Monday, January 31, 2011
To all the lovely people that care about me....
Bump day! My first one.. Craziness. I am officially done with a quarter of my mission... Can you believe it? I can’t haha. For the day... I burned a Tommy Hilfiger tie :) That was a pretty cool thing to do! And... I bought my comp and me ice cream! Yummy... haha. I can’t believe it has gone by so fast, but I’m very happy I chose to go on a mission. Nothing but goodness happens here. I learn so much and experience so much. It is amazing...
How is everyone? Everything is good here. Some have asked if I got changed or not. Changes aren’t until Wednesday... So I don’t even know. I’m hoping to stay in my area for one more change because I know I can get the members to work. They all love me. haha. But yeah, I’ll find out about changes tomorrow night... So you guys won’t know until next week. I’m pretty sure a new comp is certain, so hallelujah for that! haha.
So this past week was one of the more random and fun ones. We found out late last P-day that we were going to go camping with President... We left Tuesday afternoon for Xela. Stayed in a hotel Tuesday night... Then went to some Ranch/Country Club Wednesday morning until Thursday afternoon for our "campout". It was all of Huehue (40 Elders) and Toto (20). The whole thing was based around leadership. We were split into teams. I was put on "Compañia Ammon". All we did was have conferences and play games. It was pretty fun to be honest. I enjoyed it dearly :) We had a total of 4 Conferences with President and 1 with the assistants. All were focused primarily on how to be successful and how to lead. Each game had a purpose of showing a different leadership technique. It was kind of cheesy, but still all good and fun. The restaurant at the place fed us our meals. For Dinner Wednesday though... We ate their food and then President ordered Pizza Hut for everyone and we had cake. haha. Let’s just say... President is freaking awesome haha. I got my hand on about 6 pizzas with 2 friends. I almost vomited a few times... No biggie. We slept outside underneath little canopies on the ground. Xela is pretty cold.... So I cuddled up with 2 other guys. One of the gayer moments in my life... But pretty sure it was necessary haha. I finally had an interview. It was pretty fun to talk with President. I like him a lot... I also helped his wife with a cooking class she did. I felt like I was working at the Bosch Store again haha, so that was kind of cool for me. Brought back some good memories. There was one other thing that happened... But I’m not going to share that here. Kind of gross and not something everyone should read about haha. The whole thing was a very good time though. I loved it dearly and learned so much. It helped me a lot :)
After the campout we had a little success. Found 2 new investigators. One is this man.. His name is Filigoño. He told us he would meet us at the church the next day so we could teach him... That usually never works out, but it did this time! He showed up and we taught him a short lesson. He has some problems. He just always looks sad :( I don’t know what it is with him. Something I’m hoping to find out! I found 5 Quetzales right before he showed up too, so that was even cooler! haha.
Well, the main reason I don’t want to leave yet is one family here that have grown to be my best friends. The little boys made videos for me in case I leave on my camera. They said to always remember I have a family in Huehue as well as the one back home. I almost cried.... Almost haha. I love this family so much. They are the coolest people ever... They are actually going to Sams Club Thursday in Mexico and said they would bring me some Dr Pepper back if I’m still here. haha. Pretty cool huh?
Anyways... A few little things. I finally gave a flashlight to my Mission Leader for his birthday. He was quite happy about that... haha. Said it would be a good thing to have when he works for the FBI. I realized in church that the member’s feet don’t touch the ground when they are sitting down. Some do and some don’t to be more correct... That made me laugh though haha. I cut my comps hair this morning. Well mainly the back part by his neck, but I still did it and it doesn’t even look that bad. haha.
Anyways, don’t have a lot of time today. Things are good though. I’m happy. I love you all and miss you all! Hope everything is going well for all of you! Anyways, be happy! Have a good week all!
