Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"I'm not complaining" December 17, 2012

Me with my Mission friend Elder Miller in front of the soon to be finished Temple

December is passing by way too fast! I can't believe that it is already the 17th! This week we had our mission Christmas party. It was good, each zone had to sing and then after everyone sang, we went to the temple. Oh yeah, we finally received an exact date for the temple open house! It will be opened to the public on February 8th until March 3rd. I'm excited that we finally have a firm date. So the rest of the time, we had free time to either watch a movie or go out to play sports. The down part was that we had to spend 6 hours that day in total travel time. Its soo hard to work in my area, we only get there in the afternoon because we have to go out to random pueblos to take out marriage papers for everyone. Its good that the zone is getting work in, I'm not complaining! I just like more of the teaching aspect. We are looking pretty good with our investigators. This week is going to be hard to get work in also because we have our 3rd comp going home on Change Day. So I have to go up to Tegus with him on Wednesday night for his Farewell Dinner with President while E. Ruiz stays with the Elders who have Transfers and to organize the transport for everyone. At least I'll be getting a homemade dinner that night!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

"The real meaning of Christmas" December 3, 2012

Choluteca East Zone

Hey just a reminder, only 7 more Fast Sundays! The time is going by faster and faster. After xmas, the time will just fly. I'm excited but also extremely nervous. It hit me the other day how much I will miss the mission. Just being able to walk around, ride in buses and talking to everyone about the restored gospel. Just being able to teach also, thats one of my favorite parts. The people here in the South are a really humble people and are more outgoing and kind than other parts of Honduras.

Well, this week we had ZL consejo... Now I am absolutely dreading the ZL consejo's now. From Choluteca, we have to take a bus the day before so that we can get there on time. Its a really nice bus, but the bus isn't the problem, The driver is. We just sped the whole way up to Tegus in 2 and a half hours on windy roads in a blazing hot bus. We were only 30 out and I felt like I was going to have to stick my head out the window the whole drive. I had to eat something. Luckily, we stopped and I bought a 7up as I tried to get my head under control from the nausea. I cant remember ever being so sick before. We finally made to Tegucigalpa and I don't know why but I was starving. Its like all of the snacks I had eaten had disappeared. So we went and we ate a ton of good food that night and went to Consejo at president's house and ate more good food. Before I knew it, it was time to get back on that cursed bus. It was worse on the way back to Choluteca because it was night. This time I literally did spend the 3 hours with my head poked out the window. I thought it was funny because the bus guys started walking down the isle handing out barf bags to everyone. But I am glad to say that I got it together and I did not have to use a single bag on the way there or back!!!

Yesterday the ward wanted to go out and do visits with us and split us up so that we could get to know all of the families that are inactive. We thought it was a good idea. So we began to wait for everyone at 5 (as planned) then 5:30 came around. We started to call the first councilor asking him if they were still going to do it. We where told yes and that they should be there at anytime, that they were on their way. We were a little anxious also because we were wanting to be able to go to the Christmas devotional at 7. By the time everyone got there and we left it was cutting it pretty close. I was worried if we were going to make it, but as soon as we sat down in the house of the inactive family, all of the anxiety to see the devotional left me. I began to see the bigger picture and I got to know the parents and I wanted to help them. One of their sons served a mission and is active in the ward. The dad was a funny out going guy. We sat there and talked and the members we were with started the message they had prepared (which was the key point). Of course we began to talk about the Sabbath day and the importance of it. I began to explain the most basic one in the 10 commandments. I began to explain that the Keeping of the Sabbath day was one of the most detailed commandments of the 10. We started asking him questions and he began to see his composure change and he began to take everything we taught seriously and he said, "I don't know why, but I have a really strong desire to go to church next week." We explained that it was through the power of the Spirit that he felt this way (Galatians 5:22-23) After the lesson he thanked us for the visit and we went on our way. I began to talk to my companion and we both felt the same way, that it didn't matter if we missed the devotional, there was someone in greater need of our time. I learned yesterday that sometimes we, as humans, will always have the desire to do the things that we want. The most important thing that we can do is give our own time to help others in need. This is also the real meaning of the Christmas season also. We need to remember the reason for all of the parties and presents. The first counselor invited us over to his house afterwards to catch the end of the devotional and to eat dinner with him and his family. It turned out to be a better night than I expected.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

"Thanksgiving at Pizza Hut" November 26, 2012

This week passed by really fast. We started out on Tuesday by going and looking for new investigators. We had set an appointment up with a Sister who came to church for her first time last week. When we showed up and began to talk to her and she began by telling us that she loved church on Sunday! She began to explain her story of how she has been to a lot of other churches before, but she never felt comfortable like she was out of place. Then one day she was talking to her friend (member) and she invited her to come to church. She told us that at first she wasn't sure because it was so big and a lot nicer than any of the other chapels. But she said after she sat down in Sacrament meeting and after Sunday School she said she felt a great "comfort" and "felt like she was wanted by everybody". She and her daughter are excited to be going to church and are wanting to be baptized on the 15th. I cannot stop expressing how important the role of us as members are! Just through this experience I saw that there are people just wondering where to go, and where the truth is, all we need to do is simply invite them to go to church to see how they feel.

We are also teaching another family who is going to be getting married. We went there for the first time on Thursday and their 3 yr old daughter came up and gave me a hug and started talking to me and brought out her new shoes and toys. So I began to play with her before the lesson as I got to get to know them. The mom told me that she is always active but she never has played with any of the Elders like me before. The little girl jumped up on the couch and reached in my bag and pulled out my hymn book and said that she was ready to sing. Her mom began to explain to me that the little girl was a miracle. I don't know how, but she was born without a belly button! So when she was born, her insides were all outside and they had to do a bunch of surgeries on her. It was kind of sad, she even has to go in next week for another one.

Well just so you guys know, for Thanksgiving we went to Pizza Hut and just ate there. I also passed by the grocery store and we bought some stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn and rolls to make in the night. It turned out pretty good!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Wendy's, Pizza Hut and KFC!" November 19, 2012

After 6 months of being in the same area I finally had Transfers! I have decided to pack up and take my skills to South Beach...actually I was called to be in Choluteca East in the area Lìmon de la Cerca. Its so hot down here, I forgot how hot and dry the south is. I'm with Elder Ruiz from Mexico, he's cool I was hoping that I would get sent here. We are also in a trio, I thought that it would be terrible, but it turns out that it's with Elder Cuque from Guatemala. I know him from when I was in Sagastume, his area was next to ours. He's going home on Dec 19th so he's just going to stay with us for a month. Our house is really nice, we live in a gated community with a guard at nights (hes a young army guy who was converted 8months ago). We even have AC! Also something else that is nice about my area is that we just got a brand new building put in. Its huge! This is also my first ward that I have been in, usually they're branches. I'll be sure to send pics next week.

The only downer about the area is that I have to wash my clothes on a rock washboard. yeahh.... not really looking forward to it.

Oh by the way we have places to eat here! Wendy's Pizza Hut and KFC. Finally!

After this area I only have 1 more!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"Lemon leaves are quite refreshing!" November 12, 2012

Man, this week has been a headache, I never thought that I would go through so many back up plans! We went to visit our investigator Azucena to teach her and talk to her about her baptismal service. We got to talking and she told us that the only time she could do it would be at 9 in the morning. We thought that it would be okay, because that means we would just have to have one of the District Leaders come over to interview her and her kids Friday. Well, that fell through because it turned out that our DL wouldn't be able to make it due to transportation problems. He didn't come until Saturday morning at 8. That went well, we all made it to the Chapel at 9 ready to start but our sketchy ward mission leader forgot to assign talks and was looking for someone to talk. We told him to forget it and that he is going to have to do it. This guy is always snaking out on us. If we ask him to prepare something, he always finds an excuse to get out. Including yesterday! He had gotten a family home evening all planned and told the branch where it would be held. Only 30 min before he was asking if we were there at the house of the investigator of the FHE and if people were there. There were 11 members there including the district president. We waited and waited for him to show up but he flaked out. We even tried to call him but he turned his cell phone off! So we whipped out a lesson with the sisters and taught James chpt 3. The part that made me made the most is that as we were walking up back to our house, he passes us on a street with someone in the front seat. He totally ditched us. Anyway, lets get back on track.... The service went beautifully and our investigators felt amazing. Afterwards Azucena came up to me and shook my hand and told me "thank you". I think that was the first time that anyone has actually ever come up to me after and said thank you. It helped me realize the importance and the excitement that she had felt that day. I'm so grateful that I have been given this opportunity to serve a mission. There couldn't have been a better time to leave at the time I did, because if not, I don't think I would have ever met them.

