Monday, April 25, 2011

Email 25 April 2011

Hello all.
This was one of the weirder weeks of the mission. I do not understand their "Semana Santa" traditions...
Basically all of Guatemala shut down Thursday, Friday, and Saturday... There were no buses going places, so we had to hitchhike to get to Huehue and then back to Colo Thursday and Saturday because we had a conference Friday. It was weird. It worked out well because we ended up hitch hiking with members both times. Free rides!
Thursday, we went to some appointments. We brought the Ical Elders with us because we stayed at their house. We bathed in the baptismal font at the Church where they live. It was almost like swimming. It was fun :) We went to one family's house in the mountains that invited us to their family party haha. They fed us some fruit that had a bunch of sugar with it. They cooked it in a huge pot. Supposedly it is Catholic tradition. Then they fed us some soup stuff... Let's just say we were pretty full. However, we had a lunch appointment right after! Yay... haha. There they fed us a huge plate of chow mein. I was the only one to finish :) I was proud haha. Besides our appointments though, not much was going on...
Friday, we spent the morning part in Xela in a Conference. That was the time the Jews found Jesus and whipped him and crucified him. I was a little sad that I didn’t get to see that part but its okay I guess. We came back from Xela in the afternoon. It was pouring rain when we got there, so there was not a chance that we were going to get a truck in such weather. We decided to stay the night haha. We went up to "downtown" Huehue (my old zone) and watched some of the events. We got there just in time to see this huge float like coffin being carried out of the Catholic Church by some 20 or more people. The thing looked heavy. They had a band of people dressed in all black clothes following it playing rather scary music. It was a sketchy feeling. They had these colorful designs all over the roads that they would walk across with the huge float and sway back and forth occasionally. They even had a fake Jesus lying dead in a glass case up top. I don’t understand Semana Santa.
When we went back to Colo Saturday, there were so many drunks... Fights going outside our house. Bottles being thrown everywhere. We sat inside pretty much the whole day because it was pretty scary out there. What I found the weirdest was they didn’t even do anything on Easter! Speaking of which, Happy late Easter! They celebrate every day before Easter, but not Easter. Made me upset... I played a game with a little boy where we would throw rocks at glass bottles trying to break them. It was decent haha.
Anyways, at the conference I got one letter. It was from Grandma and Granddaddy. It was nice to get something... In the next package, send more REESES! They were sooo good. That was my week though for the most part... Nothing too big happened. Changes are this week. I’m pretty sure I already know what is going to happen as I told you last week, but we shall see I guess... Wish me luck haha.
Well, have a good week! I miss you all and love you! Hang in there :) Oh, this how the church is written in Mam. No idea how to pronounce it haha.... "AJ C'LOJ TEX JESUCRISTO CYE KE XJAL TZ'AKLXIX CYUJ KE MANCBIL K'IJ". And that is why it is so hard....
Con cariño,
Elder Bitner

