Monday, August 29, 2016

1-Year-Shirt and Some Rain

Well I hit my ACTUAL year mark this week. Celebrated with the classic burning of a white shirt. (Don't worry mom it was already stained with my blood so it was already useless) That's always fun :) Burning stuff. I do miss a good bonfire I'll tell you what. 

So this week It RAINED. We had a tropical storm and the capital got hit HARD. I'm in the south right now and we got very heavy rain so I can't imagine what happened in the capital where it's notorious for raining hard. My little town of Tamayo got flooded pretty bad. We couldn't pass on a lot of streets to get to our appointments because the street was literally a river at that point (see pictures)
Nobody's house got destroyed too bad though. In these last few days I've realized how 3rd world this place actually is. The people live so humbly. They hardly have anything but they still have smiles on their faces. And even when they have nothing to eat they offer what they do have to us. These people are amazing even though at times annoying. I'm glad I am here to help them out in the best possible way I can. There's a quote that says "You see, I gave up sleep so they could have rest, Shed tears so they could cry less, My family gave up 2 years of being together, So that other families could be joined together forever, And for He that paid the ransom, I gave up first-world life, To help others find their heavenly mansion." Its great being a missionary.

Another thing that happened was that church in Tamayo, got a record high today again! 25 people. Doesn't sound like a lot when I'm used to 300 people in a stake center, but here it really is special. 

Anyways! I hope all had an amazing week! Ill see you all later!!
Elder Larkin

Monday, August 22, 2016

1 Awesome Couple!

We had the great opportunity to have another lesson with Pablo and Ana this week (the couple we found last week.) The thing we had last taught was the Book of Mormon, and we had gifted them one, with the invitation to read 3 Nephi 11. When we came back, (after the whole family showed up at church on Sunday) they had actually read the whole chapter, and understood it. They told us that baptism was super important and Pablo, said, "well I've never been baptized, is it too late for me cause I'm kinda old?" And Ana wanted to know, "well I've been already baptized in the catholic church, but I'm afraid that wasn't right, am I allowed to be baptized again in the right church?" We explained to them that they need not worry, and that we will help them prepare to do all the things they need to do to get where they want to go. We invited them to be baptized by someone who holds the Holy Priesthood of God and they accepted without thinking about it. Its such a blessing to be able to teach with the spirit. It works miracles and I'm so excited to have a family so excited about the gospel. Made my week :)

Also we had a Zone Conference this week! Pretty ok i guess. We had some "workshops" where we learn how we might better teach people, and that was a LONG day. We left at like 5:30 in the morning and didn't get home till like 8:30 at night. And on the way home (in a bus CRAMMED with people) there was a horrible car accident. A semi truck, (front end destroyed) a regular truck (basically bent in half) and 2 cars were totally and utterly wrecked. Nobody died though so that's a miracle in it self. I did take a picture in the bus though :) It was a really bad picture but this just shows how many people are in 1 bus with about 20 seats.

Anyway! I hope all had an amazing week! Don't forget to send pictures and videos!

Monday, August 15, 2016

365 Days Left

This feels weird. Ive almost been here a year now, but I only have 1 whole year left in the mission. The americans go home about 2 weeks early on average for flight scheduling or something weird like that. But anyways, I still feel like I just got here and its really weird thinking ive already gone through half of my mission. Time really does fly.

