Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sunday, April 26, 2015 -- Week #10 - Day #69 - San Pedro Sula

April 26, 2015  9:30 pm

Today was a good day, legs are really tired from walking around so much yesterday, but it's all good, figure I'll finish this mission business with some stronger leg muscles!
Church was good, we go to the Gospel Principles class second hour with the other elders and investigators, today we learned about the offices of the Priesthood, so that was a nice little review.  Everything seemed to go pretty smoothly in all the meetings. Also had Ward Council later, that's always fun, I really don't understand what's being said, but I get the gist of things... overall we need to work on reactivating our ward members (the people here have some issues with commitment with a lot of things... excited initially for things, and there's a lot of fallout in time... kinda frustrating), and we've made a companionship goal to visit every member and figure out where they live, so we (can ask for references!) can help them out and get to know them better, to help with retention. So that's gonna be fun.
I think today might have been a bit cooler than yesterday, can't quite tell, since as soon as you get dressed in the morning you start to sweat, and it doesn't stop until you've taken a shower at the end of the day and don't do anything more strenuous than walk across the room to where the fan is... love it!  But we had some cloud cover today, so that was nice.
I'm also further developing a delightful tan-line on my feet and have a slight one from my watch... I'm gonna have so many weird lines when I get home!  Kinda exciting, actually, to see how I'll turn out, it'll be quite interesting, I'm sure.
Tanline on footsies!

Got some watch band action too!
I think the rats finally died in our ceiling, we put some traps up there and haven't heard anything the past few days (our house smelled really bad for a day or two) so I think they're gone, so that's good, too.
And I think I've lost a little bit more fat on my tummy and hips, so that's nice, as well, gotta keep my figure!  Haha! That's really not on my mind, but I suppose walking around for some several hours a day has to do something for ya.  I'm just amazed our little bodies can keep on working (we'll see how I'm doing in another few months) in spite of quite a few physical stressors... we're pretty darn amazing, I think.
Since we have so many new sister missionaries here that need trainers and all the old ones are leaving this coming change, Hna Robles thinks I'll be training pretty soon, but hopefully I can have 2 changes before then!  We're on a training program of 12 weeks, but sometimes you only get the 6 and you're off being the big person.  But, I'll do whatever needs to be done, or at least try to do it, I'm getting a lot better in my Spanish, and feel more comfortable teaching and talking to people etc, so we're just trying to keep making progress.  It's interesting, because some people I can actually understand, and then others there's just really no hope... but Pres. Dester has counseled me to give it a month or two for my ears to get accustomed to all the Spanish, and then I'll take off and it will be great.  So that's what we're aiming for.  But there has been progress made, and I'm proud of myself.
And tomorrow's Pday!  I think we might go play soccer or something of the sort, we'll see.  Goodnight!

Saturday, April 25, 2015 -- Week #10 - Day #68 - San Pedro Sula

April 25, 2015  9:30 pm

Made another day! Whoohoo! The Sisters took off this morning and things went back to a degree of more normal-ness.
Halsey got Chikunguyna last night! So he didn't get baptized today, kinda disappointing, but hopefully by next Saturday he'll have recovered from the worst of it and should still be good to go. Darn opposition. Makes trying to do the right things a little bit harder, but it is a natural law, however annoying it can be sometimes.
So yeah, we did a ton of street contacting today, and walking around all over the place, so my legs and feet are pretty tired, and I have the hiccups right now (1st time in Honduras!) so that's kinda fun.  Hiccups tickle my tummy!
I would like to take a moment to inform the public that I think one of my absolute favorite things from Honduras are "topo gigios", dang they are amazing.  It's just some milk and sugar and shredded coconut or chocolate powder or pineapple or something, mixed together and poured in little portions in a bag and tied off and then frozen, but man, they are just the best things in the world when you're walking around here. When they're frozen, you bite off the corner of the bag and suck out the frozen milk stuff... so yummy! Usually the portions are about 1-2 cups or so, and cost about 5-6 lps. Good stuff right there.
Partly eaten topo gigio, vanilla flavor

Also, they call slugbugs here "cucarachitas" or little cockroaches, thankfully Hna Robles doesn't punch my arm when we pass one (I've seen 2 since I've been here), and they've both been white, and the older version, not the all-roundy ones we usually see in the States.

The taxis here are white as well, and have their numbers on the side of the car, little different than the states. We get to know all the drivers pretty well, as we use them so much for hospitaling, they're all really good people, I have yet to see a female driver, mostly just the guys seem to drive here.
Walking around today, I heard "Knocking on Heaven's Door" playing from somewhere, so that was nice to finally recognize and understand something (I know it's not a Church song, tried to not pay too much attention to it) since my time here. They also play quite a few songs in English, usually they aren't the best ones to listen to, though, while on a mission or in normal life, so that's interesting. Usually in restaurants they'll alternate and play a Latino song, and then English (pretty much just American artists) and then Latino, back and forth.

