The following appeared in a family letter back in July.
"The Cazones Branch has its own building, but it is atyptical, more a long and narrow trailer. There have been 2 converts baptisms there in the last 10 months. The branch president lives 45 minutes away in the big city of Poza Rica in a different ward. (Yes, that is against Church policy. Leaders are always to be called from within the unit boundaries.) Cazones is jungly and very remote. It is hard to imagine how the Church ever started there. The missionaries are Elders Roberts and Hernandez. Elder Roberts has been there his whole mission, about 5 months. Elder Hernandez was transferred in 10 days ago. They were so excited to show us the little church which they have slaved to clean up and make presentable. There is a funny looking little baptismal font, and sparkling clean bathrooms. Because of the long drive and the chili-fied tacos I had eaten about 26 hours earlier, I was particularly interested in the sparkling clean bathroom which was set apart from the main building. It had a flush toilet, a toilet seat, and some of that blue water in the bowl. Very inviting. I excused myself. (I know. You are thinking, "Why the heck is he writing about THIS? You can skip the next couple of paragraphs if you are bored.)
"I reached for the toilet paper. It was actually in one of those official large plastic dispensers oft found in churches and other public buildings. As I reached up into the dispenser to pull out the paper I felt something light, fast, and unseen traverse my fingers. Then, I saw it.
"Brown, hairy, eight legs, half the size of my hand, and clinging to the wall in attack mode, looking at me. The bathroom is about 3 feet by 4 feet--very cramped quarters. The door swings inward and almost touches the toilet. I wanted to belch out some kind of a scream-like cry for help, but chose the manly part. Then, I thought to just run out of there, but couldn't figure how to do that with my belt down there around my ankles while two missionaries and my favorite wife stood directly outside the door. So, I very slowly arranged myself to depart the now growing even smaller men's room. (MEN'S Room. That is why I didn't scream like a little girl. I knew there was a reason.)
"Every move I made caused the brown, hairy thing to lurch. Every time it lurched, so did my heart. Finally, I was ready to go. As I reached for the door, I accidently touched the garbage can with my foot. So the creature ran down there near the floor on the right wall. I would now have to pass very near to him with my right leg to leave. I charted my course and took off on the other foot so that I could kind of twist my right leg around and not pass it through the danger zone. I really didn't want that thing to run up inside my pant leg.
"I escaped! When I reported my horrible bathroom experience to the missionaries, Elder Roberts walked in, took a look and said, 'That's nothin'. I found one this big (holding his hands about a foot apart) inside the pulpit one day.'
"Thanks for the comforting words."
Actually, it is not for 1000 days. It is just that 3 years times 365 days plus June 27 through June 30, 2008 equals 1098 days, and that is way too cumbersome to convert into a blog headline. Futhermore, our release date will not be determined until May or June of 2011. Therefore, 1000 Days sounded just about right, more or less. Having noted all that, we are humbled and thrilled (Pres. Uchtdorf would refer to the feeling as "joyfully overwhelmed") about having this marvelous opportunity to serve in La Mision Mexico Veracruz.
Pdte. y Hna. Pete and JoElla Hansen
Pdte. y Hna. Pete and JoElla Hansen