Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 7: We haven't had any doors slammed in our face!

What a first week in the field! It has been both a challenge and a blessing. I am learning so much from all the conversations I have. Also, the cultural differences between our countries are very interesting. Many celebrate several of the Catholic holidays and it is very common to run into someone of the Evangelical faith. I see it as a good sign. These people have a religious background and a firm belief in God and Christ. So, really they are being prepared to hear the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I feel very blessed to have been sent to this place for my first area.
Some Guatemalan's in traditional colorful outfits. 
(Elder Perez did not send pictures this week) 
As far as lessons go I feel pretty confident. We have taught a few families and one preacher of a different faith. All have gone well and in general I have understood what has been said and have been able to add my thoughts and testimony to the lessons. The only difficulty I have had is when someone talks fast or for more than five minutes at a time. We ran into a very devout women of the Evangelical faith and she talked for almost ten minutes without stopping. I had trouble following the entire conversation and I could tell she was not interested in knowing more about our faith, but I gathered that she believed in Christ and had a very strong testimony of the power of God. She had had a very bad surgery of sorts and it had endangered her life, but she pulled through and gives credit to God. This is all very good, and I would rather meet people who are strong in their faith all day than get doors slammed in my face, which has not happened as of yet.
So much more has happened. I wish I could tell you every little detail but time is short. 

Until next week,
Elder Perez

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Week 6: My First Area!!

I am here in Alameda 2 zona (zone) 18 which is a part of the capital. The area is very different than what I have seen of Guatemala so far, but the people are very loving and serviceable. My trainer is Elder Sargent from Blackfoot, Idaho. He has been out on his mission for 6 months and is a great teacher. I can already tell we are going to have great success together! Yesterday afternoon we arrived at our apartment and an hour later we were out teaching. I was so excited and happily surprised to find that I could follow and contribute to the lessons fairly well.

One family we taught was very receptive. I could really feel the spirit testify of all we said. It went so well that I actually invited them to be baptized when they came to know that the church was true. They said that if God told them it was true then they would be baptized, so I am very hopeful for the future.

Sorry to cut the letter short, but thank you all for your prayers and continued support. I cannot wait to see what the future has in store.

Con amor,
Elder Perez
Trainer - Elder S. (from Blackfoot, Idaho) and Elder Perez
in their missionary apartment in the capital city Guatemala.
Zone 18 Guatemala City - The area Elder Perez and Elder S. are serving in.
Another view of Zone 18 Guatemala City
It is wonderful to see him sooo happy and to see how much he loves being a missionary.
 View of Zona 18 - on Guatemala city zone map.
Elder Perez's two year old nephew, insisted on giving his uncle Elder Perez his favorite "Umi" car to take to Guatemala. Grant named it after a car on "Umizoomi", a cartoon series he used to watch. 
Another view of Elder Perez and Elder S.'s missionary apartment. I zoomed in on the photo, the note on the door, to find out what it says.
It says, "Pray before leaving to work".

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Week 5: Great Opportunity to Proselyte While at the Guatemala City Market!

Dear family and friends,

This is the last email I will be writing you all while here in the CCM (MTC). Hopefully I can write properly, as of this week my English has been lacking, which is probably a good sign. So much has happened these last seven days, I don't even know where to begin!
Guatemala City's Town Market
2nd from left: Elder Brenden Perez
I guess I will start with the best. Our district went out at the beginning of the week to Guatemala's town square and market. I brought a little money but didn't end up buying anything except for some strawberry sticks with cream in the middle. They are one of the best candies, and I am sure Lauren remembers how I would always buy these candies while we were in Spain. Anyway, after shopping at the market we went to the square and were told to go talk to people and pass out cards and books of Mormon. I was very excited to do this, my companion Elder N. was pretty nervous though. We talked to one man about God in general and about his family, but he was not interested in learning about the church. After that Elder N. suggested we pray together and ask for guidance. We did so and right after found a very nice lady who was interested. We gave her a Book of Mormon and told her how to get in contact with the missionaries near her if she wanted to know more. We walked around some more looking for someone to talk to and then I noticed a man in a red shirt looking our way. I turned to my companion and he said, "How about that guy?" We walked his way, but we only got three or four steps before someone called out, "Elders!!" We turned to see a lady calling us over to the other side of the square. She was a member who had been talking with a man named Arturo. Arturo had been asking her why so many white Americans in suits and dresses were walking around and she in return called us over. We had a great talk, and although I did not understand everything he said to me I was able to testify about the Book of Mormon and share a scripture in Mosiah. It was a great day and I really enjoyed the opportunity.
Far Left: Elder Perez
Back Row 2nd from Left: Elder Perez
Elder Brenden Perez backing up the missionaries.
I have had such success with the language and I really feel blessed. Hermano A., our teacher, challenged us once again to only speak and read in Spanish for these last few days we have. I have kept at it and it has really benefited me. All the Latinos I talk with help me with difficult words and I can understand almost everything everyone is saying. I have also been able to play the piano more often during meals and I have really felt closer to God as I do so. All the Elders really enjoy the music and many have asked me to teach them how to play. So far I have been able to explain the keys and how to find middle C on the piano every time. I hope I can help them out and maybe teach them a hymn or two before I leave.

