Friday, December 17, 2010

Email 14 December 2010

My beloved family and acquaintances,
Things got a little bit better over the last week. For a few days at least. In my email to President last week, I told him that I felt my area was falling, and that I didn’t want to leave it that way for the next couple Elders if I got changed. The next day, we were sent two more Elders. They are called the "equipo de apoyo", which is the support team. There are a bunch of them that just travel area to area throughout the week days. The 2 that came to my area were Elder Bueso, who is from Honduras and speaks English, and Elder Ramirez from Peru. They helped us out a lot. Over the 3 days they were there, we got 10 new investigators and 4 baptismal dates. One of those dates being Margarita, whom I have been teaching ever since I got into the field. I’ll tell you that story real quick...
Basically, she always was having trouble receiving an answer. I can’t even think about the number of times my companions and I have taught her about the Holy Ghost and the possible ways answers come. This last time I visited her with Elder Bueso was different. I had a strong impression to ask her if she had received an answer. She told me yes, and began to tell me the story. She said she had a dream. In that dream Elder Thatcher (last companion) and I were in her house teaching her about baptism with the Bishop. She said that in the dream an overwhelming feeling came over her and that she knew it was all true. When she woke up in the morning, she said the same feeling was still with her and that she knew she wanted to be baptized. Although she just had a baby about 2 or 3 weeks ago, she has a date to be baptized this coming Sunday, the 19th. I had been with her through her whole conversion process, so this is really special to me. I was so happy that night she told me she knew it was all true. Hard to explain the feelings that came over me.
Another interesting story is about my first converts (Josues) mom, Cristina. The other night, we found all of her stuff outside of her house. Found out that she had been kicked out. Without giving her notice, they just took all the stuff and put on the street. Luckily most of her stuff isn’t nice, so nothing was missing. We found this out at 8:30 though... We then spent almost an hour and a half carrying her stuff by hand, with no vehicle, a mile or so away to a different house. It was sad to look at her face. Practically nothing, but tears. Broke my heart.
Funny story now... Because we had the other 2 Elders with us, I was basically on divisions for 3 days, meaning I didn’t have the keys ever because my companion always had them. One night it started getting really cold, so Elder Bueso and I wanted to get sweaters. We went back to the house thinking maybe the lady that owns it would be home to open it for us, but she wasn’t either. Thinking I was smarter than normal, I went to the 3 story, a rooftop view, and decided maybe I could go through the window. Right outside the window I wanted to go through was a tin roof that covered a wood shop. Thinking that tin is stronger than it really is, I held on to the edge of the roof and dropped/lowered myself down to the tin. As soon I touched the tin, it began to bend in and feel like it was going to collapse. I hurried to open the window, only applying more pressure to the already delicate tin causing it to dent and collapse more, and then jumped inside. When I looked back at the tin, it looked as if a car tire had just hit where I was standing. Although it was cool to feel like James Bond, it was one of those things I probably shouldn’t have done haha.
Anyways, the past few days have been hard. Since early in the morning Saturday to be exact... I have felt very sick. I actually only went to Sacrament meeting yesterday, and then just went straight home and didn’t leave till dinner, at which I didn’t eat anything. Only drank a glass of Pepsi because a member thought it would help haha. I actually almost feel worse right now, but I wasn’t about to give up emailing... Playing soccer this morning probably wasn’t the best thing to do to help me feel better, nor eating the chimichanga I had for lunch. Whatever... Being sick is inevitable here.
Spent a lot of my down time yesterday writing letters - my companion actually wrote one to a girl I know. He only knows Spanish though, so I had to translate it into English. Minus a few things that just made no sense at all that I don’t care about, I think I did pretty good! haha. I laughed throughout the whole thing because it was just weird.
Couple favors... I need you to send me Texas Quarter and then a handful of Arizonan quarters. Also, maybe a couple of the step counters. Two Elders I know want them. They will pay for them too... I also need one for myself because my clip broke, so I have just been ghetto-rigging it to work.
Well, minus the sickness all is well. I’ve been happy about everything for the most part. Being sick on the mission just straight up sucks though. Especially after a few days of actually working... My sickness is leading my companion into his old ways. Oh well.
Enjoy yourselves! Be happy in all that you do. Find joy in everything :) Prepare yourselves for Christmas! Don’t wait till the last minute... haha. I don’t even have to worry about that stressful stuff. Cool man. Well, I love you all so much! I miss you all as well :)
Love always and forever with cherries on top,
Elder David Bitner

Friday, December 10, 2010

Email 7 December 2010

Hey all my lovely people back in the US and the one Guatemalan that looks at this,
I didn’t write yesterday though because I was in Xela for my Christmas party dinner thing. President made our P-day today, so that is why I’m writing today. I think my P-day will be Tuesday’s basically this whole month because I will be in Xela every Monday I think doing fun activities and such with the entire mission. Anyways, the dinner (lunch really...) was so sweet. We had it in this really nice Hotel Convention room. Way nicer than most of the hotels in the States that I have seen. It basically looked like Phantom of the Opera. We had a bunch of skits (each Zone did one). For our skit - I dressed up as King Benjamin. Don’t really want to talk about why because it was pretty gay... The food was good though. Had some nice steak-ish thing and a like tube of rice. Some veges in the purple like taco bowl. Sounds all sketchy sort of, but it was yummy. We went to a place called XelaPan after (Bread/bake shop), which is ridiculously delicious. I was in heaven. The best part of day was the mail though.... :) I got all the letters from the Bitner’s. That was a nice surprise. It was very cool to hear from all of them. I got a DearElder from Mom. I also got a random letter in Spanish from someone that signed Chris. No return address or anything. Just Chris... and it was in Spanish. I’m kind of confused on who it is from. Got a feeling it might be Mac just trying to screw with me. I also got 3 packages. The other one from the CCM. One from my Cuque. The other was from the Dickson’s. Probably the funniest, most random package I’ll ever get. It had like toilet paper in it... Shaving cream and razors. A hotwheels car. Toothpaste. A toothbrush. Shampoo. Hand Sanitizer. Of course, a bunch of little candies. It was great. There was also a book by Elder Holland, which I’m quite excited to read. The Christmas letter was also inside. That was entertaining as well haha. My package from Cuque had Dr Pepper, Diet Dr Pepper, A and W Rootbeer, and some Hot Chocolate packages. Lovely as well. Yours had all the pictures and such. I was excited for the stationary :) Not so much for the American Stamps that I can’t use haha. All is well though...
So over the past week, a lot has happened. First off, I did send the package. Should get there next week sometime I think... It cost 588 Quetzales. Hopefully you all enjoy it. Open it as soon as you get and start sending out the gifts inside. Especially to like Derek and Britt since they are heading up to Iowa I think.
My companion and I moved/changed houses. He always complains about how much money we spend/get, so he wanted something cheaper. Now we live with the lady that cooks and does our laundry for us. We pay 700 Quetz for the house. We paid 900 at the other and we had to pay for trash, water, and light separate. At the new house, we don’t pay any of that. It is a lot smaller, but whatever. It is right across from a big Christmas tree, so that is cool. They actually had a little ceremony for it the other night. They prayed for it? They also did fireworks though, so that was really cool that we got to be so close to them. We actually have some that we are going to light tonight with the Elders in La Viña and some members. Should be sweet. I’ve never done a legit one haha. Don’t worry, I’ll be safe.
It is the Day of the Devil here though. I guess it gets pretty sketchy sometimes.... They all just buy piñatas of the Devil and kill them and set them on fire and stuff. Freaking weird...
Last Thursday night, we got together with the La Viña guys and ordered Dominos Pizza. They have a deal that if it takes more than 30 minutes, it is free. It took them 50, so we got 2 pizzas and some cinnamon things for free. I enjoyed that dearly. (Note from Mom – I told him I didn’t think that was right, still have to be a MOM)
As for traditions of Christmas here in Guatemala - They basically have all the same decorations and what not. A lot even say Merry Christmas, rather Feliz Navidad. Weird... But they mainly just celebrate the 24th I think. Not so much the 25th. I guess at Midnight on the 24th, the sky is just lit with Fireworks. Like everywhere.... I’m really excited for that.
Anyways, all is well. I’m still hanging in there and enjoying myself. Take care and always be happy. I’m in the worst situation in my life really, and I’m still happy. It is remarkable. I love you all and miss you! Enjoy life!
Elder Beenair (That is how they pronounce my name here)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Email 29 November 2010

