Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Week's Are Just Ticking Away!!!

Another week has come and gone, what did you do with the time God gave you? Did you take advantage of it or did you waste it? Something to think about huh? Well time is flying by, I always say that but really I can't seem to hold onto to it! It just passes by too fast. But this was a great week! Tuesday divisions with cerinal again, I stayed in my area with elder Ruiz from panama. I think I have mentioned before he is a great missionary. We had a great day worked super hard, I know that means nothing to you guys, and it is expected that we work hard, but we worked harder than normal!! Tore this area apart. Here in this area we have had to drop most of our investigators so we are in the process of finding new ones. Thursday we had our zone Conference in Cuilapa. It went very well!! I directed it. President is such a smart guy! He is truly inspired cause everything he presented to us makes sense! After looking back on it you just want to say duh!! Why weren’t we doing that before! Also our little workshop went well also, idk what you would call that here it is called a taller that we give but it could be called lesson, message or workshop I think fits best. But it went really well, I was nervous for it but everything turned out great. After we started divisions with Jalpatagua, I stayed in my area with elder Delgado from Arizona. We also had a great time! Worked super hard and found some new investigators which is like rare here, found some new ones and also we went out with a member to get to know some less actives to also start working with, because here there are a ton! The branch is going to start supporting us and also work with us to get this branch up to its potential and then into a ward! Because there is potential here the members just need a little push in the right direction. So while in division's he saw a Michael Jordan jersey that I had bought in Teculutan for 5 Q's which is like 60 cents. Well he offered me 300 Q's for it; turns out he is a hard core basketball player and jersey collector so I easily accepted the deal We went to Jalpatagua to switch comps, which is like 20 minutes from Salvador!! I love traveling and seeing the naturaleza (is that English or Spanish? I can't remember!) But I love seeing all the outdoors, cause Guatemala has so many different sub climates! Within 20 minutes you can be in what seems like a different world! I love it. On the way out we stopped by a place called Oratorio to do a house inspection, that area is super small!! Just like 3 blocks on the main highway. And from there we finally returned home to barberena. This was a week full of success; we have found a lot of new investigators with a whole lot of potential. Everything is going great!! One week left before the changes. We are thinking my comp will have changes but could be that he stays it could go either way! Hey if it’s not too late could you possibly send a tube of crest all around protection toothpaste with the Gardner’s if they are still coming down to pick up their son? I will be there in the change meeting (We always have to be there, regardless if we have changes) Also put an appointment with the dentist for when I come home... They are starting to bother me occasionally. Too much soda... But people are always offering us soda!! I swear I have drunk more soda in these two years then the 19 years before put together. It's because it is so cheap here and a custom to always give the guests something to drink so they give us soda. Also it is safer to drink because the water here is super dirty so it is just better to go with the soda. I love this church, I love it out here and everything I am learning... it’s not easy it is hard not gonna lie, but I can see in every circumstance how I have learned from things, whether I did the right thing or screwed up, either way I learned from it. I have been doing a lot of reflection lately and will continue to do some more, I love life, life is good right now, I am ready to push myself for these last 4 months, we always say that but I am going to try to do it, try to always be progressing. This church is true; I know it with all my heart. I can notice a difference lately I am trying to be more sincere in the lessons and focus on the people more and ask better questions, questions to get to know what they want out of life, or questions to get to know what’s on the inside I love it, I love my Salvador, Jesucristo, and what he did for me, I love studying the book of Mormon and the atonement. I love you all have a great week. PS just a chapin breakfast or dinner! I would die for this plate! Beans, eggs, platanos and cream I live for this meal! And I’m not being sarcastic!!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Busy Week With Divisions

