Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Week 41: Colinas y Pueblo 22

Red tie day at the river...? Heading to Colinas

We are now entering the last week of this change. It's kind of a bummer because this companionship has definitely been a noteworthy one. Since Catucuago and I will now be ending our second change together, our companionship is probably going to end with the upcoming changes. Catucuago has been here in Santa Barbara longer, so it is more likely that he leaves before me, but we'll see. I for sure do not want to leave Santa Barbara.

This last week, we definitely saw the Lord's hand in the work. So last Thursday, pretty much all of our appointments fell through and we were deciding what we would do until an appointment we had at 7:00 later that night. We decided we would head up to this one area called Encantadora. We went there and visited a little until about 6:30. We got done there and we had to go to an appointment on the opposite side of the area to a sector called Pueblo 22 (I have no idea why it is called that). Catucuago and I couldn't decide if we were going to go in a taxi or not because I only had 3 Lempiras and it would cost like 20 Limps for each one and he would have to pay my way. A taxi came by, but we didn't get in because we couldn't decide; another one came by and we still didn't get in; finally we decided with the third taxi that came by we would ask how much it would cost us. He told us not to worry about it and to just get in the car; so we did as he said. We got in and we told him that we were going to Pueblo 22. He took us there and stopped in front of a house. We asked how much it would cost and he said he wasn't going to charge us because he was coming home from work for the night and he was parking his taxi. It was kind of crazy because we had already contacted his house before, but his wife came out and said we could come back another day when her husband was home. He asked us if we were going to be going to his house for the appointment and we said that we were going to another at that moment, but that we could pass by right after. He was super enthusiastic and gladly accepted. The other appointment we had set up fell through so we went directly to his house. He and his wife gladly received us and we had a great lesson about the Restoration with them. The taxi driver is super pilas (golden) and was extremely interested in the Book of Mormon and accepted the baptismal challenge. I am so excited to go back there for the second visit. It was so cool to see how God set up everything and guided us right to him. The taxi driver to us that before he had picked us up he was already going home, but he realized that his car was low on gas, so he decided to turn back and go fill up. After that he ran into us. He told us that he thinks God put us in his path which was so cool to hear from an investigator.

Sorry this letter is so long, but this next story is pretty similar. So Elder Catucuago and I decided that we were going to go to a part of our area that we have never been to before that is like a 30-35 minute bus-ride from where we live. It's called Colinas. It's a really cool place. We've heard rumors that there are a few members there, but we had no idea who they were, where they lived, nor anything like that. We had never even been there before. When the bus assistant asked me where we would be getting off on our trip there, I just said "The truth, I don't know." It was funny. But we eventually made it to the main town of Colinas and we were kinda just trying to figure out the place. Everyone looked at us really funny because I don't think they've ever seen Mormon missionaries before. We started heading down mysterious roads, not really sure what we were looking for, when we reached a point where we could start contacting. We saw a lady sitting down outside her house and we decided to talk to her. While we were talking to her another lady passed behind us and was like, "It makes me so happy to see you here," and were a little shocked. She then proceeded to tell us how she was a member that was baptized in San Pedro, but she moved out here and kinda lost contact with the church. We finished talking to the lady we contacted and we went to the house of the member that found us. We started talking about progressing the missionary work there in Colinas and how she could be an fundamental part in finding the members of the church metaphorically hiding there and getting them to the branch in Santa Barbara. We set up an appointment to have a Family Home Evening with her so she could invite friends and get some work going on there. It was so cool how she found us like that because we seriously had no idea what we were going to do besides contact, we only felt the impression that we needed to go to Colinas.

So lots of miracles this week. Our investigators are doing good. We have one that I feel like will get baptized here in about a month. We'll see what happens there.

Nothing for us to report on here. Just happy to be here.

-Elder Dority

*Mom Note: No pictures this week...so I'm including my screenshot of the current temperature in Elder Dority's area for today and this week. It says it's only 45% humidity today...and it "feels like 105 F" on the app. For some reason his pictures didn't come through this week, so I'll insert them next week.

Pictures added 5/01/17
Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam!!! (Couldn't resist! ~Mom)

Cool sky!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Week 40: Feliz Pascua! (Happy Easter!)

First Meeting in our new District!!!

A very happy Pascua to everyone. This last week was definitely a noteworthy Semana Santa (Holy Week) I would say.

So this last Thursday was probably the coolest day of the Semana Santa. I, however, regretfully did not get any pictures during the day which I am not happy about. So on Thursday all the Catholics make these things called Alfombras, which means rug in English, but the thing is they aren't really rugs. What they do is they go out in the street and they take dyed wood shavings and put them on the ground and make a big painting of something about Jesus Christ. It's cool because there are a ton of them. They do look like rugs from a distance though. That was really cool. There is a Catholic church on the other side of the plaza by our house, so it was super crazy Thursday night there. It was full of people selling stuff and having BBQs and what not.

