Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Phone Call and Email

I made an Angel Moroni from the Playdoh in my Christmas Box! I had to play with it a little before I gave it to some child.  
(I like his Guatemalan shirt, he is looking like a local) ha ha
December 27, 2011

Hey Fammmm.

It was good talking to you the other day, as weird as it was haha.
I Loved everything you gave me, thanks so much. Ive been eating candy everyday for breakfast, and at night, and at every other time of the day. To tell you the truth, I already had one of those gospel art books that i carry around with me wherever i go haha. but you put so much work into that little book, thank you so much! im for sure going to use a bunch of the little laminated pictures though. Well what did on christmas, was, well like i said, i gave a talk in sacrament meeting, i came back some, ate candy, phoned you guys, and then went back out to work. of coarse we ate a few tamales along the way too, cuz everyone gives them to you around Christmas. we still have like 6 Tamales and a big pitcher of Ponche (a christmas warm drink with fruit in it) in the fridge, i think they'll get thrown in the garbage, I'm so sick of tamales.

Thats cool that Tyson is back already.  Whenever people ask me where I'm from in this time of year, i just tell them I'm Santas Neighbor, up north in Canada. the little kids think its funny.

Awesome that Claire got engaged... one less girl for me... haha jk, tell her i wish her all the best.
I liked how you sent me the year old cookies that i never did eat hahaha. we ate them as a district. and i like the canadian tire money sam sent me. and i like everything else i got!
Yesterday for Pday we went to antigua, and some members fed the whole zone, and there was so much food a deserts. It was a family that lives int he states, but have a vacation home down here, so they wanted to feed us while theyre down on vacation. it was really weird cuz one of the guys is going to Utah Valley University. It was a super super nice house, the nicest i have been in in Guatemala. and the best part, was when i washed my hands, it was hot water!! i was freakin out. it was awesome.

Ummmm i dont know what else to say, cuz we just talked basically.

Well basically thats all i have to say for now, i love you guys tons!
have a great week, hasta luego. (see you later)
From Guatemala, With Love,
Elder Hopkins
 The streets were littered with little burnt papers on Christmas morning from all the firecrackers the night before
Beautiful Guatemala-just a little river littered with garbage just like every other stream, ravine, and corner, haha

December 25, 2011

40 minute Christmas Phone Call – Tanner's comments are in RED - here is some of our  conversation 
As a side note - Tanner definitely has a little spanish accent when he talks.. He rolls some "r's" without realizing and definitely has a mexican (or spanish) accent.   It was neat to hear!
We called him
Hola Is this Elder Hopkins??

Feliz Navidad
So good to hear your voice! How are you doing?
I'm good, thank you, how are you?
What did you do for your Christmas morning?
We went to church and I gave a talk, and then opened some presents – I thought that I would get less stuff now that I am on a mission!
Was it hard to carry it all back ? It was a little bit hard, we went to the City called Chimaltenango cause the Zone leader is there and we went there to get our Christmas boxes, and you know how on movies and stuff you see tons of people in the streets downtown in foreign countries where its crazy crowded, like in India, well it was like that here yesterday, it was crazy, there were tons of people on the streets. The buses here are just school buses, and they cram pack them, 3 people to a seat and people all standing and of course we had to take the bus.

Loved getting your memory card this past week.

What did you speak on this morning in church?
I basically spoke on Missionary work but tied it into Christmas in that the best gift is the gospel and Eternal Life.

Do you and your companion get along great?
Yes, he's a good guy, we are getting a long good.
Do you have fun together? Yes, we have fun.

How far away is your district leaders house? We are the only ones in our town, we go to our District leaders in another town every week for district meeting, we aren't too spread out. About 15 mins.

How far away is your zone Leaders house?
It is in Chimaltenango, which is about 15 mins in bus also. There are other places in the zone which is about an hour away, Antigua is about 45 mins away in bus.
Sometimes we have a district meeting in Antigua, we do grocery shopping in Antigua. There are only little corner stores here for pop and chips but no real grocery stores.