Love always,Elder D.R. Bitner :)
Note from Letter received today - I would love nothing more than a successful and ever so joyful life in the Gospel. As Dad once wrote me…”As hard as life is, as we follow the Gospel, it just keeps getting better.” That will forever be in my mind. Thank you for that. As for Mom, you always tell me to “learn to love everyone.” That is exactly what I have been doing, and people realize it now. They see how much I care and it’s a lovely feeling. Thank you for that. Grandaddy once told me something too in fact. He said, “If something is worth doing, then it’s worth doing right.” Anything successful I have since that (especially here in the mission) is thanks to that advice. Tell him thank you for that…
Thursday, January 27, 2011
How is everything going? You can’t really reply to that question, so I’m just going to assume that everything is going decent. I hope so at least. I can’t imagine anything too bad that you couldn’t survive. Anyways, this week has been pretty good. Some good experiences, both spiritually and physically.
First off, I got another hair cut. He started to shave the side of my head with a one, so part of my head is quite bald haha. I look like a Nazi again. If possible, find out how Becky cut my hair back in the day. I’m sick of looking bald. I want to just straight up tell them what to do, rather than them deciding for me.
Also, I had my first experience with a well. I got to take out water for a member. Never had done that before. The wells here are kind of sketchily made, but they do the job of course because Chapines know how to get things done in some very strange ways. I actually drank water out of the same well last night. I was dying of thirst and that is all the people had, so I just went for it. My comp said it would be okay to drink, so I went for it. I felt sooooo sick the rest of the night. I think it was just in my head though because this morning I felt perfectly normal. It was kind of weird. I helped the same family move three pilas, which are what they use to wash stuff, on Saturday. They are just huge cement sinks basically. Can’t really describe them. They are very heavy though. My back was sooo sore too because I had to bend down so far to lift it up. Everything they make here is tiny...
Sooo, the main spiritual experience was our Conference/fireside thingy with Bishop Burton (Bishop of Presiding Bishopric) and Elder Martino (Second Quorum of the 70). That was a pretty cool fireside. Especially since three of the four talks were in English since no one knew Spanish but Elder Martino (he actually opened up Huehue back in the day on his mission). Bishop Burton gave us so much insider info, that I will share with you. He told us about the meeting they have to decide how to spend the tithes. Supposedly, President Monson and all of them set aside enough money to build 13 more temples this year. So don’t be surprised if they announce quite a few more temples this year... I guess it is just up to President Monson on if they go through or not. After the whole little shin-dig I was actually able to briefly visit with him. He told me that the Phoenix Temple had just received its permit, so building would start soon, but that there were still a lot of people very angry with it. I thought it was pretty cool that he knew everything about it. Every area got new phones at the conference too. I guess President worked out a deal with the company Tigo. We now can call all our leaders for free and they give us minutes for other uses monthly. Pretty cool... The biggest thing I took away from it was something that the wife of Elder Martino said (weird I know). I have heard this before, but it never really hit me. She said, "The most important convert of your mission is yourself, and that only comes by obedience." Because of that, I have taken studying to the next level, and I don’t take crap from my companion. He has changed a lot actually, so we work all the time. Just aren’t having success still. It sucks...
Funny story. Well, funny-ish... I was showering yesterday morning... I had soap and shampoo all over me (don’t picture that in your head), and the power went out... The sketchy way of heating therefore stopped working and the water became very cold. I had no choice, but to endure the possible hypothermia. Great time.
Well, don’t really have anything else to say... So that it will be it for today. I love you all so much and miss you! Thanks for the letters and packages and all that good stuff. Be happy and choose the right. I’ll continue to work as hard as possible with this comp. Changes are next week. Hopefully something good will happen to me... Peace out everyone. Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDADDY!!! :) I love you! No one told me about it, so I didn’t send a letter. Sorry :( Enjoy being 34! ;)
Love you all!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
So today was a weird day. I’m sending this so late because I just got back from Xela. President wanted me down there in the morning to start training to be the next assistant after this change. Crazy stuff down there.... Just kidding :) haha. Had to go to Xela because my companion had an appointment with his eyes. An ophthalmologist in fact! That relates to you Derek haha. They even make a lot of money down here. I spent the day in Xela though. After a nice bus ride with some sketchy Latino sleeping on my shoulder I got there. Waited for a while. Went to my companion’s appointment. He is getting glasses that are worth 2625 Quetzales, courtesy of the Mission President in Nicaragua. I got to go to McDonalds though which was cool. Watched the first half of the Bulls and Grizzlies game. Saw a couple highlights of the Suns too, so it was cool. And, I saw some "Gringas"! Always nice... However, I’m now back here in Huehue and emailing.
