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, March 27, 2013

March 26th 2013

Wednesday, March 20th: As I start this week’s blog, I am interested in our audience.  I can look at the overview of our blog and see that during the last month our blog has been read by people from many different countries around the world.  I would like to know who some of you are. Our blog was read by someone in France, I’m not sure I know anyone in France. If you are ok with sharing who you are, please make a comment and tell us who you are and how you found our blog.  The same goes for Russia, the UK, China, Germany and Argentina.  I think I can guess who the rest of you are.  Our blog was opened 577 times last month.  That is awesome and we are pleased that we have so many friends from all over the world sharing our adventure here in Bolivia. 
Thursday, March 21st:  We were visited today by Elder Nash, who is the assistant Executive Director of the Church History Department, Brother Richard E. Turley Jr. who is the Assistant Church Historian and Recorder and Brother Reid L. Nielson who is Managing Director of the Church History Department.  They were here as part of a 3 week tour of our area to collect the early history of the church in different countries of South America.  We had a 1 hour meeting with them and they shared some amazing history of the endowment and temple work from early church history.  Elder Nash had served in our Area Presidency before his current assignment and is good friends with Pres. and Sister Crayk.  It is always nice to have general authorities visit. 
Saturday, March 23rd:  We had another busy morning with 2 full early sessions.  After things quieted down, Pres. Crayk asked me and mom to go and speak to a group from La Paz in the patron housing building.  We had about an hour to get ready.  We started at 8:30am and the auditorium was full. 
Group from La Paz.
Bishop Choque had his group all seated and we started right on time.  Mom talked for about 15 minutes and I got a little long winded and spoke for about 40 minutes.  It is getting almost easier to speak without notes or a prepared talk.  They were so cute and appreciative.  They hurried up to the temple for the 10:30am session.  I am going to try and take more pictures of the people who come to the temple.  I have included a couple of pictures of children.

The baby Nicole and her big sister Camilla from Santa Cruz.

Gabriela and Shanon.

Sunday, March 24th:  We split up today.  Mom went the Universidad Ward and talked to the Relief Society about how to prepare the sisters to come to the temple.  This is the second stake to invite all the missionaries to come on the same Sunday and talk in every RS meeting.  I took the new couple, the Harrisons, to the Jaihuayco Ward.  We have a list of all the wards in Cochabamba and when they start their meetings and the address and so forth.  My list said the meetings would start at 9:00am.  We left at 8:00am and arrived at 8:20am, only to find the sacrament meeting had started at 8:00am.  We came in during the sacrament song and sat in the back.  When the sacrament was over we walked up and sat on the stand.  I asked the Bishop for a few minutes.  I got up and apologized for being late and said I was really embarrassed because last week in the stake conference in the Universidad stake I had given a talk on being on time.  I introduced the Harrisons who are now assigned to that ward.  We got home and had a nice dinner provided by Lynn and Diana Crayk, Pres. Crayk’s brother and his wife.
Monday, March 25th:  Paseo day.  Mom has planned another outing.  We loaded everybody up in a bus and headed to Pairumani Park. 

On the way to Pairumani.
Pres. and Sister Crayk.
You know this couple.
Lynn and Diana Crayk.
The Johnson's.
The Hurst's.
The Harrison's.
The Gironda's.
The Delgado's.
The Cardon's.
The Vallenas'.
Sister Eames her husband stayed home.
The Dibb's.
The Perez's.

We had a couple of couples that did not come with us. We visited this park a year ago, but many of the new missionaries were not with us a year ago, so we are recycling our outings. 

Most of the group and an extra dog.
Let's eat.
A guest at the park.

After the park and lunch we visited the country home of Senor Patino, the tin baron.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.  I took a couple of pictures of flowers from their garden.

This is the road that leads to the summer home.

The entrance to the Summer home of Senor Patino.

Big leaves and my big stomach.
Some of the gardens the house sits on 20 acres of gardens.
The summer home.
The courtyard of the summer home.

Many of the rooms at the summer home have their original furniture.
The Gironda's and the Norman's.
Part of the gardens.

The have bushes here that are Poinsettia's.
Tuesday, March 26th:  This morning we had 2 young men (new missionaries) and 2 young women (new missionaries) come for their endowments, all from Santa Cruz.  The 2 young women were sisters born only 11 months apart, one is going to Chile the other to Colombia.  Their parents were with them and their 3 younger teenage sisters had come to support them and did baptisms in the baptistery while they waited for their sisters to receive their endowments.  The oldest of the 3 younger sisters plans to leave on a mission in about 6 months.  They will have 3 daughters serving at the same time.  Sweet family, sweet spirit, our days can’t get much better than this.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March 19th and Flowers

