July 13, 2015

The summit...

First pic as a 20-year-old...the morning of my birthday!
What a week we've had this week! Many blessings and miracles of the Lord coming to pass this week. But I will get to those in a minute :)

To answer a couple of your questions:
You asked about how the people here read the scriptures/learn the gospel if their language is not written. I asked the same question...but apparently the pastors here read the Bible in Spanish and then translate it over the pulpit...crazy huh!?!

K'iche' is one of the few indigenous languages all Liahonas and Conferences are translated into...COOL HUH!! :) But the problem is that K'iche' isn't a written language so most K'iche' speakers cant read...k'iche' or Spanish....or English ;) All church manuals are in Spanish, and the teachers translate into K'iche' :)

You also asked how my feet are doing with all the walking in this area.  To be honest, I have 2 half blisters, one on each heal...haha :)

Yes, we have to go outside to get to our bathroom. So, funny story about that...I was on my way to the shower this week (thus I was in my towel, shirtless, and wearing basketball shorts) when there was a squeal behind me (remember this is like 6:30 in the morning, in the rain). I turned around to find one of our investigators standing there...she thought it was so funny she caught me in just my towel and shorts. She was out for her morning walk with her soon-to-be husband and happened across me. Well, they don't speak Spanish and I don't speak K'iche' but from the hand signs they made they were super excited for their marriage the following day (but it's really on the 25th). They had thought our next appointment was to marry them...we had to end up calling a member to explain to them that it was just a visit, but that the 25th they can be married! :) THEY ARE SOOO CUTE!! I just thought it was funny that they happened to happen upon me in the rain on my way to the shower...haha :)

Fun Fact: I found out that the men's skirts are pure wool and cost about 800 quetz (the typical earnings in a day are about 100-150 quetz with alright work...)

On to the highlights for my week!
Highlights for 13/7/15 (first email as a twenty year old...ah):

Highlight #1: My Cumpleanos! Yep that's right, this guy had a birthday...Do you know what that meant for me yesterday? Work like normal :) But I LOVE IT so it was alright :) What made it even better was that one of our new investigators came to church! But I will get to that in a second :) The other things that happened is a couple of my friends from my previous ward called me and wished me a happy birthday which was pretty sweet! :) And then last night we were planning for today when the phone rang, "PTE.SMITH" (President Smith). He was calling to wish me a happy birthday. I felt very loved :)
Balloons and a treat for my birthday...


Highlight #2: Marriage. "Mawige, Mawige is what bwings us togetor today"-From I don't remember what movie..haha :) But seriously! We are going to have a wedding not this Sat but the following...but the even COOLER part is that at the same meeting we are going to be baptizing! :) So to give the back story....We have been teaching an elderly woman the last 3 weeks (other missionaries have been teachering her before that) and this woman's husband (soon to be) never wanted to listen to the lessons. They are not married, but the hna wants to get baptized and the boyfriend/husband did not want to get married because he said he was already married (to somebody else) and it was thus a sin to get married again. We worked with him and invited returned missionaries in the ward as well and finally found out that his previous "marriage" was in an evangelical church and was never civilized, thus leaving him single and able to be married. So with that hurdle passed we found out from him that he then wanted to hear the lessons and be baptized with his (soon to be) wife! What a miracle! So we have been making lots of preparations and getting all the paperwork finalized so that we can have the wedding/baptisms on the 25th. Please pray for them to continue to progress, learning more, and can be married and baptized next week :) (side comment: They are a super cute couple...he is 85 and she is 70 and this is her first time being married and she is SO excited!)

Highlight #3: Negocios. So one of the requirements to be baptized is one must attend a certain number of Sunday meetings. So in order for the husband-to-be of our investigator to be baptized with her he needed to attend church yesterday and next week and show the desire to continue to attend for the rest of his life. BUT, there is a problem...their only source of income is to sell bananas in the markets on Thu and SUNDAYS. So he had told us he would attend the later ward after he had sold his products. Well, the later ward was about to start and he had not shown up...so we went looking for him. Well, we found him at his spot in the market still selling. We asked if he was going to make it to church, and he said he would come as soon as he sold the rest of his bananas...so what do we do? If he doesn't attend he cant be baptized with his wife-to-be...so with the member who was tranlating we were able to convince him to take his remaining bananas home (2 cenas or 2 dozen). Something I realized last night was that he was willing to compromise his spiritual progression and making a better relationship with God (but he didn't understand that compromise) for 10 quetz worth of product. But, ultimately he decided to make the compromise and made it to church with us and told us next week he will be in our ward and not sell. HOW COOL IS THAT!!! :)

I am soo greatful for this gospel and being able to participate in seeing how it changes lives, every day! The Lord truly is working right along side us in this His work! I love being able to see Him at work among his brothers and sisters, each and every one of us, every day! Keep up all the great work at home and in whatever place you may be in! :)

With love and many prayers,
Elder Flake

P.S. Tomorrow at midnight is when I have completed exactly HALF of my mission...almost to the summit...AHHHHH
In the internet cafe writing to you all!

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