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."

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Normal

Hey family!  

Things here in Buena Vista are super...Normal.  This week we had a guy walk in during sacrament meeting cussing, we walked an hour and a half round trip to visit a lady that didn't come to church, and kept working on our quest to reactivate all the inactives here in our area.  This week the church attendance was 44!  Wooo!  Upward and Onward!  

Like I mentioned before, the Beach is part of our area so this week we decided to go check it out and see if missionary work would be a good idea there.  We hitch-hiked there and back and it was a really beautiful view!  I miss going to the beach... 7 months till Hawaii!!  :)  We ate fresh fish and talked to some peeps before whipping out our thumbs to get back home.  

I also had an interesting experience with the owner of our old house this week.  She is an old woman that wants to rob the church of all its money.  I went to go turn in the key to the old house and she wouldn't accept it.  She said that before we turned it in we had to fix all the damages to the house that who knows if we even made!  It was 3 different days of 40 min long arguments/debates that I totally won.  Good thing my mom taught me from a young age that you can't let people walk all over you!  It's not over yet, but I played it so well I walked out of there blood pumping but a champion.  She's not really mad anymore and loves me.  All those years bantering with my mom about stupid things paid off!  Haha.  I think my greatest feat was that all of this was in Spanish.  Honestly I'd say my Spanish is at 95%.  I can say and understand everything unless I'm talking to a teen that uses a ton of slang, or someone from another country (because that's a whole other ball game).  

This week I completed 2 years since I opened my mission call!  It's crazy that that momentus night was already 2 years past.  I've changed a lot since then and I'm happy with the person I'm becoming.  The mission is great and time is passing by so fast!   I did the math and realized that if my mission were a 10k I'm starting up the last mile.  One more to go!  It's all about going hard to the end, and that we will do!  We had 7 investigators in church again this week and as I said the attendence is growing every week!  Exciting stuff.  Be prepared for some baptism pictures soon! 

Congrats to my brother Dylan for turning 13 yesterday!  Only 6 more years until the mission bud!  Also Felicidades to my old Companion Elder Edwards who got married this week!  That'a boy!  

Don't Lose the Faith!  
Love,
Elder Lawson

Hitch Hiking to the beach

On the beach (Sorry the camera was dying so the foto didn't turn out well)

Reading the Bible to a bunny


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Happy Holy Week

Hey Fam!  So this week here in latin america was "Semana Santa" (Holy Week)!  Otherwise known as the week before Easter.  Here everyone has the week off from work and school and it is basically Honduran spring break.  Everyone goes to the beach and since the beach is in my area we saw a TON of people passing though.  My comp and I actually haven't gone to the beach yet, but we will be going this week because we hear that there are a lot of people that live there and missionaries haven't really gone there very much.  Hopefully we'll find some chosen people!  

So, with the Semana Santa comes some traditions.  One of which is a dish called "Sopa de Torta de Pescado" or in English, "Fish Bread Soup."  Some of you might remember last year when I had this dish....let's just say it tastes as good as it sounds.  GROSS.  My comp and I were able to finish it all and the family came to church this Sunday!  Our attendence this week was 39!  We rose 10 people!  It was very exciting and things are looking better and better in our area.  Our plan is to teach the charlas (discussions) to all the less actives and animate (motivate/excite) them to come back to church.  That way they'll get excited and we'll be able to baptise their friends and family that aren't members!  Brilliant.  

Like I said church was great yesterday.  39 people showed up!  And 7 investigators!  It was Easter Sunday, but really here Easter Sunday isn't super special.  It is just the day everyone goes home from their vacations.  My comp and I tried to make it special by talking about the Atonement in our Sacrament talks.  I talked about Sacrifice and how He sacrificed todo (everything) for us and how what we have to sacrifice is so little compared to what he sacrificed.  I kinda talked harshly a little bit when it came to the fact that the members here don't want callings and don't want to give classes and don't want to go to church every Sunday.  I basically told them that the church is not a public service.  The church is what it is because of all the sacrifices people have had to make in the past so that it grew.  I hope the members understood the message and learned that we all have to do our part!  "We all have wrok, let no one shirk!"  :)  After our talks we taught Sunday school to the youth because the teacher didn't show up and then I taught priesthood because there is no offical priesthood leader here in the branch.  Triple Play!  Teaching all 3 hours of church.  WIN.  

I'm really back in my element here in the South.  You really feel like a hardcore missionary here.  The sun beats down on you and there's dust everywhere and you always feel dirty and there are pigs and cows and goats and iguanas in the streets and nobody has couches or even anything but dirt floors and porch chairs to sit on and you don't eat some meals and the power goes out, but you don't care!  Because the only thing that matters to you in that the people go to church and make sacred comvenents with the Lord.  That's it!  I really love the South for that reason.  It helps you forget about the world and focus on the work.  It was hard at first leaving the air conditioned office but now I'm grateful I came down here because I can just forget myself and go to work these last 4 months.  

