Monday, February 24, 2014

{Week 11} Aculco - February 24, 2014

Hola mi familia!!

I have loved this past week. Hna Aguilar is wonderful! I've learned so much from her, and she helps me a lot. She finishes her mission on March 4, and then heads home! She is 23 and from El Salvador, and loves pink things... She's really spunky and sweet. I love her and am glad I get to be with her for 2 weeks.
Hermana Aguilar and I
But in other news... on Friday we went to the doc for a checkup for Hna G, but first we stopped at the mission office so she could talk to Pres Morales. When she came out, she was crying and told us that she was headed home to Chile the next Wednesday (26th). The decision had come from Salt Lake that because her condition was serious, they were sending her home. She was sad, but at the same time feels peace. I think we all know it's for the best. D&C 126 was a big comfort for her...
Our hospital room the day we left, so she looked tons better!
I'm sad that both my awesome comps will be gone in a week!! And I really want to know what will happen to me, and who my next comp will be. I love Hna G and A, but it's also been a little difficult, because they both want to say goodbye to all their old member friends. Pretty much all Sunday was spent eating and visiting with their friends, and while it was fun, it was not productive. And then today, P-day, Hna G had another checkup at the doctors. Hna A opted for splits so she didn't have to spend her last P-day traveling across the city, so Hna G and I set out. She didn't know where she was going so I navigated (I now know the metro really well, certain buses, and downtown where the hospital is, not to mention I know my area almost perfectly!! I can navigate my way around one of the biggest cities in the world!). It was fun... not really. I haven't actually really had a P-day yet, because we go to the doctor's every P-day, and that's 1.5 hours each way, and then 1 or 2 hours in the doctor's office. It kind of stinks... especially because each P-day the district or zone gets together and has a lesson then an activity, like basketball or soccer, and people wear JEANS. We usually have time to go to the lesson, but always have to leave before the activity. I really want to play a sport and wear jeans!! But esta bien... next Monday.

My trio!!

On Saturday, we went to our last cita, and no one answered!! But we knew that some of the family lived on the 3rd floor, so we thought we'd go up there and see if we could find them. We got up there, and found the entire family and a bunch of other people having a fiesta!! They ushered us into the room, sat us in the middle, gave us a whole bunch of food, and continued the party!

Hna Aguilar and I at the fiesta.
There was mariachi music and dancing, and absolutely everyone can jive really well. It was really tempting to join them... Then they brought out the cake, and it was then we realized the whole party was a kid's 5 year old birthday party! It was hilarious!! But a lot of fun!

The birthday cake at the fiesta.
Then when we got home, we realized our neighbours had decided to have a fiesta too...until 4 in the morning they were blaring music. And the funny thing here is that a lot of people play American music, and sing along knowing all the words, but no idea what they mean. It's kind of hilarious. Gangnum style was a favorite for the fiesta next door. They probably played it 10 times. Needless to say, we were pretty tired the next morning due to lack of sleep.

Spanish is hard. I still have trouble understanding, but I do understand a lot more. It's even more difficult to speak!! But I'll get there... eventually...

Our capilla (chapel) and the RS pres daughter, the security guard (because there's a
fence around everything here and a guard at all the chapels), and my comps.

My awesome comps!
Mom you keep asking and I keep forgetting to answer, but we write in an Internet cafe down the street. And the keyboard is Spanish, so similar but a few small differences that make it tricky to type, so if there are mistakes, that's why! Plus I'm in a rush, plus the computer is in Spanish so every word I write in English has that little red line under that means it's spelt wrong because these words don't exist in Spanish.

All three of us sleep in the same apartment - bunk beds!! I get the top... yay. Now I'm closer to the spiders. I cleaned out all the cobwebs I could reach but... The hardest part is the morning, because our shower has only 10-ish minutes of hot water, so we all have to go super fast or the last person gets a cold shower. And right now it's still a little chilly in the morning, so a cold shower isn't great!

Our newly arranged house. Hna A has a TON of stuff...
I love it here. And I'm learning tons. I hope you all have fun in the cold in Canada! I love telling people how cold it is there and about the snow.

I love you all!! Be good, say your prayers, and have a lovely evening.

-Hermana Taylor

A whole bunch of us at a members house for supper -
Left to right - Dana (members daughter), Hna J (Dana's mom) Hna G, Hna Bennett from the MTC, me.
 Front: Hna Mercedes from the Dominican Republic, Hna A, and Hna J's sister (don't remember her name).
This is Hna J's house, and is where I slept all day that one day...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

{Week 10} Aculco - February 17, 2014

Hi Family.

