Guatemala City Temple

Guatemala City Temple
Here is where we will be working until Nov. 2018

Welcome

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, May 29, 2017

May 22nd through May 28th

 May 22nd through May 28thMonday afternoon we had an activity with the temple missionaries and toured the ROC, Records Operation Center, here in the temple complex.  Elder Ocampo is the Director of Family Search for Central America and oversees the ROC. This is the only center outside of the one in Salt Lake City.  They are responsible for negotiating contracts with governments and churches to digitalize their birth, death, and marriage records. They oversee the taking of the pictures and the post processing of the images before they are published on the web for indexing.   After the records are indexed, they are available for anyone to see on Family Search. It was fascinating to see what goes into getting records ready for indexing.  All of the employees at this center are working for the church and gaining an education through the Perpetual Education Fund.  They have been so successful that the church has recently announced that they will be opening more centers in other parts of the world.  
Elder Ocampo welcomed us and arranged our tour of the ROC.
They made a video to help us understand everything that they do at the ROC.
Everyone was pretty interested.
An example of the camera they use to capture the images. 
These flags represent the different countries whose records that they have worked on.
We then had a pot luck dinner and Family Home Evening to welcome new temple missionaries from Belize, Silbert and Jennifer Gordon.  We also heard the testimonies of Nestor and Olga Madrid, from Guatemala, who will finish their mission the first of June.  It was a very enjoyable afternoon and evening.  
Our pot luck dinner.
We gave a picture of Christ to the Madrid's to thank them for their service.
Tuesday we had presidency meeting and then the afternoon shift.  Wednesday we went to painting class and then spent the afternoon with the Elder Allen and Sister Sonia Call who came to the temple from Rabinal, a small city four hours outside of Guatemala City.  We love to have them come and stay with us and to hear of their adventures in the small branch where they are serving.  We played some cards and went to an endowment session at the temple.  
Wednesday mom dropped off doughnuts to say thanks to the ROC employees.
I worked on Kimballs mouth and I am calling him done.
Mom's painting of lake Atitlan.
I got some flesh tones on Moose.
We had to stage this photo after we finished playing.  We forgot to get a picture of us leaving the temple.
Friday we went to a Senior Missionary zone conference.  Elder Duncan and his wife spoke to us.  This was the last zone conference before they leave for their new assignment in the Temple Department in Salt Lake.  The Hurst’s and the Price’s also bore their testimonies, because it was their last zone conference before they leave.  It was a nice meeting and we felt the Spirit as these servants expressed their love for Guatemala and their testimonies of this work.  
Zone Conference
The group photo at zone conference.
Saturday mom gave a talk to a group of young women who came to the temple to learn more about temple marriage.  We had some time in the afternoon to do some painting.  
Some of the young women that mom spoke to Saturday morning.
One of these girls does not look so happy.
The group photo.
While mom spoke to a group of young women, President Funes spoke to a primary group.
I got some underpainting done on Evan, Miles and Xela and Willa.
Does it look like Miles?
I could not help myself when I saw this on Instagram.
Mom worked on her table on Saturday.
Don't you think this is adorable?
In the evening we went to a ward to speak.  We drove for an hour in heavy rain.  We were unsure about the purpose of the meeting, but on seeing the big wedding cake with an angel Moroni on top, we figured it was on the temple and temple marriage.  After we spoke, they showed wedding pictures of some of the couples while we ate “panches”, potato tamales.  We got home late for us--it was almost 10:00 pm, way past our bedtime.  
Looks like a wedding.
One of the sisters in the ward made the cake.
Posing for the camera.  We do have fun together.
Dinner was a tamale made with potatoes and ponche, a local fruit drink..
Sunday we spoke at the Guatemala City Central stake conference.  This was the first stake that we visited when we arrived 18 months ago.  It was a nice meeting and we now recognize many faces. We are grateful for the growth we can see in our testimonies (and in our Spanish).  The Spirit bore witness of this great work that we are involved in and we felt blessed to attend this conference.  
The choir Sunday morning.
Guatemala City Central stake conference.
L to R Stake President Arreaga, Mission President Crapo, and me.
We spent the afternoon working on power point presentations for a speaking assignment at the Guatemala City North Institute for later that evening.  Our assignment was to speak on virtue.  We tried to make our talks very interactive and it was a lot of fun to be with so many young adults.  
With the Institute Director, Hermano Lopez and President Castellon on the right.
View from the window of the Insitute, Zone 6.
Looking the other way.
It was a wonderful week and we feel so grateful for all the experiences we are having.  A week does not go by that we don’t say to each other, “How did we get here?”  We are still amazed and honored to serve and preside in the House of the Lord here in Guatemala City.  Life is good and God is great.   

