Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December 23, 2013 Hunter's First Christmas in Guatemala

¡Hola MI Familia! 

Everything has been good down here this week.  I got to go the temple for the temple trip day we get to do twice a year and we got to see the new video in Spanish!! It was good.  I understood a good amount of it (which is just weird).  
Elder Toma and Elder Breinholt @ Guatemala Temple

We also confirmed my good friend Douglas this Sunday and the ward had a fun Christmas activity where they did dear Santa and had food. Down here for Christmas they eat what is called Tamalies and Punch and the punch is like a hot fruit drin.  It's pretty good but I will being eating a lot of that today and tomorrow haha.

For Christmas Eve we will be spending it with a couple of families in the ward and eat food and just hangout, watch a church movie and we get to stay out till 12:30 at night so it should be fun. I helped kill ducks for tamalies yesterday haha.  That was an interesting experience and today we will be eating it with a familie.

My mp3 players is a mess and doesn't really work so if you could send me a new one or less barrato one that would be good haha. . .  with the same music and more! por favor some Christmas music would be nice and also some more socks.  I'm already creating holes in mine that I have from just walking. 

Elder Toma and Elder Osuguera @ Guatemala Temple
So people have lots of fiestas and parties before Christmas and yesterday there was one where there was a hispanoe Santa Claus and a piñata and they did games like potato sack races and all kinds of things the kid inside me wanted to go dance with Santa and hit the piñata but all me and my companero could do was just talk with the people and watch. But apparently tomorrow it will just be a pandemonium of fireworks for over a hour straight so I can't wait for that.  Christmas is the biggest holiday for them here so I am excited.

I hope everyone has a good Christmas I will be sending everyone letters and some things that is my goal right now so be waiting for that I love you all and 

Tieneis un Feliz ¡¡¡¡¡¡Navidad!!!!   

Cone Amor 

Elder Toma

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 17, 2013 New companion

Dear Family, 

Elder Breinholt and Elder Toma
My first week with my [new] companion went really well.  I had to guide him and teach him everything about our area and start all the lessons and talk a lot more.   I felt like a trainer.  It was really weird.  He is a Gringo from Sandy, Utah.  His name is Elder Breinholt.   He has just dropped down from being zone leader for 8 months in Antigua which is a really really cool city in a crevice surrounded by mountains and volcanoes and is a really really old Catholic city.  It's really cool there.  But he dropped down to be my "step dad" and continue my training.  My first companion left me and became zone leader for Villa Hermosa which is in (the capital).  haha So I have pretty interesting "dads" it seems.

Elder Breinholt is really nice and he loves the people and knows how to show it and be funny and outgoing with them and gain their trust really fast so it's really interesting.  My two trainers are very very different and it seems that there are specific things that I am supposed to learn that I am noticing. But yes my baptism went through.  Hallelujah!! I have one down now.  His name is Douglas Mendez and he is 20 (future missionary).  
It went really well and we should be having three more this month so far and trying to get more. I should be getting the package this week.  This week should be fun we get to go to the temple and do and see Christmas activities.  

Elder Toma, Douglas Mendez and Elder Breinholt
Me and my companion went to the beach this week. It was really cool.  The waves are huge here! And it's crazy hot! And the sand is black because of the volcano ash.

Elder Toma and Mendez family
But yeah it's like 100 degrees here right now plus humidity so we are sweating here.  My companion just baptized a really cool interesting guy that is Jewish from Antigua and is actually part of the tribe of Levi and Judah.  He has lived just about everywhere and speaks a bunch of languages. 

We teach about 60 to 70 lessons a week.  It's a lot on the coast. I can actually understand a lot now and I talk a lot more so that has made me happier. I personally like teaching the Book of Mormon just because of how important and awesome it is and it's just my favorite.

If you could tell me how to teach and what makes a good teacher and things to do that makes it effective and gain the trust of those you teach so they understand and like to hear and listen to you and have their attention that would be nice.  I'm always continuing to adapt and change. 


Elder Toma

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 10, 2013 First transfers

Dear Family, 
I almost forgot my birthday to be honest my companion reminded me but just saying happy birthday and stuff.   I dont really feel 19, I feel way older so its werid right now for me. We didn't do anything special just went out and worked.

We have had zero baptisms. The one we werre supposed to have, had to make it next week so his dad could be there.  So this Sunday it should be happing (I know it will happen he's pillas). We also should be haveing his brother hopefully baptized the 22 of December and 2 other investigators as well that are really good. The one being baptized this week is called Douglas Mendez and his brother is Alex and the other two is a mom and her son Carolina and Dieago Gonzalez so we're hoping for this.  We might be on fire this week. I hope so.

