Monday, December 27, 2010

Last letter of 2010

Our call was nice and didn't really distract me; it is kind of hard to do that. The baptism was nice - there were just a few people there, but a very nice service.

Well, this last week was kind of odd because a lot of people left town or weren't here so that made it a little tricky. I hope that everyone comes back today and I hope that things go back to normal. It is odd to think that it is almost 2011 and I will be curious to see how it is here. It is sad here because a lot of people drink and there are a lot of drunk people, but the real sad part is we found a less active member stumbling drunk last night on our way to the house. I truly have learned a lot about the importance of the Word of Wisdom here because I have seen families destroyed and men who have lost everything or are losing everything because of their addiction to strong substances. I truly thank you Dad first for being a great example but to the both of you for teaching the importance of keeping such a commandment because I can see why the Lord would protect us in that way.

I really hope that this next week we are able to help some of our investigators get married and overcome some of their problems they suffer from. We have so many that are so close but just struggle with a few things and they know what they need to do but are having a hard time committing to doing it.

One thing that will be hard to deal with is that next week we will being going to church at 8:00. It will be harder because we will have to get up a lot earlier to help our investigators out, but at the same time I hope that they get up to be able to go. I am excited because the stake presidency should be making changes to the ward in January when we have stake conference on the 22nd and 23rd.

I am glad that you guys were able to go and visit Grandma and Papa and the boys and I hope dad has a great time at the Outlets ;) I love you guys and hope that you are having a great anniversary and that Christmas was a fun experience for you all.
Love, Elder Musick.

P.S. Thank you for checking into schools and keeping me updated on some of the places you are applying to.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Treats at Zone Thanksgiving


Elder Musick is on far left smiling with a really short haircut!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Service Fun

Last week's questions you didn't address:

There are a few questions I would like you to think about before the call and I know you don't want to deal with this stuff, yet, but this will be our last phone call as I figure you will be coming home around Mother's Day and won't be calling.
1. Do you have a release date? I think the 20th I should be home or the 19th but something like that.
2. Do you want to go back to school early or in September as you planned? I truly don't have the desire to go back there because of all the changes they did and how ultimately I don't care to graduate from there so I thought it would be better to look for somewhere else rather than waste the money.
3. What type of work are you thinking about if you don't return to school right away? I don't know what would be better because I feel I could help the ward with my short time there and save more money and help some people while I am there but we can talk about that later.
4. Katie said she could try to get you on at Aspen Grove for the summer if that interests you. They love returned missionaries and it would be a great spiritually fun place to work. Along the lines of EFY counselors and you once expressed interest in that. We can apply there and see what happens.
5. Of course, Dad can use you at work, too. We'll talk on the 25th.

I think that I will call about 11:30 or 12:00 o'clock [my time]. I hope that will be okay. I will be calling from the phone of a member. He has an international plan so it should be better than last time.

It doesn't look like we will have a white Christmas but we are focusing more on the needs of our investigators rather than push them to that date.

This last week was pretty good. For our P-day we woke up at 5:20 in the morning and went to a small plot of land on the side of a cliff to pick beans. We did this for the first counselor who tore a ligament and can't walk or leave his house so we went and did that until 1:00. Then on Wednesday I went to the coast to receive training with all the leaders in the coast; I thought it was very well done and should help us grow as a mission. Then on Saturday we helped a family move which didn't take very long but it was kind of fun because it was a two story house so we just lifted everything up to the second level to make it faster and easier.

This week should be fun because we are going to give a lot of service because everyone wants to paint their houses; it is part of the culture, so we will be doing that a lot and we are going to go caroling as a district with some of the youth. I think we are going to try and pass by as many houses as we can to share a short Christmas message.

I hope all is well and I look forward to talking to you guys and Mom, would you try and give me options on work or school so that we can have a better conversation and a quicker one, too.

I love you all and hope all is well and wish the best to all the family from me.
Love,
Elder Musick.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Blessings

Well, first thing I completely forgot to tell you guys about my great Christmas gift and that is that Elder Knight came back to me and he is in my zone, actually he is my zone leader, so I get to talk to him every other night. So I hope you sent him something for Christmas.

I am glad Uncle Dan is doing better and I hope that dad visits him often because I think it is something that is really important because I know that dad punished him a lot as a child so maybe now you can show him the love :) But in reality, I know it is very important to show him the love.

As far as the white Christmas, I truly don't know if it will happen or if it will be as big as we hoped. But we are getting a good number of investigators to church which is great but we still need to help them continue to progress because they still need more help with their testimonies. The couple I have been teaching in the temple prep class will be sealed this Friday.

This last week I caught a cold and that was kind of hard, but we still managed to do well this week. This next week will be a crazy one because I will be going to the coast for a two-day training and will be on divisions and then on Friday I will be on divisions with Elder Knight so I am pretty excited. With the district, we are doing well but there is room for improvement. I think we lack a bit of vision and that could be partly my fault but this following week, we have set some goals that I hope will push us to really achieve the success that I know we are capable of.

I got a phone call from Elder Montoya (the assistant) and he told me about the Rodriguez Family from Escuintla that got baptized a year ago – they were sealed on Saturday! He gave me the number but I will call them tomorrow to talk to them. It was the same family that came and visited me in church. I am so proud of them and wish that I could have been there, but I couldn't.

I love you guys and will plan on telling you about the phone call and all that will happen on the 25th next week. I love you all so much and pray that all is well with you all.
Love, Elder Musick.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Zone Conference Pictures


Zone Conference with Elder Martino. Elder Musick is in the center of the Back Row.

Be sure to check out the awesome pictures of the kites they assemble and fly on the Day of the Dead on the Mission website (see right side bar for link).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

TEN REASONS WHY A MISSIONARY CHRISTMAS IS DIFFERENT

-Written by Missionary Mom Sally Tielemans of Henderson, Nevada

1. Last Christmas we were counting our money; this Christmas we are counting our blessings.

2. Last Christmas we were giving thanks for gifts from stores; this Christmas we are giving thanks for gifts from God.

3. Last Christmas we valued things that were costly; this Christmas we value things that are holy.

4. Last Christmas we were wrapping gifts; this Christmas we are wrapped up in the work.

5. Last Christmas we looked into people's eyes when we spoke; this Christmas we look into their hearts.

6. Last Christmas we prayed to obtain a testimony; this Christmas we pray to share our testimony with others.

7. Last Christmas we were impatient with the weaknesses of others; this Christmas we are working on our own.

8. Last Christmas we read the scriptures as a duty; this Christmas we read them as a joy.

9. Last Christmas we thought it was enough to celebrate the holidays; this Christmas we are finding ways to consecrate them.

10. Last Christmas, Guatemala was just a place on a map; this Christmas, it is a place in our hearts.

This may be why he mentioned last week that this Christmas is so much better than last year.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Working on a WHITE Christmas

Well, with changes, like I said I am still here with Elder Adams. In the district Elder Allen and Hermana Rubio left and we received Elder Coreas and Hermana Mirne and she is being trained. So we have one in her first change, one in his second change, and one in his third change. Pretty crazy. And I can truly say that the Spanish in our district is definitely not the greatest.

So this week was a harder week for us because people just were not in their houses. But somehow we managed to get a number of people to church, so I felt very blessed. As a district we set the goal to have a white Christmas so we are trying to put all of our baptismal dates for the 25th. We have been working hard to make that possible. We had to get up one day at five to go to renap (?) and pull papers out to try and get people married. And it looks like we will have to do that again this week. As of right now it looks like it will be a trick, but we fasted are praying and working to do everything to make the 25th a special day for our investigators and to celebrate the Lord’s birth.

If you guys could pray for our families and investigators. I think your prayers can truly help.

