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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. We are currently serving in the presidency of the Fort Lauderale Temple, enjoying serving being able to continue to serve while living at home. We thought we had reached our photo upload allowance at this site, so began a new blog at donandvirginiacazier.blogspot.com, but can no longer find how to add new posts there, though we can again at this site. Feel free to email us at doncazier@yahoo.com.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Quetzaltenango Temple open house

Last week Virginia and I were privileged to go to Quetzaltenango for four days during the VIP tours for the temple open house. The original idea was that since all the Area Presidency would be there and would want to have their weekly presidency meeting, they would need the executive secretary there to take minutes, but it expanded into an invitation to stay to see if we could be helpful leading some of the tours for special guests. We did get to lead a couple of tours, but we preferred thereafter to defer to the local Guatemalan leaders, who were very well prepared to give the tours and who would be less likely to give the impression that somehow it is a North American church. Like second string football players, we were always "on the bench," suited up and ready to go into the game if needed, but were quite happy that another pair of guides always made it back from a previous tour just before we were to be called to go.

The temple is beautiful, and members and non-members alike are excited for the opportunity of touring it prior to its dedication. Lots of prominent people have already gone through, and we have had very favorable write-ups in both the Quetzaltenango and Guatemala City newspapers. The president-elect of the country was slated to tour it on Friday with his prospective cabinet members. I assume it happened but have not heard any details. Saturday they had over 20,000 people show up, including over 100 buses! Unfortunately, they were able to move only about 15,000 of them through the temple. I hope the others were all locals who can come back. And we thought we were busy during the Panama Temple open house when we had 6000 in one day! They were much better staffed there in Quetzaltenango than we were able to be with our more limited personnel resources in Panama, and things are going very well. I'm getting copied on the daily attendance reports and most relevant comments from visitors. Such comments as the following from non-LDS visitors have been typical:

"Thanks for inviting me. It was marvelous! I felt God in the entire church and in the entire tour I felt full of the Holy Spirit."

"I have no words to express the thrill and the peace that little by little overcame me until I was moved to tears. Thank you for the opportunity. Congratulations on the temple, which is most impressive."

A 7 year old girl wrote: "I liked the baptism room, the bride's room, and the celestial room. I felt happy and peaceful. I want to come again."

"A piece of heave on earth."

"The temple is very beautiful. I never dreamed I would ever be in a place so lovely."

"Now I have an idea of what heaven is like and how we'll be received."

"I wanted to learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

"This is the happiest day of my life because of this tour."

"I forgot all my sorrows."

"This is the first time in my life I have felt peace."

"I'd like to learn more about Joseph Smith and the other prophet."

"I want to be a member of this church."

"This was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life."

"It was very beautiful, and I'd like to be a member."

Maybe the funniest comment (not intended to be so) was from a visitor who said the only additional thing he'd like to have seen would have been a picture of the Virgin Mary!

Following are a few photos of the temple and of our trip:



With the canopies up to protect visitors from either sun or rain while they wait.



Room in the guest house where we sat for most of two days with other guides, waiting for the next tour.

Shot of the guest house from in front of the temple, with volcano in the background

Young people waiting to put on shoe covers for visitors

Virginia with local sister in typical hand-embroidered dress

Vendors hitch a free ride on the way back to Guatemala City

Lady with baby strapped onto back

Place where road was washed out on way back from Quetzaltenango. We understand several cars plunged some 150 meters down when they didn't see it after it first sank in the night following heavy rains.

This and the following photos are from the Church web page but are put here for your viewing convenience.



Instruction room with lovely murals

Celestia room

Sealing room

Recommend desk

Baptistry

Another shot of baptistry

Detail on wall. I understand the green stone is jade.

Detail of table

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