Monday, September 24, 2012

Week 44

Hey everyone! Hope Fall is treating you right. To be honest, there's only one season here, so I'm continuing to suffer in the heat. It's a good suffering though haha

So, this was one of those weeks where every possible baptism fell off the face of the earth, which kinda bums me out. We were going to baptize Gabby and Mel, two little girls who live with their inactive grandmother and non-member grandfather. But the grandparents keep doing things to prevent them from going to church. I don't know whether it's intentional or unintentional, but it sure is frustrating. One of our other progressing investigators, a 19 year old guy named Edin, moved. Apparently, he still lives in our area, but we haven't found his house and he didn't go to church either. And then there's this girl Lili, a 16-year old girl who was a reference from her cousins and aunt. She cried in the first lesson we had with her because she felt the spirit so strongly. She was ready to get baptized. But then her mom said she can't and that they're moving to San Pedro next week. That's just the ups and downs of missionary work, I suppose. Maybe we planted the seed, and these people will overcome their problems and be baptized sometime in the future. That's what I keep telling myself anyway...

In the cultural highlight/weirdly cool story of the week, I de-grained (the spanish word is desgranar, so I hope "de-grained" actually makes sense haha) corn for the first time this week. As I've said in the past, we kind of live in the middle of nowhere, so there are a lot of people with farms. Recently, there have been some corn harvests, so occasionally we come across people preparing corn (I'm assuming to make corn tortillas, since they're used in about every meal). Anyway, we helped two people this week with taking corn off the cob and putting it in big barrels. I'm not really sure why, but I enjoyed it quite a bit :)

Also, we had a zone conference this past week in the mission office. I'll repeat again- air conditioning might be the best invention of all time. But seriously, it was a really powerful spiritual experience, and I learned a LOT of things that we need to incorporate in our missionary efforts here in San Marcos. Our leaders are also putting a HUGE emphasis on the Book of Mormon, which makes sense because it is the evidence of everything we teach. I like it too because I've gained an even greater love for the Book of Mormon here on the mission. I'm about to finish it for the third time in Spanish too! :)

Que tengan una buena semana! Espero que todo esté super macizo allí en los Estados. And Happy Anniversary to my parents! Congrats on another year!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Week 43

So yesterday, I hit the 10-month mark on the mish. The time just keeps on rolling along right? It seems like everything is going to be so much different when I get back though. Well, onward to the highlights (and lowlights) of the week...

Last Tuesday, some genius in Honduras decided to close down the ONLY highway this side of San Pedro for a political demonstration. It also happens to be the highway that we needed to use to go to our district meeting... and the highway that thousands of other people were using that day. We ended up walking about a 4-mile stretch lined with cars to get to another bus. I'm definitely not voting for that guy haha

Friday, we had another service project with that same guy where we planted corn. This time, we hauled lumber for him, which was pretty back-breaking work. After we roasted the corn that I helped plant, and ate it right there in the corn field! Kind of a cool experience.

What was NOT a cool experience was when my comp lost the key to our house. We've had key issues before, and long story short, there's no backup key. So, using a combination of screwdrivers, rocks, a hammer, and brute force, we broke the lock off the door and were able to enter the house. The bad news? It took us an hour to do it, and we still haven't bought a new lock and keys. Currently, we're using fingernail clippers or a knife to open our door, which makes me feel like McGyver.

In baptism news, we're hitting a streak of pretty bad luck. We're having a hard time getting people to church, which obviously makes it pretty tough to baptize. It's still possible that we baptize 4 more during September, but only one looks even close to a sure thing. But the first priority this week is sealing up those baptisms :)

In the cultural note of the week, it's time to talk about one of the most annoying things about Honduras: weddings. In order for families to get baptized, they have to be married first, which is obviously great. But here, it's a HUGE pain to set up a wedding. We have to get these documents called partidas, which basically mean that the person who we're marrying is currently unmarried. The bad thing is you have to get the partida from the place of birth of the person. Since our area is so huge, our leaders ask us to get a bunch of partidas to help other missionaries with their weddings. For example, this last week we took out another partida, and due to a variety of circumstances, ended up wasting five hours to do so. That was also the day my comp lost the key haha. It's funny now, but it definitely wasn't then.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers, for reading the blog, and for sending letters. You guys have really been great in the 10 months I've been gone. This week, special thanks to my parents for the package, and to Gram, Michael, Orson, and Ashlee for your letters. Also, congrats to Ashlee on your MISSION CALL TO NORWAY! I feel like you kinda rigged it by taking Norweigan in college though. But congrats nonetheless! Hope everyone has a great week y nos vemos en la semana que viene!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Week 42

Today is "Dia del Niño!" Don't worry, I don't really know what it means either. Apparently, all the kids in Honduras break a bunch of piñatas and eat a ton of candy. Pretty cool holiday if you ask me. But I took a break from the piñata-breaking to write you guys about the week that was...

