Wednesday, January 29, 2014

8 1/2 months in Guatemala

Well, about the most exciting thing that happened this week was that I got a haircut and look incredibly sharp. The usual this last week, various people asking us for money, talking with all of the same people here in my little area, working hard, being super tired always. One of the biggest problems we have had recently is families where one parent is still married to a previous person from like 20 or more years ago, but is living with another, and they have several kids. They would be baptized and everything, but in order to be baptized they have to follow the commandments, including being married to who they’re living with. Sadly, nobody in the town I am in has the kind of resources to pay for a divorce... So as of right now we have 3 families (with kids) with this problem, and 1 that can´t get married because the husband is from a different country and it is quite a process to get all the papers together. It is seriously frustrating sometimes what people have done with their lives! L An even bigger problem here is alcoholism. However, this problem opens up a lot of people to listen to us. Either the person wants us to help change their life, or the wife wants to change the situation she is in. It´s just a bummer how difficult it is to get people out of this problem. You have to be there with them like every day struggling with them to overcome the temptation-and then all of a sudden his old buddy comes by and everything goes out the window and back to 0!.... Anyways all is well here, I haven’t been robbed in like 5 months!

The "Saratov Approach" sounds like a seriously awesome movie!  I'll have to watch it when I get back.

Glad you guys are helping out there with the missioanries... It is seriously hard to get people involved over here!

Mexico looks awesome too- I hope Dad, Shannon, Jared and Andrea are having a good time.
As far as all the money I took out this week, the $21 was for groceries, I had to have my shoes repaired for like 8 dollars and various other expenses that we are not permitted to use mission money for, so I balanced it out buying my groceries, and the $120 was to have cash on hand for such expenses. I only took so much out because it charges 5 dollars to use the atm and I hate doing it and not taking out alot to make it worth it! J

Love, Elder Rice 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Awesome conference, and a friend from home!

Sorry I’m emailing late this week- just busy in a sweet conference with Quentin L . Cook and all-you know-hanging out with apostles. That’s why I couldn´t write until today. We had a conference with Central, South, and East Guatemala missions, where Quentin L. Cook talked. It was super awesome! It was incredible everything they told us. It was also really cool seeing all the people that were in the CCM (The Guatemala Missionary Training Center) with me that went to other missions. I saw my old companion from the CCM and we talked a bit, and then all of a sudden I saw Elder Isaac Derrah. I knew he was here in Guatemala, but it was really crazy actually seeing somebody from back home! We had to get up at 4am to be there by 10am, and then afterwards we had to ride in a bus the whole way back, and ended up in our area at about 4pm. It was a seriously long day, but so worth it!

You probably saw my deductions to my account. I was pretty much out of money, soooo... I bought 800g of oatmeal, some hand soap, a light bulb, annnddddd that’s all folks... I would have bought some bread but there wasn´t any. Oh, I got some sweet Kenneth Cole dress pants at the mega paca for 17Q... like 2 dollars and some change.  I have your gift for thrift shopping. I always find awesome stuff! I found some Ecco shoes in my companions size for him too.

Anyway, not much today. Gotta go, love you!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Antigua Antigua Antigua

So yesterday for P-day (preparation day, or their “day off”) we went to the local tourist trap as a zone. It´s about an hour away. It´s a beautiful little tourist town in the mountains with a sweet view of the volcano and water. They have tons of ruins of old Catholic churches, as well as many that still are in service. There’s a market that sells lots of cool stuff that I won´t need for another 16 months, but it was still cool looking at it all and perfecting my stone cold bargaining. I sent pictures to my mom that ya´ll can check out on my sweet blog she keeps. Just forewarning... The culture here is a little different in the sense that breast feeding in public uncovered is a fairly normal thing, and the water fountain is a representation of life or something like that... You were warned ;) (Ummm yeah...take a closer look at the fountain...)

Posing in front of the fountain of life

Arrepentíos, arrepentíos, todos vosotros, extremos de Guatemala, y sed bautizados en el nombre de Jesucristo!

