Friday, December 27, 2013

Week 22: Christmastime is Here!

¨Does anyone know what christmas is all about?¨ Good ol´ Charlie Brown asks in distress. His Christmas Pagent has turned into a commercial disaster and all of his friends have ridiculed his christmas tree selection. This question has haunted the Round Headed Kid all day and things have come to a all good doubts we may have, his is answered by a Scripture: What Christmas is All About! (Youtube Link)

In remembering our Savior Jesus Christ, the hearts of the Peanuts Gang were softened and they see the holiday season in a new light. The gospel has a way of doing that to people, souls can be touched and lives can be changed by the good word. And unsurprisingly, this week has been a hard-learned reward.

You´d think that people would be easier to teach during this time...but it seems that the cold weather froze a few hearts and built up a few walls...of the igloo-type. A lot of people started closing off...and Satan´s been...a real know, as always. 

One of the biggest  wake-up calls was definately the fact do I put this.
I got punched. By a drunk guy. In the street. On my back. So that was fun.

You see, we were out on divisions about an hour away from my area, contacting a woman and her family as this man stops me on the street, spitting profanities at me in most drunk people do...mainly because they had all crossed the border to the united states, lived there for a few years, gotten discovered and abruptly deported. ¨Wud´ts you name buddy...¨ he grumbles out. The man reeks of alchohol and so I promptly ignore his that even a word?

We continue attempting to contact this woman but it appears to be a lost cause with the alcholic spewing vile words at me. The next thing I know...WHAP!

I almost fell foward but was able to regain my balance.

There he is again, but his equally drunk girlfriend is gigglingly holding him back. Quickly Elder Llave and I dash behind a gated community to avoid the....assailant.

Guatemala is different that America.

Other than that this week has been pretty normal. We had an investigator, Lester commit himself to be baptized on the first day of 2014! Everything is going well and we´re working hard!

Things are doing well. I wish you a very merry christmas and a happy new year! Remember our savior this time and things will go...holly jolly!

Because, that´s what christmas is all about Charlie Brown!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Week 21: The Church of Jesus Chrst: World´s Greatest Book Club

It's always a strange awakening when I get outside and find that the weather is less-than Christmas-y. But nonetheless, people have decked the halls and my countenance has started facing more...outward. I may not have a lot of money to buy a whole lot of presents for people but I´ve seen enough Charlie Brown to know that there´s more to Christmas than just that.
The good news? We have investigators. And yesterday we were able to get 7 of them to Sacrament Meeting...and it was a very cool reunion, a Guatemalan Primary Program. The Spirit of the Lord radiated off the children´s faces as they bore their humble, yet powerful testimonies. Everyone´s hearts were touched as Parents whispered their children´s parts in their ear for them to mumble out on the microphone.
We have 4 people getting ready for baptism next week so I´m pretty excited!
It got me thinking though, Missionary work is so much like...a book club. Or just the entire church in general. Like, when you read a really great book you go and tell everyone else that they ought to read it for themselves....and here I am. Doing what I´ve done since 2nd grade, reading and reccomending.
The Book of Mormon really does change lives. We were in a lesson on Saturday Night, teaching a young couple about the Scriptures. The man expressed to us about his concerns with having another book of scripture and how the Bible should be the only word of god. We explained how The Book of Mormon is the Evidence of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and how it´s key to our conversion. Then he turned to me and asked, ¨That sounds like it takes a lot of Faith...but...Do you think the book is true?¨
My heart stopped. I mean, I DO know it´s true, and Im here in the mission to share it, so I mustered up my testimony and said, ¨Yes. I do know it´s true. I know it with all my heart. I prayed about it and you can too.¨
Heavenly father helps us out in finding our voices. We got to 22 lessons this week! Which, for my area is pretty huge. The lord is blessing us so abunantly and I love to be here serving him.
The chuch is true. I have no doubts in my heart. When we labor in the vinyard all of our worries sort of...melt away and we don´t have to wonder what to say.
Stay Classy America.

