Monday, August 14, 2017

Week 33: uber sick and some training blues

So this week seriously sucked!

I got sick Friday. I have some bad stomach pain with chills and nausea. I’m sorry this letter won’t be long. I’ve been super sick and still am. I don’t have a ton of strength. 

This past week Elder Navarro has been undergoing some stress which is normal. He felt a little scared to talk to me. I reassured him that this was normal. I told him that he can make it through these next 9 weeks and will be able to enjoy the rest of his mission. He felt way better and now confides in me a lot more. It kind of feels weird because of how quiet he is normally. 

I had a fun time in a zone conference but I was sick, so I didn't enjoy it too much. And because of that I had President talking to me most of the time. 
I hope to feel better next week and to write more, but alas I don't have the strength. (no photo's either)

Keep Truckin’

Monday, August 7, 2017

Week 32: eggs and birthday traditions

This week has been a busy one. We had a lot of work to do. We did some pretty hard core service. We were trying to dig a latrine and ended up finding some huge rocks. We will be going back with some other missionaries tomorrow to try and take them out with their help. 

We visited with our investigator, Karla Sanchez and it turns out she’s not interested anymore so that’s a bummer.  I think maybe she liked Elder Espiritu or something and now that he has been transferred she doesn’t really want to meet anymore. 
pero ni modo (but anyway) 

We talked to Jose because his baptismal date was set for Saturday the 5th along with Valery, the niece of Hermana Ana. Having two baptisms to prepare for was a bit stressful, but it all worked out. Elder Navarro, my new companion performed the Baptism ordinance and I confirmed the two of them members. 

On Wednesday we walked up to the highest point of our area to take food to a member. Josefa is 84 years old, and walks all the way down to the church every Sunday. She is extremely poor and most of the time doesn’t have food. My companion and I bought some food and hiked it all the way up there for her. I figured it was a good way to use some of the birthday money I got from my family.
We leave the colonia that is called Los Cielos to go where she lives which has no name. It is about 3,000 to 4,000 feet. It is clean and beautiful up there, but a real hike.

Later on Wednesday we had to get Joses registro bautismal signed by his dad. His dad wants to attend. He is going to try this week to go to church with his son. I am super excited! 

We went to dinner with the bishop and he ended up getting us Chinese! I was super happy. I love the Chinese food here. 

On Thursday we stopped by some of our investigators and they are progressing, but it’s going a little slow. Most of them are former Jehovahs Witnesses and in my opinion are bit hard-hearted but they listen to us and want to learn. 

Later that night we went and did a Home Evening night for Jose. We had some cookies, and gave some spiritual thoughts. I loved it. I gave him a spinner I had originally bought for myself.  He loves them. I gave him one of mine because I don’t have a ton of time to play with them. They are something the kids love here. I normally take the spinner to Family Home Evenings and the kids play with them. But now it seems everyone has one, so I’m starting to give them to people who don’t have one and they love it. 

So Friday was my birthday. I brought a towel around with me all day in case something happened... and low and behold I got some eggs smashed on my head. It is a Honduran tradition to crack eggs on your head for your birthday. They try to surprise you, but I found the eggs and I was going to break them, but everyone was giving me crap about it, so I surrendered to my birthday day fate. I have a video to send that I hope my family will attach to my blog to share it. 

After our district meeting my companion and I went and worked our tails off. I’m not going to leave excuses. We went out and talked to a Wendy Galindo, (yes, Abby her last name is the same as the Dean at Northwest. I laughed when I heard it the first time) she is a pretty hardcore testigo (witness) but she said she has felt something different from our messages from all the other churches here in the Nueva. She has a problem with her boyfriend though, he likes to drink, and is pretty violent. We are going today to see if we can't help him as well. 

That night at dinner nobody knew it was my birthday in the ward. I was kind of happy about that... and then Elder Cleverly started talking, and pretty soon more eggs were brought out ready to get smashed on my head! The members ended up not going through with it and I was very grateful. 