And, random fact, the District 1 videos were made in San Antonio, Texas!  I saw Pres. Beckstead (he was just Brother Beckstead at the time) and the San Antonio Temple, so that was pretty neat (don't know if I've mentioned this before, I just remembered because we watched some more of the training material this morning).  click:  The District - videos Fun to see brick houses and grass and bushes and chapels like I have been used to again. Americans are kinda obsessed with cleanliness, I've learned so far.  Kinda miss being clean all the time!  click:  "Washed Clean" by Pres. Packer
Also, I heard from Hno Lopez today (we're trying to coordinate a musical number for Halsey's baptism with his guitar-playing skills) that India had a level 7 earthquake?  Haven't heard much about world events lately, so that was interesting news. I hope the people there are ok.  Hna Robles was in an earthquake in Peru in 2011, and her bus was shaking and there was awful traffic, but obviously she's ok, and they've recovered. But yeah, earthquakes are rough business.
And some good scriptures, used them a lot in teaching today:
(faith) Alma 32: 21-22, 26-28, 38, 41  click:  Alma 32
(keeping the Sabbath Day holy) Mark 2:27  click:  Mark 2:27
(God is preparing people to learn about the Gospel) Alma 13:24, Alma 14:16-17  click:  Alma 13:24
(God will always help us) 1 Nephi 14:12,14  click:  1 Nephi 14:12
So yeah, we get to go to Church tomorrow! Yay!

Friday, April 24, 2015 -- Week #10 - Day #67 - San Pedro Sula

April 24, 2015

7:28 am
Soooo we didn't get to bed until about 11:30 pm last night, guess who was thrilled to get up this morning?  Not me!  Ha!  We're having divisions today with the Sister Training Leaders (I think that's what it is in English), so we needed to plan the day and lessons for 2 companionships, coordinate hospital visits with E Markus (our General Secretary of Finance, awesome guy, reminds me a lot of E Roth) to go in our places today, all the normal nursing calls (you don't have to ask permission to take Tylenol, you guys), planning for Halsey's baptism on Saturday, trying to get E Moes (General Secretary of something really important) to call and remind all the missionaries with dentist appointments at 8:30 am today, and we made PB&J's for dinner... so it was a little bit of a crazy night.

Forgot to mention that peach thingy is like a little jello fruit cup, kinda tasty, but still tastes like peach plastic!

Also broke a plate by accident... whoops!
We had interviews with Pres. Dester yesterday, and what I remember most was that our Heavenly Father will not take away our trials, but He will strengthen us so that we might withstand them:  to have patience, with myself, the language, the people, adjusting to working as a full-time missionary and nurse's companion and just how amazed and proud he is of me for hopping into the swing of things and not complaining and performing so well. And if we need anything, always let him or Hna Dester know, and since we talk to them on an almost daily basis, that isn't too hard. So that was a good little boost, I like Pres. and Hna Dester.  I've been trying to roll with things so I don't get knocked over, and I think for the most part I'm doing pretty well. But sometimes it's a little tough, but the Dester's or Hna Robles or the youth that we go bring to visits with us help me get excited again and I can recognize that I'm happy to be here, in spite of everything.  I'm not quite sure how long the normal adjusting process is to all this craziness, but I hope to keep getting the hang of things and make some good progress.
But yeah, it was funny, as we were walking to a lesson yesterday we passed a group of guys that we gave some pamphlets (in Spanish it's "folletos" [literature], weird having to use the English!) to a few weeks earlier, and I guess they wanted some more "Jesus reading material" (oh yeah, they were happy-drunk at 2:00 pm in the afternoon... good times) so we gave them the "Restoration", "Law of Chastity", and "Word of Wisdom" pamphlets to (hopefully) read... and one of the guys started getting all excited about the little lamb in the arms of Jesus on the cover of the "Restoration" one and started giving it kisses... so that was interesting. Yup, note to self, don't ever drink, does weird stuff to your head. And your liver and internal organs, too, but that's beside the point.
Also, we visit a less-active guy that's getting reactivated, and every time we end the lesson, he looks at me and goes:  "Will you testify to me of these things? Do you know this is true?" and so I assure him that I know what we shared that day was true and of God, and then he's happy... it's interesting because you get really firm in your testimony and know things are true when that's all you're studying, reading, teaching, talking, and praying about, pretty submersive atmosphere here. But it's good, always makes me smile when we visit him.  click:  "A Testimony Vibrant and True" by Pres. Hinckley
click:  Abinadi's Testimony - Mosiah 15
Abinadi before King Noah, by Arnold Friberg
Also, we won't have the opportunity to go to the temple in Tegucigalpa during the mission, so that's a little sad, but hopefully Hna Kleinman can since it's in her mission. I miss my little CCM district, it mimics my district here as we have 2 companionships of elders and 1 of sisters, as well, we're pretty small. But I love my district here, it's half Latino -- half Gringo, and we have a good time together. 
10:40 pm
The day is still going, the Sisters are staying the night with us, and then will leave tomorrow morning after studying, I'm not quite sure exactly what's happening with this whole divisiones experience... kinda confusing... good, but confusing, mostly because I'm so new and still don't have a fantastic grip on the language and where all our people are, and we have the baptism tomorrow, and it's just kinda crazy in general the past little bit. And I missed Hna Robles today, probably because she's really the only constant in this whole mess of a few days, so being without her was a little tricky. But today was good, a lot of work and walking around and mental gymnastics, but in the end was good.

