You can find out more about missionary work and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints here:

Monday, September 28, 2015

Week #66: Silencio, Faith and Gertrude Specht

     The other day we decided to go and visit a part in out area called Silencio. Though we hear a lot more about the area than the name would imply. We have heard countless stories, from the bishop to the primary president, from the torta tienda lady to even the drunkest of the drunks of countless people who have been robbed and attacked on the road to this part of our area.   We have tried to head down there a few times but circumstances have not permitted it. This week on a whim, after lunch one day, we started to walk down the street away from our house and looked at each other with one of where do you want to contact today kinda looks, and Tufuga said you want to go to Silencio? Yeah, why not.... we headed back to the house tossed off everything that is of value and left the house armed with only a few pholletos, the clothes on our back and The Spirit of the Lord as our guide and protection.   As we started down the path we were both kinda thinking this is kinda iffy taking a long little trek on a dangerous road.  I can only imagine how the bandits would be thinking as we passed by, ¨dude look gringos! Yeah man lets get em! nah bro those are like pastors or something thats bad juju.¨ 
      Anyways, we got down there just fine and started to look around to see what this little part of the area is like. It doesn't matter how many areas I have visited, everyone of them are just a little different and unique.   After about 10 minutes or so of looking around this little area we started to wade down one of these muddy streets to get back to the main road.  Out of no where we found the tiniest little old lady and asked her if she knew where any Mormons lived. Lucky enough (actually luck probably had nothing to do with it, because remember we left with The Spirit), this sweet little lady was a member and led us to her house.
    This house turned out to be the one we had started the quest looking to find, and as we looked into the house, I assumed there was no one there, but after taking a quick glance around, I saw a sad sight indeed. On the bed, so small and suffering, was the tiniest skinniest man I have ever seen in my life. I felt so bad to see him like that. As he spoke still completely conscious of everything going on but trapped in so much pain.  I saw something special in him something that most people won't ever have.  He had complete faith in our Saviour Jesus Christ, and the knowledge that he was a son of our Heavenly Father and that He knew him and loved him.   I knew that if he had anyway to go to church in this moment he would do it....but he can't. He made me think of just how sad and pathetic all of us can be at times as we think to ourselves we can't go to church because we are sick or because of work or because of this or that. But this man with all his sickness, pain and suffering would in a instance do all he could to do the Lord's will.
    Last week we passed by a man who is passing through alot of problems a man we have taught a few times. As we passed by,  we immediately began to teach him about how if we love The Lord and want to receive his blessings we need to do our part...we need to keep his commandments, and then the blessings of the heavens will rain down upon us. It was so sad as he ¨heard¨ us, ignored us, and began to ask for money.  We taught him the principle again and told him that God will provide a way to do the things you need to do and to follow in his path. We told him that he needs to pray to find the way, to find his path. but he only scoffed at us.  We asked him if we could say a prayer with him but he only asked yet again so your not going to give me money?  No, but we would like to say a prayer for you.  He scoffed at us again and then kicked us out of the house.
    The path is there and prepared we only need to walk it. We don't really know what we have, people are dying for it. some would do anything to be apart of it again and some just cant see what it is yet.

This is a story that I read this week with Elder Tufuga. It is pretty cool...

The following account, which claims to be from the mission journal of Elder Scott Anderson, has been making the rounds by email for several years.

Do We Really Know What We Have?
As written by Scott Anderson in his journal.

We had an unexpected moment in the mission field. We knocked on a door and a lady said something to us we had never heard, "Come in". Now remember, I was a German missionary. This never happened to us, not even the members would say that to us. At this point suddenly this dear lady invited us in. My companion said, "Do you know who we are?" "You want to talk religion, don't you?" she said. "Yes we do" explained my companion.

"Oh, come in. I've watching you walk around the neighbourhood. I'm so excited to have you here. Please come into my study." We went in and seated ourselves and she sat down behind the desk.

She looked at us with a smile, then pointed to three PhD's hanging over her head. one in theology, the study of religion, one in Philosophy, the study of ideas, and one in European History specializing in Christianity. She then kind of rubbed her hands together and said, "Do you see this row of books here?" We looked at a well arranged row of books. She then said, "I wrote them all. I’m the Theology professor at the University of Munich. I’ve been doing this for 41 years. I love to talk about religion. What would you like to discuss?" My inspired companion said, " we'd like to talk about the Book of Mormon." She said,  "I don't know anything about the Book of Mormon." He said, "I know". Twenty minutes later we walked out of the room. We had handed her a Book of Mormon and this trade off that we had been on was over. I didn't see this lady for another 8 1/2 weeks.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Week #65: The Trainers are leaving and the work at an Internet Cafe

All out - object lesson - costumes,  props and smiles  included

     Well it has been a rather interesting little week, with all meetings and activities to get everyone motivated and excited about the work the week has flown by.   It was great seeing old friends, companions and brothers. It has been a time a breaking records and a time of many days spent in other areas.  Overall we are working hard and feel the joy and happiness of serving The Lord.
       It is interesting to look at the missionaries in the mission.  After this next changes the group that I arrived with will be one of the oldest "gringo" groups in the mission.  Most of the missionaries like Elders Dial, Green, Goodman, Parrack, who trained each of us in our group, will be returning home. Hard to describe the feelings surrounding this, sad to see these all knowing Elders leave, but at the same time thinking wait, maybe that is what we are supposed to be now to others.
      I think we had one of the coolest district meetings in the history of the mission this week.   As I am sure you guys are aware we do not have computers on the mission so we are always writing at Internet cafes. Over the last while we have all become very good friends with the owners of an Internet Cafe called Clic.  All of us go there and they having been taking the missionary discussions for quite some time.   They have finally decided to be baptised, but they needed to be married first. So, thursday in the morning we scheduled a wedding and a baptism for them,  all taking place during the time we normally have our district meeting. It was probably one of the sweetest moments with all twenty-six missionaries there radiating in joy with our good friends.
Quote of the week. "The lord will Prepare the way we only need to walk the path."

