Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Car on Fire

Yesterday while walking to the temple, we saw smoke billowing a block or so in front of us and the thick black smoke just kept growing.  Many people in cars were driving towards the smoke to see what was happening.
People were standing on the sidewalk to watch.  The air was thick and we could smell rubber burning.  The fire was close to the corner where we turn to go to the temple.  We took one quick photo and the orange in the next photo to the left of the car on the left is flames.  Paul could see it was a car burning and we thought it was in someone's driveway.  We hurried away from the traffic and smoke.
Today we walked back to where the fire had been fully expecting to see a burned car.  We were surprised to see that the car had been removed except for a few missed scraps like steel belts from the tires.  We were relieved to see the fire had happened in the street and not in someone's driveway. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Tampico Temple Devotional

The Tampico Mexico Temple was announced on July 8, 1998 and dedicated by President Thomas S. Monson on May 20, 2000.  To celebrate this special temple anniversary this year, the temple ordinance workers and presidency met in the stake center next to the temple.  There were about 60 people in attendance.

We began with a song and prayer and then Hno. Torres spoke to us.  He is a sealer in the temple plus he and his wife were a former president and matron of the Tampico Temple.  He detailed what a miracle and blessing it is to have a temple here.  He and his wife were sealed in the Mesa Arizona temple.  Until the later 1970’s, Mexican law required that all buildings be public and officials could enter into our church buildings at any time.  The law was changed allowing privacy and the church proceeded with building temples in Mexico. There are now 12 operating temples in Mexico and 1 under construction in Tiajuana.  Hno. Torres was followed by Hna. Ruiz who is an assistant matron at the temple and current “acting matron” since Hna. Soriano is battling some serious health issues.  After Hna. Ruiz’s message, Paul and Brother Day sang “An Angel from On High” also known as “Un ángel del Señor.”  President Soriano spoke telling some stories about the faithfulness of his ancestors through the ages as well as his current call via Skype from President Uchtdorf.

After our devotional, they opened the sliding doors into the cultural hall.  We saw 8 tables with 8 chairs each covered with white linen.  On the tables were plates with crackers and Philadelphia cream cheese; cut hot dogs with cubed cheese and ham; a basket of sliced bread; a small bowl of jalepeño and carrots, liters of soda and bottles of water.  Later the main course was served and included spaghetti, mashed potatoes, chicken covered with a slice of ham, slice of cheese, and salsa and was very good.
Dessert was a peach half served with sweet cream and basically looked like a fried egg on a small plate. Some people really love the “picante” jalepeños and we were fascinated to watch Hna. Lopez nimbly put a very large jalepeño pepper on a slice of bread to eat. After dinner, we took photos

Some--but not all--who came to the devotional.

Paul, Berenice Vergara and Sherryl
Illiana send us these designed photos.
She had shown Sherryl her photos on her iPad and we asked for a copy. 

Carrie has arrived!

Alan phoned Sunday evening to notify us that he and Holly were at the hospital and their baby could be born before long.  Monday morning we received the good news that their little girl had made her way into the world. Their new daughter was born at 6:08 a.m., weighing 6 lbs 5 oz and is 18.25 inches long.
We were both pleased and surprised when Holly told us the baby's name is Carrie.  She doesn't have a middle name.  Paul's Dad's mother is Carrie Crockett.  Sherryl's Dad's mother is Carrie Reed.  We are thrilled that Holly and Alan have a new baby girl!  She is absolutely beautiful! 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Gethsemane Experience

“All the negative aspects of human existence brought about by the Fall, Jesus Christ absorbed into himself. He experienced vicariously in Gethsemane all the private griefs and heartaches, all the physical pains and handicaps, all the emotional burdens and depressions of the human family.  He knows the loneliness of those who don’t fit in, or who aren't handsome or pretty. He knows what it’s like to choose up teams and be the last one chosen.  He knows the anguish of parents whose children go wrong. He knows these things personally and intimately because he lived them in the Gethsemane experience.  Having personally lived a perfect life, he then chose to experience our imperfect lives. In that infinite Gethsemane experience, in the meridian of time, the center of eternity, he lived a billion billion lifetimes of sin, pain, disease and sorrow.