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Email 19 April 2011

Hey there all :)
Well, as you know already... I didn’t email yesterday. Our P-Day was switched to today for a "special" day yesterday. We spent the day yesterday reading the Book of Mormon. The purpose was to finish it in just one day... Shaw and I, as well as our buds in Ical, traveled down to Huehue Sunday night. That was the best trip down ever. It was like 8:30 at night so there were like no cars, and we were standing in the back of a truck. It was just awesome... haha. I actually spoke to a little Latin boy for a while on the ride. It was just fun :) Once we got to the Zonies it was kind of ridiculous. There was about 12 or so Elders staying there. Crazy... The group of kids Shaw and I spent our time with didn’t sleep at all. Shaw actually fell asleep for a few hours. I literally got 5 minutes of sleep haha. It was weird... We talked a lot that night. We had to be at the church to start reading 4 am, so we didn’t find a point in trying to sleep. But yeah, we went to the church and began to read. Some other Elders and I were sitting in the kitchen part, while everyone else was in the Chapel. We all fell asleep rather quick. It was so hard. We listened to it on a kid's iPod more than anything. We did get breakfast, lunch, and dinner though so that was nice haha. I definitely didn’t take it too seriously, which I regret, but we all know I’m not the most diligent reader in the world. It was hard for everyone. Every Elder fell asleep at least once haha. That is the reason I didn’t email yesterday though!
As for the past week... We spent one day with President here in Huehue. That was probably the main thing. We rode down the night before with some random people. We hitch hiked haha. They didn’t charge us anything and they gave us free drinks from the guys company and said he could supply music and such for a big service project if we needed it. He was really nice... For the day with Pres, we met at the church at 7 am. He showed up around 8... He gave us about an hour and a half conference about how we need to change here on the mission. How we need to convert ourselves more than anything. It was pretty good. After that, he starts interviews. He spent the day interviewing some 70+ missionaries. It was insane. Cool thing was though; we played basketball the whole day haha. I still have some talents in that which is quite nice. I just wish I had basketball shoes... I might ask you to send mine if I can’t find any good ones in a Paca today. Pray that I do though ;) At the thing, they gave us McDonalds for lunch and then Pollo Campero for dinner. It was a good day :) Just got to enjoy the other missionaries and get some actual physical activity. We were all quite happy... I got my interview around 9:30 at night haha. It was a really late night as well. We didn’t leave the church until 12:05, and we just went in our basketball clothes so it was cool haha. I enjoyed walking the sketchy streets of the center of Huehue late at night with normal clothes. I miss those days ;) My interview lasted a good 2 minutes haha. Found out I’ll most likely be getting a new comp. A comp that will finish his mission this next change, so I should have the opportunity to "kill" him. Could be fun I guess :) The kid asked to be with me, so we'll see what happens. Shaw is probably going to go to Ixtahuacàn to work though, so he won’t be far at all. A 15 minute truck ride. The interview was good though for being so short. I really like President Lorenzana. It is going to be weird to get a new Pres soon...
Anyways, I got a bracelet from an investigator this week. It is corte :) She said she was going to make us corte bags too, so that would be pretty cool! We will see if she goes through with it though haha.
Something funny I realized about Colo... In church in the states, kids always have snacks of like cheerios or apple jacks. Stuff like that ya know. In Colo.... The kids have corn on the cob and tortillas haha. When I saw this kid eating it on Sunday, I busted up inside. I found it quite funny haha.
Well, that was my week I guess. Things are going good :) I love being here... I also love you all! This coming week should be weird for me because "Semana Santa" is a pretty big deal here haha. Probably won’t get much missionary work done... Everyone is out celebrating. Excited for Easter though! Not going to be doing anything special, but whatever haha. Miss you all!
With much love,
David aka Elder Bitner :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Email 11 April 2011

Pues mi familia y mis amigos,
Everyone doing well? Glad to hear it! Well, not too much has changed with me. Well a lot has actually, but it is complicated to explain. Anyways, about the week :)
So as I told you last week, there are two new Elders in our area. Shaw and I are still together... We are in charge of just Colotenango and Ixtahuacán. The others are in charge of Ical and San Pedro Necta. It is a lot more fun than I thought it would be to be honest haha. The two Elders up there are Elder Bergeson (from my group...spent most of my time with him in the CCM), from Houston, and Elder Larson (just like Connor!), from St. George. It is awesome. It sucks not having Ical anymore, but we are adapting quickly. All of our investigators were in that area, so now we have like nothing, but oh well. Time to find more new people I guess... Moving the new Elders there was the biggest pain in the butt ever. We did it at like 6 pm. The truck we were using overheated, so we had to deal with that. They moved into the church in Ical, so it isn’t the easiest place in the world to get to. It was horrible... I wrote more about that in my letter home though.
I finally had a conference. The first one in two months... We spent 8+ hours in a church in Xela. We had 8 different classes that taught us about different purposes of a missionary and such. The lessons were great and all, but the day just seemed soooo long. I got 3 hours of sleep the night before because there were 8 of us staying in the Zonies. It was just chaos haha. I did get pouch though and that was well worth it for sure... I got 4 packages and quite a few letters. I got the package from you guys Mom and Dad. I got one from my CCM teacher, Hermano Cuque. Dr Pepper baby! haha. Another was from Macs parents and the other from a friend. It was awesome.... As for letters, I got 2 from friends. DearElders from you, Mom and Dad. And I got Rachel’s birthday card, speaking of which was slightly inappropriate ;) haha. Getting mail for the first time in two months was great. I loved it so much! Thank you all for sending me stuff! I don’t deserve it at all, but I sincerely appreciate it.
On Friday, as Shaw and I were walking through Colo.... We heard 4 distinct gun shots from right by our house. We tried to go down one street to see what happened, but the people wouldn’t let us. They said, "Don’t go this way. A drunk has a gun." haha. We found out that the bar 3 houses down from us, which is the bar that the guy that owns our house owns, had a drunk shoot in it for some odd reason and then speed off in a car. Wasn’t as sketchy as it sounds, but still not very safe. We went in after that haha. We do hear gun shots just about every night though just to let you know.
We went up Ical the other day to help the new guys get to know the area. I rode on the back bumper of the truck of course ;) About half way up, I dropped down and started running still holding on to the truck haha. The guy that stood in the back and took the money thought I was falling so he started tripping. Let's just say that by the end, I had quite a few corte people laughing their heads off. It was great! haha.
Just to let you know, I ordered a Colo flag from some guy. I really wanted one, so I just went for it. It’s just a small one. It is going to be 300 Quetzales, which is roughly 40 dollars. I figured it was worth it. If you think otherwise, sorry. The guy probably needs the money pretty bad though.
That was basically my week in a nutshell though. Nothing too great... Nothing too boring... I still want spray cheese stuff for Ritz. Other than that, I’m pretty good I think. I love you all very much and miss you all as well! Hang in there and have a good week! Smile :)
Elder Bitner
PS-I love you Connor. Get ready to have the best two years, but hardest two years of your life!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Email 4 April 2011

