Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Day 462 (Week 65) - A Wedding and a baptism!

This week was a really, really busy week, but a really exciting week too.
So, Monday we had interviews with President and it went really well. He taught me about the nature of God and how humble our Heavenly Father is, that even in the first vision, He doesn't draw attention to Himself, instead, He presents His Son and tell us to listen to Him. I also had a great conversation with Hermana Curtiss.  She asked about you all, and I was so excited to tell her about how you would be getting sealed to your parents.  We finished our interviews at about 8:45 pm, so President and Hermana Curtiss offered to take us home in their car.  But, we are going to throw a little test into this story....Remember how I am not very good with directions. Yeah, well, it is a good thing President Curtiss is a patient man. The little 10 minute drive turned into a half hour drive, of doing some circles and asking directions....Whoops!! ("Did I do that?" -Steve Urkle).
Tuesday we went to Santa Ana and found some new investigators there. It was fun. In the night time we visited Brenda and helped her prepare for her wedding and baptism. We planned to do them both on Saturday. Wedding in the morning, Baptism in the night and she put us in charge of finding an attorney to marry them. We thought it would be easy because we already had some names of members that would supposedly do it for free. The next day Brenda invited us over for lunch. We ate a ton of food and I thought I was going to explode. Then we left to go do some visits. During the day we found some one who said they wanted to help with the wedding and would do it for free. We were excited and told Brenda. Then in the night time we went over baptism interview questions. She knew all the answers perfectly. 
Thursday we had planned that we would call the attorney at 3:30 to find out where to meet to look at all the paperwork. We called her and she did not answer. We were at Brenda's house at this time. We called the attorney about a dozen more times. She never answered. So we asked the elders if they had other names of people we could call and they only had one name. We called him and he told me to call back in a couple hours. We left to do a visit and then returned to Brenda's house to call the attorney. By then it was 7pm. He told us that he was going out of town the next day early in the morning and could do it in a half hour and he would make it really cheap for us, just 100Q. I asked Brenda what she and her husband thought.  They just said, well, let me shower real fast and then we can go. So, big surprise the wedding was Thursday night. It was a secret from almost everyone, so it was just my companion, the member that was with us, the bride and groom, the attorney and his wife and me. But it was a cute wedding nevertheless. 
 Friday we had Brenda's interview and of course she passed. We found her baptism clothes and we visited some less active members in the night time. 
Saturday! The great day had finally arrived. Brenda's husband, Elias invited us over for lunch with him and his new wife ( Mrs. Brenda Santisteban). But before lunch we left early, at 9 to go to Santa Ana. We did some visits there then hurried our little buns to lunch. It was super delicious spaghetti. We did a visit before the baptism and then we went to pick up Brenda and her daughter. They were so excited. We got her changed and by the time we finished taking pictures everyone was there. We had a good number of members and investigators come. The baptism was my favorite in all of my mission. I cried. My companion cried. Brenda cried a lot. It was super beautiful and a member even helped with snacks for afterwards. 
That night our leaders called to tell us that Hermana Orellana was leaving and I was staying, but they didn't no where and with whom. 
Sunday we spent all day saying goodbye to members and taking pictures of my companion. In the afternoon the assistants to President called to tell me that I would be training one more time. 
So last night we packed up Hermana Orellana and cleaned the house and then at 6 this morning I left for Coban so that I can pick up my new companion tomorrow. 
This has been my amazing week of miracles.


Day 455 (Week 64) -  Another week in the field

Well this week we went to Santa Ana in Tuesday. We visited Gerardo and Walter. It was Walter's birthday. We bought him a cake and ate it with their family. He was so happy to be remembered. We then helped them pull weeds in their garden. Then when we got home to Santa Elena we visited Martita and in the night time we went with Brenda. She wants so badly to get married this week and get baptized. We also visited a crazy investigator that we found last week named Miguel. He believes that he has the power to heal people and talk to spirits. Also, he said that an angel appeared to him and told him why we a dip above our lips. Weird person alert! Wednesday we visited our recent convert named Auri in her paca (it is a used clothes store.) Well, we remodeled it and now it looks fantastic! Then in the night time we did some visits with a member. It was a pretty productive day. Thursday we had a district meeting and then we dedicated a good chunk of time to finding new people because we don't have very many investigators who are progressing right now. We found a new family that day and we are really excited about. We also visited our crazy investigator again. he was weird like always. He is an inventor and doesn't believe what we teach. I think we are a going to drop him. Friday was good. We knocked some doors and went to a relief society activity and some investigators came. We also talked to the branch president about donating food to the family of Gerardo and Walter and he agreed. The next morning we went to the store and bought the food. There were 3 large boxes full of food. We took it to Santa Ana and the family was so excited. I don't think they have ever seen so much food in their house before. I am just happy that their stomachs will be full. We visited Brenda in the night time. After this visit, we were not sure if her baptism would be this week. The next day in church, the president of the branch told her that he wanted to talk to her after church. We waited for her and she went into his office.  When she came out she was determined that this week would be her baptism. We are really excited for her. 
Yesterday was a long day of meetings and in the night time a member fed us.  It was a good Sunday. Today we had a water fight with our district again, which was really fun in this heat.  Today at 5, we have interviews with president.  I will have to tell you about them next week.
Next week is changes so we will see if I stay here or go to another area. To be honest I think I am going to leave and my companion is going to stay here and train, but I guess we will see.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Day 448 (Week 63) - Good days

