|This photo is with Emilio, he got home two weeks ago from his mission in Peru, and on Sunday he got called to be the second counselor in the bishopric ha-ha|
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
HI! Guess what? I am still alive, barely ha-ha. No it has been awesome, my first area is called Chiantla. It is a pretty ghetto little city about 2 and a half hours in a bus from Xela. You can probably find it on Google earth; look for the big white letters on the hill. I will explain more about those later.
We left Tuesday morning and it took forever to get to Xela so we were only in the mission home for about an hour or two (still haven’t seen the temple, probably wont for a long time), had a quick meeting and interviews, met our comps and left. My dad is Elder Conte, he is from Panama and has about 18 months in the field so he is pretty old, and he is actually really old, he had his compleaños this week, turned 25 ha-ha. He speaks a little English, but never uses it. The only English I have heard all week is ¨freak¨ which everyone says all the time ha-ha. I was a little surprised, must be a word in Spanish too.
Our apartment is pretty nice; we live under the house of a lady who knows the bishop or something. It is only four rooms, but we have a little fridge and stove, but we don’t really cook very much. We do have a shower, and until about yesterday, I thought it only had cold water, but my comp finally showed me the trick on how to make it not cold, but not hot either ha-ha. It’s manageable.
It is really really dusty here (I have had to wear my glasses every day), every morning when we are studying the lady upstairs starts hosing the house down, I asked my comp what she was doing and he looked at me really weird and said ¨washing the house¨ in that, uhh how did you not know, kind of way ha-ha. Guess its pretty normal here.
We have only taught one lesson in a house though, we are always out in the boonies teaching people that live in shacks, its pretty sad. This last week we have been really busy, we have few really good investigators, we have one family of 6, but no dad. Everyone is ready for baptism but the mom. She doesn’t know how to read so that has been a little bit of a struggle. Something kind of sad though is one of the girls is younger than I am and has 2 kids, kind of crazy. And one of them is a baby who is either a) crying b) sleeping c) breast feeding, or some combination of the three. Doesn’t matter if we are teaching a lesson, in church, etc. Constantly. That would be a rough life for an 18-year-old girl.
We usually eat with members, it is usually really really good, but we have also had some...questionable things. One time we had pig brain soup. Or sheep. Can’t really remember, just that it was some kind of brain. I would have to take a drink of water, keep the water in my mouth, take a bite of the meat, and then swallow ha-ha. They feed us like were starving too, it is so humbling to see these people that are so poor literally stuff us with their food. I am pretty sure I have opened up a few extra chambers in my stomach that I didn’t know existed, because we eat until I feel like there is rice coming out my nose.
Something that has surprised me a little bit though, I have yet to eat beans. Just a lot of meat and rice. But really for the most part it has been delicious. One of these days, I will try and send some pics of it. We went to Quilinca or something like that, it was waaaay up in the mountains, and it was awesome. So beautiful. We went with one of the YM in the ward here, his name is Delmar but we call him Chema, don’t know why or what that means, but he is leaving on his mission to San Salvador in March, so I will be pretty sad when he leaves. He is so cool. I was told I will be here with my trainer for 2 changes, and then I will train (uhhhh) someone in the same area for 2 more changes. Yeah, so I should be here in Chiantla for about...6 months. That’s crazy. One week down!
On Saturday we went and did ¨service¨ ha-ha, we went and painted the letters on the hill that spell ¨Chiantla¨, but they didn’t bring enough paint mix for the water, so we basically washed rocks with white water for a few hours ha-ha. Oh well, it is the thought that counts right?
That night was a little strange too, we got a call from the bishop, who is awesome, but is an ex evangelical pastor who is a little on the crazy spiritual side. We went and visited a member’s house. I couldn’t exactly understand what the problem was; the words everyone was saying were a little weird. But I got really freaked out when like all 20 people who were in this house all knelt down in a circle, held hands, and had about a 20-minute prayer. Followed by like a 3-hour lecture by the bishop. We didn’t get home till like 10 at night, keep in mind also, I had zero idea what was going on, what the problem was, nothing. Just sat there like the cute little North American I am, looking cute. After we got home, we got out my dictionary and translated some words so my comp could tell me what had just happened. Apparently the member, this like 60 year old man, was having problems with ghosts, praying to devils, and got a blessing from the temple president or something. I am still confused ha-ha. He kept holding up this giant yellow bottle too. Not sure what that was about. I was hoping it wasn’t urine, but it was pretty similar looking and smelling to urine.
P-day today has been pretty awesome too, we met up with the zone and played basketball, that was soooo nice. It was nice to speak some English too. My DL is the only other Norte in our district, he seems pretty awesome, his name is Hales, we apparently might be doing some splits soon so that would be soooo nice. He only has 3 months in the field though so idk, maybe not since neither of us speak Spanish ha-ha. But we all went and got food and now we’re all emailing together.
