Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hola Amigos!

Wow do the weeks fly by. I feel like I was just here. You will all be glad to know that I have at last determined the finest panedaria in the area and purchased a weeks worth of sweet bread for a dollar and some change.. more or less. Nothing really special happened this week. Just work as usual.

I received a few questions which I will now enlighten you all with the answers:

First is regarding the day of preparation, informally known as ¨P-day¨. We usually wake up at about 5:00am (to have more time to... ¨prepare¨). Exercise, shower, etc like normal. Then we usually leave to go buy our groceries for the week, which consists of oatmeal, brown sugar, bread, and these dope cookies that are super cheap here. Next we go print off pictures that Elder Vallejos wants. He is finishing his mission in 1 month, so he has entered the “take pictures of everything and print them” stage. After that we take care of anything that we need to get done, go back to our house and he sleeps while Elder Flores and I make good food to eat (since we usually don’t have time).

Yesterday I made tortillas from corn flour, which were delicious. But I decided not to stop there, so I deep fried them! Then I figured while I am at it, I may as well deep fry a slice of bread. Delicious! Anyways, then I either read something I have been wondering about, write letters, read letters, or just whatever I have to do.

Every morning we have 30 minutes of exercise. Usually it just consists of abs, because we are too tired to do much of anything. That’s really all there is to exercises.

As far as visiting cool stuff here, we almost never get the chance. The trip to Antigua last week was one that many of the people in our zone had been waiting a long time for.

As of now I still have the same 2 companions, but next week I will be getting a new trainer. Elder Flores will stay though. That will make 7 different companions since I entered the CCM on May 15. I have no idea why I have been in a trio the whole time, I really don’t like it. I have liked all of my companions, but 3 missionaries is just too many 24/7.

My clothes and shoes are holding up great so far, but even if they weren’t, one of our 9 baptisms we just had is excellent at sewing and always wants to help us. We got our shoes shined in the park yesterday just for giggles (its only 3Qs or about 30 something cents) and the guy did a great job! My shoes still look new. I’m not worried at all about my shoes. I do wish that I had more pairs of pants though.

This week I would like to share the scripture Alma 37:44 with you all. Anyone who can tell me why this is significant will receive 10 internet points (approximate value of 0 dollars)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I'm Still Alive!

Well, I didn’t prepare any stats for this week; I will do better for next week. I guess I’ll explain a bit of the lifestyle I’m living now since I don’t have much to say this week. We have a gnarly green spider that Elder Vallejo’s feeds cockroaches and other dismembered spiders. I won’t go anywhere near it, (Collin is afraid of spiders J) but at least it keeps the mosquitos under control. It is kinda cool to watch it eat thumb-sized cockroaches.

Everyday we wake up at 6:20am, do 30 minutes of exercise, shower, and get dressed in our white shirt and a tie. I have a nice huge bowl of oatmeal with equal parts oatmeal and brown sugar. J Then we have an hour of personal study (reading the scriptures in Spanish), 2 hours of companionship study (where we plan out a few lessons for the day, and share anything we learned in individual study) and then an hour of language study.

After that we leave our house and head to the house of a member that lives about a half mile away who makes us lunch. We have rice and tortillas everyday, with some kind of meat, usually chicken, and fruit. Oh how I dislike fruit... Any time I can get away with it I don’t eat the fruit. I have improved at not making faces when eating things I don’t like though. One day we had this crazy vegetable that was sweet like a fruit, and tasted ever so slightly of cow manure...That was a bad day L

Then we leave, and usually go to the park to contact people. The parks here are places where people actually hang out. It’s like a paved plaza with benches and a few trees and a few shops. We just talk with people, say we are missionaries, share a short message, and ask if we can pass by another day with their family. We usually have 300 or 400 contacts in a week, and MAYBE 20 lessons that come from those. I have heard just about every excuse you could imagine. I would rather people just said “Sorry, not interested”, but it’s all good. Sometimes I just troll the people after I know they aren’t going to accept anything.

Anyways, after that, we head off to teach whatever lessons we have for the day. We are always overbooked for lessons, because the culture here is that if they are home when we are planning to stop by its all good, but if they need to go to the store or whatever, or visit family, then they just go. And nobody really is offended if we don’t show up for an appointment, so we always have more lessons planned than we can teach. We usually teach lessons until about 8:30 or 9:00pm and then go back to our house between 9 and 9:30. Then we plan for the next day, eat- if there is time, and then go to sleep. Teach, baptize, repeat.

If you have made it this far I have a little Biblical treat for you, 1Corinthians 14:34-35. I came across this the other day and think that ya´ll might benefit from it... (Teehee J).

Yesterday we went to Antigua as a zone for P-day. I have pictures, but I forgot my camera at home again, so you will have to wait a little more for some pictures. It is basically your typical tourist trap, complete with an over abundance of white people that can’t speak Spanish and overpriced attractions and souvenirs.  Still cool though. It is gorgeous there. It’s like they don’t let any of the bad stuff in. It was so great to watch all the white people try to negotiate in the shops, thinking they know something about Spanish. And then watch them get p’wned by the prices, thinking they just made the deal of their life. (Mom, maybe you should choose a more politically correct term for white people before you post this on the blog)

Also, I finally received letters, thank you to those who wrote me! I have a lot to respond to, so please be patient. I will be getting mail about every 4 to 6 weeks, so you can get away with a letter every month if you are among those who committed to writing me.

