Growing as I serve the Lord for two years and love the people for a lifetime

Monday, September 29, 2014

Don't Drink The Yogurt And Other Lessons

How's it going back home? Hopefully well. 

Every week, we do this thing called CRE. Don't ask what it stands for, because I ask all the time and I still don't get it. But this week, one of my buddies in my district was doing a lesson with "investigators" from the Black Jesus church (there is a church in Esquipulas, Guatemala that is well known for it's black Christ shrine). The lesson was going well, so they decided to ask the investigators to get baptized. He said, "Seguira el ejemplo de Jesucristo blanco?" That was the best part of my week. 

Elder Gurksnis said something interesting this week. We were all reading our scriptures quietly and he says, "Reading the scriptures is kind of like going on your phone back home. That's just kind of what you do. And all of the videos we watch (we watch a lot of super cheesy church videos) are like the best movies ever." So yeah, one month in and "The District" is almost as good as "The Office."

Elder Aubrey said another thing this week. We were just hanging out as a district, and Elder Aubrey just asks, "Who's Nick Moe?" I think we were talking about NCMO a few minutes earlier. Aubrey is a funny kid. He keeps us sane. 

Last night, we watched a taped broadcast of a Jeffrey R Holland devotional. I knew that it was going to be good anyway, but he invited a couple elders up to ask questions, and one of them was Evan Starr! So It was really cool to see that. He was talking about how PMG (Preach My Gospel) came about because missionaries were able to come home and then still go inactive. He said "I don't want to think about losing the sheep, but I can't even conceive losing the shepherd." So that was pretty powerful. 

We had a sub one night, and we were playing a game where you'd throw around a hackie sack and if it went to you, you'd say a word that started with the letter that the teacher wrote on the board. The letter was "M". I had gotten it 3 times, and I couldn't think of any more words, so I said "Maricon." I'll let you look that up. Or maybe don't. But I had to write "I am a missionary, I will use correct language," on the board. 

Well, I guess my time had to come. I've had diarrhea all week. Still haven't crapped my pants, but I think it'll happen soon. This is all for this week. I love and miss you all. 


-Elder Konold

Here are the questions for the week with the (short) responses:

1.  Did you get new people in your room?  Are they all Latinos or do you have some Americans?
 No one yet, but we probably will on Wednesday.

2.  What are you looking forward to seeing in the city?  Wendy's - they better have Coke

3.  Are you getting sick of the rain and storms each day? Not at all!

4.  How often have you gone to the temple?  Do you attend a session in Spanish or English?  We go to the temple every week and we do work in English.

5.  What was your favorite experience from this week? "Jesucristo Blanco" (see above)

6.  What has been the biggest lesson you have learned so far? Don't drink the Yogurt

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Halfway through the CCM!

Before I start with my email I have to tell you a story that Elder Gurksnis told us a few days ago. He said that there was a crazy cat lady in his ward who had like 20 cats. She got up during testimony meeting one Sunday and told a story that was kinda interesting. She said that she came home one day to find that her cats had completely shredded her BOM and were gnawing on the pages. She was completely distraught and upset, until she realized that her cats were "Feasting on the words of Christ."

I was so happy to receive all of your letters this week! I got the package with the printed emails you sent. I was so happy to get those. Made my night a lot better. Last week, we had a super amazing lunch. Tacos and churros. I had five churros. They were AMAZING. I went super hard in the gym that day. 6.5 miles on the bike in 20 minutes. and 150 situps. I actually think I'm losing weight. I'll weigh myself when I leave the CCM. 

I managed to not have to give a talk again on Sunday! Jarvie wasn't as lucky. It was rough. But my talk was pretty awesome. I would have been fine with giving it. 

Yesterday, our district decided to do a "Fruit Challenge." 3 meals, eating exclusively fruit. Nobody made it all the way. I was the only one who even ate 2 meals of fruit. We wanted to see how bad the diarrhea would be. I still haven't gotten any. I guess I've just been blessed with some killer intestines. 

Last night we heard a live devotional from Elder Ballard. It was cool, and I'd love to tell you all about it, but i just wasn't able to pay attention. I did feel the spirit though. It took our district a solid two weeks to get sick of "Called to Serve". We sing it at least twice a week. Every devotional. Oh well...

General Status- Still haven't crapped my pants. The food is good. The spanish is coming along great. I still can't take naps. I read the scriptures for about an hour and a half each day. I love and miss you all. 

Te Amo
- Elder Konold

P.S.  Can you send me earplugs and my retainer?  Also, stamps and addresses. Next week I get to go into the city and to Wendy's!

I sent Fin a load of new are his responses!

1.  Did they tell you the purpose behind the haircuts?  No purpose, just for fun I guess. Maybe it breeds a sense of equality. 

