Saturday, September 24, 2011

Soy una misionera!!!‏

WHAT A WEEK!!! Oh my goodness, I have had so many crazy experiences this week! I just tried sending pictures and didnt want to spend all sorts of time trying to get it to work so I am going to write my email and then if I have time I will put them in their.
First off, my drive to Xela... I was SO car sick! Imagine cottonwood canyon for four hours and you have our trip! It was fun to see the landscape but it was all I could do not to throw up the whole way:) We got to Presidents house and had some orientation stuff and then met our new companions. My companion is Hna Ramos. She is BEAUTIFUL! and so sweet. She doesnt know any english.... with the exception of the few words she has learned in the mission. She is my trainer for 12 weeks and has only been out for three months! She is great and a lot of the time we are figuring everything out together because she is still pretty new at everything too!
I am in an area called Las Flores. It is really pretty and we are by lots and lots of mountains. There are three areas in Las Flores and we are in Las Flores 1. There are two other companionships that live in our area and have to travel to their area. One set of elders and Hermanas. Thankfully there is a norte in both those companionships so if I am lost or dont understand something they are always willing to help!
Our area is pretty big... I am personally dying to know how many miles it is but none of us have maps. Truly I have no idea how anyone knows our area boundries but apparently Hna Ramos does. So the first night I was here, we went to go visit a family of members. They were so sweet and helped calm my nerves. I felt about the same as I did my first night in provo... ANXIOUS! The family relaxed my nerves and made me feel very welcome. The second day was an adventure to say the least. My friend who served here had told me the streets turned to rivers and I experienced first hand what that means. We got permission to go show the other companionships their area because Hna Ramos knows their area. Lets just say it is HUGE and I hadnt walked that much all at once in my life, up until that point anyway!!! It started raining almost immediately after we left and within about 30 minutes I was soaked! Remember that $60 jacket I bought to keep me dry... I think it must have a limit of how many gallons it can resist because by the time we got home, I was sopping wet from head to toe! We didnt wear rain boots either. It was an adventure to say the least and advil was my best friend that night:) The rain really isnt bad if you are prepared. I always bring my umbrella and jacket. Normally only my feet are wet if I dont wear my rainboots... unless we get poured on... then I am very wet!
MI CASA!!! (my house) is actually really big. We have a room with our clothes, a bed room, a study room, a dining room, and kitchen.... not to US standards by any means but it is a big apartment. Right before I got here they had an emergency move with my comp... the houses here are interesting. The way most of them work is there is a main door that opens up to five or six houses. The people with some money have actual doors to their specific house, but most of the people I have seen, just have a sheet. Aparently they were having some problems with other people that lived in the houses near the sisters so they moved them. No worries, our house is solo! We still have that main door, but we are the only ones that have a key to it. So far, I have felt completely safe and thankfully we live really close to members so if we need anything we can go there. Other features of my house... if I can I will send a picture, but our Kitchen consists of two electric burners and a fridge that is about the same as my small fridge at school. Our "laundry" and "sink" are in a sort of court yard. Our clean water is a bottle like the ones at dads shop. We go through it pretty fast because we are supposed to wash all fresh food in it. My comp doesnt really, but that is a clean thing I am not ready to give up. The water has been fine so far and I havent been sick at all. Hopefully it stays that way. At first, I could barely eat anything because I was so nervous! Thankfully we have a cute sister that makes us lunch every day. It is usually really good, and THANKFULLY my comp is a garbage desposal and will eat anything I cant. She is skinny as can be too so that is great! One day, the sister served me a mountain of beets. I tried to eat as much as I could but Hna Ramos had to finish the majority of it. Guess what? I ate a fresh tomato and HATED IT! haha I was sick the rest of the day and felt like I was going to throw up for like an hour. I think Hna Ramos told the sister I dont like tomatos so I can avoid them here on out. Thank heavens!