I'd like to finish by sharing with you a video that the church released this week.  It's INCREDIBLE.  Maybe just because I'm a missionary I like it so much but really, it's GREAT!  Although Easter is fun with all the candy and gifts we can never forget the real reason we celebrate this great holiday.  ENJOY!  http://easter.mormon.org/?cid=HPTU041514694

Love,
Elder Lawson

Sorry just one pic this week, My comps camera broke too so we're kinda in a state of dificulty....

Easter Sunday

Friday, April 18, 2014

Battle of the Churches

Good Morning Teacher!  

Haha hey everyone!  How are ya'll?  I started my letter out with ¨good morning teacher¨ because it's one of the most common things little kids yell at me here!  haha.  Whenever they see a gringo they always just yell whatever English they know.  Sometimes I get ¨How are jew!¨ or ¨Whajur name?¨ One time a kid yelled ¨How are jew!¨ and I said ¨Good and you?¨ and he said ¨yes¨ - haha it was funny because he clearly had no idea what I had said to him.  You get used to it really quick and start to laugh about it.  The kids really aren't the problem, it's weirder when 30 year old women with 3 kids already give us cat calls....

So yesterday was my first real Sunday in the branch Buena Vista.  It was quite the experience, let me tell you that!  We passed the sacrament, but luckily didn't have to give any classes yet.  In total there were 29 people that showed up.  Think about that.  29!  The church (well, it's a rented house) felt so empty!  Everyone was too nervous to share their testimony so we ended up sitting in silence a lot in between us and the 5 members that went up to the pulpit and ended at 9:50.  Being here will take a little getting used to...  The sad part is that there are over 200 members here that just don't go.  We've been visiting them, but with little sucess.  We're going to keep trying though!  The funniest part about yesterday was when we had priesthood outside and a drunk came up and started yelling at us during the lesson!  Normal Honduras I guess....

Other funny story - We are teaching this old guy who can hardly walk.  He's actually kinda crazy and doesn't understand much, but he's already been to church and we're hoping we can help him make the step to baptism!  Well the story is that we were teaching him and during the closing prayer he all of a sudden starts screaming at these kids that are playing nearby.  During the prayer!  It was really funny.  My comp was just praying and he was yelling like a mad man.  

Well, things are hard here but we're pushing though.  As Elder Holland said, "Salvation is not a cheap experience!"  Missionary work isn't easy!  But it's not supposed to be because nothing in the Lord's church is easy.  It's all just "worth it."  Do your duty and recieve your reward!  

Thanks to my family for the package!  It was awesome!  The best part was the tape!  Thanks so much!  

Love,
Elder Lawson

P.S. Also I called the email battle of the churches because like everyone in Buena Vista already belongs to a church!  We just need to help them find the right one!

Oficially an adult, but always a kid :) 

TIRED = HAMMOCK


Writing in my journal with the cross pens Papooh gave me!  I only use them to write in my journal because I don't want to lose them!


Adventures in our area.



PDAY!  It was like a 4th of July style party!  We ate fire grilled hamburgers, watermelon, and chips and then had a water fight! 



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Donde la vista es buena

Wow!  I have so much to tell you!  

First as you know this week I had changes.  I'm no longer AP!  Just a regular old missionary and it feels soooo great!  There was a conference for leaders the other day and I didn't have to go!  Nice.  Now all I do is worry about my area and my investigators. Easy?  Well....I wouldn't say that, but easiER! :)

So my new area is called Buena Vista. If you type in [Buena Vista Honduras] to google maps I'm sure you'll find it. Its a tiny little pueblo by the beach and let me tell you the people here are soooo nice!  Our first few days everyone was sooooo happy to see missionaries here again, members and nonmembers!   Before us 3 months had passed by without missionaries.   

Without any missionaries here, the house got SUPER dirty.  But like you can't even imagine how dirty it was.  REALLY dirty.  Luckily I knew that was the case ahead of time and I brought a ton of cleaning supplies down with me from the city.  We spent the first 3 days just deep cleaning the house and I'll give you a breif summary.  Does a trashbag full of leaves, dead bats, dirty toilets, and super murky water sound nice?  haha well lets just say it was quite the experience.  I took some pictures, but this computer is slow so I can't send them all right now.  

My new comp is Elder Baez (Byes) he's a short Nicaraguan that has a huge fire for sharing the gospel.  He only has 5 months in the mission but he already knows exactly what he's doing.  We've been working super hard and we want to do our best to help this branch grow back to its full potential!   We hear that there are about 250 members here in Buena Vista but only 30 are active so our goal is to get 100 people in church by the end of our time here.  VERY POSSIBLE.  We're excited for that.  

