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, September 26, 2016

September 19th through September 25th

September 19th through September 25th: Monday we got up and went for a walk around Senahu. 
Early in the morning on our walk.
This boy was on his way to school.
The Catholic church in Senahu.
From the Catholic church looking at the main plaza.
From the steps of the Catholic church you can see the steeple of the Mormon church on the left.
On our way back from breakfast we passed by the Elders home.  All the district has slept over from conference so they could have P-Day together.

We then had breakfast and on our way out of town we stopped at the market and went to find Soila, who has a shop that sells huilpiles y cortes (blouses and skirts).  She was recommended to us by Griselda, the wife of the district president.  We didn’t find Soila, but instead found her son and he went and got his dad, Alberto.  It turns out they are members of the Church and the father has been a member for about 40 years.  He said that his parents were early pioneer members.  Sister Price had a good time buying 3 blouses and 2 skirts, while mom bought fabric for a skirt and a blouse.  The fabrics for the blouses are so beautiful and intricate in design.  They will make beautiful pillows or other decorations.  The fabric for the skirts is very heavy and tightly woven and we think we will want to cover a chair with it.  
On our way to breakfast we were confronted again by the shoeshine boys.
The inside of a local shop.
As we left town the Elders were all dressed to go to La Tinta for their P-Day.  They are going to play some soccer with the Elders there.

Click Above to hear Kekchi
Soila's husband who helped us find just the right fabric.

Alberto, Soila's husband

Click Above to listen to Alberto

Here are the fabrics that mom bought.
We were on the road home at 9:15am.  We stopped for a few more pictures of the magnificent countryside.  We also had to stop to let some trucks pass where there was only room for one vehicle on the road.  We made pretty good time considering the road construction between El Rancho and Guatemala City.  
This row of houses were all the same except each painted a different color.  We thought they might be housing for the workers of a coffee plantation.
We saw several men selling wood door to door.  Life is difficult and for many, making a living is back breaking work.  Literally.
Some of the mountains on the way out of Senahu.
A cute white church on the way out of town.
Every hill and mountain is covered with thick vegetation.  
Looking across the valley as we head up the first mountain.
See what I said about back breaking work.
These men are trying to control the vegetation from taking over the road.
More fun for the 4 X 4.
Waiting for cars to pass.
This boy is working to fix the road, hoping that some of the people passing will pay him a few Quetzales.  We did. The pickup truck coming down the hill has 3 brahma bulls in the back.
They are cutting away the mountain. This is some of the road construction between El Rancho and Guatemala City.
We got home about 3:30pm.  Driving on very windy roads, up and down five mountains, is very tiring and I spent the evening watching football.  Tuesday we had the morning shift.  Wednesday we went over for the 8:00am session to help with the MTC missionaries.  We then had presidency meeting and I had 30 minutes to run home and get lunch.  I then had the opportunity to confer the sealing power on two new sealers.  I received a letter from the first presidency authorizing me to do so.  We then had the afternoon shift.  That was a long day, but so rewarding.  Thursday mom went to a water color class for all the sisters at Jill Smiths and then we went grocery shopping since we didn’t go last Monday.  We spent the rest of the afternoon doing family history.  Thank goodness we can do the work for the descendents of our ancestors.  I have another 500 names to print.  Friday we had the morning shift and Saturday we went over to the temple at 9:00am to talk to a group of primary children for the Alameda Stake.  That is so much fun.  
The primary kids and leaders from the Alameda stake.
Don't they look sharp.
So Cute.
We then worked in the temple till 2:30pm.  The temple closed early for the women’s session of General Conference.  Mom went to a dinner with all the North American sisters and then they watched the conference together.  Elders Fillmore and Frampton came over and watched some football with me.  I’m the only apartment with Direct TV.  Sunday we went to church at our ward.  It’s been over a month since I have been in a sacrament meeting.  It was so nice to be able to take the sacrament.  After sacrament meeting, I went to the temple with 7 brethren from the Temple Department in Salt Lake.  They are here for transition meetings for the new way temples will be maintained and cleaned.  The new area director for the Central America and South America Northwest areas is our precious engineer, Elder Lopez.  All of the recorders and engineers from all the temples in these two areas are here for two days of meetings.  I am going to try and go to dinner with Brother Cabrerra and Brother Pineda from Cochabamba.  Later in the day, we got special permission to Facetime the baptism of our grandson, Kimball.  We are so grateful for technology!  We got to see everything and felt a part of his special day.  
We are so looking forward to General Conference next week.  We had a great week and still feel humbled and blessed by this opportunity to serve in the House of the Lord here in Guatemala.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

