Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Otober 24

Well hello there my dearest family!

Ok, I know I say this every week but I swear it was the best week yet. haha ALEXANDER GOT BAPTISED!! You know, the guy who was a scary looking punk and then completely changed his life around and is preparing for a mission? Yeah, him. He is my favorite. I heart him! We had some more awesome lessons with him. And he told us..."I dont know why, but I think God chose me to change my life. I just want to walk in the path to God and go on a mission. I just feel so happy in the church and I know that this path is the one that will bring me happiness. Hanging out with my friends and doing stupid stuff isnt going to make me happy." Then we asked him if he told his friends about his baptism and he told us that he hasnt talked to them cause he decided that they are a bad influence on him. He is doing all of this on his own. We are not even pushing him. Then to close with the lesson, we asked him if he could say the closing prayer and it was so sweet. He thanked God for sending us to help him to follow Jesus and he said "the hermanitas touched my heart and now I am excited and ready to follow Christ." See why I am so happy? I love seeing such a change in people. He also has a ton of support from the ward so Im pretty sure that they will make sure that he never falls away. Have I mentioned that I love being a missionary? As always though, the day of baptisms, something bad always happens. On our way to the chapel for the baptism, we were with Alexander in a tuc tuc and it broke down THREE TIMES! Then after the driver fixed the problem after the 3rd time breaking down, I thought we were good to go. WRONG! The cops pulled us over. Really? Cops dont do anything here. There are NO traffic rules and people do whatever they want. It was Satan trying to ruin the baptism, Im sure of it. haha

Something else really funny happened this week. We were visiting this inactive member at his house, and let me just tell you, he is the oddest person that I have ever met. He is like 50 years old, has a mustach and is VERY odd. But one of the first things he does when we get in his house is show us pictures of all his ex girlfriends. They were all beautiful and really young.....like 18 years old. Of course we didnt really believe him but we werent sure. Maybe it was true. But THEN he pulls out this picture in a frame. And before he shows it to us, he says "this is my favorite girlfriend I ever had. She was young (18 years old) but we were really in love. Unfortunately, she was coming to visit me here in Guatemala and the plane that she was on crashed into the ocean and she died." Then he flipped the picture around and you would never guess who it was....are you ready?!?! AMANDA BYNES!!!! bahahahaha! You know, the actress? It was a picture of him with his arm awkwardly up to the side and a picture of Amanda Bynes obviously cropped in there. hahahahaha" I was dying. What did he think? That I had never seen a movie with Amanda Bynes in it? haha Me and my comp laugh about that at least 3 times a day.

Dont worry, my health is good. I dont have any more parasites...I dont think. The only weird thing that is happening to me is that my skin is falling off in random places and it forms scabs. I have no idea what it is. Also, our house is disgusting. There is mold on EVERYTHING! Our pictures, our food, the walls, my bed, and heres the worst part....its growing on all of our clothes. And not the clothes that are just sitting there...the ones I wear ever day. Its ridiculous. Im no doctor, but I dont think that is healthy.

Well, we are getting kicked off the computer but I love you all tons. Thanks for EVERYTHING and for being super supportive! Hasta Lunes!

Love, Hermana Kami Alyse Alston

Crazy tin bridge over a river that we had to cross to get to an investigators house. I thought I was gonna die.

my comp stole my camera....shes gonna kill me for this one.

1 year mark celebration with some Elders that came in to the mission with me. They are a little jealous that I only have 6 months left and they still have a year to go. haha

1 year celebration....some Elders in my zone.

Alexanders baptism

All ready to recieve the Priesthood. You would not believe how different he looks. Ill try to send you a before picture next week.

Monday, October 17, 2011

October 17th

Well hello there my dearest family! I hope this email finds you all doing very well. I guess a bunch of parents are calling the mission lately cause there is stuff on the news about natural disasters in Guatemala and such. Is that true? Im a little out of the loop ya know?

This week has been very interesting. Apparently there is a huricane in Mexico and we are getting the affects of it here. It has been raining THE ENTIRE WEEEEEEEK!! Every day. All day. Its crazy. We couldnt even go to the big transfers meeting in Reu because nobody could get there. All of the rivers here overflowed and there wasnt passage anywhere. We tried to go and got stuck in San Felipe the whole day. Most boring day of my life. I feel bad for a lot of people here though cause their houses are being washed away from all the water. Or the rivers. We live in the city so we havent seen any effects over there. It is sooooooo humid though. Everything is wet from the humidity. All of my clothes are drenched and my sheets feel like I just pulled them out of the washing machine. Not very cozy to crawl into at night. But the good news is, it has been rather delightful weather. Not hot at all. Imagine that.

