Hi mom! I'm doing awesome right now. I'm having a great time here. My area is called villa tesei. My comp is elder ortolano. He's a great trainer. He's from Brazil but lives in Canada now so he speaks Portuguese and English. When he speaks Spanish here he has an accent so people always ask him where he's from. It's a little bit scary here but I'm okay with it. I haven't been robbed yet but we have an area that could definitely be good for getting robbed. It is really hot here and I've been sweating a lot, but it really helps when you don't drink any water throughout the day. We pretty much have to rely on luck and the kindness of people to get water or soda. We get mostly soda though because we can't drink the tap water here. I try to drink more water but none is readily available. I have to make one bottle of water last for an entire day. We have water at the apartment but if we run out then we have to boil some of the tap water. But its all good. I pretty much only eat during lunch because we have no food at the apartment and I'm to tired when I get home to make anything. But the food is great here. They have very good fruit and soda. Anyway, it's hard but awesome! We ARE going shopping today though, so I'll get some food for the apartment.
The people here are really funny. Everyone is really nice. They always try talking to me but I don't understand them so I just smile and shrugg my shoulders and look at my comp. Then they say something like "he doesn't understand?" and my comps like "yah". And then they just laugh. They call americans here gringos or yankee (but they pronounce it more like "shonky"). The spanish is hard of course. I can either, barely follow a conversation or not at all, but I've been told I can speak it well when I know what I'm supoose to say, so I guess that's good. I'm in a suburb like area most of the time. People ask me how tall I am every now and then and then they laugh when I tell them (I guess being tall is funny). Also, people are always asking me what spanish words are in english. Like how do you say "play ball" "kleets" "girlfriend" "best in the world" random stuff, haha. I tell them and they laugh (are you sensing a "laughing" trend?) And for some reason people are always using english words around me and then I laugh and try to get them to say more but they just look at me confused (this is my pathetic attempt to let them see what it feels like to be in my shoes, I cherish these moments).
There's actually one youth in the ward who is as tall as me. His name is alan. He's really cool. Yesterday we had a lesson with some columbians and they were having an uproarious time measuring themselves next to me. That was the lesson that some girl asked me how to say "girlfriend" in english (not at all subtle)! Me and elder ortolano got out there real quick.
So, this is my first area of my mission and it is.....something. yep! sure something. New sights, new sounds, and new smells. I almost got into a crash getting to my apartment on day one. People here are very offensive drivers and if the bad tap water doesn't get me, it'll be a grandma in a volkswagon! Also, I think everyone takes the mufflers off their cars and adds train horns. And they really like driving at about the time that we go to bed. Did I mention it's very hot? But I like it here. Lots of people wear american shirts but they don't even know what it says on them or they just don't wear a shirt at all. People here always say the same chiste (joke) when they see my name. "Oh, elder porter, elder harry porter". I laugh at the joke every time though because that's usually the only part I understood in the entire five minutes they've been talking to me. So, yah, the language is hard, of course. It comes and goes based on the person I'm talking to. Which I'm actually kind of grateful for because I've been trying to be more humble since I first entered the mtc and having no ability to talk to people gives me the perfect opportunity to rely heavily on the assistance of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. I know that relying on the spirit to help me speak is a test of faith and a witness doesn't come until after the trial of your faith. So I've been able to speak mas or menos because I just opened my mouth and spoke and I know God helped me at those times.
On my way to the airport there was a train worker who came to the missionaries and shared some words of wisdom. He told us "that the Lord is with us wherever we go and that the church is true because if it wasn't then the missionaries would have destroyed it a long time ago". And that is as true, as it is hilarious. The first part especially is true. I was reading in Isaiah during personal study one time and I read Isaiah 49: 15-16. There is a part in verse 16 that I love. If I remember correctly it says "yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands". I find it very comforting to read that personally, because being out here in another country, living with four guys I've never met before, speaking a language that seems to change everyday and sharing personal testimony to people who seem all to willing to look at anything else but me, can be and has been, tiring already and anxiety inducing. But I can't allow these thoughts and feelings to grow and become stronger because they will cause actions to occur, if circumstance allows; Selfish actions or lazy actions. So in a frantic scurry to motivate myself I was desperately searching for these motivating scriptures and I was blessed to find that scripture in Isaiah and it has helped tremendously. Another thing that helps me is remembering something that president eyring said once. Which was that whenever he starts to feel tired or selfish, he remembers how Jesus Christ was never to tired to do good. Even after the pain and agony He suffered in the garden of gethsemane and the great price He paid for it, He still healed the ear of that man who came to take him away to be crucified.
le amo este la Evangelio y yo estoy muy agradecido por los muchos oportunidades he tenido para enseñar mis hermanos y mis hermanas. yo se que los escrituras son muy poderoso y que oraciones pueden contestado. love you guys. hope i was understandable...