Tuesday, September 22, 2020

THE RISKY, BREATHTAKING 1967 PIONEER JOURNEY TO THE MOUNTAINS OF THE MAYA--Including some amazing announcements --

Click for:  JIM & AURORA PENROD: CUNEN
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IMPORTANT NOTE:  
 Click on the following to see & download the printable versions: 
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Clic\k to return  or use return arrow<<<: Part 1 of the overall history  
The MYSTERIOUS CAUSE & PREPARATION for a 
LIFETIME OF SAVING the MAYANS

NOW posted,

Part 3: THE COMPLETE "controversial rest of the story" FINAL REPORT is now available.  With 700 color photos of "The Land Where Color Was Invented" 

NOW AVAILABLE all three Parts combined in one 400 page book  entitled:

A 50 Year "IMPOSSIBLE DREAM" Among My People in the Mountains of the Maya  
 It is available on a thumb drive. Send your $25 check to:  
 Cordell Andersen, 444 Elm St., American Fork, Utah 84003

And as a PRINTED BOOK for $120.  Send your check to me at the above address, including your shipping address.

   

 Part 2  the epic history 

THE RISKY, BREATHTAKING 1967 PIONEER JOURNEY TO THE JUNGLES & MOUNTAINS OF THE MAYA
By Cordell M Andersen, for 50 years the volunteer Field Director

Beginning with an INTRODUCTION TO:

YEAR ONE of THE GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY
The 50 year Anniversary   of our work in Guatemala 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.  Fifty years ago 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,  from ancient America...

 ...all in harmony with the inspiration, guidance and the opportunities 
the Lord would give me. 

"The mountains of the Maya" look pretty good in this beautiful photo, but......below we see the harsh reality of Indian Guatemala, the colorful clothing of their women actually being a disguise for their misery and suffering.  It was into this world we would go in 1967 that was also in the beginning stages of a communist backed Guerrilla War trying to convert Guatemala into another Cuba.




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, 
he more than likely would be perplexed exclaiming,  
 'Cordell....who?'

 The Prophet would have to Google my name and learn I had a High Uintas Wilderness Project that saved lives, was an expert on "tie hackers,"   & on "Pioneer Timber Slides that made Provo and Springville,"   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, following the links, read about a Harold Brown--one of the "called and chosen" by him 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!" 



If the Prophet searched deeper he would learn  that in that year--1973,  when facing opposition from sources we never anticipated, to give us encouragement to persist, Brown told us paraphrased*: 
"Your efforts have stimulated world-wide welfare services! You must continue the experiment, and will have my continual support!"
* Harold Brown's exact words were blunt and to the point, and will
be used in the--A RELIGIOUS HISTORY FOR LDS  PEOPLE  in the COMPLETE FINAL REPORT
Then he would likely be even more shocked to learn that later, when my life became quite controversial, Brown was told the whole story and was one of the few who understood--so much so that he even volunteered to be a trustee for the Foundation and persisted until age related issues made his normal life impossible. 
And, if the Prophet really wanted to understand why the Lord had mentioned my name to him, he would dig deeper and learn that in 1977 some important people in his Office Building in Salt Lake City had decided to ask the Church’s Bonneville Corporation to make it’s first full length dramatic movie about the Andersen Family’s life in Guatemala centered on a “miraculous performance” by BYU’s Lamanite Generation, and the aftermath in which our precious Michelle, “Pepita,” was tragically lost, and how our family reacted to that horrible accident.
The Prophet would learn that those people who hatched the plan had interviewed  me for 7 hours in the Church Office Building, knowing that my life had become controversial, but decided it best for the Church to tell the story in a nice way to avoid others doing so in a way that would hurt the Church—so offered a contract and paid for an option to do the film.  

Digging even deeper he would  likely become angry seeing how the film was squelched by the unrighteous intervention of one of his leaders, leaving the way open for me to write about our history as I'm now doing.  
He would hopefully  become more interested to learn the details, as Harold Brown had done.
That and much, much more will be described in this history of the family’s JOURNEY to THE LAND OF THE MAYA, followed hopefully by the COMPLETE FINAL REPORT.
MY  SAINTLY PARENT'S SUPPORT  
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.  

