Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Baptism of David Ernesto Castro Rodriguez
Ward Mission Leader, David Ernesto, David Wilfredo, Elder Birt
January 28, 2012

Elder Jimenez (trainer)
Elder Birt
February 20, 2012

Elder Birt
MTC Map - January 22, 2012
El Progreso Apartment
February 22, 2012
"Visitor" in El Progreso apartment

Monday, March 26, 2012

Week 19

Progress in Progresso -

I thought that was a pretty catchy title for this week's work. Hope everyone else did too haha. Ok time for the recap of the week.

1. We have a baptism on April 6th! It's this 22-year-old girl named Nora that we have been teaching for quite a while. She is dating this guy that's a member, so that has helped a lot haha. Remember, flirt to convert! But anyway, she wanted to be baptized on the day the church was organized. Now if only we could get her mom to be baptized as well...

2. We have also been teaching the mother Norma for the whole time I've been here and a few months before I arrived. She's from an Evangelical church, and she's pretty stubborn about certain things. Now we're down to the last (but most important) problem: a testimony of the Book of Mormon. She still says she hasn't received an answer. Personally, I'm pretty sure she has, but we're working on getting her to realize that she has. We're hoping this next week's General Conference will be the solution.

3. Also, more bad news for the marriage/baptism. Another week gone without it happening. There has just been problem after problem with this situation, but hopefully it gets sorted out within the next few weeks.

4. I finished my first half-gallon of milk this week! I know this is really random, but it's actually a pretty big accomplishment. The milk here expires after about 4 days (5 at the most), so I have to eat a lot of cereal to make this happen haha.

5. Our new Zone Leader is Elder Southwick, but apparently none of the Latins can pronounce his name right. As a result, he just tells them to call him Elder Sandwich hahaha

6. Why was there progress in Progreso (my area) this week? Because we focused on working more with the members. I know a lot of people that read this blog are members, and I encourage everyone to get involved in the work. It's SOOO much more effective with the help of the members, and I know great things can happen with the missionary work if the members get involved. So hopefully everyone can help out the missionaries in their ward! I know they will appreciate it! :)

Ok, that's it from the week. Due to multiple complaints from my faithful writers, I tried to make this blog entry more detailed and include more about the missionary work. Hopefully, I was successful. Enjoy the week, and especially General Conference!

"When the moment of decision comes, the time for preparation has passed."
-Elder Birt

Monday, March 19, 2012

Week 18

Why was it a milestone week? Well, this past Friday, my comp hit the year mark on his mission. And on that same day, I hit my 4-month mark. Its weird because sometimes it seems like the time is passing really slow. But now, looking back, I wonder where the last 4 months went. They just disappeared! Anyway, to celebrate, we... did the same thing we do every other day haha. Sorry if thats a little anticlimactic. Hopefully I can make up for it with some stories from the week.
1. We had a visit from Elder Martino of the Quorum of the Seventy on Wednesday! This meant that all the missionaries were there, and I got to see all my friends! But more importantly, we were able to learn so many things that will help us in the missionary work. I say ¨so many things¨ because he literally talked to us for like 4 hours. It was all good stuff though, and I wouldnt have minded if he went longer. I was mentally drained after though from listening to Spanish so much. The positive- I could pretty much understand everything he said. I think it was a little easier because he had a really good accent and pronounced things better than native Spanish speakers. But it was a way to gauge my progress since I first arrived here in Honduras, and its amazing how fast Im learning. Its a little easier as a missionary though because we have some extra help :)
2. Two interesting stories from the week when we were knocking doors: we found an Evangelical pastor and a Jehovas witness (on separate occasions). We taught both of them about the Book of Mormon, and they got really fired up about it! They started yelling at us about how the Bible is the only true book and how there cant be any more scriptures. And they tried to show us all these scriptures in the Bible about why they were right about all this different doctrine. My comp kinda got sucked in to the Bible battles, which obviously didnt work. I was just like ¨Hey, we believe in the Bible too. And we also believe in the Book of Mormon. But you dont have to take our word for it. Just read, ponder, and pray, and you can receive an answer for yourself.¨ So we ended up leaving them Book of Mormons. Hopefully they dont burn them, and they actually accept our invitation. Im not holding my breath though haha
3. We had to drop two of our investigators this past week cuz they dont do ANYTHING! Literally, its two ladies who dont work or go to school. I think they just sit in their house, and watch TV all day cuz that was always what they were doing when we went to their house. They always invited us to teach them, but they were really disrespectful in our lessons (not listening, texting, just leaving for a different room, etc.). Im a pretty mellow person, but I ended up telling it to them like it is (or in our mission vocabulary, ¨machete-ing them¨ haha). A lot of people are like that here though- they always invite us in, but dont show up for appointments and are just really wishy-washy in general.
4. So we played soccer this morning... and it was really disappointing. For the last changes, a lot of the Latins left and more Americans came in. So the quality of our soccer games has greatly declined. To give you an idea, I was the best person on my team. We lost because... well... its never good when Im the best person on a team.
Ok, thats all for this week. Thanks for all the letters of support and encouragement! Its always great to hear from all of you! Also, Im sorry for not using apostrophes in my blog entries. I cant figure out how to use an apostrophe because the keyboards are different here haha. ¡Que les vaya bien! :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March 14, 2012 visit by Elder Martino, Second Quorum of the Seventy.
Photo courtesy Sister Viers, Mission President Viers' wife.

