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Monday, December 15, 2014

Week #25: Transfers to Rio Blanco, a bus ride, and it does get cold in Guatemala...

Our Christmas Tree with picture ornaments

Greetings family and friends!  

This week has been absolutely crazy... I dont really know where to begin so I guess ill just come out and say it...I am very cold.  Dad asks me every week what I learned this week, and there have been many learning opportunities but the biggest things I have learned is there are some cold parts in Guatemala.
       So every Tuesday we have a district meeting and the Tuesday before changes we have a little extension to the meeting to find out who in the zone has changes. Last Tuesday morning I woke up and we went over to this meeting and there I along with seven (7) other missionaries in the zone we found out that we would be having changes or transfers.   I took some time later that day to say my goodbyes to my first new little chapin families in Guatemala.

Wednesday morning the day of changes I awoke and I was cold...which I took as a sign that I would be going to the mountains of Guatemala.  Sure enough, after one of the longest change meetings in the history of change meetings because of the many changes, I found my new hope to be in the icy tundras on the other side of the mission in the area Maclen in the zone San Pedro.  As I am sure some of you have seen by now that there were a lot of missionaries leaving that meeting and it was a very sad day for a lot of reasons. But sure enough the mission continues and after saying goodbye to the fragments of my old zone I headed into the bus to make the 4 hour trek to the zone San Pedro.  Along the way we stopped at Burger King and used the debit card in hopes that my parents would understand that it was code for "yeah I had changes". I believe dad understood, and after the little pit stop we jumped back into the bus and rolled all the way up to San Pedro leaving our mission and passing through the Quetzaltenango mission to get to this particular part in the Retalhuleu mission.
When we got to San Pedro the zone leaders told us that my area is actually another hour and 30 minutes away still by bus and is one of, if not thee biggest area in the mission, but because it is so late you couldn't get a bus there so I had to stay the night there.  The next day we had a zone meeting and that morning I finally meet my new companion Elder Rivas who is from El Salvador and is my first latino companion in the mission.  He has 20 months in the mission and will probably be leaving the area after this change but from what I have seen once he get started on a days work he can do a lot.
          Apparently a lot in this area depends on the bus schedule. Elder Rivas and I live with 2 other Elders(Ramirez and Owen) in the frozen lands known as tierras frio.  Up here is one of the few places in Guatemala that actually gets snow but there are only a handful of buses that go up and down to our area every day.  For example today is Pday and in order to get down here we had to wake up at 4 to catch the 4:30am bus to get down to here by 6am and tonight we have to take the 7pm bus back and come back down again tomorrow morning at 4:30am for a christmas devotional with the President of the mission. Every trip on the bus takes an 1 1/2 hours and with my height you can imagine the knee problems I will have after my time here in this area.
           This area is absolutely amazing, beautiful beyond belief.  It is hard to capture what you see here in a photo because pictures simply don't do it any justice.   We have a branch up here so big that it would probably be a ward if it were possible, but there isn't a stake close enough so it falls under the district.  Everything is simply beautiful..i dont even know how to put it into words.
        Everything I know about the area is amazing and the people are super pilas. The only temporary downfall is that my california body that was acclimated to the hot humid jungle of Guatemala is not used to the cold and the clothes that I brought for the mission are not quite adequate to tackle the climate of this area,  Though a quick trip to the pacas in the area can fix that nice and quick.
         Birthday went great and happened ti fall on the first day I was in my new area I didn't really tell anyone but I made sure to celebrate the next day in the house with my new comps. we had a blast.

So starts a new chapter in the Retalhuleu Mission getting to know and serving the people of Rio Blanco!  I am excited to press forward to get to know the people and see how I can make a difference in their lives!
Rio Blanco land of the apples
View of my area from the ZL house in the city...the area is that which is up in the mountains under the clouds.

Now up the mountain in the area.

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