This week has been really hard. Hna G and I got out of the hospital at 6, and got home at 7 pm. It was a crazy day, and we're exhausted!

On Monday night when I went back to the hospital, she looked a lot better. she was up and dressed and I was thinking we might get to leave earlier than a week. But then Tuesday night around 6, she told me her pulse was low, so I went and took it. It was at 35... it's supposed to be 70ish. We called a nurse who took her pulse, then brought in another nurse who also took her pulse, and then the two of them brought in a third nurse who also took it. They all looked at each other for a moment, then got to work. Her IV dosage - which was really low at the time - was increased dramatically as they pumped stuff into her, they did some electro analysis thingy that I couldn't understand the Spanish word for that involved a lot of wires and things hooked up to her, and they gave her a bunch more medicine. We suddenly had doctors and nurses pouring in and out of our room. Around 9 they gave her some more medicine, but it caused her to have major pain in her head. She was crying and screaming because of the pain for about an hour, and all I could do was kneel beside her and hold her hand. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I don't think I've cried that much or prayed that hard in a while... which is saying a lot because we're constantly praying here. They gave her something for the pain, but it took a little while for it to take effect. Basically I kneeled beside her bed till around midnight, then dozed a little in the hard chair by her bed for the rest of the night. We constantly had people coming in and turning on the light, so it was really hard to sleep, and I was so worried about her. They hooked her up to one of those machines that tells your pulse and blood pressure and respiration and that was beeping all night because her pulse was so low. It was one of the most difficult nights of my life.

The next morning, I didn't want to leave, but by order of Pres. Morales, we switched again, and I was taken to a members house where they let me sleep practically all day. It was wonderful, and helped to refresh me both physically and spiritually. Then the next day I worked with Hna Aguilar and Hna Bennett in there area. It was difficult to be in a trio... but it was nice to do missionary work again! The next morning, we went to a wedding! They had a baptism on Sunday, but first their investigator, Miguel, had to marry his wife, Gabriela. They're a really sweet couple and she is 5 months pregnant and is less active they have a 1 and a 1/2 year old named Abril (April in Spanish, pronounced Avreel) who is the cutest thing you'll ever see. I'm convinced that the children here are the cutest in the world. But anyway, we took them to the courthouse where they got married. It was really different, but really sweet because Miguel cried through the whole thing. He is a really humble guy, and they're a great family. They're super poor, and it costs a lot to get married here, so the missionaries paid for it. And then he got baptized on Sunday, but I was back in the hospital so I didn't see it. After the wedding, we went back to the hospital and switched again, and this time Hna Aguilar stayed there and Hna Mercedes came with Hna Bennett and me. We worked all Friday and Saturday, and then Sunday morning before church we switched again and I was back in the hospital. And Hna G was so much better! Her pulse was back up, and she was had a lot more energy, and she was no longer connected to an IV!!!!

Then today, Monday, we were supposed to leave the hospital around 11:00, but due to some miscommunication and confusion with the insurance company, they didn't let us leave until 4:30. Our wonderful landlady, Hna San was there at 11:00 to drive us home, and stuck around till they let us go. But when she left to get her car to come pick us up, it had been impounded or something due to a parking infraction, so she had to pay to retrieve it and the whole thing took forever, so basically Hna G sat in a wheelchair and I stood in the lobby until 6ish when she came and got us. Then it took an hour to drive home! None of us had eaten since breakfast, and were all super starving, so as soon as we got back she made us food.

Hna G has to stay in the casa for one week by doctor's orders, so Hna Aguilar is being switched to our area for the next two weeks, and will be working in our area with me while Hna G rests. Hna A has been here for 17months and 2weeks, so basically her last two weeks in the mission will be with me. And she's nice... but it'll be interesting! I'll let you know how it goes. She arrives in the morning.

The past 11 days (and the next 2 weeks!) have been a huge exercise in both patience and faith for me. My lack of Spanish is really starting to frustrate me, and I've been trying really hard to have faith that this is what's supposed to happen. I've been studying faith a lot recently in my personal study, and I highly recommend Ether 12 to anyone who wants to read it. It's been difficult and I've cried a lot or been close to tears a lot this last week. Hna Mercedes and Aguilar were both really nice, but kind of condescending, and kept butting in when I was trying to teach my part of the lesson - probably because it was taking me forever with my lack of Spanish. But they said really good things both times. Maybe the Spirit was directing them... I don't know. It's been hard. I feel like it's the first couple days all over again. But I'm praying a lot and I believe it will all work out. ''I give unto men weaknesses that they may be made strong''. I believe that's true, and I'm trying really hard to live according to it.

