Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Primera Dia en el Campo - Weeks 6 & 7

Que tal?!

Well, here I am in the mission field and out of the jail we call the MTC! So some information about my first area. My companion is Elder Tzub and he is a native to Coban, Guatemala and he has been out on his mission for 21 months and has only 3 more to go. He is a pretty good trainer and is trying to help me with my Spanish when I need it. My first area is in Catarina next to Tecun and Malacatan.

Our apartment is a pretty decent size and there are 4 of us missionaries who live there. There are a lot of spiders, cockroaches, and other bugs in general. Our bathroom, we have a functioning toilet, the shower we have a hole in the wall with a PVC pipe and sprays out a stream of freezing cold water which I don’t mind because a cold shower feels really nice in the heat here. So 2 days ago I already got bedbugs (which are common here) so that was awesome – not!

The people here speak really, really, really, really fast Spanish and 99% of the time I cannot understand what anyone is saying so that’s not really that fun. However I am teaching a good amount in Spanish during lessons or at least trying to.

The area I am in is pretty rough and pretty poor. We visited a couple of investigators and one of them lives on a concrete slab, has some plywood as walls but not much and a single light that flickers on and off occasionally. And one night they went into the town because they live quite a ways out, and bought us some coke and some snacks for us to enjoy and that was really humbling knowing that they pretty much have nothing but are still willing to feed us as well.

We have to walk everywhere as well most of the time and sometimes we walk for 30-45 minutes to someones house to teach them. We sometimes take tuc-tucs which are small red motorcycles with a covering on top and 2 seats in the back and those are really fun to drive in because they weave in and out of different cars and the drivers here are nuts and there are pretty much no rules or laws with driving.

The pure water we drink here comes in small bags that we just keep in our fridge and grab them and drink them. We have eaten at a few members houses and they give us tortillas, rice, beans, occasionally meat and really good juices to drink as well.

So my first Sunday here which was a Fast Sunday I thought I was going to pass out because I felt so dehydrated but I somehow survived, haha. Being in the field has been hard physically, emotionally, and spiritually but I am trying my best here. Oh and we already have 2-3 people committed to baptism in 2 weeks so that is pretty exciting and hopefully some more of our investigators will commit as well.

Last Saturday we were walking home and a drunk guy called out to me ''I speak English, can you understand me American?',' in very bad english so that was pretty funny and I said ''No, yo se Espanol, no Ingles.''. It gets really hot here during the days and I sweat just about constantly and the sun sets here at 5:30 every night which is nuts so when teaching we are walking in the dark and one investigator we have, their lights go out and has 1 candle on their floor so when teaching them my companion pulled out his flashlight and that's how we saw scriptures we were reading.  However, the people here are just so happy with what they have and don't seem to complain.

There are stray dogs and cats everywhere but we haven't had any chase us so far so that’s good. For P-Day today we went to Tecun and played some futbol with our zone until I kicked the ball over the fence so we couldn't play. Of course, leave it to the Gringo to ruin soccer for all the Latinos right? After that we went to the store in Malacatan and shopped for food for the week. There were probably 20-30 missionaries there from several zones to shop and eat and there I saw my companion from the MTC so that was really cool running into him and talking to him. I mainly bought Frosted Flakes, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, leche, y yogurt. Man there goes my Spanglish again! That has been happening a lot. Ok so during a lesson with investigators I started talking and was speaking English to them and then I caught myself and couldn't believe that happened! It was a little embarrassing but I brushed it off and started to speak again in Spanish. You guys have any ideas for what I need to do when I can’t understand what others are saying and I need to respond to them?

That is crazy how dad got called to be the Elder Quorum President in the Spanish Branch! Buenas Suerte Papa! You will do great, I know it! I’m glad to hear that Connor made the basketball team and he is going to kill it out there on the cancha (court). Glad to hear also that you are all doing really great and and are having a great time and thanks for the updates with everything! Take care everyone and I am keeping you in my prayers! Stay Sweet!

Here is my new address (please send letters everyone):

Misión Guatemala Retalhuleu
Boulevard Centenario, Zona 2, Salida a Coatepeque 
Apartado Postal No. 26
Retalhuleu Guatemala
C.A. 11001

     Elder Kahl

This is the inside of our house where we live.

