Quetzaltenango Guatemala

Quetzaltenango Guatemala

11.24.14 Week 3 in the Field!!

November 24, 2014

Dear family, friends, and loved ones,

This week has been insane!! Every week I am here in Salcaja I come to love the people more and more and more. The people are so awesome; they feed us so much even though they have so little to give. Most of our investigators live in tin/wooden shacks, but they still feed us huge bowls of rice, beans, a chicken leg, and of course super spicy chile peppers. I am getting so used to the food here; I don’t know what’s going to happen when I come back to the states! I am definitely going to miss the homemade tortillas/ tostadas, the people down here really know how to make their tortillas. 

So this week I’ve been sick, I think it was from something a member gave us to eat but I’m not sure. It’s been a 4 day sickness now, but it is starting to get better so don’t worry. Apparently 1/3 of all the missionaries down here are sick at one time, this is what the mission office told me. It has to do with the cold, and the food. In the mornings it is in the 50s in our room, and it doesn’t help that we don’t have a water heater for our showers=) Haha I’m loving the cold showers!!=) It honestly has been such an awesome experience living here in Salcaja, every day is an adventure!

So our investigator Azusena has been progressing more and more each week. This week we taught the word of wisdom which is no problem for her. She told us that she was coming again to church on Sunday, but when Sunday rolled around, she didn’t show up!! Even though we reminded her, she didn’t show up and she wouldn’t answer her phone, frustrating!!!! And our other family the Gilton family that said that they were going to come again didn’t show up either, and they won’t answer their phones either! I’m not sure what happened Sunday morning, but zero of our previous 7 investigators at church last Sunday showed up.  This week has been a roller coaster; I guess you can call this week my first down week. We did gain 5 more investigators which are super interested, but the whole no-show thing on Sunday kind of put a damper on our excitement. BUT, we will continue to work with them, and hopefully Azusena and the Gilton family will get back on track for their upcoming baptismal date for the 13th of December. 

This week another one of our progressing investigators left for the US! I am not sure why, but all of the people here in Salcaja that go to the US go to New Jersey. Haha and all of the English speaking Guatemalans here are from New Jersey, or Detroit. One of our new investigators was born in the US, and he is an eagles fan, it was a perfect way for me to start talking to him. What’s funny is that right next door to him is a cowboys fan=) Even though EVERYONE here loves soccer, there are some Guatemaltecos that love Football Americano!! There is a return missionary in our ward named Mario who comes with us some days to teach with us. He actually owns a pelota for American football! Since you can’t buy those down here, it was an amazing discovery. We are going to play next Pday I think, here we go! 

So December 7th is a catholic holiday down here, it is literally a day where they celebrate burning Satan. All of the people take all of their trash, and statues of Satan that they have made, and burn it all in the streets!!!! In addition, a lot of grown men and older boys paint themselves black and blue, with nothing on but a little swimmers thong, and run around splashing paint on people. But Even though the actual holiday is December 7th, they have already started their festivities. Yesterday as we were walking to our lesson, we came upon the park that we usually walk through. It was full of catholic people, like literally a couple hundred standing in a huge square. In the middle of the square were these demon painted people running around chasing people and painting them. As we came close to the square, a few people started to notice the ¨Mormons¨, and so did a few of the demons. The extreme Catholics in Salcaja really don’t like the Mormon missionaries, and only the most extreme Catholics participate in this tradition. Needless to say we immediately turned around and backtracked a block or two. We were like 10 minutes late to our lesson, but we were not painted black and blue which was probably for the best. 

One blessing that I really received this week was learning how to talk to people more, and even how to knock on the door and get us inside. I was a little nervous at first, but now we take turns and I love it when I pick a house and do the talking and we get inside=) haha the first time or two it was me asking them how they were.......... and then I forgot what to say next!=) Haha my companion would help me out don’t worry, but the first 2 times were a little rough=) This week has been awesome, the work is progressing down here in Salcaja!  I love what I get to do every day all week, its awesome building relationships with the people here and growing to love them more every day. I love and miss my family, but I know that the harder I work the more they will be blessed. It is going to be weird not having thanksgiving with my family and eating all of that great food, but it will be another adventure=) The church is true, the people within it are not, but the church will ALWAYS be true. I love you all, thanks for the support, I hope you all have a great thanksgiving holiday!!!!!!!


Elder McLeod

11.17.14 Week 2 in the Field

November 17, 2014

Hey everybody, the week has been so so so awesome!! Holy cow, so much has happened, the gospel is progressing up here in Salcaja! I hope everyone is healthy and doing well, I think about you often when I miss home, America seems so far away. This week we picked up another 10 investigators!! There is this family that owns the computer store that we email at every P’day. We started talking to them one day at the counter where we pay, and we ended up talking for half an hour! They were pretty intrigued, they told us to come back to the store the next night and visit with them some more, so we did. We ended up teaching about temples and eternal families, needless to say their family of 5 was excited=) Long story short, we visited with them a few more times, and then we invited them to church on Sunday and they came!! In our ward of 90 people at the most, a new family of 5 is a HUGE deal everyone was super nice to them and inviting, they loved it!! The parents had to go work at the store but the kids stayed for the whole 3 hours!!  They are coming next week and we are setting a baptism date with them next time for the 6th of December. This week we had 7 investigators at church with us!! My companion said that it was the most he has EVER had at one time in this area! The other 2 were Asusena, a woman we have a baptism date for the 6th of December with, and her granddaughter. All of our investigators loved church, and are coming back next week. The Branch President was stoked at the turnout!!

