Trainer Training and Companion Saying Goodbye...

Hey fam,

Well this week was kind of just getting ready for a new missionary. I had the trainers training meeting.  That was a great experience. The assistants and the president addressed us.  It was great. President talked about if you want to change your situation in the mission in life with your comps... do it.  You don't have to wait to have somebody else act upon you for you to act. The assistants talked about what effect the trainer has on the new missionary. It was really good. 

The past couple of days we have just been visiting members for my comp to say goodbye, but yes don't worry we are working for references as we do it. I would not waste that much time. We got word that this next group coming in has a lot of gringos. Who knows I might get a gringo.  Then I will learn fast if you know what I mean... Also about half of the group coming in are sisters.  They are taking over the missions. That's not a bad thing. 

Well, this week the rain has really started to come down and now I know why it is the land of the eternal spring. Well, I will keep you guys updated. The quote today is... 
"When fleeing 
the scene of temptation, do not leave a forwarding address." 
- Jeffrey R Holland 

"Every saint has a past and 
every sinner has a future." 
- Oscar Wilde
Those are two that I like. Just let them sink in.  Well, I will have more to talk about next week. 
Love everybody.

Elder Reinhold  

*** New photos were added to last weeks blog.  Check it out! ***

Good Week, Last One With my Comp, and Chica Bal.

Hey family! 

How is it going? This week was good.  We were able to pick up some good investigators and received some really good references. We are working hard, just it's a bit of a hard area. But we will continue to work hard and not get discouraged. 

The quote for this week is a good one especially for the mission.

"We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see." 
-Boyd K Packer.


This is a good lesson. People in the mission will say you just listen to everything that anybody tells you.  What if they are telling you to do something bad?  You are only obedient because you don't ask questions.  Well the real reason somebody is obedient is because they can see the blessing you receive when you are obedient or if they have a true love for our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ.


This week for p-day we had the opportunity to go to the laguna of Chica Bal.  It is a lake that is the top of a volcano.  It considered holy to the Mayan people.  We started out taking a bus that took us down in elevation toward the coast of Guatemala until we reached the aldea of San Martine.  Then we met a guy who taxis people to the top and so we payed our tickets and saved ourselves some hiking. But, let me tell you, we were on a jungle four-wheeler trail not fit for a truck.  Somehow we survived. I was hanging off the back of the truck.  My arms were so tired by the time we reached the top! Then we had to hike down into the laguna from the brim of the volcano.  As we reached the bottom it was littered with groups of Mayan people doing rituals all around the lake.  You could hear them for miles.  We walked around the beautiful lake and found tons of scattered alters for rituals and crosses.  It really was a cool experience.  I will let the pictures tell the story.

Well this week will be my last week with my comp.  I am happy for the opportunity I have had to spend these past 7 months here in Guatemala and am ready for 17 more.  Love you guys and will update you in 2 weeks who my new comp is and everything.  But also, if you guys want to read a great talk read, The Inconvenient Messiah by Jeffrey R Holland. 

Well, see you guys later. Love you all!

Elder Reinhold

Mother's Day Phone Call and Testimony of Scripture Study.

Hey family and friends!

This week I don't have much to talk about. I kind of talked about everything when I had the chance to talk to my family on Saturday. This week was good.  We were a little bit sick so it was kind of unproductive. We were soaking wet from the rain then we rode in the back of a truck for like 15 minutes and it was freezing, so we got sick. I normally work when I am not feeling well but on Thursday I tried and thought I was going to pass out. But we are better now - back up and going.

The quote for this week is one of my favorites. "It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark." -Howard Ruff. Be ready when times of trouble come - not only physically but spiritually.

This week I figured out something in my own life. I do my personal study every morning but since I entered the field after the office, I have been focused on things like the lessons and Spanish...which yes you need to study those things, but I was neglecting to study the scriptures. Yesterday I read where I left off in the Book of Mormon and I was on a spiritual high. I felt great! If it has been a long time since you have read the Book of Mormon, dust it off and read. Its amazing what your daily scripture study does. Show me in our covenants where it says we can take the easy way out. Yes sometimes it is not convenient, sometimes we have to run so we are not late for work. When was it ever convenient for the Savior? Jeffrey R. Holland puts it best when he says, "There is no guarantee of convenience written into our Christian covenant." If you're not willing to make sacrifices you have to sacrifice becoming a disciple of Christ. After fasting 40 days Lucifer says to turn the stones to bread. How easy would it have been for Jesus to do it? He would have probably eaten in an hour when he got back to the city, but he did not fall into the trap of convenience. Our Savior was the ultimate example of diligence and obedience.

I want to share my testimony that I know that this is the true church and we will have to make sacrifices in this life but that we will learn eternal principles when we do it. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity that I have to be here serving the descendants of Lehi. If you are having trials in your life, take the time to read D&C 121, 122, and 123. They are my favorite sections.  I love 122:6 where it says that all things shall give you experience. Remember to give thanks to the Lord often and live in a way that you can stand at the judgment bar and say and tell Him that you truly loved Him and tried to be like Him, but not only when it was convenient.

