Thursday, March 19, 2020

The FINAL REPORT on "hold" to be fine tuned and reported more fairly -- In the meantime: YEAR ONE--THE 1967 RISKY, BREATHTAKING PIONEER JOURNEY TO GUATEMALA -- A BRIEF REVIEW to 2020 WITH AN AMAZING ANNOUNCEMENT



Click for 
SPECIAL TRIBUTE FOR JIM PENROD--Pioneer in Cunen
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PARA MIS HERMANOS GUATEMALTECOS - & others interested 
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The following Story:  

THE 1967 RISKY, BREATHTAKING PIONEER JOURNEY TO GUATEMALA & BRIEF SUMMARY OF 50 YEARS OF HISTORY,
Plus,
FOR LDS PEOPLE: 
A HISTORICAL SUMMARY IN THE COBAN AREA--
--which follows in this current post, is available in a 62 page edited booklet as seen below.

To download it to your computer and be able enjoy and print yourself, click on
DOWNLOAD
If you would like to have a printed copy of the 62 page booklet on high quality paper 
with spiral binding as seen above, send me a $30 check and I will immediately send it to you.
Cordell Andersen, 444 Elm St., American Fork, UT 84003
SCROLL DOWN TO ENJOY THE SAME HISTORY
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THE ORIGINAL MOVE TO GUATEMALA IN 1967  
Beginning with an INTRODUCTION TO:
YEAR ONE of THE GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY 
By Cordell M Andersen, for 50 years the volunteer Field Director
The 50 year Anniversary  was celebrated with no fanfare on August 19, 2017, at which time the Guatemalan Foundation was legally retired. No "fanfare" as our effort was never to get any credit for what was accomplished, and publicity received was never by my initiative.   I just wanted to quietly disappear into the jungles and mountains of the Maya and with my family serve the Lord and his "little ones"  in my own simple way--following the example of one of my heroes from the Book of Mormon history, Ammon--along with his companions in ancient America, all in harmony with the inspiration, guidance and the opportunities the Lord would give me. 





A few very orthodox Mormons told me that the only proper way to do as I intended was to wait and hope to be "called by the Prophet."  On the other hand I believed in the Lord's words when He said, "....men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.....he that doeth not anything until  he is commanded......is damned." (D&C 58:26-29).

 I didn't believe in "polishing apples" and cultivating the right friendships as I noticed a few doing to increase their chances of being "called," but  rather thought, "If the Lord was ever to speak to his Prophet calling me to whatever, the Prophet would more than likely be perplexed exclaiming,  'Cordell....who?'" 

 The Prophet would have to Google my name and learn I had a High Uintas Wilderness Project, was an expert on "tie hackers,"     published a book about the  High Uinta Mountains,  and, if he went deep enough in his Google Search,  learn I had something to do with a Foundation responsible for having "saved thousands of Mayan Indians, and helped many tens of thousands get an education,"  plus at the end read about a Harold Brown--one of the "called and chosen" who insisted us Andersen's weren't crazy to live close enough to the Indians to actually help them, and even in 1973 was the first friend and  LDS leader to begin calling me

"a modern Ammon!" 



In that year,  when facing opposition from sources we never anticipated, to give us encouragement to persist, Brown told us: 
"Your efforts have stimulated world-wide welfare services! You must continue the experiment, and will have my continual support!" 
Even later when my life became quite controversial, he was told the whole story and understood, volunteered to be a trustee in the Foundation and persisted until age related issues made his normal life impossible--as described in this history  that is being written as the Lord told me to do:
"Speak the truth from your heart!" 
Most of the publicity received came from my father's initiative who felt proud of what we were attempting and believed all should help and thus greatly multiply the good accomplished. I believe strongly the Lord was guiding both of our efforts. He eventually, three years after we left for Guatemala,  spearheaded the organization of the Foundation to help. It will be mentioned later at the right chronological point.  
My father was the most unassuming, sincerely saintly, honest and generous man of faith I have ever known and sadly went down to his grave perplexed by a pattern that would soon evolve--not just one or two problems of misunderstanding, rather continual repetition over the years of--a lot of misunderstanding,  misjudgment, controversy, spirit of competition rather than cooperation,  and absence of gratitude that developed among some people of influence. 
 I'm not referring to an occasional mistake or problem--as none of us humans are perfect, but rather a continual recurrence over decades of the above creating a pattern of injustices that were 
spiritually destructive for some very good people, but also literally deathly for innocent infants.
This was no joking matter as many in my family and early converts in Guatemala-- who knew of the confusion, without having a strong spiritual foundation, were even tragically moved away from the faith community and others discouraged from continuing their support of programs that were saving lives.
This poses the dilemma of.... how to honestly approach reporting the entire history and polishing of the  FINAL REPORT? -- which will temporarily be removed from this website while completing and bringing to a close what ended up being actually a 68 year history as explained further along.

A PROPHETIC TOUR STIMULATES ACTION
I should mention that after what was called "a prophetic tour of Central America"  at the end of 1957 by LDS General Authority Hugh B. Brown, it was common for many missionaries to believe we had a continuing responsibility for the people, especially the Indians of Guatemala. 
Early on there were  two efforts by ex-LDS missionaries to return to Guatemala to be of some help--Vernon Webster & Gary Cooper-- but, they hadn't lasted more than six months and have been forgotten.
  Our effort likewise wasn't expected to last very long, but this Andersen family pioneering effort was different--first achieving a 14 year "Ammon-like"  period, but then persisting and was still going strong after 50 years, and so perhaps is historically of great value to report about fully and honestly.  It didn't work out being just another crazy, flash in the pan, ill-prepared effort as everyone but my father had predicted, and honestly reporting the truth has strangely ruffled feathers.

Above, at the 14 year "Ammon-like" point you see me putting the finishing touches on the school the Foundation built constructed in the midst of the Guerrilla War, and dedicated with heavily armed Army troops using Israeli weapons, seen below,  to protect the celebration from any possible attack.


While it began as a very personal family project, it three years later merged with the  Foundation organized to help our altruistic efforts........supported over the years by literally hundreds, if not thousands of contributors, and we owe it to them to report honestly the history in  the FINAL REPORT.  
To speak the truth from my heart  will make necessary reporting truthfully the controversies, but I have learned that doing so is not popular--like mentioned a little further along when I describe my 1966 experience a year before we left for Guatemala reporting graphically with slides in a Missionary Reunion that LDS Mayan babies were dying because no one cared enough to help.  That resulted in out of control anger by one past mission leader--strangely all due to reporting the truth and wanting to help a suffering people.    That leads to the question:
How can we as human beings, and as a Church (any Church), learn anything unless we are willing to confront the truth, the facts?  In addition, how can Leaders and/or common members have a chance to realize mistakes, feel contrite and move towards improvement and forgiveness--if we are afraid to have revealed and accept the truth?
 I have to report clearly enough in this FINAL REPORT to at least give all of us the opportunity to learn, be contrite, and let the historical truth be a blessing.  The key of course will be for all of us to be courageously honest, sincerely humble, and simply be descent enough to admit the truth, apologize and  make restitution when called for,  and do better in the future.
No one should be exempted from this opportunity as we....
"ALL have sinned and fallen short of God's glorious standard" Romans 3:23 
God help us if we are so cowardly as to react to the truth as "the natural man!" --  rejecting it and rather move to destroy the messenger--which sadly I'm told will likely be the case, but I have to at least faithfully try.

NOW BACK TO THE STORY
The eventual "retirement" date of the Foundation was 50 years after I and my family crossed the border into Guatemala  in 1967 to begin what for nearly three years was just a family effort to help the needy Indians out of love--no foundation yet, nor was it an LDS Church effort--although motivated by faith in the spirit of the Gospel law of consecration.  Only the Lord asked us to do it, and no one offered to pay us anything. We would work to support ourselves and our effort giving freely of our time, talents and all that we had.  We called our effort:
THE ANDERSEN FAMILY PRIVATE PEACE CORP.

Above we see us Andersen's ready to leave Provo, Utah in 1967.
As I was putting this history together I couldn't help but remark repeatedly,
"Now, in 2019, I can’t even begin to envision again having the guts to do it. 
Whether you're in favor or not, understand or not, it was a 
JOURNEY OF SIMPLE and PROFOUND FAITH--born of the Lord speaking to me 
in Coban as a missionary in 1958, and then on the snowy slopes of the 
Henry Mountains in fall 1965--giving me the courage to do as I knew I had to do! 
Our team included my wife Maria, and children Julie, David, Cristina and Richard "Dito"
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This story, 
THE ORIGINAL MOVE TO GUATEMALA IN 1967   
was in brief eventually added onto the end of the FINAL REPORT a year or more after initially being posted, and not likely seen by hardly anyone, and not written well enough to be worthy--for our family,  of such a monumental faith motivated move.
This family history will be told in greater detail than ever before in an improved version with 80+  photographs.  This will include, I believe for the first time, the description of our FIRST FAILED EFFORT, due to our promise to the Lord to be honest in all of our dealings.   Nevertheless it began a whole series of MIRACLES--that led to the 4th one that got us finally into Guatemala on August 19, 1967 and literally minutes later we were on our way to Guatemala City driving our
 Modern version of a pioneer covered wagon.
THE FINAL REPORT -- after its original introduction was tweaked and added to many times and, in its final version, wasn't likely noticed very much either, but will be removed for the present while making necessary improvements, additions--perhaps along with what I have called "the rest of the story" -- namely the essential controversial historical aspects of this 50+ year history without which many things don't make sense.  It will have over 350 photographs, and maybe more—
--I LOVE PHOTOGRAPHS, especially as they say......
.....GUATEMALA IS THE LAND WHERE COLOR WAS INVENTED! 

