Monday, August 14, 2017

Week 94 - Special People

Hey everyone.

The highlight of this week was getting to know Emily. Emily is the daughter of an investigator who has been receiving the missionaries for a long time now.... She has a syndrome where her bones didn't form properly and they are super brittle. When she was a baby, when they would lift her up to change her diaper they would break her femur. She can't really speak because she never developed language but her spirit is huge! I don't know how to explain it. I just love people with disabilities or deformities. Maybe it is because I have a sister who has deformities as well. I feel like they are the noble and great ones that Abraham talked about when he was shown the preexistence. Really I feel like it is an honor every time I meet one. 

Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Las Brisas, Zona Florida, Guatemala Sur

Week 93 - Temple Trip and Bus adventures

Hey everybody. This week was super  full of meetings and stuff. I felt like we hardly had time to proselyte, but we made the most of the time we had. 

On Friday we went to the temple as a zone. We left super early because of the ridiculous traffic in the morning here in the capital. We got really lucky because now, if the temple is more than an hour away we can't go. President Shumway pretty much generalized it that everyone in the cap can go because if not, nobody would be able to go because of the traffic. We got there actually super early for our appointment. So we went to Dunkin Doughnuts and ate before entering the temple. I can't help but tell you guys every time that the temple is awesome. The Spirit that is felt is unlike anywhere else. It is the only place I feel like when I'm praying that I am LITERALLY talking with God. It is like a conversation. I ask something and I feel an immediate response. While we were there on the grounds, we saw an old friend: "Elder" Oscal. He finished his mission about 2 months ago and he lives here in the capital. He was there as part of a sealing. No, it wasn't him getting sealed, it was one of his buddies. It felt so weird seeing him without a plaque. I've actually seen various returned
missionaries come back. Anyway, back to the story. On our way to the temple we took what the people call "red buses". They are kind of sketch. All of the old school buses we don't use anymore get sent here. They basically strip everything non-essential and put bars on the roof so people can go standing up in the aisles. It's fairly interesting. They are all competing for the passengers so they always go super fast and cram as many people as they can so they can collect more fares. We were going comfortably seated in on when we heard a *bang*. The tire blew out. So we all had to get off the bus and get on another bus. We went from comfortably seated to uncomfortably crammed and standing. :( On the way back, we went with an entire other zone. It was a bus full of missionaries. hahaha.

Then on Friday we had a Multi-Zone conference. This time I just went with our district leader. This time, someone else's bus blew their tire and they all boarded on our bus. The only bad thing is that we weren't exactly sure where to get off the bus and now we couldn't see out of the windows. We got to a point where I knew we had passed our destination so we got off and got on another bus going the opposite direction. This time I told the attendant to let us know when our stop was coming up so we wouldn't pass it again. We still got there early and we hadn't passed it by much. It was an awesome conference. President made a change to our study schedule. He gave us an extra 30 minutes for companionship study. Something I've always felt we needed. With only a half hour we could never really plan the way we should or needed to but now, we're gonna be able to plan like they taught us in the CCM.

I almost forgot! Last week after writing I went to San Pedro Sacatepequez. On the bus ride there I asked a lady if she knew where the RENAP (Registro Nacional de Personas) was in San Pedro. She said she lived there and gave me directions. I almost just left it at that, but I felt a strong impression to talk to her. I noticed she had a lanyard that said "Alorica" and I recognized it from a member who had studied English there. I asked her (now in English) if she spoke English. She said yes. So then i started a conversation with her. She told me about herself, I told her about my job as a missionary and asked (all in English) if she would like the sister missionaries to visit her. She said yes! She even offered to take me to the RENAP building. Unfortunately, when we got there it was closed. But I passed the reference to the sisters and they're going to visit her this week.

After we just took some pictures of the main plaza and the main cathedral. I bought some típica fabric because the market there is the best there is.

See ya next week.

Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Las Brisas, Zona Florida, Guatemala Sur

Week 92 -Las Brisas

Hey guys! Sorry for the short letter last week. This week has been pretty cool. Elder Ramos is a pretty cool kid. He's 19, from Sao Paolo, Brazil, and his native language is Portuguese. Portuguese is really similar to Spanish but a couple parts of grammar change and some pronunciations. He's just starting his mission, I'm his first companion after his straining which makes me his "stepfather". This is the third time I've been with a missionary right after their training. First with Elder Campos, then Elder Cussi, and now with Elder Ramos. It's pretty cool because they are still pretty moldable and especially now that I have 21 months of experience in the mission field, I can impart of all my knowledge and wisdom. He helps me a lot too. His youth and newness give him a certain spark for preaching the gospel. Even though the language sometimes still gives him trouble he isn't afraid to talk with anyone. He's a little bit unorganized leading the area for the first time but he'll get used to it. Really, it has been a great start to the change. We have three areas that we work in: the Mero (the very)  Brisas, Vista Hermosa, and Bosques. Each one increasing in elevation and steepness :O. In one of our areas, there's a street that looks more like a wall. Seriously, it goes pretty much straight up! It is interesting because in Las Brisas it has a city feel but once you go to Vista Hermosa it is pure outside of the cap. We have to take buses to get to all of  our area. I imagine that, because of the hugeness and the general unfamiliarity of it all, that there are places that haven't been touched by the missionaries. 

