Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Watchiman

This week has been a very interesting week. It didn't feel like we had too much success but looking back, 2 of our investigators showed up to church which is awesome considering how lazy everyone is, especially on a Sunday morning. 
A few things about Honduras that I have noticed that I want to share. These are cultural things and I only notice them because they are different. The first is that everyone wears pants as opposed to shorts. No matter how hot it gets, its either jeans or sweats, there is no in between. If I were them I would just cut my pants into shorts, if that's all I had, but they must like being hot because I have yet to see someone walking with shorts on, and believe me, I'm really looking (dad quote). the second thing I have noticed is that not everyone notices when there is a gun pointed at them. I say this because outside of every pasaje or street there is a watch man or as they call it a ´watchiman´. Usually they are wearing a uniform and they all have some type of weapon, either a gun or a machete. They are pretty popular within their neighborhood because they let everyone in and out. So people stop to talk and they have a gun pointed right at them as they are talking and niether the watchiman or the person is aware. When we talk to the watchimans they look at me like Im wierd because I always try to dodge the barrel of their guns!
As I am learning more Spanish, I get more comfortable with messing up, but listening also.  Still, there are certain people I really cant understand at all because of slang and their accents. One lady asked a question and she said something about Joseph Smith so I said 'Si!' My companion took over at that point and later he told me that she asked if he is our God..oops. But she ended up coming to church so it worked out ok. I am also having a hard time with using the tone of my voice to ask questions in lessons. In spanish, you can change a statement to a question just by changing your tone. I havent figured that out quite yet so I have to keep working on that.
This week we ate at a member's house Wednesdayoafternoon like we always do. we eat there every Wednesday and we had some weird tasting juice. This is pretty normal considering all the weird tasting juice in Honduras. We finished the meal and thanked her. as we walked away elder Merlos said in the trash he saw the wrapper and that the juice she made was tea. I was, and still am so upset! Shes a member of the church and she knows we are missionaries! why would she give us tea?? As I thought more about this, I got more upset and I realized that part of this culture is being a little lazy and not paying attention to detail. But I also realized that we are always being tempted and tried. Even Jesus was tempted and tried, and he was perfect. I am thankful for His example and the people  in my life who have been an example. I love you all so much and I miss you more each week!!


Elder Dowell

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Semana Santa

**Dad note...Nichol got a few pictures of Chandler this week.  They don't necessarily match up with his letter, but these are our first photos from Honduras**

This week was Semana Santa for all those living in the central american! A few people asked what I usually do for Semana Santa and I was like, whats that? People here think that everyone in the world celebrates the hottest week of the year! But as I asked more about it, it is basically a week to travel and visit family, so door to door contact was minimal this week because its a great excuse to get out of the heat! Nonetheless we were still able to find and talk to a few very cool people. 
One was on the night before General conference. Elder Merlos and I were super tired but we knocked on a few More doors and found a 21 year old guy named Samuel. He seemed interested so we taught him about the book of mormon and prophets and invited him to General conference. He went in the morning on saturday with us! He walked with us and for the 15 minutes that we walked to the church, it was pouring! Completely sunny before and right after we got to the church but it was pouring while we were outside. 
We had a few investigators go to conference so we will find out their thoughts more this week. Elder Merlos and I got to listen to the priesthood session in English in the air conditioned secretary's office. I think the spirit likes the air conditioning too because I always feel more relaxed! 
This week we found a family in one of the neighborhoods in Stybis. They are a family of 8 people! we stopped by their house and introduced to them the Book of Mormon and they gave us a time to come back, so we went and took them 7 more book of Mormons! and then this week we got the chance to teach them all! They all set up chairs around us as we taught them about the Book of Mormon and where it came from. they asked lots of questions and I could feel the spirit that was there. I think they felt it too ask they were learning and understanding more.

With the festivities of Semana Santa, I noticed a few different traditions than I am used to. 
The first was on Good Friday. I thought there was a funeral because I heard sad music and saw a few people carrying what I thought was a casket. But as they got closer and asked someone what was going on, I learned it was a pretty common tradition during this week for churches to do this. They walked very slowly, carrying a glass case, not quite sure what the significance of that is, while someone wheeled a very old record player playing sad music. I thought of how thankful I am that we celebrate Christs birth and resurrection rather than His death. I know He lives and guides all of our lives. He has blessed us all so much because He loves us! 
Another funny story. Here they sell lots of cheap mini pools for all the kids because its super hot. This week I saw way too many naked kids. (not that any amount of naked kids is good) haha. But all the parents like to take advantage of it too! They wear clothes thank goodness, but its funny to see a bunch of fat guys in a tiny pool. On one particular occassion, our neigbor was drunk and hung a water hose in the top of his gate like a shower. He was fully clothed under the water and when he saw us he got super happy and said, ´Hermanos! Vengase¨ it was funny because usually he is a shy guy but he was super happy to see us. 
I am still getting used to the heat and lifestyle but I figure that might take a little time. I am so incredibly blessed and grateful for everyones love and support each week! I love you and miss you!

Elder Dowell