Monday, February 21, 2011

What a change of heart in just one day, huh?

Hey, family!

Thank you for all of the videos! LOL! I loved ‘em! LOL . . .The last dunk with the Choir singing was pretty fun. Not an amazing dunk as Chuck said, LOL, but just a fun dunk. I can’t wait to be home and see that boy play alongside my other homie, Gordon!

Anyway, as always, I’m gonna answer your questions first . . .

In our Zone, we were yet again not able to come through on the goal that we had. We only baptized five people as a Zone. Seven of the baptismal dates moved to next week and the rest . . . Well . . . I just hope they’re not lost. As for me and my Companion, we baptized two. We baptized Adelfa and Eimy. Manuel wasn’t able to be baptized (even though he is Adelfa’s and a member’s son) because his grandma really raised him and was very against it. Saturday was a very full day, though, ‘cause in the morning, my Companion and I had to get all of Adelfa and Pablo’s papers figured out so that they could be married. Pablo comes from a family of all members of the Church and Adelfa comes from all members of the Catholic Church. Adelfa is so humble, though. She wanted to learn about the Church so much and she wanted so badly to believe. Of course, Heavenly Father answered her prayers and she decided to be baptized even though her family was completely against it. And they were! When the wedding (just a li’l civil wedding with no fancy ceremony) happened, all of Adelfa’s family weren’t too happy to see my Companion and I there. But, as we forced them to talk to us (LOL), they started liking us (I think). Oh, the wedding was at 4pm and the baptism was at 5pm! Anyway . . . Adelfa’s family wasn’t gonna go to the baptism but they decided to go after the nice fun wedding. Sooooo . . . Three quarters of the baptismal room was full of non-members! It was really, really cool! It was, of course, a little hectic to get started on time and all, but it all went well and I couldn’t ask for any more. Eimy was baptized as well. It wasn’t hard to help get Eimy baptized because she’s a 10-year old girl who has always gone to Church. With Adelfa, it was very, very hard but very worth it. I think because Adelfa’s family liked the baptism and all so much that Manuel may be able to get permission to be baptized now. We shall see . . . Oh! And, after the wedding and baptism, Adelfa’s mom invited me and my Companion over to eat to celebrate! What a change of heart in just one day, huh?

Ummmm . . . Yes . . . I am like 100% positive I want to go to Gavilan. I just think it’s my best option. I’ll be with the family for a year or two. It will be cheap schooling and commuting. I’ll be able to keep playin’ ball. I’ll be able to have a solid Church calling. I’ll be able to find a solid job as well. I just think it’s the best idea. Does Gavilan offer any Chinese language classes? What do I have to do for that?

That’s very cool about CCS . . . I hope Gilroy can play well. I know my Junior year we sure let everyone down. It still makes my stomach roll. Isn’t that weird? You’d think I’d get over that a li’l faster! LOL!

Oh! And I don’t think I answered your questions from last week . . . Yes, I usually get mail every week. The weeks we don’t get it are normally change weeks. But we will be getting’ mail again probably on Wednesday.

Oh, hey! I think you should send me a memory card if you want me to send home the one I have. I have like 400 pictures on it and I’m happy to send it home if you all want it, but it would leave me with no memory card and I can’t do that! Sooooo . . . Just a heads up . . .

This week I got to do two Divisions. One with Elder Orozco to do two baptismal interviews in his Area (Flores) while his companion did the two interviews in my Area. The other Division was with San Andres Two and I also went there. I was there all day with Elder Calero. He goes home a change before I do. I really like the kid. The Division went really, really well.

Well . . . I gotta get outta here! I’m sorry, Dad! I really don’t have time to respond to your e-mails! I promise I’ll do it next week! I love you all soooo, soooo much! Thank you for all of your prayers and support! Be smart and safe! Talk to ya soon!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Lord is really blessing the Peten Zone!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

LOL . . . I am getting absolutely zero lovin’ again today, but hopefully next year I’ll be gettin’ some . . . Two year sacrifice . . . Hee, hee . . .

Anyway . . . Thanks for the updates, Mom! Good to know all is goin’ well!
I’ll answer all of your questions first . . . The Zone is doing very, very well. We still have 45 baptismal dates set! It isn’t as many as we have had, but it’s still by far the best in the Mission! Fifteen of those Zone baptisms are planned for this weekend! LOL! We didn’t plan the same activity to baptize a lot on one day, but that’s what it’s lookin’ like we’re gonna do! The Peten Zone hasn’t baptized that many people in one month in about a year, so it would be amazing to achieve it. The Zone has really, really kept improving since I got here. It really isn’t bragging . . . I just think it’s really, really cool how my companion and I could turn the Zone around once we got together. I feel like with every change I learn how to better lead my missionaries. It’s really, really cool how I can feel my personal leadership improvement. The Lord has really blessed this Zone. We haven’t had to do too much!

