Thursday, January 19, 2012

More on Elder Archibald's transfer

Dear Marjean and Roger,

I assume that Elder Archibalds email today has informed you of the new change in his life here in Honduras. We are very pleased that we will get to work closely with him for the next several months!  He is being placed in a very important and demanding position and I am sure he will do a wonderful job. We will enjoy seeing him on a daily basis, working with him in his assignment and getting to know him much better. We spend a good bit of money for missionary health purposes and it  all comes through the Financial Secretary.

It was fun to watch his reaction, and our own reaction this morning. Neither of us knew when we first saw each other this morning what was going on. (There are always emergency transfers for one reason or another.) Then within 15 minutes we learned that he is being assigned to the Mision Office staff. We were all quite shocked. We were very happy about it, but I seemed to catch a bit of a hic-up in Elder Archibalds reaction when he learned that he was being taken out of his loved  comfort zone as a full time proselyting missionary. He will continue to be a proselyting missionary after 4:00 PM every day when the Elders leave the office on week days and they don't come in on Saturday and Sunday. So all is not lost for those who love doing missionary work, and it is not a permanent, "rest of the mission" assignment. From what we have seen, it is usually a 6-8 month assignment, but the present Financial Secretary, Elder Solter (who we have enjoyed a lot and has done a very good job) has only been in the office for 3 months.

So, life in Honduras continues to be exciting and changing. Also today, Elder Jones, the cousin on the Andersen side of the family who came out with Elder Archibald, also got a new assignment and was in the office this morning. His was a transfer of his present "greenie" to another area and Elder Jones will receive a new missionary that is just arriving tomorrow from the CCM (MTC in Guatemala).

We hope all is well with you folks, that your work is still fun and exciting. Missions always seem to have "events" that keep us on our toes. We will try to take good care of Elder Archibald while he is under our noses. Let us know if there is any little thing we can do to make your missionary lives in the Archibald family a little better.

Success to you.

Love,  Elder Ray

Week 28

Hey Familia,

Welp this was my first full week here in Jesus de Otoro.  I don't know if you have had a chance to look at a map, but I am pretty far out here away from Tegucigalpa.  HA HA  I'm in the middle of nowhere.  There are a few areas that don't have electricity.  But its really tranquilo.  Everybody rides their horse around town and have their trails hitched up to their horses bulls.  I've had some close encounters with some big longhorns.  HA HA  Also our neighbors down the street have a pet monkey that is always climbing in the trees. Our living area is pretty decent, we have our own house and we actually have our own backyard.  But it's kind of a hassle because we cut the grass and bushes by hand....with Machetes!  I'm not going to lie, I feel pretty cool with my Machete.

Monday was a pretty boring P-Day, we just went to use internet, buy groceries, and cut my hair.  There isn't really a whole lot of selection out here to buy food so I eat a lot of cereal and sandwiches.  And my hair cut is ridiculous. Ha Ha  They don't know how to cut white people hair.  They shaved my hairline so it comes to a point in my side burns and my temples, and also shaved up around my ears.  Then put a nice handful of gel in to top it off.  I came out of that Barberia looking so Honduran.  After that we just spent the whole time cleaning the house and washing our clothes.  Still have to wash everything by hand so it takes a long time.  Also our own water supply is outside from a hose faucet, we don't have running water inside the house so we have to carry buckets of water in to flush the toilet and to shower.  The water is really brown always too so I feel like when I do laundry my clothes are getting dirtier...I feel dirtier after I have to take my bucket shower too! Ha Ha  We didn't have water for a few days this week so we had to just use the pila (tub thing with all the water)  I don't know what you would call it in English.

Wednesday we had to wake up at 3am because we had to go to Tegucigalpa for a meeting for the leaders in the mission at 8am.  Since my companion is the District Leader he had to go to the meeting and normally the companions just go out and work the whole time during the meeting.  So we dropped my companion off but when we got to the houses we got a call saying that President wanted me to the meeting so we walked back to drop me off.  It was a really interesting meeting, we talked a lot about why certain stats are low and ideas about how we can fix it.  It was pretty long though, 8am-4pm.  I'm not sure why President wanted me there because I'm not a leader, but it was good.  I learned a lot.