This year I have felt like it is Christmas, last year - not so much, but this year I have truly felt the spirit of the season. I think the goal for the 25th has really helped me put this into prospective. One great thing that happened this week is that the Estrada Family went to the ward activity we had Saturday, then to church, and last night we went to the Christmas devotional. I was very impressed because they loved it all and after the Devotional the Stake Presidency had fireworks going off to watch and I am talking about the ones that you shoot in the air and then explode for a good display. But I think this week was very hard but at the same time rewarding. But I love you guys and hope all is well for you and tell dad to keep it up because we need to “be anxiously engaged in a good work”.
Love you all, Elder Musick.

Monday, November 29, 2010

"You can only get so American in Guatemala"

Well, this last week we had a nice Thanksgiving because our zone all chipped in and bought stuff and made a nice turkey, well, two, and a lot of other things. We also played some football as in American football. But I do miss the days that I could play pick up games and never be sore, now it hits me pretty hard.

On Wednesday we had interviews. I had a nice chat with President Baldwin and Sister Baldwin brought us pumpkin pie - which was amazing. But the amazing part was that we, as in the four missionaries in the ward, bought a turkey and our cook made us a massive lunch with potatoes and pie and rice and salad; but the pie wasn't all that great because it was a squash pie. You can only get so American in Guatemala.

On Friday, as a district, we went to a school to help paint which was pretty fun but I will say that I will slap any child that treats American schools as a naught because here in Guatemala it is something truly sad. They don't have many things nor are the buildings nice; it really is sad how they look, but I can't tell you how they are as far as the teaching, but I can say it is different.

Here is a pretty bad story: we were on our way back and we saw some of the Sister's investigators that happen to be about our age. I was behind them all while the rest were in front of me. They said good-bye to the sisters with a Guatemalan hand shake and then a kiss; they also thought it appropriate to show the same to me. And before I knew what happen I got two kisses on my cheek and I was pretty embarrassed. Everyone else thought it was so funny, but I did not at all. Then the following day we helped move Jessica and her family (the one I baptized in August) but she just moved to the other area but are still in the ward.

And like every good Bishop (similar to dad) he forgot to assign someone and so right before the meeting he asked me to speak in Sacrament meeting and I spoke on families. And then right after I taught the temple prep class to a couple who will get married this month.

As far as investigators, we had a fairly good number, but the thing is, it is hard to keep it consistent - as in the people. Because one week it is one person and the following week it is another. So we are working to try and keep it consistent.

So I talked to some of my friends in the office and it looks like I will be staying here another change and that Elder Allen is leaving and that Hermana Wetzel will stay and train and Hermana Rubio will be leaving and going up. So we will see how changes really come out tonight.

I hope all is well with Uncle Dan and I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and hope all is well with you.

Love, Elder Musick.

Monday, November 22, 2010

All is well...

Well, this last week we had “Family Week” in the stake and had activities every night during the week. As missionaries in the stake, we had an open house Tuesday and gave a tour of the plan of salvation - which everyone loved. We had several people there and all of them really enjoyed it. We have one investigator that is really progressing; her name is Hilda and she is the one who went on the church tours in the states and is now reading the Book of Mormon like crazy. We have other families that we are working with, but sadly none of them are married. So it will be another process. We had a young man of has been inactive for four years and he came back to church yesterday and we are teaching his family. He is a scout and loves the fact that all four of us elders in the ward are all scouts too.

Elder Allen and Johnson had a wedding and we were trying to get people there and the Roldan family(my converts) was there. I think they are the most faithful members in the ward; they are just so willing to help in whatever way they can. I really love them a lot. We had changed the ward mission plan and we are working on getting it into effect and we have seen some progress which is amazing.

As for my boy, he seems to be growing a lot and doing really well. His Spanish is improving a lot and teaches very well. And he understands how things should be. We are in the last week of the change even though next week I will write you here I will find out what will happen to us the following Monday in the night. So who knows?

Well, I hope you guys all have a great Thanksgiving day because tomorrow we are having an activity as a zone to celebrate as well. I love you all and thank you for your love and support.

Love, Elder Musick.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Good and Busy Week

~~~~~ Goofy or squirrelly? I can't decide! ~~~~~~


~~~~~~~~~~~~ Definitely goofy!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~

So this last week we contacted a reference from the Gaytan Family. She lives alone and just had an operation about two weeks ago. But the thing is, she went to the states to visit her cousin and happened to go on the church tour and went to the grove and to Joseph Smith's house and everything. She says she loved every second of it. She has such a desire to listen and go to church but can't because she is still getting better.

We also went to visit an inactive member and he is a very active scout and loves the fact that my comp. and I were Eagle Scouts. We are starting to teach his mom and we hope to have success with them. We also had some inactive members attending regularly so we have been excited about that.

With my comp. things are going well - his Spanish is getting better and a lot of the members give him a lot of credit for it. Time is really flying right now because this change has gone by really, really fast. I think I will be here another change with my "boy". We have seen some changes: we have a ward mission plan and at least some of the members are starting to help us. There is still a lot to do. Yesterday we were blessed because we had three families come to church and we need your prayers for them so they can progress.

We also went to the zoo and that was okay because I have been there three times now, but the best part was riding the little kids train. That was probably my highlight. I am also sending some of the wedding pictures and another of the piñata that I bought for the district. That was pretty fun.

That was pretty cool that you guys had a [stake] conference and everything. How are those new manuals and what changed? I don't see any of them but the super, super old temple prep manual for the class I am teaching.

I love you all and hope Katie is excited because she should be. But I love you all and will write you next week.
Elder Musick.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Striped Ties Abound - Looking Good!



Elders and their striped ties - as posted on the Guatemala City Central Mission Website. Elder Musick and his previous companion, Elder Calto, are on the back row, second and third from right.

November 2010

Okay, well about the whole Idaho thing. I think it would be odd to live there but then again I have never known another home except for the one you are in right now. But let's face it - I wouldn't care, but I would always say I am from California. I am glad you got to spend time with the boys, but it is very strange to hear that Parker turned one because I really don't even know the boy yet. Okay, so I just read over the horse and barn and pond and I could go for that.

So for the Dia de los Muertos, they didn't like us because they had their parades and we were just walking in the opposite direction so we got a lot of odd looks.

This week was a great week because we had a conference with Elder Martino. It was truly amazing; I learned so much and felt very impacted. There was a point when he asked what we had learned from President and Sister Baldwin. I stood up and said that President Baldwin will sometimes chastise us and then he asked me why, I said because he loves us. He then stopped and said, “Do you know what the first thing you did before you spoke up?” and I said, “No”. He then said, “You had a big smile on your face when you looked at him. You must really love your President”; and then talked about how President Baldwin can tell the difference between the sinner and the sin. I was really amazed by the conference.

Another thing - I was able to talk the Bishop into changing the ward mission plan so that it would actually work. It is the plan sent from Salt Lake and I think we have changed it so that we can really put it into effect. That was truly a big change for us and hope that it works and helps this ward to grow.

This week there is a temple trip and the Roldan Family is going through. I thought it would be better if we didn't go so that the ward would have the chance to help them and they can build some better bonds in the church. I also had the opportunity to give the Priesthood to Luis Roldan, which was very cool.

About my companion, it is interesting. He can speak well for his time and reads really well, but doesn't understand a lot. So I have been working on ways of helping him be able to teach more.

As for Christmas gifts, maybe insoles, two shirts, socks - but thin socks, and candy. Also some foot powder to help with the smell just a little bit because it is sometimes smelly for the humidity.

But I love you all and hope all is well with you guys. I love you and thank you all for your love and support.

Elder Musick.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Keeping the work moving

Well, Saturday and Sunday we had a district fast so that we can have families for the 27 to be baptized. My district is a lot smaller now, but I really enjoy them. As far as the ward is - we are trying hard to work with them, but it truly is a struggle because there really aren't too many active people that are willing or want to work with us. So we have decided to have an activity this month with the leaders to help them work together because that is probably the biggest problem. As a district we had some success with 7 baptisms, but we now are struggling with new investigators. We are trying to set goals and doing a few things differently so that we can have better success.

In my companionship we did well in finding new investigators but some of the others in the district are having a real struggle to meet their commitments. We did find a new investigator that knows English really well because he taught himself; he lives next to the church and is 18 and is a giant sports guy so I think tomorrow we are going to play with him and a few less actives to help them all out.

