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."

Monday, June 30, 2014

5 weeks

Well Family, I´m now entering into what is the last 5 weeks of my mission and it is very surreal.  I´m finally at the weird point where the thought of going home is now a reality.  The whole mission everyone always thinks that it never ends and that going home only happens to other people.  But now that I am next in line on the going home list, I´m a bit nervous/hastened/shocked and most of all terrified.  A lot of you mentioned how you really liked my last email and what I said in it was true!  Honduras is my life now.  Poverty and Spanish are what I know best.  My life at home isn´t anything like my life as a missionary.  I´m not sure if I´m ready!  I know I´ll adapt fast but it´s going to be a very strange change.  Forgive me if I act weird for the first few days and occationally start talking or singing in Spanish or keep saying, "Wow I forgot how nice this is!" or "Wow I forgot how clean this is!" Anyway, what I´m trying to say is that starting my last transfer, getting my flight plans, and seeing some pictures from home right now really woke me up and made me realize how little time I have left.  That means...ITS GO TIME.  There's no time to waste!  

So the result of the change day was that Elder Baez will be staying here with me to "kill" me, being my last real comp.  I´m happy because he´s a really good guy and we get along well.  We started off our last change with a baptism!  They were two niños, children of members.  One 8 and the other 9 years old.  The cool part of the baptism though was that we did it in the ocean!  I was nervous because I had never had a baptism at the beach before but it all worked out perfectly.  Alfredo baptized his son Nixion and also Cesar.  I didn´t get the opportunity to baptize this time but I really hope that before I go I can baptize in the ocean.  

Everyone in Honduras is bummed about their poor performance in El Mundial (the world cup). (I´m just bummed because all the countries where my friends are serving did better...France, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Agentina, Chilie, Germany, etc.  The only one who feels my pain is Elder Chad Hamilton in England.  They got WORKED!) But mainly the people here just bag on the team now and make up excuses about how the refs just pick on the little countries and how nobody even wanted them to win.  We all got stories I guess.... But literally every day at game time no matter where we go people are watching the games.  Haha as I type they have the game playing on the radio here in the internet place!  Futbol = Vida.  (Soccer = Life)

Well, got some souls to save so I gotta go!  Have a great week!  Love you all!  

Elder Lawson

Getting soaked in the rain after pday last week

A cool street in a far away place called Consepcion de Maria

6 weeks left (actually 5 now that they messed up his travel plans!)

Taking off my shoes in the rain cause the puddles are deep 
and I didn´t want my shoes to get wet.

Helping a member chop some grass Saturday morning

Baptism at the beach!

Bird pooping on me AGAIN!  On our way to church this time!

Statistics = FUN (church attendance)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Rough week = Gratitude!

Hey family!  

So this week was a super rough one.  After the baptisms of José Angel and Valentina, we were left again with no one to teach here in Buena Vista.  :(  We were forced to start looking for new people again.  What made things even harder was that I honestly just wasn`t feeling like it.  There were a few days when I was just done.  Done with people telling us they already have a church, done with begging members to bring their friends with them to church, done with people telling us they`ll go to church and then not going, done with being hot, done with the 24/7 bugs buzzing around my head, just overall DONE with Honduras and being a missionary.  I spent time pittying myself and dreaming of home.  It wasn't until Saturday that I realized how much of a baby I was being.  Here I am, spending 2 years, 2 little years!, of my life suffering with these people, while they have to suffer a lifetime.  Some of them have almost nothing and still make huge sacrifices.  In that moment I realized that my 7 weeks left here in Honduras is nothing left to the lifetime these people have left.  I`d like to take this moment to tell you about a few people from Buena Vista who really know what life is about....

