10.16.2017: Chicken Pox and Baptisms

What an interesting week!  First off, the good parts.  We had two baptisms! More about that below.  On Tuesday night, we were able to take Donna, one of our investigators, to the temple, and she absolutely loved it!  It was so incredible getting to take her there and walk around the temple grounds and actually get to sit inside of the front waiting room with her.  She and Mynor should be some of our next baptisms!
So, the week got interesting on Wednesday.  We woke up and my companion’s back really hurt.  After personal study, he couldn’t take it anymore and had to go lay down.  He rested from 9 am to Nnon while I was calling old investigators from the area book.  After that we did divisions with Centro America, and he felt okay until the night.  He woke up on Thursday and wasn’t feeling very well; in fact, he felt worse.  So, we got an appointment with a back doctor, but he wasn’t in, and a physical therapist that works in the same office treated my companion.  He had a therapy session of about 2 hours and left feeling pretty good.  After that we did divisions with Utatlán.  Within a few hours, my companion was worse than how we was before.  Friday morning comes, and he is even worse.  He couldn’t even really walk, so we went and picked him up in a taxi and then went to a different back doctor.  This doctor injected him with a pain medicine, and then sent us downstairs to get an x-ray. So while Elder Cribas  was getting the x-ray, my nurse noticed a bunch of red spots and bumps all over his back and chest.  Turns out he has chicken pox!! Poor guy.  I have the vaccine, but I am still very scared to get it hahaha!  Anyways we went back upstairs with the x-rays so the back doctor could look at them.  If he wasn’t having a bad enough day with getting chicken pox, turns out he also has scoliosis.  Friday we literally didn’t work the whole day because we were with the doctor and then my companion had to rest.  He cant go out in the sun because of the chicken pox, and he can’t walk because of his back pain. so he is having a hard time right now.  And I’ve had the privilege care of him!  Almost every one of my comps has gotten sick, and I’ve gotten to taken care of them.  I feel like its good training for being a husband and father one day.  Please include him in your prayers this week so that he can recover and that we can start working again!
Miracle of the Week: On Saturday, we were able to hol the baptisms of Edgar and Kathleen Lutin!  They are brother and sister, and their family had been less active until the bishop started visiting them and putting goals with them.  The have returned to activity in the church, and their children were able to get baptized!  It was such a great baptismal service, again we were able to have a lot of support from the ward.  We are so grateful with the Lord for all that He has blessed us with here in Castillo Lara, it really is incredible.
Spiritual Thought of the Week:  I want to talk about one of my favorite General Conference talks from the conference that we just had.  I loved President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk in the Priesthood Session on Saturday night.  He talked about the relationship between light and darkness.  That is one of my favorite comparisons in terms of the gospel because it is so easy to understand and see.  In his talk, he said, “We will see more as we step away from the worldly shadows and step into the light that Christ offers us.”  He also taught about how darkness disappears in the presence of light.  Like I said, I love that relationship, light and darkness.  What are we doing in our lives to invite light into our lives?  If we aren’t inviting light in, we are letting darkness slowly creep in, and before we know it, we will be in a complete black out.  But, if we make a conscious effort to be able to be able to stay in the light and do things that lighten the way, we will always be able to see, as if it was noon day!  I invite all to reflect on what you are doing to let more light into your lives.
Well, we will see how this week goes.  Hopefully Elder Cribas gets better soon because I’m starting to run out of things to read here in the house hahaha.  But really, we both want to get out and start working ASAP becausewe have lots of really good people waiting for us!  I guess we will have to see what happens.  Other than my companion, please pray this week for Donna and Mynor so that they will decide to get married, for Robin so that he can receive his answer and be baptized this month, as well as for Flor de Maria and Edgar so that they can come to church regularly.  Thanks for all of your support, I really appreciate every email that I get! Have a fantastic week! Remember to invite your friends to go to mormon.org

Love,

Elder Semus
Misión Guatemala Sur
#IréHaréSeré
Pictures:
1. The Zone! Only 2 missionaries in the zone have changes tomorrow, it should be a good transfer these upcoming 6 weeks!
2. The Baptisms of the Lutin Family!
3. A volcano that we can see from our area
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10.09.2017: A Week of Blessings