Hi friends and family from the lovely country of Guatemala!
Things have gotten a little better... but not much. We actually worked some this past week, which was nice. We found 8 new investigators. They each only have one lesson taught to them though, so it isn’t too positive right now. Our mission leader is making our first area map, so that should help. We dealt with the huge dog that tried to kill Elder Thatcher and me the last time we came in contact with it. My companion just kept whipping it with a stick when it came after him.
A little about the food. Last Monday, for dinner, I ate 2 raw eggs basically. Felt incredibly sick afterwards. They were disgusting. The daughter gave me a sticker for the back of my plaque though. She saw my collection that I had, so she wanted to add to it. That was cool :)
Thanksgiving! I know this is what everyone is truly interested about... haha. When I first woke up, I was a mess.. I was so sad and homesick. I couldn’t help but think about what everyone was doing back at home. Drink runs... Black Friday newspaper... Football... Big old feast.... I knew I was missing out. Especially since so many people were there. The day definitely got better over some time though. We played Bancopoly with the Elder of La Viña and drank some Coke to celebrate. One of them is a gringo, so he understands the holiday obviously. That was nice to reflect with him on it about how it went down back in the states. After about 2 hours of our game, we went to our lovely meal. We ate at the owner of Zumbas house. That was cool. He was a real estate guy back in the states until the economy fell. He lost millions of dollars he said... His house here is quite beautiful. Probably just because is American styled. Haha. It was nice seeing a building made of sheetrock rather than cinderblock. As we waited for the food, we got to listen to Taylor Swifts Christmas CD. Can’t even tell you how nice that was... I miss her voice. haha. I want that CD next year for Christmas. Anyways, the meal was great. Had all the usual stuff. Tried everything! Definitely something I wouldn’t do at home. I had... Turkey, dark turkey, stuffing, yams, green beans, veges (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots), yams, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, 2 different types of jello, some weird beans, rolls, and good old lemonade. For dessert I had pumpkin pie, 2 cookies, and banana bread. Overall, it was so freaking good. haha. I want it again... There was not enough for seconds really though, so that was sad. Oh well though. All the Latinos hated the food. That was funny. hahah. They just all said it was very "rare" haha. They just played with fireworks the whole time. There were more than 40 Elders there though. A lot of work for the the man and his white wife. Very fun though :)
I had the priviledge of eating a homeade empañada or whatever it is. Sooo freaking good. Don’t get too jealous mom. The ones at Taco Bell are still decent tasting... haha.
On Saturday I talked my companion into waking up at 6 to go play basketball with the Elders of La Viña. That was a lot of fun. We woke up at 6 today to play soccer with them.
I have been spending a lot of time reading the book Our Search For Happiness. I love it... I think if everyone in the world were to read it, we wouldn’t get any crap for anything, and we would be the largest religion probably. haha. Maybe it will happen someday.
All is well here though. I have had a cold for the last week, so that has been rough. I hate runny noses. I’m going to send a Christmas package home tomorrow, if all goes as planned. Hopefully you guys will enjoy that. Takes about 2 weeks to get there. Anyways, the mission is good. I miss you all. I love you all as well! Remember to always be happy :) It is what makes life fun for us...
With much beautiful, sweet, and pure love,
Elder David R. Bitner

Email 22 November 2010

Hey all :)
Still here in the mission, so that is good... haha. Things have definitely been getting harder. My companion is a lot of fun, but is very difficult.
I did have my baptism Friday! That was nice to have. I got to do it... Yani insisted that I would do it. Made me feel really good about myself. I did perfect. One try! haha. Way better than the 5 times with the other lady. As soon as she came out of the water, I can’t even explain it. I was just sooo happy. I loved it! Nothing, but straight joy! I brought someone unto Christ :) It was great....
Another plus about the baptism! Guess who came..... Hermano CUQUE! haha. He told me in his email last week that he was thinking about coming to visit me. I was so excited! Even more so because he actually came! He took his last test in Microbiology Friday morning and then hopped on a bus and came to Huehue! Long drive too. Love that guy. He got there perfect timing for the baptism. I got him a place to stay with the lady that cooks for us and everything. Cuque even went out with us to our appointments and such, Friday night and Saturday afternoon. He owns at teaching... I’m trying to adapt his skills now. He taught me some stuff, so I’m real excited :) He actually went with us to our investigator Maria, who works for our bishop as his nanny maid lady. He made me teach a lot. He made me teach baptism too... But guess what! I got another fecha out of it :) It has already fallen through though. It was supposed to be this Saturday, but she hasn’t attended church yet and didn’t go yesterday... We are going to try and do it right after church this Sunday, if we can get her to go... I’m hoping that works out well :) Cuque also brought me a couple special treats! He brought me a case for Daily Planner. He had one in the CCM that I liked a lot, so he found one just like for me :) that was cool. The best treat though..... was 12 cans of DR PEPPER! They sell at a store right by his house I guess. Pretty cool! I’m in heaven when I drink it. haha.
I did end up singing in the Choir Saturday with the 2 members of the 70 there. One was gringo. We were the only two gringos in the building because none of the other missionaries were allowed to go. That was weird. They sang their own version of the EFY medley that they created themselves. I can’t really even describe what that sounded like. It was the worst thing I have ever heard... Haha. I loved it though because I was laughing pretty hard as I was standing up there. Cuque was too... He was dying haha.
The other day, Elder Solorzano and I decided to do some yard work at our house. All the missionaries before had just let it grown out of control for the past like 6 months. I’m glad to say that it is beautiful now though :) haha. Go me...
Other than the few difficulties with my comp all is well. We played soccer today with the other zone. Lots of people... Kind of crazy. One kid actually broke his nose. We are having a soccer competition throughout the whole mission soon. We are getting jerseys made. Number 11 was taken so I couldn’t get that number..... Instead I’m getting 69 ;) haha.
Thanksgiving is going to be hard... The guy that owns the restaurant we always go to on Mondays is putting a nice meal together for us. All the good American food that we have for the good Holiday. It is going to be so hard being away from the family... I think I will be able to manage. I hope at least.
I’m happy almost always! I hope to better my work this week. The mission is good though. I can do hard things...
I love you all! Always be happy... :)
Love always and forever,
Elder DR Bitner

Monday, November 15, 2010

Email 15 November 2010

Hi my fellow family and friends :)
There have been some changes in my "mission" this past week...
First off, last P-day was great. Went to the ruins here in Huehue. Thought to myself, this is probably where Moroni walked at some point. Very cool to think about.... When we got home for the night, Thatcher and I found a window in our kitchen broken. Nothing that could have broken it though, so our Landlord said someone must have tried to break in. They were just scared off by her dog. Sketchy, but cool ;) haha.
We had changes as I had mentioned. My companion is no longer Elder Thatcher... He is now in Momostenango (poorest area in our mission). I now have.....a Latino for a companion. His name is Elder Solorzano and he is from a small town in Nicaragua. He knows absolutely no English, with the exception of some inappropriate words. haha. So I am now speaking pure Spanish, except for when I report to the District Leader and such. Solorzano has 9 months in the mission and is a convert of 5 years. He is the only one in his family too. When he was 11 years old he was initiated into a gang. He has a tattoo that signifies "Crazy Life". He said he stole, drank, smoked, and all that other good stuff. He comes from a very poor family. He said the roof of his house is covered in Iguanas... His parents always had to sleep out in the street because there wasn’t room for them. It is just a sad situation. He is a great guy though. He always wants to work. He is really funny too. I taught him how to play poker the other night. We played Bancopoly yesterday, which is a Guate version of Monopoly. It is just fun haha. And I know a lot more Spanish than I thought too. It is just going to keep improving too.
For changes we had another Mission Conference. Didn’t get mail though... President told us about 2 Elders that were being sent home because they split off from each other, and one ended up making a bad choice. He stressed the importance of being with your companion always and stuff like that. He was very sad with the whole situation obviously.
The other day, Elder Solorzano and I were contacting and came across some Jehovah´s Witnesses doing the same thing. So, we cut them off and went to the next house they were going to go to. haha. Got a new investigator out of it too :) Funny stuff haha.
My Companion told me a funny story the other night. He had a shirt that said "I Love D!ck". He said he would always wear it, until a Gringo Elder came to his town and told him what exactly that meant haha. He threw it away right after that because "he isn’t gay" haha.
The other night I had a bad food experience. I had basically a plateful of mushrooms....... and a tiny piece of chicken and some rice. I ate every single mushroom. Could not taste one of them really haha. It was weird. Still felt absolutely disgusting though for having freaking fungus in me. The rest of the food has still been good though. Definitely not things I would eat at home, but it is all good. I like Guate food. Still liking the member´s fake coffee too haha.
The work is progressing. We dropped 4 investigators yesterday. Yani is scheduled to be baptized this Friday now because we have stake conference Sat and Sun. 2 or 3 General Authorities are coming too. I think all just 70s though. I’m singing in the choir for the Saturday Adult session. My bishop is buying me a tie for it. haha. But yeah, I’m loving it here. I still get homesick, but I know that this is where I should be. The mission truly is a blessing. You learn sooo much stuff from it. It is ridiculous.... I’m enjoying myself greatly :)

