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Monday, August 31, 2015

Week #62 "You Shall Not Pass"

I dont know if any of you follow the Guatemalan politics or the daily news down here but things have not been at their best in these last days. There has been a lot of political protests. The protests that we see here are a bit different from those you might see back in the States. The typical method here is to block one of the main roads so that no truck, nor car, nor tuc-tuc may pass. You might even say that even Gandolf doesn't quite have the concept of ¨you shall not pass¨ in comparison to the roadblocks here.   These protests makes things just a tad bit....well more interesting.  It means no meetings and many other things, and it also means that food trucks and water trucks cannot get through.  This causes a risk of looting and all of the good stuff that goes with panic. It hasn't gotten to that point yet nor do we think it will, but we are now instructed to start practicing something I never thought I would have to do on my mission. Food Storage! We will now have food in our house that we are not allowed to eat - this will be quite the temptation for a couple hungry Elders!
        So we have had a mixed week of contacting this last week. We have had some golden moments but we have also had some that were well dung contacts.  I guess we will start with the bad news first and then work our way up.
    So we have been working with members just about everyday trying to find people that are positive and this week we went to do a little follow up on one of the friends of a member who invited a few of her friends to church with us this last week. One of them came so we decided to go and see if we could teach her. Things didn't go to well. As we walked up over to the door of her house and started to knock no one came. We decided to wait for a bit and then knock again. As we began to knock again we looked down the street waiting for someone to answer the door. There we saw her friend with her father returning to the house. We started to light up a bit at that, but the moment it registered in their faces who we were they did a quick about face and ran for it. I am kind of used to being rejected by now and my comp as well, but we knew that it had crushed the heart of member as her friend just kinda straight out rejected us. She was super worried after that her friend wouldnt want to be her friend but all is well now though I imagine that it still kinda hurts.
     Now for a better day.  We were contacting one of these days all day long trying to find anyone remotely positive to teach but the only people we could find treated us more like we wanted to stick them with a needle than lay the steps to salvation at their feet.  House to house we went and from house to house we left just a little less animated after every step.  We began to walk down the street again when I felt something I could only describe as a righteous hunch.  As we walked past a little red gate that seemed to lead to nothing I looked back to walk to the gate seeing Elder Tufuga already a step in front of me walking to a little lad just barely sticking through it. We told him to go and call his mom over to us. When he returned he waved us in and told us to pass through.  We continued down and we found a little house and began to teach a sweet little old lady. As we got to know her she told us about everything that had been happening lately.  Her granddaughters cancer to her now near death experience just a week past. All in all she was talking about how abandoned she has felt in the last while and how she is looking for peace in her life.  I think we were sent to her.  I think we were sent to tell her and assure her that she has a loving Heavenly Father and she will never be abandoned!

That's all for this week!   Here are some pictures where those we meet always want to be as tall as me!

Elder Tufuga looking everywhere for people to teach!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week #61: Coatepeque, rocks and hot water

    So the next chapter begins in the Magnolia Coatepeque area of the Guatemala Retalhuleu Mission. As expected I had changes and I am  now over here in the very rocky area of Magnolia. This area is very different from any other I have been in. For one, I don't think there is a moment from when we leave the house to when we return that we are not walking atop rocks.  These rocks are going to eat by shoes super fast, and it is way to hot to wear boots.  I feel like I am at a rocky beach although without a cool ocean breeze or the sounds of the waves.
    The living conditions here are a bit different.  It is a bigger house, but less water and more mosquitos.  We have no water during the day and none whatsoever in the house.  We have a pila outside to get water from and we shower by bucket.  We bring buckets of water into the house as every time we have to go to the bathroom you use the bucket to flush the toilet.
    My new companion is Elder Tufuga who has about 9 months in the mission and is from long beach CA. He is a convert to the church and is also an olympian volleyball player.  What can I say I have had some good luck having some great companions on the mission.
    We received some bad news a little while back,  President Nelson isnt really in to good of health and as such isn't really able to travel for our multi-mission conference.  This being said our devotional was canceled and was replaced with a video transmission of him talking to those in the Honduras missions. It was kinda a bummer that he couldn't come but I guess the message was what was really important and it was great to watch and see so many of the missionaries that we knew in the CCM there. We learned a lot in the devotional.  There were more than a few things were stuff that I didn't really expect to hear, but those are the best messages and some of the things that we will remember most are the things we never expected to hear.
    Working here this week has been fantastic!   I don't know too much of the area and it seems like I came in at a perfect time when everyone in the branch wants to help in the work.    I am very excited to see what happens in the future, because in the four days I have been here, we have left with members three out of those four days, and one person came to church for each of these visits. I think Im going to like it here, we are just going to need to see what we can do about getting some new beds and an actual fridge in our house. When I was in Rio Blanco I could leave a bag of water out and it would be cold when I went to drink it. Here I do the same thing, but it turns hotter and hotter  I swear one of these days I actually burnt my tongue!

Sorry for the shorter letter - it's been a crazy week, having problems uploading any pictures as well.  But will get that all figured out for next week, and will send some pictures of the new area.

Lots of love to all - and my parting quote to think about for the week, this from Elder Neal A. Maxwell, "We should certainly count our blessings, but she should also make our blessings count."

