Hey guys I can’t believe it has been about a month already. It seems like yesterday that I just left Hawaii for Guatemala. Time goes by so fast on the mission and I can testify that when people say that it goes by real quick, they are telling the truth. All of the missionaries here run into the same problem after the third week of not having anything to tell family because the routine is meticulous every single day.
On Tuesday, the whole CCM got to leave to go to the center of the city and go to a park with a relief map of Guatemala. It is a pretty amazing sight because it is a park with a 99% accurate scale map of Guatemala. [See: http://annaclairebevan.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/a-3-dimensional-guide-book/] The man that did it, went around the country on a donkey surveying with primitive equipment, and happened to get it 99% accurate. While we were there president talked to us about how there are many theories of where the Libro de Mormon took place, but the one that most support, and that sounds and matches the best in my opinion is that it happened where we are now at this moment. At the relief map he showed us where possible locations of cities in the Libro de Mormon could have been, such as the city of Nephi, and Zarahemla. It is really interesting. Speaking of Libro de Mormon, I am almost done with it, I started when I got here and I am just finishing Alma. I feel so blessed to be able to serve and walk among the descendents of the Lamanites.
After the relief map, we went to the Mercado de central Guatemala. The mercado is a 3 floor parking structure that is converted to a market. The bottom floor is Guatemalan crafts etc. , the second floor is food with meat hanging in the open and fruits galore, and the third floor is things tourists would want to buy like bags, clothes, accessories, etc. It was fun, and we got to see a lot of things. There were people preaching on the second floor so we tried to avoid that, but it was fun seeing all the flies buzzing around the meat and blood stains in the back. We are told that we are not allowed to drink water, or eat food here unless it is packaged or from a trusted source such as fast food. But the church pays someone that is trusted to clean and cook food well and in the field we go to that person’s house and eat our meals there. The mercado was kind of a letdown for me because I thought that they would have some cooler stuff. All the other missionaries blew their cash there. I only bought a huge, huge Guatemala flag (about 6 feet across) for about 55 quetzals. [$6.94 US] It originally was about 80 but I bargained, and that was fun because we would go around bargaining for things. The elders had to stick with the sister missionaries for security reasons. It kind of worries me for the sisters because what are they going to do when they get out in the field and they don’t have the protection. There are some pretty sketchy people here, and they all notice us as Norte Americanos because of our light skin. I don’t think I stand out as much, but my white shirt does. After that we went to Wendy’s and ate lunch.
After lunch was the highlight of my day. We got to walk around a big square with a fountain in the middle (Parque Central [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrZeF8PlOP8]) and talk to people. So me and two other elders: Elder Riley and Elder Shiffler had a Book of Mormon and we placed it! We walked up to a family and introduced ourselves and talked to them saying the topic: Nuestro mensaje es sobre las families, y el evangelio de Jesucristo puede bendice las familias. They accepted the message and the book. It is common for people here to ask how much the book costs and be hesitant because they think we want and work for money. It is great being able to serve the people here. I felt true happiness when we were able to share our message and place el Libro de Mormon.
My Spanish is coming along, and I have come out of that slump I had a little while ago. I can generally say what I want to say in a lesson, but the key is just to improve my vocabulary. Our teacher seeing that I was struggling pulled me aside and asked what was wrong and stuff and I just said I feel inadequate because my Spanish is behind those that took classes before. So she showed me a video of a returned missionary giving advice to people like me with no experience and he served in Guatemala. He said that the language is just a vehicle for the Holy Ghost. The language is a tool for the missionary, but the most important and only tool you need is the spirit. If you live constantly to be worthy of the presence of the spirit, no matter how gringo your Spanish may be, you can touch and influence investigators and inspire yourself.
Yo se que la iglesia de Jesucristo es verdadero, Yo se Jesucristo vive y Dios es nuestro amoroso padre celestial. Yo se que El Libro de Mormon es verdadero y la profeta Jose Smith tradujo el libro por medio de la poder de dios. Yo se el espiritu santo es nuestro companero siempre! Yo se que el evangelio es una bendicion por todas personajes. En el nobre de Jesucristo Amen.
Below is the translation of his Spanish:
Mercado - Market
Nuestro mensaje es sobre las families, y el evangelio de Jesucristo puede bendice las familias.
- Our message is on the families, and the gospel of Jesus Christ can bless families.
Yo se que la iglesia de Jesucristo es verdadero, Yo se Jesucristo vive y Dios es nuestro amoroso padre celestial. Yo se que El Libro de Mormon es verdadero y la profeta Jose Smith tradujo el libro por medio de la poder de dios. Yo se el espiritu santo es nuestro companero siempre! Yo se que el evangelio es una bendicion por todas personajes. En el nobre de Jesucristo, Amen.
I know that the church of Jesus Christ is true, I know Jesus Christ lives and God is our loving heavenly Father. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and the prophet Joseph Smith translated the book through the power of God. I know the Holy Spirit is our partner always! I know that the gospel is a blessing for all characters. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.