A PROPHETIC TOUR & CALL TO 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 for the critically needy Indians of Guatemala who he explained clearly had "A PROPHETIC DESTINY" in which some of us were to play an important role.

I especially was impacted by Hugh B. Brown as in a missionary meeting in Managua he called me by name and prophesied about my future that would be among the indigenous people Mormons call Lamanites.    This was another crucial link in a long chain of personal,  spiritually transformative experiences that dominated my life in a serious way and influenced me to be very deliberate and dedicated about my future.
 
So, 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 our Andersen 
family pioneering endeavor 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 undertaking as everyone but my father had predicted, but 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 government school we constructed in the midst of the Guerrilla War, and dedicated with heavily armed Guatemalan Army troops on the perimeter using Israeli weapons, seen below...


....to protect the celebration from any possible attack. During this critical time in Guatemala's history, only Israel was willing to help Guatemala from becoming another Cuba.

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. 
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 faith and 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 endeavor:
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 2020, 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
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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 now 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.
THE FINAL REPORT -- after its original introduction, was tweaked and added to many times and, in its final version  had much of what I have called "the rest of the story," but wasn't likely noticed very much either--so, you missed your chance--as it has been removed for the present while making necessary improvements, additions--including the essential controversial historical aspects of this 50+ year history without which many things don't make sense.  It will have over 400 photographs, and maybe more as—
--I LOVE PHOTOGRAPHS, especially for a subject known as......
..... 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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When, along with Part 1: THE PREPARATION, and this Part 2:  THE RISKY.....PIONEER JOURNEY TO THE LAND OF THE MAYAS,  and Part 3: The COMPLETE FINAL REPORT is completed--all of them will then be translated into Spanish for all of my Guatemalan brothers and sisters--who also deserve to know the truth of the history in which they were a central part.
Será luego traducido al español para todos mis queridos hermanos Guatemaltecos.
When and if the COMPLTE FINAL REPORT is ready to publish in its final form it will be built around this family history guided by a very spiritual experience,  related in some detail in Part 1: THE PREPARATION wherein   I was told to:
"Speak the truth from your heart!"
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PREFACE
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, untrustworthy  and 
involved in an illegal project mentioned below.

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 believed,   repeated  and then repeated widely to many. I have not been liked by mentioning this, but the TRUTH MUST BE KNOWN.
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 in the autobiography, 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?"
Above we see our GOAL – live among and be of effective help to the needy Mayan people,  like the LDS family from Patzicia we see above still living together in a very small dirt floored hut—years after their conversion to Mormonism. We are literally seeing in this picture the kitchen, dining room, living room, and for the bedroom at least it would have straw mattes on the dirt floor, but no potable water.  And, as was the case in 1967,  most Indians had no outhouse—making their homes and home sites  
INCUBATORS FOR SICKNESS & DEATH

How many of us “desire for our Mayan brothers 
what we desire for ourselves?”
But, someone had to do something about that...and if not us, who? 
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Below is the story of how we first failed to get through Mexico, then made it, along with a brief summary of what happened during those first exciting years and brief mention of most of the history with much greater detail in the
COMPLETE FINAL REPORT.
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1/2 MILLION MILES OF TRAVEL & ADVENTURE:
Utah to 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, nor electric windows, 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 claimed to love, then 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 all of a sudden noticed the anchor rope trailing behind and realized they were adrift and 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. I climbed aboard, immediately started the motor and got us out of danger, then we had an emotional moment  all of us hugging each other with grateful tears and we then knelt embracing each other and offered a humble prayer of gratitude to the Lord.

Then,  the SECOND MIRACLE

The next day, 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. 

By the way, Maria, did an incredible job helping me recover the anchor, which required her to operate the boat, backing into the spot so I could jump out and start the search, and while I searched head out to sea and hold the position waiting for my signal to back in and pick me up.  The print version of this story goes through all the details of her great effort. 


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 me following Dad's example achieving spiritual conversion. I went on to explain  my mission experiences, focusing on Hugh B. Brown's prophecy about my life, 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 Book of Mormon--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 Philosophy & Principles of the Good Life Method 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. 


  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 baseball 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--or be held responsible!
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"x 5" 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 Verapaz, and was having great success, as seen below--actually catching and releasing 10 like this one. 