Things here are going great but it was really funny because today is Dia de los Muertos and so last night the Catholic church had a giant parade and it went straight through my area and I don't think that I have ever seen some many people hate me (?) in my life - it was silly. They would block off the roads and stop traffic and it was just silly.

Yesterday we - the four missionaries and the ward mission leader - also went around and visited some of the leaders to invite them to the activity we are going to have. The bishop does love us because we brought the attendance up but we still don't get much help. But I have heard promises from the stake presidency that things are going to change. I hope that is true because we are trying to push a mission plan that is from Salt Lake and use it in the whole mission, but we aren't having too much luck. So if you could just keep the ward in your prayers so that we can truly make the difference with this ward.

But as far as Elder Knight, he is in Chimaltenango by Antigua and I don't know what he would like. But with my comp. right now, I think he will get stuff and I think I will be with him another change. Hermana Chavez loves her present (apron) and uses it always. I love you all and hope all is well for you and thanks dad for the letter.
Love, Elder Musick

[If he didn't add that last paragraph I would have had to wonder if her even read my letter. We can tell he is so focused on the mission and his work. It does our heart good.]

Monday, October 25, 2010

Another new companion in Amatitlan

Elder Musick's new companion is the third from the right, Elder Adams.

Well, I got a shocker this past week because it turned out that my comp. left and I stayed here in Amatitlan. So those in the office lied to me, but it turned out that I am training an Elder Adams from Arizona. He is about my height, but is whiter than me so everyone is very stunned when we walk by. I was very shocked because usually people train in the capital and I am the only one who is training outside of the capitol. The other crazy thing was that they changed the district up and now we are six: four elders and two sisters ... so we'll see how that goes.

They just had a family baptism last Saturday of three. I am very excited about the changes that were made. I thought it was interesting because the old assistant - who is my good friend - told me that they have been sending me hard comps for the last two changes. I thought they were a little more difficult, but I didn't think I was getting them because they were hard. I am excited to see what will happen.

Well, during the week we found out that we will have to marry another couple: it turns out to be the parents of the Fam. Roldan.

I am sorry this is short; I had to help my district use the internet so I couldn't write too much, but I love you all and ask for your prayers for the district to complete our goals we have set.

Regarding Christmas - just candy is fine and maybe two shirts and some thin socks, not thick ones.

I love you all and am sorry, but next week will be better.

Monday, October 18, 2010

This week ...





Well, this last week my companion was feeling just fine and so we were able to work. One thing that was really sad is that we had been teaching a family and they seemed to always have difficulties so we invited them to go with us to church for the fourth and last time. He said no in a nice way, of course, but then we explained the Sabbath and then invited him and he said no. I asked if he had something to do and he said no and so I just said it is just because you don't want to and he started talking about such odd stuff about the covenant with Abraham. So we explained we would not come back and some other things; but really it just makes us sad when I have felt the spirit testify to someone and they do not care to listen.

All the members keep asking what is going to happen with changes and who's out and the thing is I kind of know what is going to happen, but have not said a thing - nor will I till I have received the call. But it is really sad knowing what is going to happen seeing all these investigators say how much they love me or that it would be weird without me. So I can't lie, things will be hard these next couple of days. The other thing is that they changed change date to Wednesday and not Monday. We will find out changes tonight even though I know that Elder __________ [I don't want his mother to read this before he tells her] will be the next assistant to the President and that the district I am in will be combined with another and part of it will be its own district. I will tell you where I am going and what I am doing in the following week.

We also had the baptisms of the Roldan Family and I baptized the father and my companion baptized the mother and the bishop baptized the daughter. It was such a good baptism because we had a good number of members and watched a very cool video after on the life of Christ that was like six minutes long. That family is amazing -they want to go to the temple and be sealed and learn and change and do anything that we challenge them to do. Now we are working with the wife's parents. They have been to church a lot and want to be members but struggle with a few things.

But I love you guys and ask for your prayers that I can be the best I can and won't have to suffer from more back problems and other sicknesses because I have learned those are not fun.

I love you all so much
Elder Musick

Monday, October 11, 2010

Trapped...a wedding...new videos! Oh My!


Well, this last week was a super, super hard week because my comp. got sick. They think he had chicken pox or Dengue; we are still waiting on the results. So this last week we had one lesson and were in the house all week. We went to the capital twice to have his blood drawn. But really this last week was boring and sad. But I do have some great news: the Roldan Family got married on Saturday so this Saturday we should have three baptisms and we are so very excited. They are very happy and working so hard to change and be better. It truly is so amazing to see the change that this gospel brings to the lives of those who truly seek for it. I was really sad because we could not be at the wedding because Saturday we got a call and we had to go to the capital to get my comp's blood drawn so we missed it, but I sent someone with my camera and I will send some photos next week. The cool part was that we had a lot of our investigators at the wedding and actually the Escalante Family was there and they are talking about getting married as well. So that is really all that happened this last week.

In other news, I got copies of videos of a new program that they are implementing throughout the world. This morning I was using them to teach in the district meeting; I thought it went really well. It is called the district 2. I don't know if Katie ever saw them, but they are truly amazing and the videos are mine so I can use them after the mission, too. I can make myself mission baggy after the mission. But I think it helped us understand our purpose as missionaries better. One Elder in the district is going home this change and he was asking me for copies so that he could watch them after his mission.

I also realized that it will be super hard to go home and study because I am so accustomed to being outside. I did pretty good through the week (being trapped in the house) until yesterday I lost it I was just walking around pacing and trying to do something but it was really hard.

Next Monday will not be changes, but it will be Wednesday so I will know Monday night if we have changes or not. I really hope I don't have changes because I really love this place. It is super hard because the ward is so weak, but I just have learned to love it. Yesterday I felt to bear my testimony so I got up and after me a member got up and gave a soft sweet testimony about how the ward needs to help the missionaries and other things, of course. But afterwards I thanked him and he asked if we have changes coming up and I said, Not until the 20th” and he said, “I hope not” and gave me a hug. I was very touched by his desire to serve.

I love you all and hope all is well. Thank you for the Priesthood line of authority. I love you, mom, so much and hope all is well with you.

P.S. Tomorrow we are going to Antigua and I think I am going to buy a backpack because mine is breaking. There I can haggle to work it down to a low price. I know I am spending a lot of money lately but it is for my mission and all of these things are to last me to the end and after. I hope you’re not mad about the money thing but I love you.
Elder Musick.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Loving Conference ...

Well, for conference I got to watch it all in English with about six gringos which was nice. We had the Pineda Family there for two sessions and the guys showed up for the Priesthood session. They all really enjoyed it. We had a few others show up so it really was excellent. I truly loved every second of it. It really is so much better in the mission because all we do is just focus on the gospel. It is like the Superbowl or the World Cup for missionaries. Seeing all the big name players show us how it is done. Out of all of them I loved Uchtdorf, Ballard, and Monson … well, really all of them. But I will say we priesthood holders need to prepare ourselves because they were calling on us to be better and reminding us how the family will be attacked. We definitely need to analyze ourselves better.

This last week was a crazy week. We had divisions for three days for training and then conference on the weekend, so working in the area was a little more difficult. We are hoping to have at least one wedding and to have at least three baptisms the following week. It would be the Roldan Family. They are doing so well, working so hard to progress and change. They showed up to conference without us and really early to get a good seat.

Well, I hope the rain stops because it has been bad. I sent a picture (below) when I was at the Gaytan family's house - I was soaked so they gave me something to drink and clothes to warm me up. Also pictures of the baptisms we had last change and some other cool ones.

Well, I love you guys and hope all is well. I pray all is well with you guys and that you are having a great time.
Love you all, Elder Musick.

PS Mom can you e-mail me my Priesthood line of authority and a photo of my baptism for next week and send the line in Spanish please. (?) I bought a memory stick so that I can send photos without hooking the camera to the computer and messing up the camera (like the last one). Love & thanks.



