Elder Ty Russell

Guatemala, Retalhuleu Mission

September 17 2012- Email #9


Okay so I have an hour in the field to write to you all but I have soooo much to write I don’t know where to start. First off, I am alive. Barely. It is HOT here! I mean hot. But I love love love it.
I suppose I will start with the bus ride to Retalhuleu…. We left Tuesday morning from the MTC in Guatemala about 830 or so and arrived about 1215 or so. The bus ride was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. It was all tropical countryside and steaming volcanos. I was pretty much just looking out the window the whole time it was so cool. There were parts that are deep jungles and parts that are open countryside. But EVERYTHING is green! It was really cool. And no Dad, the bus was not a rickety old thing… Haha it was a MTC bus that they rented and it was actually pretty decent! We even had air conditioning. 
When I pulled up to the Mission Office (Which is just a church building here in Reu) I saw president Maravilla, his wife, and all the office workers out waving to us and the first thing I thought was how President Maravilla looks like a little round ball! He is sooo short and chubby. We had Dominos pizza and the office workers explained a little about how life was going to go and such. 
Also at the office we got our debit cards. Usually we get about 2100 Quetzales a month. This month I think we only got half though. And no it is okay you don’t need to send me more money. I need to learn to budget right? And yeah if I do get desperate I can use my personal debit. Ill let you know if I ever actually need it. 
Back to Tuesday… That night after our meeting we went out tracting with some missionaries in the area before a big dinner at the Mission Home. I went with an office Elder named Elder McMasters who was Will Glades roommate at BYU! So that was quite the experience. We took a tuc tuc (A little three wheeled taxi) to some random area and started teaching and talking to people. It was a good experience and I realized once again I need to learn better Spanish!! 
That night we ate dinner with all the new missionaries and President Maravilla and his wife. Great dinner in the nicest home I will see again for two years. Also that night all the new Elders slept in a hotel in Reu. 
The next morning we woke up and had a meeting with president before changes happened. By about 11 in the morning I had my new companion! Elder David Solomon from Paige Arizona! The same area that Jarin is serving right now no? Elder Solomon has had 14 months on the mission and is a really cool guy. We are getting along great and working hard! He has perfect Spanish of course and is helping me a ton. We only speak Spanish in the house because we live with two other Elders… Elder Daniels and Elder Vallederes. Elder Valladeres is Latino so we only speak Spanish because 1. I need to learn it and 2. Elder Valladeres cant speak English. 
Speaking of the house… WOW. Well, first off I am in the city of Reu. In an area named Pedregal. Zone Las Palmas. So anyway… The house.. After the changes meeting Elder Solomon and I headed to our house in this little neighborhood that is just as humble as it gets. We definitely have one of the nicer houses in the neighborhood but still. I AM NOT IN SOUTH JORDAN UTAH ANYMORE. I have never been more humbled. One thing that was really hard was that the house was FILTHY. The Elders who had lived in it before went home and left EVERYTHING in the apartment. It was a mess. We spent a morning this week cleaning it all up and we also hired a lady to clean our house. We do have a shower but not hot water. We have a toilet too so I suppose I should count my blessings. I try and clean the house up a bit every day but it is an uphill battle my friends. 
We don’t have a cell phone or anything like that. Just our two legs and copies of the Book of Mormon. No bikes or cars either. BUT there are tuc tucs everywhere so we take those when we go far. (Like to the store or church). Only 5 Quetzales a ride so it is about 75 cents or so I would suppose. 
Elder Solomon and I are opening up our area. It hasn’t had missionaries in it for awhile so we are starting from scratch! And I won’t lie… it has been HARD. We contact a lot but we have found a lot of new investigators. We had an investigator attend church with us yesterday so I really hope that goes somewhere. We want to have her baptized this month if we can! Her name is Gladys and she is about 15 or so. 
The weather here is hot and humid… like I said. But one other thing is that it rains every day in the afternoon. But yesterday… The ocean fell on Retalhuleu. It was insane! It was raining so hard. It was after church and Elder Solomon and I were out contacting and literally I am not exaggerating the streets were RIVERS. Rushing rivers. I had my boots on luckily and they have been tested and I can testify they are waterproof! We were both soaked to the bone though. Elder Solomon doesn’t have an umbrella because his broke so I let him use my jacket and I use my umbrella. It doesn’t work. We both get so wet. But we had fun with it. If you don’t smile and laugh while working you go crazy. 
So the food? Good. We have a cocinera. She is in the ward and she cooks us lunch every day. The food here is great. They have Dulce Pan which is sweetbread that they just sell on the streets for nothing that is the best bread I have ever eaten. I am totally going to get fat. Also the tortillas! So good! 5 quetzales for a HUGE stack. Last night I had some seafood that I found out was squid… and shrimp and other things I don’t even want to know. When you go to a members house to eat… you eat it. But I loved it of course since I enjoy seafood. Was it a tiny but scary? Perhaps. Did I do it? Yes. 
The ward here is about 70 to 80 people more or less. The church building is the nicest building here probably.
 I get to email you all in an internet cafe on Pdays… Monday! On Pdays we play soccer and go out to eat fast food! There is a Subway here and a Mcdonalds and Dominos and Burger King.  For lunch we are going to McDonalds after email! I am definitely excited! 
Well all, that is my life in a nutshell… Work work work! But I am loving it. And I love all of you! The church is true! 
Elder Ty Michael Russell

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