Thursday, February 5, 2015

Happy Birthday

We celebrated with Kelli Cragun her 65th birthday on Thursday, January 29th.  We hired our secretary's husband who has a transporation business to chauffer us to Pecorini's for a birthday dinner.  It was great fun not to have to worry about traffic, to be all together in this van and enjoy the festivities of the evening.

 I provided sparkling grape juice.....couldn't find this was second best.  We are surrounded by great friends....the Lloyds, Provinces and Craguns.  They all serve in the CCM with us in different capacities.  Spence Lloyd serves as a counselor in Branch B but is the Executive Secretary for the Area Presidency, Sandi Lloyd works with the missionary applications in the office as well.  Dr. Province is Bob's second counselor and Flor Province is my second counselor.  They share with us in teaching assignments for Sunday devotionals and interviews of new missionaries as needed as well.  We love the Province family.  The Craguns will be leaving us in May.  We are so sad.  They serve as the Dr. over the CCM and also missions of Guatemala.  Dr. Cragun is a counselor in Branch A here in the CCM and they are assuming a heavy load as they take over vacinations and such at the CCM while we are without a nurse.  These are all wonderfully talented people.  The wives all help teach in our Relief Society on Sundays and they teach me so many wonderful lessons.  We are grateful for their service in Guatemala.

A Visit and Devotional, January 25-26,2015

We had the privilege to prepare and share a luncheon with Elders Craig Christensen and  Wilford Andersen and their wives and the Area Presidency and their wives at the CCM on Sunday, January 25th.  They needed a place to eat where they all could relax and have a luncheon before their video conference for 6 stakes within the city of Guatemala.  Chef Carlos was willing so we were the hosts.  It is always, no matter what the circumstances, an honor to be in the company of our dear leaders of the church.  They visited a few of the classrooms and were able to spend some special time with missionaries who were prepared to receive their inspirational messages.  Monday was our day, however.  We boarded our missionaries into 3 buses, 120 missionaries to be exact and headed to the Montufar Chapel for a Devotional for the missionaries from the CCM and 150 missionaries from the Guatemala South Mission. 
It was a special day for the missionaries and they received special instructions that will assist them in their assigned areas of service in Central America.  They are all bright eyed this morning.  We awoke early and traveled across town in traffic to arrive early for the Devotional.


The MAYAN ruins of Tikal is a must see while traveling through or living in Guatemala.  We were invited to visit the ruins on Friday, January 16th with the Roberts family who serve as a Counselor to the Temple Presidency.  They had children visiting and invited others to join in on this excursion with them.  It was a perfect day for a trip.  The Burbidges traveled with us as well as the Wilcox family and Hermana Guzman from the temple.  We met together outside the temple apartment at 4:45pm and returned home after 9pm.  It was about an hour flight to Peten where we were greeted by our tour buses and guides to escort us to Tikal.  We were blessed with beautiful tropical weather...humid but not so much that it was uncomfortable. 
The Ceiba tree and so many other beautiful trees and vines make up this National Forest.

   We walked along the paths for hours observing wildlife and other ruins of another civilization.  We were able to see families of black monkeys swinging from tree to tree, ,howler monkeys,  parrots, a beautiful bird that is a cousin to the Quetzal but not a quetzal, crocodiles and a long tail coati. The jacquar also lives in this forest but we were not privie to see his face...although I was watching for him as I followed the trails of our tour guide.
Lopez was his name and he was a fluent English speaker and knew his history of the Mayan culture. 
Bob and the younger generation made it to the tops of all the pyramids and temples.

This is taken on top of Temple 11.  It is known by the name of Temple of the Masks or Faces.  It is 125 feet high and has a constructed stairway built to the top with railing so I was able to climb to the top.  It was built around 700AD in honor of the wife of the ruler AH CACAO.  The temple behind us is Temple 1 and is known as the Great Jaguar Temple.  It is the landmark of Guatemala to the world.  In between the two temples is the Gran Plaza and there are ruins of the Acropolis Central  on one side and the Acropolis Norte on the other side.  The Acropolis Norte is considered a sacred place because it is the cemetery of the rulers of Tikal.  The Central Acropolis is the largest residential complex.
Bob was up and down pyramids all day long. 
This is our view from on top of Temple V.  It was the first temple/pyramid built at Tikal.  It was constructed around the year 600 AD by the ruler Animal Skull.  The tomb of this ruler was found inside the structure at the North Acropolis.  It was a beautiful view from the top.....  over 250 steps. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Eye to Eye

President Burke of the temple was able to ride up to the Angel Moroni statue and observe him eye to eye during this process.  We weren't able to witness this but heard about it from temple friends. 
What a special blessing it is for us to have the temple in our back yard.  The temple in Quetzaltenango was closed for cleaning during this same
 time period so our temple presidency arranged for a special session for our missionaries who needed to attend the temple before they reported to their assigned areas on January 20th.                                


We had a bird's eye view from our apartment of some of the special cleaning assignments completed here at the temple in Guatemala City. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Matthew was able to coordinate his "Swearing In" while we were home on Christmas break.  Judge James Hollman, a personal friend was kind enough to work it into his calendar. 

