LDS missionaries teaching in the fields of Guatemala

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

Navigate to sections about Elder Larry Richman's mission with the links on the left.

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.

Guatemala-El Salvador LDS Mission icon

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)

Elder Larry Richman passport photo

Elder Larry Richman passport photo

Elder Larry Richman LDS missionary

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

Typical adobe house in the highlands of Guatemala

Typical adobe house in the highlands of Guatemala

LDS-missionaries-teaching-at-door in Guatemala

LDS missionaries teaching at a door in Patzicía

Cakchiquel family working together in the field

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

Baptism in Lake Atitlan, photo (c) 1977 Larry Richman

Baptism in Lake Atitlan (Photo © 1977 Larry Richman)

Cakchiquel man carrying a sack with a patun in Guatemala

Cakchiquel man carrying a sack with a patun

Cakchiquel woman with a baby in Guatemala

Cakchiquel woman with a baby

Cakchiquel man reading scriptures in Guatemala

Cakchiquel man reading scriptures

Guatemalan boy in a hat

History of LDS Church 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

Arnold family

Barrio 2 Guatemala mission home behind

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

LDS mission home in Guatemala

The front of the mission home in Zona 9.

President Arnold

President 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.

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, president of the Guatemala City Mission

John Forres O'Donnal and his wife

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

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

You can 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