Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hay Cambios!

So changes are coming up next week on the 4th of February. I think I am going to be moved again, maybe for the last time!  In preparation my companion and I put everything in order on P-day yesterday. We printed out pictures for all of my converts here, cleaned the house (even though it wasn`t really that messy) ate at the Chinese restaurant that I have wanted to eat at for a couple weeks now, and compiled all of the data for my whole district into one place. When I got here there was absolutely nothing as far as information about the work that had been done before I got there, so I figured it would be a nice gesture to leave everything ‘O.C.D.ified’. All of the people we are teaching have up to date records, important information about the area is written legibly on a normal piece of paper, and all of the stats are neatly organized in a folder. It feels so nice to have everything in order, I don`t know why I resisted so valiantly for my whole teenage life... Sorry Mom. ;) 

I made some crazy spreadsheets of all the numbers from the reports that I get. There are about 30 different statistics that I get every week, for 3 areas. I had all the info for 15 weeks on various sheets of loose leaf papers and written in several note books, So when compiling the data I had to look through at least 6 sources. Lesson learned... It is easier to keep up than to catch up! It is kind of soothing though, just letting go of everything else and organizing stuff for a couple of hours. You’d have been proud of my organizational skills!

The other day as we were walking down the street I caught my toe on a piece of random cement in the road. I tripped and ate dirt for probably the first time in my time here. It was a pretty crazy fall, I did 2 rolls when I hit the ground. There were some people watching when I fell, so I got back up and we went and taught them about the Gospel. Good stuff, but about the only exciting thing that has happened.

We have been going to this little tiny aldea called Las Cuchillas. In total there are probably like 10 houses there, a small Catholic church, and a surprisingly well stocked corner store, which was part of the tiny but neat looking school. Everybody is super nice to us there. One of the families we taught there came to church with us too. They just went on their motorcycle, so it wasn`t too far. The man is named Byron, and he works in the macadamia plant in town. His wife, Ady, stays at home with their little boy, Anderson. It is a nice little place. Supposedly there are people that rob people as they are going to this little town, since the trail is really isolated, so my companion and I usually go the long way and follow the highway. I`m taking the step counter today, we will see just how much we walk.

You asked if I’ve been healthy. I have been feeling all right! I haven`t really been too sick for a little while. THATS NOT TRUE! I`ve got a serious case of Baggismo! (Getting super anxious to pack my bags!) I can`t believe that in just 12 or 13 short weeks I will be headed back home! It is going to be a serious culture shock. I am pretty excited to be going to college soon’ish though! Have you found out much about the schedule at BYUI yet and where I would fit into it?

Anyways, Love you lots,

Va PUES! Elder Rice

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Welcome to the Jungle!

Last week my companion and I started heading out to some of the nearer aldeas (a small rural settlement)in the area. We went to one about 5km away that was incredible. The trail to get there was like being in the jungle. Today we are going back, so we will get pictures. Since it is quite a hike to get there, we decided to just eat lunch out there, so we asked one of the families that we contacted and taught if we could come eat lunch with them. They were totally fine with it! That is the great part about the people here, if they can help you out they are usually more than willing to do so. Everybody in the little town thought we were Catholics, as that is the only church they have out there. It was way interesting. On the way back at about 6pm (it was already getting dark) we contacted some hitchhikers on the main road. Turns out 2 were from the States and 1 was from Turkey. They were trying to get to the beach about 2 or 3 hours away before night. It was pretty funny how out of place they were, and how they were just in the middle of nowhere with no plan and nighttime very close at hand. Hope they made it alright!

A couple of nights ago I was telling my companion ghost stories that were supposedly real here in Guatemala. He started getting creeped out, so I stopped. He looked down to write something in his agenda, and when he looked back up one of the neighbors was standing still right outside the window. He let out a huge yell. It was pretty hilarious. Not gonna lie, it kinda freaked me out too when I saw the neighbor standing there like he had just appeared!

My companion, Elder Schafer, is from Idaho. He is a great missionary. He has been helping me get everything in order in the house, the stats papers, the records, and all that stuff. He is a great guy that has got building up God`s kingdom at the top of his list of things to do J  I got him in emergency changes, so it is very likely that on the 4th of February we will have changes again. I`m about 99.9 percent sure I`ll be moved to a new area that day. It is alright though, I'll be leaving the area in good hands.

