Monday, October 28, 2013

2013-10-28: Two Dog Bites, One Shooting, and Everything's Great

Hunter's last 2 emails are below:

10/21/13 email

Hunter’s email is short. 

Hey first I will answer your question… no, they do not have spaghetti mixes and things in the apartment but you can buy them at the market.   You can cook in your apartment whatever you want to cook. You don't need to send any mixes I am good for now.  I'm not feeling baggy yet.  Hermana Jackie's cooking is really good and she cooks a lot for us.  Don't worry mom I'm eating haha!  We have about 12 or 13 investigators progressing and everyday we teach people.  The work is very different from what you might think it is.  Many people get the conception that we knock on doors all day but we have a thing called Plan A, B, and C.  Plan A is working with the leaders of the church to get work done with investigators.  Plan B is working with members of the church to do work such as members during investigator lessons, and Plan C is solo missionaries.  We want to be working Plan A and B all the time, because it is always more powerful when the investigator sees someone they know or a native is normal and part of the Mormon Church.

We placed a fecha(date) for a baptism in November, and hopefully it doesn't fall through.  Things are going good here, my companion is really great and the zone is cool.

I am starting a study journal as I begin reading the Libro De Mormon again and I am starting to see things that I have overlooked my whole life.

I am trying to do good over here, and I am surviving!  I guess dad is right... I am comfortable being in uncomfortable place.  I am getting eaten alive by bugs as I sleep.  I have started using the bug spray and the past few nights were okay.  

Have a good week guys! I will talk to you next Monday!

10/28/13 email

My week was good and we did a lot.  I have a few stories to tell you.  I got bit by 2 dogs in 2 different members’ houses.  The first is at this lady’s house named Mama Concha, and she has this chucha (dogs are called Chucho or Chucha here) from off the street in the back of the house and as we were going upstairs it bit me in the ankle, but luckily I wear my army boots everyday so the bite didn't pierce.  Speaking of boots, I just realized that these boots have seen so much terrain in it’s lifetime …. they are really dependable and it would be cool if you could find a pair for me and hold on to it so I have a new pair for when I get back?  

So the second dog was in a yard of a member’s house in an area of our area called Potrero Grande.  I was walking towards the house with the hermana that owns the house, and my companion.   And then this Chucha walks up to me sniffs my thigh then bites me, and I thought for sure that it broke skin because this dog was way bigger than the last one that bit me, and the bite was really strong.  But when I checked my thigh, I saw that it didn’t penetrate and that it only poked small holes in my pants, but all in all I just have a small bruise from the bite.  

The next crazy story, and this is the highlight of my week... is that one night when we were leaving the Jardines (area) from a lesson with a family.  We were walking down this hill to get back to the Joya where we live, and this hill leads down to a little intersection that all the buses stop at and there are a few small tiendas(stores) at the bottom of this hill.  So we are walking down this hill and all of a sudden we hear "pop, pop, pop, pop" and then we freeze, look at each other and we are like "crap, that’s gunshots!"  So then we continue walking down this hill, and people are running up this hill because the gunshots came from the intersection.  A tuktuk (little red moped transportation vehicles) comes up and we get in, but he can’t get through the intersection because of all the people, so he lets us out, and we walk through this intersection and ask people what happened.  In the intersection there was a yellow school bus that is all souped out with paint like all of them are (the kind we ride everywhere), but people were running away and screaming and stuff.  When we asked what happened they said that a man shot the bus driver 4 times and ran out of the bus into the night. The ambulance already took the driver away, and there were many people there, but as we continued walking down the road towards the Joya, I realized that we had been blessed.  If our lesson had been a minute or two shorter, we would have been in that intersection, and it is a fact here that if there are witnesses to a crime and they know you saw their face that they will blow your brains out.  So I realized that every question that went on in that lesson, every pause, every answer, helped to prolong our time there so we would not be in danger.  The Lord works in mysterious ways, and we may not know why things happen the way they do, or why blessings or opportunities come at different times and in different places, but everything happens for a reason.  The Lord has a plan for each and every person in the world, and through obedience and faithfulness, everyone can be blessed and their paths guided in all that they do.  

I don't know why I tore my ACL during that season of football, or during this past season of baseball, but I know that those things prepared me and helped me grow.  I know that if I had not been injured, I would not have been able to meet the people I did, or go to the area I am in now, or experience the things that I am experiencing now.  At the time, I didn't know why, and I admit that I am a little ashamed that at the time my testimony wasn't strong enough to handle the experience, so I got angry.  I now realize that every experience is there to strengthen you and make you a better person.

