Quetzaltenango Guatemala

Quetzaltenango Guatemala

1.26.15 Awesome Week!

January 26, 2015

Hey everyone how is it going! I hope that everyone had an awesome week like I did. This week a lot of stuff happened to us, sometimes good, and sometimes a little less good. All in all it was a good week, the work is progressing.

       So this week hermana Ingrid had her baptism interview and she passed with flying colors!!!! She is soooooo ready to be a member it is incredible, what makes me even happier is that she is a true convert, not just a baptism. She will be a member for the rest of her life, it honestly gives me the greatest joy to know that because I was able to be the mouthpiece for Christ, someone is going to become a member of God's true church and live forever=) Holy cow it really is incredible, haha she isn't even a member yet and I am freaking out! This saturday is her baptism, hopefully I will have the opportunity to baptize her, but even if I dont its ok, I will be just as excited!!!!

         This week we had a lesson with Kevin, but it wasn't really a lesson it was just to answer his many questions about deep doctrine. He is so smart, but he doesn't understand that not knowing the answers to every deep doctrine question really is not important in the grand scheme of things. It went well though and we answered pretty much every question, what was cool though is that my comp and I split the questions up 50 50, so I was on my own cross referencing the bible and the book of mormon and explaining the truth!! Holy cow was I nervous, but whats crazy is that the spanish was just flowing, I did not have any trouble trying to express what I wanted to say! My comp afterwords fistbumped me and told me that he understood every word that I had said, and that I sounded fluent, the gift of tongues is sooooooooo real!!! Later on in the week we met with Kevin again and he was interviewed for baptism, but because of his questions and need for scriptural evidence to all things, he did not pass...... I was so sad, honestly I felt like I had fallen off of a ledge, his intelligence is making him naive to the point where he doesn't believe what he can't find in the scriptures as cold hard evidence, we are going to work overtime on him this week to try and get him baptized hopefully by the beginning of February. We are praying so hard for him, he is reading and studying every night, he just needs the spirit to testify to him now.

              This week we had another lesson with Amalia. She has been reading little bits of the book of mormon which is good, but we found out that she hasn't been praying. So we had a really good lesson on the Sabbath Day, and being obedient to the commandments. The spirit was crazy strong as she told us that she knew what she needed to do, but that the risk of losing money was too big. We testified that attending church will allow her more blessings in her life than working on Sunday Will, she must have felt the spirit too because she came and attended church with us!! We were so happy that she decided to put her trust in the Lord and not in her wallet. So while the spirit was super strong, we extended the baptism invitation to her. She actually accepted!!!=) She accepted the 14th of February as her GOAL, so it is not set in stone, just a goal, but still she accepted baptism=) Hopefully if she keeps progressing, the next time we meet with her we will set the date in stone!

              So this week my comp got a package in the mail from his mom, she actually sent him already made brownies and blondies, haha they were amazing!! Haha my comp literally is awesome, he is a great teacher, friend, and stepdad in the mission, and he shares his brownies with me! Things are progressing between him and I, I hope that I will have at least another cambio here in Salcaja, things are great!

              Also this week we taught Hermano Figueroas sisters in law. Hermano Figueroa is the guy that had us make his lawn out of chopped squares of mountain grass!! His wife's family is all super Evangelical, and apparently they have never wanted anything to do with the mormons. To us missionaries this translates out to they can't wait for us to knock on their door.  So we contacted the sisters in law on the street and set an appointment with them, but at church Hermano Figueroa told us that they would be leaving early for a party the day that we set the appointment, so they were trying to ditch our appointment!! Haha so we showed up an hour and a half early=)  They were pretty surprised to see us at their house so early, but they let us in. We spent a little bit getting to know them, but when it came time we began teaching the Restoration. ten minutes in their countenances had completely changed, they were quiet, they were listening, but not with their ears. We asked them questions, but most of the time they would not know the answers, so we would explain to them the doctrine of Jesus Christ using their own bibles and scriptures to back it all up, they were very surprised. It really is a cool feeling when people who think that they know the bible end up learning new things from us in the old and new testaments for almost an hour=) Needless to say the spirit was super strong, and like our president suggested, we need to extend the invitation for baptism during every first lesson that we have, so that is what we did. They did not accept, but hey that is ok, they felt the spirit, and this week they are going to read and pray about the little blue book that we gave them.