Sawdust Carpet-blogger photo

I also got a taste of some local foods this week... Probably won't be tasting them again later, hahaha! So they have this drink here in Santa Barbara that is called Chilate. It is essentially a drink made out of corn. It is white and incredibly bland. I had to chug one of those things down Saturday morning. They also take fruits and breads and soak them in this weird maple, sugar mixture. One day a lady gave us papaya dulce which is the fruit papaya soaked in that weird mixture. It was definitely strange. Papaya is already pretty nasty, but it was cool to try the local food. Hahaha!

So one really cool experience we had this week happened yesterday. We were visiting with our most recent convert in the church and we were talking about the importance of having one's own testimony. We asked her to share her testimony and she told us that before getting baptized she had invited some of her friends to her baptism, but that she didn't really receive the support from her friends that she had hoped for, but she didn't let that get her down. She said that she had known that the church was true and she would still go through with her baptism anyways.

That reminds me of a quote from Harry Potter that is something to the effect of ''Ït takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but it takes even more courage to stand up to your friends." Maybe she didn't have to stand up to her friends, but she didn't let what happened come before her testimony which I thought was really cool.

I just want to bear my testimony of the fact that Christ lives and that through him we can overcome not only physical death, but spiritual death too. Being the Prince of Peace, he gives a peace from sin that we cannot get anywhere else, like what is said in John 14:27.

Not too much else happened because everyone goes on vacations all week here during Semana Santa so we didn't get in a whole lot of teaching investigators, but things should pick back up this week.

I complete 9 months last week which blew my mind.

-Elder Dority

Not sure what's going on...but seems to have them all laughing!
"No fun in Santa Barbara"...only four of them can pull it off!
Found an R.O.U.S. outside our apartment today

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Week 39: Semana Santa (Holy Week)

We are now officially in Semana Santa (Holy Week). The week leading up to Easter is a little different here from what I am used to in Utah. Because there are a lot more Catholics and what not I have the opportunity to see how they celebrate Holy Week which is kinda cool. I haven't been able to see too much though because we are only on day number two. Yesterday was Domingo de Palmas which is Palm Sunday. Lots of people make these door frame things out of palm branches and put them up. A lot of people have these little shrines and what nots in front of there houses they highlight different parts about Christ's ministry. We walked past a group at night Saturday night that was walking down the street with a big cross and they were singing. It will be cool to see what else they do as Holy Week progresses.

This last week there was a baptism which was so great to have. We have been working with her since I got to Santa Barbara and she finally made the decision to be baptized and become a member! It was so cool. My companion baptized her last Saturday. She is awesome. She is going to be a great member of the LDS church. I liked teaching her because it first she was really shy about receiving the messages, but she opened up which was really cool to see. I am very proud of her and her decision.

Nothing else has really happened this week. We will see how the missionary work goes with Holy Week because most people leave for vacations and aren't home.

Thanks for all the support!
Elder Dority

Monday, April 3, 2017

Week 38: La Conferencia General Mas Macizo (General Conference was Awesome)

Elder Dority and Elder Mena watching General Conference

So this past week was definitely a pretty special week; one of the reasons for that being is General Conference, of course, and a few other reasons.

I first of all hope everyone enjoyed the spiritual feast that was given to us at General Conference these last two days. Some of my favorite talks all share a similar theme. My favorites were probably the ones given by D. Todd Christofferson and Dale G. Renlund. Elder Renlund talked about how we need to reach out to everyone, regardless of who they are or what their opinion is. Elder Christofferson talked about how we can show our love for people by giving guiding and uplifting correction. I thought the two tied amazingly well together and I would definitely invite everyone to study those talks side-by-side.

I was hoping they'd announce a temple in San Pedro Sula, but sadly that did not happen. Haha!

Right now Elder Catucuago and I are preparing for a baptism this upcoming Saturday. I am super excited for this baptism because we have been working with this investigator since the second day I got to this area. We have been working really hard this last change and a half and now we are seeing some fruits of the hard work. This area still has a little ways to go, but I feel like Catucuago and I have worked really well together and put in our all. 

We had a pretty cool experience contacting a few days ago. We were contacting when we came by this one house with a lady sweeping in her yard. We asked her if she wanted any help and she was like, "of course! Come in!" We were a little shocked because usually people just respond with a, "oh, don't worry about it." When she let us in the house we asked her what we could do and she was just like, "oh, don't worry about it. Sit down." She told us how she was looking for a church and how she doesn't attend any at the moment. She told us how she had been to other churches, but they don't seem right to her. She talked about how she has never been baptized and wants to be baptized and all this amazing stuff that was practically like having unlimited tres leches. The situation kinda made me and Elder Catucuago laugh after because she lied to us about having stuff for us to do so we could enter her house. Why can't every contact be like that? Hahaha! We have a return appointment with her this week, so hopefully she has been keeping the commitments and has been reading.

Well, that's pretty much it for this week. Hopefully I do not turn into a piece of leather in this giant oven I am living in right now. People say that Santa Barbara is supposed to be one of the more "fresco" locations of the mission. If that is true I can't even imagine being in San Pedro right now for Holy Week. The highs are at about 39 or 40 degrees Celsius, which is like 102 or 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Apparently San Pedro gets up to like 45 degrees Celsius.

