Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Feliz Navidad de Honduras" December 19, 2011

Feliz Navidad de Honduras!

This is the first Spanish speaking Santa I have ever spoken to!

Sitting in our investigator's house. This is Oto, he is an Awesome guy and reminds me alot of Brooke. His wife and daughter remind me of Gina and Kelsi too.

We were saying "good bye" to our recent converts Familia Rapalo, when we thought I would be leaving the next day. This is Geovanni, he is always the one to run out and greet us.

This is the rooster we feasted on as a farewell lunch to Sagastume. As it turned out, my companion and I didn't get transferred after all.

This week was the week of Cambios, Changes. We thought for sure that I was leaving Wednesday so we decided to buy a live chicken and kill it and eat it for lunch. So we went and I chopped the head off with a machete and plucked the feathers off and we took it to someone to cook it up for us. Since we thought I was leaving, I said goodbye to everyone that day. That night, we had a lesson with one of our investigators. When I told him that we might have changes he went and grabbed his ties and told me to take one! It was awesome, I snagged a Jaguar print one. I offered to leave him mine, but he insisted on keeping them both. We found out that night that we were going to be staying the same, I was excited because I felt like that I wasn't ready to leave this area. My work here is not done. The two other Elders that I came in with from the MTC are now training new missionaries this change. That's about all that has happened this week. I have been hurting in my stomach lately, and my Comp told a member...great. So of course she insisted that we come over that night so she can give me some medicine she makes for this kind of stuff. I was a little skeptical going into this, but we showed up anyway. She had made Manzanilla tea or something with a clove of garlic in it also. It smelt horrible. I asked Elder Belnap if I could drink it, and he said "yeah". It was really gross, but it worked! I was fine for the rest of the night. We also had a power outage in our Colonia, and we aren't allowed to work with out lights because it can be dangerous, so we headed back to the house. We called our investigator and cancelled our appointment and explained the situation. First off, this investigator is a little on the wealthy side and he asked us if he we were hungry and told us he was going to pick up a pizza for us from Pricemart (Costco)! So we had pizza that night and went to bed full and happy. Sunday, the branch president had forgotten to assign talks...welcome to Honduras. So he asked me to give a talk 3 min before it started. I gathered all my thoughts together and decided to talk on the Atonement. I was really nervous, but I pulled through and gave a talk for 12 min and 15 secs. It ended being alright. Another thing that I realized, Christmas is nothing without your Family. Be grateful for the time you have with them. This time of year, I've only been thinking of my family and how much I miss them. Also, fake Christmas trees are no where close to real ones. I miss our real Christmas tree.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Good for the Brain" December 12, 2011

This week we had another baptism. It went really well, but she said that she is sick and didn't want to be baptized in cold water because it would make her more sick. So my Comp and I went early to heat up the water. There is no hot water in the church, so we used our water heater that we use for our shower water. Its a little device made out of PVC pipes and it has a cord. First, you put it in the water and then you plug it into the wall and wait about 15 min and it gets a big tub of water boiling. the problem was, we didn't have a long enough cord to put it in the font so we ended up heating a bunch of buckets of water and throwing it in the font.
Remember the couple that I talked about in the letter last week that we ran into on the street and the girl was a member? Well we went to go teach her friend yesterday and he was home with all of his family. We taught him, his brother, sister, cousin and his mom the message of the Restoration of the Church and everything. They all said they wanted to pray and are willing and open to receiving an answer. None of them go to Church and they all accepted a baptismal date for the 14th of January. It was awesome!
Also this week, we ran into a member that owns a Pulperia (small store on the street where they sell chips and stuff) and she offered us Turtle Eggs. She said that she bought them from a guy that brings them from the beach. They're supposed to be good for the brain. So my companion and I accepted and we went inside to eat them. The catch was that you can't chew the egg or else you automatically throw up. So the way you eat turtle eggs is you get a cup of drink that you like (I used Orange Juice) and you pour the egg in there. The contents of the egg are one big ball of slimy yolk. It was interesting eating it or drinking it, however you want to say it. But I got it down!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Listen" December 5, 2011

Elder Belnap, my companion and I have been exploring our area a little more and this is some beautiful scenery we have discovered.

