February 29, 2016

Week 12: Double Dragon

Hey everyone,

Nothing too eventful this week at all. Today is 'super lunes limpio', or super clean Monday. Every sixth p-day, for changes we have to to clean the apartment really well.

I also am sick with something they call 'double dragon' around here, so I've been in bed most of the morning studying...not worth it to be sick haha!

We had divisions again last week. The district leader Elder Ramos came and stayed with me this time, things went pretty well.

Thanks for the emails, this is always my favorite part of the week. :) (even though I'm sick haha)

A beautiful sunset around Chiantla.

February 22, 2016

Week 11: A Kiss and a Prayer

So Elder Van and I were proselyting a little bit later one night this week. A bolo (Guate slang for drunk) was walking by and glanced at us, stopped and walked over to us. He told us that he wanted to stop drinking. We talked for awhile and his story was kind of sad, but my companion ended up telling him he should pray to receive strength to help him quit. He told us he didn't have prayer beads, to which my companion replied, "You don't need those, you only have to kneel." So the guy kneels right there in the street, (he grabbed on to me to support himself on the way down...he was super drunk), and he asked Elder Van what to say. Elder Van coached him through a prayer, which was kind of funny, and he finished. He then reached his hand out to grab my hand, like he wanted to shake my hand, or wanted help up or something, but he stayed on the ground, holding my hand in his hands, and rested his forehead on my hand for a second. He then proceeded to kiss my hand for a good 15 seconds...I didn't know what to do, and Elder Van was dying of laughter, as well as a couple of Guates who were watching the whole thing. Anyway, he finally went on his way after that, and I couldn't help but feel bad for Alejandro (his name). But yeah...that happened.

Another funny thing that tends to happen here: people really like to hear about why us two gringos are here and what we do. So we've told the story of how we're here for two years to invite people to come unto Christ quite a few times. People always have tons of questions, which almost always includes at least one about our wives, and how they feel about us leaving for two years. That's when we have to ask how old they think we are...almost always between 25-30 years old!!! The look on their faces is always hilarious when they find out we're both 18.

So you asked about the members here. I'll tell you about Hermana Emma. She is like our second mom here. There's not really much she can do for us, but she always tries to do things for us, always makes us treats and stuff. She's super cool. She is super loving and we always look forward to seeing her. Eating lunch with members is usually pretty chill; we talk with them and everything and there's always something to talk about so that's not a problem. The food they make is always really good. Sometimes everyone is busy though, so every once in awhile we'll show up and sit and they'll give us food and we'll kind of eat alone, but it's okay, because...food! The ward is pretty much like they are at home. Kids go to school until like 14, I think...? And then it costs money. Usually the father travels to a bigger city to work. A lot of the time the mom runs a small business from the house if they live in town, like a tortillaria, or a store, or library, or tailor or something. They're all up and down the streets.

Elder Van and I cooked ceviche this week, which is pretty much shrimp in like a citrus pico, (tomato juice, veggies like tomato and onion, and lime juice, along with some other stuff) and you eat it like shrimp with tostadas...it was really good!

Elder Van and I also went to the Mirador today. We had to take a bus to the top, which is like at 11k feet, and we could see 4 volcanoes and all of Huehuetenango from the top. It was pretty cool. Here are some pictures.


February 15, 2016

Week 10: Zaculeu Ruins

Hi! This week's emails were awesome...please keep them up. I love hearing that I'm still a topic of conversation around home. Haha!

I've decided that I want to keep a running list of all the foods I want to have at my homecoming (see sidebar). I want to make a bunch of authentic Guatemalan food that I eat here. It really is awesome.

Today is 4 out of 12 weeks of training down. I only feel like I've been in the field for a couple of days. This training change will end on April 19. I'm almost halfway there, and at that point there will only be another month until Mother's Day when we get to talk again. You guys need to figure out how to use Skype by then, haha! Also...at that point I will already have 6 months!!! <-- Look, I'm starting to apply Spanish grammar to my English now. -_- ...

I had my first division this week. I went with Elder Diaz to his area for two days. He has only been on his mission as long as I have, but he's Latino. I was worried about the language barrier, but everything went really well. I was able to communicate pretty much everything I need to. My Spanish is a lot better than I thought it was. Nobody in Elder Diaz's area would believe that I was new, and Elder Diaz said he would think I was fluent, which gave me a lot of confidence.

Every 6 months the whole mission goes through the temple, which was last week. The Quetzaltenango temple is very beautiful! I had a good time, but it was pretty much just a normal temple session. My companion and I had to ride chicken buses all day to get there and back though, which was kind of a pain...haha!

