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.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bob Esponja

Hola muchachos,

Did you know Spongebob was called Bob Esponja in spanish? People love him down here. The funny thing is I love him down here too. Not that I watch it, but my love for Spongebob has been carried with me from one country to the next.
This week was a good week, and we are beginning another change week which I feel much more prepared for this time around. We found out changes yesterday whcih is always good fun, and President and Sister Brough invited us over for breakfast this morning to talk about a few organizational things we needed to talk about. I ate 4 pieces of bacon, 4 more pieces of bacon than I have eaten with a breakfast in a long time. It was good time. So we are preparing for that and getting all the transportation together for the next week with all the new missionaries and the missionaries that are going home or the "baggies" as the mission lingo calls them.
In this week we have been able to see some progress. I would like to share something we have seen with a less active member named Roberto as nothing significant has happened with Jose, he continues going to church, but he continues to have strange ideas and doesn´t want to set a date for baptism. It has been amazing to see the progress with Roberto. We have been visting him for about a month and it was "well we have nothing else to do visit" because so many missionaries had tried with Roberto. Elder Lydiksen told me he was essentially a lost cause and couldn´t stop drinking. We visited him and didn´t hink much about it.
When Elder Cruz came and a cita fell through that we had around his house I thought I would give another try. We taught something to Roberto and he expressed a strong desire to come back to church but he thought it was too difficult. We had finally found something to work with. In the next few lessons we started to talk about why he was baptized and what his desires were for his future. He expressed a strong desire to go to the temple, something that kind of threw us for a loop. This man who we had found drunk in the street 3 days before had a desire to go the temple. We went from there and started trying to get him to go to church promising him that as he did his part and occupied his time with good things, he would be able to get over drinking. 2 Sundays ago he finally went. He was incredibly nervous because he had been away for so long and stuck to the missionaries (even thouhg everyone in the ward was incredibly happy to see him) and from there everything has changed. We visited him that very afternoon and found him reading his scriptures (with his shirt off with his fat guatemalan belly hanging out, very typical of older men here). We asked him how church was and he said ti was great. He talked to us of how he had never recieved the second priesthood and really wanted to by this October. He said he felt the need to change his work as that was what was cuasing him to drink a lot. The very next day he went out in search of a new job and much to his surprise within 2 days he had found work that had a set schedule, and now he feels such little temptation. It is always humbling to see what real repentance his. Someone changing his mindset and attitude to be closer to God. He seems so much happier and has a hope now that he is returning to church. It is too bad hiswfie doesn´t want to. Anyways that has really impressed me in the last 2 weeks and I thought you would like to hear about it.
I´m doing well, and I hope everyone else is doing well back on the homefront. Take care and have a great week.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 7, 2011 Email - it's what you do!

Hello everybody,

I don´t have to much to write this week, but Mom I would like to tell you that I got my package and it was amazing. Thank you everybody! I really like getting new pictures. Don´t take this the wrong way, but chubby babies with their shirts off are cute. Will looks like he is such a happy baby and Ioved seeing everybody together. The whole family looks super skinny, especially Brad. Keep up the good work and don´t make fun of me if I´m fat when I get back. Other than that my companion and I loved the candy and the book of course was as good as the first time. You all think frequently and that means a lot. Anyways to answer Mom´s 2 questions Jose is 37 and Alba´s daughter is just mean, she is short-tempered, yells, and just complains all the time. I wish she could turn around because it doesn´t look as if she will be leaving the house anytime soon.
Anyway this week has been great. We are finally finding a balance of work in the office and in the area. Last week both of the companionships in the office had 17 lessons which is unheard of. All it took was a lot of fighting to keep on schedule and some changes in organization thanks to a new President. It is never the same as having your own area, but it is great to see things improving. We are working and seeing things moving along in the area. Before we would stay late at night so we could have a free Saturday, but as President correctly guessed it is much more efficient to just leave at 3:30 everyday and go in Saturday morning if we absolutely need to. We have been having a lot of lessons and we are seeing some progress so that is gratifying.
We have also been working a lot with the english of Elder Cruz. It always make me laugh when he speaks in spanish in the house (against the new only english in the house rule) and we say "what? sorry we only speak english" and he says "awhh, come on guys" but in his latin accent. He always says whaaaaat!? and it never fails to make me laugh. It might not sound that funny but you just need to hear him. His english is improving, but he gets frustrated and impatient, the reason why most latins fail to learn english on their mission. It is a good opportunity because we are basically making him learn. He´s a good sport though so it all works out. I´m also trying to push him here in the office. He is a very inteligent personso he can work and do what you tell him to, but I´m slightly worried about when I leave because organizing and figuring out the most efficient way to do things is very foreign to him just because of the background he comes from. President told me to put him in charge next change (my last change) of basically everything so
I´m trying to explain everything so he can do the calendar, schedule, etc. and not need me to tell him what to do.
Other than that, we just have Jose. Jose has proved to have some strange ideas. He has "recieved dreams" telling him that he needs to fix the corruption in the churches. He recognizes the need for change but he somehow thinks he has been called to do it. First time I´ve seen that in Guatemala among many of the the interesting things I´ve seen. We have had some very direct lessons with him and I think we have helped him to see that God has already called his representative here on the earth to keep the order of his church, and that all of that falls back on the fact that Joseph Smith was a prophet, which the Book of Mormon is evidence of. He still wants to go to church and says he knows the Book of Mormon of true but due to his interesting ideas he has a hard time accepting Joseph Smith. I think he will progress if we continue to be clear and control his rants.
Well I love this church and know that it´s true. I love the people it has given me the chance to meet, and this incredible experience that it has allowed me to have. I hope everyone has a great week.

