Monday, March 27, 2017

Week 13

This picture was taken on the road to Cacao.
 The mountain behind me with the steps,
the bottom of those steps is a 2 minutes walk from my house.
So I guess I´ll start off this letter and say that the beginning of this week was pretty slow. We were having a lot of appointments fall through and were feeling really bummed. Then I accidentally got dates messed up (don´t know how) and missed dad’s birthday on Wednesday. I went out and bought a piece of cake for him and mom on Thursday. I had a fun time with my comp as he tried to sneak little bites throughout the rest of the week and I had to put a stop to him cause the cake needed to last until mom’s birthday on Sunday. I now know how mom felt when I was sneaking cookie dough for all these years! 

Thursday we taught seminary and institute which was hard to do in Spanish. A lot of the stuff that is taught is kind of complicated and not something I go through in missionary lessons and kind of deep. You don´t realize it until you have to try to say it in another language.

Friday came, which was awesome. I got to meet our new Hermana in the district. Her name is Hermana Barrera, she is from Maryland. She has a big advantage... she learned Spanish before she came out and kind of surprised me when she spoke English in our district meeting because I had been thinking she was just another latino. I looked at Elder Zachreson and said a big "WHAAAAAAAAAAAT?!" He laughed and said, "I was waiting for that". He met her her first day in the mission so he knew and didn´t tell me. 

This is our district. This picture was taken before the district changes.  
One of the Hermana's was going home.
After we finished district meeting we went back to Campamento where we had no success. We were once again bummed. As we were walking I was now looking for a restaurant that had a tv that was playing the Honduras - USA game. We found one in the street so we sat there for 30 or so minutes of the first half where we watched a blow out! We were eating dinner and were "contacting". Sorry if you are disappointed. At least I didn´t have my US jersey on! But some drunks started showing up and the score was 3-0 so we left. I didn´t find out the game turnout until later. It was sad Saturday, because a lot of the people were talking about it and I had no idea. They were really disappointed because now Honduras is on the bottom of qualifying, but I turned it into a teaching opportunity. I talked about our purpose on Earth, and how we are here to gain experience and to have joy. But basically saying that futbol isn´t life, just from that we started connecting and having success. I stopped thinking of the world and just started using those moments to teach, and doors opened. We found families who wanted to talk to an American who´s team just the night before beat pretty badly (6-0) their team.  We were able to use that moment and teach the gospel. We had so many new investigators on Saturday that our zone leaders called to talk to us to make sure we weren´t lying about our numbers. 

Me and my comp sitting in the street with the USA playing Honduras on the big screen.
Sunday was church. I wasn´t feeling well. I think I got food poisoning from something I ate on Saturday. I absolutely could not leave the bathroom. It was terrible. I grabbed my scriptures and studied all day. It was funny, Elder Giraldo thought I was lying and kept trying to take me out. I kept saying, no and that I didn´t want to be too far away from the bathroom. So it was a day of studying. 

I get to do something that will lead to hopefully some major spíritual growth. We do this study together the first 12 weeks in the mission. It´s for new missionaries learning how to teach, contact and invite. We study different things like importance of prayer, book of mormon, church attendance etc. Well, my knowledge of the Spanish language is growing. I have learned a lot about my companion these last 7 weeks. I would say I understand him more than others. So we are sitting down and studying and talking and he said something along the lines of, "hey I know your testimony is kind of small and you need help with it" --and I stopped him there... and asked, "why do you think this?" and he said, "well, you bear testimony and it´s really simple". I was a little frustrated, and the Spirit was telling me to calm down. I took a breath then said to him, "I´m a gringo, I didn´t learn a lot of Spanish before my mission and am still learning to speak Spanish, so my testimony sounds like its simple, but I´m proud of my testimony and don´t really appreciate it when you take my poor Spanish as my testimony". He apologized and I did as well for the frustration I was feeling in the beginning and it got better. I love my companion all the more because he apologized. He wants to help me. I truly appreciate his willingness and love when he helps me with the language. 
I just want to say a mission is hard. We have to be quick to forgive, apologize and get back to work.  We can´t let words that are said set us back. The Savior is our best example.  He had patience and forgave everyone.  He worked to the end. He lived perfect his whole life and finished with the atonement and crucifixion at the end. If he can do that, I can give him my all these two years and then return to my family. What a joyous reunion it will be.  I love you guys.  

Hope all is well and good, back home. I´m doing good, better than I was on Sunday. I´m ready to work!

love you guys, keep trucking


kittens! We are visiting the family Amador
me with their son, Nefi (Nephi in Spanish)
He's 12 and crazy. So much fun though!
We did measurements of the Chapel and helped a guy draw it on CADD
9 year old triplets, Andrelly, Jorheny, and Hellen
We are teaching their older sister
This is Andrea, her mom owns a Ranchito.
 She is so cute and always gives us hugs.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Casa Campamento

Pictures of our place in Campamento... Happy Birthday Mom!

Where I live, it is one of the nicer houses here...
a sketch and watercolor of the Campamento house by my dad.

looking across the street from our house at the main park,
the center of Campamento
our front room
my study area
a washing machine!
 I´m told this is not common. We have to add water.
I will most likely be hand washing my clothes for most of my mission. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Week 12: 6 weeks in Honduras

So this week was really weird, last Pday after I wrote you guys we played soccer and I got this weird pain above my left leg. It made walking up the hills and mountains of Campamento super painful. It took a lot out of me for two days. I don´t know what it was but it was pretty scary. I was super worried because of all that had occurred before my mission. I don´t want any of that stuff coming back from the dead! I asked for a blessing from my companion. He gave me one and all has been getting way better. I even talked to the mission nurse and she says it´s probably a muscle and it´s normal, but to watch it. So I have, and slowly but surely we´ve been making our way through the streets of this pueblo this week. I´m fine now and can go the distances we need. It was probably just the muscle.

This week Dania (a less active member) and Ariel (an investigator) who we thought were separating are getting married! It was a surprise. We went to Dania´s house on a prompting of the spirit, and there she was happy, smiling, and putting nail polish on. We asked her what has changed and she said she was having a special dinner with Ariel. I didn´t want to ask further, but my companion did!  She said “I´ve seen the ring basically, and he´s been really excited”. So this is cool. It means we can teach them both, and hopefully turn them into an active family who will endure to the end. That´s my hope for her. She is a very happy person and has been lost for a bit. I hope she will come back to the path and hold to the rod with her soon to be spouse. 
I´m sitting next to Dania and Ariel.
The others in the picture are Alexander and Soleny.
A couple of nights ago we found some spiders in the back yard. I have a video of us "exterminating" them which was really just me with my redneck flamethrower. My companion hates Spiders, so I took a can of OFF and some matches and went to work. (see spider picture, nasty little arachnid)  Elder Giraldo thought it was super cool and was laughing like a little kid after. 
doomed spider
roberts' makeshift redneck flamethrower
I had inter changes with Elder Zachreson (he´s from Kingman, AZ) in Guiamaca which was fun. We talked in English and taught the gospel. We had some good lessons. One of them was with a guy named Jorge Rivera. It was really a lucky call.  Jorge had just got home from work and was getting ready to go to sleep. We were able to catch him right before... we taught him about the restoration and we later had the impression to challenge baptism. Crazy, I know... we did, and he accepted for the 22 of April! Super CRAZY! It was my first time challenging someone to be baptized in the first lesson. Jorge is super excited. 
eating dinner with Elder Zachreson
We had a district conference yesterday (Sunday), which was cool. We traveled to Cata Camas for free. We had a whole family show up randomly because one of the people who we gave an invitation to had thrown it out and the invitation found it´s way into one of their hands and they decided to come. This was super cool, a whole family who have been Catholic all of their lives show up to a Mormon District Conference (which is kind of like a Stake Conference for you guys). Something that doesn´t happen very much. They even said they enjoyed it and thanked us. We just have to find them again which will be a little tough, hoping the Lord provides a way. 

Sunday night we were talking with Carla Murrilo about the plan of salvation which went really well. I was leading the discussion and bore my testimony of this plan with some tears because thoughts of Grandma Julie came up. I testified about how grateful I am for the chance to be with her and grandpa Mark again. Then I asked the question "how do you feel when we are here?" and she said, “calm and happy”. I then testified of the spirit and how it is testifying to her through our presence which was super cool and awesome. I asked her if she will be baptized by the proper authority when she receives an answer to her prayers, the answer was yes. 
me with my Grandma Julie (it's been 10 years since she passed away)
I know when we testify we change lives, the Spirit is felt. It has a stronger presence than us just reading scripture. A testimony is something special and individual to every person. When we share our testimonies we are doing so because of love, and want others to feel the Spirit so that they can be strengthened and grow through our personal experiences. This I know, testify and the spirit will be there. Even if a person is kicking you out of the house, testify and their hearts change. Be a disciple as Stephen in the Bible just a man in the face of execution, a disciple, not an apostle testified and placed the seed in the heart of Paul. 
Testifying is hard and a bit awkward, but bear your testimony.

Love you all, have a wonderful week, and stay happy! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Week 11: When you want to quit walking but keep truckin

This is a hot and tired Elder

SO this week was a crap ton of walking! (pardon the language)

It was actually kind of crazy. We went to Lima to help this member -Karla, and her brother- get the paperwork for seminary. Lima is 15 minutes by bus from our area, and then an hour walk up hill to their house, which sucked! The house was in the middle of nowhere and it was kind of freaky, but we got there.  We ended up getting everything we needed. Thank goodness we don´t have to go back that way at least for a while. 

The next day we had interviews with the President. He talked about our (little) success with new investigators and commended us for our work with less actives. And then this week they didn´t show up --all of them! It was devastating! 

