Quetzaltenango Guatemala

Quetzaltenango Guatemala

2.29.16 A Very Different Week

February 29, 2016

Hey everyone today is leap day!!!!! Crazy right, This is a pretty rare opportunity, but to us it just feels like a normal day, because it is. This week was a pretty interesting week for us, so since i've been here all of the members have kept telling me how about 3 years ago there were 100 members attending church every sunday, but now there are only usually about 25. All of the members say that the attendance has declined drastically due to having really bad missionaries here........... so this week we decided that we were going to go and find all of these less active families that are hidden up in the mountains!!! And I honestly think God wanted us to do it, you will see why if you keep reading.

                So this week we had 16 visits with less active families! We printed off the list of all the members that live here in our area, we put checkmarks next to all of the names of active families, which were only like 5, then we set out to go and find all of these less active/forgotten families!! Sadly, almost none of the members know where these less active families live, (obviously never did their visiting teaching, if that exists out here) But it seemed like God just kept putting these hidden less active families in our path.

               One night we had a family home evening set up with some investigators, the family night fell through, so we walked back to our house to drop off our lemon cake supplies that we had brought, (I make a mean lemon cake now, don't judge it, it's amazing and you will love it in 8 months), Right as i closed the front door behind me, as soon as the door clicked shut, someone knocked on the door. It kinda started me haha, so i opened the door to find a really excited 25 year old guy named Eric. Eric introduced himself and told me that 3 years ago he was the young men's president here in Ixta!!! He said that missionaries had not been to his house in over 2 years, and that he only lived like 15 minutes away walking up through the mountain, so I said, ¨Well Eric we would love to visit you in your house, right now!!!!¨¨ He was kinda startled (it was 8 at night) but then said, follow me! So we followed him more like 30 minutes up through the mountain until we got to his house and met his wife Yulissa and their 2 little kids! We talked and got to know them pretty well until 9.15 ish, then we came back to the house. God made our family night fall so that we would be able to find Eric and his family! If it hadn't of fallen, we never would have been able to find their house, they live pretty ¨¨out there¨¨. They are super nice and they really love the missionaries, we are going to reactivate them.

              This week we visited with Gaspar (another less active we have been working with). Last sunday he went to church with us, keep that in mind. He told us, look guys, in all this time that i've been inactive, my barber shop hasn't been doing so good, we have been barely getting by for a while now, but ever since i went to church with you guys on sunday, iv cut more hair in 3 days than i usually do in a full week!! I've made 600 quetz (which is almost 100 dollars) in 3 days, and it's a miracle! I also had an awesome dream where God told me that he is going to forgive me as long as i keep myself clean ( he is kind of a drinker), so for now on i'm going to church and paying my tithing cuz i know the lord is going to bless me!! ON sunday(yesterday) he was interviewed and found worthy to receive his rights again and this next sunday he will even be getting a calling!!! We are so stoked for him!

              This week we visited a ton of less active families, and the most exciting part is that we had 44 people in church on Sunday!!! My comp freaked out cuz he had never seen the chapel that full (or less empty) before.

            This week we had noche de herrmanamiento, which is like mutual but for everyone in the ward, and its combined everyone together. It was the first time since december that they've done it, and we had 26 people there so it wasn't too bad!!! This week we should have at least 30 there so we are pretty excited!

            Also, we scheduled the branches 1st temple trip!! It will be the 24th of march. and , it will be the branches 1st temple trip in over more than a year!!! Super sad, but that's also probably why everyone went inactive. We still don't have a branch president, but it looks like halfway through march in branch conference so I think that they will call the new guy and confirm him during the conference. This week we called a sunday school teacher, ward mission leader, and a groundskeeper, it's slow but sure progress!
I say WE because my comp and I choose who gets what calling, we then run it by the stake representative from HueHue who justs says, if you guys think that's best, do it! So ya its pretty interesting haha My comp and I pretty much are running things here which is super weird.

