Sunday, July 27, 2014

I don't know when it happened, but all of a sudden I know Spanish!

July 21, 2014
So I  don't know if you're purposely being ironic when you ask if I'm "warming up" to Izamal yet or not, but yes I am getting used to it here. The church is still destroyed but we had a family home evening with the whole ward Saturday night in the basketball court (The only part of the chapel that wasn't destroyed) and it was way fun! The ward is super cool. .

Umm well HP is still homesick and she talks about home A LOT which I understand but its kinda hard to focus and its sorta making me homesick too. And I should be a better trainer and focus us more on the work and stuff but we have way too much fun telling stories about home and stuff. Yeah I know everything about all her friends and family and everything. It’s a problem. We're working on it. HP.. hmmm. she's not extraordinarily tall, but she is tallish for a gringa, and so here she's like a giant. Huge contrast to HT who is tiny. Anyway so everyone comments on that like "esta bien grandota su compañera!" [your companion sure is tall!] and she's like.. ok... and courtesy laughs. Which I know ALL ABOUT.  Whenever you don't know what someone is saying (like 95% of the time) you just kinda laugh and smile. Hahah it’s pretty funny and I know exactly how she feels.

 Cool bug zapper racket. we were pretty entertained with this one..

 I don't know when it happened, but all of a sudden I know Spanish!  It’s weird to be listening to someone who like mumbles or talks really fast and totally understand what they're saying when before it literally sounded like gibberish. And if you think about about it and listen, you shouldn't be able to understand what they're saying, but then my Mexican superspanishpowers kick in and I'm like YES I get it!!!! Actually there's something to be said about that, my Spanish progression took a huge leap FIRST when HG left me and I was left in charge (Sorta) of my first area, and then another huge leap when I had to train, and again when I had to train someone who knows no Spanish. And now there is very little that I don't understand.  I really think it has to do with this "Who the Lord calls, he qualifies" thing.  Literally, every time that I noticed a difference in what I understood of Spanish, it was when I was put in a leadership position.  So that’s kinda cool.

Ok so another thing about HP. We have this one investigator who always says that HP looks like the virgin Maria.. she's always like "you have the face of a little virgincita!" and she's like "hahaha *courtesy laugh* yeahh..." but she's thinking thats super weird, what exactly is the face of a virgin?

Oh hey! Yesterday we were eating in the house of this guy A- he's this super old guy who is strangely super in shape and looks older than his mother who is an old investigator of ours... but he's awesome and we love him ‘cause he always wants to go with us on visits, and he walks around with us with his sunglasses and his Sunday shirt and fancy jeans, and he has like this saunter. It’s cool. So much swagger. In this old skinny Mexican guy. ANYWHO so nobody in his family is a member, and it just so happened that when we went to eat, his WHOLE huge family was there visiting, and a lot of them are deaf. I went to shake the hand and kiss this one lady (I think she's A’s niece) and I'm like "Buenas tardes!" and she points to her ear and shakes her head so I know she can't hear. Then as we're eating I notice her in the other room with this guy and this little girl all signing and I couldn't understand what they were saying cause 1- I forgot almost all my sign language and 2- Mexican sign language is way different than English. But then later she came into the room to sign to this other lady something, and I kinda picked out a little bit, so I asked her if she was talking about someone falling out of a tree and she was like "Yeah! How'd you know?" and I explained that I knew ASL, but it had been a long time. But then I started trying to sign, and I started remembering some signs! I started signing to the lady how I took ASL in school and she totally understood!  And then she told me that her son was coming later and he studies ASL so he knows the English sign language!  He came right as we were about to leave with his cousin who is half deaf, and his dad who is all deaf.  So anyway they all freak out and tell him to try to sign to me, and so we're there in the middle of like 70 people all watching us trying to sign to each other. It was really cool cause keep in mind, there is not just one, but 2 language barriers between us right now. And we're like kinda understanding  each other!!! But mine was really broken and he was signing really fast. But still! He was telling us about how they live in Cancun but are staying here in a hotel and I think he either wanted my phone number or to know if I had like a video phone skype thing, and I just showed him our crappy brick phone and he was like oh ok. Then he wanted to take a picture so we got a picture of me with all this family who is deaf. It was wayy cool but kinda frustrating that I couldn't remember more!

Deaf kids!!! Oh my gosh coolest experience ever!!!! 

