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, December 28, 2015

December 21st through December 27th

December 21st through December 27th: It’s been another great week.  Monday we loaded up our mini-van with the Hursts, Wilsons, and Prices and drove to Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa to see some Mayan artifacts that are just lying in the middle of a cane field.  There was also a small museum that we visited.  Brother Ceballos, one of the security guards at the temple, met us there and showed us around.  He lives there with his wife and family.  It was about a 2 hour drive to the southwest, towards the coast.  It was much hotter and more humid there.  The museum and the trip into the sugar cane fields were very interesting.  One of the big carved stones is believed by some to be a representation of the seven tribes from father Lehi.  I don’t know enough about Mayan glyphs to get a feel one way or another.  But they were certainly big and interesting.  The biggest carved stone is said to weigh about 80 tons.  It is no wonder that it is still in the middle of the cane field. 

Our group of adventurers, L to R Elder and Sister Hurst, Brother Ceballos, Mom and me, Elder and Sister Wilson, and Sister and Elder Price.
Any Resemblance?
Just outside the museum.
Mom really liked this Stella, you can really see the mask that the person has on.
Just sitting in the garden of the museum.
The sun was pretty strong and shade was at a premium.
Sign outside the museum.
The museum had a number of pillars.  They think they were the entrances into buildings that would have had a wood roof.
Some of the pottery in the museum.

There was an iguana farm next to the museum.
Fuego letting off some steam.
This is the 80 ton stone.
We decided we all needed to be in the picture.
This is a drawing of the stone in the cane field.
Another stone in the cane field.
One more stone in the cane field.
The volcano "Auga" in the background.
Outside the chapel in Santa Lucia.
We stopped by the chapel and Sister Ceballos showed us the set she had made for their Christmas pageant. It was very impressive.
It took us three hours to get back because we followed Waze  (or Lola, as we like to call her/it) through lots of back roads.  Tuesday morning we took a group of senior missionaries to a public hospital to distribute newborn kits.  It is really a joy to make these new moms feel special.  A mother of one of the senior missionaries had knitted about 80 hats to donate.  We got one of the moms to put the hat on her baby and she let us take a picture to send it to the lady that had knitted the hat. 
Some of the new moms we gave new born kits to.
One of the new babies.  So sweet.
She had just had twins.
The mom and baby who has on the hat that was knitted by the mother of one of the missionaries in the area office.
We then took some of the temple missionaries to do their weekly shopping.  We were off for the week, except that we will work Saturday for the Rosales.  Wednesday I spent most of the morning doing family history.  I found over 100 new names by adding census and marriage records to names I had already reserved from before we left.  It is rewarding to find brother and sisters of someone and be able to document them and then request to do their temple work.  Our stake in Bountiful is a pilot stake for printing your own names instead of taking a request page to the temple to have the names printed.  The stakes here in Guatemala should be able to do this sometime in January.  I have printed a few but I am going to wait till it is available here before I introduce these new cards to the temple.  They are all white with just a box that either says Male, Female or Couple.  Everyone in the temple will have to be more careful to make sure that men are doing male names and woman doing female names.  Thursday, Fourteen of us went to see Star Wars.  We all enjoyed the movie.  Our children and grandchildren got together on Christmas Eve and we were able to Facetime with them as they opened presents and read the Nativity from the scriptures.  Jill had printed off “faces” for the wise men, shepherds, angels and Mary and Joseph.  Each of the 13 grandchildren had a face on a stick that they were supposed to hold up as they reenacted the story and sang a corresponding hymn.  We giggled as we watched this well thought out plan dissolve into mayhem as the children ran around flapping their “faces” at each other and ignoring the scriptures and music.  This is how memories are made and we thank John B. and Jill for hosting such a wonderful evening. Friday, Christmas day, we only got to talk to Ginny before we had about 35 people over for brunch.  I got up early and made cinnamon rolls.  We had lots and lots of good food.  The ham turned out to be very tender and juicy. 
Brunch is ready.
The hams and cinnamon rolls.
Christmas Brunch.
Mom did get to eat.
We Skyped with most of the other kids in the afternoon.  In the evening we had the Prices, Wilsons and Elder Allred come over and we played games: Mexican Train and 5 Crowns. Saturday we got up at 3:00am and we went to the temple at 4:00am.  Usually the temple is really busy on Saturdays.  But the 5:00am session only had a few people in it.  By mid-morning things picked up and we had a nice day.  One of Brother Flake’s sons, Jacob, who had brought us the Sacrament a few weeks ago, came to receive his endowment.  He is going to serve in the Ecuador, Guayaquil West mission.  It was fun and rewarding to help him on his special day.  I told him to get ready for hot and humid.  I served in Guayaquil many many years ago.  We got done at 2:00pm and went shopping for a few things for Sunday dinner.  We invited the Sister missionaries, the Plasketts and 2 high school girls visiting the Plasketts to dinner tomorrow.  Sunday we went to church at the chapel right next to the temple.  It was nice not to have to speak.  We then had are guests over for dinner. 
Our Sunday dinner guests. 
I started reading a book mom gave me for Christmas about Joseph Bates Noble, one of our ancestors. It was a great week filled with fun and interesting events.  We are so blessed and feel so grateful for this opportunity to serve.  Happy New Year to all.

