Monday, December 29, 2014

12/29 - Don't Judge

Sorry I don’t have much time. This internet cafe is closing early than what was expected. This internet cafe is just a room with computers in it. Nothing too fancy.

As a missionary it is hard to not judge on the surface. There are times when we are contacting and are having the first lesson with someone and we feel they don’t want the gospel. But that is why we need to always have an open mind and an open heart to the spirit. Everyone is different and everyone is differently prepared or just needs to be taught just a little bit differently for the spirit to click inside of them.
I love you all, para siempre
-Elder Keller

My Planner

Monday, December 22, 2014

12/22 - Washing Clothes By Hand

Just a side in Honduras they celebrate Christmas on
the 24th not the 25th. 

The pictures that I uploaded were of me and my companion washing our
clothes by hand. Yes I know, I had to wash my clothes by hand. Well, I
got to say it’s not all that bad. IN my area I am now there isn’t a
member nearby that has a washing machine.

Also if you notice the subject line: Una Carta para voz. A little
known fact, or at least I didn’t know it until I came here to Honduras,
is that there is actually three forms of "you". Usted, tú, and voz.
Voz is used a lot more commonly in Honduras and is used only with
family and really close friends.  So that is pretty interesting and
also they pronounce it like "vo".

In the mission field areas are divided into missions, then zones, then
districts, then areas. And the ward that you attend is usually the
name of the area and the name of the stake is the name of the zone. So
I live in Bendeck 2 and my ward name is Bendeck and my Zone is El
Progreso Sur, and the name of the stake is El Progreso.

 con Love siempre,
-Elder Keller

P.S. Jesus Christ in Spanish is Jesucristo. it’s one word and is kind of
weird, buts that how they spell it here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

12/10 - Changes

Changes. That’s all I got to say.
I received changes yesterday and that means I leave my area and go to another one somewhere in Honduras. 
Unfortunately due to the actions of others a rule has been changed about changes. The new rule is that we cannot know if we will receive changes until the night before at 9:00pm. So then I or any other missionaries cannot say goodbye or get last pictures with any of the ward members or investigators, nada. It is because plancheros (missionaries who don’t do missionary work) would then take that one day before cambios and not work or go and buy cellphones or other stuff. 
I left 4 in the morning and to cambios in La Lima. Anyway, I am in El Progresso! With my new companion, Elder Valqui de Peru!  So far it’s been good. The house that we are living in is better than I expected, I still need to meet and get to know the members in my ward and area and the missionaries. But I still miss La Ceiba, missionaries always say that leaving your first area is always the hardest, I now see why. 
With a renewed hope in my testimony of modern revelation, I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for me here in Bendeck, El Pregresso!
-Elder Keller

100% Catracho

My new companion

Sunday, November 30, 2014

11/26 - Baptisms and Keys Stuck on the Roof

¿Qué Honda?

My investigator Lily, that has had quite a few difficulties these past couple weeks, was baptized this last Saturday. This was a great triumph for her. Just a couple days before the baptism she lost both of her jobs. Luckily she stayed strong and continued forward with baptism. I performed the baptism. Everything went smoothly and well. Another investigator of missionaries in our district also was getting baptized, but the person that was going to baptize the investigator couldn't make it. So I ended up doing that as well. The entire time the spirit could be felt. I was super nervous, as I said a prayer in my heart,  I felt a boost of confidence and comfort. And you know what? Everything is fine, and there was no need to be nervous or worry about it.

Another funny story this week is during our weekly mission correlation meeting (meeting with all the missionaries in our ward) we ended up being locked out. Okay, we had keys to the church building and the gate. We entered through the gate,  Elder Ramirez threw the keys up to Elder Hansgen for him to unlock the Church Building. Unfortunately he threw it too high and it landed on the roof. So then we were locked out of the building, but also locked in on the property. So we had to scavenge around looking for anything that we could use to get up high. We tried lifting someone up to the roof, but the roof was too high. Eventually we found this cement filled tire with a pole in it.  I think it is used for volleyball to hold the net up or something. Anyway, we rolled that to the front and used that to get up there and grab the keys. It was all worth it in the end because Hermana Turner brought homemade cupcakes for all of us to eat.

