Monday, June 25, 2012

Things Are Just Dandy!!!

Hey mammy! and pammy!

Welp things are just dandy! We had two baptisms this last week! Which are always stressful trying to plan them an help make everything go smoothly, but I have noticed that baptisms will NEVER go as you would like or planned but that is what makes it fun right;) always keeps you on your toes. So it’s been raining a lot, and wit the rain the river fills with mud (they should call it the muddy season) well all the water comes from the river, so the shower head is constantly clogging and when we went to fill the baptismal font ( it is a portable pool) the water was SO nasty! We thought shoot how can we filter this? So we went and got socks and put those over the hoses so the socks are filtering the water, it worked great! So we left, well came back and the socks were BLACK! And the water was super sketchy also. The socks couldn’t handle it, so we baptized in nasty sketchy swamp water, but I survived.

Oh elder Behymer wrote me, told me to say hi to you guys, he sounds like he is doing well. he is going to love Paraguay and the mission field; there is a missionary from Paraguay in my district, super humble and super spiritual stud.

The divisions with elder pierce went well, I went to his area; it is a hard area, super-hot because there are no trees and the people are really closed off there, but I helped him with his contacts and how to talk with the people better. He is a great missionary super funny we had a great time together. And it looks like we are probably going to do them again this week to help them look for a new commodore because his comp doesn’t want to look for a new one and they are going to get kicked out at the end of this month.

One day I will upload all the photos that I have taken, soon I will do it don’t worry, and you can see all the photos that I’ve taken. And also the ones from the waterfalls! Also that wasn’t my first time on divisions with a gringo, I’ve done them before when I was in San Jorge, but I did them with people from my group with the same time as me, so they were an adventure because neither of us could speak very good. But they were fun.

So the real changes are July 11th, but I don’t know what will happen, Elder Lagos goes home on July 18th one week after, so who knows what will happen, or if I will stay in the area for another 6 weeks (9 months!!!) that would be crazy, I hope not but anything is possible, and whatever happens happens for a reason so I will find that reason. The reason I stayed this last change was to baptize these 2 people! I was frustrated then but I knew there was a reason and look! It is awesome how the Lord works. This is his work not ours, we are on his errand not ours; I will do whatever he or President Stay asks of me because they know better!

Yes there are missionaries up in Barrios, also in Santo Tomas which is like 5 minutes away, I would love to be up there working, which would be my dream! But I am just happy to be out of the capital enjoying the rural parts! And I bet after this I am going into the cap and will stay there the rest of my mission. But WHO KNOWS!

Yes I keep my journal, I filled the first one you sent me off with, and now have another one the same size, and that will last me this last year, I write in it every day, it’s a habit I’ve gotten into, so don’t worry:) and in order to open up an area President stay would have to talk to the area presidency and get permission and everything figured out, there is an area up there called Livingston, missionaries where there about 20 years ago, I would LOVE to go there, you travel by boat to get there, that is like everyone’s dream to get called to open up there, but it won’t happen, there were a lot of problems 20 years ago so that is why it closed, and there are a lot of witches and sketchy stuff up there. Also I took out a little of money because we ran out! We are traveling so much to do baptismal interviews and divisions that I had to take money out, so that is why I took out a little sorry.

Well the pictures are of the sketchy water, our "filters", a girl we baptized to complete the family, and you will see the family picture when I upload them all. a Jewish park we found while on divisions! And the last one if you zoom in where all the people are looking, those are AK 47's and a whole bunch of drugs! There was a huge drug and gun bust on the route right in Teculutan. It was awesome. I saved the article for you guys to see in one year.