Later I went with Elder Cleverly to do the interviews of Jose and Valery. Everything went well, he says that the two of them are well prepared, some of the most prepared he’s seen. That made me feel super grateful and happy. 

After that we went to Hermana Yarely’s and they had a surprise party set up for me! I almost cried. She got me this super good cake, de tres leches, and I got some cards from the little kids and I felt a little bit at home. They all sang this song I didn’t understand completely, but one part was a little bit like my dads operatic version of happy birthday that he always sings us. This brought me to some pretty hardcore tears, and I just thanked my Father in Heaven for giving me this moment, for all the work I have been able to do and all the people I have been able to meet. A very grateful day.

The next day we went to visit Jenny. She is one of our more interested investigator’s right now and is attending church, so I’m happy and she loves the church and her little boy Selbin does too. Then it was time for the baptisms of Jose and Valery. August 5th is the same day that I was baptized 11 years ago.  I was feeling a pretty strong spirit in the meeting and was super glad to be a missionary in that moment. 

On Sunday, in Sacrament meeting we confirmed the two newest members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. In the meeting all the recent converts got up and bore their testimonies about the church and how grateful they are for our service, and our love for them. It was hard to not be prideful in this moment because all of them shared something that had inspired them from one of my spiritual thoughts that I had left with them. They all basically shared one big thought about the love of the Savior and all he did for us and that he sent a gringo with very little Spanish to their home to express this love sincerely. 
I am so grateful for my many blessings, for being called to this area, and this people. I am grateful for the time I still have with them to be able to talk with and share my testimony. 
I love all of you guys and hope you have an awesome week!

Keep Truckin’

Here we are with a Jimmy, a member. We are close to teh Lagoona. 
This is the top of the Nueva Capital (highest pointe in the city limits of Tegucigalpa)
It's me! (Los Cielos means the sky or heavens)
Me with Mercy, the Birthday girl.
Mercy's Party was on Tuesday.
Mercy, Daughter of Hermana Ana birthday cake
Elder Navarro ate some super spicy chile  
I ate the same one and didn't have a problem. ha ha ha!
Best Birthday Present Ever: found out I can handle more chile than a Mexican! Ha!
Elder Navarro and I at the top of our area. It is the highest someone can get in the limits of Tegucigalpa.
My birthday dinner.
My Surprise Birthday Cake
Herman Yarely is not a member. We call her an eternal investigator. She had my surprise party at her house. She can't attend regurlary so she can't be baptized yet. She has a little girl named Eva.
Cake in my face!
Saturday's lunch. One of my favorites. Vilma, a member fed us.
Elder Navarro baptized Valery and Jose on Saturday.
I confirmed them both on Sunday in Sacrament Meeting.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Week 31: My first week as a ¨Dad¨

Meet Elder Navarro, he's from Puebla, Mexico like Elder Valdetano.  He is 18 years old and really good at teaching for a new missionary. (Brand-new, straight from the CCM!)

So this week was hectic and full of questions. My new companion is Elder Navarro and you’ll never guess where he’s from... Puebla, Mexico! That’s three companions in a row from Mexico and two from the same place (and no mom, they don’t know each other)!

On Tuesday I got up early and took Elder Espiritu to changes. We had to be there at 8:30 in the morning. I saw Elder Zachreson (my DL from Campamento) there and he has now been transferred to the area with the Tegucigalpa temple in it. I’m kind of jealous, but I have other responsibilities. 

At about 9:30 a bus came and took all of us that are now assigned to train a new missionary to the temple to pick up our new companions and have a little orientation. I had some serious flashbacks to my first day here in Honduras and really how little I understood. We were all a little bit bummed that President couldn’t be there because he was sick. There were new gringo missionaries paired with Latino companions. I had fun helping them speak Spanish to their new companion’s. They would look to me with probably the same look I had when I came.

