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Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 8 Entrada de Copan

How was you week?  It was good. A little long and sometimes irritating because we visited the same people so many times. My companion thinks we have to visit the members every day it feels like, and he always says he doesn’t have money but that’s not my problem we actually have the same amount. So he also thinks you only have to eat one meal a day and then he is always sick. I don’t understand his reasoning but I think that I will be able to get him to eat 2 or 3 meals a day. He always says he is sick and can’t have much food so the members give me more and then when I turn my head I have a ton of rice because he doesn’t want to eat it. I’m not complaining because I like the food but it is really different.   Oh, we get more money in 4 days so we will be fine, I just don’t want to spend my own money. I seem to take my money a long ways. I have been able to buy cereal, milk and pasta for a few nights, cookies, sugar, bread enough for me, my comp says he doesn’t have any money it all comes down to keeping track of where and what you buy. I have been buying the cereal in 1.5 kg bags for 160 lempira it should last a couple weeks. It is just standard corn flakes so I add some sugar. 

Grandma wants to know how people bake things, you said that many people have small bakeries?
Many people have small electric or propane ovens. We don’t have an oven in our apartment. We have a bakery in Copan it is called the Popolar, I think I am not positive, this is where we get most of our breads from. Other than the tortillas, everything is made here.

What service did you do this week?
It was raining hard and some sort of dam broke. I have gloves but they were so wet you got pruned hands so most of the time I worked without gloves for most of the time. We dug a drainage ditch in front of a house that was about fifty feet long and in some places about two feet deep. We then took down a barbed wire fence. During this, ants attacked me. I literally had ants in my pants and they were painful, but all is well. Wow that was a lot of mud.  How did the washer end up in the street?  Someone carried it. Everything was destroyed and up stream a lot of people died. We don’t live in a flood zone so we are good. We also de-kernelled corn, when we went to one of our lessons and they were taking the kernels off of dry corn, this was easy but I had a blood blister on my thumb when finished.

What was the spiritual experience this week? I think that it would be teaching the M. family. They were way receptive to what we taught and their kids really wanted to participate.   It was interesting to see how the lord provides people that he has prepared. They didn’t come to church this week because the parents were working but hopefully next week. 

This week we dealt with a lot of drunk people. Yesterday we went to a house that we had a scheduled visit with, and the dad was drunk. They really didn’t even have a house, it was more like a hut, but they were living there, dirt floor and all. We talked to him and we stepped inside the awning thing and the man grabbed our hands, it was really awkward for my companion and me.   The man was speaking Spanish that was not understandable to anyone. We were stuck there for like 15 minutes until we finally convinced the man to let us go. His family was just looking at him like he was crazy, and he really was. So we went to our next visit, which happened to be about 100 feet away from this drunk guys house, and there were people there doing work on the power lines, like putting a new line to the house. So the drunk man picks up the ends of the wire and try’s to spark them. There wasn’t power; just to see him try and do this stupid thing was very weird and funny. But it really emphasizes our agency. We loose our agency when we drink or do something like that. 

 Our next experience we were talking to a man and a drunk man came around the corner, he told us where he lived like 1000 times and whatnot. We were talking to another man and asked him who lived in the house we were contacting, and the drunk guy invited us in to someone else’s house, very awkward. The owner of the house then locked the gate and the drunk guy glared at us. My companion pulled out a pamphlet of the word of wisdom and gave it to this man. He opened up to the first page, which has a picture of fruit, and he said, “We can only eat fruit”.  We then left. 

How did the branch president’s wife do with your wash?
The clothes were very clean. I learned that you have to have your socks turned right side out or the dirt won’t come out. 

Have you found any investigators?  We have found a couple families and a few individuals. We have 20 new investigators from the past two weeks

 How many people are active in the El Dorado branch? Is the church in a field by itself? By Google maps it looks that way?  No the church isn’t in a field by itself; it is kind of but there are buildings that are on one side of it. We live near the church. The attendance in the branch this week was 86 people, there are tons of inactive members and we are trying to reactivate them. We had one investigator come to church this week we were happy. His family is already members, but he is not.   His name is H. O.

