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!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

2014-05-11 Recent Emails from Hunter

Sorry for the delay, but here are the last 3 week's emails from Elder Vincent:

Hey guys not much to say here since we just talked yesterday.  This week has just been a blur and I found out that I have changes tomorrow to another area!

Looking back at these fast 6 months here, I realized that I have had the time of my life in this area.  I thought it would be hard to top my experiences in La Leyenda, but this is just about as good.  I have met a bunch of people that have changed my life and I am grateful for the Lord for giving me the chance to serve here in this area.  We may not have seen a ton of baptisms, but there were successes in other areas.

One of the biggest experiences that impacted me this week was a family that we are teaching, the father once in a while has problems with drinking and on Wednesday night he went a little over and was drunk.  (This is the family that made the cake).  They are a super nice family, and they treat us like their sons, and part of their family.  We were walking to the house at 9 at night, and usually the father of the family is silent and a calm person, but he was drunk and his tongue was loosed.  He stopped us and started to talk to me in English.  He said "You are my friend.  You always will be.  Don't forget me and my family, but more importantly my family.  Thank you for your friendship and you have my respect and love for what you do. Don't ever forget us, and ALL THAT YOU DID HERE."  It was in broken English, but I got the point.  I thanked him for it, gave him a hug and directed him home.  Before he went in his house he said "I am muy macho and you probably won't hear me say something like that again. But don't forget."  That was so nice hearing that from a non member family.  These experiences are here to stay.  I am so grateful for all that I learned here.  The people are so awesome, their love for me like their own son, all these experiences will stay in my heart. 

Well next week I will let you know where I am at, but until then I love you guys, Take care!

Hey guys well this past week has been one of the slowest, fastest, tide turning, weird, crazy weeks that I have had in the mission.  So on Monday after writing you guys, president called Elder S and told him that he would have to go home because they did not have machines and technology here in the country that could solve or find out the problem or relieve the pains that he is having.  So we were all sad and bummed about him leaving. 

We went and did a whole bunch of stuff, bought a cake and celebrated my birthday together with them in the night.  It was super fun and got his mind off of the imminent problem.  So we just celebrated and had fun on Monday.  Tuesday they had to clean the house and pack.  So we helped them clean their house and we cooked pancakes and eggs for breakfast together. 

Elder P and Elder S left Tuesday in the night.  That was one of the hardest feelings in the mission.  Haha I got suuuppper attached to those guys because they made being here in the mission much more fun.  I had so much fun with them.  I learned a lot from them and I am grateful for the opportunity I had to get to know them and spend time with them. 

Elder S went home to Idaho on Wednesday morning and Elder P went to an area called Campo Marti with another elder... Now we have double the area to cover because we have to catch their side now.  They just put together the 2 areas and the assistants came by, gave me the keys to their house and told me good luck and get at it!  And so that is what we did.  Right now we are just getting to know the other area, and it is HUGE!!!  Haha so many people, but so much potential.  I was kind of getting bored in my area but now that we are covering the other area too, I am getting excited and pumped up to work harder.  

Another thing that happened this week was we were with an Elder for one day, because president put him with us to see where he would put him.  He was returning to the mission, and so president at first did not know where to put him.  So we worked in the area for a day with him, and the next day the AP’s came by to take him to an area where he will be for a while. 

My birthday was good.  Kinda uneventful, but great.  We worked hard like normal, and I didn't tell anyone it was my birthday, but then they started to find out slowly as the word got around.  Actually we didn't celebrate my birthday until a day after.  On Sunday, a family invited us to eat lunch, and then in the night, another family invited us for dinner and surprised me with a huge birthday cake.    All in all, it was a great day!  I really like this area.  It would be fun, and I would be fine finishing my mission here.  The members are soo cool, and it is progressing little by little.
Oh well, thanks for all you do, and I love you guys!  Have a great week!  Looking forward to skype on Mother’s day.

Hey guys, hope the week is going great for you and that all is well over there. 

This week was great.  We had a lot of things that were going on.  On Wednesday, we had a multi-zone conference with the area president Elder Duncan.  He is a really cool guy and I learned a lot from him.  He taught us a lot and was fed spiritually. 

One thing that he instructed us is to work more on the reactivation of members.  That is one of the weaknesses that we have here in the mission.  Sometimes the newly baptized member stop coming to church after the missionary that baptized them moved and somehow that new member did not make close ties with the members. 

Elder Duncan talked a lot about how to work more effectively as missionaries and explained that every one of us needs to know the Savior and his Atonement.  The atonement is very important and we need to apply it in our lives and help others to realize that as well. 

He said that nothing is impossible with God.  Even those things that we seem to think that it is difficult to accomplish, but with God everything is possible.  We cannot let doubt come into our minds about anything.  Be unbreakable, and immoveable. 

It is a privilege to serve and walk among these people whom I have learned to love.  It has helped me appreciate the Book of Mormon even more.  This is the Promised Land.  The people here are the remnants of the Nephites and Lamanites that they talked about in the BOM.  We need to teach these people the gospel.  We must do all we can to help them.  We must act and live as such.  I have so many things to improve on... haha I can feel a great change from the first day I stepped off the plane onto Guatemala soil.  But I know that I have a long way to go.  Our duty as missionaries, members and sons and daughters of God is to seek perfection.  ELIMINATE THE GOOD, REPLACE WITH THE BEST!!! I loved the conference.  

Another highlight of my week was going on divisions with Elder F from Arizona.  He is a cool kid and we found a lot of success.  He has been out for 7 months in the mission and we learned a lot from each other.  Their area is cool and we had some good lessons, and we put a baptismal date.  It was a nice change from the normal routine in my area with my comp.  Elder F’s comp. has a violin and I played it in the night before going to sleep.  It felt good to play after a long time of not doing it... haha I am kinda rusty at it.  

We brought some new investigators to church, and things are going well in the area.  There are a lot to do and a lot to learn. 

I can't believe I will be turning 20 in a week... haha that sucks! I am getting old.  But it is progression.  Have a good week and take care!  I love you guys!