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Monday, September 29, 2014

Week #14: New iPads, Futboll and singing General Conference invitations.



The Guatemala Retalhuleu Mission received new technology this week!  New iPads!!??

No not quite, maybe someday, but in the meantime we will enjoy this wonderful new technology that you may have heard of before and are excited for the blessing it will bring.  A few short hours ago, early in the morning,  the office elders along with a zone leader and the stake president went into each of the homes and installed smoke detectors.   Most of you will not understand why this is so unusual or the irony in this until I explain a bit more. In the USA, smoke detectors are the norm, the standard, the requirement even.  In many places in Guatemala... maybe not so much, probably the biggest reason of all is due to the Guatemala Trash and Recycling program.  The trash disposal system here is throwing all the trash into a pile and then lighting it on fire, letting it burn until it is all ashes.  People usually do these early in the morning, sometimes in mid-day and even right around dinner.  Our house sits in the middle of a few others since we are living in more of a casita then an actual house and so we are constantly bombarded with smoke clouds that smog out the house.  On a positive note this pushes out all of the bugs for a while - it is the best natural mosquito repellant there is!   It will be interesting to see what happens now with the installation of the smoke detectors, especially when we aren't at home to shut the alarm off - my guess is the neighbors will wonder about the lovely new peculiar bird that is nesting in the area.

The iPads would have been better, but I am sure Mom is happy about the lengths that the mission goes to in order to ensure our safety.

This past week we had one of the most successful unconventional lessons ever - it was held in the middle of soccer game in the middle of the street in pouring rain.   One of the days this week we had some time before a lesson so we started to walk up the street to go and try our luck with contacting.  As we talked to everyone we passed we were challenged to a game of futboll (that is soccer for you back home). It was lightly raining at the time and we had been promising the youth there for a while that we would play with them at some point. So we decided to jump in and play. As we started to play the rain started to come down harder than anything I had seen in my life in California.   Elder Goodman and I started to do pretty well so I made a little joke of a bet with one of the youth that we had been teaching that if we lost they would listen to one of our lessons. I said this of course in my horrible Spanish and so they probably thought that I was saying that if they lost they would listen to a lesson, not if Elder Goodman and I lost.   Sure enough several goals later we lost and they were committed to listen to a lesson.   We bought some chips at a tienda -  found a somewhat dry spot  and sat down with them all and had an actual lesson. Its a cool thing to be close enough to the youth of an area that the see you as friends and will listen to you on that alone. We are actually having a lot of success with the youth lately and the more that come to church and even join the church the better the youth program becomes.  This has a domino effect as then more of their non member friends who want to join the church or at least start investigating start coming around as well.

On Wednesday my companion had a meeting for the district leaders and we headed over to Concepcion - but once there Elder Vega and I decided that we would rather go and work than sit it some meeting.  Elder Vega is the companion of the other district leader in the Las Palmas zone and we know each other pretty.  I had never had the opportunity to work with him up until then. We left Concepcion and headed over to my area.

Once in the area we set off to work and wow he seriously is a pilas worker. He goes hard and teaches with all he has. Within the short 2 hours that we were working we had 4 lessons 2 new investigators and 1 who is committed to baptism.  The lesson I really liked was one with a 74 year old man, that doesn't look his age at all and has a firm handshake for a man of his age or even for a man in his twenties.  As we talked with him and taught him the restoration he was excited and wanted to know more and as we got to know him we found out that when times were tough and he needed money for his family he would actually go and box to get the money he needed!  I was really impressed with Elder Vega and the way he taught. It was a really good opportunity to see other ways in which people teach. I kinda keep a mental journal of all of the little methods, scripture chains or simply the interesting ways in which others teach in my head, and of course record them in my study journal later.

As I am sure most of you know it is General Conference weekend.  As such it is like perfect time to invite everyone and anyone to Conference.  We actually have a lot of activities just for this. One of the things that our zone did was film a little video that is actually pretty funny on how to invite someone to church.   However, one of the pretty awesome activities that we did here was a singing attack. On Saturday morning we all went over to the Area San Carlos and in the middle of the town square began to sing hymns.  Cnce we attracted a pretty decent crowd we slowing started to send missionaries out to go and talk, teach and invite the people to General Conference. Once all of our voices started to give way we all hurriedly broke off and invited people before anyone had the chance to leave. It was really successful and makes me wonder just what could happen if people in USA did that kinda of stuff.  Tell Chase and Brooke to do this for their mutual night this week - setup in the mall or in the middle of shopping area right by Whimsical.

This week has been a good week.  I have really grown to love the people, and it literally hurts everytime we teach and the people just don't get what is right in front of them, and what a difference the Gospel would make in their lives.  It is sad to think that they don't want to make a few small changes in their lives so they can have infinite joy. I dont know what to say or do at times, but I do know that I believe it will make such a big difference in their lives and I will do all in my power, all my heart, might, mind and strength to help them see this.


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