Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Or we just have telepathy like you have always suspected.

For New Years Eve, Guatemala kind of does the same thing as they do on Christmas, it is usually not as big though because there is not as much money left after Christmas. Some families choose whether to celebrate Christmas or New Year’s Eve though. This week we donated a bunch of toys and clothes that we asked from the members. We talked to a hospital about helping us and they accepted. We came the next day with our donations and it turns out that they didnt want to help us the next day because the went on strike instead. They hadn’t been paid in 6 months so they weren’t going to work until they got paid. They didn’t want to help because they didn’t want it to look like they were working. Two people from the Peace Corp were there so they helped us with talking to the Mayor of Palastina, and he showed us places that we could go to donate our stuff. One place was a Catholic church, and when the group who went there got there, the building was already filled. They started giving out stuff and when they were almost out, the people went crazy and started pushing people to get in front of the lines. Most of the people didn’t even speak Spanish there, they spoke Mum. For Christmas Eve, me and my companion were invited to an investigators house at last minute. When we went there was a bunch of food, but it was just me and my companion. We ate and talked until pretty late, then two other people came, but it was kind of strange that they had prepared so much food (it was a lot) and only four people were going to eat it. We left a little before the fireworks went off because we didn’t want to be on the streets when that was going on. The fireworks lasted for two hours, nonstop, until 2:00; they all kind of just stopped at once. IN church yesterday, a dog came in during sacrament. It was having fun visiting all the people, but someone got up after the dog had been in for a little and took off his belt and beat it until it left. I took a picture of it real quick because I didn’t want to messing around with my camera during sacrament, but I thought it was awesome that a dog wondered into the building so I really wanted a picture of it too.  The computer isn’t reading my card so hopefully next week I can send you the picture of it. Thanks for the pictures you sent me.  I forgot Joey did that too the first time we skyped him.  Great minds think alike.  Or we just have telepathy like you have always suspected.
Te amo, Bret

Telepathy
Christmas 2012 Elder Joey Mecham~England
2014 Elder Bret Mecham ~ Guatemala

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Skype

We were so excited to have all the kids gaze upon this face when they woke up Christmas morning! 

Bret hadn't yet opened his Christmas box but when he Skyped again Christmas night he was wearing his matching cat PJs! 
Bret when he first saw the family!
The early morning Christmas crew!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I believe it too because from the one McDonalds I went to, here in Guatemala, it blew all the USA McDonalds away.

Christine, you are a big word freak, you can’t blind side me with words like "palpable" when I am in Guatemala. English is a very forgettable language. This week was pretty interesting because my companion went on divisions a lot so he could get his ear fixed at a real hospital. From what I heard about the hospital, it is nicer than the ones in the U.S. I believe it too because from the one McDonalds I went to, here in Guatemala, it blew all the USA McDonalds away. One day when I was on divisions (with a latino companion) we went to a members house for dinner and we saw that one of her daughters had just returned from her mission. We talked with her for a few minutes until all of a sudden the conversation turned into us doing a role play of a way for missionaries to explain how only our church has the authority to baptize, not to just anyone who preaches the gospel. Not long after, the whole family gathered around me  and asked me to read the instructions to something they had recently bought, but the instructions where only in English. I (obviously) agreed, and they brought me a can opener! I asked them to bring me a can so I could show them but they brought me a soda can. I found out that soda cans have little dimples where a can opener should cut a can, but I was determined to teach these people of the usefulness of a can opener so I squeezed the can opener as hard as I could so the can opener would cut the can. As a result, when I was about to completely cut the lid of the can, it exploded on me. They laughed and brought me a towel along with a coffee maker. They then wanted me to show them how to use it. I explained that I don’t drink coffee, therefore I do not know how to use one because I have never used one. They then said that I was a Gringo, therefore I should know how to use it. We kinda went in a circle and couldn’t understand one another’s logic, so I finally said I will take a look at it as see if I could figure it out. I told them that you need to plug it in so it gets hot, you put pure water in here, and coffee grounds with a filter (they were not happy that they had to buy filters). The Latino companion that I was with at the time then came over and said it is simple. This is the ON button, this is the OFF button, This is the SETTING button, and to not worry because this last button is not important. I than laughed and said NO, this is the HOUR button to change the time on the clock, this is the MINUTE button to change the minutes on the clock, he was right and this was the SETTING button, but the last button was important because it was the ON button. I love this country.
For Christmas I am not sure what we are doing. We are going to skype but we don’t know where because it depends on the internet. It will be at a church because Members only have wifi for a certain time at their houses and we don’t feel confident that the wifi will be able to skype two people at the same time.
It is kinda weird that my family’s  lives are changing. I knew it would happen, but at the same time I always kinda hoped that we would all have one more chance to be together as just brothers and sisters, not husbands and wives when I got home.
Can’t wait to talk to you on Christmas

Bret

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

But for Christmas everyone really just makes a bunch of tamales from rice (the rice ones are more expensive)

This week has been kinda a bad week for my companion.. We went to print out pictures that he has on one of his old and full SIM cards. When we took it to the place, they pulled the chip out before they should have and it burned the chip. All his pictures on that FULL SIM card are lost now. He talked to his mom and she said to keep it because she thinks that she might be able to get it fixed when he gets home in 2 months, but he ended up losing the card. Also, for Christmas in Guatemala they go crazy with fireworks (which are really just bombs instead of fireworks). While on divisions, my companion turned a corner right as a firework (bomb) went off and it messed up his ear. He ended up going to the hospital because he cannot hear out of one of his ears now. They said it is just super swollen and that it didn’t rip. He still can’t hear out of it that well (but it is getting better), so we are thinking about going to a hospital in Xela because it is a better hospital. But for Christmas everyone really just makes a bunch of tamales from rice (the rice ones are more expensive) and eat with friends and family. When there are events like birthdays they usually make these kinds of tamales. Our cook doesn’t give us tamales, only tortillas because she thinks that Gringos do not like tamales. I haven’t opened my package yet and it is killing my companion. I want to wait until Christmas. I ended up not having changes so I am still in San Antonio and my companion stayed too, which has made things pretty awkward for him because we spent the last few days saying bye to members and investigators because he thought he was going to go. Every companionship in our zone ended up having changes except me and my companion. I have photos but I am trying to get the computer to read my SIM card.  I am getting emails yes. I  get them from the guys (we have a big group email), you, dad, Millie,  mom, Erika, Rozzle, Cheryl, Elder Z, and some from Jenna, and Joey. It is slow work now.  The mission president even emailed me today asking me how I am doing in an area de fe.  An area de fe is an area that has not and usually doesn’t baptize much. But I am good.
Thanks for updating my blog and facebook.  I have some photos for you, so  here you go.

