Monday, December 30, 2013

Guinea Pig

First of all, yes, can you contact that Peruvian lady in Utah? That would be nice. Also, if people write to me through, do you know how I can write back, since I'm pretty sure I don't get an address or anything with it? If I remember correctly, it's just a name of who it's from. Also, sorry about you being sick! Hope you get better soon!

Yeah, I actually got an email from Sienna this morning and she mentioned that she'd be going to Atlanta. I told her to look out for our family there. Hahaha that's funny about Jennie noticing the not-being-able-to-sing thing. Yeah, it's not just Peruvians. I've noticed it with my CCM comp's comp, who's from Mexico. We have cambios, or transfers, tomorrow and we find out tonight who stays and who goes and who trains and all that. The Hermana from Mexico that I just mentioned is sure she's leaving because she's been here for 6 months. She's intense, so we're all terrified of what will happen if she doesn't get transferred. Anyway, apparently it's tradition for the missionaries to meet up an hour before cambios in a McDonalds near the capilla. Apparently it gets packed. Tons of missionaries with both Spanish and English buzzing in the air. We're getting 17 new missionaries. 10 Hermanas and 7 Elders.

It was really nice to see you all on Christmas! And thanks again for my presents! Oh I forgot to mention this, but I was really excited about my chocolate-covered pretzels with peppermint! But yeah, I already cannot wait to see you on Mother's Day (Presidente Borg always recommends using Skype)! It was kinda funny to see you all wearing sweaters and stuff while I was sitting there, like, sweating and stuff haha. I'm so lucky to have the family I have. Hope you all had an awesome Christmas! For those who may read my blog and not hear what happened on Christmas, it's kinda like 4 of our holidays in one: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fouth of July, and New Years. Tons of turkey, opening presents (at midnight), a trillion fireworks at midnight, and everyone going around hugging and wishing each other a feliz navidad at midnight. The fireworks were insane. It was incredibly loud, as if this city couldn't get any louder, and it looked like the world was on fire. Pockets of fireworks and sparks and everything everywhere you look. And it sounded like war. Apparently the same thing will happen for New Years, but more fireworks.

I feel like I should've used more Spanish with you guys, like had a conversation with Dad or something, and shown you a little more of what I can do. But it's all good. I feel better about my Spanish this week. It really has gotten a lot better. And it feels good to receive compliments about that, too. I feel like I can understand about 90-95% of everything I hear, and my speaking is getting tons better as well. I feel great when I can have a successful conversation with someone, use correct grammar, and speak faster, all of which I've started to see happen this week. I'm also starting to think in Spanglish more and more haha. I actually almost spoke a little Spanglish with you guys on Christmas. I guess that's a good sign?

I ate guinea pig, or cuy, on Saturday. Good, but weird. Tastes like chicken, but the skin's kinda tough after being cooked. And there's not much meat, so you eat with your hands and have to look for the meat. I probably got about 5 bites out of my piece. And I know I broke some of that little guys bones in the process of trying to find meat. I have pics of it, which you'll see when I send you all my pics. Yeah, if you could send a flash drive or something, that'd be great. Apparently I might be eating rabbit and maybe cat sometime in the near future.

Thanks for everything! I feel like there's more I need to say, but I'll try to include that later. I'm gonna try to respond to other emails. Oh yeah, I was really happy to get an email from Brian and Grace!

Have a great week and Happy New Year!

Hermana Hymas

Monday, December 23, 2013

Feliz Navidad!

Aw man, everything's melted?! Oh well, looks like Lydia won't see snow after all. I'm sorry to hear about Aunt Dawn. Yay for Brian's BYU application making priority deadline! That's good news!

The mission Christmas party went really well! It was fun! It started at 1pm, and went til 9pm. We got there, changed into p-day clothes, had games and ate popcorn, changed back into missionary clothes, had a group picture, started the skits (Our's went really well! Everyone loved it!), ate a delicious American dinner (Yay! No rice!) with wonderful dessert, watched more skits, and finished with a couple of messages. We watched the old classic "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (In Spanish, but with English subtitles, and of course, the songs were in English. Man, I love that little movie.) and a little like 10 minute movie about the nativity. It was nice. So, I can't believe this, but there were only like maybe 4 skits that were missionary appropriate, including ours. They all just had like weirdness. Woot woot, Magdalena Zone! Oh and at the end of the party as we were leaving, we got a little gift, we got little Christmas cards from the Mission President and his wife, and from the First Presidency, a Christmas card with hideous pictures of everyone. Honestly, no one looks really like themselves haha. And we got a popcorn ball (smelled so sweet) and a temple recommend holder that's personalized for the mission. That's kinda cool. Okay, about the guinea pig, yes, I should still be eating that on Saturday I believe, and I was told that I'll also be eating rabbit soon. So...yeah, we'll see how those are.

