Elder Lawson's Adventures in Honduras

Elder Lawson's Adventures in Honduras
Heleman 13:4, "And it came to pass that they would not suffer that he should enter into the city; therefore he went and got upon the wall thereof, and stretched forth his hand and cried with a loud voice, and prophesied unto the people whatsoever things the Lord put into his heart."

Saturday, March 30, 2013

There's been a few CHANGES...

Heeeellllo family!  

First off, I´m still here in Las Unidas, Choluteca, Honduras.  BUT!  Elder Sears is no longer here with me.  My new companion is...Elder Briones!  He´s from Guatemala, a convert of 3 years, and completely new to the mission!  So I´m his trainer.  This also means it´s all Spanish all the time.  Because of this in just the last 4 days I´ve seen my Spanish improve leaps and bounds!  I don´t feel like I really have too big of a problem anymore.  I can keep a conversation with pretty much anyone.  It´s realy funny to listen to Elder Magaña´s new comp Elder Wilson.  He´s straight out of the MTC and can´t speak Spanish at all.  I feel bad but I´ve totally been there.  It´s so great to see how far 
I´ve come!  Also with all the changes I became the new District Leader.  When I found that out I was tripping out pretty hard.  Training a new companion and now having to watch over a whole District is a big BIG step up from just being a meesly junior comp.  Also, por eso I have to do all the baptismal interviews for the missionaries in my district!  When I found that out I was super tripping.  This week already I had to do 4 interviews and they were scary, but went well.  I actually didn´t pass the first two because they were still drinking coffee.  But anyways, I´ve got a ton more responsiblility and accountability now, but I like it that way.  It keeps me from getting lazy and I always work better under pressure. 
 
Change day was a pretty crazy day.  First on Tuesday night we were anciously awaiting the call to find out where we were going because we were pretty sure one of us was leaving.  At 9:30 p.m. we were waiting and the call didn´t come until around 11:00 p.m.  It was pretty nerve wracking to say the least.  We got the call and found out that Elder Sears was leaving me to go out East and I was staying here to train and live life as a DL.  We were both pretty excited, but sad to be splitting up. Elder Sears has been such a good comp/trainer to me.  I´ve learned soooo much from him.  After the call, I helped Elder Sears pack a bit and we went outside to burn all the trash we had saved up from the whole change together.  It was our final act as comps.  We sat there and watched the fire burn away and remembered all of our good times together here in Las Colonias Unidas (The English version of my area is the untied neighborhoods haha.)  After packing and everything we went to sleep about at midnight only to wake up at 2:00 a.m. to catch a bus to Tegoose.  I remember dragging all of Elder Sears stuff out to the main road in the dark and sitting there for almost an hour waiting for the bus.  Luckily no one was awake, because it would have been super easy to pull a knife on two helpless gringos with suitcases full of stuff.  The bus eventually came and upon arriving in the morning is was pretty cold!  I´m jealous of all the Elders in the North that get brisk mornings.  I know you´re all tired of hearing it, but it is SO hot here.  This week is called Semana Santa and is the hottest week of the entire year.  Tomorrow it´s supposed to be 104 degrees with 40% humidity.  I´m going to die.  While waiting for the bus today, it was 8:00 a.m., I was in the shade, and I was already sweating.  Imagine living in a sauna and that´s south Honduras.  People in Tegoose say Choluteca is the closest thing to Hell.  I´d have to agree.... haha but I´m loving it, the bright side is I´ll never EVER be able to complain about being hot ever again in the states!
  
Funny Story! - Yesterday we were leaving the chruch and a drunk guy approached me.  He held out his hand and I stupidly took it to shake.  Little did I know, he wasn´t planning on letting go.  He kept shaking it with a death grip.  He then started to yell at me about North Americans and how we are bad?  I´m not sure I didn´t understand all of it (and it wasn´t my lack of Spanish so much it was because he was wasted out of this world).  He continued his rant and then in a very loud voice said, "And who is the Enemy of all of us!?!" there was a slight pause and then I said "China."  He paused real quick and then said "YES!  China is the enemy of all of us!"  He let go of my hand and I said "See ya later hermano!" and we left.  Haha it was really funny.  

I hope you all enjoyed your March Maddness Weekend!  You know I was thinking about it a lot.  We went to Wendy´s on Thursday for lunch after district meeting and St. Mary´s was playing on the TV.  I may have snuck a few peeks at the game...I couldn´t help it!  I heard BYU won their first game in the NIT!  Good for them!  Rise and Shout!  I can´t wait to watch BYU sports again when I get back.  The only thing I miss more than BYU sports is all of YOU!  

Well, I love you all.  I hope you had a good week!  I´m still here just livin' the Honduran life and learning to love it.  Thank you for all your prayers and thoughts, know that I appreciate them!   I hope you liked my letter this week!  It was probablly my best one yet.  

I love you!  
Elder Lawson

Additional info he sent after my questions:  Sears in in a town called Danli. It´s a lot cooler there, he´s a zone leader.  Zone leaders are over like 20 or so missionaries and DL are over about 8.  The seasons are different here in Honduras.  Right now is the peak of the summer and this week it slowly stats to cool off more.  May is when winter starts with all the rain.  this lasts until november when the weather is really good and slowly heats up until now in March.  And repeats.

