Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Noche Buena

 Our normal internet place is closed for the Noche Buena, and this place doesn´t have an up to date browser... sooooo... I get to spend tons of time loading up these photos and I can´t write while they load. The place here doesn´t let me multitask, it’s like internet Explorer 4. Anyways, you’re going to see the sweet coconut that I got for approximately 40 cents, some sweet rocks, a factory putting out outrageous amounts of smoke... some more rocks… my new companion Elder Martinez, and the calzone that I made from scratch in our toaster oven (we have been making some sweet food recently).
So we had to wake up at 2am to get to the temple by 6am on Friday for the Christmas activity. It was ridiculously early. I could hardly believe it, but just getting dressed-at 2am-both of us were sweating. It was incredible. It just never cools down here. For the Christmas activity we went to the temple at 6am, then we went to a nearby stake center and played sports for a while. After which we ate a super bomb dinner of mashed potatoes, roast chicken, brownies, and bread-not the same as eating at home-but still it was really good compared to what we usually have. Then we went out to get our packages, and I helped my companion carry his two. Mine didn’t make it. L (pause while Mom bursts into tears…)  I knew you would feel really bad, so I thought about just telling you I got it. It´s all good though, I´ll get myself a chocolate bar or something J  Our mission president got a few things for all the people who didn´t get packages. Basically the Latinos and meL kinda weird that mine didn´t make it though. I´ve actually been pretty bummed the last few days over that... buuutttt... it´s all ok.

So today we are going with a family that lives here tonight from 8:30 to 12:45 to celebrate Christmas, and then we are going to get up tomorrow at 6:00am to be able to get all our stuff done and then get phone calls. OK, got to go, love you mom, talk to you tomorrow.

 Love ya,

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Same Area, Different Day

So I got my new companion last Wednesday! Elder Martinez. His family is from Nicaragua and Mexico. So I went up and introduced myself and started talking to him, and it was like that scene in that less cool Karate Kid with Jackie Chan that they just made, where the kid is in the airplane and speaks Chinese and the guy is just like ¨Dude, I’m from Detroit¨...except it was "Dude, I'm from Utah."
 LOL He´s great though. It´s nice speaking English again, and he is a powerful missionary. He is the district leader here, he has 15 months out in the mission and we are working together excellently. So as a mission this Friday we are having a Christmas activity that is going to be awesome. We are meeting up as a district at the fine hour of 3am to make it to the activity. This means waking up at 1am J but going to bed at 10:30 like always. Gonna be awesome. I was going to send some sweet pictures, but I don´t know where the data cable is... soooo... sorry! J

 So I will have 40 minutes to talk on Christmas. Call me at 10am your time please J I am very excited! I dunno what to talk about though.Our Christmas boxes are being saved until the mission Christmas activity. Plans for Christmas... We are trying to find someone’s house to stay at until 12:30, but only 1 person even came to elders quorum last Sunday... so we´ll see what we end up doing.

Love, Elder Rice

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mayan Rocks

So not too much has been going on recently. We baptized the people that were progressing and now we don´t have anyone really learning, so we talked with a whole ton of people this week. We contacted almost 500 different people this week, either knocking doors or talking to people in the street, and we found like 38 people to start teaching. About half have told us that they don´t want to listen to us anymore, but we still were left with a pretty good amount of people to teach.
We have changes tomorrow, so I get to wake up super early and travel in a hot smelly bus 2 or 3 hours to get there at 9am. Gonna be fun! I´ll be staying here in my area for Christmas, but I will get a new companion. Thanks for writing Elder Alvarz. I´ll let you know about my new companion next week J  
So this last week I split my pants open while we were lifting some heavy stuff about 15 minutes away from our house... quite a walk back to the house... But it´s all good, I already sewed them back up.

 I almost forgot about our P-day yesterday! We went exploring in a sugar cane field, because supposedly there were some cool rocks and stuff. So we found them, and they were AWESOME! Some huge rocks with faces carved in them and stuff. One of them supposedly represents Lehi, the Nephites, and the Lamanites, and the various tribes they had. I got some pictures I´ll try to send next week, it´s pretty awesome. They were just chilling in the middle of a huge field. I love how there they are and nobody here goes to vandalize them. They are just there for anybody who finds them.

Sorry to hear it’s so cold there. The heat here is terrible. It’s incredible sweating at 8:00am without doing anything. I have pretty much gotten used to it in the sense that I just sweat a lot and drink a lot of water and it doesn´t bother me that I´m dripping sweat all the time.