Love you all - keep the faith - pray for missionary activities and ask yourself if you have done any good in the world today!

Elder's and Hermanas' taking over the Internet Cafe

Even I am not happy about eating this worm...but hey it's protein.

Getting the CCM band back together!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Week #63: Potatoes and the Small and Simple Things

Every time he sends pictures he has a different tie and umbrella...and they never match.

     So how goes the work of the Lord? Well we are starting from the bottom and working up. That is to say that when I got here there was nothing and more or less still is.  Right now we are first trying to find people to help and to teach.  The people here are few and far between that actually want to talk to us....which is really weird for the coastal areas but that has a lot to do with the many evangelical churches here that preach the live long day against us.  Not to worry though Elder Tufuga and I get a kick out of all of the new rumors we hear about Mormons, and work daily to dispel them all by our work, our service and our example.
     The area of Magnolia, Coatepeque is a small little sub division of the county that has been largely forgotten by the big city or at least that is what the people say as they talk about how bad the roads are.   Coatepeque is a fairly large city but not as developed as Mazate which is probably the most developed city in the mission.   The people here have a wide range of jobs and lifestyle from farm work to cubicle jobs!  Like everywhere all work to better their lives, and provide for their family. Our hope is that we will be able to assist with this by bringing The Gospel of Jesus Christ into their lives.

     This week has been a little...rainy to say the least. I think I can connect a little bit more with the mission of my mom after this week.
      I don't remember much of if any of the stories that my mom told me of her mission but I do remember one.  She once said that in her mission she pealed a lot of potatoes. This week I played tribute to that memory. We had been working under the rain for a long while visiting less active members of the church with some of the members. When the night was just about over we began to walk back to the house. Since the two of us are always hungry, as we passed by a street shop selling Papas Fritas,  I couldn't  resist.  But they were taking forever to dish out the fries. So... I went to work peeling potatoes as we waited for our fries. We ended up being there for about half an hour and in that time I ran out of potatoes. I'm sure everyone thought I was crazy peeling all of the potatoes right there by the side of her tienda but I did and I did them all.
   I imagine that this area here is actually a lot like Spain. Europe is renown for the straight up rejection you face on a daily basis as a missionary. Though in this last week I didn't know If I was in Guate or en Spain. I don't think I have ever been rejected this much in my life. Everyone from the oldest of what seem to be the sweet little old ladies to the youngest of kids were running from us and slamming doors in our faces all week long.  There were some times where I began to greet the people only to be cut of mid Buenas Tardes. I was like wow....

   This week I have been thinking alot about the members of the church and just how different we really are from many others.  You can see so easily how differently we are. I think the truth in this difference lies in the small and simple things. We can see countless examples of how small and simple things bring great things to pass and really we are built on our foundations of small and simple things.
    Before coming to the mission my testimony of the church was based on these small and simple things that I could see in the the stuff the church teaches and the programs that it has. I am grateful to say that my testimony has definitely grown since then but none the less I love these small and simple things. Now having grown a little bit more and having seen a little more of the world I can see this difference ever greater. I can see the blessings of the talks we give in church, the primary, simply reading the scriptures, and so many other programs. If you dissect any of them you can see the good habits and skills that help each and every person. These programs instill good habits. Take the idea of reading the Scriptures daily. Just from this habit we learn: the value of books, we understand that we should be continually learning, we learn to read daily, we even learn to apply what we read to our own lives. Most important we learn to incorporate daily moments of spiritual thought, reflection and devotion into our lives.  Think of all of these things and the many more that we learn from this one principle, we are taught from birth in the church.
    Now take any other you can think of and do the same.  Given the chance to think of any of these things in the same light we can see the many small habits we develop. All of these small things compound to form who we are. There are many sayings like you are what you eat, you are who your friends are and they are all true in a way but the principle behind them is the greater truth. Our habits form us. Small things build up a couple of pages read a day. a small act of service everyday. The small things we do really do add up over time and have the biggest impact on our lives.
   Habits are like The Juggernaut (pop-culture reference here, why not spiritually and super heroes). All we have to do is start and they will drive us and be our driving momentum and once started and in motion they become thoughtless even easy to do. The only thing we have to do is start and let the momentum carry us to be a new better person the first time is hard but every time after is easier until it becomes hard to stop. Though I guess their is a word of caution, I mean after all the Juggernaut is a bad guy in the movie, so it only holds to reason that this same thing holds true for the bad habits as well. Though in all ways we are our foundations. Our habits good or bad will take us to places good or bad.

I love your all!  I will write next week!