What is a typical day for you and your companion?
Wake up, Eat, Shower 6.30 
Personal study 8.00
Companion study 9.00
Lunch 12.00
Language study 1.00
Contact or have citas con investagadores.2.00
Eat dinner 8.00
Plan for next day 9.00
Lights out by 10.30

How has the weather been?  Honestly the heat hasn’t been that bad. At night I have to sleep with the scrub bottoms and soon I will be wearing socks and possibly a shirt it is really cold at night and in the mornings. Its not that cold I just need to wear more clothes when I sleep. I always try and keep well covered. We have a window in our room that doesn’t close an the screen has a big hole in it so I get bit by some bugs at night even though I apply mosquito repellent. 

Yes we have a phone. For p-day we went and climbed a mountain. This was fun. We took a lot of pictures on top We got to the bottom of the mountain after a 2 mile hike and my companion remembered that he had left the phone and the keys on top so we had to walk back to the top of the hill to get them.

How is your apartment?
OH it is fairly clean compared to the others I have been in, I sweep every couple days and I cleaned the kitchen and the shower this week. 

Have you seen any monkeys or macaws?  No monkeys or birds other than people’s pets. There is so many dogs here it is out of control. I think we have a stand off with a dog or two daily.  Have you bought a slingshot?  No we have our bags we could peg them with. None have charged us yet, we just face them and back up slowly. Some day I will peg one I am sure of it. 

How was church this week?

Church was good but priesthood was terrible because they tried to ask me questions and I couldn’t tell where the questions started.  The language will come.  Yes I know I have no worries with this. I just need to get over my fear of talking to random people and be able to carry on a conversation.   My companion is always saying, “be patient” when I ask a question, and then he never answers.   The universal response can’t be “be patient” like what are we eating for dinner. “be patient”, it is irritating sometimes.  OH I forgot I gave two blessings this week. Also we ate lunch on Sunday at Hermana D. S. house she claims she can’t cook but it is always the best food. She always has homemade juices so I look forward to that, this week she had orange carrot juice. She owns a little clinic. Well it is in her house, and she really doesn’t have that much. But one person she knew cut their arm really bad and cut a vein or artery, I am not sure, and she said she sewed the blood vessel back together, so that was good. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 7 1st Area Entrada de Copan

How was the night at the AP apartment and the day with president Dester?
The night in the apartment with President Dester was pretty fun. We had food that was very similar to the ccm food, like I couldn’t tell a difference.

What area were you assigned to and do you remember the name of the ward you attend? La Entrada Copan, the El Dorado branch; we are mainly focusing on reactivating people because there are tons of inactive, like 100.  Right in the middle of our area is the top of a big hill it is called Hill Cumorah because everyone are members, the only problem is that half are inactive. Is your companion new to the area as well or has he been there awhile?  My companion has never been here before. In the area book we didn’t even have a map so it is hard to figure it out. We often feel lost. Via Bosque is a place where we did service. There was some major flooding so we were there for a day and a half moving dirt and shoveling out houses and driveway paths.  I am glad I had the waterproof trextas shoes, they were way better, my companion had to buy big rubber work boots but they were 140 lempira ($6.57)
El Dorado Branch

Tell us about Copan.  It is inland in the mountains, a 3-hour bus ride from San Pedro Sula. It cost 100 lempira ($ 4.69) for the bus ride. It is way up in the mountains.   We are pretty much isolated from everyone else.   Our district class is supposed to be the best, “we are the chosen” as they say because here the temp is low and everyone wants to keep the rules and we have the best p day activities.

