Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Road trippin´

My companion and I had to go out to a little town on the other side of Lake Atitlan with some missionaries over there. The trip is made by getting on an old school bus, riding down to the tourist trap town, Panajachel, then getting into a van with about 20 other people and driving too my old area, San Andres. From there you get into a pickup truck, again with about 20 other people, and head over to San Lucas. And finally another truck to the town of Santiago. In this town, everyone speaks a native dialect. It is the only area where the missionaries speak a language other than Spanish. All in all, the ride was about 3 hours, so after doing what we needed to do there, we decided to just stay the night in their house and head back in the morning. But of course what would a road trip be if everyone had their own bed!? My companion and I ended up taking the one extra mattress, turning it sideways and pushing it up against their couch. We then used our towels as blankets to suffer out the night before getting up at the butt crack of dawn. Way fun stuff. Pics included for reference. Best sleepover ever.

While on our quest we got into a pickup truck. Shortly afterwards a strange white man got on too. Turns out he ditched his wife so he could go travel, and has been in Guatemala for a really long time. He speaks some of the native languages. Really weird dude. Anyways, supposedly he was one of 2 guys that bred featherless chickens.....

Well, my companion and I have been up at 4:40am every day to go hit the gym from 5:00 to 6:15. I gained a bunch of weight when I started, and then burned most of it off, now we are just getting huge so we can get married faster. ;) All my clothes still fit me fine, I haven’t gotten much bigger sadly. As far as sleep goes I am destroyed! I fell asleep teaching a lesson standing up the other day. I tend to fall asleep in pretty much any non-important moment. But it is not from getting up early, I actually have felt better after we started working out more, getting the exercise in gets everything moving a lot better! But being in charge of a zone is really tiring... (Especially since we have sister missionaries,... I figure that it is good future wife training... because they are high maintenance!) Also, you will be interested to know that my biceps measured in at 14 inches this morning.
Love you lots mom! Elder Rice

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pain and Gain

10 more weeks... Ya´ll know what that means! Time to get back in shape! My companion and I wake up at 4:45 every day and hit the gym until 6:15. No more soda. No more junk food (or just a little bit!). And we even went in on some protein powder. Even though we sleep a whole lot less, I don’t feel any more tired than usual (aka totally destroyed). Supposedly if you exercise well you need less sleep. Anyways, we are going to get huge!

Studying Hard!
 Since we are in charge of the zone (which by the way is a huge zone) we have to do a lot of travelling. That is probably the most tiring thing about everything that we do. The buses here are SUPER full. We usually end up obeying the ´´3 to a seat´´ rule, which-with 3 grown men-means the last guy has to ‘one cheek it’. And the mountain roads here are crazy turny, so you always get thrown off the seat... It’s crazy... I´ll just be glad to be able to not use public transportation ever again...

Even though I was in this area before I don´t know anybody here as it’s still pretty far away. But yesterday I did see one of the youth we used to go visit with! It was cool, he was way excited to see me again.

We had some 'personnel problems' the other day, so we called the mission president for some advice. He called the person causing the problem and told him ´´You will be EXACTLY obedient to everything that your companion says and all of the rules, or I will drive down there, and you won’t like what happens. I will call your mom, and right in front of you I will tell her that her son is lazy, and a liar, and isn´t learning anything, please talk to him and help him to be better.´´ He said he didn´t have any more problems after that! President Markham throws it down dude! So you’ll be glad to know we took care of the problem without getting any moms involved! J I gotta be really careful when I get married... I hear way more stuff now as a zone leader about the sister missionaries....girl drama! L

Also, I would be down to room with Jared at college if he wants to.
And yes,  I know what hashtags are J
Anyways, that’s all I got this week.
10 more weekly letters to go!
Thanks for the updates!
Love you mom!

Utzawatch, Elder Rice



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Solola... the Black Zone

They say that what leaves Solola comes back to Solola. After being out of the mountains for many months, I am now back. Around April (last year) I was in San Andres, an area of this zone. Now I am in serving in the position of Zone Leader for my favorite zone that I had! It´s awesome! Back to the people in their culturally native clothes. The people that don´t speak Spanish. (Most speak a Mayan language called K'iche' or Quiché) Back to  riding in the back of pickup trucks everywhere... I LOVE IT!!! The only hard thing is going from one of the hottest zones in the mission, to one of the coldest... At least it won’t be such a huge jump when I get home, since I will already be used to the cold.