Hermana Digna - She was baptized about 3 years ago with all her family minus her husband.  She lives about 2 miles from the church and walks over an hour every Sunday to get there.  In the 2 months we`ve been here I don't think she`s missed one.  Her house doesn`t have electricity but that doesn`t matter to her, she still has family scripture study and prayer and even FHE!  She also rides her bike once a week to clean the church too.  PILAS

Hermano Santiago - An old man with 2 teeth that was a drunk until he got baptized 5 years ago.  His wife left him back when he was a drunk and now he lives with his nephew and his family.  They don`t treat him very well so he mainly just goes around visiting people during the day.  The week before their baptism he went and visited Jose Angel and Valentina everyday and even gave Jose Angel a tie and an old pair of shoes to wear to church!  He always invites people to church activities and goes to visit investigators with us sometimes.  Randomly this week he went over to the church and cut all the grass in front with his machette and no one even asked him to.  Talk about service.  PILAS

Hermana Dilia - My Cocinera.  She`s been a member for over 20 yeras now and is as strong as ever.  She has been cooking for the missionaries ever since.  She makes the food for us really cheap and is always ready if we need her.  She cooks over a fire and does it like a pro.  I feel so much love from her everytime we go there.  And I can`t tell you how grateful I am for her.  

After living like a Honduran for 2 years, I feel like when I go home everything is going to seem really foreign.  I`ve forgotten really how really truely blessed I am. I need to savor every second I have left here to love these people as much as I can and bless their lives that desperately need blessings.  When times get tough remember that there is always someone out there that has it so much worse than you do.  What breaks my heart is hearing people here tell their kids, "Eat your rice and beans, because there is a little boy in Africa who doesn't have food." I just think, "Or there is a little selfish boy in America who only eats the food he likes."  These people understand what it means to be grateful and they haven`t even dreamed of having the things we have!  Stick houses, dirt floors, no electricity, out houses, those things are their life!  And they find ways to be happy.  So why can`t we?  Don`t wait for vacations to be happy, don`t wait for work to end, don`t wait, be happpy now!  Lets take the challege to be happy no matter what!  After all, it makes life so much worth living:)

Have a happy week!  
Elder Lawson

Zone conference

Gift for Valentina and Jose Angel

Coconuts!!!  (Gift from Jose Angel)

Pooped on by a bird at Jose Angel y Valentina`s house....

José Smith pic


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

We did it! We did it! We did it! Yeah! Lo Hicimos, WE DID IT!!! da, da, da, da....


Family and friends I think that is probably the best news I have ever given you.  After a ton of headaches with the wedding papers and family members, I am pleased to tell you that José Angel and his WIFE Valentina are now the newest members of La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos días. WOOOOOOOO!!!  It wasnt easy though....

As many of you know, in order to be baptized one needs to be keeping all the commandments.  One of which being the Law of Chastity.  Well as you will see, here in Honduras the marriage process is very complicated, so what people do is they just start a family, live together, and never actually get married.  They just say that they are husband and wife.  Well...technically that is against the law of chastity, so....We end up doing a lot of marriages here in the mission.  This was the case with Valentina and José Angel.  

In order to realize the wedding we need to take out special documents with both people that are going to get married.  To get these, on Tuesday we first went with Valentina to the place where she was born to take out a legal document that says she is single.  Then we took her to Choluteca to take out another document saying that she didn't have any misdemeanors.  Afterwards, we had to go back to Marcovia to finish up the papers and then go home. The trip became more complicated because first she needed 2 witnesses to be able to take out the document, then we had to go make copies of the document, then we had to go to the bank and pay for it, then the printer didn't work....basically it was a nightmare but I felt like a boss working the Honduran Loyal (legal?) system.  

On wednesday it was José Angel´s turn.  We went all the way to a place called Nacaome.  There we took out the single person paper and from there we went back to Choluteca to get the misdemenors one.  Both trips were really long and in the end I was worried that I had forgotten a paper somewhere.  

