September 5, 2011

Greetings from the DR ... Greetings & Photos from Nicaragua

Since there was a fair amount of comments back and forth in the emails today I am combining them into one post...Elena wrote first followed by Alexis.

I hope things are going well for all of you... bummer about Gramps being in the hospital. I hope it all works out. I printed your emails this morning and then me and my comp went to mega centro...basically a great mall. My comp was looking for clothes to wear home and shoes and stuff. I am looking forward to your care package. I did get a package. Muchas gracias. I love the shirt and I wore it yesterday. It was grand. About your shoes question, I might wear the sandals at some point but my comp never does and there is quite a bit of broken glass and stuff in the streets that I am not sure sandals would be great for, but maybe in another area. So this week has been good. We are still looking for more people to teach, but I am enjoying getting to know the members more. There are 2 great ladies in the ward who have been members for a year, got baptized together, went through the temple together a couple of weeks ago and now are in the RS presidency. They are really sweet and I enjoy visiting them. We´ve had a good p-day. The mall was fun and I actually felt kind of like a real person just cruising around the mall. They have Payless shoes and lots of other stores that I don´t know but it was fun. We met up with 2 sisters from Guatemala and ate lunch. We finally got more gas for the stove on Wednesday but I was a little sick of peanut butter sandwiches by that time but oh well. We had Pizza Hut on Thursday for dinner. I´m not sure why we didn´t do that when we didn´t have gas but it was good.  That is so funny that Janine is in Jayne´s ward. I knew she was on a mission in England but what are the chances?  She was our RA in Hale 2. She graduated at the same time as us, I think, and you probably met her at some point. She is nice. We had a good Fast Sunday. The testimony meeting was great. We were hoping that a couple of investigators would be there, but they didn´t show. We still had a few there though. We fasted Saturday dinner and then breakfast, but we did drink water at the end of the day on Saturday because it is rather hot here and a dehydrated missionary is no good. :)  We have met a few less actives, some during our contacting. I think there is probably a lot more out there that we need to find and bring back. One came to church this week. The ward is really great here. So, I never really explained our schedule. We have breakfast and getting ready and a little exercise from 6:30 until 8, an hour of personal study and then 2 hours of comp study...usually only an hour but 2 hours when we are being trained. Then we go out from 11 to 1 and come back for an hour of lunch and then an hour of language study. Then we are out working from 3 until 9. We have planning, dinner and then getting ready for bed at 10:30. I can´t believe it is September!!!! We are halfway through this transfer too. Craziness! Well, my hour is up. I hope you are doing well and that everything works out with Gramps. I talk about my family to anyone who will listen. It has been great emailing you. Give Alexis my best. Hopefully I´ll catch her another time. I am doing real good here just missionarying it up and trying to learn some espanol. Well, gotta go. Love you lots! -ejc
Well, right now I am in Jinotepe. We came for the zone activity today and decided to write here. My comp had a couple months here and she wanted to see if this cyber-cafe had her pictures. She was going to make a cd of them but never got to it, but she emailed some to the workers so we came to see if they had them. I don`t know if they found them or not, but that was the thing that had the most sentimental value of the stuff that got taken on our bus ride...her camera card.  Mom don`t worry. Really Nicaragua is quite safe in comparison to other Central American countries - or at least that is what I hear, so don`t worry. My comp said that was the first time on her mission she had gotten robbed and she is almost finished. She got her itinerary today for her flight home in December, crazy to think how fast that day will come for me. One year!
So we had a baptism this week. That was exciting and good. The 9 year old has really good questions and is fairly mature spiritually. He is great. Now we just have to work more to activate the rest of the family. That was definitely a highlight of the week. Also thanks so much for the mail.  I will try to respond as quick as I can. I wrote some this morning on the bus and will write more on the way home if I can. I loved all the stuff and nice encouragement in the letters. Funny thing - those shirts from Target are made in Nicaragua.  How the world goes round - they make them here, send them there, and you send them back. Funny! Well, good thing this week too. My laundry bag was getting a hole in it so we went looking for a new one last Monday. We couldn`t find one and then I had the brilliant idea to buy some fabric and have the lady that does our laundry sew me one since she has a sewing machine (not electric). We bought the fabric (about $1.50) and I offered to pay her but she said no. Now I have a fabulous new bag. And she put the string from the old one in the new one so it even cinches up. So that was good. Also I got some good use of my boots this week. On Thursday we did some service moving some dirt and rock and I wore my boots with my jeans nicely tucked in. So I will get some use out of the boots, even if it isn`t just for rain! Also, I thought I would tell you how people say Cottam here. Well I think some of them think we are saying our first name so it usually turns into Carmen or Carol. Somehow the double t turns into an r sound. Or they say Co Tam, but whatever. I am sure Tanner gets quite a bit of versions with Thornton since the th sound doesn´t exist and the h is silent in Spanish. Anyway, I saw a Subaru this week with 46 in the license plate which will make Chelsea happy. That is crazy about Sister Rothmund. She was our RA in Hale 2. One of the elders in the zone went to BYU-H and was asking me today who my RA`s were and I could only remember her first name but now I have her last name.
That is funny about the fasting thing. We fast dinner and breakfast too but don`t drink, but yesterday when we did drink some water after we broke our fast we instantly started sweating. I didn`t really notice or think too much about it, but when my comp mentioned it I thought it was interesting. Yeah, we didn`t have much success either with investigators at church. We had 2 but they weren`t people we had gone by for. We spent most of the morning getting the person ready for the confirmation and there on time. Our schedule is 6:30-8 the same as Lenny, then 8-9 personal study, 9-10 comp study, 10-10:30 language study. Then we are out for the day and eat around 12 our lunch and 5 dinner. At least that is the goal for eating, but it varies some days. And same deal as Elena from 9-10:30. I had the 2 hour comp study my first 2 changes too.
Here are some pictures from this week. On Friday we went to the welcome home party for some missionary that came back. I won a game, so the clown guy that was there made me a giraffe balloon. (Thinking of you always.) The others are of the baptism, a snow cone type thing we had today when we were playing softball with the zone, and my comp. It was really fun to play softball and we had a good lunch too. Enjoy the pictures! I am glad you found the recipe for gallopinto mom. You have lots of time to practice before I get home! But anyway, it has been a great day with the softball playing and all. My time is almost up, but I hope all goes well with Gramps. Sorry to hear about it all. Have a fantastic Labor Day and start to September. It’s 6 months next week. CRAZY! I am happy here and am doing well. Thanks for all your support. Have a great week and can’t wait to write again next week! The gospel is true and Las familias son eternas. Yo amo mi familia muchisimo!
 I am having a good time missionarying and espaƱoling it up.
Love, Alexis

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