D&C 76:22

And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! D&C 76:22

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

So, hey there everybody!!! It was good to hear from all of you!! ... I still don´t sound totally like a native, but I doubt I ever will 100%.

 It´s good to hear the office is still doing good, and tell Lonzi to send pictures of the baby! I hope all goes well with that, and tell everyone at the office hi for me. I wish I could have been at the temple dedication with you guys, and it´s sad to hear that elder packer is going so fast, but he will be here till his work is done, so whenever that is, it´s right.

Mason, it sounds like you had an awesome week! I can´t wait to see your creation with hangers, and hope that you do sell it to a museum. How many 12 year olds can say they have done that?! I bet your soccer team is just killing it, and it´s awesome to hear that you have A´s in everything! Keep that up, your study habits will help you a ton in life.
 
Cody, I wish I could listen to the new MCS album with you. That sounds like it´s so good. Brogan was raving over it before I left and it made me sad that I can´t listen to it. Keep it safe, and we will hopefully jam to it when I get home in 21 months. If you´re not in the MTC already, that is. It´s good to hear your team is destroying, and know that you will continue to do well. And to have Javi tell you ¨Good shot...¨ I think you´re life is complete. Just give up with everything else. Except the Drums. Your soccer world is complete now. It´s good to hear that Jordan football is doing well.
 
Erbear, you´re starting!!! What did I tell you? I told you you would, and look atcha. Are you doing soccer and volleyball at the same time, or just the one? How is school going? How are your classes? It´s good to hear that all your brothers are being nice to you, and I think even Chance will try to make a better effort.
Thanks to Malerie for writing.  Tell everybody at the singles ward Hi for me, and let them know that I am doing well.

So this last week was super Good!!! We found......drum rolllllllllllllllllllllllll. . . 14 new investigators, and if all goes well, hopefully 11 of them will be baptized next month! There are four or five that are bien pila, which means like ready for the font, so we will see how it goes. We went back to the lady´s house that we dropped and then visited again, and she changed. I think we lost our window on that one. But all that means is now isn´t her time, and hopefully missionaries in the future will find her. I think that this week paid off though.
So last week, for pday, we did what we always do-email, lunch, and then soccer at the church. It´s conch soccer, on concrete, with the goals that support a broken pair of basketball hoops. We play like every week. I don´t know if the Latins like a gringo that can play, and outplay them, and there are two of us that can do that. Elder Beesley, whom the Dahls know, played and won two state championships with Waterford, so he played with Dolbin. He was MVP of the 2a his senior year, and is pretty good. we play on the same team every week, and just kick butt. 
 
So Tuesday we had an investigator that we were hoping would be home, and was home, but the lights go off and they like to play hide and seek when we knock. It´s okay, I have learned patience here, and am a very patient seeker. That means I will go back unannounced with Nava. We found another guy who was super chill about the gospel, and understood a lot of it, but wouldn´t commit to anything. We also had a lesson with our used to be preggo investigadora, but she isn´t pregnant anymore. They have here their ¨cuarentina¨, which literally means 40 days of not doing anything. They even wear ear plugs so bad air doesn´t get in and cause headaches, because after birth the body is open. Which is true, but not your ears!!! So she told us she can´t get baptized until her forty days are up. Whatever. We will work with her.
 
Wednesday was rough. Our correlation meeting with Elnicky and Sorenson is Wednesdays at 6:30 am, but this week the bishop wasn´t at his house and we had no warning, so we wasted like an hour of sleep and study time. So ticked. But then we had a sort of rough day. All of our lessons fell through, and we spent pretty much the whole day contacting, which makes for a long day. It was rough, and I kept thinking that I was doing something wrong, or our lessons wouldn´t be falling through and we wouldn´t be losing investigators like that. I said a really really long prayer that night, and just waited for a response for like 10 minutes, to know if it was me, or what I need to do better, but nothing came. The next day in district meetings our DL was talking about people that get dropped, and he said, ¨if you know that you are teaching everything right, that they understand, and they still say no, it´s not your fault, it´s that they weren´t prepared.¨ HOLY cow, God answers prayers.  I know I am doing everything I can to help these people, and they still say no, it´s not my fault. I am teaching the best I can, and they still don´t want to listen, it´s like they are rejecting the Savior, it says in the bible, so I don´t worry to much about it. I have other investigators and my own salvation to worry about. 
 