First things first, I had my conference last Tuesday. President basically just said we all suck and need to repent. It was intense to be quite honest. I did get mail out of it so it was all good. I got 2 packages and Christmas cards from Grandaddy and Grandma, John Wood, and the Christensen’s. I also got a DearElder of course from the parentals. The 2 packages were neat. Both from friends. One had a tie, a picture, a necklace, "Hugs", Peanut Butter, and a Tide to GO Pen. Very nice package. The other had the 2011 Church Almanac and the Called to Serve CD by MoTab. Both very neat additions to my missionary collection. Found out that we are having another Conference this Thursday and I saw a lot of "Pouch" in the Mission Office today, so I should probably get more. The Conference this week is special though. The Bishop, Bishop Burton, of the Presiding Bishopric of the Church is coming. Should be pretty cool :) I’m excited to see if he can speak Spanish haha.
Throughout the week it has been pretty good weather. Clouds came back and it rained throughout the nights. I loved it... The sun burns me as strange as that may seem to some.
We had help from our District Leader and a few other Elders one morning this week. They came to our area and we went contacting trying to find people to teach. I got to go with a Gringo from LA, so that was really cool. I actually did a lot of the Spanish speaking part with him, which doesn’t happen when I’m with my Latino Comp haha. One day actually, my companion and I went up to our "Mountain". We actually found a new investigator. She is positive and everything, so it is nice :) She gave us free "Fresa Cola", which is the knock off Coca-Cola, after the lesson. Pretty fun actually :)
We got a couple of weird phone calls this week. One saying that my companion and I might be going to Momos, which is the sketchiest area of our mission, (That didn’t happen though), and the other is a little more complex... I explained it in the letter I wrote, so I won’t say much here for the benefit of the Elder involved.
But yeah, things are pretty good. We are happy and living and teaching and loving. haha. The mission really is a blessing. Nothing but learning here, and I love it. I have learned so much as I approach the 6 month mark, and I yet have much more to learn! Thank goodness... Otherwise, I would be very bored. haha. I love you and miss all very much! Tell your family, friends...whomever really, that I say hi :) haha. Peace out my fellow beings...
Elder Davíd Rowe B.
How is everybody? I don’t know if you guys knew.... But I’m in Guatemala. Weird huh?!? haha. Things are going well here. My life with my companion has definitely gotten better. We actually get along for the most part. We are almost always talking to each other (the Spanish really is coming along now). Occasionally he gets really mad at night and won’t talk to me, but whatever. Anyways, about the mission!
This past Tuesday, we did out little District/Zone meeting thing a little different. We all went an hour earlier, and we had a "Zone Study" instead of Companionship Study. That was a nice change because I feel like I actually learned stuff. When I have Comp Study with Solorzano, it usually just turns into him going off on random subject and not shutting up. So, as you could imagine, I really enjoyed having it all together. We also ate breakfast all together. One Elder was in the Kitchen the whole time making French toast. It was soooo yummy (Yours is still way better mom :) . It was a fun day.
Moving on... I made church invitations for our ward the other day. We have been passing those out to people we contact and meet. So far they haven’t made us any progress with people, but maybe it will eventually!
So I don’t know if you guys remember my first convert... Little Josue (8years old). He and his mom got kicked out of their house. They now live in the moms Tortillaria, which is the size of maybe moms and dads closet. Sad situation... It is made of tin panels. There are gaps between the roof and the walls, so all of the cold enters without problems. Concrete floors, stained sheets with holes dividing the Tortilla part from the living part. It is just very sad to see. I can’t really describe how sad I was about the whole thing when I saw it.
We had our first ward activity in the almost 4 months I have been here. That was interesting. The bishop talked about the temple for close to 10 minutes, and then it was over.
We got one lady to come to church, that Thatcher and I could never get to go. She lives about 40 minutes away from the church (walking distance...). You have to climb up one mountain and then down another to get to her house. Such a far walk. We were up there the other day... We watched her kid scoop himself a small bowl of "rice mush" stuff. He set it on the bed. Then knelt down and blessed it. I almost cried when I witnessed that. They live in such a crappy situation. The mom never has money, so they hardly eat. They told us they always have snakes and stuff in their "house", which is a cinder block, one room. They live in very poor situations here.
