Monday, October 16, 2017

Week 42: zone leader stuff

So, this week we have changes, and I have received a new assignment as a Zone Leader.  The good news is, I’ll be going back to Olancho!!! I am so excited to be getting back there. I have missed a lot of Olancho; the people and being able to say “oeee” without people giving me weird or questioning looks.  (“oeee”, is like saying hey) 

This last week we worked super hard. We worked with our investigators, set some baptismal dates to prepare them. It’s been great. I’ve been having a lot of fun with our recent converts. Elder Navarro and I got to go to the temple with Ruben and Cristhian. It was super cool and very memorable. I got to be a witness for their family baptisms and I got to do some confirmations for the dead, it was an experience I won’t ever forget. After that Elder Navarro and I got to go in the Celestial room and it was again a powerful experience. I was overcome with feelings that I have to work hard in preaching the gospel and also comforted about leaving the area. I ended up reading 1 Corinthians, chapter 1 and Jacob, chapter 5 and it was powerful. 

I don't have much more time to write, but my new companion will be Elder Banda. I have heard a lot from my current Zone Leader about the area, and he is super happy for me. Elder Mena will be going home the next change and he's telling me about how great the area is too, so now I'm really excited, but also humbled that the Lord is trusting me to a calling that I really feel unprepared for. I’ve just been a trainer and now I'm going to be a Zone Leader. I just hope I can be ready and have help from the Lord to do what it is I need to do as the Zone Leader of Juticalpa. This last week was one to remember and I hope I can have the chance to say goodbye to everyone I need to say goodbye to.

I’m glad the funeral of Grandma Helen went well and that the family had a good time. I hope you all got home safe and can have a calm relaxing week. I love you guys and am super excited for these changes because I will be spending Christmas in Juticalpa. I will be calling my family from the same place as our call last Mother’s Day. I’m kind of baggy, but I'm excited for a new area. I plan to work super hard, I'm going to make my next companion, who has three months left on his mission cry with all the walking we will do. jaja. I’m honestly without a lot of words, so I’ll leave with the Lord works in mysterious ways. 

Keep truckin’ I love you guys! 

Ruben and I. I ordained him to the office of a Priest this past Wednesday. He was ordained at his home, the Bishop was there and everything. After, we went to the temple. It was a good day.
Ruben and Cristhian -  Uncle and Nephew.
Ruben's mom is Nora and she has been a member for 6 years. She is very happy. They both live with her.
I trained Elder Navarro. I am his "dad" in the mission and now that he will be the "dad" - trainer of his new companion, Elder Caal, I will be Elder Caal's "grandpa".
Ruben taking pics...
Cristhian got a hold of my camera...

Last friday we had interchanges. The grandma of one of the members passed away. I was thinking a lot that day of what must be going on at home and especially missed you all.

On our Pday today we are planning to go to Tarocagua to eat lunch. Elder Navarro wants to buy some stuff as well. We are going to say some goodbye's and then pack. Tomorrow at like 11am I am going to Juticalpa with a stop in Lempira to talk about changes. Lempira is a zone in Tegucigalpa, we meet in the chapel there.

While in Olancho, Juticalpa I will get to my last area, Camapmento, but not too often. I will be going to Guimaca more than anything, and to Cata Camas.
I'm going to try to go to some of the caves in Cata Camas. I should have a lot of fun there.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Week 41: the work continues

This week went by super quick. I probably don’t have too much to write. It was probably my second to last week with Elder Navarro (maybe). He is taking it hard, which surprises me. I always thought being not so lovey dovey and on the impatient side would make the parting easier. 

I’m actually very happy to hear the news of Grandma Helen’s passing and a little sad at the same time. I know that she is experiencing a peaceful reunion with her beloved. I know that our Father in Heaven has a plan for each one of us and we are here on earth to be tried and tested; and my great grandmother was surely tried and tested. I know He loves us and is there with open arms to comfort us if we let him. If there are any words I can say about my Grandma Helen they are—I loved the cashews she always had in her room at Grandmas house and the way she always bore testimony of her Savior to me, just a little boy, a testimony that helped grow my desire to serve my Savior.  Sometimes the pull at grandma’s house was only being where my uncles and  cousins were… but the time that I spent with Grandma Helen in her room was bonding time, I always left happy and filled with the spirit from her testimony of His gospel. I love her and am grateful that she has completed her work here on earth and has moved on to her other work in the spirit world.  

