Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 27th

Okay so this week.
Miracle story: Our investigator told us about a dream she once had and it was almost exactly Lehi´s visión of the Tree of Life. We left her that chapter to read, and so I really hope she realizes the truth of the Book of Mormon!
Delicious story:Hermana Colton and I had a lot of fun making crepes and filling them with that delicious chocolate spread mom sent. To. Die. For.
Dominican things: So the electricity has been incredibly unreliable this week. I don´t know if you guys ever imagine what it looks like when I´m teaching a lesson, but i doubt that you imagine it by candlelight. That´s been pretty typical most evenings here. But it´s nice because it makes things more reverent I think! This makes it very difficult to cook. Sometimes when I´m cooking, I actually feel like I´m camping. Like, all we have is a stove and a few utensils and plates and pots that we clean with dirty wáter and sometimes there´s no light. Sounds exactly like camp cooking to me! I´ve always loved camping :)
Embarassing story: I saw cows running this week. Have you ever seen a cow run? Just picture it. Funny, right?
Other funny story: during our branch activity this week we played a game and I ended up indicating that one of the elders was my eternal companion and it was really embarrassing haha.
Thing I learned: Member missionary work is super under-estimated and under-utilized. Basically every talk or book or ANYTHING I´ve read or Heard this week has been about member missionary work. I just realized how important it was. So. I´m developing a super awesome plan for all yáll to learn how to be member missionaries. And then you guys get to be part of the Lord´s work and His glory! You get to help bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man! Hopefully I´ll have the plan ready by next week. Be ready because I am SO serious about this. It´s going to be incredible!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August 20th

This week went by so fast! Let me explain some of the pictures. So a lot are from a river trip we went on last p day. And by river trip, I mean we loaded people into a guagua (we have a new record! 21 people in one guagua! That would be like 21 people in a Honda Odyssey) and then walked to a river and put our toes in and ate guacamole and chips. Twas a great day. I´m getting a really silly tan on my feet from wearing my kenes a lot haha. Oh and the watch tan is coming niiiiiice.

I made my first ever fresh juice! Cereza! Which is the Word for cherry, but Dominican cherries are not at all like American cherries. Oh and I ate my first avocado. Twas quite good. Although a lot less flavorful tan I imagined haha. But I think it´s prime avocado and mango season right now because at all the colmados, the mangos and avocados are just HUGE and the mangos are SO DELICIOUS.

The other photos are from this week´s p day at los quemados. That´s where they have efy here! it´s super awesome. they have grass-roofed cabins to sleep in and it´s just completely gorgeous there. we had a super fun day with all the missionaries and some local kids playing soccer and baseball and having an epic water balloon-capture-the-flag battle in the pouring rain. I´ve never been so soaked! it was super fun. We also made the largest batch of spaghetti that the world has ever known. Mom, I put in the picture of the chicken foot just for you. yes we cook that with spaghetti and yes people like to eat that part. The video is of this super awesome twirly thing that is like a Little roller coaster for your backyard! I think Americans should start getting these for playgrounds because they´re so fun!

A funny story from the week would be when I woke up with an eye infection (don´t flip out, I´m totally healed now and it was only bad for like 12 hours). Anyway, I couldn´t even open my eye it hurt so bad, but I kept tyring and they were so red and Hermana Colton, referring to how obvious my pain was, said. "oh it hurts my eyes just looking at you" and I said "that´s not very nice" hahaha.

We´re teaching a really wonderful family--the Familia Peña. They have 16 and 11 year old sons. And all of them are so ready for the góspel. We´re planning on their baptism for sept 13th, and we are so excited! It´s just amazing to see how God leads you to the people who are prepared. Another really important thing for all you people out there Reading this blog is that this family was referred to us by a member and that member has been present at every single lesson and stops by other times during the week. I think that the support of this member has been monumentally influential in the teaching of the family. Put this into practice with your own Ward!

One other thing is that we got haircuts at the salón! Dominican women go to the salón all the time because they have super curly hair which they hate, and so they always get it straightened. So yeah, we got our hair washed, then put in ginormous curlers in a big mound on our heads, then sat in the super hot furnace of devilish fire for your head machine, and then they even took the hottest blow dryer of my life to dry it even more! also it was like 90 degrees outside. so yeah, just super hot. but my hair was like a beautiful river of silk afterwards so I felt like a princess and it was worth it.

love you all! enjoy the pics!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 13th

This week has been good. This computer shift button is handicapped though, so forgive the poor punctuation. Okay so I don´t have a ton of cool stuff to report as far as teaching goes. One cool story though, so we´re teaching a mother and her daughter in law, who are both catholic but interested in learning more about the gospel. Hermana Colton asked if they would like to know if the Book of Mormon is the word of God and the daughter in law paused for a moment and said yes. Then we turned to the mother and she paused too, and I was thinking she was going to give a hestitant yes just like the first woman, but then she said, "I know that it is true." Whoaaaa like where did that come from!? She had watched the restoration video with us before and she says she knows that there's no way Joseph Smith could've done all that stuff without God. Amazing!

