From the Parent of a Missionary
Just so you know, Chapin is the nickname for Guatemalans. Nothing else.
But yah, sorry my email is coming a bit late today. I just got back from a jungle-hiking/spelunking adventure. More about that in a bit!
My New Year’s Eve was just a little bit lame, seeing as how I had to be home at 9:30. We bought food for and cooked dinner for one of the poor families in our ward, and basically just had a good time with them for the evening. We also shared a family home evening with one of the part member families. Missionary work and celebration at the same time — that’s our style!
On New Year’s Day, our branch president had the bright idea of planning another sweeping project, since the first one was so successful! That is, for the four of us who showed up and swept for 7 hours. But we had higher hopes for this project because we thought more people would come and help. More people did come this time: 1 to be exact. So the five of us spent 9 hours sweeping this time, because Hermano Alvarez insisted that we swept an extra street this time. So for my holiday season, I have 16 hours of sweeping in total! Beat that, mothers of America.
We finally finished making our little house of mud on Wednesday. It actually turned out pretty snazzy, and we even made a cute little window in one of the walls. I hope the Albanes family will be able to remember the missionaries every time they cook in their new little kitchen! But I have learned now from experience that making a house out of mud ISN’T as efficient as with wood or cement. If you don’t believe me (hard to believe, I know) try it yourself.
As for investigators here in Ipala, we started teaching the family who rents to us this week. The missionaries have lived with them for 3 years and they had never even received the first lesson! We’re excited for them. We also had an amazing spiritual experience with one of the recent converts here who was having a few problems in the church. We had a lesson with him in the chapel and the Spirit left 3 grown men crying. Yup.
I also had the opportunity to go on divisions this week. Since my companion is District Leader, we have to do divisions periodically with the other Elders in our district (on top of traveling around to do baptismal interviews.) So this week I traveled to Chiquimula, the major city nearby, to do divisions with Elder Grau. He is from Puerto Rico and isn’t the most obedient missionary, but I had a good time. Divisions are basically just a missionary sleepover, and it’s always a good opportunity to learn how other missionaries teach and to meet new people. And a lot of times, the perspective of a new missionary can help with investigators who are stuck in a rut. Elder Grau and I made a goal to set a baptismal date with a family of four who had gone to church several times but wouldn’t accept baptism, and we did it! We ended up having a lot of success, even though I had to endure hunger for two days since they don’t have a lady to give them food… that’s the hard life of a missionary, right?
Elder Jimenez and I took our first trip to one of the little towns surrounding Ipala this week; we went to a town called San Luis, which is about a 30 minute drive in a bus. We met a family shopping in the market in Ipala and we didn’t quite know what we were getting into when we set an appointment with them! The dad of the family is a 7th Day Adventist, and he kept trying to preach to us during the lesson, so it didn’t go to well. Then we went to the bus stop, and one of the kind citizens there told us that there weren’t any more buses going back to Ipala. That was a nice surprise! With a bit of walking and a series of hitch hikes in a coffee truck and two pickup trucks, we managed to get back home.
Like I mentioned already, our zone just got back from a trip to a cave near Esquipulas, another area in the zone, and it was quite an adventure. We crammed at least 25 people into a bus (which is really just a remodeled van, including some people riding up on top. We did a 45 minute hike into the jungle of Guatemala, surrounded by coffee bushes, banana trees, and various exotic plants, and then used rope to climb down into a cave filled with bats and a nifty waterfall. That is the kind of thing that I have dreamed about since I got here! Be prepared for pictures.
Well, that was my week. How was yours? I always love to hear from people. Thanks to everyone who has written me. There was a bit of a setback in a lot of my letters, so if you’re waiting for one from me, you just might have to wait a little longer.
Remember, the Church is true and has the power to change lives. If you aren’t a part of it or want a change, ask the missionaries.
Love you all.