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,


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...

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!

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).