As far as baptism news, it was a bit of a slow week. Out of our main investigators, we are teaching two little girls (age 10 and 8), who are daughters of a member who moved to Belize. They live with their grandma, who is also a member, but is super inactive. So the difficulty has been finding people to support them, help them go to church, etc. It's still a work in progress... Also, we are working with a 19-year old guy named Edin. He's already gone to church twice, but both times it felt like we had to drag him there. He just needs a little motivation, preferably from the spirit. Also, we have tentative baptismal dates for two other people, references from a super awesome member family that help us a ton. Sadly, those five people didn't go to church yesterday, which made me feel pretty down. We'll see if we can help them out this coming week, and seal up a baptismal date or two... or five haha.

In the crazy/funny story of the week, we went to a member's house on Friday to teach a quick lesson, invite her to church, and if possible invite her non-member husband as well. Well, turns out they had a visitor, who is a friend of the family. We started talking with this guy, and realized after a little bit that he was drunk. He was still cognizant of what was going on though, so we taught him a bit about the word of wisdom. After the lesson though, he told us he was a part of a band, and that he wanted to sing a song for us. He proceeded to sing a song for us, while "playing" his harmonica, which was really just a piece of paper he put to his mouth and started humming. It was loads of fun, and I enjoyed it a lot haha

In the cultural note of the week, we're gonna mix things up and talk a little about music. (Just a disclaimer, missionaries are not supposed to listen to worldly music. But I'm on buses for about 4 hours a week, which ALWAYS have music playing. Plus we hear music in the streets quite a bit too.) For some reason, Hondurans actually listen to quite a bit of music in English. Sadly, the most popular English artist is Pit Bull. I'll be honest, I still don't understand most of the music in Spanish, but my favorite songs in Spanish are by a guy named Prince Royce. He sings in English and Spanish too, so you get the best of both worlds! Look him up on youtube if you have time, and you can get a feel for the Honduran ambiance that I enjoy every day :)

Tengo que irme porque se fue la luz en San Marcos y les estoy escribiendo en Quimistan. Tenemos que viajar en bus hasta San Marcos para trabajar el resto del día. Gracias por todo su apoyo! Y gracias por usar la traducción de Google para entender lo que digo. Hasta la próxima semana! Adios

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Week 41

So this week's e-mail comes to you on a Tuesday. And the reason why takes a little while to explain...

It all started Monday morning, when our zone started our journey to hike Mount Cosuco. In order to do it, we found a guy to drive about 10 miles up a steep dirt road with 14 missionaries in the bed of a truck. That was a bit of a nerve wracking experience. Then, to make matters worse, the car broke down when we were almost to the top. The driver told us he would fix it while we hiked/explored the rest of the mountain. It was a lot of walking to see a waterfall (which I admit, was pretty cool) and a crappy park (which wasn't cool at all). After that little extravaganza, we returned to where the car had broken down... to find out that it still didn't work. To make a long story short, we had to wait until 7:00 at night for them to fix the car. Then we took the 10-mile ride back down a steep mountain in a recently-repaired car... still with 14 missionaries in the bed of the truck. We said a lot of prayers before that part of the journey, and we sang hymns for most of the ride as well. Kind of a strangely cool, bonding experience for the zone. Anyway, we finally made it back down safely. However, there were no longer buses to take us back to San Marcos, which meant we had to spend the night at another companionship's house (coincidentally Elder Hebert's house). I slept (or tried to sleep on the concrete floor), and we went to our meeting this morning. I am currently wearing Elder Hebert's missionary clothes with my tennis shoes because he didn't have another pair of shoes. I feel ridiculous haha. But at least we're all ok, and I'm finally back in my area.

K I only have 30 minutes today, so gotta make it quick

- We had another baptism! I performed the baptism of Jessica on Saturday, and we had a pretty big turnout! Baptisms make me so happy haha :)

- There is a member family in my area with a pet squirrel. One day, we went to visit them, and the squirrel had escaped it's cage. I'm sure you already know this, but squirrels are extremely fast and difficult to catch. We all tried to catch it for about 10 minutes, until I finally was able to grab it. He wasn't too happy about that, and proceeded to bite me about 10 times before I could put him in the cage. Don't worry, I'm pretty sure I don't have rabies. I've only foamed at the mouth once since then (Just Kidding mom!)

- Last week, I talked about baleadas, so I thought I would keep up the theme of food. This week... bananas! Hondurans include bananas in pretty much everything. In addition to plain bananas, they have banana soda. They have platinos, which is like a bigger, less sweet version of a banana. They put bananas in soup, which in my opinion, is a terrible idea. And they make "tejadas," which can best be described as a banana chip. They slice up bananas, and fry them like potato chips. It's actually quite good. Anyway, that's all for this week. Eat a banana for me, and stay away from steep, dangerous Honduran roads. Adios!