Hi family.... well we don’t have like any time, I am just here to copy and paste what I wrote send them and then we are out of here! We have to go to Cerinal an area close by, but I will use internet later on at like 4 or 5 I imagine. So any questions or comments send them and I’ll respond! Wow well this week was interesting.... Monday not too much happened; the assistants called that night and told us they wanted to do divisions with them Tuesday so Tuesday I went to the capital to an area called trebol, the assistants’ area. I went with elder Jensen, he is Cool guy, their area is struggling a little right now, it is in the finding phase of the work, and literally every single one of our appointments fell through which makes things hard. But we did see some success, when we returned to a contact we had made the people weren't there, but then I contacted the guy who answered the door and he let us in and we had a pretty good first lesson with him, he had ton of questions about how the church started so we explain about Joseph Smith and the first vision, turned out really well! That night I got a package from Stratford’s! We opened it and played a game called "pass the pigs" it was a crazy night! (the secretaries of the mission who are both great friends of mine were there so it was a really fun time) it's a game where the pigs are the dice and you have to throw them and depending on how they land is how many points you get. (My comp after I explained it to him just said (while shaking his head in a sad manner) said you Americans and your games) bueno at least I like it! Also while in division's I got Cinnabon!!! I have been craving a real cinnamon roll for over a year now and I finally got one!! It was by far the best thing I had tasted in a long while. Wednesday it rained super hard! It was so out of the blue, Wednesday rain, Thursday super-hot, Friday and Saturday it was super cold!! And then Sunday back to normal, the weather here is muy raro. Thursday we had a mission conference!! Elder Christofferson came here to Guatemala!! But only missionaries inside the capital could attend....ya life isn't fair...... But we did get to watch it in Cuilapa through Internet! So at least we got to watch it. It was really good! That mixed with the divisions got me really thinking about a couple things, about how can I improve myself as a missionary and also how can I be a better help to the investigators here who God has put in my care. After the mission conference we started divisions with Cerinal an area close by, Elder Ruiz from Panama came here with me. This was my first time staying in my area for divisions. Things went really well, we had some highs and some lows, people really look up to us here as missionaries, we visited a widowed lady who's family all lives in the United States now. So she feels very alone, but we shared John 16:33 with her, that in this world sad things happen to us but we don't need to get down because of those things, we can find peace and hope in Christ because he died for us, and through him we can be saved and one day be with our families again. We brightened her day. I love sweet old ladies. Saturday was a pretty hard day for me, I was pretty down. It was a day where nobody wanted to listen, usually that doesn't get to me but that day it did. But in the night time we had a family home evening with the president, his wife, the relief society president and the young men's president in the house of one of our investigators. It went really well we talked about the blessings we have received and miracles we have seen in the gospel. This family has potential!! It's a family of 12!! They’re huge! Sunday was another sad day, we called that family of 12 to make sure they were up and ready for church and it turns out they moved in the night time. Super random I know but they've had a lot of problems and it was best to move and everything worked out so they could move that night so they took advantage and moved at like 3 am but they ended up moving to my old area!! San Jose Pinula so I will pass the reference on to the elders there and they will be baptized I am sure of it!! Well my comp has been super sick as of late, the cold really makes him sick, so Sunday he spent like all day in bed, I did some studying in the Book of Mormon, I’m now in Alma 7 which I love!! It talks about The Savior and his atoning sacrifice and why it was necessary and this was before he even came here to the earth. I love it!! Also studied the Liahona from this month. I loved the article called 'reverence for God is the beginning of wisdom'. By elder Neil L. Anderson. Read it, it’s great!! I have been reflecting a lot on these last months I have and how I want to end my mission (not in a baggy or trunks way) but how I want to push myself and become even better. On the divisions it helped me see that even though we are seasoned missionaries we can always be improving, every day is a new opportunity to grow. Quoting from the Liahona from this month in the Article about president Snow, at the end it says "each last day or each last week should be the best that we have ever experienced, that is, we should advance ourselves a little each day, in knowledge and wisdom, and in the ability to accomplish good." I love it! Put this into practice and step it up! Make your life worth living. I know that we all have more that we can give to this life, do let’s do it lets step it up!! I love you all this church is true and amazing! Don't settle always be in the up rise. Have a great week!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Definitely A New Experience This Week!

Alright so now starts the letter, so wow what a week, literally it was crazy. Usually I always tell you guys about the things that happen like the cultural or random things that happen and I usually don't mention what happens on the spiritual side, so last week I made the goal to explain more on the spiritual side, but so much happened this week, that I don’t know where to start or what to say, so I will try to explain both the temporal things and also the spiritual things that happened this week, and I'm typing this to give you guys a break cause you’re in Hawaii! Bueno well I have been everywhere this week! In Taxisco, Moyuta, Jalpatagua, Oratorio, and Cuilapa. Now I know that means nothing to you guys but we did a lot of traveling this week!! You can look it up on the map! We did divisions this week with an area called Jalpatagua, and I Went with elder Delgado from Arizona. He is a cool guy he now has 7 months, and I remember when he entered! Time has sure flown by, but about Jalpatagua.... it is a small little pueblito, it is hot and the actual town isn't that big. There is a branch there of about 20 people. now on a side note I wish I could express how things really are here and how they are different in Guatemala but I can't it's impossible and something one just has to experience, but it is even more different in Los pueblitos, (small villages) the houses are different, the Atmosphere, the food, just everything!! Also in the small villages you feel isolated and alone, and as missionaries a lot more responsibility falls upon us because there is hardly any priesthood in the small branches. And everyone looks to the missionaries for everything. These were probably the craziest divisions I have been in, let me explain.... A sister here tried to commit suicide about 13 days ago, she had a couple problems with her husband and so she ate rat poison. She was in the hospital the doctors had operated on her and now it was a waiting game, to see how her body reacted to the treatments. She was doing well, but she passed away late Wednesday night, so Thursday we were with the family offering support and helping out however we could, they held a small service for her (only her husband was a member) that night, we sang a couple hymns and shared a couple thoughts, later on during the evening we had to prepare her to be dressed in her temple clothes, the sisters were going to dress her but we had to prepare her, I knew what that meant but I didn't want to believe it. We took the coffin into her bedroom (us 4, me and my comp, and the 2 elders from Jalpatagua, our comps came back because the lady was a good friend of my comp cause he was in that area over a year ago) so us 4 and also the branch president had to take the body out of the coffin and put it onto the bed. Now this was our first time around a dead body like this (for all 4 of us missionaries) it was quite an interesting experience, I honestly don't know how to describe how I was feeling. I knew it was something that had to be done and there was no one else to do it, so we were all trying to be strong but the smell was so overwhelmingly horrible, it was a mix of the chemicals they put on, but I don’t know if they didn't put enough on or maybe they didn't put it everywhere cause there was a other smell very strong. I had never touched a dead body before and I still don't know how to feel cause it was something almost sacred that we were doing, but it was still super weird for me being around a dead body especially in a small village, in a small little clay house in the middle of nowhere it is super-hot in Guatemala. The sister members dressed her then we put her back into her coffin and took the coffin back into the viewing room. The next day was the actual funeral, and here they do things a little differently, we had a small program (prayer hymn and talk) then we went to the cemetery. We carried the coffin about 2 kilometers to the cemetery, the coffin goes in front then everyone else follows behind on foot, the branch president dedicated the grave then they sealed the grave site. (here the graves are above the ground in little boxes) it was definitely a crazy 2 days, we basically ran the funeral and services, like I said in the villages they depend on the missionaries a lot more than in the capital.