I found out what my comp likes about me/what he has learned from me. He shared it with an inactive. He said that I have taught him "to give the best". Not going to go into detail on how, but I felt really good after he said that.
This will make some people laugh probably. Sunday morning, we got a call from the first counselor. He told us we were both giving talks........ I quickly pulled a talk out that I had written in the CCM. So, I read that and then described Section 4 of Doctrine and Covenants - off the top of my head. I was so nervous. My Spanish was not ready for that haha. Luckily I did okay... I got them to laugh a couple times, so it was successful in my eyes. Maybe not theirs so much. Oh well. Had a run in with a drunk the same day. He gave me an angel :) haha. He reached in the sky and caught one. Then he pretended to be the angel and then he folded it up or something and handed it to me. I just laughed. haha. They are fun to visit with, even though they won’t let you leave them easily.
Well that was basically my week in a nutshell. Found two new investigators. Nothing too amazing. People aren’t as interested now it seems. Not sure what to do. Just keep working I guess. A couple random things. I bought a Michael Vick Falcons jersey from a "paca". 10 Quetz, which is a $1.25 for a legit NFL brand jersey. Not bad haha. Well, thanks for everything guys. I miss you all so much and love you all even more! :) Don’t worry about me. I’m doing good, and I’m happy! Just continue on and be happy as well! CTR and enjoy the real way to live....
Elder Davìdito Bitnero
Friday, January 7, 2011
The mission is still good. That isn’t a surprise though haha. A few issues still, but a lot of nice changes as well.
The day with the President actually went through! That was cool. We did everything he said we would. We went to Mirador early in the morning. Oh, and we got to wear "normal" clothes the whole day haha. That was really weird feeling. Felt not like a missionary. We then went and ate at Casa Brava, which is the nicest Steak house in our entire mission probably. We got to have little steaks. That was cool :) After we finished eating though, President came up to Elder Shaw and me and asked us if we were full. We told him not really, and then he said, "Yeah, I’m not either. We’re going to order Pizza when we get to the church." President is a funny guy, that doesn’t really care about money haha. He spent so much money at the steak place, and then he spent more at Dominos. I really believe he is the richest person in Central America now. He is blowing money right and left. At the church we had a short little conference, interviews, and we played soccer and basketball. Sadly, not everyone got interviewed. I was one that didn’t get to. Anyways, I did get some pouch that day. Got the DearElder package finally, so you don’t have to worry about that anymore. I also got the letter from that girl that asked how to send it. And I got a really old DearElder from like Thanksgiving. That was all. Nothing more thus far. haha. I also found out that day, that two of my friends are training. That was funny. One of them is District Leader too.
New Years Eve was really good though. We actually worked pretty hard throughout the morning and the afternoon. We had to be in the house no later than 6 though because it gets pretty dangerous... We had our dinner appointment really early because of that. The lady that fed gave us presents. 2 of the smallest pairs of socks I have ever seen haha. I’m wearing one right now actually. The circulation to my feet is definitely being cut off... They also gave us a very big can of fruit? Random, but I’m sure I will enjoy it when I eat it. haha. Nice people. From 6 on, we just hung out in the house. My companion played with some fireworks. I wrote some letters and studied a little bit. It was fun though. I read close to 2000 pages of "spiritual literature" before the New Year, in my first 5 months. That is a lot for me... hahaha. There were a lot more fireworks than on Christmas Eve I think. It was insane. I loved it of course. It was my comps birthday on the first (Saturday), so as soon as it hit midnight, he went kind of crazy haha. I’m pretty sure everyone in our area knew it was his birthday. Every time we talked to someone, he would ask them for a gift.
The other day, I was walking through "Centro". I passed by this young couple with their kid. The kid looked at me and then yelled, "Daddy! Gringo! Gringo, Daddy!" I walked by the little kid, looked at him and then said kind of loudly, "Gringo? How cool!!!" haha. The parents just laughed. I like being the only gringo in the midst of thousands of Latinos. Especially since I have not met one that is taller than me.