 One of those 10 became an astounding experience when fishing with top-water lures the large-mouth black  bass all of a sudden erupted out of the water in a spectacular leap and came down with mouth wide open on the lure and the fight was on, becoming one of the great fishing experiences of my life!
NOTE: Years later a skin diver with speargun got a 27 lb. large mouth black bass here that a week before I almost caught on fishing equipment.  If I had of been successful, it would still be a WORLD RECORD.


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, Carolyn--he was considered by me to be the  greatest 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 15 days before.  Berkley gave me medications. 

 The next day I headed for Mexico City where I had to go to the National Anthropological Museum to retake a couple of photographs for Garth, then continued north stopping at what we called...


.........Andersen Cove  near Guaymas where I wanted to put my boat in the water and fish and skin dive some, but was too weak.  So continued north and near the border at night--a black cow all of a sudden appeared out of nowhere taking out my headlights—so I couldn’t drive at night anymore.
I slept right there until with first light I heard a bunch of angry voices.  I  looked out to see people  examining the dead cow, then heading for me with machetes.  I got out of there fast and  finally  made my way back to Provo, Utah—finishing safely the famous trip through Mexico treating myself for malaria and unable to eat anything, and......
...spending more money on soda pop than on gasoline!
NOTE:  Garth still owes me for the soda pop--the cost for all the great photos I got for him that made him famous!
I'm of course sort of joking!!!!
NOW BACK TO MAKING OUR WAY TO THE GUATEMALAN BORDER in 1967 --  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!"  

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. 

ARRIVING IN 
 "THE LAND OF ETERNAL SPRING"
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."  The FINAL REPORT will explain that.
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,  an old rundown government hospital, and government and private schools.


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 1975, four more children would be born:  Joe "Joey," Marcia "Nita,"  Daniel "Danny,"  and Michelle "Pepita." 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 even have electricity and I would use a portable generator.  The remote towns were:  Chicaman, Uspantan, Cunen, Nebaj, Sacapulas, and Aguacatan.
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. 
HARD WORK AT THE VALPARAISO PLANTATION -- 
THE FAMILY IN COBAN
During the week I was separated from the family as I was working hard to manage a 600 acre property that was mostly undeveloped, but with 39 resident families--each head of household of whom I had to give employment  for two weeks each month, while at the same time we needed profits to support ourselves, and begin paying off a lot of money we owed on the property.
 
On Sundays I would take my family to the plantation.  The older kids would 
go with me to visit the families in their huts, and almost immediately we had to begin treating the sick.  On those Sunday evenings we began trying to awaken the Pokomchi-Mayans with the first movies they had ever seen. 

Maria had moved with me to Guatemala with the agreement I wouldn't force her to "live out in the sticks," but soon all the children ganged up on her and insisted they all move to the plantation to help me 100% of the time.  We first lived in the warehouse we used as our movie theater.

THE CENTRAL HOUSE FAMILY

The old haunted”  Central House was fixed up a little with us moving in, along with those that helped us manage everything, and soon our family grew as we had to begin helping abandoned and orphaned children, then needy mothers with their children, volunteer helpers from Guatemala City, and from BYU—USA, as well as Vocational Students from other areas, such as Patzicia and other parts of the country, plus the sick that needed intensive care.  

Visitors puzzled by what we were doing called us  
“THE MOB.” 

 Other critics accused Maria and me of.... 

 “You don't love your children as you live with a bunch of Indians who could infect them with incurable, tropical diseases!” 

 Gospel explanations about us trying our  best to live Christ-like lives,  “loving and helping the needy” fell on deaf ears!  Gratefully there were a few who looked at it differently and began helping.  By mid-1970 the Foundation began helping us with some of the expenses.
 
 THE FASCINATING SOURCE OF THAT CRITICISM & IT'S REVERSAL

  Surprisingly the accusation we "didn't love our children" mentioned above was leveled against us by Bob Arnold and his wife when they first arrived in Guatemala assigned to establish the LDS Seminary System in Central America.

 That judgmental attitude towards us was a big part of the war of criticism against us in the early 70's, but with Harold Brown's (mentioned in a moment) help, at least with the Arnold's, was reversed by 1974-76 when he was the Mission President and by 1976 said,  
"Valparaiso is the only place in the country where positive things are happening!"  
And much more--described in the RELIGIOUS HISTORY that follows the report of this Risky...Journey.


