Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Honduras! September 26, 2011

Well first day in Honduras went like this: we didn´t sleep at all the night before with all of the flying around. So when we arrived, I was dead tired. On both of the flights, there were these touch screen headsets that you could watch movies, play games and listen to music on. Talk about temptation! When we arrived in Tegucigalpa, the lady almost didn´t let me in because I didn´t have a solid place were I was living. But they let me in anyways. One of the AP´s and the Mission President came and picked us up. We went to the Mission Office and ate some pizza, drank banana flavored soda and wen´t through orientation. After orientation, we went to the Mission home and waited for the president for dinner. We ended up going to Applebee´s with the AP´s and the President´s family. He insisted that we get the bottomless ribs & fries, so of course we did. One of the AP´s kept on challenging us to eat more ribs with him. We ended up making it back and went to bed.

The next day we were introduced to our trainers that morning. The president bought us breakfast and we sorted out and went to Changes. I was able to see my friend Elder Trevor Casey! It was a great seeing him and talking about everything. We are in the Tegucigalpa Zone, Sagastume Area. We took a bus from the city a little ways out to the mountains. When we got out, I had to carry two 50lb suitcases up this huge hill up to our ´home´. I was a little bit surprised at how small the houses were. The people live in these small houses with maybe 2 rooms, but in every single home there is a huge sound system that they like to blast music on. I don´t know what it is about our house, but there are a ton of creatures that wander in. We´ve had multiple geckos and huge moths the size of my palm.

So I finally came to a conclusion; in the U.S, we like to trick out our cars & trucks. but in Honduras, they like to fix up their buses! We you get inside one, there is always a new stereo system inside. I was even in one that had a sub woofer in the middle of the bus, it was crazy! I met our branch president of the branch we´re in. His name is President Osorto. His wife cooks us lunch everyday. They have 2 kids; the daughter 19, and the son 14. When we went to church, I was shocked at how small the branch is here. We are an 'unofficial' branch because there isn't enough members to make it official yet. We had 26 in attendance yesterday; including 5 investigators. There is also 1 teacher, 2 priests. I also taught Sunday School yesterday! I was asked the night before to teach and I pulled it off and did it! I was teaching the youth but they were all older, around 16 yrs old, there was 8 in attendance. They would laugh when I made mispronunciations and when I didn´t understand what they were asking, but I got through the lesson and they understood it.

It´s strange being the biggest person in my zone, let alone the people that I teach. They always look at me when we walk up and contact them. We were in the middle of talking to this girl and in the middle of it she cut in and told me, 'que bonito oyos'. which translates into you have beautiful eyes. Everyone´s eyes here are dark and they are all fascinated when they see colored eyes. For example, we were talking to this elderly lady at her door and my companion was talking to here but she would stare at me in the eyes and talk to him while looking at me. It was really awkward!

Yeah Sagastume is awesome and i´m enjoying it here. As of today we have 4 baptisms scheduled for October 8th and 1 for the 22nd. Also we have 2 families waiting for their marriage papers so that they can be baptised, both with little kids. We´ve also got a couple investigators we´re working on. I'm staying busy! From our house we can see the statue of Jesus and Tegucigalpa. It starts to rain about 5 o'clock every day with lightning. You can always see this massive wall of rain slowly moving over Tegucigalpa. Laundry is done by wash board, showers are done by buckets of water in a small room, and the toilet has to be flushed manually by dumping a bucket of water down the bowl to force it down. I haven´t eaten anything out of the ordinary yet, usually rice, red beans and either chicken or fish. Well I´ll write back next week! we´re going to go play fútbol with the zone at the stake center. Oh also, we´re all excited for General Conference!
Love you all,
Elder Harding

Sunday, September 18, 2011

September 15, 2011

This week was good. We had another apostle speak to us on Tuesday at our Devotional. This week was Elder M. Russell Ballard. It was a great talk. There is supposed to be an unusual amount of Apostles coming to speak within the next 7 weeks. Of course after I leave! Yep, I also received travel plans last Friday. It'll be interesting flying out of Salt Lake at 1 in the morning. I don't really have alot to report on, we've just been getting ready to leave and giving away all of my extra food and candy. Oh and just for the record, I've only gained, .8 lbs during my 9 weeks in the MTC. HA! I'm proud of myself. Everyone says you will gain 10 lbs on the MTC food. If I don't write an email in awhile, Its only because I can't. Don't worry!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 8, 2011

