April 4, 2016


Hi Everyone!

So we had interviews on Wednesday last week. They went pretty well. As I've mentioned before, President Smith is what we call a machetero, he likes to hand out machetes (chastisements) at every chance he gets. I've heard horror stories about Elder's interviews lasting an hour, and coming out crying, after being macheted for something extremely minor. But, I am proud to say, I am more than 3 months in MACHETE FREE BABY!

We also had divisions in the last week. I stayed here, and the ZL's comp, Elder Diaz, from Honduras, who only has one more change in the field than I do, came with me in my area. It was cool. I'd consider Elder Diaz one of my better friends in the mission. He's pretty buena onda. Anyway, we were actually pretty successful, we found a family outside of the town, we taught the first lesson, and they accepted baptismal dates.

Conference was awesome. I realize that I really took it for granted back home. I should've payed attention better, haha. But I am already looking forward so much to the next one. It is such an amazing thing that we can hear modern day revelation from a prophet, and his apostles. It did also make me super baggy for a little bit though, remembering watching it at home, knowing my family was watching the same thing.

Here, there are quite a few members (probably a little less than half of them) who can watch conference from their homes. They show conference on a projector at the chapel, and its kind of a thing here to come to the chapel to watch during the Sunday session, so most of the members came for the Sunday sessions. A lot of the members work Saturdays, or watched at home, so there weren't many at the chapel on Saturday. As missionaries, we are encouraged to watch the session in English, because it is more powerful not coming through translators, even latinos are encouraged to do so if they have been studying English with their companions. Elder Van and I were able to watch it in English on Saturday, on the computer in the secretaries office. On Sunday though, it wouldn't work, because there were so many people in the building, and all of their phones connect to the wifi, and the internet frankly sucks here in the first place. 

I liked President Uchtdorf's talk during priesthood a lot, and I also like the idea of family council. It didn't seem like a suggestion either, like I think it's about Family Home Evening level of importance. As always, Elder Holland's talk was great too.

Today we went to The Mirador as a zone activity. It is a kind of monument, on a mountain peak where you can see all of Huehue, and 4 different vocanoes. It's pretty cool. But it's right above Chiantla, in my area, so Elder Van and I have already been, so it was a little boring. After that though, we all went as a zone to a place caled la Escondida steak house. I ate some super good smoked chicken.

Q&A time:

Do people have tvs at home? There's a very wide range of people here, ranging from the top, most advanced, which would be considered a little ghetto in the US; to the bottom, living in a sheet metal hut, sleeping on the dirt. The people inside the city mostly have tvs, though in the aldeas they usually don't.
How much do they use technology? Those in the city yes, in the aldeas, no.
Phones? Cell phones? Same.
Are there stray cats? Yes. 

Are there problems with mice/rats? Sometimes there are some around.
Are there wild animals in the forests? I haven't seen much wildlife besides birds, this high up at least.
Do people hunt? Not really.
Do people raise livestock? In aldeas.
Are there open air markets for grocery shopping, or more like stores? Lots of both and everything in between.
How do people buy chickens to eat, whole, live, feathers, cleaned and cut? Take your pick.
Do you have an oven? We have a couple of stove burner things that plug into the wall.
Are ovens/baked goods common? There are tons of small bakeries around, one of the things people do from their homes, and sell on the streets.
Do people even eat treats/desserts? Yes, most common is pan dulce, or sweet bread.

Changes are on the 19th of April. I'm not too worried about it. You really have no idea until you get the call from the district leader the night before changes saying whether you or your companion have changes or not. There are a few rules of thumb though. If you've only been in an area for one change, you can probably count on staying, but it's not really that uncomon to only be in an area for one change. After two changes, that's where it's up in the air. If someone goes, it will most likely be the one who has more time in the area, both companions almost never go, so if your companion has more time in the area than you, you can count on staying. Elder Van and I opened this area; sometimes people stay together longer when they open areas, so there is even a chance that we will both stay here for a third change, then one of us go the next change. 

Love you! Talk to you next week.

P.S. For lack of other stuff to say, I've been baggy for food back in the US lately, like super baggy! Also, I have some photos from this last week, but the USB port on my computer isn't working so I'll have to upload them next week. Disclaimer: all the pictures he promised were added to this post a week later. :)