Something that I noticed that always seems to happen when we teach about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the reverence and the silence there is when we teach them the first vision. We always quote the journal writing that Joseph Smith recorded what he saw that day. It doesn't matter if the chickens outside are making a bunch of noise and running in and out of the house, but when it comes to that time, it always goes quiet. Its like every single living thing stops and listens to what we have to say..."Vì una columna de luz, mas brilliante que el sol directamente de me cabeza. Al reposar sobre me la luz, vi en el airre...." and by that time everything is silent. I sat thinking about it and it hit me.

Yeah, so we went out one day to visit our converts that live out in toward the mountain. I had to use the bathroom, so I asked them if I could use it. When I opened the door, it was a toilet without a seat. I turned around and asked them if they had any toilet paper and Rafa stood up and went over to his lemon tree and said "Lemon leaves are quite refreshing".... its a good thing he has a good sense of humor.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"warm, bubbly...and disgusting!" November 5, 2012

Hey family just so you know... we only have 8 more fast Sundays until we get to see each other!! pretty soon after Christmas it ll be 6 more!

This week we didn't get back to our area until Wednesday night after our ZL consejo. We had bought an apple pie and whipped cream in Tegus before going home so we could at least celebrate Halloween in some way. It was really good, it made me "baggy" to want to eat it with the family!

We went up to our convert, Familia Amaya's house to go visit their son while he was working. He goes twice a day to milk the cows that he is in charge of. Its only two of them for all of the 30 cows that they have. We watched them and how they would do it. Every cow had its own name. When it was their turn, he would call them by their name. Some of the names were Mendoza, Pan Blanco, Carra Blanca and Regalo. So he would call out, "Mendoza Mendoza Mendoza!!" and it would come walking out of the crowd of them with its calf and stand by the fence to be milked. They're smart! I got to milk one, it was interesting. I even brought a cup with me so that I could try some fresh milk. I pulled it out and the guy shot it straight off the udder into the cup, It was really warm and bubbly...and disgusting. I don't think I will every drink a glass of milk again! EVER! Only in my cereal, that's all.

All of our investigators are doing fine and are ready for their baptisms this week! It'll be fun.

"Day of the Witch" October 29, 2012

Sadly, as I found out last year, Honduras doesn't celebrate Halloween or "Day of the Witch" as they call it here. We talked to a leader in the church about a Trunk or Treat activity or doing a festival at the church this day but he said that here everyone takes this day seriously like a bunch of witches and magic goes on this day and everyone is scared. My companion, Elder Barrera, told me that they celebrate Halloween in El Salvador and do a festival in his ward. I guess it's just the cultural difference. But not that it matters, we have to go to Tegus tomorrow for our ZL Consejo on Wednesday. So we have a chunk of our week taken from us.

We are still teaching the family of Azucena. They are all learning, especially the little ones. They love to sing himnos and tell us about what they learned in primary. We passed by this week looking for her but she wasn't home! Every day that we passed by, only her kids were home. They told us that she was busy running around to different pueblos doing errands. We were a little worried that she was just hiding from us but we were able to find her on Saturday. She told us to excuse her because she had been gone the whole week and she told us (we didn't ask) that she didn't want us to feel like she was running away or that she didn't want the lessons. She is still 100% sure about getting baptized.

We also passed by all this week to visit other investigators that we are working with. We always teach them and the girls. After the lessons all of the kids always ask us to play marbles. It's been a loooonnngg time since I have played marbles, ever since I was little. It was a lot of fun, they taught me how they play and I was getting into it. Just in case you were wondering, yes I did beat a bunch of little kids....but barely. Sadly on Saturday, the mom told us that they were going to be baptized that that she didn't want it because she knows a bunch of inactive members that were only baptized and then stopped going. She told us that she didn't want to be one of them. We tried to tell her that its nothing to do with the church but it was the fault of them that fell. Once again, we looked to the Gospel of Jesus Christ which one of his teaching was Endure to the End. We always will be falling a little off the path put that's why it is so important to endure and go to church and to be able to be digno to partake of the sacrament every Sunday. But she didn't change her mind. Its so sad, they are such a great family. We will always pass by to help them.

We also stopped going to our cook lady about 3 weeks ago. The food was getting too bad and it was still making us all sick (us and the Hermanas here). So the package helped me out a ton! Thank you so much Mom!

Oh just so you all know.... I completed 6 months of being in this area. I have never been in an area for so much time!

Friday, October 26, 2012

"WET!!!" October 22, 2012

If I had to describe how this week went in one word... I think I would say WET!! The whole week was just pure rain. It would be hot and sunny in the afternoon and by the time its 3 oclock you can see the clouds rolling in from both sides. Just two huge grey walls of rain coming in. It was a good week though.

Last Sunday we had investigators show up to church all by themselves. We didn't know who they were so we went over afterwards and started talking to her. She told us that her name was Azucena, It turns out that she was a reference given to us by an inactive member! We received the reference Saturday afternoon and we never had the chance to go over to meet her. We put an cita with her so that we could pass by and talk to all of them. So we went over Tuesday morning and we started talking to her and her family, getting to know them and then the topic came up on why they all came to church on Sunday. The mom said that they had been to different churches and that she had stopped going to them a little while ago because she didn't feel the need to go since they were teaching the same thing over and over. She said that she then got to talking to her friend about our church and how the member was thankful for all of the standards and morals that they teach the youth. So that's what sparked her attention and desire. She also said that about 10 years ago, she saw the missionaries walking in the street inviting people to church. She said that they never passed by her house, but she could feel the need to go to "their" church and that something was different. We challenged the whole family and they are now working for their baptismal date for the 10th of November.

We were walking in the street later that day and after walking for about 3 min we realized that there was no one in the streets. We looked at each other and knew that there was a National Soccer game going on. You could hear it echoing in the street and people in their houses yelling "GOL!!!" We passed by a house and saw that Honduras was playing to qualify in the World Cup against Canada. I thought they were losing but later when the game ended everyone came out again and they were saying Honduras won 8-1. It was easier to teach people because they were all happy hahaha!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Buenas tardes Señor" October 15, 2012

 This week was a nice normal week. We had Interviews to start it out. While we were walking to Ojo de Agua for the Interviews and it started pouring on us. By the time we made it to the church, we were soaked from head to toe. When I went to shake Presidents hand he came out and jumped a little, surprised how wet we were. He shook my hand and joking asked me why we didn't invite him to the pool party. I tried to give him a bid hug, but he didn't accept it.

Later this week we went and visited our converts the Familia Amaya. we taught them the lesson and to finish we asked Perlita to say the closing prayer. She is the youngest of the family and was a little timid about offering it, but she did it. When she began to offer it, she said something that I thought was very interesting and it surprised me. She started out saying, "Buenas tardes Señor..." and for awhile it sounded like she was just talking with God. I enjoyed hearing this prayer from this 8 year old because it helped me remember that prayers aren't just something that we say to do because its necessary. Sometimes we find ourselves falling into the same routine when we pray and maybe saying and asking for the same things every time. Also, it drew to my attention that when we pray, its not just something to do to bless the food, or to start church. Its in this time that we talk to God and ask for the things that we may need in that time and to openly, well, just talk.

