Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Week 50: Our District Attended the Temple Today!

Skyping with Elder Perez on Christmas day 
was the favorite Christmas present for each of us in the Perez Family!!!
Sorry about not writing on Monday. They didn't give us a heads up. We didn't find out until Monday that our day to email was changing this week to Wednesday. Our zone went to the temple today. It was great! The week we go to the temple our p-day and day to email always changes to whatever day we end up going to the temple.

So I hear that Josh is officially off of the RM market. That makes me the oldest Perez Bachelor! My word, I feel as if I will be keeping that up for the next 3 yrs after the mission... But anyway, it was great talking with you all. Did you like the recordings I sent you all? I can explain anything that doesn't make since if you want.

I already have bought a 2016 calendar since I will be in Guatemala for all of 2016. I even have new years goals written down and with the Lord's help I will realize those goals.

Elder Perez
The temple nativity they had was cool!
We went to eat at Applebees 
after the temple session.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 49: Twas the Week Before Christmas

As far as Skyping on Christmas I am asking around. What we are thinking of doing is having a member or two lend us a computer or apple device. We'll see if they are the charitable type, lol. But we will be talking with you all from the stake center. Hopefully we will work out the area number so that I can call and give you a heads up, if not maybe you could be waiting on your Skype account, or sis's, or dad'like all day the 25 (patience is a virtue).

We haven't been back to the educated man's home yet. We should stop by next Saturday. They haven't let us back in their house due to the anti-Mormon stuff they read. Before they dropped us we did get a chance to respond to their concerns about the anti-Mormon stuff. It was mostly the husband who doesn't want his family listening to us. They used that reason to justify their searching out anti-Mormon stuff.

Well lets see, this week we got invited over by Zone 9 to eat a Guatemalan hot dog which is like the best thing on earth! Sorry, I didn't take a pic, it was huge and I was hungry. They call them "shucos" which literally means "dirty" in Guatemala. Then we had a ward Christmas party and our investigator came and hung out with us.
Guatemalan Hot Dogs, 
Que Ricos!!!
We both got sick by the end of the week after a hard week of work. We ended up teaching a ton of new people and a few families. We will see if they keep the follow up appointment. Teasing my companion about being sick was pretty fun for me, then the following day I got sick too so the jokes on me. I've been sick longer.

Our next door neighbor woke us up early one morning with a ton of fire-works going off outside of our front door. He's a jokester that one. So that's about my week, though I am feeling a lot better I still have an upset stomach from time to time.

Please have the family listen to the recordings I made you all before we talk Christmas because I tell you all a lot about the mission and you all can have questions ready for me to answer!! Hope you all are enjoying your holiday.

Give love to the family for me!!
Elder Perez
Ward Christmas Party With A Ton of Cake!
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree...
1st Gift Exchange!
Elder C. picked my name for our gift exchange and 
gave me the stocking sock I am wearing in the photo and candy barsA sister missionary picked his name and gave him a flute.
2nd Gift Exchange!
Elder LR from Chile picked my name and gave me 
the tie I wore for our Skype call Christmas Day.

A Friendly Game of Christmas Chess

 What will his next move be?
Elder Perez and a Young Man in the Ward
Guatemalan Fruit Cake
Guatemalan Fruit Cake with Punch!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 48: We Were Surprised While Knocking Doors ...

We have been in a lot of meetings lately for the mission and in the ward. That's taken a lot of time away from teaching, but we have brought several investigators to many of these activities. We had a stake Christmas party and watched the church broadcast too, which was awesome by the way. 

We actually arrived late to this activity due to a chance lesson we had with an investigator. Everything had fallen through that day, and we were in the neighborhood of a potential investigator. We knocked on his door. A man opened the door, greeted us, and invited us to eat lunch with him and his family. We were surprised because that does not happen often. We had a great time, he really is an intellectual so the conversation was great. We were able to challenge his family to pray to know what path to take in life. His sons are our age so their dad encouraged them to find God for themselves.

The weeks work went by a little fast for us due to all the ward activities and the multi-zone meeting we had. But we still found success with some of our progressing investigators. One family in particular who had been attending church with us for the last two weeks got a little scared after reading anti-Mormon literature on the web. They were about to give us the Book of Mormon back when our accompanying member bore strong testimony to the family and we explained some of the doctrine that had concerned them. They didn't make it to church this week though, but we are not giving up on them.

