Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 30th

Hello family! It seems like a JUST wrote you all a letter and that you guys couldn{t possibly want to hear from me again. But TOO BAD! haha

This week was also pretty eventful. Nobody called me fat so that it pretty much a miracle!! Basically made my week.

Well as always, Ill start off by telling you about the investigators news. There is a girl named Carolina that we are teaching. I cant remember if I already told you about her. But anyways, she has a boyfriend that is on a mission and he gets back in December. And she is all ready to get baptised but she wants him to do it! NOOOOO!!! haha We suggested that maybe his dad could do it instead and she was open to that idea so we{ll see what happens. We also have a baptism this saturday! I am so excited! His name is Samuel. He is 12 years old and we have been teaching him and some of his cousins. He is 100% into the church and sooooo excited to get baptised and get the priesthood. He shows up at church all by himself, stays the whole time. Is excited to start paying his tithing and everything. Its really cute. His dad gave permission no problem and just barely started teaching his dad and their family. We have also been teaching his cousin Danisa and she wants to get baptised next week. I hope it actually happens.

We also have been working a lot with the members lately and asking them for references and to introduce us to their neighbors. So yesterday we did that. And at first nobody wants to give us references but we had her kneel with us and pray that she would be able to think of a family that we could visit. So she did and almost right after the prayer, she named a family. And she went over with us to visit them. And she was AWESOME! She has only been a member for like 2 years and she just so nervous. But she went on and on about how much the gospel has blessed her life and how grateful she is for it. So she taught a little lesson with us. And afterward, when we walked out of the house she just started getting teary eyed and was like " Hermanas! I just love sharing the gospel with EVERYONE because I just feel pure joy when I share it with people. I just feel so blessed to have it in my life and I want it for everyone!! I KNEW we needed to go visit that family." It was precious. I hope that this turn out to be positive.

As far as nursing stuff. I was up all through the night last night cause ANOTHER Elder had Apendicits and had to get emergency surgery. In the same zone. What are the chances? I think I must be failing as a nurse because everyone is getting deathly ill. Mostly just parasites but its horrible. Poor things. Ive been very blessed and hardly sick at all.

Funny story that happened. We went to visit one of our old investigators and he is a jewelry maker and SUPER poor. So we asked him to make us CTR rings in spanish. So we drew a picture of what we wanted them to look like and wrote everything out and gave it to him on a paper and everything. So it was supposed to just say HLJ and thats all. So we went to go and pick our rings up and it is this HUGE ring that says "Hna Alston REU 2010-2012" baha! I was dying laughing. Especially cause the one he made for Hna Nelson also had my name on it. When we told him we wanted HLJ rings and showed him the picture we drew for him of our rings he said " oh Hnas, I cant see that! Im almost blind now" haha Oh well. I think its awesome and I LOVE IT! Especially cause its from an old investigator. Ill try to get a picture with him and send it next week.

Everything else is going great here! We have changes in a week and a half and Im nervous cause Hna Nelson and I are probably gonna seperate! Or maybe we{re going to be together our whole missions. haha We shall see! My poor other companion. Hna Parada is still good ol Hna Parada. She tripped 11 times yesterday. Twice in the middle of the freeway while we were crossing, one time she ran into a pole and on the way home for the night fell in a giant pot hole and fell all the way to the ground in front of so many people. She also spilt a pot of boiling water down her legs and now is purple and blistered. Oh and broke the toilet seat so we dont have a seat at all anymore. She reminds me so much of the guy off of pure luck. Poor thing. I just sometimes think...what would she do if we werent hear to pull her out of the freeway? I think she would be dead.

Well family, I gotta go but I love you all sooooo much! Dont forget my birthday the 16th. Im expecting lots of letters and GIANT packages. The top things on my wish list this year are.... a washer, dryer, air conditioning and carpet. Thanks! Have a great week!

Love, Hermana Kami Alyse Alston

A new family in our ward that the Elders baptized!

THE RIVER! AHHH!!! It doesnt even look as fierce as it was

The rings that we got instead of our CTR rings.

