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.