Actually, it is not for 1000 days. It is just that 3 years times 365 days plus June 27 through June 30, 2008 equals 1098 days, and that is way too cumbersome to convert into a blog headline. Futhermore, our release date will not be determined until May or June of 2011. Therefore, 1000 Days sounded just about right, more or less. Having noted all that, we are humbled and thrilled (Pres. Uchtdorf would refer to the feeling as "joyfully overwhelmed") about having this marvelous opportunity to serve in La Mision Mexico Veracruz.

Con amor,
Pdte. y Hna. Pete and JoElla Hansen

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I woke up about 6:30 one Saturday morning and lay in bed for a few minutes mapping out all the stuff I had to do. Mom awoke about 6:45 and we talked. She commented that we were running out of time. She was right. Yesterday marked 20 months since we arrived in Veracruz. She pointed out that we have a long list of places we want to see but are not doing a good job of it. She also reminded me that a lot of things we want to see will be out of reach in four months when the bottom half of our mission drops off into the new Villhermosa Mission.

She was right. It was a beautiful morning. I had a mountain of work, but that is no different than any other Saturday. So, we hurried and got cleaned up for the day. I answered and wrote a couple of mandatory emails. We grabbed a brief breakfast and headed off to Los Tuxtlas. We knew that the office elders were there. They had permission to go down down there and visit a couple of places. We had read about a remote and largely undiscovered ruin and pyramid area called Laguna de los Cerros, Lake of the Hills.

We have a book called "In Search of the Book of Mormon" by David Palmer which Kari Berejkoff, the Pleasant Hill Institue Secretary, sent me. I surely haven't had time to really study it, but I did find a footnote many months ago which reads llike a treasure map:

"Just before arriving at the town of Corral Nuevo, there is a kilometer 194 sign. Go thirty meters past the sign and turn left onto a dirt road. Follow it for 0.2 kms. At a fork in the road, go right and travel . . . for 1.4 kms. The road then turns left. Follow it in a westerly direction for another 1.4 kms. The road then swings to the left, heading south. The largest of the pyramids are the to right, about a kilometer further. From the top of one of them a ballcourt can be seen, and scores of mounds stretch off in a southwesterly direction. The ruins probably date to the . . . late Jaredite period."

Excited? We were. So off we went to find mile marker 194 with a dirt road 30 meters on the other side of it. The road was very easy to find. The other directions given were way off, but all of a sudden there was the large pyramid on the right. We found it! It was surrounded by open fields, other smaller pyramids, and Mexican Brahma cattle--a couple of which were bulls, but we all speak Spanish so it was okay.

The first picture is an aerial photo of the place taken by my old-time missionary companion, Alan Borg. He visited us here the next week in his homemade plane. We all scaled the tall pyramid. It was crazy! Mounds, other pyramids, unreal. Obviously, we all loved it. You can see the big pyramid on the left end of the two parallel walls in between which would have been a plaza with a sacrificial altar in the middle. A smaller one is on the other end. Both have holes in the top. It is likely that excavation teams took stuff out of them

This site is one of four Olmec sites in the world. All the experts say that the Olmec are the first civilization in the Western Hemisphere. Their arrival dates roughly to the Jaredites leaving the Tower of Babel, but who knows for sure? Not me. Anthropologists date Laguna de los Cerros starting around 1400 BC. It thrived for nearly 2,000 years and then suddenly died off. No one has figured out why.

The second photo shows the office elders running to and beginning to scale the large pyramid.

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