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 14th through December 20th

December 14th through December 20th:  Monday we did the morning run to Walmart and Price Smart with all the missionaries.  In the afternoon, I made a large pot of cauliflower soup for Tuesday’s open house for all the temple employees.  Mom was busy getting everything set up for the open house and cooking.  Tuesday we had about 25 of the 30 employees come to our house for lunch to thank them for their service and wish them Merry Christmas.  They came in 3 groups, 20 minutes apart.  It worked out really well.  We left the third group  a little early with Pres. and Sister Rosales and we went to the temple for the afternoon shift. 
The first group of temple workers.
The second group.
The second group.
The third group.
We got to bed at about 10:00pm and set the alarm for 5:00am.  President Rosado is off this whole week.  One of his sons and his wife are here from the states and he is going to seal them.  They have a home in Quetzaltenago and are spending most of the week up there.  We will have next week off and then the Rosales will have the last week of the month off.  Then we have the 2 week shut down for cleaning and maintenance. So the Rosales will really have 3 weeks off all together.  Wednesday we did the morning shift and by the time we finished and had lunch it was close to 3:00pm.  I was going to drive downtown to have my blood drawn, but I fell asleep in a recliner and we did not make it downtown.  Thursday we did the morning shift again, but I did have enough energy to go downtown and get my blood drawn.  Mom drove me to the lab.  It was her first adventure in driving downtown.  If she has a good copilot she is fine.  She doesn’t know which lane to be in to be able to make all the correct turns yet.  Friday the Rosales asked if we would trade turns with them.  So we did the afternoon shift.  In the morning we went over to do some initiatory, but when we got there they needed us to be workers, so Chris spent 1 2/2 hours in clothing rental and I spent my time in initiatory as a worker.  After our shift, we left directly from the temple to go to the airport to pick up our new missionary couple, the Hursts.  Many of you will remember that the Hursts served with us in Bolivia.  We are so glad to have them join us here in Guatemala.  Those “in charge” wanted us to take a security guard with us, so we had Brother Sagastume go with us.  As we were driving to the airport, we were talking with him and found out he used to work with Help International.  We said that our daughter had worked down here one summer as the country director.  He asked if our daughter was Genevieve and we said yes.  He said that he thinks he has a picture of me with him.  It turns out that when we came down in 2009, we brought a camera for him.  We are never surprised because in the church the world is so small.  We waited about an hour for the Hursts and then I saw that what I thought was their plane on the arrival board had changed and it said it would not arrive until 12:20am.  So I said, “Let’s go home for an hour.”  When we got home, I checked on the internet and there were two United flights from Houston.  Theirs had arrived late, but was already at the airport.  We rushed back to find them waiting for us.  They said they had only been waiting for about 5 minutes.  I felt bad we had not been there when they came out of the airport.  We got them loaded up and we got home just after midnight.  Saturday we had traded with the Rosales so we did not have to be at the temple at 4:00am.  Instead we went over at 8:30am and did the training for the first 2 shifts of workers.  We then changed and took the Hursts shopping. 
Look who we found at the mall when we went shopping on Saturday.
We had a quick lunch and then went and did the afternoon shift.  I spoke to a couple of groups of youth during our shift.  It is one of the highlights of the day for me.  I feel the Spirit so strongly as I teach them about the importance of the vicarious work that they will be doing.  Sunday we got to go to a regular meeting block.  It was so nice to take the sacrament in a sacrament meeting.  We then had a dinner with all the missionaries to welcome the Hursts to Guatemala and the temple. 
We had cafe Rio salads for Sunday dinner.
Sunday dinner, L to R Sister Price, Sister and Elder Hurst, and Sister and Elder Allred.
L to R  Sister and President Rosales, Elder and Sister Plaskett,  mental health advisor, Elder and Sister Price.
L to R  Mom, Elder and Sister Wilson, Nils, Rosales' son, Sister and President Rosales.
Then mom and I went to a temple conference in the Utatlan stake.  They have been coming to the temple every Tuesday night for 6 years.  It was kind of a celebration of that and setting goals for the next few years.  We both spoke and then ate tamales and drank ponche.  It is a fruit drink that they make at Christmas time. 
The Utatlan stake presidency.
The choir at the Temple conference.
The temple conference.
Tamales and Ponche
Mom's first tamale and ponche.
The stake presidency and mom and I.
We then went to the Done’s home and picked up baby kits.  We are going to deliver them on Dec. 23rd with some of the temple missionaries.  We got home about 7:30pm ready for bed.  We talked to a couple of the kids and I fell asleep while Chris finished talking to them.  The week flew by.  Life is good and we are so blessed to be able to be involved in this great work.  D and C 128:22,  Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their