This week we had interviews with the president and he kept it short as usual, but he told me something that has resulted in the theme of my study these last weeks. He told me, "Elder usted esta perfeccionando este segunda idioma. Pero yo siento que el Senor quiere usted a mejor el segundo que ya tenia... la idioma del espíritu." This led me to some deep thinking and discussions with my companion and other elders to what he could have meant. DO I need to have a greater knowledge, do I need to repent, if so about what? I feel that I’ve been living the commandments and repenting when I have made mistakes. Well, the words of my companion struck home, "Si quiere mejor este idioma no viene en un libro o un oración pero mediante Galatas 5: 22-23 (Galatians 5: 22-23)." I knew the scripture, I had used it many times in teaching the gospel.  I recited it quickly, and then realized what he had meant. It was that I needed to be better in the characteristics in these verses. It says, "22 Pero el frut del espiritu es amor, gozo, paz , longanimidad, benignidad, bondad, fe 23 mansedumbre, templanza contra tales cosas no hay ley." I now realize that I don’t have a lot of these mastered and that that is why I have been suffering with testifying with power of the spirit. I have felt it, but not always. And in my patriarchal blessing it says (along the same lines) “ I’m not always going to feel the spirit.” I really had thought nothing of it, but now because of the words of my mission president and because of my blessing I know I can study, learn and develop these characteristics, if I seek them with righteous desires. It is my hope that I can be better and that I can learn. I hope that this message can help some of you as well and together we can progress as children of the most high God.

I love you guys and I am praying for you and am with those of you that mourn, and will be there to comfort those that stand in need of comfort. 

We went up to Hermana Josefa's, the lady that lives at the top of our area. I decided to take some pictures of the lights of Tegucigalpa.
Elder Navaroo, Denilson from the ward, and the bishop, Juan Dominquez. Denilson has put in his papers and is waiting for his mission call. Denilson is eighteen and likes to go out and visit with the missionaries; he wants to know what it's going to be like on a mission.
Cristhian has been ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood. Ruben and Cristhian will be going to the temple with us this Wednesday. I am probably going to ordain Ruben this Wednesday. (He asked to wait a little so his shirt can get back from the tailor.)

Elder Navaroo took some photos and some came out like this. We don't know what's up but think it looks cool!
Rained for three days straight. We didn't see the sun all that time.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Week 40: another amazing General Conference

This weekend was amazing, I loved watching conference this past weekend. All the messaged delivered by our church leaders are inspired messages. My favorite was Russel M Nelsons about the power of the Book of Mormon. I also liked Tad R Callister’s about its divinity. 

My companion has been struggling. There are some scary problems with our group leader. So watching conference and the talks about supporting our church leaders and reading the Book of Mormon for strength were something we really needed to hear. We luckily got permission from our mission president to watch all of the conference. Normally, well last year, he gave us permission to watch the afternoon sessions and priesthood session. I felt the spirit strongly in Jeffrey R Hollands talk, when he talked of the path of discipleship and our expectations as children of God, to try with all that we have. I loved it and more as he too spoke of respecting our leaders. 

This week we got bad news and even more bad news. Two of our investigators left to go work for two months, Kevin and Melvin will be gone. Then we found out that the gangs have threatened our Nueva Capital group leader because of a problem with his neighbor. Our group leader has said they are false accusations. And now that the gangs are involved, things are uncertain and scary. We are very concerned and feel that Satan is most definitely attacking our efforts.  He is working hard on and obviously not happy about the new group that we are organizing. I hope that we can overcome these trials and we can be better after. 

Ruben and Cristhian are great! They love the gospel and Ruben is going to go about preparing to turn in his mission papers. 

