Monday, July 9, 2012

Email 9 July 2012

Hey, Well... It is over. It really has come to that point. I just had my final interview with President and now I realize that I'm going to actually be home. I mean, it is really hard to believe still, but it amazes me. Amazes me big time. The interview was good though. Just talked to me about dating and finding the "Mrs Bitner" more than anything. It was kind of funny haha. Some things did happen this week, but I think it will be fun to talk about it in person rather than this, so I'm not going to say anything right now. 3 days though... Basically 2... It's done and I couldn't be happier. I look forward to Thursday so much. Thanks for all the support these past 2 years. It has been a good ride, but now it is time to start the real life. Hopefully I can start it and finish it good. I love you all. We'll see you on Thursday :) Love, Elder Bitner...for the last time.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Email 2 July 2012

Okay Guys, I’m starting to trip... I’m going to be home in just 10 days now. Doesn’t even feel real! Next week though, we will see that it is very, very real.
This past week has been weird because there have been a lot of white people here in Nahualá. There is a group from some university in the states. One of them is even a member...He came to our church yesterday and bore his testimony in Quiché. That was pretty cool. He is one of about 12 in that group and then there is the professor guy from BYU with his grandson. Tuesday morning we had a special meeting in Xela. We actually were able to do something for P-Day today. Got together at 8:30 to play soccer. My last time... Weird. Sad. But good at the same time :)
Right after that meeting, I went to the mission home to have an interview with President Bautista. I got my recommend renewed and am now ready for the temple on Tuesday. I’m very excited about that. It has been 20-something months since I last went to the temple. This one will feel real good. The first thing President asked me when I walked into his office was, "So have you decided on which career you are going to follow?" I forgot about that question... Now it is back on my mind again. He's right though, I do need to figure that one out soon.
That same day, I got the package too. Thanks for doing that again... The I’ll be wearing a different one though. The candy...awesome:) Thanks for that. Thursday I hit my 23 months, and I ate fish again. This time I took pictures (I ate fish for lunch today too. Didn’t like it as much.) It tasted pretty great. I just don’t like eating around all the bones that are inside the thing. It is kind of crazy how many there actually are in the fish they give us. I stabbed the inside of my mouth a good number of times haha.
My favorite day though was Saturday. We took an adventure. Went out to see some more waterfalls here... Our buddies that took us got lost a few times, but we eventually made it. We just had to make our own trails with machetes a lot haha. Plus trying to just climb up a mountainside is pretty hard. Especially when it is all mud due to rain. The waterfalls were awesome. They were like two twin waterfalls right next to each other. Prettiest ones I’ve seen in my mission. I was a big fan. Coming back, one of the buddies cut down some wood to take home. He carried it for a while but then couldn’t anymore because he had hurt his foot earlier in the instead of waiting for him to rest I decided to just carry it for him. It was hard... I don’t know how they do it here, but they do. Even old women Grandma´s age do it. They tie it all up and then hang it off their heads putting more than necessary pressure on their necks. I walked over 2 miles with the thing. It felt like my head was going to fall off in all honesty. Worked out alright though because I was able to make it to their house with it. Didn’t have to rest or pass it on to someone else. I was proud of my weak little self haha.
Tripping out has been a big part of my week. Mainly about my homecoming talk and what I should bring home haha. This week will probably even be worst. We have made some fun plans with people though, so it should be a good last week. I’m looking forward to it :) Next week will be my last letter home... I can’t believe that my time has come to an end. It's over. It really is. I honestly didn’t think it would make me sad, but I’m starting to feel that "tristeza" come over me. Guatemala really has become a home to me, even though there are so many things I don’t like about it. I guess the things I like outweigh all of those ones. It has been a good experience for me, and I will never regret it.
Hope all of you are ready for me to come home. If not, you better prepare. Take care. Love you all, Elder David Bitner