I love "Sound of Music"! And "I Have Confidence" is totally my anthem! For the mission at least! I remember saying that to a couple of people before I left. I think Grace was one of them. Sister Toni Smith was another, because she loves that movie. But yeah, I remember watching that right before I got set apart and during that song just thinking about how much it applied to my feelings about my mission haha. If there are two things I learned from that movie before I left, it's that that song applied to me at that time, and that Maria is so cool. I want her to be my Governess.

Yes, Allison, my bed is awesome. Enjoy it. Awesome about David singing in Church. I so wish I could sing well. Haha I've met a couple people here who say I have a beautiful singing voice. There's a lady in the ward who everytime she sees me she always calls me the "the hermana with the beautiful voice" and how she wants to hear me sing again. HA! If only. Okay, I'm not bad, but I'm not like, good. Remember, no one here can yup. Which brings me to last night, we went caroling to less active families. We never started on key. We did once, only when I hummed the beginning note. Unfortunately my companion and I had to leave and go home early because yesterday I got really sick. Like really sick. I'm doing better now, but I just had a bunch of terrible things happening to my body. Stomach, head, and body aches, I was freezing when it wasn't even cold, but my face was burning up, and I felt faint. I'm pretty sure it was something I ate the day before. I just felt all-around terrible. It got to the point where I just couldn't continue. So we had to leave. I felt really bad. But, we are going caroling with another family tonight, so at least I'm not sick for that.

Oh yeah, Presidente Borg said that Christmas is just an all day p-day for us. My comp wants to visit a bunch of member families. Also, we have permission to stay up and watch fireworks tomorrow night as long as we're in our house. It's tradition here for Peruvians to set off fireworks at midnight on the 24th. Also, they have a dinner at midnight as well, and we've been invited to have that with the Stake President's family who we live behind, so we might be doing that too.

I miss you guys a lot. However, it seems like things more or less just get better and better here. I cannot wait to talk to you all on Wednesday! Super looking forward to it! I'm trying to think of everything I want to say during our 40 minutes.
See you in 2 days! Love you!

Hermana Chrisanne Hymas

Monday, December 16, 2013

Week Five

Oh man, I don't even know where to begin. I don't know what I did to be blessed with such awesome people in my life. Friends and family. Ustedes son lo maximo. Oh the Messiah! How was that! I forgot to tell you all that a couple weeks ago was a stake Christmas devotional thing, and they had a choir and singers sing solos. Good thing the soloists were good (most of them), because as I said before, people in Peru cannot sing for their lives. But yeah, two songs from the Messiah were sung. In English, of course. It made me think of the Messiah back home. Thanks for your thoughts about my experiences so far. Yeah, Dad kinda said the same thing. And I agree. It's super hard right now, but I know this is strengthening me. I've only been in for 2 months, and I'm already feeling it. I feel like my Spanish is improving though! I have a long way to go however. It really is poco a poco. But, I'm definitely improving! People have even told me this. That feels kinda good. Interesting thing happened yesterday. We went to teach/share a message with a less active family. First of all, I wasn't too thrilled about going to their house only because it reeks of wet dog, which I'm pretty sure is the worst smell in the world. And their dog likes to freak out on people and jump and lick and stuff. No me gusta. But their really nice. My comp talked with them for a long time, and then we shared a message on the Atonement. I bore my testimony a little in Spanish, but then the son, since he and the daughter (both in their 20s) understand and speak some English (a few people speak a little here because a lot of them learn it in school), said that if I wanted to, I could share my testimony in English because they could understand me. And they kinda wanted me to. So I did. And I don't know what it is about my mission...maybe because it's been rough and I've felt the love of the Lord so much recently and learned so much at the same time...but I got kinda emotional. I bore my testimony on what the Atonement means to me and families as well. Afterwards, the son thanked me for sharing. He said it was really powerful, and that when I can share it in Spanish, it'll be even more powerful. The Spirit was totally there, but when I got to share in English... Interesting...

