Wednesday, February 27, 2013

#12 [Azua - 8] Feb. 25th, 2013

Thanks for the Email :)

Answers to your questions –
•    The wedding nor the baptism took place. The wedding because S... just got up and left for a few days, and didn't return until the day after the wedding. A... didn't even know where he went. I think they are having problems with their marriage. But yeah, they are still not married. Also, with the baptism that was supposed to take place–we rescheduled it so her family could come. So it was supposed to be this week, but then we called her today, and she said that her mom is not going to let her get baptized because she was already baptized as a Catholic.... UGH! So...we have to work with her. Ugh, ugh, so frustrating. Also, all of our other baptisms are failing, too. They don't come to church, or their spouses don't want them to get baptized. I really thought that this mission would see baptisms left and right, but the people here are SOOOOOO difficult. They only believe in Catholicism. But, we are still working. Remember K...?, the boy who is progressing really fast? Well, he is still progressing, and he knows the church is true- but is super hesitant to do anything about it. He won't even admit that it is true. I think he wants more of a sign than the peaceful feelings he gets from church and when we talk to him. We'll still work with him though. Patience is key with him.
•    About the food. I think we can find most everything we need. I have not found bbq sauce though. But most everything else can be found in the supermarket.
•    Umm...we get 3870 pesos every 15 days. Which is...I don't know. I don't wanna do the math, but it is enough. Speaking of money–I took out 1000 pesos from my checking account last week, if you noticed.

I only have a few random things to tell you this week.
    - I started reading Jesus the Christ yesterday. It is a toughie. We'll see if I ever finish it.
    - We always start our lessons with a hymn. They love hearing us sing, so it is good. But the other day, we were teaching to like, 6 guys and one lady, and after we were done, they all started to clap. It was super super awkward. We didn't know what to do. I hope that never happens again!
    - They built a pizza place recently, so we decided to go check it out. It is a super small place, and it is actually a bar.. so we had to be careful when we ordered pizza. We ordered it to go and ate it at home. It tasted so good! REAL FOOD! Too bad it is a bar though; otherwise I would go to eat there more often.
       - We are learning a little bit of Haitian; that is fun. A lot of people here speak it, and we learn from a few investigators. We teach them a bit of English, they teach us Haitian. :)
    - A guy here named F... is in love with HG. We were in a lesson the other day, and he was like, "just look at the beauty of her," and when I told him that she had a boyfriend, he said "I will fight for you. I will wait for you. We will end up together. I am so in love with you." And it was the first time that I kinda exploded at an investigator. It was also the first time that I have spoken fluent Spanish. But I pretty much told him that he couldn't be acting like that and that he needs to knock it off, and that she has a boyfriend and is not interested in him and all sorts of stuff. I was pretty furious, but I tried not to show it. It made it worse that HG didn't say anything. If I didn't know better, I would think that she likes him as well. I think she likes that attention though because usually I get the attention and the men in love with me. So having him is flattering to her or something, but yeah; I don't think we will be teaching him anymore.
    -We met a family the other day, and I like them. There is a girl there named A.... She is 14. I told her about Heather, and she wanted her to write to her, and then she wanted to be Facebook friends. So Heather, if a girl named A... adds you, accept her. She is a doll. She thought I was 15; it was flattering. People here give me weird looks when I tell them I am 21. Apparently I look 12.

Well, I think that is all. I don't have other pictures to send–which is a first. Also a first, I got no mail for the first time this last week. It was tough. Maybe that is why the week was so terrible. It was seriously a terrible week. But hey, they can't all be great, right?

Oh yeah, we have zone conference tomorrow. I am looking forward to that. Luckily it is in our chapel. :) Well, I should go. I am going to Email the president and such. I love you all! Thank you for your continual support and for your prayers. I know the church is true. I am so thankful for the Book of Mormon. I love that book. I find it so interesting. I love reading it and learning how to improve my life. I know it is a true book and that we can draw closer to God and His will by reading it. I hope you are all reading it personally and still as a family, and having family prayer. I miss those times, so cherish them :)

Love you forever,

Hermana Erickson

Talk to you next week!!!! oxoxox

Thursday, February 21, 2013

#11 [Azua - 7] Feb. 18th, 2013

Dear mom and family,

First off, thank you very much for the package!!! I got it RIGHT ON VALENTINE’S DAY!! Can you believe that? How awesome. It was probably the best Valentine's day that I have ever had! (It even beats the time when C... gave me that huge bear... haha) But, I will tell you about it in a few minutes, deal? Ok, great.

