November 25, 2014
Well, I don't have a ton of time today to write since... well, it's a long story, and like I said, I don't have much time. Anyway, this had been a super crazy week. The highlight was probably the zone conference we had last Wednesday. It was in my beloved Patzicia. I was almost crying when I got off the bus and was able to walk those so familiar streets. The assistants were scrambling to find some keys to the sound system so I even got to go help them talk to some of the members I knew. It was a bunch of fun. I also learned that Alejandro and Ronal (the two men in the familia Gamez Hernandez that I baptized on my last day in Zaragoza) both have the Melchizedec priesthood now and Alejandro will probably soon be called to be the Elders' Quorum president. I love that family so much.
This week has also been a struggle as we've had to deal with many setbacks and discouragements. On Saturday and Sunday I was super sick. The nurse thought that I might have appendicitis. I started taking some medication and I feel a bit better now, so I think that it was probably just a GI infection, but man, that was not fun. For the first time in my mission, the nurse gave me permission to stay home; however, it was cool to see how much I have changed as a missionary. At the beginning of my mission I probably would have been somewhat glad to get a chance to nap and recover, but now I just can't imagine letting that time go by without working. I decided to work as normal and a few minutes after leaving the house I felt much better. It was a cool testimony to me about how the Lord really will bless and sustain us as we do His work. He requires that we show forth the faith in walking out the door, but then He can do the rest.
Despite all the challenges, I am so grateful to be a missionary.
My companion and me
My name badge is starting to fade
Lake Atitlan = Waters of Mormon? At least for Arnold Friedberg it does.
Tostadas with instant mashed potatoes, lentils, soy meat sausage that I made,
and a little bit of queso seco (cheese).
December 2, 2014
The highlight of this week was certainly the baptism of Daisy Morales, our little miracle here in Compalapa. We've really been working hard with her and have been so happy to finally have a progressing investigator to teach. However, as always happens, as her baptismal date got closer the Enemy started to put more obstacles in her way, the biggest of which was that her dad decided to no longer give her permission to be baptized. However, we were able to see the power of faith as we kept praying and working with her and finally saw the miracle on Friday when her dad gave her permission to be baptized. It's been such a privilege to teach her. I don't think I've ever had a convert quite as pilas or as quickly and deeply converted. It shows the power of the gospel and the Holy Ghost.
I've felt somewhat discouraged as quite a few times this week I've felt the Spirit give me some pretty strong chicote about things that I should improve. One thing that I realized I most need to change is that I need to be more humble. Yesterday, during our zone P day, I had a powerful conversation with some other missionaries about humility. I'm always obedient and diligent and have been blessed with many gifts and talents, but I realize that if I try to do everything myself, solve all the problems I have, just push forward and work as hard as I can on my own, I'm not being humble. Just as it says in the BOM, if we trust in our own strength we will be left to our own strength. It's only when we recognize how weak we really are and how much we need the Lord that He can guide us. He can do so much more with us than we can, but unless we recognize our own dependency on Him we will just be able to meet the requirements, not work miracles. How to actually put that into practice I'm still not sure....
As far as Thanksgiving goes, I spent pretty much all that day traveling to the capital to go see a doctor about my mysterious appendicitis like pain I was having (we're still not sure what it was). We did eat a very late lunch at McDonalds which was a rather disgraceful attempt at Thanksgiving, but I guess that day is about more than eating lots of turkey, mashed potatoes and pie. I really am grateful for the incredible amount of blessings I've been given, especially this chance to be a missionary. It’s awesome.
Anything else... let's see... Hmmm, I feel like this email is kind of boring. Sorry about that. You win some and you lose some.
-The portable baptismal font
-Fernando, a crazy grandpa who we teach and who I love a ton. He was baptized several months ago but hasn't been confirmed since he keeps drinking.
-Near the church. When I came to the mountains in April they were planting corn, when I left Patzicia they were harvesting elotes (corn on the cob) and now they're starting to harvest maiz (for tortillas)
-Walking to church (the stove was to heat up the font for Daisy so the cold water didn't make her sick)
December 9, 2014
Well, yet again we're at the end of the changes. Yesterday we learned that they're closing our area. Poor Compalapa won't have missionaries anymore. It shouldn't have surprised me as much as it did seeing as how I did tell President Markham that I thought that this branch didn't deserve to have missionaries because of all the disunity that there was among the members. Still, I'm sad though. I've grown to love Compalapa and all the people here. Here in Compalapa I have learned and grown a lot, especially in love, patience, diligence, and humility. Sometimes the Enemy makes it difficult for me to see my progress, but I know that I'm a better missionary and person now than I was when I arrived here. I'm grateful for all the miracles, especially the baptism that we had.
I've enjoyed training Elder Mendieta. It's certainly been a trial of my patience and humility, but it's taught me a lot, and it's certainly cool to see him adopting so many of my habits as a missionary. He is quite pilas. I don't think I ever mentioned this, but he's my third companion who is a convert. He came on his mission when he had 1 year 3 months as a member, just like Elder Gonzalez, my last companion. The scary part is that that means he was baptized when he was in the MTC! That puts things into perspective.
In other news this week, we didn't get to see the Christmas Devotional! I was so bummed to miss it for the first time in years. We couldn't find any investigators or converts to watch it with, so we didn't have permission. We gamely set out to knock on doors, hoping that the Lord didn't want us to watch the devotional because there was someone who really needed to listen to us. However, we knocked on doors for almost 2 hours in the freezing cold (man, it has gotten incredibly cold) and not a single person let us teach them. As President Brough would have said, "What a blessing!"
Also, even here in Gmala, the church is really pushing this "He is the Gift" initiative. You should all look up the video. I really love it and we've had some real miracles in using it to get references. I'm not sure if I like this or "Because of Him" more, but I suppose that it doesn't really matter.
Anyway, we'll see what change meeting brings tomorrow,
Districto Compalapa. A lot smaller than my last one, but I still love it. From right to left, my companion, me, Hna. Argülles, and Hna. Oliphant. Yep, as in, the Hobbit name for Mûmakil. When I asked her about it she said that no, she's never seen LOTR, but plenty of people have told her about her name. Hearing that I wasn't the first one to comment on it renewed my faith in humanity.
A member and his recent convert daughter. They don't speak Spanish very well but the dad is studying English and loves saying "happy church!"
"With joy ye shall draw water out of the wells of salvation" I love that scripture.