Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Last One!

Well, as they say, time waits for no man... I have finished what I came here to do and now it is time to move on to the next step in life. These have been the hardest, most tiring, and frustrating 2 years of my life so far. But they have also been the most rewarding, happiest, busiest 2 years so far. These last 2 years I have become who I am, and it will probably be difficult for me to step back into the world back home, but it can´t be that hard right? I look forward to the future excitedly, and I am happy to be on my way home. But I am also sad to leave behind the people that I know and love here in Guatemala. It is a weird mix of emotions- that I also felt when I came to Guatemala.

So today is a normal day, tomorrow we leave for changes at 5am. Then we just hang out with mission president until the night, and we’ll make a bonfire on the roof once all of the responsible adults leave and the assistants go to bed, then fly home.... Pretty uneventful.

I was planning on going to the early morning lap swim Friday morning, so it shouldn´t interfere with anything you have planned. I am sure that ya´ll are not going to be up and moving as early as I am used to ;) I would love to go do lunch and pedicures as you suggested. I was worried I wouldn´t have anything to do on that day. Another thing I would like to do is get one of them cell phones everybody seems to have. ;)

Anyways, see ya´ll in 2 days!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Brace for Impact

Well, I would tell you all to stop telling me how excited you all are to see me IN A FEW DAYS, but next time I read my emails will be only 2 days before I get home, so go ahead and write whatever you all want too....

We have been doing the best that we can right up until the end, just trying to inspire the rest of the missionaries that will still be here in these ´´my last days´´. I must admit, up until yesterday I felt totally normal. But finally yesterday it sank in that I was already in the very end. The initial emotional reaction was a small panic attack, generated mostly by a fear of the looming culture shock. But now I feel as calm as a lamb being led to the slaughter ;) The truth is that I am almost absolutely terrified by the idea of going home. I felt fine until I realized that this week is going to be full of a bunch of ´´last times´´.... But I am doing all right! I am pretty excited to be home though. We say that a missionary ´´dies´´ when he comes to the end of his mission, but I suppose that’s alright, as the natural next step is a paradisiacal state of happiness in ´´the mansions of my father (and mother)´´ in Oregon. J

Yesterday we went to visit a less active family that we just met on Sunday. They own a meat shop and surprised us with some of the fattest steaks I have ever seen in Guatemala! Some seriously delicious food! Speaking of food, I made a to-scale replica of the mountainous region we live in last night with some refried beans we had laying around in the house. Picture  included:

Thanks for the birthday wishes! All is well, and I am excited to see ´´all ya´ll!´´

Love you lots and see you soon! Elder Rice

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sprint to the Finish!

Well... I’m not really sure what to write about this week to be honest. Just starting to get really worried about what happens in about 2 more weeks- I refuse to accept that I have to go home though! I haven’t started packing up or anything yet. More than anything I feel like on the 29th I´ll get a new companion and just keep on going… My companion and I have been working to get everything in order and nicely set up for whoever comes in after I leave.

We had an activity that turned out pretty cool this week. Our branch mission leader built a mock airplane in the church out of some rebar and plastic sheeting. My companion and I were the pilots and guided the ‘plane’ full of ten people at a time on a normal flight. We had some neat sound effects and everything. In the middle of the flight we ´´crashed´´ and everybody died. At this point an ‘angel’ came and took everybody through a tour of heaven. During the tour there were several presentations about who will be there and what it will be like. Turned out pretty cool and a lot of new people came.

We are doing what we can with the families we’re teaching, but for some of them it looks like it might not be their time yet. We aren´t really THAT busy all the time here, as most of the people are not really big on changes, especially when it comes to their church, but we have 1 family that we are trying to baptize before I take off. The date is set for my birthday (April 26) for their baptism!

 Well that’s about all I´ve got for now.

Nos vemos! Elder Rice


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Home Stretch...For Real, now!

Just got my ticket home. It’s basically going to be a 12 hour trip... Whoop! I get home on the 30th of April around 7:30pm! 