Thursday was really good! We had a lesson with two of our promising investigators, and we read 3rd nefi 11 with them. The spirit was so strong, and they could both feel it. They both want to be baptized, and the son, Jorlyn, who is 14 wants to come to church and everything, they came yesterday. They were only going to stay for an hour, but he told his mom they were staying for two, and that was pretty much the end of it. They stayed for two. The mom isn´t married, and her pair seems indifferent, but those two, if we can get her married, will be baptized for sure. 
 
Friday was FLIPPING AWESOME!!! I contacted a house last week, and the kid who I talked to was 16, and there didn´t look like there was anyone home with him, so I was a little doubtful that coming back would do any good. We went back, however, and I was more than pleasantly surprised. There were 9 PEOPLE sitting in the living room waiting for us. Two are members, one active, Ruth, but she goes to a different ward that is not the right one, and her daughter, Luz, who is inactive. Ruth has another daughter, Miriam, who is non member. Miriam has a daughter who is 11 and non member. Ruth has two grandsons who live at home; Alfredo who is 16 and Luis who is 13, nonmembers. And Lalo, who is an old guy that lives there, and I don´t know if he is a husband to Ruth or a brother or something, but he is 58 and non member. Then there are two 7 year olds, Nicole and Fari. Pretty much, the five that aren´t members have baptismal dates, and are PILA!!  Four of the five investigators went to church yesterday, and they feed us!! They have some money down here, so we are always taken care of at their house. So Good. 
 
Saturday there was a mega baptism between three zones- ours, cholu oeste, and monjaras, and there were like 60 baptisms. It was really cool, but we didn´t have any baptisms there, we just went to support. Saturday we left after that and visited some inactives, and taught the huge family again. 
 
Funny experience from Saturday. To give a little background, I was talking with an elder in Teguc during training, and he told me that I was in trouble, and it was because I am white, tall and blond, with blue eyes. Until Saturday, I really didn´t think about it. We went to visit a new convert from like 3 months ago that is moving houses to escape some problems with her ex husband. So we passed a house on the way to her new one, and there were like 3 teenage girls sitting outside of the first house. We greeted them with Buenas, which is short for buenas tardes, or good afternoon. Everybody here greets everybody, and everybody responds. So they responded with Buenas back. I then hear giggling and in heavily accented English hear, ¨How are you?¨ I turned and said, bien, gracias, because sometimes English makes people uncomfortable. I turned back to walk and hear more giggling. and then came, ¨See you later,¨ which I ignored. we talked with the new member for like 20 minutes, and when we went back past this house.  The door was closed. So Nava was like, let´s go contact, to which I agreed. We went and knocked, but they didn´t open the door, just talked through the grate, and the house was dark inside. Nava asked if they could open the door so we could talk to them, to which they replied...Si, pero sólo si el chielito puede entrar solo.- yes, but only if the little white boy can enter alone. Nava explained that wasn´t going to work, I was pretending like I hadn´t heard anything, and we left. Those girls are called Geepers- flirts, and that can be applied to a missionary or non missionary, male or female. pretty funny.  Apparently it only gets worse. Most gringo missionaries that I have talked to that are tall, white, blond haired and blue eyed have at least one story of a baptism where right after they baptized like a teenage girl or 20ish year old, they have either been kissed by the girl, or tried to be kissed. Hopefully nothing like that happens to us.

Yesterday it rained super hard, and when it rains like that, there is no point in going outside. It started after church, at like 2, so we stayed in yesterday. We had 7 investigators at church, which is almost more than the first four weeks combined.

That brings us back to today.  Gonna go eat with the gringo´s, play some soccer, and relax a little.

To answer your question, dad, to get water, we have a pila at our house, on one side, that is open with no techo. The water comes like four days a week for a few hours at a time.  It´s not clean, so we buy our drinking water- in bags, of course,- from the Pulperia across the street. you should have a picture from earlier of my Pila. The music is getting a little better.

