Monday, January 8, 2018

Baptisms During Calamities

[from December 18, 2017]

Everytings going good down here. It´s a little bit scary right now, we have to be vey careful, but we`re doing ok.

I do go a little nuts being stuck in the house. And our current house is a one room apartment! Luckily, when we got stuck inside the first time, we were living with the other two missionaries and at least their apartment is a little bigger. When we move on January 1st I`m gonna be really happy! 

The baptism went really well. Adonai is officially a member!

One weird thing about Adonai is his job is that he works in politics (and for Salvador Nasralla; who is the contender for the president, and the one all these crazy protesters want to be president) so if there`s anybody who`s caught up in all this it`s him, but even still he made the decision to be baptized. Pretty cool if you ask me.

I think it`s been pretty cool to see how people want to be baptized. I think it has a lot to do with their humility. Also, it helps that they almost always have a belief in Jesus Crist. One of the biggest problems here is the commandments though. Adonai has had some big problems with the commandments, but he did end up getting baptized!!! I`ll send some photos next time I bring my camara. 

I`ve made the same observation that baptisms often happen during times of disasters, and I`m not sure what it means. Sofia got baptized when Lima flooded. Adonai got baptized when there were some giant protests. Weird huh? I don`t want to say craziness=success but that`s almost how it seems. 

I am super excited to be able to see Star Wars. It`s ok you saw it without me. How was it? Did anything really cool happen? I love those movies.

I can`t wait to talk to you, it`s coming right up! I hope the politics don`t mess that up... I don`t think it`ll be a problem. Just a little bit ago I talked with a protester who wouldn`t let us pass in the street. I think the protesters are ok, but sometimes... He was a punk, but I bet a lot of members would let us borrow their computers or phones. 

Next Christmas I`ll be there with you guys! It`ll be awesome! The mission has certainly taught me a lot. We`ll just have to see how different and weird I seem when I get back huh? 

I`m ready to eat some american treats! I like tamales, it`s just that one family will give you enough to fill you up and so wil the next family... and so on until you feel pretty sick haha. 

A lot of people really like it when I use words that are slang. I think it makes them relax a little more and they gain just a little bit more confidence in me I think. Rather than being a super heartless lesson teaching robot hahaha. Actually usually the first time I contact somebody I just talk to them and leave a pamphlet. Usually I don`t teach very much until the really get to have a lot of trust and confidence in us. 

[Editor's Note: Christian finished off with a part of the email only I could read. I will translate it at the end.]

Pues si, no van a poder enviar los nuevos misioneros acá. Usualmente los cambios pasan los días miércoles, pero esta vez los hicieron ayer. Tuvimos un chingo de problemas llegando a la capilla para escribir. Hay muchos bloqueos en la calle y los protestantes no nos dejaron pasar. Al fin, tomamos un taxi y fuimos a una otra capilla, pero tuvimos que dar una gran vuelta para llegar aquí. No sabia que los presbíteros pueden efectuar los bautismos ahora. Estuve sorprendido y les dije a los otros Elderes que están escribiendo con nosotros, y empezaron a reírse. Ayer leyeron el anuncio en la capilla, pero llegamos tarde porque tuvimos que recoger a Adonai y llegamos durante el himno de la santa cena- o sea después de el anuncio. Nadie me contó esto hasta ahorita. Me gusta que en Centroamérica, todos tienen su propio apodo. Es como en los Estados Unidos se puede llamar a un New Yorker a Yankee. Después de haber aprendido la mayoría de mi español de mis compañeros latinos, pienso que es mejor aprender de un hablador nativo. No puedo esperar hasta que llega mi paquete! Yo iba a recoger los paquetes los días viernes, pero no se que día esta yendo el Elder Gonzalez. No puedo esperar hasta que les puedo llamar! Les extraño tanto! No es lo mismo escribir por correo.

[Translation: Well, yeah, they are not going to be able to send the new missionaries here. Usually the transfers happen on Wednesdays, but this time, they did them yesterday. We had a bunch of problems getting to the chapel to write. There are a lot of blockades in the street and the protestors do not let us pass. In the end, we took a taxi and went to another chapel, but we had to make a long loop around to get here. I did not know that priests could now perform baptisms [in the temple]. I told the other elders who are writing letters with us, and they started laughing. Yesterday, they read the announcement in the chapel, but we arrived late because we went to get Adonai and arrived during the sacrament hymn - anyway, after the announcement. No one told me that until just now. I like that in Central America, everyone has their own nickname. It is like in the U.S., you can call a New Yorker a Yankee. After having learned the majority of my Spanish from my Latin American companions, I think that it is best to learn from a native speaker. I cannot wait until my package arrives! I used to get the packages on Fridays, but I do not know what day Elder Gonzalez is going. I cannot wait until I can call you! I miss all of you so much! It is not the same writing by mail.]

Love you guys! Les amo! 

-Elder Stoddard

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Political Update 2

[from December 17, 2017]

This letter is directed to parents and leaders of missionaries serving in the Honduras San Pedro Sula East Mission.

