Thursday, October 20, 2011

Elder Cruz was sick and now I am :(

Hello everybody,

I´m currently writing you not feeling to hot, but because I love you, I am keeping my promise of writing you. This last week has been fantastic aside from the fact that I currently feel feverish without the desire to eat anything (I ate Guatemalan´s version of Ramen soup today, that is about it). We have been working hard and have been seeing progress with certain investigators. José continues preparing himself for baptism (he still struggles with the idea of tithing, but he said he is going to forget it for now and trust that he will feel it is right later), and we have about 6 other people that we strongly feel can potentially get baptized (probably when I´m not here). The Lord knows what he is doing. I have been praying to find those who are chosen for my entire time here and even though it didn´t come right away we feel that all this is a direct answer to our prayers.
I want to share two experiences we had with 2 of these people. One of the men that we are very excited about is Francisco. It is interesting because he is very very well off and usually there isn´t a chance in the world that someone like him will accept our message, yet he let us right in and is extremely sincere. He is a 57 year old man that has grown up in the Catholic church but only goes because that is what he knows. There are some things that are taught that he doesn´t agree with in the church, and he wanted to hear more about the "mormons" so that is why he let us in. He has had a true desire to know and has been reading the Book of Mormon very diligently (underlining and marking it as he goes) and wants to know. He said that he feels right now he might not be recieving a clear answer that this is true becaue he said he has fear of changing he church, this is what he has known and what his entire family is a part of. He is very close to all of his family and he says the pressure would make it difficult to change. Yet inspite of all this he trusts two 20 year boys with his religious questions and is diligently searching. He wants to have the truth and I know that is why he will have it. It is amazing what happens as someone humbly keeps his commitments. He is the example of someone who diligently is seeking to know because he has always wanted to know the truth.
On the other hand we are teaching a family (it is possible that I already mentioned them) that was kind of surprised by our message but are very interested. The father´s name is Rocael and the mother´s name is Vilma (v is pronounced like a b). In only the third lesson we had an experience that is almost unheard of. The lesson before we had asked them to pray to know if what we are teaching is true. The next lesson we asked if they had prayed. Rocael immediately said yes. We were shocked, usually the answer is "yeah, I always pray." or "kind of...", but he said with certainty, yes, and we asked him how he felt. He said he felt a peace that he hadn´t felt before, something different. He said he wanted to know more. We asked him if he thought this was an answer that he should be baptized. He said yes. They still haven´t gone to church, but the spirit that we felt when he was telling us this let us know that this family was chosen. He says he has fear of change, but he knows that it is the only way to make his life better and that he is willing to do it. His wife is also interested but she hasn´t recieved an answer like he has. They are going to go to church this Sunday so I will let you know what happens.
This gospel is true. Life gets rough sometimes but the only way we can be happy is by trusting in God and having faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ. I´m grateful for what we have. It is amazing that we can tell and testify to people that we know this is the church of Jesus Christ, clearly and simply. It is a unique message that isn´t heard anywhere else becuase it is true. I don´t know why I was lucky enough to be born into a knowledge of the truth, but I´m grateful for that fact. I don´t feel very well so please keep me in your prayers.