This is out in the back of our house where we hang laundry to dry.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Una Semana mas en el CCM! - Week 5

Como esta?! Estoy muy feliz porque yo tengo una semana mas aqui en el CCM antes de la camp. Estoy listo por el campo pero el tiempo en el CCM fue muy rapid tambien. Mi disticto y yo, estamos excelente y muy listo porque seis semanans aqui is muy largo. Pero, necesito usar este tiempo aqui ayudar mi espanol mas y saber comó ensenar mejor. Me gustan mis companeros y alli es mas unidad con nosotros. Hoy fue el ultimo semana ir al templo aqui en Ciudad de Guatemala y fue un gran experienca y me encanta el templo aqui. Lo siento, pero, proximo semana no puedo escribir a ustedes porque proximo martes yo salgo el CCM por el campo en la manana. Retalhuleu es 4 horas del CCM pero, estare con buenos misioneros en el bus! Mi estomago es mucho mejor y la comida esta bien.

Here is the translation of the paragraph above (based on Spanish to English translator and what Chandler’s mom, can figure out from what didn’t translate well):

How is it going?! I am very happy because I have one more week here in the CCM before the field.  I'm ready for the field but the time at the CCM was also very fast. My district and I are excellent and very ready because six weeks here is very long. But I need to use this time here helping my Spanish more and to know how to teach better. I like my companions and there is more unity with us. Today was the last week we can go to the temple here in Guatemala City and was a great experience and I love the temple here. Sorry, but next week I cannot write to you because next Tuesday I leave the CCM for the field in the morning. Retalhuleu is 4 hours from the CCM but it will be with good missionaries on the bus! My stomach is much better and the food is good.

To answer your question mom about around the MTC, there is a hill right behind the temple (which we can see from the windows of the MTC) it’s where a lot of rich people live because the houses up there are mansions and just massive and pretty nice but right below on the streets with the MTC there are a lot of poor areas and where a lot of less fortunate people live but it still isn't too bad.

The weather here isn't too bad because it actually gets pretty cool at night and I need to sleep with a blanket but the weather during the day gets pretty warm except it rains like crazy here just about every day. Except for the rain the weather is pretty close to the same in Colorado so that’s nice but I keep hearing that the weather in Retalhuleu is very, very hot because it is right next to the coast but I'm down for sweating for the next two years!

The time here in the MTC has gone by so fast and I can hardly (is that a word?) believe I have been here for 5 weeks and only have 1 more left! All of us in my zone (about 40 missionaries) are all really excited to get out of here and to experience what a ''real'' mission is like.

So each week there are some people that come here and sell stuff to the missionaries that they might need and some stuff that is custom to Guatemala as well. I bought some ties that I guess are ''too thin'' to wear on a mission so I'm thinking about sending those home to Dad, Tanner, and Connor because there are 3 of them that are ''too thin''. I plan on sending you all a package home for Christmas (depending on how much it is) with some nifty things in it but if not then I apologize! However, me or no one else except for 1 elder has not gotten any physical letters in the mail yet which is kind of depressing but we have to understand that letters can take a while to get down here and I hope the MTC isn't just holding onto them until we leave the MTC.... but I don't know!

Me and my 2 companions are still getting along pretty well and are learning how to be in a trio because it can be difficult but it is definitely getting better though. Being zone leader is still going pretty well and I try to help others out as much as I can. Oh so a few days ago on Friday, my district and I had the opportunity to go outside the gates of the MTC to go talk to whomever about the church and to handout copies of the Book of Mormon. We talked to a few people who accepted the books and we got their contact information to give to the missionaries in the area to go visit them. It was a really great experience and definitely made me realize that I can talk to people about the church, get to know them, and just talk to them in Spanish.  It was a really cool n to practice my Spanish and practice being a ''real'' missionary. I'm just ready to get out of the MTC and start teaching real people. My testimony here has definitely been strengthened and last week I really focused on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how his Atoning Sacrifice in our/my life. My testimony on it increased and helped with my relationship with my Savior. Doctrine and Covenants 58:42-43, (42 Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.  43 By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins-behold, he will confess them and forsake them). This scripture has helped me to better understand God's love for us and the love we need to have for the Savior to come unto him because he has his arms open wide for us, all we need to do is repent of our sins and come unto him (Alma 5:33 - Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.).

I'm glad you are all doing great and I miss you all too! Sorry if I didn't answer all your questions mom but maybe in a physical letter I write I can. Love you all and miss you all! Stay sweet!

                        Love, Elder Kahl

Here is a photo of my district in front of the temple.