On Thursday we had a zone conference with President in Choluteca.  (It was really fun to see everyone but it was weird for Elder Mendoza and I to not be in power anymore...)  After the conference we went to meet with the Lawyer and he said everything was good to go!  Nice!  No worries right?  Wrong!  There was another little detail.  José Angel´s parents have to be in the wedding to sign a document giving him permission to get married because he is only 20 and in Honduras the legal age is 21.  Dangit.  The good thing was his parents are really awesome and gave him permission.  My worry was that they weren't going to be able to come because the dad works a ton. Stress, Stress, Stress.  My comp and I prayed and fasted all week during all these trials that it would all work out and finally...it did!  Everyone came to the wedding and it was a huge success!  Afterwords I baptized Valentina and Elder Baez baptized José Angel.  It was a very cool experience.  Honestly one of my favorite baptisms!  A very special moment.  

There is another miracle family that we are working with here in the area!  They are both members, baptized 3 years ago.  A little bit after they were baptized the father stopped going to church and the mother went every once in a while.  One day after sacrament meeting our cocinera (cook) told us that there was an 8 year old kid who hadn't been baptized yet.  We for the first time met Ana and her son Nixion.  We passed by that week to visit and that´s when we met Alfredo.  At first our goal was only to help Nixion get baptized, but when we saw that Alfredo was there and a member already we changed our focus!  We talked to him about the possibility of getting worthy and baptizing his son. He didn't know that he could baptize Nixion.  This possiblity sparked an interest and the rest is history.  We visit them a few times a week and they are now super active.  We had a fun Family Home Evening with them the other night where we had the kids act out the story of Nephi and they really liked it.  I love this family!  On Sunday Alfredo recieved the priesthood and Nixion´s baptism should be in a few weeks.  He´s super pilas and we even think he could be the new Branch President in 6 months because right now we don´t have one nor do we have candidates....

Sorry the email is late.  Yesterday Elder Baez and I went to Tegus because he had an appointment with the immigration offices.  It was a fun trip!  I got to see a bunch of people (Like Gabriel!  Remember him?) and get some errands done in Tegus. Everyone I saw said I looked really skinny.  It's true though, I´ve lost a TON of weight.  Hermana Smart said it was unhealthy how skinny I am now, but I like it!  We ate pizza for lunch and back in the day I could eat half the pizza and yesterday I barely ate a fourth before I couldn't take anymore.  Craziness!  Yesterday was a fun Pday - in the end the only problem was we didn't have time to write home.  

Weird Honduras happenings section.....

1. So many people showed up at church yesterday (75! We were sooooo happy!  Our hard work is paying off!) that we didn't have enough water in the sacrament for everyone.  What did that mean?  During the passing of the sacrament we had to send someone to the store to buy pure water so we could bless it and re-pass to all the people that didn't have the oportunity yet.  

2. After the sacrament one of the ill members of our branch just started throwing up and that made all kinds of panic with the people.  Especially because we were all jammed into a little room and there isn't much air circulation.  I was, however, surprized at the fast reaction time and quickness of cleaning up the mess.  We only delayed about 10 minutes.  I still had to teach the adult Sunday School class on the Old Testament with no preparation even though there are many members capable of doing it, but that´s a story for another day....

3. Breastfeeding.  I´m sure I´ve mentioned it before, but its just not something you get used to.  Here in the south it's just a natural part of life.  Women don´t cover up anything and breastfeeding doesn't stop until the kid is 4 years old.  There doesn't exist "non-breastfeeding" places either.  I´ve seen it in sacrament meeting, Pizza Hut, walking down the isle in the grocery store, and oh too many times in lessons with the missionaries.  Ugh.  AWKWARD.  That is one thing I will not miss about Honduras.  

6 months and 2 days until Hawaii!!   Me-lik-a-lik-i-lak-a is Hawaii´s way....

Happy Father´s day dad!  I almost forgot because here Father´s day is in March...

Thanks to Grandma and Sister Hoeft for the Cards!  I loved them!  

Have a great week everyone!  I know I will!  There are only 8 left!  
Elder Lawson

Valentina and Jose Angel!