Email 25 June 2012

Elder Baboza
Heyy Heyy Heyy,
Can you believe it? 17 more days until I see your beautiful faces again... It is driving me crazy how close it is. It just needs to be the day already. My 700th day in the mission is tomorrow. That will be a pretty cool feeling haha. I remember when I hit 100 days... I thought it was so cool. Felt like I had so much time here. Now with 700? I feel like I’ve been here an eternity. Well, I said goodbye to Elder Adams Tuesday morning. We left Nahualá to the highway to catch a just so happened that the bus we caught had 6 missionaries on it from Quiche haha. What are the odds? Two of them were my good buddies, so it was fun for me. Monday night Bergeson called me and told me who my new companion was because he saw it on the "Change Wall" in President Bautista's office during his last interview. So...I already knew who my new companion was before even getting to the terminal. That has been how it has been my whole mission though. I always know what is going to happen with me haha. My new companion is actually the "kid" of Bergeson. He trained him back when we were first starting... His name is Elder Barboza, and he is from Jaén, Peru. A cool kid. Now I can learn some more words in Spanish. We get a long great, so we are both happy. Not much time with the kid, but we're making the best of it.
With changes...the closed one of the areas in Nahualá. The area that Bergeson was in actually, Chirijox. We had to stop there with this guy to take all the stuff out of the house, so he could take it to another area...the house....was a mess. I have never seen something so dirty before. Needless to say, this week we are headed up there to clean what we can of it. Not going to be a fun task. We did find some cool stuff that Bergeson and his comp left behind though, so that was nice :) You guys remember how I used to make Pupusas all the time in Xela with the Sister Missionaries by us? Well, those same two Sisters are companions again in my District haha. They promised me that we would make them before I go home. I’ll have another chance to eat them by an actual girl from El Salvador.
On Thursday we had a conference with a couple Zones in Xela. Elder Amado, part of the Area Presidency, came to talk to us. His talk didn’t have a lot to do with missionary work. He talked about marriage more than anything I think. It was a cool conference. The only bad thing was waking up at 4:04 to get to Xela by 6:30 so the thing could start at 7:00. I was dying that day. I almost fell asleep a couple times. Felt like I was going on a Utah trip haha like back in the day when we would leave super early. Xela is not at all like Utah though. I’m officially the oldest in the mission. One of the next four to be going home. Pretty crazy. I, as well as everyone else, cannot believe that my day has come. Not going to lie, it is getting really hard now that it is so close. I’m still always happy so that is good. Tomorrow I have an interview with President Bautista to renew my recommend, so I’m sure he'll give me some words of advice on that.
Anyways, hope the move goes great. Enjoy the OK brother haha. I love you all so much :)
Love, Elder Bitner!
Early morning
David's Gym

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Email 18 June 2012

Zona Nahuala
Well Hi,
So I’m still in Xela because I’m waiting for Bergeson to get out of his last interview so I can give him some stuff... Therefore, I just decided to do the email right now while I’m waiting for the lucky kid! First off, Happy Father's Day to dad and everyone else! Hope it was filled with manliness. Second, Happy Birthday to Cole! 5 years old... That seems unreal.
All is well for me. Changes are tomorrow. I will be finishing my mission in Nahualá, so no surprises there... However, my companion, Elder Adams, does have changes. So for my last 3 weeks, I’ll have a new companion. That is a surprise. Not sure who it is going to be, so that will be weird for me to find out tomorrow since I was banking on Adams being my last comp. Oh well I guess.
Still can’t believe Bergeson is leaving... I made him give the message in District Meeting since it was his last opportunity to do so haha. He did good. That kid really has been like a brother to me... He and I have really gotten close over the last couple years.
Speaking of buddies though... Ryan sent me his flight plans. It is official. We are on the same flights! We'll both be in Sky Harbor at 3:35pm, July 12th. Pretty awesome!
Friday, the Zonies asked me to have a "sleep over" with them. Even though we had some appointments that we were looking forward to, we went and did it. They needed me to do a baptismal interview for them, so that was the purpose in the whole sleepover and what not. It was my first interview for a baptism. The girl answered everything right and looked really prepared, but then she told me she didn’t want to be baptized yet. That took me by surprise because of how ready she actually was, but obviously we can’t just force someone into the water. Her family was reactivated a few months ago. Her parents and sisters are all baptized, but she isn’t...and for some reason doesn’t want to be quite yet. Someday though... I know that.
Saturday, we had a huge activity. Did a sports day in celebration of Father's Day. Soccer and basketball... It was a lot of fun. They listened to Lil Wayne the entire time basically. Pretty tight for a church activity haha.
I love you all so much and can’t wait to see you. Have a great week and take care :)
Love, Elder Bitner