So time for the stats. I am in the city of Solola. My companion is Elder Clouse from Arizona. He has been out here 6 weeks less than I have. The weather is nice and cold!!! It has rained a couple of times, but not too bad. Our house is AWESOME! We have 2 nice showers, lots of rooms, a big huge white board, and a second floor that has a small kitchen, and a room we have converted into a home gym. Because of the huge distances between areas here, and the huge distance from the capital, sometimes we have all the missionaries over for a giant sleep over to be able to travel more easily in the morning (as we are the closest to the main bus terminal here). We have a cook that is rock solid. It is like eating out in a nice place every day! We also have a lady that does our laundry who cranks out the clothes by hand for the next day. It is awesome. They closed the other 2 areas in this city because of a drop in the number of missionaries in the mission, so we are in charge of 3 branches of the church... It makes for a LOOOONNNGGGG Sunday at church. They are all super great though. Almost everyone is excited about the work here, and people are always telling us about friends they want us to go visit. All in all... I LOVE IT HERE! It is pretty much a sure thing that I will be here until the end of April when I come home.

Elder Clouse and I. Working hard moving cinder blocks, then we cut weeds- with a machete, of course!

 2 days ago the district president gave us some food. The next day (which luckily was P-day) my companion woke up with just the worst stomachache ever. He spent like an hour on the porcelain throne in the morning, and then went back every 10 minutes the rest of the day. Then he got worse and started throwing up. He had to practice a maneuver called the "helicopter". If you are clever enough, you will be able to figure out why we call it that.

That was cool to hear about the missionary in your ward blessing the baby that had his name as a middle name. There is a baby here in Guatemala that has my name too! It is way cool how close we get to people down here. There is a family that we taught here on my second day of being here. The mom is less active, and the dad is not a member. They have 1 little girl. About 1 ½  months ago, somebody really close to them killed themselves. It has been a major obstacle for them as the dad just talks about how guilty he feels for not doing more for this person and it has been eating him up. My companion actually contacted him about 2 weeks before I got here. Later he found out that this guy was on his way to kill himself that night when my companion talked to him. Every time that they visited him it was just a big mess and the guy couldn´t move on. Then I got changed here, and I was able to connect with him really, really well. We have been working hard with him to help him get better as he is still pretty emotionally unstable, but he is making good progress! He has already decided to be baptized. THIS is why we baptize people here. They have huge weights in their lives that can only be taken off through the Atonement, and the only way to have access to that is through being baptized. It has been a really neat experience. My companion pointed out to me that I might be the only one in the whole mission that could have gotten to this guy, and that God knows exactly what he is doing with his work. We are all where we need to be.

Anyways, all is well. Love you lots!

Xóc Chick!

 Elder Rice

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

On the Road Again!

We went to the temple as a zone. It was a REALLY long ride.

So tomorrow I will get a new area. We got ``the call`` yesterday that I had changes and should pack up my life into my 2 suitcases. I`ll be sure to share all the details next week. It has been a great time here in Rio Bravo. There are a lot of people here that I am really going to miss.

I mentioned that I was going to take out the step counter and see just how far we walked in one day. At the end of the day we had walked a little over 12 miles. We had planned a bit more, but some nice fellow gave us a ride in his bus for the longest stretch (about 4 miles). Mototaxis (a modified motorcycle with seats in the back) are now prohibited for safety reasons, so it is going to be a whole lot more walking from now on...

About the most exciting thing that I remember happening this week was when my companion noticed that a woman we talked to in the street had green eyes. It isn`t a very common thing around here. Anyways, I`m sure next weeks email will be a lot more exciting.

We knocked a guys door at about 8:30pm the other day and he let us in to teach him. We found out that, at the age of only 65, he already had several great grandchildren... WOW! Moreover, 15 years ago, some Mormon missionaries had given him a copy of the Book of Mormon, which (apart from slightly yellowed pages for the age of the book) was in almost new condition. He had taken great care of it. So we taught him about what the book was, as he had the misconception that Joseph Smith had written it, and that it just talked about Joseph Smith. He was going to come to church yesterday with his whole family, but he forgot what time it started at. L Read the Book of Mormon guys, it is an excellent book. Anyone that reads it will get closer to Jesus Christ.

As far as what I think about planning for the summer trips…What I think is that I haven`t the slightest idea what I am going to be doing! I haven`t been back home for like 2 years! You can probably assume that I will come with you guys for the whole trip though. But if not, there are about 2 months between when I get back and when we would leave, so plans might change. Actually, it would be a good chance for me to swing by to visit Elder Vallejos in SLC too. Who knows... Go ahead and plan on my going the whole time.

Thanks for all of the interest that you have taken in furthering my education and helping with the applications and stuff, Mom! Very shortly all of my goals and visions are going to change drastically! It is weird being a grown up... Being a kid is better...

Love you lots! Thanks for the update!
Elder Collin Rice