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 25, 2017

December 18th through December 24th

Fuego was up to it's old tricks this last week.  
December 18th through December 24thMonday we left Rio Dulce at 6:00 am.  We drove straight home and only had one 30 minute stop for construction.  
Stopped for construction on the way home.  There are always vendors to make sure you don't starve.
Elder Fisher wrote where we had been and then took my picture as we cleaned out the car.  There was a little mud on the road.
We wanted to get back in order to make sure we were ready to open the temple for a session for President Cluff and his missionaries that were going home.  They were having a problem finding flights before Christmas, so they needed a session on Monday in order to leave the next day.   
President and Sister Cluff and the missionaries that were going home.
This last week we worked the afternoon shift every day, except Saturday.  We worked the  early morning shift because President Rosales’ son from Germany was getting in Friday night and they were going to be up really late and he had asked us to trade with him.  President Funes had the week off.  We are doing a rotation where each member of the presidency will have a week off.  Ours of course will be next week and on Tuesday we will fly to California to be with all our children and grand-children (except James and his family) for a week.  Next Sunday we will attend the baptism of Jake and Xela, two of our grand-children.   Then we will fly to Salt Lake to see James and his family.  We are so excited.  
We had to have one picture of the nativity in front of the temple.
Dinner after the Wednesday night shift with the Utatlan stake.
Thursday we took some of the missionaries to Megapaca to shop for clothes.  I found two shirts for $3.50 each.  
One of the colorful neighborhoods we passed on the way to Megapaca.
Friday we took the Jenson’s and the Ellington’s grocery shopping.  Saturday after our shift, we snuck off and went to see the new Star Wars movie.  Sunday we had a nice sacrament meeting.  It was nice to be able to take the sacrament.  It has been a month since we have been to sacrament meeting what with all the conferences we have had this last month.  
President and Sister Rosales with their two sons, Nils and Pedro.
After church on our way home with the Rosales and the Holmans.
All of the flower beds at the temple have been changed to poinsettias. They are just beautiful.
We had all the English speaking missionaries over for soup and the Christmas story and to sing some Christmas song.  
Our Christmas Eve dinner.  The sister missionaries also joined us.
The other end of the table.
Good eats.
We then went to the front room and enjoyed singing some Christmas songs and reading the Christmas story.

Click below to hear us sing.

Our Christmas Carol singing.

The sister missionaries.
We stayed up late getting ready to leave early Tuesday morning and by the time we were ready for bed it sounded like world war III. We decided to go up on the roof and I took a couple of videos.  The fireworks lasted for at least a half an hour.

  Click below to see the fireworks.

We got some good news this last week.  John B.’s bone marrow biopsy was negative.  This means that he doesn’t have bone cancer or leukemia.  We think that the doctors now have all the information they need and are deciding what stage John’s cancer is and hopefully they will have a treatment plan soon.  We are anxious to know more and understand what comes next.  Thanks for your prayers and emails.  Your support and love have been felt by John and his family and of course, by us.  We move forward with faith that everything will be ok and we express our love and gratitude for all your good thoughts and prayers you have been sending our way.  
This last week we hit a milestone going over 100,000 page views on our blog.  Thanks for reading and looking at our blog.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

December 11th through December 17th

December 11th through December 17th:  Monday evening we had the High Priest social for the Vista Hermosa ward at our home.  We told a little about ourselves and then had a pot luck dinner. It was nice to learn more about some of our local members and everyone seemed to have a good time.  
High Priest Group social at our home.
Notice who is sitting on the left, Elder and Sister Hurst now serving in the Dominican Republic.  They are staying with us this week while Dawn has some dental work done.
It was pot luck and everyone had a good time.
Tuesday we went to painting class and then did the afternoon shift.  After the shift, we were invited to a social for all the Tuesday afternoon temple workers.  We got started about 9:30 pm and we had a bite to eat and then we went home—it was way past our bed time. 
Miles is now done and hanging on the wall.

