Monday, September 1, 2014

"Runnin Through the Jungle- CCR" - Week 8

On Sep 1, 2014, at 5:38 PM, Spencer Brady wrote:

The mission rocks! It´s kind of weird to say, but everything that was once strange and bizzare is now common place. Oh look, a donkey chewin on grass while pooping in the middle of the street! eh...Saw that yesterday. Its a funny feeling, starting to get used to this place already, and adapting to the culture pretty well. When i return I´ll be full blown Dominican! Except for one thing. I refuse to submit to the culture in one aspect that alot of missionaries do... Littering. People throw their trash everywhere! Its on the street, in their yards... everywhere. And it stinks. One minute you smell someone cookin something up real nice, and the next you get a whiff of something else that smells like the donkey previously mentioned. You´ll be looking at the beautiful scenery, trees, rivers, great big blue sky, and then a pile of garbage to go with it. Its too bad really. Oh well.
This town is awesome. Most of our area consists of the poor part. I´ve realized that I´ve never seen poverty before. Not like this. The houses sometimes look like like something i would doodle on the back of a math assignment. Uneven dirt floors, cinderblock walls, tin roofs supported by lashed and nailed together sticks and sometimes trees, plates of wood and metal stacked on top of eachother unmethodically to create the outside walls, all seemingly stable... even the ones that lean one way. Its much less glorified and whymsical than the way i make it sound. The phrase ¨Dirt Poor¨has a new meaning to me now. 
This week was great! The days kind of start to mesh together into one, and the weeks im sure will begin to do that as well. My companion Elder Marroquin will leave for his home in Guatemala in three more weeks. He´s ending, and im just starting. We´re bookends. We call trainers, Papi´s because they are your father, and i am his hijo. But im also his killer, because im the companion hes with as he dies. Since he leaves in the middle of my training, ill have two Papis. UI can only hope my next one is as amazing as Elder Marroquin is. 
Well, last night the power went out, and usually when this happens (which is all day everyday) we have a back up battery thingy that kicks in. But last night it wasnt charged, so we played candle light Uno and told stories. These guys are the best! What wasnt fun, was trying to sleep without a fan on me. MISERABLE... but i fell asleep eventually. We also dont have running water most of the time, so we go outside our little appartment to this well, and lower a bucket down with a belt to scoop up some water so we can take ¨showers¨... Bucket showers are the best! The colder the better right? 
We have fun. If theres anything i´ve learned about latin americans from my companions, its that they are almost exactly like american teenage boys at the core. The biggest differences are that they speak spanish, they´re really loud, and they listen to some of the worst central-american music ive ever heard. They´re really awesome. 
The spanish is coming. Undrstanding these people is flippin hard though. The language they taught me in the MTC is not the language spoken in this country. It cant be. I find that if i really focus, i can pick up on almost everything though. Focussing... That´s the hard part. It is so easy to zone out when everyone is always speaking spanish. Ive had plenty of Walter Mitty moments in my time here. Dad, I dont knw how you learned Japanese...
We teach a lady named Gisel, who actually contacted us on the street. (Which apparently never happens... My companion was in his last area for four months and never got one baptism. And it´s not because of any lack of work on his part. He´s had over forty baptisms on his mission. This area is just amazing. We´ve had three people contact us on the side of the street now...) Anyway, she´s very anxious to learn, and has a ton of questions. She´s unique with respect to most of the people we teach, in that she´s very well educated and is very well-versed in the Bible. Her husband is the Pastor of a church just across the street from their house. (just a rickety little shack with a handwritten sign tacked to the front of it´s name and title) This is pretty supprising considering the fact that she contacted us! But shes interested and wants to learn!
I´ve seen at least 6 different small churches in our area alone. They´re everywhere! Im starting to understand the true nature of ¨the great abominable church¨, which is of course every other untrue church on the earth. - Satan cannot ensnare every man with the terrible sins of the world. One of the devil´s greatest tools to decieve man kind is goodness. These churches are good. They provide good community service, good classes that teach good things, and give people who have nothing else in their life, something good. They are all good... But they are all untrue. None of them, have the priesthood, and none of them are the true church of Jesus Christ. These people think, ¨oh, i already have my church... I give praise and sing haleluiah every sunday. I love my church, and i´m very comfortable staying in it.¨ This is Satan´s devise. And the ¨good¨he uses to decieve people is rampant.
One day as we were trying to find the home of a less active member, turning through crooked dirt roads every which way, we found ourselves in the middle of a jungle/swamp, treding through a muddy path, we decided to carry on this course. Then, all of a sudden, there shined a shiny demon, in the middle, of the road. It was another gigantic tarantula... some demonic spawn of Ungoliant. I decided the best course of action would be to find a long object and poke it. so i did. I got a stick and very carefully... poked it. It reared its ugly pincers toward me, and with its eight hairy legs began to climb the stick with uncanny speed. I imediately dropped it, and we ran, splashing our way out of the swamp, screaming like little girls. It was certainly a ¨Psych¨moment, but missionary style!
Yesterday, there was a parade of horses. They do it every year. At the front were were marching military men with drums and trumpets. And about 20 men in uniform mouted on the most magnifecent of beasts. Truly beautiful creatures. following them were about 200 other riders upon malnurished work horses. Farmers and just about everyone else in town that owned a horse or donkey. It was awesome!
We are both whitening this area, so it´s taken a couple weeks to get some traction, but we´re begining to see some of the fruits of our labor. Yesterday we brought 6 of our investigators with us to church. All of which are very promising. We have three baptismal dates. Elizabeth, 8 yrs old, belongs to an active family. Her parents arent married, and thus are not yet baptized, but they attend church regulary. They dont have the money to get married. It costs about 2,000 pesos which translates to about 50 american dollars. We said that we´ll pay for half if theyre truly committed to marriage. 50 dollars will not stand in the way of their salvation. But that just shows you how truly poor these people are. They´ll let us know when they can come up with the other 1,000 pesos. 
Another is Sandra. She´s 40 plus, and has four children. Very eager to learn. She´ll also be baptized on the 13th with Elizabeth. The last is Ibelice. She´s the one that lives in a shack in a swamp much akin to that of Yoda´s. She cried durring our first visit, and feels saved. She will be baptized on the 20th of september.
It´s an amazing blessing to watch these people progress, but its nothing compared to the blessings they´re about to recieve. Our planners are full with appointments, and often have too many people to teach in a day. This area is fanastic. Interested people, great ward willing to help... I need to enjoy it while im here, cause not many are like it. It´ll be sad to see Elder Marroquin go. But im excited for him to see his family again. He´s almost done with his adventure, and i´m just starting mine.

Thanks for all the love and Birthday wishes!

Elder Brady


#1- Lunch at "Pica Pollo" on Pday, Left to Right, Cornejo, Marroquin, Me, and Martinez

#2- This is me asleep during Stake Conference... The mission really takes it out of ya!

#3- Side of the road from inside a taxi... there are much cooler scenes of this place, but thats all I got right now.