Que tal familia!
Hey, I have to say sorry because I was not able to write you guys the last couple of weeks. Sometimes it just happens where something happens and there’s no time to write, and sometimes with living in Guatemala there are plenty of interesting things that happen.
Holly and Curt, That’s awesome that you were able to go to Colorado for a couple weeks and be with the family and everything. Sounds like it was a really fun time for you all and I think you did things I haven’t even done in Colorado haha. I'm sorry curt you still haven’t heard anything from Marriott. I bet that is incredibly frustrating when you’ve tried so hard these past couple years in school and everything only to have more problems. I am praying for you that everything can work out the way that it’s supposed to. I am glad that you had the opportunity to get a break in Colorado. I can’t believe how big the boys are getting with tucker going to preschool and all! Wow that’s pretty cool that there is a new temple video now, I probably won’t see it till I get home, but at least its something I can look forward too.
Dad, thanks for the updates on work and life. Be sure to let me know how the seniority list comes out and how it affects you with your schedule at united. It seems like forever ago that all that was starting to happen. Sorry to hear about Kelsey and the problems that she is having, tell her hi for me, and one of these days I am going to have to find time to write her.
Collin, you are getting an official complaint from your brother because I have not heard from you in so long! Haha but seriously I want to hear how you are doing man, with Mathew leaving on the mission and Christian and everyone else going to school, I want to hear how it’s going in life and work and your plans for the future. I love you man and you are always in my prayers and hope you are happy!
Well as for how it’s going with me, all I can say is that my mission and Guatemala have never ceased to surprise me haha. So I have been quite busy as of late because I already told you guys, I am now working in my assigned area while still trying to get everything done in the office, so I am keeping myself quite occupied, but I feel like the lord has blessed me especially with my efforts to go out and work in the field in that there has been less problems with missionaries and work in the office. Its been a huge blessing for me, and it makes me feel better every day to get out and work in the field, preaching and testifying of the gospel to the people.
As far the investigators and the work in the field, it’s been going decently well for Elder Cachipuendo and I. Unfortunately we have not been able to find and talk with Esly for a long time, and she changed her number and dropped off the face of the earth, so I don’t really know what happened with her. Also the military guy and his wife also apparently moved to another city last week so we obviously have not been visiting them either. Buuuuutt, we have been going around and getting to know the members. We have been doing a lot of family home evenings with the members asking them to invite investigators and less active members. It has been working out really well and the members here are really pilas and want to help out the missionaries which is awesome because in my other areas it was like pulling teeth to get members to work with us at times. We have been working really closely with Jose Velazquez who just got back from his mission two weeks ago to go out and visit people, and he has already helped us out a lot with references of family friends and everything. I can tell from his excitement about the work that he was a good missionary, and the fact that he can talk English like a white kid might be why I like working with him so much haha. Elder Cachipuendo and I were actually contacting a couple days ago, and we didn’t really know where to go, but we passed a house and we felt like we should knock on one door, and lady answers the door and lets us in. we get talking with her and she tells us she was baptized almost 30 years ago when she was a teenager, but when she got married her husband didn’t want her to go to church so she has been inactive for all these years, but like a month or two ago her husband left her for another woman. I firmly believe that because of that she has been prepared by the lord to once again return to church. So we talked to her about the Book of Mormon and gave her one to read because she doesn’t have one. She said she might be able to come back to church with her 3 teenage kids that aren’t members, so we are super excited for her, and that we will be able to teach her kids and help them get baptized as well. We already have a family home evening planned with some members in the ward. There are a few members here that were baptized in 1958. They were some of the first members here in Guatemala, and they had to build the church themselves! Pretty crazy stuff, but these members are really dedicated and have strong testimonies.
