Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 59: We Had a Baptism!!!!

So surprise, we had a baptism this Friday. A change or so ago my companion Elder DLC and his last companion sent in a request for the baptism of this little old lady. Wednesday, President Crapo called us with good news that she could be baptized. 

President Crapo invited us to schedule the baptism as soon as possible. After talking things over with the sister we agreed on Friday night for her baptism. You can only image how we passed the time those following two days. We were running around trying to organize a last minute baptism. We informed the old companion of Elder DLC and he was given permission to come and perform the actual baptism. We got another surprise that night when President Crapo arrived with his wife to share in the occasion. The service was wonderful, especially for being last minute. Sister Crapo played piano before the service to invite the spirit, and I was asked to play the two hymns for the service. Luckily I was given the choice of the hymns so I chose the two I have memorized. High On A Mountain Top, and God Be With You Till We Meet Again. They are not ideal songs for a baptism, but hey, at least it sounded good. 

I thought all the fun was over, when all of a sudden on Sunday the baptized sister asks me to confirm her as a member of the church. Well, I didn't know we could even do something like that as missionaries so I panicked a bit until my companion explained the process. I did well, I just mixed up the way I said a few things. (Prayers and blessings are given using the informal tense. I switched between formal and informal tenses throughout the blessing.)

Oh mom, you are too sweet to send packages, but honestly I can ask a member to print off the basic piano scales, and I'm not teaching ward members piano anymore. I hardly have time to practice the four hymns they give me week to week so I wouldn't have much use for more music anyway. 

In fact, I have gone over my possessions and I have come to the conclusion that I have way to many books. Like 30 lbs in book, most of which I never so much as open over this last year. Don't worry, I bought these books before the mission with my own money, but I need to give away some stuff to make lessen the weight of my luggage.

Send my love to the grandparents. I sure do miss them all. Hopefully I will have a Spanish accent by the time I come home so I can talk with Grandma Daily in Spanish. You know mom, maybe it's cousin Sam's long hair or his glasses... But I don't think we look anything alike! Maybe we share some facial traits though. I cut my hair like my companion. I will send photo soon. My side burns are pointed like famous soccer players from Spain. I can't say that I love the look, but it's on of the few things I can mix up here on the mission. 

Elder Perez before his mission

What Do You Think?
Do Elder Perez and His Cousin
Look Alike?

Oh good news, I finally used some US dollars I brought on my mission and exchanged it for quetzals here to buy some very much needed personal items. I had torn all of my pants to the point where they could no longer be sewed so I spent $40 for two very nice pants here and I still have the two suit pants. I also bought new shoes. They were relatively cheap and are durable, something I've been having trouble with when it comes to shoes, so I am a happy Elder now.

Thank you for the birthday wishes. We have a few fun things planned to celebrate the occasion. Other members of the ward share this month as there birthday. One sister's birthday is on the 3rd. I asked a local pinata place to make me a special pinata. I will send photos next week! 

Sure do love you all!
Elder Perez
Investigator who was baptized :)
President Crapo, Missionaries, Investigator, Elder Perez & Elder DLC
Sister Crapo with investigator
who was baptized.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 58: My Companion Said I Did Well on my Talk Last Sunday!

AWW, Dad! A crowbar to the face, that be dangerous for your health!! I'm so sorry to hear about that. I hope you heal up fast. Aw dad, I understand completely what you mean. When I got that black eye from a pipe wrench in North Dakota I felt so embarrassed. But it makes for a fun story, especially if you want to throw drama into it like you got in a fight. 

Here is The Talk I Gave Last Sunday:
"Missionary work is a global effort. An honorable job, it is a privilege to participate in it wherever you are. I could never have imagined the effect missionary work would have in my own personal life, or in my family's life. I am grateful for the blessings of the gospel and even more grateful for the service of two missionaries in the life of my mother. 

My mother grew up and was very active in her religion. She is still grateful for the good Christian foundation her childhood religion gave her during her growing up. At a young age though she began to doubt some of the doctrinal beliefs of the church. She wondered why there were no prophets on the earth at the present time. She knew that God really existed and that his desire was to resolve your concerns. She didn't feel like she had friends that she could confide in about her concerns. One day though, at the age of 16, she was in the High School library and started to talk to a young man. She did not know him very well at all but felt drawn to talk to him. After they had spoken for a while the bell rang to dismiss them to class. My mom was surprised that she began to quickly tell the young man that she wanted to investigate other churches, but she didn't know where to begin. She said, "Oh well, I guess I will have to wait until I graduate from High School to look into other churches because I don't were to begin now." The young man listened attentively but didn't say a word. My mother did not know that young man she had been speaking with was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Later that day the missionaries serving in her town approached the young man and asked him if he knew of anyone that would be interested in hearing the discussions. At first he was reluctant to mention my mothers name, but it wasn't long before he gave the missionaries my mother's contact information. This small member missionary effort changed my mother's life  and that of her future family completely."

