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Monday, September 22, 2014

Week #13: Obi-Won Trainers and young padawans

Q&A: (Editor's Note: Each week in our letter we ask him a few questions and hope and pray for answers.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't)

Question:  You still getting lots of rain?
Answer: Yes, daily, in fact if California is still in a drought they should consider some water pipes to Guatemala instead of that speed train - there is plenty of water to spare EVERY AFTERNOON.

Question: Have you seen any monkeys?
Answer: Once again no, you don't need to ask me that every week, but if it makes you feel any better I did climb a tree today and cut down some coconuts - they tasted so good, the coconut water too. Yes I realize that monkeys eat bananas and not coconuts but that is as close to a monkey story as I have for you this week.

Question: Do you have any question for us?
Answer: What are questions? What kind would you like me to ask? Do you like these kind of questions? I think that they are pretty fun do you? Smart alecs....not even a mission can change em.

I don't know how to really sum up the week but there sure has been a lot of cake. I think I will call this week, "The Week of Cake".

This past monday as you know was independance day here in Guatemala (and if you didn't you do now).  It was was also the birthday of my companion Elder Goodman.  One of the benefits of him being in the area for so long is that he has established some amazing relationships with the people in this area.  With this good standing, our stomachs experienced the fruits of his labors.  I lost count of how many cakes, a la birthday cakes, we have had this week but wow....I think I might have even gained a little of the weight I have lost back. I am very glad that he has been such as good worker in this area, he has taught me a lot, and now the lesson of be kind, be friendly, work hard and you get cake on your birthday can be added to the lesson list.

Every Tuesday we have district meetings.  (For those of you who don't know missionaries are organized in companionships, 2-3 companionships usually make a make up "a district" and a few districts make up "a zone".  Finally if you have a few zones you have yourself a mission.)   This district meeting was a little different, for we all knew that changes/transfer were the following day and we all knew that we would be finding out who would be leaving the area at the end of the meeting.  As I sat there I could see the nerves on many of the faces, the excited anxiety of the idea of them possibly leaving or having a new companion. It is a sad time in some ways, but for me is was more just an experience than anything else, since I figured for the most part that I wouldn't be having any changes with only a month in the area. There was a chance I guess that my companion could be transferred as he has been here a while, but I thought since we had only been together a month that this probably wouldn't happen either.

I have to give props to the zone leaders on their presentation of the changes.  They made it about as suspenseful as it could be, by putting all of our names on the whiteboard and slowing and deceivingly removing and adding names. By the end of meeting we found out that Hermana Barba and Gonzales would be having changes, Hermana Pacheco would be leaving us and going home and Elder Lloclle would be having changes.  Everyone else, including my companion, would be staying in the zone. My comp was a little bummed about this since this will be his 5th change in the area now - but he's gotten over it for the most part already.  Plus why would he want to leave just a great companion like me.

The change meeting the following day was pretty exciting and by the end we received two new straight from the CCM Hermanas, making the La Verde District a district of half-missionary Obi-Won trainers and the other half new little Padawans (I am still of course counted in this half, I still have much to learn).

The following day we had our zone meeting where we got to know the new people in the zone.   They all seem pretty pilas and I am sure we can keep the success of the zone going. After the meeting I went on divisions with the zone leaders. I went with Elder Portillo to his area and my comp went to our area with Elder Hernandez. It was nice to have divisions and to be able to see a different method of teaching.  I learned alot from Elder Portillo and I am glad he is one of my zone leaders.  He really knows how to teach and to let the spirit touch the hearts of the people we are teaching.

When I was working with him I kinda felt like the training wheels came off just a little bit, maybe just one of the bolts that allows me to balance just a bit more on my own. This was probably one of the coolest moments I have experienced with the language thus far. We were simply talking with a family and I could talk, hear, understand and even crack some jokes in Spanish. I dont know if any of you have ever tried to understand a joke in another language but there isn't much more difficult than being able to tell jokes in another language. The whole night was overall different and refreshing to be out out in a different area with a different companion.

We had a baptism this week it and it was kinda special.  In the La Verde area we have a small building for the branch and there isn't really a traditional baptismal font there.   I know I helped Dad many a time on a Saturday morning to fill up the font and set up the chairs at our building back home- but here it is a little different.  We awoke Saturday morning and went over to the building TO BUILD the font out of I what I can best describe as giant lego pieces and plastic.  I guess I have been trained in font building skills at a young age with my experience with legos and Minecraft without even knowing it.  When it was all put together it didn't look half bad, save the few bugs swimming around in the water - but hey this is Guatemala and there are usually little bugs in all vessels.. including the vessels containing the food and drink we consume :p.

Later in the day we made our rounds as normal on Saturday to remind the people that there is indeed church tomorrow and that we will be picking them up at the same time as normal, for remember as the song goes "Saturday is a special days it is the day we get ready for Sunday".  Sometimes Elder Goodman and I marvel at the preparation needed in the branch for Sunday services that we do.  The pick-ups, the drop-offs, the talks, the lessons and even the occasional hymns on the piano (did you know I play the piano now?).  We do all we can to make sure that the people we are teaching and the members are able to worship and feel the fellowship of one another.  It has given me a new appreciation of the time and effort so many put into their callings in the church all without payment, just a love and desire to help others.

Putting together the baptismal font

Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner take your pick

The Road Less Traveled

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