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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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April 22nd, Elder Christensen's visit.

April 15th to April 22nd:  Last Monday, for family home evening, we had an activity--a Special Olympics.  I say Special Olympics because we were all so bad at the events (egg and water balloon toss, ping pong and basketball)  that you would have thought we were all handicapped. Maybe we are by our age.

The Perez
Watching the basketball competition.
Everyone had a good time.  Pres. Crayk must have paid off the judges because they won almost every event and came away with the trophy.  Each couple had to dress so they could be recognized as a team.  Some of the outfits were unique. 

Diana and Lynn Crayk
The Harrison's
The Hurst's
The Eames Eagles
The Cardon's
The Vallenas
Pres. and Sister Dyer
Mom and I cut up a pair of old pajama bottoms.  She wore the left leg and I wore the right one. 

My old pajama bottoms went to a good cause.
We sang a good-bye song to the Delgado’s and the Bradshaw’s.  Both of whom leave on Tuesday.   
 The good-bye song to the Bradshaw's.
There have been few patrons this week, no groups from out of town, just a few families and the new missionaries that seem to show up almost every day. 

Saturday, March 20th:  We left to drive to Oruro about 9:00am with Samuel, one of the security guards, who was to be our chauffeur for the weekend.  The trip up and over the mountains to the west of Cochabamba is about 3 hours of switchbacks.  It is a one lane road in each direction with a lot of trucks and buses that are sometimes traveling very slowly.  Mom has wanted to visit Oruro during Carnival to see the famous native dancers.  We did get to see some metal statues representing the different dancers and then we saw a group dancing on the side of the road on our way home. 

Metal dancers on the way in to Oruro.
Metal dancers on the way in to Oruro.
Metal dancers on the way in to Oruro.
We arrived about 2:00 pm and checked into the hotel and had lunch.  I got ready and arrived at the chapel about 3:40 pm.  I had a short meeting with Pres. Lobaton.  Mom stayed at the hotel rather than wait in the chapel during  the Priesthood Leadership meeting.  I talked for maybe 25 minutes.  Samuel went and picked up mom for the adult session that started at 7:00 pm.  Mom’s Spanish has really improved with all the talks she has been giving.  We each spoke for about 15 minutes. 

The Stake Choir Saturday night in Oruro.
Left to Right, Counselor Aquino, Pres. Lobaton, Counselor Encinas, Mom and I.
When we arrived back to the hotel there was loud music from one of the floors, which traveled up the atrium in the center of the hotel.  It was really loud.  At 11:30 pm I called down to the desk and told them we could not sleep and they had to do something about the music.  They turned it down and I fell asleep.  About 12:30 am mom woke up to the loud music again.  I was sleeping so she thought if I could sleep she should be able to.  Well, she did go back to sleep, only she had a dream that there was someone in the room and she started yelling in her sleep, which woke me up at 3:00 am.  The music was still pounding away so I called the front desk again and by this time I was quite upset.  I had a bad headache from the altitude.  Remember Oruro sits on the altiplano, 10,000 feet higher than Salt Lake City.  We had a miserable night and finally about 6:00 am it was better to just get up. 

Oruro from our hotel looking southeast.
The virgin of Oruro.
Oruro on the way to the Chapel.
Local flavor.
We had a 9:00 am special session with youth of the stake.  At 9:00am there was only one person in attendance.  We started the meeting about 10 after the hour with maybe 15, but by the time we ended we had maybe 50.  Mom and I were the only speakers.  It was casual and we had a good time talking to them.  Mom spoke about the growth of the Church in many nations and that a loving Heavenly Father has a plan for each of them.  I talked about the new missionary force and how the Lord is “hastening His work.”  I encouraged them to go on missions and to feel good about themselves.  We bore our testimonies about our Heavenly Father’s love for each of his children.  We each spoke for about 15 minutes. 

The Chapel in Oruro.
Before the meeting starts.
The youth meeting, youth and parents.
The general session started late and had a lot of speakers and by the time it was our turn there was only 30 minutes left. So mom bore her testimony and I only spoke for about 7 minutes, leaving the stake president 20 minutes.  Mom had written a new talk about the importance of the light of the gospel and she had been saving it for the general session.  She will just have to try it out next time. 