I received a phone call this morning from the Elders in Nacaome. They informed me that one of my converts had died this past weekend and that she was going to be buried today. She was sitting on the back of a truck to go home and I don't know how, but she just fell off the back and she hit the road and died instantly. Its really sad, she was the mom that we baptized of a family of 12. Out of her 10 kids 4 are baptized. She was always so excited for our visits when I was there and she would make sure that we were coming when we said we would. I just cant believe it. So sad.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"It was only a matter of time.." October 8, 2012

This week was perhaps the busiest week in my Mission. On Monday we continued our celebratory PDay in Tegus celebrating all of the work we achieved as a zone. We went and bowled as a zone. I just have to say I am getting really really bad. I don't think I made it over 100...yeah I know. But if I could defend myself, It was the ball's fault. I mean come on, we are in Honduras its not the best place to go bowling.

I was a little excited this week to receive transfer calls. I received them for everyone in the zone first and then asked my ex comp, AP Furniss for ours. Sadly I will be spending my 4th transfer here in La Vill. Well its not really sad, Its just that it is a long time to be in an area. I will be here for 6 months by the time next Transfers come. Elder Barrera and I will be doing some more of the Lord's work here together, we'll make it fun.

We basically spent the rest of the week in Tegucigalpa going to the ZL Consejo and then we came back to see General Conference on Saturday and Sunday. I knew exactly what President Monson was going to say before he made the announcement. I could feel it! As soon as he brought up the fact that some Latin American Countries permit youth to leave when they are 18 to serve a mission I wasn't surprised. It was only a matter of time. But what did surprise me was the fact that the women can now go when they are 19!! That caught us all way off guard. That is so awesome that everyone can go when they are younger. I know for a fact that alot more girls will be leaving on missions for that. Its also good that they lowered it for the men so that they don't just sit around and wait until they are 19, now they can go right out of High School. Apart from the announcement, Conference was great.

Well this week we are looking forward to working in our area finally to look for more families that need the restored gospel of Christ!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Real Emotions" October 2, 2012

Guilberto & Ana Julia Family
Rafael & Adela Family
This week was a great week, really busy, but great. We were busy trying to make sure that everything was ready and organized for the Baptismal Service on Saturday. We went and visited them every day of the week so that they could all be good and ready. We went to go teach one of the families that was going to be baptized on Saturday (Guilberto & Ana Julia). The lesson went well I guess, Guilberto is an 82 year old man and every time we come in and sit down with him he begins to tell us how his life is and how is little corn field is doing. He usually goes on and talks to us for awhile before we can ever get the chance to cut in and talk to him about his wedding and baptism. Yes, I said wedding. Guilberto got married to his wife last week also. He is 82 and she is 42... its quit a difference but they both wanted to marry each other and they were sure of it. But while Guilberto was talking to us we noticed that his sister was sitting in the room also making something in a bucket. We went over to look in the bucket and it just looked like it was full clumpy liquidy stuff. When we asked her what she was making she told us that she was making cuajara (a type of cheese here). Barrera and I instantly looked at each other and got a little queasy because we had been offered it before and eaten a little chunk a couple days earlier. She was just mashing it and dumping all of the liquid into another bucket until it was all out. It was pretty gross, I don't think I will ever eat white cheese again.

We went to teach some more of our investigators early in the week and they were really good. They look happy together and are coming to church. The wife is really, really big and the husband is kind of a strange guy, but they make it work. We passed by and talked to them about everything and about the importance of marriage. They both decided that they would like to get married. We asked the husband to offer the closing prayer, but he kept on refusing because he said that he didn't know how. So we quickly taught him and told him to pray with sincerity and to say what you would like to ask God for. So he began to offer it. In the middle of his prayer he began to say, "bless me with patience because well father, my wife... she's ugly but you know that" In that moment Elder Barrera and I almost started busted up laughing but we tried our best to hold our composer. Right after he said, "I know we were meant to be together to raise this family" and I realized that he was serious about everything and that he wanted to be with her and the children.

We also went and taught our other family that were going to get baptized on Saturday and they were all really excited and ready (Rafael and Adela). We had a mini testimony meeting with them on Thursday with the District President. They all bore their amazing testimonies about how they all received answers to their prayers and how grateful they are of us that we could be able to find them in their time of spiritual need. This is the family that the mom had asked in her prayers the night before we met them, if God could send them someone that can teach them more about his gospel and the life of His son. They really are an amazing family, I will be looking forward to one year from now when they are able to enter the Temple and are sealed as a family. I would come down and visit them if I could, that would be awesome. Adela bore her testimony on when she received her answer. In her story, she said that she had began to pray one night because she believed the church was true, but people were beginning to make fun of her for going to the "Mormon Church". She said she began to pray and said in her prayer that "I want this to be true, Father I want you to tell me if this is the path to go" and she said that in that instant, she felt a warm sensation come over her and that the words were caught in her throat and she said that she couldn't describe the feelings that she felt, she only knew that this church was true. As she was telling us about her experience, she began to cry and so did the rest of her family. It was such an amazing feeling that night, just having the Spirit there with us on their porch and feeling it so strong.

The day finally came for their baptism. They all showed up and the air was full of an electric feeling in the air and they were all baptized that day.

On Sunday, we were invited as a zone to go over to the Mission Home for a nice dinner with Presidente Hernández and his wife. The zone Monjaras also went to the Mission Home with us to eat. After dinner Presidente prepared a surprise for us and had hired a mini bus for all of us to go to the temple that night to see it with the lights on it. I went to go get in the bus but President called me back and said, "Sorry Elder Harding, but we need someone a little bit smaller that you" So basically he was saying that there was only room left for about 4 more latins. So me, 4 elders and 4 hermanas were left behind from the mini bus, but then President brought his SUV around front and we all tried to pile in there. When he asked, "Is there anyone else?" I was still the odd one out. He looked over and said, "Ahhh El gran Nefita" (Nephite) and he asked how is it that there is never room for me. He ran inside and asked a family that was visiting with him if there was room in their car for me. The man said there was so I went with him and his family. On the drive over, I got to talking with the member and his family. He said that they were the family of Hermana Ortiz, who came on the same day as me to Honduras, and that they drove all the way from Managua, Nicaragua to visit President Hernandez. I thought it was a little strange that the whole family would come down to see their daughter. We talked the whole drive and Brother Ortiz and I hit it off really well and we were joking the whole 20 mins. When he spoke, there were some words that I didn't understand like "Que Salvaje!" or "Que twenties". I asked him what that meant and he said, "Now Elder, don't tell me that you don't know the slang words from Nicaragua!" I told him that I never had a companion from there and he laughed. When we got the the temple I pulled him aside and asked him if everything was okay and if there was anything wrong, and why they had drove 8 hours to come see his daughter with his family. What he then told me totally caught me off guard. He told me, "Elder, look over there. You see my daughter over there holding her baby? She isn't a member. Do you know why? Because she was stolen from us when she was first born in the hospital. We just found her 2 weeks ago and she is finally reunited with us after 21 years. She is the twin sister of the Hermana Ortiz you know." I was so surprised that after 21 years they had just found their daughter. So they all came down as a family so that Hermana Ortiz could meet the twin sister that she never got to know. We then took lots of pictures in front of the temple lit up. It looks way better at night than in the day.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

"What does SOFAMERICAN mean?" September 24, 2012

What does SOFAMERICA mean? It means that I have 10 months left (dollar bill count down)!! The time has gone by so fast, I can't believe that I have been in Honduras for over a year now. I have been reading my journal entry's that I wrote last year when I was in Sagastume and I can't believe that it has been a year since I was there. I love the mission so much, Its a ton of fun. We get to go out to search and talk to everyone about the gospel and help those that need. If we're on a bus or in a taxi we just start up a conversation about religion and we share our testimonies about the things that they need to hear. The main point that we always make is that Families can be together forever. Everyone has an interest in learning how this is possible and what they need to do to achieve this goal. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is more than just a "belief" as many people here say. We find people that believe that we just need to have Faith and we will be saved. Its true that Christ died for us to save us, but just to have faith in him will not save you. To progress in this world, our faith must have actions! There are inactives that we find that say, "Oh yeah I was baptized in your church so I'm ok" and just like that they think that they are "okay" with only baptism and faith. In the Gospel of Jesus Christ there are 5 necessary steps we need to LIVE. We first need to have FAITH in the Lord Jesus Christ. Second, we have to REPENT for our sins. Third, we have to be BAPTIZED by someone that has the authority to do so. Fourth, receive the HOLY GHOST or be confirmed (Acts 19:1-6). And the MOST IMPORTANT and maybe the MOST DIFFICULT to keep and follow is to ENDURE TO THE END. Enduring to the end includes going to church and being active, reading the scriptures and just living worthily to receive the blessings that Heavenly father has in store for us. We must always live the Gospel and follow the Commandments that God has given us if we wish to progress to reach salvation.