"God has no magic wand with which to simply wave bad things into nonexistence.  The sins that he remits, he remits by making them his own and suffering them.  The pain and heartache that he relieves, he relieves by suffering them himself.  These things can be transferred, but they cannot be simply wished or waved away.  They must be suffered.  Thus, we owe him not only for our spiritual cleansing from sin for our physical, mental, and emotional healing as well, for he has borne these infirmities for us also.  All that the Fall put wrong, the Savior in his atonement puts right. It is all part of his infinite sacrifice—of his infinite gift.” 

 (Stephen Robinson, Religious Educational prayer meeting, 12 February 1992)  [From The Savior’s Final Week, by Andrew C. Skinner]

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Our World of Wires

These two men were busy this morning working with the electrical wires on our street.  Their work habits certainly weren't OSHA approved!  However, they must have gotten their job done since they weren't there later in the day. We did not experience any electrical problems before or after we saw them.

This is later in the day!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Rules for Starting Your Business in Mexico

We have noticed that starting a business here must be quite simple.  From what we have observed, here are the steps you will need to take.  First, put a table outside on the local sidewalk..
Second, put a makeshift tarp over the table for shade.
Third, put up a sign that says what you have to sell.

Fourth, bring your food in coolers and place them under the table.
Five, wait for customers.  If you want to be serious about your business, it is nice to bring a stool, chair or log for people to sit on while they rest in your shade and eat. Or you can offer the "drive by" service as shown in the photo below.  The man in the truck is waiting for his delivery.

It seems these shops that sprout up in front of the hospitals do good business with their prepared food and we wonder if the hospitals have a cafeteria inside.   It is possible to walk an entire block and be in the shade of the many tarps of the many shops along the path.
Not everyone sells prepared food, some are selling fresh mangos or fresh, carefully stacked strawberries on a cart. Some have tables covered with bags of nuts, some have newspapers and magazines, some that are selling cell phone covers or watch bands don’t bother putting up a table but just lay their merchandise on a blanket on the sidewalk.  We have noticed that the prices from the vendors selling fresh fruit is usually slightly less than what we would pay in the grocery stores—we assume it would be the same with the other things for sale.

When we come to the line of shops on a sidewalk we need to walk, we have two choices.  One choice is to say “excuse me” and duck under the tarps and walk in front of those standing or sitting and enjoying their lunch all the way down the sidewalk and the other is to walk out in the street with the many cars whizzing by.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Claudia Sacramento's Baptism

We were looking forward to Claudia Sacramento's baptism.  We walked to our church, arrived about 6 p.m. and found the sister missionaries and Brother and Sister Day in the hall.
Sister Davidson, Sister Albuja, Claudia
Sister Luque, Reuben
Elder Day, Sister Day, Claudia, Reuben,
Sister Luque, Sister Albuja
Bro. Day said his smile was fake since he had told them two days ago remember to fill the font early and no one had done it.  They had just begun to fill the baptismal font when we arrived.  So there was more than enough time for pictures and we took several. We learned that Claudia hadn’t been able to eat for 3 days and was very weak.  They were wondering if she would be able to have the strength to be baptized. They were going to go to a store to get her something to eat but since I had brought some cookies, she manages to eat three of those.
Hermana Jordan, Reuben and Claudis Sacarmento
Paul and I chatted with 87 year old Reuben Sacramento.  He is a very nice and interesting guy. He said that 50 year old Claudia hadn’t eaten much lately and only weighs 37 kilos (81 pounds) and he is concerned.  We got him talking about himself and he said he was a civil engineer and worked for 40 years for the national petroleum company (PEMEX) until he was 70 when they let him go.  We got the idea that he didn't have a retirement from that job.  After that, he managed to find a job in some company’s shipping department where he worked for another 10 years but when he turned 80, they let him go.  In order to make ends meet, he found a job as a “bagger” in the local Chedraui grocery store for two years.  At age 83 he changed jobs and worked as a “bagger” in the local H.E.B. and stayed there for 3 years. (We now see the “baggers” differently and understand better why they are almost always older people.)  While he was a “bagger” at H.E.B., Sister Call, who served with her husband as Tampico Mission Presidents before the Jordans, met him.  She commented to him that he looked like a man who would be interested in having some young men come to his house and teach him about what they believe.  He accepted her invitation and was baptized.
Elder Day
In many ways, this baptismal service was unique and we could see all of the love and effort the sister missionaries put into making this a special event for Claudia, who is deaf.  The missionaries had taught Claudia by writing on a white board and she had also read all the material they had brought her.  Her baptismal program was all written and projected on the screen so Claudia could read the words as the rest of us heard the talks and sang the songs. Hermano Saldivar gave a talk about baptism.