So I should probably tell you where I am since I keep forgetting haha. I'm in an area called Magdalena. We have everything from upper middle class people, to really dirt poor people. Our investigators are pretty good, but we have a problem in our area with a lot of couples not being married. We literally have I think three or four right now who are still not married. "Castidad, castidad, castidad!" Everyone I meet too, I can't remember if I said this already or not. Literally everyone I meet who finds out I'm from PA always says, "Oh, like Transylvania. Like Dracula." And then I have to explain the difference and so many of them are surprised that it's not the same thing... Siempre. Hey, so a couple weeks ago, our ward had a movie night. It was "17 Miracles" in English with Spanish subtitles. The missionaries got permission to watch it. It's about the Mormon pioneers. Anyway, Jens Nielson and his family are characters in it. And at the end, they display a bunch of facts and pics of Jens Nielson. Cool! Also...I'll be eating guinea pig on the 28th...yum?

Some more Christmas stuff. First of all, I cannot wait for Friday when we have an all day Christmas party with our entire mission! That'll be fun! Our zone has to do a skit, but our ZLs decided we're gonna do a band. So with bottles filled with different amounts of water, while blowing into the top of them, we're performing Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It's fun. Haha we had to perform Jingle Bells for a ward this week, and when we were practicing before, one Hermana from Argentina asked me how to say "Jingle Bells". I told her, she practiced, but it still sounds funny. Haha their English is kinda funny, because they have the same sounds in Spanish, like "el" in "bells", but they cannot get it, even if they say "el" correctly. Christmas: I sent you a invite thing from the lady's skype we're using. Want to try for 6 pm or something? I'm not sure what time that is there, if it's the same or if it's 7. But my comp wants to skype her fam around 7-ish our time, so what do you think. Also, this is kinda cool. Some missionaries said that, especially with big families, their family is hooking skype up to a big TV and putting a webcam there or something. That's cool, but I don't know how the mic would work. I'd test it first. Don't know if that's something you'd be interstested in instead of crowding around a computer. I don't know. Do what you want. Doesn't matter to me. Thanks for the pic of the house with snow too! I'm jealous!

Ahhhh! Yeah, I'd love to get mail from people! My favorite!

Ugh, don't have any more time! Talk to you more next week! I love you all so much!

Su hija, 
Hermana Chrisanne Hymas

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week Three

First, I have some disappointing news. We just got a letter from Presidente Borg saying that we won't be doing the 5 minute call beforehand for Christmas anymore, and we only get 40 minutes to skype. QUE EN EL FREAKING MUNDO?!?! I'm not too thrilled about this. I'm really really really looking forward to talking to you guys! Haha I don't think we'll be getting iPads any time soon. There are some sketchy people here and we've even been instructed to be careful with our crappy little nokia phones. In some places, people will rob you. It's happened to one sister already with her phone. for the sights from pinterest, I don't know. I've seen tons of the little poor colorful houses in the mountains, and I've been to Miraflores for my foot. Last P-day, we went to Charca y Mar. It's a couple hours away in Lima North mission. Since our mission is so small, every month we get the opportunity to go outside the mission. It was pretty cool. I'll have to send pictures when I have time. I don't know yet about the whole flash drive idea. Hang on for a little bit, I might be able to catch up on pics hopefully soon. Yeah, just hang on and I'll decide what would probably be best. Charca y Mar was a big beach place with caves and cliffs and weird hari krishna (don't know how to spell it) stuff. This P-day we went into central Lima, like central central. Like, if you google image Lima, Peru, you'll probably see that. We went to the area that was my cover photo on facebook for a little bit. Some parts are pretty cool, some parts are not. Soooo many people. Too many. And it's super hot, so that makes it like 20x worse. And we also took a bus up a mountain where you could see all of Lima. Wow. What a populated city. No open space at all. Everywhere is occupied by buildings or houses. Or people.

