Saturday, December 29, 2012


We walked up to this park this morning.
It really wasn't far.

This is looking toward downtown.

The Cali River where we usually walk every day.

Belalcazar, the city founder, is pointing to Portada al Mar [Gate to the Sea]

                                                  The city on our way up the hill.

In this direction is a large park.  The road winds up a ravine with green space on either side.  At the top of the hill, the road goes down the other side into more of the city.

The center flag is Colombia; gold, blue and red.  The one on the left is Valle del Cauca; the state.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Institute class member and soon to be missionary Pablo Coronel.  He sent in his papers in June and just got his call.  It is for January. He is going to ask for a delay until March to get ready.   I think the call got lost.
  He is headed Bogota North Mission.

Christmas Lights Cali 2012

 We go by a couple of big decorated trees like this one at the Art Museum.

 Many put lights across their balconies.
 I like the palms but it is hard to see the foliage at the top in the fotos. The two little ones give the idea.

Announcing the birth of our Savor.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fall in Colombia

Interesting tree.  One has to be under it to see the flowers.  From anwhere else you just see foliage. This one is on our way to the drug store.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


A couple of pictures we found on facebook of our new family members for our friends.
This is Grace Lewis who joined the family on the 27th. Elder Oliver's mom's birthday)
Josh Waston with Melodi and their line on theri wedding day on the 21st. 

Melodi is our oldest grandchild and Grace is the youngest.  

Home Evening

Home evening with some of our institute students. They are easy to become attached too.
There are six registered, one entered the CCM in Bogata (MTC) this week and four usually attend..  For this activity Felipe was out of town.  We hope he´ll be back for this week´s class\activity.

Monday, September 24, 2012


We pass this house when we go to the bank and we see it from one of the malls we shop at.  There are several old houses in the middle of the city,  the new buildings next to the old ones.

We walk along the river Cali most mornings.  This view is from the bridge at the far point of our walk.  We cross the bridge and walk back up the other side of the river.  The mountains to the west show faintly in the picture.  It is usually pretty hazy.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Paseo to Paraiso (Paradise, Colombia)

 The Hacienda Paraiso.  We went on a paseo (short trip) on Saturday to celebrate the birthday of Hermana Prince.  This is the home of Colombia's most famous 19th century writer, Jorge Isaacs.  It is also reminiscent of the life and values of the Cauca Valley of that era.

The whole group at the gate to the Hacienda.

Elder & Sister Oliver sitting on the root of huge tree.

Sisters Prince, Torgerson and Oliver under a beautiful bougainvillea at a gate.
Elder Oliver at the bougainvillea gate showing the roses and the garden.

The house and garden had a unique water system that came from a nearby canyon.   

The roses were beautiful.  In Isaac's novel, Maria (name of novel and heroine) picks fresh roses daily for Efrín (oldest son of the family & author of the autobiographical novel). 
In brief, Maria was "adopted" by the family after her parents died.  At 12 yrs Efrín is sent to Bogotá to school.  When he returns 6 years later, he falls in love with beautiful Maria.  At about this time, Maria has the first epilepsy seizure.  As we toured the house our guide told the story of Maria's life.  It was hard for me to keep the novel separate from the life of George Isaacs.  The parallels were not a coincidence.

The white and orange contrast was especially appealing.

Elder Oliver chose roses for our flowers this week.
September 15 is Día de Amor y Amisdad (Valentine's day) in Colombia.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hotel Oliver Update

        Hotel Oliver.  We didn't take a picture of the apartment full of suitcases last transfer day.  We got a couple this time but a better picture would be at bedtime or in the morning when the suitcases are all spread out, wall to wall, so they can open them.
It is fun to greet the new elders.  Orientation takes two days here.   They arrive early in the morning and leave their suitcases here.  After a busy day they spend their first night with us.  They leave for their areas in the late afternoon of the second day.                                                                           

 Since we bought a flower vase, we've been buying flowers every few weeks.   This week we bought glads.  I hope they last a long time, they are so pretty.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Changes Sept 2012

1. A red tomato in our patio garden.  They are still small but I still hope for one BLT.   There are three plants in these pots.  They don't get much sun but are producing over 40 golf ball size tomatoes.   Probably not enough for salsa but we have found imported salsa.