Our zone

Our zone on our visit to Antigua
You asked about how much teaching we do. There are times we have way too many people to teach, and times where we just knock doors for 2 hours, but mostly we teach tons of people. I bet the missionaries there would be jealous if you told them we teach upwards of 50 lessons a week J Turns out the family we are teaching won´t be baptized so soon. The guy is married to somebody else, and a divorce here is pretty tough for most people. It's a common problem down here.

Also, I got myself a cool native type shirt and a new Bible for Christmas J I´ll send pics of me rockin´ my Latino islander shirt next week!  J

Today I went to the store and bought Cookies and cream Oreos, white bread, 1 package of spaghetti, soap, tomato sauce, sliced turkey ham, annndddddd 3 pounds of apples J I forgot cash, so I had to use my card. (From mom:I get a text alert from the bank when he uses his card so it’s fun to see what he’s buying! All this stuff came to $9.95 US) Oh, I got a McFlurry too, but I used the mission card for that (I only had like 3 dollars on it)

 Love ya,
Elder Rice

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Welcome to the Jungle!

Well, we did like the coolest thing yesterday for our P-day(preparation day). We live on the edge of the jungle, so we decided to actually go check it out and get some sweet pictures. It was super awesome! Tons of cool stuff. This country is so beautiful! The only problem is that everyone just throws there trash in the rivers, and all the sewer lines flow straight into the water. Anyways, enjoy the tropical pictures and be super jealous that where ya´ll are is probably super cold right now while I´m livin´ it up in the sun! J
We are teaching a family right now that is just awesome. They are getting baptized on the 19th. They are super humble, and the dad hasn´t found work in over a year here, so the mom has to work in somebodies house as a maid or something. They pretty much read everything we ask them too, and are so happy that we were able to find them and teach them.

Love ya´ll,
Elder Rice


There I am- down at the bottom in the middle!

Volcan del Fuego, or Volcano of Fire

Some random Guatemalan kid  followed us around, so we let him take our picture.
Collin and Elder Martinez

All the gross garbage from everyone throwing it in the rivers.

Read your scriptures!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas in Guatemala

So Christmas wasn´t bad here in Santa Lucia. We went and stayed with a family of members of the church until 12:30am. The people with more money here buy fake trees for Christmas that look pretty much like they look in the States. They don´t really give too many gifts here either. Everyone makes tamales all day and then they eat them all night. So we ate A LOT of tamales, which was pretty cool! Then at midnight everyone sets off all of their fireworks at the same time and it just sounds like a war zone. It was crazy how many people were blowing up cheap little bombs they call fireworks.

At about 12:30am we walked back to our house, which was a little insane. We just put our heads down and walked fast without talking to anybody. Lots of people have the awesome tradition of getting rather drunk Christmas Eve, so we were trying to just get back without problems. It was pretty sweet! Then we got back up at 6am like usual and started our day super tired. Gotta say though, definitely feels like summer just never ends here, it doesn´t feel at all like the Christmas season.

Some of the people over here are kind of mad that the missionaries there will be using all these tools, like FaceBook and other social media. I think its great though. As long as you don´t get a bunch of chambon (Spanish for Awkward, clumsy) missionaries to mess it up and just play games and stuff, it will be a great tool for them.

As for your suggestion about carrying a $5 bill in case we’re mugged: Dealing with drunk people that want your money is a pretty common thing. I don´t even use a wallet, I just put the small change in one pocket, and if I have a lot of other money I put it in a different pocket. But if you gave somebody a 5 dollar bill here they would probably freak out-that’s like... a ton of money…and in American bills, they´d probably just rob you everyday J

 I don´t believe you that I have an accent. (We told him he had an accent after talking to him on Christmas- he does!!!)

That is cool Grandma is coming to Guatemala, but it is expressly stated that I cannot have any visitors during the mission. Besides, even if I could, the place I´m at isn´t really where the white people go to do humanitarian stuff. If Grandma wanted to take a box to the mission office, they can give it to me from there when I have changes, if ya´ll wanted to get me something J for my birthday or something JI did find some good pants my size in the thrift shop too, so I´ll be fine. (The pants we sent in his Christmas package never made it to him) I found some from Banana Republic for like 3 dollars.

Love ya, Collin Arroz