The past couple of weeks have been full of special experiences. On the 5th of September we were able to attend a reunion of missionaries from the Northern Mexican Mission serving during 1966-1968. This is the time period when Craig was there. As you imagine, they were mainly Mexican missionaries from that time in attendance, since we are in Mexico. Craig and one other person who is serving as a Mission President here in one of the Mexico City missions were the only Americans in attendance. During 1966-1968, only 8% of the missionaries that were Mexican. It was a small reunion because it was mainly ex-missionaries from the Mexico City area, and the ones that the organizer knew about. There were about 10 in all attending, plus spouses. Seven others were invited but unable to attend for one reason or another. It was the first time they had been together since the mission, as a reunion. They had met each other at different times through the years and a few had worked together. But this was the first time Craig remembers actually meeting them. In those years, the mission was very large with only about 110 missionaries to cover it all, so it was truly impossible for most missionaries to cross paths with numerous others during their two years of service.
It was a nice afternoon and the reunion was at a stake center next to the temple. It was the last day of the open house before the rededication of the Mexico City temple, too, so it was crowded. There were many people who were curious about the reunion and rather impressed.
We had food, took pictures, looked at books President Ruiz had brought from when he was serving his mission, and chatted together and at the end, everyone bore their testimony and sort of told about their family and what they had done in their careers. Of the missionaries in attendance, there were 4 again serving missions with their wives at the moment. One was a Mission President and one other had been a Mission President. One was serving as a bishop and another one, Pres. Ruiz mentioned above, is the 2nd counselor in the Temple Presidency. He was the person who pulled the reunion together. We had a nice afternoon and they hope to be able to meet again next year. We will not be here attend the next reunion if they wait a whole year. We will be home.
Then, this past weekend was the rededication of the Mexico City temple. For those of you who read this and may not be members of our church, a temple is one of our most sacred houses of worship. The temple in Mexico City has been closed for nearly two years for extensive renovations on the infrastructure as well as some esthetic changes. They also redid the white wash on the exterior and tried to give it more of an Aztec appearance. It is beautiful inside. After renovations were complete, it was open for three weeks for the public to see. Now that it has been rededicated only the worthy members can enter. A member of the Church Presidency, President Eyring and Elder Holland of the 12 apostles of our church were here to dedicate the building. The night before the dedication there was a cultural pageant which told of church history in Mexico. It was held in a theater downtown and was very well done. The story intertwined several stories together which in the end told of how families can be eternal when sealed in the holy temple. At the pageant, the dancing and singing were super, with lots of folkloric dancing from different regions of Mexico. The costumes were bright and colorful, just as one would expect from Mexico. It was a special evening an uplifting message.
Then on Sunday we attended the dedication. That was a special treat, as we don’t get to attend temple dedications very often in a lifetime. Now the temple is again open, we plan to attend a number of times before we complete our mission. We say that only because Mexico City is so large, we live quite a ways away from it, transportation to and from the temple is an issue for us, and so all of this requires time and planning. But, we will make it work. It makes us truly appreciate how accessible the St. George Temple is f4rom our home!
This week, on September 16, (today, in fact!) is Mexico’s Independence Day. We have a day off work. We were told we would hear lots of loud firecrackers, which can sound like cannons, but we have not, so far, at least. All the festivities, we are told, actually start on the 15th at about 11:00 pm. The President goes out on the balcony of the Presidential Palace and does the “Grito” (shout), which is “Viva Mexico!” Of course, that means, ‘Long Live Mexico!” Then all over the country everyone shouts the same in remembrance of the occasion. Then, on the 16th, there is a big military parade downtown. We decided to avoid the crowd, which is huge, and stay home and relax. So many things are closed today that it is difficult to do anything special. Most other holidays, things go on as normal, but not Sept.16, which is like July 4 at home.
So that is what has happened and what is coming in the next few days. We hope all of you are well and we are grateful that each of you are part of our lives. It is hard to believe that we are nearing the end of 2015. Time goes quickly when we are engaged in a good cause. Our very best to all!
1966-68 Northern Mexican Missionaries at reunion
Pageant scene showing eternal families
Colorful costumes for typical folkloric dance from Chiapas region
Depiction of Christ in American from the Book of Mormon
More colorful dancing
Mexico City Temple with Mayan influence