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Monday, March 28, 2016

Week #92: There and back again...

This week has been a rather special week, for me here in Guatemala.

Almost two years ago,  I was starting out the mission and I was in my first area with my second companion,  Elder Garcia. We had just finished what I considered being one of my favorite changes in so far in the mission. On that particular occasion, changes took place on the 10th of Dec. one day before my Birthday. I was looking forward to my birthday and a we were going around that week we had used my birthday as an excuse and had set things up with various families for the week. Then changes came and I was transferred to on of the furthest places of the mission, Rio Blanco.   This area then proved to be one of the favorite areas I have served in.

        For the last several weeks, we have been working with mini missionaries, getting them all processed and situated to experience a short taste of what missionary life is like.  Throughout the course of March around 30-40 youth came to serve mini missions here in the Retalhuleu mission. One of the best of surprises was a young man named, Mosiah one of the youth from Rio Blanco, came down to serve as a mini missionary for around 5 weeks. It was great to see him. I remember when I was up there helping him start on his papers and then to be here for the turn in of his mission papers was fantastic!  Anyways, he was here for a long while, long enough to send off his papers and have them come back. On one of his last days here as a mini missionary, we received a nice big envelope that was none other than his mission call. However, he couldn't open it, as the procedure says his District president has to be the one to give it to him.  He finished the mini mission that same week and then began his wait.
       One week later President Ruiz calls me asking if we could do him a favor and take the missionary call up to Rio Blanco for him to give to the District President. President  Ruiz is a busy man and with changes around the corner he has a lot to do.  So he asked us to do something I have been dying to do for a while.  It was funny because he asked it with a tone of voice implying inconvenience, although it could not have been any less of one. That same night we took off for the mountains.   We could have timed it a littler better as all of the traffic caused by Semana Santa caused us to be stuck in a lot of traffic. However, we came prepared with music and talks for the whole ride through. Not only that but we called the Elders up there in advance to get them to buy us some food for dinner. The food was nice,  however, the fleas that were in the beds we slept in were not and I'm still feeling their feeding frenzy at this moment.
      The next morning we left the Zone leaders house and made our way to Rio Blanco taking the nice long dirt road to the top of the mountain. After driving that mess of a road I now have a much greater respect for the bus drivers up there. We arrived at the church nice and early in the morning because when I was there, Church started at 8am and....well now a year has passed and they start at 10am.

     Going back there was something that definitely pulled a little on the heart strings. Needless to say, I was in church early that day and had started to greet families as they came to the church. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my mission thus far. It was so much fun to see these people again, to be able to pass with them a bit and just catch up.  True to Mormon Standard Time only about a quarter of the ward was there when the meeting started and being true to that same principle before the sacrament hymn was over the rest of the ward showed up. I had taken a seat in the back, right where I used to sit when I was there in the ward. As each of the families walked in, they each did one of those fun little double takes. They looked over in my direction and then, returned their focus with a growing smile of realization, each did a good job trying not to make a scene, but for the rest of sacrament meeting there was a wave of whispers that passed through the sea of members as the little ones started to realize what was going on. What was super funny is that all of the members thought that I had come back after finishing my mission. This last Sunday will go down as one of my favorites.  It makes me realize how close you grow to families and individuals here as you walk hand in hand on the journey of service, education and spirituality.

    Anyways this just in, there was supposed to be an Elder coming to the mission today. However there was a setback and he won't be coming at for a while. It looks like I will be breaking out of the office going on the loose for the next week or so as things get worked out and smoothed over.  There is nothing more peculiar in the mission field than an odd number, so tomorrow I guess I will see where I am heading.

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