Monday, September 26, 2011

Email 26 September 2011

Hey there :)
How is everyone doing? Lots of stuff has happened this past week... Bobby's surgery. Cole's first soccer game. New entertainment center. Legit stuff. Can’t wait to see some of it in the next 10 months haha. Especially Cole playing soccer.... I can’t even imagine it. Him in something organized? Doesn’t sound like him.
Anyways, things are going pretty well. Nothing too new or exciting has happened this past week. We found out that the guy we put our baptismal date with started drinking again. That is going to cause some problems... Who knows what will happen now. We weren’t even able to meet with him this past week. Part of the mission. Investigators fall...they just have to learn to pick themselves back up like Batman ;)
We went on a small adventure this last week. I promised my comp that I would show him the big waterfall, so we went to it haha. Wednesday afternoon we hiked out there. It was a lot harder than the last time I went. The paths were way overgrown... We got our clothes and persons very dirty. The river was a lot bigger too from all the rain, so that was pretty cool. After a while, we made it to the beautiful site. Being here in Guatemala has taught me to appreciate the world a lot more. Coming from a place where I see nothing but brown year round....and now only seeing green everywhere. A big change. One that is awesome to adapt to haha. Waterfalls? Can’t complain about that. While we were there though, I just sat there and stared at it. All sorts of things were running through my mind. It felt so good. I love nature :) On the hike back to Cunen it began to rain. That was unfortunate... A man accompanied us on the walk back though haha. It was pretty funny. We crossed paths and he was just like, "Let's walk together!" Had a nice conversation about Obama and Bush haha.
Mom, you would be proud to hear that I cleaned my bathroom this past week :) Being in the church, it is pretty nice and clean already, so luckily it wasn’t a difficult job. It looks really good. Did at least...
I have created a new hobby... Chopping wood :) I don’t know how or why, but it is something I just love doing now. A really poor lady that lives in front of the church got a bunch of wood this past week, so we have been helping her with it since she is single and such. Helped her a few days last week, but this week we will be helping her a lot more. Service is legit. Especially when it is service that makes you feel like a country cowboy guy haha. I can’t wait to chop again this week. I think I’m going to have to live somewhere where I have a need to chop wood haha. That might be a little too extreme though.

So last night we did something kind of fun. We had our branch president over for dinner. Him and his family. We fed ourselves and 7 others... Kind of crazy haha. Usually missionaries are getting dinner appointments, not making them. Bautista asked the Elders in Quiche to do it though, so we did. It went really well in fact. We just had breakfast burritos, toast, and lemonade (crystal light :) ). I also gave everyone a Reeses at the end for dinner haha. We showed them pictures of our family... Talked about how they met... Just had fun basically.
Cunen is a tough place though. It is really hard to find things to do sometimes... The church has been here some 40 years and the average assistance is like 40. That is one person a year basically. Not a very successful place obviously. I’m still loving it though. Coming from Colo made it easy for me to get used to this. They are basically the same to be honest... I love the mission though. I know I’m supposed to be where I am at.
I’m really excited for Conference weekend. We'll be coming down to Quiche to watch it... Staying the weekend here haha. It is like a 4 or 5 day vacation. Pretty intense haha. Conference is something you really learn to appreciate in the mission. This will be my third one :) President Bautista called me this morning... He said he is coming to Cunen the 20 of October to work with us...... Not sure what is going to happen there haha. I’m nervous but excited at the same time. Should be good. He plans really far in advance though haha.
Well, that was my week. Hope all is well with everyone back home. Bobby, feel better. Cole, kill some people in Soccer. Granddaddy, keep working on that knee. Grandma, good luck with that knee. Everyone else, keep smiling :) Find the good things around you.
I love you all so much! Miss you guys.
David :) aka Elder Bitner