Answers to your questions:
  • Lets see, good things... We watched Frozen as a mission Friday, it was the Mission President's gift so that was really cool. It was in Spanish of course, but I really enjoyed it! Everyone freaked out when there was a kissing scene which made me laugh. 
  • The weather is still sunny as ever and on occasion pretty hot, but now at night and every morning it is surprisingly cold!
  • My companion and I still get along great!
  • Sorry mom, the Walmart here doesn't accept moneygrams, only a local bank does. Don't worry about it though, all my clothes are really clean and will last throughout the next year.
  • As far as Grandma & Grandpa Perez's money they gave me for Christmas, please deposit it in my checking account so that way I won't be broke when I get home, lol. Thanks grandma & grandpa!!
  • Don't worry about sending white shirts. The local tiendas (stores) sell used clothes for dirt cheap, including short sleeve white shirts.
Thank you for your encouragement to be obedient mom, always a good thing to do.

I love you all,
Elder Perez

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 47: The Christmas Broadcast was Awesome

I kind of knew that Lexie would have a boy. Call it a missionary sense if you will. How very exciting!!! I bet they are overjoyed to have a third addition to their family. I can't wait to meet the little guy!
So, how is Lex recovering? You said that Michael, Lexie and kids are going to Idaho, does that mean they won't be at y'all's house for Christmas? Aww, well I guess you all can listen to the ipod recordings I sent you before they leave. That way all of you will have be up to speed on my last few months in the mission field so we can spend our time on the phone talking about current events.

Well lets see, fun story... For the Christmas broadcast we had a lot of less actives come. We also had a potential investigator and her kids surprise us by coming to the church nearly two hours before the broadcast. I was blown away because we invited them to come but since we had never taught them the chances of them actually coming were so very slim. I loved listening to the choir sing, especially since all of our music has been banned and all my fun Christmas songs are not allowed (that’s why I sent you my iPod with the recordings of me talking to all of you.)

Love you all!!
Elder Perez

Elder H. and Elder Perez with an investigator.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 46: Dia de Gracias - Thanksgiving in Guatemala

Thanksgiving was good, didn’t really do the feast thing, but still it was fun. I now have a ton of food storage thanks to Walmart though. I have mac and cheese and spam (really rare to find here kinda food).

People in the ward are really opening up to us and we are being feed a lot lately, so I’m happy. My companion and I are a little scared that we might get changed here the 7th of December, which would be a bummer. I am super excited for Lexie to have her baby!!! Thoughts and prayers are with you Alexis!

I contacted a guy named "Elder Perez" a few days ago, that was weird. He didn’t want to listen to us so that was unfortunate but here’s a few cool stories though, so my companion and I were looking in the area book for old investigators with potential and we came across a man who'd gone to church like 5 times which is rare. So we passed by that night and a the man who greets us is the very same old investigator. He was super excited to see us and let us in right away. He explained how he had some legal problems which is what kept him from being baptized, but he always wanted to be. We'll see what we can do for him, he is very promising after all. 

Another contact we made was amazing, which is that we knocked on a door and gave the normal door approach, then they let us in and we taught them. Tranquillo (cool) right? We invited them to go to church with us that Sunday out of habit, and they said they would. That was super surprising for me because most people don't do that. Well they came, it was super cool. They even paid for a taxi to bring them.We had offered to have a member take them but they said no. That’s all for now.

Elder Perez
Lot's of Good Food
Mission life on Thanksgiving!
A Minion Piñata
Spoils from the Minion Piñata
Egg Nog!!
Egg Nog, fries, and a hamburger! Yum!!
There is a lot to be thankful for!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 45: Exceeding Mission Contacting Goal

My companion and I are very good friends, and he helps me out a lot by just goofing around. Things have been very slow as far as progress goes in our area, but we manage to stay busy. The mission has a goal of contacting 70 people each week whether in the street or by knocking doors. Elder H and I are up to 105 contacts a week, and it has actually helped us out a lot. We have contacted into a lot of members of our ward, less actives and actives. Of course we hardly recognize many, so it makes for a funny conversation and story later on. My companion is a pretty skilled magician and loves doing tricks for the kids on the street. He did his routine once and when all was said and done, there were about 15 persons who gathered around from ages 6 to 86. Elder H was jumping for joy afterwards, I couldn’t help but laugh. Afterwards the kids brought us to their house to teach their family.