Elder Rice

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hagame un favor porfavor

Thanks for all the updates, and the picture! After a vigorous cleaning campaign and a great slaughter among the mosquitos, I have effectively purged our dwelling of the pagan insects. Also, I took some money out because we ran out of money, and my companion doesn´t have a personal card or money from his family or anything. I bought him McDonalds J

 So, it´s almost the end of this change, but better late than never right? Here’s a little info about my companion. Elder Alvarez is from here in Guatemala, in the capital. His mission was for Venezuela, but his visa never came. Instead of being reassigned, he decided to continue his mission here in Guatemala. He is something special. He really loves all of the people here and has an incredible way of telling stories. He knows a lot of stories, and uses them a lot. Right now we are about 4 hours from his house, but his first area was 15 minutes away walking. He didn´t stay there long though. He is super friendly with everybody, but not too challenging…So I get the privilege of being the tough missionary when people don´t do what they say they will-which has been a bit of a change adopting an Alpha personalityJ. We get along exceptionally.
That’s really all for this week I think.Other than we had to get up at 4:30am 3 days in a row this week... seriously difficult...

  I still haven’t heard anything about calling on Christmas. Can I just get you our number here and have ya´ll call me?

 So my companion doesn´t get much email. If you could write him something short and sweet and Google translate it that would be super nice Jrigoberto.alvarez@myldsmail.net

thanks! Love, Collin


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Be Pilas!

Just letting you all know that we used our Custom Painted Machete... It´s super effective!  With my new and improved lawn mower we were able to cut all our grass in about 10 minutes, but still, it’s about 8 seconds worth of work with a lawnmower, or even just a weed whacker. J

 Not much new stuff going on recently, just teaching people the good word every day, all day, under the hottest sun I have felt in my life. J I love when it rains, it´s like taking a cold shower and washing your clothes at the same time. Also, when the people see us getting soaked and still visiting people, they are way more receptive.

 (These were all answers to question I asked Collin:)
I don´t know anything about the Christmas call yet, I´ll let you know when I do though.

 They don´t celebrate Thanksgiving here sadly, but I´ll be sure to enjoy it.

 The internet cafes here are just rooms with a bunch of computers, nobody has one in their house.

 The kids we always play soccer with on P-day almost never bring shoes, and if they do they bring crocs of flip-flops.

 Thanks for the reminder about the gloves I brought. I actually put some in the bottom of my backpack and carry them around all the time now to avoid any more blisters.

 As far as money to get my comp some Christmas stuff, that is definitely ok, I was hoping to be able to do something for him anyways.

Pilas does mean cool (more or less) another great Guatemalan word is Chambóne, which is used to refer to somebody really lazy

Not too much to write about this week...

 Elder Rice


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How to Make a Customized Guatemalan Lawn Care Machete and other pics

I have a ton of pictures to send, so I might not write much

Customized Lawn Care Tool

·         Step one, acquire home lawn and garden tool from your local hardware store for 3 dollars.

·         Clean well with soap and water and let dry. Apply Flat Black spray paint in even thin coats to both sides of the tool

·         Allow adequate time for the paint to dry (approximately 6 seconds if you live on the Central American coast)


·         Spray liberally shiny red spray paint onto small piece of cardboard (preferably taken from a large Dominos pizza box) and flick drops of paint on the business end of your custom tool. Apply larger splats as desired. Allow sufficient drying time (again, approximately 6 seconds in direct sunlight)

·         Take the metal file you bought to sharpen your tool and use it to mess up your beautiful artwork, leaving behind some stupid cliché marking, and then messing it up so it looks even more stupid. You now have a customized lawn care/homeland defense tool

 The three photos are of breakfast, lunch and dinner on one day. I was able to find and use yeast, so the pizza was awesome!



The spider from last week.
Various baptisms that we´ve had recently.


Celebratory measures in commemoration of completing 6 months of dedicated service!


A picture of the after effects of splitting wood for an hour in white shirt and tie.

My shoes currently on active duty. The boots are combat boots from El Salvador that I use when we go off road or when it’s raining a lot, and the shoes I found in the MegaPaca (literally translated Mega Thrift Shop) for about 7 dollars. They are made by vibram and quite possibly the most comfortable shoes I have ever had :)


So I was thinking the other day about all the trips that we took, and I remembered those sweet cloth bag things with like a clear material window, that were filled with rice and various things that you had to search for. Pretty awesome things Mom, thanks.

