Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Last Letter...It Has Been An Adventure!!!

Well what can I say.... It has been an adventure beyond believe, I have always considered that my strength is not in writing or in sharing my thoughts for that manner. I feel like in my emails over these two years I have focused more on the physical stuff then on the spiritual stuff or how I'm feeling for that same reason that it is hard for me to express exactly how I'm feeling. And now that all this is coming to an end I am full of emotions, and I am going to try to express those feelings. But nothing I write can express what I truly feel. I am going to try to take 2 years of experiences, good ones, and ones that make you grow, and write about it... Ya well here I go.

First off a couple physical things, The Spanish culture Is something i will never forget, I have fallen in love with it, it is something so chill, and so relaxed I love it. I have grown so attached to this country. It is such a blessed land so abundant in everything, truly a promise land, The beauty and majesty I will miss. The food.. Even though you won't believe me I will miss my beans and eggs with cream Every morning and night time. It will be weird not to eat beans or rice every meal, and even weirder not eating tortillas. I miss how the animals are incorporated into the daily living here. How having a pig following you around in the street is normal, or while teaching having baby chicks and ducks running in between your legs. Or the tin houses here, they are something you would never seen in the USA but they are now so normal to me. And not just the tin shacks but the people that live inside of them. They are so humbled, I have grown attached to the people here. They have such a grand love, they are so open and loving. Even if they don't want anything to do with the church they will invite you in and give you something to drink, and ask how your doing. Their heart is bigger then their whole house! Just so loving. Some people that I have met here are not focused on the material side of things, but instead on that they are spiritual sons and daughters of God and have a divine potential. You don't need need much material things to enjoy this life.

While out here I have passed through some great times and also some terrible times. The great ones are ones i will always remember as well as the not so great. I have learned to rely on the Lord and his promises to us. The peace he can offer us in times of trials is comforting and fills one with hope when everything seems dark and empty. The terrible times make you cherish the great ones. One thing I have always known but confirmed countless times out here was attitude. Attitude is everything, It can make the difference between failing and succeeding, the difference is everything. I have been in areas and with comps that were super hard for me, I don't expect anyone to understand nor do I ask them too, but I feel it was my attitude that made the difference. And made me turn to the Lord to depend on him to understand me, when I felt alone I could turn to him, and he helped me learn the things I had to learn there and prepare me for future experiences I would have later on.

The best part of being a missionary is helping other people change and come unto Christ. This gospel changes lives, I testify of that. It will change behavior faster then whatever textbook or science proven test. A testimony in our Savior Jesus Christ gives us hope, a sense of belonging and direction in our lives. When we know who we are where we came from and where we are heading and that helps us distinguish the things that are of true value in this world. I am so grateful for the opportunity to help people come unto Christ and change their lives. There is a huge difference when people apply the principles of the gospel and that is probably the most rewarding thing is seeing that difference and seeing them more happy. I wouldn't trade that for anything. The gospel changes lives, I know that is true. And That change is possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Everything in the church is possible through the atonement. It is the center point of the church, if it wasn't for that infinite sacrifice we would have nothing in his world. We wouldn't have any hope or anything to believe in. It is that act that offers us the way to return back to God, to be one clean enough to make it back to Gods presence. I testify that forgiveness is available to all of us. No matter what we have done there is always a way out and that is through the atonement. That is the greatest promise to us that forgiveness is available if we are willing to do our part and repent.

The atonement not only gives us the way but it is also available to carry us through our hardest trials in life. The Lord will never abandon us. He is our older brother that has passed through everything we have ever or will ever pass through. He knows exactly how we will feel and knows what we need, and we can turn to him in whatever moment we find ourselves in. It is the greatest gift available.

For these two years I have been a true representative of Jesus Christ and his church. And these last couple weeks I think I have finally started to understand just exactly what that means, to represent him, to say what he would say, to bless the people, to love and serve them. I have seen his hand in my life so many times throughout my mission, and have witnessed his hand bless the life of others, he has done miracles in their lives, with his power and through other people. He knows us and loves us and wants to help us, but we have to 1. Do our part, and 2. Obey his commandments when we do these things he will bless us.

I know that this church is true, that God lives, and has his church here on the earth today. That he has his prophet guiding us, and he has a divine plan for each of us. I always believed but now I can truly say that I know. I know with all my heart, wehn i return i want to maintain these things, i know it is going to be hard, but i want to keep it up. " we are not humans having spiritual experiences, we are spirits haveing human experiences" i love that quote, spiritaul experiences shouldnt be rare, or once every now and then... but we should always be having them. that is my goal.. we wil lsee how it goes...

