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Larry Richman, LDS Missionary in the Guatemala-El Salvador Mission (1974-1976)

Larry Richman was called to serve in the Guatemala-El Salvador Mission. By 2015, there were 6 missions in Guatemala and 3 missions in El Salvador that covered the same area as the original Guatemala-El Salvador Mission. Read more about the history of the mission below.

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Guatemala-El Salvador LDS Mission

I learned Spanish at the Language Training Mission (LTM) and used Spanish for four months of my mission among the people in Ahuachapán in El Salvador and in Retaluleau on the coast in Guatemala. Then, I was called to serve for the rest of my mission among the Cakchiquel Indians in the highland mountains of Guatemala. I learned the Cakchiquel language and spent the rest of my mission teaching in Cakchiquel, although we still spoke Spanish among the Latin people who also lived in these towns.

Training

  • Mission Home in Salt Lake City, Utah (August 3–7, 1974)
  • Language Training Mission, Provo, Utah (August 7–October 3, 1974)

El Salvador

  • Ahuachapán (October 3–December 27, 1974)

Guatemala

  • Retalhuleu (December 27–February 4, 1975)
  • Patzicía (February 4–October 10, 1975)
  • Comalapa (October 10–February 4, 1976)
  • Patzicía earthquake camp (February 4–March 31, 1976)
  • Comalapa (March 31–May 26, 1976)
  • Sololá (May 26–July 7,1976)
  • Patzicía translation office (July 7–August 3, 1976)

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Elder Larry Richman passport photo

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Elder Larry Richman. Photo taken in El Salvador at the beginning of my mission.

Adobe house

Typical adobe house in the highlands of Guatemala

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LDS missionaries teaching at a door in Patzicía

Luis Alonzo family 1977

Luis Alonzo family working together in the field in Patzicía in 1977

Atitlan baptism (c) Larry Richman

Baptism in Lake Atitlán (Photo © 1977 Larry Richman) See alternate photo.

Man-patun

Cakchiquel man carrying a sack with a patun

Cakchiquel woman with a baby

Cakchiquel woman with a baby

Cakchiquel man reading scriptures

Cakchiquel man reading scriptures

Guatemalan boy in a hat

History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Guatemala

Missionaries arrived in Guatemala in 1947. Assisted by John F. O’Donnal, a Church member living in the country as an agricultural adviser to the United States government, they met with Guatemalan officials and began to organize the Church. The first official meeting was held in a rented building on August 22, 1948, with 66 people in attendance. Later that year, John F. O’Donnal baptized the first convert in Guatemala, his wife, Carmen. Read a short history of the Guatemala-El Salvador Mission.

By 1956, three small congregations with a membership of about 250 had been established. Membership grew to 10,000 by 1966, and 18 years later, when the Guatemala City Temple was dedicated in 1984, membership had risen to 40,000. By 1998 membership had quadrupled again to 164,000. In 2015, LDS members had reached 255,505 with 6 missions, 421 congregations, two temples, and a Missionary Training Center.

  • I was called to serve in the Guatemala-El Salvador Mission.
  • The name of the mission was changed to the Guatemala Guatemala City Mission by October 1974.
  • The El Salvador San Salvador Mission was organized July 1, 1976.
  • By 2015, there were 6 missions in Guatemala and 3 missions in El Salvador, where there was a single Guatemala-El Salvador Mission when I was called in 1974.

Mission Presidents

President Robert B. Arnold was my mission president up until the last month.

“May 4, 1976: Elder Richman, I have learned to love and appreciate you very much. I’m grateful for your service and loyalty. Best wishes always, President & Sister Arnold Family”

President Robert B. Arnold and family, Guatemala-El Salvador Mission.

President Robert B. Arnold and family, Guatemala-El Salvador Mission.

President Robert B. Arnold and family

President Robert B. Arnold and family

Barrio 2 LDS meetinghouse in Guatemala City. The mission home and office was behind it.

Barrio 2 LDS meetinghouse in Guatemala City. The mission home and office was behind it.

LDS mission home in in Zone 9, Guatemala City

LDS mission home in in Zone 9, Guatemala City

President Robert B. Arnold

John Forres O’Donnal was my mission president for the last month of my mission. See the history of Guatemala above. See the article in the Church News (page 1 and page 2).

He was born April 1, 1917 and died June 30, 2010. See quotes on this site from the book Pioneer in Guatemala: The Personal History of John Forres O’Donnal, Shumway Family History Services, Yorba Linda, CA.

Dr. Doty and his wife (medical missionaries) and the Arnolds

Dr. Doty and his wife (medical missionaries) and Sister Arnold

John Forres O'Donnal, president of the Guatemala City Mission

John Forres O’Donnal, president of the Guatemala City Mission

John Forres O'Donnal and his wife

John Forres O’Donnal and his wife

President John Forres O'Donnal and his wife Carmen at the mission office in Guatemala City

President John Forres O’Donnal and his wife Carmen at the mission office in Guatemala City

Download a document prepared by Craig Nelson of Biographies of Guatemala-El Salvador Mission Presidents, including the Parent Mission (The Central American Mission) and Descendent Missions – Guatemala City, El Salvador, and Guatemala Guatemala City South Missions from 1950 – Present

Download the document The Guatemala-El Salvador Mission: Adventures in Time 1971–1973, by J. Craig Nelson and Gaylen Scott Shirley