Love Collin


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Machetes, Spiders, and Sugar Cane

It has been a pretty interesting week! This week started off what they call here the safra. Pretty much all of the guys in the whole town go to cut millions of acres of sugar cane. So there´s not really any men around other than the ones that have regular jobs. The people here go cut sugar cane and get paid enough to make it to the next year, so a lot of them don´t work all year. Cutting sugar cane is apparently very physically demanding, especially in the heat here, so in order to cut enough sugar to have money for the whole year, they all use a mixture of drugs to work harder and longer. One of them makes them sweat cold-for the heat- and helps the body to not feel exhaustion. But this makes them incredibly sleepy, so they take a ton of caffeine to stay awake... It´s great…

 In the spirit of the sugar season, we decided to cut our front lawn, and lacking tools, used a machete J It was super fun for about 5 minutes, until we used an hour of our P-day to do what would take 8 seconds with a lawnmower.
Finally, we came face to face with one of earths ugliest creations ever. I was able to document it´s existence with my camera, but sadly didn´t bring it today, because we have divisions with our District leader and I didn´t want to carry it around all day. But I will describe the scene for ya´ll. We got home after a regular day of teaching lessons, went in the house and turned on the fan, because even at 9:20pm it is way too hot! We planned our next day and did various things that needed done. I changed into shorts and flipflops and went into the bathroom to.. well.. use the bathroom, and to my horror discovered the 8 legged freak that starred in the movie “8 Legged Freaks” (A mediocre movie I watched quite a while ago).But this guy was seriously way too big.
All of you that have known me for any time probably know that I have a little bit of an irrational fear of our 8 legged co-inhabitants. But there was nothing irrational about the fear of this monster. It was the size of my hand (I´ve got the pictures too!) an ugly hairy brown color, and just chilling in our bathroom. My companion brought the RAID for large insects that we have, and gave it a little taste of chemical engineering, after which it crawled into the corner and supposedly died. Remembering an experience of one of my youth leaders about a large spider that got away while he went to get something to use to kill it, I stayed and watched... And sure enough after about 2 minutes it sprang back to life! At this point my companion was talking with our district leader about our day, and I was left alone to battle the thing. Using the indiscriminant justice of chemical warfare, I painted the small animal we call spider with toxic venom, and once more it died. Not trusting even the chains of death I waited- and sure enough, he rose the second time from his tile grave. I then fought with it the third time and sealed his fate and he died. Finally. Then, about 3 days later, we found another one, larger than the first, in our bathroom. The same things happened, except I used a broom instead of chemical death. Quite the harrowing experiences.

 Thanks for the biscuit recipe. I´ll have to make them in a frying pan, but we´ll see what happens. Also, the photo albums you sent are one of the most precious things that I have, so-good job! J

As always, with love,

Elder Rice


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

This weeks broadcast from sunny Santa Lucia, Guatemala!

Well, we had our changes last Wednesday, and as expected I got transferred. I am in El Palmar, Santa Lucia, which is a little tiny town about 30 minutes from the coast. My new companion is from here in Guatemala, from the capital, and has been out about 9 months. Our house here is actually pretty nice, I´ll send some pictures next week maybe. So we had to take a 2 hour bus ride, with suit cases and all. It was alright actually, I just talked to a few people there riding the bus and then slept. When I woke up I knew I was in trouble... The first thing I noticed about the area is that... IT IS HOT! But seriously... It´s hot!

The town where I´m at is really peaceful and quiet, which is completely opposite from where I was before. The people here are all very, very humble, and for the most part at least are willing to talk with us. The streets here are mostly dirt and rocks, with a couple of the main streets being cement, but the coolest part is that a lot of the streets end leading straight into the jungle! This area is exactly what I imagined Guatemala would be like before I left. It is very different, but I like it so far and I´m excited to be here! The only problem here is the mosquitos... Even if we kill all of them in our house before we leave, or before bed, there are always more within hours, and if we closed all the windows we would literally cook in our house... But It´s not too bad... OH! The hardest part is that we don´t have hot water anymore. Our water comes out of a well in our backyard... Taking a cold shower at 7am everyday really sucks... But the good thing is that when you get out you dry off and warm up pretty fast. I didn´t have much time to write this week, because there were some problems with the computer here in the internet cafe, but I will write more next week!

Also, Mom-Can you use baking powder to make bread rise? Some dude tried to tell me that in the store the other day... And does it rise while cooking or does it need to sit a while? How much do I need in comparison to yeast? Send me a biscuit recipe for next week please! Thanks, got to go. Love you!
Love, Elder Rice

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Going somewhere new tomorrow! The adventure continues!

