Monday, April 25, 2016

Week 67: My Companion Leads by Example

I was a little nervous for changes this time around what with me staying in an area for the first time instead of being the new Elder in the area. When a new elder comes to an area, whether he is junior or senior companion, he expects his companion who has had some time in the area to show him everything, which totally makes sense. I had some pretty good plans for the first two days. Then soon after that I ran out of ideas. Leading out can be harder than it sounds. But we made it through the week and had some good experiences together.

My new companion Elder R is from Nicaragua and he is the same age as me, actually I'm like 20 days older than him!
Elder DLC and I made sure that we deep cleaned the house before changes, and compared to how it was the house looked great. Well first thing Elder R does upon arriving is clean up the house. I pitched in as best I could, but he really went to town. It really is spotless now, even the fridge looks brand new. That really impressed me about him, seeing as it wasn't his mess. He could have just told me what needed to be done and I would have done it. But he lead out in cleaning our living space. Really impressed by this guy.

Elder R has been a district leader for the majority of his mission, which is nothing new for him. But he also has been serving outside of the capital for about 11 months now. He was shocked at how we contact here in the city. I remember how things were in Zacapa so I understand his concern. Everyone outside the capital is so inviting and even if they aren't interested they will listen to you share your message. Well that is not how things work here. We go from door to door, and about half of the people won't even come out to tell you no. They just shout at you, no we don't want anything. But despite this challenge that comes with contacting (tracting), it still works on occasion. We were fortunate enough to meet someone who was willing to listen when we were tracting this week. He said to come back around 5:00 PM since they were eating lunch. We did and he heard us out. I was pleased to have a new investigator our first day together. It really brightened my spirit.

We talked with the bishop early on in the week to see what he would like us to focus on and in our conversation he brought up how several baptisms have taken place over the years but soon after the missionaries leave these new converts go inactive. So we have the new goal to activate these converts as well as as many less actives as we can. I am sure that as we do so many more new investigators will come.

We also had a really good surprise Sunday morning. A mother and two daughters came to church and stayed the whole 3 hrs. The funny thing is we have never seen them before. As far as I could gather they we curious about our church so decided to come check us out. We couldn't get a clear address from her, but she gave us two telephone numbers were we could get in contact with them. So sometime next week we have planned to find this golden family and teach them the gospel.

Even though my companion is going home in 3 months, he aloud me to lead out in the majority of our lessons, which was a first for me. It was nerve racking to begin, but I soon got the hang of it. By the end of the week we were taking turning leading out and we seem to be a good team. We went running early one morning which felt great, but have failed to repeat the exercise these last few days. We both want to be healthier but boy is it hard to get up those 30 mins early to keep on schedule.

Well that's about all I can remember from the week. Elder R writes in his journal daily. I think I might start up that good habit too. 

Much love ya'll,
Elder Perez
This is the cookie dough Elder Perez's sister sent him.
Elder Perez your peanut butter cookies look wonderful!!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Week 66: I Am Staying and My Companion is Being Transferred

Well, as expected my companion is being changed (transferred) to a new area. I stay here to teach the next district leader the area. I knew that I would stay, though this will be the first time I've ever been anywhere longer than 3 months. This was the last week before the change (transfers) so we were a little off our game because a lot of members started saying there goodbyes to my companion. 

We had divisions Friday morning right after planning. I stayed in my area while Elder DLC went to Trebol 1 to hold a baptismal interview. During divisions we got a lot done. The other missionary and I contacted a few parts of my area that I had never been to before, so it should be fun for me and my next companion to go follow up on the contacts we made.
 I already have a few appointments planned for the first 5 days, but after that my new companion and I will be planning together what we will do.

I really didn't feel very hopeful about anyone we were visiting so I will take this chance to mix things up and contact a ton to find some new investigators. I think I just didn't enjoy our current investigators much because they were too much like friends who we spent time with. There was not much progression that was being made. I have planned to go stop by the bishop home to ask his advice and find out what he expects of us this change (transfer). Hopefully we will be able to involve him more often and we will have success. 

We have been consistent with the FHE ward activities week after week and this Friday's FHE was just as good as ever. The young women were in charge this time and the lesson was great. I was on divisions that day so the other Elder got to see how we do things. I went to pick up the kids of la familia Vasquez (there 11 yr old was baptized a few weeks back). The kids got a long really well with the other Elder. On the walk home the youngest, Kique wanted to buy us something from the tienda (store). He said, what ever you two want, I'm paying. So I asked for a few little chocolate kisses and my companion asked for chips. I think he wanted to buy us something because usually on the way back from these activities my companion or I will offer to buy them something from the tienda (store). It was a sweet gesture.

Well, I am surprised the bishopric has been changed up? Man a lot has been going on back there in Oregon. 

Much love!!
Elder Perez

Monday, April 11, 2016

Week 65: Giant Baptism Event in My Last Area!!!

