First of all, i just have to say that i am ok and safe. Everyone sent me emails about the earthquake, so i just needed to say that. So yes there was a pretty big earthquake here on wednesday, but it didnt affect me here to much in reu. apparently most of the damage occurred up in the mountains around quetzaltenago and san marcos and not down here along the coast. when it happened Elder Clyde and i were just in our house on the second floor studying, and all of a sudden everything started shaking! it was super weird it felt like i was on a roller coaster getting jostled around except i was just sitting in my chair haha. It only lasted for like a minute, and a few things fell over in the house, but other than that everything was fine and our house wasnt damaged or anything. All of our neighbors were freaking out and asking if we were scared which is kind of a strange question to hear from someone when you are talking about jesus christ and then out of the blue they ask, are you scared? haha but anyway, nothing really happened down here in our zone but apparently other places some houses fell down and some people were killed which is really sad, but we have just continued working this week. I can officially say ive experienced my first earthquake which is pretty cool. oh and a little shout out to Elder Balaich, is that im safe and thanks for being concerned, and the whole time during the earthquake all i could think about was the stuff we learned in geology class last year haha, it brought back some good memories.
Well the earthquake was one crazy thing that happened this past week, and im sorry to learn that obama was re-elected, its a shame that romney didnt win. i am also super jealous of the snow you all received this past week too, here if anything its getting hotter because the rainy season is ending so there are no more afternoon clouds, so as you are complaining about the snow and cold, just remember that im sweating my butt off here in november. Oh, i also got your packages mom and holly this week! Thanks for all of the halloween candy mom, its definitely awesome to have when youre eating guatemalan food all day to just come home to some m&m´s haha. thanks holly for the package and the picture of tucker and calvin, and yes i already put it next to my bed, and thanks for your personal letter too, it really touched me and hear about your experience, and i just want to say that although we´ve had different challenges, i know how you must have felt, and that you all are in my prayers everyday. Oh and Collin, man i hope you are doing better! im so sorry that you have been sick and had to go to the E.R. last week, and go through all that pain with no answers from the tests and the docters. Im praying for you always, and im sorry i cant be there for you but i love you, and i know that as long as you are doing the right things, the lord will take care of you. i know its hard for you right now with everything that is going on in the family and me being gone, finishing high school and preping for a mission, and im sorry you have to go through it without a ton of support, but i know that although im not there, and sometimes it can feel really lonely and hopeless, you are never alone. we have a loving heavenly father who knows us personally and knows our difficulties and challenges and is always there for us and is preparing us to do great things. only when we are brought down to our lowest points and all we have left is faith and the decision to fight and carry on in life and our struggles, or give up, do we grow the most. i know this to be true, and there have been points in my life and here on the mission already when i have had to make that decision, and its not easy, but we just have to do what we have been taught our whole lives to do, and push on, keep our head up and dont look back, and everything will work out. God never forgets us, so dont forget him. I love you man, and i pray for you everyday, and i know everything will work out for you and that you will get better.
