Monday, November 18, 2013
(Hna is the abbreviation for Hermana)
I just love you guys. This week was probably the hardest week of my life.
1. What were your first impressions of Honduras?
When we were flying over the country all I could think was how beautiful it was and how even though I have never been here, it felt like home. It`s so green and pretty. There are lots of mountains--not really big ones where we are, but still mountains. We flew into San Pedro Sula and there were only 4 terminals at the airport...It really is a third world country. When we got to Campana (which is my area) and we started walking around I just about died. I was like ¨How am I going to live like this for 17 months?¨ It`s not so bad on day 5, but the people have nothing. Some houses are just wooden panels with a tin roof. The nice houses are the ones with floors. Most people only have lawn furniture. It`s so sad. In Campana there aren`t even roads. There is a main highway and the rest is dirt, although they are paving the street that our casa is off of. It feels like a big neighborhood and not like a town. It`s just house after house. There isn`t a grocery store here either, only small shops called pulperias that are like tiny gas station stores but in people`s houses. It`s just a completely different world.
2. How did you spend your first day or so in Honduras?
When we first arrived, we went to a big chapel for meetings and orientation and such. Then we went to the Desters' for dinner. They`re apartment is SO nice! It`s in a big building that looks like a hotel. There is like an art gallery in the lobby and they have the whole 20th floor to themselves. It was sooo pretty. That is where we spent the night, too. I took pictures, and it was gorgeous but very misleading. I had my last hot shower there lol. The next morning we went to get baleadas which are tortillas with beans and eggs, more or less. It was alright...and then we went to the cambios meeting and the newbies sang which was weird because latinos can`t carry a tune... There were only 6 of us gringos and like 10ish latinos from the Guatamala CCM. I got my companion. We went to the grocery store since there isn`t one in Campana and we headed off on our hour and a half bus ride out to Campana. I really like Pres Dester. He reminds me of Bishop Sybrowsky. And I felt like he knew me before he even met me which is just really awesome. Bro and Sis John were great. They seem really funny. I was SUPER bummed out becasue I left my manilla folder with my mission call packet in it in the church and my binder with ALL my CCM notes and my CCM packet, just things I really wanted to save...I left those at the church (or at least I am 90 percent sure that I did and I am hoping nobody threw them away and that they will find their way back to me.) (Note: We asked the zone leaders to talk to Bro and Sis John to see if someone picked them up and can send them to me.)
3. Who is your companion? What is she like? Where is she from?
Hna P. She is from Washington. She is a theatre person so she can be loud and fun which is good. She is short. Sometimes I feel like she really doesn´t understand how hard this whole talking to people thing is for me, especially in another language. She has only been here for 12 weeks though and just got finished being trained herself. I don`t know. She`s great though. She talks a lot during lessons and doesn`t make me say much which is nice but really not good for me at the same time. She loves Doctor Who lol.
4. Where are you serving? What was it like getting there?
We are in the Choloma Zone, but I am serving in Campana. To get here we rode on a bus for an hour and a half... that was interesting. There are tons of buses here and you really just stick out your hand and a bus will stop for you. And they PACK the buses here. It was a pretty drive though, very green. It`s a really safe area. There are 3 sets of hermanas here and we actually live with one set of hermanas but both are gringas too. It`s really safe here which is why it`s just hermanas and no elders. Serisouly they said it`s one of the safest places here so don`t worry about that. There is a really big mountain right outside. There are lots of dogs that just roam the streets which is so sad. It`s HOT and HUMID for sure. Like a Georgia summer everday. It feels really nice when there are clouds though. Everything is just dirty.
5. What is your housing like?
The 4 of us hermans live in a duplex so we live in just half of the house which I think I forgot to take a pic of the outside, so I will do that. You walk into an open room with 2 large tables for our desks against the wall. Then there is a tiny kitchen which is actually nice for here because we have a little 2 burner heating thing, a microwave and a mini fridge!! People hardly refrigerate anything here... not even eggs which is weird but apparently you just don`t have to here. Then there are 2 bedrooms and a shared bathroom which gets really gross because you can`t flush toilet paper here... And the shower is always cold which is sad. But we have a tile floor which is super nice here. And there is a pila or a concrete washing structure for washing clothes and it has a basin that always has water in it. I need to take a pic of that, too, today when I wash my clothes for the first time...