This week we had divisions, where the district leader, my companion, goes to a different area and switches with a missionary in that area for the day. I ended up getting Elder Peterson, a super athletic kid from Utah who played soccer in Europe for a month, he is a stud!! We got along really well, we did not have trouble finding stuff to talk about. Our first lesson was with a woman named Paula who my companion and I had tried numerous times to meet with but she was never home. She came out of her hotel and told us she only had 5 minutes because her dinner was getting cold. Hahaha, challenge accepted. We talked outside her hotel for 40 minutes she kept asking questions and surprisingly I was able to pull out Bible and Book of Mormon scriptures that perfectly answered her questions!! It was such a blessing. Elder Peterson who only has 6 months left did a lot of the talking, but when she would ask a question, I would whip out scriptures that answered her questions. Elder Peterson and I were in sync!! At the end she asked, “So when are you two coming back?” Needless to say we were stoked as we scheduled a day for my companion and I to come back. Our second lesson came by accident. As we were walking to get some quick food, we saw a young girl carrying a huge 50 lb bag on her head. We asked her if we could help her, and she let us help. We carried it pretty long ways, until she told us the spot she wanted it to be next to a light pole As we went on our way, further up the road we met a woman carrying the same type of bag on her head. We helped her and eventually met up with her daughter, the same girl, and again helped her but this time all the way to their house. We were invited in, and we were taught how to make corte!! It was so awesome making actually corte with the family!! Afterwards in thanks to us, the son Kevin gave Elder Peterson and I homemade Kites that he had made with reeds, yarn, and some plastic, they are so sick!! We taught them about the gospel and the Book of Mormon and about prayer, maybe next week they won’t be busy on Sunday and will be able to go to church with us.

This week has been so awesome, we walk about 10 miles a day now, but we teach so many people each day it’s insane! I love what we do, and I especially love the looks on peoples faces when they accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love you all and I love my family. I have to go, sorry this weeks is so short but I have to go, till we meet.

Elder McLeod

11.10.14 Week 1 in the Field!!!

November 10, 2014

Hola from Salcaja, Guatemala!!! It has been such a crazy week, I can’t believe I’m here in central america spreading the gospel. I took a van from the MTC in Guatemala City up 4 hours to Quetzaltenango!! It was awesome, I saw some huge volcanoes where the clouds high in the sky only reach halfway up them!! My president, president Smith is amazing. He is such a great guy, so is his wife Hermana Smith. My companion is Latino, his name is Elder Agirre from Guatemala City, he has been out for 16 months now and he is almost fluent in English which is a huge blessing. He has been a huge help to me in learning the language and getting to know the people. My area is kind of a city, but very small. There are little tiendas and markets EVERYWHERE. Apparently Salcaja is the corte capital of Guatemala, which is like the native tribal colorful dresses that the natives where. I am currently having some ties made from it, it looks so sweet!!! We are teaching a couple lessons a day, and constantly we are talking with people and with families. One member that keeps giving us contacts her name is CIndy. She has two nieces that she watches every day, they are probably the cutest kids i have ever seen, they are 6 and 8, and everytime i see them they always give me a huge hug. No one in the city can pronounce McLeod, so they all call me Elder Nube or Elder McNube, in spanish cloud is Nube, so now i am Elder Nube to the little children, and Elder McNuggets to my companion. My companion is literally the best, his is currently the district leader and he is super funny. Yesterday I taught him how to juggle, and then he taught me how to do some soccer juggling with my feet........ which i am terrible at. He also brought some american music with him, it is all uplifting don’t worry, but it was nice this morning to wake up to Josh Grobbin You Raise Me Up. Everything here is very poor, all the houses are stacked or are within a tiny little corridor or hallway between buildings. One family we taught, their whole house was one room with a plain concrete floor and around them was piles and piles and piles of shucked and unshucked corn, haha it was a really different site. We went in and my companion and I had a contest to see who could shuck corn the fastest, I don’t know how i won but i did. Tonight we are setting a baptism date with them, they might be our first baptism, so far they have told us they know what we are teaching is true, they can feel it in their hearts.

Elder McNube & Elder Aqirre
Last night our faucet in our kitchen broke and water was shooting everywhere, it took us like 10 minutes to figure out how to stop it, but eventually we got it fixed and we were laughing about it forever. In my pictures I included my first night when we went to the market and got veggies and then the butcher and got meat and then the bakery and got tortillas and shells, and then we had taco night!! Authentic style! Also are some of the pictures from the mtc since I couldn’t use my camera or upload pictures there, here they are.

So far the work is progressing, but it is slow going. There are 4000 people in Salcaja, 480 are members, but almost 100 are active. We do a lot of reactivation down here, baptisms are rare, but I know that my companion and I can break the standard!!  In 4 days my spanish has really improved, but it still needs work. I cant wait until i am fluent, hopefully that day comes soon. The church is true, the work that missionaries do is true, and I know that the gift of tongues is true. Thank you all for your support, my P day is every monday so that is when the weekly emails will be sent out. I love you all, have a good week!!

Elder McLeod

PS. I have really come to appreciate members that give the missionaries referals, PLEASE this week try to make it your goal to give the missionaries in your area at least 1 contact, it makes all the difference!!