Tuesday, September 24, 2013

First Week in the Field!

Ahh!  So much to write.  It's been so long.  So this has been such an adventure already.  Hopefully this letter will have some organization.  But here it goes...

I'm in a trio with two other gringas.  One was in the ccm with me and the other has been out since January I think.  They're both awesome.  Our trainer is amazing!!!!  She is so happy and encouraging but at the same time she pushes us to do scary things.

Every day we wake up at 5 or 5:30, exercise, get ready for the day.  Then have 1 hour of personal study and 2 hours of companionship study and 1 hour of language study.  Then it's off to work!  We work until 9 with an hour for lunch.  We have a few ladies in the branch who cook for us.  We contact people (and whole buses), teach lessons, visit recent converts and inactives until 9.  Then 9 to 9:30 we have planning.  9:30 to 10:30 eat dinner and get ready for bed.  10:30 sleep!  

SO far all the food has been good!  Nothing too crazy.  But at the same time, keep in mind we can't eat with members.

Our house is one of the nicest Ive seen here.  It feels pretty normal for the most part.  But we shower with a bucket.  It's quite an adventure!!  I'm really fine with it actually.  It just kinda makes me laugh.  I just think, I'm in Guatemala right now showering with nothing but a bucket!  Who wouldda thought!  Ah!! Its awesome!  We can see 3 volcanoes from our house.  2 of them are water volcanoes I think.  But its really interesting.  Its a pretty view!

We have quite a few investigators right now.  Some progressing more than others.  I don't know any of them super well yet.  But I always get so excited to teach them because I already love them so much!  We have one who will be baptized after he comes to church 2 more times.  I've challenged 2 people to be baptized and they should both get baptized next month.  These people are so ready to hear the gospel!  They have such strong faith!  And it's amazing how willing they are to give us their addresses.  I feel like that would never happen in America. We have to contact 35 people everyday (which means you go up to a stranger and in Spanish say something like 'Hi we're missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints and we have a message about Jesus Christ.  We know that God has called a prophet today.  Can I get your address to share this message with you?).  10 of the 35 have to be families.  I'm sure they can't hardly understand me but they seem to get it.  I just try to smile as much as I can so they know that this message makes me happy.  I like contacting people. I'm not too afraid.  Ive come to accept that I probably sound and look like a fool.  I know I make mistakes but I just keep trying and trying.  I also really like contacting buses, which is where you stand at the front of the bus and yell (all this is in Spanish remember...) our message to the whole bus.  Then we squeeze through everyone and ask for their addresses to share the gospel with them.  Its so fun just yelling your testimony of Jesus Christ in a language you don't even know.  I just smile so big because it's so fun to try!

People say that my Spanish is really good.  I honestly know that it's not my words, it's the Spirit making everything clear to them.  I know for a fact my grammar and vocab and accent is awful.  But I'm trying and it's becoming more natural.  I can say a lot more than I ever expected.  I'm starting to understand a little more, some people better than others. Sometimes when I'm contacting or teaching I can really understand them very clearly.  This is when I know they're ready to hear our message.  The Spirit is so strong because this person needs the truth in their lives and Heavenly Father is even helping me understand Spanish to bring His children back.

President Brough (our mission president) is awesome.  He always tells us newbies that we need to suffer,  so we can work hard with all our might.  Sometimes I feel guilty that I'm not suffering enough, because I'm honestly so happy!  But looking back, it hasn't been easy at all!  The first day my toenails were bleeding because we walked so fast and so long.  I have shin splints too I think.  And I shower in a bucket.  And I can't speak the language.  And I'm away from my family and friends.  I look like a crazy person and I probably smell because I don't know how to shower with a bucket.  It pours crazzzzzy rain every day.  People reject our message and think I'm insane.  People laugh at my Spanish.  It's HARD!  But I don't even ever realize that I'm suffering because I am honestly so so happy to be here.  I don't even notice any of these things.  Everything is so awesome.  I get to be a representative of Jesus Christ.  I get to share my testimony with dozens of people every day.  I get to feel the Spirit so strong.  I get to have all these wonderful difficulties to help me grow.  It probably sounds sarcastic, but I really do mean it.  I LOVE that this work is hard.  None of these little inconveniences can get in the way of how happy I am to be a missionary.  I seriously can't help but smile all the time.  I know that this gospel blesses everyone.  I can see how it clicks with people's Spirits.  I'm so thankful to be here and be having these hard things so I can grow.  I know that Heavenly Father loves every one of these people so much and he wants them to return to Him.  I'm doing my best to help just a little.

Love you all!!

A sister in the area where Alexis is serving sent me this picture