Love, Bret


Monday, December 8, 2014

My Christmas Box is Here

Note from Christine
Throughout each week, I send Bret pictures I take with my phone of the daily happenings around our house.  He loves getting pictures of the cats, projects on which we are working,  and of the families in our ward and stake.  I sometimes send him photos of things I cook for which he has a fondness.  Last week I made pizzelles (Italian cookies)  a treat Bret loves that I make each year during Christmas time.  In fact he would eat an entire batch himself  if we were the only two at home. Then he would say "If you clean up fast no one else will even know you made them."
Here is the photo-

Here is his response-
AHHHHHHHH!  I have literally thought about these cookies every day since December has started.  Is there any way you can mail those to me?



I am glad to know you already shared He is The Gift.  Good job! This week was good, but we didn’t get a lot done. Wednesday my companion went on divisions so I left with a missionary who doesn’t always work well. Since I am still new to the mission, he always works hard with me though. I had a great lesson with him, but I was only able to have one because we had to go so far to get to the lesson. The next day we went to Xetulul with the mission. It was super fun. It is like an amusement park in the U.S. but there is way less people and rides, but it is still a super big park. Our zone just kinda stayed at the bumper cars. they were the best bumper cars I have ever been on. You can go so fast and I am pretty sure you could flip one of the bumper cars if you tried hard enough. After we saw one of the strangest magic shows I have ever seen. That night my companion got super sick and puked through the night. In the morning we went to the hospital and her got x-rays, a blood, urine and poop, test, then an ultra-sound. They said that there was something wrong with his appendix and that he should stay at the hospital and drink some of this super Gatorade type drink because his electrolytes were super low. Instead we just bought a bunch of the drink and crashed at the zone leaders’ house because it is 5 minutes away from the hospital. I just studied the mission library the whole time and learned a lot. By the next day he was fine. We took it easy though, and when night came around his stomach hurt again so we went back home. He is completely fine now, and we think he is leaving this change (December 10th), so we have just been spending this time going to members and investigators houses to take pictures and have them write in his Baggy (a Baggy is a T-Book, but the missionaries here are weird and don’t want to call it that). The Christmas Devotional was awesome. When it started, all the gringo missionaries quickly left the room where the Devotional was playing and made another English room. My Christmas box is here, I have it I just don’t know if it is it (I assume it is because it is huge!) Will you please tell my mom I got the box from her too. The primary program sounds like it went great! And no, I don’t ever get to visit the primary because we either teach Doctrine Essentials or have something to do like talk to the bishop.  Christine, will you and dad set up a skype account for me.  I will need it done and all the information about how to log on sent to me for our Christmas call.  Also will you let me mom know that you are doing that so she knows it’s me when I call.  I am not sure if I can skype.  I have to find a way to do that.  My companion said one hour but the zone leaders told they will talk for like five hours.  I will ask my mission president though.
I don’t think I am getting transferred but I don’t know for sure yet.  I will know tomorrow.  My scripture for my mission plaque is Alma 26:30.  Try to have it done in Espanol. 

Love, Bret

Monday, December 1, 2014

¡YOU GUYS GOT ANOTHER CAT! That is awesome.

Thanksgiving was good. as a zone, we celebrated it with a turkey, cake, potatoes, fruit salad, and other stuff. Me and my companion brought the cake because there is a panadería near our house so we asked them to customize a cake for us. ¡YOU GUYS GOT ANOTHER CAT! That is awesome. We now have two cats that have been imported from Idaho. That’s nice to know that I didn’t miss a crazy Black Friday adventure. I found out that they have Black Friday here too. It is only in electronic stores, and it is not nearly as big. I remember when we waited in front of Sam’s Club for Black Friday for our phones. It was great talking to other people, being laughed at for waiting in front of a store all night, and telling other people that we were waiting to buy there pie. One of our investigators is super into America because he lived there for ten years and is overly impressed with our police. We talk to him in English and he is super excited because he is going to return back to the United States January 5th to live with his family again. He is super positive and does and changes everything we ask of him because we have the "American Mentality" as he calls it. The only thing he wants to wait on is baptism because his wife is catholic and he wants to talk to her before he changes his religion without talking to her. He says that he will go to the LDS Church when he returns to the U.S. though, so, I guess the Georgia, Atlanta missionaries will baptize him. Our P-day was taken from us today, so today is just a normal day but we get to email home. it is taken because we are going to Xetalulu this Thursday as a mission. Xetalulu is the adventure park we have in the mission. We all customized and bought zone jerseys for the day. It is basically the missions Christmas party. As a mission this week we were also talked to tell others about the video "He is the Gift" or as the chapins say it "El es la Dàdiva" (a Chapin is someone who was born in Guatemala like how a Gringo is someone who was born in the U.S.). So I guess people should probably check it out. The church is putting a lot of money into advertising it, so I guess they Quorum of the 12 has a lot of confidence in this video. I guess it just begs the question: Como Nefi ¿Irà y Harà?


Love Bret

Monday, November 24, 2014

We also had innards soup this week. It is basically just a soup but it is the insides of a chicken (like the organs) instead of the regular meat.

