Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Responsibilities for the New Year

I hope you are all okay, but yes, they got married and I had changes. I had an interview too. I am writing so late [Tuesday night at 5:30] because I can because I am the new mission secretary. I was blindsided by that one. I am now in the office with Elder Jacobs and Elder Cesena who I entered the field with. And my comp is my brother in the mission, Elder Long.

But I have been running on five hours of sleep in two days because we had to take care of the missionaries leaving and then today the ones coming in. I thought teaching in Spanish has hard, but now I am doing business in Spanish so please pray for me. Sorry, I am super tired.
Love you all,
Elder Musick

Friday, December 25, 2009

Cultural Observation of the Week:

The traditional food for Guatemalans at Christmas is tamales. They are basically corn "maza" stuffed with chicken, wrapped in a banana leaf and boiled. They are rather tasteless compared to the tamales we eat in the states. They are made much differently in Honduras and have more flavor - according to a Honduran Missionary.

The traditional drink is Ponche. Basically it includes cut up pieces of almost every fruit available, including pineapple, papaya, melon, and prunes. It also has orange juice, cinnamon, and more. All of it is boiled together, and it remains as a liquid with chunks of fruit in it. You can drink it warm or cold." Hmmmm, interesting!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cultural Observation of the Week

The Guatemalans stay up until midnight on the 24th of December and set off fireworks. At midnight they open presents and dance and celebrate (at least those who have extra money to buy them - Sam said in his area it is basically a regular day, no gifts, no special meals, nothing). As a result, on the 25th all are exhausted and everyone sleeps. In their nativity scenes they also hide the baby Jesus until midnight. When they welcome in the 25th at this hour, the baby is born and they put him in the manger.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Now, he's a wedding planner!

Okay, thank you all for your love and support and packages. I got one from grandma and you guys and really enjoyed them - thank you. But I loved the tree it was pretty cool, I must say.

Last week we were in a lesson with a family (the wife is an active member and is at church every Sunday, but the husband was a hit man) and we have been working hard with him and working towards marriage. So last week we had a lesson and we have taught him twice before this and I said we want to get you married and I want to see it. So I said, "[Let’s do it] the 26th of this month because on the 28th is changes and I didn't want to miss this." They said "yes" and so for tomorrow’s pday we have to get up at four am to pull some papers out. And then we scheduled some lessons in the afternoon so we won't get pday tomorrow.

But also the husband gave us four referrals and they have all worked together so we have a lot of work and have been teaching repentance like crazy. But I have seen harden criminals break down and cry just wanting to change their lives. I have seen the Lord's hand blessing us and these men to change and come unto Him. The members are very fond of us and we have such help from them right now. The Lord has really blessed us and especially my companion in this time because he found out that his grandpa killed himself and that was super hard for him to take. But he talked to his family Tuesday night and he wanted me to talk to his mom so I talked for a second to them and saw the comfort of the spirit and the plan of salvation blessing them.

But mom I am letting you know I am going to have to use the card from home for a gift exchange with family Rodriguez and to help out with the Wedding a little bit. Just plates and glasses stuff like that. But I am tired because the Lord has given us a great amount of work and we feel so blessed.

I will call you guys on the 25th at 8:00 or 9:00 and so I think that is like 11:00 or 12:00 for you guys, if that is okay. But I love you all so much and pray you are all safe. [Actually, he figured this backward which means he will be calling at 6:00-7:00 - Merry Christmas!]

Love, Elder Musick

Monday, December 14, 2009

Temple Blessings

The temple was truly amazing. I was a witness for the baptisms and ran into my old comp's brothers at the temple. I have photos and will try to get some to you. The temple trip was pretty much all day and it was amazing. They all loved it, even the little ones. But this week we have been super busy. We had to wake up at 5 one day to have a lesson at 6 in the morning. The Lord has truly blessed us here in this area.

Yesterday we had divisions pretty much all day after church and I went with Hermano Rodriguez and he absolutely loved it and he said whenever we need him he will help out. Later that night I went with Oscar Mendoza who has been a member a month or so. He had investigated the church for three years, got married and needed an interview with President Baldwin. He had served in the military and had killed a lot of people. Well, we had a lesson with a new investigator who was a hit man - the people he used to hunt down. But it was one of the most powerful lessons I have ever been in. Oscar spoke with such power and the whole time was lead by the spirit. He offered such support and comfort and has such a testimony of repentence; it blew my mind. But mom, don't worry I am protected by the Lord and we are safe.

I just found out my companion’s grandfather just passed away so that will be another hard challenge to face this week. So I please ask for your prayers to help him out.

I would love to see pictures from the Jorgensen/Vlach wedding because that really is a happy day. Aubrey chose a better life because it includes the gospel and a worthy Priesthood holder.

I really am blessed for all that you have been doing for me and how you have all blessed and helped me to be who I am today. To be honest, I have seen the hand of the Lord almost every day here. But really as I try to help people get married or divorced or counsel them about repentence of some heavy things, I know that the Lord has qualified me and that in this past month I realize as a senior comp that I am more like my father then I know and how blessed I am to have that great blessing to be similar to such a great man.

I love you all so much and pray all is well. Know that my families here are taking great care of me. The families Garcia, Rodriguez and Mendoza are always blessing me.

And mom, I know nothing about calls but tomorrow or the next week I will.

Elder Musick

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This Year for Christmas (a poem)

I skipped the sales after Thanksgiving. The thrill just wasn't there.
No pictures taken with Santa Clause, my decorating has no flair.
His presents are shoes, shirts, and ties, two suits and socks...no fun.
I've bought him all white clothes because...this year I'm giving Christ my son.

I've spent more time in the temple, felt strength come from His words.
I've reread November's Ensign,and my testimony stirred.
Our family prays more frequently, my tears are quick to run.
Abraham seems closer because, this year I'm giving Christ my son.

I wonder how those Lamanite mothers, gave their sons to war?
Or how the pioneers chose Zion, their sacrifice was so much more.
My loss will be his presence, I'll miss his smile a ton
For two years we will pray for him, I'm giving Christ my son.

I stare at his face when he's not looking. I memorize his eyes, their shine.
He's always hungered for the part of him, that makes his soul divine.
The stories and lessons he always heard, his choice and mine are one.
I'll put my faith in God's hand, this year, I'm giving Him my son.

Past gifts have lost their glitter, I think I finally understand
Christ's birth should be celebrated by giving Him a hand.
It's because I know Christ lives and reigns that all his packing’s done.
My gift has taken years to make, this year... I'm giving Christ my son

Monday, December 7, 2009

December "miracle" and wonderful converts

Okay, so I got your packages and a package from the Smith family so please thank them for me. I loved my packages and I got them when we had house inspections. And all the missionaries were mad I got three packages in one day. So thank you.

And I know I shouldn't boast but I performed a miracle this week. I cleaned our two-story house that has a giant roof top. And right now it is safra and so we have ash everywhere because they just burn the sugar cane. But we got a great review because Hermana Baldwin said in two years it is the cleanest she has ever seen it.

