Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Week103 - Week 103 - Going out with a *SPLASH*

Hello everyone!

Well... my stay here in Guatemala has come to a close. But I'm not leaving without one last "hurrah!" This weekend we baptized Hamlet and Keiry. They are so awesome. We have been teaching them for the past month and they are so smart. We would leave a pamphlet and they would read it all. A chapter in the Book of Mormon, same deal. They would even have questions. That's pretty awesome for a 12 and 10 year old. Their parents are members but had become inactive. As part of their baptismal process, they had to go 6 weeks consecutively to church. Because they are kids, we can't expect them to come by themselves, so the parents had to be reactivated. When we asked them to help their children get baptized it was like something woke up inside of them. They started coming to church, the dad got active in the elders quorum activities. Their baptism was so cool. Their family came from Coban to see them get baptized and confirmed. They even brought tamales from Coban, another department here in Guatemala. The Cobaneros (people from Coban) really like hot sauce and peppers (hence the chili cobanero) so I showed them my little bottle of hot sauce and they all wanted to try some. They approved of my sauce hahaha.

I had the privilege to baptize Hamlet and confirm him on Sunday and Elder Gordon baptized and confirmed Keiry. On Sunday, they got there really early and the dad came in his Army Class A Uniform.

On Saturday, before the baptism, I had a lunch with all of my family members here in Guatemala. I'm sure it has been a long time since they've gathered like that and even longer since they've seen or talked to me. It was great to see them all and talk with them. My cousin, Laura, told me she's going to get married and sealed in two weeks. We were planning on coming back in November anyway but I hope we come to be able to be there for that. I recognized some of them, others had changed a bit since I was little when I saw them last.

Saturday night we had a nice surprise when we were taking the baptismal clothing to get cleaned. We were walking down the road when a car honked and yelled at us. They pulled over and we found that the bishop from Economica, one of our areas we had in common, was at the wheel. He was going home with his family from San Juan. I was really sad because all the people in that area work and are only there at night so I wasn't able to go to that area to say goodbye. But we were able to take a picture and he gave us a ride to go drop off the clothes (They were really heavy because they were wet.

Sunday was also a day of goodbyes. I took a bunch of pictures with all the members I could before they got out the door. I went in the suit I bought for going home. In the mission we call it the "traje de muerto" (Death suit). I got a vest with it and it was all custom made. On the inside, I had the tailor put the Guatemalan flag.

I am now in Venezuela, Zona Nimajuyu where I served a year ago to say goodbye to more people. Last Monday I went to Roosevelt and a lot of people were happy to see me and remembered my name and everything. (that feels nice since a lot of times missionaries just come and go and nobody bothers to remember their names). It was nice to see that I had an impact in their lives. I hope to stay in touch over the years and have those relationships. Many promised that when I return they would open their doors to me, I plan on banking in on that promise.

I'm so grateful I decided to serve a mission. I've changed so much. I hope the changes stick. Now I'm going to start a new phase in my life. Coming home isn't coming back to one's old self; it is continuing on and progressing.

With my final goodbye and as Sister Caffaro always said "Goodbye is not forever, Goodbyes are not the end, it just means I'll miss you, until we meet again"


Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Las Brisas, Zona Florida, Guatemala Sur

Monday, October 9, 2017

Week 102 - Zone Conferences

Hey everyone this week we had our Multi Zone conferences and got to see old friends and companions. We had a super awesome workshops. We had a workshop from the doctor I've been going to for physical therapy about proper posture and how to save your back in the mission (a little late but I was doing most of the things anyway). Things like only carry what you need, divide the weight, etc. We learned about the emergency plans for the mission in case of earthquake, floods, volcanic eruption, etc. hahah. As we already know, that is a real scenario that could happen. Then we facetimed with the Mexico City visitors center and they told us how they receive a ton of references and to refer people to 

Sorry guys. I am going to go say goodbye to one of my areas so I gotta go.

