Monday, June 20, 2016

The Best Days of my Life - Part 2 of 8 (Danli)

Hey guys!  

General update for the week, I have officially received my last changes. 

I'm SO excited.  I will be finishing in the city, Zone Guaymuras, in an area called (ready for this?) La Honduras.  But that's not even the best part - I will be finishing a mission with one of my dearest friends in the mission.  I will be finishing the mission with an Elder who shared the Villa with me for 6 months.... 

I will be finishing the mission with my dearest friend, Elder Hirschi.  Love you guys.  Now onto my first area in Honduras.... When I journeyed in the east.  Here we go.

La Concepcion - Danli

I started out helping people take out bags from the famous change buses - and I asked an Elder in Spanish where the bags should go.  The Elder, named Elder Tapia Navas, future assistant  asked me with big eyes if I was just starting out, mentioning that I spoke great Spanish (LIES.... He just wanted to make me feel good, I'm sure of it!).  I told him yes, I was just starting out, and he congratulated me and gave me a big hug.  I doubt I'll ever forget that kid!  And then... We went into the chapel of the Esperanza.... Thus began my first change meeting.

All of us were sat down watching a big screen with a bunch of faces that we didn't recognize, nor did we understand the better part of what was said.  All I knew is that I was waiting to go to the famous Danli.  While I was in the CCM, a teacher who had served in the Tegucigalpa mission predicted that I would begin there - so I was anxious to see if that prophecy would come to pass.  And... Sure enough, as the screen turned to 'El Oriente', the name of Danli showed up.  Names and pictures passed by, until came the name of 'La Concepcion'... There first came up the picture of a gruff looking Latino named Elder Roldan.... followed by the picture of a familiar little gringo.  And thus.... I scooted by other elders to jump into a huge hug with a huge Latin missionary.  I could tell he was surprised by the way I practically leaped onto him... It makes me laugh just thinking about it.  As I sat down next to him, I asked him in broken Spanish where he was from.  He answered me in English and said that he was from Guatemala.  I told him I was super ready to throw down... He said that I didn't have to worry, and that we were gonna make some miracles happen.  We then said goodbyes, got on a bus, and started towards the east - towards el Paraiso - towards Danli.

We got off by a gas station called la Puma, and then made our way in taxi to the Apaguiz, where our first house was, living on the second floor.  We soon moved to Vista Hermosa, next to our bishop, Obispo Cornejo.  Danli was magic.  It was the perfect place to begin.  It was never too stressful, so I could focus on learning spanish and how to teach.  I remember becoming friends with everybody, getting to know the pulperias and the members and not knowing how to say anything at all. I remember Elder Villanueva, and how he always called me 'amor´and 'baby' - he's heading to Amapala right now, actually!  I remember Elder Webb, and how he was kind of like an adopted gringo dad to me.  He always told me how the things really were - and he was right.  I miss him, dearly.  Crazy - he's married now!  I remember Hermana Bleak, and how we made promises to have movie sleepovers with Elder Webb and me.... I suppose it could still happen.  Maybe!  I remember Nicol, the bishop's daughter, and how I gave her English lessons, and how she really came to be my first friend in Honduras.  I remember giving the blessing to Hermano Amador after the dog bite that we thought would kill him, and how the following week he was in church, miraculously healed.  I remember Senia and Francely and Nazareth and how they were SOOOO crazy intelligent and understood the doctrine even with my broken Spanish.  I remember baptizing Marcia - my first baptism in Honduras, and how Elder Webb and I taught her and Kayla and Mia how to say 'roflcopter' and the delicious baleadas in front of their house.  I remember teaching Maria, who was baptized after like, 8 companionships of teaching.  I remember Dayani and how sassy she was - and Jorge and his sister who always went on divisions with me.  I remember taking a huge line of like, 19 kids to church on Sundays because nobody wanted to go to church, so they just sent their kids.  When Elder Tuft and I reactivated a bunch of families by straight miracles, all of which I can't even tell in email, and learning how to work with members, and always eating in Chilangos, OviSer, or that one restaurant whose name I never remember. 

So many memories....  It's kind of impossible to tell everything.  But basically.... By my third change, I came to really adore the people there.  I knew everyone, and everyone knew me.  I remember Damaris and Katherin and Celeste, and how close they were to baptism, as well as Leydi, who I'm still not sure if she actually gave her baby my name... Haha, who knows?  I remember Eduardo and Harold and Khiabeth, and how I always called her Khaibethamente, adding 'mente' to the end of every word possible and the 'I Saw You First' game.... I remember how when I told Adita that I was leaving, she jumped on top of me with a HUGE hug.... (not my fault, I wasn't expecting it haha) as well as the family Barahona who forgot to take out their papers when they went to Nicaragua - kind of got the feeling that they didn't really want to get married.  Sigh.... And those are the people I left behind when I  got moved to the city.  As of right now, La Conse is now the area of the Sister Training Leaders.  I sent off Hermana Cornejo to her mission, and she'll be excited to know she can go on visits with the Hermanas...  sigh.  My stories are probably all over the place... But I was starting out.  I had no idea what I was doing, BUT.... That's where I learned how to be a missionary.  With Elder Roldan, I learned to teach and focus on the people, as well as work as hard as you could every day.  It was a gift, being able to be his last companion in the mission.  Elder Tuft taught me how to be obedient with exactness, as well as how to be consistent - how to be the same person, no matter where you are.  It was really the perfect first area - and the perfect preparation.  And thus - my time in the east began, and finished in three short changes.  I had no idea what else was waiting for me - but I knew that I was ready.  As I got on the bus towards my next area, I remember making a promise that I would go back someday.  I knew I wasn't going to go back during the mission - so that promise lays in wait.  And thus, I made my way to city - and towards the next six months of my life.  

Talk to you guys next week.  Love you all, and hope that all is well - you already know what to do!

Elder Kristian Huff

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