Also this week has been an achievement for Elder Hansgen and me  as we worked hard with our less active members in our area to come to church. When Sunday rolled around quite a few of them showed up. The usual attendance for our ward is 100ish (and that's considered big here) and this last Sunday it was 125. It goes to show that hard work, praying, and exercising faith works and is essential in missionary work and all throughout life.  The Book of James chapter 2 talks about faith and works. It is a great chapter to read and I highly recommend it. 

-Elder Keller

Thursday, November 20, 2014

11/18 - First trip to San Pedro Sula

I have clocked in a lot of hours on buses this week.  To start off my companion, Elder Hansgen, had to renew his residency here in Honduras. So basically that means we travel 5 hours to San Pedro Sula, wait in line for another 2-3 hours and spend only 2 minutes for the actual renewal process and travel back to La Ceiba for another 5 hours. But one cool thing I got out of it...I went to San Pedro Sula for the first time. We also visited the mission office there. So when we took a taxi the guy tried to charge us  L170 each, when the usual rate is around L80. Luckily we were able to knock some sense into him and he realized we are not just some average gringos. But that happens to me a lot here especially now my companion and I are both gringos.

While we were there we actually met missionaries from "the other side" or otherwise called the San Pedro Sula Oeste mission. I got to admit, they are a little weird. I am glad I am in the mission that I am in.

For Preparation day on Monday we went to Trujillo. Some people actually say that Trujillo has better beaches than Roatan. But the place is gorgeous, definitely one of Honduras's highlights. We played soccer on the beach and had a blast. My companion unfortunately got sun burned and looks like a tomato. The sky was nice and clear and water super azul, agua azul (which is also a water company here aguazul). What was really cool is that we visited a fort. The oldest fort in the continental America. It was pretty small but a member that Elder Hansgen knew from before in the area got a killer deal on tickets to go in.

Overall, this week has been good. I didn't really like traveling to San Pedro too much because it sucked up a lot of all of our day.

Oh and by the way, Lily (our investigator) went to the hospital last week because she had appendicitis. Luckily enough they operated on her quickly enough and that everything is ok. We had to move her baptismal date to next week. She still has a string testimony and really wants to be baptized and was sad that she couldn't do it last week. We gave her a priesthood blessing and she is already walking around and doing her normal stuff. Her one month bed rest recovery  from what the doctor recommended went to two weeks. That was a great blessing for her.

Cuidense, vaya bien

-Elder Keller

11/10 - Christ is our foundation

¿Qué pedo?

Well, a lot has happened in this past week. First of all, we got another investigator with a baptismal date. The story is quite interesting and very spiritual. We have been working with this investigator since September. She believes all parts of the Gospel, has a testimony of the Church is true and everything. The thing was that when she went to church for the first time, she didn't have the best experience. Bueno, she had great time during the sacrament meeting and felt the spirit, but the next two hours were not so much the same. Through body language and the lack of members introducing themselves to her, she was offended. If any of you want to help the missionaries out, here is a greatly fantastic way: Talk to the investigators that are brought by the missionaries. Just introduce yourselves and welcome them, and kind of make sure they get to the places where they need to be. Anyway, since that, she has been kind of hesitant of progressing any further. But through lessons with her and getting more members to befriend her.. She still wouldn't accept baptism. Our last visit with her, I was with my new companion (Elder Hansgen).  We were really trying to find that root cause of what is keeping her back. He looks at me and I am like, I have no idea, but though divine inspiration of the Holy Ghost (no doubt) my thoughts were directed to a scripture in the Book of Mormon. It was Helaman 5:12. I talked about how Christ is our foundation and that no matter what Satan throws our way we will not fall and we will overcome it. But it all starts with faith in Jesus Christ. She started to get red eyed and a few tears, then I kind of went more in the importance of faith and how our purpose here on this earth is basically to follow the example of Jesus Christ. So as long as we have faith in Him, and our loving Heavenly Father, there shouldn't be anything that can stop us from doing what they say. Right then I challenged her to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized on a certain date. She said yes. After she accepted it she suddenly started crying uncontrollably for five minutes. We just sat there. But the spirit there was very strong.

