Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 17, 2013 emails to dad and mom

Hi dad!
Solola is really close to the Quetzaltenalgo mission. We´re right next to it, actually.

Yeah, the market is crazy Tuesdays and Fridays. The buses are PACKED (but we can´t contact them because we can´t walk in them) and there are TONS of people. 
I love it here - it´s gorgeous. It´s really hilly - think of a smaller area than San Francisco but just as hilly and that would be about right.
We live in the city of Solola in a house. We don´t have water before 7 and only until about 1 in the afternoon. And the water is freezing. It´s great. I love it.
And the trajes (or cortes) - I love them. The clothes are so beautiful. Some of the trajes (the intricate clothes) can cost about 4,000 Quetzales.
We usually leave Solola, actually. The people in the city Solola aren´t that receptive to our message but in the Aldeas (like suburbs of Solola, but appear like Brentwood with tons of crops and not a lot of houses) more people are receptive. Granted, some of them don´t know Spanish, but they´re more receptive. And we have to change how to teach here. We teach lesson 1 more simply and explain everything more in detail to help the people get the basics more.
The drive was from the place we had changes to Solola. It was about 5 hours (we stopped for 30 minutes to eat at McDonalds, but it was still a really long drive). We had a mini bus - one of the members helped us out and drove us.
We´re in a branch - there are about 150 people that attend each week, but there aren´t enough men in the ward to be a ward.
The Chapel is about in the center of Solola. It´s small-ish for a chapel, but it´s a chapel. 
The phone number is our house number. I think it´s a cell phone (land lines are really expensive here). but yeah, we´ll be home in the morning on Christmas - it´s our P-Day for the week, so we´ll be home and shop for stuff afterwards.
The people here know how to work and work hard. Men here carry hundreds of pounds of stuff on their shoulders and the women and children work hard in the home and businesses.
This week for Christmas, we´re going to the Temple in Guatemala City. We get to leave at 1 in the morning from our house, pick up a bunch of people in our zone and area and then drive to Guatemala. We´ll do a session, go to eat, and then have a fireside with President Brough. I´m excited. Actually, we´re all excited for this. And then we´ll drive home. We´ll get back around 7 or 8 at night, so we´ll probably not have a lot of lessons that day. People go to their houses around 7 and to bed around 8. So we´ll get back and probably just contact the few people that are on the street and go back to our house at 9.
Oh - it´s FREEZING here. I never thought I would say that about Guatemala, but it´s COLD. In the morning and the night. And the wind. Oh man - it´s cold here, but it´s all good. I love Solola. I´m excited to work here for a while.
Anyway, this week I finished the Isaiah chapters of 2 Nephi. I didn´t understand that much more than usual, but I loved it. I kind of laughed, though, when Nephi said "I delight in plainness". Plain and clear? Working on that still, but there were definitely some things that stuck out to me as I read and I realized that even though it´s hard to understand, it´s possible to understand. We just have to read with the Spirit of the Lord and ask for help and to ponder the things that we read.
Anyway, I love you! I´m excited to talk to you and mom next week (and I guess whoever else is in the house at the time). I love you MUCHO! And thanks for all the prayers and support. It means a lot.
Con MUCHO amor,
Hermana Pumpkin Conover

Hi mom!
I think we´re getting our packages on Thursday when we go to the Temple. And thank you so much for the gorgeous Christmas cards and the letters with them. I love the Shepherd´s hill one and the "O Come Let Us Adore Him". They´re gorgeous. Thank you.
It´s a cell phone - land lines are really expensive here and it´s a cell phone. I hope that it doesn´t get too expensive. We have 40 minutes to talk, so...And you´re calling me at 11:30, right? I´m not allowed to call you, you´re calling me. Just a reminder.
The mosquito bites on my legs are from Ribera. They´re not scars, but they´re close. I had a really bad habit of scratching them. And I do have bug spray and I use it occasionally. I know I don´t want to get sick and you don´t want me sick, either, but sometimes we´re running out the door in the morning. And they´re arent´really mosquitos here - just flies that bite you. :)
It took us 5 hours to get to Solola from changes. It was fun and pretty.
Hermana Peterson is fantastic. She´s a hard worker and helps me with my Spanish. She didn´t really understand Spanish her first few months, so she understands. She says my Spanish is really good and that "I´ll be fluent and everything" by the end of my mission. That was nice to hear. But my grammar isn´t that great, so she´s helping me with that. And we´re hoping and praying that we can work more in our area and help more people to listen and to hear the Gospel. We´re working hard and trying to improve our relationship with the members to work with them more.

We go to church in a chapel above (geographically) a school - La Justo Refino. It´s a chapel for our branch in Solola 2. The Zone Leaders are in Solola 1. Our branch has about 150 members that attend each Sunday, but there aren´t enough men in the branch to be a ward. 
We have a cook and someone to do our laundry, but we do our garments ourselves. And we have a shower, but we only have water from 7 in the morning to about 1 in the afternoon. And it´s freezing water. But I love it - it´s a new, fun part of the adventure called "The Mission". :)
Yeah, our area is comparable to San Francisco, pretty much. Hermana Peterson goes a little bit slower for me when we go up the hills. It´s fun. And I am very grateful that I played tuba for 7 years. If not, I probably wouldn´t be able to breathe during the day. The areas around, though, are quite flat. It kind of looks like Brentwood before all the stores and stuff were out there. It´s flat with a lot of corn and a few houses and tiendas (stores - like small mini-marts in gas stations).
The "truck-taxis" are called "fletes" and are really fun. You feel like a dog who stuck his head out of the window of a car. It´s really fun. And I haven´t seen anyone been hit by a car. It probably happens, but I haven´t seen it. And in our area (the top part of Solola), we can see the lake for most of the time.
Yesterday, for P-Day, we went to a members house and cooked fried chicken and funeral potatoes on a stove. It was REALLY good. And it´s also good to know that we can make funeral potatoes on a stove. We´re going to try to make chicken cordon bleu for Christmas, but we´ll see how well that goes.
That´s nice about catching up with the Maltesters and with the Crespos. It´s good to hear about them.
We contacted a gringo in a bus the other dayy - it was so hard to contact in English. He´s looking for a job here in Guatemala and he´s living in Honduras. He wants to to humanitarian stuff and he doesn´t know what he´s doing with his life. We tried to get his address, but he said, "I don´t do the whole Jesus thing". It was so hard - we knew that this message could help him so much if only he´d listen. But, we planted a seed and that´s what matters.  
This week I´ve been studying the Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi. I just finished and I kind of laughed when Nephi said, "I delight in plainnes". I guess I´m still working on the plain and clear part of the Isaiah chapters. Some things stuck out to me this time (like how Isaiah´s writings are poetry - they´re gorgeous) and a lot about Christ and how everything points to Christ and His purpose as a Redeemer for all of us. We´re teaching a lot about the Savior at this time of year and I love it. I love that when we teach about Christ´s birth, we´re able to talk about the Atonement and His purpose in the earth and all of it. It all works and ties in together. I love this Gospel and I´m so grateful that I get to teach people about it for the next part of my life.
I love you, mom! I hope everything is going well! Don´t do all of the Christmas decorations yourself - ask Jen or Jenna for help! I love you!
Con MUCHO amor,
Hermana Pumpkin Conover

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