Quetzaltenango Guatemala

Quetzaltenango Guatemala

2.23.15 I'm Back

February 23, 2015

Wow this week went super fast!! Things are happening over here, it just takes faith!! And if we know what faith is, we know that it is action. This week has been a lot  of setting new goals and taking action.

              THis week something crazy happened, we one night were buying bread in this random tiny bakery that we found and we contacted the people inside buying bread. One of the ladies was super nice to us, and after we introduced ourselves and talked for a little bit, she invited us over to her house to talk the next day!! So we went to her house up on the mountain.......... and she is the owner of the biggest peach farm in Guatemala!!!=) Haha no literally, we got there and she gave us an hour and a half long tour of her whole farm, i'm talking 20,000 peach trees all up and down and on top of a huge mountain!! It was the most beautiful thing, all of the trees have hundreds of bright pink flowers, so it looks like trillions of little pink blooming flowers all over the mountain, one day I will come back with my family=) We taught them the restoration and it went really well. They are a family of 5, and they are all farmers, and kinda pioneerish. The oldest son is 14 and he is pretty tall and strong, he wears an old pioneer hat, and also a plaid shirt that goes halfway down his forearms, He is the nicest kid ever, super smart, and loves God. Haha we found Joseph Smith here in Salcaja!!=) The lesson went really well and they invited us back later in the week, I really felt the spirit during our lesson with them and I hope they did too! They had tons of questions like, what type of fruit did Eve eat in the garden of eden that got her in trouble, stuff like that. Haha I don't think we can answer that question, but we will try our best with this family.

               We have been teaching english to the brother of one of the priests in our branch for a couple of weeks now, his name is Heime. This week we had another lesson with him, but this time we changed it up, we taught the restoration and english at the same time! We wrote stuff out on a whiteboard in english, then explained it in spanish, and that was how we did it! He responded really well to the restoration part, he even accepted a book of mormon to read and study. This week he even came to church with us!! He stayed 2 of the 3 hours, and he seemed like he liked it! My comp and I feel that he is going to progress pretty quickly now that he is going to church and everything, I just pray that he continues to pray and read every night!

             This week we went and visited this 80 year old evangelic lady that lives in El Tigre, she has family members who are members, but she has never been interested in the church in her life, she is one of those people who is in one religion from birth to death, so we went to go teach her. We started teaching the restoration to her and quickly learned that she can barely hear, so we started over and taught everything like we were teaching an 8 year old kid, haha i felt kind of silly but it worked!! She said that it made sense, and even agreed to come to church this week!! The came and everything, and stayed for all 3 hours!=) Afterwards she told us that she wants to come back next week, I really think that good things could happen with her, especially is she is feeling the spirit.
               This week we did some service for that 80 year old lady, we came early in the morning and chopped some firewood for her, it actually was pretty cool! The sad part is that it was kind of tricky at first, and even afterwards we weren't that good, below our house is another smaller house where this 96 year old lady lives, every morning she is out back chopping firewood like it is no big deal!!! Haha she shows us up, that lady is literally a super human. She can't walk up the stairs to our front door, but she sure can beat us in chopping firewood no joke!

            Earlier in the week we were going around and looking for less actives that live in our area. We found out that one of the members who is super active in our branch has a 22 year old son that has been inactive for 6 years or so, so we decided to go and visit with him. We went and talked for 30 minutes, about sports, and life, and school, etc. We then taught him a quick lesson, we taught him the pool at bethesda. In this story, the sick people wait by the pool until the angel disturbed the water, then the first person who gets into it will be healed. In the story,  there is a man who had been sitting at the side of the pool for 38 years because there was never anyone that would drop him into the pool first. The miracle is that christ came and healed him, but what we were trying to hit on was that that guy literally sat there and waited 38 years, he endured to the end if you ask me. We talked some more about enduring to the end, this whole time the son seemed to be in deep thought. After we had left we weren't sure if our words had really sunk in, but apparently they had because he showed up on sunday!!! Honestly it felt soooooo good to see him there in his dirty old jacket and jeans!!!! We are going to visit him a ton, I hope that he felt the spirit during our little lesson and that he has a desire to endure to the end.

            This week went really well, my comp and I set a personal companionship goal that we would have 10 lessons with members present this week. I am glad to report that our changes are paying off because this week we had 11! Slowly but surely things here are starting to change, it just takes some good faith, which also means action. A lot of investigators are progressing fairly well, the problem is that a lot of them just can't go to church. This stinks because I can literally see it in their eyes that they feel something and that they want to pursue it, it just seems like they always have to work or have other promises that they need to keep. It can get a little frustrating, but the people in this area are known for always working on sundays, nevertheless i do feel like things are improving.