What a fantastic week!  Me and my comp have really gotten in a groove and are working really hard and being very obedient and we are seeing the blessings.
This week we were able to see the power of priesthood blessings.  On Tuesday morning, I got a call from a sister in Amatitlán, Guatemala telling me that a friend of hers who is not a member had suffered a terrible accident the Saturday before.  She fractured her scull and had a heart attack.  She called us because her friend got transferred to a hospital that is in our zone.  The friend, who I will say is named Maria (her name isn’t actually Maria), nor her family are members, but after she explained what we could do by giving her a blessing, they gratefully accepted the visit.  We called 2 other Elders from our zone, as well as a member that was here (what a small world, it was a member from Jalpatagua, my first area, who was visiting his family that are members here in our area).  The five of us went to the hospital, and on the way a member told us that there was a different member of the church who worked in this hospital that could help us get in.  I called her and she was waiting outside for us when we got there. With her, we were able to get in, even though it wasn’t the time of visiting hours.  I am so grateful for the members of the church who are so willing to help us! Anyways, me and the member from Jalpatagua were the only ones that were allowed to go in.  It was very limited who could go in because she was in the ICU. So, we walked in to give Maria the blessing.  It was so sobering walking into the intensive care unit and seeing the rows of beds with people in pretty bad condition.  Maria was in a coma, but we were still able to give her a blessing of health and comfort. I wont do into the details of the state she was in, but lets just say it almost brought me to tears seeing her.  But, I am glad to report that she is doing a bit better now!  She is still in a coma, but she is improving greatly and her brain swelling has gone down significantly.  I am so grateful for the power of the priesthood and for the good that Heavenly Father allows us to do with it.
On Wednesday of this week, we were able to have a Multi zone conference!  It is a meeting where about half the mission gets together to recieve instructions from President and Hermana Shumway, as well as the Assistants.  But, this conference was slightly different.  We were able to do a facetime call with the Sister Missionaries that are at the temple visters center in Mexico City!  They were able to train us on how to better use mormon.org as missionaries.  Its kind of hard for us to be able to use technology here because it is so dangerous, but there are so many other missions in the world that are using smart phones and iPads.  But we are a long way off from that here in Central America, hahaha. Even so, the sisters were able to teach us about how we can better use mormon.org in our missionary work, using it to cultivate referrals.  Just 6 weeks ago, a man got baptized here in our mission because he entered mormon.org and started chatting with the sister missionaries in Mexico!  They got his information, sent it to the Elders here, and he got baptized.  The sisters helped in the teaching process and were there through a live video call in his baptism.  So, I would like to invite all of you to go check our mormon.org and see what there is!  You can find the closest chapel to your house, find the phone number of the missionaries, have your questions answered in the part that answers commonly asked questions, and you can also chat with the Sister missionaries who will be able to answer whatever question or doubt that you could have!  After you have checked it out for yourself, I want to invite all of you to publish it on your social media accounts and invite all your friends to go to mormon.org to see what else they can learn.
I also had the chance to go to mission council this week, which was great.  I went with a different zone leader who is also training, and our comps stayed here in our area to work.  I went with Elder Lyons, an elder from my MTC district! Awesome guy.  Anyways, we were able to talk as a mission council a lot about how we are doing as a mission and things we need to change, especially in the reports that we have at the end of every week, we need to be more focused on the main things that the leaders in the church have asked us to focus on!
Miracle of the Week:  This week, Marcos and Madelin were baptized on Saturday!  It was incredible, there were about 70 people that came to the baptismal service.  Marcos is a 15 year old young man and Madelin is his 10 year old sister.  Their whole family are members here in our ward (their grandparents and aunts and cousins), but they actually live in a different area, a different mission.  It is actually pretty close to our area, but where they live is completely under control of the drug lords and the missionaries aren’t allowed to go there.  So, we got permission from their mission president to be able to baptize them here.  The baptismal service was so great, and they were both so happy.  They are both amazingly strong in their testimony and both want to serve a mission when they are old enough.  The Lord really blessed us with them because they were prepared!  Now, we want to work with their older brother and their mom.  Funny side story:  So in the baptismal font, I said Madelin’s name and then instead of saying “having been commissioned of Jesus Christ…” I said, “By the authority of the Melchezidek Presidenthood…”, rookie mistake hahaha!  It all went well after that until it was time to change after the baptism.  I didn’t realize until I was changing that I had forgotten an extra white shirt… I had to put on my wet white shirt that I had just used to baptize! Needless to say, my mind was all over the place on Saturday with the baptism.
Spiritual thought of the Week:  It is so important to act on the FIRST promptings of the Holy Ghost!  That is what Elder Rasband taught us when he visited our mission in February, as well as in General Conference last April.  I love a promise that is found in Doctrine and Covenants 28 which says “And it shall be given thee from the time thou shalt go, until the time thou shalt return, what thou shalt do.”  The Lord promises us that we will be guided in what we should do if we seek the companionship of the Holy Ghost.  A week and a half ago, we were walking down the street in the afternoon and we passed a guy sitting on the side of the street.  I wanted to talk to him, but I didn’t because we were in a rush and he was on the phone and had his hood up and looked like he might have been a druggie on the side of the road (there’s a lot of those).  We walked past and looked for the person we were looking for, and they weren’t home.  We started walking back up the hill and this time, I knew I needed to talk to him, I just felt it.  So we went over and talked to Santiago and introduced ourselves.  This last week he was able to accept a baptismal date and yesterday, he came to our baptismal service! It is incredible what happens when we follow the Spirit.  Every single one of us can have experiences like that.  The Spirit speaks to all of us, whether we are missionaries or normal people or if we are driving in our car or in our house or working or whatever it may be, the Holy Ghost has been sent here to help us do what God would have us do.
This week is going to be fantastic, we received permission to go with a couple we are teaching to the temple to show them around the outside and explain more about repentance and marriage there on the temple grounds.  Its Donna and Mynor, Donna is the one who read to 2 Nephi 15 last week! She has come to church 6 times, and Mynor has come 3 times.  Yesterday, I was able to give their son a name and a blessing in sacrament meeting, which was really special.  Now we just need to get them married and then in the water!  I know that going to the temple grounds with them on Tuesday night will help motivate them to get married.  Please pray for them this week so that they can make a final decision about getting married soon!
Also, this Sunday they tell us about changes! This is one of the few times I can be very sure that we wont have changes.  (note from Becky:  Joseph is just finishing his first 6 weeks of training a new missionary.  They train for 12 weeks, so he knows they will both be staying put this time around.)
Thanks for all of your emails, keep them coming!
Love,

