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Monday, August 11, 2014

Week #7 Las Palmas - Las Verdes Area

So im going to start off by saying that I am sorry for not writing last week but there was no way that I could so I will do my best to go over what has happened in the last 2 weeks.

The last day in the CCM for all intents and purposes is an all encompassing review day. Throughout the day we had a series of workshops going over and showing ways in which we can apply the fundamentals that we had been going over for the last six weeks in the CCM. I won't go into to much detail concerning these however at some point in that day we were told that we would be leaving for our missions at 7am in the morning however we would need to have our bags down in the bus by 5:45.  These workshops were relatively "tedious" as most review sessions tend to be, but they had their golden moments of spiritual insight like all things in the Church tend to have, when one is where they should be doing what they should be doing.

It all just kinda set in, this was our last moments with our new family, in a few short moments we would be leaving the CCM and each other and moving into a whole new world one that is vastly different then the one we were raised in or even the sheltered world  of the CCM.  As this day came to a close we had our final district meeting, a district meeting that will never be forgotten as each of us in district mateo shared parts of the deepest foundations of our testimonies, specs of our true love for this gospel. The testimonies shared here kept tears running throughout the hour and a half meeting and even sometime after.

Saying goodbye to each other and other people in the CCM seemed to be harder than saying goodbye to our families at home. I know this sounds a little bad, because I do love all my family and friends back home, but there is some logic behind this. We know for sure that we will see our families and friends again, we will see them when we come back home and they will all be waiting for us.  But our CCM family, this just simply is not the same. We are spread out, some of us in different countries and we don't know for sure if we will ever be able to see each other again. It's a hard thing to think about losing someone that you have become
so close to.

We ended that final district meeting and left to fulfill a CCM tradition of all departing missionaries. The biggest and most infamous of such goes as follows. We gather as many elders as we can into the room with the best view of the temple (we fit around 100 missionaries into that room that day), we then in spanish, sing 3 hymns; hymnos #161 Somos hoy llamados, #88 Placentero nos es trabajar y #89 Para siempre Dios este con vos.  ( I dont know if I can will all honesty call what we do there singing. in reality it is a bunch of Elders and Hermanas screaming as loud as they can these 3 hymns. I myself lost my voice after) this is followed by a closing prayer then we leave and head off to bed for our last night in the CCM.

We left the CCM this morning but of course not without our final goodbyes and our long desired cameras. The bus ride to Reu is around 4 hours and as we began our journey we were all filled with joy to finally be leaving the spiritual prison that is the CCM. It was a weird experience to leave. The sun seemed brighter the world seemed different.   As we drove through the city and into the country of Guatemala we watched as the buildings slowing turned to trees and the people into animals. It is humbling to see the the way people (and now I) live here.  The small little cinder block or scrapmetal houses, the dirt floors, the animals everywhere and stray dogs galore. Most of these houses barely have running water or electricity. The further we moved
from the city the more rural the world seemed to become.  We when reached the mission office,  President Ruiz was there along with all of the APs and other office working missionaries.  We scrambled to look presentable before getting out of the van. after unloading the shuttle bus we had a series of presentations about the mission. They fed us lunch and then sent us to work.  We were paired off with missionaries serving in the area and began working.

I was paired with Elder Goodman he is a 5'7" blonde haired fella who was a wrestler and has been in the area, Las Palmas - La Verde in Retalhuleu about 10 min from the Mission office, for 10 months. We tried our luck at contacting and found around 5 people one of them being an older gentleman who we talked with. He was very hesitate about anything that we taught him.  After the lesson Elder goodman told me that this area is something we call an area of faith, where people who don't know about the church aren't really to willing to listen.   After the lesson with the old man we headed back to the Mission office and over to Presidents Ruiz's home to have dinner then we went to a hotel for the night.

The next morning is change day. There is a lot of stuff that happens there, but I'll save that for another day for now I will only announce that I will be serving in the Las Palmas Zone in the area of La Verde. I will be Serving and being trained under Elder Goodman!  It seems to be a recurring theme on my mission to be serving with the people I have some kind of pre-existing connection with (remember Elder Virgin and I had gotten together on the flight down to Guatemala before being assigned as companions).

Elder Goodman and I have been getting along great!  He is patient with my spanish and has been taking me around and introducing me to all of the members as well as the investigators throughout this week. After seeing him teach my respect for him has grown.  He is very good at what he does and for a gringo his spanish is amazing and when he is next to me he looks like a native as he speaks. I don't know maybe thats good though because they get the baby (nursery) or primary form of the lessons through me and then they get the better and more clarified version through my companion. Whatever we are doing through seems to be working pretty well. We had a baptism on Saturday and I was the one to do the ordinance.  I don't think there is anything better then being able to do this kind of work or even to do these kind of things they joy you feel when you see them come out of the waters of baptism is amazing and I want to be able to feel their joy on many more occasions as I go throughout my mission.  At this moment it looks as though we will we have another 4 baptisms lined up this month. The joy in these peoples faces is amazing when we teach we can literally see the spirit come upon them and change their whole demeanor. I dont know if I will ever want to go home. I can't even understand half of what these people are saying most of the time but I know that this will come in time. After this week I figure I can pick up on around 40% of what they are saying if not more.

Well its pretty much time to go and I love all of you and hope that you will keep the people of La Verde in your prayers.

Elder Goodman and I trying to prove that you can have your cake and eat it too!

Deluxe Accommodations: Large garden view bay windows

Deluxe Accomodations: Notice the walk in extra large shower, and the triple sink/bathtub.

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