Monday, November 11, 2013

Week 103

Hey everyone! It´s finally coming to an end... two more days, and I´m done with the mission. Next Monday, and I´m back in the States. I just wanted to say thanks to everyone that supported me in any way during the last two years- packages, letters, reading the blog, prayers. Thanks so much! It helped me get through the tough times, and made the sweet times even sweeter! I love all you guys! Until next week! I´ll be back on Facebook, and I want to talk with EVERYBODY and catch up on EVERYTHING! Que les vaya bien!
-Elder Birt (for a little bit longer ;)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 102

San Pedro Sula Mission Leadership Conference Nov 2013

Hey folks! Can you guys believe its November? Yeah, me neither. Everybody keeps telling me I'm old and about to leave. But no! I still have another full week to do work! Haha here are the highlights (and lowlights) of the week that was:

- The far-and-away biggest lowlight was getting that strange Honduran sickness yet again. I won't go into details, but it wasn't pretty. I didn't get any sleep Thursday night because of stomach pain and frequent visits to the good old bano. Then, I had to get up early and travel by bus Friday morning to the zone leader meeting in San Pedro. After getting back (and feeling like death), I got permission from President to rest for the day. I just had to get that sickness one more time! But luckily, I've been pretty much fine since yesterday.

- Other than being sick in the last zone leader meeting, it was pretty fun to see the whole gang. A ton (8 to be exact) of us finish the mission in nine days, so it was more a celebration than anything. Still cool though :)

- I also had my final interview with President Dester, which went really well. He gave me some good after-mission advice. If any of you see me after the mission, make sure I'm reading my scriptures EVERY day cuz that's the goal we put together.

- Today, we took the whole zone to Omoa, where we saw the castle and went to eat fish on the beach! It was the third time I've gone (it's kind of the main attraction in this zone, so we go pretty much every change), but I hadn't had fish on the beach before. It was delicious!

- Rosemary will FINALLY be baptized this Friday. It's probably the baptism I've fought for most in my entire mission, but it's well worth it. She'll be a great member, and the ward loves her. We also have three more baptisms the following Saturday, which, if things play out right, my parents and I might be able to see...? We'll have to wait and see with that.

- So on what has to be like the 15th try of my mission, I was somewhat able to make flour tortillas! They still weren't that great, but I was kind of able to do it the Honduran way. They basically take the dough, and slap it between their hands a bunch of times (kinda like pizza), and it creates a perfect flour tortilla. Honduran women can do it in about 3 seconds. I do it in about one minute, and they're not nearly as good. But hey, it's a start haha. Maybe I can try to make some tortillas when I get back (trust me, tortillas here are WAY better than any of that crap they have in the States)

Anywho, thanks for all the support guys! Can't wait to see you all! Love you! Adios!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Week 101

Hey everyone! It's almost Halloween! Which sadly, means next to nothing here in Honduras. They don't celebrate Halloween! How lame is that? Anyway, here's the update, bullet-list style, on the week that was:
- We had 12 investigators in church yesterday! It was one of those weeks where a lot of things went right. We found some people that were legitimately interested, had some people go that have been off and on for a while, etc. It was my highest total in Puerto Cortes, and should result in some baptisms, but sadly most would come after I leave.

- We did divisions twice this past week, and I really dodged a bullet when I left my area. Why? Because our cook gave the elders yuka (this horrible, tasteless, vegetable), chicharron (pig skin) with hair on it, and pig feet. That's about the worst Honduran meal I can think of. Only slightly better was the mondongo (cow stomach) soup which we had the next day. Needless to say, we might change cooks hahahaha.

- Ok, time for one of the CRAZIEST stories of my mission. So we've been teaching this 23-year old girl named Rosemary for about 4 months now. She's super awesome, and always has kept all of our commitments... except baptism. What I haven't told you guys is that her and her mom fight... like a lot. It's been getting progressively worse for the last few weeks, and apparently it reached it's breaking point yesterday morning because her mom kicked her out of the house! We called her after church to find out that she had gone to one of the member's houses to stay. She'll be there until she can find somewhere a little more permanent. The members are being super nice about it, and giving her all the time she needs to figure something out.

- Also, it's been raining a TON the last week, and we got pretty wet. I once again dodged a bullet, and missed the day with the most rain when I was out on divisions doing 5 baptismal interviews :)

Thanks for all your love and support guys! Have a great week, and I'll see you all soon!

-Elder Birt

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week 100

What´s up everyone? Hope you all had fantastic weeks! For lack of time, I´ll just start with the list of highlights from the week...

-Carlos and Jade got married! It was awesome! She actually cried a little bit during the wedding. To be honest, Honduran weddings are really simple and somewhat lame most of the time. But the most important thing is that they made the commitment and are now obeying another of God´s commandments. We can save all the fancy stuff for the temple marriage (hopefully). They still have to clear a few hurdles (he works on Sundays, they both drink coffee) in order to be baptized, but that´s coming soon!

- We did a crazy service project on Saturday morning, where we helped a family that the sisters are teaching to move a GIANT heap of dirt and rocks to fill in a hole under their storage shed. It was pretty brutal work, and I have a nasty-looking blister now as a result. But the family went to church on Sunday, so it was worth it!

- We had a sweet zone activity this morning where we watched Rise of the Guardians (watch this movie if you haven´t yet because it´s excellent!) and ate some brownies! I hadn´t eaten brownies in sooooo long. I plan to never go that long without brownies again hahaha

Anyway, that´s it for this week. Apparently, it´s set that I´m coming home on November 18th, so I hope to see everyone when I get back! Love you guys! Adios!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week 99

Hey, guys! Hope y'all had an awesome week (I included the y'all because I'm trying to convince my comp that Texas is the best state haha). It was an... interesting week here in Puerto Cortes.

First of all, it seems like every drunk person in Puerto Cortes (which is actually quite a few) wanted to talk to us this week. We had some of the strangest conversations of my entire mission this week... it seemed like all the craziness just came at the same time. The highlight though, was when a 104 year-old lady called us out in the street to give her a "Biblical answer" as to why her potatoes had spoiled. Ya, you just can't make this stuff up.

Ok, I lied, there were two highlights. The second was when an ex-convict got up to bear his testimony in church. Apparently, he was baptized as a kid, and just got out of jail recently. His testimony was very Evangelical, with a lot of "Hallelujahs" and "Gloria a Dios." It was probably the strangest testimony I've ever heard.

In good news of the week, Rosmery FINALLY has a baptismal date! But for some reason she wants to wait until the last week I'm here in Puerto Cortes, the 9th of November. In that time, she'll probably read a good chunk of the Book of Mormon and be the best-prepared convert I've ever had.

Also, we are FINALLY marrying Carlos and Jade this Friday. The sad part of that news is they're not quite ready to get baptized because they both drink coffee, and Carlos works on Sundays. But I feel like the marriage thing was the biggest hurdle, so we're making some good progress!

The biggest news in Honduras is that we're (I now refer to Honduras as "we" haha) almost for sure going to qualify for the World Cup! We beat Costa Rica this past Friday (absolutely everyone was in their house and we couldn't teach anyone) and just need a tie or win against Jamaica on Tuesday to qualify! Go Catrachos!

I love all you guys, and thank you for your support! We're ready for another week of success, and I hope you are too!
Elder Birt

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 98

Hey everyone! What an awesome conference right? It seemed like it passed by so fast though! My personal favorite talk was from President Uchtdorf, whose talk helped me with some questions I had about my investigators and why people should join the church.

It was an extremely busy week for me! First, I had what I call the "victory tour" with Elder Polendo on Monday and Tuesday, where he said goodbye to everyone from the zone and area. Wednesday was an awesome change meeting! It was really weird to see so many good friends go home, and think that the next group will have me in it!

My new comp is Elder Williams, from Bountiful, Utah. He has 15 months in the mission. I was actually in his zone when he entered the mission, so it's really weird that we're together as zone leaders all these months later. I still thought of him as the young buck that just entered the mission, but he's changed a lot over the last year.

They whitewashed one area and opened another in my zone, which meant I was running around like a chicken with his head cut off, trying to help the missionaries get situated and learn their areas. That took up a good chunk of two days this past week. Also, there are now 25 missionaries in my zone, with 11 sisters. The mission is growing super fast, and like they said in Conference, God is hastening His work!