Monday, September 27, 2010

It's raining, It's pouring...

We asked:
How are you doing? How are the rains? I see rain (Thunderstorms, Heavy T-storms, scattered T-storms and showers) in your forecast for the next 10 days. Poor Sam.... Do you ever dry out? Do you use your rain jacket, take an umbrella, or rain poncho? Do your shoes dry out? We have been watching Hurricane Matt turn to Tropical storm/depression and drizzle out, but not before dumping tons of water on you. Tell us some details, please.


Well, the rains kind of stink at times because it makes working a little harder and colder. As for my clothes and shoes they are always wet and don't really dry out. Example: I am writing you right now and my feet are all wet. I always use my jacket a lot but I still get soaked. But the thing about the rain is not about the water but about the mudslides. It really stinks walking into a house and we just get everything soaked.

Now tell us how your temple sealing went?
The temple sealing was truly one of the greatest things I have ever seen in my life. They were so grateful and so so so happy. The dad says I have to come back and I want to come back in the end of December and some of January of 2011 and 2012. So you guys know my plans. I truly feel like they are my family here. They try and take care of me and always want us to stop even if it is just to say hi. It was kind of sad because the oldest daughter (22) couldn't be a part of it because she was too old so that was sad. But yesterday she spoke in church and gave an amazing talk.

This next week we have a training in the capital for three days for leaders and so that will be kind of hard to plan for the weddings and everything else. Thursday we woke up at 4:30 to take out birth certificates and some other things to get these families married but we ended up leaving there at 12:30 so that was a long hard day. The families we are teaching are doing well - all getting better and hopefully everything will work out.

Well, can I just tell you that things here are great, but this ward needs help and so please pray for them. I thank you for your prayers and ask that you continue praying for our investigators so that we can have these weddings.

I do just want to tell you all how important families are because I have seen how the Lord has blessed families here with the Gaytan family and many of the other families. I have seen how little kids taught their investigating father to pray and set the example for him to be better.

I love you all and am very excited for B and Jordan. I love you all and pray all is well with you. - Elder Musick.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

¡My first sealing!

Well, things are interesting here, as always. We had the family Roldan and Pineda in church and the children of the family Escalante. We put a date for marriages for the 9th of Oct. and hopefully the baptisms will follow shortly after. Could you guys please pray for the family Roldan that they will get along and pull their papers out and also the family Escalante will pull their papers out and that Carlos will not be influenced by his friends but will follow the spirit. Also, that the family Pineda will be okay and that Francisco will not drink again. We did find two very positive new investigators and they are referrals from two families in the ward. We also had ward counsel for the second time this year and so I am really happy getting the ward working again. The coolest news is that I will be going to the temple this Friday to see the Family Gaytan get sealed. ¡My first sealing!

Yesterday Elder Allen and I - because we are going to the temple - we worked yesterday through our p-day and we went to the sweetest little town or aldea in the world. We went to contact a referral and found the mother of an investigator that Elder Allen is teaching. We helped sell fruit as in I was pushing the wheelbarrow and contacting the whole aldea and everyone loves us there. It was pretty awesome. The place is right on the edge of Lake Amatitlan, but because of the weather problems the lake has raised a lot and has flooded a lot of houses - it is sad to see. But it was a really amazing experience.

That is crazy all these people who are prego and it is amazing to hear about the success of the missionary effort [in your ward] because it is really important. Here because without us some wards and Branches would be lost, but it is a way of spreading and establish the church. Speaking of, we had the attendance up to 116 and it has been going up. The Bishop is very happy with us and we are really hoping to have some success in the following month. I thank you all for your prayers and continue to ask for them so that our investigators can grow and that I might be a help to my district and my companion. I love you all and hope all is well.

PS I bought shoes here that were 400 or 500 and they are pretty strong and should be just fine. Sorry because I went to like six places and they didn't even have my size. But payless did and they were a little more expensive but worth it I'd say.
Love, Elder Musick.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Marvelous Missionary Miracles

Well, I will start out by saying I have truly seen miracles in this last week. First, we have a family we are teaching and she is married and her husband lives in the US and they have been separated for more than ten years. The problem is that she is living with some else and they have three kids. But she just got her DPI which is her ID and it says she is single. So she is going today to verify if it is true and if that is so she can get married and the family can be baptized. It would be three baptisms.

The other is a family we are teaching. The dad hasn't drunk in a month and is working on trying to stop smoking. But there is a daughter who lives next door who has two kids and we are working with them to marry them (as in the daughter) and then try and help the dad stop smoking and drinking so that he and his wife can be baptized. That would be five with all of them. But the amazing thing is that the daughter’s husband is trying to change and went to church yesterday. So if you can pray for the Escalante Family and the Rineda and Roldan families so that they can all be baptized.

But it doesn't end there. On Saturday an appointment fell through and I just felt to visit a family who were returning to church. We shared D&C 121 and we found out that she didn't pay her tithing for a few months, but had then paid that and is now up to date, and that more importantly he had the desire to go to the temple for the first time. The following day, Sunday, the stake presidency had a meeting with the family and so that night they called me telling me that they will be sealed as a family on the 24 of this month and that the mom was crying and telling me that I had to be there. I dropped on my knees crying in thanks for that great blessing. It is the Family Gaytan who I truly love like my own family. I was the first person they called after talking with the stake presidency. I hope and pray that I can be there to see that great blessing. (P.S. Hermano Gaytan told me that I have to come back and that we will spend a week at the coast and that if I wanted we can go up to Peten for a few days in his truck.)

But I have seen some great blessings coming upon us and I pray that we can have these two weddings and I can be there for the sealing because the rules about going to the temple are strict. So please pray for these things so that these miracles can come to pass. But I have seen the importance of the family as well here because it seems like miracles come true when they are about families and how they are living the ordinances of the gospel.

Well, I love you all and tell you these things so that you can join us in prayer and not to show off in pride because I realize this is truly the Lord’s Hand and not by any means me. I love you all and hope all is well. And thank you all for your love and support.

P.S. I am going to buy shoes tomorrow because mine are dead and I believe that you do not need a receipt to get them to send new shoes to you for after the mission. But I love you all and pray for your safety.

Love, Elder Musick

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy Bday, Presidente


Elder Musick (in upper left hand corner) helps wish President Baldwin a Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Peruvian Companion Change

Well, I am doing good. I did not have changes but my companion did. I have received Elder Calta from Peru -awesome, right? He is a very humble, loving, kind, and positive person. He was actually trained by Elder Jimenez who was my companion at the coast. It is his third change in the mission and he has been out for 4 months. His parents are not members, just three of his siblings are. He is a convert of three years. He learned Spanish and I guess had kind of a hard time in the CCM with it. He knows two Peruvian languages. I pretty much received the opposite of Elder Vallecillo, my old companion. The district had some odd changes because all those who had one change in their areas all left except one, but his companion will die this change. And all those who have more time in their areas stayed.


(Elder Calto is the only elder in the front row - on right side)

My back is fine; it really is all better.

About our investigators, it is a little more difficult because the ward is pretty weak, even though we have seen some big changes, we really receive little to no help and 0 references. But we are here working hard and trying to figure out what we can do better. This change should be exciting because I believe that we are going to have zone conference and I believe Elder Martino will be present. And our convert, Susy, is looking for work. She was offered a job and it was super nice, but they wanted a ton of things like work on Sunday and she said no and now is still looking. So I felt really proud of her. As for us we were contacting the other day and a family let us in and we taught them and are going to return to visit them on Saturday. It is really amazing to contact and have people let us in and listen, too and we truly pray we can have more of those because that is the only way we are finding new investigators. I am very excited but nervous for this change, but I have great hope for it and a lot of support from my companion.

I loved all of the messages and felt very loved and am very excited that you all were able to celebrate Grandma's birthday. I do love you all and pray all is well for you guys.

As for my shoes and backpack I think I will just buy them here and that way I can just have the replacements shoes for after the mission. I do love you all and pray that you will all have a great week and that you guys don't get to baggy - I mean I do have a little more than 8 months to go, so don't go planning my homecoming just yet.

