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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Monday, March 30, 2015

March 23rd through March 29th

 March 23rd through March 29th:  Monday after we went to mom’s physical therapy we went with the Roesberrys, Rays, Penas and Laura and her daughter, Lucero, to try and see a church we have driven by many times, but have never left the highway to investigate.  Well, today we found it locked and we only got to walk around the outside.  We next went to Teotitlan de Valle so the Rays and Roesberrys could buy a rug.  They were both successful.  Then it was lunch in Tule on the way home.  
We tried to see this church but it was locked.
L to R Roesberrys, mom, Rays, Penas, and Laura Perez.
The church was closed but it was still fun to see the outside.
Kids band in Teotitlan.
Lunch in Tule.
Fresh corn tortillas Yum Yum.
Tuesday, President Atkinson was still in Puebla so we did not have presidency meeting and so we did some grocery shopping.  I still had to go over to the temple and email some things to President Atkinson that he needed.  Wednesday, was the same as every other Wednesday.  Thursday, we had 2 buses and a very nice day in the temple.  Friday we had 3 buses, but still things ran very smoothly.  Saturday, we had 8 buses come, 7 of them from one stake and things were pretty busy.  We did just under 2900 ordinances.  We worked 12 hours straight, 6:00am to 6:00pm with a 10 minute break to eat a sandwich at our desk.  I got to do a couple of sealing sessions.  
This sweet little girl came to the temple to be sealed to her parents.
It is great to see the commitment and dedication of this stake.  We got home just in time to put on the General Women’s Session of Conference.  Sister Ray and Roesberry came over and while they watched I made pulled pork stuffed enchiladas.  After dinner, the three men went next door and played pinochle.  Sunday we got to sleep in.  That means mom got to sleep in and I got up at 5:30am, instead of 3:30 or 4:00am.  We went to church for the 12 to 3 block at the Hacienda Ward.  I taught the combined Relief Society and Priesthood meeting.  Mom said I was not quite as charming as I was last week; she only gave me an 8 out of 10.  But she said I taught a good lesson.  
Church at the Hacienda Ward.
We have been asked to go to Puebla tomorrow morning and talk to the EFY (Especially For Youth) group from Oaxaca who will be at a camp that the church owns in the mountains about an hour outside of Puebla.  President Atkinson’s wife has been really sick this last week and he wants to stay home and help her get better.  So we are going to take his place.  We will teach 4 classes on Tuesday and then return on Wednesday.  We are looking forward to going; it will be a lot of fun.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

March 16th through March 22nd:

March 16th through March 22nd: Monday morning, Mom went to physical therapy for the second time and she likes her new therapist.  He explains what he is doing and why, but she says she really only understands half of what he is saying.  
Mom's new task master. (Physical Therapist)
I started cooking Chinese and we invited everyone to dinner.  We went to see Cinderella and everyone loved it.  We saw it on a screen 4 times the size of a normal screen and with a sound system that made our seats vibrate.  I then finished cooking and we had the Rays, Roesberrys, and Penas to dinner.  Sister Pena made a mango frozen moose that was to “die for” (really delicious).  
Monday after our Chinese dinner and mango desert.
Tuesday and Wednesday were ground-hog days.  Thursday we didn’t have to go to the temple until the evening shift because the stake that was scheduled, decided to come on Friday instead.  Mom got in another round of physical therapy in the afternoon before we had to be at the temple.    Friday we had 3 buses and mom had a couple hour break and then she had to cover for one of the secretaries.  I stayed home in the evening and worked on a new talk.  Pres. Atkinson assigned me to talk in one of the Mitla stake wards this coming Sunday.  We were already scheduled to speak in the Bosque ward at 8:00am and so I get to do double duty Sunday.  While I was home, I got an email from a Bishop that said he had been trying to contact me and hadn’t been able to, but he was coming to the temple with a bus-load of his ward.  This was not good news because we already had 9 buses scheduled for Saturday.  President Atkinson left Friday for Puebla for a stake conference and Pres. Serrano will be gone on Saturday at a District Conference in Puerto Escondido.  Pres. Pena and I will have to work all day to cover for them.  Saturday, Pres. Pena gave me a ride over to the temple at 5:30am.  The first bus, the one that did not have an appointment was already there.  We decided to get a session started at 7:00am and to start the Baptistery at 6:30am.  Well, it was nonstop from then on.  About 10:00am I was talking to a stake president who I thought was bringing 4 buses.  He explained to me that he had arrived earlier with 2 buses, but that 4 more would be arriving at around noon.  I had misread his earlier email.  When I told him he could bring 2 buses in the morning and 2 at noon, he had responded that ok he would bring 2 early and that he still wanted to  bring 4 at noon.  So the 9 buses we had planned for, turned into 12 buses and then at 5:00pm we had scheduled 100 young single adults who were all in town receiving training to be EFY counselors in 2 weeks.  It was an historic day for our temple.  The previous record for ordinances in one day was just over 3500.  The new record we set last Saturday was just over 4500.  We tied a record, 22, for the number of people who received their own endowment and we set a new record for the number of endowments performed.  I know that we had a lot of help last Saturday and there was a powerful Spirit of peace and love that was almost palpable. More than 600 people worshiped in the temple last Saturday and when we finished at 8:30pm we were exhausted, but felt like we had experienced something so incredible that words just don’t have the power to convey.   We only stopped for maybe 5 minutes to eat a PB and J sandwich, but the time just flew by.  We also had 7 marriages and I got to do one of them.  Most of the time I was so busy in the office processing all of the personal ordinances and handing out tickets for the next session, that I only had time near the end of the day to take a break and be a sealer.  There were a lot of happy people in heaven after the work that was performed last Saturday.  It was an historic day, to say the least.  Sunday we were up early and spoke in the Bosque ward at 8:00am.  We didn’t stay for the rest of the meetings because we would to going to another ward at noon.  I taught the 3rd hour, a combined Relief Society and Priesthood meeting.  I felt like it went well and at the end mom said, “I didn’t know you could be so charming.”  There you have it, I can be charming.  I taught that we become yoked with Christ through sacred covenants that we make by receiving the ordinances of the temple.  The days are long, especially ones like Saturday, but the weeks fly by.  We love you all and remember, take care of each other, make time to worship in the temple.  Blessings await you there.  
They are about ready to pour the floor for the second floor.