But I have almost eaten all of the candy. I eat one, and then I just eat another, and pretty soon, the bag is almost empty! An open bag is an empty bag, :( but it's for the best. I will probably get cavities and fat if you send me any more. :) Everything arrived safely in the package. I just can't believe that you spent $50 sending it! That's disgusting... I must be loved or something. :)

I am happy that you got my letters!!!!! Who knew? I was just thinking about those actually. Sad that the leaves didn't turn out, but oh well. They were free.

I miss the mountains with snow. I see the mountains here all the time, but they are so bare; no snow, just green. They're pretty, but not the same. :( Bummer, I am guessing that there is still a lot of snow there? I don’t miss the snow. I was never really a fan. The snow just made me cold and wet. It's pretty, but the sun is pretty, too. I'm sure I'll miss the snow in a year or so though.

:) I love you very much. I am thankful for your Emails, no matter how short they may be. I always have stuff to tell you, even if there is nothing going on at the house :) so yeah. Speaking of that, I will now tell you about life here, and my many adventures. :)

So the water came on, luckily. We have restocked our supply, and we now have plenty. This was the first Monday that we have had water in a few weeks, so it was great to be able to do laundry :) – happy times.

I am getting so dark. The coverup we bought (Natural Buff :) haha, now matches. I remember buying it and saying, "We better buy it a little darker, since I will get so tan." or something like that. Pretty soon, it will probably be too light for me! It's crazy. I don't feel like I am getting any darker, but every time I move my shirt, I see the truth. I am almost black. It's odd, the guys here always wear sweatshirts-they hide from the sun and try to stay as light as possible. They wear the hottest clothes-in the hottest weather! It makes no sense. I would never wear a sweatshirt in this weather.

Ok. So valentine's day we woke up and made heart pancakes. They mainly looked like bums, but we pretended they were hearts. :) The road outside our house got paved, so now we can walk on it! It looks so much better! Definitely less ghetto. There is still trash everywhere, but for V-day it looked nice :) also, we gave a BOM to K.... He's progressing so fast. I can't even tell you how excited I am for him. I am excited for the other investigators, too. But I found him, and I have seen him progress. The others we’re teaching are the ones that Herm G found with her other comp, so it's different. But that was really happy to see him get excited about reading it :) :) Another good thing happened. The divorcement paper for S... and A... came! On Valentine's day!, how special. They said that they would for sure go to church and for sure get baptized now. So we were excited, but then, they didn't come to church.. so... that was disappointing. We are going to drop them if they don't come next Sunday. Their wedding is on Friday, and we are allowed to go, so we're pumped about that, but yeah. And then on top of all that good stuff, I got a package in the mail from my favorite people ever-my family!! :) :) :) Thank you for your heart shaped letters. :) I really loved them, and I hung the R up in my room. :)

The next day, we had a zone conference. They announced our temple trip. They said we were scheduled to go on the 8th of March....... so...... I will have to talk to the pres. or something, because that gave me mixed signals. I will keep you updated about that. They also announced that the pres. wanted us to have a small devotional as a district at 6:30 in the morning-every morning...which is silly because all 3 of the comp-ships in our district live in different places (the others mostly live together...) and so we have to call and sing a hymn and share a scripture and pray over the phone. The first time we did it, we were all just laughing pretty hard, and it was funny. No one likes it, but we do it because we have faith that the pres. was inspired to do it. Apparently it is supposed to make us more unified :)

Random things :
    •    I let an elder borrow my flashlight, and it came back not working. So I will send that home. I think the batteries ran out :(  super sad. I will just buy one from here.
    •    The language is coming along. Sometimes I just have to look at H. Gamez and see how she is responding, because they still talk super fast, but I am catching on pretty well.
    •    People still assume that I am incompetent. They just point to me and ask HG if I know any Spanish. It's annoying. And then whenever I try to speak, they interrupt me and try to guess what I am going to say. They don't give me a chance to prove to them that I can speak. Haha, it's ridiculous.
    •    The motorcyclists always text and drive, which I find scary.
    •    Today at the market, I was walking along, and a guy stops dead in his tracks, and watches me walk by. Then he says, (in Spanish) "God sure blessed you... wow... take it easy, beautiful." Haha it was funny. I love hearing all of the silly things that guys tell me. I don't know if I will miss it in America though... we'll see :)
    •    Living with HG is pretty great. It's only awkward when she just smiles at me for no reason. I never really know how to react.