August 31, 2011 - A Good Week!

Hello family,

I´m just writing you collectively today so you don´t have to wait until tomorrow and I will write a few lucky individuals tomorrow. Deal? Deal. I will ever take advantage of the fact that someone cannot say no to a deal in an email. A downside of progressing technology (not as practical in a text). Anyways I am very excited to hear about Dad´s new calling, he will do a fantastic job, I know it. It is absolutely crazy that the girls have started their last school year before I get home. I´m getting old.
Anyway, I have a few things to let you know about. Do you remember one of my best converts Jorge? He is putting his his mission papers together! I have talked with the elders that have served in that area since and they have told me is so devoted and an example to most of the members. He gets to church early, goes to seminary AND institute, and is really taking everything in the church very seriously. I think to him it is almost a blessing not to have the support of his family because he completely believes in what the church leaders say and doesn´t fall into many of the family traditions that you often see in Guatemala that aren´t necessarily the worst things you could do, but they are small things that you wish the culture could get out of. He has talked in church, blesses the sacrement, and is very excited to go on his mission. Alba also wrote me and it made me really happy to know that she (a guatemalan widow who can´t sing a note) is in the ward choir and that she is very involved in the relief society. It is funny because she asked me to come to the ward conference to hear her sing, she is hard of memory and can´t remember that I told her I won´t be able to visit in these 2 years. She sad "I´m paying my tithing because God gives me life and my health and that makes me happy." It is sad because she wrote me asking me for a way to be able to leave on a mission when she hits a year (I don´t know how she got this idea) because her daughter is so cruel to her. She is old and can´t understand that I don´t have administative power in the church, but I hope her daughter really lets up on her. Also the Vasquez Family that I found on divisions with my District Leader contacting in Linda Vista (the ones where I felt strongly that they would be baptized, sorry if you don´t remember) have gone to church and are slowly but surely progressing. It is so gratifying to see the progress of the areas I left behind, I´m glad the Lord has put (or left, in the case of Elder Sarita) great missionaries in those areas so that everything can keep going well. I thought you would like to know that Elder Sarita is now training a north american, which made me happier than any other change I saw in the mission. He has by far been my favorite companion; I have so much respect for him because he is so humble and an all around incredible person. It is funny that he is training a gringo though because considerig the fact that it was hard for me to understand his Dominican Republic Spanish with 10 months in my mission, it will be a struggle with his new companion. I gave him one piece of advice for his time as a trainer in the change meeting, "Elder Sarita, solamente tengo un consejo, hable despacio." This means "Elder Sarita, I have some advice, talk slow." He laughed and agreed to do so. He´ll do a great job as a trainer.
As for my current area, Jose went to church! We are very excited about that fact. We have come to find that he has some strange ideas though with regards to recieving an answer that these things are true. He always goes back to dreams he has had in his life and what he thinks they mean which results in us redirecting him to the basic doctrines of the Book of Mormon, baptism, and a knowledge of Joseph Smith as the Prophet of the Restoration. When we can talk about these things he agrees, but we can tell he is thinking about something else. We have decided he doesn´t really understand the Book of Mormon and the importance it has in recieving an answer about the truthfulness of what we teach. We will for sure be going over that before we move on. The good thing is that he likes church (which is good especially since some things I see and hear make me cringe when I have investigators with me), and he says he will be coming every week. We are really trying to work members more and we have 3 or 4 references that the members are inviting to church, a lesson in their house, or something like that so we hope we´ll find some people through the members in this coming week.
So I´m loving being a missionary, hearing progress of people and seeing the results of my work from times when maybe I thought everything wasn´t going that well is really rewarding. I´m trying to work hard, and even though President has gotten after me a lot for a few little miscommunications in this week I´m doing just swell haha. I hope everyone is doing great.