In other news, we went on visits with this girl V in our ward, and she has a car so her mom was like, "Oh you guys can take the car cause V knows how to drive" so we're like sweet ok! And we're just making small talk and HP asks V how old she is, and all casually she tells us she's 13.......... And HP thinks it’s a joke, cause she looks like she maybe could be 16 or something, but she’s like no I'm serious! Her uncle is there with us too and he says  yeah its true she’s 13! And she is driving this car that we are in. So I'm cool ‘cause things are just different here, so I say Oh what is the driving age here?  And they're like "16" and we're like ummmm......?  But her uncle says  “ But V is a really good driver don't worry!  She's been driving for like 2 years now!”  And we're like what??? But actually it’s not that surprising cause we see these kids that look like they're 12 driving motorcycles around all the time, but it was just weird. And they say nothing matters here cause it’s a pueblecito [small town] and if we were in Merida it would be a problem but here no.  Like if the police pulled her over nothing would happen.  So hey Miranda come on over here and Dad can teach you how to drive!  It'll be super great.

So cool story.  Remember how I told you that our house is super tiny? Well yeah also there is something living in our wall. We'll be studying or planning or something and we'll hear this scratching on the wall, that like goes all along the wall and into our bathroom. And it’s LOUD!  And at first we thought it was maybe our neighbors cause they have kids I think and they're right up close next to our house so maybe it was them. But then one day we're leaving the house and HP flips out and is like "LOOK!!" and there’s this HUGE iguana crawling into this hole in the side of our house. Sooo now we know what the scratching is. And I'm just waiting for the day that this fat lizard breaks through the wall and starts crawling around our room.  That'll be an exciting day.

Adorable little kid Fernando of this family that we eat with every Saturday. The Ku family. They rock and their food is to DIE FOR. He's modeling some broken hipster glasses that I found that morning.

So the sister training leaders came to work with us on Friday and that was fun 'cause we got a lot of really good feedback and tips on how we can do better and I feel like I learned a lot! But holy cow they intimidate me. Hermana T is the señor comp and she's like the oldest hermana in the mission or something and she's crazy strict and I was so afraid I was going to do something wrong and she was going to scold me. And she only did once in the whole day so that was successful. But Mexicans are crazy!!  The whole day Hermana C (the other on, I've probably talked about her before cause she was in my last zone) had her hair down, and tights and Hma T had this long dress on, and her bangs all down on her forehead, and they were both like fine… not even sweating.  And HP and I are sitting here sweating buckets, shortest sleeves allowable and hair all piled up on the top of our head, and  needing to carry around sweat rags the whole day. (pretty much all the missionaries have to carry around sweat rags except for the Mexican hermanas who are used to the heat. I always told myself that I wouldn't sink to that level cause that’s gross but I finally broke down and bought one...)  But whatever. 

Ok that’s all the time I have for today!  I wrote a lot!  Send me pictures!  Ok that's all- love you bye!!!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

we met this Mayan hippie who uses stones to heal people!

July 14, 2014

So things have been going better here in Izamal!!

Izamal. EVERYTHING is yellow. It's sorta creepy.

We are meeting tons of new people, mostly by just talking to everyone and their dog who will listen to us.
Challenges of the week, HP got sick for like 3 days, and one day she couldn't get out of her hammock so we went to the doctor who was super nice and didn't even charge us (though we didn't even realize that until like 3 days later...) and then she got better. Last night at 9:30, the power went out and we were like shoot no AC and no fans we're going to die!!!  And we did… but just for the first half of the night. At like 12:00 all the lights came back on and woke us up and we were all half asleep like "yaayyy..." and then went back to bed. EVERY single Monday since the change [her transfer to Izamal] we've had this 8 principios [principles] meeting and have had to get up at 3am to catch the bus to Merida on time. So we're a little tired.

