Monday, May 30, 2016

Week 72: Stake Conference Was Great!

The surprise with changes is that there were none. Not one person left the zone with the exception of our zone leader who finished his mission. I will be here for another two changes, which is fine by me, because my companion has 6 weeks left and then I will need to teach another elder the area. I will stay serving here for at least two changes (transfers) if not more. It's a cool area and there is a lot of people here so there is plenty of work to be done. 

My hope is that sometime within my last few changes I get sent back outside of the capital. I served outside the capital for such a short time and I would like serve there again. I have 6 changes (transfers) left so there is plenty of time.

My companion and I have been talking a lot more about how we can be unified as companions. At times on p-days we are divided and talk with different groups of elders. So in an attempt to bring the two groups together we want to try a zone activity to one of the local museums (probably the train one I went to awhile ago). We have to have permission from the zone leaders of course but we will see when an activity such as that one can be done. Besides that we get along fine during the week. The house is still pretty clean and despite some dirty laundry I still have to wash, all is in order. 

We have been working with the progressing investigators we currently have and Friday we celebrated our converts 12th birthday. We bought him a box of cookie mix as a present. He and his siblings couldn't wait and ended up opening up the mix to eat the chocolate chips. They still haven't made up the dough so we might stop by next week to help them out. 

We had stake conference Saturday and Sunday, which was great. President and Sister Crapo came and spoke on Sunday. Several interesting things happened during or after the conference. 

Our stake president had us all stand up in front of the congregation and he talked about the members role in the missionary work. He told us that we must know and testify of the plan of salvation and the gospel of Jesus Christ to both members and investigators. 

After the conference a women came up to me asking if I remembered her. Given how many areas I was in this last year and my horrible memory I didn't remember her. She told me that she was one of the cleaning ladies in the CCM while I was there. I was amazed that she remembered me. She said, "I saw you up there during the stake presidents talk and I thought, oh he is still alive!" That made me laugh. We had never really talked much in the CCM but I did try my best while I was there to talk with the workers. I remembered a few of the men workers by name and I asked her how they were doing. She said they were fine and that she would send them my regards. It made me feel good that after a year and a half someone remembers me. I really need to get better about memorizing others names. 

As we left the stake center another women approached us, this time to talk with my companion. It turned out to be his Aunt who's been living here in Guatemala for the last 15 years. He hasn't seen her since 5 years ago and so it was a sweet and unexpected reunion. She didn't hug him which I thought would have been impossible for me if a family member happened to run into me here. Anyway he said it was the best surprise to finish off his mission.

Do take care of your health mom, glad you are all better!
What great photos of the wedding couples. Best wishes to them both!

Love you all!! 

Elder Perez

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week 71: We Set up Appointments While Going on a Wild Goose Chase

So the zone went to play football (soccer) again. I just threw around the Frisbee with another Elder. It looks like that's the plan for today as well. Boy, we have played a lot of this last change (transfer). If I've got changes elsewhere I will most likely just go shopping that final p-day.

The week started out crazy hot and our resolve to do exercise despite the heat. Then after a few days of hard exercise the weather took a turn for the worst and literally began dumping buckets of rain on us. So we don't go out to exercise anymore. Though the rain has not slowed down our work as missionaries. We have extended two new baptismal invitations and are hopeful for the upcoming baptism of a family of three.

One of our more relaxed evenings we decided to go buy ourselves an ice cream cone. Before doing that we stopped by a tienda (store). I asked Elmer, the manager there, what flavor of ice cream he wanted (he and I are good friends). We came back with ice cream in hands and were all enjoying the treat and were joking around when suddenly we heard a loud crash and a helmet went flying into the tienda (store). Looking outside there was a man on the ground bleeding pretty badly and his motorcycle was laying battered by him. Our Bishop happened to be there parked on the side and saw the whole thing. I guess the guy was driving fast and a little reckless (probably had been drinking too) and took a turn too wide and hit the side of the bishop's parked car. His helmet wasn't properly on so it went flying and he was unconscious for several minutes. About 50 people gathered around to see what was going on, and in 5 minutes an ambulance arrived. It was a pretty crazy experience and I was sad we couldn't have helped the guy but he was really hurt so bad that nobody dared touch him.

We had divisions (splits) Friday and I was left in charge of the area as normal. Elder S from Utah was sent with me for the day and we had a blast together. We did a lot of contacting and found one new person to teach which is always exciting. We were also sent on a wild goose chase trying to find a person off a referral we received from Salt Lake. The direction was incomplete and vague so we ended up tracting down commercial street asking around for an Antonio something or such. We had some good conversations due to that and we also ended up setting a few appointments with people!

Elder R and I took time in the week to deep clean the house again. We really got things in order again and afterwards I tried my hand at making fried rice. Oil was splattering everywhere until my companion came and fixed everything. Fortunately, the rice turned out wonderfully.

That's about all I can recall from last week that was noteworthy.

Much love,
Elder Perez

Monday, May 16, 2016

Week 70: Interview With Our Mission President

Last Monday we played soccer in the stake center, the others convinced me to play as goalkeeper even though I'm not very good. Well after being scored on several times I got sick of it and switched out with a forward. I then proceeded to play a bit rough to keep them all from scoring. I'm not one to get competitive but that day was the exception. Well I never scored but I sure did tire myself out. Come our next reunion I went and apologized for getting too aggressive with the game to our leaders. I don't think I will play today, instead I brought my Frisbee.

Our zone had interviews with the President this week, as we normally do every other month. While talking with President we began planning out my last few months here on the mission and what not. I seems as if President might send  everyone from my group home a little earlier then planned so we can all celebrate Christmas with our families. That would be amazing, though it's not yet set in stone.

