Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving with the Kingstons

The Kingstons are members of the English-speaking Metro Ward. Sister Kingston is originally from Mexico and because of her employment they live in Puerto Rico. They graciously invited all of the senior missionaries to their home for Thanksgiving dinner. We started the day with waffles with every topping imaginable. I loved the pomegranate seeds! After breakfast, we toured their lovely community. Six rode on the golf cart, and Brother Kingston, Elder Eakle, and I rode bikes. I'm glad I brought some casual clothes for that activity. Our tour was followed by games, dinner and lots of enjoyable conversation.
Elder Porter, Sister Porter, Sister Lee (kind of hidden), Elder Lee, Sister Kingston (hidden), and Sister Allred are ready for the tour.
Sister Allred, Sister Kingston, and the Lees.
I have never seen poinsettias planted in the ground. They are a beautiful, natural Christmas decoration.
I'm not sure what's happening here. 
This is part of the neighborhood water park. Using it requires an extra HOA fee. I won't tell you how much it is. 
This is the lazy river in the water park. If you stay at the Ritz-Carlton Reserve in the neighborhood, you can enjoy this beautiful water park. 
After so many days of rain, Thanksgiving was beautiful. We were supposed to have a ward beach activity on Saturday and it poured all day. I
This is the beach area outside the Ritz-Carlton. All beaches in Puerto Rico are public, but that doesn't mean anyone can use the amenities like the pools or lounge chairs if they aren't guests. I suppose they would just have to let you pass through to access the beach. But how would you get in the gated community in the first place? Maybe say you want go to the beach?
Elder Eakle and Brother Kingston enjoying the beautiful bike path in the neighborhood. This was one of the most enjoyable bike rides I have been on. The weather was pleasant and the path was flat and the scenery was gorgeous.
Elder Eakle and Brother Kingston stopping for a break and to enjoy the ocean views.
Sister and Elder Lee enthusiastically pose for their Thanksgiving portrait.
And then there's boring Elder and Sister Eakle.
The water was a beautiful color that day, but pretty rough. We didn't do any swimming.
Here is another beautiful view of the ocean. I love water so I'm in the right place even though I don't get in it much.
The beach area we visited is called Dorado. It's on the north side of the island on the Atlantic west of San Juan.
The gardens outside of the spa have a beautiful lily pond.
Brother and Sister Kingston made gourmet Cornish game hens with stuffing and a tasty sauce, spices, and fruit garnishes.
Our wonderful hosts preparing a delicious meal. 
We had a vegetable tray, jello salad, green salad, seafood paella, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, Cornish game hens, stuffing, potato casserole, rolls, apple pie, pumpkin pie, and raspberry cheesecake. We barely made a dent in the food. 
A better view from the other side.
The Kingston's neighbors already have their house lit up for Christmas.
Elder and Sister Eakle right before heading home. Where is his name tag? And that doesn't look like a white shirt and dress pants!
Thanksgiving Day at Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico. Serve a senior mission and you could be here Thanksgiving 2016. We will all need replacements before then. 
Elder Porter, Sister Eakle, Sister Porter, Brother Kingston, Sister Allred, Elder Eakle, Elder Lee, and Sister Lee on their way to the beach by bike and golf cart. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Toa Baja Service Project

As part of Elder Martinez' visit to our mission, the Toa Baja Zone participated in a service project. The missionaries, President Boucher, and Elder Martinez picked up trash on the streets by the mission office. Each missionary filled an entire big black trash bag. While we picked up the trash, we were rained on, the sun came out, and then we were rained on again. However, we still had a lot of fun. Even those recovering from chikungunya were willing to help out. 
Have you ever seen a happier looking group picking up trash?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Moving day, Sunday Dinner, and Birthday Dinner

On Saturday we helped the Juana Diaz sisters move into a new house that they had found on their own. I was so proud of them. Their existing house has a leaky roof, and the owner wouldn't fix it as long as they were living there. They have been so patient with the leaks. Once we were ready to move, we found out that the electric meter was broken and had to be replaced before they would have service. They moved anyway and just said it would be like girls' camp. They had to survive the weekend without any electricity. 

 We had to get a stove, fridge, and some study tables and chairs from the storage unit to take to their new apartment because they moved from a furnished apartment that had appliances.
When we got to the new house, two of the sisters had decorated and had made a cake for one of the other two sisters who was having a birthday that day. One of the sisters who decorated and helped move had chikungunya but still carried on with the move. She's a tough one. We will miss her enthusiasm and hard work when she goes home next month.
The two sisters who planned the surprise celebration help the birthday sister while she blows out the candles. Some elders from a neighboring area helped with the move. 
After we moved the first load of things, we went to a local restaurant for lunch. The place is so cute. It is already decorated for Christmas.
Most of us ordered the special of rice, beans, and some fried chicken, but some of the elders enjoyed a lunch of octupus.
We snacked on the birthday cake while we waited for our meals.
Even the kitchen supplies belonged to the owner of the old apartment so we had to make a quick run to Walmart to buy almost everything for their apartment. Because they live so far away from the office, we wanted to get everything while we were there. With all these new apartments, I'm running out of kitchen supplies anyway. I think I'm going to go to a yard sale on Saturday and see what I can find. We were surprised to hear a very loud band playing in the paint section of Walmart.
When we returned home after our twelve hour moving day, we found a very loud fiesta taking place in the parking lot behind our house. This is the view from our small patio. The festivities went on for over three hours while I was trying to prepare a talk for church the next day.
After three zone conferences and with two to go, Sister Boucher took time out of preparing zone conference meals to make a lovely turkey dinner for the senior couples Sunday night. I know I'm always raving about her cooking, but it is really the best food on the island.
 Our lovely meal. From left to right are Sister Lee, Sister Allred, Sister Heidenreich, President Boucher, Sister Boucher, Sister Porter, Elder Porter, and Sister Wentzel. I think that is Elder Eakle's thumbs up.
Our meal matched the table decor!

I'm trying to smile with food in my mouth. Left to right are Brother Porter, Sister Wentzel, Elder Wentzel's empty spot because he is taking the picture, Elder Eakle, Sister Eakle, Elder Lee, Sister Lee, and Sister Allred.
Our yummy salads. I'm not sure what was in it, but it was good.
All of the senior couples went to PF Chang's at Plaza Las Americas for my birthday. 
Here we all are.