Monday, July 23, 2012

Week 35

Buenas tardes! Hope everyone is healthy and happy! In a change from previous weeks, I was healthy for the entire week! Well, I didn't feel that great last Tuesday, but that was just the lingering effects of last week's illness. This week has been great though! It's amazing how much better I feel when my stomach isn't rebelling against me. Thanks for all of your thoughts, prayers, and even fasts. They've definitely helped a lot.
This really shouldn't be the first item of business, but hey, it's important to me. We changed cooks! For those who don't know, we have "cooks," who we pay for lunch every day of the week. Before, it was with this really cool member family, but they moved this past week. So we talked with one of our investigators, who happens to own a restaurant a couple blocks from our house (I'm not gonna lie, that played a big role in our decision of who our next cook would be). She accepted, and we ate there five times last week. And I'm pretty sure we now have one of the best cooks in the mission :) Not that the food was bad before, but it was rice and beans EVERY SINGLE DAY and that might have been part of the sickness problems I've had. I guess we'll find out in the next couple weeks, but in the meantime, I'm gonna enjoy some awesome lunches every day! :)
Investigator update! Our top investigator, a 16-year old named Jessica, didn't come to church yesterday. We're starting to think she only likes the youth activities because she's gone to those three times and only gone to church once. But she has accepted a baptismal date. Somehow, we just have to help her recognize the importance of church attendance and after two more Sundays, we can have the baptism. One of our other investigators is a very interesting guy named Antonio. He's about 50 years old, and lives alone in a house on the same street as us. He's very uneducated and has some memory difficulties, so it's been a challenge teaching him. We ask him a bunch of questions during lessons to make sure if he understands what we're saying. And we've had mixed results. We've simplified our lessons to the bare essentials, and even started teaching him with the help of pictures. In a way, it's like we're teaching a child the gospel. But the one amazing thing is that he loves church! He's come twice now, and says he wants to get baptized. So we've planned his baptism for August 4th! Also, there are three other investigators that are relatives of the Cisnado family, recent converts who help us a ton. It's just a temporary thing, but they've come to church twice now, and we're hoping to have their baptisms on August 11th. They're still a little unsure, but the Cisnado family is helping them every day, so I feel pretty good about it.
Ok, so we played soccer this morning (as usual), but there was a guy there today who plays for Olimpia's junior team (Olimpia is the best team in the Honduran soccer league). I've seen some pretty good soccer players here, but this guy was on a whole other level. There were times when he would take on all six guys of the opposing team, and still score. Luckily, I was on his team and, needless to say, we won. Also, someone found a basketball, and I had a chance to dominate for a while. It's not saying much though since all the Latins have never played basketball, and only one other gringo was any good. Still fun though haha.
Ok, I wrote way too much today, and don't have time to do anything else for P-day. But I have to include some shout-outs for those who sent letters last week. Thanks to Tyler, Gram, Michael, and Kimber for your excellent letters! They cheered me up after a tough week of disappointment and sickness. Bueno, gracias a todos! Que les vaya bien! Adios!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Week 34

Hey folks! So today marks 8 months in the mission! Crazy huh?! But it was definitely a week to remember, so here's a recap with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly...

The Good:
We had another baptism! And it was in a river again, which is just a cool experience. I didn't perform the baptism this time (my comp), but we had a decent turnout and everything went pretty smoothly. She kinda freaked us out when she got to church late on Sunday though because we weren't sure if we would be able to do the confirmation. But she arrived in the nick of time, and we completed the second half of the baptism :)

I had my first P-Noche ("P-Night" instead of P-day). Our zone leaders got permission to have a sleepover for all the missionaries Sunday night to prepare for a hike early this morning. It was really fun- we played some silly games, had a spiritual thought, didn't get much sleep, and then hiked a mountain that looks out over all of San Pedro. The pictures are awesome, but I can't share them with you guys because these computers are not awesome haha

The Bad:
We don't have any firm baptismal dates for the next few weeks. Yes, there are possibilities for the end of this month and the start of August, but each of our investigators has specific problems. We're thinking our next baptism will be the first week of August, but it's too early to tell.

The Ugly:
I got sick AGAIN! This time has been a little different though. It started on Thursday, and I'm still just as sick today on Monday. It's been 5 pretty rough days, with pretty much every symptom you can think of. I'm hoping to go to the doctor today or tomorrow, so I can figure out what's going on with the recurring sicknesses.

