Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 27

The greatest Christmas gift ever was being able to see and talk to my family on Skype.  I miss you all so much.  Spencer hugging me through the computer screen almost made me cry.  I can't tell you how grateful I am to have such a wonderful, wonderful family.  It really means the world to me. Thank you all for the Christmas packages and letters.  I really appreciate all of the support!

I got to have tamales for Christmas dinner!  I don't have any pictures since I lost my camera cable, and my battery is dead.  Elder Ventura got his camera stolen, so he isn't able to take pictures either.

Things are going well! We have 2 with baptism dates and a bunch of new investigators.  We met a new one yesterday.  He´s super cool, and I really hope he can get baptized! He lived in Miami and had a bunch of good questions about the Plan of Salvation.

I study in Spanish when I study to teach.  I really like reading the Liahona in Spanish.  It has new vocabulary, and I especially enjoy reading it due to the clarity and organization of the messages that are present.  Spanish is fun.  I don´t know what I´ll do with my Spanish when I get home, lol. It´s more fun to speak in Spanish a lot of times.  I hope all the young men in the ward will leave and serve a mission.  That would  be awesome.  I'm just realizing how hard it actually is to be an effective missionary.  There´s so many things to do, and no one to tell you what way is best because everyone is different!  

Thanks again for all of your support!  I love and miss you all!

Skyping with Aaron on Christmas

Week 26

Feliz Navidad desde Honduras!!

Hey everyone! I hope you all have a very wonderful and Merry Christmas with your families and loved ones.  I hope you all can spend this season of love enjoying it with those who are most important in your life.  I know that we all have a loving Heavenly Father. I know that He sent us here in families, so that we could be happy.  I know that He sent His son Jesus Christ here to break the bands of sin and death and to show us the way to return to our Father in Heaven with our Families for all eternity.  Because of Him, death has no sting and there is no such thing as the end.  Let us all remember the true meaning of Christmas this season.  Let us all spend this wonderful time with our families, and let us all remember the One who made it possible; sharing the very first Christmas gift- a gift from a loving Father to all his children.  

New area is very pretty, but a lot of the investigators just don't want to change because human behavior is extremely difficult to change. They don't progress.  We had to stop teaching three investigators because they won't ever make the time to go to church. It's kind of sad, but we've got two teenage boys that are super close to their baptisms.  There's always people that are willing to change and choose the right; you just have to find them.  We've worked very hard this past week and been super obedient.  I know that if we keep working like this, we'll find some super awesome families and people to teach.  

There's a dinky little gym here.  We go at 6 every morning.  Our cocinera is super special.  She takes care of us really well and washes the clothes for us.  I'm also teaching Elder Ventura English.  

I am having a wonderful time here in my new area.  Élder Ventura and I have been working hard teaching and sharing this special message with all the people here.  It is very beautiful here, but also very poor.  We can see mountains and the ocean as well as all the islands from our area.  There are some of the steepest hills I have every seen in my life here.  I basically get to go hiking every single day.  The people here are nice, and I am excited to get to meet more of them every day and share this message with them.  

Elder Ventura

Aaron bought this shirt for $5.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 25

I got transferred so I have a new companion and new area now.  My new companion is Elder Ventura.  He's from Guatemala.  I missed the baptisms for K and J that we had planned on Saturday.  I am sad that I didn't get to say goodbye to any of the families since I was told the night before at 9:30 pm that I was being transferred the next morning.  I got to see Elder Cruz again which was fun.  

I purchased another ugly flower tie.  It's awesome!  According to one of the new gringo missionaries, I could have traded like 5 normal quality nice ties for one of my two ugly flower ties in the MTC!

I was able to play for transfers.  I made an arrangement for the First Noel.  Our new area has a small keyboard that is very basic, but it works!

My new area is very beautiful.  It is 4 hours away from my last area.  We have a lot of work to do here since the ward isn't very active.  We need to re-energize the members.  I've been busy trying to get to know the area and get moved in.  Hope you all are well!  
Aaron with K and O

"I've never seen so many hills in my entire life".