I had a couple interesting food experiences. I had shrimp soup on the First... That was surprisingly good. It was just Top Ramen with shrimp and hot sauce. I liked it however strange that may seem to my family haha. Last night, for dinner... I don’t even know what it was. It was like these circle pieces of some type of meat with like a hardboiled egg in the middle. I’m still confused on what it tasted like, or how exactly I managed to get down my throat haha. At dinner though, two kids (this is like my favorite family in my area. They love me and I love them) gave me a bag of fireworks and sucker that there mom specifically bought for them. They snuck it to me because they didn’t want her to see. I’m going to give them quite a bit of stuff. My nerf gun being one of the things haha.
I’ve decided that I need some more stuff if you haven’t sent the package yet. I want a couple pairs of basketball shorts if possible. Cool colors though... Rachel can help with that. Just solid colors though. Don’t want stripes. Also, I really want toys. I see a lot of people here with like nothing, so I want to give something to the kids. I actually am going to give away my nerf gun soon, as I mentioned earlier. I want another one of those because I like it a lot... haha.
My church is at 10 now. So if it is at 9 for you guys now, we have church the same three hours! Cool stuff haha. I’m learning to love my comp, no matter how hard it is. I just have to be his friend. Can’t push him too hard. These two changes will probably be my least productive ones ever. That is okay though. I’ll make up for it in the long run I hope. But yeah, things are good. I’m happy. I’m safe. I’m healthy. What more could I ask for? Nothing. Well, I love you all so very much! I appreciate all that you guys do for me. Be happy always and remember to read the scriptures ;) haha. Especially you Becky. Peace out Cardinalitos.
Love more than anything or anyone else,
Elder Davíd Rowe Bitnér :)
Things are still good since the last time I talked to you, which was Saturday! I’m not going to lie... I really enjoyed that. I miss you all so much, but I know I am here for a purpose. My parents and siblings... You guys are the most important people in my life. You all have always tried to help me and just have always loved me. I thank you for that. You guys are the best. I’ll be able to spend more time with you in 19 months, so hang in there ;) haha. I love you so much Mom, Dad, Becky, Derek, and Rachel. Any of course my grandparents and everyone else. I’m so grateful for the family life I have had. I lucked out big time!
Anyways, I have basically told you everything already, but I’ll tell you guys again haha.
So, changes have come and gone. Nothing new for me. The good thing about this companion is that I practically know Spanish now. I have a long ways to go, but I’m definitely progressing! :)
The lady we live with has been really nice to us over the past Christmas week. A lot of mornings they would come knocking at our door asking if we wanted to eat breakfast with them. We would participate in a nice family gathering. She makes everything better for us for the most part.
Speaking of President... We are going to be having a day with him tomorrow supposedly. He is coming up to Huehue. Taking all of us to Mirador, which is the really huge mountain here. I think it is 10000 feet or something like that. Then he is taking us to one of his favorite restaurants and then after that, we are going to have interviews and play soccer. I’m really excited. It should be a really fun day actually! If he actually comes. He has told us he is going to come to interviews like 3 times. He hasn’t ever actually come, so we are all still skeptical. I have a good feeling sort of that he is coming though, so I’m happy.
Well sorry this one is a little shorter... Maybe it isn’t, I don’t know. I do want a couple of things... The two Book of Mormons in English that Granddaddy and Grandma gave me. They are in my room I think... Not too sure though. I want one and I have a fellow Elder that wants one. We just want to study the way it is marked. I brought one, but I gave it to my Latino companion so he could have one in English to try and help him learn some stuff. La Viña Elders came over and we ordered Dominos again and played "Monopolio". I think that it is what it is called. Christmas Eve and Christmas were actually really good. I didn’t get too homesick. I enjoyed myself as much as the mission allows me. The fireworks Midnight on Christmas Eve (technically Christmas Day...) were the coolest things I have ever seen. The sky was legitimately filled with fireworks. Everywhere you looked, there was a firework. It went for miles too. It was remarkable I thought, since I come from a state that until recently didn’t even sell fireworks. I enjoyed the package I got too. The sheet music was great. Lemonheads.... Always legit and good. You guys did good. Hopefully I’ll get the other ones tomorrow maybe. Thanks for thinking about me everyone! I miss you all and love you all very much! Remember to always be happy! A new quote I made up this morning in the sketchy shower that occasionally shocks me... "If it isn’t the funniest, make it the funniest". BE HAPPY always! Doesn’t matter when, where, or why. Just do it. Love the coolest elder in Guate,
Elder David Bitner!
|Margarita Mercedes Mendóza Palacios|
Things are still well here in the mission of course... Quite a few really fun/cool things took place over this last week. Enjoy...