Haven't had any mosquito bites the past few days, either, so that's a blessing, too. And I finally painted my toes again the other day, they're now a wonderful orangey color, quite cheerful. And, what else... my hair is getting a little longer, so that's exciting. I discovered that the picture I submitted for my mission papers (my blue plumbago family portrait... we also have plumbago here, too) is on all the directories and the companionship board in President Dester's office, so that's funny because I look nothing like myself in that picture... everyone's shocked that I have bangs and short hair since I wear it up pretty much all the time (oh yeah, because it's hot), and I'm somewhat whiter than I am right now.  Like I said, I'm always full of surprises, it seems. So yup, pretty much ready for bed, we're trying to assemble a fan so we can have a tad more air movement to sleep tonight, as we just doubled our body heat in our room, but we should hopefully get that done soon. The joys of living in Honduras. Goodnight!

Thursday, April 23, 2015 -- MISSING

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 -- Week #10 - Day #65 - San Pedro Sula

April 22, 2015  8:55 pm

Today was hot. And quite humid. But, there was some cloud cover, so that was a welcome respite from the intense sun blaring down on us, so that was a mercy.
Today I learned how to administer a rabies vaccination, so that was interesting, one of the missionaries had a run in with a dog, so they had to come in to the office for Hna Robles to give them the shot, so we all learned how that worked. It was funny, their companion is full-blooded Latino, and they totally thought I was Latino as well, though I have 3 weeks here and I'm clearly blue-eyed and still pretty white-skinned.  People's perceptions are amazing, I always think it's funny to see how I'll be perceived each day.  People are fun, and they always surprise you.
As we were in the office for a portion of the day, I got through another blessed pile of paperwork, and also met President Klein, in charge of the San Pedro Sula Este Mission, as their offices are just across the hall from ours.  He's pretty awesome (I like Pres. Dester a tad better, of course) and very animated and focused. Wished me a warm welcome into the land of Honduras, and had a nice handshake, good guy. So that was pretty neat as well.
We had a lot of people that got seriously sick today, so it looks like we'll have some hospitaling tomorrow, we also have weekly planning, interviews with Pres. Dester, and Mission Coordination tomorrow, so it looks like a ton of fun!  Yay for meetings!  It takes a lot of people and a lot of time to run the world... makes you appreciate people in leadership positions.
However, on a more spiritual note, I also find it interesting how in Spanish, we refer to death with the verb "estar", which denotes a temporary state of being, something that will change, not a permanent characteristic. The concept of not being dead forever is fundamentally integrated into the language of these people, and I just thought that was pretty cool, in light of the "Plan of Salvation" click:  Physical Death that we shared quite a few times today, so that was my grand enlightenment of the day.
Also Nephi had some serious patience and faith, he is a prime example to follow, I highly recommend studying 1 and 2 Nephi again sometime.  click:  Book of Mormon Study Guide - 1 Nephi and click:  Book of Mormon Study Guide - 2 Nephi

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 -- Week #10 - Day #64 - San Pedro Sula

