Sunday, October 30, 2011

Email 24 October 2011

Dearly Beloved,
Happy to say this past week has been a lot better than the previous. Didn’t throw up :) haha. Hopefully Rachel and Bobby enjoyed their anniversary. For some reason, I thought it was Becky's too. I’m getting confused on dates I guess. My bad... That is life a million miles away from home though. Anyways, about the week...
To start things off, I saw something quite interesting Tuesday afternoon when we got back to Cunen. There were a ton of people gathered in the we wanted to see what was going on. We found out that a guy was being whipped. He was caught breaking in the graves of people and stealing all that was in them. The clothes people are buried are really expensive, so he was probably making some pretty good money doing it. But also, according to beliefs here you have to take money in your casket with you to buy things in heaven, so people sometimes put up to 3000 quetzales. He was caught though, and "Mayan Law" is a pretty hardcore thing in this country haha. Got to love it :) 60 whips for grave robbing. Could be better than jail?
We are teaching this guy named Andres and his wife and kids. He is actually the one we had the baptismal date with. That doesn’t exist anymore though... He isn’t married to his "wife", so that complicates the whole thing a lot. We taught them Wednesday night. Things went really well for the most part... At the end of everything he asked us to share with them something we did in our families that may have made us be so blessed in our lives. We began explaining little things that we each did in our families, so they could realize how important the families really are in our church. It was a cool little thing to be a part of. I think one day he will be baptized. I just don’t know if he will be able to before I leave the area. We shall see I suppose.
Wednesday morning we went to Uspantán. That was a fun little adventure. The people we visited actually have come to church two weeks in a row now, so that is progress! haha. We did a little "Paca" shopping... I found a legit Boston Red Sox hoodie. Something you would buy for 50 or 60 bucks in the states... I got it for 2 bucks basically. I love pacas..........
Friday we went to Xela for a "Training Seminar". That was fun I guess... They just talked about how to ask for references from member families. We have been learning a lot about that lately. Kinda weird haha. It was good to practice and see though. Sister Bautista gave us homemade carrot cake. It was delicious. I have started to like cake kinda in this country... Who would have thought that Guatemala would make a white boy like cake? haha. As we were just chatting around in the parking lot of the church, President Lorenzana showed up haha. He was dropping off his wife for some activity.
Saturday night we had an activity. We had it in another city though... 10 of us packed into the back of a member's little Toyota pickup haha. It was cold... The rain is going away, and the cold is coming. Not a bad trade off for now. Luckily for me, I love just about all types of weather. The activity went well. The guy didn’t have a message prepared... So that left it on who??? My companion :) hahaha. I obviously talked a lot too, but I let him lead the way. Worked fine. The lady did make doughnut holes for the refreshment though. Those were delicious haha. I was excited.
So I know this is a little shorter than normal. Not much to say though.. haha. This morning for P-Day we went and played a few little sports at the church. We had a competition to see who could throw the football the furthest. I won :) Hit a bus actually doing it haha. Pretty legit if you ask me...
Life is good though. Hope all is going well for you guys... I miss you all and love you all sooo very much! Have great weeks :)
or Elder Bitner
Riding on top of microbus - please be safe Elder

