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, April 25, 2016

April 18th through April 24th

April 18th through April 24th: Monday we loaded up all the North American missionaries, Prices’, Hurst’s, Dibb’s and the May’s and headed to Jocotenango and Pastores, two small towns a few miles north of Antigua.  Pastores is famous for leather work.  It had a few dozen small shops that made cowboy boots and belts.  One shop had some saddles that Elder May wanted to take home.  We wandered around for about an hour and then headed back toward Antigua and stopped in Jocotenango.  It has a beautiful church and that is about it. 

Tienda Buen Precio, Good Price Store if you want to buy something, you ask for it and they pass it to you through the bars and you pass the money to them. 
One of the many leather stores in Pastores.
A lazy dog in front of some beautiful doors on the government building in Pastores.
While walking around I bought some fresh tortillas from these three cousins.
The church in Pastores.
Just a cute alleyway.
Mom, me and Jesus.  We are all tight.

The church in Jocotenango.
L to R, the Price's, the May's, the Hurst's, the Dibb's and mom.

We then drove to Antigua and had lunch at “Pollo Campero” right next to the artisan’s market, which was the first and last stop after lunch.  Everyone found some treasures. 

Lunch at Pollo Campero.
We ran into the sister missionaries at the artisan's market.  Such cute girls.
This is a picture of the temple van.  I only put this in for President Crayk.
Two women carrying stuff on their heads and who look like they are dancing in step.

Tuesday we had the morning shift.  Wednesday we did our morning walk and visit to the gym at the MTC.  We try and do a 30 minute walk on the days we have the morning free and then spend another 30 minutes in the gym.  I lift weights and mom rides a bike for her knee. 

Morning gym time.  R to L  Sister Dibb, Sister Plaskett, Mom, Sister Rosales, and Sister Price.

We then went and had presidency meeting.  We had the afternoon free because the Rosales’ wanted to switch with us so they could have Thursday free.  Thursday and Friday we had the morning shift.  Saturday President and Sister Rosales’ took us to a lovely breakfast buffet to celebrate the birthdays of mom and President Rosales.  

Breakfast with the Rosales to celebrate President Rosales' birthday on the 29th and mom's birthday on the 30th.

Then we had the afternoon shift.  We had 4 full sessions that started late between, 4 and 5:30pm, so we didn’t get home until around 8:00pm.  We were tired and went to bed about 9:00pm.   I spent a few hours Sunday morning doing family history and then left at 7:30am for my first Coordinating Council Meeting.  CCM is a quarterly meeting of all the stake presidents, area seventy, mission president, and temple president.  Elder Galvez gave me about 20 minutes to talk about the temple and some of the changes we have made.  It was well received by the stake presidents and I feet we will see some future fruit.  I got home just before 1:00pm and mom made lunch and I got a 30 minute nap before we had to be over at the temple for a Coordinators Training meeting.  We did training for 2 hours and then served them chocolate chip cookies.  It was well attended and we felt good about the meeting.  We got to talk to the kids and grandkids and then went to bed tired from a long day.  The weeks are flying by and we only have one more week and we will have been here 6 months.  It seems like we arrived just yesterday.  What a marvelous experience this is.  We love the temple and the members and missionaries we serve with.  We love the members that come to the temple.  And we love Guatemala.  We are so blessed. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

April 11th through April 17thI

April 11th through April 17th:  Monday, after our shopping trip, we took everyone but the Allred’s to the Ixchel Textile Museum.  What a fun museum!  It tells the history of weaving and the different ways the huipiles (blouses) are made and decorated.  The exhibits were very professional and informative.  They had a large map and pictures of all the different huipiles and where each style of blouse was from, including the different indigenous groups.  There is certainly a rich history and culture of weavers and embroidery. 
I can never get enough of these beautiful Huipiles.


Map showing where each different design is from and from which native group.  Each group speak a different language.