Boda y Bautizmo (Wedding and Baptism)

Ana and Alfredo´s family in their house after FHE.

Wendy´s with José Angel.  (His first time!)

Me and José Angel with a Black Geo Tracker!  
I said I´d give him a ride but I didn´t have the keys...

Preaching to the turtles.

APs new and old at the zone conference

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Things that don´t matter: Heat, Mud, Bugs, Rain, Hunger, Electricity, etc.

Hey family!  

So this week was one full of darkness (power going out everyday), heat (100 degree weather), bugs (like mosquitos all over the place biting my ankles), and so on, but that stuff doesnt matter!  What does matter is the fact that we had an attendence of 65 people in church this week!  YESSSSS!  All our hard work is finally paying off!  This week, if everything goes well, Valentina and Jose Angel will be married and baptized!  There is just a big headache of paperwork ahead of us for the wedding.  Pray for us that it´ll all work out!  

In other news: I´m skinny!  I went down another belt loop this week so that´s two now.  It´s a belt loop that I´ve never used my whole mission!  I guess that means I´m the skinniest I´ve been my whole mission.  I really like it though so I don't complain.  

This week we also went to chop firewood with Jose Angel this week and it was really fun!  We rode our bikes through knee deep puddles and gotten eaten by mosquitos!  

I want to write more but the bus is going to leave in 3 minutes so I gotta go!  

Less that 10 weeks left!  I only have the time I spent in the MTC left in the mission!  Nutty huh!?!  

Be good everyone!  
Elder Lawson

Cutting firewood with Jose Angel.


My crazy tan!!!  That's my arm next to my stomach!

Monday, June 2, 2014

....And then there was LIGHT!

Hey Family!  

I have good news this week!  We had 2 baptisms!  Franklin and Deyvis (Davis) got baptized!  Woooo!  We´ve been working with them both for a while, so it was very satifying to see them finally putting all they´ve learned to work!  Franklin got married to Chaio who is already a member and then right after the wedding we had the baptism!  Elder Baez and I were really happy because it seems like we´ve been working really hard with no reported results so it was great to finally have baptism together!  A little more light in our lives!  

Speaking of light, it´s gone out every night this week!  And rumor has it that this will be the new normal.  In the rainy season there isn't enough energy to support all of Honduras so the big city eats it all up and they just cut the power in smaller parts like Monjaras and Buena Vista.  It makes teaching the gospel a little harder, but we manage.  The worst is when it doesn't come back at night because it is HOT trying to sleep without a fan.  It´s crazy how we so often take advantage of the fact that we always have power in our houses!  Light is so important!  

Speaking of light, Who is the greastest of all lights?  None other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Ever heard the song "The Lord is my light"?  Well, there you have it, He is our light!  Whenever we get to a member's house and there is no power they always say the obvious "The light went out huh?" And we're like "yeah..." but then I always say no!  I´ve got the Light right here!  And I pull out a pass along card with Jesus on it.  They just laugh and say "oh Elder!"  haha but it´s true!  Jesus Christ is the Light that completes us!  

I was reminded of a talk I read by Tyler Jarvis, a math professor at BYU.  He talked of the Liberty Bell and how it has a crack in it.  He said that many people might look at the bell and think that it is broken and good for nothing.  He then said that someone once said that through the crack the light gets in.  He talked about how we aren't perfect, never have been, never will be, we all have cracks, but those cracks are what makes us human and lets the light come in!  Jesus Christ is our light.  He comes into our souls and completes us!  We CAN become perfect but only though him!  

So do it!  Become perfect in Chirst.  Repent and be the best you can be!  Read your scriptures, invite your friends to church, go to the temple, do it all so you can be closer to him.  I know you can do it!  

I hope you all have a spledid week!  I know I will!  I only have 10 left so I gotta make them count!  

Love ya!
Elder Lawson

Franklin and Chaio

Franklin and Deyvis baptism

Ten week countdown!