Dear Mom, Dad, Lauren, and Elder Froude 1,
Goodbye MTC, hello mission field! The transition was really fast. In the morning, we all got onto our buses to the mission office where we would receive our trainers and areas. My trainer is Elder Rocha from Guatemala. He only speaks Spanish so I´d be pretty immersed in the language! Anyway, our area is Bavaro-Punta Cana, a 4-hour bus ride away from the mission office. (Note: Google says that Bávaro is a touristic area in Punta Cana, located in La Altagracia province, the easternmost province of the Dominican Republic. Bavaro was developed together with the resort area and tourist region of Punta Cana, as a town for resort workers.) A good chunk of that day was spent just getting to our area! It was about 8 o clock when we got to our apartment. We ate dinner, got to know each other a little bit with the little Spanish I knew, and then went to bed.
For the most part, I spent the week with Elder Rocha getting to know the Branch and its investigators. The people are the nicest, most loving, and happiest people I´ve ever met! Some of them have very little and live in very humble conditions, yet they treat my companion and I like family. Even strangers that we meet that day would let us into their house and put a fan on us for the heat! It´s really humbling…I could learn a lot about charity from these people.
I learned a really big lesson about being a missionary this week. During the week, we made a lot of visits to people. Although I noticed that when we visited the investigators we had to teach, we didn´t teach them. We´d give a little spiritual thought, but not a full lesson. That can´t be right, I thought. We need to teach these people and bring them unto Christ! We can´t just waste time talking with them about this and that, we need to teach them doctrine! I even started to think that my companion was just too relaxed with missionary work. I came here to teach the people, I thought. Then a thought came into my head; it said “Do you love them?” That´s what it was that I was missing! The MTC had prepared me for teaching people, so much that I had almost forgotten that I have to love them too. I think that maybe the only thing more important than teaching the people about the love of Christ is that we should love them as Christ would. We are representatives of Him after all. I am learning to love the people. I was blessed with the opportunity to teach a youth, Adolfo, how to play the guitar this week. He and I are already good friends! I´m really glad.
No exciting stories of baptisms or stories this week but I do have some big news! While I was wondering where all the work I was supposed to do was before I learned I had to love people, Elder Rocha called the mission president to ask for more missionaries in the area which is something we really need. Our area is huge and it is only Elder Rocha and I that serve the area. We need more missionaries here. Well, the mission president essentially said that if we successfully set up another branch in a place called Friusa, a few miles away, he´ll send more missionaries. Well, the Lord always did say “Ask and ye shall receive.” I have a lot of work to do! Well, I´m going to be really busy right off the bat, yet, I´m excited to get to work! I know that through the strength of the Lord, I can do His will! Oh! I almost forgot! I have to teach English too! I will be teaching at the church every Tuesday.
Spanish is coming along nicely but I still have a lot to learn. The people I’ve met are all surprised I have only two months in conversational Spanish and they always ask if I´m Latino. I chuckle and say that I´m Filipino. Then they try to insist that I´m Latino! They´re so funny, though, because they made it a goal to turn me into a Dominican, so I can be one of them. Lol! One member asked me if I spoke English when I met him. He was surprised when I started talking with a gringo accent. Apparently, I can sound like I know what I´m saying. That´s a good thing because more than half the time, I can barely understand what they’re saying. Lol!
I´m eating well (Dominican food is good!) and showering and have a good source of water. And yes, I know how to say “allergic to peanuts” in Spanish! XD Sorry I forgot my camera cord at the apartment so I can’t upload my pictures. I promise I’ll have lots of pictures for you next week!
We´re logging off now. Bye mom! I love you! :) Thanks for your love and support, you and dad :) It keeps me strong!
Until next time,