                 All in all, it was an awesome week, we made huge progress as a branch, our attendance went way up, we assigned some callings, found some less active families (like 8), Reactivated Gaspar and his wife, and started noche de herrmanamiento! We are working hard up here, it's pretty difficult, but we see the Lord's hand helping us everyday, our prayers are being answered little by little. I am growing spiritually always, this place is a good place for a missionary to grow his testimony, and I honestly feel it growing along with my faith everyday. I think this little branch might turn out to be my favorite area in my mission, there is so much work to do here, but I feel like it's time that the branch is going to make a 180 degree turn and begins to grow, not shrink. I love you guys so much, keep the faith and keep sharing the gospel through your actions, standards, testimonies, and activities! Have an awesome week, next time we talk I will have news if we are going to have changes or not.


Elder McLeod

2.22.16 Week 5 of a 7 week change, up here by Mexico

February 22, 2016

Hey everyone hope you all had awesome weeks, i heard it's been getting hot way too early down there in the valley, haha when i eventually get home that heat is going to kill me! Here its about 90 degrees maybe and it's wayyyyyyy too hot.

               This week was insane for us, we had some pretty cool miracles, but also we just worked really really hard, haha its good to be exhausted in the mission, its means good things. But ya so this week was the first week in my life that i've washed my clothes by hand, it wasn't too hard actually, it just takes a while, and it's annoying when your clothes line wire gets too heavy and just suddenly falls in the dirt with all of your nice clean, wet garments, ya that made me mad. But ya so it looks like for now on i'll be washing by hand, the sister that did it before had to leave for work and told us that she won't be back for a long time.

             Our new house it awesome, we just moved houses by the way if you didn't know that. Our old house was a 2 room apartment room with practically no windows and it was terrible, no hot  water, no working sink, it was a nightmare, and we were paying 1000 Quetz every month, now we live in a 2 story 5 room house!!! And everything works and is brand new, and it only costs us 800 a month!! We are loving it, hot showers are the best.

               So Elsa, the girl we baptized 2 weeks ago, she is awesome, but her dad is not a member because he is the PRESIDENT OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH!!! No joke, he is the president of the catholic church, he directed the misa, he did all the ordinances like baptism and pretty much everything else!! He knows a ton from the bible, but now that he has finished the book of mormon with us, he know a ton about the book of mormon also! This week he defended the church BIG TIME to a bunch of his catholic friends, it was awesome. Well long story short, he has never accepted a baptismal date from the missionaries before, but this last week we put one with him!!!!! It is for the 5th of march, he always goes to our church with us so he is practically a member. He even wants a disk with the church hymns on it so that we can practice them and sing them in his house while he is working!!! My comp is soooooo stoked because they have been working with him for a long time now, but he has never taken the next step, well its looks like it's his time!!!

This week we spent 2 hours one day scaling a  mountain and looking for some new families house. My comp was a little ticked that we were still searching after the 1st hour, but i felt like we needed to find it so we kept going. We actually found them and they are super positive, but they didn't come to church on sunday. This week we are going with them again to teach them and to get them to go to church. They live a little far out there obviously, but they all speak spanish well which is such a blessing.

              So Mum is a crazy language, the rumor is that it was one of the languages that the people started to talk after the tower of babel incident from Genesis in the bible, it is super ancient. Below i attached a picture of a little kid's school right next to our house where the kids all speak Mum, the words are all in Mum.

              My comp and I get along really well, sometimes he can get really frustrated or mad at himself for the language or lack of knowledge, but he is super new and I try to get him to calm down, but he is a big buy hehe, I understand why he gets mad at himself though, that's how i felt at the beginning of the mish also.

            shout out to my cousin Malcolm who's getting married in May!!! Looks like he doesn't want me to be there but oh well=) I'm happy for you bro, send me tons of pics! I'M so proud of you man, keep on choosing the right, i'll see you in October!

