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Monday, July 20, 2015

Week #56: Make the most of now, tamales and waterfalls

It was a great week! I am blessed and I am able to bless the lives of those around me each and every day!

So Tuesday we had a normal day. District meeting, lunch and the whole deal. But then a little twist popped into the picture. I got a call at around 4:30, 5 from Elder Merrill (AP) asking me if I would like to go and work in the office of the mission. I answered honestly that I would rather not but If you guys feel like it is what needs to happen I will do it. When I got the call I was in the house of some investigators and recent converts that are kind of like family here. We are so much like family that on Sunday mornings when they are still sleeping in the mornings and not ready for church, we wake them just like I would with mom on Christmas mornings or those early seminary mornings with my sister. They knew some thing was up right away and then we all got kinda worried that I would be having changes.  However we used it as an opportunity to teach a great lesson.  About 30 mins later in the middle of the lesson I get a call from President Ruiz. He begins asking about my experience with computers, if I can drive, if I have my license and a few other questions by the end of the call I was like...well looks like I am leaving time to say goodbye. Pres. said he would call me back in a bit to tell me if I would have changes or not. Three hours later right before taking datos in the district,  I got a call saying we will start your training in the office tomorrow, pack your bags and bring them to the district leaders meeting tomorrow. At that point my heart just kinda sank I love San Ber. Its an awesome area, there is simply a little bit of everything there. After getting the call I started to take the datos thinking, well I am still a DL for a few more hours might as well do my job.  Shortly after I get done taking datos and saying goodbye to the District I get  call telling me umm change of plans, we wont be needing you to come to the office.  With that call I let out a triumphant yell, waking my comp Elder Damas out of his sleep!  Change is good, and I am willing to go and do what the Lord has planned for me, but change is hard at times too and I am glad I have some additional time here in the San Bernadino area.  If nothing else this provided a jolt that our time is always short and we must make the most of now, of today, for tomorrow there may be changes!

     This week has honestly been an awesome week. Between the cool people we have found the investigators that are progressing and just the things that happened from day to day, the obra misional is progressing very well.
     For instance on Saturday we were walking in a street when we stumbled upon a 15-year party in the making. Elder Damas and I looked at each other nodded and sat down with a group of corte women and began making tamales with them. Making atole and just prepping for the party. It was so funny just seeing the peoples faces as they walked by seeing a us doing what is usually only done by the women in this culture. I don't know what will come of that service but I think that at least we earned ourselves some major brownie points there, and all will greet us with a smile the next time we pass by and who knows maybe invite us in.
   Then there was another time when I was talking to Hna Jimenez and Barnium who are over in Oriente. They were in a little part of their area just a little in the middle of nowhere when all of a sudden a little old lady calls them over saying I know your church is the true church. Now if that isnt a miracle I dont know what is. But that's not the coolest part. This little old ladys name is Milagro (that means Miracle).
     Elder Ramirez and I were in divisions one day this week and were thinking what it would be like to have a lesson with someone from the states. little did we know that that same night we would have one over Skype and are now forever grateful that we are not teaching people from the US. No offence but que orgullosos son los personas alli.
    P-Day was fun today. We found another waterfall. I fell a good four times at least for the sake of the photos.
     I heard that there has been a little bit of rain over in Cali these last few days...That's cute. Just think off all of the flooding over there for a few seconds and then imagine tracking through it every day.  Needless to say we are always wet.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Week #55: Changes, Elder Damas, Rock Music, Blind Men and the Elephant

     Well another week come and gone. Changes have come and passed and I now have a knew companion! His name is Elder Damas and he as well is from Honduras. I have a pretty good feeling we are going to get along. He and I are both nerdy kids at heart and nerds typically tend to get along. Though I will miss Elder Cano as there was never a dull moment with him.
    This week we decided to start anew in the area and just go to work. It was a cool first day if I do say so myself. We started to go down a long street not really knowing where we were going... contacting along the way.   We had some good lessons and then came to the end of the road. We heard some rock music in the distance and started to walk towards it.  Elder Damas was saying "lets go there, anyone listening to rock will be positive about our message!". As we came up to the house we started to call out for someone as is normal for here, but no one came out and I started to think that no one wanted to talk to us.  There was an old man at the far end of the house collecting some tortillas he left in the sun to dry, but he didn't have any intention of coming over to us. We called out again...still no one came out. Just as we turned away about to leave a joven comes running out of the house, sees us and runs back in.   At that point we were thinking alright lets bail, they don't want anything to do with us.  After a moment though, the music dimmed a bit, and we found out he had only ran back into the house to turn it down. He came back out and after talking for a bit we found that they are actually a family of old investigators that had been lost in the various changes of missionaries over a years time and had already come to church four times.  The moral of the story is as my companion put it "Anyone listening to rock just has a different kind of mindset and will just about all always be positive".
     I was listening to a good talk this week by Deter F. Uchtdorf called What is Truth?. There was one part in the talk were he explains a poem about 6 blind men and an elephant.

