Tuesday, March 27, 2012

21st Birthday Email 26 March 2012

Bosque Zone
What up folks? The week went well... Had some interesting changes to it, but everything is still good. Maybe even better to be honest haha. That is for now at least.........
So my age has officially reached the 21 peak of life. The birthday went really well though. I even got a couple gifts! My bishop, Elvis, gave me this wallet thing – cool thing. The second counselor in the ward (he lived in Mesa a long time...he only talks to me about Arizona and how it is his "real" home haha) and his wife gave me this shirt that says, "guat's up", like what's up... then it says Guatemala underneath it. I love it haha. Such a sick shirt.
Anyways, the actual day of my birthday was extremely random. Got a phone call at 9 a.m. from President Bautista... He then talked to my companion, and we found out that he was going to be having emergency changes that very day at 1 p.m. I thought to myself, "Well...there goes my birthday." So much for having a happy birthday, right? He packed his bags and we showed up to the mission home at 1. They were having a "training meeting", so we both got to stay there. The reason for the changes was that the kid that was training had a back problem. Compressed a disc in his vertebrae or something to that extent, so he was going to have to be in Xela in order to be close to all the doctors and what not. So Celis (my comp) went to take his spot training in Huehue, and the kid with the back problems is now my comp. His name is Elder Conte, and he is from Panama. I love the kid... He is really cool and we get along a lot better than most haha. It is a nice feeling being with him. Supposedly we are going to have to go to a bunch of doctor’s appointments, so he can get treatments to help out his back. I’m perfectly fine with that.
All those events made me miss my birthday lunch... I was not a happy camper. I didn’t even eat a lunch on my birthday. I almost had to even go to Huehue with Conte to get all of his stuff because they didn’t even tell him about the whole plan until he got to Xela. But I explained to the assistants that it was my birthday and that the Relief Society of my ward had planned a surprise birthday dinner for me...so they let me stay. I was with Cuellar and Bergeson for 2 days! It was AWESOME to say the least haha. We had a lot of fun. The birthday was really good in the end, but the morning part of it and early afternoon was miserable.
That was all the craziness of the week... Elder Conte didn’t get to the area until Thursday night, so we have just been getting to know the area and what not since then. It is going good though. No progression with anyone thus far, but plans are becoming deeds and frustration is becoming happiness. Life is good.
Thanks again to everyone for the birthday wishes. I did get the big package from you guys. Loved everything. I've already worn all of the ties believe it or not. In fact, I’m wearing Rachel's and Bobby's gift right now. Has made a lot of the others jealous haha. It was a great package :) Thanks a lot!
Anyways, thanks for everything. You are all the best.
Much Love,
Elder Bitner :)
Birthday Dinner
Birthday Cake
Pretend Birthday Cakes - notice 2 candles and 1 candle
Dream Soccer Team
Guatemalan Women washing clothes