But in other news we had two baptisms this weekend of the mother and sister to Marco Vinico Rodriguez. So we completed the family except to two little ones who are two and four. And I had the honor to do the confirmation. But then that night we took the Family Garcia and the Family Rodriguez to the Christmas Devotional where we saw the family Mendoza. They are recent converts and they had been investigating the church for three years and need the interview with President Baldwin. So it was really cool but the kids all sat by me so I couldn't focus really well. But I enjoyed it all.

So this Friday we are planning to go to the temple with the family Rodriguez and so that will be our p-day for the week. But we are really looking forward to it. And we finally have a cook - it is Irma Rodriguez who was baptized two weeks ago. But right now we have been truly blessed by the Lord and are so truly grateful. But still have a lot to work on.

About the Christmas call - I have no idea what you mean or want but when I know something I will let you know. But this Friday I will need to probably use some money at the temple for some investigators just to let you know.

And I need a huge favor. The two year old in the family Rodriguez can't speak and has some problems and so we want to teach him some sign language to help Irma and him because it is real difficult at times. Could you find a sign language book in Spanish as soon as possible because changes are the 28 of this month and need to get it before that just in case. I would really, really be indebted to you for this. Love you, mom, and thanks for the packages.

And what do you mean special delivery?

Cultural Observation - December 7th

There is a tradition on December 7th in Guatemala: la quema del diablo, the burning of the devil. You know it is coming when you can see big, red, horned pinatas hanging in storefronts. Across the country, people light bonfires and burn images of Satan as a way to symbolically cleanse their houses.

On December 7th Guatemalans clean house and gather up discarded boxes, old newspapers, ... even dust from underneath the beds ... and build a huge, highly-combustible mound in front of their homes. Popular tradition holds that throughout the year, the devil hides in the corners and dark places of a house, weaseling his way into old papers and garbage and dust ... thereby bringing bad luck to the home. By 6pm the piles are set alight. An optional paper-mache Satan is added to the pile and, at exactly 6pm, the whole unholy heap is set on fire.

Guatemalans strongly believe that by burning the rubbish they are purging their homes and towns of evil. With this tradition, the season of Christmas begins.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cultural observation

In Guatemala, Thanksgiving is not a holiday, so the Christmas celebrations start early. In early November, Christmas trees started springing up in all the homes (the plastic kind of course, real Christmas trees don´t exist there). Another sign that Christmas is approaching is that all of the young people have fireworks, and every night in all parts of the city, you can hear miniature explosions. There are sparklers and other small fireworks that we all used as children on the Fourth of July.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Follow up on last week

Okay so I am sure I had an infection or some bacteria or something like that. But don't worry, I am better and will finish my pills today.

Gustavo Garcia is doing better and can kind of walk but he doesn't like sitting around so he doesn't rest too much. The family Rodriguez is amazing and the mom and sister will be baptized this Saturday and we are planning a trip to the temple for the next Friday. We have to get permission first but we should be able to go. And I will try and get you some pics. But the temple is like 2 hours away something like that.

The weather here is just hot and the sun is strong and it hasn't rain in a month maybe. But yeah we are hoping that this month we are most successful zone again because we had 25 baptisms in this zone of 8 companionships so we hope. But for our zone conference we are going to the mountains for a 3 or 4 zone conference. The church has some property up their so it should be cool.

Okay that really stinks about the cars (Jordan’s and Jared’s) and hope all is okay with everybody. I got your letter and the pics you sent which I loved - thanks.

I love you all and hope my letters are getting better and hope you are all okay.

Elder Musick

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Blog for Guatemala City Central Mission!

The Guatemala City Central Mission has a new blog and there are a few pictures of Sam with his Zone at their "Most Successful Zone Celebration" at the Mission President's home.

The following pictures were on the blog. Check it out at:
http://guatemalacentralmission.blogspot.com/


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cultural Observation of the Week:

In Guatemala, Thanksgiving is not a holiday, so the Christmas celebrations start early. In early November, Christmas trees started springing up in all the homes (the plastic kind of course, real Christmas trees don´t exist here). Another sign that Christmas is approaching is that all of the young people have fireworks, and every night in all parts of the city, you can hear miniature explosions. There are sparklers and other small fireworks that we all used as children on the Fourth of
July.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Eventful week as Senior Comp

To answer your question: My companion’s name is Elder Jimenez and he has been out two months - he just started his second change.

This past weekend I got really, really sick. I had a temp. of 103 Saturday and 102 Sunday. I really just slept both those days. But don't worry my comp. was all over me whenever I needed my medicine and water or anything. We had a baptism this past Saturday so I got dressed went to it and came home and just slept more. But I am feeling better and the nurse here has got me on some strong drugs.

The baptism was really special because it was the family Rodriguez (the husband had been inactive for a long time but came back)and he baptized his wife and now we are trying to go to the temple with them in a few weeks for baptisms for the dead. We have a baptism date with his sister and want to set one with his mom too. They were a lot of help while I was sick and truly treat us like family; they are very special.

This Monday we went out even though I was still a little shaky and stopped by Miriam Garcia’s (the mom and little girl who were recent converts) and then a few other houses and then to the Family Rodriguez’s for FHE and there was a knock at the door. It was Miriam and she was crying in terror. Her son was run over by a bus over his hips. So we took off with them to the hospital with the family and they luckily let us in because they only wanted one person to enter, not two. We gave him a blessing and had to leave because it was late. We went by the day after and he was in the house and was cut up pretty bad but only had bruises on his hips and his knee was pretty bad but that was it. A really blessing.

And so that was my first week as senior comp. but I will say that I have felt the blessings of the Lord in our lessons. I can feel his hand guide me and it truly is a great blessing. I thank you for your prayers and would ask for you to continue you. But I love you and hope all is okay with you all.
Happy Thanksgiving,
- Elder Musick.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Assignment change

Well, I am glad to hear you had a great [Stake] Conference. We also had a conference that was just for Guatemala and Belize which was really amazing. [The activity at the Mission] President’s house was really fun. Saturday I found out that my comp had changes and that I had an interview. So I didn’t really sleep well over the course of two nights and then Monday was changes. I had my interview and must have done something wrong because I am now senior companion. I am in my fourth change and something like this is very odd in the mission. But I feel like I have a good comp. He is from El Salvador, but was born in Honduras. In my district they took all the senior comps out. I do feel really blessed because I feel like the Lord is helping me in this position and has helped my Spanish and in the promptings and guidance in this big step of my mission. Your prayers would be of great help and support at this time, though.

Monday we had a lesson with a family where the husband has been inactive for five years and came back and now his wife is receiving the lessons. She doesn’t have a testimony and so I have been studying in chapter five of PMG about the book of Mormon and how it helps with a testimony. We taught her about it and then Monday with my new comp, I asked, “Have you received an answer?” and with a tear in her eye and the spirit so strong she said, “Yes” and has a fecha [baptismal date] for this weekend. I really feel a big weight now as senior comp. and feel a big responsibility to change this area. But I also feel and know that the Lord has called and blessed me and I ask for your love and prayers to help me to do all I can to bless my comp. and also my investigators and their needs and that I can meet them.

I also got your big letter and enjoyed it. I thank you for your love and support of me and am truly blessed to have such an amazing loving family.