I am feeling great gratitude that my family is okay and hope that all our loved ones and friends will be okay as well. Just yesterday I truly felt the loving touch of the Savior. I had a thought last night of, "peace be unto your soul". I do feel at peace at this time of tragedy and I hope that others in the Las Vegas valley can receive peace as well. I know that if we ask for it with faith we may receive. We are here in this earth "that we might have joy". These tragic events are put in our path so that we may learn and grow. My heart goes out to Mexico and Florida, and Puerto Rico as well. I urge you all to read Stanley G Ellis's talk on trial and doing the hard things. Terror and tragedy is a tactic of the adversary--to bring doubt and fear to our hearts. Don’t give in brothers and sisters, be strong, don’t let hatred and sadness harden your hearts, take the harder and correct path to forgive your fellow men. I know our Savior lives and he is there with open arms to console us. I love you and if I could I would hug every one of you because in my moments of heavy heartedness all I want is a hug. You all are in my prayers! Study the talks of this last General Conference and find peace in the voices of the Lord in these Latterdays. 

I love you all, keep truckin

watching conference on the church computers on Saturday. Elder Navarro watched in Spanish and I watched in English.

Elder Navarro.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Week 39: 9 months!!!

This week we had the baptisms of Ruben and Cristhian. We baptized them Saturday and the entire week we were encouraging them and making sure they were ready. 

I have no news on Elder Navarro's eyes. We went to the doctor last monday and the doctor referred him to do other tests that cost $150.We haven't been able to do those test yet.  The basic news is he needs the knife and whether he needs to go to Mexico to do it or not.

On Sunday we had a pretty crappy experience in Church. We had our leadership meeting and we had a member come in and she just started telling our group leader that he was doing a terrible job. It was kind of hilarious, because our group leader just said, "If I'm doing something wrong tell me, I've never had a calling in my life." She responded, "Well it’s not my place to tell you how to do your calling". 
Well anyway, she had a lot of problems with how the group was running, like where we have our meetings (in our house) and she wanted us to have a separate place for the meetings. We don't have the money for another house right now, we need to show to the area presidency that we have a group of faithful members who need a separate house/building to use for a church. But she thought we needed one now! The Stake Presidency had talked to the entire group when it got started so everyone knew that it would take some time, but she wants it now! She got really mad and started telling everyone what they were doing wrong. She gave no feedback or ideas on how to be better. Hermano Garcia started losing his patience and I stepped in to try and make peace that we need to work hard before we can get this other location, and then you know what she does?... she ATTACKS ME!!! "All you missionaries are the same you come in with a plan to change the area and never do it!" I got super frustrated and had to leave the room. I started praying for peace and help to calm down. My companion took over from there. The lady eventually found she couldn't get anywhere and stormed out! She had attacked and criticized the leadership and the missionaries. We called the leadership meeting quits and once everyone left the Spirit absolutely wasn't in the house. Elder Navarro and I felt that we needed to  rededicate the house and then we left to visit some of the members who were there to make sure that they would keep assisting. 

It feels like since we have been feeling blessed that now Satan is attacking this particular family super hard, and now other families might leave, I hope not. I’ve been reading in Alma lately where he teaches the apostate Zoramites and explains faith as a seed and then goes on to talk about the way to prepare the soil. Its a humble heart that bests receives the gospel and more blessed is the person who humbles themselves without being told to. I really believe this works in this case with this member and a lot of us. We are definitely more blessed for humbling ourselves before the Lord does. I hope we can all forget our pride and humble ourselves to the promptings of the Lord and do his work. Love you guys! 

Keep Truckin’
on a bus to a multi-zone conference. It took us 3 hours to get to Siguatepeque 

a bus full of Elders and Hermanas in for a 3 hour ride
The bus picked up our district at a gas station and then we picked up another district on the freeway.
You can just pull over, they got on, and then you leave.

Elder Ruiz and Canales
Elder Canales was tired. He slept the entire ride.