Elder Semus
Misión Guatemala Sur
#IréHaréSeré
Pictures:
1. Of the 8 missionaries that entered together in my group, 7 were at mission council! 1 of the Elders had already left the meeting, that’s why there’s only 6 in the picture.
2.  Meeting up with Elder Lyons in our house before going to mission council
3.  The baptism! I baptized Madelin and my companion baptized Marcos
4.  The Batz family! A couple got sealed on Saturday, and they invited us over afterwards to eat with all the family 🙂
5.  The Maldonado Family! Members from our ward

10.3.2017: General Conference Miracles

This was yet another great week in Guatemala as always.  The time flies when you’re having fun and working hard, I have definitely felt that this week.  It went by so fast, but it was such an amazing week!
On Friday, I was able to go do a baptismal interview in another area for a 10 year old boy who is going to get baptized this week, and his name is Giovanni.  He is so awesome and has such a strong testimony!  I was able to leave that interview with my own testimony well fortified by the young but strong testimony of Giovanni.
I saw something that I hadn’t seen before this week.  We were walking down the street when all of a sudden we saw a family of 5 riding down the road.  But, they were not in a car.  The entire family of 5, the dad and mom and their 3 children, were all on a very normal sized, if not small, motorcycle!  The mom was on the back, the dad was driving.  One child was between the mom and the dad, and the dad had the 2 other children between him and the handle bars.  Oh, the things you find in Guatemala.
Spiritual Thought of the Week:  So as many of you know, this last weekend was General Conference.  General Conference is the chance that we have very 6 months to be able to listen to the counsel and revelation from the prophet and apostles and other leaders of the church.  I love the pattern of the organization of the church, it follows the same organization of the church which Jesus Christ established.  It has a prophet (see Amos 3:7, Old Testament), it has 12 apostles (see Matthew 10:1, New Testament, and Luke 6:15, New Testament), and 70 others men (see Luke 10:1, New Testament) who all help lead and guide the church.  It is the only church that I know of which has this heavenly design and organization, the same organization that Jesus Christ established!  This conference, I was able to have my testimony strengthened so much.  I know that each apostle has been called of God, that each member of the 70 has been as well, and especially our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson, that he has been called of God to be the prophet in these the latter days.
Miracle of the week:  Well, where do I begin! Well first off, we had a lesson on Wednesday with Donna and Mynor, a couple we are teaching who need to get married.  We taught them last Saturday night and left them with the assignment to read the introduction of Book of Mormon before our next visit, which was this last Wednesday.  We showed up, and Donna told us she had read to chapter 15, and we were stunned! We couldn’t believe that she had taken the time to read 45 pages of the Book of Mormon.  But, we were even more taken aback when she told us that she read to chapter 15 of SECOND NEPHI! She literally read more than 100 pages of the Book of Mormon in 4 days.  On Thursday, she was talking about how her and Mynor are going to set a wedding date soon, and that me and my companion this upcoming Sunday are going to give their baby a name and a blessing in sacrament meeting and that she is so excited to get baptized.  We are so excited for her and Mynor to hopefully get baptized before the end of October!  Please pray for them so that they can keep their commitments and that they can decide a set day to get married and continue to progress in the gospel.
Another miracle of the week was how much the Lord has been blessing us for our diligence and obedience.  We have been so focused on giving it our all and being exactly obedient, and we are seeing the fruits of it.  This General Conference weekend, we were able to have 13 investigators come and watch it with us! We are so grateful with the Lord and we are so excited to be able to help all of these people start to progress.
Well, this Saturday we will have the baptisms of Marcos and Madeline, and next Saturday the 14th we will have the baptisms of Edgar and Kathleen!  There will be lots of pictures included in the email next week 🙂
Love,

Elder Semus
Misión Guatemala Sur
#IréHaréSeré
Pictures:
1.   Me and Elder Morales, the Area 70 that lives here in the stake! He was just called as a councilor in the mission presidency
2. Eating pizza in divisions with Elder Chappell
3. Me and Elder Hernandez
4.  Me, Elder Woll, and Elder Beltran and the meeting we had this week with all of the news and trainers
5.  Me and Elder Dias from Honduras, we finish the mission together!
6.  The Tecun Family! Donna, the investigator mentioned above, who isn’t in the picture, is their oldest daughter.