We had a really good lesson yesterday right after the last session of General Conference, where we went on a visit with our bishop to an investigator family we've been teaching for a while. We were finally able to sort out all the problems, and agree on a definite plan for them to get married. We'll be turning in the papers this Wednesday, and they should get married in a couple weeks. It's really gratifying because I've been teaching them almost my entire time here, and they're a special family for me.

Well, that's about all for this week! I hope all you guys enjoyed Conference and that you have a wonderful week!


Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 97

Hey folks! There´s not much time this week because it´s my comp´s last P-day in the mission! So we´re gonna be doing some exciting things today. We already watched a movie with the zone and ate together at Wendys.

I obviously will have a new companion this Wednesday. I still have no idea who it will be though. And there are tons of changes in the zone. We´ll end up having 7 companionships of elders and 5 with sisters. It´s really exciting but sad at the same time because I really grew to love the zone that we have now.

We should finally be able to have a wedding here in a couple weeks. Turns out the sister was just hesitant because of money issues. If she would have told us a month ago, they would probably already be married. But she said she felt guilty telling us about it. We were able to get it out of her though haha. Anyway, we should turn in the papers this week, and then they have to wait 2 or 3 weeks for the government offices to prepare their papers. So that´s what should happen, but you guys know how Honduran marriages usually are pretty difficult.

Well, that´s it for this week. I love all you guys, and I´ll hopefully be able to write more next week about my new comp and the zone and all the other changes! Thanks for everything guys!

-Elder Birt

Monday, September 23, 2013

Week 96

This week flew by! To be honest, all the weeks are starting to blur together, so I'm sorry if I repeat stories or something. Elder Polendo and I keep so busy that it's just a constant whirlwind of awesome missionary work. Here were the highlights (I think they're all from this week haha)

- We had a sweet P-day today where the zone got together to eat carne asada and watch a movie! It took some serious preparation though! And honestly, if we didn't have sisters in the zone, the whole thing would have been a giant disaster. Thank goodness for sisters! Honestly, I've learned that the church absolutely cannot function without the Relief Society. So thanks to all you women out there for your hard work! Anyway, now that I'm off that tangent, it was a really successful activity (a little stressful though so I don't know if we'll do that again).

- To be honest, Elder Polendo and my greatest joy comes from the zone's success. And being with the other missionaries are the best moments of the week! I really love the whole zone, and we're working amazing together! We should have about 15 baptisms this next week and October looks really good!

- It looks like we might have had a breakthrough with Rosemary, the investigator we've been teaching for a couple months now. We had been giving her a little space recently with the whole baptism issue, but we prayed, fasted, and put a date with her for the 28th. She kind of accepted. But then she came to church again yesterday, and between classes, I showed her the baptismal font, and explained a little about how a baptismal service is. She seems a lot more comfortable with the idea. We should get a definite answer from her tomorrow. Whenever it happens, it will be one of the best baptisms of my mission. She'll be a leader in the church one day :)

- My comp, Elder Polendo, is hitting that realization that he's finishing the mission in 10 days. I think he's starting to freak out a little bit, but he continues working really well. Also, Elder Hebert, my old MTC comp, turned in his application to BYU! He tells me that something I told him made him change his mind, and he feels really good about the decision.

I hope all you guys had a great week, and that you have an even better week starting today! I love you all! Adios!

Elder Birt

Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 95

Hey everyone! This week just disappeared! I can't believe how fast things are going now!

Elder Polendo and I are focusing a ton on helping the zone these days, and we're seeing some great results! I think we had the most successful zone (as far as numbers) for the second straight week, so that's reason to celebrate!

This past Thursday, I was on divisions with one of our district leaders when it started POURING! I've never seen it rain so hard here in Honduras. We got drenched, but the worst part was the flooding. We had to wade through this one part where the water was almost up to my belt! And there were a bunch of cars that had died and the owners had abandoned them. It was pretty crazy!

Yesterday, was Independence Day in Honduras, which basically ruined everything at church. For some reason, the schools make it mandatory that the kids march in parades. Anyway, our attendance got cut in half yesterday (a mighty 63 in a ward), and we only had one investigator show up :( The majority of the zone had similar results.

We had a couple really sweet experiences yesterday! First, we set up an appointment in the morning with a member family that we had never visited before. This family is active and everything, but we'd never really talked to them before and they're not that involved with the ward. But we went over a few hours after church, and they had their non-member neighbors waiting for us in their house! We taught a simple, powerful lesson, and set up another appointment for this week. But for all you members out there, there's nothing that makes the missionaries more happy than doing something like that. I would know because my comp and I were high-fiving after leaving their house haha

Also, we showed up at one of our investigator family's houses the other day, only to receive the news that they had gotten married the day before! This is after we had been working on getting papers for them for about 2 months. Apparently, they just took matters into their own hands and got married themselves! Now, we just have to help them get baptized, which will be another project.

Thanks to everyone who still reads my blog! I'm impressed with everyone that's hung in there for 22 months. Heck, I don't even know if I would have done it haha. But seriously, thanks for everything and I love all you guys!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Week 94

Hey everyone! Sorry if anyone was waiting for my blog entry last week (mainly my mom), but we had an activity that went a little long. We´re keeping SUPER busy the last few weeks, and today is actually the first time in a while that I´ve been able to rest a little bit. Here´s the breakdown:

- Tuesday, we had a zone meeting. Instead of the district leaders controlling their own meeting like normal, Elder Polendo and I planned a totally beast 2 hour meeting! We felt like it was time to machete the missionaries (that´s what we say when leaders scold their missionaries for crappy numbers haha). For those of you who know me well, you probably know that´s not my personality at all, but that´s what the situation called for. And I think we did it in the right way too. Then, we had a little church tour after that turned out to be super spiritual! One of the sisters in our zone even started crying because the spirit was so strong. All in all, it was a sweet meeting.

- That same day, we did divisions. Elder Polendo went to another area to go dominate, while I held down the fort in Puerto Cortes.

- Wednesday morning, we finished divisions by playing basketball in the morning at the church. I´m a little rusty, but actually not as much as I thought I would be. Also, just a fun fact, we have an elder in the zone that has a basketball scholarship to go to University of San Diego, so he´s pretty dang good.

- Thursday, we did weekly planning as a zone (we´re basically trying to get the zone together as much as possible to help the unity). And then we had another division, where I left the area with Elder Madsen to dominate and my comp Polendo held down the fort.

- Friday, after doing a church tour with Madsen, the office called us, saying that Polendo had to go to San Pedro so he wouldn´t get thrown out of Honduras for being illegal haha. That lasted pretty much all day. It was super boring, but I got to catch up a bit with my friend Elder Bergquist from my MTC district

- Saturday, the APs called us on short notice, telling us that they were gonna visit us in our area. I got to do divisions with Elder Hebert again! It was a blast! And then the four of us tried to sleep on two mattresses in our house. It was pretty uncomfortable - I´ll just leave it at that.

With all that effort, the zone improved A TON! Seriously, I´ve never seen numbers in my entire mission as good as the ones we got last night. It´s extremely satisfying to see an entire zone buy in to what we said and improve so much. Elder Polendo and I just have to get even better next week though!

Funny (and stupid) story of the week: On Saturday, we started a fast with the APs, and prepared to break the fast Sunday night by buying a ton of junk food. So after church finishes Sunday, we race back to the house, finish our fast, and start going to town. We drank a couple cups of water each, ate a whole box of Vanilla Wafers (thanks for sending that mom!), drank a 3-liter of soda, and ate a bunch of other snacks. Turns out after, we felt pretty terrible. And even more terrible when we went to our lunch appointment, and the lady gave us soup. Hahaha looking back on it, we were pretty dumb, but hey, it was fun!

We´re working on 3 weddings in my area right now, but they´re all getting held up for various reasons. Also, Rosemary (I talked about her forever ago) is still going to church (9 straight weeks, I think). But she still won´t get baptized, although it gets closer in every visit. So there are baptisms coming, but we just don´t know exactly when :(

Thanks for all the love and support! You guys are awesome! Love you all! Nos vemos!