I am so thankful for you guys, I really can’t express how truly thankful I am for you guys! honestly I have the greatest family in the whole world. we are so blessed, literally we have so many blessings, we have so many reasons to be grateful to God and give thanks for all the wonderful blessings that we have. I wish I could express how thankful I am for such great parents that I have, for ones that love me and support me and have taught me the difference between right and wrong. You say you are proud of me, but really you should be proud of yourselves because I owe it all to you guys! Guatemala is CRAZY! I love it, it is such a different pace of things super crazy, but I love it, I love this gospel. Baptisms are amazing, the spirit was so strong, and it truly is a wonderful thing. I know this church is true, I don’t get why not everyone is a member it is AMAZING! and we receive so many blessings because of it. I love you guys, truly thank you for everything and for everything that you do for me! I am so glad to hear that everything is going well, and I love you all!!! let me know if I can do anything for you.
Elder Call

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hey Hey Hey Another Week Gone By

Its ok I won’t make a comment about dad not writing me, we can pretend that he had it off for father’s day. (HAPPY FATHERS DAY DAD!) Well I made some comments while reading your letter mom, I don’t know if I will do that again but let me know if you like it.

Quote of the day of the Mary Engelbrite calendar “don’t let success go to your head, and don’t let failure get to your heart” Mom and dad you guys are studs, I am happy that everything is going great for Ryan and Alex. That is one thing that I have learned here in this area is about marriage, I can see from the examples from the members and investigators that marriage is hard, your exactly right mom it requires constant nurturing and communication, if you let either of those go, the marriage starts to go downhill until you reach state of deadness, where you don’t have the desire or drive to keep the marriage alive, you need to always have that spark of love in the marriage. That is only a couple of the things I’ve learned here in the area.

Is the tent trailer hard to set up? Can it withstand storms and stuff? Send me pics and details about the inside! I’m excited to get to use it once I get back! (I can imagine dad dying after that comment)

SO this week was CRAZY! just in brief, Monday we gave a blessing and it was probably the weirdest ugliest experience, We honestly think she was possessed, I have never felt such an ugly feeling before and she could not sit still, her head was freaking out and rolling all over the place. SO I gave the anointing and after she bolted straight up, and tried to leave, but we explained we still needed to give the blessing, so elder Lagos starts with the blessing and 10 seconds into it she stands up and says "no!" no more I don’t want it anymore and stormed out. IT was definitely an experience I don’t want to relive. But the next day she was fine? Super sketchy.

Tuesday we went on divisions or changes, I stayed in my area and Elder Benitez came, he is from Paraguay! Super humble and super nice guy, we were on divisions for 2 days and they were honestly amazing, I learned a lot felt the spirit a whole bunch. Basically he is a stud.  But that first day in divisions I don’t know what happened but so many problems came to pass, our commodore had a nervous breakdown and started throwing plates, so the family called us and we came and got her to calm down, that would be one of the times that the Lord has put the words into my mouth because I don’t know where they came from.

It makes me sad, a part member family we are working with, the father who is a member, his heart is so closed off, to the church, I don’t know what happened, but he is so closed off and no matter what we do for him, it seems nothing will help. Also with the branch the branch president and the 1st counselor are both getting divorces, so that is making it super hard for the work here, because we talk about families being together forever, but then these leaders who they looked up to for so long are "failing" in this sense. It is testing a lot of people’s faith and testimony, and we are trying to help everyone including the leaders families pull through this. Those are some of the problems that we faced this week.

Alright so interviews were this week! And they couldn’t have been any better. I did the advice that Uncle Jay gave me, I fasted and prayed and then we talked openly in the interview and he gave me some great advice, I am ready to put it into practice and make this next and last year AMAZING! Holy cow I have like no time left.

But Peuto Barrios was AMAZING! It was such a long drive 3 and a half hours one way. But it felt like a whole another world! It was awesome, there are TONS of colonies of African Americans, I honestly felt like I was walking in Jamaica because of the climate, and the streets are full of water because we are in the rainy season. IT was awesome I would love to share more but there is no time! Sorry, ask me in like a year or 2.

I sent 3 photos; one is of me as of late, next to the ocean. Another is an African American! And the 3rd is McDonalds (thanks mom)

WE are going on divisions today after district meeting; I am going to Estansuela with Elder Pierce. He told me you wrote his mom? What did you say mom? Silly mom :)  

Alright well how is your reading in the Book of Mormon? I am now in 3 Nephi 12, I just finished reading about Christ coming to the Americas, one of the best in not the best stories in the Book of Mormon! Wish I could share more but NO TIME! I love you, this week flew by and was amazing, and this next one will be even better! We are seeing so many miracles. I love you all, truly I LOVE YOU ALL.