Monday, December 14, 2015

December 7th through December 13th

Monday after our walk and run up 3 flights of stairs we went over to the Province's home and Sister Province taught us how to make re-fried beans, corn tortillas and corn chips from corn tortillas.  It was a lot of fun and then, of course, we had to eat everything she had made.  It was so delicious. 
Sister Province teaching us how to make real Mexican re-fried beans.
Sister Province teaching us how to make real homemade corn tortillas.
We are almost ready for lunch.
Lunch,  Doctor Bill never gets a free minute.
View of the temple from the roof of the Province's apartment.
We then took a bunch of the missionaries to walk around a huge mall we had found while driving to stake conference yesterday.  It truly was the largest outdoor mall I have ever seen.  The only thing we bought was chocolate and candy.  We then went and saw the James Bond movie.  It was a fun P-day and we all enjoyed the movie.  Especially the popcorn. 
The mall we visited on Monday afternoon.
More of the mall we visited on Monday afternoon.
First stretch limo we have seen here.
Tuesday we were on the morning shift.  It was a busy day with lots of missionaries from the MTC.  We didn't go grocery shopping on Monday, so we went after lunch.  Wednesday we were on the afternoon shift.  But first we had presidency meeting in the morning and then a quick lunch.  There are always fewer temple workers in the evening because the buses don't run past the temple after 6:30 pm.  But we always have lots of patrons, many who come with their ward or stake.  It means that we are always very busy and come home tired, but happy.  Thursday we went with some of the area missionaries to deliver newborn baby kits to a public hospital.  The senior area missionaries have been making these kits for a couple of years now and it is such a wonderful thing.  Many of these mothers are poor and have very little.  To get a new onesie and blanket, booties and hat and a bar of soap was very, very welcomed.  They were very appreciative of the gift.  
This is the group ready to deliver newborn baby kits.  L to R:  Sister Done, Sister Price, Mom, Sister Smith, Sister Wilson, Elder Smith, and Elder Done.
These moms had just delivered their babies and stay only 24 hours.
All the babies had lots of dark hair.
All of these mom's had C-sections.  They stay 3 days.
We got word that our shipment was ready to be picked up and we should get it tomorrow.  I almost got charged with a felony.  We had shipped about 6 white shirts and they were still in their plastic wrapping and then with all the baby clothes that were still on their hangers, they thought we were trying to get new things into the county to sell.  The church had to pay a fine and the churches attorney got everything dismissed and I won't have to spend the next three years here in jail.  Oh happy day.  Friday we were on the morning shift when our shipment arrived.  I explained to the engineer where to put everything and we finished out our shift.  We spent the afternoon putting things away and setting up our new computer and printer. 
Our stuff from the states.
Mom and Sister Price looking at some of the baby things we shipped down with our things.
Saturday we went over and did the training for the morning and midday shifts and then hurried home and had lunch and then went back and did the late shift.  Mom got some of the Christmas decorations that were in our shipment unpacked and set up.  The house looks very festive.  We went to dinner after our shift ended with all of the temple missionaries to a restaurant called Estancia. It is a steak house.  Does this remind anyone of Bolivia? It was very good, but maybe not quite as good as the one in Cochabamba.  Sunday we went to the Monserrat stake conference.  Our recorder, Brother Abadillo is the stake president.  Elder Alsonzo of the Seventy and a member of the area presidency presided.  It was a lovely conference.  Our talks were well received and we felt good about them. 
Monseratt stake conference.
The choir was one of the best I have heard in a long time.
Elder Alonzo is thanking the choir.  President Caffaro and his wife have their backs to the camera and President Abadillo is on the far right.
We then went to lunch at President Abadillo's home.  It was a delicious meal and fun to talk to all the leaders and their wives. We got home at about 4:00pm and Brother Flake and his two Aaronic priesthood sons came over and administered the sacrament to us.  We have been in stake conferences every week since Nov. 1st and have not had the sacrament for many weeks.  It was so nice of them to do that for us.
Lunch at the Abadillo's home.
After lunch: L to R-- Elder and Sister Alonzo, Sister and President Cafarro, Mom and me.