Monday, July 4, 2011

First letter from Honduras!!!


I will have internet every week, at least in this area.  So for the next 11 or so Mondays I´ll be writing about this time of day.

I guess I´ll begin at the Atlanta Airport.  While wating for our Honduras Flight Elder Gonzalez, Hermana Duplessis (met up with her at SLC, she´s from Canada) and I were at the gate and were talking with some of the others waiting.  One lady I talked to was a member of the Honduras Tegucigalpa FBI equivelant.  Pretty awesome.  She gave me her name and number.  

We landed in Tegucigalpa.  Wow.  It was awesome.  President and Hermana Chaverri were waiting for us with the assistants.  We went to the office and oh my goodness the drivers are crazy.  I don´t think I´ve been in a taxi, bus, or on the street for more that 10 seconds without hearing a horn go off.  They don´t really use or have lanes. It´s like Fast and the Furious.  How epic.  So we made it to the office and...nothing legit or local to eat.  They got us pizza.  But we were pretty exhausted - our flight from SLC didn´t actually leave until 2 and there was nothing for us to do that Monday evening so Elder Gonzalez and I went to the ¨Mission Hotel - where the office missionaries live and relaxed a little.  We stayed there for Monday and Tuesday night.  

In the city there are so many guards and policemen that private businesses hire.  They carry some crazy wicked automatic firearms, pistols, and machettes.  They are everywhere: restaurants, banks, hotels, etc.

The money here is the Lempira.  One US dollar is about 20 L.  Use that for reference.  We get about L 3,300 a month or about $160.  Another thing about Honduras - everyone listens to American Music.  Lots of 80´s music. 

Tuesday morning we got our orientation.  Even the locals don´t drink the water.  And it is so cheap to buy it´s like L 2 for a liter of agua pura.  What they sell here is bags of water.  It´s like a bag of chips but there is water inside, not chips.  It´s pretty exciting I suppose.  President Chaverri told us the three things we needed to have success in our missions: Fe, Amor, Obedencia.  He´s a very exciting, energetic guy,  wish I could get to know him better but I´m also super excited because I know President Hernandez better than all of the other missionaries so far because he came to the CCM!

Uncle Todd - Bad news.  I guess I´m weak but a mission rule is no vendor food.  I have to be obedient.  

After the orientation I got to go out and teach! Desafortunadamente I don´t remember the name of the Elder but he was in the city and I went out and taught for about two ish hours or so.  We had an appointment that fell through so on the way to the next one we talked to some people in the street.  The appointment was with Carlos.  He´s an amazing twenty something year old who´s totally changed his life for the Gospel.  He wanted a review of la Ley de Castidad.  Whoa.  That was the first thing that I taught to a real live non-MTC person.  It was intesnse but he was agreeable and understood the importance of keeping the commandments. 

I am so grateful for my Spanish.  I´m not perfect with it but I can understand everyone who doesn´t mumble or talk softly.  It´s so good because this place and culture is so intense and overwhelming.  It´s nice not to have to worry about the language too. Although it still feels dream like to be here.  I still expect that after a lesson or after a meeting we´ll all start talking in English.  But no.  Cien por ciento.   

Another thing for which I´m very grateful is Seminary and Scripture Mastery.  I think in that first lesson I used two.  They are so important so Dannee, Katri, and others: LEARN THOSE SCRIPTURES.

I got to teach a little English to the new sisters who came in.  They didn´t speak anything.  Right now our mission has about 180 missionaries, 25 or so sisters and about half American half Central American.

The President took all of the new missionaries out to dinner Tuesday night and then...the moment we´re all waiting for....Wednesday morning.  We got our companions and our assignments.  I´am assigned to labor in the colonia Monte Carlo close to the ciudad Choluteca in the South part of Honduras.  We´re three or four hours by bus south of Teguc.  My companion is Elder Cotton from Guatemala City.  He speaks no English which is good for me but the English missionaries are supposed to be teaching the non speakers English.

Elder Gonzalez also went to the south but not as far south as I am.

In the meeting President Hernandez taught us that Love is much more important that Talent.  He instructed us to love our companions, the Lord, and the people we´re serving.  In the meeting I was asked to translate for the President and his wife.  It was exciting.

We´re living in the chapel of the unoffical Monte Carlo branch.  It´s basically a large (Honduras standards) house.  We´ve got running water 24/7 and electricity 24/7.  Actually the area had been closed for several months and Elder Cotton and I are reopening it.  It´s intense because we´re both new and know no one.  The first thing we did when we got there was contact the member of a local bishopric assigned to the unofficial branch.  We got an appointment with him for Thursday.

Thursday morning we took a bus to our district meeting.  It costs L 6 to ride the bus.  Like thirty cents! Whoa.  We learned again that we are here to teach Families.

The members here are so humble and faithful.  They want to go out with us and teach their vecinos y familiares y amigos.

