This week was a little hard. We have really been trying hard to focus ourselves in our area and find new investigators, and as we have been doing this, and seeing great progress in the Hernandez Estrada Family, Felix completely lost all progress that he has made over the last 6 weeks that I´ve been here. He had been progressing and progessing, reading in the Book of Mormon, goingto church, trying to apply te things that he has been learning in church, but the moment we mentioned that he had to get divorced from his old wife, he stopped doing all of the above. His wife Arselia has told us that he has completely turned back to all his old habits and has started to act even more child-like in the house, resorting to trying to intimidate her 10 year old kid that she has from another marriage. The last teaching appointment we had where this all came out, Felix just seemed miserable as he hard-headedly told us that life was how it is and he couldn´t change it and wasn´t willing to make an effort. He said that his wife is going to make legal problems for him and being baptized wasn´t worth facing his past. It is incredible the difference that learning and accepting the gospel makes in somebody´s life. He was progressing so rapidly and we could all notice it, including his family, but he has chosen to completely go the other way asking his wife and daughter Astrid to return the copies of the Book of Mormon which we had given them.
This was very disappointing for Elder Lydiksen and I, because we both felt that we just had to drop him. Until he is willing to change this and face up to his past he cannot progress. We tried talking about the importance of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the restored truths about the family that come with that very restoration, and he wouldn´t listen. Arselia and Astrid still want to get baptized so we are hoping that everything will turn out well with them and that Felix will come around a little later down the road. Arselia obviously can´t get baptized until they get married so we will see what happens. We can only do our best to apply this gospel to their lives, but we cannot force anyone to accept it, especially someone who has already felt that it is true. It is sad but were not getting down about it and just tryin to look for the next prepared family.
Speaking of that Elder Lydiksen and I have been talking a lot about what we want to do to better the area where we are and we are feeling really good about the changes we are making. He is a good elder and I´m kind of nervous to see who I recieve as a companion next change. So anyways, we are working hard, trying to better, and waiting for the results to come.
Guess what guys! I went to Santiago Atitlan yesterday and it was incredible. It is so green up there and very tropical. Elder Moore my good fried and the AP right now, served there and was able to learn Tzutujil a mayan dialect that they speak there. It is really cool because it is one of the only dialects that is being preserved because the people are so proud of their culture. The majority have no desire to speak spanish and don´t learn it. It was really bizarre to be back at square one not being able to understand anybody, but it was a cool experience. The lake is gorgeous and I will be sending pictures of course (too bad it was clouded over and we couldn´t see the volcano). I bought some scof as it is called which is the type of pants that the men wear there. I will be sending pictures of that as well. It is really cool to see a preserved culture but at the same time sad to see how it is being lost. I guess you can´t blame them though, they see a better lifestyle and they realize that the way to achieve that is to change what they grew up with. The new generation is really losing a lot of the oldcustoms, with the exception of the language which is really good.
Anyway, everything is great as always. This country is amazing, I just wish you could all meet the incredible people here. They are so kind and so accepting of everybody (an obvious generalization but for the most part true). Spanish is a great language, Guatemalans are great people, and the restored church of Jesus Christ is true. I love you all!
Hello the Pearson Fam that I would consider my clan,
This week has been a really good week as we have been able to get back on a schedule (somewhat). We had interviews with President which was a real highlight of the week. He has expressed to us that his time in the office was not his favorite part of his mission and I wanted to get a little insight on that. I asked him for his insight on how to stay focused when you are called to be an office missionary. What he told me really impressed me. He told me that God knows you have less time and that you just need to show him that you realize that you are more dependant on him in that time, and that he will bless you. He told me that it was hard for him when he was first in the office and that by the end of his time there he felt he really was understanding that principle more and he said he was having much more success. We´ve really been trying to apply that as a companionship and it is helping us seperate office and area time.
