Monday, March 28, 2016

Week 63: We Had a Baptism!!!

Oh, this morning was stressful. We arrived at the stake center on time and started emailing, when I found out that my password was not working for some reason. I've been using it every Monday for the past 15 months. You would think I wouldn't forget it. Anyway, I tried fixing it when I realized that I had to have my membership record in order to reset the password. Well we ran home and it took us 30 minutes to get back to the stake center. As a result my time to write you all is going to be cut super short. I may not even get to finish this email to you mom.

The baptism went well. Although, not many people attended due to spring break which falls on holy week (semana santa) for Guatemala, but those that did come where a big help. I ended up having to give the second talk on the Holy Ghost. It was last minute since no one could come, but I managed alright. I gave the example of how the Holy Ghost is like light. He brings everything into perspective. He also testifies of truth, so yeah. The kids seemed to get it. I sent you all those photos of the Friday event the city had. I guess they make the largest sawdust art thing. Its pretty long. And they march a group through this all caring Christ.

I'm sorry I really don't have time this week to write more mom. It was a disappointing surprise to find my email not working and the house is a little far away from the stake center. I love you all and will write everyone next week!

Elder Perez

11 Year Old Young Man Baptized!!
Elder DLC & Elder Perez
grateful to be a part of this great work.
This baptism was the perfect way of celebrating Easter (Christ's resurrection).
Internet Picture
Residents along the streets begin preparations weeks and even months in advance creating these beautifully intricate offerings. Sand is first laid to level the cobblestone, followed by sawdust that has been collected and dyed to bright shades of yellow, red, blue, green, purple and black. The art of carpet-making is thought of as sacrificial because of the intense detail and amount of time dedicated to their creation, only to be destroyed once the processions pass. This is a way for the people to give something of themselves in memory of Christ’s death.
Internet Picture
Holy Week in Guatemala city is celebrated with street expressions of faith, called processions, usually organized by local church brotherhoods. Each procession of Holy Week has processional floats and steps with religious images of the Passion of Christ (the short final period in the life of Jesus.)


Monday, March 21, 2016

Week 62: We Have Been Busy!!

We had something funny happen here. Last Friday the students from San Carlos University of Guatemala celebrated what’s called “La Huelga de Todos los Dolores” (translation, “The Strike of All The Pain”). It's where anyone and everyone can say and do almost anything they want (using banners and floats the students manifest their criticism against the government, the Congress, state agencies and officials who have been involved in scandals.) The commercial street was full of protesters to the government and a ton of people were out to watch the fun. People set off a bunch of fireworks behind the presidential building and there were big bombs too that made a huge noise. I have no idea how stuff like this is aloud. There was also a clown parade and a bunch of people shouting and cracking jokes at anyone and everyone's defects.

As of this last week I've been playing piano every night to prepare better for Sunday. Some hymns are harder than others, but I get by. My companion got curious the second night of piano practiced and requested I teach him without really teaching him. He likes a song I play and had me teach him the beginning of the song. He doesn't want to learn how to read music or theory. Just wants to play that one song. So far it sounds good. I think he will have to learn some basic scales at the least if he wants to play this song well.

Let's see the work, it's been busy for us because my companion is our district leader so we have been busy every night filling out other areas information and what not. I actually don't do much, but it looks like a lot of work to be in charge of six other Elders. A bunch of missionaries have baptisms this Saturday so this week is going to be a busy one. Elder DLC has to do the interviews so we get to go see all the other areas of our zone. We also have a baptism this Saturday!! A youth of 11 anos (years old). He is a really good kid. We have been working with his whole family and they all are promising, but for now the kid is the only one who is going to be baptized. The sister that was baptized last week is doing well. She is an angel as usual and such a faithful soul. She has expressed concern for her kids and grandchildren so we've gone and visited them to see what we can do for them.

We had a few interesting experiences throughout the week. On the way home Tuesday night a car pulled up beside us and a man in tears told us he was a member. He asked us to offer a prayer for him and his wife who was not a member. He said he had served a mission and he always felt Christ's love during those happier years. We offered the prayer and gave him some counsel. After exchanging numbers we parted ways. It turns out that this man had been watching us for some time and finally worked up the courage to approach us. It made me feel good to have been able to help.

A few days later we got a call from some sister missionaries from Georgia with a reference for us. Didn't know we could send references across countries! The address was actually just outside of our area so we forwarded the contact to the right Elders.

I’m sorry I don't have any photos to send you. It's a little dangerous to carry my camera around everywhere so when there is a good photo moment we ask the members to take a pic with there camera. I am waiting on them to forward the pictures to my email. I am still waiting on my birthday package to arrive. I don’t know how much time I will have to wait but it might be a month more.

The next big thing to happen here is the processions for Easter. That should be big here too. Love you all, have a great Easter and happy general conference here soon! I will be thinking about all of you.

Much love,
Elder Perez

Monday, March 14, 2016

Week 61: Fleas, Piano, & The Temple!!

Well the temple was great, as always. I feel as if I pick up on more and more every time we go. Even though I can always pray for others, putting a name on the prayer role is probably my favorite about the whole trip. I  saw someone at the temple who lives in my first area. I knew him well. I went up to him and was like, nice to see you again brother... brother.... He laughed and was like nice to see you too Elder Perez (its so cheating because unlike him I wear a name tag everywhere I go).