Reading the above talk took only three minutes. After that I just talked and I recited one or two memorized passages and all in all I took up ten minutes! Ending right on the hour.   I felt good about it. The original copy of this talk I wrote was much shorter and so I had help from some of the youth in the ward with grammar and helping me add to my talk so I ended up with what is written above. My companion said he was impressed with me. He said my talk was understandable and I came off totally confident.  I actually did better than I thought I would on my talk

Sorry, got to go. I took up most of my time writing sis a letter. I will write more next week.

Elder Perez
My Companion Took A Bad Fall
I sprayed his injury with some disinfectant 
and it foamed up which really seemed to hurt him, 
but he toughed it out for the photo.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 57: A Drunk Man is Never Fully in his Right Mind Even if He Pretends to Be

I am playing piano for my ward once again. I feel uncertain about playing for the ward. But after I played the piano for sacrament meeting everyone was really kind and only noticed what I did right, not the mistakes I made. This has helped me have more confidence that if I work on the difficult parts of Spanish I will master it!

We had a little bit of a confusion with our ward counsel a few days ago, but we have worked everything out. As a result I am now playing piano for sacrament meeting as well as giving a talk on missionary work this Sunday. Boy do I feel overwhelmed. Lucky for me I have the hymn numbers so I have time to practice the songs. My companion said he's going to help me with the talk.

One funny story before I go. We went and taught a new investigator around 7 pm one night and on the way out of the appointment a drunk stopped us (which happens more than you would think). We were going to ignore him and continue on to our next appointment when he called us by name. It just so happened to be the father of the person we just taught. We had spoken with him once before. On that occasion he was sober, but we were nice to him and sent him away in the direction of his home. Funny right? Normally we don't pay attention to drunk people, unless it turns out to be the father of someone we are teaching. We ignore them for good reason, a drunk man is never fully in his right mind, even if he pretends to be.

We ran into a little problem with one of our progressing families. The boyfriend is in trouble with the law. They said police are looking for him or something. But I don't think that's the case because we would have heard about it by now. Gossip flies like wild fire here. Regardless, we stopped visiting them for the moment until things settle down.

Oh boy, life sure can be a roller coaster from time to time huh? Actually, not for me. We aren't allowed to ride roller coasters as missionaries. Ha, ha, no worries about me pops. I'm getting along fine here.

Not to worry mom, I am better now. I actually have two inhalers with me here which I use each time I exercise. Thanks for worrying about me though. We don't get that much as missionaries.

So do uncle Sam's AncestryDNA results mean that I am more Native American than anything? or Irish? Meh, how cool! So how is uncle S doing anyway? Is he still in the comedy business? Wish him well for me!

Sorry to hear about dad's Aunt Phyllis's health going south. I hope all goes well. I'll keep her in my prayers. Thank you for sending me a birthday package. That was very sweet of you all. I will take a lot of pictures of me on that day. I do believe we might even buy a pinata to celebrate my 22nd year of life. I don't think I will waste money on the candy to put inside the pinata. It's not very good anyway.

Well we did some fun games for a ward FHE a few weeks ago. The two games we did were so cheap and they got everyone on there feet. The first game involves Oreos. You have two people sitting on chairs facing a crowd. When you say go, the two participants take an Oreo and place it on there forehead (head tilted back of course). Using only there facial expressions they are to move the cookie from the forehead down to there mouth. First one to eat the cookie wins. And if the cookie drops to the floor they are to leave it there and grab another Oreo that's on the table in-between them, and place the cookie back on there forehead.

The second game involves like 10 cheap Styrofoam cups and balloons. Again a game for two people and a crowd to cheer on there team. In front of these two participants are 10 cups, a table, and one balloon for each of them. When given the signal they are to pick up there balloon and blow it up. When they feel it is large enough they may try and blow over there 10 cups using only the air in the balloon, which are placed upside down in a row on the edge of each table. The first to blow over there cups wins.

