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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Letter #20

January 5, 2015
Nahuala, Guatemala

Hey everyone!

So this week went pretty much normally.  Just kicking it with my companion in the streets of Guatemala and just trying to do what we can to do in the Lord’s work.  We found a few really good people this week but the rest of our investigators stopped progressing as well.  Really we can get everyone to read and pray but when we see that they people aren’t attending church that’s it.  Usually if you can get someone to church it means that they really want what we have.  If not then they are just in it for a few spiritual experiences and not the spiritual life.  

On New Years Day we were contacting a family that live little farther out but was a reference from church members.  They live in a place called Pachakin.  It is a little town just out maybe an hour from the house on foot.  It is probably one of the coolest little towns that I have seen and it is one of the only places where we actually know where our area ends.  There is a little stream that goes through it with wild California lilies growing along the bank.  After contacting the family and setting up a cita (appointment) with them for later on, we ended up taking a little hike with the members to a huge waterfall. I’ll send the pictures but the place is really quite amazing.  It was just pure dense forest, followed by a huge colorful cliff.  We went back and the members basically force-fed us tamales.  The stuff is super tasty but when you end up eating like 5 portions past being full then you start to really feel like dying.  In the evening there ended up being more fireworks for the new years than during Christmas.  I just tried to sleep through this one but it was impossible.  It was like 45 minutes straight of just bomb sounding fireworks going off in the air at midnight.  It is a cool tradition but not for those who really need to sleep haha!

Yesterday we were able to manage putting more lessons with member than I ever had in one day.  We just ran from cita to cita with a member who is 23 and trying to get on a mission.  We used his Kiche language to its maximum and got a lot of baptismal challenges. Elder Duncan, the area president, told us that on average people need to be challenged to baptism eight times before actually accepting.  We really just try to crank out the challenges and hope for the best.  We have a few fecha metas with the people but like I said, church attendance is a problem with these people.  There is a huge cultural influence on everyone to not change religions because they think that it is a sin.  For that the Aldea of my area are a little tougher to get along with.  Still I do love asking the staunch Catholics if they know what Catholic means and watch them squirm a bit.  I like to help them think about what they are practicing.  Elder Pinchi,my companion told me that there is no other area where you have to deal with so much casaca (crap or lies) from the people.  Still it has gotten me to be really direct in every challenge and teaching to the point. There is no holding back.  Otherwise they won’t understand due to the Kiche dialect or due to just them not knowing the purpose of religion.  Some might say that we plant seeds but I say that here we are still working in tilling dirt.  I little bit rougher and really necessary for the people here.

I do have changes! I have had my 4 and a half months of working here and now it is time for me to see what I can offer other areas and companions.  I loved my time with Elder Pinchi.  He is a super good dude.  Just waiting on my new comp and new area on the morrow.  I could be anywhere from a super small Aldea (village) hours into the mountain roads to being in a gated community in the middle of Xela (Quetzaltenango).  Who knos what the Lord needs me to learn.  I have everything packed already to go.  I will have to leave the carry on suitcase just because transport is really nuts out here.  Everything fits just fine in the two big ones.

I love you guys!!!

Letter #19

December 29, 2014

Mt. Guatemalan Village
 I’m just here chillin like a villain.  I now know what I will be getting with the money that I got for Christmas.  I will be buying very typical scripture case from a guy I know who hand makes some of the best fabrics and leathers known in the mission.  I will get them for my English scriptures, my Spanish and my agenda.  Also, I should be getting my handmade tie in just a little while.  It took about 16 hours to hand make the fabric and I sent it into a guy who does really good work about a week ago.  Hey I will show you guys my cases when I get them and then we will see if you guys want any.  The pricey ones with leather and fabric should cost about 450 or 500 Q.  The full fabric is about 300 or 350Q.  Super cool stuff and very effective in making scriptures look way cooler than those of los demas.  I did some looking for the fabric material out here called Corte.  There isn’t even sliced bread in my area.  I don’t know why I thought I would find anything haha!  

Very dusty roads
I just felt super tired after having talked to you guys.  I just felt so dang happy to get to chat with the four of you.  It felt like I had almost just put the thought of a rock solid family in my dreams and that it wasn’t reality.  Turns out that I have one that lives just a little north of me.  Wow.  Really was an experience!  I am now just pumped to see Jay-man in about 5 months.  That should be nice.  I think I am really getting to understand what I’m saying as I teach that family’s are such a great blessing and a powerful gift.  My president told me that all things to the Lord are spiritual.  That is truly the case.  Even the social aspects of our lives are really just spiritual.  

I finished “Lectures on faith”, really quite powerful.  The book just goes in and explains faith in a perfect way.  I actually feel more comfortable when teaching about faith now.  I just know a little more and that goes a long way.  I have also been going through the New Testament from acts and on.  I could probably start up my own church down here and have plenty of doctrine to teach. Ha ha! I really am starting to feel comfortable just whipping out my bible in every situation.  Also having nearly finished “Jesus the Christ” helps with the understanding of doctrine tons!  Also my studies of Christ like attributes of “Preach my Gospel” are just gold!  Every repentant member of the church ought to give each section of that chapter a few days of study apiece. I am just taking dads advice to heart and really just trying to devote myself to loving the people, my comp and the doctrine.  Sadly, my old saying of ¨I hate people¨ is starting to come back and bite me in the butt.  It is hard to be patient in every step of explaining doctrine to a people so completely brainwashed by their pastores and other antichrist preachers.  They are truly confused.  Wolves have definitely been abound amongst this flock.  I did meet someone who moved here to Chirijox from the big city Totonicap├ín.  She can only speak Spanish.  She is the first person that I have taught that is a true Spanish speaker.  Her understanding is miles ahead of the rest after the first lesson.  The only problem is that her husband is in the US.  So we won’t be able to do anything with her until she can ask him for permission to go to church.  Ya, the whole lack of women’s rights thing is really starting to bother me.

