Hola from Guatemala! So here I am in Guatemala in an internet cafe! How did I get here! Goodness there is so much to talk about! First off... thank you for the prayers. I have FELT them. and trust me this week, I needed them. This week was by far the hardest, yet most incredible week of my life!
So we left the MTC on monday... Julio 12. We took the tracks and some other train to get to the airport and I actually made a contact on the train! Woo for missionary work! Then plane! Salt Lake to Los Angeles and Los Angeles to Guatemala. When we got on the LAX to Guat flight I was like what the.... everyone was Latino! I know that sounds stupid but I was like oh my gosh, I'm going to a place where there are no white people. AH! and there are definitely NO white people here. I have seen zero! so that flight was 5 hours then we landed in Guatemala! GUATEMALAN PEOPLE!!!!! Goodness! I got to watch the sunrise over the Guatemalan volcanoes from the air. talk about a blessing! It was beyond words incredible!
Then we landed! I found a quetzal on the ground on my way off the plane and I took it! It's now my lucky quetz. That is money here by the way. :) So we got off the plane and I was like, who put all this water in the air! Humidity is real here. I actually love it! My skin feels great and my hair is.... eh I don't care. I'm glad I sent home all my hair stuff... I'm lucky if I brush it once a day. It's up all the time and curly beyond belief. You'll see in the pictures. :) SO we got our bags and got on a bus! The natives that were at the Guatemala MTC were waiting for us on the bus! Such nice people. I didn't understand a word of what they said but they smile and I do too. Love is the universal language! We took a bus from the capitol to Reu! That is what people call Retalhuleu. It's like: rayoo. The bus ride was beyond beautiful! Oh my goodness this place is green! It is a jungle, like an actual jungle with volcanoes and beautiful mountains! It blows my mind. On the bus ride we sang himnos the whole time! Haha literally started at the beginning of the himario and got to like 80. It was fun! Then we got to the mission office! I loved seeing the president and his sweet wife! I was like I don't care that I smell and I'm in the same clothes as yesterday and I haven't brushed my teeth I'm HUGGING YOU! But they were okay with it. That's been something great about Guatemala... everyone hugs. well we hug the women. We hug and the kiss on the cheek, or the other way around actually! Ha! It was weird at first but now I love it! Everyone is so friendly. so we had some orientation stuff at the mission office for a few hours and then we went out and worked! Seriously!
|Me with President Ruiz and his wife|
It was my first time tracting! Well here we call it contacting! :) So fun! I was with a hermana from here and then another that was at the MTC with me! We taught people! And surprise, I don't actually speak Spanish! I speak Spanish in lessons.... but I'm the most awkward chatterer you have ever met. I'm working on it. I'm praying for the gift of the interpretation of tongues... because I cant understand a word anyone says! It's really fast and quiet! Like I'll be teaching and then ask a question and when they answer.... lost! Ha I just stare and then smile and nod my head. So we rode in a tuk tuk around Reu! So fun! It reminds me of mario kart! Hahahaha seriously there are no street laws here, no right of way. Everyone just goes! I haven't seen any stoplights or stop signs. It's a free for all! Such craziness. But I love the tuktuks! After that we went and had dinner at the mission president's house! He lives in the most beautiful house, I felt like I was back in America. We ate such good food. I inhaled it because we really hadn't eaten anything since the day before. Oh and while out contacting I experienced my first rain... or so I thought. I had no idea! The past two days have been torrential downpours. Ha! Rain here is.... hilar.
So that first night we slept in a hotel. all us newbies. there were.... 26 of us? I slept like a rock. First sleep in 2 days! Then the next morning we got up super early...showered and learned the hard way that showers are cold here in Guatemala, as in no more hot water for the next 18 months! It takes my breath away every time. I might just stop showering and grow dreads, think presidente would approve? ;) For breakfast that day we had beans and bread and platanos. I love this food! Seriously just give me bread and beans. Oh and I love platanos I could live off them! Then, off to the cambios meeting! I met my companion!!!! HERMANA MORRIS!!!!!! Sweet angel saint perfect being that she is! She is seriously the best! Mi madre! That's what you call your trainer here. and she calls me "hija mia"!