Church is hard here. I wish that they could spend one weekend in the states to see how it is run.  One leader has suggested multiple times that the elders quorum pass for a few weeks to show the the ym  how it was done. I immediately said that that was totally against the rules, and he pretty much ignored me. He always asks the gringo missionaries how things are done in Utah, and we tell him the same way things are done here. It´s practically the same, just with Spanish. He asked me how we keep the sabbath day holy in Utah, and I responded the same way we do in Choluteca. The commandments are the same, and you keep them wherever you are. Yesterday he was talking about how there was no unity in the elders quorum, and I realized that was because nobody home teaches. I suggested home teaching, but he said that they don´t have enough to do so. I retorted, how do you think you´re going to find more?! 

Well, love you guys. Thanks for your prayers, and everything.
I have seen this week the power of prayer, and it helped me realize that prayer really does work. You can pray about anything, and God will answer your prayer.
Love you all!!!
Zach

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hola everybody!!! This week has been good! Long, and a little tiring, but really good. We did have our baptism, we found a ton of new investigators, we went to Teguc, and it´s pday!!!
So, To answer your questions mom, no, i have not received your package yet. I probably won´t until next week. 
 
Good to hear that everyone is doing well in sports. Doesn´t surprise me that Erin is killing it in volleyball, she is going to keep doing freaking awesome. I wish I could be there to watch Cody and Mas and Erin play, I would love to watch any sport right now. and mas...whooooo buddy!!! sounds like your team is dominating! How is captaincy? Lead by example, and always give it everything. Same goes for the other two. And thanks for writing me more, Mas, I loved hearing about your week. Straight A´s, huh? I think we all knew that you had that in you. Keep it up! As for the other two, school and life only get more hectic from here, so get ready. In the real world, you don´t get breaks, you get more to do, and you get to find time in between to sort of rest. I hope that that Smith/Schmidt book goes well, sounds like a cool project! And dad, how´s work?? New doctor fitting in okay? Find a new hygienist yet?
 
Well, our week was good. It started with a phone call on Tuesday, letting us know that Nava and I, and all trainers and new missionaries from the last two transfers, had training in Teguc on Wednesday, starting at 9 in the morning. That means that we were on a bus at 4 that morning. And, to top it all off, I learned that I get really carsick if I can´t see out of the front of the bus. So, of course, I threw up. We got to Teguc, had training, ran some errands, and came back. The bus was supposed to leave at 430 in the afternoon, but it left promptly at 515. I threw up again on this trip. and then once more after getting off the bus in Choluteca. It was horrible. Elder Beesley and elder Peña stayed with us both Tuesday and Wednesday nights, because they live another hour outside the zone from everyone else.
 
Then Thursday I did splits with another elder Peña, our DL, who is super great. convert and everything, El Salvadorreño, 23. I learn a lot with him. 
 
Subsequently, I talked to him about some things that were frustrating me, and he talked me through some of it. Then Friday, I had an discussion with Nava about some stuff. It was frustrating because I can´t quite get my point across sometimes in Spanish, my argumentative Spanish just isn´t there. But we fixed everything and went out tracting in one of the more difficult parts of our area. We found two new families that we have goals to be be baptized the first weekend in October, so we will see how that goes.
 
Then Saturday was our baptism!! I have pictures of Nava, Amanda, and I, as well as the family that helped us find Amanda, Hermana Norde. She is the one on the left with the kid, Ariel, standing in front of her, and her sister, Dilegna, on the other side of Amanda. Hermana Norde feeds us everyday, and we pay her. Super cool. her son is nice, but crazy, and has the same problem as Cody when he was little, which is that he can´t speak at all. Take the bike outside in spanish is saque la bicicleta afuera, but for him it comes out ¨ta te ta ti ti te ta a tera.¨ Impossible to understand, and he needs a frenectomy on his tongue, He can´t use it at all and nobody here knows how to parent.  Everybody just bribes or hits their kids. She bribes him, or just keeps a belt around her to keep him scared, or tells him that she will tell his dad to get him to behave. Thanks for raising us the way you did!!!
The baptism was supposed to start at 5 on Saturday. We showed up to the church at 3:30 to start filling the pila, or font. We got there and realized that the doors were locked to the font, and we called the bishop. He said, well, they changed the locks, and no one has a key, so just jump the glass into the font. The font here doesn´t have a door in front of it, and the glass is like 7 feet tall. So we stacked some chairs and tables, and I jumped over and in to open the doors. The bishop showed up early, which was a surprise, at 450, but Amanda and Norde didn´t show up till 5:30. Everybody showed up at 5:30, so we baptized her then and it went well. We confirmed her the next day, yesterday, at church.
 