April 21, 2015  8:25 pm

Made it home! And it was hotter in our house than outside... it was so hot today, apparently this week is supposed to get hotter! Whoo! Drinking lots of water, I still have salt all over myself, because all my sweat dries and leaves a lovely white powder in streaks down my arms and legs and mixes with my bug-spray applications... I think I look like an alien! But I am definitely consuming large quantities of water (something along the lines of 3-4 liters, sometimes 5), and I'm doing alright, so don't worry. But it really is very hot here!
In District Meeting E Santiago gave us the example of how we present the Gospel to others:  if I wanted you to read something, and threw it and it hit your face, you wouldn't really want to have anything to do with it, or me. But if I talked to you first, and showed you what it was, and explained what I wanted you to do with it so you could understand the meaning of it, you would probably be a lot more willing read it and understand it. Same thing with the Gospel. We can't just go around throwing it at people, it needs to be presented, just as Jesus did when He established it.  Like the great quote, "Teach them not so they understand, but so they don't misunderstand."  So that was kinda a funny visual to imagine us tossing copies of the Book of Mormon at people and yelling at them to read it... doesn't quite work that way.  So we'll apply that in our finding and teaching and be more focused in our investigators, and become "Preach My Gospel" missionaries! Good stuff, there, I would suggest that preparing missionaries should read that through and the scriptures it provides, and maybe go on a few visits with the missionaries in your area, I wish I had done that before I left.
But I love the promise in D&C 24:12 and 1 Nephi 3:7.  "And at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare my gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night. And I will give unto him strength such as is not is not known among men."  And thus "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." The Lord always gives us a commandment and a way to accomplish it. He doesn't ask us to do things that are impossible to do... they may not be possible to do with our own strength, but with the Lord, we have the ability to do all things. Pretty neat!
Back to life in Honduras, we ran some hospital trips for a lot of today, and guess who was one of the sick missionaries?  Deby! Well, actually, that's not her name, she's Hna Velazquez, but she was the character Deby for CRE practices back at the CCM about a month and half ago... so that was a fun blast from the past! She was having some knee problems, should be alright. But yeah, it's fun to run into old friends in places you'd least expect, although I'm starting to expect just about anything on a mission!
Also, I discovered that Michael is Miguel in Spanish, it's so fun to figure out the different versions of names. It appears that "Andrea" is a fairly common name down here, I think I've met like 5 of them, so whenever someone calls them I always turn and try to find whoever's calling me, and then I remember that I'm actually Hna Mower, and I smile a little at myself. Good times.
Also, I'm getting back into the swing of using a little keypad phone again, it's been a little while since 7th grade!  Each companionship gets an area cell phone, so I'm in charge of that, as Hna Robles has a smart-phone for sending / receiving photos of health issues, looking up diseases etc, and emailing Dr. Cragun and Pres. Dester, so we have 2 phones between us.  But I get to answer calls and text on my little phone, so it's fun to hit the 4 key about 5 times in a row and then the 2 key, and then the 7 key... thanks Spanish class for teaching me how to text in Spanish!  Never thought I'd ever use that skill.
And Hna Dester is so cute, I just love her.  She actually does pretty well with Spanish, it's harder for her since she doesn't have the benefit of immersion, but she can actually hold her own fairly well, despite what she says. She still needs some help translating some things, but she's very patient and has a good attitude about it all, she's a wonderful example for us. They call amazing people to be Mission Presidents, and their wives are equal helpmeets and support their husbands and the mission. We are blessed to have Pres. and Hna Dester with us!

Monday, April 20, 2015 -- Week #9 - Day #63 - San Pedro Sula

April 20, 2015  11:55 am

Pday! We had study time and cleaned our house, now it's laundry time! That always takes a few hours to do... gotta love not having a washer and dryer.
But, in personal study I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants 84 about missionary work.  click:  D&C 84 This past week has been a bit rough on myself and Hna Robles, and we had a wonderful companionship talk last night to help get ourselves back on track and encouraged and comforted and focused on this next week of work we have ahead of us.
But yeah, D&C 84 has some wonderful verses in it, I especially like 36-38, 46-48, 61-64, the first half of 76, 79-80, 83, 85, 87-the first line of 89, first half of 116, and 119-120. (good luck getting all the links for those, Mom, maybe just reference the chapter?)
There is no reason to be fearful to speak the truth. And we know the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be true. We know the scriptures are the words of God to His children on this earth. We know the Book of Mormon to be a book of precious scripture revealed through the power of God. We know God is our Heavenly Father, the Creator of our spirits, and He loves us. We know that families can be eternal. When we pray, we talk to our Father, and He hears us, and responds to us. We have joy and peace in this life because of these truths, and it would behoove us to help others around us come to know these things are true as well and be happy with us.
Now, the way we go about doing that can be a little uncomfortable and daunting, but it really needn't be.  And there will always be opposition in one form or another, that is one of the natural laws of God. But we can still live the Gospel in word, thought, and deed, and the fact that you simply extended an invitation and concisely explained why something is important to you is doing that work.  It's what I do all day long, inviting and explaining to people about these truths:  except it's in Spanish and a slight bit more involved, but the principles of this great and mighty work are the same.  I am a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, set apart with power and authority to preach His Gospel to His children in Honduras for 18 months:  but from the moment we come to a knowledge of truth of the Gospel we will never stop being witnesses of Him. Pretty neat, huh?  And should we ask for and stay worthy of the presence of the Holy Ghost, a member of the Godhead, to help us in our efforts, there will be joyous success. So cool!
10:15 pm
So Hna Robles is pretty excited, there's gonna be a temple dedicated in Peru in June, and President Monson is going to dedicate it, so that's pretty neat.  click:  LDS Temples - Video  It's fun to hear news from our loved ones and how things are going in our home countries... thank goodness for internet! We are blessed, indeed.  click:  Trujillo Peru LDS Temple
Trujillo Peru Temple
But, funny side note, I don't know how bad my Spanish sounds in comparison to how it would sound if I were learning English, but it's always fun to hear the people here try to sound out English words, especially my name, usually comes out along the lines of "Mauri" or "Moh-where", tan chistoso [so funny!].  My favorite English word of the day was "awkward" with Hna Robles, it came out sort of like "eahk-wehrd", like how Hno Garcia said it.  Languages are so fun!
After laundry, we had lunch at Burger King because we had coupons for it, and then bought food for the week, and came home and taught a lesson and had a FHE with a wonderful family and watched "Together Forever" with them, pretty neat little video, I encourage you to watch it!  click:  Together Forever video  It's always interesting how people pick up on different things, we all shared something that caught our attention, and it was a good little FHE, got 2 references (sweet!) and had some delicious orange juice.

