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, January 30, 2014

January 23rd through January 29th

January 23rd through January 29th:
On Thursday I drove Chris to North Star Elementary School where she substituted a third grade class, and then I went to John’s house and hung sheet rock.  
New Sheet Rock.

New Sheet Rock.
Mom only had a ½ day class, so I picked her up and we then had lunch together before I had to go to work.  During work, I got a call that the big white envelope from church headquarters had arrived, so Chris called all the kids and it was decided that everyone would meet at Charlotte’s house at 7:00pm for the opening of our mission call.  Even though we had asked to go to Oaxaca and serve in the temple there, we were still a little nervous because our Bishop had called me in a few weeks ago and said that we should not be surprised if we didn’t get a call to where we had hoped, because of my medical condition. ( I do take a blood thinner because I am Factor 5 (prone to blood clots).  Our stake president had received a call from the missionary department and he had called our bishop to pass along the heads up to us.  I sat on this for a day and then called President Crayk to get his take on the whole thing.  His advice was to immediately call mission medical and talk to someone.  So I did and I explained that I had regulated my blood thinner in China and in Bolivia and was quite comfortable doing it and I didn’t understand why that was a problem now.  The nurse said she would talk to the doctor and get back to me.  She called back and said that if I would get my blood checked right before we leave and right after we get there, then the doctor would approve our going to Oaxaca.   He was concerned that they might be using different reagents to test the blood and that it would give a different reading.  So if the blood tests were the same, I would know it was ok and if they were off, I would know how to adjust for the difference.  So we were very excited and relieved to get our call to Oaxaca.  We had a great time with all our kids here and Ginny, Xela, and Willa skyped in and Sam on the telephone.  We are a little disappointed that we aren’t going till June 16th but that is another story.  Friday, First thing we called President Atkinson, the temple president in Oaxaca and I told him we had our call and he asked where.  When I told him to his temple he was excited.  He had not received any notice yet.  When I explained we would not be coming until the middle of June, he said, “I need you in May”.  It turns out that one of the missionary couples is leaving in April and he needs us to fill in for them.  He explained that we would be living in the apartment that the couple leaving is in and that it is right next door to their apartment.  I think he is going to try and get us down there sooner than mid June, because we got an email on Tuesday that asked us when the soonest is that we could come down.  It really depends on our visas.  We did get the packet with our visa applications on Tuesday and I mailed them back to the travel department on Wednesday.  I finished hanging the sheet rock and got a coat of mud on the joints and then went to work. 
New mud on joints.
 Saturday, I went to the temple early and did initiatory and used a Spanish card to review the words in Spanish.  Then I went to work at Home Depot.  John picked me up at 3:00pm and I went to his house to install a can light in the ceiling.  Mom went to Orem to go to lunch with a cousin she had not seen in years and years.  She also got to spend some time with Kirstin and Emme and Rigby.  When she got back she felt sick, so I took her to Charlotte’s and I went back to John’s to tend for the evening.  I finished up the light and got the ceiling patched and a coat of mud on

New Can Light.
Sunday I had to work from 7:00am till 1:00pm and I missed church.  It is the first time that I have had to work and miss the sacrament.  Chris still felt sick so she only went and taught our class.  I didn’t feel all that great either and ended up in taking a nap for 4 hours till dinner was ready.  After dinner we watched Downton Abby.  Monday I got up early and went and leveled the bathroom floor on both sides of the threshold for the shower and then I went to work.  
Floor leveled outside of shower.
Tuesday I got another coat of mud on the joints and went to lunch with my brother Van.  He and his wife have just returned from a 3 week trip to the Antarctica and South America.  He took a polar plunge in the ocean while on the cruise.  Mom substituted kindergarten.  She says they got their monies worth and she is tired after a day with 25 , 5 year olds.  Wednesday, the plumber came and installed the shower pan and replaced the shower valve.  I poured the shower bed on top of the rubber pan.  
New shower pan and prep for tile.
When that is dry I will be able to install the hardiboard and start the tile.  Mom had another day with kindergartners.  I picked her up and we hurried to the temple for a session.  We saw the new, new film.  It is the second new one introduced a few weeks ago.  We then did some home teaching and finally dinner at Chuck-a-Rama.  We were able to watch American Idol and see my nephew’s daughter, Tessa Norman get a ticket to Hollywood.  We can’t wait to go to Oaxaca and we want to thank everyone who has sent us emails of congratulations.  We feel so blessed.
Grandma playing with Miles and Luke.





Thursday, January 23, 2014

Our Mission Call

It finally came.