So, playing the piano, sucks. We sang because I have been given much at the speed you would sing like, called to serve. Nobody here can read music, knows the tempo, nothing. I think next week, I will talk to the bishop about taking a little time to go over with the ward tempos of songs, just to get them to sound a little better. and then they asked me next week to make up an arrangement of numbers 48 and 49 in the Spanish hymnbook, which are divina luz and te necessito si. Divine light, I don´t know what one that is in English.  All I know is that isn´t the name in English, and I need thee every hour. I sort of laughed, because It´s not like they can sing in anyways. oh well. It won´t be that hard at all. They are in the same key, and 49 starts on 3 of the 4 notes that 48 ends on. I just have to bs an interlude. 
 
This week, we also found a lady whose husband left her and her two year old son, who I think is autistic, or something, to live with another woman and wants a divorce. This lady, Brenda, told us that she told her husband that she would welcome him back, everything, forget it all, but he won´t. We have an appointment with her next week. Our other golden investigator, Pamela, wants to get baptized, but her mom won´t give her permission. She came to church with us yesterday, and told Nava that she is going to beg her mom this week, and we are going to pray for her. Nava asked her what her back up plan was if mom still said no. Pamela responded that she was going to do it anyways. Nava asked her if she was willing to make a sacrifice like that in her life, because she could end up getting kicked out or something. She looked at him and said, ¨Well, the church is true, isn´t it?¨ HOLY COW!!!! So we will see where this goes.
 
Because our week was crazy, we didn´t have a whole lot of time to teach. but I did go on splits with Elder Beesley on Tuesday, and as we were walking, it was super dark. We started walking quickly because we could see a gang of young adults walking behind us, so we were moving, and I was looking for a house to try and get into, but they were all dark. Then, one house of an old investigator was lit up, so we started walking that way.  We got to the door, and they let us in. The mom, Jeni, was the one we were teaching. Her son and daughter-in-law had twins last month, so it was super hard to catch her at home, and we didn´t feel like she was progressing, so we dropped her. We started talking to her that Tuesday, and she told us that she had a testimony of the Book of Mormon, that she was sharing it with her friends, everything. Her daughter-in-law asked us if we had an extra copy on us because Jeni had told her how much this book had changed her life, and she wanted to read it. Dang. Nava thinks they are a lost cause, but I beg to differ, so I will be taking the lead on this one. If it doesn´t work out, oh well, but I don´t want to neglect them, and then have to answer for why we didn´t try harder with them. Super cool experience.
 
Then, on Wednesday, while we were in Teguc, a couple of neighbors in our area got in an argument, and one ended up stabbing the other twice. There was no blood, so they took the 26 yr old mother of two to the hospital, and she died en route. So sad. Turns out her family are members, but they haven´t been to church in at least like four years. I stopped by with Peña on Thursday, and we talked with some of the family and some neighbors for a little bit. The lady who killed her is 8 months pregnant, and we learned that nobody that lives near them gets along with them. The police aren´t doing anything, and the girl has to be kept inside because some of the neighbors tried to hurt her, and they are vandalizing that house now. So sad.

Love you guys. I hope that everything goes well this week, and good luck with everything. Lemme know how the utes do.