                 This week was an awesome week, we ended up having 5 investigators at church which was incredible, the work down here is progressing! I love getting to spend my time studying the bible and the book of mormon together, they both testify of Jesus Christ, and of each other! Before my mission, my scripture study really wasn't anything worth bragging about, but now I really love just sitting on my bed or at my desk and just reading and learning new things=) It is great, if any of you have trouble finding time or motivation to read and study the scriptures like I did, tonight before you go to bed just spend 10 minutes reading the bible and the book of mormon and try to find the similarities. It is actually really interesting and cool when I find scriptures in the bible that testify of the book of mormon or of Joseph Smith. I promise that if you just force yourself to do it for 10 to 15 minutes tonight, you will see for yourself what you have been missing out on. I love you all and hope that you have another great week up in the states! Until next week!


Elder McLeod

1.19.15 Another Great Week!

January 19, 2015  

Hey everybody I hope that you all had a great week!!! My week was such a rollercoaster, things happening and changing like crazy. Like I said at the end of my last letter, my comp had emergency changes Tuesday morning. The president needed him up in Heuheutenango, which is like 2.5 hours north of Salcaja, he is doing good even though he is in a tough area. Ok so since Aguirre left, I got a new comp, his name is Elder Herrera. He is from Mexico, but he lived in Logan Utah for 10 years, so again I have been blessed with a companion who knows English=) He is a really cool guy and I have learned so much from him already!! He only has 7 months in the mission, but he has already trained 2 other missionaries, he really is a super smart guy. Him and I get along really really well which is such a blessing, honestly I can feel the spirit growing so much now within our lessons! I hope that him and I will serve together for a while here in salcaja.
          This week we taught Hermana Haiti and her three daughters Amy (11), Samurai (13), and Princesa (14). We actually were able to teach them two times this week, we taught them both the restoration and the plan of salvation. What I love about them is that they all love to have fun, but when they feel the spirit you can see it in their countenances. The spirit has been super strong when we teach them, my comp and I have been teaching together really well and he is teaching really how to teach each person differently. He uses a lot of demonstrations or examples that the people can relate to or understand, I love it cuz it gets even the younger ones involved but it still relates to the adults and everyone feels the spirit as a whole. They are very evangelical, but especially during the plan of salvation, i felt that they were not just listening to our lesson but were understanding and realizing the truthfulness of it. Princesa especially felt the spirit, She asked a ton of questions which we answered with scriptures and testimony, and then she would kind of sit back and deeply ponder what we were saying. After our lessons the daughters especially talk in a quieter more reverent voice with us, I am so excited to be teaching a big family like this, I really feel like they will progress here in the next couple of weeks.
              This week we taught Hermana Ingrid the law of the Chastity and Word of Wisdom. She easily accepted the Law of Chastity, but the Word of Wisdom she stopped us on. She told us that she has been addicted to coffee for years and years and years and that it would be practically impossible for her to give it up. But, we testified to her with the power of the spirit and promised her the blessings of health and knowledge promised to those who obey this law, the spirit was incredible, I knew that she was feeling it just as strongly as I was, and that is why she agreed to give up her beloved coffee!!=) Before we visited her house we had gone and bought her a big bag of morecaf, (for those of you who don't know what this is, it is a cereal substitute to coffee that you brew up and drink hot and black just like regular coffee, but it does not have caffiene, or the coffee bean with its chemicals in it.) At the end of the lesson after she had agreed to keeping the Word of Wisdom, I pulled out the huge bag of morecaf and gave it to her, haha she just started laughing and was super happy and excited. I love Ingrid and her family, and I love that she has chosen to follow the path that the Lord has ready and waiting for her!!
                 This week we also taught Kevin the law of chastity, temples, and tithing. He really is the perfect investigator because through his readings of the bible and the book of mormon, he had already come to the conclusion to himself that these were things that he was already going to do=) Honestly he is bien pilas (which means super smart in Guatemalan Spanish), I love the kid!! The 31st is still the day, but he is ready right now.
               This week my diet changed a little bit and I was able to experience a little bit more classical Guatemalan food, haha we ate pigs feet!! It honestly doesn't taste bad, but they are just all bones and fat so they are really awkward to eat. There is no taste really, so that is a blessing=) But besides that, we have been eating pretty well and I feel like I am actually gaining back some of my weight. (hopefully it is somewhat muscle).
                This week we were able to teach a lesson with a woman named Amalia. This lady came to church with us last week, but this week was our first lesson with her. She has two little kids, and she is a single mom who works in the mercado every day selling little beanies and mittens and stuff like that. She is a super nice lady, but she needs something more in her life...............................the church! We found out that she has been reading the book of mormon by herself for a little while now, and she knows it is true!!! This is awesome, but she doesn't want to leave her old church which is some super small church in someones garage a couple blocks over. We changed our lesson from the restoration to the book of mormon and the importance of having the authority in our church. The spirit was super strong, her eyes were watery as we explained that God loves us soooooooooooooooo much and that he wants to help us, but also that faith without works is dead, meaning that she needs to go to church, the true church.  She promised us that she would continue to read and pray about the church, we are meeting with her again this week.
                     Sorry this letter is shorter than my usual letters, this week was one of those put your shoulder to the wheel weeks. We taught a good amount of lessons, but not a ton of different people. We are looking for more families to teach, I hope that this week we can achieve our goal of finding 2 or 3 more families who are ready for the gospel in their lives!! Thank you all so much, I love ya and I hope that you all have another awesome week. Yesterday this was my response to a lady who asked me how long I have in the mission, I said, ´´I only have almost 4 months.............. wow I already have almost 4 months!!´´ Haha the time is flying by, Its crazy how quickly the mission moves. Well I love you all, thanks for the emails and the prayers, have a great week!
Until next week,