What is your companion’s name and where is he from, do you know anything about his family?  Elder C. he is from Quetzaltenango in Guatemala I forgot what he said about his family.   He is pretty funny and likes to joke around. He has almost fallen in the street twice, he did fall once. How long is your companion been out?  Six and 1/2 month.  Is it because your mission is so new, or do most people train at 6 months? I don’t know, I am the second person he has trained. Also we are, I think what they said, “reopening an area”. He speaks quite a bit of English but he can go a day without any. He says that I speak a lot more Spanish than the other kid he trained.  Are you happy Dad made you get those shoes?  Yes there way better than the other shoes I could have. It is literally hillier than San Francisco here. I am going to be in amazing shape when I am done. We went to the grocery store and I forgot my money so I had to use the ATM. It was a real grocery store that had a lot, we bought pancakes, syrup, milk, cereal, pasta, tomatoes, ramen.

Tell us about your apartment and living conditions for example, who is doing your wash, electricity and water cooking of meals anything like that. Our apartment isn’t even in our area i don’t think. But as I said, we don’t have a map of our area.  Our apartment is a mess; there is dirty stuff everywhere and a constant line of these weird little bugs crawling through the door and up the walls. Don’t worry, when you put the bed in the middle of the room you cant’ get attacked by these bugs. Well at least I haven’t yet. I have been working on cleaning up our apartment.   I have yet not tackled the bathroom.   If your house is cleaner you will have fewer bugs coming in.  The bug’s come in no matter what, we have our garbage inside. There is no place else to put it, there is a dog that is outside and sometimes it gets annoying but we have a dog outside. Also I saw a land rover defender just one. I saw way more in the ccm.  I think Guatemala was nicer as far as everything went. 
Have you used the water purifier?  No I have been using the bottle that the church gave me and other than that I have not filtered water I just drink it from a bottle. Bags of water cost 2 linpiras in case you were wondering.   The first 3 nights we didn’t have water pura so we just filtered it from the tap using a carbon filter.  We don’t have an oven, just an electric cook top with two burners and really only one good pan.  The next thing I might buy is a couple pans that I will take with me to my other areas, as well as a scoop to get water from the pila.
Brian's Bunk is on top

For my work clothes I washed them in the pila and for the others we are paying the branch president’s wife to wash, 300 lempria per month ($14.08). We get about 2000 limps every 2 weeks ($93.00) I think, so it is quite a bit. 

We also take moto taxis a lot which cost 20 lempira ($ .94)  for my companion and me. Yes I can understand a lot, I just don’t know how to speak back that well and the verbs are weird because so many of them can mean different things. Yes the people I have spoken to understand me. It was really weird we went around to the members to gain their support and we shared our favorite scriptures and I had to say a ton of prayers. We even gave a blessing this week but I did my part in English, thank goodness.
Overall we just eat what we are given and the people are as safe as they can be with cooking for the most part. The thing I can’t get over is how they open things always with their mouths or my companion try’s to open things with his toenail clippers, how strange. Are you carrying your knife now, you could use that to open things.  I did get it out of my bag and put it on our table so we can use it. Our apartment is 200 sq. ft. of nothing.  We had a lady that claimed she couldn’t cook, cook us lunch one day and I think it was the best food we have had yet.   Her name it Hermana G., she owns a small health clinic in her house.  We went to the grocery store and I forgot my money so I had to use the atm. It was a real grocery store that had a lot, we bought pancakes, syrup, milk, cereal, pasta, tomatoes, ramen.  Also here in Honduras their homemade orange juice is amazing, I almost think it is limonada but they say it is orange juice. We really haven’t had that many snacks or treats but I though the one rice crispy I brought form the ccm was amazing. I will make some one-day. Also at lunch yesterday the lady gave us a doughnut, I can’t tell you how good this tasted.  No banana doughnuts?  Not yet. I hope I can find the, or something similar to them. It seems like everyone here is in the bread industry, or they run their own home store thing.  There is really good soda here it is called Copan dry. Look it up, it is pretty good. They also have this malt drink that is supposed to be similar to root beer but it was terrible. In my area there are no restaurants, just some street venders who sell baleadas for 10 lempira ($ .47) we have had these for breakfast a couple times. 

