Monday, January 27, 2014

Week 27: Come, Listen to a Prophet´s (translator´s) Voice‏

It never ceases to blow my mind every time I hear from our living prophets. And this Wednesday’s venture into the heart of the Capital City was no different. Elder Quinten L. Cook of the Quorum of the 12 apostles had arrived to meet with a few of the Stake Presidents and other leaders of the church here in Guatemala...including the Missionaries!
And to start off the meeting, Elder Cook stood at the pulpit and announced that he wanted to shake the hand of every missionary present, a buzz of excitement shot over the crowd of over 700 missionaries. And with the translation delay, when it was announced in Spanish the exact same thing happened.
One by one, the apostle took every one of us by the hand and looked into our eyes, until all present were given the opportunity. We were then addressed by him and Elder Soares of the 70. Elder Cook talked about the 4 steps to successful missionary work:
1. Love the People
2. Love your Companion
3. Love your Mission President
4. Love your Savior, Jesus Christ
It was an incredible meeting, and after seeing many friends from over the entire course of my mission, from the MTC!
And now, being a very important milestone! This Friday I finished off the first 6 months! I did a division with my good buddy Elder Huntsman to celebrate (and to work too) As tradition dictated, we both burned a tie to commemorate the day.
6 month ritual, burning of the tie
I had already selected the specimen, a tie I bought for 5 quetzales at the Megapaca over 2 months ago. 
As for what´s on the horizion? We have a wedding coming up on the 8th and....
...that´s about it.
Everybody keeps telling me that I´m probably going to get transfers, which has infected me with a case of Cabin Fever.
That´s okay though...I’m doing pretty good...I just have the spirit of Adventure! All I want to do now, is explore somewhere!

...I guess I´ll just have to wait 3 weeks...

Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 26: Holy Cannoli...I survived

Yes my good was a hard week
Which is sad because, on paper it looked like a very good week. I mean, we had a baptism! The 9-year old daughter of our convert from two weeks ago was baptized too! It was really fun to teach her, to see the gospel through the willing, non-cynical eyes of a child was very much a blessing. On Saturday she got all dressed in white and we had the service.
So with her, Melanie, her father, Cornelio and her brother Lestor we have half of the G___ by one we´ll get all of them eventually!
We had three confirmations this Sunday in Sacrament meeting, Melanie, Brandon (one of our baptisms from last week) and Esau....
Yes....Esau, like the-first-baptism-in-my-whole-mission Esau. After that September day, he may or may not have gone underground as his grandparents started paying him money to go with them to their evangelical church. He resurfaced this Saturday and we got him to church on Sunday.
Closure was the name of the game that Sacrament Meeting.
After the great flood we´re now facing a drought of...well...investigators.
So we´re back to square one. Do not pass ¨Go¨ do not collect 200 dollars.
That was when this week got pretty hard to swallow.
Much like the food...which I am increasingly losing a taste can only eat eggs and beans for so long before they grow tired.
Anyways, what else happened? My convert, Cornelio is probably the best guy in the world, and is so incredibly excited about the gospel you can see how much it´s changed his life! People like that restore hope! Yesterday, my companion and I started teaching Gospel Doctrine classes during Sunday School. The book that the church put out is fantastic, tons of answers to tons of questions, all we really had to do to teach the class was read the manual.
And now we get back to today...and I feel like I´ve had a tractor plow over me....I am a survivor!
And this coming week marks....6 months...meaning I´m a quarter of the way through! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 25: Breaking Dawn :P

I just had to. Because, more than anything else, this week related to my
personal least-favorite paranormal romance. Although no vampires or
werewolves made a showing we did see a wedding, a love-triangle, restored
hope and a change of heart.
...cliche as it is, that´s the week in a nutshell.
This Saturday, Elder Beckstead and I played ¨Wedding Planners¨
and...planned a wedding. Top down, it was a ton of work, we had to find a
lawyer (really nice member who lives an hour away), a venue (the primary
room), a cake (chocolate and vanilla marble), place-settings, set up a time
and a date and send out the invitations....and then we picked up the family
in a Tuk Tuk (mototaxi, look it up online, I have no idea how to explain
it)...and I took a thousand great pictures of the entire event....
Only I left my camera in my suit coat at my house.
Next week I will be sure to pass the photos over to you guys, because it
was really a great event. We married the Husband and Wife and then went
straight into the baptismal font. So Amilkar and his 9 year old son Brandon
were baptized and started a new life.
Our converts from last week are integrating into the Church magnificently,
as both of them received the Preisthood yesterday. Cornelio is determined
to have the rest of his family be members of the church by the end of the
year, and Lestor is preparing to serve a mission next year.
...and it is he who is caught up in a dramatic love triangle with a member
girl. I find it hilarious, and surprisingly similair to the church movie
¨Legacy¨ where the recent convert begins to woo the already taken
It was pretty good.
What´s really happening in my area is...well, a change. Where only 6 weeks
ago, San Juan Satechepequez was dead as dead could be now...
...things are picking up. And like the stone cut without hands, it keeps
rolling. This week we have another baptism planned and two more in the week
that follows.
And I guess it´s a good sign that I´m superexausted every day, I just sort
of collapse on my hammock at around 9:30 and lose the will to move anymore.
At least, today is P-Day! The Missionary Day of Rest!
I think I´ll buy myself an Ice Cream to Celebrate...