Anyway, of the 15 baptisms we have planned as a Zone for next week, three of them should come from our area. Adelfa should be getting married to Pablo (a member) this weekend and will be baptized the same Saturday along with her son, Manual. Also, Adelfa’s niece, Eimy (daughter of two members) should be getting baptized the same day. All three of the baptisms have relations to the Obando family which is like the equivalent to the Eves families in the Del Rey Park Ward. Soooo . . . This Saturday should be a very exciting day for our area and for the whole zone! Keep ‘em all in your prayers, though, if ya would!!

As far as the Sister missionaries in our Zone, we have one super pilas one. Hermana Urizar is still here in Peten (where she has been for the past eight months). She is in a new area and she is workin’ her bum off like always! She and her companion should be baptizing two this weekend.

Concilio was very, very, very cool this time. Out of the seven I’ve been able to attend, it was by far the best one . . . LOL . . . Anyway, we had to stay in the Capital for a li’l while though. We got there Wednesday morning at 5:30. That day, my companion and I got to go work in the capital wherever we wanted. It was sooooo cool . . . First my companion went to visit some people in one of his old area. Then, I got to visit almost all of my favorite people from the mission! First, we went to the Maya to visit my first converts . . .Woooooooow! How they’ve grown! LOL . . . My first baptism, Carlos, is huuuuuuuge! We also got to visit with Hermana Esperanza! Ahhhhhh . . . It was so cool to have all the memories of my first change with Elder Ireland come back walking through those streets and to be able to eat some of Hermana Esperanza’s cooking again was just icing on the cake. She really is just the sweetest person ever.

So, the day would have been amazing just for visiting the Maya, but after we went there, we went to my second area, Atlantida. There, I got to visit Hermana Ligia and all of her family. Ahhhh . . . Talk about flashbacks again, LOL . . . I was at her house with that family almost every day for three changes. They are such good people and are so fun to be around. I really had missed them a lot a lot.
After that, we went to my third area, Ermita! We visited Hermana Zusi and the whole family. Honestly . .. I was just kinda floatin’ on clouds at that point. It was so cool. I love hanging’ out with Zusi and Fielding. We always have millions of good laughs there. Those three families are just soo, soo special to me and I will never, never, ever forget about ‘em. The only family that compares to them that I didn’t get to visit is the Schoenfeld family, but I couldn’t visit them ‘cause they work in the Temple on Wednesdays . . . Bummer. Great, great day though.

Then, Thrusday, we had a rare late starting Zone Leader Council. We started at 10am and ended with Hermana Torres cooking at about 3pm. The Council was amaaaaaazing, though. Everyone was very, very involved and we made some new standards for the Mission. Elder Martino was suuuuper powerful again and really inspired us all to be better. I really feel like this Zone Leader Council is going to help out this Mission a lot! My companion and I have planned a meeting with all of our District Leaders tomorrow to go over all we learned and to put new goals with each District to improve. I know we will be more successful as a Zone after that meeting . . .

Thank you for the Aaliyah update. I can’t wait to be hugging that girl again . . .

And, Dylan . . . I’m sooo proud of that kid! Really . . . Could there be anyone better than him? He’s amazing and such a good example. I sure stressed leaving him behind when I left on my mission ‘cause I wouldn’t be there to pull him through the stupid temptations of High School, but he’s done such a great job, huh?
Hey . . . Make sure you guys tape the NBA All Star Events . . . I’ll wanna see ‘em in four months . . . Hee, hee!

Hey . . . A couple questions . . . When does school start at Gavilan in the Fall? Also, what can do for work? Also, think Bishop could make me a Seminary teacher? I’d love that early schedule. Maybe you can hint to him that I’d love that calling . . . Please! It’s early and it gives me the whole day to get other things done. I get to teach, I have to study a lot, and I would learn a lot. Just put in the word, Mom . . . Make it happen . . .

Hey, Happy Birthday, Aunt Chris!

Oh! And I just sent a li’l package home today. It has a letter for the family and it has a bunch of pictures that I would like for you guys to pass out if ya could. The instructions are in the envelope . . . Ha, ha!

Well . . . That’s about all I’ve got! I sure love you all! Be safe and smart!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Elder Martino is here!

Hello, family!

So good to hear from you again! I thought that this week was maybe gonna go by a li’l slow, but, noooooo . . . It flew by again! We were very, very busy!

Part of the reason why we were so busy was all of the Zone changes. Ten of the thirteen Zone companionships had changes which was waaaaaay nuts, but it was cool. Ummmm . . . Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we had missionaries staying the night in our house to send ‘em out to Coban and the Capital for their respective changes. They put two more sister missionaries in our Zone, too. Soooo, now we have four sister missionaries in our Zone. They also opened up a new area in our Zone! That was cool ‘cause it shows that we had a good last change and President Torres probably feels like if the Zone was successful with 26 missionaries, it could be even more successful with 28 missionaries! LOL! My companion and I are hoping to be able to get the Zone to 30 missionaries! Wow . . . That’s huge! LOL!

Let’s see here . . . Well, this week we got a li’l surprise! Elder Martino is in Guatemala doing a North Mission tour. Soooooo, on Saturday, my companion and I had a meeting with the District Presidency and all the Presidents and their Counselors of all the organizations in the District. Elder Martino wasn’t there, but President Torres was and he gave a great lesson on working as a team and not as individual organizations. Like the Elders Quorum not just worrying about the Elders and the Relief Society worryin’ about old chicks, but everyone worrying about everyone no matter what calling you have. It was really, really cool.