Anyways, I have 21 emails today, so I should probably do those now... I love you all and think about you a lot! More than I should probably haha. I am grateful for every person in my life. Remember, always be happy! :) haha
Elder David B.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Email 8 November 2010

Hello my lovely family and friends :)
All is well here still. Things are slowly progressing for me thankfully.
I had another mission conference this last week as I told you guys I was going to. It was with Elder Clark, who is the President of Central America I think? Not really sure. It was a good one though. We just talked about problems we were having in the mission. Most of the Elders have not been out more than 8 months... So, my mission is considered a new mission I guess. It is difficult they say because we don’t have a lot of experience. Elder Clark also told us that we need to become best friends with the Latinos. We are here with them to lift them up in the church. That is why we aren’t in the "easy" state missions haha. We have to elevate our fellow Latino Elders as well as the members. Anyways, I did get some mail. I got one handwritten letter from mom... It was the one on the stationary you used for Derek? I also had 3 DearElders from Mom. The Maznio Family sent me a letter too, so that was nice. I did get one of the packages. A very small one that had like nothing, but my memory card was still in it, so that was nice :) Didn’t have pictures though... That was saddening.
I was hoping the envelopes would be addressed already too, but they aren’t haha. Oh well. As of now, it looks like Mom is the only one that cares. haha. Just kidding guys.
I had a nice, fun experience with a drunken guy on Friday I think it was. My comp and I were going to a little Tienda (a little store) to buy a little snack. This tienda serves as a bar too though... When we went up to it, all the guys that were drinking started talking to us.
We went to pull out money for our little chips, but the drunken guy said that he wanted to pay haha. So he bought us our chips and then insisted that we get drinks too. It was sweet...
We got a baptismal date. We misunderstood Yani last week. She only wanted to set a date that day, so I didn’t have a baptism this last week. She now has a date for the 20th of this month though, so that is good. I’m hoping I don’t get transferred this week because I want to be a part of it. She asked the question, "Where does God come from?" We are answering that tonight. Yay... haha.
We finally met with Margarita last night for the first time in more than 2 weeks. She said that she wants to get baptized, but that she is having problems with some members. I guess some members have been saying some pretty bad things about her and her husband because they haven’t been to church in a while. They both work in the medicine field, so that is why... People don’t seem to understand. It is sad.
We have been contacting/tracting a lot. As you can imagine, that is probably the most unsuccessful way to find new investigators. We went to like 20 houses Friday morning. Didn’t get into one... Oh well. That is the life of the mission.
We went on a hike Saturday morning to try and find someone. Failed...
So we explored for a while. Found a random cave/tunnel thing, a little waterfall, a soccer field in the middle of nowhere, and a bridge made of pvc pipe. It was a good time. haha. I love walking through that mountain.
Had another cool experience with a drunken guy... haha. He stopped us in the street and asked if we played guitar. My comp told him I did and that I was good. So now, this drunken guy wants me to come to his house and play guitar with him like "Jimmy Hendrix".haha. Funny stuff.
My comp and I joined the choir yesterday haha. Our ward is singing for Stake Conference this month, so the 2 Counselors asked us to go. We are definitely the best... And you guys know how bad my singing is, so it is kind of funny. I like listening to them sing.
It has been getting cold... I wear my cute little V-neck sweater pretty much every night now as we are walking around. I love it. haha. Been drinking a lot of hot drinks that members give us. Food is still pretty normal... Haven’t had anything too crazy, so that is still good.
Anyways, I love you all! I’m doing fine here, so don’t worry about anything. I’m just hoping I’m still in Cerrito come Wednesday! Again, I love you! and miss you all :) Love, Elder dbitner

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Email 1 November 2010

Family and friends,
I’m going to start out with something that is a little personal to me that I experienced last night actually. Probably one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had. My companion and I were visiting Little Josue. Over the past few days he has had a very bad pain in his mouth. It looked to me as if it was some sort of infection in side of his cheek. Didn’t look very good though. First off, when we got to the Tortilleria or whatever it is called, Josue wasn’t in there. His mom told us he was out back. We found him with his shirt half way off, wrapped around his hands, huddled next to a little fire his mom was using to cook some corn. He was shivering more than anyone I have ever seen. My companion immediately took off his sweater and gave it to him. As we were visiting with him, my companion had a feeling we should give him a blessing to help with his mouth. I was having the same feeling, so I proceeded to anoint, and he gave the blessing. Throughout the blessing, I had an overwhelming feeling come over me that we needed to just be straight up and say be healed. I couldn’t really say anything to my comp about it, so I proceeded to continually pray in my heart about it. We finished and went back to our house, and I started changing. My companion sat down on his chair and just had a very extremely puzzled look on his face. I asked if he was okay and he said that while he was giving the blessing, he had a feeling to just heal Josue straight up, but he didn’t know how to in Spanish and he didn’t want to make a mistake. I told him I was having the same feeling throughout it. We prayed, and then felt that it was right to go back and give another. Before we started, I knelt down next to Josue and asked him, "Josue, do you have faith that you can be healed?" He replied yes, and we started. As soon as we started it, a bunch of fireworks started going off... But we pushed through. I still don’t even know if he is having any issues or not, but hopefully, the three of us, had the amount of faith necessary to complete such a miracle. I honestly can’t describe the feeling I was having throughout it. It was spectacular... The priesthood is real. The manifestation of the spirit is real.
Anyways, let’s move on...
So I had my conference in Xela. It was boring, but I understood everything in Spanish on my own. That was neat. Also, for lunch, they bought everyone their own medium Pizza Hut pizza. It was freaking beautiful haha. Mail though did not come. We were supposed to have interviews with President up in Huehue, so they said they would bring it then... Guess what, the interviews didn’t happen because of some huge protest somewhere between Xela and Huehue, so I’m still without handwritten mail. Sucks. I have another conference this Wednesday though with Elder Clark (Pres of Central America), so hopefully I’ll see something good there. Perhaps one of your packages, or my CCM teacher said he sent me a package, so I should at least have that one! :) Cuque is the man... I’m telling him he can fly home with me if he wants, so you might get a Latino with your Gringo ;) He knows English though. Haha.
Another cool experience... I told you guys about Yani last week I think. She was having doubt about J. Smith. We read Joseph Smith History with her (my idea) and she said she knew he was a prophet. Then we watched the Joseph Smith movie with her (also my idea) and after the movie, before we even said anything, this is what she said, "I have absolutely no doubts anymore about J. Smith. So the only thing I lack now is a baptismal date! When can we do it?" My companion and I were straight up shocked. I didn’t even know what to do haha. Looks like we will be having a baptism sometime this week though!
But yeah, I’m officially 3 months through this whole deal. I finished the Book of Mormon in English on my 3 month anniversary. Should have been a lot sooner if it wasn’t for my reading of it in Spanish in the CCM. I regret that. Oh well. The Book of Mormon is pretty legit though... Can’t lie about that haha.
There were a lot of Zone boundary changes over the past week... I wrote about those in my letter though, so I’m not going to talk about that. Boring anyways.
One thing I have really been missing is legit Costco Milk... Stuff here straight up sucks. I want a red cup of milk right now. haha. It is sad. My comp and I started a collection of Frutada wrappers though! We have like 60 right now haha. We have been dealing with a lot of fleas at night. We wake up in the morning with so many bites. It sucks. Send me something good to protect myself. Oh funny story. We went to see this guy out in the boonies. He has a huge dog..... You can probably see where this is going haha. The dog started barking at us. Kind of gentle, very deep bark, so we weren’t very scared. Then it got closer and closer. My companion threw a rock, and then it straight up started running at us. My companion tripped right away, while I was like a hundred feet away haha. Luckily, his falling scared the dog away, so neither of us got hurt. It was so scary though. Not for me as much because I didn’t fall, but whatever haha.
My companion bought a portable DVD player the other day. Practically every Elder but me has one. We watched Suits on the Loose yesterday before lunch/after church and again this morning. haha. Great movie :) Yesterday for Lunch we had fast food (Pollo Campero). Soo goood. Also, our lunch lady bought us this big thing of Pepsi! So yummy. Caffeine is amazing :) For dinner, the people we always eat with gave us Coke too! Yesterday was just a very good day :) haha.
I bought 2 ties. One for Dad and one for Derek. We’ll see when I get those out though. I’ll probably send a Christmas package home. I also have this Xela Temple Pin for mother. I have had it since the CCM. It is on my suit right now, but that will come too :)
I’m loving the mission though. Sometimes it would go by a lot faster but that might be too much to ask haha. I’m starting to see the importance of this work more and more. I love it. I love you all. I miss you all, but it is time to serve Jesus and God. Their time, their work. Love you guys again! Be happy always!!!
Elder Bitner :)
Hopefully this week was long enough.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Email 25 October 2010

