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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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Feb. 19th

Monday Feb. 11th through Tuesday 19th:   Monday the 11th started out with a mouse hunt in Pres. Crayk’s kitchen and we were successful.  We killed the mouse, only to find out the next day there were more mice in their kitchen.  The temple maintenance employees were called in to exterminate the mice.  The week at the temple was very slow.  We did have the Bradshaws, who have been missionaries in the proselytizing mission and living in Tupiza for the last year, arrive and they are going to spend the last 2 months of their mission working in the temple with us.  Also 2 new missionaries arrive Saturday, the Crayks, Pres. Crayk’s brother and his wife, Diana.  Hooray for new missionaries.  Saturday afternoon mom and I went downtown to watch some of the Carnival parade.  We went last year in the morning, but it was mostly different groups spraying each other and being silly.  This year we wanted to try and see some of the folkloric dancers with their fancy costumes.  We only had minor success.  It was loud and there were no seats, so we had to stand and look through the crowds to see anything.  This is quite the parade. It starts early in the morning and goes until 11:00 to 12:00pm.   Groups come from all over Bolivia to dance.  We only watched for a couple of hours.   

Carnival Parade.

Carnival Parade.
Carnival Parade.
Carnival Parade.
Carnival Parade.

 Carnival Parade.
 Carnival Parade.

 Carnival Parade.


 Carnival Parade.

 Carnival Parade.
Sunday Pres. Crayk assigned us to attend the Cobija ward on Sunday.  They have a new bishop, Juan Jose Flores, who is one of the  security guards at the temple.  I had made contact with him and had asked him if I could speak for a few minutes in his sacrament meeting.  Things went well.  We had both the Crayks and the Crayks to dinner.  Connie is still trying to get mice out of her kitchen and it was torn up.  We all attended a fireside Sunday evening.  It was out in the Los Alamos stake in Bishop Davila’s ward.  He had asked us to come out and talk to his young single adult group.  It was at his house in the back yard and they had a real campfire. 

Fire at the Fireside.
Right to left,  mom, Connie and Pres. Crayk, Diana and Lynn Crayk.

This was a first for even Pres. Crayk who I had thought had seen it all.  It was a fun group and mom gave a great talk.  The Spirit was strong and it was the highlight of the week for me.  I spent most of Monday cooking wings and chicken nuggets.  Bob Cardon made garlic cheese fries and we had the Cardons and both Crayks to dinner.  Then we all went to family home evening where the Johnsons were in charge of the lesson.  They had asked everyone to take 4 minutes and tell about how either they had joined the church or how their family had become members.  It was very interesting to listen to all the different stories.  Our days have become rather routine.  We go to the temple, study, and visit with the other missionaries and members.  We even keep up with Downton Abbey.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Week of Feb. 5th

February 5th through 11th:  This week has been much slower than all of last month.  The youth all went back to school this week so we will have fewer groups coming to the temple until the winter break in July and August.  But still there is a steady flow of missionaries leaving and families coming to be sealed.  So even though we don’t have huge crowds, we have enough to keep life interesting.  On Wednesday I went with Pres. Crayk to pick up a new sister missionary, Sister Monroy.  She is originally from Cuenca, Ecuador, but has been living in the states for 25 years.  She lives with her daughter in Brighton Colorado.  When I heard this, I asked if she knew Rex Johnson, the dentist.  She replied, “Is he also the stake president?”  I said, “That’s the one and he is also married to my niece!” “Well, he set me apart 2 nights ago.  He gave me a hug and said I was his favorite sister missionary.”  Rex made her feel special. On Friday, our day off, I spent the morning cooking Chinese.  We had invited the Perez and the new sister missionary and another single sister to have lunch with us.  At 1:30pm when the Perez showed up, I called up to the temple to see where the other two were and they were in the cafeteria and had ordered lunch.  They said they forgot.  So I hurried and called Pres. Crayk and Connie and the Cardons to come and eat.  Luckily they hadn’t started cooking anything.  So we did get just about the right amount of help to eat all that I had cooked. 
Left to Right, Sister and Brother Perez, Pres. and Connie, Tamera and Bob Cardon, Mom
I think I have finally been able to perfect a good Kung Pao chicken dish; we also had spicy cucumbers and orange chicken.  Everyone enjoyed the food and it was a good to be together.
 Sunday, Pres. Crayk and Connie and Chris and I all went to the America Ward.  This is the ward that mom spoke in last week to the RS sisters about how to help people prepare to come to the temple. She talked about what they should wear and calling for a reservation and well, a whole checklist of things they should do.   It was the mission farewell for the son of the stake president.  He is going to Venezuela.  The missionary spoke, then Pres. Crayk and then his father.  Pres. Paredes told about joining the church as a young man and leaving for his mission.  He was afraid to tell his father he was leaving, because he was the only member in his family and he knew he would be very angry.   He had it all planned out and waited until he had only a couple of hours before he needed to go to the airport.  He was dressed in his suit and ready to leave when he knocked on his father’s bedroom door.  He expected his father to roar at him, but his father asked, “Why did you not tell me sooner, I could have helped you get ready?”  He was stunned at his father’s reaction and then he asked, “What about your schooling?”  He said to his father, “The Lord comes first and then I am second.”  With that his father gave him a hug and he left.  He was very emotional and tearful.  It is very unusual to see a Latin man so emotional.  The four of us then came back to the patron housing building for a fireside with a group of young single adults from La Paz. 
Young Single Adult Group from La Paz.
We all spoke and I have to say this was the highlight of the week.  It was so spiritual and uplifting.  These meetings for me are like a big payday.  They make all the hard things so worth it.  We then had dinner at the Crayk’s home with Sister Monroy and the other single sister, Sister Fabris.  Good food and good company.
Left to Right, Sister Fabris, Sister Monroy, Pres. Crayk, Connie, and Mom