Monday, October 17, 2011

Email 17 October 2011

Beloved Family and Friends,
How are all ya? Hopefully well... This past week has been one of my worst to be honest. Probably the worst of my mission in fact. Things like that happen though... You’ll understand why by the end of this email haha. It has been rough, but here I am. Breathing and living. Couldn’t ask for more really.
I said bye to two more people this past week. I hate watching people go home. It is just not fair I guess you could say... haha. Once we were done using internet Monday, we went back to the Zone Leader's house and didn’t leave basically all day. We played "Scum", which is just a card game for those that don’t know. That has turned into our new P-Day thing. Gets intense... We had to go back to Cunen Monday night. That is what happens change week though!
So, we visited the "Bible Basher" on Tuesday... We didn’t have much to do, so we chose to do that. Since he came to church and such the past Sunday, we thought it was a good idea. Things actually went really well there. Got a lot accomplished with him. It went really well surprisingly. He asked us some questions, and we asked some as well since we did go to his church and everything. At the end of the visit he asked us to sing a hymn to close us out. We didn’t have our hymn books, but we did our best to remember a verse from "Nearer My God to Thee". After the prayer, he asked us if we would be willing to sing in his church on Sunday. We agreed to do so, if he came to our church again. We had it planned out and everything, but he didn’t show up in the end. It was sad... He came after church though haha. Said he was sorry he couldn’t make it and asked if we were going to be able to sing still. I straight up told him no. We have plans to go sing there this Sunday now though. Our plan is to sing Nearer My God to Thee in Spanish and then Joseph Smith's First Prayer in English. How legit would it be to sing about Joseph Smith in an evangelical church? It would be amazing... Hope it happens.
Wednesday, things started to get weird. There has been a hurricane passing through Guatemala. It has been weird to say the least haha. Just tons of rain....and I mean tons..... Throughout Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, we received 6 phone calls changing the plans on us. Once it was to tell us that we had to go to Quiche. Another time it was to tell us we weren’t allowed to leave the house. Then it was that we could work, but not travel... The weirdest one was when they called and said we had to go buy food to last us a week and then not leave the house until further notice. 30 minutes later....they called and said we could work but not travel again. It was hectic. All the rain has definitely done a lot of damage. There are a lot of landslides from here to our area. We passed one point this morning where there was just a huge hole in the road. That was rather strange. It rained for a straight 14 hours at one point too. That was intense haha. Really cool though.
A visit Thursday is what ruined everything for me. We visited a less active member in a small little place outside of Cunen. She wasn’t there when we got there though, so we had to wait a good while. As we waited, her daughter that was visiting gave us a couple oranges to enjoy. They tasted good, but came back to haunt me the next day. Friday morning when we woke up, my companion was feeling terrible. After lunch though, I basically died haha. I had strong desires to throw up. From the period of 5:30 until 10:30, I threw up 14 times. It was not pleasant and it was not fun. It was the first time I have thrown up in over 2 years... Didn’t enjoy myself. Saturday I felt just as terrible. Luckily didn’t throw up, but was in no way able to move from my bed due to pain and just straight weakness haha. It was horrible.
I was able to participate in our Activity we had Saturday night though, so that was good. We had more people showed up to the activity than to church. Frustrated me a bit haha. We had 40 at the activity and 37 at church. 6 non members at the activity. 1 at church. Why is that? The activity went well though. Everyone enjoyed themselves. I was in charge of the game Do You Love Your Neighbor. All of them loved it haha. It was pretty funny to be a part of.
Yesterday after church I got my haircut. A guy in our branch saw that I wasn’t looking/feeling very well Saturday night, so he offered to cut my hair the next day. He blamed my sickness from having long-ish hair haha. I let him cut it, even though he has had no training cutting hair. It went pretty good I think. It feels like my favorite haircut of the mission surprisingly. I really do hate cutting my hair here. I’m excited for a Becky haircut one of these days haha.
That was basically my week. Friday and Saturday is what made me completely miserable. Ruined my week... Luckily I’m feeling better. I do not plan on eating an orange in this country ever again though, nor do I recommend it to anyone.
Hope all continues to go well. I really hope Lindsey gets better. I’ll definitely be thinking about her throughout this week. Keep me updated on what happens with all that. Hope you all enjoy yourself. Especially the service project Saturday... haha. Sounds fun. President Bautista won’t be coming to work with us till next week now if he does, so we'll see what happens with that.
Anyways, take care everyone! I miss you all and love you all sooo very much :)
Elder Bitner
PS-Tell Brian hi:) haha

Monday, October 10, 2011

Email 10 October 2011

Hey all,
How is everyone doing? Hopefully this past week has been rather good... and everyone is doing well. I really hope Grandma and Granddaddy continue to heal alright. At least they have both had the surgery now.
Anyways, this past week has been pretty good for me. Lots of things happened haha. Hopefully I’ll cover everything.
We'll start off with the most exciting thing though. On Saturday, we were getting our shoes shined in the park. The "Bible Basher" guy from a couple weeks ago was there. He actually came up and talked to us surprisingly haha. We made a deal with him there. We told him that if he came to our church, we would go to his. Sunday morning, he showed up... haha. It was quite the surprise for us. It was testimony meeting, so everything went rather well. He realized that just anyone was going up, so he asked me if he could go up. I didn’t want to, but something made me say yes. He made his way up there and shared a fable of some sort and then asked everyone if they had Bibles haha. He then read some really random scriptures (Psalms 101 and Matthew 24:40-41). It was really strange... I’m just glad he didn’t share the scripture about false prophets like he did with us haha. Because he actually came, we had to go to his church. An Evangelical Church.... "La Iglesia De Dios". It was interesting to say the least. Walking in was the weirdest thing for me. Greeting people of another faith, while I’m representing ours... Not normal. We were seated on the third row. I’ll just point out a few random things about the services. Every time they read, they stood up. They did everything in the "name of the father, the son, and the holy ghost." They prayed numerous times... Some of their prayers brought people down to their knees. Some brought their hands up high in the air. Everyone would pray at the same time... It was crazy. They clapped during all their songs... I joined in on some haha. They sang one song that was the exact same thing as "There is Sunshine In My Soul Today". That was pretty weird haha. They sang another song where the girl just kept singing to "shake hands and give hugs". The entire congregation walked around doing just that. It was like a primary for adults. It was kind of a cool experience though. Not something many missionaries do I assume. However, I was able to :) They actually even tried to "save" my comp at the end.
As for the rest of the week... Had a conference Tuesday. Got a package from Cuque there. Dr Pepper :) Awesome. Got two letters from Jenessa and Kaylene, and that was it. Hopefully I see your package here soon. The conference went well though. I was able to see and talk to Shaw :) That was legit.
Wednesday we had our Zone meeting. A couple Elder's last one in fact. We made them share how they were going to propose to their future wives haha. That was a funny moment. Our closing prayer, we all knelt and interlocked pinkies (slightly apostate). It was a lot of fun.
Wednesday night, a less active showed up to the church at like 10. He was drunk and wanted to talk... I think that is all he really needed. It was just weird hearing someone screaming Elders at 10 at night.
Ate some delicious Tacos Thursday for lunch. Our lunch lady is an amazing cook...
Saturday we did a very intense service project. Hauled dirt from a river to a house... It wasn’t a short walk haha. We had fun doing it with the family though. Skipped rocks... Did cartwheels... Played some other little games. I really like the people in Cunen... They are a lot of fun. Just not the strongest members I guess you could say haha.
Our Branch President and his wife invited us over for dinner Saturday night. That was a good time. Had rice, beans, and meat haha. Typical food I suppose. I’m excited to eat Mom's food someday. I could really use some chicken crescent rolls. They sound delicious.
That is basically my week. Probably skipped on some things, but I have to hurry today. We are going to the Ruins to play Frisbee and what not for the two Elder's last p-day. Don’t want to be the last one like usual haha. Hope all is well though. I miss you all sooo very much. Love you guys dearly :)
Elder Bitner!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Email 3 October 2011