Today, guess where we went for our P-day zone activity?  BOWLING!  Haha it was really fun... Okay, when you send things don't worry … the system is pretty good here and Elder Trupp said that he received all his packages.  They told us not to put the religious stickers because it makes you seem like you are trying too hard to bring things into the country.

We are doing well in Palencia and we have a few good progressing investigators, but it is really frustrating when people do not do their part and complete our challenges to pray, etc.  We can only help them as much as they want us to.  You can't give someone a true testimony, they are the only ones that can get it for themselves.

We set another baptismal fecha(date) and we are trying to work with the other, because she doesn’t come to church, and we can’t baptize her if she doesn’t go to church.  A lot of people don't go to church because it is too great of a sacrifice, so we have to really teach them the value of church and what it can do for them.

All in all I had a really good week and still going strong and not feeling baggy.  Hey, I have to go now time is up have a good week, I love you guys!

Monday, October 14, 2013

2013-10-14: Lots of Questions Answered, Just love It Here

These are the questions we asked him in our recent email to him:

Do you have hot water?
- No we do not have hot water, and the water runs out real quick.  We have to conserve the water and we use a thing called a pila in the back of the house to wash dishes and stuff.  This past week we didn't shower for 2 days because the water was out.

Do you have a flush toilet?
- Yes we do, but we have a bucket with water for when the water goes out.

Do you have toilet paper?
- Yes we buy it with our monthly allowance.

Can you drink your tap water?  If not, do they deliver filtered water to your house?
- No we cannot drink tap water, I have a really cool bottle made by the company Seychelle that filters the water and I can drink it, but other than that we live on milk, soda or juice, and we get 2 water cooler size jugs of agua pura every few weeks.

Do you have a bed with mattress?
- Yes our house has a tiled floor, and we have a bed with nice new mattresses that they just got before I got here.

What time do you go back to your house at night?
- It all depends on our schedule and our success of the day, the latest we can and have been out is 9:30 but the earliest on bad days maybe 8:30.

Where do you shop for food?
- They have a big mall called Centro Norte and we buy our groceries at La Torre.

Do you have a refrigerator?
- Yes

Are there any panaderia close by?  I read that their bread is really good.
- Yes they have them everywhere, but we rarely buy anything unless we really need it, all shopping is done at La Torre in Centro Norte.

What do you eat for breakfast and dinner?
- Cereal for breakfast, and I don't really eat much at dinner because we either don't have time or we have to budget.

Do you get a lot of dinner appointments?
- No but people feed us during the day sometimes when we visit houses.

What is the name of your mission president?
- Presidente y Hermana Watts

How far is the mission home from your house?
- 1 1/2 hour bus ride maybe I don't really know.

How far is the meeting house (church) from your house?
- 15 minute walk

Do you have a house phone or cell phones?
- We have a cell phone, but the cell phone is a big house phone thing with an antenna and we have to carry it to places.

Is it branch or ward?  How big is the membership?
- Branch the membership this past Sunday was about 80.

What is your house address?  Can we send letter there?
- It is a mission rule to not give out house addresses and no you can't send letters there.  Haha I would tell you but exact obedience brings miracles.

Where do you go for your p-day?  And what kind of things do you do?
- We usually do things with other companionships or other districts and sometimes as a zone.  We always go to the mall Centro Norte to eat lunch and use the Internet, and we go to this place called Megapaca.  But today was really cool because we hiked a few miles out to the middle of nowhere in the forest and as a zone explored a cave.

Where do you go to email us?
- Centro Norte the mall.

How long is your allotted time to use the email?
- 1 hour and 15 minutes, one hour for you guys and 15 minutes to email Presidente Watts.

Can you print your letters so you can read them later?
- Yes but you have to pay and every quetzales counts here.

Do you pay when you use the computer to email us?  How much?
- For the hour and 15 minutes we pay 7Q so a little less than a dollar.

Do you take your dirty clothes to the lavanderia or does she come to take them?
- We take our clothes to her, she lives a few houses down the road from us, and so does the food lady.

Is it hot there?
- Yes it gets hot here during the day.  In the morning and at night it is cool.

Are you taking a lot of pictures?
- When I can I am, let me know how I can send the memory cards home.

Did you have a haircut at the CCM?
- Yes once by one of the teachers and he muffed it up pretty bad, so I got my hair cut the other times by other missionaries.

Do you like pupusas?
- I don't think I have tried any yet...

Are there any hermana's in your stake?
- Yes

For Christmas can you send me paracord, no clips or anything.? and maybe a flash drive or 2.  Don't waste space in the package on candy though...I don't really know what else... I will let you know if I come up with anything.  I love it up here you guys... you don't even know.  The people are really great and my companion is cool and we get along really great.  It is a hard area, but with faith we were able to get a few new investigators this past week.  The language is hard, and in lessons I mainly just bear my testimony and answer some questions.  My ear is starting to develop to the language and I am getting better at recognizing words.  

