|Spencer with Elder D. and a family in their area.|
First to answer Mom´s questions:
I´m in Valle de Angeles. I´m about 15-20 minutes away from the Mission Office. We had an Elder go home this week because he's been robbed 9 times and couldn´t handle it anymore. No one else in the mission has been touched. He was in the most peaceful area that the President could send him and there was just something about him that made people want to target him. The weird thing is that everyone jokes about how strong and big and tall he is. I´ll be fine. No one else gets robbed or mugged or anything. His comp was Elder Jones in my District in the CCM. I got to go to the office today and see Elder Jones. I asked him what was up and he said his companion was starting to have PTSD problems. He told me that his comp couldn´t sleep for these last few days because he was so scared. The good thing was that when he got nervous or scared, he would cook a lot!!! And so Elder Jones was well fed when I saw him :)
Elder D. has 12 years in the Church. His whole family is active in the church. I really like him. He´s patient with me when I´m not understanding or I didn´t understand something, he slows his Spanish down enough for me to understand and explains words as best he can to me. He is a hard worker too. Which reminds me... all the hikes Dad and I have been on have come in handy now. We literally hike the distance up to Provo Peak every day here. Elder D. doesn´t fall too far behind ;) jajaja (I can laugh in Spanish too!!!)
My package won´t get here for a month or two after you sent it. We can pray it get´s here faster but I´m not getting bitten anymore either... It´s weird but I think it´s the Permitherin I sprayed everywhere. We don´t have cockroach problems anymore because of it. The day after I sprayed, I found about four cockroaches laying around the house dead or dying. The ants love to clean them up for use too! We can watch the ants carry the dead bodies out of the house and down to where ever they go into the ground. It´s really interesting but I won´t go into details.
The pila water is fine to shower and clean with but I´d never want to drink it... which happens sometimes I think at member´s homes in Quebrachito (not Querachito like I wrote last week). But they put Tang in it so it tastes better :) We have a water warmer rod thing now so no more cold showers!!!! That´s awesome! It´s kind of like when kyle told us that the Latinos put the iron in the water to heat it up in the morning except that it´s a lot safer and I bet a lot faster. Just got to watch my fingers from getting burned because it´s just a heating rod without any protection or anything.
Last week at church, it was just Hno and Hna Mercedes that went to church but Elder D. says they aren´t promising because they´ve been "investigators" since at least two transfers ago. We don´t know when they were contacted because the records and the Area Book here are just crap!!! No one keeps good records of what has happened or needs to happen!!! It´s really hard to open a mission here because of that (Opening a mission is just sending two new missionaries into an area and taking the other missionaries out.) That happened to one of my CCM friends, Elder Colwell. He went to Agua Caliente (Yes it´s hot there... really hot!) and they took all the other missionaries out. I feel like I´m on the clean-up crew here. I feel like the group of missionaries that came with me were sent now to finish a lot of what was started and never finished and that we have way more hope and optimism than the other missionaries here. Everyone accepts the fact that the work here is slow and that´s the way that it has to be. Once my district from the CCM and I know Spanish more comfortably, things are going to change. We all are different: some are really creative and go with the flow while others are straight-forward and direct. I really have high hopes for us. What I saw in the CCM of my district was a lot better than what I see now. It´s like the song "Press Forward Saints" & "Onward, Ever Onward! As we glory in His Name!" I hope to report much success and I´m reminded that we are only as limited as we allow ourselves to be. What this mission is now is really good, but what it could be is far more appetizing! :)
Today has been really good! We went to the Center of Tegu where all the malls and outlets are. Lindsay would die for some of the shoes down here... haha good thing she doesn´t read these or she might ask for some. (Lindsay read this email to me on my phone on the way home from Orem today. HA!) This is partly answering one of Mom´s questions as well: the stores like we have in the US are only found in the center of Tegu. Everywhere else just has little stores or pulperias (little stores with some of the stock from bigger stores) but they don´t have Walmarts that I know of. They have PriceSmart and Sears here but neither have batteries for my camera so I was wondering if you could send one for it... I looked in RadioShack and other Electronics stores but the only store that was a possibility would have to order it and the store seemed pretty sketchy. They wanted me to pay before they ordered the part but wouldn´t give me a receipt so I just would rather you send me one if you could. It´s small and says "FUJIFILM Lithium ion battery pack" on it. Below that it says, "NP-45A" and in smaller text, "3.7V" It goes in the camera that you took your pictures of books at libraries with (by the way, do you need them???)