Last day of the "Gringo Dream Team"

Elder Sears - we will ALL miss you!

Change day

Elder Sears, yo, y Elder Briones!

The old house Yo, Elder Sears, Magaña, y Zamora

A bunch of drawings the primary made of them praying for us! 

Monday, March 18, 2013

"Chasta!"

Hey Fam!

This has been a super duper busy week!  On Friday and Saturday we went to El Truinfo to help Elder Torres and Wallis there.  I´ve been there one other time (when I took pictures at the big white cross) but it was a fun time.  Basically El Truifo is a dusty little town in the heartland of Honduras about 15 min from the border of Nicaragua.  You have to take a little super cramped 1 hour bus ride from Choluteca to get there.  It doesn´t have any paved roads and all the people are pretty poor.  We went to visit cause Elder Sears had to do the baptism interviews for their investigators that were baptized this Saturday.  We spent the night and Elder Sears and I slept on this string bed that they had and it was very uncomfortable and we hardly slept at all.  But I feel even more for the Honduran people because a lot of them sleep on beds like that every night.  Friday night in Truinfo we went to a recent converts house and built him a roof!  I got super dirty, but it was really fun!  Service is always really fun because it´s a change of pace and the peopel love it.  

"Chasta" is one of my new favorite Honduran words.  it means junk or trash.  So if you're phone isn´t working or something you can say "Qué Chasta este teléfono!"  haha I love it.  

This week the Tegucigalpa Honduras temple was dedicated!  It was very exciting.  We went to watch the Cultural event on Saturday night via satellite and it was very cool.  We were all at the stake center watching it on the screen and everyone started screaming when we saw jovens (youth) from our barrio (neighborhood) on the screen.  It was very cool.  Basically a bunch of Hondurans dancing around and singing about Honduras.  Yesterday was the actual Dedication and there were 3 sessions.  We went to all three at the stake center.  Although we almost didn´t make it!  They started at 9:00 a.m. and the member we were with was running late so we had to rush to get there and we walked in right when they closed the doors behind us. Pheww!  They all had different speakers and it was great to hear from President Udorf and Holland.  I think the very coolest part though was when Holland gave his testimony in Spanish.  He didn´t know many words, but it was probably the most powerful testimony I´ve ever heard.  I loved it.  They didn´t end up talking to the mission which is a major bummer, but it was still cool to think they were in the same room that I was in just 2 weeks ago!  

Cool thing - the other day I gave a pass along card with a picture of Jesus to the guy that collects money on the bus and now it´s in the front mirror of the bus!  It´s super cool to see everytime we ride on that bus.  

So I´m pretty jealous I won´t get to watch March maddness this weekend.  Anyone who knows me well knows this weekend is my favorite weekend all year besides Thanksgiving weekend.  BUT 2 years exactly from now I´ll be watching it up!  Good luck to my Cougars in the NIT!  

Thanks a ton to Elder Low, Elder Jones, Papooh, Sister Guthrie, for the letters and Grandma for the magizines!  Also thank you sooo much to Mom for the math books!  I've already started practicing my math skills.  Everyone called me a nerd when I got them, but I´m excited for my calculus!  :)  

I love you all soooo much!  Thank you sooo much for the support!  

Elder Lawson

PS - Still haven´t recieved any pringles cans filled with goodies!  ;)  

6 months!

Giving the triple combination scriptures to my first baptism, Albaluz! 

We caught a bat in our house and so we of course put it on the batman notebook!

6 month activities!  Buring the tie....

writing it in my planner.....

Took tie off to burn thankfully!

Having fun in a hole in El Truinfo.

I asked what this hole was for and he said they needed the dirt to make mud for a house.

Don't drink the water!

HUGE leaves!

Mud house that I later built the roof on! 

Building a roof at night in El Truinfo! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

6 Months Has Never Gone By So Fast!!


Wow! 
 
I can't believe it's already been 6 months since I've been home.  Time has really been flying lately and so has the missionary work!  This week we had 3 more baptisms!  F*, S*, and H* all got baptized!  And I got to be the one to baptize them!  I think the picture of me with F* and H* is my favorite of the mission.  They are both super smart and love everytime we show up to teach them.  Then they just sit quietly and listen to the lesson!  It's amazing.  It was so cool to see them enter the waters of baptism this week!  We met them though another investigator actually.  She told us that she had a friend that lived on the next street up who was a member so we were like "Ok let's go check it out" and she was soooooo pilas!  She pulled out a hymn book and pictures from her baptism and came to church with us!  3 weeks later her son H* H* got baptised!  So great.
 
Chruch here is really funny.  First, we all stood up for the rest hymn and I realized that I was one of the tallest people in the room!  That's certinally never happened before.  Next the crazy second counselor stood up and gave a sermon about how as members it's our obligation to go to choir.  The leaders are really harsh here.  Finally we sang song number (307 in English).  It's really cheesy.  Read verse 2.  We would never sing it in America.  I started laughing in Sacrament meeting when we were singing it in Spanish. 

