Monday, June 26, 2017

Week 26: following the spirit and a Multizone Conference

So this week I really put it on my companion. His last companion was a little lazy so he had developed some bad habits. We started out the week looking and looking with no success. I was honestly going a little crazy. This was on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday we had a multi-zone conference. President Ferman, our mission president, talked about finding the needs of our investigator´s through sincere testimony and finding love for the people in our area. It hit home and meant a lot to me. I could feel that I (having just transferred to a new area) was struggling to love everyone right off. So I have put the people of my area first in my prayer´s and I can now feel my thoughts changing. They have changed about the drunks we run across, or the people who simply want to “cat call” at us. 

Multizone Conference:  our signs say,
Amamos a nuestro Padre Celestial y a cada uno de sus hijos somos discipulos de Cristo Su hijo, el amor es nuestra principal motivación. It is one of the seven points of our culture as missionaries in the Honduras, Comayagüela Mission (We love our Heavenly Father and to each of his children we are disciples of Christ his son, Love is our motivation)
The mission assistants talked to us about how we can convert and baptize more. They used the 4 minute barrier as an example for us missionaries to follow. Most missionaries believe that 20 baptisms for our mission is sufficient. I have been one of them. The mission assistants shared with us examples in the scriptures, like Peter baptizing 3,000 in one day, and also Nephi and Lehi with 8,000 baptisms in one day. It hit me hard. 

My companion and I talked about it on the way home. We owe it to the Lord to offer baptism in every contact. In every step we take we need to invite the people to come unto Christ. I don´t know why I didn´t have this mentality from the beginning. The next day (Thursday) we went out to contact. I really wasn´t expecting much based on how our week had been going.  At one point a thought came into my head, and I simply said to my companion, “We´re going to find a family of 4, ready for baptism before our day is through.” We went to work knocking doors. We felt ready. I was walking and didn´t really know where I was going. My companion was even looking at me kind of weird. The hill we were walking up was a dead end; but, I kept going. There at the end of this street we stood in front of a wood shack. It took a minute to want to knock the door; but, I felt the spirit so strongly. I finally called out “buenas” and this older guy answered. I quickly bore testimony about the Savior and what he did for him. I asked if we could enter his home and talk to his family. He was very excited and let us in! 

The family has the Dad, the Mom, and two sons of the age for baptism. They also have a daughter who will complete 8 years next year. I was astonished as we taught the restoration about how open they were to the message. They agreed to another visit and agreed to pray about baptism. 

This has taken me by surprise so many times when I think back on it. This has never happened to me; and, I´m so excited to go and talk to the family Garcia on Wednesday. They are Pentecostal; so we have a lot of similar beliefs. I hope their hearts can stay open to the message. 

Elder Espiritu and I have been getting along really well. We both have a very charismatic attitude and people love talking to us. We had a drunk yell at us; so, we shared out testimonies of Christ and left the man in tears. It was really kind of a mixture of funny and sweet. He kept thanking us for telling him of the Saviors love for him. 

On another note, I have been having a problem here in Nueva Capital: a lot of the women here are flirting with me. It is kind of weird they call me “gringito” (little gringo) and “lindo” (cute or hot) and my companion’s favorite "mi amor" (my love). Elder Espiritu always laughs because I do not always catch it when they are saying it and I think it is something else. Regardless, I try hard to focus on being a representative of Christ and to have his love for everyone. I want the best for all of them. 

Sorry this letter is so short! I know my Savior lives. I know He loves us and want us to live with him again. I hope to share His love with everyone. 

Wish me luck and 

Keep on Truckin´

A Family Home Evening with Waleska, Ana, Katherine, Glenda, Yepsel, and William

I finally hung my hammock!
Christian really doesn't like the "cat-calling". He says it feels weird and says that they all say they want to take his eyes too (blue eyes). He said he had problems with it in his last area but not as much as it is happening now. (at least 6 times a day)

He continues to ask about his sisters. He is glad that Abby had fun at girls camp and that she was a good leader (YCL), gave good devotionals, and made all the new girls feel loved and welcome. He said he wishes he would have been more outgoing in the church before his mission and said he knows that anyone who tries will be strengthened by our Savior and will be a good example to others.  It will be weird to have another child in our family leave the church's youth program in a year when Abby graduates.

