Hello to all!...
Well I have arrived in Nebraska! Finally. It has been a crazy first week. We talked to a guy right off the plane and gave him a pass along card. That was neat! Then we saw President and Sister Newman. Wow they are so great and loving. I really like them a lot! Elder Marchant and Barlow picked us up. Yes Elder Marchant is the son of that lady you have been talking to mom. He said his mom told him to have an eye out for me too. So we talked for a bit. He is so awesome!
The next day we took a tour of the Trail Center and went to the Winters Quarter temple. Wow it is tiny! But way cool. I like it!
After that I went tracting with Elder Bjorn. English speaking thank goodness. It was cool! The first door we knocked on we got in and taught a lesson. After that ..... nothing! White people are mean. They have no interest in you. But it was nice that night and the night before to get a home cooked meal. I like it!!!
So Thursday morning at 6:30 I met my trainer and first companion... Elder Shumway. He has been out here in Nebraska since August. He started out with 2 native spanish speakers so he learned a lot and now he is helping me to learn. I don't know what they taught me in the MTC, but it definately wasn't Spanish. It is a good thing they taught me how to pray though. Since I say nothing when we talk to investigators they always ask me to pray. So I am saying a lot of those. And oh yeah... speaking of praying. Right before sacrament meeting started the 1st counselor walked up and asked me to give the prayer... go figure. So I did give the opening prayer in our ward.
The ward is very small. Each person could have their own bench if they wanted too. Not each family.... each person. But they are helping me out a lot with the Spanish. But geez I feel like such an idiot when it comes to spanish. They speak so fast and I just can't keep up or figure it all out yet. But I am working on it. I am told that ha in like 3- 4 months I will be able to understand it all and pretty much be able to say whatever I want. So I will just have to be patient.
I have been told that I am being prepared to take over the Omaha North area. It is 10,000 square miles. That is where I am now. Omaha North. The biggest area in the mission. It is huge! So once I get going that area is mine apparently, and I will be training. Yikes....! That is just what I have been told though so who knows if it is true.
In all honesty it has been kind of a discouraging first week. I got really discouraged the first 2 days and spent a lot of time praying. It is so hard not being able to understand and now really being away from home. It is NUTS!!! This is nothing like Utah.
Yes my apartment is right outside of downtown. I won't go into to much detail on our area because.... in all honesty I don't want to scare ya ;) But it is the ghetto. It is definately the ghetto. We are very fortunate to live in Utah and in the neghborhood we do. It is a great place to raise a family!
So in my area everyone lives in tiny apartments and little houses. The people are very poor but very nice.... for the most part. There are a lot of barachos (drunks) though. Yesterday.... ah man!!! We were about to get into our car and and an obviously drunk man walked up to us and said habla espanol? (you speak apanish?) Si I said, then he started saying ayudame ayudame yo necessito dinero, no tengo dinero, ayudame. Help me help me I need money, I don't have money. Yeah.... Elder Shumway was laughing at me because he had his hands on my back just like crying, and I was like Lo Siento, no tengo dinero. I am sorry, I don't have money. Which is very true by the way. We only get like 145 dollars a month. So obviously I can't give any away.
But yeah it was pretty scary stuff. We got in the car and drove off. Just left him sitting there. Yup...
Oh and we got a flat tire this morning on our car. That sucked. It has been pouring rain today and we had to change it. We are rolling with a spare now... so we fit right in with half the population in our area. But we are getting it fixed today.
We did our grocery shopping at Avanza. It is a mexican store. That was cool. Like all the workers are bilingual. They would start to talk to you in English and then ha we would respond in spanish and they would be like whoa!! White boys know Spanish. It's funny. It surprises a lot of people. Elder Shumway is really good at Spanish! He is helping me out. But man.... The people just speak so fast! It's nuts. But soon I will be able to follow along with it.
Mmm.... what else..... Well our apartment is a little place, it has a small kitchen, a sitting room with a couch our beds and our pamphlets and Books of Mormon, then we have a room that has 2 broken lazy boy recliners held together by duct tape, a closet and a bathroom.
So yeah... that's our place. Sweet eh? When we get fed.... we get fed really good. I have had some good meals since being here. The mexicans really know how to cook mexican food. Mmm Go figure.
We had dinner last night with La Familia Valensuela. They came here from Van Nuys California. My birth place! Cool eh? They flipped out when I told them I was born there. They are recent converts of 2 and 4 months. Their goal for this year is to be sealed in the temple together. They speak both spanish and english so they help me out a lot too. They are really cool!
Wow this email is long.... i hope you don't mind!! So mom.... if you want to forward this to the Pillings, and my friends at Wasatch Running, and Eric Olsen, that would be sweet. If you wanna get there e-mails or smething that would be great.
So we keep very busy... Going from house to house and place to place. There are so many hispanic people here it is crazy!!! There are 120 missionaries in the mission and 7 speak Spanish. So we are constantly getting referrals and talking with people. EVERYONE actually. We get stood up a lot too. Lots of appointments fall through and yeah... it's missionary work.
Overall the first week had it's highs and lows. I really like my mission. But wow it is so much different then what I have become accustomed to in Utah. We really are so lucky and fortunate to live where we live! I would never ever raise my family where I am at. It's so dangerous and scary and just dark. Don't get me wrong I love it I really do. I just wouldn't though.... But I guess that is what you would expect living right outside of downtown.
Welp... Don't know what more to say... But that I can't wait to be able to really speak Spanish so I can talk more. I have helped teach lessons and prayed and done testimonies, things like that. But still, I don't feel very useful. But soon :) I know it will come eventually. I have felt like I have improved this week. But have SO much more to do. I am constantly studying now because I really really need it!
Anyways.... umm send all my letters to the office and they will forward them to me. They do it that way because we are moving and changing places, so they just have you send them there and they make sure they get to us. Yes mom thank you I did get my bike. It's pretty gnarly. Haven't put it together yet. May not need to actually.... I don't know...
Our areas as Spanish speakers are just so ginormous!!! But maybe when we get into the spring and summer and we need to find more people to teach we will hop on bikes. Sweet!!!
We have 3 new investigators we are going to go teach on Tuesday. A referral from the sister missionaries. They propably let them in because they were sisters. But they don't speak like an English. It looks promising. Hopefully!!! Well anways.....
That's it for this e-mail. Hope all is well!! I love you all very much. If you have any questions just let me know and I will answer them.
I love you all! Take care!
Yeah this e-mail is long.....