Monday, April 20, 2015

Second week in Paraguay

 Random Ant Hill:  Paraguayan Photo Op
Ayyyy Family! So good news is I`m still alive! Lolz, but srsly.

This week was pretty rough. It ended up alright, but there were some really hard days in between. It started out with last P-day. It was a good day, but we were way behind on everything since our zone meeting/hang out took 5ever and then we had some emailing difficulties because the elders were using the same cyber as us and there are only 3 computers. Anyway, it was a good time, but I just felt sort of stressed out after and it wasn`t exactly the best place to be to start a new week.

Temple trip: So we had to wake up at 4am the next morning (Tuesday) to take a bus to Asuncion so we could go to the temple. I was hecka tired, obviously, and I just felt sort of off balance as it was. Then we get on this bus which is PACKED. Like, literally PACKED. I can`t even describe it. So there`s obviously only standing room, but we get shuffled into the middle of this bus and I can`t even breathe and it`s SO HOT in there and the buses here, like I said, are jank city and the roads are super rough. Anyway, it was the bus ride from HELL. It took like two hours to get there, and I literally didn`t think I was gonna make it. I could probably do it again right now and be fine, but it was just a weird combination of my mood, the situation, the heat, etc., and I was just not having it. So we finally get there and it starts pouring rain and I feel WAY sick and it just wasn`t the best lead up to the temple. So we finally get in and everythings more or less good because I love the temple big time, but it`s all in Spanish (obvi) and I feel way sick and it just really wasn`t as great of an experience overall as I would have hoped. Big time bummer. But I still had a decently good experience inside, and it was cool to think about how set apart the temple is from the world. In the states it is too, obviously, but the contrast is SO MUCH GREATER here. Literally it`s the only clean building I`ve been in. I seriously didn`t want to leave. It was kind of depressing, but also really put the eternities into perspective, ya know? We needed to come to earth to be tried and tested, and I couldn`t just sit in the celestial room of the Paraguay temple forever.

All the gals in Holly's district at the Asuncion Temple

Holly and her companion Hermana Valenzuela

Testimony meeting: So after the temple we all met with our zone and some other missionaries to have a testimony meeting. I was feeling the pressure because pretty much everyone was going up and I`m the only brand new missionary in my zone, aka everyone else is fluent in Spanish. Also I still felt sick and I just wasn`t feeling it. I just really had already decided not to go up. So it`s nearing the end of the meeting and all the sudden I just kind of start thinking of a few basic sentences I could say (I can`t stop my mind from thinking of them), and then all the sudden I`m walking up to the stand like "what even is happening?" So I go up and bear my testimony and it`s super simple and I start crying as per usual, but I felt really good about the fact that I did it. So then directly after I bore my testimony, this boy that had been sitting in the back/wasn`t in my zone stands up and bears his testimony. And I can tell he also doesn`t really speak Spanish, and his testimony was even more basic than mine. Turns out there were a few boys in the back from the Nebuclay (spelled it phonetically, I have NO IDEA how to spell it) tribe, and they only speak this CRAZY native language that sounds like literally the craziest thing on this earth. So anyway, they are preparing to go on missions, but it`s really hard for them because they don`t speak any other language and the MTC isn`t able to accommodate their native language, so they have to learn in Spanish. Ok, so I feel like I`ve explained this all sort of poorly, BUT the point is that right after I bore my testimony (I said in it that I have only been here for a week and don`t know much Spanish), all the boys from that tribe stood up and bore their testimonies too! And their Spanish was even more basic than mine, and it was just the most awesome thing ever. And I talked with some of them after (well, talk is an overstatement because we can`t really communicate), and they are super shy and embarrassed about their Spanish, and I kind of feel like me going up there made them feel ok about them not knowing Spanish either. So it was just a cool experience and it emphasized to me once again that it`s not really about the language, it`s about the spirit. And the spirit works through humility. And literally NOTHING will bring humility like not being able to say or understand anything. So essentially what I`m saying is that there is a really strong spirit that goes with missionaries trying to learn another language. I know that is true.
The most humble native Indian Paraguayan missionaries, all learning Spanish
First half of the week: Anyway, so after Tuesday, my whole system was just off and I wasn`t feeling energetic or even super happy and I was feeling sort of depressed/discouraged for no particular reason. Honestly Thursday was probably the hardest day I`ve had since I`ve been here. I was just feeling SO lethargic and unmotivated, and I was just feeling so overwhelmed about having to be here and to do this every day for 16plus more months. It`s just a reallyyyyy long time. And I try to just take it one day at a time, but it`s really hard to do that. Especially with Hermana Valenzuela leaving so relatively soon and us planning out her future together and me just thinking about being in Paraguay trying to learn Spanish for months and months. Anyway, it was just a bad time and I was feeling really not happy.

Second half of the week: So starting on Friday things got better. I couldn`t even tell you why I had that weird mood swing, but I was way happy to feel happy again. Missions just do weird stuff to your mind, let me tell ya. But this whole weekend was good and yesterday we were out all day and it was tiring and I was hot, but it was good. And I just feel happier again. So yeah, everything is good and I feel good. 

Spanish: So my Spanish is progressing seemingly not at all. But it`s all good and most of the time I`m fine with not being able to speak... It`s hard for me, but Hermana Valenzuela is really great and I feel emotionally connected to her in general, so it helps a lot for me to not feel too down the rest of the time. I literally have NO personality in lessons. I just sit there in silence and try to smile and act nice, but I can`t joke or say anything deep or intelligent, so I just come across as hecka quiet. We eat with this Brazilian family twice a week who are super funny (two of them have fechas for next month!) and the dad always says to me (in Spanish with a SUPER THICK Brazilian accent) "Hermana, stop talking so much. You`re hurting my ears!" And I just sit there and laugh because I literally haven`t said a word in like 20 minutes and it`s just so humbling. SO SO SO humbling. But I was able to talk to this elder in my district last night who has only been here for 5 months and he was way helpful in his advice. It was really nice to be able to talk to someone else who also has had to go through learning another language (His dad actually served in Costa Rica! But it was after you Mom, I think. His last name is Bingham). 

Weather: So the weather has been pretty fickle this week. It was pretty hot in the beginning, but then the second half of this week it`s POURED RAIN! Like hardcore. But the rain goes on and off, so it`s hard to know whether it`s going to be like that all day. Yesterday didn`t rain at all and was super hot, so we thought that it wouldn`t rain today. And Hermana Valenzuela and I always go running in the morning, so this morning we`re out running and we make it pretty far, and it starts POURING. Like, buckets of water from the sky. So we have no choice but to just run back (we can`t wait out the rain because it`s already like 6:50 and we`re supposed to be back by 7), so we just ran back in the rain and got literally soaked. It was honestly a really good time. I can`t remember ever being out in rain that hard. And it was fun because we were running and I felt like I was taking a shower at the same time haha.
Variations on a theme in Blue

So overall things are good right now, but this week was pretty hard and super long. I feel like I`ve been here 5ever. But I love Hermana Valenzuela and I like going to lessons and teaching people and being busy. As much as stateside missions are hooked up in every other way, South America really does have the opportunity to teach lessons like all day every day. I was thinking about missionaries in Glendora and it`s just a real bummer that they don`t have that much to do. Here we`re always having to choose who we won`t be able to visit because there are just so many options. It`s a really great aspect of missionary work here, and it`s a huge blessing. 

Love you long time! I pray for you on the daily/more because I pray 1,000 times a day. 

Con amor,

Hermana Ross

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