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Email 11 June 2012

David's lunch today
Hi there everybody,
Tomorrow happens to be the one month mark until I’m coming home. Pretty unbelievable. I’m almost done... It just can’t be. My entire mission I have thought that going home was just never going to happen, but here I am...just 30 days away. Remarkable.
This week has been very unexciting. On Tuesday I had some fun before the Zone Meeting though. I played ping-pong for the first time in who knows how long...and I highly recommend that you buy a ping-pong table. They are awesome. The church building where our Zone Leaders are has one, so when we showed up early we found them playing it and joined in on the fun! And now, I really badly want one haha.
I was able to chop wood again this week. Two and half hours of it. I got a ton of it done too. I kept coming across very large black spiders when I tried to grab a new piece of wood. That was slowing me down a little bit. I’m not scared of spider because I have 155 pounds on them, but these things were big and just kept coming out of nowhere, along with I took my time picking up the wood. One thing I don’t understand is how they go through so much wood! Blows my mind.
That day we were chopping we had an appointment. I ended up sending my companion with another kid to go do it. I thought he knew where he was going, but it turned out that he didn’t. The appointment was to go visit references, so we sent them to the house of the member that gave them to us and then they went to visit the family... Turned out he went to a different house of a member. It worked out alright because that member actually did take them somewhere haha, so it was kind of funny. Now we have even more references...but explaining all that to the lady we were supposed to actually go with was troubling. Made me feel bad because she just kept saying, "Well, they were expecting us... Hopefully that doesn’t ruin it." It ended up working out alright with them too. Sunday afternoon we went to visit the lady with the member lady. Turns out the lady only speaks Quiche, so we weren’t able to really communicate with her. We had to talk through the member that took us there... Our new plan is to get 2 ex-missionaries to go with us that speak Quiche and that way they can just do all the talking, since they know it all. We'll see if it works out like that though.

Anyways, those are the big points of the week. We actually have quite a few investigators now, so life is looking good in that perspective. We'll just have to see if they continue to be interested.
Well, take care all. I love you guys so much :) I’ll see you in a month! Love, Elder Bitner

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Email 4 June 2012

The Waterfall
It has been a pretty busy day... Lots of buses more than anything. We headed down to Xela this morning for P-Day. Got sick of Nahualá/Toto, so we figured Xela would give us some good fun. I went "shopping" in the Central Park trying to find some stuff. I will be honest with you right now, I’m getting another suit. Couldn’t resist. The two should last me a good while though, so it is worth it. This one I’m getting is basically paid for, so not too much money to worry about there. It will cost about the same as the other one though. I just wanted a black suit with a vest too. Sorry... I just like dress clothing I guess haha. Then we went to Walmart. I dropped some true money there. Not that much actually... It was basically all my groceries for the month, so that is good. Now I don’t have to worry about buying that really. Thank goodness.
There was another death here last week. Another father of a member. I don’t know what it is, but everyone just seemed to be dying there for a moment. 3 people in 6 days? Intense.
The puppies that we had in our backyard got stolen. Wasn’t happy about that... On Wednesday, when we got back from lunch, they were all gone! Someone is getting some good money selling them at least though.
The guy that I baptized here in Nahualá is becoming quite the legit member. Gives prayers in classes and all that good stuff. His daughter, Angela, says "Elder" every time she sees us.  Makes me smile at least.
Took somewhat of an adventure Saturday morning. This kid Erik had been asking me forever what day we were going to go to the waterfall here in Nahualá. He was really wanting to take us for some finally on Saturday, we went with the little guy. It was a nice little hike. Took about an hour to get there. Tired us out a tiny bit, but we managed to keep our strength. The waterfall was pretty big though. I actually went and stood under this one... It may look like fun and just a good time in general, but as soon as I got under it, it wasn’t all that cool haha. It felt like someone was just pouring a ton of rocks onto my ears. Hurt so bad... Waterfalls are some very strong earthly objects. I felt like I was being suffocated under it! It was taking all the wind out of me because it was pelting my back so hard. Worth it though. Waterfalls are just too cool.
When we were sitting in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, this lady sitting behind us passed me a note telling me that her husband that was sitting next to her was investigating the church and that she wanted us to go visit him. We have an appointment with him tomorrow night. He is actually the brother-in-law of the guy I baptized here a while ago, so it is kind of cool that he is coming to church now too. Maybe we'll have some success with him. We can only hope :)
Giving a talk in church on Sunday. Yay...
Tyler hits a year of being gone this week. Sad... Very sad.
That has been it though I think. Not much more. Just trying to find some people to baptize before I bounce on out of here. 38 days left is not a lot, so we got to find quickly. Anyways, take care and have great weeks!
I love you all. Love, Elder Bitner

