Monday, February 2, 2015

"Out with the old, in with the new..." - Week 30

February 2nd, 2015

     So, Im here in Ponce, which is much much closer to the city. You can actually see the capital from the top of a high building one of our members live in. So far its great! Its a house of two, and boy is it an upgrade... This house actually has drainage, we each get a shower, not too many mosquitos, the water situation is much better, and even though the light in the area is worse, our inversor (which stores energy from the street while its there so you can use it when its not) actually works, so the fans don't go out at night. "Out with the old spiritual mumbo jumbo, the superstitions, and the backward ways. We're gonna see a brave new world where they run everybody a wire and hook us all up to a grid."
     I'm with Elder Valdes, from El Paso Texas. His family is mexican, so he speaks fluent spanish. He's a real nice guy, and we work really well together. He was actually in the district I just left. Our branch here in Ponce shares its church meeting house with the ward in Guaricano, which is the area right next to ours. The missionaries of Guaricano are actually E. Zarate from Guatemala, (whom I lived with back in La Victoria) and E. Castro from Peru (who knows an amazing amount of classic rock), so it's been super fun to have them here in our district.
     This Sunday we had a special conference, held and displayed only for the Caribean. It was great! Elder Holland and President Packer spoke. They were great! We also got to hear a bit of our apostles spanish! Just a bit though, the rest was translated. Elder Holland actually said that he'll be visiting the Caribean in March, so we have our fingers crossed. 
     Due to that conference, and the stake conference that we will have this upcoming week, we won't have the opportunity to really meet all the members in church for the first two weeks of "blanking the area"... But blanking is actually really fun. Its like we're playing detective every day... Tracing clues, tracking down people and places, finding pieces to the puzzle. It hard, but its awesome! 
     Our Neighbor who lives above us, Willy Valasquez, invited us up to talk one night just for a bit. It turned into 2 hours. He's a super interesting and affable guy. He's a leader in the Catholic church here in the Republic, he plays guitar, he's running for senator or something, so he's into politics. He loves getting to know all the new missionaries that live below him. We talked about religion, culture, the arts, and our own backgrounds. He gave me a prayer book to borrow full of Psalms that you read and recite daily. Its pretty sweet.
All is well here! Thank you so much for your prayers, know that you're all in mine.

Elder Brady

Whenever this kid would see me in the street, he'd yell "Chino!" 
then start kung fu fighting. 
I'd always act like I was about to fight him, then just put my hands together, 
bow, and say "Paz Sensei... Paz" And he'd do the same. 
One time, we played some baseball with some kids in Gonzalo, and I'd always do the Farris Beuller's Day Off "Hey batterbatterbatter Swing batta!... Kennedy kennedy kennedy... Swing batta". They flippin loved it! Pretty soon after that, everywhere I went in Gonzalo, these kids would say that as I passed. I'd just keep walking a bit, then down the road I'd give a "Swing Batter!" followed by cheering from behind. Somehow it even spread to Sabbana.... Elder Atkinson and I were pretty suprised. 
It was like I was a "kids celebrity" or something.

Some photos from Sabbana. Me and Estefani

Daniel and I

Nathaniel and his fam

The girl on the right is Katty, our investigator. The rest are just a bunch of annoying people we've never met. 
Dominicans like having photos taken of themselves.

Hermana Camino and her kids

The Barber Shop Gang! The one I have my arm around we call Pepino, 
cause his face looks like a pickle.

Ruben y Yo! Tenemos mucho flo!

Elder Atkinson, Ruben and I

Ruben, me, Alejandro, and some guy we played futbol with once.

We bought cotton candy our last night at the fair

Some dancing!

The colmado people!

After seeing them everyday, buying everything from them, for 3 months, 
you come to know these good people pretty well, and grow to love them.

The interior of our new house

It rained...

A lot...

Elder Castro, Me, Elder Valdes

We went to a park for P-Day