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, June 29, 2015

June 22nd through June 28th

 June 22nd through June 28th: Ok, some of you may have already realized that we held back some of the things that were happening to us.  We apologize for not sharing in real time the amazing events of the last 6 weeks.  For example, over a month ago, President Atkinson mentioned that he would like me to train Elder Ray (one of the other missionaries here) to do the things that I am doing, so that when I left there would be someone here to cover all the bases for the new temple president.  That got mom and I thinking that there might be a possibility for us to serve another mission in Tijuana.  The Tijuana temple will be dedicated in Dec. of this year and we thought it would be really fun to help set up and get a new temple running.  So we asked President Atkinson how he would feel about releasing us early, in order for us to be able to spend a few months at home before we left for a new mission in Tijuana.  He agreed that it would be exciting to be part of a new temple opening and agreed to let us leave on the 14th of August, if we had a new call to go to Tijuana.  So we called our Bishop in Bountiful and asked him to get a new set of missionary papers going.  We hurried and got our physical and dental exams done and we got our papers submitted to him in just over a week. We had a telephone interview with him and the stake president and the papers got submitted on the 29th of May.  Monday, June 8th, after we had finished dinner and a movie with the Rays and the Roesberrys, I sat down at the computer and saw this email. 

Dear Brother and Sister Norman,

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf would like to have a confidential video conference with the two of you.  He could be available tomorrow (Tuesday, June 9) at approximately 11:00 am Salt Lake time.  I don’t know whether you are assigned to be in the temple at that time.  Would you please respond to this email or call our office at 801-240-???? so we can arrange an appointment?  Either Jennifer Southern or I could speak with you.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Also, please confirm your mobile and cell phone numbers.  I was not able to leave a message at either number that was given to us.

We were in complete shock.  We could not believe what we were 
reading and we were trying to figure out what it could mean.  We went to talk to President Atkinson and asked him for permission to miss presidency meeting the next day. So Tuesday morning, we called his secretary and she said that it was all set up and that one of the technicians from the church would contact us to set up a secure link.  We had a 20 minute interview with President Uchtdorf and he extended to us the call to serve as the President and Matron of the Guatemala City, Guatemala Temple.  
                           Guatemala City Temple
He said some very nice things about us, indicating that we are loved by the Savior and that He knows us.  We, of course, accepted.  He counseled us to not tell anyone until it was published in the Church News. We feel humbled and honored to have received this incredible assignment.  We have decided to come home on the 21th of July, in time to celebrate the 24th with our children and grandchildren.  It will be a great time to share this wonderful blessing that has come to our family and to prepare to leave for 3 years on Oct. 31st. Monday, June 22nd,  We went over to the temple in the morning and helped with a session.  The members from the Amapolas ward that came to clean the temple had requested a session before they started cleaning. After we got done at the temple, we went out to San Bartolo Coyotepec to buy a few last pieces of black clay pottery.  We had a nice time and we had lunch there in San Bartolo with the Rays, Roesberrys, and the Penas.  We have been going crazy not being able to tell anyone about our new assignment.  We did get all of our information in to the temple department, so we think the announcement will be this coming Saturday. 
Monday's group of shoppers.
Mom bought a nativity from this shop.
The man that made the nativity.  At least he said he made them.
President Pena parked right in front of a no parking sign.  Everything is just a suggestion here.
Lunch at the Barro Negro restaurant. 

Shopping and lunch finished, we are headed home.
Tuesday we did not have presidency meeting so we had lunch together.
Lunch Tuesday afternoon.
Wednesday after the morning shift we went with Laura and Luis Perez and their two children to a birthday party for the husband of one of Laura’s nieces.  It was in a small town just north of Tule.  We were there for a few hours.  It was interesting.  I think the pictures will give you a flavor of the afternoon.  
Some of the extended family cooking for the birthday party guests.  They probably made 100 empanadas.
More work on the empanadas.
They had all the chickens and turkeys penned up for the party.
The goats were very noisy.
Mom and Laura
L to R Mom, Juan (the birthday boy),  Guadalupe (his wife), Laura, Lucero, (Laura and Luis' daughter) and Luis.
The church in this small town.  Juan and Guadalupe got married in this church.

Thursday we had 2 buses. Friday we had 6 buses, all from the same stake, Tezontepec.  We had a very busy day.  Saturday This was the announcement that was published in the Church News.
John Badger Norman, 63, Bountiful 16th Ward, Bountiful Utah Heights Stake, called as president of the Guatemala City Guatemala Temple, succeeding President William A. Burk. President Norman’s wife, Christine Cornwall Norman, will serve as temple matron, succeeding Sister Patricia S. Burk. He serves as a volunteer assistant recorder and sealer in the Oaxaca Mexico Temple and as a senior couple missionary. He has served as second counselor in the Cochabamba Bolivia Temple presidency, bishop, branch president, high councilor and temple ordinance worker. A retired businessman, he was born in Murray, Utah, to Edgar Carl and Elizabeth Badger Norman.
Sister Norman serves with her husband as a senior couple missionary at the Oaxaca Mexico Temple. She has served as assistant to the matron of the Cochabamba Bolivia Temple, ward Relief Society and Young Women president, Sunday School teacher and temple ordinance worker. She was born in Salt Lake City to Glenn Hill and Shirley Westover Cornwall.