August 17, 2011

My beloved parents and siblings,

I am writing you once again with another week under my belt in this great guatastic adventure of mine, and I am happy to say that I´m happily chugging along, admiring the occasional think latin mustache as I go about my daily duties. This week was a good week as Elder Cruz and I have gotten used to the big changes in the office and in the area. Elder Cruz is a fantastic teacher and that makes all the difference in the missionary work. I have found that he likes to talk about video games A LOT which can be slightly distracting but I have learned to just deftly dodge the comment and mention something else. Life is good.
In this last week before Sunday I had actually been slightly disappointed with the work in the area. It had been a struggle to find progressing investigators and I was worried about if we were neglecting the work because of office work. I had been thinking about that a lot and had been really trying to work harder in the time that we were in the area to make a difference. Sunday we had an incredible experience that made me think I just need to be a little patient. We are teaching someone named José , someone that we just contacted because he was playing cards with some of the teenagers from the ward near their house. This was 2 weeks ago. He invited us in and we started to talk to him. Over the course of the last 2 weeks we have found that he really has been lacking a relationship with God in his life. He told us that he just feels empty sometimes and that he feels distanced from God. He said he has tried going to churches but he has just seeing hypocrites and power hungry people (these are his words not what I think every other church is made up of mind you). After the first lesson he read from 1st Nephi 1 to 13. This last Sunday we came in and he started telling us how much sense the vision of Lehi made sense. He said that he needed this iron rod so that he could have the truth. He said that he feels the book is true but that he wants to go to church to really see how it is, a request that as missionaries, turned us into 10 year olds waking up to a snow day. 10 year olds? I still had that reaction when I was 18 I don´t know what I´m talking about. ANYWAY, he said that he really does feel as if he needs something more and that he will get baptized if he starts to feel that this is true, which he said he has felt, but not a certain confirmation yet. I´m very excited about him, and we are hoping he comes to church this Sunday.
Also I just got out of my interviews with President. He is a really impressive person. He gave me some interesting insights into how we as human beings can only do our best and we need to look to God to forgive our weaknesses. He also told me that we need to analyze every criticism were given and decide if it something we want to change. He said in his professional life he has often been criticized for being to trusting, something he feels is a part of him and he has conciously decided not to change that, because he feels it is a part of him to trust and give others the benefit of the doubt. He said this has hurt him, but also blessed him in his life. He said we need to figure out who we are and be careful with which criticism we accept and apply. He said we obviously need to to change things that are disobediance or inconsistent with gospel teachings, but that God has made us how we are for a reason and we need to recognize that and try to be the best person we can be, not looking to be somebody else. It was very uplifting and it really struck home with me.
Anyway I´m happy and I´m learning a lot. I love you all and hope you have a great day. I love you!

