Tuesday, February 23, 2016

New area, new companion, stories that warm a Mother's heart

Hi Family,

I forgot my camera... I’m sorry, I’ll send you some pictures next week. . I love Tuxpan!!!! Its sooooo cool. The missionaries are cool and it’s fun to get to know them more. My companion Elder Peza is awesome! He’s really funny and works in a companionship well. I take advice from him and he takes advice from me. When I got here, I met him and we went home to drop off my things and our house is awesome. We live in a small condo. It has a kitchen, living room area for studies, an upstairs with two bedrooms and a bathroom. But... we don’t have any hot water.... our boiler is broken and from the looks of it, it’s been broken for a long time. Being missionaries, we can’t really afford to get it fixed and none of us know who to talk to to get it fixed. (I told him he needs to talk to the Mission office about it) I believe some missionaries tried to figure these things out before but didn’t have any luck. So, our showers consist of either an ice shower, or we heat water up in the microwave to slowly fill a bucket, then we take the bucket and a cup of water and clean ourselves in the shower area. I tried doing the ice shower a couple times but it takes a toll on you. So now I shower with a bucket.

Tuxpan is beautiful. The river connects to the ocean so it’s all salt water. I loooooove that ocean air. I have some pictures that I wish I could send but my camera is at home. We get good work done every day. It’s like looking at a blank piece of paper and saying, ok... let’s get to work. I love it. When I got here, the area was dead. No baptisms, no help, a couple of investigators that didn’t do anything, nothing... I was talking to my companion about some of the things they had been doing to contact and find new people and it was very little. All of their stats for the past couple weeks were basically pure 0s. But we’re changing that. They never talked to anyone in the street and they were trying to work with the references that they had, but they didn’t have any references! My companion is a little shy when it comes to talking to people in the street but it’s getting a lot better. We have come up with steps for a contacting system that we use. This last week we talked to over 105 people in the street, and gained a little more than 20 references. We have contacted around half of them, and we are slowly getting more and more lessons to teach. We have barely had any help from the members, and when I asked my companion when our ward counsel was, he told me that we don’t go to ward council. He said when they asked the bishop when they had it before, the bishop told them that they didn’t need to worry about it, and only the mission leader needed to be there. This was completely and utterly wrong. There is even a specific chapter in preach my gospel that says how we need to use ward council to strengthen the area. I have come to learn why the area was dead before, but my companion and I are going to change that.

Tuxpan used to be a really good and lively area, It’s a slow process to get more lessons every day, but we average about 3 lessons everyday right now, contact about 40+ people in the street every day, ask everyone for references, and we found 6 new investigators in 3 days. This was our first week, and it will be better this next week. Like I said before, my companion is a little timid when it comes to talking to people in the street, so for a little while I was the only one really talking. Then I would start the contact, and he would add something, now he finds people and just starts talking too!! Its sooo much fun to progress. Both of us are continually learning more from each other and the more we learn, the more success we find. We are both working hard.

I love my companion, he is too awesome. We were getting ready the other day and he was ironing his shirt, then he came into our room and put his shirt on his bed. I saw what he was doing out of the corner of my eye, but he sneakily grabbed my shirt and scurried out of the room. I could hear him ironing my shirt in the other room, and it made me happy that I have such a cool companion. So I hurried and made both of our beds before he came back in the room to give me my shirt.

Today for P-day, we woke up, cleaned our condo, took our clothes to get washed, and then we went and played basketball with the other Elders. It is so cool here in Tuxpan, the weather makes it feel like Im back in California. The river, ocean and everything are awesome. My area is Centro, so I’m in the city quite a bit. Our address for our house is (Colony) Jesus Reyes Heroles, (Street)Guillermo Dominguez Pena. The house is number 18, just in case Mom wants to look it up on Google maps. It is the very last door in the line of condos on the more north end. The chapel is on the street Cuauhtemoc. You should be able to google the capilla (chapel).

People have told me that my Spanish is fluent, and they are surprised when I tell them I only have 4 months in the mission. I’m not trying to brag, but that’s how my Spanish is going. I always make sure that when someone compliments me I say, “we believe in the gift of tongues”.

Love, Elder Koontz

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Transfers! Baptism! Valentines Treats from Mom!