-Elder Birt

Two points that Cam wanted me to put on the blog from our questions to him

We do have a cook that makes us lunch every day, and a different member makes us dinner every night. We pay for the lunch - the dinner no. It´s pretty much the same honduran food as always, and I don´t think I´ve eaten fish the whole time actually. I did, however, try sopa de mondongo (cow stomach soup) for the first time a couple weeks ago. It´s probably the most infamous dish in the mission, but I actually didn´t mind it that much. It just tasted a little rubbery haha

The Honduras-Mexico soccer match was all anyone was talking about this week. It´s crazy here- it´s like a national holiday every time there´s an international match. As missionaries, we literally know the score of the game just from walking in the street and hearing the cheers (or cussing) after every goal. There´s also some fireworks and the occasional gunshots when Honduras scores. Everyone´s making fun of my comp because he´s Mexican haha

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week 93

Time kind of got away from us today with a zone activity, and there was an issue with the computer. But I love you all and hope you're doing great! Sorry, I'll write more next week!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Week 92

Hey everybody, hope everyone had a great week! From what I've heard, there's a lot of excitement with school starting up! Good luck to everyone who's starting up! For me, there was a TON of change this past week, so I'll try to hit the high points for you guys.
- My new comp is Elder Polendo, from Chihuahua, Mexico. He has 23 months in the mission, and yet again, I will be someone's last comp (for the fourth time). He was AP for the last 8 months, so he's regarded as one of the best. We're firing on all cylinders right now, but we need to incorporate some of our ideas to help the zone.

- We'll have a baptism this week! Her name is Reina, a lady in her 60s that heard the missionaries before. She's a little crazy- she doesn't have any filter, so it's anyone's guess what she's going to say. She's already made a few offensive comments, so we are going to try to fix that problem before it gets worse.

- Skousen and I found a sweet family about 3 weeks ago that have gone to church the last two weeks. As usual, the woman wants to get married, and the man doesn't for some reason.

- We should have a wedding/baptism for Carlos and Jade, but it probably won't happen until the second or third week of September. They're on board, but he has work on Sundays, which is the only thing in the way.

- We went to a place called Omoa today for a zone activity! It's kind of a touristy place, and there's this sweet castle we visited. Then we went to the beach after (to be honest, I don't know why we go to the beach as missionaries. We all just wanted to get in the water, but couldn't haha). And we ate at Pizza Hut after! So it was a sweet little activity.

- Elder Duncan from the Area Presidency will be visiting this week! We'll have a mission conference on Thursday, and then a leadership meeting for the ZLs on Friday. I'm looking forward to it a lot!

- Crazy story of the week: We saw a dog sleeping in the street one day. He got up and there was a car coming toward him pretty fast. For some reason, the dog didn't do anything and got nailed by the car! The collision was surprisingly loud. But more amazingly, the dog just got up and ran away after. Everybody that saw was just like "Did that really happen?"

Well, that's about it for today. Hope y'all (decided to be Texan today) have a great week! Adios!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 91

Hey folks! It was a wonderful week this week, and thanks to everyone who sent birthday messages or packages! I can't believe I'm 21 now!

Well, my comp went home yesterday, so I'm currently with Elder Taafua, an elder finishing his first change in Honduras. We'll just be together until Wednesday, when we'll have changes for the whole mission. But for three days, I'm the only zone leader for the biggest zone of the mission! Yippee! But I'll be e-mailing you guys next week with another new comp!

I gotta tip my hat to Elder Skousen, who worked until the very end. Heck, we had three people go to church for the first time yesterday (and six total), despite some challenges here in Puerto Cortes (more on that later). The APs just came yesterday, and whisked him away to San Pedro though. Amazing how it all finishes so fast!

The members tried to throw a surprise party for Elder Skousen on Saturday. They told me about it Saturday morning, so I could get him to the church at the right time. It was all going perfectly- he didn't even have a clue what was going on. And then, we were visiting a member in the afternoon, and she let it slip. Skousen ended up finding out, but more than anything, he was just glad they were throwing him a party. Also, the surprise would have been foiled anyway when we showed up at 5 (the time they told me) and hardly anyone was there. Latins are great, but they have a thing for being late for ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.

Also, there was like a 2 week-long party here in Puerto Cortes these last two weeks. Apparently, it was for some Catholic holiday; no one here even knows, they just know they celebrate with parties. It was pretty cool actually! Every day, there was a party in a different neighborhood. And then, they had a parade for the whole town on Friday and "Carnaval" on Saturday! We passed by a couple of these parties during the two weeks they had them- not exactly the most Mormon of parties... I'll just leave it at that. Also, our attendance almost got cut in half because people all stayed up late on Saturday for Carnaval. What can you do?

We have a baptism set up for the 31st for a lady named Reina. She's actually kinda crazy. When we first met her, we thought she wasn't all there, but it turns out she's just a little odd. But she's super smart and knows about our church from when the missionaries visited her in Belize. Plus she's super nice! She gives us some kind of dessert every time we visit her! So we're happy about her baptism, and hope it inspires others to follow.

That's about it for this week! Thanks to my parents and grandparents for the packages! I love them! And I love all of you guys! Adios!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week 90

Hey peeps! Hope everyone had a great week! There was a little bit of everything this past week, so we´re gonna go at this bullet-list style.

- First, we had a stake conference yesterday! It started at 8:00 though! Whoever made that decision did not think it through. It made it pretty much impossible to bring people to church (Honduran people really love sleeping), so we only had 2 investigators yesterday. It was similar luck for most of the zone as well. Also, they're splitting our zone in October!

- Second, we had a multi-zone conference on Friday! It lasted five hours, which is a little longer than usual. President gave some good advice, but the highlight for me was Elder Hebert's great training class.

- Third, we just went on a little shopping spree! Normally, that doesn't excite me that much, but I just bought tennis shoes for 11 bucks! No Honduran people have size 12 shoes, so they sell them for dirt cheap haha. Also, I bought a machete to cut the lawn when I get back (I'm just kidding, it takes forever and really sucks. But it's still a cool machete).

- We continue to bring people to church, but NO ONE will accept a set-in-stone baptismal date. It's driving me insane! We should be marrying and baptizing a really awesome couple soon (hopefully by the end of the month), but the Honduran government office isn't giving us the papers we need to marry them. We always leave that place pretty annoyed actually. Just imagine the driver's license office in the States, but like 500 times more inefficient. Yeah, that's what we're up against :(

Well, that's my update for the week. I'm surrounded by bagginess (trunkiness) lately! My comp leaves next week, and my best friend Rory Jones is finishing up this week! Congrats to them for finishing with honor! Adios y nos vemos la proxima semana!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Week 89

Hey folks! Hope everyone had a great week! It's already August! What has happened to 2013?

Anyway, we had a sweet zone activity this morning! We had a water balloon fight, played some soccer, and then cooked up some hot dogs! I think it was the first time I've eaten hot dogs in Honduras haha. Go America!

This week, the zone recovered and got back on track! We basically got back to the old numbers we had before all the disasters of 2 weeks ago.

In meetings news, we had our zone leader council this past Friday. This Friday, we will have a multi-zone conference with President Dester! And Saturday and Sunday, we have special meetings because they're dividing our stake! That's just evidence of some good missionary work over the past few years, so everyone is stoked!

So we talked with this drunk guy a few days ago. He was one of those friendly drunks that says outrageous things, so it was a fun conversation. Also, it seems like every Honduran drunk person knows a little bit of english, so they always try to talk with us in their terrible english haha. Anyway, this guy thought he was a sniper, and even started to do sniper moves with an imaginary gun. My comp and I just egged him on a little bit because it was hilarious :)

The challenge we're facing right now is setting baptismal dates with our investigators. We have a bunch of people who go to church and want to get baptized. But when we try to set a date, they get scared and say they're not prepared and a bunch of other excuses. It's frustrating, but hopefully we'll have a little success before Skousen leaves in a couple weeks.

Thanks for all the support! Love you guys!
Elder Birt

Monday, July 29, 2013

Week 88

Hey folks! Hope you all had a great week! As for me, things have calmed down a little bit with the zone and our own area. Things are getting back to normal! At least, that's what I hope...

- The problems from last week are being resolved, and to be honest, it's about the best we could have hoped for. There haven't been any issues after we and President Dester had separate interviews with the one elder. And the companionship that was having problems had a good week, and it seems like the elders are at least putting up with each other.

- President Dester, his wife, and the Johns (missionary couple) came to our sacrament meeting yesterday! It was kind of a shock since they told us Saturday night. But it was great! We ended up looking really good, because the attendance was the highest it's ever been, and we could barely fit everyone into the chapel!

