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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Thursday, September 26, 2013

September 19th, through September 25th:

 September 19th, through September 25th:  Thursday:  We went to lunch with all of my surviving siblings.  Alice was down from Boise for the baptism of one of her grandchildren and this was the first time we have seen her and my other brother and his wife who live in Alpine.  It was fun to be together and catch up.

L to R,  my brother, Van, his wife, Maude, my brother Tad, his wife, Tove, mom, and my sister Alice.  Aren't you glad to see that all we do here at home is eat, just like in Bolivia.

Friday:  I worked on our son, John’s garage, building new cabinets for storage.  In the afternoon, we took Evan, Charlotte’s oldest, on his birthday outing.  He selected to take a friend, so we picked up Aiden and headed to Boondocks in Kaysville.  When we arrived it was closed for 2 private parties.  They were disappointed, but quickly thought that Chucky Cheese would be an ok alternative.  After which we went to his choice for dinner, McDonalds. 

Left to right, Aiden, Evan and of course mom holding all the tickets.
Dinner at the happy place?

Saturday:  I spent all day at John’s working on the shelves, except for the break in the afternoon that I took to attend Kimball’s, Kate’s oldest son’s birthday party. 

Kimball, the birthday boy. He is 5.
One of the party games-- Angry Birds.
Kimball's dad, Bryce telling a story to the party goers.

Sunday:  We reported to the stake presidency and high counsel about our mission.  There were 3 returned missionaries and another senior couple.  It was good to feel the spirit of these missionaries.  We then went to church and we taught our first lesson to our new Sunday school class.  There were 3 boys and 10 girls--sounds like a session in the temple in Cochabamba doesn’t it?  We wondered if these kids (12-13 years old) would have cell phones.  ALL of the girls had I-phones and were happy to be Facebook friends and even share their Instagram names.  They thought it was “cute” that Mom and I shared a phone. This really is a whole different generation.  Mom and I then cooked dinner.  I had put the pork roast on before church.  Last week’s Sunday dinner of pot roast was rivaled by this week’s pork roast.  I love Sunday dinner.  All week in my spare time I have been scanning old family pictures and posting them on our family group’s Facebook page.  It has been lots of fun and I have enough pictures to continue this for months. 

An example of pictures I am sharing on Facebook with family.  This in 1955 or 56.  L to R.  My oldest brother Gar, my brother, Van, my mom, my sister, Alice, my dad, me, and my brother Tad.

Sunday evening we were picked up by our dear friends, the Belnaps, Paul and Liz.  I went to high school with both of them.  Paul was my best man at my wedding and I toured Europe with him after graduating from high school.

Paul Belnap, my best man, and me.  Wedding day Aug. 3, 1973.

We have been on family trips together and we love them and their family very much.  They took us to Lake Powell to enjoy a get-away with them on their house boat.  We arrived in Page, Arizona about 1:00am and did our grocery shopping at Walmart and then went to the Antelope Point Marina just northeast of Page.  This is the greatest marina; they have carts with drivers that load up all your stuff and then drive you to your house boat.  We spent the next 3 days in heaven on earth.  The weather was beautiful and we enjoyed the scenery and being on the lake so much.  I will let the pictures tell the story. 
Does this say it all or what?
Pictures do not do the beauty of this place justice. The contrast of blue blue skies and red red rocks is so incredible.

Can you believe the calm water and beautiful red rocks.
We did get in just to be able to say we did get wet.
Lunch in one of the side canyons.
Labyrinth canyon.
Resting in the shade of rocks.
I hiked up to the top of a hill.  So beautiful.
Our cart driver and Paul in the front and mom and Liz in the back.  We are headed home.
We stopped at the dam. Looking north.
At the dam looking south at the Colorado river.
The drive home was spectacular.

I did have an opportunity to cook one Chinese dinner and one Mexican dinner while we were there.  We arrived home Wednesday evening after stopping in Panguitch for fish and chips, only to find that the mountains east of Salt Lake and Bountiful were covered in snow.  Fall is on the way and it will be getting colder.  We are missing the weather in Cochabamba—eternal spring.

