Monday, April 24, 2017

week 86

This week was kind of a roller coaster of emotions so I will start at the beginning. We had a dinner on Monday to celebrate my companion's birthday. The family who hosted our dinner are members from the rama (branch.) The wife's name is Hermana Betty and the husband is Hermano Turin. They have a really nice house, including the first electric oven I have seen in my mission. I actually asked how she lights it and she looked at me like I was the dumbest person in the world, haha. 

We didn't get to visit Jose and Soña because Soña isn't in town so we are going to go with them another day, and Rafael we tried to contact like three times and he wasn't home.

Tuesday we had Rios-Lazos district meeting, he is in Tucuru and is district leader over the Hermanas (sister missionaries) in La Tinta. It was mostly focused on q'eqchi' teaching for Hermanas. While we were there we found out that three of the Hermana's fechas (scheduled baptisms) fell through, which meant we wouldn't be able to meet our goal, so we were pretty bummed about that. I think they just got postponed, but we still aren't sure. I think one of them left for like a month to go work. So right now they are reporting zero fechas because they aren't sure what is going to happen. Hopefully they can get that figured out.

Wednesday we had Elder Sanchez's district meeting. We talked a lot about keeping our morale up and stuff like that. The other district leader gave it and he shared some scriptures and just talked about how we can take care of our investigadores and stuff, he is pretty new at being DL so he is still learning, but he did a good job. I was never district leader so I don't really feel like I know how to train on that. My companion has some experience, normally I leave all the advice giving to him. We just go do divisions with them and try to help them out as best we can.  

That same day we went to Tucuru to start working with Elders Rios-Lazos and Alvarado there. This picture was taken on our way to the village, it is called Vina Rose.

We stayed there until Saturday because they are trying to get a group started in a village there. (A group is an organized church meeting when you don't have enough people to have a branch. A branch is when you don't have enough for a ward.) So they asked us to go help, and in that time we finally got the interviews done. We were there almost all of Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and went home Saturday morning. Most of the time was spent in that village spreading the word that there would be a meeting next Saturday about how they can make it to church. President Faundez is going to come and talk about paying a bus to come pick them up so we will see how that goes. The closest church is in Tucuru, and it is like a four hour walk. There are two little old lady hermanas that make that walk every week up and down the mountains, but they are the only two. The goal is to eventually have a group in Vina Rose, with their own meeting place, but I think that wouldn't be for another 7 or 8 months so they can get trained for leadership positions. I am pretty sure they have enough people to have a group because I heard there are like 60 inactive members up there. The distance is 100% why they aren't coming to church, every time we ask them why they don't go they say "sa' xmaak naq mas najt wan hermano" which roughly translates to, "because it is so far brother!"

While we were there I saw these crazy trees. I don't know how or why but rubber runs off the tree into that dish, and I was playing with it. I have no clue how it works, we just passed it and Rios told me it was rubber so I walked over to check it out because I didn't believe him at first.

On Saturday we found out that Saqsuha' and Santo Domingo each put a fecha, which got us hyped. But then we realized that we were still one fecha away from our goal so we were kind of sad too. That night we knelt down and said a prayer, one of the biggest I have ever said, that Heavenly Father would send a miracle to the zone so we could get 8 baptisms for the month and meet our goal. 

We were going into Sunday with kind of heavy and doubting hearts, and then to top it all off, we found Hermano Mario working his taxi in the street saying that he is having problems with his wife and might not go back to church anymore. I almost started crying right there on the street. I can't figure out what to do for him. The moment we found him we went and talked to the Branch President. He knows more about the situation than us, and he said right now what he needs is some time. I felt extremely sad. But I also felt so blessed that I could feel Christ's and our Heavenly Father's love for him in such a close way that I could feel that sad.

So we went to church not really sure what to expect. Then at the end of the meetings President Walter (our president of the rama) called us in to his office and said "Hey this is Hermana Angelina and she is going to get married and baptized this Saturday!" Me and my companion just looked at each other and we both almost teared up. But we held it in, made the plans to visit the hermana, and went home and said one of the biggest prayers of gratitude we have ever said. The thing about being a zone leader is that you spend a lot of time helping other missionaries try to meet their goals, which is really awesome, but me and my companion were worried that we would never baptize together. But then this came out so we were both really happy, it was definitely an answer to prayers.

We still don't have any water so this will be another interesting week, I guess we will just keep buying it. It seems to be a city thing, we have been asking around and it sounds like nobody has water because it has been so hot that everything dried up, so it isn't just us with the problem. Most people here at least have a hose outside or a tap with running water, but they are all dry.

This week we will teach Hermana Angelina and do Saqsuha's baptism interview. Other than that I think we just have our normal work and meetings. Saturday will be our baptism day so we will be a little busy. There have already been five baptisms in our zone this month and the other three are this Saturday. If we meet our goal, there is a chance we can go to Tikaal which are those really famous ruins that everyone talks about. But if we can't do that we can do something else closer by. We will be in Coban next Monday, so I'm not sure when the trip will be, and it isn't for sure we will get to go either, we are just hoping.

Mother's day is coming! I need to talk with the member about using his laptop again. Talking about my last phone call, my companion just looked at me and said "10 weeks left!" Don't worry, I'm not baggy or anything. I am good, just that time is going so fast! A part of me wishes I could extend and stay. But I am excited too, to see everyone, to not live in a third world country, and not have the stresses of being a full time missionary. Lots of people here are just really racist, but they don't know they are racist so it is ok. And they shout really vulgar things at you in q'eqchi' when you pass them on the street, so it is kind of constant heckling. And like I said with Mario, it is a blessing to be able to feel the Savior's love for people in that way, but sometimes it really hurts too. Maybe that is part of the reason I am a little excited for home.

I guess my spiritual thought this week is that God never leaves us and will always answer our prayers.

I love you!
Love, Elder Toolson

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