Angelina Diego Francisco

Hello family and friends!
It is a late emailing day because I helped some person move for an hour. It is painful carrying heavy, large things rather far distances... haha. Whatever though.
So I’ll start with the biggest news of the week... I baptized my first person yesterday after church. A little 42 year-old Lamanite. It was quite difficult to accomplish. It took 5 times to get it right... Not my fault though. I said the prayer perfect every time and did what I was supposed to do. The lady, Angelina Diego Francisco, just wouldn’t go under the water all the way. She didn’t understand the form, and she doesn’t speak Spanish. When I would try to explain to her how to do it... She didn’t understand! It was soooo frustrating. She speaks some sketch dialect. She lived in America for 8 or more years too, yet she knows no English. Her 7 year-old daughter knows perfect English. It is weird... Finally, her sister came over and translated for us and it was successfully done. Took 5 times and all the patience of my ward, but now I have 2 baptisms in just about 4 week - Minus the fact that it feels like everyone in my ward is mad at me because it took so long, it was good. haha.
The other day my comp and I were hiking/walking around the big hill in our area, when it randomly started raining. We had nothing with us to keep us dry, so that was fun. We started walking back, but we passed a house that was playing Linkin Park, In The End. I won’t lie, we stopped and listened, and it felt great. I love hearing English from things other than other Elders. It is no longer just my comp and I in our district. There were some changes throughout the mission, so we actually got some elders in the other area by ours called La Viña. It is cool because one is from my group of the CCM (MTC-Guatemala) and the other is from my comps group.
I have been playing a lot of soccer finally. We have a new little 8 year-old investigator that loves to play, so we will play with him on occasion. I actually played this morning with our district and some members. It was sooooo much fun. I love soccer. I’m getting good too :) haha.
I have started to run low on money that is given to us for the rest of the month. I have 17 Quetzales left and I have two letters to send. Cutting it close! Haha. I just don’t want to dig into my personal money.
I would like you guys to send me some opera too. Maybe like Phantom and Andre Bocelli. Stuff like that. Turns out, the music rule that it is only hymns, doesn’t exist. Kind of happy about that one... Haha.
Couple funny stories from the week; The other day I honestly barely bumped into the sink, and it became not connected to the pipe so water kind of went a lot of places haha. Luckily, I was able to slide it right back on and fix it! It is such good quality. Maybe 1/75 of the one back at home haha. Also, my comp and I took in a dog! Not really but sort of. We had always liked it so we would always stop and pet it. One day, I took bread with us and we made a trail back to our house. As soon as he came in and we closed the door he started running around trying to get out, so we let him go. Whenever we see him now, he follows us around haha. It is quite funny. I named him Tank :) We found out from a member last night though that his real name is Spike. That one is gay though... Another thing, my comp and I taught primary yesterday. haha. That was interesting. Kind of like being with Josh, but it was in Spanish. Fun though!
The mission is good though. I have been studying a lot and teaching a lot. I found in 2 places in the BOM where it says the Jews killed Jesus. I will never again feel bad for saying that they did (Mormon 3:21, 7:5). Quite cool, I know.
I’m learning to always be happy and to be positive so I’m enjoying myself. I have a Conference in Xela tomorrow, so that will be fun to do! We have a member that is always giving us updates on baseball so that is cool haha. I hear it is the Giants and the Rangers in the World Series? Crazy. Go Rangers though! Just cause that is the member's favorite team. haha. Well, hope all is well back at home! I love you all and miss you all so much! Sorry if this one is shorter. Can’t really tell if it is. Peaceee
Elder Bitnerrr

Pictures - October 2010

Dog - Tank or Spike

Elder Bitner with Children

Field by Elder Bitner


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Email 18 October 2010

Elder Bitner - Josue - Elder Thatcher
¡Familia y amigos!
¿Como estan? I miss you all of course. Won’t get into that though... This week was really good. Went by so fast. Can’t believe I’m sitting here emailing already. Anyways, about what has been going on...
I had my first Baptism, Saturday,  I didn’t do it - my comp did, which is understandable. He was with the kid a lot more. The little boy we baptized is hilarious. I recorded him singing a couple songs for me. He always is asking for presents. The water for the Baptism was really cold. The hot water was broken, so the poor little kid freaked out right when he went under. He came up shaking more than I have ever seen anyone shake. It was so sad, but beautiful at the same time.. His mom didn’t go to the baptism... That was kind of sad, but I guess she had something unexpected come up. When we went by later that night to visit them, we found her reading the BOM. That was quite a surprise. She said she wants to know more, so we have an appointment with her tonight.
Anyways, one of our other investigators, Yani, is having a hard time. Her Aunt swears to her that the BOM isn’t true. I guess some guy here in Guatemala, that considers himself a prophet, said the BOM is not true too. Luckily it hasn’t fazed her. She says she knows it is true, but she is having a hard time believing in Joseph Smith? We try to explain to her, that if the BOM is true, then he was a prophet of God. Doesn’t work though. She said she wants a scripture in the Bible. My comp and I have been studying that quite a bit so hopefully we can clear all that up. If we do, I think she could be baptized this week!
Another investigator has a baptismal date for this Saturday. She doesn’t understand Spanish, she speaks some crazy dialect, but she told us one day (through her sister-in-law) that she had the desire to be baptized because of a feeling she had in her heart when we were talking to her. So I’ll have at least 1 more baptism this week, and then next week, we have another scheduled. So three, possibly 4, for my first month. Pretty good if you ask me.
I had an opportunity to finally have caffeine. It was Coke, but whatever. I still enjoyed it. haha. A member gave it to us and of course we didn’t say no. Some members also bought us Dominos Pizza. They gave us a whole pizza and shared one between like 5 of them... They said they didn’t care because they knew they would be blessed for it eventually. Lovely people. They also bought my comp shoes because one of his pairs was just destroyed. They have like no money too, but whatever. People here are too nice. It is fact. I also bought a shirt in a "Paca", which is like a thrift store. Paid 3 quetz for it. It is a picture of a frog on crutches missing a leg, and holding up a sign that says EAT MORE CHICKEN. It sounds really gay, I know, but whatever. I like it haha.
I have been doing so much service. Used a machete for the first time to cut grass. That was weird haha. Got woken up at 5:30 Saturday morning to a member ringing and pounding on our door. He wanted our help carrying this huge hutch/china cabinet for a mile, uphill... That was tiring. I got my nose burned pretty badly during all of our service Saturday. 5 hours of it. 7 miles of walking. 12 miles in total that day, which was a record. haha. I was in my service clothes for like 5 hours though. It was nice wearing jeans haha.
I decided that I’m starting to like Spanish music. I hear it everywhere. Especially Spanish rap. It is intense. I bought a little toy here that is called a Trompo. Hard to explain, so just look it up. Also bought another Soccer jersey. It is Xelaju, the Quetzaltenango team. Pretty cool. I actually played soccer with the young men last Thursday night. We walked by the church and they called us over, so we played for like 20 minutes. I dominated.... As usual haha.
We were talking with one lady the other day, she is a member. She was telling us about her smuggling stories into the US. Sad stories. She said she could make in America, in 2 days, what she can make here in 1 month.
Church was pretty good. It was Ward Conf, which is a pretty big deal here haha. Like a very big deal. Anyways, during Elders Quorum, my comp and I were pulled out to go to primary. We had to bear our testimonies on the importance of missionary work and then they asked us to sing Called to Serve, in English. They loved it.  I played the piano last night at our dinner appointment.
This morning for P-Day we went up to this huge mountain that is in another area. It is like 10000 feet about sea level. It was sweet.... Saw a little place there where they burn people every once in a while. That was weird. Haha. It was cool being that high up though.
Thought about another thing I want. Peanut butter. The creamy kind. It isn’t very common here haha.
Anyways, all is well here. Food is okay. Very weird and gross a lot, but I still eat it. I love their coffee substitute now. Don’t know if that is good or bad. haha. But yeah, the mission is good. I’m loving it. I love you all so much. Continue to be happy, and continue to email :)
Elder D.R. Bitner
 "I seek not for power, but to pull it down. I seek not for the honor of the world, but the glory of my God..." (probably not right, but I don’t care. Close enough and I like it haha.) Alma 60:39