Cementario, it's not just a clever name

But anyway, President left Campamento and the rest of the zone with a blessing that we would have success. And we had even more success! We are above our average of 21 for every week. We have 29 new investigators! It is crazy! 
Elder Giraldo and I have just been praying and praying.  The Lord has strengthened us. We have been walking to the point of like we are on a death march. Where you get to a point and your legs just stop wanting to continue, and you start stumbling, and sometimes you even fall from exhaustion, but somehow... we are able to wake up the next day ready to do it all over again! 
We have been blessed, a lot. I´ve seen it in my Spanish and in my ability to work for the 16 hours a day that we work. 

Elder Giraldo and I are getting along better and this is great. But, we are having little success with our two investigators with a baptism date -Cristina and Stephanie. Cristina is 36, the mom of Stephanie, who is 10. The only day we can meet with them is on Sundays. They have been busy recently and the adversary has been messing with their feelings -the feelings they have had in the lesson when they accepted baptism. They aren´t too interested now and it's sad! But we aren´t giving up. We keep going, we are still trying to teach them the lessons and leave them with the Spirit. 

always a silly side to every day

SO Sunday we had almost no one in church. I had to give a 15 minute talk to about 30 people which was cool. I got through it.  I had people come and thank me after.  I talked about how everyone is a missionary, and that the Sacrament is important for all those who have been baptized. I told them that there are people who aren´t here in church who need this ordinance. 

Mom and Dad note: We think this is dinner - we can identify most of it, at least he is eating well!
Everything is going by faster and its kind of scary. It´s been a month since I left the CCM! Crazy. I hope I´m ready for what comes next. 

Love you guys and hope all is well. 

I know the Lord gives us strength when we are doing his will and living the gospel -love you guys!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Week 10: Fruits of our Labor - Just not the fruit we planned!

Nothing like a good, hard, Honduran rain to get everything soaked

So, I´ll start this letter off with why this week was difficult. I finally have enough knowledge in Spanish that I know what my companion is saying now. I´m getting used to his Spanish. In our lessons what was once a cool moment of ¨my companion is helping me!¨ has turned to, ¨why are you doing this?¨ He used to say, ¨what my companion is trying to say..¨ and then explain my mediocre Spanish. But now from what I understand, it is him basically telling the person new and complex doctrine that he uses in every lesson. When I speak, (which is a very small amount) I do it when I feel a prompting of the Spirit to say something that might help this person learn and grow. So, now a lot has changed, I´m trying to speed up my learning of Spanish, basically pushing the language at a faster pace by studying and asking a lot more questions etc. Hopefully we will be able teach future lessons without having this annoying road block. I´m a little frustrated, but I know my companion is just doing what he knows and feels is right.  

This past week we had a very small number of new investigators, which I know happens, but we fell way below our goal at 3, which is pretty bad. But we did have time for a lot of service, and talked to a lot of less actives members. 

The best part of the week was on Sunday when it was all coming to an end. My companion and I were feeling down about not meeting our goal... while we were at church 11 of our less actives -that we had been talking to- walked into the chapel about a minute before sacrament started!! Yay! Fruits had grown from our words, and these people decided to come to church! This made the entire week better. When we had visited with them these people had conveyed that going to church wasn´t that important to them. Something changed after, and they came! I don`t know what. I`m bummed, because we didn`t get a chance to talk to them because we were in charge of all the Young Men that have just now started attending church regularly.  We taught them about the priesthood, preparing for a mission and the blessings we have received.

This was a week of hard work spent doing service for some people. The people call me, basically, "a man with no eyes or ears," essentially "deaf and blind" when I´m doing service; because I just keep working when the other people take a break. I´m proud to say Elder Roberts and Elder Giraldo are still working (though at times Elder Giraldo stops, but that's not important). These people see that we care enough and want to help them. We willingly go through bodily strain for their benefit; we help finish the project with them for no pay. We are just hoping they show gratitude by making it to church the next Sunday. 

This week I also had my first time proselyting in the pouring Honduran rain, which was an experience. My shoes  don`t have the best traction in mud so it was a lot of slipping and sliding, and wet chairs and bags. But is was fun! I was wet, cold and ready for bed by the end of the day... but Elder Giraldo had forgotten his agenda at our last appointment! So we had to go back another 20 minutes in the rain. It wasn`t too bad, but I got pretty sick. It was rough because we had service on our agenda the next day. We got up, pushed through, and got to work. We moved some adobe bricks (dried mud bricks), and helped a member build a little casita. When we finished we took a well needed nap after 4 hours service. It helped, I feel better and hope we can stay rain free for a little bit.

We are opening a new neighborhood in our area, called Cementario. It is next to a cemetery. No missionaries have proselyted there yet, we are hoping to find some new people to teach the gospel to. 

I hope everyone is doing good, and I pray to have more success in the coming week. 

Hasta Luego