This is the magnificent view from the window of our downtown apartment. The volcano's peak (on the right) is often obscured by the clouds. What looks like a red and silver corn silo in the foreground is the music store just below our living room window. They play very loud music from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, mostly Feliz Navidad. Between that and the continual horn honking and Christmas fireworks, life isn't dull here.
We arrived on Saturday, December 10th, the day before the dedication of the Quetzaltenango Temple. LDS temples have three main activities once they are completed: First, there is an open house wherein the community is invited to walk through, see the beauty of the building and its interior and to feel the spirit of the House of the Lord before it is dedicated to the Lord. Second, there is a Youth Cultural Event, where the young people of the church in that area are invited to celebrate with songs, dances and skits representing their culture. Since the Guatemalan people are the descendants of Lehi, a Book of Mormon prophet, their skits and dances were a celebration of the promises given to Lehi and the fulfilling of prophecies contained in that sacred writing.
We arrived early to get a good seat and these young people were on the stage an hour early with prelude songs of their culture. It was chilly at the start and downright cold when it ended, but they didn't seem to mind at all, despite their short sleeves and nearly bare feet. It was an amazing event and we are very grateful that we were able to attend.
Our good friends, Dave and Shannon Cisneros, drove us to the cultural event. Dave was a missionary in Quetzaltenango in his youth and brought Shannon back with him for the temple dedication. It was a joy to spend time with them again, especially since they left Minnesota and moved to California. The stage in the background is a mock-up of the temple built for this evening's celebration.
As we prepared to leave, Mike shot this photo of the moon rising over the stage. It was really an evening to remember. The next morning we had tickets to the temple dedication and viewed it via closed circuit television in our local meetinghouse. At the LosAngeles Airport we met one of the temple engineers who was heading to Guatemala to make sure things were in great shape for the dedication of the temple. We thought of him when we viewed the dedication live from our meetinghouse.
We also met the brother of the temple contractor and his wife prior to our Guatemala flight and the four of us were surprised to find that we were given first class seats from the L.A. airport to Guatemala City. We suspect that our new found engineer friend bumped us up to first class, although he humbly denied it. What a treat to be pampered when we were so exhausted and had another long day ahead of us.
The drive from Guatemala City to Quetzaltenango earlier that morning was a four hour trip over some rather treacherous mountain roads. Some of the highway simply slid off the mountain during the last rainy season and it was a grim reminder to us of the value of DOT warning signs, which are non existent here. A pile of branches or rocks is left on the highway preceding one of these missing sections of road, so the oncoming drivers can change lanes before they drive off the cliff. If you're new in the country and driving that highway, you do so at your own risk.