Monday, January 30, 2012

Email 30 January 2012

Franklin Denilson Yancor Ixcot
Well hello there,
Another week down, some 24ish more to go... Weird to think about right? You’ll only get about 24 more of these emails and then it is over! This week was a major one as time in the mission goes. I hit the 75 percent mark of my mission on Saturday. Leaving me with only 1/4 of my mission ahead of me. Crazy isn’t it? It doesn’t even feel like I have actually been gone that long. On Saturday I had a little "party". We just made Chili-Cheese-Dogs and talked... haha. I did burn a pair of pants, so yay to that! It was just fun to realize my 18 months with a celebratory thing like burning pants haha. My next big mark in the mission is when I come home now. Looks like you guys are preparing my room already with new bedding. Keep it up!
On Thursday we had a big conference. Elder Falabela came (he is President of the Central America Area for those that don’t know). It was a good little meeting. By little, I mean 8 hours... Oh my I was dying just sitting there. Wanted to fall asleep so bad, but it's not every day a general authority comes to talk. He just talked to us about our goals as a mission...the things we need to do to meet them and be successful. Said a lot of really good things. They even gave us some good lasagna for lunch. It was great... haha. The best part though was the last prayer of it all. Bergeson (my old comp in Colo) gave it... For the past few weeks he has been tripping about it. Always saying, "Why did they choose me over everyone else? It isn’t fair!" He actually said basically everything in Spanish right, but then when he was thanking for the presence of Elder Falabela, he called him "Elder Fabiola" and then was like, "I mean Elder Falabela" (yes he said "I mean" in English too). Everyone there just started dying... haha. It really wasn’t even that big of a deal but the way he said it...and all that... It was just hilarious. Poor kid was embarrassed, but at least he too knew it was too funny to deny.
Investigators continue to progress for the most part. We had a FHE with this guy and his family on Thursday with a member family. Went really well. People are actually starting to come through on their plans to help us! Weird thing is, the dad of the family was actually baptized like 23 years ago in Colotenango. He knows all the people I know! It was fun to talk to him about that... He isn’t married to his wife though, so that complicates things on that end... They even have 4 baptism aged kids. Patricia and Amy are closer than ever. They came to church yesterday for the 4th Sunday in a row. If they get baptized it should be in the next couple weeks. Really hoping it works out... She has started to actually ask questions and what not, so she is basically there in my point of view.
Anyways, yesterday at companion and I both gave talks. I was the last one to speak... Talked about Joseph Smith and how that was the message the entire church has to share because it is the message that makes our church true. I balled like a little girl. It was very embarrassing. I told myself I wasn’t going to cry...but then when I tried to talk about how I knew it was true because I have been to the Sacred Grove, I lost it. It just got really silent and was weird. A little 10 year-old kid ran to the bathroom and then brought me toilet paper to wipe my eyes. Oh my it was a sad moment. I’m really weak when it comes to talking about that man...
After church we had a baptism...sort of that is. A family was baptized like 5 months ago now, but the youngest just turned 8 this past after church we had his baptism. We originally had a member doing it, but he ended up not being able to do it. So, the little kid picked me instead. It was an honor. I baptized little Franklin Denilson Yancor Ixcot yesterday. Definitely something I was not expecting to do... It was fun though. Really cute kid.
That has been my week for the most part though. Real Madrid and Barcelona played this past week...and that is a huge deal in the Latin countries. Sadly Real Madrid (my team) only tied them though... I got over it. I just think it is funny how seriously people take it here. I wish the states loved soccer so much haha.
Anyways, hope all is well. I love you guys and miss you. Take care and have an amazing week :)
Elder Bitner