We're close to the ocean


More landscape

I got to see Elder Cruz again!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Week 23

My mission is going well.  My companion and I are doing well and getting along great.  We had recently been a little discouraged from the stinky things that passed the past couple of weeks, but we are doing great right now and working hard to help the Lord find his lost sheep here in Honduras.  The interviews with President Klein and interdivisions with the Zls helped encourage us and get some great goals up. We've been really busy lately trying to teach four different classes every week on top of being missionaries.  I've been teaching English classes.  It's pretty difficult to do, but it's fun and I enjoy doing it.  The noches de Hermanamiento are always fun.  We're ready to finish up the last couple of weeks of this exchange strong!  We hope to have 3 baptisms! It's amazing to see the progress of the people  we teach in changing their lives as they exercise their faith in Jesus Christ and repentance.  His example, teachings and atonement are the most wonderful gift we have in this life to defeat problems and turn guilt and sorrow into peace and happiness.  He enables us to, as we trust in Him, to become the people we are meant to be- sons and daughters of God.  

I got three packages this week!  I loved the packages, especially the pictures!  It made my birthday very special!

We went caroling to a rest home here.  It brought back good memories :).
My birthday treats!

Rest Home Buddies!

Christmas Caroling at the Rest Home  

21 lemps a dollar

Thanksgiving with my girls!

Ugly Tie Collection

Dirt Road

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 22

We brought K and J to a baptism.  It was very sweet and spiritual.  The opening prayer was given by the boy's older sister, in which she said "Thank you because my brother is getting baptized".  It was really cute.  

My birthday was nice.  I was able to eat a nice dinner the day before my birthday.  I also bought some fresh fruit.  I got some nice emails and happy birthdays from some missionaries, members, family, and friends.  Thank you! 

My $7 birthday dinner
 Birthday mandarines and oranges yeah!

Zancudo aplastado - a squished mosquito for my birthday.  The Hermana Marziegos (murcielago) gave it to me haha.  It was really funny.  There are sooooo many mosquitos here.

 A street

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 21

This week was wasn't great.  We were going to have two baptisms on my birthday and they both fell through.  Elder Salcedo also got pretty sick this week.   

We have two investigators- super macizos.  J and K.   They're learning a lot, are very interested, and are really good kids.  We are very excited for them.  

I've lost about 5-10 pounds I think.  I've been starting to eat more.  They use a lot a lot of oil or vegetable shortening when they cook.  I have a little more fat now, but not much.  

I'm teaching English classes with one of the Hermanas- it's pretty awesome.  We're also doing 2 noches de hermanamiento every week here in the different neighborhoods.  I don't know how'd you call them in English, they're like mutual but for all ages with investigators and cooler. 

I love and miss you all!

Eating at the cafe

Pday and ice cream

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Week 20

This week has been great.  Élder Salcedo and I are teaching many people, and they are progressing and learning more each day of the plan that their Heavenly Father has for them.  Many are preparing for their baptisms.  We are very excited for these wonderful people and their faith and desire to follow the example of Jesus Christ in their lives.  We are doing the very best we can to help them reach their goals of being baptized and entering the gate to true happiness and peace in this Earth. I am grateful to share the message of joy in eternal families for all time with our Heavenly Father.  There are always challenges in our lives, but as He said, I am the life, the light, and the way; He that believeth in me shall have eternal life.  I don't know any promise greater than that which He offers us.  Through His grace and His mercy and His love, He saves us from death and sin, and preserves what is most precious to us in this life for all eternity if we should only believe on His words. He lives, and because He lives, we shall live also. He guides this church and has given us the way.

I am so grateful to be a missionary.  I want to teach others how the gospel can bless our lives. The gospel has blessed my life beyond what I can describe.  It's been difficult, but more rewarding than difficult.  I know that our Heavenly Father has a special and different plan for each one of us, His children.  But, I know also that this special plan unites us all in and through our faith in the living Son of God.  
Spanish is great!  I want to speak like a native.  The vowel sounds almost always are produced in high positions in your mouth.  Your nose always vibrates with Spanish vowels.  It's fun to speak Spanish, but at times it is very difficult to say what I want.

I love you all and cannot thank you enough for the support you all provide me each week.  It is sustaining and helps me do my best here.  I wish that all of you remember Him this season of Thanksgiving and the blessings we all have because of Their love.  


