WOOHOOOO!!!! I am FINALLY here! No- really- I am!
After I wrote my graphic tale this last monday.... I went to my specialist- for the last time! I had been doing great, it looked great, felt great... and it was time to go. I went straight to my District President- and we made a plane ticket- my 6th or 7th..... haha... but it was FINAL and FOR REAL this time. (Salt Lake joked that they weren´t going to make it until I was physically at the airport that morning to ensure that it would be a done deal. )
I was SO SO SO SO excited. I was already basically packed... not that I had much to pack.... I said my goodbyes (it was definately bitter sweet parting from so many kindred Spirits from all around the world that I can assume I will not see again until the next life)- and I was off!!! When I got to the Dallas airport... wandered around lost for a while... looking for my terminal... and turned a corner- and knew I was at the right place. The waiting area was full of the most beautiful and wonderful El Salvadorian people- and I was ready to get to work! Hahaha.... I was even laughing at myself in the moment... but I laugh especially hard now (Not in embarrassment... but because I was a real life scene out of ¨The Best Two Years¨- just as my family had predicted)... because I was out of control! I sat by everyone... talked to everyone... totally unashamed of my ridiculously pathetic spanish- not caring that I sounded like a delayed five year old.... saying, "It´s my first time to El Salvador! Hi Hi Hi! How are you? Oh, WHY am I going? Let me tell YOU!!"- I was rejected many a time... but I did end up with 4 contacts and many new friends by the end. :)
I arrived in the airport... just totally on cloud nine- SO happy after 7 weeks of trying to leave the states..... to be finally right where the Lord has called me. It was so fantastic to be wandering around... moderately lost... unable to speak the language I was swimming (actually.. drowning is a more accurate term) in... in a 3rd world foriegn country... trying to find my bags... and having a completely euphorical, celestial, and blissful experience in my head!! So... I´m waiting for my lugage... waiting... waiting some more... about 20 minutes go by... everyone else from my flight is gone... and I have memorized every physical characteristic of the 2 bags left on the belt...-that are assuredly not mine. Yet... no one spoke english... and I no spanish... but... nonetheless! No worries! I am here- that´s all that mattered! I seriously did not care about my bag... haha.. but I assumed I would later. So... I started asking where it was... saying I couldn´t find it, asking for help... all in my silly spanish. They took my information and the President´s number and said they´d find it later. So... I walked (more like floated...) out and found the President´s assistants waiting for me.
We went straight to a stake center where they were having a big fireside with the area general authority Elder Martino. I was in HEAVEN. Afterwards... people were so kind and excited to meet me... and even their laughter at my spanish was sweet and understanding! :) I finally met President Lopez and his wife and they are the dearest. (sidenote: For some reason Provo didn´t call Prez Lopez about my hemmoraging and canceled plane ticket- so he waited for me at the airport for THREE HOURS) I had cake and hung out with Elder Martino and his wife, and President Lopez and his wife... and then we went back to the President´s house to find clothes for me. I just got my luggage today... so for the last 3 days... I´ve been wearing the clothes of Hermana Lopez and my companion- both little Guatamalan women! Somehow it worked though... and I didn´t care about anything- I was just SO green and SO SO SO EXCITED! hahaha My Mission President is a native Guatamalan... and he speaks some english... but spanish is easier... so even our first interview was in complete spanish- and it went... great? I was amazed that I could understand and respond to him... and we were talking about real things... goals, life experiences, family, purpose here... nursing... it was great!
Speaking of my companion.... I have 2. Sister Bush from Colorado and Sister Ramirez from Guatamala. I love them. We´ve been getting along great. I definately have the best of both worlds.. I get to listen to and talk with a native... and I have a gringo to translate and explain to me. Sister Bush speaks great spanish- she even started the MTC in the intermediate class... and she´s been here for 11 months. They´re so patient with me and my complications, spanish, and overwhelming zeal. They´ve been great. They just opened this area 3 weeks ago... so the people and the area is kind of new to them- but I am impressed by how much and well they know the people here and are in the loop.
I was so excited my first night... that I fell so in love with our nasty, sketchy, getto ¨casa¨ ( I don´t know what to call it. It´s not a house... not even an apartment... it.... a hole inbetween two other buildings... surrounded by barbedwire with hardly any amenities). My president was so apologetic that it was so sad... but I wouldn´t trade it. :) I was still on cloud nine the next morning... that the freezing shower was wonderfully refreshing, the shard of glass for a bathroom mirror was exactly what I wanted... The stale air of rotting trash was so sweet... .. even the cockroaches scurrying around and over my feet as I washed my clothes by hand had a sweet charm to them. :)
The buses are a dangerous and confusing experience for me... but such a great opportunity to contact. Granted... my contacts have not been the most effective... - even when I get them to write their address and number for us to visit them... the bus is so bumpy and loud... that I can neither hear them... nor read what they wrote later on. BUT- I´ll get it. :) It really is so different here... but nothing that is too shocking, scary, or disgusting. Granted, I am still on cloud nine- but I intend to never come down.
We had a zone conference with the General Authority Elder Martino- all in spanish. I think about 75% of the missionaries I met were natives... and I am SO impressed with them. They were so pure, radient, focused, kind, stalwart- wow. So... ALL morning... about 7 hours of talks and discussions- all in spanish. I CANNOT believe how much I understood. ONLY through the Holy Ghost could I understand what was going on, what was being said, and what was being taught. Wow wow wow. It is exhausting though. Working so hard for the Spirit, listening so hard to the Spirit, then listening intensly to the language, translating it in my mind, and then listening to the Spirit again to obtain the Spiritual langauge and message from it.... my little flabby brain was SO tired by the end- but very contenta.
We´ve been teaching lessons and contacting- visiting investigators, less active memebers, and new people. I´m usually lost. We´re in a corner of the city... and I just feel like we´re jumping on random buses.. hoping off... flying back on to another overcrowded, bumpy and noisy bus- full of children of God that need to hear the gospel. :) I am finding that one of the many gifts I need to pray for and work for... is not just the gift of tongues- but the gift of dicernment- especially with maps and directions. I still get lost in SPOKANE...and I would get lost all the time in Idaho FAlls and Rexburg....... I can and will get lost any and everywhere- and that´s in America with legible maps, road signs, stop lights, and a language I can understand. It´s hard for me to ever imagine myself being able to manuever myself around all of this chaos with confidence, clarity, and accuracy. - It´s such a crazy dream. Yet... I am doing more right now than is naturally possible... and I know that if I do my part of obeying and being dilligent... the Lord will surely complete me... and give me the power and gifts needed to complete and do His work for His children.
Wow... giving me more than 30 minutes on e-mail is not a good idea--- I write WAY TOO much. We can only e-mail our families and the President. Since I have to write the President in spanish... it didn´t take very long. :)
A few times I´ve gotten borderline frustrated and impatient that I am not able to express myself fully when I teach the gospel... but I am learning that it does not fully matter. Though I can only speak simply, humbly, blunt and true..... that is what is required. Truly, the gospel is simple, blunt, true, and understood and taught only by the humble. I will work SO hard to learn this language and teach in the fullness... but this is my greatest lesson this week, that:
The gospel is simple, blunt, and true. We have a loving Heavenly Father who has given us the opportunity to learn and grow in this life. We can return to Him after this life by following the example of His Son- Jesus Christ. We come to truly know our Savior Jesus Christ through the words of the Prophets in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and the Prophet today- Thomas S. Monson.
This is a message of simplicity, clarity, and soul penetrating truth.