Hello peeps.
Things going well? Sure hope so! Well, not much happened this week, so I don’t know how long this email will be. I’ll try to keep it entertaining though.
Well, it all starts with the afternoon of last P-Day. After internet last week, we just walked around... We decided to pass by where we found the Dr. Pepper a few weeks ago. They didn’t have it.... However, they did have Mountain Dew! haha. That made a lot of people happy. I enjoyed it dearly. I still have a can back in Colo waiting for me :) haha. They are supposed to get more tomorrow, but we'll see how true that is.
Later that night same day... We took our bus back to Colo. I sat by two drunks this time. I don’t know what it is, but they really love me for some reason... They sat there and just continually asked if I would pay for them... They kept calling me "amigo". I’m really learning to have patience with drunks, and I really hope that isn’t to prepare me for something in the future.
It did rain a tiny bit one day this week. They were just very spread out, thick drops. It just came at a bad time. It came while we were riding a truck to Ixtahuacán haha. We got hit pretty hard in the face a few times. It was just us two and the kid that takes money, so it wasn’t like we were barely standing on the bumper at least haha. The kid though was laughing at us the whole time because he thought we were mad or something, but we loved it very much haha.
Since it is the month of April - they have some weird traditions around this time here... On Friday, as we were coming home from Ixta, in front of almost every house was a chair. In that chair was a picture of Jesus with a candle in front of it. There were herds of people walking around with very large megaphones screaming complete nonsense. They had statues of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph that they carried around. During the week of Good Friday they do a lot of weird things supposedly. Guys dress up as the "Jews" and then chase another man, "Jesus", until they catch him and then put him on the cross.... I honestly just don’t understand the people at all haha. It seems quite apostate to me. They also had a guy dressed up as a devil running around Colo.
For General Conference, we were able to come down to Huehue. We stayed here for the weekend actually. I haven’t seen Colo in over 3 days. I enjoyed every session of conference. Everything to do with conference better yet. Mainly the biggest thing I took from it was that I have to get married?haha. I have never heard the Prophet machete the young single men so bad for something. Priesthood session was awesome. It had us all laughing because we luckily don’t have to worry about that right now :) I truly am thankful the chance I had to watch conference though. It was great and I loved it... I’m glad the mission has taught me to enjoy it.
So last night we stayed with the Zonies... Had dinner with them at a members and everything. We ate ants. Ants roasted in lime and salt. It was quite strange in all honesty, but I didn’t get sick or feel sick eating it. The ants are huge though. You would have to see and try one to understand. They can only be bought in Colo in the month of May too, so this lady has had them for quite some time which is weird haha.
We also found out something about our area last night from the assistants. They are splitting it... Two more missionaries are coming here. They are going to cover Ical and San Pedro Necta, while Shaw and I have Colo, Ixta, and San Gaspar (where they recently hung a 15 year old and beat him like a piñata for trying to kiss an 11 year old). Shaw and I are not happy to say the least.... Ical had all our work. We have nothing now. However, our other best friend here, Bergesen from Houston, is coming to work there, so it shouldn’t be too bad haha.
Well, that was my week. Things are well... I’m enjoying myself quite a bit. I love the mission. I’m grateful for the choice I made to come. I will never regret this. I love you all and miss you. Have a great week :)
Elder D.R. Bitner
Ant Eating