This week went by fast. We spent some time getting the wedding settled down for this weekend. We are planning to have the 2 families baptisms on Saturday. They are both really excited and love to tell others about it. The wife of one of the families is really awesome. She told us that the owner came over one day and started talking bad about us and saying things. The mom then started to bear her testimony about the church and how she knows this is all true. She also explained alot of misconceptions that the owner had and then invited her to church so that she could know the truth also. We are so excited for them as a family, they really are very intelligent and always look forward to our visits. They also want us to visit their older kids who have moved out and have their own families. We'll see how that goes!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

"In case you were wondering..." September 18, 2012

Wow, well this week went by really fast. This past week we have been working hard on making sure that all of the investigators are good and ready for their baptisms. Little Normita was baptized on Saturday. She is awesome! Her family are all members but she was never baptized. She has opened up alot since our first visit, now she is always ready and prepared to learn when we come. She said that she wants to be a missionary, but right now! So we gave her little pass along cards and she gives them out to all of her friends and the neighbors that she has. She says that she invites them all to church and wants them to learn like she is. She was really excited but nervous at the same time for her baptism. She said that people told her that when we baptize people, we just push them into a huge pool and they drown... Satan works in mischievous ways. We showed her the baptismal font and she was excited.
One of the families that we are teaching is progressing really fast. We left them all Libros de Mormon and left them 3 Nefi 11 to read. When we came back a day later, they had all read it and prayed about it. They said that it was "beautiful" and that they knew that it was true. The dad is really interested in reading about the Libro de Mormon and the fact that it took place in the Americas. He said he had read a little bit of everything. He flipped to Alma and read a chapter and then went to the beginning in 1 Nefi and read until chapter 4 and started asking about Laban and the Bronce plates and what was on them. They have a fecha for the 29th and are looking positive for this date.
We walked into our appointment that we had with the other family we are teaching and their little girl was playing with a giant one armed doll and was "feeding" it and taking care of it. I just thought it was funny because it had gotten wet from being left out in the rain and her mom was trying to take the sopping wet thing away but couldn't talk her daughter into giving it up until her doll was "asleep".
Oh just a fun fact in case anyone was wondering... the milk from a donkey is suuuppper salty and tastes disgusting to drink but really good in candys. The milk from goats is really sweet and is the second choice here apart from cows.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"Straight off the Udder" September 10, 2012

This week was a good week for teaching. We taught the references that our
District President gave us. They are all doing well and progressing, they
came to church and we ended up having 13 investigators in church! It
was great to see everyone in church. One of the families that we are
visiting works with cows and milks them to give to the factory. We
were talking to one of them and jokingly, my companion said, "Ah man
the milk is best right off the udder right?" and the kid said," Yep!".
We just stopped and looked at each other and smiled because they didn't
take it as a joke. We also found out that if we really wanted to, we
could get 6 liters of free milk off the udder... but we found it best
to just buy the processed "milk in a bag" that we find in the
Pulperias. Some day before I leave I'll have to try it out, maybe even
this week.

We are working in total for the end of this month with 3 families and
about 13 people that all have a baptismal date for the 29th. I can't
believe how ready all of these people are, it was only a matter of
time before the Lord brought us to them.

Well, I don't want to write too much, the power is out right now and
the laptop I'm on doesn't have the best Internet. Plus there is a huge
storm coming, its only a matter of time before everything goes out!

Friday, September 7, 2012

"Coincidence? I think not!" September 3, 2012

This week went by really fast. On Tuesday the AP's planned with us to do divisions. It's a new program that President wants to start, so we went and did the companion trade off and came back to La Villa. I found out on the bus that this was Elder Moore's first time outside of the city on his mission. He has 15 months and has never even traveled outside of Tegucigalpa. Lets just say he was a little excited. We were on the bus and he was just looking out the window amazed at all of the fields and the Valley. We went and got him his first stick of sugar cane later that night. Our recent convert, Zoila, went and cut it down in her backyard and gave it to us.

We had ZL Council the next day, basically took up our whole day. Actually it did take the whole day, we had to stay in Tegucigalpa for the night with the office elders.

We finally made it back to La Villa on Thursday and we went to teach the girl that was going to be getting baptized. She is doing a lot better a understanding everything and prays. She was baptized last Saturday. She and her mom were really proud and happy that she chose to be baptized. Its been hard on the mom, she just moved here about a year ago after her husband passed. The family is doing strong now that they are going back to church.

We had a really cool experience yesterday. We had received 2 new family references this week from the District President. So we went out yesterday afternoon to contact and teach them. We went on a drive up in the hills to get to their house. Where they live is really flat and green and has a bunch of cows. When we showed up, they were really friendly and open to us. We talked for a bit and then the wife said, "So tell me about the church, whats the schedule? So when I go next week I wont be lost" we started talking about the church and explained the importance of family and the message that we bring. Just from listening to them talk before the lesson we could tell that family was important to them. They told us that as a family they say their prayers together in the morning and before they go to bed. At the end of the lesson you could feel the difference in the setting. The wife then told us that it was a huge coincidence that we showed up today because just the night before, the husband had said in his prayer "please send someone to our house to teach us more about the things of God and the plan he has for us." Coincidence? I think not. It was awesome me, the district president and my companion all looked at each other and all gave each other "the look" and knew that this family was ready and prepared to hear what we had to say.

Friday, August 31, 2012

"Run for a roof" August 27, 2012


This week went by really fast. We had Transfers on Wednesday and we receive the calls the night before. So, we were sitting there waiting for the calls, when President Hernández started calling us (usually the AP's who call us for changes). Elder Furniss answered and when he got off the phone he looked at me and he had turned pale. I was laying in my hammock and I asked him what happened. All he said was, "You wouldn't believe me if I told you, I'm the new AP!" He was freaking out and pacing the room all night receiving calls of congratulations for him. He was so nervous to be the new assistant to President. So he was up all night packing and we didn't get to bed until 12. I had to wake up the next day at 3:40 so that I could take a shower before jumping on the bus. We had to be at the Mission home at 8am. We made it at 7:30 and we were able to meet the new missionaries that we received, there were quite a few. There is even an Elder from Brazil that had to go to the MTC to learn Spanish since his first language is Portuguese. He is now tri-lingual and knows English as well, it was interesting talking to him.

I received Elder Barrera from El Salvador. Hes a small 5'6 guy and he's funny. We joke alot but we have had the most success in these past 4 days than I have the past week and a half contacting! Its a complicated story, but I'll try to explain it. We had received complaints from some members asking why we haven't visited this teenager who has been to church for 6 weeks. We started to ask the leaders in our Branch leadership meeting if they knew who the girl was. There were a few that did. I then asked them why they never told us about this girl that has been visiting for 6 weeks. They all had tried to blame it on us for not asking them who it was. In our defense, we had asked 5 of the leaders who this girl was and they all told us that she was a member. Anyway, we finally found where she lives and her mom is a long lost inactive member. Now, this girls cousin, brother and aunt are going to be baptized this month! All because this girl had found the church through her little friends, the rest of her family are now coming to church.