Above is seen the color of Guatemala in the typical dress of over 100 candidates for the INDIAN QUEEN OF GUATEMALA, or as they call her in all of the 23 different indigenous languages,
"DAUGHTER OF THE KING OF HEAVEN!"
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THE FINAL REPORT.....
......will then be translated into Spanish for all of my Guatemalan brothers and sisters—
Será luego traducido al español para todos mis queridos hermanos Guatemaltecos.
When the FINAL REPORT is ready to publish in its final form it will be built around this family history guided by a very spiritual experience, which will be related in some detail in THE FINAL REPORT wherein   I was told to:
"Speak the truth from your heart!"
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INTRODUCTION
I will now go to the story of us leaving Provo, Utah, then failing to get through Mexico on the first attempt--because I had sworn to be totally honest in everything in our Guatemalan adventure, and specifically not give in to the "bribe system."  It is important to keep  this  in mind as I was eventually accused falsely of being dishonest and involved in illegal projects.

HONESTY THE BEST POLICY?
In my 4 exploratory trips to Guatemala, and research over 9 years in preparation for the move,  I mentioned my resolve to a gringo who had lived many years in Guatemala. He made fun of my intentions indicating that doing anything in Guatemala required using "the bribe system" and other under-the-table business practices-which he claimed were "necessary to have success in Guatemala."
By strict gospel standards, his questionable attitude was later of dire consequences in the history--he apparently rationalizing that lying and deception were justified and necessary to defeat our effort which he considered of no value and even dangerous. This was, as far as we knew, the beginning of what came to be called "a spirit of competition rather than cooperation." Sadly he was able to convince key leaders of the same and lies were repeated widely and believed.
Years later in his autobiography, he was careful to not mention our methods and successes.  He avoided like the plague mention of an international adoption scandal he was responsible for which had our friends, Carl Jacob and Ortensia Ovalle go to prison, as well as my manager, Miguel Max, and supervisor of the Central House, Florencia Rivas, be put in jail, but all blamed on me as the ring-leader with a warrant out for my arrest at the borders, and was believed by LDS Leaders, except for our friend Harold Brown and, at that time LDS Regional Representative, Enrique Rittscher..
Perplexingly--even after being told the truth, the lie continued to be repeated--likely still believed by many today.  Other critical historical inaccuracies and omissions are troubling to say the least, all of these raising doubts about his entire book. Some details are related in the FINAL REPORT, item #20, etc.
I gratefully was able to maintain my resolve to be honest in all my dealings and maintain our integrity over all those years and be blessed time after time by key individuals--like Harold Brown, Enrique Rittscher, Oliverio Guerrero and a few others who--seeing how I worked hard alongside  my Mayan employees and treated all as brothers and sisters -- trusted me completely and helped make possible us persisting over more than half a century of unceasing efforts to lift up as many of our needy Lamanite brothers and sisters as possible.

NOW TO THE CHALLENGE!
Many of you likely don't know that we failed  to get through Mexico on the first attempt--what then?
What did we have to go through to finally get to the
"Land of the Mayas?"

Below is the story of how we first failed, then made it, along with a brief summary of what happened during those first exciting years and brief mention of most of the history. Much greater detail in the
FINAL REPORT.
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1/2 MILLION MILES OF TRAVEL & ADVENTURE:  Utah through MEXICO and on to GUATEMALA, then later--back and forth between Guatemala & Utah every two months for many years--to keep alive the family, & THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM! 

THE FIRST ATTEMPT TO MOVE TO GUATEMALA & MIRACLES

This chapter of the book of our life began with our first attempt to get through Mexico with our pickup 2,000 lbs. overloaded with generators, four 16 mm. projectors, a P.A. system, two 9' x 12' professional movie screens, aluminum boat and outboard motor, etc. Note:  I had installed overload springs & bought Michelin tires--both effective in getting us to Coban, but then I noticed that all of the 4 rims were cracked!--but we did make it.......finally! -- 

We were not going half-cocked but only after 9 years of quite dedicated preparation--mentioned briefly in early Foundation historical reports (2nd page). 

We were finally ready and drove to my parent's home in Provo, Utah to say goodbye. Below we zoom in again to remind us. 

Our Ford 150 pickup with the modified camper was this 

"modern pioneer family's covered wagon." 

It was a tearful parting, except for an elderly neighbor, a Sister Cannon, who sarcastically smiled and said something like,
"I'll give you 6 months, and you'll come running home with your tail between your legs!"
I just confidently smiled and resisted getting her in a strangle hold as I had learned to do with bullies in my youth, and we headed south.
The camper on the back of our Ford pickup was loaded almost to the ceiling, just leaving enough space for us to crawl in on top to sleep on cushions that covered our precious load--everything we had left on this earth.  NOTE:  Prior to leaving I had sold all my firearms, including my first 30-06 deer rifle, my beloved Ruger Single-Six revolver, etc.  gave away all our furniture and excessive clothes, dishes and cookware, etc. to needy families, but did take my fishing equipment.
We couldn't afford to stay at motels, as the total cash in our pockets for the life-long journey was only $4,273.  But, as mentioned we did have a load of valuable equipment and the pickup/camper--in all of which we had invested $10,000--some of it mentioned in the initial paragraph, with which we were to begin a business venture that hopefully would support us, as well as place us in rural Guatemala where the need was critical, and where we would be able to learn and do a lot of good while preparing for even greater things.
NOTE: $10,000 would be a joke by 2020  standards, perhaps not even enough for a down-payment on a pickup, but the economy was different then. The Ford 150 pickup brand new cost $2,150--of course no 4x4, electric windows didn't exist yet for pickups, no A/C, only a simple radio, etc.
The $4,273 of cash, plus equipment I will admit sounds pretty quixotic .... as emphasized the year before (1966) when I presented the program at the October LDS Ex-Missionary Reunion for Central American missionaries.  I showed them graphically with slides the beautifully colorful Guatemalan culture, but then shocked them with the other side of the coin--the desperate life and death needs of the people we had worked with and suggested something had to be done.  An ex-Mission President in attendance was terribly offended I had mentioned sick and dying LDS Indian babies and converts and angrily rushed at me to argue.  That was the beginning of realizing that telling the truth was perplexingly dangerous, yet it had to be reported if anything positive was to eventually be done.  The FINAL REPORT will describe a whole chain of such events with one very hopeful outcome, but a steep price was paid!
That visual presentation provoked a discussion afterward, some of the group being supportive of doing something, but saying they were in no position to do anything, then telling me, "You be the guinea pig. If the experiment works, we'll follow!"  But the overall reaction paraphrased from two who would become  LDS Church leaders was:
"You don't have the necessary capital.....nor qualified with sufficient education."
To all of them, I suggested that:
If we have the Spirit of the Lord to guide and bless our efforts, our basket will be replenished from time to time enabling us to do a lot of good among a very worthy and needy people, and added that if we didn't at least attempt something we would be somewhat responsible for additional deaths among the Indian babies and children.
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With that experience, we as a family decided to talk no more, but act.  A month later we left on one last 2-1/2 month exploratory trip to pave the way for the move. 

Here we are on that last exploratory trip--my 4th one,  camping out near the soccer stadium in Coban. During those 75 days, only once did we stay in a motel. Our 2-1/2-month-old Richard, by the time we returned. had spent half of his life as a pioneer camping out.
That experience convinced us it was time to go and we announced to our parents we would leave in four months. I promised my father that during those months I would produce a 2 year supply of Andersen Samplers so he could continue the business without me.  I trained my younger brother, Howard, to do the office work and shipping, and then worked an average of 19 hours/day six days a week--almost ruining my health, but finally put in dad's storeroom hundreds of Samplers.
THEN WE PREPARED FOR THE MOVE--SO IN MID-1967, WITH A LOT OF FAITH, WE HEADED SOUTH TO NOGALES, ARIZONA/MEXICO TO CROSS THE BORDER


When the Mexican border officials saw our load they just shook their heads, hinted for bribes, and seeing my refusal, said it wasn't likely possible to get through Mexico. One suggested we look for a Customs Broker to help us.  I talked to a number of them explaining everything had to be done legally with no bribes, and they all shook their heads.  I returned to the Customs House and was told that I had to keep looking and was assured there would be one willing to help us.


We finally found that "one"  who requested authorization from Mexico City to pass through Mexico, and said it would take a while--from one week to six months! 
So we unloaded all the prohibited stuff in the Broker's warehouse and drove south to San Carlos Bay for a week-long wait on the Sea of Cortez. 
We there experienced the FIRST MIRACLE when David and Julie were saved after having been set adrift alone on the open ocean in our aluminum boat when the anchor rope was cut by a surging sea!  I had been skin diving and when returning where the boat had been--found it gone, and went into action.
Seven-year-old Julie and 5-year-old David, in the meantime, tried unsuccessfully to start the cold outboard motor, then knelt in the boat and prayed.  Then after failing again to start the motor, prayed again, and as they raised their heads they saw me 200 yards distant swimming to their rescue and made it just seconds before being dashed onto a rocky shoreline by the large waves.

Then,  the SECOND MIRACLE

With Maria helping me,  we recovered  the anchor from the depths--which we see to the right today painted gold, which   became a symbol  of our "faith"  for our entire 50+ years in the Guatemalan project, which was our Savior.  NOTE: On returning to civilization the first thing I did was add a length of galvanized chain to the anchor, replacing the nylon rope that had been cut.
We returned to Nogales but no authorization had come to travel with our load through Mexico, so we had no choice but leave our stuff in the warehouse, return to Provo and go back to work for Andersen Samplers & Consulting Service while waiting for the news of authorization from the Customs Broker.