2. Do you have a nickname in your district?  How did you get it?  No nickname. But we call Elder Jarvie Elder Woody, Elder Aubrey Elder Buzz, and Elder Dawson "Estruden" (which is apparently the name of the caterpillar in Bug's Life). The Latinos are the reason behind these names. 

3. How is Elder Richardson?  Do you see/ talk to each other? Richardson is great!! Everybody loves him. We usually sit together at meals. 

4.  How far are you in the Spanish Book of Mormon? Spanish Book Of Mormon? lol. Just started second Nephi

5. How are you adjusting to life without a phone or iPad? I'm surprisingly okay. I often wonder what's on Instagram, but I haven't gotten withdrawal shakes. 

6. Did you get the letters we sent in the actual mail? No I did not. 

7.  Have you moved off the exercise bike and joined some games during exercise time? Sometimes I'll play volleyball, but I don't want to get fat, so that's only once or twice a week. 

8. What do you miss most so far? Family, Sophia, and not having clothes on when I poop. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Evading Montezuma and Other Things....

Hola familia!!! And amigos!

Somehow, I've gone for two weeks without even having diarrhea!! One elder in my district wasn't as lucky. Okay, so week two. Not much has happened since last week. Every day is pretty much the same. Food, spanish, more food, more spanish, some scripture study, some teaching, more food, more spanish. And not a single nap. Oh well. I'm getting used to it. The two times that we left the CCM to go to the temple and the market, I spoke with the Native Guats!! It was so awesome. I said "Hola," and they said "Buenos dias," and we totally understood each other!! See! My spanish is awesome already! Yesterday was Guatemalan Independence Day, so we had lots of Guatemalan food and a massive Guatemalan flag cake. It was pretty tasty. 
     I forgot to bring my journal with me, so this email will be out of chronological order. Lo siento. Last night was the last night for a group of elders, so tradition is, every single elder in the CCM packs into one bedroom and sings "Called to Serve" and "God Be With You Till We Meet Again". It was so awesome. There were 92 of us last night. As I'm sure you can imagine, it was crazy hot in that room. And guess what?! It was MY room. I had to sit right by the window for about 10 minutes to write in my journal because it was way too hot at my desk. Hmmm. This morning we went to the "little market" while our rooms and halls were cleaned in preparation for the new elders. It was more like a convenience store. I was going to buy some super tasty Guatemalan coke, but the supervisor that was with us said that I couldn't. I'm a missionary of the Lord, so I'm not going to express my feelings about that with the words that come to mind. We'll just say that i was "mildly upset" with that decision. It didn't help that everybody else got to buy Dr. Pepper. I'm a Coke man. I won't sink to a level where I have to drink Dr. Pepper instead of Coke. I talked to Presidente when we got back to the CCM and he said that next time, I can buy all the Coke I want. Oh, I will. Some delicious Guat coke. 
     This Sunday was nice. Sundays are cool around here, but holy crap are they loooooooong. It's probably because we sit for most of the day. Every other day we have an hour to work out. It helps a lot. Okay this was a boring week. My spanish is improving, and I'm having a good time. 

I love you all!!!

-Elder Konold

P.S.  I haven't gotten the letters from Brother Orme yet, but I probably will within the next few days.  We can get physical mail at any time, but they only give it to us at night. My comp is okay. He's getting better at Spanish, but lessons are still a struggle. I had Guat cash. We have an ATM in the CCM. We didn't see a lot of fireworks- I guess the best ones happen outside of the city. We just got cake and food. My district is good. We're all pretty close. We have a good time together. The pres isn't too bad, he used to be a mission president in Mexico. He likes to talk about baptisms a lot. I take all of my medicine! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"Legit" Week One - CCM

Hola familia! 

I'm going to start this by saying that keyboards here suck, and if I make punctuation errors, it's because of these keyboards. Okay!! We landed in Guat around 6 AM last Wednesday. We went to the MTC and had breakfast, then we got a four hour nap (Praise. Da. Lawd.) We had a short class that day, and some
introductory stuff. We got our tags!! So legit. but they took our cameras and iPods, so I'm terribly sorry to say that you wont have any pictures of Elder Konold until i leave the CCM. Lo siento. Tuesday was haircut day.  Tuesday was not a very happy day. I hope I'm ableto send you the picture of our branch, because you'll be able to see how awful it looks. So, last sunday, I was told that I'd be bearing my testimony in spanish by the following Sunday. i could do it byFriday. day two was learning howto pray in spanish, and day 3 was learning howto bear
your testimony. we also teach investigators every night. Its awesome! except I have to do all the teaching, because my comp can't speak any spanish (homie literally asked me what the response to Gracias was).
But other than that, it's awesome. The food is good. They have this juice here, its called Naturalisimo, I think. Its so beautiful. I'm importing it when i get home. We had a devotional by Richard G Scott Sunday night. It was super cool. I'd tell you allabout it, but I only have 30 minutes left to write this week. Last night, we watched a devotional by Elder Holland. He was talking about the Atonement of Christ, and he said this "Don't you dare turn tail and run... Don't you dare abandon him." He was talking about how going home would be almost like abandoning the Savior when he was suffering in Gethsemane. It was super powerful. I write in my journal every night! I wish i
could just send that to you guys. There's so much that happens that I wish I had time to tell you. We went to the temple this morning. It was really cool, but super tiny. Like SUPER tiny. Smaller than our house. I think this is it for the week. I love you all, Enjoy America for me. 