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Email 28 May 2012

Whoa, Another month gone...which means 22 months on this thingy-ma-jigger. Great times and long days. Very worth it in the end though. It is really weird being the "old guy" in the mission and having to give a lot of advice and what not. Feels cool, but at the same time it is hard. You never want to say something that would ruin the future of someone's mission. Chances are, that I only say things that do just that. My bad. Life is good though.
Not too much news, but a goodish week. On Thursday, our branch had an activity for "Mother's Day". They did it a little late, but at least they did something. Pretty impressed. It was my first activity since being here! and... probably my last. The youth were put in charge of it. It was basically just a Talent Show of sorts. Heard lots of good music haha. It was cool though because we got a few investigators there. It allowed people to have the opportunity to invite friends and what not.
 Friday I got what I hope is my last haircut in Guatemala. I’m really trying to not cut it here again...that way Becky can cut when I get home.
We found quite a bit of new people to teach this past week. The 2 best are the same two people that showed up to church last week and this week. Mike...(just a random guy we talked to in the street), and Belinda (the wife of a less active). Hopefully we can create some magic up in that :)
So Saturday, we got our "prize" for doing the 40 contacts the week before. We traveled down to Xela and had a small little conference with President Bautista. Then we watched a movie. We saw "Tangled". It killed all of us... All we all want to do now is go home and hang out with the ladies, but we can’t. Yet... haha. I still need to see it at home though because we watched it in Spanish here. Afterwards we ate lasagna though. Delicious.
Best part of it all, I got the package! and the cuff links were inside the Skittles. High five for that. I’m a fan. After all that we got permission to run over to Walmart. I got 3 Dr Peppers and 2 Mountain Dews. Awesome purchases...
Over the weekend we had 2 deaths here in Nahualá. The father of a member and the daughter of the other. Saturday we went and visited the guy who had the father die. We saw his casket open...weird. While we were there, we received a lot of attention from everyone. They fed us and talked to us a ton. We were really respected by lots of non-members. Pretty cool. Sunday morning we followed the procession thing. In the states everyone drives behind the, everyone walks behind the pick-up. You can see the difference, but means the same. It wasn’t as sad as the other death though. This guy I became good friends with when I was covering the other ward too had his 3 month old daughter die Sunday morning. She wasn’t sick at all and was perfectly fine. No one understands what happened. Especially him... He just kept telling me Sunday Afternoon when I went to visit him that he hated life. It was so sad. Seeing the little coffin on this tiny table just made me want to cry. Held it in though. Just hope I was able to give him some words of comfort. I’m not a fan of little kid deaths. Those are terrible in every single way possible...
That has been the week though. Anyways, I hope is going well for everyone back there. Things are going just fine for me for now. No problems lately, so I’m happy :) Please, have a good week everyone! Do some big! Love, Elder Bitner
Following the Pickup
Puppies born in our backyard