Ok here’s stuff about the investigators. We're teaching this little girl named Sahara (but it’s just pronounced Sara, don't know why the extra ha was necessary..) and she is only eleven but she is AWESOME!  She totally gets everything we teach her, and has questions, and does the additional study part in the back of the pamphlets that we invited her to do and writes it all down and studies her Book of Mormon! The problem is her mom.... her mom is a member but she’s inactive. She bursted in the room yesterday while we were teaching Sahara, and was like are "are you guys talking about the Book of Mormon, or the Bible?" and at that precise moment we were reading something in the Bible so I tell her the Bible. and then she says "good, cause that’s better than the Book of Mormon" (She says as she pulls a beer out of the fridge by the way) and I was like what the heck? Why don't you like the Book of Mormon?? and she says I just don't. I used to be a part of your church but I don't like that religion anymore. But I still like your teachings. Ummm okkk cool yeah that IS our religion. but whatever. We're working on it. hmm who else.. OH! we met this Mayan hippie who uses stones to heal people! Mom you would love him, he's like the coolest person ever. 

So this guy’s name is Israel and we met him one day when his friend was riding him on his tricicleta thing, and he rode up behind us and was shouting "Seeestersss.... Seestersss" and that’s normal cause people always try to say stuff in English to us. And when he came up to us we started talking and he was like "you speak Spanish??" and then we started talking and he introduced himself as one of the "original Mayans" whatever that means. He travels around the world teaching people how to do ancient Mayan rituals or something. So we set up a date to meet him in the plaza, and that day came and he didn't show up. BUT we ran into him AGAIN in the plaza in front of the Catholic convent, he has a little table where he sells stones and handmade, very Mayan looking jewelry, and he tells us to sit down and he puts his lighter up to this magical Mayan stone and tells me to put it on the back of my neck so I do, and then he was like "now all the bad energy is being released from your body." And he was talking about chakras, and energy, and all the stuff that mom loves! It was way cool. Anyways and he said  “I'm sorry I missed you guys I promise I really want to hear the word of God!!”  So we set up another day to see him and he wrote it on his pants so he wouldn't forget. Then THAT day came and it was raining, so we showed up late, afraid that he wouldn't be there, but he took cover under this little taco stand, and was eating tacos when we walked into the plaza, and he was like "SEESTERS!" so we went over and talked to him. Pretty much the funniest guy ever. He was like teach me let’s go! But it was raining so we really didn't have any place to go, and the least uncomfortable, biggest dry place close by was... Yeah that gigantic catholic church. And he was like OK let’s go! And I was super hesitant cause the place is full of monks and tourists and this day there was like some rally there and there was a ton of people in the streets marching and chanting "PAZ Y BIEN!!" and hugging and stuff. It was way weird... But anyways he was like "don't worry just follow my lead!" and we walk up and he's like "yeah and this is the convent, built in the year.. " pretending to be giving us a tour. But then he goes all crazy and is like yes look at me I'm Mayan! Take a picture! ‘cause all the crazy people started shouting and the tourists were taking pictures. And we were cracking up, and scared to death to enter the huge catholic church! But we did. And we taught him there. And we set a baptismal date there. IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. with a Mayan hippie. 

Also I held a snake that day. I'll send a picture. 

Anyways this guy Israel is way funny. I'll definitely have to tell you more stories about him later.

Ok that’s all the time I have for today!  Love you all!  See you in 9 months!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

...out of nowhere, something falls like on my head and starts crawling to my ear.

7 July 2014

Ok well Izamal....
This area is PURE JUNGLE!! 

Its kinda rough not gonna lie. Ok well not really, I'm just comparing it to my last area Ticul which was like the best area ever. But its good. It's big and we walk a ton. I think I already told you guys that though. So we don't have a church, its all destroyed, I don't know HOW we're going to baptize people without a font, but I'm not super worried about that cause first we have to find people to baptize. The elders who were here before us, left a ton of people for us to visit, but EVERY time we go to find one of them, the address is wrong or they`re not home or something, so we've been doing A LOT of street contacting and walking around, but teaching very few lessons. There's this one lady Maria  who could be pretty potente [prepared] but she needs to go to church.. Her "husband" is a recent convert and that's always like super good motivation for someone to get baptized, but the problem is one, the church thing, and two, they may or may not have gotten divorced and are still living together. Why? well I wish I knew..

PAUSE. Ok guess what just happened to me like 2 seconds ago like right just now.  I'm sitting here writing to you guys in this little ciber, and out of nowhere, something falls like on my head and starts crawling to my ear. So I naturally flip out and try to shake it off. And it turns out it's an IGUANA. It just jumps on to my screen like nothing had happened, crawls around for a second, then jumps on the wall and runs off. Only here. 

