Monday, January 28, 2013

Week 62

I'm not sure if it was the best week ever, but it was one of the better ones on my mission. It was actually pretty incredible how many awesome things happened this week!

First, we had another baptism! My comp, Elder Russo, performed his first baptism, and everything went perfectly! It was one of the smoothest baptismal services I've ever had. And most importantly, it was a great spiritual experience for everyone there. The next day was CRAZY busy in church because we had to do even more than usual. I performed the confirmation of Maria, we advanced a boy and a girl from the Primary and gave the boy the Aaronic Priesthood, we did the sacrament, gave talks, and then each gave a lesson. And we had 39 people in church with 7 investigators! That might not sound like much, but to us, that basically means the whole island went to church. But maybe the thing that made me most happy was that three guys came to church! And one of them was this awesome guy named Alex, who I've been trying to get to go to church for the last 4 months. We had an AWESOME lesson on the Plan of Salvation/temples on Saturday, he came to church on Sunday, and he and his wife are excited to go to the Tegucigalpa temple open house next month! It's amazing how the gospel can completely change someone - I just hope they keep it up!

We also will have at least one baptism this coming Saturday and perhaps two, which will be pretty sweet. Keep that in your prayers, and hopefully we can lock up the second one!

And as if things couldn't get any better, we had an epic P-day today! In the words of Elder Russo, "it was the best P-day I've ever had in the mission." We ran a couple miles to hike Pumpkin Hill, the highest point in Utila. The view there is incredible! You can see the entire island from there! Then, we went down the mountain and went to the beach! Obviously, we couldn't swim, but we walked along the beach for a while and enjoyed the view. And then, my companion (a former stud Cross Country runner) almost killed me when we ran back to our house. We finished it off by going to a surprisingly amazing Mexican restaurant and coming here for Internet. It was a great end to a great week!

Special shout-out to the Jones Family, Dyer family, and Kimber for your letters! I think it took them a while to get to me, considering two of them were Christmas cards. But thank you so much! I love letters (hint, hint). Haha have a good week everyone!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Week 61

I have a shocker for you guys... it's actually cold here! It's legitimately the first time I've been cold in Honduras, and it's not fun at all. It's been raining for about the last 4 days, and it's supposed to continue for another three. Let me tell you, it's not fun walking around in the rain all day. Also, there's nothing in our house to make us warmer. My companion and I realized that Hondurans are only focused on making themselves colder since it's always so hot. I guess that makes sense though, since the first time I was cold was almost a year into my time in Honduras. Isn't that crazy?! This Wednesday is my one-year anniversary in Honduras! Ok, I better not get ahead of myself... here's what happened in the week that was:

- We had a record-low in church yesterday, with a mighty attendance of eleven! That includes me, my companion, the two ladies we take the sacrament to who don't actually leave their house, and two tourists (more on that later). So that means only five Utilian people actually came to church. We only ended up having sacrament meeting because so few people came. I guess that's what happens when it rains 3 days straight in Utila.

- Incredibly, one of those five people was Maria, our awesome investigator! And since she went to church again, it means she will be baptized this next Saturday! I'm gonna have another baptism! In the ocean! I'm so happy for her, and how she has progressed over the last couple months. I think she'll be one of my strongest converts so far :)

- So we had two Mormon tourists visit us in Utila! If I haven't mentioned this before, I LOVE Mormon tourists that come here and find the missionaries. They went to church, and we spent most of our P-day with them since they had a golf cart. We rode around the whole island, visited some freshwater caves (they were sweet!), saw some cool sights, and ate a delicious lunch. Pretty awesome P-day in my opinion.

- In super exciting church news, the temple in Tegucigalpa (the capital of Honduras) opens in March! It's not in our mission boundaries, so I'm almost positive we won't get to go. But all the missionaries and members are really excited for the first temple in Honduras! This past week, the entire Presidency for the Central America area came to San Pedro. And as Branch President, I was able to watch two broadcasts with the members of the branch! It was excellent, and got the people even more excited for a temple in their own country. Just more evidence that the church is growing :)

Ok, that's it for this week. Hope everyone has a wonderful week. And a special shoutout to Ashlee, who reports to the MTC on Wednesday! Good luck in Norway!