We're going to have baptisms this week though! Look forward to pics next week.

Love ya bye!



Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Las Brisas, Zona Florida, Guatemala Sur

Monday, October 2, 2017

Week 101 - Conference and Interviews

Hey guys

Conference was so great! I hope all of you enjoyed it as much as I did. I was really sad when I heard Elder Hales died. Really it is sad when any of the Apostles die. They leave such a legacy and their teachings. I watched a video about his life.

Estanislao and Martha are going to have their baptismal interviews this week. I'm super excited for them. I wasn't in the lesson but they were super excited when I saw them in conference.

Going to the doctor wasn't so bad. This week I had to go get an X-ray to see if there is anything internally wrong with my knee. I have been feeling a lot better and we worked out the travel schedule so we can get back on time.

We also had Interviews this week with President Shumway.

Sorry, not much to report this week. We didn't have too much time working in our area. Hopefully this week will be better.

Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Las Brisas, Zona Florida, Guatemala Sur

Monday, September 25, 2017

Week 100 - Lost Phone and the Doctors Office

Hey guys. So a really eventful week. First off, last Monday we had a water balloon fight in San Juan It was so fun. We even did a little bit of water boarding hahaha. Just a little bit.

On Wednesday, we were coming down by our house to visit a less active we had found on Sunday with the Elders Quorum president and it was raining. We had come down in a microbus and I didn't want to get out in the rain to pay the driver so I just reached over the seat to give it to him. I was so hurried to get out and get my umbrella out that I somehow threw my book of Mormon into the raging river of dirty water running down the street. I quickly jumped to save it. We were walking towards the house when I thought to call him to make sure he was there. I reach in my pocket for the phone and IT WASN'T THERE! I checked all my pockets, my companion's pockets. The phone was lost. I knew I
had it when we were in the bus because I had used it to call another member. We went up and down the highway looking for the phone. We even went to a pay phone and called it. It went straight to voicemail. We were looking for a good hour before giving up. ;( 

On Friday, I had an appointment in the doctors office because my knee has been hurting me and also my back. It's nothing serious but when I got there he said I needed to do physical therapy. So now I have to go twice a week. I really don't think it is that serious so don't worry, this doctor is just kind of one of those who wants to fix everything while were at it. I felt so bad because we spent the entire day in the doctor's office and didn't even get back to our area until 8:00 because we had to cross the entire city and the traffic here is horrible. I'm kinda bummed because we're going to have to go twice a week to do it and it's going to take a lot of proselyting time but we're going to try to maximize the time we do have in our area. 

On lighter news, one of our investigators, Kibn, is preparing to get baptized this week. Yeah, that's right, we're going to baptize for conference! Estanislao and Martha are also preparing but they aren't exactly for sure for this week. But one time when we were with Kibn his mom was making french bread. I offered to help and she said "alright!". Here, they sell bread in little bakeries all over the place just like corn tortillas as well. She had a mini bakery in her house so she makes a ton of bread. She taught us how to do it from the beginning mixing all the ingredients by hand, put it on a rolling machine and make the balls of dough and finally making them into loafs of french bread. It was really fun. 

Alright guys. I hope you are all prepared for conference weekend! General Conference I always receive answers to my prayers and guidance for my life. I hope you all can get the same feeling. See y'all soon!

Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Las Brisas, Zona Florida, Guatemala Sur

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Week 99 - La Antorcha

Hey everyone!