We immediately sent emails to our children and siblings and we are excited to share this on the blog.  We had a busy day with 10 buses, 8 arriving before 7am and 2 at noon.  It was another morning of me playing temple tetras, meaning that I spent the morning figuring out how to get everyone in the temple.  There was a great Spirit in the temple.  I received a phone call about noon from one of the counselors in the stake presidency from Tezontepec, the stake that had been at the temple on Friday.  He indicated that one of their buses had been in an accident on the way home during the night and that many of those on the bus had to be taken to the hospital, but that only 6 remained in the hospital.  He wanted me to put the names of those injured on the prayer roll.  I felt honored to take their names down and then copy them onto the prayer roll.  It is the first time we have had an accident with anyone coming to the temple.  We were all saddened by this news. In the evening, we were able to speak to the current temple president in Guatemala. It was so good to finally speak with him and he answered so many of our questions.  We will be living in a 5 bedroom house.  So anyone who wants to visit, we will have room to put you up.  
This is Omar and Sarai.  I played cupid and got them together.  She is one or our secretaries and he is a temple worker, both returned missionaries.
Sunday we spoke in the Fortin ward.  Mom did a great job.  She spoke for 20 minutes without notes.  We then also taught the 3rd hour of classes.  We felt good about our talks and the class.  It was good practice for Guatemala.  Our kids have been great and very supportive.  By the time we get home from Guatemala in November of 2018 we will have missed 8 out of 9 Christmases. They have sacrificed a great deal in order for us to be able to serve.  Thanks kids and grandkids.  We love you so much and can’t wait to be with you in 3 weeks.

Monday, June 22, 2015

June 15th through June 21st:

 June 15th through June 21st:  Monday we went downtown with the Rays and mom bought fabric to have a new temple dress made.  We then met up with the Roesberrys and saw the movie, “Jurassic World”.  It was entertaining, but not as scary and the original.  There was nothing very noteworthy this week except than on Saturday we had 7 buses come.  I expected 3 buses at 11:30am and so when two of our sealers showed up at 7:00am, I sent them home and told them to come back at noon.  Well, the 3 buses arrived at 10:00am and I had to change plans.  So, President Pena and I both took a large group of patrons to the two sealing rooms and I got to do sealings for 1 ½ hours.  I am always so grateful for the spirit that attends these sealing sessions.  I feel so blessed to be able to officiate.  Saturday night we went with the Penas to a talent show at the Juarez ward.  The Juarez ward is part of my assigned stake, but the Penas have gotten very close to the bishop. He has really done a good job of bringing his flock to the temple to clean every other Monday for the past few months.  They had 26 people on one Monday.  Anyway, it was fun to be there and support them.  
Can you find mom?
The young men and young women dancing.
The full time missionaries.
An interview with a young philosopher.  All the native Spanish speakers laughed a lot.
The Bishop and his wife.   I got tired just watching them.
All the kids in the Primary.  So cute.
Dinner.  A piece of bread with beans and cheese.
Sunday we went back to the Juarez ward and spoke in Sacrament meeting. We stayed for their other meetings and then spoke in the sacrament meeting of the Violetes ward who share the building with the Juarez ward.  In the evening we spoke with all of our children and wished our sons and sons-in-law happy father’s day.  Our four kids in Utah were all together at Charlotte’s home for Sunday dinner.  We love that they will get together once a month and enjoy each other’s company.  Always makes us homesick. 
Sunday after sacrament meeting at the Violetes Ward.  Fayne Diego, mom, Sister Diego, and me.  The mother and daughter are both temple workers.
Mom, me Sister Vicente, and her son Jared.  They are both also temple workers.
Slow but sure.

Monday, June 15, 2015

June 8th through June 14th

June 8th through June 14th:  Monday we did some grocery 
shopping so that I could cook Chinese for the Rays and the Roesberrys.  We had a nice dinner and then watched a movie.  We set up the projector and used the wall for the screen.  
Monday we saw this group of new missionaries across the street at the mission president's home.  They look ready to go to work.
Thursday we only had 2 buses and it was a very nice day in the temple.  Friday we had no excursions scheduled so we had invited all the youth in Oaxaca to come for a baptismal marathon.  It was great to see how they responded.  We had 100 youth come and we did over 2800 baptisms and confirmations.  It was a very fun day.  Saturday we had a session at 5:00am for one of the stakes here in Oaxaca and then we had 5 buses come.  It was a busy day, but we were able to accommodate everyone and there was a nice feeling in the temple.  Sunday, we went to church in the Violetes Ward.  This is one of our favorite wards to visit because there are many temple workers there and other members we have come to love and admire.  We had the coordinators meeting and the secretaries meeting in the afternoon.  One of the secretaries that I had sealed a few months ago said that she will never forget the feeling she had when I hugged her after her sealing.  She said she felt like she was being hugged by the Savior.  Way to make me cry, Lupita.  Short and sweet this week, but it is what it is.
Work Continues