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Email 19 March 2012

All of Xela (Quetzaltenango)
As you all know...my birthday is tomorrow. Thanks everyone for the wonderful birthday wishes! Has been a good p-day because all of them. I got a special email today :) I received an email from the mission asking about me going home. I said I would be flying into Sky Harbor. I hope that is still the name of it haha. I was really excited to fill that sheet out though!
Today has been a lot of fun. This morning we went to this place here in our zone called Baul. It is just a mountain that looks over all of Xela perfectly. It was an awesome view... Had some legit slides... Some cool things. We hired a pickup truck to drive us all up there, so that was intense. A good 18 of us... haha. So legit. Then we went to play soccer. It was a pretty fun day in that regard too. Then I ate McDonalds........not my favorite, but it was good I guess.
I’m not going to say all that is going to happen tomorrow because if I do, I’ll have nothing cool to write about next week... Got a good lunch planned though and a good dinner, so it should be enjoyable. Bergeson is going to the office right now to see if my packages are there, so we'll see if I get them. Hopefully at least one is there for me. I’ll find out shortly though.
Anyways, about the past week...
Started with a conference with President Bautista on Tuesday - It was a good one. They did give us lunch. Lasagna again... Still delicious though :) After the conference we ran by this place called Bake Shop on our way home because it is only open Tuesdays and Fridays, so if you are around it on one of those days...you have to go there haha. It is a bakery, equivalent to America, owned by the Amish. Who knows why they live here in Guatemala....but I’m very happy for their presence because they bake some good deliciousness :)
That same night I ran over to another area with Bergeson to help them out a bit. Coming back was a little hard because there weren’t any buses. Luckily we got the police to give us a ride back to where we were going. The police are really nice here... I swear they don’t do anything in their jobs haha. Good peeps though.
Officially had my first "Correlation" with our Ward Mission Leader since my first area. It was worth it though because we got some good planning out of it. For example, this Wednesday we have an activity planned to help us find some new people to teach. Made invitations for it and everything! So it is going down. That is, if they show up to it...
Had a nice long talk with a guy in our ward about his mission in Paraguay. It really is crazy how different every mission is... His President took them to Soccer games and all sorts of stuff.
Clean houses=love :) We cleaned our house yet again this past week... Everything feels so much better when everything is in order haha.
I did check out suits this past week. On Thursday I ordered one... I paid about a hundred dollars for the fabric to make it, and I’m paying another hundred dollars to make it. It is going to be nice though... It is going to be gray with white stripes, so you can take the one you guys bought back. I wouldn’t mind a solid blue one though. Only if you manage to find a slim. I like the sound of a slim one. I have enough money right now, but I do want a hard drive still. I think I found a 500 gig one for 100 bucks, so I might get that one. So put in some more money if you can. I might need it, but most likely not.
We did a few visits with one of my best friends in the ward, Guillermo. I was playing with this little 5 year old kid for a good amount of time. Reminded me of Cole... It was sad when I left. I miss playing with that little man.
I misplaced 500 Quetzales or someone took it... Have a good feeling I just hid it somewhere and now have no idea where I put it haha. Whoops!
Yesterday in church I did quite a few things. We were asked to bless the sacrament to start everything off... The talks were already set, but one guy didn’t show up because he was "sick", so both my companion and I gave little messages. I managed to make everyone laugh again with a joke about how much I cry haha. After sacrament, we had to cut out a bunch of invitations to hand out to everyone...then we had to find people to talk for a little girl's baptism this week. Then at lunch I was asked to say the prayer.
Life is good though. This week should be a good one... Might be my last week here in Xela. Changes are next Tuesday, so we shall see what happens with that. I’m hoping I stay where I’m at until I die though. I have a lot of good friends here and don’t want to leave them. Who knows...
Again, thanks for the birthday wishes! I may be in Guatemala, but it should be a good one like last year's. Thanks for everything guys. Miss you all!
With tons of amor,
Elder Bitner :)

I’m 21! Vegas???

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Email 12 March 2012

Heyy buddies,
To start off, I would like to wish dad a late Happy Birthday! and also a happy anniversary to both mom and dad :) Hope you guys were able to enjoy the two big days this past week.
Wednesday was a big make up lunch... We ate barbeque chicken with a little salad :) It was delightful. Haven’t had chicken so good my entire mission. He told me they intentionally tried to make it like an American "churrasco". No lunch beat Friday's though... Dad's big 57th birthday. We ate with the Bishop, and the days we eat with him always excites me! Started with a soup with shreds of tortillas and lots of avocado (soo good), followed by a big ol' plate of deliciousness. Two baked potatoes (my first ones in 19 months), a nice piece of beef, bratwurst, and a little salad of mixed veggies. Oh it was awesome haha. Then when we finished they threw us a bowl of chocolate ice cream with sliced bananas and chocolate syrup. It was remarkably awesome. Love eating there... They always do it big and good.
I helped Bergeson and Cuellar make invitations to a wedding/baptism they had on Friday. The cool thing for me was that I was the one to start the teaching. The wife was a reference of an investigator that I’ve been teaching. Our investigator would bring her over to our lessons so we could teach the both of them. Turned out the wife (the lady we taught) was already a member. She was baptized when she was just 10 years old. But  now she is married to her husband, and her husband and 3 kids that are of age were baptized. One of the many mini-miracles in the mission that we get to see as Elders. Pretty legit how things can work out sometimes, ya know?
Wednesday after our Zone Meeting we were going to make pupusas as a zone, but the power to the church went out. Instead, Celis and I got together with the Sisters and Bergeson and Cuellar to make them at night for dinner for us and a less active lady. It was probably the most fun pupusa experience for me thus far. They tasted really good too in fact! I still need to perfect my abilities at making the things however.
Went on divisions this past week for just the night time... Cuellar and I went to this little place called Cantel to help 2 missionaries there (Bosh and Allen). The plan was to put baptismal dates with two people, but the appointment that I was supposed to go to with Allen ended up falling through, so we just went back to Bosh's and Cuellar's. Got there just in time to see them put a "fecha" for next Saturday. The purpose of the whole thing actually worked out. Love when that happens..
Another cool thing that happened is that Elder King (my good ol' La Viña buddy) is in my Zone now. He left the office and is now training his last change and a half. We seem to just follow each other on our missions...
We had a good Ward Council yesterday. Began to make some good plans to help us out with the mission leader and the bishop. I have a very good feeling about it all, but there is always that chance that it won’t work out. I’m definitely hoping and praying that some good comes out of everything we try to do though.
Anyways, I hope all continues to go well for everyone. Again, I hope you enjoyed the big days this past week. Take care all. Love you so very much.
Elder Bitner