This meant facing my parent's neighbor, Sister Cannon, who had predicted we would only last  "6 months and come running home with your tail between your legs,"  but all of a sudden we were returning "with our tail between our legs"   in ONLY TWO WEEKS! 
When she came out to welcome us home, she wasn't able to contain her laughter and for a moment I thought her heart would fail.  She, eventually would pass on and become one of our "guardian angels,"  with eyes wide opened--easily seeing thru all the gossip and rumors mentioned further along that evolved soon,  and I believe she became an avid supporter over all these years!

I went back to work producing Andersen Samplers, earning enough in a couple of weeks to pay for all the losses due to extra travel,  enough for the Custom's Broker, and the bond he required. 

SECOND ATTEMPT & MORE MIRACLES
Two weeks or so later a telegram came and we packed up for the 2nd time and headed for Mexico. But this time, before leaving, had a 2-hour long heart-to-heart talk with my parents who had been understandably doubtful and scared to death about what we were to attempt.  Dad had previously tried to talk me out of it in what at times almost became heated conversations.  Once he shocked me saying, "No cursed people in the history of the world have ever been able to rise above it! You will be sacrificing you and your family in vain!"  I was shocked that a true believer in the BOOK OF MORMON would say such, and decided to not debate the matter anymore, rather quietly continue our preparations.  Eventually, Dad,  seeing my resolve decided to support us even without full understanding.

We had left the first time without any further discussion, but having to return "with my tail between my legs," I felt strongly there was purpose in it, and believed I had to have a heart to heart talk with mom and dad.  
I requested they let me talk without interruption, but to jot down any comments or questions to deal with afterwards.  I described emotionally the long chain of spiritual experiences had since I was a young boy, including my NDE at 16 convincing me I had to dedicate my life SAVING PEOPLE, then as a missionary seeing Indian babies dying that I had to do something about, and later profound experiences when I was President of the Spanish American Branch in Provo, including critically  on the snowy slopes of the Henry Mountains when, as had happened  anciently to Enos, then to Ammon and his brothers from the B of M--I literally had "the spirit of the Lord work on [me] .....," and I had my encounter with the Lord giving me the courage to make the move--and was supported by Maria and the kids.  
Additionally I explained the Good Life Method  (including the Philosophy & Principles) of helping Indians that had come to me as a missionary in the Coban area in 1958, and believed the Lord wanted me to experiment with it and perfect its application among the Indigenous people, while also experiencing the struggle of surviving in rural Guatemala--along with our Indians, all of us learning and rising up together.  And, in so doing also be available to help the local members of our Church in any way the leaders in Guatemala felt appropriate.
It was a humbling and tearful experience for all of us. On conclusion of my explanation, they were humbly quiet seemingly understanding--at least accepting.   I  then asked my father for a "Father's Blessing," which he tearfully gave me--and was faithful doing his part in helping its fulfillment for the last 16 years of his life.
It still took time at the border to do all the red tape, pay off the Broker, etc. but I stuck to my covenant to be honest and not give in to "the bribe system" south of the border--and was suffering the consequences for my principles, but I had to be loyal to my faith believing the Lord would help.  We finally headed south towards Guatemala. 


NOTE:  To the right, Maria is playing with Dave and Julie on the Veracruz beach where began my "CANTINFLAS...comedian ordeal" 11 years later, described at the end of the FINAL REPORT.



The trip through Mexico took us a week as we had to travel slowly with our big load and did some visiting of relatives along the way. 

 As we traveled we observed as always fascinating typical scenes.  One memorable one was of a pickup after a soccer game loaded even more than ours.

Another in a village with a burial ground surrounding a Catholic Church, that was sort of a preview of what we would fight against for all our years in Guatemala--a very high 50% infant mortality rate that would be scandalous in the U.S.  Most of the grave mounds were tiny from babies--like some I had literally seen die when in Coban as a missionary whose deaths nobody cared about which aroused righteous indignation in me that  I had to do something about.


We finally made it through scary Mexico City--where we visited relatives, then down to Veracruz and Maria's home town of Tierra Blanca with more visiting.  Then across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to the Pacific Coast and south to Tapachula, then to the Izapa archaeological site where we parked and spent the night preparing for crossing into Guatemala the next day.

This was where the year before, using night photography,  I had got for Archaeologist Garth Norman the 4"x5" professional quality photos of the Tree of Life Stone and others he has used in many publications since. 

On that expedition I afterwards continued to Coban investigating more how we would establish ourselves and support us there.  When I finished my research and was ready to head home I decided to relax and go fishing at the lake near San Cristobal, and was having great success, as seen below--actually catching 10 like these two.

I then decided to try skin diving and fishing with my speargun as I was noticing others doing there, but after a little while in the cool water I began feeling sick--like the flu was coming on, and decided to get my boat up on top of my camper while I still had strength. 

I headed for Guatemala City, passing through Valparaiso for the first time--of course never imagining at that time that I would eventually spend 26 years of my life there.  

I bought flu medicines in Tactic and continued to the City where the next afternoon I had a date to have dinner with Berkley Spencer and his wife, Carloyn--he had been a great missionary from my time, and was back in Guatemala working on his PhD. During that dinner I all of a sudden had my first attack of malaria resultant from the photo shoots in the jungle at night.  Berkley gave me medications, and the next day I headed for Mexico, making the famous trip through Mexico unable to eat anything, and spent more money on soda pop than on gasoline to finally make my way back to Provo, Utah.

NOW BACK TO MAKING OUR WAY TO THE GUATEMALAN BORDER  with some fervent prayers in our heart but actually with no nervousness about confronting border officials to leave Mexico, and then enter Guatemala.  I was calm and confidant.
At the Mexican side of the border with Guatemala, I parked on the railroad bridge we had to drive across and the customs officials came out and I showed them the detailed list they had to check to make sure something hadn't remained in Mexico, and so we could get our bond back from the broker (which he never sent anyway).    They said we'd have to unload everything, and I replied that would be fine as we had all the time in the world.  

But when I opened the camper door and they saw it loaded right up to near the ceiling--which would take all day to unload and then load, and a train was behind us and had to get across--so then occurred the THIRD MIRACLE--they just read each item on the list and asked if it was in our pickup, and with my,  "sí  señor,"  they took my word, checked each item and in 10 minutes--with no bribes, we crossed the bridge into Guatemala on
 Saturday, August 19, 1967.

At Guatemala's Customs, I set before the official my folder of invoices, and list of everything we had, saying "I know it will likely take some time, and we'll have to pay import duties on some items, but we have lots of time--so let's get to work!"  


It was Saturday afternoon, and apparently they didn't want to work too hard, and besides, they were blown away by my frank honesty.  The official went down the list, and with each item asked if it was new or used.  With the "new" items, like a couple of three generators, and  2 16mm. movie projectors, I said they were "new."  But the official seemed irritated by my honesty, and came back saying, "But didn't you at least turn them on, or start them up to see if they worked?"  I agreed I had done that, so--he concluded, 
"Then, they are used!"  



ARRIVING IN "THE LAND OF ETERNAL SPRING"

Within 45 minutes of having arrived at the  Mexican side of the border, we were on our way towards Guatemala City without having to unload anything, no payment of duties on anything--only paying a $4.50 fee to have crossed the bridge, and NO PAYMENT OF BRIBES.  
The FOURTH MIRACLE had happened, and all the trouble caused by being honest was more than made up for.  We only had to eventually pay duties on the pickup, but considered a work vehicle, so duty was cheap.
Then on to Guatemala City aided by one of the outstanding men of my earthly experience, Enrique Rittscher, who invited us to stay in one of his apartments while doing business in the city, visiting a lawyer to get the process started to get a Permanent Resident Visa, getting the duty paid on the pickup, etc.
While there doing business Enrique and me had the evenings to talk about what we were going to attempt.  He was sincerely interested, saying, "It's about time that some Latter Day Saints became interested in helping the needy Lamanites,"  and made the comment that he felt that "one day we will be working together." 
I couldn't attempt the trip to Coban with the entire load, so the family stayed at the Rittscher apartments, along with having in storage half of our load--which now also included a propane gas stove, two 100 lb. propane gas tanks and a small refrigerator.
So off I went alone to Coban--leaving behind MODERN GUATEMALA & plunging into MAYAN/INDIAN GUATEMALA-- to find a place to rent, unload, and then return for the family and the rest of our things.  Soon the contrast of culture between the city and Indian Guatemala were stark to say the least, seeing Indian women loaded with giant loads of firewood headed for home.  The men and boys, with their giant hoes, out working the steep, rocky fields to produce corn and black beans.


The 120 mile trip was halfway on the pavement--the Atlantic Highway, then on rough mountain roads, fording 11 streams before getting to Coban.  


The trip to Coban took around 10 hours, and I was always amazed after such a long, slow drive to find civilization--in Utah such a trip would end in one finding great deer hunting! 

At Coban's Texaco gas station I continued a life-long friendship with it's owner, Luis Gonzalez Borja.  I had met him there in 1958 when I was a missionary.  He was then a young boy working for free washing customers' windshields, and hoping to get a paying job.  Nine years later he was the owner and years later became President Lucas' Transportation Minister and one of only two in the Lucas government that didn't end up going to jail for corruption.  The other one was Rafael Castillo, Lucas' Secretary of State, who I had worked with as a janitor at BYU in 1959, and years later helped by him to get established in Guatemala.  
 At that time Coban--COLONIAL GUATEMALA, was a sleepy little town where you rarely saw other vehicles--
There was one General Store, one pharmacy, one dentist, and an old rundown government hospital.