So I have another cool experience that happened this week. There is this punk teen (named Alexander) that pretty much lives in the street. He doesnt have parents or anything. He is always skating or break dancing in the street and never has a shirt on and is always using a hat. Oh and his hair is super super long. So we starting talking to him last week in the street and we invited him to church (thinking that he would never come of course). I had totally forgotten that we invited him. But guess who showed up at church? Yup! Him! He didnt change his clothes at all. He wore his skater shoes, hat and all. But he stayed for all three meetings and when we talked to him he said he felt really good and church and wanted to come every week for the rest of his life. ha! Wow! He also said that he felt uncomfortable with his hair long and dressed like that. But we put an apt with him for two days later. Well when we went for our apt. He was wearing a formal shirt, jeans, no hat and his hair was cut short. What the? We challenged him to be baptized and he is getting baptized this Saturday. He keeps on talking about a mission and says he is going to start preparing now cause he reeeeeally wants to go on one. Cutest thing ever huh? Ill send you a before and after picture of him when I have one.

We are still teaching Carolina and she is progressing nicely. The only problem is, she is graduating from school at the end of this month and claims she cant go to church until that ends. Ill keep you up updated.

So there are 2 other Elders in the Zone that came in with me. E. Taufui and E. Crone. They are completing a year with me too this week so we decided to celebrate today. We bought a cake and soda and had a little party with the zone. The Elders are a little jealous that I dont have that much time left and they still have a whole year to go. baha I cant believe I have a year. I am so old and wise huh?

People keep telling me how good my Spanish and accent are this week. That makes me happy. I think it helps having a latina comp. Either that or they are just trying to make me feel good. haha In answer to your questions, no I never speak in english. Unless its pday with the other elders or on the phone with sick elders. I think in Spanish the majority of the time. And I dream in both. Spanish if my dream is with the people here but if I dream about home, I dream in English. No, I dont hate it. I officially dont mine talking in Spanish all the time. Its not really hard for me anymore so its not a burden.

Well I am completely out of things to say. I dont think anything life shattering happened to me this week. I love you all soooo dang much! Have a fantastic week! Que Dios les bendiga siempre!

Love, Hermana Kami Alyse Alston

Pretty volcano from the bus

These are called pacas. AKA the mall here in Guatemala. There are gagillions of them. This is where I buy my clothes. All the clothes that you guys give away, come here to us!

And this is the inside.
All decked out for the rain and "cold"

October 10

Hey fam!!!!

I hope yall had a WONDERFUL week because I had the best week ever! As usual. haha But this week, I swear was one of the best. You wanna know why? Because Maria Gloria and her family got baptised!!!! Woohoo!!! Finally! The ones who got baptised are Maria Gloria, Angela, Darling, Abdulia y Areli. They were so happy. So we have been teaching them pretty much the whole time we{ve been here and they said they want to get baptised but they just wanted more and more time. They wanted to prepare more first cause they kept not feeling like they were ready. But finally, we just decided on wednesday that we were going to go to their house and challenge them to get baptised on SUNDAY! We planned our lesson and made lots of visuals and everything. Well it turns out that it was an AWESOME lesson. We were explaining the blessings of baptism and we bore a simple testimony about it when I looked down at all 5 of them sharing a seat on their hammick and I saw 10 huge teary eyes staring at us. I had never seen them pay such close attention. But they were all feeling the spirit so strong and were crying. Right then, they all agreed to be baptised. That night, the spirit was so strong you could have cut it with a knife and my testimony grew so much about how special and important baptism is. I am sooo glad that I get to invite people every day to come unto Christ and be baptised.

You would not believe how stressful it is to get a baptism together though. Oh goodness. Satan was working so hard so that these people would not get baptised. We didnt have any water in our church so we had to go to a different building to do it. We woke up at like 5 in the morning to get everything ready. Something funny that happened was...it was our ward mission leaders first time baptising anyone and he messed up like 500000000000000 times. He had to dunk poor Maria Gloria in the water like 5 times. And each of her daughters too. Oh goodness. Afterwards, Maria Gloria was laughing and said..."I must have had a ton of sins! I am baptised GOOD!" haha We really wanted to have Hno Chij baptise them though cause he is the one that found them and gave them a ride to church every sunday and everything. They really wouldnt have gotten baptised if it wasnt for him. There is no way that we would have found them cause they live in the middle of the jungle. We could not do anything without the awesome members here helping us! Please help the poor missionaries in your area! Give them references or whatever you can! ha

Well changes are coming again this week but I dont have them. We told the President that we are in love with Mazate and never want to leave and that made him really happy. haha So we get to stay here! Yay! Oh and something very random for you. I got a new phone this week and it is a fancy touch phone and I feel soooooo wordly. Its very strange. I dont know what Im going to do when I get back and have an iPhone, and a computer and all. Oh dear! Culture shock!