Monday, June 8, 2015

June 1st through June 7th:

 June 1st through June 7th:  Monday we went and saw the movie, 
“San Andreas”.  In Spanish, the title was Earthquake.  We then had a nice catered dinner in the waiting room at the temple and afterwards we had a very nice family home evening with all the English speaking missionaries in the temple.  Thursday one bus arrived after a 15 hour bus ride from Acapulco.  They stayed through Friday evening and did many family ordinances.  They only had 12 youth with them and they each did four sessions of vicarious baptisms in the two days they were here or about 80 baptisms each.   All the other buses canceled for Friday and Saturday.  The teachers union took over all the gas stations and nobody could get gas.  On Saturday the federal government flew in about 5000 troops and the gas stations opened back up.  Sunday was the election and there had been threats that the teachers would try and blockade the voting places.  They canceled stake conference on Saturday night and Sunday and told everyone in Oaxaca to only have one block of meetings in each building.  So we went to the church adjacent to the temple.  We didn’t see any problems, but then we were hunkered down in our apartment.  Everything seems fine today.  It was a very slow week, but the rainy season has started and we had quite a few good rain storms.  Thus only one picture of the rain.  
View from the front doors of the temple.  Lots of rain.
It looks like most of the walls on the inside are plastered.

Monday, June 1, 2015

May 25th through May 31st

I wonder who was the 33333rd visitor to our blog.  I happened to open our blog this last week and I had to capture this historic event.
 May 25th through May 31st: Monday, after mom finished physical therapy we did our grocery shopping and then we went with all the temple missionaries and the temple presidency to the home of the Parra’s for a barbecue.  The Parras are the shift coordinators on both Tuesday and Friday nights.  They are truly faithful and the best of the best.  They served some of the best food I have eaten here in Oaxaca.  They marinated beef overnight and it was so tender and seasoned so well that I was in love.  They sent home all the meat that wasn’t eaten with us and I remained in heaven for almost the whole week.
The group at the Parra's home for dinner.

The three wives of the presidency and mom.
Yum, can you say barbecue?
Table 1 at the barbecue.
Table 2.
Deseret time.
Deseret time.
Mom enjoying cake.
Tuesday, I had to teach the lesson in Presidency Meeting. Part of Presidency Meeting is that we take turns teaching the Sunday school lesson for the previous week.  I taught on the parable of the unprofitable servant found in Luke 17:5-10.  It is interesting that the unprofitable servant is one who has done all that was commanded of him and yet is an unprofitable servant.  I then talked about the verses in D&C 58: 26-28 where we are told that we should not be commanded in all things, but should be anxiously engaged in a good cause and do good things of our own free will and choice.  Elder Bednar is always teaching that we should be agents that act and not objects that are acted upon.  I’m starting to understand that the Lord wants us to be agents unto ourselves and do good things on our own and not do just the things we are commanded to do. It is in doing the things above and beyond what we are commanded to do, that we become profitable servants. Then as profitable servants we start to learn by the Holy Ghost what it is that God wants us to do, what it is that He needs us to do to help Him in his work to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of all of this children.  I learned a lot through our discussion.  Wednesday we had a group of missionaries from the Monte Alban zone come to the 7:30am session.  I got a picture of them as I was leaving.  
The missionaries from the Monte Alban zone visited on Wednesday.
Thursday, 2 buses from Cuautla Palmas came to the temple.  This group stayed through Saturday and really worked hard.  They arrived early and left late.  In addition to this group, we had 4 other buses come on Friday.  The temple was completely full all day.  We did over 3500 ordinances and there was a wonderful Spirit in the temple. 
You can see all 6 buses parked in front of the temple.
Saturday evening I went with President Atkinson to train 2 ward councils.  I spoke briefly on the music of the gospel.  Elder Wilford W. Anderson’s talk in the last general conference really resonated with me. “We learn the dance steps with our minds, but we hear the music with our hearts. The dance steps of the gospel are the things we do; the music of the gospel is the joyful spiritual feeling that comes from the Holy Ghost. It brings a change of heart and is the source of all righteous desires. The dance steps require discipline, but the joy of the dance will be experienced only when we come to hear the music.”  I then talked about how for me in the temple I am able to feel joyful spiritual feelings and it is where I really hear the music of the gospel.  It is where I experience the union of the dance and the music.  President Atkinson is a master teacher and it is always fun to be with him.  
One of our coordinators and her twin grandsons.
Sunday we went to church in the Ixcotel ward.  It was nice to worship with faithful saints.  Sunday evening we spoke with most of our children.  Oh, how we miss being with them, but how we are blessed for being here.  It was a good week and a great month.  We set a record for the number of ordinances completed in May, over 31,500.  We have never been over 30,000 before.  It is evident to us that the work is accelerating and is being hastened by the Lord.  We are lucky and blessed to be a part of this great work of salvation. 
I found this picture in my email from the Oaxaca mission.  M
aybe the MMO inside the heart stands for Mormon Missionaries Oaxaca.

This is taken at Monte Alban.  I think the missionaries are saying Mormon Missionaries Love.
They finished the partial 3rd floor.