Monday, November 23, 2015

Guatemala City Adventure

Happy Monday! 

To be honest this week was a little hard to have teaching moments. We had to travel to the capital this week. It was absolutely nuts. We had our P-Day and at the end of the P-Day the secretaries called and told us that we needed to travel to the capital that same day for Elder Vasquez´s VISA papers. It was already 6pm and the bus ride is 3 almost 4 hours. We were buying groceries for the week so we hurried and gathered all of that and raced home to gather stuff to spend the night in the capital. The Zone Leaders called and informed us that the last bus to the capital had already left and that we would need to leave at 4:30 in the morning to be in the capital on time...... Yikes.... So we went to bed so we could get up and get ready for the capital. We woke up and the city was DEAD so we had to walk to the terminal which is like 30 minutes on foot and oof that tuckers ya right out! We got there and watched the bus we were supposed to take leave.....we were just having tons of luck haha! But luckily there was another smaller bus that was leaving in just a few minutes that we boarded... It was a little crammed but hey what can you do right? We made it to the capital and a taxi picked us up and took us to the Church Office Building and there we met with the other missionaries that were there for the same thing. All the missionaries that needed to sign the papers left with the bus driver and the rest of us sat there and waited foreverrrrrr for them to return. After though, as we were leaving my teacher from the CCM pulled up and we got to talk for a while and he was impressed with my Spanish and everything and gave me a big hug and told me good luck with the rest of my mission and everything and it was so cool!! I didn´t bring my camera though cause I have heard that there is quite the problem with theft in the capital and I didn´t want to risk anything so that was a bummer..... But it was a great experience. After, the secretaries gave us money to return to Zacapa as well as eat Little Caesars and that was super awesome as well. It was absolutely crazy though. 

This is our entire house... It´s a little crazy but  it does make it easy to keep clean and tidy. We might end up looking for a new house though because it is kind of a pain to try to do anything.... We don´t have a place to study or cook really but I do try to make my best effort to keep it a place for the spirit to dwell. 

We went to Chiquimula this last P-day.  It´s the neighboring city that has all the malls and good places to eat and everything hahaha! It was awesome. We went to a place called Megapaca which is basically the DI but hugggggeeee!! We also went to a type of grocery store and you´ll never guess what I found there. Peanut Butter M&Ms..... I bought several to store them and snack on them hahaha! The other guy is Elder Fajardo. He is our Zone Leader actually! He´s a great guy and really knows how to teach with the spirit. Divisions with him are always a big learning moment!

The food picture is a Dominican Republic dish that Elder Vasquez cooked for me.  It’s called "Mangu" and it’s definitely different.  It´s egg, onion with lime, and a fruit called platino... it´s like a banana but on steroids and has a really different flavor.  It´s really good though. It tasted good and didn´t make me sick so that´s all that matters right?

As for Thanksgiving we don´t really have any plans... I think we will eat with the Bishop but we don´t really celebrate as missionaries because we will be out sharing this wonderful message! I think they talked about doing something as a zone though so we´ll have to see... Nothing secure yet... I am thankful for the leaders that I have, for my companion, for the scriptures that constantly provide new insight and guidance and for the Holy Ghost that is always helping us know where to go and what to do and what to say. 

Hardest rule to obey.... Hm.. Is this a trick question? I obey all the rules! Hahaha Probably the one I notice the most is starting our studies on time.... To prepare breakfast and shower and do exercise in the hour and a half that they give us is difficult to be ready to start personal study right at 8 o’clock..... I´m working on it though! 

This last Sunday I had to talk in sacrament again which seems to be an average thing nowadays but oh well, I thought it went pretty good. I talked about building our foundation on the rock of the Lord and used Helaman 5:12 the scripture that we memorized as a family and it was perfect. Then, that´s not all however, we had to teach the gospel principles class. Yikes! I have never done any of this let alone in Spanish!! New challenges every week but new blessings as well :) 

Here´s my spiritual experience for the week.... We talked with a man about a week ago and he told us that he would love for us to visit him... We swung by his house and he wasn´t there.  He was working. We saw him yesterday and he asked us why we hadn´t visited. We told him we did but he was working! He told us to come by this Wednesday and that he would clear his schedule because he would really like to be baptized he just needed help getting married so that he could be living all of the commandments. I read Alma 13:24 the other day and wow it is so true. The Lord is truly preparing his children; we just need to find them. 

Love and Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
Elder Lott

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Good Week :)

Sometimes there`s lots happening here in good ol` Zacapa and sometimes nothing! The life of a missionary is crazy. I have a couple of pictures to send to you guys but I wasn`t able to make it to a place with Wi-Fi this week because we had a special stake conference and the church house that we went to wouldn`t accept the password or something... But the next time I can? They`ll be on the way. 

