Monday, August 3, 2015

2015-08-03: Finishing Strong-Go Forth with Faith and NEVER FORGET!

Hey well the final P-day of the mission has come around.  We are in zone 1 writing only for about half an hour.  This past week flew by, and it has just been an emotional rollercoaster.  Worked hard my last week just trying to make the most of it.  We had to fly and run around to get everything worked out for the wedding on Saturday, but it happened!  My last week in the mission and finished with a wedding and a baptism!  It was GREAT!  They got married Saturday afternoon and Sunday right before church held the baptismal service for JE.  She is great and it was a real struggle and stressful to lead up to the baptism, but it was all worth it.

No one knew that I would be going home this week because I didn't tell anyone, but everyone was happy.  They found out after I went up in sacrament meeting and bore my testimony.  I feel honored to have been able to train Elder S.  He is great and I know that they will be seeing many miracles and baptisms continuing in Puerto Barrios. 

Well the day has finally come.  2 years has gone so fast.  I feel like Jacob from the Book of Mormon in saying that time has passed by like a dream.  I loved my time here in Guatemala.  I loved the experiences that I had and I loved all the things that I was able to accomplish and for the lives that I could help the Lord and spirit touch.  There is a scripture that says El que pone su mano al arado y mire para tras no es digno de mi reino (He who puts his hand to the plow and look after is not worthy of my kingdom).  The only thing that I have to do now is go forth with faith and NEVER FORGET!  Apply all that I learned and never go back to the person I was before the mission.  I love the Lord, I love the people of this country, I love the Gospel, and I love the mission!

Antes de terminar, solo quiero compartir mi testimonio con ustedes.  Yo se que nuestro Padre Celestial vive, y que nos ama.  Yo se que Jesucristo vino al mundo para salvarnos y murió y resucito el tercer día para ayudar personas imperfectas como yo a regresar a la presencia del padre.  Yo les doy mi testimonio de que este evangelio cambia vidas! Me ha cambiado y se que el autor de este plan tan maravilloso es un ser perfecto.  Yo se que Joseph Smith fue un profeta de Dios, y que realmente restauro la iglesia de Jesucristo de nuevo aquí en la tierra. Hoy en día tenemos un profeta viviente, Thomas S. Monson que dirige esta iglesia verdadera. También se que El Libro de Mormon es la palabra de Dios, y que "el hombre se acercaría mas a Dios al seguir sus preceptos que cualquier otro libro.

Translation: Before concluding, I just want to share my testimony with you . I know that our Heavenly Father lives and loves us. I know that Jesus Christ came into the world to save us and died and rose again the third day to help imperfect people like me to return to the presence of the father. I give you my testimony that the gospel changes lives! It has changed and that the author of this wonderful plan is a perfect being. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that really restored church of Jesus Christ again on earth. Today we have a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson that directs this true church. The Book of Mormon is also the word of God, "the man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than any other book.

I love you all take care see you in 2 days!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2015-07-27 Finishing Strong


JUST KIDDING.  Here is his latest email:

Hey guys, well the second to the last week down here and it has just flown by. We have been working hard and not trying to think about the time. 

Our investigators are doing good and it looks like we will be having a wedding and a baptism on my last Saturday here! So I am pretty excited about that.  The zone has been doing very good and we have been seeing a lot of success. 

This past Sunday there were many people in church and our investigators are coming too.  The old lady that sings Christian songs to us came to church for the second time now, and I really admire her because she is sooo poor and lives alone and she wakes up super early and starts the long walk to church just to get there.  She is good and progressing too...

We have been teaching this guy that got shot up a little while ago and he is still recovering, but he is doing well too.  He wants to change and be better, but he has a lot of bad friends, but he really has come to love the Book of Mormon.  He reads it everyday and seems to be leaving behind the bad things.

Right now I am starting the book of Moroni, the last book in the Book of Mormon.  It feels good to read the book through again and to see the faith and the experiences of the people.  Just being here in this mission has helped me gain an appreciation for the BOM.  

