March 26, 2014, 1:58 p.m.
Mi familia y amigos,
I know I had a rough start to the mission with my departure, but I absolutely love it here in Guatemala. I FEEL LIKE I’M SO RUSHED but I want to share as much as I can!!
First of all, for the most part, the food here is better than you guys can imagine… En serio. We have ice cream like every day at lunch and dinner, haha, and they also serve pastries with every meal AND we have to finish all the food we get or else it’s rude but somehow (no one knows how) it’s like I’m losing weight instead of gaining. But hey, I am def not complaining. AND NO I’ve been so blessed to NOT have any stomach problems (yet)! We have different meals every single day–the cook is so great. We have traditional foods but also foods we’re used to. Yesterday we had ribs and I was like, “God loves me.” OH, AND THE BREAD HERE IS AWESOME but I swear I’m done talking about food.
The plane ride was hard and I was so emotional! But the second we got off the plane and walked outside of the airport, I felt such an unreal love for these people. It’s crazy. I look into their faces and I just know that God sent me here to love these people and share with them the happiness of the restored gospel.
The weather is so amazing! We have the windows open almost all day and I want to cry because it’s so nice outside. It hasn’t rained once here but our teacher said in Quetzaltenango, when it rains, it pours from 8 am to midnight, hahaha, CAN’T WAIT.
My companera is so great. She’s definitely a blessing–we get along so well and our senses of humor are almost identical. We laugh alll dayyyy. Our rooms are so nice as well! The only downside is the way nice gym behind the CCM that blasts music every morning and night. Yesterday a li’l Usher was comin’ through our window and I died. (“I’m a missionary, I’m a missionary, I’m a missionary.”)
There are only 60 missionaries here in the CCM so we all know each other pretty well. All of the workers and teachers and lots of the leaders are all Latino, so we’re basically forced to learn Spanish FAST if we want to communicate with anyone, haha. The Norte Americanos teachers also speak some English, though. I think they think they speak it better than they actually do though, haha. It makes for so many hilarious quotes from our teachers.
Seriously though, we laugh allll day, every day (which, btw, is our night teacher’s new favorite American phrase: “all day eeryday.” Imagine a 100 lb. 22-yr-old Guatemalan saying that in his Spanish accent, haha.) Our night teacher’s name is Hermano Hernandez and he’s probably my favorite person in the whole CCM. I really do love him. He taught us that Guatemalans kiss in the direction of something instead of pointing at it. How funny is that. Hna. Howard and I were doing it the rest of the dayyy. He also quotes Nacho Libre mid-lesson and Hna. Howard and I are the only ones who catch on. We are seriously laughing through our entire night classes. Despite all of the joking around, he is so obedient and full of the spirit, as is my morning teacher, Hermana Chavez. She is strict and she really pushes us and speaks mostly in Spanish but we appreciate her because we know she is just trying to help us grow. I have so many things I want to tell you guys so I’m sorry if this whole email is so random, haha.
Hermana Howard (mi companera) and I share a room with two Latina sisters. They are the greatest. One of them speaks English very well but with a terrible accent and we heard her humming “Wrecking Ball” the other morning, hahaha, we died. She asks me to do her makeup and hair like every day and I just love her, even though it means I have no time to get ready myself. Oh yeah, p.s. makeup doesn’t even stay on here so we mostly don’t try to do it. Also my hair is so curly you would not even believe it. Think Hawaii except a little less homeless looking. (Hopefully).
Our schedule every day is mostly the same. Breakfast, personal study, language study, language and grammar classes, lunch, more classes or videos, dinner, spiritual classes, teach investigator, plan, prayer and song with all the hermanas, bed. I like staying busy because I don’t have time to feel bad for myself. I’ve noticed that the more obedient and hard-working I am, the easier and happier the mission is.
The mission really is great, even though it is hard. But it’s hard because you push yourself, not because others really push you. When you realize your potential and care about people you are teaching though, you WANT to push yourself so you can be an even greater missionary and learn the language. Speaking of the language, it’s hard feeling so disconnected from the Latinos because we don’t speak their language. I can’t even IMAGINE what it’s gonna be like in the field, haha. All the meetings have to be translated for us. It’s great though because the translator is hilaaarious. Also he looks like a Latino John Mayer. En serio. On Sunday, our branch president’s wife was speaking to us and he translated her entire talk in falsetto. All the nortes were dyyyiing. Hna. Howard had to take her ear piece out because she was laughing so hard. It was great except the Latinos must’ve thought we were so rude, haha.
Sundays here are great! We had church, which we all have to prepare talks for in case they call our name at the beginning of sacrament. Then we spend the day having spiritual lessons and watching church movies. I BAWLED THRU THE ENTIRE JOSE SMITH MOVIE. What’s new though. I’m so emotional when it comes to spiritual stuff, ugh. I love Joseph Smith. His strength amazes me. We also watched a movie about the building of the Salt Lake temple that just gave me the chills. The FAITH of those people who spent day and night building that thing! And engraving every tiny detail into the stone and all of the enterior. I just admire each and every one of them.
OH P.S. WE ARE TEACHING AN INVESTIGATOR NAMED DANIEL WHO WORKS HERE AT THE CCM AS A HANDY MAN. He’s in his 20s and the companionships in our district of 6 people take turns teaching him lessons every night. Guys, we committed him to baptism our first lesson and set a date the second. The gospel makes him so happy I wanna cry. To see the change in his face and his happiness from Thursday to today is incredible. He loves the doctrine of the Atonement and the plan of salvation and he believes everything we tell him.
The craziest thing happened Friday night… So Friday in the morning, Hna. Howard and I were trying to finish planning the end of our day because we hadn’t had time to the night before. We were talking to Presidente Cox and he told us that we need to plan at night so that we can pray about our plans and for our investigators and God will bring dreams to us and our investigators when we are obedient. Friday night, Hna. Howard and I did all we could to be perfectly obedient time-wise. That night, I woke up at 2 a.m. kneeling on my bed folding my arms. Like mid-sleep. (Dont call me crazy just yet.) Anyways, confused, I got back into my bed and went to sleep. The next day, in our lesson with Daniel, he told us that he had HAD A DREAM ABOUT US. He told us that he dreamed that he was with all of the missionaries and remembered that we had asked him to pray to know that what we were teaching him was true and he hadn’t and felt terrible! So he woke up from his dream at TWO A.M. and prayed, then fell back asleep and dreamed about us again. He said he woke up and just felt so happy. GUYS, I know that obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles. The mission is work but we just do the easy part! Jesucristo does the hardest part.
Elder Amado of the seventy gave a great devotional here last night. He taught some great things but one of my favorite things he said is that missionaries feel like they are sacrificing so much to be out on a mission. But we need to remember that the essence of the entire Atonement is sacrifice. And who gave the first, greatest, and most ENTIRE sacrifice? Jesus Christ. Not just in the Garden or on the cross, but every single day of his life. I love my Savior and I know that he loves me and watches and helps me as I am obedient. I love all of you and I KNOW that you are so loved by a Heavenly Father who loves you perfectly and yearns to give you all that he has. If you don’t know that or feel like you haven’t felt that love in a while, pray. I promise that he will answer.
ONE LAST THING. 3 Nephi 11 verse 17, Christ comes to America and the people say hosanna! I learned this week that hosanna means “save us.” How beautiful! What is the first thing Christ did after they asked him to save them? He gave Nephi and men on earth the power to baptize.
Love you all sooo much!
P.S. I’m starting to like the look of no-show socks with my flats. Who am I. Don’t even know. Adioooosssss