I love you guys and pray for you guys all the time. Talk to you next week.

Con amor,
Elder Reinhold.

Hi everyone.  Jakob asked that we type up some of the things we talked about last Saturday on the phone.  

Leg:  He says he can't walk down the stairs normally yet.  He used to have to fling his leg to get it to move but can now hold it up a little.  The muscles on the inside and outside are still emaciated and he is looking for physical therapy type exercises if anyone knows of any.  He can't really look them up.  When we asked him when he thought it might be better based on how it has been healing, he said maybe 10 months!  Okay, so he wasn't kidding when he said it is healing really slowly.  He also mentioned that when they were ready to transfer him out of the office, the Church's area doctor suggested again that he go home and his mission president brought it up for the third time.  That is when Jake said they would have to send him home in a casket.

He also mentioned what a blessing the leg injury has been for him and for others he has talked to.  He said that because it came right down to going home he had to really decide how bad he wanted to be there.  He has had opportunities to share this experience and his determination to serve the Lord in Guatemala with other missionaries experiencing difficulties. He mentioned that there is an elder in his mission from Heber who is a zone leader.  He has cerebral palsy.  Jake can relate a little bit.

He referenced the song All Great Men.  (Lyric: Be strong enough to stand like all great men.) He talked about things that break you and said he is "truly, truly grateful" because it has helped him relate and teach and he's not worried about it.

Stomach:  As you all know, Central and Latin American missions can be rough on the stomach.  Yes, we are comforted by the fact that the Church de-worms you before you go home.....I think there is some comfort there.  He said that his stomach has been bad ever since he has been in this area.  He says that every Wednesday and Thursday they are both sick and attributes that to a place they are eating that they cannot avoid.  So, he is down 40 pounds so far.  We sent him with pants that were too small for the occasion and so he has some that fit perfectly.  

When we talked to him he thought he had strep throat.  He gets it once or twice a year.  He was going to wait a day to call the nurses, but said that the Church is great about doctors appointments and things so he should be feeling better by now.  

Jake's uncle was here when we were talking to him and he asked about his toenails.  I guess ingrown toenails are a big problem.  He was enlightened to the fact and the remedies before he left.  It is from the humidity, but mostly from walking so much.  Nobody worry...the toenails are fine!

Food:  Jakob said, "In Guatemala your food standard drops - McDonald's is a dream!!"  He says they have "restaurants" where it is a bike on the front and a restaurant on the back.  Hmm.  I might call that a food cart.    He says Taco Bell is super popular.  He says there are hundreds of people in line, but there isn't one on his side of the city now.  He said he's been advised by the locals to have 2 or 3 days worth of food for when it is raining.  He said the roads are like rivers and you can't get to the store.

He said in his first area they never ate breakfast but now he does.  He usually has eggs, but they take too much time, or cereal, but mostly oatmeal with bananas in it or something.  He says if he needs something extra he'll have a soup packet.  He says they eat lunch at 2 or 3 and the people rarely eat dinner.  If they do it is at 8 or 9pm.  He says their salads are onions and cucumbers and sometimes tomatoes with lime.  Sometimes for dinner they eat a fried egg, sausage, slice of cheese, in a tortilla. He says that the Mayan people don't eat any spice.  He also said that he can't eat anything without spice now.  He even puts chili peppers on his pizza.  He talked about a pepper called a chile pero that is the size of a pea.  He paid an elder 20 quetz to eat it.  He said he is learning tricks.  He has learned to make cakes in the microwave since they don't have an oven. 

Housing:  He said that his place right now is great. He also said his mission president made improvements with the water and power situation.  He said they can expect hot water and he doesn't have to take what they call a Momos shower.  This is the bucket with water heated on the stove.  He said that even the native people do not drink the tap water.  He said his rent is $100 per month with lights and power.  It is good sized.  They have another set of missionaries 5 or 6 houses down.  He says the landlord lives near them somewhere and she always feeds them, which is nice.  He said that the members are really good about taking care of the missionaries in his current area.  He looked on the old list before mission expenses were standardized and his mission was the least expensive or next to the least of all missions.  He also mentioned that when the power in the city goes out, they aren't allowed to be out.  He says even the dogs go crazy when the power is out.  He said he does use his dog whistle repeller and it works!  He also says that the dogs are trained to run if you act like you are going to pick up a rock.  He said the dogs have gang fights and that Toby would wag his tail and get wrecked.  He said that it is an insult to call a person anything animal related and that they learned this the hard way.

Jake says he doesn't even know his address.  People don't really have them they just have zones.

Mission: He said the mission president called and said he'd be training in that area in two weeks.  Which means with the 3 months he's been there he'll be there 6 months total since he will train for 3 months.  He says he assumes he will train a Latino companion which is best since they already speak the language.  Training a gringo would be much harder. 

