Monday, January 30, 2012

Week 11

Dang what a crazy week! It seems like I haven´t had a P-day in months! But here´s a quick rundown of what life has been like in Honduras:
1. First, the change meeting, where we found out where we are going and who our companion is. There were at least 100 missionaries there, so it was pretty crazy. But I am now serving in Progreso, which is about 45 minutes outside San Pedro. There´s been a lot of success the last few weeks (my companion baptized 8 people the weekend before I got here). So I´m excited to be here and start the work.
2. My companion is Elder Jimenez from Mexico. He knows pretty much nothing in English. I think I´ve heard him speak about 20 words in English in the last 5 days, so it´s truly immersion haha. He only has 3 months left in the mission, so I think I´m with him until he leaves. Also, he´s an awesome teacher, as evidenced by his 65 baptisms! Luckily, he´s been really patient with me since I suck so much at Spanish...
3. ...which leads to the language. To be honest, there have been times where the people here could have been speaking Swedish and it wouldn´t have made a difference haha. I think I´ve improved a lot just in the short time I´ve been here though. I do ok when we´re teaching lessons, but if it´s any other topic, I´m usually hopelessly lost. I guess it´s a long process, but that doesn´t make it any less frustrating.
4. I had a baptism on Saturday! Haha that really should have been the first bullet, since that´s the whole point of me being here. His name is Ernesto, and apparently his brother just returned from his mission in Costa Rica. They´re two of the humblest, nicest people I´ve ever met, and it was an honor to baptize him. I was terrified of messing up his full name (David Ernesto Castro Rodriguez) or the baptismal prayer in Spanish, but it went off without a hitch :)
5. The food is macizo (slang for cool)! We´ve had some combination of tortillas, beans, and rice for pretty much every meal, but it´s all tasted amazing! Their main food is the baleada, which has this awesome sauce thing on it. This all means I´m going to gain weight here haha
6. It´s been ridiculously hot here, with some intense humidity too. It´s kinda like Houston weather, except no places have air-conditioning to make it better. The best part of the day is turning the fan on full-blast after a long day and then taking a cold shower (there´s no choice for showers- it has to be cold haha)
7. There´s trash all over the place.
8. Obviously, soccer is king here! We see people playing in the road every day, and we actually played as a district this morning. I held my own, but I´m definitely no Pele.
9. I feel awkwardly tall here haha. I´ve seen about 2 people within 4 inches of me and everyone else is super short
10. Everyone is so friendly! We talk to everyone in the roads, and the members are always willing to let us in and feed us. No offense, but the wards here are way closer than the ones in the States- it´s like everyone is family.
11. There are dogs, chickens, and even a few horses in the road just wandering around. Kind of a culture shock haha
12. The driving is ridiculous here! It´s mostly dirt roads, but the few cement roads are pretty busy. And apparently there aren´t any traffic laws, so it´s like playing Frogger every time we cross the street haha
13. I saw a lizard in my shower the other day... and my companion acted like it was no big deal.
14. The money situation here is awesome! Everything is super cheap, especially water which you can get for 2 lempiras (about 10 cents). Oh, and the water comes in bags instead of bottles haha
15. We have cooks! How awesome is that? I don´t think I´ll have to cook for the whole mission, but we´ll see how it goes. Not really sure if they do our laundry too though.
Ok that´s all for now. The work here is going well, and I´m excited to learn the language so I can be more effective with teaching. I love the country though! Hope everyone has an excellent week. ¡Cheque!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Week 9

36 Hours!! Ya that's how much time I have left until I leave for Honduras! It's really crazy to think about, but I'm so excited to get going with the teaching there.
Ok stories of the week!
1. We had in-field orientation yesterday, which basically teaches all of the other stuff about missionary work other than teaching. So we learned how to contact, find investigators, work with members, and all that other stuff that people don't normally think about. I learned a lot, but it was mentally draining because we had classes the entire day.
2. Our teacher, Hermano Davis, decided to tell us all the crazy stories from his mission this week. The most intense one was when a guy answered the door and pointed a gun at him. Hermano Davis was just super bold and told him the consequences (both in this life and the life to come) if he decided to pull the trigger. Obviously the guy left him alone, but it was an interesting story about how God protects his missionaries.
3. Speaking of guns, they just did a study of the most dangerous cities in the world. Guess who was #7? Some random city in Mexico. Whew thank goodness. But #3 was Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. Thankfully it's not in our mission. The bad news is that San Pedro Sula was the #1 MOST DANGEROUS CITY IN THE WORLD according to this study. I guess we'll see how that goes...
4. Just to calm you down after reading the last paragraph, we talked with another teacher that served in Honduras, and he said it's the most amazing mission ever! He had a maid in most of his areas, which I'm crossing my fingers for haha. His mouth almost started watering when he talked about the food, especially balelletas (?) which he said was one of the best foods he's ever had. But most importantly, he said the people are really humble and ready to listen to our message. I'm so excited to get going, and I know the Lord has prepared people specifically for me and everyone else in my district. I've loved my time at the MTC, but now it's the real deal! Next week's letter will be coming from Honduras... if i can find a computer haha. Anyway, hope everyone has an amazing week- I'll be praying for all of you! :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Week 8