Yesterday, we had a tropical storm hit us. We were walking and it started to pour, and I mean pour! We had gotten soaked while walking down the street to go to our appointment we had. It was a lot of fun because we had gotten so wet that we didn't care anymore. We were laughing and walking down the street while everyone else was huddled under roofs or in their houses looking at us like we were crazy (we partly were). When it starts to rain here everyone starts to run for a roof. Its like they are afraid that they will melt if the water touches them! When we showed up to our appointment, they started laughing because we were so wet. We took off our shoes and dumped about a gallon of water out of them and went inside to teach.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Mamí look! The Mormons!" August 20, 2012

Elder Furniss and I walking down the path to "El Bufalo"

The official welcome to "El Bufalo" sign. I had to throw up the double V's to represent "Valle Verde" Zone

This week was a hard week trying to look and find new investigators. This week we had Zone Conference on Tuesday, which took up our whole day in traveling and the conference took up the whole afternoon. We didn't have much time to work that day. The rest of the week, we spent contacting and teaching members. My favorite thing to do is to set appointments with members and teach them about the Missionary Work. There is one family in particular that I like to visit. Its a family of 5 (like ours) and the oldest son is serving in El Salvador. He is the first missionary in his family and his mom is so proud to have her son go on a mission. Listening to her makes me think about how much my family loves and talks about me and the example I am for all of them. I always teach the members and share my favorite scripture Alma 13:24 and talk to them about their friends and neighbors who they have talked about church with. I am proud to say that it worked! We received a contact of a new young couple who would like to listen to us and go to church. We went and visited with them with the member and they were really positive. They accepted our invitation to pray and to ask God if these things are true. We have a return appointment this week, I hope everything goes well.

This week, we also went out to a small pueblo called El Bufalo. Just the name itself called me out for a challenge! My companion Elder Furniss always talked about how far away it was and how small it was. He told me that only 50 people lived there. So he took me out there and we also brought a Libro de Mormon with us to try and plant out there as an extra challenge. We walked 35 min all the way down there and my comp was wrong...there were 20 people that lived there. It was a really interesting place. It had one street and everyone lived on this road. As soon as we stepped foot on the road, a little boy yelled out, "Mamí look! Look at the Mormon's!" and then everyone turned and looked at us. It was really erie... the only thing I could think of to say was,"Where?!" and start looking around and behind me. The lady started to laugh, I'm just glad that I could break the ice. We talked to her for a bit and it turned out that her family are members and one is a return missionary! We talked to them about the church and we gave them a Book of Mormon and they said that they would read it. I hope that little seed can grow as we let it plant its self and take root (Alma 32)

An interesting thing happened to us as we were contacting. We went up to the fence and we were talking to the people and we looked down and said, "hmm, that's weird whys the ground moving... ahhh ants!!" and we starting running around and dancing. There were huge, and I mean HUGE black ants all over the place and they bit harder than any bug has bitten me! I still have the marks on my leg. They were ridiculously big. It hurt the rest of the day but after a couple of days it left.

"Prayer is something simple" August 13, 2012

This week seems like it went on forever! Being sick just made the days drag on and seem like forever, but a simple prayer and a change of attitude can change everything. It turns out that I wasn't the only one in the Zone that was sick, there was another Elder that had the same thing I had, but worse. We are both doing fine and are ready to take the week on head first. On Thursday I went on divisions to get to know a new area called Zamorano. It was fun, but there were a ton of hills! We went everywhere and I was able to meet their investigators and see how they are doing as an area. We visited a recent convert and she told me her story and how the Elders would always pass by her store and wave "buenos dias" and keep going on their way. She said that one day they stopped and asked her if they could share a message with her. When they offered to say the prayer, she said that she would do it, so she stood up and began to scream and yell the prayer at the top of her lungs. She told me she didn't realize that the Elders were squirming from the volume of her voice. The Elders then taught her the importance of prayer and how to pray. The thing is, here in Honduras many people always say that they pray everyday. But the thing is, people don't know how to REALLY pray. When we talk to our mothers we don't yell out, "Hey mom!! Wheres my food?" Or, when we are standing in front of our family and friends we don't scream and yell out so they can hear us. The same principle applies to the way we pray, it is the only "manera" (i don't know how to explain it in English) La oracion es la unica manera como podemos comunicarnos con Dios. Most of the time we feel like we are praying and just talking to our Heavenly Father who is up in heaven. But the truth is, heaven is closer than we think. We don't need to yell so that God can hear us. Prayer is something simple. When I say my prayers in the morning and night, I like to imagine that Heavenly Father is in the same room standing next to me. It makes the prayer more personal, I think. The convert said that when the Missionaries taught her about Prayer, she knew that something was different about the church, but it was something good.

While on Divisions, we finished the night by visiting the branch president of Zamorano and his family. When we came up, they were seated outside with two other women. We got to talking and I introduced myself and we found out that the two other women were cousins of the Branch President. So we talked to them and one of them left. So we were sitting there and the daughter of president looks in my lap and sees the Book of Mormon that I was carrying and said," Oh man, you weren't able to give your Book of Mormon today. Well, today is your lucky day, here, give it to my cousin!" I looked at the other Elder to see if he had talked to her cousin before. He gave me the sign, so I gave her the Book of Mormon and we explained it to her and told her what it was. We asked her if she had heard anything about it before and she told us,"No, I haven't heard anything about this book but that it's true. They always tell me that this book is true, but I never understood why. I've wanted one, but I've never have the guts to ask for one." We were all amazed when she had said that. We read Moroni 10:3-5 and also a section in D&C explaining that when you know these things are true, you shall feel a burning in your bosom (something along those lines) and she was excited to read and accept another visit from the missionaries. It was amazing how strong the spirit was while we were seated there outside on the porch, testifying the whole time that these things are true.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"Shall we not go one in so great a cause" August 7, 2012

Well, I was right about one thing in my letter last week. We didn't get a lot of time to work in our area. We had to go down to Tegucigalpa for 2 days because President wanted the Zone Leaders there early for "ZL Consejo". So we went up on Tuesday afternoon and made it to the office around 5 o'clock. When we arrived, my hometown pal, AP Elder Casey grabbed me and we went to do divisions in his area to an appointment he had at 6. It was really fun spending the night doing divisions with him and contacting in taxi's together. We were walking down a road and it hit us that we were both in the middle of crowded Tegucigalpa with each other. Just the fact that I went to his Mission Farewell and us knowing each other before the mission blew our minds! We spent the night at his house too, it was a fun night.

Later in the week, we had set an appointment with our investigators to have a movie night. We watched the Joseph Smith movie. It went really well, two of the girls were tearing up. I just love watching that movie with investigators because alot of the times, even after we explain it, they don't understand who Joseph Smith really was. That he really was a prophet of God chosen to restore the Church of Jesus Christ upon the Earth. We had watched the movie with our investigators and their family members who were members of the church and afterwards, the members began to bear their testimonies on how they knew this was the true church of God and how Jesus Christ leads and directs the church hoy en dia.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"Married, Baptized, & Confirmed" July 30, 2012

It definitely feels like a load has been taken off my shoulders after all of the marriage papers, wedding plans and baptism service we had this week. We had gone to Tegucigalpa last week to take out the "edictos" for the wedding. I guess they are optional if you want the whole wedding plan to go faster. We then found out that we have to wait until the next day to come back and pick them up. This was going to be a nightmare for us, because this only meant one thing...we had to have the office elders come pick it up. We were worried about this because the Office Elders were always running around or always busy and forget to do things that we ask of them. Luckily, they were able to get the papers to us.

On Thursday I went on divisions to Yuscaran again. It was funny to go up there again because all of the members know me and always ask the Elders, "When is Elder Jardín coming back?" Yeah so I went up there and did their baptismal interviews and helped them out with their investigators. There was something different about being on divisions. I soon found out what that was when I came back to my area. The weight all dropped back on me to get the wedding and baptism ready. There is nothing like the stress you get praying that your investigators will be ready Sunday morning to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost and then we would pass by in the morning to bring them to church, but they would be sick or sleeping. But this family was on the ball! They were all up, ready, showered and excited for church. It's families and times like this when you know the work we are doing is right.

Yep, so everything went well this week. The family was married, baptized and confirmed. The only sad part was that the 2 girls felt like they were not ready yet, so we have to work with them so that they feel prepared and excited for their baptisms too.