Elder Musick

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cultural Observation of the Week:

Although the region of Central America is united in many cultural aspects, each country, and each district of each country, differs slightly in the kind of food they eat, the accent they use when speaking, etc. Hermana Lagos, a sister missionary serving in Guatemala is originally from Honduras and this week her family gave her some cheese, tortillas, and beans from Honduras. In Honduras, the cheese has a much stronger flavour than in Guatemala. Also, while the people in Guatemala basically only eat black beans, the Honduranians, or catrachas as they say, only eat red beans, and none of them like the flavour of black beans.

Another difference is that in Honduras, the people eat flour tortillas, whereas here in Guatemala they only eat corn tortillas. Also, a quesadilla in Guatemala, is not what we buy in the United States (which is the Mexican quesadilla). In Guatemala, quesadilla refers to a kind of bread that the people eat which has a slightly cheesy flavour. In Honduras the word quesadilla refers to little bite size cookies...or basically a crunchy piece of bread that is flavoured like cheese. It is interesting to see how the meaning of one word describes things that are so different from one place to another.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Many Different Challenges

Okay, first of all, I am very sorry my stories and details are really lacking, I have had a lot on my mind and just have been busy. But first you don't need to send me shoes, but insoles would be great, polyester ties, those floss things and if you could send an electric razor, that would be amazing because my face is taking a beating here.

This past week the work has been rough. My comp. was sick Monday and slept all day. That was super rough but during that time I got to 2nd Nephi and almost finished Preach My Gospel. We also went to the capital this Friday for a really small conference on retention. That was really nice because there are two missionaries that are amazing and have really helped me during this change. But yesterday was pretty cool because I decided to fast and just felt so much closer to the spirit and that in my teaching my Spanish was so much better. It really was cool and I loved my fast.

In one week we have changes and I really have no idea what is going to happen. This Thursday we are going to the mission home because our zone was the most successful so that should be super fun and a really nice break. I really feel like in this change that I have grown in patience and learned how to love everyone. I really see the challenges in this change have turned me into a better missionary but it has been a difficult process.

You wanted to know what I have been going through and this is it. We have a lot of investigators with dates but a lot have problems and we are trying to help them but it is tricky because you have to be careful. We have one family that has a four year old who just loves to pray and says the sweetest prayers - which I don't really understand, but is very sweet. The problem is the husband is married to another lady and really that is how everyone on the coast is.

But I love you all and hope you are all okay. And Dad I have question for you - how do you help someone forgive themselves because that is a challenge with one of our investigators and was wondering if you had any hints that would help?

Monday, November 2, 2009

November News

Sam likes to try to answer our questions in his emails and as a result bounces around. So I included the questions he answered so his letter would make more sense. At least we can follow his experiences.

I wish there was a way for you and Katie to hear from each other without me having to make sure it gets to each of you.

I have been talking to Katie a little bit

Sister Natalie Angeles said she sent you a pumpkin email for Halloween. Did you get it?

Yes, I have gotten one message from Sister Angeles and loved to hear how she is doing.

What do they celebrate Halloween of sorts or Día de los Muertos in Guatemala?

But here they have a day of the dead and they eat some weird meat thing that has a ton of random stuff and people just go hangout in the graveyard all day or so.

About your shoes - I need more info. If your Rockports have worn out in 6 months, I do not want to replace them with the same thing. How are your Eccos doing? And what do you mean by supports?

Regarding my shoes, insoles is what I mean because mine are “shaky.” But the Eccos are good (I think, size 44).

Thank you for sharing your experiences. We love you so much and can't believe 1/4 of your mission is over.

Yesterday we had an investigator that needed an interview with [Branch] President Baldwin. It was so amazing because he came out with tears in his eyes because he had been receiving the missionaries for two years, got married but had some other things he needed to clear up. It is so very cool to see changes in people’s lives and the miracle of repentance.

Also we had a convert who hadn't eaten in several days. We talked to the Elders Quorum President and with a tear in his eye said hunger doesn't wait for tomorrow and gave us a ton of food for her. It is amazing here; hard, but amazing.

Love you all. Elder Musick

Monday, October 26, 2009

His First Baptism


~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ Elder Musick with Edwardo ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ Elders Musick and Ixtacuy with new converts ~~ ~~ ~~


Okay, so first, I need church shoes because I have a pair that won't last too much longer. So Rockport, size 11 with insoles, would be great. And also a picture of the family and the San Diego temple laminated so I can use it for teaching would be great, also.

I have sent you some pictures of our baptisms. And I had my first baptism this last weekend. He is Edwardo and is 14 years old. He is the only member now in the family. I was very shocked that he picked me because he is very close to a lot of members and the president of the branch. I only taught him like four times. But it is very cool to take part in such a big step in his life. I only had to do it one time luckily. But the mom and her hija are the ones from the story about the power.

On the 28th we have a zone conference with the area president so it should be really good. But don't worry even with six months I am still a greeny in my excitement level it was the latter (companion issues). But I love you guys and am glad you guys are all okay. I got a letter from Katie.
Love you all.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sweet, Humble Letter

Dear Family,
So I know I don't write too often, but I hope this will be good for a while. I will start with a little experience.

We have an investigator who has no [electric] power and is in big, big debt. (She has a baptismal date for this Sunday.) We told her that we would fast for her and that through faith the Lord will bless her. The very next day we passed by and she had light. We asked how and she said someone had paid power for this month. It is so great to see the hand of the Lord bless and change the lives of those who seek repentance.

Now at this point in my mission I have hit a wall, a stumbling block, or as I like to think "the pain before the growth spurt". I have truly loved and appreciated your words of advice and would ask for more to be able to learn how best to learn from this time.

I would also like to thank you all for your love and advice and especially your patience with me. I have seen how great a family we have (even with our oddities)- it is amazing. I would like to thank Mom and Dad for everything. I know that I have been blessed with the greatest, sweetest, selfless parents ever. Thank you, Kelsey and Lance, for all the wisdom, love, and nosey guidance. Thank you, Bethany and Jordan, for all the laughs, but also for your example of fun but seriousness in your callings and all things pertaining to the Gospel. Thank you, Jared and Cherie, for the blessing of seeing how to fave faith in difficult situations and always with loving care. I thank Katie for her sweet spirit and love. I don't know what I would do without you all. And the Boys, thank you for your spirit and prayers for me at this time. I love you all and know I would be lost without you all. I pray all is well and that you all faithfully magnify our calling and help the missionaries. I love you all and hope mom let's you all know what I said.

Love, Elder Musick

Please see comment below

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Busy Baptizing Weekend

This last weekend we had two baptisms and the other missionaries in the branch had three. We had one Saturday and four on Sunday. We also went to one baptism after church of a child of record baptism. So all together we went to three services this weekend. I feel like this area is really a test for me, a place the Lord put me to grow and become the missionary the Lord needs and wants me to be. I feel like I will have to take the lead in what my comp. won't do. I have really loved reading the letters from Lance and Jared about tough comps. They have helped a lot. I also have the opportunity this zone conference to hear from President Clark, the area president of Central America.

But in all reality, Spanish is still pretty tricky for me I am reading only in Spanish and I study it whenever I have free time. And also Mom will like this but I am relearning the piano because no one in the branch can play and I feel super bad. So I have one of those easy books and have been working on reading the notes.

I am very excited for Jared I have been praying so hard for those guys well all of you really. I am glad you guys had such a good time at Papa's this last weekend and that the swine flu is under control. I love you guys; all the support and care and letters really are a blessing. I pray you are all safe and blessed.