January 16th through January 22nd

 January 16th through January 22nd:  Thursday, we went to the temple and then since we both had the day off we went to lunch with my older brother, Tad, and his wife Tove.  They live in Alpine and met us for lunch in American Fork.  We had a nice lunch and it was really fun to catch up on each other’s lives.  After lunch we went to the Art Museum at BYU to see the exhibition called “Sacred Gifts”, religious paintings of Carl Bloch and others.   My favorite was one by FRANS SCHWARTZ of Christ in the Garden being comforted by the angel.

Christ in the Garden being comforted by the angel.
Then we had to make a walkthrough of the BYU Bookstore. It was a fun day together, wish we had more of these.  Friday, I did the last thing on the punch list. I repainted the ceiling in the front room, now I can say that Charlotte’s house is done.  I will start John’s basement bathroom next week.  Mom had a substituting job and I worked in the afternoon till 6:00pm.  Mom took front runner to James’ after work and then when I got off I drove to James’.  We tended for them.  Rigby threw up a number of times and was not feeling very good.  James and Kirstin came home early and took care of Rigs.  We got home about 10:00pm.  Saturday, I had to work all day till 7:00 pm.  Mom went and spent the afternoon with Kate and made cookies.  Sunday was good.  A couple reported on their mission to the Salt Lake Inner City Mission.  It sounded like they really enjoyed it, but for me it would have been a tough mission.  I am beginning to think they can’t find a place to send us.  It is like,  “What are we going to do with this couple?”,  and then nothing comes to mind so they put it on the bottom of the stack and wait till next week to see if any inspiration comes.  Remember, “patience is a virtue, virtue is a grace, put them both together and have a happy face.”   I now have on my happy face

Monday, I worked till 6:00pm but mom had the day off because it is a holiday, Martin Luther King Jr. day, and so no school. Mom spent most of the day with all the grandkids and some of their parents at Hollywood Connection.  She played and I worked.  Just kidding, I know what she did was important.  I would have liked to be with them.   
Fun at Hollywood Connection.

 More Fun at Hollywood Connection.

 More Fun at Hollywood Connection.

Moose doesn't moose around.

More Fun at Hollywood Connection.

More Fun at Hollywood Connection.

Evan riding high.

Good times.

Tuesday, I started the demolition of John’s bathroom and mom taught school.  My body was really tired and sore after a day of swinging a hammer and then a sledge hammer on the floor of the shower.  When the kids got home from school, Badger, Moose, and Evan helped me clean up by carrying all the big pieces of floor up to the garbage.  Thanks to them I got the demo done and cleaned up and they earned a little spending money.  
I forgot to take a picture of the before. the shower is still there.

Half the shower gone.

All demoed and cleaned up.
Wednesday, I got the framing done and the sheetrock delivered.
 Mom made curtains for Evan’s new bedroom.  In the evening we went to the new Jack Ryan movie.  We both liked it.  No news as to where we will be for the next 18 months, so you will have to keeping reading this blog for at least one more week if you want to know where we are going. 

My grandson, Luke reciting the pledge of allegiance.  Nana needs to learn that you can't hold the camera on it's side if you are making a video.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

January 9th through January 15th

January 9th through January 15th: Thursday, Mom substituted and I got serious about finishing everything at Charlotte’s house.  I finished hanging the cabinets and adding shelving in her laundry room, nothing very pretty, but functional.  In the evening we went with Wally and Martha Cooper to listen to a lecture on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Early Christianity.  They have found every book of the Old Testament, except Esther, in the Scrolls. There are several different versions of Isaiah that the community accepted.  It was interesting, but I did fall asleep.  Friday, we were both free so we went to the temple early and then worked on Charlotte’s stuff.  We started painting the last piece of furniture for the kitchen and I worked on the punch list for the kitchen.  The back door got its first coat of paint.   We took Jake for his birthday celebration to Chucky Cheese.  He invited his cousin Luke.  So we had a nice afternoon with a 4 and 3 year old at Chucky Cheese.  After Chucky Cheese we took them for yogurt.

Luke and Jake playing air hockey.


Luke and Jake throwing footballs.

I look like I had a good time right?
Yogurt stop.

We celebrated Charlotte’s birthday in the evening with a cake that everyone helped Chris make.  

Happy Birthday Charlotte.

Saturday , Alex and Charlotte took us to Little America for their breakfast buffet to celebrate the almost completion of their remolding and to thank us for all the work we have done on their house.  I really like good food and I assure you I got Alex’s monies worth. 

Thanks for the great breakfast.

In the afternoon I worked on the last of the punch list.  I only have one thing left to do and that is repainting the ceiling in the front room.   I can see light at the end of the tunnel.  It has been a huge project and I am glad it is coming to an end.  I got to watch a little football in the evening.  There were some really good games. We had really nice meetings in church on Sunday but after church I had to go to work.  It was only for 4 hours so I made it home in time for dinner.  Monday, mom substituted and I worked at Home Depot.  Mom had an interview with a student in China who had applied to the CAPA program.  Tuesday I got all my tools cleaned up and moved to John’s house.  Next week I will start his downstairs bathroom.  Mom substituted at the same class as Monday.  I picked her up and we met James, Kirstin, Rigby and Emme at P.F. Changs for dinner.  We tried to go the children’s museum but it was closed.  

Dinner with James' family.

Wednesday mom substituted for a science teacher and used a smart board for the whole day.   She only lost all the videos she was suppose to show once. I had a shift at Home Depot.  We are still waiting for our call.  I am going to write about “I Believe in Patience” or not for my other blog this week.     

Thursday, January 9, 2014

January 2nd through January 8th

January 2nd through January 8th: This has been a hard week for me.  I have been fighting a very bad cough and cold.  Chris had it during December and it lasted weeks.  She is finally feeling a bit better, but now I have it and it is a “doosey”.  I end up coughing all night long and don’t get a good night’s sleep. Thursday we went to the genealogy building in Salt Lake.  We split up, Chris went downstairs to the Irish records and I stayed on the main floor for some help with trying to learn how to find source documents to prove the information that has been submitted.  I learned a lot, but Chris had no luck trying to find the information she was looking for.  Friday we worked on moving me out of the second bedroom we were using as an office/ dressing room for me.  I did a little remolding in a storage room, an unfinished room, and now I have a man cave. 

The man cave.

We started painting the room we moved out of so that Evan, Charlotte’s oldest son, can move in.  Before we started painting, I had to add jamb and casing around a window.  I also started hanging some of the old cabinets we tore out of the kitchen in the laundry room.  After we get Evan moved, Charlotte can start making his old room upstairs into the nursery for the arrival of the yet unnamed baby daughter that will be here in early March.  In the evening, we went to dinner at Judy and Mike Nelson’s home.  Judy and Mike are dear friends.  Judy served with us in the Ecuador mission many many years ago.  Judy made an Ecuadorian dish, but served the cilantro on the side.  She knows how I hate it.  It was such a nice evening and fun to see them.  Saturday I worked an 8 hour shift at Home Depot.  I have to say that by the end of 8 hours of being on my feet, my feet are screaming at me to sit down.  Mom continued to help get the new bedroom painted.  Sunday I went to work early but was able to leave in time to make it to our Sunday school class and Sacrament meeting.  Sunday evening we, along with Charlotte’s family, went up to Kaysville to celebrate with Abbie, our youngest granddaughter who turned 1.  We gave her a box of tissues that she enjoyed pulling out of the box.  Thanks Kate for the idea.  She remembered that Ginny had given her daughter this same gift for her 1st birthday.

Abbie's birthday cake.
Do you think she liked her birthday cake?
Abbie enjoying her birthday present.

Monday was the early shift, 5am, and mom finished painting.  I got home and hung the door and changed all 5 electrical plugs and a switch to white ones.   We watched the premier of season 4 of Downton Abby in the evening. 

Downton Abby is back.

Tuesday mom got a teaching job at Ensign, where Ginny and James went to school.  She saw a few old friends from the high avenues where we lived before going to China.  I worked till 6 pm.  Evan slept in his new room for the first night.  We now have a very close neighbor.  

Evan in his new bedroom.

Wednesday mom got another teaching job.  It started snowing so I drove her to Salt Lake and then I went straight to work.  I only worked 5 hours so I had time to get back to Salt Lake to pick her up.  In the evening, we met old friends, Wally and Martha Cooper and Martin and Magali, a couple from Ecuador who are here visiting, at Crown Burger for dinner.  We first met Martin and Magali when we went with Wally and Martha to Ecuador in Feb. of 2009.  We had a great evening talking and getting caught up on the last 5 years. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

December 26th through January 1st

December 26th through January 1st:  Thursday we packed up and then we drove to St. George in southern Utah.  Before going to the condo we had rented, we stopped at Smiths for groceries.  All of our children, except James and his family, will be together for the next four days.  We had 10 adults and 12 children all together.  That night we fed everyone leftover Chinese from Christmas Eve and still had leftovers.  I have to learn how to cook for less than 50.  Jill, our daughter-in-law’s family, owns a condo, so John and his family and Charlotte and her family stayed in Jill’s condo.  Chris and I and Kate and her family and Ginny and her family stayed in the one we rented.  It was cozy but worked just fine. After dinner, we had a gift exchange for all the cousins. 

Gift exchange.

Our children were so thoughtful and generous with their gifts to us.  I was blown away by the gift we got John and Jill, Kate and Bryce and Charlotte and Alex.  Our daughter-in- law, Jill, had taken my blog of our mission and had it printed in a hard back book.  I cried as I turned the pages, so many memories and good feelings.

My Christmas Gift from the Kidos.

Friday, we took all those who wanted to go to the Johnson farm dinosaur track museum.  John B. and his oldest decided on a bike ride, but everyone else enjoyed the museum. 

Miles, Xela, Moose, and Kimball at the museum.
Willa getting a ride on Papa's shoulders.
Everyone trying to make Origami pterodactyls.
Ginny and Mom
Drawing Dinos.
4 cousins Jake, Xela, Stan and Luke.

After the museum it was lunch time and we made sandwiches.  In the afternoon we took everyone to Frozen.  There was a problem with the projector and they had to restart it twice, so after the movie they gave everyone a free pass.  It was Kate’s birthday and she had chosen to go to “One Hot Grill”.  She had read on a blog that it was the BEST hamburger in St. George.   We located the small restaurant, but it was empty as I entered and some of the chairs were on the tables and it looked like they were ready to close.  After the manager assured me they were open, I said, “Then fire up the grill, you got 22 hungry people to feed.”  On the wall was a sign that read capacity 20 persons.  We filled up the place.  The food was great and the service even better. 

Kate the birthday girl standing up.
Me and my burger.
Badger and Mom
John and Moose, notice the sign.

Saturday everyone had their morning free.  We met at noon at the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center.  We had arranged to have a birthday party there for Xela, Ginny’s daughter who turned 4.  Everyone went swimming and then we had lunch and cake and Xela opened presents.

Don't look at the beached whale in the foreground.
Bathing beauties.
Kate and her family.
Xela's party.

 More party fun.
That evening was game night.  Badger was the CEO champ and we all had fun talking and playing games together.  Sunday we filled up 2 rows at church.  It was so fun to have almost all our posterity in church together.  We had a ham and baked potatoes for lunch.  We all drove to Pioneer Park on the bluff above St George.  The kids had a good time hiking and walking on the hills and rocks.
Sam and Xela
Evan climbing the crack.
I did not make it through the crack.
We are pretty happy to be with our kids.
Monday I had to get up at 4:00am and head back to Salt Lake so I could make it to work by 9:30am.  Mom stayed and helped clean up.  It was a wonderful weekend and we loved being with our kids and grandkids.  In the middle of the night I woke up and as I laid in bed trying to go back to sleep, I had the impression that I should start a new blog.  So I got up and made a new blog.  I have been thinking a lot about, how can I bless the lives of my children and grandchildren.  I even pray for inspiration.  I feel I received some as I laid in bed. My new blog is called “This I believe”.  I want my grand children to know me and to know what makes me tick.  So I will be posting short essays on what I believe.  If you are interested, send me an e-mail and I will update you when I post.  Here is the Introduction to the Blog.
 This I Believe:  Introduction
I woke up about an hour ago.  It is 1:26am.  For those of you who know me that is unusual.  I am generally in bed early, last night it was about 9pm, and I get up early about 5 to 6 am.  I have been laying in bed thinking and what came to my mind is the need to write another blog.  A blog about what I believe.  Four years ago, Chris and I went to China with the China Teachers Program at BYU.  We were assigned to teach English at Nankai University in Tianjin China.  We lived there for 2 years.  As part of our classes, we developed lessons based on principles from the stories of people who had submitted their beliefs to the NPR radio program “This I Believe”.  Part of the final exam was for the students to stand in front of the class and give a talk on what they believed in English.  This experience was very rewarding and it started me thinking what do I believe?  This blog is part journal, part family history, and part my attempt to maybe help others to think about what they believe in.  I am inspired by the scripture, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." -- Proverbs, chapter 23, verse 7.  For me this means that what we think about, what we believe in, what motivates us is what we really are or what we will really become.  You can really know what kind of person you are when you look at what you think about when you don’t have anything to do.  Where does your mind go?  What do you think about? Where is your heart?  I have to say that most of the time on our last mission, when I had time on my hands, my thoughts were often about how to return to live with Father in Heaven?  What must I do to lay hold of eternal life?  Since returning home my spare thoughts have been on what do I need to do to finish Charlotte’s kitchen.  I miss thinking about how to get home.  This blog is also an attempt to get me back on track with what is most important and to leave a record for my children and grandchildren and generations to come about what did papa think about and believe in.  I hope they will read this and come to know me and maybe they will believe in what I believe in.

Tuesday I got together for lunch with two good friends and old mission companions, Lee Crayk and Doug Thayne.  It was so fun to talk and be with them.  Mom and I got away in the afternoon and went to the movies with our free passes.  We saw “Saving Mr. Banks”.  I did not ring in the New Year.  I was in bed asleep by 8:30pm.  I worked on New Year’s Day.  I hope everyone that reads this blog will have a great 2014.  3 weeks and waiting.

This is for Alene she wanted to see the chairs.