It rained again a lot this week. I’ve grown accustomed to being wet during the day, so it’s not so bad anymore. We ran into a lady Wednesday who was very sweet and said we could come teach her. Later on we discovered that she thought we were Jehovah’s Witnesses. She still let us in though. Every time we invited her to do something, like pray or read, she would say ummm.. uh.. uh (it’s hard to write what sounds she made, but basically she’d say no in a really funny way.) So that’s my week, I sure do love you all. I’ve got all the presents for you all ready, just need to hurry up and mail them to you. Hope they get to you in time!! Loves

Elder Perez

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 44: Success Working in The Rain

My companion and I have a great time together. We are often teasing each other and it is all in good fun. We have begun talking in thick English accent when we do speak English. It is so very funny and we are often cracking up at one another’s jokes. My companion often jokes with the locals that he is from Zacapa and that his father is an American. This leads to a very fun banter back and forth between him and a few of the locals. They start asking him fun trivia questions about Zacapa. He is actually pretty convincing even when he doesn’t know the answers.

It started raining like crazy over here and my companion made me leave my umbrella in the house. He said, we have to be drenched to the bone, or else they won’t let us in. That actually worked! We had a lot of success in making contacts that day. We even ran into a young family who had been taught over a year ago by other missionaries.

Our mission president has challenged us to invite one family to set a baptismal date for the 19th of December. We don’t have all that many investigators, but the ones we do have are very promising.

Well I love you all. I will be sending you all a Christmas package here soon! I still need to find a few things!

Much love!!
Elder Perez
We did a cool service project with the our ward (congregation). They painted the trees and side lines white. It rained hard that day so the paint washed off. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts right?
Boys will be boys (:
It was actually very cold and a few members of our ward stopped us to ask, 
"What in the world are you doing?!"
I just had to walk in the water mom. My companion did it so I had to too.
I’ve been very good about getting my personal food storage. I’ve gained a lot of weight lately. My companion likes to run and he about killed me the other day! I’ll work off these pounds off little by little. It’s just that the food is so cheap over here so it’s really easy to over eat!
We have a giant mall here in our area and they have a great big Christmas tree in it. I had a blizzard for the first time in forever. It was pricey for a poor missionary, but well worth it!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 43: We Have Been Sick All Week

That is so very crazy! I totally forgot about cousin Josh coming home off his mission this week. What must he be feeling right now? My word, give him a hug for me.

My new companion has been out on his mission like a year and 3 months while I have been out 10 months. Spokane, Washington is where he hails from. It’s probably not quite as close as I think it is.

We had been speaking English nonstop last week because we were bed ridden the entire week. My companion got super sick the first three days of the week and I was sick the last four days of the week. We were playing board games all week long and just talking.

I was super sick that day!
Elder H took a ton of photos of me and hit me with his light saber. I guess he got the last laugh because I teased him earlier in the week when he was sick.
Sunday, we finally felt well enough to actually go out and get to work. The first contact we made I sounded so white it was sad. We were kind of freaking out because of how fast Spanish goes. We want to devote more time to studying Spanish, more for my sake than anything. My companion has been helping me a lot with verbs and other language struggles I have. It seems that I gain a new outlook on my Spanish abilities with each new companion I have. As for this one, well I know for sure just how much I lack. He is good about correcting me all the time. He told me that he does it because as a kid he had troubles speaking and his speech therapist was always correcting him. He hated that, but it got him to fix his English. His Spanish is really good so he is a good example to me.

I sure do love you all, sorry I didn’t have any inspiring stories this week, but we really were in the house all week so there is not much to tell. I will let you know if we have any successes next week. We are basically starting over with the area once again but we’ve been having a good time working together.

Elder Perez
We see funny stuff in public restrooms.
It made me laugh.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 42: A Little Old Lady Had a Dream Missionaries Would Visit Her

You asked if the Latin holiday “Day of the Dead” is as big of a deal in Guatemala as Halloween is in the US. Yup! It’s a pretty big deal I guess. Everyone went to the grave yard to visit family graves and a good 40 members from our ward skipped church for the activity. It’s pretty interesting how entrenched in their traditions they are here. They had a Virgin Mary float parade through town, there was a band playing and a lot of fireworks. There were also some traditional sawdust carpets on the street, much like they do for the semana Santa (Holy Week), where they spread out the sawdust on the street and color or dye it to make a cool looking path for Mary’s parade to walk on.

