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!