             This week was a good week for us, we worked really hard and had some pretty good miracles, we are always learning more and growing spiritually. I love being in the mission because i am just filling up my spiritual library so that i can use it when i get home. I have to take advantage of this time that i have to study and learn as much as i can because when i get home i wont have 2 hours every day to study and learn from the scriptures like i do here. I love the church and i know it's true, even up here in the mountains 2 hour away from the city, it's still the true church, it may be a lot smaller and have less members, but it's the same gospel that no one will EVER be able to prove wrong cuz it's 100% the truth. Love you guys a ton, keep on learning about the gospel, read books written by the prophets especially by Joseph Smith!! Have an awesome week you guys


Elder McLeod

2.15.16 Week Of Temple And Surprise Baptism

February 15, 2015

Hey everyone this week was insane!!! So many awesome things happened to us, we had so many miracles it's not even funny! Let's just get right into it

            On wednesday we went to the temple, it was probably the greatest temple session i've ever been in! I learned so much this time, I feel like i am beginning to understand everything a little bit better. We then had an awesome conference with President Smith, and then left from Xela and got home at about 9 pm. We live super far away, but it's worth going all the way to xela (4 hours just one way!) to be able to go to the temple.

           The day after the temple, thursday, we found a less active family that lives like 1 hour up in the mountains. We got them to go to church, but we also ended up baptizing their kid  on saturday who wasn't a member but was of age, so that was cool. pictures below

            Today we went to HueHue to eat lunch with the zone and then we went to the ancient lamanite ruins which was cool, it still was awesome even though it wasn't my first time, but this time they had the museum opened which was legit.............. tons of old mayan stuff that was found with the ruins when they were discovered. pics below.

            while we were buying food in huehue we contacted a random guy in the checkout line, turns out that he lives in ixtahuacan where we are at!! This is super rare because ixta is about 1.5 hours away and it is a small city, what are the odds!! He was super nice and even told us this week to come visit him, he gave us all his days and told us to call him this week! We are stoked, it was a miracle.

             This sunday while i was playing the intro music for sacrament meeting, a random lady in corte walked into the chapel and said, ´´hey i don't go to any church, i live here close to the mormon church, and i'd like to come to church with you guys today to learn more about it.´´ Hahaha what a miracle!!!! We practically fell over, but we did get her days and everything. She stayed a little bit but had to leave for problems with her baby, but this week we are going to visit with her!!

             My comp and I also changed houses this week, i'll send you guys pics this next week of the new house, it is going to be sweet. Well i want you all to know that i am learning a ton everyday and my testimony is only growing. watching people feel the truth of your words is the best, i love how they then change their lives, that's the best part. The gospel is so true, i know that every time we cry cuz someone rejects us Christ is also crying, but even harder, cuz he loves everyone a lot more than we ever could. I love you guys a ton also and I hope that you are seeing miracles in your lives also, live the gospel and love the blessings!! Have an awesome week, happy valentines week haha i totally forgot!! They don't celebrate it here, love you guys bye!!!


Elder McLeod

2.8.16 Super Bowl Weekend.........

February 8, 2016

Hey everyone how was superbowl weekend?!?! by the way who won, the people up here could care less for football so we still don't know who won......... but i'm sure it was a good game. This week was an awesome week for us, we had a baptism! Else got baptized, she is now the 2nd active young woman in our branch (17 years old) Haha i felt bad for her though cuz the pila doesn't have a water heater in it so the water was ice ice cold, my comp came out shivering, and she came out of the water gasping! I felt bad, but it's not our fault.

                  Also selvin got baptized and is now blessing the sacrament and preparing for the mission!!! Selvin (19)  is from my last area, pictures attached below.

                 Besides the baptisms this week, we were able to find a bunch of new families and put some more baptism dates.

                 This week both my comp and I got really sick, we thinks it's because after the baptism of Elsa we went to Don Jaime's the only restaurant here in town and got food poisoning........... but we are almost back to normal.

                 We have been visiting this less active family for a while now, the guy's name is juanito, he has been in a wheelchair forever now, and because of that, he hasn't been to church in 6 months!! It's so sad because he always tells us about how much he misses going to church and taking the sacrament, so we decided to help him out. So, this week we wanted to surprise him, so sunday morning super early we rented a tuk tuk and rode 30 minutes up into the mountains , up dirt trails and all to get to his little tin house to bring him to church. He was so excited!!! I've never seen him so happy before=) MY comp and i were teary eyed, it was awesome. we got to carry him into the tuc tuc, then at the church we carried him up and down the stairs, it was awesome. Haha we even had to help him go to the bathroom cuz none of the members wanted to help him................ definitely something i won't ever forget!! picture of juanito below!

