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!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Great, Long Mother's Day Phone Call

Happy mother’s day mom, I received a rose yesterday in church for you!!

Well yesterday calling was fun...however not going to lie it did put me very trunky! It is weird to think I will be home in 4 weeks!! I can’t believe it and it is a flood of emotions! Happy and sad... but it is just another step in life....

OK so this week was spent in divisions...something that President Stay is focusing on is rescuing the missionaries, it isn’t very effective to call them and see what is going on and how can we help he is now interested that we GO and rescue them. So this week we started that, I went to an area called Primero de Julio, with Elder Pineda from Honduras. Now he is a big guy...literally HUGE...their area is struggling a little. The divisions went well, what we focused on is getting the members out to go contact their neighbors, we went to 5 different families and got them to all go out with us, and with some they presented us to 3 or 4 of their neighbors!! It was a good division.

Then Thursday, an area needed an interview, so....divisions again...we just went home to shower change and then on the road again, this time I went to an area called Tierra Nueva, the person that is going to get baptized her brother got emergency surgery so she won’t be baptized until next week. While there we took 2 families out to contact their neighbors.

Friday in the morning we went out running! And I almost died... I am still sore... me and my comp (mainly my comp) are starting diets, and we are going to exercise more. Today we started, we talked to our commodore and she gave us fruit and cereal instead of eggs and beans with TONS of oil... so we shall see what happens.

Sunday we had a baptism!! Before church, at 7 in the morning... but in the stake center so we had to wake up super early to get there on time, it went well there is the photo. Those are the 4 missionaries here in this ward, and the bishop and elders president.

Well I’m sorry this letter is kinda short...but have a great week! Take some photos of Preston’s wedding and send them to me next week... it was so nice to talk to you guys yesterday, and I am so excited to be back with you guys! I will work hard these last 4 weeks, and be a good example to the zone. I love it out here but am happy to be with you guys again!!! I know this Gospel is true, it is for everyone!! And will help out anyone in any circumstance that is the unfailing thing that I have seen throughout my mission time and time again that God will always bless us when we obey his commandments, and the Gospel is the solution to everything. Put our trust in him, have faith and then move forward!! I love you all have a great week!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

And I Will Die In This Area...!!!

Hi family.... well last week when I left you all I had changes... this has probably been the longest week ever of my mission!! Not because I didn’t enjoy it but because it has been an emotional roller coaster! Monday was a super hard day... I was not expecting changes... I was hoping to die in that area with Elder Garmendia but the Lord has other plans... so the whole day was spent saying goodbye to my converts, and members and some awesome investigators!! They threw us a going away party and they aren’t even members yet!! They are super awesome!!

That night there was a farewell for a missionary that was going to Panama, some members had a dinner and invited us, it was a good atmosphere one that I will never forget, I truly felt at home as everyone was saying goodbye to the missionary and me, I said my last words and for the first time I cried in all my mission... it was weird but felt good... I’m still not a good crier! But it was good; I will miss Barberena and the people! But am stoked for the adventure that is ahead of me! The only thing that I was dreading was packing! That has always been my enemy! I had my 2 huge suitcases stuffed full, plus my laundry bag full of clothes and such!

So the question you wanna know is where I am... it is like I said... I am in an area called Lo de Fuentes, in the Zone Bosques of the mission, but it is actually in a city apart from the city, like St. George and Washington... but this town is called Mixco! And it is huge!! Where I am is just residencials..... Again.... the ward had 186 people attend Sunday!! Bahaha talk about culture shock all over again! I didn’t know what to do with myself!!

But back to Tuesday.... I am with Elder Bracamonte from Lima Peru! He is a great guy... he honestly reminds me of Logan Terry, in everything he does! It is like being with Logan so we get along great!! I feel good about the changes and at peace, this is a great area to die in, however I am not going to try to get to know all the members! Our ward is split into 2 areas, so there are actually 4 missionaries here. Elder Ardon from Honduras, and Elder Cox from.....La Verkin!! Ha small world ey?

Wednesday we gave service, because that day is a national holiday so everyone goes to the beach again... so we built a house! The lady had a small little room for her and her 6 kids, so we built 2 more rooms for her, and reestablished the walls and roof and basically made it great! It was fun but HOT! I got fried.

That night Sister Stay called us and asked if they could join us for our companion study Thursday.

So Thursday they came and studied with us! Talk about intimidation! But after a while I wasn’t nervous anymore and it was a really great study session! We practiced for a couple of our investigators and I learned a ton! He is such smart man!! The biggest thing that I was reminded of was to teach people and not lessons! Many times we get caught up in teaching doctrine and not focusing on the personal needs of the investigators. I learned how to be more personal with them and how to apply the gospel personally to them; I am excited to apply this into my teaching for this last change.

Friday we had a mission counsel! It is no longer a zone leader counsel because there are sisters that are leaders now! It is a new thing that we are trying here, they are Hermana’s lider entrenadoras something like that, but they are just to help out with the sisters. We are making history here! Also Friday we found a killer awesome investigator called Nestor, he and his wife are listening to us! Pray for them!! He is just so chill, almost too chill but it is awesome!

Alright well to finish with my thoughts about the difference between the capital and outside cause I spent almost 23 months out and now my last change inside.... I am glad I spent my whole mission outside the capital... it’s not that I don’t like it but it is SO different from outside. The people here are so closed off, and in their own world and don’t like to let people into their world, and get mad when we try to enter their world. Also the houses are also very closed off, here is residencials and then once inside the residencial they have an intercom to call them... super hard to get in! Outside the capital we were teaching 20 lessons with members every week and 10 others, inside the capital we are averaging like 7 with member and 10 others, so it is a totally different way of working.

The weather here is crazier than St. George weather! It is hot in the morning cold in the afternoon and then rains or super hot and rains then super cold and cloudy it is weird and changes in a matter of hours.

As far as the zone there are only Latinos! Usually it is 50% gringos and 50% Latinos but here there are only 3 gringos, which is awesome to see the church progressing here!

Well I am so grateful for this opportunity to be a missionary! I love this gospel there is nothing better, I love helping people out with the Gospel, and there is nothing better than the gospel to help people with their problems in life. I love Jesus Christ and what he did for us, thanks to him we can return with our Padre Celestial. Thanks to the atonement we can find comfort with anything that we are going through, whatever problem, sickness, trial he has passed below all of that to help us out in our time of need. I am so grateful and in debt to him for his sacrifice. Something that I have been thinking about lately is the sacrament, and how if we take it worthily it is as if we are baptizing ourselves again, think about that! After our baptism we were clean, spotless! And we can be clean again every week if we do our part and take the sacrament worthily. Idk why but I really like that and have been explaining it to people lately. If we only put the same importance in the sacrament that we put in our baptism!

Alright family way out of time! Think of questions to ask me Sunday!! Love you!!! See you tomorrow!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Coming Down To The Last Transfer!

Hi family como están?
I'm great! This week was relatively chill! Not too much happened JUST A BAPTISM is all!! Woot woot! Sorry no photos this week...the computer doesn’t have any USB ports!!! Bahaha But lemme tell bout my week....

