Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Parties, Nephite/Lamanite temples...More awesome experiences!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

On December 7th I got to go and see the pyramids that the scriptures talk about! My companion and I were walking with a couple other missionaries all morning to go and find them. We finally arrived and I got some pictures, I found something that is over 1000 years old too!!!! It’s a small shell that belonged to a necklace. It was buried over 4 feet underground. Don’t ask how I got 4 feet underground just know that I did..... Anyways, that was really cool and really tiring.

Me in front of the temple.

We found an entrance to this temple, we walked inside and there were spiderwebs everywhere. Like big Spiderman type spiderwebs.

Here is another temple that isn't to tall. We climbed to the top and found some alters. They could have been sacrificial but we aren't experts. There were other areas on top where they looked like big bowls. Places where you can stand in. We think this is where they did baptisms because there aren't any rivers or streams nearby that are big enough to fit a person, let alone two people.

On Monday Dec. 21st I asked Tyler if he had any information about Skyping on Christmas and his response was, “Umm not too much information... EXCEPT THAT I GET TO TALK TO YOU GUYS IN 4 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D”.

Hi Family,

So, I´m going to start out my email with my experiences of Tuesday and go on from there. We were in a place called Tetizuclan for our Christmas conference. It was a 6-7 hour drive to get there from Misantla, so we got up pretty early and got to bed pretty late. When we arrived, my companion and I helped set up everything and get everything going. I brought my iPod to give to my Mission President because of the rule with the screen. I gave it to him and was talking to him. He pulled it out of its little case and sighed, "Ugh, why did you have to bring one with a screen." and he put it back in the case. I then asked him why having a screen on it was so bad. He replied, "It’s not the fact that is has a screen, it’s because of the access to the internet, we try to limit it as much as possible because there are a lot of missionaries who give into the temptation of doing things they shouldn’t" I then explained to him that it didn’t have access to the internet. We talked a little some more as he interviewed me with questions like, "Does it have movies? What type of music is on it?" etc. After I answered all his questions, he looked down at the case, back at me, smiled, and gave me my iPod back. He thanked me for my honesty and told me to enjoy the music that I had brought. I use this experience to think about how I was able to not only keep my iPod, but use it as moral experience for the future. With honesty comes trust. I could have just kept my iPod and not have told him about it at all. I could have used the excuse of, "well it only has church and Christmas music. I´ll be ok." But my goal is to be obedient to the rules, and do the best I can to be a good missionary.

My next experience is during our Christmas devotional. We all had to prepare a talk in our second language about, "A gift for the Savior." I didn’t know that my talk had to be in Spanish until the bus ride over to our conference. All the time when I would talk to my companion he would always say it had to be in English. But what he never mentioned is that it needs to be in our second language, with his second language being English... you put the pieces together... So on the bus I quickly tried to think of points I could talk about in English, and then do my best to speak my mind in Spanish when I would talk. But this is how talks work here. Everybody prepares one, and then when it comes time to speak, the President announces who will be giving the talks. Only 3 people are chosen. My companion told me not to worry about anything because there were over 50 people in the conference. Yet out of the 50 people there, I was chosen to speak last. My talk was in very broken Spanish, but I got my message across. I started out with a question, "What gift can you give to someone who has everything?" I continued to talk about how there is nothing temporal in this world that is worthy for the Savior. Not gold nor silver. Only the things that we put a sentimental value to. I used the song, "The Little Drummer Boy" as a reference. In the song it says, "I am a poor boy too, I have no gift to bring." but what the boy did have, was his drum. And all the boy had to offer was a song. The boy walked into the manger as humble as can be, and asked the babe if he could play a song. The babe nodded, and he commenced the song of his heart. The words "I played my best for Him." show his love, his offering of all he could give to the savior. And at the end of the song the words, "Then, he smiled at me." Showing that the new born babe, the future King of all and Savior of the world, had accepted his humble offering. What gifts can we give the Savior this Christmas? He has already given us commandments, scriptures, prophets, and other guides for us to return to our Father in Heaven and live with Him and our Savior in Their presence. Gifts that we can give not only this Christmas, but throughout our whole lives are obedience to those commandments. One of the commandments you can focus on right now, in this moment. Is His new commandment, love one another. Live with the Spirit in your hearts and continually try to find opportunities to give love and peace to others.

Now for more experiences. We taught a lot of lessons and continued to teach our investigators. All was well with me physically until Saturday night. I was talking with the Branch President of the little Misantla Branch and we got to the topic of push-ups. He asked me if I could do the claps. I told him yes and he told me to show him. I did it and all was good. He then asked if I could do behind the back... I told him I didn’t think so. He proceeded to tell me that he could do it and he was over 40 years old and fat. I of course accepted the challenge... I got down and prepared myself for the push up (note that the ground is tile with concrete underneath). I pushed up, got my hands off the ground and behind my back, clapped, and got my hands back on the ground. Regrettably... Once I got my hands back on the ground, I didn’t have enough time to push myself back up. Which means, my chin slammed on the ground, then following was the rest of my body. At first I just had a really big headache. As time passed, and the headache went away. I started feeling where it hurt the most in my head. My jaw really hurt, and my chin was numb. My chin started to bleed and people started getting wide eyed as they looked. I originally thought that I just got cut. But there is actually a chunk of my chin that is missing. I took care of it and it’s in the process of healing now, but when the Branch President got down to do his behind-the-back-clap-push-up. He couldn’t even do a push up!!!!!!! I now learn to never trust a challenge from anyone here. All the Mexicans say, "Never trust a challenge from a Mexican".

