Monday, February 28, 2011

February 28th 2011

Hello family!

Well I regret to inform you that this week was the most uneventful week of my entire life!!!! It all started last Sunday when Hna Nelson got sick in the middle of church. We just thought it was a virus but it lasted for FOREVER! So I finally made her go get a stool sample to make sure she doesnt have parasites. Whelp! You better believe she had parasites! Giardia to be exact. We have no idea how she got it. She is soooo careful with what she eats and drinks. So shes on medication and all now but the problem is the medication is VICIOUS and has the worst side effects in the world so she has been on her death bed ALLLLLL week. And I have been stuck to the confines of our apartment going INSANE! If anything, it made me realize how much I LOOOOOVE to work. So unfortunately I dont have anything to report to you on our investigators or anything. We didnt have any appointments. The only up to all this is that it was rainy all week and we got to be inside and just enjoy it while we were DRY! Oh that AND I also made up a love song about Hna Nelson and Gerald the Giardia and sang it to her about 30000 times. That was pretty fun I guess. She really enjoyed that.

But let me just tell you a little bit about the nightmare that Hna Nelson had to do when she went and got a stool sample. First of all, we had to go with our Zone Leaders cause they had to pay for it. So she goes into the bathroom with a cup and comes out holding her cup of diarrhea in front of a PACKED doctors office and our zone leaders. And she had to wait in line with it in front of everyone. Just holding it in her hands and very politely waiting. And to top it all off, the bathroom didnt have toilet paper or soap. Wonderful. Im just glad it wasnt me. Although, I am a little concerned because we eat and drink all the same stuff. But Im doing just fine and dandy!

Speaking of embarrasing medical things...I have gotten 2 anonymous calls this week from Elders. One was constipated and the other one had a hemorrhoid. They were to embarrassed to tell me who they were so they would not tell me their names. And they could hardly tell me what was wrong with them cause they and their companions were laughing so hard and soooo embarrassed. Oh goodness, I am always entertained here.

In answer to your question about the cute family Alejandro and Beatrice, we had to drop them. Waa! I was very sad. But they were not reading the book of mormon, wouldnt come to church and never seemed to have time for us. AKA they arent interested. Bummer. Aurelio is still looking positive and we have an apt with him tomorrow. Ill keep you updated.

I guess the entire mission is having a really hard time getting baptisms. Last month we broke a record of almost 200 baptisms but this month it is sooooo low. I dont know why. Were not having much luck here either.

I cant believe it SNOWED in AZ!!! UGH! I cant even imagine. I want snow!!!! Or just anything besides the hottest weather Ive ever experienced in my life! Lucky!

So something very embarrasing and traumatizing happened to me yesterday. I was in church and this lady that is so sweet and I love her but bless her heart has the worst hygiene I have ever seen. And all of her kids have like bugs crawling on them and the whole family has weird rashes all over them and everything. Well anyways, I dont know if ive told you or not but everyone kisses everyone on the cheek here as a greeting. So she walks in the class and we go to kiss on the cheek but I didnt know which side to kiss her on cause we were in a really awkward position so all the sudden BAM! She goes for it and we kiss on the lips. YUCK! haha It might not seem that bad to you but I was very traumatized ok? haha

Oh also, I think I forgot to tell you. Last week we went to our cooks house for lunch but the problem was, she was gone and there was someone cooking in her place. She asked if we wanted to eat something and we didnt fully understand what she said so we said sure. And so she brings it out and its cow hoof stew. BAH! It was the most disgusting thing ever. Soo chewy and there were veins and everything. And the worst part was...the hair wasnt all off of it so there was hair floating around. Sick. Hna Nelson and I were thinking that that is possibly where she got her parasite.

Well sorry I think this email is kind of all over the place. Hope I didnt bore you too much. I love you all! Thank you for your emails and letters. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!

Love, Hermana Kami Alyse Alston

Pretty river close to my house!! Relatively empty but really big after the rain.

Nightmarish dogs on top of every house!!!

Beautiful Guatemalan country side

Our apartment complex in Las Palmas. We're on the 2nd floor in the back.

Our kitchen slash study room.

Empty room that we keep all of our pamphlets and hang some of our laundry in.

Our lovely bathroom - It really is lovely compared to my last house.

