Q. What are you doing for service?
A. I don't know as we haven´t had service yet. The day we were supposed to do it, it fell through, and because I can´t speak spanish perfectly yet, I don´t know why. We did help clean the church though, I got to use my mad mopping skills.
Q. What do you do for daily exercise?
A. Walk. To be honest, I use the time in the morning to shower, and have a great breakfast. I also use it as a little extra study time. However today, we are getting a disk of P90X from the Zone leaders, so I will start doing that.
I assume because of all the speed walking we do everywhere I'm probably not gaining weight, its just turning to muscle.
Q. What is the church building like?
A. I have some pictures for you, but the building we meet it used to be a house I think. It is very pretty, and the architecture seems to like large open spaces.
Q. What does the area look like? flat? rolling hills? A lot of trees?
A. Flat, wet, and random weeds (that isn't meant to sound depressed). We live in an area that has a lot of houses, so although I can see mountains that are green all around us, we don't spend time in that area. It reminds me of where we live in Lehi actually, but the houses are smaller, and the windows are all barred. There are a lot of trees that people have, but it is more like the trees we have, they are there for looks, we aren't in the jungle.
Q. How are you sleeping? Do you have a pillow? Any trouble with bed bugs?
A. I don´t think I have trouble with bed bugs. I have been sleeping well, because we work and walk all day, and I am pretty tired at the end of the day. I try however to write in my journal every night, so when I come home I have a lot more details to share that are too long for a journal.
I don´t actually have a pillow, so I have taken to putting my laundry bag inside the pillow protector you had me buy, and ´putting my pillowcase over that. Its not the most comfortable thing ever, but for me its better than nothing.
The only trouble sleeping I have had is this morning, I woke up about 3 times before 6 :15, and I didn't feel very rested. AtI tried to get up, but when I started my morning prayers, I fell asleep again in a weird position so my neck hurts a little.
Q. Describe one thing you have learned or thought about this week.
A. I can´t really name a specific experience, but I lot of my week I have been thinking about how we are called to teach those that are ready. Its interesting to look around and think about everyone how they need the gospel, but we literally can´t teach everyone. The nice thing about this area is we don´t spend a lot of time specifically finding people. Most of the people we teach are friends or family of members. I can only think of really one time so far where we went tracting. Here in this part of the mission, that consists of standing outside a house, and yelling Buenas, which people in this area seem to say more than hola. If they have time for a message, we teach them. We found someone our first try, so we didn't tract very much.
Anyway, sorry for the random sidetrack. Everyday I see everyone and I think about how they could use the gospel, but we can´t teach everyone. We find those that are ready, and teach them.
It made me think about how in the missionary work in our own area, we don´t need to call the missionaries about everyone that isn't members, instead, we give them specific names of people that we have regular contact with. Then they automatically have a friend in the church, and the missionaries have a member that can hopefully go to lessons.
That is another thing, I appreciate more now having a normal person. Everyone here knows the missionaries, even if they don´t all want to listen to them. They know we are preachers, and that we do it all day. But when we teach, and we can say ^^aqui es Hermana __________, quien es su amigo de escuela. Ella es un miembro de la iglesia, y ella tiene un testimonio tambien^^ (Here is sister __________, who is your friend from school. She is a member of the church, and has a testimony also). Suddenly the gospel is more than a good message taught by the Elders, it is something real, that has helped someone they know. It helps them realize how it can help them.
Q. How often do you get your dear elder letters?
A. I got the ones from Sept 8 today. So I guess they take about 2 weeks. Also, the zone leaders have to make the 3 hour trek to Tegucigalpa and back, so it depends on if they have time.
In the spirit of backing things up, and because I don´t want to carry around all the letters you have been sending me, I have been using an extra memory card to take pictures of my letters. That way If I need extra space in my bags, I can through them away. Don´t be afraid, I am keeping my favorites, like Melanies missionary horse. Also, I will keep as many as I can, this is just in case.
Q. Are there some branch members you are getting along well with or who are helpful in your missionary work?
A. La Family Pavon (The Pavon Family) is one of our favorite families to use. He has been a member for close to 15 years, and his children are some of the few to have raised more in the church. Especially his daughter Dina (about 25), is really active and has a strong testimony. Their entire family loves to talk to the missionaries, and are willing to help any way we can. Usually when we go over there, they offer us free bags of COLD water, which is nice. For a while Dina cooked lunch for us, but now she is in school, studying law.
They have given us several refferals in their area, and are happy to let us use their home for a lesson or a noche de hogar. They also have a small shop, so if we need anything small during the week, instead of going to Centro, we just buy it there.
I will admit that this week, especially today, I was a little trunky (homesick in missionary speak). What made it better was thinking of the success we had this week. We didn't have any baptisms, but we hopefully set up at least 2 this week. Also, we had a lesson with the boyfriend of a member, that I could understand almost all of. Because I could understand, I could help more in the lesson. I felt it was one of our best lessons yet.
I guess this is my advice to new missionaries, or anyone who is homesick anywhere, look at your successes, your failures are covered by the atonement of Christ, and everything else you can enjoy. In the CCM, we watched a talk by Neil A Anderson where he promised us the joy of the lord, like the companions of Alma felt. I know I have felt that this week. Parts of it were rouph, but I can see how we followed the example of the lord. I can see how we can help his children.
Oreos, fried oreos
Not a normal food, but a good party food for a zone meeting.
As a bonus this week Graig sent his reply to his friend Whitney's letter with more Q&A about his mission.
On the rain:
It always seems to rain like the ocean is dumping on us when I forget my umbrella...ugh. But it means I can work on being part fish.
Q. What is the time difference there?
A. Theoretically none, I think we are the same as Utah, unless daylight savings time messes stuff up.
Q. What are the people like down there? Is money tight, or are you in a richer part of the neighborhood?
A. Honestly in my area are some that seem about like our neighborhood to poor. We don´t have any really rich people. It is surprising though how everyone still has electricity and cell phones (except the missionaries for some reason).
Everyone in general is a lot more friendly than people in the US. Everyone usually says hello to everyone, even if it is quick, and if they are eating at the time, they will usually share. Because people like to have visitors, it is not uncommon for our visits to always be about an hour. We don´t really do quick lessons here, which is nice, because I am slow!
Q. Do you walk everywhere? are the streets packed? If so, with people or vendors, both?
A. Yes, I walk everywhere, so I feel really buff. The streets are pretty safe and open, but there is a definite order. Horse drawn carts are a lot more common than here. The order is basically:
Bicycles (there are lots of these)
Dogs, and the occasional cat.
In my area the vendors are there, but most of the food is in more of a restaurant style inside someones house.
Q. How's the food? Hot? Spicy? Yummy? Questionable?
A. Its all a little questionable from the street. The mission nurse told us to be careful. It isn´t usually spicy, but the weirdest thing I ate was the spiciest Sardine I think ever. My eyes burned a little, but juice is very common, so I took a long swig of that.
Because we are right next to the ocean (though I still haven´t seen it), fish is common and popular. It reminds me of the fish from the uintas.