Look how foggy! and that's a military officer
Elder Ruiz is bugging Elder Agustin. The other elder is Elder Sanchez, our zone leader.
He must want his tie

Elder Owen and Candia talking to Navarro 

Elder Choy and Owen
They are in my zone. Choy used to be Giraldo's old comp and Elder Owen is in an area called Ciudad Espana.
This is Elder Franco. He was with me in the CCM. We arrived in Honduras together.
Elder Madsen, he has been out 6 months. He got his first package on Wednesday.

He must have been bored. I still don't know what he was doing. I just turned around and he was like this. ;)
Elder Navarro and I with Cristhian and Ruben
I got to baptism Ruben on Saturday.
Elder Navaroo baptized Cristhian
This is Ruben's mother, and Cristhian's grandmother Nora
I found this hat at lunch, put it on and took some fotos. It says Lempira
This is Ruben and Elder Roberts wearing a KISS hat.
Ruben doesn't like fotos too much.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Week 38: an afflicted companionship

So I don't have news about Navarro’s eye situation because his second opinion appointment isn’t until 5:30 today. Soo, I guess you’ll have to wait until next week jaja. 

But anyway, our week has been difficult. We've both been sick and afflicted. 
On Monday shortly after writing home I almost got hit by a car. Some loco hondureno was speeding. I managed to escape, but twisted my ankle pretty bad! (see foto) I might have to talk to the medical assistant to see if I broke it or what. I can now walk on it without pain, but bending it hurts. Elder Navarro thinks I'm lying, down playing the pain, everyone is saying that I probably broke it. The color has changed considerably and today it’s now just a little blue from the bruising. I'm really happy about that.  The good news is the hills of the Nueva Capital still have a gringo that can walk up these hills in the same time as a bus. 

Elder Navarro has been sick with fever, runny nose, and a cough.  We think it’s your basic flu or cold, but he was hit pretty hard. He hasn’t been strong enough to work for a lot of time this week, but luckily we found some medicine that has helped and received a blessing that he will be able to continue his work here in Honduras. (I hope that means for both of his health problems.) In latin America they cure with injections, they don’t really do syrups and pills. A lady (Sandra, she is a member that is a nurse) had to inject the shot we got at the pulperia in his butt cheek. You could say it was kind of uncomfortable to have watch. Navarro says it hurts a lot, I’ll take his word for it, and stick to the cough syrup and pills that I brought with me in my suitcase. 

We had a baptism this week of Christopher! He is ten and is a real light in his family. His mom has been inactive for more than three years. Since he has now taken the step to be baptized and loves the gospel he is sure an example for his Mom and Sisters. It was a super cool experience to have all the family at church for his confirmation on Sunday. 
Christopher’s confirmation blessing was really a spiritual moment for me.  I could feel the power of the Priesthood working through me. The spirit was so strong. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it, it was that powerful of an experience. 

I really received a testimony of the priesthood a year ago when I had to go through all that medical stuff, my moment in the “Valley of the Shadow of Death”. I can still remember that priesthood blessing from my dad to this day; a promise that no great harm would come my way. I now know that the priesthood that I hold is the same priesthood the Lord held and does hold to this day. 

I hope that you can ask for a blessing this week or whenever you need one. I pray that you can feel the power and authority of the Lord here on the Earth, the power that he has given to righteous men to act in his name. I know that the priesthood is here to comfort us and help us in our daily lives, to stay on the path to salvation. Don't be afraid to ask for blessings, the Lord wants to bless us, as Jeffery R. Holland has said, "It is in God's nature to bless and help us in our times of tribulation". So why don't we ask more often for blessings? I know sometimes I feel that I can just work out the problem myself, that it isn't too bad that I can figure it out. But, I know that if we pray and seek a blessing, that the Lord can and will help us, we just need to trust him. I put my trust in him just about exactly a year ago. It was one of the hardest but one of the greatest times of my life. I won’t forget the pain I had to endure, that was miraculously relieved through the faith of those around me. I wont lie, I doubted quite a bit, but I know the prayers of my mom, dad, sisters, family members, and friends helped heal me. The Priesthood and faith helped the blessing my Father in Heaven had prepared come to pass. I pray that you will humbly seek and come unto the Lord. He will bless you. I remember hearing in a past general conference, I think it was a seventy, he exhorted us to seek more priesthood blessings, and to trust more in the Lord. 