Another great thing about my new area is we have a cocinera!  She makes us lunch and dinner and we pay the equivalent of $1.25 for every meal.  Boy am I going to miss cheap food when I'm back at home....

This time for general conference we went Honduran.  Meaning we only could watch the Sunday morning session and it was in Spanish.  All the other conferences I've watched all 5 sessions and in English too!  But here we are so far away from everything it wasn't possible to watch any others but the Sunday morning.  Hardly anyone else here watches the other ones though either.   Now I'm just waiting for the Liahona to come out so I can read them all.  We actually were going to watch the priesthood session at a member's house but right then the power went out and didn't come back till 8:30. Bummer.   Welcome to the Honduras.  The power goes out a lot at that time because the government wants to conserve energy, and so they just cut the power in the whole town for a few hours and we all just suffer in the dark.  

Now for the bad news....My camera broke.  We were in district meeting and I had just taken a picture when my finger got caught on the camera cord and launched the camera out of my hand.  Imediately everything went to slow motion and choirs started singing dramatic music.  I reached down to catch it out of the air but my spiderman skills were not turn enough and it fell crashing to the ground right on the lens.  OUCH.  So I guess the fotos I send now might be the last for a while.  My comp has a camera so I'll just ask him to pass me fotos for now but I don't know if I should buy a new camera or what.  My mission is ending in 4 months so I'd survive without it.  But it might be a good idea if we think Abby might use it on a mission someday.  Just let me know what to do.  

We're going to Choluteca to play basketball today so I got to go, but I'll probably hop on later to write a little bit more!  

I love you all and thanks for all you do for me!  Go back and listen to Elder Ballard's talk from the Sunday morning session again!  It was great!   

Love,
Elder Lawson

Later that day... We saw a bunch of other elders today because we went all the way to Choluteca to play dodgeball.  Our trip there was quite interesting.  An hour of walking, a bus, and 2 hitch hikes.  Welcome back to Southern Honduras.  Our area doesn't have a single paved road and there is nothing but cantelope fields, cows, goats, chickens, fires, and innactives.  It's great!  YOSO (You Only Serve Once, credit: Elder Reyes)


Elder Baez and I in front of our house.

Cleaning the first day.

Cleaning out the Pila. (Where they keep their water!! YUCK!)




Thursday, April 3, 2014

Gabriel´s getting baptized!!

Hey fam! 

This week was a long one...But a great one!  On Sunday Natalia finally got confirmed and then on Monday night we packed up and went southward!  We took the 3 hour bus ride and got there late-ish and we stayed with Elder Preul and Underwood.  I freaking love those kids so much.  Choluteca was ROASTING!  I know I talk about the heat a lot but you really can't understand it until you go there. It was over 100 degrees everyday!  One day it was 105!  Whooo!  Feeling Hot, hot, HOT!  It was fun seeing all the missionaries down there, I hadn't seen them for a while.  

Cool Story - Well here's my cool story for the week of how Elder Lawson successfully fought against the powers of Satan.  Haha ok so we were in the bus headed to another part of the south and there was a evangelical preacher standing up in front of everyone preaching to the people on the bus.  (This is super normal in Honduras.)  When he saw us get on he changed his gospel topic and started indirectly preaching against us.  He talked about false prophets and how there shouldn't be any other books besides the Bible.  I couldn't take all the apostasy so I found courage within and when he sat down I got up and started to preach!  I read the real scripture in the Bible and explained that it doesn't say there will be no more prophets, it just says that you need to be aware and know the prophets by their fruits.  I finished in the name of Jesus Christ and sat down.  I was pretty nervous but I couldn't live with the guilt I would have felt if I had let that man lead all of those people to destruction without at least hearing the true side of the story!  

The best news I have for you this week is that Gabriel is getting baptized!!  I've told you a few stories about him but tonight he's finally getting baptized!  Elder Mendoza and I are super excited for him.  He's going to be a great member and a great example to his family!  

Changes are this week and I think I'm leaving!  I talked to Pres and I really hope he'll hear my plea and send me to the south!  I won't be AP any more or even a ZL and I'm really excited to not have to worry about leadership and just be able to worry about my investigators and raising up the branch! wooo!  

I wish I could write more but I don't have much time and so I thought I would take the advice Nephi gives in 1 Nephi 6:6!  haha :)  ("Wherefore, I shall give commandment unto my seed, that they shall not occupy these plates with things which are not of worth unto the children of men.")
 
Talk to you all not this Monday, but NEXT Monday!  I love you!
Elder Lawson 

A little comp rivalry

Gabriel's baptism on Saturday.

We took him to Little Caesar's for pizza to celebrate!

Confirmation on Sunday!