Monday, August 31, 2015
Buenas tardes todos!
The mission is still chugging along over here in San Pablo, Guatemala! Everything is great. Learning Spanish is really overwhelming at times but I am seeing the fruits more and more everyday. The most difficult part is listening and understanding, especially in the rural area that I am in, they have very heavy accents and a lot of slang. My native-speaking companion doesnt understand sometimes.
The weather is great over here right now, I get a nice balance of torrential downpours and intensely humid heat... its great. I used to take pride in the fact that I don't sweat a lot...I was wrong. I have also grown to hate the dogs here... they are filthy and all either want to kill you or appear as if they have been run over by a lawnmower. I have only been charged by one, luckily it was only bluffing to get me away from the door of the house. The mean dogs at home were actually really nice. Oh, and before I forget... My companion and got stopped by a group of really drunk guys the other night, one wanted us to come and party with him while the other randomly asked about the three types of heaven we believe in... until the other hit him in the face. Anyway with some patience and kind words we got out of the situation. As we were walking away my companion brought to my attention that they all had guns. Yet in actuality even the scariest people here really like the missionaries. The old lone drunks are my favorite... my comp and I companion say ¨ hemos escuchado que champinos (Guatemalan men) no pueden bailar¨ or, in english... we heard Guatemalan men can't dance. After this they try to prove us wrong... and its hilarious. You have to be sure they are really drunk harmless old men though... yet there is a solid supply of those here though.
I have had some great experiences with investigators this week. And even a baptism! My favorite this week was Gorge, a devout Catholic that knows his doctrine and has immense faith and love for his Savior. We taught the Restoration and totally macheted the Catholic Church with as much love and gentleness as possible. He had some questions as you can imagine, but after the movings of the spirit and the sincere prayer he agreed to baptism! Now I can't get my hopes up too high, because many back out of the commitment after some time. One thing that's kind of frustrating is I feel that we spend more time walking and riding squished on a bus more than actually teaching. Although, that makes teaching that much better. My companion is a really good teacher and has a thorough understanding of the Bible. He has been very complementary of my performance in lessons and of my improvement in the language. He's probably just being nice, but it keeps me positive. He probably gets sick of me asking him how to say things in Spanish, but he helps me out a lot.
I played soccer for the first time here the other day, it was a lot of fun, and If I am aggressive I can make a little bit of a difference. Truth be told, there aren't very many good players here, but they love it and have a good time. Every day I am amazed that you never here about car accidents... because all of the drivers are nuts. These huge buses make crazy maneuvers to pass other cars on curvy mountain roads. My favorite is to ride in the backs of the pick-ups on the back roads. Its is so beautiful in the mountains. I don't have any pictures of my favorite spots yet because I forgot my camera in the house last time we went there unfortunately. Anyhow, things are great, unfortunately I am not a very good writer and always leave things out on accident. But here it is.
Monday, August 24, 2015
(PR video from San Pablo Guatemala)
Hola cual quien persona esta escuchando,
El campo es la mejor y mi compañero es lo mismo. My entrenador is Elder Cancino de Veracruze Mexico, Obviously he is Latino, but he speaks pretty good English. Yet I don't hear it much because I made him promise to speak only Spanish with me. My Spanish is growing rapidly here in the field, immersion is really doing its work. My first area is a tiny town called San Pablo in the foot-hills of northern Guatemala. It reminds me of Valladolid, Mexico (Yucatan). It is absolutely beautiful. The view of the moutains and volcanoes is spectacular. San pablo is incredibly poor, most of the houses are currugated metal some wood, and possibly some concrete. Yet the people seem so happy. I can't decide what is more beautiful about Guatemala, the luscious mountains and jungle, or the people. Beautiful in spirit of course... dont you worry. Its a really good thing I like the traditional food... because there is allot of it. I had the opportunity to try cocao at a menos activos house yesterday, fue muy rico! You will have to look it up, its a lot different than what you would expect. I am trying new fruits and foods all the time. One of my favorite things is Licha.
As for Investigators, things are going well, I have a feeling that we will have a lot of success. My first investigator experience was interesting... my comp took me to the hut of a progressing investigator to follow up on some commitments and share a message... he was drunk out of his mind and put his fists up as if to fight me. After calming down he told us he liked Alma and passed out on the ground. Its was new, but I am completely used to drunks now. I am still getting you used to all of the breast-feeding moms...everywhere. We have 14 progressing investigators right now, 10 new since my first day. We were only able to get 4 to church this Sunday unfortunately. I especially like teaching other young people, they connect with my spiritual vibe a little more quickly than the middle aged do. I love the elderly as well. I dont know exactly what I did to deserve it, but the children here love me... a little to much I think. This is especially the case with those in the ward... but I can't say I don't enjoy it. My companion and I have some investigators outside of the town. To get to them we pretty much hitch-hike in the back of a dudes pick-up for a few quetz... it's a beautiful mountain road to the village, and while on the way we passed a few waterfalls. The village is buried in thick forest and loaded with chickens and pigs. While contacting and teaching I have had the privilege to meet a ton of Mayans. They are all over the place and speak their native dialects a lot. I love it.
The public transportation here is interesting, and really fun. The buses are all independently owned and the competition for passengers is nuts. We call it bus wars. Look up Guatemala buses and tuc tucs... its pretty cool. Matthew would like how personalized a lot of them are... spikes and all. Being a Gringo in a sea of Latinos has its ups and downs... most really like me. Yet others do not, today for example, while riding in a tuc tuc I was plastered by a saucy tamale.
Well, in conclusion, my Spanish is coming along and I love my companion. The spirit is strong and the people are amazing. Not to mention Guatemala is incredibly beautiful. I hate to tease you and not provide any pictures, but I forgot my cord at the apartment. The pictures don't really do it justice anyway. If you can't tell already I am having the time of my life here, and I am ecstatic to be here serving the Lord's sheep here in San Pablo, Guatemala. Dont worry about me and dont take functional toilets and solidity for granted.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
|Mountains Outside of Guatemala City|
Life is chuggin along here in the CCM, Come next Tuesday...I will be in the field! I am so excited about that. I still have a long way to go but the teachers say I am ready for the field. They say that my Spanish will skyrocket once I get out there. Things are improving a bit with my comp, but he still won't listen to me... I am getting really kind of sick of my district and all of the gossip. With almost 150 people in one complex 24/7 gossip spreads like wildfire and people are really competitive with silly things like progress in the language, Book of Mormon, and so forth. I feel like I am doing good keeping out of it though. We had a really good devo yesterday with an area authority, I received a lot of inspiration. I have found that I need to be more selfless and devoted, any self-pity or slack will only hinder my progress. I am so ready to start teaching real people. I am sick of the role-plays. From my experience at the immigration center I can already tell that I am going to fall in love with these people. Right now I am just praying for a good trainer... I ship out for the field next Tuesday. It is sad how excited I am to get on a ghetto school bus and drive 6 plus hours. My eyes are going to be glued to the window the whole time! Hopefully I get a window seat... It's the small things that give me hope. It has been raining here and it looks and smells wonderful... at least the mountain outside our window does. There are two elders in my district that I am bummed to be leaving... but, both of them are headed to Retalhuleu also so I will get to see them around a bit. Well thats my bit, the monotony rolls on in the CCM ... If you can't already tell the anticipation of departure is killing me... love you all!
Oh and my next email will simply be to tell you I am alive, It will be sent upon my arrival at the mission home.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
La Gente de Rexburg y mis otros amigos... Life is on the the same monotonous roll her in the CCM. Yet... I had a glimpse of the outside world yesterday. I was able to take a little field trip to the Immigration Office here in the city yesterday. The whole ordeal took a solid two hours and gave me the chance to see some things. People drive like maniacs here and we have already witnessed several accidents in front of the CCM. Anyway... back to my trip. At the Immigration Office, some other missionaries and I made a contact. We got his info, talked about the Book of Mormon, and sang some hymns. MOM! I dont even wanna hear it! We drove through some really beautiful vegetation and saw a whole lot of people weilding shotguns... All of the gas stations hear are protected by armed guards. In fact there is a gas station behind the CCM and we heard gun shots the other day. What a beautiful place this is. A presidential election is coming up in September and there are a lot of demonstrations going on, otherwise we would have gone to the central market today. Instead we ate Pizza Hut... poor substitute, but I can't complain.
Sickness here in the "prison" spreads like wildfire, around half of the inmates here got a bad stomach bug... The President calls it Moctezuma´s revenge. That made me laugh. Until I got it...
They recalibrated the computers here so the buttons actually do what they say they do, but it's still a Spanish keyboard so... the buttons are all in different places than I am used to. On the computers we use a language program called TALL. When you exit the program it serenades you with some angelic chords... it keeps me sane. Once I get into the field I will be able to use the Ipod dad prepared for me... THANK YOU DAD! Yet, in the mean time Ive been using Matthews trumpet dealio and jamming out to my own jazz.
I received a lot of inspiration in the temple today and I have a positive outlook on these last two weeks in the CCM. I really didn't give enough credit to the power of prayer before I left... Wow. We have devotional tonight coming live from Provo, I hear its a general authority... like a big one! so, I am excited, I am literally fueled on the spirit here, once the spirit creeps away... thats when it really gets rough. So I try to get as much of it as I can from the temple and the devos each week. We have had two 70´s come in the last little while, and both have been awesome!
Both have been fairly open discussions and question based meetings. One of them told me that my thoughts on a topic were "profound"... That had been a rough day so the Lord was just giving me a pick me up. Man I love the spirit.
I have got a few of the Elders in my district using Hoopy-Raumpy... you called it dad.
The Latinos that come through the CCM only have two weeks here, and its sad to see them leave each time because we get close. For some reason though, each group is told by someone... I don't know who... that it's my my birthday on one of their last days here, and a group of them storms my room on that night and beat me with their belts. Its friendly of course, but I am always having to stay on my toes. How this began... I have no idea.
Matthew... your insane... I love it.
I would love to write some more personal emails, but yet again, I am out of time...
I want to get into the field so bad! Yet the MTC, luckily, is going really quick. I love you all and the church is so freakin true its not even funny.