Love, Elder Musick.

P.S. for Christmas a pair of shoes would be great. Also maybe a shirt or two but really poly ties because the water destroys the others but candy and treats are always amazing.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A surprise package from Guatemala!

We got a surprise package from Sam yesterday. It had a postcard from Antigua telling us how amazing it is. He also sent three woven bracelets for the 3 little boys. He said, "I really didn't know what to get them, so I hope they enjoy. The other options were knives." Really?? Knives?? - the little boys are 2, 2 1/2 and 5 years old!!! I love him! He always wanted us to bring him home knives. I knew the machete we brought back from Guatemala for him was a BIG hit!

He also sent a CD full of pictures. Here are some of them. He is so funny what he takes pictures of. We love it, though! Thanks, Elder Musick.

From MTC ...




At the Guatemala City Temple ...






A sleepy companion ...

Green, green landscape ...




Some zoo shots ...






Some Cathederal Shots ...




Wednesday, October 14, 2009

From the Rainy Coast ...

Well the house is bad, but I am okay and don't spend too much time in the moldy areas of the house. But the coast is super different. We have a branch of 174 people, but of course the problem is tithing. We have four missionaries in the ward because it is so big and are having amazing success. The other missionaries had a baptism and we went to it to help and the power went out in all of Guatemala and we had a car pull around the building and flash its lights into the baptismal room and it all worked out. The power goes out a ton and it pours all the time. So it is a good thing I got the package [with his rain jacket] on Monday. It is odd too because it is a hot rain; it doesn't cool off really here.

I am sorry I didn't say happy birthday, so happy birthday, and I love you. I wrote a letter and will try and get that to you as soon as I can.

I gave a talk at the baptism and bore my testimony in Sacrament meeting. But it is still hard right now and I could always use your prayers.

Thank you Jared and Cherie and Lance for the letters, they are great to have. And my bags made it through traveling (I got lucky) but no thanks to the Sham Wow Towel, I think because after a few weeks it stinks horribly, but thank you.

Love you all,
Elder Musick

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Transferred to Escuintla

OK - so first things first:
One night we were late to an appointment and were on the other side of our area and it would take about 45 minutes to an hour to walk when a guy pulls over and gives us a ride. Come to find out he was an inactive member and his wife had left him. He wants to go back to church and talk to the bishop. We talked to him about some things of faith and got his number to get in contact with the missionaries and the bishop. Then he asked for a blessing where my comp. turns to me and says Elder Musick can you give the blessing. And so I did my first blessing in Spanish.

Yes, I watched conference at the stake center which takes some time to travel to and I watched all but four talks in English. I loved them, but I think my favorite was the new guy [Elder Neil L. Andersen?] sorry I forgot but it was about repentance and it was very cool because we had three investigators with problems. WOW - very cool to think of how it can help them.

I got transferred. I am in a place called Jacarandas 2 in Escuintla it is on the coast. It rains a ton and it is hot rain; it is super hot but super different than the capital. My comp. is Elder Ixtacuy from Xela (which the Quetzaltenango mission. But he knows a lot of English and is super helpful. My district is all Latin; I am the only whitey and as far as I know the only other one is my zone leader, but I don’t know the other district.

I have a giant house that is two stories and it is so filthy and has mold everywhere and I shower with freezing water. But I definitely miss my last comp. He was so amazing! At the change conference, he was to train again and was called up to the stage and right before looks at me a little teary eyed and handed me an amazing letter. So I could really use your prayers and support because this language is rough and my comp. wants to have great success but goes about it the wrong ways at times so I have to be the one to tell him, so some things will have to change.

I love you all and am glad things are going well - love you.

Elder Musick

For more information on his area, highlight address below, right click and click on Search with Yahoo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escuintla

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thought of the Week

President Kimball said, “I have learned that it is by serving that we learn how to serve. When we are engaged in the service of our fellow men, not only do our deeds assist them, but we put our own problems in a fresher perspective. When we concern ourselves more with others, there is less time to be concerned with ourselves. In the mist of the miracle of serving, there is the promise of Jesus, that by losing ourselves, we find ourselves. Not only do we find ourselves in terms of acknowledging guidance in our lives, but the more we serve our fellow men in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls … indeed it is easier to find ourselves because there is so much more of us to find.”

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Goals from Zone Conference

Yes, I got my package and it is great, so I thank you so much for that.

I am glad the family got together and I know just how Katie feels when everyone just talks and you are set apart. That’s really not fun.

But things here are flying by. Next Monday is changes and everyone is counting me out [that I’ll be transferred] this time. But who ever really knows. I was sitting in a lesson with a recent convert family having Family Home Evening with some investigators and I thought to myself that if I leave I will be super sad. I really love this family. We have one family that we are trying to commit to a marriage date and then a baptismal date.

We had zone conference Saturday and the President put out some big goals for us. One is to have 90% of the investigators go to church. Another is that we should give the baptismal commitment 75% of the time in the first lesson. Another is to have 2000 baptisms in the year 2010 and a family baptized every month. I am really excited about that; it will be super hard, but I look forward to the challenge.

We went to Antigue on Friday and that was super nice there. But the Catholic churches are super creepy. But I got some stuff and will try to send it tomorrow to you guys. I am so looking forward to [general] conference and will miss [our traditional Conference] morning breakfast. But I love you all and hope all is well. But keep me in your prayers because the funny thing is this language isn’t getting any easier ;)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thought of the Week

"When the Spirit is present, people are not offended when you share your feelings about the gospel." - M. Russell Ballard

Monday, September 21, 2009

A few Q and A's

I sent Sam some questions so that I could get Katie ready for her mission and here are some of his responses (Questions in Italics)

Q - Is there anything that we sent with you that you probably didn’t need to take??? AND … Is there something you wish we would have packed??? does the clock/CD player work out well – is there a better idea for church music??? Is the battery clock better – which do you use?


Okay first thing - the stuff you sent me with was just fine. I really can't think of something a don't need or do need. The clock radio is good to wake up to and I use the other clock at my desk. My comp. has a cd player with speakers.

Q - Also, I wanted to know what you meant when you described that young man (with the motorcycle company) who is getting ready to serve a mission. You said “Here they would say he is “pilas”” Jordan and Jared both said something about batteries or a baptismal font? Is it slang for something?

“Pilas” are batteries, but here it means that they’re on top of things.

That is so crazy though that Katie is going in [to the MTC] already. Trevor [his old roommate] entered the other day, I think. So tell Katie to look out for him.

I am really excited for Aubrey to enter the temple. And if Katie thought the temple was tricky tell her to try it in Spanish. I couldn't do it.

Two weeks ago I went on divisions. My comp went with a kid from the CCM and I took a kid who had been out three weeks and was from Honduras. That was super cool. He helped me with my Spanish and he wants to learn English super bad. We were in my area and I had to take the lead. But it was good; we found a family and are teaching them.

Our trip to Antigua was postponed for the third time and will be Friday. Saturday is Zone conference. Then the next week is conference and the day after is changes.

Q - How many emails do you get a week? Any letters?

