Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Week 44: The Suite Life of Gil and Monson‏

Whaddyaknow. I made it another 7 days. For some reason it feels like it´s been significantly shorter than that but...
Here we are.
Time just keeps racing forward, I feel like a tablecloth has just been pulled out from under my table-top feet and although no dishes fell or broke they're still trying to catch their footing.
If that makes any sense at all.
My inherent gift for metaphors is escaping me, how sad.
Life keeps moving onward, and in order to see what happens next all we have to do is continue existing just a little bit longer. Sure time goes by really fast…but when you think about it, the minutes, hours and days are just the same as they’ve always been, it’s just that we are filling them with more things to do than we used to.
Food for thought.
Anyways…my week: how was it?
Definitely, very interesting to say the least:
After I finished writing my general epistle we walked around Zone 10: the shopping district and went to the local mall, Oakland: a sea of commercialism. As it was a Saturday, there were many people there, buying food or Legos (there’s a whole store of ‘em here!). We went to China Wok and a Recent Convert saw us! He was working at the McDonalds in the food court and said, “Elders! Why did you already buy lunch? I was going to hook you guys up!” It was pretty funny. That night we had an appointment with the Franco Family. The father works for the national Newspaper as a graphic designer, so it was really fun to talk to him.

We met them by a referral from a member, Mariellos (who is awesome! She talks to everybody she knows at school about the gospel), she’s friends with the 3rd child, Francisco, and invited him to come play Soccer in the Church one Saturday.
We talked to Francisco and he invited us to come to his house another day, when we showed up, he wasn’t there, but his parents were!
It’s been a few weeks since we had been able to teach them, so we came back again on Saturday and had an incredible lesson on how the Gospel can unify families. They seemed very interested in the principle and wanted to come to church the next day!
And they couldn´t because the wife had to work.
But for tomorrow they’ve committed to go!
Although, it was a pretty good day at church. Floridalma came again and stayed for the whole 3 hour block. She said that she loved it! She is so cool, she’s been reading the book of Mormon on her own and finding answers to her questions.
…although for some reason, she’s still now sure if it’s true or not.
But it was a great church service!
We had another appointment with the Franco Family and our Ward Mission Leader, Hermano Factor. It was an incredible experience! The spirit was so strong, I started crying.
We invited them to be baptized on June 14th and they accepted!
The church is true.
The days that followed went pretty well, we taught a new investigator who lives in a Hotel! His name’s Tony, and his brother is serving a mission. The whole lesson made me think of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody on Disney Channel. The guy lives in a hotel! That’s so Suite! (haha, pretty punny right?). Although, Tony himself is a riddle. He accepted to be baptized, if his prayers are answered and he thinks that it´s all true but…
Why didn’t he do it before?
His mom and his brother have been members forever.
And they’re active.
Why was he never baptized before.
Perhaps now is the time!
It was a good week! I am learning a lot and a lot of good things are happening in my area!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Week 43: Change it Up