I am definitely in the phase were the weeks and days are getting longer. With the baptism, we have to start over in looking for investigators. We've been walking over to our other area up the hill a ways. We have been searching and talking to everyone and are trying to find those that need the Lord in their life right now. This week I have learned to pray and listen with real intent. I cant express how important it is to pray and also LISTEN after you pray to receive guidance to your prayers. While we were doing our weekly planning, we prayed to receive guidance and inspiration on what we should do the next day. While we were planning we had planned to go conduct an baptismal interview at 3 and also to visit one of our investigators. We received a call from the other missionaries that needed the interview done and they asked if we could change and do it at 11 in the morning. We couldn't because it would have messed up our schedule that we felt that we needed to follow. So we first visited our investigator, she had been a little wobbly lately and not wanting to be baptized. So we asked her what had caused the change of heart and tried to have a heart to heart. It ended up being that her friends and family have been spreading rumors about the church and harassing her. We taught her and helped her realize that she had received a confirmation to her prayer, that she knows that everything that her family says is false about the church and she knows the truth. She got all excited and was filled with joy, that she said she wants to be baptized on the 10th of December. That was one thing that the Lord had wanted us to do that day. The next one was when we were walking down the street and there was a young couple. The girl ran over to us and said "Elders! hey, I'm a member of the church also! here's my friend, teach him!" He said he had seen us walk by his house, but he was too nervous to say anything. So we greeted and got to know him a bit and made an appointment to come back. This was someone that the Lord obviously wanted us to find. Then we were walking through Central and we passed a guy that was with the police. He and the police called us over and the guy ended up being from Cuba. He said that he had immigrated to Nicaragua and was living there and was baptized last weekend. He then moved here on Wednesday and was recently assaulted and robbed of all of his money and cards. He was looking for a Bishop that he could talk to. He didn't want money, he just wanted the help of a Bishop on what he should do. So we directed him to the Mission office so that he can make phone calls there. He thanked us a lot and said he couldn't express how grateful he is to be a member of this church. He said he was scared and didn't know what to do, because he doesn't know the city, or where to go. Then he saw us and he received the spark of hope because he recognized us as Missionaries like the ones that baptized him. None of these things could have been possible without the guidance we received after our prayer the night before.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Cole is the Best"

Mom had to add this video clip to the blog. This is the conversation between Max and Jack Thanksgiving day as we were driving to a movie. Our first Thanksgiving without Cole! Sorry about the picture quality, It was a bit dark.

"Busy Week" November 28, 2011

Our Zone went to Chilis for Thanksgiving dinner. I had a burger, fries, lemonade, and a brownie with ice cream on top. It felt like I was in America for an hour. It really made me miss home!

My friends from my Zone, Elder Brooks, Elder Hepworth, me and Elder Belnap.

This is a picture of one of the big sound sytems that is in almost every home.
This is our investigators getting married, Marvin y Adolieda (middle two signing marriage certificate).
This is a picture of Central Park in Tegucigalpa from the marriage building.
Marvin asked me to baptism him! It is the very first baptism I have acually performed. I love these two little boys, they are the funniest little kids. They remind me of Max.
Geez, this week has been a busy one! We had something to do everyday this week. Monday was p-day, Tuesday was divisions with the Zone Leaders, Wednesday there was a meeting all morning with Presidente Hernéndez, Thursday we had our District Meeting/Thanksgiving, Friday we married one of our Families, Saturday I baptized my first baptism that I've ever actually done. Sunday was the only slow day. But yeah, this week was the first time I Baptized someone! These Latino 4 name names are still killing me! I was excited the whole morning of the Baptism that I was actually going to be helping him make this huge step in his life to come closer to Heavenly Father and Christ. He was excited and ready for the marriage also, he was the first one up in the building to get married. He practically ran the whole way. And when we were in our house getting ready, he called us and asked us if we were ready. He's such a great guy.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"New Companion" November 21, 2011