Christine I knew you would be ready for Christmas early.  I am sure you have watched Elf ten times.  The time is flying by. We have changes the 10th of December and I believe that I am going to have changes and get a Latino companion. It will certainly help out my Spanish. We have been having a bit more success in our area lately. We have been able to talk to people we haven’t in the past and are finding more people who are interested in the gospel. My companion was born in Texas (near Amarillo). For one of our lunches this week, my companion and I taught V---- (the cooks grandchild, he is 15) about centripetal forces by using a cup of water. He didn’t move the cup of water in an arc over his head fast enough and all the water fell on top of him. It was great. I was also offered coffee for the first time on my mission this week. (was wondering what you would do.  Just kidding) We told her we couldn’t drink it (after we had found out that she had made it) and asked for something else. She said "The only other thing I have is water... but it is cold" me and my companion thought that was great, but the Guatemalans we were with (we brought members) thought it was the worst. They don’t believe in cold drinks or something here. Even after service and you are sweating they all want hot drinks and that is what they give us. We also had innards soup this week. It is basically just a soup but it is the insides of a chicken (like the organs) instead of the regular meat. It did not taste bad, but I had a fun time guessing the anatomy and which organs I was eating. We found two people who are already close to being baptized. One of them, K----- just wants to wait until she feels ready, which is great and respectable, but sometimes things happen during the waiting time, things which give missionaries nightmares. The other one, O------, was told by her pastor at her church that she can’t go to our church. This is good because if she does the things she needs to, she will gain a strong testimony and could be better off than some recent converts when she gets baptized, but trying to not go against her pastor’s words could prevent her from progressing. Love you and  I am thankful for your prayers for me; they definitely bring miracles.

Bret

Note from Christine- Bret's English is getting worse.  It is funny to see words he is having a hard time with.  He also spells baptize with an s (baptise)  which is how his brother who served in England spelled it. 
Bret is making these ties.  The purple one is one he bought.

Patriotism in Reu!

Visa Hermosa

Monday, November 17, 2014

I learned a lot about how to take out tree stumps

Hi Everyone,
To answer Christine’s questions-we can go to the temple, but we have to be close and it has to be something the zone does for a pday as a reward if we do something good for the month or something. So we can go but it is not very often that we get the chance. The baptism fell through on Friday night. C---- (the investigator) said she knew what we are  teaching is true but her husband convinced her to go to the Catholic church with him instead of him going to the LDS church. On brighter news, the husband from the convert from last week (he is not a member) brought someone to church with him and she said that she liked the church and wouldn’t mind being baptized in the church. It is kinda strange because he usually doesn’t go to the LDS church. A few times we have seen him standing in front of the Catholic church contemplating on which church to go to, but since his  wife got baptized I think that is helping him come. We think we could baptize him soon because the only thing stopping him is weird questions like ¿Why do you throw out the bread after the sacrament if it is blessed bread? The only problem is that the men work a lot so they don’t have time to get taught (especially when they live in small towns like where me and my companion are serving because they have to go to the bigger cities to work. A lot of the time the fathers come home Saturday night, then leave Sunday after church to go to church with their families). I really think that more Priesthood in the branch would do it some good.
We did a lot of service this week. We carried bags of wood down this super muddy, narrow, and slippery path on the edge of a mountain. It has probably been the most dangerous thing I have done on my mission so far. We also leveled a side of a mountain to put a house there. The house was for an old woman and she called a bunch of people to help, but only 6 people showed up. I learned a lot about how to take out tree stumps though. The wedding was great.  I am attaching some photos.
Random flock of sheep

This little chick followed us from the top of the mountain all the way down.  Tell Dee he was asking for her.

Getting ready for your Christmas package.  (Lots of chocolate kisses.  Right Christine?)

Newest member and her family


My companion made star tortillas.

Love you,

Bret

Friday, November 14, 2014

It was the first time in my life that I have seen a 40 year old man hide under a bed. It was pretty sweet.

I got a package this week from Christine and Dad! I learned quickly that you don’t open packages when there are other missionaries; it is the quickest way to lose your stuff. We had a baptism this week for C------ She has been an investigator for years, but the missionaries always dropped her. When me and my companion came to teach her, I guess things just clicked with her and she wanted to be baptized. I don’t have any pictures because I couldn’t get my camera to work for the baptism, but she also got married this week and I have a bunch of pictures of that (Guatemalan people don’t smile when they take pictures). We also have a girl named C------ who wants to get baptized this week. She has a lot of problems with her husband, and that prevented her from getting baptized in the past. This week she just got fed up i guess and one day we stayed up helping her move out of her house while her husband was at the bar. No one else is really progressing but i am hoping that we can get some more support in the area with these baptisms because they will be the first baptisms in the area after years since the last one. Our next changes are December 10th, but I have no idea what will happen. I think the mission president might want us to stay in the area for longer, but my companion has one change and a half in the mission and I think he will change since he has been in the area for 6 months now. 
Cool story: this week we went with a kid in the ward to a reference in Siquival. It was late at night and the path we took had a lot of trees so we didn’t have the light from the moon. My flashlight stopped working so the only light we had was from the fireflies (which was super cool). The path was also filled with a bunch of dogs (which is never a good thing), but we just walked with rocks in our hands and we threw them at places where we thought there were dogs). When we got to the house, all his lights were on and he was cooking, but as soon as we called his name, he ran under his bed to hide from us. It was the first time in my life that I have seen a 40 year old man hide under a bed. It was pretty sweet.
The work is slow in my area (well at least that is the rumor about my area), but at least we got a baptism this week and are planning to have another this week. We give a lot of priesthood blessings but I usually only do the anointing of the oil because my Spanish isn’t good enough to do the sealing part. The ward is good, but it is hard because it seem as though a lot of people on the edge of being a member. For example, we use to have around 300 people at church but a stake president gave a harsh talk and now we only have 75 people coming to church. We started to teach a family English (because they wanted to learn it) and while we were at their house the father called and wanted to talk to us. He said (in English) that he is in the U.S. right now building a house for his family (he builds houses for a living) and that he was super grateful for us because we were teaching them English because he couldn’t do it. He said that because he was so grateful, he is going to give the house to the church so the missionaries in the San Antonio Area (my area) don’t have to pay for housing. It reminds me of our Heavenly Father. He wants to bless us and give us stuff because we are doing something that he can’t do right now (not saying that God cant preach the gospel himself but it would be harder for people to walk with faith if they knew God existed). In return, we get a reward that is much greater than our efforts should have given us. Hey, why isn’t Joey doing the face-offs now?


