Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shelob's Stairs

March 14, 2012

Things here are good! I am getting along with my companions really well and I am happy. The Spanish is coming, slowly but surely... I usually understand most of what goes on in class but I am getting headaches from concentrating so hard. The natives are really really nice and they are always happy to help me with my Spanish. But I am getting frustrated, it isn´t coming as fast as I would like.
But the big thing that happened last week was I got to go out into town and visit less active members. I wrote about this in the letter I just sent but you won´t get that for a while.... The place we went to seemed like a nice part of town but as you get further and further up into the hills of South America that is where all the poor people live. That is one thing that is different from America, rich people live in the hills... The houses are all made of cement and they all look so old. Some of the house were painted crazy colors but you can tell that many people don´t really keep up on their house keeping... I don´t think they have the resources to do things like that.
The city was really dirty and there was trash everywhere. All the cars here spit black exhaust and they don´t stop for anything, that includes red lights. During the day I think I saw about 50 dirty, hungry dogs and they all were roaming the streets. When we got the the chapel I was surprised to see that it was surrounded by a 10 foot high iron gate. The chapel was really dirty inside and our president told us that the water in the church isn´t safe to drink. Each companionship got assigned to a ward member and some companionships had a MTC teacher with them. Hermana Chancay and I were assigned the young woman´s president and a beehive from the ward. They were really nice and the ward members made an effort to talk really slow to me, but towards the end of the day they gave up ;) I am glad that they tried to talk to me though. As were were looking for these ward member we had five families listed on our sheet of paper and we found all five families and they all let us inside.

The shoes I had originally planned to bring would not have worked here!
One family that we went to lived at the top of one of the streets. When I say the top of the street I am not talking about a nice suburban street in America. The streets here are narrow and there are dogs and trash everywhere. There are stairs at the end of every street and the streets don´t interconnect to each other. They are like giant coldesacks (I have no idea how to spell that, maybe I should have read that comic more often) with dead ends. So at the end of each street they continue up the mountainside. The stairs leading up to these houses are so steep. The stairs are made of concrete and they are crumbling and uneven. As we were walking, well we practically had to climb up the stairs all I could think of was Gollum saying, "Up up up the stairs we go and then into the tunnel!!!" It was a pretty crazy experience. When we finally got to the house the member we were looking for had died and we just talked to his family instead. There were about four little girls and they all were so excited that I was from the United States. When it was time to leave one little girl kept coming back and saying goodbye to me! When you say goodbye here you give touch cheeks... I hate it but I am getting use to it. So after three kisses from here we finally left. I couldn´t believe the conditions that people live in here. It was so crazy!!!!! But I am happy that I have had this experience.
One thing that is also interesting here is most of the Latinos don{t know much about the church. Whenever we plan for a lesson my companion will flip through the index of the BOM (Book of Mormon) She never finds a scripture from a previous experience. She writes down every scripture and always uses the same scriptures. I don´t think many of the latinos here have read the BOM. I am so glad that I have a solid testimony of the gospel and this experience will only make it stronger. When we first arrived most of the latinos were not endowed. I can't imagine going through the Temple alone. I am so glad that mom was right next to me the whole time.
I am so grateful that I was born in the church and I am so glad that mom and dad are active. I am so happy that I live in America and we don´t have to climb the stairs leading to Shelob´s tunnel every time we go home. I am so glad that I chose to come to this family... I miss you guys so much and I hope that you all are doing well. I can´t wait to see you all again. But considering I get to be with you all for eternity this 18 month sacrifice doesn´t seem so bad in the long run. Love you guys!!!! I hope I get a letter soon!!!!!!
Love Hermana Welch #1
P.S. Just thought I would let you know that they don´t do Dear Elder here!!! But they do have hot dogs for breakfast...... gross!

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