My new companion, Elder Belnap and I have bought this hen to feed and when she gets bigger, we are going to eat her!
This week we received a call from one of the Assistants to the President at 9:30pm Tuesday night... my companion Elder Ames was moved up to be a Zone Leader and I would be receiving a new trainer the next morning! Holy cow! So Wednesday we went to the office and I received Elder Belnap from Utah. He's a really cool guy, he has 19 months in the mission and is finishing in April. Man, what a crazy week. It was Elder Belnap's first time in Tegucigalpa because he's been in Chulateca (south) his whole mission. He said its cold here...he's crazy! It gets so hot! I don't want to see the heat that the south brings. We still have the marriage and baptism this Friday and Saturday but of course there's an obstacle...The road to Central is closed to all vehicles so that they can finally pave the road. And we all have to be down in Central at 8am, so we need to get everyone together and leave early. This is about that is going on this week, its a little bit, but alot at the same time for us. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Save me a plate of stuffing! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Service Project

This past week we did service for a family by cutting the weeds away from their bean plants. We worked for 2 hours and barely covered all of it.

"Seek, and Ye Shall Find" November14, 2011

This week has been really long. We haven't had the best of luck with our investigators that aren't progressing. It seems like there is a pattern to the way things happen here; there are times when we have weeks full of appointments and positive people, and others were we are having to go out and contact to find new families "y otro hijos de Dios". We had contacted a man that was buying oranges in Sagastume and he said that if we ever find him he would let us in and bring all of his family together, and left. We asked where he lived and only said El Torre (another colonia above us) and left in a hurry. That was two weeks ago. On Wednesday, we went to contact a new area. We were walking down this road and there was a group of kids that were bothering us and saying things about us. We continued to walk and we ended up running into the same guy from the oranges! he was just as surprised as we were that we accidentally found him. He called us over and called for his family to come and listen and the group of kids that were bothering us ended up being his! Oh man, they were squirming and felt bad because their father had only good things to say about us and respected us. They definitely learned her lesson. Oh and also! I was walking through a market in Central this morning and there was a Northwest Baseball Bakersfield, CA sweatshirt! It was crazy. I was tempted to buy it, but I didn't. We have a wedding planned for a family that we have for the 25th of this month! Marvin y Adoleda Ràpalo. Their 2 boys are hilarious together. their always playing and wrestling with each other. Alexander is 6 and Geovanni is 2 or 3. the baptism is set for the next day.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"A Fight to the Death" November 7, 2011

Sword fighting one of the two Scorpions found in our room!