August 23, 2011

Hey family,

To answer Mom´s many questions I will give you a run down of the office schedule. We wake up in the morning go running (Elder Petersen and I), eat, shower, start studying at 8:00 and leave for the office at 8:30 in our truck (it is a Hilux, not allowed in the States, very fun to drive especially when we are on the road at 4 in the morning and no one is on the road, don´t worry I keep it safe). We get to the office start to work until lunch time and sometimes call in lunch, other times go to a Guatemalan cafeteria or comedor as they are called. Very delicious if you have lived in Guatemala for a year. Quite coincedentally I´ve done just that. We then leave the office at 3:30 or 4:00 to work and we don´t have dinner until night time where I usually eat a peanut butter and honey (jelly if I want to change things up) sandwhich with only one piece of bread. Toasted. It is very good. So that is a little run down of the schedule for you, hope you enjoy.
This week has been a test and a reward of patience the same time. I have grown up with the idea that hard work and good intentions bring results, a mentality that sometimes lacks a little of the patience that I am here to learn. As you know, I have been working hard with Elder Cruz to find investigators and help the investigators that we have progress. What we have ran into is people dropping us due to talking with their pastor, not wanting to go to church, not wanting to hear us in the first place, etc. (I might note that every time we are denied in a contact Elder Cruz starts singing the song raindrops keep falling on my head which he learned from Spiderman 2, it makes me laugh everytime). Anyway we talked about it a lot and have just been able to figure out what we are doing wrong. Right as I feel I am becoming the best teacher that I have been in my mission, with the result that I feel I know better how to help investigators, there aren´t any investigators to apply this to. As is usual with me, I started worry about what was going on in the area too much, instead of focusing on what the Lord really has blessed us with. The realization came to me in this week that sometimes we are going to be doing our best, and things will not go the way we expect. This is when we need to exercise patience, knowing that we can only do our best and the Lord will do the rest, in His time. I really think I was being slightly selfish in how I was expecting things to fall into my lap. I really just needed to look at what the Lord had given me and be grateful for that, always working harder to see what more is in store, but accepting the fact that if it doesn´t come I just need to wait. It really has been a good experience allowing me to see that in my mission I have had the experience to see so much change in people, something I´m so grateful for having seen.
Anyway after having a struggle this last week, we were counting on José coming to church. He didn´t show. He left his house in the morning and wasn´t there. We were devastated. Something in the lesson we had last night though was incredible and we found out why he didn´t go. First off José felt terrible after he had promised us that he was going to go. We started to ask him about why he didn´t go. He started out nervously telling us that he didn´t have any nice shoes and so he had gone to buy a pair that morning because he didn´t want to go in tennis shoes. We could tell there was something else. After a few questions, he started to tell us in a shaky voice that he doesn´t feel worthy right now to go to church. He said he has been looking for the truth for so long and that he feels as if he has found it, he feels unworthy to go. I can´t go into any detail due to the request of the missionary department and some things they sent out about confidentiality, but he has a big weight on his shoulders that he has not been able to get off for years due to something he has not been able to stop doing. We had an incredible talk about repentence and how somebody truly can change their life if they are willing to do so. Something clicked. He told us he felt hope now, that he could really do this. He promised us he would go to church this Sunday. He said he wants nothing more than to get rid of the guilt he feels. He said he just wants to feel clean again. I think I truly do take for granted the knowledge that I have of this gospel, and the atonement of Jesus Christ. The light we saw in him was incredible when he was able to have that spark of hope. He knows it will be hard, he knows it is going to take time, but he is a very humble man and trusted us enough to share these things, showing us that it doesn´t matter where he is, he can change if he really is willing to do so. I hope that in a month or two I come to find that he is part of the reason I have been working in this area for this time. Maybe everything is going how one would hope a year into his mission, but I am happy that I have the chance to work with José who I know really can change if he continues with the attitude he currently has.
Anyway I hope everything is well. Thank you everybody for always supporting me and making sure to write me frequently. I love you and hope that all is going well. Mom thanks but I´m fine with what I can buy here, I would love a few current photos of the family printed off and put in there if you could. I guess I could take the time to print them but itjust so much cooler to recieve them in a package.

August 11, 2011...The craziest week of my life for real!