And that’s where I am, you guys are all caught up ha-ha. I haven’t gotten any mail since I have been here, or in the last month ha-ha, but that’s alright, thanks for your emails, keep giving me the news, it is nice to hear from you. I will try and send some photos in another email, love you mom, talk to you in a week.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
So since it is our last day and there are only about 30 Guatemalan missionaries here, everyone else left, they are giving us a little extra time to email and pack and stuff like that. Kind of a little "Bonus" p-day. Well we still have had some classes and stuff so it’s not totally like p day, but it’s been pretty relaxed. I am really excited to leave, its crazy to think I have two months down already and I haven’t even hit the field yet.
I understand Spanish really well, but in the process of translating, formulating a response, and then translating that back into Spanish still takes a little time. Everyone tells us it will take three months or so until were fluent, I hope that is true, if not, it is going to be a quiet couple of months for me ha-ha. I am feeling a lot better this week than I have been the last two. I think I am finally rid of whatever sicknesses I was carrying. Last Wednesday was one of the most fun days I have had in my life ha-ha, wow, Guatemalan flu is definitely not like the American flu, that is for sure. I had no idea you could physically go to the bathroom that many times in one day. Definitely a new personal record.
I am really glad I am serving in Xela, everyone always talks about it like it is the best mission in the world. I am so tired of daydreaming about it, I just want to go and actually see what it is all about. It is so hard not to, after nine weeks of just being parked on my fat but all day, your mind starts to just wander.
Everyone tells us all the time that it is really really cold there. We never know how credible that really is though because all the Latinos break out giant winter coats when it is 60 degrees and raining outside, but even still it is way up in the mountains so makes some sense.
I am really glad to just get out of the city though, I can’t handle the noise anymore. Our room is right next to the main calle that runs through town, and it is freaking nuts. I have no idea how anyone is still alive in this place. We hear "almost" accidents about every ten minutes, and accidents almost every hour. I keep track of the number of times I hear sirens every day in my planner, the record is 34.
I have really been hoping I get sent out in the boonies, I want my first area to be just some crazy tiny village in the mountains where I have to bathe in the river and eat spiders and monkeys and stuff, just so I know I can do it, and then I wont need to worry about it for the rest of my mission. Also I have been having these dreams where I am machete-ing my way through the jungle, I have no idea what the point is or what I am doing, maybe searching for the waters of Mormon or something, but I am soooo psyched to buy a machete. Our president here told us we have to buy something here for our future wives so they know we were thinking about them on our missions, even if we haven’t met them yet. Hope my wife likes machetes, maybe I'll get it inlaid with some pink stones or something.
Apparently there are no spiders in Xela either, that’s good, because there was a spider that lived around the water cooler in the chapel where we had class that was about the size of my outstretched hands, hairy, and orange. We always had to walk by it to go to the bathroom, and I will admit it, I would close my eyes and power walk past the water cooler every time, and by power walk I mean like 20mph, I don’t mess around with spiders. That thing was nasty. I will try and send some photos when we get to our area, I have like 200 on my memory card here. I hope everything is going good there.
Love you guys,
Monday, February 13, 2012
Happy Valentines day!
Finally P-day, this week took forever ha-ha. I am so ready to leave. I have some bad news for you though; your brewers yeast did not work. Wednesday I was in bed all day with about half of the rest of my district, we got some kind of food poisoning, Soooooo, that was fun. I didn’t know I physically could run that fast from bed to bathroom, I’m pretty sure if you had a stop watch on me I would have impressed some college scouts, maybe my sports days aren’t over just yet. But it was only the one-day and everyone is back to normal so that is really good.
Other than that we just had class like usual and just doing the last few things we need to do in order to get ready for the field. I would really appreciate a care package, I got your two cards, but other than that I have not received any mail from anyone else here. Hopefully I have some things waiting for me in the mission home, but if not, está bien. If you could send a CD with some Jon Schmidt, Hilary Weeks, Jenny Oaks Baker, anything churchy or efy-ish that I can listen to. I will figure out a way eventually to put it all on my iPod, also maybe send one of the white iPod cords to plug into a computer, might need one of those in order to plug my iPod in, buuut, what ever.
Tracting this week was totally crazy ha-ha, I absolutely loved it. We got Latino comps for the day, loaded up like 50 missionaries on a public bus and hit a pretty ghetto area of town ha-ha. It blows me away how packed in the people are here, I wonder what the population density is, because the area we tracted was just these giant buildings, with hundreds of doors everywhere, we just knocked on them all because there is literally no possible way to know if there is a house behind the door or not.
