Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 27th, 2011

                       Its not a great shot....doesnt really capture it. But sometimes, we are kind of in the jungle.
A cool little highlight of the week was teaching English at the university to a class of computer students. We taught some English, while intertwining religion and our beliefs. It was a neat experience to be able to do that, and get to know new people in a different way than just knocking doors or talking to people. I think we will get to do it next week also.
Also, we have had a lot of good service opportunities this week. Finally, I feel like I can use a machete and help cut the lawn and terrain instead of just damaging it haha. But I really like using machete, and we found like 3 different opportunities unplanned to help people machete their yard or cut down branches or things like that. Also, moving chicken killing materials was kind of interesting.
It has been really hard this week to see the investigators that we have wanted to, but we were able to...last night...split up with all the members and visit a number of them and members of the church who haven´t been members for a long time.
I have learned word in Tseltal...Mayuk--which means "no hay" or "there isn´t any"...and so every time I talk to someone who only knows Tseltal, I try to throw that word in there for fun. And then they laugh at me, but we leave on good terms even though we can´t understand each other.
I know that this church is true. I know that God lives, and that Jesus Christ really is our Savior. I love the Gospel, and feel it changing every part of who I am and the people here in Yajalon that are applying it in their lives.
Mucho amor,
Elder Palmer 

Monday, June 20, 2011

June 20th, 2011

Well, it is starting to rain a bunch every day.This picture doesn't really capture it, but it rains hard here! Really hard.

Idon´t have much time to write today, but things are going. This week was pretty difficult with a lot of ups and downs, but to be positive I will share one of the ups.
We were praying and planning to know how to be more effective in contacting people. We had only really been knocking doors and talking to people in the road. We had tried things like to start the conversation in English to grab their attention, and then talk in Spanish...but we didn´t really feel much success with that. We felt impressed to go the University and ask if they have a religion or theology class we could speak with. The Administrator was really excited to meet with us, and he has family members that are members of the church (which is great, because few people here know about the church). In the middle of talking to us he said, "I would like to ask you something...maybe its selfish...but could you teach one of our classes next week and include a little bit of English words?" We were stoked and could see that we were supposed to be where we were. This Wednesday we will teach a class for an hour or two of about 20 students about our beliefs, throwing a bit of "authentic English" here and there.
I don´t know if I have said this, but there are a lot of people here who don´t speak Spanish (haha or English). Many people are Indigenous and natively speak Tseltal or Chol (dialects). We have learned phrases here and there, but not enough to teach a lesson or anything. Oh and the women here that are indigenous have a pretty cool looking dress thing going on with some colorful fabrics. Just thought I would mention that.
We are working hard to become a Branch. We are feeling very unified as companions, and we are trying to stay´positive with the obstacles in our way.
I know that this work is true. God lives. He loves us.
Much love,
Elder Palmer

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 14th, 2011

Well, we had a meeting with the Stake Presidency on Sunday, us and a few of the Yajalon members. They said that if we can have more than 5 of our Priesthood holding members show up for two more Sundays (and we have more than five that will come), then we will be able to b a Branch in no time. So, we are hoping that we can become a Branch here in Yajalon very soon, and that will be our focus in these next weeks to help build the foundation for the investigators that are continuing to learn and progress. It is a fascinating experience to be able to be a small part in the formation of one of the units of the restored church of Jesus Christ! But that is the cause of much of our excitement.
I am slowly learning how to communicate my ideas better with the members, and trying to gain their respect--even though sometimes I feel really really young compared to all of them. Some of the members become discouraged really easily, others are easily distracted, and others (of our 3 active families) get annoyed easily, but they all have the right desires. And they all have plenty of strengths as well. They want the gospel of Jesus Christ to go forward in Yajalon, along with the establishment of the Branch. This Wednesday, we talked with some of the adults from the family, and there was a really sweet spirit there...helping to gain more and more excitement as a group. We are finally starting to work alongside these members, in the place of through them or on the other side.
In just a few weeks, we will get a new mission president, so that will be interesting to see what happens there.
In the photo attached of the truck...well, imagine about ten or more people stuffed in the part under the canvas and about 6 men holding on back with their feet on the bumper. It is pretty intense, but ironically now normal. In total, I once counted more than thirty people in a truck a little bigger than that. We have to take one of those about twice a week for half of the way to Ocosingo.
Teresa this week told us of how much she really wanted to go to Ocosingo, but her husband wouldn´t give her the money to do it and was really opposed. She said, with tears, how much of a difference she has felt in her life in these weeks recently. I feel the spirit very strong, and feel my testimony reconfirmed in moments like that: seeing the seed of the gospel take root in others, and seeing it grow.
Another photo attached is of my companion making some french toast to Luis and Yadira (Luis is a less active member , and yadira has desires to get baptized). My companion is great, I learn a lot from being with him.
I want to share my testimony that even though there are so many things we don´t...can´t...understand in this life, there are some things that I know we can always understand and put in our trust. I know that we can always trust that there is a God and that he loves us. We can trust that we have a Savior. And we can trust in the fact that their gospel is restored in the only true and living church on the earth today. I love being able to tell people that we meet, with all the confidence we can muster, that we don´t want them to believe our words. That God will surely answer in these important truths. I don´t know that these things are true because anyone has told me, but because I have felt simple feelings of such deep joy and peace while I have asked if they are true.
Much love and lots of ganas,
Elder Palmer

Monday, June 6, 2011

June 6th, 2011

Entry in Dictionary of Elder Palmer:
Mondungo (Muhn-dun-go): A rubbery part of the cow in a variety of weird shapes and sizes that is hairy and is served in bloody water with Jabanero.  
Just kidding. But every now and then I run into something that isn´t quite so tasty...and, well, from my experience with mondungo, I´m not quite a number one fan. But most of the food is really good.
Difficulty of the week: We had to go to Ocosingo yesterday for Church (and next week for the Ward Conference), and we had everything thoroughly planned. A truck that we could take about 15 people there and back, and a Branch counselor to drive it. We checked every day to assure it would work out, and us and all the investigadors planned on splitting the cost of the gas. At 8:30 PM on Saturday night, the counselor called us and told us he had to leave for something in Tuxtla and wouldn´t be able to come. We had to tell all of the investigators and less actives (more than 13) that were confirmed to leave in the crack of dawn the next morning that we wouldn´t have the truck, and if they wanted to go, they would have to pay the whole passage (lots of money). And for that, no one could make it to Ocosingo on Sunday. That was our difficulty this week. But Elder Walker and I tried to animate one another to keep trucking along with muchas ganas.
Luis y Yadira: Luis is 22 years old and was a member of the Church back many years. His wife is not a member, but has been meeting with us. We have felt a sweet spirit in meeting with them. Often, he turns to tears in expressing his desire to feel what he is feeling more, and to have his questions answered like they have been. His wife has expressed her desire to follow the teachings and be baptized. Their challenge is that their pollería sells almost all of their product on Sunday...which makes church rather difficult for them.
Teresa and her family: Teresa, her children, brother and his family, and a few others who live with them are loving meeting with the missionaries. They have been goinig to church, and say that they feel their normal fears and stress of daily life replaced with the peace that they feel praying, in church, and meeting with us. We are way excited for them, and I know that God has put them in our way for a reason. For some reason, we are funny to them, and they always laugh and say, "Este guerro" a mi o mi compañero. I think they know our names, but they just call us guerro.
I testify of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That He can fix anything, anyone, and make every situation right. I know He is our Savior, and through His plan we have purpose in this life!
Much love,
Elder Palmer
P.S. it is starting to rain a lot here