September 12th through September 18th

 September 12th through September 18th: Monday did the usual stuff, shopping and family history.  In the evening, we had Mark and Paula Wood and President and Sister Morris from the Missionary Training Center to dinner before Family Home Evening.  The Wood’s gave a presentation about religious freedom.  Mark is the area legal counsel and has been working with Costa Rica to help them draft new religious freedom legislation.  It was very interesting.  Tuesday we had the morning shift and Wednesday we had presidency meeting in the morning and then we had the afternoon shift. 
Wednesday the day before Independence Day all the schools have a parade with a torch that must be lit from a central flame.  It makes for a very bad traffic day.
Thursday the temple was only open in the morning.  It was Guatemala’s Independence Day.  After the morning shift, we had lunch for all the people who live here at the temple.  We went and purchased rotisserie chicken and then we just had pot luck for everything else.  We ended up having an impromptu talent show.  We all had a good laugh.  
Thursday President Ziga and his wife and his mother and his son arrived to pick up their daughter who was finishing her mission.  I got to know President Ziga while we served in Oaxaca.
We bought 6 chickens and it was delicious.
Lunch and our Independence Day celebration.  The Guatemalans all sang their national anthem for us.  It was very moving. 
We had a great celebration.

The Guatemalans singing their national athem
Click Above
Then it turned into impromptu singing which was a lot of fun and provided some good laughs.

More singing
Click above
The 15th was Ken and Eve Winkfield's wedding anniversary.
Friday we had the evening shift.  Saturday we got up early and drove with Sally and John Price, two of our temple missionaries to Senahu for their district conference.  I needed to be there by 2:00m so we left at 6:00am.   It was just over 6 hours of driving, almost 2 hours of it on dirt roads, very bumpy and washed out in places. The Area Office let us take a large Mitsubishi 4X4 and it really made the drive a lot easier.  The pictures I think will give you a good idea of the trip.  
They are widening the road on the way to El Rancho.  They are really moving a lot of dirt.
Once we hit the dirt road we encountered rocks that have been washed down the mountain and mud puddles.  The 4X4 really liked the puddles.

Enjoying the puddles.
Click above
Along the dirt road we had lots of small waterfalls.
And in a number of places where we had to cross small streams.
Some of the falling rocks were as large as the car.
When we got to Tucuru we encountered a parade and had to be detoured down a side street.
They were crowning a Mayan princess for Tucuru.
Here is the princess.
Her crown was quite elaborate.
One of the traditional ways to wrap their hair.
The chapel in Tucuru.
Some of the dirt road was pretty good.
Around every corner there were beautiful vistas. 
It is the rainy season and there are also a lot of waterfalls.
Looking back on the Polochic valley climbing the mountain to Senahu.
I went to a meeting with all the branch presidents and had the opportunity to talk to them about the temple.  The Price's and mom went to the market.  
This is a local taxi for going between towns.
The Saturday market in Senahu.
The Saturday market in Senahu.
More of the Saturday market.
Everyday stuff, fans to keep the coals hot, kindling wood and bananas.
Some of the street food for sale on market day.
The Saturday Market.
Here are two shoe shine boys having a contest to see who can do the best shoe shine.
We then had the adult session at 5:00 and after which we went to dinner at the hotel.   There are not a lot of options in Senahu.  
The choir Saturday night.
Sitting in the park after dinner.
Sunday I had priesthood meeting at 8:00am and spoke and then at 11:00am in the general session both mom and I had the opportunity to speak. 
Priesthood session.
The choir for Sunday.

Click Above
Sunday session.  Over 1000 in attendance. 
We took a drive in the afternoon to the top of a hill overlooking Senahu where they have their cemetery.  It was a beautiful view and the valley is enchanting.  
View from the tower on top of the cemetery hill.   You can see the lds church on the left edge.
The tower they built for a better view of Senahu.
Three girls who were enjoying the view with us.
Mom and part the cemetery.
Part of the Senahu valley and our 4X4.
The chapel. Our hotel is the yellow building with the red roof    just behind the chapel.
Senahu from the tower.
Senahu in the background.
They grow corn on very steep hills.
There was a soccer game and either these people did not want to pay or there was no more room.
More spectators for the game.
We stayed the night and head back on Monday.  We had a great district conference with more than 1,000 in attendance and really felt the spirit of the people.  All the meetings were in Kekchi and had to be translated into Spanish for us and our talks had to be translated into Kekchi because many of the older members do not speak Spanish.  What a blessing to be able to visit and be with the saints all over Guatemala.
This was the yard of our hotel.
Selling firewood door to door.