It goes to show the spirit is a very powerful tool and knows exactly what to say. And that some people just need an extra amount of time. But in the end, God knows us all individually and knows how we can be blessed.

-Elder Keller

11/3 - You never know who the Spirit will touch

This week has been a crazy one. Well I got my new companion last Wednesday, Elder Hansgen. It is pronounced (Henchin). He is from Utah and as you can guess, he is a gringo. Elder Hansgen has a 16 months under his belts already and has a ton of energy.

Thursday we had a fundraiser for some investigators of ours to get married. To complete the entire process of her marriage in Honduras is around L1,500. This is about $75, which is a lot here. We sold Hamburgers and did very well. Right now they are on track to getting married and then after that they can get baptized. We are all very excited for them.

The thing about preaching or just talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that you never know who you are going to touch. We were focusing in on one investigator and her roommate decided to sit in (or rather didn't leave). After our lesson we didn't think too much about her. But it goes to show that the Spirit touches all. Because when we went back to visit with the investigator, she wasn't there, but her roommate was. She invited us right in and straight up asked us questions about the Book of Mormon and the Church. She is really interested and energetic about learning more, she has been going to church these past two times. We need to be always in tune with the Holy Ghost and realize the power and sacredness of the message that we share of Jesus Christ.

-Elder Keller

So a bike ran over my foot...Just kidding this is just lint from my socks!

Monday, November 3, 2014

10/29 - New Companion in the Hospital

This week has been the start of the dreadful fall-winter season of Honduras. It is actually not that bad, quite refreshing. Usually it is a blistering 90 degrees with 100% humidity but recently it’s been more in the low 80s and this morning was 79. As you can probably guess it rained a ton. All morning and all throughout the day. The bad thing about that is that all of that water has to go someplace. And since we are basically 10 ft. about sea level, there tends to be flooding. As we are going to our appointments we would just see people in knee deep water trying to get it out of their houses.

An investigator of ours (Lily) has been taking our discussions really great and keeping all of our commitments with her. Unfortunately recently she no longer has a job. And she was already living pay check to pay check, so finding dinner to eat and amongst other things has been a challenge for her. She told us that one night that she did have dinner, nothing to eat. But out of the blue one of her friends called her up and invited her to come over for some dinner. She said that she hadn't talked to this friend in forever and was strange that she called her. And then the next day she was late to coming to church (and it is like a twenty minute walk) and as she was walking there a taxi rolled up next to her and said to hop in and that its free. Luckily enough the guy was genuine and was not trying to kidnap her. But also a remarkable thing is that a taxi never ever offers a ride for free. So for that to happen, was a great blessing. She does recognize that these are blessings of God of keeping His commandments and doing her best to follow the example of Jesus Christ. This is a reassurance for me that God loves us and blesses us always. So when hardships arise and the going gets tough, we need to stay true always and remain faithful.

This Wednesday was changes and my companion is officially dead (that is when a missionary is done with his 2 years). But Tuesday and Wednesday, all day I had to stay in the hospital. Another missionary in my district, Elder Wilson, has dengue. In a hospital in a third world country isn't as bad as it sounds. Fortunately we stayed in one of the nicer hospitals. It’s smaller than the rest, but its staff is super nice and caring. Usually they are impatient and just want to get it over with. They fed me as well as Elder Wilson, there was a couch for me, and best of all there was air conditioning! Don't worry Elder Wilson is doing great now.

