Monday, December 30, 2013

2013-12-30 Email: Just Moving Along.

I can't believe Christmas is over too.  This week went by so fast, and just yesterday we were sitting at our desks and I turned to Elder Farr and said, "How long ago did we talk to our families"?  It had only been 4 days but it seemed like ages.  In the mission if you are working your butt off and doing all you can in the day, not only does time fly, but you don't have time to think about anything else besides what is happening in the moment.  So when Sunday rolled around, it felt like a long time since Wednesday.  It was good talking to you too!  

Haha I am happy here mom... I feel happy working and even though some days you are so exhausted you can barely keep your eyes open on a bus ride.  It is great over here though.  Nobody came back from a mission and said it would be easy, they only say that it will be WORTH IT!

Yeah, I am thinking that after having 2 gringo companions they are not going to give me any more slack and stick me with a Latino companion for the rest of my mission.  It is kind of rare to be stuck gringo with gringo for some reason.  

But I kind of think that it will be like that when I get home...not being able to speak good English.  I want to learn Spanish so good that my English gets bad!

Haha I can't believe how time goes by... just last year I was on break from school too.  And this week will be 2014.  I have a feeling time will only go faster from here on out.  

This past week was kind of uneventful because of the Holiday season. Everyone here (in the whole world) gets wrapped up in the holidays that they don't have time to hear our message, members as well as the people.  But we tried anyways to get in and teach people.  

After I talked to you guys, it was kind of hard to hit the pavement again, but the next day the bagginess wore off and it was back to the grind again.  Our investigators are progressing and each investigator has their own obstacle to overcome, but we are working with them.  

Well, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!  I can't believe that it is already 2014, but the clock keeps ticking... I love you guys, take care and I will talk to you next week!

Elder Vincent's study area.

Monday, December 23, 2013

2013-12-23 Getting Ready for Christmas

Hey guys how are you doing there? Elder Farr and I are kinda baggy right now because it is our first Christmas away from home, but we are managing.  We will be Skyping from a member's house, I think our comedor's computer (Hermana Jacky). 

Haha you didn't offend me about our Christmas tree! It was in the house under a load of junk and we found it so we put it out.  I had your package under the tree for a little while but I gave in to temptation and opened it after 2 days I got it.

Well in Guatemala, people celebrate Christmas the 24th of December and sleep in the 25th not like us, so tomorrow the 24th 2 zones in the mission will be getting together, our zone and another, to go do service and sing and share gifts and stuff at an old folks home.  Hermana Watts and Presidente will be there, as well as the Assistants.  I will be playing the violin again for the zone as we sing Christmas songs to them.  I never expected to be playing the violin and piano as much as I thought I would have... but it is a blessing because I get to help out other people and sharing talents that God gives us.  After that we are going to members houses all day and eating Tamales and Ponche [Ponche is like hot apple cider but instead of apples its piña (pineapple) and pasas (raisins) and coco and vanilla and it's basically hot fruit punch but it's soooooo good!].  You know what tamales are, but Ponche is a drink made out of different fruits and all mixed up together to make a hot drink... but hey... WHERE IS MY SMOKED SALMON?!  haha I would kill something to get my hands on some salmon or let alone some Poke... haha

A problem that the people have here is once they enter into the strait and narrow gate of baptism or get some kind of achievement, whether worldly or spiritually, they get complacent.  They don't want to move forward or side-to-side, but they just stay there.  And with time their complacency lets them slide backward because they are not trying to get better.  Work Hard and do all you can!  I have the phrase  Too   Late” taped up on my wall and that is a phrase you never want to hear, so keep working so you have no regrets. 

Tell Brint and Brea I said Hi and that congratulations on their twins!  Haha, I asked Elder Farr if he knew the Hiatts my first week with him, and he said that he has Hiatt cousins so yeah this is a pretty small small world...  I love this guy though!!!  Haha I don't think another comp. will be able to top Elder Farr!  We work really well together and in the lessons we just toss the topic back and forth like a well greased machine.  My Spanish is getting better with him because we actually practice and we get along really well.  His family is really great too and they sent a Christmas gift for me in his package he got.

Well, send my Christmas greetings to everyone, Uncle Mark and Aunt Tonya, the Gervacios, Auntie Miki, Lanakila Ward and anyone else I am forgetting.  I am working hard here and I can't wait to talk to you guys Wednesday! I love you guys!