- We found a sweet family this past week! The woman, Jade, has gone to church for quite a few years, but has never gotten baptized because she lives with a guy and they're not married. The problem was the guy was usually out of town for work. But he came back this week, and it seems like he has changed completely! They told us they were already planning on getting married, and the guy, Carlos, is even thinking about baptism!

Ok, I gotta go guys! Espero que tengan una buena semana! Sigan adelante! Les quiero! Adios!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Week 87

Hey folks! Hope you all had a lovely week! As far as mine goes, it was pretty insane. It seems like we´ve been running around everywhere, trying to clean up messes that other missionaries are causing. Fun, right?
- First, we got a call last week about an elder that wanted to get emergency changed. He and his comp hate each other, they never even talk, etc. So Elder Skousen and I sat them both down on Tuesday, and basically forced them to talk it out. It was awkward, but at least they´re communicating again. And then, Elder Skousen worked with both of them on Tuesday, while I went with two other elders. That means we just completely abandoned our area all day Tuesday to try to help the zone!

- Then on Thursday, we heard an Elder´s mom had called the mission president, complaining that her son´s companion was up to some shenanigans (telling girls he loved them on his own cell phone, not wanting to work, etc.) So we went to interview both of them Friday morning. Turns out the accusations were true, and it was actually worse than what we had heard. The mission president ended up interviewing the elder afterwards, and he´s apparently going to change and start with the repentance process. He's on a pretty short leash for the mission now though. Oh, I forgot to mention that this elder is one of our district leaders :(

- Another district leader is super bummed about the work, and it shows in his numbers. And another still does not have a phone, meaning we can´t call him at all during the week.

With all these problems, we didn´t have a whole lot of time this week to be in our own area, but we did manage to have a decent week. Rosemary went to church again, and should get baptized at the beginning of August. We had an awesome Ward Talent Show on Saturday night (the sisters in our ward really came through to put that together). And I´m really blessed to be with Elder Skousen for all of these problems. It´s good to know that I don´t have to worry about my comp and we can be united to face all this stuff together.

Hopefully, this was just one of those crazy weeks, and things will settle down again now. Personally, I´m doing great, but I´m pretty worried about the zone. Apparently, they´re splitting the zone soon, so that should relieve the pressure. Thanks for everything guys and have an awesome week!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Week 86

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a great week! For me, this was probably one of the most tiring weeks ever. Not necessarily in a bad way. It just felt like we were running around EVERYWHERE doing errands... probably because we were.

Anyway, here's the quick day-by-day rundown:

- Tuesday started with a district meeting! And actually, two of our elders gave their testimonies because they were leaving the zone. It was weird considering I only knew them for two weeks. Also, in preparation for a new pair of missionaries coming, we had to prepare a house by moving in beds, mattresses, table, chairs, etc. With the new companionship, we now have 24 missionaries in the zone and 4 districts.

- Wednesday was the change meeting, which we didn't end up going to. And we ended up getting to work our only normal day of the week.

- Thursday, we had to deliver the money to the elders who moved into the new house. The owner was already getting mad that they didn't have the money, so we had to go save the day! Also, we found out the new elders don't have phones, meaning that 3 of our 4 district leaders have phone problems. That's been kind of a disaster :(

- Friday, we had a zone leader council in San Pedro, where we presented our ideas and "vision" for our zones.

- Saturday, there was a meeting with the 4 zone leaders of the stake along with the stake president and bishops. We basically had 5 minutes to present what we thought was most important as far as the members helping the missionaries of their areas.

- Sunday, we had church, so I guess that would be considered a normal day too. We were still able to get 5 investigators to church, and the attendance raised to over 100! Although, I gotta admit a lot of that was due to the sisters in our area, who had an excellent week with the less actives.

Rosemary went to church again, and she loves it! She says she wants to get baptized, but she is still unsure about a date. Apparently, she feels like she needs to learn more. The good thing is that she's reading a lot in the Book of Mormon, prays, and goes to church. So... that's pretty much the formula to get baptized. We also have a handful of other investigators who go to church, but have other issues that need to be fixed before baptism.

The sisters and us are pretty stoked about a missionary activity we're going to have this Saturday- a talent show. Thank goodness that the sisters have taken the lead in preparing stuff for Saturday. The plan is to get the members more pumped about doing missionary work. And for all you members that read my blog, GET PUMPED ABOUT MISSIONARY WORK! As missionaries, we LOVE working with the members. It's SO much more effective. Ok, rant over.

Hope you all have a great week! I love you all!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Week 85

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a good week! For me, this week was pretty nuts. Here's the most important stuff, and hopefully I remember everything...

- We had a baptism! I think I somehow neglected to mention this last week because it wasn't completely set in stone yet. It was an 11 year old boy, Darwin, in a family that recently became active again. His 8 year old sister, Kristen, also got baptized. She didn't count for the mission, so we weren't quite as involved, but it's still awesome!

- Our zone had a total of 8 baptisms last week! For all you women out there, you'll be proud to hear that the other 7 were baptisms of the sisters in the zone. I have to admit, the sister missionaries are tearing it up!

- This past week, we found what will most likely be one of my favorite investigators of the mission. On Friday, we had an appointment fall and were left with about 30 minutes to kill. So we contacted a little bit... and struck gold on the second house. I didn't think it was anything special, I just felt like contacting a house we passed. A 22-year old girl named Rosmary answered and invited us in. We found out that her father is an active member that lives in the States, she's been praying lately to find a church to go to, and she felt that us contacting her house was the answer to her prayer. We invited her to church, she accepted, and Sunday morning, she was waiting for us when we got there. Turns out she's also friends with the bishop and his family! Also, she read our entire pamphlet, knows everything about Joseph Smith, and wants to know about the Book of Mormon. And... she invited us for lunch tomorrow with her and her mom. So basically... she's the perfect investigator! :)

- We have changes on Wednesday! This is just to get us on the right schedule, and Skousen and I most likely won't be affected, but we'll see.

Well, those are the coolest stories from the week that was! This work is true! I see it every day! Thanks for all your love and support, and talk to you next week :)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Week 84

Hey what's up guys? It's been a bit of a hectic week with all the changes, and it seems like this week will be no different. Let me just say that I'm glad Elder Skousen is my comp and that things are getting back to normal at least a little bit.

First, I'll start with my own area. It's almost like we're starting from scratch because Skousen and his old comp were working almost exclusively with less actives (there's a HUGE problem with less actives here, so it made sense). However, sisters just came to work with the less actives, leaving basically nothing for us. The senior companion for the sister missionaries is kind of a Nazi, but she's whipping the members into shape. It's slightly annoying, but we think it is what the ward needs.

Second, the zone. We ended with 29 baptisms and 2 families for the month of June. None of that had to do with me, but that's the baseline I have to work with. It's pretty solid, but there's room for improvement. It looks like we'll have a few problem missionaries in the zone, but we also have a couple solid district leaders to help us out.

Third, the new mission President! We had a meeting with him as the whole mission. To be honest, it seems like he was pretty nervous, and is a little uncomfortable with Spanish. But he seems like a really great guy, his wife seems awesome, I think we'll be able to do some good work with President Dester.

We have my first district meeting as a Zone Leader on Tuesday, and interviews with the new mission President on Wednesday. It'll be a ton of traveling because my area is super far away from everything.

Thanks for all the support guys! All of you are awesome! Have a good week, and talk to you next Monday!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Week 83

Well, it was a pretty crazy change meeting! I'll have to go bullet list for interest of time, and start from the beginning...

- We got the news on Monday night that I had changes. I spent part of Tuesday visiting my favorite families, converts, etc. That part is always really sad :(

- The mission officially got divided, and I landed in the west mission. Apparently, the APs of the two missions had a big battle to win me for their mission, but Elder Hebert (AP of the west mission, my MTC companion and very good friend) won out haha

- President and Sister Veirs finished their mission and said good-bye at the change meeting. The new mission presidents for both missions come today or tomorrow.

- My new area is called Puerto Cortes in the Choloma Zone. We're about an hour and a half north of San Pedro, right by the beach (hopefully you guys can find me on googlemaps with that description haha) It's one of the biggest zones in the mission (11 companionships), and I've been called as zone leader.