Yesterday was really cool. We started off the day by getting ready and studying. Normally before church, we walk around and contact our investigators before church. We had already talked to all of them before, so we were able to use that time to study. We went to our church meetings and all was well. There was a family that is visiting their family in Misantla, from the United States. They live in Wisconsin and they drove by minivan with 4 kids.... I don’t know how they did it but they did... After the meetings, the dad approached me and asked if my companion and I could give him and his wife a blessing. We of course said yes and went into another room. I couldn't have felt more worthy of the power I hold. I just took the sacrament and felt the spirit throughout all of the church meetings. I gave the blessing to his wife, I felt as though the words just flowed out of my mouth. Towards the end of the blessing, my mind went blank. At this moment I knew to close the blessing. It was such a cool experience, I could feel and know how every word that I said was guided by the spirit. Another funny experience about yesterday is that there is a member that has a crush on me. It was funny how I found out but it’s cute. She is 12 and is a recent convert with her brothers and sisters. She was showing me pictures on her phone when it locked. I then tried to be funny by guessing her password. I used, Book of Mormon. She said no and we laughed. I then asked if it was a person and she said yes, I asked if it was someone I knew and she said yes. I was thinking it was some celebrity but then I was going to put in mine and my companions names. I commenced typing "Elder-" when she said, "no it’s just Koontz". She got all blushed and I just thought it was funny. None the less, it’s funny and I was joking about it with my companion on the way to our next appointment. We went to teach Ivonne, Jaime, and Pan. Jaime never came to church today but Ivonne and Pan did. We were talking to him and he just said, "I was sleeping". (Pan told me earlier about how he tried to wake up Jaime 2 times) We were talking to him more, and he started asking more questions about the Book of Mormon. I could tell that he was just trying to prove us wrong. He keeps trying to tell us what the bible says and he asks if the Book of Mormon teaches the same. We then explain how it does, and it teaches more about that principle. He tried to disprove the Book of Mormon without even reading it. He kept asking all these questions about what it’s about when all the answers to his questions were in the Introduction!! I personally was talking to him for about 20 minutes about the Book of Mormon. I bore my testimony and my knowledge of Spanish wasn’t a problem at all. The words flowed out of my mouth as I testified of the truth it holds. How it’s literally ANOTHER TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRIST. It doesn’t teach against the Bible at all, in fact it does the opposite. It teaches with it. I felt like Captain Moroni, Nephi, Alma, Helaman, Moroni, Lehi, all the people of the Book of Mormon were with me in my testimony. AHHH it was so cool. It was a great way to end the night. The Spirit was strong in our hearts, and we were doing our missionary work the way God intended it to be.

That is going to conclude all my stories for this week and I will continue to share more next week! I’ll keep talking to all of you individually too :)


Elder Koontz

P.S.  Here are a bunch of pictures with a description for each one.
This is my zone at our Christmas party. 

No words.  :)

The food of a missionary....Ramen

This is the picture of the Guanabana! Its about as big as my head,
 and the spikes hurt you if you grab it too hard.  It's my new favorite fruit.

We practically live in the middle of nowhere. This is a picture of me at the edge of the town. We have an investigator that lives in the house right next to where I'm standing and he is on the very edge and corner of the town. Our appointment with him fell through and he wasn't home. So we took the opportunity to take a quick picture and move on.

This is me and some other missionaries at our stake Christmas party.

We had a big tent set up on the outside of the church building and people
danced and we had a Christmas program with a play.

Some more missionaries at the stake party.

Me and my companion at the party.

OH. The people of Misantla love us!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They gave us presents!!!!!!!!!!!!! All the people of the zone gave all the missionaries in their area presents! Misantla gave Elder Herrera and I the most! We were SUPER excited because we weren't expecting to get anything. We were going to wait, and then we realized that there could be things in their that might go bad, we could use, or something that needed to be opened right then.

Here are some pictures during the dinner at my table.

Here are some pictures during the dinner at my table.

This was the bus ride home from Tezituclan.

I caught our zone leaders sleeping on the bus... Later on, I fell asleep
and peoplegot pictures of me.. I don't have those ones though

Our updated Christmas tree since I got my extra decorations from my mom :)

I have all of my Christmas decorations on my desk now.... I didn't really see any point in having them spread out when there weren't so many because then I couldn't enjoy them all. So they occupy various places on my desk as of now :).

And more Christmas decorations..

Ok... It looks wimpy in this picture but its just hard to tell how deep this
gash really is with a camera. This was after I had cleaned it up.

      Some more missionaries at the stake party.

Me with the son of some members
And some of the contents of my mochila

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