Hey guys! Hope everyone had an awesome week! The big news for me is that our district got our travel plans yesterday! Our flight is at 1 in the morning on Jan. 23, so that should be interesting. Hopefully I can get some sleep on the plane, else the first few days in Honduras will be terrible. We're all really excited to go though. We had an extra week in the MTC because of some scheduling issue, so our district wasn't too happy about that. Anyway, thanks to everyone for the letters! I'll try to respond to everyone either this week or next week cuz I'm pretty sure the Honduran mail system will be a little sketchy haha. Ok here are some stories from the week:
1. We got a new district in our zone this week, which meant Elder Hebert and I were pretty busy as the zone leaders. We taught them Wednesday and Thursday night, but the funnest part was that we got to give a tour of the MTC last night! It might not sound that exciting, but it breaks up the normal routine a little haha. Plus the new district seems really awesome, and we finally got some sisters in our zone!
2. Elder Hebert and I were asked to do a demonstration of how to begin teaching for the new missionary orientation! It was a neat experience because we got to start the lesson, and then the new missionaries combined in a super-companionship to finish the lesson. Watching the new missionaries teaching made me realize how much I've grown as a teacher. Not that they were bad at teaching, but it was just fun to realize how much I've grown since that first day. I was making the same mistakes they were just a few weeks ago, but I've learned so much here in the MTC!
3. We got to host again for the new missionaries, which is always fun! The two guys I hosted were both really friendly and ready to get going on their missions. So basically, I was helping A LOT with the new missionaries this week. I think I've pretty much done everything a person can do in the MTC, and I'm glad I got the full experience.
4. Our teacher that got reassigned to another district (my bff, Hermana Keele) came back to visit this week! And she gave us a gift! We do these things on the computer called language speaking assessments (LSA), and apparently they save them from everyone who has been in the MTC! So we got to listen to both of our teachers from when they were in the MTC learning Spanish! It was pretty hilarious because they sound like we do right now! So that made me feel a lot better about learning the language. It reminded me that learning Spanish will be a process, and even our teachers had to struggle through that process.
5. I don't know why this bugs me so much, but I can't roll R's! Everyone in my district can except me and one other elder, so it's kinda frustrating sometimes. If anyone has any ideas to help me out, let me know.

Ok that's all I have for this week. I'm really stoked to leave for Honduras and teach real people our wonderful message! Oh, and I think my P-day will be on Saturday next week, although I'm not 100% sure. So don't be freaked out if there isn't a blog for Friday (this is mainly for my mom haha). Hope everyone has a fantastic week! Go Packers! Haha nos vemos :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Week 7

Hey guys! Hope everyone had a good week and a good start to 2012! It's been a pretty hectic week for me, so I'll get to the details:
1. Our Branch President came to see Elder Hebert and I in the computer lab on Sunday. He barely even said hello to us before saying "Hey, we want you elders to be zone leaders." Elder Hebert and I were both shocked by the news, but we accepted so now we're zone leaders! In the MTC, we don't really have to do that much. It's basically just interviewing the district leaders once a week, writing a report on each district, and being in meetings ALL DAY on Sunday. So it's some extra responsibility, but nothing too overwhelming. One positive is I've really gotten to know the younger districts a lot better as a result. But the coolest thing will be next week when our zone gets a new district. As zone leaders we get to welcome them and give the MTC campus tour, so that should be pretty fun!
2. Also, because of our newfound veteran status at the MTC, we got to usher for a devotional this week and host the new missionaries! Ushering ended up being really anticlimactic, so I don't have much to say about that. But hosting the new missionaries was an interesting experience. It brought back all those emotions of when I entered the MTC - of being nervous, overwhelmed, and excited all at the same time. I ended up hosting two new missionaries, which basically means giving them a quick tour of campus, showing them where they'll live, where their classroom is, etc. It was really interesting to see other people go through the same thing I did a few weeks ago. Oh and I get to do it next week too, so that will be sweet!
3. Our teaching schedule has been a lot more intense this week haha. Yesterday, we taught 3 lessons in like 2 hours! We also got a new teacher- NO MORE HERMANA KEELE! NOOOO! It's amazing how attached you become to your teachers after only 7 weeks, but it's true. It's a real bummer, but at least we got to keep Hermano Davis :) Our new teacher is named Brother Harker and he's pretty cool. He served a Spanish-speaking mission in Canada, which I thought was pretty strange haha. Anyway, our best lesson of the week was when we taught Ariel (Hermano Davis) about the law of tithing. He told us that he literally did not have enough money to give up 10%, but after hearing our lesson and talking about it a little more, he agreed to try. It's amazing how much faith some people have to do that. I'm sure I'll have an experience or two like that in Honduras too.
4. So I don't know if I mentioned this last week, but we have English-speaking missionaries as our roommates now (they're actually going to Houston!). Anyway, we've become good friends with them, and we actually have had some good talks about life over the last week. They also have some crazy stories- one of them told us about breaking his femur on a trampoline, how he fell asleep one time while driving a car, etc. But the really funny thing is that Hebert and I just have private conversations in Spanish sometimes, so they don't know what we're saying. Not very often, but it's kind of funny. Also, we told them the word "embarazado" means embarassed, which seems reasonable. But in fact, it means pregnant haha. So every once in a while, our roommate will say he's very pregnant when he thinks he is saying "embarassed." So make sure none of you make that mistake, especially around people that speak Spanish.
Ok I'm out of time, but I hope you all have an awesome week! Also, thanks for all of the letters- it's great to hear from you guys :) Hasta luego!