Quetzaltenango Guatemala

Quetzaltenango Guatemala

8.31.15 One month in Calvario

August 31, 2015

Well it's been another great week up here in the mountains of HueHuetenango. This week marks the 1 month mark of me being here in my new area, The time is starting to fly by, officially tomorrow i complete 11 months in the mission, almost 1 year.............. crazy. I need to get my nastiest shirt picked out and ready for the 1st of October (if you are an X missionary you know what sacred missionary ritual I am talking about). This week was a super eventful week for my comp and I, a lot of great things happened, we also had some sick adventures!
           Well i'll just get it out there, Oscar is officially gone, we don't know if he is even alive right now. He hasn't returned to his house in over 2.5 weeks, so he has been straight wasted walking the streets in other parts of HueHue. It is super sad, we thought that he had changed, but addictions to stuff like that you just can't break in a matter of 3 weeks. If we can find him, we will try to help him, but since he left he has been completely out of our area limits so we can't go and search for him. i hope that in the future we will be able to help him again, we really felt like it was his time, but now only time will tell.

           So this week we did some awesome service projects my comp and I, we went out to go and ``cut mountain``. Its when the people just get so lazy and decide that picking weeds it dumb, they then decide it would be a better idea to just whip out the machetes and call the elders to come and cut down their weeds for them until it looks like they have a grass lawn. So for 2 hours on Saturday we went to a member's house to go ``cut mountain``, it's not the most interesting service, but my comp and I made a game out of it and it ended up being really fun. The best part was how happy the members were after we were done, they even gave us breakfast!! (one egg each and once peace of bread, with an oatmeal drink called atol).

           This week Alejandro came to another young single adults activity which he loved, he is so excited about the church, his only problem is that he works sunday mornings and his boss is not a very friendly guy. But we will keep trying with him, he is an awesome guy that we love teaching! He is so susceptible to the spirit which is great.

           As a district we went up to a place this morning called Rio San Juan, it's the birthplace of a huge river up in the mountains. So what happens is that when you follow a river upstream, you will eventually get to where the river begins, which in this case it literally comes out from the side of a mountain from under a huge, flat, circular rock. We went and did a barbeque lunch, it was super good because the sisters from Nicaragua and Mexico marinated the meat the day before=) It was super fun, it even started raining super lightly so that it was refreshing while we were eating our lunch.

           Random stuff that happened this week,

 We went on divisions with our district leaders, It was cool to meet and teach some of their progressing investigators with them, and also to see how their areas are and bond a little bit
 My comp got attacked by a pit bull!! But he didn't get bit, the backpack of a missionary is          literally a shield
 It actually rained a lot and we got soaked walking through the streets, the rain here is cold
 We found 3 new families this week!

          We have been having a lot of little miracles here in Calvario, we are loving the mission so much the time is just flying by. I have really come to love the people here and the culture, i always loved the food so don't worry, but here I am feeling so at home! I know that great things are going to happen here in Calvario, we just need to keep doing what we are doing. I hope that you guys have a great week, the church is true 100%, and if you aren't 100% sure, pray about it! Love you guys, hope to hear from you soon