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week #60: Coming and going...changes and Multi-Mission Conference

It is kinda weird to see people come and go in the mission to see people starting and to see people ending. I see the people ending and can only imagine how they must be feeling. This is one of the last few days that Elder Ramirez will have here in the mission. On Wednesday his final change is over and as we speak his family is here visiting they have been in church and kinda everywhere for the last little while. It is a little weird for me but I can only imagine how much weirder it is for him. If I were to suddenly start seeing you guys here......Saber I don't quite know how I would feel but I don't think I would feel like I am in the mission anymore maybe some weird kind of vacation or something like that.
     Found out something pretty cool this week.  One of these nights as I was taking datos I was talking to Elder Ramirez and we are going to be making jerseys as a zone and so we started to talk a little about futbol. He asked me what team I support and I told him Madrid because my mom served her mission in Madrid Spain. He said...hmm I swear I heard someone say that the other day....Oh Hna Barnum. Sure enough when I talked to her next, I asked about it she told me her mom served in Spain just around the same time as my mom and on top of that her dad served in Chile. Crazy small world we live in maybe our moms were in the same zone or something at one point.
    Right now for the first time in the history of our mission we will be having a multi Mission Conferencia with none other than Elder Russell M Nelson President of the Quorum of the Twelve. It is going to be awesome and I everyone is looking forward to it.
    A few weeks ago the hermanas in Oriente Baptised baptized a special little girl who is super bright. This is that same little girl who started to teach me about the pre earth life during her Interview to be baptised. Well she has been an amazing influence over her family. She has been teaching her family everything that she has been learning and they have all been inspired in some way or another. This week her father Luis was baptised and in this next week Bowdillio her grandfather will be getting baptised. She is only 9 years old but already one powerful missionary. I cant wait to see what she does later down the road.
     Anyways changes are here and I guess we will see what comes of them. Love you guys back home and hope you are all well and
enjoying the heat.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Week #58: Too Legit to Quit

Another week has come and gone and as Hermana Tebbs said to me today, only 45 p-days left. It is kinda of a weird little thought but not nearly as much as the thought of just two p-days left like Elder Ramirez has.
      This week was a very interesting week, full of just about all of the joys and defeats one can have in the mission. We had baptismal dates confirmed, papers signed, people who didn't show up, people who we called 50+ times the day of their baptism and didn't pick up and just went mia. We had just a little bit of everything happening but we shall press forward, have a positive attitude and continue working hard.
      This week we had a test on the Book of Mormon and a multi-zone conference. We went over a lot of stuff and as always left the meeting a little bit humbled, a little more focused and oh so ready to work.
      I have never been a person that likes to be doing the same thing over and over again. I love change, I thrive in change and die in repetition. I have decided that right now it is time for a change. Throughout this week I have been going to the members, but for a different purpose that receiving references. I thought back a to one of the pre-game pump up talks Coach Telo would always give us right before our games. In that particular night we were to fight to as he said, to keep our cleats. This moment at this time is a time that everyone wants to be in. Everyone one who is a little kid playing in little league football wants to be here in this moment right now. Everyone who has been where you are wishes that they can go back to where you are now and do the things that you are doing. This kinda got me thinking how can we play this to our advantage. These are the best two years of our lives this is the time that every primary kid is looking forward to and what every Elder, High Priest wishes they could be doing once again.  With this in mind we decided to go out to some of the returned missionaries and asked them if they would like to come and teach us during one of our district meetings about all of the stuff that worked on their missions and all of the stuff they have learned over the years and wished they could have used in the mission. We will see how this turns out this week. they all seemed pretty excited.
         Using the same 'this is the best time in your life perspective' we also went and talked to some of the youth in the wards in the district. We talked with them for a while and then asked them if they would like to learn to be missionaries, if they would like come to the meetings, plan with us and even leave with us. In some ways they thought of the chance as one of those super cool kinda things. Like maybe the way a little league player would see going out and playing with a pro player would be like. Overall some of these people are super excited to go and leave with us,  but it's a shame that many of them are young women and will really only be able to work with the sister missionaries. But hey I am not complaining - some amazing stuff will start happening in the sisters areas.
      To keep you guys up to date on our little primary. Nine of them came to church yet again this Sunday. Six of them are baptismal age and all of them are super pilas. In the states there is the joke of mormon standard time right? Well let me be the first to tell you that is nothing compared to "la hora chapina". To put some mental food in your hands the Oriente ward meets at 2:00 in the afternoon,  but we are lucky if it starts at 2:30 most  days.  This week we passed by the families and told them we are going to pass by in the morning at 9:30 so be ready by then. We came down a little bit earlier maybe around 9:10 to go and get the pickup truck ready to take them to church and when we passed by,  not only were all of them ready and dressed early, but they were also sitting there on the curb waiting for us to come by. These kids are "to legit to quit" as the saying goes.
    I had the chance to get to know Elder Mattson just a little bit more this week. Turns out we were both born in Sandy, Utah...typical small world mormon life. "wait your from utah to?!"

Lots of love to everyone!  Glad you had fun in Jackson Hole and Chase and Brooke had a great time at EFY.