Elder McLeod

1.12.15 Things Are Happening

January 12, 2015 

Wow another week has gone by already, seriously things are happening so fast down here in Guatemala. This week was such an awesome week, it actually was probably the best week that I have had so far in the mission!!! That means thank you to those who were praying for me, honestly you make such a difference!

 I first want to start by saying that we taught Kevin again this week, the 17 year old jehovas witness who has been progressing more and more. We taught him the word of wisdom and following the council of the prophets. Luckily because of his religious background, he already observes the word of wisdom perfectly, he doesnt drink any soda at all because he fears that he could become addicted......... haha he knows what he is doing=) Prophets was an easy topic to teach him about, he is already looking into what is general conference and also the manuels that we use to teach from on sundays. He accepted the 31st of this month for his baptism!!!! I am so stoked for him!! He came to church on sunday too, and he stayed for all 3 hours becuase he wanted to, and he loved it! He asked a lot of good questions during class, and he was very attentive and soaking in everything during sacrament, l was so happy!!=) Kevin is progressing a ton and loves the church, in 3 more pdays he will be baptized!

Ingrid also came to church with us this week, and she loved it also. She came and stayed for all 3 hours, voluntarily, and she also asked a ton of questions and seemed very comfortable with our class and with the members. I saw a ton of members come up to her after sacrament meeting and give her side hugs and handshakes and talk to her, the members are finally starting to embrace our investigators! Ingrid also agreed to the 31st, so as of right now we have a double baptism scheduled for the 31st of this month!! They will be my first and second baptisms! Obviously super stoked.

Ok so the craziest thing happened this week, a guy in our ward called us early in the morning one day and sayed that his friend who lives on top of the mountain needs a blessing. So we went up to the top of the mountain and actually ended up giving the guys wife and child blessings, they were sick with high fevers, they were pretty scared too because the baby only has like 8 months. After the blessing we ended up taking a different route down the mountain, one that we had never taken before. As we were walking down, Juan Carlos, an investigator of ours that we can never get a hold of and is never home, practically walked right into us!! It was such a miracle because we NEVER can get a hold of him and he is NEVER home! But he was super excited to see us, we talked with him for 20 minutes and scheduled a lesson with him for later on in the week. 

