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)