After our orientation we went home, my companion unpacked, and we got to work. We went out and found 2 new investigator’s. It was funny because I did to him what my trainer had me do our first day out. It kind of made me mad because I felt so new. He made me contact the first house and then the second. I had Elder Navarro do the same. He did it, and he did well. There was some shakiness, but it all get’s better with time and practice. 

On Wednesday we had a meeting in the morning.  I had to try and navigate Tegucigalpa. It was way harder than I thought it would be. We got there just in time for our meeting. Our mission President wasn’t there for the beginning of the meeting. It was just a basic meeting of what training is for and how we as trainers do it. While us trainers had a class the greenies had a meeting on how to adjust to mission life. That’s when our mission President surprised us. He visited with us, still not feeling well, but showed us his faith and the joy he has in receiving new missionaries. He told us, ¨If I didn’t  come and visit you all today then I would have to visit you all in your homes and I know the last thing the ¨Elder Trainer’s¨ want is to have to scramble to clean your houses for my visit!¨ (haha) It made us all laugh, and my companion and I were shaking our heads in agreement. 

When we got home ¨my son¨, Elder Navarro asked, ¨Elder, how do you do it?¨ I have to admit I was a little surprised by the question and had to ask ¨do what?¨ he responded, all of it, everything we do as missionaries, and you do it with a smile on your face. I was really taken aback. He continued on about our house, and our living conditions, and all of the poor material things we have.  I was able to bear testimony to my companion. I bore my testimony of the service we do.  I said that I am so glad to have our poor living conditions because it humbles me and I turn to my Savior. I’m happy and want to leave the house because being in it for too long makes me want to go home. I’m so happy to leave and work for my Savior. I then shared the scripture about the Son of Man not having a bed to rest his head. My companion cried, and said it’s true, and promised he would focus more on the spiritual things than our temporal things. I am glad I was able to share that moment with my companion.   

We worked ridiculously hard for the rest of the week. Our work will hopefully result in two baptisms this weekend and more for the rest of the month.

I hope I can continue to be a good example for my new Elder.

Love you guys and 

Keep truckin’
Chinese takeout on Thursday (we almost always eat Chinese food on Thursday's)

Some Elder's writing their weekly emails home. There are only 3 computers. I have to wait for my turn. 
me on P-day, waiting for my turn to use a computer

Christian's birthday is on Friday. (Aug.4th)
He is not ready for Friday, he says he is probably going to get some eggs smashed on his head. It's a tradition in Honduras to smash an egg on the head of the birthday person. He is not looking forward to it, but will just go with it. ("When in Rome")

This week he is hoping to get permission to go to the Mercado. It is a busy place where they can buy clothes and souvenirs. We think mercado means market.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Week 30: I'm going to be a trainer

So this week was busy, and also slow. We had a hard time scheduling lessons. A lot of people this week just weren’t interested in continuing with the lessons. In spite of all that it has been a week to remember, a lot of memories were made. 

First off, we had a meeting with a member of the Seventy on Tuesday. He completely changed the way I look at the parable of The Good Samaritan, and also the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 11:21 about obtaining the word. In his talk the Seventy changed the word “word” to the atonement and it makes missionary work a little different. Instead of just trying to learn doctrine on doctrine, I’ve focused on learning about the atonement more and reading the New Testament. My testimony of Christ and his suffering for us has grown a lot! 

I finally got my package! I have pictures and everything for ya mom.

I also had a fun time working with people who have baptismal dates, like one Karla Sanchez. She has been really shy with us at first. She wasn’t really honest with us (just saying what she thought we wanted to hear), but now she knows she can ask us any question and we are more than happy to answer. She relishes in questions… she is progressing really quickly, but can’t get to church because of work. She may not be able to be baptized when we thought.

We also have another date scheduled for a 16 year old boy, Jose. Jose, by accident found his way into the chapel with Hermana Ana and sat through all three hours of church. He now wants to read The Book of Mormon and IS! He is a real blessing, he loves hearing about the gospel of Jesus Christ and I am finding joy in teaching him. 

