Off crutches, preparing for conferences, first rain...


Well first off I decided that every week on my email I am going to include a quote that I have found over the week and probably use a few fillers when I don't find one that sticks out to me.  This week's:

 "Trouble has no necessary connection with discouragement, discouragement has a germ of its own."
- Jeffrey R. Holland 

I love that quote because it is how you react to trouble that changes your attitude towards the situation.
Me with city and volcano in background.
Well needless to say this week has been very interesting. Dad to answer your question, Quetzaltenango is the name of the city but I never hear people use that name here. Xela is the original Mayan name given to this city so the name Xela goes back - man I don't even know how long. 

Kids playing with my crutches.

So this week I had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Drake directly which is rare because he is a busy guy. I got on the phone with him and he asked me how I was doing and he said most importantly how is the work going and I told him it was going okay. He told me something that made me very grateful for the attitude I had about my leg and it made me very grateful for President Bautista. He said that as soon as I had my MRI Sister Bautista called him with the news and said that the doctor wanted me in a full cast. Dr. Drake said to Sister Bautista, "Send him home and have him re- assigned because that is ridiculous." Then he said something like, "Have President interview him and see what he thinks." So, President interviewed me and I told him that I want to be here. I don't think I need the cast and I think I just need time and faith." President Bautista said that he did not want me to go because we have to roll the dice to see if I can come back to this mission. So he called Dr. Drake and said, "He thinks he can do it here." So, Dr. Drake said I can stay. I don't know what I would do if I left and was not able to receive this mission again. I am so grateful for the even short few months I have had here. These people are the people of The Book of Mormon. When President Eyring set apart the last mission president he got up from the prayer with tears in his eyes and said take care of the people in that mission they are the purest blood of the Lamanites. Also in one talk I think it was President Packer that said this is one of the favorite places for the general authorities to go because this is the place. I am so grateful to still be here. So this week Dr. Drake asked me when was the last time I used my crutches and I said yesterday and he basically said, "Get off those crutches. Don't listen to other people. It is your body and you know best and I can tell you have done your research and you know exactly what you need to do." He basically confirmed everything I thought I should be doing like not using crutches and doing exercises. So I am officially off crutches. He did say that I need to just be patient because this is a very timely injury (Jakob used timely, but I think he might also mean slow to heal injury.)

Me with Elder C--.  We are both off our crutches now!!

My comp getting his cast removed.

He said I should not expect to be better for at least 3 or 4 more weeks. He said that my progress is good and I have nothing to worry about. Every day I am able to move it a little bit more and I have a little more muscle. So the leg is doing well and I am relieved that I am making progress.

This week in the offices have been crazy we have conferences this week with Elder Martino from the Area Presidency and we have been preparing all the chapels around the mission and calling people and it has been a lot of work, but it is good for us. I had my first rain since I have been in Guatemala. It was so cold and there was snow on the volcano. I wanted to go up there and have a snowball fight. It is so huge though. 

Anyway we ended the week on a good note.  My comp wrecked the car. Yes, the mission car. So last night that was a good ride in the President's to have a talk and show him where it was damaged. It was Elder C--'s second time driving. I feel bad for him, but it will all work out. I am just glad it was not me and I will leave it at that.

Safe electrical work.  At least he is wearing a helmet.

Well you guys and remember to pray and read often. That is one of the things that has changed my life the most. Love you all and talk to you next week.

Elder Reinhold

New Comp and the Pancake Lady.

¿Como estan?

Hey guys. This week has been pretty good and a bit crazy. First of all I got a new companion. My old companion Elder Centeno is now one of the secretaries so I now have Elder De Lora for my companion. He is great and way fun to be with. He is from Fresno, Cali and has 19 months in the mission so he knows what he is doing. He is an exact replica of uncle Matt and his name is Matt. It's crazy, but it is nice to have him in the offices.   He boosts our spirits when we need it.

Me with Elder Hansen and Elder De Lora.
Elder Little sniping with a Nerf gun.

This week I started a book with all the best church talks of all time. I have researched the best and compiled them in a folder that I am going to study and mark as I go. I am really excited to do it. There is only one problem. I cannot find a three ring binder here. It is like a needle in a haystack. I thought I finally found one in a tienda and it was a four ring binder. I almost cried. But I will find one.

This week I have not been using my crutches around the office and around the house and I have walked a couple short distances without them, but for the most part I use them for walking around the city. Also while walking around my new comp showed me this lady who makes these little pancake pastry things. It is like a pancake sandwich with frosting in the middle and they are only 1 quetzal each. So, I have been partaking of the opportunity in the office and have invested a few quets in those. They are delicious. 

 Well I don't have much to write about, but right now we are going to salcaja to buy corte (the native fabric that they have with all the bright colors) and we are also going to the demo (the big market in the city) to buy jackets. It's really cold here in Xela. Yesterday it was like 45 or 50 degrees. All day I was freezing. We are definitely up here in the mountains. I am just waiting for the snow already. Just kidding. But the weather in Huehuetenango might be the best in the whole world. It is 65 or 70 all day and all year. It is beautiful. Here it is a bit colder.