On Thursday, we were walking to our area that was a bit far away when I noticed we were walking neck and neck with a guy and he seemed to be interested in us. I felt strongly like I should talk to him because if not it would be kind of awkward walking next to him the entire way and not talk to him. I started asking his name, if he had heard of the missionaries, the usual chit chat. Then, I felt impressed to ask him if he would let us accompany us to his house to share a message with him. To my surprise he said "Yes." Normally, contacts in the street aren't very effective here. There are no real addresses and generally people lie about their address or phone number, sometimes even about their name. So, when he said "yes", i was pretty surprised. He didn't even look like someone who would be interested. His name is Sergio and he was getting back from rollerblading in the capitol. He took us to his family and his mom had been investigating the church a long time ago but never had gotten baptized. She asked what was necessary to be baptized in our church. So, we explained about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invited them both to baptism and they accepted. Wow. If I hadn't thought to talk to him we would have totally missed him and his family and might not have found them at all.

On Saturday, we went to an area that Elder Ramos and his trainer never really touched. We decided to visit an old widow. When we got there she had company but she is so friendly she invited us in anyway. She is fairly popular in the neighborhood where she lives. Everyone calls her "abuela" (Grandma) and always stops by to visit her and help her out. She was making some plastic flower decorations so we decided to help her. It was really cool. She is 72 and was baptized two years ago. She said she had gone through all the churches: Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Catholics, even the Jehovah's Witnesses, but she didn't feel "the call" until she found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We helped her out for a bit but it was lunch time and it had just started to rain so we had to leave. The village where she lived was up on a mountain (like most of our area) so the rain was just pouring down the streets like a river of mud. We had no choice. Like a song I remember from my childhood "Can't go over it. Can't go under it. Can't go around it. Gotta go through it" So we went and by the time we got to the bottom our pant legs were soaked and our shoes filled with mud and sand. We got to the Lutin Family's house and I had to take off my shoes and wring out my socks so my feet wouldn't be swimming all day. hahaha

Looking forward to more adventures here with my Brazilian companion. 

Love you all! 

Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Las Brisas, Zona Florida, Guatemala Sur

Monday, July 24, 2017

Week 91 - Trenches and Changes (WHAT?)

Yup, That's right. My stay here in Jerusalen has come to an abrupt end. I am being transferred to FLORIDA. WHOOOO! Palm trees and sandy beaches here I come! Jk.  Well... partly. I'm being transferred to the Las Brisas Ward in the Florida Stake. My new companion's name is Elder Ramos. He's from BRAZIL. Looks like I'll be learning Portuguese this next change.

This week we did some service with a sister to fill in a ditch on the side of her house. Since there is no man in her house we couldn't work with her there so we did it by ourselves. We were working for and hour and a half and we only filled about 10 feet. The trench was about 1 foot wide and 4 feet deep and the entire length of her house (approx 50 feet). We wanted to finish and we didn't think it would take that long but it did. We had an appointment so we had to leave it half done. And now that I'm going, I won't be able to finish it. 

Sorry guys for the short letter. Changes always make it crazy and the time just flew by. Love you all!


Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Jerusalen, Zona San Cristóbal, Guatemala Sur

Monday, July 17, 2017

Week 90 - Bowling

Hey everybody, sorry about last weeks letter. I could have sworn I had sent it. Sorry. And I'm writing a little bit later this week because we went bowling as a district. Because we met our goals for baptisms as a district we were given a district Pday. It was super cool. Elder Cañada, my zone leader, got a strike on his very first bowl! He's never even gone bowling in his life. He actually WON the first game. The second game, Elder Nelson and I got our game on. We were going neck and neck when our time ran out. I won according to the points. Then we went and played billiards. We had to teach our latin companions how to play but it was fun. We had a good time and I got to eat Panda Express for the first time in almost 2 years. Wow was it amazing!

This week we were working mainly with Kimberly and Jocelyn. They have been progressing really well, they are the next likely candidates for baptism. We are finishing up teaching the lessons they just have a minor problem with drinking coffee which isn't too uncommon. We bought them a coffee substitute they have here in Guatemala called Morcaff. It is a sort of coffee but it is made from grains instead of coffee. It tastes just like coffee but doesn't have any of the bad (and it's not against the Word of Wisdom). They didn't come to church this Sunday but that's because they were sick. Other than that they have been good. 

This week one of our investigators started to show more promise. She's actually an old investigator that we found visiting her sister. Her name is Marleni. She ate up the lesson and even had a Book of Mormon from when the missionaries were visiting her before. She even has a friend that is a member. There is an upcoming stake activity her friend told her about and she said she wanted to go! Unfortunately she had a school trip this Sunday and wasn't able to go. I really hope she can come to church this upcoming week. 

This week we helped the non-member husband of one of our recent converts put drywall up in his house. Sorry, my camera was asking up this week so i didn't take too many pictures. I didn't fix it until today. This week we're probably gonna help him paint. 