This week was amazing!!!!!

Monday we had FHE's in the night time. Tuesday we went to Santa Ana. We left earlier this day than usual so that we would have more time to visit people. We arrived at about 10 am. We went to our visit as planned and then a family there, who are members had a reference of a family for us. We went to visit them and they were really nice. Their names are Rudy and Elisa. They have a lot of potential to progress because they are looking for a change in their lives. They also want their family to be more unified. They were great. When we finally got back to Santa Elena, it was about 3. We hadn't eaten lunch, so we ran really fast to get something to eat. We were a little sad because that night we went to visit Edgar, but he wasn't there. We called and he didn't answer. We thought he was hiding from us. Also, we had to drop some other investigators who were not progressing. That is the saddest part of being a missionary; dropping investigators. You know that what you have will help them and you learn to love the people so fast. It sucks, when you have to leave them and move on. The rest of that day we had a hard time getting lessons.
Wednesday was a hard day to have lessons too. But we did something fun. We went to a visit with a recent convert and she has a used-clothes store. She asked us to help her remodel a little. We put up rods on her wall to hang up clothes. It was a fun service. Thursday we did our weekly planning in the morning, then we left to do some visits. We had a great lesson in the night time. We visited a lady named Samara. She had a ton of questions about the Book of Mormon and accepting what we say as truth. The member that was with us shared a powerful testimony and the spirit was present. Friday we had a really awesome Zone meeting. We talked about how to put and keep baptism dates and then how to have baptisms. We also talked about being motivated and how we can find motivation even when we are tired. That was a really good message for me, because I have been really tired lately. It inspired me to keep going strong. After we looked for new people, but we actually didn't find anyone. We asked for references and knocked doors, but it seemed that know one wanted us.
Saturday, we went to Santa Ana in the morning again. We visited Rudy and Elisa and they seemed even more interested this time. We also visited Gerardo, Walter and Miguel. They are sick and we have been visiting them for a couple weeks now. We were really sad this time when we visited them because they told us that they don't have food. They cant work, because they have bone and nerve problems and their mom has to take care of them. Their dad doesn't live with them. We realized that they are literally starving. We are planning that the members of the branch can donate food to help them. That evening we visited Samara again and it was another good lesson. Then we got a new investigator who was little weird. He is a reference of a less active member. This guy's name is Miguel. He told us that he felt that our spirits were good and pure and that is why he let us into his house. He also told us that he has visited churches where spirits talk to you through mediators. Weird person right?
Also, this day we started a fast with Brenda. This was her first fast. and we were fasting that she could have a wedding and baptism date. We decided to pass by her house in the night on the way home and she told us something Magnificent. Her husband said that he wants to get married and they even are going to look at rings. She is planning for the 15th of this month!!!!!! We were so excited that we started to cry a little. When we got home we started jumping up and down and screaming like 5 year olds. We were sooooooo excited. Miracles happen!!!! Sunday We had 6 investigators in church(that is a personal record). We also visited Brenda again. She is so excited, especially because it will be before changes and the both of us will be here to see her baptism. Today, we planned volleyball with our zone and then after had a water balloon fight. It was really fun. Then we went to eat pizza. Tonight we have a lesson planned with Samara. I hope it goes well. 
Here is a picture of me in the internet cafe right now.

Day 441 (Week 62) - "Swimming" in a sink!

We are doing well. We are a little short on money this week because it is the end of the month, but the Lord has blessed us so much. We have not gone without food this week. Every time we feel hungry, some one gives us food. For example, an investigator invited us over for dinner tonight and earlier this week a lady we hardly knew said she was thinking about us and gave us a bag full of mangos. I have seen a lot of blessings this week.