See ya later.

-Elder Dority

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Week 37: Orar con verdadera intención (Pray with true intention)


Transfers last week... and I have been taken out and sent to San Pedro.... just kidding. Still here in Santa Barbara with Elder Catucuago. I am super glad to the two of us are staying together this change because we have been working so well together.

So this week has definitely been quite a week in terms of proselyting and missionary work. We had some funny experiences along the way which I will get to shortly. Elder Catucuago and I have been working our tails off contacting lately, and this week has been a kind of reap the rewards by teaching new investigators. About a week and a half ago we contacted this one lady and asked if we could come back someday to teach her and her husband. She said we could come the following Monday to teach. Well, when we showed up we met the husband. We told him about how we had made an appointment to teach him and his wife. He told us that he could have us over at the moment, but that we could come back another day. He also told us he was not interested in changing churches, but we could come over because we had the word of God. We of course came back regardless of said lack of true intention. When we arrived we found that he had other family there visiting with him. We took advantage of the possibility of more prospects and entered. We taught the Restoration and the person who turned out to be golden was this man's brother. He was there accompanying them and he was very involved and interested in the lesson. He told us that he believes Joseph Smith really could've been called as a prophet and that it makes sense that God would have more scripture like the Book of Mormon. We wrote down his number and we are going to pass by his house this week to see if he has read. It was cool to see how God set up the situation so we could find this man.

So funny experience for the week. Elder Catucuago and I were visiting a member family a few days ago and we were sitting in this part that is outside of the house, but it is between this gate and the house. The gating is tall and roofed; it's kinda like a front yard patio but it's got high fencing and another door. So we are sitting there chilling, when this drunk guy comes up (why does it always have to be a drunk guy?). He is selling grapefruit which is weird because the other day he was selling shoes. Probably stolen, but who knows? So anyways, this drunk guy comes up to the barred fence and starts trying to sell us his grapefruit. I am sitting directly in front of him right on the other side of the fence. We politely decline his offer, but that didn't sit too well with him. He tried offering again, but we told him we didn't want any grapefruit. He then put the grapefruit in the fence. The grapefruit was too big to put through the fence, but small enough that it could be forced through. My face is like six inches from this giant grapefruit sitting in the fence and nobody wants it. I guess this guy decided he would "show us" for not buying his fruit. He decided to take a nice old karate chop to this fruit stuck in the fence. Luckily that thing did not fly out as I was sitting directly by it. I promptly moved seats as he takes another swing and the citrus comes flying through. Everyone was like "what the heck are you doing?" He then throws another one through the fence at us, mad that we don't want his fruit. One lady that was with us got up all angry and marched over to him, but that was enough to send him off running. Hahaha! I don't know why, but it was just really funny after.

Right now, the area of Gualjoco is in the stage of trying to transition all of our new investigators to progressing investigators. Elder Catucuago and I have really been working on trying to make it very clear and simple how a person can receive an answer by reading the Book of Mormon and attending church. It is so cool when you ask an investigator if they've read the Book of Mormon and they respond yes; and it's even better if you ask them if they think it's true and they say yes again. I feel like missionary work has been a lot more about trusting in that people will recognize true doctrine, even if they have never heard of its background. We often say to that you don't need to know everything to know that this book comes from God. I fully support that, even though I might not know all the history, facts, and plots of the Book of Mormon, that doesn't mean the pure, simple doctrines taught through this ancient people aren't true.

I saw evidence of that in a lesson we had with a 22 year old guy we are teaching with a member family. He was over at this family's house one night when we passed by. We decided to teach him another lesson while we were there. We have taught him the Restoration before and left him the Book of Mormon. He has read a little bit, but he didn't ask God in prayer if it was true. Elder Catucuago and I felt the impression to teach a lesson with the Book of Mormon. I was thinking of taking the approach of how the Book of Mormon answers questions from the soul, but my companion got the impression we should continue from where he left off in the Book of Mormon (which was 1 Nephi 2). I was a little bit hesitant about doing that because I had no idea how we were going to apply 1 Nephi 2 to this guy. We started reading it and talking about how we should try to avoid being like Laman and Lemuel, who murmured and complained when it came to listening to the voice of the prophets. We taught how we need to do what Nephi did when we want to know God's will. "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers." (1 Nephi 2:16) We told him that if he does what Nephi did by praying to God to know if the Book of Mormon is true, the Lord will touch his heart. We told him that he will receive an answer as he reads and goes to church. He had told us before that lesson that he always has to work Sundays and that he can't go to church. We asked him about asking for a change in work schedule so he could go to church.

Yesterday, when we got on the Mormon bus that takes people to the LDS church on Sundays, we saw him on there too.

It was so cool to see him show his faith by acting and I cannot wait to ask him if he believes the Book of Mormon is true. I fully trust in the Lord's promise that he will touch the hearts of those who pray with true intention.

That's all for now. Until next week!

-Elder Dority

Super Cool Sunset