Most of the huipiles are woven on a back-strap loom.
I want mom to buy a skirt and huipil.  But she won't.
They had some great displays.
Different types of masks.
We then finished off with a family home evening--a “despidida” for the Allred’s and a “bienvenida” for the May’s.  The Allred’s shared what they had learned on their mission.  This was their fourth mission, but their first temple mission and they said it was their favorite.  They have been great missionaries and are great examples of service.  We wish them well and know the Lord will bless them for their selfless service.
Family Home Evening.
The Allred's at their despedida.
Tuesday we got up early and took the Plaskett’s to the airport.  They have been living in the temple missionary apartments.  He has been the mental health advisor to the area.  We really enjoyed their friendship and optimistic personalities.  In addition to their regular assignments, they worked in the temple.  We will miss them.  
Dropping off and saying good-bye to the Plaskett's.
We had the afternoon shift and ended up getting home just after 10:00pm.  Wednesday we got up early again and took the Allred’s to the airport and then mom had a dentist appointment for a chipped filling.  Afterwards we had presidency meeting.  In the evening, we went over to the family history center to help the Young Men and Young Women learn how to search for their ancestors.  It was a pretty lively group with both English and Spanish speakers, but we had fun showing them how to navigate the web site.  Thursday we did the morning shift. Friday was the afternoon shift.  Saturday we decided to have a dinner party and so we invited Morris’, the Hill’s and Sister Lowery. The Morris’ arrived in January and we wanted to get better acquainted with them. He is the new president of the CCM (Missionary Training Center).  Brother Hill is the new Area Executive Secretary and Sister Hill works in the area office reviewing missionary applications.  Both couples have served in many capacities in Central and South America and are very interesting.  Sister Lowery lives in the temple apartments and is the CCM nurse.   I have wanted to cook Chinese food, so we went shopping.    For me, cooking Chinese food can be an all day affair.  I only cooked two dishes, but they both turned out great and we had enough leftovers to invite the Dibb’s and the May’s to dinner on Sunday. We had a very enjoyable evening. 
L to R.  Elder and Sister Hill, Sister and President Morris, Sister Lowery and Mom. 
Sunday we went to the Villa Hermosa stake conference where the Stake President, Camay, was being released.  He was called as a new area seventy at general conference two weeks ago.  Elder Cordon, a general authority seventy, who presided and Elder Charverri, also a new area seventy, were both assigned to the reorganization of the stake presidency.  Elder Charverri must have been learning the ropes from a more experienced seventy.  It was a great meeting and we both spoke.  It is so great to feel the Spirit and testify of the Savior and His work. 
Stake Conference, Villa Hermosa Stake
Choir for stake conference.
We hurried home and had the Dibb’s and the May’s over for leftovers.  We had invited them to join us on a little trip to Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa, where we had been invited to speak at a meeting for all the endowed members of the District.  I surprised Elders Dibb, May and Fillmore by asking the District President to call on them to bear their testimonies.  Elder Fillmore and his wife are senior missionaries in the mission that takes in Santa Lucia and they were down that way for meetings.  They also live in the temple apartments.  It took us 1 ½ hours to get there and 3 hours to get home.  The traffic was horrible.  We got home at 8:00pm, then made a bowl of popcorn and went to bed tired from a long day.  It was another great week and we love Guatemala and the people.  It is so fun to go out and be with them.

They used buses to get people to Stake Conference.

L to R Sister May, Sister Dibb, Sister Fillmore,  Sister Ceballos, one of our coordinators, Mom

A primary choir practicing for District Conference

Monday, April 11, 2016

April 4th through April 10th

April 4th through April 10th: Monday was just the usual stuff, shopping and family history.  Tuesday we both went and did initiatory in the morning and then after lunch we went and found an art store and bought some paints.  Acrylics for me and water color paints for mom.  I hope I can find some time to paint.  Wednesday we got up early and went to the airport and picked up a new couple, Leonard and Marilyn May from Rockland, Idaho.   They are transfers from the Cordaba, Argentina temple and will be a great addition to our small band of missionaries.  Elder Gary and Sister Reva Allred have finished their FOURTH mission and they will be leaving this week.  They have been such faithful missionaries and Sister Allred came to serve after having breast cancer.  We are so inspired by all our missionaries.  We will stay at 4 missionary couples, at least until the end of the year.  We should be OK until then, but we will need replacements come December, so start thinking about coming down and helping out next year. We hurried back from the airport and did our morning shift.  We then took the May’s shopping.  Thursday we went to the “velatorio” or the wake for the father of Maggie, one of the secretaries in the office.    It is the custom to pay your respects and visit for about an hour, so the family is there all day long.  Maggie is just a sweetheart and we love her.  Her father was older and had had some operations and developed an infection and passed away on Wednesday.  Her brother from the states was there and his name is Andres Ramos.  He was the DTA in Peru when we were in Bolivia and remembers President Crayk and the problems we had getting garments into Bolivia.  He hopes President Crayk has forgiven him for all the problems we had.  It is such a small world in the church. 

Mom with Maggie at the velatorio.

We then did our afternoon shift.  Friday we took our missionaries, the Hurst’s, Prices’, May’s, and Dibb’s to the Relief Map of Guatemala.  Mom and I were the only one’s who had been there before.  It is a good place to visit to get an idea of where things are in relationship to everything else. 

L to R  Mom, Sister May, Sister Price, Elder May, Elder Dibb, Sister Dibb, Sister Hurst, Elder Hurst and Elder Price.  These are the 4 couples we will serve with until the May's leave in December.
I'm on top of a tower you can climb and look down on the map.
All of us on top of one of the towers.
Now I'm on the ground looking up at those still on the tower.

