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, November 30, 2015

November 23rd through November 29th

November 23rd through November 29th:  Monday Mom 
made pumpkin pie and I got the turkey in the oven.  I did a last minute run to the store for whipping cream and some more eggnog.  We then had 21 missionaries over for our Thanksgiving dinner.  It was just our temple missionaries and then all the area missionaries that live here in the temple housing.  We had a great time and I have to say the gravy was particularly delicious.  
Elder/ Doctor Province carving up the bird.
Potatoes, Gravy and Dressing.
Jello salad.
Our Thanksgiving table in our carport/garage.
The table for all the starters.  I can't spell ordervs.
L to R, President and Sister Rosado, Spencer and Amanda, Plaskett's daughter and boyfriend, Sister and Elder Lynn, Elder and Sister Allred, Elder and Sister Plaskett, Sister Lowrey.
L to R, Sister Rosales, Sister and Elder Wilson, Sister and Elder Province, President Rosado, Mom, Sister and Elder Price, and President Rosales. 
There were lots of left-overs and I will be eating turkey and potatoes and gravy for days.  Someone has to eat them. We can’t be throwing food away;)  Tuesday After our shift in the temple, we went downtown and I had my blood drawn to see how the blood thinners were working.  I got the results later that evening and everything was in good shape.  I feel so much better this week, except for the persistent cough.  I think I am about 90% recovered.  We are finally feeling like we know how this temple runs and we have now worked all the shifts.  We will be having our first coordinators meeting on Sunday and we can begin to teach and train on the things that we learned in the new temple president’s seminar. Mom got out the Christmas tree and we (mostly mom) started setting it up.  It is really old and each branch has to be put in a hole and it takes quite some time to get it to look good. But it made Mom happy to have a tree.  Wednesday We went walking in the morning with the Provinces.  We are trying to walk at least 30 minutes every day that we are not at the temple early.  I have lost about 10 pounds and I would really like to lose at least 10 more.  We had presidency meeting and then did our afternoon shift.  We didn’t have very many workers and without the temple missionaries we could not have functioned.  We are so grateful for their devoted service. Thursday We went with the Provinces to the MTC and watched the worldwide MTC devotional from Provo via satellite.  Elder Oaks and his wife were the speakers.  They spoke about gratitude and being thankful for whatever we are experiencing in our lives. It is sometimes hard to be grateful for struggles and challenges. I told mom I am grateful for good doctors, but not that grateful that I have to go back on blood thinners.  After the devotional, mom wanted to exchange some lights she had bought for the Christmas tree.  Boy what a hassle.  You can return stuff, but only for store credit.  She wanted incandescent lights, not LED lights.  They were less money than we had spent so she had to run back and get another box.  When we got home she realized she had grabbed a box that had white wire not green wire.  So now we have to go and exchange them.  It is almost not worth the hassle.  We went shopping in the afternoon with the recorder, Brother Adadillo and the engineer, Brother Lopez.  Brother Abadillo has been the recorder for 8 different temple presidents and he is a stake president here in Guatemala City.  Brother Lopez has worked in the temple for many years also and serves as an area seventy.  We have been having problems with our dryer and so they want to buy us a new washer and dryer.  We also went shopping for a new mattress.  They say that ours is too old and it has to be replaced.  
We went shopping and this is where Chris found me after 30 minutes.
We finished up in time for us to get ready and drive to the Victoria Suites, where many of the area missionaries live.  We had been invited to another Thanksgiving dinner.  We left about an hour before the dinner was to start.  The traffic was horrible and it took us an hour and 40 minutes to get there.  We have decided that we will not go out during rush hour ever again.  It only took us 35 minutes to get home.  It was fun to get to know what everyone is doing here.  We met the humanitarian missionaries, mission office missionaries, area IT missionaries, and 3 different dentist missionaries.  There are so many different ways to serve.  Friday We were back in the temple for the morning shift.  I wouldn’t say that weekdays are busy, just steady.  Some sessions are almost full, others just a hand-full.  But we are happy that members come and worship every day.  We got the lights returned and then I got the lights on the tree and mom finished it.  She says that having a Christmas tree makes her happy and I say that having eggnog makes me happy.  So we are both now happy.  Saturday   We worked the middle shift.  Part of the middle shift’s assignment is to do the training for all three shifts of workers.  I enjoy doing training and teaching the workers about the temple.  I have been telling them that I want them to have spiritual experiences in the temple and that they deserve to have them.  In the temple is the only place I can share some of the experiences I have had helping patrons do the temple work for their ancestors.  I want them to love the temple as I do.  Sunday   We got up and drove about an hour south to Cuilapa.  We spoke at the Cuilapa District conference.  President Caffaro, the mission president who presided, had invited us to attend.  
Primary Choir at the District Conference in Cuilapa.
District Conference in Cuilapa.
3 Volcanoes on the way back from Cuilapa.
Riding above the cows.
Many pineapple stands on the way home.
We then hurried home and had leftover pizza for dinner.  We then went to the temple and got set up for our coordinators meeting.  We had almost 100 percent attendance.  It was very rewarding to see the faithfulness of these workers.  One of our coordinators drove down from Cuilapa, where she had also spoken in the district conference.  We had bought some cookies and water for them.  We love them and feel so blessed to be able to serve with these good brothers and sisters.  Just before the meeting started, we Skyped into the blessing of our newest grandson, Campbell Walker Norman, James and Kirstin’s little boy who was born a week before we left.  It was so fun to be able to hear and see this blessing.  James is a good dad and did a nice job, giving him a name and then blessing him.  Congratulations Kirstin and James.  In the evening, we went over to the Price’s home and planned a trip to Tikal for the closure in January.  We also talked to some of our kids.  We hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We are so thankful for all the many blessing that we enjoy.  How can we not move forward in so great a cause?  D & C 128:22
Merry Christmas

