Monday, May 20, 2013

May 12, 2013

Notes from Elder Ward's Mother's Day call:

They have 11 investigators in his new area. Yuscar√°n is a small town. He lives directly across the street from a park. It is about 8 km to the edge of his area. His companion just finished training and is a convert to the church. He likes his companion, and he said they get along well.

His new “apartment” is actually a room in the church. The church used to be a hotel. I think he said it is more modern than many buildings, but is still older and falling apart. He said the bathrooms there and in the other missionaries' apartment are like in the United States. In the kitchen, they have a microwave, a 2-burner stovetop, and 2 small fridges. He and his companion put a pull-up bar in a room downstairs, under the chapel, so they can have a workout room. Most of the time they have water, but not always. He said most faucets only have one handle—and one option: cold. Most people have buckets of water to store water—like 50 gallon buckets—because the water is so unreliable.

We asked what the neighbors thought about the missionaries. He said that they think the missionaries worship Joseph Smith, and they also think the missionaries are paid for their service.

There were about 25 people at church and about 85 baptized members. He taught Primary again. There were six children at the beginning, but some left before the end. If the people live in this village, the church is close for them, but for those living in other villages it is far away, so they don't usually come.

They did a Mother's Day activity either Friday or Saturday night. They encouraged the branch members to bring an investigator with them. He said they had lots of food, and it went well.

The elders make up the branch presidency. He is the secretary. There aren't a lot of worthy priesthood holders in the branch.

They spend a lot of their time running the branch: Meetings, interviews, etc. They are also the janitors, gardeners, etc. He thinks they probably spend about 1/2 of their time running the branch and 1/2 of their time doing mission stuff.

They were getting up early in the morning to have seminary, but no one was coming, so they are going to try having it in the evening.

He said his testimony has grown on his mission. It has been a gradual process through study and teaching.

He encouraged us to put pictures of Christ over the tape on packages we send to help them to get to him. He said packages often arrive banged up a little, but not too bad. He has received every package we have sent to him. The mail is a lot slower in getting to him now because they changed the way the zone leaders pick up the mail.

It takes 45 minutes by bus to get to the weekly zone meetings. It is 1 1/2 hours to the mission office in Tegucigalpa. He had to go there last Monday to sign papers so he could sign checks for the branch. Only he and one other missionary of the four in the area have residency. There are 6 missionaries in their district, 60 in their zone, and 250 in their mission. He has interviews with the mission president and zone conferences about every 3 months.

It sounds like he can get most things down there that he needs like toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, etc. They go grocery shopping on P-days and usually go to the little stores in his area. He compared them go a store you would see in a gas station here. If they want to do serious shopping, they have to go to Tegucigalpa. On P-days, they have to dress up in their missionary clothes if they go anywhere besides to exercise (like to go play soccer).

They plan to visit different villages in their area a couple of times this week. When we asked him if they speak different dialects in different villages, he said no.

His favorite food that he has had there is a fried tortilla with salad, chicken and guacamole. He said they eat a lot of eggs, beans and tortillas. In his last area, the members fed them a lot, but the members don't feed the missionaries in this area. This affects the amount of money they have to live on, but he said he is budgeting and doing okay.

For breakfast, he usually has cold cereal and powdered milk (he said he can't get milk from the store, but it only comes in liter bottles and is expensive). They either make something or go out to eat for lunch and dinner. He said it costs about $1.25 for a meal out at a local place there, but he prefers to make something at the apartment because it is even cheaper. He said the ice cream isn't good there. They don't sell any local chocolate that he has seen, but they sell American candy bars, and those are good.

He said he has been tired a lot in this area. They walk almost everywhere. He thinks it is because it is a bigger area than the one where he served in Tegucigalpa, so they are always running around going places/exercising more.

We asked him what animals he has seen. He said turtles, chickens (which roost in the trees), frogs, dogs, cats, pigs, and parakeets. When we asked if he had seen wild parakeets, he said no, they were pets.

At the end of the call, he bore his testimony to us, and that was so neat. He testified of the Savior and the importance of reading the Book of Mormon. It was wonderful to hear his voice and see his face! We miss him a lot! It is exciting to see the changes in him and hear of the experiences he is having! We are so grateful he has this opportunity to serve the people in Honduras!