So after talking with my comp he was a little shaken up after moving the body, as for me the only thing that still gets me is the smell, if I smell anything bad it reminds me of the body. I don't know if that is normal but it shook us up a little. That was the crazy experience of the week. So like I mentioned at the beginning I'll share a couple spiritual things that happened this week. While contacting with Elder Delgado we ran into some Baptists it seems from Florida visiting. And they were nice but totally ripped into us about how we aren’t Christians and do not believe in Christ. That is where I stopped him and asked him if he knew anything about us cause that is the first thing we believe in! We invited him to restudy Mormonism from the missionaries in Florida because he must have studied it from a bad source, and he seemed willing and curious. We wanted to enter and resolve his doubts but he was packing to return back to the states. There are so many false rumors out there about us, I wish everyone would just stop believing what they hear and come to us to find out about the church! It would make everyone one happier! We are trying to work with members more as a mission, and it is working!! This last week we taught in 2 different houses of members with their friends, and it truly helps so much more to have their friends who are members there present and to also teach in there house cause you can feel the spirit stronger there!!! I love teaching the restoration, it is the lesson that. We teach most often because it is our message to the world!! I love teaching about Joseph Smith and the first vision, it is the 2nd most important event to take place in the history of mankind next to the atonement of Jesus Christ. The whole restoration makes so much sense, it was needed because the authority wasn't upon the earth but through Joseph Smith God restored his priesthood!!! And that's what we have today!! We should probably use it huh? PREISTOOD!! That would be a great idea. USE IT!!!! I love this work I know what I'm doing is correct, I couldn't be doing a better thing, and I am learning so much. I love it out here!! I love this gospel I know it is true with all my heart, it was restored through Joseph Smith and we have a living prophet today to guide us!! We should probably listen to him. Huh? I'm going to, cause he will never lead us astray. Family, just know that I love you!!! I am so grateful I have parents that love me and that love each other!!! Enjoy your time in Hawaii!! You guys deserve this break!! Love you! Elder Call

Monday, January 7, 2013

Still Can't Believe I'm In Guatemala!!!

Um hi, I’m in Guatemala! What am I doing here? I ask myself that question at least once a week, usually after doing something that used to be not normal, like when I rode on a bus literally jammed packed to its capacity or sometimes when I am speaking Spanish…I am thinking “What are you doing?!” It still freaks me out that I’m speaking a completely different language…my mind can’t wrap itself around it. That there are other languages and that I can understand it! It boggles my mind. Also the fact that ducks and chickens are everywhere that is second nature now! So now this week…it was jammed packed week that flew by! But I don’t understand how cause so much happened! Monday, Happy New Years!!! It honestly didn't feel like a new year. It was a normal day and night, went to bed, but at midnight woke up by the fireworks. So we went up to the roof to watch them. It is breath taking experience to see the whole town celebrating and lighting off fireworks. I need to sit down and analyze 2012 and also what I want out of 2013, but there is not time! So Tuesday we changed houses, we figured it was a good day cause it is when everyone is still drunk or hung over so not really capable of listening to us, (even though the drunks are our #1 customers in the streets) but only when they are drunk. When they are sober they don’t want to know a thing! So I am so sick of moving things! Monday we helped our new land lord clean out all of her stuff so we could move in. Then Tuesday we moved and ugh…how tiring!!! But the new house is great! It is so much better and we feel at home now. Wednesday we had a zone counsel, which is a monthly meeting held with President, the assistants and all the zone leaders. We talk about our goals, what we can change, problems we are having and just the mission in general. It was a really cool meeting. Guess what? Elder Christofferson is going to come to the mission! But guess what…only the missionaries inside the capital can go…ya bummer, but we are going to find a way to go! IDK how but we will. So Wednesday we got back to our area in the afternoon and we both are dead tired from moving and traveling but we went out to work and had one of our best days of work so far here in Barberena! We are seeing miracles here and the Lord is willing to help us, we just have to put our part in also. So Thursday, we had a zone meeting with the whole zone to inform them on the new announcements and also to train them a little more about the vision of the mission. My companion gave the announcements and I gave the training. Right now we are focusing on having family home evenings with investigators in the members’ homes. What would you guys do if the missionaries came to your house and invited you to go out with them and invite your non-member friends to a FHE in your house? Cause that’s exactly what we are doing! But there is more to it than that, we are also helping them and training them on how to do it, and getting members stoked to do it, and fill them up with faith and courage. It seems to be working for the most part! So after the zone meeting we did divisions and I went to an area called Taxisco, basically it is one of the farthest away areas in the mission, 2 ½ hours from our area and 3 buses to get there, but on the bus to Chicquimulla I sat next to Elder Gardner and basically gave him the low down on St. George! And I got to know him a little more. He is a cool kid! He also said that you guys had the Gardner’s over for dinner? You never told me that? So divisions with Elder Mejia went well! It was fun to be with him again. I gave him some cologne for his birthday which was on the first. It is pretty hot in that area! But I seemed used to it which is from being 1 year in Zacapa. So lately this last week we have been focusing on families, teaching and testifying of families. I love it. The people don’t realize what blessings we bring if they take heed to our message! Families are destroyed here in Guatemala. Single mothers or fathers, or the Dads are drunk and abusive. The mothers are abusive and work horses. The kids don’t have etiquette or manners, but if they would just accept the gospel it would be a complete change for them. I love showing people our family photo from Alex’s wedding, everyone ALWAYS comments on how beautiful Alex is. How me and Cameron are twins and how happy our family is and it’s true! I love it! I am so grateful for our family and that I have 2 loving parents and 2 siblings. I feel we have grown closer since I've been on the mission and I love it. I love you guys! And I am so grateful for you guys, thank you so much for teaching the ways of the Lord. This is truly the only way back to God, through family! I love it. OK well…I love you all take care and have a great week.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I Love Being A Missionary!!!

