Monday, December 21, 2009

"Merry Christmas" December 2009

Merry Christmas 2009
Dear Family and Friends,

We have been blessed through the past year. As all of our families are healthy and doing well, we hope that ours and your families will be blessed throughout the New Year.

We are living our goal that we have planned for a long time and that is retirement and then serving a full time Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are serving in the Washington DC South Mission. We spent about a month and ½ serving in the Mission Office and serving Centreville 1st and 2nd Wards, which was a marvelous experience. Currently, we are serving in the Centreville 1st and 2nd Wards as full time Missionaries here in Centreville, Virginia. We have enjoyed serving thus far. It is a bit cold here for us, but we are somewhat prepared with coats, gloves, ear muffs, and scarves. When the wind blows it penetrates and they don’t seem warm enough for us Arizonian’s. We even bundle up in these warm clothes in the apartment. We hope we will be adjusted to the climate by next year. We have had some great experiences thus far. We have had good times and bad times. We have had a car accident, but no-one was injured. Sister Maldonado spent one night in the hospital, the test was negative, she is recovering from a kidney infection, and our rental car plus 5 Mission cars were towed to an impound lot at a rate of $ 125.00 for each car. We couldn’t find parking by the metro, so we parked in a large grocery store parking lot on the day of our Mission Christmas Conference at the US Capitol Building in Washington DC where we took the Metro to get to the Capitol Mall. When we returned to our cars they had been towed to an impound lot. The good news is we had a great time at the Christmas Conference it was held in the Cannon Caucus Room on Capitol Hill. It is considered the hardest room to get on the hill. And it is really spectacularly beautiful. There were 3 Senators and 7 Congressmen that gave Christmas messages to us. We had a wonderful meal, and great musical numbers, 18 departing words of advice from our missionaries leaving in 2 days, and Santa and Mrs. Clause visited and each missionary sat on their laps, were given a bag of candy and had their picture taken too. We also had this wonderful picture on the steps of the capitol, which included all of the missionaries with the Mission President and his wife with them. And we had a tour of the capitol building. It was a Remarkable Conference. We also have had 3 families that we have referred to other Missionaries. We are teaching the new member discussions to Brother John Kamgaing, originally from Yaounde, Cameroon, Africa in the DR Congo Mission. He is also preparing to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. The Good has outweighed the bad.

This Christmas we are planning to reread in the New Testament Luke 2: (1-20) and from the Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 3: (13-21). Both Scripture accounts document the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

As we reflect about the meaning of Christmas, which is the birth of our Savior, we should always say and do what He Himself would say and do. He is our Lord, our Savior, and Redeemer. We should each strive to follow his example. We pray that all of our families will be blessed as we each follow him throughout our life.

Elder and Sister Maldonado

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Raphael Rodriquez (3 Total in Family)

December 1, 2009, Tuesday

The mission was opening up a new area in Chrystal City Ward in Arlington, Virginia. As part of Elder Maldonado’s job in the Mission Office, he found an apartment for the Elder’s there. They went down this day to finalize a lease for an apartment for the Missionaries, for Elders Gannaway and Reeves to live in. Raphael Rodriquez was the leasing agent they met with, he took them over to see the apartment and they were checking it for any problems or repairs that it may need. While Sister Maldonado was doing some last minute checking in the kitchen area Elder Maldonado was talking to Raphael. He said to Raphael, “we have been working in the mission office as missionaries and we have been kicked out and are full time missionaries now, and we need people to teach missionary discussions too.” He then asked Raphael if he knew of anyone that may be interested. Raphael was in deep thought at that time and Sister Maldonado spoke up and said how about you, would you like to hear about our church? He said, yes, I think I would. She asked him if he has a family. He said that he has a wife and a 6 month old baby. Sister and Elder Maldonado talked with him a little bit about how important families were. They asked him for his address and phone number, which he gave to them. They told him that they would bring a Book of Mormon and a Christmas Lights invitation to him the next day. They asked him if he knew where the Temple was. He said is it that castle all lit up? They told him they would see him tomorrow when they come back to bring a check for the first month’s rent. They did return the next day on December 2, 2009. They asked for Raphael but Dan in the office helped them, because Raphael was on the phone. They paid the rent and got the keys, then Sister Maldonado asked was Raphael available, they wanted to say hi to him. He couldn’t find him at the time. What was unique about this is Sister Maldonado had to go the restroom and went through the Apartment lounge area looking for it. As she went through some double doors to go down the hall, she ran into Raphael. She told him that she was happy to see him, because Elder Maldonado had some things for him. Elder Maldonado then loaned him a Book of Mormon and gave him the Christmas Lights invitation for the Visitors Center. Elder Maldonado called the missionaries in the Crystal City Ward to tell them about Raphael. He is living in the same apartment complex as they are going to be in. He also called Sister Cordner in the office to give her Raphael as a referral. He is not in their assigned area in the Mission, but this was a neat experience for them, even though they don’t get to teach him.