Story time!! One day for lunch the lady fed us fish! as in she plopped an entire fried fish in front of me! head and all!! And boy was it good!
And in the hospital, there was this one doctor who every time he came in he asked us a different question about the gospel. He was super catholic and was just curious, but his questions were interesting! for example, ''can a Mormon and a catholic get married?'' I was like ''uh... yeah... not in the temple but they can get married....'' He was shocked that it was possible. I'm not sure why... He also told us he didn't like tithing, and then launched into a huge explanation why that had something to do with China... I didn't understand. Hna G explained a bit though.
And my area must be really tame or something, or maybe it's just cuz it was Valentine's day, but I got whistled at a lot in the other Hna's area! And several guys offered me chocolate! I didn't take it though... it was kind of sketchy.

All in all it's been a crazy week. And it will be interesting to just be with Hna A. Hna Bennett has been a huge help this last week. I was so happy I got to be with her for awhile.
I love the mission. It's stinking hard.
Be good, say your prayers, and have fun in Hawaii mom and dad!!
Love you all,
Hermana Taylor
The mission conference on Saturday that I wasn't at! :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

{Week 9} Aculco - February 10, 2014

Hola Familia!!!!!
My area is called ---, and my ward is ---.  I live on a tiny street that I don't know the name of, but the main street it's right beside is ---. --- is another major street in my area. I go to --- a lot because that's where my stake building is and we meet our zone and district there. I'm about an hour by metro away from an area that is actually like city... sky scrapers and all that, but my area is pretty much all residential. I have our area pretty much memorized, which is good because my comp is always lost! Good thing we have maps! And most areas are a lot of regular block streets, but our area is filled with alleys and apartment buildings, and plazas. Lots of winding streets!!
(Note:  for missionary and investigator safety, I'll not be posting any locations besides the mission home address on the blog.  I won't post full names either.  Let me know if you want to know what goes in the blanks!!!)

As for Spanish... yeah. I can mostly understand what people are saying regarding churchy stuff, as in I can pick out enough to understand what they're talking about, but anything else I'm lost. My comp and I speak a mixture of Spanglish, but mostly Spanish, so I can understand her pretty well, but when necessary I just hand her my dictionary and she helps me out. It's fun though! I learn more everyday and people say I'm learning fast... It feels like forever to me, but whatever!