Every Friday for a few weeks now we have been having an activity named Mormon Night, where our investigators and members get together for a spiritual message, and for games etc.  It is really a success.
This Saturday I had my last interview with President Crapo.  It was sad!  Haha.  He talked about dating, marriage, how to stay strong holding on to the iron rod to be able to return to the Celestial Kingdom.  It was really good.  We shared goals and experiences, and attributes.  I broke down near the end though.  He said "well Elder, you've served well..." and I just started bawling.  Haha he said that that is a good sign because the mission has helped me changed, and that the love that I feel is a confirmation that the Lord has accepted my offering.  It was great.  I feel sad though.  After that for the past few days I just feel sad, and kind of empty.  It will be really hard to leave.  I cannot believe the time is here.  Oh well.  I'll get over it.

So here is my schedule for next week before I head home. On Sunday, we head to the capital.  Then on Monday we get to go to central market etc. to buy stuff to bring home and say goodbye to areas.  Then Tuesday, we will have a big lunch with President, and then go to the temple.  Then we spend the night at the assistants’ house to sleep.  Then the DAY… Wednesday at 4 in the morning, we go to the airport.

I love you guys, have fun and have a good week!

From las escobas nature walk/park:
Found a new pet.  He really likes me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

2015-07-13 & 20: Rise Up O Men of God

Hey guys, well this week went by fast... like normal.  Monday we just played soccer in the hot sun here, but the highlight of my week was Tuesday.  We had a conference with President Crapo.  We woke up at 2 in the morning to get on a bus and head to an area called Chiquimula.  The conference was great.  It was based on a talk that I wished I had read ages ago called "Becoming a Consecrated Missionary" or something like that given by Tad R. Callister.  He talked a lot about how the culture of the mission is being affected by the culture of the world and Central America.   Presidente shared much concern about how the mission and the missionaries are going down the drain because some missionaries are being sucked up in the things of the world. 

Things Have Really Been Cooking Lately
President emphasized the phrase "Men of God".  He said, now is the time to lay all of our sins, weaknesses, and bad things aside and sacrifice them upon the altar.  We must become Men and Women of God.  We cannot serve 2 masters, we cannot have one foot in the world and one foot following God.  We must "decide now whom we will serve". 

There are so many heroes and men of God that I look up to in the scriptures and in my life.  Captain Moroni, and his righteousness, Nephi and his faith, the 2000 stripling warriors and their integrity at all times, Abinadi in the face of death, Joseph Smith, my parents, Leaders, and finally my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

We are born in this world but we need not be on it.  Jesus was tempted of all kinds of sins and temptations, but he did not act upon them.  Like the hymn says "Rise Up O Men of God",  We must rise up, and leave the darkness of this world. 

As a mission we have started a "40 day fast" see the JST of Matthew of the fast of Jesus.  We started fasting on Saturday and we each think of 2 or 3 things that we are willing to sacrifice and do away with, weaknesses, sins, etc.  And for 40 days we work hard to avoid and eliminate all things that associate or invite those things in our lives.  At the end of the 40 days, we should have our weaknesses become our strengths.  Each of us have things that hold us back and keep us in the world.  Let us sacrifice these things and leave them behind.  We are greater than we think or know, and the only thing that limits us is our personal righteousness.  

I love all of you and I testify these things.  Just in these few days avoiding and thinking about these things has helped me a lot.  Have a good week!

Another Service Opportunity.
Hey guys!  We are seeing a lot of blessings as the days go by because we have been having investigators going to church.  One of the people that we are teaching her name is P and she is suuper old!  Haha she could be my grandma, but she is doing really well with the lessons.  It is funny because every time we go and visit her she likes to sing Christian rock songs to us and stuff, because she grew up in another church, but she is really progressing and wants to know the truth. 

