Monday, May 25, 2015

Week 20: I Was Able to Testify that This Life is Only the Beginning

It has started to rain occasionally over here, which is a blessing for those of us from Oregon, namely Elder K and I. I have always felt closer to God through nature and have begun to notice other proofs of his presence here in La Reforma.

My companion and I recently tracted into a family who has distant relatives that are member of the church. They are welcoming and the mother in particular enjoys listening to our messages. We invited her to baptism a few days ago and she said that if when she read the Book of Mormon and came to know it to be true then she would be baptized.

Another great experience we had was with an elderly woman we have been seeing. We had hardly begun chatting with her when she broke out in tears about the death of her husband years ago and how she wished she could have had a family with him. I was able to testify that this life is only the beginning and that she will be with him again. My companion also testified that she would be able to one day have a family and have her wish come true. It is amazing how God works through us. As challenging as a mission is the rewards far outweigh the trials. And even with my own difficulties and questions God always seems to find time to let me know he cares. For me that little rain storm was it.

Love you all,
Elder Perez
Elder K is a true Oregonian, admiring a fern!

Two Oregonians in Zacapa, Guatemala

Monday, May 18, 2015

Week 19: I am serving in La Reforma Zona 2 Zacapa, Guatemala!

I am serving now in La Reforma 2 of Zacapa, Guatemala about 3 hours from the city and capital where I started out. I figured it would be hot and even a little humid here in Zacapa, but I never would have guessed I would be constantly soaked in my own sweat; truly it is hot over here. We live in a very nice place and my companion is from Hondurous. He is a very, very, very patient and quiet person. He works hard and does his best and all that. Despite the heat and being sweaty all the time I am loving the ward, and my companion and I are working hard. Because of the heat, cold showers are so very relaxing that they have truly become one of my favorite parts of the day.

The ward is very small compared to the others I have served in, but there devotion is almost stronger due to the lack of helping hands. We have a very hard working counselor serving the bishop as well as filling in for ward mission leader. He also teaches two of our classes on Sundays. For a man his age he sure has been serving beyond the call of duty. This is inspiring to see and makes me want to serve all the harder. 

My companion Elder T and I are getting along well. I am thankful my Spanish has been improving because we have had some fun discussions over the last few days. I was impressed that I should begin making meals at the house for both my companion and I this last week. The meals are nothing extravagant and sometimes they lack in flavor, but Elder T. always eats what I make him and he has been helping out by washing dishes. We are planning on sharing food for this exchange and I have the goal to make us at least 3 meals a week. As far as my studies go I have been able to gather up the Liahona magazines for the last 4 or 5 years of general conference. I don't know when I will be able to read them all but it was a pretty exciting thing for me.

As far as the missionary work goes I have found that the people are a lot different here then they are inside the capital. Nearly everyone lets us in to teach, which is nice, but they aren’t always interested in what we have to say. We have taught lessons where even with inspired questions the investigator doesn’t say a word. This is not the case with everyone though and these are new challenges I am looking forward to overcoming.

Much love,
Elder Perez

Elder Perez and his companion Elder T
Zacapa District Missionaries

Elder Perez says,  I want one!
Not in our house son. Your father and I draw the line at having pets that can eat us.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Week 18: We Had a Great Ward Missionary Activity. Surprise, Transfers Again...

(Elder Perez had to pack for transfers today so he just forwarded his letter to his mission president. He was able to Skype with us yesterday for Mother's Day. It was so wonderful to see him and tell him in person that we love him).

President Crappo,

I must say, Elder Y and I were pretty surprised to find out that we both received transfers, especially Elder Y. He has a true love for the people here in Campo Marte and all the members and many of our investigators are sad to see us go. But I am confident that the good we have done here will leave an impact on those members and others. We had a ward (congregational) activity and it turned out really well. We had three different classes for the activity. One was on the Plan of Salvation, one on the First Vision and the last class was on the Restoration of the Gospel and the Book of Mormon. We split up the ward into two groups and had them go from class to class to learn how we can apply and teach others these fundamental principles. Elder Y and I had a local carpenter make us a little arch with a keystone for a good Book of Mormon example. It turned out great and we all enjoyed the activity.

Mother's day was very nice, being able to talk with my family for the first time on the mission actually reminded me of the importance of making the best of these two years. I saw all of my siblings and there lives progressing in different directions and I thought to myself "I will never have another opportunity quite like this, I had better work hard here and worry about the rest of my life after my mission...everything will work out." This was very comforting and helped me recommit to working even harder here on the mission. I am sad to say goodbye to Elder Y and all my new friends and investigators here in Campo Marte, but I am optimistic for my next area and excited to serve.

Thanks as always,

Elder Perez
Elder Perez, Elder Y & ward member in the Plan of Salvation Class. They really went the extra mile on this activity. Very impressive!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Week 17: I was Transfered, Now Serving with Elder Y in Campo Marte, Guatemala Zone 5

This week was a lot better, thanks for your concern and support for me and thank you all for your prayers for them (the family whose husband & father took his life last week).You and everyone else’s prayers mean a lot to me. I am grateful for my mission president. He called me last week to see how I was doing. I look forward to interviews with him at the end of exchanges.

I have a new companion, Elder Y from Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, and I am now serving in Campo Marte in Zone 5. Elder Y and I are getting along great and with luck I will improve my Spanish enough to be an aid in lessons more than a crutch, though I do participate as much as I can. Elder Y. is such a good teacher; no one argues with him, he just explains things so clearly. I really admire that about him. It is a little overwhelming to be in a whole new area all of a sudden and at times I feel completely lost but the ward (congregation) is so kind and very welcoming. They all seem very interested in helping with the work. On top of that my district (the missionaries who serve in the surrounding areas) is very fun. Elder Y. and I are happily involving several members with our (investigator) visits, and a new convert in particular aided us in inviting a young man to be baptized. He has a fetcha (baptismal date) for the beginning of next month. As for myself spiritually, I am feeling much closer to God as I branch out my (Spanish) vocabulary into my prayers. Elder Y. has helped me with that and I can see my Spanish really improving.

We have seen that movie (Meet the Mormons) twice, once in English and the next time in Spanish. Very good, I like it better in Spanish though. And that’s a "no" on the package (he didn't receive our birthday package to him), but Elder S. said his parents sent him one like Christmas and he didn't get it till like 3 or 4 months later.

I am excited to talk with all of you as well (mother's day call), just as long as you don’t start talking to me in Spanish, we can do that Christmas but not mother’s day. I want to understand everything that you all are saying. I most likely will Skype you all in a member’s home, but don’t worry about anything I will call you before to work out all the details; they said that we can do that. Sunday morning we are at church from 7 am till 1 pm for ward counsel, church and all that. More than likely we will call you guys in the night like around seven or so your time. I am not sure cuz they have not told us anything, but that is usually when we have free time after we teach... love you all. I will call to work out everything Sunday!!

Much love,
Elder Perez
My new companion tried to prank me by putting tape across the door of the shower and when I came out I saw it, but decided to run through it anyway so he would feel better about it. We had a good laugh.

 Elder Perez eating with his new district.
Pizza is always a missionary favorite!
Salud! Good Health!