That’s a bummer Jared will be going back to BYU-I just before I get home. If he can`t make it back for a visit when I get home maybe I`ll just go out there. I want to check out the campus anyways. Nothing back from BYU-Provo yet?

3 months and 9 days baby... the countdown is on. Just until April 30th.... Not sure my body will do much more J Don`t know if you can even do that…
Love you lots! Elder Rice

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sudden changes...Oh my!

So my ‘mission son’ (mission lingo for a new missionary that someone is in charge of training) had emergency changes on Saturday. I was on divisions with other missionaries in my district when they called and said my companion would have changes that same morning. The assistants came to pick him up, so they picked me up on the way, I said good bye, and they dropped me off some fresh meat. My new companion is named Elder Schafer. He is an amazing missionary. He knows why he is here and has his head in the game so to speak. We are getting along pretty great so far. We didn`t reach the goal of baptizing anybody this week, but we have at least 3, probably more, planned for the 25th of this month. The countdown is on and the pressure is higher than ever before. I have three and a half more months to bring as many people as I can to repentance and baptism.

I read a really good question the other day that Jesus asked. ´´What shall I give ye?´´ (It goes something like that, I read it in Spanish) God promises that if we ask with faith, he will give us our righteous desires. What do we really want from God? Do we ask him for the things we really want, and expect them to be given us? Do we ask God to teach us what we want to learn? Or do we just ask for the things that we always hear people asking for, or even the things we have always asked for. In the district meeting today I asked my district this same question. They are all pretty new missionaries. I phrased the question like this: “What would you guys like me to teach you in the practice today?” I invited them to stop and ponder for a minute. After a really long silence, one of them told me about a family they are teaching, and a problem that, even though not that serious, was rather difficult to answer. So I had them all sit in a bench in front of me and pretend to be the family, and I took the role of both missionaries, and taught them like I would have taught that family. Afterwards, we analyzed a little bit, and the missionary thanked me for helping him clear up how to solve this problem. It was way cool, because everybody was way more involved, and way more interested in what I taught them, because it was his own question that I was going to answer. It was a really neat teaching technique that I learned from the example of Christ, that worked out really well. STUDY YOUR SCRIPTURES GUYS! THEY ARE AWESOME!

Also, I totally rocked the tuxedo shirt (mentioned last week) hard enough that now, as I give it as a gift to a member, he is going to wear it with pride every Sunday. When I bought it everyone was like: “Dude, that shirt is ridiculous! Don`t get it!” All it took though was a little style and a bunch of overconfidence, and everybody in the branch loves it!

You can get rid of my bed if you want. I would like to have a desk when I get back, but then again, my plan is to go to college and not live with you forever, so yeah, you can go ahead and get rid of the bunk bed thing.

Love, Elder Rice

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

It's the final countdown...

This week marked the start of the last year in which I will be a full time missionary. I have learned a lot, come to love God and Jesus much more than ever before. We´re on the home stretch. You know what that means... Homestretch sprint baby! Today we got up at 4am to get all our studies in before we went to zone training. Pretty much every day we are up early. Only on P-day (our preparation day) we sleep in until... 6AM!!! The other day some members told my companion that he wasn´t made out of wood, that sometimes we needed to rest, and he just replied that his companion is made out of steel and didn`t need to sleep or even eat. Made me lol.

We had 3 more baptisms this last Sunday. The new goal: Baptize somebody-Every.Single.Weekend.The mission president has taken some drastic measures to reach this goal. There are 2 missionaries that don´t have an area. They just go from one area to another, sleeping in the house of the missionaries, traveling by the old school bus transport lines, teaching the missionaries how to teach better. Basically they are homeless missionaries. It is super sweet. They had a car, but somebody totaled it, so now just the clothes on their back, the destroyed shoes on their feet, and the gospel written on their hearts. Not going to lie, I´m pretty jealous.

I´m gonna pop some tags.... only got 50Quetz in my pocket. Yep- Believe it: 7 kids snap on ties, 3 vests para these 3 kids that were baptized, a tuxedo style shirt with all the frilly stuff in the middle (which I am totally rocking right now), and a SWEET waterproof jacket from REI in basically new condition. For less than the cost of one meal back home. I may come back to Guatemala just to go thrift shopping.

Sorry,that’s all. My time totally flew by! Love you a lot!
Elder Arrozcito