We went and played soccer today in Santa Rosa de Copan, I think but I am not sure, it was really fun and after we went and ate at Bunny’s Pollo it was ok, but no one has ketchup.  Yes I had French fries today. They were good. Instead of ketchup I just used hot sauce, I drenched them and they were good. The bus ride to Santa Rosa today cost 30 limps. 

How is the weather and the mosquitos?   Is your hammock up yet? NO I have not put my hammock up yet I have not found a place to. It rains almost daily. Today on our way back from Santa Rosa there was a rainstorm and it was cool to see the water flowing down the hills and it flooded all the roads. I now can see where flash floods can come from. The mosquitoes aren’t that bad but I always have repellent on. Only two things have bitten me, I am not sure what they were, but that’s not to bad. 

What was your spiritual moment of the week? We were teaching this brother. First of all we were just contacting and he let us in the door to talk, second he let us teach a lesson and he said we could come back. We taught the restoration and he was all loud and laughing at the beginning but as we went, he began to nottivce and become more interested. Just to watch how this man changed over the course of the lesson was the most spiritual thing.  Another interesting moment, we were out looking for someone to teach and get contacts. So we said a prayer and asked for guidance on where to go. We got up and began waking, just over the hill we talked to this lady.   She was the wife of a Baptist pastor. We spent two hours there, one hour in to it, her husband showed up so there we sat with the pastor and his wife trying to teach. In the end the pastor said he had been to the LDS church and the only think he didn’t like about it was that when you go to the LDS party’s the music is not in harmony with the church standards. He invited us to Christmas dinner so we will see if we will take him up on this offer. He has money so it may not be a bad idea because we will get good food. Also he gave us a mandarin while we were talking.  Overall he is a very nice man. 

How are you eating and what are you eating? Do the members’ feed you lunch in your area?
We are eating baleadas usually daily. The member’s don’t feed us that often.  We only have a couple lunches and a couple dinners. Often times we go without a meal but that is fine. I just didn’t want to go without breakfast, that is why I bought pancakes, cereal and milk. 

Are you going to wear Jen’s tie out or do I need her to help me pick out?  On the ties, I will have to buy some more down here, I can get really cool handmade wool ones.  How is your side pouch working?  I love the size of my side pouch. It is good.

Have you seen any animals?  Yes there is birds that walk on our roof in the mornings; we also have seen a lot of geckos in houses, just one in our apartment so far, and these giant toads.  There are lots of cows and horses. 

How long do missionaries usually stay in an area before their transfer to a new area any idea?  I will be here for 12 weeks and probably stay out here in Copan for 10 or 12 months it seems like. 

Tell us about the Internet café and computers.  The screen is small but it will do. 

Two years isn’t even that long. Time always seems like it is flying. There will be no problem with fun, we work hard and go to bed and it feels great!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 6 in the Guatemala MTC and Travel to Honduras

October 14 2014

Estimadas Familias de los Misioneros,

Quisiéramos hacerles saber que su misionero llegó sin novedad a Honduras y está aquí con nosotros para una cena en nuestra casa hoy por la noche. Ya los amamos a todos, y esperamos ansiosamente conocerles aún más. Tendremos una reunión de "cambios" mañana donde conocerán a sus primeros compañeros, y saldrán de allí para sus primeras áreas. Gracias por sus oraciones y amor.  Les agradecemos muchísimo por haberlos mandado a nosotros.

Con mucho cariño,
Presidente y Hermana Dester

Dear Missionary Families,

We just wanted you to know that your missionaries arrived safe and sound this morning to Honduras, and they are with us tonight in our home for a welcome dinner.  We already love them all and can't wait to get to know them better.  They will be going to a transfer meeting tomorrow where they will meet their new companions and then leave for their assigned areas.  Thank you for all your prayers and love.  We are so grateful that you sent them to us.