Monday, July 30, 2012

"Promptings" July 23, 2012

Jack Harding

I don't even know what to write. With the accident of Jack the only think I can think of is that the Lord is watching over our family. I am here in Office Depot in Tegucigalpa with tears coming down and my comp asking whats wrong. Its strange how our testimonies grow in so many different ways and how the spirit can guide us to actions. Thursday night, when I was saying my personal prayer, I had the desire to pray and ask for protection over Jack, Conner and Riley. I knew that they could be reckless and I felt a weird tension or fear that something would happen to Jack. I even had a dream that he had fallen off a mountain that night. In the morning, out of fear for his safety and of the family, I knelt down and prayed again. Friday night, we were at a Funeral Service for a member that had lost their grandfather. In the middle of the social and food part, I had the prompting to pray for the family, in general, that were at the ranch. I was wondering that night, why? Why was that prompting so faint, but yet it struck me to the soul that I should pray in that instant. I now know why. I am tearing up here and "crying" because I am recognizing to blessings that my Heavenly Father has for us/me. It was a miracle that it wasn't worse than it was, especially with the recent concussion he had. Its strange that my spiritual thought at our Zone baptism was about "The Gift of the Holy Ghost & Recognizing the Promptings of this gift". Live what you teach.
My mind is clouded right now thinking about Jack, but here are a couple notes I took through out the week to write to you.
This week was another long week. We have been working on and planning the wedding and baptism of our investigators for this Saturday. We are going to have a family of 6 that is going to be baptized!! Another family that is changing and coming unto the Lord! They are all really excited and ready. One of them will be a great leader in the church, I know it. His name is Wilmer and is 22 years old and I can just tell from the way he pays attention, reads and answers everything that he will be great.
On Thursday, we were waiting after our District Meeting in Zamorano for a bus to pass by to our area. While we where waiting, there was a family of "gringos" that were in the gas station waving to us. We started to wave back. When they started to leave, they drove by in front of us really slow and yelled out,"We Love You Elders!". There were about 3 girls and 1 boy in the back yelling it to us with the parents in front waving. It was so great to hear. It helped all of us get excited even more to get back to the Lord's Work.

"ONE MORE YEAR!!!" July 7, 2012

Man, this week has gone by super slow!! On the most part, it was because it was the week of Cambios. On Tuesday afternoon we received a phone call from the AP's and they told us that we were going to be receiving 2 Hermanas into the area. We were then assigned to go out and find them a house between the citas (appointments). We ended up spending over 6 hours that day walking and making phone calls just to find the Hermanas a house. We told Presidente Hernàndez that we couldn't find one and he said to keep up the faith and look more. Well we picked up the Hermanas the next day and we received Hna Fronk from California and Hna Moore from Nicaragua. I found out on Wednesday also that Hna Fronk is the cousin to one of my BYU-I friends, Elyse! It was surprising to talk about all of the people we each knew from BYU-I. So now we have to share the area with the Hermanas... again.

We are now making wedding plans for next week! We are going to marry an older couple and baptize all of their family on the 28th de Julio! They are a family of 6. It'll be an amazing day for all of us.

The temple dedication of the Temple here will be in December. The sure date is still a little sketchy, but all of the members are excited for it. Our converts are asking us more and more about the temple. We were able to explain to them what it is and how it is not the same as a church building. Some of them even signed up and are practicing a dance they are going to do on the dedication day. We got a sneak peek of it at one of their dance practices, it should be cool.

Its not a big deal or anything but in case you were wondering....I COMPLETE A YEAR ON FRIDAY!!! I'm not exactly sure what the plans are for celebrating, but I've got to keep up the missionary tradition of burning an article of clothing. Next up to bat is a shirt, so I've got to decide which one is the gnarliest and get it some peace and rest. Maybe we'll be dining on my favorite Catracho (hondureño) food; BALEADAS! rica rica.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"Hey Gringo, ¿quiere café?" July 9, 2012

First off, I would like to explain why I couldn't write last week. We had just logged on to use Internet, when a giant rainstorm came in from out of nowhere! We were sitting there and you can hear the faint "ping" of rain on the aluminum roofs and then it rolled all the way over to us. Here in La Villa de San Francisco, whenever there is a lot of wind or when it rains, the power goes out. So I hurried and emailed a quick explanation to mom before the power went out. We were basically stuck in this room waiting for the power/rain to stop. 30 min passed and we got tired of waiting, so we called a MotoTaxi to come and pick us up and we went over to a member's house and learned how to make Baleadas (my favorite food here) and flour tortillas. It turned out to be a fun night.

Well, these past few weeks have been really busy. This week we didn't really have any cool adventures. We have finally had a little bit of time to go and work in our Area for once! We received another great reference from a sister in the branch. She said that her sister wants to be baptized. We were excited, but a little worried at first because we went to the home and the husband would go run off and hide in their backyard of sugar cane. But the rest of the family slowly started to stop being shy and listened to us and realized we are fun normal people. I'm pretty sure that one of her kids has yelled at us, "Hey gringo, ¿quiere café?" before. They as a family are looking positive and are going to be married so the parents can be baptized with everyone. I just hope the marriage papers go through in time. One thing is for sure, the people in the National Registro know me way too well from all of these marriages.
We had to go to Consejo de Líderes de Zona (zone leader counsel) with Presidente Hernández. It was good, he helped everyone out alot with the different problems in the zones. The best part of the meeting that everyone looks forward to is the food. We always get fed a ton by Presidente y Hermana Hernández at ZL Consejo.

On a side note, I just have to say that the 4th of July is not celebrated here...

Monday, June 25, 2012

"It was the most random thing" June 25, 2012

This week was a busy week. Monday night I ended up getting caught in one of the birthday traps here. They had a pitcher of agua and threw it on me and had a handful of flour and got it on top of my head. They did a good job, they were outside and they screamed and said, "Snake!" so we ran out the door and they sprung it. Its okay though, they made us pizza and we watched a church movie called the Testiments as a Family Home Evening for them.

After a good time of celebrating Monday, we quickly got to work the next day. Wednesday, I went to Yuscaran to help them out with the investigators that were falling. I spent the day with Elder Miller. He's a funny guy, we laughed the whole time. While we were walking, we saw this huge 5 foot long snake slithering across the road and a car sped around the corner and squashed it! It was funny because it was coming right toward us and Elder Miller was freaking out, but then he busted out laughing. We were standing there talking to the other people that saw it and some lady grabbed a chicken and swung it around by its neck and killed it. It was the most random thing. I'm guessing they had a nice KFC dinner planned. So I spent the day in the mountain village of Yuscaran and did a lot of hiking. Elder Miller said when he described his new area to his family, he could only say, "Watch the movie Emperor's New Groove and you will understand where we are."

Then Saturday we had a baptism for 6 investigators we had found on my 1st week here in La Villa. The branch president told me that this was a new record for the branch in La Villa de San Francisco, 6 baptisms at once. We had quite a turnout at the service. The only problem that we had that I wish I could change was the water. It had been raining so this affects the water system here and the water gets all nasty brown/red muddy looking. They didnt care though, they were all just so happy to be baptized with their family. It was a great day.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

"Completing Years" June 18, 2012

This week went by really fast, mostly because we had a lot of meetings and things to do. This week, we had planned an Ataque de Zona (Zone Attack) on Yuscaran (one of the areas in the Zone). Two weeks ago, they didn't have anybody in church; no members, no investigators. So we planned this activity through out the District to get the other Branches and the other missionaries to go over on Saturday and visit and activate all of the members there in Yuscaran. President Hernández ended up coming down too. So Saturday we gathered up and President picked us up and took us over to Yuscaran. We had very little support from the other branches but we had our groups ready and we all went out to our assigned areas and worked up there. All of the visits we did really helped because they ended up having 22 people in church on Sunday.

On Sunday after church, we came in and I sat down at my desk. I went over to open the window and I saw this huge centipede crawling in through a crack underneath it. I whipped out my knife and I flung it into the middle of the room. That sucker was fast for being so long! I trapped it in a container and it was ugly looking. While I was looking at it, I realize that it was the same species that my uncle Shane had given to me when I was little (trapped in the amber). This thing had huge pincher jaws and was vicious! We decided to keep it in a jar and feed it the termites that fly in the room when it rains.

