Tuesday: We get a call early in the morning that Ortiz (my comp) needs to pack his bags. We had to leave that same day in the afternoon to be in Ceiba at 3:00. After some hasty good-byes and some awkward moments with Ortiz (considering I´m the one who told President about his latest problems), we headed off on the boat for Ceiba. The APs (Assistants to the President) were there to pick us up, and they took us to another area in Ceiba. We worked the rest of the day with a threesome of me, Elder Ortiz, and Elder Burwell. Side note: teaching with three people is really weird, and I understand why we´re put in companionships of two missionaries... it´s WAY better. The three of us slept with the APs in a very cramped house.
Wednesday: We woke up in the morning, and went to district meeting. The zone leaders and APs both gave some short talks to help us with missionary work. At this point, I still didn´t know what was going to happen with my situation, so I was a little distracted and worried about what the future held. Anyway, we finished district meeting, returned to the house, and waited for the APs. They came to the house, and picked up Elder Ortiz and in a shocker that none of us knew, Elder Rivas as well. Both of them only had one week left in the mission, but because of issues they were having, President had them go to the mission offices in San Pedro. And that´s when the biggest shocker came. With Ortiz and Rivas gone, the mission president wanted me and Elder Burwell (Rivas´s old companion) to work two areas until the end of this change, which is this Friday. This meant two days in Buenos Aires, Elder Burwell´s area, followed by a weekend in Utila, followed by more time in Buenos Aires. Then, we worked the rest of the day in Buenos Aires. I enjoyed being in a normal area, where people listened to us and were willing to do what we said. After being in Utila, it´s kind of amazing how humble the Honduran people are. Guess I kinda took that for granted before.
Thursday: Another day in Buenos Aires, that was fairly uneventful. I was just following Elder Burwell around for the most part, and then making my mark in the lessons. It was good not to have to worry about logistics/planning for once. Also, I should tell you guys a little about Elder Burwell, considering we´re comps for about 10 days. He´s from Kaysville, Utah and has seven months in the mission. He´s actually pretty far along, considering he only has seven months. He has a pretty good handle on the language, and is a really good missionary. We´ve been getting along great, so at least I had that going for me during all this craziness.
Friday: We headed back to Utila in the morning. The main issue at hand was preparing Josue for baptism. That meant teaching Plan of Salvation, tithing, and sabbath day on Friday, and setting up the baptismal interview for the following day. We taught it all successfully, and actually had a pretty successful day of work. I had to deal with some money issues as well, considering the branch only has 2000 lempiras left for the rest of the year (about 100 bucks) and wanted to do some Christmas activities. Luckily, my Primary President came through, as she always does and penny pinched for the Primary, leaving 1400 lemps for the Relief Society to do their Christmas dinner. I´m so thankful for small miracles in situations like this.
Saturday: I did Josue´s baptismal interview in the morning, and he passed with flying colors. The only real concern I have is the support from his mom, but he lives right by his aunt and cousins, who are some of the strongest members of the branch. Hopefully, that will keep him active. In another small miracle, a member offered to drive us to the baptism in a golf cart, and set up everything to take us there and back (about a 20 minute ride one way). That made things a lot easier, and Burwell was able to perform the baptism in the ATLANTIC OCEAN. I still can´t get over the fact that we baptize in the ocean in Utila - it´s just awesome. It was a great baptismal service and a good spiritual experience for all those who attended, including Josue´s non-member mom. After finishing the baptism, we went straight to the church for the Christmas dinner. The relief society did a great job preparing everything, and to some extent, I was able to sit back and enjoy the show... and the food, which was excellent. We also had a great turnout, and some inactives that we have been trying to get to church for FOREVER showed up in the church. After that, we did a couple more appointments, and went to bed exhausted.
Sunday: As always, this is the craziest day of the week. After preparing, blessing, and passing the sacrament, I gave a 10 minute talk. I went against my natural personality, and talked really boldly. The boldest points of the talk: ¨Repent and change your lives to live in harmony with the Savior´s teachings¨ and ¨According to the scripture in John 14:15, when you don´t keep the commandments, you sin and don´t love God¨ and ¨The negative things that I´ve heard about Utila are lies created by Satan.¨ I´ve never given a talk quite like it, but it was AWESOME! Plus it´s what the branch needed, and I could feel the spirit helping me during the talk. I just hope it made a difference for the members. After that, Burwell helped me out by giving the Sunday School lesson. And then in the third hour, a family of 9 from the States randomly came to our church building. Some of them knew Spanish, but it was an adventure that ended up being a Spanglish lesson. It was good to talk to some strong returned missionaries though! After church, I started with tithing settlement, which right now is stressing me out more than anything. I don´t really know what I´m doing, but luckily President Veirs is helping me out with everything I need. Then we counted the tithing for the week, took the sacrament to two ladies, and had some awesome lessons to finish off the day.
Monday: We took the 6:20 boat from Utila back to Ceiba. It was a glorious P-day with the rest of the zone. We went to a cool nature place, took a boat ride, and saw some monkeys and crocodiles. Then, we played soccer for an hour. And after, we finished off the day going to Wendy´s and coming here to do Internet. Now, we´ll continue until Friday in Buenos Aires, and then Elder Burwell and I will get new comps and have some more permanent stays in our respective areas.
Hope you enjoyed the insanity of the week! This next week should bring even more surprises and stress, but I know Heavenly Father is helping me through every step of the journey. Thanks for all your love and support! Merry Christmas!