The number of emails and letters I get always vary: I got the one from Papa and Lance and the boys sent me some stuff and Ashlee sends them only when she gets mine. And I don't send too many. But I hope the next p-day after Antigua I will try and send pictures.

Sorry if I really didn't answer the packing thing because Katie and I are kinda in opposite worlds so I don't know what she needs.

I have taken money out once and a while for things but not a lot. But I love you and if you ask questions, make them easy not random and hard to answer because I have such little time. Love you all and give my family my best when they come.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fourth month

Hey -

Yesterday we had p-day and did a service project where we bagged food for those in the southeast who suffered from a bad crop season. I really enjoyed that. This change has gone by so fast - it is crazy. We are already in the fourth week. And next week is zone conference. I haven't sent the pictures yet, we go to Antigua next week and will try and send them after that. And maybe something for the little boys.

Things here are tough; we have no problem finding people, but they will not accept our commitments and won't progress. We have a 24 year old man in our ward. He was introduced to the church by his girlfriend after his dad died in a motorcycle accident. He has been a member for a little over a year and he just sent his papers in for a mission. He races motorcycles for Honda, has his own company, and is leaving it all to serve a mission. He has gone out with us a few times and he is amazing. Here they would say he is “pilas” [no clue]. But we have a few young men who really seem interested and I have found that a lot of younger people here are receptive.

As for my studies, Mom, I finished D&C and Joseph Smith History and decided to start the Book of Mormon over again. I have finished Our Search for Happiness and Our Heritage. And yes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

I was excited to hear about BYU so keep me posted. But it is a very different experience here. I take vans or trucks as shuttles. And just hang on the back or the side.

Also – Mom, I took some cash out so don't worry if some is gone. [$4.50 at Burger King :) ] I love you all and hope all are okay. Please send me Nathan’s and Kevin’s addresses - that would be great!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thought for the Week

"When the Spirit is present, people are not offended when you share your feelings about the gospel." - M. Russell Ballard

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A mid-week letter!

What a nice surprise to receive a letter from Elder Musick in the middle of the week. I think he wrote it about a month ago because he mentioned that he has been in the mission field for 4 weeks, but it only took 8 days to get to us from the postmark date. He did ask if we got his pictures ... sadly, no, not yet. Wonder when those were sent.

Anyway I thought I would share some things:

Dear Family
"I am enjoying it here, we have an amazing ward, but the work is hard. People aren't too humble and don't care what we have to say. We knocked one door and the lady said her husband is a pastor, too. I heard that pastors are the wealthiest profession here." He then tells of his upcoming baptism (see August 18, 2009 post).

"My companero has five months left and just got done being a zone leader at the coast. President Baldwin has a new program: one zone is the training zone. It is in the capitol and he has taken the best of the best to train us. But we have a lot of greenies in my group and more are coming in this next change". (See Aug 26, 2009 post)

"It is crazy here, it is like a city in the middle of this jungle. Our last P-day we went to the zoo as a zone, which was a fun. And I heard we might go to Antigua on our last P-day of this change. In my personal study I finished the Book of Mormon and Our Search for Happiness and am half way through the Doctrine and Covenants. So I am turning into Mom, for sure"

This past Fast Sunday I went up and bore my testimony. It was shakey, but I did it. I am doing better at understanding the meetings at least the main points. The other night we did divisions with the ward mission leader and the 1st counselor and I taught the first lesson, well, half of it. It was only about 15 minutes, but I did it, so that is an improvement. I am glad Jared has a calling he enjoys and I loved Kelsey's stories. But things are good and if you want to know more, please send a questionnaire and I will do my best."

Love, Elder Musick

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day News

Well, I am so glad to hear that all is really well there.

First about the food you can send: I only make b-fast and dinner. Someone cooks lunch for us and I eat dinner at 9 at night so it is usually a sandwich or something easy. But for b-fast I eat oatmeal. So if you want to send me a lot of pop tarts that would be amazing and just some snacks and stuff. But about being here for six months I highly doubt that because this is the training zone and I figure I am out after this change but who knows. [One of our missionaries was transferred this week after being here for 6 months. He started his mission with us while Sam was still here and went out with him a few times.] The only people who stay in places for a long time are those in Sololá who learn a different language or are the Branch President. [Sololá is a city overlooking Lake Atitlan where they speak the Indian dialect.] We have three languages here, not counting Spanish.

Things are kind of rough; we have a really difficult situation with a mother with four kids. People here think all things from God are good, so they listen to our message and have a hard time understanding the concept of one true church. Kind of like all roads lead back to God. So it is kind of rough. Also this week I and my comp. got sick and that was really hard. So I have my nasty cough and my comp. hates it, but I can't fix it. My comp. and I just got done teaching a district meeting about commitments. After this email we have interviews so it will take about an hour to get to the stake center. Wednesday we have divisions with the “kids” in the CCM [he is referring to the new missionaries in the Guatemalan MTC] and I will go with a new missionary who came in this last change. [See his July 7, 2009 letter that tells when he was a "kid" going out from the CCM.]

I am so glad to hear that Katie had a good time at the temple and she is going [to go to the temple again] with Aubrey. I am happy to hear all those people are going to the temple it is an amazing experience and it makes me sad I can't go unless coverts go. I am glad Matt [Hunt, his cousin in SLC Mission] is having such a good time and I bet he will have more success then I - which I am so glad to hear. It is really amazing to see the changes in the lives of those we teach. We met one boy who was 19. He has been raised Catholic and we taught him the first lesson and his response was, “Wow, that is a strong message.” He is a bright kid and we hope he prays and reads. As missionaries that is so critical to help others to do those things because that is how they build their testimony, but for members it is how they grow and continue.

Tell Katie that sometimes it will be rough and hard but the greatest joy I have felt is seeing a person or family do that which is pleasing to their Father. It is such a blessing to be a conduit for that which changes lives. I love you all and hope you are all okay.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Thought for the Week

Regarding missionary work "Let's not use a sickle. Let's use a combine."
- Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone

Monday, August 31, 2009

Rain, Rain Go away

I am sorry to hear Katie is sick; she has to get better or they won't let her into the MTC. I think Trevor is going in around the same time.

The mini-mission we had is showing a few fruits, even though we had to read terrible handwriting and the kids would write addresses like: two trees, white house, and black door. But we found a family of 12 that have been inactive for two years and the kids aren't baptized so we have been working with them.

We had ward conference this past Sunday and my comp and I were in the choir so that was interesting. But it was really good. We are also planning to go to Antigua some p-day in a few weeks so that should be cool. My Spanish is getting better; I can understand a ton more and speak better, but not great. So thanks for the prayers, they have been helping.

Mom, really, you have no reason to worry. I really am in like the safest places in the mission; it is so different than other places. I have heard some stories, so don't even worry, I am pretty safe.

The fleas are gone I think so don't worry about sending more flea collars and my face is all better which is a huge blessing.

I sent you guys a letter, but don't know when it will get to you. I am waiting to send a package so pictures will be coming. I will try and write a letter if we don't do anything as a district. But I love you all. And tell Lance thanks for the letter. My comp. said I was pretty lucky to have someone write me like that. And tell the boys thanks for the pictures.