           Well this week was a great week, things are always improving up here, including my health. This week was the first time in my whole mission that I have been sick with the flu, it is passing through our area, but already I feel almost better. Soon we will be going through the temple, I think in like a week or so, and I can't wait! We only get to go through once every 6 months in the mission, haha wow I cant believe its already been such a long time!! I can't wait for that spiritual enrichment that I will get from going through the temple. If you haven't gone to the temple recently, I encourage you to go, it is such a soothing and enriching place! One of the things that I can't wait to do is find and teach and baptize that family here in salcaja that is ready, so that one day they can be sealed together here in the Xela temple! Well this week was great, I love you all! Have an awesome week!

Elder McLeod

2.16.15 Valentines Week!

February 16, 2015

Hey everyone, another week has flown by!!! I hope that everyone had a great Valentines week, up here in the mountains we certainly did!! No but this week was really awesome, a lot of good things are happening up here in Salcaja.รง

              I guess I will start with Kevin. We went to go and teach him again this week and set a baptism date with him. But one question led to another, and soon he was contradicting the bible! We tried to explain things the best that we could, but he ended up with his answer that it is Christs fault that bad things happen to us and that he wants us to sin, how crazy is that!? We actually ended up having to leave him for a little bit, he needs some time to study and pray, and develop a testimony, us fighting with him and trying to teach him is not going to do anyone any good. So in 2 weeks we are going to check back with him, of course we will continue to invite him to church, but we are going to wait 2 weeks before we visit him again.

              This week we had cambios!!!! I was super nervous because I had a 50% chance of switching areas, but I didn't get the call!!=) I am so excited because I get to stay a little bit longer here in my first area, Salcaja! My comp is awesome and things are starting to get rolling here, I am really excited because with the next 6 weeks we might have a couple of baptisms! Elder Flores, the last of the original family of missionaries here in Salcaja leaves tomorrow, I am so lucky that I have the chance to stay here and progress the work. Like my comp said, I didn't have cambios for a reason, there is a reason that I am still here in Salcaja. I know that there are still things that I need to do here in this place, everything happens for a reason.

               This week we had stake conference in Las Rosas, the biggest chapel in our mission!! it is incredibly big, we fit 750 members comfortable, with room to spare!!!! It was a really powerful meeting too, the temple president spoke, and so did our mission president and his wife. The topic was temples, how we have them, but we don't use them. The temple president started off his talk by saying this, ``If you are not attending the temple as often as possibly, you are literally wasting away potential blessings for you and your family.`` When he said this it struck me just how important going to the temple is, not just for the people that we are helping, but for ourselves too. Obviously missionaries don't go to the temple, only once every 6 months, but it was good for the members of our branch to hear and understand. Here in Salcaja, we are the only branch in the whole stake, a branch is smaller than a ward for those who don't know. Our members here are mostly converts and their testimonies aren't very strong, it was good for them to learn more about the temple and how one day they will be able to go through it if they stick to the path. We even had 2 investigators there which was awesome!!! This family of 2 has been assisting pretty regularly, I feel that they could be baptised in the end of February or the beginning of March!!

                 This week as we were walking home one night, we decided to walk a different way to our house. As we did, we ended up seeing an old friend of ours who we talked with for a while. After we did, we continued on our way, when something incredible happened, A man named Willy was leaving a random tienda on the side of the road! This man was a reference that we received from the hermanas in a different city, but we could never contact him, he never answered his phone and we didn't know where he lives!! He was super super nice and excited to see us, he told us that he has been waiting for us to come and visit him! He had switched phone numbers we found out,and that he lives kind of far away but still in our boundaries. We had walked by just in time in order to catch him as he was making his way back home, he had come to buy funeral clothing for a friend of his who had recently passed, and apparently the best stuff is right down the road from our house! It was honestly such a miracle that we happened to walk right into him, if we hadn't gone that way we probably would have never found him!! THis was just a little miracle that we had happen to us this week.

               This week we had dinner again with Hermana Irvine and Claudia, the evangelic family of the Figeroas. We made Papusas, haha they were soooooooooo good!!!! We were able to teach a little bit of the restoration, but we didn't have a ton of time so it was only a little bit. The good thing though is that we are gaining some mad confidence with their family, we are the first missionaries ever that they have invited over for dinner, and they invite us over like 2 times a week!!=) They will probably need a while before they are baptised, maybe even after my comp and I leave the area, but what's important is that the seed is definitely planted, and that the work within their family can now progress.

