Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"Diarrhea Since Easter Part II" Letter 8-24-15

Two Month Mark

The Heat is Severe!

Ward Talent Show Friday

Our District at Talent Show
My Hermanas

I´m going to say no more regarding the subject title.

¡Hola familia! 
*Queue Mickey Mouse Playhouse ¨Hot Diggity Dog¨ song
*Queue Jeff dropping it like he´s Goofy

This week has been a bit better as far as homesickness goes, and the Spanish is a little bit better everyday. I can talk about the Gospel pretty well, and basic conversations and stuff like that. I also can understand a lot, which is good. It can get frustrating at times when I´m trying to tell a story or something like that, especially when I have to use a lot of past tense. Try explaining the plot of Slumdog Millionaire in another language. Just kidding, don´t try BECAUSE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!! Well, unless you speak fluently. Anyways, sometimes I feel a little bit boxed up because I can´t tell stories or make people laugh too well, which are two of my favorite things, but like I said I am a bit better everyday. Hermana Piña is very sweet and patient with my Spanish too. We understand each other really well, which is a HUGE blessing!

The heat has been pretty severe. I have Gatorade with me everyday (+ this really big water bottle), but dehydration is sometimes a bit of a problem still because we seriously sweat so much. Also, because of the sweat we STINK by the end of the day. :) All part of the fun! I have some pretty gnarly blisters too because of the heat and the constant walking. You know that scripture that says something about those who establish peace (the Gospel) having beautiful feet? I´m pretty positive that it was strictly meant metaphorically. Very strictly, because my feet (though they weren´t too cute before the mission either) for sure won´t be very cute after 18 months of this. 

Here´s how things went this week:

Monday 17/08
After emails, we taught a Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) with one of our investigators, Lupita, and her two daughters with a family in our ward. We watched the Restoration video and after played this game with animal noises.

Tuesday 18/08
We had a zone conference from 9:00-4:00 today. I was able to understand quite a bit of the messages, especially the one from President´s wife, Hna. Robinson, because it was in English. It´s nice being with other missionaries of the zone because it reminds me of how great this work is! For lunch we had ¨doggas¨ which are the beautiful versions of hot dogs here in Mexico. The bun is suuupppeeerr buttery, like mom´s rolls. On top of the dog are tomato, avocado, onion, sour cream, ketchup, mustard and cheese. Delicious but really heavy.

Wednesday 19/08
Today we ate lunch with the sweetest sister from our ward, Hna. Tinoco. She cooked us such a nice meal and had us eat on her nicest plates. Some of the people here are of really humble circumstances. It is so sweet to see the people here give us the best they have to offer. Later we taught a less active family the Restoration. When we got there they offered us food. We declined, but the mom would not hear it and prepared us a plate anyways. Then at the end of the lesson she asked again, We told her that we were full but she gave us this look as if to say ¨seriously?¨ with raised eyebrows and all just before making us taquitos. They´re trying to make us fat!!! 

Thursday 20/08
Today we went on splits (at least I think that´s what they´re called in English... it´s ¨intercambios¨ in Spanish). I went with Hna. Fletcher. It was much so fun because she reminds me a ton of Taylor Rogers! We taught a lesson to this poor soul named Jose, who had lost a leg to gangrene last year. His house had flooded during one of the storms and so his mattresses were soaked. The smell was sooo bad. I felt so bad for him. I´m not sure how he´s doing now because he´s not in my area. Later we went to a Relief Society activity. The women in our ward are super sweet but, boy, their Spanish is super fast! I must have asked for them to repeat 30 times! Good thing they are very loving to me. As we walked home Hna. Fletcher treated me to this dessert that is basically strawberries swimming in heavy whipping cream and sugar. :)

Friday 21/08
The hermanas in my district and this girl, Edna, from our ward (who just received a mission call to Pachuca Mexico) made a bunch of popcorn for a talent show activity for the ward that night. For lunch, a member dropped off tamales and Hna. Piña and I ate them while watching the video, Finding Faith in Christ. The activity was super fun. A bunch of the kids did skits and some of the older folks sang. The MC was Mexican Carl Frederickson (as in UP). This darling boy with downs syndrome did a dance to Elvis, then Michael Jackson--with full costume for both performances! It was so cute! The missionaries sang a hymn but we changed the words to say funny things about missionaries. After we ate burros percherones, which are burritos on steroids. Really tasty, but like pretty much all of the food here, heavy.

Saturday 22/08
Pretty normal day. Lots of progress with an investigator named Belen, who is about 60, I would guess. 

