Monday, October 13, 2014

2 Months in the Field! Woot!

(Email to Friends)
So basically I can make up a checkpoint for every week I'm out here.  So that's cool.

Unfortunately this week was a long one.  A bit of a relapse homesickness wise.  I just plugged through it though, and here I am.  P-day once again.  It's funny how that happens, no matter how long the week, P-day always makes it here.

First off, a little funny note.  Whenever I try to have kids give me high 5s I usually get an awkward sideways handshake.  Really weird.  I've decided just to stick with the fist pump and a quick "que lo que".  Slang for what's up.  Probably shouldn't be saying that as a missionary, but it's in the street.  Oh well.

Unfortunately while talking to a lady on the street this week, I could hear a kid being beat and screaming in the house behind us.  It just about broke my heart.  There wasn't much I could do about it either.  It hurt.  A lot.

I had my first person try to guess where I'm from and they didn't guess US!  They guessed Russia.  I think it was for my last name.  You can also add Cuba and Alaska (after saying not the US) to the list of countries people think Elder Moncada is from along with Guatemala, Argentina, US, and Israel.  People here don't know their geography too well.

We had stake conference this week.  Honestly, it was really boring.  They talked to fast and it's hard to focus for long enough to understand what's going on.  President Corbitt and his wife were at both sessions we went to though.  Hermana Corbitt doesn't know Spanish, but still bore her testimony in Spanish in front of everyone.  That was really cool.  It's cool to see how she's progressed.  It's rather adorable actually.

I also realized this week how lucky I am to be serving in a very Christ centered country.  I have yet to meet someone who doesn't believe in Christ.  That makes our job a lot easier.  The problem arises when they don't see any one church being true, but rather think we're just hear to preach the word of God. Which is partly true, but not quite.

We've got two baptisms this Saturday!  Lisa and Magdalena.  Hopefully nothing crops up this week that would stop them.  They both know a lot and I believe are ready.  We also have two more in two Saturdays.

I got to see the ocean this week!  Way cool.  There was a meeting for DL's so I tagged along, but couldn't go in.  I got to go contacting with another Elder (he actually used to live with me) and we stopped by the ocean.  Way pretty.  Way cool.

We also had a bit of a miracle this week.  So since it was stake conference, it was at the stake center which was farther away.  We were worried how we were going to get some of our investigators with a baptism date there.  While in a taxi we started talking to the driver.  He said he's met with missionaries before and would love to come to church this week!  Well, turns out he lives next to the investigators who needed a ride (Magdalena and Paula and Victor) and gave them and us a ride!  I consider that a miracle of obedience.  Way awesome.

I believe that's about all for this week.  It's been a longer week, and not too eventful really.  Hopefully this week is more fun!  Wish me luck! Have a great week everyone!

Mosiah 4:27 is the scripture for the week.  Just to let ya'll know.
E. Potokar.

(Emailed to Family)
Sounds like a fun week.  I really admire how much you've implemented things you've learned from conference.  That's something I feel like I haven't done in a long time.  Just pick something to improve on.  There seems to be an overwhelming number of things to improve on.  I don't know where to start.  It's kind of frustrating.  I feel like I'm just trying to stay afloat right now, but yet try to swim.

(Did Ash tell you about her Jazz game?) She didn't.  Did she go to one? Lower bowl is crazy!  I'm way jealous.  I never did see the new screen down there!  It's supposed to be awesome.

Garrett looks good in his soccer pictures.  He looks a little more agile than normal.  Like his coordination has started to kick in.

(Lydia wants me to ask you, “How many people have you told the gospel to?”) Tell Lydia more people than I can count.  Lots every week.  (So she want to know "if you can count to a thousand!") :) Haha tell Lydia I can't count to a thousand in Spanish. In reality we don't find many new people weekly, but we easily teach around 10 different people every week.

(Do you talk to President Corbitt in English or Spanish?) It's usually Spanish because Elder Moncada is there with us and he doesn't understand everything in English. I have an interview with him this week (he's interviewing all the missionaries in the next few weeks) and I hope that'll be in English haha.

(What is in your empanadas? They looked good!) There was Kraft cheese and some smooshed sausage type things.  Not too shabby.

The weather is definitely a lot more bearable now.  I can actually feel kind of comfortable in it.  It's been really overcast and super close to raining a lot of days so it's been super cool.

(I'm so sorry you had to hear someone get beat up. I'm sure that was super hard! It brings tears to my eyes. That is when you have to remember that Heavenly Father knows all things, he knows what others go through, and whoever was doing the beating will have to account for that someday.) It was really hard.  I could hear the kid pretty clearly.  Don't want to go into details for ya.  I hope that kid is OK.  Just have to remember that Heavenly father is just.  What happens will be fair.

Do you have any tips on how to cook some basic meats?  We've done ground beef and have some sort of beef that we slice up and cook with green peppers, tomatoes, and onions.  That's all we cook though.  Any other ideas on how we could mix that up?

I made a marble(ish) cake this week.  It was pretty good.  The best one yet.  It was actually moist haha.  Cooked in like 15 minutes.  Our oven must be really hot cuz everything cooks way fast in it.

On to the week.  Unfortunately, it's been a long one this week.  I don't know if last P-day, or general conference or what kicked it in, but I've had a homesickness relapse.  It's been rough.  A really long one.  Lots of thinking of you guys.  It's been hard.  Stake Conference that I couldn't understand was a lot of time to just think to myself.  That was rough.

Cool fact.  I usually read my BOFM out loud from 830 to 9am.  Since I was thinking of home a ton this week I realized I read it the same times you guys do in the mornings!  Cool stuff.

