Monday, May 5, 4:58 p.m.
I’m officially in the field as of Wednesday, and Guatemala is so insanely different than anything I have ever experienced. My companion, Hermana Peña, and I live in a pretty nice apartment for this area. Our toilet only works half the time and it is beyond dirty from the Elders here before us, but we bought cleaning supplies today and we’re gonna work on that. 😉 (By the way, that winky face was really hard to figure out how to do on this keyboard so Y’ALL BETTER APPRECIATE IT.) Hahaha, guys, I wish I could carry you all in my purse so you could experience this with me (partly because I just miss you all like crazy and partly so you could see the things that we do everyday, haha).
My companion and I are opening an area for Hermanas called San Cristobal about 10 minutes from Xela. It is very very very humble. My companion told me, however, that her former area was even MORE humble…. And everyone spoke only Q-iche. How COOL huh?! But also very hard. It’s hard enough trying to speak Spanish here! MY companion and I are working sooo so hard and contacting everyone. We have five or so families of investigators and we are always working hard to find more. We are both still figuring out the area and are ALWAYS lost! Last night was the worst… Lost about 30 minutes from our apartment in the middle of nowhere. Haha, normally we never go to appointments far from our house at night but last night was an exception! And it really paid off. Even though I came home with some flea bites on my thighs from an investigator’s home!
Everybody here lives zoo humbly–the more wealthy with a couple cement rooms and big dirt area behind a gate, the more humble with only one or so cement room with dirt floors, a big dirt area, a few dishes and cloth doors. I feel so spoiled coming back to my apartment. Most people, even the more wealthy, have cardboard windows. I wish you could see it! Next week I’ll send pictures. My camera may or may not have died today… Oops.
I was reading this week in 2 Nephi about Adam and chapter 2 verse 25 really struck me in a whole new way. Men are that they might have JOY. We are not here on this Earth to find misery. God has sent us here to find more joy than we could possibly imagine until we have it. I know that God has not sent me here to Guatemala to find misery, though sometimes I feel that way when I’m drenched and freezing and blistered and no one wants to listen to us. But REALLY my Heavenly Father has sent me here so that I may find JOY because He knows that I can find joy here. And I already have! Mornings are hard because you have more time to think, during studying and whatnot, but once we start walking and talking and teaching, my days always always improve. I still can’t sing hymns without crying, hahaha, don’t ask me why. I think they remind me of listening to church music all Sunday and sitting in sacrament singing with you, fam. 🙂 But there is never a night when I kneel down and REGRET being here. Every night when I kneel to pray before bed, I feel that despite the fleas, flies, broken toilets, toxic water, roaming cows, dirt floors, daily downpours of rain, weird drinks we are fed I don’t know the origins of, crazy smells, garbage, wild dogs everywhere, walking and walking and walking, rejection, the language barrier, missing home, and feelings of inadequacy, everything is SO WORTH IT because of the blessings that WE have the authority to share with the people here. During personal study every day I am in awe at the joy I receive from the gospel and the words of the scriptures and prophets. I wish that everybody here would just give us a chance to share that happiness.
Yesterday in church, an 11-year-old girl with disheveled hair and dirty feet ran up to sit with me before sacrament. She stayed close to me whenever she could ALL of church. She played with all my rings, wrote my name on her hand, and wrapped my arms in hers and just smiled and smiled and smiled at me. Later we got a referral from the Elders of a woman and her three children who had been attending church every Sunday for a while but still hadn’t been baptized. They gave us a chance to get through to them since they hadn’t been able to, haha. Hermanas are the bomb, I’m tellin ya. 😉 We got to the home and it was the mother of the little girl and the little girl’s three sisters! The mother has a son who was taken from her because he is very sick and may die. We shared a message about faith and the joy that is set before us if we endure our trials. Then we shared a message about baptism. As of last night, Maria Jose and her daughter (my BFF ;)) have a baptismal date for the 24th of this month.
I love you all and I miss you!! Hope all is well at home 🙂