9.25.2017: Doing/Becoming

Hello!  Things are going fantastic here in Zone 7 of Guatemala City, Guatemala.  First things first, I want to wish a very happy birthday to my brother and sister, Jacob and Katie, who both turned 19 yesterday!  It’s so hard to believe that they are both already in college.  The time goes by so fast.
A few little funny stories of the week:
1. On Monday we went to Walmart to buy some groceries before we went back to the house to get ready to work again.  So you know how its an unwritten rule that whenever you buy groceries that you have to carry them from the car to the house all in one trip?  Well, that’s kinda how me and my comp felt, except we didn’t really have any other options.  We both had about 6 bags each, but with heavy things, like potatoes, milk, etc.  We have to take a bus from Walmart to get to the house, but the thing about the buses here in the capitol is that they are big and ugly and very full.  So me and my comp both had to climb onto this bus with lots of very heavy bags and then be holding them the entire 25 minute bus ride in traffic while people were shooting us a bunch of weird looks.  Needless to say, we were very exhausted when we finally got back to the house with all of the groceries.
2. I have started to speak somewhat like a Honduran!  I have taken on the accent a little bit.  The Honduran accent is interesting, they dont really pronounce very well the s in most words.  3 of my last 4 companions have been from Honduras, and its funny to see their accent rubbing off on me.
3. So this is something that my last 3 comps have been doing to me.  I never realized how similar the names of the states of Ohio, Iowa, and Idaho are until I came here.  There are lots of Elders from Idaho, since there are lots of Mormons there.  So, a lot of times, when I introduce myself and say I am from Ohio, a lot of people say, “That”s the state with a lot of potatoes, right?” Whenever I say I am from Ohio, my last 3 comps have always said, “In Ohio, they grow a lot of potatoes, right?”  if the people don’t know about Ohio or Idaho just to mess with me.  Within the zone, I am now known as the Ohioan with lots of potatoes.
Miracle of the Week:  So this week we were able to put 4 fechas de compromiso! A fecha de compromiso is a for sure baptismal date, a baptism that we are confident is going to happen! We have 4 baptisms for October 7th, they are Marcos, Madeline, Edgar, and Kathleen.  We are so excited for them and so grateful with the Lord for how much he has blessed the work recently.  It has been incredible to see the recent success we have had and we are so very grateful!
Spiritual thought of the Week:  So this week, we had interviews with the Shumways, which were incredible! President Shumway told me something that is somewhat similar to what Elder  Oscal told me a few months back, about how the best missionary is the one who is changed the most by his mission.  In my interview, President Shumway told me, “It isn’t a question of GOING to church, of GOING to the temple, of GOING on a mission, its a question of becoming. You are becoming, Elder Semus.  You always have been.  This isn’t about 9 more months in the mission, its about the rest of your life.  I know that you are going to be a leader in this church after this mission.  This whole experience is preparing you to lead in the church one day.”  What President Shumway said really struck a chord with me, and it can be applied to each and every one of you.  Everything we do is preparing us for something even better, especially in the gospel.  We all are on the journey of  becoming a more Christlike person.  As Elder Bednar said in a General Conference talk in October of 2005, “In our customary Church vocabulary,we often speak of going to church, going to the temple, and going on a mission.  Let me be so bold as to suggest that our rather routine emphasis on going misses the mark.  The  issue is not going to church, rather, the issue is worshiping and renewing covenants as we attend church.  The issue is not going to or through the temple, rather, the issue is having in our hearts the spirit, the covenants, and the ordinances of the Lord’s house.  The issue is not going on a mission, rather, the issue is becoming a missionary and serving throughout our entire life with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength.  It is possible for a young man to go on a mission and not become a missionary, and this is not what the Lord requires or what the Church needs.”  I love his words!  The challenge of the gospel is to become transformed in who we are.
