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