The Presidente wanted a picture with us in our awesome boots

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23rd


Wow, this week was super duper crazy and I have soo much to say, I just dont know how Im gonna fit it all in. Ill start with our investigators like always.
Mom, I know you want an update on Rony and Juan Pablo. He was progressing perfectly and VERY excited about it all and being baptised and everything. And he PROMISED he was going to go to church this week. We even introduced him to the Bishop and some members to make him feel comfortable and he was so excited to go. But once again, when Sunday morning came, he was nowhere to be found. We still havent talked to him actually so we{ll see what happens with that. Then Juan Pablo. He is determined to get baptised in the river. But his challange is that he owns his own car shop and cant go to church on sunday either. So we talked to the other workers at the car place and asked them if they could fill in for him on Sunday and they said yes. So he promised he would come this next Sunday. Im really hoping he was telling the truth. We did have 2 investigators in church yesterday though which is like a MIRACLE for us right now so I was prettttty dang excited. It was so wonderful going to pick up 1,000,000 people for church and none of them were awake or they made up 30 thousand excuses of why they couldnt go and then we went to the last house on the way to church and her son was in a button down shirt with his hair in a mohawk and she was all decked out in heals, a Hannah Montana shirt and hot pink lipstick! WOOOHOO!! There is nothing better the going to someones house and seeing that they are already ready for church! hehe

Ok now Nursing stuff. We traveled to a different area called Mazatenango on Thursday to give a presentation on health stuff. Right when I got there, we were talking to the Hnas and one of them looked at me and gasped and said "HNA ALSTON!!! YOURE GETTING FAT!!!!" Seriously? Ok, the first 50 times of telling me that I just brushed it off. Now Im starting to get offended. Ok, so Ive been on a few pounds but Im not morbidly obese or anything!!! haha So anyway, after that, went on divisions with the Hnas there. I just happened to be put with my two favorite Hnas! I was super happy! One of them was the Hna that I lived with in Pamelita. It was really fun to see a different part of the mission and see how different Hnas taught. Unfortunately I didnt get to teach that much because an Elder called with abdominal pain super bad and had to go to the emergency room. Turns out, he has apendicitis and had to get emergency surgery. So I was on the phone allllll day with the doctor, president, salt lake, and BAWLING parents of the Elder. Very interesting. I also had to go to the hospital to see him after his surgery and call his parents to tell him he was ok. Quite traumitized. Poor things. The President complimented me all over the place about how good I handled everything and he said that the doctor told him that I was one of the best mission nurses of all of Central America so I was happy to hear that of course. hehe

THEN! Next exciting thing that happened. Saturday evening, we went to go visit some inactive members in Ocosito (AKA - middle of nowhere Guatemala). So we didnt have very long there because the last bus leaves at 6 to take us back to Reu and we got there at 5 and you have to walk a long way to get to the road. So we were just gonna make it a super quick visit and leave. But right when we got into their house, it started POURING rain. I have never in my whole life seen a storm like this. There was so much rain, and thunder and lightning, and WIIIIIND! So they live in a house (if you want to call it that) of tin and bamboo. And the tin hardly sticks together. And they just have one huge bed and dirt floors and thats it. So we are all sitting there on their bed chatting and the storm comes SO FAST and their roof flies off! And their house starts falling apart and water is POURING in onto the bed. Oh and did I mention that they live right on a river? Like RIGHT on it. So Migdalia (the member) grabs her baby and little 2 year old and is trying to get away from everything and her husband is trying to hold the roof on the house. And Hna Nelson and I look out the door at the river and we literally watched the WALL of water flood in. It was the craziest thing I have ever seen! The river got HUGE so fast and did not stop growing. It was the scariest thing ever. I felt like I was in a hurricane. By this time, it was past 6 (so we missed the buses) and we could not walk back the the road cause the river covered the trail back there. But when the river didnt stop growing, we decided that we needed to leave. So Migdalias husband took us a back way back to the main road. We were walking in water to our knees for like 20 minutes. And he helped us hitch a ride back to Reu. When we left, we realized we werent in any real danger but it was still sooo scary at the time. I just feel so bad for Migdalia and her family. I wonder where they slept that night. I have SO much more sympathy for people who actually do experience hurricanes and such and only have a tin house to shelter them. I was just in a big storm and it was scary stuff.

Anyways, I hope that all made sense. I wrote that really fast. I love you all! Have a great week!

- Hermana Kami Alyse Alston

our neighbors Guadalupe and her fam. LOVE THEM! The little girl is always pantless.

Divisions in Mazate

My new and improved umbrella! Happiest day of my life!

1 day old piglet on a pig farm....jealous Allen family? hehe
One of my fav Hnas (Hna Rosales) - divisions in Mazate


Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 16th

Helloooo familia!

I hope everything is going just wonderfully with you all but that you are not having ANY fun without me. Cause that would be sad huh? Im sorry to report that I am actually having quite a bit of fun without you guys. This week was good.