Oh so this past week we did an activity with the ward about the plan of salvation. So what we did was we set up a bunch of games and activities at the church. There were two different types of games/activities. There were “worldly” games such as basketball, bowling and carnival games, and there were “spiritual games” such as learning how to do missionary work, singing hymns or team building activities. So then all the members and investigators showed up to the church and could chose what games they wanted to play, or “use their agency” to decide what they wanted to do. The worldly games gave out only candy and cookies, but the spiritual games gave out tickets. So then after about an hour of playing the games and everything, we turned off the lights in the whole church and explained to the members that they had “died” and that they were going to be judged according to what they did in their lives. So we asked them for their tickets they had earned by participating in the spiritual games if they had any, and depending on how many tickets they had, they went to the celestial kingdom, terrestrial kingdom or telestial kingdom. So we had rooms set up decorated as the three kingdoms of glory and filled all the people into their perspective rooms and explained the significance of each, and they then received their “reward” according to what glory they were in with the members and investigators in the celestial room getting cake. It was an awesome activity that I have never done in my mission, but I feel like it really helped explain to the members and investigators what the plan of salvation is really about.
Another note, this past week has been a really interesting one on strange and hindering Guatemalan occurrences. So night we were in the office working as usual when it started raining and lightning super hard. So as the storm continues, a lightning bolt totally hits the church where the office is and knocks out the power and everything. It was super crazy and scared us all have to death I think, but then as we were sitting in the office in the dark trying to figure out what to do, we start hearing weird things going on in the church. We start hearing chairs being moved around and the toilet seat in the bathroom getting raised and slammed down, so as you can imagine we kind of started freaking out that maybe someone had broken into the church in the dark and was trying to steal things. We always have a bat here in the office just in the off chance that something like that happens so we all went out of the office and started searching the rooms in the church with our bat haha it was probably incredibly funny to watch, but in the end we didn’t find anyone or anything. Just that up until yesterday we have not had power or internet or anything in the office so we literally could get anything done but clean and organize and work in the field. I also don’t know why, but this whole week we have not had water in our house to shower or flush the toilets, so that has been quite a wonderful experience, and we have had power on and off this whole week as well in our house, so it’s kind of been like we are camping this whole week. I kind of feel like those olden times missionaries where all they had were the clothes on their backs and their scriptures if you know what I mean… haha. That’s part of why I haven’t been able to write you until know.
I feel like this week I have learned a lot about the importance of telling the truth, and being true to our character and word. I was reading in Alma chapter 30 where Alma preaches against korihor the anti Christ. It was interesting for me to note that what korihor says in the beginning of the chapter is completely different than what he was saying and preaching at the end of the chapter. He was just a shifty, flaky man full of lies and deceit to the point where he wasn’t even true to himself let alone to god. It got me thinking about what kind of man I want to be. Here in the office I unfortunately have had to deal with many deceitful people, who lie for personal gain, and for things that ultimately don’t matter and are small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but they lie and deceive and put their character on the line nonetheless. It makes me sad how easily we as humans can fall into temptation especially concerning money to the point where we are willing to lie. I don’t remember where it says, but somewhere it says that all lies are of the devil. It got me thinking about here in my work dealing with large amounts of money and the trust of many people and the church for that matter, I have a lot of control and power and it would be so easy to lie for personal gain and no one would ever know. That’s why when I have been thinking about what kind of man I want to be, the story of korihor struck me. Yeah he had money and power, but in the end, his lyings caught up with him and eventually he was outcast and lived as a beggar until he was trampled under the feet of the very people he lied to. In my patriarchal blessing it says “Always speak the truth and use correct language. I promise as you do so, you will not have to face many of the trials and tribulations that your generation will have.” So I have made the decision to only speak and do the truth in my work here in the office. I put up a sign on my wall in my office that says YO NO MIENTO (I don’t lie). I have that there to remind me of my commitment to be truthful in all that I say and do especially here in my work in the office where I have a lot of responsibility. I also challenge you all to speak the truth and always act in the manner that leaves you blameless before god. I love this gospel and the knowledge I have gained from it. I want to be able to be able to stand in front of my savior Jesus Christ at the end of my life here and look into his eyes and say that I did my best, I lived the gospel the best that I could and I preached the gospel to the best of my ability here on my mission, and say it truthfully with all my heart.
I once again want to express my love and gratitude for you all, there is a saying from William Shakespeare that says you don’t have true love until you show it. So I just want to say I love you all and am so thankful for your support and love and examples you have given me. I pray for you all, and I have hope for the best in all of your own challenges and problems.
Permanezcan fuertes y siguán adelante!!!
Tu hijo, hermano y amigo,