I love you guys hope you all have a good week! 

Keep Truckin'

Elder Navarro and I with Christopher's family- sister's Kathia and Elizabeth, and his Mother Sandra.

Pretty hardcore bruising. I can't bend it or put weight on the sides. It's getting better. I am still able to walk on it without pain.
Sandra, she is a nurse. She is getting ready to give Elder Navarro a shot in his butt. jaja

Monday, September 11, 2017

Week 37: eye doctor for Navarro

So this week was kind of a bummer. It started great though. Elder Navarro and I are working hard and we are seeing a lot of progress in our investigators. 
We have Ruben who is 23 years old, he is a funny guy who believes firmly that we are called and sent by God. He is reading the Book of Mormon, and has given up smoking. He has come to church twice and I hope he comes this next week. 
And then we have Christian who is 16 and the nephew of Ruben. This past Saturday he told us that he prayed and received an answer... that he knows the church is TRUE, he believes Joseph Smith is a prophet and that all the keys were restored to him. He, like Ruben, is also preparing to be baptized on the 23rd. 
We also have Kevin, Melvin, and Robert. They have been friends for about 6 years and are all investigating and progressing at the same time.
And lastly we have Christopher, who is 10. His mom is a member but stopped attending church two years ago so he hasn’t been baptized. He is going to be baptized this next week! He is super excited for this next Friday. 

Elder Navarro got some bad news this week. He has been having some problems with his vision. We went to see an eye doctor where we were told that he has some inflammation in his cornea. I think he had a surgery called transika before coming out, and now I think he's having some side effects.  The doctor talked to us and said he thinks that he may need to go home for another surgery for the inflammation. I’m not only bummed for Elder Navarro but have been super bummed because I feel like the work has started progressing in a way that I have never been a part of and then we get this news. He will need to go home quick and they could possibly close our area because I am without a companion. 

Elder Navarro with the Eye Doctor
He has another appt. with a doctor who is more associated with the surgery that he had before he came out. This doctor said it's possible that he will have to go home or he may go blind.

I have found myself loving the people of the Nueva Capital more and more each day. It is hard to even think about leaving it. I’ve been practicing focusing on the people more and their needs, than focusing on myself. You might could say I’ve been a little self-centered/selfish (if you don’t believe me just ask my sisters, Alyssa and Abby.) 

I’ve not only felt the success of this area but have had a lot of fun as well. I hope and pray that Elder Navarro will be okay. I have grown to love the guy and I want him to be able to serve a full mission or what ever he is capable of. I love this area so much that I won't care if I get paired with even the most disobedient guy in the mission. I’ll give it my all, we will work hard and do all we can to bring these people to Christ. 

I was reading in the Book of Mormon. I had a fun time reading the Ammon and Aaron chapter of missionary work. It was fun for me because I see a lot of the people that I see here daily in the Nueva Capital in these chapters. 

The group is still good, we had 47 people attend yesterday that were just from the Nueva. Attendance was a little bit lower than last week, but not as many people from El Divino came up to help. The group will be on its feet in time, I feel that it will work out great. Our leaders here, are super excited for the group and are working hard. They have been some of the best leaders that I have seen out here on my mission. 

I love my mission and my Savior. I can feel and know he's helping us out more and more each week. I love this work and it’s now getting easier for me to go about doing everything a missionary is supposed to do. I just hope and pray I don't fall into being a lazy. I've been working hard and I hope and pray I can keep it up. I love you guys and hope all is well.

Keep truckin’

The Sanchez family feeds us lunch on Sunday's. I'm sitting by Elder Morales. He is our new District Leader.
We had rice, beans, and chicken today.
The mom of the Sanchez's, her name is Yhadira.
It's a small world. Their son Nephi is in Costa Rica. He was in the CCM at the same time as me.
-being goofballs-
Their son Hyrum, he's 17, just jumped into my lap for the picture! lol

Monday, September 4, 2017

Week 36: Nueva Capital's first meeting and visiting Picacho

So this week was weird. I had an interview with president last Saturday and he advised me to trust in the Lord more. So we tried it. We stopped working our tails off and starting focusing more on quality lessons with power. And I would say that it has worked. We have put on a lot of fechas for baptisms. We now have 7 people planned for baptisms. The dates are set, with continuing plans to invite more people to come unto Christ. 