I was a little grouchy this morning on the way to the temple due to being eaten alive over night. I felt better when I got to the temple though.  Sadly for me I hardly slept a wink last night due to some sort of fleas we’ve got in the house so I fell asleep halfway through the temple session. A nearby elder nudged me awake when he took note. Those suckers are tough and are hard to kill though. We are due to be getting a new bed here soon, so hopefully I will start getting a restful nights sleep. 

I appreciate all your advice about how to get rid of fleas mom, "Fill shallow bowls of water with dish detergent to make a homemade flea trap. The water and dish detergent mixture is like a toxic swimming pool for fleas. Fleas, lured in by a light source, jump into the water and cannot escape."  The shallow bowl of doom is a good idea. I will try it out. Ha, ha, ha a vacuum cleaner. That my dear mother is something I have not seen in a very long time. We have your traditional broom and as a bonus an old rag for a mop. This is what I am accustomed to here in Guatemala, but I will wash those sheets and once the bed arrives I will use a good poison on the bunch. Some very kind members found the stuff for me.

I bought the piano keyboard I wanted and soon I will be practicing piano in the mornings. My mission president was so impressed with my piano playing at the baptism that he gave me permission to order the key board from the church distribution center. I got it to practice piano at night. At the end of my mission I will give it away to a ward here in Guatemala. 

I'm not surprised that so many showed up to cousin Wendy's funeral service. It sounds like the last few days really have been emotionally taxing dad, but your spiritually sensitivity has really pulled you through. It makes me a very proud son when I think of all you are doing with the family and the efforts you have made to provide for the family (what with the huge changes in moving the business location). I love you dad, sure will keep that faith fire burning!

I hope you feel better soon mom.
I love you all!!! 
Elder Perez 
Reading about Elder Perez's fleas made 
me think of this quote from Emperor's New Groove...and it made me start itching.
There is no such thing as a "harmless little flea".

Monday, March 7, 2016

Week 60: Happy Birthday Elder Perez!!!

I had the perfect birthday Wednesday and many people made the day very special. My companion woke me up with a mariachi birthday song and a very special breakfast that he prepared. It was a Nutella filled fried bread with strawberries. I had no idea he knew how to cook! I'm begging him for the recipe.

Aw, sweet little nephew, I did indeed have a fun party with umi car. We drove around town, ate cake, broke open a pinata, and ate a ton of candy!

Yeah, no such luck with receiving my birthday package yet 
but I did get the birthday money. I went and bought myself a present like you suggested mom. I bought a sweat shirt. The birthday package will come soon enough so no worries. A very sweet sister in my ward made me a birthday package full of fun presents. She is a convert of some elders as of 5 months ago. Of all the women I know she is the kindest to us.

Last preparation day we really didn't do much.  We walked around a mall strip in our area. We ended up running into another zone who had permission to visit the area because we live in the most touristy area so we hung out with them. I saw some old missionary friends and I met some new gringos. It was actually more fun than I would have imagined.

In addition to your emails mom and dad, grandma Perez and all 3 of my sisters sent me birthday emails. It made me feel so special. 
I wrote Grandma Perez a good reply to her email. So Grandma Perez had Mexican themed birthday huh? How fun.

Don't be sad about my having needed new pants and shoes. I had my own money that I had brought with me from the states for just such an emergency. I didn't want to worry you. I am totally good now so don't worry about my clothing needs. The mission won't let me go out preaching naked so something would have been done even if I hadn't had my own money.

As far as tracting goes we don't have a set amount of hours, but we have a set number of people to contact per week, which is 105 contacts. If we talk to a group it only counts as one so more like 105 contacting experiences. I guess we tract about 8 to 15 hours within a week depending on our schedule.

You asked if we ride bikes? Ha, we walk, the only areas that missionaries are allowed to ride bikes is outside of the capital. There are only a few missionaries that have that privilege. Sometimes if we are lazy we will ride the bus to meetings and stuff, not so much here but in other areas.

I am so sorry to hear about dad's cousin Wendy passing away unexpectedly from complications with her leukemia treatment. I am sure that was so very hard on everyone. I wish that things had gone better for her. I know that she was a great women and is in a better place now. Give all my love to Grandma and the rest of the family. Wish I could be with you all at the service. I love you dad, and I know that Wendy loves you too and wants you to be happy as well as everyone else. I will pray for her family. I won't forget them. 
Love you all so much.

Give a hug and kiss to dad for me,
Elder Perez

Wendy Jean Wallace
Sept 12, 1963 to March 7, 2016
Birthday Breakfast Made by Elder Perez's 
fabulous companion Elder DLC! Thank you!!
My companion woke me up with a mariachi birthday song and a very special breakfast that he prepared. It was a Nutella filled fried bread  with strawberries.

Gracias Elder DLC por haber hecho un desayuno increíble para nuestro hijo! Te amamos 

mucho por ser un compañero tan bueno y un 
ejemplo de un misionero muy fiel!

Buen Provecho! 

Don't We Look Alike? Elder Perez Was Able To Order A Missionary Piñata For His Birthday!

Sharing food with his companion and a ward member.