This week my goal is to speak only Spanish, no English at all, and it's going very well. I'm two days in and haven't run into anything that I couldn't say or had any problems yet, and it's actually really hard for me to write in English right now. I'm forgetting so many words and how to spell so much stuff.

Today we had a Zone activity and we went to the Zaculeu Ruins. They were really cool, but the best part was that afterward we went to McDonald's (never thought I would look forward to that!...) and to a store called Pies, which is like a WalMart with lots of American stuff. And I found protein powder!!

To finish up...I don't know which I hate more, sunblock or sunburns... I think I'll play if safe from now on and avoid the skin cancer down the road haha.

Elder Lee at the Quezaltenango Temple
Elder Lee and Elder Van Katwyk at the Quetzaltenango Temple 
Elder Lee and Elder Van Katwyk
Hillside Road in Chiantla outside of Huehuetenango
City view Chiantla/Huehuetenango
Elder Lee making dobladas.
Elder Lee, Zaculeu Ruins
Zaculeu Ruins
Elder Lee and Zone, Zaculeu Ruins
Elder Lee, Zaculeu Ruins

Elder Lee, Zaculeu Ruins

Elder Lee, Zaculeu Ruins

Elder Lee and Zone, Zaculeu Ruins
Artifacts, Zaculeu Ruins
Artifacts, Zaculeu Ruins

Artifacts, Zaculeu Ruins

Artifacts, Zaculeu Ruins

Artifacts, Zaculeu Ruins

Illustration, Zaculeu Ruins

Artifacts, Zaculeu Ruins

Elder Lee and missionaries, Chicken Bus
Elder Lee found protein!
Weekly car picture ;)

February 8, 2016

Week 9: Big hello! Look! Two giants!

Hello Family!

Story of the week Since I'm 5'10 and my companion is 6'6, when we walk down the street we always hear kids say "Hola gran! Mira! dos gigantes!"

So it was my senior companion's six month mark last Friday, so that night I bought us cheescake and super cola (it was super good), and we went on our roof and burned a tie on a little bonfire as we ate. It was a pretty good time.

I tried lots of new foods this week. There is a thing called wiskil (if I'm spelling it right). It's kind of like squash. They eat it with lemon squeezed on it, it's super good. I also had a mayan drink called pozol, it's made with corn and cocoa...and also super good, although a little weird. There's a hot sauce they have here called picamas. Everybody here has it, and they put it on everything, often accompanied by ketchup and mayo, and it's amazing! My new favorite snack is fruit (super cheap here) and we put sal negra (black salt), chile picante (chili powder) and squeeze lime over it. I'm in the habit of putting lime, chili powder, and salt,or picamas on everything.

This last week was also the celebration of the town's patron saint, it's called feria. And it's just like being at Kamas Fiesta Days. Tons of booths selling things, rodeos, that kind of thing.

As far as the missionary work goes, Spanish is still going really well. I love learning it, and I'm doing really well with it. the people here are very warm and accepting of the gospel (and love to talk to gringos, especially bolos (drunk people); we found out bolos also have the gift of tongues, they always seem to speak perfect English!) But the problem is they are all huge chambones (guate slang for a lazy person) so they are never home for their set visits, nor will they keep commitments, and none of them come to church...we end up teaching the first lesson, and never seeing the person again, over and over.

But yeah, still enjoying it here a ton, everything is awesome. I always love hearing about (and especially from) everyone. Please tell them all I'm thinking about them!

The companions...
Elder Van Katwyk and Elder Lee, aka dos gigantes!
6 month bonfire celebration for Elder Van.
A day in the life...
The beautiful country...
The beautiful children...
And Elder Lee!
The food...
Favorite condiment!
Seriously, mmm!
Homemade, with love.
The best dishes!

An apartment tour with Elder Van...

Elder Van coined this the "baggy" quilt. (baggy=homesick!)

Hot plate + sink + microwave on the fridge = better kitchen than most.
For study and motivation.
The rooftop patio.
Great for a hangout spot.
Comes with a view.
On the way to Feria...
Rodeo Queens

In the parade

More pictures of the countryside...

Chiantla sits in the Cuchumatanes mountain range...the highest in Central America.

And of the city...

A distant volcano in the sunset.
Thankfully, the elevation keeps the bugs to a minimum.
A guest in the apartment...

To scare the heck out of mom...
Just need a little perspective!
Some things never change with this boy.
I am a Utah Man!

Yet, the work continues to roll forward.
The word of God will safely guide us through.