Well, Cheque pues
-Elder Keller

Fried Chicken Foot - YUM!
Bridge Rain Level 5

10/20 - My first Baptism

Another week gone by and nothing really interesting happened. ¡Mentira! I just had my first baptism! We have been teaching this family for a while and Hermana Delarca is just the best and the sweetest. Every time we pop over for a visit, at the end she always feeds us. One time she made chicken fried rice, it tasted very similar to my mom´s cooking. So that tells you right there how well her cooking is. The spirit with her is great and when she says a prayer, it is really powerful.

A couple days before her baptism I came down with a bug or something. I had a fever, nasty headache, and I had to use the bathroom many, many times. No me gusta. I didn't eat for a day or two. The day before her baptism I received a priesthood blessing. And let me tell you, those work. The priesthood works and this church has the authority of it. My fever broke and I started to eat again. I was well enough to go out and preach and perform the baptism of Hermana Delarca. That truly was a blessing; I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to do it.

Alright so, the Delarcas are an interesting bunch. The brother of who I baptized is very much so against the Church. So much that he invited pastors over to "talk" to the grandson Olga. We are trying to get her grandson and his novia married and baptized. But now it has been a heck a lot harder.  The brother of Olga seemed like a sweet old guy, now he doesn't seem so.

The two biggest religions down here are Catholics and evangelists.
Overall, faith is most important and key to have. Because through faith in Jesus Christ and our Loving Father in Heaven we can achieve anything that God wants us to do. But faith consists of two parts [belief, not having a perfect knowledge (Alma 32:24)] and [action (James 1: 22& 2:17-18)]. And as we exercise our faith it will grow and blessing will come, always (Ether 12:6).

-Elder Keller

10/13 - New schedule

Well for me about eating and going to bed earlier has totally flipped flopped. I now go to bed earlier and wake up a lot earlier: 10:30 to 6:30. And eating well varies. Generally I have a light breakfast and then I eat pretty filling Lunch. But dinner is a whole other story. Some days it is something we find around our apartment. Others we eat with a family. And sometimes we eat like 3 dinners in one night. I am so stuffed and feel like I am going to be sick. But I cannot, and I need to eat everything on my plate. Because when we go to our citas, our investigators/members surprise us at the end with cena. And we cannot say no. So if anything that I have learned is that I how to always finish everything on your plate.. No matter what.

Moroni 10:32 is a good verse and is very true. Another verse that I really like of Moroni as well is in Chapter 9 verse 6. He talks about diligence and always working. But what I personally take out of it is service. We need to always work and serve others. And when we are not, we tend to think of ourselves and become selfish.
Forget yourself- Olvídate de ti mismo

Sentir el Espíritu
Con mucho amor,

-Elder Keller

Monday, October 6, 2014

10/6/14 - General Conference!

Another interesting week in Honduras. For a matter of fact, my companion just received his plane tickets for the 30th of October. So that is really exciting.

This past weekend, as all of you (mormones) know was General Conference. Luckily enough the Church building that I regularly attend is a stake center. And as far as I know only stake centers offer it in English as well. That was really cool, having 30 gringos all crammed into the high council room. But when there were speakers that spoke in their native tongue of Spanish, we would quickly change it to the Spanish channel and listen to the speaker without the translator. For the most part I understood the speakers. I mean I kind of knew the general idea, topic, of their talk. I would've thought that more people would show up at the church building to watch General Conference, but a lot of people here have computers and they would just watch/listen it on that.

I think that the new change in General Conference is one of the best decisions they have made. Now even more speakers can talk and not worry if they will be understood or worry about learning a ton of English. And even here it was awesome for the people to listen to speakers without translators. To actually here the person's actual voice is a whole lot better. I love how the Church is true. With every single decision, I know that it is from divine revelation, Revelation from God. He directs the Church through the prophet and apostles. 

Remember: Pray always, read the scriptures, and go to church!