Well the week didn’t start out great since I lost my planner the day my companion arrived. I guess it fell out of my pocket in one of the taxi cars we were in. So there went my plans, contacts numbers, and the mission credit card. I was freaking out. Luckily the emergency fund I have been saving up was in my suit case and so I’ve got hard cash for the month. I called the financial elders informing them; they will put half the month’s amount on my companion’s mission credit card and the other half on later in the month. Come to find out one of my last companions found my wallet and forgot to call or tell me about it. My wallet is on its way back to me. Unfortunately, even after it arrives, I will still have to wait for a new mission credit card.

My new companion is great! He is from Washington and his name is Elder H. He is a ball of fun. He has a little more than a year and has really been there with me every step of the way. We had good success the first three days of the week despite having lost my planner. I was thankful for that, but the next three days were really hard for me. I about had a panic attack. I introduced my companion to an old investigator of Elder C’s whom I knew was very religious. I had a feeling that I shouldn’t but we had had no success all day long getting in doors so we stopped by. I thought I would share a very small verse out of the Book of Mormon that compliments the bible. More than anything I wanted to get to know him and identify the beliefs we have in common. The moment we finished the opening prayer he went on attack mode and didn’t stop talking until almost an hour later. I was really mad at the end of it because he wouldn’t let us talk and he was very head strong with his opinions. Anyway, my companion ended up setting up another appointment with him for tomorrow, so we’ll see how that goes. If it goes south again I’m not sure what we can do for him.

We did have a little miracle occur later on that day. A family called the mission office to send us to bless a little old lady who lives in our area. We went to visit her and gave her a blessing. She opened her eyes after the blessing and thanked us. She is Catholic and she told us that she had had a dream that two young men with black slacks, white shirts, and ties would stop by to visit her. So there we were, cool huh? We then met the other part of her family that are members of our church and taught a little bit to the rest.

A few of the members really helped us out during the week. They either gave us investigator references or went with us to our lessons. There is a lot of love here. Saturday we had a ward car wash were strangers from the street came in for the free wash while us missionaries gave them a tour of the building. It was a fun little activity and we had some promising conversations that might lead to future lessons.

Our area is like two big neighborhoods. We’ve got a middle class area and a really rich area that the sister missionaries and us elders share. The rich area has a few members living in it but we are not allowed to go door to door making contacts there because of the neighborhood rules. If we get a reference from a member then we are good to go so we will see what happens. And yeah, that’s were I’m at now, just trying to work hard.

Thanks for all the love and support everyone!!
Elder Perez
My New Companion Elder H is from Spokane, Washington

Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 41: We Made a Lot of Contacts and Taught a Few People

 I’m on a faster computer this week so it will be easier for me to write you all.  Hey! I got your guys Christmas package last Tuesday. Huge, huge, surprise! Wow, Boy did I have to fight myself not to open it.
My Christmas Package Came Already!
Thanks as always for the updates. I love hearing about how the family is doing, although sometimes I wish I could be there participating with you all in those celebrations, as well as offering words of comfort to our loved ones in pain. I know God is looking out for you all, so my heart takes comfort in that.

Halloween is kind of controversial here in Guatemala because it’s viewed as satanic to a lot of the religions here, so our ward is just doing a free car wash, which includes a tour of the church. A member told me the other day that he wishes they would celebrate Halloween here, but it’s just too dangerous to do so. A lot of crazy drunks and people with bad intentions I guess. Though the Walmart here does sell Halloween decorations, I doubt I will see too many trick or treaters out on Halloween night. Hope all goes well with the trunk or treat, and the living back home thing as well.

I went on several divisions this week with different members. It was fun to be in charge. We made a lot of contacts and even taught a few people. I felt we did well. The area here is very rich and members are asking when we can come over for dinner and such things. The apartment we live in has hot water and even a washer. It’s the first time I’ve had a washer in our apartment so I am pretty content.

