Guatemala City Temple

Guatemala City Temple
Here is where we will be working until Nov. 2018


Dear Readers,

We hope as you read this blog of our mission to the Guatemala City Temple in Guatemala you will feel the joy and happiness we are experiencing by being in the service of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We hope you can experience some of what we feel.

John and Christine

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Monday, September 18, 2017

September 11th through September 17th

September 11th through September 17th: Monday in the evening we got together for Family Home Evening to play games and hear about the Winkfield’s trip to Japan.  
Family Home Evening
Tuesday we went to our painting class.  Jill’s suggestions are so helpful and my grandson, Evan is starting to really look like him.  
Mom worked on the sky and the lake.
My Grandson, Evan
Wednesday we had presidency meeting and worked the morning shift.  We then took Brother Abadillo and his wife to lunch.  He is our recorder and Tuesday was his birthday.  They are true friends and we enjoy them so much.  
Brother Abadillo and his wife Cynthia.
Thursday is the day before Independence Day here in Guatemala and all the schools have parades and celebrations.  We caught the Catholic girl’s school across the street carrying a torch and running down the street as we returned from our morning walk.  
The girls getting ready to run the torch back to the school.

Click below to see the run back to school
Running back to the school
Friday we got the tables set up and decorated for an Independence Day celebration in the afternoon and then I went over and gave a talk at the temple.  I spoke to a group of members who were not endowed, while the members of their ward were in the temple doing a session.  We then took over the morning shift from the Rosales’.  The temple was supposed to be closed for the holiday, but the stake from Zacapa requested months ago to come and spend the morning in the temple.  They arrived Thursday night and got a session in and then they started at 5:00am Friday morning.  I made a big pot of pulled pork for our pot luck dinner/celebration.  We had a nice dinner and then we sang the national anthem and then Brother Reyna entertained us with some songs.  We finished by singing some hymns.  They were the only songs the Americans knew well enough to sing.  It was a nice afternoon. 
2 bus loads of saints arriving from Zacapa and Chiquimula.

Some of the sisters dressed up for our pot luck dinner.
Dinner is served.
Table #1 L to R Sister Rosales, Sister and Elder Jenson, Sister and Brother Flohr, Elder and Sister Fisher, Brother and Sister Reyna, President and Sister Funes, and President Rosales.
Table #2, L to R, Sister Abadillo and her mother, Sister and Elder Winkfield, Brother and Sister Gordon, Mom, Sister Frampton, Sister and Brother Holman, and Brother Abadillo.

Click to hear the Anthem

The National Anthem 

Click below to see some dancing.

A little dancing

Click below to hear Brother Reyna sing Luna de Xelaju

Luna de Xelaju

Saturday we got up early and I took a group shopping.  We then loaded up the car and took the Holman’s with us to Puerto Barrios which is 5 hours east of Guatemala City on the Atlantic.  It is the country’s main port on the Atlantic.  They ship a lot of bananas and pineapples from this port, so there are a lot of semi-trucks on the 2 lane road.  We made really good time, so we stopped at Quirigua so that the Holman’s could see the stelae and the ruins that are there.  
Brother Holman on his way to take a picture of the banana plantation that surrounds Quirigua.
We got to Puerto Barrios and found our hotel, checked in and then had lunch.  
There was a Quincenera at our hotel.
They spend a lot of money on these celebrations.
We then had to get ready for the adult session that started at 5:00 pm.   Mom and I both spoke.  President Christensen is the new Guatemala East mission president and it was his first district conference in Puerto Barrios.  He gave us 30 minutes to divide between us.  It was a good meeting.
Saturday session.
After the Saturday session, they passed out hot dogs.
All lined up for a hot dog.
We then went back to our hotel and about 8:00 pm President Christensen called and invited us to meet them in the restaurant for some dessert and to plan the two sessions for the next day.  He asked Brother Holman to speak in the Priesthood leadership session and Sister Holman to play the piano for the general session. 
Dessert with the Holman's and Christensen's.
Our hotel, Puerto Libre
Sunday morning we had breakfast at 6:30 am and then took off for the chapel.  The leadership session started at 8:00 am and I had the opportunity to teach about how seek the Spirit and make decisions, even when we are not certain what the Lord would have us do.   Mom and I had 45 minutes to divide for the general session.  We only took 40 minutes and so I apologized after the meeting for not taking all the time we had been assigned and President Christensen said “Isn’t it a shame when a meeting ends early.”  He was joking of course.  
Youth choir for the Sunday session.