I love you all, Elder Musick

Monday, September 6, 2010

A big change for Elder Musick!


Leaving the office in June 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Guatemala City Central Blog

On the Guatemala City Central Mission Blog (http://guatemalacentralmission.blogspot.com) there is a picture of Elder Vallecillo, Sam's current companion, in the first picture (far left) of the 2010 June Zone Conference Photos. Also there is a video with just a peak at Sam helping at the service project in 2010 May Service Project. I'd recognize that head anywhere!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Yeah! Two Baptisms!!

I have good news because we did have two baptisms this last week and I was blessed to be asked to perform both of them. Susy is amazing because Sunday in the last hour we were all together and it was about the Priesthood and she was sitting there taking notes. The Bishop taught the lesson and towards the end asked me to read a quote about how if someone was not worthy to talk to the Bishop and after I asked to share a word and spoke of how I have seen how my father worries about everyone in his ward and that this bishop does the same and cares for us and wants to help us and that we need to talk to him so that we can use our Priesthood. I feel that he appreciated my effort to help him.

That was pretty cool that Katie got to go back to Idaho and see those great blessings and ordinances in the gospel.

Yesterday was a good, but hard day. We went to an appointment, but they were not there so we started walking around to contact and the first house we got to they let us in. My comp shared the lesson and at the end we asked if the dad would offer the prayer. He said he would do his best, though it was different. He said that he was a very hard person and that that was the first time he had prayed. When he finished his wife said that he never lets people in and that he is really hard but he was trying so hard to listen to us. I was amazed and we have the next appointment for Wednesday. This last month the district found 155 new investigators and had four baptisms and they have a lot more dates set with people. I feel very proud of my district and their work that they are doing. This Saturday we find out changes in the district so we shall see...

Mom, thanks for the garments, I have received them and also the letter you sent me. So thank you. But I was wondering about my Eccos and if you got the pictures from Jordan or Jared because one has a mouth and holes in the bottom. I still have another pair but they aren't great so please let me know and also my backpack is pretty much done and so I was wondering if it would be better to buy one here that isn't great or have you send me one. Please let me know for next week. But I will write on Wednesday.
Love Elder Musick

Monday, August 23, 2010

Time for baptisms and new shoes

Well, this week should be a really good week because we should have two baptisms on Saturday, so we will have that to plan. This last week was cool - we had divisions with the Zone Leaders and I went to their area. I really enjoyed teaching with Elder Cano because he teaches so well and it was nice to switch and teach with unity. Yesterday we had an activity as a stake and we went out with the youth and single adults. It was really cool because Susy (who has a baptismal date for this Saturday) went and contacted with us in Central Park. She said she had a great time and really enjoyed it. It was so very cool to see.

Scott (Carter recently returned and reported from Mexico mission) is so fun. I don't think I have really applied sports in the mission like he has. I have taken what I have learned in sports and applied it on how to be a better leader and to help my district. The way [Scott describes] contacting on the bus is normal here because other pastors do it, but it isn't that effective. And about Elder Butler, I have no idea who that is - maybe the name is wrong, could it be Budge or something like that? About B and J’s baby picture thing – it is kind of odd, but really normal for them, so I am glad to hear they are themselves, insane.

The rain is still here as it rained all day yesterday and I am sure in a little bit it will rain again.

With the training methods I am really able to teach and apply them and found them to be helpful, but I do need to study them better so that I can better apply them. My district has five baptismal dates and we are improving but we still can do better. My old companion, Elder Knight is amazing and if he ever comes to the states, I will totally take care of him and show him around.

I did get your package on Saturday and am wearing the pants you sent and am really grateful - so thank you for the candy and the pants but my shoes (my Eccos) are almost done. I had a member send Jordan and Jared the photos of my shoes because of the whole Spanish thing. So if you could send those in to get me the other pair because they are under warranty.

Sorry, it seems like everything is breaking on me - like I am old or something. And I think I realized why I struggle so much with my Spanish, because I remember when I was learning English and I really struggled to read and everything. Well, it has come back to bite me in the butt with Spanish. I can speak and express myself, teach just fine and understand everything, but I do still struggle and can improve if the prayers keep coming. I would appreciate it.
Love you all,
Elder Musick.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Whoa, Baby!!

Received Aug. 16, 2010

Well, I have just been hit by a ton of news. [His sister Bethany is expecting a baby!!] Okay, first things first:

My back still hurts, but little by little it is getting better because President Baldwin is letting me use his personal therapy thing to stimulate my back every day. I have hope the pain will be gone by the end of the month or at the next change.

The new training I went to last week changed my life. I feel like I have been doing missionary work all wrong. It really changed the way we act and teach. I love it and I hope I can truly put all of it into practice. But the food at the training got everyone sick so that wasn't fun because I woke up one night throwing up and other things as well :( But I’m better now.

I enjoyed your thoughts on my comp. and I am open to learn from him but he does not care to learn from anyone and has clearly expressed he does not like leaders or anyone over him. So that is tough being a leader and getting no respect. The leaders know I am struggling and are a lot of help plus the other elders in the ward are a lot of help, too.

Also Elder Knight may not respond but he is receiving your letters so keep sending them - it is needed. That is so funny about Josh [Speirs] and Katie as well. And Rachel [Griffith] will love it down here in Guatemala.

I love you all and am blessed to hear from you and to feel of your love. Thank you all for everything. Love, Elder Musick

PS what did you send to me? [The wait is killing him!!!!]

Sunday, August 15, 2010

From Elder Knight

We have started a correspondence with Sam's old companion who does not get any mail and we wanted to share how cute his first letter is. He is from Honduras, but his English is amazing!

Sister Musick (Elder Musick's mom) I`m happy to receive a e-mail from you. The letter that you did send me I did not read the translation in spanish, i just red it in english and it was O. K. It was my first letter..., I am very excited. I just wanted to thank you. I am very sad too for my best companion Elder Musick, I learned from him a lot of things that are helping me now to work hard like a real missionary, all my other companions are great missionaries but i feel something special for him. My english is not so good, but i hope you understand it. My new companion is from El Salvador, we did a baptism last week an this week we`ll have a nother one. Here in our area we have a lot of investigators, but we are trying to find the people that are redy to receive the restored gospel. I like this area a lot. Also I love these people. These is a great oportunity to be in contact with you and I`ll wait for more letter from California, jajajajaj.. in email form es very fast but a letter will be better because so I can keep it on with me. I hope I learn more inglis so I can write more a bout tha mission an my life. Thank you Sister Music for the letter in this email. I want to be with Elder Musick more thime.
With love, Elder Knight.

Bethany and Katie think we should adopt him ;)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Keep him in your prayers, please

Well, things here are crazy like always. Tomorrow I will have my training in the capital for four days. I won't lie, it will be a nice break from my companion. He is just so prideful and does not like gringos and tries to always be better and just say negative things about me and gringos. So if you have any ideas on how to deal with that, please let me know.

As far as the district goes, we are doing well and are working hard. Our numbers are going up and things are improving. We still have a lot of work to do. As for us, we have one baptismal date set and she is doing great. This last week Susy had an operation and they removed two tumors from her breasts. (Just so you know the people are very open and tell you anything - so that is how we know.) Yesterday we went with the Gaytan Family (the dad is a doctor and the mom is a supervisor) and they looked in here and helped the mom and Susy and the dad (who is inactive) bore his testimony and it was really good. We still have a lot of work to do to improve the area, but things are getting better, I think.

My back still hurts, but I will leave it at that. I ask for your prayers and support at this time. Next week I will have the zone leaders and the assistants at my district meeting - so I better be prepared. I love where I am and the people here. I am suffering from some difficulties, but that is life, but I feel like things will get better. I rejoice in my weaknesses and my difficulties because they are from God and meant to change me and shape me it to what He wants. If you all can pray that our district can find new investigators and put baptisimal dates with those we are teaching now it would be a blessing for us. I love you all and am thankful for your love and supportive words.
Love,
Elder Musick.

