Monday, October 12, 2015

Episode 8: Equadorian Superstar!

Hola Everybody,

Things are going so well here in the mission field.

We flew out of Bogota last Tuesday very early in the morning and got to Barranquilla at about 8 am. We had several hours of training and then got to meet our trainers. My trainer's name is Elder Reyes. He is this super-star elder from Equador that has been out for 11 months. I also got assigned to my first area, a city called Valledupar, which is 6 hours away from Barranquilla so I got to take a nice long bus ride my first day. Valledupar is a lot like Santa Ana in that it has its nice parts and its not so nice parts. The area that we live in is fairly okay, we live in an apartment above some members, but most of our area is really pretty poor. It is really humbling to see how these people live, because they don't have nearly as much as I do.

The heat here is really pretty bad. Everyday is like walking around in an oven, but the nights are not nearly as bad, in fact it kinda feels like back at home during the summer. It rains a lot though, which is nice because the water is really cold. Even our shower is really cold, which doesn´t actually work right after a heavy rain storm, which we have had three so far this week. In that situation we have a faucet outside on the patio which we use to kinda clean ourselves up. All in all, the hygiene really isn't our number one concern.

The food here really isn't that bad. There is nothing that really distinguishes it from any other country for which I can tell. The thing that they are really known for here is their juices. Everybody loves juice here, and you can buy it pretty much anywhere because there are a lot of street venders that are selling it, but I generally avoid that juice because street food isn't really the safest here. 

In regards to meals, we are responsible for our own breakfast and dinner, and we have a less active member who is paid to make lunch for us everyday. She is a super nice lady and loves to talk to us, and we are working to reactivate her and her family.

For laundry, a lot of the missionaries will find a member to do their laundry for them, but my companion likes to do his own so we rented a washing machine thingy to do our clothes. The washing machines here are tiny. Both the washing machine and the dryer are part of the same machine that is about half the size of a washing machine at home. It only takes like a half hour to do an entire load of laundry so that´s great, but after the drying cycle you have to hang the clothes up to dry a little more.

We are working with a lot of investigators right now. We have maybe 20 or so, but very few of them have baptismal dates. Our real struggle is that we have to work with the investigators, less actives, converts, and the ward also wants us to teach the members so that they will help us with references. Our schedule is so tight that we really don't have the time to help our investigators a lot. It's rough but with the Lord's help we can make it happen.

I would like to share a quick experience that I had this past week. One of the less actives that we are working with just came home from his mission like a year ago, but he left early for reasons that I honestly really don't know because I'm still struggling a little with the Spanish. But we were teaching him about the priesthood and how we need to respect our priesthood powers and always endure and follow the commandments, and he was just overwhelmed with the Spirit and had such a strong desire to repent. It was awesome to see how this guy's life was changed by the Atonement and how he felt the spirit.

I hope everything is going great at home. I can't wait to see everybody this Christmas. It is going to be great to see the kiddos again.

Hasta Luego,

Elder Parker

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