Our bedroom - don't let the blanket and sheet fool you. Its just for decoration, I don't sleep with any covers!

Monday, February 21, 2011

February 21st, 2011

Well hello my dearest family!

First off, I am so jealous about your trip to Disneyland. What? Are you celebrating my departure? Thanks for your sweet email about that Lan! I cannot wait to receive my Alston shirt. We are the coolest family ever. baha!

So I feel really boring cause every single week all I do is talk about myself. blah blah blah. Im getting a little sick of it. Sorry if you are too but youre just gonna have to deal with it ok? ha

This week was pretty fantastic. We have been going around and getting to know all the members which is very entertaining and very helpful cause they have been giving us references. We got a reference from one of them and have been teaching their cousin. His name is Aurelio and he is 22 and SO AWESOME! We have taught him 2 times so far and he has come to church once. The first lesson we had with him was like the lessons that missionaries talk about that are sooooooo amazing and spiritual and you dont really believe them. Well, believe me, it was awesome! We brought a member with us who is about to leave on her mission and his cousin that is also preparing to leave on a mission was there too. They both told the stories of how they gained their testimonies and the spirit was sooo strong! After the lesson, we all kneeled and prayed right then and there. Aurelio said the prayer and it was so perfect and sincere and he asked Heavenly Father to please help him know if Joseph Smith was a true prophet and if this is the true restored church of Jesus Christ. And after he said the prayer he said, can I just share something with you real quick? He said that before he started to say the prayer, his mind was completely blank and he didnt know what to say but once he started saying the prayer, the words were almost taken out of his mouth, like it wasn't him talking and that he felt something that he has never felt before. He always thanks us for coming and teaching him and tells us that he LOVES learning about it. Im so excited to see what happens with him. The only set back he has is that his whole family is strong catholic and he has grown up strong catholic too and he doesn't know how he is going to leave it. So dont worry, Ill keep you updated on him.

So in answer to some of your questions, no I definately do not have hot water or any other ridiculous luxury like that. I hear rumors that some of the missionary houses do though so I have some hope. Yes, our pila is on our balcony and yes, I have to wash all of my laundry by hand. It is HARD STUFF and TAKES FOOOREVER!!!! Let me tell ya. Yes, there are just as many dogs in my new area, actually more! And my worst nightmare is unfortunately a reality here. There are dogs on just about every roof of every house. Its bizarr but they all bark at you as you walk by the houses and I just imagine them leaping from the roof and viciously attacking me. Ugh. Also, I had a very close call this week. We walked up to contact this house and a dog came running at me full speed with fire in its eyes barking. I held my ground but it got soooo close to me. Dont worry the owners called it off but I started crying and was quite shaken up for the rest of the day. Literally, I was shaking for like an hour. I think I should go to counseling. haha!

I also got stung by a bee and I would like to give you all a list of the animals I have been attacked/bitten by/stung by in the last 2 months, just for some sympathy.
Mosquitos, Bees, Wasps, Geese, Duck, Cat, Dog, and chicken. No joke, I have been attacked by all of them. Oh and one of the members here has a monkey and it hates girls. And every time I pass by it, it is trying viciously to get me. Luckily it is tied up.

Well my friends, I must be off but I love you all ohhhhhh so much! Thank you for your letters even though I am horrible and haven't sent any off in forever. Something has happened every pday and I haven't been able to send them, but this pday Im just SURE I will send them. Sorry if I bore you to tears with my emails. LOVE YOU!!!!!!

Hermana, Kami Alyse Alston

One of these boys wants to get baptized. He started going to church with his neighbor so we teach him and half the neighborhood as you can see.
Hermana Nelson's Birthday Party. The electricity was out but we still put a match in Pan Dulce (sweet bread, my favorite snack in the whole world) and celebrated.

A random truck carrying a tiger in a trailer around our area. Its been driving around for a few days. So strange.

Ward talent show - primary kids

A little girl in one of the less active families that we're teaching. We are at their house regularly.

Aurelios cousins

Monday, February 14, 2011

February 14th pictures and letter

Hellooo my dear family and friends! Happy Valentines Day! I love you all soooo much. It is actually going to be a fun Valentines day cause all the Hnas from the surrounding zones are getting together and I believe we are watching Princess and The Frog and eating food. Oh and its also Hna Nelsons bday so we are just going to be partying all day long! Woohoo! So I didnt have any time to think about what I was going to say beforehand so sorry if this email is all over the place and doesnt make much sense.

