Monday, August 22, 2011

August 22nd

Hey fam!!! Well I am already running out of time very rapidly!! So Im gonna have to make this quick.

So we have some good news and some bad news. Ill start with the bad news and get it over with. Our 2 families that we were teaching both decided not to get married yet. So we will not be baptising any families. SAD! I hate men (except for the exceptionally wonderful men in my life of course). haha Both of the wives want to get married and baptised so bad but they can{t. While one of the husbands was explaining to us that he didnt want to get married yet for a few more months. The wife was practically in tears. She has been waiting so long to get baptised. Poor thing. But the good news is...we found some more positive investigators. One in particular is especially. We met her on Friday and she came to church on Sunday! And we didnt even have to pick her up and walk with her. She just showed up on her own. We were so happy! Her name is Mari and she comes from a VERY humble family. She is 21, has a 7 year old daughter and is pregnant. She is the sweetest little thing in the world. Her profession is selling food in the streets. She walks around in the streets alllllll day long with a huge container on her head and yelling what food she is selling that day. She told us..."I was praying that I would find you guys in the street on Saturday so that I could give you some of my tamales". hehe Cutest thing ever! She wants to get baptised but not yet. We{ll see what happens with that.

As far as nursing stuff goes. We went to another zone this week. Its called Coatepeque. It was fun. We just taught a little bit about health to the zone and then we did divisions with the Hermanas there. It is super fun to see other areas in the mission and to be able to do divisions with the sisters. I think my favorite thing about traveling though is the buses. They are hilarious! It is just pure craziness. Some of my favorite parts of a bus ride are - LOUD music, men falling asleep on my shoulder, SUPER fast driving, preachers jumping on the bus and preaching so loud that it hurts my ears, and chickens that people brought on the bus flying over my head. One person had a box full of chickens that they brought on the bus and they started to get out of the box and he didnt realize it. They started flying over our heads and finally someone told him so he was running around the bus trying to catch his chickens. When he finally got some, he asked me to hold a few while he tried to catch the others. HAHA! I LOVE it here.

Ok, Im going to tell you something scary that I found out this week but dont freak out or do anything stupid like call the mission to make sure Im safe or anything like that ok? I can assure you that I am perfectly safe and following all the rules and NOTHING is going to happen to me. But we have been visiting this inactive member and something very sad happened to her daughter. She was walking to buy tortillas with her 6 month old baby and someone kidnapped her. A lot of people saw who is was. It was a tuc tuc driver. And he shoved them both in his tuc tuc and took off. They have been gone for 17 days and the mom has not heard anything. Here{s the real sad part though. Everyone knows who the man is and what number the tuc tuc is (number 525 - dont worry, I have my eyes peeled for the tuc tuc always!) And the police know who he is and everything but they are not doing anything about it because the family has ZERO money to pay them. So the man that took them passes by their house and will stop and talk to them and rub it in their face that he took her daughter. And NO ONE DOES ANYTHING!!!!!! They dont know if she{s alive, where she is, nothing! The poor mom is always crying, poor thing. And this happened very close to our church in perfect daylight! I wanna beat those stupid policeman up! And the horrible man! That is the 2nd inactive member that we have visited that has gotten kidnapped. The other one has money though so she came back really fast.

Well now that I got that horribly depressing story over with.....I GOT YOUR PACKAGE! I was the happiest person ever! The Elders were very very jealous cause it was soooo huge! It was BETTER than Christmas!! Everything was perfect and fits me like a glove. I have already gotten so many compliments on the clothes and everything. I listened to the tape like 50 times at least. That was my favorite part. And dont worry,I am already filling up the other tape very fast. Thank you sooooooooooooo much! You{re the best!

Changes are next week already! I can{t even believe it! This change went by faster than alll the other ones I think. The baptisms have been horrible in the zone though. We have only had 3 baptisms in the entire zone. 2 of them were from us and 1 from the other Hnas in the zone. We usually have around 15-20 just so you know how bad that is.

Well I have nothing more of value to say but I love you all soooo much! Thank you for all your letters and love and support! Talk to you next week!!

Love, Hermana Kami Alyse Alston

August 15th

Hello familia!

Well as you can tell by the subject of this letter, I'm really not sure what to say. For some reason my mind is completely blank and I cant think of anything to tell you. Normally I'm just typing as fast as I can to get everything in! So I apologise ahead of time for my boring letter.

One super exciting thing that happened this week is.....SANDY AND EVELYN GOT BATISED! It was super interesting trying to get the signature from Evelyn's mom. I had never seen this women in my life after living here for 7 months!! She is M.I.A always! BUT we finally found her in the house and signed without any problems. I think she just wanted us to leave as soon as possible. haha It was precious though cause after the baptism, they just couldnt stop smiling and kept on saying....I just feel so happy! I'm just so happy! Love that.