Okay, so in the package you are sending - could you send me my blue calm back [wish I knew what he was talking about :) Thank you, dear readers; he wants his blue CAMELBAK] because the one I have write now rides terrible on my back and when it gets wet, it stays wet. And the way it is shaped, it catches the rain. I can wait for the rain jacket ‘til Christmas. But you could send me some food treats or instant stuff to make. That would be amazing because I eat oatmeal in the morning, lunch is whatever and dinner at 10 is a sandwich. (I know I am turning into dad.) But really I would like that backpack as soon as possible if you could, that is what I really want. It has been raining more and more lately. My comp and I got stuck in a storm and had nothing so we got soaked. Luckily the scriptures are okay and I plan on getting some covers here. I hope you can send me that backpack so I can get it at zone conference towards the end of the change.

I love you all. And tell Katie to start studying Preach My Gospel - it will help a ton.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thought for the Week

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the best you've got anyway.
-- Mother Teresa

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

No transfers this time

Okay … so my face is a lot better. It got bit my second week and the bites itched badly, so then my face broke out really bad, but I got some stuff that is really helping. We got rid of most of the fleas and yes, I was using the flea collars.

I did not have changes [read: get transferred] this week and am still with my trainer and in the same area.

We went to the President’s house last Thursday which was fun. We had good food and played games and things like that. Monday were changes, so we didn't have a district meeting so we didn't email and they switched our pday this week to today with the district meeting so we could go to an activity with the zone and meet the new kids that just came in to our zone. In my district, we got two new trainees and one other one, so our companionship was the only one that didn't change.

As for the work, we set a date with someone for September 12 and are very excited and have an older couple that will take some work. The husband is so busy - he is the one who speaks English and his wife really badly wants to be baptized, so it is kind of sad.

On the mini-mission we had, we were able to find a family that has been inactive for two years and there are thirteen people just in one house and they have a son and daughter in a different house in our area. They are not all baptized. I also had divisions with our district leader who is from Honduras and it was different trying to speak Spanish the whole time. But I felt really bad because when we taught the older couple, the man would not speak in Spanish, only English. So I taught the whole lesson and the district leader just sat there; I felt bad.

I got Lance and Kelsey and the boys’ letters today at our district meeting, but I haven't been able to read them because we came here right after, but I did see the drawings.

About the rain jacket - I would like it sooner and also could you send my camelbak with it. My backpack is good but I think that the camelbak would be better because it is more breathable and my back won't get soaked with sweat. And if I recall it will do better at keeping the rain water out.

It is kind of weird - I am just under 4 months into my mission; it is crazy. Luckily my Spanish has gotten a lot better, but still needs a lot of work. The other night we were talking to a lady in our ward we had just met and she asked me how long I have been out and I said three months and she was blown away and asked if I knew some in Cali or if it was just the gift of tongues. That made me feel good. But then the other night I had a bit of a headache and we were talking about life before this and when my comp. turned to me I started to talk about the Spirit world so I still need a lot of work. [I think they were talking about two different subjects and that he is trying to say his communication needs some more work.]
But I love you all and hope you are all okay.

P.S. Mom, if you could send the black wind breaker from Missionary Mall and my back pack. I would really appreciate it. My umbrella is almost broken - the wind is going to finish it soon.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Thought for the Week

“God will measure our progress toward Him not by what we have suffered, but by how much we have desired to diminish the sufferings of others.” – Giuseppe Mazzini

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

First Baptism with Picture!

So zone conference was really good. I feel like I understand a lot more. Thank you for your prayers. I got dad's letter which was really good - so thanks mom.

This past week we have been super busy with the mini-mission we had and all the referrals we got. But this week will be super busy too. We had a training conference yesterday with all the new kids and trainers. Then today is a district meeting and tomorrow is a full work day. Thursday will be our pday because our zone got closest to our goals and we will go eat at the mission home after a visit to the doctors (for my companion - nothing serious, so don't worry). Friday will be division most likely and this weekend we find out about changes [transfers]. There could be a good chance I go because we have 20 new missionaries coming in. But no one ever really knows; you can never guess what the president is thinking.

The baptism was amazing. The power was out at the church right before the baptism. My comp. was in the water about to raise his hand to the square to perform the baptism as the lights came on. And a minute after the lights turned off again. But the coolest thing is to see the change in Ernesto Barrios [the gentleman in the picture below] as he reads the Book of Mormon and seeing him stop drinking and smoking. On Sunday he should get the priesthood.

It is so good to hear from you all and it is crazy: after this week it will almost be four months.

P.S. I got a letter from Trevor Dunlap, my old roommate, and he is going to Honduras. Also mom, for Christmas, if you send a package, can you look at missionary mall and get me a black raincoat and maybe look for a good backpack that can support my back a little better. I might buy an electric razor because we had fleas and they got my face pretty good and I scratched so I am trying to be a little more careful about my face. I might buy one if I can find it. Just to let you know.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thought for the week

"Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and increase our compassion for others." - Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Come What May, and Love It, Ensign", Nov. 2008, 27

Monday, August 10, 2009

First of August happenings

Last week I wrote you an e-mail and the computer in the cafe messed up and it didn't send. So I am sorry.

But this week we were really blessed. We found a few families, but one of them is doing amazing. He will only speak to us in English because he wants the practice, which is super funny. He and his wife are older and after two visits we committed them to go to church and they went. He spoke some English in the classes, for me, he said. We also have a baptism this weekend in conjunction with a mini-mission. All the kids will go out and contact. Then on Saturday they are having a ward activity and then, after that, the baptism. So it should be really good.

We have zone conference this week on [August] 12. I have two weeks left in this change. [They call transfers “changes” in Guatemala City Central Mission]. My Spanish is getting better little by little and I am understanding more and more.

Also we have a recent convert who teaches English and is 23 and found my blog on blogspot. She said she googled me. She asked if I cared and I said (like always) “No, I don't see it and I am busy”.

It is odd because we are in probably the second richest area in the mission; the one next to us is the richest. But we still teach in tin houses and some other interesting places. It rained pretty badly the other day but this time I was prepared.

Yesterday before church we went by to see those we had invited to church so we could go with them and none of them came with us. We were pretty destroyed. But right after the Sacrament was passed, all the late people came in - which was a lot. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder and it was a boy my age we went to get but he had just woke up. He told us he was sorry so we left. He is less active, but just a great kid. He and his sister sat in front of us. Then later on the bishop let us know that the one guy who spoke English and his wife were there. We were really excited.

The other day my comp. cooked up some fried platnos which they tasted like fries and also we bought pupusas which are made in El Salvador and are like a tortilla dough that has cheese and beans. Ask Jordan or Jared if they have had those.

But things are good and next p-day we might go to Antigua or to the mission home because we were closest to our goals. So either way it should be good.

Love you all and I am sorry I can't write you all so I hope this will do.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thought for the Week

"Prayer is a matter of the heart.
I have had prayers answered. Those answers were most clear when what I wanted was silenced by an overpowering need to know what God wanted. It is then that the answer from a loving Heavenly Father can be spoken to the mind by the still, small voice and can be written on the heart." - Henry B. Eyring, "That He May Write upon Our Hearts," Ensign, Aug 2009, 6-7

Monday, July 27, 2009

Red, Wet but not Blue

In my letter to Sam, I wrote, "We would love to hear about the missionary work, of course, your living conditions, eating and laundry arrangements and your ward/branch." This was his reply:

Okay, well, let me see living conditions are pretty sad. We go to bed hearing a lady yell at her kid and the kid cries a ton but only when we go to bed. My companion is amazing, he has six months left and was released as a zone leader to train me. The work is rough; we aren't having a ton of success but we have some interested. We have made a baptism date with a old man but his wife says she will after him. My Spanish is improving slowly and it is kind of frustrating, but I can't let it get me down because I need to be confident in the Lord.

