Wow this past week has been really cool and crazy and hard all at the same time, overall awesome and like always it goes by so fast! First of all thank you all for the news and updates of everything going on back home. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CURT. im sorry that i couldnt be there like last year doing ridiculous minute to win it things for your enjoyment haha, but i hope everything turned out well and that you had an awesome birthday. thank you as well for your comments and support en how much ive changed and grown. Yes i am the one that wakes up on time and gets ready and all of that in the house so that is something a little different, and something that ive really tried to learn and be better at here in the mission. Holly yes, we didnt really sleep for 3 days and the whole mission read the new testament and everything. Oh and thats awesome that collin has decided to turn in his papers instead of going to college!!!! That is a hard decision, but i know that if its the thing god wants you to do in your life right now, then its what you need to do. Im proud of you man, and if you need any advice or help im here for you man. (At least the best as i can be a couple thousand miles away)
Listening to general conference really kind of reminded me that there is a world outside this hot sweaty world down here in the craziness of Guatemala. I just have to say that the talks of the living prophet and apostles were absolutely amazing and im so grateful for thier guidance and help in my life personally. Likr always, i think the priesthood session was the best in my opinion with almost everyone talking about missionary work and all of that which as a missionary is always awesome to hear. All the talk of the 65,000 missionaries and how the work and the world is changing makes me really grateful that im serving my mission right now. that i have the chance to experience and be a part of this world changing period of time right now. it also makes me a little sad and worried in how fast the mission goes by. i already have almost 9 months and it feels like its been a super fast (and tiring haha) blur. i still have so much to learn and experience i want to make the most of the time that i have left. But anyway i just loved conference. after one of the sessions i was talking with Elder Mecum ( the brother of Chris claflin´s wife) and we were just like... the church is awesome. it really is, its just so perfect and happy and inspiring in a really dark and confused, messed up world that we live in, there isnt any other place i would rather be and another work i would rather be doing right now other than the work of my god and my savior, spreading this happiness and light to the world and specifically the people here in the crazy country of guatemala haha.
I actually have an experience t share with all of you that was super awesome. So this past week Elder Rivera and i were working in this part of our area called Tecomate. basically this really hard area where there are only evangelilocos that dont want anything from us, and only want to dance and shout and sing thier crazy "songs" in thier churches and try to tear down and degrade (Im proud i remember that word in english) the members that live there. so after we had finished talking with some crazy people, we were both pretty tired and discouraged walking down the street trying to think of how we could help these people understand when we walked by this house where the parents of a missionary from our ward live, and they are not members. I just felt impressed to stop by and invite them to conference, so we went and knocked on the door, but instead of the parents answering, it was this random guy ive never seen before. Turns out that this guy, Walter, is the brother of the missionary that is currently serving. So we started talking with him, and i said that we felt impressed to stop by and invite him to church. All of a sudden he lit up and got super excited and said that the past week his brother on the mission wrote him and told him to go to conference, and that he was going to pray for him (Walter) that he could find a way to go. Walter said that the problem was that he didnt really know where and when conference was, and in that moment i realized that Elder Rivera and i were literally the answer to this missionary´s prayer, that it wasnt by chance that i felt impressed to pass by this house at this exact moment to find Walter right when he was home ( he usually doesnt live in the same house as his parents) to be able to invite him to conference. It was soooo awesome, i felt so grateful that the lord had entrusted me with this relatively small but important task to help this guy find his way to conference. We told him where it was and everything and he actually came to conference with us yesterday. although comparatively it wasnt that big of a deal, it was a testimony to me that god does hear and answer our prayers, and is always looking out for us and knows our needs and problems. I know that it wasnt by chance that all of that happened, but the hand of god. I am so happy to be worthy and able to be a tool in the lords hands, its really something special thati get so see and experience as a missionary everyday and every week. I know that this gospel istrue and that this isnt the work of men, but of the grand master, creater and father of everyone. Its just so awesome!
Well training continues to be a challenge, and right when i think ive gotten over one hurdle theres just another one waiting it feels like, so these past days ive been pretty constantly stressed in trying to do good and be a good example and help out Elder rivera, but its hard at times like it always will be right now, and in life i think. I like the analogy holly said that training is like being a parent to an extent. No i am not changing diapers or things like that (although i do have to tell my comp when and WHERE to go to the bathroom (thats a different story for another day haha)) because he doesnt like to think for himself. So i feel like a parent at times telling him what and what not to do, although i hate doing that, but if i dont tell him to do something he wont do it basically which is incredibly challenging. He told me that before his mission he was basically inactive for 5 years, so right now we are going over and learning gospel doctrine as well because he doesnt know a whole lot of it, so i feel like im teaching a convert all day everyday, and not just a new missionary. he also doesnt like to talk, and insists on doing crazy hand gestures to comunicate at times, and i have to remind him that he can use words, and because of all that he doesnt like to contact or teach. Sorry if all ofthat sounds whiny, its just a lot of built up stress that i have and its been a real trial to stay sane and positive at times with all of that going on and working and stressing about baptisms and all of that. it really is a great blessing to be training Elder Rivera. i am learning and growing so much as well in these days its pretty crazy. The patience and love i am having to develop is incredible, and something that i know that my heavenly father knows i need to have more of in my life. also with going over the very, very basics of the gospel doctrine and mission rules and everything, its helping me learn more of the fundamentals, how to teach simply and make descisions and be a better mission. Like i said over and over, i always think of dads words. The most growth comes outside of our comfort zone. Dad i hope you know all the little quotes youve told me over the years pop into my head randomly now and then, and honestly they have helped me a lot over these past few months to focus on what i need to do when its super challenging and im kind of down. So thanks dad. So yes its a struggle, but im learning a lot, and we are working hard so i know we will have some success in these coming weeks.
I once again want to say that im thankful for you all as my friends and family. in the mission i am realizing how much more of it is for training for life. Im realizing that i cannot and i wont go back to the life i had before the mission. i had some good times, and i esxperienced a lot, but can never go back to that teenage kid in high school. i am learning in the mision what life is really all about. its not about music, movies, games, entertainment and all of the crap of the world. i am learning that this life, or this mortal experience is for our learning and betterment. I like teaching investigators with the example of a school. A school is a place where we go to learn and to grow to prepare ouselves for real life. We are here on this earth or this "school" to learn the things we need to know and grow as people so that we are prepared for eternal life. We have teachers in our schools with the authority to teach and to help us, and here in the earth we have prophets with the authority and ability to lead and to guide us in this life. our manuels and work books in this life are the scriptures, and the gospel is the teachings and prinicpals we are here to learn and to put into practice. we will have the guidance of our leaders and of our father through prayer. This plan and thisgospel are perfect, and i love it. i have made a promise with myself that i will always remeber the things that i have learned, am learning and what i ma going to learn for the rest of my life after my mission so that i can remeber the purpose of life, and enjoy it and appreciate the thngs that are important, especially my family and friends. its a privelidge to know you all and to have you in my family, and i thank you for your letters and you support. i truly do pray for you all and hope for the best in your lives. Les amo tan mucho, y espero que puedan sentir este amor donde estén, y también que puedan sentir el amor de nuestro padre celestial en todos tiempos, lugares y cosas.
Keep strong and carry on!