Friday, May 29, 2015

Beauty from the Inside Out

Zach told me our Spencer ward friends mentioned to him that it is about time to get a letter from Guatamala Starkeys.  I think I kind of get why missionaries are encouraged to write home every week.  

I faked out my new niece, Franscesca, who thinks out letters come every week!  Maybe mine are long enough to last for two.  And it seriously takes me long enough to write them that I am winded. 

I want to be a faithful journal keeper.  And as I confessed before, after losing a nearly full journal a few years ago, I promised to write [and be nice!] every day if I only could locate that special book.  Locate it, I did, but promises can bring pain, and the last few weeks I again confess has been miss and hit.  As I have reviewed my father's 18 and 19 year old missionary journal, then encountered his handwritten letters home, I have to say, I like letters better. They make sense!  
"Stream of consciousness" is a perk for penning journals...but to read, letters have to trump!

I have decided I need to write a Romanian mission president to keep our missionary niece Becca serving in the field indefinitely (for auntie's sake...her letters have been so energy-filled with delight and pain and light and interest in every living thing puppies included, that reading one has given me courage to face 7 more days.)   Her mom is visiting her in the wild blue yonder, but then home she will come.  I learned something from her and from the Romanian gypsies as Becca's father shared pictures of a gypsy house.  
This is the outside
This is the inside:
 Yes, it is empty.
 And this is the back...slightly different in color.
I want the inside of my house to be filled with goodness and light, not just a shell. 

I will share a taste of our Guatemala show it from the inside out. can be a place of song.  Elder Willits' bishop rounded up eighteen youth eager to try their hands at teclados kindly donated by Harmon families to augment use of LDS chapels in Central America. 
And Barrio 1 (our ward) has a few budding muscians who don't think "Practice" rhymes with "liver."
 I found a few flowers beaming in our neighborhood--to reflect the light!
The first week of May, Elder Alonzo (a physician and seventy) from Central American Area Presidency visited. 

  If you are wondering what happened to "no empty chairs..."  well, they got filled, but we had to help sit in imagine the presidents and others in front and admire the jovenes (young people.)  They beam.

Elder Alonzo and his wife brought energy, wisdom and enthusiasm.
He ate lunch with us and George and Elsie, and explained that sometimes you can get a perk from 
  coffee but Elder Alonzo taught us how to get energy without a drink!
I love Sister Bake.  She brings jam and honey and cool bags to pack our lunch.  Someday I will join her to become Señora Santa Claus.
On Mother's Day, our paths meandered to San Jeronimo ancient waterways and goats, to chance upon a branch/neighborhood Mother's Day celebration in the making.  
The jovenes or young people, were involved and amoroso to their moms, like some grandchildren we admire.
"Who can find a virtuous woman--her price is far above rubies." (Proverbs 31.)  
Grateful for valuable women in our family!
I sat near a young woman that had no mother.  Before I told her I would be hers...missing our daughters, she caught something on my head!
  For Zoey, I want you to know, this little friendly animal wanted a place to land.  Grandma, however, did not kiss it!
  Our next trip to Salama valley included the next two cities beyond:  
and Cubulco, 
where we inspected apartments, contacted and visited new friends with the Elders, 
and learned how mangos grow.
A daughter of our dueño of our Rabinal hotel showed me how to make a spinner out of a purple flower.

and Grandpa Val shared with her family a book about a tree of Life.
 We found a few other lively things in Rabinal.

Can you find carrots tall enough for Grandpa?
We did not try turkey soup this time, but it is a favorite here.
  I caught a steam roller for Kaleb, Thomas, and Maria.
But had to stop the car in the middle of the road to grab it.
  I tried to drive direct to make it to a place that Elder Starkey and Sister Starkey love and miss  but alas, traffic and sick missionaries got the better of our getting in.
   Nevertheless, our 10 minute errand the next day, to complete residency papers ended up taking 6 hours.  (Always sign your name the same on important docs.)
So, after visiting the Central American area office
in the aftermath of "Day of the Family"

We found a happy surprise.  
 Namely we had to sleep in Guatemala City, and got to squeeze in an hour 
to perform vicarious marriages and sealings in this lovely place.

Here is Sister Bingham, a humanitarian missionary we met in Honduras, in charge of hospital projects to donate clothing to mothers and babies, after delivering hundreds of wheelchairs elsewhere.
We woke early enough to leave the capitol before hundreds took to the streets to demonstrate their wish for a corruption-free government
Our torrero's daughter and chef neighbor and friend invited us to make
Pepian chicken, replete with aveena (oatmeal drink) chicken and peas for Elder S.  
  and young people, whom we find ourselves lacking...but are not too proud to borrow!
 While we traveled, some of our grandchildren in their own lands, danced.  
Grandpa and Grandma dance, too.  At the Mother's Day celebration, Elder Starkey was a hit. 
But more than dance, we are learning to walk.  
And one of our neighbor dogs is setting example to our missionaries to find fiber in his diet.  
(Have you ever tried to eat your own house?)  See our spotted friend.  He is quite healthy!
The hanging plant is for Jannette.  I told her we can't do hanging plants...but if it works for our neighbors, why fight it?
 A traveling resident doctor brought his four little children to visit, and they brought me these 
 And we met a family on our little block, who let us capture their smiles to celebrate the week of the family.
Another neighbor is educating us about flower names...this is a Margarita.
For Eleanor, the pink bundle on top of the braid is a large package of eggs. 
For William, our neighbor Carlos found a lizard in his house.  It is called a legarto--which does not match legato or formata, if you are doing music lessons, like Carlos.
 Dad had a carpenter make an exerciser to strengthen his leg muscles.  The youth at our English Party need to give us lessons!
Sunday 24 May an international race took place from one end of the valley to the other
As mission nurse, I work to remind the missionaries to pace themselves.
 But it helps to have a fan club.  And we like remembering the place we hope to hang our hat!
Elder Willits reminds me that it is better to avoid getting sick, especially when this might be your clinic (this is a hospital in Trebol, Peten, Guatemala.)

So, as we welcome Becca home, and recognize color and brilliance in our surrounds, 
(These are Romanian remnants of what Pamela and Becca may be celebrating in their belated Mother's Day)

We are working to let the goodness shine from within.
Mom Gee celebrated her belated Mother's Day and Memorial Day opening the pioneer Paris House
and remembering Dad.
in a place where beauty shines from the inside out.
We are missing Paris...but trying to be pioneers on the soil we stand!  Blessings to you each.
And as we hear that some of Mom's grandchildren have news to share, ask Zach and his family about what lies ahead.  We love you!  
Sister and Elder Starkey