Saturday, April 18, 2015

Week 91 and 92

April 7, 2015
Wow, what an incredible, and very full week this week. A lot is going on. I loved General Conference! We had to watch the majority of it in Spanish, which was a bummer. It's just not the same, but as always, it was the best weekend we’ve had in the last 6 months. Elder Holland's talk had me on the edge of my seat. His talk, as well as President Uchtdorf's right after was incredible. I love thinking that the Atonement isn't meant just to take us back to our state of innocence from sin before our Heavenly Father but to take us forward, helping us to become more like Him. President Uchtdorf’s talk in Priesthood session was also very instructive (and also included a fair amount of chicote). It’s very easy to become too focused on the outward signs of our discipleship and forget what's most important. I also loved the talk about leaning to hear the music not just doing the dance steps. It was a talk long dance metaphor which made me and the other two elders in the zone who also love ballroom dance pretty excited. Speaking of being excited...

President Brough got called as a counselor in the General Young Men's Presidency!!! Ahhh!!! All the missionaries said he would be called as a member of the 70, but they didn't read his name and we were all disappointed, then he just got called straight to the General Young Men's Presidency! We were watching it with all the other members in the chapel but before I could stop myself I stood up and in a half yell and said “No!” and grabbed my companion. It was more intense than any sporting event. He'll be amazing, getting the youth ready to serve missions. His spiritual presence is incredible. We were hoping that he'd speak, but I guess that would have been just too much to bear. Our mission would have struggled a lot after having so many of its elders and sisters die from the sheer joy of it all. Maybe next conference.

Also, this week was Semana Santa. People come from all over the world (literally, we've contacted people from all over the place) to witness Semana Santa in Antigua. The only place where it is as big as in Spain. It was pretty ridiculous, but also incredibly cool. One Thursday we had to go to Antigua and the buses couldn't even get in. We had to walk and then once we arrived we found that the city was jam packed. We were sitting in an internet cafe (long story) and right then one of the processions came by. It was super cool to be able to watch it all. I'm not sure of the doctrine of it all, but during this time the Catholics have something like a funeral parade where they carry a massive intricately decorated platform with Christ and some saints. They follow it with a band and other things, such as people burning incense or dressed as roman soldiers. That's also when they make the very beautiful carpets made out of flowers, plants, and colored wood shavings (referring to when the people covered the road with palm fronds as Christ rode into Jerusalem). It was a huge thing and made me grateful to have been called here specifically, seeing a thing that only a handful of missionaries have seen on their missions.

Finally, I’ve included a picture of a mollete, my favorite Guatemalan dessert. I have never eaten a food that looks and feels so repulsive, but tastes so heavenly. It’s made of bread, filled with cream, that's fried in egg and left to sit for a day in honey. It's soggy, cold, and incredible.

April 14, 2015
Another great week. I can tell right now that this email will degenerate into me talking about food, so I'll get right so the spiritual stuff. Baptism! Wohoo! His name is Pablo and he's probably one of the purest people I've ever met. He lives with his sister and brother in law who are both members. They invited him to a Family Home Evening and he liked it. He went to church, met us, and got baptized. Pretty easy with him.

Missionaries say that in the mountains the people are all very hard and don't want anything and if you go there you won't baptize. However, after being in the mountains for more than a year, I can say that I have never met investigators who are so prepared to accept this message. I never had converts who were so truly converted when I was in the coast. For example, the Saturday before his baptism, we asked Pablo to come with us to visit some investigators. He jumped at the chance and when we started the lesson and were presenting ourselves, he burst out, ''I'm Pablo and I'm getting baptized tomorrow!'' Then, yesterday, he went to work with us from 5:00 to 8:15, at which point we went to his house to teach him until 9:00.

It's a great privilege to be able participate in someone's conversion. Another great blessing is that Pablo lives very close to our house (we had no idea there were members there until we met him because they've been attending the other ward).  He's always home at 8:00 at night, there's always a member present (his family) and they always give us food (including this amazing pineapple cooked in syrup with cloves and pepper. Yep, the food talk has already started). In other words, it's a missionary's dream set up. As you can see from the picture, President and Sister Markham were passing by that day and were present in the baptism. I love them so much. Also, you might note that this is the first time I've ever had a convert who was taller than me. 

This week I also tried harder than ever to be even more diligent. It really does feel good to know that you're working as hard as you can. It feels far better than holding a little back just because you feel tired or lazy. All these commandments that the Lord gives us, like being obedient and working diligently, really are just to help us personally be happier.

Ok, now to the food. Last week we took the most successful companionships in the zone out to eat in the nicest restaurante here in San Lucas: San Martin. I hadn't eaten in a nice restaurante like that in all my mission so it was quite the experience. Interestingly, my companion and I both ordered soups and salads while the sisters all ordered these giant hamburgers which they couldn't even fit in their mouths. 

This week we had our district P-day and learned to make molletes and a flan chocolate cake. And we also ate mole, my second favorite dessert in Guatemala. Now we're going to go to a new, supposedly really good restaurante here in Antigua. Yep, I'm gaining weight..

Love you all


The district

Making molletes. I hadn't used a Kitchen Aid mixer in a long time... 

That's for sure... Too bad it wasn't a Bosch though.

Making molletes. I hadn't used a Kitchen Aid mixer in a long time... 
That's for sure... Too bad it wasn't a Bosch though.

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