100 Too Many

Hello everyone, 

Hmm where to start.  The language still sucks! I think the hardest part is that I don’t feel myself improving.   I mostly sit quiet and smile.  I want to say stuff and be goofy and fun but it is hard when I CAN’T SAY ANYTHING.  I always share my testimony in lessons and just to give input every once and a while.  I want to visit and interact with everyone but I just can’t.  Like I said before my comp is GREAT! She is so patient and helpful.  I still never know what is going on though which is hard.  She also isn’t real big on visiting with people which is why I so wish I could.  I mostly hug ppl a lot and smile at them.   A hard thing about the language here is that everyone speaks really BAD Spanish.  By that I mean they don’t pronounce their s´s, they slur their words really bad and talk super quiet.  It makes it almost impossible to understand.  Okay enough whining I want to tell you about the week!  

First I am glad to hear that Youth Conference was AWESOME! I have no doubt you and dad put on the best youth conference.  I am jealous I couldn’t go!  Also, so cool Jenna made top 20! PLEASE record them ALL for me to watch when I get back.  And I don’t know the other girl.  Maybe if I saw her face I would recognize her.  Thank you for your advice about the music.  I have thought about that often.  I hope that might help me.  Also thanks for your words from Josh and Tels blogs.  It helps to know others are experiencing similar things.   I think about you, dad and the boys ALOT.  I try to just think of how grateful I am to have such an incredible family. I love you guys so much and miss you!!  I know things will get better as I continue to work.  

The flies here are insane! I have never seen so many in all my life!! Seriously at any given moment I probably have about 10 on me.  ALSO there are dogs EVERYWHERE!!! Eww they are so gross too.  I just try and keep my distance.  I will pray for rain for you guys!!!!  Besides the flies though I really haven’t seen too many bugs.  I have a few fleabites but that is it! I have seen some GIANT bugs but not in the house.  Which makes me happy! I wish I could describe what I am seeing to you guys but it is simply impossible! Maybe someday we can return together and then you will know.  Maybe not for a while though.  I am not sure if you want to know hahah just joking..... kind of. 

Today for pday we went to a waterfall in the Jungle! It was crazy!!!!! Oh and so Gorgeous.  It was fun to spend time with the zone and get to know some of the other missionaries. I also experienced my first bus ride.  Well that was INSANE! I am pretty sure there were about 100 too MANY on that bus.  I am still not sure how I even got on, fit and then got off haha.    

Okay so this week Irma and Jorge decided they wanted to be baptized!! YES! This family is amazing I tell you.  Irma is pregnant right now and Jorge is a solid guy.  They are so positive and happy.  They are always at all the activities and are so friendly.  I know they will be a family that could go to the temple.  I love them a lot.  Everyone here lives with FAMILY- brothers, sisters, aunts, and parents.... whomever.  Jorge’s Mom lives with them and makes pastries for a living.  Thursday before teaching a lesson we helped them roll the dough and she rewarded us with her DELICIOUS pastries.  Seriously SO GOOD.  All the desserts here are made with cinnamon, caramel, sugar and milk.  They have lots of pastries, cakes and rice/milk desserts.  They are great.  It was fun to work with them.  Speaking of desserts I have been thinking about the cupcake shop you talked about.... AHHH please keep it in business I must try it. Anyways.... Wednesday night we were returning to our house when 2 elders came running up to us.  They said a girl had stopped them on the streets and said she wanted to be baptized! She wasn’t in their area though so they found us! This girls name is Edalyn.  She is 17 years old and SO prepared.  Her husband is a member and really wants her baptized.  They lived in Costa Rica for 8 months before coming here and attended church the whole time.  After teaching her once we knew she was going to be a golden investigator.  Her baptismal date is this Saturday as well.  