Anyway, on Sunday, President Torres told us that Elder Martino was gonna visit the Santa Elena and Trebol branches. Well, what a nice surprise when we saw Elder Martino in our Ward when we got to church on Sunday! LOL! My companion and I walked in without investigators (because we ask our members to bring our investigators) and the first thing we heard was, “Elders! Where are your investigators?????????” LOL! It shocked my companion and I a li’l but the investigators came and we got to introduce some of them to Elder Martino. Man . . . He sure was powerful in the way he read our investigators perfectly. It really seemed like I had told him the story of every investigator and that he had gone and talked to them, getting to know a li’l about each of them. It was really, really cool and his words really touched those people.

Then, later that night, Elder Martino did a fireside that we were able to attend with our investigators as well and . . . WOW! He was powerful again! And the same thing when he talked to our investigators afterward! He just looked ‘em bang, bang in the eyes, promised blessings and smiled and just said things that they really needed to hear. It was so, so cool!

Then, yesterday, I didn’t get to write you because it wasn’t our P-Day. Yesterday we had a Zone Conference with Elder Martino, his wife, President Torres and his wife. Wow! Their wives sure gave some amazing talks! While on my mission, I’ve really learned to respect the female leaders of the Church so, so much more. They are smart, smart and powerful people. I know everyone wants to listen to the Apostles in General Conference but, man, I loved Hermana Torres and Hermana Martino’s talks.

Did you know Elder Martino and his wife are converts? Elder Martino was baptized when he was 17 years old and his wife was 21 years old. Pretty cool stuff . . .
Anyway, at Zone Conference, Elder Martino knocked us outta our shoes again! LOL! Soooooooooo powerful! He just keeps us quiet! He starts to get loud and aggressive in his speaking and then he hushes to a whisper . . . We were all on the edge of our seats! It was a really, really amazing Conference!

Now, tonight, my Companion and I head out to the Capital for Zone Conference again and Elder Martino is gonna be there again! Sooooo . . . It will be a few very tiring days, but they will be amazing again!

Well . . . I love you all soooooo, soooooo much! I miss you all! Be smart and safe!!!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

El Castillo de San Felipe!

Hey, family!

Well . . . I gotta be a li’l short ‘cause we got on internet late today, buuuuuut . . . I’m gonna for sure hit cha up with all the updates!

First off . . . Good thing you finally go all of the pictures! It took forever to send ‘em all and I woulda been so sad if they hadn’t reached you! Hey, question . . . Do I look much different than when I left? When people see my change card, they say I look way different from when I started the mission. True or false? I just know I’ve lost all my muscle and gained fat but, oh well . . . Four months and I’m hoopin’ every day again! Holler!

Soooo . . . The reason why we are writing late today is ‘cause we just got back from Rio Dulce, visiting El Castillo de San Felipe as a Zone for our Zone Change Activity. Soooo, yea, that is around four hours away from our area . . . LOL . . . We left our house at 4am this morning to do the trip. It was a very, very fun trip and it was really, really pretty. I took lots of pictures but I won’t be sending ‘em home just yet. I’ll send home my memory card soon, though!

Ummmm . . . We got the “Changes” call. I don’t have a change and neither does my Companion. Soooo . . . That’s cool! I really feel like we have been getting along well and have been understanding each other better.

As far as the Zone Baptizing Activity, we ended up baptizing only six as a Zone on Saturday. Six is still very good, but President, my Companion and I sure looked forward to a lot more. My Companion and I baptized two and the service was very cool because five were baptized together and the other was baptized far away in a river. But, yea, we have high expectations for our Zone in February. We have sixty fechas! My companion and I are a li’l nervous because many of our strong and pilas missionaries will be moving this Change, but I’m sure the new missionaries will be great and we will figure out how to make it work! The Lord calls who He needs to into what area he needs ‘em, so we will just rely on Him!

Hey . . . Good news! Cristina was baptized! Cristina from my last area . . . Man, I would have done anything to be able to be at the baptism, but it was over eight hours away . . . LOL . . . Anyway, Elder Peterson said it was a very special service and that Cristina bore her testimony and almost fainted. Poor girl . . . LOL . . . She is very excited to enter the Temple and do some work for some of her loved ones who have passed away. Very, very cool. She wanted me to baptize her . . . At least that’s what she said a few weeks ago. LOL . . . Plus Elder Peterson said Cristina’s daughters were buggin’ him ‘cause they kept asking him if I could do it. I would have loved to, but I’m just too far away. I’m very appreciative for Elder Peterson, though, and for coming through big with Cristina. She was such a special investigator for me and is probably my most special baptism ever.

Oh . . . Tell Grandma and Grandpa I don’t know who Paul Hatch is . . . Sorry! But I’ll try to find out.

Well . . . I gotta go! But I sure love you all sooooooo, sooooooo much! Thanks for your long e-mail! I loved it! Talk to ya soon!