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, August 27, 2013

August 20th through August 26th: and going home.

August 20th through August 26th: Tuesday: We had our last presidency meeting and it was also Pres. Crayk’s birthday. Some of the employees brought Saltenas (a Bolivian breakfast dish, made like a turnover with meat, a dove’s egg and an unpitted olive) to share with the members of the presidency. After breakfast we had presidency meeting, and Pres. Crayk said, "It is my birthday and I want a present from both of you. I want you to share your testimonies one more time here in the temple.” It was a sweet experience to have this opportunity. We were on shift in the afternoon. So we hurried home and got some lunch before heading back up to the temple. Wednesday: We were off today and we got serious about packing and cleaning. We had every missionary come down and take things away to help us get ready to leave. We are leaving 2 suitcases here with Pres. Crayk. He has a container coming to take his things home and can take home 2000 lbs. Every missionary that has been here has left him one or two and sometimes 5 or 6 bags to ship home. Now I am worried he will be overweight. We had a number of people come by to say good-bye and give us a souvenir of Bolivia. I hope we have room. One whole suitcase is full of souvenirs and presents people have given us. In the afternoon, President Crayk let us take the car out to visit Willie Escobar and his family. Lynn and Diana went with us. On the way we stopped by and saw the progress on the new chapel for Tiquipaya. 
The progress at the new chapel for Tiquipaya.
Mom wanted to go and say good-bye and give Ximena our CD player.  
Mom showing Xiemena the CD Player.
She was delighted and it was so fun to see them one last time. Ximena is looking so much better. She gets to go back to school
on Monday.

Willie, Ximena, mom and me.

Diana Crayk, Alberta, Ximena, mom and Lillian.

New 3 day old baby ducks at Brother Escobar's duck farm.

In the evening we went to the temple to attend one last session. We had invited all of our friends and temple workers to attend this session with us. The session was at capacity and it was very tender to officiate one last time. I did not want it to end, tears came early and often. Thursday: We had our last shift in the morning. It was
difficult knowing we would not be able to do this anymore. I had the opportunity to teach a man who had come to receive his own endowment. His escort was Pres. Yupanqui from Puno, Peru. I will miss doing this a lot. At the end of our shift Pres. Crayk came up and released us as temple workers and as part of the presidency. He gave us a certificate of release and an envelope for our stake president. He expressed his love and gratitude for our service and friendship. He made us feel good about our mission. He shared how last weekend in La Paz, during the Sunday dinner at the stake president’s house, a new bride, Sister Pacheco, wanted President Crayk to thank me for her for the Spirit she had felt during her sealing that I had performed a few months ago. He went on to say that we will never know how many lives we have touched nor how many lives we have changed for the better. Following our last shift we went up to the mission home for lunch with Pres. and Sister Dyer and Elder and Sister Hoopes.
Lunch at the mission home.
It was nice to be with them one last time and especially nice to eat such good food since we had cleaned out our refrigerated the day before. That left us with about an hour and a half to finish packing before we needed to leave for the airport. Mom underestimated how long she needed to get ready and if it hadn’t been for Diana Crayk who came down and cleaned our kitchen we would never have made it. So at 4:00pm we headed for the airport. 

All our bags are packed we are ready to go!

Headed to the airport.  Pres. Yupanqui in the tall one behind Pres. Crayk.

Mom, me, Pres. Crayk, his brother Lynn, and Brother Quiroga.
Brother Quiroga came to say good-bye and wish us well. He is one of the sealers in the temple and a good man. We will miss him and many more just like him. We got off on time and after arriving in Santa Cruz had an almost 6 hour layover. We caught the red eye to Miami. It is a seven hour flight. We got a little sleep and arrived 15 minutes early. Friday: We were worried that we would not make our connection. The last few missionaries who have spent the night in Santa Cruz and then left on the first flight of the day have missed their connections and have had to spend the next night in Miami. We got to Miami early in the morning and had no problem getting through immigration, customs and getting our bags rechecked. We did it in an hour. We had maybe a half hour to spare after getting to our gate to Chicago.
Yes we had Mc Donalds in Chicago.
The rest of the flights were on time and we arrived in Salt Lake 25 hours after leaving for the airport in Cochabamba. One of my bags did not make it, but they said it would arrive later that evening and they would deliver it to the house. We had 12 grandchildren and 4 children and their spouses meet us. It was so fun to seen them and hug them.
Mom and I arriving at the Salt Lake Airport.