On Friday we had to go to a city called La Esperanza that's even higher in the mountains and is supposed to be the coldest place in its really not that cold. Ha Ha We had to go there for a baptismal interview, it was about an hour away.  But get ready for this...When we got back the AP's called us to tell me to pack my bags because there are emergency transfers.  So I have to be in the office with all my stuff on Monday.  It's a big hassle to pack all my bags again just a week later, and I was excited to work in Otoro and work hard to change the area.  BUT, I'll go where the Lord wants me to go.  This last week was actually really good.  We were doing a lot of finding new people to teach and a lot of less actives.  The other day we were contacting and knocked on the door of the ex-Branch President who has been inactive for the last 4 years and he went to church on Sunday with his kids and we had 6 investigators in church and we found a lot of investigators this week.  Our contacting paid off so I was kind of sad to leave after all the progress we were having.  Surprisingly a lot of the members were sad to see me go only after  week and a half.  But I'll go where the Lord needs me to go'!

Welp that's about all that has been going on this week.  Things are good.  I'm happy, nothing better than seeing miracles on a daily basis.  Let me know how everyones doing, Love you all so much.

Con Mucho Amor,

Elder Archibald

More on the Emergency Transfer
craaaaazzyyy week! emergency transfers! i left Jesus de Otoro and now im in the office...being trained to be the new finance guy. its most likely that ill be in the office for the next 6 a little humbled by this haha. theres a LOT to learn...usually the finance secretary has a lot of time in the mission...and i only have 4 months in the field. but i know that i can do it. i was a little sad to leave the old area, i had lots of ideas for the place and already made some really good friends with the members in the branch.
love you all,

Week 27

Hey Family!

New area, new companion, new challenges.  Another crazy week in Honduras.  My last few days in San Rafael were awesome, it was hard to leave.  Tuesday we went around saying goodbye to some of the converts and members.  A lot of the people actually cried when I said goodbye...It was kind of sad to leave but also made me feel good that I left a good impression on the people there.  Tuesday night we had the baptism of the Medina Family and also Jared (brother of Gerrardo, who I baptized awhile ago).  It was really cool to see him that night because he was really excited, happy, laughing a lot, and just looked brighter when normally he doesn't talk much or even seem very interested.  You could really see the affects of good decisions and the Spirit in his countenance.  He asked me to baptize him.  And finally the Medina Family finally got baptized!  They were telling us how much they appreciate us and the gospel because they have seen huge changes in one another and are a lot happier.  The mom, Nelis, asked me to be the one to baptize her.  The actual baptismal service was awesome too, about 30 people came, including all my favorite families in the ward came and I got to say goodbye there.  It was probably the best way I could have spent my last day in my area.

In the morning we went to the changes meeting with all my bags packed up.  We listened to President Flores and Sister Flores for awhile and then we got our new areas.  My new area is called Jesus de Otoro in the zone La Esperanza.  My area is about as far west as you can go in my mission.  It's by the city La Esperanza in the state called Intibuca´.  It's about a three hour bus ride up into the mountains or Honduras.  It's the coldest area in the whole country.  They say that sometimes snow falls.  I've been pretty warm though, except when we are out working at night.  I get pretty cold in my short sleeves, I only have 1 long sleeve and I'm not sure if I want to buy a sweater because it's probably going to start getting warm soon and also it's hard to find sweaters to buy.  But my area is super pretty, a lot cleaner than Tegucigalpa.  It's in this valley between the mountains, and its this village with a lot of pretty traditional Honduran homes.  The area is actually pretty huge, before there were 8 missionaries here, and now it's just my companion and I.  It's a branch of 46 members, and it sounds like they hardly baptize here.  They have I think 5 that were baptized in the last there is a lot of work to do.  I'm trying not to get discouraged.  The members don't help much and the Branch President hardly has time to meet with us so there are some obstacles there.  Oh yeah, I'm the second counselor in the Branch too, Ha Ha.  My companion is the first counselor.  His name is Elder Miranda, he'*s from Kansas.

Sunday was good, my first time sitting up on the stand as part of the Branch Presidency.  During Sunday School randomly <president Flores came in and joined the class.  Surprising to see him all the way out here.  Later that night we ate dinner at the Branch President's house and he just kept giving us more and more food, I ate way too much.  After we left the house and turned the corner I threw up, Ha Ha.  It sucked.  Well, that's whats going on here!  Love you all.

