Monday, December 29, 2014

Chaab´il Ralankil! (Merry Christmas in the awesome Q´eqchi´ language)

Elder North with some of his Christmas packages.  He told us the
only reason he got these was because one of the missionaries
in the area got hurt and had to go to Coban to get medical treatment
and was able to bring them back.  He didn't have them as of Monday.
Sorry for that Elder but glad he was able to get his Christmas gifts.
Date:  December 29, 2014
Area: Korral Pek, Guatemala
Companion:  Elder Sierra

Obviously this week was Christmas, if you didn´t notice then I have no idea where you are.  For us missionaries Christmas is a very special time that is just as busy, as it is the time where we remember the birth of our savior Jesus Christ.  So we go around sharing the news with everyone that He was the greatest gift that was ever given, and the first one, and the best of all, was that He was a gift given to everyone, but not everyone in general, but to everyone personally.

As for my Christmas day, it went well, we had to go all the way to Chulac, which is an hour or so hike, half uphill half down, we missed the festivities of our branch but we got to sneak in on the festivities of the Chulac branch at least until it was 10:30 then we retired to the house of the Elders in Chulac since we as missionaries are suppose to be in bed then.  We couldn´t get to sleep, one because of the fireworks and then we decided it´s Christmas so we can open the packages we have, that actually turned out to be a pretty cool idea because in the morning we didn´t have much time.
Getting to talk to Jered!

One of those reasons I didn't have much time in the morning was because I got to call my family! What a wonderful experience that was.  I had planned in my head that I was going to speak more Spanish to my Dad, speak more 
Q´eqchi´ so everyone could here how awesome it is and how awesome I am at it, but we just ended up talking about experiences in the mission in English, which is just fine. I´ll have plenty of time to talk to people in different languages after my mission and stuff, but there was only fourty minutes to talk to my family. I thought it was pretty funny that they were really interested about my badger brain eating experience.

As missionaries they only get to talk to their families twice a year.  Once is at Christmas and the other time is at Mother's Day.  So it is pretty special and we really cherish the time to talk to our missionaries.  We were thankful for a pretty good connection this time and for Jered's sacrifice to travel out of his area to get service so we could call him.  And YEAH we were anxious to ask him more about the eating of the badger brain.  We asked him on a scale of 1-10 how was it.  He said 7!!!!

I got many things for Christmas, one of the oddest ones was I got an advent calendar for December... Now what am I going to do with a calendar for December when December has already passed? Well. Why not use it for January instead, it´s almost the same and you get the same concept of using the calendar and what it says. 
Where Se-Pakay is, on the other side of the mountains.
Another part of his area he was explaining to us on the phone.

Mail takes a long time to get to Guatemala, even more so during the holidays so he didn't get his calendar until the end of the month.  O well.  Stiff fun to read the scriptures and see the pictures of Christ.  

I got wonderful insoles for my boots and shoes, chocolate, candy and some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle stuff, the best thing was that I got some Q´eqchi´ study material, I don´t know how Dad did it, but he did and got me a dictionary that is sold here, but isn´t that easy to find.

The work is going along fine, we´re trying to work out more, meaning work farther away from our house to find more new people to teach, and we found a large family, unfortunetley we weren´t able to teach them that much and our second visit with them they were busy, but it´s a start, everything starts somewhere.

That about sums up my week. I love you all!
Elder Norte
Cardamomo plant

A Christmas tree - I think in Chulac
Christmas gifts - thank you everyone

Monday, December 22, 2014

My week this week.

Date:  December 22, 2014
Area:  Korral Pek
Companion:  Elder Sierra

This week was a pretty good week, I got to go on divisions with my Zone Leaders, that was a pretty fun time. I got to leave my area and go to Teleman for a couple of days, I was feeling kind of odd while I was down in the valley again and after thinking about it a little I found out what the feeling was. So I had the feeling that one gets when they go up camping for an extended period of time and then they come back home, that feeling, if you know what I mean.

We worked hard and then after we got reunited with our companions and we talked about how the divisions went, apparently while I was away Emilio´s baptism date fell because Elder Piñeda was talking to him and teaching him and he confessed that he was having problems still with drinking and such. that´s a bummer, he told Elder Piñeda all this because he taught him in Kekchi instead of Spanish like we were doing with him, and people like it more when you teach them in their native language, it doesn´t matter if they know another one, unless they tell you specifically that they prefer a certain language. That was a lesson to me and I´ve put plenty more effort into teaching and speaking Kekchi to the people even if they understand Spanish, recently we´ve found that there are plenty of people that understand Spanish because Elder Sierra can´t speak Kekchi yet and so I was speaking more Spanish than usual. Not anymore, pure Kekchi now, and I´ve really noticed a difference.