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 16th through November 22nd

It is hard to get a good picture of the temple.

November 16th through November 22nd:  Monday we 
went walking in the morning with the Provinces and the Plasketts.  We have been trying to walk every morning that we are not at the temple and I have been having trouble with my left calf muscle.  I thought I was cramping like a charley horse and it was painful to walk all day.  After showering, I noticed that my calf was very swollen and the skin tight.  I called Elder/Doctor Province and he came right over and looked at it.   He has been saying that we ought to have it checked out for a few days now and after seeing my leg, he made an appointment for me to go to the hospital tomorrow and we will find out what is wrong.  All the North American temple missionaries went to lunch at “Ni Fu Ni Fa’s”, an Argentine steak house to celebrate Sister Wilson’s birthday.  It was a very good steak and fun to be out doing things.  
Lunch at Ni Fu Ni Fa  L to R  Me, Mom, Sister and Elder Wilson, Elder and Sister Allred, and Sister and Elder Price.
We then went shopping to Walmart and Price Smart.  We had Family Home Evening at the Plaskett’s, the Area Mental Health Advisor and his wife.  Tuesday I switched shifts so we could be off in the afternoon to go to the hospital.  We had a Doppler done on my legs and I have a blood clot in my left leg.  We had to go and buy shots that I will have to give myself for 3 days and I will start back on warfarin.  It is real expensive here, so we are going to try and get a prescription filled in the states and Sister Plaskett’s daughter, who is coming down to visit on Saturday, will bring it to us.  Chris is worried, I’m not.  I still have a very dry cough which they now think might be asthma.  Apparently a number of young missionaries come here, who never have had a problem, and develop asthma.  They set up an appointment for me to have an Echo cardiogram tomorrow.  That will tell us if any of the clots have traveled to the heart.   Wednesday, we traded around our shifts so that we could be off today.  We had a scheduled luncheon with the Area Presidency and their wives, so we headed down to the hospital early.  Well, we had to wait 15 minutes for a parking place and when we got into the hospital they told us the doctor had to leave town and we would need to come back tomorrow.  At least, we weren’t late for our luncheon.  We walked around some of the shops by all the big hotels and then drove to the area offices.  We then followed Elders Duncan, Alonso and Ochoa to a restaurant.  There we met their wives.  We had a delicious meal and very nice conversation with them.  Elder Ochoa lived in Oaxaca for many years and was a Stake President there, so we knew many of the same people.  Elder Duncan said that I am keeping them on their knees.  I so appreciate everyone’s prayers in my behalf.  I have had a rough start, but I know I will be fine and I know how to regulate my blood.  I will probably have to stay on blood thinners for the rest of my life, but it’s not a big deal.  We got an email today from Dale and Linda Dibb informing us that they are thinking about another mission and wanting to know the possibilities of coming here.  We would love to have them.  Thursday we went and had the echo cardiogram and everything was normal.  We had the afternoon shift at the temple.  We are still learning workers names, but things are running well and we are impressed that there is steady participation throughout the day.  I have been working on attaching sources to the family names that I have reserved.  I am finding additional names as I attach census and marriage records.  It is quite addicting and rewarding.  I feel so good when I find siblings who are not in family search and then can request their ordinances.  We have already finished the work for over 200 of our relatives.  
Completed Family Names