Con Amor,

Elder Archibald

P.S.  I'm not going to be getting mail from the office very often out here far from the office, so mom & dad you can just write your whole email and I'll print it out here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas Hangout

Week 26

Hey Familia,

How's everyone doing?  Another really short week down here in Honduras.  This week has been pretty crazy.  I'll start out with some bad news though.  So about a week ago I sent my suit to be Dry Cleaned with 2 ties.  There is a member in my ward that owns his own dry cleaning business and gives good deals to missionaries.  A full suit (jacket and pants) and the two ties for only 100 Lempiras, which is about $5.  I got my suit back two days later but the guy forgot my ties at the shop.  He said I'd get them ASAP.  A few days passed by and we hadn't heard anything from him so we called him a couple of times but he never answered his phone.  On Tuesday during our district meeting, one of the missionaries told me the bad news. That night after we got our suits, the man's Dry Cleaner place burned down and everything in it as well...including my two favorite ties. (the blue one w/green stripes I wore my first day in the MTC and the other blue one with polka dots).  Its a little funny though because that is literally the worst thing that could have happened to my ties, but I am sorry for the guy but mad about my ties.  At least I got my suit before the fire. 

Now for another funny story...So as missionaries we hear a lot of lies and excuses about why people are busy or aren't in the house, but on Tuesday we heard the best one yet.  We went to visit this guy that we contacted earlier and when we knocked on his door he answered and just stood there starring at us for a little while and then said, William isn't here."  (his name is William) ..."I'm the twin."  But when we met him he said he lived along and only had one sister...HA HA.  After a few really awkward seconds, I asked him, "So, what's it like being a twin?"  And I just went along with it having some fun....  He actually thought that we believed him and that he had us going.  So that was my funny moment of the week.

Starting January 1st the whole mission is going to start reading the Book of Mormon and we are marking every name and pronoun of Christ, counting how many of these per page.  Everything He is speaking, His attributes,  His comments on missionary work and any principle or doctrine.  The plan is that we will finish reading at the end of February.  I had already been doing something similar on my own, but I am starting over and going to do it in Spanish this time.  I'm also going to mark scriptures on the Atonement.  It should be a good experience.  

A few days ago I found all the audiobooks on my MP3 player.  I didn't realize I had all that...HA HA.  I'm really excited about it.  I've been listening to some lectures by Truman G. Madsen, "Timeless Questions, Gospel Insights."  I don't know if you have listened to these before, but they are blowing my mind.

Some good news about the Medina Family.  So before their baptism date was on Saturday the 7th and changes are Wednesday before, but they really wanted me to be there for the baptism so they asked if they could be baptized on Tuesday.  So we made some calls later that night and got permission to have the baptism on Tuesday.  It is awesome to see how excited they are about the church.  They are always watching BYU TV (which is funny that it is one of the few channels they have down here)  And they thought the movie "The Best Two Years" was Hilarious when it played on BYU TV.  By the way, how are the BYU sports doing?  I'm a little to ask..HA HA.  Also the Medinas are always reading in the scriptures, the class manuals, and Liahona and are learning so fast.  I think that the Dad will be Elders Quroum President in a year or 2...HA HA  Maybe Bishop after that.

On Wednesday I reached my 6 months mark.  It is kind of weird to think that I'm already a fourth of the way done with my Mission.  It has gone by pretty fast.  Some days longer than others, but overall surprisingly quick.  I burned a tie that I bought for 5 Lempiras, awhile back to celebrate the 6 month mark....There's a pretty funny video.  I think I'll send a memory card home with all my photoes and videos so far.  

Friday we had a service project and after we all got to go swimming in the Bishop's pool.  It was awesome.  For service we went with the Bishop of the other ward to help him work on this house he has by the Temple.  We cut a bunch of weeds in his yard and after that we drained the pool of the nasty rain water...  We didn't actually  go swimming..HA HA.  After we did a few hours of service the Bishop took us to see the Temple.  It was the first time I've seen it up close.  It's gorgeous.  They're saying the dedication will be November next year.