This week was a pretty fantastic week. We had a 2 day seminar with President Maravilla and I learned a TON of stuff about how to be a better missionary and a better teacher. Hna Nelson and I have tried to implement what we learned and we have had so much more success. We've gotten like 9 new investigators. I dont know if any of them are actually going to end up getting baptised but we'll see. We found a family that we are absolutely in love with. The couple's name is Alejandro and Beatrice. They said that soo many missionaries have tried to get in with them before but we're the first ones they let in. They love us for some reason and always yell out our name on the street and love it when we come over. The only problem is, they are Evangelicals (I have no idea if that is even a word in English). But they ONLY believe in the Bible and do not want to read anything else and they don't believe that there are prophets today. But last night we commited them to read the Book of Mormon every day for a week and they said they would do it. He said that they would read it if we would play football(soccer) with them. Me and Hna Nelson on one team and them on another. I told them if they read the entire Book of Mormon front to back, then we had a deal. We'll see what happens there! I heart them.

I experienced my first storm here. And let me tell you something. They are NOT being dramatic when they say that there are rivers in the streets. OH MY GOSH!! It was like nothing I've ever experienced before. Seriously, I've never seen anything like it. We were walking through rivers to get to our appointments. I had my boots on and everything and the water came up to my mid thigh. Not kidding. It was insane. But it was hilarious because we walked through the rain to get to our apt with Alejandro and Beatrice and they felt soooo bad that we walked in the rain. They just felt horrible but so special at the same time so it worked out nicely. Something about Guatemalans (pretty sure that's not a word) is that if there is one drop of rain, they are inside all day. Even one sprinkle. Which is kind of nice for us cause they don't run to their neighbors house when they see us coming. baha! But this morning it was like 1 degree cooler because of the rain last night and everyone has like snow jackets on. And it{s still soooooooooooo hot! bahaha! It{s so entertaining!

In answer to some of your questions. No, I have not met 1 person who is doesn't believe in God of Jesus. Everyone has pictures of Jesus on EVERYTHING!!! Eveyone is either Catholic or Evanjelical. OR this is a real common one too. Religion is in your heart. You dont need a church to be loved by God. All that matters is whats in your heart. A lot of people that we teach are thrilled to get the book of mormon and read it a TON and believe in it with all their heart but what they dont get is that if they believe in the book of mormon, then they also believe in Joseph Smith and our church. They will go on and on about their testimony of the Book of Mormon and then we ask them if they will be baptised and they say oh no no no, I{m Catholic I dont believe in your religion. Hmmm.....

We had a few run ins with drunk men this week. They make me so uncomfortable cause they get sooooo close to my face I think our noses could touch. They just go on and on about how we are such good people and how we need to come visit them. We just tell them over and over again that they should stop drinking and then say BYE, HAVE A NICE DAY! Until they leave. baha One other funny experience we had. We were teaching this 19 yr old girl and we were teaching her gospel stuff and she would just interupt us and ask us about the United States. So we were struggling trying to teach her something for like 20 min when out of the blue, she stood up and ran away. At the speed of lightening! So so so fast! And as she was running away, she yelled. IT WAS NICE TALKING ABOUT THE WORD OF GOD WITH YOU!!! BYE!!! Hmm....ok? Bye. Hna Nelson and I were left sitting on the side walk empty handed. haha! Strange.

Well I think thats about it for this week but I love you all more than life! Thank you for your letters and words of encouragement. You all are the best! If there is anything that I{m not telling you that you would like to know, just ask and I{ll try to include it on my next email! The church is true! We are soooooo blessed to have it in our lives. Sometimes I wish I could just make these people accept that this is the true church. Or at least pray about it to know for themselves. Because I know with all my heart that it is the actual church of Jesus Christ. But everyone has their agency to choose. I don{t want to sound like an annoying missionary but for real, you all should find a friend and just tell them what you believe. At least give them the opportunity to find out for themselves. Love you all! Have a wonderful Valentines day!!

Love, Hermana Alston

My first storm. This is for real. That's how wet we were.

Another street we walk on frequently. Just wanted you to get a little vision of what it looks like.