Speaking of iguanas, Today I saw a picture of my old zone leaders skinning an iguana, preparing to eat it.... My old zone leaders were so much cooler in Ticul than here!!! They're good here, and honestly much more focused and serious, but they're so strict and boring... 

Last night, our district leader Elder R calls and he's like, hey you guys have to come to Merida tomorrow at 7:30 for a meeting and if you want breakfast, show up at this hotel at 7. sketchy... But so we go (By the way we have to wake up at 3:15 in the morning to get to Merida on time!!) but we go, and turns out president paid for all the missinoaries to have this super nice breakfast in this super nice hotel and with a bunch of other zones including Ticul! So I got to catch up with everyone.

 OH MY GOSH!!! NEWS FROM HERMANA T IN TICUL!!!!! Moises, remember my convert, the kid who had drug issues and his mom came looking for help and he totally changed his life around and got baptized? Yeah ok he is taking classes to prepare to receive the priesthood, and he's going to baptize his sister!!!! AND he's preparing the sacrament!!! Oh my gosh I cannot describe the feelings of pride I have. It's so exciting. I literally almost started crying. So we spent forever today in Merida, and just got back and have kinda been robbed of our p day, but whatever. One of these days we'll go climb the pyramids or do something cool in this area.

Yes I love my little house, and I will always be sleeping in my hammock, but I love it. 

Ok I love you all! Write to you next week! Bye!


First week in Izamal, check.

30 June 2014

OK first week in Izamal, check.
Get to know them members, check.
Find like 20 new investigators, check.
Multiple emotional breakdowns, check.
Not mine, my companions. Without doubt, the hardest week of one's life is the first or second week of your mission in the field (Not in the MTC, that's like the funnest six weeks of your life.) But it's actually terrible preparation for the field cause it's super hard when you get out here. This morning we had like a conference thing with our zone, but it was like a class of the 8 principios [principles]  that we all learn the first 12 weeks we get here. It was rough for HP cause she's the only one in our zone who doesn't know Spanish, and there's only like 3 elders and one other Hermana who speak English. but nobody just goes around speaking in English for stuff like that, so she just gets kinda down on herself and really frustrated cause she feels like she can't do anything, and the split us up for practices that we did, and that was a bit much for her. Its wayyyyyy different training a Gringa then a Mexicana.
But we're getting there! And the good news is we get along soo well and we're always like laughing and we have fun here.

Sam with mayan water bottle

So that bad news is that our chapel is  destroyed. All the rooms except for the sacrament meeting room are under construction. So until further notice, our church is only one hour long, then everyone goes home cause there's no rooms to have classes in. So I had to have a little talk with the bishop to let him know what was up... I think he was trying to avoid us all the meeting but we cornered him afterward. EVERYONE- BE GRATEFUL for 3 hours of church. and air conditioning. Never let me complain again about church being too long or too cold or anything.

In other news, my Maya is progressing. Te'ene in oh je'el jusha jaa jal kich ke'ele yum.

I love our house.

Ahh in this little ciber [they go to a internet cafe on p-day to access their email ] where we are they're playing world music and its soo weird! [missionaries have rules on what kind of music they listen to ]

Pictures of her old branch in Ticul 

So the other day this family drove up in their car and it's this gringo family from Texas, and they were all excited to see the missionaries 'cause they're Mormons and they were here in Izamal on a family history vacation. That was fun. Ok this was a remarkably unexciting email- sorry. Not much has happened. Oh, HP got kissed by an old man. Haha I remember when I was a newbie...

Oh my gosh the world cup is like a CRAZY big deal right now. Is anyone up there watching it? When Mexico loses, the whole country goes into a temporary depression..

Ok that's all. Hope next week I have something better to say!


OK well they moved me out of Ticul...:(

25 June 2014

Bish a bel? ma'alo? choco kim! cosh meyá!  (PS, that wasn't Spanish. It was Maya)

OK well they moved me out of Ticul...:(
BUT hope still exists! After Elder R called to tell us our changes, Elder S called to make sure I didn't hate them for moving me out of my favorite area, and he said that they would move me back there for my last area so I could end my mission in Ticul!!!! I'm so excited!! Theres a chance that it was a cruel joke or a misunderstanding, but I like to be hopeful still. 