Time is flying...  he is sad to say seis meses (6 months) when people ask how much time he has in the mission. He still feels new but he is not, when he says six months to all the newer missionaries they want to know how he got through training and what they can do. They get new missionaries every six weeks.

He is excited to get the package we sent. It arrived in the sort facility in Tegucigalpa at 10:00am today.

Monday, June 19, 2017

House of Nueva Captial

My new house.

our main room. view from the front door
same room but view from other direction
study area
my room
The bathroom
We don´t have a kitchen here (no fridge). 
We mostly eat at members homes or top ramen with our microwave.

Week 25: Nueva Capital (outskirts of Tegucigalpa)

Elder Espiritu and I!
The view of Tegucigalpa from our area. (crazy hills!) We are about 5 minutes from our house.
So- I have now had my first transfer on my mission. I found out I was being transferred shortly after writing you guys last week, and I was honestly kind of bummed. I'm now in Tegucigalpa but not really because my area, Nueva Capital is up a mountain just outside the city. The view of the city at night makes me cry sometimes, because it looks just like home (only no Stratosphere). 

(same spot) Tegucigalpa at night, reminds me of Vegas.
This week was pretty normal and I had a good time with my new companion, Elder Espiritu or Elder Spirit is his name in English. 

We spent a lot of time prepping for a baptism this past Saturday.  And we spent some time teaching Yepsel, and Marori the rest of the lessons that they needed to be prepared to be baptized. 
Baptism of Yepsel and Marori
The family of Yepsel and Marori
The area I´m in is a ward and it´s really great! While I was in Campamento I didn´t think about what I was missing. We were some of the only priesthood holders in the branch so we had to help out with whatever the Branch President needed us to do. So now I get to sit down with investigator´s and answer questions and focus on them and my Savior more.  
Last week we had an activity about family history and it went really well. Quite a few of the members talked about  it in their classes on Sunday.  We did a skit with some other members about the “waiting” family members on the other side. A lot of people shared their testimony about Family History Work; it was a powerful activity. 
Skit practicing activity. My companion is sweeping the floor as part of our skit.
Elder Espiritu
This little girls name is Mercy
I´m excited to get to work this next week in the area. Last week I was more or less learning the area most of the time. This week will be spent visiting old investigators and converts... a kind of introducing of the “new missionary”.  I also learned this week that I´m the first "gringo" to be here in the Nueva Capital in a long time. This area was shut down for a time because of a problem that a gringo had with some of the people here. It wasn´t opened back up until about 9 months ago with latino´s as the missionaries. So I´m excited and honored that the Lord thinks my testimony is one needed for this area and has prepared the people here for my companion and I. 

It was a cool first two days in this area. We´ve already had 3 people accept dates for baptism. Elder Espiritu didn´t really expect it, and neither did I. We are surprised.  One is the daughter of a recent convert, Waleska (pronounced Valeska), and the other´s are Lesly and Nora. 

We have another 3 investigators that are praying for answer´s to their prayer´s.  I´m praying for them and doing my best to teach them what they need to know. 

I really love this area because there aren´t as many Catholic´s, just Evangelical´s.  It´s a good change. It was hard to be in an area where a lot of people say that they can´t change because they´re Catholic. 

I hope this next week goes well and I am able to work hard with my new companion. I love to see the progress and this area is one that has had 2 or 3 baptisms monthly. I hope and pray to do some good work here with the time that I have. I know there are people waiting to hear our message, and I am hoping to give my all to best help the people here. I have faith I can do good things here in Nueva Capital. I hope the Lord helps me find those ready to hear our testimonies, but more importantly that they are open and ready to listen to the Spirit. 

I pray for each of you back home and hope all is well. I love hearing about people from our Stake and past Stake that are accepting mission calls and deciding to serve the Lord.  I´m happy to hear my sister Sophie is building a relationship with her Savior. I love my Savior and my Father in Heaven and all they do for me and my family. I know they live and they want the best for us even when the day seems dark they are there to help us. Never doubt their love for you because their love is perfect and never falters. Come to them and enjoy the blessing of being a friend of our Savior Jesus Christ, and a son or daughter of God the Father. They love you and I love you! I am glad to be serving the Lord and giving it all I got! 