Okay so more about our area.  I NEVER WANT TO LEAVE for a different area.  It seriously has to be the best area in Nicaragua.  The terrain is SO HARD but the weather is absolutely perfect.  I really don’t even sweat most days.  There is usually a nice breeze and it always rains.  I don’t wear sunscreen right now and I am still as white as when I left.  There were some days this week when I was even cold.  Weird right??  The food is really delicious but doesn’t really agree with my stomach yet.  I was pretty sick one night so we went home early.  I think the biggest problem for me here is all the DRINKS! Everyone gives you a drink with the meal.  It is usually some type of Fresco with mangos or guava.  It tastes really great but is made with the tap water.  I am not allowed to say no so I just have to drink it.... and a lot.  I hope I will adjust soon.  I am almost done with all my vitamins WOOT!  MOM thank you so much for helping me back all the stuff I could ever need.  We don’t have a Wal-Mart here but we do have a market.  We can get almost anything there, HOWEVER, we hardly get any money for the month.  Only enough for food really (if you are carefully).  I am so glad I have everything I could need.  I try to save my money also because we are responsible for paying for investigator’s weddings.  I have been saying Irma and Jorge are married and I talked about Edalyn and her husband but they really aren’t legally married.  So Saturday we will be having 2 weddings and 2 baptisms.  Big day right?? Okay back to the area, like I said before we literally hike a mountain all day everyday.  It is CRAZY! My legs are going to be as strong as an Olympic Gymnasts I tell you.  It always astounds me when I see 70-year-old men hiking up these mountains everyday.  HOW!!?  I wanted to tell you about the Branch Presidents family for a little while too.  President is probably the most loving and sweetest man.  He cares so much for the members and will do anything for this work.  His family is AMAZING.  Like I said before his daughter Nohel cooks our lunch everyday, so we get to see them each day for about an hour.  I love Nohel and her son Fernando.  Fernando is 13 and is a spiritual GIANT I tell you!  I love how involved the members are in missionary work.  They all are so willing to help.  Presidents 2 sons are constantly studying and preparing for their missions.  Fernando knows all the lessons and talks about how much he loves the mission videos we show at lessons sometimes.  I haven’t even seen all those yet.  Fransisco is the Mission Ward leader here and he is AWESOME! He speaks great English so I love talking to him.  He is a lot different than most the people here.  He isn’t lazy one bit.  He is so motivated and anxious to learn more.  Nohel and Fernando are trying to learn English right now.  They always ask me for help. It is so sweet to see how they just eat up anything I say.  They always tell me how learning English will truly change their lives.  It is very humbling to be here.  

Last night we had dinner with Fransisco and his family.  He said SISTER KENDALL if you ever need food give me a call.  If we don’t have any I will tell you sorry BUT if we do I will personally bring some to you.  How crazy is that! He doesn’t even know if they will have food the next day but is already offering to share if he does.  These people are just incredible.  That is why I want to speak with them so BAD!!!

Friday night we had an activity at the church for Fathers day and it was a riot!! Hermana Justavino doesn’t really like parties or those events but I tell you I LIVE FOR THOSE.  It was awesome!! We started out with talks, lessons and food.  Then the real party began...We had sisters performing salsa dances, the men all know how to play guitar so we had songs going, funny skits, the whole shebang! I felt like I was back in the states at a ward activity.  I loved it!!!

So I have been studying Joseph Smith and the pioneers a lot.  This mission is SO HARD FOR ME.  I have moments when I want to come home.  Studying the pioneer’s history gives me great strength.  They sacrificed far more than me for this work.  They suffered beyond comprehension because they loved the Lord!  I am so grateful for their example.  I love having my personal study time each morning.  I wish we had more time to study.  I want to know EVERYTHING about the Gospel.  Sometimes I get ahead of myself trying to learn so much.  It is then I have to remind myself personal study time and learning more about the Gospel isn’t just a mission thing.  I get to do that my whole life!  The missionary books you got for me for Christmas are AMAZING! I would highly recommend them all.  They are simple yet powerful.  I love studying them.  I am also reading in 2 Nephi right now.  Nephi gives me great strength.  He endured so much and all with gratitude! Study time really is so important for each of us.  Thank you for teaching me how to study this Gospel and why it is important. You and dad are AMAZING!!!!  I really can feel my testimony growing each day during that time. 