Yesterday we had a drink and some bread at a member’s house. They laughed as they gave it to us and said it had some ants on it, but they won't bother you, so we ate it. We have a lady in the ward who does our laundry so I don't have to. And with food it is odd because the members take turns feeding us but that isn't allowed in the mission. We are only to have three cooks, so it is in the process of change.

The other day we were walking to the other side of our area, which takes less than an hour and we saw the clouds coming and tried to get there before, but we didn't make it. We didn't have anything to keep us dry and got soaked. Bad news: my backpack had dried paint on it, so it got wet and my whole right arm was all red so I hope that comes out. I plan on buying a backpack tomorrow so no worries. But things are hot or wet but amazing.

I love you all and tell Kevin congratulations on his call. [His cousin Kevin got his mission call to Colorado Springs, CO.]
Love you all.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thought for the week:

"God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord"
(2 Timothy 1:7-8)

"I wish that every member of this church would put those words where he might see them every morning as he begins his day. They would give us the courage to speak up, they would give us the faith to try, they would strengthen our conviction of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that more miracles would happen over the earth."
- Gordon B. Hinckley, “‘Be Not Afraid, Only Believe’,” Ensign, Feb 1996, 2

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Letter from Mission President


We received a letter from Sam's Mission president and a picture and thought I'd share.

Dear Family:
Please accept this photograph of Elder Musick, who we had the joy of receiving in our mission on July 14, 2009. We truly appreciate your efforts in preparing him according to the standards of the Lord now that the bar has been raised for missionaries entering the field of labor in Guatemala and everywhere in the world.

We require our elders and sisters to write home weekly. We would encourage you to do the same, as evidence of your support for his labors in this part of the Lord's vineyard. It is important to encourage continuous spiritual progress, as we guide Elder Musick to become a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, who knows his doctrine and delights in teaching it.

We always pray for your family's safety and protection. Again we will strive to teach and protect Elder Musick, so that he can have a wonderful mission serving the Lord Jesus Christ in Guatemala

Yours Faithfully,
Richard Baldwin, Jr.
Mission President

Monday, July 20, 2009

Short, but sweet

So this will be kinda short, but I love the area I am in. The people are nice for the most part. I had to bear my testimony in church Sunday and that was interesting. I looked at my companion when I got stuck but then realized it is sink or swim time. My testimony was interesting but the members were super nice and most welcomed me and said thank you to me in English. A lot of people here know English, not well, but some. We were able to bring three investigators to church so that was good, but two didn't make it, which is sad. But we feel like this week will be a good week. The members feed us - a lot. I really need to work out or I will gain weight. Things are great, every night I just crash and every morning is hard but it is so good to see the members and others who want to hear what we have to say.

Today we had a district meeting and me and my companion taught it. I tried to say what I could, but I don't know if they got the message I tried to get across. But it is hard in a lesson and they have questions and all I want to do is help and I can't. I get pretty frustrated but realize I can't because I have to have the spirit and that would drive it away.

I love you all and wish you all well.
Love, Elder Musick.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

First Tuesday

Letter from Elder Musick

Okay so a ton has happened since the last time I wrote you. First Tuesday was amazing! I went with an Elder Flores and he is now a district leader and very helpful and supportive. The first lesson we taught was in a little hut that was tin and in poor condition. There was a little girl who kept looking at my papers and asking me who the people were and during the prayer she played with my arm hair and tie. The second lesson we taught was in a really bad house. We got to the end of the street where it looked like a jungle cliff thing but then there were stairs and at the very bottom was the house. We knocked and were let in. It was a little community with several families. The house we taught in had two beds and tin all around. I taught from a seat where I realized half way through the lesson was a car seat for a child. But the lessons were great.

But for the BIG news I am on the outskirts of the capital in a relatively nice area. My companion is from Utah and his name is Elder Wankier and reminds me of Josh. He is amazing and will teach me so much. This is his first time in the capital. He has been in the coast and mountains and has been out over a year or so. This area is new for both of us and are both learning the area. But the amazing thing is the ward mission leader is a Spanish Pres. Speirs and has plans and has people contacting and they have had 9 baptisms recently. So we have the best area ever.

I am glad you guys are all doing okay. I love you all and am very excited to be here and really hope I get this language soon because it is rough for me right now. But in one of the lessons, I shared a scripture and testified so that felt good. But I love you all and pray you are all okay.

Love, Elder Musick

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Farewell letter from CCM President

Dear Families and Loved-ones of the June 2009 Group,

Sister De Martini and Sister Hart left this morning at 3:30am for Honduras! Elders Musick, De Vries, and Wernli left for their respective missions here in Guatemala. Forty-two of their Latino Companions also left today. I am not sure what the EMAIL schedule will be in their missions or if you will have contact from them or their presidents today or in the near future. However, I am sure that they left in excellent spirit and with a great desire to begin what they've been called to do.

The rest of our North American June Group begin their final three weeks today. You will no doubt get your weekly letter today. With only 17 missionaries today, we will take a few hours break and go out to see some of the city. They will be joined by a group of 13 this evening coming for the MTC in Provo and another 45 tomorrow from all parts of Central and South America. We'll be back at full speed tomorrow!

You should all be very pleased with your missionaries! I have come to love and appreciate them all!!!! Their Spanish is improving everyday but more importantly they are becoming great servants of the Lord!

Abrazos!

Presidente Christensen
CCM Guatemala

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The CCM Routine

Dear Family

So for a usual day here I wake up at 6:30, shower, get dressed and eat at 7:25. afterwards, I have personal study until 9:00 and then class usntil 12:00. I have lunch and then campaion/language study. We can go to this place called Casa de C.R.E. and teach lessons to our teachser which is helpful. Then gym at 3-4:00, shower, dinner, then class until vedtrime. On Tuesdays, we have a devotional for half the time and then class afterwards. Some days we have Salon General and the MTC gives us lessons, which are amazing like the one about Joseph and the Tribes of Israel. He is an amazing teacher. But I am sorry our p-days are the same, but instead of companion/language study, we do service and have a short time to write and email because we have gym, too.

I love you guys, and in one week I will be in the field - then I will have time and stories to share. But I love you and pray for you all. Please keep me updated and I will do my best to do the same. But thank you Dad and Mom, you are a great strength and support to me.

Love all... Elder Musick

PS. I don't know if I will get Papa's letter, but hopefully I will.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

There he is!

Here is the picture from the CCM of the whole group of missionaries currently in training. (Look for the only blonde elder.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thought for the week:

"May we ever remember the mantle of leadership is not the cloak of comfort, but rather the robe of responsibility."
- Pres. Thomas S. Monson

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sam learns, practices, and grows in CCM

So today was rough; our two Latin roommates were watching a movie on their portable DVD player and I, my co-district leader, and zone leader (aka my comps) thought we had to do something about it and did. The DVD player was taken away and I hated to do that to my friends. It is not fun to be in a position of leadership because of the responsiblity. You know how I love to just be indifferent and now I can't.