Oh man!
My time in the MTC is limited! I'm supposed to leave on the 19th, so 1 week and 4 days left. I'm supposed to be getting my travel plans this weekend also. Everyone in my district is excited for that. I'll be sure to write home when I get them. Well, this week, I was able to be a New Missionary Host. My job was to welcome and greet new missionaries that were dropped off and go take them to their rooms and get their supplies and books and see them off to class. It was really fun, we tried to sign up to be a "Host", but they wouldn't let us unless they were short on them. Then during lunch yesterday, they announced that they needed more so my district and I ran up there to sign up. It took a while for the "nuevos" to show up, but they came pouring in all at once. It was sort of awkward standing there with the suitcases waiting for the final goodbyes and tears to be wiped away. One missionary jumped out of the car and his dad unpacked his suitcases and was in the car and they drove off and the mom stuck her head out the window and shouted "Have fun!" and they were gone! It was like watching a NASCAR pit stop, it all happened so fast. I was able to help two missionaries to go were they needed to. One Elder was headed to San Diego and he was all excited to be here and get to class. The second missionary was actually an Hermana and me and another Elder showed her to the Hermana hosts and they took over from there. She was headed to Poland. I've noticed here, they have a lot of Sisters going to Europe and a lot of Elders going to Latin America. I don't know what that's about. I have one more P day in the MTC, then I'm outta here! Next week is my last week. Oh yeah, I have been running into all of my friends that have come into the MTC. My dear pal Damon (Elder Chlarson), Blake (Elder Sampson), and David (Elder Morley). And of course Elder Fox and I always drop by and see whats new with each other since we have class in the same building. Its funny to think that I get to see all of my guy friends come into the MTC. Especially all of the ones from Bakersfield. We're trying to plan a day to meet up and take pictures. I would send some pictures, but the machine that reads my SD card has been broken all week. Hopefully they fix it next week so I can send all of theses new pictures home!
thank you for the package, I just received it today. I forgot what pringles and candy tasted like, its been awhile since I've had anything like it!  Thank you for everything, I always have you guys in my prayers. Hey Jack, felicidades (sorry, it was easier for me to say that than congratulations) on making varsity, that's awesome! You've got to keep that #62 going throughout your entire varsity years. It will be the same exact ones that I wore. You should buy the red jersey after your senior year, hahaha. Bueño Suerte! (good luck)

Friday, September 2, 2011

September 1, 2011

A ton of things have happened this week. All I have to say is that I was right about a General Authority speaking on Tuesday during our Devotional! The president of the MTC walked in with his wife and behind them was Elder Jeffery R Holland. It was amazing. We all knew someone was coming but we didn't know who. There was a spiritual buzz going around before he walked in but after, silence. I won't send you all of my notes, but he gave an amazing talk. He basically gave an introduction and joked around a bit. He said, "I have one foot in the grave and one foot on a banana peel" so you missionaries will be taking my spot. He also answered some questions submitted by some Elders. One thing he emphasized was that people in the world look at missionaries and think they are absolutely perfect. He told a story about a elderly convert who was baptized and in Sunday school when asked who she know who was perfect, instead of Christ she answered; the two missionaries that baptized me. He clearly emphasized "You do not have the right to compromise the image of a missionary!" He also told us that 4 hours before his talk that a missionary gave his life for this religion and got really emotional. We don't know any details. After Devotional there was definitely a spirit on the entire campus.
Yes, to answer Brother Sirman's the bathrooms are updated and the trees of life are out of the MTC and we have our own stalls and showers. and to answer your question Dad, here is a list of people who have spoken at our devotionals & firesides: Stephen B Allen ( managing director of the Missionary department), Dennis E Simmons (of the 70), Robert P Swensen(director of missionary services), Gerald N Lund (former 70), Merrill J. Bateman (Emeritus Quorum of the 70), Cecil Sameulson (BYU president), Richard I Heaton (administrative director), David F Evans (of the 70), Stephen B Allen again, Claudio D Zivic (of the 70), Bruce E McIff (MTC presidency) Then Jeffery R Holland.
Thanks for the package! I have a ton of food now. I have 30 secs left I have to go! Thanks again I hope everything is good at home still.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September 1, 2011

At the Provo Temple

My District at the Provo Temple
Elder Wride, Lewis, Bookstaber, Folsom, Me, Ward, Stults, McClellan, Thimmig, Ford, and Combe

Me with one of my zone leaders, Elder Lotulelei. He is going to Columbia

Me with Elder McClellan

"Representin" Honduras

Elder Ward and myself are going to the Tegucigalpa Honduras Mission and the others are going to the San Pedro Honduras Mission

Trying to get the storm behind me

This is Elder Tyler Marrott, he was one of my roommates at BYUI. He is going to Hong Kong.

September 1, 2011

This is my District after learning that our investigator is really our teacher- Brother Jimenez

This is our first investigator, Brother Jimenez, who turned out to be our teacher.

Our Classroom