                  Below is a pic of the cutest little girl ever, her name is Mary and she is 5, she is Elsa's little sister.

                This week was a lot of work, but also just a few really cool things, next week I will have more stories to tell you guys, but hey at least you get a lot of pictures this week=) speaking of which, we did divisions this week and I got to go up to colotenango and Ical, haha talk about walking up and down mountains all day! But it was super pretty, below is a pic of the colotenango 2 story chapel that overlooks a huge valley and pretty much a ton of mountains.

                I love you guys a ton and hope that you all had great weeks. My comp and I are doing great, we are working hard and we are getting along really well which is great. I am learning a ton every day, and I am seeing miracles every day. I love you guys a ton and I hope that you all have great weeks, this week we are going to the temple, i invite you all to do the same!=) Have an awesome week!


Elder McLeod

2.1.16 Week 2 in Ixtahuacan

February 1, 2016

hey how's it going everyone!!! I attached a pic so that you can see what Ixtahuacan looks like from a mountain view, it's super pretty!!! Tucked up in the mountains by mexico, it's a small little town but with some nearby villages that are super out in the forest. I love it here, honestly it's tough but it's a tough challenge that I am going to love. This sunday we had 19 people in church, minus us two, so 17. Its pretty small I know, but it has great potential.

             We didn't have baptisms this week because they moved to the capital of guatemala........... just so you all know that actually happens a lot. People are super close to baptism, and then they just leave without saying anything, super weird. But, this saturday we will be having a baptism for sure........ unless she just randomly moves haha.
              This week was tough, we were looking for new families the whole time but we didn't have a lot of luck, we found a lot of new investigators, but none of them came to church, we need to figure out which of them really are interested in their salvation this week.

              Haha this week we lived off of 40 quetzales, like 5 dollars=) It's because when I was with Elder Guzman in Xela we had a lot of food in the house, but i had to leave a good portion of it, so this week I was literally eating pieces of plain wheat bread and drinking lots and lots of water...... haha but now we have money so we made it don't worry. here there are no food places, there is NO grocery store, only once a month can we go into town 1.5 hours away to get to the nearest grocery store to buy food, haha we are whyyyyyyyyyy out here!

               One miracle that we had this week,
           We have been visiting this less active family, they were baptized 6 months ago, but the husband is a heavy drinker so he won't go to church. This week we visited with the wife while the husband was out drinking, we promised her that God would answer her prayers if she obeyed the commandments and prayed really hard. So, from that point on, she has been obeying the commandments and saying her prayers. We went with them saturday night to see how they were doing, the husband was there and was completely sober, we asked them what was up, his reply was this, ´´I've been drinking for a while now, but last night God sent me a dream where I saw the results of my drinking, one of my kids got ran over by a car in my dream, and it was all my fault. I am done drinking!!!´´ It was awesome, his wife was crying pretty badly and I think we were a little bit too. It was a miracle, he hasn't drank since that night!

               This week was a week of pretty cool, small miracles. We know that it is hard, but like jeffrey R holland says, it's because salvation was never easy, not even for the savior!!! Salvation is not a cheap experience!! It's so true, during one of our lessons this week I even had the opportunity to share that phrase from Jeffrey R Holland and it was way cool, the spirit was there and they recognized it.

                 I love you guys a ton, honestly this week was a lot of learning and spanish study with my comp whom I love, he is a great missionary. I am loving the mission and every second of every day. It is hard and one gets really really tired at times, but it's all worth it=) Love you guys, read your scriptures, and please focus on strengthening your testimonies, don't just sit back and wait for it to happen, Faith is a principle of power and ACTION!! Have an awesome SUPER BOWL week, hoping the panthers win


ELder McLeod