We were able to talk to plenty of people and find out that there are plenty of less actives in

korral pek, so we´ll be working with those. This week wasn´t the most exciting, but it was good, always good, passing out the ´El es la dádiva´ cards, (he is the gift) and although the people don´t have computers it´s nice to pass out a picture of Christs birth, and nothing like a little picture to start up a conversation.

The hardest thing about training is that he doesn´t realy need to be trained how to teach, he teaches better than I do when we can teach in Spanish, but when can we teach in Spanish? Hardly ever, so his biggest block is the language and I´m trying to figure out right now if he actually wants to learn the language or if he´s learning more out of necessity than anything else.

I´ll be in Chulac for the Christmas call.  We will just go there so that we can make our phone calls.  We will go on the 24th and spend the night and then head home on the 25th so we can be back in our area by noon.  

They go to the church there in Chulac where they have power and cell service.  They spend the night on the pews.  

People set up all sorts of trees and lights here, but it doesn´t feel that much like Christmas because there´s no snow, but it does feel like Christmas because there´s all sorts of lights and stuff put up, odd things.

I told him that we have had rain for the last two days here and have no snow either.  So it is strange for us this year too.

No mail this week, but that´s all right.

Love you all!
Elder North

He loves mail so write him when you can.  It costs $1.15 to mail a letter to Guatemala.
Elder Jered North
Guatemala Cobán Mission
Apartado Postal #34
3ra Calle 2-02, Zona 3
Cobán AV 16001
Guatemala, Central America

Monday, December 15, 2014

Two weeks in one, plenty of adventure plus I hit my year mark!

Elder North and Elder Sierra
Date:  December 15, 2015
Area:  Korral Pek
Companion:  Elder Sierra from Honduras

Alright, so all of you are wondering, where in the world did Elder Norte go? I didn´t hear from him last week and it´s been sooooo long since he wrote I just can´t stand it and I just might explode. Well, Here I am! Still in the mountains of Korral Pek with a new companion named Elder Sierra. Elder Sierra is from Honduras and he has about three weeks in the mission, two weeks in the CCM and now one week in the field. That´s right, I have a son, meaning I am training.
First of I didn´t write last week because we had a fantastic adventure to Semuc Champey, ( it´s a pretty popular tourist site with very clean and pure pools of water where you can actually swim and such, not us, we´re missionaries, it was fun, yet it was a lot of travel and on top of that I didn´t get to write to family, but I´m only really disappointed by that because I didn´t have any time to notify you guys that that was going to happen, but now it´s passed and we´re back on schedule. Semuc Champey was a really pretty place, and I would love to go back there and actually swim in the pools of water.
Semuc Champey
Elder Felix and Elder North

