Things are going pretty well here in Salama. We had a baptism yesterday of a single mother named Leticia.We helped her gain a testimony of the story of Joseph Smith and of living prophets, and that night she called us and told us she wanted to get baptized. She wanted one of the missionaries who had taught her originally to baptize her, but since neither of them could come, she asked if I would do it. So it was really neat to get to baptize again! She makes the 3rd person that I have actually done the baptism for. It was a good experience. The water from the baptismal font was horrendously brown and looked pretty much the same as the river here does, but she said she didn't mind and so we performed the baptism anyways. Interesting to think that all of her sins got left in that filthy water and she left completely clean and pure. We confirmed her as a memeber of the church yesterday so now she's in it for good. It will be nice to keep teaching her while I'm still here to make sure that she knows that her work is far from over and she still has to keep preparing herself to enter the temple. The branch here is the biggest I've ever been in. There are about 110 people that come regularly and they are for the most part all really friendly and good people. We have some really great members that feed us and go out to work with us. The only problem is that we share the branch with sister missionaries and almost ALL of the active members live on their side. I guess that just means we have a lot of reactivating to do! Anyways I really like it here so far and am having a really good time with my new comp, E. Contreras.
This week was good and tiring. We were in the captial all day Tuesday and Wednesday. Wednesday we all woke up at 4 in the morning to go and play basketball in a chapel in the cap that has a court inside made of concrete. It was super tiring but worth it I'd say. Then we all went back and got ready for the concilio. Concilio was really uplifting and edifying for me. We talked about new things that we are going to implement in the mission and new goals that we want to achieve. I just liked feeling the Spirit there and getting to be with President Watts and other really great missionaries and leaders. This change we get to have another concilio in the last week of the change so I'm really excited for that too.
Friday I did divisions with the elders in an area called Rabinal, which I had heard was one of the hardest and roughest areas in the mission. I was thinking that it would be true, but I was still pretty schocked after being there for a day. I don't think I've ever been so harshly rejected or mistreated or ever seen a town so lost in sin! I really thought about the people in the city of Ammonihah. But I learned a lot from the elder that I did divisions with, Elder Márquez. He has been there for 6 months. Just after one day of almost every single appointment falling and people yelling at us and things like that, I felt pretty discouraged. But he just kept knocking on doors and didn't seem to let it get him down. So I learned a lot from him and had a really good division. With all of the traveling and running around doing things, this has definitely been the most tiring week of my whole mission. But it was really nice because yesterday we had ALL day to rest. Because of the elections that were going on yesterday, President Watts told us not to leave the house. We only had Sacrament meeting and then we came back to the house. It felt like a normal Sunday back home!! It made me feel a little baggy jaja =P Two other elders from our zone came over to our house after church because they needed to go to Guate for an ingrown toenail today. So we cooked some BBQ chicken that was really good. Speaking of cooking I learned from some investigators in Tactic how to make a really good chow mein and I tried it for the first time Saturday and it turned out really good. So I'm learning slowly but surely how to cook! Anyways, I used Sunday to study a little bit, catch up on my journal, and catch up on my sleep that I missed this week.
Cool spiritual experience of the week: during the week we had decided to try and contact families every time we saw them outside so that we could find more families to teach. So we were walking one day and I say a family sitting down outside in the shade. We went over and started talking to them. After looking at them and talking to them for a few minutes I was pretty sure that they spoke Q'eqchi'. We aksed and they said that they did. Of course I started talking to them in Q'eqchi' about the gospel. The man seemed a little bit timid and said that he would like to learn how to pray because he didn't know how to. He had on a baseball cap and was looking down so that I couldn't see his face. So I sat down on the ground in front of him and started to teach him how to pray in Q'eqchi'. It was a neat little experience for me. Anyways, the best it still to come. We set up a follw up appointment for Saturday. After the baptism was over, we were invited to a dinner appointment that was going to be an hour later. We went back to the house to drop our things off and we were both tired. It would have been really easy after having a baptism and everything to just lay down and rest a little before the dinner appointment. But I felt like we really needed to go and find this little Q'eqchi' family. So we left and went to find them. After asking around we found the house where they lived. When we knocked on the door a little sweet old lady came out who was definitely not part of the Q'eqchi' family. We asked if they lived there and she said that they did and that they were renting a room behind her house, but they weren't home. So, we took the opportunity to open our mouths and asked her if she knew who we were. She just smiled and said "Yes! come in!" We looked at eachother a little bit surprised by such an ethusiastic answer and went in. She told us that she had been wanting to go to church with us for a long time, but didn't know where, what days, and what time. (and there shall be many who will not have the truth only because they know not where to find it...) She had lived close to some missionaries in Purulha and had gotten really close to them. She just really admired the missionaries and wanted to go to church with us. So she asked us what the doctrine of our church was and we taught her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a really cool experience that the Lord helped us to have. I love when the Lord just guides us right to the people that are waiting for us! The Q'eqchi' guy came to the house later and was really drunk so it was kind of lame, but we are going to keep visiting all of them later and hopefully we can bring them all to repentence and baptism in the Lord's true church! I just know with all of my heart that this is the true Church of Christ. Everyday I feel it more and more in my heart.
Alright time is short so only a quick few comments:
Dad- thanks for the advice. I really felt that way too and could tell that Satan was really tempting me to lift myself up in pride, but I really appreciate your advice and promise to keep myself from getting prideful. You have always been an example to me of a very humble man and so I'm going to try to be like you and keep myself humble. Love you dad. Thanks for everything! Oh and I'm reallly sorry for taking so much money out lately...I've had some issues with previous comps not having any money, having to pay for him, and some problems with the finance elders getting my money to me. Sorry but I got it figured out today and hopefully won't have to take anything out again unless it's a real emergency.
Mom- yeah I'm sure it's hard for God because he doesn't want for His children to suffer, but if He doesn't allow those things to happen, they don't remember Him. Remembering is so important and always makes me think of the Book of Mormon when they talk about how the people where "slow to remember" what the Lord had done for them. But I'm thankful to you and dad for being people who have always turned to God and remembered Him, not just when there is a crisis and we need help. You guys are great. Love you!
Kinzie- HEY! you freak! how come you have not written me in such a long time! (King julian) How is school so far? I hope you are liking it. I don't have much time but I just want to let you know how great you are. You are a really righteous young girl and you are a choice daughter of our Heavenly Father. Never sell yourself short of who you really are- a daughter of the King of Kings. Keep choosing the right every day and reading the scriptures and your patriarchal blessing and you will be happy. I know this time in life is hard and there are a lot of important decisions to be made. Just always remember Jesus Christ in your life and try to be like him. Love you lots Kinzie and I can't wait to see you again soon! Remember I love you and am praying for you every day. Love you!
Alright, well time's up. I really am thankful for you guys and for supporting me so much in this work. I wouldn't be who I am today without you guys. I miss you all and love you tons and can't wait to be with you again. I pray every day that we can all make the right decisions and follow Christ so that we will be together forever someday. I'm praying for you all! Have a really fun and Spiritual family home evening for me tonight!
Love you all!