Mom's landscape is really coming along.
I really worked on Badger's nose this week.
5 down 11 to go. The idea is to paint them all at the age of 8 when they get baptised.  Badger is almost done and then I have Xela and Jake to start on, who will be baptised on the 31st of this month.
Tuesday night after our shift, we had a social for everyone who works on the afternoon/evening shift.
Wednesday we cooked 5 pots of soup and fed the temple employees.  We also gave them the Christmas treats we made last week and a Christmas card we had printed.  We enjoy them all and they have become like family.  It was a little sad to know that this was the last time we would have them in our home for Christmas.  
We cooked 3 doubled recipes of taco soup.
And a big pot of Radish Soup and a big pot of Cauliflower Soup.
First group of temple workers.
Second group of temple workers.  They all loved the soups.
The temple Christmas card we made and had printed for all our workers and the employees.
We did our shifts Thursday morning and Friday afternoon.  We did not get done till 10:00 pm Friday and we got up early and headed for the Polochic at 6:00 am.  We took Elder and Sister Fisher with us this time.  We had a few short construction delays and half of the bad road had been graded, so we made good time and arrived about 12:30 pm at the CHOICE humanitarian school where we stay in their guest cabins.  
After Sister Ellington's experience two weeks ago, the people in the back were prepared for the long and windy road.
They were working on the road to La Tinta.

Click below to view the bumpy road.

The bumpy road needs two hands on the wheel.

Morena sold us some fried bananas.
You had to drive the entire car into this pot hole in order to get to the other side.

Click below to view a mud puddle.

Mud  Puddle

Everywhere you look is a beautiful view.
Sikaabe is the name of the school where we stayed.
This is the cabin where we stayed.  It is very nice and you would never expect to find something like this in Chulac.
View from our balcony at the school where we stayed.
We thought the first meeting would be at 4:00 pm, but President Faundez called and said it was at 2:00 pm.  We hurried and changed and they fixed us lunch.  We headed back down the mountain to the district chapel.  We were a few minutes late, but we were the first ones to arrive.  The meeting got started and little by little it filled up.  Mom and I had 30 minutes on the program.  That is not much time when you include translating everything we say into Kekchi.  
Arriving for the conference.
There were only 2 cars in the parking lot, mine and President Faundez', but many people come to church on a motorcycle.  I want one.
Mom and Sister Faundez with some of the children who came for the adult session.  Adult session means adults and children.
Headed up the mountain after the Priesthood session.
The valley of the Polochic is off in the distance.
Mom then drove Sisters Faundez and Fisher back to our rooms.  It is about 15 minutes away if President Faundez or I are driving, but somewhat longer with mom driving.  We then had the priesthood session.  I still got 30 minutes for my talk.  We got back to the school after dark and they fixed us dinner.  It had been a long day and I was exhausted.  I had been up since 4:00 am, with only a few hours of sleep,  so I headed off to bed.  At one point in the weekend, Sister Fisher said to mom something to the affect of “These weekend trips and not really a vacation for you are they?”  Sunday we got up and had breakfast at 7:30 am.  President Faundez then took us to see another of the 6 chapels in the Chulac District.  We drove up another dirt road, because that is the only kind of road they have there, and out of nowhere, we come upon a beautiful chapel.  We were blown away by the beauty of the setting.  The chapel was still somewhat shrouded in fog and it was breath-taking.  
Literally in the middle of nowhere is this beautiful chapel.
Half of this chapel was built about 20 years ago and the second half about 10 years ago.
Mom and I with Nelson.
The Fisher's, the Faundez' and the Norman's all ready to go to conference.
Nelson was a cutie.
We walked around the chapel and then drove to a small school where the church’s humanitarian arm is providing all the materials to build an addition onto the school.  The church has projects in the Chulac district at 3 different schools.  
Basketball court and stadium seating.
Two outdoor stoves work for branch parties.
One of the homes you can see from the chapel.
Another home you can see from the chapel. They call this "mini-Utah" because there are about 300 members who live close to this chapel.  
The church is providing the materials to build two classrooms, a computer lab and new bathrooms at the school close to the chapel we visited.
Mom was not excited about me taking a video with only one hand on the wheel.

