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, February 27, 2017

February 20th through February 26th

President Funes getting turned around and around before he starts swinging at the pinata.
February 20th through February 26th: Monday we took all the missionaries that live in the temple apartments and the Elder and Sister Call who are assigned to Rabinal (23 in total) to Las Colinas, a church property outside of Chimaltenango that the church uses as a camp for youth conferences. In December, during an area EFY , the “Face to Face” with Elder and Sister D. Todd Christofferson  originated from one of the buildings on this property.  It is a huge property and we walked around for about an hour and then put up a piƱata and took turns trying to knock it down.  We had a lot of fun and some of our missionaries were like little kids when the candy finally fell on the ground.  We then had lunch.  We had arranged to have our lunch prepared by the caretaker’s wife.  
Starting our hike.
President Rosales was our guide.  He had been here on a number of camp outs with the youth.
Things were pretty dry.
It is a beautiful property.
This security guard wanted to make sure we did not get lost.
This property was once a coffee plantation.
Coffee bushes.
This tree got knock down but is still growing and has green leaves trying to reach up into the heavens. 
Resting after our hike around the property.
President Rosales resting up after our hike.
They had a number of large fields where they would set up tents for the campers. 
They have room for more than 1000 campers.
These buildings are restrooms and showers.
This is the building where the Face to Face with Elder Cristofferson was held. 
Doesn't she look cute.
During the week, mom and I went shopping for the pinata.  It cost us $5.00.
Mom did not have much luck.
You had to really hurry if you wanted some candy.
Brother Reyna is quite the jokester.
Lunch is served.
This is our crew.
Friday we had our paint class and then mom went to a birthday luncheon for Sister Hurst and Sister Wood.  
I finished this painting during the week and took it to show Jill, our teacher.  I really enjoyed doing this one with a pallet knife.
I worked on her eyes, mouth and blouse.
Mom added the background.
The Sisters luncheon for the birthday girls.
They started with desert.
The birthday girls.  Sister Wood on the left and Sister Hurst on the right.
Saturday we had the early shift, 4:00am to 12:00 noon.  It is very early to get up, but we love being in the temple on Saturday morning because it is always full of faithful members and is so busy.   We came home and had lunch and then went to the Guatemala stake conference and I spoke in the Priesthood session and then mom and I spoke in the adult session.  
Priesthood session Guatemala stake conference, Saturday afternoon.
The choir for the adult session Saturday evening.
Adult session Saturday evening.
Sunday we got up early and went to the Esperanza stake conference and spoke in two different general sessions.  Elder Ochoa had invited us to attend this conference with him and so we split our time between two different conferences on Saturday and Sunday.  
Choir for theEsperanza stake conference Sunday morning in the Leyenda ward building.
1st general session in the Leyenda ward building.  This was 2 wards.
Flower arrangements for the 2nd general session in the Esperanza ward building.
I love the Bird of Paridise flowers.
2nd general session Esperanza ward building.  4 wards.
2nd session Sunday morning.
President Castanon.  I don't have a n with a squiggle over it.  His name would be pronounced as Castayon.
President Lopez, 1st counselor and his family.
We got to talk to some of our kids in the evening.  Tilda (3 years old) says her name is not Tilda anymore and that she is now Mary and her dad is her “lamb”.  We laughed and laughed at her and her imagination.  It was a great week and we enjoyed so much the conferences we were able to go to and speak at.  It is always an uplifting experience to feel the Spirit witness so strongly of the truths of the gospel of Christ.  This is one of the many blessings of being the temple president.  You get invited to a lot of conferences and have a lot of opportunity to bear testimony of the temple.
Elder Rasband presenting a Cristus to the director of the children's cancer hospital.

Elder Rasband visited a children's cancer hospital and presented them some donated equipment.

Monday, February 20, 2017

February 13th through February 19th

 February 13th through February 19th:  This week went by really fast and I didn’t take pictures of some of the things we did.  Tuesday after our shift and presidency meeting we went and found the new P F Chang’s restaurant and had a Valentine’s Day lunch together. 
Valentine's Day lunch.
Wednesday was a busy day with our painting class and then straight to the temple for our afternoon shift.  
We went to dinner at Applebee’s after our Saturday shift with most of the temple missionaries.  Sunday afternoon we had a training meeting for the Utatlan stake restricted workers.  Elder and Sister Call from Rabinal arrived just as we were leaving the temple.  They are going to stay with us for two days.  They had to come to the capital to meet on Monday with immigration.  Sorry for the lack of pictures but I promise to do better next week.  We have a fun activity planned for Monday.   

