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.