Disarming the Scorpion...
This Scorpion is eating a baby Gecko...
The Baby Gecko walking away after being freed! It only had two legs left and it still walked away!
This last week was Cambios (Changes). I'm still with my trainer and alot of people from my zone have left. At least I get to meet new people in the mission! We have sisters in our Zone this change which is really weird, I don't know why, but it is. We also have a new Elder in our Zone so I'm not the youngest anymore! Last week, we went as a zone to a Bishop's house to eat pizza. Little did I know, that he is a professional cook and makes fancy meals for the important people here. People now hire him to come tell them what they need and critic them. So these pizzas, and his house, were awesome! His house was on top of this mountain and the dining room had a huge window so you could look out over Tegucigalpa.
Earlier this week, we went tracking down in an area that we have never been too. It was actually really cool because it was just a dirt road and we were surrounded by jungle and trees. We ran into a couple houses and made appointments to come back. We kept on walking and we ended up in a chicken farm. We kept on walking and the owner came and talked to us and showed us this huge shack full of baby chicks. You could smell them before you could see them and it reminded me of the many visits to the Kern County Fair and the chicken exhibit there. It was really cool. It was like being on an episode of Dirty Jobs (the one with the turkey farm). Also, out there in the middle of nowhere, we met this cowboy and he had on his button up shirt and jeans. The cool part was that he had silver teeth! And to match his teeth, he had silver cowboy boots, a real albino snakeskin belt and a cowboy hat with silver on it. His cowboy attitude and look reminded me alot of my Grandpa Reno.
Also, this week I was able to try this drink called Pínol. It basically was warmed up milk with soggy cornflakes on the bottom and also big balls of pasta down there as well. It was really weird and kinda gross to drink it. When the hermana asked my companion for more, he said "no". She was really upset about it, so of course I had to fix things. I drank 3 more small glasses of it. I said I was full, but wanted more and she was alot happier. Freak, I'm done covering for my companion, it was hard!
Last night was exciting also, when we walked into our apartment, there was a scorpion on the wall. I went over to kill it and realized it was eating something, that something was a baby gecko! It was still alive and wiggling in the scorpions mouth. I pull out my knife and started sword fighting it in a fight to the death. I finally stabbed it without it stabbing me. Locals here say that there are scorpions here that get as big as my hand and you need a machete to kill them! well I'm glad that hasn't happened yet.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween! October 31, 2011

First off I need to say Happy Birthday to my little brother Max! He turned 5 and judging by the pictures I've seen, is getting huge! And also a Happy Halloween! We are actually allowed to dress up here for it, Its going to be awesome. I'm going to dress up as a Missionary and preach the words of Christ all day! I really miss the fall season with the leaves changing colors and the Halloween decorations in general. We walked by these cows and there was hay and it reminded me of the Kern County Fair. Man, I miss it. We have three families with kids that are going to be baptized in November/December. We don't have an exact date for them yet because they need to be married first. We have one family that might get married on 11/11/11! That would be cool. So that would make... 8-10 baptisms in the next month or two. Something interesting that I discovered here is the Soda. I tried: Grapefruit, Coconut, a fruit called Tamarindo, and Banana. The only one I really liked was grapefruit, the others taste weird. Oh! and on Friday, I went out into the bathroom and I look up and there was a bat! it started screeching at me, so I may or may not have screamed and I flew into the shower and flew out. What is up with all of these animals here?!

I always tell the priest, Alejandro, that I want a pet chicken. Because that's what they have down here, pet chickens. You whistle and they come, they chase after you and follow you, and also sit in your lap or on your arm. Alejandro always says, "No, if i give you Peep, the name of the chicken, You'll eat him!" so we took this picture as a joke to him. This class of chicken start out with bright colored feathers when they are chicks. His was all pink, it was really cool. But as they grow up they turn all white and normal looking.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"It scared the pants off me!" October 24, 2011

Oh man, this week has been really long for some reason. On Wednesday night I went into my room to put on my Vans to relax but a huge Tarantula crawled out of one of my shoes when I sat down to put them on! My pants were partially unbuttoned so when I jumped up to get my companion my pants had literally fallen off. When I got to him I told him about the spider, and then joked and said, "It scared the pants off me!" So we went in there and took pictures and then I decided to catch it, because smashing it would have been too easy. It was a fight, but I got it in one of our pots. We had a District meeting the next day so I decided to pack it along in a jar and let it go there, because I didn't want that thing in our Colony, let alone our area.

I am beginning to notice that there are only 2 types of music played here; reggaton and rock. There is a lot of Van Halen and Boston that is played on the radios. The L.A. Galaxy came to the national stadium to play a team here in Honduras called Motagua. When we came over to eat dinner at the Osorto's, the son pointed it out and said that David Beckam was down playing his team. It was good to know that others know were Tegucigalpa is besides businessmen and Missionaries. The next day, he sadly told me that Galaxy won.

