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, July 31, 2017

July 24th through July 30th

Pacaya poking through the clouds.

 July 24th through July 30thMonday we called our kids, at least the ones that were on top of Ensign Peak and sang “High on a Mountain Top” with them.  This has been a tradition in our family for many years to commemorate the entrance of the Mormon pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley in July 1847.  Since we couldn’t be with them in person, a facetime appearance was the next best thing.  
John and Jill and their family Ensign Peak July 24th 2017
Charlotte and Alex and family, Ensign Peak July 24th 2017
We then headed to shopping and as we left, we saw that there was a big crane next to the temple.  I had to stop and check out what was going on.  They were getting ready to lift a basket up with some workers who were going to clean Angel Moroni.  
The crane was very impressive.
On the way up to clean Moroni.
Looking from the back of the temple.
Thursday, our free day, I started early chopping veggies and getting the chicken and beef cut and marinating and mom worked on making a Texas sheet cake. We spent all day cooking and getting ready to feed 7 new stake presidents and their wives, President and Sister Rosales and Brother Abadillo.  With the two of us, that made 19 for dinner.  We made spicy cucumber slices, copycat Panda Express Beijing Beef, copycat Panda Express orange chicken, stir fry chicken in spicy peanut sauce, mixed veggies, won tons, and white rice.  Everyone really enjoyed the meal and then we had the opportunity to talk to the stake presidents about how the temple can help them in their calling and help their members more fully live the gospel.  It was a very nice evening.  We were exhausted by the end.  
Cutting onions for all the different dishes.
We are ready for our dinner.
Mom making the last minute adjustments.
Everyone is digging in.
Table #1
Table #2
We had the early morning shift the next day and we had a hard time getting going.  Saturday we had the Villa Nueva stake come in the evening and they filled the temple and we didn’t get home until 9:30pm.  The temple was very busy most of the day.  Sunday we went to a branch and we were the only speakers for Sacrament meeting, which meant that we had to talk longer than we normally do, but it went well.  Then I taught the combined 5th Sunday priesthood and relief society class.  The relief society president prepared some sandwiches for us so we would not have to travel on an empty stomach.  It is only about 45 minutes outside of Guatemala City.  It was very scenic.  
The scene from the chapel in Palencia, looking west at the volcanos.
Looking north.
During Sunday School, mom went to the Family History Class.
After the combined Relief Society and Priesthood class. 
After the meetings they wanted a picture of everyone.
Mom had to have this picture because of the sister's t-shirt--Tanner Dance from The University of Utah.  We are convinced that Mega Paca buys bundles of clothes from Deseret Industries.
This is Brother Estrada, one of the maintenance workers at the temple, and his family.
The Granja family--the two sisters on either side of us are temple workers with their parents.
Sister Estrada, the Relief Society President.
We came home and prepared for one more meeting where we were the main speakers.  We then went to the San Cristobal stake for the final meeting of their stake youth conference.  It was a nice meeting and we so enjoy being with the saints, be it a small branch out in the "boondocks" or a big stake conference here in the city.   We had a busy week filled with memorable spiritual experiences and we feel so blessed to be here on this assignment.  I know I say that every week but it’s true and I don’t know how to say it differently.

Monday, July 24, 2017

July 17th through July 23rd

One of our workers sent this to me this last week.  We are not faking it, we were having a good time.
July 17th through July 23rd: Monday we went shopping and then took the Gordon’s and the Winkfield’s to the Oakland mall to have lunch at Panda Express and then go to the new Spiderman movie.  We had a nice afternoon together.  We had a great week back in the temple.  It was busier than usual.  I guess people had missed the temple during the two week closure and they wanted to come the first week it was open again.  Wednesday we spent the day cooking for the secretaries, the two recorders and the presidency.  We are going to cook for 9 new stake presidents and their wives next week (we will be feeding 24) and I needed to try out two new Chinese recipes, copycat Panda Express orange chicken and Peking beef.  It went well and they thought both dishes were excellent.  Saturday was really busy.  We had 16 sessions and most of them were full.  Saturday afternoon we went to speak at a ward conference.  They were having a dinner for all the adults as part of their ward conference.  The meeting lasted about an hour and then they served ribs, a potatoe, and salad. Mom and I both spoke.  These informal meetings are more fun speak at because you can have a lot of interaction with the members.  
It was a packed house.
Brother and Sister Monroy two of our temple workers.
The flowers were magnificent.
We had entertainment for our dinner.
This is our table for dinner.  L to R the stake patriarch and his wife, Sister and Bishop Perez, Mom and I, Brother and Sister Velasquez, first counselor, and Sister and Brother Lopez, second counselor.
Sunday after church, in the afternoon, we had a planning meeting in the temple for the temple presidency and our recorder.  We then spoke with most of our children.  They are getting ready to celebrate pioneer days in Utah and Ginny and Sam are enjoying India.  Sam is working on a project there for 2 months and Ginny and the girls are with him.  Charlotte, her son, Evan, and John and Jill’s son, Moose/James, are coming to visit us in three weeks and they and we are getting excited for their visit. Evan and Moose turn 12 this summer and we wanted them to come and do baptisms for the dead here in the temple we work in.  I wanted to say in our temple, but it is not ours, it is the Lord’s temple.  We are just privileged to preside here for a time.  We feel so blessed by this assignment and still wonder “How did we get here?”, “Why us?”  We never seem to find an adequate answer.  We are only left with the feeling of profound gratitude and awe by this calling.  