Sunday 23/08
Belen came to church and took notes the whole time! She is awesome and has lots of excitement for the Gospel. Not many of the people here are too motivated with church attendance and stuff like that. It was awesome to have such an excited investigator. I think she´ll be pretty strong in preparing for baptism. She is super sweet and likes to call me Hna ¨Fresa,¨ which means strawberry, because my companion is Hna. Piña, which means pineapple. I am a definite dog person, and I rarely use the word hate, but I hate. the dogs here, at least in general. There are strays everywhere that follow us and the ones that have owners bark a ton! One dog bounded up to me while I was walking in the street and threw itself at the fence that separated us. I don´t think I’ve ever screamed so loud in my life! Ha-ha, my life flashed before my eyes! 

I love you all so much! I miss you a lot but I´ve been getting better with the homesickness. I pray for you all the time. You are the greatest people on earth!!!!!!

Con amor,
-Hermana Hauck

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"The Mexico Life" Letter 8-17-15

Our Chapel

Mexican Hot Dogs

Another week here in Hornosillo. Don´t laugh at that pun because this heat is not funny to me. Just kidding…laugh. :)

Okay so here are some more details about Mexico Amy´s life.

My companion, Hna. Piña, is very sweet and very…motherly. I´m not sure how to describe it, but she is great! She is from Mexico City, is 23 and has a couple inches on me. We live in this really nice apartment (well, nice for Hermosillo) that has two stories. Elders lived in it last and left if quite dirty, which left me with a bit of work and a reassurance that the male race could never exist without us women. But after two P-days and a bit of cleaning every morning, it is now spick and span.

Our district is awesome and consists of Hna. Piña and I, Hna. Fletcher (American), Hna. Zelaya (Honduran), Elder Sanchez (Ecuadorian) and Elder Smith (Czech Slovakian...heehee, jokes. Obviously American).

For breakfast I usually have cereal, oatmeal or eggs, and dinner usually a sandwich. Lunch is with members and is usually lots of tortillas (which are AMAZING here) and beans, peppers and meat. For drinks we have lots of juices and flavored waters. Virtually all liquid is called agua, which is ridiculous and confusing to me (sorry Mexico), but I´m learning to live with it. The people here love what is called Jamaica juice, which is extracted from a flower, I believe. It´s pretty good. : )

The people here are very loving but often fiery tempered, which most likely is due to the hot sun. I´m not sure if I told you this but everything (also everyone) smells like spicy milk. Shirts (and/or pants) are optional for old men. We women all greet with hugs and by touching cheeks and making a kiss noise and only a hand shake with the men, but yesterday I had two men swoop in and kiss me on the cheek before I could do anything about it. Oops! Let it be known that almost everyone and their dog is Catholic here. They don´t really attend church or read the bible too much but they will defend the Catholic church until they die so it can be hard to convince others to read the Book of Mormon or accept baptism. 

Good gravy, the climate here is crazy. It is incredibly hot (i.e. 120 degrees about two times a week) and humid because it has been raining a ton. Now, when it rains here it can be brutal. Last night we had a really bad storm. Things kept flying into our house and the lightning and thunder were so loud and terrible that I was seriously making plans in my head for survival if our house fell apart! Our downstairs was flooded, but thankfully where we sleep is upstairs, so none of our stuff was hurt. Poor Hna. Barton (who was in my district in the CCM and is now in my zone here in Hermosillo) only has one story in her house so their bedroom was flooded.

The heat really takes a lot out of you when you´re walking all day. I would guess we walk around 3-5 miles every day. I carry a sweat rag to keep my face somewhat dry. Because I´m so sweaty all the time, if any wind blows dirt sticks to me like glue so I get pretty dirty. I try to clean of my arms and legs in member’s homes, if I can. Dehydration is something that has been a problem for me. I had been drinking lots and lots of water but I felt sick and reeeallly tired. Hna. Fletcher told me that I need something with sodium because I lose so much in my sweat. Luckily, my devilishly smart mother thought to send me with Gatorade powder. I drink one everyday now and it´s been better. Moms are the best!

Spanish is coming! Let me tell you, the Gift of Tongues is REAL! Sometime in lessons when I bear my testimony I can feel the Spirit helping me remember word and conjugations that I have learned. I am able to talk with most people pretty well. However, there are a fair amount of people here who either a) talk superdy-duperdy fast; b) slur their words together; c) have a total of 6 teeth; or any combination of the three, so sometimes I can´t understand for the life of me. One of my investigators told me that I have beautiful Spanish, quite a proud moment for me.