- In the biggest shocker, my new comp is Elder Skousen, who was my comp before in Utila. That almost never happens, but I'm stoked about it because we're really good friends already :)

- We spent all of yesterday helping two sisters open an area and move into their new house. The sisters will work in our same area, but have the special assignment to work only with the inactives. Sadly, it was my P-day and I didn't have the opportunity to write. So that's why I'm writing today, with limited time since we have to plan for the week in a few minutes.

Thanks for all the love and support! And congrats to those are getting engaged! Have a good week everyone, and talk to you next Monday!

-Elder Birt

Monday, June 17, 2013

Week 82

Hey folks! It was another great week in Las Lomas! And sadly, it could be my last P-day here in this area :( Next week, P-day will be on Wednesday, the day of the changes, so I'll have all the new info about where I'm at and who I'm with (or maybe it will be the same, who knows?)

We're still progressing with our recent converts, and some of them will make their first trip to the temple this Friday! We're super excited for them, and we're still working on getting a few more people to go :)

We found a new family recently, and the dad is a boss! We met him on Wednesday, and he already went to church! We might baptize a lot here, but it's always hard to find a good man that's interested in religion. Plus it's a family of 4! I'm really excited about it. Not that teaching single people is bad, but families are what the church is all about!

Also, we might squeeze in a baptism this Saturday before the changes! It's still up in the air though, so we're kinda playing the waiting game right now. The investigator, Annie, wants to get baptized, but is a little unsure about the date. Plus, a couple of her sisters are inactive members (and I mean WAY inactive), and she has the fear that she won't stay in the church after her baptism. We told her to pray about the specific date of the 22nd. If she does it, I feel pretty confident we'll have a baptism this Saturday!

Funny story of the week: We had an AP come yesterday to help the elders in the branch to bring people to church. So the elders from the branch decided to play a joke on their Branch President. One of them hid, and the other one told the Branch President that his companion got sent to another area for punching a drunk guy in the street the day before. The new elder (who was really the AP) was here to replace him. They went on with it for a good 10 minutes before the other elder finally came out and told him the truth. But the really funny thing is that some of the members of the ward heard the story (just passing by), and started spreading the rumor! So now, about half of the ward thinks that an elder got sent away for punching a drunk guy. This is how gossip spreads guys! Be careful haha

Well, that's all for this week! Talk to you guys next Wednesday! Nos vemos!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Week 81

Hey folks! Hope everyone is doing great! It was another awesome week here in Las Lomas! It's really gonna be a bummer to leave this area when the time comes. It's been fantastic!

We had another baptism this past Saturday! I can't remember if I told you guys last week, but her name is Andrea. She's the oldest daughter of a member family that just became active recently. Again, it was amazing to see the change with her. She's SUPER shy, and the first time we visited her, I don't think she said a single word to us the whole lesson. We asked her questions, cracked some jokes, tried to chat about non-gospel stuff... nothing. We decided to give it one more shot, and visited her with a member friend her same age. And what a difference it made! She opened up, started participating in the lessons, agreed to baptism in our third visit, and the rest is history! :) Looking back on it, I think the difference was the help of the members and obviously the help of the Big Man upstairs.

Also, we're having some great success on the recent convert front. Wilmer, who got married and baptized a few weeks ago, received the priesthood, blessed the sacrament, and is the new secretary in the YM presidency! Carlos will receive the priesthood next week, and already brought a friend to church! And a bunch of my converts are preparing to go to the temple for the first time at the end of this month! It's wonderful to see people get baptized, but it's equally amazing to see them progress and thrive after their baptism. Hopefully, the progress continues...

On an extremely sad note, the son of one of our investigators committed suicide yesterday. He was only 17. She and the rest of the family were a wreck. Keep them in your prayers.

-Elder Birt

Monday, June 3, 2013

Week 80

Hey guys! Can you believe it's already June? Crazy how the time flies right? Well, we had a wonderful start to June this past Saturday with the baptisms of Carlos and Yoany! It was a wonderful baptismal service, and tons of members showed up to give them support. I even got involved in the baptism mix again by baptizing Carlos! And I'm happy to say that I'm not rusty. Everything just went really smoothly, and we even got a cake for the refreshment!

Making the baptism even more special, Elder Hebert showed up to see his old pals from Las Lomas. He baptized the mom and sister of Carlos, and they wanted him to come for Carlos's baptism as well. And somehow, Hebert was able to get permission. So he went to the baptism, spent the night at our house, and then helped us bring 11 investigators to church Sunday morning!

In a stroke of brilliance, I came up with a great nickname for my son, Elder Nimatuj. He is now known as Pikachu! Hahahaha his last name sounds exactly like Pikachu, right? Also, some people have started to call me Ash, since I'm training Pikachu. Others call me Pajaro, which means bird in spanish. There were some people that knew a little english, made that mistake, and it kinda stuck haha. We have fun with the nicknames though, and everyone is a good sport about it.

Hey, have a good week everyone! Talk to you next Monday!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Week 79

Another week has come and gone, and the work continues to move along here in Las Lomas! I have to admit, I really love this area! It's been my best so far.

So I guess I wasn't very specific last week because my parents thought Carlos (the 20-year old that quit smoking and wanted me to baptize him) had a baptismal date for this past Saturday, but really it is for this coming Saturday, June 1st. We did, however, have a baptism scheduled this past week that we had to postpone because our investigator, Dayana, got sick.

This coming Saturday, we will have Carlos's baptism, which should be amazing! And possibly, we will baptize two young women, Dayana and Yoany. I say "possibly" just because of the parents' permission. They both want to get baptized, have a ton of support from the members, understand all the missionary lessons, and have gone to church and seminary. But it's a little dicey with the parents.

Also, we were celestial zone for the month of April! It was kind of anticlimactic to be honest, especially since we're celebrating it at the end of May with a completely different zone than the one that did all the work. But hey, we got to eat at President's house today, so I'm not complaining. If you want to see pictures, there should be some at

Hope everyone has a great week, and is doing well! The mission really is like the best thing ever, so I don't have any complaints here! Haha adios!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Week 78

Hey folks! Hope everyone had a great week! It's been a wild week here in Lomas getting used to the changes.

First of all, my first son, Elder Nimatuj, is pretty cool. He's definitely new, and needs to learn a lot, but he's very humble and has a desire to improve. So I feel like it will be a good experience for both of us to be together. Also, it's amazing how his experience seems so much different than mine. The language thing is just such a big factor! I was pretty much useless for a couple weeks because I had no idea what was happening. But with a Latin, we can still do everything together :)

Second, we FINALLY had Wilmer and Selina's wedding and baptism! It's a bummer that we couldn't do it before Elder Sweat left since he and I did all the work. But the important thing is that it happened. And as an extra bonus, Elder Nimatuj is pretty stoked as a result of the early success. We'll also have a baptism this Saturday, and most likely two the following Saturday!

So I normally share a funny story, but I'm gonna switch it up this week, and share a more spiritual story about our investigator Carlos. The story begins before I even got to Lomas, when Hebert baptized Carlos's mom and younger sister. They're great converts, but Carlos was always the typical rebellious 20-year-old that didn't have any interest. He partied, smoked, drank, etc. But about a month after I got here, he started to join us in the lessons with the rest of his family. We invited him to church for three straight weeks before he finally went. And after he went to church, he decided to change everything. No more drinking, partying, smoking, nothing. We hadn't even talked about that stuff yet- he just had the desire to change it all! And now, he's preparing for his baptism on June 1 and wants to serve a mission next year! We also had a funny conversation yesterday in church:
Carlos: Can you do my baptism?
Me: Normally we have a member do it, but...
Carlos: But it's my decision right?
Me: Yes.
Carlos: Ok, I want you to do it.
We've had members do all of our baptisms here, but apparently, I'm gonna be busting out the baptismal clothes again haha.

Ok, that's all the news from this week. Thanks for all the love and support! Have a good week! Adios!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Week 77

So... another change meeting has come and gone with plenty of surprises. Actually, I kind of predicted what was going to happen to me. I'm a trainer now! I'm the proud father of Elder Nimatuj (Ni-muh-TOO) from Guatemala. He seems to be pretty cool, but I really have no idea since we've only been together for three hours. In another news, Elder Hebert is an AP! My old companion Elder Sweat went to the island Roatan! And the mission will officially be divided the next change at the end of June. So basically, there's all kinds of excitement going on.