With love,

President and Sister Dester

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Week 5 in the Guatemala MTC

How was the shopping trip?  The one to the market was pretty good I didn’t buy anything; it wasn’t as big of a market as I wished it would be. I just bought stuff from the people who come to the CCM every other week and sell things, which happens to be cheaper than in the market.   I have matching scripture cases and I also spent the rest of my quetzals on stuff at the Centro de Distribucion.

I feel pretty safe in Guatemala, although it was kind of weird going to Wendy’s and having a gate to get to the parking lot. They had a foosball table at Wendy’s.  It was good, I had a baconator and a large fry and a medium frosty and a large Fanta. My comp spilled his Fanta all over his shirt and dropped his frosty because he was trying to tuck in his tie.  They have the BEST LAW EVER; they have to have your order to you in less than three minutes at all chain fast food restaurants. Even with 100 of us at Wendy’s still fewer than 3 minutes. I even ordered all by my self in Spanish, that’s a different experience.  You have a lot more like that coming real soon.  Yes its not that bad, it’s easy in present and future tenses but I am terrible at past tense imperfect and preterite. 

How is the weather this week?  It has been nice, one day while we were playing volleyball; it laid down a couple inches of water my shoes were soaking. But it was fun

Did you watch General Conference in English or Spanish?  In English it was very long because the chairs we have aren’t very confortable.   I sat on the front row because if you sit any farther back you don’t have any legroom.   What was your favorite talk about?  I don’t remember like usual, but I took over 30 pages of notes and unlike many I didn’t fall asleep. I liked a talk from someone with a really weird name but I don’t have my notes with me to tell you.

When you switched companions did you have to move bunks?  I moved, if I let him move he would have taken days. I moved in all of seven minutes. Elder H. looks cool.  Usually, there was one day that we were running a little late in the morning and he put his pants on over his exercise shorts and wore them for the day until we went to the bathroom and he realized he was still wearing the shorts, that was the funniest thing this week.  He likes to snowmobile and motorbike so I can do that with him when we get back.  We were just messing around in those pictures; my companion always makes a funny face. 

There are 5 elders going to my mission, 4 Latinos and me.   They are cool but none of them speak any English.  Are you the tallest one going to Honduras?  Ooh by far. Most of the Latino elders that are going there are way short.  I probably fly out at like 5 in the morning, I think or earlier.   I can call you, but I don’t know if I want to, that morning in the airport.  On Saturday and Sunday I will pack. I unpacked about half of my stuff but it will be really easy to pack the rest I have to be packed by 8 o’clock on Monday morning to weigh my suitcases. Of course I will sing on Sunday night. (This coming from the person who hates to sing)

You’re going to learn to speak Spanish really well.  Sure, I understand most of it but I can’t speak that much, more like I choose not to, but I won’t have a choice in a week.  I’m sure I will be fine; I will probably even be speaking perfect Spanish by then. Who knows where I will be at though we will see next Wednesday! All I can say about how Spanish is going, I have it a lot easier than Korbin and Ryan who are speaking it in the states where most people speak English. I love to talk with the Latinos at lunch and dinner.   I usually sit with the guys going to my mission.   When I talk, its good, but sometimes I don’t even want to.  I understand what they’re saying if they talk loud and a hair slower. It seems like the Spanish spoken from people from South America such as Peru and Ecuador is the easiest to understand. 

MTC District 

What did you have to wear?  We could wear whatever we wanted.  The district chose sweaters.  I wasn’t excited, one of the guys brought several of them so he loaned me one.  Yeah that’s the first and last time I will have to wear a sweater.

I don’t have that much to say about the ccm maybe after a while in the field I will have some amazing stories. I know that I will be able to get through anything and I am excited to have the new challenges of the field. 

Love you all