Week 19

For a while we have been teaching two investigators, A and E.  E is the aunt of A.  One day as we visited her and invited her to get baptized, she told us a very spiritual experience.  She told us that throughout her life, she has received many visits from different religions and always listened to them.  But when the missionaries arrived, she felt something different.  Ever since we started visiting her and A, she has felt a change in her home and life.  A has always read and prayed about the church, and told us that through the change she has seen in her home and in her aunt, she knows the church is true.  E and A accepted the invitation to be baptized; we are working with them to help them reach their goal!

Aaron and Elder Salcedo

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Week 18

This week was good.  On Tuesday, we helped a local elementary school.  We sanded and painted the desks and the door of their class.  We also cleaned out their drains (it floods there very easily).  It was a great experience helping out the teachers and the children.  The service we gave meant a lot to the school. 

We are teaching a lot of people at the moment.  A lot are progressing as well.  Many wish to get baptized.  We're working hard to help them reach their goal.  A lot of challenges always pop up in the lives of the people here! A lot of new families and people.  All of them are wonderful and special children of God.  It's always a privilege to teach and serve every person we meet.

Elder Zepeda is  a Zone Leader.  He's from El Salvador and a great missionary.  We went on divisions with the Zone Leaders this week.  

It was sad to see Elder Cruz leave.  He was very well loved here.  Many people were sad, and a few cried.  It's incredible to see how he blessed the lives of many here, and I want to do the same throughout my mission.  It was great being his companion for four months.  

I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve and grow from my service. 

My new companion is Elder Salcedo from Peru. He's the new District Leader.  We're going to help each other with Spanish and English cause he wants to learn English well.  I just hope we can keep up all the good work we've put in the past four months with Elder Cruz.

Some investigators
An investigator

Saying goodbye to Elder Cruz

Elder Salcedo

Aaron and "K"

Aaron and "O"

Aaron working on a desk

Service project
Refinished desks

Member mom who takes care of us.

Elder Zepeda

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Week 17

Elder F. was transferred to another city because an Elder had an emergency illness and was sent home.  I'm sad to see him go.  Our next transfer will be on Wednesday.

We had P-day today with President Klein.  It was way fun! We played kickball, ultimate Frisbee, and a little bit of soccer and football.  Our whole zone went.  

We were going to have a baptism this week, but she didn't show up to church and is hesitant.  Her mom is Catholic, but we are making progress.  We have some new investigators which we're very grateful for and a lot of visits to inactive families.  A lot of work and not much to show for it.  It's also very difficult to contact people and start teaching them in Spanish.  I'm trying hard, but sometimes the grandeur of the task discourages me, but I know what I'm doing is what I need to do.  I know that it's the least I can do to thank my Heavenly Father for what I've been given, and that I can learn a lot from the work we've been doing.  

Mandarins are super good and super cheap here.

P-day with my zone

Elder Rosas is going home soon.

El tren

Having fun

Here's an ugly dog

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Week 16

This past week has been good.  We went on companion exchanges with some jovenes about half the time.  Due to how things work out, Elder F. will stay here in Honduras for at least another month.  We will be able to get a whole lot of extra work done with his help.  I'm beginning to learn while being a senior companion and working to the best of my ability.  I am learning that being a good missionary is a lot harder than I thought.  

At times it can be very dissapointing and frustrating when things don't go how you wanted or expected, but I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve the people here.  It's difficult, but I'm learning a lot.  Meeting random people, starting a conversation with them, convincing them to listen to a message they've never heard (and that this message will bless them and their families), teaching that message well, and leaving an invitation to pray, read, and go to church isn't very easy, especially in a different language!  I learned that without the Holy Spirit, it is impossible to teach.  A general authority said that two minutes of the spirit is worth more than two hours of men speaking.  This is so true.  Every day I try to learn more and teach better.  

I learned more about the value of service this last week.  As Jesus taught, one of the two great commandments is to love and serve others.  We had the blessing and opportunity to put that in practice.  It wasn't much, but it made a whole lot of difference.  We have been teaching an investigator, G. for about two weeks, and have been getting to know her mother.  She didn't want to hear us at first, but last week when we asked her if she needed help with anything, she took us up on our offer to help them around the yard.  Elder F. and I did some yard work for her while Elder Cruz got to know her mother.  Through our service, we gained her mother's confidence, and the permission to bring her to church.  G. came to church and was befriended by a lot of leaders and girls her age.  It was and experience super mas hiza. Teaching with members can be an amazing benefit for missionaries.  Through going on splits with young adult members, investigators can really relate the power of the gospel to their lives as the members testify of the realness and blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   

We hope to have two baptisms this month, Hermana 
A., and G.  We have been working hard teaching many different people this past week.  We've had some disappointments, but without disappointments, the successes we have aren't as special.  I am so grateful for what this gospel has done for me and my family, and am so happy to spread that with the people of Honduras.      

