Well, Im in the field now. No big deal…
Guatemala is SO different. I knew it would be, but golly I had NO idea what I was getting into! We take little “taxis” (se llaman tuk tuks) to get from one distance to another. There are no traffic rules, besides one should remain inside the vehic – no yeah, they dont do that either. Basically everyone travels on a motorcycle, fitting their spouse and kid as well. Theyre all really nice though; everyone always says ¡Buenas! y ¡Que les vaya bien! so theyre super friendly. Often my blonde companion and I get whistles and stares. Always. Most people have dirt floors, chickens and turkeys walking around their house/shelter, and rib-showing mangy dogs. The food is great though! I was skeptical at first because it just doesnt look like a clean environment, but the members always make sure to feed the missionaries well. The platanos, fréjoles, rellenitos, y handmade tortillas are the best.
Mi companera es muy muy buena. She knows SO much and is an awesome missionary. We are usually always on time (i say usually because Guatemalans are never “on time”), and never miss an appointment. Her name is Hermana Goddard, and shes from Iowa! Our area is called La Concepción, y tambien our barrio (ward) se llama Concepción. Our ward has an awesome missionary force – great member missionaries. As a ward, they focus on 5 less active families, and help them come back to church. Its a good area, I think; especially when I hear about the difficulies of missionary work in the mountains. Es bien deficil en las montañas.
The hardest thing is to get people to come to church. If they do, its golden. We brought two sisters (8 or 11 yrs old) to church and they told their mom afterward “we have to go more often so we can learn the songs and wear dresses!” So maybe theyll have an influece on their parents!
My first day was awful. I held back tears almost every moment. I didnt know what I was doing, I didnt understand the people, and I sure as heck didnt understand the culture. I still dont, but it has gotten so much better! Prayer really works. Speaking of which, we had a “neat” experience yesterday. We were contacting in an area that is pretty far from our house (we dont live in our area because its a poco peligroso), and the bus driver made us pay 6 quets whereas the others only paid 4. So we had no money to get back. WE called the bishop and the 2 other members that have cars, and no one could get us. We decided to pray and literally RIGHT when we said amen, the ward missionary leader drove up on his motorcycle and gave us 10 quets to get back. It was a miracle. Prayer works, yall.
I feel like i know NO spanish. A lot of people slur their spanish together so it is super hard to understand. I really have to rely on the Spirit. Pray for me to understand them.
One time we lunched with a member, I opened the packaging and saw a sandwich filled with chopped up mystery meat, wrapped in ham, smothered in ketchup and mayo. Of course my mind is extremely creative and decided it was chicken gizzards. As Hna Goddard was happily chatting with the sweet lady I was slowly and painstakingly forcing this hunk of nastiness down into my body. All the while I was just praying, Please help me eat this, i need to finish it. After we left, I asked my comp, What did we just eat? She laughed and told me it was chopped up hot dogs. Phewf!
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Talk to you next week!