Some of the welcoming party.


Abigail our newest granddaughter.

Ellie and mom.


We all went to our daughter, Charlotte’s home for pizza. I called Charlotte’s stake president and explained that our records had been sent to our daughters ward and so we were new members of his stake and we needed to be released. He invited to come to his home. We went up and had a very nice talk with Pres. Mabey and his wife. Turns out they know my brother Van and his wife Maude really well. He also had us share our testimonies. It was a sweet experience, but a little strange not to be talking in Spanish. It is stake conference tomorrow and Sun. and Pres. Mabey will be released.  He has been a stake president for 10 years.  Elder Bednar is the presiding authority.   We crashed early. Saturday: I woke up very early and so I decided to go to the temple. I wanted to be in the temple at the same time everybody in Cochabamba was in the temple. I arrived a little after 5:00am and got dressed and had the best experience I think I have ever had. The Spirit was strong and the session was full and the new film was awesome. It is nice that the Bountiful temple is about 5 minutes from Charlotte’s home and since this is where we are going to live for the next little while, it is nice we will be so close. We went to the storage unit and we were overwhelmed with all the stuff our kids had to move and pack into that unit. We were lucky we did find some boxes at the front of the unit that had clothes in them.  
Dad being overwhelmed with the storage unit.
This will be our project for the next few weeks. We are going to go through it and try and get our children to take most of the stuff and what they won’t take, we will have another major garage sale. We know we won’t be able to part with everything, but it would be nice if we could get into a smaller storage unit. We went to the adult session of stake conference and the stake center was packed. It was a very good meeting and it started on time and 90% of the people were on time or early. It was strange sitting in the audience and just being a member. What mom noticed was that nobody kissed her.  In fact, nobody even shook our hands.  These North Americans are kind of cold.  Sunday: Elder Bednar talked about how stake presidents are found. (They are not chosen.  The Lord has already prepared and selected them and they are found by the Spirit.) He also shared some of his experiences with more senior members of the general authorities. He talked about the need to find out if we are living in accordance with what God wants us to be doing. It was an excellent meeting and it was held in the regional center in North Salt Lake.  

Stake Conference at the Bountiful Regional Center.
We went to our son, John’s home for dinner. He has 4 children and it was nice to be with them. Monday: I spent the morning getting our car registered. The rest of the day was spent at the storage shed. We delivered a couch and a day bed to our son’s home in Lehi. Little by little we will get through this. This too will pass.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Tuesday Aug. 13th through Monday Aug. 19th:

Tuesday Aug. 13th through Monday Aug. 19th:  Tuesday:  Last night we had Richard and his son, Jeremy, for Family Home Evening.  His wife got tied up at work.  It was fun to have them over.  Mom really likes to have children around.  (Grandkids, get ready, here we come!) 