Something cool that I have found is how studying the scriptures in two languages really makes study effective.  Something’s are really just better suited to the Spanish or the English scripture.  There is different emphasis and there are different things to be learned from the same verses of scripture.  This is especially so true with the Bible.  I will read a chapter in English and not understand much.  Then read the same one in Spanish and understand everything.  Then the next chapter I will only understand in English.  Then reading each chapter in both languages really helps to pound down a concept in the mind.  Just two different ways to explain the same thing.  It is odd but a really powerful trick that I have been able to pick up.  I’m really starting to grow a passion for just scripture study.  There is so much profound doctrine that sometimes I’m just left saying ¨what the heck¨.

My area is huge.  Really it would take about 20 hours to walk from one end to the other and I have no clue how freaking far it goes haha.  I asked president if I should even visit the people that are far out.  He told me no haha.  So that just saved me tons of time walking and riding in pick-up trucks from place to place in the mountain passes.  I will miss going out on those beautiful flete rides.  My comp and I will be going back soon just on a p-day to look for this water fall and lake that we have only heard of in the far reaches of area Chirijox.  

Christmas here was a little different.  There is essentially no gift giving out here.  I think that just might be for the conditions, which they live but I’m not sure.  We did eat SO much tomali.  I must have eaten pounds of the stuff from the 24th to the 25th.  Seriously, just tonssss of tomali.  Everyone was offering to feed us and how can we say no when we don’t even know how to say it in Kiche, haha.  Utz taj is “no”.  At about midnight they launch fireworks.  I went up the roof to see what was going on and it was a legit 360 Disneyland firework show.  I now know why the people are poor.  They spend every penny they make on fireworks for la navidad.  I was actually really surprised about the show.  They had some nice Ariel fireworks.  And the show lasted for like 20 minutes.  Just straight up firework war.

I just barely bought a cooking pot today.  We are now able to cook rice. We had rice, egg and fish for lunch today!  Just canned fish but I still feel like the man! haha.

I haven’t been food sick in a while.  Its actually kind of weird haha.  I am pretty used to getting hit at least every month.  I think I am out of the woods on this one.  Knock on wood.

Well I love you guys a ton!!!!!!

Letter #18

December 15, 2014

Each week we write our emails in Nahuala.  It is the larger city type thing outside of our area but in the district.  It’s about 15 minutes from the house.  The Internet here is just better and there is more food available to buy.  There is a member that told me that we could use their precious wifi to talk to you guys on their laptop!  They are just about the only house in my area that has wifi haha.  I have no clue what time we will be talking.  I am not even sure if I can set it to a day.  I am pretty sure it will be the 24th or 25th.  We will be sending an email the day before or just sending a text to you guys to try and prep you for it all before the go time.  Just make sure to check the email often.

My companion, Elder Pinchi is super cool!  I am having a good time trying to keep these old timing missionaries out of the house to get to work!  The guy is super smart and works really well.  He is very direct in his teachings and also he is good at describing the things of the lessons.  We get along super well and are good buds right now.

We get together with our zones often.  Almost every p-day we have something to do about 45 minutes bus ride away form the house.  Today we all got together and played some soccer and them some mafia.  It is always a good time and now we are going to be getting together to do Christmas stuff in Totonicap├ín for the p-day before Christmas.  We should be caroling on a stage type deal.  I also have to find a gift to give to Elder McLain.  He is my white elephant type deal.  Make sure not to tell his mom haha!  
I don’t know what we will be doing Christmas.  None of the families have invited us to do anything with them.  There should be a lot of fireworks on midnight here for Christmas.  Also, gifts and lots of tomali and pacha.  Things should be tasting good for the holidays but I have no clue what we are going to do.  There are no busses on Christmas here so there definitely won’t be anything put together as zone or district on Christmas day.

There is basically no danger in my area.  The worst is the dogs and sometimes the drunken guys really want to talk to us about taking away their sins or something like that.  Really, the dogs don’t attack that often.  We just use our bags and back up.  If there is a real problem with the dogs we can just grab a corn stalk and go after those little savages.  I haven’t really had any serious close calls!  We do go out proselyting in the pitch freaking black from 630 to 900.  It is super, super dark here most of the time at night but we have flashlights and the Holy Ghost as our guide.

I feel like I am getting old now.  I know I’m only 18 but I feel way older.  Like 23 plus.  I’m aging out here.  I can feel it haha.  I’m more serious and my jokes are more tasteful haha.  JK, I have no clue how my jokes are because they don’t run the same in the Spanish language.  Also, I haven’t had a real chat with any English speaker for a while.  SO I may come back without sense of American humor.

I feel good being out here and I have not gotten sick in now counting two and a half weeks from food haha!  I love my call to serve and I will finish the call with honor and knowing much more than I can into the field with.  I am just waiting to see how working hard everyday like this will payoff.

OH something wield happened this week!  I had companionship study with the mission president.  That basically doesn’t happen unless you are zone leader...  It was super cool and I think it just made my mission blessing that much more truthful

Love You all!