Javier's Baptism and Cutting Grass With Machetes

Elder Lund at J's Baptism


Another great week in the mission field. I love Honduras, especially Santa Rosa. The people are awesome, the food is great, there´s very little crime (well, relatively), and the weather is similar to Carmel (except about 10-20 degrees hotter). It´s a little foggy in the morning but it burns off by 10:00 in the morning. It get´s pretty hot, but it´s not as humid as San Pedro Sula (or Han Hedro Hula as some of the people pronounce it).

I finished up Our Heritage in a day and a half. It was really good and I´ll use a lot of the stories in future lessons. There was one story of a women who saved up 50,000 pennies over the course of a year for the temple (I think it was Nauvoo, but I can´t quite remember). It was a huge contribution, but it came to pass by small and simple means. Sometimes (well, most of the time actually) we can be very impatient, especially with ourselves. I´ve been very impatient with myself at times during these first three weeks. We expect something to develop or occur instantaneously. Great things are brought to pass, however, by doing the little things daily. "Success is a lot of little things done right." It would have been easy for the women to give up after only gathering a handful of pennies, but that´s not what happened. She kept searching for them each and every day, and after a year the result of her work was tremendous. In order to develop a skill or learn anything, we need to:
  1. Come up with a list of daily things we need to do to fulfill the ultimate "vision"
  2. START doing those things daily (sometimes this is the toughest step)
  3. Continue doing those things daily

There is a great Mormon Message (Flecks of Gold) that teaches this principle. It was great to finish that book. As I said earlier, I finished this book in a day and a half and I also finished Our Search For Happiness on the two flights to the MTC. I now have one more book to go: Jesus the Christ. It´s going to take a while, especially since there is a lot more detail in the text. But, it´s all about reading a little bit each day.

We did a lot of service this week. The first two weeks in the field, we didn´t do as much service as I would have liked to do. Often times we would sit on the couch in a member´s home and either talk with ourselves or talk with the family for long periods of time. This is a good thing (develop trust with the members) but it felt like we weren´t doing any work. This week, I started taking initiative in serving others throughout the day. It started out as washing the dishes whenever we ate at member´s houses. My companion then found other ways of doing service afterwards. We helped Javier´s dad (I´ll explain him later) build a fence. He´s really critical of the gospel, but we saw much progress with his attitude just by helping him. We then helped cut grass with machetes at another investigators house (Chapear is the verb). It was right next to a small stream with a bunch of trash. It smelled really bad, but it was really fun too. Finally, we helped with a member Saturday morning. He´s building a new house and we helped out. We were all exhausted afterward. Unfortunately, we have a bunch of blisters on our hands, but it´ll be better in the future. It felt really good to finally give a lot of service throughout the week. 

We had our first baptism this week! J is 18. He is the only one getting baptized in his family (well, as for right now). As I said earlier, his dad really doesn´t like the church, but because of our service, he is starting to open up. He went to his son´s baptism (he had originally said he would never go) and hopefully we can start teaching him soon. I didn´t teach J any lessons. He had already been taught when I got here, but I still felt really happy for him and am excited for his continuing growth in the church. A member of the church (who just got called to serve his mission in Brazil) baptized him. In our mission, the members are encouraged to do the baptisms since the missionaries will eventually leave and that way there is more of a bond with the convert and the member. I won´t be surprised if I don´t actually baptize anyone these two years. At first I was a little upset at that idea, but I´ve started to accept it and be ok with it.

That´s all I have. I love and miss all of you!

¡Nos Vemos...Vaya...y Cheque Leque!

-Elder Lund

Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras 2/18/14 - 2/24/14

Goals, Baptisms, and Overcoming Fear


I love it out here. It´s a lot of tough work, but it´s super rewarding. Just one good lesson can make up for everything bad that happened earlier in the day. We have one baptism this upcoming week with another 4 (if they follow through) in the next upcoming weeks. I thought we were going to be baptizing every single week, but as I´ve talked with the missionaries in the Zone and with my companion, it´s not always the case. The people listen to you, but they have a tough time committing. One missionary told me that the culture here keeps people from committing to things and following through. Also, the process takes a while here for an investigator to get baptized. Even though they may be totally ready after the first week, they still have to attend at least three sacrament meetings. The other difficult thing is a lot of people work on Sundays during church so that they can put food on the table for their kids. Regardless, my goal is still to have a baptism every single week and have progressing investigators "in the pipeline" ready to go for each upcoming week. Before I left, my dad told me that expectations, work ethic, and results can be compared to a math fraction. Expectations are in the denominator, Work Ethic is in the numerator, and the desired "result" will always be equal to 1. If you are not "meeting your expectations" (the result is some fraction such as 4/5 or 2/5) you can do two things: change your expectations or change your work ethic (5/5 or 2/2). I´m not going to change my expectations...I desire to have at least one baptism every week. I will, however, have to change my work ethic which includes improving my teaching abilities, language abilities, etc. It´s also always important to remember that missionaries are only instruments in the Lord´s hands and the Holy Ghost is really the one that converts people. Regardless, the ball is still in your court: continually sharpen the sword and strive to become the best instrument you are capable of becoming.

