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