It started off with interviews with the President. I was nervous cause he was coming to our house to do them. I think to inspect the house or whatever. But it was so good. He is the nicest person in the world I decided. He just said so many nice things about me and told me how I am doing a fantastic job and how I am doing more than I think being the mission nurse and I take such a load off his shoulder and blah blah blah. He is so nice. But he also said that if it werent for my white skin, he would think I was a latina because my spanish is so good. After that, I disregarded all that he previously said because I know thats not true. haha But he also told me that he wants me to be completely free. He said that if I want to go and do a presentation on health in a different zone, all I have to do is ask for money, hop on a bus and go. And he said we could go exploring while were there and go on divisions with the Hermanas and stuff. He said that I am officially an office elder and can do what I want. ha So we already planned a trip to Mazatenango and we are leaving this Thursday. Im going to talk about health and Hna Nelson is going to give people English exams, and then we{re going to do divisions. Im excited to be able to see some different areas of the mission. I only know my little tiny area! ha I think we might go to a different zone every Thursday of this area. He also said that he doesnt know how long hna Nelson and I will be together. Maybe 1 more transfer, maybe 4 more, maybe no more. That would be INSANE if we were together for my next transfer cause I am going to hit my half way mark then. And I would STILL be with my trainer. baha!

As far as investigators, we are still teaching Juan Pable (the guy I had a dream about). He is our new best friend and soo hilarious. He thinks that everything we do is SUCH a sacrifice. And everytime he sees us (and we are usualy wet from the rain), he says "sacrificio!". He is very fascinated with the things we believe and when we invited him to be baptised, he said only if its in the river! (dead serious). But he said he still needs to study a lot more before he decides. So we are working on that....

I cant remember if I told you already or not about our investigator named Rony. He is the 17 yr old that had never even prayed before. Well he is VERY serious about this decision of being baptised. He asks tons of questions, like if we think he should break up with his girlfriend cause shes not religious and stuff. So precious. But anyways, he prayed for the first time and now he prays every night and we asked him how it was and how he felt and he said that he felt really content. And happy. And that all of his problems in life were just gone. And that every day will be better than the next. And that he had never felt anything like it before. But that he has a lot of difficulties and problems in his life, and when lately, when he prays, it feels all of them just fade away. He said that he feels like the things that hes learning, are solutions to all problems. SO CUTE! He was going to get baptised the 28th of this month but we have to set it back to the first weekend in June because he didnt go to church this Sunday and they have to assist 2 times before they can get baptised.

Yes, in answer to your questions, it has been raining. ALOT! Everyday! And not only that but there is so much lightening and thunder, it actually frightens me. Especially when it wakes me up from my sleep. But this is not just an ordinary rain storm. Its like nothing I have ever experienced before!!!!!!!!!

Well I gotta go, sorry this email was kinda boring. I had some funny stories to tell you but I ran out of time. LOVE YOU ALL!! Thank you so much for letters and emails and todo! Until next Monday!

- Hermana Kami Alyse Alston

This is all I got this week.

- I FOUND CACTUS!!! I never thought I would miss cactus....

May 9th letter and pic

Holaaaaaaa! Mi familia! It was sooooo good to talk to you all yesterday but the time went by WAY to fast. I felt like I hardly got to talk to you at all! What can you do? At least I get to talk to you at Christmas time right? Its not so far away right? haha

Well this week was preeetty darn crazy! It seemed like I was doing a lot of extra stuff, not just missionary work. Last Monday, the President and Hna Maravilla invited us over to their house for lunch. We thought that they wanted to talk to us about something like nursing stuff or something but it turns out that they just wanted us over for lunch. haha Im not sure why. It was pretty hilarious because a HUGE majority of the conversation was President talking about how fat all the Hnas in the mission were. You must remember its a very different culture here. They are very very honest, not trying to be rude or anything. President told me that I looked like I gained a lot of weight. "At least 10 lbs" he said. Why yes, yes I have. Thank you. haha I love him.

Then the next day, we met with Hna Maravilla to plan an Hermanas Conference thats coming up. Basically we are all going to stay the night together and do a bunch of activities for fun. haha But anyways, we were planning what kind of activities we could do and Hna Maravilla suggested a class on matching your clothing. Then she got a real hushed voice (you know the kind of voice you get when your gossiping) and said "some of these Hnas just dont know how to dress! Some of them will were one color for their skirt and a different color for the top that doesnt even match!" Or something of the sort. Then she said "None of them are going to be able to get married like that!!" haha! I was having THE hardest time not dying laughing. She was very very serious though.

Then the next day, I had to drain a cyst that an Elder and Hermana had in the mission. Unfortunately we couldnt find a needle big enough to drain it because the gunk inside was sooooo thick. Yummy. I counted and there were 12 Elders in the office watching me. WONDERFUL. No pressure at all. That was a good time. There were lots of cameras out filming it and such. Nightmare.