Some one once told me you have 1 and half years to serve a mission and all eternity to think about it.  I want to make the best of this time and do all I can! It is difficult right now but I know the Lord will help me.  This is not done in my strength but in the Lords!  And the comforting thing to know is that the Lord can do anything. 

Haha I got so many emails today and no time to read them.  I am out of time for today BUT I LOVE YOU!!! SO MUCH!! I will hopefully have time to send pics next week.  I LOVE YOU, DAD AND THE BOYS!! Also tell my friends and other family I love them too.  Also TO all who emailed me this week THANK YOU! I can feel all your love and will hopefully be able to email next week!




I Made It To Nicaragua

Okay first  things first.  NICARAGUA IS INSANE!!!  (PS I was super sad I couldn´t call you guys)  Anyways, we left Guatemala CCM at 3 am so that everyone flying could make their flights.  By some crazy lucky coincidence I got a first class seat.  SWEET!  We arrived in Nicaragua and I thought I had flown to a different planet.  There were literally people in wagons being pulled by horses.  There were also TONS of motorcycles and cars.  The streets are just jam packed! It is insane.  We had a meeting with the President then went on splits with the missionaries.  MANAGUA is SOOO HOTTT and HUMID.  I was literally drinking the air.  Anyways we walked to our first appt. where we taught.....something.  I have no idea what was being said.  The streets are dirt and the houses are made of tin walls.  We went into their "house" and started teaching.  Here I was in my first lesson and I couldn’t understand one thing.  There was some type of exotic bird (very popular pet here) nibbling at my head, flies all over me and a chicken kept walking in between my legs.  I couldn’t believe what was happening.  We did a lot more that day but I don’t have much time to explain it all.  Let’s just say it was definitely one of the longest days of my life!

Okay so the next day we had changes.  Everyone was gawking over me because I am nineteen.  They kept saying AHH YOU ARE A LEGEND.  So after meetings and talks we found out who our companions were.  They did this big presentation on the projector with pictures and the whole shabam.  EVERYONE was going CRAZY! Screaming, jumping up and down it was like the NFL draft or something.  My trainer is Hermana Justavino.  She is SOO sweet.  She has 5 months in the mission, is from Panama and I am her first "kid".  She is still figuring things out right now too so that kind of makes this hard.  But she is patient with me and kind.  My area is MATAGALPA.  It is in the MOUNTAINS.  Okay when I say the mountains I mean the whole area is seriously the hardest HIKE of all my life.  It is crazy! Upside is the weather is a little cooler.  It RAINS every day.  Our "home" is a room.  We have a bunk bed and desk.  And YES there are lots of crazy bugs.  My favorite!  I had my first bucket shower and quickly decided I wasn’t going to make much of an effort to look top notch here.  You can’t flush toilet paper here so we have a little bucket (gross) but most places there is just a pile of toilet paper next to the toilet.  It seriously is GORGEOUS here though!!! I can’t even explain to you have beautiful it is.  Trees EVERYWHERE. So green.  My Zone is pretty cool too.  However......the all like soccer.  CRAP.  Every morning we have a soccer game.  No me gusta.  Sometimes we go but sometimes we just bail.  My comp said that pdays (today) we play from 8 in the morning until 1.  Oh and it is true.  They made me play goalie.  Well that was something.  I played for about an hour then said if I go make pancakes for everyone can I get out of playing.  They said yes! So that’s what I did.

