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, 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.
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.

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