Don and Virginia Cazier Family Forum

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Location: Weston, Florida, United States

Obtained a bachelor's degree in political science, a master's in ancient scripture, and a doctorate in educational psychology from BYU. Served with the LDS Church Educational System in Hayward and Palo Alto, California; Athens, Georgia; and Miami, Florida. Served as bishop in Newark, California, and Athens, Georgia, and as stake president of the Sugar Hill Georgia Stake. Served as president of the Mexico City North Mission 1996-99. After retiring from CES in 2004 have served four other missions with my wife: As CES area director in Central America 2004-2006; in Panama 2007-2009; again in Guatemala 2009-2011, this time as executive secretary to the Central America Area Presidency; and finally as a counselor in the Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple presidency, 2013-2014. After returning home, we served in the presidency of the Fort Lauderdale Temple from 2014-2017 and continue to serve as sealer and ordinance worker, respectively. Feel free to email us at, and please check out our new website at

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mission Presidents' Seminar with Panajachel Photos and Santiago Sights

From November 16-19 we were privileged to participate in the annual mission presidents' seminar, held this time at the Hotel Atitlan in Panajachel, on the shores of Lake Atitlan. In addition to the 15 mission presidents (including the MTC president) and their wives, participants included the Area Presidency and wives, Elder Lynn Robbins of the Seventy and his wife, the DTA and his wife, the area medical advisor and his wife, two translators, and Virginia and me. My role prior to the seminar was to put together the agenda and binder with related materials and to prepare the name cards to sit on the table in front of each participant. During the seminar it was to take minutes. Afterwards it was to do up a two page summary of major points needing ongoing emphasis and follow up. There was a support staff from the travel office, physical facilities office, and technical support office who were very helpful with the physical arrangements but did not participate in the meetings other than as observers and facilitators of the equipment, room arrangements, etc. There was much good instruction along with some free time for recreational and social activities. Following are some photos from the week's events. Clicking on any one will give you a larger size photo.

Dinner on the lawn down by the lake on our first night. Photo taken by Elder Falabella.

Clarkes and Robbins dancing following dinner.

Fireworks paid for by Elder Martino as part of a 60th birthday celebration for his wife.

Seminar setup

Elder Clarke instructing at seminar

Elder Robbins instructing at seminar

Virginia leading the music

Virginia accompanying Sister Torres as she sings "If You Could Hie to Kolob"

Waterfall in nature preserve nearby where if Alma didn't perform his baptisms, he should have!

Crossing the stream on nature trail above the waterfall

Thatched roof of meeting room

Hotel Atitlan, where we stayed. Note beautiful gardens.

Another shot of gardens


And one more

Virginia and me in native attire

Virginia in native attire

Mission presidents and Area Presidency in native attire

Sisters in native attire

Boat which would take the group to Santiago Atitlan, across the lake

Clarkes dance to music on the boat

Young man with heavy load at dock in Santiago


Boy with load of sticks in Santiago

Note how much the lake has risen!

Group of indigenous women in colorful clothing at dock in Santiago

Women with a lot on her mind at Santiago dock

San Pedro volcano near Santiago

Group photo taken by professional photographer.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Busy and happy

It’s been a busy week or so, but that’s what makes it so rewarding. We get to the office before 7:00 each day, and Friday we left at 8:00 p.m. Today we got away at 6:00 p.m. Part of the unusually busy schedule has been due to preparations for this week’s mission presidents’ seminar, which runs from tomorrow through Friday out at Lake Atitlan. I’ve had binders to put together with lots of reports, charts, and other materials, along with fancy name cards to design and print to slip into plastic holders to sit on the tables. But it’s also been a busy time of year in other ways. Last Wednesday I had meetings beginning at 6:00 a.m., with the last ending at 6:00 p.m. I did get a few hours free in the afternoon, but Elder Clarke didn’t have more than a half hour break between meetings all day long. We started with our monthly area council meeting with the Area Seventies (in person and by videoconference). We then had an unusually long Area Presidency meeting, including meeting with our area DTA (Director of Temporal Affairs) and the properties manager to discuss plans for buildings in the area for next year. In the afternoon Elder Clarke was in a governmental relations meeting and then in a PEF videoconference. At 5 p.m. the Area Presidency and Virginia and I were in a videoconference with people from the Church History Department in Salt Lake City to receive instruction about how to compile the annual area history, which is another of my responsibilities.

Thursday we had a meeting in the morning with the DTA and the travel department manager to begin preliminary plans for the annual area review and priesthood leadership conferences in January. This year we’ll have Elders Ballard and Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Jay Jensen of the Seventy, and Bishop David Burton, Presiding Bishop, all coming. At noon I taught my weekly institute class. In the late afternoon we had our monthly videoconference with Elders Christofferson and Clayton in Salt Lake. Afterwards we went by invitation to be part of the 80th birthday celebration for Sister Hatch, who with her 82 year old husband lives across the hall from us. Elder Hatch very generously invited all the couples in the apartment complex plus the Area Presidency, MTC president and wife, temple president and wife, and others to a fancy restaurant. Their six children flew in for the occasion. I'm posting a fairly fuzzy picture of the group, but it gives you the idea.

Friday I met with the Area Presidency again to finalize goals for the coming three years as part of the annual area plan which must be submitted soon. I’m responsible for updating it, assembling the various components from the various department heads, and putting it into a cohesive whole, both in English and Spanish. Saturday we enjoyed the transmission from Salt Lake that many of you will also have seen concerning the new handbooks and the role of councils in the Church. Elder Lynn Robbins and his wife saw it with us, as they had arrived early for the mission presidents’ seminar, flying overnight from Chile for that purpose. In the evening Virginia and I enjoyed being invited to dinner with the Area Presidency and the Robbins.