I've been a little overwhelmed with all that we have got going on lately, but I've also had fun. Last p-day I went to the central market and bought some cool tourist stuff. One thing I bought for myself was a hammock. It was $20 and is very cool. I even slept in it one night. Sent a photo of it to you. 
I wonder if the fleas in Elder Perez's mattress had anything to do with this purchase?
I think that this new flea spray that I bought is treating the fleas so they don't treat on me. It's a nice smelling Raid for gardens and indoors, I personally witnessed how quickly this stuff kills them. As hard as they are to see I was amazed to get a good look at one of them. Their mouth looks like a mosquitos mouth.

We had a multi zone meeting Tuesday with President Crapo, his wife, and the assistants. It was very good. My favorite part was an example president gave using Handel's the Messiah. He explained the story of the concert and how the funds were sent to liberate persons in debtors prison.

We have been super busy due to an invitation we received from my old companion Elder H to come participate in his zone's 12 baptisms and 2 weddings. Elder H and his companion have been working like mad over there. An old investigator requested that my current companion, Elder DLC, baptize her. That was all of our Saturday! We took the bus to the area, I knew the way since I have been on that bus a million times, and it was a really nice service. I guess 9 of the baptisms and one of the weddings was thanks to Elder H and his companion's hard work, 3 were from the sister missionaries, for a total of 12 baptisms! I was very impressed. 

I knew a few of the investigator that were being baptized because I had taught a couple of them when I was serving with Elder H. The majority of those being baptized were new investigators Elder H and his companion found. President Crapo and his wife came. It was a very crazy but beautiful event. One of the couples who got married was someone Elder H and I had contacted on the street while we were serving together. I sent the photo of me standing by them. 

I hope that everything is going well with work and stuff, much love!!

Elder Perez

PS Transfers are next week. I will let you know if my companion or I get changed.
The Center Zone
Front Row (L to R): Elder DLC & Elder Perez, President & Sister Crapo. 
Welcome to the Baptism :)
This couple who got married was someone Elder H and I had contacted in the street while we were serving together.
Couple with Elder H 
"My last companion Elder H invited my companion and I to participate in his zone's 12 baptisms and 2 weddings!" 
Elder Perez had taught a couple of those who were being baptized while he served with Elder H in his last area.
Elder DLC with investigators about to be baptized.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Week 64: I Enjoyed General Conference!

I enjoyed general conference too! My only complaint is that I was hot and sweating a ton because the room we were in did not have any air conditioning. My favorite talk was the very first talk that was given Saturday morning, "Where Two or Three Are Gathered", by President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency. Wow, what a way to start out the conference! 
Link to the April 2016 General Conference talks of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: 
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/04?lang=eng
Our prophet is President Thomas S. Monson
In between the Saturday sessions of conference we returned to our area to help out with a birthday party. It was great! some members threw their one year old a "hug party" with all the family friends and what not. I served the food to everyone and some brave guests said, "thank you" to me after receiving their food. It made me laugh because even when I am speaking Spanish they feel obligated to respond to me in English. Here is one conversation I had with a kid from our stake.
He asks: Where are you from? 
I say: The US. 
He says: But you don't speak Spanish do you? (the conversation was of course in Spanish) 
I say: A little bit. I ask him, Does your family speak Spanish? 
He says: A few of them do. 
I say: Oh, that must mean we speak English here? 
Funny kid huh?

I am proud of you too mom. Dad couldn't stop bragging about your excellent cooking during conference. I really miss your cooking. We have been busy this week what with inviting our investigators to come to general conference and what not. A few surprised us during the Sunday sessions. 

I get to share all the stresses my companion feels because he is our district leader and handles any problems that come up within our district. I would not wish such a blessing on anyone. Being a leader in the mission seems like a ton of work. We had a little bit of a situation to help out with. Two missionaries from our district have been having problems with their ward mission leader. We have been trying to help them work things out for a while. Their ward mission leader is I'm sure a well meaning guy but he deals with things in a pretty harsh way. In situations like this, the Spirit gently helps me remember that all of us have our weaknesses. 

Oh, I have not received my birthday package yet, but it will come someday...probably. It was fun to get packages but now that I only have like 9 months left on my mission please don't worry about sending me anymore packages. My luggage is super full with all the stuff I have received and with all the stuff I have bought.

I've run into a ton of people here in my area from my old areas. I ran into an old investigator at Taco Bell last Monday. Our zone had lunch there and while we were leaving he called out to me. There are hundreds of people who pass by around here so the chances of my seeing someone I knew from another area are high and low at the same time. I was overjoyed to see him again! He is still meeting with missionaries and seemed happy. 

Mom give grandma Daily my love and thank her for her concern and advice about the flea bite remedies. I am currently using several remedies and I bought some very pricey flea spray that has been helping a ton! I doubt we will get new beds since this spray is working so well. The beds aren't dirty, they are actually good beds for Guatemala.

Love you and give everyone my love!!
Elder Perez