Quetzaltenango Guatemala

Quetzaltenango Guatemala

7.27.15 Another week of miracles, and a surprise........?

July 27, 2015

Hey everyone it's already the end of July!!! That means 10 months down, I can't believe I've already been here that long but it's the truth. So changes are this next week, the next time I email you guys we will know who is staying and who is going, I already have 5 months here in this area so everyone thinks I am gone, but we will see. Ya so like the title of the email says, this week we had some pretty cool experiences, and there is a little surprise at the end=) enjoy

             I guess I will start with one of the really cool spiritual experiences. SO this week Elder Caal and I went back to visit the family Quiem, if you don't know who they are, they are a family of 3 investigators that live a little above our house. So when we went and knocked on the door, Rolando answered. Now I don't think that you guys know who Rolando is, he was a guy that Elder Cano and I contacted one down walking down the street. Elder Cano and I were going out to a lesson but on the way we were contacting. While we were walking down the street he told me that he was still pretty scared to contact (it was still pretty early on in his training), So I told him that the next guy who turns the corner we will contact so that he could get more practice. So, turns out that Ronaldo was the first person that turned the corner, so we contacted him. The next night we taught him the restoration and he agreed to read the book of mormon. Truth is, I hadn't seen him since that night, more than 2 months ago. So....... Rolando answered the door, he is part of the Quiem family, but he lives in Xela, he was just here visiting. So he let us in and sat us down, then he started to tell us what had happened to him in the past 2 months. He started off by saying that the day we had contacted him in the street he had been dealing with a lot of things in his life. Here are the things that he said we're going on,

He had 2    $5,000 fines
His wife had put a restraining order on him
He was struggling with alcohol
The judge was going to throw him in jail the next day because of the lateness of his fines

                He then continued to say that when we was walking down  the street that day he was on the verge of tears, just completely miserable and didn't know what to do............ Until we showed up=) He told us that when we had visited him that night in his house he felt something super different and good! After we left that night, he had prayed to God to see if what we teach is the truth or not, he prayed over us and the book of mormon. The next day, he got a call from the judge telling him that he was not going to go to prison. His wife lifted the restraining order. The fines were pardoned. And he had NO desire to go and drink. While he was telling us everything that happened he was crying, he said that thanks to us his life had been COMPLETELY changed in 24 hours. It was stinking powerful!!!!!! He then proceeded to tell us that he and his wife had been reading the book of mormon together, and that they had written down a TON of questions of a sheet of paper for us to answer................. um if you've served a mission you know that this never happens. Ya so in the 2 months that he wasn't here in Cantel and he didn't have a phone, our prayers were being answered, and I didn't even know it. It literally was a miracle, something I will never forget. Its truly something special when someone tells you to your face in tears that you changed their life. Words just can't explain

              So this week my comp and I went to visit Noemi, but in the next paragraph I will talk about her. When we got there, her 6 or 7 cousins attacked us and wanted to take a thousand pictures with us=) Haha I attached some  of them below, super awesome kids, super dirty, but just the funniest kids ever!!

              Ok so Noemi, she was our other miracle this week. So the week before, we challenged her to read the book of mormon again, and we made her the promise that President Smith made us, If you read the book of mormon and pray about it with a true intention for 10 days, you WILL receive your answer. So we made her that promise and left it at that. So... this week we came back to visit her, and to our great surprise, she had taken the challenge!!! She started on Wednesday, and we visited her on Saturday, so she was already in day!!! She told us that as she reads and prays, she continues to feel awesome, she feels the spirit and knows that it is good stuff. So I asked her if she had received her answer, and this is what she told me
I know that what you guys teach is true, I read it and pray about it, it all makes sense, and I feel the spirit every time that I read and pray. THis stuff is true.

                what!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!! Day 4 and she admits that it is true!!!! What a huge miracle!! She came to church sunday of course, and she even told a member that she is ready to get baptized!!!!!!!!!!! Her baptism date is the first of august, what an answer to our countless prayers!!!!!! So this week we are going to go into overdrive to get her ready in time, there is still a lot she hasn't been taught but the most important thing is that she knows that whatever we teach her is true=) So the changes are this next tuesday, and my chances are huge for leaving, so we are going to make sure that she is prepared for this saturday, I pray that everything goes according to plan, it would be the perfect ending to a 4 month battle with this girl=)

               Updates on our companionship, we are getting over being sick, what a blessing it is to just be normal, with health. He is now 19 and is not a little kid=) haha i joked with him a lot, now i have to find something else to joke about. We have ordered pizza 3 times in the past 1.5 months, more than I have in the other 8.5 months of my mission his english is getting better and my spanish is getting a little better

                   This week I had the chance to do divisions again with the elders of Chikilaja, but this time I was with elder dilley. It was awesome because I had the chance to visit his investigator that has a baptism date for this saturday, he is progressing well and it looks like this saturday will be his big day. If everything goes according to plan, every companionship in our district will be baptizing this week!! Haha we are only 2 companionships, but ya doesn't matter. It was super fun cuz we ended the night having the greatest bible study you could ever image, good times in the mish.

