¡Hola familia y amigos!
So I finally figured out what Hna. Lopez reminds me of. You know the pigs on the game Angry Birds? That's what she looks like, in a more attractive humanized Tongan-looking womanly sense. Something about her facial expressions are exactly the same. She isn't Tongan, she's Guatemalan, but she's got this androgynous Pacific Islander thing going on which is cool. Really thick, defined eyebrows..super long jet black curly hair..and she rolls her eyes a lot. Like the pigs! I wish you could see her so you could congratulate me for how right I am.
I also may or may not have lied to Ana Rosa (our food cita) and told her that I have an aversion to gluten (aka rice and tortillas), and it may or may not have been the smartest thing I've done on my entire mission. "Thou shalt not lie unto thy fellow men, but unto the woman who makest thy food, thou mayest change the truth slightly, so that thy waist line may wax smaller in the land." 1 Caribbeans 12:14
The result? Less fried things and more salad! We eat a lot of fish caught straight from the ocean and there are now many more green things on our plates than brown. Heck. Yes. I've also taken to carrying a plastic bag in my backpack in the event I've been giving an excessive amount of food (aka, always) or something that isn't edible (sometimes), and I have to say, I'm moving up in the world. My crafty bag hiding skills have saved me from consuming many weird things.
When you gain weight here, sometimes they tell you, "Se puso hermosa," or, you got more beautiful. But the actual translation is, "Well.. ya got fat." I've received several "hermosa" comments lately, so I'm actively fighting against the man. The man, in this case, being the one who decided that eating three cups of rice and tortillas every meal of the day is a good idea.
Even though I don't trust them because the majority of them lie pretty much always, I have to say that I love Nicaraguans. There's just something about them that is so open and endearing. Lately I've taken to just calling them out on their lies, and they've been responding much more positively than I thought. "Listen, hermano, you're not making promises with us, you're making promises with God." Or, "Just be sincere. If you're not going to go, I would rather know now than be disappointed Sunday morning." They usually pause for a second, like a three year old does after he's caught telling a lie to his mom, and then admit, "Yeah . . . you're right. I can't come this Sunday. Sorry, I'll go next week." And even though that is also a lie, we're making progress.
They also have weird ideas about certain things, such as feet washing. Everyday we come home after walking all day in the sand and dirt, and our feet are gross. Understandably, I have desires to wash mine. Hna. Lopez doesn't say anything, but Hna. Gonzales used to get legitimately mad at me because she says I'm ruining my feet. She told me one time, "You can wash your feet if you want to die," haha. I think it has to do with something like our feet are hot and the water is cold, and that could be potentially problematic? But I just think it's hilarious. Feet washing feet = death. Well, that escalated quickly.
Phew. I have everything to tell you and not enough time. First things first, we had a baptism this week. Super awesome, hilarious woman named Reina (which means "Queen" in Spanish, which totally matches her personality), who has been taught by various pairs of missionaries for years. Her son is actually on a mission in Bolivia right now, and although she supported him, she wanted nothing to do with the Church. Turns out, though, that the most recent set of hermanas have never even tried inviting her to baptized! So my very first lesson with her I did, and she said yes! It was awesome. She's already started inviting less actives and her neighbors to church, too, and has been reading from the Book of Mormon every night since her son left. Super pilas.
What else? had a family night last Monday playing soccer on the beach, which was awesome. And oh, yeah, we've now had four more earthquakes. Some of them have been pretty big, rocking the entire house back and forth, and there has been some minor house damage in Managua, but.. I'm just not that worried about it. We're fine and we're being protected. The only funny/exasperating thing is that the Nicas are all freaking out that the end of the world has come. But, instead of finding that as a reason to go to Church and get closer to God, they are apparently "too anxious" and choose instead to stay in their houses and drink.
I hope the end of the world isn't any time soon, because Corinto isn't anywhere close to being ready.
To be totally honest on account of Corinto's lack of initiative I think I hit rock bottom of my mission last week. I felt like I left the city of Leon to enter into the wilderness, and all of the elements were against us. There are over 600 members in Corinto, and of those 600, only 50 were in church this past Sunday. Half of the bishopric weren't at Church because they went fishing, and all five of the families that promised they would go didn't come. I just felt . . . overwhelmed. I think it might have been the first time in my mission when I honestly thought that maybe it would be easier to just go home.
But then I thought about my family motto (cue the cheesy violin music): "Behans never quit." I've been sent here to have success, not to fail. It would be very easy to adopt the attitude of all of the members here, including that of the Bishop, that there is just so much to be done that we can't do anything. But I've never been the quitting type, and, as a Behan, I don't plan to start now. Instead of wallowing in my negativity and sweat (because it seriously it just so dang hot here), I decided to get to work. I can easily say I have never worked this hard in my entire life. Hna. Lopez and I are fighting for Corinto. We don't rest. Every single day, we leave the house determined to find those who are chosen, activate those who have fallen away, and animate those who are depressed, and we come home everyday with an exhaustion I've never experienced before. I feel like we're just two really frenzied ants caught in a maze of rocks that don't want to be moved. But we're making plans, and we're going to do this. We're in the wilderness, but, like Nephi, we're going to "Go and do."
I was thinking the other day that if my mission was just sunshine and daisies and everyone jumping into the baptismal font it would be great, but what would I be learning, really? Every trying moment in my life has proved to be for my personal betterment (betterment. Is that a word?), and I know that this is no exception. I've got a lot to learn here. I learned this past week that I can't do this alone. Two people can't fight against 600 and win. But 2 people and God can do anything. Corinto is not lost.
So, it's miserably hot, and there are earthquakes, and it's not easy.. but no one ever told me my mission would be easy, they just told me it would be worth it. And it will be, and is.
"Even so will I be your light in the wilderness, and I will prepare the way before you. . ." I'm learning more to trust in God than ever before, and I'm going to survive my 6 months in Corinto. In fact, I'm determined to love it.
Keep me in your prayers. You're all certainly in mine.
<3 Hna. "Hermosa" Behan
p.s. I am SO tan. It's not real. and the parts of me that aren't tan are SO white. Gah. why.