2.  Sister Oliver started her first piano student yesterday.  Teaching piano was something that she really enjoyed in Mexico and the two youth there continue to play in the Hidalgo branch.  We saw  keyboards in a store after we first got here but they disappeared before we made up our mind about buying.  When we saw more a couple a weeks ago we got it.  We had one teaching book which we had given to the office elders who are practicing in their spare time.  They gave it up and made some copies of the pages they are working on.

3. A new institute student.  Our class is growing a new student each of the last two weeks.  Jessica is a student who has studied Accounting and is studying Business Management.  We had cupcakes for our reading treat this week, thanks to sister Oliver.  In church today Judith asked if she could make up the classes she missed if she started attending and we assured her she could. It is more fun with a bigger class.

4.  A visiting teaching assignment.  We have had a home teaching assignment for a few months and even had a home teacher visit us.  Now we have a visiting teacher assignment.   Sister Oliver was assigned 2 sisters, a mother and daughter, and we have an appointment this afternoon.

5.  New missionaries, new apartments and new assignments (transfer week).  Most wards will have two companionships in each ward soon.  Cali had 4 stakes a few years ago but now has three.  The new missionaries should help the church here grow and strengthen the stakes as well as help the districts in surrounding areas become stakes.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Institute Update

We had 5 students and the Institute Director in attendance yesterday.  The Institute Director is also our Stake President.  He was a nice addition to the class.  We held our third class of the semester.
Our students include:
 Daniela, who is 18 years old.  Her mother has been a member for many years.  Daniela and her Dad were baptised about 9 years ago.  Her Dad is a counselor in our branch presidency. She is a student of music and interior design and is the second counselor in Primary.
Jhonatan, who is 20 years old . He has been a member for 4 years and had been working and preparing for a mission. He is our Branch Mission Leader.  He is the only member in his family and lives with an Aunt.
Felipe is in his last year of High School and just turned 18 this week.  He lived with his Grandmother so he was not a member until recently. He now lives with his mother who is member. He was baptised last Oct  and is a Priest.  One can go on a mission at 18 here, just like in Mexico.  This was just authorized.  I know of one 18 year old we have had in our mission.
Pablo is 26 years old.  He lived with his widowed mother until last month when she passed away.  He was our Young Men president. He is now living with an aunt in another ward across town.  He was baptised 2 years ago and came back to join us.
Juan José is also 20 years old and has a mission called to Ecuador.  He grew up in the church and is working a lot to meet his obligations for military service.  We have visited his family as home teachers often.  Both parents and all three children are active members, a rarity here.

Our focus has been on helping the young people read the scriptures every day.  We took brownies for those who read every day last week.  Now we are going to learn how to make chocolate muffins (cupcakes) for the treat next week.  A challenge with only one six-muffin pan.  We found it for $5.00 US (50% off) but they only had one.

As always, the teachers are learning the most and we are enjoying the association with the youth.   We are glad to have something meaningful to do outside of the office.  The office work is important but not very spiritually invigorating.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Cali Institute, the building, will be closed 1 Sept.  The institute program is alive and well.  Cali doesn't qualify for a building.  Instead of an institute building we have institute in the stakes.  
For years each ward has had a least one seminary class.  Institute is operating with a similar concept except that the young adults who want to go to a different ward for institute with their freinds can do so.  Or if work schedules dictate when they can attend they can choose one that fits their schedule.  Seminary students can not attend outside of their ward.