We had a youth in the ward who received her missionary package yesterday. She was very excited to open it. She will be going to El Salvador in a month or so. It feels weird seeing others open and read out their callings only because I had you all read me mine over Skype. I liked it better that way though. Everyone always asks me what I thought when I read called to serve in “Guatemala.” I tell them I thought it was somewhere in Mexico.

We now have a new missionary couple here in the ward, Elder and Hermana (sister) Hill. They are the secretaries to President Duncan and will only be assisting the ward when they can. They are from Utah and it was fun talking a little bit with them. Another person from the states stopped by the ward Sunday. He is a doctor who performs specialized procedures for children in poorer countries free of charge. A sister in the ward absolutely loves him and what he is doing. I guess they are long time friends. Anyway I overheard the conversation between him and Elder Hill after the service. It feels weird to hear people speak in English, the conversations seems almost too easy to understand.

That's all I can remember from the week for now, loves!
Elder Perez

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week 69: It Sure was Great Talking with the Family Sunday!

It sure was great talking with the family Sunday. Boy has everyone changed a ton. It is amazing to me how much everything changes while you're out on your mission. Thanks everyone for the updates! 

I had a few fun experiences over the week. One of which included reorganizing my stuff. My companion has really set the example for me in so many things. He washes his clothes by hand and so I am trying to do the same. It's a habit I hope to keep while on my mission.

We received the light bill early on this week. I was surprised to find out that my prior companion had not paid our light bill for the last three months and it ended up costing about $100. I assumed that I'd be the one to pay the bill, seeing as how Elder O. has only been in the area for one month, but he insisted on paying. Of course he will get reimbursed for this expense, but it usually takes a week or two to receive the reimbursement money so it was a totally nice gesture. I should start making him breakfast more often as a thank you.

We had a wonderful experience Friday. Elder Duncon, a counselor to our mission president, spoke to our mission on the subject of faith unto repentance. The reunion was about 4 hours long, and was really inspiring. Elder Ochoa shared a personal experience he had as a youth. He told his uncle that he no longer wanted to attend school but wanted to work for him the following year. After much debating his uncle agreed to hire him for one year. About three days into his rigorous new job he went to his uncle with a change of heart asking to quit. His uncle was furious and told him not to be a coward. He reminded him that he had agreed to work for one year and if he quit now he would be a coward in everything he did. His uncle continued, “If you don't want to do this for you, do it for me. Be a man and fulfill your promise.” Elder Ochoa says to this day he still fears receiving a lecture from his uncle. Strong words of counsel were given to us that day.

Well gotta go, love you all!
Elder Perez

Monday, May 2, 2016

Week 68: I Have a Habit of Knocking On Beautifully Carved Wooden Doors

Our first P-day here was a football (soccer) tournament. I forgot to bring a change of cloths so I just watched the tournament as I talked with the other Elders who weren't playing. The zone is really cool, we have a few new elders straight from the CCM. One is from Brazil and already speaks Spanish. His accent is thick though. We mostly talked about his life and what led him to serving a mission, what a fun guy.

My companion was in heaven playing football all day. I guess it's been months since he was able to get a real match going. And boy is he good. Well by the time they finished up is was time to go home and get to work. Today though is going to be a lot more chill of a p-day, we have planned to visit some of the nearby shopping centers for new ties.

This past week went by a little slower for me. My companion has got the hang of the area so now we take turns leading out in lessons and planning and what not. Things go by fast when your in charge, and slower when your not. But it's a good mix. We teach well together and our personalities are unique which keeps things interesting.

When I get super bored with tracting or when it is really hot I start looking for cool houses to contact. There are several wooden doors that are beautifully carved here and there throughout the area, so I make it a habit to knock on them. Interesting people live behind old wooden doors. My companion laughs every time we go to knock on one. We will be in mid conversation when it catches my eye and I blurt out, linda puerta (beautiful door) and walk right up to it. Usually they are across the street so I have to wait for my companion before knocking. He gets a kick out of this habit.

We stopped by the family of a new investigators that showed up at church last week. They are really awesome. They accepted a baptismal date and we will be working with them in preparation for it. Besides them we only have a handful of new investigators to teach. Fortunately, the investigators we are teaching are all really progressing. Otherwise we can be found with members or less actives.

We got mixed up Thursday with our appointments and our schedules and went to the ward FHE activity a day early. Funny enough a few ward members showed up too. We told everyone to come back tomorrow and then we hurried to our next appointment.

We had received a call from one of our investigators informing us that her husband had been arrested for a pending warrant. The sister was in such a fix, she had to come up with about Q3000 for bail or they would keep him there until the trial in three months. Somehow she managed to get the money and we were able to share a lesson and give both of them some counsel.

The last few days I have gotten to know the ward so much better. That has helped us out a lot. Just yesterday we stopped by a sister's house to drop off her Liahona magazine. She is not a member but attends regularly. Her son just left on a mission to Argentina three months ago so we stopped by and got to know her. She never has been interested in baptism nor in our lessons, but this time was different. We taught her about the sacrament as we have been teaching all the members, and she brought up the topic of baptism. She said, I've been thinking about getting baptized some time in June. We can definitely help you with that, I replied. So it been amazing to witness the miracles that have been happening here.

Yesterday we were just about done with the day when our last two appointments fell through. We were with our mission leader so we all began brainstorming together about who we could visit. We all got the impression to call up a ward family who had been struggling with an illness. It turns out that they were just about to call us to ask us for a blessing. We went over and gave a blessing to the wife after sharing a short message. It was a good spiritual experience.

Much love,
Elder Perez

I have a habit of knocking on
beautifully carved wooden doors