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