Love ya all!!!
Zach
 
Elder Nava, Amanda and Zach
 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hola familia!!!
So this week was good!! It was busy, and a little disappointing at times, but good!. Tuesday we had a lesson with our previously dropped golden investigator, Amanda. She is getting baptized this next Saturday!! Granted, Nava and De La Cruz, his previous comp, have done most of the work, but I like to think I helped a little bit. We will see how this goes. I will get pictures to send next week.
We also spent two hours Saturday chopeando. That is Spanish for chopping, which translates into using a machete and some pruning shears that I accidentally broke, they don't make products for Americans here, to clean up the weeds around the front of the house and the trees and wild bushes and stuff. It made me think of the summers spent weed whacking in the yard, and I would have loved to have a freaking machine. What took us two hours would take me maybe ten minutes with a machine down here. But it was good and I apologize if I ever complained about that. We did it at the house of a non-active and her sister, who is an investigator, and her mom, who is stubborn as a mule. We had a super, SUPER great lesson with the sister, Pamela, last night. She wants to get baptized so bad, but the mom won't let her right now, she's only 15, and as far as the mom is concerned, she has been baptized already. It's frustrating, and it makes my heart hurt, if that makes sense, because I know what the girl feels, and it is a feeling of disappointment. Kind of like, when you know something is true, and the person can't accept it because they can't see past their own understanding and pride. Hmmm,,....did that sound familiar when I was typing it. Anyways, she is hopefully going to be baptized soon. hopefully. We had a family, Alexander and Lesvia, that have been with us for like a week and a half, almost two, actually, and they seem to be getting it. The problem is, they won't go to church. Yesterday, we went to get them for church. Alexander was outside, and we knew that his partner was inside. He saw us and disappeared into his house, and the door shut. His two nephews told us that no one else was home, which was funny because we could hear Alexander's voice from inside the house. This family was a HUGE hope for us, and now we don't know what to do with them. Again, it makes your heart hurt....I think that is what it means when it says in PMG to love your investigators. Feel the sorrow of them not accepting a challenge, or keeping a commitment. I leave appointments like that and am just devastated.
So, also this week, Nava and I talked about the fact that I never talk and we fixed that. We have left the 12 week training program behind, and are now working like normal missionaries. I am contacting a lot more and talking a ton more during lessons. The problem is that most of our investigators hit a two or three lesson mark before they can't see past themselves, or they won't accept a doctrine, and we have to drop them. So all that work we did two weeks ago finding people payed off for a week, but now we have to find people all over again. That's the work though.
Dad, you hit the nail on the head. Nobody here knows how to sing with a piano. It's really funny, but kind of frustrating. I know the point of hymns is to praise God, and he probably doesn't care how it sounds, but if I were God, it would definitely help a little bit. Probably a good thing that I am not God, among other reasons.
I went on splits last week with our DL, and it was good. I like working with other people, because I learn new stuff. For example, with contacts, Nava is super direct, but elder Peña likes to chat with the person for a minute, and then bring up the church. I like to mix the two, because my conversational Spanish is lacking a little, but with practice it will come.
Our ward is pretty big. We live on the far end of it. it takes us like 20 minutes to walk to church if we miss the bus. Elnicky's comp is from draper, a Landan Sorenson. He knows Jeremy Allan, and lives up by Sprucewood.
The food is actually really good. We really only eat one meal a day, but most members will offer us something if we stop by for a sec.
So, spiritual story for the week. We were teaching a lesson about the priesthood, which is something a lot of people here don't understand. The whole "i have already been baptized" thing can be a real problem because they don't understand how important authority is. As I was explaining where the authority comes from and using JSH 1:68-69 and 72 to do so, I told them that I have this authority and so does my companion. The thought popped into my head. 'How can you make that claim?' I straight up said to Alexander and Lesvia, "So, right now, I feel like both of you are wondering how I can make the claim that I have this authority. Am I right?" They both sort of looked surprised, and nodded. I keep my line of authority in my Spanish Book Of Mormon, and so I pulled it out and explained that my authority comes in an unbroken chain straight from Christ. THE POWER OF DISCERNMENT IS REAL. I have experienced it for myself, and have noticed it at other times during lessons since then. Holy crap.
So, Davids letter was interesting, because we get like the same rain here. In fact, if you are caught out in it, the roads turn into rivers and you can't go anywhere, and the water can get up to 2 feet deep. Naturally, you find those spots on accident. It took 40 some odd hours for my boots to dry all the way. I will be buying wading boots, because everybody here says that October is the worst month, and that it can go for days without stopping.
Tell Bishop thanks for the letter, and it's awesome to hear that everyone is doing well. Tell him thanks so much for everything he's done for me, and that I am working as hard as I can.
Everybody sounds like they are doing well. Cody, I am not surprised to hear your team is killing it. Erin, I am sure you will do fine in volleyball. You have an amazing capacity to work hard, and your consistency will show through. Mas....dude, really??? I wait all week to hear from you, and I get a "I don't really have anything to tell you?" TELL ME ABOUT FREAKING ANYTHING, I DON'T CARE. I love hearing from you. Anything. Soccer, school, friends, girls, I don't care. Something. K bud??? love you. and Cody, lemme know when you play with bobby. Record it if you can. and I can't wait to get home to hear that song.
Everything's good here. Gonna go watch a movie and play some ball for pday. Don't worry, the movie is mission pres. approved.
Love you guys,
Zach