Saturday I got attacked by a turkey.  We were teaching this family that has a turkey when randomly it jumped at me with it's razor sharp talons and bit me with its beak...HA was terrifying!  That night we entered the house at 8 because it's a little more dangerous, like Christmas Eve.  New Year's Eve and Christmas are exactly the same here.  They wait until midnight and then light off a ridiculous amount of fireworks.  Our neighbor had a party with loud music until 3 in the morning so we couldn't sleep much.  The days leading up to the 24th and 25th all the kids here stuff pants and shirts to make a doll and they set it in a chair, then the kids ask for money from the people that walk by so they can buy fireworks...I still don't understand what the doll has to do with anything, but it's pretty funny.

Sunday hardly anyone came to church.  Normally we have around 100 that come to the Sacrament meeting but only 46 came...I guess everyone was tired from the parties the night before.  The Medina family and one other investigator were there so that was good.  Also Sunday night I got a call from the District Leader letting me know that I'll be getting transferred this Wednesday.  So I guess I need to start packing my bags.  I kind of have mixed feelings, I love the people here but I also am excited to get to know another area, new people and a new companion.

Well that's about it for this week.  I love you all!  Feliz ano nuevo!

Con amor,

Elder Archibald

Week 25

Hey family, heres this weeks letter home...not a whole lot to write since we talked only a few days ago.
Hola Familia!
Cono Estan Todos?
Well I don’t have a ton to write on talk about since we talked on Saturday, but there’s a few things I forgot to talk about, I think.  First off, it was really awesome to be able to see and talk with everyone, I’m glad that everything worked out, a HUGE thanks to Elder Ray.  It was crazy for me to see how much all the nieces and nephews have grown.  It’s gonna be crazy seeing everyone when I get back in a year and a half.  But I was glad to see how happy everyone looked.  The 40 minutes went by way too fast, I could have spent the whole day talking.  Right after I hung up I checked to see if I had any mail and I found the envelop mom and dad sent with this year’s book.  Nürnberg looks awesome!  We are goina have to make a deal… If mom and dad want to come pick me up here in Honduras and see my mission, they need to show me around their mission after HAHA.  I also got a letter from RJ, it was good to hear from him.

Also, something sort of funny happened on the bus ride home from the office.  Here on the busses there’s always people that get on and sell random things like gags of water, gum, candy, fruit, popcorn, flashlights… really whatever.  But what was funny it that I was just sitting there and one of those guys hands me a candy bar and says, “Welcome to my country, man!”  and he just gave it to me for free and, I said thanks and then he left.  And then after that another guy gave me free gum and said “Merry Christmas” and then after that another person gave me a piece of this cinnamon bread stuff… After that everyone was looking at me… the white guy on the bus that gets all the free stuff.  Pretty awkward HAH!

Christmas eve was another night of ridiculous amount of food.  Another 4 dinners! House after house after house giving us food and being forced to eat.  They were all really good though.  My favorite, Nacatomales… with potatoes, rice, yucca and pork.  They so good!

At midnight everyone started shooting off fireworks and shooting their guns for 10 minutes or so… It was nuts.  So loud.  But all the fireworks and music kept us up pretty late so we didn’t get much sleep.  I was pretty tired all day on Christmas because of that.  And people gave us a TON of food again.  Everywhere we went people brought out tamales for us to eat.  I’m still full.  By the way, the kid loved the little toys that Jonas and Miles sent.  That was such a good idea.
Well that’s about it for this week.  Love you all!  Hope you had a Merry Christmas,  I want to hear about it.
Con Amor
Elder Archibald
List of requests/random things..
·         I need some addresses, Elder Wood, Grandpa, Mom & Dad … also if you could get on Elder Briggs’ email list and send them to me with the rest that would be great.  I also am going to write my friend Mitch Winter to tell his mom to send you his emails.
·         There’s a member in my zone that makes these awesome leather scripture covers and he engraves whatever picture you want into them, w/ your name and everything.  I want to buy 1 for my triple, bible and Hymnal.  In total 1000 lempira=$50.  Do you think it’s okay to take that out of my checking account or it it too much?  Maybe a late Christmas gift?  HAHA

love you all!!!!
Elder Archibald