Te Amo, Elder Konold

P.S.  Add to that, that i haven't had the squirts, one of my teachers got engaged after two dates to a coworker at the CCM (he asked her during "flexible time"), and that the thunder and lightning is awesome. It also rains randomly.

I also asked Finley some questions and got these responses:

1.  Where is your companion, Elder Jarvie, from? Oregon

2.  Are there any elders from your flight in your district? Everyone in my district was on my flight

3.  How many of you share a room? 6 to a room....4 Nortes, 2 Latinos

4.  What is your favorite dish/meal so far?  All of the Guatemalan dishes are awesome, but probably the tacos.

5.  What has been the best experience? Listening to the Elder Holland devotional last night

6.  What has been the worst experience? None have happened yet (maybe the haircut)

7.  Have you gotten to play volleyball?  Yes, I played volleyball a couple days ago.  usually I just ride the exercise bike when it's time to work out.

8.  Hows the Spanish?  Spanish is okay for me, but my comp doesn't speak a word.

I learned the following from blogs of other Elders that are with Finley:

From Elder Gabe Richardson (Queltaltenago mission): "On the flight from LAX to Guatemala the back of the plane was empty, and so Elder Konold and I went to an empty row, so I got to have a window seat! We did not really talk because we both slept haha!...Elder Konold is not in my district but we talk quite a bit and are good friends."

From Elder Sam Gurksnis ( Guat City East mission, same district) about their district and Fin's companion: "It's myself, Elder Duncan, Dawson, Flygare, Chabreis (West Point dude), Aubrey, Konold and Elder Jarvie aka Elder Woody because he looks like Woody from Toy Story.  So much so that all the Latinos sing "You've got a friend in me" in their very very broken english to him as they tuck him into bed every single night which is one of the funniest things i've ever witnessed." 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

He made it!

We got this brief "I'm Alive" today....glad to see he still has his sense of humor!

Hola familia! I made it! These keyboards are weird. No me gusta. Better than nothing though. So, they took our cameras and iPods. Lo siento, but you won't have pictures until i leave. We did get to take a nap when we got here. My companion is Elder Jarvie. All of the Spanish that I know is coming back to me. The food is awesome, but you can't eat too much fruit, unless you want liquid dumps. We just have 5 minutes to tell you that were alive. I guess this is my communication for this week. I hope you got my pictures from the airport! Oh, and seeing a bunch of missionaries in white shirts and ties eating lunch is the coolest thing ever. We don't get to go to Walmart, but at the 4 week mark, we get to go to Wendy's. I'm pretty excited for that. I hear it's really awesome. Okay, this is it! I love you all!!  Elder Konold

Tender Mercy

Being up all night with emotion is tough, checking flight tracker, etc.....but waking up to this picture is a gift from God....
Look at these warriors!  They are all amazing young men!  These are the missionaries (from the States) that will be going to the same mission as Fin.  There were five other elders not in this pic that are headed to other missions in Guatemala and ten going to Quetzaltenago....Thank you to whoever took this picture for them.  It is a tender mercy for this momma...yay for Wi-Fi cameras and for boys that are ready to go make a difference!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Until We Meet Again

This morning our Stake President, President Ham, came over to talk to our family and to set Finley apart as a missionary....
It was wonderful - his setting apart was full of advice and promises for Finley if he loses himself in his purpose and trusts in the Lord.

Because Finley is to report on Wednesday at 11 AM, the missionaries from the United States have to leave the night before...So, we loaded up the car for the saddest car ride I have ever had to make....but look at that smile!
He will be meeting up with other missionaries in LAX, then they will fly down to Guatemala together....that walk to the ticket counter was the longest and the fastest.....
He was so excited checking in and so happy that both of his suitcases were under the 50lb. weight limit...his carry on, however probably was equally as heavy.....
The airport was surprisingly empty...was it because school is now in full swing?  We have never walked right up to the counter!
One last shot of the family....
And one last of the kids....
 These are the pics that speak volumes....he will definitely be missed around here!
We are going to miss him so much, a parent, I have thought about this moment and am certain that how we are feeling is exactly how our Heavenly Father felt when he sent us down to Earth.  It tears your heart open, but it is for growth and learning.  It is good. 
 After a 3 1/2 layover in LA, he finally began his journey to Guatemala.....
Until we meet again....God will be with you!