But it's great when we're walking around the downtown city part of SPS [San Pedro Sula], every few minutes some guy will pass by and comment "Que bonita son" [You are beautiful], "Quiere casarme tus ojos" [You have beautiful eyes/I want to marry your eyes?], "Que linda es" [You are pretty] etc, etc... basically saying how we're so pretty and they want to marry us... that's what ya get!  Haven't had much whistling (I really hate that, so that's good) but I have had a few kisses in my direction and some wandering eyes, ugh. You kinda get used to being looked at here, people don't really have bubbles.  If you're different, you get looked at.  Different mentality than the States, we are so individual and don't want to get in another's business and there are so many different races of people it doesn't matter.  But to be 1 of the 70-90 or something white people in this mission, you get looked at a lot.  So that's a bit different.
Also almost all the taxis listen to Jesus music, or I think it's some kind of Evangelical televangelist thing, which is kinda funny, little bit different way of worship than in our religion, but it's always good to have God in your life.

So yeah, good day, really hot, as always!

Thursday, April 30, 2015 -- Week #11 - Day #73 - San Pedro Sula

April 30, 2015

9:52 pm
Today it rained from about 3:00 am - 10:00 am in the morning, and was kinda sprinkly the rest of the day, so that dropped our temperature to about 85 degrees, and it was delightful. Incredibly humid, but a cooler humid, as opposed to a very hot humid. So we were very grateful for the rain.

Also, after some hospitaling, Hna Robles and I went out to lunch, and I finally got to eat some Mexican food! That pretty much made my day. There's a restaurant called Antojos Mexicanos, or Mexican Cravings, and that's exactly what I've been having the past few days, so we finally got those taken care of. One big difference in the food here is that it's not spicy, although there's a lot of similar food ingredients, etc. So I got myself some lovely little carne de res, corn tortilla Mexican tacos, and covered those puppies in the "bastante pica" type of salsa that was about lowish-medium heat for me, at least, and enjoyed myself immensely. Hna Robles and the lady who served us kept eyeing me to see if I would cry or something because they thought the salsa was really hot, but I thought it was perfect. Hna Robles can't stand spicy food, and the lady kept warning me that that salsa was really hot, probably thought I was crazy. But it was a really nice red salsa, had a nice flavor and texture, and lots of red chilis. And it was so nice to have some beef, too. And the pico was really good, too, fresh tomatoes and cilantro and onion. And had some horchata to drink. That was an awesome lunch.
Can't believe I just talked about salsa for a paragraph, sorry about that. But I was seriously so happy to eat those little tacos. Dang good!
I would like to take a moment and discuss how it is always a funny thing for Hna Robles and I to be planning hospital visits for the missionaries, and she'll say that we have a cita (appointment) with an Elder Paca, so I write that down, and the next day we show up and I discover that she had been trying to say Packard... that happens a lot of times, and I finally showed her all my notes from the past few weeks, and she laughed for a good 2 minutes or so... good times. There's also some other American names that come out funny: biscuits = beesqueets, KFC = kah-efeh-seh, Popeyes = poh-pay-ehs, take it easy = tay-kee-see... I'm sure I sound similar as I'm stumbling around in Spanish, but it sure makes for a good laugh.
And some scriptures from today:
Alma 36:27 the strength of the Lord will help us  click:  Alma 36:27
Mosiah 3:5-10 Ministry and Atonement of Christ  click:  Mosiah 3:5-10
Alma 11:40-45 Resurrection  click:  Alma 11:40-45
And also, I don't know what's going on at home, but the past week or two we've been inviting people to watch the video "Gracias a que El Vive", or perhaps "Thanks to Him that Lives", I think, in English... anyway, it's a Mormon message and it's really neat. I think you can find it at  click:  Because HE Lives   It's in Spanish. But yeah, the Church is putting out some really neat stuff to share the Gospel with, the other day we watched the "He Lives" video (in Spanish) from a while back and I felt the Spirit with us as we watched it, that was really wonderful. So yeah, that's an easy little invitation you're welcome to extend to others -- watch a short video about Christ. Good stuff.
But yup, long day, happy for the rain, hope for a good day tomorrow. Goodnight!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 -- Week #11 - Day #72 - San Pedro Sula

