7.24.2017: Saying Goodbye to Ixhuatán

Today I have sad news: I’m leaving Ixhuatán.  But, that’s the mission!  I have learned so much here about how to love people and how to follow the Spirit.  It has been a real pleasure to be here for these last 3 months.

Tomorrow I will be going to an area called Castillo Lara with my new companion, Elder Rodriguez from Honduras, and we are the Zone Leaders there!  It’s in Guatemala City. So the last 3 changes, I’ve been a district leader, so I would talk to all the areas in my district and then call the zone leaders to tell them how everyone is doing.  Now, the district leaders are going to call me and my companion to tell us how their missionaries are doing.  Also, every month, I  will have the chance to go to a meeting called mission council, which is all the zone leaders and sister trainer leaders in the mission, to be able to talk about the needs of the mission and what we are going to do to  reach our goals.  I’m really excited for the opportunity that I will have to serve more missionaries!  Its kind of sweet because one of my 2 best friends serving in Mexico, Elder Jibson, is training Elder Reyes, who is from the zone I am going to!  What a small world.
Miracle of the week: The chapel is finally finished!!!  It is so incredible, all the chairs are set up, the WiFi is up and running, all the tables are where they  need to be, the branch president’s desk is in place, it is all done.  We went by on Friday night and there were like 9 workers just cutting the grass with machetes and cleaning up trash.   It needs to pass the inspections by the engineers of the church, so I think the dedication will be next Sunday, August 6th, and I’m pretty sure President Shumway is going to let all of us that have served here come back for the dedication!  It should be awesome.
Spiritual thought of the week:  This week, Jayro, one of the brothers I baptized here, came out with us to visit some people.  We walked up to his house to pick him up, and I could hear music playing, and we stopped and got all quiet to be able to hear.  We start listening and turns out, Jayro was just chilling listening to hymns!  He is a 23 year old guy  relaxing on a Saturday morning, and he had chosen to listen to hymns.  One, that makes me really happy, that he is doing so well and flourishing in the church.  Two, I think it is a great example for each one of us.  I’m not saying that we need to be listening to hymns and praying all day every day, but there are definitely some things that we can change in our daily routine to invite the Spirit into our lives.  Maybe while we are eating breakfast, we listen to a conference talk, or while we are showering we put some hymns on.  Its the small things like that that will help us have the companionship of the Spirit more frequently in our lives.
Yesterday, I loved church so much!  Well, I always like going, but yesterday was especially special, kind of like a few Sundays ago where I talked about the Ramirez Family and Dixon.  Yesterday, the 3 speakers were Yeison Ramirez, Gilberto Ramirez, and Jayro, and all three have been baptized while I was here!  (Note from Becky:  In our church, the bishop doesn’t give the sermons.  Church members are asked to prepare talks each week.)  It was so incredible watching all three of them stand up there in front of the congregation for the first time and give a talk.  President Caffaro told us that we cant judge the success of our mission by the quantity of baptisms, but that we can judge it by the quality of our baptisms.  I feel very good with the quality of some of the converts I have been able to help here and I hope they call all continue to progress in the Gospel!
This week, Elder Otoya and I made a typical dish from Peru called Papa a la Huancayna, there are pictures below.  It is is potatoes with a sauce made of milk, cheese, saltine crackers, pepper, salt, chili, and a few other things that to be honest, I don’t remember.  We made it with our Branch President and his wife, the Solares Family, and  it was super super good.  I’m going to miss Elder Otoya.  We had a really great change together.
Well, I hope you all have a fantastic week!  As always, thank you so much for all of your emails, I would love to hear from you all! my email is joseph.semus@myldsmail.net.

Love,

Elder Semus
Misión Guatemala Sur
#IréHaréSeré
Pictures:
1. Our last district council 😦
2. Guatemalan Sunset with volcanoes 🙂
3.  Papa a la Huancayna
4.  View from on top of the house that is a part of the new chapel
5. Elder Otoya and me
6.  With the Solares family (our branch president and his wife)
7.  My goodbye dinner with the Solares family
8.  With a family who I taught in Jalpatagua who were baptized after I left
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