Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2014-01-27 - Lots of Things Learned This Week

Hey guys glad to see that your week went by really well. 

Well this past week was fun and exhausting at the same time.  We had 3 different meetings. Tuesday we had a meeting in Zona 6 with the whole mission. Presidente Watts talked to us about things that he wants us to focus on for the mission, and one of the main topics that he wanted us to focus on is Unity.  Unity is important not in la obra misional but in our daily lives too, because unity should be in all things.  But the true sign of unity is when your will is in unity with the will of the Lord.

Wednesday we woke up early and went to Zona 9 to meet with the misiones Central, Sur, and Este.  There were about 700 missionaries in the meeting there, and I got to see my buddies from the CCM and other missionaries that I have met in the mission.  Well this meeting was really good and the speakers talked about things that they felt inspired that the missionaries needed.  But first all 700 of us got to get up, and shake Elder Cooks hand, as well as Elder Soares of the 70 and other area presidents.  There were some important things that they talked about such as the importance of prayer, conversion, knowing your Lord, and Love for all people.  Some things that stuck out to me is that prayer is a sacred thing. At times we may be tired or something, and our prayers aren't very sincere, but we need to pray and when we do pray, pray with real intent of heart and with all the faith you have.  We should pray for specific blessings, and for not just ourselves but for others also.  Conversion is the key to growth.  If we want to receive the blessings and the growth we want in ourselves we need to convert ourselves.  And through our personal conversion we will have the capacity to help and convert others.  To know our Lord better the only way to do it is through willing service to him.  And by willing, I mean he knows every single one of us, and the amount of effort we put into our works, whether it be standing up from [doing something] or bearing your testimony, he knows your heart, and the amount of effort, willingness, and faith we put into our actions.  And finally Love for all people.  We need to push aside ourselves and just Love all people, no matter who they are, if they have offended you turn the cheek, and pray for them.  If we have love for the people and ask in prayer for this love, our lives will be better and we will have more purpose.  Think about this: If Jesus Christ did not love even one soul, he could not have achieved the Atonement.  It says in the Bible to be perfect even as your God. And Jesus Christ was perfect, he had the perfect love for each and every one of us, and that is the example we should follow in all aspects of our lives.

Other than those meetings our week went by really fast and went well.  We are visiting people that were never expected to change.  We just put a baptismal fecha with Mario, a Father of 3 kids that was an alcoholic and unfaithful to his wife.  But the day after Christmas he got up and changed and started going to church.  Another Man we are visiting did not like the church and did not let his wife get baptized for 3 years.  But recently he has started to come and experiment with the church, and is now assisting with his wife that has waited these 3 years.  Palencia is growing! our assistance level from when I started here with Farr was 75-80 people in the Sacrament meeting.  Growth has gone up to about 110-120 consistent for about 3-4 weeks now.

I love it here, and even though success is coming slower than we wanted it to, it is coming and only now we are starting to see it.  It is okay though... we are working hard with no regrets, and building the kingdom here in Palencia! I love you guys, and have a good week!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014-01-20: Time is flying by

Hey guys another week finished here in Guate.  Well to answer some of Morgan's questions, my favorite dish here in Guat probably a thing called Queso con Arroz.  It is seasoned rice, but with a certain cheese in it.  But I like all of the foods here.  I really like their tortillas here too, they are not that big, but they are thick and about as big around as a spread out hand.  I haven't eaten anything exotic here yet, just the normal chicken, tortilla, beans and rice... but every time we eat at a member's house it is a guessing game, because they always offer a drink.  Now if they open a can or bottle we know we are safe, but if they just come out of their tortilla shack with 2 glasses of juice, chances are we are gonna get Boo.  The phrase Boo means diarrhea and I mean real bad diarrhea.  If you don't see an agua pura jug in their house you know that your stomach is gonna be destroyed by the time you get back to the house at night. 

No I didn't really have a culture shock.  When I came in my first lesson was in a tin roof, dirt floor, and mud wall shack, but I just made sure to just come in and accept it.  I can't change the living conditions I will be serving in, I just have to go in there and have a Christ like attitude that these are my brothers and sisters that have been born in different situations than we have been born in. 

This past week we worked hard, but nothing too exciting happened.  I got to try to drink milk straight from the cow this Tuesday, and I could not get past the froth at the top... I think the warmness brings out the smell or something... But other than that, just another week in the grind here at Palencia. 

This month is going by way too fast. It seems just like yesterday was new years.  Well today we got stuck in traffic going to Metro Norte, so we spent 2 hours stuck in a cramped, hot, city bus. So we didn't get to do anything today.  Tomorrow we are having a mission wide meeting so we are fasting as a mission until tomorrow.  Then Wednesday Elder Cook is coming to Guate for a meeting/devotional with the central, south, and east missions, so everyone is looking forward to that.  Then Thursday our zone has interviews with Presidente Watts.  All our people that were planning on getting baptized didn't come to church this past Sunday, so they can't get baptized on their planned day.  But we can't change that, so Elder Farr and I are working to prepare them and others so that February will be a baptizing month for Palencia. 

We figure the comps that get along well are never together for too long, so we figure that one of us will be getting changed next month on the 5th.  So we are just going to work hard and let things run their course no matter who is here next month.  I Love it here, and sometimes things get hard and things don't go your way, but that is life, and you have to work to climb that ladder.  I love you guys and have a good week!