Amilkar's baptism picture from Elder Beckstead
Just as a side note.  Tyler forgot his camera at his apartment and so the pictures of the wedding and baptism will have to come next week.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Week 24:Double Dash!

As all the Mario Karts are lined up at the starting lines, motors humming in anticipation as a Lakitu floats in front of the camera and sounds the trumptet. 3...2...1...Go! At a young age I learned that if you´re able to time it just right, holding down the ¨A¨ button as the 2 dissappears from view, you get a boost. In doing so, Luigi is sent catapulting ahead of the majority of Mario Karts.
If you time it right, you can win the race before it starts.
Happy New Year. This week started out with a bang. Making 2014 a year full of potential!
Drumroll please.....
.....BAPTISM! Woo Hoo! That´s right sports fans, the Church of Jesus Christ just got a little bit bigger in this part of the Lord´s vinyard! After a 3 month convert drought in my area we were able to help Lestor and his father Cornelio make a covenant with our Heavenly Father! Simply a fantastic way to start off the year.

Over the course of this week I´ve been learning a lot from General Conference Talks....Merry Christmas to us, we got our Liahonas a week ago (just a little bit behind everybody else). My companion and I had the idea to use a conference talk for every lesson for two days. From Elder Uchdorf´s touching ¨You can Do It Now¨ to Elder Oak´s ¨No Other Gods¨ there was a talk for everybody to learn from.
It made me really realize how prevelant the words of modern day Prophets are for all of us! A talk can feel like it was written specifically for us and we can be spiritually edified!
But we can always find that when we are working our hardest, the adversary is working just as hard to drag us I was in first place he dropped a blue shell on my Mario Kart, or in other words, I got sick. Nothing too major, just the Common Cold and a sinus infection, but we were able to see some of the best blessings as I attempted to plug through it.
Now, Im alive and kicking (as my Dad´s favorite skiing-song says) ready to conquer a new week and a new transfer! (no, I´m not going anywhere, neither is Elder Beckstead, or anyone in my district) This new year is like a blank canvas in front of us, if we´ve gotten to a good start....keep going....if not, now is the time to use your Triple Mushrooms and get back in the lead....
...just watch out for Red Shells and Banana Peels.
Love you all, stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Week 23: Bottom of the Barrel

At the end of the day (and in specifically, the end of the YEAR) steam starts running out.
Its in that moment that God throws us a bone. In fact, this entire week I´ve been able to see our heavenly Father´s hand in my life more times than I could count on my fingers.
First of all was the fact that I got to talk with my Family. Even though my mother had fallen on ice and fractured her knee cap, I had the opportunity to do a three way call with my brother in Mexico and my family! It was an incredibly enriching experience that rejuvinated my energy and recharged my batteries... know, after I stopped crying.
I really found that the best thing to do to keep from feeling Baggy (homesick) It´s the greatest secret. The only problem was that this week, being the week of Christmas, meant that nobody was in their houses. Everyone and their dog had gone off the Captial City so we did a very lot of contacting (Merry Christmas, now go knock on Doors!). But it was the little things that kept us plugging through, everyone offering us a ride so we didn´t have to walk anywhere, someone being nice and buying us 3 liters of soda, and Tamales.
Oh yes, the tamales...if I said they were my favorite food...I would be lying. In fact, I think they´ve gone all the way down to my LEAST favorite food (move over fried fish, there´s a new sheriff in town). But all the people gave us this Guatemalan Holiday treat....members, nonmembers and a random family whose door we knocked on Christmas Day. By the end we were incrediby full and retreated to the house. As the missionaries of San Juan we had a fun gift exchange on Christmas Eve and watched the fireworks go off at midnight (another BIG tradition). The week was over before I knew it.
My first Christmas in the Mission...I hear that´s a milemarker. My 6 month mark isn´t too far away either...
While all that was fine and dandy, our District Pday activity probably took the coolness cake. We got on a bus at 7 o´clock in the morning and headed off to Mixco Viejo, an anchent Mayan village! As a district we messed around for a good 2 hours and talked about how we were standing where a few Laminites probably had been.
Very, very cool.
Stuff is good, I wish you all a happy new year, even though right now you´re scraping the bottom of the barrel, look for the hand of our God in your lives!
...because, it´s there!