Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Leaving the MTC & Entering Nicaragua

no way is it february. and why do i say that? because it's literally 95 degrees here, every single day. all that has passed in a week and a half?                    

let's start with leaving the MTC:
leaving everyone behind was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

  saying good bye to the teachers. hermano ostler and hermano chambers. the best teachers they have at the MTC, if i had any say. they told me up front: the spanish you speak here is different from that spanish you will speak in your mission and i didn't understand how. but now I do. the nicaraguese use their tongues to speak, and drop the final s. no matter what they tell you in the US, it happens. sorry to burst that bubble.

these would be the one of the other hard things: saying good bye on sunday. elder muirbrook and elder jungers are my favorite companionship at the MTC. they just got it: your companion is your best friend, you have to love them and you get to love them and that's final. you might as well enjoy it. 

then of course, my favorite sister outside of my district: hermana nistler. she also just gets that we are here to do the Lord's work and this is His time. not ours anymore.
and then a picture of the district, where we all are acting ourselves for the most part...

ermana millett and hermana garcia, the other two sisters in the district c. got to show them some love.
an awful picture with the best branch presidency wife a sister could ask for. like really. hermana price is the best person for this calling. I LOVE her! she was such an amazing shoulder to cry on when i needed someone to talk to and my parents were too far away. love her to pieces.

this is where it all gets good: heading to nicaragua! four thirty in the morning report to the travel office. five fifteen, roll out of the parking lot to get to the airport. while unloading the truck of luggage, i heard "hermana graves" and there in a church van was Elder Graves. i screamed and waved, and said i was doing great. the lord knew i needed one last hug before i left for two years, so he let me hug my grandpa. he whipped around the circle again, i cried, he started crying, and then we took the world's worst selfie. then while checking in at the desk, i heard "there she is!" grandma was checking Sister Whitfield and her travel companions into the United terminal so that they could go home! the lord knew that i needed to talk to at least some family before i parted ways for the next 17 months. thank goodness!

getting to atlanta was the easy part, but it was all down hill from there. first, the atlanta airport doesn't have payphones any more so i wasn't able to call home. huge bummer. major bummer. the plane ended up changing terminals, and being delayed twice all before we loaded the plane. we were supposed to leave the ground at 5:59pm, and it was almost 7:30 by the time it was all said and done. needless to say, it was 12:30am Tuesday before i get to crawl into the bed at the mission home that night. 

the next morning was training, and it was given in spanish for the other sisters and elders that had come in that morning from the Guatemala mtc. they gave the english speakers headphones and had some elders translate for us. it was very interesting to say the very least... i got sick with an upset stomach that day, so i didn't really get to enjoy my first nicaraguan meal or the pizza that president bought. major bummer. 

transfers and the first day in the field. lots of missionaries, talks in spanish, and meeting my companion. i don't have a picture, but she does and i love her the mostest. hermana gomez is a God send and she doesn't speak a lot of english. 

this is the last picture i have with elder jungers before he went off to serve with two of the zone leaders, the others sisters were off with their companions, and i got to stay here, close to managua with hermana gomez.

the lord knew that i needed to stay close to the city, and gradually descend into third world territory. the people are still poor here in Loma Linda, but it could be worse. you can tell how weathly a family is by how much tin their home is made of, whether or not they have a car/motorcycle, and how well fed their dog is. dogs are everywhere here, and they always look underfed. 

i get whistled at here, for three reasons: i am above five four, have white skin, and if i do say so myself, am smokin' hot. lol, it's kind of degrading and has given a whole new meaning to the supposedly endearing term gordita. also when people find out that i am from the states, they guess two places: texas and utah, and they have no idea where Tennessee is. always, always great. 

the food here is hard to eat some days, because there is only so many times in a week you can have beans and rice. hermana gladis does an amazing job though, and even made spaghetti one night! 

our apartment here in loma linda is nice, by their standards. actual doors that lock, a toilet, running water, and a shower that usually gives out cold water. 

the hardest trial this week though is the blisters that have made their home on the bottom of my feet. right under the big toe on the pads, have developed the greatest blisters ever from wearing closed shoes for 10 hours every day in the humidity. ibuprofen and some gold bond will hopefully help the pain.

one quick goal: as a mission, we have been invited to have 2000 baptisms by the end of 2015. the zone with the most baptisms gets to spend the night in the mission home (which is like staying in a mansion by US standards). we as a zone want to have 70 baptisms, which is about 5 per set of missionaries for the month of march. with fuego in our hearts, we can do it!

i love you all, and this work is hard, but worth it. this is salvation after all!

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