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Email 19 September 2011

Central Park in Cunen
Dear People,
Another week down... Time just flies by. I can’t get over that. It is one of those miracles in the mission. Time seems like nothing...
Well, about the week.
I started a new Monday night tradition. Zone Abs haha. Two other Elders and I do an intense ab workout together, while listening to EFY music haha. It is pretty hardcore. This past Monday after we did it, we came up with the idea to make a music video... We made one to a song from the Charly Soundtrack haha. It is hilarious. I’ll have to show some of you when I get home. We had a guy in our branch make it into a legit DVD and such. I’m pretty embarrassed by it, but proud at the same time...
Tuesday we had a "Zone Conference" with President Bautista in Xela. It was our Zone of Quiche and one other Zone in Xela. He talked about getting references and such like I explained last week, so nothing too new or exciting happened there. The lunch was good though. Each companionship shared a pizza and then Sister Bautista made chocolate cake, which was quite good. I like a lot of things I didn’t like before the mission now... Not sure how I feel about that to be honest haha. Guess who was there though at the meeting we had... My old Latino companion, Solorzano. It was really fun to see and talk with him and see how his family is and such. He told me he is going to ask President to have me as his last companion because he goes home in February. I don’t know if it will happen, but I wouldn’t mind. At the conference though they handed out mail. I got Brylee's Birthday Party invitation. Cute job with that :)
So this past week Guatemala celebrated their Independence Day! Celebrations outside of the states are way more legit and intense. Here, it is all day... Parades, drinking, games, dances, etc. It was kind of crazy. The night before we weren’t allowed to even go out because of the drunks and what not. The actual day they let us go out though... Who knows why. It was a very pointless day. We taught one lesson I think, so at least we had something to show for it haha.
We were cleaning the other day in the church... In our room is this bookshelf with all kinds of different reading material. As I was going through it, I found the 6 discussion booklets haha. That was pretty fun to look at.
That Bible Basher guy I talked about last week... We had another visit with him again on Friday. We talked about a bunch of different things again. The only thing he could really say though was that "another testament is not allowed." He brought up Job and the duty of Deacons trying to get at us. I have no idea what he was thinking...
We did have a cool experience with an investigator though. We have been teaching this guy named Andres... We have taught him 3 times now. Saturday was our third time with him. While we were there, he really opened up to us. We taught him the Plan of Salvation, so he could kind of understand that a little more. Towards the end of our teaching I felt the impression that we needed to invite him to be baptized, even though I knew he wouldn’t be able to for a while because he works every Sunday. I asked Westenskow to do it, since he had never done it before. He asked, and Andres accepted. We had to set the date for the 5 of November though because he won’t be able to assist until the last week of October. He seemed like he was serious about his answer, but from my experiences thus far a date put that far in advance doesn’t usually work out. The only thing we can do is have the faith and hope it will come to pass... Just got to keep visiting him and such. It was a very neat experience though :) Especially for my companion.
Yesterday, we spent the majority of the day visiting members asking for referrals. I’m not sure what will come of it, but one visit felt extra special. I don’t know if I have ever felt so good... I was just so happy. The family we were visiting was in tears... I was almost in tears... All from just a simple movie and scripture. The spirit is real and it is oh so powerful.
That was my week though! It was a good one... I can’t believe how fast each week is going nowadays. It amazes me. I’m very happy about it though ;) haha.
Hopefully all continues to go well with all of you back home! I miss you guys soo very much. I love you all :) Have great weeks! Smile big :)
Elder B.-aka DaViD:) ha
Fruit - no one knows the name of it - but it is good
A colored chick haha. Legit...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Email 12 September 2011