Okay food.  So the Branch presidents family makes us lunch every day.  It is always really good.  Other meals we just fend for ourselves.  They have little stores on every corner we buy stuff at.  We only get 150 dollars a month though and that is not much so we have to be careful.  It is 25 cortabas to 1 American dollar.  We give 1600 every month for our cita, 100 for bus rides to the mission and the rest is for us.  There are some members that feed us a lot though so that is awesome!  I am not too worried about it.  Lots of rice and beans already!  I like it though. 
 So the people here....AMAZING.  They are so sweet, humble, loving and all the other good things I could say.  Good news is we won’t get any doors slammed in our faces because there ARE NO DOORS!  These ppl have NOTHING.  Their houses consist of tin walls, dirt floors, a bed and a blanket for a ceiling.  I really can’t believe it.  Everyone tells me this is a wealthy part of Nicaragua but I really don’t know how it could get any more poor.  Seriously!  All the women kiss each other on the cheek and hug.  It is so sweet.  The Branch here has the kindest people.  I love them all!! I can’t understand any of them but I can feel their sweet spirit and love.  We visit a lot of less actives and recent converts.  My favorite recent converts are Hector and Rena.  They are an older couple and SO SWEET! Hector reminds me of papa so much.  They always feed us and Hector is always running around looking for more sweets to give us haha.  I also love Yamil! He was baptized 8 months ago and is a little less active.  He is 11 years old and is amazing.  He reads the Book of Mormon EVERYDAY and always has great questions for us.  He will be an awesome Priesthood holder.  Right now we are teaching a family of 5.  Jorge and Irma are the parents.  Ahhhh they are so Golden!!! They come to Church, read, pray and know everything is true!  They are just nervous to be baptized.  It makes me so sad because they are so close.  They were at church Sunday though so that was great!!  

The Language SUCKS!!! Seriously, I feel like I have no personality and am so alone because I can’t even talk to or understand my comp.  She is really different than me.   She is great though!  I am grateful for her patience and love.  I just hate sitting around and not saying anything.  I want to visit with the people, understand and get to know them but as of now... I can’t.  I just hope it gets better.   I have to remind myself this is the Lords time and the Lords work.  I need his help. SO MUCH!!! I just hope I can get through this hard part, regain my personality and do some good.  Satan is real.  He is working hard on me.   I know the Lord will help me I just need to exercise patience right now.

We have a goal of 1 FAMILY baptism a month and 5 progressing families always.  It is the highest baptizing mission in the WORLD though.  So I guess they are doing something right.  There were 101 families baptized last month and like 230 ppl or something like that.  Crazy right.  If you don’t have an investigating family at sacrament meeting you have to leave and go tract for a family.  Who knows how things will change with the new pres though.  I love our president right now, and his family.  They took us to lunch the first day and were so sweet.  Anyways it is hard because here they just baptize ppl so FAST and then they just stop coming to church.  I don’t want to baptize just to baptize.  I want to have people really become converted to the Gospel.  That is my goal at least. 

Also I only get mail at changes so you just send everything to the mission home.  And I did get your letter with all the Quotes thank you so much! Also we go back to Managua Wednesday for the Presidents going away party and to welcome the new president. Also they said mails takes about 3 weeks, packages 3 months.  I really don’t think you need to send any packages though.  I have so much stuff as it is haha  I can’t send pics today but I will next week.    Oh PS the meat here is SO SKETCH!! In the Grocery store it is always super warm by all the meat.  Gross!!!! Oh well I probs won’t die haha.  Oh man I miss you guys! I just wish I could speak English on the mission! I could have my confidence and personality back.  It would be so much easier for me!

Okay I have to go now.  I love you guys though!!! I think about you all the time and miss you so much!!! Thank you for your love and help!! I will write you probably around this time again next Monday!!!
One day closer!

Ps. to all my friend, family and students..... I LOVE YOU!!!!! Thank you for being examples in my life.  I am so BLESSED!


One More Week in the CCM!

