For those of you checking out Alaina's blog for the first time, she has been in Mexico for 6 weeks training for the mission field. She arrived in El Salvador last week, and is adjusting to life there. Missionaries are called "Elder and Sister" in the mission field. In Spanish that is "Hermano and Hermana" which she shortens to Hma. Missionaries are always in pairs. They are called "companions" so when she talks about her "comp" she is speaking of the other missionary she is serving with. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments and I'll try to answer!- Jackie (Alaina's mom)
Hey there everyone. What’s up?
This week… I don’t think anyone can understand a first week in the field unless they’ve been there. It was hard. Really. Really. Really hard. So here is the first take away lesson.
Be careful what you wish for ok???
Wednesday I got my new companion. The other American sisters that came here with me got Americans. Now I had kind of wanted a native Spanish speaker. Maybe I have changed my mind. Because Pres. Hintze had a lil interview with me when I first got to the country, and just asked me about my life and the ccm and school and stuff, and my new companion is named Hma A(shortened for privacy). From Guatemala. She doesn’t speak a lick of English. I speak maybe 4 licks of Spanish. At first I was super pumped, because I knew it would make me learn Spanish really fast. This is true. BUT I LOVE ENGLISH. And I miss itttttt. Communicating each day is a serious challenge...but I am learning tons. I don’t really have a choice? I am doing my absolute best to learn this language as fast as possible so I can be the most effective missionary possible. But yeah. Just think seriously about your wishes in the future ok?
So we got to our apartment here in my very first area, Sonsonate. Guys, it is so raunchy. Dirty and nasty and a serious health hazard. haha. We also randomly have the worst apartment in the whole mission? Hma S and her companion live with us, and she has 15 months in the mission and said this is the worst by far she has ever seen. We don’t have running water....except for in the shower? And you can bet that that shower has 0 hot water. The toilet is a fun situation. It’s just like a bowl, and deceptively has a little flusher handle on it. The first time I used it I asked Hma A how to flush it and she just came running at me speaking rapidly and holding a bucket. All I could think was: “please no. I don’t want to use a bucket. I just don’t. Please let an angel come down and allow this toilet to operate.”NO WORRIES. We just have to fill our bucket up with water from our pila outside (kinda like a little font... photo of a pila in El Salvador on the right.)So, we just fill the bucket and poor it down the toilet and it flushes! Good stuff. This is the epitome of adventure. I can’t count the times I threw a prayer up for all the things I had in America this week. But all you, all you people in America, be grateful for what you have ok?????? Oh my gosh, be grateful.
So sketchy apartment. But the hardest part has been the language. I hate not knowing what is happening ever. The people will start talking to me and then realize I know nothing and stop. It’s fine. But I love the kids here. They talk to me all the time. Also the country. I am in a very poor area. It’s dirty and they don’t have much. The houses are decent I guess...at first I was pretty revolted by their conditions. And I would be lying if I didn’t say that I questioned how a loving God could allow his children to live like this. But then I had an epiphany...are these not the people that our Lord and Savior visited and taught in his earthly ministry? The poor, the destitute? The infirm and outcasts? And I was immediately ashamed of my prejudice. The Lord is humbling me and teaching me so much right now. And he is blessing me beyond belief. Everyday I look back and see all the little miracles that happened that helped me move forward.
And I am trusting in the Lord for everything right now. Literally everything. Because plain and simple...
I can’t do this.Not alone.
Not without a firm faith in this gospel. How many times did I want to go home this week. AT least 40000. And I miss the CCM so badly. I miss all my friends from the ccm with my whole heart. But this is what I am here to do. So like, my 5th night here, I realized I had two choices.
1. I can be miserable and passive and just let this mission happen to me while I don’t know the language.
2. I can exercise all the faith I possess, and try to exert all my might each and every day and love these people and do everything I can for them.
I’m opting for number 2. it’s hard, but it’s also possible with Christ. I know He lives. I know it.The first few days I couldn’t even try to figure out what people were saying. I was so overwhelmed and exhausted and confused. But then I realized I had to try. At least try. And last night, during each lesson, I discovered that I can understand every conversation. Every. One. !!!!!! Breakthrough! I have to concentrate so hard, and I don’t know every word, but I can get the gist of what’s being said. This is a great leap forward for me...bc at the beginning of the week the people could have been speaking a mix of Russian, Finnish, Mandarin and Navajo and it would have made no difference to me. So I am at least progressing! My goal is to be rocking it at about 4 months.
Alright. Some funny stories.
Thursday night we went to M****’s house, and we are standing on the door step chatting when I feel some EXTREME pain in my foot. Like a little fire. And it’s spreading, and spreading. And I am freaking out. So I look down trying to discern what on earth is happening to me!! There are these nasty little ants going nuts on my foot! So I am swatting at them like a mad woman but then they got on my hands and started biting my hands!! Meanwhile, the woman and my comp are like...what is happening? And thinking I am clinically insane. And because I know about 9 words in Spanish, all I could think to say is 'el diablo es en mis zapatos!!!!' Haha and I proceeded to take my shoes off and jump around and kill those dang things. Turns out they were fire ants. What the heck! Those things are evil and so now whenever I see an ant I make sure to kill it. Some may call this petty, others may call it vindictive and still others may tell me that violence is never the answer. But I care not. I am making the ants species pay for the pain and embarrassment they caused me. No regrets.
Entonces. This was a rough week. I have never had to exert so much faith before. But I am doing it. I know this gospel is true. I can’t tell you how many times I cried out to the Lord this week, begging Him to carry me. And CAN TESTIFY. God answers our prayers. He loves us in our weakness and imperfection. I know that is true. I love you all.
You are all great. I love you all. I love families. I love pupusas. They are a food native to this area and they are dang good. I’m obsessed.
Ok. Literally I love you all more than you can possible imagine. Have a good week, and remember. God lives. And He loves you! And we already have a baptism btw. Yay!!
PS Mom, I wrote thank you’s to everyone who gave me gifts, but I don’t know how to send them....but I am so grateful!!!