He says in the mission right now they have 25 temporaries - missionaries waiting for visas I think.  He says that when they split the mission he'll stay because he isn't in the city that will go into the Coban mission and he assumes they will take the missionaries that are already there.  He said the growth has been amazing.  He mentioned again when he was helping in the office that they were going to get 25 new missionaries and then a few days before were told they would get 50.  They went to a bed factory and bought 30 beds and then to the market to buy 180 blankets.  They were working until midnight trying to get ready for so many missionaries.  He also mentioned that the Fairbornes are the best!!

He mentioned that of his first 4 companions 2 are home and one is close to needing to go home.  And then there was his own situation.  He also mentioned Elder Mauter who had to go home because of a rib injury.  He said Elder Mauter's family sent him a package, which was very cool!  He says his group in the mission right now is really solid.  While we are talking about friends he says he really wants to hear from Zach Willes.  He's calling him out!!  If you know Zach pass along the message please.  Apparently, he is missed!

Being a Missionary in Guatemala:  We asked him what surprised him.  He said he was surprised at how his ability to work doesn't just hinge on his desire to, that there are many things that contribute to that.  He was surprised by how many people have family working in the US legally on work visas.  He says there are unfinished houses down there from when the economy went bad.  He said the people are surprisingly religious.  He also said that the make up of the wards/congregations involve a lot of part member families and there is a struggle for leadership.  He also has been surprised by electrical boxes/transformers that just blow up.  Once it was right over children playing at a school and another when they were walking by.  People just do their own electrical work or illegally splice into the lines.  He said he was surprised by how mixed the culture is in Xela - they still teach Quiche in the schools.  

He says he loves getting letters and his favorite treat in packages is beef jerky because you can't get it down there.  He says they really only eat chicken.

Jakob sounded great and we were glad to hear from him and glad that he is choosing to stay.  We are really proud of him and love him dearly!  It is a long stretch to Christmas.....


Rain, yogurt, bikes...and 2 more people!!

This is Cantel.  We went and helped the elders in Cantel contact for a while.

Hey family,

This week was a little bit better. We had one of our investigators go to church. We found him this week. His name is J--. He is 17 years old and is really cool. This week we will start talking to him about baptism. We also found another person that we are teaching. His name is J--. He is the husband of a less active member and they just had a baby, so his heart was touched when we talked about the the Plan of Salvation.  I will let you guys know next week how it went.

Cuttin' some hair.
This week for some reason we encountered some opposition in our area. Here in Central America there are not many people who hate the Church, but we were standing waiting for a bus and someone threw a yogurt drink at us. I ducked and it barely missed my head, but I did get yogurt on me. Then last night we were waiting by the church and some guy came up to us and picked up his bike and was going to throw it at us. He was yelling at us and calling us names. I thought we were going to have to run or do something. You would think he was drunk, but he wasn't. Well I will talk to you guys next week. It is raining like crazy outside so I don't know how we are going to get home.

Con amor,
Elder Reinhold

So the blog editor (aka Mom) is going to keep with the quote tradition. Jake inadvertently sent one he already used, but needed to leave the Internet cafe, so I suggested I share his favorite scripture that is on the right of his blog found in Ether, chapter 12 verse 27. " And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." 

I think it is true that it takes a certain orientation towards God to know the truth of who we are. All realization through pure intellect lacks something elemental and often the truth about ourselves and our experiences goes unrealized.  What we usually see is polar opposite to what we access when we see through a spiritual perspective. It is easiest to focus on what we call the 'natural man' and the accompanying natural desires and perceptions, but we are clearly enlightened by Jesus through statements like "blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." 

What I find interesting is that the Lord says he gives unto men weakness. Whether He gives it specifically to each individual or whether it is inherent in this earth experience, the fact is that it is part of the plan.  Without weakness would there be growth or would there be a drive for spiritual connection?  When we do humble ourselves we turn to God because we think we don't know enough, cannot survive, succeed, or continue; we look to a power greater than ourselves.  Many think that not having the answers, the fortitude, the talent or skill is weakness.  Real weakness is when we need to deny the truth of our experience and of who and what we are in order to feel like we are okay  or maybe somewhere near the top of the human food chain.  In our insecurity we cling to our independence and buy ourselves alienation.   It is only when we tap into that spiritual source that we can know the truth of this existance, of who we are, and of what it means to be strong and to feel supported spiritually by a God who wants to teach and lift us through our struggles. 

I know that missions are difficult and Jakob has shared many quotes with us about adversity and staying strong. This scripture is no different, but is a beautiful promise of spiritual guidance and nurturance to those who know where to turn when they are wise enough to recognize that they have been 'given' weakness.

We are very excited to talk to Jakob this week. It will be the best Mother's Day gift I could ever want. Stay tuned for a summary of the phone call....

This one is for you, Dad.  Look what I found.  I missed home.