So first thing first. My baptism went through :) Margarita Mercedes Mendóza Palacios was baptized the 19th of December (one month after the last one exactly). Her brother-in-law was supposed to do it, but I guess on Saturday he got sick and told them he wasn’t going to be able to do it. Because of that, she asked me to do it because she really wanted to just get baptized instead of wait till the next week. I baptized my third person out 4 total baptisms. People really like me here haha. It is probably just because half the things I say are just funny, not very formal and such. The baptism was great. It was right after church, so like 20+ members were there. It was very humbling to everyone. They all told me it was the best one yet. I agreed.... For example, the water was very cold (very very cold... I was freezing).
Moving on... So last week I was sick for a couple days more. Lots of "boo" haha. Not a fun thing to experience 10 times a day. I got through it though.
We had 3 people of the support team with us last week again. One of them was my good friend though, so that was cool. We were put together until Friday afternoon, so that was a lot of for me. At one point though, I was teaching a lesson with a Latino one. During the lesson, the house behind our investigators house caught on fire. It was intense. It just kept getting bigger and bigger. After we finished, we hurried up there to see if they wanted/needed our help. We then proceeded to be firefighters and helped the Latinos put out a Forest/brush fire. Not with water though... We used pine tree branches, which doesn’t really make sense, but it actually worked. Very well in fact! It was just really hot... haha. I actually slid down a like 20 foot hillside on my butt to get to the bottom to put out the main part of it. Freaking intense. Never experienced anything quite like that. Probably broke some rules putting my life in danger like that, but now the people of that hillside have a greater appreciation for the "Mormons".
I did finally buy soccer shoes. Some nice little Nikes from the "totalninety" line. They are freaking legit. I used them in our soccer tourney yesterday, which my Zone placed 4th in out of like 10ish Zones. We should have been 1st or 2nd, but we got messed up in the Semifinals. The other had a kid hit the ball in with his fist... He tried to admit it, but the ref still called it a goal. Oh well though. We played on the practice field of Xelaju, the soccer team in Quetzaltenango, so that was really cool.
The other night I was almost eaten by a dog. He belongs to a member... We were entering her "house" and the little jerk came running at me, gnarling his teeth (don’t remember if gnarling is a word..forgive me). I stuck my boot out to block his mouth from getting to me. He did catch my boot once, but I was wearing the steel toes, so it only hurt him haha. Dogs are freaking sketchy here...
My bishop gave me a bag of grapes the other day. Those were really good. Another member gave me a box of Christmas "cookies". People give me a lot of things... I found Flaming Hot Cheetos in a couple little stores here. They definitely aren’t the same, but they are good. I was so excited. They are only a little tiny bag though, for 50 cents. Whatever... I’m in Guatemala.
In case anyone was wondering, according to my journal, I am on Day 147 today. Kind of crazy to think I’ve been away from all of you that long. It has gone by ridiculously fast. Kind of weird to think about how fast actually...
Oh! Last night, when we returned from Xela, there was no power. I wrote in my journal and finished my letter under candlelight and by holding a flash light with my mouth. I went to bed at 8:30 though. Got 10 hours of sleep. Pretty nice haha.
Anyways, all is well. It is Christmas week... There are changes tomorrow. We find out tonight if we are going somewhere or not. I’ll probably call you guys Christmas Eve just to tell you when I’ll be calling Christmas day because of that. Anyways, I hope you all have a great Christmas! I love you all and miss you all! I’ll be thinking about you guys a lot this week I’m sure. Maybe the hardest few days of my mission this week. I can do hard things though :) Be happy and enjoy life!
Elder David Rowe Bitner :)
|Reading by Flashlight|