TODAY --53 years later --March 2020,  there are stoplights and traffic jams all over the town which now includes a Shopping Mall, McDonald's, Domino's Pizza, Payless Shoes, and everything good &  bad you can imagine!  
I found a home to rent, unloaded our stuff and then returned to Guatemala City to get the family and make the second trip.
 A FEW GLIMPSES OF THE FAMILY HISTORY IN RURAL GUATEMALA
From 1967 seven exciting, even breathtaking, adventurous years would go by before being able to make a trip north in 1974.  A friend visiting during those years--Kay Franz, characterized them as "living from crisis to crisis,"  but also by me as "miracle after miracle...after miracle--blessed, guided and protected by the Lord." 
CRISIS TO CRISIS....MIRACLE AFTER MIRACLE!
During those 7 years--1967 to 1974, three more children would be born:  Joe "Joey," Marcia "Nita," and Daniel "Danny."  Maria was a beautiful mother,  incredibly courageous having each with the help of a midwife at the government hospital in Coban, most of those years living in a rental house in Coban. 
In the meantime, I worked hard to get profitable business projects functioning to support us. First the traveling movie venture--
Cine Chapinlandia (item #1 in the FINAL REPORT)……..  
……which was an unbelievable experience showing over nearly 6 months educational and commercial movies to 50,000 rural Guatemalans......below we see the patio of the Catholic Convent in Sacapulas where I would spend the night with the priests and nuns.   Other towns didn't evcn have electricity and I would use a portable generator....
.......for many it was their first movie ever.   The camper also became a traveling medical clinic as in that entire area, 200,000 people didn't have one doctor, and only one medical clinic--but poorly supplied.  So I quickly began learning about treating serious problems I hadn't learned about as a Medical Specialist in the Army.  That eye opening adventure was later gossiped about as our "first failure,"  that still has me smiling at the poor souls who didn't know what they were talking about.
Then on December 5, 1967, it blended into
Granja & Tienda La Cabana.....

....the poultry enterprise (item #2), that became the first commercial poultry farm in North central Guatemala--and later gossiped about as our "second failure," which had me laughing all the way to the bank!  In the picture below we see our first Guatemalan baby, Joseph "Joey" Albert Andersen, born on January 2, 1968.

That in turn on February 2, 1968 blended into the Paradise Valley Plantation-
-Finca Valparaiso (item #3)......



.........with a visit sandwiched in-between from my parents,  sister, Jolene, and brother, Howard seen above at Coban's grass landing strip, having flown on an Aviateca DC-3 taking 30 minutes, rather than on a bus taking 10-12 hours.



Above we see the entrance to the Central House area, and below a portion of  Valparaiso as seen a few years later  after creating a lake, then clearing and mowing an area that revealed mounds that along with the rest of the property was discovered to be an ancient  fortified city--by the way mentioned in the BOOK of MORMON and speculated by some LDS archaeologists as the 

City of Helam.
Until then I had continued every two weeks the traveling movie, but now with two properties to manage and develop, plus a large debt to pay off, I finally had to end the traveling movie--Cine Chapinlandia.  Then,  7 months later, realizing that everything we were doing at the Farm could be done even more effectively on the plantation, we sold the poultry farm.   For the next 26 years, I focused on Valparaiso--that became
THE CID--the Center for Indian Development—El Centro Indigena de Desarrollo (item #7), specializing in what we called  
A PROGRAM OF TOTAL DEVELOPMENT.
From here we extended out all over the country with aid projects.

All the while applying the.......
....Philosophy & Principles of the Good Life--
--to awaken and help those we met on the movie tour, then our people at the farm, followed by the plantation and arousing everybody's interest not only in helping themselves improve their lives but also in saving their own.  
(item #3) -- keep reading to learn the details of the GOOD LIFE METHOD of helping Indians.
*****************
HELP FROM THE U.S. BEGAN FORMALLY
From August 19, 1967 to mid-1970 we were on our own as a family -- then family & friends from "the land northward" began making possible doing more on all fronts.
THE FOUNDATION--Where did it come from? 
The Foundation--spearheaded by my father, Dr. Ariel A. Andersen, unbeknownst to us in Guatemala,  along with a group of friends interested in helping the effort,  applied for legal recognition in Provo, Utah and was accepted mid-1970 --3 years after us Andersen's launched ourselves on our own into the mysterious 
"Land of the Mayas." 

Dad worked tirelessly as a non-paid volunteer promoting and funding the Foundation for the last 14 years of his life--his 14 YEAR "AMMON-LIKE MISSION" -- for which he refused to even accept expense reimbursement, much less some kind of  "modest living allowance."  He was rather the major contributor in time and money. To be able to do so he sold the culminating work of his life,  Andersen Samplers & Consulting Service--mentioned previously.  The Foundation and helping the needy in Guatemala then became his "labor of faith and love."

The Foundation immediately  began helping in THE ALTRUISTIC ACTIVITIES OF OUR FAMILY which we were already doing on our own as the PRIVATE FAMILY PEACE CORP  supported from our own agro-business profits while using all of our surplus to help the 240 resident Poqomchi Indians on the plantation, plus accepting invitations to treat the sick and dying in nearby villages--like Najquitob.

During all of our first years we performed thousands of medical treatments like we see above Julie helping me do at Valparaiso.  With the Foundation's help we were able to expand our efforts to many areas.
 Our family efforts, prior to the Foundation,  also included long trips to Patzicia to help the LDS members who were literally suffering and dying.  Travel out of our isolated area then was difficult and eventually  I decided we could help most by  bringing to Valparaiso as "vocational students"  Daniel Choc, his sister, Carmela, and Gonzalo Cujcuj and his sister, Carmela, as part of our Vocational Education Program, in which they would be prepared best to help themselves and their people through our "program of total development" -- the only such LDS oriented program in the whole world at that time. 

 
A list of our family projects, which in mid-1970 the Foundation began helping with,  follows: 
1. Elementary, vocational education, and adult literacy programs.
2. Support of orphan children, and needy mothers and their children.
3. A home for vocational students from other areas.
4. A home visiting program of all families in the area to report sickness in time to save lives.
5. Medical and sanitary services-including the building of outhouse floors and seats for all families who took the initiative to dig the hole.

6. A Home Improvement Program doing our best to convert the huts into "healthy homes."
7. A “welfare program” including  “A cooperative welfare vegetable farm.”
8. A recreation program: Soccer, swimming, fishing, dancing, etc.
9. In my official calling as a Local Missionary—authorized by the Mission President to act “like a District President” I did so personally (and as a family), not with Foundation help: Religious services for those interested, including the 1st (unofficial) Seminary Class (Book of Mormon) in Central America, then a Sunday School, followed by a Relief Society.
In addition to beginning to help with medical treatments, I recall the first actual Foundation project was to help our Vocational Education Program, by getting us a tractor we see below being driven by Daniel Choc from Patzicia.  His big dream for his life had been to be able to drive a tractor.  He arrived as a barefoot 16 year old, never having even brushed his teeth, nor given a speech in his LDS Chapel, but I sensed great potential in this  humble  Cakchiquel Indian teenager and  chose him to be the first to learn to operate the tractor.  He caught on quickly and eventually became the "Tractor Supervisor" teaching 26 other vocational students how to use the tractor plus much, much more explained more fully in the FINAL REPORT. 

When Daniel returned to Patzicia 2-1/2years later he amazed the LDS members in Patzicia when  giving a speech, one of the elderly leaders remarking, "He left here a boy, but returned a man!"  He soon would became the first Mayan Indian to become a full-time missionary for the LDS Church. 


At Valparaiso he had been a local missionary for around two years, him and companion, Carlos Valdez, accounting for 26 baptisms—which became his real mission, never mentioned by those who later wrote about him.

  On leaving Valparaiso he suggested that the best way to help his people would be to expand and formalize our Program of Total Development to reach more of his people, and together we hatched a plan for after his mission establishing a Center for Indian Development--CID #2 in Patzicia with him as Director.  Sadly his life was cut short by the tragic 1976 earthquake that killed 25,000 of his people. 
Back to Valparaiso, 1970 had already begun a miraculous period of 3 years with no death at the Valparaiso Plantation--when previously at least 50% of the children were dying before reaching their 5th year--an average of 8 infant deaths/year.  With the Foundation's help we were able to achieve outhouses for every one of the 39 families--previously with NONE, and continued with no deaths--of babies or  anybody, and improve and expand our projects and eventually extend our efforts to other areas of the country.
 

 
The Foundation help for altruistic activities made possible using our profits to expand our business projects and employ more needy Indians in helping them become independent and even be able to help their own people. The Foundation offered to help with our children's education, paying for Calvert School correspondence courses in English and we accepted that. 

Strangely those who apparently looked at us as competition started a rumor that all was a scam for us to get rich.  Just the opposite was true as from our work and business profits we were always contributors to the Foundation using our time, property,  equipment, vehicles and more for Foundation projects, and often over the years sold old cows, pine trees, and even pieces of our property to be able to contribute the cash needed for Foundation projects.
 



How grateful we were and are for the amazing support and encouragement we received over these 50+ years. Thanks to each of you from the bottom of our heart.

Initially, the foundation was called the Cordell Andersen Foundation--but soon I insisted on changing the name to reflect better what we were doing, so for the next 40 years it was the Foundation for Indian Development.  In 2010 the name was changed again so that Google searches would guide people to aid projects among the Mayans in Guatemala, rather than leading them to altruistic activities among Indians in India--the name becoming the 

GUATEMALAN FOUNDATION.

On retiring the Foundation in 2017, as mentioned previously, an effort was made to do a FINAL REPORT of the 50 year-long adventure to experiment with an idea—

THE PHILOSOPHY & PRINCIPLES OF THE GOOD LIFE -- 

-- explained in item #3 of the FINAL REPORT, but summarized below:


THE PHILOSOPHY:
1. The present Indigenous Mayans are descendants of a onetime progressive and advanced people described today by some as "The Greeks of the New World.”
2.  As described in their own writings, the POPUL VUH, they lost an original "Sacred Book," and fell into a period of darkness with consequences they still suffer today.
3.  The present indigenous peoples have the same potential for greatness, and are promised in their own writings a future of blossoming and prosperity.