This was the rabbit in our house. 

I got to try to milk a cow again, but failed so a hermana filled up a glass and tried to get me to drink it straight from the cow, but i couldn't get past the froth.

Monday, January 13, 2014

2014-01-13: Working Hard

Well I am glad to hear that everything is going well back home.  I am so glad Elijah is playing basketball for his school.  I think he would be able to play basketball and baseball at the same time in high school.  When I was at MHS, some of the kids struck deals between coaches to play 2 sports.

If Elijah gets the chance to play the cello anywhere, do it!  I regret not having the courage to play as much as before.  I am teaching a guy in our ward to read notes and play piano.  I kind of struggle with the left hand playing, but it is helping me practice my playing skills too, so it is a win-win.  I want to learn more instruments but we can't buy anything in the mission like that, so we fool around with a guitar in a member's house sometimes... but I will be going to see Uncle Mark when I get home for help with that since he own a dozen of guitars!

To answer your question dad: I have only seen some baseball fields in the richer zones here, but no one is actually playing. 

Aunty Miki: thank you for your letters; I just got them in the mail.  Mail pouch is kind of slow to get here.

Well our week here was good and it was like any other, we have a baptismal fecha for the 25th so we will work our butts off to get him there.

Elder Cook is coming to Guatemala and all the missionaries from the missions south, central, and east are going to meet up for a huge meeting with Elder Cook.  Looking forward to that.

Well, cool story for this week… we were going to show the video “The Restoration” to a man and his family this past Wednesday.  When we got to visit the family, Elder Farr opens the case and instead of The Restoration video, it was the video “Together Forever.”  But just as we were about to finish up talking story and actually open the lesson, the man started talking about his father and how he died recently, and how this man's sister told him about our belief in baptisms for the dead.  Then at that moment, Elder Farr and I looked at each other and everything connected, that the video “Together Forever” was supposed to be in the restoration case because that is what our investigator needed in that moment.  So we showed the video and explained to him about how families can be together after death, and how we believe in baptisms for the dead.  Everything went well with our lesson.  It’s just amazing how the Lord provides for us.

Things are good and this past week we are working hard as usual.   I hope that I don't have changes, but we will see... I can't leave this area yet.  I feel like I have not completed what I am here for.  We work super hard, but we haven't seen the results yet... sometimes it is hard to stay up about it, but there is nothing that I can do about it, just keep working hard I guess, and the Lord will come through and bless us with baptisms if it is his will.

I Love You Guys and have a good week!

Monday, January 6, 2014

2014-01-06: A Great Start to A Great Year

Hey Family! 

This past week was really good and our New Year’s went well as well.  Well New Years was really fun and New Years eve I got to milk a cow for the first time!  Haha!  A family in Potrero Grande had a few cows, and jokingly I asked one of the kids "when can I milk your cow"?  Then he laughed and said that he would go get the cow ready.  So we went outside and he tied its back legs up and stuff and tied it to a tree.  The whole time I was attempting to milk this cow, Elder Farr is in the background holding my camera laughing so hard because I guess I was just yanking on the things like there was no tomorrow.  I wasn't very successful at it, but I guess it takes practice?

Here in Guatemala everyone eats tamales and ponche, which is a sugary drink of fruit pieces.  New Year’s eve we ate with Hermana Jacky our comedor, and we hung out with the family of Hermana Berly for a while.  Hermana Berly runs a school here in Guatemala called Cumorah, and they are a really cool family.  Then Elder Farr and I went to sleep for about 45 minutes then woke up at midnight as the bombing started.  We walked outside and it wasn't as bad as Christmas, but it still was going kind of crazy.  Then we looked up the street and this guy has a huge box for aerial fireworks that shoot up in the sky and blow up kind of like the professional ones, but a little smaller.  And as we watched this thing, the box falls over tipped toward down the street where we were so we were like "Oh Shoot!" and took cover behind a cement wall.   He only had one more shot left so we were all good.  Then we went back to sleep.

The weather here is warming up and it is hot during the days here, so I haven't used the jacket yet.

Well, our investigators are progressing and some hopefully will be ready for baptism this month, and everyday we find some new people to teach.  Our goal for this month is 4 baptisms, and we are working our hardest here to get them to that point.

Haha so you guys don't like tamales?  Everyone here eats tamales during Christmas and New Years so we had a few... but I am pretty sure the ones here are much better than Costco tamales!  It is funny because after one of the lessons we were so stuffed, but they offered us a tamale and I finished that thing off like nobody's business, but I looked over at Elder Farr and I can tell he is stuffed.  So he starts feeding it to the cats and I am trying not to laugh because the Hermano was nearby!

Speaking of drunk people, it seems like everyone here finds their own corner here and gets drunk out of their minds for holidays.  We have a set of drunk people that are our friends here and it seems like they speak better English when they are drunk than sober.   But yeah, we talk to drunk people DAILY!   Haha some people drink rubbing alcohol here rather than normal alcohol because it is cheaper, which means their brains get fried 3x as fast.

We went bowling today and ate at Taco Bell.  Actually Taco Bell is really good here it is much better than in the states.

But other than that my week was good, just working hard, and trying to leave no regrets.  Well, I Love you guys and Have a good week!

p.s there was a rabbit in our house...