Holy cow. I think I've turned into Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz! Everyday I'm like, "We are not in Kansas anymore" haha! Everything is different, new, and interesting! I LOVE it... I mean there are some things that are.......interesting.
LIVING CONDITIONS (for mom): My area is called Peru! It's in Reu! It's BLAZING HOT! There is a tree that is growing through the window above my bed in my room. It's dead. I wake up everyday with leaves on my face - the leaves smell good though, so I'm not complaining!
Also, I need a pillow...
Each night I shower out of two buckets. The water is so cold it takes my breath away, but it is like 1000 degrees here so it feels good. Also our toilet doesn't flush so every time we go to the bathroom we have to fill up a bucket of water and flush it with that. There is no light so I usually shower in the pitch black which I prefer. I fall asleep to dogs barking and Spanish rap music (I'm glad I don't understand it). We have a little camping stove that I have never used because I don't know how to cook. We have two little desks and our beds. What else? Oh ya the bugs.. there are bugs everywhere and surprisingly they don't scare me. They are BIG bugs. We wash our own laundry every morning in the pilla and then we hang our clothes out to dry. I feel like I'm camping. It's pretty fun!
FOOD: Boy have I struggled with the food. It is very very very interesting. I've probably lost 15 lbs this week! haha! For breakfast I have like two spoon fulls of yogurt. We eat lunch at the member's houses, this is the hardest part of the day for me. I literally pray that what I am eating doesn't kill me. So far, it has worked! One time we were eating some type of sausage except for I don't think it was sausage.. My eye was twitching and it took everything I had not to lose it. I remember two summers ago we went to a barbecue at the Erbs and Marshall made this really good sausage. I closed my eyes, said a prayer, and pretended that Marshall had just put his special sausage on my plate and then somehow how I ate it! So, thank you Marshall Erb! Other than that we don't really eat dinner because they feed us so much lunch. I have one bag of gold fish and I eat like ten pieces a night. I really am thankful for goldfish! Also yesterday a wealthier member family fed us eggs, beans, and bread. I have never been so happy in my life. I ate probably half of my body weight. That family feeds us every Sunday...so mom..DON'T WORRY!!! :)
WHAT ELSE?: The rain!!! IT'S UNREAL! My jaw dropped the first time it rained! It rains everyday in the afternoon. It's like a shower x's 10 on steroids! The streets literally turn into rivers and umbrellas don't help at all! I love it! Also the thunder could blow my eardrums out. It is incredible.
ESPANOL: Estoy una gringita! The gift of tongues and interpretation is REAL. I'm definitely not fluent, but when the Lord wants me to hear something, I hear it. And when he wants me to say something, I am able to say it. I'm not worried about the language. It will come as I study and do my part. The Lord does not let his missionaries fail. He is right here with us. We are in his hands! So all of you missionary moms out there (especially mine)... 1. We love you 2. Quit worrying.
PEOPLE: Wow. They truly are the most humble, warm, kind, hardworking people in the world. I love them. I love serving them. I love Guatemala! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! The people here make it ALL worth it! They live in tin shacks. I think I've been in one home with real walls. Their floors are dirt, they have no food, BUT...they are HAPPY! I teach with diseased chickens pecking at my feet, pigs running wild, dogs barking at me, but there truly is nothing better than looking them straight in the eye and testifying with conviction in their native language that Jesus Christ lives and loves them! That Joseph is in fact a prophet of God! That the Book of Mormon heals all!! This truly is the most important work! To save souls. I'm not afraid to share this gospel. It's a happy message, it's a life changing message.
About two hours ago I looked a little Guatemalan family right in the eyes, I felt so much love for them. I can't imagine the love Heavenly Father has for us! I taught about the restoration in my broken Spanish and I bore my testimony from the depths of my heart. I could feel the spirit, and I knew they could too. I committed them to baptism. They said yes. I have never felt so much joy in one moment. I love this work.
I love all of you. I pray for you. Please remember who you are, why you're here, and then stand up, press forward, be happy and serve others! Don't waste your time being sad. You have purpose, now act on it. Take advantage of everyday. Use the atonement daily. The Lord loves you, and I love you! I'm cheering for all of you!
Write me at www.dearelder.com. Choose Guatemala Retalhuleu Mission. Or, handwritten letters. Email is too hard to respond too! I will write you back :)
Adios Mis AMIGOS!
Con mucho Amor,