I hope you are all in a loving mood today and that you are all doing well. I'm doing really well and am feeling el espíritu de amor here in Yalijux, or the musiq'ej re li rahok as I would say here. But don't worry it's a Christlike love, not a romancy type of love. Things are going really well for me and I am very happy right now. Haha I'm really grateful for all of your concern and your love that you always show me, but don't worry I am well taken care of in Yalijux. It's not near as bad as you think it is. We have running water from a spicket that we use to wash dishes and things like that and we have plastic bag type things to put over the holes in the shower so that the Q'eqchi' people don't see me showering. We also have a really good water filter that we use, so we get all the clean water that we want. The water is very cold and it's a generally cold place, but it's not bad at all. The first night I was really cold, but now I've adjusted and figured out how to keep warm at night and I haven't had any problems since. I bought gloves and a hat in Coban and they have been doing wonders for me.
As for the food, it's true that there's not a ton to buy from the stores where I'm at, mostly just ramen noodles, eggs, and beans, but every week I come down to Senahu to buy some groceries, so I can get things like pasta, jelly and bread for sandwiches, and pretty much anything I want. But if I only ate beans and eggs every day I would eat more than a lot of the people in my area eat. I've eaten a little bit with some people and so far I've had eggs, beans, avacado/ guacamole (avacado in q'eqchi' is "O". yep, just the vowel) and chile. Of course everything is eaten with corn tortillas. It's actually all been tasty and I haven't had anything really gross yet. (Although one family gave me something called an "ox" (osh) which was a weird and dry thing that I can't even really explain. It was kind of gross, but not too bad. So I really appreciate how concerned you guys are about me and I'm grateful for the packages you sent me and everything, but in all honesty things couldn't be better. I like living like the people do in Yalijux because I get more of a feel for how they live their lives and how much faith and courage all of the people have here. I might not have very many commodities and it's a lot different from living like we do in the states, but the Lord is literally giving me everything that I could ever want. I never was that big on camping, but I think when I get back I will be a lot more friendly to the idea, haha. So don't worry.
My area is such a special place and I am really happy there. The Lord is protecting and watching over me every day and I can feel Him giving me literal power and strength to keep working hard and doing what He wants me to do. The only real hard part about my area is getting there and getting to Senahu! It's pretty far away from Senahu. Every Sunday we go down to San Francisco where the wooden church is, and we sleep on chairs and hammocks and then catch a truck from there in the morning to Senahu. Sleeping in San Francisco is pretty painful haha. Sleeping on the chairs hurts my back (they're metal chairs, not the plastic ones, although there are 4 slightly cushioned ones.) and sleeping in a hammock hurts my collar bones and shoulders. But like I said, I'm grateful to the Lord for the things that I do have and there are a lot of people who sleep in worse conditions every night, so I can't complain.
Q'eqchi' is coming along really fast now that I'm only speaking Q'eqchi'. But I know that the Lord has truly blessed me so much since I didn't get all that much practice in Tucuru. It's still kind of hard to understand people sometimes. There are days when I feel like I understand everything and others where I have to have people repeat everything they say 2 or 3 times. Elder Xocop is from a place called Chimaltenango (or maybe Chimeltenango?) and the people there speak Kaqchikel, not Q'eqchi'. He spoke mostly only Spanish before the mission though from what he tells me. His parents spoke Kaqchikel a lot, but he didn't ever really learn it really well. He says he knows more Q'eqchi' now than Kaqchikel. Anyways, we both are at about the same level in Q'eqchi'. We have the same time in the Polochik and he actually came up to the Polochik with me when I entered in the mission (It seems weird to think that I entered the mission a while ago now..) He's great and we get along super well. He's a little more quiet and is super humble and a great person. So far we're doing really well. He will probably have a change though this next change I think since he will have been in yalijux for 4 changes. Maybe not though. We'll see what happens.
Happy Birthday Mom! I'm glad you got my little package and I'm glad you liked the pictures! (Yes it was corn silk and yes it matched pretty nicely with my hair color haha) I hope that you had a fun birthday and that you had Dad buy you something nice for me. Sounds like you guys had a really fun time in Chicago. I'm jealous! I want to go to Chicago sometime. Maybe in a few years. I'm glad to hear that Les Mis was much better than the Tuacahn rendition. (It would be challenging to be worse...) I had a bunch of Les Mis songs stuck in my head this past week thinking about you guys seeing it. And thanks for those verses in Alma 26- those are pretty awesome verses and it really hits home to me because I literally am with the Lamanite people. I'm just about to get to Alma in my personal study in Spanish, so I'm really excited to study it really well and to think about how I can be a better missionary like Ammon and his brethren. You're the best and I love you too!
Dad- loved the Jimmer article, I would have done the same thing to that girl. "With the same judgement that you judge Jimmer, you will be judged." I'm glad that BYU beat Utah, and it made me laugh to hear that you made mom and Kinzie go to 810 zone to watch the game. I am going to really think a lot about your advice that you gave about idleness. It's really true that idleness isn't just not doing anything, but is also misusing time. I'm going to try hard to make this next week a really fruitful week directed by the Spirit so that I can work hard and feel the "sweat" and at the same time feel approval of the Lord that I am doing everything possible to use His time well. Thanks dad for your advice. Love you tons!
Jack- hey bud, I hope your talk went well. I heard you did a great job. Thanks for being a good example to me. Love you so!
Kinzie- thanks for your email! You are the best sister ever! I love you and you already look different from when I left! Quit growing up! And stay away from boys!
Ok well times up, but I know this work is true and I couldn't be happier. I love you all so much and I hope that more than anything you feel the Love of the Lord this week.