Fish and Chips for lunch on the way home.
The mountains above Bountiful.  Yes that is snow on them there hills.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 12th through September 18th:

September 12th through September 18th:  Well it is happening, we are getting old.  I can’t seem to remember what we have done the past week.  If I don’t carry around my camera and take a picture of everything we do, I don’t have a reference for what we have done. As I told Chris this week, “Living sure does seem to take up a lot of time.” I will have to start making notes at the end of each day.  So this might be short.  I have spent quite a bit of time going through 5 boxes of genealogy that we did not put back in the storage unit. As I have come across interesting photos and documents I have been posting them on facebook group of just the descendents of my mom and dad and another of the descendents of my mom’s parents..  My parent’s grandkids have especially enjoyed them.  It is a really good way to share family history with this new generation in a way that they will look at it. My parents had 5 children and they have 30 grandchildren and now over 100 great-grandchildren.  Some of these are now getting married and going on missions and are connected to me by facebook.  They have made some really funny comments.  But since my dad died when I was 8 years old, none of my children or nieces and nephews knew him, so it is fun to share him through pictures and stories about him. 

My mom at about age 16, in the corner it reads "To my Dad, Beth"
This is my two older brothers Gar and Tad with my mom and dad.  This is during world war II during a leave and my dad has drawn a train and he is in the train saying "Be good boys" and then there is 3 stick figures waving good-bye.  My oldest brother Gar lost his right arm just above the elbow in a car accident when he was 2.
I am 9 years old in this picture. I think this is the wedding of my oldest brother in the middle, Gar,  Tad in on the right and Van on the left.
Funny what you can find in a box of old stuff.

We got things squared away with DMBA.  They had us getting home in June and our insurance was about to end.  If any of you in Bolivia extend your missions, don’t trust the church to let DMBA know.  Talk to them yourselves.  We had to send in our release papers to prove we had extended, before they would extend our coverage.  We found out from the doctor that we need some more tests and that DMBA won’t cover them because they are screenings.  After talking to DMBA, I found out that the new coverage with AETNA will cover this, so we are going to wait until October so they will be covered.  The long and short of this is we will not be able to submit our papers to the church for our next mission till these tests are completed next month.  Sunday: we got a calling the ward.  We are the 12 and 13 year-old Sunday school teachers and there are about 18 kids in the class.  I guess we are going to have to learn about this new way of teaching the youth.  We will let you know how it goes next week.  Sunday we had a traditional Sunday dinner, mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh vegetables and a pot roast.  I cannot tell you how good it tasted.  It was the best meal I have had in a very long time.  It felt and tasted like heaven.  Sorry all you missionaries still in Bolivia.
Sunday dinner YUM.
Mom has continued to tend grandchildren and help out at her children’s homes.  Ginny arrived back in Pasadena and shared with us and now I am sharing with all of you a picture of her front room filled with our furniture and rug that we made her haul in a trailer back to California. 
We made Ginny take her wedding dress, we had been storing it.  9 plus years and it still fits.
I have my daughter’s kitchen designed and ready to order.  I am going to buy just the cabinet parts from one company and the doors from another and have the doors and moldings painted at another and then I will assemble it all.  This will save a couple of thousand dollars for her.  I will be sure to take some before and after pictures.  I am ordering lumber today to reinforce the attic in John B.’ garage so we can make it strong enough to store boxes of stuff up in his attic.  I will try and get this project done while I am waiting for the cabinet parts to be ready.  They said 10 days to 2 weeks.  Monday: I had an eye exam and new glasses ordered.  It seems never ending all the things that have to be taken care of after being gone for almost 2 years.  Tuesday: we went up to Snowbird and stayed with some good friends, Blake and Michelle Rigby.  They have a time share and it was their week.  It was fun to sit and talk with them.  The canyon was beautiful and if you look closely, you can see the visitor we met in the parking lot on our way home.
View from our window.
A moose in the parking lot. You gotta love that.
At the mouth of Little Cottonwood canyon.
Wednesday: we picked up my glasses and then visited my brother Van and his wife Maude in their new condo in the Summit just across the street from the Conference Center.  Life is good and we are so blessed.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September 3rd through September 11th:

