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

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Creating A New Guatemala Mission!!!

Hi family how ya doing ¿como les va? I hope you all had a very great valentine’s day and a good week. I always forget the week before to wish you a happy holiday but always after the fact... oh well.... well Once again this week was crazy, so much happened it is just jammed packed but here it goes.... Tuesday we did divisions with an area called Chiquimula. I went with a Peruano that has one week in the mission. In other words he is brand spankin new. But they went well. I love the attitude of the greenies they always have the best attitude, I worked him hard and got him going in every aspect of the work from contacting to teaching with members, he is and will be a great missionary. It was a great learning experience for the both of us. I remember when I did divisions with the zone leaders my first day, I was so nervous and thought he was the best missionary in the whole world. I also remember the support and complements he made me feel good, even though I knew nothing he made me feel like the best missionary ever and stoked for the work in San Jorge, that is what I tried to do or was conscience of not to make negative comments but support him and get him ready for these two years ahead of him. I got him pretty stoked! And when we ended the divisions my comp said that he seemed happier to be with me then to be with his real comp. so I hope I made a difference in his mission. So I got your package!! Thank you so much, the take 5 bars were so random and good! And as always the peach rings were great!! Thank you for sending the tooth paste it was just want I wanted. The hlj (haz lo justo) (CTR) rings we're great! I am going to give them to some kids in our branch that are about to be baptized with their parents and some other kids. They will love them! So something I am so grateful for is my comp. we get a long great and he knows why he is out here, or in other words he is obedient and wants to work hard and realizes the importance of us out being here and the urgency of our work! We are working so hard, trying to be as obedient as we can and trying to find the chosen ones here in Barberena, and trying to save the branch. But he was exactly what I was praying for, someone to push me as I end my mission. And he is definitely pushing me! We have an open relationship and we haven't had a problem yet between us, he was exactly what I was praying for to end my mission. He is a huge blessing in disguise!! And the interesting thing is that he feels the same gratefulness towards me! We were talking about it last night as we were walking back to the house. So this week we became friends to a family in the branch, their son is going to Honduras on the mission so they all the sudden decided to care for us:) they have given dinner 3 times now and tonight are also going to give us dinner again! They are a really funny family; they love to joke and are super rich! When we come back I'll probably take you by to visit them. Also another young man in the branch got his mission call to the Santo Domingo mission in the Dominican Republic! He leaves April 25th! It was cool to see that process of receiving a mission call again. I will probably give a lot of my things to him of the things that are still in good condition. To help him out cause he needs all the help he can get. So I don't understand how but we didn't have one investigator in the sacrament meeting and last week we had 7 investigators and 9 less actives! But everyone had something come up or were sick or lied to us! Ugh!!! But it's ok, not in our time but in the Lords. However two investigators showed up for relief society and had a good time! Picture time!!! just a random meat truck in the middle of the road... the guy next to me on the truck after I took the picture took that slab of meat threw it over his shoulder and literally ran down the street with half the cow on his shoulder it was awesome! For that I love Guatemala! So I would like to share a special experience we had was last night, it was our last lesson of the night. We didn't really plan it to go how it