Love, Bret

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A few photos

Here is that photo you wanted Christine.  Handsome?  Right?

Pump... Pineapple Carving

My  pineapple

A typical day in the mountains

So be bought pineapples and carved them since there are not any pumpkins.


For changes, me and my companion stayed together, but my companion is now the district leader. It is nice because now we have a cell phone and can be a lot more productive since we don’t have to go home to call people. There was a giant bike race in San Pedro (It is basically the big city in are zone) so we got stuck there sometimes because they close off the streets and taxis cannot get into the city. For Halloween, we returned to San Pedro because we had to get something from the Zone Leaders, but we got stuck there again because there was a bunch of people preparing themselves   for the next day (Dia de Muerte). We had to stay at the zone leader’s house so be bought pineapples and carved them since there are not any pumpkins. Dia de Muerte was the next day and it was great and horrible from missionary work. Everyone and their families were together and it was easy to talk about the plan of salvation, but everyone was with their families and didn’t or wouldn’t talk to us. I also bought some Decorte (it is basically super special Guatemalan woman material that is handmade), which is pretty expensive, but I am making them into ties. A lot of missionaries do it. We buy one material and make a bunch of ties with it, and then we trade them with other missionaries to get other colors. There wasn’t any mail for me at the mission headquarters, but the zone leader have to go back down again today so I might get the mail tomorrow if it has made it to the mission headquarters since last Wednesday. I am doing well, I am learning a lot more of the language so I am able to teach much better and work with my companion instead of helping him. We have a baptism this Saturday and a date for another person. I have heard from the mission leader that the mission president is super happy about it because my area has not baptized in years. That is cool that you went to a church in a different language. That reminds me of the MTC on Sundays. Everything would be said in Spanish and the important things would be repeated in English. It is really cool that you went up to see Joey and Millie. So, a bunch of people have complemented me on “The Tie” that Dad got on his mission.
Love Bret

Sunday, October 26, 2014

¡Oh! Fun fact. I got attacked by my first animal this week. Don’t worry I am fine...

Yes I  have heard about the flu, but that’s all I have heard about it, that it exists. It is so strange how much you do not know about the world when you are on the mission. It reminds me of how "We are in the world, but not of it". It was like that too in the MTC. I have not gotten any mail of any kind (except emails). I am sure it will get here soon.  Don’t worry. We went down to Reu for a training meeting the same day the mission leaders were going to get the mail, but the mail people said to get it the next day. So, the mail may very well be here, but I just have to wait until someone from our district goes back to Reu and picks up the mail for us. We had another p-noche last night. It is basically the best (worst) idea ever. Basically you go over to another missionary’s house the day before your P-day once the day is over and stay the night playing games, talking, and other things that missionaries do. There are never enough beds so you have to get pretty creative with sleeping arrangements and you stay up way too late. It is pretty great. It rained a lot this week, which is weird. People in the mission are saying it is because El Salvador is having an hurricane. This transfer has flown by. We are already on the last week. ¡Oh! Fun fact. I got attacked by my first animal this week. Don’t worry I am fine... it was a goose. An evil goose might I add. We were contacting and this goose raised its head up all the day and started to hiss at us (I didn’t know they could do that, I guess you just learn a lot on your mission). It then got super low, pointed its head at me, and charged. It lunged at me but I kicked it just in time. My companion then proceeded to hit it with a tree branch, but it didn’t effect it at all. It just kept circling us and hissing. I also went on splits again with my district leader. I like going with him because we usually plan a pretty good day for him and I love the way he teaches. We also went to chop wood, which I am really bad at, but I hope I will have the next few months to practice so I can help my investigators, especially next year during the winter. Well, I love you, I don’t have pictures again this week. I always forget to take them.

Love, Bret

Monday, October 13, 2014

Now we can’t use water for our entire house now (including showering).

Yes, Christine, It is getting much colder here. I am trying to decide if I should buy another jacket or not because it is only cold here in the mountains, so I would never use it after this area. Our mailing address is...
Elder Bret Mecham
Guatemala Retalhuleu Mission
Inglesia Mormona, Boulevard Centenario
Salida a Coatepeque, Zona 2, Apt. Postal 26
Retalhuleu, Guatemala
I am not sure how mailing works, but I think that it goes to the mission building, which is Retalhuleu. That means that even if the package you already sent is delivered, I don’t think I get the package until I have to go to the church building in Retalhuleu. My companion and I made the recipe of cookies you sent this week and gave them to some of our investigators who always go out of their way to cook or give us something. It was an interesting trying to make cookies here. No one makes homemade cookies here so no one could help us (we wouldn’t need help except they don’t have some of the ingredients we need to make them and the measurements here are different-). The cookies came out decent and were rated an 8 out of 10 when I asked people. I thought they were more like a 3 or 4 though. They kind of came out like sugary pancakes. Nothing like yours.  Our neighbor has also had family over for the past week and the wall is kind of broken between our houses, so his family (and he) took that as an invitation to use our backyard. They tied things to our house, dug up a firepit, used our bathroom, moved furniture over, and broke our sink.  Now we can’t use water for our entire house now (including showering). They also had a fiesta until 2 in the morning yesterday. My companion absolutely hates it, but I don’t really mind it at all. If anything, it just kind of reminds of Utah. They are also always cooking so in the morning and at night they give us food for no reason. I don’t have to make breakfast or dinner now. There are more spiders now too. They are in the church so during our lesson in church (we usually teach for at least one of the two hours every week. We don’t know which or even what is on. It is pretty fun.) Members will just randomly point to a place on the ground, and there will be a spider there that they want us to kill. Well, the mission president cut our emailing time in half now so I can’t talk as much, but I miss you all.



Love, Bret

Friday, October 10, 2014

Food in America is better in almost every way (taste wise, and parasite wise).

