Not much unusual or exciting this week to report....except our "exciting" and interesting couples we associate with on a daily basis. We decided it would be a good time on a slow week to introduce you to these wonderful friends and fellow missionaries. They have added so much to our mission just being our friends and such wonderful examples of dedication and service.
Manny and Lydia Acosta from Salem, Utah. Elder Acosta serves as assistant to the president and Sister Acosta helps with the missionary applications from the area and translating before sending them on to Salt Lake. She usually has an interesting story to tell about these valiant young people. The Acosta's have served four missions.
Bill and Billie Murray from Bountiful, Utah. Elder Murray serves as a real estate lawyer and deals with all building transactions in the area. He just told us a few days ago that Arequipa temple site has just received clearance for building as the agriculture zoning was finally changed to building and development. Now the permits can be obtained and building started for southern Peru. Sister Murray teaches an institute class and also works on the historical timeline for the South America Northwest area with relation to church growth and area politics and growth. Elder Murray serves as Branch President of the MTC branch and always shares wonderful stories from the new missionaries. The Murrays know Joe's brother Tom very well as they lived in Walnut Creek at the same time.
Rob and Mary Merrill are from Winache, WA and they both work Humanitarian. They are very involved with eyeglasses, wheelchairs, improved water, new baby care and food production in many remote and jungle areas of Peru. In fact, just Friday a family came in the office about 4:45 from Ica (about 4 hours away) wanting a wheelchair for their son. They didn't have any paperwork from their Bishop and we don't have them in the office, of course. They need to go through our partner who serves more groups than just our church. The family wanted to take the wheelchair right out of the lobby! It was sad to have to send them away where a phone call would have saved them the hassle. Rob is a retired dentist.
Robert and Kelly Bluth are from Medford, Oregon. They also serve in the legal department. Elder Bluth is a lawyer and helps with legal matters while Sister Bluth teaches an institute class. They have eight children so she spends a lot of time keeping up with internet and facebook, pictures and birthdays.
Steven and Janna Rogers are from Lehi, Utah and serve full time in the temple. We see them on Sunday in our ward and at many of the missionary activities but don't see them every day at the office so don't know much about them.
Steven and Linda Record from Santa Barbara, Califonria. Elder Record serves as an assistant to the area presidency. Sister Record also serves in the presidency office helping with missionary applications and other office work. This is their second mission.
José and Monica Gonzalez are from Pereira, Colombia. They have served as President of the MTC next to our area office. Sister Gonzalez figures she has seen over 2000 missionaries enter and leave the MTC during the last two years. They have been released and will leave here Tuesday for their son's wedding in Provo. Another son is the bishop in my daughter's ward in Arkansas. Joe has been playing ping pong with President Gonzalez and gets quite a workout!
Jerry and Geri Prince are our youngest and newest missionary couple from Alberta, Canada. They bring a sweet spirit to our group. He is a retired owner of a dental lab making teeth for implants and crowns. They serve as self-reliance missionaries and are still understanding their calling and scope of their responsibilities. Sister Prince now plays the organ for our Sacrament meetings and fills in for Primary music.
Nelson and Amy Burton are from Virginia and are serving in the office as missionary medical. Elder Burton is a retired heart surgeon who trained under Elder Russell Nelson. Sister Burton is a nurse and she also organizes the FHE events each month and organizes the special farewell dinners. She teaches the 9-year-olds in Primary in English!
Kim and Julie Lowe are from Santa Rosa, California. They are serving in downtown Lima in self-reliance but we get to see them often as they have reason to visit the office. They are active with workshops for all people in different parts of the city. Sister Lowe is also teaching an English class using the same technique Joe uses from Blaine Ray. I heard Elder Lowe talking to someone and mention Garberville. I know that is just north of Ukiah so I told him I was born in Ukiah and grew up in Sebastopol. He marveled and shared a memory of doing car ralleys with a guy from Sebastopol who had a blue volkswagon named Randy . . . . I was speechless and told him that was my brother, Randy Portlock.
Roger and Linda Sheffield from Highland, Utah just went home last week. They served as missionary doctors for the area and did some traveling. They were well known for their day trips all around Lima and an expert on the best places to go. He and Joe have been on many bike rides together.
Juan and LaPriele Hernandez are from Kennawick, Washington and serve in the mission office as assistants to President Boswell. There are 5 missions in Lima but the Lima East mission is right here so they get to join us for many of the activities. LaPriele also teaches in English the 6-year-olds in Primary.
Craig and Lesley Raeside are from Adelaide, Australia. They both have that great Aussie accent. Elder Raeside serves as the missionary mental health doctor and Sister Raeside is busy teaching piano lessons to 23 students. She has been choir director for the high school for years and headed up our Christmas choir. Elder Raeside also serves as a counselor in the MTC branch presidency.
Peter and JoElla Hansen are from Half Moon Bay, California. Elder Hansen serves as assistant to the area presidency and JoElla helps at the front desk. We have Walnut Creek in common and know many of the same people. They are serving their second mission. He serves as a counselor in the MTC branch and is wonderful with the missionaries.
Couple missionary service is great and we enjoy our time here with our dear friends.