April 29, 2015

1:32 pm
So, we haven't gone hospitaling yet this past while... I almost want to say something close to a week? That's been weird to not go to any appointments, but it's been good to have a lot more time to work in our area. Anyway, today we've been up to our necks in phone calls of sick people, poor Hna Robles is still not off the phone... we have a few minutes of peace, and then she has another call come in. And then calls the hospitals and gets appointments, and emails with Dr. Cragun, etc. Crazy. But I'm becoming a very good little independent learner, so I filled my time with some PMG [Preach My Gospel] and the "Plan of Salvation" pamphlet, and practiced explaining it to myself, thought that went pretty well, actually. So that was fun.
On a medical note, the consults we have are usually around 410 or 800 lps, depending on which doctor we have to go to and for what, so that equates to roughly $20 or $40... a lot lower than a $100 consult in the States. And of course that doesn't cover the cost of medicine or stuff, but it seems to be a lot lower of cost than in the States to get medical care. Granted, in equivalence of value to these people, it's quite expensive.
Also, you can buy a 5 gal water jug thingy for $1... pretty good price, if you ask me (the people we buy them from sell them for 22 lps).  And we receive 4,300 lps a month (which is about $215) to live on for house payments, groceries, transportation etc... and it all works out pretty well, actually. So I'm guessing the cost of living here is less than the States.
9:46 pm
Funny story of the day, we were talking with Nancy tonight, and after we finished singing a hymn, she asked me a question, but all I really understood was "coro" or choir/chorus, and in context of her holding the hymnbook and after teaching her how to sing the hymns, I thought she was asking about why there wasn't a chorus to this one, just verses. So I went on to explain that in this hymn there's just the 4 verses, but most of the hymns have choruses... and then she laughed and Hna Robles explained that she was asking if I sang in choir before my mission, as she liked my voice. So that was funny. Usually I don't trip up like that, but we all had a good laugh and it's fine. Some people talk so fast that I don't pick up on all the words, and it's a little confusing. But for the most part I'm alright.
And scriptures of the day:
2 Nephi 29:9-14 click: 2 Nephi 29:9-14 prophesy about the Book of Mormon
2 Nephi 31:14 click:  2 Nephi 31:14 and 2 Nephi 32:3 click:  2 Nephi 32:3 This one is special because I had always wondered what it meant to speak with the tongue of angels, and just now made the connection that the answer is in verse 3 of the next chapter: "Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ." Isn't that so neat? Made a lot more sense to me... I don't know what it's like for you guys, but it's a lot easier for me to understand the scriptures on a mission... I feel so happy when I read them. Good stuff.

Also, funny thing #2, we accidentally planned to teach Guadelupe at 5:00 pm tomorrow, and then her brother who lives in the same house at 6:00 pm, so in our planning we moved both to 5:00 pm and will go talk with Pamela. Wheeps. (that's how we say "whoops" here... they don't have a "oouh" sound in Spanish) It's always fun to try and figure out what we were thinking that day when we were on sugar highs and exhausted (we had 3 servings of Coke in the space of 4 hours)... good times on the mission! Hopefully we can have our heads on straight tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015 -- Week #11 - Day #71 - San Pedro Sula

April 28, 2015
9:47 pm
Today hit 104 degrees Fahrenheit and was quite warm, to say the least.  I think it's safe for you guys to assume that it is always hot, unless otherwise dictated, but today was really hot. And humid. But that's a given as well. Got some constant Girl's Camp climate action happening down here. But it's all good, sometimes we buy cold water and chocolate as we're roaming our territory, so that's really nice.
Today... we met a lot of really interesting people that had some really interesting ideas of how the world worked and how we should have religion in our lives, a lot of naked kiddos running around (it's hot, remember?), and evaded a lot of really fast cars as we were crossing streets. Quite the eventful day. My feet are quite tired, and Hna Robles suggested freezing a water bottle and then rolling it under my bare feet as we plan etc, at the end of the day... definitely gonna try that tomorrow and give y'all the progress report.
Poor Hna Robles didn't sleep very well last night due to being hot (and she had 2 of our 3 fans on her too, sweet girl) and her back has been hurting the past few days, and my legs and feet are so tired at the end of the day, and then the tendons and ligaments seem to stiffen up a little during the night, so they don't really want to work in the mornings. But there are times when we don't hurt, so that's nice, it helps to sit or lay down for a few minutes during lunch or after planning... we make things work.
I have news to report to the public: E Santiago can make a cricket chirp noise, and it is so cool. I can't even whistle (I've been practicing, and it seems to be a lost cause so far) and I envy his talent. He finishes his mission after this change, didn't know that until last week. Crazy. We have a lot of people leaving in the next 2 weeks, and our mission is full of newer missionaries. It's amazing it all keeps functioning.
Also, interesting fact, in the Spanish "Law of Chastity" pamphlet, towards the end, there's a picture of a family on a beach, and the dad was the missionary that baptized one of our less-actives that we're visiting. How neat is that? Pretty small world, if ya ask me. It's gonna be so cool to see all the little connections we had with people after this life... you usually don't know what effect you've had on most people during your time here on earth. Interesting to think about.