House we painted
To Those Privileged to be in America,
Hey there. How is everyone doing? First off, happy late birthday to Brylee! She is officially a year old. Kind of crazy to think about. I remember sitting in the CCM reading that email about how she was born and what not. Feels like that was just yesterday. I’m just excited to be home for her second one :) Hopefully her party was fun though. Maybe she is just as spoiled as Cole... I think that might be impossible though.
Well, to the week...
We have started doing something a little new on P-Days. In the afternoons at least... We play pool :) We have a lot of fun with it haha. A member has a friend that owns a pool hall, so he lets us go in before he opens and shoot around. We should be doing it again today, so I’m pretty excited.
The rain has been coming down really hard still. Lots of landslides and such... Driving on the main roads is just kind of crazy because there are just parts of mountains everywhere. We went to Xela on Wednesday last week. On the way back we were stuck in traffic a little bit. As we got closer, we saw that half of the road was missing... Just fell down a mountainside. That is not a joke either haha. It literally just broke in half and slid down the mountain. Insane to see...
About the Xela trip though... We went down there for interviews. It is nice to have a President that actually has a set schedule for those. I was the first to be interviewed... The interviews with him are a strict 10 minutes, but they are helpful for sure. He talked to me about a few things and then explained numbers. He said for every 1000 doors we knock, one person will be baptized. For every 10 references we receive, we will baptize one person. Therefore, he is really beginning to stress working with members. He is not at all a fan or supporter of tracting, which makes all us missionaries very happy. We still have to tract in my area though because we don’t have enough other stuff to do.
We got back from Xela too late to go home, so we stayed the night with our Zonies and 4 other Elders that couldn’t make it back. 5 of us stayed up rather late sharing stories and what not. When you get a bunch of missionaries together, nobody can sleep. It was a fun night though haha.
Friday, we painted the outside of a house for a member. That was pretty fun :)
Saturday I experienced my first Bible Bash... We were cleaning the river by the Gomez Family's house... A guy came and started talking to us and invited us over to his house later that day. We went because we were just excited someone actually contacted us. When we walked up to the table we were going to sit around, I saw a piece of paper with a bunch of writing and a Bible. I just thought to myself, "You have got to be kidding me..." We said a prayer and then I began to talk... From there he started pulling out references. I pulled out some more. My comp even pulled out a few. It was just crazy... We did straighten up a lot of things with this guy. We were there two hours though... Gave us a lot of time to talk about a lot of weird things. We left him a Book of Mormon and some pamphlets. He read the Introduction as we sat there. That really shut him up, so I’m hoping he felt/realized something while reading it. We have another appointment with him on Friday, so we shall see what happens there.
We cleaned the extra fridge we had, so now we are able to use 2 fridges.
Elections happened yesterday here in Guatemala... We weren’t able to work at all. We actually came down to Quiche yesterday after church because we heard a lot of people don’t make it to Quiche this morning. So to be safe we came down yesterday. We weren’t allowed to leave the house though, so it was just us two, the Zonies, and two other Elders in the house all day... We had some fun :) Played some games and what not. The Elections are crazy though... People get really crazy about it here. It is really hard to put in words, so I’m not going to even try haha. One of the guys that is running is Mormon though. He got second place. They have another voting round though, but just with the first and second place people. We'll see what happens.
That has been my week though. Nothing too exciting I guess. My comp has been getting sick finally. Throwing up on buses... Has diarrhea and what not. It is fun to see the first little bit of a missionary's first moments in the field haha.
Life is good. The church is true. We are blessed.
I love you all so very much... Have great weeks! Smile :)
David!-Elder Bitner

