were wonderful! Elder Anderson speaks 5 languages and he wanted to speak in Spanish so they had to hurry and bust out some earphone translation for us gringos. What a humble and sweet man! It was a great meeting! Afterwards, the Pietz wanted us to see some of Puerto Rico so they took us on a 4 hour drive down to the bottom of Puerto Rico to the city of Ponce and back through the mountains. On the way down the mountains were plush green (almost jungle) vegetation and then by Ponce it is arid and dry like a desert. There is a fabulous bakery in Ponce, we stopped for fresh warm bread and treats. Sister Pietz bought some bread for our Mission President – he is from there and loves it. On the way home we stopped in a neat little city called Barceloneta and had dinner at "Chili’s". Chili’s has saved us on both of our missions!! Later we took the bread over to the mission home. We hadn't seen it yet, it was very lovely. Our mission president and his wife are young (40) they have 3 adorable children. So it was a great (and long) day.
Sunday we were up early again for Stake Conference with Elder Anderson. Again, a wonderful meeting, and again he shook everyone's hand that wanted to meet him. WOW! Can you imagine how tired they must get? We flew home Monday afternoon but they had us going through Antigua (2 hr. layover) and then on to St. Kitts. Did we mention that every island couple wanted to go to Wal-Mart? Ha ha, shopping is kind of limited on the islands (and expensive). We all had to get our Wal-Mart fix!! Today and every Tuesday we have a 3 1/2 hour district/zone meeting (that is long for me!) but we talked today about how we can implement everything we learned from Elder Anderson into our teachings and lives to benefit others. This is something that we really want to strive to do.
Let me tell you something funny that happened Tuesday. First of all, it has been raining a lot but it cleared up and the sun came out. We had some business to attend to after our district meeting so we each bought a large ham/cheese croissant that the Elders had told us about and we shared a can of Diet Coke. We went to a park bench in the downtown square. I only ate half of mine and I wrapped it back up intending to have it for dinner, we drank at least half of our coke. A man who looked he was living on the streets came up to us (never happened before) and after a greeting he said "I need something to eat". So of course we gave him the sandwich and then he said "I need a soda". So we gave him the coke! We were leaving anyway but it cracked us up about the soda!! Glad he didn't need dessert :-)