Monday, September 26, 2016

Bodibautismo & Emergency Changes - Week 47 and 48

Sorry guys for not sending a letter last week. A lot of things happened last P-day that made it difficult to write and then we just gave up. Here´s what I was able to get out:

As you guys may know, this week we had a wedding (boda) and baptisms (bautismos). Ricardo Guerra married Kenia Cervantes on the 17th of September, 2016! The entire week we were making plans and making sure everything was going to run smooth. It was really cool to see the ward come together in helping plan the wedding. Each organization offered something for the wedding. The Relief Society got the dress and provided the food, the Elders Quorum provided the entertainment (Hno Roldán has a discotek and is a DJ in his spare time!), The Young Men and Young Women helped decorate. It was soo awesome. The day comes, we brought the sound equipment over and set that up, filled the font. Everyone arrives. The bride got her hair and makeup did up nice and purty, we lent a suit to the groom. There were flowers. We were all ready to go.... all except for the lawyer. The wedding was supposed to start at 3. We figured with chapín time (it's like Mormon standard time but worse) we´d be starting at 3:30 but we called the lawyer to see where he was and he didn´t answer. We called a bunch and nothing. We ended up having to call the missionaries in the area to go to his house and see what was up. They got there and he said he wasn´t ready. He told us we would have to wait. Well, we did have to wait. 2 HOURS! I was so nervous. More nervous than the bride and groom! He finally arrived and we started the service. I tried recording everything but didn´t have space enough in my camera to record the grand talks of the lawyer and our bishop. Those set us even further behind. And none of it would have mattered if I hadn´t invited President. He had promised the family that he would come so he came. He arrived and the witnesses (I was one of the many) had just finished signing the papers. They quickly had their first dance and then went to change into their baptismal clothing. We had a few hiccups with the baptism too. Elder Nelson baptized Kenia and Ricardo. But Kenia kept letting go of his arm and would throw her hand out of the water. So he had to redo it a total of 3 times. We also didn´t bring the baptismal records because it had been raining a lot so we didn´t want to have them get ruined. But President asked to see them and we didn´t have them.... He was a bit frustrated with that. We had the baptism and then President left. Then we had the after party. It was really fun to see all the people dancing and come together for the wedding. They got confirmed the next day and continue to progress. 

A bit of news for this week. We had Emergency Changes. President called us Tuesday morning at 6:30 and told Elder Lascarez to pack his bags. We didn´t know what was going on but the secretaries said there´d be a taxi at 11 to take us to the mission office. We go and had interviews with President Caffaro then we came out and found out that we were exchanging companions. So now I'm with Elder Byrd. He´s from Eagle Mountain and has 6 months in the mission. He´s a Junior Companion still so I'm basically in charge and responsible for the area. He´s pretty good though. His Spanish is a bit shaky but I feel we´re going to get along well this last week of the change. I´m not sure if I´m going to have changes this coming Tuesday... I sure hope not. I really like it here. President told me he didn´t know if I'd have changes or not but that I should teach Elder Byrd the area just in case... So. Changes: TBD.

Having a different companion kind of through me off. Even though he´s really good and we can speak English, the emergency changes threw me off my groove. I´m hoping this week is a lot better.

We did find a new family though. Their names are Jony and Ilse. They both work at FedEx and know how to speak English! They offered to have the lessons in English but to be honest, I'm not sure I'd be able to teach the same in English. Now that I have an English speaking comp I am practicing a lot more. Also, all of our materials are in Spanish. I´ve been trying to see if I could get some pamphlets in English just in case. 

We had our Multi Zone Conference this week. This conference was special though. We had the special guest of Elder Ochoa, the 1st Counselor in the Area Presidency. He did an impromptu demonstration with President Caffaro about how a first lesson should go and I felt the spirit soo much. It was awe inspiring to see two leaders, two special witnesses of Christ and how they would do what we do. It inspired me to be more spiritual in my lessons and talk less casaca (small talk). Be direct and straight to the point that way the people know why were here: to teach them the Restored Gospel and help them make changes in their lives and covenants with our Heavenly Father.

