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, July 27, 2015

July 20th through July 26th

  July 20th through July 26th:  Monday we got picked up by 

Alan Meza and delivered to the airport at 6:30 am.  
All our bags are packed.
We are ready to go.
Cause, We'er leaving on a jet plane.
Don't know when we'll be back again.
We had a short flight to Houston where we were met by Chris’ brother, Scott.  We spent the night with him.  Went to lunch and dinner and had a very nice visit.  He dropped us off at the airport about noon on Tuesday for our final flight home.  
Chris and her brother Scott.
Saying goodbye at the airport in Houston.
We were picked up at the airport by Kirstin, James’ wife and their two adorable kids.  We drove to Orem and had dinner with James at his work.  Wednesday we got up and I went with James to work and he sold us a car.  
This is what I found in the morning.  
We got all the paper work done and insurance bought and we were on our way to Charlotte’s by 10:00am.  We unpacked and then went to the Stake Presidents to be released.  It was a nice visit and we feel very blessed to have such great leaders.  
First morning at Charlotte's home I made Swedish pancakes.
Thursday  Our family tradition has been to go to Lagoon, an amusement park, for July 24th, Pioneer Day.  We decided to take James and his family to Lagoon on the 23rd, because he had to work on the 24th.  Well, Ginny had driven up from California to be with us and so she decided just to go both days.  Lagoon has a deal where you can bounce back within 10 days of when you first go for a greatly reduced price.  So Charlotte decided to take her kids also and then Jill decided to come for part of the day.  So we had everyone, but Kate and her family and two dads.  We arrived at 11:00am when it opened and left about 7:00pm. 
I didn't know standing in line for a ride at Lagoon could be so fun.
Rigby and Emme having fun at Lagoon.
Badger, our oldest grandson, really wanted to go on the new roller-coaster ride, Cannibal.   I walked over with him and stood in line for about an hour.  The idea was that James would come over and take my place and ride with him.  James backed out, so I stayed and rode with him.  We were on the front row of the ride and it was intense.  The first drop is an inverted 110 degree drop.  I survived, just barely.  

The Cannibal Ride at Lagoon click video link above.

Friday everyone was supposed to meet at 7:00 am to climb Ensign Peak, where the Pioneers first surveyed the Salt Lake Valley.  Well, a few couldn’t get up that early and so we only had about half of the tribe.  
Not everyone made the hike up to Ensign Peak at 7:00am.
Beautiful morning and beautiful view.
We then all met, except James’ family, at Lagoon for another day of fun and games.  We stayed until 10:00pm.  Eleven hours of fun is too much for old people like mom and me.   We crashed in bed.  
The 24th at Lagoon.
Ferris Wheel fun.
More Lagoon fun.
Poppa and Abby loved the lazy river.
But Abby needed a nap after so much fun with Poppa.
Kimball, the one on the left, won the biggest prize.
Pizza for dinner, thanks to John.

Trot Trot to Boston
On Saturday, I got mom up at 5:00am and we made our way into Salt Lake to go to the temple.  The Bountiful temple is closed for maintenance.  We had a very nice morning in the temple.  We then drove to Highland to see our old mission president, Louis Latimer.  He is 89.  He was one of the temple presidents in Guatemala City about 15 years ago.  It was fun to see him and his son Kyle and his wife, Mary, who we had met while we were in China.  
A great visit with our old Mission President, Louis Latimer.
Then it was a little shopping and trying to get settled in a bit more.  Sunday we went to church with Charlotte’s family and Ginny’s.  We then all met at Kate’s home for the monthly dinner of all the siblings and grandkids.  We are so thrilled to be with them all and so glad they continue this tradition.  
Sunday dinner at Kate's home.
The kids sure do enjoy playing together.
Emme and Nana enjoying homemade Cafe Rio salads.
I can’t say it was a very relaxing reentry, but still very fun and now I get to start the remodeling projects that are on my list of things to get done before we leave.