Well today is also my 20th Birthday (I'm sure you guys haven't forgotten) but it feels strange to think that Sunday was my last day as a teenager. Here in Honduras, they have a tradition for people's birthdays. All of your friends go out and buy the same amount of eggs as your age and try and smash them on your head during the day. So in church they announced that I was completing years on Monday (I guess they didn't have anything better to announce?) and so during the whole day, the youth planned on ways to get me. Many of them asked their Moms is they can have us over for dinner today and started asking where we live. So we now have a ton of citas (appointments) to eat today. I thought it was funny because we're actually really good friends with the priests quorum here and we play fútbol on Mondays and they were trying to be all secret about it. Lets just say if egg dodging was a sport, I'd be pro.

There is a little girl named Meilleli (pronounced: my-elly) who is a member here. I am absolutely shocked at how active this 8 year old girl is in church. Her mom is a member also, but she's nothing like her daughter. Meilleli is always the first one to church on and even better, she brings all of her older friends with her to church. I cannot describe her, she is just so full of the spirit and is sharing her testimony with people on her doorstep as she read El Libro de Mormón. She is always asking us for "homework" so she can read more every week. Her mom says that apart from her friends, she spends more time reading the Book of Mormon than she does on her studying. We taught her the importance of studying and getting an education and she was a little sad that she couldn't spend as much time as she wanted in reading. She is a huge example to everyone, even me. She is so bright eyed and ready to go to church and bring everyone with her. Her older sisters can't grasp the simplest concept we teach, but Meilleli picks right up on it and can answer any question first. I think us as members can learn things from children. The simplest things we can do, are the most important. For example, talking to our friends about the church, baring testimony to random strangers we meet, and having the guts to invite people to church with us to experience and feel the spirit in every meeting on Sundays. Every member a Missionary! Get to work! I forgot to write down all of my missionary work scriptures to share... next time.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"The flesh is weak" June 11, 2012


Wow what a week! This week was filled with a bunch of boring ZL things
to do. We first had to clean up an old house here of some Elders that
were taken out. So we spent half a day doing that. We then set things
aside like the beds, closet, refrigerator and books that we wanted to
keep so we could come back with a truck and pick them up and take them
back to our house. We told the owner of the room that we were going to
go look for a pickup truck so please don't throw this stuff away! Well, we came
back 3 days later and we walked in with the keys and opened the door
and it looked like someone else was living there. We were stressing out
a little on where all of the mission property was. So we ran over and
asked the owner where the stuff was. She ended up having them saved.
We picked up some of the stuff and we noticed we were missing 2 beds,
the closet and a table. We went back to her house and found them all
hidden. She had taken the table and was using it in her backyard, the
closet was covered (hidden) by a blanket full of her clothes and the
beds were in the house in her kid's rooms. She told us that we didn't
have anything left and tried to sneak all of this stuff of ours! She
was claiming it was her stuff. Luckily it was all marked
"Misión Honduras Tegucigalpa" in permanent marker. This family was
well off, I couldn't understand why they would want more stuff.

On Thursday we had our first Taller de Zona (zone workshop) where the
Zone Leaders are in charge of teaching and getting everyone excited
about making the goals that they put for the month. I feel like my
class went really well. I felt like they were all excited to go out
and find new investigators and families (which that night, 3 of the
areas found new families!) and we talked as a Zone on what we could do
differently to make the goal. One Elder said pray everyday at 9
exactly in our own areas as a zone: I didn't like it. Next, someone
said lets fast every week for our investigators so they can have the
desire to progress. To my surprise, many of the missionaries including
my comp didn't want to do it and started laughing. That upset me, so I
stood up and got every ones attention. I asked them "Why not? That's an
excellent Idea." I basically got up and shaved everyone for not
wanting to fast once a week as a Zone. I basically called them a bunch
of weaklings and that they need to step up and do something hard and
sacrifice something if they were truly wanting to make the Zone goal
of 22 baptisms with 3 families this month. After sharing scriptures
and getting them all in agreement, we decided to do it. I bore
testimony of the power of Fasting. How we become one with the spirit
and work and teach better when we are in fast and how the Lord blesses
us for our sacrifice that we give when we fast.The flesh is weak, but
the spirit is willing. This Zone has been known for not having a lot
of baptisms and for being the "worst zone". I also told them that it
doesn't exist. That we will have success if we are obedient.

We took a hit as a zone. One of the Elders ate expired hot dogs and
drank water from the faucet. He's been really sick and has been in
Tegucigalpa with the doctors so they can try and diagnose him and get
him treated. Our mission president, President Hernández loves each and one of us and has
great power over the people here. He can do the impossible to help any
of us. Lets just say the Elder will be alright. He's just paying a bit
for his dumb choice.

One of our Investigators was in charge of a fundraiser on Saturday and
invited us to go and pass out pamphlets and "open the mouth" there. So
we went and talked to the whole colony there, it was amazing. We also
found 3 inactive families out there. Later at the fundraiser, they
pulled our a bull and wrapped 400 Limpiras ($30) inside a handkerchief
and tied it to the foot of a Bull! They had the bull tied to a rope in
the middle of a Soccer field and people went out and tried to untie
the 400 Limpiras from this bull. I'm shocked that nobody got hurt, but
mostly surprised that it was possible. Some guy finally got it off.

Impossible is just a reason for someone not to try.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"Hay CAMBIOS" June 4, 2012

 One of our futbol games on PDay

Well, this week started off good. The sisters had a baptism on Tuesday. Hermana Pieksma was finishing her mission and her parents actually came down to visit for a couple weeks, so they were there for the baptism. I am so grateful for the gift I have been given to speak and understand Spanish.

So on the night of changes, we were sitting there thinking if there was actually going to be any for us. I received a call from my good pal Elder Casey. He told me;" Elder Harding, how you doing. So have you heard anything about changes? Oh, well, big guy you have changes. How much time do you have in the mission? Oohhh... okay so 10 months ago we can say was the last time that you had a cell phone...?" My heart sunk. There were only certain missionaries who have cell phones in the mission. That only meant that I was a new ZONE LEADER! Oh man, I was freaking out the whole night. Elder Casey congratulated me and said I will be just fine and that I'm going to one of his old areas. I couldn't believe it! So I had to pack up and I finally went to bed at 1:30 and woke up early to catch a bus to Tegucigalpa. I am now the new Zone Leader of the Zone "Valle Verde". Its out east and in the mountainous jungle valley. It should be a good time. I am looking forward to remaining constantly busy. I now live on the top floor of a hotel in my area "La Villa San Francisco" and have a nice house. The church building is huge and we have support from the branch here too. My kid, Elder Garcia was devastated that I was leaving. We got along so well and ended up teaching amazingly with each other and had a lot of investigators. He's left with some work to do!

Saturday night, we received a call from the office saying that we have been invited to a special dinner with President Hernandez in the Mission Home on Sunday. Those who had more than 5 baptisms were invited and had a nice home cooked steak dinner. We went and ended up seeing almost everyone from my old Zone, including Elder Garcia. He told me that everyone was crying when they found out that I left. Nobody was expecting it. Members, investigators, everyone. It made me a little sad that I never had the chance to actually say goodbye to everyone. But we enjoyed our night and we all slept over in the Mission Home on air mattresses.