(Tyler said he is finding joy in the work and was able to read from Pres. Monson's new book, Consider the Blessings, which I sent him in a package, and loved the stories. Such a wonderful missionary!)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week 20: Investigators...gotta catch ém all!

Elder Tamayo and I...
After buying matching Pikachu figurines for my companion and me (5 quetzales each!, not even a dollar!) Pokemon was on the brain, and it occurs to me more and more how the Mission is akin to everyone´s favorite league of brawling pocket-monsters. Now, a demonstration:

A wild evangelical appeared! Go, Senior Comp! Senior comp used ¨Introduction¨ ...its not very effective...Evangelical used ¨Blabbermouth¨ Senior Comp is temporarially stunned! Senior Comp used ¨Testimony.¨ It´s super effective! A critical hit! Great Job Senior Comp! Go Junior Comp! Junior Comp used ¨Scheduling¨ and ¨Phamplet Offer¨ They seem really receptive! 
Evangelical: ¨Ill find out more about your church later!¨ You got 2600 xp! you recieved ¨Testimony Builder¨ and ¨Restored Confidence!¨

That´s my theory. And for this week its super applicable, because we spent a good deal of time trying to find more people to teach. On Wednesday, we traveled up to a small town called ¨Sajivilla¨ a part of my area in all my 14 weeks have never visited. Its a 6 kilometer (4 mile) walk to get there...and not including the return trip. The upside is that it´s completely gorgeous. It boggles my mind that People living in shacks have a view of the Capital City that people would pay millions for! And here they are! We stopped to take pictures and continued on our Journey to meet up with the Ward Mission Leader. he introduced us to members who live there (there´s a Sister who lives behind a corn field guarded by 6 dogs...I almost got my face eaten off!) and we did our best to ask for references.

The next day was Zone Conference, and it was a Christmas Special. Once agian President and Hermana Stay came to the Zona Florida to address us. They gave talks, we ate turkey and watched a movie (Ephram´s Rescue....if you haven´t seen it, go out and rent it or something because it was Phenonimal!) and enjoyed a day filled with Holdiay festivities! On an out-of-the-box note, I sang a duet with Elder Chavez: ¨Jesus en Pesebre¨ or ¨Away in a Manger¨ and it turned out splendidly!
As Friday approached I marveled once agian at how fast time goes by. Another week was almost already over! I went on divisions with Elder Reese, a very new missionary from Indiana! We had a grand time, contacting and racking up the ¨new investigator¨ total.

But we definately topped the record box on Sunday...Elder Beckstead and I taught 2 lessons and got 14 new investigators....I mean 14! That makes it 23 for this week! I even made it through my first Gym Battle (another Pokemon reference) this week when I was asked to give a short notice talk in Sacrament meeting, and I found how much my spanish really has progressed!
So things are going pretty good. We´re working pretty hard and I´m really learning how to love this work! We´re working pretty hard to get to know the area...because it´s bigger than I thought it was. But one thing´s for certian, the Lord´s blessing us for our labors and we´re able to see miracles every day! My comp and I are getting along swimmingly! Woo Hoo!
And I also taught a lesson this week with someone while they gutted out a was....hard on the stomach....

shopping at MegaPaca... I bought a 2006 Harry Potter calendar, two old ties and a placemat... all for 7 dollars, money well spent!

