This has been an eventful week in Jerusalén.
I'll start with the biggest news: BAPTISM!!! We were able to baptize Rosa, who we've been working with for quite some time. Elder Caceres (who is now at home in Honduras) worked with her for 7.5 months, and that wasn't the first time she'd received the missionaries. Her husband has been a member for years, and is a bit inactive, but moving in the right direction. Her father-in-law baptized her yesterday after church, and it was really neat. When I write Elder Caceres to tell him that she was baptized, he will be very surprised! Rosa and Edgar have the goal to be able to be sealed in the Temple a year from now, to become an eternal family, along with their two kids. It was really a great thing to witness.
The second big thing that happened: We received a phone call Thursday night advising us that we were going to have divisions with the Zone Leaders on Friday. It was short notice, but it meant that I got to get to know a different area for a
little bit! Our zone leaders are Elder Hansen from Draper, UT, and Elder Trejo from Honduras. We met up Friday afternoon, and Elder Hansen went with my comp back to Jerusalén, and I went with Elder Trejo to Villa Lobos 2. It's a lot more populated than Jerusalén, and feels a lot more like a city than does Jerusalén. It's also a lot flatter, which was a nice change. Elder Trejo is a really cool guy and a great missionary. I was worried that he and I wouldn't get along, but it was great! We ended the divisions early the next morning because the zone leaders had a meeting in the area of our district leader, so we met up there and went home.
The other thing starts with an expression here in Guatemala. The expression is "sacar el jugo," which literally means "take out the juice." As you can probably imagine, this means to take all the energy out of something/someone, and push it/them to the maximum. Let's just say that I'm running a little low on juice right now. My comp is really pushing me hard, but it's a good thing, because I need it. If I don't get pushed, sometimes I don't move, so I need a push in the right direction. It's really hard sometimes, but it's also really good sometimes.
This is another thing I've been wanting to explain about Latin America, which is how names work here. Just about everyone has two last names: The first from their father and the second from their mother, and are generally called by their 1st family name, which is from the father. Using my name as an example, I would be Nicholas William Banks Mulvey, referred to as Nicholas Banks. When a woman gets married, she keeps all four names, but her husband's last name is added with the word "de" which means "of" or "from." Using my parents' last names as an example, my Dad would have the last names Banks Reece, and my Mom would have the last names Mulvey Pavilonis de Banks. A few times, members have asked me my 2nd last name, and I tell them the truth: I don't have one. This is something that I learned my first couple of weeks here that I thought was interesting and that you might enjoy learning.
We're also going to be having a big baptismal service on April 1, the Sunday of General Conference for the whole mission (I'm assuming Zone by Zone, because we'll be in the stake centers to watch conference). We're working on getting Jairo and Vilma ready to be baptized on this day. It should be really cool!
That's all for this week. Stay strong and be the best you can. I love you all!
Yours in the faith,
Elder Nicholas Banks