Nothing terribly scary happened to me this week. 2 drunk men attacked me. And when I saw attacked, I mean cornered me and were begging me to take them to eat. I actually got a little scared this time but apparently I am very intimidating because I gave them a threatening face and pushed me way through them and they ran away talking about how I was SO mad. Im so tough. haha

Well I can{t think of anything else exciting that happened to me this week so there you go. But I love you all sooo much! Keep the emails and letters coming. Have a great week!

Love, Kami Alyse Alston

Kids day celebration at the church. i have never seen so many kids in my life! Is kids day a holiday in the states? I dont think so. But its huge here.

Maria Gloria, Angela, Darling, Abdulia and Areli. And Hno Chij (our ward laeder, who baptised them)

I swear they were very happy, people just dont smile for pictures here. haha

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October 3rd

Hey family! Well sorry it took me sooo long to write today. I had to go to Reu to a meeting with Hna and Pres Maravilla and the Doctor over Central America and all the mission Presidents and nurses in Central America. It was on Skype of course. But that took pretty much all day and now my Pday is gone. I didnt even get one. Oh well. I guess I will live.

Congratulations Lindsey! I can{t believe you are a mommy! That freaks me out! I am soooo happy for you though! I wish I could be there with all my heart and soul! Just to give you guys a big hug and then come back. haha I love you sis!

This week once again went by ridiculously fast and I forgot to write down what I wanted to tell you all about during the week so I will do the best I can to remember but don{t judge me if my email is boring ok? Yes, we did get to watch conference and I LOVED IT SO MUCH! Its amazing how much I was looking forward to it! And how fast it came and went. I also felt like I was connected to the good ol US of A a little bit and was thinking of yall watching it at the same time. Fun! I loved Presidents Uchtdorf talk in the Sunday morning session I think it was. He is always my favorite speaker. The best part of conference though was that SEVEN of our investigators came to it! Woohoo!! We were so thrilled! We have a lot of possible baptisms coming up this month but nothing is set in stone yet.

So cool story. one day we were looking for the house of a contact that we had contacted earlier in the week (that we never actually found) when we met Carolina. She is a single mom of 2 and is so amazing! We asked her for directions and she immediately started asking questions about the church. So we taught her right then and there and she started just pouring out her heart to us and telling us that she just feels so alone and like something in her life is missing and shes finally ready to find what that thing is. She said that she was just watching TV and all of the sudden got a big desire to go outside. She said it was weird cause she never just goes and sits outside but that she decided to. Then right then, we walked up and started talking to her. She said "I dont know if its coincidence or not but I want to hear what you have to say". So we taught her about the restoration of the gospel and she said a beautiful prayer in the end. Our second lesson with her she said that everything in her life was going better since we visited her and that maybe that was Gods answer to her prayer that this church is true. She came to conference and we have another apt with her in an hour. Im excited to see what happens with that!

The only other exciting this that happened this week is....I ATE IGUANA! So we have these friends in the ward and when we went to go visit their house for the first time, they were cooking an iguana on their grill. A HUGE, WHOLE iguana. So they live in the middle of the pure jungle. It is awesome! And right on the river. And they love to hunt and they hunt iguanas and other very strange animals that i have never heard of. Including Parrots. Sad. But anyways, they showed me pictures and these things are HUGE! They look more like aligators. I guess there are tons around where they live. We also saw a ton of exotic looking birds while we were there just flying wild and they told me that they see otters in the river all the time. Who knew that there were otter living in the rivers in Guatemala...not me! Im glad I didnt know about all the creatures that lived in the river before I washed clothes in there. Yikes!

My other story I have for you is about another animal.....a TERRIBLE ONE! So as I was falling asleep one nght, I heard something fly by my head. But I just assumed it was a fly or something but then I heard it again and I was thinking "no, that is way bigger than a fly" but I ignored it cause I was soooooo exhausted and just wanted to sleep. (by the way, we always sleep with out door wide open. actually, we dont even close it during the day. we never close it) Anyways, you would not believe what I woke up to....my worst nightmare. A moth. BUT this was no ordinary moth. It was the size of my head. I am not even overexagerating about this. I thought I was going to die. So I woke up my comp and we tried to get it out of the house but it just kept dive bombing my head and I thought I was going to die. So we both jump on my bed and start screaming bloody murder and trying to hit it. This went on for a good 2 minutes. Finally, it flew under the bed. So we immediately ran outside to get help from one of our neighbors. I thought I was going to have to knock on one of their doors to ask them to help. But dont worry. There were like 4 people waiting outside of our door because they thought one of us was getting murdered. hahaha! So our neighbor got it and took it out of the house for us. What a NIGHTMARE!!! You KNOW how much I hate moths. The latinos believe that big black moths are bad luck (of course) and that is means that youre going to die during the week so everyone has been telling me that we were going to die. Including my comp. She believes it with all her heart that its bad luck and that everything bad is going to happpen to us because of it.