It was a tough good-bye for Elder Sweat on Monday and Tuesday. He was a great companion and missionary, and there were a lot of people in the area sad about him leaving. But that's the way the cookie crumbles. I know he'll do great in Roatan and for the rest of his mission.

My zone leader and I did an incredible six baptismal interviews on Friday for three different areas. We had two wonderful baptisms on Saturday! Sunday, I got to talk to my fam and it was great! And then Monday, we found out about changes! So all in all, a pretty crazy week! Also, things are looking good for a wedding/baptism this Saturday! The family is ready to go, and the papers are finally with the lawyer :)

Well, that's about all for this week! Hope you all have a wonderful week! Adios!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Week 76

Hey folks! Hope you all had a good week cuz I sure did! It was one of the better weeks of my mission so far actually! Remember I was talking about us having 20 investigators in sacrament meeting a few weeks ago. Well, we almost got there yesterday with 18. Sweat and I think it's gonna set up a bunch of baptisms for May and June, so this week we gotta get to work on putting baptismal dates with all these people.
It's still questionable how many baptisms we will have this Saturday because we're still working on collecting some papers for the couple that's going to get married. But if all the papers come in time (which is a possibility), we should have 4 baptisms! With Mother's Day on Sunday, that would be a pretty great weekend! Time to make it happen!

In a random story of the week, one of the other elders that live in our house bought a chess set for some reason. So after planning, we usually try to squeeze a quick game in before going to bed. We all suck at chess, but hopefully we get a little better with our one game a night strategy. Who knew that I would improve at chess on the mish!

Also, for a P-day activity, we went to the Estadio Olimpico this morning. It's where one of the Honduran soccer league teams plays and also where the Honduran national team plays their games! It was fun to go sightseeing there, but it would be even cooler to go back for a game sometime.

Well, that's it for this week, but here's hoping for some good news next Monday!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Week 75

Dang what a week! As always, there was good news and bad news. Whenever someone tells me that, I always want the bad news first, so we'll start with that.

The Milla family, who we have wanted to marry and baptize for about 3 weeks now, will have to wait yet another week. The guy still has to go to church one more time, and they just took off on Saturday! They didn't even tell us about it, and their phone is broken, so we have no idea when they're gonna make it back. Apparently, they went to visit the guy's parents again, just like they did the week before! Why can't they do it any other day than Sunday?!

We're having a serious problem getting men to go to church or basically do anything. I'm not gonna lie, the men here are generally pretty lazy about the religion stuff, whereas the women are really into it. For example, we're teaching four families right now where the women want to get baptized. They've accepted baptism, gone to church, everything. But the men don't want to get married, go to church, or even listen to us. But if anything is going to change them, it's the gospel.

In good news, we have one baptism that looks pretty solid for May 11th. Her name is Ana, and she has been great from the very start, which was a couple months ago. And it looks like she finally fixed her only problem, which was going to church on Sundays!

We might sneak in a few more baptisms before the next changes on May 15th. It looks pretty sure that either Elder Sweat or I will go, which is sad because we've worked pretty well together. Chances are it will be him because he's been here longer, but we'll have to see. Hopefully, we can have a few more baptisms together at least :)

We completed the three zone goals of 15 lessons with member, 10 new invesigators, and 7 in church (we had 22, 10, and 10 AKA the triple-double). It's the first time this change a companionship has completed all three, so we're pretty stoked. Yes, I know this is kinda nerdy, missionary stuff, but hey it's my life haha

My padres are going back to Houston! Yes, this has nothing at all to do with my mission, but it makes me happy cuz I'll be returning back to my old ward! I'm stoked!
That's all for this week folks! Have a good week! Talk to you next Monday!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Week 74

Hey, folks! Hope you all had an excellent week! It was a little up and down here in Lomas.

First of all, we confirmed the family that got baptized last week! I don't remember if I told you guys last week, but they weren't able to go to church last week for a last-second commitment they had. But everything got sorted out, and they were confirmed yesterday in Sacrament Meeting!

There was some sad news from the week. Elder Sweat and I have been dominating recently, and it seems like the success has been building and building. During the week, we legitimately were planning to have about 20 investigators in church for Sunday. But Satan has been working hard too. So Saturday and Sunday, we had one investiagtor after another cancel on us. We ended up having only 5 in church :( It was a tough blow, but we're gonna bounce back, and go for 20 again this next Sunday! I know we can do it too!

The family we were going to marry and baptize this coming Saturday will be pushed back a week, partly because they were out of town Sunday and partly because the papers haven't arrived yet (wedding papers are always an adventure). But they're still on board and really happy for their wedding and baptism. It's pretty incredible actually! The man, Wilmer, wasn't interested AT ALL when we first visited them. We were teaching only the woman for about 3 weeks, and luckily, she is one of my best investigators ever. She got answers to her prayers, had great experiences with the BOM, and started praying for her boyfriend to change. And almost overnight, he did! He finally came to listen to us a couple times, went to General Conference, and last week told us he wanted to get married! Now he's like our best friend! It's amazing how fast the gospel changes people :)

There weren't any terribly exciting stories from this week, other than one of our investigators falling in love with a picture of my companion's brother. She wants to go to the States now to meet him, but I don't really think Elder Sweat is going to let it happen. We're also teaching English classes, and it doesn't seem like the people are learning anything. I now realize the frustration of my spanish teachers back in the day haha.

Well, that's all folks! Have a fantastic week, and I'll talk to you again next Monday (hopefully with good news!)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Week 73

THIS WEEK WAS NUTS! Ok, now that I got your attention, it's time to give the low-down on one of the best weeks of my mission!

The biggest news? We finally had the wedding for the Hernandez family, my first wedding in Honduras! For some reason, weddings aren't really that big of a deal here. It's basically just two people signing some stuff, and kissing at the end. I was freaking out though cuz it was a wedding! We had the baptisms right afterward! It was a hectic day, and all kinds of things went wrong. But for every problem, there was a solution. My comp said it was like the movie 17 Miracles, as we saw one miracle after another. I guess Heavenly Father just really wanted them to get married and baptized :)

Almost as big of news? We've been teaching this young couple for about a month now. The girl, Selina, is a golden investigator, and has been from the start. The guy was a little more of a struggle. He didn't even want to listen to us at first, but the last 10 days or so, he's really opened up. He went to General Conference, and we've had some great lessons with him. So yesterday, we went for another lesson with the family and a couple of really awesome members. And last night, he dropped the bombshell! They want to get married! Elder Sweat and I can't believe how fast he changed, but that's what the gospel can do to people. So we will be wedding planners again, hopefully on the 27th.

There are two other families that ALWAYS go to church, but are waiting on divorces in order to get married and baptized. One just got her divorce, meaning she could be baptized pretty soon. And we just need to gain some money through an activity to get the divorce for the other family. Do you know what this means? With the wedding this past Saturday, we might have four weddings in the next month or two! I'M STOKED!

Funny story of the week! So one of the problems we had during our marriage/baptism was that some nino closed the door to the baptismal font, meaning we couldn't get back in... and noone had the keys. So as we were scrambling to find keys, the members came up with the brilliant idea to throw Josue (the son of the family we baptized) over the plexiglass panel in front of the font. So they boosted him a good six or seven feet, and he splashed down on the other side in the font! It actually looked kinda fun to be honest haha. Anyway, he was able to open the door from the inside, and the crisis was averted :)

Also, Elder Sweat and I have started the genius idea of making food for the members, recent converts, and investigators. We figure they always help us out with food, so the least we could do is serve them in return. Our specialty (mom will be so proud) is french toast. People here have never had it, and they think it's amazing! It's a good way to show people we care too :) And yes, mom, I can make some pretty solid french toast now :)

Well, that's all for this week! Hope all of you have a wonderful week! Adios!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Week 72

Well, another conference has come and gone. It kinda makes me sad actually. Conference in the mission is like a small holiday! It was yet again pretty awesome, and there were some super good talks. Elder Holland and Elder Bednar were my favorites, as usual. I have a feeling that we'll be using Bednar's Law of Chastity talk with quite a few investigators in the next few months. Anywho, that was pretty much the highlight of the week. And luckily, we had 12 investigators show up for conference! Well, I guess I shouldn't say it's luck... more like some hard work and some divine help. But we're hoping to turn the General Conference success into some baptismal dates this coming week :)
For probably the third week in a row, we will be waiting for partidas to marry and baptize the family we have been teaching for a couple months. They're super legit, and they've accepted everything. It just depends on getting the paperwork... again. I think my zone leader is gonna pull a fast one and help us out though- that's the hope anyway. Other than that, we're hoping to baptize a few other people, but still have to fix some things first.

