I´ve had some experiences for the first time in my life this week that were pretty interesting. We have an investigator, who is the sister of a recent convert. She is an oveja, and the missionaries have been visiting off and on for quite some time. Her name is A. But she´s never been able to come to church because she needed to take care of her very sick, and very evangelical mother. We visited her sister one day last week. A few hours later I recieved a phone call from her sister, and in tears she told me that her mother had just died. That´s the first time I´ve ever been the first phone call after a death. I expressed our love and support, and then I followed a great suggestion from Elder T and called the Bishop.
But there is a silver lining to all of this. A came to church this weekend, and told anyone and everyone that she will be baptized the XX of April. Because now she doesn´t need to take care of her mother.
I heard this from my first trainner, Elder H, who came out of the office this change to our Zone. It is that a huge number of our missionaries, especially new ones are going home. There was a week about two months ago when President told everyone that we were going to go up to 220 missionaries, which is about what a normal mission has here. But even with new ones in, we are struggling to hold at around 170-180 missionaries. This place destroys you. If there´s any hesitancy in your faith, any lingering doubt about your worthiness, just the experience of being here breaks you down. We have to grow up.
Any way. TAXES! I hope you all can get them done for tomorrow, and that you were not the victims of any tax fraud. I think Guatemala only collects property taxes and capital gains type things. It would be absolutely impossible to collect an income tax, just like there´s not much enforcement of any type of law here, just lots of police and military presence to maintain the public safety. I am pretty sure that they must regulate the price of bread and tortillas, to avoid French revolution situations, I´m just not sure how.
I didn´t hear anything about Obama coming to Panama. We can´t read or watch the news, and all we talk about (and pretty much all anyone else talks about in this country) is religion.
A 50/20? Yeah, I´d be down for that. After walking every where for two years it can´t be that bad, right? And it does sound like fun. It´d be good for all of us boys. Or men, and we appear to all be turning into men. I know E will be taller than me when I get back. It´s okay. I´ll always have more style. And I like the exercise program for B, Dad. If the kid was lucky enough to get a frame that can actually gain weight and muscule, he should not waste it by getting fat. I don´t worry much about gaining weight here. I´m pretty sure I´m the same weight and size I left at.
Speaking of food, attached are pictures of a Squiz. The yellow drink. It´s like artifical orange juice. That´s about all I drink other than water. I don´t like to drink carbonated stuff. The other drink, with my companion in the background is Rica Roja. A soda local to Central America. The thing about Rica Roja is that it tastes like cough medicine back home.
Pday. What do I do in pday? On a regular pday, not a group one, I study two hours in the morning. Then I go to the grocery store to buy food for the week, and take out money if it´s the first week of the month. And if we feel like it, maybe we buy fast food for lunch. Like Taco Bell, the only restaurant in this country with free refills. Then we come home, maybe stopping for a haircut. We get back about 12-1 in the afternoon. Then I take a one to three hour nap. Then I organize my stuff for the week, write letters, and write a ton in my journal. And listen to music. Then at about 4:30pm, we get ready and go to work at 5, and start another week.
On a group pday, the first several hours of the day- or all of it depending on who the leader is- is used to do a group activity. Yesterday, we went to Puerto San Jose, and played soccer on the beach. I attached pictures. There´s really nothing there. It isn´t much of a tourist attraction… But there are lots of signs for different beer brands.
Because that is how Guatemalans celebrate Semana Santa (Easter week) – Going to the beach to play in the water, get very drunk, and do things in the streets. Usually bad things.
But anyway. Yesterday was actually a fun group pday, because I talked to my friend, Elder J He´s nice. He reminds me of Jake, a little of Sister W, and a little of E. He wore a Hawaiian shirt yesterday that he bought in a paca for 5 quets, which reminded me of Hawkeye too.
So yeah. That´s my week. I love you. Hope I´ve shared some good experiences that will make you all laugh and have a better insight into life here in Guatemala. Central America is tiny, insignificant, and totally different from any other country in the world.
But I like it.