So we did divisions Tuesday through Thursday, I went to Nueva Santa Rosa where we did the health clinic, just a super small branch there. I feel in this zone we have a ton of areas where the church is still in the first step, or it's not really founded. There are five areas that got bumped down to basic units a couple months ago Nueva being one of those. But the divisions were awesome! Really effective and else got a ton done with the members. That was our goal to get working with the members there more. And they started working with us more, we went out with a couple and taught their neighbors and invited them to a family home evening in the house of the member.

-side note.... If the missionaries showed up at your house and after teaching a really powerful lesson asked you to present the missionaries to your neighbors, friends, or coworkers would you do it? I admire the members here because that is what we are doing with them. We teach a lesson and then go out with them in the same moment and contact their neighbors or friends to have a family home evening in their house with the missionaries. Pretty interesting what the members here are doing! Would you do it? DO IT there are people waiting!!!—

But back to Nueva we used Moroni 9:6 and also D y C 123:17 a lot to get the members stoked and motivated again. It seemed to work, elder Kelsey told me the last day that he learned a lot and is going to change his way of working there. So that was good! He is a great missionary, super hilarious and has a crazy story of how he and his girlfriend (from St. George serving in Italy) went on the mission. While there we had cravings to eat marshmallows so we bought some and made a camp fire in the backyard then roasted them!! (I love Guatemala) it was a way chill night kinds felt like I was camping (there house doesn't have running water either, everything by buckets... Bucket showers; shave with a bucket, bathroom with buckets everything!) So it really felt like we were camping! AND I used a sleeping bag!! Bahaha but all in all they were great divisions.

Thursday they shut off all the power in Barberena from 6 in the morning to 830 at night! During the day it was a normal day but at night the town was so dark!! Without street lamps or anything it threw a bump in the road for the work. No one received us and our dinner appointment even fell!! That was definitely a weird night because I have never seen a town so dark! (It is so crazy how dependent we become on things such as electricity or street lamps!)

Saturday we had the wedding/baptism and they went well! We baptized a husband and wife, in their baptism they invited like 20 people, and we have 2 other investigators that invited like 10 friends so basically we had like 40 nonmembers there and then only like 5 members. I ended up baptized him and my comp baptized her, except I scared him a little, he had a stroke couple years ago and lost the complete use of his left hand, and his leg still has a little of strength but not too much. So the first time I baptized him I had one hand on his right hand that he was using to plug his nose and my other one on his back, well he went down and when it was time for him to come back up I pulled on his right hand and that unplugged his nose and he panicked a little in the water! And I had to baptize him again but this time I put my hand on his chest so I wouldn't unblock his nose again. But besides him being shaken up a bit the first time it went great! And they both were confirmed yesterday. I got to confirm him! Something I haven't done for a long time since Zacapa!! It was a great experience.

Also Diego received the priesthood! I'm so happy for him! It was a big step and he is progressing great, we are going to go to the temple with him May25th!! And do baptisms for the dead, he is amazing!!!

Changes are Tomorrow and the assistants called last night at 1130 to inform me that I have changes! I can’t believe it! I feel like a little child getting his sucker taken away from him I loved this area and my comp and wanted to finish here with him... but I know its revelation and it is for a reason either for me or to help another person or both!! I’m stoked, I have used process of elimination and I am almost positive I am going to Zone Bosques an area called lo de fuente as a zone leader; it is an area in the capital! But I will be sure to let you know where I ended up next week!!! It is weird to think after Tuesday I will be in the oldest group of the mission!

I would have loved to write about my investigators and what we taught because we had some killer lessons! But I wasn’t expecting the changes and we have a ton of things to do!! Mainly saying goodbye and packing... BLAH!!! But ya gotta do it! So I will see tomorrow!! Love you! Have a great week!!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Another Amazing Week!

What an amazing week!! Do you remember how I said a week in the mission is always unpredictable, jammed packed and CRAZY!!! Well this week was not the exception! It was so unpredictable, amazingly busy (I continually surprise myself at how much we get done) and you better believe it was crazy!!! Lemme explain!

So you know how kids play doctor or cops and robbers? Well this week I played dentist and I PULLED A TOOTH!!

A couple actually bahaha! So there is a medical mission called glen falls medical mission, they come down to a place called Nueva Santa Rosa every six months and run various clinics. And every time they ask the help of the missionaries to help translate, and sometimes they help and sometimes they don't. But this time we got permission and we helped translate for them. Basically all those that spoke English went and our comps stayed, did divisions and covered all the areas so the work still moved on in our areas.

But a little about my experience in the clinic... So it was divided by clinics, there was pharmacy, dentist, general medicine, pediatrics, women's clinic, eye care and triage. My first day I went to help out in dentistry and basically stayed there for the three days, I loved it there. There were three dentists one from the capital, one from Belize and a gringo that didn't speak a lick of Spanish. I was with him the whole time, a super awesome guy, super patient super loving explained basically everything to me had the patience to answer my questions and after our first day turns to me and says alright you’re going to do this one!! Bahaha so then he taught me and walked me through pulling a tooth. By the last day I did one all by myself (everything but put the shot,) he walked me through the steps but I did it!

I had a blast in the dental clinic pulling teeth all day, but it's not something that calls my attention to do as a job. I also helped out in general medicine, pediatrics, and even the women's clinic (that was a little awkward cause I didn't know how to say some things in Spanish!) however helping out in the other clinics I loved!!

And it is something I could see myself doing. I absolutely loved helping out in the clinic it was just the kind of thing I love, and I felt at home, I love volunteering whether it be in finish lines, races, or clinics I love it.

In the dentist clinic we just pulled teeth nothing more. But in the other clinics we treated all sorts of things, but usually always dealing with parasites. In the kids clinic one day a kid who probably is 2ish came in and he had a bunch of holes in his stomach... Well turns out there is a worm inside of him, that had tentacles that go through his skin to breath, so all those holes were actually mouth pieces for the worm, it was so horrifying, we saw some crazy things. But we made a difference! And us as missionaries made a huge difference! They said Sunday and Monday they were dying cause they didn't have any translators, but Tuesday we saved them and they saw so many more patience because they could actually work. Um I wish I could say more but my mind just went blank.... If you have any questions you can ask.... Basically the clinic changed my life, and now I am thinking about becoming a PA, but we will talk later about that mom. At the end they gave each missionary a jar of peanut butter and to a couple a jar of Nutella, well I was one of the fortunate ones to get a jar of Nutella!!! So I will probably gain weight these last two months :)

So that was Tuesday through Thursday. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were normal work days and were great! Just s couple highlights:

Saturday we had a branch council with all the leaders, we spoke, president spoke, and the first counselor spoke. I truly hope things can get better and change. And I think they will, things have gotten so bad that Sunday the mission counselor ( counselor to president stay) came and spoke in church, taught Sunday school and then during priesthood he held a meeting with us, the branch president, and the district president. Basically it was about how are we going to turn this area around cause things have gotten pretty bad. He gave some ideas, and basically came to get everyone jumped started again. I loved it! I know things can change; everyone just needs to start working together and move in the same direction. He put the goal to baptize 25 people a month and explained how we are gonna do it. And he made it very clear that it is not our responsibility but the branch president's. And we are only here to help him reach his goal. It was intense and I think what he needed, hopefully things will get rolling again!! Umm well I’m sorry that whole email was about the clinic and now I’m kinda out of time... not really out just mentally out! Bahaha I love you and have a great week or not the choice is yours!!!

