First Area – October 7, 2014


Elder Schafer with President and Sister Markham

There´s so much… And so little time. I´m trying to write down as much as I can in my journal so I can share more of it. All I have going through my head is random. So I´ll just kind of ramble this first email.

This mission is a special mission. Just about all of the missionaries are exactly obedient. Some of them are annoying in their strictness. I got lucky with my companion, his name is Elder H, from the states. Yep, a gringo.

We have to contact 35 people a day, with 10 of those being families. There are also rules about the amount of time we can spent with members, and also, we don´t take an hour for dinner. But, I hope that doesn´t sound bad. I like the idea of us striving to do our best. I´ll be working alot.

We do get some tender mercies; my area is on the coast. It´s hot in the day, and it usually pours rain in the afternoon or evening. Yesterday we were out in the rain, and we passed a home. My companion was following the spirit, and we turned around and went to the door. The family let us in. It turned out to be a single mother who was baptized about 20 years ago, and has several daughters. We´re going to try and reactivate the mother and baptize the daughters.

The place I live isn´t very nice. The house is rather dank, and we have rats, cockroaches, and mold… And our microwave broke this week. But it´s alright. I can do anything now.

What else? We can´t go hiking for district p-days. My companion says they used to be able to, but then a group of elders was hiking on a live volcano, and one lost an arm somehow. He didn´t elaborate. But anyways, now there´s a rule about that.

Okay… let me try to describe the neighborhood and my area. I´m in a ´colonia’ of Santa Lucia, called Las Delicias. Our area is actually pretty small, which is nice. We still basically hike around most of the day. My legs are always sore. We´ll see how long my first pair of shoes last. The insoles are a blessing, thanks Dad.

first area map

We have two long avenidas, running north and south. The streets are numbered like in Utah. Then we have about 10 calles running through a avenidas east and west. Within those blocks are several alleys and deadends. All of the buildings here are connected, so a block is like a long wall. But the buildings are mostly one story. Look up pictures online. About every block is a tienda or a panaderia, and everything is dirt cheap; like you can buy a bolsa de agua pura, bottled water,  for the equivalent of 7cents USD. So while we don´t have an hour for dinner, we can basically get a snack whenever. The streets are strewn with garbage, so when you finish your snack you ´let it fall from you. ´It´s interesting, the people displace responsibility with the way they say things, so you didn´t drop it, it just ´fell from you.´

About my Spanish; I understand most things, even if I don´t know the exact meaning of the words. My companion also had a gringo trainer, and he doesn´t seem too concerned about my Spanish. So I´m going to keep listening and practicing.

Yesterday we had a district p-day. We went to the church and watched some gospel movies, and then played football and basketball as a district. Also, although we can´t take too long in the house of a member, when we are there they can give us food. So if we come over for a short family home evening with an investigator, we usually get fed. And we do get to take an hour for lunch. I think today we´re going as a district to McDonalds. We don´t eat out everyday, but it´s nice to be able to once in a while.

I think as I continue to adjust I´ll continue to get more comfortable and happy. Like in the CCM, by week six, we knew the place up and down and had it all figured out. I just need some time to do that here. This is exactly where I need to be at this point in my life, and I´d feel out of place anywhere else.

Well… I have about ten minutes left. One of the rules of the mission is ¨úrgencia en todos las cosas.¨ So I guess I did well with that right now. We do have fun, and the days have started to blur together. The time feels much faster out here in the field than it did in the CCM. To sum up my week; it really has been good. I´ve felt worse and more tired than this. And it´s nice to be working.

I need to go. I love you. By the way, I will probably never eat armadillo. The food here is really good. I haven´t had anything I haven´t liked yet.

Elder Dreyton Schafer