Last week wasn´t that exciting, it was pretty hard because we didn´t have a baptism because it turns out that Emilio is still drinking and smoking, but we´re working with him, we missionaries are pretty persistent, especially when it comes to helping someone with a problem like this, pray for him for me, the more prayers the better, he´s also still having a hard time remembering to read his Book of Mormon, we have stressed the importance of the Book of Mormon because it is a very special book that can and will change lives.
My last companion Elder Vargas left to an area called Chi Sec, he´s going to be opening up the area with three other missionaries, and this is going to change the mission because it´s going to start a chain of opening up new areas for more missionaries and not only that, but there´s going to be changes to the mission itself. (look forward for more details on that.)
So that was Monday, and then we got a call that day that I was going to be training a new missionary, which meant that I had to go to Cobán to get trained on how to train and to pick up my new companion, as I mentioned earlier is named Elder Sierra, which is kind of funny for me actually because I have a friend named Sierra. So I went and got trained how to train and then I met Elder Sierra and soon after we were on our way back to the mountains.
At this meeting we were told that starting July they are going to have Q´eqchi´ in the CCM, and that soon to be missionaries are going to receive their callings for either Spanish speaking mission or Q´eqchi´ speaking mission, and those that are going to be called to Q´eqchi´ are going to those that already speak Spanish so that they´re only learning one language, it´s going to be a nine week program in the CCM, this is going to change the mission. Especially since people aren´t going to suddenly learn that they have to learn        Q´eqchi´.
Pretty exciting news that they are going to start teaching Q'eqchi' in the CCM (Missionary Training Center in Spanish is CCM)  We have always questioned why they don't but it sounds like they didn't feel they had enough areas until now.  Nine week program instead of 6 also which shows that the language is difficult and that these missionaries that have been given the task to learn it on their own are just awesome.  
So Elder Sierra and I got back to our area and he was checking out the area and such, he was feeling pretty bad that he couldn´t talk, we have quite a few people that speak Spanish and I tried to keep him around them when I could so he didn´t feel mute, we then had to walk to Chulac and the walk almost killed him. Partly because he was under lots of stress, he suddenly has to speak a new language and there´s not light in our house all the time. To make a long story short and to not go into detail, his first two days were pretty ugly, I was scared that he wasn´t going to be able to do it, but now he´s feeling better and he´s getting down on the Q´eqchi´ speaking part.
This week we also had Zone conference, it was our Christmas conference which was amazing, and always in conference we get good food, Elder Sierra was able to talk to President and his wife and they gave him counsel and then President and I gave him a blessing that was incredibly powerful, we returned to our area and things were instantly better. More smiles more faith, more hope, more awesome.
zone conference
A mouse at church
Emilio now has another Baptism date for the 27th of December, we´re going to be praying for him and helping him as he discovers that this church is really the best there is because it´s true. Although I´ve learned a lot with Elder Sierra already, one of his favorite things to say is that we´re not here as missionaries to change your faith, but we´re here to increase your faith, that´s true, we don´t want to flat out denounce other faiths because they do contain truth and they do worship God and Jesus as his son, all is good, they´re just missing parts and they simply don´t realize it.
As for mail, I got a lot of it, Christmas letters and a package with lots of pez, I don´t think I can say who I got it from because I actually got quite a bit, one of my favorites was from the Barnson family, they sent me a cute little nativity set that I can set up. It´s just amazing.
Well, I hope that covers just about everything, it was quite a bit, and I´ve been having fun and learning more, we´re going to be starting a class of Spanish for those in our area, that´ll be really interesting. Time to see what more awaits me in Korral Pek.

Until next week, I love you all.
Elder Jered Lamont North
Elder North loves mail so if you can take the time to write him he would really appreciate it. Thanks to all those that have written him and continue to support him.  It is appreciated.
Elder Jered North
Guatemala Cobán Mission
Apartado Postal #34
3ra Calle 2-02, Zona 3
Cobán AV 16001
Guatemala, Central America
It costs $1.15 to mail a letter to him. You can use regular envelops and stamps just make sure they equal $1.15. If it weights more than a regular letter you should take it to the post office to have it weighed.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

No e-mail this week

Date:  December 8, 2014
Area:  Korral Pek, Guatemala
Companion:  Elder Vargus
Week 51

We did not get an e-mail this week from Elder Jered North.  This can happen for lots of reason and as a missionary mom you just have to remember no news is good news.  If there were something wrong the mission home would have contacted us.   So we will assume all is well and computers just didn't work, or he couldn't get into town to e-mail or something like that.  He did have transfers this week so we will see if on Monday he is in a new place or not.  We hate not hearing about his adventures for the week but we know he is doing the Lord's work and will look forward to when he can e-mail.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Book of Mormon contains the answers.

A paka is like a DI or Savers

Date:  December 1, 2014
Area:  Korral Pek, Guatemala
Companion:  Elder  Vargus
Week 50

So this week we have been focusing our efforts on getting Emilio ready for his upcoming baptism next week on the 6th of December. I think he´ll be ready, he´s been asking quite a bit of questions and have been bringing up passages of the Bible not to try and contradict us but something that seems like it contradicts and wants to know what we think about it and we´ve been able to explain really well. He has an interesting view about things and it´s been a really good learning experience for me as I find the answers he´s looking for and able to clarify passages of the Bible from our doctrine and with added light from the Book of Mormon. Emilio´s interview is set for Thursday and Elder Wilson will be coming to Korral Pek with me to carry out the interview.

We found a new family that may be able to progress, but they live about thirty minutes away from the chapel and they say that it´s a little too far, and thirty minutes of walking is a bit tough, but sacrifices have to be made. I´m still not the best at contacting people, but I´m getting better at it, being able to

explain why we´re here and what we want and what we want them to do and why and how it can bless them. Contacting is complicated.... But you need to find new people to teach and that´s one of the biggest ways you do it.