Hey family,

I am rushing to write you something because there is so little time so sorry about the probably not that good of a letter, but I didn´t want to wait until Friday again to write you. This week was change week and Mom you are right, I do have my new companion and he is great. He feels like he is in over his head and doesn´t know why he was picked, but he will learn quickly I can tell. He is bright and will do a good job. I on the other hand am extremely tired but happy that the hard part of the week is finally over. I haven´t woken up after 5:30 for the last 3 days and it is catching up to me. Today I woke up at 3:30 to take some missionaries to the airport. In light of all that I´m trying to catch up on all the work that I missed because we were out and about with the new missionaries and the missionaries that are going home. Mom and Dad you are right, it is slightly more stressful now that I am on my own, but I´m really trying to organize the secretary job with the time that I have because there are so many things that are unorganized. I hope will be able to make everything more simple for Elder Cruz by the time I leave, but we will see how it goes because President is really pushing that the office elders have a lot of baptisms as well as better organization so it is a lot to handle because more time in one thing obviously means less time in another, and these last few days we´ve barely been in the area.
I´m sure you all want to know a bit about Elder Cruz. He is my second companion named Elder Cruz and he is also from Honduras. He is a really funny elder who is here to work hard. He feels really out of place (as I did) because he feels like he should just be out working, finding, contacting, etc. I was talking to him about what to expect in the office, a talk that I would have really appreciated my first week in the office. He mentioned to me that he feels really weird, but that he wants to learn and do a good job. We were also talking about the key to being a good missionary and he said that to him it all comes down to being humble, something that I completely agree with him on. That makes me happy to hear he understands his purpose and why he is here, I know that we will get along really well. He is fairly young in the mission (he has 6 months) and understands english fairly well, it is just hard for him to speak. This will be such a great opportunity for him considering he is living with 4 northamericans, something that I´m sure is a bit of a culture shock. I´m really trying to get the elders in the house to speak spanish if he is even in the room so he doesn´t feel alienated, but I´m sure there´s some things that he just can´t relate to.
I´m very excited about the change. I love having a latin companion. The different culture is always really interesting and I don´t know it just makes the actual work more fun for me. I wonder if there is a reason I have had so many latin companions. It has really taught me a lot about what I have grown up with and how God is no respector of persons; the gospel is for everybody. It doesn´t matter where you are from, who you are, what you´re family situation is, the gospel can change your life. A testimony of the restored church of Christ makes us better, because it gives us hope for something more. It gives us a sense of self worth and real confidence. It is incredible to see the people from terrible backgrounds that overcome all of it and become respectable, great people. I don´t have anymore time to write because I have to go, but I just want to let you know that I´m really being stretched here doing what I´m doing, but it really is helping me to learn to be more patient and calm. It is stressful when things go wrong but it is very gratifying when everything goes as planned. I am really trying to find and teach those who are going to progress and I will write you as soon as I run into somebody that we know will progress. I love you all and hope all is well. Please keep me in your prayers and I will keep you in mine.

August 4, 2011 - Crazy Week!

Hello family,

First off to answer your question Mom, I do have all of the mission library books. I didn´t have one of them but I found it in the Chimal house due to the fact that it is one of those eternal missionary houses and old missionaries leave their things there. Thanks though.
It is good to hear that everyone is doing well, that Mom is getting buckets of water dumped on her head, Brad is quickly rising to Forbes Magazine top 100 richest in America, and everyone else is vacationing except for poor Dad which is doing his manly duty of bringing home the bacon. Bacon that I have not eaten in a long time. Good sweet bacon... Mmmmm.... I do miss bacon. Anyway it sounds like everyone is doing great, thank you for always writing me, it means a lot.
This week for me has been crazy. We don´t have time to have a P-day because it is the week before changes so that is not fun, but were just trying to keep our head above water with all the stuff we have to do. Now I´m pretty much in charge so it is stressful but I´m hanging in there. Instead of P-day we just took a few hours yesterday to go to Chili´s and due to Brad´s request I got a real juicy thick burger that had man written all over it. Not literally but that would have been a nice touch. It was called the Chipoltle Blue Cheese Bacon Burger. It was so good. Your welcome Brad.... I enjoyed that for you.
It was cool though because Monday we secretaries found out changes so that we could start doing all the prep work for change day. President did a lot of unexpected things which I think is good. He has put in a lot young leaders which I´m really excited about. The biggest thing is that I´m training the first latino secretary in the longest time. I don´t think there has been a latino secretary in the office since President Baldwin got here because he usually wanted an elder that spoke english and a year of college, but President Brough doesn´t mind as much. His name is Elder Cruz and I´m really excited because I´ve heard while young in his mission he is very excited to be a missionary. I guess I´m just destined to be with latinos. I´m okay with that though because I love dynamic of 2 different cultures in a companionship. Elder Lydiksen was joking that of course I was the one to get the first latin secretary in forever becuase I hadn´t had a north american until I was sent here. It will definately be a challenge since he doesn´t really speak any english but I have heard he is very bright so we will work on english a lot considering he will be living in a house with 4 northamericans. I excited to see what I can teach him and learn from him at the same time. It will be a relief to finally have someone to be learning spanish from. Elder Lydiksen is great and speaks spanish with me but it just isn´t the same. It will be such a different office life because now we will have 2 latin AP´s and a latin secretary, it should be fun.
I´m very excited about getting my new companion (he at this moment has no idea what the next week for him has in store), but at the same time I´m kind of sad. Elder Lydiksen is a very down to earth guy who is always open to try to things and listen to other people. This has made the change a blast as we have been able to work hard, but not just hard, with unity as well. Missions are unique in the fact that they allow you to get to know and serve with so many different types of people over a short period of time, and while change can be hard, it is always exciting to get to know new circumstances.
Anyway sorry I didn´t write anything all that spiritually uplifting, I have run out time though. I just want to thank you all again for always writing me. I really am grateful for the family I have and how close I am to all of you. I always feel your constant support and love and you don´t know how much that means to a missionary. I love you all and hope everything is well.