These whole week has been full of Nursing stuff. One Hna passed out and didnt wake up for 10 min. Then she called me at like 2 in the morning saying that she was in so much pain, she needed to go to the ER. Then yesterday an Elder called and said that if I dont send him to the doctor right now, hes calling his family to go home. Craziness. Everything is relatively calm now though.

We found new investigator this week. And I heart him. His name is Rony. He is 17 years old and is going to this military school type thing that they have here. I like the boys that go to that school cause they are the only polite ones here. haha But anyways, he has never ever gone to church, or said a prayer in his life! EVERYTHING is new to him. EVERYTHING. Hes great though cause he expresses all his feelings and he repeats everything we say back to us just to make sure he understands. But lately the President has really been pushing that we need to challange people to be baptised like the first lesson. I dont really like to do that cause I think its obnoxious. But he says that you never know when they are going to say yes. And you NEED to invite them. So anyways, with our first lesson with him, Hna Nelson challanged him to be baptised and I was thinking in my head OH NO! Hes going to go running! And then Hna Parada set a goal for a date to be baptised. I was horrified! But to my surprise, he said yes! And he said that he think 2 weeks is long enough to think about it and decide! WHAT? We NEVER hear that! All we ever hear is "Oh Hermanas, its so fast! Way to fast! I have to think about it for a loooong time!" Huge slap in the face to me. So we are working to a baptism in 2 Saturdays from now. Needless to say, I challanged the next 2 people to be baptised and they also said yes. Dont get to excited, nothing is set in stone yet. haha

We also walked by the house of one of our investigators yesterday and we saw her inside reading the Book of Mormon! I almost squealed I was so excited. Especially cause I had 0 hope for her. We have to teach her like one tiny principal at a time because the information doesnt stick to well. Then we saw Juan Pablo (the old man I had a dream about) out on his front porch reading the paper and we walked up to him and said "JUAN...why arent you reading the Book of Mormon out here? Its so much better than the paper. haha He laughed and siad, " dont get mad at me!! Im gonna read it, Im gonna read it!" We are so obnoxious. But you gotta do what you gotta do if you want to change peoples lives right? hehe

Well I best be going but I love you all soooooooo dang much! Im sorry that you all havent gotten many letters from me lately. I have come to the conclusion that its almost pointless to write them because only about 30% make it there. Just know that there are letters to you floating around out there somewhere. Thanks for writing me though. You make my LIFE! Love ya! Have a fantastic week!

Love, Hermana Kami Alyse Alston

Draining the Elders cysts

Friday, May 6, 2011

May 2nd letter and pics

Well hello my dearest family! I bet you are all dying to hear about changes...duh duh duh! haha Actually no one probably cares. But Hermana Nelson are still together! SHOCKER! I think we are going to be together until she dies in November. And we{re still in the same area. The only change is WE GOT A NEW COMP! Hna Noj finished her mission and went home so we are in another trio with a Hna Parada. She is from El Salvador. Shes sweet and she wants to work hard which is good!

I feel pretty happy about this week cause we worked SUPER hard. And we found lots of new people to teach. Im not sure if any of them are positive but thats not what matters. haha After finding about 20 new investigators, one of them is bound to be positive right? So something interesting happened. A few weeks ago, I had a dream about this guy that we see on the street every day. It was pretty random because we have never really talked to him but I had this huge long dream about him. haha I dreamt that we contacted him and we told him about the Book of Mormon and he was like "what the heck? you pass by me everyday and you have never told me this? WHY NOT?" And he was kind of upset. But in my dream he read the whole Book of Mormon and got baptised and was thrilled and thanked us for helping him find exactly what he had been missing his whole life. Intense right? Yeah, I thought so too. So about a week later we were walking by him and we COULDN{T just pass him up right? So we stopped and talked to him and he was VERY interested and asking TONS of questions. We{ve talked to him 2 times now and we have more apts with him. But I hope it turns out EXACTLY like my dream. haha He is a cute like 75 year old man. I like him a lot.

So funny story. Last night we were giving a lesson to one of our investigators. And Hna Parada was with us naturally. And he asked like 100 times if she was our translator. And we were like NOOOOOO!!! We speak spanish and understand spanish. And he was utterly confused and was like...but youre from the United States right? And we said yes and he was like...well then you dont speak spanish. Just English. We tried so hard to explain to him that we didnt speak Spanish before but that now we do. But he insisted that she was our translator. So we said...umm have you not noticed that she doesnt speak english? She couldnt even translate if she wanted to. And then he turned to Hna Parada and said "so do you have to go to training to be a translator? or is it just a volunteer thing?" baha! She kept on telling him that she was just our companion, not a translator but he just didnt get it. People are SO ENTERTAINING!