We had a baptism of the mother of Hermana Ana this week. I got to baptize and confirm Mercedes a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She later shared her testimony and the strength she has is astonishing! 

After Mercedes’s baptism the ward had a talent show. I wasn’t able to prepare anything so my companion and I got to relax and just watch. It was hilarious and a cool look at the culture of the people of Honduras. A 79 year old guy danced and basically showed two young women in the ward some real dance moves. It was hilarious, and that guy surprisingly still has the moves! 

On Sunday we taught a Family Home Evening at Glenda’s house. They invited us to another birthday celebration. Marcella, Glenda’s daughter turned 3. A guy turn 26, I think his name was Alexi or Joel. It was fun, no piñata, but a pretty good cake! We enjoyed it. 

It’s Monday, and I found out I’m going to be training. I don’t know who my new companion will be until tomorrow. I have been a little nervous about it all week. I hope I can help this new missionary become a fine tuned tool in the hands of the Lord. I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I know the Lord will help me. For the next three months I will be exercising faith and trusting the Lord a whole lot more. I’m going to try my best! Hopefully with this new missionary it will be the most baptisms the Nueva Capital has seen. It is my hope that through my example he can have a better start than I did. I’m going to do everything I need to do to be worthy of counsel, and be all the Lord needs me to be, to work as he would work without tire or idleness. 

This week really passed by quick and was full of memories. I love you guys and my Savior, who is my greatest example. I think of many of you, all great examples in my life… you are in my thoughts and prayers, more than you know. Each week I think of what I can say in my letter home and hope that it helps, hopefully just one of you. SO I will say this: The Atonement is everything! It is the pinnacle, the peak of human existence, without it we could never return to our Father in Heaven. Our lives will be happier and easier the sooner we let it have a part in our lives. I know the Savior lives, and because he lives we will too. Read the New Testament. I know that by reading the accounts in the New Testament along with The Book of Mormon your testimony of Christ will soar to new heights. 

Love you guys! 
I can’t wait to meet my new companion as well as write you all next week. 

Keep Truckin'

Last Monday (P day) we hit Mickey Dee's!
Elder Cleverley with his vanilla cone on the bus. McDonalds is down in Torocagna, 15 minutes by bus.
Our Zone at the meeting on Tuesday with the Seventy
Look! it's Elder Giraldo! (my trainer) We are in the same zone.
Sitting behind him is Elder Montano (my old zone leader) 
Me with Elder Medrano: one of my zone leaders
This is Elder Hernandez. He is the Assistant to the President.  He is going home on Wednesday.
He is from Chicago: a cool dude!
This is Elder Hingano, he is going home on Wednesday too. He is from California.
Elder Spencer (behind me) is going home on Wednesday as well. He is from Ogden, Utah.
I bought a bag for my mom, I may be able to send it home with him to give it to Grandma. (I just have to find a way to get it to him)
On Tuesday we stopped by the mission office. My package from home has arrived!
 Elder Huscroft and I
Elder Espiritu and I are excited to see what is inside
the flash drive works with music and talks on it. I love it dad! The talks have helped so much.  I love all of Elder Holland's talks. Elder Espiritu and I destroyed the Sour Patch Kids. They did not last long! It was quite a sugar high. I started dozing a little in our lesson that night...good old fashioned american sugar!
Baptism of Mercedes
Elder Espíritu and I with our newest convert
This is the family of Hermana Ana. She is the daughter of Mercedes

We are waiting for the talent show to start. Mercedes in sitting behind us and the other missionaries are talking to Elvis. Elvis is cool, he makes missionary plaques and other art stuff.
sitting by Yepsel during the talent show (I don't know the name of the other primary boy.)

at Glenda's house celebrating Marcella's birthday 
This is Marcella 
This is Nataly, the sister of Marcella
This is some Honduran money.  There are denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 100, and 500.
I am actually super poor.  All of these bills are worth around 30$ American money.
Tomorrow Elder Espiritu is being transferred.
This is my sad face. I am actually quite sad. We have worked hard and had a lot of fun.
He is being transferred to Sabana Grande, the Loarque Zone.

