Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Chikungunya strikes!


Family and Friends,
This week has been one of the harder ones in Santa Barbra. We had to stay inside all week because I got a virus called Chikungunya. It has hit a lot of people here in Honduras, and I think in central America because it is passed through mosquitoes. I had pain in my muscles, headache, fever, etc. until I could get an IV from a doctor. the doctor we went to wasn't too bad, he put in an IV and I felt much better afterward. Although I was a bit skeptical because he put in a medicine to kill the fever and I almost freaked out because it made me sweat a lot, but it worked and I am fine now so its all good.
Elders taking care of elders...Chandler at the Dr's office

The temperatures here are at a high, as I am sure they are in AZ, and it is rough! I wonder how some people can sit in their hot houses all day and just cook tortillas. I think they like the heat a little more that I do, but it is a good challenge. The only thing that bugs me is that I am never not sweaty! ha ha I could have all the fans in the world and as long as I am here, I will be sweaty. 
 Cooking a birthday cake
Other than that, I have gained a little more confidence in my Spanish speaking abilities, Although I still have a far ways to go. I wish I had more exciting experiences this week but suffering in the heat with a jungle virus is about as exciting as it gets this week. 
I love you guys and I am so thankful for your prayers!

Elder Dowell

Monday, July 6, 2015

Buenas tardes de Santa Barbra!

This week has been long and hot but much different than in the city! I have had more time this week to explore the area. It is almost 100 percent mountains, so we do a lot of hiking. i am sweaty all day no matter what, I don't know if my body will adapt to the humidity but for now ill just have to stick with being sticky all day. 
View from the roof top

The area is much more poor than the last area I was in. Many people just live in a cement block in the shape of a square in the mountains. We eat mangoes all day every day, that part I cant complain about. If we get hungry we literally just pick a mango off a tree, and throughout the day people give us mangoes because they have so many. I am humbled that someone who can barely afford clothes for their kids will give us 3 or 4 mangoes when we come to visit.
That is another thing that I don't think I will ever feel comfortable around, which is, when it gets hot, so pretty much always,people don't put clothes on their kids. its very awkward. also everyone is missing teeth.
When we go t hike up a mountain, there is always people carrying things, usually kids. My companion and I decided it was because the old people don't want to have to scale this mountain every time they need some clean water so they just send their kids. 
Pigs on the road

I feel so bad for them because 1. they are carrying things for their whole family, clothes, food, water, etc and its pretty heavy for a 6 to 14 year old kid. 2. they are so malnourished that I don't know how they have the energy to do it!
The first time we saw a little girl who was 13, maybe half the size of savannah. we asked to help carry her things. half way up the mountain I was sweating profusely. the next fourth of the way  was struggling hard, and when we got to the top I was DYING! How was this little girl planning on carrying this up the mountain? 
Since then a lot of our service involves helping people carry their stuff to their house and talking to them a little on the way.
I am thankful for this experience because it is different than anything I have ever experienced. I a so thankful for the support from everyone at home. Happy 4th of July!

Elder Dowell

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Santa Barbara

A little bit of change this week as I had the first change of the mission so far. I was in CastaƱos, San Pedro Sula and took a 2 hour bus ride southeast to a little cooler place called Santa Barbara. My new companion is named Elder Permenter. He is from Connecticut and he was born in the Chandler hospital!
This week as I said bye to many of the members in castaƱos I was surprised that a few cried and all expressed their gratitude for me. This was a shock because I felt like I hadn't made that great of an impact on their lives, but I was touched to see that they were very grateful for my presence in their area. 
The bus trip was a long 2 hour ride through the mountains of Honduras to the city of Santa Barbara. It gets nice and cool at night which is such a blessing. My companion is able to help me with other parts of Spanish that Latinos just cant explain and so I feel that I am learning many new things. E Permenter hurt his ankle last week on the way down a mountain and the Honduran doctor put a full on cast on a twisted ankle. We couldnt go out because he had to rest so we spent a lot of time studying. 
One thing that I find comfort in studying is the Book of Mormon and the New Testament. Recently I have been finding scriptures that we can use in lessons that are in the book of Mormon. There are tons of them in preach my gospel, and believe it or not, the scripture mastery scriptures are some of the best ones to use! I wish I would have payed more attention! ha ha but I also started just reading in Spanish. So if I don't know a word I ask or look it up in the dictionary. My testimony is growing more of the Book of Mormon. I think a lot of it has to do with being in or around the place where these events took place! Also, there are many scriptures and stories that testify of Jesus Christ. At first I thought the book of Mormon was just a bunch of stories. Which might still be true, but all of these stories are used to testify of the grace of Jesus Christ. It constantly invites us to change and to do what He would have us do. We often share with people Alma Chapter 32 which talks about having faith in Jesus Christ. 
One thing that I am also learning here is that it is ok to be uncomfortable. 1, Jesus was never comfortable, why should we be? and 2, we have been cast out of the presence of God, and therefore it is inevitable that we will experience discomfort and discouragement, pain and sorrow. It is by sheer love from Heavenly Father that we are ever able to find peace in this life. It is so much easier for me to say than to take my own advice, but discomfort allows us to grow and it is why we are here on this earth.
I hope all is well at home, go to In and Out and have a burger for me!

Elder Dowell