Monday, September 15, 2014

One Month Down in the Field!

(Emailed to Friends)
I have got 1 month of real missionary work under my belt.  Crazy stuff.  Life just keeps moving forward, who knew that it would in the mission too?

First off Ether 12:27 is fantastic.  Sometimes I feel like everything I have to learn in my mission (pronunciation, social skills, etc.) are the things I've never been good at!  In some ways that's perfect, because the Lord is helping me through it.  The Lord has definitely shown me a lot of my weaknesses, and now he's going to help me make them strengths.

I'm living large this week.  I bought a can opener (we've been opening cans with a knife. Super sketchy), a cheese grater, my own personal cup, and some cleaner since our house if filthy!  I'm moving up in the world!  Woot!

Also I finally calmed down this week enough to realize we have some really pretty flowers in the front of our house.  Who knew?  Haha only took me 4 weeks to realize it!

Also this week I learned a lot about different techniques of teaching and of a lot of the disobedience in our mission.  What it comes down to is you can convert through obedience (how you normally picture a mission) or you can flirt to convert.  Not really flirt to convert, but just flirt to flirt and if a baptism comes of it great.  TONS of missionaries do that in my mission I guess.  Lots of problems with young women here, it can go downhill very quickly. Both get baptisms, but only one way converts into active members.  And that difference means a world of things.

I also saw a dead guy laying in a street this week.  So sad.  Someone covered him in tree branches and garbage.  The whole street was staring at him. The next time we walked by he was gone.  The DR is a sketchy place!

Also this week, we haven't had water from time to time.  We still had our drinking water, since running water isn't safe to drink here.  No running water though.  That means very little dish cleaning and very hard to take a shower, wash clothes, wash your hands, cook, etc.  Luckily it has come back, but still really hard.  And sketchy.

I've been a little sick this week too.  Had the flu or "gripe".  Stuffy nose, occasional headache, and sore throat.  Mostly better now.  The work moves on!  Can't stop for anything, way too many people here who need the gospel.

We also got to teach the Preach My Gospel class on Sunday!  It seems like yesterday I was going to mission prep classes like that.  I felt like I should be in the class not teaching!  Time flies.

Also, a really cool thing I've noticed about the language.  To say thankfully you say "Gracias a Dios" which literally translated is "Thanks to God".  Similar thing with goodbye or Ädios which when written as "A Dios" means to God.  Really cool thing I thought.

Que lo que.  It's how they say wazzup here.  Not supposed to use it as missionary, but my comp will use it with some of the kids.

We found another really good family to teach!  The Grandmother has come to church a few times already and she said she knows the church is true.  Way cool.  Except she can barely remember the name of the church in Spanish cuz it's super long.  My comp will also ask it’s clear as..." and normally they answer with water, but she said Jesus Crist haha.  And her grandson asked if I'm Chinese.  That was definitely a first for me.

Also had quite a few people this week tell me in their very Latino English "I love you" or some kissy lips or tell me I'm beautiful in Spanish.  Most of them were like 40 or 50 year old woman, so well, ya.  Just a smidge awkward.

I also decided had I been learning Spanish anywhere else I think I'd just be able to understand everything (with all the help the Lord's given me of course).  Unfortunately, Dominican’s talk RIDICULOUSLY fast and slur their words.  It'll probably be another month or so before I understand everything.

We also got Maritsa and Ferdinando to come to church this week.  They're super crazy and super Dominican.  One time when we taught them there were two cute tiny kittens running around, he picked up the pamphlet, pointed to a picture and said "Priesthood", and she managed to find that picture in Abraham and said look! This guy is killing the other guy.  I really didn't feel like explaining that haha.  We just moved on.  He also said "the Mormon church is a good church" and had a joke about what's in the tierra (earth) and the cielo (sky) and the answer was the "i".  He thought that was hilarious haha.

Also Helaman 10:5 has really motivated me this week.  It basically says if we serve with all our might, we'll be blessed forever.  Not quite being fully happy here, will make me happy forever.  Definitely worth it!

Love you all lots!  Have another great week at school!
Love, E. Potokar.

(Emailed to Family)
Splits did end up happening this week.  Was a real eye opener for me.  I was with Elder Kirk in his area.  It was really cool, he’s been there like 6 months, and is really part of the ward.  All the neighbors knew him and all that.  He had an insane first month of his mission.  Terribly disobedient trainer, got dear johned, his family house burned down, and he had some medical heart problem.  It's a miracle he's still here. On my splits with Elder Kirk he turned on some Alex Boye.  Specifically the frozen song.  It brought back memories of home.

The temple trip didn't happen this week.  It's going to be this Friday, and then we have Magdalena's baptism on Saturday!  I get to baptize her too!  Should be way cool.  I really am looking forward to this week.

This is our last week of this transfer I believe and then we have one more, so probably late October, early November.  I think/hope my Spanish will be a lot more usable by then.

The 2nd counselor in the ward sat in on our meeting with the ward mission leader this week.  He's fantastic.  Knows his stuff, willing to work, return missionary, the whole bit.

