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!
Barrio Jerusalen, Zona San Cristóbal, Guatemala Sur
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.
Barrio Jerusalen, Zona San Cristóbal, Guatemala Sur
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.
Barrio Jerusalen, Zona San Cristóbal, Guatemala Sur
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,
Barrio Jerusalen, Zona San Cristobal, Guatemala Sur
This week was a bit sad. We had our last Mission Conference with President and Sister Caffaro. I cried. HE cried. He made us a bit baggy cuz he basically did his spiel on what to do when you're a returned missionary. Overall, it was a really spiritual experience. We gave him a "game ball" with all of our names signed on it. Our zone gave him a going away present as well. A picture of us as a zone.
On the side of the work of salvation we had a great week as well. Familia Barrios seem to be good to go to get married. The brother is gonna go get the papers they need to get married and hopefully have another "bodi-bautismo" on thursday. We have another investigator that is showing a ton of potential. Her name is Norelky. She told me in church she wanted to get baptized on the 8th.(next weekend) I was like: "allllrighty then. We'll make that happen." She's so pilas. She even went to go get her boyfriend before church with the young women!
We went exploring our area a bit and I took some pictures of some really positive grafiti. I've never seen so much before this area. I think the city does projects with the youth to do it. This weekend we had a mini mission with the priests and the laurels of the stake. We did a mini CCM experience and taught them how to teach the 1st lesson "the Restoration" and they learned how to cook and do some other exercises. In the night the went to teach "investigators" (members) and had to pass by their houses bringing them to church on sunday.
Did you guys hear about the earthquake this week? Yes, another one. This time I was awake and saying my morning prayer. It was a pretty long earthquake but I wasn't too freaked out. I thought that it was cool. hehehe.
Ok sorry, that's all I got time for. Love you.
Barrio Jerusalen, Zona San Cristobal, Guatemala Sur
This week was really cool. (pun intended) I went from a really low valley to up on a mountain. Needless to say, it's a bit colder here. Here in Jerusalem it rains everyday. We're practically in the clouds so after about noon it is either raining or there is a constant mist. While I was still in Sanarate I broke down and bought a rain poncho so we wouldn't be all wet when we entered people's houses. (I like being soaked. I don't know why...) I thought it was a little weird that I had to buy another one (thoughts after the fact) since I had bought one while I was in Milagro (about a year ago...) Then, when I was packing, my suspicions were confirmed. I found my other poncho.... Oh well. Actually, it helps because I can leave one to dry while I take one out to work. It is so humid here it is hard for things to dry (since we don't have dryers, only hang dry. maybe with the fan).
Elder Hernandez is a pretty cool guy. He's a bit shy. Shyer than I am. So it's kinda forcing me to be outgoing and take the initiative. He's still a bit green but I'm ready to learn from his fresh ideas.
We are teaching a family that their daughter has already gotten baptized and got confirmed this Sunday. The parents haven't gotten baptized yet because they aren't married. They've been together 26 years, they've just never gotten around to formalizing it (a common occurrence here in Guatemala). Gudiel, the husband, is an ex army member and is now working for a security company so he works 6 days then rests 3. That is going to make it hard for him and his wife to get married and baptized since he has to go take out documents of identification to get married.
One day while we were contacting I knocked a door and a little kid came out. He told me his parents had left to run an errand (classic answer) so I told him we'd come back. I then went to go to the next door and I found the rest of his brothers. They were bringing some fruit called jocotes. When I was at the next door I saw a jocote roll by. I kicked it back. Then more came. It turned into an all out jocote war in that alley. Then I stopped and was hiding in another alley and a woman came out and yelled at the kids. It was really funny cuz I was hidden and she didn't see me.
Well. The adventures are just beginning. I'll try to remember to give follow up on the Familia Barrios (the family that needs to get married) next week.
Just in case you heard about the earthquake last week, I didn't even feel it. My mission wasn't affected.
That's all for now. Love y'all
Barrio Jerusalen, Zona San Cristobal, Guatemala Sur
Hey guys, like the title says: I'm outta here! (El Callejón del Diablo/Devil's Alley is the street I live on and Jerusalem/Jerusalem is my new area) I'm going back inside of the capital. No more heat but a lot more rain! Changes are always interesting. Always new adventures. My new companion is Elder Hernandez from El Salvador (second Salvadoranian) and he's the District Leader there. The entire zone is made up of 8 missionaries, two districts of two companionships. We are in the Zone Leader's District so we'll probably be doing a lot of divisions.