LaRayne and Dahl were in attendance at this official swearing in.  She was herself and invited the grandkids into her office for candy....truly the candy lady through and through.


We traveled home on December 13th and stayed til Christmas Day taking the Red Eye flight out of LA, arriving 6:30am on December 26th.  We squeezed into our visit a birthday dinner for me, a trip to the beach house, a visit to Dr. Miyakawa, cookie decorating time, rides on the ladybug, family time, cooking, shopping....lots of wonderful memories with family and friends.
 Beach house visit with Holland, Benson and Payton....Wesley and Halley were with Tina's family
 A visit to the aquarium.....fed the seals. 
 Cookie making with Halley and all the grandkids for Santa
 Always room for food, I love my boys.....Wesley and Benson.  Wesley is so patient and kind to his younger cousins.  I was so very impressed.
 Not sure what she was thinking at this moment....but it must have been an interesting thought.
 Brenna and Benson preparing hotdogs for the family....
 Where has all the time gone.  Look at my Holland.  She is practically walking.
 What a fun afternoon.....decorating cookies for Santa. 
          Christmas Day pictures with all my little ones and some bigger ones...Oh what a blessing to be home for Christmas this year.  What a wonderful time we enjoyed.
                                                               Matthew and Brenna
                                                                        Mark and Tina
                                                              Halley, Benson and Payton

Preparations for Christmas

It was a crazy Christmas season for me and you will understand as I unfold the events of our month.  We began the decorating process here in the CCM before Thanksgiving Day.  I had some time and felt the pressure to begin...the teachers helped me decorate the tree in the Brigham Young Lobby and the North American missionaries (only ones here) helped decorate the tree in the front lobby.  The Unusual situation here......all of our missionaries reported to the mission field on December 9th and we were not scheduled to receive others until December 26th.  What should we do?  The decoration process was a reflection of this vacancy during Christmas.  We kept things as simple as possible and yet elegant and festive enough because we were scheduled to have a VIP Breakfast here with special dignitaries from the City.
Tuesday, preparation day for our teachers
They had so much fun working together and decorating this tree and I was so grateful for their help.
 Picture of the tree in the front lobby.  It really was beautiful.  It was a crazy feeling opening up all these boxes of Christmas decorations and not really knowing what we had to use and how to put it all together.....but I was pleasantly surprised.  The gifts on the table are for the Christmas VIP Breakfast we hosted on December 4th.  We gave gifts of copies of the Book of Mormon and CDs of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to all the invited guests. 
 Paula Wood was in charge of the decorations for the we coordinated all of our decorations with each other.  She is the wife of Mark Wood, the new Area Legal Advisor for the Church.  She was great fun to work with.  She decorated with a traditional Guatemalan theme. (little Guatemalan dolls and beaded ornaments on the tree with lots of lights and poinsettas.
 Each table had the similar theme with painted wooden napkin rings and colorful cloth napkins. 
 The breakfast was well attended and appreciated by all in attendance.  The purpose was to bring VIP to the CCM to feel of the Spirit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Our Area Presidency and their wives were in attendance as well and were really impressed with the Breakfast....This was the first year it was held in the CCM, but the feeling was that it should continue here.
December 12th we hosted the Christmas luncheon for all the staff and teachers at the CCM.  Carlos cooked the meal but I cooked all our traditional Christmas Treats.  There was so much.  But it was all gone when the luncheon was over.  They piled their plates high with goodies to share with home and family. 

Teachers.....Hnos Jimenez, Ruiz, Hna Cuque, Hno Morales,Hno Solano, Hno Abadillo, Hno Arrellano, Hna Bruno, Hna Garcia, Hno Garcia, Hnas Cruz, Simon, Giron, Anaya, Velasquez

The Burbidges, Lynn and Maureen and Bob and I,
There was a gift exchange....secret amigo...Elder Hernandez gave Bob a keychain from Peru.
Bob with the Staff:  Ivon, Norma, Ada, Grieslda, Carmen, Hno Cuz, Hno Dubon, Eddie and Javier.  Hno Cajas is in the back with Bob

Dia de Gracias, Thanksgiving Day in the CCM

 We have been blessed with the best when it comes to Staff here at the CCM in Guatemala and definitely each person here is on our list of blessings we have enjoyed this past year.  President and I are poising with Hno Cajas, our manager before our refreshment table is filled with goodies prepared by Carlos.
 Marlon, one of the kitchen staff that serves us every day....cheerfully.  How grateful we are.
A sampling of all the good stuffings we ate on Thanksgiving day.  It was a feast.  We shared this meal with our Branch leaders(because it fell on the lst Thursday of our intake week) our teachers and families of the CCM.
                       La Familias de nuestros secretarias, Ivon & Ada
                                                           Hermana Missionaries
                                          Pte y Hna Province and Elder and Hna Lloyd
 Our night teachers, Hno Hernandez, Vasquez, Ruiz, Morales, Garcia, Escobar & Romero; Hnas Giron, Garcia, Simon and Bruno.
                                          La familia de Hno Dubon, our Supervisor
La familia de Hno Cajas our Manager with David & Melanie Benz