We also went out today with Sister Brough to show her where Walmart and everything is so that she can buy what the Elders need and it was really cool to get to know her a little better and get the "Mom´s Side" on the family story, which as everyone knows is the most accurate and juicy side of the family story. She told us a lot about her husband and his dad being in the quorom of the seventy. We also were able to feel super cool because our spanish was better than a white lady from the states who had been in Guatemala for a week. Yeah, our spanish is PRETTY good. Just kidding, she has impressed everybody how she has been so determined to learn the language... she is very driven.
Anyways so much more that, I´ll tell you a little bit about what is going on with the area. The Hernandez Estrada family wants to get married and baptized, but we found out that Felix is married to someone else and needs to get divorced. They both have very strong testimonies though. Arselia (Sister Estrada) told us that she really felt that this was the true church and although she had never seen the need to get married before that she now wants to because she understands that it is a commandment of God. Both of them have expressed to us their gratitude for the fact that we visit them and have brought a message that really is changing their family. They say that they dont know why they couldn´t have heard it before, but that it is better late than never. I hope that the divorce process is quick and that they can be baptized soon.
Also we have been teaching a 16 year old we found named William. He is progressing along nicely and wants to get baptized. It is really sad because he was sent to Guatemala by his parents to live with his sister and he has only been through the equivalent of 5th grade. He has a hard time understanding things but feels good about what we are teaching and actually has told us he wants to serve a mission. We haven´t taught him a whole lot but he has started going to church so we are hoping everything goes well as he starts to read the Book of Mormon.
I love Guatemala and the people here and the fact that I will proabably be able to grow a better mustache after being here. It´s true..... they´ve done studies. I love you all and hope all is well.
Quickly I will answer Mom´s questions: My "broken toe" was actually probably just a sprain. I go running 3 times a week just fine and it doesn´t hurt me. It was just really purple for a couple of days. But the story is WAY more interesting when the toe was broken isn´t it? The drive to the beach is an hour. Yes I went to super P-day and we do those with half the mission every time because it is extremely difficult to get all the mission together. Also, we all work in the same office space and the AP´s are here about half the time and gone about half the time.
Anyways this week was absolutely crazy because of the transition of President´s. It is official I have met President and Sister Brough (Bruff is how it sounds) and they are incredible. They are very young and still have a 14 year old daughter that will be living with them for 3 years here. He is such a contrast to President Baldwin. President Baldwin is an amazing person, but is very stern, which makes sense because he was a pilot for the air force for years. President Brough jokes around and has a great presence. Sister Brough still looks scared out of her mind everytime we see her, but she is fearless as she gave a little talk in the best spanish she could muster in front of half the missionaries in the mission today in change meeting. I was very impressed because that would be terrifying. You can tell she has been working hard to study the language in the last few months. I will be working very closely with her because that is what the secretaries do. President Brough gave some words and while his spanish is rusty (mostly just his accent) it is very good. You can tell he really feels these things, he just seems very sincere. It is cool because he started his mission 20 minutes away from Chimaltenango where I served.
Other than that we have barely had time to work in our area the last few days, which is sad but necessary because the new missionaries (a group of 13) came in on Monday and we had to basically babysit them for 2 days until change meeting along with the AP´s. They seem like a great group of missionaries. We had to deal a lot with getting food, the transportation, etc. but we are finally done with the stressful days because everyone is situated in the area out of our responsibility.
It´s interesting though because tonight we will be hauling the missionaries that are leaving around and we saw all of them (which includes some great friends) at change meeting. After seeing the nervous new missionaries come in and the nervous old missionaries leaving, I have really thought about how short this time is. The Lord asks us to serve for 2 years, 2 years that we will never get back. We need to take full advantage of that time, and try to learn as much as we can, that´s why the He asks us to serve missions. It´s such a personal experience, two years set aside for spiritual growth, the kind of growth that come from serving and helping others. In doing this we obviously are probably the ones who are helped most. I have just really thought about what we need to do as missionaries to leave everything else behind for two years and just give it our all, knowing that we will recieve so much more than we gave. It´s been a really interesting and thought provoking experience.
Anyways next week I will fill you in on the Hernandez Estradad family (Felix) because he has been working a lot and we haven´t been able to visit them. Thank for all the support you all give me, it really helps. I love you!