I also tried hash browns and they flopped.  I baked the potatoes, and then put them in a ziplock bag in the fridge and the next morning tried them, but they came out way too mushy to grate.  I diced them and cooked them and they weren't too bad. They were still really good diced so we'll get there.  We also found some legit salsa today so chips will be bought Friday and we're on our way.  It should be good in breakfast burritos (on my list for this week too).  I also made some really good french toast, jello, and the brownies were good this week, and I think that was it.  I want to try German pancakes soon.  I'm considering buying a 9x13 pan to cook things in and maybe a cookie sheet too.  I bought a can opener, cheese grater, multi surface cleaner, and a cup for me personally this week.  Looked for a good set of measuring cups too, but didn't find any.  Just need to try different stores for that one.  We've been eyeballing everything so far. The brownies were just for me and Elder Moncada.  Two pans full.  Glorious. One day for lunch we had 3 packets of macaroni.  Fun stuff.  It was a TON.  For the 4 of us.  I don't think we had ever had that much at home.  We also had spaghetti sauce with ground beef this week.  It was really good, but it was used on rice.  Super weird, but not too bad actually. I also had guacamole with my mac and cheese.  It wasn't too bad either.

Sunday was long cuz my nose was all clogged up.  Next week should be better.  I'm understanding more and I plan on starting to talk to the ward members more hopefully.  And ya it's always Elder's quorum then investigator or PMG class for Sunday School.  I'll pitch going with the youth.  I know a few of them kinda and it'd be fun and different.  We didn't really take it all that easy with me not feeling well.  Still did what we normally would.  Saturday and Sunday were the only really rough days.  I'm feeling a ton better now.  A question, is it ok to take the decongestant and the mucous relief pills at the same time?  I tried to avoid it, but I'm just curious.

It's been a rough week study wise.  Tuesday was intercambios (splits) so pretty much nothing cuz I was packing, then I slept on Wednesday (Kirk and I stayed up till like 2 talking.  It felt great to talk to someone in English), Thursday was weekly planning, Friday and Saturday I was feeling sick and Sunday as well.  I've got to crack down again this week. Besides being sick this week it  has been a lot easier.  I'm a lot more accustomed to everything and talked a lot more in some lessons.  My Spanish declined a bit I feel like because of the lack of studying, but I'll work hard this week.

I could also use my threaders, or the little floss things for my permanent retainers.  Just a thought for next time you send something.  Not super necessary.

I saw a guy who has one of the same tshirts as me. Has a big E in the middle of it and is red.

A guy in my ward looks exactly like the guy off of sandlot who owns the dog.  Super dog and even wears aviators.  I really want to take a picture of him to show you haha.

Oh and there's a bunch of Liahonas in our house and one of them is older than me!  Haha I thought that was crazy.

The picture of the water thing is how we get our water.  It just appears in there and then we pump it up to the roof to get pressure.  Nothing showed up so it was empty for a day or two.  Super sketchy. I didn't shower a couple of days.  It was like an every other day thing.  There was enough water to wet my hair and rinse off my arms and legs.  It's happened twice.  Our drinking water is in big jugs so no worries about that. We used the lizard water, it saved us haha. (In his greenie package, we sent him a lizard that grows when in water.) The water it was in ended up being our water for like a day.

(I’m glad to hear you have a family to teach. How did you find them?) We briefly invited her to church while talking to her neighbor.  The grandmother just showed up to church.  We kind of have others.  Like one member of the family, but none where the whole family is interested.  We just walk down the streets talking to anyone who's sitting on their porch.  Like everyone is always outside sitting on their porch.

I also had to give a topic in District Meeting this week.   It was about faith.  Here's some scriptures I like from it.  1 Peter 1:7, Alma 32:11, James 2:17-18.  About growing after we exercise faith - DC 63:7-11, Ether 12:6.  The cycle of faith is really cool.  Faith leads to action.  That action helps your faith grow.  More faith leads to more action and so forth.  Really amazing.  Really Cool. The faith topic was all in Spanish.  I rambled, but got through 10 minutes worth.  Learned lots from studying it as well.  Really enjoyed it.  I hadn't thought of how I applied it, I really enjoy that.

We just went shopping. Moncada wanted to get his hair cut but we weren't able too.  I'm still using my ghetto belt, it works but it's ugly.  Haven't dared tried another leather one if it might stain again.  It's risky and belts are around 15 dollars.

And I got my first letter this last week from Grandma P.  It was really cool.  Getting letters is really nice.  Like a pick me up halfway through the week.

Thanks for sending me the video of dad and the bishopric huluing at the High Priests party.  It cracked me up haha.  I love it!

I’m glad Lydia is getting into it. (soccer) I'd love to help teach her stuff, but it'll have to wait till I come back.  There will be plenty of time then.  I love that she skips to the ball too.  That cracks me up.  It was something I'm going to print this week.

The cleaning is coming.  The oven and fridge are going to be my project this week.  Funny enough the oven is completely clean, but the stove is filthy.

Also I'm going to look for a family name later to take to the temple.  I think that will really improve the experience and I look forward to that.  They recommended that everyone bring a name.

Please ask more questions if you have any!  Good luck with the temple dedication!  I have a baptism or a confirmation that day.  It'll be a fun day for all of us.

I've actually got to go.  They're kicking us out.  I wish I could chat for longer.  Love you tons!  Miss you tons! Just know, I still miss you guys tons, but it's slowly calming down.  I'm doing better and find myself enjoying myself more and more.

Love you always and think of you often.  E. Potokar.

Easton was so excited to buy a can opener, he took a picture with it!!

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