After the general session.
The stake choir Sunday session.
Mom and three of the speakers in the general session.
We left from the meeting and headed home. 

Dancers on the road on the way home.
Dancers on the road on the way home.
Dancers on the road on the way home.
Dancers on the road on the way home.
Dancers on the road on the way home.
About 30 minutes outside of Oruro we stopped at a restaurant where the buses stop between La Paz and Cochabamba.  It is out in the middle of nowhere.  Mom just ordered soup, but I had a piece of beef and rice and potatoes. 

Where we had lunch.
My lunch.
Lots of red rock on the way back to Cochabamba.
Lots of terracing left over from the Incas.
On top of the world.  The pass is 14,750 feet above sea level.
We got home at 5:00 pm and had a minute to catch our breath before we headed to the stake center for a special meeting with Elder Craig Christensen, one of the presidents of the seventy.  It turned out Elder Pino’s plane didn’t make it, so Sister and Pres. Crayk got to bear their testimonies.  Elder Cabrera also bore his and then we heard from Sister and Elder Christensen.  We were sitting way in the back of the cultural hall in the corner on the last two rows.  I translated for the Cardon’s and Lynn and Diana Crayk.  When you are trying to listen and talk at the same time it is hard to really get much out of the talks.  But it was by everyone else’s account a great meeting.  Elder Christensen spoke of a group of indigenous people in Mexico who joined the Church, but they didn't speak Spanish.  Once their membership reached 300, the Church wanted to translate the temple ceremony into their language.  Some of the members were flown to Salt Lake to record their language.  He spoke of their excitement in sharing the gospel and asked if we had the the same commitment.  He then said that there are three purposes in the temple:  to receive our own ordinances, to receive personal revelation and to do work for the dead.  He said that those who have died are being taught the same gospel as the missionaries teach here: faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost; only the last two are vicarious ordinances,  performed on earth.   He finished by saying that every day we should pray and be taught by the Spirit who we can teach or at least touch their lives as Christians.     

Monday, April 22nd:  We went to a meeting for all the full time missionaries.   Elder Pino (a Seventy and area president) and his wife arrived.  So we got to listen to Elder Pino and Elder Christensen and their wives speak and teach the Elder and Sisters for 3 and ½ hours.  It was great, I didn’t have to translate.  There is a great spirit when a whole chapel is filled with missionaries and you get to listen to general authorities speak and teach in person.  All of the speakers testified of Christ and the power of the atonement.  They taught of the importance of teaching people how to use the atonement to face their doubts and their challenges.   

Missionaries shaking hands with Elder Christensen and Elder Pino and wives.
Temple Missionaries who went to the meeting.
We got home and heated up some enchiladas that we had frozen.  Then we went to the temple where we waited for Elder Pino and Elder Christensen and their wives.  They wanted to see the temple.  It was fun to walk through the temple and show them what a beautiful temple we have here in Cochabamba.  Then we went for ice cream.  Great way to end a great day.

Elder Christensen greeting the temple missionaries.
Left to right, Elder Christensen, Pres. Dyer, Sister Christensen (green), Sister Dyer, Pres. Diaz, Elder Pino, Sister Diaz (pink), Sister Pino, Elder Cabrera, Mom , me, Sister Crayk, Pres. Crayk.
Fountain in front of the temple.
Flowers in front of the temple.

Monday, April 15, 2013

April 15th

April 2nd through April 15th:  These last two weeks have been pretty average with not much to write about.  We all enjoyed conference weekend and we once again watched conference in the comfortable chairs and surroundings of Pres. Crayk’s home.  In between sessions on Sat. and Sun., we had pot-luck dinners with the Latin Missionaries joining us.  The messages were inspiring and I now have them all downloaded on my I-Pad.

I made wings and chicken nuggets for Saturdays meal.
Saturday's lunch.
Saturday's lunch.
Saturday's lunch.
Sunday's lunch.

We said good-bye to the Winkfield’s and the Dibb’s.  They will be greatly missed.  We will lose two more couples this coming week, the Bradshaw’s and the Delgado’s. 