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Week 2 .....  So, this week was good! I have showered out of a bucket everyday, eaten good food, and been in some really poor houses. Nothing new. We had to drop our golden investigator-she wouldn´t get baptized, at least not yet. we spent practically all week looking for people to teach, and it´s paying off. We have a ton of lessons to follow up on.
This week also, today being pday, we drove in a bus to the top of a freaking mountain, where we hiked for thirty plus minutes, and played soccer on top of a mountain!!!!! IT WAS SO COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish I would have brought my camera. I definitely will if we go there again.
Sorry if my words melt together, this keyboard sucks.
So, yesterday, I was a little concerned, because as much as I love my comp, he never lets me talk because he thinks I am nervous. Truth is, I never talk because he just ends up taking over. So I never do any talking if we are contacting, because he ends up taking over, and I look like the gringo that can´t speak Spanish. Well yesterday, I was sort of fed up with it. I said a silent prayer that I would be led to somebody that could benefit from hearing our message,. I said amen and just started walking. I am still learning the streets, so it surprised him that I was so sure, I think. I stopped at a crossroads, an intersection, and just kind of looked at the road. I took a turn, and he mentioned to me that he and a previous comp had contacted this street. We walked past a house, and I stopped. I looked at him and asked, "What about that house?" He said no, he didn't think so, so I proceeded to walk to the two women sitting outside, and started talking to them. I knew that I was speaking, but was just kind of talking. One of the ladies was Catholic, and tried to argue something, but I responded in practically perfect Spanish, and it made sense. Long story short, both of them, ojala, are coming to church next week. I think that was my first experience where I pretty much put myself at the disposal of the Lord, and I think Nava knew that I could talk to people. All the members tell him that I speak really well, and one of the elders in our zone didn't believe that I was brand new- He pretty much told me I had been here for six months. Whatever dude!!! Brand new. Granted, I speak good Spanish, but that isn't all of it. God really does give us the gift of tongues.
So, speaking of Malila, I am not surprised. I kind of actually guessed that this week, she was on my mind a lot. It doesn't astound me that she died, and while I am sort of sad, it was her time.
Everybody sounds busy as usual. D and C 58:26 , always be doing something, because the Lord hates a slothful servant.I hope Payson was good, and don't feel bad that I didn't get to come camping, because I feel like a signed up for two years of camping. I realized that camping after this would never be the same. Go somewhere where you are always dirty, there are a lot of bugs, food is a little different, and you shower out of a bucket?? Oh, yeah, doing that. Only difference is they speak a different language here.
Thanks for the pillow, I am needing one.  Nava likes our room freezing, so I could use a blanket, but it would be a waste, because I would never use it after this ever.
Our ward is good. Elnicky is in our ward, it's split into two areas. It's super weird, and I learned that they don't use the piano because nobody can play. But nobody told me there was a piano until yesterday after church, so I will be playing next week. It's amazing here-the ward mission leader leaves on his mission in November, the ym presidency is mostly newly ordained elders, lots of young guys, and the building doesn't have a/c. oh well.
Wendy Horton sent me a dear elder. Tell her thank you so much. It sounds like her family is doing well, and I was glad to hear from them. Tell them I am doing well, and maybe show them some pictures.
To end with a fun fact!!! Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador are the three most dangerous countries that the church has missionaries!!!!
Love you all so much,
Zach