I'm still getting used to the culture here. It kinda weird. There are many things, I don't know if I'll be able to remember them all. First of all, everyone is so slow. Always late. They love to take their time. Also, they're all really blunt. I've heard so many insults that they just don't consider insults. You don't know how many times I've heard people talk about others (or sometimes to their face) who they think is fat or ugly. Everyone here is also really bad at singing. We're talking really, really bad. Drives me crazy haha. Haha Presidente Borg even told me that in my first interview with him! This week we had multizones with Elder Waddell of the Seventy. He's really cool. And really tall. He served in Spain though, so he spoke with the lisp. The entire thing was in Spanish. He didn't speak a word in English, except when he met us all one by one. All he said to me was basically commenting on how nice PA is and how hopefully the temple will be done before I come home. But yeah, I love our mission conferences. I always want to be so much better than I am. And Hermana Borg continues to be the coolest lady on the planet. Oh by the way, to answer your question from a few weeks back, I don't remember what activity it was, but Sammy Castleton's the best, so I'm sure it was a blast!  And yes, Sister Bendixen is awesome. Oh and thanks for keeping me a little updated on my friends in their missions! It's cool to see what everyone's up to. Sienna and I have emailed a couple times. She's doing really well and really loves the MTC, which is good.

This week has been pretty good. I'm still struggling a TON, but spiritually, it's been pretty good. My rough spots are always in the morning. I don't know why, every morning I'm just reminded of how incredibly frustrated I am and how incredibly difficult this is. Really, this is the hardest thing I've ever done. So a few days ago during personal study, I read the April 2013 Conference talk by Elder Holland, "Lord, I Believe". Wow. It was exactly what I needed. I couldn't hold back my tears this time. I think it's just because I've been feeling so alone and so inadequate and so frustrated lately. But he talks a lot about growing your faith, and "only believing" being a very good place to start. I feel like no one around me day to day understands what I'm going through. They don't understand how difficult this really is for me. Many, many times I think to myself, "If I can express myself so super well, sometimes perfectly I think, then why the heck am I serving here? I feel like I'm wasting my time not being able to do what I know I can do in English." Does that make sense? Well, I've just been going off of just a pure belief that things will get better, even though I don't understand how. But I believe that my being here is not a mistake. I don't know it's hard to express in this short amount of time I have to write. I recommend reading it. It was just super comforting. I find even when I talk about that talk and the things I learned and the love I felt while reading it, I still get a little emotional. So far on the mission, I've learned that the love of God is very personal. He knows exactly what we need. He knows the exact words and messages I've needed lately. I can't begin to tell you how loved I've felt lately in the midst of feeling so alone at the same time. To go along with this, thank you so much for your prayers.

Theme of the week. Believe in the impossible. The other night, I was feeling pretty down, so I read some letters people wrote me and sent or gave to me before my mission. It was nice. Sister Vernon's card had a quote from Alice in Wonderland on the front. Something about "imagining up to six impossible things before breakfast." Sister Vernon went on to say how she loves this quote and how often, so many things in the mission seem impossible, but they're not. Believe in the impossible. That seemed to be the theme with this morning's zone conference as well. Have faith, y'all. "Impossible things are happening everyday." Props to whoever can get that reference. I know Grace can.

Christmas! I miss the Christmas season SOOO MUCH!!!! I'm super jealous of you all right now. Partly because it so doesn't feel like Christmas, and partly because I just miss home during the holidays. And CHRISTMAS MUSIC! I miss Christmas music so much! Ugh...I'm so sick of my comp playing EFY music everyday. Spanish EFY music to make it worse. Haha want to know something funny? Fruitcake (or Paneton) is really big here during the holidays. They looove it. It's funny, I've told some of them that fruitcake is kinda a joke in America, and they either think it's funny, or they just don't get it. Oh yeah, and Mom, after my mission I never want rice again. Ever. I have to eat a mound of it every day. I so don't want to gain weight on this mission... That's so fun that the Wood's are coming up for Christmas! That should be a blast! Ooo I miss American food so much too! Just because. And also because everyday I have meat (usually chicken), a mound of rice, and potatoes. Mmm...American food...during the holidays too! That's even better! I saw the Christmas devotional last night, but the whole thing was in Spanish and I didn't understand it all, so I want to find the talks in English and print them off to read if I can. Okay, since we won't have the 5 minutes before Christmas to talk (bummer!), we have to coordinate through email when to Skype and stuff. I'm still super upset about the only 40 minutes to talk. Not nearly enough! Oh before I forget! They handed out mail at multizones, and I got two boxes from you guys! I think one is my Christmas package, so I haven't opened it yet, and I thought the other was my insoles from the doctor so I opened it, and it was the Charlie Brown Christmas tree!!! I love it! I assembled it that night and it's sitting on my desk thing right next to my package! My comp didn't get it at first, so I had to explain it to her. But I love it! Thanks!