Well, I think that is all that I have to say. We're working hard, and getting blessed for it. I am so happy to be here and to be serving my Heavenly Father. For our English class, they wanted me to pray in English, and I had a hard time. I guess that is a good thing. I remember when Jeff came back and we did scripture study and had him say the prayer and he couldn't :) made me think of that. But yeah, I am being blessed. I hope all is well at the house, and that the kiddos are behaving. I am grateful for the gospel and the influence it has had in my life. I never realized that it had such a hold on my life until I saw people who don't have it, and how they live. I know that when we really apply the gospel into our lives that it can change us and make us better :)

Keep being awesome! Love you infinitely :)

-Hermana Erickson :) :) As always, I will send pictures :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

#10 [Azua - 6] Feb. 11th, 2013


First off, I want to wish Happy Birthday to LAUREN and KASHA! Louie's is tomorrow (the big 21!) and Kasha's is the 15th (22.... old fart.) haha I hope they have a great day. I am happy to hear that Lou got my letter. Please keep me updated about Cole's mission call. Lucky that they are in Disneyland. Oh well, I went earlier :)

I took a picture with a Pennsylvania license plate today- it's rare to see those here! :) :) haha, so I had to take a picture!

Here are your questions:
Any more thoughts about teaching English classes? We actually had about 15 people show up this week! We were going to cancel it if no one came, but they announced it in church last week, so a few members came, and then a few investigators came. It was great. We are making them bring friends for next time though. But thank goodness it turned out better than the week before. It dampened our spirits when no one showed up!

Any water changes?
Well, we ended up getting water on Tuesday, but it was all dirty! ugh. But at least we had water... now, we do not have any water. Our reserves are almost completely dry. We will try to find some place to buy water, so wish us luck! The neighbor will probably sell some of his - he has some.

Any luck with doing laundry? Where is that febreze when you need it?
Haha right?! No febreze. Luckily, my clothes don't smell bad... haha... but seriously. And we decided to do some laundry on Wednesday? or Thursday. We thought the water would clear up, and it did a little, but it still wasn't super clean. We did laundry anyways. Not much we can really do about it. Also, we showered in the dirty water... but used soap, so it cleaned it :) haha

Are you able to print things off while at the Internet café or would it be better to send them via post? I will try to accomplish that task this week. Thank you. I think we can print things out here. I am actually positive that we can, so Email is fine. I just have to remember to print them. We went to a member's house yesterday, and she showed us how to cook really delicious rice and chicken. She let us take it home to eat, but I got the recipe, so I will be making that when I arrive home. (In almost 16 months! Tomorrow is month 2! Crazy.), but yeah. Whenever there is a pause in a conversation I like to ask their favorite food, and how to cook it. I want to be able to cook Dominican foods!! :) :), so that is a goal I have. Also, we are perfecting the recipes that we know. :)

We pray that the work is moving along. Is A..'s sister still interested in being baptized?
•    Thank you for your prayers - we need them. None of our investigators ever come to church... it is very frustrating. We think she is. She didn't show up to our appointment the other day, but we suspect that she is. We want to give A... a date on Wednesday - when we meet with him again :)
•    E...- she is 20- is getting baptized the 23rd of this month. We are very excited. As long as she goes to church the next two weeks, she can get baptized. I hope she does. She goes to school in SD, and comes back on the weekends, so sometimes she misses, but she tries not to. :) Pray for her!! :)
•    S... and A.... ugh! Still don't come, and they promise, so it is so annoying. We've tried everything. We are thinking that it is just not their time, and that we have done all that we can do for them.
•    J... the ice cream man is doing great. He's so great. He really wants to get baptized with his granddaughter- so they can support each other. We are working with the elders so they can be baptized together :)
•    A... is the newest- we don't think his wife is really interested, so whenever we pass by and ask her to tell him we did, she doesn't. He didn't come to church because he was sleeping, and his wife didn't wake him up. So... yeah. Struggles.
•    I... and her family are... alright. We didn't get to meet with them at all. They weren't home every single time we went... but we hope they are there tomorrow. Today is I..'s 18th birthday. (In other Emails, I said she was 20, but she is 17 - now 18.) Hopefully they can progress as a family.
•    Last, we have K.... He is 19, and reminds me so much of Dave. His smile is the same, it's weird. I always like being with K... though, he's super great. His little sister, A..., came to church last week, and he came this week! It was cool, because when we first met him, he said that he didn't want to come to church ever, and then this last time we talked, he totally wanted to. Ah, he's great. We meet with him on T/TH. They loved it when we showed them all of the temples. They want to get married in a temple :) We are really excited to keep working with him though.

Other than that, no one else is really progressing. We had to drop a lot of people this week- the people here just love to hear about God, and they don't really care about which religion they are, because it is all the same God. So, that is tough to convince them that religion matters. Any suggestions?

