Called to serve in the Guatemala Quetzaltenango mission

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pon Tu Hombro a la Lid!

Hey everyone, hope all is well back home!  This week was pretty interesting week.  Tuesday we worked hard in Choqui and found a man named Don Santos.  He lives down a little mountain and has a pretty big family.  One of his sons is a member but no one else in the family.  He loved hearing about the word of God and we shared quite a bit with him that Tuesday.  We´ve worked with him a little more and everytime we visit there´s a great Spirit present.  Kind of a long story short, with a little more work and with the help of Heavinly Father, I truly think he´ll be ready to be babtized.  

Thursday we had a multi zone confrence down in Toto, about an hour and a half from Choqui.  It was super nice to hear from President Smith, he gave us a lot of good advice and tips about how to be more effective.  He focused a ton on helping our investigators understand the feelings they feel are from the Holy Ghost.  He also helped us understand that of about 28,000 babtisms in Central America last year, only around 3,000 are active!  We should be shooting for conversion, not just simply babtisms.  This helped me realize that we shouldn´t be teaching people lessons, we should show people how the Gospel can forever change their lives.

The hardest part about this week was one of our progressing investigators, Angelica, dropped us.  I´m not sure what happened but I think some of the Evangelists told her some stuff.  I was pretty bummed about this, but we were lucky enough to find a man named Celixto.  He´s kind of quiet but just a real solid guy.  His wife is a less active member and he´s a Catholic but only wants to know the truth.  Long story short, this week we invited him to be babtized in October.  He kind of dodged the question but we told him he could recieve and answer if we prayed together.  We all kneeled down and he gave one of the best prayers I´ve ever heard.  We asked his wife to bear her testimony and she started crying and gave an awesome testimony.  The Spirit in the room was just incredible.  Celixto is a super busy man but we challenged him to pray with his wife for a date.  We´re going to call him tonight and hopefully he has a date in mind!

Another miracle happened for us this week.  We found a girl named Jimmena in Choqui.  Our lesson with her wasn´t the best but she asked for two Book´s of Mormon, one for her and one for her sister.  I didn´t really think too much would happen with her but this week we ¨just so happened¨ to run into her all the way in Patalup!  She´s been reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and had all these questions for us.  She is super smart, she was asking all these questions about the Jews and stuff, just a great girl.  We invited her to be babtized the 25 and she said yes.  I asked her why she wanted to be babtized and she said it´s because she knows the Book of Mormon is true and feels like the Church is true.  We still have to talk to her grandma but I really think she´ll join the Church.

This October our zone has a goal to have a ¨month of miracles.¨ Our entire zone hasn´t had a babtism in like 3 months and right now it´s looking like we should have 9!  I feel so blessed to be where I´m at and to help change people´s lives.  Sure, there´s a lot of hard things that happen but everyday I feel happy and excited to share the Gospel because it has changed my life.  I know miracles will happen if we ask for them in faith and that anything is possible with the help of God.  Pray, fast, and just have the faith that Heavinly Father can do anything.  Adios! 

                         This is the church in Choqui-Jack and his companion live in an apartment in the back

                                                            This is Jackson's "kitchen"!

                                                    This is Patalup, part of Jackson's area

  This is the church in San Bartolo, the town where Jack goes every p-day to email and buy supplies.  They have to stay the night in this church every p-day because there aren't any more buses back to Choqui in the afternoon.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Semana de Patalup

Hola!  This has been a pretty eventful week.  After a district meeting, my companion and I headed up to Choqui, packed our bags, and made the trip to our second area called Patalup.  Haha that was fun!  Imagine hiking straight up to the Y in Provo with about 70 pounds, that´s about what it was like.  BUT we made it in good time and quickly started exploring the area.  Apparently my companions companion had health issues so he didn´t know the area too well.

This whole week has been walking and looking for those who could become investigators.  I was a little frustrated the beginning of the week because we weren´t really getting anywhere.  Thankfully my prayers were answered as we found about 5 or 6 people who have a lot of potential.  One of them is a girl named Angelica.  We showed her a video of the First Vision and right when it ended tears just started rolling down her face.  I don´t think I´ve ever felt the spirit more strongly as both my companion and I gave testimony of Joseph Smith.  I had prayed that whole day for a miracle and up until 5, nothing had happened that day.  Heavenly Father always gives to those who have faith and I consider finding and teaching Angelica a miracle.  

This week we did a lot of service.  Moving bricks, hauling corn up a mountain, teaching seminary, the whole shebang!  Serving is an awesome way to reach out to the people and make a difference. Service is great and though sometimes it´s hard, it´s helped me be a lot more humble and loving. 

I never thought I´d have very many meals in my area, but this week alone we´ve had probably 6 or 7!  The food is really simple and really good.  Eggs, beans, rice, corn tortillas.  The people don´t have very much but they are extremely generous.  You have to be a little bit careful as far as cleanliness goes haha but I haven´t been sick or had any problems so I consider that a huge blessing.

The other day in Church, with about 8 minutes until church started, Bishop pulls me aside and told me to give a talk about prayer.  Talk giver, piano player, and lesson teacher haha.  I feel really comfortable with all these things now and I´m glad to help the ward out.

There have been a few really tough days this week but I keep learning a lot of awesome things.  Patience and humility have been hard at times for me in the past, but I´ve become so much more patient and truly humbled.  Heavenly Father has a plan for everyone and he loves us more than we can imagine.  The Church is true.  The Holy Ghost can always be with us if we will let Him.  I love everyone back home, I love this country, and I love being a missionary.  Adios!

 JAckson and his companion
This is a man in the ward in Patalup where Jackson is this week.  Jack said he tried to help him with his wood but refused!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hola everyone, this has been a crazy week!  Sometimes the days feel just really, really slow but I love sharing the Gospel.  One of our biggest challenges in Choqui has been finding investigators that want to progress.  Before I came here I don´t think there had been a progressing investigator in like a month or two, so it was such a blessing this week to find Isaiah.  Isaiah is a great kid and he´s been reading out of the Book of Mormon and keeping commitments, good good!  Earlier in the week a man named Hector came up to us and said that he wanted to change.  We´ve only been able to teach him one lesson but last night we called him and he´s really interested in learning more.  One problem though... we don´t know if he´s in our area!  We have an area called Patalup, but he lives in Patalup San Bartolo, so we´ll need to figure that out this week.
This week we did a lot of tracting in the mountain, which is really fun even though everyone is spread out.  We have to do this because the main area of Choqui is about 100 percent Evangelists.  These guys are crazy!  They do not want the Gospel at all, no matter how hard we try.  It´s funny though, you know who has the biggest, nicest houses and usually a car?  The Evangelical pastors.  They tell their members to avoid us because they want money, which has been frustrating.  Other than that, things here have been pretty good.  It´s kind of tough having a latino companion because sometimes you just need to speak English, but I´ve learned a lot more Spanish lately.  Oh, and the other day in Church I gave a talk, blessed the sacrament, and taught Priesthood!  We may not have a lot of people here in Choqui, but who do you think they send to tough areas? Tough people!  I really love something Joseph Smith once said.  He said something like, ¨Never be discouraged.  If I were sunk in the lowest pits of Nova Scotia, with the Rocky Mountains piled on top of me, I would hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage, and I would come out on top.¨ I´m doing my best, the best I can and I´ve learned so much about patience, Christ, and love.  The church is true and we have so many blessings.  God loves us.  Adios!

                                                       This is Jackson's view each morning

                                                      Spanish, Quiche, and English  

                                                     Jackson and his companion eating in their "kitchen"

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hola from Xela!

Hola everyone!  This week so much stuff has happened, I am just going to jump right in to it.  Last Tuesday we left the CCM for Xela.  It was about a 6 hour drive in a little bus, but we made it there alright and they took us to a chapel to meet with the President.  They gave us some Pizza Hut, a little orientation, then we had interviews.  During my interview, President Smith asked me things about myself.  Hows the Spanish, do you have any fears, all that stuff.  Then we started talking about the outdoors and he asked if I liked the wilderness.  I told him yeah and that my friends and I went to Yellowstone for our Summer trip.  He smiled a little and wrote some things down and from that moment I knew I was going somewhere remote haha.  They introduced us to our comps and we quickly headed out for the buses. 
My companion is Elder Andy.  He's from Ecuador and doesn't speak English, so I've been using a lot of Spanish lately.  We hoped on a bus from Xela to San Francisco.  Let's just say that this San Fran isn't the same as the one you're thinking of haha.  We arrived at like 7, but it gets pitch dark here at 7.  There wasn't another bus going to my area that night, so we stayed the night with the zone leaders.  That night we preached for about two hours, which is really a lot of fun.  That night the missionaries wanted me to eat street food but I said no way!  It looks pretty good but you can tell it's not clean.  Long story short, the next morning we hoped aboard another bus and headed to San Bartolo, where we have district meetings.  My district leader, Elder Perry, is from Pleasant Grove!  That{s been really nice, he's a really great guy.  After our DM we had to get on another bus for about 45 minutes to our area, Chocqui.  Theres a pretty nice chapel there with our apartment in the back.  I have to say, it's a tough area.  Everyone speaks Quiche, with a little Spanish, there are no stores, and probably only 350 people in a 20 mile radius. I love hiking, which is good because we've done a lot, lot of that!  I've learned soooooo much in this past week.  The first day we hiked about an hour to a house of some really, really poor but soo sweet people.  This little girl came and hugged onto my pant leg, dirty as can be but super cute.  I asked here what here name was and she said Ashley.  I hope my comp didn't see me but I just started crying haha.  The people here are so humble.  

I've learned a lot this past week.  Apparently not many gringos have been in Chocqui, especially not new ones.  My leaders keep telling me it's probably because I'm meant to do something special here.  I'm learning so much patience and humility here.  There are really no people there, but I will still do my best to change this area for the better.  Oh, we actually cover three areas and this next week we have to hike 3 hours to Patalup with our stuff.  That'll be interesting!  I'm hanging in there and doing my best, that's all I can do.  I love all you guys, I promise the Church is true and we are so incredibly blessed.  Adios!