Well... Nothing much really going on this week. We only had like 12 lessons the whole week, as the Easter Holy Spring Break (Semana Santa) is a big deal here. Everybody and their dog was in the park or out of town, so we just spent a lot of time preaching in the park.

General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was also this weekend, which if you didn´t watch it, you should. It was amazing! Especially the sessions on Saturday. We watched all of it in English! It was... AWESOME! If you haven´t seen it you are missing out! We just watched it at church. We dropped off our investigators in the sacrament room to watch in Spanish, and then went to our own room to watch it in English. Other than that we are just doing our best to keep all the sister missionaries in the zone happy, knocking on a lot of doors, and giving it everything we have got for these last couple of weeks.

As far as my return plans go, I would like some kind of dinner. It would be cool to do it with everybody if it can be done. Honestly anything that you guys want to eat except rice and beans is SO FINE by me! I have a food 'bucket list', but basically any food that we eat back home is on it.

I don´t know about scheduling a meeting with the stake president, but maybe it would be nice if you could verify with him when I’ll be officially released, as I have planned to go swimming the next morning after I get back. I will probably end up staying there in town with you at least for the first night, and then go out to Vernonia later the next day. From there plans are still in the works, since most of my efforts are focused on the work here, and I really haven´t thought a whole lot about being back... Firmer more complete plans en route, probably next week.
Love you lots.
Adios! Elder Rice

Monday, April 6, 2015

'Tree-To-Tree Adventure' chapín style

March 31, 2015

We basically had the coolest zone P-day ever yesterday. We went to an ´´adventure park´´ about 30 minutes away, which come to find out is actually well within our gigantic area. They had a lot of rope games up in some trees. If anyone has been to the Tree-To-Tree Adventure by Hagg Lake in Oregon it was something like that, only a lot less safe! (but it wasn´t that bad). Anyways, so they had a bunch of rope stuff to climb up and a couple of sweet rope swings. The craziest one was just 2 wood handles that you had to grab onto while sitting on a little wood platform about 20 feet off the ground, and then swing down to the ground. It was funny watching some of the sister missionaries climb up there and then sit there for a really long time thinking about what they were about to do, and then climb back down all shaky. It was pretty intense; I had to think twice about it. The coolest one though was a big net full of plastic balls, with a ledge about 5 or 6 feet up from which one had to ´´trust fall´´ backwards into the ball pit. About half the missionaries chickened out on that one J I did it though, just incase anybody was doubting! All in all it was pretty awesome, and cost a whole 2 dollars per person.

Right now my companion and I are on the other side of the lake with the other missionaries in our zone, which means early mornings, crackers for dinner and breakfast, and sleeping on the floor... WOOHOO

A full medical check up is in order for sure as soon as I get back.... Probably something to wipe my stomach also wouldn´t hurt.... It turns out I have some kind of infection in the lungs or something, but don´t worry! I am taking some antibiotics that I bought off the shelf with no questions asked. It is called doxiciclina or something like that. I´m totally fine, just a cough that won't go away and stuff.

You asked what language we speak since I’m with an American companion now. My companion and I just speak English all the time. He leaves the change after I do, so we are both apt at speaking Spanish, and speaking in English doesn´t hurt our Spanish at all. I would like to find some way to keep it up after the mission though, it seems like it could be quite useful. We met a white family the other day that lives up here called the Jensons. The dad grew up at Sunset High School (in our school district). Him and his wife met on their missions, and afterwards met up again, got married, had kids, and moved to Solola, Guatemala. Pretty cool family, but I don´t think I could ever do that. The whole family is bilingual though!

Thanks for the updates on my college credits transferring from high school. I was actually thinking about those 2 credits the other day! I am super glad that they carry over! That is 2 drops less in the educational bucket, eh!

Glad you had/are having a great time in Hawaii! Sounds like you guys went on the way more awesome version of what we did yesterday (ziplining). Maybe someday I´ll take my new wife on a Hawaiian cruise.... Maybe later this year ;)   Ya never know right?

Love you lots!
Elder Rice