December 29, 2014
First of all MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!! Wow what an amazing christmas it was, I hope that everyones holiday experience was just as awesome as mine if not more! It was such an awesome week, I was able to skype the family and see how much my family has changed and grown just in the past 3 months. They sounded great, the kids seemed like they were enjoying life, school, friends, and of course christmas!=) Since on christmas day all of the computer tiendas are closed because everyone is with family, we were lucky enough to find a member in our ward who actually has a computer with working internet and a webcam!!! She even let us use it for free and whenever we could which was such a blessing. Christmas morning in Guatemala was very different than what i am used to, no christmas breakfast, no family, and no christmas breakfast=), but it was something awesome in itself at the same time. Christmas eve night at exactly midnight, everyone in the city shot off huge, high up in the sky fireworks, like the ones you see on tv in the states!=) Hundreds all at the same time, it was crazy loud and bright outside because of all of the simultaneous fireworks, it was incredible! It lasted for about 15 minutes, and then the city went silent. Since we couldn't sleep because of the fireworks and the previous celebrations, my comp and i opened our presents at midnight according to the tradition here in Guatemala. Our 2 presents were from members in our branch, and I also opened Sister Johnson´s present that she gave to me for christmas before I left Gilbert. Sister Johnson thank you so much!!!! I love your gift, trust me when i say that everything that you gave me was exactly what i needed!=) Christmas morning when we woke up, I opened up the package from my dad and grandma, and again it was exactly what i needed!! Now I've got some church music to listen to while i study, and its even in english! thanks!=) After we skyped our families in the morning, we spent the rest of the day with members in the ward eating a ton and playing football, it was such an awesome christmas! Of course it was different from what i am used to, but what an awesome experience it was.
This week we met with Hermana Ingrid again. We taught her the first half of the plan of salvation which she really loved. She really loves her family, everything she does is always for her family which is really cool. The great thing is that she is continuing to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it every night! I am so happy and proud of her!! She actually couldn't make it to church again this week, but next week she will come. It really is extremely hard to get people to church every week, sunday is such an important business/family day for the people here, that it is such a huge commitment to go to church for even 1 hour. What's great though is that her friend Hermana Hilda told us at church that Hermana Ingrid´s daughter who we have been teaching at the same time with Ingrid, will go to church with us next week!!! This is incredible, the daughter´s husband is very evangelical, and has been telling her that she is not allowed to go to the mormon church. But apparently this week he told her that she can come with Hermana Ingrid!!! It really is a miracle, but i pray that they will ACTUALLY come to church with us this week, it really is so tough for them to take time out of their schedules, i am going to pray for them so hard this week!!!!
This week my comp and i have begun a new approach, instead of street contacting and door contacting all day which has been yielding zero results, we are going to utilize the members a whole lot more. This week we didn't have a ton of lessons, but we did strengthen our relationships with a bunch of different members/families. The people here don't respond well to being contacted by a complete stranger, but, if one of their best friends talks to them and tells them about how great their church is, they will be interested. This is why we are starting to contact people WITH the friend of the person that we are contacting present. This week we are going to have different family movie/dinner nights with members but with nonmember friends of the members present. And while we are all there having fun, we will be able to teach different lessons with the help of the members but at the same time make the nonmembers feel extremely comfortable and welcome. We think that this will yield better results, I pray that is does!
So this week we went back to follow up with Hermano Armando and his reading/ praying. When we got there he was not home, but his daughter Olet finally was!!! She invited us in, she is really nice and funny and super friendly. We started off just talking about random things, life, other random things. But, eventually she began to ask questions, then more questions, then 40 minutes later we had already taught the restoration=) It turns out that a friend of hers had given her a Book of Mormon, but she had never actually sat down and read it. So, we gave her some homework, fully explained the importance and the incredible nature of that little blue book, and set a return appointment with her for this week!! She seemed really intrigued, especially since we were answering all of her questions with scriptures from both the bible and the book of mormon. She agreed to start reading the Book of Mormon that night and praying about it, I sincerely pray that she receives that answer of the spirit testifying to her of its truthfulness!!
I apologize that there are no pictures this week, something happened to my camera and it is not working at the moment, but elder Saldana is going to take a look at it tonight to see if he can fix it. The other elders took pictures this week, but at the moment they are not here with us, so i will have to get those pictures later and send them next week.
I love you guys, thank you for everything! I hope that you all had an awesome christmas holiday with family, and that new years is great also!! I really appreciate the letters and the emails, I love hearing from the outside world how everyone is doing!=) Have an awesome week, until next monday!
One christmas down, one to go!!!