Things have been a roller coaster for me here. I am a lot more quite now with the other missionaries, maybe because half our district is sisters, so that’s intimidating in its own way. But hopefully with my two outgoing companions leaving, I will be more myself. I am not quite over the death of my friend, maybe because we missionaries don’t really get any closure. I see the family grieving and the next day they ship me out. I probably won’t be able to see them until the end of my mission. I found an article at a member’s house that talked more about this young man. I asked if I could keep it. Maybe I shouldn’t have kept it, but I feel as if I could have helped out the family a little bit more.

I know that Christ has overcome all things and that through honest faith and action in his teaching I can become stronger. I enjoy the work I am in, even if I don’t get to make all the decisions from day to day. It is a humbling experience, this mission, and I am excited to see just what sort of a man I will become as I let the Lord work through me.

I have been with Elder C and Elder DLC in a trio. We have had fun times together just the three of us. We just officially received our changes. My two companions are leaving for another area and I am the only one staying here in Nueva Florida, but tomorrow I get a brand new companion. I’m staying in the same place I have been for the last few weeks at least for the next month and a half, so things should be calm and smooth as far as gangs go. We don’t really have much to worry about here because everyone is rich. I guess I get to lead out, at least for these next few weeks. It’s funny because I don’t have a clue where to begin. I have never been anywhere long enough to feel confident about leading another missionary around the area. I am nervous to be leading out for a change, but the ward is super kind and helpful. I am pretty happy with the help we have been getting from the ward, they are all very nice and a few even speak English to me while I respond in Spanish, it’s pretty cool. We will see how it goes. 

Well, tomorrow I find out who this mystery companion number 6 will be.

Got to go, love you all!
Elder Perez
Elder C saying goodbye. He's a character.
Elder DLC following Elder C's lead. Elder Perez's mother feels like hyperventilating every time she looks at these pictures.
Elder C & Elder DLC are packed and ready to go
Cool Fruit
It really rained hard that day. 
The sisters were not happy about it ):

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 40: Emergency Transfers from Zone 18

Thank you for the family update, I am happy that you guys always keep me up to date. I can’t type very fast because I have a broken key board. Aw, my hands are super tired already.

You got my package! Open it by all means!!! Most of the stuff I sent in the package (yarn and cheap books) were just a decoy to mask the real present. I sent Lexie's iPod home in a compartment I cut into the pages inside one of the books. HOPEFULLY  Alexis iPod made it and wasn't stolen in route. If it is actually in the package then there should be a note with instructions. That is your present, so maybe find an old iPod charger and let Lexie or Mike charge up the thing. I put voice recordings on it for the family and I also made individual recordings specifically for each one of you to listen to. You don’t have to wait until Christmas, maybe just wait until December. Then mid-December when Krysten gets home you can all listen to it together. If you have any questions ask me.

I thought I should let you all know that I got emergency transfers from zone 18 due to a murder in our ward. Our ward secretary was shot last Monday at 4 pm our time, long after I wrote you guys. We found out at 6 pm and donated white pants and a tie for his funeral the next morning. It was really sad and shocking for me. It sounds as if it was gang related, and the paper says he was involved with the gang once, but he was a return missionary of just 21 years or maybe a little less. He and I talked often about his mission, and I know he was a righteous young man. It was sobering to stand with the family and especially his mother as she asked why God would let this happen. I didn’t have an answer I felt would comfort her right then. This is the second death I have seen here in Guatemala, and it is a hard thing to face.

I am still with Elder C, but now in a trio in Nueva Florida zone 19. Elder DLC is our third companion. Things are a lot safer here. I love you all. Don’t worry about me, I will be fine.

Elder Perez

Eating with our zone
Elder Perez, Elder DLC and Elder C are in a trio.
Alameda Zone
President and Sister Crapo

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 39: I Really Love Being Out Here

Thanks for the kind words my family, they really are a help. I want to share why I am so happy today. Well its p-day for one, so that’s always nice. The ward treats me like they really look up to me. There was a young man in the ward that was having troubles with a girl he is involved with and he asked my opinion about relationships. I shared my experience with girls in the past and how when I was his age I didn’t go steady, but went on casual dates with several girls in groups. I also shared a bit of the disaster it was having a girlfriend out of the church and it really seemed to help him out. He told me that he had a lot of respect for me and thanked me for my advice. It was such a nice thing for him to say and it really lifted my spirits as they were down.

The ward is having a primary program in two weeks and has asked me to accompany them on the piano. I have the hymns they will sing and hopefully I will be ready by the following Sunday.