Monday, May 22, 2017

May 15th through May 21st

 May 15th through May 21stTuesday I got up early and went with Brother Salazar, part of the security team at the temple, downtown to the bus station to pick up Brother and Sister Gordon from Belize.  At 5:00am they did not want me downtown alone.  They arrived only 15 minutes late and we had them back at the apartments before 6:00am.  Chris and I then went to the temple and did a session and then had presidency meeting.  We then took the Hurst’s and the Gordon’s to Brother Jacome’s  street food stand, for lunch.  He is one of our temple workers and has not been coming lately.  I got to talk to him about what is going on.  He is having a difficult time finding help, someone he can trust to cook when he needs to come to his shift.  We then took the Gordon’s grocery shopping.  
On our walk Tuesday, the air smelled like perfume. 
Mom is killing it at the gym.
Lunch at Brother Jacome's food stand.
Brother Jocome cooking up our lunch.
Wednesday we went to our painting class and then to a birthday celebration for Brother Reyna.  He turned 74 on Wednesday.  He is so cute and a real asset and blessing for us in the temple.  We then did our afternoon shift.  
Kimball is about done.
This is the picture I have been working off of.
Mom's landscape of Lake Atitlan is coming along nicely.
I got my chest antiqued this week.
Brother Reyna's birthday party.

Click below to see his celebration             
Happy Birthday Brother Reyna
Saturday after the morning shift, we went to the Utatlan stake conference and spoke in the adult session.  
Adult session Saturday night.
Sunday we went to the general session and we both spoke.  In the evening, we went to a fireside for the single adults over 30 and spoke on family history.  We had a power point showing all the things you can add to an ancestor’s page, things like photos, documents, stories and audio clips. We really had a great conference and felt the Spirit and the love of our Savior.  We always get recharged when things go well and we feel the Spirit so powerfully.  What a blessing it is in our lives to have these wonderful opportunities every week.  
Sunday morning they had a children's choir singing before the conference session started.

Click below to hear the children singing           
Children's Choir
Kid are kids everywhere.

Click below to hear the combined choir.           
Adult and Children's Choir
After the Sunday session.
L to R President Caffaro, mission president, President Avila, stake president, Elder Galvez, area seventy, and some old guy whose suit coat doesn't fit since he has lost 40+ lbs.
The Caffaro's only have a few weeks left.  It was nice to be with them one last time.
We are getting excited to be in Senahu in two weeks with Elder Renlund for the creation of the new stake there.  We found out this week that Elder and Sister Reyna, the area public affairs directors, are going to ride up with us.  It will be fun to have them with us because that 7 hour drive is a killer.