This week was a really interesting week for me. It went by really fast.

Monday was normal. We didn't do anything exciting because we didn't have a lot of money. Tuesday we went to Santa Ana and visited 3 young men who are really sick. They are brothers and the 3 of them have a weird nerve problem that makes it hard for them, to walk and really do anything. One of them is in a wheelchair. We were afraid the first time we visited them because some member told them that if they get baptized the church will help them. We want the church to help them, but don't want that to be their motivation to get baptized. By the end of the visit, we were less worried. The member that was present said that he would bring the boys to church if they wanted to go and one of the boys named Walter piped up real fast and said he wanted to. In the nighttime, we went to visit a family of investigators, Morales Family. They had been progressing for a while and then all of the sudden the husband didn't want to get married or go to church or nothing. The wife can't progress without him. When we visited it was really uncomfortable and a little bit cold. After the lesson, we decided that we should let them go. It was really sad, because we had grown really close to the wife and the 2 kids. 
Wednesday we had a lot of visits. The most eventful one was in the night time when we visited an investigator named Edgar. I don't remember if I already told you about him, so here is a brief description. 25yr. man from Honduras. He lives here with his mom, 2 nephews and 14yr. girlfriend. she is from Spain and she is beautiful. She has listened to a couple of our visits. The first time we invited Edgar, he came to church. Also, the first time we invited Edgar, he accepted a date to be baptized. He is preparing to be baptized the 18 of July and he really wants it. Well, that night (Wednesday night), they asked for our advice. the girlfriend really wants to support Edgar and knows it is wrong to live with him out of marriage and they needed to make a decision that night if she should stay or go. We taught about the Plan of Salvation and the importance of thinking how our decisions will affect all of eternity and that we need to make wise decisions to get to the Celestial Kingdom. The lesson went really well and we were sure she would make the decision to go back with her family.
Thursday we visited an investigator named Brenda. She has a daughter named Lupita. I would be lying if I told you that they were not some of our favorites. Brenda is progressing so much and her daughter who is 6 really supports her too. She is always saying "mom, lets got to church" or "I am so excited for Sunday." Brenda has a problem in that her husband doesn't have plans to get married anytime soon. We took the queen Esther approach and told her that we need to pray a lot and that we will plan a fast together. At the end of the lesson Lupita wanted to pray. She prayed that her parents could get married so that her mom could get baptized and then she could get baptized and that one day her dad would listen to the missionaries and get baptized. I almost cried during that prayer. Brenda is prepared and wants to get baptized, we just need to keep working with the husband. Also. Brenda gave us skirts at the end of the visit. We were so surprised. It was so nice of her. 
Friday we dedicated 4 hours to finding new people. We need them. We ended up contacting a reference that member gave us. This investigator's named is Luis and he is an alcoholic. We visited him and it was obvious that he had been drinking earlier in the day. He smelled like alcohol. He didn't seem drunk, so we visited him. He told us that he wanted a change in his life(side note we were not alone with him, we had a member. That will be important for later on in the story). He said that he was really sick and that the doctors tell him that he only has 8 months left to live and he wants to make the right changes in his life. He cried a little and we told him that we would help him. All of the sudden he got up and went to another room and them whispered something to my companion who was sitting closest to him and then handed her a perfume and told her to put it in her bag. I was like that is weird. maybe it is a gift. After the lesson ended, my companion turned to me and told me that he said it was gift for his aunt and that he wanted us to take it to her. Oh I forgot my favorite part. When we asked him if he would say the closing prayer, he asked us "wait, don't you want to build an altar first? We can head on back and brake some chains and praise Jesus" We explained that we don't worship idols, so we didn't make the altar. Anyways, when we were leaving he told us that he would show us the way to his aunt's house. he didn't just explain it, no, he took us all the way there. When we were in front of the door, we realized what had just happened. He stole something from his own house to sell it for alcohol and used us to take it. What a scum. and how dumb were we. We called the member (who gave us the reference)  immediately after we were separated from Luis and asked for the number of the wife. We called her and explained what had happened and that we were willing to pay for the perfume, but she told us not to worry,  that it was not the first time that something like this has happened. We ended up visiting the wife the next day instead of Luis. Maybe he isn't ready for the change in his life yet, but we will keep trying and we will never take anything from him again!
Saturday we didn't have any super exciting visits. Sunday, Edgar, Brenda, Walter and his brother Gerardo, who is in the wheelchair came to church. It was good Sunday. In the evening, we visited Edgar and he told us that his girlfriend left for the house of her grandparents in the capital, but when she got there, no one was there. We are all really worried about her, because she is alone. Edgar will go get her if no one comes for her during this week. We made a new plan for him, so that he can get baptized, if she comes back. He will rent a small apartment and live alone and she will live with his mom. They will be boyfriend and girlfriend, but won't live together. Then in a year, he wants to go on a mission. He will come back and she will be 18. They will get married an live happily ever after.... That is the new plan and we all like it better. I just pray everything turns out well. 
Today we got around, ate fried chicken for lunch, because it is cheap here and then we sat in our pila and took a nap and now we are writing. Tonight Brenda invited us for dinner and we are going to have roasted marshmallows and flour tortillas and roasted hot dogs. She makes really good flour tortillas. We are excited. 


