Im alive and well and im here in guatemala!!! During my letter please excuse the grammar mistakes as i am writing this on a crappy keyboard in a semi sketchy internet cafe haha.
But anyway, i dont know where to start, so much has happened in the past 5 days, but i guess ill start at the beginning. So after our bus ride to the mission home last week (which was about 4 hours long) President Maravilla and his wife met us at the capilla we were dropped off at. President maravilla is super short, but hes super funny and doesnt speak much english at all, but he was very nice and gracious. We went into the chapel (which was nice, but small with no carpet or air conditioning) and they fed us dominos pizza for lunch go figure. Oh, and it is super hot here. like im sweaty from head to foot all day kind of hot. Its really humid, and well... just plain hot. So after we had a meeting with president maravilla and the APs (who translated everything into english for us gringos) which was just kind of a get to know you meeting and what the rules and stuff are, they paired us up with real missionaries and we went out contacting for a couple hours in the retalhuleu area. We took a tuc tuc, which curt can probably describe for you guys, but its just like a small 3 wheeled taxi type thing, to an area. And to be honest i was kind of shocked at the state of some of these peoples homes here, the area we were in was just like shacks with no walls, dirt floors and tin rooves with the peoples chickens and pigs just running around. It was definately a culture shock, but we taught a lesson with this one woman, and there were chickens walking around our seats and in the middle of the lesson she just started breast feeding her baby, so yes, i did experience a lot of things curt and president muirhead said i would experience in my first few hours here haha, oh and they just take thier trash outside and set it on fire like curt said and so it doesnt always smell pleasant around here, but esta bien. we taught a couple lessons, and me and the elder i was with actually gave a blessing to this other girl who was sick, so that was a real neat experience.
After all of that, they took us to the mission home to have dinner with president, and it was super good and we met a few guys going home, and they looked pretty beat up haha. After dinner they took us to stay in a hotel for the night, and it was actually pretty nice by guatemalan standards. Then wednesday morning we went to the capilla and we had a short meeting with president again just giving us more information, and then we went into changes meeting with all of the elders and sisters having changes. There, i got my trainer who is Elder Clyde! He is from heber, Utah and has been out for about 15 months now. he is pretty much fluent in espanol, and hes a really cool guy as well that likes to work and learn, so i got blessed with a good teacher. after changes meeting, we got on a tuc tuc with my luggage (another interesting experience) and went to our apartment. My area is in a part of retalhuleu called palmelita, and there are 4 sisters and elder clyde and i in our district, so my companion is district leader. we live above these people who arent members, but they are really nice and the apartment is pretty nice as well, but im definitely not in the U.S. anymore is all im going to say haha. we dropped off my stuff and we went to lunch at some members who cook us lunch everyday and do our laundry. they were really nice, but i couldnt really understand what they were saying to me, but lunch was tamales and it was pretty good. After that, we got to work visiting investigators and contacting.
its a different world down here thats for sure and for the first day or so i felt like i was in a dream, but now it doesnt feel so wierd to me anymore. i´ve spoken more spanish than i ever have in my life, and taught a ton of lessons to people, and its been amazing how much i have already learned and picked up on in just these past few days. i can understand probably 80% of what people say now, and i still cant speak a ton, but i always teach something in every lesson, and elder clyde says i can speak 10 times more than he could at this point, and everyone in my district compliments my spanish on how much i can say 5 or 6 days in the field, so im learning a lot, and its pretty crazy that a couple months ago i didnt know anything about spanish.
So its pretty jungly here, and i think the best i can describe it simply is like a more jungly Nacho Libre haha, that movie is actually pretty accurate of how things are down here. Oh, and this past saturday, i already had my first baptisms!! we baptized a woman named lucia who is 70 and her son jose who is like 45 and has a disease where he cant walk very good. they have been taking the lessons the past few weeks and we baptized them, so its pretty crazy that my first week i already have a baptism!! thats kind of how the work is down here, everyone here believes in god and is either catholic or evangelical. And everyone here is super nice and is willing to talk to us, and a something really cool is that so far, every door i´ve knocked on and someone answered where i gave the door approach we have gotten in and taught a lesson, its pretty crazy and they are probably just having pity on the poor gringo trying to speak spanish, but we´ve fouind like 10 new investigators just in the past few days ive been here. food here is good, and we were actually able to go get cereal to eat which has been awesome in the apartment. There is a giant volcano i can see from our apartment window, and its always smoking every morning, so that is pretty cool, but we are safe.
I dont know what else to talk about so much happens with finding people and running into drunk guys that i cant possibly write all the experiences ive had. But there have been some awesome spiritual and non spiritual experiences when we´ve given blessings and taught lessons. I actually commited an investigator to baptism the other day and bore my testimony countless times. yesterday i gave a talk in sacrament meeting which went pretty well, and church was a little crazy trying to get our investigators to church running around in tuc tucs and stuff. yesterday when we were contacting it started raining super hard, and to get into an investigators house, elder clyde and i had to parkour over this river of water just to get to the door, and then we taught our lesson in the dark because our investigator (Pedro) doesnt have electricity and i was actually able to talk about joseph smith and the first vision in spanish, in the dark with rats running around our feet and poring rain outside and commit him to baptism. it was surreal to say the least, but i know that this is the work of god.
I wish i could talk about more, but there is just too much. I am doing well and im healthy, and im going to try to send my pictures over the internet with this sketchy computer. Any way, i love you all and i need your prayers and love more than ever, and once again thank you for your emails, and right now email is the best way to get a hold of me because i dont know the address exactly where you send letters and stuff. But thank you, and i love you all tons and wish you success in school and everything else.
- Elder Henderson
**Note from Holly: He attached lots of pictures with his email, but we can only see these four for some reason--the others are in an unrecognizable format. It looks like this is the mom and son that he & Elder Clyde baptized on Saturday. So amazing!!**