Monday, July 6, 2015

Week 26: Mayan Ruins & Missionary Work on the Bus

Boy, has a lot happened this week. To start off, Monday our Zacapa zone and the Puerto Barrios zone met up and went to the Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quiriguá. It was a super fun p-day activity about an hour and a half away from Zacapa. Man it really felt as if I was walking across the old cities of the Lamanites.

Elder T and I started out strong this week with our lessons and contacting and we had some very rewarding experiences as a result. While contacting early in the afternoon we started up a conversation with a few strangers on the bus. Our conversations went very well and everyone seemed to know about missionaries in some form or another. One catholic lady reported that her daughter was Mormon but had not attended church in a while. She gave us directions on where to find her daughter and seemed excited at the thought of us reactivating her and her husband. Another conversation I had on the bus was with a less active member who lives in our area. I introduced myself as Elder Perez but either due to my accent or the noise of traffic she mistakenly heard Otto Perez. In response I jokingly said, yes I am indeed the president of Guatemala. The bus had a good laugh.

We have begun teaching a woman who is very interested in the church. She was referred to us by a member of the ward. This member has accompanied us to every lesson and the woman is making a lot of progress due to the support of her friend. It is amazing what others can do and I am very grateful for the interest in the gospel these two friends share.

One last fun experience has yet again been with some of the children we teach. Two less active children we have been working with have shown quiet some interest in my funny accent or perhaps my lack of vocabulary. At any rate, to keep these kids engaged I have attempted to be intriguing in the way I teach. This has resulted in the kids laughing at me, which I have been able to use to my advantage. I played along for some time until one of them turns to me and says, “You know something, you’re really funny.” It was a very unexpected yet kind compliment, especially seeing as how communication is always a struggle for me. And so yet another good week goes by here in Zacapa.

Love you all,
Elder Perez

Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quiriguá
Ceiba Tree
Some species of Ceiba trees can grow up to 230 ft tall.
The Maya civilization believed, Yaaxché, a concept of the central world tree which is often depicted as a Ceiba trunk.
Elder Perez standing by a Ceiba tree
 We Love our Missionary
Stela E is the largest stone shaft carved by the Mayan civilization in Mesoamerica. It was erected on 22 January, 771 AD.
North face of Stela E depicting Quiriguá’s ruler King K'ak' Tiliw Chan Yopaawearing a huge head dress and holding a "Maya maize god" scepter in his right hand.
Elder Perez & Elder P from Provo in front of Stela E. It is over 34 ft. tall and weighs over 66 ton.

Getting ready to pose..
A zoomorphic stone figure 
These figures represent mythological creatures in animal forms. Altar M above, created 15 Sep 734 AD, is said to be either the form of a cat, crocodile, or serpent. 
The Stela and Zoomorphic stone figures 
above are covered by canopies of straw to prevent their deterioration.
Missionary Selfie
Great Plaza of Quiriguá
Anciently the Mayan people of Quiriguá were a vassal state of Copán(Honduras). Copán maintained control of Quiriguá because it was located at the center of several important trade routes. K'ak' Tiliw Chan Yopaat, reigning lord of Quiriguá, ambushed and captured the powerful, but elderly 13th king of Copán, Uaxaclajuun Ub'aah K'awiil. The king of Copán was then taken to the Great Plaza of Quiriguá where he was decapitated in a public ritual. His blood was then used as a sacrificial offering, thus ending the long domination of Copán over Quiriguá.
Missionary Stela
Don't look Mom! he says...
He is going to give me a heart attack!
"I felt like old Samuel the Lamanite. Ironically, I read Helaman chapter 16 for personal scripture study this morning before the trip." 
Missionaries of the Zacapa and Puerto Barrios Zones
"What a thick Jungle, and oh so green!"
Elder V and Elder Perez

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