This is one of my favorite streets. It has a river right at the bottom of it. One of the members live at the end and we teach people at her house.

Very typical and that is not even everyone who was in the back. I was trying to be sneaky.

We were studying and had to leave the door open cause it's soooo hot and this is what was happening THE WHOLE TIME!!! These are our neighbors.

Our Pila is outside on our balcony. Have I mentioned we don't have one inside? haha. This is Hermana Nelson doing laundry with our neighbor Guadalupe. (Yes, we have to do our own laundry.

Our clothes dry on the roof

The street we live on.

Monday, February 7, 2011

First week in Las Palmas February 7th, 2011

Hello my dearest family! Well today was a super eventful week! Remember how I told you that changes were coming up and that I was 99% sure that I wasn{t going to move? Yeah, I was 99% wrong. Right after I wrote to you, we got a call from our district leader telling us BOTH to pack our bags cause we were BOTH getting changed. Crazy! The life of a missionary is actually quite torturous! They call you and tell you to pack your bags with hardly any time and then you go to this giant meeting and they flash your face of the giant screen and then the they flash the name of your area and then a picture of your companion pops up. I was so stressed out I almost peed my pants. And now...the moment youve all been waiting for....I am in LAS PALMAS.....with...HNA NELSON STILL!! I was very relieved that I am still with my mother. Its just right next door to my old area but even closer to the mission office. The mission office is actually in my area. haha And I had no idea what I was missing in Pamelita. I LOVE IT HERE!!! We are opening up a new area and it is so much fun. Our area is soooo much bigger. We have to take a bus to get to some places. And we dont know anyone so its nice to be able to just talk to everyone and contact EVERYONE. The members are so nice and helpful here too. And the ward is actually functioning which is very unusual for me but rather wonderful! And they have a piano here and they were THRILLED when they found out I could play. Wonderful. haha Our area where we live is in the middle of a rather busy city. We live in a group of apartments on the second floor. Its actually pretty nice. And the best part is...we dont have MOSQUITOS!!!!!! I dont even have to use mosquito netting. Its wonderful. In case you couldnt tell, i love love love it here and am so glad I got moved. Oh and everyone keeps on telling me that my spanish is amazing so that makes me love it even more. haha We dont have any investigators yet really. Weve been contacting like nobodies business but since weve only been here a few days, we havent done a whole lot of teaching. Hopefully next week I will have more to report on that.
There is an area inside our area that we had to take a bus to. And when I say bus I actually mean someones 12 passanger van with 23 people in it with a few people hanging out the door. Yes, I was one of the passangers. Anyways this area is AWESOME! It{s right along side a river with a bunch of naked little kids swimming in it and women doing their laundry. And we went to visit some members out there. And this one member had a house that was EXACTLY like the house off of swiss family robinson. Sarah, we need to move the patch there Im afraid. It was AWESOME!!!
About my dog bite. I got the stitches taken out on saturday and unfortunately it is still an open gash. The doctor didnt seem to be concerned so whatever. Im just gonna take really good care of it and get over the fact that I am going to have a giant scar.

I can't believe you all are going to Disneyland without me. I thought I gave you all very strict instructions to not have any fun without me. And now you are going to the happiest place on earth. Hmmm...strange. hehe Only kidding. I'll forgive you someday. When are you all going? The ENTIRE fam?

Well lately I have been getting a ton of nursing calls. Being the nurse is kind of stressfull because at the same time, Im expected to get all of the same numbers that everyone else gets. (like contacts, lessons taught, baptisms) but I have to do Nursing stuff and it takes up a lot of time. I have 4 nursing meeting this week. With President and sister Maravilla and with the doctor in Salt Lake thats over this mission. You would not believe what of the Elders MOMs called me this week. She was on a three way call with the dr in Salt Lake and me. I was terrified. I told Dr. MaCarthur about it though and he was mad they pulled me into it and he said he would take care of the whole deal for me. Aparently the Elder is super sick and wrote his mom home about it so she was extremely concerned. Oh goodness.

Well I wont go on a bore you all to tears but thank you so much for your letters and EVERYTHING! You dont understand how much I love them and love all of you! Have a WONDERFUL week! ¡Te amo!

Love, Hermana Kami Alyse Alston

February 7th pictures

Not a very good day! The day of the dog attack.