This week Guatemala celebrated it's independence! September 15th 1821. To celebrate it, everyone in each neighborhood, school or any other group you can imagine, goes to a place in the middle of the city and lights a torch. Then they run with the torch until the get back to the school/church/neighborhood they represent. It is used to represent the passion each of them has in their communities for their country. It was really cool because they always do it at night so you can see the flame from the torches. It was kind of funny though because the people would stand cheering on the side of the road and through bags of water at the runners to cool them off. That was the original tradition anyway.... Now it's kinda changed to throwing bags of water at any helpless victim that walks by. They were throwing them at buses, people on the street, cars, motorcycles. Because the buses are pretty full, some people go up top, or in the back of pick up trucks. These were prime targets for the people throwing the water. I thought it was kind of funny because the people in the buses would taunt the people to throw it at them and try and catch it and throw it back. I did see a couple people get pegged pretty good with water though. Luckily I was kept safe. Can't say the same for my companion. While we were watching one of the runners run past, someone threw a bag and missed the runner and hit my companion and the young man who was accompanying us. hahaha 

We had double divisions this week. I stayed here in my area since my companion hasn't learned the area entirely yet. He's kinda funny. We get along so well that it makes it easier to joke. I tried "testing" him and he got lost. I knew where we were the entire time but he couldn't find the way. In stake conference, President Shumway told me I needed to teach him the area as quick as possible (because obviously I wouldn't be here after to help him.

Well, that's all I have time for this week. Talk to you all next week.

Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Las Brisas, Zona Florida, Guatemala Sur

Monday, September 11, 2017

Week 98 - Stake Conference and (pre) Independence Day

Hey guys,

This week I got my new companion. When I went to take Elder Ramos to the stake center and drop him off. He actually arrived super early (before 6:00 AM) so we got to rest a bit before getting up and doing our regular routine. It was actually a pleasant surprise because we didn't lose any proselyting time like we normally would have. So we got to work right away.

This week we had a ward activity celebrating the independence of Guatemala. It was a bit early because most people leave during holidays (especially because it is going to be a weekend). I heard that people normally throw water and flower on the 14th. Not sure why... They didn't do it last year but they say it depends on the area you're in. The activity was supposed to start at 530 but it was raining so we had to postpone it a bit because it was an outside event and there was a marching band. The bishopric taught about the 12th article of faith and they posted the colors.

We had a Stake conference with President Shumway and Elder Zeballos. Our investigators got the opportunity to go and talk with president and the 70! They were super excited.

By the way, I survived yet another earthquake. I actually didn't even feel it although I heard it was pretty strong. Thanks for your prayers and concern.

Sorry for the short letter this week. A little distracted.

Love you all,

Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Las Brisas, Zona Florida, Guatemala Sur


A note from President Shumway regarding the earthquake.

Dear Parents and Priesthood leaders of Missionaries of the Guatemala City South Mission,

We want to insure you of the safety of the missionaries here in the Guatemala City South Mission.  The earthquake that occurred last night in southern Mexico was also felt here in Guatemala City.  Our missionaries were all safely tucked into bed and most  were unaware that an earthquake and occurred. We have communicated with all our missionaries and all are safe and healthy.
We appreciate your prayers on behalf of our missionaries. 
-President and Sister Shumway

Monday, September 4, 2017

Week 97 - (the last) Changes

Well, it's that time again. Changes. I'm staying here in Las Brisas for my last change and receive my new companion, Elder Gordon. My new companion is from Utah. Not sure exactly where... I've learned a ton from Elder Ramos though. There are some things I'll miss, others I won't. But all in all, I think I've had a positive experience with him. I've definitely grown a lot with him and (now for sure) will never have another Brazilian companion.

This week we had yet another multi-zone conference with a member of the Seventy. This time with Elder Jorge Zeballos, part of the new area presidency. He's from Chile and shared a lot of neat experiences. It is always a privilege to have an
other conference with a general authority. 

This week an investigator we had found last week who had a fairly strange name, Estanislao Rac. He's begun to make drastic changes in his life. When we found him he was a bit drunk and didn't show much promise. The next time he was so drunk he literally was dying of cirrhosis. He looked like he was on his death bed. We went back because we had met his wife and she was starting to listen to us more. They ended up not being able to go to church that Sunday for the same reason. We decided to give him one more shot. When we got there he was up and well, he had shaved and combed his hair, He looked totally different. I would even say his spirit was different. There was literally a different spirit in his house. He had read the pamphlet we had left, I had accidentally left a Book of Mormon in his house and he kept it and tried to return it to us. He and his wife accepted a baptismal date and to top it off, they both came this week to church. 

