This time we thought it might be interesting to tell you a few things about the Ward that we attend. For those who don’t know what a ward is, it the place where we attend church. We will also mention the members that attend there. The ward is a designated geographic area and all the members of the church within that area attend belong to that ward. Each ward has a building to meet in, which we often simply refer to as the ‘chapel’ or ward house Two or more ward congregations usually attend services in the same building, which helps reduce costs and helps in that new buildings don’t have to be built as often. We attend the Spanish speaking ward, although there happens to be an English-speaking ward that meets in the same building. We meet on Sunday morning for our 3-hour block of meetings and the other ward meets on Sunday afternoon. We switch times with the beginning of each new year.
We live in the ‘Palmas’ ward. Our ward our house building actually used to be synagogue! It was purchased by the Church several years ago, renovated, and converted into an LDS chapel. It has 3 floors. The main floor has the chapel (the large meeting room where all meet together for some meetings) with a multi-purpose room behind it. We also have a baptismal font in a small building beside the multipurpose room. That is important because we have several baptisms in our ward each month. Just last month there was about 10. The Relief Society room is also on the main floor.
The upstairs of the building houses the Primary and the Young Women and there is a small library, with a number of smaller class-rooms. The building also has a downstairs, but you have to go outside to get to the classrooms there, and the Bishop’s office is also located in the back.
The chapel meeting room has been decked out with all the audio visual equipment needed in these modern days. The front of the chapel has a screen that comes down from the ceiling to show church videos and other audiovisual programs. The projector also is built into the ceiling to project the video, with a panel on the wall to control the equipment, so it is fairly easy to access and use. High tech has arrived!!
The chapel is really just a short walk from our apartment. It takes less than 10 minutes to walk, but it is totally up hill on the way, thus downhill on the way home. Uphill is a little hard for Craig to do, though we have walked home a few times after church, but only one-way. Bonnie walks, of course, when she goes to attend things that Craig doesn’t attend. For example, the sisters (the women) of the senior couples are involved in helping teach English to interested ward members. There are a number of them interested in learning English right now. Bonnie and other sisters walk to that class once a week in the evening. Thank goodness for the doctor and his wife, who have a car full time and take us to church on Sundays on a regular basis. Otherwise it would be a taxi drive, at least one-way.
We have a lot of really good members in our ward. Several of them work for the church, and there are several international families in the ward, people from other countries who live here because of their business or company they work for. There is also an American diplomat family that work for the embassy, similar to our own situation before retirement. The man works for DEA and they have 6 children. They are darling kids who are just learning Spanish and doing quite well with it. His wife went on a mission to the Canary Islands and so she speaks Spanish. There is also another American family in the ward who are here with a US tech company. It is a small world because her sister lives in Larry and Liz’s ward in Virginia! Their home in the U.S. is in the ward that shares the same building as the Virginia Anderson branch!!
There are other families in the ward who are not Mexican but are from Latin American countries, like Argentina, Peru, Uruguay (our Bishop). We also have a member from Spain. It just happens to be that many of them, as well as several local ward members, speak at least some English, and several are quite fluent. As you can all see, we definitely have a diverse ward.
In many other regards, however, our ward is like most wards, and not so different than at home. For example, the same people consistently bear their testimony every month, with others mixed in, just like at home. We don’t have a regular choir, but there are some really good singers who sing when they need a special choir number. There are amazing teachers who prepare their lessons well in all the organizations. It is good to know that wherever you go in the world you can see the hand of the Lord in all things and that you can have the same spiritual experiences no matter where you are. We are grateful for this experience to serve a mission and be involved in His work.
This past Sunday (yesterday) Bonnie was asked to speak in our Sacrament Meeting. She did a fabulous job and received many kudos from members of the congregation afterwards. Her topic was “The Family and Its Importance”. She gave it considerable thought, practice, and her delivery (in Spanish, of course) was super! I (Craig) was very proud of her!
One final note! Many have written emails to us and wondered which of us is the blog writer! Well, actually, we both are. Generally, Bonnie has done a good first draft, then Craig edits and embellishes (sometimes too much!), so it is truly a joint effort! We don’t claim to be the most original of writers, but we will try our best to keep it interesting and informative. If anyone has any suggestions or would like to know about something specific that we have not presented so far, please let us know. Believe us, we would appreciate the ideas!
We close by sending our very best regards to each of you, our family and dear friends! We love and miss you all!
Craig making friends with an gentleman in Tlaquepaque, he was getting the scoop on the best places to shop
Temple in Guadalajara at night after we finished a session
Bonnie is always looking for shoes, here she is in Leon with Sister Stevens and they try to find slippers.
An 84 year old member who finally finished primary school with the help of his stake Self-Reliance center. He is with his Bishop and the Stake Specialist who helped him reach this goal.
In contrast, this 10 year old young member girl is learning self-reliance by starting her own business by selling sodas and chips in her local Mercado. Amazing what a little faith and ingenuity can do to bless our lives.