We had an interesting contact the other day, were a few teenagers approached us and began asking questions. It took us awhile before we realized the one with the most questions was drunk, but one of his friends was sincere and eventually we were able to focus on him and his questions which were constructive and thought provoking. It was a learning experience and we hope to teach this young man sometime in the future away from the negative influence of his friends.

It was great to hear and learn from our fast and testimony meeting on Sunday about the desire our ward has to help us in our work. We have begun what my companion calls Mormon night. Where one of the families in the ward invites one of our investigators over for a family home evening and we help out. It has been a real success. That has been our service project these last few weeks.

I want you to know that despite any struggles or difficulties I might have here on the mission I really love being out here, more than anything because of the work I am doing and the call I have. I know that this is where I am supposed to be and there is nothing better I could be doing right now with my life than this great work.

I am hesitant to ask for shoes since shoes don’t last more than like 3 months tops over here. They sell shoes fairly cheap that get the job done for the allotted time. I have a personal shoe repair guy here that does not live too far away. He repairs my shoes for me. If I do think of anything need though I will let you know!

Got to go, I love you. Tell grant I do have some cool books headed his way for Christmas, just a few I found here in Guatemala for less than 2 dollars. Let me know when the package arrives. I love you all, sorry to hear about Aunt Wendy’s passing. I hope she passed away in peace.

Have a good week and thanks for your prayers,
Elder Perez
Wendy Lee LeGault 
January 27th, 1949 to October 7th, 2015
My Zone
Elder C and I sang "A Child's Prayer" with him playing the accompaniment on guitar. I sang the first part in English and my companion sang the second part in Spanish.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 38: I Loved General Conference.

I’m glad to read about the family happenings, although I wish I could be there participating with you all in those celebrations as well as consoling our loved ones in pain. I know God is looking out for you all though, so my heart takes comfort in that.

So this week was a little crazy. We had a multi-zone conference with President Crapo and his wife just Thursday. We of course had our Wednesday zone meeting to prepare us for Thursday’s meeting, then our planning meeting Friday as usual, so we were instructed all week long! Then with conference to boot we barely had any time to be missionaries this week. Despite that we have run into some new families and hope to start teaching them early this week.

Conference was great. I loved the talk given by President Uchtdorf during the Saturday session. He talked about work and his words were really comforting and encouraging to me. I can’t really remember why, lol. Well at any rate, all of it was good. Priesthood session was really good as well. The closing remarks of President Monson were short and sweet, "Keep the commandments." That’s all there is to it! They were simple words, but have a profound meaning, especially for us missionaries. Another fun thing about conference, I had bought and saved a few treats for conference so I enjoyed several little American goodies all throughout those two days! It was soooo hard for me to save the treats. I also bought half a wood roasted chicken for the session and three Elders and I had a mini feast, which was great. 

Another reason I loved conference; I was very happy to be able to talk with a fellow American between the sessions. My companion and I don’t often participate in the zone activities due to our busy schedules so when I do get the chance to sit down and really talk to someone in English it is a real treat. The other English speaking Elder and I were the only two gringos (white guys) in our stake center so that was pretty fun. The other gringos (whites) were in the neighboring stake church building. There were several members that came to listen to the conference in English with us, bless their hearts. They knew a little bit of English and wanted to be instructed directly from the prophet’s mouth without translation. They started nodding off soon after the second speaker started. I am sure I would have had similar difficulties listening in Spanish.

Believe it or not I have nearly everything necessary here in Guatemala. There is a Walmart and a few super markets that sell American goods. I have money of my own to buy things such as socks shirts and pants. And I am pretty resourceful here and have already had my shoes repaired by a local. I will let you know if I can’t find anything though.

I have been making sacrifices over these last few months to save up mission money as has been instructed and I finally have the desired 850 quetzals emergency fund savings! I am super happy about that even though that’s not more than 105 dollars give or take a few dollars. I have found that I can really live on less and don’t have to buy treats or snacks from the stores every meeting as the other missionaries do, this little form of self-sacrifice has helped me a lot.

I sure do love you all and can’t wait for our little Christmas chat here in a few months. Give everyone a big hug for me!

Much love,
Your son

To watch Elder Uchdorf's talk, given at the Saturday Morning Session of General Conference, that Elder Perez referred to click on the link below.

