It's been a while since I've written. An entire transfer has gone by, actually. (we didn't have transfers.)
The work has gone well during the last 5 weeks here in Catocha, although it's been different. Very different. I'm trying to get used to different out here haha. I don't think I ever wrote about what Catocha is like, it's a very small town kinda in the middle of a desert, under the shadow of a volcano. The church has on a good Sunday 18 people there, and 12 of them are one family that comes from a very far away town. The father was a singer back in his heyday, and his 10 kids are a riot. They really liven things up around here haha
When we first got here, we didn't know where anyone lived or anyone's names (we're whitewashing), so we decided to focus a lot on the members. Really quickly we started to realize how often we were fielding complaints and hateful comments about other members, which was concerning and sad. The branch has a lot of history, and nobody's really happy about the current state of things.
My first Sunday, I was asked to give a talk, and I spoke on Zion. In the days of Enoch, in the Americas after Christ came, and in these latter days. I tried to explain, as best I know, what it takes to establish Zion, and shared the Lord's promises to those who strive to do so. They are very great. One of them is in 1 Nephi 13:37
"And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be." I love this scripture so much.
Thankfully, Elder Christofferson explained unity much better in general conference 2 weeks ago, if you didn't get the chance to hear his talk, you should. Speaking of General Conference, it was a really amazing personal spiritual experience. I learned so much, and I'm so grateful for loving prophets.
After about a week here in the area, we discovered that just about everyone the missionaries were teaching weren't really progressing, so, after pleading with them to come to church, we decided to drop them all (except for 2). So we practically decided to start from scratch. Unfortunately, the members aren't too excited to give us references. Fortunately, my companion is a beast, and him and I have been doing everything we know to do to find new people.
One day, as we were knocking doors, we knocked on door 3-45. An older lady answered, and when we asked her name, she said, "I don't have a name." My companion asked "what do people call you then?" She gruffly responded "nobody calls me anything. What do you want?"
"To share a message about Jesus Christ with you Sister"
"I'm busy. Sorry."
"When can we come back to share a message with you?"
"Come whenever, but I'm busy right now, bye."
I admit, I thought "whelp, we'll never go back there again haha." When I heard my companion say "we're coming back Friday. I'm not stopping until we've taught her a lesson."
Friday rolls around, her son turns us away without any real reason. So this last Monday, we went back a third time. She answered, and looked tired of this. So she invited us in. And we shared the good news that Jesus Chirst was our Savior, loved us, and that he wants us to learn his gospel to be able to live with our Father again one day. And the spirit was strong.
Her name is Berta. She invited us to come back this next Friday. I've learned not to give up on people so easily.
But we've had so many experiences finding and teaching and trying to activate here in Catocha in these 5 weeks that I can't share it all. They flew by so so quickly. I'm so grateful for the time I've had here, and that I have at least another transfer with Elder Bejaran. I have faith that God can do a marvelous work here in this tiny Catholic town.
I love you all, thanks for all of your support!
1 the district
2 taste of California (in guatemala)
3 pizza is the enemy of fitness
4 Tipical bus
5 Elder Esplin, the only other Californian
6-8 Zone conference with the boys
9-12 the Ipala Volcano