THE PRINCIPLES of THE GOOD LIFE:
A formula of concepts they need to apply to
"come out of darkness into the light" and blossom.
1.  Be clean in all aspects of life
2.  Care properly for your body and nourish it well
3. Live in a clean & cleanable home & home site
4. Have a united family, parents and children loving each other
5. Education for all 
6.  Be industrious, but learn how to work productively
7. On achieving the Good Life, share with others.



  For those Mayans interested in religion, there were other principles:
1. Believe in and follow the God of this land who is Jesus Christ.
2. Believe that anciently they had a Sacred Book that had been lost, but now found.
3. Be obedient to Him and unite with others who believe in the same principles of progress.

********************************

The "idea" was designed to help effectively needy Mayan-Indians and other poor Guatemalans--not a band-aid fix, rather a 
PROGRAM OF TOTAL DEVELOPMENT.  
 It was a method that was believed could have world-wide application to help any needy people.   The effort was made to employ and save as many needy Mayans as possible, but on a broader long-term scale, we hoped our effort would:
Awaken other's interest in helping needy people--especially Individuals and institutions that would have the finances and expertise to apply the proven ideas on a very broad scale.....  
.......at which time we would happily fade away, and continue quietly as a family--living and working among Indians in remote areas not reached by normal altruistic institutions.
******************************
NOW....BACK TO THE EVOLUTION OF HISTORY
Exactly four years after purchasing Valparaiso, on February 2, 1972 we became the owners in a sweet-heart deal of a bankrupt dairy in Coban..... 
......La Lecherias--Dairy--las Victorias
....that for 1 year was operated at its original site in Coban while we built  new dairy facilities at Valparaiso that included a modern milking parlor, processing facility, cold storage room, 5 new homes for dairy workers, new potable water system, and a diesel electric plant to operate the dairy & area--and later after we finally got line electricity, for emergencies.


On February 2, 1973, exactly one year after becoming owners of the dairy, and 5 years after purchasing Valparaiso, all was moved to Valparaiso and, me being in the cattle business--had a BYU Animal Husbandry professor visit and label me as a "rodeo clown"  because we didn't have alfalfa nor produce silage.  We rather had our livestock on high quality pasture 12 months a year rather than eating expensive hay and silage--and..... again had me laughing all the way to the bank and quickly paying off the large bank loan, while employing full-time 39 Guatemalans with much better than average wages, and supporting the family giving us time to dedicate ourselves to altruistic projects all over the country. 
I smilingly continue to have fun calling myself  a
 "rodeo clown!"  
It became the largest dairy in Northern Guatemala eventually with two of our cows and a heifer all defeating in a Livestock Show the Grand Champion of the Jersey Breed in all of Central America, our winners seen below.  From the "bankrupt dairy's" production of 3.5 liters of milk daily per cow when we took over, we quickly solved serious problems and increased production per cow to 16.5 liters/day/cow, said to be the best in the country.  
Here are our three CHAMPIONS shown by three outstanding Andersen pioneers:  Rich "Dito,"   Dave, and Julie.  See many more details in the FINAL REPORT, item #10.
One champion producer--Susana, produced a record 12 gallons of milk in one day! For full disclosure, she isn't one of the above, but seen below--a Holstein/Brown Swiss hybrid that was very large--I had to stand on a stool to check her for pregnancy or to inseminate her.

Some have asked why we didn't have a whole herd of "Susana's?"  Our joke about the quality of milk explains:  In a bucket of Holstein milk you can throw in a quarter and see it on the bottom.  In a bucket of Jersey milk you can throw in a quarter and also see it--FLOATING on the thick, creamy milk!"
Our mostly Jersey cows--we continually upgraded with me inseminating with high quality semen, along with proper nutrition, produced milk of such high quality we would run it through a cream separator and take off 75% of  the cream, the resultant milk still thicker and creamier than that of Holstein or Brown Swiss whole milk. The cream was literally our profit.
The author, or inventor of the gossip about our early failures, and he who said "To have success in Guatemala you had to use the bribe system .... and other unlawful business practices," for incomprehensibly reasons couldn't see anything  good happening at Valparaiso,  and said, "Close down the Foundation, sell Valparaiso and go to the South Coast, buy a plantation, and make some money!"  
Since we didn't have a luxurious home with a swimming pool to entertain guests from the U.S., or go on nice vacations, etc., etc. we were still failures for him. "Saving thousands, and helping tens of thousands of Indians to receive an education," wasn't apparently on his priority list. 
Up to mid-1970   we were on our own as the Andersen Family Peace Corp (1967-1970)--supporting ourselves and the projects previously listed.  Then from July 1970 on we continued with the help of the Foundation for Indian Development  that covered most of the altruistic projects.   The Foundation had never been part of our plan, nor requested--but much appreciated.  It was all an initiative of those in Provo, Utah interested in helping, spearheaded by my father, and is important regarding item #3 of the FINAL REPORT about the rumors and gossip that people conjured up in their minds.

GOOD PUBLICITY but also GOSSIP EVOLVED....
....FASCINATING TO SAY THE LEAST 
For the first 6 years, we were appreciative of a great deal of positive publicity we received from our own people--mostly from Utah, but also perplexed, and often amused by criticism of our efforts that all seemed to come from what we began calling "friendly fire."  It wasn't actually very friendly at all, but it did all come from our own people--LDS U.S. citizens living, working, and/or visiting in Guatemala--and interestingly all from people who had never visited us, but thought themselves to be experts and sadly believed by some important people. 
It was from them that came the gossip about my failures mentioned above and in the FINAL REPORT, items #1, #2, #3, & #10, etc. 
It seemed like certain people who admitted would never do what we were attempting, and who never even visited to see what was going on, were obsessed with finding something wrong in what we were doing and criticism got out of hand. I'll leave the psychological analysis in your hands.
I had come knowing there would be opposition but was pretty naive about not expecting it to come from my own people.  I should have known better as one of my heroes, whose example I was attempting to follow, Ammon, from the BOOK OF MORMON, was "laughed to scorn" by his own people for wanting to go on a self-appointed mission to help the Lamanites (as Mormons call the Indians).

ENCOURAGING VISIT FROM SPENCER W. KIMBALL

By 1971 I was reminded about this when LDS Apostle, Spencer W. Kimball, on a visit to Guatemala City for Conference of the Guatemala City Stake, requested a visit with me. I made the long trip to Guatemala City taking with 4 of our youths called to be local missionaries. In a private visit Brother Kimball  congratulated me for what I was doing, suggested ways to promote the Foundation, and then warned,
"Don't pay any attention to criticism as such had also happened anciently to Ammon and his companions who were 'laughed to scorn' by their own people."
I know he was referring to criticism from what we could call low level "friendly fire,"  but I'm not sure whether he also perceived it would come from his companions in Church leadership.  I soon was prepared for almost anything—although I’ll admit years later that I wasn’t a very good diplomat, as I had ingrained in me what I learned as a young, very short kid bullied by everyone, TO NOT TAKE ANY GUFF FROM ANYONE  and be HONEST calling a SPADE A SPADE.   
Bullying and dishonesty fired up my competitive genes, and if the perpetrators thought such would shut me down and end my effort, they were very mistaken.    I'm still working hard to find a way to report the truth in a way that will awaken a spirit of decency in honest people, and end up being a blessing for justice and truth because..
...DESCENT PEOPLE APOLOGIZE WHEN THEY ARE WRONG. 
I could not accept false stories, lies, and injustices no matter who they came from nor whether their motives in some perverted way had some noble objective in the perpetrator's imagination.  Strangely--telling the truth time after time got me in trouble. In fact that is basically what had me putting on hold the original FINAL REPORT.  
 “Something was wrong”  repeated many times over the years,  presenting the dilemma:  How to write honestly the FINAL REPORT and have it result in GOOD?


HAROLD BROWN'S SURPRISE VISIT
In 1973 we learned from friend and LDS Regional Representative in Central America, Harold Brown, who surprised us with a visit  and in a Church meeting explained it was being rumored that: 
 1.) I was crazy for what I was attempting (and I guess my wife, Maria, just stupid);
 2.) That so many years had gone by because I was afraid to return to the U.S. as I would have to face prosecution for something horrible I had done, and, 
3.) I was giving a charitable appearance to our life, but it was a scam as my real purpose, according to the gossipers, was to build myself a business empire using the Foundation and the LDS Church TO GET RICH. 



As explained in the FINAL REPORT, Harold Brown, revealed to us the above criticism, then went on to explain in that meeting that he didn't believe any of that, told the Ammon story, and began calling our effort "Ammon-like" and described forcefully his heartfelt belief in our effort, having the packed congregation all in tears.  He became our supporter and friend all of his life, while many others failed. (item #11)
UNFOUNDED CRITICISM..
..BASED ON MISINFORMATION...& ITS OUTCOME!
Until all of that reached an important climax in January 1973--saved finally in November by the angelic visit of Harold Brown, I was having such an incredible time realizing my dream--beyond anything I had imagined possible so quickly, my previous intense interests in BYU sports,  hunting, fishing, and the High Uintas had been pushed into the background of my life. However, the unfair ambush by people I had never dreamed would be our opposition, had me reacting as I did as a child and teenager to bullies, "to not take any guff from anyone," which unfair, untruthful, and unjust bullying motivated me to do more.  Yet, eventually, as it persisted affecting deeply my family I became somewhat disappointed resulting in me all of a sudden wanting more contact with the world of Utah.
So, first, I bought a roll of copper wire and installed it as a radio antenna from the Central House at Valparaiso 150 yards up to the top of the tallest pine above us.....hoping even to pick up at night KSL radio from Salt Lake City. 

