First off, I would love to run the half marathon in August. It might destroy me and skinny famished body, but I will do my best. Just kidding I`m not famished, I`m just skinny thank you to the good `ol Guatemalan coast. Also Mom, it is only a few hours from one end of our mission to the other in car, I wouldn`t be able to tell you how many, and the roads depend on where you are just like the States. The "freeways" are generally good, some little downs have stone paved roads, others are just dirt and rocks,etc.
I can`t believe Anne is in my country. No, I haven`t renounced my citizenship in the United States I`ve just claimed another country as my own. I love hearing about her first experiences there, I remember how weird it is. I`m praying for her and I hope that all is well.
This week was really really humbling and gratifying all at the same time. From Monday to Friday, last week was extremely difficult and nothing went how we wanted ti to go. We were trying so hard and everything we were trying was falling through, everything was just going bad. I had this calm feeling that everything was going to work out, I just needed to wait. It didn`t get better immediately after my many prayers, but I that feeling that it would just be okay. To make a long story short, Saturday everyone was in their house when they said they would and we were able to invite many people to church. The most incredible thing was to see six investigators come to church after we had prayed so hard that the people we were teaching could be softened to go. Thomas and Michelle went, a new family we are teaching based off of a member referral (they are the Peña Corado family, and they are increidbly humble), and a man from the Dominican Republic named Dany that is really hard to understand. I felt so grateful Sunday as I saw that the Lord was blessing us for all our hard work, what I didn`t know is that is was going to get better.
We left Sunday after lunch to go work. An appointment fell through and we felt the need to go to the Peña`s house who had gone to church for the first time that day instead of go where we had planned. They are a family we found last week after a member named Marta gave us the referral; the father`s name is Douglas (dooglas), the mother`s name is Marìa and the kids are Carla (11), Alison (4), and Hessler (2). We stopped by and they let us in. We went in said a prayer, and just asked them how they felt in church. The spirit was there incredibly strong the moment we made the question. They said they felt something different, a peace that they hadn`t felt before. We asked them if they felt that this was their answer that they should be baptized. Douglas with incredible humility told us that is exactly what he wanted to do but he didn`t know if he was capable. We asked him to pray to see if this is what he should do the 27th and he kneeled down and prayed. The spirit was so strong, it was one of the most humble prayers I`ve ever heard. We asked them how they felt and they both wanted to do it.
After that we went to our appointement with Thomas and Michelle. TO make a long story short. We asked him if in his time he had felt the need to be baptized. He said that he wanted to. They are now going to be baptized the 27th. We are so grateful for how the Lord has blessed us in this week. God answers prayers, but in his time.
Mom`s questions: Coralia`s daughters are members and she doesn`t have a husband. Michelle is 13 (Thomas's daughter) Yes it has been very rare to teach educated people, but there a lot in my area because there is a lot of money here. Elder Ardon has 9 months and he is from San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
This week was very good for a few reasons. I feel like this week I made a few very good realizations about the area I`m in. It is interesting that the Lord has put me in an area where the work will be very foreign to how I worked in the coast for my last few months, but I am grateful, it has kept me learning and humble because everything is new. After contacting like crazy with Elder Ardon and having zero success one day, I felt the need to look through the Area Book again and really analyze it. I did and I noticed that the elders that have had success here have had success off of member references. I feel that the key to our work here will be short frequent contact with the members, because the "enter every house you contact" of the coast will not be too effective here. Elder Ardon and I have been praying to find new investigators that will progress (we can find a lot, but most are just being nice and don`t want to listen) and the Lord has been answering those prayers. One of the members opened up a residencial area called "Planes de Barcenas" that has never been touched. She got the board of the colony to sign a letter letting us proselyte there including knocking doors and everything. I will be going with my Zone Leader on divisions today to enter and work in the area where missionaries have never been before, something that will be fun to see. Also we have been using the members more and they have been giving us references. We are very excited about a few. I feel very confident that everything will work out in this area and that we will be shocked at how hard the Lord has been working so that we can see the success he wants us to have here.
Coralia was not baptized. She said that she wants to feel more ready. It is hard to see what is truly holding her back, but we will keep praying and being patient.
Thomas and Michelle love church. They are going to go on the temple visit this Saturday with the ward to see the temple. The wife still doesn`t want to go to church, but she listened to us for the first time Sunday. Thomas still has some strange ideas and doesn`t want to commit to be baptized, but the Lord is working with him, it is easy to see that.