Guibelly Torres is going to go on a mission.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Week 29: pouring rain and a missing plaque

So this week flew by! We did a lot of contacting with almost no success. A very sad thing happened, my little house at the end of the street moved... just up and moved! I don´t know where they are and I have some serious heart ache. They were a good family and now I have to hope and pray the Lord will give some other missionaries the prompting to seek out and talk to this awesome family. 

We had a pretty poor week finding new people to teach, but we are asking a lot of our investigators right now to accept the challenge to be baptized. We´ve had some pretty positive responses. I´m super pumped because August is going to be a busy month.

We have some baptisms scheduled for the same date that I was baptized 11 years ago. It is so exciting to me. I´m not biased or anything but I want these people to have the same feeling for August 5th that I do. Who know´s, maybe it will be something to talk about with them after my mission too. 

Friday was a weird day. We went with Elder Cleverley and Canales to help buy marriage papers. They have a couple they are trying to help get married and needed our help to get it all done. My companion and I argued a little, I didn´t want to miss an entire day of work. We went. We helped a family that the other Elder´s are teaching get married on Saturday. I realized that it was important and part of the Lord´s plan. I kind of wanted to cry, the Lord really humbled me. It taught me that I can´t worry about efficiency, but need to worry about eternity. These people need our help to find the Savior. I will gladly give up whatever I can to help these people. 

Elder Espiritu and I helped the other companionship get marriage documents for their investigator´s
It ended up being a busy Saturday. We were out walking, on our way to our  interviews with President Ferman and it was pouring rain.  There were two kids with their hands full. They were on their way home juggling a 3 liter of Coke and some groceries. They were trying not to slip and fall in the mud. I looked at my companion and told him that we needed to help them. He gladly helped along with me. At first we tried just carrying all their stuff, but the kids still kept falling, so we each picked up a kid and carried them with all their stuff. The kid I was carrying (I never got a name) was kind of frantic, we almost fell. I think it was at this moment that he pulled off my plaque (missionary name badge). I didn´t notice it if it fell, but it was gone. In my interview with President he pointed it out.  I told him that we were helping some kids get home in the rain and he laughed.  It will be a bit before I can get a new one. I know I have to wait until the secretaries can send me a new one. I´m super bummed out. It´s in a street in la nueva capital somewhere, or maybe it could even be in a house of one of the families that we visited.  I´m sad and frustrated. 

President talked to us about being efficient in the matters of eternity, like our lessons. He said that they shouldn´t go over 30 minutes. 30 minutes is hard for Elder Espiritu. He likes to teach about a lot in our lessons. We´ve been talking about what President shared.  He said that the gospel is like a sweet drink or food. You can´t eat it all super fast or you´ll never want it. But that we should take small sips or bites and enjoy it. You´ll want more and more. Elder Espiritu and I put it to the test on Sunday. It was amazing in our lessons, we felt the spirit more and the people want us to come back.

That´s it for my week. I don´t have many photos because its been raining super hard and I don´t want to ruin my camera. 

Sorry this letter is super short. I know I´ll have plenty more memories to record in this next week like we had this week. I love you guys, I love my Savior and His gospel, and the work He let´s me do everyday here in Honduras. I hope all of you can seek out moments to do this work. All of us are missionaries and like Elder Roberts, you may not have a plaque right now, but there is always one on your heart. The Savior needs us to bring the gospel to every creature. We just need to want and share with other´s so that they can experience the love we feel everyday. I know He loves us, because He sacrificed everything. So why not talk to our friends and neighbor´s and bring His spirit into their lives?

Love you guys, and hope you have an awesome week!

Keep truckin´.  

It´s Mercy and me.  Everyone in the room was freaking out that she let me pick her up! She never let´s missionaries hold her.

Mercy is the daughter of Hermana Ana. Ana is Waleska´s sister.
Mercy´s naptime