What kinds of stuff do you make when you cook at home? We always eat lunch at that restaurant, because in our area we don't have a cocina (a cook), and we don't have time to make a lot of food, we don't have dinner, we have our big meal at lunch and then a snack when we get home at night.
There are corner stores here and I can get a bag of chips for a quetz = 12 cents.

The money is called Quetzel (after the bird Quetzel), the short term for money is Quetz. (similar to Canada's loony – also after a bird) Tanner says “exactly”.

Their national bird is the Quetzel, but they are endangered and aren't really around, I haven't met anyone who has seen one in unless they go to a reservation to see one. You know in the pictures of the church, the picture with Abinadhi and Noah, there is a Quetzel in the picture. (it has a very long tail)

Do you think and dream in spanish or mostly english. Both. I think in both for sure, but it depends on what I'm doing but I dream in Spanish too.

Then he says “one second someone is calling us, not on our phone, but at the door, its some members bringing some tamales to us”
(nice to know someone is thinking of the missionaries on Christmas Day)

Do you like Tamales? Tamales are their Christmas food and there are tamales everywhere! Yesterday, we ate so many we felt sick! Some of them are pretty good.
A typical meal is a piece of chicken, some rice, a little bit of salad, and a sauce with the chicken and a corn tortilla. Basically, just a piece of meat and sauce and rice”

What is your favorite food there? My favorite food is probably just the chicken with some sauce and rice and tortillas.. its pretty good (that's good cause that is their typical meal)

Before my mission, I didn't really like fried chicken, like KFC, I didn't really like that, but now I like it.

Something that we eat all the time here and that everyone makes cause its fast and easy, is scrambled eggs and black beans wrapped in a tortilla.

Just like a breakfast burrito from McDonalds here! You always liked the Breakfast Burritos from McDonalds! Yes, but the corn tortillas here are so different, there is nothing like them in Canada. They are so much better here.

Typical food for around Halloween here, is a plate of squash and brown sugar.
The Christmas drink here is called “ponche” like punch, but its a hot drink full of fruit.

Are you hungry right now? Not really, I've been eating candy all morning!

Lots of the things in your christmas box were for the rainy season, so I guess you will use them when it rains again. Yes, I will for sure use them.

Does it rain anymore? No, I don't have to carry my umbrella anymore. (when he says umbrella, he rolls the “r”).

Do you have some people you are working with right now?
Yes, we have a few people, we have some kids we will probably baptize in January. The parents are inactive members and the kids are 14, 12 and 10 and they come all the time and love it, but the parents haven't come back to church yet.

Is it cold at night? It gets a little chilly (he sounded so spanish when he said that)

Sam asks “Are there lots of cute Chicas there?”
It is very very rare that I see someone that I would think is attractive. Especially in the area I am in, its all the Indian Guatemalans from the mountains, where a lot of people speak a different native language. In Antigua there are always white people because it is a very touristy town. It's almost strange to see white people but I do in Antigua.
How well are you staying on your budget?
I'm using it well, I try not to use the whole amount each month, unless I need a USB stick or something. But I could be better.

When you go out onto your street, are all the apartments above stores? no there are a few stores, and a few houses too. We are near a main park. In all the towns there is a big catholic church, which has a main square and we are close to that.

What do people do there for a living?
Good question, a lot of people work in the mountains, they have a little piece of land that they grow corn and beans on, so they work on it most of the day. Its super super poor here, and the people will work all day to be able to eat, there are a lot of horses in our town, that walk around the street carrying bundles of corn, or beans or firewood.

What does your bishop do for a living? He works for a chip company and delivers chips and its a fairly good job because its an actual job. And our ward mission leader has only been home from his mission for a year, so he works in a little pharmacy.

How many people are in your ward? That come to church, about 120. Its a ward not a branch.

OK I've got 10 minutes left before I have to go!

What are your plans for the rest of the day?
Go out and work.

