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. 

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

Monday, July 10, 2017

Week 28: temple trip and a baptism

So this week we went out Tuesday with the knowledge of a temple trip on Wednesday, so we contacted most of the day and it was seriously awesome. I don´t care anymore about the shut doors in my face, or the people who yell at us and tell us to get away from their front door. I loved Tuesday´s experience because we found nine new investigator´s who are all mostly pretty positive.

On Wednesday we had our temple trip and it was fun and stressful at the same time. We had to get up early and get ready, and then go pick up some of our converts that were going to come with us. It was kind of  stressful. If we don´t get to the temple on time we can lose our time slot, so we were pushing these guys along to get to our ride to the temple. We made it! Our converts  were able to do baptisms for their families while Elder Espiritu and I did a session. A session in SPANISH!!! It was awesome and kind of hard. I loved the language, the Spanish voice over´s. It was hard not to laugh, but overall I had a wonderful experience. We had to catch a bus back because our ride left. I bought some banana bread and we got walking. It was about 25 minutes to the closest bus stop. 

That night we had a family home evening activity with a less active family we found. It´s another family with the last name... (you´ll never guess it) Garcia! Sometimes I still have a hard time understanding my comp... like who he is talking about when we make plans to go visit certain families. It´s funny and frustrating. 

We went to a members for dinner on Thursday and made baleada´s.  I cooked my own and sadly didn´t have my camera, they turned out pretty good!  I was super proud of the "poor mans burritos" I made, as Elder Zachreson likes to call them. We visited Waleska after and talked about her baptism for Saturday. We reviewed the baptismal interview questions. She is good, she has a sound knowledge. 

I was excited for our District Meeting on Friday, hoping to get my package from home. It was not there, so I´m bummed and a little paranoid... I don´t know why, I guess I keep thinking of some tiny Honduran dude with my spinners and starbursts... I´m gonna see him and snap! lol.  If i don´t end up with it, oh well, I have the Lord. 

We formally interviewed Waleska and had her baptism on Saturday!  I performed the ordinance and it was way easier than Marori, her cousin.  I didn´t have to do the “Baptismal throw”, that’s what Elder Zachreson calls it. haha! It is when they have a hard time relaxing and letting you put them in the water. Waleska was good. 

Waleska Laínez was comfirmed on Sunday and we had an investigator come to church. In church read in Mormon 5:16-19 about how without the Lord we are like a boat without steering instruments. It was a good scripture to read. It reminds me that the work isn´t  mine, the Lord directs us to these houses. 

I hope all is well with all of you and that you guys can be influenced and directed by the Lord. It makes me think of the song by Michael McLean, "Let Him In". It all starts with a petition to the Lord for help. Ask, and he is there to help you. I know this through my experience in the mission. When I´m tired I pray. When I´m frustrated I pray. When I feel like I can´t speak the language, or help the people because of my short comings as a human being I pray. 
So my theme for this week is, when in doubt don´t cry, PRAY!

I love you guys stay happy and-- 

Keep truckin´!!!

Elder´s Dresen, Ruiz, Cleverley, Canales, Medrano, Vasquez, Purser, Spencer, and Hermana´s Acero and Latimer.
Our P-day surprise... a US flag piñata. Elder Vasquez broke it. He´s a Dominican.
me and the piñata
P-day lunch with the Elders in my district

Waleska´s family at the temple. Family names and Julissa and Glenda are with us.

Yepsel and I

Tegucigalpa, Honduras Temple!
Kathy, Waleska, Ana, Mercy, and Yepsel
Baptism of Waleska Laínez
a painting function on my camera. Elder Espiritu
he´s chilling
teaching a chancho

Monday, July 3, 2017

Week 27: working hard and interchanges

So this has been a weird week. I got sick from some cheese that I ate on Monday, so Tuesday I could not work. It sucked. I felt terrible spiritually and physically. Then on Wednesday some guys came into our house to fix our toilets because they were hardly working and the smell was awful. I´ve been glad that we haven´t been in the house a lot. Our day started off trying to visit an investigator. The appointment fell through, so we contacted and found someone new to teach. We went to visit a less active family and talked to them for a bit. They said they would come to church. We later visited with an old investigator who has been busy. She said she would talk with her boyfriend of 10 years about getting married. I was super pumped! I hope they decide to follow a commandment of the Lord. 