Thank you so much for everything, for all the love and support that you have given me! And will continue to give me!

Elder Call

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Just Hit The Year Mark!!!

Umm hello?!?!

Who has two thumbs and just hit a year mark? THIS GUY (pointing to myself with two thumbs) SO CRAZY how fast the time as gone by! I am honestly scared that this will all end one day, I don’t want to come home....ever.  But everything will come to an end one day, and so I am making the most of it here! I am soaking up every moment that I have here and I am LOVING IT! This week was a little (a lot) rough for some reasons but they are now behind us and we are moving on! And we are seeing success here, we now have 2 people on track for baptism and it appears another FAMILY!!!! But this time one of six, it would be amazing if they open their hearts to this Gospel and just let it into their lives and change them! They are ready, and we are too!

But first mom! BAHAHAHAHAHA a car? Mom you make me laugh.... hardly. No, the only people that have cars are president, and the secretaries and AP share one, we don’t even have a cell phone, it is way too dangerous for all those things. only the zone leaders have a cell phone, there are no benefits basically of being District leader (well benefits in the sense of material things) As far as Lagos being District leader, it has been a good change, he has pushed him to be better and work harder, and now it seems he actually cares about the district the success. But he is still Lagos.

So I got the other package! Thank you so much mom!!!! and dad!!!! I love it I love it I love it!!! I honestly can’t express how grateful I am for your love and support, and also my friends! But mainly you guys! Thank you!!! I LOVE YOU. DAD HAPPY FATHERS DAY THIS SUNDAY! I was totally going to send a package or letter, but the thought came and gone and now it is this week! I don’t know what happened, but if you could choose what would you want? I’ll send you anything photos or a letter or an actual thing?
I am so grateful for all that you have done for me dad! Thank you so much, from raising me, to our days in high school together, and then on into college, I knew I could always tell you anything and everything and you always give me great advice. You have been a great example to me in everything, you love mom and are faithful to her, you treat her right, you love us kids, treat us right, and you try to do what is right, and try to have a good attitude. Thank you for everything! I love you so much.

Well this week has been crazy!  I will hurry and explain because there is like no time, but Tuesday a member got in a motor cycle accident and luckily the only thing damaged was her toe nail! So we were there and watched them inject her toe and rip off the toe nail! It was crazy! Poor lady! I don’t think he was a doctor but she now doesn’t have a toe nail. And Friday we went to Zacapa for a district leader meeting and Elder Shipley and Elder Rees where there the AP and secretary and then we had dominos! Basically the mission gift to me for my one year mark! They gave us a ride back to Teculutan and when we were passing through Rio Hondo we said there are some cool water falls right there, and then the next thing I know is that we are going there! So we went to the water falls and got to show them the waterfalls. (They are out of shape from being in the office all day) it was a random adventure but something out of the ordinary.

Well sorry this is such a lame letter, everything is going great, we have interviews this Friday with president and I am looking forward to doing what uncle jay suggested. I will let you know how everything goes. And keep me updated with the NBA finals! I love the Thunder but I want the Heat to win, they have the 3 big stars there, maybe they don’t deserve it, but I think it would be awesome. But the Thunder deserve it! Hey what can I include in my emails? I feel like they have just gone down the hole literally, they are boring and really don’t say anything, so what kind of stuff do you want me to include?
Well I love you and am always thinking and praying for you guys, I am truly sorry this was such a crappy letter, but I didn’t bring anything, and Lagos is rushing me, but I love you and am so grateful for the great examples you are to me.

Much love,
Elder Call

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bahaha you guys have no idea where I am!!