Although we had a lot of great lessons with our investigators, my favorite experience came while teaching a less active member who I will not name. She had stopped coming to church for some time. She stopped because of a lot of doubts and personal challenges: she doesn´t understand why women can´t hold the priesthood, she doesn´t like it that we have dances at church during the week(???). We taught her a great lesson and near the end of it, I could see just a little spec in her eyes as if she was going to start crying. I felt prompted to ask her a simple question that I had used in the CCM a lot: "Hermana, ¿Comò se siente ahora?" She didn´t answer, but it pushed her over the edge and she started crying. Her member neighbors who were with us started to talk to her and we finished the lesson with a sincere prayer from this sister. We will continue teaching her gospel principles to increase her knowledge but we´ll have to get her to talk with the Branch President to resolve the other issues. Crying is a good thing. Sometimes crying let´s you know you´ve hit rock bottom and the "change of heart" truly begins.

Valentine´s Day was great!!!...well, for the gringo Elder in our house at least. His girlfriend sent him a bunch of ties with love notes on them, Pop Tarts, candy, other awesome American Food, and a long hand-written letter. Oh well, at least I´ll be able to stay focused. Mom and Dad, if you could send me a little something for my birthday, it would be greatly appreciated :)

In part of my personal study this week, I read about the story of Jacob and Esau. I liked the part where Jacob met his brother in chapters 32 and 33 of Genesis after leaving his father´s land for some time. Jacob heard that Esau was coming to meet him with 400 other men. Jacob was afraid to see his brother again because he thought he was going to kill him (because of the birthright issue). However, in Genesis 33, we learn that Esau ran up to meet him with joy. The relationship was all good. Jacob´s fears did not come to pass. Before my mission, I had read that fear really stands for False Evidence Appearing Real and that 90% of our fears will never come to pass. Fear limits our ability to progress. In a CCM devotional from Elder Bednar, I also learned that "fear is the absence of action...faith (belief + action) eliminates fear." Overcome your fears, but learn from your mistakes...you will be amazed at how quickly you can grow. Granted, I haven´t overcome all my fears yet, but I´ve begun and I´m already seeing the great blessings that are coming because of it.

Well, that´s all I have. Have a great week everyone!

¡Cheque Leque!

-Elder Lund

Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras 2/11/14 - 2/17/14

Santa Rosa de Copan -- Elder Lund's First Area in Honduras

Elder Lund's photos would not download this week.  So I copied a pic from the John's Blog (the Senior Couple serving in Honduras). The Johns and the Desters (Mission President and his wife) do so much good-Elder Lund already appreciates what they do for the missionaries.  This photo shows 22 new Elders and 2 new Sisters arriving in Honduras on 2.4.2014


Well, I´m finally in the mission field! Everyone in my district left early Monday morning so I changed companions (Elder Novack going to Virginia). It was kind of a boring day without everyone in my district, but nevertheless it was still good. Elder Garrison, Jones, and I got up at 6:00 AM and left the CCM at 6:30 for the airport in Mexico City. We had about a 2 and a half hour flight to San Pedro Sula. When I printed out my boarding pass, it said there was someone sitting next to me and I was pretty excited to finally share the gospel to a real person, but no one ended up sitting next to me so I just read El Libro de Mormon and slept. It was awesome seeing San Pedro Sula from the air. We also saw a bunch of smoke from fires (trash and agricultural fires) and HUGE bananna plantations. We all felt the intense heat and humidity right when we walked off the plane onto the tarmac (spelling?) It was super hot! Fortunately, we got to change out of our suits shortly after. We got picked up at the airport by the Assistants to the President and the General Secretaries. We talked about the mission and Honduras on the van ride from the airport to the Stake Center (El Banque as it´s called) in downtown San Pedro Sula. There we had lunch and a bunch of orientation meetings. There were only 3 gringos coming in but 19 or so latinos coming in from the Guatemala CCM. We also met President Dester and his wife...they are amazing! President Dester is literally the nicest person and is always smiling. He still has 2 and a half years left so he'll be here the whole time...yes! We then went to their house to have dinner. It was on the 20th floor of some condo tower and it was really nice. After, we went to the Assistant's house to go to sleep. It was hot and we had fans all over the house.