Monday, July 17, 2017

July 10th through July 16th

I received this photo and message.  President Norman - thought I should share this.  Sister Shumway and I attended our first baptism in country yesterday afternoon.  The Saavedra Family from the La Reformita Ward in the Mariscal Stake.  Father, mother, and their 3 daughters.  They made their decision to proceed with baptism after a remarkable experience about 2 weeks ago as they walked around the temple.  Your 1st Counselor befriended them and touched their hearts as he taught the truths of eternal families through sealing ordinances.  You'll see them in white, again, next July.  Our thanks to your 1st counselor.  Presidente Shumway
July 10th through July 16thMonday we left at 7:00 am to go to Quetzaltenango (Xela).  Neither the Winkfield’s nor the Gordon’s have been to the temple there.  We arrived in time for lunch and as we were trying to decide where to eat, mom remembered that when we were in Xela with Ginny and family, we ate at a placed called Tacos Tabascos. I loved the pork tacos, so we went there for lunch.  
Tocos Tabascos
We enjoyed our meal of Mexican Food.
The restaurant had a security guard who watched our car.
We then went to the main market and walked around.
The markets are a total sensory experience.

The colors on the fabrics are so amazing.
I want to buy one of each.
Mom bought one of these aprons last year.
You can find just about anything you need in these markets.
Are you ready for lunch?
The embroidery is so wonderful.
Women sit and sell whatever in the aisles. 
They wait patiently for their next customer.
There is not much rhyme or reason to where things are sold.
One of the main churches in Xela.  It is by the main market.
We ended up at the temple where we were warmly welcomed by President and Sister Galvez.  They invited us to dinner and family home evening with all the temple missionaries.  They had made pupusas and they were delicious.  
Dinner with the temple missionaries in Xela.
Family Home Evening
View from our window of Xela.
As the sun is coming up.
Daytime view of Xela.
As the sun is going down.
Words somehow don't do this justice.
Tuesday we got up early and went to the temple.  Mom had spent time with the Gordons who are from Belize to get the names and dates in Family Search for their parents and grandparents.  
In the morning sunshine.
Ready for a day in the temple.
The sun was very bright.
The stone work is so beautiful.
The stained glass windows are impressive.
This volcano is only a few miles from the temple.
We did the baptisms and initiatory for them and some of our own names.  We then went to see the market in Salcaja.  
This market is set up in the street.
She is selling shrimp.
Boots for sale next to veggies.
After wandering around for an hour then we headed to San Andr├ęs Xecul to see their famous painted church.  We came back to the temple and did a sealing session with our family names.  
In front of the church in San Andres Xecul.
Wednesday we got up early and went and did the endowment for as many of the Gordons names as we could.  We were going to return to Guatemala via Lake Atitlan, but as we were leaving the temple we were told that all of the main highways were blocked with demonstrations by the union for the farmers.  We called Elder Hill, the area executive secretary, whom we had seen the night before at the temple and told him about the roads.  We called the area director of security and he told us not to try and leave.  
Sometimes Lola our GPS gal gets us in a traffic jam.
She took us through the bus station and things moved very slowly.
Our lunch group.  L to R Sister Gordon, Sister Winkfield, Sister and Brother Marker, Sister Hill's brother and sister-in-law, Sister and Elder Hill, and Mom and I. 
He told us to hang out and we could leave at 6:00 pm.  So we all went to lunch.  About 4:00 pm Brother Rodriguez called and said he had heard that the road closures were over and we could head home.  We got home about 8:00 pm.  Thursday I went over to the temple to check on how all the projects were going. We are getting new tile in the baptistery, new fabric on the benches in the endowment rooms and new mirrors in the sealing rooms.  Things are looking great.  I spent some time painting and mom did some sewing and laundry.  
Mom caught me working on a painting of my grandson Moose.
I got his shirt and jacket finished.
Saturday we had our summer party for all the temple workers and their companions.  We both spoke in a short meeting to thank our workers and leave them with a message.  
The meeting before our party.
Mom and her assistants. L Sister Rosales, R Sister Funes.
Me and my counselors. L President Rosales, R President Funes.
We then went to a large covered building where we had tables set up and a marimba band playing.  We had a great time eating pache, potato tamales, bread and hot chocolate and dancing up a storm.  Everyone had a great time.  
Lined up for pache.

Click below to see some dancing.                     
More dancing

Click below to see more dancing.                      
Just a little more dancing
Mom had a great time.

Click below to see mom's moves                     
Mom enjoys dancing to marimba music

Click below to see us dancing.                         
Mom and Dad cutting the rug

Click below to see more of mom dancing.          
More of mom dancing.
Mom danced with everyone.
One of our sealers, Brother Paredes, joined the band.
We have had two weeks of downtime and have loved visiting the temples in San Salvador and Xela.  They are beautiful temples and they help me feel the majesty of the Plan of Happiness.  We are excited that our temple opens up next Tuesday.  
Fuego was up to it's old tricks this last week.