 Later, when the Utah Jazz moved from New Orleans to Utah, with games on KSL radio in the beginning, I found that I could pick up the last quarter of night games on my pickup radio by driving way up the mountain into guerrilla territory on the edge of the Chixoy Canyon where I had a direct line on Salt Lake. In the spooky darkness, I'd listen to "Hotrod" Hundley announce excitedly the last quarter of games--and I became the...... 
......Utah Jazz fan who risked his life most to support the team.
Later, at the Farm of the Holy Man, from 1994 until 2002, our dish antennae made possible us watching those great games against the Chicago Bulls for the NBA Championship as seen in the picture on the right with John Stockton on the TV in our living room.  (see item #29). 
With me are my five children from the 2nd marriage--I'll explain clearly in the FINAL REPORT.  From 1994 on as a Mr. Mom I spent 20 years alone raising these 5, who are:  Cordel Ammon "Lito," Nephi, Mahana, Aura, and Jesse.
But, back to 1973-74 and the disappointment of amazing success being ambushed by "friendly fire," and the beginning of the renewed interests mentioned--we began thinking of making our first trip to the U.S. in 7 years, take in BYU football games, do a little fishing and go deer hunting. 
 With Maria,  it became for all the rest of her years in Guatemala, wanting to go to Coban often with our delivery vehicle and associate with relatively educated, high-class Ladino women.  By 1981, when I moved her back to  Provo, Utah because of the guerrilla war, she admitted that unjust criticism and lack of gratitude from Church leaders--and especially the blaming of us for "illegal adoption work," while letting those actually responsible who had lied--blaming it all on us,  go unscathed and afterward given even higher callings, had her concluding that her years in Guatemala had "been hell,"  and eventually she never wanted to live there again.  Note:  The international adoption scandal story is told in item #20 in the FINAL REPORT.
However, in some ways, this change in reverting to previous interests maybe wasn't such a bad idea, as perhaps it helped us have a little more balance and variety in our lives--and did give us the experience we never imagined would be part of our lives dedicated to the Lamanites. 
So, by 1974 we had our business projects functioning successfully with our original Vocational Students--now employees--running the business.  We began thinking about making a Fall trip back to Utah.  But, we only had two work vehicles so had to consider flying--with the Foundation promising us a vehicle for a return trip if we could get to Utah on our own. 


So--we did as always when Foundation money was lacking for a project,  we sold a bunch of old cows for slaughter, got on a Pan American 747 jumbo jet and made our first vacation trip--and,  rather than be put in jail for whatever, we were treated like war heroes returning from the front lines.  From then on we usually made a trip each Fall, and sometimes in between, like I did in 1978 when needing to get a delivery van for our business-- a funny story told at the end of the FINAL REPORT.

On the 1974 trip, the  Foundation provided us with a Plymouth Van for our family transportation as well as for everything else we were doing.  We see it below on the left after our return trip, which included driving all the way up to Seattle, putting a Fireside on arranged by my brother Marlo, and then down the coast, putting on several Firesides along the way and ending at my sister Gayle's home in San Diego for Thanksgiving.  Then entering Mexico and driving down Lower California and from La Paz took a ferry to Mazatlan and on to Guatemala--thus adding to our original trip and beginning to accumulate over the next 30 years many, many miles traveling through Mexico and having some very memorable, and scary experiences.

A GUERRILLA THREAT & STRANGE DISHONESTY ENDED MARIA'S & THE FAMILY'S 14 YEAR AMMON-LIKE  MISSION.
In 1981 a "death threat" from the guerrillas led to me quickly taking Maria and the kids back to Utah--ending Maria's exceptional "Ammon-like 14 year mission"  helping to make possible a great work among the Mayans, as well as great contributions from all of my children who never faltered in being with me in the adventure. Without their 14-year contribution, laying a great foundation for success, I would likely have never been able to do very much.
After establishing the family in a rental home in Provo, Utah and getting them a car for transportation, I was quickly back in Guatemala as I had to keep the business going that supported us, as well as continue the Foundation projects.
But, I had to do so clandestinely--disguised and armed as there was evidence that a rebel group of guerrillas refused to obey the main leader in our part of the country who had told his troops to leave me and the plantation alone.  But, the Central House Family ended as threats from the rebel group of the house being torched had no one wanting to live there anymore.  I had to hustle to find safe homes for everyone.
I also had to keep the family going in Utah, so I began spending two months in Guatemala, then 2 months in Utah, making 5 to 6 trips a year to keep everything going in both countries.  At that time I also became AYUDA's  (see item #23) representative in Guatemala as that aid organization's representatives from the U.S. decided it too dangerous to travel to Guatemala, and eventually AYUDA disappeared and we kept their projects in Cunen going on our own for the next 10 years.
During all those years, with traveling back and forth every two months,  I accumulated around 500,000 miles of travel.
Below we see the family back in Utah, including for 18 months the outstanding student and member of the Central House Family, Moncho, or Victor Ramon Yat Valdez, we see him to Maria's right in the background.  Today in 2020 he is Bishop Victor Valdez, of the Valparaiso LDS Ward.
And it seemed like on every one of those trips I narrowly escaped serious accidents and likely death, as well as having many dangerous experiences.
During my months in Guatemala--over 10 years, I quite miraculously escaped from the guerrillas a few times and once at Valparaiso we were in the middle of a shoot-out between the Army and guerrillas after which my Dodge delivery van was used to carry dead and wounded to Coban--all Army and guerrillas, with nobody from Valparaiso ever injured.
Previously me and   my Indian brothers literally had to fight off invaders and put many in jail;  Then  in the 90's with my new wife, Maria Elena,  we had to deal with a well organized "mafia," called "Los Colitas,"  murderous bandits--posing as guerrillas,  who assaulted us, catching me off-guard and threatening to take my wife into the mountains unless I gave them all our money and weapons--they got a sub-machine gun, and a couple of pistols, but I talked them out of taking my dad's Browning .22 rifle,  but, because I reported the assault  to the police and Army, the thugs promised to kill my family and burn down the Central House!
But,  I was determined to not let that happen--re-armed quickly and night after night I was waiting in ambush--the ambush-er always with a tremendous advantage, each night in a different position,  to eliminate them.  I was armed (this will sound quite Quixotic) with my father's Browning .22 rifle--but loaded with deadly "Israeli Terminator bullets" (not available to the public), plus my Para Ordinance .45 pistol and  back-up .380,  and fully intended to become a "MODERN AMMON"--who killed 7 rustlers of the King's flocks and gained the confidence of the King and people.
 NOTE:  The "Colitas" were saved from me by being arrested by government security forces and I got back my sub-machine gun!  I  participated in the trial and have the only video VHS tape of the  "Los Colitas" trial of those who were captured.


CONCLUSIONS

Well, to say the least, our family and this "RODEO CLOWN"  had the time of our lives with adventure after adventure and a bit of success along with Harold  Brown informing us that we achieved our objective of awakening the interest of helping needy people among individuals and institutions that would have the finances and expertise to apply the proven ideas on a very large scale. He explained our efforts  had....
 ....stimulated the organization of LDS world-wide welfare services....
.....which he admitted we would never get credit for--except from him, and now almost 50 years later has me smile gratefully every time I see a TV report by the LDS Church about their World-wide Humanitarian Services projects all around the world.  The step by step evolution of our influence in that will all be explained in good detail in the FINAL REPORT--mainly in item #11--of which, as I now look back on the 50+ years of effort, has me almost incredulous that it could all have happened--while at the same time feeling profoundly grateful for the blessing it all was in my life, that of my family, and importantly among many thousand Guatemalans.  
You'll get that point once you see the complete FINAL REPORT. 
For example,   In doing thousands of medical treatments every year, especially in the first 15 years,  3 times dealing with deadly rabies, then treating almost  every tropical and deadly sickness known to man-- tuberculosis, pneumonia, malaria, dengue, typhoid, typhus, tetanus, amoebic dysentery, and all kinds of intestinal infections, etc. and a continuing epidemic of malnutrition, kwashiorkor (protein deficiency)--and I even did an emergency hernia surgery that I  had a lot of fun retelling at BYU's 1977 Education Week in item #19, that tells the story of receiving that year the BYU Distinguished Service Award--and,  while saving others from those serious diseases and conditions at times  found myself coming down with the same,  and then..
.... had to save myself. 
I yelled for my kids to bring me my medical bag!
******************
For a number of years, we also helped sponsor the.....
....NATIONAL INDIAN FOLKLORE FESTIVAL...
.....but then decided our local area needed our help most, so for 14 consecutive years we sponsored, along with the Foundation,  the INDIAN FOLKLORE FESTIVAL in Santa Cruz Verapaz,   and I was privileged each year with crowning the new queen and blessed with unique opportunities to participate in their private religious ceremonies and I was even permitted to take rare video footage.
Below we see a photograph of the country-wide Mayan candidates for the
National Indigenous Folklore Festival,
called by some
"THE MOST COLORFUL INDIGENOUS EVENT IN THE AMERICAS"
......each with their distinct typical clothing, language, and customs.

The FESTIVAL is held in Coban on the last Saturday in July each year.


As explained near the beginning of this post..........the FESTIVAL is to show to the world the colorful and fascinating Indigenous cultures of Mayan-Guatemala and to choose the  INDIAN QUEEN, or as they call her in all of the 23 different indigenous languages, 
"DAUGHTER OF THE KING OF HEAVEN!" 



Princess Carolina Moran


Princess Norma Laj


Princess Marta Elena Hun


For us Andersen's and the Foundation it was a blessing to help in these great activities along with an unending chain of projects in every one of the 33 villages of Santa Cruz Verapaz, as well as surrounding areas, all the way down into the Polochic Valley, and across the country in the Central Highlands, mostly centered on Patzicia and Patzun having fulfilled the goal of......

