The other news is that we lost power, which isn't unusual. But we found out it is going to be out at the church and our apartment for about twenty days...so that is kind of rough. And just the church building, that is the funny thing. Everyone else that normally has power has it. That means no fridge or fans or anything. I guess I am a real mountain Elder now! We do have flashlights, but we have to be careful how much we use them. Thankfully we still have water, and they gave us filters in the CCM. If not, I'm not sure what we would do. Luckily we can boil stuff because we have a gas-powered stove. It is always cold showers, so that hasn't changed. One thing I miss a little bit is taking a warm shower, but I guess it is all part of the adventure! No power also makes teaching the Primary class different because we can't use the Kekchi videos. Last sunday we tried to teach English but it didn't really work...so we will have to get creative, haha.
We are still waiting on Jose´s paperwork and haven't been able to find that guy that lives up the mountain. I've been practicing piano, I can't remember if I told you, but I will be playing at District Conference (the basic equivalent to Stake Conference) this Sunday so we will see how that goes. I think I am scheduled to play "Come Thou Fount," "I Know that my Redeemer Lives," "Joseph Smith's First Prayer," a song I can't remember the title for in English - only Kekchi - called "At Xdios Isreal," and two Christmas songs. It will be good I think, I'm just glad there isn't too much pressure on me.
My companion and I are doing pretty well, the parasites kind of come and go. I've been getting a little nervous about transfers. They are around December first I think. I am probably going to get changed... everyone says once you go Kekchi speaking you will probably stay there, just because it is so much work to learn. I think there are somewhere between 16-20 Kekchi speaking areas and two missionaries for every area or something like that. Some people stay in the same District for their whole mission. It is almost guaranteed I will be in the Polochic mountains my whole mission unless I am made a District Leader, Zone Leader or Assistant to the President, or ask to get taken out. It is possible my companion will go and I will stay in this area, but they say that is not very likely. I will be done being trained next change, so anything could happen. I really just hope I get one more change in Santo Domingo after this one, but probably not. I know some of the missionaries who served in Chelan stayed as long as 8 months, but it sounds like it is all up in the air with our President. Some guys have done four changes together and others just one, so I have no clue.
For Dia de los Muertos, I thought they were going to do a big celebration, but as far as I saw nothing happened where we are, just everything was closed. We ended up not going to El Estor this week, and we might end up going to a waterfall next week instead of El Estor, so we will see what happens with that. Mom asked about my money, its doing good, if I ever need to take anything out my American debit card works fine on these machines here. So far, I've been fine with what I get from the mission. We get about 2000 qetz. per month, which is roughly 260 dollars I think? It goes to pay for transportation (we ride in buses, taxis and the back of trucks; taxis are most expensive, then buses, then trucks; trucks are cheap, so that is what we mostly use), food, internet, clothing repairs, letters - the usual missionary stuff. I somehow always manage to go through it, though I don't know how, because there's nothing to buy in my area!
Dad asked what my highs and lows are. I really like just being in our area with my companion. The area is just kind of out on its own and not super crowded like the valley areas here, and there are mountains. I think having the companion I have helps too, he just kind of makes it always fun. We just joke around a lot. We talk about sports, share stories about our friends and girls and what we need to do in our area. It is just kind of like being with Jared or Charlye or something like that, he is easy to get along with. And what I dread most...probably Kekchi study, just because it is so frustrating. I seem to be able to follow a conversation ok, I just cant say anything. And I can only really follow if the conversation is Gospel related. I guess I can have very very basic conversations, but that's about it. My companion understands just about everything, but pretty much everyone out here is constantly learning, except for a few people that are like crazy good. The CCM had a Kekchi program when I was in there but there were only two Elders in it. They were the first two Elders to ever go through it. Rumor has it, now they have eight that are going to come in the next change. Two Americans who were fluent in Spanish already and then 6 Latinos. All of us are really jealous of them haha, they will already know more Kekchi than me when they get out here. I am getting a little frustrated with the language, but I know that it will come with time and prayer.
Dad also asked if there is anything I would do differently to prepare now that I have been out in the field for a couple of months. I would just say know my scriptures better, because that is what I spent a lot of CCM time on, when I probably should have focused on language study more. I am pretty woefully unprepared I feel like haha. (Editor's note - this is pretty amazing, because Joe was very diligent about reading his scriptures for both church and seminary assignments and independently.)
For scripture study, I've been reading in Nephi in three different languages. My spiritual thought this week is about how the Lord will try us, but not above what we are able to bear with His help. This was a pretty rough week, what with losing power, trouble connecting with people, and whatnot, but at the end of the week the Lord provided us with a baptism. That just goes to show that the Lord is never going to leave us hanging if we are just patient and have faith.
Mom, my gratitude this week is the baptism of Eguanio!
It is crazy how fast time is already going. I already have under twenty months left! I don't think I want it to go this fast, haha. Well, I love all of you!
Love, Elder Toolson