7.31.2017: Zona Roja

This week was a good week for me and Elder Rodriguez here in Castillo Lara.  This ward is super strong.  The current stake President as well as the last one are both from our ward.  We are hoping to get the ward excited about missionary work, and we already have some plans in the making for some activities to do.
Me and my companion, Elder Rodriguez, get along really well.  He is a really fun loving guy who is easy to get along with and to joke around with.  We know when to have fun and we know when to be serious, it is going to be a great change together.  He is from Tegucigalpa, Honduras and has about 16 months in the mission.
So on Tuesday, the day of changes, it was NUTS.  So me and Elder Otoya woke up there in Ixhuatán at 3am to get ready to be out on the bus at 4am. The zone leaders are assigned to an area called Barberena, its about 40 minutes away in bus from our area. One of our zone leaders was going to have changes and the other didn’t, so what the plan was is that the one who had changes was going to go to the capital with me, and Elder Otoya was going to stay there in the zone leaders’ area with the one who didn’t have changes.  So when the bus got to the zone leaders area, Elder Otoya stood up and got off, and before I even realized it, the bus was pulling away very quickly.  The only problem was, he got off at the wrong stop.  He got off too early, and so about 20 seconds later we passed the zone leaders standing on the side of the road. But, Elder Otoya had our phone, and it all happened so quick that he didn’t have time to call them to tell the one who had changes to get on the bus.  So, I had to go all the way from outside the capital to inside the capital, which is about a 2 hour bus ride, all by myself!  I didn’t have a companion or a phone to communicate with anybody for 2 hours, it was pretty weird to be honest.  So yeah, that was a fun way to start the week!
Miracle of the week:  That we are alive!  So sorry Mom, I would love to tell you that my area is super safe and that nothing happens here, but I would be lying.  I’m kinda in a bad part of Guatemala City; it’s something they call a zona roja, or a red zone.  Its dangerous enough here that food delivery services don’t deliver food after 5 pm because of how dangerous it is.  In the 5 and a half days I had last week, we heard probably 55 gunshots.  But, we didn’t see anybody shoot a gun, and we also didn’t see anybody dead in the street, so that’s good.  I know we are protected as representatives of Jesus Christ and that if we are listening to the Spirit, we will be guided away from anything bad that could happen to us.  Please pray for our safety!
Spiritual Thought:  The people inside the capital have the tendency of being slightly more closed off and not wanting to listen to us.  In Ixhuatán, we literally would approach a house, shout “BUENAS,” and someone would come out and just tell us to walk right on in.  They didn’t ask us our name or where we were from or what we wanted, they just let us in right off the bat.  Now here in Castillo Lara, me and my comp spent at least an hour knocking doors every day, and we didn’t find one person who would let us in.  To be honest, it has been slightly discouraging, especially with the big difference coming from Ixhuatán.  But there is a verse in the Book of Mormon that I love which can apply here.  It’s in Ether 12:14, which says, “Behold, it was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost.”  I like how it says that the people were changed by Nephi and Lehi’s faith!  It could very well be certain that the people here have their hearts closed to the message, but if my companion and I have faith, the Lord can open people’s hearts.

That you for all of your support and emails, I love you all!!


Elder Semus
Misión Guatemala Sur
1 and 2. Saying goodbye in Ixhuatán
3.  The new zone! (Yeah, its the same size as my last district… hahaha)
4. Me and Elder Rodriguez

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