Ahh I love days when I get to write home.  We all do a happy dance down the streets of Guatemala to the "house" where we write you guys!  Okay first before I forget because I have forgotten EVERY TIME, I don't know anything regarding calling sadly.  I am hoping I will get to call from the airport but no word so far.  Things are so crazy here right now and most ppl don't even know when their flight leaves until the night before.  I am assuming we will leave the CCM at about 3:30 am because we have the farthest flight.  So, if I do call it will be really early.  SORRY!  I really am praying I get to call! I would love to hear from you all. The CCM is so insane right now.  There is serious construction going on everywhere.  Right now we don't have a classroom so we are hauling all our stuff to different places about every hour.  The kind of shafted the "old" missionaries so the new ones can have some consistency.  I don't really mind.  It is nice to get some exercise and walk around.  Most days we are just on the lawn next to this random house in Guatemala haha.  It is so surreal.  I do have a SWEET missionary tan as a result though.  The construction sets off the fire alarm almost every 20 mins ahhhh! I think we are all slowly going insane.  The first time it went off the Latina Hermanas were screaming and running around the halls.  Hehe we had to explain to them the building was NOT burning to the ground. 
I can't believe this is my last week in the CCM and my last time to write you guys until I am in NICARAGUA! Ahh I don't know if I am ready for this.  Spanish is still kicking my BUTT!  I am so ready to be out of here and working but I am certainly NOT ready to be teaching and talking in Espanol ALL DAY.  So last week for pday we got a tour of Guatemala City and went to a market! IT WAS AWESOME!! I love Guatemala and wish I could stay longer.  It is such a gorgeous place.  The market was super sweet.  It was so colorful and diverse.  We went to the food market and just drooled over the fruit.  The meat on the other hand was super sketch!  Yesterday was my last pday here.  I can hardly believe that.  I tried to get a lot of studying and packing up done.  I also went to the Temple for the last night until I return.  The temple has really grown close to my heart.  That was one of the greatest experiences for me.  Sitting in that session with my District is something I will NEVER forget.  I love them with all my heart and it hurts to think about saying goodbye.  We have gone through so much together and I KNOW we will be friends all our lives.  This Sunday our Elders are giving each of us a priesthood blessing of strength for our missions.  It is such a blessing to be surrounded by these incredible ppl.  Our teacher Hermano Cuque left for vacation this week so we had to say goodbye. I think we were all crying as he walked out the door.  I hope to be the type of missionary he is!  He glows with the spirit! 
So with the new transfer of missionaries Hermana Teichert and I were hoping to meet ALL our Latina missionaries that would be serving with us.  When everyone got here we searched high and low for sisters.  Sadly we have only met ONE OTHER SISTER!  All is well though she is great and we love her.  We have met lots of ppl from Nicaragua though.  They all just keep telling us how GORGEOUS and Hot it is.  They also always say mucho bautismos!  Man I can't wait to get there and get to work.  One of my roommates is from Nicaragua and she asked me to find her Mom and baptize her into the church.  She said SHE IS PREPARED!  I hope I get the opportunity to find her. 
Last week I said I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting.  Well this week was fast Sunday.  I thought since I talked last week I would give others the opportunity, President had other plans.  As soon as we finished the Sacrament I saw him motion for me to get up there and share my testimony.  So I did just that!   I know my Spanish was rough but I am grateful for the chance I got to share my testimony with my fellow missionaries.  My heart was so full of love for our Brother and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I know he loves us and is here for us!  I know he suffered for us because he loves us all.  He wants to help us and is waiting with open arms!  He LIVES.  And because he lives we can to.  I am so grateful we can live as a family forever.  I love you all with all my HEART and can't wait to tell the people of Nicaragua they can live as families forever too. 