Well, my cyst has finally started disappearing. 
I wish I could say the same thing for the rest of my problems.
This week has just been a big onslaught of trials of faith, and they all just sort of hit me like a wall. The majority of said tribulations came from the great headache of a meeting that is the Changes. I’m not sure if I’ve explained it before but I think I’ll explain it again
What are the Changes? Basically what happens is that on Sunday night, the Assistants tell all the zone leaders what missionaries in their zones have transfers, they in turn call the district leaders who call each individual missionary. The following Tuesday, a taxi appears at the doorstep of their house to take them to the meeting.
The reunion is held in the Chapel in Montufar (my ward), which was the very first building constructed by the church in the country of Guatemala. Even though it has since been remodeled, it still holds a sense of sacredness.
The new missionaries come first, and receive a few instructions from the Mission President and his wife, and also the Secretaries (hi). Then at 10:00 all of the missionaries proceed into the meeting, where all the Elders who have changes are seated with their respective zones.
A hymn is sung, a prayer is said and the “Honorable” missionaries who are finishing their missions come to the pulpit and bear their testimonies.
The Mission President and his wife then give their prepared talks and we close with a hymn.
A projector is then turned on and a slide show demonstrates each individual change that has been made to the missionary roster: for example “In Progreso, Elder Layton receives a new zone leader… “Elder Bento.” That’s how it works. Then the new companionship stands and leaves together to go to their area.
Pretty sweet right?
The truth is that it really is. The meeting is spiritual and stressful…like a good game of Scripture Chase.
The only down side is that on the other side of the curtain…a lot of work goes into it. Especially on our part as secretaries. There was so much to do this week I almost died.
Sunday: A nice, “calm before the storm” kind of day. I got to talk to my family on Skype for mothers day. It was a fantastic opportunity, and I loved the whole thing in spite of a few technical difficulties. I have such a great family!
Monday: Today started the whole fiasco that was the preparation for the Change Meeting. We had to stay in the offices until 8:00 because there was so much to do! But for the one hour that we had to work I got to go on a division with Elder Tauiliili, who would be finishing his mission this Thursday. I learned a lot from him about Christlike Attributes. He was incredibly kind and understanding, and completely selfless, really, just a great example.
Tuesday: TRANSFER MEETING! I didn´t have transfers and neither does my companion (he´s been here for 30 weeks! Holy Cow!), but there was so much to do. The day before we had ordered all the taxis for the missionaries who would need to go to the meeting but by some tragic turn of events, we had all the addresses and phone numbers wrong on the computers.
So pretty much half of the missionaries came late.
I got to give a quick money training to the greenies and then go run to the other side of the church to pay for all the transportation.
There was a lot to do.
There’s a new Executive Secretary in the offices: Elder Walton, from Utah (he went to Lone Peak…I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that).
There were lots to do and we were running behind in the offices until 8:00 again.
Wednesday: Another fun thing about the change meeting is that the Missionaries who are finishing off their 2 years get to stay over in our house for two days. It was pretty sweet, I was able to talk with all the “Muertos” (or Dead). Two of my Zone Leaders, Elder Cerrato (from Honduras) and Elder Guaman (from Ecuador) went home.
So that was fun.
The only bad part about Wednesday was that all of our very best investigators flaked out on us. Baltazar and Floridalma are now on the fence about baptism.
We’ll see what we can do to help them.
Thursday: The best part about the Changes was that one of my best friends from my group and my district in San Juan got sent to my district here!
I got to go on divisions with Elder Huntsman!
It was a great day, we talked a lot about the mission and found a new investigator…(because we desperately need new investigators).
So it was a pretty good day.
Friday: In the morning, Elder Huntsman and I ordered Burger King for breakfast. (A note: one of the best things about fast food in Guatemala is that EVERYONE does delivery…not just Pizza! If you want McDonalds without even leaving your house…just pick up the phone! Except, Taco Bell doesn´t provide this service…that makes me sad). After working a little bit in the offices, Elder Gil and I went out to work. We had an awesome lesson with Floridalma again, our ward mission leader came with us to help us teach and the spirit was so strong!
…and looking on retrospect, sure I had a lot of problems this last week…but there were also a lot of blessings that I saw.

Woo Hoo! Church is True!

Feliz cupleanos Elder Rosero

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Mother's Day Skype

Happy Mother's Day!

We had a wonderful evening talking with both boys on missions and us at home!  I could not have asked for a better mother's day gift than to have all of us in the "same room" for a little bit of time.  Tyler shared that is learning more than he could have imagined.  He loves working with the missionaries and that Mondays are truly his busiest day.  He has had some great experiences that have  helped him grow.  He wishes his area was "on fire" with baptisms but he and Elder Gil are working really hard to teach and follow up with referrals.  Tyler shared that he loves the people of Guatemala. He has eaten chicken feet and they were less than appetizing, a little chewy!  His favorite days of the week are Sunday and P-day.  He said his shirts are getting holes in them, his socks are perfect.  His shoes are holding up and he needs to find a dry cleaner for his suit :)

He lives in zone 9 but visits zone 8, 10, 12, 13 and 4.  Zone 10 is the retail portion of the city with the Mall.  Zone 12 you should always have a friend with you...

Tyler shared that his favorite experience in his mission so far was in Jutiapa with Elder Viera and learning that each comp is different and good for him.  He also said he's learned to trust Heavenly Father and has relied on know that Heavenly Father is at the head.

Other than that we just joked about lots of fun memories and what they miss about home and what they love about being away.  Jaymes and Tyler really loved chatting with one another in spanish and sharing similar experiences or expressions.  That was neat to watch.  Brayden even chimed in a few times with his spanish.  I asked lots of questions and just enjoyed the moments.  We took a few pictures but it seems like I never get enough or take the right ones but oh well.  

I'm proud of Tyler, he is strong, diligent, determined and yes focused.  He is close to the spirit.  I've seen that for many years but have noticed how he has learned to listen and act upon it.  He is learning just what he can become and what the Lord sees in him.  I'm a proud and happy Mama!

Mother's Day was just perfect.  Nothing like being together as a family no matter how far away we are from some.  Family is family and I sure love them all!

Week 42: My $1,000 Mistake...‏

This week I’ve been a little bit on the forgetful side…I don´t know what’s gotten into me, I seem to be learning more and growing more than I ever have my entire mission, but in spite of that I´m slipping up more times than I ever have in my whole life.
Why would that be?
Who knows…
Let´s do a case study and see how things went down:
Saturday: upon finishing my Internet time for the week we the Secretaries went on another adventure to the Waterfalls of Mixco. The hike was precarious, but the rewards that awaited us at the end were priceless. The waterfall was simply incredible, a steep cascade that tumbled down into a tropical river…something like Paradise Falls from UP but…not as big. When we returned we showered and went to a baptism for Elder Trone and Elder Mendez. They baptized a couple, husband and wife, and the service was something gorgeous.