The weather here doesn´t change. It´s always just about 75-80 degrees and we´ve had rain at least once a week so far. The sun comes up around 5 and sets around 5 here. The other day we had a teenage thug calling at us and he got up to follow us but then we just kept walking and he tried to walk with us but we didn´t pay him any attention and he left us alone. It helps to have a big black Republica Dominicano with you at night. We only stay out till 8 and the sisters are in at 7. We have an extra hour of study time at night which I love to have :)
We talked to Familia Mercedes but they are really stubborn not to make commitments. Like I said last week, we need people to be married before they can be baptized and eventually go to the temple. Along these lines, two of our other "More Promising" families committed to be married and we are this week. The one is Nau and Heidi (Heidi is a member and her family is the family in the pic I sent. I don´t think that Heidi is really strong in the church though. Nau is really optimistic about the church though.) They live in El Sitio where our house is. The other is Familia Zuniga. They are completely new to the church. They live in Quebrachito which is where the big hills are... hahaha We walk and hike everywhere. Like I said earlier, thanks for all the hikes you took me on :) The 50 Miler was a huge prep for me to come here. The mud is horrendous here when it rains. I used the boots we bought right before I left but they attract a lot of attention here and detract from lessons sometimes because they´re massive and different looking. I like them but I´ll save them for when I go to Paraiso or the South. (we have three main areas: Ciudad, where I am, then Sur (South) and East (referred to as Paraiso which means Paradise. Supposedly it´s beautiful weather and plants and everything. In essence, paradise.)
We are having a lot of Noche De Hogar (FHE) with members and investigator families. This is what helped Familia Zuniga make the choice to be married. But I´m going to try your idea to pray while contacting. I´m also going to be trying to sing. Everyone here says I have an angelic voice and I think that´s because they are tone deaf here, almost everyone is at least. We´ve made a few more contacts but Elder D. says they aren´t promising. But we´ll keep trying.
I started crying on Saturday, not because I was sad, but because of the blessings I have been given: the knowledge of the gospel in a more complete form, my Patriarchal blessing, my Setting Apart blessing, and all other things I have been promised or already have. I have been blessed so richly. I pray every night that I will have success, like you said with leaving drops of sunlight, at every door I knock. I desire so much to learn the language faster. I desire so much to be exactly in tune to every prompting I´m given during the day. I desire to live in such a way that I am always confident that the left turn I take is the will of the Father. I guess that´s what faith is though: when we make a left turn instead of the right turn and the door is shut in our face, we must go back and find our way to the right turn. It´s like a maze and the quickest way for us to get to the end is to see the dead end at the other wrong turns we make.
Hurrah por Israel!
Don´t worry about the school stuff. It´s good to be nervous and curious but it´s best to be yourself. You will meet the kind of people who will help you the most in this time of your life if you are yourself. Because the Gospel Light is within you, if you be yourself, people of that same light and people that want that light will come to you. It´s going to be a great year for you. As the scriptures say, "Oh be wise! What can I say more?" Just be wise. Sometimes I wish I chose some things a little more wisely. Love you tons! I know I´m not at home and that I´m far away but the internet makes us closer if you'd write. I´m always listening... partly cause I have nothing better to do on my P-Days but write and play.
Kyle and Jess,
Thanks for the beautiful pictures! They brightened my day even more! I love hearing about everything at home. I´ll keep you in my prayers! You´ll need more now with your baby!!! I´ll be back in a jiffy to see how big he´s grown. Love you guys!
Tom and Megan,
Thanks for your pictures too!!! It´s a blessing to see such happy, beautiful smiles. I´m thankful for your example :)
Maybe one day when I´m more experienced in my Spanish, I´ll work on P-days too! The Obra Misional is that important! Everyday is a P-day for you when you make it one, but eventually the preparation turns into experience. We can have way more influence in our spheres of friends than the missionaries. Just believe. Then we can work with our trust in our Heavenly Father.
PS give my love to Grandpa for me! Love ya Grandma! You´re in my prayers too!