I have been really looking forward to this next month and the coming weeks because we now have officially organized the group up in the Nueva Capital. Sunday was amazing.  It was super cool. I have pictures of the groups first meeting. I feel this is something super historical, and I hope and pray that it keeps growing. We had 9 investigators come to church and they all liked it. We have at least two baptisms each week planned after the ninth of September. Pray for them. I hope and pray that they will continue having good experiences investigating, and can know these things are true. 

Nueva Capital's first meeting. We had 58 people come. 58 people in Elder Navarro and Elder Roberts' little casa.  We had chairs brought up. The bishop and stake president came, and we now have a group leader.

Elder Navarro and I got into a couple of disagreements.  We have apologized and are working to solve our problems. For our efforts we are working better than ever. I truly believe and know that the repentance process makes us better and more susceptible to the Spirit. 

We have an investigator Ruben. He has given up smoking and his Saturday night party schedule to go to church. He is also learning English at a super fast pace. I truly believe he has given himself to the Lord. He is 24 and has the desire to go on a mission. I hope he can keep with it. He's an awesome dude, with some cool prayer experiences. He has prayed and received an answer and now he has gone to church and he likes it even though it’s in a tiny little house up in the Nueva Capital. 

Kevin, Robert (17), and Melbin (19) are three youth investigators. They are all super excited about the gospel. They have prayed and love the Spirit that they feel in church. Sunday’s meeting was a super cool experience for them, they loved it and plan on coming to more. I can’t wait for the next week to tell you more about their progress.

This week in my personal scripture study I was reading a lot in Mosiah and a little in the beginning of Alma-- as a missionary I love this part of the Book of Mormon. It talks a lot about the hardship of being a servant of the Lord and having patience and faith. I hope all of us, as servants of Christ, can have the patience and faith to suffer our afflictions and be better daily. 

I’m so happy to have your support and prayers, and I hope you all feel and know that you have mine. I pray that you see the Lords hand in your life.
I hope you have a good week!
Love you all and keep on truckin’

last P-day our district got to visit the famous El Cristo del Picacho. It is a statue of Christ up on the hill Picacho in the city of Tegucigalpa.

(Caption this)...

The view of the city is beautiful from this location

ruins of Picacho... Interesting fact: the El Cristo del Picacho statue was built in 1997
read all about it!
my companion and I in front of the ruin steps

my tv tray? No, it's a quetzalcoa (feathered serpent, macaw, and spider monkey statue)
I'm holding up eight fingers. I have 8 months

All the guys in my district.  A member brought us up here (brother Martinez). He took all our pics

teeter-totters at Picacho!
Navarro, Me, Cleverley, Mena, Medrano, Canales, Ruiz, and Candia

An old church up here by the Cristo that was used by the Catholics.

Jesus (in a jail cell? weird...)

checking out our pictures. We took a lot of them
It was a fun P-day

This is Christopher. He is 10 and excited to be getting baptized. His mother, Sandra is a member and he has other family members that are members.
When I look down on the city at night I feel home. 
I closed my eyes for these photos trying not to think of home. 

Wednesday I reported to the immigration office. I saw Zachreson there. I am now an official resident of Honduras. They took my picture and fingerprinted me. No longer on my visa.
Elder Medrano goes home this Thursday. Elder Cleverley gets transferred to Loargue. I'm now going to be the only gringo in my district.
Our District: I'm the guy in the glasses (Elder Mena's glasses)
The last picture of our District together.
back row: Elder Medrano, Ruiz, Mena, Me. front row: Elder Cleverley, Canales, Candia, Navarro.
email me your caption:
my inspiration... from Star Wars or Lion King?