Oh my goodness, you have no idea how nice it is to finally hear from you after 2 weeks! To be honest, I`ve been really homesick this past week but I won`t go into too much detail or I`ll start bawling in the middle of this crowded internet cafe, haha.
Once again, literally no time, but I just copied and pasted all your emails onto a document to print so that I can read them all this week and then reply next week! I might have time to reply to a few after I write this email. Ps we get one hour in the field for writing, but we also have to write our weekly letter to the President during that time.
So when I got set apart as a missionary, I thought that I was totally official. Then we arrived at the CCM and got nametags, and THAT was the real deal. Then we got to the actual field where actual missionary work happens and let me tell ya: THIS IS THE REAL DEAL.
I`m exhausted and there is literally so much to say so I`ll try to fit everything in:
AREA: I`m in the Algarrobos zone, Ignacio Merino area. I don`t really know where it is in relation to the rest of Piura, haha, but they say we`re about 45 minutes from the coast. Honestly I`ve been so busy I haven`t even looked at a map. Yàll can google map it, haha.
MY COMP: Hermana O from Cochabamba Bolivia, 22 years old, been in the mission for 6 months. She`s super sweet and super obedient and we work really well together. But, initially, I was a little hard on her and frustrated because she is kind of timid. I don`t know how to best describe it but it`s kind of a mixture of quiet, slow, shy. I was slightly frustrated because I wanted/needed her to be a leader since I`m a rookie! But I`ve since gotten over myself and I am SO grateful for her. She`s very different than me, but it works out for the best.
So after our orientation on the first day, we headed straight to our apartment at like 4 or 5pm, dropped my stuff off, and left to go teach 3 lessons, ha! I literally haven`t even unpacked yet and it`s been a week. The following morning, on the second day, I don`t know what was up but I was extremely emotionally fragile. I cried in the shower, I cried getting ready, and I held it together during personal study until it was comp study and we talked about what we studied in personal and I just broke down. I cried that whole morning until we left the house. My comp probably thought I was super unstable, haha. I don`t know how best to explain it, but I think mostly it was loneliness. In the CCM you`re surrounded by friends and your district 24/7. Getting to the field I realized that I`m going to be living with ONE person for the next THREE months, at least until I move areas or change companions. It took me almost the whole week to feel like Hna O and I can be friends. It was just very hard to relate to her in the beginning and I felt completely alone. I missed Hna S and my comp from the CCM SO much. I couldn`t think about or talk about family without choking up. In my mind I couldn`t see how I`d be able to find happiness here. Once we left the house that day, things improved A LOT. When I`m busy, I`m fine. Truly. I have surprised myself with being able to teach and contact people in the street without any fear thus far. It`s the still moments when I get emotional and focus on the hard aspects of this work. I don`t know why, but mornings are hard. I have prayed more fervently than I ever have in my life here. Mornings have been the brink of tears every time, but then at night when we return to the room, I`m so happy. So dirty and sandy, so sweaty, so tired, but so happy. As I`ve gotten to know our investigators and the members, I`ve started to love these people. It`s turned from survival mode into seeing myself doing this for the next 18 months with happiness and fulfillment.
D&C 78:17-18 helped me SO much on day 2 and I`ve found so many others that have carried me along this week. The Lord is looking out for me for sure. Also Hermana Stringham was my angel this week. (I emailed her before the mission, she`s a sister leader in Tumbes and goes home next month, from Utah) We had a zone meeting/conf whatever you call iton Saturday and for the first time I got to meet other missionaries in our area. Hna Mitchell, who`s in my district said she had a note for me from Hermana Stringham! I don`t even know how Hna Stringham knew what day I was getting there or where I`d be!! She basically asked me how I was surviving and told me that her first month was really hard so don`t give up and Heavenly Father is so proud of me. I started crying right there. I needed that so much. For some reason so far it`s more difficult talking about my feelings with my companion or the sisters that live below us (they aren`t in our area) because they don`t speak english and they`ve all been in the mission a while. So anyways, it`s been the small things that have carried me through this week.
So our daily routine: 6:30 running in the parque de avion near our apartment, showering in our freezing shower that`s actually really nice when it`s hot!, getting ready, then 8-11 is personal study, comp study, and additional study (additional is for the first 12 weeks using a training booklet we got -- it has helped me a lot with the emotional side of this transition), 11-1 we´re out working, WALKING and walking, teaching, contacting, then at 1 we have lunch with our pensionista (Food is so good here but rice for DAYS. I haven`t seen any beans here and they don`t even know what tortillas area, haha. It`s different than I expected. Soup every day. Then the dish with rice and usually chicken. Really delicious flavors. We always have some kind of fruit in dessert form. They also have this weird fruit called a granadia that looks like fish eggs inside and I can`t decide if I like it , haha, look it up. We aren`t allowed to eat strawberries at all, so that`s depressing, haha. For breakfast I just have cereal and then we don`t actually eat dinner usually because we`re out working. But our pensionista feeds us a huge meal and we just have a snack at like 9pm.) Anyways, 2pm is language study where I help Hna O learn English and then I usually do some Spanish grammar things. Then 3-9 is out working! 9pm is comp planning. Then an hour of free time before bed. Busy, busy, busy. I look forward to teaching lessons during the day SO MUCH because that means we can sit down for a while, haha.
We have/had one investigator with a baptismal date but he DIDN`T COME TO CHURCH. This is so far the story of our lives.
Weather: actually not that bad. I mean, we sweat all the time but there have also been a decent amount of cloud cover lately and a light breeze. I still wear sunscreen every day. The nights are actually really nice. We just sleep with sheets and it``s perfect. But it`s winter and Hna O said that this is nothing as far as heat goes, ha!
Everyone, seriously everyone compliments me on my Spanish. Mom and Dad, I am SO grateful for you guys, especially Mom for persevering to teach us!! It has been the biggest blessing. I understand 100% of everything people say and it`s just a matter of some grammar errors when I speak. Improving every day.
From the President: When you guys send me packages it has to be through SERPOST. It`s the same address that`s on my blog but you HAVE to put the President`s full name and then my name. It won`t get here if you don`t use serpost. Also no mail in the CCM so sorry to Bro Minor because I know he sent me a letter!
Camera charger update: I`m gonna buy one
LOVE YOU ALL! SO much.