Keep Truckin´

My boots after the rain and a rough day. It has honestly been raining everyday.
Eva with my comp, she is the 5 year old of one of our investigators.
The Young Women of our ward went to the temple.  Each of them took family names. #familyhistory
My comp taught me to crochet with my hand. It´s a scarf!
Crochet... Macrame...

Saying goodbye to Hector and Yamilet before I left Campamento. Goodbyes are hard.
with Elder Valdetano saying goodbye to Isis. I'm holding Jireth, the baby of Hector and Yamilet.

Christian says: that his entire new area is a hill, way steeper than the Campamento hills. 
They walk up and down them all day ..and that his muscles are used to it now. Campamento was training for this. He lives in the city but like they are still in the pueblo (small town). It is a 30 minute ride by bus to get into the city.

#wardlife : barrio jardines de Carrizal. The chapel is pretty far away from their house. It's a 45 minute walk to the chapel.

New Comp: Elder Juan Espiritu, he's from Veracruz in Mexico.  All his companions thus far have been in the group that he would have arrived with if he would have been able to leave in October.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Week 24: transfers are coming

Stepping in for Paul...
The Abbey Road of Campamento?
It´s been another fun week. We had the opportunity to meet one of the Quorum of the Twelve this past Wednesday, Elder Dale G Renlund. It was fantastic, he talked about protecting our faith and how we need to be friends of the Lord not just His disciples. This hit me hard after the meeting and on the way home, I started thinking of all that he has done for me and what a great act of love it all is. We can all do little acts of kindness to help His brothers and sisters like he helped us. We can be his friends, something he wants so much more than disciples. We were also exhorted to find our purpose as missionaries and received a blessing for strengthening and protecting our faith. 
On our way to the city (Tegucigalpa) to listen to Elder Renlund.
It took us 6 hours, 3 to get to the city and pick up other Elder´s, and 3 spent in traffic.
Elder Mattison from Gilbert, Arizona is behind me. He is serving in Cata Camas right now.
It was actually later that day on Wednesday that I looked around in the middle of a lesson (yes, I zoned out) but the Spirit spoke to my heart and I found my reason, my purpose, and it was a moment so powerful that when I bore my testimony the Spirit touched the hearts of everyone in the room. My purpose is one of Joy! It is the reason I gladly give 2 years of my life for my Brother who gave everything for me. I feel joy in thinking of His life and also in His sacrifice, so I may return and live with Him again and thank Him for eternity. 

This is Isis and Brenda, they are sisters. We are teaching the family.
I think Brenda is 20-22ish...around here we don´t ask age.
Isis, an investigator with her niece Rosie
Elder Renlund also talked a lot about how we are part of the Atonement delivery system. The Lord is an expensive communication satellite and we are a rocket; without the satellite we have no purpose and without us the satellite can´t communicate with the world. I´m sure that if we weren´t available the Lord would find another way to bring His love to the people, but I´m thankful to be a part of this work and to have my part in this great work. 

I also had maybe my last district meeting in Campamento. It was sad but I was able to bear testimony at the end as our district leader decided to have a time for bearing testimonies which was great. Hermana Pagoada goes home this Tuesday and it is kind of weird saying goodbye. She´s been in my district the whole time I´ve been out in the field and now she´s dying (ending her mission) when I hit my 6 month mark. I´m not a newbie anymore and I feel it.  The work is faster and the time is flying by. I continually pray for the ability to serve when I get back because of how much this work means to me now. I want all of my spirit siblings to experience the joy of eternal happiness and the love of eternal heavenly parents. 

Campamento and Guaimaca Missionaries (My District)
I love all of you, it means so much to have your support and I think of all of you when the days seem dark or long, and then I get my butt back in gear. Your faith and love for me mean a lot, I hope all goes well for you guys in whatever righteous endeavor you are in.

You are all in my prayers and hope you have a great week!