Yo quiero compartie mi testimonio con ustedes en Espanol, porque antes la mission, Yo no sabia ningun palabra en Espanol.  El don de lenguas es un milagro, de dios!

Yo se que nuestro Padre Celestial y su hijo JesuCristo nos ama mucho.  Testifico que la expiacion de JesuCristo es un gran bendicion y por medio de nuestro fe y obediencia, nosotros podemos tomar de la vida eternal.  Se que Jose Smith restauro la iglesia otra vez sobre la tierra, y en la dia de hoy, tenemos un profeta y la plentitud, del evangelio, La luz de Cristo es real!  Nesesitamos hacer las cosas que pueden ayudamos a regresar a dios!

I share my testimony with you in Spanish, because before the mission, I didn't know any word in Spanish. The gift of tongues is a miracle from god! I know that our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ loves us very much. I testify that the atonement of Jesus Christ is a great blessing and through our faith and obedience, we can take from the life eternal.

Ready for Christmas!
Such a beautiful country.

Monday, December 16, 2013

2013-12-16 Another Fantastic Week

Hey guys another week here in beautiful Guatemala!  Well I will get your questions out of the way first... haha.  Mom I am eating good here... beans are full of protein and junk and I cut up tomatoes and onions to fry before I add the beans to it. 

Keep working hard on the cello Elijah!  I want to see you in first chair at McKinley when I get home!  Haha that is good that you are trying out for the basketball team... I will keep you in my prayers, just work hard! 

Well this week was good and I am learning and growing everyday... I Love My Comp!  Haha it feels good to go out and work hard with someone that wants to work... the area is a little challenging, but little by little we are chipping away at it!  The highlights of my week were one of our investigators.  Her name is L and she is about 40 something years old, but she has been investigating the church for more than 2 years, and she was not able to be baptized because of her husband not wanting to get baptized.  But we talked with the husband and after more than 2 years of waiting she will be getting baptized in February.  The husband has been stubborn to the missionaries before, but he now wants to get married and let her get baptized.

The other highlight of my week was going on divisions overnight with the zone leaders.  I slept over and worked in the zone leader's area and it was fun.  I really like it because it shows what I need to do to improve as a missionary.

The peak of my week was going on divisions with the Assistants to the president.  Our rama (branch) was having an activity and the Assistants were coming so they figured they would just do divisions for the day.  What I did with the 2 Assistants, (elder Farr was with the other assistant because they are in a trio) I took them hiking!  They really like the area.  We invited people to the activity and because there was not much time, and I wanted to see them in a lesson in action.  I wanted so much to better myself as a missionary, so bringing the Assistants and being with the Assistants would have given me so many ideas.

The book that you sent me is really good and Elder Farr and I are making plans to better and accelerate the work!  I just finished reading “The Miracle of Forgiveness.”  Missionaries are discouraged from reading this book, but I read it anyways and this book just cuts you down.  It focuses on the major sins but it also applies to all sin, and it make you feels horrible because it shows you just how imperfect the human is.  The first half of the book really cuts you down, but the last half of the book lifts you up, helps you, and gives you the determination to be better.  But what I realized is that every minute of the day, every second of your life, you need to be vigilant.  You always have to be watching out for things that are not in harmony with the gospel.  And every day you wake up and tell yourself that you will be a better man/missionary than you were the day before.  If you slip up, you get back up and be better.  Through the Atonement of Christ all can return, but we have to put in our best effort to live in line with His commandments.

I was sitting in sacrament meeting yesterday daydreaming and thinking and I realized "Adam, had the biggest fall of all, but through his fall, the Plan of Salvation was set in motion, and all men could partake of life eternal.  What if he said "Oh I fell and sinned, so I will just go inactive and not get back up and not complete the other commandments."  If he did that, he would not be called a prophet; he would not be glorified or recognized as a prophet to us.  So I guess what I am saying is that no matter how big the fall, your character, your future depends on your rebound

I Love You guys and have a good week... it does not feel like Christmas at all, but I Love what I am doing here! 

I got the package this past week Thursday! and I wanted to wait for Christmas, but it was such a temptation so I opened it last night and all I can say is THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!  Haha I will have to space the food out because I don't want to eat it all in one sitting, but the best gift is the picture of you know what!  I can't wait to hold it when I get home!  I am sharing the nuts with elder Farr and I really like the letters and books.  I am almost done with the missionary book you sent me, and the Jesus the Christ book is good too! 