PS upcoming for this week!!! Divisions with elder Kelsey who is in Nueva Santa Rosa! And a wedding and baptism!! Woot woot! Love you

Monday, April 15, 2013

Week Of Amazing Experiences!!!

I have forgotten how much I have missed hot tamales! I found a little kiosk thing hidden away that sells hot tamales so obviously I bought some!! Then some more and some more! If I was on I diet I would have failed this week.... Cause I ate horrible! Hamburgers (2 people invited us out to eat!), cake (for your birthday mom), and tons of candy....and my first snow cone in Guatemala... But lemme tell you about this week! Tons of amazing experiences...so Wednesday we were in divisions I stayed in my area and worked with Elder Fonseca, from Honduras. I was pretty nervous for a couple of the things I had to do alone without Garmendia but everything turned out great! We had a correlation meeting with the district presidency of Cuilapa. I was a little nervous but it went great, we got them on the same page as us, and ready to work. (This was a big step because a while back the missionaries ruined all the trust with them, so this was the first time in over a year that we have had this meeting with them.) And we got invited to give a workshop Sunday in the branch president training meeting. The meeting went great! All the missionaries and Branch presidencies were there. The counselor from the mission spoke and we did too. I really feel like it got the branches stoked to work with us and baptize more and support us. President Rosales (the mission counselor) spoke about having sufficient faith to get things done, and we talked about being more on the same page, unity, and also a couple plans president Stay has put into practice. After every missionary got a ride home with his branch president which I feel was even better, because on the way home we talked about things we can do to turn the branch around and get things rolling even more! So the training went amazing! However I did feel a bit weird talking to all the branch presidencies and district presidency. So also while in division's we had a crazy lesson. His name is J, he is a reference of a member, and they have known each other for years and the member has always shared his believes and helped him out, but J has had some very hard experiences that have affected him when it comes to churches.... Long story short he knows a TON about the bible (his dad was a pastor, and his mom is a pastora) he made a promise that if the member went to the conference he would to, and he kept his promise!! He went and he really liked all the messages and even stayed for the 2nd session which is rare even for the members here. He said something touched his heart and he agreed to meet with us. So I was nervous for this appointment but it went well. Didn't turn out at all how we had planned, we started explaining prophets and we read in Amos 3:7 and long story short he doesn't believe in prophets or the bible because it wasn't translated correctly. So from there all out plans went out the door and we started from scratch. We also discovered that he doesn't believe in Christ. I have never met someone quite like him here in the mission. But the lesson turned out really well. We will have to start from scratch with him and basically erase all the incorrect ideas he has inside and teach him correct doctrine. Because he has some crazy believes, but the first thing I did when he said he doesn't believe in Christ was testify. With him it's going to be hard but it's possible because he has the desire to change and to improve his relationship with God and receive answers. He must have had some traumatizing experiences happen earlier on in his life that affected him; he asked some pretty hard questions that had me sweating for a couple days until I finally found the answer in Doctrine of Salvation ... Ya that deep of questions. But I’m excited to help him out it will be fun and challenging. We are going to meet with him again tomorrow! Also yesterday, we met with an atheist (2 in the same week!!) that is super weird cause I have never come across one in the mission and now 2 in the same week? But things went really well; his wife is a less active who just moved back in with her mom who is a member. So they attended church and he says he has never felt like he does in our church, and he has attended a lot of other churches. He has a ton of questions and doubts but he is open and really opened up to us, and wants to believe in God again... but also had some tough experiences but is willing to try. Umm also we had a zone meeting.... It went well, basically the same as the training Sunday but with just the missionaries. We tried switching things up a bit and invited other missionaries to teach a little. One missionary shared something that I really liked, something I want to share. He was talking about being happy and something his mother wrote him in a letter before she died was " never wait to be happy, find the joy and happiness in whatever moment" and I really liked that that apples so well to life.... And the mission, we should wait until we have a new area, or a new comp, or until I am home I can be happy right now. And the same applies back home! We can find happiness in whatever situation! So two humbling experiences I want to share.... Remember Diego? Well he got baptized and entered the kingdom of God Saturday! I have been humbled by him, to see how ready he was and so willing to change and come unto Christ. Also to see how receptive he is to the spirit, it has humbled me to be able to be a tool in the hand of God to help his children here on the Earth! The baptismal service was amazing! By far the best I have ever had in my mission. The District president was there (Diego was a reference from his daughter) and basically everything flowed, the spirit was there and we had 10 other investigators there to see the baptism! And it was just great! Also another humbling experience was with a hermano, we randomly went to visit him. Now he has been through a lot, for 5 years he used to be a branch president up in the Mountains where everyone is Indian, then he was changed out, and he kinda fell away from the church. From there his life just went down lost his job, money, family, everything. He ended up here and came back to the church, is now super humble, strong desire to do the things correctly. But he has been through so much, we visited him in his house, and you would have thought we had made his year! He was so happy; he told us in the three years the missionaries have never visited him before in his house. (He lives in a tin shack smaller then my bedroom upstairs.) Just so humble. He started crying in the closing prayer thanking that we visited him. I admire him a lot at how humble and great he is. Sunday he just got called to be the elder quorum president. Super stoked for him! So mom happy birthday... we bought you a cake.... and the mom of elder Garmendia.... because you both have the same birthday!!! How crazy is that! Ya so happy birthday we ate a cake for you. Things upcoming for this week..... We are going to go translate for a group of doctors that are coming from New York! They are going to do a clinic in Nueva Santa Rosa, so we are going to go translate Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday! I’m excited to say the least! Also we are going to have a crazy huge branch meeting and chew them out (dar chicote!) but with love cause things need to change and we’ve tried every other way so we are just going to be direct with them! Alright I love you all, and i love being a missionary...I love helping out other people and after visiting them they feel better! The Gospel does that! it comforts and changes people! Have a great week! and be safe! Elder Call

Monday, April 8, 2013

Roller Coaster Of A Week!!!