                 Valentines day was kind of weird here in Salcaja. The people here celebrate it, but it is way bigger in the states. So since I couldn't go on a date or anything, I took my comp out to dinner=) Haha we went out to a good restaurant and got some real authentic mexican food, horchata with tacos and enchiladas mexican style!!! It was a ton of fun, the other elders ended up joining us towards the end and we made a double date out of it. There weren't any heart shaped pancakes or anything in the morning, just the regular stuff, our day was pretty regular too, nothing out of the ordinary.

                  This week we were able to visit a ton of member families and leave with them the future investigator sheets. This next week we will have almost 70 new references!!!! This is more than I have received in the past 4 months combined!! This plan from president Smith really was inspired from on high, a lot of awesome things are going to happen soon, I can feel it. I have a feeling that the work here in Salcaja is getting ready to explode!!

                 This week my understanding of the bible and the book of mormon working together has increased a ton! I love studying and learning more about the bible and its stories, I can't believe that I didn't really study it that much before the mission, it truly testifies of our church being the true church of Christ!!! This week I have been studying Hebrews a lot, Wow the things that can be found in that book! If anyone is looking for a good book to read this week, choose Hebrews, or 1 Corinthians, there is some cool stuff in there, and I promise you that you will not be disappointed!

                   This week was a great week for learning and personal growth. Things are happening up here, slowly but surely, but I know that by the end of this month big things are going to change here in Salcaja=) I love you guys, thanks for everything and I hope that you all have great weeks!!


Elder McLeod

2.9.15 Beginning of February Already!?

February 9, 2015

              Holy cow is it already February?? Dang the time has flown, it really has. I remember day one and now its already like day 130 or something like that. I hope that everyone had an awesome week!! And happy early valentines day!! Well here was my week,

            So this week we did divisions with Elder Bolivar, Elder Amaya, an Elder from Honduras who has like 23.9999 months came down and was my comp. for a day, haha I hope that when I have 23.9999 months that I will be as awesome as him!! It was great, even though it seems like every time we do divisions all of our appointments fall, we ended up contacting a lot of random people and we set a lot of sweet appointments with new people! We even taught some lessons to some member families that are way active, here in Salcaja something that we are recently starting to do is really strengthen the testimonies of the active member families. Here there are some great member families, but most all of the members are converts recently and are struggling with their testimonies. This makes the work kind of difficult, so, we need to strengthen the members testimonies, and that is what we did. It was a good day, we did a lot of good.

            Ok this week a miracle happened................ it wasn't really work related, we now actually have reliable running shower water........ and it is hot!! Honestly though, through the winter showering everyday in freezing cold water practically straight from the river was not fun, it really is such a blessing now to have reliable running water that is warmed up. Since I've been here I have really begun to realize the unnoticed and unappreciated blessings that I have had in my life. Just to not be sick and to not be in pain is such a HUGE blessing. Clean water, running water, and hot water, 3 things that I really took for granted. Having accessible food within reach all day, food that is clean and not contaminated, I could go on and on. This mission has really opened my eyes, it is preparing me hard core for the life ahead, but oh what a blessing it is. I am so thankful that I am out here right now, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!

             This week we taught JuanFran and his wife. They are hard core catholics (like practically everyone else here in Salcaja), but they are super awesome. Before we started the lesson, the wife straight up told us that she respects us, but that she knows her religion is true and that she WILL not change, haha challenge accepted!! The lesson went really awesome and the spirit was super strong, I could tell that Juanfran was feeling it, his wife was super quiet, I hope that she actually felt something too. At the end she shot a ton of things at us like, the catholic church was started by Pedro, the catholics bless babies 40 days after birth like they do in the bible, and something about Mary Magdalene. But, we were able to defend and testify against all of her attacks........ using her own bible!!=) It went really well and the spirit was way strong, I feel that if the wife will open up her heart that she will feel it too.

             My comp is awesome. End of story. He knows how to make better doughnuts than krispy kreme from scratch, ya this week we made stinkin doughnuts!!! Haha on Thursday we made doughnuts with the Figueroa's and the wifes super evangelical family, it actually went really well and we definitely have the love of the family now! We have been trying to teach them for some weeks now, but now after Thursday, we have a lesson with them tonight actually! They had so much fun with us that they invited us back Sunday night to do it again with them!=) Haha what a great way to get the love of your investigators, make doughnuts with them!!!=) They are a family of about 4 and the youngest is 18, this family I would love to be able to share the gospel with, and tonight thankfully we will have that chance.