Bahaha you guys have no idea where I am!!! This week has felt SO LONG! Change weeks are always by far the longest week of the 6 week change. So first off let me tell you where I am, it is in the departamento called Zacapa, and the municipio called TECULUTAN, ha-ha yep that’s right!!! 6 more weeks here in good ol tecu!!! AND my brand new comp is DISTRICT LEADER ELDER LAGOS!!! Ha-ha ok let me explain for those of you that didn’t catch it, still in Teculutan with Lagos! The impossible happened and we are staying together for 6 months! And honestly I’m not even mad about it. I don’t know what happened, Uncle Jay´s letter really helped to get me remotivated and once I heard the news that I’m staying I had a complete change of attitude, I’m staying for a reason, I just need to find that reason. We are so ready to do work this change, it might be his last change he will go home early for school, he just doesn’t know when, so I will probably kill him. (Send him home) And he is the new district leader, which is also something awesome because it has changed his attitude and he now is trying to be more motivational and more obedient which is awesome! So let’s see how this change plays out.

THANK YOU SO MUCH for the package! I only got the one with toothpaste and stuff so thank you so much!!!! It honestly makes me so grateful for you guys (not because of the package) but because you love me!!! And I love you!!! I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family that loves and supports me out here, because there are missionaries that don’t have that, and I couldn’t imagine it out here without you guys! So thank you!

I HIT A YEAR THIS WEEK! How crazy is that! The time has flown by, and I am so stoked to see what more I can do in this year to come, I can now speak the language, and I am comfortable with the culture so this year is the time to DO WORK! So stoked to see what it brings. Hey the elder pierce that you read his blog he is now in Estansuela which is the neighboring area from us, so we are in the same district now.

Alright Tuesday we went up to Morales! First time past Gualan, we want to go up to Puerto barrios but we don’t have permission so ya, but Morales was super beautiful! I just love driving and taking in all the scenery that is here, Guatemala is honestly so beautiful once you get away from all the cities! It really is the Promised Land. So we did divisions with the ZL´s Elder Johnson and Elder Bitters, I stayed with bitters in my area and it was super chill, he got sick from the commodore’s food! (I guess my body has adjusted to how much oil she uses) (She goes through 5 or 6 bottles of the oil that we have in the house A WEEK) (We go through a bottle probably in what a year and a half?) So for the afternoon he was on bed rest and good thing because it DOWNPOURED that day. Then in the night we left and had a really good visit with some of our investigators then we ate out at a really good restaurant. One thing is that he loves to look at photos so I showed him all that I have and then our family book and he loved it! he had so many comments about how cool it was that we have done so many things and took so many photos, so good job mom with making all the memories those are the things that we will never forget, (sorry dad, I know you were always about anti memories save save save, but this time mom wins with creating the memories and trips:)

Ok well we have now started the rainy season, and yesterday we got SOAKED, literally it was as if we jumped into a pool, everything just soaked to the core, because when it rains it pours here, and we were in a village a little far away from our commodore, BUT my feet were dry! So I am so grateful for that mom thank you for getting me those shoes they are amazing! And have worked!

Now let me tell you a little about our investigators because I hardly say anything about them, there is one family that has received the missionaries before, but they never really resolved his doubts that he had, they would always say we will teach that later on or next time, and he wants his doubts resolved right then and now, so we found them contacting a while back, and we started teaching them and they are progressing further than they ever had before, we resolve his doubts right there on the spot, and sometimes it’s hard! I always look forward to teaching him to see what question he will come up with next and challenge us, it’s like a game for us, it’s fun to have someone pilas (smart) to teach and that will test our knowledge. He just lost his job though, it’s him his wife and their little son that has 2 years. So we are helping them reopen up a snack shack they had by cleaning it and just helping them with whatever they need.

Another just lost his wife in a tragic car accident at the beginning of this month, a member gave us the reference and we went and taught the plan, he loved it, and wanted to know more about the Book of Mormon, the problem with him is that he has 4 children from 6 months to 12 years, and his mother in law is helping take care of them and she is really catholic, and she says he can’t receive us, but he is still listening to us but doesn’t want to make a commitment because he really needs her support right now so we are trying to get him the faith to make a decision for himself.

I love it out here, I love bringing the message of the restoration to people, we are the hope that these people are searching for, there are a lot of rumors and stuff going around about the Mormon church and a lot of hearts are closed off, but if they will just humble themselves before God and just put our message to the test and pray to know if it is true they would realize that we have the fullness of the gospel. I love you all! And am so grateful for your love and support!!!!

Elder Call