To be able to house in some descent way up to 50+ in the old “haunted” Central House, we had to clean, disinfect, gun-down and set traps for the critters--and the ghosts disappeared,  we then remodeled, painted, furnished, and of great importance had to create a whole new potable water system along with an interesting evolution of our electricity systems—all of which will be covered in the FINAL REPORT.   

The Vocational Education Program we called "learning with a shovel"...or a hoe,  a chain saw, poultry,  etc. was started immediately as I had to train those interested in how to work with poultry, hogs, cattle, carpentry, etc. None of the older workers called "colonos" would accept, so I made a juicy offer to their teenage boys and soon had a great group preparing them to manage profit producing projects.
Next came elementary education, started by Julie as mentioned in a moment, then a legally authorized school, along with adult literacy classes--and the plantation became known as:
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.  
-- Keep reading to learn the details of the GOOD LIFE METHOD of helping Indians--(item #3 in the FINAL REPORT)
*****************
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--this was Dad literally living the Gospel law of consecration he had promised to do as is the case with all active Mormons.
  
To be able to do so he sold their home in the Oakhills area of Provo, and rather lived in a less expensive rental home as well as also selling 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."
My father was the most unassuming, sincerely saintly, virtuous, honest and generous man of faith I have ever known and sadly went down to his grave in 1983  perplexed by a pattern that would soon evolve--not just one or two problems, rather continual repetition over the years of confusing...

  ...misunderstanding, injustice, misjudgment, a spirit of competition rather than cooperation, faulty inspiration, and a lack of gratitude that developed among some people of influence.
I'm not referring to an occasional mistake, problem, or offense--as none of us humans are perfect, but rather a continual recurrence over decades of  actual cruel injustices that were spiritually destructive to many very good people, and deadly for innocent infants--all requiring contrite recognition, and profound systematic changes--otherwise, according to the scriptures:
"....the powers of heaven cannot be controlled or handled only on the principles of righteousness. -- but when we undertake to cover our sins or gratify our pride....or exercise control....in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves;  the Spirit of the Lord is grieved....and Amen to the priesthood or authority of that man." 
D&C 121:34-42
The words of the Lord--above certainly indicate the gravity of such.  It  was 
no joking matter as many in my family and early converts in Guatemala--who knew of the confusion and injustice, without having a strong spiritual foundation, were even tragically moved away from the faith community and, in their eyes what was supposed to be "the work of the Lord," became a mockery and a cruel joke.

At best, the work of the Lord was slowed--at worst many were lost and enemies created.  The Lord will be merciful towards such, and judgment of those responsible is in His hands, but a continuance of such must be reversed by the truth being known for the good of the living and future generations.
Others were confused and discouraged from continuing their support of programs that were  saving lives—and by them discontinuing their help, caused loss of life of untold people.


The FINAL REPORT will give a recounting of these serious injustices, that need to be understood so as to not persist in multiplying them on into the future and destroying spiritually the innocent, and cutting numberless infant’s lives short.

NOT PLAYING THE VICTIMS 
But, Dad refused to play victim and  generously and humbly put up the good fight until his passing in 1983, having started helping from the beginning in 1967--several times giving me bonuses for the work I had done before leaving, and then selling the family business, providing me with my share that we invested in our  life saving work in Guatemala. 

 Out on the front lines, we didn’t meekly roll over as victims either, rather found ways to confront bullying and injustice, and rather multiplied our efforts to do good and save lives! 

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 every year like we see above Julie helping me do at Valparaiso.  Julie at 10 years old learned quickly and when I had to be gone for a day or two, she would continue with all the treatments, including giving antibiotic injections--all a great preparation for her to eventually become a Registered Nurse.  

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 become 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.

A major part of eliminating death at Valparaiso was in 1970 achieving 100% of the 39 home sites with outhouses. They had to dig their hole, then we provided the floor and the seat. They would then build the structure around it.

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. 


With the English correspondence classes, Julie again became my “right hand man,” tutoring herself, as well as doing so for David and Cristina. They in turn tutored Richard and Joey.  Julie also was the first to begin a class for 6 little barefoot Indian children—including THE FIRST LITTLE GIRL from Valparaiso to get an education.  Eventually that evolved into us formally starting our own elementary school. 