                  Later On In The Week................

So we went to go and teach Juan Carlos the restoration. As we began to teach him the restoration, i noticed that he was super attentive and interested, he was soaking in every word and looked as though he was in deep thought. He told us that his sister in law is a mormon, and that she has told him a little bit about the church and he is actually interested. When we reached the part about the book of mormon and we gave him one, this was his response, ´´Ok ya ill read this and pray about it tonight, but only if you boys come back tomorrow and ask me what I read and answer my questions.´´ um............. ya i think we can fit you into our schedule somewhere! Needless to say we were pretty excited, but that wasnt all. After we finished the restoration, he began to ask questions about the law of chastity, the word of wisdom, prophets, tithing, and even about the church welfare programs! Our 30 minute lesson turned into an hour and 15 minutes of life changing. He even asked us if he could accompany us to church on sunday. He actually didnt end up going because he had to go to Xela for work, but he called us a couple of times apologizing and telling us that next week would be perfect for him. He is a super nice guy, a little timid and shy, but super interested in the gospel. I feel that our next lesson we will be able to invite him for baptism, sometime this week. 

This week we had changes, luckily I didnt get changed, but Elder Saldana went home and Elder Lui replaced him. Elder Lui is the elder that I met in the MTC in Provo my first stinkin day!!! We are the only two here in the mission who went to the Provo MTC, and what do you know, he just switched into my area! He is a really cool guy, 6 foot 6 and tongan, but super skinny. He is a cool guy, i am sure we will do exchanges here somtime with him in the near future. 

We also had a new investigator of ours come to church with us, her name is Amalia. We havent taught her a lesson yet, but hey this week we will. She only stayed for sacrament, but she seemed like she liked it, and she knows a lot of the women here in the branch so that is awesome. So Since Juan Carlos invited us back the next day, we did visit his house, but as the norm, he wasnt there. So, we decided to go into the libreria next door to get out of the freezing cold wind. While we were in there we started talking with the family that owns and runs the shop. The moms name is Haiti, and her oldest daughters name is Argentina. They are a family of 6 girls!!! We have a lesson scheduled with them all this week, i am pretty excited because they responded really well to our ´´lesson´´ that we gave when we first met them, they could be our first family!

This week we had the festival of the kings! It is another catholic holiday, but they have some pretty interesting/cool holidays not gonna lie! In this holiday, they make a huge silver parade float on the back of a flat bed semi, then they build a huge silver star and put it on top of the cab of the semi. They then have someone dress in white robes and sit at the base of the star and ride throughout the city all day long. A HUGE procession of people on horses and just following on foot follow this float around the city with a marching band for hours and hours. Eventually they end up at the huge catholic chapel that is 500 years old and have a huge party. But, While the float parades throughout the city, 3 guys decked out in crazy awesome/ different king constumes eventually one by one join the parade at the front, directly behind the star float. It was actually pretty cool looking, and the chocolate covered churros that we bought were AMAZING! Haha we werent just out celebrating this catholic holiday, we were out contacting every single one of our investigators, and on the way we practically saw all of the active members in our branch! It was an awesome missionary opportunity, we contacted pretty much every single one and scheduled appointments, it was perfect!

Alright so this is really random, but my comp just told me that he is getting changed to Huehuetenango tomorrow morning as an emergency!!! What the heck, they need him i guess, the president just called him and told him, wow. Very unexpected and kind of rare, but I am going to have a stepdad in the mission!! The missionary who finishes my training will come tomorrow, holy cow that is so weird!! He definitely needs some prayers right now, thank you to anything that prays for him. 

                        This week was an awesome week!! it definitely was the best week that we have had here in Salcaja, things are starting to happen!=) I love what we are doing, it really is the work that God wants. I love that my job is to wake up and study the scriptures, and then spend my day telling random people how the scriptures/this gospel has changed my life. It really is super cool to see Kevin and Ingrid beginning to know for themselves that this church is true, not just true, but the only true church, and they are committing themselves to it, it makes me so happy!! The work is slow, but we are working, and things are happening. I love all of you and I want to thank you all for all that you do. I love hearing from you guys, if you want to shoot me an email go ahead, i would love it! Thanks again for everything, i hope that all of you guys have an awesome week, I know I did!

