Thursday, June 29, 2017

Week 87 - Goodbye President Caffaro

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.

Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Jerusalen, Zona San Cristobal, Guatemala Sur

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Week 86 - Though the weather outside is frightful, the work is so delightful

Hello everybody,

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

Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Jerusalen, Zona San Cristobal, Guatemala Sur

Monday, June 12, 2017

Week 85 - Goodbye Devil's Alley, Hello Jerusalem

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.

Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Sanarate, Zona Jalapa, Guatemala Sur

Monday, June 5, 2017

Week 84 - Happy Birthday to Me

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!

Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Sanarate, Zona Jalapa, Guatemala Sur

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Week 83 - Fruits of our Labor

(Gabby here...sorry for delayed posts. Been having issues with blogger. Sorry, I couldn't load pictures either)
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 Hello Everyone!

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.

Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Sanarate, Zona Jalapa, Guatemala Sur

Week 82 - Feast on the words of Christ

(Gabby here...sorry for delayed posts. Been having issues with blogger. Sorry, I couldn't load pictures either)

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Hello everyone,

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!

Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Sanarate, Zona Jalapa, Guatemala Sur

Week 80 and 81

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.

Elder Mattiaccio
Barrio Sanarate, Zona Jalapa, Guatemala Sur