Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Feb 25, 2013

 [To Eileen in SLC]
SNOW! I forgot that exists in flavors other than fruit punch and banana! hahaha. (The only snow we see here is snow cones, and they're pretty hard to find). We’re definitely roasting a bit, but I always tell my compa, [just think, we don't have to wear jackets right now! How great! [and she glares at me hahha. Also, chicken is best roasted, and I presume it is the same with missionaries. It brings out the juciness and softens up the tough spots.
The temple sounds hectic, but wonderful as usual. Even though I’ve only been here a short time, I’m already so grateful to have grown up and lived in the same city as a temple. (And for that matter, the same country as a temple). I always knew I was blessed in this aspect, but I never truly realized how blessed I was until I saw the joy and pride in the faces of these beautiful Catrachans as they told me, tears streaming down their faces, [WE have a temple. HERE in Honduras. We FINALLY have a house of the Lord in OUR country. It’s a beautiful thing to see, and it makes me realize how precious temples really are. I think I felt it before. In fact, I know I felt it before. But now that I don’t have access to a temple, now that I can’t look across the valley and see one every day, I feel the difference. Temples are so very very precious, and it makes me sad to think that right now there are temples standing empty because people are [too busy[ to go to the temple. I know that’s not a problem at the SLC temple, but it’s just sad to think that not everyone treasures the temple as much as those who have gone without. Even the nonmembers here are so proud of it. They say, ‘have you seen the Mormon temple! It’s beautiful.’
The VW image sounds funny. My comp was telling me that she got caught in one storm were the water came up above her waist. haha. I’m looking forward to that. But the water absolutely destroys shoes here, so most of the sisters wear plastic shoes the entire rainy season. Taht should be fun. Oh, side note for all... the turtle I saw swimming away in the gutter was not, in fact, a turtle. It was a Sambunango, which is like a turtle, but terrifying. Here’s why. Sambunangos have horns, teeth, and tempers. Also, they’re very fast. And they attack. And the grow to be the size of large dogs. Glad I avoided that one. hahaha. Also, fun fact... the Catrachan word for turtle is not Tortuga, but Hicotea. Fun, eh?
Obedience is just about my greatest desire in the mish. haha You’re right about things going fast. Someone asked me the other day how long I’ve been on a mish and I realized that it will be 3 months in a week or so. Feels like 3 days. A sister in my zone had to go home because she was having some eye trouble, and all she could say was [be sure to enjoy it... 9 months in and I still feel like it’s my first week]. I’m starting to see why people say the mission flies by.
That’s frustrating for Mary and Steve, but eventually they’ll find the perfect place at the perfect time. Tell them I say hola if you talk to them. Also tell Ellie hola and give her a little snuggle for me. The dogs here aren’t exactly snuggable as they have fleas, ticks, worms, diseases, and very sharp slobbery teeth. haha
Thanks for the scripture. I love that. It seems so often that the only problem with religion is the people. I was guarding the door for the primary children on Sunday (you know, making sure no one escaped) and I was thinking, if only every member of the church had as much excitement for the gospel and the church itself, we would rarely lose members and we would always have investigators. We would have strong and active members of the church. God is always there, but we let silly things like sleeping in, doing hair, making breakfast, washing clothes, or embarrassment get in the way of coming unto Christ (these are all excuses my investigators used to get out of coming to church this week hahahha). If only we were all like Primary children, unquestioningly devoted to the Lord and His work.
Anyway, I hope all is well with you and that you’re finding sunshine in those gloomy winter days. Thanks for everything. Love you lots!