I hope you all enjoy General Conference this weekend!  Do your best to watch all the sessions possible!  Think of a question you want answered, and it will be answered.  I have had that happen so many times here in the mission in the 2 General Conferences that I’ve been in the mission for.  I am so grateful for the opportunity that we have every 6 months to hear from the servants of the Lord that He has called to instruct us and help us understand what it is that He wants us to do.
Have a great week, and  thank you for all of your support!

Love,

Elder Semus
Misión Guatemala Sur
#IréHaréSeré
Pictures:
1. Me, Elder Hernandez, and Elder Soto
2. Me, Hermana Hernandez, and Hermana Guevara
3. Hermano Elias, he is 80 years old and almost walks faster than us when he comes out to visit with us!
4. Temple with my comp and our ward mission leader, Michael! My comp had a doctors appointment next to the temple, so we took advantage of the time to be able to walk around the temple a little bit.
5. Playing piano with my comp at a members house yesterday

9.18.2017: Charity

What another fantastic week here in Castillo Lara with my new companion, Elder Cribas.  My comp is doing really well and is adjusting nicely to missionary life.  He loves working and is really excited to invite all the people we teach to get baptized.  It’s gotten to the point where he will almost cut me off so that he can be the one to try to put a baptismal date with someone because he loves doing it so much, haha.  Pilas mi patojo. (translated by Becky:  “My little duckling is awesome”)
So this week was incredible because we were able to work with an urgency that I hadn’t felt before.  We were able to achieve all of our goals as an area and as a zone. We were able to do our best to meet our goals and the Lord blessed us with lots of success!
Miracle of the week:  Actually, there are a couple.  One, we were able to have 9 investigators in church yesterday!  Like I said, the Lord is really blessing us with so many people to teach, it is incredible.  The other miracle is Dana and Minor.  All of Dana’s family are members, and she had already come to church before.  But yesterday, her husband, Minor, came to church for the very first time!  He even came in a white shirt and tie.  Last night, we had a lesson them and talked about marriage (they aren’t married; they are just living together, which is a very common thing here in Guatemala.)  They said they are willing to get married so that they can get baptized!  They are going to think of a date that works for their families and we are going to follow up on it this week.
Spiritual Thought of the week:   There are a lot of people here that are really poor, who don’t even have enough to eat.  There is a family that are members here in our area who are really awesome, but the dad just lost his job and he doesn’t have any way to provide for his family.  The day he lost his job, my companion and I took some food over to their house, just some extra food that we knew they needed more than us.  What impacted me was the reaction of Hermano Julio when I took the bag out to give to him.  The very first think he said when we gave him the food wasn’t “thank you” or anything about them.  It was, “Are you sure you guys have enough for you two?”  This is coming from a family without work but with 3 kids.  His reaction impacted me because even in his time of need, he was able to still thinking of others and asking if we were doing okay too.  It was very humbling.  I think that is something we can all do better, thinking outside of ourselves a little more and start to think more about others.  Hermano Julio taught me a great lesson of charity this week!
This week was Independence Day here in Central America! It was September 15th, and man, what a rager it was!  We obviously had nothing to do with it, but it was still sweet getting to see all of the festivities.  The main thing is that everyone does a Torch Run.  They all run in groups of friends with a torch and with whistles and whatnot, and along the way there are people throwing water at them and everything, its quite the sight to see!  I was in divisions in another area with Elder Hernandez, and we had to walk a lot along a main road where a lot of people were running, needless to say we got a little wet as well haha!
This week please pray for Marcos and Madeline, Edgar and Kathleen, and Dana and Minor so that they will all keep coming to church and that they can keep progressing. All 6 of them could get baptized before the end of this change!
Thank you for all of your love and support and prayers, I really appreciate them.  Have a great week, I love you all!