Im not sure if I already told you this but people ask us all the time why we are soooo HUGE! haha And we were taking a tuk tuk to one of our appointments and our driver said...."no seriously, I want to know....what do they feed you in the states cause you are SOOO BIG!" Why thank you. I feel very good about myself now. haha Im sure you can imagine how little this guy was.

In answer to your questions, it is still the hottest thing I have ever experienced here. People often asked me if I got wet from the rain. I have to tell them no and that its just sweat. I think i{ll start lying. haha But everyone has been telling us that May is the start of the perma- rainy season. And sure enough, on May 1st, there was a huuuuge storm. It rains quite a bit but nothin like this storm. All the streets were rivers and all the people were shoveling water out of their houses. Craziness! I love it though. The only thing Im not a huge fan of is the lights going out almost every night. It really puts a burden on my making a delicious meal at night. Oh well, its all part of the Guatemalan experience I suppose.

Well I gotta go but I love you all SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much! Thank you for your letters and pictures and EVERYTHING! They make my life!

Love, Hermana Kami Alyse Alston

p.s. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!!!!!!!

kids wanting to look at pictures

hello Hna Parada (these are easter stuff that Hna Nelsons mom sent us)

goodbye Hna Noj!

This was not staged. haha

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Letter and pictures from April 25th

Hello there my dearest family!

Well I didnt work a whole TON this week but it still turned out to be fun! I failed to mention last week that it was Semana Santa all week. They all celebrate easter for a week here. An entire week. And they go allllll out. Each day of the week they have a new festivity that has to do what happened the week of Christs death and ressurection. It{s pretty insane here! So NO ONE was in there house the entire week and ALL of our appointments fell through. No one in the mission worked on friday or saturday cause its pretty pointless and dangerous (so I hear) so we were locked up as zones in the church all day. I went slightly crazy but made the best of it! One of my favorite festivities that they did though was this thing called alfombra which means carpet in spanish. They make this super long carpet in the street made from seeds and leafs and stuff. Its super pretty. Unfortunately it rained super hard and washed it away before I could get a picture but you should google it. haha Then one of the other nights, there were tons of people running around in masks and playing creepy drums and dancing and asking people for money. I guess they were supposed to symbolize Judas Iscariot when he sold Jesus out for money. Very interesting. Anyways, enough of that but HAPPY EASTER! I hope yours was fabulous. The people here think that its VERY strange that we only celebrate one day and that we have a giant bunny hide stuff in our house. haha Cant say that I blame them.

Another tradition that they have that I am not a huge fan of is eating cow stomach. Our cook made a biiiig pot of it. It is so chewy and disgusting. I know I am tough and all but I had a hard time getting that one down. My companion was so confused and was like "well what do they do with all the cow parts in the states"? I told her they probably put it is dog food. haha Speaking of food, I was eating some chicken soup (which is pretty much like broth with a whole chicken in it - also at my cooks house) and I saw this strange little green ball floating in it. When I asked Hna Noj what it was, she said it was an egg that was developing inside the chicken. SICK! I ate it and sure enough, it just tasted like a hard boiled egg. I guess it was just a special Easter surprise!

Something very strange happened to me this week. I got a fungus or something on my face. At first it was just a little spot but then it started getting bigger and spreading all over my face. AND IT ITCHES LIKE CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then I woke up one morning and my neck was on fire and I have a rash all over my neck and chest. I cant even sleep at night cause it itches so bad. I have no clue what it is but Im trying a bunch of different pills for it. I also have a fungus on my legs and in the armpits. Hna Nelson and I were casually talking the other day about how we both need to buy some more antifungal cream cause we're almost out. And then we realized. bahaha! This is not a normal conversation. Normal people should NOT have to buy tubes and tubes of antifungal cream. Oh goodness my life.

Well sorry I have absolutely nothing to fill you in on as far as people go here cause I pretty much didnt talk to anyone cause EVERYONE was doing festivities or out of town. The streets were freakishly quiet. Hopefully Ill have lots of update you on next week. Changes are Wednesday. Im not even going to try and guess what is going to happen cause Im always WAY off.

Thank you sooooo much for the letters and packages and love that you all send me. You make my life so much better!!!! Have a wonderful week! Until next monday!

- Hermana Kami Alyse Alston

Our baptism last week. Cutest little boy EVER!

Cow stomach that we had for lunch. Yummm!

I thought this was funny. This is at church on Sunday. Thats how most people get to church.

Semana Santa (easter week) festivities