As always, I feel like I'm missing some thing I need to say, but I can't remember, so I'll leave it at this right now. I love you all so much. Thanks for everything. And thanks for being the best family ever. Until next week!

Hermana Hymas

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Week Two

Yep, I can totally relate to Sienna's comment. I often wonder why the heck I'm speaking Spanish if I can express myself so well in English and I feel so comfortable talking to people in English. I just feel like I'm taking a back seat and watching more than doing right now, just because there's only so much I can do. And it's a little embarrassing when people don't understand me, or they laugh at my Spanish or something. That doesn't happen very much, but it's happened. Oh, I cannot wait for the moment where I'll be able to be comfortable with this dang laguage. Thanks for sending me the rest of that last email! It was nice to read other things that are going on. And yes, I'm okay with my email address being out there. I love getting emails! And I try to get to them whenever I can. I couldn't respond to Sister Pace last week, but I got to this week. That's so cool about seeing Elder Christofferson speak at the temple! I have to agree with you about the feeling you had. I love this gospel and I know that it is true, and that there's no greater message to share with the world than the message of Jesus Christ and this gospel. I've felt that more on the mission. There've been times during companionship study where we watch a clip from The District or something from an apostle. And boom. I'm hit with that feeling again. Stronger. There've been a couple time's where I've fought back tears, just because I know how true and special this gospel is, and how blessed I am to have it. There was one I remember where Elder Eyring and Elder Holland spoke about the difficulties of missionary work, and related it to Christ's ministry. It was way good. They basically said, yes, missionary life is very hard, but in those moments where you get rejected, spit on, laughed at, you stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the greatest missionary that ever walked the earth: Jesus Christ. We don't understand everything Christ went through, but in our hard times, we get a small glimpse of it.

Thanks for sending me a pic of the Peruvian nativity! I want to find one to either send home or save for when I come home. I don't know which is better. Do you know anything about that Peruvian lady that lives in UT? Does she only send things to those who live in UT? Ah, Christmas. It doesn't feel like Christmas here. It gets hotter and hotter. Although last night we saw some houses with a little bit of Christmas lights out front. I miss Christmastime in the States! It's the best! I was talking to Hermana Borg this week (we had a conference for new missionaries, which was inspiring. And it was fun to see the Elders from my district in the CCM again) and she said she really misses the holidays in the USA. Oh, guess what I realized this morning, I probably won't have a Christmas with Brian for 4 Christmas's. That's weird. And sad. I miss you guys. I have the best family in the world. And the holidays are my favorite because holidays at home are my favorite. Oh yeah, Christmas here: so apparently we have a big party as a mission on Dec. 20th. Then on Christmas...I don't really know. In Peru, they celebrate Christmas at midnight on the 24th, stay up all night, and then sleep all day the next day. So visiting people on Christmas might be difficult haha. But, I'll be able to Skype with you all from a member's home on Christmas day! Yay! I'll also have a 5 minute time before Christmas sometime where I can call home and confirm when we're speaking on Christmas.

Oh by the way, how was Thanksgiving?! I miss that too. And my Thanksgiving I had fish for lunch at a member's home. And it was staring at me the whole time. Yep, eyes and everything. Good thing I didn't have to eat that part though. Phew. And that day was just rough because no one we were supposed to teach was home. We had two lessons that day. One was with a 10 year old recent convert who just woke up from a nap and didn't want to hear us, and the other was with the stake president's family (we live in a little room right behind their house).

So Sundays here. Sundays are good. I have a good ward, although I can't really speak to many people. This Sunday though for some reason I was just feeling really down. Don't get me wrong, I have good days, but sometimes I just get in a bad mood because of how much I struggle with the language. So I felt really alone and just down at Church on Sunday, and then right before the 3rd hour, a lady starts speaking to me in English! She's Peruvian, but she's lived in Texas for the last 25 years. She was just visiting for the week. She was comforting though. She talked about how hard it is to learn a language, but that it's possible. And then she was like, "And I thought you might want to have something from your country." And she gave me a little bag of American candy! It might not seem like much, but that really made my day.

I have to go, but I'll write you more next week. And I'll tell you about P-day this week. Charca y Mar! It was pretty cool! Sorry about the pics! I'll try to keep them coming!

Love you all so much! Thanks for everything!

Hermana Hymas