You’ll be happy to hear that Big Bang Theory exists is Spanish. I only know this because I was eating meat and bananas at a meat and tajadas (fried green banana slices) restaurant and as I turned my head to look at the meat and bananas, I saw Sheldon Cooper dressed in a dress saying something in very rapid Spanish. I had to force myself to turn around, because everyone knows that Sheldon is irresistable, but I was still happy to know that sometimes humor does translate. My companion is a very good person, and we get along very well. We’re a good pair, and I think with time we will be a force to be reckoned with. Scratch that, we’re already a force to be reckoned with, but I think we’ll become something even greater.
Welp. You stole my thunder. haha DRUM ROLLLLLLL PLEASE! This lunes we had a mandatory mission meeting where we heard that our mission is being split in two! I left on one mission and will come back from another. There’s no way of knowing which one I’ll be in, but I’ll go wherever the Lord needs me, Korea and all. haha The only thing that makes me sad about that is that the 250 plus missionaries we have now will simply be split in two and divided between the missions, which means I may not be in the same mission as some of my dear friends anymore (as of June 1). But the great thing about being Mormon is knowing that even if I never see them again in this life, we have an eternity to catch up with each other. Hermana Carpenter and I are in the same Zone right now, meaning we see each other at least once a week, and it would be really hard to be split, but we’re both in this 100 percent and we’re willing to do whatever’s gotta be done. Also, this week we got 1 new zone and like 9 new districts. Our goal in my area is to split my stake. Our goal in my mission is to get a temple in San Pedro Sula. 3 Years. Mark my words. We know one of the new mission presidents. I don’t remember his name, but he’s from Highland Utah. The other has yet to be called. Haha. Pobresito.
Salt Lake sounds fun. It’s never good to feel sick, but I’m glad you had fun. The stake conference sounds wicked awesome. That reminds me, Elder Baldwin from our stake is in my mission. I saw him at the meeting on Wednesday (I think I said it was on Monday before... it was Wednesday) and was like [you look veeeery familiar[ and he was like [don’t you remember me_ We had so many youth conferences together.[ Taht was cool. It was fun catching up and talking to someone in English. Also someone from home. I also ran into an Elder who graduated from BHS the year after me. Turns out we know all the same people and probably knew each other. hha Small world.
I’m glad G and G are doing well. I think about them a lot and hope that everything is going great for them. I’m glad you get to hear from Greg. I bet he’s changing a lot over there in Moscow, and I bet he’s changing a lot of people too. Que Macizo.
Thank YOU for all you love and support and testimony and all that. You’ve always been a great example to me and I’m grateful to have been lucky enough to have you and mumsie as my parents. I really am so blesse.d Thanks for everything. Love you oodly doodlies!

The washing is pretty rockin. My clothes are so much cleaner, but they’re also more scraggly haha. I enjoy it though. Very mellow. The only bad thing is that there are parasity wormy leechy things in the water trough, so you gotta make sure they don’t eat you or get on your clothes. It’s not been a problem yet. Oh, that reminds me, last week dad said something about watching out for leeches and ticks and stuff when I’m wading in rivers. I meant to tell you all, there are these creeeeeeeepy leechy slug dinosaur things that live in humid places (aka my bathroom) and they just slug along the wall all creepy like until they suction to the wall, fossilize and die. At least I think they die... they tend to disappear after a week or so, and no one really knows where they go. hahaha. Also, we have ticks in the shrubbery in our front yard, so I’m watching out for that. But good news. Remember how I told you we have papaya trees_ We also have baby alien trees (I’m not sure what they really are, but the fruit looks like alien babies and my compa says it’s for medicine... haha) and a MANGO tree! We chuck rocks at the mangos in the hopes that we can get one down cause we’re not allowed to climb trees and all that.
That reminds me, we had a bit of a horrible incident with a cat this week. I told you we got a bravo new dog. He’s gentle with us, but fierce with anything that doesn’t have a skirt and nametag. Anyway, we came home to find he had killed a cat and left it in our front yard. frowny face. I wanted to bury it, but we didn’t have a shovel or any other place to put it, and with the humidity and heat here, dead things tend to swell and [pop[, so we had to just throw it away. It was horrible. And even worse, the garbage pickup is a little sketch here, so it sat in the trash for like 4 days and smelled sooooo bad. Sadly there’s a bus stop in front of our house, so all those lovely poeple had to smell the dead cat as they waited for a ride. Ugh. I felt so bad, but there was nothing else we could do.
I’m hoping we reach our 80, but we’ve been having a bit of trouble with our investigators, so we’ll have to see. Right now we have over 40 investigators (my area is HUGE), but we’re not getting very good responses from them, so we’re working even harder than ever. I went on my first splits this Saturday, which was fun but terrifying. I got laughed at a lot, which is unusual of the Honduran people, but I was able to give 10 brief lessons and church invites in 3 hours. That’s a power session for you. My comp gave 6, so we had a solid 16 lessons in 3 hours. Pretty rocking.
Before I forget,  tell Brian happy birthday and to listen to the song when I’m 64, because it’s been in my head all week b-c I keep looking at the calendar LaDee sent me and I keep seeing [Brian, 64!] haha
Your masking tape art sounds cool. I’ll have to try that someday. I really like high contrast pictures, so that will be fun to see.
You know, you’ñre right about missionaries seeing things differently once they’re in the field. I’ve changed so much already, and I’ve only been here 3 weeks. It’s amazing. I still don’t like killing buggypoos, although sometimes it’s you or them. I still like animals, but I don’t go over them here like I usually do, cause most of them have diseases, although the other day I held a rat and that was fun... til it peed on me haha. She reminded me of Miss Brisbee. It was at the home of a less active member, and the rats don’t have a cage, they just run around and hide in the couches. There’s 2, but I can’t remember their names. They’re funny, though. You’ll just be sitting there and suddenly there’s a little nose tickling your ear or a little body sitting in your lap or little feet scampering up your arm. haha. Theyr’e nice and disease free. But back from my tangent. I think the thing that has changed the most in me is my appreciation for the USA. We take so many things for granted (for example potable water) and never even think twice about it. I love Honduras, but I can’t deny that I definitely appreciate the US a little more now taht I’ve left it.
The Scholarly symposium talks are great. I always did like reading those. Nothing quite like reading a little bit of heaven.