 -Elder Tyler Monson

Monday, December 2, 2013

Weeks 18 and 19: Technical Difficulties

First things first: no. I did not die, get sick, kidnapped, injured or you are free to take a quick sigh of relief here. Explanations are very much deserved in this circumstance  nonetheless. Why didn´t I write last week?
The truth? Elder Alvarez and I were wandering around the richest part of the city trying to find an underground association of English Teachers for like...three hours. We had made the two hour trip down to Zone 15 that morning, as my comp had reached the end of his mission, an interview with President Stay was in order.
If I haven´t already said it before, I have like...the best, mission President and his wife in the entire world. Every time Im around them I get a little starstruck...they care! They care about the well-being of each missionary individually, and if you didn't notice, they were kind of watching out for me this last Transfer.
They`re so cool.
So in the offices of the mission I talked to other people for a while, took pictures of random things and gleefully used the nicest bathroom facility in the entire country (they really pamper the assistants). As my companion had spawned a new found desire to learn English, during his interview President Stay directed him to go to a non-profit organization nearby named ¨Fumbal.¨ Ive got to give props to this place: Its a completely free, 4 month program, run by church members and return missionaries. With the help of rigorous courses anyone can get fluent in English in lest than that time....Its just that its REALLY hard to find.
So as the sun went down on my p-day I resigned to having Internet time next Monday.
Thats why I didn´t write last week.
Me and Elder Beckstead
This week began at the Transfer meeting as I met up with my MTC district for another time! I enjoyed finding out how everyone´s missions were going up to this point and before I knew it I had said goodbye to Alvarez and received a new companion: Elder Beckstead, a Texan who´s lived all around the world...and he REALLY knows how to work.
I really, don`t think I´ve worked this hard in my entire life...and we`re starting to see the fruits of our labors...namely INVESTIGATORS! Woo Hoo! Turns out, THERE ARE people to teach here in San Juan...we just hadn´t found them. God really does prepare people for us to teach, we just need to do our part. And as we labor in the vineyard, the struggle to find joy, really isn`t too hard of a quest.
Me and Elder Huntsman
Things are improving very rapidly that's sweet.
And so how was Thanksgiving this week?
...just a little disheartening. I was on Divisions with Elder Huntsman (From my MTC district and the first person I met in the airport...he´s such a stud...AND he`s in my district!) and we kind of forgot about the holiday until after we had bought our dinners....for me a package of cereal and an orange soda, and for him two muffins and orange juice (Just a little bit healthier). And it was just sort of like...oh yeah...its thanksgiving.
Not to worry. This year I was thankful for the Gift of Tongues, because I have officially passed the point where I can understand everything everyone tells its pretty sweet!
We apologize for the delay but now we return to our regularly scheduled programming!
MTC comp Elder Long

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 17: My Favorite Things

Dogs didn't bite, nor did the bees sting....I just kept feeling sad. So it looked like I needed to remember some of my favorite things So I wouldn´t feel so bad....
Also, because there´s a white paper package tied up with tape on the bottom of my dresser with my Christmas presents all stuffed inside and it takes all my willpower not to tear it open and make the holidays come early.
Because, about now, I need a pick-me-up.
So while I was on divisions with a tri-lingual Brazilian (he`s fluent in Spanish, Portuguese AND cool is that?) Elder De Carvalho, we were ready to think outside the box. While my companion`s blueprints for the day was to have us knock on doors all day while he conducted baptismal interviews we changed it up: taking all the pamphlets and Books of Mormon we could scavenge we set up a table on the side of the main road, right next to a popular Tenida (there like a thousand little shops all over everywhere, they`re like tiny little service stations with even lower prices....America needs this) and waited for the golden investigators to come to us....a stark reversal of roles. As a person passed we would contact them and try to set up a visit.
After about an hour of little to no success (would you like to learn more about Jesus and God to give you eternal happiness? oh...its just your salvation at stake, nothing too important...)
We dropped down to the truly desperate stage: Knocking on doors.
aaaaannnnndddd....we got nothing. Zilch, Zero, Nada, Nope. Although I DID learn some new words in Spanish that I`m never allowed to repeat.
The week continued likewise with failure stalking me like obvious paparazzi. My feet started feeling magnetic against the cobblestone roads, every time I blinked it was a new day...and I had nothing to show for the last one.
¨Raindrops on roses....and whiskers on kittens¨ I began to sing to myself at every downhill slide and failure..¨Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens...¨ another doorstep, the investigator doesn`t want to go to church.
¨Brown paper packages tied up with string...¨ I have a white paper package waiting for me, sent by a family that loves me more than I know. And that`s a blessing that I can enjoy.
¨These are a few of my favorite things.¨
My companion and I sat down last night for a very long time....until around one in the morning...and tried to resolve things. This week had been a bad one between us, and, I know that the Lord`s not going to going to send us the people he`s prepared if we`re fighting and have bad feelings between us. And all I know is....things ought to be getting better from here.
So look for the good in the world. Its there. Even if its hidden behind rainclouds and all those other cliches. Do your best...your very, very best and the Lord will carry you the rest of the way.
Its like what Samwise Gamgee says, 
Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something. 
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam? 
Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