My learning opportunities this week came from Divisions with the Zone Leaders where I went to their area to work for the day and learned all the tips and tricks of Elder Malacara. I have learned how to contact people tons better and it`s improving all other areas of the work which is awesome. The other learning opportunity came from Stake Conference. The general authorities prepared a special conference for GUATEMALA!! That`s where I am!! It was super cool. We got to watch it in English and the funny thing was that they had to have a translator to translate it to English because the conference was in Spanish!! Hahaha too funny! We got to hear from Elder Bednar though and that was in English which was so awesome. He talked about consecrating yourself to the Savior which means dedicating yourself fully and it was really interesting. It was super fun to see all the other missionaries too!!

My personal prayers I always say in English but sometimes I say some words in Spanish and I have to correct myself and I`m always like oh no what is happening to me hahaha!!

The rat I think has left us.... I`m not really sure but we haven`t heard anything for a while so either he found a place to camp out or he left.... I often check my food storage just to be sure!

Who has touched my life...probably our ward mission leader Hno. Martinez. He is the nicest guy in the world and he truly has a love for the work. He is always asking us what he can do to help us and everything. We had our weekly missionary meeting this last Friday to discuss how our investigators are doing and everything and at the end of the meeting he told us how he thinks that we are as close to perfect as a human being can get…that missionaries to him are perfect. He shed a few tears and that really impacted me.

Someone`s life that I have touched I think would be Hno. Melvin`s because he`s always so excited to see me and he always listens so intently to what I have to say and I`m always super excited to see him because he is always super excited to see me!! Hahaha!

Showers. Oooof. I have forgotten what a warm shower feels like. I have literally gotten accustom to jumping into a freezing cold shower every morning and wow that is not fun. It`s alright though. It's a little bit short for me but not too bad.

It`s hard for me to think about snow in this weather... I just can`t picture anything but the blazing sun. That`s crazy that winter is starting...time for a blanket and the heater! Wow! I miss that!

Thanksgiving is right around the corner…I will definitely let you know if we find a feast to join for Thanksgiving!

I’m thankful for all of you!
Elder Lott

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Visited by a RAT!

We had a visitor this week.  I was sitting on my bed writing in my journal or reading scriptures or something I can´t exactly remember but I saw movement out of the corner of my eye somewhat large.... So I went to investigate because sometimes we have like cockroaches that are surprising large.... Ew... And I was moving our suitcases and everything and BAM there was the movement again.... I was like nah that´s too fast to be a cockroach so I involved my companion and told him to grab the broom because we have some crazy animal in our house.... It probably looked just how you imagine, two crazy men jumping around with brooms in hand trying to get rid of a mouse but it was lots of fun!  We confirmed that it was either a mouse or a rat.... we never got to see it long enough to be sure but it was somewhat large so I’m guessing a rat and then we lost it... we moved everything and there was no sign of it...

We put all of our food and stuff in this corner and barricaded it hoping to keep the rat OUT but I don´t think that does much... We´re not sure if it´s still living with us or not but hey... It´s not bothering us so we´re not worried about it for now hahaha! We have been trying to clean though.... Take out the garbage and everything so we can get rid of any problems we may have in the future...

Housing yes we´re still in the tiny room that has air conditioning.... We are basically living in a closet.... It´s a little difficult but the air conditioning is totally worth it! We will be there until they finish construction in the other room which who knows how long that could be.... Sometimes they work on it sometimes not.. We just try to be patient haha. We do have a small stove and refrigerator. I´m loving the air conditioning though... As soon as you walk outside it´s like the sun knocking on the door and when you open it, it just gives you a big hug... Wow. I haven´t quite gotten accustomed to it and I don´t know if I ever will but I don´t feel like I’m suffocating anymore so that´s good! 

Yay!!! I got to have my very own Domino’s Pizza and it was a special treat for sure. I had divisions with the District Leader and to celebrate a day of good work we ordered pizza! It is a little bit expensive so we don´t get that very often. It was probably the pizza box that attracted the rat though haha nothing like some good pizza!

Elder Vasquez has been a little homesick but not so homesick that he can´t work or concentrate! His brother just returned from a mission recently and gave him lots of tips that he is super anxious to try out so he is really motivated to work which really helps me. I don´t have to drag him out of bed every morning or push him out the door or anything. He´s already anxious to work! That´s super good though because it helps me. That was my biggest worry is that he would want to be disobedient but he´s good!  He is super happy to be here in the mission too. He doesn´t know any English but he has a strong desire to learn so we´re working on that little by little. He misses the food and culture of his country and talks about it a lot and he has a lot of crazy stories but I love that I can understand all of his stories IN SPANISH!! I´m getting lots and lots better. Sometimes I think in Spanish and it freaks me out to be honest.....

