Hello Family! Well, it is the Christmas Season! It really has been weird to not be there with you guys this year, but we will make it work! Not gonna lie, it will be really weird and really homesick not being with you guys, but what we are all sacrificing is worth it in the long run! And I get to call you guys, so that will make up for it! By the way, the information about the call home. So the best way to do it is I am going to call you for about 1 minute, just to get the number to you guys, and then you should call me right back. The reason is that we don`t have that much money on the phones that we are using, so they have the families pay for it. So yeah. I am going to try and call in the morning, so I can get everyone there. Probably at around 8 or something. I don`t know, I sent a quick letter to you to figure it out, so hopefully you can get it right now! But I can`t wait for it! I can`t wait to hear your voices again! Hopefully everything works out!
So this week has been pretty good! We definitely felt the Christmas Spirit with us this week. It was a lot easier to talk to people here at this time, because they usually are really open with talking about Christ. So when we prepared a message about the birth of Christ and all that, they were really open and talking to us! So we had a little more success than we usually have this week! It has been nice!
Also, the members there in Pancà are so nice! Even though they don`t have as much to give, they have been so generous with us, inviting us to their houses to eat, and to share the Christmas Spirit with them. Another cool thing was that almost everyone wanted to eat with us today. I should say first, that the 24, today, is the big day for them to celebrate. The 25 is just meh, but the huge day is the 24. But the thing is, that all the missionaries in Momos are in Momos right now, and we are all going to pass the day here. So unfortunately we couldn`t spend Noche Buena with the people in Pancà, but we will return tomorrow, and we are planning to have a Christmas dinner with a family there, so that should be good!
So yeah, we are in Momos right now, but we actually got here yesterday afternoon. The reason was that the whole Zone got together with the stake choir here, and we went caroling! It was so fun! And what made it funner, is that three of the missionaries brought guitars that they have, and they played with us! Also, another Elder brought a Ukelele, but he didn`t want to play it, so he gave it to me and taught me some chords. So in about 20 minutes, I picked up the ukelele, learned it, and then was playing it with the others! It was way fun! Who would have thought that I would have learned how to play the ukelele on the mission! I know that I didn`t! But it was an absolute blast!
And there you have it! That has been my week so far! But we have plans to eat here with members in Momos until tomorrow afternoon! That`s like four meals in a row with members, which is pretty much heaven for a missionary! It is going to be a lot of food, that`s for sure! But I am really looking forward to the packages that you sent me! I have them here, and I will open them tomorrow! I am so excited, but the biggest thing is going to be able to talk to you all. I can`t wait! Merry Christmas Everyone! I don`t really have a specific scripture this week, but Luke 2 should be good, for the birth of Jesus Christ. I love you all, and I hope that you have a great Christmas! Until Next Time! (Which really will be tomorrow for you guys!)
- Elder Stuart
Monday, December 31, 2012
Hello Family! Well, yet another week has come and gone, and we are already at the next week! It seems like these weeks are going by so fast, I can hardly believe it! I have already been out on the mission for 5 months! It does not seem that long, so I have to make the best of it before all my time is up! Elder Mar and I have been working hard this week, which is nice, because we are both willing to work hard, which makes it really nice!
This week, we have gone with a lot of people and contacted a lot of people, so we have a lot of new people that we can go with! However, our main focus has been on our investigators that we have had for a while now. There is one family that we are really trying to focus on, but the dad, Cruz, always is working, and whenever we try to call him, he says that he is busy, but we can come another time. We went one of those times that he told us we could come, but turns out that he wasn`t there, so that really sucked.. But he seems like he really wants to know more about our church, so I don`t really know what to think about him.. We will keep working hard though!
Although this week was a little rough with our investigators, we have had a lot of success with our less active members, and the members that are active. With the less actives, we are really trying to get them to come to church again, so we try to visit everyone at least twice a week with a scripture to help build their faith. This week felt like we really helped a lot of people know more about the church. The thing about Pancà is, the members here are really willing to be strong and faithful, but that doesn`t mean that they know a lot. So we always try to go with them and help them out and answer their questions that they have for us. So even though that we havent had as much success with our investigators as I had hoped, we still have had a lot of success with members, keeping them stong in the gospel and making sure that they will stay strong their whole lives.
I have had an amazing discovery this week. So I was reading in "Our Seach for Happiness" which is a book by M. Russell Ballard, and he was talking about all the spiritual gifts that we as Latter Day Saints can recieve. I stopped when I came to the Gift of Tongues, because he talked a lot about the missionaries, and how they have to work hard to recieve this gift. I stopped and thought to myself that I was experiencing this gift firsthand! When I was companions with Elder Maldonado, he took most of the conversation, and I only spoke when it was my "turn." But now, with Elder Mar, I find myself taking the lead in most of our conversations, and when I am done, I look back and realize that I just had a complete conversation in Spanish, without having to think too much about it! So when I read that, I realized that I was receiving this gift, so I got down on my knees and thanked my Lord for this gift. It really has helped me be the missionary that I want to be. I know that I have to keep working, but I am starting to see the blessings of working hard. That really was such an amazing experience!