Also this week, we were teaching one of our investigators and he wanted to see our families. He looked at the picture that I had and it said it reminded him of one that he used to have of him and his family when his mom was alive. He was holding onto it for a long time looking at it. Then he said that my brother Jack looks like Spanky from the movie Little Rascals! I was laughing for awhile after he said that. He then fed us dinner and there was some potato salad his wife had made. It was really good, but it reminded me of home and the salad Mom makes for Summer parties with friends and family.

Oh man and It is cold here in the afternoons and nights! I never thought that I would have needed a Jacket in Honduras. Everyone said that the "Dry" season is coming. Being from Bakersfield, when I hear dry season, I think of a lot of heat. It happens to be the exact opposite here. With all the work we're doing, I realized today that I need to make another belt loop on my belt. I have gone all the way down and have made one, but now I need another. I've only been down here for a Month! shoot.

Yesterday, Sister Osorto made a soup called Mondongo. (I think that's how you spell it) its contents include cow intestines and other goodness. It actually was really good. Chewy, but tasted great. When she heard that I had been sick the past couple of days, she got mad at my companion Elder Ames for not telling her. She started making all of this food that would help me feel better. She's awesome, she was upset that I had eaten it and said she was afraid it would make me feel worse. DON'T WORRY Mom,I am better now!

This morning for P day we were able to take a trip to the Temple and see how the construction was going. We came just a couple weeks too early, the Angel Moroni will be placed on the steeple November 4th. It is going to be beautiful. It lookes great already!

My companion, Elder Ames and I

My Zone

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Challenge Accepted! October 17, 2011

This week we had a branch activity. Since we are a 'dependent branch' we usually have people from the ward in Buenas Aires come down. For the activity we went out in groups of two to go and have the members talk and get to know other less actives and investigators. I was paired up with a member from Buenas Aires, he was really cool. He had learned English from books his mom had brought home for him and his brother. So we went and taught one less active family and one of our current investigators. When we were coming out of their house, there was a woman and a little girl carrying wood. We went over and asked if they needed help, so we carried it down the road a bit and there were three more little girls carrying wood, all belonging to the woman. So I was loaded up with all of the wood. I thought they lived in Sagastume with us, but they ended up being the next Colonia over called Sausique. So we walked down the road and finally made it to town. We walked to the bottom of this huge hill at the foot of this mountain. Then we asked where they lived and she said, "Arriba". So we walked up this huge hill and finally we make it to the top of the hill. We were both so relieved that we had finally made it. Then we asked which house was her's. To our demise, she said, "¡Arriba!" and pointed to this house at the top of the mountain!!!... awesome, challenge accepted! So we hiked up there and dropped off the wood and headed back to Sagastume. What an insane work out!  Oh, and get this, we were talking to some members and they said that they were walking in the street in San Pedro Sula, Honduras and during a certain time of the year fish will fall from the sky! There were a couple of fish falling from the sky while they were there. It was hard to believe but they all said they witnessed it. Also, they celebrate Christmas at this time of year. Its weird going in and seeing Christmas decorations up already. It didn´t make sense to me at first but then I realized that they don't celebrate Halloween or Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My first Baptism! October 10, 2011

Me and my companion, Elder Ames with Heidy, Keidy, and Nelson,who were baptized and our Branch President, President Orsoto.

This is the "unofficial" Branch of Sagastume that came to the Baptism.

This is our transportation to the baptism. We had 25 people squeezed in this van!