We attend a ward called La Reforma and it´s not super big but big enough to be a ward! There are only like 4 or 5 members that help us with missionary work a lot of the time and it´s kind of difficult because we need a member to teach a lot of our investigators because we can´t teach women without an adult male present... A lot of the men work like alllll day here and it´s hard to teach but we´re working with the ward to try and strengthen that.

Before I forget I have to tell you that I had to talk in the Zone meeting this week as well as in the meeting we had with President Crapo and the other Greenies. I was beyond nervous but I think I delivered a somewhat understandable message. I will share my spiritual thought here in just a second that I came across while preparing my little talk. Here´s the other thing--I had plenty of experiences this week where I had to talk and yes I was wow WAY nervous at all of them... Sadly..... I´m starting to get used to that feeling hahaha! Yesterday we spoke at a funeral service. One of the members in our ward lost a grandchild.... We were asked to share our testimony. Me and Elder Vasquez taught Lesson 2 (Plan of Salvation) to almost all of Zacapa that was there at the service! We joked with the Zone Leaders about how many lessons that can count as hahaha! It was good though.

Here´s my spiritual thought though. While I was studying for my talk in the Zone meeting I came across this scripture in Jacob 5:75 in the allegory of the olive tree. It talks about how the Savior is always working in his vineyard to take care of his trees so that they can bring forth good fruit right? He also has servants that are helping him in the vineyard and those servants are us. We are literally working WITH the Savior in his vineyard to bring these people unto him or bring forth good fruit. I thought it was really cool to think that we are literally working with the Savior. I truly know that and see it every day. 

All is well here in sunny Zacapa... We continue to sweat and love the work hahaha!!

Elder Lott

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I'm still alive!

I made it through the first week of transfers!  I´m already training and it is absolutely nuts. I´m not going to lie I don´t like it one bit hahaha.  It is SUPER hard for me. I didn´t realize everything that Elder Yama did during our companionship but ohhhhh man it is so hard. Leading every single action we take... I´m bad at that... I always doubt myself and never know what I should do.... But I have gotten so much better.  I have gotten a lot more confident in myself and I´m learning little by little. Right now it´s super challenging to lead all the conversations and start all the lessons and then carry the lessons and know what to teach everybody and know what to study and know where to go and call members to come and help us and meet with the bishop and really everything right now but hey I know this challenge will only help me to grow. My district leader and my zone leaders have both reached how offering to help in any way they can…answering all my questions and any doubts that I have. I know that Heavenly Father has surrounded me with great leaders and great missionaries to help me in this calling. It has been amazing to realize that.  I´m learning fast and the Lord is with me every step of the way.

Elder Vazquez is from the Dominican Republic. He is only 18 years old and doesn´t turn 19 until like June or something.... He´s super young. He doesn´t speak a lick of English so that has been interesting but I have learned a lot and my Spanish has improved dramatically and continues to increase. I have had several people tell me that my Spanish is extremely well for having 4 months. They tell me that I´m basically fluent but I know that´s not true. However, it does reassure me that I am getting a lot a lot better!!

The only picture I managed to take this week was us here in our weekly planning session.  It’s pretty crazy during planning session and we had a lot to plan since we’re both trying to figure everything out

I asked if he ever played the piano:
I have offered to play the piano but have also said that I would like some time to practice.... And we never have time to stop by to play the piano... soooooo no I haven´t played it at all.

Sister Smith in our ward is from Mexico and told me that if I really wanted to know about where he was living to have him send me a picture of the market so I made that request:
Ohhhhhh wow.... she is smart! That´s true hahahaha it´s supppperrrrrr "chafa" is what they say here hahaha alright I´ll get you a picture of the market.... Don´t think about it too much. The whole city isn´t like that but ya it´s a little nuts.   I miss fall and winter so much hahahaha I would give anything for the temperature to drop below like 90 degrees.

I love you so much and am so glad all is going well!!

Elder Lott

There is no Halloween in Guatemala but instead El Día de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead where the dead are honored and remembered in a positive way. This celebration is in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints Day on November 1st and All Soul’s Day on November 2. I asked how the holiday was:
Really hard actually because we didn´t celebrate or do anything but TONS of the shops closed and it was SUPER hard to find somewhere to write you guys but all is well now!!