Jan 9, 2012

Email home 1/4/12

So, I'm trying to attach a picture of me smiling, that I took because
there's a webcam in this Internet business.  I'm doing well!  I spent
most of the morning trying to budget my $3621 pesos that I get for the
next two weeks so I'd know how to spend it (thats 38 pesos to the
dollar, so a little less than $100).  We went to "La Sirena" just
barely, and I feel pretty successful, I think.  Kept things divided up
pretty well, and bought LOTS of fruit, along with two giant aguacates
for only $15 pesos each... that's two giant avacados for less than
fifty cents each, mom :)  I love avacado now.  I'm glad I came on this
"mission" thing, it made me open my mind a little more to food.
Which reminds me, I bought bananas, too.
Which reminds me: Mom, eat seaweed, Courtney, eat steak, Becca, eat...
I don't know what you actually like and don't like, because you always
just seem to dislike whatever I like and vice versa.  Eat something
you don't like, then.  Dad, just keep doing what you're doing.
And I did eat some fresh tomatoes with cheese.  It was okay.

Oh, there has been some cool stuff happening this week.  I try really,
really hard to be obedient.  At the same time, I feel bad telling
other people what to do when they're like, maybe iffy, cuz I don't
wanna be obnoxious.  I'm gonna figure out the balance one of these
days.  I have a seriously wretched conscious, though, because I stayed
up a little too late last night and I had nightmares about me breaking
the rules.  Like, my parents coming to the mission (sound familliar?)
or crazy things like that.

Mom, it's ridiculous how "religious" often hurts people more than it
helps them.  I believe we talked about the book... AH!  What's it
called?  Things Fall Apart.  That's it.  I believe we talked about it,
if you haven't read it, read it.  And here, I notice more than
anything.  "No, no, we're THIS religion, and we don't want to listen
to what you have to say." People end up worshipping their religion so
much that they don't have time to listen to Christ.  Ah.  'Sometimes
you wish you just had time to pray for, sit down with, and show the
truth to everyone.  But you don't.  We're here to find those that are
ready, and declare repentance to those that maybe need a little push.
"Invitar a las personas a venir a Cristo al ayudarlas aceptar el
Evangelio Restaurado mediante la fe en Jesucristo y su expiación, el
arrepentimiento, el bautismo, la recepción del don del Espíritu Santo,
y el perseverar hasta el fin." T'hat's our purpose.  But yeah, a lot
of the "religious people" are just holding on to another vanity, just
like an overwealthy person, or someone who won't give up their coffee,
or whatever else.  That's okay.  Agency.

Spanish is good.  It's actually really good.  I understand nearly
everything when I'm talking to someone who speaks normal.  Although I
still have a lot of work to do as far as speaking goes, the
understanding is good.  And I'm a better reader than most Dominicans.
I'm in the process of teaching my companion grammar, cuz he knows
spanish without the grammar.

Some cool things that people said to me:  "I saw him and I knew he was
walking with God." I liked that.  The guy might've been drunk, but I
like to think that God walks with us when we're obedient, hard
working, and brutally exhausted.  Which I was at that point.  Zone
Leader (talking to my trainer):  "When he's been out for six months,
he's gonna look like he's been out for two years." I think that
reflects the changes I've made in my attitude.  I don't know.  Or
maybe I'm just super... overworked?  No, I'm really not.  My comp's
way more stressed out than I am. One of the Office Elders (because
they're in our ward):  "Man, you guys have the perfect companionship.
That balance between hard work and fun, that's so essential and you
guys have it." It's true.  We had EXCELLENT numbers this week (for
this mission, that's teaching 45 lessons), and the Zone Leaders
actually gave my trainer a boche for working me too hard.  Psh.  Guy
whose house we contacted: "You guys were sent here for a reason: that
Book of Mormon is false!" That day, I learned that the Spirit really
does leave when you argue with people.  He knew the doctrine of Christ
pretty well, but kind of worships the Bible, in a way.  We wasted half
an hour.  I need to listen more and talk less, still.

Well, I don't really have any epic experiences.  Our investigator who
is hopefully getting baptized soon slept in past church again, but he
was super embarrassed and he's definitely repenting, I can tell.  I'm
glad he's on the process.  I can testify, though, that God DOES walk
with His missionaries when they do what they're supposed to.  It's
amazing how well we handle things that go on here.  And we have so
much support from the Church.  Ah, I can't wait to see how some of our
lessons turn out.  I'm really getting a hang of lesson #1, the
restoration.  Ít's fun to teach :)  It's fun to contact.  Mission work
is fun.  I really am enjoying it.  I don't like wasting time at
members houses, I don't like sitting around, I wish I didn't have to
sleep (because Dominicans sure don't).  In fact, I decided that the
only reason NYC is the "City that Never Sleeps" is because there are
so many Dominicans there.  The work is sweet.

Oh, don't worry about pants, I'll buy some here.  If you've already
sent them, thank you!  However, I would like you guys to look up some
(appropriate, obviously) jokes in Spanish and send them to me so I can
use them.  They're fun icebreakers/time passers.  I have a few, maybe
Dad can explain.

Que es la diferencia entre una pera y la novia de un misionero?
Una es pera, y la otra no espera.

Dondé vive Jackie Chan?
Allá! (with karate chop hand motion)

Qué hace el pez en el mar?

Yeah, I need more.

Oh, who won Republican Nomination?  I love telling the missionaries
who've been on the mission for a long time about the Mitt
Romney/Mormon/Stephen Colbert stuff, but today I realized that I don't
actually know what's going on anymore, and we should already have a

Dad, mom didn't say anything about the dinner with the Smiths, I bet
that was fantastic.  Love those guys.

You should give me their address!  And Kara Taylor's address.  And
Grammy's address.  I'd like to write them all.

Oh, and don't worry about sending me Peanut M&Ms or snickers for the
next... probably six months.  I stocked up on Peanut MMs.  There's an
American import store close by.  It's not cheap, but it's not any more
expensive than American candy in America.

Good luck with sharing the Gospel, mom and Becca.  It's a great thing
to share :) Sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm inviting people
to baptism, not as an alternative to what would make them happy, but
as a better route of happiness.  Remember that there IS no greater
happiness than this message.  Without it, I feel like we'd be truly
lost.  I know it's weird, sounding like a preacher sometimes, but
you'd share a soda if it was the best soda you'd ever tasted, wouldn't
you?  So be their friend, and let them know WHY the gospel's the best
thing that's ever happened to the world.

Hahaha, on one hand, sitting on the couch sounds so nice, just eating
popcorn and chatting.  On the other hand, I totally get how Dad feels.
So unfulfilling, when there's so much to be done.  I AM excited to
get back to school, though (deep down, where it doesn't bother me) and
start learning to be a doctor again.  I'm sure I'll miss this focus
after all the work here, though.  I love not having to worry too much
financially or mentally or physically.  Just follow the schedule, and
everything will be fine.  I think I'll make myself a schedule and a
budget when I get home so I don't have to worry as long as I follow
the standards.

Mom, good luck with school.  Remember why you're doing it, and have
some fun!  Remember that I love you, and that we're all supporting

For any friends reading this, I'd still love to get photographs from
all you, if you have any!  But print them and send them, cuz there
aren't good printers here.

Much love.  Stay safe!  Pray a lot, do good work.  I'm praying for you all!


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