Second major adventure of my week... let me paint a picture. Imagine from the freeway to the front door of Davis' house. Now imagine the incline of Suncrest and you have the mountain I climbed two days ago... even the people who live here said it is a hard walk and they are used to walking everywhere!! We were going to do service for a non member family and lets just say we were walking from about 745 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon with the acception of 3 or so hours that we were doing our service project... cutting flowers. I have tried figuring out how many miles it was but they calculate everything different obviously and my companion doesnt understand how miles work. I might be over estimating but one of the sisters that came with us agreed with me... we walked about 10 miles!!! Missionaries with cars are SPOILED:) Just kidding, I know they walk too but seriously, six miles every day is a huge understatement for my mission. Our service was cutting flowers for this family. They grow them and sell them... we cut TONS! I will have all of you know I am overcoming MANY fears VERY quickly here in Las Flores.... ticks, spiders, other creepy crawly bugs, clean cooking environments and germs... you have NO idea:) The family made us lunch after we finished cutting flowers. You will all be glad to know that not a single hand was clean while prepping the food and I still ate it:) They were so sweet and made a delicious meal. They boiled all the food into a soup kind of thing... I might have struggled to eat it otherwise. They always serve us first and then if there is left over they eat. It was delicious and I was so humbled by the humility of these people. They dont have anything and they are some of the happiest people I have met. They sent us with a huge pile of flowers too which was so sweet of them.
Other funny things... I have seen two Michigan sweaters now! It was funny, the first time I saw one I asked the person where they got it... when he had no idea I realized the majority of the people here probably dont buy there clothes, they usually find them somewhere and I realized although these people were sporting my school colors, it wasn't significant to them at all.
It is much colder here than I imagined. Our house is usually about 65 degrees... a few things I have learned to be grateful for this week
insulation... keeps the house slightly warmer when you dont have a heater
electricity... maybe you all knew this but no electricity means no hot water here
water... no water means the toilet doesnt flush and the sinks dont work
rainboots... help me trap body heat
sweater and socks... for the first time in my life I sleep in a sweater and socks... shocking I know!
cars... we are so spoiled!
Anyway, truly it has been a great week. I am happy here and excited to get more involved in missionary work. It takes so long to walk places that often we only see like 3 people a day, but are gone all day long. We only really have one promising investigator right now, but I hope as I get the grasp of things I will be able to help find more investigators. We dont get to go to the temple open house unless we have 10 investigators... right now a difficult goal but hopefully we will be better!
I love you all and think about you lots! Hopefully I can get some pics sent!!!
Love, Hna Nelson

Last week, full of amazing experiences!!‏

Hola mi familia!!!!
My last day in the CCM before I become a real missionary:) Very exciting and such a fun opportunity to be here! We said goodbye to about half of the people who are leaving to their missions. It was sad to say goodbye and I am a little worried about one of the sisters in our room who left today, but I know she can do it!! I have packed basically all my belongings and it is so SO nice not having to worry about weight this go around.
Fun week, I told you about the fleas last week and I cant remember if I told you about the cockroaches... in case you were wondering I have been dreaming about them and spiders crawling all over me, especially my face, in my soon to be bed... Well as we all know, I am not the most quiet person, and rarely do I share my opinions on anything:) but one day, one of the supervisors thought it would be funny to play joke on me. I told everyone I was terrified of the potential cockroaches and all of a sudden the supervisor calls my name while I am eating lunch and I look to my left and there is a COCKROACH!!!! ON THE TABLE!!! Zach and Karli, remember my reaction to the spider the night before my farewell... well this reaction was almost as good! He thought he was so funny and I could have beat him!!! EWWWW!!! Please start praying that I will be able to rid my apt of cockroaches if need be. I have promised everyone that I plan on buying a machete to kill them all... cockroaches beware!
Anyway so that was a fun part of the week. We were in a class this week and I am not sure what mission it was but I believe it was a mission in central america and they had on average 97 BAPTISMS A WEEK!! Crazy huh?? I have no idea what the average was for Zach or Karli but seriously, that is a ton!!! They also on average had over 1000 investigators!! A mission that was in the same city.... 34 baptisms and 400 investigators! Holy smokes! Shows what a little desire can do!