The customs did not open the package.  Haha the food was sufficient!  Dad the present is pretty darn cool.  Elder Farr has not tried the cuttlefish and he says that he will never try it.  He says that it is nasty!   I only opened the nuts.   I will pace the food and I probably won't open the Nutella until later.   Everything else is good.  I am doing great!   Thanks for the chess pieces too they are really cool!

Our Christmas Tree (next to a USPS Large Flat Rate box for comparison).

Elder Farr and our apartment.

Monday, December 9, 2013

2013-12-9 New Discoveries and Christmas is Around the Bend

Hey guys this week went good and we are working harder than ever. Elder Farr and I found out that we will be together until February because changes are this week.  I sent you guys a small package in the mail today so I don't know when it will get there.

Haha that is cool that you guys are exercising, I really miss your cooking mom!  I eat beans and onions for breakfast and chicken and rice for lunch, and most of the time nothing or a small snack for dinner.  I am doing fine though.

I will email Levi when he gets out to the field.  Guatemala is ready for Christmas, but it does not feel like Christmas here at all.

Our investigators are good, and we have 3 fechas right now and plan on placing about 3 more to be baptized this week. There are lots of ghetto lights and stuff... our house has small sticky Santa’s on the windows, and we have a small 1 foot tall fake Christmas tree in our house.

This past change we didn't really do anything cool for p-days except for going to the temple.

Thanks for getting those boots for me!  Your thousand mile shoes that you got me are holding up, but I can tell they will be destroyed some time down the line.  

Well, Elder Farr and I found out something cool about each other again... so our dads were companions, we both use the same first name, and we just found out that we got our patriarchal blessings on the same day... July 1, 2012.  That is just plain freaky.  How does that even happen?  Out of all the days of the year we get it on the same day?  Haha I don't know about you but I think we were meant to be companions!

Yesterday we had smores in the back of our house and the day before that was a day called Dia de Diablo (Day of the Devil), where everyone burns lots of scrap and things and pop fireworks all night from 6pm.  We had to work and it was like a war zone.  Smoke filled the air and it was like the 4th of July or New Years Eve back in Kalihi when we could pop fireworks.  We almost got taken out by a roman candle.  

All in all, everything is going good here in Guatemala.  We are working hard all day everyday and sometimes we get discouraged, but we will continue to fight and bring souls unto Christ! 

Love You Guys!  Have a good week!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

2013-12-2 Working Hard

This past week was good and we had a zone conference with president Watts and Hermana Watts.  They brought food from the CCM and we ate turkey and stuffing etc. the day before thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving day we just worked as usual.  It was weird because we woke up and exercised and stuff, but during personal study, we turned to each other and said "hey it's thanksgiving today"! but other than that our week was really slow and by slow I mean dead. 

We are working hard here and doing as much as we can to bring people to the church, but this whole week was a bust.  We fasted Sunday and after we broke our fast, and after church from 1-8 in the night we had more lessons than we had in the whole week.  I don't know why we had such a bad week?  We have been obedient down to the letter, and we were so down on ourselves by the time Saturday rolled around because of the lack of success we have had this week.  We were comparing ourselves to other missionaries that were so apostate, and didn't like to work.  But Sunday we just opened our fast and realized that we do our part and after that you leave it up to God and his will.  Sunday made us realize that just by being obedient and working hard does not guarantee success, but we have to be humble and after the trial comes the reward.

Story of the week is a lesson we had with a member that was drunk.  This member was baptized a few months ago and he relapsed into his drinking habits. So we were there teaching him about how he can get back on the right track through faith and repentance. Elder Farr says to him "there are many ways God can help you, prayer..." and I add in the blessing of fasting to receive help.  But He says in Spanish "hold up! I fast!" then Elder Farr and I look at each other and ask" did that experience help you Hermano?" and he said: "No, but I fast once in a while for 24 whole hours, and sometimes 2 whole days!" We start to tell him to have more faith in his fast, and then he blurts out: "I fast from my drinking, and smoking. I stop drinking for a day or two and then I end my fast! Any sacrifice to God is good right?"  Then Elder Farr and I start cracking up and giggling under our breath, good thing this guy was drunk when we talked to him otherwise he would have been offended because we were laughing. 

To answer your questions we went to the temple as a zone and we had to take a 30 minute bus ride to the temple from our area.  The Spanish speaking session was a little rough, but I survived.  I hope all of you are doing great and I will talk to you next week! I Love You guys! (elder Farr painted our house I will send pictures.)