Jeremy and Richard Flores at Family Home Evening.
We had Fito, Vivian and Rafael to lunch.  I had cooked Chinese for them the last time, so we had Mexican this time.  They seemed to enjoy the food and of course, said it was “rico”.  When the BYU students left, they gave us Vivian’s purse that she had left in their room and Will or John had put a Book of Mormon in it for her.  So before they left, I gave Rafael his own copy of the B of M and I had Fito read out loud the promise in Moroni 10: 4-5: “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.   And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”  They have invited us to dinner Saturday night.  I told them that we call people like them “Dry Mormons”.  I then had to explain what the term meant-- that they are just like Mormons, only they have not yet been baptized.  We enjoy them so much and Rafael calls mom, “grandma” and says that he is our 15th grandchild.  We agree.  Last night (Monday), we got a call from Willie Escobar, one of our old shift coordinators, who was in the bad bus accident.  He serves in the bishopric in the Tiquipaya Ward.  He informed us that they were having a going away affair for us the next night and wanted us to come. They had announced it in Church on Sunday and we really needed to come.  Well, we had a commitment to go to dinner with Pres. Crayk at the home of one Pres. Crayk’s good friends.  I called Pres. Crayk and explained the call from Willie.  He called his friend and got us out of the dinner appointment.  So we went to the Tiquipaya Ward building for the 7:00pm meeting.  We arrived 10 minutes late and found we were almost the first ones there.  Finally the bishop showed up and we got started at 7:50pm.  We thought we were going to a going away party, but instead it was a meeting with song and opening prayer.  Next we heard from the two couples who we had taught the temple preparation classes to and who I had the opportunity to seal.  Next it was announced we would speak.  This was easy because we really do feel a connection to this ward.  The bishop ended the meeting and then we had pizza in the chapel.  It was really sweet that they went to the trouble to do this for us.  It is hard to think about leaving all these friends that we have here in Bolivia. 

Some of the members from Tiquipaya, who came out to say good-bye to us.
L to R, Bishop Delgado, Me, Willie Escobar, Mom, and Christian Rodriguez.  This is the Bishopric of the Tiquipaya Ward.
This is the Rivera family.  I sealed them about a year ago.
This is the Escobar family.  Ximena, the daughter, is still recovering from the bus accident.  She had just got out of the hospital a couple of hours ago.
This is Christian and Lillian, I sealed them about 9 months ago.
Mom and Diana's new baby.
Pizza for everyone.
Thursday: Mom got a call Thursday morning from Pres. Crayk asking if she would go with Connie to dress a sister from La Paz who had passed away here in Cochabamba.  They were uncertain what to expect in terms of funeral homes.  When they got there, the body was lying on a metal table.  It had been washed, but not embalmed.  They began to dress her and Mom said the spirit in the room changed.  It was peaceful.  There were two young men from the funeral home that helped them lift and move the sister.   After she was dressed, they could see that her face had relaxed and she looked so different.   Mom said it was a sweet experience.  We know that death is not the end, but the beginning of a new part of our existence.   Friday:  We went to lunch at the Perez’ apartment with the 4 Crayks.  They wanted to have us to lunch to share a traditional Venezuelan meal, rice and beans and pulled beef.  It was delicious. 

Lunch with the Perez' and the Crayks.

Friday evening we also went to dinner with Lynn and Diana and the Soto’s, a couple who work in the temple with us.  They took us to Casa de Campo, the Country House.  I had Pique Lobo (spicy wolf--that was just the name.)  It was beef, tripe, and sausage in a sauce that you added hot peppers to.  It was a lot to eat that late at night, but it was tasty.  Mom was not adventurous and had trout.  But we all tasted udder for an appetizer.  We had a lot of fun talking and playing a dice game and didn’t get home till 10:30pm.
Dinner with the Soto's.
Dinner at Casa de Campo.
Sister Soto shaking the dice.
Mom and I won.  It is kind of like Yahtzee.
Saturday:  We were up early and at the temple before 6 am.   The temple was not as busy as usual this past week because it has been the festival of the Virgen de Urqupiña, in Quillacolla, which is connected to Cochabamba on the west.  It has created problems with the public transportation.  We went to dinner at Fito’s home and had a wonderful evening.  Mom made an apple crisp.  Fito’s brother Guillermo was also there.  Mom got some information on their ancestors and wants to find some of their family.  When Fito dropped us off, he got out of the car and I asked him to make me a promise that he would read the Book of Mormon and then pray about it and that he would listen to the missionaries.  He said he would.  We said we would continue to stay in contact via Skype. 

