Life is getting better here out in puerto barrios. We moved apartments saturday to this cleaner, more airy (wind is important people) apartment over a couple of streets. I was a little sad to say good bye to the neighbors talking parrots. they were so friendly, they would always say "buenos dias" or "hola". I think that's pretty legit if you ask me. but i wasn't so sad to say good bye to the pug dogs that bark and drool on us through the gate right next to our apt. door. We had a miricle of help moving our stuff. Seriously, no one here has cars, but somehow we got a hold of someone with a truck who we could pay 40 Q (like 5 bucks) for every trip to our new place. 3 or 4 men from the ward were there to help move all of our stuff. I am so grateful for them because carrying all of our stuff up 3 flights of stairs in the middle of the afternoon isn't what I would call prime. well, thanks to them we are now in a new and cleaner apartment. it is smaller, but I like the balcony as well. I'm getting more used to the humidity and heat so that's good news.
some random stories:
last week, one night, we finished a nice lesson a bit late (but not too late, but it was time for us to go back to our apt.) we were leaving, and it was raining. a lot. but the part-member family let us use a couple of umbrellas and a big rain coat. well, we thought things wouldn`t be too bad, but a couple minutes later when we were walking in the street (they don't have side walks here) when the "river" was up to our knees, we just laughed. and laughed, and trugged along for the mile or so walk back to our apt. We got home and had issues with our shower (in the old apt.) so it turnes out I didn't get to shower until the next morning. life is life. I was just a little concerned with all of the dirt, and garbage, and who knows whatever that was stuck to my leg for a while in the street "river".
driving here is also an adventure. we don't drive, but we ride a lot, and walk in the streets a lot. Driving is pretty much a game of "chicken" and cutting people off is just how it is done here. and there is no such thing as "j-walking" or that is all they have here. aka, there are no rules for pedestrians! just good luck!
the game of catch phrase and charades continues on! pretty much when I talk, or if my companion has a new word for me, we have to explain the one word we want to say with a bunch of other words that get the point across. and Charades....actions are universial, and they help.
we have new investigators! we have a family that is super interested in the gospel, they are super humble and the dad asks a lot of simple, but sincere, questions. I love teaching people who want to know.
We are also teaching Carlos. He is 19 years old and used to date a member girl. He is very humble about learning the gospel too. He is so sweet how he just wants to do what is right. He is very easy to teach. The other day we were going over 3rd nephi ch 11 with some highlight verses because he didn't get the time to read because he was helping this random dude fix his truck for free. Good guy. well. we were going over those scriptures and there is one where it talks about your desire to follow christ and be baptized, and pretty much after we read that HE asked US if he could be baptized! MILAGROS! (miracles)
the miracles go on. Saturday night, when we were planning for sunday, we were setting "goals" for sunday and for lessons with a menos activos (less active aka inactive) and a recien conversos (recent coverts) and one of my companions trugged a long and declared in a very unhopeful, but our duty kinda voice "1 for menos activos (and said under her breathe "that would be a miracle"), and 1 for recien coversos (and again, that would be another miracle)". after she said that I replied, in a very hopeful and real voice, "why not!? why should there not be a miracle? I bet we could have one of each come to church tomorrow." well, to my companions suprise, the next day at church we had 1 recien converso and 1 menos activos show up for church. That was really neat to see happen. My companion admitted that is was a couple of little miracles.