Hasta ver,

Elder McLeod

8.24.15 Wow a week of little miracles!!

August 24, 2015

Hey everyone, yep it's already been a whole week since the last time we talked. Hope you had an awesome week of preseason NFL football, highschool football (i think), and everything else that is amazing about America. Up here in Huehuetenango we are loving it! Every day is super challenging, but we are making the best out of it and sure enough the Lord is blessing us.
            This week we had an awesome experience with a guy named Alejandro. THis guy just got out of jail in new mexico and is now back here where he is from. He speaks almost perfect english, and he really wants to change his life around. So this last week we had an awesome lesson with him. we were able to take him to the church building to show him around a bit, and then teach him a lesson. While we were showing him the church he just kept telling us how good he felt and how beautiful the church was, like  in every room. So then we taught him the restoration in a small class room and he was stellar, he asked the best questions ever. AFter we taught the great apostasy we asked him, so after a long period of time like this, if you were GOd, what would you do first? And this was his response, I would call a prophet, then give him the power, then call apostles, then I would talk to them................... um i've never heard a more perfect answer!!! Then told us during the lesson too that he wanted to be baptized, we literally had to tell him to calm down a bit=) Haha there is a lot to learn and KNOW first before you just get dunked! So after we taught him, it turned out that there was a young single adult activity in the chapel with a TON of food and cool stuff, so we brought Alejandro in to meet some people. Everyone loved him and gave him food and talked to him, it was a miracle!!!! We stayed there for like 45 minutes, and Alejandro loved every single second of it! As we were leaving, he wouldn't stop telling us how he absolutely loved the lesson, the church, and the people! He is golden, now we just need to get him to stop working on sunday.
               THis week we got to go to the temple in Xela! A 2 hour bus ride through the mountains with our whole zone, it was such a blast! The temple was such a beautiful experience, but most importantly I ended up LEARNING a ton, i had a lot of good time to ponder, pray, and learn, it was just what i needed. it was an awesome experience, too bad we only get to do it 2 times a year, dang this is my second time i'm so old!
               This week we went as a zone to the ruins of Zaculehu!!! THey are ancient lamanite ruins here up in the mountains like 10 minutes by bus from where we live! Literally it is super close and epic, we even brought a little bit of home with us to the ancient temples, look at the pics below!! Merica
               So this week something really sad happened, Oscar, our investigator that was progressing so well, fell back into alcohol. It was so devastating, he was addicted for 15 years, and he hadn't drank in about a month, when we started visiting him, but now we need to slow down and address the situation well, he was supposed to get baptized this saturday, the plans have been changed a little bit. We are working hard on him, no importa  how long it takes!! Noemi from Cantel got baptized 4 months after we started with her, we shall not give up!!!
                   I weighed myself today, it looks like i've gone up about 10 pounds, still not where i was before the mish, but definitely a lot healthier. We are so blessed to be here in Calvario right now, we love the area, the people, and the food so much!!! I honestly am loving where i am at right now and what i am doing. My comp is awesome, him and I don't have to worry about too much now we can just kick it into gear and kill it! I love the feeling i get after a lesson when the investigator starts off by saying, i was born catholic and i will die catholic, and then 5 minutes later he says, well then which church is the true church that jesus christ organized?! I love it, absolutely love it. I also love you all so don't worry, everything is good, the time is flying, next week i will have more stories about investigators i promise!! love ya, thanks for all your prayers!!
Keep the faith, keep on praying!