To watch our prophet President Thomas S. Monson's talk, given at the General Priesthood Session, that Elder Perez referred to click on the link below.

To watch any of the General Conference Sessions and listen to what the Lord's modern Prophet and Apostles have to say click on the link below.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 37: I Gave a Talk at Church

Thanks for the update and your encouraging words. My mission president is pretty busy this week with conferences as well as with the new rules he is enforcing on the mission. It’s for our benefit, but things are a lot stricter now (some of the Elders going home got caught disobeying rules so we are all in trouble for their decisions). It doesn’t bother me though.

Let’s see, what food do I eat. I eat a lot of tortillas as well as frijoles (beans) and chicken. Personally, I cook a lot of pasta like spaghetti and mac and cheese. Members feed us rice and what not. Ha, ha, they don’t often sell whole pigs for eating, but hey I have friends in Hawaii that do stuff like that.

My day to day routine is a lot of talking to people in the streets and knocking on doors, asking if people want to know more about Jesus. Sometime I teach people, other times I don’t. I am always walking, and walking and walking.

The talk I gave was soooooo very stressful. Awww! my word I was so unprepared. They gave me the topic Friday night (as if I have all the time in the world to write a talk in two days). 

The topic was honoring our moral standards and they attached a conference talk in Spanish for me to review. Lol, they are so sweet trying to help me out but I am a poor Spanish reader. Luckily I have been listening to nearly all the priesthood sessions from 1994 to present day to better understand my purpose as a missionary. Once I started reading the talk I recognized it as one I had listened to not too long ago so that helped a ton. Sunday came and I did my best, I took up the whole 15 minutes, but that’s just due to how slow I read (I quoted 2 scriptures and a paragraph from this talk). All in all it went well and I was given sweet compliments like, “Your talk was very inspiring Elder Perez" or “I was so impressed with your Spanish.”

Elder Perez

Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 36: We Had a Baptism this Week!

Thank you for the family update. It is nice to know for whom to pray for and for what. Things have been good here in Guatemala this last week. I am going to give a talk this next Sunday although I still don’t know what about.

I have come to realize as a missionary that people will change when they are invited to change provided it's followed with a reason to change. Perhaps the reason to change is a shocking experience or a strong spiritual one, but those two things seem to go hand in hand, just food for thought.

Last week I told you we had two baptisms for this week. One baptism went through and was great. I sent the pictures just a while ago. My companion and I had a funny experience last week with the other investigator with a baptismal date. She drank coffee so she wasn’t able to be baptized on Saturday as planned, but then in talking to a member of our ward we came to find out that she is a member already but has just been inactive for the last 3 yrs. Who knew right? I don’t know why she didn’t tell us; maybe she didn’t realize that she couldn’t be baptized twice in a row. Ha, ha, that was a close call huh? How weird would that have been if I had baptized her and then come to find out she’s been a member all along. So we are working her and her family now as less-actives.

Much love!!
Elder Perez

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 35: We Have Two Baptisms Scheduled for Next Saturday

This week was a little challenging for me as I came to the realization that I have been more of a burden then an aid to my companion (as far as lessons go). A few conversations with some friends in the ward brought me to this conclusion as I discovered that my Spanish is not as good as I think it is. These close friends broke it to me gently but it still was a blow for me. I am saddened to think that half of everything I say is either misunderstood or gibberish at best. Well needless to say I have renewed my commitment to continue to study Spanish and I really want to see a giant progress in my Spanish during this exchange. I have asked Elder C for an hour allotment of time to study language daily. I will let you know how I do.

Mom, congratulations on your new calling as a temple worker. What a great opportunity that will be.

Okay quickly just to let you know what’s been going on. Today we have “La Antorcha” which is like a marathon for Guatemala since tomorrow is their day of independence and all. We don’t get to participate in the marathon but at least we can watch the runners go by. Later on tonight we have a ward activity we do get to participate in and I think it has to do with “La Antorcha” as well.

Besides that the week has been a little stressful. Good stressful though because we have two baptisms scheduled for next Saturday and we are wrapping up the final discussions. Of course with every baptism comes the investigators personal worries and what not, so that’s been going on too. Quick story so we ran into a man the other day who speaks English (what joy, what joy) he insisted we speak in English to help him practice so we did just that. I heard my companion struggle with English and could see myself in his shoes right then. It was a good reminder to keep trying as well as the importance of patience on his part with me. So that was a nice treat. Anyway loves you a ton, hope you all enjoy Lauren’s birthday and give my love to her and a kiss for dad since I wasn’t able to wish him a happy birthday last week.