We got some great news; Ken and Eve Winkfield have received their call to serve here in Guatemala with us.  They will arrive the 14th or 15th of April.  Can you believe it!  We are so excited to have another Cochabamba couple join us.  They will bless our life and the lives of all the workers and saints who come to the temple.  Ken will have to try and learn the veil in Kekchi, one of the Mayan languages that we use in the temple.  We will loose two of the three couples that are here now in April so this works out great for us.  We couldn’t be happier to have the Hursts and the Winkfields serve with us again.  Friday we took the Wilsons and the Prices to visit the Popol Vuh museum.  It is right next door to the Ixchel textile museum.  Mom loved the gift shop. She bought a book in both gift shops, one on the Popol Vuh and one on textiles.  The Popol Vuh was transcribed in 1558 by a Mayan man who had learned Latin characters, but the sacred book has been hidden or destroyed.  It tells the Mayan account of the creation of the universe.  
The book mom bought on the meaning of the different patterns in Maya weaving.
Each page has a design and an explanation of what it represents.
The book on the religion of the Maya
Can you see the resemblance?
This is a map of all the major ruins in the Maya area.  Most of them are in Guatemala.  So many places to visit.  Good thing we have 3 years to do it in.
This museum was small but have some very nice artifacts.
The rain God.
Explanation of the round carved stone.
It had an impressive collection of pottery.
More Pottery
Many of the pots were decorated with stories written in Maya.
Beautiful plates and bowls.
You can see the individual glyphs around the top .
Copy of the Dresden Codex, one of the few remaining Mayan books.  Most were burned by the Spanish priests.
It is hard to see but the detail is amazing.
Funeral Urn.  They found a person folded up in this one.
This is a picture of what the found in the Urn.
Mom showing you the size of these funeral urns.
Stone carving of the Bat God.  I can't remember who he represents.
We then stopped and bought rotisserie chicken and we all came back to our house to eat.  
Anyone for chicken.  It is so good.
Charlotte got the assignment to go and get our prescription for warfarin.  Well, the pharmacy forgot to order enough for a year’s supply.  So Charlotte enlisted the help of Jill and they got to go around the valley visiting Smith’s pharmacies in order to get the right amount of pills. Thanks Charlotte and Jill.  Saturday we had our first early shift.  We set the alarm for 3:00am and we got to the temple by 4:00am and the workers started to arrive at 4:10am and we got the first session, which was full, started at 5:00am.  It was a busy morning.  We had 15 people come to receive their own endowment and we had 4 or 5 weddings.  President Rosales showed me where to buy the panty hose (compression stockings) that they want me to wear.  We did some last minute shopping for our Thanksgiving dinner which we will have next Monday, because the temple is open on Thursday. In the evening, we were invited to dinner at Mark and Paula Wood.  It was fun to get to know them and to hear about their experiences here.  He is the Area Legal Advisor.  They are here on a three year assignment and have just finished their first year.  
Elder and Sister Wood and Mom
Sunday we got up early and drove to Chimaltenango, the city where Ginny and Sam lived for the summer just after their graduation.  We had been told that it could take up to 2 hours to drive there.  But the traffic was light and it only took us an hour.  We met Elder Cordon, an area seventy, and President Samayoa.   We both spoke in the general session.  We both felt good about our talks.  Elder Cordon said to me afterwards that our Spanish is good, but that the Spirit we brought was even better.  
Stake Conference in Chimaltenango
Stake Conference in Chimaltenango
There are really some great leaders here in Central America.  We drove home by way of Antigua and it took us just over 2 hours.  We talked to some of the kids and went to bed early (like usual).