Elder McLeod

8.17.15 A cool surprise on sunday

August 17, 2015

Hey everybody how's it going! This last week was literally a rollercoaster of emotions, good and bad, but mostly good. I am finally starting to get adjusted to Calvario a littler bit, something that I love here is that everyone gives us AMAZING FOOD! The members here have a little bit of puac (money in Quiche) so they always spoil us which is awesome, literally a first for me in the mission. The downside is that working super hard and eating a ton of good food gets your legs strong, but leaves you with no time to work out so everything starts to get a little fat, but i can focus on that stuff in 14 months.
              OK so i'll start off by talking about this week as a whole, it started off amazing, lots of visits, lots of new investigators, and lots of member support. But when we hit thursday, that's when the roller coaster began. Haha literally satan was on steroids this week cuz NOBODY was home for their visit from the missionaries. So that was pretty tough, walking in the heat all day but with practically no one to visit, but on Sunday things got better. So we have this investigator that we started teaching last week whose name is Oscar. Oscar is like 45 years old, single, and has had an alcohol problem for most of his life, leaving his brain a little damaged. When we teach him we have to repeat everything like 5 times so that he will understand it, but when he does understand it he tells us that is true. He really wants to change his life, he wants to give up alcohol and start working again so that he can sustain himself, right now he lives with his niece and she doesn't let him leave the house because if he does, he comes back a little tipsy. So, he came to church last week which was awesome. But this week he also came to church................. in church shoes, dress pants, a white button up shirt, and a tie that we had to tie for him!!!!! It was awesome, as we walked into the building, all of the members kinda stared at him and smiled, we didn't tell him to dress like that, he just wanted to! He was evangelic from the start, so after every talk or prayer in sacrament meeting he would yell out AMEN or JESHUA!!!! ( which is Jesus in the language of Israel apparently) Super funny guy, makes me laugh. He has a baptism date for the 29th of august, on sunday he told us that if he is alive and if God allows him, he will be baptized on that day, haha again he makes me laugh. So here is the best part, we have to stay with him always because his family is still afraid that he will escape and return drunk, so after church he was talking with all the members outside of the building, when suddenly he disappeared!!! We were so scared, we thought that he had gone to go drink, we called his house and he wasn't there, and the members had no clue where he had gone. ABout 3 hours later he returned to his house.................... completely sober, with his book of mormon in hand, and a huge jug of water in the other for his family, haha he passed the test!!!!! He is our most positive investigator right now, but by next day we are praying that we will be able to find more people.
                        So this week we met John Lennon. If you aren't familiar with who John Lennon is, then you don't know who the beatles are, and you don't know music whatsoever.  Ya, so obviously it wasn't the actual John Lennon, but it was his identical twin, literally this guy looks EXACTLY like John Lennon when he had his hair super straight and to his shoulders with his big round black sunglasses on. This guy is super hippy, his whole life is music and probably a little bit of marijuana, and he justs walks the streets all day and plays his acoustic guitar, he isn't homeless, that's just what he likes to do. Well we got to talking to John Lennon in the park a couple of days ago, and he was preaching to us about how people nowadays are robbing the tithing of the churches and how offerings should not be for the church leaders, but for God to uses to bless other people, this guy was spot on! So we explained in about 20 the organization of the church and how it is sustained by tithing and the system that goes with it, also we explained offerings. I think we blew his musical mind, he was agreeing with us after every word. Today he might be moving back to where he is from to look for work, but if he doesn't we are going to continue teaching John Lennon and maybe even have a jam sesh with him.
              THis week we contacted a billion people, and we actually found a couple of really positive people. As I explained before, we didn't get to visit them, but this next week we are going to do it for sure. Ok big news, tomorrow we are going to the temple!!!! I am super stoked,  we only do it every 6 months, this will be my 2nd trip in the mish. We have to leave at 6 in the morning to get down to Xela in time, but it will definitely be fun! Also, next monday we are going as a zone to the lamanite ruins of Zaculeu!!! Im super pumped for that too, here in my zone there are lamanite ruins, but these ruins are the biggest in the whole mission! They are ancient temples from the times of the nephites/ lamanites, i will send pics next week for sure.
                     I know that this letter is small, but these past 2 weeks here have been nose to the grindstone. We are working hard, having fun, and seeing the blessings. Im sure that next week i will have more to talk about, this week we are going to kill it. I love you all, hope you all have an awesome week, from little things great things come to pass, so read those scriptures and say your prayers, they are more important than we think.

Love you all, hasta ver

Elder McLeod

8.10.15 New week, New area, New comp

August 10, 2015

Hey everyone!!! Hope you all had an awesome first week of august, and for the cousins, the last week of summer break=) Sorry, love you guys! So like the title of my email says, A lot happened to me this week, Sorry I’ll start with confirming the baptism of Noemi=)

          So sunday after church, Noemi told me that she was ready to be baptized and that she wanted me to baptize her, sweet!! So we got everything ready, scheduled the interview, filled the font, and went to bed super happy and nervous. So monday, after I emailed you guys, we went down to the church to get everything all ready to go. Noemi arrived to her baptism at 8 pm and not at 6.30, but that's ok because the members got there at 7.45 ish so it all worked out here in chapinlandia=) (you won't understand that joke if you never have been to Guatemala sorry)
           The baptism was awesome, probably one of the coolest experiences that i have had in the mission so far. Everything went smooth, no double baptism or anything=) Previously I had invited her to bear her testimony after being baptized, so after she got all changed and everything, she bore her testimony in front of the 35 plus members that were present. What a powerful testimony that girl has!!! AFterwards the bishop had me stand up and bear my testimony, and then break the news that I was going to have changes the next morning. It was super sad, I was emotional, a bunch of members were emotional, it was an emotional night. I really felt God's love when I was putting on my white shirt and white tie, my eyes watered up, and I was literally on the verge of bawling out of happiness, haha if you haven't served a mission it's hard to really understand the emotions that I was feeling. So ya she got baptized, and the following morning she came and knocked at our door at 6 in the morning to say goodbye one last time. It was super sad, but at the same time I felt so much joy to have been the missionary that **changed her life forever.** Never going to forget Her or that night, I love cantel and the people there, and i feel like i accomplished my purpose there in Cantel on my last night.