          The surprise.    So something awesome that I learned this week is that their is a little village in our area called Almalonga. Ok, so I've never really heard a ton about this village that's way out there, but this week I heard something crazy from the members that blew my mind, Almalonga is the city that Alma the younger established............. ya mind blown! The members of the stake's high council told us, I knew we were in the lands of the book of mormon, but I never would have thought that MY area specifically included ancient book of mormon prophet cities, ya it's sick, best mission ever.

                  Well this week was a super awesome week of teaching people who are truly ready to receive the gospel. We also did divisions, visited a mayan altar in the jungle, ate MORE pizza, learned a ton, prayed even more, and studied the scriptures like no one else. It was an awesome week, definitely going to take up some space in my journal. The blessings have been pouring in, we have been so blessed to be able to see the people here progress and start to accept the gospel into their lives. I love the mission, and I know it's true when I say that I am in the best mission in the world, I am here teaching the Lamanites thousands of years after the ancient book of mormon prophets did, that's pretty special. Love you all, keep the faith, don't forget to say those prayers, but do it like the prophet daniel and say at least one in the morning, afternoon, and night. Love you all, 

Hasta ver

Elder McLeod

7.20.15 A big week of little miracles

July 20, 2015

Well it's been a really quick 7 days! The 4th of July seemed like it was yesterday but it's already been 2 full weeks.............. dang. Well things here in Cantel are getting interesting, I guess i'm gonna just start

           I'm gonna start with my comps bday. It was today actually, we got to go to Salcaja and do a BBQ with the zone as our ¨once a change¨ zone activity!It was so sweet, while we were there we actually got to play basketball, latinos and gringos, haha it really wasn't fair=) It was a super fun day and it's not even over, we are planning on celebrating tonight with a basketball game with some members and then we are ordering pizza up into the mountains again!!!

            So this week I got to do divisions with the zone leaders which was sick. His name is Elder Williamson, he is from Utah, and he is pretty darn cool. He came up here into the mountains with me in Cantel. It was pretty cool getting to see how the zone leaders do their stuff, they are stinkin smart! He is a super funny guy so we had a great time teaching, contacting, and walking to lessons together. Towards the end of our divisions, him and I were able to put 2 more baptism dates!!! Read the next paragraph and I'll explain

              Ya so Elder Williamson and I put baptism dates with Dilma and her daughter!!! Their date is for the 22nd of August, they are reading and praying every day, they are coming to church, could it be that they will receive testimonies?? Heck yes!!!! They are doing all of the right things, when we got there to teach them and we asked if we could start with a prayer, Dilma the mom who is 8 months pregnant  immediately got on her knees and invited us to do the same=) Haha we were going to do it too......... haha just shows you how badly she wants to know if the church is true=)

              This week we started teaching the guy named Jovanny who is 19 years old. He is a friend of almost all of the youth in the branch which is awesome. We started out by asking him questions and these are some of the things that he told us.  

I do not assist any church, I don't know what the true church is!
I  like your church
I know that God will answer me
I want to be baptized this week

          He didn't say the last one, but all the others he did indeed say! We taught him almost all of the restoration and he accepted to pray and ask god if it was true. He is positive, but we will see what happens with him this week, he has already come to church one time with a member, hopefully we comes with us this week.

             So this week we lost water to our house for 2 full days which was a little weird. Haha the water came out of the sink and shower literally black........... it was nasty but it's whatever in a 3rd world country. Luckily it came back on, showering is glorious

           Something that I learned this week that blew my mind during personal study. So I was recently thinking, why don't we earn money in our callings in the church? Why does every other church have paid ministers, but ours doesn't? Well, before I told President that we should start to get paid, I went to the bible, and I found some pretty amazing stuff! 1 thessalonians 2.  8-9, study it and realize that the apostles didn't just teach the gospel, but they really loved the people. They worked JOBS OUTSIDE OF THE CHURCH day and night so that they could preach without receiving money, they didn't get paid for teaching ladies and gentleman.   Now look up 1 corinthians 9.  18. Paul is teaching, he says that his reward is not money, he doesn't charge money because he isn't going to try to use his power as the preacher to do wrong. Well, I guess that missionaries won't be earning money any time soon.......... haha but that's how it should be.