I'm afraid, however, that I have come to hate Sundays. That's a bummer huh? Sunday's used to be my favorite day! Yesterday we went to go get Sandy Evelyn so we could walk with them to church. It was especially important that they go because they were going to get comfirmed and recieve the Holy Ghost in sacrament meeting. Well we actually woke both of them up and we ended up being 20 minutes late to sacrament meeting. We missed the sacrament and they had to get confirmed at almost the end of the meeting. Oh good heavens. I always end up being so stressed and annoyed because our investigators are like 30 minutes late. Or people lie to us all day long and tell us that they will be there when really they have no intentions of being there at all. And I don't know what it is but it seems like every Sunday, we get at least 3 really rude people chew us out. But that's ok, one day my Sunday's will be peaceful once again. haha

Well it turns out that one of the families that we are teaching will most likely get baptised the 27th of this month. That is if all goes smoothly. They will get married and baptised the same night! How happy!! I just LOVE her! She is always giving us hugs and acting like our mom. So darling.

So here is a funny story just to show you how "religious" people are here. First, you need to know that around Reu there are GIANT pilas. Like its the size of a swimming pool and people can go there for free and wash there clothes or bathe or whatever. There is one right next to our house. Anyways, I didnt actually see this but my comp was telling me about it. Apparently there is a "John the Baptist" day. And on this very special day, they had a dance party in alllll the pilas. You could choose whichever one was closest to you and there was a disco ball and super loud music and a dance party INSIDE the pila! bahaha! I love Guatemala. Have I mentioned that?

Another random funny story. We were at a lesson teaching Sandy and Evelyn and Sany's 90 year old grandma was there sitting on the bed. She is darling but bless her heart can't hear very good. So anyways, somebody said something funny and we all starting cracking up. But the thing is, is she thought we were laughing at her so she raised her arms up in the air and started waving them and laughing like a witch (trying to imitate us) and kept doing it for quite a long time. We were all staring at her and when she stopped she said "why would you say that God doesn't answer my prayers?!?! He DOES hear me and he LOVES me!!!! You are all going to be punished! God is going to punish you for making fun of me! You just wait! He will PUNISH you!!!" haha! Poor little thing. I felt bad but was DYING on the inside trying not to laugh. Don't worry, Sandy explained to her very nicely that we were not laughing at her and that God definitely does listen to her prayers.

Well fam, sorry that's all I got for you but if I am lucky and my computer works, I will send some good pictures to make up for my boring letter. LOVE YOU ALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!! HAPPY PDAY!

Love, Hermana Kami Alyse Alston

Me and Hna Hidalgo. LOVE HER! Oh p.s. in our interviews, pres said that we were probably gonna get moved together this transfer to open a new area. woohoo! But he always changes his mind and therefore cannot be trusted.

One of the hoodlums that we teach. He drew me that pic. :)

The cleaning guy at the church. He generally only talks to us with hand motions. That's why we are doing weird things. I LOVE HIM!

The driver of the tuc tuc's baby daughter was shoved in the back of the tuc tuc! haha!
Car wash pics that I never sent.

August 8th

This week went by soooo fast! I swear, every week is going by faster and faster! Holy cow! This week was really good. We worked VERY hard. We are really trying to baptise a family this month. That is our goal. We have a few positive families that we are teaching but they all have something major standing in the way. That is not to say that they{re not going to get baptised, its just gonna take a little more work and time thats all.

We are teaching 2 families right now and in both of the cases, the "husband" is an inactive member and the "wife" is not a member. I put "husband and wife" in parentheses because they are actually not married. Very few people get married here unfortunately. They just live together their whole lives. They both have been living together for more than 10 years and never plan to separate. So we are trying to get them married ASAP so the wives can get baptised. Both of them want to get baptised and married but they say it's "reeeally fast!!!". We tell them that it is DEFINITELY not fast. They have been living with eachother for 10 years now for heavens sake! But we{re working hard for those baptisms for the end of this month.

Sandy is getting baptised this Saturday so we are very excited for that. And her friend Evelyn WAS going to get baptised with her but we had a few hangups so it will need to be postponed.

All of our leaders have been pushing and pushing us to work with the members. Get references for them, teach with them, contact with them, everything! So we have been trying to be good little missionaries and follow their advice. So we{ve been working a lot with them and they{ve been teaching lessons with us a lot. Well now, I am beginning to think that that wasnt the best idea. Here are some experiences we{ve had with that.

- We were teaching a reference from a member and in the middle of the lesson, they bring each of us some hot freshly made coffee. Me and my companion respectfully decline and explain that as members of the church, we cannot drink coffee. RIGHT after we were done explaining, the member that we brought with us shouts "I CAN DRINK IT!" and grabs the cup out of the investigators hand. Thank you member. Very helpful.

- We were in a lesson teaching about the Joseph Smith story. After the lesson we invited the investigators to pray and ask God if the story was true and we promised them that they would get an answer that it was true. After that, we asked the member to share with the investigators how they recieved their answer that the church was true. She went into an elaborate story of how she was praying alone in her room and she asked God if the story of Joseph Smith was true when Joseph Smith walked through her bedroom door and smiled at her. She knew from then on that Joseph Smith restored the gospel of Jesus Christ. Oh dear. It was fun trying to fix that one.

- We were in a similar situation this time and we asked a Recent Convert to share with the investigators how they recieved their answer that the church was true. He also went into an elaborate story about how he was praying and shared that he had the same dream every night for 1 week where he saw a white circle in his dreams. And that was his answer! What does a white circle have to do with the church being true you ask? I have no idea.

