Guatemala is a third world country for sure. dirt floors, dirty water, ants everywhere, street dogs, busses crammed full with people, trash everywhere on the side of the unpaved roads, luchous ( can't spell in english anymore) trees and bushes, chickens in houses, mosquito bites, it`s gonna be great. I think it is quite interesting that people will have a cell phone, but have a dirt floor in their house. houses are made of cement or random wood slabs, tin roofs and they usually have a light bulb or two in the house.
I would have to say my "culture shock" has not been too bad though. I kind of expected it to be like this...kinda. I just know to take things as they come and love it. "come what may and love it" I had a mini melt down session one time, but it was okay. I just got stressed when my companions said I would probably be in this area for 6 months. as I said, it is hot and humid, and I know my happiness depends a lot upon the weather and my ability to communicate with people. and since we are the only sisters in this area, and one of my companions will be going home next transfer, and my trainer will probably get moved after training me for the 12 week training program, it probably means I will have to train in this area too, and teach someone where to go (we have the biggest area) know all of the investigators, and so on, so yeah, it was a bit of a stressful thought, but I'm okay. it will be okay.
It was a little sad to say goodbye to my ccm district. I loved those people so much. I learned a lot from them. To follow up on past stories, I can do a pull-up (our 6 week program was a success) we had our half-court lightning game and the three of us who have been practicing did really well. The other two sisters were 1st and 2nd place. I was proud. I took on the nick name "docta hutch" from hermana Fitzgerald. it didn`t have a specific reason (her friend, hunter hutchins, got the nickname docta hutch and he is going to go to med school or something) idk, but I kind of liked it. It would be sweet to actually be a doctor. I think I drew a total of 22 pictures of christ in the ccm, really neat experience. So there is a little sum up of some ccm stuff.
so I have so much to say, but no time to say it.
I miss vegetables. everything we eat has to be peeled or cooked. sister cacool cooks our lunches and dinners and does our laundry. she is awesome, she`s a little guatemala woman who knows how to work and has a heart of gold. pretty much our grandma.
we greet all of the women here with a kiss on the cheek/air by the cheek. I really like that closeness and friendliness people have here. In america people can be ridiculous. People will walk around campus, see one of their old roommates and not even make eye-contact, whereas here, a stranger will come up to you, give you a hug, kiss on the cheek, pat your hand or something and take pictures with you and still not even know your name. I really like that about the people.
kids here are stinkin' adorable too! I love how much faith children have. I committed a 10 year old girl to baptism on my first day out in the field. I have actually commited 3 people to baptism just this week. So that was pretty exciting.
I am in a trio! and I love it. My companions are just great. one, hermana Ramirez is from new york city and is half-nicaraguan. She only has been in the field for about 4 months, but she is my official trainer. she is really good at spanish, but is not perfect. she is super fun to be with and is a great friend. I am so grateful to have someone that knows english so that I can get filled in on things when I really need it. But we don't speak english very much at all, usually just a bit in the evenings. She looks VERY similar to my good friend Rachelle Larsen, so that`s kinda cool. Sometimes it makes me miss my friends, but at the same time, it is also comforting, strange, but that's just my life.
My other companion, Hermana Ceballos is from Mexico, and she only has about 5 or 6 weeks left for her mission. she is a really great teacher of the gospel and knows just where to go. She is nice and fun. People love her here. She reminds me a lot of Jane, my sister, and is very positive. I am so grateful for my amazing companions.
The language is coming and my companions help me learn more and more every day. I don`t say much when we are in a meeting with people because I don`t understand much unless we are talking about gospel topics. I think it is funny when people will ask my companions, "does she speak?" I can understand that phrase, my companions always say that I can, I usually reply with a "un pocito" ( a little bit)
I stick out just as I suspected. since my american companion is half niceraguan, she only sticks out because she has beautiful big eyes and long eye lashes, but me, being the 5 foot 9 ish white girl with debatably blonde hair that I have, I do attract attention. and whistles, and little phrases in broken english "hey baby, how are you doin?" yeah. it`s fine though. I don`t feel too weird. I just have to be careful not to hit my head on things like power lines and roof tops hanging over the edge. I think I`ve only hit my head on something 3 times the first day. success!
I have a new batch of bugbites :) but I`m still alive! I had one really sketchy one that was about 4 inches in diameter and in a bulls-eye formation, which is a sign of lymes disease (thanks elise bowen for letting me sit in on your infectious disease class one day last year) well yeah, that was scary, because you can go blind and die from lymes disease, I called the old mission nurse (the new one is my mtc companion, but she is not the official one yet) she said put some medicine on it. I'm fine! I'm not blind or dead!
riding the busses is cool. There aren`t a lot of cars. mostly just busses, taxis, and motocycles. We ride in the busses ( 15 passenger vans) most of the time because it is cheaper than taking a taxi. it`s not unusual to have 22 people in a 15 passenger van. It`s really cool how it works though. usually there is a boy preteenager who hangs out the side and yells wherever they are going to and helps people get in and out and exchange the money and such. they need to have loud voices and are very quick with they money exchanging. It`s pretty neat what kids are allowed to do here.
Sorry this is random, but we carry little rags around with us all of the time to whipe our sweat. my make up usually consists of mascara. going to the bathroom is a concern for me, for I never know the next time we will be at a place that has a restroom. you don`t put your toilet paper in the toilet, rather, in a trash bag next to it. My companions never seem to need to go to the restroom, apparently it's an aquired skill which I don`t have yet. Therefore, I am hesitant to drink water because I know it will go right through me, but I know I need water because it is SO hot here. oh 3rd world problems.
Being here has made me so grateful for everything. I`m grateful for my eyes, for glasses, shoes (especially my crocs), my good teeth, clean water (when we buy it) showers, an apartment with a floor,money to live, relatively clean food, my watch, a good back pack, usually running water, my good companions, and the gospel especially.
we have about a 7% active rate for the members here. there is apparantly some 1000 members in the branch, but only about 70 show up for church. some people don`t have the money to take a bus/taxi to church on sundays ( wich is like $1.50 there and back) There was like 6 or so adult men there. (Oh how I wish more men would get the desire to DO stuff.) I find it to be true in"the family, a proclamation to the world" it talks about how a country is only as strong as the homes in the country. That is how I feel about this place. There just seems to be way more women than men. The world needs good valiant men to be leaders, examples, providers, and protectors.
spiritual moments come with teaching. I`ll be sitting there feeling like hellen keller because I can`t understand what is being said, and I can`t speak the language fluently (and with my "lymes disease" bite, maybe I won`t be able to see either ;), jk, I`ll be fine) well yeah, I feel like hellen keller, but I`ll get promptings to say something, and I don`t know what people are even talking about, but I`ll just jump in and say it with the best spanish I can, with as much power from the spirit that I can. Those moments are moments of acting in faith, but they are really neat, at least for me.
I really enjoy lessons and being able to learn from my companions too, they bear great testimonies that uplift me too.
I am very grateful for my good life, and I am very grateful for this amazing ac and internet right now. I am grateful for the gospel, I am learning more and growing stronger in my testimony.
I love you all!
mom, what is jane`s new job. jane needs to write me an email about her new married life! send me pictures of the reception when you get them, I am so grateful for your good friends too, mom. I hope susan does well with school starting and all. I thought a lot about jane this weekend. I love my sister. and no I haven`t seen the new temple video, probably won`t get to either since the nearest temple is 6 hours away from me. susan, can you get wendy roberts mission email for me? emails are good, there is a computer lab place. letters would take a long time to get here.
elise bowen (ps, you should write me an email.) and I know alexa shmeilie...or something like that.