Monday, January 24, 2011

Well . . . We have lots of baptismal dates!

Hey, family!

Well . . . I thought I’d hit ya up with some pictures today, so we shall see if I can get ‘em all sent. Hope they load kinda quickly . . .

Yes . . . I went in those caves with Elder Toolson. LOL . . . It was a li’l crazy for sure, but it was soooooo fun to get a li’l lost . . . LOL . . . You know I never stress. Everything will work itself out . . . LOL . . . If we all come back to Guatemala together, we can go in there if you like!

Soooo, yea, my companion was in the capital for like three days . . . He thought maybe his ear problem wasn’t that bad, buuuuut the doctors had different things to say ‘bout that. They said it’s a miracle that he can still hear. Soooo . . . They ran a test and said that he will have to have an operation at some point, but we dunno when or anything yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a change to the capital in a li’l over a week, though, because of his need to maybe be closer to the doctors there. He’s doin’ just fine, though. This ear problem does explain why he talks with a li’l bit of a lisp, though . . .

As far as our Zone goals . . . Well, we have a lot of baptismal dates! We reported 63 yesterday, so we are meeting that goal, but our plans for baptisms next week have just kinda slowly fallen apart. We went from 31 dates planned, to 26, to 18, to 10 . . . It’s really a bummer but it’ll be cool here in this central part of Peten because nine of those baptisms will be comin’ from four of the areas! We are praying that all of the areas in the big, city part of Peten will have baptisms. We have three planned, so we are leading the way as the ZLs should. It feels good because this area hasn’t baptized in a while . . . Soooo, yea . . . The Zone is doing well! I feel like the Zone has really gotten soooooo much better. I guess I couldn’t hope for such a big change of 25 baptisms in the first month, but February is sure looking like it’ll be money now! So, we are very excited to see our Zone’s progress . . .

Well, I’m gonna write another e-mail so I can send you these three pictures . . .

One is of Mauricia, Elder Peterson and me at my last baptism in Sion . . .

Another is the jaguar that they have in Petencito . . . Don’t worry, I had to zoom in to get that picture. There is no way to even get close to the animal.

Annnnnd . . . The other picture is of me out behind the temple from an overpass . . . Kind of a cool picture . . .

Love you, family!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tell Elder Ballard I said, "Hi!"

Soooo . . . Happy Martin Luther King Day! No one here reminded me that it was that special time of the year again . . . I miss California . . .

As for my traveling, yeeeeeaaaaa . . . We had to do a looooooot more again this week. But, oh well! We are gettin’ through it all! My companion has to go down to the Capital tonight ‘cause he has a bad ear. I’m not goin’ with him ‘cause there is another missionary in the Zone that is also sick. Soooo . . . I will be on divisions for the next few days with Elder Alvarado. He’s a cool kid from Honduras who speaks almost perfect English. I always seem to get along really well with Honduranians . . . I dunno why though!

Aaaannnd . . . To answer your question . . . Yes! Our Zone completed the goal of sixty baptismal dates this week! When I reported ‘em to President, he asked me for the total like three times . . . LOL . . . I don’t think any zone has ever had so many baptismal dates at once! It’s really, really cool. Our goal this week is just to hold those dates more than anything. We also want to find fourteen new investigators in each area. Then, not this Friday but the next, we want to report seventy baptismal dates and have twenty-five baptisms on January 29th. We only have twenty-six fechas for that date now, though, so it’s just all ‘bout holdin’ onto our dates. Even if we don’t complete the goal of twenty-five baptisms for that day, I gotta say it’s gonna be a special day either way. Our Zone has sure worked hard and has improved so much!

Oh . . . And to answer you and Dad . . . I’m sad . . . I spent eighteen months in the Capital and now that I finally left, an Apostle is going to come! LOL! Since I’m eight hours away, I won’t get to be there for the Conference. I will watch it on a live broadcast, though! Oh, and guess what? President Colon (Guatemala’s President) is going to the Conference! President Torres told us that. So, that’s really, really cool! But, yea . . . I can’t go. I asked President Torres to tell Elder Ballard that I say, “Hi!”, though and that he was my Dad’s mission president. He said he would frankly do so . . . Oh, good grammar . . .