Mom then went to a luncheon and lesson for the North American senior sisters.  We dropped her and Sister May off and then I took everyone back to the temple.  I made myself a hamburger and headed back out into the traffic to pick up Chris and Sister May.  It took about an hour to drive there and back.  We then went and rented a CPAP machine.  My sleep study said I have severe apnea. 

My new best friend.  (Not)

Saturday we had the early shift.  The temple was extremely busy.  We had to hand out tickets for the sessions.  People would come in and want to do a session and we would say the next session is in an hour and we would give them a ticket for that session.  It was the busiest day we have experienced so far.  We ended up with 27 people receiving their own endowment.  It kept Chris and me on our toes all morning long.  Mom had forgotten that we had the early shift and had stayed up till midnight reading.  When the alarm went off at 3:00am she realized she had messed up.  Needless to say we took naps in the afternoon.  Sunday we went to church in our ward.  It was nice to be in our home ward and feel the Spirit and hear some great testimonies. Then we came home and had dinner.  We both worked on talks and then we went to the closing session of the Relief Society Conference in the Molino stake.  We both spoke and it was a nice meeting. 

Mom with 3 of the women from the RS Conference.

We got home about 7:00pm, made some popcorn and called the kids.  Great week and we are still basking in the power of General Conference from last weekend. 

The flowers are out at the temple.

Monday, April 4, 2016

March 28th through April 3rd

March 28th through April 3rd: Monday we went to the central market right next to the main plaza in lieu of our Monday morning grocery trip.  This is mostly souvenir shopping.  When we got back, the Dibb’s had received a call from their granddaughter’s mission president and he gave them permission to take her to lunch.  So we loaded up the car with the Dibb’s and the Hurst’s and headed to San Lucus.  San Lucas is the town that is the turn off on the highway to go to Antigua, about an hour away.  The Dibb’s had their granddaughter’s cell number and used my phone to call her and we met up with Sister Dibb and her companion Sister Ziga.  Small world! Sister Ziga is the daughter of Pres. Ziga, a stake president from Cualtla, Mexico who would bring his stake to Oaxaca during the time we served there.  We became very good friends.  We had our picture taken with our group and I sent it to him and he immediately responded to my email.  He said he will come and get his daughter when she finishes her mission in September and will stop by and visit us. 

Lunch with L to R Elder and Sister Dibb, Sister Dibb, their granddaughter, Mom and me, Sister Ziga, and Sister Hurst, Elder Hurst is taking the picture.

We went and saw one of their areas and when we dropped them off and headed home we got lost and had to have Lola, our GPS navigatior, get us back to the highway.  The dirt road she took us on would have needed 4 wheel-drive if it had been wet.

The dirt road back to civilization.  We wondered if Lola knew where we were.

We got back about 4:00pm and everyone was too tired to go grocery shopping.  So we decided to go Tuesday morning. Tuesday we went grocery shopping and then we had the afternoon shift.  Wednesday I went and did initiatory and then we had presidency meeting.  Thursday we had the morning shift and Friday the afternoon shift.  On Friday, Mom went over to the temple at 6:30am to do a session.  Sister Rosado was sick and didn’t come for her shift, so Mom stayed to help and then went back for the afternoon shift.  She was a tired girl.  Saturday the temple was closed for conference and so we had all the missionaries over for soup between the afternoon session and the priesthood session and then after the priesthood session we had everyone over for root beer floats.  All the men went over to the MTC for the priesthood session and the girls stayed at our place and had their own little meeting.  Conference is the best in the mission field.  No distractions, you can sit down and listen to every session and really feel the Spirit of the talks and testimonies.  I loved conference and feel so blessed and edified by the talks and the music.  We were thrilled by two announcements in conference.  First, the announcement that there will be a temple in Quito, Ecuador where we were missionaries 45 years ago.  We served under the first mission president, Louis Latimer.  There were no wards or chapels and very few members.  Now, there are 230,000 members, 36 stakes, 5 missions and now a second temple.  We are so thrilled to see the growth of the Church in our lifetime and to be part of this great work.   And second, we heard our good friend, Brent Christensen, be called to be an Area Seventy.  We support him and congratulate him and his wonderful wife, Sharon.  Sunday we had all the missionaries over for dinner between sessions.  It is fun to get together and share good food and conversation.  These couples that are here are the best, we love them and are so grateful for their lives of service and their testimonies of our Savior.  What an honor it is to serve with them. 

Cleaning up after Sunday's dinner.

We finished the day calling all the kids and seeing the grandkids on Facetime.  Another great week in heaven on earth.