The Winkfield's and the Dibb's on their way to the airport.

Saturday we had 12 young men come to receive their endowment. Ten of them will soon leave for their missions. That is a record for one day during the time we have been here.  But it seems to be happening all over the world as people “catch the wave”.  It seems like every day, at least one new missionary  comes for his or her endowment.  The young people here in Bolivia are also catching the wave.  We went to the Villa Moderna Ward yesterday.  It was fast Sunday so I only bore my testimony, but mom had to give the Relief Society lesson on preparing to come to the temple.  She said she talked for 40 minutes.  Her Spanish has really improved.  Next week we will go to Oruro for a stake conference and we should have some good pictures. 

The days are getting shorter and we are seeing some beautiful sunrises on our morning walks.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April 1st, 2013

Wednesday, March 27th through Saturday, March 30th:  These last few days have been the busiest we have ever seen here at the temple.  On Wednesday, a big youth group of about 100 kids arrived from the Central Stake, Puno, Peru.  They had reservations to stay here at the patron housing building.  Another group of about 30 kids from Puno also arrived, but without reservations.  They ended up staying at one of the chapels close to the temple.  Late Wednesday, another large group of about 80 youth arrived by plane from Tarija without reservations either; they ended up staying at a different chapel than the group from Puno.

Some of the kids from Tarija.
More of the group from Tarija.

Thursday, another group of about 80 young adults arrived from Oruro, again without reservations, but wanting to do baptisms for the dead.  We had to tell this group that we could only accommodate 15 of their group and next time call and make a reservation.  Friday, a small group of youth arrived from Santa Cruz.  We of course had individuals from Cochabamba and other places in Bolivia that also came to do baptisms for the dead.  Along with all of these youth came parents and leaders and many other adults.  Needless to say we were overwhelmed. 

A group from La Paz.
Others from Santa Cruz.

We started the Baptistery at 6:30 am and had groups assigned till 8:00 pm at night.  We had so many people show up for sessions we had to hand out numbers for each session.  Thursday and Friday we averaged over 3500 ordinances performed each day.  Every session but one on Friday, we had to add chairs to accommodate patrons in the sessions.  Saturday was also very busy and we ended the 4 last days of the month doing more ordinances than for the rest of the whole month.  Performing 3500 ordinances in one day has been a record since the early days of the temple and we had 2 of these days back to back. Early Friday morning, Pres. Yupanqui of the Central stake from Puno organized all of his youth to do service around the temple grounds. 

The youth from Puno getting ready to clean the grounds.
Getting ready to clean the lawn.
Cleaning the lawn.
Others cleaning the lawn.
Others cleaning the lawn.
Cleaning outside the temple grounds.
Sweeping up.

They picked up and raked every leaf and piece of paper inside and outside of the temple grounds.  The kitchen served 350 people for lunch on Thursday and Friday. 

The line for lunch.
The line for lunch.
Lunch in the cafeteria.
Some had to eat on the lawn.
The group from Puno having a fireside on the lawn.

We were very tired after our shifts and we slept very soundly. 
Sunday, March 31st: We chose to go to the Frutillar Ward in the new Sacaba stake.  We had a very enjoyable time.  I spoke about the link between the Atonement and the Temple. We had a great Easter dinner at the Mission Home with all of the North American missionaries. 

Easter Dinner.

Easter Dinner.
Easter Dinner.
Easter Dinner.
Lynn Crayk in his Easter bonnet with Pres. and Sister Dyer.

Pres. Crayk informed us we will be getting a visit from Elder Craig Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder Pino, the Area President at the end of April.  We will all look forward to their visit. 
Monday, April 1st:  We went to President and Sister Diaz’s house for lunch with Pres. and Sister Crayk and the Winkfield’s and the Dibb’s.  The Winkfield’s and The Dibb’s will go home this month.  President Diaz is the other counselor in the Temple Presidency.  Sister Diaz cooked chinchiron, deep fried pork and chicken.   It was an interesting meal.  Sister Crayk brought her home made baked beans.  So we did not go hungry.

Dinner at the Diaz's.
Dinner at the Diaz's.