(Elder Birt's MTC companion, Elder Hebert, is on his immediate left.)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Week 17

Hey everyone! Back again after another loooong week in Honduras. It probably just seemed so long because there were so many changes, and there's so much to talk about now. So here goes...
1. I have a new companion! His name is Elder Kreutzer from California, and he has a year on the mission. There's a funny story about when we got called to be companions though. We're in this huge meeting with all the missionaries, and the Mission President just puts up pictures of the two people that will be companions. When it was my turn and I saw Elder Kreutzer's picture, I wasn't sure if he was from the States or from Central America (his dad is white and is mom is from Honduras, so it's hard to tell). So when he came and sat by me, I was like "Does he know English? Should I try speaking English to him?" Haha anyway, turns out he knows English, which has been kinda nice :)
2. The downside is that he doesn't know Spanish very well. His mom didn't teach him when he was growing up, so he had to learn in the MTC and the field just like me. And to be honest, I think I'm as good at Spanish as him (and that's not a good thing because I'm still pretty shaky with Spanish). It's definitely been an interesting challenge. Plus I have WAY more responsibility now since I'm familiar with the area/people and we're pretty much the same with Spanish. It's more like 50/50 this change, whereas last change it was like 95% Elder Jimenez and 5% me haha
3. We're finally supposed to have the wedding this Friday! There's just been problem after problem with this, but we're hoping it can finally get done. Keep that in your prayers because there are still some last-minute issues we're trying to resolve.
4. I saw EVERY elder from my MTC district at the change meeting! It was awesome, and it seems like they're all doing pretty well :)
5. Since we are two gringos in a companionship now, lots of people try to talk to us in English haha. For the most part, I can't understand them because their accent/grammar/vocabulary is so bad. But we actually contacted this one guy who lived in the US for quite a while. He said he wanted us to teach him in English, and it was so weird! It's really hard to talk about the gospel now in English, since I've been doing it for 4 months in Spanish. To be honest, it kinda freaked me out haha. I was like "No, why is this happening?" Also, we might start teaching English classes at the church, which sounds interesting. Our bishop wants us to give him English lessons because he says it helps to know more English in his job search. I've never taught English before (especially to a native Spanish speaker), so it should be interesting.
Ok, that's all for now. Remember: "Today is where your book begins... the rest is still unwritten."
Elder Birt

Monday, March 5, 2012

Week 16

So the big news of the week is that I've completed my first change! For those who don't know, we have changes every 6 weeks, where we go to a huge meeting and missionaries move to different areas. And I just learned that Elder Jimenez is leaving the area. It's a little nerve-wracking because I'm going to have a different companion in two days, but at least I'm going to stay in the same area. Anyway, here are some more stories from the week that was...

1. This past Wednesday, we took a trip to San Pedro Sula to (finally) get the partida we have been waiting for. That's the paperwork that we need to have the wedding, which I've learned is a huge hassle. I don't even understand everything that goes into it, but basically, the Honduran government is terrible. Anyway, I was able to see one of my old MTC buddies, which is always fun! But the craziest part of the trip was the rapiditos. They are these white vans that go around the city and take people from place to place. However, they cram as many people into the van as possible. So at one point, we had 23 people in a 15-person van. I'm glad I'm not claustrophobic haha. Also, they don't come to a complete stop unless its absolutely necessary, so sometimes people are hopping on and off of a moving vehicle. That's Honduras for you.
2. Also, we celebrated the first of the month this last week! Why is that worth celebrating? Because we get our money for the month! Haha it actually wasn't an issue for me, but some missionaries ran out of money, and were really happy about March 1st haha.
3. We had an awesome service project this last week where we helped this lady build the second story of her house. This meant mixing cement by hand, which I had never done before and will probably never do again (since there are machines that do it in the US). It turned out to be pretty messy work, and we were all covered in cement and dirt at the end. In fact, the shower afterwards was one of the best of my life haha. But I actually enjoyed it quite a bit!
4. So its getting super, super hot here, which really isn't cool when we are walking about 5 miles every day (haha unintentional pun). The best places to be are the two places that have air conditioning- one of the rooms in the church or the ATM. Every other place, I'm pouring sweat, which my companion thinks is hilarious :(
5. As far as the work goes, it was a pretty slow week. We got the paperwork settled for the wedding, and hopefully will have it on the 16th with the baptism on the 17th. I say hopefully because there are still some issues with Antonio (the guy): he is hesitant about the wedding because he says he has work that day (which sounds like an excuse to us), he hasn't stopped smoking, and he still argues with us about the need to get married. We pray for him and visit him every day, but hes been pretty stubborn so far. We have two other promising investigators, Salvador and Lorena, but they both still need to come to church, so its a little early to tell for them. 
Ok that's about it for the week. And thanks to those who have sent letters! They´ve been amazing! I´ll leave you with a quote that I heard from my good friend Rory Jones: Don´t count the days. Make the days count. Adios!