Funny story of the week: so we´re having a lesson with Marcos. He has a little sister named Hilary who is four or five and she´s really cute but also pretty crazy. She likes to sit with us during the lessons but sometimes she is a tad mischievous. Soooo a few days ago during the lesson she ran upstairs and then returned, cupping her hands and sat next to me on the couch. She secretly showed me the small white slivers in her hands, which to me looked like pieces of a bar of soap. Hermana Colton is teaching something to Marcos all this time. and so I put my attention back on the lesson and then suddenly Hilary´s hands are DOWN MY SHIRT and then her hands are IN MY ARMPITS and I was trying to free myself without disrupting the lesson too much and without shrieking in surprise. For some reason, she looked stunned that I didn´t want her little hands in my armpit. Imagine that! And she said "what? we can share!" and proceeded to rub the white stuff (deodorant, not soap) on her own armpits. So now you know the story of how a little Dominican tried to apply deodorant to my armpits during a lesson.

To respond to all the chikanguya questions: yes, I got it. yes, it was really lame. no, I don´t still have it. Basically a lot of people here have gotten it because they don´t believe in science (nacho libre quote anyone, anyone???) but anyway, they´re superstitious rather than factual. As in, they would rather believe that air is contaminated with the disease than that a mosquito transfers the virus from one person´s bloodstream to another´s as it bites you. I´m pretty sure all Americans would see reason in the second one, but Dominicans just don´t. They think the air is contaminated somehow. Scientifically, that just doesn´t make sense!  It´s so frustrating because if they would believe you about the mosquitos, then they would put on repellent and then they wouldn´t get sick and less sick people means less mosquitos transferring the illness which means it would go away! But anyway, a lot of the adults here get it really bad for some reason. Like, it lasts longer and then for weeks their joints ache. I am fortunate in that I had the fever and stuff for about 2 and half days and then I was basically as good as new, but every now and then the joints of my fingers and wrists feel sore, but it´s nothing. 

Let´s play a game. Try to think of something that you couldn´t fit or transport on a moped. Did you think of one? Okay good. Now I´m going to tell you that you are probably right. You couldn´t drive a moped with a propane tank (or three) or with a queen sized mattress flapping off the back, or with 20 feet worth of bamboo stalk trailing behind or with 5 people squished on the seat. But Dominicans can and they DO. Nobody has cars here, so they´ve learned how to transport EVERYTHING via moped. It´s quite impressive really.

Here are pictures from this week

Thursday, August 7, 2014

August 7th

This week has been great!

There was, however, one rather unfortunate part. It all started Friday morning. Nicaurys and her two children were to be baptized the next day and we were there with the elders doing interviews. I´m sitting on the couch and feeling pretty lousy and I said, "I don´t know why, but my body hurts." Hermana Colton immediately groaned and said, "oh nooooo." I said, "It´s mostly just my back....but that´s probably from carrying my backpack. And I mean, my arms hurt too, but that could be from carrying groceries home a couple days ago. And my right ankle is sore, but maybe I slept on it
JPEG Imagewrong." Elder Walker had started laughing a little and Hermana Colton had put a hand over her eyes. "Do you have the rash?" she asked. "No," I said reflexively, then looking down I amended, "well, I´m pretty sure those are ant bites. And that one there is probably from a mosquito." More laughing from Elder Walker. "Do you have the fever?" As I started to say I didn´t, Hermana Colton stood up and felt my head and groaned again. "It´s just because it´s hot!" I told her. Elder Walker was STILL laughing. "What´s so funny!?" I finally asked him. "You are in denial!" he told me. "You have chikangunya!" And in the moment he said it, I realized that it was true. So here´s the progression of the dread plague chikangunya ( 1) you feel sore 2) you deny that you feel sore 3) you feel more sore 4) your fever rages for a while 5) your joints take turns aching so that you feel as if you´re 19 going on 90 6) a rash will crop up at some point and yeah basically you just feel OLD. I was walking like a cripple for a bit this week. The sad thing was that I had it during the baptisms and the relief society activity so it was hard to feel so happy when all I felt like was sleeping haha. But I was still able to go, thanks to the blessing of the Lord, and what a wonderful experience it was!
JPEG ImageMarcos was baptized and his parents came and they were so happy and supportive! I did not expect that from them, and I have never been so happy to be wrong. His has even asked for his own copy of the Book of Mormon! 

Other funny thing. That night our district leaders called for some business and they asked how I was doing and I asked Elder Hardy to bring some medicine for me the next morning and I was going to say "because I have a really hot head" but "hot head" sounded like someone who brags a lot, so I quickly amended and said instead, "because I have a hot body" which was definitely not any better to say, hahaha. It was super embarrassing and he made sure to tell everybody during the zone meeting yesterday haha. 

Other funny thing. We play "never have I ever" for a game a lot and one evening Hermana Colton and I were playing it with some members. One girl who was 12 said "never have I ever danced on a table" and the relief society president, a very sweet and mild woman, put down one finger, indicating that she had danced on a table before! She told us she used to be pretty crazy when she was younger, haha. Who would´ve known!?

JPEG ImageOn P Day we went to a waterfall and it was awesome! The entire hike felt like we were really in a rain forest because we were surrounded by green. Green leaves and moss everywhere. Green canopy of leaves above and brown carpet of leaves below. And it was raining, so it truly was a rainforest! It was beautiful. And there were all sorts of dubious bridge-stairs to cross so it was like a jungle adventure. And we got to wade in the waterfall water which was clear and blue and gorgeous and it was SO refreshing. It was just lovely.

Enjoy the pictures here: