Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Day 1 in Oaxaca

So, I guess they changed P-day to today, so I get to write you again today!!  So the past 24 hours or so have been completely crazy!  We finished up training at the mission offices and then President Madsen assigned me my area and my companions!  My companions are named Elder Prieto and Elder Silvestre.  They are both native spanish speakers, and Elder Prieto is from mexico and Elder Silvestre is from Uruguay.  Yep, sorry, messed up in my last email.  Uruguay, not Uganda.  They're both nice guys who seem to be good missionaries.  I hope to get to know them better soon and learn a lot from them!  

So our area is unique, there are a couple smaller cities close to Oaxaca city that make up our area.  Our companionship's city is called Miahuatian, and its about 2ish hours away from Oaxaca city.  The other people in our district are in a city about 40 minutes away, so we have to travel all the time!  Today we took a bus and a taxi to our district meeting.  It has been fun to see so many parts of Oaxaca already!  

Now I'm going to be honest:  I pretty much have no idea what is going on most of the time.  Me and Elder Merrill, another american missionary who arrived the same day as me, are the only english speakers in my district.  Even if there were more english speakers in my district, it wouldn't help me much, because our companionship is the only set of missionaries in Miahuatian, 40 minutes away from anyone else!  Elder Prieto and Elder Silvestre were in a companionship before I arrived, and even though they try their best to talk to me and make me feel welcome, they still talk to each other in spanish a lot, and I don't really know what they are saying.  It is a totally new experience for me.  Don't get me wrong, I really love it here.  But I can tell that the next couple months are going to be difficult.  

Also, I'm going to have to get used to the apartment!  It is really small, and pretty dirty.  Our beds take up an entire room of the house, and there are only 2 rooms and 1 bathroom.  We wash our clothes in a bucket.  There is a clothes line that hangs above the other room of the house with clothes draped on it.  There are no closets to hang up our clothes, just one small bar for all 3 of us.  It is definitely unlike any place I have ever stayed in.

However, I couldn't ask for any more.  The other day I was saying my personal prayer, thanking God for my blessings.  In that moment I felt an immense feeling of gratitude.  I was so happy, I almost cried.  I knew that that feeling came from God.  It was such a tender mercy for me!  It made me realize that I have everything I could ever need.  Blessings were brought to my mind that I had never thought about before, and I felt so grateful for them.  

This experience really changed my perception about being grateful.  I finally understand that you shouldn't be any more grateful in times of hardship then you should be in times of great happiness.  You don't have to possess a lot of "things" to be grateful.  If you come unto God with a few things that you are grateful for, he will bring more of those things to your mind, until you are filled with gratitude.  I know that we are all so blessed, and if we give thanks to God he will fill us with joy and happiness.

Oh, and the food here is great!  We had tacos last night where they just had a big piece of meat hanging over a grill, and then then cut pieces off and put them into tacos.  So cool, and so good! 

Thats all I've got for this week.  Have a great thanksgiving, I love you all!

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