did. It just kinda unfolded and played out like it did. We focused everything in the families and how lucky we are to have families, and the importance of loving one another. There were a lot of tears; they are going through a lot right now. But the lesson went really well, it was exactly what they needed and it made me think just how lucky I am personally to have such a great family. That loves me and I love them. I cannot express how grateful I am for you guys for loving parents and for being raised in a house that was centered on the gospel. That made all the difference in my life. There is no way I would be out here in the mission if it weren’t for you guys and what you taught me ever since I was little. Thank you so much! I love you so much! So I don’t know if I mentioned last week that we are going to have a mission conference... only we weren’t sure when... well they told us this week that it is going to be tomorrow! Surprise! so we have been running around wild getting everything set and ready for it, on top of doing the normal missionary work and we have everything set and ready to go! But it is always nerve racking and wrenching waiting! How are you coming along yin your Book of Mormon study? I am going to finish Alma today, take the challenge of the Prophet seriously and try to read or finish the book of Mormon before conference!!! I am going to do it and you should too!! (Dad) So president just announced that in the end of June they are going to create a new mission here in Guatemala called the Mission East! O Este! How crazy is that?!? I will attach the email that he sent but it’s in Spanish and I don’t have time to translate it but you have friends who can help you translate it! But it won’t affect me because I will be home by the time they make the switch but still that is crazy good news! Basically from our mission they are taking Zacapa and Puerto Barrios and Teculutan all that area where my first 2 areas were and making them into the east mission! here is the letter...... Mis queridos compañeros, Tengo noticias maravillosas. Se han anunciado la creación de una nueva misión en Guatemala. Es la misión Guatemala Coban. Para formarla tienen que realinear las fronteras de cuatro misiones, incluyendo la nuestra. Efectivamente el final de junio las siguientes zonas pasaran a la misión Norte que recibirá el nuevo nombre de la misión Este. Las zonas Portagua, Zacapa, Palmita, Central y Bosques pasarán a la misión Este y su presidente de misión será mi muy buen amigo, Presidente Edward Watts. El y la Hermana Lori Watts son excelentes y el amor que tienen para los misioneros es palpable. Recibiremos dos estacas de la misión Central, la Estaca Mariscal y la Estaca Nimajuyu. Son a lado de la Calzada Roosevelt y del aeropuerto. Pasaremos de tener 93 unidades en la misión a 73 unidades. La nueva misión Coban tendrá Alta y Baja Verapaz por el Polochic y todo el Peten. La misión Este tendrá las zonas 1,2, 3, 5, 6, parte de 7, 8, 17, 18, 19 y 23 de la capital y toda la Carretera al Atlántico. La misión Sur tendrá las zonas 4, la otra parte de 7, 9, 10 11, 12, 16, y parte del 21 de la capital, y Jalapa, Cuilapa, Guazacapan fuera de la capital. Para ser claro, las zonas (estacas) Guatemala, Utatlán, Monserrat, Florida, Milagro, Mariscal, Nimajuyu, y Jalapa más las zonas (distritos) Cuilapa y Guazacapan quedarán en nuestra misión. Es probable que los que son transferidos a las zonas que formarán parte de la misión Este en la próxima reunión de cambios todavía estarán allá en la fecha de la formación de la misión y pasarán de la misión Sur a la misión Este. De los que ya están allá es posible que unos de los más nuevos todavía estén, algunos recibirán cambios antes de la fecha. Será una oportunidad maravillosa de tener dos presidentes de misión y conocer otras maneras de hacer la obra del Señor. Hablaremos más de esto en las reuniones que tengamos con Elder Martino en esta semana. Con amor, Pte. Stay It won’t affect me but it makes me so happy to see the Lords work progressing here in Guatemala. I love you all and hope you have a great week this week!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Where To Begin...Another Week, Another Adventure!