Our church is very family-centered; the second principle that we teach as missionaries is “The Gospel Blesses Families.” A Christ-Centered Home is invaluable, and a gift that I am eternally grateful for in my own family.
Sunday: It´s funny how the day of rest is the day that we work the hardest! But it was overall a really good day. Baltazar came to church, even though he had to work (He said, “I need to put God first, and then he´ll bless me even more!”) He´s really progressing and is very excited for his baptism! We ate lunch at the house of the Elder´s Quorum President, President Sandburg. He´s from Texas but is living in Guatemala with his family as he works at the American Embassy. Their family was awesome, and I got to teach them in English! We watched the church´s Easter Movie “Because of Him” and discussed the things that are possible through Jesus Christ.
So it was a good day!
Monday: ….
It was a…
Allow me to explain: As Financial Secretaries we have a Petty Cash Box, it contains 10,000 Quetzales (About $1,300), and we use it every week to give out reimbursements to the Missionaries. Every Friday we print out a report of where all the money went to and order a check from the church to fill up the box again.
On Mondays we get the approved payment and we can print out the check for President Stay to sign during our weekly office meeting.
That´s the exposition for you…that´s how things usually go…this week was different.
You see, there´s a little box on the church´s website that selects if your payment will go to a check written out to the missionary, or to the missionary´s credit card. The default setting puts it on the credit card.
And I didn´t think to double check.
Word to the wise: Always double check.
So when I came to the computer on Monday to see that there wasn´t a check made out to Elder Tyler John Monson, the panic began. As it turns out, I had sent a 1,000 dollar payment to my credit card. I had no check to show to President Stay.
Panic started sinking in as we began the opening hymn of the office meeting: “Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel” (at this point I would have preferred to have said wheel run me over and leave me out to die alone on the plains of Wyoming, like that child that always gets sick on Oregon Trail). I had a pit in my stomach, and with thick beads of sweat dripping down my forehead I had to face the facts: I needed to tell President Stay, there were no other options.
In the Office Meetings we go around the circle and everyone is given the chance to talk and give their reports of the past week. Today it was my great misfourtue to go first.
“Well, umm…President” my voice quivered, “We did a lot of stuff this week but I kind of messed up, I accidentally sent the weekly check to my personal account instead of to a written check. My companion is talking to the area offices to try and figure it out…”
I braced myself for a wall of rage.
President Stay just smiled and said, “Okay…how´s your Cyst doing?”
He was more interested in me as a person as opposed to the mistake I had made.
I was completely floored.
What a great man!
With time we were able to obtain a new check that had been done correctly and the problem was fixed…now it seems a little bit petty…but I learned a lot from President Stay and his Christlike Patience.
Tuesday: We had the last Zone Council of the Change today and it was interesting…the Assistants pretty much just yelled at the whole zone for not contacting or baptizing very much this last month….it was…fun.
Wednesday: We taught Baltazar today about the Law of Tithing and he understood everything. Even after we had said the closing prayer for the lesson, he kept asking us questions about the church, and really opened up to us! It was a great lesson!
Thursday: Today we went out with our Ward Mission Leader, Hermano Factor to go and visit a relatively new investigator, Floridalma. She lives right next to a return missionary from El Salvador and asked if we could come and visit her. Her family is from the mountain area in Kiche, and she came here to the City to live alone and see what she could do with her life, right now she works at a Call Center. The first lesson was about two weeks ago, and it was nothing spectacular. But when we came back the second time, she had read the entire Pamplet about the Restoration and wanted to know more! She bombarded us with questions about the church with a sincere interest! Today we taught her about the 3 questions of the Soul and introduced the Plan of Salvation.
“Have you ever asked yourself, Where you come from, why you´re here and where you´re going?” I asked her.
“Yeah!” She responded, “I think about that a lot! But I´ve never found the answer…do you guys know?”
I smiled, “Why, yes, yes we do….”
Friday: Today we prepared ourselves for the great Transfer Meeting. Elder Trone is going to leave the offices, so that´ll be sad to see him go. His companion is freaking out because now he has to teach a new guy everything…hahaha.
Saturday (again): we went to the Central Park of the City of Guatemala (with permission from the Assistants of course because it´s outside of the mission). We got to tour the national Palace that was full to the brim of Guatemalan History, the Conquistadores and the Mayan heritage, it was an incredible experience!

Which brings us back to…now.
So yeah, Thanks for reading my really long letter for this week!
-Elder Monson