Love,

Elder Semus
Misión Guatemala Sur
#IréHaréSeré
Pictures:
1. The district!
2. Model divisions this week in our area
3. The Misti Family in Utatlan!
4. The Salguero Family! They always give us food 🙂

 

9.11.2017: Mi Hijo

Hello everyone!
Things are going great here in Castillo Lara, me and my new comp get along really well.  His name is Elder Cribas and is from San Pedro Sula, Honduras. I feel kind of old because he is younger than Jacob and Katie! But, I couldn’t have asked for a better son!  He is really motivated and likes to work, sometimes I just have to help him know where to channel his excitement.  But his is doing really well here in his first week of the mission.
Its been pretty interesting this week being Zone Leader/Trainer, but I really love it.  There are two things that are actually pretty interesting! So the first is that our district  (4 missionaries in this case) are all my mission descendants.  So it’s me, my son, Elder Cribas, my stepson Elder Cruz  (in the mission slang, your first comp is your dad and your second is your stepfdad, I was Elder Cruz’s second comp) and Elder Cruz’s son, which would be my step grandson.   Anyways, its kind of fun getting to see all of that unfold.  The second interesting thing is that I’m the missionary in the zone with the most time served! I beat everyone by at least 6 months, which feels pretty weird. I’m about to hit 14 months tomorrow, and the next oldest missionary has 8 months!  But I like having a young zone, hopefully we all can have some greenie fire and baptize lots this change.
I don’t know if you all have heard since there’s been a lot of news with the hurricane, but here in Central America there was a big earthquake this week.  Here in Guatemala it was a 7.8 magnitude, and in Mexico it was an 8.3.  I was asleep when it happened, but everyone was talking about it.  Here in this part of Guatemala, nothing happened.  No one died and no buildings fell, but in other parts of Guatemala as well as in southern Mexico there was some damage and some deaths.  Please keep the people effected by the earthquake in your prayers!
So today is 9-11.  What a day in American History.  A very sobering day.  I am so grateful for the men and women that sacrificed their lives that day in order to keep us all safe.  May we all remember this event today.
Miracle of the Week:  We had 7 investigators in church yesterday!  5 of them were investigators we have been teaching for a bit and the other 2 were people that came to church for the first time.  The Lord is blessing us with so many people right now,  and we are going to be focused in this week in helping the people that we have progress and also finding even more people to teach!
Spiritual Thought of the Week: This week I was able to see the power of repentance.  We are teaching a man named Juan who has had a problem with drinking.  We were able to teach him about 3 times this week with a member that lives close to him, and we have seen a quick change.  He was able to come to church yesterday and we asked him how he felt when he went.  Without even hesitating, he responded, “I felt love, joy, and peace.  The church members didn’t think less of me, but they all helped me feel welcome.”  He is really doing his best to repent and humble himself to be able to follow Christ.  There is no sin that we have committed that cannot be forgiven.  No matter how many times you’ve messed up, the Lord will forgive you if you humble yourself before Him and have a sincere desire to change.  There is a verse that I love in the Old Testament in Isaiah 1:18 which says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”  I know that that is true! The Lord will wash away our mistakes if we repent.  Let us remember that concept this week and do our best to repent!
Well, the time is really flying by.  Like I said, tomorrow I hit 14 months!  I love being a missionary.  I love it so much.  I have been my best convert here in the mission and I know I will continue to grow in these last 10 months.  Have a great week,!thank you for all of your support!