Elder Perez

Monday, September 7, 2015

Week 34: My Companion is Blessed with Great People Skills

Glad to hear that you and dad, Alexis’s family and Aunt Lainie’s family got to go camping at Silver Falls State Park. Sorry to hear about those college guys who were drunk and kept everyone up. Some people drop to the lowest common denominator due to peer pressure. Oh my word, reading about those two close calls with my nephews, one almost being hit by an SUV and the other almost setting a pine tree on fire made my heart race! AWE thank heavens they are okay. Ha, ha love the headline you envisioned too, “Biggest National Park Fire in the Northwest and It’s All the Perez’ Fault."

I have been very impressed with my companion’s people skills. I don’t know how he does it but someone can straight up say, I don’t think I want to listen to the discussions anymore. And he’s just like, are you sure? He is very blessed with a great love of people and others really seem to feel that love.

Something interesting happened Sunday that made me think about how to deal with my ongoing challenge of expressing my faith in Christ in Spanish. Elder C and I arrived early at church yesterday, 30 minutes early to be exact. This is very uncommon for us and was a nice treat. I decided to play prelude music on the piano for the ward since we usually just listen to the hymns on audio anyway. Of course I was a little rusty and only played the hymns I knew, but I was happy to be doing so and it felt nice to play again after so long. Finally we started sacrament meeting and only then did the bishop announce the hymns. I thought to myself, better not push my luck, so I sat down expecting that we would sing the hymns without accompaniment like we always do. Then the conductor waved me down. I explained I didn't like playing for the ward without practicing first and that I just couldn't do it without knowing the hymns. (I had asked the bishopric for the hymns at least 3 days before Sunday to practice for them but each week, as is custom here, no one knew what the hymns would be). Anyway he assured me I could do it and so I gave in and played my best with only the right hand. Now I made a lot of mistakes during the hymns but I remembered how in my last ward I was blessed each time I played for the ward (it seemed as if the hymns got a little easier each time perhaps for the practice of sight reading). Anyway maybe that's all I need is to just open my mouth as God commanded Moses to do, as well as Jeremiah and just do the best I can do.

Love you a ton,
Elder Perez

Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 33: We Don't Need to be Perfect to Pray and Read the Scriptures

District and zone meetings always are great fun, just yesterday our zone had a very inspiring reunion where I felt a renewed sense of confidence in my ability to contact and teach effectively. Our last district meeting we did an activity called “Christ is the Reason”. Or I think that’s it in English, no se... But it was great. We all closed our eyes while our district leader read out load the activity. It helps you imagine and understand Christ’s love for you individually and Elder C and I have already used this very activity in several of our lessons with members.

We ran into a young man the other day who is very intuitive and a great listener (especially when it comes to my turn to share). His mother is a member of six years more or less and this is his first time listening to Elders. Just yesterday we stopped by for our next appointment to find him a little unsure if he wanted to continue listening to us. I was unsure what to do but my wise companion was persistent and refused to go without knowing why. He told us he didn’t feel worthy to read, nor pray and boy did we have an answer for that problem. Elder C shared two inspired scriptures which changed this young man’s mind. Great experience, loved being part of it.

The week has gone by with some new investigators and a lot of prayer. I have been reading a lot of talks as well as scriptures. We had a multi mission conference with Elder Nelson the doctor one and it was great, although we only got to listen over broadcast because he was in El Salvador. Our zone has a temple trip this Thursday morning.

Ha, ha, awe that’s too funny that Elizabeth Steele said that she met some Latin missionaries in her mission that were in the Guatemala Missionary Training Center with me. I am glad to hear that they all said they really liked me. Honestly, I don’t remember one of their names. How sad is that!!! I was trying to make friends with all of the Latinos during my time in the Missionary Training Center that I never did memorize one of their names. I feel so bad. I only remember Robin who I gave one of my sets of Batman & Robin socks to. He is in a neighboring mission here in Guatemala.

Love you all and thanks so much for your prayers support and emails,

Elder Perez
PS Tell Elizabeth Steele I say hi, and good luck with school this January