But I have some news...So I guess my DAD (my Trainer) is leaving me tommorrow and I will be staying here in Santa Barbara and receiving a new trainer to finish me off. So we will be having changes. This makes me a little nervous because this is extremely rare.  It doesnt happen when your trainer leaves you in your first area half way from your training and you receive a new one in that area. So that means I am going to have to guide and teach for a while until my trainer gets the hang of it in my area and knows the people. That makes me a bit nervous but I am excited to see who it will be.

So that's what will be happening tommorrow so this week and the next should be intresting. We also saw the Christmas devotional (in Spanish) with English subtitles!!! It was really good I enjoyed it and we had a lot of investigators come and watch it.

So that was most of my week I think. Its hard to remember things because you do so much everyday and it just molds into one event.

Elder Toma

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December 3, 2013

Dear Family, 

Things down here have been great but also tough too, but that's how it seems to go. 
We have a lady that cleans our cloths for us and also irons them.  Most people clean by using a rock thing and soap and then hang drying.    When I say most,  I mean all.   I don't know how she does it but she makes all my cloths look brand new it's crazy!  They are literally perfect.   She somehow restores all of the original creases in my white shirts.  I don't know how she does it but I am impressed that she does all that with a rock and soap.  But everything else down here is great.   Thanks for all of the support it really helps especially when you have those rough days where you just want to sleep.  Which is like every day.  I'm tired constantly ha ha, but I am enjoying it.

No we don't have a maid that cooks for us and no we don't have a stove.  I sent pictures of what our apartment thing looks like.   All we have is a cooker and a fridge.   We have inactive members that live below us.  They are really nice and the own a bakery.   They give us bread all the time and the bread here is amazing definitely the best bread I have had. 

And ha ha no we don't have hot water, absolutely zero.  It's  freezing cold always and it only works at certain times in the day so sometimes I don't get to take a shower.   I have to get a bucket and dump water on myself.   We don't have time to eat a lot we just eat what we can.  I've lost quite a bit of weight nothing  fits and my belts are useless.    It's whatever we walk so much I don't think anything could get me to keep weight on.

 I have seen and have killed a couple of chickens and turkeys myself.  They all do it down here.  You will just see a bunch of random chickens, pigs and cows just walking around in the streets and dogs. In my town they do a huge festival for Christmas.  It's more like a fair.    All they do is light off huge fireworks all day and literally all night.  It gets a little annoying at night because they are super loud and right above your head it's something else. 

I've lost all sense of time its weird that its already been 6 weeks and changes come next week.  I'm already half way through my training now Whoo hoo!!  It's weird that it's my birthday this week.  No one down here believes I am 18.   They think I'm like 30.   I don't feel like I'm 18 either. I'm still losing weight but I think it will level off here soon.   I'm pretty skinny now ha ha.  Even my zone leader noticed I have lost even more weight.   It just means I'm working hard and sweating everything off.  

It is ridiculously humid down here it seems strange that its winter were you are.    Yes the shower and sink and toilet is very rustic and everything else.  

This week though we should be having 3 baptisms!  I'm very excited.  I'm ready for my first baptism.  We have been working very hard with the inactive members and we had a lot of people at church this Sunday so we are excited!  It is hard in my area. 

 This week has been up and down.  We did service for some members that we are reactivating and we went into the jungle and started cutting trees and branches with machetes so they will have fire wood to cook and keep warm. That's how they do it here.   We spent a good amount of time doing that and I cut 3 different huge trees (with a machete).   That's not easy and we had to carry them back, so my companion had one and I had the largest one.   I was with my companion and three kids and their mom.  This jungle has mountains so we blaze through the mountain and through jungle and corn mazes.  They have hills just covered in corn for their tortillas .   The tree I carried weighed almost 200 pounds.  They were not small or light and I had to carry it through mountains and jungles.  It was ridiculous because  it was also very hot that day. 

It was hard work but it is so gorgeous here.   It's hard to describe.   It is like  something out of a movie.  We also had a Zone P-day and that was fun.    We had groups that were from the same country and they had to make  food from their country.    The gringos made hot dogs and brownies which is super rare.   My Zone leader who has been out for 20 months hasn't had brownies since the CCM.  It  was a treat.   We also had a lot of papa fritas (fried bananas)  It was a fun thing and we pigged out so hard.    Overall it has been a  good week.   Santa Barbara will be having there festival this week.  I will tell you how that went next week.    It seems really big with all kinds of things to do.


Love Elder Toma