The big news is that Jake is getting transferred tomorrow. Jake is going to the Momostenango Zone (Momos for short).
The villages in the Momos Zone are some of the most remote areas in the entire mission. Jake will be serving in a little Indian village called Panca. It is a 2-hour hike to get there on a dirt road; as there are no buses that go there. Jake says that the missionaries there call it “the inferno of Momos.” That doesn’t sound too inviting.
When I served my mission in Guatemala 24 years ago, most of those little Indian villages in the Momos Zone were 90% LDS. Apparently some missionaries went out there back in the 1950s or earlier and baptized entire villages. There is nothing in these villages except LDS chapels. If you stand on a hill overlooking the countryside, you will see nothing but trees and then LDS steeples poking up out of the tree tops where each village is. The missionaries out there would sleep inside the church building. When I was in the Momo’s Zone, these little branches had sacrament meeting in the Quiché language. I don’t know if that is still the case.
It is pretty lonely out in these areas, but what an awesome experience! I hope Jake enjoys it while he is there. It will make for some great stories I’m sure. I never served out there, but I did talk to the missionaries who served there. It sounded pretty rugged…kind of like camping. I did hike out to one of the villages one P-day with my companion. We went to some hot springs to sit in hot water that smelt like sulfur. I just remember that it took about 3 hours to hike out there, and another 3 hours back. I didn’t pack any water, and the hike was miserable. On the way back, the sun went down, and we ended up hiking the last hour in the pitch black. I vowed never to return after that.
Again, I was told that 90% of the people in these villages are LDS. I don’t know if that was true then or is even true now. If it is true, I don’t know why they still have missionaries there since there isn’t anyone left to baptize. I got the impression back then that the missionaries were there to keep order and to prevent false doctrines from being taught. But then again, if they are teaching in the Quiché language, how would the missionaries even know if the doctrines were false. By the way…They have the Book of Mormon in Quiché now, and the temple endowment is available in Quiché as well. Good thing I taught Jake a few words in Quiché. He’ll probably come home with a much bigger vocabulary than I did.
We are so looking forward to hearing about his experiences in Panca!