Aug 1, 2016

Week 9 - August 1, 2016

Hola!  It is August 1st...How crazy is that? Two months have passed by.  I still have a lot of months left, but I'm super thankful for the experiences and growth I've had in the last 2 months.  And I'm thankful that I get to spend 16 more months serving my Savior, and the people of El Salvador.

This week overall was good, but also a little bit more difficult for me.  I think a lot of the initial enthusiasm left me, and I started to realize how much I don't like to feel like I'm camping 24/7. The bugs are hard, cold showers are hard, sweating all the time is hard...and sometimes speaking Spanish is really hard.  But, as I have been praying and doing my best to keep a positive attitude, I have felt a lot of peace.  I know I'm where I'm supposed to be, and I'll keep adjusting to the environment with time.  Last night we were teaching a lesson in a home with cinder block walls, and cardboard hanging from the ceiling to separate rooms...And these people were so happy, the happiest people I've ever met. I was humbled beyond belief, and felt the spirit whisper to me that I'll find just as much happiness here as well, which I know is true.

I had the privilege of becoming well-acquainted with the dogs of Ataco this week.  They're everywhere.  Packs of them...sometimes 20.  Most of them are shy and keep to themselves, but there are some who love to make Emily's life miserable. They love to make me cry.  On Tuesday I received some battle wounds from an encounter with one, on Thursday one peed on my leg while we were talking to someone on the street. Probably because my legs are still as white as some of the light posts... oh well. I'm getting better at handling the vicious ones.  Learning that running away from them makes things worse. On Saturday I held my ground and was victorious, no scratches or anything! And luckily I've been able to avoid bites completely. I don't even know who I am anymore, fighting dogs and killing spiders, haha, who would have thought?

This week we started focusing quite a bit on Hermana Reyes' English.  She really wants to learn it, and it has been nice to not feel like the only loser trying to learn a language.  We were practicing how to introduce ourselves in English a few days ago and about halfway through she stopped and said,"wait, this is how you feel all day, everyday."  Her realization was an answer to many prayers and she has been a lot nicer since then.  We were talking about why she wants to learn English and she told me that if she can speak English - she'll make 4x the amount of money when she gets back home, and that a good English course costs about $2,000 in the Dominican Republic...crazy.  So, I am determined to help her learn English before she leaves in October.

I had some amazing spiritual experiences this week, ones that I will never forget. I testify that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that this is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I also know that our Heavenly Father hears our prayers, and that He will always answer them.  I don't think I could put into words how much I love being here, how much I love serving my Savior. It is without a doubt the most difficult thing I've ever done, but also the most rewarding.  As always, thank you for your support, prayers, and love. I miss home, but there's work to be done her in Ataco.

Until next week,

Hermana Houston

1 comment:

  1. Emily:

    We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your posts each week. Curt and I are so very proud of you and the growth you're seeing in yourself. You are an amazing young woman, and a hero to all of us "non-campers" in the Bracken family. You are such an example of strength, integrity and virtue . . . and let's add "courage," too.

    We love you, kiddo!