From the Parent of a Missionary
First things first, I now have an hour of email time and I am open to emails from people of all ages, size, and whether or not they are friends or family. And the mail system is waaaay to slow, so please email me! I´ll be sure to give a response. And shucks, I am unfortunately unable to send pictures this week, but there will be some next week!
Wow, what a week! I said goodbye to the CCM and all of the amazing people and food there on Tuesday morning. We traveled via school bus to what is called the ¨White House¨(which is actually orange?) which is the house where the Assistants to the President and the office missionaries live. We then hopped on over to the Mission Home, which is a beacon of beauty in Guatemala City. It was really nice, and even had carpet! (Most places only have tile here.) We had an orientation meeting with the president´s wife, and then we got to have our interviews with President Stay. He is a very knowledgeable and spiritual man… It was a quick 5 minute interview, but I look forward to getting to know him better. I am going to end up leaving the mission at the same time he does.
After the interviews, some of the missionaries in the area came and did splits with us. I went out with an Elder Atkins and Romero, along with one of my CCM roommates, Elder Arboleda, to a suburb of the city, where I got my first real taste of the mission life. Elder Romero and I knocked a few doors. That day gave me the goal of being diligent.
My whole CCM group spent the night in the White House, which was a party. We got some really cheap Asian food, and let me tell you, if you think American Chinese is bad, you should try Guatemalan Chinese. But in the moment, it tasted like heaven. A lot of us just ended up regretting it later.
On Wednesday morning I went to my first change meeting, which are crazy! All of the missionaries who are getting transferred meet up in the stake center near the mission home. They use a big projecter and put up a zone and area, and then the pictures of the missionaries who are going there. And no one knows their callings or area until their name gets put up. My name eventually came up in zona Guatemala, area El Pajon.
My trainer is Elder Torres, an elder from Cancun, Mexico. He has 7 months in the field, and that was his first change. So he went straight from trainee to trainer. Apparently that was the moment of my birth into the mission, and Elder Torres is my papi. His trainer is my new grandpa. So a lot of the missionaries are related in some strange way.
I said goodbye to my CCM group and headed out by taxi to El Pajon. It is a smallish city in the suburbs of the Capital. We pulled up to a muddy side road and got dropped off. I pulled my luggage through the mud and into a little cement home with a tin roof. The apartment is definitely a long shot from anything I have ever stayed in. Water only works at night, so we have to shower in the evening. And toilets don´t flush here – you get a bucket of water and wash everything down. And there is no AC or heating or anything. But it is still a whole lot better than some of the homes here.
The first person we met is our cocinera, or cooking lady, Hermana Josefina, and her husband Hermano Cesar. They feed us breakfast and lunch every day in their little shop. She is an amazing cook, luckily for me. With those two we spent a lot of the last week walking around our area and meeting members and investigators.
We have to walk everywhere, since the only form of transportation available to missionaries here is the bus, and it isn´t worth it to pay. Our area is pretty big too. It would probably take an hour and a half to walk across the whole thing, if not longer. And the members are scattered all over. The chapel here is right in the center of town, and is easily the nicest and biggest building around. It is only a branch here, but we have about 130 members coming to church.
As for the missionary work, I had my first baptism on saturday! Even though it was a member who just turned 8, I still got to fill up the font and watch. We got left with one progressing investigator named Jocelyn who is getting married on the 15th. We hope to get a baptism date for her shortly after. We also got left a lot of references who we have been busy contancting. We also already found a girl named Alison who has a lot of family problems but said she wants to learn more, and we met another man named Lionel who asked for a blessing. That was a really spiritual experience.
Once again, I wasted a lot of time on tiny things…. I´ll talk about more later when I have pictures!