Just yesterday I was over at the Bishop´s house and his wife showed me how to make pupusas. It's basically a tortilla with cheese, beans, and chicharron (pork) stuffed inside. There's a video included of her making them, then me. They turned out really good. Even better than the ones I had in Mita. That´s something I miss. Because we´re inside of the capital, Pupusas are super expensive. Q8 each where in Mita they were Q4 each. 

Elder Mattiaccio
Venezuela, Zona Nimajuyu, Guatemala Sur

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I uploaded video of the rain that Frankie spoke about in the last email. Also take a look at the "Pictures & Videos" tab on the blog and see Frankie eating pigs feet and many other fun videos.

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Wedding and A Baptism - Week 46

Hello everyone,

This week we´ve been working really hard to prepare the Guerra Family for baptism. Because the oldest son, Ricardo, and his girlfriend, Kenia, are living together, we had to plan a wedding too. When we told the ward, they just ate it up. The elders are going to provide the music, the Relief Society food and the dress, Young Women are gonna decorate. The Young Men didn't commit to anything. Maybe they'll help decorate. And we got a lawyer so they can get married for free. So we´re gonna have a wedding then a baptism this Saturday!!!!
My first family that I'm going to baptize!! If we baptize families, we can accompany them when they go to get sealed! Because you have to wait a year after being baptized to be able to be sealed in the temple, the first year of the mission is crucial for finding families. I have a couple months to find more families but the time is running short.

The torrential downpours are beginning again... I found that the protective cover I have for my bag doesn´t help against floods. One day, we almost literally had to swim back to the house. I would've taken videos or pics but I didn´t want to ruin my camera let alone open my bag. But really though. When it rains here, the streets turn into a raging river. There were tons of flooding and the traffic was horrible. Some of our appointments fell because of the rain. It was critical. We live on the second floor so we were safe but there was a lot of damage throughout the city. A wall of an apartment complex fell. I don't think anyone was hurt but we were passing by when the city was cleaning it up. 

September 15th is the Independence day for all Central America. But here it's more than just that day. It's basically the entire month. There are parades, people run from the city carrying torches to their individual communities. the traditions here are pretty cool and colorful!

Well, that's all. This week will be focusing on preparations for the baptism and wedding.

Elder Mattiaccio
Venezuela, Zona Nimajuyu, Guatemala Sur

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Fasting for Their Investigators - Week 45

This week was a pretty normal week. I finally sent my shoes to get the soles replaced. Because the sole was basically foam it got worn out really quickly. But now I put on a sole that is basically for boots. I hope these last a while. Sorry for the random boring news...

This week we met the Ramirez Family, a family who the ward said was in-active and told us to visit. But when we knocked the door, they were having seminary in their house.... We wondered to ourselves "How can they be inactive and have SEMINARY taught in their house???" Turns out the parents hadn´t been going to church for health reasons but were normally really active. They got baptized 4 years ago and got sealed right at the year mark. They are super strong and have awesome testimonies. We did a dynamic with them about thinking outside the box when we have a problem and prayer. Click here to see the video. It was really fun.

This week, being fast Sunday, we fasted as a mission for all of our personal challenges. We felt prompted that we should include the Guerras in the fast so they could fast for their baptismal date. 
This week the Guerras converted into fechas de compromise (for sure gonna get baptized). We just have to convince the son and his girlfriend to get married and they will be too. To help them, we included them in our fast, seeing as it was fast Sunday we took advantage and taught them about fasting and asked them to join in and to pray for their baptismal date. They gladly accepted. We also prayed for their family. The dad wants his entire family to come with us but it becomes a little hard since 2 of his kids live in La Justo. To make things easier on them, we are going to pass them over to the elders there, that way they can attend church there and have more regular visits from them down there. 

This week we weren´t able to place a baptismal date with any families but we have found a few who will make promising investigators. We hope to place dates with them too.

I just finished one of my 40 day fasts to not drink any soda. I plan to continue not drinking it so I can lose weight and save money but now if members offer I'm not going to be as strict. But now they all know now so they don't offer as much. I'm almost done with my other fast to not make myself baggy looking at pictures from home. I feel it has helped me to be more focused on the mission an the people here than the people I left. I still think and pray for you, just no sitting and reminiscing.

Love You All,

Elder Mattiaccio