That family that we reactivated of 11 people is doing good and the girl that we are teaching that is the girlfriend of one of the sons of the family wants to get baptized and married to him, so we are hoping that all goes well with them.  Keep them in your prayers! 

Other than that things have been good... just working hard and enjoying the time.  All the missionaries are starting to say "it smells like death here!" whenever I walk in the room, but I just want to work!

Haha I love talking to people and getting to know them.  Haha I think it will be hard to get back and speak in English because I don't know how to speak it anymore.  Hermana C one of the sisters in the district, one night this past week, when I called for daily numbers, was saying "my tonsils hurt." and I was saying "you didn't get them taken out?" and she kept saying tonsils, tonsils and I just kept thinking wisdom teeth, wisdom teeth.  Haha so we had a conversation about what are tonsils and then it hit me that she wasn't talking about wisdom teeth.

I am completely lost when talking in English now!  Haha oh well.  My comp says Hi and I am doing great! Have a great week guys! I love you all!
One of many horses in a recent parade in town.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

2015-07-06 Great Lessons in A Spiritual Place

Hey guys! Well, glad to hear that everything is alright there.  This past week has just flown by.  We have been working hard, and trying to find and teach as many people that we can.  We have been teaching this family that we found this past week and last Monday, we found and met the father of the family when we were going to another place in the zone in a taxi. 

As missionaries, we are encouraged to always talk to all the people that God puts in our path.  He is a taxi driver and responded really well to our questions and to what we said.  When we asked if we could come and visit him, he said sure and was super happy about it.  When we visited them they were super receptive to the message and are progressing.  They said that they have been looking for a church to go to and they felt that their prayers were answered when we came.  We were super happy!

All in all the week went by really well.  Time goes so fast that I forget at times things that have happened.  I have to write them down in the night so not to forget.  Well haha I don't have much to say this week... so many things going on.  Stay strong.  Say your prayers, and keep it up. 

I love you guys and have a good week!


Hey guys, this week went super great!  My comp and I are getting along pretty well.  We have learned a lot this week about the work and how we can improve. 

Presidente Crapo wants us to implement more contacts on the street and go house trackting.  He wants us to talk to all the people that we see and be bold about it.  Get to know them and help them feel the spirit.  So we have been trying to do that.

We had a fairly good amount of investigators in church yesterday.  That made us very happy and we are seeing a lot of blessing in their lives.  There is a family of 11 that came to church for the first time together in many years and we were super glad to see them in church.  They were very active before and some of them served missions but went inactive.  So we have been working with them to get them reactivated.  We are also teaching the girlfriend of one of the son of the family and we are seeing a lot of progress with her too. 

Today we got to go to see the ruins and ancient sculptures and artifacts of the Mayans (Lamanites).  We had a good time.  Two zones (Zacapa and Puerto Barrios) met up together and went to see the ruins.  It was very interesting place.  We got up at 5am and got there at 8am.  The place was very peaceful and got to study our scriptures while we were there. 

I was reading Helaman in the Book of Mormon.  As I was reading about how Nephi the son of Helaman is in his garden tower telling the people of their wickedness and problems and reminding them to change their ways otherwise they will be destroyed.  All I could think of when we were looking at the ruins “of how could a great civilization like that just go down the drain?" And first thing that comes to my mind was because of PRIDE!  It is very sad to think about it.  We all have to beware of pride!  All throughout the Book of Mormon, you will see that Pride kills!  Pride destroyed the people in the Book of Mormon. What we must do is look to the Savior like the people in the times of Moses who were saved from the poisonous snakes.

Satan is always attacking us, our cities, our families and our communities.  We can see that in the government now with same sex marriage.  I can tell you that once the voice of the people and the government leaders chooses evil, speedy destruction soon follows.  Our prophets have said that over and over again. 

Let us repent and read the signs of the times.  Let us not be like the hypocrites and the Pharisees that could read the weather but not the things happening around them.  Let us cast off our sins and pride and be strong in this time so that we as the people of Zion do not end up like these ruins, desolate and a whisper in the dust testifying of a once great people gone badly. 

