Monday, May 12, 2014

May 12, 2014

Earthquakes and more....

The week started out great.  We spent Monday working on details for the arrival of our new missionaries (they arrived today).  Then Tuesday, we explored a new part of the city--Estrella--which is actually several "pueblos" which kind of grew together.  The result is that the streets are narrow and twisty, and it is difficult to get from one place to another.  We visited two apartments, one was gorgeous, one not so gorgeous--but both had been cleaned and were presentable.  We got a ride from a taxista in our ward who knew the way, but he had to leave us at the first apartment.  The missionaries then helped us get to the second apartment (you have to know where you are going and how to get there before you step into a taxi--this city is just WAY too big for any taxista to know the way.  The taxista that returned us home was interesting, filling us in on the Passion Play at Estrella--which is the 4th largest (according to the taxista) in the world.  Estrella is a hill, and every year there is a Passion Play about Christ's crucifixion in excruciating detail.  It is broadcast on ALL the Mexican television stations, with a blow-by-blow narration.  Kind of like the Macy's Day Parade, but with a totally different subject.  There are approximately 2 million people who throng Estrella on Good Friday.  The Elders have orders to stay in their apartments all day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  Not safe!  Wednesday was more work in the office, as was Thursday.  However, on Thursday, we had another earthquake.  This time we were in the office and evacuated with everyone else.  We stood in the streets for about 15 minutes, while the APs, the DLs and the President starting calling to be sure the missionaries were OK.  It wasn't too bad where we were, but elsewhere in the city electricity was down, cars were "wobbling" on the road, and people were evacuating like crazy.  It measured over 6 on the Richter scale, but was about 150 miles away.  We had some interviews in Culhuacan that night, and they felt the quake much more than we did.  On Friday, we had our "planning" meeting, in which we met with the President and figured out how to handle all the timing and details of the arrivals and cambios that were coming.  Saturday was supposed to be a quiet day.  We were woken up by Tom's phone at around 8 am, it was a message from the Hermanas in Taxquena wishing me a Happy Mothers Day--which is celebrated on Saturday in Mexico (a surprise to us).  When I got on the computer, I found an e-mail from Caryn asking how we had weathered the Earthquake.  Earthquake?  What Earthquake?  Seems there was one at 2 am, and it was a strong one.  We slept through it!  We did our chores and headed out--looking for an alarm we could use to wake us up the next time.  People basically looked at us like were crazy.  Apparently earthquake warning devices are not sold in Mexico.  We are going to have to order one from Amazon and have it delivered.  We ended up in the office working on the new transfer board (changing the mission organization)--when around 12:30, another quake struck!  It was over really quickly, so we didn't evacuate, but 2 in 1 day was enough for us!
What a week!  Two mother's days, three earthquakes, and a lot of work.  Glad we have a new one to work on!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday May 4, 2014

The day started out beautiful--sunny, blue skies, warm.  Now it is gray and cloudy outside, the wind has picked up, and it looks like it will rain again like it did yesterday.  Thunderstorms in Mexico City are a far cry from the violent thunderstorms in Kansas City.  We watched a movie last night with the windows wide open, enjoying the sound of thunder in the distance, rain pounding down, but NO SEVERE WARNINGS, and NO TORNADO WATCHES!  I guess we are into the rainy season here--at least the weather forecast for the next week shows only a few days without thundershowers.  AND, our temperatures have dropped from the high 80's to the mid 70's.  I might have to break the sweaters back out.  Everyone at church today was huddling and shivering--we still think the climate here is perfect!

This week was marked by a venture to a new part of the city--Del Valle--which is further north (really, on the northern edge of the mission).  It is close to the airport, and the homes are more expensive, the streets wider and better kept.  We have two sets of sisters living in an apartment in Del Valle, and they had a repairman coming, so they needed chaperones.  We sat and waited with them for 2 hours--no repairman.  Eventually all of us left to do other things.  It was an interesting trip, though.  Del Valle is completely different from our part of the city--more modern buildings, office buildings, high rises, modern apartment building, etc.  An interesting look at how a 20 minute drive can completely change your surroundings.

We started the week out in the office again--I baked chocolate chip cookies and took them in.  Over a hundred cookies disappeared in about 10 minutes.  We had several groups of missionaries in for English evaluations, and did an update on our incoming missionaries.  All are from the CCM, and I think we are ready for them.  Tuesday we did an update on missionary telephone numbers.  Seems that a lot of missionaries have been shifting phones out of their areas--so we are trying to get the phones back where they belong.  That is an important issue, because referrals and other messages go to areas, not specific elders.  If the phones are moving with the elders, the messages aren't being delivered.  We think we are update now (we called EVERY area to check), but will be waiting to hear about updates....

We also have a new referral program--which took three calls to SLC to straighten out.  It looks easier and better--it will certainly be great if it gives access to the Elders to the Google Map aspect.  I'm waiting to hear back from the Elders this week.

Friday we had an all-day leadership meeting with the ZLs, APs and Presidency.  It was long but a good discussion.  Sure love listening to the leadership evident in these young missionaries!

Saturday we got up early, did our housework and headed for Plaza Hidalgo to take a tour on the Coyoacan trolley.  It was a quick 30 minute tour in Spanish, but a great look at this very old, very significant city we live in.  We learned all about Leon Trotsky (who died in Coyoacan, killed by agents of Stalin), Frida Kahlo (a modern artist, wife of Diego Rivera), saw the "house" where Cortes' men bivouacked, saw the street where there used to be a pyramid, which Cortes ordered dismantled and the stones used to build a church (which we also saw), plus lots of other things.  When we finished the tour, we went to our favorite pasteleria and got goodies, then hit the artisan's mercado and bought a light blanket (red and orange weave), and a hat for Tom.  We also took time to go into St. Juan Bautista, the church on Plaza Hidalgo, to look at the paintings, etc--since the church dates to shortly after Cortes.  There was a wedding in progress, so we stood in the back of the church and watched the wedding.  (Lest you think us rude, there were tourists all over the place, wandering almost to the altar as they examined the murals, ceiling, sculptures, altars built to saints, etc.)  We have been in the church 3 times now, and there has been a mass, wedding or other service going at all times.
Tomorrow we need to kick into high gear and be sure all is in readiness for our 9 new missionaries.  We think we are ready--but the week promises to be a busy one.