I am really learning how to budget here.  I realized that we are basically living the college life here.  We cook our own breakfast, and lunch we eat with Hermana Jackie.  Dinner sometimes we don't eat because we don't have time.

Hey I tried to answer your questions, but I gotta go now, we have an appointment with a family!  I Love you guys... there really is no other joy in this world than service.  I love it here, no matter how hard it gets I won't give up.  Have a good week!

Yeah it is great out here we just got back from our zone activity at the cave.  I am trying my best to be a good missionary!  Palencia is a great place.  I really love it here.  I gotta go now… I love you.  I will talk to you later. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

2013-10-07: Week 1 in El Campo

Hey guys how is everything? I got my first assignment to the zone Atlantico (18 I think...) Palencia.   It is just what I wanted! It is just what I envisioned Guatemala to be.  Palencia is a huge, huge area in the mountains right out of the Capital.  My first companion, and trainer (Dad) is Elder Ky Dennis Trupp (FB him).  He is a really cool guy from Ashton, Idaho, and he is about 13 months into the mission.  He is going up to BYU-I after the mission. 

Palencia is one of the top 3 biggest areas in the mission to cover because it used to be 2 big areas, but they closed one and merged it into ours, and there is only us up here in the mountains.  We walk everywhere, and catch chicken buses, and ride with other members.  I am trimming down quick here because of all the walking.  Our apartment is really humble but better good enough for what we need.  I am so thankful to the Lord for letting me be able to come here.  The area reminds me so much of Peacock flats except with tin roof, dirt floor, cinderblock wall houses about 50-100 yards apart.  There is a lot of ranching going on up here with corn and stuff and the members are cool.  The members are good, but they are kind of reluctant to help us out with missionary work.  They will give you a ride, but won't go out with you to visit.  The stars are amazing here, and I like it because you don't breath the fumes of cars and busses all day long. 

The situations here are so humbling.  Seeing people live this way was hard for me the first few days because I did not think people could have this kind of poverty and lifestyle, but what I really like and what I have come to learn is that you need to be thankful for what you have, thankful to wake up another day, thankful to have a casa (house), thankful to have your family, and thankful for work.  The people here do not have much, but they find comfort in having everything in their families, and relationships with others. 

Almost everyday we eat lunch at Hermana Jackie's house, she is a single mother raising 4 children.  The first day in the field Elder Trupp and I hit the pavement as soon as I got there, and walking up the mountain on the road, he asked me: “are you ready to climb the steps to Mordor?,” and then we hiked.   Really we hiked, up the side of the mountain in our white shirts and ties on a dirt path to see members in the forest.  He tells me that this area is hard, but a good area.  People are reluctant to let you into their houses, but when you do get in, many are receptive to the gospel.  

So on my 4th day in the field I experienced my first crazy story!  We were in the house of a man and he was sick so we gave him a blessing, and after the blessing we sat and talked with him.  He started crying and said: Tengo una problema (I have a problem).  Then after that I didn't understand what he said because the language they taught me in the CCM is way different than from what they speak in the field!  So I sat there and the man poured out his heart and I watched my companion listen to him and Elder Trupp was stone-faced the whole time so I didn't know what was going on.  I said the closing prayer and we left, and as we were walking down the dirt road away from his house Elder Trupp turned to me and said: “I don't think we are going back to that house again”.  So I asked why, and he said: the man we just talked to said that last night he fired 5 shots at another man right outside of the house and hit him in the chest.  Ha-ha that is Guatemala for you! 

Oh, I almost forgot, but the day we left the CCM we stayed the night in another area as a CCM group and got to tract with elders in Zona 18, Alameda.  I tell you that the mission really does know how to break in elders... that was one of the sketchiest nights of my life, and probably won't be my last.   Ha-ha it is crazy here, not as much in Palencia, but in Guatemala in general. 

The way we get our monthly allowance is through a debit card they give us, about 1850Q a month.  We pay 100Q to the lunch lady, and 120Q to the lavanderia (laundry lady). 

All of the gringos got to go to the stake center and watch conference in English, and I really enjoyed it.  I have the regret of not paying attention better to watch the conferences in my past.   Almost all the missionaries go crazy on their missions and they say that conference is what keeps them in there.  We all gathered around a small TV and ate snacks.  I love it here.  The mission is hard, but I know that it is worth it.  I love you guys and have a great week!

Some last minute things:

- Mail is so slow here so I might not get mail for a few weeks

- I don’t need anything; surprisingly they have a lot of American stores so no need packages

- Tell uncle mark and them Hi for me!