Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May 6, 2013

Well folks, it happened... I left my first area Reparto! 5 changes (7 months) was a long time there, and towards the end was a little tough, but I learned a lot there and feel like I have had a good influence on some people´s lives..
On Wednesday I was reassigned to the area of Yuscar√°n, Honduras, about 1 1-2 hours in bus below Tegus. It´s not a very big place, and there are definitely not as many members as my other area. We have a branch here, with 4 Elders serving in the branch, and one of them is the Branch President. There has almost always been Elders as the Branch President here in the Branch, because there is hardly any worthy priesthood holders. We had 30 people come to church yesterday in our meetinghouse. The other 2 Elders had left to bring people to church in the morning, so my companion and I started the Sacrament Meeting by ourselves without the President. It was interesting, as he presided and conducted, I led the music, he blessed, and I passed the sacrament, and we had a fast and testimony meeting with everyone there. Not very many people went up to bear their testimony, so all of the missionaries went up and bore their testimonies. After that, I went to teach Primary, with five kids, 11, 10, and 6 years old, and two toddlers under 2... That was interesting. I hadn´t expected to have to do that all by myself without any instruction, but I figured that it might be better than teaching a Sunday School class to a bunch of people. It was a little difficult. I was trying to read the manual for Primary while all the kids gathered around the table to color and draw their pictures. I taught a lesson to the kids for a few minutes and asked them questions to keep them involved, but with the different age groups it was a little tough. :P After a little while I let them color and played them some music from a CD and talked to them about what they were coloring and stuff. So it was alright I guess. I still have to improve my ability to teach kids in spanish because I assume that some of the vocabulary that I have in Spanish is more sophisticated than what the kids can understand. It´s very different being in a branch instead of a ward. We have to do a lot as missionaries here in this area. We don´t have leaders really pushing us along telling us what to do. We´re just 4 missionaries out in this little city away from everything else trying to lead the church properly. You have to know a ton about the order of the church to be able to lead the branch. We are reading manuals of the leadership of the church to know how to do everything right. We also have to set up a lot of the programs and activities of the church, Like we have mutual every week that we run, we do any activities during the week, like for mothers day we are going to do a Relief Society activity for the moms. We have started to do an early morning seminary at 5 in the morning, which means that I and my companion have to get up at 4:30 to go and get ready for that. Fun fun... Nobody came this morning though, so I don´t know how successful it will be, we only have like 7 or 8 youth in our branch.
My companion and I live in the church. We have a little room in the church building where we eat, sleep, and study. At first I saw the room and thought to myself ¨man, this is tiny, one little room to ourselves...¨ But then I realized that we have to whole church to ourselves. The church building used to be a hotel, so it has like 8 rooms (4 guest rooms), each with its own bathroom, so in the morning, I can choose from using any of our 6 bathrooms. We have 8 rooms, plus the chappel. The church is all private, we have a giant double wooden front door to enter in to the yard and then to each individual room. So we have the kitchen upstairs, our room downstairs, the office, a whole bunch of empty rooms, one that is perfect for me to work out in. I´m going to breakdance, and put up a pullup bar, and I can jump and have space to do stuff without making noise to annoy the neighbors. So it´s a nice little setup we have. And the best part of our house is that we have a water heater!!!!! That was the most exciting part of moving in to the new place. I showered for the first time in 7 months, with warm water straight out of the tap. It was undescribably beautiful. I almost cried. Every day now, I have so much apreciation for a shower that I don´t have to wait half an hour to warm up water and then pour water over myself from a bucket. I was very excited about that. What comes in second place for things that I am grateful for is that the other Elders, that live less than a block away from us, have a washer and a dryer! That is absolutely unheard of in Honduras, and I don´t know how they did it. Their house is huge, and super nice. They even have a couch and a table just for eating. All of their furniture came with their house, including the washer and dryer. So I don´t have to wash clothes by hand for hours and hours each week anymore either! And for the first time in 7 months, my clothes will become reaquanted with a dryer, instead of just leaving them outside in the sun to dry. I´m excited about that.
We´ve had some weird work days here recently, well just hours that I´m not used to working, like before we hardly ever went to work in the mornings, but now, we work more in the mornings and study when we have time in the afternoon, or if the power goes off at night. The power goes out all the time here in this area. Maybe it was from a big rain storm that we just had, but for the time that I´ve been here, we´ve had the power out more than it´s been on. But my flashlights been getting some good use (thanks mom for buying me a nice one). If we do anything at night I have to bring my flashlight in case the power dies. Also, this week I saw my first firefly! That was pretty exciting actually. They´re super cool. One night, when the power was out, we were walking down this street with my flashlight. We saw a couple of fireflies in front of us, so I turned off my flashlight. In the field to our side, there were like 20-30 fireflies shining their little lights all over, it was crazy cool, I had never seen that before. On Saturday, we were going to have a baptism for the other Elders. We don´t have a baptismal font in the church, so we went out in the woods to a spot that they knew of. We went to this little stream with a shovel to dig up part of a pool that had already formed in this little stream. We started building a dam under the pool, and I went upstream to unclog some of the rocks and gunk that was clogging up each pool of water in the stream. I felt very avatarish, for those of you that get that reference. But it was super relaxing to go up and work in this stream in Pday clothes and sandals to get it ready for the baptism (we ended up not having the baptism though..)
The area is pretty good. It´s big and we walk a lot. We have some investigators right now, which is good. We haven´t even gone out just to contact yet. One day this week, we went out at like 8 in the morning to walk to this little village way out in our area with the other companionship, and we left and walked for a long time to get to this little village, like 8 km away. (I don´t know how much that is in miles, I was just told that it´s 8 km and that it takes a long long time walking there) It was a nice little nature walk and we saw frogs and turtles and lizards and cool stuff on the way, probably because it had just rained really hard. We got to this village in the morning, and talked to this really old guy, who the other elders had met earlier when he randomly showed up to church. So we went to visit him and his family. His family is HUGE, and they all live in the houses (they´re more of little huts, we´ll be honest) round about his house. So we went with one of his kids to go and introduce ourselves to all of his family and to invite them to church this sunday. We met a ton of his family. He had like 8 kids, 30 grandkids and a ton of greatgrandkids that we visited. We invited them to church, and we arranged for a bus to come to pick them up on sunday morning and to take them back after church. The bus cost WAY too much, we ended up paying over $100 for only 6 people from the family to come to church. But we´re going to keep working with them to invite them to church more.
My companion is super chill, we get along great so far, a ton better than my last companion and I. We´ve been working hard together, and we´re learning a lot together. He is from Guatemala and he has 3 months in the mission, he just finished with his training in this same area. He is a convert too, so he has a super strong testimony about the gospel. We had a super good companionship study the other day, and we´re going to work on teaching him English. He is a little more willing than my last companion to learn, so we´ll practice more with that.
Well, that´s the new update for now. I am liking the area so far, and it is super chill. It is not dangerous at all, so I am taking my camera with me for all of our adventures. I´ve taken some pretty cool pictures, I dont have my camera cord to upload, so I´ll send some later for y´all.
Hope that everyone´s doing super good. Everyone remember to be grateful for hot water to shower with! I know that I am!!
Elder Ward

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