¡Hola familia y amigos!
Let me explain to you the logistics of a water bottle shower. A water bottle shower is when you're in the shower (which is about as ghetto as it gets--a metal hose attached to the ceiling that spouts freezing cold water onto a concrete floor) and completely covered in soap (because you feel disgusting and you are disgusting and so you feel the need to lather every inch of yourself with an unnecessary amount of body wash), and then, whilst in the midst of your soapy haven, the water decides to cut out on you completely. So you are then left with no other choice but to ask your companion if she has any water available, and after some searching, she comes up with two small water bottles she has been keeping in the freezer. Thus is born the water bottle shower. A freezing, miserable experience, and at the end of it, you are pretty much just as soap-covered as before.
It's been five months now without a hot shower. And weirdly, I'm okay with that. You couldn't pay me to take a hot shower in this climate.
How is the snow going, by the way? It's weird to even think about being cold right now.
All is well in the life of Hermanas Behan and Gonzales. She continues to make me laugh with her English, and I continue to make everyone laugh with my Spanish. My favorite thing she told me recently was, "I don't want fat for life," which translates to something along the lines of, "Hey Hermana Behan, maybe we should stop eating so much bread and chocolate and batidos and respados and bolsitas so we don't return home so fat that no one recognizes us." I must say I agree with her. I don't want fat for life either.
We were able to visit the beach today in Ponoloya and it was glorious! (I may have just butchered the name of the beach, but just go with it). Two other hermanas in our zone had to spend the night at our house last night (four girls...two beds.. guess who didn't sleep so well last night?), and it straight up felt like a sleepover. We watched "The Other Side of Heaven" on our tiny little DVD player and all fell asleep after fifteen minutes (at 9:45, haha. We're such grandmas.), and, as the movie is set in Tonga, it gave us very strong desires to visit the beach. And considering there is one that is in our Zone limit and we've never been, we made it happen.
Today felt..surreal. It's a Monday and everyone is working, so we were literally the only people on the beach, and it felt like we were abandoned on our own little island. After taking an unnecessary amount of pictures, we laid out a blanket and laid on the sand underneath one of the tiny little huts constructed from sticks thatched with dried palm tree fronds that were strewn across the beach, and talked and cat napped and relaxed. After a really long, hard week, it felt good to breathe in the fresh ocean air and admire the Pacific, and just get away from civilization for awhile. I miss nature, and mountains, and trees..but I'll take the ocean, too.
Hermana Gonzales offered me a slice of mango she bought at the market this week, and I was excited to try my first Nicaraguan mango (expecting a delicious bursting of sweet mangoey goodness and flavor). Wrong. They eat the mangoes here when they're green with salt and chile pepper! It was disgusting! And I ate like three pieces, I have no idea why. My mango experience was a lie. Maybe I'll have better luck next time.
It was a good week, as well as a heartbreaking one. Rebecca doesn't want anything more with the Church right now. She's too involved with her boyfriend and other things that she won't tell us about, and the last time we talked with her, she interrupted us mid sentence to abruptly say, "Don't you just...want to run away from it all sometimes? I just...don't think I can take it anymore." It ended up being another one of the more stronger spiritual moments on my mission, testifying once again of the power of the Atonement, but by the end of it, she was left with the choice to make for herself. Take His hand, or don't. Stay and keep fighting on, or don't. Make the decision to change now for the better, or don't. And for the moment, she has opted to keep going down the path she is on.
Mostly I feel bad for her five little kids, because they all love the Church and always ask us if they can come with us, but I love her, too. When we passed by for them this Sunday at 6:30 (our intention being to help her clean up and get ready so it would be possible for them to go), she didn't answer the door. And when we passed by an hour later, she was outside, still in her pajamas. We asked if she would be coming, and she shook her head and crinkled her nose and said "no." It was more than just a "no," though. It was a final no, and as much as I would love to, I can't do anything to change that.
If she ever changes her mind or realizes that there really is an exit to all of her troubles, we'll always be here. After all of the lessons and passing by and the Family Night we had with the whole family, I guess I thought that things would change...but she just isn't ready right now.
It's hard, to see someone who needs help, and to want to help them and to know what would help them, and then to see them reject it. I experienced just a small taste of what Christ must feel, when He sees us, in spite of all of our knowledge of what is right and wrong, choose the wrong. It's a sadness I've never felt before, honestly. And a common one. The fact of the matter is, those who are ready for the Gospel are few.. it's just a matter of keeping up the enthusiasm to keep looking for them, even after days and days of rejection and disappointment.
This Sunday marks second Sunday in a row we haven't had a single person accompany us to Church. We always have lists of about 15 people who have promised they will go, and we pass by for them before the sacrament meeting, and one by one, they all suddenly have some other obligation. Sunday mornings are, unsurprisingly, my least favorite part of my week. I guess I just don't understand why they can't just be honest with us and tell us they can't go, or don't want to go, or whatever else it is they're going to invent in the last moment, rather that having us pass by just to walk back to the church alone again.
I'm trying to be strong in the faith. I know there's a reason why I'm here, and that there are people here with whom I can share the light. There's always an exit. A "light at the end of the tunnel," as the cliche goes, but ultimately, we choose if we want to seek that light or not. It will never fade away.
Mosiah 16:9, "He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death."
"El es la luz y la vida del mundo..."
He really is. I hope everyone finds a chance to share that light with someone this week who needs it. You may not even know they need what you have, but I promise they do. There are people who are searching for the light of Christ everyday, they just don't know where to find it.
More to come for the next week,
Les Quiero Muchisimo,
<3 Hermana Behan