Well fam, hope I didnt bore you but I love you more than life itself! Have a fantastic week!

Love, Hermana Kami Alyse Alston
This is the Iguana that we ate. Yummm!

This is the little girl in the family holding one of the Iguanas they shot. The iguanas that they hunt are HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE its ridiculous! Sorry its so blurry.

Typical Guatamalan clothes. She insisted that we tried them on. Most of the ladies here in Mazate use these clothes every day.

Funny sight I saw this morning walking down the street in the middle of the city. Only in Guatemala. haha

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sept 26th

Hey fam! I hope everything is going ok with you all. I recieved quite a bit of news this week with a new baby, rattlesnake bite, who knows what else?!?! Heaven help me. This week was exceptionally FAST and CRAZY! But not nearly as crazy as yours I dont think.

So first I will give you an update on our investigators. Maria Gloria is still progressing nicely. We had another setback with her daughters because they thought that they couldnt listen to music or dance or anything ever again after they got baptised. They also thought that they couldnt celebrate birthdays or anything cause thats what all the evangelicals believe here. SO thats why they didnt go to church. We of course explained to them that that was ok and that they could still listen to music and stuff so they came to church this week and they are gong to get baptised with Maria Gloria on the 8th of October. Its really hard to get them all to church at the same time though because they have soooo much to do at their house, they can never be gone at the same time. For example, Maria Gloria wouldnt let one of the daughters (Angela) go to church because she had to go fetch water from the river so that they would have water for lunch when they got back. They live in the middle of the jungle and work HARD just to survive. But they love going to church and Maria Gloria says that she is completely converted. She always tells us "Hermanas, dont worry about me, I am converted. I know that God has chosen me to be baptised in his church. You guys can worry about other people. You have other souls to save!" haha I love them so much. They all want to meet my family and they always talk about when you guys are going to visit them.

Ody. To be honest, Id rather not talk about it because I am still rather upset about that. To make a long story short, she is NOT getting baptised. She got in a fight with a member of the church and now she doesnt want anything to do with the church. We tried EVERYTHING but she says that her mind is unchangeable. Bummer that she made the decision to let an annoying member change her mind about her eternal salvation but what can you do?!

We did a whole lot of traveling this week. We went to San Fransisco (Guatemala, not USA, just thought I would clear that up), Tiquisate, and Reu. I think I am getting a little bored with riding in buses. But we have gotten a few new investigators from bus rides so I guess its ok.

Other interesting experiences we had. We went to do service with Maria Gloria and wash clothes in the river by their house. Oh my goodness. That is HARD work. We had like 3 huge buckets full of clothes and we had to get in the river and wash the clothes on rocks. I had the lovely experience of washing a diaper. (They use cloth for diapers here) It was rather enjoyable. We did that for like 4 hours! I dont know how they do that every week. Incredible! We also have been helping her make tortillas cause she sells them every day. We do them all by hand and I have to admit that I am becoming quite the pro. haha Don{t worry, I will make a lovely tortilla feast for yall when I get home.

Other funny thing. You remember the crazy lady that grabbed my butt and tried to rob me? Well we saw her again and she just walked up to me and slapped my butt! This lady needs help. Then she kept on trying to touch me again and I grabbed her hand and yelled at her. Then she kept on following us so I turned around and acted like I was going to hit her and she ran away as fast as she could. bahaha! Who knew I was so intimidating? Then a few days later, this drunk man was following us on the street. And we kept on changing sides of the street and walking and stopping, walking and stopping just to make sure that he was following us. And one time when we stopped and looked at him, he said "yeah! I AM following you. Call the police if you want!" The thing is with drunk men, is Im not scared of them at all. They are so wasted that I could tip them over with one finger. THAT is why you dont need to worry about me. I am WAY stronger then them.

Well I think that is all the news for the week. I had some other cool experiences with investigators but I dont want to bore you to tears. Maybe next week. I hope all the pictures and videos make the email more exciting. CONGRATULATIONS CHRISTI on the new baby! He is sooooo cute! And good luck, Lindsey! Ill be praying for you and thinking about you on the 29th. Be brave! I love you all tons! Thank you soooo much for your letters and love! Have a GREAT week! Hasta Lunes!

Love, Hermana Kami Alyse Alston
I think this qualifies me as an official guatemalan.

oh just the view to the side of the road while we were contacting. SOOOOOOOO pretty!
in case you cant tell, that is a BEAUTIFUL RIVER in the middle of the jungle.
heading to church with Maria Glorias family.

washing clothes in the river.

making tortillas with Maria Gloria to sell.

bus ride.....again!