October 11....Elder Cruz was sick :(

Hey everybody,

To start off I of course will answer Mom´s questions. If you don´t understand that I always do this, shame on you for not reading my past emails, and thank you for starting with this one that´s very kind of you. Anyways transfers as they call them in the States is scheduled for November 3rd I believe, which means that yes, I will be there for José´s baptism which makes me very excited. Also Mom, you asked if I have made good relationships in the office. More than anything I have became close to Elder Lydiksen, Elder Cruz, and Elder Petersen two of which have left. It is an interesting life being in the office, you learn a lot and learn not to go crazy with other people while at the same time not driving them crazy because you are with each other so much. Other question, I found a pair of boots in this house and I have used them a couple of times because the streets literally turn into rivers when it rains hard. We are about to end the rainy season, but the weird thing is I have come to appreciate the variety in the weather that the rain brings. There aren´t too many remote villages in our mission but up in the mountains it gets pretty remote. There are a lot of areas with no paved roads but the majority of my areas have had at least half of the roads paved. To end you asked if I think the Elder was fishing for a dinner invitation, yes, I think he was. You should make him eggs and beans and put cream on it and tell him, "I wanted you to experience what my son does when he gets invited to dinner." Everyone will have a good laugh I´m sure. In my mission I usually haven´t eaten dinner with members just because it can be misuse of time when teaching appointments are so easy to have and we don´t have a dinner hour. I had done it sometimes, but they members are never ready at the set hour and it sometimes can ruin the rest of the appointments we have for the night so I have just decided not to do it. President Brough has actually just made a rule that we need to have an investigator there if we are going to eat. I´m fine with that.
Anway this week was interesting because Elder Cruz was sick. He has asthma (its spelled something like that) and because of a cold he had bronchitis which is a bad combination. The doctor told him he had to be in the house until today so it was a very strange week. We still went to about 2 teaching appointments each day (don´t worry I wasn´t killing my companion we just planned it so it was in the bus route and he didn´t need to walk) so it wasn´t TOO bad, but it is strange when something happens like this because it is as if the work loses it´s urgency. We worked all of Sunday and yesterday though, so we are getting back into the swing of things. We are just lucky that we are secretaries because I would have gotten very anxious just being in the house that long. He´s better now though and ready to work, as am I, so this week is going to be amazing.
Due to that I don´t have a whole lot to update you on, but Jose is still coming along, he just has some doubts about tithing. He has seen how tithing is so abused in other places he has visited where the funds are not used for the right purpose and this makes him very skeptical when a church tithes. He understands it is in the scriptures and through a living prophet he is saying this is how he wants it to be, but he says it is still hard to accept. He´s progressing with that though and said that he is going to pray to know if this is what God wants. It´s interesting that a testimony of a certain principle of the gospel almost always requires effort on our part and that AFTER the trial of our faith, comes the testimony as it says in Ether. We explained to him that sometimes we don´t exactly know why God has commanded something, but we follow it because he has, and always we start to gain a testimony and understanding of that particular principle as we start to live it. He will get it, he just needs a little time.
Anyways this week we are going to work very hard and find the "nice guys" which is Elder Cruz´s way of saying positive investigators. I know the nice guys are out there, I just hope to be able to find some so that Elder Cruz and his new companion can have success in this area after I leave. I love you all and thank you for all your support always.

October 5...General Conference is just as good in Guatemala as it is in the United States if not better!

The happy winners of the cleaning check....Bacon for breakfast!

Hello Pearson Family (excluding myself of course that would be silly to greet myself),