Dinner at Fito and Vivian's home.
Sunday:  We went to church with Sister Crayk.  Mom and I were asked to bear our testimonies.  It was strange knowing this our last sacrament meeting in Bolivia.  We had dinner with the Hoopes and Lynn and Diana at Connie’s home.  Pres. Crayk is in La Paz and won’t be home till Monday.  I left dinner and went to the general Priesthood meeting for the Universidad Stake where I gave my last talk.  It was on how to use the temple as a fountain of revelation.  I am going to miss having the opportunity to testify of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ on such a regular basis.  I can’t remember the last Sunday when I did not give a talk.  Monday:  We had President and Sister Diaz, Elder and Sister Cabrera, and President and Sister Crayk for lunch.  I cooked Chinese.  We wanted to have them to dinner to say good-bye and thanks.  It has been such an honor to serve with these good people. 

Chinese food for lunch with Pres. and Sister Diaz and Elder Cabrera and Sister Cabrera.

Chinese food for lunch with the Presidency and Elder Cabrera and wives.

We gave Diana Crayk a lesson on Blogging because we need someone to keep us up to date with what will be going on after we leave.  We have invited all the North American missionaries to come to dinner at 6:00pm because I made too much Chinese food. Then we will all go President Crayk's home for FHE.  We will be in charge of Family Home Evening and our lesson is on, “What have you learned while here on your mission.”  I’ll share some of the lessons learned over the next few weeks.  This last week we have seen the grass from much of the temple grounds removed by hand and they will replant.  About every 7 years they do this because there is a weed that they can’t control.  This is the 3rd section we have seen done since we arrived here. 
Two of the workers removing the sod.
Sod being removed.
Hauling of the sod to a soccer field.
This will be our last blog from Bolivia.  We will arrive back in Salt Lake this coming Friday.  We hope you will continue to follow us as we get ready for another adventure.  We already have our doctor and dentist appointments set up.  Stay tuned.  The funny picture of the week is the wording on this truck that was parked in front of Pres. Crayk’s car.

Do you think this is a typo?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Aug. 6th through Aug. 12th:

Aug. 6th through Aug. 12thTuesday was a national holiday here in Bolivia.  Everything was closed including the temple.  It is like our 4th of July.  So I decided to cook Chinese.  We then carried everything over to Pres. Crayk’s home and had a nice lunch with Lynn and Diana Crayk, President and Sister Crayk, President and Sister Dyer and Jack and Lorna Hoopes.  This was a thank you dinner to the Dyers and the Hoopes for driving us to Incallajta yesterday.  Sorry I forgot to take the camera.  Wednesday:  We officiated the English session and then worked the afternoon shift.  When we got back to the apartment about 9:30pm, the BYU students had just come back from Villa Tunari.  They asked me about paying their bill and said they would be leaving at 5:00am in the morning.  I called Brother Rojas and could tell that he had been asleep.  I asked if he wanted to get up and collect from the BYU students now or at 4:30am in the morning.  He asked if I could just collect the money and give it to him tomorrow.  Some of the students did not have their money and needed to go to an ATM.  So I got to wait up until almost midnight before everyone returned with the cash.  This is a real challenge for someone who is used to going to bed at 9:30pm.  I was up the next morning and saw them off.  Friday:  We worked the morning shift and during the afternoon shift President Crayk called and asked us if we could prepare something to eat for a group from Sipe Sipe.  We had said good-bye to the BYU student on Thursday and we had cleaned out their kitchens of the food they had left.  One of them had left a whole loaf of wheat bread, so mom made cream cheese sandwiches and Snickerdoodle cookies.  She cut off the crust and cut them into triangles. They were real hit.  We were told to expect about 30 but only 7showed up.  It was a good thing because they devoured everything.  