In some events of today, one lady asked me which salon I got my eyebrows done in, and then was amazed that I just do them in the house, by myself, with tweezers, and that it doesn't really hurt. Miraculous, I know. And some guy asked me what "bolo" was in English, which in fact means drunk, as in with alcohol.  And another guy who was actually quite amicable (is that a word in English?  in Spanish it's amigable... my poor brain) took an exorbitant (can't remember how to spell that either) amount of time to assure us that anything outside of what's written in the Bible is not true doctrine, and therefore he would go home and look for the name of Joseph Smith being a prophet of God, in the Bible, but since he would not be able to find it, he just couldn't accept our message. But he was very respectful about it at the same time and made sure we knew that only through Jesus Christ we can be saved, etc... interesting mentality.  click:  Mosiah 3:17

But yeah, got chocolate topo gigios later on today, and they were wonderful. And what else... we have MS18 and 13 here, like E Oldham does in El Salvador, but I haven't had any contact with them, nor do I want to. They came up in a conversation we were having with a lady because I think her cousin or someone got involved with them, or something of the sort. Either way, they're bad news.
And also the power went out during today as well (it does that sometimes, as well as the water), so we couldn't cook anything for lunch or have functional fans... so we sat on the floor, hiked our skirts up, and fanned ourselves with some flattened granola bar boxes as we munched on our PB&J's. Good times.
So yeah, good day, gonna hop to bed and we can have another one tomorrow. Goodnight!

Monday, April 27, 2015 -- Week #10 - Day #70 - San Pedro Sula

April 27, 2015

9:27 pm
Today was Pday! And probably the hottest day I've had here so far... I was talking to Hna Dester this morning and she asked us to make sure we drank a ton of water today, as it was supposed to be somewhere around 106 degrees, I don't know if it reached that temperature, but it sure felt like it did, the air itself was hot and felt heat waves rising off my body... and so of course I drank copious amounts of fluid, as always. Hopefully it can rain this week and bring the temperature down a bit, that would be wonderful.

Every day brings new things to learn, and today I learned that it is possible for your elbows (outer sides) to sweat, I didn't know that before. But lo and behold, the sun rose into the sky, and there appeared on my elbows, moisture! Crazy stuff happens here, man, it would just blow your mind to be in my life for a day.
Also, everyone is amazed that I can eat so much, but that probably has to do with the fact that I'm burning calories like crazy. Today we went to Wendy's for lunch, and I had a big salad and a baked potato and fries and about 3 refills of Sprite (they don't have Root Beer here! I'm so sad! There's Coke out the wazoo, though, and so I prefer to have Sprite when I can) and was still hungry... I have a great capacity for food.

It's also interesting, because here lunch is the biggest meal of the day, with dinner and breakfast being smaller, and it actually is working out really well, my body seems to like it better as well.  It kinda makes more sense as well, you need more sustenance during the day as opposed to the night, and it fits into your body's cycles better as well. So for bfast I usually have some cereal and a fruit, and dinner is a PB&J or egg/ham sandwich and yogurt or something small like that, and lunch is big, some sort of collaboration of eggs, tejadas, mantequilla, chicken, beef, tomatoes, cucumbers, pastelitos, pupusas, baleadas, frijoles (almost exclusively mashed, it's not common to eat whole beans), melon, orange juice, milk, water, corn tortillas, potatoes, rice, lime, carrots, plantains, queso... we obviously don't eat all of that for every lunch, but that's an assortment of food we usually have for our meals, so I think we do pretty well to keep ourselves nutrientized and such, at least I've adjusted to eating that stuff in large quantities and it's working nicely. And it's super yummy as well, I haven't eaten something I didn't like yet, which Hna Robles thinks is amazing and is very happy for.
Today we also washed laundry and cleaned house, as always, and went and played some football with the other zone, so that was fun. It was actually nice to run around again after so much walking, and not have to carry around a backpack (Hna Dester prefers those to side bags) full of scriptures and such, so that was also very nice. It's so weird to wear pants and a t-shirt, I don't feel like a missionary without my skirt and multiple layers of clothing! Funny how we get used to associating things together, probably is more cemented when you do something every day, all day, so that was kinda funny.
And today in personal study I finished up 1 Nephi 22 click:  1 Nephi 22 and read the first 3 chapters of the Book of Ether... click:  The Book of Ether the scriptures are so cool. I will say that it wasn't until I came here that I actually have a love for the Book of Mormon and the Bible. I have a healthy respect for them and think it's important to read them and use them in lessons and stuff, but I've lived 19 years and am just starting to look forward to studying and reading them for an hour every day, and there are so many things that seem new to me about them. That's pretty sad. I struggled a lot in seminary because of that, I think. I really didn't understand what is actually in these pages. There is some seriously neat stuff in here.
So I encourage you, if you have some difficulty reading the scriptures regularly and actually enjoying it, to try to find some sort of impetus to read them. Have a question in mind each time you read. Pray beforehand to have the Spirit with you so you can understand what you're reading. Look up scriptures about a topic you are thinking about lately, and follow the footnotes around (I used to hate those little guys, but they're actually pretty neat). Take a hymn or a talk you like, and find the cited scriptures. I personally like the suggestion to read the Book of Mormon and circle or somehow mark each mention of Christ... you can't go a page without His name marked somewhere.
Try to find a specific purpose for reading that day, whatever it may be. Take as long as you need, you are not accountable to anyone but your Heavenly Father with how long you spend reading the scriptures. We sometimes tell our investigators to just read 5 mins a day, but in reality, the time factor isn't what's important, it's what you're reading and understanding from the words of the prophets, that testify of Christ, and provide for us the knowledge of what we need to do to fulfill this great Plan of Salvation of God. And if that doesn't work, you can always read 2 Nephi 33:11, 14 click: 2 Nephi 33:11, 14 and know that we can't plead ignorance after this life when we have the incomparable blessing of having the scriptures in our homes, in our own languages, and opportunity to hear the prophet and his counselors and the apostles of the Lord speak twice a year, and read their messages every month, week and day... should we so choose. So I would also give the counsel to read or listen to something of God each day, if anything to be obedient, but to also enjoy that obedience, because therein lies the promise of eternal life.

