Friday, April 1, 2016

Visitors and Holy Week in Mexico - Part 1

Dear Family and Friends,

Well it is Holy Week here so the office is closed for several days and the Area Presidency is leaving for General Conference so we have a little extra time in which we can write an update on our blog.

First, we were excited to have our two daughters, Kristin and Karen here.  They were here only over a weekend but we had a great time.

We went to an art museum in this interestingly shaped building.  It was donated by Carlos Slims, one of the richest men in the world who lives here in Mexico.

Multi-story, an impressive museum.

We did many of the things our visitors enjoy.  The bread store, panaderĂ­a.

We enjoyed going to Church where my nephew Matt Sandberg and his wife Jessica attend.

And back to the National Folklore Ballet.  Love that.

They changed the Ballet,  This time it started with drummers on the stage and in the balconies.

I especially enjoyed it that once at lunch, we took turns sitting at separate tables which was a good chance to talk one on one.

We attended a session in the temple where I did some ordinance work for the husband of my Grandmother's aunt.  His name is Frans Gustafsson Lundblad, born in Almeboda, Kronobergs, Smaland, Sweden in 1844!

And we went to the Visitors' Center at the temple.  They have a great display about the history of the Church in Mexico.  Including a portion about the Juarez Academy in the Mormon Colonies.

Recently I learned that this building in the picture is an important historical site for the Church.  It is placed as a level 1 site, among the highest, most valued and protected by the Church.  The room on the lower left of the Academy was my room, where I taught English for 1 year.

Notice the basketball shirt in the picture - Lobos - The wolves.  I teased Michelle that it is her Jersey, but really it isn't.  If it were the jersey of a women, it would say Loba - female wolf.

And of course, Paletas - must have when in Mexico.

It was a very good trip.

Some interesting things.  Mexico uses lots of limes - they add the juice to soup, fruit, on most foods.

We recently had some unusually strong winds in Mexico City.  They said 600 trees fell down.

The winds they said were 80 kilometers per hour--50 miles per hour.  Maybe there is a talk in there.  If we experience the strong winds of life we grow strong like the trees in Colorado where there are 100 mph winds and trees don't fall.  We can grow to be strong if we are not now.

On a recent Saturday we took a trip to Puebla, a city about 2 1/2 hours east of Mexico City.  Mexico City is on the west side of the volcanoes, Puebla is on the East side.  In this country things kind of shut down for about two weeks around Easter.

The legend is a brave Aztec warrior and a beautiful princess were in love and the warrior went away to battle.  While he was gone his competitor told the princess her Aztec warrior had died in battle, and she died of a broken heart.  But he had not died and when he returned he laid the princess on top of the mountain.  He later died and was put on the other mountain.  Now he is a volcano and every now and then he lets off a puff of smoke to remind everyone that he still watches over the princess.

Puebla has a interesting main plaza, like every town does.

Always a church on the main square.  This one seemed one of the largest.

Close to Puebla is Cholula, which Google says in the largest pyramid in the world, not in height but in volume.  And of course, the Spanish built a church on top.

The was a battle in Mexico against the French, called the Battle of the 5th of May, that took place close to Puebla.  We saw the fort where the battle took place.

Here is a painting of the battle.

It was a great success for Mexico.  There were a total of 10,540 soldiers in the war. 462 French soldiers died in combat. Only 83 Mexican soldiers died in the battle.  The French did take the fort later.

The highlight of the trip was a stop in a small town called Cabrera.  One of the missionaries serving here, Sis. Longhurst, from the Mormon Colonies, knew this small town.  She did service there 40 years ago as a student with some BYU students.  We went there so she could see the place.

First on the internet we found the chapel and saw some cars locked inside the gates.  We knocked a few doors and found a Mormon who took us to the brother-in-law of the member Sister Longhurst knew best, America, was her name.

He took us to the house of his brother, the wife of America.  This brother knew Michelle's father.

The man in blue is a THIRD generation Mormon.  The wife of the man sitting, America, was not there;, she was on a temple trip.  When Sister Longhurst was there, there were no paved roads and everyone went to Church in the neighboring town.  Now there is a chapel and 2 wards.  The cars were locked in there because people here on a temple trip and had met here before going on a bus to Mexico City.

On their wall in their home, the members we met have a picture of the temple in Mesa.

They told us about their trip to Mesas, years ago.  The bus broke down, lots of problems.  But so glad to be sealed.  Inspiring how the Church has grown.
When Sister Longhurst was there the town had open fields of flowers being raised to sell in the markets. The town is fed by a good supply of water off the volcano, Popocatepetl, Popo for short.

The water runs down in ditches, kind of like in Arizona or Utah.

Now they have LARGE, beautiful nurseries.

It is so fun to get outside of the city and see the country.  So nice to have visitors.

Well, Holy Week is a big event in Mexico.  Last week on Easter they asked me to talk in Church about the value of a temple recommend.  When I arrived they said, oh say something about Easter if you can.

My brother David and wife Marie are visiting here and were in Church so I had the idea to tell the members that David and Marie had served in Russia where at Easter they have a common greeting.  When they met someone there they may say, "Christ is risen."  And the normal response is something like. "In truth, He is risen." So I did that with the congregation in Spanish and that is the way I finished my talk also.

"Jesucristo ha resucitado"  (Christ has Risen)  and the congregation responded, "Es verdad, ha resucitado." (In truth, He has risen."

So I guess that is my spiritual thought 

Christ has risen!
In truth, He has risen!

Dad, Elder Grandpa Gilbert and Mom, Sister Grandma and Michelle


  1. How fun to have your girls visit! And to see your brother too. thanks for another delightful tour of Mexico.

  2. How fun to read about pueblos on the cinco deh mayo. I want to share it with my kids. I enjoy reading your posts and learn a lot about mexico. Thank you for helping me feel connected to you and to my Mexican heritage!