This week was so jammed packed with things and oh man!! I couldn't begin to explain even a little bit if I wanted too. But uh I’ll try.... Monday we had a family home evening to end the night, it went really well we ate broccoli, mushrooms and chicken, it was so good! But like United States good! But boy did I regret it though, I woke up at three with the worst diarrhea that I've ever had, and then started the stomach pains. Oh man it was horrible all morning with that, and as I told you last week elder Rios had changes. So Tuesday was the change meeting, we left at 7 even though I was super sick; I was praying I would at least make it to the chapel. Well there was major traffic so what is an hour journey turned into a two hour journey, I only made it to the capital, and I threw up everywhere! (out the bus window don't worry) but oh man it was horrible, and well let's just say some activity happened down on the other end also. I won't say what cause I'm still way too embarrassed to admit it bahaha. But the whole change meeting I felt so sick! That was by far one of my top 3 worst days of the mission. But Looking back I don't know how I did it because I was running around getting the zone set and ready for the change (sending them off to their new areas, Packages, reimbursements,) I had to run it all cause my new comp is a new zone leader so I was showing him what we had to do. But it went great. Everything turned out good. So my new comp his name is Elder Garmendia from...... Honduras!! Bahaha oh man yep that's right 5 comps from Honduras, but he is a cool guy. Only has 11 month in the mission though, which is good he is so stoked and motivated to be out here. He has a greenie's attitude but knowledge and experience of a veteran. So we are doing work. So after the change meeting we had a zone leader meeting. President has raised the bar in the mission. The lord is pressuring his work, and we need to be better, one third of the mission has only 7 weeks or less! That is crazy we are at our largest number ever in the mission! So we talked a lot about the bar being raised and the new direction and vision of the mission. Well if you thought I had lost myself in the work before, now I have disappeared!! Bahaha just kidding butt really we are working so hard, harder then I think I ever have before. But not just working hard we are working efficiently which I think will make all the difference. I sure hope so because this area and branch is really really struggling. In missionary work it is very hard to work and retain our work if the branch is bad or struggling itself. So we planned a missionary activity, a week of rescuing. We are going to get everyone on the same page and then go out and do visits with each organization, and just talk to them see what's going on and how we can help. Hopefully we can all pull together and really change things up here. So far things are looking better, we worked super hard this week visiting a lot of in actives and also trying to do our normal missionary work. And it paid off, we had 7 investigators in the sacrament meeting and 9 in actives there, basically doubled the attendance. But it was exhausting! So random thought, Thursday we were teaching in the middle of a turkey farm!! Literally they had 15 turkeys loose running around in between our legs and out in the open, it was so crazy reminded me of my days in San Jorge. Turkeys are super ugly I've noticed idk if you guys have ever seen one up close but their neck and beak are gross! But it was cool they are also very beautiful when they open up their feathers and start 'dancing' (their whole body starts vibrating and shakes the feathers) it was pretty sweet. Can't wait to think back and reflect on that moment next thanksgiving!! So Friday we had a zone meeting. So the zone could get to know one another and also so we could give a little training based on the needs of the zone. Right now I feel like the needs of the zone is that they have let their guard down. We aren't pushing or dedicating ourselves as hard as we could. We have fallen into a routine and aren't keeping things new and fresh. So with that in mind and with president raising the bar of the mission I taught about our missionary calling and our setting apart. What I did was I photo copied our mission call that came in the mail from the Prophet, and gave a copy to each missionary, then we read over that and focused in on what the prophet expects of us, and also read in the handbook a quote that says something like " When you accepted your call you promised to live by these standards. You are accountable to the Lord and to the Leaders of the church for how well you honor this promise. Always keep in mind the importance of your calling. Strive constantly to magnify it...” then I gave a minute for everyone to think and reflect. I also talked about our setting apart and how we are literally set apart from the world and we will receive the promised blessings only when we live according to our calling and setting apart. I think it helped; I then challenged everyone to rededicate themselves to their mission and to raise the bar in their personal lives also. I think it went well, at least it got everyone thinking, and that is what I wanted is to get everyone reflecting. My comp then talked about Jacob 5 and the Lord of the Vineyard and how we are in the ultimate hour, he also did a really good job. This Tuesday and Wednesday it appears to be the national carnival of Guatemala. Not too sure what that means, because they didn’t do this last year in Teculutan! But here it appears to be a big deal, it’s like Halloween and Easter mixed. but it’s a lot like the Halloween in the states everyone dresses up, but then they throw egg shells full of flour, paper, cement dust or just about anything in them, I’m a Little nervous cause Guatemala is crazy and this town is crazy but we will be careful and be safe don’t worry ! Elder Martino the area president is doing a temple tour this next week. Mission conferences and he is also going to have a meeting with all the zone leaders. Should go well, I’ll let you know more once we know more! Umm so the days are flying by! It is crazy how fast they are going. I feel like they are going even faster, my mind is about to explode from everything! So much planning for the area, zone, branch and investigators physically mentally and emotionally we are working pushing ourselves even harder. It is exhausting, but it is good though it's going to be a great change. I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I Came Out Victorious!!!

