My area is called Santo Domingo; Polochic is the area of mountains that all the mountain Elders go to. (Editor's note: I found this information online at familyhumanitarian.org that I thought would be helpful: "Remote and lush, the Polochic Region is located in Central Guatemala between Coban and Lake Iasbel, an eight to nine hour bus ride from Guatemala City. The Mayan Q'eqchi are the predominate inhabitants of the Polochic Region. A majority speak Q'eqchi, a Mayan dialect that is one of Guatemala's 23 indigenous languages. The more educated also speak Spanish. About 77% live on less than $1 per day with scarce economic opportunities and limited government services. Schools are extremely basic with few resources and high student/ teacher ratios. Villagers suffer from malnutrition and parasites. The closest true hospital is three hours away. Despite the humble living conditions, the Q'eqchi people have a rich culture and community life. In spite of their circumstances, they are a happy people and want to give their children a better life.")
We are in a Branch of about 30 that attend regularly. Elder Helton and I are called to teach Primary every Sunday, so that is always a treat. We have 3 fechas (baptismal dates) so that is very exciting!
To answer your questions mom, yes, our apartment is part of the church. Every Sunday we come down from the mountain and stay with the District Leaders. LOTS of walking up and down mountains. I'm pretty sure I've already lost like ten pounds and have had to move down a belt loop. I haven't really found any foods I like haha. A lady in the ward does our laundry.
The Q'eqchi is coming along slowly but surely. I still haven't really been able to participate, but I memorized a simple testimony and copied down a prayer that I read off, so that is something! Everyone here has had to learn Q'eqchi in the field. My trainer is decent and there's another guy we hang out with a lot named Elder McEntee, he is super cool, he is just one transfer ahead of me so he is learning too. I don't know how many mountain Elders there are. There are no Sisters because it is kind of dangerous and hard and stuff.
My spiritual thought this week comes from Doctrine & Covenants, Section 122:5-9 "If thou art called to pass through tribulation... know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than He? Therefore, hold on thy way... for God shall be with you forever and ever." This is the section I always used in my church talks because it is a reminder that our afflictions are but a small moment and how the Lord will raise us up. There were some times this week that were frustrating because we would be teaching somebody, and my companion would translate a question, and I would have the answer, but I couldn't say it cause it was in Q'eqchi. It is those times when I get mad that I remember this scripture and it brings me comfort.
Well, I am doing great! There were some tough moments, but that is just fine. It wouldn't be a mission without them! I am still loving it here! I love you all!