I played the CCM violin in church two sundays ago and today we played a childs prayer before the nortes left. It was really special and every time I play the violin I am sad I dont have one of my own. People have told me the instruments arent expensive down here, we will see. I definitely dont want it to be a focus in my mission but I have come to appreciate more than ever the talent heavenly father has blessed me with. The thoughts of continuing with music have even crossed my mind.... shocking I know!!
Anyway, now to the most exciting parts of my week! Something that I will always remember and is an experience I would have NEVER had without coming to the CCM. No missionary in the Prove MTC would ever have this experience! First, guess what... Hna Parker and I taught an inactive member of the church this past saturday. She is the sister of my teacher Hna Ayala (AMAZING TEACHER!!) She left on a mission and lasted like 4 months and came home and hasnt gone to church ever since. Our teacher wanted us to teach her and so we did. We talked about the atonement... shared a scripture in 3 Nefi 18:18-21 I think... she couldnt even finish reading because she was so emotional. I finished reading it, trying to emphasize what was important in spanish, and we continued. She got emotional again because the spirit was SO strong. It was so great and such an amazing experience. She was such a sweet girl and I am so grateful for that opportunity. We committed her to pray every day this week and to read her scriptures every day. She said she would and I hope and pray she does! We also committed her to go to church... she kept saying Voy a ver which means I am going to see.... guess what!!! She went to church!!!! My teacher Hna Ayala said this was a HUGE step for her. That she isnt emotional to the point of tears ever and that she got up to go to church. It was such a great experience and I cant wait to start experiencing that every day.
Second great news... RUDY!!! Oh my goodness! He is the perfect definition of a golden investigator. I told you we committed him to baptism and he agreed. Sadly he lives outside of mine and hna parkers missions so we wont be able to keep teaching... BUT! He is progressing so well and we have the number of the new missionaries to hand him off. This past weekend on Friday night, I gave Rudy the Liahona magazine. We had wanted to give it to him in our lesson, but for some reason he didnt come. We were planning on teaching him another time, but when he was at work that night and I saw him, I knew he needed the magazine then. We gave him the one with the conference addresses in it and in Rudy style.... he read the ENTIRE thing in like two days! He has also read more than 150 pages in the book of mormon. The best part of it all... we committted him to go to church and he WENT! Plus, his girlfriend went too AND we got to meet her yesterday. We told Rudy that we would be leaving Tuesday and we wanted to teach him one last time. So we worked it out that Hna Ayala would drive to his home to go to church with him, and to take his girlfriend. Then later she would bring them to the CCM so we could teach them one last lesson. They all came, all went to church, and we were able to teach a good lesson!
Of all the topics we could start with, with his girlfriend since we hadnt taught her yet... we started with the Law of Chastity. Horrible starting point I know but I KNOW she felt the spirit so strong. At the beginning I gave a quick review of the plan of salvation... which I LOVE!!! It is such an amazing point in our church... Families can be together FOREVER!!! So beautiful! Anyway, after that we moved into the law of chastity and how it was necessary to obtain eternal life with our families. Saturday, Hna Parker, Hna Ayala and I gave Rudy a bunch of things. Hard cover book of mormon and bible... a picture of the salt lake temple and guatemala city temple, and a different Liahona about the savior. We all wrote our testimonies on something and gave them to rudy.While we were teaching him he told us he wanted to go to the temple... he has hardly begun to learn about the church and already his desires are the temple!! So crazy!! His girlfriend also told us she has been seeking a religion, that she wants to be part of a religion. She has also read basically everything we have given to rudy. It was such a priceless special experience for me here and I am so grateful I had it!!
We leave tomorrow morning around 8. I am hoping we will spend the night in the mission home for some transition time... I think we will, but there are 15 of us going to my mission and the mission home might not be big enough. Anyway, it is about a four hour bus drive and I have heard we should be able to email when we get there. We will see! GREAT week for me! I hope you are all doing great!!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! I am almost a real missionary:)
Love, Hna Nelson