Umm HI!!! IM BACK - quote from Independence Day So I am going to be an uncle!!! I am going to spoil the snot out of that little runt! It better be a boy! You guys should name him Chad, or Chandler, or Chandley. So with the Gardner's they will have to see missionaries at some point to pick up their son and they can give the things to the other missionaries and they can make sure it gets to me. Changes are tomorrow! And my comp is outta here! Hopefully he trains to really give him a last push as he is ending! And so obviously that means that I am receiving a new comp! ... It’s always a little nerve wracking.... So this week was a great one it felt long but also super amazingly fast at the same time. We did divisions and I went to a place called Pueblo Nuevo Viña, it is literally on the mountain side. It is a small little area, and the branch has like 40 attending. I went with Elder Knutson from Washington State. And it turns out I had actually already met him!! He has the same time as Chase because when I went to go visit the CCM with Elder Arce when I had about 6 months, he was there and we had talked, but we didn't make the connection until just barely! It's a crazy small world! The divisions went great, I learned a ton, and got a new direction to end my mission in. They were great couple days; we did some serious talking and reflection. He is a cool guy, super obedient and super stoked to be out here. I look up to him and respect him. The divisions really gave me a new mind set and purpose for these last four months. Basically the beginning of the week was some challenging couple days, but the divisions truly helped me, I CAME OUT VICTORIOUS! it really was like a change in my mission for this last little bit, I put it in the Lords hands and he totally confirmed that these things were right, I am heading in the right direction and that there is so much more left for me, basically I love receiving answers through feelings, I love this church and I know that God is aware of us. So while there we saw 2 drunks fighting, and it got to the point where one pulled out his machete and used it as a sword!! He literally tried to slice up the other guy, but the other one was smart and ran (he was drunk but not stupid) but ya he pulled out his machete! All in all it was a fun time! However something did happen that made me super sad, a mother of 2 recent converts talked to us and basically pleading for our help in her family, her husband is addicted to drugs and she financially supports the whole family, but because she has to work so hard she is never home. Only he is home with the kids and they love him and she doesn't want to kick him out for that reason, but pleaded with us to help them, she isn't a member but she said she looks forward to the day that they are missionaries and she has even started saving for them to go. It was sad to hear her plea and she how much it was hurting her. While there we found a super cool family, that has a lot of potential, it's a family of 8! Mom dad and six children, we only talked with the parents and the two oldest children. Just really focusing ourselves in the families and asking inspired questions to get to know them and to help them see that our message is for them and will bless them! The spirit was there it was a great first lesson!!! So our house is now flea invested! Pueblo Nuevo Viña has so many fleas there and when we did divisions the elder brought them down from there to our house, and I’m sure I probably brought some down too. But oh man! I’ve never had them this badly! But don’t worry we are going to do some heavy duty cleaning and spray the whole house and beds! WE ARE AT WAR BUT WE ARE GOING TO COME THROUGH VICTORIOUS Well as far as Barberena, the branch is suffering right now, just going through a lot of problems. If you could send some extra prayers this way that would be great!! It's frustrating sometimes!! But we are working hard trying to rescue the branch and get the wheels rolling again. We are visiting tons of inactive families and we have a lot of potentials that are investigating the church right now. We also have made a couple plans to have activities to help the branch I'll let you know how those go! So I ate cow stomach yesterday! It was ... Interesting, I hope I don't have to eat it again, it smelled so bad!! And had a super weird texture that freaked me out but the flavor was alright. Didn't taste too bad. All in all it was a good week; the week before changes is always a little long because one is thinking about the changes. But this week was very dramatic emotionally super highs and super lows, but everything is amazing! It was a great week, and this next one is going to be even better!! We have tons of plans to work with the members here to rescue the branch and also to help our investigators!! I love you all so much and can’t believe I’m gonna be an uncle! WHO KNEW! Bahaha Elder Call