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Email October 11, 2010

Hello family and friends!
First off, that storm sounds freaking intense! Sad I missed it. It hasn’t rained here in quite a while. It is so bright outside nowadays. It sucks. Probably worse weather than AZ right now haha. Quite disappointed. I’m sad I missed the blessing, but whatever I guess. Part of the life of the mission... I told you before, I’m in Huehuetenango basically. I’m close to other areas called Calvario, Chiantla, Brasilia, La Viña. Maybe you can find one of those...
I have been doing a lot of service now.... I helped rebuild a path that was destroyed by rain... I helped move a bunch of rocks (like big ones). Not really sure what that was for... This morning I helped move more dirt in order to flatten out a lot so a house could be built. That was fun... They served us warm milk - how is that supposed to help me cool down? haha. Saturday, we went on our long hike again. We detoured to who knows where and found a guy who was chopping wood. We helped him with that. Chopping wood is fun, but it is harder than it looks. We taught him a lesson after, so that was pretty cool. We received a reference at some point last week. When went to contact the person, we found the guy that gave us the reference drinking with the reference. That was a new experience haha. Members don’t care about the rules all the much here.
I have a new Ipod charger so that is good. Still don’t know where my SD card reader is. Send one...
We had a meeting with our Stake President this past week. Found out that in our stake, out of 233 Elders, there are only 115 active. In our ward it is 31 total and 11 active. Sadddd. We are supposed to bring those numbers up somehow. That will be a challenge. I went on Divisions with the Zone leaders last week. I got the one from Glendale. We stayed at his place. I actually got a pillow, so that was nice. I don’t have one at our house, I manage haha. We set a baptismal date with an investigator for October 30. That is exciting. We are having one this Saturday with our 8 year old boy. His mom wouldn’t let him because she was mad at a member, but now she is very willing to, and is very happy. We taught him a lesson last night in her Tortilleria or something. It is just a small shack made of tin. I was asking him about music, and he started singing Justin Bieber in Spanish for me. I was laughing quite hard. It was adorable in a not Catholic Priest kind of way.
I found some really good ice cream here. Get 2 double scooped cones for 17 quets (2 dollars and 12 cents. so legit). The bread the sketch village people make is the best bread ever. Same as the tortillas. We had dinner at our 1st counselor’s house last night. I love it here more and more each day. Especially when stray dogs just waltz right in and sit by me as I’m typing my emails. My gosh haha. I love you all so much. Don’t worry about me. Things are quite good. It is still hard at times, but I’m getting used to it. Again, I love you all. Especially you mom and dad. Be happy always!!! I love you siblings! And Nephew and Niece!
Elder Bitner

oh, I’ve been writing a lot of songs. haha. Should be fun :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Email 4 October 2010

Well well... I’m officially on this adventure. Haha. As some of you know, I’m in a little area called Cerrito de Maiz. That means little hill of corn in Spanish, but it doesn’t make any sense, there is like no corn here! A lot more dogs... Haha. My companion is Elder (First name is Cody I think) Thatcher. He is from Thatcher, Arizona strangely enough. My Zone Leader is from Arizona too actually. He lives at like 75th and Cactus or something close to that. His name is Elder Marshall. We have a baptismal date for this Saturday I think. A little 8 year old boy name Josue. He is hilarious. I’ve been part of teaching one lesson to him. We did it kneeling next to his bed on concrete. My knees were sooo sore. We had to go visit this one lady last Thursday that lives so far away.... Part of my area includes this Hill/mountain-40 minutes walking straight up a hill in pouring rain through a lot of mud is pretty tiring, not going to lie. We had to take her shoes so she could make it to church (she didn’t have shoes before....). It took like an hour to go back because we went this long way to try and avoid walking next to this guy. That was enjoyable.... Still love the rain though. Mud.... not so much. As we were walking down the street one night, a man and this lady called us over and the man asked us to give him a blessing. I did the anointing, in Spanish... It was weird. haha. Food so far hasn’t been terrible. We eat basically the same thing at every member’s house... Eggs, black beans, tortillas, bread, and Mor Caf (probably incorrect spelling), which is a ´´coffee substitute´´. Doesn’t taste too good but I am already getting used to it. Sometimes we get lucky and get a cold fruitish drink. Those are always good :) On Friday we had a conference in Xela. We had to wake up at like 4:30 to get there on time. President wanted to try and help us in finding people. Everyone seems to be struggling with that. They fed McDonalds for lunch, so that was cool. They rented a whole bus for the HueHue people to get down there. It was nice not being very crowded. I guess our Mission is having a soccer tournament these next couple months. At the end of November we are renting this stadium or something I guess-something to look forward too. I still get DearElders (I got 3 at the conference we had). That is the only time we get mail. Only at Conferences, which is like once a month. That is pretty rough, not going to lie. But yeah, keep sending DearElders I guess. Throughout my travels between Xela (Quetzaltenango) and Huehue (Huehuetenango), I have seen a lot of the landslides along the roads. It is kind of crazy having it all over the roads. Makes driving here even more sketchy haha, On my first bus to Xela, they had a TV in the front. They were playing Enrique Iglesias haha. That was quite funny. They also showed Fast and Furious (in Spanish though haha). I couldn’t help but watch. It was just weird. I actually hear a lot of American music walking around. That is quite nice, not going to lie. When me and my Comp woke up Saturday morning, we didn’t have water... We had to walk 30 minutes to another companionships house and use their shower, which is way more crappy than ours. Our bathroom though, is tiny. In order to stand up and pee, I have to crouch... It is under the stairs, so it gets smaller and smaller. I can stand straight up in the shower, but not when I’m drying off. It is just kind of funny all around ha-ha. I loved Conference this past weekend. I actually took notes and paid attention. Kind of crazy I know, but it is my life now haha. The Harry Potter guys talk was my favorite. I loved his accent haha. I miss going to Priesthood session with you Dad. That was a hard experience on me. Elder Shaw (facebook kid) was watching it with me, and we both mentioned it was hard not being with the men of our family during that session. I have gained a new appreciation for Conference though, so that is good. A couple bad things... My iPod charger broke. One of the prongs broke off in the wall. Another elder said he knows where to get a thing, so he is going to get me one I guess, so don’t worry about that. I cannot find that USB memory card reader you gave me. No idea where it was packed. I was going to try and some pics today, but I guess I can’t. I would like you to send me a flash drive. Lots of gigs though. I want to store some of my pictures on that. I don’t think burning DVDs is very common here. My new best friend is Pineapple soda. Drink it all the time. Quite delightful. Dr Pepper does not exist. There is Pepsi and Coke everywhere, but I’m not allowed to buy it I guess. Send me Dr Pepper if you can find a way. I ate expired yogurt yesterday. We fasted as a mission Saturday night and Sunday morning, so right after the first session of conference we ran to our house (30ish mins away) and ate. Our Bishop gave us the yogurt, so I was like whatever. Didn’t feel good the rest of the day haha. Mission is good though. It is really hard though. I can really tell I’m not in America anymore. I get homesick quite frequently. It sucks. It is quite ghetto, so it is taking some getting used to. We come in contact with drunks all the freaking time. Kind of ridiculous. I’m sending a letter home today or tomorrow. Anyways, I love you all so much. Although this is hard, I know it is going to bless me. Be Happy always. You guys are the best...
With much love,
Elder D.R. Bitner

