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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Letter #9

Today has been exciting.  We met as a zone and did some zip line stuff.  That was fun.  I'm just going to try and send some videos and pictures really.  Just kidding the internet here really stinks! I have some pretty awesome video of me on the zip line here.  Today I have gone to Toto.  It is Totonicipan of or something like that.  I have actually been here twice now in the past 5 days.

Map of my area
I went on splitz with one of the zone leaders.  His name is Elder Babbit and he is quite the work horse.  We did a lot of tracting just because it was one of those days here when the appointments just fell through.  We ended the day buying a big pizza and eating the whole thing.  I then spent the night here in Toto.  There was a fair or something going on here so there was not really any silence in the night.  Just bomb-like fireworks and really loud music! I then woke up in the middle of the night sicker than a dog.  

I just spent the night being sick and haven't really recovered since.  I just always have a mild pain in my stomach and not much energy.  I'm happy and still go out with my comp and work hard everyday though.  I think that God is just showing me how to endure.  Push push push and then sleep.  Repeat.  I am still happy.  Always happy with being able to work.

Today I went to a canopy with my zone.  We hung out and did some zip lining.  It wasn't sketchy at all.  The lines were not very long and it was easy to slow down.  

The language is coming a little quicker than I think is normally possible.  It just comes sometimes.  It also goes away at times.  Saturday I was at an investigators house and was able to say everything that I wanted to say.  It felt so good even though it was pretty simple.  Things are coming fast.

Love you guys,

Elder Miles

Monday, September 15, 2014

Letter #9 Chirijox

So today for p-day some other elders, Elder Mar and I all went out on a trip to find a waterfall in some forest type jungle just outside of Noala.  We ended up just hiking around in the rain for a long time in some of the most beautiful scenery.  Just green and dirt path.  We never found the waterfall due to a land slide that must have happened pretty recently.  The only water fall that we found was a dripping mud stream haha.  It was pretty funny to take some pictures next to that "waterfall." The trail was basically gone and so we had to turn back and just head down back to one of the elders house.  It seems that my house in chirijox is nothing compared to what some of the other elders have here.  The other guys just have bigger houses that are next to much better shops.   There is no place to buy good meat, veges, fruit, or anything in my little chirijox.  I do love the area though!  Anyways, some of the missionaries here are really good cooks.  All six of us elders enjoyed a good dinner together. We had some homemade chicken, spaghetti, and potatoes.  It was dang good to eat some food similar to that in the states.

There are about 6 little towns that my comp and I can proselyte in.  Chirijox, Patzite, and Alaska are just about the only ones that we go to.  We have so much area to cover and a lot of it is just trail.  There are plenty of people to teach though.  The things that the people think about our church is that we just give away money for attendance, we have many wives, and that we worship Joseph Smith.  It is pretty easy to let them know it is not the true but it still makes it hard to get people to talk to us about what we need to talk about.  Elder Mar doesn't seem to ever have much trouble when it comes to contacting.  I just go up to people and ask them something stupid like "¿donde esta la mejor pan?"  And after that we try to strike up friendly enough conversation to introduce ourselves as missionaries.  At times it just feels sillly, but the work is what it is.  I just loving going up and down the street and saying hi to everyone.  It just makes them smile and probably laugh at the tall gringo hanging out in chirijox.

My comp and I have two families that I think have a lot of potential.  One is in Alaska and the other is in Chirijox.  I really think that if we are able to have some more lessons we can help them make a commitment.  I really would love to be able to see this happen.  There are other families that we are able to teach and individuals inbetween but nobody is moving very quickly to the font just yet.  Just inch by inch I guess.  I am just happy to be in the work.

I have been having a hard time getting the strength to work out in the mornings ahha.  I just barely found what works for my really well.  I just do the MMA kick boxing type warm up routines in order to pump my self up.  I then can get to exercise with this bar that has 2 concrete slabs on the ends of it for weight lifting.  

I was sick for the first time on the mission on Saturday.  We got up early to help a guy to paint his house when I started to feel sick.  At this point I was a good 15 minute walk and a 15 min bus ride and another 10 minute walk from home.  I had a fever at began to be pretty sick at a members house.  I wanted to work so bad but I just didn't have the strength.  I ended making it home with the help of Elder Mar. I really don't know how I didn't just throw up in the bus or on the streets.  When we got home Elder Mar called up some other people so that he could go on splits while I was re-cooperating.  I had a fever and was in and out of bed being sooo sick.  I just basically had to wait for the day to end.  I just felt bad not being able to get to all of our appointments.  I basically felt better of Sunday, just week and dizzy at times. Today I didn't exercise other that the hike and I feel just fine right now.

Here are some interesting things about my area.  Every night there are drunk people out on the streets.  For some reason when Guates are drunk they know more English.  They just really want to talk to us and get money form the canche (white) Elder.  Im getting used to them and I am glad that I am so much bigger than every single person here.  I don't think there will be any real trouble while I am serving in Chirijox.  Thing number two, there are lots of dogs here.  It is kinda weird if you can go down a street without a dog running around.  None of the dogs have tried to attack yet but there are a lot of really sick looking dogs here.  One of them had such bad mange that my comp yelled zombi dog haha.  It was actually pretty disgusting haha.  

