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

Total Pageviews

Monday, July 29, 2013

July 22nd through July 28th

July 22nd through July 28th:  Mom went to the mission home and helped with a sister’s luncheon for all of the sister missionaries that live close to Cochabamba.  There are more sister missionaries serving here now, but the numbers have not reached the 40% that some missions are seeing. 

The Hermana's luncheon.
The Hermana's luncheon.

While mom and some of the other sister temple missionaries helped at the mission home, the poor left alone men went to the movies and saw the Lone Ranger.  Are good movies getting harder and harder to find or am I just getting old?  Mom and I went back up to the mission home at 6:00pm and explained to the zone leaders the concerts we are going to have next week and we handed out the flyers for the concert.  We then went to dinner with the Cardons, Crayks, Crayks, and the Johnsons.  The Johnsons took us all to dinner to say good-bye to the Cardons and the other couple that will be leaving soonJ.  On Wednesday, we had presidency meeting and as we were leaving, a woman gave Pres. Crayk a letter requesting that he meet and talk to a group of Relief Society sisters who were going to walk to the temple that evening to celebrate the pioneers.  They were going to leave their ward building about 7:30pm and arrive about 9:00pm.  He said someone would be there and she left.  He then handed me the letter and said, “You will be leaving the temple about the time they arrive so you can take care of this.”  So after our shift, sure enough, about 50 women arrived dressed in bonnets and aprons. 

The Pioneers coming down from the temple.

I took them to the auditorium in the patron housing building and along with their stake president, I welcomed them to the temple and then I talked to them about the pioneers.  Before we left to do our shift, mom suggested I find a quote for our preparation meeting about the pioneers.  I ended up using it not only for preparation meeting, but for the group of sisters that arrived that evening.  Thanks mom for being so inspired. 

Half of the Relief Society Sisters dressed as pioneers.
They had made lanterns for the night hike to the temple.
They all seemed happy to be at the temple.

Thursday, Ana and Freddy come for their temple preparation lesson.  Friday we had 6 sealings on our shift.  We were running around trying to find lost husbands and get everyone to where they needed to be.  We lost one husband and he did not make it to the session where his wife-to-be was receiving her endowment.  He was already endowed so when the session was over we got them together and in the end things worked out.  We had 4 sealers on our shift, I being one of the 4, and each one of us had the opportunity to officiate at least one of the 6 live sealings.  I officiated for the lost husband and his bride.  They are from La Paz.  Both had their parents and other family members in attendance.  After our shift they were getting ready to go outside to take pictures.  I hurried down to the apartment and got my camera and put on what I thought was my suit coat.  It turned out to be my other suit coat.  Needless to say, my pants and my coat don’t match in the picture I had taken of me and the couple.  Once again I ask, “Am I getting old”?  Sister Crayk wants to give me a “fashion citation” for wearing white socks with my suit to the temple.  I am not sure I deserve one for that, but I do deserve one for wearing pants and a suit coat that don’t match. 

The new Pacheco family and me.
They have some of the same traditions here.

Saturday we helped with the early morning sessions and then went to the market with the Crayks and the Crayks.  Pres. Crayk and I had a sausage sandwich from a street vender.  Delicious! But when part of my sausage fell onto the pavement and I picked it up and ate it everyone was aghast.  I literally ate street food.  It’s now Monday and I haven’t died, so I guess I really do have an iron stomach.  After our shift we went to a Young Single Adult multi-stake talent and dance festival.  Lynn and Diana Crayk and mom and I arrived about 7:00pm and Pres. Crayk had saved us seats on the front row.  They were at the head table with Elder Cabrera and the stake presidents.  They all had arrived about 5:00pm.  The dances were great, but some of the talent left a little to be desired.  We had had enough by 8:30pm and were able to make excuses and leave.   Elder Cabrera was not so lucky and he and his wife had to stick it out until 10:00pm. 

Check out this video of all the people at the dance festival.  This is a link.

One of the stake young adult groups.

One of the young adult groups dancing.

One of the stake young adult groups.
One of the groups dancing.
This is a link.

One of the stake young adult groups.

One of the stake young adult groups dancing.

One of the stake young adult groups.
Another YA group dancing.
This is a link.

The sheep and goats.
Lynn and Diana Crayk at the dance festival.

On the way home we stopped for fried chicken.  Sunday was a busy day.  Zach, one of the BYU students went with Tammy to accompany her as she played her violin in her ward.  This was the Cardons last Sunday in Bolivia.  President Crayk took Will, one of the BYU students with him to play a special musical number for the ward he and sister Crayk would be speaking in.  Mom and I took John, Erin and Ben, the rest of the BYU students with us to the Cobija ward where Fito will be playing his violin for a special musical number.  It was a great meeting.  Erin and Ben bore their testimonies, John gave a talk on “families can be together forever”, Fito played “Mediation” and John accompanied him.  Then mom and I were the concluding speakers.  Mom and I were both a little emotional because we realized we only have 3 more Sundays here in Bolivia, but we were able to bear strong testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Getting home from church.  Will had been dropped off at our ward after he had played with Pres. Crayk.