Monday, January 23, 2012

Email 23 January 2012

Whets happening peeps? Everything is happening the same for me... Basically nothing ever changes really, but there always something to write about it somehow. Hopefully you guys have enjoyed your week though. Grandaddy's 75th birthday and all...I’m sure made it pretty fun. If you guys did anything for it at least.
So the package has finally been sent. I sent it on Thursday... 460 Quetz. Cheaper than the first one believe it or not haha. I thought I was going to be dropping at least 600 Quetz on the little box. Luckily I saved some money though :) If mine and the Post Office's calculations are correct...You should get it around Feb 2 (better said sometime next week). Hopefully it all gets there alright. I almost forgot to put my camera memory cards in there, but I managed to sneak them in while we dropped it off at the post office. I really hope those are still in there...
I remember telling you guys we were going to have a big FHE activity with our Bishop and the Sister missionaries. We did have one... All 16 people actually showed up too, so it was somewhat insane to be honest. A member that was there gave the message about families. Then we were put in charge of the games as planned... That was bad on our part haha. Really boring games, but everyone enjoyed them so whatever. Pupusas were made too. They all made me eat a ton. Everyone in this country thinks I eat really little too. Guess that is going to follow me wherever I go. It was a fun night though... I like being with Guatemalan members.
This past week has been another very cold one. Ridiculously cold right now in fact! It has made me somewhat sick... Runny nose for the past 5 days. Hate it. It worked out a little well though because at least I have the cough drops you sent me. They are helping me... The fact I played soccer Saturday night with some of the youth didn’t help my case though because it was really cold that night too. Took a shot from the ball right into my face too. My nose did not benefit from that in anyway. I’m hanging in there though. Not dead at least, so life is pretty good I guess you could say.
Coolest part of the week... Saturday around midday, there was an EARTHQUAKE! haha. My companion came around the corner and was like, "Do you feel shaking?" As soon as he said it, it picked up and shook harder. According to all the members it was actually a stronger one than most. It even supposedly knocked down a house close by. Still not sure if that is actually true though. I really enjoyed it even though it scared most. I could feel my chair sliding back and forth on the ground without any force on my part. It was crazy... I’m positive that doesn’t help the fact here that the world is going to "end" this year. Mayans take that a little too seriously in these parts of the woods... But yeah, I felt an earthquake and I wasn’t scared! Maybe a little..but I liked it more than it scared me.
Sunday was another good day of church for the most part. No investigators were there at first...but then again Patricia and her daughter showed up for classes. 3 weeks in a row now! So cool. She definitely is going to make the decision soon I assume. After church we had more than a two hour Ward Council. It was a good little meeting in end.
That has basically been my week. I almost ate cow stomach this week, but luckily they knew the gringo wouldn’t like it so they gave us other food haha. Lucked out there... I hope all continues to go well for you guys though. Have another good week and be happy!
Elder Bitner

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Email 16 January 2012

Elder Bitner & Elder Celis
Hey there family :) and friends...
Things have been going good as usual. I must say that this week was pretty boring for the most part, but I guess that is how it is sometimes. Not too much has happened, but that won’t stop me from writing haha.
I got another hair cut this week. One of those member haircuts... I again thought it turned out well.
Yet again I have gotten annoyed with being a white person in this country. I just try to walk through the streets in peace, but everyone has to make note that a "gringo" is walking by. From there everyone begins to shout the stupidest English phrases, the most common being, "What time is it?" They say all sorts of things... It can be 9 o'clock at night and they will say "Good Morning!" They say "thank you" to everything...Doesn’t matter if you actually help them or not... I just walk by without doing anything and they yell that out their window or door and then hide very fast. So why am I’m telling you all this is so you can tell all the Latin’s you see in the states the same things... If you see them in the morning, say "buenas noches" and then run away and hide. I think that will help me feel better about the whole thing haha.
On Friday we had our lunch appointment with Bishop Elvis. His wife, Scarlet, called me in the morning though and said they were most likely not going to be there because it was Elvis' birthday. With that being said, she said instead of us going there he wanted to drop off some money at our house so that we could still eat on their money. He left us with a 100 Quetz and said get yourself a pizza! Problem was...there were no deals on pizza on Friday, so instead we just went to McDonalds :) Free McDonalds from the man yet again... I love the man.
We made "pupusas" with the Sister missionaries again... Made them with their bishop, and actually, tonight we are making them again but with our bishop! We have to make them for 16 people tonight... It is going to be a big FHE. Should be fun at least though haha. We are in charge of the games :( haha.
We helped some Elders with a baptism on Friday. Actually happened to be my companion from the MTC, Elder Sicotte.
So church was really good again. Took us by surprise. One of the first people there was just some random guy. Turned out to not be a member, so we sat next to him. He only had questions of how he could become a member. It was very strange, but really cool. He disappeared after Sunday School, so we are just hoping he shows up next week. Said he wanted to get baptized and everything, so it would be really cool if he follows through with that desire. Our two positive investigators that showed up last week said they weren’t going to be able to come this week because they had something else they had to do... They didn’t show up to Sacrament, but instead they showed up to Relief Society. It was extremely strange to see them at the end of the classes... Brought a huge smile to my face though. She is getting extremely close :)
Anyways, that has basically been my week in a nutshell. Not much, but still good. Hope all is well. Love you guys!
Elder Bitner