My leg is (I think) getting better, but really slowly.  This week I started to do a lot of research on it and I think I might have ruptured the tendon that connects the quad that is on top to the pattela (the knee cap) because when I try to use it I hurt in my knee cap.  People have said it can be a really long recovery and so I was a bit worried because they also said you need to heal it right or you might have problems.  So, I have started doing exercises.  Right now I can barely even flex the quad on top and it takes a lot of concentration.  Anyway...

If you have any suggestions on your favorite talks of all time let me know.

Love you guys talk to you next week.
Elder Reinhold

First week in Quetzaltenango in the mission offices.

A sign in the mission office.  This is funny because basically all the missionaries have fleas.

Hey family!

How goes it? Well this week has been good. Really, inspite of my challenges...which are nothing compared to the opportunity to be here in Xela doing this work. As far as my leg goes, I can feel it getting a little better. I can extend it just a tiny bit which is good.

Life here in the offices is good. Sometimes it does get boring, but what is better than diving into a good session of gospel study for me right now? Nothing is better. So when I arrived at the offices they had a scale so I gladfully hopped on and I weigh 203. Wow! When I left my house I weighed 235 so I have lost quite a bit, but don't worry. I think I will gain some back and lose it in different areas of the mission. But for me here in the office, I just try to help with whatever I can. We have a couple from Minnesota here. Sister Fairborne is the secretary and Elder Fairborne is the financial guy for the mission. They are great and I try to help them out. Actually, my companion and I received a pretty big assignment from the president. We are doing the yearly history for this mission. Every mission does it and submits it to Salt Lake. So, we have been busy gathering pictures, information, stories, and all sorts of stuff. That is one of the big things we have to do.

One thing I am grateful for is the opportunity to get to know President Bautista. He really is an amazing man.  Everybody in the mission thinks he is intimidating because he is our mission president, but he is so nice and so funny. I love him and I love talking to him.

View of Quetzaltenango.
For p-day today we drove to the top of one of the surrounding mountains to see the great view. They have this slide that is like 150 feet long so all the other elders wanted to do that. It was great to drive and see the country side and relax.

Sorry I don't really have much to write about and I might not have a lot to write about when I am here in the offices, but I am thankful for the opportunity to be here and to learn from the best. I know that I am here to learn obedience and I am thankful to be able to better myself everyday. 

I love you guys and thank you for all of your support. It is incredible! I feel the love every day. Thanks again and talk to you guys next week.

Elder Reinhold

Me with my new mission companion.

Everyone in the office on our trip to overlook Xela.

I don't have a great picture yet, but Xela is at the foot of the volcano.

Doctor visit and transfer to Quetzaltenango.

Hola familia,

Hey well, this has been a crazy week. I have been all over the mission and had all sorts of changes. First of all, I did receive a lot of packages and letters this week. Thank you, to all who sent me stuff! It was great and I can't thank you enough. It was kind of weird because all the missionaries received their monthly money 3 days late. Strange, because it is automatically done from Salt Lake so all my Latino companions were having me call Elder F--. He is the financial guy for this mission and he is from the States so they wanted me to call because I can speak English. Eventually it was all worked out and it is back to normal but I think it was good for some missionaries because they learned the importance of the recommended emergency fund. A lot of missionaries don't have emergency funds because they want to spend, but it was a good lesson.

The week was a bit different as we came into Xela (Quetzaltenango) to talk with President and to have a doctors appointment for my leg. We got on a bus in Huehue and the capacity for the bus was 40 but we had about 80 or 90 passengers. That is just how they do it down here. So that was a fun experience especially when the rides are like Indiana Jones.  It's like jello the whole way, but we arrived and went to the doctor. The doctor we saw was very good. She studied here for 4 years and like 6 or 8 more in California and she spoke perfect that was nice. She checked out my leg and measured the diameter and it was 4 centimeters smaller than the other one so she said I need an MRI. She called the clinic where the MRI is and asked when they could get me in. They said in 10 minutes or 2 days, so we were like shoot. We need to call the doctor for Central America, we need a signed paper from the president, and we need to get there. The Church employs a taxi driver and he was there in like a minute and we were off. I had my MRI after about an hour of waiting and it took about 30 minutes longer than I thought it would. Then we had to wait an hour for them to develop. So...the results are that while in the MTC I tore 2 of my quads and because I kept walking on them and didn't immobilize them, I stretched out the muscle and the lump in my leg is a hematoma. It's pretty big and she was surprised I was walking with it. The doctor wanted me in a hip to ankle cast for 4 weeks then after physical therapy, but the Church doctor has some other stuff in mind. I don't have all the details yet, but I will let you guys know next week. The good news is that I don't need surgery which all the nurses thought I was going to. I was ready for anything.