Wow this was a roller coaster of emotions week. Highs and lots of lows. I think it will be easiest to go day by day. I think I mentioned last time that we had zone conference Wednesday. That went alright, the things that we learned were great and I'm stoked to put them in practice. The theme of the conference was baptizing every month. And I feel like it helped the zone. As far as the physical things that conference was by far the choppiest one so far, I don't know why but the details we usually have figured out. But everything fell apart at the last minute, so we had to do a lot of scrambling but we got everything figured out. It was a nightmare and took a lot out of us... We did divisions after the conference, I stayed in my area with elder matias, he is a stud, I love his way of teaching, he invites the spirit in every time and the investigators could feel it. We had some awesome lessons. One thing I am starting to learn or notice is that I am one of the oldest missionaries here in the mission, (I know right?!?) because with almost every Elder I can remember when they entered, the same goes for matias, I remembered when he entered and I can see a huge change in him from the beginning of his mission to now. His story is really cool, both his parents are from Guatemala, but they live in Los Angeles! And he got called here. The lord is aware of us! Friday we had a zone leader meeting, where we Skype with elder martino and things went great he congratulated us for reaching our personal goal as zone leaders and to keep going to help the zone change and reach their goal also. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Not gonna lie Friday in the morning I felt so stressed out. To the point where I was burned out and just didn't want a thing. I feel that I had snapped mentally, I don't know why but I was just super down, and just super sick of life. I was to the point where I just wanted to curl up into a ball and cry, (ya that bad) but I dint know why that's the thing. Luckily in the zone counsel sister stay talked about dealing with being down or discouragement, (inspiration?) and gave some great tips ( things I already knew) but a good reminder and I put them into practice and they helped get me feeling better. Saturday was the general conference, and it was great! Here like no one goes on Saturday, there were maybe like 10 members there out of the whole district!!! (You remember that here we have to watch it in the district center, it's not broadcasted right to our house like in the states.) We are super lucky in the states. But in the afternoon some more showed up. I love general conference, it is so amazing, I think as a missionary I look forward to conference more than Christmas.... Yeah that's how much it means to a missionary. I don't know what you guys think but the general overall message for me was rescuing our fellow men, and member missionary work through being an example. I could really sense those themes throughout the whole conference. That is President Monson’s fruit, or what he will be known for... Rescuing our fellow less active and missionary work! I love the direction the church is taking and I am excited to see what walls we can overcome in these next 6 months until the next conference! Sunday we are starting to do something new, we wake up extra early and go and wake everyone up before the meetings!! Bahaha I feel so bad for them cause we woke up easily at least 5 families yesterday. But if we don't do it they wouldn't have gone to church! Hah I love it, we make a huge circle in our area starting in one area and circling around to the other side in about two hours! Waking up members, less actives, and investigators…or anyone or thing that breaths! So far no one has gotten mad :) but I told my comp if the missionaries came and woke me up super early I would be mad! But that’s what I love about the people here, they are super chill, something I need to learn from them. So going and waking them up it actually works! And it was worth it because yesterday in the conference we had 12 investigators!! That was a miracle for us cause it wasn't even in our Area we had to travel to Cuilapa. The messages were great; I really liked President Uchtdorf's message and the few about the atonement. The two talks about marriage scared me cause a lot of my friends are married or now engaged so those talks hit a little more home it's just weird!! Ugh.... So an update about Diego... He is progressing nicely, actually progressing amazingly! He went to the conference and after called us, I answered and he says I have some news.... I asked well is it good news or bad news, he said it depends on how you take it.... I want to be baptized as soon as possible! Bahaha I was speechless didn't even know what to say! I started stuttering but finally got everything together to say that's awesome!! And so we are going to meet with him tonight get everything finalized and it looks like we are going to baptize him this Saturday the 13th!!! He is such a good guy, I have never seen anyone like him have such a desire to change and turn his life around. He truly has a broken heart and a contrite spirit. So lately I have just been sad, just down, happy and sad at the same time, happy for all the successes we are seeing but at the same time super sad seeing a lot of our investigators fall, or not progressing, but not because of us, but because they don't want to. We have something that can truly bless and change their lives in ways that can't even imagine! But they just don't want to progress and it makes me sad. Or to see people struggling with problems and I can't do anything to help them. The fact that in two months I’ll go home to a better life but they will stay and continue in the same, it makes me sad, and count my blessings at how fortunate I am. It is so frustrating when the people don't do what we know is best for them! But everyone has the amazing gift of agency and there is just so much confusion here, or laziness that the people don't give the gospel a chance... but it’s ok, the mission wasn't always going to be roses and candy. It is what it is and I’ll do my best and go from there! However knowing that I can count my weeks left on my hands makes me go crazy! I can’t believe how fast the time went and how crazy that is, I feel like I will be lost when I go home cause all I know how to do is to be a missionary! I am going to have to relearn the American culture and language! Bahaha I love the messages we heard from general conference, and I received plenty of insight of things I need to change. Thanks mom for that talk... did I mention something or did you just know that that was something I wanted to improve on? Your amazing mom! umm Elder Arce got married this week I think, so me and elder mcnabb are going to send him some money, we wanted to send him a wedding gift but it would just be easier to send money, we both put in 25 dollars. I love the guy, and wish him well! Mom I didn’t reach my goal of finishing the book of Mormon before conference either... I was doing amazing until the last 2 weeks before conference, things just got super crazy busy and I stopped reading... i know that it not an excuse because once i get back it is going to be even busier and i always have to find time to read and study. I love you all and hope you have a GREAT week! I love you all And mango on a stick!! The greatest invention here since chocolate bananas! (That is right outside our house) Chad found out this week that we purchased him a 2002 Nissan Altima and this was his response...¿I looked out my window and what did i see? ¡¡¡a nisson altima right in front of me!!! (hey that even works with the song!) That's even the same color as his back home...maybe a shade darker...Awe...only 9 weeks to go!!! But who's counting!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

No April Foolin Here! Well Maybe A Little...

Hey hey hey how's it going fam?!! Campeón!!! Things here in good ol Guatemala are great! Crazy week super glad that holy week or semana Santa is over with!! Literally the whole country shut down from Thursday to Sunday, there is nothing open and the streets are empty cause everyone goes on vacation to the beaches or rivers or pools, anything with water!! And yesterday the highway going back to the capital it was bumper to bumper from like until like seven, I'm sure it was earlier and went until later but we passed by at those hours. But still! We are an hour and a half from the capital and the traffic extended to where we are! That explains the magnitude of this holiday here! This was a crazy week but hey there is nothing new in me saying that! Every week is crazy, and in the mission you never know what to expect. And worse during semana Santa. Tuesday was honestly just a great working day, where we could just focus in on the area and work. We had some solid lessons and almost all of them with member! Which is the goal of the mission. Wednesday if you remember was when we had the wedding planned, so all day we were making preparations and getting everything set, it was a nightmare BUT we got everything done, the members here are great, really came together and totally helped us out, if it wasn't for them the wedding would have never happened. Planning and getting everything done was a nightmare not gonna lie, cause we had to do it all Chapin style, or in other words wait and do everything the last minute.... But the actual wedding went great basically everyone there were nonmembers which was a good experience for them to see the church. The lawyer was over an hour late but we were glad he came none the less, we were glad he did us the favor (remember during semana Santa literally the whole country shuts done, so he really went out of his way to help us out) he is from the capital. The food was great, right after the wedding I left with elder Knutson who is in an area called Pueblo Nuevo Viñas, we had to do an interview up there and the people could only do it Wednesday. Getting up to his area was another adventure within itself cause there weren't any buses so we had to hitch hike, but we found a ride with some people that he knew so it wasn't too sketchy. But riding up (their area is in the mountains!!) it was a good moment to relax and enjoy life, the moon was full, and it was breath taking and being in the mountains at night was great! Super chill night! The interviews went great, it was a husband and wife the husband is honestly the next branch president, he is amazing we talked for ever in the interview just about everything, he is super pilas! So Thursday is when everyone went on vacations. Literally the streets were left deserted, cause everyone has vacations and everyone goes to the beach or river or pools to swim. Basically it is really hard to be a missionary during this week, cause no one is here! But Thursday we had 2 baptisms, the lady that we helped marry and another one, and they went well! I love baptisms cause after they are always super happy. So Friday some members invited us to eat a typical or Classical Chapin dish, dried fish!! I wanted to get a picture cause in the markets they sell huge amounts of dried fish! It smells horrible! The worst smell ever! But it tasted normal like fish. Just the texture was a little weird from being dehydrated. So if you remember the processions from last year... You better believe they happened again this year, the Catholic Church has some weird customs but they are very interesting. Friday was horrible! Seven appointments fell. Ya... That's how bad this holiday gets here. Umm Saturday was basically just as bad, we went with a member here to go cut wood and bring it to his house to cook with, that's called trayendo leña, I didn't bring my camera so no photos of that awesome event!! But remember I brought leña forever ago in San Jorge almost 2 years ago! Ooo side note Saturday on dad’s birthday my converts in Teculutan completed one year of being baptized! I talked with them yesterday and they have plans of going to the temple to be sealed and are going to go before I go home!! I'm so stoked for them!! Umm Sunday I gave a talk about the resurrection and the atonement, I think it went well but I didn't have too much time to prepare for it, but I based it off of Pres. Monson's talk in April of 2010 called He is Risen. It was great cause we had an investigator there who just barely lost his mother, it was just what he needed to hear. So to give you a little update of Diego he is doing great! He is golden, truly prepared to receive this gospel. Saturday we taught him in the church and then after played basketball with the members it was me my comp him and another investigator and we wrecked everyone! (Diego is very tall) but it was amazing! He had such a great experience and got to meet and bond a little with the members. But Diego is absorbing everything up and loving it! We put a fecha for him to be baptized April 27th but I think we are goin to move it up, cause he will be ready sooner. This week we have zone conference coming up Wednesday... they just barely told us so it should be a scramble to get everything ready but it won’t be impossible. Friday we have a zone leader meeting with President and Elder Martino is going to call and so we shall see how that goes... we ended up with 13 baptisms and 4 families, but a lot of areas baptized that haven’t baptized in a long time so I am happy none the less even though we didn’t reach our goal. And then Saturday and Sunday is CONFERENCE!!!! I am so excited; I think I look forward to this time more than Christmas!! I swear this time for missionaries is Golden! I am so excited to be able to listen to our prophet speak. I know that he receives the revelation necessary for us, and if we follow him he will not lead us astray, I know that God is at the head of this church, and that he is guiding us with his prophet. Jesus Christ lives! The empty tomb that Sunday so long ago gives each and every one of us hope. I love you all and hope you all have a great week!! And you wonder why i have fleas......bahaha just kidding... this dog doesn't have fleas... but there are a ton that do! I think I would rather take the bus!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Super Stressful Week

So this was a super stressful week. The worst so far, my comp and I both agreed it was the most stressful week of our mission so far, just so many things to think about and getting everyone settled in, super crazy! But I'll try to explain some of the highlights. Tuesday was the changes and obviously I didn't have changes or else I would have said something last week! But none the less we still go to the changes to help out and get the missionaries off to our zone safely and without problems. This change everyone that had changes from our zone, president replaced them with a new missionary, or in other words there are a lot of people training right now in our zone! Which is a great thing, there is a great attitude that the greenies bring to the work. But one of the areas President closed, and reopened again, so I went with Elder Earl to Oratorio to show him the area. Now if you remember back oooo like a year ago I went to Morales, I don't remember if I mentioned it then, to drop off some furniture that the assistants dropped off in our house in Teculutan. But I went to Morales and while there we ate with the missionaries there, well Elder Earl was new then, maybe had one month in the field. We had a good chat and who would have guessed that our paths would cross again. He is the new district leader down there in that district. So divisions went well, we found the house alright, (I had only been there once) found the commodore based solely on Guatemalan directions (they are the worst at giving directions...Here is a typical Guatemalan direction...Walk out and go down a ways until you get to a green house, go up the side street that's there and look for a tree, once you find the tree turn right, go until you come upon a dog that is barking, if he barks 3 times that's the house but if he only barks twice you need to go a little farther until you find the house that’s made of cinder block. (All the houses here are made of cinder block.....) Once you come upon the block house it's on this side (then they make an incomprehensible hand signal) and say "uh huh that's the house." That is a Guatemalan direction. But we found everything in Oratorio alright; we got to know the branch president, the chapel and some member houses. They are going to rock that area, the members are stoked to help out the missionaries and elder Earl is an amazing missionary, just super positive pumped and ready to go. I am excited to have him as the district leader to be able to work closely with him. So Wednesday we ended divisions in the morning and that day it decided to rain. A Guatemalan down pour. That is something that will be different once I come home... 10 things I am used to now here... 1. Guatemalan down pours, it is literally like switch, comes on and off just like it’s nothing. 2. They eat corn tortillas every meal.... But a ton! 3. Always having fleas on me. 4. Always having trash in the streets. 5. Tile... Everywhere, zero carpet. 6. No rules with transportation, anything goes. 7. Chicken every meal. 8. Cooking with wood. 9. Having to always worry about clean water, and clean fruits and veggies. 10. Having people always staring at me cause I'm white. There you have it a random thought. So we are going to marry a couple and then baptize the wife! But this has turned into a huge mess.... The thing is we aren’t good wedding planners and they want a huge wedding... But long story short we figured all the problems got everything planned and next Wednesday at four we are going to have a wedding!!! ...... If this next part sounds negative or bad don't include it in the blog..... But we made the promise to Elder Martino that we would personally baptize a family in March... That has put so much pressure on us, this week has been a nightmare trying to keep our investigators from falling, the family that we have planned to baptize want to get baptized, but just not so soon, April would be a great time for everyone, but we are pressuring them for March to complete our promise but I feel horrible that it is turning out like this... I tell my comp that every day that I don't feel good about it. They are poor a young couple starting their life together so they don't have a lot of money, and they wanted a huge wedding, so basically the branch has been amazing and are totally supporting us and helping out with the wedding literally with everything, it has been a nightmare trying to get all the problems figured out.... I feel like Preston planning a wedding, only this one we only have a week to plan and pull it off. Just little problems like where to do it, cause the mom of the bride supposedly wouldn't step foot in a Mormon chapel...Or they want to invite 70 people, and then they wanted a dinner...Just small things like that. If we hadn't made that promise to elder Martino we would not be putting so much work and effort into all this, we would have waited until April so that we could plan with more time and not do something so big. But it’s not like that so we are doing everything within our power to come through with that promise but I feel bad because the branch is basically providing everything, between the branch and the members, and we are rushing forward to do it all and pressuring to get it done.... The zone as far as baptisms and completing our goal we are going to fall short I think, at the beginning of the month we were doing great we had a ton of fechas, but they have slowly all fallen and Semana Santa has a lot to do with that, if you remember I think I explained Semana Santa last year, but basically it is a nightmare for the missionary work. 1. Because the whole country shuts down literally. 2. Everyone goes out of town. 3. Everyone turns catholic for this week. Let me put an example of what it's like, let’s pretend we are missionaries in the states, and as part of our zone we cover a party school, and we put a bunch of fechas with college students, but we put the fechas for over spring break.... That's basically what's going on here, but things will turn out great! This upcoming week we should have 9 baptisms in the zone!! Just pray everything turns out great. So Friday we had a zone meeting, to get to know everyone and to address a couple needs that the zone is facing right now. In preparing for this meeting we felt the needs of the zone is that their spirits are a little down, discouraged or just not stoked to be out here!!! So our purpose was to get their spirits up, and we also felt that obedience or doing things the Lords was another need. So what we did was we got permission to watch a video that's not by the church but it has a great message, it's called the butterfly circus, it's about how our attitude affects everything, and really how people can change their circumstances, they just need to act! (We feel that the missionaries think their areas are impossible and are waiting for a miracle to come, but really they are the miracle, they just need to realize it.) Look up that video it's really good, it's only about 20 minutes, I promise you won't regret it. So then we talked about how our attitude affects everything and we read from true to the faith....Under the subject adversity: Your success and happiness, both now and in the eternities, depend largely on your responses to the difficulties of life. An account in the Book of Mormon illustrates different responses to adversity. The prophet Lehi and his family had been traveling in the wilderness for several days, using their bows and arrows to hunt for food. The family encountered difficulties when Lehi’s sons lost the use of their bows. Laman and Lemuel’s bows lost their spring, and Nephi’s broke. Hungry and tired, Laman and Lemuel began to complain against the Lord. Even Lehi began to murmur. Nephi, on the other hand, refused to be discouraged. He went to work. He recounted: “I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?” Humbled because of Nephi’s words, Lehi asked the Lord where they should go for food. The Lord answered his prayers and led Nephi to a place where he could obtain food. (See 1 Nephi 16:15–31.) When some people face adversity, they are like Laman and Lemuel. They complain and become bitter. They ask questions like “Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this now? What have I done to deserve this?” But these questions have the power to dominate their thoughts. Such questions can overtake their vision, absorb their energy, and deprive them of the experiences the Lord wants them to receive. Rather than responding in this way, you should follow Nephi’s example. Consider asking questions such as, “What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Who am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial?” After we watched a video of Elder Holland talking to missionaries in the MTC, it is very similar to his talk 2 conferences ago about when he tells about the Savior asking Pedro if he loves him, when peter response yes, you know I love you, the Savior responds then why are you fishing?! I asked you to leave your nets behind, and to feed my sheep, its super intense, there is more to it, but it is amazing and just what our zone needed, if you want to watch it the video is called "apacienta mis ovejas" it is in English with Spanish subtitles. We watched from like minute 36 to the end about 14 minutes. It was amazing after we talked about how the Lord has called us for two years, not 15 or 23 months but two years that's all he requires of us, we can't have one foot in the mission and one foot in the world. It went very well the spirit was very strong and I think it helped. Dad I got your package that you so much! Did I win the lottery? And I have a question was Forest Gump real? Those newspaper articles got me almost convinced that Forest Gump was real. So Diego we taught him last night and he would be what we call golden, he is so ready for this gospel!! We are preparing him to be baptized in April he has such a strong desire to change his life and just start all over again. So I want to explain a really cool spiritual lesson we had. We were eating dinner with members and their neighbor came over to get something and we got talking and turns out her brother just barely died unexpectedly, and she is suffering a lot so my comp asked her if she would like to know where her brother is and she said I would so we put an appointment to come back the next night “in the house of the member” (members are key). We came back the next day and she was waiting for us and so we explained where her brother was, how he is in the spirit world and how she can help him, and we explained baptisms for the dead, it's usually something we don't teach right off the bat but it's something that she needed to hear. The spirit was super strong and she said it helped her a lot and she is going to try to explain it to her mother, and try to put an appointment with her mother and us. Lately I have felt the spirit is a lot stronger in our lessons and I am starting to recognize it more and more in my life I love it! Wow I think I broke a record with this letter, by far the longest yet! Love you all have a great week!

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Semi Normal Week? Is There Such A Thing?

Finally a semi normal week without too many surprises! First let me start off with Tuesday y el templo!!! I love to see the temple I'll go inside someday. (Oh wait I entered Tuesday!) I loved it, I feel like this time was one of the best experiences I have had in the temple, it is just so peaceful. It was definitely a nice break from things. From the temple we started divisions and I went to Jalpatagua to do a baptismal interview. Now as you remember last time I was in Jalpatagua I had a run in with a dead lady ... This time it was chill and nothing out of the ordinary happened (luckily). The interview went well, she was baptized Saturday, and honestly nothing else too exciting happened... Only that they called a new pope?!! And he just so happens to be from Latin America so everyone here was super happy that day even though Argentina is far from Guatemala; they celebrated as if he was from Guatemala. I saw history happen! Not gonna lie this week was a blur and I hardly remember anything that happened. We did have a really cool lesson with a reference from Cuilapa. His name is Diego, he is super humble, but also has class, idk how else to describe him, he had some questions about the plan (why we Are here and where are we going. Etc.) so we met with him in the church and taught him, it was a super powerful lesson! He is a really cool investigator and I hope he progresses. Sunday we had our district conference; president and hma Stay came and spoke. It was in Cuilapa and boy was it hot, the chapel is right in the middle of the market where all the people pass by selling and where the busses pass picking up the people, so there is always so much noise going on, which makes it kinda hard to focus on the meeting. But we had 9 investigators come with us! It was a miracle!! One of them was Diego! After talking to him he says he has a Lot of questions which is always great! We meet with him tomorrow, pray for him! Changes are tomorrow, should be interesting to see who ends up where, also basically an one that gets sent to Zacapa or my one of my first two zones will probably be a part of the new mission. Anyone that is in those areas by July first will become a part of the new mission. Sunday before the conference we had a branch counsel, which went well we are starting to feel the support of the branch with our investigators. We are going to marry a couple and then baptize them, the plan was to do it the 30th, but here from like the 23 to the 31 is semana Santa.... Idk if you remember that holiday from last year, but. Basically the whole country (all of Central America) shuts down and goes on vacation, they go to whatever water place; the beach, river, pools, and they drink.... As missionaries it is the hardest week here because literally everyone leaves. So we have to switch our plans to marry them, we are going to try to bump it up to this weekend... But that is super soon and it's just going to be a huge mess! But we have to do it!! Remember the conference we had with elder Martino? Well he is going to Skype us in April and check up on us and see if we completed our goal of baptisms and families, so we have to baptize our family this month!!! It's do or die!!! But also it's not like we are forcing them... She has revived her answer and she wants to be baptized, (her husband is a LA we activated) so we shall see how things turn out.... Pray for us were gonna need all the help we can get. So I wanna share a really cool experience we had, really powerful. The lady that washes are clothes they are super poor and all are members. But only her and her two youngest children attend, there are like four others that are inactive, her husband died about 4 years ago, and he was the one that motivated everyone to go. So we went randomly with them idk why really, and we found ourselves with one of her sons, he's 22, he loves to work outdoors in the coffee fields or working in manual labor. But we went with him and had a super powerful lesson that made him reflect and think things over again, about where he wants his life to go, if he wants to go back and live with his dad again and if he is living up to what he dad expects of him. Made him reevaluate the things, the spirit was super strong and he was stoked, we also talked about the mission, it would be awesome if he went on the mission, he would be a great one. My comp is 23 got baptized when he was 21, left when he was 22 and now is 23, so he testified boldly of how the is the right thing for him and how it will change his life. We invited him to pray and consider it. Well we had other awesome experiences but I don't remember right now, this week was more chill and not as crazy as the other ones, it was a good breather to relax and catch our breathes and just focus on our area. But changes this week things will get real crazy real fast! I love you all and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be out here, something I mentioned a lot this week was about how I am so grateful to my parents for raising me in the gospel and teaching me since I was little about the gospel. Here there are tons of families that are dysfunctional or the kids are doing way bad things super early on, but if only the parents would teach the gospel and do the things they are supposed to be doing there would be so many less problems. Entonces I am forever grateful to you mom and dad for teaching the gospel and helping me along the way. I love you and thank you.

Monday, March 11, 2013

I've Been Everywhere Man!!!

So Johnny Cash has a song called "I've been everywhere man" and that is the story of our lives right now!! We are all over the place doing tons of things, it has been a crazy week and we definitely kept ourselves busy! Tuesday and Wednesday were normal work days and how good it felt to have a normal day where we don't have to leave our area to go do things. Thursday the assistant Elder Urmston from California came and worked with us for the day, and his comp went to a different area to work. He is a chill great guy. We grew up together in Zacapa, (I have one more change than him, and his first area was Zacapa) it was fun to reminisce about our days out there. The day went well, it was full of appointments and most of them didn't fall, and the ones that did fall we had back up plans so there was never a moment when we all stood asking... Well now what?... Honestly right now we have so many investigators that we have in our teaching pool, and it's amazing! It is so much work to always stay on top of things and to really focus in on the needs of each one and to help them progress spiritually but it's so worth it! I would rather be super busy than have hardly any investigators! I definitely can't complain right now. Remember that time I went to California spur of the moment with only like 80 dollars? And spent a different day with a different friend, without a plan or idea of what I was going to do? Ya well that is how I spent Friday and Saturday just a constant go go go!! Friday morning we had to drop Urmston off in Jutiapa... Look it up on a map... And you will see that it's not close to Barberena, we left early on a grey hound and the journey over there as crazy! Windy mountain passes and a sketchy bus driver who thinks he is in the Indy 500, but we were blessed with protection and came out alive! But really it felt like we were on a roller coaster the whole time. (oh and the bus was flea infested) well after we had to go to Chiquimula (look it up and you will see that it is far from Barberena, but even farther from Jutiapa...) but we had to do an interview out there, so long story short my comp left for there with another missionary and we followed after the meeting, basically traveling the whole day cause the missionaries forgot to mention that it was another hour away once in Chiquimula... So the plan was to return that same day, but nothing goes according to plan here in Guatemala and my comp didn't return until 520, 20 minutes after the last bus left :( so we tried hitch hiking (we did not want to stay the night in that oven!) but nothing, so we stayed the night there and helped out the missionaries there until the next day when we left on the first bus at 5. That is so early!!! 5 am. But we got back to the house only to change, fill up the stomach and we were off again. But this time to Ixbaco or something like that, in pueblo Nuevo Viñas. There was a missionary who served there but lives in the capital, and he organized a service project with his ward and asked us to come help... so we went with the other missionaries. They brought a ton of clothing and humanitarian kits and so we went to a aldea ...village... way off in the mountains, but super far, and we gave out the clothes and the kits, it was awesome, I love giving service, especially when you can see a difference in the person and see that you helped make their day, there is nothing better. Well after there is a Laguna close by... so we went up to go see it and how breathe taking! It was truly so beautiful!! It was a hot water spring at the base of a volcano and it was sulfur so it smelt bad but it was amazing!! I’m going to send a ton of photos, of our adventure that day... it was one of the funnest, worthwhile days we’ve had in a while!! So we are seeing a ton of miracles here in Barberena, tons of families, but I will tell you about 2 today.... with one she is the wife of a less active, super solid catholic, but we have been teaching her, and she hasn’t really wanted anything, she told us she didn’t want to be baptized because she loved her orando a su imagens ... praying to the images?..... something like that so we got the catholic bible and went and shared a couple scriptures where it mentions that we shouldn’t do those types of things, and she was super open and we did it in a good way so that no feelings were hurt. And then she told us she wants to be baptized!!! That she thinks she has received her answer! Miracle!! Also we visited another family that we have, a mother and her kids are old now and married, so the daughter and husband we visited... well this guy is huge! He looks like Thor or a WWF wrestler! Long hair and beard just a champ! a little intimidating, but we got talking with him and he is just super down, he has almost hit rock bottom he feels, so we talked a lot about hope in Jesus Christ and also the atonement and a whole bunch of other things, and he was crying, super strong spirit, we gave him hope and we are going to help him turn his life around and get things going again! AND he came to church the next day! Another miracle... We are working hard, ridiculously hard, like there is never enough time to do everything, we need to plan and focus our selves in the things that absolutely matter cause if not we get lost doing other things that are good but not the best thing we could be doing! Well up to bat this week we have the temple tomorrow!!!! super stoked for that, and then probably divisions with Jalpatagua, and then who know what we have to do this weekend... I’m sure something will come up as always... well family I love you all have a great week!!! Just know this church is true, it’s great!! It’s amazing! I love being out here as a missionary, I love helping other people and I love this gospel!! Take care this week be safe, read your scriptures, think of what Jesus Christ did for each and every one of us. And pray always, those are the best things we can always do!!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Happy Birthday To Me!!!