This week was obviously incredible considering we had general conference. The best news is that Jose went and loved it! He said he would follow the words of these men. He said he felt they were called of God to lead the true church of Christ here in the earth. He is progressing everyday and it is exciting to see. He always goes to church with Roberto the previously inactive member and Roberto helps him understand and is helping him progress. He is getting so excited for his baptism and is taking it very seriously.
I on the other hand was very uplifted by this conference and learned a lot. One of the talks that particularly stood out to me was Elder L. Whitney Clayton´s about the growth of the church. It is humbling to think that I am a small part of the rapid growth of the true church of Christ. It is growing so fast, and I have been called to help that growth here in Guatemala. He bore powerful testimony about how this growth will never stop and even though it seems as if the work is hard at times, you always need to look back and see where the chruch was 50 years ago. The quote by Joseph Smith about the growth of the church never fails to amaze me. It is incredible that as a prophet of God he could foretell how this church was going to grow. I can imagine it would be slightly hard to believe what he said sitting in that room, but look at where we are today.
Among many other talks that I enjoyed, one that particulary touched me was Elder Hales´ talk. I think it had a lot to do with the stark contrast of his weakened state and how powerful his talk was. I entered the conference with a question that through him I was able to have answered. His explanation of waiting on the Lord was able to help me understand patience and faith. This is an active waiting that he is describing, a patience that requires action and faithfulness to the commandments of God. We ask, we act in faith, we wait. The Lord knows what is best for us and the Lord will answer in his way in his time. Our part is to show the Lord that we are doing everything that he has asked us to do.
The talks of the Presidency of course impressed me. President Uchtdorf´s unfailing optimism, President Monson´s declaration of how truth and values cannot be changed or comprimised, and President Eyring´s humbleness really lifted me. I´ve said it before but I know that this church is led by prophets of God. I have a firm but growing testimony that although these men are simple they are inspired and more importantly they are called to do what they are doing. Our role is to support and apply what they say. I know this is Christ´s church. I don´t know everything, but I do know I feel that is true everytime I testify about it, and everytime I learn more about it. We are lucky to live when we do.
Anyway, the other big news is that President came out of his office with a grin on his face and said "Elder Pearson, I got done with house inspections looked at my board, and I just knew where you were going this next change! You can´t know but I just wanted to let you know that I knew." This was followed by a malicious laugh. Not really, but he did laugh at the fact that I knew and he didn´t, something that is actually not funny. It´s only funny if I know things that other people don´t know, not when they know what I don´t. I guess Elder Cruz is ready and I get to leave the office this next change. That made me pretty happy. I´m going to savor language, personal, and companionship study. This replaces the current savoring of bacon that I do in the office, but I´ll take the trade. It makes me wonder what he has in mind though.
Other than that we won house checks which means we won the breakfast and we made it Saturday morning before conference. It was delicious and huge. I didn´t eat lunch. I will send pictures of it.
I hope you are all doing well and know that I love you!

September 29

I hope you know that is what I write into my "To" bar because I figured out my contact thing and you have now lost your individuality in my book. You are now a congregated group in my mind. Sorry. Anyways to answer Mom´s questions... Jorge is doing fantastic as always, he is getting ready to put his mission papers in this August which is the best news he could have given me when he wrote me back. Also yes the Brough´s have one 14 year old child named Ganzie. I get to see her every once in awhile and I try to talk to her, but I think it is weird for her. I forgot it is strange for 14 year old girls to talk to 20 year old boys. I guess being a missionary in another country has kind of made me forgot these things because the young teengage girls in Guatemala are just friendly and not shy (a little too friendly at times as I´m sure you can imagine, I don´t know what the appeal of white skin is, but supposedly it is strong enough to overpower the negative effect my glasses have on most women). Also the Area Presidency has a new thing where they don´t want the mission to have a blog so Sister Brough won´t be doing that. It is looking like I will leave this change (maybe 5 weeks) but it just depends on how big President thinks the Christmas activity will be, because he really wants it to go smoothly. He wants for me so bad to get out to the field again, but at the same time he doesn´t want any headaches this Christmas season. We´ll see. Elder Cruz is doing a good job, but he often feels overwhelmed. We´ll be working with him though. He does a good job, organization is just hard for him.
Anyway I don´t have a whole lot to write because I just barely wrote you but I do want to include one thing. This Sunday after Jose went to church we had a lesson with him and as I have always said the change in someone who starts to act on what they feel is incredible. Everything he was saying was very correct (he has fell in love with the Gospel Principles book) and he is talking about how he has finally decided just to tell the people in his life that would maybe be holding him back from baptism that he wants to change and that he is going to be baptized the 29th of October because God wants him to. I think that has been the biggest change. Before he questioned the why of everything, but now he just feeling the peace of, "I know this true, it´s what God wants, so I´ll do it." Of course he still mentions a crazy dream he had, but we tend just to ignore it which doesn´t bother him. Hey I can´t complain with all the progress he has made.
This week we have house checks and Sister and President Brough have devised a scheme where the cleanest house wins bacon. It is incredible the power that bacon has on people becuase these have been the cleanest houses I´ve ever seen on my mission. We´ll see how the rest of them are.
Anyways I´m doing well, working hard, and loving being on a schedule again. Have a great week.