This has been a difficult week for us. Elder Kennington has been suffering from several serious symptoms, so we visited Dra. Gomez in downtown Concepcion.
Sunday we visited the Bio-Bio Ward in the Talcahuano Sur stake in Hualpen. We have been impressed with all the wards in this well-run stake.
Two sets of elders assigned to the Bio-Bio ward plus a pair of traveling elders, who gave Elder Kennington a blessing. We gave them a ride to an appointment in Santa Sabina, which is quite a ways from Hualpen.
Monday morning we went to an appointment with Dra. Gomez, a church member. She understood our situation immediately and prescribed medications that our U.S. physician agreed with. As we left, the waiting room was filled with young elders and sister missionaries also waiting to see Dra. Gomez for various ailments, before she left on vacation.
On Tuesday the Baldens took us to see Dra. Gomez at her house in a very nice neighborhood in Andalien. She postponed her vacation so she could talk to us. Elder Kennington's situation is serious enough that we will be leaving a couple of months early in order to get supervised medical care in the United States. We will probably be leaving before the end of January. In the meantime, the medications and change in diet have stabilized his health and he is doing better.
For New Year's Eve, we were invited to the Lee's apartment for a Mexican dinner. Chileans greet the new year with fireworks, which were visible from the top of the apartment building.
New Year's Day we accompanied the Kauers to Bulnes, where they were delivering a small stove to an apartment of elders, and checking into a mouse problem in a sister's apartment. We could see the Nevados de Chillán from the higway -- a series of stratovolcanoes named Volcan Viejo, Volcan Nevado, and Volcan Nuevo.
Although most shops were closed, many Chileans leave the cities for the campo, the beach, and lagunas, and, of course, Mote con Huesillo.
Elder Kennington suggested that the hermanas stuff a towel in the 1" gap under their back door, which they immediately did, to help keep the mice out.
The sisters' study
The sisters' bedroom, one of the more orderly apartments I have seen
The elders' apartment was in the middle of the block accessible by a long entry way
They had collected a box of ugly ties for Hna. Kauer to take back to the office with her.
Eating our picnic lunch on the town plaza in Bulnes
The Kauers on the plaza
On our way out of town, we saw the Nevados de Chillán across the Laguna Parrillar.
Saturday morning, we returned the favor and took the Kauers with us to the National Reserve in Valle Nonguen. The nature reserve was created in 2009 and covers 7500 acres. We walked the shortest trail, which was about 1.4 kilometers, not quite one mile.
The path was quite steep in places,
and rather scary in others.
There were wildflowers . . .
. . . a lagarto, lizard. . .
. . . and beautiful vistas of the woods and undergrowth, mostly of Colihue, the invasive Chilean bamboo.
There were a number of very calming cascadas, waterfalls.
Elder K. and I on the trail.
A nice growth of Colihue
We took the Sendero los Copihues, the path of the Copihue, but unfortunately we were too early for the season of bloom
Although Hna. Kauer did spot a couple of beautiful coral blossoms.
Hermana Kauer and I on a puente, bridge over one of the many meandering streams.
More wildflowers. We ate a picnic lunch, saw only a few other families on the trails, and said goodbye to the Reserva Nacional Nonguen.