Any dinner or lunch plans? We always go to these one members house on Sunday for lunch, so we will go there.

Do you catch buses very often? No, not in our area, we only walk. There are these little 3 wheel taxis called Tuks Tuks and we can catch those if we are going to a farther area, but we usually just walk cause it may seem cheap but we use that money for 3 bags of chips for that, or a pop and a bag of chips, so I think its kind of expensive to catch them.

Do your legs get tired at the end of the day? They did at the beginning of the mission, but not so much anymore. But our area is basically on a mountain so we walk up and down big hills each day.

Do you do your own laundry? No, we take our laundry to a member to wash, but they don't have machines, they wash everything by hand and use crappy soap, and so my socks are always crusty when I get them back. So do you give your suit to them also to wash? Yes, I would have no idea where to even find a drycleaner, I've never seen one.

Any heat in your apartment? No, no heat, and no air, just a room made of cement blocks.

Do you have a good relationship with the people that own the store below you? Are they members? They are not members but we get a long well and they are friendly. We are never really here, cause we leave in the morning and get back at night.

Do you feel safe where you are? Yes, in our area, its super safe, I can take my camera out and take a picture and not worry. Its the Capital is where its dangerous, where you don't want to carry valuables.

How far away are you from the Mission Home? I have no idea, I have never been to the mission home, but the mission office, if I wanted to go there, its about 2.5 hours in bus.. Take a few different buses and then walk as well.

Well, I almost gotta go. Thanks for being awesome parents, for raising me good.

We sure look forward to your emails each week, they are a highlight for us. We are so proud of you!

Keep working hard, you are doing great! You have been out 8 months already, does it feel like the time is going quickly for you? I feel like I have been a missionary for a long time, but it feels like it has gone by quickly as well. Don't wish the time away, you are being blessed and are having such a wonderful experience. Find joy in all that you do and in helping people. We are all being blessed at home because of your service.

Do you want to have a quick family prayer before I leave in Spanish? Then you can hear my spanish, and I think its my turn for family prayer. Yes!
Tanner then gave a wonderful lengthy prayer which of course we couldn't understand but felt the spirit of it strongly.

Tell all the family members and all my friends that I love them!    And tell my friends to send in their mission papers right away!  
We love you, Bye love ya

Talk to you at mothers day!

Bye  No one wanted to hang up and Tanner hung up first, being obedient as his time was up!

Side note: I'm glad I sent a lot of extra things, a full stocking etc. in his box to give to his companion in case his companion didn't get much, and turns out his companion didn't get a package from home, but rather a package from the mission where people could send less fortunate missionaries a gift. So I'm glad he could get some extras from Tanner.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Flea bites, Can I still speak English?

 I bought this little Christmas Tree for our house, and I decorated it.  I tried to match my tie with the ornaments for a nice picture, no homo.  Also, I spent a good half an hour of my pday yesterday making these popcorn string decorations, by myself, how depressing ha ha, joking, it was awesome!

A ward Activity we had, this is the cast of the Nativity

December 20, 2011
Chat between us today by email:
Tanner - I will call you Sunday morning, or you can try to call me. My phone number is XXXXXX, If the phones are really busy because of the holiday and we can't connect, I will try again Sunday night. We are one hour ahead of you guys in time.

Mom – ok, since I know you aren't home, I will try your home phone right now to see if I can connect. Yes, I just tried your phone, to see if I got through, and I got some ladies voice on a message, of course I couldn't understand any of it cause it was all in spanish, so I just hung up. Is that your phone?

Tanner - yeah that woman's voice is just a robot, but thats my phone. ha. cool

Letter to us:
Hey heyy. ill try to write a quick one today.

Its going to be so weird to talk to you guys on sunday! i had a dream the other night that i was trying to say something at the counter at Mcdonalds, and i was trying to saying it in english, but i just couldn't, then the lady was like, okay, just say it in spanish, and then i could say it easily haha. hopefully our conversation won't be like that.