In the month of May we had 209 baptisms and set the mission record for President Hernandez. We were also the mission with the highest baptism rate in ALL of Central America. We also had 27 families baptized.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

"The most stressful week" May 29, 2012

"El Jardin" is Harding in Spanish, meaning "Garden"

Well, this has been the most stressful week in all of my mission, maybe my life!! Oh man, I don't even know where to start. Its like there wasn't enough time. First, we barely got the papers to get the investigating couple married. We paid and had everything ready to turn in, but the investigator's witnesses for the wedding weren't ready and hadn't worked on the papers they had to do, so we ran and did that the last minute. We later had everything planned, they were going to get married at 11:30 in Pespire and they were going to be ready. We were able to squeeze them in to get married in Pespire but only thanks to my good pal Elder Folsom. Pespire is his area and he was able to talk to the people and convince them to marry this couple and to do it on a Saturday. Its almost never heard of. So Saturday we went over to the investigators house an hour early to make sure they were ready. They got ready and we were leaving to catch a bus at 10:30 to get to Pespire early. When we asked were the witnesses were, they said that they weren't coming.... (they cant get married without the registered witnesses) so Elder Garcia and I ran around looking for the witnesses and finally found them and we left in the bus at 11:30. I was nervous because we were so late. But everything went to plan and they were married and the baptisms all went through. One almost didn't want to come because she was playing soccer... Only in Honduras.
These were the first baptisms that I have contacted in the street and taught all the way to baptism. I cannot express the joy that I felt for them as I saw them all progress and grow spiritually and see them be baptized. They were all excited that night too because we had filled the room with members that came to support them. It was definitely a special day for them. After, one of the boys kept on telling his neighbor friends that I baptized him. He was so happy, so was his mom that was baptized too. After seeing everyone after the baptism, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the true church. That everything we do is done under the direction of Christ, that we are here doing the Lords work. "Él es la luz y la vida del mundo; sí, una luz que es infinita, que nunca se puede extinguir" (Mosíah 16:9)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"The streets turn into rivers" May 21, 2012

Well, this week was a crazy week! We have had nothing but a bunch of rain storms. Every day at 4:30pm you could see the black clouds rolling in and at 5 it would rain. It felt nice after having all of the heat that we've had, but the downfall to the rain was that it would only be more humid after. This week we also had Zone Conference down in Cholutecha with Elder Falabela of the 70! It was interesting to see his approach to teaching. He had nothing planned, nothing written down, just pure revelation. He got up and said, "I don't know what I'm supposed to tell you yet, but we will start with how many families are getting baptized." From there he just taught. He ended up shaving the Latin missionaries for not learning English. He told them that the reason that they are not learning is because they are prideful. He then said that that learning English would not only bless them, but their future family. I think this can apply to all of us. If we think that we don't need to learn a language because we live in the United States and we have that "we only speak English here" attitude, that we too, need to get ride of this pride and try to learn a second language.
Later, I then did divisions with the Zone Leaders in San Lorenzo. I went down there and we worked and did 5 baptismal interviews for other missionaries in our Zone. They all passed! One was a new couple that was just married. The husband owns a bunch of calves and is raising them to sell. When we finished and were about to leave, one of the calves tried to jump over my bike and landed on the tire! Ends up that my tire was popped and we had to walk in the rain the rest of the way. Once again, at 5 o'clock, it started to rain and the streets turned into rivers. We got so wet, we just didn't care anymore and walked in the floods and grabbed some dinner on our way home.
This Friday we are finally marrying the family that we found 3 months ago! All of the paperwork has come in and they will be baptized this Saturday. In total we will have 5 baptisms this weekend. It should be great.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Happy Mother's Day call" May 14,2012

This was a great week! The thing that made it great was that I was able to talk to my mom and wake her up with a "Happy Mother's day call"!!! Oh man, I am so grateful for the family that I have and all the love we have. There are many that don't have the blessing of a family here in Honduras. There are alot of single parents that struggle looking for work and taking care of a family that they love and care for. The thing is, there are always things that happen, and there may be little arguments, but when it comes down to it all we have is our family and the love of our Heavenly father to pick us back up and get on our way.
Also the baptism that my District had this week was really cool. I went Friday to do the 4 interviews. It was originally 3, but we looked up the records of a member up there and she was never recorded as being baptized. It was fun to redo her baptism, she was 65 and was all worried about passing the "interview" she was cute. Then I interviewed the 3 other kids and they were all excited and ready to be baptized. they were 9, 11 and 13 years old. When I asked them who would they like to baptize them they all asked me if I would be at the baptism the next day. I told them that I didn't think I would... but then they insisted that I stay because they wanted me to baptize them! I felt honored, but first asked if they wanted the other Elders to do it, but they said no. Well, I didn't want to crush their hopes of being baptized by a giant from the United States so I stayed.
Oh also, I found out that I am a terrible marble player. I remember being good when I was little, but now, not so. The kids here are always outside playing each other in marbles. Each group of kids has their own game, its hard to follow. I lost.... to them all, actually.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"Jose Smith" May 7, 2012

This is my Crocodile skin Scripture case and a few wallets I've picked up made of Boa Constrictor and Crocodile skins.

Okay, well, this was a good week. We decided that we weren't having any more success in the city, so we planned on moving and expanding out to the small Colonies outside. It turns out that it was a good idea! We went out and contacted a bunch of houses and they all let us in (thats one thing that I love about the south, the people here all want to hear the word of God and invite you in). The first house we entered to had a ton of questions and goes to a Pentecostal church. She said that her pastor has taught her all about the "Mormon Religion". We were interested in what this included so we asked her what she knew. She said that we dont believe in God and that we worship a statue and the statue is of a man covered in hair and has a big belly and this statue's name is José Smith. My first reaction was to smile and start laughing, but I caught it so she didn't feel bad. We talked to her and taught her what we really believe. She said wanted us to know that she is firm in her church, but its okay if we teach her. So we talked a bit and we taught her how the gospel was restored on the earth once more and who José Smith really is. She was shocked that we were the opposite that her pastor has taught her. I was a little shocked too that someone would tear down other religions and teach their congregations this too. I can testify that I know for a fact that We as members of the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Later Day Saints are persecuted the most out of any other religion. All the time, people all ways have negative things to say and try and tear our beliefs down. Those who criticize only do so because they have never done the following: pray with real intent in their hearts to know if these things are true. People are too prideful to do so. Satan is only attacking the followers of Christ even harder and more than we know. We invited her to church but she didnt want to miss hers, so she said no. We then visited another family that we found last week. They have aproximately 12 people in the family and its hard to teach them all at once. We taught the dad, mom and the oldest daughters and gave them a Books of Mormon and we read the first paragraph and explained what the Book of Mormon was and then we read the last 2 paragraphs to challenge them to read it. We then read Moroni 10:3-5 and as soon as we finished we asked them what they understood and thought about the Book of Mormon so far. The mom said, "Its all true, the book, the restoration all of it." The daughter then said that the Book of Mormon was true also and they all prayed to know if our message was true that night and were all excited when we visited again. They would have gone to church, but the kids were sick so they couldn't. The hard part was that we woke up and left early to walk a long way to their house to bring them to church and they couldnt make it.

This Saturday we had a huge rain and Lightning storm hit. It went on all night and took out the power. To my demise, there was a hole in the roof right over where I sleep! With my craftmanship I fixed that baby right up!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"Honduras National Registration"April 30, 2012

Well, this week have gone by fast! We were kept busy. First, I started by doing divisions with my new ZL, Elder Martinson. We had to go to Tegucigalpa to restart the papers for our investigating family. The paper that says that the husband is single was destroyed over time. They didn't take care of the books and the paper got wet and ruined. So we headed to Tegus Tuesday and went to the national registration building that had all of the papers of every single person in Honduras. This place was packed with people and cardboard boxes that had the info of everyone. We were waiting in line a long time and we finally made it up front. The lady then told us that we have to come back tomorrow to do the work. We were a little frustrated and said that we came all the way from Nacaome (4 hours by bus) to take these papers out. A different worker there heard that we were missionaries and she pulled us aside and she said she could help us out. She gave us names of people and their offices in the building that were members of the church. So we went to all of the offices behind the scenes and we got all of the papers taken care of. Now we have to wait another 2 weeks until they remake the paper. I'm so thankful that there were members working there and that we were able to find them or else it would have taken us days to do it.
Next, we were coming back from District meeting in San Lorenzo, and some people in the street called me over. They had a panicked look on their faces and invited us in. There inside was a Gringa (lady from the USA). She was huge! Everyone was freaking out because she was sleeping on the street so they brought her in to take care of her. They asked me to talk to her in English, because she couldn't speak Spanish. It turns out that she just moved down to live in Tegucigalpa for the rest of her life. She doesn't know Spanish, lives alone and wanted to explore little cities in Honduras. She was robbed and was sick from the heat here. So I talked to her and translated everything for everyone. We helped arrange her ride back to Tegucigalpa. Everything turned out fine, the only thing was I think she was a little bit crazy... she was talking about how she was mind probed and stuff by aliens. But don't worry, shes back at her house in Tegucigalpa.