We had dinner at the Crayk’s home with the Cardons, the other Crayks, who prepared all the food, and the Johnsons.  This was another good-bye dinner for the Cardons and the other couple leaving soon.  Good food and good company. 

Sunday lunch at the Crayk's home.  L to R.  Bob and Tamera Cardon, Bill and Linda Johnson, Lee and Connie Crayk, Diana and Lynn Crayk, and mom.

Then in the evening, the BYU students, Fito, and Silvia, one of the other teachers at the foundation, gave all the temple missionaries a mini-concert to say thanks for letting the BYU students stay in the patron housing building.  They are one bunch of talented kids.  It was wonderful. 

The artists who entertained us.

Erin Durham and the boys.  This is the string quartet.

String Quartet.

Ben Major playing the cello part of the string quartet.
Fito AKA  Aldofo Taborga.

Fito sharing his talent.
This is a link.

William Vernon playing John's violin.

Silvia playing her flute.
This is Silvia's little girl.
Zak Hansen playing his viola.

The BYU students singing "I am a child of God"

 They can also sing really well.  William sang in Mandarin, he served his mission in Taiwan.

Mom had made, during the lull in the afternoon, a Texas sheet cake so we had some refreshments to end the evening. 

Refreshments, yes we are always eating.

After the refreshments, Rafael, Fito and Vivian’s son, played his cello for us.
 Rafael playing his cello.
Rafael playing his cello.
Mom, Rafael, and me.
The BYU students and Rafael.

Monday, July 22, 2013

July 15th through July 21st

 July 15th through July 21st:  Monday we had a nice preparation day and finished off with a family home evening meeting where the Harrisons were in charge of the lesson.  Elder Harrison made a Power Point Presentation of all the temples and added the photo of each  missionary couple that had attended that temple.  The winners were the Dyers.  They have attended 34 different temples around the world.  Wednesday we went downtown to do some errands then came home and I made Chinese fried noodles with a spicy Tai sauce.  We had the Hurst’s and Brother Eames to lunch.
On the bus ride downtown.
The things they carry on a taxi.

Thursday, after our shift, we met with Brother Luis Garcia, the public affairs director for all of Cochabamba, Brother Meneses, the public affairs director for the Jaihuayco stake and Fito, the director of the Fundacion Sinfonica Cochabamba at the Universidad stake center.  We now have a date for 2 concerts, one on the 31st in the Universidad stake center and one on the 1st in the Jaihuayco stake center.  The concerts will feature the Juvenil orchestra from the foundation and the 5 visiting BYU students.  We took on the job of getting a flyer made by next Monday so that President Dyer’s missionaries could distribute 4,000 flyers.  We then met with the BYU students over lunch to bring them up to date. 

We caught up with the BYU students at lunch.

We hurried home and taught a temple preparation lesson to Freddy and Ana. 

Ana, Freddy, and mom-- Temple Prep. Lesson.

Friday we worked on the flyer and during our afternoon shift, we got the samples back from the printer.  We settled on one and got them in the queue and they hopefully be done on Monday. 

The finished flyer for the concert.

Saturday we opened the temple at 5:40am and expected we would have 2 early 6:30am sessions.  We were expecting a group of all the stake presidency and high council and bishoprics, from one of the stakes in El Alto.  We got word that they didn’t make it because of snow on the pass between La Paz and Cochabamba, but they would arrive about 10:30am. 

These are the mountains that have to be crossed to get to La Paz.  You can see all the snow.

We waited and waited and as the last session of the day was ending, 6:15pm, they arrived.  They had spent 12 hours stuck on the pass with no heat in the bus because of a snow storm of more than 2 feet.  This rarely happens.  They don’t have snow plows.  Pres. Crayk decided that we would have a special session for them.  There were 39 men and 1 woman.  We sent 3 workers (sisters) on the session.  I went back up to help with the veil about 8:00pm.  One of the men gave me a hug and kissed me and said thank you.  He had tears in his eyes.  After the session they changed and got back on the bus.  They needed to be back home in time to conduct all the meetings in their wards on Sunday.  They will be on the bus all night.  It is hard to put in words the power of the Spirit that was in the temple as this group of priesthood leaders met to worship together.  The sacrifices that these saints make, to make the temple what it should be in all our lives, is inspiring. 

The temple at night.

Sunday morning we went with the Hurst’s and Pres. and Sister Crayk to Sipe Sipe a small branch about 1 hour west of Cochabamba.  We picked up President Fernandez in Quiacolla, about half way.  He was our guide to the chapel.  Many of the members in this branch speak mostly Quichua and it reminded us, President Crayk and I, a lot of Otavalo, Ecuador, where we served together 42 years ago.  Elder Hurst had his testimony written out in Quichua and the members smiled and nodded their heads as he bore his testimony.  I had to speak next.  He was a tough act to follow. President Crayk then spoke and gave a very good talk.  It was a very nice meeting and it was fun to be with these humble sons and daughters of father Lehi. 