Thursday, September 30, 2010

PHONE CALL 29 September 2010

A Note from MOM
David called his Dad’s cell phone asking us to call him right back – I got a phone call to call David (DeLoy was at the church).  Of course I was worried and couldn’t get the phone number DeLoy gave me to work so when DeLoy got home we checked DeLoy’s phone and sure enough he had missed a digit.  We called David and I handed the phone to DeLoy thinking that if it was something bad I could wait and wanted to compose myself before taking the phone.  DeLoy did very well and the conversation seemed to be going well, so I got on the other line.  David sounded really good and told us where he is in a little place called Cerrito de maiz (can’t find it anywhere but we know he is somewhere in Huehuetenango). 
I am sure he will write all the details of his trip on a chartered bus to the mission home and Tuesday night in a hotel.  He does have a lady who will be doing his laundry and preparing his lunch meal (rough life for this kid – huh).  His companion is Elder Thatcher from of all places Thatcher, AZ so he is excited about that. 
He explained that his P-day is on Monday so the Mission President gave him permission to call so that we knew he was okay.  He also pointed out that he is only getting mail once a month now.  He still loves letters but I will give anyone his email address who would like it – just let me know. 
I am more than grateful that David is well, happy and being successful.  I have added a few facts about where David is -
Huehuetenango is a city in the highlands of Western Guatemala. It is the capital of the department of Huehuetenango. The population was about 58,000 people as of 2002. The city is located at 15.32 North latitude, 91.47 West longitude, 269 km from Guatemala City.
Huehuetenango was founded after the Spanish conquest of the Maya capital of Zaculeu, the Pre-Columbian capital of the Mam Maya people. Many people of Mam decent still live in and around Huehuetenago, and the ruins of Zaculeu is a tourist attraction a short distance from town.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Email 22 September 2010

Hello my family and friends :)
So I want to tell you about my experience yesterday. Haha. I went proselyting in the park again. This time I was originally companions with my same one. However, Elder Durfey and his companion were together still (two newbie’s), so me and my companion decided to do a swap. So, I was Anthony's companion for the day. It was sweet. On the bus ride, like half my body was outside of the bus. That was cool. haha. The buses get really crowded here... Especially when there is like 40 something missionaries standing in the aisles. When we were walking up to the first guy we were going to talk to, a very crazy/sketchy man was yelling at us. Didn’t really understand what he said, but my teacher was with us at that point. I asked her what he said and she was like it was bad. I insisted that she tell me anyway, so she did.... She said that he wanted to cut off mine and Durfey's heads because we were North Americans and Mormons. That was a new experience... I enjoyed it though hahaha. We taught a guy while this guy was like following us around. I thought I was going to maybe have to give a beat down. I was excited... Haha. We taught this one guy for 40 minutes... I recited the First Vision to him among other things. I have never felt the spirit so strong. It was kinda crazy.... After that, we were walking around. There was some concert thing going on, so there were a lot of like teenagers there. This one group of them was standing around this tent watching some guy break dance, when this other group came running up out of nowhere and started yelling at them. Anthony and I were right in between them..... They proceeded to yell at each other as the one group that was around the tent was walking away... The group that ran over then reached in their backpacks and pulled out rocks and golf balls and started throwing them at each other. One kid was running around with this whip thing that a ball attached to the end. This is when I and Anthony decided to walk away... haha. I couldn’t help but pick up one of the golf balls though. haha. That will probably be in my first package home. Great souvenir from watching my first live gang fight. So sketchy, but so much fun. I love Guatemala. So different from America! haha.
  Anyways... On to the other stuff. Everyone here has such legit music. One Elder here has the Soundtracks to Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and Jurassic Park and ET.... It is so tight. So, if my next Mission Pres is more lenient on music I want those sent to me. Along with the Best Two Years, the song Go Back on the RM, some Classical stuff, and there is this Symphony called Vitamin String Quartet (I have one song by them, but I want a lot more). Also, sheet music is wanted. Especially for the songs Leave Better (Benton Paul or whoever it is) and Shine (William Joseph, that guy in our Stake). Since your car is having problems Dad, sell it and then put the money in my account. That way I can find a car I really like when I get home, and you can get the most money out of it now :) haha. I really want a Subaru WRX STI. Keep that in mind :) haha.
  So I have come to find out, that my companion is actually the kid Alex Erickson roomed with at BYU. Haha. That was a funny thing to find out. He is a little cooler now because of it. Oh, the other night this Latino down the hall from me shined my shoes for me, along with like 10 other elders. He was so good at it. I didn’t even ask him too! He was just like come here and I was like, if you insist. haha. I have become really good friends with some of the Latinos. Elder Acuellar in particular. He is from south Guatemala and he is going to Quetz. He tells me so much stuff about it. He said I'll see a bunch of Spider Monkeys, big snakes, armadillos, possums, etc. Probably not a Jaguar though :( I’m still hoping I do! haha. I’ve been wondering if you guys were thinking about picking me up or not when this is all said and done. Guatemala is pretty cool. There would be a lot of things to see, but it would be pretty dangerous too. Think about it though!
  OH! I finally got your letter mom. Yesterday... I think I should have gotten it last Wednesday though, they just held onto the mail again. There is a good chance I won’t get your package or other letters. It usually takes a while... Especially the package... You waited a little too long. I went ahead and bought 20 stamps for like 8 bucks just to be safe...
  I basically have the most amazing teacher ever at night. Hermano Cuque went home, and printed off the pictures of Brylee for me and even put it in this little album. It was so nice..... I love that man. He is a National Champ in running here. Pretty cool... haha.
I got kicked in the shin yesterday. That hurt a whole heck of a lot. Huge bruise and scrape now. Freaking Latinos and soccer. geeezz haha.
  So, 6 more days until the field. It is getting pretty sketchy.... I don’t know what to do with myself! haha. I’m sooo excited though. All the things Elder Acuelalr has said to me have pumped me up so much..... Oh by the way, that elder is going to play for the Guatemala National Soccer team when he is done. He said he would hook me up. He speaks English :) haha. The Spanish is coming along. I realized how good I actually am when we were at the park. Since I was with Durfey, I had to do a lot of the talking. It really is coming along pretty well. There is no doubt though, that I will have to learn Quiche. It isn’t a question anymore, just a matter of when. haha. Well I’m very excited to get to Quetz. Tell Becky congrats on the house! I miss you all soooooooo much. I love you guys more than anything! You are the best :)

Elder D. R. Bitner
  coolest elder ever.......