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 9th through March 15th

 March 9th through March 15th:  Monday, of course, we had to go grocery shopping.  I made popcorn for breakfast because we had not much else to cook.  But first we went to the temple and put the office back together.  All the cabinetry had been repainted and before we left we had emptied all the drawers and shelves, so everything had to be returned to its proper place.  I spent several hours just getting the computers hooked back up and making sure we could print and that everything was connected to the network.  At one point I had to call Salt Lake for help getting one of the computers to print to one of the printers.  The gal that helped me said that the IP address for the printer had been changed.  The weird thing is that the other three printers could print to the printer in question.  I asked her how that could be and she just said, “I don’t know, we get all kinds of weird things that happen after a temple has been closed for maintenance.”  We tried to rest up from the long trip home.  We are both feeling tired and don’t have much energy.  We had a very nice dinner and family home evening at the Roesberry’s apartment, where we talked about how to prepare for General Conference.  Tuesday we had presidency meeting and tried to get everything ready to restart the temple.  Tuesday night the Monte Alban stake from Oaxaca was in the temple and there were three endowment sessions, sealings and baptisms.  They did over eleven hundred ordinances.  As far as I can remember, that is a record for just an evening.  Wednesday after the morning shift, I took mom downtown to find a physical therapist.  Sister Atkinson had used one and President Atkinson gave us a map and let us take the car.  We found the place and set up an appointment for Thursday morning.  Thursday started the three day visit from the Cuautla Stake.  This is the most amazing stake.  They come and bring all their own workers and over 50% of all the ordinances that they do are family names.  They are so organized and spiritually prepared to worship and work it is just a joy to be in the temple and help them.  There were road blocks and people were telling us that it was impossible to get in and out of downtown so mom had to call up and change her appointment until Friday.  On Friday, another stake arrived so we had Cuautla and Cuautla Zapata in the temple.  They are from the same city and things ran very well.  We were busy but not busting at the seams.  We did about fifteen hundred ordinances. I went to the temple at 6:00am and at 3:30pm in the afternoon I was doing a sealing session and the light fixture above my chair started to drip water on me.  The witness next to me was also getting dripped on.  I told the group that it must be a sign that it was time to finish this session of sealings.  Remember that the temple was closed for three weeks so that the roof could be replaced.  Well, it had started to rain really hard and they were going to test the roof that night.  The rain beat them to the test and the roof failed the test.  Some of the roof will have to be redone.  Our temple was the first of 5 temples that are getting a new roof.  I hope the others don’t have problems.  Saturday we went early to the temple and we knew we were going to have a full house.  We had 5 buses planned for the morning and 4 for the afternoon.  Well, they all showed up.  We got a session started at 6:30am and by 9:00am we had over 200 people in the temple and participating in all the different areas.  To top it off, we had 10 people to receive their endowment and 7 marriages.  Mom, I and Martha, the secretary, were busy all morning.  Three of the marriages were all one family.  This was the most complicated set of sealings that I have ever seen.  We had a couple to receive their own endowments and then they were to be sealed and their 3 sons were to be sealed to them.  The parents of the husband were their escorts.  The parents had another son, who along with his wife, had been killed in a motorcycle accident a little more than a year ago.  They are raising their two children.  The family had been preparing to come to the temple to be sealed when the mother and father were killed.  The parents of the husband that was killed represented him and his wife as proxies on the same session as their living son and his wife. Another couple, who were friends of the family, acted as proxies on the endowment session for the parents of the mother of the two brothers.   The second sealing was for the couple who had been killed in the accident.  Following which was the sealing of their two living children who were now being raised by their grandparents.  After this, the two brothers, one living and one dead were sealed to their parents. The last sealing was the deceased parents of the mother of these two brothers and then she was sealed to them.  This represented 4 generations:  the parents of the mother of the two brothers, the parents of the two brothers, the two brothers and their wives, and the 5 children of the two brothers.  In all, 3 marriages and the sealing of 8 children.  To prepare all of the paperwork for these sealings took us, in the office, a couple of hours.  They came, but didn’t have everything we needed.  So everyone went to work and got the family cards printed that we needed for the deceased individuals that needed to have their work done in order to be able to do the sealings.   We had to make sure that someone got the initiatory work done so that the family cards could be on the same session.  When we finally had everyone on the session and things figured out, it was decided that I should do the sealing because no one else could understand what had to happen and in what order.  What an honor and privilege it was to officiate in these sealings.  Sister Atkinson asked me if I would be able to do it without crying and I said I was not even going to try not to cry.  The room was full of ward members.  The bishop had taken me aside and explained to me the history and some of his concerns for the children of the parents who had passed away.  He acted as witness for all of the sealings.  The whole family were members of his ward.  I can’t describe in words the power of the Spirit that was present for those sealings.  Every time I would finish one of the sealings, the Bishop would stand up and walk around the room handing out tissues.  There were many, many, tears shed. The children of the deceased parents are a 14 year old boy and a 10 year girl.  After I sealed them to their parents who were represented by their grandparents who were now raising them, I had the opportunity to talk to them a little bit about my experience of losing my father when I was 8 years old and how throughout my life I had felt his presence and influence.   I testified that I was sure that we had visitors from beyond the veil that had been permitted to attend these sealings and how I was sure that they were pleased and happy with what we had just done.  I can’t say more, but for me it was one of the most Spiritual experiences of my life.  As I am writing this, the tears are running down my face.  I will be able to enjoy the memory of this experience forever, for truly the Lord manifested Himself to us in that sealing room last Saturday.  He lives and loves each of us and there is a plan for us to return to our Father in Heaven.  We were exhausted by the time we left the temple, but mom still had to go to a stake relief society celebration and give a talk.  Some of you might have seen the Spanish version of the song Glorious that was written for the movie “Meet the Mormons”.  Mom asked me to download this and she used it in her talk about how we all have a part to play and that when we play our part it becomes a beautiful symphony.  
Here is the link to the Spanish version of Glorious that mom used in her talk.  Just click on the link above.

After the talks, we stayed for part of the program.  One of our secretaries performed in a dance that represented many of the different areas of Oaxaca.  It was a mini Guelaguetza.  
The Relief Society Celebration
Sister Atkinson and mom and our secretary Terri is the one on the right.
The dance costumes were beautiful.
The dance ended with the feather dancer.
The many different costumes.
Here is a sample of the dancing.