Ok, two things. First, please tell Ari that we can only send out letters every once in a while, so I’ll be sending hers tomorrow and I’m sorry it’s been so long. Same for Tyler. Also, please ask Jordan if he ever got my last letter.

Second. Every time I come home and see our three woof woofs, I think of Lauren, because the phrase, ‘snoozy woozy’ comes to mind. That’s all they do all day. Snoozy woozy and bark at strangers. haha.

Finally, I want to tell you about one investigator. I only have a moment left, so it will be brief. If any of you have seen the movie what dreams may come, this woman reminds me a bit of the wife when she is in the lowest level of Hell. I don’t mean that to be rude or disparagingñ I absoluetly love her, but just picture that dark and gloomy home with a woman inside who’s eyes are so deep with sorrow you could almost fall in and drown. This is my investigator, Hna. Yaloo. When I first met her, she asked us why people who do what’s wrong get all the good things in life an dthose who do whats right often have trials. It’s a very common question from investigators and from humans in general. We’ve taught her and she’s resisted. We’ve invited her and she’s denied us. We’ve greeted her and she’s hidden in her hammock. But the other day when we went on splits, I walked into her house, she hugged me, kissed my cheek, and smiled the first genuine smile I’ve ever seen from her. It turns out her eyes crinkle and her nose scrunches up when she’s really smiling. It’s the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen, and it’s beautiful because I know what that smile means. Taht smile means that even though she’s rejected us a thousand times, and even though she’ll reject us a thousand more, we’ve reached her. We’ve given her hope and a tiny speck of brightness in her life. That’s all I can ask for.

All my best to all of you. Que les vaya bien. Les quiero muchisimo!
Hna Bayles, she who will never give up on anyone.

p.s. I gave my first talk in church on sunday... apparently I said really great stuff. I wouldn’t know. I just openend my mouth and the Sppirit did the rest. hhaaCheers for the gift of tongues. It’s real!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Feb 18, 2013