Monday, July 20, 2015

July 13th through July 19th

 July 13th through July 19th:  Monday we went to the 
grand opening of Luis and Laura Perez’s new location for their school.  Maybe you remember it is called the Hinckley Institute.  Pres. Atkinson gave a speech about Benito Juarez and also cut the ribbon.  All the different grades danced and it was amazing.  
President Atkinson cutting the ribbon.
Sister Pena and Sister Atkinson waiting for the program to start.
The first graders waiting their turn to dance.
Some of the older girls.
We came home and had a Spanish Lesson from the MTC.  You would think we would not need Spanish lessons, but the more we learn the more we realize how much we don’t know.  Tuesday after presidency meeting we all went to lunch.  President Atkinson took us to one of his favorite restaurants.  It was on the roof of one of the old homes downtown.  The view was unbelievable and the food delicious.  There was a light breeze and we could have spent the whole day there.  
Here we all are for lunch.  L to R mom, me. P. Atkinson, S. Atkinson, P. Serrano, S. Serrano, S. Pena, and P. Pena
President and Sister Atkinson on the roof for lunch.
View of Santo Domingo church.
The Serrano's with the Guelaguetza stadium on the hill in the distance.
Wednesday the Roesberrys had us over for lunch.  We are going to miss them and the Rays so much.  Thursday we set a record (ten) for the number of buses on a Thursday. Four of the buses were all youth from one stake and President Atkinson taught them while we attended to another group in the temple.  It was a very busy day, but everything turned out perfect.  We had the Roesberrys over for lunch to help us finish off some of the food we still have.  Friday we had 7 buses and it was another busy day.  In the evening President Atkinson took us to dinner.  We went to an Argentine steak house.  Can you guess what I had?  He gave us a letter to give to President Lake when we meet with him to be released.  He was very kind and made us feel so loved and appreciated.  I have been mentored by some of the best men in the church.  He is one of a kind.  I have learned so much from him.  I will always be grateful for having had the opportunity to serve under him.  Saturday we started at 5:00am for the third day in a row of early starts.  We only had 6 buses but the day was busy and we came home very tired.  We took a 2 hour nap and then tried to pack.  We realized we didn’t have enough room.  So we went to Walmart and bought a backpack to be Chris’ second carry on.  We hope everything will fit now.  Sunday we went over to the temple to help put things away for the start of the closure.  Then we went to church at the Dainzu Ward.  We already said our good-byes last week.  We came home and finished packing.  I am posting this early Monday morning before we leave for the airport.  We will be staying one night in Houston to see Chris’ brother Scott and then we will be home Tuesday afternoon. 
The house got a white coat of paint.

Monday, July 13, 2015

July 6th through July 12th

July 6th through July 12th: Monday started off with an 8:00am cooking lesson.  I taught Sister Pena, Sister Ray and Sister Roesberry how to make Helen Kennedy’s Famous Cinnamon Rolls.  It was a lot of fun.  We are saving them for our going away party that will be later today.  
I had a lot of good help with the rolls. The hardest part is the kneading for 10 minutes.

It takes 3 hours to make cinnamon rolls, but it is always worth it.
When we finished the rolls we made a quick trip to San Bartolo Coyotepec to pick up some black pottery that we had ordered for last minute gifts we want to take home.  We had time to do some grocery shopping and laundry.  Before I went to bed last night,  I got about 6 lbs of pork and 3 lbs of chicken marinating for our BBQ.  I got the coals started about 3:00pm and had all the meat cooked for our despedida (going away party).  The verb to say good bye is despedir and you can turn it into a noun by changing the ending.  There were 16 of us:  the Rays, the Roesberrys, President Atkinson and his wife, President Pena and his wife, President Madsen and his wife, Laura and Luis Perez and their 2 kids.  The Perez’s surprised us by hiring a Mariachi band to serenade us.  Wow, what an experience.  They played and sang and really entertained us for almost an hour.   Listen to the videos.  The food was delicious and we had ice cream and cinnamon rolls for desert.
L to R Sister Atkinson, Sister Pena, Sister Ray, mom, Sister Roesberry and Sister Madsen.
Elder Ray helped me cook the meat.
Our despedida at the Madsen's home.
Our despedida at the Madsen's home.
The Mariachi Band.
Mom enjoying the music.
Listening to the Band.  We were blown away by their music.
So fun.
He even got me to sing with him.  He could hold a note a lot longer than I could.
Mom and I and Laura and Luis Perez with the Band.