I'm sad to be going though because I wanted to be here to keep supporting Keily (our investigator who JUST GOT BAPTIZED) Last Sunday she said she wasn't sure she wanted to go through with it so we said "that's fine. Read and pray about it and let us know your answer on Tuesday. We came on Tuesday and her entire countenance was different. We said a prayer, chit chatted for a minute, then asked the question. She smiled and said, almost chuckling, "of course!" We got everything ready, we had the interview on Friday and Elder Gruber (our zone leader) comes out and says "She wants you to baptize her". He hadn't even mentioned that we were an option to baptize and when he asked "who do you want to baptize you? the bishop? a member?" and she asked "Can it be one of my Elders?" I think this baptism went by the smoothest possible. Normally we're running all over town. Ahh we need the keys! Clean the baptismal fount! Clean the church! We don't have baptismal clothing! Where's the bishop! Where's the person who's gonna get baptized? Etc. But this time all went smooth like butter. We started a bit late but that's to be expected with GST (Guatemalan Standard Time, Like MST: Mormon Standard Time). The Spirit is definitely strong with this one! She came out of the water and was crying. When I came out from changing she was still crying in the hallway. I was a little worried.... Was she regretting her decision? I asked her what was wrong and she told me she felt so happy. She's sixteen years old and now has started her path to eternal life. I can't imagine what would've happened had we not found her mom. Or had we listened to our Ward Mission Leader and not gone back with her. God places us in the right places to help His children.
This week we also had a trip to the capital again to have another Multi Mission Conference, this time with Elder Renlund. This time it was The Guatemala South, East, and Central Missions and the CCM (MTC) as well. It's so great to see all my friends from the CCM and even from home. I saw Elder Gorze (East) Sister Montoya (Central) Elders Sweat, Shumway, and Brown (Central) As well as all my companions Elder Langi, Elder Cussi, Elder Campos, Elder Lascarez. It's like a big reunion. I love it because our mission always goes in suits and típica ties (cultural fabric patterns) He called us the Lord's "Atonement Delivery System". We take the Gospel and teach it to God's children so they can accept it and receive a remission of their sins.
Well... gots to go. I'll be sending pictures of more ward members next week for when I say goodbye.
This week was pretty normal. It started raining again and I broke down and bought a poncho. I had been carrying it around a bunch without it raining and a few days ago it finally paid off. For my birthday we went to Dominos Pizza for dinner and they gave me a brownie free, but they didn't sing :( I had also bought myself a piece of cake from holandesa. It was soo yummy). Thank you again for all the birthday wishes. It was great to hearing from all of you.
Various times this week we had a bunch of appointments fall in a row. But each time, we got to contacting to fill the time and each time we found someone who is looking for answers. Keily is still good for her baptism even though she was feeling some doubts, but we helped her remember how she's felt and she felt better then.
Sorry for the short letter, we have to go to the capital again for a multi-mission conference with Elder Renlund. Love you all!
Thanks for all the birthday wishes. Birthdays in the mish are kinda weird but the letters from home are the best part :D
This week went pretty good. Yesterday we had an awesome lesson right after church. Keili, our pilas investigator, came with her family to church. We called them in the morning to see if they were up and they were already getting ready to leave! They got to church and after sacrament meeting made like they were leaving. The mom had to leave but Keili stayed. Then after the second hour she was like "I have to go" but we called the young women's president (who is also a returned missionary) and she convinced her to stay. Then after we all got out we pulled her aside and talked with her about her experience. What she said was super cool! She said that she felt really good and that she felt like she was at home. We challenged her to baptism and she accepted. The 10th of June she's gonna be baptized. When we challenged her, the Spirit was so strong! It literally made me cry. That is the second time in all my mission. It is so gratifying to see the fruits of our labors.
To be honest this week had its good points and its bad ones. We've been having lots of lessons but the people that we are finding aren't really progressing. We have one investigator that is really progressing towards baptism, Keili. Keili is the oldest daughter of a less active family we found last change with elder cornejo. Really, only the mom is a member and she was baptized little and stopped going when she was 14-15 (She's 41 now to give you an idea). But keili has been showing great potential. She has read 2 entire pamphlets and basically explained them to us after. When her mom or dad ask questions she explains to them. We asked her to read the introduction page of the Book of Mormon and she read it AND the testimonies of the Three Witnesses, Eight Witnesses AND Joseph Smith. The only thing is: yesterday she didn't come to church :'( and we don't know why.
