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Monday, January 26, 2015

Week #31: Transfers and a new Companion




It was a busy, exciting week. Tuesday morning at midday we found out for sure who would be having changes (transfers).  We more or less had already known this with Elder Owen having six months in the area and President telling me and Elder Rivas that this would be his last change, that the both of them would be having changes.  So when we were told that they would be having changes it didn't come as a shock to us even in the slightest.  As they both started to pack Elder Ramirez and I started to do the customary "changes - cleaning of the house" until they were done packing.  I am not saying we only clean the house once every six weeks, but if that is what you're thinking, you might be kind of right.   Once they were done packing, we had a few lessons and taught a little lad who cannot hear or speak.  As you can imagine it was an interesting lesson, but rewarding.

The next morning we continued to clean up and start to do a real deep clean of the house.  Half way through we received a call telling us that Elder Ramirez would be leaving as well.  With that news, all of the cleaning came to an abrupt halt and a mad dash began to get him all packed up.  As as I have said before, we live about one and a half hours by car outside of San Pedro and it is another four hours from San Pedro to Reu where the changes take place. There wasn't really a possibility of us making it to Reu in time, the dash was to make the last bus to San Pedro and with the five suitcases that he has, is was not an easy battle to get him packed and down there.  At about 3pm we found out the news about everyone's new companions and areas.  One sad note was there were some rumors that they would be closing the Rio Blanco area, this put me a little on edge but I am glad to dismiss these ugly rumors.
         
Thursday at the zone meeting I had my first real opportunity to get to know my new companions of the icy north. I was a little nervous at first but now I am excited with these changes. These Elders want to work and I guess the President knows that, as he charged us with the responsibility to prepare our areas for the opening of two new ramas (branches) in the next or following transfer (12 weeks).   This is fantastic and we are working like crazy to get some work done up here and change the reputation of the mountains.
         Friday we had lots of work to do to make up for the time we were away.  President Ruiz had issued a challenge for the week of changes, for every area to meet a goal of  20 new investigators. Here is was Friday and we really hadn't had a chance to work in the Maclen area, but we put the pedal to the metal and as a district found eight new investigators and have a good start to reaching our goal.  But this wasn't really the amazing part of the day. At night I called one of the familias that we have been teaching and sure enough we laid out all of the details to baptise an amazingly pilas little girl named Sophia. I honestly dont know if there is something about the Guatemalan kids or if it is simply this new generation but they are more hardworking and pilas than just about anyone I can think of around their age. There are literally 12 year old kids going to mission prep here and begging us to help them practice teaching. As you can imagine these youth are like a missionaries dream.
       
Saturday morning, we had some work to do but we started out by first going over to the church and starting the water to fill the baptismal font.  Then we went to some teaching appointments before the baptism.  When we got back to the church, about an hour before the baptism, to start putting in the warm water there seemed to be a problem... there wasn't any warm water...and it is very very cold in our area so the water was practically ice cold... the hot water wasn't working and we have not idea what we were going to do for these little girls who were about to get baptised (we also had a member baptism on the same day).  We couldn't do anything about the water at this point...but we could get them in and out as soon as possible and get them into something warm. With this is mind I ran home with my comp and grabbed the blankets off my bed and the two little heater fans that we have in the house and sprinted back over to the church.
       As the service started, we went through the prayer, songs, talks, - making it special for them, and then it came time for the baptism.  Sophia already knew the water was ice cold but she didn't care she just wanted to "do what God wants me to".  I explained to her a little of how we were going to this and then we took our first steps into the bone chilling water, shivering and teeth grinding all the way as we made our way into the middle of the font.  I then looked at her asked her if she was ready and with that baptised her.  Immediately after I hurried her out of the water and over to my companion who threw towels and blankets over her and then handed her over to her mom. A little bit later after we had both changed, she was saying it was "soooooooooo coooolllllddd",  but it was really cool because I still felt warm inside from the time I went under and through the entire process of getting out and drying off.   I know it was the Holy Ghost!
   
Sunday morning at church she was confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was such a special experience and I truly believe that these amazing people of Guatemala, amazing peole of Rio Blanco truly understand and love baptisms and the special time that it is in making this sacred covenant.

Oh yeah I almost forgot.  My new companion is Elder Quispe from Peru.  Joining us in the house and working in the Rio Blanco area is Elder Roman from the Dominican Republic and  Elder Flores from Honduras.  Dad you got your wish and I am surrounded by Latinos...my languages skill will surely benefit.

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