The Funny (Bonus):
The baptism this past week was on my companion's birthday, which was kinda cool. Anyway, Katherine (the 18-year old girl that we baptized) didn't know about that until after the baptism. When she found out, she tried to give my comp a hug, which resulted in one of the most awkward situations I've ever seen. I can't even describe it that well, but it ended up being like a little pat on the back. We had a good laugh about it afterwards haha

Gracias por el apoyo y el amor de ustedes. Espero que todos tengan una buena semana y nos vemos la proxima semana! :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Week 33

Howdy, ya'll! Haha that sounds so ridiculous now. Well, I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July! Mine was quite anticlimactic- I didn't even remember it was the 4th til the afternoon. As a celebration, I told my companion haha.
Well, the big news of this week (for missionaries) is there's a change meeting this Wednesday! But again, it's anticlimactic because my companion and I are sticking together for another transfer. So it's looking like another 6 weeks with Xol in San Marcos.
The other big news is that we have another baptism this week! I don't know if I mentioned this last week, but we're going to baptize an 18-year old girl named Katherine, who is living with and working for a member in our branch. She finally came to church for the third time, so we can have the baptism this week (she's wanted to do it for a while, but couldn't come to church for a variety of reasons). In other investigator news, we had some more success this week at church, with 6 investigators. It's really strange though, because each of them have certain problems that we have to resolve if they're going to get baptized. So we don't have any other firm dates set up, but there are some possibilities for this month still.
So this one day, we went to a member's house to teach a quick message and invite them to church (they're less-active in the church). And as we're teaching the lesson, I see one of the kids with a machete chopping a piece of wood. That's not that strange here in Honduras, but what WAS strange was that he was eating the wood after cutting the bark off. After we taught the lesson, I asked the mom what her kid was eating, and she told me it was "caña," which luckily I remembered means sugarcane. So I asked her if I could try some, and she chopped me up a few pieces. It was very strange because I was eating wood, and it had the texture of wood, but it tasted like sugar and was quite tasty :) Also, we had a few service projects this last week, where I got to cut grass with a machete (which is nearly impossible) and plant corn (which was fairly enjoyable). And then I played soccer this morning too! I think this means I'm getting the full Honduran cultural experience haha
Well, I won't be going to the change meeting, which means I can't send letters with a missionary who is going home. So I'm sorry to those who have sent me letters in the last 6 weeks (thank you Ashlee and Zach for the letters this past week). You'll have to wait for the terrible Honduran mail service, which will either lose my letter entirely or get it to you in 2 months :( But thanks so much for the letters- they're always amazing!
Quote of the week: "I hope they say about me what they said about the cross-eyed javelin thrower. He didn't set any records, but at least he kept the people on their toes."- Elder Holland

Monday, July 2, 2012

Week 32

Wow what a week! We went to San Pedro this morning to play soccer with the other missionaries this morning, so I don't have much time to write this week :( I'll try to fit in the highlights though.
The story begins this past Tuesday, where our Zone Leaders had a special meeting with all of the zone to motivate us for the month of July. You see, the Merendon Zone (which right now includes me) has been struggling pretty bad the last few months. So we put down some goals for how many baptisms each area would have this next month. There's a lot of pressure in these situations, so everyone puts down the best-case scenario for their areas. This means that each area is planning between 4-8 baptisms. Our goal of 6 baptisms for the month of July took a major blow the very next day, when a family of 5 moved to a different area in San Pedro. Sadly, they were 5 of the 6 baptisms we had planned. But we kept the faith. We said that if we work as hard as possible, the Lord will bless us to achieve our goal. And I now have a testimony that the Lord works in mysterious ways. Our top investigator that we had planned to baptize this next Saturday didn't come to church. But in her place, eight people came for the first time (two were people we had never met before that the members invited). Needless to say, we were feeling pretty good Sunday morning. Later in the day, we received a call from a member that had found a family of 7. Apparently, the missionaries had visited them previously, and even baptized two of the children. But for some reason, the missionaries stopped visiting them. The member told us that the parents want the missionaries to come back and start teaching them again. Is it a sign? A family of 5 leaves, and then a family with 5 baptismal candidates pops up? I guess we'll find out this week. But the good news is that the work is back on track here in San Marcos. This doesn't mean everything is perfect, but we're at least moving in the right direction.
Also, we had a multi-zone conference on Wednesday! Our mission president gave an awesome talk on the Atonement, and then we watched a video of a talk that Elder Holland gave at the MTC, where he spoke about the need to convert ourselves first before we convert others. It was pretty inspiring, and it made a big difference in the week. For those who didn't already know, Elder Holland is pretty amazing.
Ok that's it for this week! Hopefully, this inspires everyone to get involved in the missionary work wherever you are in the world. Have a happy 4th of July and celebrate a little extra to make up for my absence :) Buenos tardes y ¡que le vaya bien!