I feel that the spanish is coming and I am happy with the work.  It is not the same that you would expect.  I feel like a normal person.  Not just like a missionary.  I just have a desire to work and teach.  It is amazing how the Lord qualifies those who He calls.  I can't speak much spanish, I have know clue when it comes Quiche, but when I am in a spiritual lesson, there is nothing holding me back.  It is absolutley amazing.  I have been transcribing some of the best notes that I took at the CCM into one of my journals.  It is so great to just go over such relevant advice from the prophets.  

Love you guys,

Elder Miles

Monday, September 8, 2014

#8 Chirijox, Guatemala

Elder Miles Selfie
Well, the bus ride to the mission home which is in Xela (Quetzaltenango) was pretty good.  Long but good.  It was delayed because the main road was out.  The ride was about 5 hours but between us Elder's it was full of jokes and stuff.  I actually don't remember much about about it.

At the mission home we were able to get 5 minute interviews with Presidente Smith and Hermana Smith.  They are both really good people.  Each of them are pretty powerful spiritually.  After that 5 minute interview I was assigned to serve with Elder Mar in the Totonicapan zone,  Chirijox area.  Elder Mar is from Mexico and has 21 months here in the field.  He is probably the best person possible to be my trainer.  I love working with him and he knows how to work.  He has learned quite a bit of english and of course speaks spanish perfectly.  That is the best combination because he gets to learn more english from me and I get to learn spanish fast.  This kid is a miracle worker when it comes to contacting and keeping members happy.  He is able to get everyone laughing and smiling and then just kinda slips the whole missionary thing in and gets the work done. He has a good personality and I enjoy my time with him.  I just hope that I will be able to help him out a lot more in the coming weeks.

Chirijox, Guatemala
My area Chirijox is awesome.  The people are some of the nicest people that I have ever met in my life.  There is no fear of being robbed at all.  They are all great people.  The ward is pretty strong here compared to most places.  We had about 40 attend church and each of them are pretty willing to help us out.  There are also a couple of good soon to be missionaries in the area.  Elder Mar likes to bring them out with us to lessons as translators.  Translators because every single person here primarily speaks Quiche.  This language is the farthest thing from spanish or english.  No cognates.  Gutteral sounds.  I have no clue, haha.  There are times when I say something in my broken spanish which is fixed by my comp which is then translated into quiche.  I'm picking up a few words but it is taking a lot of time just to learn how to say hello or goodbye.  The people love seeing a cancha (gringo) try to speak a few words.  It gets them laughing a bit and helps to ease us into talking just a little bit.  

The area is cold.  There is a town here that we go to everyday that is called Alaska.  It is just nicknamed that because it gets pretty cold.  This also means basically no bugs.  I would definately rather cold than bugs and sweat.  It rains here quite a bit as well.  It starts to rain every night for about 3 hours and then it just stays cold.  On the way back from Alaska on Sunday it rained so hard that we were soaked through.  We ended having to go back to the house at about 8 oclock just because we were so wet. 

I get to eat with the members here for every lunch and usually it is quite good.  The food varies from rice, beans, chicken, beef, soups, vegetables and tortillas.  It is always pretty tasty and the members here are at least somewhat safe with their cooking habits.  I'm kinda waiting to get sick but in the mean while I'm just going to keep taking my multi vitamins!
My flat is actually pretty nice.  It is the second floor of a
Awesome flat
building and has tile floors with a working bathroom and multiple rooms.  The kitchen has a mini fridge, portable stove, and a microwave.  Pretty sweet set up, haha.  The water in all of Guatemala is not safe to drink and there is a mission rule to not drink caffeine.  Entonces I just get to drink the agua puro that we can buy from some of the small tiendas here in the area.  Oh, we also like to eat a lot of the bread from the shops.  It is .5 of a quatzale for a roll size piece of the sweet bread.  I am going to be trying to drink more bottled fruit and veggie drink in order to have more greens on the diet.  I don't like eating the fruit here because it takes too long to sanitize and prepare it.  

The work came to a rocky start in the first couple of days.  We didnt have any food or water so we had to go out and buy supplies.  Things are better now that we've had our first p-day in the area.  The people here are ready for the message that we are going to be sharing.  Within this first week of hard work we have about 5 pretty solid investigators and several people to visit all throughout the day.  I have a pretty hard time in the lessons when others are talking but the spirit always shows me a way to have some personal input.  Usually this is my testimony, but sometimes it is a scripture or a picture to use.  We use a portable DVD player to get into a lot of peoples houses here as well.  Elder Mar will just be like "oh it is only a 3 minute video and it is really good" after having given them high fives and told jokes to everyone who is present.  We have showed "Gracias a El" I think 3 times now.  

