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.