We had a lot this week with meetings. Out of the whole week we probably only got about 2 day’s worth of proselyting. Every other day we were taking buses to get to Reu for training meetings and interviews. On Saturday and Sunday we stayed at the church all day because of conference. With the new "speak your language" for conference, It was super cool to switch between the English and Spanish channels so we heard the speaker and not the translator. I felt the exact same way about the conference talks, like something is about to happen, I am not sure if it is going to be the church or the world that will change though (probably both, like an action/reaction between the views of the world and the views of the church). Some people watch it at home, but for the most part people go to the building to watch it. From what I have gathered, most people just don’t watch it.  It is the coolest thing to watch conference with just the missionaries from our zone. We took a room and a T.V. so we could watch it in English, but most of our zone doesn’t know English so it was just 6 of us in a room. It was pretty great. This week for our interviews, they fed us from a place called Pollo Tampero. It is basically the KFC of Guatemala and is super popular here. The thing about it though is that it usually gets Gringos pretty sick the first time they eat it, and that is exactly what happened to me. Because of this, I had the unique experience of throwing up in the back of an overly crowded bus for a few hours. The rain here is starting to stop, we have had a few days of no rain, but, like right now, it is raining pretty hard. It is cool because you can hear it hit the top of the metal roofs. It is getting a lot colder in the night, and getting colder faster when night comes around, but it feels like it is getting warmer in the mornings, around mid day, so I always just carry my jacket with me. It is definitely getting colder here, and the spiders know it too. There are so many spiders in our house... so many. we kill one and two more show up. you have to kill them here though because if you just kick them out (literally) they immediately run back in. You can play spider futból here using the door. It is like when you do something bad to Frost, you can call him and he will just return like nothing happened. I have some good news and bad news from this week too. Good news: when getting a ride home from conference, the driver offered us some chocolate kisses, which was lo mejor. Bad news: I ATE MY LAST CHOCOLATE KISS THIS WEEK. We got some investigators to go to conference this week, and they all really enjoyed it. I did too. For Christmas, food is a good thing to have because if I have stuff, I have to take it around with me for the rest of my mission. I have been super craving peanut butter (creamy) and for some reason gummy bears. What I really want is just some spending money so I can buy things, like shirts, ties (they styles of ties here are really cool, a suit , you can get a really nice tailored suit with the Guatemalan flag on the inside for really cheap. Like 600 quetzals or like $80), I also want to get these scripture cases where some one gets wool and uses a wood burner to make pictures on it. I can choose the pictures for it too. I know money isn’t that fun to give though.
Oh and, hey we have the keys to the church so we can cook. Do you have a cookie, brownie, or any of your great and easy recipe we can have so we can make some sweets?
Haha, that is awesome. Joey always has girls on him, he just doesn’t like people knowing, and usually because he doesn’t like them back (at least not as much as they like him)
The trek you are planning sounds great.  I have no idea what ideas would be best.  I have never been on one so I would not what to expect or what makes one good or bad. I think going through the struggles would make it cool, but I think there would be a lot of people who would disagree with me on that. It is weird that will be taking place right before I get home and you are already working on it. 
I have gotten emails from everyone in the family.  Erika emails me pretty frequently (basically weekly), I got an email last week from Erin McNally, and then we have a group email that contains me, Alec, Travis, Travis, Jorge, Chase, and Robert.
I really like your weekly updates things because I get to stay up with what is going on at home. It is nice when you add spiritual things too, it is all my life consists of now.  When I get home it is going to be like culture shock all over again because of how much will change during my mission. 

PS- Those cookies look so good! Besides Mexican food,  the food in America is better in almost every way (taste wise, and parasite wise).

Love, Bret

.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Dangerously Low on Chocolate Kisses

I love to go tracting and street contacting. I went out with my district leader this week and he said "Anyone that is here that says tracting doesn’t work is lying". I believe it. If you can get them to laugh and relate with them, you can basically say anything to them, make a good impression on them about the church, and have them want you to talk more about it. There are definitely three types of investigators here:
1. they just eat up your word and are excited to learn more and do more (ellos son lo mejor)
2. they let you return because they like you and want to change, but they have a hard time doing what we ask them too (it makes sense to them in their heads but they can’t find the motivation or complete trust in God to follow his commandments)
3. they let you come off to make a point. They can be super prideful and contend with everything you say. they are either just trying to prove our religion wrong through the bible or are trying to find a religion that believes in what they believe exactly, no more, no less. (I have never seen a missionary become more angry then when they talk to these kind of investigators).
I am lovig the mission, but I would feel better if I could be more social. I basically live where I can only talk to one person. It is almost like I am not in the United States anymore. I am getting to know other companionships, and I am super grateful for my papá. I come from a mission lineage of unhelpful fathers. The more I get to know him, the more I grow to love him. There are a lot of missionaries here that are not here to do work. The members and people here know that too. It is insane how close Christmas is. I am excited to talk home. It has only been a month or so, but... there are defiantly things i miss about home, but there are defiantly things I never want to change that I do here on the mission.
Christine, I am dangerously low on chocolate kisses. I have to ration myself, but they are great to give to people. I ask people if they want chocolate, and they say sure, but don’t think too much of it. I then tell them it is from America and they grab it and eat it right away. Everything that is valued here is from the U.S. Clothes stores here are called pacas, and they are basically just 24-7 garage sales of clothes that they went to the U.S. to buy. I am not really reading the scripture as i am just studying different topics. I have a manual that I have to follow, and I slowly have to do more things and explain things, so I study those things that I have to do. It takes a long time because I try not to do anything in English, including studying. I love my mission president too. He is such a strong member, and he loves facebook (at least from what I have heard). He always is either talking or taking pictures. Fun fact of this week, week got a new AP so our money comes one week later than was expected. Everyone in our zone (except for like 3 people) have no money at all. They are not sure how to get back into their area because they can’t pay the cab, and some can’t pay for the internet to write home today. There is no way some of them can get through this week. I am so grateful that I am fruitful.