Some wondered if she would have the strength to be baptized. Brother Day baptized Claudia and he is so big and she is so small, he was able to help her in and down and up and out of the font.
The identical 4 year old Acosta twins 
We all returned to the chapel and the power point presentation continued with the talk about the Holy Ghost by Hermana. Acosta, the welcome into the ward by the Bishop and the Relief Society president—and their talks were projected on the screen as well.  The entire power point baptismal service was printed and presented to Claudia as a gift.

On Sunday morning, Claudia was confirmed a member of the church by her father.  Probably this was the first ordinance that Reuben had ever performed.
Reuben and Paul 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Our Mother's Day Serenade

We came home from the temple today and heard the music begin.  So we looked over the fence and the neighbors had invited mariachis over to help them celebrate 
Mother's Day.  

Monday, May 5, 2014

Tampico's Municipal Cemetery

We took a colectivo to the local cemetery and was happy the sun wasn’t any hotter.  It is definitely not a “lawn mower” cemetery.  It is a world of cement and if there was grass, it had died and if there were flowers, they had died and there were dried weeds most everywhere.  We saw several workmen and finally figured out that they are there to either sell grave sites that might be old ones remodeled.  They also sell their services to take care of the plot by repainting it or something.  They have contracts to take care of certain plots.  A lady came up to us as we entered and told me something like not to contract the services of this man but to get the services of that man since he is more honest.  We just walked around and took photos and then spent several minutes getting the puncher weed balls and stickers out of my brown skirt.  We love walking in cemeteries and liked this as well.  We stopped to read a few of them and enjoyed the shade of the huge trees that were growing and wondered where they got their water.  They had 5 big water tanks for the workmen to use as they made their cement to fix things.  

Paul commented that some of the inscriptions reflect the peoples' belief in families after death as they talk of having their little ones in the next life.  He mentioned they would probably be surprised to learn that Catholic doctrine reflects no such thought.

This beautiful flowering bush was such a nice
relief to see--a great change from the
cement all around it. 

San Juan Bosco

One thing on our "to do" list has been to visit the San Juan Bosco church since it is listed in our "Things to do in Tampico" pamphlet.  The San Juan Bosco church was rather amazing.  It wasn’t as big as the other ones that we have seen but it had some fabulous, beautiful and very large murals inside. It also has many stained glass windows and a lot of gold leafing.  A man greeted us and Paul and he visited for a while and I took photos with my camera until the battery was dead.  The man was the “padre” and was assigned this parish right out of seminary just three years ago when the other “padre” died.  We took our time and Paul had the better camera and we took pictures and a movie or two.  

Young Jesus Teaching in the Temple. 
The murals on the ceiling were beautiful and mostly about the life of Christ  but in no particular order.

The Virgin Mary

The Holy Family

Jesus' sermon on the mount.

Jesus teaching the children.

Jesus walking on the water, and Peter almost. . .

Gabriel speaking to Mary.

Probably San Juan caring for the poor.

Hand carved pulpit of the good works
of San Juan Bosco

Pulpit in San Juan Bosco's church

Fishermen called to be "fishers of men"

This is unique--of Mary leaving
Jesus' sepulcure

Joseph and Mary looking for
young Jesus.

Hand carved wooden doors.

San Juan from the outside.