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, March 27, 2017

March 20th through March 26th

 March 20th through March 26th: Monday after shopping we went to a birthday party for Sister Rosales.  It was a lot of fun to celebrate with all the other temple missionaries.  We are blessed to serve with such devoted and all-around great people.  We have truly made eternal friends. 
President Rosales took pictures of all the couples at Zenia's birthday party.
They served lunch at her party.
The wind actually blew the candles out.
Those smiles are not fake, we really are happy.
Tuesday we had presidency meeting and then did the afternoon shift.  The Elder and Sister Call who are serving in the Coban Mission and assigned to Rabinal came to the temple and are staying with us for 2 nights.  Wednesday we went to paint class and then went to lunch with the Call’s and afterwards went to Beauty and the Beast.  
Mom's new picture week 2.
This is Ellie, my oldest granddaughter.  Week 3
Wednesday afternoon's diversion.
We then played a game of Up and Down and Sets and Runs.  It was fun to spend some time with them.  Elder Call is the Branch President and also supervises a small group in another town.  They are on their own and I know how important it is to get your batteries recharged.  I hope we helped them.  Friday afternoon during our shift we had a group of women come from the Milagro stake and they had about 20 women who were not endowed and so I went over to the Nursery and spoke to them and then we had about 70 women from the Monserrat stake come at 6:30pm.  Mom spoke to them and we ended up filling two sessions for them and finished up about 10:30pm.  It was a great day, long but great.  Saturday I did some painting and talked to the kids.  I started a painting a few weeks ago of my granddaughter Ellie and my wife explained that if I do one of them I had better be prepared to do them all.  So I have asked some of my children to send me pictures of their kids about the time they were baptized.  That way they all will be painted at about the same age.  I only have 6 that have been baptized, so I will have to get them done and then do the others as they turn eight. It is the first time I have tried to paint a living person that everyone knows.  I hope I have not made a serious mistake by taking this on.  We went to a ward activity where everyone brought a food from a foreign country where they had lived.  We took pot stickers to represent China.  
Ward activity Saturday afternoon.
Lots of interesting food from different countries.
The food was great and all our pot stickers got eaten.
The ward had requested photos from the different places we had served or visited.  They then showed a slide-show and it was fun to see the many different countries people had visited.  We came home and mom watched the women’s conference and I got to watch some March Madness.  Sunday we went and spoke at the Lo de Coy ward.  About 4 weeks ago, we missed a fireside that I had agreed to speak at and this was a second chance to redeem.  At the time, we were training in the temple and when I accepted the speaking engagement weeks before for the fireside; neither the recorder nor I got it on the calendar.  I felt really bad and hope that we did a good job in the sacrament meeting.  Sunday afternoon we trained a group of stake leaders from the Bosques de San Nicolas stake.  The weeks are flying by and in two weeks Ginny and her family will be here to visit for Easter and we are so looking forward to seeing some grandkids.  Chris has been buying toys for the girls and plastic eggs for Easter and getting everything ready for their visit.  Life is so good and we are so happy to be able to serve the good people of Guatemala.  Our lives are much richer for this experience.  We are so blessed.  

Monday, March 20, 2017

March 13th through March 19th

 March 13th through March 19th: Monday we went early to Walmart and after our shopping we all headed to Antigua.  Sister Hurst had an appointment with a chiropractor.  We found a couple of churches we had never visited before and then went shopping and we had lunch before heading back to Guatemala City.  
Monday in Antigua.
El Carmen church and convent.
Close up of El Carmen church and convent.
Las Capuchinas church and convent.
Courtyard at Las Capuchinas.
The inside of the church at Las Capuchinas.
The inside of the church at Las Capuchinas.
Very cool old wood doors.
Plaster statue, Las Capuchinas.
Plaster statue, Las Capuchinas.
Angel at Las Capuchinas.
What's left of a round building at Las Capuchinas.
Inside of round building.
More statues.
Lunch in Antigua.
Tuesday we had presidency meeting and then did some more shopping for the two lunches we are going to provide for Elder Alonzo’s visit on Thursday and Friday for the temple review.  
Wednesday we went to our paint class and then did our afternoon shift.  
Mom started another painting.
Week two.
Thursday we went over early to the temple and met Elder Alonzo.  He started our temple review with a meeting with mom and me.  We had a wonderful day filled with lots of spiritual experiences.  We finished up about 9:30pm and went to bed tired, but on cloud nine. 
Lunch on Thursday, L to R  Sister Rosales, Mom, Elder Alonzo, Brother Abidillo, temple recorder, Brother Ibanez, assistant engineer, Brother Carranza, assistant temple recorder.
Friday we again started early and in our final meeting Elder Alonzo was very complimentary and said some very nice things about our service here in the temple.  When we finished up at 10:30pm we were exhausted.  We had 6 sessions in 3 hours with most of the sessions completely full of mostly women.  It was the birthday of the Relief Society and there were a couple of stake relief societies that scheduled visits.  I think that the two days spent with Elder Alonzo were the longest, but the most edifying and uplifting days we have had here.  We were able to express our gratitude for the things we have learned and the love we feel for our Savior.  We also felt the Savior’s love for us through His representative, Elder Alonso.  It is hard to describe in words how completely happy we were.  
Lunch on Friday-making cafe Rio salads.
Saturday we headed for Coban.  We stayed with President and Sister Faundez.  I spoke in the Priesthood leadership meeting and then mom and I both spoke in the adult session.  We again felt an outpouring of the Spirit.  
Saturday afternoon before priesthood leadership session.  L to R, President Coy, stake president, President Faundez, mission preisdent Coban Mission, me, President Corletto, 2nd counselor stake presidency.
Priesthood Leadership Session.
Floral arrangements for stake conference.
Just some kids having fun after conference.
Saturday night adult session.
Sunday, in the general session, I spoke about the Kekchi greeting “ma sala chol” which means, “How is your heart”?  I again had a very spiritual experience and felt like I had received personal inspiration as to what I should talk about.  It was a talk that I have never given before and I am so grateful that, as I sat listening to the speakers before me, I had ideas come into my head that I have never had before.  The choir was one of the best we have heard in all of Guatemala. Click on the links to hear them before and after the general session.
Sunday morning. 2017
Same chapel 2016.  One year ago.
The choir Sunday Morning.