Going home with coconuts.
We were pleased with our talks and felt like we had been richly blessed with the Spirit and that we had done our best.  We leave these conferences on a high.  We feel exhilarated and edified.  After the conference a brother had a truck full of coconuts and he cut the top off a couple and we drank coconut water.  He gave us about 6 coconuts to take home and share with the other missionaries.  We then headed home.  The traffic was not too bad and we got home at 5:00 pm tired, but happy with our participation in the Puerto Barrios District Conference.  I told the saints in Puerto Barrios that I have the best calling in the church.  I’m not joking.  I totally believe that I have the best calling in the church.  During the week I get to be in the temple for 8 to 9 hours almost every day and then on the weekends, I get to meet with the saints and share my testimony and love of the temple.  The saints inspire me and uplift my spirit.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

September 4th through September 10th

September 4th through September 10th: Most everyone got to go shopping on Saturday, so Monday, we decided to make a trip to Antigua with the 3 new couples.  The Winkfield’s are in Japan this week to be in the temple in Tokyo with one of their adult sons, who will receive his endowment and we just took the Gordon’s and the Winkfield’s to Antigua a few weeks ago.  This was the three newbies first trip to Antigua so we started off with a walk through Casa Santo Domingo, which is an enormous old church and convent that has been converted into a high- end hotel.  
The gardens at Hotel Santo Domingo
Beautiful floral arrangement with lots of bird of paradise flowers.
Part of the Hotel Santo Domingo
The original chapel was destroyed in the earthquake of 1873, but they put a tent over it and still have mass and weddings.
Next, we visited the main square and the mostly destroyed cathedral.  
The fountain in the center of the main plaza.
The Holman's and the Jenson's on the veranda of the government building at the main plaza in Antigua.
View of the cathedral and the volcano Agua.
I want one of these benches.
Pedro de Alvarado, the conqueror of Central America.
Then it was on to Nim Pot for some shopping and a visit to La Merced church.  The convent attached to the church is a museum and Chris and I had not been through this one, so we spent the 2 dollars for the entrance fee to check it out.  The views from the second story were well worth the ticket price.  
Look who we ran into on the street in Antigua.
The famous arch with Agua in the background.
In the courtyard at the convent, La Merced.
Pano of the fountain and view from the second story.
We needed one selfie today.
Clay pots for olives, wine, and oil.
You know me and cool doors.


Two old people who are still in love.

At last, we were ready for lunch.  Elder Hill, before he finished his mission, mentioned that they had found real Texas BBQ at Pappy’s BBQ in Antigua.  Well, guess where we went to lunch.  It was the best BBQ I have ever had or at least it is the best that I can remember.  It has been at least 2 years since we have eaten real BBQ, so maybe it was really good because I have not had BBQ for such a long time.  
Lunch at Pappys BBQ.  
My new favorite restaurant.
The baby back ribs were delicious
Tender and fall-off-the-bone good.
We finished off the visit with a trip to the hospital to deliver baby kits. The wife of one of our coordinators is a doctor at the hospital in Antigua and she arranged the visit for us. We distributed about 50 kits and enjoyed our visit to the hospital.  The mothers were very appreciative of the gift for their babies.  
Delivering baby kits at the hospital in San Julian, a small town next to Antigua.
Thursday we went to the airport early in the morning to pick up the Winkfield’s.  They had a great trip, but were glad to be back in Guatemala.  
Almost every day we play Rummikub and today Chris won, again.
Here is her solo effort to begin the painting.
Mom's inspiration for her new painting.
Friday, after our morning shift, I went back over to do the sealing of a young couple.  He is from Utah and she is from Guatemala.  His family did not speak Spanish, so I gave my short message in both Spanish and English.  Saturday, after the morning shift we went to the adult session of the Florida stake.  We both spoke.  Elder Zeballos, who is a member of the new area presidency, presided.  It was a nice meeting and we got home about 7:00pm.  That made a very long day; we had gotten up at 3:00am to be at the temple at 4:00am.  We went to bed tired, but happy.  
The choir before the Saturday adult session.

Click below to listen to the choir

Listen to the choir
Saturday afternoon adult session.
Sunday we drove to the stake conference in Mixco, a suburb of northwestern Guatemala City, for the general session of the Florida stake.  All the women in the choir were wearing a huipil as their blouse.  It was pretty impressive.  
Don't you love the flowers?

Click below to listen to

If the Savior stood beside me

The choir Sunday morning.

Click below to listen to the choir

Listen to the choir Sunday Morning

After the Sunday session.
President Rodriguez and you know who.
It made me change my talk and tell the story of the woman who had a dream about her grandmother dressed in a huipil.  It led her to find the records of her grandmother because she was able to discover where the huipil her grandmother was wearing was from.  We both talked and felt the Spirit from the time the girl sang “If the Savior stood beside me”, till the closing prayer.  It was a very good meeting.  We had a training session for 2 hours in the temple in the afternoon.  What a great week.  We are so blessed to be able to serve in this assignment.  
The stake president gave mom one of the floral arrangements.