All this is easily told but who can tell the full story of the spiritual and mental battles, the inner struggles that took place. and more importantly the changes that have taken place... i love you all, thank you for the love, support, letters, and prayers over the years, they were truly felt. i will always cherish these last two years... i know i was on the Lords errand, and still am, we are to be a light to the world! i love you all!
Elder Call

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Second To The Last Letter!!!

Second to the last week and I’m still going strong! This week we did three divisions! The 2 we had planned and then the Assistants called us to do a surprise division….supposedly they were planned forever ago but we had forgotten. I stayed in the area and Elder Urmstrom came. We are good mission friends going back to San Jorge. I did divisions with him back when I had a week and he had 3 weeks. Do you remember that? I probably didn’t mention that. But we go back, so it was a fun division and everything fell into place. There was never a moment when we didn’t have something to do and these are the days you just cherish and love!

Wednesday I did divisions with Elder Cox from LaVerkin who is also in the same ward with us. That was probably one of the hardest days I’ve had in a while…EVERYTHING literally everything fell from plan A to plan F. It all fell….we didn’t teach at all. We found a less active though and took a sister out to go contact her neighbors. It was one of those days where you learn diligence…
Friday was back on the road for me and I went to Neuva Florida with an Elder Flores from Mexico. He is so chill, reminds me kind of like Jamison, but even bigger. He is huge! So all in all with divisions we went from having an amazing day down to a horrible day then back up…it was like a roller coaster day. However we did have a really good/cool experience…we weren’t in our area (our ward but not our area) and we got to drop something’s off and a family member is there, the sister and she isn’t a member and she started asking some questions until it comes to the subject about baptism and how can one know if they’ve received a true baptism and that led us into teach the restoration, and it was a great lesson! The spirit was there and we challenged her to be baptized (it’s weird challenging people to be baptized for dates that I won’t be here for). But that just goes to show you that there are always people waiting and ready to hear the gospel. That’s why we always have to be ready.
OK this next story I feel bad…Sunday, yesterday, was the birthday of Elder Cox, who we share the ward with…well we live like 2 blocks away in the same residencial. So we woke up at 4 and snuck into their house (his companion gave us his keys) so we go to surprise him to wish him a happy birthday, we run in and turn on the lights and he was truly scared, literally I have never seen someone yell so loud and so long until he finally realized it was us…we scared him really badly!!! But hey happy birthday Elder Cox…
Another thing that happened yesterday we were teaching a contact about Joseph Smith and the restoration and they are an older couple, now around 60’s, and they were listening so intently but it was one of those times when I stopped and thought what are you doing???!!! You are just a 20 year old!!! And people older are listening to me; this gospel is amazing and is for people of all ages. I love being a missionary and sharing this message of Joy and Glad tidings. And the fact that the Lord would trust a bunch of 20 year olds to share it…it is amazing and I’m happy to be a part of it all…

Monday, May 27, 2013

His Last Interview With President Stay

You didn’t think that I would work up until my last day!? But I’m still going strong... bahaha ¡¡¡ les cuento!!!! I will make up from last week with this letter :)

So first off sorry I didn’t write a lot last week... 1. I didn’t feel like writing and 2. We didn’t have a lot of time because of my LAST INTERVIEW!!! Crazy I have reached this point of my mission but I have to accept it whether I like it or not! It went very well, we talked a lot about after the mission... bahaha go figure. No but about staying active, getting good grades, getting married and a whole bunch of other things that I will face after the mission. Basically President Stay is inspired and such a great guy, I love him!

Tuesday we did divisions with an area called Nueva Florida 2. (The areas here are super close!!!) It would be like neighborhoods in Utah like The Boulders and St. James (only that there are 10 times the amount of houses!!) it’s nothing like outside the capital, 2 and a half hours in bus to get to an area... but any who divisions... I went with an elder from Peru, he is fairly new, only has 4 months in the mission, I love his attitude, and he is a great missionary. The Lord blessed us this day; everything literally turned out amazing and went our way. I was able to show him how to go out and contact with the members cause sometimes they don’t want too, we did three which is something we have never done here! And all 3 were successful! Also all our lessons were with members, basically the Lord blessed us that day and they were great divisions, he was able to learn and set goals for his area, and I also learned a ton from him.

The next day we gave service helping out a family plant some corn... in three weeks when I am back in the states I can say a month ago I was a farmer planting corn!! It was hard not gonna lie, we had to dig some super deep holes and the family was really poor and didn’t have the tools to do it! They had a pick, so we opened up the holes with the pock, then to scoop out the dirt we used a sausage can, it worked but was tiring and took forever!