We had one pretty funny experience right at the end of our day we walked by this 40 or so year old man who was probably not even five feet tall, and we said hello to him and kept walking, and probably after we had walked 20 or 30 ft passed him he just goes ¨WHATS UP, WHIIIITE BOY?!?¨. So of course, being a man of large stature, and highly favored of the Lord, I turned around as fast as I could and walked straight up to this guy. Pretty sure he was about five seconds away from making a break for it and running, when I reached my hand out and kind of grabbed his hand and said something like ¨Senior, can we talk to you about Jesus”? My comp just started talking to him in Spanish, I couldn’t really understand what was going on, and all the sudden my comp goes ¨NO, NO, NO. Estaba(or something like that) Adán y Evá, no Adán y Pedro, no Adán y Juan.¨ And I was just like, uhhhh, what is going on right now ha-ha. I had no idea how they got to that, but maybe the guy thought that we were gay or something, I don’t know, I was trying as hard as I could not to just die laughing, it was hilarious.
The guy was actually really interested though, we gave him a Book of Mormon and he set up an appointment for him to be taught. Other than that we didn’t have much success, but it was 100 times better than being parked in a chair all day.
I am so stoked to leave. Apparently we are leaving on a bus to Xela at like 9ish on Tuesday morning. It is about a 4-hour bus ride, and it’s like 90 miles ha-ha. Should be fun. I am so nervous, because I know I don’t speak any Spanish, but at the same time I am so stoked, should be awesome. I am hoping for just like the craziest area, I want to be bathing in a river (there really is an area where they do that) speaking Spanish to some 4 feet tall natives. Aaaah. Can’t wait. Well my time is up, hopefully we will be able to email from the mission home or something,
Love you guys,
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Sorry we haven’t emailed in forever. This is our first p-day here. I never thought it would come, it took so long ha-ha. I love it here. I started out in a trio but a kid went home in the other district, so they took Elder Scholl away from Elder Vaughn and me.
I love Elder Vaughn; it has been really fun here. It is a little different but it is really awesome. The structure is a lot more relaxed and the Spanish is coming really fast, pretty much my comp is the only person that I speak any English with, so we are forced to speak all the time. We have two Latino elders in our room with us and they are so awesome. Elder Romero is from Honduras and going to Guat North Mission, Elder Gonzales is from The Ciudad and is going to one of the Honduras Missions. Elder Gonzales is about 5ft tall and 95 lbs soaking wet. He doesn’t speak a word of English, so that has been fun, but Elder Romero speaks English really well so that is really helpful.
We get to spend a lot of time out and about actually. Since the CCM is so overfull we have to walk over to the church building right next to the temple. I bet you could find it on Google maps, it’s a small building but it’s nice to go around. We teach the Latinos pretty often and they teach us, since they are only here for three weeks they are pretty new so they treat us like we actually know what we are doing, even though most of the time I feel like a lost puppy.
We have gone to the temple and asked members for referrals and taught them a little bit, and on Monday morning we are going tracting! Just Elder Vaughn and me ha-ha. We get assigned an area and they just take us and drop us off for a few hours, kind of crazy. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t freaking out a little bit, but at the same time I am soooo excited.
I am blown away at how tiny the people are here ha-ha. Everything is designed for them too. The shower head comes up to about mid chest for me, and basically the only part of my body that fits on my bed is from my neck to my shins, and my arms if I lay them on my chest, I feel like Buddy the Elf, the best part about it too is Elder Vaughn is 6´5, so its even worse for him. I love teaching with him; we tower over people.
We are in a ridiculously nice part of the city, everyone drives BMWs and Mercedes and there are no regulations or laws about window tint here so they all just have totally blacked out windows everywhere. Also outside of my window were looking at the temple and in the background you can just see these giant mansions everywhere, its insane, I will try and send some photos when I am out in the field. I can’t believe I only have 9 days left of the MTC! I am so excited.
To answer a few questions: Yeah there was a big group that flew down with us, but only 10 are going to Xela. The email restrictions are pretty tight here. There is a 3-week district, we are called the sixers because the six weeks in the mtc, and the old 3 weekers are called the old norte´s, all the white people are called norte´s, and the Latinos nativos. They are all new because they are only here for three weeks. We did not feel the earthquake but we are pretty sure we heard it, it was crazy loud one night. It sounded like 2 cannons going off, kind of crazy ha-ha. But they said it’s pretty usual here. I can’t believe Alex is engaged. That is so weird, what’s up with Bonesy too?
I got a ton of emails today so I am going to run. Tell Alex congrats for me! That is so awesome, I am sad that I will miss it. I wrote a toooon of letters today since we basically had nothing to do all day, so tell everyone to be expecting those. One last thing, dad was asking about the food: beans, rice, eggs, and carne. Pick three. All three meals a day. Yep. Awesome! Anyways I love you guys, hope to hear from you soon!
Les quiero. -Adam