July 29, 2011 - Zone Conference was great!

Hey everybody,
As I was telling Anne, I´m a year through my mission and I have completely run out of creative subject lines and greetings to the family as you can see above. I am telling you this so that you have 0 expectation of creativity from this creatively burnt out elder. I just can´t think of anything.
Anyway, I´m glad to hear Mom that you are enjoying or enjoyed girls camp, I´m sure the girls are as well. I forgot you were there when I sent that little email so I hope you don´t think I was being impatient and ungrateful for the emails I always consistently recieve from you and the family. I was just letting you know because I assume you like hearing from me on Wednesday as opposed to Thursday or Friday. Generally I will email you by Wednesday if it isn´t a weird week (like this one was). President has a new thing where he wants someone in the office at all times so I will be more or less regulary switching my P-day from Tuesday to Wednesday and vice versa every other week. It´s a good change but weird for us due to the fact that we are used to taking Pday together. My Pdays are much more productive now as I´m sure you can imagine. I wrote 6 letters this Wednesday, I was very happy with myself. Anyway it would be best if everybody that has the intention of writing me does it by Tuesday so I can respond when I am in the office and take what is called here as "family time."
The highlight of this week was Zone Conference. I was so happy because the assitants and President addressed what I have basically ranted to you about since the beginning of my mission. There are just so many mission traditions that have no source in Preach My Gospel the scriptures or anything resulting in that the teaching on a general level in the mission is pretty awful. Most the examples used aren´t even doctrinally sound, and missionaries use examples to replace the teaching instead of add to it. This isn´t to criticize, but I have just seen so many investigators left confused, left feeling as if they weren´t understood, or left uninterested because instead of explaining the real doctrine in a simple manner applying to the intelligence and the needs of the investigator, a missionary pulls out a pen and puts in the hand of the investigator telling them it is a prophet. Not that these common examples are always bad, but my good friend Elder Knight from Nicaragua explained that these examples that he heard as he was investigating the church for 4 years (he was a very active Evangelical, playing guitar and piano in this church for basically his whole life) made him feel as if the missionaries were trying to convince him that this was true instead of just teaching and allowing him to feel that it was true. It is really cool to see how the mission department is trying to really teach missionaries what Preach My Gospel is trying to say and get them to really just teach this simply and tell people that we have the truth with conviction. I could obviously improve in all of this, but it was great to see that President really understands how we are really going to connect with some people that maybe wouldn´t instantly see the appeal of the gospel from these rote tradtions that have formed in our (and I´m sure many other) missions.
Anyway now that I´m done ranting (again), the most powerful part of the meeting was definitely the little message that Sister Brough gave about how obediance and faith together give us power and the personal conversion necessary to teach this gospel in a way that will result in lasting conversions. We cannot convert more than we are personally converted. President also gave a powerful testimony of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. He told us that in his opinion Joseph Smith understood better than anyone in this dispensation what Jesus Christ felt like because he knew that he was going to die for this cause, that he was going to leave behind his family and the work that he had sacrificed so much for. He told us about how Hyrum Smith would not abandon his brother even though he was told that he would be killed if he went with Joseph. He willing went to his death because of his loyalty to his brother and a prophet of the Lord. Seeing the testimony that President Brough has was really powerful and was a great motivator to keep working hard.
So that was all great, and the area I feel is improving. We are finding a lot of new people that we hope will rapidly progress. Elder Lydiksen is a great companion that is always willing to improve, I just hope my next companion is the same. I will be letting you know next week what is happening with changes in the office because we will find out Monday to make all the administrative changes. I love you all and I´m trying to do my best out here for you.