I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  The only thing that can save this dying world in sin and our souls nowadays is the restored góspel and the teachings of the Book of Mormon!  Let us learn from the mistakes of this people and live as the Lord wants us to be.

I love this work and I will surely miss it.  I am so happy being part of His work.  There is no greater blessing than being a missionary.  I love you all. Take care!

Friday, June 26, 2015

2015-06-22 Never Been Happier in My Life

Hey guys, well this week went well.  A lot of things have been going on in the work.  We found a lot of people and they are listening to the lessons and progressing.  I think the biggest problem that we have here in the area is that the people just can't and have no time to go to church. 

Puerto Barrios is one of the few places in Guatemala that there is actually work for everyone.  No one complains about not having work because they all work in the ports here.  But at the same time that creates a problem because they work on Sundays and can’t attend church.  It is hard to tell them to give up their work on Sundays to go to church because they have children and families to feed and a lot of times they really want to change and listen, but they are just held back by their work. 

Other than that things are going good.  Had a lot of really good lessons with investigators and It is interesting to see how the gospel changes lives and works for the better in them. 

 I did a division with the ZLs and I went with Elder M from my group at CCM.  We entered the mission together and in the night after the division we just sat there talking about how 2 years has gone so fast and how it seems just like yesterday that we were sitting in the CCM not knowing Spanish and thinking about how far away things seemed.  We both agreed that we are kind of scared and nervous for the future and that it is kind of a leap into the darkness after the mission, but it is a leap that all of us have to take.

They told us last night no one has changes, so I guess my final resting place is going to be Puerto Barrios.  I am happy to be here.  I have never been happier in my life.  It really is true that when you lose yourself in the work of the Lord you find yourself... I am having the time of my life.

Well I hope all is well there.  Things are good here.  I love you all!  Take care!

Friday, June 19, 2015

2015-06-15 What a Privilege to Teach and Help our Brothers and Sisters

Hey guys well another week has passed quickly and a lot of things are happening.  I can't even remember some of the things that happen because it passes so quickly.  I just know that it was great!  My companion has asked why time goes by so fast, and I told him the mission will fly if you are working hard. 

This week has been good, we had to go to the city to sign papers for the visa of my comp.  We had to ride into town for 7 hours on a bus.  We went to bed at 10:30 woke up at midnight to get ready then we hopped on the bus at 3:00 in the morning to get to the city on time.  We got to the city at about 10:00 in the morning and we signed papers for 15 minutes and then we headed back to the bus station to wait for the bus to go back.  We had to make the journey with another pair of sisters in my district so it wasn't that bad because we had people to talk to, but we didn't get back to the house until 10:30 at night.  It was suuuuper long and suuuuuper tiring, but at least we got some things done and to make sure my companion is legal here.  

We had a super interesting visit with this man that has been progressing so much lately.  His name is A.  He has been married to his wife for 6 years and they have been trying to have a baby the whole time.  She is now expecting and she is well into her 9 months of being pregnant.  We found them a few weeks ago from a member referral.  They didn’t know what gender the baby is going to be.  So the member friend predicted and prophesied that they will have a daughter and was so sure about it and that he said he even dreamed about them having a baby girl.  So she finally gave birth towards the end of last week and it was a baby GIRL!

Last Sunday we had a cool visit with them and it was super spiritual lesson.  We taught them about the Plan of Salvation.  They are very receptive and we extended the invitation to be baptized.  He accepted and committed to be baptized in July!  He has been going to church.  It’s an awesome feeling!!!  I love what I do as a missionary… It is a privilege to teach and help our brothers and sisters on their journey of finding their way back to our Heavenly Father. 

In the Book of Mormon I am just starting the book of Alma.  Mosiah really impacted me a lot and I loved it.  The sermon of King Benjamin, the reign of King Mosiah, Abinadi and the conversion of Alma, Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah... I love the Book of Mormon! It is a book that can change lives if you heed the counsel that it contains!