So let´s go to war.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Week 16: Oh, there you are Perry

At the zone council this Tuesday, Elder Walters went to every elder and sister sitting at the table,
pointed at them and said, ¨Elder, (or sister) _____, ¿Quien es? (who is he)` He made his way around the circle and when it was my turn I was barely able to reiterate the ¨Un Hijo de Dios (child of god)¨ that everyone else was able to sputter out....which is true, but I didn´t feel fufilled.
Yes my friends, this week I had a nice identity crisis. The age-old question that has lingered in the heart of every man since the dawn of time....WHO AM I. And for a while this week I kind of forgot...the chains of resentment and tolerance had kind of made me irritable.
Who Am I?
But on the bright side...I`ve had a good deal of welcome ¨alone time.¨ Mostly in the mornings from 6:30 until 8:30. I`m counting the extra study time a blessing, it gives me time to read more and more of ¨Jesus the Christ¨ by James E. Talmage I`ve gotten to page 450 in two weeks and have soaked in every word. After breakfast I enjoy a nice session of Companionship Study on my own, fighting off the vexing inklings that bother my brain every time I pass over another picture in Preach My Gospel that shows two missionaries studying and working together in unity.
There you are Perry!
So I took things into my own hands.
If the Robot was malfunctioning, I was in line to reboot èm.
I tried as hard as I could to do what I was able to, plan everything, contact everyone and set up all the visits we would go on in the following thing was for certain, I was not about to waste more time..
So as I put my shoulder to the wheel I started to experience more joy. This is the work of the Lord! This is his kingdom! I was ready to go and build it up!
And it was then that I started to find myself again. I know who I am, I know God`s plan! It was like in Phineas and Ferb, where the boys spend all day without their beloved platypus and finally after it all gets wrapped up, it walks into the back yard, ¨Oh, there you are Perry!¨
I started to laugh again and experience joy so...that was pretty neat.
Elder Tamayo and I

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Week 15: A Bug`s Life

¨Good night, sleep tight....¨ affectionately says the anti-protagonist Gru as he tucks in Agnis, a newly adopted orphan, ¨....don`t let the bedbugs bite. Because there are literally hundreds of them...oh, and there`s probably something in your closet.¨
Yes, the bedbugs really do bite....and then it itches like crazy.
This week I went to war. Both physically and spiritually. Since the beginning of this Cambio I`ve been getting eaten alive every night by tiny malicious I went and bought some SERIOUS, heavy duty sprays and doused my mattress with bug-killers, and lathered myself with bug-repellent as I climbed back under the covers.
I woke up thirty minutes before my alarm....and felt a good dozen of bugs crawling and chowing down on my flesh....Let`s just say that this Halloween I got myself a new fear.
After soaking my mattress and cleaning my sheets again I think I`ve finally finished off the little devils...or at least, I HOPE that I did.
I also HOPE my area can survive another three weeks until the next cambio, when my companion goes home....I know, I shouldn`t say that but...San Juan is in bad shape, and the Robot has thrown in the towel and wants nothing more than to coast to the finish line. We taught a grand total of 5 lessons this entire week...and two of them were in a graveyard.
 Why in a graveyard you ask? November 1st was Day of the Dead! Essentially, It`s like Memorial Day in the states, but people come and have picnics with the dead guys.
As a district we went to the graveyard and did some contacting, singing and consolidating. We explained the Plan of Salvation to a good majority of the people and sang hymns in front of this GIANT statue of Jesus.
 We did some good seed-planting for future missionaries to reap.
But for now not a lot of reaping is going on in my area. I`m trying as hard as I can to motivate my companion to endure to the end but....his dedication has definitely taken a nose dive....

This is San Juan... please pray for our area, we need all your prayers!