The Guatemala City temple.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

23 Months Left!!!! - Week 4


Attached are the district photos.  In the one that I am in, Elder Heyrend (my companion) is to my right and Elder Fillmore (my other companion) came after this picture.  The other picture is another district.

Hola!!!!!!! It is so crazy to think that I have been here for just about a month now! Time flies when it's the Lords time! Everything is still going good here. We went to a smaller market this morning and I got some soda and candy, which were amazing since we don't have that here. It was nice to get out of the MTC again and actually see some more of Guatemala. 

At the market a guy was walking and was in a hurry, but I decided to stop him anyways. He was carrying a helmet and when he walked near me I started to talk to him and he stopped and I asked him if he knew anything about the Book of Mormon and he said no, so I introduced it to him, then asked if he wanted to know more about it and he said he would but he was in a hurry so I put the Book of Mormon in his hands and said that I know this book is true and that it is the words of God and if he reads it that it will change his life. I asked him if he would read it and pray to know if it is true and he said yes and went on his way. He was really nice guy and accepting and even though he was in a rush and started walking away.  As he walked away though, he opened it up and started to read and see what it was about and he read it all the way up the stairs so I assume he will read it. I might have just saved that guys salvation!  My companions weren't too sure about handing out a Book of Mormon but I dragged them along and said we are placing one.  So hopefully they took note and won't be afraid next time! 

That's crazy that Elder Fillmore's sister had dinner with grandma and grandpa, small world! Elder Fillmore and Elder Heyrend are both going to my mission so I may see them around when we get out in the field! Everything here is going good. Being zone leader is going well but a lot of responsibility as well. I am up for it though! 

Sorry my letters can't be longer but I run out of time so fast when on the computer! Sorry for this but maybe when I get into the field they will be better and longer! However it is still the same old thing here. We said goodbye to a large group of missionaries this morning since they left to go out into the field but we get a lot more coming in tomorrow though so that will be good. My Spanish is coming along better and I am speaking and understanding a lot more than I used to so I just need to take advantage of the next two weeks while I am here because once I get out into the field in two weeks and people are speaking I will be thinking, ¨That is not what they taught me in the MTC...!  I'll just have to adjust though and make the most of it! 

So I heard that it takes like 8 days to send mail back and forth from the U.S. to here which is way faster than what I would have thought, so there is heads up! Haha! I sent dad a birthday letter last week so he should be getting it this week sometime.... Sorry that it is late dad! Sounds like everything is going great for all you at home. Have things really calmed down since I left? I still like it here but the MTC is getting a little boring but my district is way fun and we are all just ready and waiting to get out into the mission field and not be stuck here sitting in classes all day. The weeks are going by fast so that is a good sign and I can't wait to start sharing the gospel with real people and save their souls and inviting them to come unto Christ. Stay Sweet everyone!
and Love you!                                        

Love, Elder Kahl

The other District.

My District.  I'm in the 3rd row, third one from the left.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Guatemala: The land of interesting things! - Week 3

Hola otra vez! El CCM agui es excellente! Me gusta cada dia en Guatemala porque el Senor trabaja es mas bien. Espanol en el CCM es bien porque el don de lenguas es un milagro! Los lecciones con mis investigators es van a muy bien. Tambien, mi companero y you recibamos un companero nuevo. Mi companero nuevo fue en el CCM en Provo por dos semanas antes en el CCM aqui. El nombre de mi companero nuevo es Elder Fillmore. El es bien pero tienando dos companeros com mi is muy muy dificil. El ensenando es dicifil porque eseñando con tres misionarios es no divertido. Pero, esta bien! El marcado (market) ultima semana fue muy divertido y excelente!

English now because it is faster!

Hello again! The CCM here is excellent! I like every day in Guatemala because the Lord’s work is very good. Spanish in the CCM is good because the gift of tongues is a miracle! The lessons with my investigators are going to very well. Also, my companion and I received a new companion. My new companion was in the MTC in Provo for two weeks before the CCM here. The name of my new companion is Elder Fillmore. He is great but teaching with my two companions is very difficult. The teaching is difficult because teaching with three missionaries is not fun. But, okay! The market last week was very fun and excellent!

