Sunday, February 15, 2015

"Many are Cold, but Few are Frozen"

 Here is my letter--pictures will be at bottom:

"Many are Cold, but Few are Frozen"
We are told by Paul, to be an example of the believer.  And lots of times, I am.  But when our friends from Honduras came to the entryway of our little temple bearing "bufandas" (scarves), "goros" (hats) and "guantes" (gloves) it colored my view of what they might mean when they assured me that Cobán would be COLD.  

These shots are mild.  Val watched a Honduras woman come to the temple in a white ski parka one day when the temperature was mid 60's.

Yes, cold.  Like 65 degrees Fahrenheit cold.  Gratefully, I asked Sister Beverly her opinion and followed her advice to bring four sweaters.   Then my lovely generous "thrift store queen" mother offered me an ample selection of jackets (I had no idea what I would do with jackets in 70 degree weather, but they were pretty and classy, and reminded me of Mom, so into the suitcase they went.)   Then we arrived.

The first night our President told us that they were expecting an unwarranted drop in temperature, to maybe 7 degrees Celsius.  (This is about 45 degrees in Fahrenheit.)  No heat in the apartments.  We have a space heater, but the rooms are large, and my large bathroom is drafty.  One day I decided to wear six pair of socks--and still shivered.  Not a good idea--the six pairs of socks, especially when three of them were hose, elastic, and very binding.  Once my Dad slept on a wood chair arm and cut off the circulation to his nerve.  Saturday Night Palsy, we learned is the layman's term for a person who has taken extra time inhaling a different kind of "spirits" and woken the next day to find no feeling in the arms.  Well mine is just the toes.  And gradually, the feeling is returning. 

After weeks of unsuccessful store searches for missionary shoes, I finally decided against shoes at all (commiserating with Maria and Michelle who sometimes wear size 11 and 12.) Never put off finding shoes before traveling to a place where most people wear two sizes smaller.  In our scramble to make a laminated card for an upcoming leadership meeting, inquiring at our sixth store, we walked past a place with  "imported shoe" (Calzados importados).  We returned that Saturday to peek and hope.  And Velcro expanding sandals would be my present prescription.

That evening, on our way out of town to have a tour of the outlying area, Val wanted to stop to find some tortillas without limestone (or "cal.")  We were directed to a couple of women cooking on an outside grill.  Twenty minutes, they requested.  We returned to watch the women cook and count 40 tortillas.  Asking to take a picture of their process, I stepped inside the tienda, to grab a quick photo, and was humbled to notice that the legs of the boot-cut jeans (of the pleasant woman who was counting) went straight down.  Underneath her pants was no evidence of shoes, or feet.  I had been complaining of having uncomfortable toes, but our smiling helper had no feet.

(I only asked permission to capture the tortillas. The woman on the left was the friend; the woman on the right [black striped shirt] is the woman who helped us feel glad to bear our own lack of sensation in the toes.  )

Thinking of walking and pioneers, our song of the week unveiled itself in the music we located in coves and crannies before coming to Cobán, that we packed to lighten long drives out and around inspecting apartments and the like.  It is by Dave Tinney,  Prayer of the Walking Child.

Can you hear me

Will you listen to me for a while

Please, can you make the day warm

The sun will dry the dewy grass 

And all will be well

Make my steps a little larger

I’ll try not to fall behind

Also bless my shoes

To help them last another mile or so

I’m so hungry

I’ve had nothing to eat for a while

Please, can you fill our grain barrel

Mother can make a flour cake 

And all will be well

When the food is gone, forgive me
I’ll try hard not to complain

Also, bless my mother

Dry her tears and help her smile again

If I sleep too long, forgive me

Wake me up, don’t leave me behind

But, if sleep still keeps me
Father in your arms please carry me home

All will be well

All is well

(If the Prayer of the Walking does not work for you, "Google" it on YouTube for a good help to find some tears.)

This week I have tried to complete a 1957 diary of my father as missionary, age 18 and 19 years, in Montana and Wyoming--braving snow and mud, countless widow investigators making less than visible progress, marking days beginning at 5 and 6 a.m. ending at 10 and 11,  and wrestling personal paces to make 160 meetings per month.  This would be 40 hours per week of meetings--I wonder how many hours were spent just walking, riding or knocking on doors.  When my companion  figured out how to play the Cinnamon Creek Singer version "Come, Come Ye Saints" on Thursday night, I wept, thinking of our sweet sister, Pamela perennially typing this journal, and Dad, perennially repenting, trying to make up for missing a diary day.  I mourned the expense of his $37 in 1957 money to buy a bicycle and have the handlebars fall off, crash into the spokes of the bike and render it useless.  As we tossed our chicken soup yesterday that got accidentally hydrated with tap water, I rejoiced we have garbage service, and do not need to burn our garbage like our elders in La Paraiso; grateful that the pan had not been left overnight to charcoal, like my Dad's 1957 midnight chicken.   

Saturday I lost my camera, but gratefully I snagged some of its contents first:  

 Here is what we found out on our "block walk."  
Tell us Kaleb and Zoey, if we don't have a dog like Bella?  And Amber, this is our version of  Golden Doodle...we will call her "Snickerdoodle."

Her owners laughed when she posed for me.  This is our neighborhood park...Not an upstate NY grove, but nicer than pavement.  Dad loves the one way roads and I am trying to teach him not to play "chicken."
 Though not good for drying out towels after Dad's cold shower (I like mine hot) the clouds have some scenic value.

 I like the sunflower tree, it reminds me of a tree my brother David planted in my yard the months he lived with us and told us Marijka stories from his Netherlands mission.  I tell the missionaries here that it is their job to collect stories.  

 And I told Elder Machado to pray that I would not want to go to straight to my house, into the backyard to eat worms, when I tore through the apartment, the car and all my bags, retraced our steps to three stores to no avail to find the missing camera.  But this "worm" is in reality, a millipede wanting to try its legs at typing.  It was not invited back.
The Bakes were.  Somehow, they were given reprieve from their "in house arrest" after being T-boned by a drunk motorcyclist.  And don't they bring great company?  Look at their friendly Elders! Bakes are the other missionary couple, who live north of us about five hours by bus and blog at

 This was our leadership conference..aren't they radiant?  And how did Elder Tellez get up there?
I forgot to tell you we have sisters!  Boy do we have sisters...They smile, cook, blog, "warm the soil" and teach!  
Our zone leaders had the missionaries work together to not drop in as they carefully carried the precious friend to the Savior's feet.   (also read Elder Wong)

And we found a second chapel (the Stake Center) on the other side of town, near a store that carries ironing boards--Val's recent quest.

And when my friendly camera went missing Saturday, at least I had three years of rich photos worth of good from it before retiring it, unlike Dad, whose 1990's purchase while visiting China, found it had only foreign instructions and directly donated it.  We are learning from the online streaming of Roots Tech 2015 Conference (even young missionaries were perusing it on that there are pieces of technology that are not to be left behind.  We are working on this...and on patience (a good first step in being humble, says Preach My Gospel and Sister Curtiss!)  Meantime, thanks for being patient with us.  Hoping to get our technological "act together" and remember where we put it.
Doesn't this happy snap make you want to dive in and try your tongue at another language or another street sign?
Yes, the laborers (at least the old kind) are few, and the "ripe fields" are waiting for you--whenever you feel ready!!                  
Blessings to you!
Sister and Elder Starkey

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