That is another story in and of itself. Yesterday we left our apartment early to go and bring our investigators to church. When we got to the highway we waited for a bus to pass by to take us to the farther parts of our area to bring those that needed to come a bit more early. We waited and waited but no bus came. Not sure what was up with that but we resolved to pass by the investigators who were within walking distance of the church. We went to the farthest first, thinking that we could gather them all up on the way to the church (since it is basically one long road and the church is on the main highway) We passed by the first family, the Alvarez family. We had called a couple times and only gotten the machine so we thought maybe we might need to go wake them up. We got there and nothing. I called the phone again and still nothing. Even their cellphones. Nada. OK... The next family. Same story. Another investigator? Nuh uh. Less active family? Gone. Converts? Sick. We ended up going to church empty handed. I was a bit frustrated. I asked God "Why? Why would we get sent to look for people who weren't even home? The investigators that lived up on the mountain weren't answering the phone. There is a mini bus that goes up there to bring the members and investigators so they don't have to pay the bus fare there and back. We normally go with the bus to make sure it stops for our investigators but because we couldn't get up there, there was no way for the driver or any of the members to recognize who was waiting for to go to church and who was waiting for the normal buses. We got to the church, like I said, empty handed and a little discouraged. But then, the bus arrived and down came Estanislao and his wife, Martha Julia. Also, Jose and his son Chepito (nickname for 'jose') After starting a part member family came walking in and sat down in front of us. At the end, we had 8 investigators in church. A record for the are in the time i have here. When that part member family came in I literally started crying. I knew that God had answered my prayers. I saw that he was trying our faith and will never let us fail if we are obedient to his commands. 

This Sunday, being Fast Sunday, I had included Estanislao and his wife in my fast. I really have a testimony of fasting. I know that God allows us to be tempted. It seems that every time I fast, some member or investigator offers us food. This month I felt an especially greater strength as I fasted. I  wasn't really tempted by their offers (not that they were intentionally tempting me) I didn't feel hungry at all. This week we even had Ward Council meeting after church and it always takes a long time. Normally, we can just leave after we give our progress report but the family that invites us to lunch every Sunday are the Elders Quorum President and the High Priest leader. In other words, the only men in the house have to stay the entire meeting, meaning we wouldn't be able to eat until they finished and took us to their house. But through the entire meeting I felt fine. For lunch, they had prepared a special meal for my companion since they pretty much knew he would be leaving this change. It is called "Feijoada". It was basically baked beans with bacon, traditional sausage, dried meat, rice, and cabbage. It was soooooo good! It was a really heavy meal but it really hit the spot after fasting. :P jajaja!

This week I've really been noticing how quickly time passes and how little time I have left. President reminded me  of it in the conference. When I hugged him and shook his hand he asked me "you ready to give my another 6 week?" Really I don't feel distracted or worried about being home, not that I don't think about it, but I don't dwell on it. I've been looking back on my mission and I feel I have done what the Lord has asked of me. I feel I truly have grown and become truly converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I feel that I have learned infinitely more than I have taught any of my converts. I remember times of trial and times of happiness. I have seen God's hand as I work in his glory to save souls and bring His children to the fold. I am ready to give all that I can to the Lord in these last 6 weeks here in Guatemala. I may not be here to see the fruits of my labors but I have the assurance and comfort in the fact that the reaper and the sower are worthy of their recompense. I love the Lord and his children. I'm ready to give 'em heaven. 

Thank you for all of your love, and support, and letters. I'm sorry if I haven't responded personally but know that I enjoy reading them and send you my and the Savior's love.

Love you all.

Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Las Brisas, Zona Florida, Guatemala Sur