Monday, February 27, 2012

Week 15

Dang, another week is over! The time is flying by! Here are a few stories/updates from the week that was...
1. We didn't end up having the wedding (and obviously the baptisms as well) because of a problem with the paperwork. The guy's last name is Caraccioli, but showed up as Daraccioli on his paperwork. It would be funny, but it meant they couldn't get married or baptized :( Anyway, they're working on fixing that, which could take a while cuz it has to be sent back to Tegucigalpa. I don't fully understand the legal stuff, but it's pretty frustrating in this instance.
2. I was sick for the first time this week. Kinda lame because we took a couple hours off Thursday night cuz I was feeling so bad. But I took some medicine and got a good night's sleep, and felt good as new Friday morning! And it hasn't bothered me since. Blessing? I think yes.
3. Inevitably, I end up having conversations with people about languages since I'm still learning Spanish. Maybe it's because I'm learning another language, but I've realized how many things in English don't really make sense. It's really hilarious when my companion reads scriptures in English though. He gets pretty frustrated that vowels can make different sounds in English (it's the same every time in Spanish). Also, there are some words in Spanish that are also English words but are pronounced differently. These always make me laugh because they sound ridiculous. The best example is "bus," which is pronounced "boose" in Spanish haha
4. Violence Story of the Week: This will explain why my blog entry from last week was so short as well. When we were typing e-mails last week, we heard a gunshot outside the Internet cafe we were using, but nobody really worried about it (that's how often it happens here). Anyway, after about 10 minutes, we saw this big crowd gathered across the street, so we went to check it out. And there, lying on the street, was a dead guy. It was only like 200 feet from where I was! What the heck! Why is there gun violence at 5 in the afternoon on a busy street?! This country is crazy... And to my parents (especially my mom), don't worry. It's a violent country, but missionaries are really safe. Everyone respects us, even if they don't agree with our church.
5. So apparently I was sleep-talking the night I was sick. Nobody has ever told me that I sleep-talk, so I really wanted to know what I said! Sadly, I was still talking in English, which meant my companion didn't know what I was saying. In fact, he was really confused by it haha. Maybe I'll start sleep-talking in Spanish soon, so he can tell me what I'm saying.
Ok, I gotta go, but I hope everyone has a great week. Enjoy your Leap Day! Love you all, and I'll keep you in my prayers
Elder Birt

Monday, February 20, 2012

Week 14

So we went to the beach this morning for a P-day extravaganza. It was ok, but considering it´s against mission rules to swim, we were kind of limited in our activities. Actually, it wasn´t very smart in my opinion cuz we wasted 3 hours of a P-day on a bus to and from the beach. P-days are precious! We can´t waste that time haha
The big news of the week was the progress with our work here in Progreso. That´s kind of ironic that ¨progreso¨ is ¨progress¨ in Spanish. I guess it´s meant to be. We have a wedding planned for Friday, with a baptism on the following day. The wife is a sure thing, but we are having problems with the husband. Hopefully, we get them sorted out in the next few days. Also, the boy we are trying to teach won´t come to church, so we still need to do some more work on that. All this means that most likely, we will only have 1 baptism this next week. We did find a few others that are interested in our message though, so that looks promising.
Ok the computer cafe is kicking me out! Sorry for the short entry. Hope everyone has a fantastic week!
Elder Birt