Monday, February 4, 2013

Calacoto Stake Conference in La Paz

Saturday, January 26th: We were supposed to talk to a group of 14 people who are preparing to come to the temple for the first time tonight at 6:30pm.  When we started there was one couple and the woman who organized the fireside.  The bishop came 20 minutes late and a sister who was going on a mission came later.  But we gave our talks and then had pizza and potato chips in the cafeteria.  If only one person shows up we still blessed to talk about the temple and bear our testimonies.  We then had a party at Cardon’s to watch 2 episodes of Downton Abby.  Yeah! 
Sunday, January 27th:  We decided to go to a ward that had a 10:00 am sacrament meeting.  We chose the Colon Ward because we haven’t been there and it is close.  I was coming out of the bishop’s office having just asked him if I could speak for 5 minutes during the sacrament meeting, when who do I run into but Pres. Crayk.  I said, “Well since you are here, you can take the 5 minutes.”  He said, “No, you go right ahead and talk.”  I gave a short recount of the group from Pando and their sacrifice and then read the quote from Pres. Monson. (See last week’s post)  Then I invited them to come to the temple.  Short and sweet but effective.
Friday, February 1st:  This past week has been filled with saying good-bye to the Kennedys who leave on Sunday and me preparing to go to a stake conference in La Paz on Saturday.  Sister Kennedy taught mom how to make cinnamon rolls.  I can’t wait for the results. They are really good and you can’t buy anything down here that resembles the bakery products that we all love.  The Kennedys also gave us many of the comforts they had acquired to make their stay here a little more like home.  Examples:  speakers for the computer, a big bowl that mom can make a batch of cinnamon rolls in, and the large round table extension that fits on top of the table, we have so you can seat 8 to 10 people for dinner, but if you ever have that many, then they have to bring their own plates and utensils.  Mom got a new hair dryer from Sister Kennedy and a bunch of office supplies and of course a lot of food that hadn’t eaten.  Thanks Kennedys for all your kindness and I’m sorry I forgot to say good-bye before you left.  I was still in La Paz when they left on Sunday.  They were well loved in their ward and in the temple.
I have been working on a new talk for this stake conference about “What is your goal?”  Our goal should be to return to our Father in Heaven and receive from him the gift of eternal life and if that is our goal, “What is it that we need to do in order to receive this gift.” 
Saturday, February 2nd:  Got up at 4:30 and got ready to go to the airport.  In La Paz the airport is really in a city called El Alto meaning the tall one, which sits above La Paz on the Altiplano, 13,620 ft above sea level. When I arrived I could see that it had snowed on all the mountains that surround La Paz and El Alto and it was 6 degrees centigrade, 43 degrees Fahrenheit. 

La Paz in the valley below El Alto.

Cold by Bolivian standards, but not by Utah standards.  I know I will get no sympathy from any of you in Utah.  I went to the hotel and worked on one my talks.  I will be giving 4 talks, 20 minutes each in 2 days.  President Pozo picked me up at 3:30pm and we headed to the stake center.  This is the first conference for this new stake.  It was one of the new stakes created from the stake that was divided a few months ago.  The meetings went well; the adult session was at 4:00pm and the priesthood session at 7:00pm.  I was back at the hotel about 9:30pm.
Sunday, February 3rd:  Again Pres. Pozo picked me up at 9:00 am and we were back at it. 

General Session Calacoto Stake Conference.
Me and Brother Santiago Castro Calle, 91 years old,  member for 8 years.
Closing song general session.

I thought my new talk went really well, although I was very emotional and at one point a lady from the audience came up and handed me a tissue.  They don’t know that for me it is no problem to talk and sob at the same time.  They had a cute primary choir. 

The Primary Choir
I got a video of them practicing before the meeting started.

Left to Right Pres. Quintanilla and his wife, Mission Pres. La Paz Mission, 2nd counselor St. Presidency, Brother Davalos,  me, President Pozo, 1st counselor Brother Castillo.

Pres. Pozo took me home with him and I had lunch with him and his daughter.  His wife is in the states for 2 months.  3 of his adult children live in the states.  They all went to BYU and married North Americans.  He has a son on a mission in Calgary.  His youngest is 15 and she cooked dinner.  We then went back for a meeting with the Young Single Adults. 

The young single adult session.

There are 16 missionaries serving from this stake.  There are also 12 who have received their calls, but have not left yet, and 7 who will be sending in their papers this month.  35 in the field by July is what he told me.  The Lord is hastening his work and this generation gets it.  I then went with the stake presidency to a viewing for the husband of a member, one of the pioneers in La Paz.  He dropped me off at the airport and I got home just before 10:00pm.  Fell in bed and was asleep by 10:15pm