Love, Bret

My papa
Yummmmy  Dinner

Church
Ball

Monday, September 22, 2014

The bathroom is... different. I am definitely not in the U.S. anymore

Hi !
My companion is Elder Barnes. He is from Texas and is a really good elder. I am not sure how long he has been out  actually.  He was not always active in the church but  I would have never known that he was an inactive member if he didn’t tell me. He is such a cool kid. My first meal while being in Guatemala was... Burger King. We then had stuffed chicken and I have had a lot rice, tortillas, chicken, beans, and I had pasta once.  We have a cook and someone to do our laundry (the church is giving members jobs when they need them) so she  makes us good food and lemonade and horchata. We are teaching quite a few people. The problem with all of them is that they won’t leave there work to go to church or read or anything really. Everyone wakes up early goes to work and then goes directly home and to bed.  We teach some people at work because they just work at stores that are there houses or on carts outside. Everything here is super cheap or really expensive. My area is San Antonio. It is in the mountains and it is the coldest part of the mission. It is just me and my companion living in a house. It is really big, it is actually two houses. One is for sleeping and the other has a kitchen in it. It is really nice and we have an amazing landlord. We have one of the only places that have hot water to shower with, but the bathroom is... different. I am definitely not in the U.S. anymore. It rains all the time but only after lunch, never in the morning. I have pictures but I am not sure if the computer will or can take them. The mission president is a really strong member of the church. Most active members are, but there is not really a lot of active members in my area. He really emphasizes that all Spanish speakers learn English so they will have opportunities after the mission  and he is trying to learn English too to be an example. They put gringos with native speakers all the time because of this. He constantly calls our mission the most powerful mission in the world (or at least that is what is translates to in English). It is not as humid here in the mountains, but when I was in Reu and the capital is was super-hot and humid. It constantly smells like the 4th of July here because no one takes care of their cars and burn everything. I have ran into 3 mobs already and what they do is fill the street with tires and set them all on fire so no one will move them. This happened the way to my area and we were in the bus for an extra 4 hours because of it. We were able to decide and watch three movies on the way back to our area. (By the way, we can watch almost any movie on my mission. on the way  we watched Thor 2, and i checked to make sure if it was ok, and the mission president  himself said that he approved the movie.) I thought that was kinda strange, but no one else did. I can speak a lot better than most people expect me to be able to, which is a good sign, but I cannot understand the native speakers. I can understand the gringos and they can understand me but I cannot understand the native speakers and they have a hard time understanding me. It is super hard to write home because the computers are sticky and the translation is in Spanish so I have said is underlined indicating that I have spelt it wrong (shout out to Christine for being my auto-correct).
 
Hermosa- Especially at night

El Capitan- protects us wherever we go

People just leave their doors open here.  Mi Casa es su casa.

Our hotel room my first night here.

Thanks Christine for the scripture you sent. (Helaman  13:3)  I love that scripture too. I want to give that scripture to an investigator when they feel the spirit to show them how the gospel changes your life. Most people here just don’t want to do things, which I don’t blame them because there livelihood depends on it. Kids don’t have school on Sunday so for some people Sunday is the best day for business. They have to put so much trust in God to give away a day, especially Sunday. But from the families I have seen do it, it is so worth it. Their families are so close because they have a day when it is not just pure work. By the way, my ward mission leader is 18. Tell dad that, I forgot to tell him. I usually will give stuff to the kids, especially the 5 cent coins. I have done the math and it is about 1.2 cents. They love it though. I am not so sure how well the mail works here because from what I have heard most stuff doesn’t make it or takes forever, but what I do know is that sometimes it works just fine and those are the ones with religious pictures on them. So yes, send the package, but put stickers on it.
Love you,

Bret

Photos from the Mission


Bret's mission has a facebook page.  His mission president updates it with photos.  We are so grateful for these great pictures he posted last weekend.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I am also thankful for all the Kisses I have gotten. I am eating them as fast as I can...

Family,
This week was pretty great. It was our last time teaching our investigator so afterwards he walked out of the room with us and gave my companion and I a tie. we found out that from he went on his mission and he said that he was always successful when he wore these ties. He told us that it was a custom in his country (he is from Peru) to give meaningful gifts to people when they make an impact in there life or they feel as though they had a special connection with them. I was pretty cool. I got my flight plans and i leave this Monday morning at 4:00AM and will arrive at Guatemala around 8:00PM. I have some good and bad news. Bad news: I am Travel Leader which means i am in charge of everyone in my Travel Group and have to watch over them. Good news: i am the only one in my Travel Group. This means i will get a phone to call people incase of an emergency and i am able to call home during my layover (around 12:00PM to 5:00PM). i will try to call later though so i can call you guys while you are not at school. we have a devotional today and i think a General Authority is speaking because last week they randomly told us about the procedures for when a General Authority comes to speak. COINCIDENCE? I THINK NOT! I am pretty excited. Thank you for all the mail and packages I have been getting. I hear all the time here at the MTC about how some missionaries only got one package there entire mission and they are scarred from it. I am grateful I am not one who gets to share that horror story about myself. I am also thankful for all the Kisses I have gotten. I am eating them as fast as I can so I can bring as much of them as I can with me and still fit the 100lb weight limit. I figure, if my bags cant take the weight, I will put the weight upon myself.


Here are some of the Hermanos and Hermanas in my districto.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I don't understand your confusion with Millie's dowry. I simply wedded off Millie for her dowry!