The Institute program was already using some of the chapels around town to hold classes.  Now there will be at least one class in each chapel.   There are 15 chapels in the 3 stakes. We started last week in our chapel.  We are hosting Mission Preparation.  Some chapels have two classes; Mission Prep and Old Testament.  The institute director will have an office in one of the ward houses. We started with 3 students but are planning on 4 today.   The teachers of our class are learning the most about teaching institute and using our class time wisely.  One of our focus' is to encourage the youth to read the scriptures daily.  That is the only thing we keep track of besides attendance.

I am curious to see how overall attendance changes.  Last semester they had 32 enrolled in Mission Prep.;  30 in the institute building and 2 in a ward house.  We will meet each month with the institute director and at that meeting we will find out if the chage has effected attendance.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Branch Activity

Dance Party at the branch last night. The theme was Hawaiian.  It was a bring your friends missionary activity.  We had to leave about when it started to get going good.   There were a lot of people showing up.  The Primary and Young Women's did the work.  Lays for everyone and fruit on a stick. On a sad note the car that brought the goodies to the chapel was stolen from the street in front.  They usually  park cars inside the gate.   We don´t know why it was on the street, maybe the gate hadn´t been opened yet.  The Primary President´s husband (non member) was trying to report the incident when we arrived.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hotel Oliver

Our two bedrooms can now hold 8 missionaries but not their luggage.  It is pretty tight to get 4 missionaries in a room.  When we had eight new missionaries our living room was full of their luggage.  This week we only had four zone leaders and they had only brought a minimum for a one night stay.  They each slept on a bottom bunk with the window and door open.  Since they were from Pasto,over 8,000 ft elevation, they thought it was hot here in Cali.  (Average daytime temp in Pasto is 60° F., nighttime is 48°F.  Since it is almost on the equator it is always cold in Pasto.)  Pasto is also a 10 hour bus ride away from Cali.

The room across the hall is our room.  We sleep with the door shut and the fan on when we have extra missionaries staying with us.  We usually sleep with all the windows and doors open.  We have three bathrooms with showers and a half bath with mirror (good for shaving) off the living room. 

The mission was slow to utilize our extra bedrooms because of the space issue.  The Torgerson have been hosing missionaries for some time but their apartment is much bigger.  It was the assistants who finally said to Sister Prince why can´t we open Hotel Oliver that started the ball rolling.  In the last transfer Torgerson´s and Oliver´s were full and the mission still had to rent rooms for 3 new sisters in a nearby hostel.  Previously the overflow house was across town and left the mission with logistic challenges.  From Oliver´s and Torgerson´s the missionaries can walk to the Mission Home and the Mission Office. They even roll their suitcases down the street to the Mission Home

We really should have taken a picture of the apartment full of luggage.  We will get another chance as the next incoming group will also be more than 20.  


I made cowboy cookies for the zone leaders consejo.  This is all that is left.  I got Laura Bush's Texas Cowboy Cookie recipe on line.  It made 7 dozen normal size cookies.  We gave all the zone leaders 2 cookies with a brownie. Sister Torgerson made the brownies.  Sister Prince likes to cook and usually has a great time in the kitchen.  Right now her kitchen is being remodeled.  She came up with wonderful chicken a la king in her roaster oven.  Ana and Maria helped prepare lunch at the office.  We had the chicken over rice (cooked in rice cookers in the office) with french bread (heated and butter melted in Sister Torgerson's oven), a wonderful salad (with real ranch dressing) and the dessert.  The lunch was a big hit with all the zone leaders and they didn't even know Sister Prince doesn't have a kitchen.

Missionary Preparation

We have been asked to teach an institute class.  Missionary Preparation.  We will go to a training meeting on Sunday but what we have figured out so far is that each ward in our stake will host this class for 17 - 26 year-olds in the ward.   We have two missionaries serving in Peru from our branch and another preparing to leave for Ecuador in Sept.  Hopefully there will be more.   We don't know how big the class will be because we only know a few in that age group but we are sure there are more in the branch.
This painting came from the office.  Sister Prince brought it over.   Someone said it looks more like Argentina because Colombia is not flat.   After the office elders change houses it may go to their new apartment but for now we are taking care of it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

One important task accomplished this week.