Well this past week we had our baptism with our investigator andy! this past week we went over almost everyday preping him for his baptism, and in those visits i learned a lot about the love god has for us, and how grand his plan is for everyone of us in this life. We would teach him a principal or a commandment, and he would already know why it is important in our lives, and what we need to do to apply it in our lives, it felt like we were having discussions where i learned more from him than what we were "teaching." It was absolutely amazing to see his eagerness to learn and his excitement for his baptism. He told us that before we knocked on his door, he was hanging out with the wrong crowd and doing some not so good things in his life, and one day he was just sitting on his bed thinking about how he wanted to change his life, to be a better husband and a better example for his little daughter. So he prayed to god for help in his life and for an opportunity to change it. four days later Elder Clyde and i knocked on his door at about 8:30 at night. It was a day we had been contacting all day without any success, and we were feeling really down and were about to call it a day when we walked by a door and decided to knock on that last door, and there we found andy. we didnt know he had just prayed 4 days earlier for help from god in his life and here we were, two tired gringos knocking on his door late at night talking about Jesus, and he told us last week, at that moment he knew that god had answered his prayer. Hearing that story, i had my eyes opened to how I, the imperfect newbie gringo in guatemala who can barely speak spanish was used as a tool in the lords hands these past couple of weeks to help change a man´s life forever, and his kids and future generation to come, by bringing the truth, and the gospel of jesus christ into his home. That is a testimony to me, that i know without a doubt in my soul, that god is aware of us and answers our prayers and has a specific plan for each and everyone of us. it is not coincidence that a couple white kids from colorado and utah were in front of a mans tin door in Retalhuleu, Guatemala wanting to share a message of happiness and truth four days after that man had prayed for help from god in his life because he wanted to change. It was an amazing spiritual experience when he told us that story and how grateful he was because we knocked on his door, in that moment i felt the love of christ for another individual more strongly than ever before in my life. That is why we were so stoked for his baptism this week. we had it in the nighttime because of his work, and guess what? it starts pouring of course. even though it hadnt rained all week, and its the end of the rainy season, it started raining. It was satans last attempt at stopping Andy from gaining happiness and salvation, but it didnt matter because Elder Clyde and i ran through the rain getting completely soaked (again) anyways to wave down a tuk to pick up andy to take him to the church, and then we ran to our house to get the baptismal clothes and then ran to the church to be there on time. it was probably a sight to see two soaked gringos running in the rain with bags of clothes trying not to get hit by tuks. Its something i never thought i would be doing in my life, running in church clothes in the pouring rain down the streets of Guatemala haha. But we did get there and the baptism went really well, and afterwards we had a dinner with him and his wife, and dang can he cook too. He cooked us this gigantic meal which probably cost a fortune for him which included a whole fish, salad and some mashed potato type stuff, it was absolutely delicious and afterwards we busted out a tres leches cake we bought for them which was bomb as well, and probably the best cake ive ever had in my life. it was awesome just to see his excitement about getting baptized and him showing us his new clothes for church and everything, he is such an awesome guy.
Well anyway, those were the big things that happened in my week, surviving a crazy earthquake and baptizing an awesome guy. I am starting to feel like elder clyde and i´s hard work is finally paying off in our area, and were are finding more people to teach and having a little bit more success, there were a couple weeks there that just were hard and really depressing, but its getting better i think. we found this new family where the wife is a gringa and is actually from colorado. She is originally from colorado, but moved to florida for work where she learned spanish and met her husband who is from down here, and its a long story about how a friend of her husbands had a kid, but then she got killed down here in guatemala, so the custody went to the husband, so he came back down here to guatemala to take care of the kid, and the wife came down about a month ago to live here with her husband and little kid. So long story short, she is white, but knows spanish and has a gautemalan husband and a little guatemalan kid, but they are super pilas, and have been looking for a church, so after the first lesson with them, we rode in their car (which was extremely weird) to the church and showed them the church, and they actually came to sacrament meeting yesterday. them with a few other investigators we had in church, we had about 100 people in church yesterday which is a miracle for our ward. almost every seat was full which was amazing, and it was so awesome just to have a somewhat packed house. So Elder Clyde have been feeling good about the work and we are seeing some fruits of our labor and suffering.
I almost forgot that yesterday marks 4 months in the mish. it really isnt that much time at all, but it sure has gone by really fast, and next thing you know, im going to be calling home for christmas and i will have been on my mission for 6 months! its pretty weird to think about, but right now i dont have much time to think about all of that. well, i want to thank you all for your emails and information about everything back home. its good to hear from you all every week, and everything down here is going good. Im really sorry to hear that you all have had some hard times recently, and i want you to know that i love you all, and that we can find strength in the gospel as you already know. Keep your heads up, keep strong and carry on!!!
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Siempre tu hijo, hermano y amigo