Sunday, in addition to our normal 7:00-2:00 meetings and responsibilities (including the Primary sacrament program, for which Virginia was largely responsible), we represented the branch presidency and Primary presidency at the stake’s annual Priesthood Preview for 11 year old boys. We then went to the apartment of one of the local mission presidents, where Virginia practiced accompanying the president’s wife, who will be singing a solo at the upcoming seminar. Today, in addition to updating lots of charts with newly obtained statistics, I was part of an area audit committee meeting. All of this is on top of the most time-consuming tasks, which for Virginia are entering and/or translating missionary applications and sending out calls and for me are responding to unnumbered emails, special projects, phone calls, minutes, agendas, etc. But we’ve never had more fun on a mission, and it’s hard to realize that it’s nearly half over.

I’m enjoying playing racquetball again after about a month’s absence from the sport, as my former opponents were all taking time off for various aches and pains. But my current one needs to be broken down a bit more, as he’s regularly beating me now. I may not be having as much satisfaction in vanquishing the foe, but I’m getting a lot better exercise than I was getting previously. My current partner is a year younger and evidently used to be VERY good, having played almost daily for some 35 years. Now he’s just pretty good—but that’s good enough to get the job done most of the time.

I must mention a couple of new electronic discoveries that I’m enjoying. You may be aware of Dropbox, where we have stored many of our favorite files and memories. But a similar program called SugarSync gives you 5 GB of free storage, so between the two of them I now have almost all of my valuable files backed up and synchronized automatically between my various computers, except for my photos and videos, which I have at The other discovery is a program called TeamViewer, which you can install on two different computers and with which you can access the files on the other computer from wherever you might be. For example, from home now I can access all of the files on my office computer, including the entire large network drive I use there. So no matter what time I come home, I can continue working on office things from home, if necessary, and out at Lake Atitlan this week I should be able to keep tabs on all the emails that come in to the office and access any files I need to respond to them. What a great time to live! Here are a few photos for your enjoyment:

View from Elder Falabella's office.

View of the local artificial Christmas tree from the 5th floor (ours) of the area offices.

Elder and Sister Hatch on her 80th birthday, with other senior couples and dignitaries present.

Watching the recorded telecast from Salt Lake. Elder Lynn Robbins and his wife are in the middle right.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Sumpango excursion and other recent sights

November 1 is a national holiday in Guatemala (All Saints' Day), and nowhere is it more enthusiastically celebrated than in Supango, an indigenous community about 45 minutes west of Guatemala City, where enormous kites are built and some of them are flown to scare away evil spirits from the nearby cemetery and to carry messages to their departed loved ones. The senior missionaries and others chartered a bus to take us out to see the event today. Among the group were Elder and Sister Martino, two mission presidents and their wives, and the MTC president and his wife. We left at 7 a.m. to avoid the heavier traffic forecast for later in the day, as tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) descended on the normally sleepy little town. Photos follow of this and of other recent events in our missionary lives. Click on any photo to see it in larger size.

The biggest kites in the back are probably 50 feet across and are not intended to fly. Others 20 feet or so high will, though we left before the 2:00-4:00 p.m. scheduled flying of those in order to beat the traffic out of the area. We did see some 6-10 foot ones flying, incuding the two in the air in this photo.
Close up of the row of large kites. Only one or two were standing upright when we arrived, but by noon they all were.

Elder Paul Hatch, age 82, lives across the hall from us and is, with his nearly 80 year old wife, an inspiration to us all. He was president of the Los Angeles Temple, a mission president, a regional representative, and served another mission somewhere else. They are here now as regular proselyting missionaries, and Elder Hatch in particular has spared no efforts to learn Spanish. Here he is contacting some strangers about the Church and will most likely be turning their names and addresses over to the mission president for follow up. He is fearless and very effective.

Yours truly and his true love

Again. Note the volcano in between the two large kites.

Large kite under construction

The police were well prepared to deal with malefactors.

Close up of one of the large kites

Walking from the kite flying area down to the Sumpango cemetery. Note the kite being carried toward us by children in the middle. Kiosks on both sides of the road have been set up to sell all kinds of merchandise, with an emphasis on food and drink.

Kites being carried up to the launching area

Tombs and graves in the cemetery are decorated much like we would on Memorial Day, but fancier.

Children fly small kites in the cemetery.

Beauty among the tombs (and in front of them)

Indigenous lady in colorful dress uses her head.


The street was even more crowded going back to the kite area.

Little salesgirl makes her pitch to Virginia. (She bought several small balls from her for the Primary nursery.)

Large kite of different design
Another large kite

Family flies kite at cliff.

The "Volcano of Water" near Antigua

Another view of the same

Scene at a recent Church-sponsored "Feria de Negocios" (Business fair--an exhibition of the wares of Guatemalan LDS small business owners and entrepreneurs). The idea was to show others what they could do by going into business for themselves and to increase exposure for those participating in the fair and permit them to sell a good bit of merchandise.

Virginia happifying makers and vendors of scripture covers with their largest sale of the two day event

The "Morcaff" table--selling "Mormon coffee," something like Postum.

More vendors
Virginia with the girl who makes and sells the small Book of Mormon figuerines that we gave each of our children after our last mission here.

Pig not enjoying himself as much as other participants

Elder Don R. Clarke, Area President, instructing at recent area council meeting with our eight Area Seventies.

A "pittaya" fruit from the outside. We discovered it for the first time when Ginette and her family came to visit in July and found it for sale recently in our local supermarket. It comes from a type of cactus.

The inside of the pittaya--tastes something like a kiwi.