Elder Perez

Ward Family Home Evening!
You blow up your balloon and use the air in the 
balloon to try to knock over your 10 cups first.
Participants take an Oreo and place it on there forehead and using only there facial expressions try to move the cookie from their forehead down to there mouth. First one to eat the cookie wins. 
What a Riot!!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Week 56: I Ate Beef Tendon Soup & my cheek started twitching involuntarily!

Thank you for sharing Sister P's and CJ's wonderful testimonies with me. It's always a great Sunday when it's fast and testimony Sunday! We had our second counselor and his wife share a very sweet testimony together this past Sunday. They lost there baby about a month ago, and as a result really distanced themselves from the church. They are back now though and really want to devote themselves to serving God in their hardship. I am trying to work up the courage to share my testimony one of these days. I think I will have a good chance to do so here soon seeing as the 2nd counselor asked me to give a 15 minute talk in two weeks. Well that's what I get for keeping quiet.

I was sick Thursday from a milkshake and some fruit I ate the morning before. We had actually done a very hard exercise that morning with a member and group of people. I worked hard to keep up and felt super tired after. I am sure as a result that my defense system was down. I am better now, but am a lot more cautious with what I am eating on the street. 

My companion and I went out to only one dinner appointment that Thursday. I had been drinking Gatorade and Jello all day so solid food sounded really good. Well when we arrived at the member's house, the aroma of the food made me so sick that I puked in the toilet. It was so embarrassing... after that I felt better and ate a small portion. The following day I was still sick but I did not puke. My companion made sure to call the sister missionary nurses and they told me just what to take. I am sure I got better so fast thanks to that. 

I'm serving in the central of Guatemala, the capital. The Guatemala White house is in my area (though the stone has turned green over time). It is all very beautiful and a member told me that the architecture was planned and modeled after Rome and European buildings.

My new companion is actually an old companion. We were together in a trio for two weeks. The famous Market Center is also in my area. The market has everything that is typical in the Guatemalan culture. It's all at somewhat affordable prices for locals, but somewhat overpriced for gringos. I'm going to have my companion buy me everything I want these next 5 weeks, and hopefully it will be cheaper. 

I actually love the food here. The only things I can't stomach are the meats we don't normally eat in the US, like the cows feet and tendons. 
Cow's Feet

Cow Tendons

I made the mistake of saying yes when offered tendon soup last week so I had no choice but to eat it all. Unfortunately, my face started involuntarily twitching with every bite. This made my host ask if I liked the food. I didn't want to offend her so I said, "Oh I love it", and swallowed the last bit of tendon. Yuck! But the typical tortillas they make fresh daily are oh so good, and the food is filling too! 

I found out that I have fleas in the bed I sleep in. Actually I didn't find more than one flea, but one flea is enough to explain all the bites I have all over my legs! 

As for cool investigators I do have one. This little old lady who the missionaries have been teaching for years on end. We will hear soon if she will be baptized!

Sure do love you all!
Elder Perez
We helped our landlord bring in his giant
growing banana bundle!
The banana trees get really big here.
I made Brownies One Night to Stave off the Cold

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 55: It's Elder Perez's Companion's Birthday!!

This week we walked the boundaries of our areas which was surprisingly large. I feel so blessed to be in such a culturally rich area, the buildings still sit on their original foundation and exterior walls that are about 150 years old. My area includes where the president lives (or maybe where he works) We see a lot of tourists. Several Guatemaltecos talk with me in English. I like to think of myself as just blending in like a chameleon. Then some guy goes and blows my cover by shouting, "Hey, white boy!" I guess I'm not tan enough yet. 

The members in our ward are so very nice here. We are feed like at least 6 meals a week, either a lunch one day or a dinner the next. Some days we get lunch twice from different people and then a dinner from our investigator. Our belly are always full. 

Sometimes, when I have energy, I even make us breakfast! Like today, for instance my companion turns 21 years old, so I made him dad's omelet sandwich for breakfast. The one where you cut a circle in the toast to cook your egg in. I also cooked some Spam that I've been saving. I think it was a good breakfast. 

We have plans to go play pool somewhere as a zone and eat with a few members. I feel as if my companion will be getting a lot of cake and presents today. I will send you the photos next week. 

Love you,
Elder Perez
Happy Birthday Elder DLC!!
Comp Feels Like a Million
His girlfriend sent him a package in December for Christmas and it arrived on his birthday!
Playing Pool With Our Zone on P-Day

Steady Elder Perez
We Had a Blast!

Elder C and Elder Perez Played as A Team
We Made Some Good Shots!
I Missed This Shot