Sipe Sipe branch.
Mom, Sister Cano and Sister Crayk in Sipe Sipe.
One of the kids in the Sipe Sipe branch.
One of the children in the Sipe Sipe branch.

We got home and then went to Brother and Sister Garay’s home for lunch.  They are a Chilean couple living and working here in Bolivia.  We had a very nice lunch and conversation with them. After getting home we spent time checking in with most of our children via Skype.

The Garay's and mom.

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 9th through July 14, 2013

The temple seen from Fito's building.

July 9th through July 14, 2013:  Tuesday morning over 100 patrons showed up from Tupisa.  With the change in the mission boundaries, this is now the furthest south in the Cochabamba mission.  We will continue to have groups come from much further away, but they will be from other missions.  Pres. Dyer said that more than 20 of them from the Tupisa District needed temple interviews.  He was a busy boy all day Tuesday. Wednesday, after our shift, we taught a temple preparation class to a couple, Freddy and Ana, from our old Tiquipaya Ward.  5 students from BYU arrived and had some problems with their housing.  I helped them get approval from BYU to let them stay in some of the empty missionary apartments.  Fito, the director of the foundation where they will be teaching lessons is very relieved.  They will move in on Thursday.  We got them settled in on Thursday and spent the rest of the day in the temple.  Friday we were off and I decided I wanted to cook Chinese again.  We invited the Cardon’s, the Crayk’s, the Johnson’s, and Pres. and Sister Crayk.  I cooked too much, so when the BYU students showed up during lunch, we invited them to join us.  Diana made a couple of wonderful desserts. See the pictures for the menu. 
Friday's Menu at the Chinese restaurant. Mom did this.
Spicy dried fried green beans.
Chicken in spicy peanut sauce.
Sweet and sour chicken and beef and eggplant.
Left to right, Diana and Lynn Crayk, Bob and Tamera Cardon.
Pres. and Sister, Lee and Connie Crayk
Mom in the kitchen, Bill and Linda Johnson.
We had to eat in shifts.  L to R.  Ben, William, John, Zack, and Erin the BYU students.
In the evening we spoke to a youth group from Santa Cruz.  Cute kids and they have a great Bishop.  We could really tell that he loved these kids. 
Mom and the youth group from Santa Cruz.
They arrive by the bus load.

 The Lobby after a couple of buses arrive.

3 bus loads of youth arrived and we had to hand out tickets for groups to control all the youth we had for the Baptistery. 
Pres. Crayk and some of the youth from Santa Cruz.
The group we were to speak to got delayed in the Baptistery so we go started at 8:15 pm instead of 7:30 pm.  Then at 9:30 pm we had a meeting with all the BYU students and some of the temple missionaries.  We assigned the BYU students to attend church with the different groups of missionaries for our Sunday speaking assignments.  We will be speaking in all of the wards in the Jaihuayco stake this next Sunday. 
Look who showed up at the temple.  Me, Rodrigo, Sister Cusiconqui and Brother Cusiconqui.  We served together in Ecuador 42 years ago.
Saturday morning the temple was a beehive of people, hundreds of youth in the Baptistery and every regular session we had to add chairs to the point we were over capacity.  We had many first time attendees and a number of marriages.  It made for a very busy morning.  When Pres. Crayk arrived to replace me, I was sitting on the couch in the foyer waiting for the last veil and he just started laughing.  He knew what I had just been through, because he had done it the day before.  We were an hour later than usual getting home because the large sessions delayed everything.  At 5:00 pm we went with the BYU students to Fito’s home for a Tea, herbal tea.  Vivian, Fito’s wife had spent the day making all kinds of cakes and breads.  She is from Santa Cruz and these foods were traditions dishes from Santa Cruz.  We had a good time, but left the BYU students there and came home to crash about 8:30pm.  We had been up since 5:30 am and were beat. 
We had the Tea on the top of the condo where Fito lives.
The view at night from the top to Fito's building.
The Tea Friday night.
Sunday we left at 7:30 am with the Eames, the Gironda’s and John and Erin, two of the BYU students for the Cosmos and Petrolero wards.  We had two very nice sacrament meetings.  The Gironda’s and mom and I spoke in the first meeting and the Eames and mom and I spoke in the second.  Sister Eames sang a solo in both meetings of “I know that my Redeemer lives” with John accompanying her on the piano and Erin on the violin.  It was lovely and really added to the Spirit of the meeting. 
John and Erin playing prelude music.
All 5 of the BYU students are returned missionaries and it was fun to have them with us.  We had the Cardon’s over for lunch of leftover Chinese and mom made a shrimp quiche.  They leave in a few weeks and we will sure miss them.