Grandma M. suggested I boil my potatoes and try to hash them.  They actually hashed, but then just mushed together after.  I was frying mashed potatoes.  A little bit ridiculous haha.

The last two weeks have been rough studying wise.  Not this week, but the week before because all that weird stuff in the morning overlapped in my language study time.  And this week because of the DL meeting and ya, just doesn't feel like I'm studying the language as much as I should.

I had my first ward council this week.  It was INSANE.  Like a debate tournament.  It was hilarious.  Not productive at all, but hilarious haha.

I got your package this week!  It was fantastic.  Had pretty much everything I wanted in it.  The quicksilver belt has been helping a ton.  The measuring cups are an improvement over the ones I bought.  The shoes I just love.  I was a little disappointed in the music player at first (more like mad at myself again for losing the iPod), but I've gotten used to it and it's been amazing to have music.  Do you think you could send me some more?  I'd like Seven Wonders album by Greg Simpson, an album by Cherie Call with a blue cover, and the Forgotten Carols if you wouldn't mind!  If you could just upload them to the drive that'd be awesome. The only thing I needed in the package that I didn't get was a new journal.  I bought a spiral bound notebook from the store today that should work for quite a while.  It's fluorescent green, but was the best one I could find.

I uploaded some pics of little bits of articles in the Ensign that I liked too.  I need to work on applying some of them.  I also really appreciated the Ensign.  We get Liahona's here which have some of the same articles, but never quite as many.

I decked out my BOFM this week.  I pretty much always carry it in hand now.  I've got pass-along cards, some pictures for teaching purposes, a place to study my words for the day, and a place to take notes for thoughts for home, things to improve or new words I want to learn the next day.  I taped the whole thing so I can use it for a while now too. It makes things really handy because I always have that in hand. I also put the pictures of Christ on my daily planner.  I believe I uploaded a picture of it.

I figured out what Moncada does in the bathroom.  He shaves his arms and legs.  Lots of missionaries do I guess.  Helps with the heat.  I haven't quite bought into that yet.  Not sure what I'm going to do.

I realized I'm really good at seeing people's needs, but only if I've been through it before.  Like I wanted to compliment Hermana Corbitt on her Spanish (I didn't and regret that) or little things like that. I have trouble if I've never been through it before though.  I realized little things like that are probably promptings of the Spirit.  I need to follow them more.  I repented for not doing that as well.

We cleaned a mountain of dishes for Magdalena haha.

We have coke just about every lunch.  I'm kind of scared I'm getting addicted to it.  It's super cheap and super easy to get our hands on.

(Are you investigators ready for Saturday? That will be super neat for you too.) Lisa is definitely ready.  She knows a ton.  When we teach her mom with her and her mom says something with apostasy, she always knows and corrects her.  It's way cool.  She's more of a member than a lot of people down here.

Of course, Magdalena had some stuff crop up.  She should be OK for this Saturday, but has to be interviewed by President Corbitt.

Paula and Victor are next week.  I love teaching them. They are Dominican. She's told us how she feels happier and more joy at church and that's why she knows it's true.  While teaching them they originally weren't going to make it this Sunday and then Victor was like "No, God wants us to be at church.  We'll do this and this and this so we can go".  Way cool.  When we leave him with something to read he really reads and ponders it.  He knows the lessons before we teach him.  She's a bit slower and needs more help to learn stuff, but he's patient and helps her along.  I still don't know if she knows the name of the church haha. They are actually married! woohoo!  Lots of people down here aren't married, but live together with a family and everything.  Really weird.  It's a major baptism stopper because of the law of chastity and all.  We casually invited her to church while she walked by at another lesson and she came!  We've taught her and Victor ever since. They have grandkids.  Everyone is really young grandparents here.  It's really weird.  They amazing and super nice.  Every time Paula forgets something she just cracks up smiling.  She's always super smiley, even though she lives in super humble conditions.

Darlen who comes to church every week with a friend (he's 12), but is never home and doesn't remember stuff very well.  That's about it.  We'll need to find some more after Paula and Victor.  Which now that I think about it will be very close to the end of my training.  Uh oh, transfers are in about 3 more weeks.  I'll end my training then.

P-day today was OK.  We did a little personal shopping, I looked at some new slacks, cleaned some, I got another haircut, and that was it.  I feel like all work and no play make jack a dull boy is starting to apply to me.  I hope we can do some kind of sports next week. I've heard for around 700 pesos, just under 20 bucks, you can have some custom tailored slacks.  You give they like a yard and a half of material and they make it.  That'd be way cool.

Anyway you could get me Trevor or Ryan's address?  I'd love to write them a letter.  I'd love to get one from other missionaries so I think it'd be cool too.  Maybe Nate Arrington's too.  And would I just use US stamps on them if they're going to a different country? I talk to Ryan weekly and Trevor and Nate occasionally.  (Did you know Ryan is in Florida, waiting for his visa?) I did. He seems to be eating it up too.  Haha sometimes I think of how quickly I could've adjusted to an English speaking mission.  Oh well. This is where the lord wants me.

I also found a great quote about obedience by L. Tom Perry in the first Ensign you sent me.  I uploaded a picture of it.  I think that one is going to make my wall.  Also wall worthy little thoughts that will be going up soon "Make the Lord proud of you today" "Dios siempre quiere" which means Gods always wants, because the people here always say "if God wants me to".  Also "always have the energy of a greenie".  I heard a guy this week say another missionary has the energy of a greenie.  I want people to say that about me for all my mission.

This mission is definitely stretching and challenging me.

Tell the family I love them.  I'll talk to ya next week.
That's about it.  Love you tons!  Hope to hear from you.  E. Potokar

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