           So ya I had changes, we are now in Huehuetenango, about 2.5 hours north of Cantel. My area is now super small, our area is comprised of about 7 streets, and we are in a ward of 175 that attend every sunday!!!!=) Everyone is either member or less active haha, it's a little tough but we are working tough. My comps name is Elder Chavez, he is from chiwawa Mexico, but he is from the mormon colonies and speaks perfect english so he is practically gringo=)  We are working really hard together, harder than ever! We are opening the area so we literally know no one haha, but in one week we were able to accomplish a lot of things which was great. the area book had thick dust on it, the elders who were here before us died here (it was their last change in the mission) haha so really we are starting from scratch here=) This week we were able to bring an investigator to church which was such a blessing, the members were really excited to get involved in the work when they saw that we had brought a new friend with us. Everyone here is catholic and very stuck in their traditions which is different for me, but I am learning every day, and we are trying different tactics.

         I know this email is super short in comparison to how my emails are usually, but we don't have a ton of time, plus we don't have a ton of investigators since we are starting from zero. Next week I will have a lot more to talk about I promise, I love you all!! Have an awesome week, and dad I hope you had the greatest birthday ever!!! Love ya bro, stay young!! (only 40 for the 10th time=) Thanks for all the help and support, hope all is well at home and that your birthday was sweet! I'll send pics of the baptism of Noemi if I can get them from my old comp. Love you all, hope to hear from you soon,  keep the faith!

with love,

Elder McLeod

8.3.15 Wow even bigger miracles exist...........

August 3, 2015

Well this week ridiculous!!! A lot of people didn't accept us into their houses, there was some crazy rain, and a lot of investigators weren't in their houses. NOW, here are all the good things that happened.

              This week we received an awesome reference from the other elders in our district! They were in Xela for health stuff when they contacted this sick family who ended up living within my area!! They live pretty far, like 30 minutes by bus from our house, but tuesday we went out to go and find the house. So we went out and got to a point where we didn't know where we were, we were 30 minutes from the house, and we didn't have a phone number for this family, we only knew the name of his city. So i tell my comp, we should get off the bus and ask here in this little store. So we ask, and it turns out we were in the city of the family. So we went to the next store and asked if they knew where the right sector was, they didn't. So we went to the third store and asked, but this time I asked if they knew the family by name. The guys response was awesome, he just pointed his finger across the road and up the side of the mountain and said, that is their house. It was such a lucky find! Really it was like God needed us to visit this family. So we got there and talked to them, and what do you know, we ended up staying there for 2 hours answering questions and teaching only part of the restoration!!!! So we went back on friday and finished the restoration with a crazy awesome result, this little family of 4 wanted to come to church this last sunday!!! Sadly, only 2 of the 4 came, but the 2 that did absolutely loved it! They stayed all 3 hours, and when my comp and I had to leave, they were still there talking with members and enjoying it all!!! It was such a cool experience, they have baptism dates for the 29th of august but we will see what happens.

             Noemi....................... We have been fighting with her for 4 months now!! It has been a crazy journey, but the journey ends tonight at 7 pm=) I am not going to say what happened, that is for my homecoming talk=) BUT, just so yall know, she is going to be baptized tonight, and she asked me to baptize her! I am so stoked because she has a REAL, and FIRM testimony of this church. She will not fall away, God answered her prayers. Next week you will see pictures, but I will tell the full story next October=)

             So last night President Smith called me to tell me that I have changes, so it looks like I will be saying goodbye to what's been my home for the past 5 months. I will definitely miss this area and the people. But what better way to leave an area than have a miracle baptism your last night=) It will really be the best experience ever, We are so happy=)  So we will see where I end up, I honestly hope that I get sent far out there................ in the jungle. But we will see, wherever I end up I know that it will be the right place for me and that there will be people ready to be taught.

            Sorry this weeks email is super short, but we are practically out of time! Sorry about the title line and then not explaining what the huge miracle was, but don't worry I will definitely be sharing it in my homecoming talk. Love you all, keep the faith, help the missionaries!!!!


Elder McLeod

ps. here is a pic of some mayan carvings, sick stuff. It is is a secret mayan rock collection place in the forest, ya we found it all by ourselves