We had dinner with the bishop here in the ward. They served stir-fry, which was really good! When I finished I was a little sad because of how much I wanted more. I remember when Alyssa used to make it for our family dinners. I always ate a ton and then felt so sleepy after. 

We met with Hermana Ana's mom, and taught her about the Restoration. She loves the message. She started the visit with the "I only want to learn more about God" attitude. By the end she changed to wanting to hear more about the gospel and learn more about the restored church. We left her with an invitation to pray and to be baptized in the church of Jesus Christ. She said she would come to church, and that said she would tell us after she´s seen the church a little.  

Thursday we had our weekly planning meeting and then inter-changes. I went down to our District Leaders area (Jardines de Carrizal) and Elder Cleverly went up to mine. I worked with Elder Canales for the day and we worked hard. We found 10 new contacts in their area and I am happy to have worked hard. 
View walking home from the District Leaders house. They live about 20 minutes away walking. Their area is called Jardines de Carrizal
On Friday I was super excited to be getting my first package, but apparently it hasn't made it through customs. I am sad. I talked to Elder Huscroft (a mission secretary), he told me he had talked to my mom (I was super jealous) and that they got the documentation they needed and that it should be in my hands next week. Next week should be great! 

On Saturday we did some service. My companion and I made a water trench with a pickaxe in some mud. Elder Espiritu had fun moving the dirt out of the trench while I made this 30 yard trench. It was hard. I´m still sore, but the less active family who lives there is grateful for the service the ward and the missionaries performed. The rest of our day (after showering and lunch) was spent contacting. We found some positive people, not anything “golden”, but people who are interested and able to progress. 

We talked to a woman about the Book of Mormon.  She is reading it little by little and has a lot of question´s. We answered them, and now she said she would pray about the book. 

On Sunday Hermana Ana´s mom and daughter came to church as well as one of the member´s cousins. Hermana Mercedes (Ana's mom) is still thinking. But Ana´s daughter, Waleska said she would like to be baptized on the eighth, so this Saturday. I´m super pumped! I've been teaching her since I got here and now she says she is ready. 

The Familia Garcia, as it turns out they were in church. It hurt a little to not have seen them and to not have been able to talk to them. We called them an hour after and set up another visit for Wednesday. They are reading the restoration pamphlets we left. They are praying, and they say they like the message a lot. So I´m super excited to get to talk to them again. 

We found a family of six contacting, the Familia Rodrigues Garcia who´d like to hear more. We have another couple along with some other people who are kind of interested. We are going to stop by again next Sunday. Last night I had a really awesome time testifying of the restoration and of the Book of Mormon. I could tell our testimonies made a difference in the beliefs of one of our investigators. She cried when we showed her the restoration video and assassination of Joseph Smith. It was touching, and she said she would think about baptism, but that she just needs to find a way for her schedule to work so that she can attend church.

I´m glad to be out working hard here in la Nueva, and for all the people who are prepared to hear our message. I hope to find them. 
So like always ...

Keep truckin´

Hair cuts! Elder Cleverly, the DL cutting hair.

Banana Bread from a member!

Elder Canales and I. He is from Costa Rica and proud to be 100% Tico (slang for Costa Rican)

Cooking dinner

pic collage

Glenda with her 3 daughters. Julissa, Nataly, and Marizol
Julissa is 16 and comes to church
We weren´t invited, just stopped by to visit Glenda. The family was having a party. They invited us in and teated us like the guests of honor.

The older woman (Glenda's grandma) saw us and wanted photos and for us to pray for her. It was really sweet.

This is Glenda's uncle. It was a party for him and Glenda's grandma. 
His birthday was the 29th and hers on the 30th.

When you hike all the way up a mountain for a visit... 
...and your investigators don´t want to listen.
but us missionaries pick ourselves back up and "Keep Truckin´"