Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September 24th

Some Dominican culture for ya: Dominicans are always like, “sit yourself.” I guess the English wording would be “sit down” but in Spanish it is literally “sit yourself” and so that´s how I hear it in my head and it makes perfect sense to me. But anyway, people here are super receptive and friendly and always invite you in to their patio—everyone here has a small, covered patio area in front of their house because it gets too hot to sit inside with walls all day. So they invite you in and immediately say “sit yourselves” and then you´re like

“oh that´s okay we´re just passing to ask about your son,”

And they say, “okay, okay but sit yourselves”

“I´m okay. So is your son home?”

“Let me go check, but sit yourselves” they retreat into their house for a minute and come back to see we´re still standing up and say “but sit yourselves”

And we´re like “thanks, is your son home?”

“no, but sit yourselves”

It´s all very friendly and kind, but it just makes me laugh in my mind that they can´t imagine that we´re actually okay with standing up for a few minutes ,ha ha.

 Miracle of the week. We had to teach a class super last minute. It´s a class we´ll be holding regularly in the branch to encourage member missionary work and teach tactics and whatnot. We were underprepared and it made me feel very uncomfortable and I was feeling really stressed when we showed up, but long story short, the Spirit guided my companion and me through THE ENTIRE lesson. I felt prompted to say and do so many things and they made an impact with the people who were in the class. I felt overwhelmingly that these people each had something to contribute to missionary work here in Bonao and that this class was essential for them to realize their potential. It was such a powerful experience. Member missionary work is so important guys!!!

Also we made Pastelon which is basically mashed potatoes layered with ground beef layered with mashed potatoes layered with cheese and then baked. Pretty durn yummy!
Here´s the links for pictures and month two of The Family Missionary Plan

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September 17th

Let me start off with the best news: this week we had a family baptized! That is like GOLD for the mission, if you don´t know. Alberto, Felicia, Jeffrey, and Joel Pena were all baptized on Saturday and all received the Holy Ghost Sunday. This is my first baptism where I began teaching them and was with them through the entire process and it is such a privilege to be a part of that change in their lives! I love them all very much! 

So I just got back from the craziest p day ever. Not really but here´s the story. So. There´s a guy in our branch who has a ton of land and invited us to do a hike up the mountain of his property. The elders made it sound like we´d hang out by a creek and do a short little hike and then have a nice lunch. Relaxing right? So we wake up SUPER early to get there and we show up and before we set out the guy tells us that we´re going to see things we´ve never seen before on this hike, like it´s going to be totally unbelievable and totally dangerous too. And we´re like ooookay. So we set out, and it is GORGEOUS. We´re plucking delicious fruit from trees as a walk and there´s a lovely river that we cross and it´s all fine and dandy. And then we start climbing uphill. This is normally what you would expect from a hike, only it was super different because it was pretty much straight mud that we were climbing up. If there were rocks, they just fell downhill when you touched them so it was like a booby trap or something. And THEN there was the grass of death. It was super thick, reedy grass about four feet tall that twined itself around your legs as you walked and did all in its power to trip you, or at least rub the skin off your ankles. Through all of this tribulation,we were led by Prophet Yonelvi, who the ENTIRE TIME was shouting scriptures at us as if he were Moses and we were the Jews. He was like "God has commanded that we press forward! God has commanded that we walk onward and not faint!" you get the picture. Super funny! An awesome thing was that I drank water from a little waterfall and it was THE MOST DELICIOUS WATER IN THE WORLD. We stopped somewhere nice to sit and had lunch and then it was time to go back through the grass of death and slide ourselves down the mud mountain. My legs were beyond destroyed with mud and dirt. So when we got to the river that we crossed at the start, I took the opportunity to try to scrub the filth off myself. After a few minutes, someone is like,"hey don´t stay in that water too long, it´s contaminated from the mine upstream." So yeah, the relaxing hike turned into a jungle trek of treacherousness and the little stream was actually poisonous, but it was still a really fun day!
Random awesome fact: there´s a dominican elder in my zone who had the opportunity to sign for the orioles´baseball team and make MILLIONS, but turned them down to serve a mission.
Also yesterday was Mexican Independence Day and Hermana Castillo, my Mexican compa, says hello!
Here are pictures:
I´m eagerly anticipating your letter and I look forward to reading your talk. Send Amber a happy birthday message from me if you can! 

September 10th

Thereis no time for writing thisweek! But here´s what´s new: my companion! Hermana Colton finished her mission today!!!! I am so sad to see her go because we truly became best friends, but Iknow we´ll be hanging out a ton forthe rest of our lives! My new comp isHErmana Castillo from Mexico and I just met her today but she seemssweet and driven and on the ball! It will be interesteing to see how it goes since both of us have just finished our own training and are basically as fresh asit gets in the mission field.

This week we had another wonderful encounter with....THE MYSTERY MURK. Only thistimeinstead of being a standstill lagoon, there was an additional riverrapid part since we were walking uphill through the murk. we were dodging diapersand bottles and all sorts of stuff as it came whizzing down the river of murk....I think I even saw a pig snout float past me! 

I also enjoyed a special dinner in the mission home as a result of Hermana Colton leaving this transfer. Itwas quite the treatto eat with Presidentand Hermana Douglas--they´re incredible!

Major events of this week mainly involved getting drenched.Forsome reason, it just POURED. I also rodeway too many guaguas this week. Lots of back and forth between Santiago and Bonao. 

Sorry that I don´t really have any cool storiesfor thisweek, but I hope you enjoy all the pictures!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

September 3rd

This week has been a tad crazy!

First story: I've been learning how to talk to strangers a lot more and I had a crazy funny experience. So I'm on a bus and after arguing with myself for 15 minutes I finally started a converstation with the man next to me. We proceeded to chat for the rest of the ride! He was showing me pictures of his family on his phjone and then even food. He showed me a picture of a delicious stuffed potato and I said I wanted the recipe. He said "Why don't you just come over for lunch on Sunday!"and I didn't really think he'd remember, so I said yes. Sure enough on Saturday he calls to tell us what time to come. We showed up the next day and his family was SO happy to see us! They were snapping photos sand everything! So random! Apparently he's actually from Bethlehem so that was cool to talk about. And then all of a sudden his wife shuts the blinds and tells us to hide and that when this lady walks in we need to sing happy birthday because it's a surprise....and so as a lady walks in we're all singing and the lady is so happy and runs up to hug me and there's a huge festivity about how it's her birthday.,...we had no idea! Anyway, they had DELICIOUS food and they were INCREDIBLY nice. Hopefully they will take the lessons and be batpized because if not I'm not technically supposed to keep hanging out with them and that would be incredibly tragic.

Other story: We got to take care of adorable kittens for a little while and it was super fun! We fed them milk through a eye dropper. haha

Not much time today but I love you all and hope all is well. Miss you!

Hey just so you know the family mission plan starts NOW. The page is already uploaded in google drive, here is the link 
start it now and let me know how it's going!