Happy birthday to me! (and Preston) I'm 21! I can now buy alcohol!! Crazy! But it's not that cool cause they sell drugs and alcohol to anyone here :( JK but still, I am an adult now and I don’t feel like it. So we didn’t tell a lot of people that it was my birthday but somehow we ended up eating cake Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday! The members were so great, Tuesday we were just walking in the street passed by a member’s house and they shouted for us to come in, turned out it was their little girls birthday and somehow they messed up and bought two cakes and somehow we just ended up there, but it was great!! Everything worked out great! Wednesday we had a little activity that we have every Wednesday a family home evening for our investigators and members and we ate tacos (not cow brain, but normal chicken ones) which were amazing! Then other members kidnapped me and gave me a cake! Thursday the family who just barely sent their son off made a huge dinner for us! But ridiculously big and so delicious!! I love them so much they are so loving and amazing! Also on my birthday we had interviews with president! He wished me a Happy Birthday and sister stay gave me a cookie that was amazing! (She gave one to everyone) Friday we had another zone counsel with president, with just the zone leaders. We are really focusing and working towards every companionship baptizing a family in March. That is like our biggest goal and everything that we do is to support that goal, we put the goal that 8 families (18 people) are baptized here in zona Cuilapa, that's a pretty high goal for this zone but I know we can reach it! We are pretty stoked about it and we are trying to get everyone on board and stoked also! So far it is coming along great, and so we shall see how everything turns out. But during the zone counsel I was so tired! Traveling for 2 hours and then sitting for another 3 hours just kills me! Also another goal that we are focusing on is working with the members.... Lemme explain because we are so sneaky and sly that they don’t even know it. The thing is if we ask for references the members put up a wall and don’t wanna help. so what we are doing are teaching a little about the plan of salvation, then we ask 5 questions, if they know if anyone that has experienced a death, had a baby born, marriage, moved recently to the neighborhood or are having trouble with their kids.... People here are gossipers always gossiping so they always say yes, then we invite them to come with us and if they can introduce us to them, then we teach a little then we put an appointment with them and then the member asks if we could do it in their house and we end up teaching their neighbor in their house!!! It usually always works! There is more to it but like no time today! But that is what we are doing here! Saturday we had a mini branch conference in an area called Pueblo Nuevo Viñas it was the branch´s idea to have a small training meeting to help out the branch in a couple areas where they can improve on. The branch president, the missionaries that are there, the district leader and zone leaders all gave ¨tallers¨ or workshops. Ours was on how the members help in missionary work, (we basically explained what I explained up above) the others talked on the branch goals, home and visiting teaching, forgiving and having love, and improving the teaching that takes place in the church. It went very well I am impressed with that branch at the enthusiasm and willingness to change and progress! The conference was awesome and I think they came out ready to work and do things how they are supposed to be done. Saturday we had a baptism it was a little girl of a family we activated. Coming up for baptisms we have a ton of possibilities. We are focusing on families as the goal so they can we sealed in the temple. Basically couples are what we are focusing on, but obviously if they are single and they desire to be baptized we will still baptize them. But it's so much cooler when they can be sealed as a family one year later! We have 2 families we are working with to be baptized in March, pray for them it's gonna be a big battle but I’m positive we can win! We also have a ton of other possibilities but they would be individuals, pray for them all. So idk why but Barberena decided to have a cold front come through, it has been ridiculously cold and windy this weekend, to the point where I woke up shivering and had to put on sweats and a long sleeve shirt to sleep! It got to the point where a lot of our investigators didn't go to church because it was so cold :( and a lot of members also. Umm I’m sorry but I’m not taking photos! I am failing horribly! This has been such a crazy busy week, I always say that but this one was truly jammed packed. But I am exhausted it’s getting to the point where I am getting worn out! And that's not good I'm going to use p day to relax more and maybe plan better so we aren't so exhausted but it's gonna be hard. It's not that we are walking way too much it's the mental task of juggling 8 different things and just doing everything, it's stressful but I love it. I have always like being busier than not so I am happy. And I am using my talents that the lord has blessed me with to help out in missionary work I love it! And I love being so busy!!! Now that I covered all the business side I want to share a couple of spiritual experiences we had this week, we were teaching this young guy, we had taught him our purpose here in life and why we have so many challenges, and this time we were teaching the restoration. Now we are always teaching this, but this time it was different, maybe it was an increase in the spirit, or maybe it was an increase of interest on his part, but at the end I asked how he felt, (we were feeling the spirit super strong and he was too) and he said "I want to cry... but I’m not sad, I feel so peaceful inside" then we went on to explain the purpose of the spirit. We as missionaries live for those kinds of moments!! It was so powerful. Also remember how I explained that we took the members out to introduce us to their neighbors, well in one of those we had the appointment last night in their house, and her life has crossed so many times with the church, he mom was a member, she used to attend but never was baptized, and then she told us that she can’t attend a church because she has 2 babies, and that she was praying that she could attend a meeting in someone’s house, and then we came?!?! God works in mysterious ways. But it is awesome to witness God working through us. I love you guys and thank you all for the birthday wishes! I hope you all have a great week!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Crazy Week As Always!

Crazy week as always. We got robbed a p day because we were stressing about the conference Tuesday the next day. We also got robbed 2 other days for conferences and meetings so it was a hard week to focus ourselves in our area, basically we got robbed a lot but we still did work! Lemme tell you about it. The meeting Tuesday had us pretty busy and stressed out, but we got everything set and ready to go. And the actual conference went smoothly. There were 2 zones there 48 missionaries but everything fell on us cause it was in our zone. But we got everything figured out and going. In the conference I learned a ton....mainly about how to work with the members better. They are really putting the focus in hat in working better with the members and it really makes sense, the members strengthen their testimonies and the investigators have friends and support to help them. Also talked about how the mission is to prepare us for life and not just for these two years. It was a really good conference! So he also gave us a stat about missionaries, he said just in central America 4 years ago there were 2100 missionaries serving. And by next year that number will grow to 4000 next year! That's basically doubling it! He also talked about the new mission they are going to open here in Guatemala, Honduras, and Salvador. 3 new missions!! I love that the work here is growing and the lord is pressuring it! It needs to go forth swiftly and promptly. Big things are happening here and I'm a part of it! After the conference we were exhausted ready for p day! But that wouldn't be possible until well... Today, Wednesday was our first normal day for working, we went out and tried to recuperate the 2 days we had lost, worked hard and saw success and then in the night time we ate cow brain. They made them in tacos and it really wasn't that bad, it tasted like chicken and with all the other ingredients couldn't really taste it. But still cow brain! Thursday we lost the whole day and couldn't work because we had to go to the capital and have a zone leader counsel with elder Martino. It was intense, he gave us what we call chicote or cincho, he drilled into us but with love and it was a really good meeting. The whole purpose of these conferences was to change the vision of the mission, and change the way we do things. Right now we are a little low on the faith and so he came to get our faith higher as a mission as to the things we can do! We have raised the Bar and he was very direct, the mission isn't going to change if the zone leaders don't set the example and change. It put a lot of pressure on us, but it will be good we are stoked to help the zone. We are determined that every area in our zone can baptize in March. In Feb. we had only 6 baptisms. But we put the goal to have 18 and it's so possible!! But we have our work cut out for us. In our area and also to motivate and help the zone. So as far as an update in the zone things have gone a little down, they switched 4 branches from branches down to basic units. I didn't even know there was something lower than a branch but there is. And it's called a basic unit, there just hasn't been progress in those areas and so they bumped them down. And that kinda affected the stoked ness of the missionaries, brought them down a little too but I think the conference helped get their attitude up and also we are going to help them along with the zone! As far as the area goes we are working hard, the hardest we have ever worked! Every night I am pooped ready for bed. The branch is still struggling we have gotten the assistance up from 46 to 81 yesterday! We are working hard but if the branch isn't good, set, or unified it's not going to ever progress! So we are trying to find the way to help the leaders here but we are still looking for the way to do things. It is just one problem after another with them, but we are helping them, I realize it’s not going to be an instant change but it will require time and patience but I don’t have patience I want the things to change now! Read “dear are the sheep that have wandered” by elder James e Faust it’s good! So there is a family that sent their son off to the CCM last Wednesday, and they invited us over to eat, but they are not doing too well! They are so sad! Were you guys sad once I left? Obviously you were sad and obviously they are going to be sad but they are really sad! So we tried to cheer them up and help them out. IT made me think of when I entered the MTC everything that we went through it was like an emotional train from nervous to excited to sad it was so crazy! I felt like I relived a little bit of that while I was with them during these last 2 weeks. Well a whole lot happened this week but too much to write about I usually have a story or experience but nothing this week! Just know I love you guys and that the lord is blessing us out here in our area and it Guatemala. I know this church is true it’s amazing! Sometimes we get as discouraged as missionaries and we forget the good things that happen and then the good things or tender mercies or the miracles happen and we forget all the bad things that happened! And everything was worth it. I love you all have a great week! Elder Call