Elder Birt

Monday, January 14, 2013

Week 60

Well, this week was quite the adventure. I guess that's to be expected in Utila though. I faced some really difficult times, where I got pretty frustrated and dejected. But we also had some really important breakthroughs, and I had some of the best times I've had here in Utila!

So the worst day had to be Saturday, where it seemed like every single person on the island decided to leave their house or be sick. In other words, almost every one of our appointments dropped. The final straw was our 6:00 appointment with the Castro Family, where I set up everything perfectly. We went with Dilia, the most awesome member I've met in Honduras. We had a sweet lesson plan, with everything planned out. And we showed up at their house... and all of them were sick. We were at least able to convince them to come in for a bit and have a little chat and a quick message, but it wasn't anything that we had planned.

But I think we had such a difficult Saturday to test us for the Sunday we had. The whole time I've been here, we've been teaching this 18-year old inactive girl named Lili. She has a strong testimony, but is dejected because there is no growth in the Utila branch. We've had some great lessons with her though, and yesterday, she FINALLY went to church, in what has to be one of the biggest miracles in Utila history. Also, Dilia's husband, Wagner, who isn't a member, went to church for the first time since I've been here in Utila. So with those two successes, Russo and I were grinning like idiots up on the stand. We had to though- we were just so happy haha

Our investigator Maria, that was going to be baptized on the 19th didn't go to church, which means we'll have to wait another week. Our other two baptismal candidates, who are both ninos, went to church! So if everything goes right, we could sneak in 3 baptisms in January, which would really help our chances for celestial zone. I think in the entire history of the Honduras San Pedro Sula mission, the Ceiba zone (my zone right now) hasn't been celestial zone, so it would be quite the achievement. We're gonna make history!

In the Utila wildlife stories of the week, we saw a GIANT iguana just hanging out in a guy's front yard. We also spotted the biggest cockroach I've ever seen in my life at my cook's house. It took about 8 good shots of venom to finally kill that thing. Although, we almost got a gecko to eat it, which would have been amazing! Also in my cook's house (there's some crazy stuff that happens there), their pet snake somehow got into the walls of their house. My cook says every once in a while, it gets into their oven and you can see it. We still haven't yet, but it's on the agenda for this week.

Russo and I are having a blast together too! We've had some really good laughs lately, and we're even creating a sweet, choreographed dancing video, Napoleon Dynamite-style. It's gonna be the next Youtube sensation... when we can actually use Youtube again anyway. Well, that's it for this week! Hope everyone has a wonderful week, and I'll be back in seven short days with more crazy stories from the wild world of Utila. Adios!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Week 59

There won´t be a blog entry this week, but maybe you guys can put some parts of my personal emails to you guys for the blog.
I can´t even imagine cold weather right now- it's so incredibly hot right now, and it will just get hotter.

I'm sleeping on the floor right now on a bad mattress. But I am so tired at night I feel like it doesn't even matter where I sleep now as long as it's even somewhat comfortable. I think I've become an even deeper sleeper during my time out here. There was a big storm the other night, and my comp was amazed that I didn't wake up.

I'm actually in Ceiba again cuz we came for interviews with the President yesterday. That's why it's a special Tuesday P-day today. We're with the whole zone, and we've played basketball and soccer today.

It looks like we're only gonna have one baptism this month (a lady named Maria who has changed SOOO much in the short time that I've been teaching her). But maybe we'll slip another baptism in before the end of the month.

I had my interview yesterday with President Veirs, and to be honest, it surprised me a lot. He almost apologized to me for keeping me in Utila for so long. And then, when President said the closing prayer, he thanked God for my sacrifice in "a difficult area." He's one of the most positive guys I've ever seen and has some great faith, but he wants Utila Branch to have it's own leadership and for his missionaries to be doing missionary work. Which would just make it even more incredible if we baptize or activate a branch president that can help the members out there. It's been an interesting situation to say the least - I'm so glad to now have Elder Russo though because he's a good guy and really excited about the work.
Til next week!