Anyways, That’s all for this week, enjoy life -Elder Rice

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

No money and shots fired...

In response to your food questions: We do have a fridge J  and I might do the noodles thing you suggested  (cook a big pot of spaghetti to eat all week). Thanks for the protein bar recipe- I don’t think I’ll be wasting my peanut butter on food experiments though... It’s possible to buy it here, but pretty expensive. Thanks though! Also, is it possible to cook potatoes in the microwave?

You mentioned going to the Tillamook Cheese factory this week, I was in the store yesterday and saw the aisle where Tillamook cheese would be, but there wasn’t any. Funny that I specifically thought about it though.

You asked about my extra withdrawals on my account-We hit some financial difficulties... I don’t know why.. we talked to the financial secretary already and should be squared away for next month, but the ATM charges the same for any withdrawal, so I just withdrew 500Q (about $65) to keep as a rainy day fund just in case, because we went 4 days with less than a dollar a piece waiting for P-day... no worries! Also, the $17.56 was my groceries for 2 weeks... you jealous? I think I bought like 3 dollars of stuff at Taco Bell too.

Just to clarify the walking stats from last week, the 18,000 steps was just one days stats. It still stands as the highest thus far, I´ll let ya´ll know when I walk more than 8.something miles in one day J

We still have 11 baptisms scheduled for this coming Sunday, and so far as we can tell they all are going to follow thru. No Mom, I haven’t gotten to speak in church yet, and I don’t know if they are going to let me J Umm…My mom had asked me how many of our converts stay active. Our goal as a zone is 85% retention. That should give a pretty good idea, but we will see this coming month.

Rainy season is in full swing now, hardly ever is there a day that doesn’t rain. And when it rains here, it seriously rains. Like, 4 inch rivers in the streets rain. It’s pretty cool! There is one part of our area, TerraNova, which has these stupidly steep roads, and when there is 4 inches of water it’s literally like a waterfall on the road. The bad part is that everything is always wet at the end of the day, umbrella or no.

 I think you will all be glad to hear that I have had my first cool ¨mission story¨. Mom, relax, it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. So we were just walking, doing what we do, and we saw one of our investigators that didn´t show up for church that day (this last Sunday). So we went over and talked to her, and the reason she wasn’t there is another story for a different day J Anyways, we were standing in the street talking with her, and we heard 2 gunshots. But whatever right? Sometimes the fireworks the kids set off ALL day sound like gunshots. So we just start walking away from there just to be safe when we heard 3 more shots,about half a block away, and then saw a wave of people running towards us, and all of the people in the shops were slamming down the doors, and people were yelling to run (in Spanish of course). So we ran away too! J Elder Vallejos says he saw the guy with the pistol, but I didn’t stick around long enough to see for myselfJ. Anyways, the next day we were talking with some random people in the area and it turns out it wasn’t a guy just shooting at people like we had originally thought. Apparently (and this was coming from a pretty old lady who heard it from her son) some guy was trying to rob a house or store, I’m not really sure which, and the owner came out and shot into the air. I don’t know if he looked crazy doing it, or if he shot the would-be robber, or what. Anyways, that’s my cool story for the week J

 I don’t think that the place we live has an address..... J I should be getting all my mail at the change meeting in like a week and a half or something, so keep writing!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Keep on Keeping on

Well, another week already. The days are long, but the weeks are short!
Stats first!
v 1 person baptized this week, with 10 or 11 more on the 21st.
v We talked with 429 people on the street this week.
v The high score for steps taken this week is 18433, which was over 8 miles.
v I drank 3.3 liters of lemon lime soda, and I bought 1200 grams of oatmeal yesterday.

My trainer, Elder Vallejos, has 2 more changes and then he goes home to Costa Rica, after my training he is done. Because of this I get insane pressure from him to be better always because he wants a better missionary than him left here when he leaves. He is an extra-ordinary missionary, so the bar is high... My other companion is Elder Martinez. He is from Ecuador and he´s pretty cool too. Elder Martinez is getting transferred though on Jueves... Thursday I think... So tomorrow we are going to have a bonfire on our roof and order calzones J

They both speak a little bit of English, but we speak Spanish all the time. We have 30 minutes everyday where they get to study English and I help them how I can, but other than that it is only Spanish. It’s alright mostly, I know enough to follow the conversation and get my thoughts across. Sometimes it’s frustrating when people don’t understand what I am saying though... Especially when I am speaking well J

This week our shower water warmifier thing broke down. So that was awful... Ice cold showers are so lame... We bought a new one yesterday though and we are all good, and I fixed the old one, so next P-day we will have 2 warm showers instead of just one for the 3 of us!

I haven’t gotten any mail since I have arrived here, so I am not sure when I am going to get all of the thousands of letters I’m sure you all sent me. Hmm... I think that is all for this week. Hasta dos aƱos,
-Elder Rice