My companion has been getting worse. I'm worried about her. On Wednesday she woke up with an upset stomach, and had diarrhea and was vomiting all day. As a result, her body didn't absorb any of the hormone supplements she takes, she had really low blood pressure, was dizzy all the time, and basically just wasn't well. We taught in the morning, but then spent the afternoon at a medical clinic. To pass time we contacted everyone in the clinic. No one was interested, but a few were bored enough they were reading the pamphlets! The next day, Thursday, was weekly planning in the stake center with the district, so we went there in the morning, got back to our area in time to eat, then went and taught a contact we had met on the street. His name is Marcelo and I love him! He's 71 and is one of the sweetest old men. Anyway, my comp taught really well despite her pain. Immediately after, we returned to the medical clinic, then went home a couple hours early. She went to sleep and I studied. The next morning, she was doing really bad. We had to call the doctor, but didn't have any more money on our cell, so I helped her to cross a super busy street to a store where you can buy more minutes. She was literally leaning on me (side note - I was whistled at 3 times and smooched at while we waited to cross the street). There are two doctors. One is the church's general practitioner, and one is a hormone specialist. The specialist said to come to the hospital, but we had to wait for permission from the other doctor and then Pres Morales. While we waited, Hermana Sam, our landlady, and her friend were kind enough to drive us to the pharmacy for some medicine that was supposed to help, and along the way we taught the first lesson to her friend and she agreed to come to church Sunday!! On the way we got permission to go to the hospital, so Hna Sam drove us there, but first we stopped at the house to get clothes to last us for the day or two we'd be there. Then we went to the hospital!! Hna G was admitted, I signed a whole bunch of papers as her 'familiar responsible', and they showed us to a room and plugged an IV in her!! Then they told us she'd be there for a week!!!!!!! So from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening, I sat in the hospital room with her. The first night I wouldn't leave her - because we're not supposed to leave our comps! so I only ate breakfast on Friday and she gave me a piece of bread from her supper. I wouldn't take more because she's sick and needed the food! The next morning I was starving though, so she taught me how to say 'where is the cafeteria' and 'where is room 607' - pretty easy but we practiced any way. Then I ran off to get food!! We expected me to be gone for about 10 min, but the cafeteria wouldn't let me take food back, so I ate there as fast as I could and then ran back. It had been about 30 min, and she was kind of freaking out. It was an adventure!! This is Saturday morning - the morning of the mission conference with a general authority that Hna G's choir has been practicing for. She was so sad she had to miss that. And we heard a rumor that the general authority was going to be Elder Oaks, so we were both really sad to miss that!! But then at 2, Pres Morales, Sis Morales and the Assistants came to the hospital, and we found out it was Elder Christianson of the 70, not Elder Oaks, so we were still sad we missed it but not as sad... and they showed us a recording of the choir - they were a bit off tune but it was pretty!! The EFY medley. They needed Hna G because she's a super strong soprano and has a great voice. Then Pres Morales gave me 500 pesos and sent me and sister Morales off to eat. That was actually the first question he asked when they got there ' Sister Taylor. Have you eaten?' He's great. He's really good about making sure we're ok, and speaks a little English - enough so that we can communicate. I got to chat with Hna Morales during our meal. She's really nice too. I love them both! Then they gave Hna G a blessing and left! Hermana G and I basically just studied and chatted and sang and slept in the hospital. And the mish pres gave me permission to leave the room to get food. But that night when I headed to the cafeteria, it was closed!! I guess I waited to long. And the next morning was Sunday, and we were told I'd leave with other sisters at 1:00 while a different sister took a turn with Hna G, so I didn't buy breakfast, figuring I could wait...They didn't get there till 6:00, so I was kind of starving! Hna Mercedez stayed with Hna G, while I left with Hermana Aguilara and Hermana Bennett!! Hermana Bennett is in a trio. We went to their area, where we ate tortillas with a member, then spent the night. And now it's PDay!! I spent the morning helping them wash their clothes and clean their house, then we finally went to my house to get clean clothes!!!! I needed them badly.... But we accidentally locked ourselves on the roof and had to hang out for 30 minutes until the landlady came home. And now we're writing! This evening I'll go back to the hospital, but this time I'm prepared with clean clothes! and I have extras for Hna G too. They had a really uncomfortable couch in her room that I was sleeping on - the first night I only had sweaters for blanket and pillow, but the second night they brought me bedding!! Yay!!

It's been a crazy week. We have 3 new investigators, but found out that none of them went to church on Sunday :( Hna G and I had some nice comp bonding time as she cried. She hates being unwell and really wants to be out doing the mission work. The rumor is that if she doesn't improve she'll be sent home. I think she probably will be headed home soon. I'm super sad about this, because I love her so much, but I have faith that everything happens for a reason, and it'll all be all right in the end. 'Have faith in good things to come' - Jeffery R. Holland. I love the mission. It's been a difficult week, and it's so hard to not be there to help our investigators, but I know we were companions for a reason. I love it here. The people are amazing and I've learned a lot. It's hard but it's good.

The kitchen looks great! And I got your letters that you sent on the 20th. And thank the Gates, the Quists, and G&G for the cards. I loved them all!!
The church is true!! I'm where I'm supposed to be.
I love you all! Be good, say your prayers, and have fun in Hawaii!!
-Hermana Taylor

Monday, February 3, 2014

{Week 8} Aculco - February 3, 2014

Hi Family! I have no idea if we're allowed to talk to each other through email, but honestly I'd rather not because I have to type super fast to get down all I want to say!

My companion - Hermana Gutierrez (goo-tea-airrrr-ez) from Chile.