Monday, February 13, 2017

February 6th through February 12th

 February 6th through February 12th: Tuesday we had a long day at the temple, presidency meeting and then the afternoon shift, finishing up about 10:00pm.  But we were busy and the time flew by.  Wednesday we traded with the Rosales so we could go to our paint class.  It was fun and we are learning a lot.  
After fourth class.
After fifth class.
After second class.
After third class.
Friday after our shift, we went to dinner with President and Sister Faundez from Coban and Elder and Sister Fillmore.  
Dinner at Applebees.
Saturday we went over to the temple and welcomed Bishop Davies of the Presiding Bishopric and Elder Ochoa.  They were here to look at all the properties around the temple.  Mom and I then had the opportunity to have lunch with Elder Rasband, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Elder Christensen, one of the 7 presidents of the Seventy and his wife, Bishop Davies, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric and his wife, Elder Duncan, the area President and his wife, Elder Camay, an area Seventy and his wife, 2 mission presidents and their wives, the MTC president and his wife and about 20 stake and district presidents and their wives.  Elder Rasband took the time to walk around the room and shake hands and say hello to everyone.  
Some of the guests at the luncheon.
Elder Rasband welcomed us and thanked us for our service.
Lunch with Elder Rasband, Elder Christensen and Bishop Davies,  I sat next to Bishop Davies during the luncheon.
I then had the opportunity to sit on the stand with them during a Priesthood Leadership Conference.  Elder Rasband was the first speaker and his message to the leaders was that they needed to help the members increase their faith in Jesus Christ.  He invited me to bear my testimony about how the temple can help us to have greater faith in Christ.  As I stood next to him, he had his arm in mine and was holding me close. I felt his love and our Savior’s love.  I was surprised and a little nervous, but it was a subject that I have used in other talks so I didn’t make a fool of myself.  I was the only person invited to share their testimony.  Elder Christensen spoke next.  When he was done, they excused Elder Rasband.  He had been going all day and had an area-wide broadcast for all the young single adults in the evening.  He also had not been feeling well.  Bishop Davies, Elder Duncan and Elder Camay spoke and then they invited the stake presidents and bishops to ask questions.  They assigned different people to answer questions.  I gave a few comments about how returned missionaries could serve as ordinances workers to help them stay active and faithful.  
President and Sister Faundez stayed at our home Friday and Saturday night.
Sunday we went to a special stake conference in the Palmita stake.  Elder Rasband was presiding.  He asked me to take 5 minutes and talk about the temple.  I really felt the Spirit and with my nose running and tears in my eyes, I talked about how the temple can help increase our faith in Jesus Christ, adding on what I had said the day before.  I used a quote that I have to translate back into English because I’m not sure where I read it.  It says, “As you contribute to this great work, talking about temple work, your knowledge and faith in the Savior will increase and you will receive a testimony of the certainty that life continues on the other side of the veil. You will receive protection from the temptations that surround you and you will prepare yourself, as well as prepare the world in which you live for the second coming of the Lord.”  I talked about the need to not only know about Christ, but that we need to come to know Him, as taught by Elder Bednar. Quoting John 17:3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” I said that I did not know of a better place, not only to learn about Jesus Christ, but to come to know Him, than in His house.  During Elder Rasband’s closing talk, he complimented me on my testimony of yesterday and today.  He said he could tell that I was a servant of God and that I had a great love of the temple.  He spoke a lot about the temple and that it needs to be the focus of our lives.  After the meeting he walked by me and stopped, said thanks and then said “I hope what I said helps.” I know he was talking about the temple and attendance, but his kind words about me lifted my spirit and made me feel like my service is of value and recognized.  
Palmita Stake Conference.
Everyone is standing so Elder and Sister Rasband can leave.
It is the first time in my life that I have spoken in a meeting and rubbed shoulders with an Apostle of the Lord.  I will never forget the feelings of this last weekend.  I told you last week it just keeps getting better and better. We are so blessed.