There were changes this past Wednesday! I stayed in the same area with the same companion, so it didn't really affect me too much. For some reason, it just seemed like that was what was going to happen. I don't think I even mentioned it last week actually. But some good news is my old Utila comp Elder Russo came to my zone! I was stoked when I heard, and it was good to see him again!

For some reason, it seemed like we got double dinners quite a few times this past week. One night in particular was pretty memorable. We had a visit with this one family, who asked us if we wanted some baleadas to eat. As a missionary, I feel like we pretty much have to say yes when people ask us that. So we grudgingly agreed, knowing that we had a dinner appointment scheduled right after that. They gave us three baleadas each, which is a pretty solid meal. They tried to give us more, but we convinced them that we were full, and went on our way. At our dinner appointment, guess what they had? Baleadas! They gave us four each, bringing our nightly total up to seven. I thought I wasn't gonna be able to do it while I was eating that seventh one, but somehow I found some extra room. Luckily, baleadas are pretty good too cuz it feels like I'm averaging about three a day the last few weeks. It's all anyone makes for us.

We also had one of my most interesting lessons this past week. We're teaching a single mother and her two daughters, and for this lesson, we taught in the house of the Fuentes family, a strong member family in the ward. The Fuentes dad is really stoked about missionary work (probably cuz he has two sons on missions) and helps us a lot. But lessons with him can get a little out of control. Let's just say he's a talker, and when he gets going, he's hard to stop. Anyway, I was battling him pretty much the entire lesson, trying to teach what we had planned, but not having much success. The craziest part? He mentioned ministering of angels and had us look up "Lamanites" in the index of the scriptures! We were teaching about Joseph Smith by the way. It would have been funny if it wouldn't have derailed our lesson so much. Anyway, please don't be like Brother Fuentes if you teach with the missionaries. It stresses me out teaching with people like that. With everything else he's a huge help though. He invited the family over for lunch, gave them a ride to conference, and is always there to answer their questions. So I gotta take the good with the bad, I suppose.

Also, Elder Sweat and I have started realizing that some Honduran children have never seen gringos before. Why? Because they stare at us openmouthed for long periods of time. Elder Sweat has started waving at them or staring back to make them stop, but we always get a kick out of these ninos staring at us with no shame haha

Well, that's all for this week, but I hope you guys have a great week! Start applying what was taught in Conference!


Elder Birt

Monday, April 1, 2013

Week 71

Hey, everybody! Hope you all had a wonderful Semana Santa/Easter! There was all kinds of stuff going on this past week, so I'm gonna have to go bullet-list style again.

- We had a baptism! Hermana Claudia got baptized, and then gave an incredible testimony after that made about half the people in the room cry (I stayed strong, but it was kinda close). It was either the best or the second best of all my baptismal services :)

- The family of three couldn't get baptized because the papers didn't come in time. Why? Because every government agency shuts down for the ENTIRE WEEK of Semana Santa. This country amazes me sometimes. Anyway, we can't do the baptisms this next week because of General Conference (more on that later), but they're ready to get married on the 12th and baptized on the 13th! And I'm stoked about it!

- We also are working on baptizing Claudia's mom on the 13th. She's kind of a crazy lady. She LOVES the missionaries, but she's super stubborn and seems to think she should wait to be baptized. She loved her daughter's baptism though, so we're hoping that gives her the extra motivation she needs...

- I went on divisions twice this week, and did interviews on two other days, each time outside of my own area. To be honest, it kinda wore me out. I like just staying in my own area a lot better, but the zone had a bunch of baptisms this week, so I got called into action a few times. I'm hoping next week will be a little more tranquilo though.

- So they make some different (and really strange foods) for Semana Santa here. First, is a green mango covered with honey. Second, is this thing called hallote (ay-OH-tay), which is kinda like a bad-tasting pumpkin. That is also covered with honey. And third, are these weird little fruits called ciruelas (see-rue-EH-las). They kinda look like grapes, but they taste way worse than grapes. Oh, and those are also covered in honey. (Side Note: I don't understand the honey thing at all, cuz normally Hondurans don't like sweet stuff like honey. But they drench stuff with honey during Semana Santa) Anyway, we had to eat a meal with those three things three different times during the week. My comp said he almost threw up. I faired a little better, but I'm glad this is only a one-week thing here.

- It rained like CRAZY on Tuesday and Wednesday. We got drenched too, cuz there really isn't a drainage system here. Both days, we were walking in water almost up to our knees. But by far the best part of those days, was when my comp just fell one day into water up to his belly button! You see, they have ditches all over the place in this area, but when it floods, you can't see them at all. My comp fell really bad one time, and then did it again a few minutes later (but the second time wasn't as bad/funny). I came close one time, and almost my entire leg went under. It was quite the adventure (I think there are pictures of the aftermath on Facebook we went to a member's house right after and they took pictures of us).

- I'm stoked for general conference this week! I hope everyone is able to watch it, both here in Honduras and back in the States. It's kind of like a vacation for us missionaries too, where we can get a spiritual boost as well. I can't wait!

Anyway, thanks to all of you for your love and support! Have a great week! Adios y que les vaya bien!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Week 70

First off, this week was awesome! I would say it was the best week of my mission, but we ran into some tough days on Friday and Saturday. Other than that though, it was a pretty amazing week!

Even with all the positives, there are a few things that really annoy me. For instance, it's been an inferno here for the last couple weeks! It's so hot, that I sweat in my bed even with my fan blowing full blast on me! That is definitely not a good sign. Honestly, the only way to truly cool off is to take a shower. Funny how the "not having any hot water" thing hasn't really bothered me for the last 14 months. It's just that hot here. Also, the Honduran soccer team played Mexico this past Friday here in San Pedro (about 15 minutes from where I am). It would be great if I wasn't a missionary, but it makes missionary work pretty much impossible. The whole country just closes down for two hours to watch the game. Actually, we could follow the game ok just from walking in the streets and hearing EVERY SINGLE PERSON's TV playing the game. From what I hear, the game was an exciting tie, which kinda seems like an oxymoron haha. Also, everyone told us that the US beat Costa Rica the same day in a snowstorm in Denver. This country is just soccer crazy! Sadly, Honduras plays again on Tuesday, so we're trying to find an appointment with someone that doesn't like soccer (which is quite difficult).

Ok, now to the positives... We shattered my old record of number of investigators in church when we had 13 yesterday! It was a pretty hectic church experience, and I actually got to church about 20 minutes late with three of our investigators. But it was good to have so many people there, and so much work to do! We're planning on four baptisms this coming Saturday, but it all depends on if the papers come to marry our family. We'll at least baptize Claudia, who we thought we were going to baptize a couple weeks ago (that's a long story). But if the papers come, we will baptize a family of three as well! I'm stoked!

Time for a pretty awesome spiritual experience. So my comp and I were having a tough day last week. A couple appointments dropped, it was hotter than Hades, and we just weren't having the best time. Elder Sweat (my comp) said something like "I just wanna find a family! Why can't we teach a family?" That comment got us to talking, and we decided to say a prayer right there in the street so that we could find a family. We walked up the street a couple houses, saw a small gray house, and that's when we both just knew. We went and knocked on the door, they invited us in, and now we're teaching a family of three! Two of them went to church yesterday too! Just another cool instance of God answering prayers.

Also, the members in this ward are really stoked about missionary work! We had nineteen lessons with a member present this past week! And I feel like there's even more room to improve. Everyone is just animated to be missionaries! Cool right?

Well, I wish everyone a good week! Hope you stay safe during Semana Santa! Adios!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Week 69

Hey guys! It was another exciting week here in Las Lomas. There's quite a bit of excitement for members here in Honduras after the dedication of the Tegucigalpa Temple yesterday. President Uchtdorf and Elder Holland came to dedicate the temple, and we watched the transmission from the stake center. It was sweet! The coolest part was when Elder Holland stopped using his translator and bore his testimony in Spanish! It was a very simple testimony, but everyone felt the spirit so strong! The gift of tongues is alive and well haha

Saturday night was the cultural night for the temple, where the youth from the entire country went to perform in Teguc. We even spotted a couple of the youth from my ward, which was pretty cool. They performed a bunch of dances and skits, and everything came off without a hitch! We also took some investiagators to see it, and they all loved it! And apparently, the son of a recent convert saw the Cultural Night and wants to get baptized now! Which reminds me we need to go talk to him...