Ana is great!! She's golden!! Her friend has been busy with work so we haven't gotten to meet with him again, but Ana is amazing. Our second lesson we took her to the chapel, and gave her a tour. We taught about the name of the church by that big sign in the front, then the sacrament by the sacrament table, then keeping the sabbath day holy in the chapel, then we tried to go to the baptismal font but our keys wouldn't work, so we went back to the chapel, and here we taught about the Holy Ghost and invited her to be baptized on the 23 of Feb. We had prayed earlier in the day and Hermana Gutierrez  and I both felt that was the day for Ana. When we asked her, so got a little apprehensive. We could tell she wanted to, but she's a smoker and does a pack a day. She didn't think she'd be able to quit by then. We promised her that God loved her and would help and she agreed, then we all knelt in the chapel and she offered a prayer. It was an amazing experience. The spirit was so strong as she pleaded with the Lord for help with her addiction. We were all in tears by the end, and we gave her a huge hug. In the last 5 days, she's only smoked once!! She's amazing. After we taught her about the restoration, we asked her if she would pray, and she said she wouldn't, but didn't need to because 'Yo tengo no dudas' - 'I have no doubts'. She's amazing. On the way to the church she told me that she'd read all of 1st Nefi in the 2 days since we'd met with her, and she'd marked it up too!! She attended church with us for the first time on Sunday. It was testimony meeting so it was just a bunch of testimonies, and she cried through several of them. I love her!!

Church!! Church was fun. When it started, there was maybe 10 people, but by the sacrament everyone else had slowly filtered in. They didn't have anyone who could play the piano, so the chorister sang the first line and then we all sang!! She started us off about 10 octaves too low, and everyone is tone deaf, and half the people are relatively recent converts and don't know the songs... basically it was the most horrible thing I'd ever heard, but also was beautiful because they sang their praise at the top of their lungs!! It was marvellous. Then the chorister forgot the last verse and was halfway down the stairs when she realized we were still singing lol. I loved the testimonies. There was a flood of about 10 kids who all got up and said exactly the same thing, and then a whole bunch of other really good testimonies. There was never a pause until we had 5 min left, then no one got up, and I decided it was my turn. So I bore my testimony! Afterwards people said my Spanish was really good, but testimonies are actually really easy lol.

Now for some interesting encounters!! We were walking down the street, and this guy came up and practically took the pamphlet of the restoration from my hand. He told us he'd lost everything, and needed help and knew we were 'mujers de Dios' -women of God. So we started teaching him! And he committed to baptism right there on the street! But we think he was drunk... he didn't have a phone, and wouldn't tell us his house, so we gave him our number and agreed to meet him at the church the next day... but he didn't show. Sad, but he has our number! Another time we were waiting to cross the street (that takes forever here because cars don't stop) and a kid came up to us asking for 10 pesos. I thought he was handicapped, but then he started snorting some drugs while talking to us! But we had already started contacting him, and then when we crossed the street he followed us, and walked a block with us to our next appointment!! It was a little scary... but he was too high to do anything. We gave him a pamphlet about the Word of Wisdom. Another time, we were walking down one of the tiny alleys at night, and this drunk guy tried to touch my hair as he whispered 'bonita...' but we just quickened our pace and all was well!! And there is this one corner where a couple guys are always drinking, and when we walk past they call out that they want to hear the word!! We gave them a pamphlet but... yeah.

We've had trouble with appointments. Our area is pretty small, and none of our contacts are interested, and we've already visited practically all the members in our area a billion times, and knocked the doors of most of the less actives... the mission standard of excellence is 55 appointments a week, and we're around 30 each time. But we're working hard and keep contacting and asking everyone for references!! But it's hard because my comps health hasn't been great. We go to the doctor in the morning. She has problems with her spine and a constant headache. But she is amazing as she keeps working hard everyday!!

The Panhandlers here are crazy!! They're everywhere, people selling everything imaginable. There is a street market in our area that sells everything from fruit to movies to underwear ... we were surprised when the owner of that stand called us over and turned out to be a member!! She gave us each an orange :) And we were in a taxi parked at one intersection when a guy who had painted himself silver set up a step ladder, climbed to the top and started juggling flaming torches!! It's amazing!!

I love it here. It's crazy, but there is nowhere I'd rather be. It's really hard work, but I know it's worth it!! We're exhausted by the end of every day.
Love you all. Be good, say your prayers, and I'll talk to you Monday!
-Hermana Taylor
PS - Pictures take forever to load, so I'm just going to send as many as I have time to.
Our main room.  My bed is the red one and the tables
are where we do our studying.

Bathroom - our shower is actually really nice and has
about 10 minutes of hot water.

Our laundry room - yes that is a broken window!

The view out our kitchen window.

Me on our roof!

Pres. Morales gave us all a bag.  I love it!
It fits everything perfectly and is really comfy!

Our sketchy stairs down!

Our courtyard.  Every house has a gate in front of it.