We are still experiencing problems here in Honduras resulting from a contested presidential election now three weeks old. Intermittent demonstrations and street closures have required missionaries to remain in their homes on some days with reduced hours outside of their homes on other days.

Though some of the protests have turned violent, most have been isolated to the principal highways and have not affected the proselyting areas.

New missionaries due to arrive tomorrow, December 18th, will remain in the MTC in Guatemala for at least one extra day until we reassess the latest developments here in Honduras. Those completing their missions are still scheduled to travel home on Tuesday December 19th.

Most, if not all of you, should hear from your missionaries tomorrow via email on their regular preparation day schedule.

All missionaries are safe and local members continue to watch after them.

Thank you again for your continued love and support.

President Rex Carlisle

Honduras San Pedro Sula East Mission

Esta carta está dirigida a los padres y lideres de los misioneros asignado a la Misión de Honduras San Pedro Sula Este.

Todavia estamos experimentando problemas aquí en Honduras resultado de una elección presidential disputada de tres semanas atras. Las manifestaciónes intermitentes y el cierre de las calles obligaron a los misioneros a permanecer en sus hogares en algunas días con horas reducidas fuera de sus hogares en otros días. Aunque algunas de las protestas se han vuelto violentas, la mayoria se han aislado en las carreteras principales y no han afectado las árias de proseletismo.

Los nuevos misioneros, que estában a llegar mañana, el 18 de diciembre, permanecerán el el CCM en Guatemala por al menos un día más hasta que reevaluemos los últimos acontecimientos aquí en Honduras. Aquellos que completen sus misiones todavia están programados para viajar a casa el martes 19 de diciembre.

La mayoria, si no todos, deberían recibir correos de sus misioneros mañana en su horario regular de preparación.

Todos los misioneros están seguros y los miembros locales continúan vigilándolos.

Gracias de nuevo por su amor y apoyo.

Presidente Rex Carlisle

Misión Honduras San Pedro Sula Este

Weathering the Nationwide Protests

[from December 15, 2017]

Sorry, it actually hasn`t been too too dangerous these last couple days, but it`s until today that I`m getting the chance to write. Some stuff happened that`s not really worth the time of explaining, but the good thing is I get to write now... Woohoo!

thanks for all your prayers, everythings been going better in these last few days. we got to leave, but our curfew is still pretty early. Elder Asturias and I got lost a whole bunch of times, our area is way big and the streets are not straight or orderly at all.

I`ve been doing pretty good ajusting down here. I think it was a little bit of a shock to the sistem to leave the office and open an area at the same time. We`re having to work really hard, but I think we`re gonna have a baptism this saturday if all goes well!!!  

I´m still learning more spanish everyday. Lots of the stuff I´m learning is honduran slang from the members and guatemalan slang from my companion. After 2 guatemalan companions I´ve spent a lot of time with chapins. In central america every country has a nickname. (chapin-guate, tico-costa rica, nica-nicaragua, guanaco-el salvador, and catracho-honduran. 

Things are calming down here a little bit. Still lots of protests, but I think people are losing a little bit of there stamina. You can only come out of your house all night for so many nights in a row... 

They do call the riots huelgas, it´s a different level here though. Lots of fireworks and gunshots... especially here in this area. We´ll be teaching lessons and hear gunshots and it won´t even stop the conversation. I hope they never announce the winner haha. People are gonna freak out. Today we had a run-in where some guys were throwing rocks at buildings and cars... we stayed away from all that craziness.

Our mission president had us buy food and water in this last week. Yeah, lots of people want to talk about the election with us. There were some drunk guys that yelled at me this week for being gringo, but other than that it`s just been same old same old. Lots of regular riots at night, we still have our curfew pretty early, but at least we can finally leave again!!!

A new thing we found is a fried chicken place that is really delicious, Also this week we found a house that`s a lot better than the one we have now... We`ll be moving on January 1st. It has air-conditioning. I was able to get the price down a ton so that we can live there. 

One of my best friends in the mission who was in the MTC with me tells me I was a weirdo in the MTC, but when he got to know me here, he realized I was pretty cool. I think that happens a lot. When we have to adjust to something new, we act kinda strange. 

I finally did find a good milkshake in carl`s jr.s. It was way freaking expensive though 100 lempiras ($5) so I can`t get it all the time, also it`s in the other mission`s half of San Pedro, so I can`t go there anymore :(. I`ll be excited to eat some chick-fil-a when I get back to the USA! 

I miss regular Christmas treats. Here during Christmas (and the christmas season) they all eat a ton of tamales and chicken sandwiches. Last year I got kinda sick of tamales. Not that I was bored of them but I didn`t feel very good after eating so many. Hopefully that doesn`t happen again this year. 

Love you guys and sorry for the late email. The good thing is that the next time I write is gonna be in a couple days!

I can wait to talk to you guys at Christmas!!!

E Stoddard