Monday, October 21, 2013

I am becoming a Nica!

Hola familia!!
Can you believe I am already here in Nicaragua! aw man this place is crazy! So I am assigned to serve in Leon! wooohooo I was right! I absolutely LOVE Leon! My area is outside the heart of the city. It is called Coyolar. Okay there is so much to say and not enough time so I am just going to get straight in to it.

When I first got here it was totally culture shock and third-world poverty. But after three days I got adjusted and am loving it now! All of the buildings here are really colorful which I love. The trees are very green and they are everywhere. The houses here have either tile or dirt floors. I am lucky and live in such a nice house compared to others: I have a shower, tile floor, and two fans in our room! Talk about blessed. The food here is pretty good. My first meal was gross but ever since then I have been eating pretty good. Meals consist of usually chicken, rice, plantains, tortillas, and really good fruit juice. 

And if we are lucky, we get to have vegetables! 
The people here are very friendly. It is just the norm to go around saying hi so that is fun! In Coyolar, I am the only white person so everyone stares.Today for P-day we went to Leon and looked at all the beautiful cathedrals and I guess that area is really touristy so there were so many white people. It kinda freaked me out because I was not used to seeing white people. I am so lucky because Hermana Behan and Hawkins are in my zone so I get to see them twice to three times a week! I would die if I didn't see them weekly. It is like the only time I talk to people who can understand me. But you know how we were thinking it would be easy to convert others here? Yeah, well wrong. My area is apparently harder because everyone is Catholic and testigo. So that has been a challenge, but I am not letting it get me discouraged! 

It is soooo hot here. I have just gotten use to always being sweaty. And apparently right now is their winter! SAY WHAT. I don't know how it can get any hotter here. And I am already starting to get really weird tan lines but don't worry, I am putting on my sunscreen! Surprisingly, I haven't gotten any bug bites yet so I haven't really used my bug spray.

One thing that has been really hard is the language. I can’t understand anyone and no one can understand me. So there will be days when I have only said a couple things because my companion doesn't speak English and struggles to understand me and the people don't understand me when I speak in lessons. It had been really hard but I have relied on the Lord and he has helped me! I just have to be patient and know the language will come. So my companion is Hermana Mendez and she is from Guatemala. 

So, the drunk men here are loco. That is one thing I am grateful for about having a native comp is that she keeps me safe. So many men yell at me and whistle and blow kisses. I don't even wear makeup, wear my hair in a braid, wear ugly clothes, and they still whistle. I like try to look ugly so I don't attract attention. It’s just because I am white, tall and blonde. Luckily nothing bad has happened with the drunks. One guy grabbed my hand but I pulled it away and just walked away. The Savior has kept me safe! There are so many times where I have prayed that the drunk men at night wouldn't see me and they don't! That is one thing that I have learned, God protects his missionaries! For example, one night we were tracting and I just didn't have a good feeling. My comp asked me how I felt and she said she was feeling the same way so we both went home early. I don't know what was up but I know the spirit was protecting us. 

The rain storms here are crazyyyy. Like I have never been scared of rain until I got here. SO side note, it get darks here at like 6 and the street lights are very dim. One night we were trying to find the house of someone we found on the street. When we were looking, it started to rain. The rain here is insane! You are drenched in like a minute. The thunder shakes the ground and the lightning lights up the whole sky. So we are looking for this house in the rain and we finally think we found it. It was this sketchy shack in some little forest area off of the road. Well, we go up and knock on the door and suddenly every single light in Leon goes out because of the rain. I have never been this scared in a long time. My comp starts freaking out and yelling "we have to get out of here now!" Well, I can’t even see so I am yelling "I can’t see!" Luckily, I found her because of the flashes of lightning and we ran to a member’s house and stayed with them until the lights came back on which was an hour later. I felt like I was in some dramatic action movie. Well, after the storm was over, my comp said in the 7 months she has been here in Leon the lights have never gone out which says how crazy the storm was. Later that night, I was thinking about what happened and I realized something, she was yelling at me in Spanish and I was yelling in English. My comp knows no English but she understood me in that moment. I KNOW God gave us the gift of tongues in the moment. It was so amazing to see first hand the Lord’s hand in helping us. 

I have learned to rely on my Savior so much here. The Lord called me to do his work here in Leon and is not going to let me do it alone. He is here with me every second of the day, helping me and keeping me safe. Especially giving me comfort and strength. I couldn't do this work without him. I love the primary song, “If The Savior Stood Beside Me.” I have thought about this song a lot this week. Every time I am struggling or need to be lifted up, I think of the Savior walking next to me in the streets of Coyolar. I can feel he is there with me and is helping me preach his gospel! I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord and come closer to him.

I am sorry but I don't have any time let to write more! I will try to write more next week. I got 60 emails today! UM yeah def can’t respond to all of them. I will try to send pics too! This computer is old. Anyways, I love you all SOOOOO much!!! I hope you are all doing well! Have a wonderful week and rely on the Savior during times of needs! He is ALWAYS there! Love you so much!!

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Howell 

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