Day 434 (Week 61) - Service Project

Monday was a normal P-day and then in the night time we went and did some visits. 

Tuesday we went to a part of our area that we have never visited before. It is called Santa Ana and it, as we were surprised to learn is not a little village, but a good sized town with their own justice hall and everything. SO, it looks like we have a lot of work today. 
Wednesday we had a good number of lessons. We visited some less active members and then we visited some investigators. Our favorite part of the day was in the night time when we were in Flores. We went to visit some kids that haven't been to church in a while. When we got there, there was a man there (their uncle). We invited him to listen with us. He is 25 years old and really nice. He is from Honduras, but lives here with his mom and his girlfriend and nephews. Here is the big surprise part here. He seemed really interested in our message and we were excited and asked if he had plans on getting married to his girlfriend (so that they're not living in sin anymore) and he told us that they didn't have plans. We asked him why and he responded with asking us how old we thought his girlfriend was. We had seen her when we came in and my companion quickly responded with 18. I looked him in the eyes and knew.  I told him she was going to turn 15. BINGO. I had the right answer. He looked really surprised that I guessed it right. He told us that when they met she told him that she was 17 and it was not until they had been together for 9 months before he new the truth. 
We gave him a lot of cincho. And then we put a return visit for Friday. In the night after this we visited one of our investigators who is preparing for baptism on the 4th. His name is Jefferson and he is almost 11. 

Thursday we had a District meeting. Then we left to get to work. It was a normal day. Friday we had weekly planning in the morning and then we left to work. We found a really cute old couple that gave us mangoes. I don't know if they are really interested in our message or more in being our friends, but we will know in the next visit. In the evening we left to visit with one of our members, named Martita, I am not sure if I told you about her yet, but she is really cute. Well, when we went into our visit with Edgar, the scene was priceless, Edgar liked Martita a lot and the best part is that she is his age! Martita has lots of problems in her life right now, with her boyfriend and her family and her house. Well, Martita and Edgar became insta-friends. Also, the lesson was amazing. The Spirit was there and Martita gave powerful testimony. In the end, Edgar accepted a date for baptism. he told us that he felt like what we were saying was true. 
Next day we went over to Martita´s house to help her fix up her house and yard and just do service. She was really grateful. That is where all the dirty pictures come from. we were really tired afterwards. Then after this, there was an activity at the church for Father's day which reminds me. HAPPY FATHER'S DAY DAD!!!!!!!!! I helped serve food and in general the activity was really fun. They had like a talent show and funny presentations for the dads.
The next day when we got to the church building, Edgar and his 2 nephews were waiting for us. We were so excited that he came. Also, an investigator named Brenda came with her daughter. 
In the afternoon we showed Edgar where Martita lives, because he is a carpenter and is going to help her fix her house. When we got there, Martita invited us in and we all started talking with Edgar and it turned into a lesson. Basically he told us that he wants a change in his life and that he wants to get baptized. That he was really lost and confused with his life and then we showed up and we are showing him where he needs to go. He said he is going to talk to his girlfriend.
That night we had a visit already set up with Edgar and when we got to his house, his girlfriend wanted to listen too. We talked about the restoration of the gospel. It was good lesson. We learned during the lesson that Edgar had told his girlfriend that he wanted to get baptized. At the end of the visit, we invited the girlfriend to listen in the next visit and she said she probably wouldn't be here, that she would be in the Capital visiting her grandpa. We think he had already talked to her that day and that he is taking the steps to change his life, but we will know for sure on Wednesday.


