Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas 2015

Elder Lott let us know the Monday before Christmas that our Skype call would be on Saturday.  We were a little sad to wait one more day…until we were on our way to the University Hospital Christmas morning. Royal’s Mom had two massive strokes and passed away later that night. We were reminded that Heavenly Father is in the details of our lives even when we don’t realize it. We were able to Skype with Elder Lott on Saturday. He was so happy!  There was a darling little girl (three years old) whose room he had taken over at the Bishop’s home who came running in to see his family. He struggled a bit to translate from Spanish to English and we savored every minute with him. Towards the end of our conversation, we were able to tell Brayden that Grandma Lott had passed away.  We shed tears together.  He looked at Royal and said “Dad, are you alright?” To which Royal responded “Yes, I’m alright.” Elder Lott said “Okay, if you’re alright, then I’m alright” and headed back to work.  After we disconnected, we realized the tender mercy was all ours.  He truly lifted our spirits and is a great inspiration to us.

He wanted to assure Mom he was taking good care of his teeth—brushing and flossing like a good Sonny.

He was super proud of the creative Christmas tree he and Elder Vasquez had made with their limited space. I was pretty impressed myself.

This is the “hug” from home we sent him for Christmas.

He showed us the mosquito bite that caused the Sica.  Some missionaries have been more affected than others.  Elder Lott seemed to get off pretty good with just an annoying rash all over. (Thanks to all the extra prayers!)  On Monday he reported:  The Sica is tons better. I don´t even see it anymore and don´t even notice that it´s there. So that´s super good. One of the sisters in the area has come down with Sica now.... All the missionaries have had it and it´s kind of fun to be a part of the group that has already passed through it haha!

We are happy to report that Elder Lott is doing great!  He is truly loving his mission!  We know Grandma is watching over our missionary from a different vantage point now.  Thanks to all of you for your love and support!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Wishes and Sica!

Today was a double great day!  We got an email and handwritten mailman-delivered letter!

First from his letter:

I am enjoying Zacapa.  The people are really nice and patient.  They just don’t have a lot of interest in the church. And those that do have an interest in the church are already members of another church…lots of Evangelists…is that what it is in English? (Wow!  I don’t even know…in Spanish it’s Evangelizos…I kind of want to cry that I don’t know it in English…I can’t be forgetting words already.) Yes, lots of Evangelists and Catholics…so it’s kind of hard but we’re trying to focus on the ward and how they can befriend their neighbors and then invite us over. We’re trying new things every day and we’re trying to figure this whole thing out!

From his email:

I´m glad my letter made it to you guys because I´m still learning how all that works here. I believe that letters are only shipped out like once a month or something; I´m not really sure! (The letter was dated October 29th but we couldn’t tell what date the stamp was cancelled.)

Guess who I found at our Multi-Zone Conference!?! Yep…I got to see Elder Yama and it was super fun to catch up with him. He told me that my Spanish has improved tremendously and asked me all about Zacapa and how our area is doing. Then I asked him about his area and we talked in Spanish and English and it was super fun. 

We learned a lot about baptism and the significance of that ordinance and the reason that we are inviting everyone to be baptized. It was really cool. We had lots of different little classes and there was so much to learn. Always learning but it´s super good!!

I did accompany Elder Reed in the multi-zone conference in front of like 100 missionaries and it was super scary but he did a good job and he told me after that I was a great accompanist because I could improvise really well and by ear and stuff so that was encouraging! :)

This is a picture of our Stake Christmas Party... I didn´t have my camera for the Ward Christmas Party but the outside pictures were taken at the stake one!!

Christmas is Guatemala… I don´t really know.... I feel like as missionaries we are kind of out of the loop but it´s alright. I hear there is at least a feast that will be happening on the 24th that we are invited to at a member’s house that I´m excited for.  I did find a little room on my closet thing for the little Christmas tree.  I will send a picture this coming week.

We will be getting together as a zone this Friday and doing something crazy like ordering tons of pizza and buying piñatas and celebrating which will be super awesome. It should be a fun day that is at least a little bit different then all the other ones haha ;)

Merry Christmas to all of my family and friends…thank you for everything!  I wish to extend to you the same invitation our bishop made to our ward.  Please take a moment as a family to kneel in prayer and thank our father in heaven for being willing to give his son, our Savior.

I love you all!
Merry Christmas!!!
Elder Lott

Hey by the way I have something called Sica... You can look it up... it´s like a minor form of chikungunya or something like that and it´s the worst thing ever. I´m hoping to be healed by the time we talk so I´m not rash infested when you see me!!  I have to go now....

Really!  This is his closing paragraph!?!  YIKES!