July 21, 2011

Dear Pearson Family,
First off to answer Mom´s many questions that I am happy to answer, we went to Santiago on P-day, it´s about a 3 hour drive from our house to there (we woke up early), yes we took a car but we no longer have a van we have a Toyota Hilux a truck not allowed in the states, but we took President´s car because the truck didn´t have enough seats. When we email we always email in the office when we can find time, I just wait until you email me. We also have a full P-day when we can and if not we do P-hours when we need a break. Brad, I laughed too the first time I heard that. And last of all, I have 3 more weeks with Elder Lydiksen and then I will be the one who supposedly knows everything... yikes. But it will be fun. I´m excited to see who my new companion will be.
So anyway, this week nothing too significant happened. Life goes on in the office. It has been a great experience with President because he really trusts and confides in us, even if we aren´t the assistants. He asks us what we think and likes to involve us in things when he can. He as such a great vision of what missionary work should be. He is very much against excess, he is taking a way a lot of things that I have thought twice about in the mission since the beginning. He just always talks about how if the manual doesn´t instruct us to have a meeting we shouldn´t have it because 100 meetings can´t make up for just being missionaries. He is going on a lot of divisions and getting to the roots of the work to have the engine function how it should, making sure everything from the bottom up is functioning so that a lot of the stress and pressure is taken off of the leaders. Everything he is doing I´ve agreed with and it is great to see that he just gets missionary work and has a real love for it. It really is an example when he and his wife come in from a taxi ride or something with a referral for us to give to the missionaries. They are great people.
As for the work in the area, Elder Lydiksen and I have found a few investigators that have promise of progressing, but nothing certain yet. It has been slow but I really feel like we are more focused now than were before. He´s a great companion because he let´s me know how I can improve and listens to me if I have something to talk about. When I wanted to talk spanish when we were working in the area so I didn´t lose too much of my spanish he just said ¨lets do it!¨ and has done it with me since. He really is a good Elder with good intentions. The Hernandez Estrada Family is still not progressing, President Brough wants to do divisions with us to see if he could help the situation, but I will let you know how that goes.
I´ve been thinking a lot lately about the quote by Boyd K. Packer where he says that doctrine understood changes behavior faster than a study of behavior changes behavior. This is something that is so apparent in our investigators. There is a stark difference between those who understand the need for a restoration, the need for an atonement, etc. and those who just go to church because they feel good there or because they like the missionaries. It is incredible to see somebody really see the goodness that our message contains. When they are humble and willing, how could they not see it? It´s true. Teaching that, really strenghtens my testimony that it is true and I just hope we can help somebody to see that to the point where they want to start on this path that will make them happy.
I have to end with what happened this morning at the bus stop. So we got off one bus and were going to the next bus that was one of the nicer city buses that you have to go through one of those counter gate things that they have at an amusement park. My companion and I got off after the other companionship and so we were running to catch up. I was digging in my pocket to find my coin because you can´t pass by the gate with out it and the bus and all the other elders were waiting for me. I was the last one onthe bus platform. Anyways I found the coin in the pocket feeling and feeling quite triumphant about that fact I too quickly tried to get through that counter gate that spins. As I pushed one of the rungs the other rung started to go up and caught my leg that was behind. I couldn´t really get out beacuse those things only go forward not backward and I slowly but surely ate it in front of a bus of about 50 latins and 3 northamericans who needless to say started to laugh mercilessly. I got up, said, I´m good, and got on for the bus ride of shame. I feel that it was a situation that was much funnier because of the fact that I was a gringo. I´m glad I provided them with a good laugh. If anyone gets that security camera footage and puts it on youtube let me know, I could be famous.
Well, I love you guys and hope all is well.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hey Pearson Family,
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!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Interviews, Walmart and hope of a Guatemalan mustache!

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.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Mission President Change!

The Office Elders

Hey everybody,
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!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

At the Beach!