Love,

Elder Semus
Misión Guatemala Sur
#IréHaréSeré
Pictures:
1. MY SON Elder Cribas from Honduras
2.  My last pic with my dad, Elder Gollaher
3.  Our zone, Zona Utatlán
4. Baleadas, a Honduran food, with my comp  (from Becky:  Click the blue text to learn what baleadas is…I had never heard of it before.)
5. with la familia Molina

9.4.2017: Changes

Hey all!
So first, we were told about changes last night, and man is it crazy… I am staying here in Castillo Lara! But, but I’m not receiving a new zone leader as a companion… I am receiving a brand new missionary right out of the MTC!!  (note from Becky:  usually both missionaries in a companionship are zone leaders)  I am so excited to be a dad (that is what we say when we train, that the trainer is the dad and the greenie is the son, haha). This is the first time in the mission that a zone leader is training; it is something that has been done in other missions but not here.  But the thing is, I am the only zone leader now… Just me. There are 4 other zone leaders who are doing the same right now, and I guess we will see how President Shumway likes it. It should be a great 2 changes here in Castillo Lara con mi hijo unigenito (only son).
This week was great since we were able to have two conferences with Elder Jorge Zeballos of the Seventy.  In the end, he couldn’t come to our house.  But, it was still really great.  On Thursday we were with him and his wife and about half the mission, and on Friday we were with just him and the Zone Leaders.  He is so spiritual and knows the scriptures so well.  He is a very inspired man and was able to help us out a lot as missionaries.  More on that below.
Miracle of the Wee:  We now have lots of investigators!!  Yesterday, we were able to talk to 4 investigators who have a very, very high chance of getting baptized on October 7th.  Two of them are kids who are older than 8 whose parents have been inactive but are in the process of coming back to church, and they have their baptismal date for October 7th!  The other two are actually from another mission.  Our area touches an area from the Guatemala City East Mission, and these investigators live in that area.  They are two youth who have a bunch of family who are members and they attend church here in Castillo Lara with their family.  The area they live in is very dangerous.  It is completely controlled by drug lords, so the missionaries aren’t allowed to enter.  We have been in communication with President Christensen, the Mission President in that mission, and he has given us permission to baptize them.  They have a great support system here in our ward with their grandparents and aunts and cousins.  They should also get baptized on October 7th!
Spiritual Thought of the Week:  Elder Zeballos talked to us about something that really changed me.  He told us his conversion story of how he was baptized at the age of 12.  Fast forward a bunch of years, he showed us a picture of him with the two missionaries that baptized him on the day he was sustained as a General Authority of the church.  He later had the privilege of working with one of those missionaries when that missionary was a Temple President in Chile and Elder Zeballos was serving in the area presidency.  The point he wanted to make was that we need to see our investigators with the divine and eternal potential that they have.  We shouldn’t see our investigators as just some little 10 year old kid who didn’t get baptized when he was 8, or just another single mom, or just another alcoholic.  We need to see them as the future leaders of the church that they are.  Every single one of us has the same potential as members of the church.  We need to see each other with the same eternal and divine potential that God sees that we have.
Well, I hope you all have a great week.  I would love to hear how you are all doing, email me at joseph.semus@myldsmail.net, I will respond to you  I promise!  I love you all.

 

Love,

Elder Semus
Misión Guatemala Sur
#IréHaréSeré
Pictures:
1. My mom and Sister Caffaro went out to lunch last week!!!
2.  Lunch after our meeting
3. Part of the mission in Multizone conference with Elder Zeballos
4. Me chatting with Sister Zeballos
5. Us with our Ward Mission Leader, Michael!
6.  Us and the Avila Family.  President Avila is the Stake President

2017 0828 mom w Sister Caffaro2017 0831 lunch2017 0831 multi zone conference w Zeballos2017 0831 talking w Hna Zeballos2017 0902 w Michael, ward mission leader2017 0903 w Avila family