And, on a lighter note, just wanted to let y'all know that I love ya, and you're awesome. I know some more things now about life being tough, and my goodness there are some weird things that can happen, for better or worse, and they might throw ya for a bit, but in all reality things will look up, even if it seems like the world is ending for you. God loves you, more than you can imagine, and if you ask, He will help you. He won't take away a trial or hard time, but He can strengthen you to the point where it isn't a trial anymore, and you've overcome it. And you can retain that strength and keep on climbing that mountain of yours.
Tonight we were sharing a message of faith in the Lord with a sister who is having a hard life right now, when it occurred to me that we are strengthened to overcome trials by doing the things the Lord has asked us to do... makes sense, right? Reading scriptures, going to church and renewing our covenants, helping share the Gospel with our brothers and sisters, praying, serving, teaching, doing temple work for loved ones (in reality, every one of the names we do work for is a loved one) and trying with all our heart, might, mind and strength, to come closer to our Heavenly Father, is how we are strengthened to the point where we've overcome all the things that we were sent here to accomplish, and we are ready to be with our God.  If we receive a blessing, it is because we are obedient to the principle upon which it is predicated. Everything is cause and effect. Pretty neat, actually.
So yeah, gonna get ready for bed now, got a big week ahead of us, and I'm quite tired, actually. Goodnight!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 22, 2015

From the Madre:
So Hna Mower was finally able to send a whole bunch of photos!  Like 55 photos!  They are inserted according to date, so you have to go all the way back to Day #1 -- February 17, 2015 to see her flight to Guatemala and follow her adventures to Honduras Day #43 -- March 31, 2015 and then from there forward to now!  Some really great pictures!  So wonderful to see her smiling face again!!

Sunday, April 19, 2015 -- Week #9, Day #62 San Pedro Sula

April 19, 2015  10:24 pm

My gummy dinosaurs melted from the heat... sad day!
Made it through another week! Yay! Today was good, super hot, I'm pretty certain it hit somewhere around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (I honestly can't remember how to spell properly anymore, hopefully that's right) today, so that was fun. But yeah, we took Halsey and 2 kiddos to church today (their mother had to work and the older boy wanted to go to church), so that was an adventure, felt like Primary all over again with a 2 year old and a 9 year old to keep occupied during Sacrament Meeting, but we did it!  Go team missionary!

In news from Honduras, the concept of Tupperware does not exist, and the fridge isn't really the prime storage place for food.  But we're doing well food-wise, we've started cooking for ourselves this week due to some changes in mission rules and elders in need of feeding in our area, so Hna Robles and I have been making some fantastic lunches, I'm quite proud of our culinary expertise! (I also can't remember how to spell that)
Our lunch!  Typical Honduran food, super delicious!
Also, there are like, a bajillion pigeons that have residence in SPS [San Pedro Sula], it's like pigeon-land.  It's funny, in Spanish they're called (palomas) and here popcorn is called "palomitas de maiz" or just "palomitas" which means little pigeons of corn... not quite sure how that happened... maybe because the kernels fly when they pop? Have to do some more cultural research on that one.

I was thinking earlier today, that there are different kinds of "enduring to the end" ...enduring to the end of a school year, the end of a meeting, the end of a life, the end of a trial, the end of childbirth, the end of a companionship, the end of a day... I think enduring is quite an actively involved process, actually, not simply just waiting something out.
To endure is to live and grow and help others and learn, and do all that when there is pain and sadness and negative feelings and impatience for something to be over... to still comport oneself as a child of God, with honor and integrity, even when that is sometimes the last thing on your mind at the moment. To persevere and stay obedient, changing your heart and mind so that it isn't a stumbling block to follow God's will. To stay faithful in the glaring face of adversity.  That's what I define enduring to be right now, funny how a mission presents the opportunity to gain an understanding of all the things you've been taught up to this point in your life.