This week I saw one of the saddest things of my entire life.  A house in my area got burned down and all of their crops got burned with it.  We showed up and the firemen were just finishing up putting it out.  These people, who already have nothing, now literally have NOTHING.  I almost cried when I saw a little boy covered in ash sitting in his burned down house.  This morning we gave part of our P-Day to go help clean up their house.  It was quite the experience.  We're going back every morning this week to keep helping restore everything.  I can't imagine and none of you could ever imagine what it would be like to have absolutely nothing.  Sad stuff in Honduras.  But the gospel can make us so happy!  And that's what I love.  Those precious moments when you share a message with someone and you can see the hope and love in their eyes.  The spirit is so strong at these moments.
 
The temple dedication is this sunday!  We're going to get to go to watch it at the stake center and the cultural event on Saturday.  It was really cool to go to the open house the last 2 weeks too!  Temples are so exciting! 
 
I love you all sooo much!!  Thanks for the support and all the emails! 

Elder Lawson
 
Fun Fact!  - We're nick-named Mormons.  This name comes from the Book of Mormon.  The name comes from the prophet Mormon who put the book all together named.  He got his name from the Waters of Mormon where Alma baptized many people.  And where did the name of the waters come from?  None other than the wicked King Noah.  So King Noah named our church!  Que loco. 

4 gringos in Las Unidas.  Elder Smith, Elder Adams, Elder Lawson and Elder Sears.

Ugly tie

Making brownies at district meeting! 

Brownies with Elder Adams

The 21 month brownie party!  From Elder Sears' email: "Elder Adams had 21 months on this day so we went to the store and made brownies for the district, Elder Lawson did a good job cooking them up and they were super delicious."

Hanging out with F* and H* in an abandoned house! 


Baptism! 

Favorite picture of the mission so far!

Sneaking food into our bag because we couldn't eat it all.

Ready for church with shinny shoes! 

After sholving piles of ash for the person who's house burned down.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"Venid, pues, y sed bautizados" - Alma 7:14

Buenas Tardes!  

Cómo están todos?  This week was quite the crazy one.  But I love it!  Life here in the mission is very insane and random.  This weekend A*, A*, and C* got baptized!  It was very exciting to watch them come unto Christ and be baptized.  A* is married to M* who is a very innactive member of the church.  We found them after we contacted M* in the street and he told us he was a member already and we could pass by and meet his family.  Turns out he was baptized when he was 16 and went innactive shortly thereafter.  We went to visit the family and the mother, A*, was very closed and already had her own church.  Turns out, she's the most pilas (awesome, hardworking, just kinda "gets it") woman on the planet!  We continued teaching her and the rest of the family even when M* chose to continue being a bum and not coming to church with us.  We taught them everything and could see their testimonies grow.  The baptism was set for this Saturday.  As with all baptisms someone has to come to do the baptisimal interview before they can be baptized.  This, however, is very hard when they don't show up.  3 different people came to do the interviews and one resulted in us having to sleep at the Zone Leaders's house but in the end the interviews got done right before the baptism!  We all jumped into the back of the truck and took off for the church.  Upon arriving there the jovens that were going to do the baptizing didn't show up, so I got to actually perform the baptism!!  It was my first time ever baptizing anyone so I was very nervous, especially because it was in Spanish.  I nailed it and remember standing in the font with the biggest smile on my face as C* came in.   A really great experience.  I'm really bummed the picture is blurry, but Elder Sears has a better copy.  

Right now we're teaching a really cool family that has 4 kids that are all super cool!  The kids have been to church a few times now, but we're struggling with the parents.  The dad doesn't really want to get married which is a requirement for baptism.  I think we'll be able to convice them though.  We showed up at their house one day this week and they were all working so we decided to prestar some servicio.  I first helped the dad chop some wood and then helped the mom make some tortillas.  All the kids were laughing and though it was awesome to see me in my missionary attire chopping wood and moler-ing.  F*, age 10, and his friend H* are so awesome!  I love them.  They are always telling me stuff and running around and SO reverent during lessons.  They remind me a ton of Dylan.  We're baptizing both of them this Saturday.  Being Honduran children they're also very grown up.  Yesterday I showed up and F* was chopping wood with a machete and H* was fixing a flat tire on his bike.  TEN years old!  I've also seen 3 years olds run to the store to buy stuff for their parents.  Kids just run around and do what they want all day and come home at night.  

Not really sure what to say.  Things here are going great as usual, just the normal kids breaking out into Opum Gangum style during lessons, eating mangos, killing cockroaches, giving blessings, eating to please people when you feel like puking, talking in Spanish, dreaming of frozen lasagna, sweating, more sweating, baptizing, and SPREADING THE GOSPEL!!  

I love you all,
Elder Lawson

Tyler has requested that people send him questions so that he knows what to write each week.  He hates writing and thinks what he sends sounds stupid.  It takes him a long time to write each week and if he had some "essay prompts" it would help him to know what to answer.  Email me if you can think of anything to ask!  MLawson0904@gmail.com

Converting the trees.

"Gringo Dream Team"


First "official" baptism!