Monday, May 15, 2017

May 8th through May 14th


On May 5th, Fuego was spouting off again.
 May 8th through May 14thMonday we headed with the North American missionaries to Ciudad Vieja to find a shop that refurbishes old school buses from the United States and changes them into one of the thousands of “chicken buses” that are the major form of transportation for the masses here in Guatemala.  Wikipedia:  “A chicken bus  is a colloquial English name for a colorful, modified and decorated bus that transports goods and people between communities in various Latin American countries, especially HondurasGuatemalaElSalvadorNicaragua and Panama. The base vehicle is usually a retired North American school bus on a light or medium truck chassis. The word "chicken" may refer to the fact that the buses are often crammed with passengers not unlike a truck load of chickens, or to the fact that Central Americans occasionally transport live animals on such buses–a practice that visitors from other countries often find remarkable.” 
They strip everything out of the school buses and fix any rust or other problems.
They fix all the rust on the outside and then they start painting.
The finish product is a work of art.
It was interesting to learn that they fly a driver to the states and he then buys at auction an old school bus for $1500 to $2000 dollars and then drives the bus to Guatemala.  The transformation takes about 2 months and then the bus is sold for $8,000 to $10,000 dollars depending on how much chrome and embellishment the owner wants on the bus. We then drove to Antigua to the bus station to see finished chicken buses. 
Lots of chrome, lights and adornment.
Bus station in Antigua.
At any time of day there are about 100 buses coming or going to every part of the country.
Volcano Agua from the bus terminal in Antigua.
After some quick shopping , we headed to Hobbitenango, a boutique hotel and restaurant, on top of one of the many mountains that surround Antigua.  We found the parking lot on the side of the mountain and a driver was waiting to take us the rest of the way.  We piled into the back of a 4X4 pickup and he drove us up to the hotel.  The road was very steep and the cost was $1.50 and worth every penny.  We had lunch and a tour of the hobbit homes that they have built as their hotel rooms.  Eldon and Dawn Hurst stayed in the one with the red door during one of the temple closures.  The views were spectacular and it was one of the things, along with visiting a bus shop, which everyone wanted to check off their bucket list.  
One of our favorite shopping places, Nim Po't in Antigua.  Hundreds and hundreds of huipiles.
Ready for our ride up the mountain to Hobbitenango.
The picture doesn't really show how steep the road is.
We are not making up the name Hobbitenango, Land of the Hobbit.
Hobbit house anyone?
The hobbit doors are just like in the movie, very short.
The rooms were quite nice and comfy. 
The views were spectacular. 
I think you can figure out what this is--only for men.
So beautiful and inspiring. 
Mom and her daughter walking on the side of the road.
This is a garbage truck.  They sort as the drive along.
Tuesday we had the morning shift and presidency meeting.  Wednesday we went to our painting class and then had the afternoon shift.  
The eyes are about done.  This next week I will work on the nose and mouth.
Mom is starting to add color.
They just replanted all the flower beds at the temple.
Thursday morning we took the Hurst’s, Price’s and Winkfield’s to the Miraflores Museum. The Miraflores mall was built over part of the ancient ruins of the Mayan city,  Kaminaljuyu (1500 BC-1200 AD) and they have a small museum there. In the afternoon, I finished painting the carved wood chest we bought and Chris worked on her table.  
I need to learn how to smile.
Miraflores Museum.
Pottery they found during the building of the Mall.
Carved stone statues.
More Pottery.
Carvings in the stone that probably tell a story.
More Pottery.
They found a tomb and have recreated it.
More Pottery.
They also have a bunch of snakes as part of the museum.
The chest is painted but I am going to antique it now.
Mom's table is coming along nicely.
Friday we had the morning shift. Saturday we switched with the Funes’ and did the morning shift again so that we could leave for Coban as soon as possible.  The traffic wasn’t too bad and we arrived in Coban at 3:30 and the dinner with all of the stake and district presidents wasn’t until 6:00, so we had time for a stop at Megapaca.  I found two pair of Levis for $10.00.  They are slightly used, but still a bargain.  The two pair I had previously bought at Megapaca now have paint on them and so I needed a new pair and when you find two pair your size, you buy both.  We arrived at the home of President and Sister Faundez in time to help with the last minute preparations.  Dinner was very enjoyable and the Faundez’ are gracious and welcoming hosts.  The new area seventy, Elder Arredondo and his wife, also joined us for dinner.  This was to welcome Elder Arredondo and to say good bye to President Cuz from Senahu.  In three weeks he will be released as the district president when Elder Renlund creates the new stake in Senahu.  
Mom helping Sister Faundez make sopaipillas.
Sopaipillas
Saturday night dinner at President Faundez's home in Coban. L to R  President Faundez, President Xol, Sacsuha, Elder Arredondo and his wife, the woman in the back Elizabeth, the housekeeper/cook, Brother Lopez, secretary to the mission presidency, President Vela at the end, counselor in the mission presidency, mom, me, President Hernandez, San Benito, President Cuz, Senahu, President Coy, Coban.
Sunday I attended the area coordinating council meeting.  After the meeting they served us Kak ik, a turkey soup, which is a famous local dish.  These are dedicated men and it was a pleasure to be with them for the weekend.  I had the opportunity to teach them a little about the temple and the blessings of being a temple worker.  We are asking that all the leaders become restricted workers and help us when their stakes and districts come to the temple.  
Coordinating Council meeting.
Kak ik
We have become very close to President Faundez and his wife.
Lunch was amazing.
We then drove President Cuz and President Xol to San Julian, which was on our way back to Guatemala.  There they will get a bus to take them into the Polochic valley.  It will take them longer to get home than it will take for us to drive back to the capital.  We got home about 5:00pm and called all the kids to wish our daughters and daughter-in-laws happy mother’s day.  It was a long weekend but we felt the love of the Lord as went about our responsibilities.  Much of our driving this weekend was in rain storms.  The rainy season has started and everything is turning lush and very green.  We express our love for this work and our firm testimonies that our Father in Heaven loves us and wants us to return to Him.  Everything He does or has ever done is to help us return and live with Him and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  We are so blessed.
They carry the coffin from the church to the cemetery here in Guatemala.