Elder F. is very funny and loves fútbol.  Learning through the added responsibility of training does help you learn faster and forces you to do everything well haha.  I'm very grateful to have Elder F. as my companion.  It's a big responsibility to train a missionary.

It's hard being a trainer and senior companion.  I really need to develop my Christlike attributes (patience, humility, dilligence) to get better each day.  The immensity of the task and my desire to be the best missionary I can be,and helping lots of people to get baptized really frustrates me at times.  There's so much to do at times I don't know where to start.  I want to speak well, contact well, not be awkward while trying to get to know and teach people in a foreign language, teach well and precisely and simply the lessons, be direct and loving, yet firm.  It's hard to do all of these things.  I want to know all the scriptures, speak well, teach well, find people well, get to know people well, help people well, and I don't have much patience haha.  Confidence and calmness can be a very powerful tool when speaking Spanish and teaching.  

Telephone booth

Japan has been helping Honduras with bridges and firetrucks among other things.

Good food

Chef Aaron

T. washes our clothes, and serves the missionaries in lots of ways.  Her mother feeds us every day for lunch.

We didn't have a screwdriver

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Week 15

We have a new companion- Elder F.  He is from Tegucigalpa and will be working with us for at least two weeks until the paper for permission gets approved for him to go to the CCM in Guatemala.  He will serve in Nicaragua.  

With the help of Bryan, we have been able to go on divisions almost every day and teach twice as many people.  It's lot harder being the senior companion and training, but the added responsibility is teaching me how to be a better missionary.  Elder F. is learning very quickly and doing an excellent job, especially for not having attended the CCM.  These next 9 or so days are going to be excellent with his added help! 

But for the most part, it will be just me and Elder F. teaching together and Bryan and Elder Cruz.  Elder Cruz told President Klein in his email that he thought I was ready to train when we finished the 12 weeks, and he trusts me and him enough to do it.  Another Elder told me that President Klein really has a lot of trust in his trainers, so I really need to live up to that trust he gave me.  It's like the talk pres. Uchdorf gave during the priesthood session on a lot of different levels.  I need to heed the counsel in both ways.  

General Conference was amazing.  I took 24 pages of notes haha. 10 hours of listening to inspired men and women teach pure, true doctrine in a simple but profound way.  It is so wonderful that we have a prophet- we should always follow his words because our Heavenly Father speaks through him and He will never lead us astray.  The messages of love, change, healing, direction, opposition, responsibility, agency, example, leaders, revelation, knowledge, and families (to name a few) were all inspiring.  I especially liked the message in Helaman 5:12 that when we base our lives around the life and example of Christ, we will never falter and be able to endure whatever life throws at us.  Following His example enables us to be who we need to be- even like unto Himself. He enables us to have happiness and peace, not only for ourselves, but with our families.  

I hope to use what I've learned in Conference to help teach the many people here in Honduras that they are sons and daughters of God and the wonderful blessings that their loving Heavenly Father has in store for them as they center their lives on Jesus Christ and His Restored Gospel.  I listened in English so I could take lots and lots of notes.  We watched the two Spanish talks in Spanish.  I am doing great! 

Oh I played at transfer meeting today with the Hermana Baird.  I arranged "Teach me to Walk in the Light of his Love" and "La Luz de la Verdad".  It was hard to transition because I had to change from D major do Bb major.  One of the hardest transitions to do lol.  I ended on a D diminished 7th, to a f dominant 7th to resolve to Bb major.  It was nice even though I didn't have time to do much special.  Hermana Baird sang well.  

I like my haircut a lot.  This guy was a lot better than the last haircut I got.  The transfer will be the first of November.  This cambio is only one month.  

Aaron and Elder F. at the internet cafe

Aaron and Elder F. on P-day

The only mirror in the apartment taped on the wall

Makeshift mop from an old t-shirt and broom