My Photo
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

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.


Post a Comment

<< Home