Monday, March 18, 2013

March 18, 2013 I'm in Caguas! There are Coquis!

My first view of Puerto Rico March 12, 2013
Well, I finally made it to Puerto Rico!  It was a hard transition from the CCM, BUT time goes on.  Okay.  Quick random happenings this week (since there's not a lot of time to go into too much detail about everything):

Hermanas Bean y Esquen
General info: My companion is Hna. Esquen, from Spain!  She's 23 and speaks a little bit of English.  It took a few days, but we're communicating alright, with A LOT of Spanglish, sign language, and BIG facial expressions! Haha THANK HEAVENS I know some ASL!   Haha We share the apartment with Hna. Sullivan (from my CCM District!!) and her companion (who has zero English and sometimes gets frustrated at us. . . because of our inability to communicate).  My companion is WONDERFUL and is very sweet. <3  :) 

 I'm getting used to the driving rules and style here in PR.  I'm gonna be starting a "blessing book" for everyday. 

I finally heard the little frogs – called Coquis – famous for their “singing” at night!  Instead of dead deer on the sides of the road, we have dead iguanas.  Everywhere. It's not a pretty sight.  And the language... I've let go of being careful with Spanish.  I'm just blabbing out whatever I can even if the grammar is COMPLETELY wrong, and the order isn't correct.  I'm just blurting out whatever, with as much confidence as I can muster, and amazingly, it's been well received.  I LOVE contacting and I can pray a little, bear my testimony and read. That's about it.  The language will be  slow going.

Okay, NOW onto how the days are going for me. :)

Mar 12:  The plane ride from the DR to Puerto Rico was 45 minutes.  We instantly met Pres. Alvarado, and then had a grand PASTA lunch at his (mansion of a) house.  We
had a VERY spiritual interview/talk at his house, just him and me.  He told me, "I feel something more different from you than the others, something I have never felt before.  You are supposed to be here, to do many things."  VERY powerful stuff like that. Whew.  With a lot of tears. We were both crying a little.

Mar 13:  LONG orientation at the Mission Office.  But it was good, and I paid attention to the overwhelming information about EVERYTHING.  That night, I had to drive to the new apartment in the dark, in unfamiliar territory, new car, new companion who could barely say, "Lef.  Ri.  Strai," as necessary directions to get to Caguas!  BOY, was I focused, praying ’til it hurt, and hoping I didn't run over any animals...! I was so grateful we made it there safely, as soon as I got into the apt, I cried.

Mar 14: Lunch at Burger King, cause I can't digest the weird-flavored food here yet.  Makes me sick instantly.  While at Burger King, I heard English and Spanish songs (including "Azul" the only fun Spanish song I know! Haha!)  There was a very nice- looking family nearby that I felt prompted to give a family pamphlet, too, so we did. :)  SO cool.  Later in the day, I was getting physically hurt from all the biking (we are in a bike and car area).  Around 6:30pm, we went to a member’s house: Hna.Garcia. THE NICEST woman ever!  Her children are all on missions or living in the states, her husband died a while ago, so it's just her and her little black dog.  She speaks English and helped me a lot that night. I was SUPER homesick and she comforted me VERY well.  She is so sweet. I'm grateful for her.

Mar 15:  We hermanas took over four hours for basic errands just cause of the lack of language.  HUGE language barrier.  VERY frustrating day. Both Hna Sullivan and I were in tears around dinner time.  Luckily though, the experienced and English-speaking Hermana Wilson came to visit us.  She’s kind of a trainer/supervisor. She has such a strong testimony!  She sat with us in our apartment bedroom, and listened to our complaints and strugglings, and shared her thoughts and feelings, and everything began to get better. She is amazing. WOW.  I'm SO grateful for her.

Mar 16:  Hna. Esquen and I visited with a middle-aged man who is a little slow, but very, very sweet.  We did a lot of contacting, and my confidence is gradually increasing.  But it goes up and down every other hour... Haha.  Oh the joy of a mission. :)
Around 4:30pm, Hna. Wilson left to go help train other new companionships.  She answered SO many questions for me. And before she left, she told me, "You can do it.  Like the Lion King, Remember who you are.  He lives in you.  Preach His gospel.  You can do it."   She is so amazing and very, very spiritually centered.  Around 6pm, Hna. Esquen and I visited the sweet, petite and lovable Hna. Lydia Silva. She adores me and I her!  She has 5 dogs, rents a house, and dreams of owning her own.  She needs to work some things out before she can get baptized.  While trying to drive home that night, we accidentally went up the WRONG way road!  It was funny afterwards.

Mar 17:  I LOVE church!  The members are so interested in new missionaries, and loved talking to me in both Spanish and English.  Haha.  A lot of them know English so it's helpful to learn from them what I can.  After Sacrament meeting, I ran into a couple, the Hunts.  They're from Utah, and they were visiting Caguas for their wedding anniversary because Bro. Hunt had served his mission here. :)  We talked for an hour, and it was very, very comforting.  He also showed me his pictures back in 1974!!  And his wife was SOO kind to me.  We really connected fast. It was a huge blessing to talk with them.  And Bro. Hunt told me that I will be able to read the language first, then speak it second, then understand it last.  It takes A LOT of time.  After church, we hermanas chased a gecko around the apartment ’til it finally got outside.  Imagine us yelping and running around.  Yes.  It was funny!! We made a weird lunch.  Spaghetti with Salsa Cheese Dip as the flavor... Haha.  It was bearable.  We visited a mom named Nesha.  I cried a little bit, bearing my testimony.  Luckily, she got the point of what I was saying. :)  Afterwards, we did TONS of contacts, for the rest of the day, with a member named Hna. Caraballo.  Very, very productive. :)  Met a lot of different people along the same street so that's easy!  :)  And I've memorized our cell phone number, to write on the back of handouts.
This is my study area in the apartment.

Mar 18: Happy B-day to my Aunt Kim! We cleaned the apartment/house (it's really a condo house), cleaned the car, and studied some.  :)  A new week begins!  I hope all is well.  I'll email next week!  I'll see about sending more pictures.  The computer we are using in the local library takes A VERY long time to load pictures. Love you!  I pray for you!  Keep yourselves out of trouble!  Love, Hna. Emily Bean

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