I hope that things are going well for all of you! I got three awesome emails today and I am pretty darn happy! Thanks for writing me... It means a lot! Well as you all know I got transferred to a new area called Guayacanas... It is in the city so I have been in shell shock for a couple of days... But things are good. I survived my first week here and things are going fine! Right now the cyber I am sitting in smells HORRIBLE! I don´t know what happened in here but if my email suddenly ends you know that I am unconscious from the fumes... I don´t know what died in here but it is BAD!
Well the biggest change from this transfer is my companion doesn´t speak any English.... I really feel like I am on my mission here because now I am really forced to speak the language. Another big difference is my companion only has been in the field for two and a half months-talk about crazy!!! So I am kind of in charge.... Which is actually really really scary because I am in South America and everything is crazy down here. But she is a good worker and is happy to be here. Which is good! Sometimes I think about home too much so she keeps me on track! Where as my other companion had 13 months in the field.
This week I have been learning a lot. The city is really different especially when you are a missionary, people seem to run away from us rather than want to talk to us. So that is weird, people know who we are and have seen us around. My companion is also a worrier, if we are walking on a street and there are no people on the street she makes us walk somewhere else until there are people. I trust her judgement because I am clueless and I bet if we were in a tight spot she would be able to handle it. But the city we are in is really clean and quiet... So I don´t know why she is so paranoid. The garbage truck even plays a type of elevator music... You know you are in a ritzy part of town when the garbage men warn you to put your trash out. I will never forget running with Jon and Chris and Bradley and Nick (my brothers) on Christmas morning all the way down Hodges Ave in Camden Park chasing after the garbage men because we had so much trash from the wrapping paper and we had not gotten the trash out! Well they don´t run after the garbage truck here.
There are also no zombie dogs... Sadly I was getting use to those creepy things and now my tactics to fend off the stray dogs are useless here. Not that I really had any tactics to fend them off. We live in a little apartment with a nice view but it is so hot here that we leave our windows open 24/7. And every morning I wake up hearing the same old man coughing and hacking a loogie... The people here spit alot and it is perfectly normal. But one great thing is we have hot water in our shower which is SO NICE!!! I was getting tired of heating up the water on the stove. It is nice to just turn the knob and there it is, already hot!
We cannot eat sea food here because we are not close enough to the coast and the fish isn´t fresh... But this area is pretty coastal if you ask me. However, I am sure the President and his wife know what they are doing. I loved the civiche, I am going to miss that! In my new zone my old District leader, Elder Tibanlombo is one of my new Zone Leaders... So that is nice and Hermana Bryan is also in my zone. We are going to meet up with her and her companion to eat somewhere good. So that is exciting! It is nice to have some friends in the zone. It is weird how happy all we missionaries are when we get together. Sometimes being with your companion 24/7 is kind of draining.
An interesting thing that happened this week was in our Ward Council meeting this Sunday. (I guess you could call it interesting!) This ward doesn´t have a ward mission leader so my companion and I have to attend these councils. We entered the council meeting and we sang a hymn (The Spirit of God.... which is so long but everyone down here knows it so we sing it almost EVERY Sunday....) said the prayer and in the ward councils usually the Bishop lets the missionaries go first so that they can leave early.
Well in this ward council our Bishop couldn´t attend so it was the first and second counselor conducting the meeting. My companion was reading our weekly report and talking about a little boy that has a baptismal date. Well this kid´s name is Kleber, his mom is a recent convert as of about two months ago and she hasn´t been to church since her baptism... Well she just had a baby and her baby has health problems so I can see where this lady is coming from. But she is less active, so if mom is less active, nine year old Kleber is going to be less active too.
As we were discussing the needs of this family and how we can help this kid and his mom come to church the Bishop´s wife who is the Relief Society secretary (who was there in place of the R.S. president) butt in and said:
"How is it that everyone you baptized is now inactive? There are so many inactive members in this ward and they are YOUR RESPONSIBILITY! How is it that these people can get baptized when they don´t come to church?!? HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE GIRLS? We don´t need more less active members! What are you two doing all day? You have to work with the less active members of the ward! THEY ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!!!!"
At this point I thought she had gone on long enough and was looking around at the other members and wondering, "Is anyone going to cut her off or tell her she is out of line???" But no one was speaking... My companion was in tears and this woman was not shutting up... I was so appalled at the way that she was yelling at us, so I said when she took a breath, "Vamos a trabajar mas con estas personas y lo sientimos... Este no es nuestra inten-" (We are going to work harder with these people and we are sorry. This wasn´t our intention) And she cut me off again but then my companion then said, "WE HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH THESE PEOPLE! But we can´t do anything without the help of the members!" Well this kind shut this lady down... But the tension in the room was SO HIGH! I was so surprised that I wasn´t in tears as well, but I didn´t really take it personally like my companion did since I haven´t been in this area.
Well the first counselor then offered his help and told us that there would be an extended effort from the ward and things were better. But I have never ever been put in a situation like that in my entire life... I was so shocked that this 40 something year-old woman was attacking us like that right in front of everyone. When we left the meeting two of the priesthood leaders who are younger, in their 30s, came out and talked to my companion and I. One was the Young Men´s president and the other was a councilor of the High Priest group. They both apologized and mentioned that they were not in accordance with this woman´s comments. They then told us that they were sure that no one was in accordance with her words either. I was so happy that they told us this. Then the Young Men´s President told us that he is a returned missionary and he told us not to worry about her but to remember that we signed up for this, and to remember that we are representatives of Jesus Christ and everything we go through as missionaries Christ went through as well. I don´t think this guy knew how comforting his words were but they were just what we needed at that time. He then told us that all that matters is that the Church is true. We need to remember that, the Church is true-but it´s members are not perfect....
So, that was a nice warm welcome to Guayacanas! Hahaha pretty crazy! Well I need to wrap this up, I love you all more than I miss you and things are going great! We are looking for new investigators and we are going to find them! Love you! Until next week!