P.S. Did you send my pants to me with some other things? If so what did you send? And about the gift - I really don't know but she likes to cook and they have a photo of the Guatemala temple. Sorry I will try and think about that better.

Monday, August 2, 2010

August 2010

Well, first I don't know if it would be a good idea for you to send a different backpack - that is a little much but would it be better for my back and still rain proof? I don't know if that would be too hard and if it is, don't worry about it. The back brace? What kind? If you think it is good then I am willing to try it. And by “good stuff” to send, I mean candy, Jerky - no and food to cook - no, really just candy and my pants because I really need those pants.

Also if you could send something nice as a thank you to the Chavez Family who are our neighbors. They really helped me out a ton and maybe you could send something to say thank you for us. Just a thought, I want to do something but something from you would also be nice - but not mandatory.

Yesterday we were really blessed because we had 7 investigators at church and we had two families that were inactive there. One of the families we have been working hard to get the dad to church, because he drinks sometimes. But the wife wants to be sealed and all the kids want that, too. The son is thirteen and will go out with us and has an agenda like us. But yesterday the whole family was there which hasn't happened in like a year or so. And three of them stood up to bear their testimonies. This is the same family that the parents are doctors and they came over when I was really sick and have been helping me for the past month. We went over with a cake yesterday to say thanks and watched a movie about temples. At church I bore my testimony. The bishop’s wife [who was hit by a car - see post on June 28th] came to church in a wheelchair; it has been the first time in a long time that she came. So we had a good number and the next week we have ward conference and the week after that - stake conference.

The district is improving. I put a goal for this week to have ten baptismal dates or goals to be baptized. We have a lot of investigators that are pretty close to being baptized, so if you could pray for the district, I would really appreciate it and think it could really help us. And maybe my back as well.

This next week will be a different one because I will have training in the capital for four days. Which means I will have to go on divisions with Elder Allen in my district and my comp. will go with Elder Allen's but he is a brand new gringo so we'll see how that goes. The training is about a new kind of program they are setting up in all the missions throughout the world to help integrate the new missionaries that come in. It is to help us teach more with the spirit and not just to teach the lesson but the person. So I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks how it went.

I am sorry it is sad that the boys are leaving, but I am sure it is for the best. And let me know what happens with Jared and also the other kids because I don't hear from them too much, but it is probably because they don't hear from me. So if you could keep me updated on them, too - especially Bethany …

As for Elder Knight, he loved your letter and didn't even look at the Spanish part. So if you want to write it just in English, that’s fine. My new comp. is a little more difficult because he is kind of prideful and likes to do things his way - which is tricky because he is new here so he does know much about the members or the ward but wants to lead. It is a good thing I was so indifferent before the mission because I know how to take things as they come, but I don't let him just run amok. But I do see all of the good things and we do work well together; but I can also foresee problems in the future. But things are fine. He just has a proud Honduran thing - very comparative to his country and how things are there and here. He is helpful (for the most part) with my back.

I love you all and thank you for your letter and prayers and still ask for them - especially special prayers for the familia Escanlante (and their divorce) and Susy (to accept a date to be baptized) and Jessica (the same).

Thank you and love you and am proud of dad for hiking Mt. Whitney again.
Elder Musick.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Back" to work

Okay, so Jared and Cherie’s big move sounds great … because I am not there ;) But it is exciting and I hope all goes well for them.

As for me, I have been receiving therapy for my back, which I will finish up tomorrow. I have been traveling to the capital a lot to receive the treatment. But to be honest, I have felt very little difference and was told to rest more. It has nothing to do with the original problem, but is just a spasm in my back.

I have also received a new companion and his name is Elder Vallecillo from Honduras La Ceiba. He is very different and very proud of where he is from. He has been out 4 months in the mission and was trained by Elder Lowry who is one of my favorite missionaries. It will be different this next change. I will miss Elder Knight because he truly was a very loving companion and asked that you please write him whenever you can, I think he was my favorite comp. It is always sad to leave someone so good. In my district, every companionship had changes and so it is completely different; I am excited and a little nervous for some of them.

I would like to ask for your help and prayers for strength in my back and also to help my district. One of the Elders just started his mission and this is his first area and he is very excited. It was funny because he is really friendly and waves and says hi to everyone. As we were walking over to use the Internet he waved at a couple of girls on a motorcycle and they got really excited because he is a giant green-go. It was so funny and yet he thought nothing of it. It is nice to get back to work somewhat and to be teaching and out and about again.

Elder Knight did get your letter and loved it and was so excited but he said he was going to write you back, but we'll see. I love you all and hope all is well, I am sorry again it is on Thursday; it is because of my therapy. P-days are on Tuesdays, but we write on Mondays unless something happens or we have changes.

Love you all and ask for your prayers and love always.

PS. Mom can you send me my pants you were holding on to because I need them … and maybe some candy and some good stuff :)

Love you, Elder Musick.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Bad, Bad Boo and skinny, too!

Okay, so I will tell you everything that has happened. ..
About a month ago I had got sick just a little boo, but then a giant back pain. The boo went away and then came back a week after then left, but all the while I still had back pain. I had some appointments with doctors who took blood, poo, and pee to test - normal, of course. I had x-rays taken on my back: small problem but the same one as before my mission. So then I had another appointment Monday, but before that I got food poisoning and couldn't go to church because I was throwing up all day Sunday and all the way until Monday morning, and I mean it was coming from both sides [ends?].

The Doctor told me I have a spasm in my back and will be doing therapy for two weeks, but just two times a week. I am starting to eat food now but it hurts and I am still pretty weak and skinnier. However, I had a lot of love and help from the members here. Our neighbors came and sang a hymn to me on Sunday and then I got a blessing. Another family gave me a ride to the capital for my appointment. Others call, worry, or fast. A family who are pretty much all in the medical field came over to see how I was doing and offered a lot of help. But I think the storm has passed and things can only get better. Sadly, it has left the work and our investigators on the back burner. My companion was pretty worried; he had never seen someone throw up so much. He was very helpful, but sadly, I think we will have changes this next Monday and with my “in” in the office I know it will be a Latin from Honduras who is fairly new.

It has been sad that Elder Knight and I couldn't work much together because I was so sick. But I have seen changes in the ward: the bishop is happier, we have more coming to church, and the leaders seem to be doing better. But there still is a lot of work to do. In the district I have seen a steady drop in work, well, in finding new investigators which saddens me because I feel with being sick I needed to do more, but I find that I am not able to help my district. I am still trying to figure out how to be a leader and how best to lead in the mission. I have found that it is not easy. But it is necessary.

The back pack picture was just a joke because that was Elder Ruddle’s bag with all his clothes. Also I wrote a letter to the young men [for the Mt. Whitney Hike] and Daniel [a new convert from high school] but sent it to Bethany’s address because I couldn't remember your new address. And Mom, you need to get some sleep because you really don't make sense sometimes in your letters. I love them and they make me laugh, but get some sleep, Mom.

I love you all and hope things are going well.
Love, Elder Musick.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Prayers needed on his behalf

Okay, so I have been thinking what I should write you guys and tell you about me being sick. Well… it has been over two weeks and I am still suffering a little bit. I had diarrhea, and a lot of other things but I took some pills and now I am doing better, but the really problem is in my back. The thing is - it is worse than it was before my mission and it isn't just in my lower back but higher up. I have seen a doctor from the mission who did nothing and President Baldwin is very angry with him. But I have talked to a member in our ward and he is a back specialist and has offered an x-ray for free and so I will try and do that today. But don't worry; he is an amazing doc who knows what he is doing. But I can't receive treatment from him, just an x-ray, but that will help us decide if I need a chiropractor. If I go to a chiropractor that means we will have to pay and the church won't cover it. But it is nothing to worry about, I am fine and trust me, I will last my whole mission and will not come back early.

