If you couldn’t tell by the title, I am in the jungle! I am writing from an “Internet Shop” in a city. Our zone is La Merced, and I have been assigned to the San Ramon area! My companion is named Elder Espinoza. So, all of your prayers for a Latino first companion have been answered. He’s pretty cool, but it is hard for me to really communicate with him (which is something that I am DYING to do… I need someone to talk to in English). Guess this gives me an even better reason to really crack down on my Spanish. Elder Espinoza is from Central America and only has two and a half more transfers until he goes home. He’s pretty funny, quite cool, and is a great missionary. He’s had 46 baptisms during his mission and can’t wait for more with me. Our zone is divided up into seven areas, and there are only seven companionships. My companion says that only certain missionaries are assigned here because there are tons of “pretty looking women” and that there have even been problems here in the past. Yikes. Well, we have two wards in our area, so we have a ton of work to do on our own. Ah yeah.
Last week, we had our day-long training session with President Ardila and other mission staff. It was a super long day, and it was VERY hard for me seeing as how it was 100% Spanish with the only English being when the other missionaries that were helping out wanted to make sure that I was understanding what was going on. So, not a ton of English for me… Oh well. It really helped test my comprehension skills for the Spanish language. I understood almost all of what was being said to me. Later that night, we got to have an interview with the President to see how we were doing. Luckily, he can speak some English and understand quite a bit, so I was able to tell him all that I needed to. I told him that I was happy to work in any capacity that he and the Lord need from me. I told him that I am rather good with computers, and if desired, I can work in the office. I also told him that I felt rather alone during that day and a bit homesick. However, I think that the reason why that happened was because my brain was so tired of listening and reading Spanish all day long.
We’ve run into some pretty cool things so far. We were supposed to have a baptism on Saturday, but the 18 year-old girl, Tania, didn’t show up for her baptismal interview at the time that she was supposed to, so we ended up sitting with the Zone Leaders for a few hours waiting for her. We then went to her house to see what was up, and she had thought we said noon and not 2:00pm. So, we told her to meet us at the Chapel for her interview in an hour or so while we called the Zone Leaders to return to our area. We then met up with her at the chapel to have the interview. We chatted for a while and tried to make sure that everything was well. Then, the power went out and we had some serious problems with light. The zone leaders then showed up for the interview. One of them is from Utah, so I was able to tell him what was really going on in English, and everything was fine. The girl had her interview and was found to be ready. The next day, Sunday, we were going have the baptism at 1:00, right after both ward meetings. However, she didn’t show. We waited a while, and then her brother showed up. He told us that she had doubts about joining and needed more time to think. I felt so bad — I was the one going to baptize her, and things just didn’t happen. Well. we’re meeting with her tomorrow to see how things are going and to help resolve doubts that she has.
We’ve had several encounters with drunk people. One of them was absolutely horrifying and asked us who would win the Final Battle in Revelation. We gave him the answer and then went on our way. The other guy was SUPER drunk and stopped us as we passed bye. He then gave us a lengthy explanation of how he had seen an angel outside his window and wanted to listen to us. We took notice of his name and then moved on and left.
I’ve attached a couple pictures of my living quarters. Not much at all. We only have running water at a certain time during the day, and only for about an hour. We sometimes shower out of a bucket. Quite the adventure. There are also some water damage spots on the ceiling and walls, so for Dorothy and Amelia (and other Dr. Who fans that are going to read this), I call them my Doctor Who spots. I still haven’t touched them, and I really think I shouldn’t! I’ve attached a huge group picture of our CCM district, as well as a picture of my new companion and I. Next week, I should have some more pretty awesome pictures of people and other types of things.
So, things are pretty well here and I’m pretty excited to learn more Spanish and more of the gospel as I serve here in San Ramon!
Mum, I’d love it if you’d send me a photo album, the older fashioned kind, with a bunch of pictures of the family and other events so that I can look through it when I have the opportunity, because there aren’t many pictures in my small album for members. I’m only going to use the small one for my investigators and members. I just want this one for me. Also, I’d love a set of shower shoes and another box of Dutch sprinkles. I’ve almost finished the one that Grandma sent me a while back.
Sure do love you all, and I’ll be sure to write you next week!