I love the weather here and the people. The clouds and the beams of sun that shine through them are a breath taking sight. Remember I told you that we have not been allowed to use our cameras while we are in the CCM. Well, they have allowed us to take our cameras with us a few times when we have gone on district outings, and then we give our cameras back to our teachers. I will send you all more pictures when I get my camera back. These pictures are from the last 5 weeks here including when we were at the town square.

I am glad to hear from you all, keep working hard and growing your talents.

Best Regards,
Elder Perez

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 4: Trials Bring Growth & Charity Never Faileth

Dear Friends and Family,

It has been a sad last few days here for most of my knew found friends. With their training coming to a close they all seem a little sad to go.I wish we all could serve in the same areas because feelings of brotherhood have really grown between all of us. Of course we are all excited for these fine men and women to go out and serve, as are they, but each time a group of Latino missionaries leaves we remaining English Elders and Sisters realize how things are not quite the same without them.

Missionaries in the CCM 
(Missionary Training Center) 
3rd row L-R, 6th missionary: Elder Perez
1st Row, center: CCM President Thomas Cox  & his wife Sister Rebecca Eugene
Besides these farewells the week has really gone by fast for me. I was a little sick for half of the week, but I have made a speedy recovery and am nearly back to the picture of health. The nurse here has taken good care of me and all the medication I need is on hand. Luckily those Latino missionaries have been great friends to me and have really pulled me through this and other challenges, which is why it will be so hard to see them go.

My companion, Elder N., and I have picked up two new investigators for “real play” (role play). This would make four investigators in total, but unfortunately one of our Latina investigators dropped us (stopped wanting to hear our gospel discussions). Even though it was not real, and it gives us practice and experience, we both took it pretty hard. I had been less attentive and sensitive to the Spirit during these lessons due to my illness. Still, we both wished we had done more and it was a good learning experience for us. I can only imagine how hard it may be in a real situation in the field. I never want to leave someone with doubt in my heart. I will work hard so that I can say that I did everything in my power to teach according to the spirit.

I find my English is already slipping and I will often mix my Spanish words with English together. I can only imagine how my English will change later on in my mission, not to mention by the time I return home!

I heard about mom's health? I am keeping you in my prayers and hope you will make a quick recovery. I am happy to hear that you all are helping out with everything and it gives me great comfort to know that mom is being taken such good care of. It seems as though when we are the most vulnerable that the Lord comes prepared to pick us up. I know that both dad and Krysten have been the Lords hands in this case. Keep it up and take time to continue to grow together. The one regret I feel now is how little I told and showed how much I care. You don't know what you have or how good you have it till it's gone.
Holy Bible and The Book of Mormon.
Both testify of Jesus Christ

As for the rest of this week, all has gone very well and just yesterday I had the opportunity to lead my district in a discussion on charity. This was very important for us because, as of late, we have had little patience with each other. It is amazing to me how Heavenly Father brought us all together. Some of us come from vastly different backgrounds and some with such similar ones. Not only that, the life experiences we all have are so unique, but somehow we are together now and are meant to teach and support one another. We discussed the scriptures found in Moroni chapter 7,  in The Book of Mormon, regarding charity and how it is the pure love of Christ. I commented to the group of English missionaries that love is one of the first languages we learn as children, if we cannot love each other and we share at least the same cultural background, then how will we be able to love and teach these children of God here in Guatemala. All in all I feel as if we are now moving in the right direction and I am hopeful for this next week.

Thank you all for your continued love and support. I have felt the aid of your prayers in my behalf. Hope all is going well back home and remember how lucky we are to have lived in such a blessed country.

With love,

Elder Perez