Another miracle occurred yesterday, we were leaving our lunch and going to a sector to contact when we were passing by an old investigator's house. I felt like we should try knocking his door one last time before giving up forever the chances of finding him again. I knocked. and what do you know? He opened! He let us in and had a bunch of questions. Even though it was over 2 weeks ago that we met with him last, he had read the pamphlet and had a lot of good questions. We tried to help him resolve a few of his doubts but our time ran out and he had to go. We put a return appointment and hope to be able to find him again this time.
This week we started something as a mission. We are following President Nelson's advice and studying Jesus Christ. We are calling it the 40 Day Feast, alluding to "Feast on the words of Christ". Every day we are reading a chapter of the doctrines that Christ taught and it is all laid out on a card what we have to read each day. It has been great so far. I love reading the real doctrine of Christ. These are the things that answer the big questions. The great thing is is that most of the answers are simple. The Gospel isn't complex. It's not even profound. Really, for those who understand it, the Gospel is so simple that it almost seems innate. Something that we've always known but never remembered. Because we literally learned it before coming to this earth! Oh, I love it!
Apart from feasting spiritually, this week we've been having a literal feast as well. Members have been giving us some pretty interesting foods. The sister who gives us lunch gave us a type of sub sandwich that was basically a salad in the middle of french bread. It had radish, beets (they eat a lot of that here), cucumber, lettuce, carrots, tomato, and chicken. It was huge! I could hardly fit it in my mouth. Then, yesterday the Cirilo (see·ree·lo) family gave us an awesome dish with steak and this sausage, but the most special part: A&W Rootbeer and Oreos! Two things that you don't enjoy too often here, especially outside of the city.
Haha good times! Well gots to go. Hope you all have a good week!
Hey! It was so great talking to you guys yesterday. Sorry we keep having technical difficulties and didn't get to talk much. I feel like that a lot. I actually don't talk too much in our lessons either since I'm a little bit quieter and Elder Garza is very fluent and eloquent in his teachings. He's really good at talking with anyone and he knows how to use the bible to teach everything.
Last week we had stake conference here in Jalapa. We had to get up at 5 to get ready and go get our investigators. We all (the ward and us) rented a bus and left at 7:30 to get to Jalapa by 9:00. We only had 2 investigators come since it was a lot earlier than normal but that means these investigators are more dedicated to coming. We had interviews with President Caffaro. My interview was awesome! I felt pumped. I'm pretty sure it was my last interview with him. Sometime soon (June) the new mission president will be taking over I think.
There have been a bunch of thunderstorms lately but it's a welcome change to the unrelenting heat hahaha. Here's a video of my companion teaching during one of the storms.
Hey everyone! This week I think it is safe to say that the rainy season has begun. I mean, last night, we were teaching/taking refuge in a house when the power went out. I actually love the rain. All of the members think I'm crazy because when it starts raining I almost get giddy. I love going out in the rain. I don't even carry an umbrella. I just put my books in a plastic bag inside my bag so they don't get soaked like I do. hahaha. Last night, when we left the house of that family we were headed to another family's house and we knocked on what we thought was their door. Come to find out, that because of the rain and it being kinda dark where we were we mistook their house. (The houses also look very similar. We found a man who had just moved in that day. When we realized we knocked the wrong door we took advantage. I really felt that we were guided to him. He's catholic, like everyone else here, but he says that there is something to learn from every message. He seemed really willing to read and learn more. Hopefully the spirit touches his heart and testifies that the message is true and that he wants to learn more.
I think I had an experience this week that no other missionary can claim. I went through an entire lesson with a chicken on my head! We were sitting on the patio of a family we were teaching when out of nowhere this chicken jumps on my back and roosts on my head. The kids thought it was funny and it actually helped them pay attention so I let it fly (pun intended).
I have been looking for a place to fix my proselyting bag. I have another one that I've been using but I like the one I brought on the mission better. It wasn't fatally broken or anything. Just a side zipper but I had left it with a man to fix it for two weeks, come to find out he didn't have the piece to fix it. So I took matters into my own hands. I ripped out the zipper and a member donated me a zipper to put on and I sewed it on by had. Good as new ;P
This week we had changes. My companion, Elder Cornejo is leaving and I receive Elder Garza, the new District Leader. I saw him enter the mission while I was in Mita. He's a pretty cool guy. I'll send a pic of us next week.
Barrio Sanarate, Zona Jalapa, Guatemala Sur
p.s. Looks like Frankie had problems loading pictures this week so we'll have to leave it to our imagination until next time.