Two cool things happened this past week. We went to a member’s house and they are newly married and are very supportive of us. They have decided with a few other members to fast for me and that they are always praying for me and my health. Others are calling me and the lady next door stops by and is always asking how I am doing and is very worried for me all the time. I have truly felt such a love in this ward and feel so blessed to be here.

The other story is that we went and taught an old inactive bishop. He was the first bishop in the first ward in Amatitlan. He showed us an Ensign and it shows him and some missionaries dedicating the pueblo. We asked him how it all started and then I asked him how he felt and he began to describe a few stories of some real miracles that happened and then he cried and the spirit was very strong. We had a less active young man who was with us and he thought it was very cool. I thought it was really cool, too.

Tomorrow we have zone conference, so I am really looking forward to that. I also had divisions with Elder Montoya (who is also friends with Ashlee) and he is such an amazing young man - if you chat with his mom on mom talk or whatever it is [Missionary Moms] tell her that her son is amazing and has been a big help to me when I was sick.

I love you all and still ask for your prayers so I can keep going and helping my district and being successful. I love you all very much and I pray all is well. I received a lot of letters and thank you all for your love and support for me and your kind words and stories.

P.S. I forgot to say that I spoke this last Sunday in Church and thought it went well. It was on missionary work and I spoke a lot about love.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

New Pictures on the GCCM blog

Check out the latest postings on the Guatemala City Central Mission Blog or the mission happenings these last few months as well as these new pictures with Sam in them - especially the one where he is at the Sister's Conference, way to go Sam!


At the Sister's Conference -
"Our chauffeurs, Elder Musick and Elder Cesena feeling a little odd and out of place - never!"


"(L to R) El. Alvarez, Hna. Mascareno, Hna. Cruz, El. Douglas, El. Musick, El. Martinez, El. Cesena, El. Jacobs"

Monday, July 5, 2010

He feels ... sick, proud, baggy, and blessed

Well, this week was a little more difficult because I am sick. I got sick about Tuesday and have been taking pills and medicine to try to get over it but with no luck. I have an appointment with the doctor tomorrow to take some tests and see what it could be. But mom, don't worry, I have received many calls from the members telling me what to take and trying to mother me. The family next door is members and she is our cook and the wash lady. But she has been very worried checking on me every night. I even had the counselor to President Baldwin who lives close by, come looking for me to see if he could help and offered to take me to the hospital. So I am truly in good hands.

My companion went out and worked and we had a pretty good week still ... well, an okay week. I had a meeting for district leaders on Thursday and it was a very good meeting. I was so proud of my district because the other district leaders asked me what we have been doing to have such success. I felt very honored but realize it wasn't me and we still have so much to do. It is really crazy how the time is flying by. I wanted it to go fast because I know I am working hard, but not this fast because I feel like it is just a dream.

When is Dad’s hike? I will try to put some thoughts down for him. I got kind of baggy when you said you had homemade ice cream for the holiday. But Elder Allen who is in my district called me that morning to sing the national anthem. I thought it was pretty funny. I am sorry I am having a hard time thinking of things to tell you because we were in the house a lot this week.

I did think of one thing. This past week there is a companionship that struggles to find new investigators and he started to contact guys in the street - the women are always home but it is hard to get the husbands because of work. So I thought for him to contact in an area that was at the end of the bus route at 5:00 so they could contact the guys when they come home from work and he was able to find some new investigators. I felt so happy for him and that I could be a means to help him. I feel really blessed and hope that this area and district will have great success.

I love you all and hope all is well and mom, get some sleep and dad, are you going on the Mt Whitney hike? If so, you'll be in my prayers.
Love,
Elder Musick.

Monday, June 28, 2010

"... the weeks are flying which is good, but sad."

Okay, so reading that story of Daniel [a member of Sam's NHS football team who was baptized last week] made me think that I would like to write a letter for him and send it to you guys, so if you could pass it along, that would be amazing. [As a district leader] I have not given a baptismal interview yet, but I am very nervous for when I have to.

The great thing of this past week is we found 16 new investigators; but in our district of four companionships we found 56! I was truly blown away. But sadly our attendance of investigators went down because it has been raining for the past two days or so. And it was similar to the tropical storm and so everyone was scared. To be honest, I was on divisions on Saturday night and it was raining all night. My companion was in our area, but it is right next to a river that had flooded. I couldn't sleep that night because I was so worried for them and if anything would happen to them.

So the ward is really weak. We had 57 people at church and the bishop is sick and his wife was hit by a car, so they weren't there. But a member spoke on how we should support him and help him - which I thought was so needed. (It was funny because the assistants just came in because they are going on divisions with the zone leaders so they surprised me and it was pretty funny.) But I am pretty excited for how things are going and I hope and pray that they will improve.

We also had interviews with President Baldwin and it was funny because he walked in and said it is funny seeing me here and then said to everyone that I had escaped from the office. I will try and write a letter this next week or so about my comp. because he is truly amazing.

Our investigator, Suzy went to church and is very active and always has really good questions. Elder Knight (my Comp.) went to the lesson with them and shared Alma 32 and how if it is a good fruit that we should give it room to grow and she was very touched by that chapter. But the real work is with her mom. This next week will be really busy because I have a meeting in the office on Thursday and I will go on divisions and do our weekly planning. But the weeks are flying which is good, but sad. I know I am working and so the time flies, but it goes by too fast at times.

That’s fun that you get to have the boys this week. Give them hugs and kisses for me.

But can you do me a favor - write a letter to my comp. and have Jordan or Jared translate it. He has only received one letter in his mission so far. I think he would really enjoy it and you could write a little in English because his English is really good. But I love you guys and pray all is well and hope Katie is enjoying her time at home.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Keep on keeping on ... "

Well, so this last week took some time - it was kind of a dream.

As far as the work here - it seems to be slower because the ward is not a lot of help; the Bishop is about 28 or so and doesn't seem to be a real motivator, but he is there and that is it. I feel like I am going to have to be pretty forward with those we work with. I will have to assign them things to do and make sure they are assigning others. I have found that this ward is the weak spot in the stake. The district seems to be good, but they all have problems to deal with. Many of their investigators are not married so that will be a process to fix. We had pretty good numbers this last week and I pray and hope the elders continue to work hard.

It is nicer because someone does our washing for us and we have a cook. This is nice but the bad thing is my stomach gets a little sick now because I am eating real Guatemalan food now. [Oops, no more Taco Bell and Wendys, eh?] But I keep learning new things about my companion and he really has an amazing story.

I went on divisions this last week to get to know an elder who had some behavior problems before and wanted to see if he was getting better. I still don't feel like I know the area very well but I will with time. As far as investigators, we had one at church and she, Suzy, is really progressing, always reading and very active in the lessons. One of the other Elders in the ward thought she was a member because she knew all the answers she was asked. The problem is with her mother who doesn't want to change churches because she has been a member for nearly 30 years. It is sad because some time ago her dad cheated on her mom and left and now it is just the two of them and her brother who doesn't really care to listen.

I think I have hit a personal stumbling block. At night when I am finished with all the missionary calls and planning it is about 10:30 and I don't have time to study more (if I wanted to) or to write in my journal - it is really sad. But I will try to manage my time so that I can do some of the things I would really like to do.

I love you guys all so much and hope that all is well. I will keep on keeping on and hope to find success. Thank you for all of your love and words of kindness. And please ask me some more questions so I can write and tell you guys more.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Gotcha!

Okay, so I was just messing with you guys. (See previous post :)

I am finally out and scared out of my mind. Now I am teaching and leading district meetings which makes me feel very odd and I also take calls every night. I feel very awkward and lost. But the great thing is I am very excited to work and at times I don't know what to do, but I will do something and it will be good. I find myself in a ward that is weak, from what I hear the weakest in the stake. The bishop is very, very young and we don't have a full bishopric. The ward mission plan is inactive and we don't have a lot of positive investigators. But some in the district are having great success with five baptismal dates. We are weak in new investigators and we are doing a lot of service to help out with what happened with the volcano and the storm. A lot of the roads are destroyed and there are sand bags everywhere to stop the water from entering the houses.