Anywho, we also had two baptisms this past Thursday! A member did the baptisms, and I had to perform the confirmations because no other men brought a white shirt :( We had a great turnout though, and it was a good experience for everyone involved. This week, we might have a baptism (depends on if the lady watched the Cultural Night on tv or not), and we have a family of three set up for the week after. Also, we're looking pretty good for April, although I don't want to get ahead of myself.

Funny stories of the week! First, we found this pulperia (those are like tiny stores they have everywhere here) that sells PriceMart doughnuts. They're like doughnuts from the US! My comp and I bought a box and hid it from our other two roommates so we could eat the whole thing. This looks like it might become a regular occurrence too :) Second, we went to dinner the other night, and the family gave us baleadas (typical). They LOADED them with cheese though, and Honduran cheese is pretty terrible. They gave us four too (which is a lot), so my comp and I were struggling a little with it. I was able to finish, but my comp was still struggling. He was like "If I had a place to hide these right now, I would totally do it." I responded by pointing to the empty orange juice carton on the table. And then he actually did it! He put an entire baleada in the orange juice carton (very sneakily so the lady wouldn't notice), and then left with the orange juice carton. I was impressed that he actually went through with it, and that he pulled it off successfully.

Well, that's it for this week, but we'll see what's in store for the coming week. Hope everyone has a good week! Stay safe and have fun!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Week 68


Hey everyone! Hope all is going well! After a tough week last week, we bounced back with a good effort this week. Apparently, last week was just a test or something because it was a pretty terrible week. I don't know if you guys picked that up from my blog. Haha I try to stay positive, but sometimes it's difficult. But anyway, I'm super stoked about this week, and that things are turning around! Ok, there's actually a ton of news this week, so I'll have to go bullet-list style for you guys.

- The Tegucigalpa temple (the first temple in Honduras) will be dedicated this Sunday, the 17th. In preparation, there will be a cultural night on Saturday, and all the youth from my ward are going to participate! Since Tegucigalpa is outside our mission's boundaries, we will watch it in the stake center :)

- We will have two baptisms this Thursday, coincidentally for two youth that are going to be in the program for the cultural night. It has never happened before, but they will be baptized and confirmed the same day so they can watch the temple dedication on Sunday.

- Ok, I gotta tell you guys the story about one of these baptisms. We received her as a reference this past Saturday... as in two days ago. She went to our bishop about a week ago to get a recommend to watch the temple dedication. Well, turns out she never got confirmed a member of the church. She was baptized by water, but for some reason never got confirmed. So she doesn't show up as a member of the church, and needs to be baptized. She already goes to church, seminary, mutual, etc. So we talked to her yesterday, and set up her baptism for this Thursday. Talk about an easy baptism, right? Haha

- The family we were going to marry and baptize this week is flaking out. The mom is especially making me mad because she just sends her kid out to talk to us while she is in the house. But what can you do? We'll probably leave them alone for a while, and go back in a week or two.

- We found this AWESOME new investigator a little more than a week ago. We taught her the Book of Mormon and the Joseph Smith story in our second lesson, and went back for our third lesson with her, and she already believed it! She read an entire chapter (we only left a couple verses), and she just said she felt great reading it. So she accepted a baptismal date for the 23rd. The only problem? She's 18 and already has a kid and lives with the dad of the kid. I really hope it works out for her because she loves the church, but we'll see this week when we teach the law of chastity...

- Haha ok, funny story of the week... and this one's a gem! So my comp is still learning Spanish, and makes a decent number of mistakes. It's a work in progress, but this past week he had two hilarious mistakes. The first one was when we saw a horse on the side of the road (which is actually fairly common here). My comp said "Let's ride that caballero into the sunset." He thought caballero meant horse, but it actually means gentleman. Lol it gave me a good laugh. The second one was when we asked a girl where her parents were. He said "Donde estan sus papas?" but put the accent on the wrong syllable. So instead of asking "Where are your parents?," he asked "Where are your potatoes?." The little girl was a little confused, and I was laughing my head off. I couldn't help it. I told my comp, and he was a good sport about it and had a good laugh as well haha

- So this last week, we had a multi-zone conference AND a meeting for all the district leaders in the mission. The same day as the district leader meeting, I did divisions and did my first baptismal interview for someone else's investigator (in Utila, I did interviews for my own investigators). This week, I should have a couple more interviews because the other companionship in my district also has two baptisms! Four baptisms in the district! :)

Enjoy the pics from my last few weeks in Utila! Have a great week!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Week 67

It was a challenging second week in Las Lomas. We had a ton of lessons fall early in the week, but got back on track during the last part of the week. But the biggest disappointment was what happened yesterday. We went to the house of five different investigator families, and all of them made excuses about why they couldn't go to church. And most of them had promised us that they would. Also, our potential March 9th baptism, Claudia, just disappeared! We still don't know what happened, and she won't answer her phone. Let's just say we dealt with some pretty frustrating things this week.

But even with the difficulties, the Lord blessed us with some minor successes. Also, I've learned that in the most difficult times of my mission, I've learned the most and grown the most. So I'm optimistic that will happen again in this situation. After all, the members are still great and really involved in the missionary work. And we have some solid investigators as well- they just need that extra spark to keep our commitments.

Here's the quick recap of our investigators: We're working on two weddings right now for families that want to get baptized. The Hernandez family is super legit, the Urquoia family just needs a little extra push. The hard part in this situation is that it's a nightmare trying to get the paperwork to marry families here. Who knows how long it will end up taking... We have a plethora (big word!) of other investigators, but each have their own challenges and need a little more work to get baptized.

Also, today was a sweet P-day! We went to the Lima zone to play soccer and drink licuados in this famous licuado shop. And you guys know how much I love licuados! I got a chocolate banana combo that was excellent! The soccer was fun as well!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Week 66

Well, we had the change meeting last Wednesday, and what a change meeting it was! There´s all kinds of craziness going on in the mission, and everyone´s head was spinning with all of the new stuff going on. Here´s a quick bullet list of what happened, and specifically what happened to me:

- I'm in a new area! It's called Las Lomas, and I'm in the Satelite (sa- TAY- lee- tay just so you guys can sound more Latin) Stake. I'm about 15 minutes outside of San Pedro in a pretty nice, suburb area.

- I have a new companion! His name is Elder Sweat from Heber, Utah, and he is on his second change in the mission! We get along great so far, but it has been a bit of an adjustment as far as teaching goes. I have a bigger responsibility since he is still learning Spanish and doesn't really know what's going on sometimes. It reminds me of a year ago when I was going through the same struggle. Good times...

- My ward is TOTALLY AWESOME! Ironically, some of this has to do with Elder Hebert, who was here right before me. He pretty much dominated and left the area (and the ward) in really good shape. The members are super stoked about missionary work because of him, and because of a recent visit from a member of the Presidency of the Area to the Stake. Also, the members are taking their friends and family to the open house of the Tegucigalpa temple, the first in Honduras. So I kind of inherited the perfect storm :) Basically, it looks like I won't knock on doors the entire time I'm here because of the insane number of references we're getting. Also, if everything goes well, we could hit double-digit baptisms in March. That's just the potential of this area, and I'm super excited about it!

- I was called as a district leader.

- Our mission is being divided into San Pedro East and San Pedro West. Right now, I would be in the East mission, but it's still not sure when the mission will be officially divided. They might place us in the two missions at the next change meeting, or they will wait until July when two new mission presidents come (both gringos). It's an exciting time regardless.

- They divided the old zone I was in (Ceiba zone) into two zones, another example of the crazy growth we're experiencing right now.

- My new house is awesome too! We have two companionships living there, and it's HUGE! By far the biggest house I've had in the mission.

Ok, so that's pretty much what's been going on the last week. It's been a lot of craziness, getting to know the new area, new comp, and new ward. But it looks like I'm gonna be in a pretty awesome situation for the foreseeable future. Thanks to everyone for your love and support! And hope you guys have a great week!