That's all I got time for today.
Hope you guys have a good week.

Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Jerusalen, Zona San Cristóbal, Guatemala Sur

Monday, July 10, 2017

Week 89 - Baptism Norelky

The obvious highlight of this week was our BAPTISM! Norelky got baptized. We had the interview on Wednesday and she asked me to baptize her. The young women have really helped a lot with her and the other teenage investigators. Really good fellowshipers in this ward.

The day of the baptism was a bit crazy. We were working normal until lunch. Then we started contacting and the zone leaders told us we needed to come down to the stake center to go to a lesson together as a zone so an investigator would get baptized. Then, when we were getting on the bus they asked where we were. When we told them we were just leaving they said it would be better to just stay because they were already late for the appointment. It wasn't our fault that they didn't notify us until 30 minutes before. So we got off and had to catch a bus going back to our area. Then, when we went back to our appointments, a member called us and told us the pila (baptismal fount) was dirty and to come and clean it. When we got there nobody had keys. We called the bishop and he was in the city center and said he'd get here in 30 minutes. Normally he's pretty punctual but the traffic coming to our area is terrible because there is only one road coming in and it's only one lane. He got to the chapel about an hour later. Meanwhile, we were trying to figure out how to get in. We were going to lower my companion in from the fount but the young women were having their mutual in the room of the baptismal fount.  Finally the bishop arrived with the keys, we cleaned the fount and started filling it. Then, Norelky came and put on the white dress and a sister noted that the dress was too see through. So they had to go get a slip to put under the dress. Thankfully the rest went smoothly.

On Sunday we had a bit of a set back with the family we were going to eat with. Long story short we couldn't get to working until 3. We didn't even go to the house to leave our church manuals, I didn't even have pamphlets. We went straight to work to make up the lost time. Then our next two appointments fell through. We went then to pick up a young man who wanted to leave with us to go do visits but because it was so late we only had time for one appointment. When we were leaving his house we were walking up the stairs thinking of which investigator to visit when I realized we were approaching one of our investigators, Marleni. She was sitting on the stairs talking to one of the young women. I was like I think God is telling us who. We had an awesome lesson with her about the Restoration.

Well, that's all for this week. Enjoy pictures of pretty flowers I found contacting.

Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Jerusalen, Zona San Cristóbal, Guatemala Sur

Monday, July 3, 2017

Week 88 - Spiritual Power and Moving

 Hello everybody!

This week was full of a lot of awesome, spiritual experiences. We had a lesson with a semi new family. "Semi new" because we found them the first week, but we can only visit them on Sundays after church. The dad, Anibal, had a lot of good questions about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, so we gave them a copy and read the invitation in the introduction. He also asked about the restoration of the priesthood so we explained the concept of priesthood keys with our house keys.

On Sunday, the Gospel Principles teacher didn't show up because she was sick. So our Ward Mission Leader asked me to give the class. It was on the Final Judgment. I was a bit nervous at first but I remembered that I had read the lesson a few days before-hand. It was really cool because I had just had a prompting to read it one day. But the lesson turned out really good. I definitely know it wasn't me teaching but the Holy Ghost!

During the week, we went out to teach with 3 youth. They took us to a few places where they had gone with other elders to teach (former investigators) and we had some pretty cool adventures. They ran away from dogs, we knocked wrong doors, and we found some pretty cool people

This week we also helped move two houses. The first was a part-member family that was moving to our ward from Peronia, the adjacent ward. The Chopen (cho-pen) family is a family of converts. Only the dad and one of the daughters hasn't gotten baptized (yet, we're working on it) They moved to a place that is, puchica (wow) , FAR. We had to help them take all their stuff up to the second level since their house wasn't finished yet. the hardest part was the fridge and the dressers. We had to maneuver them around the stairs because they were too tall and too long to fit. It took 4 elders and 2 other guys to lift and maneuver it up.

The second house we moved was OUR OWN! When I got here there were some pretty bad leaks in the roof and the water was filtering through the walls (see video).

The house always smelled dingy and our towels and shoes were hard to dry because of the humidity. On top of that our Zone leaders told us we had to move ASAP. So we were negotiating a house and finally on Friday we signed the contract. The only problem was that, because it was last minute, nobody in the ward could help us. We were moving within the same neighborhood. Only a few streets down. but we had to move all the furniture (2 desks, 4 closets, fridge, 2 beds, 2 tables and a bookshelf) by ourselves. This time the elders from Panorama and Peronia came to help us out though. Together we carried all the stuff through the streets and down the stairs (ooof that was rough) to our new house. It is so much better.

Norelky should be getting baptized this week. Her interview is on Wednesday. If not this week, next week. The Barrios family has gotten a little stuck. The work of the dad is the main obstacle. He has to go get documents so they can get married but he doesn't have time....

"We can't do everything for everyone, but we can do something for someone" -Bishop Veliz

We got to meet with President Shumway this Wednesday. He's pretty spiritual. His wife was a seminary teacher so conferences are gonna be spiritually awesome.

Well, until next time,

Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Jerusalen, Zona San Cristobal, Guatemala Sur