Hi Family,

I was in an interview with Presidente a couple weeks ago and he said something along the lines of "I’m going to warn you how I warn every other missionary. Watch out for pride." I thought about this and your email about "ego" for a few weeks. It bugged me and I searched for how I could try to be less prideful, and what I was doing right now to be prideful. I asked Pres. through my weekly email if he could give me any advice. He sent me a talk by Ezra Taft Benson about pride, and it was exactly what I needed.   Click hear to read: Ezra Taft Benson's talk on Pride

I`m changing!! I`m heading up to Tuxpan to my new area tomorrow. We got a call from the Assistants on Saturday because my companion is going to be training. So that meant that I was going to be transferred out. The funny thing is, is he needed to be in Xalapa early this morning. So since we live in Misantla, things were a little crazy for us. Since we live so far away from our zone, and the bus station to Xalapa, we needed to sleep with our zone leaders in our zone center. I had to pack all my stuff up on Saturday morning and be ready to leave for good on Sunday after church. I said all my good byes and some tears were shed by the teenage girls... hehe... and we left for our zone last night. I’m spending my P-day with the zone leaders while I have no companion. And tomorrow morning I have a 7 hour bus ride to my new zone. Another funny thing, my next companion, is Elder Jacksons old companion. I`m hoping that Elder Jackson will still be somewhere in the zone because that would be awesome. :)

(After telling him I looked up Tuxpan on the map and researched it a bit I found out there is a McDonalds, Burger King, Walmart and Sams Club.) He said: I’ve been told by other missionaries that there is a member that lets us use her membership card at Sam’s club. Or she comes with us or something... Idk all the info.

(I asked him in a letter if there was anything he needed) When it comes down to things of necessity, I have everything I need. Do I want things? Yes. Candy, sweets, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate................ CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE.. :)

I opened my Valentine’s package a day early because that’s when we got the information about the changes. I knew I wasn’t going to have room for the package or the contents inside it for the move so I cracked into that chocolatey goodness a tad early ;)

I have eaten chicken, EVERY DAY for the past 4 months. And I know it’s all I`m going to be eating for the next 2 years. Chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken, tortillas, tortillas, tortillas, tortillas, chicken, beans, beans, chicken, tortillas, beans, vegetable, chicken and then some more chicken.

Guess what I got to do Saturday night??!! :D We had a baptism! It was pitch black and it was hard to see where to go in the river. Elder Duran has some other pictures that I`ll send next week. But even though the water was freezing, neither of us were cold :) Her name is Fani :) (Estephanie) she is the coolest and most golden convert ever. She already has 15 tabs of marked scriptures in her BoM. and she took notes during all our lessons. Blessings, commandments, what she needs to do, etc. She was awesome!!!!!! And she was really sad when she heard that I was leaving :P

Well, I'll talk to you next week.  Send me more pictures!  I love seeing everyone!
Love, Elder Koontz
Valentine's Treats from Mom  :)

Fani getting baptized on 2/13/15

Fani when she was confirmed a member the next day (my last day)

These were my best friends in this zone. LEFT is Elder Howell and RIGHT is Elder 
Murphy (zone leader) . The 3 of us got pretty close and have had some 
fun experiences. Elder Murphy and I are transferring out to go to
 Tuxpan, and Elder Howell is staying in Zona Martinez to train again.
Some of the members gave me a rose as a parting gift. All of them wrote me little notes and letters. 
Its really cool and heart warming :)

This is Evelìn. (the girl who has a crush on me) she wasn't too happy when she heard I was leaving. 
And she wanted a picture with me.
We had another zone conference so this is a picture that we took 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Packages!!! More Adventures!

