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