Family!!! Wow what a week…I think I always say that, but it’s true! So much happens each week, every week is jam packed with enough things to make it be a month! But we do it all in a week. So first off the call was amazing it was so good to hear your voices! I feel like it was forever since the last one in May and so much has changed, but you guys sounded as good as ever! Also just to inform you guys the branch party went amazing, they had like 21 chickens! They also had Caldo which is like chicken soup and ponche to drink…which is like a fruit punch but a real one with a whole bunch of real fruit! Papaya, coconut, pineapple, some flower pedals of who knows what, apple, pear, peach, platano, and a whole bunch more! It is good though…I like it! Oh man so this area was so much better than last year, we ate Turkey! They gave me the breast but like a pound easily!!! It was so big. I was dying but it was so good, just like at home. Christmas went amazing here! Now as far as the missionary work, it was a little slow for the holidays nobody is basically home or wants to hear, but we did have success with several people. I went on divisions with Elder Ruiz from Panama. He was just made district leader. I did a baptismal interview for them, it went really well and he asked if I could baptize him! So I baptized him Saturday. He is 26, really smart, looking to change his life around. I’ll mention that later on. But while in divisions we visited a family that had been receiving the missionaries for a long time now, We had a great lesson with a lot of questions from our part about “why are they receiving the missionaries, what do they want out of it, what do they want out of life, where do they want to end up (with God), so what do they have to do”? it went really well, a really powerful lesson. I love asking questions and then just listening trying to discern what they are really saying or wanting to say that way we can really discover their problem to help them better. I love being a missionary!!! Um what else…I’m taking more photos.
I lost my adapter so now I can’t send photos…um so how is your reading in the book of Mormon going? Dad? Mom? Dad? Mom? So in church we watched 17 miracles (we are in a branch and they do whatever they want). I love that movie. It is sad but it reminded me of the sacrifice that the pioneers made for us to cross the plains under harsh conditions. I am so grateful for everything that they did for us. It is amazing the faith that they had. It blows me away and I ask myself what would I do in their position? I would like to think I would follow the prophet and go, and have the faith that they had to perform miracles, because they had solid faith and depended on the Lord for basically everything. But sometimes I feel that because we are so blessed in this day with technology that we aren’t as dependent on God as they are, therefore our faith is a little lower naturally. That’s something I am going to work on this week is being more dependent on the Lord for everything. It also goes along with humility. It is to have a balance, being humble enough to ask and be dependent but also not to the point where with every little thing we are going to the Lord in the middle. Before I forget, the baptism went well; I love baptisms for how strong they feel the spirit. It basically just confirms that everything they were taught and all the changes they did were correct! I love it! I love being out here. I love being a missionary! We spoke in church today with about a 4 minute warning! But I had a talk already written for such circumstances, so it was bad! About missionary work (obvie) we are going to try to get the members involved more in the missionary work here. We shall see how it goes! They seemed pretty stoked so should go great. Well I love you all!!!