Maria was busy taking care of the little children, eventually after Joey,   Marcia, Danny, Michelle, Cindy and Celestina.

See the FINAL REPORT for a complete view of educational efforts, as well as below in the panels of photos.  Also the tragic loss of Michelle. 



THE COMPETITION?  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 #4 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, Keith Hoops,  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. 
 
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 CHAMPION 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.

I smilingly continue to have fun calling myself  a

 "RODEO CLOWN!"


THE OPPOSITION
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 incomprehensible 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 some of 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--especially when it was hurting our life saving work.  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, but interestingly, in the words of Harold Brown, "embarrassed" the leaders into taking action. In fact "telling the truth...and getting into trouble,"  is basically what had me putting on hold the original FINAL REPORT, and presently doing my best to improve it so as to result in even more necessary change.  
 “Something was wrong”  repeated many times over the years,  presenting the need for change, but also 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 #12)
More details of this visit will be described in the RELIGIOUS HISTORY, as part of the FINAL REPORT.
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, I'll confess I was affected deeply, my wife much more so, along with my kids, and  I became very 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 #28b). 
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 had almost ended our marriage, but  for all the rest of her years in Guatemala it resulted in her wanting to go to Coban often with our delivery vehicle and associate with relatively educated, high-class Ladino women and other friends.  
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--  go unscathed and afterward even given higher callings, had her concluding that her years in Guatemala had "been hell,"  and she never wanted to live there again. 
 Note:  The international adoption scandal story is told in item #18 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.
The pickup is loaded with my Vocational Students on the way to some activity.

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--when we were  back in the Central House, 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 to eliminate them--the ambusher always with a tremendous advantage, each night in a different position.  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 thousands of 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 #17, 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!" 

On one float we see a very significant statement composed by a Mayan Priest  who told me how through visions he was prepared by ”Nahual Gwinak,”  the white, bearded Holy Man who had visited them anciently.
Princess Carolina Moran
Princess Norma Laj

 
Marta Elena Hun, above, 15 years old, in her competition for “Daughter of the King of Heaven,” in 1985, shocked all by appearing dressed in a quipil made from  a flour sack, and a tattered skirt, both over 100 years old, and in her speech explained:
 “I’m  dressed in the legitimate clothing of my people, while the very colorful and beautiful ceremonial clothing used by all the candidates, is rather a disguise for our misery and suffering!  Those who really care about the Mayans should be doing something about the sick, the malnourished, the poor suffering masses!” 
She went on to tie in the competition with a 21 year old school teacher from San Marcos who was able to give a more complete reply to a question and won, Marta Elena taking 2nd place, but for me she was the
“Daughter of the King of Heaven”
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--might 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. 

And, it will be a risky challenge as demonstrated by one LDS General Authority--who had heard a scandalous version of my history and demanded I confess--so as I began a 2 hour long recounting of my history....his first response was, "The devil was deceiving you," but I continued undeterred, with him later shockingly injecting, "Satan was trying to destroy you!"  But unbothered I continued with him gradually changing his attitude, eventually saying, 
"Well, there might be something to this,"  
as for a brief moment he comprehended and then counseled  me, saying,  
"If you tell too little, or too much they won't understand.
Don't tell anyone as no one will understand!" 
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 will be interested as it was a life worth living and a history
of great value to understand fairly as did Brother Brown--so I likely will eventually stick my neck out and give all a chance to understand as part of the FINAL REPORT.  
****************************
THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP AND SUPPORT,
YOU ARE DEEPLY APPRECIATED AND LOVED. 
************************

FOR LDS PEOPLE--A BRIEF RELIGIOUS HISTORY
This history is now a part of the 
COMPLETE FINAL REPORT.



****************************************************
It was a great blessing to be part of all the above history that actually covers 68 years beginning in 1952 when at 16 having an NDE--Near Death Experience that had 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 understanding it was to be among
The  Maya in Guatemala.

but also now in 2020 ......
SAVING LIVES in the wonderful High Uinta Mountains

I've finally done my darndest on both fronts, and now have to finish
the COMPLETE FINAL REPORT if anyone is interested...
....."BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!"
************************* 


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