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Email 5 March 2012

Right now I’m very tired... Just played basketball with some members. They killed us, which is actually really embarrassing to be honest. They are the two best Guatemalans that I have ever seen play. Bergeson and I are going to have to step up our game next week. I did horrible. I hate playing on outdoor courts. They are the worst. Now we are going to play soccer too, so today is going to be a very tiring one for me sadly. P-Days are supposed to be relaxing days haha.
So this past week has been good. The weather is changing slowly. It is starting to get hot-ish now...but nothing compared to Arizona obviously. The weirdest thing about the weather has been the wind. There has been so much wind lately. It is ridiculous! Blows a ton of dirt in my eyes, and that is never fun.
Celis and I spent a lot of time with our two recent converts and the lady they live with again. Painted some more...and ate some more. Every time we go there they give us something to eat or drink. Usually both... Makes me feel bad, but they love doing it supposedly! That is what they tell us at least. Found out that is where we have lunch on my birthday too. They are planning something special now, so we'll see what comes of that.
The coolest thing about this week was divisions... This time with Sicotte, my companion from the MTC, though. Sicotte and I did do something fun though... There is this super nice restaurant (one of the nicest in Xela) right up the hill from my house that we wanted to eat at, so we went! It is called "Casa del Prado". It basically is just Italian food...but has a few other things too. Bergeson and another Elder met us there and we all ate together. They all got salmon, which was the most expensive thing at 141 Quetz (roughly 17 bucks). They each gave me a bite and it was really good. I got a pasta that had shrimp and olives. The olives were disgusting... Picked them out one by one because I couldn’t stand actually eating them. Loved the shrimp however. We all ordered virgin piña coladas too... Those were remarkable. One of my favorite things to drink by far. The place had an amazing view too, so that made it even better. Would be the ideal place to take a lady friend on a date haha. The restaurant was so good though...
So a really nice lady in our ward did a really nice thing for me this past week... We went and gave her dad a blessing on Friday because he isn’t doing too well. She called me Thursday night and told me he wanted us to give it to him for some reason. Who knows why, but we were happy to do it of course. We went to her house and did the blessing...then she pulled out a black bag for me. It contained a brand new pair of shoes custom fitted to my feet. Very nice quality for sure... People in this ward are ridiculously nice. Love them... By the way, do you guys happen to know anyone going to New York soon? I want a bunch of leaves from the Sacred Grove to hand out to the people here. Everyone has seen mine now and always ask if I have more. Regretfully I always have to say no. That would be something really cool to give everyone if I can pull it off. I know that will be hard though.
Played with a huge dog this past week. When I say huge, I mean the thing was a giant haha.
Friday we lost water... Saturday we lost power, so we had neither of the two until the afternoon. Cool, right? haha.
But yeah, we are still looking for investigators. Found one this past week......need a lot more than that obviously. Our new Ward Mission Leader was called yesterday (happens to be the husband of the lady that gave me the shoes...really awesome family), so we will see what we can do new with him. Life is good as you can imagine though. Anyways, I hope you all have a great week! Miss you all. Love you all.
Take care,
Elder Bitner

Note from Mom - I am a little embarrassed about this shoe thing - we have asked and asked how they were holding up and he kept saying he was "fine".  I know they don't have his size in Guatemala.  How nice for this family to do this for him.