Things here are definitely different than back home. There´s trash everywhere, but it´s all good. The church is surrounded by 10 or 15 foot metal gates with barbed wire on top, but boy is it beautiful. The dogs belong to the people who own the house. We live in the house behind the main house.It´s kind of like a pool house? I think . Anyway, the owners are living in the US right now, but they´ll be back at the end of this month. We got another dog this week for added protection. hahaa He´s supposed to be un perro bravo, but he cries more than a 5 year old girl and he´s afraid of the rain. hahahahahaha. He is scary looking though. We have a small fridge and a double hot plate. Thus is the life. BTW if you could send a few simple recipes that I can make on a hot plate, that would be awesome. We don´t boil our water before we use it because we can´t use the water. We have to buy it. the only thing the faucet water is good for is bathroom stuff. Other than that, you don´t use it much. I´m required to teach my compa English, so that´s on the up and up, but we´re struggling to understand each other.haha we really like each other, though and we keep each other laughing. we found 21 new investigators this week and invited 3 to be baptized. They accepted, but none of them came to church, so we´re going to have to have stern words with them. My ward has a ward goal of baptizing 8 people a month,and they got 7 last  month, but with the excitement for the temple, they´ve been a little distracted from missionary work. However, we´re working on that. My zone was the celestial zone last month, meaning that we got the most baptisms of all, and this month we hope to do even better. We´ve set a goal as a zone that will make history if we achieve. The most baptisms ever in one month was 76 and that was a long time ago. For the month of March, my zone has a goal of baptizing 80 people with 10 families. We´re hoping that if we achieve this, maybe President will let our zone go to the temple, but it´s a long shot. We´re hoping for it,though. ç
As far as my feet go, you can almost see my ankle bone again, so things are looking up. Sometimes  I worry that maybe I have elephantitis, but then I remember I´m no elephant, just a missionary. Cheers for that.
The spirit has been a big help this week, but sadly he´s been telling my comp and I slightly different things, so we´re going to work on that haha. I feel like we might be breaking a lot of rules, but she always tells me, no this is how we do it here, and I´m never sure if by we she means she or the mission president. I´m hoping to clear a few things up soon. My pres in the MTC always said obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles. I definitely believe that,and I´m not looking for blessings; my blessing is being on a mission. I´m looking for miracles,and I intend to see them. We´re a good companionship, and we´re doing good work, but I feel like we could be a better companionship and  do better work. ;) Welcome to the American Dream Latin style. hahha The Latinos are awesome, and they´re very powerful missionaries, but they tend to be more lax withthe rules and more relaxed in their efforts. I´m hoping to change that upa bit.
I´m definitely glad for the internet. I don´t think libraries exist here, but it´s not too bad paying for internet. Did I ever tell you about the money here? They´re called lempiras, and 20 lempiras equals 1 dollar. Cheers. haha
When I say beating our laundry on a rock, we actually have a very nice cement basin thing (as seen in pictures). I was under the impression it would be more rock y as we helped a sister do her laundry last week and it was literally beating stuff on a rock. Our is more like beating it on cement. I´ll tell you what, it´s hard work. haha I love it. The frogs sit and croak at me as they stare at me with their huge googly eyes and I try not to make eye contact because my comp and I have a theory that they´re out to get us. Every night when we cross over rivers, we joke that they´re saying  ATACAMOS LAS HERMANAS! It´s pretty much true.
Did I mention that Honduras has lots of lightning bugs? It does. I´ve never seen them before, and now they´re everywhere, even in my front yard. They´re one of my favorite things, because they don´t bite, they don´t ooze, they don´t slime, they don´t carry disease, and they don´t attack. They´re just nice. :) They make me smile every night.
I´m glad to hear you´ve been having sunny days. I always forget how saddening overcast skies are. It´s my least favorite part of winter in Utah, and the sun is one of my favorite things about Honduras. People always complain about the sun here, but I love it.

Recognizing the spirit is one of my favorite topics in the gospel, and a very important one, too. In fact, there´s a whole chapter in Preach my Gospel about it. So good.