......."SAVING THOUSANDS, & MAKING EDUCATION AVAILABLE TO MANY TENS OF THOUSANDS," 
which blessing we will always cherish.
*****************************
If I finish the FINAL REPORT with the complete unvarnished story--
-- "before it's too late," -- you will be advised. 
If not, my extensive files and many journals--will be donated to a University library, and will have to be used to unravel the life-long "Checkered Faith & Work Journey"--if anyone is interested in the challenge, about which one leader, who for a brief moment comprehended and counseled  me,
"Don't tell anyone as no one will understand." 
He soon demonstrated the truth in his statement by breaking the confidence and telling to other leaders a distorted and untruthful version of the story and sadly was believed. 
On the other hand, one unique man, Harold Brown, showed that it was possible to understand fairly by having an.....
 .....unbiased open mind, an understanding heart, and a spiritually perceptive spirit.
Brother Brown is sadly gone. But, I hope and pray a few such individuals
still  exist and be interested as it was a story worth living and 
of great value to understand fairly as did Brother Brown.  
****************************
THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP AND SUPPORT,
YOU ARE DEEPLY APPRECIATED AND LOVED. 
************************

FOR LDS PEOPLE--A BRIEF RELIGIOUS HISTORY

The Church began missionary work in Coban and Alta Verapaz in 1956. The isolated area soon became known among LDS missionaries as, "The Siberia of Central America," due to its remoteness, 13 months of rain each year, and very difficult missionary work.   
 In 1958 when I spent 3 months in the area, there were just 7 active adult members, plus a few children.  Most of the members were from the family of Sister Carlota de Yalibat. Prior to her conversion to Mormonism she had taught two Baptist sister missionaries her dialect, Kekchi, and then helped them translate the New Testament into Kekchi.

A few years later there was a short period when Yalibat and a companion had been called as local missionaries--the first to preach in Kekchi and they had a little success, but it didn't last.  I describe that experience in the FINAL REPORT and in my "Checkered....autobiography,"    I'll insert a picture of this choice sister below--who had even spent some time helping with translations in Provo, Utah at BYU, and lived with us during that period, but by the time we moved to Coban she had moved to the capital city to live with a daughter.  
When we arrived in Coban in 1967 there had not been full-time missionaries there for about 8 years. A tiny group struggled to keep alive the  LDS branch with 7 active adults,  plus a couple of teenagers, and some children.  

Before we continued to Coban I had visited with the LDS Mission President, David Clark, and explained what we were doing and our plan of action.

He seemed dazed and said something like, "I would never  be willing to attempt what you describe."  So, I guess I was looked at as a little crazy, yet he immediately called me as a "local missionary" and authorized me to teach, interview, baptize, ordain, and organize as though I was a District President" and instructing me "to seek the inspiration of the Lord in my calling."   To this day in 2019 I have never been released.....yet. 


The Branch President was Alfredo Rodas, we see below administering the Sacrament, and  did the best he could on his own to keep the branch alive.  It was  part of the far-off Zacapa District, leaders from which had never visited Coban.
 


Below is a picture of the children's Sunday School class taught by Sister Aldina Klee,  including Julie, David & Cristina.

I became President  Rodas' counselor and we went to work, eventually increasing attendance to 55 with many investigators.  But,  then he became ill and wasn't expected to live and I was made Branch President.  Brother Rodas eventually recovered, but then was central in a scandal the news spreading like wildfire all over Coban.   Attendance immediately dropped to 2 (that is not a typo, but really TWO!). Huge efforts to activate the members were getting us nowhere--then the Mission President instructed me to advise the members to be active and pay their tithing or the branch would be closed.   We did our best with the members and investigators. 

By then a Sunday School and Relief Society had been organized at Valparaiso so we were dividing our time between the two places--one hour apart on a rough, muddy/rocky road. 

Then in 1970, the first Branch Conference was held in the area in 15 years  with Mission Counselor, Carl Jacob, and companions from the City, with two sessions.  At Valparaiso, during a tropical downpour  70 came--sitting  on split log benches and feed bags  in our makeshift chapel--a feed warehouse. 

In Coban, the attendance was 7. 

The next day Mission President Clark closed the Coban Branch and moved it to Valparaiso including the piano, benches and other furniture.  For a week we were the VALPARAISO BRANCH with me as Branch President.

What you see below is not the feed warehouse/chapel, rather what we created when made an LDS Group --so we'd have a place for the benches, piano, etc. We constructed what we called the Cultural Hall that was added on to the Central House where a flower garden had been.  It was used as a chapel and for social activities.
A week later new Mission President, Harvey Glade, was misinformed by his Counselor John O'Donnal about what had happened, and accused me of having closed the Coban Branch and moving it to Valparaiso without authorization and threatened me with excommunication. This was the first in a long list of perplexing and uninspired accusations and actions by leaders. 

 Carl Jacob and the telegram from President Clark giving the order,  saved me from that fate, but President Glade reduced the "branch"  to the  VALPARAISO GROUP.  This was in mid-1970.

From 1971 requirements were established for the Group to be made a Branch which would have had nearly every LDS Church unit in the country closed.  The Group had to have 50 active adult members with a proper balance between men and women, with somebody qualified to be president besides me.

Soon the VALPARAISO GROUP was said to be  "most active Lamanite Unit in the Church" as well as "the only Lamanite unit in the Church that wasn't a parasite.......that paid more tithing to the Church than some wards in the Guatemala City Stake!" 


THE MISSION ASKS FOR HELP

By 1971 the Mission was attempting to have a portion of the missionaries proselyte among the more rural Indians, but having great difficulties.  Those missionaries were requesting permission for things a visiting General Authority refused them, and he suggested that if they weren’t having success to forget the Indians and put them in more urban areas working with Ladinos.
President Glade in an effort to save the “Indian Program,”  asked me to come and make an all morning presentation explaining the successful methods we were using, including the Good Life Method of teaching and helping Indians.
After making my presentation and answering questions as to how it could simply be done, the Mission President summed it up announcing, without a logical explanation, that he was closing the Indian Program, and then turned to me and said,

“You be our INDIAN MISSION.  Do whatever you have to do to make it work!”

I was told, “Be flexible, even if you have to have Sacrament meeting on Thursday night as once happened in the history of the Church.”
That we never did, but based on the The Philosophy & Principles of the Good Life we went to work along with our young group of Indian local missionaries, and got all the members involved in the programs and projects that saved lives and help them “blossom.”   Since the year before we had already stopped death among the infants, children and even the old people—but it wasn’t easy due to unjust opposition.

But by 1972, amidst a lot of unfair misunderstanding, the Group, with the support of Apostle Spencer W. Kimball, received authorization from the LDS Church Financial Department in Utah, to continue a program in its third year with no deaths at Valparaiso--where prior there had been an average of 8 dead children/year.  In addition  6 local missionaries from the youthful Group were making it the leading area in Guatemala in convert baptisms.

UNJUST INTERFERENCE & MISUNDERSTANDING
BEGINS KILLING INFANTS & DESTROYING LIVES

But, in 1973 administrative interference, "because of widespread misunderstanding,"  from Salt Lake stopped the program.  The humble members were stunned.  All attempts to clarify the misunderstanding failed. This included all of the 26 Priesthood bearers writing letters to clarify the misunderstanding, but all were rejected and never replied to.   Some very good people were disappointed and discouraged and left the Church.

 But, for some of us--the unfair "administrative interference"  fired up our competitive juices so in spite of everything we met the requirements and the VALPARAISO BRANCH was organized again. 

But, the opposition wouldn't give-up and  secret instructions were given to the new Branch President, Miguel Angel Ortiz, who humbly obeyed, and cooperation in the activities we tried to maintain independent of the Church mostly stopped and many good people were lost, and babies started dying again for the first time in 3 years!  One of the good people lost, was Miguel Angel himself when he saw the disastrous results of his obedience and he broke down weeping bitter tears and he left becoming an enemy to the Church.

  I wrote a letter of accusation against the Leaders for destroying our Priesthood brotherhood resulting in lives lost.  Eventually total disaster was averted by the surprise visit of Regional Representative Harold Brown coming from Mexico. 

The complete story told in item #11 of the FINAL REPORT, but short mention follows.


His surprise visit began that Sunday in November 1973 by him asking to be given the tour of Valparaiso and told what we were doing and it's results.  No previous leader visiting had been interested in such.  The tour lasted 90 minutes he asking many questions, making comments and once in a while a word of congratulations. Nothing negative was said by me. 
He then became the only speaker in the Sacrament Meeting, and surprised all by talking about criticism--as previously mentioned--of what was happening at Valparaiso, but followed saying he didn't believe any of it and began calling what we were doing "Ammon-like" and said he believed our motives were the same as those of Ammon and his companions who had been "laughed to scorn" by their own people, and that such was happening again.  He promised his support.  There wasn't a dry eye in the packed chapel.

Afterwards, in a private interview with me and Maria,  when he heard what had been happening he literally broke down with tears, and to raise our spirits confided our work had "stimulated the Church into organizing World-wide Welfare Services," and continued saying "the experiment has to continue," and  promised his support.

Later he admitted he failed in trying to help his superiors understand the truth about us--most of them reportedly believing I was crazy for living among the Indians, and had the ulterior motive of using the Church and the Foundation to build myself a business empire.  

But he did convince the new Mission President, Bob Arnold (who had been one of the critics when sent first to organize and supervise LDS Seminaries in Central America) that I was worthy of his trust, and eventually we would meet and have a very positive visit--he becoming convinced our Center for Indian Development had effectively prepared Daniel Choc to be the first Indian missionary for the Church in Guatemala.