Monday, March 4th: Today we had to go shopping for groceries.  We tried to leave the fridge empty and so we were lucky that we had been invited to Pres. Dyer’s house for dinner yesterday.  We also did laundry and cleaned the apartment.  In reality, we spent most of the rest of this week reading, playing cards with other missionaries and cooking Chinese food.  It was a very lazy week with the Temple closed and by the end we were a little bored.
Sunday, March 10th:  Mom and I decided to go to Cala Cala and Temporal Wards. President Crayk was still out of town, so we had his car.  We first dropped off Lynn and Diana Crayk and Bob and Tamera Cardon at their ward house.  We then went to the chapel where both of these wards meet.  We were both asked to speak in both sacrament meetings.  These impromptu talks are getting easier and easier.  As Pres. Crayk says, “You have enough arrows in your quiver, you don’t need to prepare any more talks.”  We both felt good about our talks and how the meetings went.  We came home and had lunch at Lynn and Diana Crayks with the Cardons.  I had also invited Victor Acevedo, a visiting temple engineer from Caracas Venezuela, who just got here today for some training with our engineer.  Diana was kind enough to let me invite him to their dinner.  Lynn and I went and picked up Pres. and Sister Crayk at the airport at 8:30pm.  We had to wait for them for a little over an hour.  But they arrived back from their visit to Utah, none the worse for wear.  It is good to have them back.
Monday, March 11th:  We had a good family home evening with everyone.  The Dibbs were in charge and talked about the first year of their mission in LaPaz, as member and leadership support missionaries.  We then played some games and had treats (or course).

Mom trying to stack plastic cups.

Tuesday, March 12th through Saturday, March 16th:  The temple has been closed for 2 weeks.  It was fun to return and see all the work they had done.  All the carpeting had been changed and there were several workers here from Salt Lake restoring the gold leaf in the Celestial room and in other areas of the temple.  This temple is now  12 years old, but it is kept in pristine condition, just like all the temples.  During the week,  we have had quite a number of missionaries come to receive their endowments.  But overall, it has been pretty slow.  Saturday was another story.  I was on shift for the morning.  Pres. Crayk went to the airport early to fly to Santa Cruz for a stake conference.  We knew we would be busy because the Cobija stake had made an appointment to bring all of the sisters from the stake to celebrate the birthday of the organization of the Relief Society.  They have done this every year and so we knew we would have a lot of sisters.  We had planned on 2 sessions for them and with the overflow in initiatory, baptistery, and sealings.  We started the first session at 6:30am with 51 sisters and 10 men.  Remember there are only 50 seats.  We added folding chairs for the extras.  At 7:00am we started another session with 46 sisters and 14 men again setting up an extra 10 chairs.  We filled up the 2 booths in initiatory and Brother Garcia started a sealing session.  The Baptistery was full and we still had about 30 people sitting in the chapel.  We decided to have a third session that would start at 8:30am, after the 6:30am session ended and that I would take 10 or so and start another sealing session.  We had 4 weddings later in the morning and we ended up with almost 1700 ordinances having been completed.  It was the busiest I have ever seen the temple and we survived.  We got home and our feet hurt, but we had to get a quick bite to eat and go to the airport to pick up a new senior missionary couple, the Harrison’s from California.  Mom and I had to wait for almost 2 hours because their fight was late coming from Santa Cruz.  We got them settled and then mom and I hurried to the evening session of the Universidad Stake Conference where we were assigned to speak.  We both spoke and it was a good meeting.  We got home about 9:30pm and I think I was asleep by 9:45pm.
Sunday, March 17th:  We took the Harrison’s and Connie to the Universidad Stake Conference.  Sister Crayk was invited to sit on the stand with mom and me.  I leaned over and said,  “You better get ready, you are going to have to talk.”  Sure enough, Sister Crayk was asked to bear her testimony.  Mom and I had both been working on new talks for this stake conference because we had spoken so many times in this stake.  Both Cala Cala and Temporal Wards are in this stake and we had just spoken to them last Sunday. 

Stake Conference University Stake

The theme of the stake conference was Self Reliance. The word in Spanish is Autosuficiencia.  I spoke about the idea that we need to be Self Reliant with regards to our testimonies and what we need to do in order to always have strong testimonies.  One of my thoughts was that we need to attend church each week and renew our covenants by partaking of the sacrament.  I then read a quote by Elder Nelson on the culture of the gospel and that we should put aside anything in our lives that is not in harmony with the culture of the gospel.  I then chastised them for coming to church late and missing the most important part of our Sunday worship, the sacrament. I told them that this needs to change because it is not in harmony with the culture of the gospel.  Just as I was making my point, a cell phone started ringing really loud and I flippantly said and that this also is not in harmony with the culture of the gospel.  Later I felt bad for embarrassing the woman whose cell phone went off and for being so critical.  I could have made my point in a much kinder way.  But there were some in the congregation who said I did a good job and that sometimes “we need to hear it said with tough love”.  I hope it was ok.  I certainly learned a lesson, next time I will be kinder.  (In presidency meeting on Tuesday, March 19th, I apologized to Elder Cabrera for being too harsh.  He was not in the Stake Conference, but his wife was there and she took notes and told him I gave an excellent talk and that it needed to be said.  He told me that it is more difficult for a Bolivian to be so blunt, but that it needed to be said and as a “gringo”, it will be more accepted coming from me.) 

Stake Conference Choir

We then went home and when Pres. Crayk arrived back from Santa Cruz, we had lunch at Pres. Crayk’s home with the new couple, the Harrison’s.
Monday, March 18th:  I went with Pres. Crayk this morning to help the Harrison’s buy food and some things for their apartment.  We had a nice family home evening with North Americans.  The group, that went to Machu Pichu, during the closing, showed pictures of their trip.
Tuesday, March 19th:  During our walk this morning I took pictures of some of the flowers that are ever present here on the temple grounds.