Also, in that same day at church one of our investigators with her little 4 year old son came to church again! (they really don't have much money to get to church, but they came!) So this lady, Clara, can't read (I wish I could help!) and neither can her 4 year old son (not a big suprise) well, she was super happy to see me there and I was super happy to see her. They sat in sacrament meeting, and then came to the next class too. This class is for missionaries and investigators/recent converts. it`s like a basics sort of class. My companion, hermana ramirez was teaching a lesson about prophets of old and prophets now. Cesar (the little boy) was bored, but he didn't want to go to the primary classes, so I whipped out the "liahona" we just recieved and gave it to him to look at pictures in the children's section and such. He would ask me "what's this?" and I would explain it. or I would ask him, pointing to a picture of christ, "who is this?" and so on. We were just wispering and I ended up explaining about the picture of george albert smith and how he was a prophet, but he is dead now, but we have a new prophet. I showed him pictures of the prophet and apostles, and the temple, and so on. He really like the pictures of the apostles (who knows why a 4 year old boy liked the pictures of 12 old guys in suits the best!?) well, He showed his mom some of the pictures, which was a bit distracting for her, but she really liked them too, because that is sort of her way of reading. She asked me some questions about the pictures and cesar explained a lot of the answers; how this guy is dead, he was a prophet, these are apostles, they help the prophet, this is the prophet, this is....and so on. after that, the class was ending, we said a closing prayer and then after clara raised her hand and said "I would like to make a comment." I was really curious what she had to say, because she is ususally SUPER quiet, and I have heard her say hardly anything. but she raised her hand and spoke. She ended bearing her testimony of the gospel, this church, how much joy and happiness it brings to her life, and how...full...she feels when we are talking about it with her. She went on for like 3 minutes strait. It was SO COOL! The spirit was super strong and after, when me and my companions were in the bathroom, my companion was whiping away tears. It was so tender, and so special!
Other little miracles happen in my life. I am so grateful for them. I am so grateful to be an instrument for the Lord and His work.
Sometimes in lessons I get promptings to say something, or bear testimony, or share a scripture. Ususally I don't know what is being said at the time, or if it would be "appropriate" but I get up the guts and act with some faith and open my mouth. These moments always turn out to be really good and my companions keep encouraging me to keep it up because it is always so perfect, and fits in just right. I would consider this a little "gift of tounges" kind of moments.
I had another oportunity to help bring a tender mercy to someones life yesterday.
we had to take the 6 hour bus ride to the capitol yesterday for visa purposes. that's 12 hours in a bus to sign a piece of paper..cool story. there we met up with a lot of missionaries doing visa stuff too, of these missionaries included ALL of the missionaries from my dristrict in the CCM. It was soooo good to see them. Talking to them I feel like I have the best companions in the world. So we were there and then right before we left for our bus to go home, me and my companions stopped in the church office building for some technical stuff, but while we were there, we had the elders check for mail. My companion asked if they would check for packages too. As he was rummaging through the boxes of stuff he calls out, "does anyone know a pheobe evans?" and then I was like "yeah! yeah I do." Pheobe is hermana Bender's friend (Hermana Bender, from my ccm district) who we have all been expecting hermana bender to receive a package from the entire time we were at the ccm. Well, it turns out pheobe forgot to write hermana bender's name on the package. she had all of the other info, just forgot to write her name. I told the elder that I KNEW that it was for hermana bender and that she had been waiting for more than a month to get this package. I felt like this was a neat moment because hermana bender is having a bit of a hard time with her new companion (who doesn't speak english and doesn't quite follow the strict missionary life that we all should be) I wanted to help her, but didn't really know what I could do but just be there for her and pray for her. So this was pretty neat because I felt like I really actually helped. What are the chances we would be in the office, ask for packages, the elder call out "does anybody know a pheobe evans?" and to actually know that pheobe is hermana benders friend and that the package should be sent to her. there was like 6 people in the office in total. there are like only 3 or 4 people in the whole mission that would know that pheobe evans is hermana bender's friend. It was cool for me.
Life is good. I'm happy to be here. I try to keep a smile on my face at all times because if I can't speak the langauge, at least I can share my apperance with a smile. I am so blessed to see the hand of the lord in my life and in the lives of others.
Please keep emailing me, letters are like gold, I'll put my new address for the mission home ( I think it is the same) for mailing up next week. usually I write on mondays, yesterday we were in the capitol.
here are some pictures. mom, you should share the one with skylar rogers with his family. I'll get some new ones with my new companions soon. most of these are from the ccm, unless they look like they aren't, then they are from down the street right next to the ocean, and there should be one from my balcony view with a bunch of orange red roofs.
Love you all!