We had the chance to visit a town about 2 hours north of the city called San Marcos. Some of the very early members of the Church were baptized there. Michelle visited there when her father was mission president 62-65.
First we stopped in a small town call Conejos - which means rabbits. I don't know the origin of the name, but some of the early members build most of the chapel there using local stones.
This is the side of the building. The building has been upgraded over time, but the original rock is still there.
Inside the building is the same rock, and above the chapel door you can see they have some stones in the shape of rabbits.
Look at the black stone on the lower left just about the white ledge with the black sign. From that black stone the first stone to right is a rabbit, a reddish color. Along the ledge from that rabbit, the second stone is another black stone. Above that is a second rabbit, also reddsh. Interesting.
There are 4 wards in that little town now. We just asked around until we found some members who went and got the key and let us get in. They have a big, beautiful, modern stake center there also.
Then we visited an archaeological site in Tula. It is very much a desert in this part of Mexico.
It is famous for it's large statues. To notice the size, see the people in the picture.
They have lots of carvings of snakes eating skulls.
Some people speculate it represents the feathered serpent so common in carvings here. Some members think it represents Christ and these carvings represent Chris overcoming death.
They had some big buildings there with many columns, reminds me of some buildings in Europe.
Then we sent to San Marcos. Rafael Monroy and Vicente Morales were early Church leaders there who were shot by revolutionaries in 1915 when they refused to deny their religion. Elder Montoya who served with us in the Area Office is a descendent of Rafael Monroy. We have met many Church members who are descendents of these two men. They had a big reunion in San Marcos last year for descendents of the two, 2015, 100 years after they were shot.
Michelle remembers visiting San Marcos several times and eating with the family, the Parra family, who lived above this store in San Marcos.
Sister Parra was a daughter of Monroy. Benjamin, her son, was an assistant to Dr. Hatch was he was mission president.
They have a nice chapel there, built in 1951.
With an interesting door post.
And an interesting window in the chapel.
There have been many good and faithful members in Mexico for years, and now good members, multi-generational members.
AND we were very glad to have our daughter Kristin, husband Tyler, and children Tanner and Lindsey visit us, Her 2 older children did not come, one is on a mission.
They climbed the pyramids and did many of the fun things we have put on our post before.
As we were visiting sites, as often happens, a young man came up and wanted to talk. As part of his class at school to learn English they have to ask some questions to a North America. Here is a picture of a young man asking his assigned questions to the Pruetts. Like, "Where are you from?" "Do you like Mexico?"
This time we had lunch at the pyramids, in a cave. Nice cave.
I am STILL blown away, even after seeing it several times. by the National Folkloric Ballet. Now they start the program with the drums.
Our seats were just back of the center aisle, as part of the program they come out in the audience and dance in this aisle. This video will show you the energy in most parts of the program.
It was fun to be with the grandchildren in this very large city, Tanner wanted pictures of the traffic.
In the National Anthropology Museum there a large drawing of how they think Mexico City looked when the Spanish arrived. It was on a island.
We read once that when the Spanish arrived they wrote things like, We have with us soldiers who have visited the greatest cities in the world, like Paris and Constantinople, and nothing was is as grand as this city. And Cortez conquered it with several hundred soldiers. He made allies with the tribes that the Aztecs had conquered who helped him, and the Aztecs at first thought Cortez was the Feathered Serpent God who had visited the Aztecs years ago and had promised to return. So they did not fight at first.
On the Mexico flag is a picture of an eagle with a serpent in his mouth perched on a cactus.
In the museum they had a large stone with the symbol of the eagle. The story about the eagle is a very important part of Mexico history.
Can you see the eagle in the stone. The story, legend, goes that years ago the Aztecs were looking, wandering around, looking for a new home and their "prophet" said where they found an eagle on a cactus with a serpent in it's mouth, that should be their new home. They found that eagle on the island in the middle of the lake and that became there home and eventually they ruled most of central Mexico.
However I am reading this book, almost finished, en Spanish.
It says the Aztec came from the North, Tula, where we visited and they originally arrived to be warriors for a local war lord and they did so well he gave them the island as a reward, not too good a place, needed boats to get there but the Aztecs built causeways. The Aztecs were good warriors and started conquering their neighbors and later their former employer, the war lord. Then to justify their conquering everyone, they invented the eagle story to justify their conquering, it was the will of the Gods. Kind of like the US Manifest Destiny if you remember that part of US history.
We also visited the National Cathedral in the main square. Very large with several altars inside.
And for the first time we visited some of the ruins of the Aztec pyramid that the Spanish tore down to build the National Cathedral.
This picture is on top of the ruins, and you can see the current cathedral in the background.
They said that Hernan Cortez, the main Spanish conqueror, himself laid the first stone of the National Cathedral in the 1500's.
In these ruin was a image of the feathered serpent god, Quetzalcoatl.
And then we did something that is on my "bucket list" something I have wanted to do before leaving Mexico, visit the Presidential Palace, which is there on the main square. The President does not live there nor does he come there except for special occasions.
This is a picture, not mine, of the outside, Below the flag on the 3rd level is a balcony where the president leads the nation in the grito - cheer. Viva Mexico - Hooray for Mexico.
This is what it is like inside.
It has many very large murals painted by the famous painter, Diego Rivera, telling the history of Mexico.
WOW, lots of detail.
This one shows in the background the Mexico City of the Aztecs.
And we got to visit the old parliament chamber. Notice how it appears like a European design. Those are seats, two rows, along the edge of the room.
Later we actually got to visit the current Chamber of Deputies, the house of all Mexicans, as they call it, but that will have to wait for a later post.
I wanted to go up to the 3rd balcony, overlook the main square, the Zocalo, where the president speaks, but tourists were not allowed up to the 3rd level; is was a very interesting visit.
Then all too soon it was paletas, and the Pruetts were gone.
Well, time for a spiritual thought.
Supposedly President Hinckley once said that if you are unhappy with something going on in the Church, just wait awhile. It will get better. Don't know if he did say that, but my thought is based on the concept.
A few months back the Church had a broadcast for all the mission presidents and then a broadcast for ALL the missionaries in the Church. You could read about it in the papers. The theme of the meetings was Preach Repentance and Baptize Converts.
Recently I was in a class where the question was, what is repentance? These were some of the responses. In Mexico repentance is when you get married so you can get baptized. Recognize, remorse, repent to authority, restore the wrong, repeat no more. Repentance is what happens in the bishop's office, and we good guys wanted to stay out of there. In Mexico repentance is when you go to the priest, confess, and he tells you what to do - often includes a certain number of prayers to Mary - and he tells you when you are forgiven.
Where is Christ?
I was "unhappy with something going on in the Church" but not being in charge I "just waited awhile" and sure enough "things got better". One of the points the instructor was planning on making was repentance is all about Christ and the atonement and daily repentance by everyone and taking of the sacrament. It is all about Christ.
So, my thought is if you are unhappy about something that is going on in the Church, wait awhile, it will get better. It may not get better there in the same the class, but give it a little time. We are all imperfect and God is working with all of us, or as it says in the Book of Mormon, aren't we all beggars before Christ?
Elder Gilbert / Sandberg / Dad / Grandpa
(I am not saying anything about going home - don't want to get trunki)