Well, not much else to say. Christmas is coming soon, and I can`t wait to talk to you all! That will be the greatest gift that I will get this Christmas, I know it! Keep having fun and having the holiday spirit! I love you all, and thank you all for your support! Two scriptures this week: 3 Nephi 13:33, and D+C 88:40. Until Next Time!
- Elder Stuart
P.S. Apparently the end of the world is this wednesday, so... Haha just kidding, I`ll talk to you all next week!
Monday, December 17, 2012
Hello Family! Well this week has been kind of crazy! But I´ve got a new kid now! (That´s what they call it here, the trainers are dads and the trainees are kids.) His name is Elder Mar, and what do ya know, he´s from Mexico, just like Elder Maldonado. Looks like I am just bringing all of Mexico to Pancá! So now officially I am a Senior Companion! I can´t believe how fast it went! But we have been working hard so far in Pancá, and it has been pretty good so far!
So on Tuesday, we all went down to Xela to drop everyone off that had changes, and also all the trainers too. I had to say goodbye to Elder Maldonado for the last time, which was kind of sad, but that´s how the mission goes I guess. The trainers had to wait in Xela until about 3 for the new missionaries to arrive, so we went to the distribution center at the temple. The temple is so beautiful up close, so we took some pictures to kill some time. Afterwords, we headed to the Mission Home to pick up our kids! It was kind of nerve wracking to find out who I was going to train, just like when I figured out who was going to train me! Not that long ago! So after I figured out that I was going to train Elder Mar, they shared a quick message, and then we went back to momos with all the other missionaries there. Just so you know, there are now 9 companionships out of 13 in Momos that are involved in training, which shows how many new missionaries are coming in!
Unforntunately, we didn´t get the chance to return to Pancá until Wednesday, so we stayed the night at the Zone Leader´s house. Looking at Elder Mar, I saw me 3 months ago, so blown away with what just happened, so I helped him out. But we finally got back to Pancá, and he was stunned, just like I was. I felt bad though, because as soon as we got there, he slipped in the dirt, and got dust all over his suit. Quite the welcome to Pancá I think! But it has been really good since then.
We really have gotten a lot done, because with his excitement as a new missionary, it helps me get excited, so we got a lot done. We really just visited everyone that I know this week, letting him get to know the area. It has been really good. Although the one family that I wanted to visit, The Cruz Baten family who are investigators, weren´t home all week, so it was kind of dissapointing. But we talked with him on the telephone, and he said that we could come over on Thursday, so that should be good!
So yeah, it has been a really good week. A little different, but I´m getting used to it! And to top it all off, I got my first packages!!!!!! All I know is that I have gotten two, a box and an evelope type thing, but is really full. I haven´t really looked at them yet, but I got them! So we know that it is somewhat working! But thank you so much for sending them to me! And thank you for your support always! I love you all! Until Next Time!
- Elder Stuart
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Most of our Zone today for P day! Gonna have changes soon as a Zone, so we thought that we should take a couple of photos before we all change up!
Hello Family! Well I don`t know about you guys, but my week has been absolutely crazy! All I can say is that a lot is going to change in the coming months. Because guess what? I am going to be a trainer for a new missionary! Already! We went down to Xela on Thrusday for a Multi-Zone Conference, and on the bus ride there, my Zone Leader told me that I am going to be training someone! It blew my mind! I really didn`t even know what to think! I mean, I`m still in training myself, and as soon as I am done, I am going to have to show a new missionary the ropes, when I don`t even know them that well myself! But I have faith that the Lord will help me through it, because I know that this calling is from the Lord. It still is going to be crazy! Which means that I will be in Pancà for at least another 12 weeks! But it is crazy how many missionaries are coming in these next couple of transfers. I`m pretty sure it is because of the new age change, and the flood is starting to come!
So basically I haven`t been in my area for the whole week. As you know, last week we had P-Day on Wednesday, and then on Thursday, we had the multi zone confrerence. After I figured out that I was going to be training, I was told that I had to be in Xela the next day on Friday for a meeting for all the new trainers! So I did that on friday. (By the way, out of the 11 missionaries that came to the field in my group, 7 of us are training already! Maybe that shows that we are a good group or something!) I wasn`t able to return to Momos until Friday night, and there is no way that we can get to Pancà in the night, so we stayed in Momos until Saturday morning, and took the first truck that we could to get to Pancà.
Since we were only in Pancà for two days, it was mainly just saying goodbyes to everyone for Elder Maldonado. Not gonna lie, it got me a little sad. Because my relationship has been really good with him. He is a really cool guy, and a great missionary too! It definitely is going to be really weird without him as my companion now, especially because I have to take the reigns! But I`m excited for it.
We left Pancà for Elder Maldonado`s last time on Sunday Afternoon, so that we could catch the Christmas Devotional in Momos, seeing as there is no way to see it in Pancà. The devotional was really good! Even though it was all in Spanish, I understood almost every part of it! It really boosted my confidence in my Spanish, which I am going to need it if I train a Gringo right? But I really enjoyed it, especially the Christmas Music. There really are few things that are better then Christmas music. Although it did make me miss home a little bit, it still was really good to see.