It´s an adjustment for sure but it´s all kind of fun and adventurous! The hardest thing is the homesickness to be honest. But let me tell you, my testimony of the Atonement has grown so much. It´s not just to take away our sins. Christ suffered everything we will ever go through. I seriously know this because so many times this week I have felt His love in ways that may not take away the homesickness I feel, but it strengthens me in ways I can´t even describe. Last Monday the homesickness was the worst so Hna. Fletcher told me to read Alma 7. If any of you need help from our Savior (i.e. all of us every single day) READ THIS!!! He is there always and all we need to do it turn to Him and trust Him. Also I highly recommend D & C 121. : )

For a bit of an extra boost, Elder Smith gave me a blessing today in English (queue sigh of relief). It was very comforting. I can´t remember all that he said, but I do remember him saying that Heavenly Father loves me more then I can ever understand and He is rooting me on everyday. He blessed me with strength to work everyday because there are people here who need me and whom I need. This was the perfect medicine for my homesickness. I think I had kind of forgotten that Heavenly Father has called me to be in this specific location for the harvesting of His already-white field. There are people here who, for whatever reason, need to hear the truth of this amazing Gospel through me. I felt so strengthened after this blessing and I feel really motivated to be here now. 

Sorry this email is forever long, but now I´m gonna give a brief summary of my week.

Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) with the Benezra family. They are super fun and have 4 rambunctious daughters and two sons. We watched the Living Scriptures animated video of Joseph in Egypt. Hilarious in Spanish dubbing!

We had a meeting with the zone that was very motivating. I like being with other missionaries because it reminds me that others have gone through the adjustment to the mission life too. I must be sweet because today I received 18 mosquito bites. Possibly this is too much information, but 5 of them were on my bum so I felt thoroughly violated. An old lady noticed my bites on my arms and went to get me bug spray in the middle of my recitation of the first vision.

One of our investigators, Lupita, has three daughters. One of them, Dani, is an absolute gem! She calls me ¨Maestra Hauck¨ (teacher Hauck) because I help her with her English. 

Today we taught a lesson to the really nice man named Fransisco. When we sung him ¨Soy un hijo de Dios¨ he decided that he wanted to sing along but all he sang was ¨Jesùs, oooohhhhhh Jesùs¨ to his own melody. We taught another man named Jesùs Antonio who is 24. He was very receptive and he accepted baptism AND went to church! The peeps here have a hard time with church attendance.

Okay I´m out of time. The rest of the week was good. Walking, teaching and sweating.

Con amor,
Hermana Hauck 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"What is Sweat?" Letter 8-10-15

Hermanas Hauck & Piña
Hermana Facials on P-day

That caption/title isn´t supposed to be sarcastic. I feel like the fish in that joke where one fish says to another ¨Water´s nice isn´t it?¨ and the other responds ¨What the heck is water?¨. I live in sweat!! It is suuuuupppppeeerrr hot and we walk all day long. My clothes smell pretty nasty by the time I go home at night. 

This week has been very interesting. I´ve used some pretty sketchy bathrooms, second hand smoked a fair amount and seen at least 20 half naked men (and at least 1 fully naked man). It´s a bit lonely with the language barrier. I can´t really express myself, which is new for me. Thankfully, there´s an American hermana in my zone, who helps me a lot and sometimes talks to me in English. 

The homesickness is probably the hardest part for me right now. I miss you all so much it hurts. BUT (thanks goodness for ¨buts¨) I know that this is a very special and rewarding work so it will get better really soon. 

After I emailed you all on Monday, I went shopping at Walmart with Hna Piña. We had to walk about a mile home with all of our groceries, but a lady and her son helped us carry the goods there. We talked to them a bit about the Gospel but they weren´t too interested.

Our house is pretty decently big. We have ac only in our room so we spend most of the time in there but we exercise downstairs in the mornings. It’s pretty hot, but all good…more of a work out! We had a district meeting at the chapel, but it was a pretty long walk and we ended up getting lost. Many others from our zone were there too and guess what?  Hna Barton is in my zone!! I was so glad to see her! This night it rained like crazy so we had to navigate through the streets/rivers of Hermosillo to make it home.

We ate lunch with the Rodriguez family today. I was able to understand so much with them! Most of the people here talk super fast and kind of slurred but they were very clear. We did lots of street contacting this day. We´re trying to meet lots of people to teach :)

Today we taught Hna Lupita. She is very sweet and mostly receptive to the Gospel, but she has a hard time keeping her commitments. She told me that she´s very impressed with my Spanish, which made me quite proud! We also taught a lady named Gloria Guadelupe. She accepted baptism at the end of the lesson, which was super exciting, but she hasn´t kept her commitment since then so we need to give her a bit of a push.
Walking home I taught Hna Piña ¨A Child´s Prayer¨, which is my favorite primary song, in English. I like humming and whistling as we walk here. The mosquitos here are on steroids or something because some of the many bites that I have received have bruised! I bought more bug spray today.

While walking to our lunch appointment with some members in our ward, this homeless man was walking behind us talking about candy. It was slightly alarming so we walked pretty fast. It got pretty stormy this day and the wind was blowing really hard. There´s lots of dust in the wind here and it all sticks to my sweaty arms and legs so I get really dirty. :/  I played jump rope with some cute kids in the street this day. It was really nice doing something fun because it´s been a pretty hard week. I ate my first Mexican hot dog, or doga, for dinner. It was very good but verrrry greasy. They put onions and guacamole and a bunch of other stuff on them here.