This last Saturday I had my first baptismal service in Honduras! It was great, everyone was excited for the three that were being baptized. There were two girls, Heidi (14) and Keidi (13) and then a man by the name of Nelson (47). All three of them were excited to finally be baptized. The closest baptismal font we had was about 20 to 30 min away from Sagastume, so we had organize a way for all of the members and families in Sagastume to get there without paying to rent a bus. Well, when the time came, the bus ended up being a van with no seats in the back. We were all squished in the back of that thing and it was hot and we were driving on windy bumpy roads. That didn't go too well for me, I was car sick by the time we got there. But everyone was filled with good happy spirits which made it all worth it. I was talking to the two girls afterwards and they asked how old I was. I told them, How old do you think I am? and one said 24, and the other said 30!!  Seriously?
This week was a little bit interesting... well as you know, we go and eat at the Familia Osorto's house once a day when we have time. At least once a week she likes to surprise us with something different. Last week we had this really hot soup and as I was digging around eating the rice, I pulled up a chicken leg! Two of them! I didn't know whether to eat them or to set them on the table and let them run around! It was a mind game eating those things! It tasted like chicken skin, and you had to eat all of the meat off of them so she didn't get offended. I was eating the talons when one fell off in my mouth. Awesome. Afterwards, she asked why we were so read and sweaty, Well, only because it was burning hot outside and we just ate a hot bowl of soup that's why! The strange thing we ate this week was in another one of her soups, as shocking as it might be. We were eating the meat and things in it and we started to ask what they were because there were some strange shapes and textures. Okay, when in a foreign country and you are eating something with a strange texture its probably best not to ask what it is. It ended up being some intestines and guts from a chicken. The parts that we had asked about were the liver and the bladder. Yum! I usually just eat and apple for breakfast, that one meal of hers and a quart of jugo de Piña.
Just a little side note, yesterday I went to put on my pants and a gecko ran down my leg and out the bottom! It scared me a bit. Then right after that, I got in a fight... with a giant cockroach! It came out from behind the door. This thing was huge! It was about the size of my name tag. I went to smash it with my shoe and it jumped on to me and was running on my chest toward my head and I brushed it off and it started running at me from across the room... but it never made it to me, but it made it to the bottom of my shoe!
This is me and a member, Alejandro. He is the only member in his family. His mother and sister don't believe but his mom likes to read the LdM (Libro de Mormon) with him.
Alejandro challenged me to an arm wrestling competition. I am champion of my zone!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"It will test your will to survive" October 3, 2011

We walk this staircase every Tuesday to get to a city called Buenas Aires. It's the highest city on top of the hill.

This week was good. It rained a lot and it got really muddy. We had an appointment down by the river and when we were walking down the trail to get there, I ended up being covered in mud all the way up to my shins. The people here in Sagastume are very nice and invite you in no matter how muddy or wet you are and they sit you down and are ready to hear from you. We have coordination in this city called Buenas Aires. We had to walk up this really steep stair case to get there. In the words of Brother Wagner back in Bakersfield, 'It will test your will to survive'. We walk up steep hills and stairs all the time, but this thing was a monster! We go into the city alot to go to our zone and district meetings in the stake center, so I´m still squishing into the buses and craning my neck so I can stand up in those things. We also come here to the stake center on P-day's to email, play fútbol and go out and eat American food, usually McDonalds or Wendy´s. The menus here are completely different and filled with different items like fried chicken or rice.

We're still teaching our investigators and getting some of them ready for their baptism this Saturday! Right now, there are 4 that are planning to be baptized. Also this week, we had divisions. I was in charge of going to all of our investigators and teaching with Elder Olmos from Panama city. It was fun, we had a lot of contacts and taught our appointments. I feel that things go over more smooth in lessons with a native speaker on your side, ha ha! My trainer was shocked to find that during the time that I had a Latin companion, he spoke English to me the whole time. But its okay, he taught me alot.  General Conference was a ton of fun and really good. We spent all day in the city on Saturday to watch all the sessions.

October 3, 2011

These are all the new missionaries that arrived and the Mission President and his wife

My Mission President, President Hernandez and his wife. They are from El Salvador.

This is a look out point on the road where you can see part of Tegucigalpa.

I found Elder Casey during changes! It was fun catching up on everything, he is doing great!

The cows that walk the streets of Sagstume with us. Behind me there is one running right towards me!

This is my area, the town of Sagatume. This picture shows about half of the town.

This is a baleadas (giant taco). This is a restraunt in Tegucigalpa called "Coco Baleadas". It is like a Subway for baleadas. ( a tortilla wrap thing).