The market we went to last week was really good and there were things everywhere! You walk in and there are aisles everywhere and people constantly coming up to you and trying to get you to buy things. I almost got lost with my companion but we found our way. There was so much stuff and all of it was really cool! We walked up to this one guys shop and he was reading a book. He looked up and saw us and he showed me that he was reading a Book of Mormon. Ironic right?! He got excited to see us elders there too. I asked him if he liked the book and he said he loves it and reads it everyday. I then asked him if he was a member of the church or if he wasn’t. He said he wasn't but all of his kids were. I told him that was awesome and I said that if he keeps reading the book and prays about it then he will have his own testimony of it and be blessed for having a lot of faith. He was very grateful for this and we went on our way. As were were about to leave the market I realized I had a Book of Mormon with me. So I told my companion that we have to give the Book of Mormon to someone before we left. He wasn't too sure but I dragged him along with me. I walked up to this one man at a stand outside selling stuff. He tried selling us things but I told him no thank you but that I had something for him. I pulled out the book and I started talking about it. I told him it was a Book of Mormon and that it was another testament of Jesus Christ and that it is about prophets and people in the ancient Americas and how Christ visited them as well. He seemed a little interested and I handed him the book. I bore my testimony about how the book is amazing and how it is the true words of God and that it has blessed my life and I told him it will bless his life if he reads it too. I did this all in Spanish too!

Crazy right?! Im glad he took the book and he said he was going to read the book then pray to see if it was true. I don't know if he has but I pray and have faith that he did. I know God will bless me that much more for me handing out my first Book of Mormon to someone. That was a cool experience I had at the market though.

So last week my MTC president wanted to talk to me. I went to his office and he sat me down. I thought he was going to release me from being district leader because we switch every two weeks but instead he looks at me and said something like, Elder Kahl I see you are a good leader and have a great character and attitude about you and that is why I am moving you up the ladder to be the new zone leader. The zone leader is the one who is above all the district leaders and I have more responsibilities.

I was surprised by this because I was not expecting it at all! However what I do is... I turn off all the lights in the MTC at night, close all the doors, the windows, the air conditioning, and make sure everything is secured at night. I check in on the district leaders to see if their districts are doing good and I also make sure everyone is in their rooms and have their lights turned off at night. I conduct some of the meetings here when we have them and also the devotionals as well. I carry a first aid kit with me and elders come to me if they need anything if they are sick. Its seems like a lot of responsibility and it is especially for it being my 3rd week here but I am up for the challenge. So that is something that is definitely new here!

Like I said I got a new companion so now we are in a trio which makes it difficult especially with teaching but he seems like an alright guy.

Conference was great! I really enjoyed President Monson's talk and liked how he said, "Decisions Determine Destiny". That is something to take note of. I also enjoyed Elder Bednar's talk and Elder Uchtdorf's as well. One of the themes I noticed was helping the poor and needy which definitely applies to me since I will be helping the poor and needy for the next 2 years. All the talks were great though. I actually took 27 pages of notes this conference. It was crazy the amount I took and it took up almost all the ink out of my first pen. I heard the talk about Aaronic Priesthood holders and I hope that Connor paid close attention to that talk and learned something from it! Conference was pretty great this time though!

The food here is still good. For breakfast we usually get eggs, beans, sometimes we get breakfast nachos which are actually good, and we get frosted flakes. For lunch and dinner we get A LOT of beans, rice, tortillas, and stuff to make tacos and burritos. It is all really good though even though all the food is destroying all the stomachs of each missionary (even me). However, don't worry because it is Ok! The Wendy’s we ate at last week was so much better than American Wendy’s for some reason, but it was good!

Guatemala City is amazing and we saw a lot of poor areas especially the slums that Tanner was in and saw a lot when he was in Brazil. It was exactly the same thing and was sad but very humbling at the same time.

I shared the first vision of Joseph Smith to one of our investigators this week in Spanish and it definitely brought the Spirit into the lesson and started to make me tear up and then my companion started to cry afterward when he was sharing his testimony about it.  It was incredible and it was a powerful lesson.

I can't remember all of mom's questions because there were A LOT (haha!) but hopefully I answered most of them.

Oh! About my companions, one is from Idaho and is 19 and the other is from Iowa and is 18. There is a sister missionary here from way southern Colorado. Oh and check this out! The new elder who is my companion, his sister is serving in the Fort Collins Mission and is in Fort Collins now I think. Her name is Sister Fillmore. Maybe you can look for her! I thought that was cool and ironic as well! Well I love you all and I miss you all as well but I am glad I am here in Guatemala doing the Lord's work because I know that this is where I want and need to be! Stay Sweet!
                                           Love, Elder Kahl