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Email 9 January 2012

Elder Sac (middle)
So this week has been an interesting one, but not necessarily in a bad way haha. Changes are always something that makes the mission feel weird and new... As I mentioned last week, my companion had changes. He is now in Quiche, and I have a new companion! Elder Celis...who is from the capital of Guatemala. He has been out on the mission 15 months now. The cool thing about him is he is a covert of just 2 years. At the year mark, he basically left for the mission. Didn’t procrastinate or waste any time. Cool right? Only he and his younger brother were baptized too, so he has basically no major support back home. Especially now since his brother is inactive... Good kid with a strong testimony believe it or not. It is amazing what kind of testimony you can gain in such a short amount of time. Anyways, him and I getting along just fine and doing what we can to have whatever amount of success we can.
I watched my first missionary leave for his mission while being on my mission this past week. Very weird experience to see someone become a missionary while being one yourself haha. Jeffrey Sac was his name, but now he is Elder Sac going to Tegulicigalpa, Honduras. Tuesday night we saw him get set apart as a missionary and everything! He was excited to leave for his mission, but I think pretty scared too. Love that kid though... His poor mom is now alone with just his little 4-year-old brother because her and her husband are separated, and the other two kids live with him. Luckily Jeffrey is doing what he should be doing, and for that they will be blessed. Works out well in the end I suppose :)
Guess what I ate this week. Fish... haha. When they asked me if we could eat it, I was hesitant to say yes, but I went for it anyway. Surprisingly I found the fish to be quite good! Had to dig out a few spines, but once I got around those it was almost heaven haha. My eating habits have definitely adapted to eating anything in front of me no matter how much it might gross me out. You will be astonished to see it one of these days...
Church was really good this week. I had a surprise visitor! Hermano Cuque (my CCM teacher for those who have forgotten) was there when we showed up haha. It was a huge surprise. He happened to be in Xela this weekend to go to the temple, so he found where my ward attended and came! Such a good guy... He even brought me Dr Pepper and some other goodies. Always is hooking me up with the good stuff. I owe the guy my life... haha.
The other good thing about church was that our 2 most positive investigators showed up! Patricia and her daughter Amy. We have been trying to baptize them since I got here... They are getting closer. She just wants to come to church a couple more times and then she'll make her decision she says. We can only hope for the best. Have really developed a strong love for her and her daughter. I just want them to be happy... Got to love the mission and people you end up loving here.
That has basically been my week. Got some mail this past week... Letters :) First ones in a long time. Even got Rachel's Christmas Card! haha.
Well, I hope all is going well for each of you... Take care and have some great weeks! I love you all :)
Elder Bitner
Hermano Cuque Goodie Package

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Email 2 January 2012

How are things going? I’m doing good... The week of changes. I’m staying here as expected, and my companion is leaving as expected. Things worked out like we thought they would. Cool huh? haha. About the first time that has happened in my entire mission. I enjoyed having Elder Callejas. We'll have to see who the new companion is now.
Anyways, it is officially 2012! Happy New Year to everyone :) It is weird to think I’m officially in the last year of my mission. The mission is going to change a lot this year because so many people go home in the coming months. Tons of new people will be coming in. It is going to be a crazy time in the mission... For New Years though, we just watched fireworks as normal. There were tons yet again. I love it so much... It is going to be so different to celebrate it in the states. Not excited haha. Passed with a lot of members too. We ate our heads off that day... and Sunday in fact. I was so full all the time. I didn’t touch any food at our house. It was ridiculous. If I gain any amount of weight on my mission it will be here...
This past week I made Pupusas, which is a food from El Salvador. They are just tortillas filled with cheese and beans... We had ours covered in some type of salad thingy. They were delicious. If I can find the ingredients I will be able to make them for you guys when I get home. I actually learned how to do something! Cool, right? haha. We made them with the Sister missionaries in the ward next to us. We did them twice... Once with members and once with some investigators. It was really fun and delicious. I was just surprised that I was actually able to do them.
We had interviews with Pte. Bautista this week. Mine went fine... Just kind of normal. Talked about my area and the people we were teaching. They only last 10 minutes, so not much is ever said really. That is when we found out for sure my companion had changes though. He leaves tomorrow for an area in Quiche.
I don’t have much else to say... The week was spent having my companion say bye to everyone in the area, so not much happened in reality. We are getting really close with this lady named Patricia. Wants to get baptized, but wants to learn more because a "baptism is a lifetime decision".
Well, take care! Hope the celebration of the New Year was great for everyone. I love you all and miss you too! Make 2012 a good one. Until next week.
Elder db