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 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!