So it turns out I do have changes tomorrow. I will be leaving my dearly beloved Villa Nueva and going somewhere else. I have met a lot of people that I will miss a lot, and have learned so much. Tomorrow morning I will go with my companion to a big church about 45 minutes away, and all of the missionaries that have changes will be there. Then they say a bunch of stuff and then read off the names of the new companionships and where they will be. After that I go with my new companion to our new area and get back to work. In anticipation of disappearing from civilization, I bought a pair of combat boots yesterday for 240 quetzals. There are some pretty intense areas in our mission, and while it´s possible I stay here close to the capital, it is also very possible I will go to the mountains, which supposedly eat shoes for breakfast... Anyways, all is good, I´m still alive and well.  

The other day I talked to a guy from Toronto, Canada, which was pretty cool. And I heard for the first time what automatic gunfire sounds like. I had been asking my companion how you can tell the difference between gun shots and the fireworks which the kids set off all day every day. Luckily it was just some guy target shooting in his backyard, but it is a very unmistakable sound...

 You asked about how we handle our finances. We pay all of our bills and buy our groceries and everything. They give us between 2000 and 2500 quetzals every month,(about $250-$300 dollars) and if you run out, tough luck. Fortunately I have learned to be super... I don´t remember the word... uhh.. like not spending money. (frugal?) I bought some real boots yesterday, but only had to use 40 quetzals from my debit card, the rest was money I had saved.

There are lots of days when all of our plans fall through, but you just go visit other people, or go knock doors. With all of the standards of excellence we have here in our mission, we don´t have time to have nothing to do. As far as cooking, I took our cheap little stove apart and sort of fixed it. It is now an unfused direct connection to the wall socket, but until we get a new one it has worked well. The cinnamon rolls turned out awesome, if you could send me a very simple recipe for frosting it would be great! I also made a calzone that turned out pretty good.
Elder Rice


Picture from our día blanco last Sunday

Picture of our baptisms for that day, with our ward mission leader. We gave him the privilege of baptizing our investigators, because he does an awesome job as the mission leader

The Family Cisnero. One of the families I will miss the most. The entire family, except the dad, are all members and as soon as the dad has his passport to get married, he is getting baptized too

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Got yeast?

 I got this recipe for bread, to make like pizza or cinnamon rolls or egg McMuffins or whatever from another Elder here.  I bought everything that I needed to make it, but as hard as I looked I couldn´t find yeast. Other Elders have told me that they do sell it here, but I guess I´ll have to look more. So I went ahead and just made the bread without the yeast, or ¨Unleavened Bread¨... or as my companion called it “Jewish Bread”. So I have been making Jewish pizza, Jewish cinnamon rolls, Jewish calzones, etc. Sadly, our little electric stove gave up the ghost the other day... and our microwave bit the dust several weeks ago... so we have a whole bunch of food in the house and no way too cook it! It’s great. L I have been learning how to cook, actually pretty well I think. 

We have transfers on the 30th of October. Nobody knows for sure yet, but it’s looking like I will be transferred, as I have been in the zone longer than anybody else. Who knows... We found a family the Saturday before last and taught them and everything and then the next day they came to church! Which is pretty unusual! Anyways, they are getting baptized this Sunday, and we married them last Saturday. It was pretty crazy to know them for like three days and organize their marriage. They already have 3 kids and have lived together for 10 years.

 Love, Elder Rice


A picture of the couple we married signing away their lives into matricidio

The newlyweds and their kids

Jewish (unleavened) cinnamon rolls

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pics from the zoo!

Still working hard and doing good stuff here in Guatemala! Coming up on changes again, and since I have been here for 3 changes already, I think I will be moving to another area L I have come to love so many people here in my area and will be super sad to leave. But I am also super excited to see more parts of the country. More than likely I will be going either to the mountains, where it’s really cold and super intense leg work outs from all the hills, or to the coast, where it is incredibly hot and humid.

We went to the zoo last week. It was a super normal experience. I never really got too much joy out of going to the zoo... Anyways, photos were sent to my beloved mother to post online J

Also, we bought a gallon of homemade ice cream the other day... for about 4 dollars. Ya´ll should be jealous.

I bought boots yesterday. They are great, and only 20 dollars, more or less. I’m going to use them until the end of this change and if they still work well buy another pair. The Ecco Tracks that I brought still have some life in them, but not much, so I am going to save them until my last change and absolutely murder them, then wear them on the way home, and bronze them when I get back! J

Love, Elder Rice