Car Accident

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Well, that's not all that happened to us. We were in a car accident Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. and it was Elder Maldonado’s fault. We were lost and realized we needed to not turn at the intersection, so Elder Maldonado decided to move out of the left turning lane back to the lane going straight ahead, he didn't see the car coming that close behind. The other driver was a young man about 26 years old, Sister Maldonado said that he came out of the blue and quite fast and hit them in the side rear passage door and fender, which stopped when it reached where she was sitting. We were watched over, because it could have been worse. The other car had a front driver’s side flat tire and dent on the vehicle above the tire. When Elder Maldonado approached the young man to see if he was okay, the young man was talking on the phone and saying that a stupid old man pulled out in front of him and hit his car, but he said he was fine to Elder Maldonado. Elder Maldonado said, well now, others know him as a stupid old man and he admits that he is a stupid old man. Elder Maldonado ended up getting a citation for an improper lane change. When the fire department and ambulance showed up, the man in the accident with us then began to complain of his arm hurting. Later Elder Maldonado found out that he was okay, nothing serious. Now, dealing with Insurances and getting a body shop and car rented will not be much fun, but we are blessed to be Okay. The Lord truly watches over us even if one of us is a stupid old man.

Rafael and Yolanda Maldonado (7 Total in Family)

A good story of what happened as Sister Maldonado was having a surgical procedure. The missionaries came to the hospital to give Sister Maldonado a blessing with Elder Maldonado, but they couldn't find Elder and Sister Maldonado. They got to the hospital and asked where the Maldonado's were. Well, there just happened to be some other Maldonado's in the hospital. When they got to her room, they obviously knew it wasn't Elder and Sister Maldonado. It was a Rafael and Yolanda Maldonado. Yolanda had a room already; she was preparing to have gall bladder surgery. Sister Maldonado was in the operating room at the time and did not have a room yet. The missionaries visited with Rafael and Yolanda Maldonado for a little while. When the missionaries called Elder Maldonado he had already given Sister Maldonado a blessing, so the missionaries left. Later Elder Maldonado was talking on the phone to Sister Cordner in the Mission Office, who had sent the Elder’s, and was telling the story of the missionaries coming and not being able to find them, and visiting with the other family in the hospital with their last name. While Elder Maldonado was telling the story a man just happened to be sitting nearby listening, as Elder Maldonado was hanging up the phone he came up to him and said, you must have been talking about me; “ I am Rafael Maldonado”. Rafael told him that his wife, Yolanda, was in the hospital for gall bladder surgery. Elder Maldonado was able to talk to Rafael Maldonado in the waiting room, while they waited for their wives to have their procedure and surgery. He was able to share some information about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, and he read Moroni 10: 3-5 together with him. Rafael told Elder Maldonado that he has a problem with the Catholic Church that he was attending, and it was about paying tithes. Elder Maldonado bore his testimony to him about tithing and assured him that he has been blessed in his own life by paying his tithing. He was able to get their address and phone number. He also called the Mission office and reported the referral to Sister Cordner, as well as calling the Missionaries to let them know that he got their address and phone number. They were thrilled to have this referral. On Thursday December 3, 2009 when Sister Maldonado was discharged from the hospital they visited Yolanda in her room at the hospital before leaving. Yolanda shared with them that she had an experience with receiving an e-mail prior to having a gall bladder attack and she said that she was going to have some good things coming into her life, and their home was going to be blessed. She didn’t understand how this could be, seeing that she was having surgery, this was bad luck and not the blessings that she was expecting. Then she said “the Missionaries came to my room and we have been looking for a church”. Then she realized that this was the blessing and this was meant to be. Elder and Sister Maldonado gave her a Book of Mormon and let her know they were happy to have met them; that the Missionaries will visit them, and they would keep in touch with them. What are the odds? That was a very expensive missionary referral says Elder Maldonado.

Sister Maldonado Hospital Stay

Tuesday, December 1, 2009, - through Thursday, December 3, 2009

We went to the doctor Tuesday December 1, 2009 and the Doctor sent Sister Maldonado to the Potomac Hospital next door to have a cat-scan and lab work. The next day she went back to the Doctor and took the CD of the Cat-Scan with her and the Doctor also had the Lab results. At the appointment the Doctor said that she had a kidney infection. When he checked the CD of the Cat-Scan with us, he saw what he thought was a kidney stone, but he wasn’t sure. He checked with two other Doctors and they all agreed that she should have a surgical scope procedure done to see if there was a Kidney Stone. If there was a stone he would put a stent in the urethra. He said that she would get the stent and then after the infection clears up he would do surgery to remove the stone. She thought that she may have had a kidney stone, but she passed it before she went to the doctor. The doctor said, If they found a kidney stone still in the urethra and with the Kidney infection, it could be life threatening. She went to the Potomac Hospital right away to do the procedure and she was to stay overnight in the hospital for observation and to receive antibiotics intravenously, even if they did not find a stone. After doing the scope procedure, it turned out that there was no stone and it was calcium deposits on the outside of the urethra. She was so happy that she wasn’t going to have serious surgery.