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Email 14 September 2010

Independence Day from Spain
declared September 15, 1821
¡Hola familia y amigos! How is America?? Guatemala is still pretty sketchy but I’m enjoying it as much as I can. So I’m writing again on Tuesday because they switched our P-Day again. Tomorrow is Guatemala's Independence Day I guess. The Temple President requested our P-Day be switched because there will be a lot of people at the Temple Wednesday-I guess... So I’m going today now... Should be fun. So I have learned a few things. Supposedly when you send packages and such, throw a Virgin Mary or Jesus sticker on. I guess it keeps people from touching it. Weird how that works... haha. Well that is really the only thing I guess.  I’m in desperate need of stamps and my stationary stuff. Hopefully you put that in the package? If not, don’t expect too much handwritten mail. I would like a photo album of my family! Especially my new niece...... So sad I missed out on that. Brylee will understand someday I’m sure why I wasn’t there haha. So Ryan is officially out in the field. With the new group of elders, came Anthony Durfey. It is nice to have a friend as always. Haha. With all the new elders, my classroom was changed. I’m no longer at the church for class sadly. I’m officially up on the 3rd floor in the actual CCM building. It has taken some getting used to, but I’m starting to warm up to it :) It hasn’t rained in like 4 or 5 days now. Well like a lot of rain. I miss it. Supposed to rain a bunch next week I guess though. We had a long conversation with a few 15 year old natives at the temple the other day. They just kept making fun of our crappy Spanish. Haha. It was fine though I guess. Oh! With the new entry of white people, all 19 of them...., we got some Latinos too! 40 in all. Almost as much as the 50 we already have here. We have 10 more Latinos than the original time, so that is cool. One of the Latinos is in my room with his North American companion. He is from Honduras. He is a pretty big kid, weight wise. He is so funny though. At night he makes the weirdest sounds and just always says Hasta la vista babbbbyyyy. Haha. Makes me laugh every time. In our new classroom we have a DVD player and a nice TV, like the one in my room for the most part, so we can listen to CDs while we study. That is one benefit of it. Haha. They play music in the halls all the time too. Your kind of Music dad. I swear I’ve heard every song they play like a million times because of you! So it was weird to have 9-11 in another country. They definitely don’t really know about it that much. Our room decided to have a few minutes of silence at night. At the end of those few minutes, there was like 8 gun shots right up the road. That was freaking sketchy... haha. We all got really excited though strangely enough. I just got the mail from last week yesterday. The guy that gets the mail was in Quetz for some reason so we just got it ayer (yesterday). So I guess that will make up for you not making the pouch.... It sucks not getting letters, but I’ll manage. It is weird to think I have been out on this adventure for 7 weeks now. Two more and I’m in the freaking field. I’m so nervous.... but even more excited. Quetz is going to be way more sketch than this area, the nicest area in Guatemala where you see a Range rover, Aston Martin, G-Wagon, etc every day haha. I’m excited for the sketchiness :) Well, I love you all! Sorry I caught you by surprise sending on Tuesday again. You’ll get over it I’m sure. Thanks for the letters! I actually received 2 legitimate handwritten letters yesterday from Kaylee, the girl in OK. First real mail so far. DearElders are just as good though :) Especially from all my family. I love you all!!!!! Stay happy and be strong. Let’s take each other’s hands and make a school wide stand to keep the drugs and alcohol out of the lives of one and all.... Sorry got distracted haha. I forgot to mention I speak like spanish all day now- that is strange, but I’m getting quite good at it. haha. Love you guys so much and I miss you so much as well!!!! Love, Elder David Bitner :) Coolest/hottest missionary ever. (Oh I got a haircut this morning from some sketch Guatemalan. They use a razor for a lot of it, not the electric razor so that was weird. I look even more like a Nazi now. Even the Natives think so ;) haha. Peace!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Email 7 September 2010

A lot to say, but not a lot of time. Guatemala has been freaking amazing the past week. Minus the fact that Ryan is now officially gone :( It is sad. Anthony Durfey comes in tonight though. That will be nice. So to catch you up on what has been going on. Friday, there was a huge storm. I woke up to it pouring rain... Loved the smell. During breakfast the power went out. Came on briefly, but then died right back out. Didn’t last too long in all though. We have had nachos and pizza for breakfast. Not really breakfast foods, but I’m not complaining. It was soo good. Also, on Friday during our TAD time (when we have time to do what we think we need to) I played some soccer with little 9 year old cousins in front of the church on their court. I heard them playing and went outside, and then they asked me and another elder to come play with them. It was so fun. I traded a tie with my teacher. One of the ones I got from Pomeroys. It is nice to have something to remind me of him because I love him so much haha. Best teacher ever. On Saturday it rained so hard. I could stand in the Church parking lot, and the water went up to my ankle. LEGIT! They had a pineapple drink for one of the meals. It was so good. So today since all the other people are gone there are only the 51 people that came in with me. That is the most whites they have ever had in one group but whatever haha. They took us a bunch of places today. It is my acting p-day that is why I’m writing you. First we went to this Topographical Map, like a huge one. Got to see all the geography of Guatemala to its preciseness. Quetz (Quetzaltenango) is nothing but huge mountains. I’m so excited. After that we went to the market in the Central Plaza. I bought a Native Hoodie Sweater Poncho thingy. It is sweet. Haha. Also, I got 5 soccer jerseys that cost 250 Quetzals. It was like 30 bucks. So cheap haha. I got Manchester United, Real Madrid, Germany, Spain, and Barcelona. I love them all :) after the market we went to the mall, where we got to eat. First of all, this is the nicest mall I have ever seen. Nicer than Fashion Square.... I and the other elders I was hanging with went to Taco Bell !!!! It was sooooo good. I loved it.. haha. Best day ever. I got to hear American music :) haha. It was nice. I felt like an actually normal person. After that, we went to this Museum that is connected to the mall. It is all about this city that is supposedly the first city of Nephi. I stood where Nephi stood at one point... Sooooooo sick....... Anyways today was a great day. I feel very accomplished and relaxed. Sorry but this is my only email time this week so you won’t hear from me till next week unless you get one of my letters. I had a sleepover with Ryan and some other kids last night. That was a lot of fun... haha. Like a lot of fun..... So sad he is gone but whatever. Now he is enjoying the field :) Oh, I would like to go on some sick trip when I get home. Look into that... Maybe like a cruise or something, I don’t know. Just something awesome :) haha. Well, Hope all is well. I love you guys. Hopefully the Baby comes soon and is beautiful! Again, I love you all!!!! Love, Elder D. R. Bitner

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Email 1 September 2010

¡Mi familia y amigos! How is everyone??? I'll start off today by talking about my two most memorable experiences since the last time. Last Wednesday, after I finished emailing, I went to the temple here... Also, yesterday we went proselyting in the park. We got on some sketchy "city" bus in front of the MTC here and then drove like 25 minutes to the Central Plaza Park thingy. There were like 200 military people there for some ceremony for the President and Minister of Defense. Or something like that.. It was kind of cool to be there during that. They are loud people. They put me with a Latino companion, Elder Cotton (Whitest Latino name ever). He is from Guatemala, so he was a great help. I actually said a lot more than I expected I would. I didn't do bad at all. In the hour and half we had to teach, we gave out 2 Books of Mormon (Thanks to the Best Two Years I know how to say that) and 7 pamphlets. We got 8 referrals, one of them being to Quetz (Quetzaltenango) so I just kept it haha. We had one guy tell us off... He was old and Catholic. Not a good combo here. Decided I'll just stay away from them as much as I can. It was sweet though to do all that. I'm being eaten alive. Bug bites like everywhere.... Grossness. My teacher challenged us to read the Libro De Mormon in the six weeks we have here, so I’ve been working on that. It is hard... I don't understand most of what I’m reading haha. I’ve been teaching a lot. The main person we teach told us he wants us to teach our District our ways. I guess me and my companion are really good at teaching. Yes, even if Spanish. Weird but cool. I got some DearElders Thursday. That is it so far. The kid I room with got a package from dearelder, so I guess that is still possible. Don't have to if you don't want to... But yeah, it rains everyday without fail. Sometimes hard, other times not so much. I get a lot of mud and such on my pants.. Gay, but whatever. I love the rain! Spanish is coming along obviously. I feel like I’m getting better and better every day. If I just put forth the effort to say something, it usually comes out right. We get to contact at the temples to the members and such on Saturdays. That is always fun. I talked to a guy about Quetz. He said it gets below 0° C there. Sketch... Excited though. The Latinos in the MTC with me are awesome. I've become good friends with Elders Vasquez and Velasquez. One is from Mexico and the other is from El Salvador. So cool. I've decided I think that I want to be a Doctor. Not really sure why, but it looks promising maybe. Send me some sheet music please. I actually can play the piano a lot...  I like hymn arrangements so get on that please. They don't have Air Conditioning here. It's like the windows in Hawaii if you remember my pics. Sucky ventilation.... A kid that is here has a brother that just moved to AZ for Midwestern. Elder Keplinger. Did you recently get a new family in named Keplinger? He is Ryan’s companion too so let me know if they are in our ward. All is well here though. We just got a new kid in our district last night, so we are up to 13 now.... Plenty of space in the small church though...... Well I love you all. Hope the baby is born on Sept 11 still!!!! Good luck with that Rachel and Bobby :) Again, I love you all... Don’t care who you are, I love you. a lot.... BE HAPPY. Always....... Well peace out loves. Love, Elder Bitner (Soldier of God!)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Email 25 August 2010