Click below to hear the choir.
Hear Sunday's choir.
General session Sunday morning.

Click below the hear the choir.
Right after the close of the General Session
Mom has some new friends in Coban.
Some of the choir members.

Click below to hear the choir.
One more choir number.
It took us 4 hours to drive home.  This week has been fun and full of truly remarkable experiences.  It will be a long time before we have another week like this last one. 
We got stuck in road construction again.

Monday, March 13, 2017

March 6th through March 12th

March 6th through March 12thMonday, after shopping and lunch, we went over to house number 6 where there are 4 apartments and we helped the Fillmore’s make ninety 72-hour food kits for the full-time missionaries in the Guatemala Central Mission.  They bought pizza so we got a snack and Sister Hurst make chocolate chip cookies.  That ruined any weight loss for the last two weeks.  
Making 72-hour kits.
Wednesday we went to our paint class and then straight to the temple for our shift.  
Mom says she is done.

This is a new painting I started this week.
I didn't get very far.  Just some color on the face.
Thursday morning mom went to an expat luncheon and met a group of women who are here on assignment with the embassy.  In the afternoon, we switched with the Funes and took their afternoon shift, so that we could have Friday free so that mom could go on a field trip with the area sisters to Safe Passage, a NGO that works to educate the children of families that work and live in the city dump.  These are the poorest of the poor here in Guatemala.  Friday Chris and 20 others visited the two sites near the dump where Safe Passage operates.  We then went shopping, because the sister missionaries from our local ward are coming to dinner on Sunday.  
On the bus to visit Safe Passage.
First, we drove through the city cemetery in order to look down into the dump.  We passed the mausoleum of the Gallo beer family,  imitating an Egyptian temple.  More modest burial spaces are next to it.
The city dump.
Safe Passage was founded in 1999 by a young woman from Maine who decided to open a school for the children living and working in the city dump.  She was killed in a car accident in 2007, but her work is carried on by many dedicated volunteers.
A class of four year-old children playing a game with a volunteer teacher.

Click below to see the class.
Class is being taught.
The hall outside of the class rooms.
The school play ground.
These are women from the dump who have completed adult education classes.  However, they could not find work because of their backgrounds.  So some volunteers have taught them how to make jewelry from magazines.  They are holding some of their creations and they can now make a living on their own.
They got to eat lunch at the school.
The field trip group to Safe Passage.
Saturday after our afternoon shift, we went with all the North American temple missionaries and Elder Fillmore to dinner at San Martins.  
Dinner at San Martins.
Sunday we spoke at the Palmita stake conference.  This is the same stake where just a few weeks ago we spoke at a special conference with Elder Rasband.  There was a powerful Spirit there and it was wonderful to feel uplifted and edified.  We love speaking in these conferences, although I usually need a Kleenex when I am finished.  We hurried home and fixed dinner for the sister missionaries.  It was fun to have them to dinner and share their excitement and the spirit of missionary work.  
The choir practicing before conference.

Click below to hear the choir.                 
 Palmita stake choir
President Lopez, stake president.
Palmita stake conference. 
Elder Maravilla, Palmita stake conference.
Sister Ortiz and Sister Berry our dinner companions Sunday.
Now a little story about how the Lord is in the details and there are really no coincidences.  On Feb. 27th, I received an email from a Brother and Sister Johnson who live in Arizona, wanting to know if we needed temple missionaries and would we want them because they don’t speak Spanish.  We have had good experiences with couples having successful missions even when they arrive with very little Spanish.  We responded in the affirmative by email and I called them on the phone.  We answered many of their questions and put them in contact with the Winkfield’s to answer any other questions they might have.  The Winkfield’s spent an hour on Skype with them.  Then on March 8th I received the following email from Sister May, who is from Idaho, who finished her mission with her husband Leonard last December.
Dear President and Sister Norman,
Leonard has been single-minded in his temple visits. Thus far we have done sessions in California, Utah, Arizona and Nevada...16 in all and Spanish sessions whenever we can. Today we came on to the Gila River temple after a session in Gilbert.  We arrived just 5 min late for the session and so were able to participate in initiatory. While waiting, a Sister Johnson came in to do just one name in order to sit in the Celestial Room.  She asked if I was an ordinance worker so I shared our experience and recent return from Guatemala. She lit up!  Said she'd talked with you and the Winkfields and they were hoping to be called to serve in the temple there!  Of course I was able to describe you in glowing terms which was wonderfully easy to do and answer a few questions about our experience there in a most positive way.  Also easy!  She said "That's where we want to go but of course they may not call us there
Thinking of you often, loving your blog and painting progress. The Mays
I forgot to mention that the reason Sister Johnson wanted to go to the Celestial room was for confirmation of their mission choice. She said, "Well I guess that was an answer, not a coincidence.”

I believe that she got a definite answer that they are supposed to come here.  I love that Leonard and Marilyn were on a road trip to visit as many temples in the west that they could and that they arrived late and decided to do initiatory and then Marilyn and Sister Johnson started talking.  Marilyn was able to further answer her questions and speak positively of her experience here.  The Lord can do His work and He is in the details, but we still would like to have a few more North American missionaries come and join us.  We only have 19 ½ months left.  Please spread the word.