In the morning, we went to Baleadas Express to have breakfast. Hondurans have baleadas all the time and they are very good. It's a tortilla with beans, eggs, and cream. I'm not sure how else to describe it, so just Google it. After, we had the transfers meeting and we met our trainers. My trainer is Elder Pablo. He is awesome. He's been here 14 months and is a great missionary (I know because a ton of missionaries told me). He is from Guatemala and doesn't speak ANY (well, hardly any) english. It's tough to communicate with him but it's also nice because I can't cheat with english. I am truly being immersed in the Spanish language. Spanish is his second language, actually. He knows some weird Mayan dialect that doesn't make any sense when you listen to it.

After, we went to my area: the Dolores Area in Santa Rosa de Copan. It was a 4 hour bus ride to this area and we dropped off the other missionaries along the way. I got to see the landscape and people of Honduras. It is truly beautiful, but the people are very poor. My area is supposedly one of the wealthiest in Honduras (besides some parts of San Pedro Sula like the President's home) but it would probably be considered a slum in the United States. 95% of the houses are like what you'd expect in a third world country, but there are also a couple nice suburban-like houses here and there. There is one main road which is asphalt but everywhere else there are dirt roads with trash everywhere. Despite this, it is one of the safest areas in the mission. Nothing sketchy will probably happen in my first 12 weeks here. Thankfully, it is also not as hot and humid as San Pedro Sula (and fewer mosquitos), which is particularly nice since I'll get to adjust longer. Our house is pretty decent. We live with a member. Unfortunately, we live right next to that main road and there is a downward slope. Huge industrial semis and busses use their engine brakes (even though we´re in town) and it is super super loud. I probably wake up 2-3 times a night, but whatever.

The first night we went with the Branch President and Ward Mission Leader and his sons to visit some less active families. I could hardly understand a word they were saying. They were speaking super fast and there accent is totally different from our Mexican teachers at the MTC. The past couple days I have picked it up pretty good and I can understand a lot better. I am learning everyday. Thankfully, there is a gringo elder (Elder Moes pronounced like moose) living in the same house with his companion from El Salvador Elder Carateras. We work in different areas but we have dinner together with members a lot. It´s nice to have at least one person to talk to in english every now and then. 

The work has been good. Our work consists pretty much of these things right now: teach lessons to investigators, street contacting and tracting, providing service, visiting less-active or recent converts, and visiting member families for referalls and food. By the way, the food is really good here. It is tough when you can´t communicate very well, but hopefully I can have my Spanish down after these first 12 weeks of training with Elder Pablo.

We see a lot of weird things in Honduras. One example I can share, some little kid just started urinating on the sidewalk where everyone still walks. We had to avoid the runoff. It was strange. I´ve seen some other things that I probably shoudln´t share with all of you. I´ve heard other stories from missionaries on the bus ride to Santa Rosa as well. All I can say is that there are crazy things you see everyday. I´ll be more than happy to share when I get back in two years if any of you ask me. 

Unfortunately, the women are super immodest here. What suprised me was that even a lot of the members were immodest at church. It can be really distracting. What´s really sad also is that a lot of the families have single mothers...the father walks out on the family a lot here. It´s sad. 

We had our Zone Conference on Friday. It was great and we learned a lot regarding keeping our living quarters clean, mission rules, goal setting, and finding people to teach. There is a senior couple serving (they work in the mission office) Elder and Sister John. Sister John is from Carmel!!! It was awesome to talk to her about Carmel and the Peninsula. She is a graduate from Carmel High too. Go Padres! She moved about 30 years ago though. I´ll find her maiden name to see if anyone knows her. There are also two sisters from my mission prep class at BYU in my zone...small world. We have about 30 or so missionaries in our zone and about 8-10 in our district. Elder Pablo is the district leader. 

I don´t know what else to say. I´ve just been taking it all in and working hard. It is incredibly humbling to see the conditions here. Yet, the people are still happy and super humble. It is super maciso (spelling? and it´s a word for cool orawesome and they use the word super here too). I love talking with the people, even though I can´t truly communicate everything that I want to say. 

Alma 18:8-9 "¿En dónde está este hombre que tiene tan grande poder? Y le dijeron: He aquí, está dando de comer a tus caballos." Missionaries are always serving...

-Elder Lund

Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras 2/4/14 - 2/10/14

Elder Lund Arrives In Honduras 2.4.2014

No letter from Elder Lund this week as we will need to wait for next Monday's Preparation Day when he will be able to email us. We did track Elder Lund's flight from Mexico City to San Pedro Sula.