            This week my testimony was strengthened concerning the church of Jesus Christ. This week I learned for me personally that there is only one church on the earth right now that is structured the same, and that does all of the same ordinances in the same way that the church of christ did them in the bible. I honestly know without a doubt that this church is true!!! The evidence is there in the scriptures, and everytime I testify about it I feel the spirit so strongly, I KNOW it is true!! This week I really noticed how different, but correct, our beliefs are in our church. Many people tell us every day that it doesnt matter what church they are a part of, all that matters is that they believe and follow christ. The people here are very confused, but that is why we are here, because we know the truth, and we want to share this truth with as many people as we can. It is like Lehis vision, the tree of life. After he discovered and tasted of the fruit and knew of its truth, he immediately shared it with other people. Or like Enos, after gaining a testimony of Jesus Christ and the power of the atonement, he immediately began to pray for his brotheren, and even his enemies the lamanites. I love that my job right now for the next 20 months is to find those that are ready for this ``fruit`` that I have discovered, and then share it with them=) Of course there is opposition, there is opposition in everything, but only because we need it. When Juanfrans wife began to testify to us of what she thought was docrtine, I had the greatest opportunity to bear my testimony to her of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes I used some scriptures because the scriptures will teach better than me every time, but I was able to testify to her of my perfect knowledge that without a doubt, I know that the church of Jesus Christ is true. The spirit was there, and it testified, to everyone in the room. Even if she doesn't accept what she felt, it was such an awesome testimony building experience for me.

                This week we were able to be a part of a different step in the corte making process! We went and were able to dye the huge ``labors`` or bundles of corte strands, and then hang them up to dry! It was actually pretty cool, we took pictures, but I don't have them yet so I will probably send them next week. It was way cool though, all of the different colors, probably more than 20, all hanging up on crisscrossing wires up on the roof of a house in order to dry, it was a really cool experience, and it was a good way to get more comfortable with another family of investigators. If you haven't noticed by now, we are teaching a lot more to find families in Salcaja, this is something that the President told us to do in our last conference with him.

                 This week was another tough week, since the college started up and the people here continue to work all day everyday, a ton of our appointments fell through. But, we pray everyday that we will be able to find the people who are ready, and also in order to find the lost sheep. The work is continuing up here in Salcaja Guatemala. We are working hard and are staying busy, things are starting to change. I love all of you, thank you so much for all of your support, love you all, have a great Valentines week!!

With Love,

Elder McLeod

2.3.15 Another Week!

February 3, 2015

Hey everybody how's it going! I hope that you all had a great week! I hope that everyone is in good health and that life moving along just as good or even better than last week. This week was very interesting, I definitely learned a lot. The mission is preparing me for the life ahead of me, haha sometimes it may be harder than we want, but we need opposition! (2 nephi 2. 11)

           We had another 2 lessons with Kevin this week, he is progressing, but he still hasn't received his spiritual witness yet. This is the toughest part, he reads all day and prays about it, but he still hasn't received his answer yet. We pray for him every single day, now its up to him and the promise in Moroni 10.

           This week we were supposed to have a baptism on Saturday, our first, but because of very weird circumstances, the baptism fell, and I am not sure if you will be baptized while I am here in this area. We are praying for her every day and hoping that things will work out in the end, the goal is that she is baptized, I just hope that  if she isn't baptized while we are here, that she will still end up being baptized. That was pretty hard, she has been our investigator for 2 months now and she was progressing so well, she was so close. But, we all need opposition and we all need to learn. In the Book of Mormon, all of the prophets we brought down super low right before they were brought up really high, always they were humbled and left with practically nothing right before a huge miracle occurred. This week has really been a really valuable week of learning, and I wouldn't have changed a thing.

             This week, actually yesterday, I had to take a trip down to the capital to sign my visa to be here in the country. That is why I didn't email yesterday, and why I am doing it now. In the capital we actually ate Wendys, haha holy cow was it heaven!! I havent had a burger and fries like that since Carls Junior back in Gilbert AZ!!!! The trip was fun, it is a 4 hour bus ride through the mountains to get there, and 4 hours back. We stayed in a hotel over night there in the capital (2 other elders and I), It was cool getting to know some other elders that have about the same time as I do.

            This week was tough, a lot of lessons fell through, but the lessons that were taught went pretty well. Our investigators are progressing, but it seemed like this week that everyone kinda stopped for some reason, haha Satan knows that we are so close with so many people, he is trying so hard! But we keep working, and I know that if we have faith and don't let our struggles or failures let us down,we will succeed. The work is progressing up here, slowly but surely. I love you all, thank you all for all that you do, you are the best.

Elder McLeod