So a few things about Monte Carlo and Honduras:
It rains EVERYDAY but unlike in Houston after the rain it´s so cool and fresh
The married people do not wear wedding rings
¨cheque¨ is the word for ¨cool¨
There are celing fans in the churches
It gets cool at night
There are so many animals running around streets and houses: dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, roosters, a few cows, chirping geckos, ants, iguanas, spiders....
Pulperia: a small 711 run out of someone´s home.  Usually with everything that a Walgreens has.  Awesome.
Hubsand and wife have different last names.  The family carries both.  Example Paz Colindres.
The houses are tiny
Real sugar in soda
The food rocks

Family members are so important in teaching.  If it weren´t for the members here in Monte Carlo we would still be struggling with the area.  Do what you can to help the missionaries in our ward as long as they´re not weird and lame and driving people away from the church.  The members always want to feed us and give us referrals.

Mom here are some things I am so grateful for:
Waterproof shoes
Waterproof Shoes
Waterproof shoes
that cute blow up pillow because I wouldn´t have had one otherwise!
Waterproof shoes
Waterproof shoes

Being a missionary is powerful.  One goal that I have is not to be here on the mission but to become a missionary.  I´ve only been here for like six days in Monte Carlo and I´ve already have many experiences where the Spirit has directed me to go somewhere or say something.  I´ve had words put in my mouth and doors opened.  But one important thing that we learned is that the Spirit cannot help me remember something that I never learned which is why studying is so important.  The people here are so wonderul.  They always let us in and listen to the message.  We´ve got so many people to teach!  There have seriously been only about 7 people who´ve not let us come in.

Saturday we were teaching a the familia Rodriguez and it was raining so hard.  The tin roof echoed so loud but the spirit was so strong there the family asked questions and were listening so intently.  I got to testify of the Plan of Salvation and that families can be together forever after this life.  I also got to tell them that the members of their family who have gone on before them who didn´t get a chance to hear this message would get a chance.  I love sharing my testimony with people.

So on Sunday about 45 people were in the branch.  None of the families that we invited to church came.  Actually Saturday we found an inactive Hermana who the branch didn´t know about.  Hermana Juana was left by her hubsand and has had some difficult things in her life but she said she wanted to come back to church.  I already sort of knew this but the church is the same everywhere. Same sacrament, same scriptures, etc.  That was comforting.  After church we went to have lunch with the Reyes family.  They´re always asking to cook for us and to have us take their sons with us.  They rock.
I was out with Moroni, a member here.  He´s 17 and is excited to be with the missionaries.  Our appointment fell through with the Paz Colindres family.  They own a Pulperia and we taught them the Restoration on Thursday and they were so interested but it has been so difficult to get a hold of them to come back! So we went down their street and we came across a lady, Hermana Antegracias.  She lives alone and has some amazing faith.  Moroni and I taught here about the restauration and she was participating, sharing personal experiences and invited us to come back!  She told us about an accident her son had and how she prayed so hard for him to be alright and he was.  I love asking people what blessings from God they´ve seen in their lives.

We also visited Hermano Alonzo and his son.  They recently joined the church but his son doesn´t come anymore.  We invited him back.  We met him last week and he asked us to pray for him because he needed a job.  He found one!  He said if he didn´t have work he´d come back.  

Today is P-day.  This morning we climbed a huge hill.  The pictures will blow your mind. We could see so far from the top.  It was amazing.  Since we climbed with our zone the American missionaries sang the Star Spangeled Banner for the 235th birthday of our country.  God Bless America.  Please know how blessed you are living in the states.  The children here have never seen an electric razor, my camel back, and Luis (of the Reyes family) took a picture of our zone from the top of the hill had never used a digital camera before.  No one has A/C.  Very few, almost zero people have cars.  America is a blessed nation.  

We ate lunch, went shopping and now I´m here!

Things to know: the mail takes weeks and weeks to get here so you can write snail mail letters but just know I won´t get them for a long time.  People reading the blog my email should be there somewhere.  Also use the pouch system when sending letters.  The address should be somewhere as well I don´t know what it is.  That will be the best way to ensure the mail gets here.  I hear that the postmen aren´t horrible but send packages and letters with stickers of the Virgin Mary if they´re sent through the Honduran mail system.
I love being a missionary.  Thank you for your support! 
Letters I got in the MTC:
Thanks Kimi, Whitney, Deneka y Estephen, Dannee, Katri. 
Britta - The sugar cookies rocked.  
Nannie - Thanks for the Jimmer update! I love you!

I love you family!
I´ll be writing next week!
I am surviving and showering and eating everyday.  At this rate I´ll return in one piece.

Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of love

Elder Clay


Picture 3055  - the Hermanas in my CCM districto 
Picture 3060 - Hermanas Eborn, Stephens, Robinson (right to left) Our friends at the CCM
Picture 3074 - Luis, Elder Clay, Elder Cotton, Moroni (right to left). Luis and Moroni are 18 and 17.  Local Members. 
Picture 3093 - The Giant Colina we climbed
Picture 3092 - Me

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