September 3rd through September 11th:  Much of this last week has been spent trying to find places to put the clothes and the things we need to use on a daily basis.  We are almost there and we are starting to feel like we are not living out of a box or a suit case.  I spent a few days building shelves in our daughter’s garage, partly so we could have some place to put empty suitcases and boxes of genealogy stuff that we want to start going through and partly to help her to have a more organized garage.  Saturday was fun--we started with blueberry pancakes
Willa likes blueberry pancakes.
and then went to the baptism of grandson #3, James Lever Norman, aka Moose.  Mom gave the baptismal talk and had each grandchild in attendance hold up a letter of the word baptism and then she explained what the letters stood for.  Luke, Charlotte’s youngest didn’t want to help so grandpa was letter M.  
Moose and his dad, our oldest son, John Jr., notice the tie!
John and Moose ready to go.
This says it all.
Then we went to John and Jill’s home for a scone bar.  I helped make scones for the first shift and then I ate too many. 
Scones and more.
In the afternoon, we went to the birthday party of grandson #4, Miles.  We mostly helped get ready and then Charlotte, his mom, did the party.
Miles took a tumble and has quite the shiner.
The birthday party in all it glory.
John and I resting during the birthday party.  Remember we had just eaten a lot of scones.
We took Moose to distribution and bought him a quad for getting baptized and to Seagull book for a scripture bag.  Bill and Mary Jane McBean, Alex’s parents and Miles' other grandparents, flew in for the birthday party and took us all to Chuck-a-rama for dinner.  President Crayk, I knew you would appreciate knowing this little fact.  
Dinner at President Crayk's favorite restaurant, Chuck-a-rama.
Sunday; we drove to Mount Pleasant to give our report.  It was bitter sweet to drive around and go past the house we sold while in Bolivia.  After our reports, we met with the stake president and he said he might like us to come back in November for stake conference.  Mom will be in California, so I don’t know if he will ask just me to come.  We stayed the night with dear friends, Mike and Merlene Ellington. They went to China with us as English Teachers our first year there.  Monday; We went and got our checkups and physicals for our next mission.  Since we had to come to Mount Pleasant to report, we thought it would be easy to also see the last doctors and dentists that we saw when we did our papers for Bolivia.  I think we are both pretty healthy and they will probably let us serve another mission.  In the afternoon we went to the dentist.  We both needed a little work so he made room for us the next day to get it done.  Monday night we did the Family Home Evening for Mike and Merlene and 2 other couples who regularly meet together.  Merlene cooked Chinese food and we had a great meal and then we were able to show some pictures and talk about the temple in Cochabamba.  It made we cry to talk about all the special experiences we had there.  
Dinner with Mike and Merlene and their friends for FHE.
Tuesday; We got our dental work done and also visited the dermatologist.  We are going to live.  We then went to the Manti temple and did initiatory and a session.  It is always nice to do a live session.  We went to dinner with Kirt and Julie Saville in Provo on our way home.  Kirt and Julie are friends we met in China and then ran into in Bolivia.  He sets up internships for BYU music students.  He reported that every one of the BYU students raved about their experience in Cochabamba.  He said that several said it was life changing.  Two of them liked it so much, that they want to return next year.   
Julie and Kirt Saville with mom at dinner.
I said good-bye to Ginny and her two beautiful daughters.  Sam was recruiting for Ernst and Young at some BYU function.  Wednesday; I worked on the shelves and mom went and met Kirstin and Ginny and their kids at Thanksgiving Point and then she went to Kate’s home to help her for the rest of the day. 
Xela, our daughter Ginny and Willa.
Kirstin, our daughter-in-law, Emme and Rigby.
When mom finally got back to Charlotte’s home and when Alex, Charlotte’s husband, got home from his ward missionary work we had an announcement party.  Charlotte gave everyone a can of silly string and then everyone was to spray their can when she said go.  If the string was pink she is going to have a girl and if it is blue she is going to have a boy.  She has 3 little boys so you can see in the picture what she is going to have come the spring.
I hope you can see the string is PINK.
 Just for Jack Hoopes, not only have I had a Crown Burger, but Centerville now has an In and Out Burger and I have already been 3 times. Just a note, our daughter-in-law Jill, entered a contest for the state fair, where you are given fabric and you have to make a quilt out of all the fabric.  Here is her quilt.  It won second place.
Jill's quilt.  Congratulations!
I know our lives are pretty boring compared to our mission, but I want to keep in the habit of saving for posterity our history.  Life is good.