Three videos of the Mariachi Band

Then we had a family home evening and mom and I got to tell everyone what we had learned on our mission.  It was very emotional for us.  President Atkinson then expressed his feelings.  He said some very nice things about us and how we had made a huge difference and that our service had blessed many lives.  He said he was sure that we had been sent to Oaxaca for a specific reason and that we had been an answer to his prayers.  He made us cry and feel not only his love, but the love of our Savior.  Thursday morning we found out that the group from Guerrero was canceling and so mom and I got to officiate a session for all of the workers.  We haven’t done that in a very long time.  Friday we had 2 buses and in the evening we had dinner at the Roesberrys.  It was another despedida of sorts. We will miss the Roesberrys, but we have faith that they will do another mission and be with us in Guatemala in 2 years.  
Dinner, Friday night, at the Roesberrys.  
Saturday we had 7 buses come to the temple.  We had a big group of young single adults come from Puebla.  They came at the same time as 4 other buses.  They wanted a meeting with President Atkinson, so he started talking to them before 7:00am and we told him that we would be ready for them for the 11:00am. session.  He entertained and taught them for almost 4 hours.  He is one of the best teachers I have ever met.  After we got that last group all “tucked into bed”, I went home and started cooking.  We had all the secretaries over to our house for a dinner and another despedida.  We fixed CafĂ© Rio pulled pork salads.  They were a hit.  They brought the desserts and drinks.  They gave us some very fun recuerdos, gifts that will help us remember Oaxaca.  One was a small bust of Joseph Smith made out of black pottery.  It is really nice.  They made us feel loved and appreciated.  We will miss working with these great women.  
Some of the secretaries.
I think this is everyone.
Sunday we had to pick up 3 musicians from the bus station at 7:00am.  They were invited by President Atkinson to come and provide the music for the devotional for all the temple workers we will have later in the day.  We got them settled in a hotel and then went and spoke in two sacrament meetings.  We have now said good-bye to all seven of the wards we have been assigned to for the last 14 months.  We will miss the good people of the Amapolas Stake.  
Sunday dinner with the 3 musicians and the Rays.
We had a wonderful devotional.  All the talks by the presidency and their wives were great.  Elder Miron, the area seventy also spoke.  The music was beautiful and really added to the meeting. President Atkinson announced our new calling and we had a lot of people wish us well in our new assignment.  We will miss the people here in Oaxaca.  
Sorry you can't see Vicky at the piano.  Ivan is the violinist and Miriam is singing.
They stake center was filled to capacity for the devotional.
We will be on a plane headed home next Monday.  I will probably get up really early and post my last blog post from Oaxaca before we head to the airport.  What a great mission this has been.  We have been so blessed and we have learned so much.  We are better prepared for our next assignment for having been here in Oaxaca.  We will miss the other missionaries and miss working with the presidency and miss all the temple workers.  But most of all, we will miss the special experiences we have had with the patrons who have come to worship in the House of the Lord.  We look forward to having similar experiences in the Guatemala temple.  Just a note for all the Cochabamba missionaries, the Johnsons, Bill and Linda, are putting in their papers and guess where they want to go and who they want to serve with?  We are thrilled that they would want to serve with us again.  Who will be next to sign up?
This is a picture that Charlotte sent to us. My grandson, Miles dressed up and then said to his mom. " Look, I'm Poppa in Mexico".  And I look just like him.
More windows were installed this week.