We fell into bed and I was out by 8:30pm.  But that meant that I was also up before 5.  Sunday we went to church at the El Bosque ward.  A mother and her three children had been baptized and they were confirmed in the sacrament meeting.  Also attending this ward were the parents of Elder Sawyer, who had come to pick him up from his mission.  Mom was able to translate for Sister Sawyer in Relief Society and also to help her converse with one of her son’s converts.  Afterwards, I went to a ward council meeting with Pres. Atkinson.  He did a very effective job of teaching them how to operate as a ward council.  
Mom and the family that was confirmed.
Sister Sawyer and the convert of her son.
We had the Rays over for dinner and then I went to the temple to prepare for the Coordinators Council meeting.  We had caramel popcorn for dinner and went to bed tired.  I don’t think we have recovered from our long journey home, surgery, and then to hit the ground running with such a busy week.  We are looking forward to some down time.  But it was a wonderful week, the temple was full of people, the Spirit was present and we did over 8500 ordinances.  Over 40% of these ordinances were for family names. What more could you ask for.  Love and take care of each other is our prayer. 
Last week. I forgot to post this last week.
This week.

Monday, March 9, 2015

March 2nd through March 8th

 March 2nd through March 8th:  Monday we made a trip to the distribution center to buy things for some of the temple workers that aren't available here in Mexico.  Mom took it easy with her knee and in the evening it started to snow.  Tuesday we had a real snow storm but by noon the roads had been plowed and I went to lunch with Doug Thayne.  
Charlotte and her daughter Tilda out in Tilda's first snowstorm.
Notice my parking job.  I did a 360 degree turn in Charlotte's driveway.  I usually don't park like I backed in.  The only real snow we experienced while in Utah.  It was enough to remind us we don't like winter.
He is just finishing up doing all the millwork and GFRG in the Trujillo Temple in Peru and he has the contract for the Rome temple next.  It was a lot of fun to catch up with him.  He is another one of our friends who served in Ecuador when we were young.  Sorry, no picture of Doug.  I picked up the baptismal liners that we had ordered for the temple from the Temple Department.  In the evening, we went to dinner with Bryce and Kate at Simply Thai in Sandy.  It was great fun to be able to talk with both of them, without the interruption of “kidlets”.  We are so blessed to have all of our children married to great spouses and in the process of raising wonderful grandchildren.  
Dinner with Bryce and Kate at Simply Thai.  Good food and even better company.
Wednesday we went out to Kate’s house and I gave her a blessing and we said our goodbyes to her family.  
Poppa getting snuggles from Abby.
I got my blood checked one more time and then we went to lunch with Paul and Liz Belnap.  I went to high school with both of them and they remain some of our closest and dearest friends.  
Lunch with our good friends, Paul and Liz Belnap.  I went to high school with these two great friends.
In the evening, we went to dinner with Lee and Connie Crayk and Lynn Crayk.  Diana was off in California with one of her daughters having fun. We are sorry we missed seeing her.  We reminisced about our time together in Bolivia and got caught up on current events.  Lee is a sealer in the Draper Temple and enjoying his service there.  Connie is the stake extraction/indexing leader.  It was fun to see dear old friends.  After dinner, we went to James and Kirstin’s home to give them both a blessing and say good bye to their sweet children.  James has been struggling with a case of shingles.  
Saying good by to Rigby and Emme.  Emme cried when she saw me come in the house and she cried when Nana had to leave.
Thursday we got up early and went to John’s house to say goodbye to his family.  I made Swedish pancakes one last time.  
Saying good bye to John and Jill's 4 munchkins.
We then went to Evan and Miles’ school to watch them in the school play, Peter Pan.  Way cute and fun for them.  
Miles and Evan in their pirate costumes.  They were pirates in Peter Pan.
More of Evan in Peter Pan.
More of Miles in Peter Pan.
It was really a cute play.
Mom and Evan and Miles after the play.
Next it was a trip to Layton to have a post-op visit with the doctor that fixed mom’s knee. He took the stitches out and said she was good to go.  We then drove back to Charlotte’s home and loaded up our suitcases and stuff.  
Saying good bye to Tilda.  She and I bonded, almost.
We said good bye to Tilda and Charlotte and then drove to SLC and had lunch with my brother Van and his wife Maude.  They are great people and we are so blessed to have such wonderful family supporting us.  After lunch we drove to St. George.  We arrived about 8:30pm and were warmly welcomed at Tad and Tove’s new home in Ivins.  They only moved there last November and they made room for us, even though Mark, one of their sons, and four of his kids were staying with them for the weekend.  
My brother Tad and sister-in-law Tove.  They were so generous to us.  Thanks Bro.
Friday we did some last minute shopping and then we went to dinner with Tad and Tove.  After dinner we played some Rummi Cube and a game of sets and runs.  It was a lot of fun to spend time with them and see Mark and his children.  Saturday morning we were up early and Tad dropped us off at the shuttle that took us to the airport in Las Vegas.  We had no problems getting out of the country this time.  After arriving in Mexico City we took a bus to the TAPO, one of the many big bus stations and we had to wait 4 hours for our bus.  
Selfie of us waiting for the bus back to Oaxaca.  Only 10 more hours to go.  We didn't look this good when we arrived.
We left on time, 11:00pm and arrived home at 6:00 am Sunday morning.  Mom’s knee ached for most of the bus ride back to Oaxaca and so she did not get much sleep.  We both went to bed and got up and went to a Sacrament meeting that started at noon.  The Rays, our next door neighbors, took pity on us and fed us lunch.  I had to make popcorn for breakfast.  We really need to make a trip to the store.  We are glad to be back here in the mission field.  It was fun to see all our kids and spend time with our grand kids and it was a good thing to get Chris’ knee fixed and I got the medication I needed.  We crammed a lot of living into 3 weeks and now we need to get some rest.  We look forward to being back in the temple.
We brought back stuff for 9 different people.
This is what we brought back for us.  Notice the Good and Plenty.  They are good and I got plenty. (7 lbs)