Which reminds me, so about packages, I have heard that if you put a picture of Jesus on the box, that it has a higher chance to get here. I know that it is too late for the packages that you have already sent, but it is just for future reference. But I have faith that the packages will get here!
So yeah, gonna be a crazy week next week, but I feel ready for it, and I hope that it will continue to be good! Thank you all for your support as always, and know that I am thinking of you guys always! Wish me luck on my coming week! Until Next Time!
- Elder Stuart
P.S. The Scripture is Ether 12:4, a really good scripture on hope!
Sunday, December 2, 2012
This is last week when we left Momos for Pancá. All those trucks that you see are all for traveling to other places around Momos. I thought how crazy it was that this is the main form of travel for Momos!
One of the Less Active Members that we have visited just had her second child! She is so cute! They haven´t decided on a name yet, but still. It reminded me a lot of Jace, so I made the most of it!
Woo Hoo! Bathing in a bucket! My dream! Haha this is at a members house, and one thing led to another, and I was bathing in a bucket! It was awesome, because it was pretty cold outside, but the water was warm! So much fun!
The church here in Pancá has decided to build another chapel that is a little bigger, so it can be the center of a Stake in the future. So now while they are working on it, bthis is where we are meeting. A lot different than our chapel at home, huh?
On Sunday after church, we were invited to this member´s house to eat lunch! They are an older couple, and all their sons and daughters came to visit for the Dad´s birthday. I was so honored that we were invited too! It was such a good lunch too!
Hah! So every month, the mission sends out a newspaper type thing will info about the mission. On the front page, they put a message from the Mission President, and the companionship who had the most baptisms for the month. And guess who made the front page?!?
Hello Family! Well, turns out I´m a couple of days late, but with reason. We have a multi zone conference tomorrow (Thursday), so instead of wasting so much time in Momos with having P day on Monday, we are having P day today to not waste so much time. So don´t worry, I´m still doing great! This week seemed to go by way fast, even though it has been a little longer than a week since I last wrote. But since Elder Maldonado is going home next week because he have finished his 2 years, it has kind of felt like we are leaving together.. But nope! I still have a long time to go! I haven´t figured out yet exactly, but I should be staying in Pancá for another change or so, to help my new companion know the area! I should have a new companion next week, so that should be fun! It will definitely be a lot different though, because I have gotten so used to working with Elder Maldonado. But changes are always good, and I am ready for it!
At the beginning of this week, we worked a lot with the less active members in our ward. There are a lot here, because about half the time, when people are baptized here, they attend church for a little bit, but then stop going for some reason. It really is sad that they give up that easily, but that´s why we are here! So we have been helping them and trying to get them to come back to church. We really have been focusing on less actives this week too, because Investigators are hard to come by. We have this one family, but the Dad had to travel to Guatemala City this week, so we couldn´t visit him at all. He really is our only progressing investigator. I really hope that things will work out for him though!
The way things have worked out this week and next week, Elder maldonado will only be in Pancá for a couple more days before he goes home! So we have been trying to visit every family that we know so we can say goodbye (Well, really only him, because I´ll still be here!) But that has meant a lot of walking and hiking, and because of that, this week was a little tiring! But it was definitely worth it, because the families here are so nice and inviting! I love it here, and I´m so glad that I had the opportunity to start in Pancá!
This week is going to be pretty boring, because I won´t be in Pancá that much becuase of our conferences and changes coming up, but things will be different after that, so I have to be ready for anything! But these first 3 months of the mission have been absolutely amazing. It has been everything that I have hoped for and more! I hope that it will continue!
I just want to let you all know that I love this work so much. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve my Lord. I love it when I see the gospel touching the lives of these humble people here in Guatemala. It really makes me appreciate everything that I have at home, and I want to just share all my happiness with everyone here! I know that Jesus Christ, our Savior, Redeemer, and Brother lives, and loves each and every one of us. I love you guys so much, and love hearing from you every week! Until Next Time!
- Elder Stuart
· Us in Momos about to enjoy one of the best meals I have had so far in the mission. The Elder on the left is Elder Wimmer, (yes, that Nick Wimmer) and the Elder on the Right is Elder Andrade, my District Leader
This is during a P day about 2 weeks ago. These are called Los Riscos, and they are just part of the city of Momos. Pretty cool to see!
All of us missionaries in the Zone of Momos. The person in the middle with the suit is actually a member here, and he just left on his mission to Columbia! It was way cool, because it happened to fall on a P day, so we all went and sang, and said goodbye to him!
Me doing service for a member! This is how they carry stuff like logs and big bags of stuff, and surprisingly, it is a lot easier that carrying it normally! It was a lot of fun!
· This is Victorina! Our newest convert! Looking at it now, either she is really small, or I am really tall.. or both? Haha but still was great!
Actually just today, all the missionaries in the Zone came to my area, Pancà, to see some waterfalls! I had seen these before, but never had time to go down and look for a good spot to take a picture. But today I did!