Today we taught Hna Lupita again and her daughter joined us! They are both so sweet and relatable. Not much else happened this day except street contacts and stuff.

Both of our investigators who had committed to church attendance didn´t show, which was disappointing, but church was a good experience. No one can play the piano so all the hymns are acapella. Now, these people here in Hermosillo Balderrama have very sweet spirits, but forgive me for saying that they cannot hold pitch for the life of them. It sounds like everyone picks their own melody to sing. It´s kind of cute though :)  My mind hurt by the end of the meetings because I had to listen to so much Spanish without a break. But it’s all good! I´ll get there through the help of Heavenly Father!

We met with the Zone and played some games. It was fun to see Hna Barton again. Then we went shopping. After, a member who is a Mary Kay representative (and very proud of it might I add) gave us facials, which was really nice. 

I love you all very much and hope everything is well at home. I miss you and think of you every single day. 

I hope you all know how blessed we are. Many of the people here in Hermosillo don´t have things like we do. By that I mean both material things like a/c, cars, nice homes, etc., and more important things like a loving family and a knowledge of the Restored Gospel. Brothers and sisters: give lots of thanks to Mom and Dad for teaching us this Gospel!!! They rock!!

Con amor,

Hermana Hauck

Monday, August 3, 2015

"Hornosillo!" Letter 8-3-15

President & Sister Robinson
President & Sister Robinson with the New Missionaries

Hermanas Hauck & Pina
New Missionaries and Their Companions

Crazy stuff in Hermana Hauck-ville! I am writing in this little hole-in-a-wall place in the middle of Hermosillo, Sonora.

Here's how the week went.

After emailing the Hermanas and I decided to try our talent at a new art - Prancercising. It is pretty much what it sounds like. That is simultaneously exercising and prancing. You can probably Google it if you need more of a description. We went out to this huge field to do our prancing and we found a huge flock of 40 or so pigeons, so naturally we pranced right through them. There we were, four hermanas prancing away beneath pigeons taking flight. It was one of my more majestic moments in my life.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday
Sorry for bunching basically the entire week together, but I can't remember doing much these days except studying Spanish (duh) and the Gospel (double duh). The roaring diarrhea zombie apocalypse has been going strong. Two people in my district (who will remain nameless) pooped their pants (TMI?). We're not allowed to hug anymore :( and we have to elbow tap instead. This has surprisingly become very fun for me because I turned it into this sort of ju ditsu (Is that how you spell it?) move where I hit another person's elbow with both of mine in a jab-jab/right-left motion... if that makes any sense whatsoever. 

Awe the Fast. I actually really love it because I was always one to eat at like 11:55 Saturday night and break my fast Sunday at 4:00, but since I've been here I have done two full 24-hour fasts and have not died either time! We had an awesome testimony meeting with the 84 Americans who were leaving. Probably around 70 of us were able to share because we talked really fast. I shared about the D&C scripture that promises missionaries that angels will bear them up. I think it is DC 84:88 or something like that. It is a super special scripture to me because I know that my Granny and Grandma Kane are two angels that have been with me already in my short 6 weeks as a missionary.
Also, we watched a devotional given by Elder Bednar about the importance of being converted unto Christ and following His character. This was perfect to hear right before I leave for the field because Christ's character is totally based around love, which is what I need as a missionary and person. Christ always was serving others, even when He had every reason to turn in and only take care of Himself. He's the BEST!!!

Today started at about 2:30AM when we woke up and boarded a bus to the airport. On my flight I sat next to this darling 14-year-old girl from California. She asked about the church on my tag and I taught her the lesson of the Restoration (in Spanglish because she knew English and Spanish). I also gave her a mormon.org card and wrote down the name of the Gospel Library app so she could read from the Book of Mormon. 
We arrived in Hermosillo and were totally surprised with humidity. What?! Yes, humidity. I guess this desert has a rainy season. I have not been fully dry since I've been here. I got to see the temple and I will be going to do a session sometime in the next 6 weeks, because my first area is right here in Hermosillo. Hna. Barton is also here in Hermosillo but in a different area and Hna.'s Harman and Ylst both left the city. It was really sad to say goodbye, but hopefully we will see each other sometime soonish. My new companion is Hna. Piña. She is really nice and has been an awesome trainer so far. We live in this house that only has AC in our room. God bless that little AC thing in that room, cause it is HOT! The elders who lived there before us left it kind of trashed and we have to clean it up quite a bit, but its kind of a fun DIY project.

I love you all and I can't wait to tell you more about my adventures here in Hermosillo next week!

Con amor,
Hermana Hauck