How is everything going?! I wrote ya'll individually so you better be happy ;) Okay this letter should be a LOT better than the last one. There's about 17 of us here emailing so we have PLENTY of time to email without being rushed! The last batch of missionaries has left including the Latinos :( super sad about that. There were a total of 58 missionaries and when they left we were down to 17 people ( 2 districts). Then yesterday we got a batch of Haitian missionaries, and they definitely don't speak Spanish and maybe 1 or two words in English. So hand gestures work great. All I can think of to say in French are the things that the cook from The Little Mermaid says when he sings haha. Okay so funny stuff first. So we are all still in the process of learning spanish. We pray every day for the gift of tongues as we study and learn. With that said we still make mistakes. But, I love it because sometimes it's hilarious and I love to laugh! Okay so are you ready? I'll start with MY mistake. So I told you I made a deal with one of the Latina's and one of the Dominican girls that I'd help them with their english if they'd help me with my Spanish. So during gym time after I ran, she would say a question n English and I'd respond to her in Spanish. One of the question she asked me is how many siblings I had. So, in Spanish I said I had 5 and I was trying to be specific so I said "dos hermanos y tres...." And I couldn't think of what "sister" was in Spanish so I turned to my companion and said "Hermana Stevens" how do you say sister in Spanish? UM HELLO it says it on my name tag. THE DUMBEST QUESTION EVER haha. Okay next, so we are in class and we need to sing a hymn, Hermana Stevens didn't know the page so in Spanish she asks what page. HOWEVER she said the accent wrong in Spanish and if you say it the wrong way it means a totally different thing. I'm not going to go into detail, but it refers to a womans body part haha. Needless to say, we are all VERY self conscious when we say that word now because we don't want to mess it up. And lastly, we went to the store two days ago and to improve his Spanish one of the Elders wanted to talk to the cashier. So he says in Spanish "It must be boring working here huh?" and the lady looks at him and says "Sorry, no habla English" hahha even though he was talking to her in Spanish. And lastly, the last night when the Latinas left we all said goodnight and as they were leaving I said to the Dominican Hermana "WE LOVE YOU" and she says "Me too!" haha. I'm sure she meant "me too", but it makes me feel better to know we are all learning and progressing. So yeah, Spanish is coming along. Since the other Hermanas have left my companions (Hermana Bradford: from Henderson Nevada, and Stevens from Layton Utah) and I were asked to be the sister trainers. So we are super excited to tackle this assignment, and we love it! We definitely feel like the strongest companionship in the CCM. A lot of people say that a 3 some is hard. And at first it was, but once we were open with each other and made adjustments I can't imagine not being in a 3 some. I'm determined to come home with the attitude that a 3 some is WAY better than a regular companion ship. Okay some interesting stuff, Hermana Blanch that came in the same time we did is the girl that Shadow Sherwood knows so that's kinda funny. And one of the Elders in the new batch of missionaries that came in is from Greenville and knows James Powell and his family. Apparently Brother Powell is the bishop in his ward. This place just keeps getting SMALLER and SMALLER! So like I said we did go to the store and at first being here I definitely didn't feel like I was in a different country. Then we stepped outside for a 10 minute was to the store and it was a COMPLETELY different story. If you can picture the streets of India where there's a bunch of crazy drivers with mopeds and stuff, that's what it looks like. Trash piled in the gutter and and on the sidewalk. I say a stray kitten eating stuff in there and a huge stray dog walked by us. We make it to the store and I definitely felt like a fish in a fish bowl. Definitely felt like a minority, kinda intimidating. I didn't speak any Spanish haha because I was just nervous. I went by the pastry place and the guy said "Buenas" and I just stared like "ahhh what did he just say to me". I didn't even know what that meant haha but now I do. It's "good day". So like "Buenas dias", but they literally cut all their words down here. So it's like the South, words are missing and slang is thick. At first when we were getting ready to go I was like "Let me out let me out", but by the time we were done it was more like "let me back in!" haha I love it here though, I know this is where I'm suppose to be and it's definitely home. ALTHOUGH they don't have pickles OR salt and vinegar chips. Heaven help me haha. Last funny story so we are teaching our 4th investigator, we got our first one day 2 out here. Yeah all in Spanish talk about WAY intimidating. Now you know why a lot of the Hermana's and Elders were in tears haha. And no I didn't cry, I know that's what your wondering! Okay so our 4th investigator's background: he thinks we are part of the CIA, as some people down here do, he drinks, has a son, is a lawyer, ect. (just to let you know it's the teachers just acting as investiagtors). So we show up and he says he only has 5 minutes to hear what we have to say. So we get in just asking casual questions. So I ask "Oh hey, where's your son how is he doing" and he stops short and says in Spanish REALLY fast "How do you know about my son?" I literally didn't hear anything he was saying so I just stared at him, eyes bulging out of my face, and jaw dropped. So on of my companions (whose had like 10 years of Spanish) picked up where I left off and was like "Oh your friend told us" haha. So if he was questioning before if we were spies or not he definitely thinks so now because apparently I know about his son haha. So embarrasing. One of my teachers also loves to speak spanish like all the gringos and what's funny is I can understand everything he says when he has an american accent and is speaking spanish. So I love to lay my American accent on thick when speaking. It just sounds so funny. Hermano Ramierez teases us all the time about our accents, but let's be honest their accents when they speak English is super funny too. I told you they struggle with my name so one day Hermana Stevens and I made a little sticky note badges to go under our name tag. Mine says "Hermana Van-Algo" which means Hermana "Van-Something". Which is literally what they say when trying to read my name all the time haha. And Hermana Stevens says "Hermana es mental" which means crazy or it's mental just to give Hermano Ramierez a hard time. Well that's all for now, we go to the University to do street contacting, so PRAY for me! I'm super nervous about that. It'll be one interesting test run especially after my experience at the store haha. Oh and in one of the pictures Hermana Bradford and I are holding up Avacados. THEY ARE SO HUGE HERE! Es mental ;) And we got matching moo moo's so if your wondering what the heck we are wearing that's what it is. Temple is amazing, super pretty, love it. Okay love you all, and I pray for you every day! Hope all is well and keep me updated!
Hermana Van Woerkom