Aaaaaand for P-Day, we went to some caves with the District in Trebol. We didn’t have a guide (except two 18-year old members that had entered the caves a time or two before) and we went through backward! LOL! Of course we got a li’l lost a few times because the caves are huuuuuuge, but it was really, really fun! We all got suuuuuuper dirty crawling through the caves and we got nice and scraped up from falling so much. LOL . . . I took one really long, sliding fall, but all I did was scrape up my elbow. LOL . . . I was always leading and when everyone saw how hard I went down, they all just decided it would be better to just leave that part of the cave alone . . . LOL. It was very, very fun and tiring, though!

Happy Birthday, Grandma! That’s all . . .

Sooooo . . . Did Dylan get accepted to BYU-Provo yet?

Can Rookies be All-Stars in the NBA? LOL . . . Isn’t it a li’l ridiculous if Griffin can’t be an All-Star?

Oh . . . This week, I got to do two more divisions . . . LOL . . . It’s tiring. But, anyway, I stayed in my area both times this week because we felt it would be best if I stayed here with our investigators. But, I got to work with Elder Orozco (who actually entered the mission with me, but leaves six weeks after because of my six weeks more in the CCM and MTC) from Costa Rica and with Elder Bravo from Nicaragua. My companion actually trained Elder Bravo . . . Just a fun fact . . . The divisions have been really effective for us in the Zone. During the six days that we have been on divisions with different areas, we have put almost fifteen baptismal dates! Maybe even more than fifteen actually . . . But, anyway . . . They have worked great! We get a chance to learn from the other missionaries and they have a chance to learn how someone with a li’l more experience works and has success . . .

So . . . That’s about all I got. Life is goin’ good. I sure love and miss you all! Soooo, soooooooooooo much!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thirty-four investigators at District Conference!!!!

Hey, family!

Thanks for all the updates! I know I allllwayyyys say it but, honestly . . . Thank you! I did get Dad’s answers to the three questions, too, so thanks! Well, I will try to answer your questions first!

As for my being sick when I called home on Christmas, it was just a li’l cold. I’m all good now!

We did have to travel a bunch again this week but, as you said, the Lord does always seem to bless us with the necessary health and strength! I’ll explain all the traveling we did again this week in just a li’l . . .

As far as Tikal, it took us about an hour and a half to get there from our city. The guy that took us wasn’t our guide or anything . . . He’s just the big boss of Tikal and lives near us and is a member of the Church so he took us for free and all . . . He took us in his li’l pick up. Then, in Tikal, yes! We were able to hear quite a few of those howler monkeys! We could especially hear them from up top of the ruins. It was really, really cool!

And . . . How cool that Dylan is now playin’ so well this year! I’m really sooo, sooo happy for him! Make sure you tape a game or two for me!

Thank you for always lettin’ me know about Aaliyah. I still always keep the vision that when I get off the plane and get down to the area where I can see you all that Aaliyah will just come running up and jump into my arms! Man . . . I miss that girl! That moment is only five months away, though . . . Weird!!!!!!

Well, as for this week . . . Lemme hit ch’all up . . .

This week we traveled alllooooooooooooooot again . . . LOL . . . Monday night, we headed to the Capital for Zone Leader Concilio (8 hour ride). Concilio was very cool and it was great to see everyone from the Mission and all. It was cool to come in from Peten ‘cause we come in from so far away that when we get there it’s almost like coming from another world and we feel cool . . . LOL! Then, on Wednesday night, we came back to Peten (another 8 hour ride). Then, on Friday, we started a division with San Andres 2. With them, I went to San Andres to be with Elder Housley. We found a family of seven that day and five of them came to Church on Sunday! On Saturday morning, we ended our division and I started another division with San Andres 1. My companion went there while I went back to San Benito (our area) and worked with Elder Marquez. We ended that division on Sunday morning at Church because it was District Conference so all the missionaries had to come (it’s like a Stake Conference). It was really cool at the District Conference ‘cause 605 people showed up and 34 of them were investigators! That’s the highest number of investigators we’ve had in Peten in forever!!!!! Then, yesterday, my companion and I had to take long trips to La Libertad and Sayaxche to make house contracts for those Elders. Ahhhhh . . . It’s been tiring . . . LOL. We had hardly any time to work together this week (Elder Alonso and I), but alli vamos . . .