Oh how I love the members here though. I really do, with all my heart and soul! hehe

Here are a few funny things that happened this week.

- We have a really creepy, 50 ish year old neighbor and he grabbed my hand and told me that he would love nothing more than to have a person like me as his companion. He said that he has plans to return home with me and ask me hand in marraige. Creepy.

- We were teaching a less active member and she was really wanted to prove to us that she could read. First, you have to understand that only about 50% of the people here can read. And you can pretty much count that if they are older than 45 years, they cant read. So she wanted to PROVE it to us. She made us pick a random scripture, "ANY ONE! PICK ANY ONE and Ill read it to you to show you how well I can read!" haha! Did I mention that she is like 60 years old. So cute.

- A drunk man walked up to me in the street and started yelling at me and pointing his finger at me. He was very drunk and I could only understand about 50% of what he was saying but I did catch that he tried to go to the United States and they wouldnt let him and its "ALL YOUR FAULT!!!!!!!!" hehe Oops. I should have thought a little harder before I made that law.

Well family, that{s all Ive got for you today. I hope I didnt bore you to tears. The church is definitely true!! It is amazing how many times a day the Holy Ghost testifies of that to me. Every time I hear the story of Joseph Smith or testify of the Book of Mormon, I just feel the most wonderful feeling ever and I know its true! I love you all! Have a FANTASTIC WEEK!

- Hermana Kami Alyse Alston

Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1st

Hello familia!

Well yet another week bites the dust here in good ol ConcepciĆ³n! I am still loving it here and my zone and my companion and everything! I love my comp even more than I liked her before. She is super super sweet and is quite the funny little thing. She cracks jokes all day long and keeps me laughing. Last week, we had to pay off some debt that the other Hermanas left on the house so we had literally ZERO food and ZERO money the entire week. But this change we decided to work on the Christ like attribute of ESPERANZA (hope)! So we just kept on saying...oh its alright, we wont starve cause we have ESPERANZA!!!! Or, its ok that our investigator hates us...cause we have ESPERANZA! And guess what? People invited us to eat over every night. AND people randomly kept on giving us food! We lived off of some Platanos that some lady picked off her tree for us for like 3 days! It was great! We have sooo much esperanza! haha

So we also have a ton of esperanza that we are going to find families to baptise. We{ve found a lot of new investigators this week and I give all of the credit to all of the esperanza that we have. We also have 2 baptismal dates!! Sandy, the older sister of the twins (Jose and Samuel) is getting baptised the 13th and also her neighbor, Evelyn. They are super excited and its cute. Im especially happy because when we first challanged them to be baptised, they flat out said no because they werent ready to give up certain things that they liked to do. But not they are excited and ready to get baptised on the 13th. Evelyn also told us yesterday that her mom would like to listen to us so Im really hoping that something comes of that.

In answer to your questions, yes, it still rains every day. Only in the afternoon though, its strange. It is sooooooooooooooooooo sunny and hot in the morning. But after lunch we go home and change into our boots and grab our umbrellas cause it rains every single day after lunch. And it doesnt stop until the middle of the night. Also, you can pretty much expect the lights to go out every night. Normally I am ok with it cause I have a super cool, strong flashlight (thank you Lan). BUT unfortunately the flashlight cant cook my food. I swear the light ALWAYS go out right in the middle of cooking food. Like when the eggs are half cooked or something. What a burden.

As far as nursing, nothing else is really new. I was talking to the President this week and he asked me if I am sick of being the nurse yet and if I would like to be released. I told him that I would do whatever he needed or wanted me to do. When I said that, he smile huge and gave me a fist bump and said..."I NEED YOU! INCREDIBLY!" Then he told me that I was going to be in Reu my whole mission and asked me if that would be a problem. I said no but he told me that if I ever get sick of being here, I can take off to any other part of the mission. He said if I want to go to the cold in San Marcos, all I need to do is tell him and hop on a bus. He said I could stay in a hotel for 3 days if I want and work up there. So that will be pretty fun! Ill actually get to see more parts of the mission then I would normally be able to this way!

Now, for my funny stories. Last week I was ordering subway. And a drunk man came up to me and grabbed me! He was trying to get me to come with him! So I just told him to go away and that I was not going to go with him. Then he started motioning at my chest and telling me how HUGE it was! I just turned my backpack around so he would stop looking. Anyways, eventually, the police came and had to take him away. He kept on telling them that he was waiting for me to be done ordering so that he could go with me. Everyone in the place was staring and laughing. What a nightmare!

Another funny thing that happened. I was walking by an old man and I said "Buenas Tardes!" and he said "Adios, Virgencita! (little virgin)" bahaha! I am used to people calling me bonita, canchita, hermosa, princessa, reina, hermanita, gringita and lots of other stuff, but virgencita is new for me! I loved it.

Well I think thats all I got for ya this week. But I love you all sooo incredibly much! Thank you for your support and letters and emails and at least pretending like you care about whats happening with me over here. You are GREAT! Until next week!!!

Love, Hermana Kami Alyse Alston