Elder Ramos (on right) with his companion, Elder LLontop (on left)
A windy day at Cristo Rey...Elder Ramos, President Prince, Elder Llontop
The week continued with a Happy Birthday surprise party on September 14 provided by the Office Elders. (And I thought I would slip quietly out of town to celebrate!) I was greeted with a houseful of balloons, homemade cookies, singing Elders, and birthday signs.
Totally surprised! Totally feeling the love! Totally happy!
On September 15 we left the house at 4:30am to arrive at the airport for our flight to Medellín. I spent my first Colombian birthday at a beautiful location called La Piedra de Guatapé. It is about 2 hours from Medellín and we were accompanied by Fabio Vallejo who is a dear friend and taxi driver in Medellín. (we would really be lost without all these dear friends driving us around!) We climbed all 640 stairs to the highest point of the lookout on top of this huge granite rock. The view was inspiring and the peace was incredible. This became the topic of my talk in the stake conference the following Sunday...the peace you can feel when founded upon the rock of Christ! The weather was perfect and I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful birthday.
After our hike up the rock, we visited the Pueblito of Guatapé. What a beautiful painted town! We had lunch at an open air restaurant by the lake and then returned to Medellín. Jon had a "bandeja paisa", a typical dish from the area complete with rice, platano, potatoes, meat, avocado, and a fried egg on top. I had the "trucha"or trout which was delicious! The lunches in Colombia are HUGE!
The town square church of Guatapé Walking the streets of Guatapé
La bandeja paisa!
We finished up having dinner with Fabio and Mariela Vallejo at Crepes y Waffles. One thing I enjoy about Medellín is being able to find more things from America in the store...yes, I did buy a
Betty Crocker Cake mix to take back to Cali with me!
Deliciosa! Happy are we!
After a day of fun and vacation, it was back to work. We did leadership training for our zone and district leaders in Medellín, held a dinner for the stake presidencies and bishoprics with our missionaries, and then had two full days of stake conference for the Belen Stake with a visiting area authority, Élder Vallejo from Ecuador.
President Cajamarca, Elder Vallejo, Presidente Mantilla, Hermana Mantilla, Hermana Prince, Presidente Prince, Presidente Machado
Belen Stake Presidency with their secretaries, Elder Vallejo, Princes, Mariela and Fabio Vallejo
Many talks, handshakes, hugs, and goodbyes were exchanged and we headed back to Cali. The airport in Medellín centro was closed due to lightening and heavy rains. They bused us an hour away to the other airport and after several delays we arrived back home by 10:30pm.
A FULL WEEK OF HAPPY!