Thats awesome that my friends got their wisdom teeth out, also it sucks cuz the week or so after i got mine out suckeddd. awesome that there close to getting their papers in. think about it, a year ago right now we we waiting for my call to arrive in the mail box!

i didn't get your packages yet, but i get all of them on Christmas Eve, when santa clause comes, or at least when i go to the zone leaders house to pick them up.

My health is good, nothing wrong there. but i do have a couple flee bites right now which sucks!! so itchy!

We had a ward activity the other day for Christmas, and a bunch of investigators came. also a thing you should know, is that a lot of people think its really bad to Dance, cuz it says it somewhere in the bible, so a lot of people think its super bad because they don't listen to the living prophets. but after we had a little nativity presentation, the relief society started to do this really weird dance thing, and they were calling everyone up to come dance with them. Basically it was really awkward with this investigator family there. we were just like oh crap oh crap... we still havn't had a lesson with them since the activity, so we're just hoping they're going to want to continue to listen to us... ha.

Hey so thats all I'll write this week. I Love you all!! I'll talk to you soon! crazy! i can actually say that and have it actually mean TALK and not just WRITE.

Explanation of pictures:  (put under each one)

Les amo con todo mi corazon. ya lo saben.
Nos hablaremos domingo! Hasta entonces! (I love you with all my heart you know, we will talk on Sunday, until then!)

From Guatemala, With love,
Elder Tanner Hopkins
A really really nice Guatemalan house that I came across with such nice lights, so I had to take a picture!

Devil Pinatas from December 7th, Quema del diablo day, or burn the devil day.. Basically people blow up these devils with fireworks and this night all you could hear were firecrackers, and there were fires in the streets everywhere, and smoke everywhere!  Crazy Guatemalans!

A really cool Christmas tree that a member family has in their house here.  I hadn't ever seen a christmas tree like that before.
There is a big parade here numerous times a week, of people carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary.  It happens very very often here, and I have to pass one of these parades all the time, cause it happens like 3 times a week, by different church groups.  Someone needs to read them the 10 commandments.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Happy to be Staying Put!

The house of an investigator all decked out!

Hey FAmmm
(I sent Tanner a picture of the progress on the Calgary Temple)
The temple is looking great! On sunday we went and watched a broadcast of the Quetzaltenango Temple dedication. It was great. It made me kinda sad that i wont get to see the Calgary Temple dedication, but at least I'll get to go in it!

Awesome that Johno is getting married, that crazyyy. tell him i say way to go! yeah i kinda know the sister of his fiance, I've actually been to their house in Raymond a couple times ha.

So thank goodness, cuz im not getting changed! I wanted to stay in this area a little longer, and with my comp Elder Mejia. So we are staying together for another change. My first comp for more than a change. Also still don't know anything about the Christmas phone call. sorry. Its going to be weird to talk to you guyss. It'll make me baggy ha, theres mixed feelings in the mission about phone calls home.

Crazy that Tyson is almost home, and same with Brett. CRAZY.

well i don't really know what to tell ya, cuz i just emailed you a few days ago. on the way to Antigua this morning i heard a new Katy Perry song on the bus, friday night or something, so that was kinda cool. But things are going good, I found some egg nogg in the store here yesterday, on pday. I drank 2 big glassees before going back out to work. let me just say, bad decision. We shortly had to wave down a tuctuc and tuctuced it back to the house. But i was safe. and everythings fine now. ha.