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 9th through November 15th

 November 9th through November 15th:  Monday we drove 
all the temple missionaries to Walmart and Pricesmart.  This is the P-day ritual, to go grocery shopping.  The senior missionaries either come and get the president’s car or the president drives everyone.  We needed to learn where Pricesmart was so we went along.  We then went and bought rotisserie chicken with the Provinces and the Allreds.  It was delicious.  We then drove Sister Province, Sister Price and Sister Wilson to the main tourist market downtown.  Mom and I just walked around and kind of got a feel for all the fun things there are to buy.  We walked around the main plaza a bit and headed home.  We had Family Home Evening at the Price’s home with the Spanish group.  
Mom, Sister Price, Sister Wilson, and Sister Province shopping in the central market downtown.
Mom in the doorway of one of the old buildings on the main plaza.
The door to the church on the main plaza.
Interior of the church on the main plaza.
Tuesday we had the afternoon shift.  This is the longest afternoon shift of the week because there is a stake that always comes about 7:30pm and usually wants a session.  We got their session started right about 7:30pm and so we got home at 10:00pm.  That is only 8 hours, nothing like the 11 or 12 hour days we did in Oaxaca.  There are quite a few workers on some of the shifts and things run pretty smoothly.  We are only seeing a few things that we need to really train on.  Wednesday we went on our walk again with the Provinces and I got cramps in my calves again.  Doctor Province is concerned I have some circulation problem.  I think it is that I haven’t been walking enough.  We didn’t have a shift, but went and had presidency meeting.  We are scheduling a lot of stake and district conferences.  All three of the presidency have assignments on some of the Sundays.  It will be fun to get out and be with the saints.  We are venturing out a bit and trying to learn how to get around this city.  Little by little we will get it.  We returned to the temple in the evening with some of our family cards to do sealings.  Thursday we had the morning shift that starts at 6:00am and ends about 1:30pm to 2:00pm.  We are starting to get the hang of how this temple operates.  Each temple is just a little different and it takes some time to figure out what we need to be doing next.  We are impressed with the organization of the shifts and the commitment of the workers.  President and Sister Burk left us a temple that runs very well.  Friday we went for a drive with President Rosales and his wife.  They offered to show us around the city a bit.  We spent 4 hours driving around and I feel like I won’t get lost now.  We stopped at a relief map of Guatemala.  It was very interesting to see the geography of Guatemala and where different cities are situated.  We ended up at Pricesmart for lunch.  It is really like a Costco, cheap hotdogs and pizza.  We then went to our afternoon shift.  
Me, President Rosales, and Sister Rosales.
This is to commemorate the man who went around Guatemala and surveyed the whole country.
This relief map of the country was made from his surveys.
Guatemala is quite mountainous and has lots of volcanoes.
They have a couple of towers you can climb up and get a better view of the different regions of Guatemala.
The four of us on top of one of the towers.
Saturday we again had the afternoon shift.  But before we went to the temple, we walked down to a little grocery store a few blocks away.   Mom needed another can of condensed milk.   I found a case of A and W root beer.  I bought the whole case.  I can’t wait to have a root beer float.  I never found root beer in either Bolivia or Mexico.  
One of the couples who were married on Saturday.
Mom in front of our house.
Across the street from our house looking toward the temple.  You can see 2 of the spires just to the left of the yellow pedestrian crossing sign.  It is about 4 houses away.
Sunday we drove all the temple missionaries to the country wide regional conference.  We went to a beautiful new stake center about 15 minutes from the temple.  The stake president spoke and then we had a satellite transmission from the Area Office and Salt Lake.  The Area Presidency spoke as a round table about the Sabbath day and then we heard from Bishop Davies who spoke in Spanish and then from Sister Marriott who spoke in Spanish for about 2 minutes and then switched to English.  Then Elder Martino, of the Seventy, who had served for many years here in Guatemala spoke. The last speaker was Elder Bednar who had been listening to the talks with a head set.  He spoke in English, so it was translated. He taught with power about the need for more faith in Jesus Christ, more sacrifice, and more consecration.  It was a great meeting and the Spirit was present and powerful.  Elder Martino told a story of a boy who joined the church at the age of 11 and after a few weeks of attending church got offended when someone commented on his clothes.  He was very poor and didn’t have better clothes. He never returned to church until a Bishop and a full time missionary looked him up and invited him not only back to church, but invited him to prepare for a mission.  He was 20 years old when they found him.  He accepted their invitation and it took about a year to prepare for his mission.  Today he is a stake president.  In fact, he is the stake president who spoke and presided at the meeting.  I went up and introduced myself to him after the meeting.  He is a wonderful leader.  You just never know who will respond to an invitation to return to the gospel.  
L to R Elder Allred, Elder and Sister Price, Me and Mom, Sister and Elder Wilson.
The regional conference.
Most of the regional conference was by satellite from Salt Lake and Area Office.
Mom made cheese cake for desert and we went over to the Wilson’s for dinner.  Sister Wilson had cooked a roast and we had mashed potatoes and gravy.  It was delicious. There are only 3 missionary couples here right now and they are quite close and do a lot together.  We so enjoy them and they are great examples of true disciples of the Lord.  Most of them are on their second or third mission.  I am still looking for a few senior couples to come and serve with us.  Please talk to your friends and neighbors and encourage them to get in touch with me.  We talked to our kids in Utah and they were all together for their monthly Sunday dinner.  It made us a little homesick to see them, but we are so glad that they like to get together—even with all the craziness of 14 grand-kids.  They have been so supportive of our missions.  We love and appreciate them so much.   I am feeling so much better.  The bruising is now turning all yellow and getting smaller and smaller each day.  I am not 100 percent, but I am getting there.  I feel so blessed.  I know that the blessing I received made all the difference in the world.  Thanks for all the prayers in my behalf.  The area president was in the temple this past week and said that they too had been praying for me.  He has invited us to go to lunch with the presidency this next week.  We look forward to that.  We at times are still pinching ourselves and wondering, “How did we get here?”  But be assured, we love the work of the temple and will do our best.  
Sunday night delight.