Hey everybody! This week started off with a trip to the dentist. I had broken my filling on my front tooth some time ago and finally got permission from Sister Caffaro to go get it fixed. He did a pretty good job actually. He's a retired dentist from Logan, Utah. Elder Hogh. He also fixed another filling I had that was bothering me. He said it was because my top molar looked "almost like fuego!"(a volcano here in Guatemala) So he rounded my tooth off (ouch) to make it "more like Hill Cumorah". To go to the dentist's office we had to go to a different mission seeing as how there are 3 different missions here in the capital.
Because it was our Pday the assistants said we could explore the capital a little bit. So we got a little bit lost trying to get back to the mission office. But we found a really cool topographical map of Guatemala.
We finally got to the office and started divisions with the financial secretaries and stayed the night at their house. We had a multizone conference the next day so we just stayed in the capital instead of going all the way back and having to return super early the next morning. When we left the conference we had to go with the sisters all in one taxi cuz they didn't know how to get back to our area since they came another way. So we all squished into one taxi. Us, Elder Hazeldine and Elder Perez in the back and Hermana Salgado and Hermana Rivera up front. hahaha It was a tight squeeze and all of our bags were in the trunk. The taxis here are like little clown cars. When we got to the bus terminal we went to get our bags to find out the trunk hadn't shut properly and was open the whole trip! Luckily nothing fell out hahaha.
This week we had divisions with the zone leaders as well as the assistants. I was in Sanarate with Elder Clarke. He's a zone leader and I watched him enter the mission in Nimajuyu! puchica! With him it was awesome. We were able to invite Mari (the investigator that we helped with the pila) to baptism. She didn't accept totally because she still has some doubts but she said she'd be willing to continue meeting with us until she receives an answer!
Then with Elder Alegria, the assistant, came and worked with both of us in Sanarate and showed us a family he taught when he was starting the mission here in Sanarate. He goes home next week. It was pretty cool to see their reaction to him. They stopped visiting with the missionaries a long time ago but things have changed in their lives so we are hoping they will receive the answer they need to get baptized as a family.
It's that time of year again when we all remember the life of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. (it should be Easter all year round!) I love this season because everyone is centered on Christ. I loved that in General Conference there were a bunch of talks about becoming true disciples of Jesus Christ. It's something we're contemplating as a mission. What can we do to be truer disciples of Christ? We're obviously acting as his representatives but how well are we representing him? this goes to all as members as well. Plaque or no plaque, we are representatives of Christ and His Church. That is part of the commitment we make when we are baptized into his true church. We must strive to "be example[s] of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." This week we were sharing the video on Mormon.org #PrinceOfPeace. It's a really good video and, even though Easter is over, I invite everyone to watch it!
Sorry, I have to go to the capital today and don't have to much time... but watch the video by clicking HERE.
This week was pretty fun. I went to a neighboring are called Sansare on divisions. I was there with Elder Hazeldine from Kaysville, Utah. He's a pretty cool guy and he's a super humble missionary. He's out in a little town and they don't even have a chapel, the members and investigators arrive at his house Sunday in the afternoon and our bishop goes to preside the meetings on the patio. It's pretty cool. We went to go teach a family, and asked if they needed any help. The dad looked like he wanted to say something but was uncomfortable asking so Elder Hazeldine insisted. So what was it that they needed? They needed someone to go draw water from a nearby well where the water literally springs out of the rock! Here, most of the rivers are contaminated to the point of being visibly dirty, so to find clear, potable water is kindof hard. Most people buy jugs of water from a company called agua pura salvavidas. (pure water saves lives) but here in this little town money's a bit short. So we went with four 5 gallon jugs and drew water. It was a pretty cool experience.
On Friday, we were out contacting when we found a new investigator who seemed pretty pilas. I knocked the door and her son and father came out. Basically it was just the son talking cuz the grandpa was a little old and senile... He let us in and the mom came and gave us chairs to sit on. She was doing house chores and "couldn't listen to us". So we came in and sat down and started talking with her dad a little bit when she came and sat down. She felt bad since she was leaving us there alone and she listened rather intently. We finished the lesson and again offered to help her with her chores and she said we could help her empty a huge wash basin that was clogged so her friend could come and fix it. So we grabbed buckets and started emptying it. When it was getting low we had to reach in farther to get the water and one time I was reaching and my agenda fell out of my shirt pocket! AHHHHHH! I almost died and let out a yelp. I dove in to rescue my agenda cuz those are like gold and have priceless memories and almost fell in myself. So I put that out to dry and the very next time my mission manual and my plaque fell in. Double AHHHHHHHH!!! I was so sad that day. And the next time, my pen. I was just done at that point and just helped carry the water but not pull it out :P