Hi Fam,

Thanks for Brendan’s Sweetheart’s dance pictures….Go Brendan! I just sent him an email so I guess he can read it once he gets home from school. And my heart died yesterday. Even though the Superbowl isn’t at all popular out here, my companion and I walked passed a bar yesterday and I saw that beautiful sight of Peyton Manning in his ugly Broncos Helmet (haha). I'll admit that my footsteps got a little shorter and my pace got a little slower as we walked passed that bar. But I knew that I had to keep walking, and I got my head focused back into the work right after I saw that lovely sight... :)

I got a package from Brother Pace!!! :D I felt loved by the ward that someone else sent me things too :) It was a Christmas package! He sent a tie, salt water taffy, other candy, Stephens hot cocoa, a letter, and a picture of his family. It was really cool :)

We actually have been having more struggles with Rigoberto and Saraí. Charo, too. They were going to get married, we have all the papers ready. Then they told us the other night that they wanted to wait for a year. UGH. I knew that it wasn’t going to be that easy. We were talking to them the other night, and they told us that in their hearts they felt like they could be married and continue in their progression to be baptized. But their mind is telling them to wait for a year. Of course you know how we tried to explain this situation. We talked about how the Spirit works, and how the adversary works. It was a long and difficult discussion because they believe everything! They tell us about how they read, they believe, they want to be baptized. But they are living in free union, a violation of the law of chastity, and they cannot be baptized because they are living in sin. The options they have are to be married or to be split apart. We told them about these options and how it was the only way they could be baptized. We want them to be married, because they are a family. They have a daughter, and we don’t want them to be split apart from their family.

Charo is just having difficulty believing. We were talking to her, and she has just a trouble of how to know. How her prayers can be answered. I told her what I felt impressed to tell her and then we had a discussion. It’s difficult because she tells us she reads and prays, but if she is dishonest with us she is only hurting herself.

Last night we had a zone meeting in Martinez. It was cool, fun, I felt happy, and I enjoyed the time I had to talk with other missionaries. On the way home, I thought about the situation of Charo, Rigoberto and Saraí. The whole time, I focused on them. What action could I take to help them in this situation. I prayed on the bus, I studied the scriptures, and I felt a genuine love for each one of them as I studied. I just hope that the things I studied for will help them. This morning I woke up and studied specifically for them. I found various promises of blessings of knowledge of truths through Obedience to the Word of Wisdom. I am continually searching for more ways to help them. I have listened to multiple talks today by Richard G Scott on prayer and Dieter F. Utchdorf on action. I really hope that we can share a message that they will accept the spirit into their hearts, and act on it.

We found some ruins in our area while walking and exploring. We found a little shack in the middle of nowhere... We have an appointment with them on Wednesday. I attached some pictures of our Journey across the river area.

Thank you Mom for the dvd’s :) My companion and I have been able to watch a couple of them. You have no idea how much I want a temple marriage. My heart literally yearns to have a temple marriage and to be sealed with my spouse for all time and eternity. I have 20 more months to work, and upon my return I will have a goal. Get to the temple, with her. I don’t know who she is yet. But I know that she is somewhere right now. And in time, we will meet each other at the altar of the temple. To take that special woman, who I will forever hold dear to my heart, who I want to spend eternity in love with. Raise a family that will be together forever. This is what I want. And I am willing to do anything to obtain it worthily. I received a lot of personal revelation this week. Things that I know I want. Especially a temple marriage.


Elder Koontz

YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT JOY FILLED MY BODY WHEN I SAW THIS. ;) Sadly no I did not get my Christmas package, and no one knows where it is.  :(  

I started teaching an English Class!

I had about 8-9 people in the class this first time.  This is the white board after class.

I feel like I´m doing a good job! People practice with me when we talk sometimes :)

Some of the Youth that were in the class that wanted to take a picture.

We visited the pyramids again and we found a place with water.

I got my Clothes you sent :) :)

Me sitting OUTSIDE the body of water..... Sadly we cant swim.... 
and it was soooooo hot today, and the water looked soooo refreshing...

We all got our hair and heads wet to cool off too :)

Me at the pyramids otra vez con mis compañeros (again with my companions)

We all left our mark in the temple. A couple heavenly messengers
with some light filled names amongst the groserías.

Elder Aguilar y yo

The Flash was pretty bright but I thought it looked really cool with the brightness of the Jersey. 
It illuminated the representation of the best team on earth

We found some ruins in our area while walking and exploring. 

Here are some pictures of our Journey across the river area.

Yes, I climbed the ladder to the top of the bridge.

The top of the bridge

It's kinda difficult to see, but there were some monster ants up on that bridge. A little smaller than the top section of your index finger. It was difficult to get a focused picture while close.. They were every were, and their pincer things were huge.

Strike a pose