A few weeks ago we attended a fireside for adults in Cali presented by our Area Seventy from Venezuela.  He counseled each of the brethern to do something for your wife each week.  He didn't say go on a weekly date but his counsel had the same meaning.  It took me awhile to spot a vase but Saturday we found a store with lots of vases.  They sell flowers on the streets, in the stores and in the markets.  Finding flowers shouldn't be to hard.   In the weeks it took to get a vase I did buy Peanut M&Ms once.
I Love You  works too.

Monday, July 9, 2012


I bought some lulo fruit in the Galeria.  We had to look up on the internet how to prepare them.
They are best in juice or cheese cake.  They are tart like citrus.
You scoop out the pulp and seeds and mix it in the blender with water and sugar. 
I also mixed it with other fruit.
The skin is leathery so you throw it away. 
Lulo juice is lime green. 


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Temple Prep Class

A couple of pictures from our last temple preparation class. We
are sorry to see it end but are excited for those going to the temple.   We enjoyed teaching the class.  It was a blessing for us to be involved. The branch president taught part of the last class covering  the logistics of the trip which is only a couple of weeks away.  The branch had enough interest that they rented their own bus rather than sharing with another ward. They will spend 3 days in the temple and two nights in temple guest apartments.

Friday, June 22, 2012



The 10 minute video of Sister Oliver teaching the Young Women and their leaders to make brownies would have been more entertaining but it is probably too big for the blog.  They met on a Monday holiday at Gloria's house after the ward family day at the church.   We didn't attend the family activity due to Mission President's Staff Meeting but joined them in the afternoon for the YW activity.  Then we went straight back to the office to do Elder Oliver's Monday work which was still waiting for him. 
We lit the oven with a long roll of paper.  The whole kitchen is in that alcove, stove and sink on one side, counter across the back, fridge opposite the oven.

I was really impressed with Gloria's fresh flowers.  We had a fun time with the young women (and a few guys).  Sharon, Gloria's granddaughter, was really excited to learn how to make brownies.  She asked me if I can teach her how to make cookies next!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mazamorra and More

Mazamorra de Maíz: This is a typical dessert in various countries in Latin America. The Colombian version is basically very well cooked white corn (for several hours) in water. It then will be sweetened with sugar cane or sugar and milk will be added. 

It may be common but we were just introduced to Mazamorra last Monday at the home of Gloria, a branch member.  If you think milk, corn starch and sugar you come up with a pudding like dish.  The mazamorra we had was more like cold corn soup with sugar on top (no salt).  It had soaked kernels of yellow corn in it.  The panela (brown sugar) was really interesting.  It is ground sugar cane pressed and formed into a round loaf about 3" thick and 6" around.  This was served in a separate bowl and you sprinkled it on your mazamorra according to taste.  I think I would have added a sprinkle of canela (cinnamon) too.

In our house we have single bulb light fixtures.  With the fluorescent bulbs we had quite a glare.  It was difficult to read under the lights.  Then Elder Oliver thought, "If Grandpa Grover were here he would have fixed those lights a long time ago."  So on one of his many trips to Home Center (Home Depot) to buy supplies for the missionaries, he bought a duel bulb socket adapter.  That improved things some, then he found yellow light flourescent bulbs.  That was sooo much better.  Thank you Grandpa Grover!  On a another trip he bought a shelf to make a bookcase out of our built in entertainment center.  Elder Torgerson is putting up bookshelves in missionary apartments.   Now we have a bookcase too!

Since I didn't bring any recipes I had to ask Liz for a brownie recipe.  I went on line to find an oatmeal cookie recipe and No-Bake Cookies.  Does anyone want to send me some recipes?  Quinton, do you have the no-bake cookie recipe?