|"Mi Madre" Hermana Morris|
I am in Coatepeque, area La Esperanza! It's about an hour from Reu. I love Coatepeque! It's pronounced, kwatepeckay. just so you know. Oh more about mi comp, she is from New Mexico so were are both "nortes". That means a white person basically. She is 23 and has about 6 mos left in the mission. She is so hard working and helps me so much. Seriously a miracle in my life! So we got here to Coatepeque and came to our house, dropped off our stuff and left! My house is cute, it's pink! It's on a busy street corner and what with all the houses being cement.... it echoes a lot.
|My house is the last one on the right|
Oh and with no traffic laws, you just honk whenever you cross an intersection or turn a corner... so people honk so much! So that's kinda loud but I've gotten used to it! And since then... we've been working! We have a huge area! It's like 7 neighborhoods. We live in Santa Elena and we also have Las Casas and El Arroyo and uh... other places! We walk a ton! and wow. Windows don't exist here. Everything is open. A lot of people live in the dirt with tin huts, literally. I have taught in humble places. Oh and there are animals everywhere! So far I have taught with cats, (little kitties that make me think of my roomie olivia;) ) dogs EVERYWHERE, hens, roosters, ducks, parrots and lizards at my feet. It's just hilarious! Teaching is great! We have found a few investigators and teach everyone! Guatemalans are funny, they love talking, but won't let us teach them! They always say we are so amazing for doing what we are doing but then don't keep commitments! Everyone prays for us that doors will be opened, then they don't open theirs! Oh these people; but I love em! Yesterday we were talking with this man and he was so nice but didn't want to be taught. I was like come onnnnn.... but then he looked at me and said, hermana you are not alone. the Lord Jesus Christ is with you in every step! And I just balled! I'm a cry baby here, I cry at the drop of a hat! Needless to say, this week has been really hard. I've gone through all the normal stuff.... Guatemala gave me a nice little welcome gift.... yeah don't drink the water that's all I'm gonna say. but I'm way better now! My body is getting used to it :) I will be way skinnier when I get home though! Ha don't worry. They are feeding me. ;)
|a weird looking fruit and yes I ate it and liked it!!|
Oh another gift from Gautemala... the bug bites! After the first experience contacting I had about 10.... I lost count yesterday at 40! They love my Gringa blood! And they are all on my legs! And yummy they get really big and turn purple! I'm a hot mess! hahahaha I'm getting used to it and they honestly don't even itch anymore!
Oh everyone is obsessed with my English. They always try to speak to me and their accents are so funny! Everyone .... and I mean EVERYONE wants to learn English. They love my accent too. my English one that is... they say its bonita which makes me feel good because they laugh at my Spanish one! haha. I have several nicknames... they cant pronounce my last name here... so they call me Hermana Amore, because its easier for them to pronounce! I love it! Also some elders call me Hermana Mas. They were impressed that they knew that more meant mas. Oh by the way I am one of 5 nortes in my zone! Everyone is Latino! So I understand like zero of what they say.... oh well! Time to learn right! Everyone laughs at my Spanish accent! They are like.... Califuuurnia? ha! Oh well I just laugh with them! I'm actually making some great improvements in Spanish.
|random pic by a corn field...they are everywhere!|
So missionary work is nothing like what I expected. It's wonderful but difficult. I'm trying to put everything I have into this work so I can get lost in it. It's hard but I'm getting there.
We have 3 investigators that came to church. Church here is lovely! Lovely! the capillas are beautiful and the people are even more so. Sunday mornings we go around and try to gather up investigators for church... for two hours. It didn't go too well yesterday. but in the end we had one. RAFA. I adore him! This old little man that never shuts up! I never know what he is saying but when I saw him waiting at the end of his street corner dressed in his Sunday best.... I almost fell to the ground and kissed his feet. after an hour and a half of rejection... that was a miracle. :) You just have to learn to find the little miracles here. It's amazing. I love all of you and thanks for the support!!!!!!!!!!!
3 Nefi 5:13. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and He supports me. I learned that this week. when I feel alone... I'm not. I'm never alone.