¡Familia y amigos! How is everything back in the Zona? I have yet to get a letter or anything here in Guatemala. It sucks... One thing I miss about Provo is getting mail everyday. It's all good I guess. Guatemala is pretty legit. I love it here. I miss American, but Guatemala is good too... The food they serve us is actually quite decent. They have like a different fruit drink at every meal so that is really cool. They have had a pineapple one (my favorite so far) and they also had one that tasted exactly like a Jamba Juice. Amazing. Haha. But yeah, back to mail... Send me letters! I don´t care who you are. Just send them. Do it through the pouch. Not really sure how that works, but figure it out. It is a really quick way to do it. Also, if you dearElder me, make sure you changed the address!!! It rains everyday here. Sometimes extremely hard......... Other times it is just a nice mist. It is so lovely. There has been one hot day, but even that didn´t come close to Arizona weather, so it is all good! My room overlooks a ginormous mountain that is covered in Mansions and huge green trees, and you can see the temple. I can see it as I fall asleep because I´m on the top bunk. It is so nice.... Everyone here is obsessed with my ties. I have one kid that is trying to get the pink tie that Waddie gave me off of me. I repeatedly say no.. I let him wear it one day, but that was it. My class each day is at the chapel here. It's on temple grounds, so I get to walk past the temple every day. LEGIT. There is a kid in my Zone, he is actually my Zone Leader now that came up to me and asked if I was related to Breneman Barr Bitner. Guess what, I have a relative here somewhat. His name is Elder Nelson. My teachers are awesome. They are both Natives from Guatemala. I feel like I have learned so much more Spanish in the past week than the entire time in Provo. It is hard to communicate with our teachers sometimes though because they aren´t the best English speakers (obviously). One of them is Hermano Cuque (pronounced Cookay). He is by far my favorite. Every time I see him I ask him this, "¿Le gusta mi cuerpo? ¡Es muy atractivo!" He just laughs haha. I try to speak in Spanish as much as possible... Just not with Ryan. We have a lot of important things to talk about all the time... Haha. I think that is why I like it so much here. Just because I have such a good friend here. Sooo suuhhhhweeeett. The people in his district are hilarious. They make me feel like I'm back home. There is a kid just like Krieger.. It is creeppy. Ryan has been trying to talk me into going to BYU-I with him, so that is a possibility still I guess. We shall see. I have yet to be sick! Hallujah or however you spell it. Don´t really care right now. There is quite a good chance I will be giving a talk and a lesson at some point in church here. Gay, but whatever. I´ll get over it. The pens you sent me basically suck, no offense. The ones you bought last time with light blue on the outside, but wrote black. I think they are called like energel or something similar to that... I'll make do with what I have for now I guess. I bought some latino made scripture cases this morning. They are suhweet! Speaking of Latinos, they are very good at soccer. They just like to screw around with us when we play. I miss you all so much! I hope Rachel and the baby are okay. That is one thing I am extremely sad to be missing. I think about it a lot.... I want to hear and get pictures asap after it happens. Speaking of pictures, thank you for send me the Phoenix Temple info. It looks like it is going to quite beautiful. I´m excited for it. Well hope all is well! Remember, MAIL MAIL MAIL MAIL. Don´t even care about packages. Letters are just as good! I love you guys so much! I couldn´t ask for a better, more supportive family, or such great friends and examples. You guys are the best!!! Love you sooo much!
Love always, Elder Bitner (Now known as the Nazi in Guatemala....)

Pictures from Provo MTC

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Guatemala MTC - August 18, 2010

¡Hola mi familia y amigos! So these keyboards are very different... Don´t expect this to be perfect. I only have twenty minutes today so it will be fast. So I´m definitely not in Provo anymore. It is very very very different here. On the flight to Guatemala, we flew through a lot of lightning and a lot of rain. It was pretty scary, but very very cool at the same time. They played the Office on the flight. That drove me crazy because I couldn´t watch it. I gained the courage to ask for a Dr. Pepper on the flight. It was diet but it worked. So once we landed the rain stopped. We went through customs and immigration very quickly. They let anyone in this country it seems. We went outside; I was the first one out there. I saw a guy with a sign saying MTC so I approached him. I got to him and he was like, ¿Habla español? I was like you got to be kidding me... Haha. He then called his buddy and he showed up in a School bus, really ghetto I might add. We had to wait forever just on a street by the airport for another flight from Miami to come in. There ended up being 51 of us total that flew in. As we were waiting, we decided to check out this little makeshift vendor that was right by us. We bought drinks from them (didn´t get sick from them thank goodness). I got a Spanish Sprite :) The guys that were in charge of taking us decided to take our bus full to the MTC while the others waited. I was on the first bus. As soon as we started driving, it started to pour. Like legitimate pour. Streets were semi flooded within minutes. It was soooo sweeet. After the scariest school bus ride of my life, we arrived to the MTC. It was like 10 something pm when we got there. We were welcomed by the few missionaries that weren´t shipped out. Ryan being one of them! It was so cool to see him. He has already bought 6 soccer jerseys for like 35 American dollars. Way legit. Ryan is in my zone, which means he is on my floor and I have sports/gym time with him. My new companion is Elder Bishop. He is from Orem, Utah. I always get the Utah kids. My districts name is Abinadi (say that Mexican/Guatemalan like). I’m rooming with one of the kids I talked to on Facebook before, so that is pretty legit. His name is Elder Shaw. We ended up getting to bed at like 1. It was pretty ridiculous. This morning it has just been getting to know the MTC. We walked out to see the gym... Super ghetto. It is two concrete basketball courts. The hoop is also a goal. It is strange... As mail goes. Another Elder told me that if you send a DearElder before Midnight on Sunday, I´ll get it Wed. or Thurs. Try that. The pouch is a one to two week process sadly. I can still email 30 minutes every week, maybe longer. I still don´t know what day that will be, so you´ll just have to wait I guess. I’m definitely being submersed in Spanish.... There are 70 something whites and 30 Latinos I guess. One of the instructors said to me is your name Bitner or biner. He is like wait I´m beaner not you he made me laugh. Well they are kicking me off..... All is well. I love you all. It was nice talking to you for a bit yesterday. Love yoU!!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Email 11 August 2010

Hola familia (and anyone else lucky enough to read this wonderful letter)! :) Things have gotten so much better. Time is really starting to fly.
So the main thing you have been waiting for. The Travel Plans! Sorry it has taken so long. I got them last Friday so I haven't had the opportunity to tell you till now. I wrote a letter about them Monday, but you won't get that till today or tomorrow anyways. So, I leave August 17th. I have to report to the Travel Offices by 5:00 a.m. Wow... My flight leaves for Dallas at 8:20 if I remember correctly. I arrive there around 12:20 p.m. and then my next flight takes off at 5:50 p.m. and I land in Guatemala at 8:15 p.m. I'm not sure how the time differs in these plans so figure it out. I'll be two hours ahead when I call. I'm so excited to go though. My companion and I are on different first flights (one of the other guys for the other companionship in my district, Elder Holst, is on my flight though, and we have gotten pretty close over the last couple weeks). Also, I found out that Elder Sakevich is on my flight. Way excited about that. Even more excited to see Elder Johnson, aka Ryan. Over the last week, nothing too exciting has happened. I had a TE. The guy that helped us, just explained to focus on the person and not the lesson. "We are teaching people, not lessons." I also had TRC. That went really well. My companion and I are really starting to click when it comes to teaching, so it is cool. Oh, tell Billy when you see him that I have a friend of his in my District. His name is Elder Bishop, and I guess they had Seminary together or something. haha. Oh also, devotional last night was good. We had elder David F Evans of the Seventy speak to us it was cool! 20 seconds!!!! Expect a package sometime next week!!!!!!!!!!
I love you all! Thanks for everything that you have done for me:
Love always and forever,
Elder David Bitner