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