Also, Happy Valentine's Day on Thursday! Make sure to buy lots of old candy on Kasha's birthday! :) haha. That's what we always did in college. :) hehe. But speaking of Valentine's day, we ordered a cake to be made, so we will be celebrating. We ordered it from the bakery that we got the tour of last week. We are all pretty good friends there. One of the guys is so hilarious; he always tries to speak English to me, and he always tells me that I am the prettiest girl he's ever seen and such. The other day, when he saw me, he kneeled down and started blowing kisses... and then he was like, "If I had a wife like that, I would never let her go outside." Haha, what a nice fellow. I don't know his name, but when he delivers the cake, I will ask him. I will probably get a picture of him as well. Funny... the bakery isn't in our area, so we don't see him lots, but he has learned my name. He makes me happy even though it is SUPER awkward :)

HG was sharpening one of our knives the other day, and she was sawing it on the sharpening device thing. I am pretty sure that is not how it's done, right? Pretty sure you don't do that – haha :)

Well, I think that is about all that I have to write about. Not much is happening here. We had transfers last night, and I am pretty sure that we are staying here–they never told us otherwise. :)

I love you all and wish you the happiest week :) Thank you for your support and prayers :) :)

Love you forever!
Hermana Erickson :

Monday, February 4, 2013

Rachel #9 [Azua - 5] February 4th, 2013

There are dogs everywhere here! They don’t attack me, but they are prevalent. Oh well. They don't bother me at all.

Also, none of our investigators are really following through. It is the most annoying thing in the world. But such is life. If I could chew them out in English, I would, but I don't know the words in Spanish to give them a boche. (Spanish word for getting chewed out haha.)

OK, SO a couple things happened here in the DR this week. First off. The pink net and fan were given to me by the mission office. But I have to pay for them, so they weren't free. :( Darn, and yeah. I really appreciate the fan. It gets so hot at night!

Oh! So we had a brilliant idea to teach English classes for the people here - to find them and such, and so we went around to like, 100 people and just told them about it. They were all like, "Oh, the church is cool, but ENGLISH CLASSES? now that is something useful." haha but yeah. We had it on Saturday, and NOT A SOUL showed up. We were expecting at least one, but no. It was kinda disappointing.

HAHA – so I was typing about the power outage that we had the other night, and right after I typed it, the power went out here!!! It was super creepy. So, hopefully the lights stay on now. haha :) When the lights were out the other day, we were able to sit on the roof before planning, because we couldn't be out in the pitch black. So we went home and pondered about God's creations. :)

Oh also, there is huge drought here in Azua. There is no water, so we can't do laundry. So, we are all praying that there is water and that the pipes get fixed. We will see, but that is fun.

The other day, we were walking, and my knee randomly gave out! Like, it hyper-extended, and hurt super bad. But I didn't let it stop me, and the pain is now gone. It only lasted a few days. It was...odd.

OH! does Kasha get these emails? If yes, then this is for her. If no, send this part to her. Last night, we were in the apartment, just cooking dinner and such, and all of the sudden, I hear a tune. It was a familiar tune, one that we both know and hold dear to our hearts. Then I started singing. "Every night in my dreams, I see you. I FEEL YOU! That is how I know you.. go on! NEAR, FAR, WHERE EVER YOU ARE!!!" Yes, they were playing it on the loud speakers! Oh man, it made me so happy and it made me miss you. Ps, you should probably write me a letter. You wrote more letters to Kelton than you have to me, and I am your favorite cousin on your dad's side, that is a girl, that was born in the same year as you. :)

I was also told that I will probably be training for my entire mission.. so.. that is exciting. I might be keeping this same schedule. But, I will be happy to train.

With our investigators - they are being dumb, and it drives me nuts! We are trying. We have another date - his name is Antonio. He has been studying Gospel Principles for over 15 years, and he is definitely prepared. I am excited for him. Samuel and Ana haven't come to church, and Jose is progressing. Also, Argeli and Izy are progressing. Argeli's little sister that always made fun of him for wanting to be baptized randomly came up to us and said she wanted to be baptized.. and she was being serious! So...that was a blessing. We are going to work with her. Right now, we have A LOT of investigators-they are filling up. We already have all of our plans for next week... so.. yeah, BUSY BUSY.

Other than that, the work is progressing. I am doing well, and my Spanish is still.. alright. I don't know.

Until next week,
Hermana Rachel Erickson :)

ps, OH! We had the opportunity to go to our favorite bread factory and see how the pan de paso is made (raisin bread-it's not raisin-there is just a raisin on top. They are the best rolls. Kinda like Shirley's.) But they let us help make them, and it was SUPER fun and way hot. We didn't take pictures, because we were right in there, rolling rolls and putting raisins on top. They were making fun of me, but I am used to it :) haha. I love it here. They are all so nice to me, and they are just so open and willing. Also, we got the recipe for the rolls. But they gave it to us like this: 50 lbs of flour, 5 lbs of sugar.... so.. we will have to do some math to figure out how to only make a few, haha.

Love you all!!!
Have a good Black History Month! :)
-Herm. Erickson