Monday, February 15, 2016

week 24: keeping the faith

Hey! So I am killing Elder Quiroz! (Editor's note: Elder Quiroz will finish his mission with Joe.) And what's really awesome is my father Elder Helton (missionaries call their trainer their father) is coming to my district so I will get to hang out with him again! And Elder Gonsalez is still our District Leader, so all in all, not too shabby! 

This week we were able to set three fechas (baptismal dates) for March 5th. The first one is a girl named Maria. Do you remember when I told you about Ramona, the girl who really wants to be baptized, but whose live-in mukuy won't get married? Maria is her younger sister. Maria is 16 or 17 and dating a guy who is a member of the Church, which helps. Because she is under 18 she will need her parents permission, but they all live together in three little houses up the mountain, so I don't think it will be a problem. She has been to church a couple of times, and we have taught her three lessons. The order the lessons follow is 1) the restoration of the gospel, 2) the plan of salvation, 3) the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then 4 and 5 are about the covenants and ordinances and commandments. That is where we sometimes hit a roadblock. Things like living the law of chastity. It is hard for people to change when it is so common here to live together without being married. The second and third fechas are a guy named Luis and his wife. We found Luis walking on the street and he told us if members came to visit him he would be baptized! We've had two lessons with them so far. They came to church yesterday, so that was good. They live a little ways up the mountain. I'm not sure if they have kids or not - there are always young kids going in and out of the house, but they might be nieces and nephews.  

The two daughters of Jose Domingo that were baptized both came to church yesterday, so that is good! It looks like they might both be  going to Mexico, so we might not see them anymore. We have had one new member lesson with them, they followed it pretty well I think. The younger one has been going to Seminary. That is a really big deal here because school is different than what we have. I don't really understand it; attendance is optional. I'm not sure how old you have to be to start, or how long you go, but there are different grades. So going to seminary is a real commitment. She has to walk quite awhile to get there. It is held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the church. They do have someone called especially to teach it.

Nestor still hasn't left yet, so we are playing that by ear. 

It probably seems weird that I am so happy when our investigators and new members make it to church. It is hard because they work a bunch, and many of them have to travel a long ways to get to the church building, so they don't want to go. But if they don't go, they don't make any progress. So when they are with us on Sundays we are very happy! 

Right now I am in Coban again because the nurse wanted me to make sure I have no worms or parasites left. I still don't have the results. I have a fever though and a cold so that is kind of a bummer, it just came on in the last couple of days. I don't know how high the fever is, but I had all the missionaries I'm with feel my face and they flipped. It doesn't help that I haven't slept since 6:30 Sunday morning - these trips to Coban are killing me. But I'm sure I will get better soon! We did get a big ole notice about the Zika virus, there isn't much we can do to avoid it though. No one I know of has it in our area.

One other complication this week, my bank card isn't working. All of the travel expenses have added up, so I was trying to use my Wells Fargo card. I budget ok, but this Coban trip kind of screwed me up. I am losing tumin (money) left and right. I will be reimbursed for travel costs, but it takes a couple of weeks. When I tried to use the card, I got a message saying that I need to talk to my bank. I don't think there is a Wells Fargo here... 

We are just waiting in the internet place until we can go back for results, it is pretty relaxed. I want to be able to type that scripture you requested in Kekchi, but I don't have my lix hu laj mormon (Book of Mormon) with me right now. I will send it to you next week! 

I have a few pictures for you...

The first two are just of some ruins in our area, I am not sure what they are from.

This little girl is the daughter or the lady who does our laundry. She is the youngest of six. If Margot was Guatemalan, I swear this is what she would look like!

The kids here are so cute and love to have their picture taken.

 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." - Matthew 16:15

It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it!

My spiritual thought this week comes from what I have learned about faith. This week the Zone Leaders told us we needed to set three fechas on Friday and Saturday. I told my companion that we could do those three that I told you about above, and he said no, they will never want it. I figured he was probably right because he knows quite a bit having 23 months in his mission. But I asked if we could at least try, and we went and did it! It was sweet! I'd like to say I did it, but Elder Quiroz did most of the talking and I know that I am pretty much useless without the Lord so I pretty much didn't do anything.

I love all of you!

Love, Laj Toolok, yookin chi tz'olok li ch'aabil aatinab'al wulaj wulaj (Love, Elder Toolson, I am studying the good language every day)

1 comment:

  1. Dear Joe,
    First, you have my prayers that your body rids itself of this fever and that you continue on in good health.
    Second, I am, once again, so very much inspired by your continued positive and uplifting attitude. I thank you for sharing this journey with us, and that your mom
    Posts it so that we can read about all you do.yeaterday was Valentine's Day. I thought about you. You see I believe that Valentine's can be about romantic live, but it is truly about Saint Valentine and kindness, caring, and love for other, for what is best for them. You, Joe, you are filling in Saint Vamevtines example. You are giving true love and caring, kindness and a purpose to those you meet along this journey.
    I look forward to hearing more of your adventures next week.