Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Week 8

Buenos Dias everyone!

Man, that was a fast week. When you´re working hard the time really does fly by. Ok, once again, time is limited, so I´ll focus this email on describing my mission.

There are three main areas in my mission, mountains (mostly around Lake Atitlan), city (the smaller towns on the south east side of Gmala City), and the Coast.  Each has 3 or 4 zones.  Currently I’m in the city area (Villa Canales is a suburb of El Frutal, which is near Gmala City).  City is a great place to be born (start you mission), because the coast is incredibly hot and the mountains are, well, very mountainous and the elders who have been there for a while are able to absolutely fly up the steepest hills.  

Each area has it´s own very unique culture.  In fact, even just around Lake Atitlan the culture is incredibly diverse.  Around the lake shore are many indigenous towns, each with their own language and customs. One district there, Santiago Atitlan, is unique because the indigenous people living there speak very little Spanish. Because of that, the elders who serve there have to learn their language (I don´t know how to spell it but it sounds like soo-too-heel), and stay there for at least 7 months. After I´ve become fluent in Spanish, I would love to be one of the elders who gets to go serve there).

Hopefully my mom will be able to post some of the pictures I sent.  They hardly do Guatemala justice, but we´re only allowed to take pictures on P day and even then we have to do it very discretely. 

A few other highlights of the week:  Seeing a huge volcano incredibly close to us erupt for an hour or so. It was night so we could very easily see the geyser of lava spurting out.  Also, a torrential rainstorm that flooded the town. To cross the street we had to walk through a river of muddy water up to my knees.

By the way, mail here is pretty slow. It takes 6 weeks for a letter to get from Villa Canales to the US. We can only pick up incoming letters every transfer meeting, when the secretaries distribute al the letters that have arrived to the mission home. In other words, don´t be offended if I don´t respond to your letters for a very, very long time.

Thanks for all your prayers and support!  Serving a mission is hard, but I´m so grateful for the opportunity!  From the little I´ve experienced already, I can understand why these are my ¨best two years¨

Rice, beans, marijuana

Gmala temple

 Josh's Street
 Josh's Street
Josh's house


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