Thursday I had my first and last correlation with President Stay, our Stake President and Sister Stay. It is something we do every month as Zone Leaders here. It was fun, at first I was nervous but after I relaxed and enjoyed seeing how two adults interacted and we also participated giving ideas and trying to change the things here for next month... always improving :) … Basically it is to put the stake and the mission on the same page with missionary work.

So we officially entered the rainy season... it rained Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday... and I think the mission is trying to get its revenge on me for dodging the rainy season both years cause I got wet, soaked, drenched those days!!! One day I forgot my umbrella and that day it rained the hardest, longest and all our appointments fell that night... a good three hours walking around under the rain.

So with the rainy season something marvelous happens... zompopos come out... they are giant flying ants, they have their nests in the coast by the beach and the 3rd day after the first big rain storm they come out and start flying all over the country.

Well as they are flying their wings fall off and they fall to the ground and start walking. (Have you heard the phrase it’s raining cats and dogs?... well it’s similar only that it’s raining ants.) Well long story short the people eat them... they eat them raw, they eat them deep fried with lime and salt, or boiled with porkrines. And you better believe I tried one... I didn’t like it because it was under cooked and super gooey! And I ate it whole and supposedly you need to take the head off, but it was crazy! It tastes like popcorn!!

Saturday we went to the temple!! Cause the converts from Barberena came to do baptisms for the dead for the first time... so we went to go see them! The plan was to enter and help out but the temple was super behind schedule so we just chilled with them out front and then came back to our area. We are in the complete opposite side of the capital from the temple. It was good to see Diego he is doing super good and still wants to go on a mission!! One of my best converts, he is so smart and super receptive to the spirit, he is great!!!

So Saturday in the afternoon was another miracle day (we are seeing so many lately!!). The first lesson was a contact with a member (where we go out with them to contact their neighbors). Basically long story short she said God sent us cause she had been praying to switch Church's and she didn't know which one she should switch too. Also the Church has crossed her life several times before, and every time it has crossed she has loved it, almost her whole family are members in Zacapa and Boston. So we talked about how God works and how it is time to come home to where she belongs. It was super powerful! Then after we went with the same member to a different neighbor, one that we had talked too before and they told us to come back Saturday. Another powerful lesson, lots of great questions of the soul, and they also attended the church before in Nicaragua years ago, but they want to come back and be baptized this time. Just two super powerful lessons. That night everything went our way, it was one of those times when you just feel so in tune to God and his plan, and he just pours out his blessings. I didn't want the night to end, just blessing after blessing.

Sunday we helped a sister move with the bishop... (That sounds WAY too normal and calm for Guatemala right?) so here is the curve ball.... it was down pouring the whole time and we were all in suits... ya we got SOAKED and dirty but it was fun, I love giving service!! That is something I want to always do!! I don't want to let that go once I get back home, I love it!!

So I can’t believe it is all coming to an end! But I’m still going strong! We have divisions planned for this week, I'm going to see how much more damage I can do to Satan's plan!!! I know this Church is true! If not I wouldn't be out here!! GOD IS GOOD. I love life right now, I couldn't be happier! I love you all!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hate Sunday's and Monday's Cause I'm Starting To Think Of Home Way Too Much!!!

Oh man.....
Well this week was a great one!! To be honest I didn’t plan what I was going to write today so it probably won’t be too long... but Tuesday we had our annual interview with president stay... it was so chill! We just talked, he didn’t say anything he had planned we just talked.... shared some great experiences with me and some great stories, he is such a great man!!!

Something I have mentioned before that we are really focusing on is going out and contacting with the members, we share a small message and then go out and contact their neighbors, some say no but most are down for it and we go out and contact their neighbors and invite them to a family home evening. I’ve asked before but would you do that? I truly admire the members here for the work that they are doing and helping us out build the kingdom of God here on the earth... however the thing that does get me is when they say no they are catholic.... well if they were Mormons then we wouldn’t have to baptize them! WE ARE HERE TO BAPTIZE THE CATHOLICS!! I got a hoot out of it...

Besides that nothing is coming to my mind...I am so sorry but today just isn’t my day for writing, we are working hard finishing strong...something I have started again is trying to notice the hand of God in my life... every night I reflect on the day and try to see how his hand blessed my life that day... it really makes me see how much he continues to bless me, and it is something I want to continue doing after my mission, it really changes my perspective of that day and I notice things that I didn’t notice or see in the moment.

As a missionary I feel I have taken something’s for granted, things that only missionaries do or can experience so I have been trying to notice the significance of those events and record them and cherish them.

I love this gospel I love being a missionary, I feel torn between two worlds being at the end of my mission....but that’s life it happens and I am going to make the most of it and live it up! These last 3 weeks. I’m so sorry we don’t have a lot of time because today I have my last interview with president stay!!! I’ll let you know how that goes!!!

I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!