Monday, February 13, 2012

Week 13

Hey everyone! Hope everybody had a great week! It´s now been 3 weeks in Honduras for me, which in some ways feels like 3 days and in other ways feels like 3 months. Here´s a quick update on the week:
1. We played soccer this morning with a bunch of other missionaries, and some teenagers that are members of the church. We split up into three teams of 4 and the Latins thought it would be funny if one team was all Americans. So we took our turn getting owned by one of the Latin teams. Actually, by some miracle, we won one of our games, but it was pretty rough for the most part. I did lead the All-Gringo team in scoring though, so maybe I gained some respect from the Latins.
2. So the missionary work has been a bit of a struggle this week. The 9-year-old we were planning on baptizing didn´t come to church and still won´t talk to us very much. We´re also having a tough time finding investigators who are truly interested. But we do have a wedding set up for the 24th and hopefully we will baptize the couple the next day. Their kids are already members of the church, and we´ve been teaching them for quite a while. We´ve just been waiting for some paperwork to get through, so they can get married. (Apparently, noone is married here, so missionaries normally have to marry adults before baptizing them.)
3. We contacted a lady this week that had a naked kid running around the house! I was trying to focus on understanding Spanish, but at the same time was like ¨Hey, that kid needs some clothes!¨ It was an interesting experience.
4. The Spanish is slowly improving. I´ve noticed that it really depends on who is talking. Some people pronounce their words really well, and are fairly easy to understand. Others slur words, talk really quietly, and/or have crazy accents. Sometimes these people talk to my companion, and I´m amazed that he can understand them. It barely even sounds like a language!
5. I tried two foods this week that I´ve had in America, but never had here. The first was cake because we were celebrating a birthday! It was pretty disappointing compared to cake in the States. I don´t think they use as much sugar, which I was bummed about. Second was banana bread, which was AWESOME! They have tons of bananas here, so I guess everyone has plenty of practice making banana bread.
6. Special poll question: My companion celebrates his 21st birthday soon, and I need ideas for a gift. Keep in mind the limitations are that I´m always with him so he would see me buy something, that I´m in Honduras, and that I´m quite poor. It will take some creativity, but I know you guys can come through. If you have ideas, post them on my facebook, and my mom will send them to me.
Oh and if you want to send me something, here is my address:
Elder Cameron Birt
Honduras San Pedro Sula Misión
Apartado Postal 1970
San Pedro Sula, Cortés, Honduras C.A.
Keep in mind that it´s probably easier and also a little bit faster to use DearElder. But I do enjoy hand-written letters as well. So you now have the option. Hope everyone has a fantastic Valentine´s Day and week in general! ¡Que le vaya bien!
Elder Birt (or Beert in Honduras)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Week 12

The numbered paragraphs are in response to some of our questions to Cam:

1. I don't know the actual size of the ward, but we have had about 120 people in sacrament the last couple weeks. There are a lot of in-actives here though, so I'm sure the ward is actually pretty big. One of the big problems here is keeping people active in the church. We meet at 9 in the morning, and the church is only 3 blocks from our apartment.

2. The apartment is pretty nice, other than being a little dirty. And we have ants too. We haven't had to cook once cuz we either have our cook make us food or go to a different member's house (we pay our cook so don't worry). The members are always willing to feed us though. There's a lady in the ward that lets us use her washing machine, so that's not a big deal either. The bed isn't that great, but I'm so tired that it doesn't matter. And the bathroom is tiny!

3. My companion is ok, but the language barrier makes it really frustrating to communicate. He does some things that annoy me, but nothing really serious. And generally he's a really nice guy and patient with the language issue.

4. I heard about the peace corps thing too! Apparently there are some issues right now, and we were told to pack some clothes and leave if we saw anything bad. We have heard gunshots at night a few times, but it's always when we're back in our apartment. Still not very comforting though.  Also, we walk everywhere. We've gotten like two rides in cars from members since I've been here, but every other time, we walk.

Anyway, this week was pretty frustrating with the language issue. I can tell that I'm learning it, but it's tough to stay patient. During lessons, I pretty much know what's going on. But any other time, I'm quite confused. The members are really nice about it, and try to include me in conversations and sometimes speak a little English too. It really helped this last week where we had an exchange for a day, and i was with Elder Gonzalez from Nicaragua. We went contacting for about 3 hours and talked with quite a few people (everyone here is willing to listen to us for the most part). Every once in a while, he would stop talking and just look over at me, which forced me to talk (or try to talk). It actually helped quite a bit, and made me feel better about the language. Plus Elder Gonzalez was always talking with me when we were just walking between appointments, which really helped me with the language.

I forgot to mention this last week, but no one here can pronounce my name. It's always Beert instead of Birt. I've even started introducing myself as Elder Beert haha

We have another baptism scheduled for the 18th of February! It's a 9-year old boy named Fernando in a less-active family. The hard part has been getting him to talk to us because he's one of the shyest people I've ever met. But we had a breakthrough on Saturday, when we took a couple other boys from the ward. They struck up a friendship really quick, so Fernando is a little more willing to talk to us now.

Ok I've been working on a couple random talents this week while we walk around in between appointments. The first is that snapping thing that they do in Central America (you hold your thumb and middle finger together, and whack your index finger against them). I can actually do it now, but it's not too loud yet. I'll keep working on it. And for the first time in my life, I can roll R's! I can't use it in speech yet, but I can definitely do it. So those are my insignificant accomplishments of the week :)

For all mail, just send it to the mission home or use dearelder. They bring the mail to us once a week on Tuesdays. DearElder is the fastest way to get in touch, but will still take about 2-3 weeks to get to me. And then I have to send a letter back, which usually takes 3-4 weeks And a special shout-out to Zach Jones for sending the first letter that reached me in Honduras!

Mission Home Address:
Honduras San Pedro Sula Mission
12 Calle, Avenida Circunvalacion, S.O.
Edif. Yude Canahuati, 3 Nivel, Oficina 4
San Pedro Sula, Cortez