Until Next week Family!
love you all!
God Bless!
Love, Elder Hopkins
hey i was wondering if you could send me some missionaries addresses, maybe you can find them on facebook.
Tanner Steed.
Carson Steward
and anyone else you can see that is on a mission, i donno, i forget who else of my friends have left, and some have left and I don't know where they are.
i don't know, see what you can do haha
Love ya! -Tanner
                                                                     At the Temple
Having some fun in the bamboo

Friday, December 9, 2011

An English Lesson ends with a challenge for Baptism

December 9, 2011
Hey Familyyyy

My old Comps first name was Samuel. No we do not have a cleaning lady. thats kinda sweet that those missionaries do. i think i heard about that too. I think they're the only ones in the mission that do haha. They must not like cleaning and searched for a cleaning lady instead. Its hard to find time to actually do a good cleaning. yeah at that store i bought a little christmas banner, a few christmas lights, and a hat. ha.
haha thats funny that Zachs way up in northern Saskatchewan in the middle of nowhere. He'll be great. I love that guy. I got a letter from Parker the other day and i was laughing almost the whole time i read it ha. i love that guy too. Awesome that him and Jesse are getting their wisdom teeth out in preparation for the mish. I hope all these guys get on it asap and send in their paper THE DAY that they can.

So i was completely wrong.... nobody special came to visit us at our Christmas activity, nonetheless, it was extremely spiritual and motivating. We watched the movie 17 Miracles, and then President Brough spoke to us about Jesus Christ, the things he went through. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. We have a Goal of baptizing 204 people as a mission in January, which if you look at the mission stats from a while ago, its a very high number. But i know that the Lord can perform miracles. And I know if we work hard we can do it. He motivated us for completing this goal. After Dinner yesterday we started a fast, and this morning we entered the temple, while fasting for this goal. It was a great time, and a great experience. ps we woke up at 4 in the morning to be able to go to the temple. aka im tired and hungry ha. But if you have not seen the movie 17 miracles, on saturday go and buy it, and watch it together on sunday or something. its such a great movie, i love the history of the church! and even if you have seen it, go buy it, cuz i want to have this movie when i come home ha.

But as for me, my companion, and my area, we are looking fairly good right now, better than we have in the past. we have found some people that are PILAS! i guess you could say pilas means awesome or something like that. One Lady Told us she was going to do all she can to be able to come to church with us next weekend, we didn't even have to ask her! but this week there is no church, because its the temple dedication, woohoo! One family we found from some members, but this girl is studying english, so she can be a secretary for an english company, so I've been helping a member, help her with english.(HA, me an english teacher, pfffft. i hope i don't make her fail her english tests.) but we went to her house the other day and taught her for the first time. it was kinda funny, cuz at the end of the lesson we challenged her to baptism (as we do with every first lesson, so they know our purpose) and she was like, well, when i was a baby i was baptized in the catholic church of my dad, and when i was nine i was baptized in the evangelical church of my mom, but i don't think i had any idea what i was doing back then. The member has talked with the rest of her family too and they have agreed to listen to us too, or to take the discussions, as the member said, but they aren't specific discussions anymore, like i think he still thinks they are. ha.
Also i got some Christmas Cards from the Gedlamans, the Harkers, the Mcphersons, Glenda Tagg and the beehives(i didn't know they moved into our ward. cool.) The Bishop, and the young men and women. I send out my Gratitude to all of them! make sure you tell them thank you for me! I think we get our packages and gifts on December 19.

I Hope Everyones great! i hope sam had an awesome 22nd Birthday. Maybe in 2 years we can get him those alligator boots he's always wanted for his birthday. there's people here that make em ha. I hope Madison is lovin life, keepin busy and havin fun. don't let boys give you problems! or girls for that matter. hey, why don't my siblings ever write me? ha. Hope Dad has a great skiing season, ill have to sit this one out, but I hope he rips it up without me this year. Hope your business is going good and your keepin on top of things.

well, i believe thats all for this week, i believe i will be writing you on tuesdays from now on, so don't be waiting by your computer on monday for my letter, cuz you'll get nothin. also i think i will be able to tell you if i have changes or not next week.
Also, no i havent gotten the packages yet, yeah i know you love me haha.
ill get it when i get it, don't you worry.
also no photos this week cuz i forgot my cord. ha. tell me when you get my memory card I sent.
Love you all tons, keep strong, keep yo heads up.
From Guatemala, With Love,
Elder T A N N E R  H O P K I N S