Keep Truckin´
Hermana Pagada is ending her mission. (she's dying)
Sister Barrera and I have the same bag!
She bought one and I didn´t know and then noticed and wanted to take a pic.
If I get transferred I´ll miss this awesome missionary
You´d think these were iPhones. It´s like back home in Sunday School!(they are camera´s, just looking through their fotos)
Elder Zachreson and I. I´ll miss him. 
This is my district (Elder Vasquez is behind me) with my house in the background.
For you mom: "Welcome to Campamento!"

It is rainy season in Campamento.
We asked Christian how things were and he said that it has been raining hard enough to put some leaks in their roof right over his bed. He said that it has been hard to sleep with a leaky roof. Thursday night was bad.  He had to move his bed and everything. He says that Hector, one of their investigators is going to help them fix it.  Hector has been to the States and has worked in roofing. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Week 23: Hands

foto taken on the bridge to Cacao

So this week was a doozy, we spent a lot of time in Cacao working with some of the less actives and trying to find a nine year old that wants to be baptized. Her parents want us the missionaries to stop by (the parents are less active and I think the dad wants us to baptize her). Her name is Dianee and she´s really nice and excited for us to come this next week and talk to her parents. 

Hector Pagoada came out on divisions with us on Saturday to Cacao.  The guy is excited and pretty serious about having the gospel in his life. He accepted a baptismal date for the 24th of this month! 

We were at this members house and the father asked for a blessing so we told him we would give him one after we taught them a lesson about faith. SO we started the lesson with a prayer, Hector was asked to give it. Hector starts the prayer, and in the middle of it walks over to Carlos, the member and puts his hand on his head and starts trying to give him a blessing. All the while the branch president is with us, so it felt kind of awkward. We then started the lesson, which went well and then gave him a blessing. The spirit was so strong and I felt that I had said what the spirit wanted me to say. It was definitely a priests of Baal moment for Hector.  He began asking questions about priesthood authority on the way back to Campamento. We explained to him that faith can work miracles, but with divine authority as our guide it it is more effective. Hector was then super excited and began asking the process so he can receive the priesthood. The guy also wants to serve a mission. He is 20 years old so he can, and I hope he is able to. He has a very strong testimony of Jesus Christ. 

We talked to Dania this week as well. We found out that she and Ariel are going  to separate. I am so sad for them.  What was once a happy engaged couple changed rather quickly. Neither side wants to marry the other. I don´t really know why, but they simply said they aren´t going to marry and that Ariel is going to go live with his mom until he leaves to Juticalpa to serve in the military. Really bummed. 

Hector and Yamilet are going to try to get married by the 22nd so they can be baptized on the 24th which is exciting. Isis and Deivi are going to try and be married by the 26 and then baptized on the 1st of July. A lot is happening really fast and we are trying are hardest to get members of the branch involved, so that the couples can have a positive relationship with the branch members. 

It´s a lot to do in little time, but we try our hardest everyday. I´m glad to be one of the Lords servants. I have started looking a little bit more for the Lords hand at the end of each day. It happens more often than I think. His hands are there when a door opens for us as missionaries. I feel His love and the guidance of the spirit when a scripture comes to my mind at the last minute that changes the discussion and means something huge to the investigator.  His hand is in my life when I am able to bear testimony and it is just what a person needed to hear.  His hands are there, miracles happen, but it´s everywhere, in all the little things that happen each day. It happens more often than I think.  The Lord helps us when we ask for it, and when we look for it. When we recognize and thank him for for any help we receive the spirit is so strong.  Our Father in Heaven is glad to have son´s and daughter´s who are thankful. So be thankful for when the hard times come and we think we are forgotten, because the Lord is trusting us to do the right thing. When we choose the right we receive blessings. 

The days out here are hard, but I receive help. 
I know He loves me and all of you. 
I hope all is good with you all back in the States. 
Keep Truckin´

My comp and I with Hector. He likes to hang with us.

This ones made with refried beans, eggs, cheese, and sour cream. Yum!
This is Isis and Deivi

I bought these for breakfast. The entire thing cost me 25 lemps. ($1.07 US) It´s a type of banana. They call them mínimos, they are exactly like a banana just smaller.

Walking back to Campamento from Cacao at dark.

Hector lives in Campamento. He was out visiting members with us.