Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November 5, 2013 First email from the field

November 5, 2013

Hola family, 

It feels like it has been a long time since I have talked or heard from you. I've been incredibly busy these couple of days.  So I have been out in the mission field for about 6 days now.  My first area is a place called Santa Barbara it's about a hour from the coast and its very hot!   It reminds me a lot of like what Hawaii or Tonga would look like.  It's very tropical and pretty.   The houses are. . . interesting. My trainers name is Elder Osegera.  He is from Honduras and he can speak a bit of English, so I've been teaching him. He is very hard working and walks incredibly fast!  All of the people laugh because they see me trying to catch up to him and start running while he is walking.  My Mission President expects us all to move incredibly fast with a purpose and to be perfect in everything we do especially with rules.  I feel very blessed for the trainer I have.   He is very kind and has a sense of humor,  but he is also loyal,  hard working and wants to baptize as much as he can.  My first week here was. . . very hard. People tell you missions are hard at times but they don't really explain why, especially when you have to serve in a foreign country.   It's very hard to adjust and try to adapt to your surroundings.  My first few days were definitely the hardest.   I just felt completely useless and not able to understand or say a thing. I came out of the CCM thinking that my Spanish was pretty good and that I should be able to be fine,  but the first day was definitely a reality check and I won't lie, it's hard.   I was very unsure of myself and I was very depressed because I felt useless and my companion was doing everything.  But that night I talked to him about it and he said some things to me that helped a lot.  I am grateful for my trainer.  The mission president also told me that everyone is like this and that it will get better.   Also my Zone leader talked to me and told me how his first few days were horrible,  but you just have to make a fool out of yourself and talk to everyone.  So, it sounds like everyone has to go through this and that does give me hope.  For the past few days it has been getting better,  though  we have no time for  language study.   Dad if you could help me know how to make my language better and how to study it would help a lot.  We contact here A LOT,  especially my companion and I because he loves to do it.  So we talk to a lot of people out in the streets and everywhere we go and that has helps my Spanish to grow.   The past couple of days have gotten better I actually got some complements on my Spanish saying that its better then the last companion he taught and that it is pretty good for someone that has only been here for 6 weeks.   I am slowly able to pick out what people say,  so that was encouraging. 
Picture of Santa Barbara, Guatemala from Google

We teach a lot of people and we should be having a couple of baptisms in a week or so.  There's about 80 members here.  There's also a lot of Evangelist and CATHOLICS and they all have silly excuse for not wanting us to teach them but that's how it goes. 

The culture is definitely different here. The  food here is okay.   There are no stores where we are so they have little snack bars and small stores that sell some stuff.   If we want certain things we have to go to another town to get them.  We pay some people to feed us or do our laundry.   Our apartment is ..not terrible ha ha,  but it isn't exactly fancy either.  The showers don't get hot, it's only cold, so I hate showers especially in the morning.  

I am beginning  to teach with my companion.  For some reason it feels harder to teach then it did at the CCM but I am trying.  Time goes by fast.  I hope we can find more time to study because I want to be able to actually understand and teach.  I hope that comes,  so I can really start working. 

 Sincerely,  Elder Toma

P.S. Forgot to say I have not received my care package apparently it can take 6 weeks to get here and we only  get our letters and care packages every transfer meeting, which means every 6 weeks.   This is not great but I can email every week and I can send letters.  My President pretty much told us that it is going to be hard and that Guatemala is one of the most successful mission.    We also work the hardest,  with a sense of purpose.   This means we work fast and walk fast and follow all of the rules with exactness.  There are interesting animals here ha ha  and things smell interesting too. . .  People live in hut-like  things or in cement apartments,  but they all have metal roofs so when it rains it is so hard to hear.   A lot of people don't even have electricity so that is interesting.  There are a lot of just random dogs and chickens and cows and all kinds of things that just wander around everywhere.  I also saw my first chicken get its head chopped off. There' s a lot of sugar cane fields and all kinds of fruit trees everywhere. 

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