I´ve also had some learning experiences as I help teach the little children in the branch, I help with the primary and each week the amount of kids in class multiplies, I don´t know whether there´s new kids or they think my classes are entertaining or something. I did usually just play games with them, but this week I decided that although we could play games for about half the time that I would feel better if I actually shared something with the little ones and I taught them how to pray. They are little children so I don´t think it´ll all stick, but with the spirit they will remember how to pray correctly and do so, and plus kids can be surprising when it comes to remembering things.

When you get close you can smell the honey
We did quite a lot of walking this week and for a day I was hit by a large case of Diarrhea, where my intestines pretty much wanted to explode and my stomach was making all sorts of whale mating calls all day, but I got though it and have returned to wonderful normal bowel movements.

I forgot to mention that we helped people sow their seeds of corn this week, it´s not that hard of work, but how they measured where to put the seeds proved to be a bit difficult.  Because it is this time of year people have a custom here, they sow their seeds and then they eat caldo, it´s a soup with chicken, so a lot of people have been inviting us. We had it three times last week and we already have planned for another go this week.

No mail this week, but Zone meeting is this week and we´re going to get mail then, I´m excited, mail is always exciting, although I havn´t been able to send mail myself for a long time, not because I don´t want to, but because I can´t ever seem to find the post office open in El Estor at any time in the day, I´ll see if I can correct that.

Beautiful Korral Pek
I hope you all are doing great! Remember to read your book of Mormon, or your Libro De Mormón
local pigs
, or your Lix Hu Laj Mormon, or read all three if you have them. LIKE ME! Ha..... But really, I recommend reading the book of Mormon, and for those who are learning languages it has been said that reading the book of Mormon really helps with learning said language. I´m learning two languages so it seems to be working.

Get out there and make some miracles happen. (Christmas spirit and all that.) Don´t ask me about thanksgiving, that doesn´t exist here.

Love you all,
Elder North

Monday, November 24, 2014

I understand why my area has rock in it´s name. (pek = rock)

Date:   November 24, 2014
Area:  Korral Pek
Companion:  Elder Vargus

About the title of this weeks email, I fell down on Monday while going back home, taking the hour hike from Chulac after the hour and a half bus ride from El Estor. Anyway, I fell down and I scratched my arm, we were halfway home so I walked some 25 minutes before I could really get my first aid kit onto the scratch, but some alcohol and cleaning it up and it was all good, but falling down isn´t fun.

We had what I would say is a pretty standard week, although something did happen that was different, we come home from P-day and then Tuesday we go to District meeting in Chulac, walking there one hour and then after walking back and then we stay in our area until the next P-day.
So we´re really working with our fantastic investigator Emilio, he is progressing well, although his drinking problem may be a bit closer to the surface than I first thought, but he´s a fighter and he believes that this church is true, we havn´t taught him all the lessons yet, we only are missing one of the lessons, which is called lesson 5, and in other missions you wouldn´t teach that lesson before baptism, but here we do teach it before and then after of course. He came to church and also came to our special activity on Saturday.

So on Saturday, my previously mentioned special activity, was a baptism! Now we were going to have four children of the ward be baptized, but as it turns out two of them were older than nine years old which means they need to be interviewed by our district leader and they count as our converts. The baptism was a little bit unorganized, but it all went well, and as I said Emilio was there!
We havn´t found many other people to teach, but we are looking, it´s really fun to find someone that is really ready to receive us and the message we bring, although they get taught and then they get baptized so quickly that we need to find another, but we´re working hard to get there.
That´s about it for this week.

How do the people treat you?  Generally the people call me angry because I´m not that talkative, it is not in a mean way and with the people here it doesn´t really matter what you say, but you have to say something, unless you don´t know the language, then you can´t really do anything, and then you probably don´t know if they´re calling you an angry person.

With no power do you still use your ipod and speaker?
I use my Ipod and speaker and my rain coat, sometimes I take it with me and it doesn´t rain.
Our house uses solar panels so we have power at night and enough to charge our items a couple times a week and have light during the dark hours.

Where do you do your shopping?  We have a few stores, they sell the usual, beans, rice, noodles, sardines, all good.

Where do the kids go to school?  There´s a school, they´re in summer break right now and won´t be going to school until January I believe.

No  mail this week, but looking forward to when I do get mail.

Love you all,
Elder Jered North
He loves to get mail so take a minute and write him.  It costs $1.15 to send a letter to Guatemala.
Elder Jered North
Guatemala Cobán Mission
Apartado Postal #34
3ra Calle 2-02, Zona 3
Cobán AV 16001
Guatemala, Central America