The Group from Sipe Sipe. The branch president is on the far right.
Saturday:  We were at the temple before 6:00am for the early sessions.  After preparation meeting Elder Cabrera said there was a group of Primary workers that had arrived from El Alto (La Paz) and they were expecting a talk from the temple President.  President Crayk had already left to go to a stake conference in La Paz, so I change clothes and went down to the patron housing building and gave a talk to them.  After our shift finished we got a bite to eat and then we headed to

The Primary workers from El Alto, La Paz.
Quillacolla for the Los Alomos stake conference.  I spoke in the Priesthood session and mom found a room to work on her talk for the adult session.   After the Priesthood session, I asked mom, “Do you have a talk?” and she said, “Well, I have one for tomorrow.”  We both spoke in the adult session and mom gave a great talk about the importance of light in our lives. 

Mom and Sister Tapia at the Los Alamos stake conference.
Pres. and Sister Diaz showed up at about 8:30, they had the afternoon shift, and so we offered to give them a ride home.  They are working on the streets near their home and it was quite the maze of streets we had to take to get them home.  Then on our way home, about 5 blocks from the temple, we get pulled over in a traffic check and I get a ticket for now having an acceptable driver’s license.  We pulled up and Pres. Crayk was just getting home from the airport.  So I gave him his keys and the ticket.  I think the car is ticketed not the person.  I talked to Elder Cabrera and he said they will go and find out how much the fine is on Tuesday.  You have to go to a bank to pay the fine.  If you need to go to a bank, that does not bode well.  We were exhausted and fell into bed.  Sunday:  We went to church with Lynn and Diana Crayk.

After church in Villa Moscu.

After church at Villa Moscu.  L to R,  Mom, Sister and Brother Flores, Sister Mogrovejo, Sister Palacio, Lynn and Diana Crayk, and Brother Mogrovejo.
Lynn Crayk and a baby. Lynn made the hat that the baby is wearing.
A little girl and her 2 week old baby brother.
We came home and fixed spaghetti.  We are trying to use up whatever is in the cupboards.  We then prepared for the devotional for all of the temple workers.  The devotional was amazing.  All of the presidency and their wives spoke along with Elder Cabrera and his wife.  The Spirit was present and all the talks were inspiring.   Mom talked about all the different paintings in the temple and especially the painting of  Jesus and the Rich Young Man.  This picture hangs in the chapel and she talked about sacrifice, service and the Savior.  I talked about the need to gain knowledge because of the scripture in D and C 131:6 which says:  “It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.”  I was disappointed with my talk, but mom said it was very good.  Giving a new talk is hard and it is always better after you have given it 3 or 4 times.  We took a picture of everyone that was at the meeting and also one of the presidency. 

L to R  Pres. and Sister Diaz, Pres. and Sister Crayk, Mom and I, Elder and Sister Cabrera.
All the temple workers who came to the devotional Sunday.
We made caramel popcorn and it reminded us both of the Sunday evenings we had with our children when we always fixed caramel popcorn.  Monday:  We officiated for the monthly employee session that started at 7:00am.We went to a BBQ at Elder Cabrera's home for lunch.  Great food and we had a lot of fun listening to oldies music.  It is interesting that all the older Latinos like the same music as the North Americans.

                                                                  Dancing to oldies.

 The BBQ.

 Juan Delgado and I were the chefs.

The Girondas from Tarija, Bolivia.

Just enjoying the afternoon.

Most of the temple missionaries at the BBQ.

L to R.  Mom and I, Connie and Pres. Crayk, Pres. and Sister Diaz, Elder and Sister Cabrera.

View of the temple from Elder Cabrera's patio.

One funny thing that happened a week ago is Chris was shredding some papers and the shredder got stuck so she called Marcelo over to help. All of a sudden I hear my wife laughing loud two rooms away.  I jump up and run in and Marcelo had leaned over the shredder to try and see what was happening and his tie went into the shredder.  There is a picture on the top of the shredder that shows a tie in a circle with a line through the tie.  No Ties!  Luckily Marcelo knew where the reverse button was.  All is well, all is well.

Marcelo with his new look tie.