Here are my findings: Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. Chikungunya is characterized by an abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied by joint pain. Other common signs and symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. The joint pain is often very debilitating, but usually lasts for a few days or may be prolonged to weeks. Hence the virus can cause acute, subacute or chronic disease. 

Most patients recover fully, but in some cases joint pain may persist for several months, or even years. Occasional cases of eye, neurological and heart complications have been reported, as well as gastrointestinal complaints. Serious complications are not common, but in older people, the disease can contribute to the cause of death. Often symptoms in infected individuals are mild and the infection may go unrecognized, or be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue occurs.

I’m grateful he has the minor form although I couldn’t find Sica on-line. We will definitely be talking about mosquitos this Christmas!  Please send Elder Lott a few extra prayers for a quick recovery with no lasting complications.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The well encounter!

I got my Christmas package. It was SO funny when the zone leaders presented it to me. It was behind a curtain on the stage and Elder Fajardo went behind the curtain and acted like he was struggling. Then he finally came out with the box and when he placed it in front of me everyone went absolutely nuts and wanted to be my best friend and everything and I just laughed and picked it up and left. It was so awesome though. I was SO stoked. I´m trying to figure out how I´m going to make the fudge but I’m determined to find a way because I definitely love my fudge!

Yes, there will be a ward Christmas party in Zacapa and it will be this Saturday and I will be playing the piano and practicing all this week to prepare myself to do so. I also have to play the piano for a special musical number with Elder Reed this Thursday for the multizone conference with all the other zones on this side of the mission. Am I a little nervous? Nah.... Only ALOT!!! It´s alright.... I have been practicing and I´m feeling pretty good about it. 

The cooking arrangement is wonderful. It is definitely a blessing because it fills me up for the whole day and then she makes us dinner to take home and reheat and sometimes I can eat dinner and breakfast with all that she gives us so it is absolutely wonderful and we´re saving a lot more money doing so. 

I´m sorry that I wasn´t able to send pictures.... They´re working on our church house and the wifi is down temporarily for the time being... but as soon as it´s back the pictures will again be flowing. We´ll just have to hang tight for a little bit.

This week we have been working with the ward council to get members to accompany us on some of our visits so hopefully this coming week we will have lots of members to go on visits with us! This Sunday, the bishop called us like an hour before church started. We were getting ready and everything and my companion answered the phone.... They were talking about giving a talk and I was like oh great we´re going to have to talk again in Sacrament.... Then my companion hung up the phone and looked at me and said.... "Yo tengo que discursar en la reunion sacramental...." (I have to talk in sacrament meeting...) I just burst out laughing and said "solo usted o yo tambien??" (just you or me as well?) hahaha just him! It was super great because I think I have had to talk like every single week so it was nice to finally have a break.

Funniest/Awfullest thing that happened this week.... We were returning home from llano de piedras which is an aldea... It´s hard to explain. We were walking down the hill when we saw a lady that was carrying a big load and trying to keep her two kids in line on the busy street. She was carrying a big load so we crossed the street to offer her help. We took the bags she was carrying and then she only had the responsibility of her kids. As we were getting to her house we passed another lady that was trying to get water from the well.... I told her to give me two seconds to allow me to get this pregnant lady to her house and then I would be back to help her. We got the pregnant lady to her house and went back to help her. We started to help her get water and it was like one of those wells that you see in the movies where you let down the bucket with a pulley system and then pull it back up. We starting helping her and then the whole community started bringing their buckets for us to fill. We did service for a good 2 hours just pulling water out of the well.... wow my arms were DEAD by the end of the day. Anyway here is the awful part. During one of my turns of taking the water out, I was pulling the rope and accidentally hit my mission manual out of my shirt pocket and it went plummeting down to the bottom of the well... Yikes.... This had my copy of my passport, my certificate from President Monson saying I´m a missionary, my immunization record, 100 quetzales for emergency and my mission manuals in English and Spanish all gone. This well was like 75 feet deep too.... Yikes.... However... A couple days later we passed by there again and they had been able to salvage my certificate, 100 quetzales, and my passport.... I was happy with it because I can replace the rest. It was crazy but I still felt good because we were able to provide water for a whole community.

 I often read and am able to apply a lot of things that I see here in Guatemala to things I read in the Book of Mormon. One scripture that helped me this week though I found in Doctrine and Covenants section 63:47.... I liked it a lot. It´s super short and sweet but direct and powerful and brought comfort knowing that we are enduring and being faithful. We have been learning a lot about that. Our theme for this Christmas is "Ha nacido un Salvador" which I think is translated "A Savior has been born" or something to that affect. It has really made me think about how significant that is. Why our Savior was born. He was born to save us and it was in love that he gave his life for us as well.

I hope all is going well and that you guys are all well and healthy. I hope you´re staying busy and having a great time. 

Elder Lott