              This week an investigator in Zunil that had a baptism date called us and totally bailed out on us, he is moving, he doesn't want anything to do with us, he is done. It was a shocker and pretty tough, and couldn't have come at a worse time. Its tough, but it only makes us want to work harder to actually find someone who is READY for the gospel in their life. I know that we will find that person, maybe even this week if we show enough faith.

            Well if I were to give you all a little inspiration for the week, it would be, gain God's confidence. Just think about what that really means for a second. He is all powerful and knows all, he CAN do all, but only does all when we EARN it. According to how much confidence he has in us to do his will, he will bless us with everything that we need. So, do we really have God's confidence? Just think about it, then go out and earn it=)   I love you guys, have a stinkin awesome week, almost 10 months down!!

hasta ver

Elder McLeod

7.13.15 Wait its already been another week..............

July 13, 2015

It's already been another week........... crazy! The time is flying up here in the mountains, I already have 4.5 months here in this village called cantel................ dang thats insane!! This past week a lot of really awesome stuff happened to us and we really experienced the power of prayer! I'm gonna jump into it
                So quick miracle update, Hector Mendez is back in the game!! You probably didn't know that he wasn't progressing, but ya for about 2 months he didn't talk to us and was never in his house............. but something crazy happened! We were praying all week for a miracle, or at least for a little bit of help, recently our area has gotten harder and harder, and we have been having a little bit of trouble here in Cantel. So we started to pray specifically to have something happen so that we would be able to continue teaching some of our less positive investigators. So like I said, we haven't talked to Hector in 2 months, but during the closing hymn in sacrament meeting, I look to the back of the chapel (like 50 feet back) and there sitting in a chair is Hector!!!! I did the biggest double take of my life, haha no joke! After the meeting I went and talked to him, this is what he told me, (The whole week is for working, but Sunday is for God, this is where I am going to be, I will be here every sunday, I promise) Ya my mind melted, almost cried. He stayed all 3 hours and loved it, he is now back to progressing with a baptism date for the 1st of August!!!! Super stoked, my comp and I were so excited, it was a miracle, God answers prayers!!

                So this week we did divisions with the Elders in Chikilaha. For those who don't know, divisions is when we change areas for 24 hours so that we can make sure that there are good things happening in their area and then help them in any way possible, it is such a blast. We had a couple of cool experiences while we were in Chiki, the first family we visited had a little girl that was sick in bed, she is 5 years old and named stephany, she had this little cough and apparently she is super sick, so she asked us for a blessing, literally the cutest little guatemalan girl in the world!!! We ended up getting a lot of doors slammed in our faces which was different in comparison with Cantel. We had a bunch of sick lessons which was cool, but the craziest p├írt was that for dinner we had nice sandwiches with AMERICAN A&W ROOT BEER!!!! ya the first time in 9 months that's happened to me, it was the greatest thing i've ever tasted. might been an addict now which isnt good, its a good thing that in Cantel that stuff doesn't exist.

                  So this week Noemi came to church for 2 hours which was awesome, and she brought her nephews!! In all they were about 5, but she was the oldest, the others were about 11 years old. But ya, she came to church which was awesome, we learned about the priesthood and the authority of God, she seemed pretty intrigued by this topic. IT was cool because she totally believes that what we taught made perfect sense, but in her evangelic church they do it in a completely different way. The only problem with her is that she isn't reading and praying.,...... it's a struggle with her, but we will keep fighting!!

                   Doris is progressing, and big things are happening with her. She really wants to be baptized, but she doesn't want to leave her loser boyfriend, it's a tough situation, but i think that she is close to a decision. This past week we visited her and talked about praying and reading the scriptures in order to find an answer to our prayers. It hit her hard i think, before she was just thinking and trying to make the decision personally, but now she is going to ask of the Lord, I feel that she is going to get an answer.

                   Alright something that will give you all a good laugh, one night we were passing a little store on the side of the street, and this little guy came flying out towards us!! He wanted to shake our hands and talk, even though he doesn't really speak spanish,just gibberish. Se we talked to him, and then took some pics with him!=) Haha I attached some pics below, but we ended up passing him again the next night, and yet again he came flying out super excited to see us............. and show us his new tie!! Haha he had put on a tie just to show us that he wanted to look like us=) Haha this guy is awesome and super super short, but really the people in general here would be legal midgets in the US.

                    This week wasn't that awesome of a week numbers wise, but miracles wise it was great=) IT was a really tough week, but it ended perfectly with an answer to our prayers, Hector is back in the game! I know that God listens to our prayers! He really has been watching out for us, we are so blessed to be in this little branch of about 60 active members! I love the mission and the midget people here, haha the culture, the food, the corte, everything is so cool, I have the best mission ever!