Okay yesterday we attended a devotional where our area president, Elder Martino and his wife spoke to us.  WOW! It was so awesome.  They reignited the fire in me.  Something Elder Martino said really stuck out to me.  He said this will be some of the hardest months of all our lives. We will go to bed with tears on our pillows, we will be physically sick and we will spiritually be drained but the Lord has overcome all that.  He did not call us to FAIL.  He will help us to be exactly what he needs us to be.  At the devotional our district sang the EFY medley we sang for nana and papas farewell.  The spirit during that song was overwhelming!  I am so blessed to be a part of his army.  Afterwards some of the Latino Elders came and asked us if we used to be in the Tabernacle Choir haha so sweet. 
Mom I am so glad you got to go to Texas and help out with the new baby.  I am sure he is the cutest ever!  I am so happy for Leigh too! She will be the best mom!!  Besides you OF COURSE! I miss you guys everyday but then I remember I get to be with you all for eternity so I can do this for my Savior after all he has done for us.  I really am sorry about not letting you no about the calling card sooner.  I DO WANT TO CALL.  I just don't know a thing.  Thank you for all your letters.  I always get them just when I need one.  Thank you for all the QUOTES.  They are perfect! And thank you for all the scriptures.  They are so helpful I just got through marking them all in my scriptures.  I hope Branson does get the apprenticeship! He would be so perfect for that.  Him and Grant.  I was dying laughing when I read Grant's fire experience.  It sounds about right haha.  Grant and Branson please watch some fail videos for me.  I have been craving those!  Instead I feel like I am doing a lot of awkward things that could be featured in one of those vids.  Oh well I think ppl are getting a laugh haha. I hope you are enjoying SUMMER!!! 
DAD! Thank you thank you for the spanish help.  Verbs are really kicking my butt.  There are so many rules, exceptions and irregulars I kind of feel like I am more confused than when I came.  I think having the rules will help though.
GRANDMA!  Thank you for your email.  I am so excited for you to go to California (and a little jealous "wink wink").  I am so grateful for your prayers and support.  I think of you often and wish I could share all my experiences with you!  The food here is great and I haven't gotten sick yet!  Hooray I know that is a huge blessing.  I love you!!
Carsen! I have been thinking about you a lot lately.  I can't wait for you to start your mission.  I know you will be GREAT!  Study PMG as much as you can before you leave.  It will help so much.  Also, come up with a good method of marking your scriptures and taking notes.  I would suggest taking a list of scriptures that apply to topics as well.  It will come in handy when teaching. 
To my students! I have been thinking about you all a lot this week! I love you so so much and can't wait to see you again. I hope you are being good and preparing for the recital and hard as you prepared for competition.  REMEMBER make the most of every opportunity you get to be on stage and share your talent.  You are all BEAUTIFUL inside and out and have changed my life FOREVER! I lOVE YOU.
Lauren and Misti! You guys are the best ever!  I love you both and think of you often.  I hope you are doing well and smiling everyday!  Lauren that is crazy the boy you have been hanging with knows Daniel and me.  His name doesn't sound familiar but I am sure we have crossed paths before.  Small WORLD. 
Last thing is a funny story.  Yesterday we were teaching our investigator Fernando (really our teacher Hermano Portillo) the Law of Chastity.  After explaining the law and the importance of it we asked how he was feeling and if he had questions.  After a long pause he very seriously said " I have a porn addiction".  We both looked at him with real concern and love when all of a sudden he BUST OUT LAUGHING.  Hahaha we all started laughing then and couldn't really get the lesson back on track.  Oh man it was so funny.  Any time we thought we were back on track and getting somewhere he would start to giggle again.  I finally said FERNANDO we need to teach you this.  Haha that just made things worse and he was crying laughing.  Afterwards we talked to Hermano Portillo and said " Fernando was laughing at us the WHOLE LESSON".  He just bust out laughing again and said "sometimes it is hard to ACT" hahah.  I hope that doesn't happen in a real lesson.  That would be awkward ha. 
Okay love you all to pieces!!!!  Hopefully I will be calling next Tuesday maybe around 4.30 am.  OKAY LOVES!!!!
Love, Savannah