Our Zone is really, really improving . . . Since we put together our plan, our investigators have gone waaaaaaaaaaaaaay up as a Zone! In just two weeks, we have gone from 26 fechas to 48 (we came up two short of our weekly goal!!!!!) and we have gone from 34 progressing investigators to 64!!!!!! I have no doubt that we will meet our goal of 60 fechas as a Zone this week. President Torres was also very happy with our dats and said that we are the best Zone in the mission right now!!!!!!! I really see that by small and simple plans (and with some old-fashioned elbow grease), miracles can start to happen. Soooo, it’s for sure stressful because President is now watchin’ the Zone so close, but if it ain’t stressful, it ain’t worth it! I dunno if that’s completely true, but it sounds cool . . .

President also gave Zone interviews yesterday. When I received mine, it was very short with almost no conversation again but he said, “I feel a special spirit about the missionaries here in Peten”. He also said, “You need to be sure you make plans to have sufficient baptismal clothing for your Zone on the 29th. That’s something I’ve never had to tell a Zone Leader to do before”. Now we just gotta do all we can to come through! I know the Lord will bless us in our hard work and obedience!

And, today, we went to Petencito. It was cool . . . We played with and fed a monkey that was just roaming around. We took pictures of a jaguar that was there . . . Lots of ponds and lakes . . . It was just a pretty place . . .

Well, I’m gonna get outta here but hit me if ya got questions or comments! I love you all sooooo much! Take it easy!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I went to Tikal today! :-)


I gotta be super fast ‘cause our li’l trip made us late . . . But here I go! Thank you for answering all of my questions, too! I sure love you all!

How much do the Doctrines of Salvation books cost? How about The Teachings of the Prophet Smith? I would be super interested in reading those when I get home . . .

Hey . . . Is there a saying about something like Satan rules over the waters or something? Is that a real doctrine or a false one?

Does the Tree of Life mentioned in Genesis have anything at all to do with the Tree of Life mentioned by Lehi and Nephi?

We had a District Leader Meeting this week . . . Soooooo . . . My companion and I met with the four District Leaders and their companions. Ooooooo . . . It was a powerful meeting! In the meeting, we set Zone goals. The first goal was to go from 26 fechas (which we reported last Sunday) to 40 fechas report yesterday and . . . Guess what????!!!! We did it! The Lord really, really helped us! We held a Zone fast as well and we think that really, really helped! Now our next goal is to have 50 fechas reported this Sunday! I know we can do it! We just achieved maybe the toughest goal!

I got to know a li’l more of Peten this week. I went to Poptun, Dolores and La Libertad. Maaaaan . . . All that traveling is tiring! I don’t have much time to explain those places, but they were cool!

New Year was great! I slept all through it!

Hey . . . Another question . . . Tell me if I go this right or if I’m waaaaaay confused. Normally, to be a Bishop, you have to be a Melchizedek Priesthood holder. But, if you are a literal descendant of Aaron, can you be a Bishop while holding the Aaronic Priesthood? I think that might be right ‘cause the Bishop is the President of the Aaronic Priesthood anyway, right? I dunno . . . Lemme know, please!

Oh . . . I just completed 53 straight weeks reporting fechas on Sundays. I have not reported a “0” for over a year! Pretty cool, huh? I think it might be a mission record . . . LOL . . . The Lord has really helped me a lot!

I met the McBrides this week . . . They are the future grandparents-in-law of Elder Fast. By the way, he isn’t in my Zone, but he was “born” in my District. He’s one of my best buddies in the Mission. Anyway . . . The McBrides are a Senior Couple and they were funny! LOL! They talk to each other just like Grandpa and Grandma! LOL . . . It was funny to be around ‘em.

Aaaaaannnddd . . . I went to Tikal today! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! It was amazing, family! The ruins are huuuuuuuge! I took sooooo many pictures and we even got to go in some secret tunnels (almost like Nacho Libre ones) that no one gets to go in unless they are an archeologist or pay $1000 because we know the big boss of Tikal! He actually took us all the way there today in his truck! He got us in free and all! We probably saved $1050 today! LOL . . . Pretty cool! Aaaand . . . He says there is a hidden Mayan city that is under ground and completely sealed off from everyone, but he’s gonna try to get it open for us . . . Possibly next week!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhhhh! Needless to say, I’m super excited and I can only imagine how Dad feels right now! I’m sorry you aren’t here with me, Dad! But I’m getting’ all the pictures and necessary info!

Well . . . I gotta be fast, but it was a great week! We were able to put 2 more fechas as well! I love you all sooooooooooo much!