6. Have you eaten any weird foods yet?
Yeah, so yesterday we had fried fish. Hna P got the half with the fish head. But it was really strange looking and tasting. I had boiled bananas which were GROSS. I guess it`s not really that weird though. At one house they made us really good nachos but there was a whole cut up tomato on top and I had to eat it... it wasn`t as bad as I thought but it was still icky. And then someone put ketchup on my rice and that was not good... but I had to eat it. I think most days someone makes us dinner or lunch. My first Honduran meal was rice and pasta. They are really big on carbs here. It`s different that the families cook for us but they don`t eat with us.
7. Are the bugs bad?
I don`t think they are any worse than Georgia. There are lots of ants and mosquitos at night, but the DEET bug spray works REALLY well. There aren`t any bugs in our house really which is good.
8. What has been the most inspirational thing that happened this week?
I don't know. Pres Dester and Hna P reminded me that the Lord doesn`t expect us to be perfect so we shouldn`t expect ourselves to be perfect either.
9. What have you learned about yourself this week that you didn’t already know?
I really don`t like saying hello to people, which I knew, but I just feel weird. But here you have to say hello to everyone and their pet rock. And to greet someone or say goodbye you have to kiss them on their right cheek. I just really like my personal space.
10. What has been the funnest/funniest/happiest thing that happened this week?
I don`t even know... nothing funny is popping out at the moment. Mostly it has just been a super stressful week.
11. How big is the church where you are serving – a ward or a branch?
There is a ward and a church building right across the high way from our house. There are usually about 170 members which is pretty big for here.
12. What was church like today?
Yesterday...it was church. It was in Spanish... They don`t know how to lead music. I don't know, it was like normal church.
13. How is the language coming along?
Yeah... it`s coming. I couldn`t understand anything my first day. They slur their words really bad here and sometimes don`t say ¨s¨at all! Yesterday I just tried to focus on understanding the words they were saying in Spanish instead of thinking about and translating into English and that helped a lot.
14. Do you know that I love you “to infinity and beyond”? Do you know how proud we are of you?
15. Have you had to do your own laundry yet?
No, I will do that today since I didn`t have laundry soap.
16. What have been your first impressions of the Honduran people?
They seem very friendly. I haven`t met anyone that is mean. Most people are very receptive and are willing to talk about religion and are willing to listen to us. They seem really happy even though they don`t have much which is amazing to me. They are all very close it seems and very independent. I don`t think they like me very much, or at least I make them nervous but they make me nervous!!
17. What is the best part, so far, about being a missionary?
I don`t know. I like that here I actually feel more like a missionary than I did in the CCM. These are real people and not fake investigators.
18. What scripture passage have you read this week that meant a lot to you?
I have been reading in Alma about the sons of Mosiah and how they were just great missionaries. it gives me hope, I guess. They suffered through so much, yet had the most happiness. They found so much strength in the Lord on their missions and saw miracles because of the great faith that they had. I just hope I can be a fraction of that kind of missionary.
19. What has the weather been like?
HOT and humid. It has only rained like twice though, although apparently rainy season lasts until Feb. I already have a tan line. Super attractive.
20. What can we do to help support you in your mission?
I don`t know. Keep sending me emails and love!!!
Today for P-Day we had a zone activity and went and played soccer (well, I didn`t really play because I hate soccer and don`t know how) and other games like signs. Then we went to Wendy`s and now we are writing. So that has been fun.
All of the guys here whistle or say things in English like "I love you baby" when we walk by which is super creepy but whatever.
We have fantastic investigators. We have 4 with baptismal dates and one that will be baptized this coming Thursday.
I just wish I could understand everybody and I wish I knew what to say. It`s weird to teach with Hna P because she teaches in her own way and it`s different than how we taught in the CCM so I have to learn how to teach with her and, I don't know, it`s just a lot... missions are hard work. We study in the morning and go out for an hour to teach and then we have lunch and language study but from 2 to 8 we are out teaching. Very long days... we don`t come home for dinner which really bothers me even though we get an hour for dinner. They just eat afterwards. I`m sure I will get used to it, it`s just a long schedule.
I don`t know... it`s just very very different here. I am so grateful for everything we have in the US.
I left my list of things to write about at home... so I don`t remember everything I wanted to say:(
le quiro mucho!
Flying over Mexico City
Flying over Honduras -- it's so green!
We have a microwave and a mini fridge
Our desks. Mine is on the left.
They don't have mirrors in the bathroom
I thought the sky was really pretty
My first investigator form -- but you can't see my name on it (I *SO* love her smile in this picture -- she looks so excited)
On the way to an investigator's house
We had to walk through a jungle-type place to get to the investigator's house
We had to cross a small river....
Just dirt streets
We came across these stairs when we were out teaching
A beautiful rainbow.