It was pretty late after all this was done, so we called President and he said they had a hotel for us because we wouldn't be able to get back that night. The next day we woke up and went with the assistants to Huehue for our bags and to pay our rent and all sorts of stuff. After that we drove 3 hours to Quiche and came in the back way to Xela, which was the most beautiful drive! It was awesome. Yesterday was great because I got to ride through the whole mission and see everything. I am grateful for the opportunity to spend some time with the assistants and get to know them. They are great missionaries. So, now I am in the office and I am seeing my fate for the next little while and I don't know what to think about it yet, but I like it so far. Also, I am grateful for the opportunity to get to know my mission president. He is an awesome man and is called of God. I am loving getting to know him better, but I am learning a lot from my trials. It is all for the better like it says in D&C. It says it's how you endure the trials and only after your trial of faith will you receive an answer and blessings. So I am keeping strong and my spirits are high. Always have the big picture of our life here on earth in your sights, because from that understanding comes the details and direction to achieve your ultimate goal.
Love you guys and talk to you next week.

Elder Reinhold

View of Huehuetenango.

Had a couple of Mexican companions this week.  We had fun.

First snake I've seen and it's a little guy.

With Moker Donald.

(Comment from Jake's mom:  We talked to him on the phone this morning.  He sounds great.  He is in a house right near the mission home with the APs, secretaries, and another injured missionary who is his companion.  He has a broken leg.  I think I need I photo of this!  He was telling us about driving through Guatemala and this little bit made us smile.  When he was in 6th grade he was at a charter school and he had a hard time sitting at a desk so he would bring gadgets and things to play with or take apart inside his desk.  The inside of his desk looked like a junk yard.  His teacher was accommodating and put him at the back of the class so he could tinker.  The administration was not accommodating and made her move him to the front and they were ordering him a special desk.  It was quite a problem until there was a power outage and he was the only person in the building with a flashlight! :)  He has quite a flashlight collection.  In fact, his dad ordered a flashlight from China to be sent to him in Guatemala for Christmas because it can't be Christmas without a new flashlight.  He said the roads are so narrow and winding that even on the highway a normal car wouldn't be able to make the turns.  One of the APs in the car got so sick that they had to pull over so he could throw up, but it was really dangerous at that place in the road because there were semi trucks and things speeding by.  He said for some reason they weren't very visible but LUCKILY he had his flashlight with the strobe on it!   It's justification for his love of and the usefulness of flashlights on a mission.)

Hola familia! Feliz Navidad!

Well this week has been great because it was Christmas. It started out great for the 24th. We all got together as a zone and watched a movie 'of the world.' Yes a movie of the world while on a mission. But no, it was not Lord of the Rings like I was hoping. It was some kid movie that I didn't even really watch because I was talking to other elders the whole time. We also had pizza and that was great because it's nice to get a break from the food down here. Don't get me wrong. The food down here is great but a variety is good too. Then we went and played sports again but it makes no difference for me because I can't play...but its okay, I just sit and read or talk to other missionaries. So the night of the 24th we went over to some people's house and had tamales and they were pretty good. The tamales (I don't know how it is spelled), but the tamales here are different than the Mexican tamales. They are good though. When we returned to the house we just chilled for a little bit and went to bed but at 12 midnight, I woke up again to the loudest thing I have ever heard. I looked out the window and the sky was full of fireworks and the fireworks they have here are huge. So I watched for a minute then went to bed. On the 25th we woke up and went to some other elders' house and played a Guatemala version of Monopoly and of course I destroyed them in it. All the Latinos were calling me a visionary man which is a quote from the Church movie The Testaments. It was funny. They were blaming it on that I was a gringo.
As far as the work is going, it is going pretty well. We have 6 baptism dates which is pretty high but one thing I have learned is that dates don't mean anything. It is all about the whether they attend church and this week S--, our investigator, came to church so we are excited about that, but our others did not. The other investigators are a family that was a reference to us. There names are P--, N--, and I--. N-- and I-- have two children. They are really interested. Every time we teach a lesson they take notes and that is unheard of. They came to a ward activity this week and had a good time, so I am feeling really positive about it. We will see this next week how many will come to church. Right now I just need to continue to buckle down on the Spanish and keep working and the Lord will do the rest. I have seen how the Spirit and the gospel and the power of God can change someones heart so fast. Tonight is also a big night with New Year's Eve. There will be fireworks again and tamales, but to be honest with you, I just want some real Mexican food and so does my companion because he is from Mexico. We are trying to find a restaurant with good Mexican food, but we haven't yet. This week I am going to Xela (Quetzaltenango) for the doctor and we will see what happens after that. It is a relief to have somebody look at it, but all is good I can walk decently now.
Love you guys. Thank you so much for the support, and hope to hear from all of you.
With love,
The gimp in Guatemala

P.S. I am going to the doctor on wednesday in Xela and we will see from there about my leg but I am doing well, still loosing weight like crazy, but we got money today and I am going to buy breakfast burrito stuff at the store and a lot of cereal.  It's good here but definitely different though.  I am happy but maybe nervous for the doctor because I have nothing to extend my leg, like no muscle and no tendon so we will see.  If there is one thing about the Church it's that they are organized and they take care of the missionaries.  Love you but don't worry about me.