Keep the faith, love you all, have an awesome week!

Elder McLeod

ps, this guy only goes up to my plaque!!

7.6.15 4th of July!!!

July 6, 2015

Wow the 4th of July is already done and gone!!!! What an exciting 4th of july week it was, I hope that all of the celebrations and the fireworks were awesome! Here they obviously don't celebrate American holidays, so my comp and I decided that we were going to do something crazy............... we ordered pizza from the city to our little village up in the mountains!! Haha we feasted with dominos 5 meat pizza and cinnamon/icing sticks=) Probably the best dinner I've had in 9 months, so ya it was a great 4th of July! But besides the 4th of July, we had another great week up here in the mountains doing missionary stuff,

       Pablo perez is doing well, this guy is a stud, 14 years old and he works 2 jobs, he works in the corn fields during the day, then repairing shirts and suits at night!! He is a stud, but he almost never has time which stinks, but he is reading and praying which is awesome=) He is in the stage now of where he needs to continue to pray and ask God and he will receive his answer, this guy is such a stud I know that it is gonna happen!!! The problem is that he didn't come to church this week because he had to work in the corn field, but this next week He is definitely coming to church with us!

           Ok so some things have happened with Maryvella. She is ready to be baptized, she has a testimony, she wants to be baptized so bad, she is 19, BUT, her dad is super catholic and scares her to where she can't come to church. So, we need to figure out how to take out the dad........ naw just kidding=) We have tried talking with him but he doesn't want to talk, we also told Mary Ella that she can do what she wants, she is over age, but since she lives in the same house as her dad, she feels that she "has to" obey his rules. It's a tough situation, We have been praying for her a ton and fasting, It is tough because she is ready, just her dad is getting in the way 10 days before her baptism. We have hope and we will continue to pray, Miracles happen.

          Caesar is progressing well, he just isn't coming to church!!! We keep having kick butt lessons with this guy, but he just always has a super tough excuse for why he can't come to church. He continues to read and learn, this week he read Lehi's vision and had a billion questions which was awesome, we also talked about how to recognize the spirit, he has been feeling things, he just doesn't understand that it's the spirit. I have a feeling that it is about to click soon, he is doing all the things that he needs to to receive an answer except go to church, we will continue to pray for this guy and fight to bring him to church!!

         We had a breakthrough with Lucky this week! We just sat down and tried to find her needs.............. and we found her needs after about an hour! By the end, everyone was crying, we finally hit what we needed to hit so that she could understand, for 3 years the missionaries couldn't figure her out, until now!!! I know that now she will start to read and pray, because now she feels that it is a necessity, not just a good idea or something cool. I feel big things for her in the future, deep down she really just wants an eternal family=)

          So we got a really crazy call this week, an investigator named Eveline has been praying and reading every night, and called us to tell us that she received her answer!!! She seemed excited over the phone so we were super stoked, but when we got to her house she completely killed our excitement. We asked her how her prayers went and what was the answer that she received. She told us that she read and prayed and felt good, but when she went to bed she had a dream. In her dream, her dead grandma visited her and told her that because she was considering being baptized into the mormon church, she was making fun of the catholic church, and committing a huge sin. Wow, what a crappy dream!!!!! So we talked the whole time about dreams and answers and the spirit, but she told us that she had received her answer. WE WILL KEEP FIGHTING!!! by the end of the lesson she told us that she would keep on reading and praying, but she seemed pretty unexcited........... Satan is fighting so hard to try and keep her bound!! I know that once she is a member, she will be one of the best members on the planet, that is why satan is trying so desperately to keep her in his grasp. We won't give up on her, she was super positive before, she will continue to progress as long as she reads and prays with real intent!

       This week was a week of ups and downs and you can see, but really the mission is like that. I saw a taught from Jeffrey R Holland this week and he talked about why missionary work is so hard. He said something that really stuck with me, he said,,,  Why is missionary work so hard?? why can't it just be easy, after all it is the lord's work? Well here's the answer, if it wasn't easy for Jesus Christ, how can it possibly be easier for us??? It is hard because salvation is not a cheap experience!!   When I read that quote it really struck me, dang that is so true, this mission is easy..... haha it's not easy, but in comparison to the mission of Jesus Christ it's a piece of cake. That talk keeps me energized and excited to work hard every single day, I know that it is the Lord's work, and I love that it is a challenge.

        This church is so true it's not even funny. And if  you aren't so sure, read James 1. 5, follow the directions, and know for yourself. Love you guys, keep the faith, Have awesome weeks

Elder McLeod