Click below to view the dirt road.

More dirt road

Many of the roads have a steep drop off on the downhill side.  But always a beautiful view.
We then drove down the mountain to a different chapel for the Sunday session of the conference.  We felt good about our talks and the people know us now and are very friendly.  Their attendance at the temple has really increased.  I was the first temple president to visit Chulac when I came a year and a half ago.  This was our third visit and we will make one more in 6 months, but we will never forget the powerful Spirit we feel when with these children of father Lehi.  
President Faundez and I had the only two cars in the parking lot.
Another truck load of saints arriving.
The choir for the Sunday session.

Click below to hear the choir.

Choir Singing

This was 20 minutes before the meeting started and it filled to over flowing.
L to R President Faundez, Coban Mission, President Maas, Chulac District, President Norman, Guatemala City Temple.
Mom asked this sister, Maria Yat, to bear her testimony during mom's talk.  She was one of the sisters that we set apart and made a temple worker during their last visit to the temple.  She really helped us out a lot.
Headed up the mountain after conference.
After conference we were again invited to the home of President Maas to eat a lunch of Kak’ik.  This is what I found on the internet. “The Kak'ik is a turkey soup-stew which features a number of spices from which achiote, coriander, and a number of chilies stand out. Following is a visual homage to the cultural traditions kept alive by Mayan women of the Q'eqchi' ethnic group who still kill, clean, and cook the turkey as has been done for generations.”  At first, it is quite spicy, but after the first half inch of broth, most of the heat is gone.  I finished all of my soup.  The Fishers shared a bowl and then gave it to the missionaries; mom ate a little and turned her bowl over to the missionaries also.  Of course, they were delighted to help them out.  It was quite spicy at first and with no napkins, I had to go out to the car and get our standby roll of toilet paper, always carried in a plastic bag, because my nose was running and my fingers were very greasy.  But the turkey was very tender and it is a taste that I’m sure I could get used to and even like. Just one more of the fun adventures and blogable (new word) experiences we are having here in Guatemala.  The dining room/kitchen was a large room with bamboo walls, thatched roof and dirt floor.  There was smoke from the open fires.  But we were honored they would invite us into their home.  
This is President Maas' home, where we had lunch.
The Maas' family corn crib.  Holds about a years supply.
Just back from conference.
This little gal about stole my heart.
President Faundez likes tangerines a lot.
I was sitting between Mom and the father of President Maas.  He is the patriarch of the family and has 9 children , 7 of whom are married and live in this compound.  
Kak-ik, traditional turkey soup. My bowl was bigger and had the drumstick because I was one of the honored guests.
No spoons, no napkins just use your fingers for the meat and lift the bowl and drink.
President Faundez and I and the young missionaries were the only ones to finish our bowl of soup.
Cooking over an open fire.
The cooks.
We then drove to Rio Dulce and stayed at Vinas del Lago, our favorite hotel.
I never get tired of the mountains of the Polochic.
Gathering wood is a big activity.  Everyone cooks over an open fire.
But most people don't have a bike they can use.
We never get tired of the view of Lake Izabal.
The sad news we need to include in our blog is that our oldest son, John B., has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  He had a biopsy last week on the tumors in his abdomen and it confirmed he has B Cell type Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  He then underwent a PET scan and they found more cancer in his throat.  Yesterday, he had a bone marrow biopsy.  We don’t have the results of that yet, but we know that they are trying to find out if he also has leukemia.  This is not the kind of news a parent wants to get, but we have faith that things will be ok.  This is a very treatable cancer and we have faith that he will respond well to the treatments.  We do however ask that you please include John B. and his family in your prayers. We have a planned trip to the states on the 26th of December and we will be with everyone, except James and his family, in San Diego for a few days.  Then we will have the baptism of Ginny and Sam’s daughter, Xela, and John and Jill’s son, Jake, in Pasadena.    It will be great to be together.  Although John feels fine and has no symptoms for now, we know that he still needs your faith and prayers.  They will be greatly appreciated.