7 April 2014 - Hola todos!!
How is it goin’ in the good ol’ civilization? Things here are going just dandy. It was weird getting to an area and not knowing anything, not even where we were going to live but we've been figuring things out. Tuesday morning we found out who our companions were and then we were off. Elder S. from Queen Creek, Arizona is my new companion and he's a good kid. I am training again. He smiles a lot so that is good.
When we left Mérida we went to Calkini where the zone leaders were going to be waiting for us. We got off the bus and had to wait for them for a while, which made me worry we had got off in the wrong place!! They showed up however and then we were able to find a little bus going to Dzitbalche and the zone leaders gave us the keys to our house and some sort of directions so that we could get there. We finally got to the house around 9 so we just had to set up what we could in the house. There isn't any place to hang up clothing so we had to tie some strings in one room and we're just going to settle with that for a closet.
Dzitbalché is pronounced... Tsit (the t is fast) ball- chay. Tsit-ball-chay with the emphasis on the chay. It is really different being a missionary in pueblos for a few reasons. First off, the teaching is really difficult. I've had to find some pictures because I find that that works a lot better than any other technique. Does anyone else have teaching suggestions for me? It's tough because a lot of people have very little or no education here so it is not a very normal thing for them to sit down, listen to someone talk and then understand what is being taught, especially if it is a completely new concept. I have found that short lessons work well too but one step at a time we'll figure it out. The Catholic Church has a really strong influence here and it's pretty surprising. We passed by the Catholic Church last night and there were so many people there. I think all 15,000 that live here in Dzitbalche were there. We've certainly got our work cut out for us.
I basically start out the first lesson talking about the nature of God the father and then telling them that he expects us all to be baptized by someone having authority, just like Jesus did. Then I show a picture of Moses giving authority to Aaron, Jesus doing the same with his apostles and tell about Joseph Smith receiving that same power. And then... the moment of truth... we invite them to be baptized. Good stuff for sure! People are really nice here and we have had only about 2 people tell us that they didn't want to listen to us when they were sitting outside their house. We found 8 investigators this week and most of them came from just talking to people outside their houses, and then them letting us come in to teach them something.
One of the investigators we found is called G. He is a really great guy. The elders from Calkini met him before because they were previously working in Dzitbalche a little bit and so we decided to contact him to see if we could set up a date to visit him. He opened the door really skeptically. I wasn't sure who exactly we were looking for because the zone leaders didn't remember the name but I just started talking to him. I felt like we needed to talk to him in that moment so I asked, "Can we come in and teach you a message that will change your life?" Surprisingly... he opened right up and pulled up two chairs for us!
This guy has had a pretty tough life. Apparently he has had some trouble with alcohol and he is tired of saying he will quit but then the next week falling again. We talked a bit about the atonement and power that comes from trusting in Christ and the spirit was really strong. He asked us questions about why life was so hard, we read 2 Nephi 2, left the rest for him to read and... he read all of it! (He was a teacher a few years ago so he learns pretty fast) We went back on Friday night, having planned to teach lesson 3 in Preach My Gospel (study that one) but he said some things that made me feel like we should teach the Plan of Salvation... We started talking about that and when we got to the Atonement again... Man the spirit was so strong and I know he had to have felt it. He ASKED US when we would have church and I told him the Sunday morning session hour but then I felt the impression to invite him to the priesthood session. I promised him that something would be said that he needed to hear. He ended up not going, but the talk by President Uchtdorf was perfect for him. I'm going to try and print it off this next week when it gets translated into Spanish so we can read it with him. (We did get to see all sessions even though we watched every one but the last one in Spanish. Don't get me wrong, Spanish is great but it's just not the same.) He ended up not coming yesterday either but I don’t know... I feel really good with this guy. Gotta have faith!
I love you guys so much! Keep us in your prayers so that we can figure everything out here. Moroni 7:33 is my favorite scripture these days... ("And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.")
Elder Jaussi with his newest Trainee, Elder S.