Guatemala is great! I love it here! all of the missionaries are cool, and loving. The hispanos are great too! it is funny because the norte americanos don't know sometimes what they are saying. The first day here was so hard. Not in a bad way, but because it went so slow. I guess the plane ride and traveling all day did the damage. [They picked us up at the airport in a chicken bus. We put all of our junk in the back and we piled in a school bus.] The CCM is really good, and it hasn't really sunk in that we are Guatemala because of the zone that we are in. All around the CCM they have big buildings and the city is modernized, however once we leave the CCM everything else outside is ghetto. I feel like a prisoner here too! For safety reasons etc. we are not allowed to leave the CCM unless we are going to the email lab, or to the temple. The CCM is surrounded by armed guards, tall fences and walls, and cameras everywhere.
My first companion is from Alaska. His name is Elder Joshua Tupou, and he is tongan. I feel like we were meant to be together because i am familiar with his culture and we both are gringos when it comes to the Idioma.
What is funny is that everyone here at the CCM has had at least a year of Spanish background. I have asked everyone and they all have some kind of language background. I feel so inadequate when it comes to the language, but what is happening in the CCM is a miracle. I am able to carry on a basic conversation in Spanish now, pray, and testify in Spanish! 6 days before this I would not have thought that this would be possible! There are so many phrases and ways to use words, but I have been picking up quickly and can kind of make out what the Hispanos are saying. The trick is responding though!
I HAVE PRAYED MORE THAN I HAVE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE! everything I do I seem to be praying, whether it be to start a meeting, eating, before sleeping, companionship study, or even praying constantly in my mind to have the right words brought to me, I always am praying here.
The flight here had about 27 elders & hermanas. They split our flight into 2 districts and I am in the Daniel district. There are 2 elders here from SOAR. Elder Gutierrez & Elder Harris. I am glad I know at least some people here. The first day here we received the placa or nametag. When receiving the placa I almost started to cry because I felt so overwhelmed. Here I am in a foreign country, speaking a different language, and I finally get the placa: something that I have been wanting, and preparing for my whole life. I am now a representative of Jesucristo, and I needed to shape up and act like it. I find it weird, but every elder and hermana I ask say the same thing, and they say that when it comes time to work, from the start of personal study in the morning, until time to wind down, at 930 at night, we don't really worry about outside things. I think it is because we are so overloaded here with el idioma y el evangelio, but i know that this is the work that i have to focus on.
My daily habits are changing so rapidly! I wake up at 630 right on the dime... I don't know how, but I do. No matter how tired I am the night before, I wake up right at 630. My study habits are improving because they HAVE TO! I wouldn't be progressing if I didn't change. The studying of the materials they give you help you out a ton, but then again I feel like it comes down to prayer always.
My roommates are the zone leader and his companion, and a pair of hispanic elders. The hispanos are on a 2 week CCM program so we get new ones every 2 weeks. The dormitories are good, and spacious, but i can testify that all missionaries are crazy! We don't have an outlet to put our energy so we end up going crazy at night, it is like a party on the 2 nivel from 930 to 1015. It is hard being a gringo here, but it is universal to have fun. The Hispanos know me and my companion as elders Hawaii & Tonga. They go Hawaii! in the hallways.
I have fallen in love with el evangelio! I don't know why, but no matter what is going on whether I am stressing about the language or how we are going to teach, I always feel happy beyond belief. I have never been this happy in a while. I love the things we do here. We are here to change lives! The second day here we received an investigator to teach. His name is Noel Rivera. He is a intern here at the CCM for engineering, because the whole building is going through renovations. He is a cool guy, and knows a little English. He is from a catholic background, and just wants to know more of the church because he thinks anything of Dios es Bien. So the first lesson we talked with him, and got to know him, and we taught him about the apostasy, and how the catholic church fits in the history pertaining to the apostasy etc. We are basically answering questions, and reacting to his thoughts. Many people here stress having a set plan for teaching. but my companero and I have found that we should prepare a lesson, but go in there with flexibility because we are there to teach people, not lessons. So with hermano Rivera we just go in there and react to him, and integrate our plans while doing that. The second lesson with him, the spirit was so strong! We went in there and talked about the restoration, and how the el libro de Mormon was translated by Jose Smith. And then I placed my first El Libro De Mormon! It was a very good experience. The Third day and I placed a book of Mormon without leaving the CCM haha that was funny for my companion and I. We are working with him, and I he is contemplating baptism. The weird thing is, that we have to turn him over to his area missionaries for baptism.
All in all everything here is great, the food, the people, and the place. [The advice from the senior missionaries here is good, and i am getting the hang of things!] it was hard to leave but I'm doing GREAT! Don't worry about me, I am in God's hands!
Yo se que El Libro De Mormon es verdadero. Yo se que mi padre celestial es amoroso y Jesucristo es el salvador de el mundo. Yo se que el evangelio es verdadero! En el nombre de Jesucristo Amen!