Family,
I don't have any pictures this week, but it is really because there is nothing really to take pictures of. I am either at my desk in the classroom, sleeping at the apartment, or in the cafeteria. the language is getting better but from what I have heard is that it probably doesn't matter. every teacher I have talked to about going learning Spanish at the MTC has said something along the lines of "I knew nothing of Spanish before the MTC and by the end of the six weeks I felt confident that i wound have a problem talking to others in the field, but as soon as I got there i could't understand anything they said." I am not worried though. Most everyone  asked said they felt confident with their Spanish after the first year, but my fake investigator said that he gave it no more than 3 months before i would be able to communicate without a problem with others and 1 month until I could understand other people. He is a native speaker so I am not sure how to take it. It does look like I will be here until I go out into the field (September 16), but I am ok with that. if I left now, it would be like switching schools during your senior year. you get close with people and you don't really want to leave. My companion is good nothing abnormal. his Spanish is really coming along. we are teaching another fake investigator who is a Seventh Day Evangelist and we are having a hard time explaining why we we go to church on Sunday and not Saturday anymore. He is super pro bible and there is really any scriptures that are convincing enough to help us explain how the prophets changed the day after the resurrection. it would also help if he used the same bible as us. we could easily explain it to him IN ENGLISH, but it wasn't too effective when we took that approach. I like the guys in our apartment. they are fun and we hang out with them whenever we can, which is basically always. I don't understand your confusion with Millie's dowry. I simply wedded off Millie for her dowry! We received a life time supply (or in other words 2 week supply) of food. I haven't been able to get much mail lately because we don't really get it on the weekends and and it was "Labor day" which I guess probably translates to "missionaries in the MTC don't get mail on this day" in some other language. In other words, it is kinda a bummer but I get letters from you every day.   Before I go, I want to get some of that Shout stuff or whatever it is that  am able to spray on the collar of my shirts, and I have really been craving smart food popcorn lately, but I know that no matter how much of that stuff you send me, it will all be eaten in the same day that I get it. I haven't met anyone new and I still love pdays because I get to write home (obviously) and i get to go to the temple. I got my first haircut today (like 5 minutes ago). When you are finished, they vacuum your head (pretty strange), but it doesn't work too well because I am still shedding on the computer. Love you all, PAZ (that is peace in Spanish).

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

That is really cool that Millie and Joey are at BYU. I will probably go walk over and say hey to them next P-day or something...Just Kidding!

Hi,
I really like the pictures in the e-mails and the ones you send, the only problem with the real pictures is that I have no place to put them, so I just put them in my journal. The language is coming (I think), but it is just one of those things how you receive the evidence of your faith, but only after you have been faithful. I just need to be faithful and diligent in my work and God will use what I know to allow me to do his work. If not, he will make sure I learn it pretty quick in the field. I still haven't heard anything about switching and i am half way through the MTC so i doubt they will transfer me. My companion is doing well, he was just released from being the district leader, so now Elder Harris is our district leader. Elder Harris reminds me of a lot of Travis so it is nice having him around. I still get the same amount of mail, a bunch of it is from you, and then I will get some from mom, and then I got one from brother Dixon and Mr. Budo, and Erika. That is super cool about Daniel and Seth. My guess is Seth is going to the Philippines or some where like where the Mikesells are and Mary and Johnston went (an area like that in Asia). That is really cool that Millie and Joey are at BYU. I will probably go walk over and say hey to them next P-day or something. My companion won't be opposed to it because his girlfriend is over there now too. I will make sure to call you before I head over so you can tell them I am heading over, then they could just drive us back to west campus. Just kidding, I will just have them pick me and my companion up instead of us walking over. A package would be nice.  Thanks for asking!  I am out of the Kisses you sent, and I think I want an umbrella. Thanks for that! So, our older group in our district left this Monday, so since we were his favorite younger companionship in the zone, we inherited all his food. It is insane how much food we have now, but none of it compares to the delicious, wholesome taste of a Hershey Kiss.
Here are some photos. 
This is the Provo temple we go to each P-day. I really like the whole circle thing it does.


The first one is elder Seamons, Then me, Then Elder Gowans. Elder Gowans seems really familiar to me and he says he has Mechams in his family. By any chance are we related, he lives in Elko, Nevada.

This is all the food we received from Millie's dowery. It is basically a six year olds dream food storage

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"IRÉ, HARÉ, Y SERÉ (I will go and do!)

Sorry!  No pictures this week, I left my camera in the classroom. I have heard nothing about my visa or when i got to the Guatemala MTC. I went to ask the information desk about it and they didn't appreciate it to much. The language is fine. I am focusing more on grammar than words so i don't know how to say more, but i can say more things right. My companion, Elder Hill, Is from Twin Falls Idaho and is 18 like me. Everyone in my apartment left a girl so i make fun of them all the time. my favorite one is one that the branch presidency told us (kinda). He said "We call each other Elders, not Guys. Elders are here do the Lord's work and the Guys are back at home making out with your girlfriends." I really like sacrament for the most part, because it is always based on something we need to know. One thing they have us do every week is make a five minute talk for sacrament. what they do is randomly select names to give a talk and you don't know if you have to give it until it is time for you to give it. It is kinda like how they draw names from the hunger games except no one can volunteer as tribute. I have not met anyone new that i used to know, but a few people have left that i liked. It is weird seeing the kids that already know Spanish when they come here, because they come in after you and leave before you. It is funny to see the kids faces who about to leave when they here the kids who know Spanish talk to each other. It is just a big, fat reminder of how unprepared they are to talk Spanish to people where t is their native language. The more i look around though, the more i think that me and my companion are the only ones going to our mission, are even Guatemala in general. Thank you for the package. i have already started my giant pile of kisses' wrappers and informed everyone in my apartment to not touch the pile and to leave it and all its glory alone. My piles are meant to be acknowledged and appreciated from a distance, not to be touched or thrown away. Thank you for your letters, it is great when i go get them mail with my companion and half of the letters are mine out of all the districts mail. I also have a new favorite quote (it is my professora's missions theme) "IRÉ, HARÉ, Y SERÉ"

Please tell Mr Budo I get his Dear Elders.  AlsoI heard from Cameron Dixon which is very nice.As far as your diet coke failure... well you study the word of wisdom and i will pray that you will honor your promises to me. I think that will help you kick off that addiction. Life's good, i love all the dear johns you send me, my companion is awesome, i am good on food because of my apartments companions food and the packages plus i get three all you can eat meals a day, i love the MTC, and i go to the temple every p-day. i have to log off, i am over my time.  I love you, bye.

(Christine's note...I told Bret I would try to kick my diet coke habit while he was gone, and that I would faithfully have personal study every day.  I have had about 4 diet cokes today, but have kept my study promise.  I will kick the DC habit before he gets home!  The Hershey kiss pile is something he and I have joked about for years.  He thinks I should never throw away his wrappers.  Also I send him dear elders not dear johns!  Oh Bret!)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I think the food here is great, but a lot of others don’t agree with that. We are the sub campus so we get the scraps from main campus.