Hey there everyone...
We had our weekly activity last week. That was rather fun :) A lady in the ward was supposed to be in charge of it all. We helped her and everything because she was pretty nervous about doing it. She ended up having a last minute meeting with the Community because she works in City Hall of Cunen. Therefore, she asked me to give her message. It was about a talk from last conference by Paul V. Johnson... It was about trials in general. It was a good one. The members participated a lot, so it was easy for me thankfully. Afterwards we put on a little "game". We blindfolded everyone with ties and then put marshmallows throughout the world. They then had to search them out while not being able to see. Then they took off the blindfolds and did the same thing... Just this time they could see. We related it to prophets, and how with prophets we know what is both good and bad. Without them, our vision is kind of blocked. We don’t know how to find the "blessings", or marshmallows, without them. It was a lot of fun. I also played tag with the little kids. I fell pretty hard and got grass all over me haha. It was nice. I really enjoyed that activity...
As some may have noticed, I hit my 14 month mark this past week. That was pretty exciting haha. I love moving up time wise. It is still going by really fast... I guess that is all I can really hope for! My companion bought me ice cream. That was nice of him. He hit his 3 month mark the next day. I bought him a doughnut haha. Seeing how much time he has makes me realize how much closer I really am to getting home. Weird...
It rained a butt load this past week. I can’t even describe how much... It was crazy. We worked in it though because it wasn’t going away, and we had the desire to try and accomplish something haha. The streets turned into rivers... I was walking through inches of water no matter where I tried to walk. On top of that I was carrying an axe haha. As we walked by everyone in the middle of the rain, holding an axe, people were staring. They were all underneath shelter to keep them from getting wet, but my comp and I were going straight down the road. Two big whites with an axe in pouring rain... I’m sure we scared some people.
Did a bunch more service as always... Improved my wood chopping skills. Enjoyed that dearly. The strange service we did was washing a dog. Not something you do very often... haha. We asked jokingly, but they took it seriously and accepted haha. It was fun. Made me miss Dodger a bit. Hopefully he is still hanging in there. While we were at that house washing the dog, I played with their parrot a bit. I was taking a video of it and it decided to attack me! It flew at my camera with its beak haha. It was awesome. I have it on video too, so that makes it even better haha.
Conference was a really good time as you guys have mentioned. It is something I love watching so much now... Luckily, the mission has truly taught me to enjoy it :) I drank Dr Pepper during it... Watched in English... Ate lots of candy and such.... It was a great time :) Saturday's afternoon session gave us here in Xela a nice surprise. Maybe you guys didn’t catch on, but President Uchtdorf will be the one coming to dedicate the temple. That is really exciting for me because he is my favorite haha. We all got super excited when we heard President Monson try to pronounce "Quetzaltenango" haha. On Sunday, after the morning session, we all went back to the Zonies' and made Nachos :) Tons... Salsa and beans as well haha. It was legit. Tasted soo good... I just wish I would have been home for it haha. 13 people from Cunen went to the morning session here in Quiche and that was it. Kind of sad how some people don’t have the privilege of watching it like we do back at home.
I really did enjoy conference though. I liked hearing everyone talk to us about certain things. They were all really good talks. Anyways, the week has been good. Hope all is well. I love you all so much! Miss you guys too... Have a great week :) Talk to ya next Monday.
Elder Bitner