Well have a good week guys, I love you all!

Here are a few pictures from Las Pozas

 We cooked some breadfruit.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

2015-06-8: A Voice Calling From The Dust

Well this past week has been good.  Just working hard.  It has started to rain here in Puerto Barrios.  A good change from the usual hotness, but sometimes I feel like the rain just makes things more hotter, and humid.  We have been finding a lot of people to teach and getting the branch to help us with the work here.  We also have been seeing miracles recently.  We are teaching a family named C and P, and they have been listening to the missionaries for 2-3 months now and we will hopefully be able to have 2 baptisms for the family the first week of July.

Things have been looking up here in the district.  A lot of things are progressing and the investigators are answering well to the message.  I feel good.  I am always tired, but I feel good.  The last few months in the mission is when you have to go at things full blast, not hold back, but apply all that you learned in the mission.  I have been reading the Book of Mormon again from cover to cover, and I am just starting Mosiah chapter 1.  2nd Nephi really is a great part of the book because it has a lot to do with the gathering of Israel and the restoration and things like that in the last days.  I feel sooo honored and grateful that the Lord has called me to preach to these people.  It says that the BOM would be like a voice calling from the dust, and that is what it does to these people.  They are super receptive and ready to listen to this message about their ancestors, and their fathers that came before them.  It really is an inspired book and teaches and contains the words of God in it. 

Well have a good week... we have been 3 weeks without water, but only thing to do is keep going! hahaha well love you guys! take care!

Monday, June 1, 2015

2015-06-01: Things are Great in Puerto Barrios

Hey well glad to see that everything is going great on that side of the world. Congrats to Michael on his mission call and for the opportunity to serve the Lord.  There is no other cause greater than this, and the Lord is grateful and happy to have a soldier like you among his ranks. 

Congrats to Breiden! I knew that you would be great! Haha I can hardly believe that time has passed so fast! We were kids a few years back drumming and eating spam musubis at UH games during halftime, and now you’re growing into someone great! Keep it up, and remember always to stay close to the Lord!
 We always ask people if there is anything we can do for them.  One lady said we could wash her dog.  It was fun.

This past week has been great. We had a hectic week and a lot happened.  We have been working hard in the area, kinda crazy to see how fast time flies especially in the last part of the mission.  We had a baptism this past Saturday for A.  He is a great guy and has been looking to change for a while now.  He said that he came down here to be with his family.  4 weeks ago he was praying and said that he was telling God that he was willing to follow him, but needed to know where to go.  The next day the family invited him to church, and we were getting to know the members the day after we got here, and he was there.  We have been teaching and helping him since then and he has progressed so much.  I am grateful for the opportunities that the Lord gives me to see and help lives change.  People like these are the reason that I am here.  It’s the reason that I love what I do. 
The rest of the things that passed in the week was crazy fast!  We did a division with the ZLs, Elder M and Elder M both from Utah.  It was good.  Working hard and enjoying it here!
Well love you guys, keep it up, have a good week!

Some pics from last week.
Beast on the Beach!
   My Companion and yours truly.


Time sure fly's when you're having fun.

  Time to get back to work.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

2015-05-26: A Great Week With Lots of Work to be Done

Hey well we are writing today because yesterday we had interviews with President Crapo and a training meeting for the new missionaries. 

This past week has been great.  Just working hard and getting to know the area.  The members are good and willing to help and all.  The members are helping a lot and we are having fun.  We are finding and teaching and had a really good week.  We are preparing the baptism for A this week.  He is super excited and wants to change.  He leaves with us to visit every other day, and we can see that he is progressing and changing.  The branch has not had very much progress in the last year.  I was thinking about what was happening and I came across a verse in Ether I think in chapter 9:1-2 and it says that the Lord began to curse the land and that whenever the people would put their swords or things on a shelf or in its place, on the next morning it wouldn't be there.  The Lord can't bless us if we don't take care of what we have.  There are 1,100 members in total here, but only 80-100 come to church.  There is a lot of work to be done, and we are hoping to make an impact.