OK, the rest of this is going to have to be fairly fast, cause I´m almost out of time. I had to email my pres in the middle, so i´ve got only a few minutes left. Things of note: I held a white rat (like Mrs Brisbee) this week and it peed on me. Totally saw that coming. I saw more green birds. I went to the beach. I saw my first banana spider. Lauren, close your eyes for the next few sentences. It was bigger than my whole hand, and it´s legs were about as thick as a pencil or maybe a sharpie. You know, the kind of creepy hairy legs that you can just picture snatching you in a scary movie. ewwww. I´m pretty sure they´re indestructible, but that´s just a theory. See, if you step on them, it would be like stepping on a lizard or frog (which is a definite possibility here); they don´t squash, you just break their bones. Or in this case, exoskeleton. It was so huge and so gross. It was awesome. I couldn´t stop looking, but then we had to run away because it was going to eat us. There are lizards everywhere. Also frogs. Also vultures. Who knew? They just roam the street, waiting for the scroungy dogs to drop dead so they can eat them. I wouldn´t put it past my ability to imagine. I made tortillas by hand this week for Hna. Yolanda. She was making Baleadas, the Honduran special. As it turns out, I´m not very good at making tortillas. You could see her daughter through the holes in my tortillas, and they looked strangely like George Washington´s head. Or maybe a Jellyfish. Needless to say, I need more practice. She just laughed and laughed and laughed. She loves laughing at me. Every time I speak, look at her, walk in her house, make tortillas, or talk to her children. hhhaa She loves it. I get laughed at and looked at a lot here, but I´m freakishly tall in the US, which makes me like Godzilla here. Add to that the fact that I´m like a walking disco ball because of my whiteness and you´ve got a side show at the circus. hahaha. ON the plus side, people talk to us just so they can stare at me. Sadly, most people think I´m some sort of goddess and that I´m the most beautiful (and huge) creature they´ve ever seen. I say sadly because it´s only because I´m white, not because of who I am or how I actually look. hahaha. But all the time they say oh look how white she is. yup. hadn´t noticed. Thanks for pointing it out. hahaha Muy Chistoso. Ummmmm This week the rain started. Apparently the streets flood up to our waists. I haven´t seen it yet, but it got up to mid shin on me, which is like knee for Catrachas. When it rains, the streets flood and turtles go swimming down the side of the road. hahahaha. How awesome, right? We were so soaked. My companion was like this is the worst ever! and I was just laughing and laughing. Sister Hinckley once siad something to the effect of I can either laugh about it or cry about it, and crying gives me a headache. I do a lot of laughing here. hahahah. Even with my rain jacket and an umbrella, I was still so soaked, but at least it wasn´t so hot. That´s not normal, but it was nice. :) Also, we were crossing the street, and we decided to sprint in front of a semi to avoid getting splashed, but when I stepped off the median, I hit mud and went flat out in the road. My companion was like AAAAAAAUGH but I just jumped up and sprinted faster. She forgets that I´m tall and have long legs, so I can run faster than she thinks. hahaha We made it just before the semi zoomed past. She was freaking out, but I just laughed and laughed and laughed. I was so muddy and wet. HAHAHAHAHA. Also, we would try to talk to people, but the rain was so loud that we were standing there, the only two people in the street, screaming at some lady who was sitting warm a dn cozy in her house. She invited us back for when it wasn´t rainig. Then she laughed really hard. hahaha. Houses are either cement or wood and usually have corrugated tin roofs. Sometimes they have a layer of plaster underneath. The windows all have metal bars made into scrolly designs over them. The windows themselves are slats that rotate up when they´re closed so they lay flat, but can open horizontally when they´re open.
Oh, you don´t knock doors here. You don´t snap doors here. You don´t clap doors here. You stand at the gate and shout BUENAS as loud as you can. Then someone comes and lets you in, but when you step on their property, you have to say permisso. And you say it again when you enter their house, aagian when you see other people int e house, and again when you sit down. They´ll respond with propio or pasen.
When the bus wants to know if you want to get on, it honks at you as you´re waiting. If you don´t want to get on, you shake your head no or, my favorite, you hold up one finger and waggle it back and forth with a stern look on your face. It reminds me of moms grandpa Andrew story and makes me laugh every time. hahahaha.
For Greg, you know how there´s the district 1 and 2? I´m going to be in the district 3 (Spanish). I don´t think it´s official, but it´s something we´re doing as a mission, and my zone has been chosen to be the missionaries in the videos, which means we lug cameras around to every lesson and video tape it.
I´ve really gotta go now, but know the church is true, and that no matter how hard things get, the answer is always to go closer to the church. God loves His children, and sends them miracles every day. Open your eyes and see what the Lord has done for you today. You´ll be amazed at what you see. ç
Love you all tons and tons. Hopefully I´ll be able to send more investigator stories next week. I know I said that last week, but I´m for real this time. One quick one before I go. We were teaching two delightful Abuelos. They said they´d been married for 33 years, but we always have to play games to figure out if they mean married or living together, so we were like, oh, do you have pictures of your wedding? They were like, no we´re not married legally. Then we asked them why and the wife was like well I want to get married, but he doesn´t. Ask him why. So we did. He was like, whenever my friends get married, things fall apart, and I want to stay with her forever. Then he said. Ask her why she won´t marry me. So we did. And she said she wouldn´t marry him because he didn´t want to marry her. hahahahaha Crazies. They´re gonna get sealed int he temple some day, mark my word. We´ve only met them once, but it´s gonna happen, and I´m so excited for them.
Lovesies lovesies lovesies.
Hna Bayles