I love the MTC and my companion. His name is Elder Hill and he is from Idaho Falls. He is our district leader and has a sister named Millie too. He is my age but two months younger. I am doing alright at the language; is definitely helpful that I had taken two years of Spanish. On the first day here they had us teaching fake and/or real investigators. By the third day they had us teaching a fake investigator in ONLY Spanish. I am picking up the language pretty quickly I can tell it is only because the Lord is with me at all times. It is weird; I just remember stuff that I normally wouldn't. My companion is going to the same mission as me and everyone else is going to the Meridad, Mexico mission in our district. I was supposed to fly to Guatemala yesterday (at least that was my estimated time to go) , but I haven’t even gotten my flight plans yet. I think they are just going to ship me off at the same time my companion is and he turned in his back ground check this last Friday. His estimated departure day is August 19. A missionary in our district is leaving today, he super doesn't want to be her so now there is only going to be 11 of us in our district but I think we are getting more on Wednesday. They have given us so much to do here there doesn’t seem to be enough time to do it (they have us watch stress relieving videos), but since the Lord is with me I seem to be more efficient and don’t have a problem doing what they ask us to do. The real problem is that everything they ask us to do (which seems to be everything they had to do and everything they thing we should do) we have to do in Spanish too. I love my campus (west campus) because it is the Spanish speaking campus. Everyone speaks Spanish to us all the time. Class is in Spanish, talks in church for the most part are in Spanish. I haven’t gotten any real news on my departure date though besides a small piece of paper saying my estimated time to leave is August 11th. I met someone from my lacrosse team but for the life of my I can’t think of his name (he was the one that went out with Millie for Sadie’s junior year. I like my teachers, but they can only teach for three hours a day and the other three hours is for teaching a fake investigator (and preparing the lesson), and the last three hours is us doing personal, companion, and language study. I think we are going to get another teacher this week so we will have six hours of language study instead of only three. (I have heard rumors that our fake investigator is going to be our new teacher. I think the food here is great, but a lot of others don’t agree with that. We are the sub campus so we get the scraps from main campus. In other words, they get an all you can eat and they make a lot more stuff for them and we will get sometimes an option between two meals and only get one of each plate, but I really don’t care about that at all. I do need a watch and an alarm clock of some sort. I usually wake up when my companions do but they feel like they have to wake me up and they don’t like to do that (they have alarm clocks), and I have no idea what time it is ever. I just kind of do whatever other people are doing and some people have a watch and i can ask them. There are no clocks on the walls here except on the TV. in the cafeteria. My P-days are Tuesdays and yes I have gotten your letters. I am not sure how well hand written mail is working but I get dear elder mail the day you guys send them. I love my life here and don’t miss my life back at home but I do miss the people I had back at home.

By the way- It was super cool to see Millie before I went into the MTC.  I loved that picture of us and it was good I got to see her one more time.
Yo amoro tu. Adios.  (Christine's note:  His Spanish is a little rusty.  I think that is supposed to say- I love you, Bye!)

Here are some MTC photos Bret sent:
Every one in my apartment (Me, Elder Hill, Elder Harris, Elder Neilson

Nice scenery

New friends

My district

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

And he is off...

Today we said goodbye to Bret!  The past few weeks have been and emotional roller-coaster for us as our little family and the families of our good friends have experienced so much change.  Just a month ago sweet Quicny Ellsworth returned from her Korean  mission. Three weeks ago today we welcomed Bret's brother Joey home from his mission in England.  Yesterday, our dear Mary Moody returned form Hong Kong and, after a long wait, we also welcomed  Zach and Bailey Ellsworth Olsen's daughter to the world!  These days are what we call pay days.  Since Bret was a small child our three families have been woven together through good and bad times.  He walked to school every day with his siblings and the Ellsworth and Moody children.  Bailey (the new mother) spent many Friday nights babysitting all of the kids in all three families (one baby will be nothing for her).  Father son trips to BYU camps were made in our Great White Whale. Disneyland adventures and other vacations with the three families peppered Bret's childhood. Through the years of his childhood and youth, most of Bret's memories of school, church and neighborhood life include these people who have become so much more than friends.  It is wonderful that Bret now sets off to teach people of the joy and happiness that can be found in living a Gospel centered life.   He knows it is true and has shared powerful testimony of his love of missionary work with us.  Bret will bring many to know Christ.

Tuesday night after Bret was set apart we came home and enjoyed our last night with him.  Bret and Doug played one last chess game.
Bret was the winner!



Following chess we packed up Bret's Title of Liberty.  He plans to have all of his companions sign it! 


After he was packed up, and it was time for all of us to go to bed I heard Joey and Bret quietly talking and laughing. Just like when they were little boys in their bunk beds.  Made me want to cry!

I got up early and made Bret his favorite breakfast.   (Extra Bacon)  Bret requested these sandwiches most mornings before seminary.

Then it was time to say goodbye to his favorite friend.
Frost will miss Bret.
Off to the airport at 6 AM. 
The long walk!

Bret's plane to SLC was on time and he was ready to go!  He said a final good bye to Joey, Jenna, Susan's husband Mike and I before going through security.  Susan and Doug were able to go to the gate to see him off.  Bret was very calm and didn't seem the least bit nervous.  At 10:20 he arrived in SLC where Millie was waiting to take him to the MTC.  Originally Bret had been scheduled to fly directly to the Guatemala CCM (MTC) but because of some visa issues he will spend some time in Provo.  This gave Millie the unique opportunity to be able to drive her brother to the MTC.  When they got there she said Bret was all smiles.  The host Elder who came out to greet Bret asked if he could snap a few photos.  As Millie and bret flung their arms around each other, the host Elder said, "Wait!  She is your sister, right?"  Millie said they all had a good laugh as he snapped this photo.

Final family hug!
And away he goes!  See you in two, dear Elder Mecham!




If you care to write to Bret you can use dearelder.com. His mailbox/unit at the Provo MTC is 842.  The mission is GUA- REU.
We are not sure how long he will be there so as soon as we get a more permanent address I will post it in the sidebar.