SO wanna hear where I am now? Its a pueblecito (again) called Izamal,and its HUGE! its about the same size as Ticul, but Ticul was divided among three different companionships, and this area is ALL OURS... And there's no mototaxis. We expect to be walking a ton. 

Guess what, I'm training again.
Know who my companion is? Her name is Hermana P and she's a gringa. She's from Indiana and she's super cool so I'm excited for this exchange. Just a little nervous cause she's brand new and doesn't know any Spanish, so I guess I'll be doing a lot of translating and speaking slowly. We get along super well and she's way funny, but I'm afraid of the whole talking in English all the time thing. OK something weird about my area, its all yellow. Literally. Like we stroll into town only to find out that EVERY SINGLE building and wall and surface is painted mustard yellow. Its sorta creepy. Its like a law here that all the buildings have to be the same color. I'll take a picture sometime and send it. It's weird. 

New companion- Hermana P - first gringa comp!

Our house is itty bitty but it has AIR CONDITIONING!!!!!!! Oh my gosh it is the most fabulous thing in the world. We just got here last night and so we haven't been able to do much but UGH its kinda frustrating cause there were elders here before us and they didn't leave us any information about their area! Like the binder that says everything had all this information that was different from the map and I don't think anything was updated and I don't know anything about this area or how we're going to teach people or uhhh. But ni modos [no matter]. Esta bien.

Not much to report about this area. Sorry. Next week!
Oh, we had another baptism in Ticul. Potentissimo Ticul... But now HT is there with her daughter, and my granddaughter. [missionary lingo- your daughter is anyone you are training ] Gosh I hope they're taking care of my area!! 

Samantha's contract that she will return to Ticul after mission
Mom, yes I would love to go on a family trip after my mission, but I think I already told you this, can we go to Merida instead and visit my areas and converts? Like Ticul? I kinda already promised my branch that I would return back after my mission. And I signed my name in blood... not really but I did sign a contract that my missionary leader wrote on the whiteboard.. I'll send you guys a picture sometime.

OK I'll talk to you guys next week and send pictures!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ticul is kinda the celestial kingdom if it existed here on the earth.

 Changes are NEXT WEEK and I'm freaking out cause I REALLY don't want to leave my area.. I don't know if you've noticed but Ticul is kinda the celestial kingdom if it existed here on the earth. HT calls it T- COOL. We've had a LOT of success lately. this month alone 4 baptisms! Oh yeah, we baptized 2 kids on friday:) Woah that was an exciting day!. The days we baptize are always CRAZY! Not quite as crazy as Martin's, but just as suspenseful, if not more. I'll send pictures of it and I'll just give the shortened version of the story. 

So we met this family on Mothers day, remember when I talked to you guys? And the mom Maria had come to the church looking for help for her son who has been getting into drugs and stuff and she's all upset and wanted him to stop, and we started teaching the whole family and the first visit they all accepted a baptism date, super potente right? Then we find out the parents aren't married and that's a super long process, but the kids are cool and we've been going to visit them like 3 times a week for like 4 weeks, and we decided to baptize the kids this week (Friday the 13th by the way..) Em is the oldest daughter, then M is the son, and their little sister is L. On Friday only Em and M got baptized cause they are freaking potentisimo!! And so is Maria but she's not married. L hasn't gone to the church yet and Indalecio isn't married. So that's the status of the family. SOO we do this baptismal interview, and Elder R tells us that both kids need to talk to president before authorizing the baptism case apparently we didn't explain word of wisdom so well and she was drinking coffee up to the day before, and Moises had a couple other reasons that he had to talk to President Garcia. AHH this is too long! 

Sam with Hermanas of Huerta

OK So we're waiting all day for president and the assistants to come and they come way late and we weren't really sure that they COULD get baptized until 5 minutes before the baptism, when they left their interviews and everyone was already at the church and the font was full and everything! But everything was fine and they got baptized and I LOVE this family they are so amazing!!!! Em couldn't get confirmed cause she didn't come to church cause she had a work interview, but she felt super bad about it and repented and promised to come next week and we're not too worried about her 'cause she rocks. 

Trademark Samantha - thumbs up, big smile, she taught her companion too!

Martin is having doubts again, pray for him!!!

OK I have to go now but I'll send tons of Pictures!! Sorry the others didn't go through but ahh I already deleted a lot of those that I sent! But I have lots more don't worry

Les Quiero mucho! [I love you all so much!]