Monday, March 2, 2015

February 23rd through March 1st

 February 23rd through March 1st:  Monday, we did some more shopping and in the evening went to dinner with John and Jill.  We had some great Thai food and enjoyed visiting with them. 
Dinner with John and Jill (Thai Food)
Tuesday we started off with my doctor’s appointment.  I got the prescription that I need to get enough medicine to finish out our mission.  We then went to lunch with my brother Van.  He chose a new hot pot restaurant here in SLC.  I got to speak both Chinese and Spanish.  All of the kitchen help were Chinese and the waiter was from Mexico.  We then went to Chris’ appointment.  The doctor agreed that she needed surgery and said that he could schedule her for Friday, if we want to get it done here in the states.  After a lot of discussion, we agreed to at least schedule the surgery and then see how we felt about it on Wednesday and Thursday.  We weren’t planning to get the surgery done on this trip, just get a second opinion.  In the evening, we went to dinner with Alex and Charlotte and Tilda.  Tilda is just a year old and is quite the momma’s girl.  
Dinner with Charlotte and Alex
Tilda and Mom
Tilda likes to feed herself.
Wednesday we went to lunch with our dear friends, Wally and Martha.  It was really fun to see them and catch up.  Martha is very involved in the operation of a secondary school for rural children living near Otavalo and Ibarra, Ecuador.   Wally has just been made Bishop of his ward.  We then drove to Lehi to stay with James and Kirstin.  We stayed overnight to get their kids more comfortable with us.  
The puzzle we did with James and his two helpers.
Thursday James and Kirstin took off for a little alone time.  After much going back and forth, Chris decided to do the surgery.  So Friday morning, Kirstin’s brother, Chase, took over and we headed to the Surgical Center.    After the surgery the doctor came out and told me that he has done thousands of these and that this was a tricky one and that he had to use all of the things he had learned over the years.  We are grateful that we were able to get this knee fixed and that it hopefully won’t give Chris any more problems.  The surgery was outpatient and so we left to tend Charlotte and Alex’s kids so they could have some alone time.  They were good kids and even  Tilda was cooperative.  We found an animal app on the ipad that she loved and it kept her entertained for the evening .  She likes her Poppa and we bonded.  
What a cutie for just waking up from surgery.
Saturday I went to John and Jill’s to tend their kids for their night away.  When Charlotte and Alex got home, mom got a nap and then joined me at John and Jill’s.  Their 4 kids are a little older and for me a little easier to take care of.  After I fixed dinner, mom was on the couch and said that she would get up and do the dishes.  Badger who is 11, said, “no, you are not going to get up and do the dishes.”  And he went in and cleaned up the kitchen.  He was so cute and insistent that she was not going to do anything but rest and recuperate.  
Moose's soccer game.
Sunday morning I fixed Swedish Pancakes and got everyone to church on time.  After church I got the turkey ready and peeled 8 lbs of potatoes.  
Ready for church.
We had everyone, but Ginny and Sam and Bryce and Kimball (Kimball had a fever) to dinner.  Everybody brought something and we had a delicious turkey dinner.  We had to set up 3 tables in John’s basement to be able to seat everyone.   We got home about 8:30pm and we both went straight to bed. 
Sunday dinner. (kids table)

Siblings table.
Everybody else.