The meeting and interviews were great, we learned a lot and we have a goal as a mission to start the Book of Mormon over again and read it together, finishing before August 27th.  So we are all reading together trying to finish it over again and receive a stronger testimony of the book and be able to understand and appreciate it more.  Things with my companion are great and he is a good guy.  He is ready to work and learn, so we are getting things done.  

Today we went to the beach "Punta de Palma" and I am sun burnt!  Haha it was good.  We got to wade in the water and take a lot of pictures.  The beach is one of the attractions here in the zone.

Other than that everything is well, I love you guys and take care!

Sorry, no pictures today the computer is acting up maybe I will send next week.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

2015-05-18: In Beautiful Puerto Barios

New area, my 3rd son, Filipinos; and mom... I guess your prayers were answered!‏
Note: We have been praying that he gets to see the rest of Guatemala not just the capital.  Hopefully he gets to see some ruins and many historic sites before he heads home.

I got changed on Tuesday to PUERTO BARRIOS!!!  Hahaha It is on the beach!  It’s the farthest area away from the capital. 

I am training my third son in the mission.  His name is Elder S from Bolivia.  I just turned 20 and my son is 23 years old.   He has been a member for only a year and two months now.  He just completed the year then came out.  He is good, kind of different, but good.

Monday night I said goodbye to all the people I met in Alameda.  It was so hard to say goodbye to the people that I have learned to love.  That one family again made me a cake!  But it was good.  I enjoyed my time there.  Now I have to focus on the work to come.

(Hasta Siempre - Until always/forever - literal translation)
Farewell, Until next time or I'll keep you in my thoughts

On Tuesday, I woke up at 5 in the morning to pack my bags.  Then at 8:00, the taxi came and we went to zone 6 for changes.  They gave me the changes, I met my companion and then we got on a bus to go outside the capital.  The bus ride was 6 HOURS!  Haha I have not sat that long since the flight to get here.  We left at 1:30 pm and got to Puerto Barrios at 8:15 because we took a 15-minute pit stop.  We had to find the house and get the keys from the branch president because we are opening the area.   The house we have is HUGE!  It has a carport, 3 bedrooms, a patio, a huge bathroom, a kitchen, and a huge living room. 

We got settled in and got ready for the next day.  The rest of the days of the week have blown by like the wind.  We are just working hard to get things up and running, and I know and testify that the Lord is blessing us with miracles.  We found a guy whose name is A that is just covered in tattoos that has just gotten out of jail a month ago.  His mom and brother are members and he went to church for the first time one week before we got there.  He wants to change and be a better person because he has not seen his mom in his whole life.  Because of problems at 9 months of age he was taken from the family, and since then has lived a rough life.  We have taught him 2 times so far and he has dropped smoking, drinking, and drugs since the time he left jail, and we have a baptismal date with him for the 30th of this month.  We also put another baptismal date for next month with another guy that seems promising, and we are just working hard. 

We found a lady from the Philippines.  She speaks Ilocano and we are teaching the family.  She is from Iloilo something like that.  I told her that my mom is Ilocano too.  I guess she came here on a ship.

The members here are good.  Only about 80-100 people go to church every week because it is a branch not a ward.  We also have a lot of reactivation to get done here.  There are a lot of inactive people in the branch here.  I am the district leader.  There are 5 hermanas in my district and not many elders here in the zone. 

Other than that, things are great and the weather here is suuuper, suuper HOT and HUMID!  I sit at my desk to study and I drip, drip, and drip with sweat.  I am just soaked and covered with sweat walking around the area and during our lessons.  I love it though.  I love the area.  A lot of work to be done, but we are ready to take on the area and see what we can do to bring it up.

Until next week!  Love you guys!