1.5.15 Another Great Week!!

January 5, 2015

Hey happy 2015!!!! Man this week was so awesome, we were so blessed!! I hope that everyone had an awesome new years eve, new years, and so far a happy 2015. On new years eve we spent the whole day working, by the time we got back to our house around 10 pm we were so tired that we just crashed. I woke up at midnight to the sound of a trillion fireworks going off right outside our window, the light coming into our window was almost as bright as during the day!! Holy cow the people here love their fireworks, and right at midnight they go CRAZY!!! I didnt fall asleep until the constant explosions died down like half an hour later, haha my comp slept through the whole thing=)
Ok so this week again because of major celebrations and everyone is still out of town, we didn't have a ton of lessons, but our lessons that we did have were super successful, thank you so much for your prayers and thoughts, honestly this week they gave us that extra little boost that we needed!! We taught Kevin again this week, the 17 year old Jehovah's Witness who owns his own water store. He has already read like half of the book of mormon in the past month, and when we asked him if he has received an answer or not, this was his reply, ´´You know what, I have been reading and praying about this book every day................ and I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and that this book is true also, and is the true word of God!´´ Holy cow I was sooooooooooo happy!!! He had received his answer!!!!!=) So of course we invited him to be baptized in the end of January and he accepted!! Major fist pump! He again couldn't go to church with us this last sunday, but he will this sunday so we are super stoked=)

Right before we went to teach Kevin, before everything that transpired above, we went and taught Hermana Ingrid and Jacqueline again. We taught lesson 3 just like we had Kevin. They are both reading little bits every day which is good, it honestly is so awesome that they are reading the Book of Mormon=) At the end we invited Jacqueline to be baptized and this was her answer, ´´YES!´´ Haha she said simply yes, but with confidence and confirmation!! And for the end of January which is so awesome!=) She knows that what we teach is true, but she doesn't know for a fact that the Book of Mormon is true, we found out that she has not been praying about the Book of Mormon after reading it, WELL THERES YOUR PROBLEM! She agreed to pray about it every night after reading, she is almost there=) They didn't come to church this last Sunday also, we are not sure why, but we decided that we are going to walk with them every Sunday for now on or they just won't come.

This week we had a visit with Armando but he was super busy so he couldn't meet with us, but he called us and told us that he is actually reading the Book of Mormon which is super awesome!! We will teach him this week.

This week we had divisions with Prado and Elder Dilly came down here to Salcaja with me. He only has 4 months in the mission, and i have 3, so combined we only had 7 months of experience=) But it went really well, we visited Luis´s house, he wasn't home, so we visited with the mom Maria who is an avid member and with the kids of Luis who are not members but absolutely love us! We wrestled danced with them, and eventually Maria gave us patches with a hot drink that tastes like burnt popcorn, i don't know what its called, but it actually isn't too bad. We will try again to visit with Luis this week, hopefully we can get a hold of him!

For dinner we went to this Guatemalan barbecue place, It is a sit down restaurant and it is really good. When we got there we discovered that it was karaoke night...................... haha oh look some gringos are here they can sing right?=) Haha we sang 3 songs in spanish for the whole restaurant, we were soooo bad, but we were kinda dancing/grooving to the music in a gringo way, and the people loved it! Haha it was really funny, im putting a picture below!

This week for my birthday that passed, and since we didn't do anything for it cuz nobody had money, my comp. scheduled us dinner with a family in the ward............. but he set up a surprise birthday party for me!!!! The elders bought Pizza Hut and the family got me a little tiny birthday cake, it was so awesome!=) But when I went to blow out the candle, all the elders pushed my face into the cake! Of course I attached a picture below! Haha it was a lot of fun, and it was such a great surprise!

This week was a good week, it was freezing cold, but it was a great week nonetheless!! Both my comp and I are in great health, thank you so so much for your prayers and emails! I love getting emails and such from the outside world, or from gringolandia (what the people here call America). Love you all, keep the faith, have a fantastic week!!!