Monday, September 5, 2011

Email 5 September 2011

Elder Westenskow
To My Beloved Family and Friends,
Things are going well for me still. No surprise there. The whole being a trainer has definitely changed my mission life a bit... It just makes me feel very responsible for a lot more. I’ll get into that in a second though. The mission keeps going though, so that is always a plus. I hope things are going well back home for everyone.
Well, first I’ll talk about Monday and Tuesday (my two full days in Xela). Monday you basically already know about. After we used internet though, we went and got some food. Wendy’s :) It was delicious. Right after we got McFlurries... Then at night we ordered pizza to the hotel. It was such a good day for food. Tuesday morning we ate in the hotel and then we went to McDonalds too. I got Cinnamon Melts :) Awesome... Then we went to a place here called "Bake Shop". It is run by these Amish people. Very strange, but it is delicious. It was like America in my mouth, awesome... They sold Mountain Dew too, so that made it even better. I was so happy that morning. American doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, and cinnamon melts from McDonalds. I miss eating fast food all the time haha. I mainly just miss Taco Bell. I’m super hungry right now too, so this email isn’t helping at all haha.
So any time we weren’t eating, we were playing cards. Scum to be exact haha. We did do a Paca run for a little bit though. Well one Elder and I did. He needed shoes, so we found him some. We also found onesies or however you spell it. It doesn’t fit me, but I plan on cutting off the feet of it. That will make it fit me :) Another fun thing about Xela was on Wednesday as we were getting ready to travel to our area.... We saw a dead body in the middle of the road. It was so weird. They had part of the street blocked off, so I was like someone's dead. Went and looked and sure enough... just a body in plain sight lying in the middle of the road. Not sure how he died still, but he definitely was dead. It was a good welcoming for the new Elders. First thing they saw in the field. Awesome...
On to the new Comp... His name is Elder Westenskow. He is from Riverton, Utah. Pretty cool kid. We are getting along pretty well though. Been working hard... Having all kinds of opportunities. I think the weirdest thing is just being the one to speak all the Spanish. He will say some things when he feels like he understands what the people are talking about, but for the most part it is all on my shoulders. It is weird... We are part of this new program though throughout all the missions. It is just a new way to train new Elders. To give you an idea of it....We have certain things we have to focus on each week to make sure he knows how to do them, or better said feels comfortable doing them. We have companionship study not one but two hours every day. That is the weird thing. We study so much.... The whole point of the program is to make the new Elder prepared to be a trainer after his 12 weeks of training. That means I’ll be with my comp 2 changes, and then I’ll be leaving Cunen... He might train after that. It really has been a pretty good experience thus far. It is stressful trying to find things to do every day, but I’m hanging in there. It is a fun little experience.
I won’t lie, I did doubt myself quite a bit when I found out I was training. On Monday though, President pulled me aside and let me know that he received revelation for me to be in such a position. They basically took whatever doubt I may have had. And thus far, I haven’t had any problems... Not talking, teaching, being obedient... We are doing well. We've even been able to have a little fun here and there. I took him contacting and showed him some cool places in our area while we were in the boonies. The members now love me a lot. I’ve been able to become a lot better friends with them this past week... It is insane haha.
We spent one morning helping a family. We got in a river next to their house and helped them build a wall of rocks to try and prevent the river from growing up to their house like last year. That was a pretty fun service project haha. Maybe my favorite.
On Saturday everyone told us about an activity at the church and that we had to go. We went and it ended up being a QuinciƱera, or however you spell that word... It was really weird. It was basically like going to church, just without the sacrament. I didn’t know what to think haha. After though, we went down to a school and had a dinner there.
Yesterday at church, instead of just skipping Priesthood, they skipped everything after sacrament haha. They had to go hear a 70 talk in Quiche, so they ended early so they could make it in time. That basically ruined all of our plans for the day. We did find stuff to do still though. Just took some thinking and luck haha. It poured rain yesterday. I don’t know if I have ever seen it so hard... This morning on our way here to Quiche we saw so many big rocks and such that had slid down the hillsides. If it keeps raining like this, I might just get stuck in my area haha. It was crazy... I still love the rain though. Even if my pants just get soaking wet....
I think I fasted the longest I have ever fasted yesterday (not including sleep and such). I started my fast right before I went to bed... Ended my fast at 7:30 the next night. I wasn’t even that hungry surprisingly. I did eat quite a bit though still haha. I’m really starting to appreciate the whole concept and principle of [the] fast though. Helps a lot in this work.
That was my week for the most part though. It has been quite different, but I’m learning to adapt to it. I’m enjoying it. Let's just pray that I see some good success with this kid. We found quite a few new investigators this past week, so we'll see what we can do. I love you all so very much! I don’t think I can really express that well enough... Take care and have amazing weeks. Smile and enjoy all that is around you :)
Elder Bitner