The Blind Men and the Elephant
Well over one hundred years ago, an American poet put to rhyme an ancient parable. The first verse of the poem speaks about:

Six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

In the poem each of the six travelers takes hold of a different part of the elephant and then describes to the others what he has discovered.

One of the men finds the elephant’s leg and describes it as being round and rough like a tree. Another feels the tusk and describes the elephant as a spear. A third grabs the tail and insists that an elephant is like a rope. A fourth discovers the trunk and insists that the elephant is like a large snake.

Each is describing truth.
And because his truth comes from personal experience, each insists that he knows what he knows.
The poem concludes:

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

We look at this story from a distance and smile. After all, we know what an elephant looks like. We have read about them and watched them on film, and many of us have even seen one with our own eyes. We believe we know the truth of what an elephant is. That someone could make a judgment based on one aspect of truth and apply it to the whole seems absurd or even unbelievable. On the other hand, can’t we recognize ourselves in these six blind men? Have we ever been guilty of the same pattern of thought?

I suppose the reason this story has remained so popular in so many cultures and over so many years is because of its universal application. The Apostle Paul said that in this world the light is dim and we see only part of the truth as though we are looking “through a glass, darkly.” And yet it seems to be part of our nature as human beings to make assumptions about people, politics, and piety based on our incomplete and often misleading experience.

This would be the best or I would say the most honest way that I can present to you as to why it is so hard for people to come unto the gospel. Here in the mission in every lesson we have to help people to overcome the partial truths they are apart of and help them to see what is really there. All of us as humans are guilty of this kind of thinking but here we see just how bad and destructive this kind of thinking is. Really more than anything it is just a sad part of us that we need to overcome.
On another  note I finally found a steak! At least I think it was any case it was was good!

I love you all, miss you all!  Tell everyone I am doing find and working hard in the obra misional!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Week #54: It's all about the Caldo...

Authentic Guatemalan Caldo

Well I am happy to report that I am still alive and finally living in a semi healthy state. All has been going pretty well. I have no idea what to write about anymore. I feel as though every time I write I start saying the same stuff over and over again. But at any rate I figure I will go ahead and say it all again.
     This week we made caldo a mission "favorite" I don't know if I talked to much about caldo before but if I have or haven't you are going to here about it now. [Guatemalan Caldo] So my comp Elder Cano will most likely have changes this week. This in mind we decided to have a sort of farewell with a family of recent converts/investigators. Elder cano as the guest of honor got to decide what food we were to eat. I personally thought that we were going to have like some pizza or fried chicken or idk something other than caldo but the decision was made with caldo and so caldo is what we had. We put together a nice big list of everything that we would need and then split the cost. When Sunday night came around we came over to the house our jaws dropped as they started to serve out our plates.....In the bowl alone I think there was more water than I had drunken in the last 3 days and a huge mountain of rice, yuca green beans, carrots, mean chunks corn and more stuff I dont even know the name of in spanish or english. In Guatemala one does not simply say "i'm full" and push the plate away. Here we eat every last bit and we do it with tortilla in hand. That was the longest nights of my life...and one of the hardest things I have done. I can probably live the rest of my life without eating another bowl of soup but I know that is what is on the menu every other night this week.
   If anyone would like a little idea of what life is like here at lunch. stick a table out in the sun today at lunch with a super hot soup like the one in the photo and then eat it. (you still won't have the whole experience without tortillas but you'll come pretty close.)
   So there has been some really cool stuff happening this week. We as a zone are getting back on top leading the mission in baptisms for the moment. I pretty much don't have just one area anymore. This is actually something cool because once something good starts to happen in one area my job is to go in, get to know the people, and get them ready for their baptisms and wow this can be hectic sometimes. Jumping from area to area and city to city. I dont know just how much I will like traveling when I get back at this rate, but I love getting to know all of these knew people and I have truly began to see the more I do my job the more blessings I will receive. I at times feel like as I go and leave my area to go and do divisions in others, I am abandoning my area. but I know now for sure that this is not the case and that we really do receive blessings for it.
   On another note we still haven't killed the rat in the house. but I think we have it in a chokehold now as we haven't bought food for the house in the last two weeks.
   Changes are here I will probably have a new comp and we will see what kind of changes are coming into the district/zone.

Breaking bread...tortillas rather and caldo

1 Year mark burning of the shirt...w/ caldo stains