-Elder Keller

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

9/29/14 - Real Popcorn and Super Contacting

This week was filled with a lot of activities. My ward (Miramar) put on some mission activities. One that we did was a movie night. I had no idea what movie it was before hand so when I talked to my investigators about it, I told them that it was going to be like Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks or something of that sort. When the movie night rolled around it turned out to be a movie called Courageous. I have seen it before, actually in Camp Helaman. It’s like a Christian neutral film with a great message. A good amount of investigators showed up for that, and also they provided a bag of popcorn and a glass of punch. The popcorn was freshly popped, so it was the real stuff. It was pretty good, but at the same time a portion of it was burnt and another portion of it half popped. But who am I to complain when I am having POPCORN in Honduras. Probably one of the only chances I will have.

The other activity was a cultural night. Imagine pioneer day in the church, but for Honduras. So a lot of people were dressed up in authentic dresses and brought all different kinds of food. They even had a real band playing authentic Honduran music. The entire stake participated and there was a lot, a lot, a lot of people there all stuffed in not such a big room. All in all, we had a blast.

Another activity we did, this time as an entire Zone, was a super contacting. The entire Zone focuses only on one district and we all go around contacting. We ran into quite a few people and taught some great lessons with people. You really have to trust the Spirit when you are contacting because the Spirit knows what we don't know. And after several hours of straight up contacting you definitely develop a stronger relationship and sensitivity to the Holy Ghost. Moroni 10:5.

I feel like my Spanish has been significantly improving. Considering that my investigators can actually, for the most part, understand me. And I can understand about 85% of their words. Lately we have been having a lot of progress with our investigators and Elder Itza and I have been pumped about that.

-Elder Keller

9/22/14 - Gathering the Sheep and Bee Stings!

Attention: as of today my streak of never being stung by a bee has ended.

Not this past Sunday, but two Sundays ago, Elder ITza and I did not bring any investigators to Church. It was really depressing and to add on top of it we were late to Sacrament service. It was a little miserable. Every new investigator that we contacted either had some excuse or did not answer. 

So this last Sunday, we started out the day with what I like to call "Gathering the sheep". We go all around and get as many investigators as we can. The same thing we did last week. The day started the same, door after door no one was coming with us. But this time I told myself that I needed to have more faith in the Lord. He knows His children perfectly and He helps prepare them. We need to trust His judgment and planning. The second to last house on our list we went to, she said that she would come! But now it was like 10 minutes until church started. So Elder Itza and I hurry off to our last investigator. We get there and guess what, she is all ready, walks out the door and comes with us. By the time we get to the church building it was already 10 minutes past 9. I am thinking to myself, great now we missed sacrament again...but I reminded myself that to have faith and not to worry.  Sure enough they just are in the middle of the sacrament hymn. So we made it and we had an investigator. And the icing on the cake is that another investigator of ours showed up out of the blue. We were really happy that day.

It goes to show that faith is important and that the Lord will not leave you hanging. As long as we always try our best and trust in Him, then He will pick up the rest and everything, everything, will work out in the end. It’s all according to His time, not ours.

Today for preparation day we went to Pico Bonito. Apparently it is a tourist attraction around here. Basically you literally hike up for about an hour and a half and you arrive at this waterfall. Unfortunately I was not able to see the waterfall...well that´s not true, I didn't get to go to the waterfall. You can see the water fall from a long distance away. Anyway, right at the end of the trail is this bend and we all stopped for a bit for a break and let the rest of the group catch up. So we are waiting and all of a sudden Hermana Bennet and Hermana Sherman start to scream and one by one everyone in the group starts screaming and hit everything. Apparently we stopped right next to a nest of hornets on steroids. And the group got split into two as we went two different directions. Our group went back because one of the other sisters with us is allergic to bees. But Hermana Sherman got stung 8 times and I am not sure about Hermana Bennet, but I got stung once in my leg. I guess that first-aid merit badge finally came in handy with bee stings. 

Here are some pictures from the hike:

That’s about all.
Elder Keller