(Note of explanation for those who are not familiar with LDS missions... Elder Flake finished his language/missionary training in the CCM and is now paired with another missionary and assigned an area to serve in. He will be with his first missionary companion for the next 3 months. This companion is his "trainer" because he teaches Elder Flake all about missionary service in this mission. Other Mission vocab explanations: Missions are sometimes referred to as "the mission field" or "the field." Also, "p-day" is "preparation day"--one day each week the missionaries use to prepare for the week ahead (i.e. shopping, laundry, writing home, cleaning the apartment, etc.) And finally, "a branch" is a small congregation.) :) Enjoy...
So I made it to the mission!!! Sorry I couldn't write last week...we arrived the day after p-day in the field and the day before p-day in the CCM so we didn't get to write. :) PERO, it's great to be in the field!! I love it!!
Alright, so to answer some questions:
The trip was great, longer than it should have been because the road from GUA to Xela (3 hour drive) was closed so we had to go along the coast through Ratalueu and then up to Xela (ended up being 6 hours)!! Yeah, it was 6 hours on a small "tourist" bus with 23 of us...but we all made it safely and all the bags (in another bus) made it too!! :) When we arrived we didn't even go to the mission home. We were just dropped off at a stake center and met with President, his wife, and staff there. :) Then we had to condense the welcome-training meeting that usually takes all morning and most the afternoon into 3 hours before we were shipped out and on our ways to our different areas!! Crazy huh?!?
So, my trainer is from South Dakota and I don't know how long he's been out--he's made it a thing to not have me know...whatever :) Ultimately it doesn't matter... :) BUT, he is a fantastic trainer and wonder guy to learn from and be with to start out! He's exactly what I was hoping and praying my trainer would be!! :) We don't have an apartment...we just live in the church building :) Fun huh?? Also, it's only a branch up there--average attendance to church is 20 total...but Elder X and I are going to change that!! :)
Yes, if the latinos speak slowly and enunciate their words I can get the gist of what they are saying :)
So an update on my Book of Mormon/Libro De Mormon goals...I read it again in English completely before leaving the CCM, but was only able to make it a fourth of the way through in Spanish...the last week in the CCM was hectic so I didn't get to read as much...oh well.... :) So my new ultimate goal is to finish the Libro De Mormon by the time I call home for Christmas--it is definitely and achievable goal...maybe you guys could set a goal to do the same :) just a thought, you don't have to :)
Alright...so now that I've answered the questions you guys asked, here's a little update for this week because I have to get off soon, but here's an update...
So my area is HUGE like we had to walk 40 min one way a couple days ago to visit some members and investigators and then it was POURING POURING POURING rain on the way back. We literally went down into the valley (because we live on the mountain), up the other side and then OVER the mountain to get to the village!! haha :) and then everything in reverse in the rain on the way home...
I learned that there is a member of the ward who will come and do our laundry each week so YES I don't have to worry about that for the next 3 months :)
So TOTALLY unexpected but since I've been here we have had 1, sometimes 2, meals with members and their food is VERY simple but FANTASTIC!!! and filling. This was a blessing in disguise because there is no way to access our monthly money here and I had NO food AT ALL...so we are here in Xela to go to Walmart to get food for the month...yep for THE MONTH!! :)
Also, on the third day here we were visiting a member to teach her less active children and at the end of the lesson she asked us for a blessing...AHHHHHHH...so I did the anointing ENTIRELY in ESPANOL...it was nerve wracking but I did it!!! :) and then Elder X offered the Sealing of the Anointing and the Blessing :) :) Good news, the next day she was COMPLETELY better! Completely! The power and authority of the priesthood is FABULOUS!!! (just a reference--check out Elder Bednar's talk from April 2012 priesthood session at https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/the-powers-of-heaven?lang=eng ...thanks) :)
SO some super cool experiences this week, but I'll have to include them next week because I've got to head out...
PERO! I pray for you guys every night that the blessings promised to missionaries for their service will be poured out upon you all...if you haven't seen them yet, I know that they will come!!
I love you guys soooo much! Keep staying positive!!