In the Fall of 1974--while we were on our first trip to the U.S. in 7 years--described previously, even though Valparaiso's activity was still better than any branch in the country,  it was moved to Coban to assist full-time missionaries sent to the area for the first time in 15 years.  The poor Valparaiso members were obligated to travel to Coban if they wanted to be active.  

For a time--while we were on our first vacation to the U.S.,   an attempt was made, using my two work vehicles, to transport the abandoned members from Valparaiso to Coban each Sunday, but that finally failed, and I took initiative to save our people by inviting all to our FAMILY HOUR each Sunday and soon all were active again, and,  missionaries failing to have success in Coban, began visiting Valparaiso and soon many baptisms were reported to the Mission. 
 
In April 1976, after a bit of recovery from the deadly earthquake in February that killed 25,000 Guatemalans. Mission President Bob Arnold, who had been convinced by Harold Brown to trust me, visited and we had a frank and honest conversation about many conflicts, injustices and misunderstandings, and in our FAMILY HOUR--with about 70 in attendance,  organized the ALTA/BAJA VERAPAZ DISTRICT  with me as President.  
He said "Valparaiso is the only place in the Mission where positive things are happening" and he said he was inspired  to also organize at Valparaiso a  
WELFARE SERVICE MISSIONARY TRAINING CENTER  
 and sent the first couple to be trained.  

One month later in May 1976, I organized again the VALPARAISO BRANCH (a "branch"  for the 3rd time). The District had three branches: Coban, Valparaiso, and Salama.

Two months later the new Mission President John F. O’Donnal, who Brother Brown had not been able to convince I was worthy of trust and doing a crucial work,  believing that nothing good was happening at Valparaiso, closed the Welfare Missionary Training Center, leaving me holding the bag with three homes under construction for the couples, and a whole training program I had created, then advised me to
 "close down the Foundation, sell Valparaiso and go to the South Coast of Guatemala  buy a plantation and make some money.”  
However, my competitive spirit clicked in as I had learned as a small-statured child and teenager bullied by almost everybody.   I rather went to work for three years as District President, calling District Missionaries, and, according to the Priesthood Manual   I could take other initiatives, so I also called  for the first time in Guatemala District Full time/short term Missionaries, and District Welfare Service Missionaries.   With their help  the Church work was expanded to other areas, including the Polochic Area--which you'll see in the FINAL REPORT,  became one of the greatest, if not the greatest success story for the LDS Church in Guatemala and Central America. 
  I had never been told to use any specific teaching method and only instructed to "follow the inspiration of the Lord," so I trained my missionaries (and for a time the full-time ones too--until stopped by O'Donnal who believed a false report about the effort) to use the Good Life Method--including the Philosophy & Principles, revealed to me as a missionary in Coban in 1958, and soon many hundreds of BOOK OF MORMONS were being accepted by the Indians as their "original Sacred Book, lost anciently, but now found."   The native District Missionaries responded making the area one of the great chapters in the history of the Church. 


I was released in mid-1979 after organizing branches at CHULAC and SENAHU and laying the groundwork for great future success at SACSUHA.  There had just  been too much conflict with O'Donnal and William Bradford, a General Authority who had taken Harold Brown's place as Regional  President,  for who knows what reasons.


THE FINAL REPORT will tell all the details of this story, but a brief summary is that the Church finally built a chapel at Valparaiso on a property I offered to donate to the Church, but General Authority  William Bradford insisted on buying the property and built a chapel you see below. 

 
The restrooms were closed to us Indians, first for not having potable water.  So I ran a water line from the Central House area to the chapel, and in the same trench, included a waterproof electric line so the chapel lights and electric outlets could be used, providing these services with no charge for the life of the chapel. I also donated our Yamaha piano to the Church, and soon Moncho, who had learned to play the piano during his 18 months with us in the U.S., began doing the best he could with the music. The restrooms remained closed to us, so we got together and built an outhouse--maybe a first for a modern Mormon chapel that had restrooms--but closed to the members!  
NOTE: Carl Jacob for Christmas one year invited Indians from the Highlands (Patzicia, Patzun, and Solola) to spend Christmas at his mansion in Guatemala City, and soon learned the Indians didn't know what a toilet was, rather thought it was the "well" from which they were getting water for their drinking needs.  I guess the leaders figured we were on that level and didn't want us to drink contaminated water--so they had our welfare in mind and kept them locked! 
A few years later some leaders conjured up some gossip about me--so exaggerated it had the Indians who heard it laughing their heads off.  It would have been funny, except for the consequences--all the Leaders believing it and agreeing to punish the people at Valparaiso for being my friends by destroying their own chapel with bulldozers on January 10, 1989.  It resulted in the Valparaiso Branch ceasing to exist and the members being abandoned--again. 

This act poisoned the Indians in the surrounding villages, and the best people from urban Santa Cruz Verpaz, against the LDS Church.

Among those at Valparaiso who were LDS, twenty-five percent in their sadness went back to their old ways of drinking and such.  Another 25% returned to their previous churches, several eventually even becoming pastors of small congregations and were bitter enemies.   50% didn't want to abandon their faith in the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, but couldn't trust the Leaders anymore, and asked for my help.  

We kept their faith alive for 4 years--again,  with an enthusiastic FAMILY HOUR each Sunday with an average attendance of around 60.....

.......then I sold the plantation in October 1993 so the Church might return to help the members in their community I had organized.  

I advised all to be active in the Church if it returned.


Below we observe a portion of the Valparaiso Community I organized where each resident owned their property and homes we helped them built, then aided them develop their potable water and electricity systems.


Eventually in the mid-1990's, the VALPARAISO BRANCH was organized again--for the 4th time (must be some kind of record), and the Church built a chapel on the property they purchased from 5 Indian families--to whom I had given land when organizing the community.  

By this time the COBAN STAKE  had been organized--35+ years after opening Coban to missionary work, and 26 years or so after we moved to Guatemala in 1967. Some years later  the  COBAN-GUATEMALA MISSION was organized as well and the Valparaiso branch was part of it.  A lot of progress had been made--finally, over the approximately 50 years of history, but more was to come.

On January 22, 2017, the Valparaiso Branch became the VALPARAISO WARD as part of the Coban Stake.  Moncho, who had been raised by us in the Central House--also with 18 months in the U.S. with us,  became Bishop Victor Valdez of the new Ward. 

We see above the incredibly cute Moncho when growing up with us.
Also in 2017 the SENAHU STAKE  was organized in the Polochic Area where I and my native missionaries had worked so hard--38 years before.  Then in 2019 the CHULAC STAKE  was organized on a Cooperative Plantation in the rough mountains above the Polochic Valley where I spent the 2 greatest missionary years of my life from 1977-1979, and where I returned, with Foundation help from 1990-1993, to build and organize two SCHOOLS AT SEOCOC & SAJONTE seen below.












The new Chulac Stake Presidency were all childhood students at those two schools. Would that have happened without education? But they were educated thanks to the Foundation and its generous donors.
Another projected Stake is expected to be soon organized in the Sacsuha village of the Polochic Area where I helped for 18 months preaching every two weeks in the Church of the Prince of Peace, not as an LDS representative, but rather as their brother and Director of the Foundation for Indian Development.  I used very carefully the Good Life Method until they were demanding I give to them their Sacred Book.
Over that period there was an average of 600 attending every meeting where eventually 200 copies of their Sacred Book were distributed and paid for, and later 60 more in another chapel.   

A year or so later 30 Kekchi Indian men from Sacsuha walked to the nearby town of La Tinta and knocked on the door of the Mormon chapel. On opening the door the two missionaries were blown away with that sight of 30 Kekchi men each holding up a blue covered BOOK of MORMON, and requesting that they be helped to understand their book.  That lead to another great conversion story--now the Sacsuha District with 6 branches.  We see  below the Sacsuha Chapel.  It likely soon will become  the Sacsuha Stake--the 3rd in this  remote rural area of Guatemala--literally in the midst of.....
..... the jungles and mountains of the Maya.

Last of all, on Saturday night, October 5, 2019, in the Women's Session of LDS General Conference in Salt Lake City, it was announced that  a.....


.....TEMPLE WILL NOW BE BUILT IN COBAN

See the FINAL REPORT with a more complete recounting of these great success stories, including many photographs, among them pictures of the vast congregations of stakes being organized in the middle of the rugged "jungles and mountains of the Maya" where I decided in 1967 to disappear and serve the Lord and his "little ones" in my own simple way. 

 I hope I can I finally get around to finishing the history with "the rest of the story," in accordance with instructions I received from the Lord to, 
 "Speak the truth from your heart,”  
 which will have complete details and photographs of all of the above, which hopefully will help point the way to the fulfillment of the prophecy when the Lord's work--sometimes clouded and confused by 

"misunderstandings, injustices, lack of inspiration leading to  unrighteousness, and absence of gratitude,"  

will--if the right people can be humble and honest.... 


.......all be  " set in order." 
  *********************** 
It was a great blessing to be part of all the above history that so far covers 63 years beginning as a full time missionary in Central America in May 1956 and sent to Coban from January to April 1958.  But, which history really began 68 years ago in 1952 when at 16 I had an NDE--Near Death Experience having me believe my life didn't belong to me, but was clarified to me in the visions of the  night that....
...I was to live a simple life dedicated to SAVING LIVES ....eventually to understand it was to be in the jungles and mountains of the Maya.

See www.guatemalanfoundation.org  

but also in......
SAVING LIVES in the wonderful High Uinta Mountains.
See www.cordellmandersen.com  

I've finally done my darndest on both fronts, and now have to complete the FINAL REPORT, then work on a much more detailed BOOK, all "BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!"
*************************

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