Day 427 (Week 60) (14 months)-  A trip to Caves

Today my companion completed 2 months in the mission. She says she is excited because now she is not the newest here. Tomorrow I am going to complete 14 months. I get excited and sad when I think about how little time I have left. Excited to see and spend time with the family, but sad to leave my family here.
I am already feeling great. I haven't lost or gained any weight this week. Still 110. It is really hot and I sweat a ton! So, it is hard to gain weight. I shouldn't have any long term affects. I just need to keep eating a lot like I have been doing and I will be back to normal in no time. But I am good enough that we leave to work everyday and I don't have any appointments scheduled with any doctors.
Monday was a normal P-Day. Tuesday was pretty normal too. We had quite a few visits and in the end of the day we had 4 new investigators. Wednesday we visited an Hermana who wants to get baptized. We have been visiting her for a while and usually she comes to church. The problem that she told us on Wednesday was that her husband doesn't what to get married. So, we felt guided to leave them for a time. They both know that the church is true, he just doesn't want to act. Thursday in the morning we had a district meeting and we got to see all the new people in our district after changes. This day the rain came on us hard. We went to the island to visit one of our recent converts and on the return, we saw the darkest rain clouds I have ever seen. We started running for safety, but the rain came faster than we could run. By the time we reached the house we were literally soaked to the bone. I have never been so wet in my life. 
Friday was a hard day for getting lessons. But it was a good day because in the night time we passed by the house of our recent convert Astrid (She was baptized just a few weeks ago). We started talking when we noticed her older brother was listening, we invited him to listen and he did. He is 11 years old and we had no idea until this night that he hadn't been baptized. We asked him if he wanted to get baptized and he said yes. so we set a date with him and we are planning for 4 of July. Saturday the elders told us that we need to visit a young lady that lives in our area that is a member. We went to her house and it was HUGE. She is 22 and lives alone in a very large house. She just moved into this house. It belonged to her father, but he passed away a few years ago and now the house belongs to her. She has a lot of problems in her life. We want to help her a lot. We are going to help her prepare for a mission. We are planning to do service at her house on Saturday to help her fix up her house a little. We are excited.  Yesterday was a good day. After church, we ate lunch with an investigator at her house. Then we went to visit the young lady from the day before. In the night time we stopped at the house of the boy with whom we placed a date for baptism. Then afterwards we came back home to put together our weekly dates. We even got to go to sleep a half hour early. 
Today we went as a district to some caves here in Santa Elena. It was really fun.  It was cool, I thought we were going to get lost, but then we found another group in the caves and they had a guide, so we just kind of followed them. It was fun. I sent some pictures and hope you enjoy them.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Day 420 (Week 59) -  Out And About

First thing, I will not be fat for a very long time, but I do look healthier. I am eating a lot more now. I eat like I did when I first was in the mission (that would be an amount of a lot of food). My companion always says "wow, como comió tanta comida tan rápido?" that is translated to "how did you eat so much food so fast?"
So, lets talk about this week and the great things we saw.
Monday I wasn't feeling good and we ended up staying home that night so that I could get to bed early. But Tuesday I got up bright and early and felt great. So that day we left and worked and we didn't get any new investigators but we still felt good to be able to leave and work. Wednesday we had a member in the night time and we got to go visit some less active members and a family that we had been working with. We had a great night. Then on Wednesday we decided to go look for some girls that we had contacted in the street one time. We went and knocked on their door and a middle aged woman came to the door. She let us in and I saw that it was room renting place. So there are basically like a bunch of apartments (rooms) in the same building structure. We sat down with her and started talking, then her husband came, then one of the girls we were looking for, then  another, by the end of the visit there were 11 people listening to us, just one of them was under the age of 8. We left with 10 new investigators who were all anxious and excited to hear our message. It was a miracle. Thursday we put a baptism date with an investigator that we have been visiting for a while for the 27 of June. We are really excited. We also were able to put a date with one of our new investigators from the night before for the 11 of July. Friday we had a Zone meeting in the morning and I learned about the importance of looking for the needs of the investigators and asking good questions. So this week we have been working on asking more questions on our lessons and I have to say that it makes a big positive difference when you ask more inspired questions. The investigators are more interested and involved in the lessons. One example of this is from Saturday when we taught a lady that we had met on the street one day. We sat down with her and started asking her lots of questions about her life and then her religion and then her beliefs about her religion and God in general. We really quickly realized that number one she doesn't want to listen to our message, number two she has a lot of confusion about The Truth and number three she is this way because her dad is a pastor from another church. The lesson was really short but I learned a ton by this experience. Saturday the other Hermanas had a baptism and we were able to go and see it. In the night time we got our changes. I am staying with Hermana Orellana for another Change!!!!!!!!! Yahoo!!!!!
Sunday was really quiet, but one cool thing that happened is that we found a new family that is interested in hearing our message. They seem really great and I am excited to teach them.