Hello best family in the world,
To answer Mom´s questions, father´s day is a different day, I think it was 2 days before, but I´m not sure. Also that´s crazy that Jaden will be there so long, but I feel like they are changing a lot of things in the mission program so maybe that is a result of that change. Yes I was only there for 9 weeks. Also Elder Lydiken is here for 3 months with me to make a total of 6 months in the office (2 changes) and then he leaves and I will be here for 2 changes with the other secretary making 6 months as well. So needless to say I have a while to be here.
Another one of Mom´s questions/part of the letter is concerning my new companion. My new companion is a really good guy that I entered with. I didn´t really know him in the CCM or the MTC so it´s been cool to get to know him. On a non-gospel level we don´t really connect (he is kind of a jock that is slightly competitive), but the cool thing about the church is that due to the fact that we are both focused on the same thing, we get along really and are becoming pretty good friends. It´s interesting that as much as hobbies and interests matter so much in high school (to most people) it really has no effect on what kind of person you are. It´s cool because there isn´t a "senior companion" in the office, we just kind of work together making everything work out the best we can. He wants to work hard and is always willing to listen to new ideas, so I´m happy. I do miss Elder Sarita, but I have 0 complaints.
Okay so I have to explain what I put as the subject. We went to the beach this last P-day and it was a good time. We were standing on the rocks that enter into the water (I´m not sure what the things are called that break waves) and having a great time taking pictures, talking about how awesome the beach is, and how awesome Guatemala is. Every few moments a little wave would come up and splash off of the rocks and make a cool effect that we all thoroughly enjoyed. Everytime one came everyone became instantly happy. So as this was all happening we all looked out and saw that a giant wave was coming, making us as happy as children in a candy shop. A chandy shop with free candy. We giddily awaited the wave. Someone yelled, "here comes a big one!" and we all expected a big splash that would be the icing on the day that was making a delicious chocolate cake. Metaphorically speaking. Anyways the wave hit and with grins on our faces, BOOOOM!!!!!!!!! the wave came over the rocks and completely and utterly leveled us. We looked up bewildered and shaken, completely oblivious to what had just hit us. The after math was this: That wave owned us. It flipped one of the elders completely over onto his back (a full flip mind you), took the other elders out with minor cuts and scrapes, and it stole my sandal, cut my foot and broke the small toe next to my pinky toe on my left foot. It was nuts, but a really good story.
Other than that everything is going well. Felix and his wife told us that they want to get married and that she wants to get baptized! We are really grateful for the improvement that they have made and we have high hopes for their near future. I will talk more about this next week because I spent a lot of time writing about that wave. Sorry. I love you guys and hope all is well!
-Benjamin James Pearson

June 13, 2011

Hey everybody,
Well here I am again emailing you and starting off with the answers to my mommy´s questions. Yes I went with the office elders and the quesadilla explosion salad was delicious here as it is there. I actually can´t remember too well how it tasted in the states. Also yes I run with the Executive Secretary Elder Pearson 3 times a week. We just go and run up a huge hill (bigger than the loveland castle hill) and then go back to the house. It feels really good to be running again, because while I loved the jump roping, it just didn´t satisfy me.
This week was really good. I have a new thing that I do with drunk people which has amused me. Whenever they start talking to me I just start talking to them in english. They always get confused because they know the missionaries can speak english, and then they respond in the little english that they know such as good morning or, " eey! he´s a speaking english!" It´s been fun. Also it was a great week because of an experience my companion and I had with an investigator named Felix. We have been teaching Felix since I arrived here in Boca del Monte. When we started he was just another investigator that I described last week and actually caused me to write about how if the investigator isn´t willing to change his behavior, he isn´t going to accept our message at all. All Felix did was interrupt us to tell us all the good things he does for the community and how well he knows God. He would just go on and on telling us things of no substance. There was just no sincerity or desire to change. We didn´t drop him though because he had been going to church and we just wanted to wait and see what happened.
2 Sundays ago something amazing happened. He came to church and didn´t say much at church like he had the other time. At the end of church we set up another teaching appointment, said goodbye, and we were honestly expecting the same thing in the next lesson. What we saw shocked us. We got there and from the beginning of the lesson we could tell that something was different. He was going off on tangents, he was listening, actually listening, to what we had to say. We asked him about how church was. He said with sincerity that he had felt something different, something that made him want to cry, because it made him want to change his character, how he was managing things in his home (they had talked about respect in the home between parents and children). We asked him if he felt this was an answer to what he was praying about, meaning Jospeh Smith and the Book of Mormon. He said yes and that he really wants to get baptized. Ever since then he has told us how he wants to learn more. Instead of looking for what is wrong in the talks in church and what he thinks, he has been telling us about what he learned in the church and what he wants to change. He has talked with his kids that he wants to change and he is trying to do it. It has taught me a lot about how God can touch people and cause them to be humble in ways that we can´t force, sometimes we just need to wait. He still isn´t married and this is a problem because hiw "wife" (they call everyone their wife even if they aren´t married) doesn´t want to marry him because she is much younger than him. We will see what happens in the next few weeks.
Also yes Mom the transition of Presidents is going to happen soon (about 2 weeks) and we are all very excited to meet the new president. The AP´s talked to him the other day and they said he sounds very on top of things and very down to earth which will be great. I love and respect President Baldwin but he is very rigid and slightly intimidating and it will be interesting to see how the change of personality changes things. We are going to have an office meeting this Friday about the transition and everything that will happen in the next little bit. I just hope it doesn´t mean a lot of time in the office as soon as the new President comes in.
Anyways I have to go but I love you guys and I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. Good luck with Youth Conference Mom I know you will do a great job.