Tomorrow I go out with a missionary for half the day. They give me money for food and the bus and I go with a native and do whatever he has planned. I am super excited to do that. I am learning a lot and feel the tender mercies of the Lord every day and feel so blessed.

I hope Rie is okay and Katie is excited and that Dad and Jared are going to be okay because I can't be there to carry either one :) [He is referring to the high adventure camps both are going to this month and neither of them are in very good shape for it.] But I haven't heard too much from B or Kelsey. I hope they are okay and I pray for you all every day.

Look for the blessings of the Lord because I know that His hand is in your lives every day. Dad, we had a lesson on Patriarchal blessings and the tribe of Joseph and how he was a savior to his family, just like those of Joseph today are Saviors to the family now. The Lord blesses that branch a lot because of the help and love and how they freely give of themselves all the time. The whole time I thought of you and how you help others, for example: Ruben's family. You're a great father and bishop.

Love you and thank you for your prayers.
Sam

Hey there Delilah (I'm at the MTC)

Check out this cute video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xi4OsIdmn8

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Busy in Guatemala CCM

Okay, this will be short. I have 17 minutes to write this so I hope it is good.

I have been to the temple, which is very nice. I have been to church which was crazy because I struggled to understand everything. The language is still hard, but it is getting so much better. I still have Elder Wernli and now Elder De Vries so I am in a threesome. I have been called as co-district leader - not a big deal as there is only five in my district.

I am so excited for Katie and hope she knows it is the best thing for her. [Katie got her mission call to Boise, Idaho, departing September 30, 2009]

We are caged in here; we have armed guards and a twenty foot fence. It is really nice here, though. The five pounds I gained in Provo are gone now. But I met six missionaries from the Central Mission in the temple and one might be my trainer, two were secretaries and knew exactly who I was - that was crazy.

It has rained everyday and poured on us when we did service so I got soaked, which I loved. I had to teach the lesson in priesthood and that was rough. My teachers are amazing - I just love them. I really cannot wait to be out in the field. I have two roommates one from Guatemala and the other from Honduras and they are amazing. I just love the Latinos; they are from all over Central America.

Sorry it is short. I love you and hope you can send this to all the others, please.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

He made it!

Today the Guatemala MTC President, President Christensen emailed all the parents a letter and pictures. They follow below:

Dear Parents and Loved Ones:
Your missionary arrived "safe and sound" Tuesday night (after a significant delay in Dallas) --- arriving at the MTC after midnight ... and was involved all morning at the MTC here in Guatemala in orientation for their next phase of training. They finally got into the classroom in the afternoon and have started learning more Spanish & teachings from Preach My Gospel.

I've attached a photo (three separate groups) of them out in front of the flags in the entry of the MTC here in Guatemala. Sorry, they are not great pictures --- but enjoy! You are no doubt very proud of your missionary. You should be! This is a very good group of 22 missionaries who join another extraordinary group of 5 North Americans who are in their final three weeks PLUS 42 missionaries from Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, Chile, Panama, and other Latin American countries.

Your missionary has Preparation Day on Tuesdays and will be writing to you then. I know that your support through letters and emails bless your 'missionary' a lot --- and will be greatly appreciated. In addition to email, you may choose to send letters as well through the pouch according to the instructions received in the call packet of your missionary. [He goes on to explain the addresses and the how-to's. But since Sam will only be there less than 3 weeks now, it is probably best to send email or to his mission office where he will get it when he reports there.]

I also invite you to go to our personal website at www.davidachristensen.com When you get to the site, click on Guatemala MTC ... You can then browse around or take a tour of the MTC. Within a few weeks you may find your missionary in one or more of the pictures. ENJOY!!! If you feel the need to communicate anything to me, please feel free to do so at this email address ---- mtcpresdac@gmail.com. Thanks again for your missionary!!! We come to love these missionaries a great deal and appreciate you lending them to the Lord for this season of their lives.

Thanks again!
President David A. Christensen

He's hiding behind and between the sisters!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Elder Musick's in Guatemala!

Here is Sam's new home for the next 3 weeks: The MTC in Guatemala, also known as the CCM. If you would like to take a visual tour of the facilites you can check it out at the following website: http://davidachristensen.com/mtc/index.html

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Finally, to Texas & finally, out of Texas

Sam called precisely at 12:00 noon today and talked for about 1 hour and 40 minutes. (A record phone call to anyone other than Ashlee :) He sounded well and ready to start working but a little tired because they started so early in the morning. I suggested he go eat real food one last time - preferably something green or protein you could identify - and go take a nap in the corner. He quickly told me that he was a representative of Jesus Christ and that wasn't acceptable. OK .... Elder Musick.

His eyes still bother him somewhat, but he thinks that will change back as soon as he doesn't study for 10 hours a day. He feels his language skills are below par and we should pray for the gift of tongues for him to learn the language so he will be able to teach and preach effectively.

Bethany and Papa and Gma Musick came over to listen in on the conversation. When Sam told us that he worked at the temple on Monday pulling up the carpeting, Papa told Sam that they were in the same business except that he did sealings (ceilings) and Sam did floors. Good one, Pop.

He shared some of Elder Bednar's talk of how as a missionary in Germany he was impressed to give 20 marks to one of the General Authorities and it eventually came back to save his wife when they crossed the border and her passport was not current for their country. The message was to do good things because they are good. He didn't feel compelled or necessarily inspired to do it, but it was a good thing to do, so he did it.

At 6:00 while we are rushing around making dinner and trying to feed Erik and Brock - no easy feat - we got another phone call from a pay phone in Texas. Curiosity got the best of me and I answered it and was suprised to hear Sam's voice again on the phone. He had been delayed about 3 hours, partly because the other 20 missionaries traveling to Guatemala were delayed on their flight over and then as they finally loaded up and backed away from the terminal, the plane had problems and they were unloaded and had to wait for another plane to be brought over. It made for a really long day, but what a nice surprise to hear from him again. Jordan was at the house, so he got to visit with Sam.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Last note from Provo

Couple questions answered:
Did you get the last package I sent - floss picks, CDs and cookies? Yes, I got your package and thank you very much for it.
How are your eyes doing? My eyes are off and on they should get a lot better in the field so I wouldn't worry to much.
Are taking all three suitcases? Can you do with two? I can't do with just two with all the stuff I have so I have to take three.
When do you want to call home on Tuesday? I will call at 2:00 my time does that sound good?
Are you allowed to call any other family members or just your parents? It didn't say that I can't call other family members so if someone wants me to call let me know.
How did you get permission to call Bryce? I told my branch president and he was very quick to say absolutely and he is also in Ashlee's ward in Pleasant Grove.
So how are you doing? Are you ready to jump into another culture and another language? Well, no, I am not ready at all.
Tell us of a special experience you have had. Today I went to the temple and took out carpeting for service, so that was interesting.

Love you and talk to you tomorrow, and I did get some stuff for my shoes.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pictures from the Provo MTC

Blind and Sick - does it get any worse?


Group Shot at the Temple


Companeros: Elder Wernli and Elder Musick

Friends







Teachers




Playing Around