I watched a little girl eat a red crayon during Stake Conference yesterday. hah. It was exactly what I needed to see. It has been a really hard week. It is extremely frustrating to not be able to speak spanish. I can do a lot but the pronunciation here is different. I am in a very poor area, most houses are shacks and cement buildings. A lot has happened and I don’t know how to organize it so I’m just going to blurt it all out. The food here is not my favorite. I eat everything, but I don’t like it. Beans, beans, beans, tortillas – siempre – always for every meal. I have also been fed a heart of some sort of animal but I wrapped it up in a tortilla, put it in my backpack and chucked it in the bushes. I can eat most food, but it is hard on my body. I gained almost 10 pounds in one day this last week. We went to a less active members house in the morning to set up an appointment to do a family night with them and I used their scale. Then later on that night after 2 lunches and 3 dinners, I was up to 160. Not good. My body can’t process all this food and I have been cursed with the single headed dragon – that is every gringo’s worst nightmare. Not pretty, but it’s reality here. I do my best to only eat safe food, but I can’t with all the food that people offer me. I’ve decided I’d rather be healthy than to take every single bit of food out of courtesy. I’d rather have my health and they would rather have their food so it works out well for the both of us.
I’m kind of getting used to my living conditions. I live terribly and have no material comforts at all. No plates, silverware. I have dry oatmeal packets that I ration myself every morning and a thing of beef jerky. It usually gets me by. There are also these rolls with sugar on top called semitas that I like to get. They have things called pulps here that are little stores were I can buy stuff. They have bags of purified water that I buy for 2 limpiras during the day. 18 limpiras = 1 dollar. I get about 1500 limpiras or 150dollars every 15 days. It isn’t much, but it works. I get to eat out every Monday and Thursday because we come to the big stake center for p day to use the computers on Monday and have zone meeting on Thursday. We usually hit up some sort of fast food joint after.
Question time. No, I cannot print emails but I have time to read them so no problem. We are teaching a lot of people. Just this week we found 8 families with 3 really promising. Our focus in the mission is to find and baptize families. They are doing that in Nicaragua right now and they are having huge success. This gospel is meant for families. The biggest challenge we face is that people are not married. So we are doing a lot of convincing people to get married. It doesn’t cost too much but the paper work is kind of hard. We are going to try and help people through the paper work. Also people work all the time and don’t have a set schedule, so it is hard to find times to come and visit them when all are home. Sometimes the dad will be gone at work or the mom, and the older kids will be gone at the university, etc. So it is tough. We had 3 baptisms planned for this week but 1 was delayed for 2 weeks, and 2 just don’t have the desire. Kind of sad. One lives a very sad life. Her husband was murdered in the street and she sells tortillas everyday to provide for her family. She would benefit so much from this gospel but she is bitter and doesn’t want to put forth the effort. If she only knew the many blessings that await her with the gospel.
Our branch on Sunday has about 80 people. It is pretty new and many people need a lot of help staying solid. The branch president is really sharp and very kind to me. He served a mission in Guatemala and is 28 years old. We work with him and his brother, who is the ward mission leader, a lot to meet the needs of the ward. If there is one thing I have learned here it is that we do not know what missionary work is at home. I’m so glad that you mentioned befriending the less active neighbor. In all honesty we do not fulfill our callings as we should. I know that most people are mormon but there are a lot of less active people and families that need help. The branch president spends all day visiting families and delivering inspired messages and counsel for each family. He is truly involved in the work. We are sometimes too secluded. We need to reach out and be bold. If a person or family is lacking in FHE or family prayer, we can invite them over for FHE or run by and offer a message – not just once but consistently. Consistency shows that you care. Home teaching and visiting teaching can accomplish this but there could be more done outside of this scheduled time. If we are to truly be a zion people we need to strive together. I have really caught the vision of what zion could be like.
Communication with my companion is a lot better – it is still hard but better. He is a great guy. He works hard but is starting to get a little baggy since he only has 2 more months left. We work hard and do our best. Some days it’s hot and some days it’s cold. Our room gets a little cold but I am usually fine at night. I found a cockroach under my shoe last night and it was big. I could hear its little legs scuttle away when I moved my shoe. Nasty! I couldn’t find it after I moved the shoe.
Oh speaking of sleep, it is hard not to think of home, when there is no other place I would rather be. I would even love to be at BYU studying. I have very vivid dreams of home every night. Nothing like visions or anything, but they are very comforting to have time to enjoy what it is like to be home. Everything from work, to home, to the mountains, to school, and to being up in Salt Lake City. All random and crazy at times but I love my dreams.
I slip on my Zuriicks every morning because they are comfortable and I have 4 hours of study – so I want to be comfortable. But the other day I left to go out to appointments in them. ha ha. I was like, wow, I can feel the rocks today. ha ha. funny I had to stay in them for a bit but eventually changed an hour later. No pillow – the pillows here are filthy. I’m going to look for a small camping one.
We are in Esparanza, in a small area called Trinity. Our area is really really really small. It is nice though because we are the only missionaries in this area. In the bigger area there are lots of missionaries from our zone. Our apartment is the chapel that our branch meets in. It’s nothing more than an old house. I’m going to try to send pictures with this email. Oh, they have a price-mart down here close to the mission office. It is the exact same thing as Costco, just under a different name. I bought some bread, peanut butter, and jelly, and a big thing of Tang. Absolutely beautiful! Seriously! I have a small fridge and a small stove but I just use the stove to warm up water that I put in the cooler, that we use to shower. Oh lovely buckets. I haven’t used the solar shower bag yet because I don’t want to get it stolen. I’ll use it sometime but for now I am doing good. Our cook lady is just down the street and around the corner from us – really close. Usually she cooks really good stuff.
I realized that I am homesick pretty much all the time, but I don’t really dwell on it because we have so much to do. I wish I could be home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. How fun that would be. I’m going to view life very differently when I get back. I’ve learned a lot already and have realized how precious time is. And that we should constantly be seeking to improve ourselves everyday. There is a quote that I love it says something like “True greatness comes from the consistent day to day efforts of small tasks.” I have realized that is true. We can’t make big leaps, as we would like in one day. I think I get discouraged easy when I don’t see results and give up but I just need to do a little every day and with the process of time, great things will happen. Time is the magical element.
Oh, the barbers here are stinkin cool. It truly is a skill to cut hair here. It’s not just buz buz buz, clip clip clip. It is an art here. I’ve never had a better haircut and it only cost 2 dollars! They also use an old fashion razor, put shaving cream on all the edges of your hair and shave really nice strait lines. Spankin cool.
I love you all! Have a great week! I hope things are all going well! I hope this letter was better than last week – I was kind of still in panic mode. Overall things are going well. It is hard and I’m struggling to try and get into this work and feel like the Lord is accepting my efforts. I know he does but I seek to do the very best. I have studied a lot about the apostles in the New Testament as a guide of how I should do missionary work. Their works are truly inspiring. I hope that I will, over time, become an instrument like them in the hand of the Lord. I need to get over my fears and allow my confidence in the spirit to override my fears. Love you all!