In my district I have two gringos and five Latinos and they all seem to be pretty good missionaries. I also know that some had problems before but seem to be doing a lot better from what I can see and I am looking forward to going on divisions with them. But what is really amazing is my comp. - he is so humble and wants to be a good missionary. He told me that he was so nervous to be my comp. because he thought I was something great because I was in the office. Which in reality, I find it to be sweet but far from the truth because I have so much to improve on. I found out that my comp's first language was a dialect and that he learned Spanish five years ago. He knows four languages perfectly and is really, really good at English. Every morning he makes my bed for me and is trying all he can do to support me. I find myself praying all the time for help because I find it difficult to be a district leader. Don't ask me why - I knew how to be a secretary and all that it entails but for some odd reason I find it very difficult to be a leader as such in the mission. However, I am excited to learn how to be better and how it be a force for good in this area, ward, and district.

There are four missionaries in this ward and four in the other ward and that is my district. One of the zone leaders is Elder Montoya who is from Utah and knows Elder Jacobs and Ashlee so that is funny.

I am excited to hear things are going well for all at home. I am glad Jared found a better option for school and that Katie is adjusting. I love you guys all so much and ask for your prayers so that our district can have success and that I will know how better to help them progress and be greater than they are now.

Mom, so you know I took out some money to buy a cake because it was someone’s birthday in my district and I will probably take some more out so I can fix my shoes for maybe 10 or 12 dollars, so it won't be that much. Also my watch broke so I am thinking of buying another. Man, it is like I am getting old or something. Well, as far as the money for the watch and shoes I will wait to see what you say before I do that. But I already bought the cake.

Man, I noticed I have some very bad English grammar but it is odd because my Spanish isn't good enough for my English to be that bad. But I love you guys dearly and hope that all is well with you. But please keep me in your prayers. I love you all. And will write next Monday, but if we have interviews it might be on another day.
With Love,
Elder Musick

Aaawwwwww!

Okay, so there was an emergency this past week and the fact is a missionary got very sick - the one who was going to replace me - so they had to keep me in the office and they're waiting for some of the tests to come back to see if he is going home or not. So I will keep you updated when I have more time.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Transfer out of the Office and Into the Field

Well, this week has been very crazy. We have had to prepare for changes all before Friday because we have the transfer conference for all the missionaries who are going to the new mission. We have had to arrange transportation which is a full size bus, a small bus, and also a small moving van. But as far as I am concerned I am thinking of my next area and responsibility. So anyways, we went to Presidents’ house on Tuesday to see changes like always. But President always talks about what some of the changes are that they made and he said that they had brought in two missionaries into the office. One to be trained by Elder Ceseña and the other to replace me. He then proceeded to say where I am to go.

I will be serving as district leader in an area called Amatitlan. It was the closest area to the volcano. (Thanks for that little tidbit, Samuel!) It is right by the lake Amatitlan. I will have eight people in my district, including my companion and me. But being in the office I have already made a district leader folder. I have the baptism data since November 2009 and also their personal data. I have their pictures that are on the Presidents wall so I can study how best to help my district.

I am pretty dang excited to be a normal missionary. My companion is Elder Knight and he will be going into his fourth change. He is from Nicaragua and I was in the office when he came into the mission. I am very excited because that stake is a baptizing machine. The zone’s goal for baptisms for this month is 50. I am very excited - I have only heard great things about the zone and the ward I will be in. President actually told me that they will be putting me right in the middle of the baptizing heart land.

I love you all and may write a little bit another day before the week ends because we don’t have a lot of time. The lake under Pacaya volcano (in background right)

The Lake Amatitlan is the fourth largest lake in Guatemala, located about 10 miles the south of the capital Guatemala City at an altitude of 3,900 ft. The fresh water lake covers a surface of 9 sq. miles. The maximum depth of the lake reaches 108 feet, the average depth is 59 feet.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

We finally hear from Sam

Dear Family

Okay, so I really don’t know where to be start. Thursday night it was raining pretty hard and we went into a lesson where they had the TV on showing the display of volcano. As we were there we heard the volcano rumbling. Then I sent a text message to the assistants and then a minute later I received a call saying we should get back to the house. So we thought it was still raining because the sand that was falling was similar to the rain in sound. The rain had completely stopped and it was just dark black rock. We had to cover ourselves with our jackets because the sand would kind of hurt a little bit when falling. We got home to see the other missionaries we live with making sand angels. The next day we were told by the area presidency not to leave our house for a while. So when I woke up, we had to clean the black sand off of the van and prepare to go to the office. We then went to the office like normal and the day continued like normal but it just looked like black snow was everywhere. The government has sent out notices that we are to make piles of the debris and they will pick it up.

But it really got silly on Saturday when the storm passed by. We had been out all day getting soaked - even with our jackets on. We went to one appointment and sat down and taught while the wind was howling, and when we went to leave, we left puddles of water under us. We went around to the members’ and investigators’ houses to see if they were okay. We were traveling through the streets of rivers and we were helping cross the roads and I had to jog to keep warm because I was soaked. We found out that some of the members’ roofs had fallen in because they were tin and with heavy sand plus the heavy rains, the roofs gave in. We spoke with the bishop and President Baldwin and they were kind enough to let two families stay at the bunk house. The bunk house is an extra house we have in our colony for storage and we have extra beds because at times missionaries need to come to the capital and stay the night. So the families stayed there and we had to cook for them and take care of them. We then had church services canceled so we went out with a member of the bishopric to inspect the damages on the houses. I feel so bad for these families the beds are soaked; they have like an inch of water in the house and their clothes are pretty much gone. But after checking all the houses the bishop got tin and beams so that we can put new roofs on. The only problem we are facing right now is that the leaders are not really finishing their part. We have everything we need and a lot of missionaries that are willing to work but they haven’t really started to work and the families are back in their soaked and destroyed houses. But as far as working as a normal missionary it is a little hindered because we are trying to help those who lost almost everything in this storm.

Last night instead of executive committee we cleaned the church of all the black sand. It took about 10 of us to clean off all the sidewalks and basketball court/parking lot. But with all of this rain that we received in the storm there are mudslides and so we have had to change zone conferences around because there is only one road that is open to get to the coast and it is the same for the mountains. There are two areas that are completely shut off and they are on Lake Atitlan and the mudslides have closed them off and the only way to cross is by barge but they need permission from the area presidency. But what makes that scary is that they are right by another volcano that was dormant but now is rumbling, so we will see how that will play out. But in reality - every missionary is safe and no one was hurt and things have been running normal for the most part.

But on a different topic I will be leaving the office in like a week and a half (and I’m not going to lie) I am pretty happy about that but scared because I am afraid I won’t know how to be a normal missionary. But I will find out next week where I am going and who I will be with. But I love you all and hope all is well with you guys and that no storms are working their way towards you.
I love you all, Elder Musick.





Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Check this out!!

Check out this SINK HOLE in Guatemala! It swallowed up a three story apartment building. Also we got a phone call this morning - Sam's debit card isn't working, but the missionaries are all fine according to the office Elder who called. Now if I could only hear from Sam on his adventures!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Latest word -

The Guatemala City North Mission President's wife, Hermana Torres wrote the following today on facebook, "The 1st hurricane of the season decided to visit us along with the volcano. As a result we are expecting heavy rains, strong winds, power outages, road closures, etc. No meetings today in church. Missionaries staying indoors....con su mochila de emergencia! (with their emergency backpacks) Oh esta....todo bien" (everything is fine.)

I'm sure this is similar instructions for the Guat City Central Mission. We are waiting for news, please keep them all in your prayers. Thanks!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Missionaries ... All is well

Missionary Department: The latest report from Guatemala from the Area Presidency is that EVERY missionary has been accounted for. They are ALL safe, and those serving in Guatemala City - especially those to the south - have been instructed to stay inside their apartments until the area have been cleared as safe by their priesthood leaders.

Just thought I better add this since Guatemala has been hit with an earthquake, volcanic eruptions, and a tropical storm with lots of rain attached to it in the last 48 hours.