Getting all the medications done to give the zones at changes...MISERABLE

This is the drunk man that is always there passed out.

This is the Bishop's family in Pamelita

My Zone in Pamelita

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Letter from January 31st

Well my dearest family, lets just say i´ve had better weeks. On
saturday Hna Nelson and I went to a less active members house for an
apt we had. I have been there several times and nothing bad happened.
Well we went up to their gate and yelled BUENAS like we always do.
There was a dog laying under a tree all peacefully when all of the
sudden it decided to ATTACK!!!!! It came running after us. We ran but
unfortunately I wasn´t quite fast enough. It got me. Good. He was
chomping away on my legs and I finally got away from him and Hna
nelson starting beating him with a book of mormon, but he grabbed it
away from her and started comng after us. Just then 2 more dogs came
up behind us ready to join in on the fight. Luckily, Hna Nelson was
screaming and the neighbors all came running. A barefooted old man ran
after the dogs with a machete (don´t know how to spell that) and
scared them off. I had gashes all over my legs and they were
completely COVERED in blood. Hna Nelson almost passed out and I made
her sit down with her head between her legs. Then the neighbor lady
came out with a very shady looking ¨medicine¨in a coke bottle and
started cleaning off my legs. All the other neighbors kept on trying
to put lime juice in it but I refused to let them. Anyways, to make a
super long story only semi long, I ended up having to go to the ER and
get stitches. I am gonna have some pretty meaaan lookin scars. No
worries though, I know the dog doesn´t have rabies and I am now on
antibiotics and pain medication. The only problem is is that it got my
calf muscles pretty good and it reeally hurts to walk which is kind of
inconvenient considering that I´m a missionary and all and have to
walk everywhere. Oh well. Such is the life of a missionary I suppose.
I´ll try to send you pictures today if it works.

Anyways, on a happier note, our new converts and doing just
fabulously. Tonight we are going over to teach Mercy and her family
how to have family home even which will be fun. Unfortunately
Jessica´s landlord won´t let us visit her in the house anymore cause
he thinks we´re evil or something but we are still going to teach her
in the street. We recently talked to her about temples and she is
soooooo excited to get married in the temple. We told her to not marry
anyone unless she can be sealed to them in the temple, and she said
psh! I just got baptised, I´m not gonna marry some bum off the street.
Of course I´m gonna get married in the temple. We were very happy to
hear that!!!

We had 2 progressing investigators that looked sooooooo promising
named Helen and Maria. They are both awesome and read in the BOM sooo
much and say really great prayers but neither of them go to church so
we had to drop them. I am sooo sad about that. Especially with Helen
because she wants to know if its true soo bad and she prays so hard
but she still doesn´t know and we´ve been teaching her for so long so
theres really nothing else we can do to help her. We have to move on
and find other people who are ready to progress. We have found 4 new
investigators this week who all look pretty promising but I´ve thought
that before and have been wrong so we´ll see what happens.

Changes are coming up this wednesday. I reaaaaally am hoping that I
stay in Pamelita with Hna Nelson. I´m 99% positive that I am staying
but you never know I suppose. Well I´m sending off a bunch of letters
tomorrow and they have lots of answers to your questions that you all
have asked so hopefully that helps. If there´s any suggestions on how
to make my emails more informative or anything just let me know and
I´ll try to make them better.

Even though I just got attacked by a dog and have stitches in my legs,
baha! I am sooo happy I´m on a mission. I love being able to dedicate
100% of myself to Heavenly Father. I know the church is true with
allllllllllll my heart! It is amazing and perfect. There is nothing
more important that staying strong in the gospel and I can see that I
lot more clearly now. I love you all soooo much. Thank you tons and
tons for your letters and support. You are the best!!!!!!

Love, Hermana Kami Alyse Alston
1)Hna Garcia teaching me how to make tortillas by hand. It´s so hard but super fun!

2)This is a road we walk on to get to Flamenco every friday. It takes about 30 minutes to walk there but I love it cause it´s beautiful and in the middle of a jungle. And it sounds like a
jungle with animals and everything too. LOVE IT!

3)This is what most of the doors are and houses. Tin. We were just contacting that street. That is the house that said ¨no hay nadie¨!! Which means, no ones home basically. bahaha

4) All the Hnas in our house on our beloved hammick.

Pictures sent Jan. 31st