I feel more and more grateful everyday for the personal relationship each and everyone of us can have with our Father in Heaven. We all have specific challenges, we all go through ups and downs, and feel like sometimes things are going how we would like. I know that God is real and that he answers prayers. In any moment that we have a question and feel like we cannot do this on our own, it is because we probably can`t as Elder Eyring said, but when we pray to God, everything will work out.
To answer Mom`s questions, yes I have normally have had hot showers, only in Jacarandas I didn`t have a water heater. As I have explained in other videos, they just attach an electric heater to the pipe. Dangerous yes, but it works. Also, I`m not in the same area just an area close to it. Maybe that was confusing. I am in the same ward building but in a different ward.
Well life has been great. In the district we are focusing a lot on praying and looking for answers. There are a lot of Elders that work really hard in the district and I think that if we recognize that we can`t do this without God, things will really take off. We talked about this in district meeting yesterday and Elder Ardon and I have been trying to put it in practice and have seen miracles happening, without really doing much.
First off, we have an investigator, Coralia the mother of some recent converts, that has been listening to the missionaries for 4 months now (or something like that) and has not wanted to be baptized. Last lesson we asked her to pray to know what she needed to do to be baptized, because she has wanted to do it, but just hasn`t felt ready. We went back last night after about a week of not being able to meet with her, and we asked her how it went with reading the Book of Mormon. With a big grin on her face she told us, "really good, I`m ready to be baptized." She is very excited and said she wants to pray to know if she should do it this weekend or another weekend in May and based on her past experiences we didn`t push it we just said okay. We`re going to see how it went today.
Second, the other elders had about a month with an investigator named Thomas when I got into the area. We invited him to church this last weekend and he went with his daughter. He is a very educated psychologist and is very well known in the town. We went this morning to teach him and he really liked church and read all of 1st Nephi. He said he really wants to know if it is true because he is so tired of all the twisted doctrine he has seen.
I feel like we haven`t done much, but everything is just happening. The family that went to church, hasn`t really progressed, but we will see if they go this weekend.
I just wanted to share what has been on my mind lately. I feel like so much unneeded stress is had when we do what is one of the greatest human weaknesses or that is, compare ourselves to others. This is what we all know as pride. I have been thinking a lot about how necessary it is to have an eternal perspective and remember that this life is a race where not speed, but endurance is what matters. We can all get to the end and will get to the end as we are obediant, patient, and diligent. SOmetimes we need to pick others up along the way and others we need to get a little shove or help from somebody else. I feel so grateful to know that we have the hope that we will all be with God one day as his children.
I love this gospel and the comfort, security, and confidence it brings to all God`s children.
Hey everybody, First things first, yes I DID recieve the package from the young women and wanted to write them a thank you card, but I am so backed up on writing letters I feel they would understand if I just told them through email. I loved what you sent me, it was very appreciated, and the latin elders in my district LOVED the american candy even though they were holding their stomachs afterwards. I also recieved the calender Mom, I love it, it is hanging up. So this week Doris hit a big mile stone- she recieved her sure answer that all that we have been teaching was true. She was buying tortillas at a tortilleria (tortilla shop) and she turned around and saw us walking by. With a lot of excitement in her voice she yelled out "¡Elderes!" and ran over to us. She was so excited and I asked her what happened. She said, "It´s true! I know it is true!" She said the night before she was reading the Book of Mormon wondering why the elders wanted her to read and pray so bad. She said she liked the church and was content just going like she was, why did she need to pray? She opened the book and said she started having a lot of questions, why this book?, why Jospeh Smith?, etc. she flipped to 2 Nephi 28 and just started reading. She said she was filled with the desire to know if all of this was true. She said that she read the chapter with the question (or prayer I would call it) in her mind, "is this true?" She said she read some verses that filled her with a desire to change completely and totally, to be a good Mom, to go to church, to be baptized. She said it felt so good, there is no way it couldn´t be true. She said she started to tell her family that everything would be different and that she was going to be better. She had a new radiance that we hadn´t seen before. She wants to be baptized so bad. We just need to talk more iwth her husband Daniel so that they can get married. He wants to, but just needs a little motivation. He is very closed. He is friendly, but he does not want to open himself to the possiblity that this is possibly true. We will be praying for him to be softened a little. His wife and daughters want to be baptized so bad, I know that the Lord will make it possible. This week other than that has been very good. We have so many possiblities for baptism in this month that I don´t have enough time to write about all of them. They are all good people and are sincerely trying to know. The members and our investigators have presented us to their friends and family and we are so excited for how this month is going to turn out. We are trying to do our best and plan effectively so that we can help them progress. I love you all very much and hope you have agreat day. Love, Ben
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.