In the CCM I would say that this mission stuff would be so easy in english.  Now I am saying that this mission stuff would be so easy in spanish, haha.  The Mayan Indian dialect of "Quiche" and the illiteracy thing are kind of hard to get past.  The spirit tells of truth and sometimes it is hard to show to truth when the people will not be able to understand what they see.  It is all in the hands of the holy ghost at times here. 
I am beginning to really like the work.  So much has happened in the past week that I can't even understand how I feel half of the time.  Usually, the mornings are hard and the nights are the best.  I'm just waiting for my mind to begin processing this all.  Names are hard to learn on top of all of this.  For the most part I am really happy and things are looking up.  I hope to at least have one baptism before the end of the month.  God willing
Love you guys,
Elder Josh Miles

Friday, September 5, 2014

#7 First Area

President and Sister Smith with Elder Josh Miles

September 03, 2014

Dear Miles Family,

Your missionary has arrived safely.  We love him already and are anxious to work together. Attached is a photo of your missionary on the day he arrived in Quetzaltenango.

This mission has eight stakes and three districts along with six dependent branches.  We hope over the next 2 years that at least one or two of these districts will become a stake.  Your missionary will have the opportunity to work in many of the seventy different areas of service.  Some will work in small villages while others in larger cities like Quetzaltenango and Huehuetenango. Your son’s first assigned area is Totonicapan.  Even though Guatemala is small, it has over 250,000 members, six missions and two temples, a truly blessed place with many of the descendants of father Lehi living within its borders.    

We are very excited to work with your son.  Thank you for supporting him.  It will be one of the greatest spiritual experiences of his life.


Rick L. Smith                                                                            Sister Lynda Smith
Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

#6 Last week at the CCM. (Leaving Sept. 2, 2014)

Hey fam!!   

Josh's CCM Group 
Hey that is great that you were able to get those pictures of me!   I just couldn't figure out how to send them to you quickly.  Hopefully, I will have my camera on the last day so I can show you the view out of my awesome new room!  It is just basically the the temple with the background of trees and buildings popping up in the mountainous/hilly background. The trees here are pretty thick and lush.

So here are the few things that have happened this week:

First the president of the CCM has been gone for the first four weeks here.  He is a hombre verdadero.  That guy is so crazy when it comes staying in shape that he ended up hurting himself and being in Utah for the past little while.  Now that he is back he can pump up the entire CCM with just about every word that he says.  Presedente Cox is just about the best thing about the CCM.  My teachers are really cool too.  One of them actually served in SLC and Tooele.  His English is really great.

I have now seen two shipments of new kids come out here. With this second group I got the group to play just a little prank.  I was able to amass an army of 25-30 guys who were willing to join in.  At the end of the day some new kids were going to be living in my room with me.  As we were having just a normal conversation I started to screech like a chimp.  This was the signal for the other guys to just charge into and cause a ruckus (not to much ruckus.)  Nobody got in trouble or offended) like a pack of apes.  It was just about the funniest thing that I have seen.  All the guys were willing to jump in because just about nothing happens around here and it was about time for some excitement.  Sheets were thrown off the beds and chairs were tossed and many sounds were made.  All in all it was rather successful at weirding out the two new guys in my room.

I got a new room this week.  My comp and I now live with only four other guys and have a bigger and better bathroom to share with the rest of the guys who share my hallway.  This is the new part of the CCM that we read about with regards to the new renovations. It is actually pretty nice for a place that is shared among like forty guys.  

This is my last time writing to you guys from the ccm.  I will be probably writing from my mission home.  I am really excited and also kinda sad.  I have met a ton of cool people here and I probably won't ever see them again.  Just like you people back at home,  ahha JK- but really ya I'm basically dead.  Today was my last time going to the Guatemala City  Temple.  I have really grown to love going to that place every week.  O well, now is the time for me to help to living.   

I think I have just gotten to the point in my Spanish where I'm beginning to understand how much I can't say or understand. I thought I was pretty good but now I understand that I talk like a four year old with a learning disability.  Yep, I'm basically going to have a rough go haha!  I'm way excited to be really tried with this though.  I came out here to do hard things and that is what I will do.  I just don't quite yet have the work ethic that I really want.  I'm working harder than I was last week but I still just need to learn how to just plow through every little unnecessary distraction.  Don't get me wrong I'm having a good time as well.  Remember that I was the kid who conducted the most exciting good natured prank that I have heard happen here at the ccm.

I enjoy my companion and my roommates. Some of the conversations that I have with my roomies are the best things here.  Every one here is just knows that there is actually a God.  It is good stuff.

That was funny hearing that I am a luxury to have around the house.  Tell you what, having a tv to relax once in a while is a blessing. There just aren't any good ways to wind down here. Journal, read, exercise a bit, pray talk, and sleep.  That is the CCM way.

Well I hope that the field will be really good.  It probably will be since I'll just be able to walk and greet a whole lot more than here.  I am just bracing for the storm that will be the field and spanish. It is a good thing that the spirit teaches because I sure as heck won't be able to say much haha.  I know that I will be fine and that everything that I do out in the field is going to make me better and a happier person at one point or another.  I've just gotta keep being obedient and be able to have the courage to let my bad spanish trickle out of my mouth.  Well I love you guys!!

God be with you,

Elder Miles