Hola from Guatemala!
The return key doesn’t work, the space key is semi-broken, and I cant find the apostrophe button. This is an excellent analogy for the whole experience here in the CCM. If I could describe the CCM in three words, theyd be: construction, construction, construction. Theyve been working putting in a new sidewalk in the front of the CCM for weeks, with a chisel and a hammer basically. The bathrooms hardly have ceilings, and construction workers surround the place. During clase, we will hear pounding like someone is beating the crap out of a cinderblock. Speaking of which, I was lying down in my bed thinking how I would ask the latinas how to say “feces”. The only thing I could think of was “¿Como se dice la cosa café que escapa de mis mejillas?” It doesnt really make sense, but I started laughing anyway. If you cant read spanish, ask someone that does. They MIGHT be able to understand it.
We went to the Guatemala City temple today and it was a really cool experience. Its very small, but the ordinances performed there are the same as they are everywhere, so it was a very rewarding experience. So as Ive mentioned, about 70% of the hermanas aqui cannot speak english! I use my tattered, elementary spanish to communicate and LUCKILY they know what Im saying. I feel like a toddler, especially when they speak to me really slowly so I can understand what theyre saying to me, but Im grateful for it anyway. Our teacher mostly talks to us in English, but often she will rattle off something in Español, and we will just stare at her blankly until she tells us in English. Its kinda funny.
The food is nice, theres a variety of Guatemalan and American food, almost never repetitiously. My companion is from Hawaii, Hermana Valeriano. Shes so great! We get along really well. My clothes are great. I think Im losing a little weight, because my skirts and pants are a smidge loose, but its not that bad.
The weather is mostly hot and humid, but it gets chilly in the evening, especially when the latinos that work here turn it down to 72! Frio! My spanish is improving, using the “ustedes” that I havent used before. I always used “tu”. So thats new. I can say a prayer in spanish, and I can bear my testimony in spanish. Theyre both elementary, but the basics are the most important anyway.
We taught our first investigator last week, and since then weve met 3 times. We teach him as a district, so we split up the lessons. After teaching him about the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation, our last lesson was about keeping the Sabbath Day Holy and repenting. He said he would read the Book of Mormon and repent, then we tried committing him to a baptism in 2 weeks, and he said that it was pretty early, but that he would think about it. Im extremely grateful that I was a relief society teacher for the past two years, because that opportunity helped me to love teaching. So when we teach Hermano Ruiz (our investigator), I get excited and I honestly care about him. Thats the best way to teach, is to teach with love.
Yesterday I was feeling irritable with everyone. I didnt show it, but I felt it and just remained quiet. I kept thinking thoughts like, “Geez, I cant do girl talk.” or “Shes flirting with the one guy she keeps complaining about.” and “Why cant she just be herself?” (Not about my companion, I love her!) These negative thoughts kept running through my head, and I thought Id write them in my journal just to rant. But when I went to write them in my journal, I began writing something else. Heres a little excerpt: “So obviously l get irritated with people, Im not going to go into detail, but I know what my greatest obstacle is going to be, and that is loving people and accepting who they are despite those little things that irritate me. Work with who they are and focus on patience… Learning to love the people around you can help change your situation for the better. I need to be loving as Christ is loving and have charity. His name is on my badge; I need to be a good representative.”
I couldve easily just ranted and written down all my negative experiences, but what good wouldve that done? It doesnt help me to focus on the negative. I know it was inspired for me to write down a solution, rather than reiterating the problem. Its not easy being here with people I dont know, in a country Im not familiar with, speaking a language I cant completely understand. But my Heavenly Father wants me to be here, and I know he willl bless me and strengthen me for the decision I made. Yo sé que el Libro de Mormon es la palabra de Diós y sé que mi familia recibirén bendiciones porque de mi desicion a servir una mision.
Just know that I have a testimony of the truthfulness of this Church, and of the reality of Jesus Christs Atonement. The greatest happiness you can experience here on this Earth is through His gospel. Go to Church. Continually repent. Its a process, not a destination. I love you all!