8.7.2017: Miracles!

I love it here in Zona 7 of Guatemala City, Guatemala.  It is still just as dangerous as last week, but we are still just as protected as last week too 🙂  Elder Rodriguez and I get along really well.  We work hard and also have a lot of fun.
So I’m going to get the very, very sad part out of the way.  Please pray for the Gomez family this week.  My super awesome friend who I baptized in Ixhuatan, Jayro,who I have written about several times, passed away a week and a half ago.  He was only 24 and had been baptized 2 months before his death.  They still aren’t certain of the cause of death, but please just pray for his family.  It made me so, so, so sad to find that out this week, I have been thinking about him a lot this week, and am grateful for all that I learned from him and for the opportunity I had to teach him.  (He was the guy who was listening to hymns when we came to pick him up a couple of weeks ago.)  Also, we don’t have many details on this right now, but a church member told us that a Sister missionary from the neighboring mission, the Guatemala Central mission, died this last week.  Please pray for her family as well.  (note from Becky: she was electrocuted from coming into contact with a live electrical wire).
Lots happened this week!  It was super busy.  On Thursday, we had mission council, which was great.  Were were able to talk about lots of different topics and how we can keep improving as a mission, and I really liked it.  Supposedly, next month one of the members of the Quorum of the 70 is going to come to our mission council, and I am pretty excited for that.  We also had a multi-zone conference, and the Shumways’ daughters came to visit them and were there!  It was cool getting to meet them.  Also, every time we have a multi-zone conference, all the Elders and Sisters that are going home that change stand up in front of everyone and share their testimonies, it’s their testimonio de valientes (testimony of the valiants).  In this conference, Elder Gollaher, my trainer, shared his.  It was good, but it made me sad to see him go.  Surprisingly, even though I already have almost 13 months, all of my companions are still in the mission, he will be the first one to go home.  He was wearing the tie I gave him, which made it even sadder hahaha, but that’s the mission I guess.
Funny story,  I called a member and she answered and, obviously in Spanish, she said, “Hello Elder Rodriguez! How are you?”  The phone was on speaker so me and my comp could both hear, but I just kept on talking as if I was my companion.  I thought for sure she would realize it was me for my accent, but at the end of the call she said, “Thank you so much Elder Rodriguez, have a great day!” In the whole call she didn’t pick up that I wasn’t my Latino comp, Elder Rodriguez. You should all probably call me Jose when I get home! #ChapinDeCorazon (from Becky: that translates roughly to Guatemalan at heart)
Spiritual Thought:  This week we had a conference, and an Elder shared a scripture that I really liked that really applies to the missionary work.  Its in Doctrine and Covenants 100:3-8, and it says:
 
Behold, and lo, I have much people in this place, in the regions round about; and an effectual door shall be opened in the regions round about in this eastern land.

Therefore, I, the Lord, have suffered you to come unto this place; for thus it was expedient in me for the salvation of souls.  Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men; For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say. But a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall declare whatsoever thing ye declare in my name, in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness, in all things.  And I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say.

I loved these verses so much, especially verse 3.  It was the most expedient thing for the Lord and for the salvation of souls that I am here in this place where I am right now!  President Shumway told us with so much conviction that he put us in the areas where the Lord needed us to be, and I know that to be true.
Miracles of the Week:  The first miracle is that the Ixhuatán chapel actually got finished!!! This Sunday, I will have the opportunity to attend the chapel dedication with the other 5 missionaries that have served there that are still in the mission field, plus the 2 that are in the area. I will get to finally see that chapel in use, it is going to be such a special experience.  Lots of pictures of it next week!
Second miracle of the week. Yesterday, we went by the church to teach a lesson to a reference of a member, but the member nor their friend showed up, which made us feel even more frustrated on a day that we were already having a kind of bad day.  But there were two young men who weren’t church members who had passed by in front of the church as we were walking in.  We felt like we should talk to them, but we got caught up talking to someone and then they closed the gate with a lock, so we were locked inside the gate,  and the two young men from the street were almost out of eyesight.  So we started whistling shouting loudly so that they would come back so we could talk to them.  They came back, and we talked with them through the fence.  But they didn’t want to give us their phone number and they couldn’t remember their address.  We invited them to a few different activities at the chapel this week. Then they left, and we didn’t think much of it.  About an hour later at 5 o’clock, we were walking within about 2 blocks of the church when all of sudden my companion answered the telephone and, without saying anything, just started sprinting, but like a full out sprint, in the broad daylight.  Needless to say, we got a few weird looks sprinting through the sidewalks of Guatemala in a shirt and tie holding our bags under our arms so we could run faster.  I thought my comp saw someone was following us and wanted to hurt us or something, or that he felt like we should run to avoid danger, so I just started sprinting behind him without thinking about it.  Turns out, we sprinted to the church, where the bishop was with the two young men we had contacted an hour earlier.  The bishop had called us to tell us that they were there waiting for us.  They came back within the same hour of us contacting them!  We were able to give them a tour of the whole chapel and then teach them in front of the sacrament table.  They are named Kevin and Alex, who are 17 and 13 years old, and neither one goes to a church and they both accepted a baptismal date for September 2nd. Alex cried during the lesson talking about a few different experiences he had had, it was such a special spirit that was there with us in that chapel yesterday. It was one of the coolest experiences of my mission, just between finding them and teaching them and the spirit that we could feel with them.  I love being a missionary!
This week in terms of investigators, please pray for Ilda! She is 38 years old and has bee listening to the missionaries for a while, and recently has had desires to get baptized, but shes just scared she wont be able to leave behind some habits from her past life.  Please pray for her so she can overcome her fear.  I love you all, thank you for all you do!
Love,

Elder Semus
Misión Guatemala Sur
#IréHaréSeré
Pictures:
1.  A brother who was in the last mission presidency treated us to Panda Express.  The cost was very, very high compared to what it would be in the States.  We were very grateful for his generosity.
2.  Me and Elder Rodriguez in our apartment
3.  Bowling with our zone
4.  At Mission Council with other missionaries who were in the CCM with me
5.  With my trainer, Elder Gollaher
6. and 7.  Washing a dog
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