New stuff to say: 
  • I have a very tough time thinking in English now and its quite annoying that I cant think of alot of words in English. Its also really strange how Im basically useless if I want to pray in English as well. I just feel uncomfortable and I just convert back into spanish half the time.
  • I have to tell you guys about the transport system here in the south. So firstly we have to wait at a corner to wait for some random half bus half mini mini van (2 minis because its REALLY small) to come pick us up, they just fly around the corner going as fast as that tiny little lawn mower engine can take them (pretty fast actually, and its not really a lawn mower engine.) After that we start driving for a little, picking more people up. Then we stop so the driver can go do some errands. Then again when some people want some juice from people who make juice and put it in a plastic soda bottle. And when the guagua is full, as in FULL to where my face is smashed against the window, we finally just go to where we are headed. Its quite an adventure haha.
  • Some people arent as nice as we'd like them to be. Sometimes when we are trying to hitchhike to the next town, we wait for a good long while for people to pick us up. The longest so far was about an hour. The other day, some dude slowed down, acting like he was gonna let us hop in the back of his truck, then he flipped us off, and sped away. Me and my companion were very confused because that is such an uncommon and "american" thing to do.
So a story from this week while contacting people: It was very hot this day and me and my companion were very very sweaty, like just got out of a pool sweaty, and we pass a couple playing cards underneath a tree. They were playing a game called "Casino" that we play in the house sometimes. SO we naturally told them that we were good at that game and they invited us to play with them, very confident that some gringos didnt know what they were in for. Unfortunately for them, Im from Las Vegas and im very lucky so we absolutely destroyed them. Very fun. While playing we were talking about the "mormons" and stuff like that, they were surprised that we could "have fun." I guess people think we are like robots or something. Anyways we put an appointment with them for today and they want us to teach the whole family. Im super excited!

Also we are working with a bunch of people and we are working on getting a couple married here! Fun stuff :)

Anyways! I hope everyone had an awesome week as I did! Dont forget to send me pictures!!!
Elder Larkin

1. Me and my companion Elder McDonald
2. The District 
3. A cool wall art thing that says "Its love!" "God"
4. Elder McDonald hitching a ride with a plantain driver

Monday, August 8, 2016

Vicente Noble/ Tamayo

Well, I'm in the deep South, far far away from the capital.  I'm further away from the better shops and American food chains.  The people here are much friendlier and more open.

The house I moved into is fantastic. (It's in Vincente Noble). It was bought for four sisters, and now with just the 4 of us Elders it's quite big.  So far, everything works too - water, electricity (kinda) , and lots of good tools to cook with!  It will be nice living here.

The area on the other hand is a bit tough to work in.  The heat hasn't been too bad, thank goodness, I love it so so so much, SIKE.  It's a bit tough, all with little help.  Luckily the local members could help us with most of it if they wanted to. 

The branch, or group, here is tiny.  Less than 50 attend each week in Vicente Noble and in Tamayo we have about 10-15,  (and this is a huge change after an average of 170 in my previous area!) but, of course, we hope to change that!  We're excited for a new opportunity of hard work, with which comes rewarding results.  There's nothing like the feeling of helping out a whole branch, and not just adding in a few members.  It's a bit more stress but we're up for it!

So we had a miracle in Tamayo. This Sunday we had 22 people in church. It's basically unheard of and I think it's pretty cool for being a basic unit/group (meaning it's less than a branch). 

My comp is Elder McDonald from Orem, Utah and he's a stud! We are gonna work super hard here and I'm excited for our results/blessings! 

So to get to Tamayo we have to hitchhike. Having no bikes nor cars, we have to ask for rides between the cities.  As you can see (pics below), many other people get the same idea... good stuff!

Anyways. Not much else to say! Thanks everyone! Have a good week 


Monday, August 1, 2016

Going to Tamayo!

Whelp my 2 weeks are up here in Villa Aura! I got the call on Saturday night and they told me that I'm going to the DEEP SOUTH. To an area called Tamayo in Barahona. Apparently its VERY hot there but its beautiful. I imagine Ill be taking bucket showers for a while there haha. My new comp will be Elder McDonald. Don't know much about him but I've been told he´s a hard worker so i'm excited! Kinda sucks I have to leave Elder Page and the ward here but that's mission life! I was going to send pictures but my SD card reader broke. I'll either have to wait for another one or buy a sketchy one here!

Things on the mission have really gotten better for me. I feel 1000x better and I am really feeling the spirit all the time. The best thing we can do is to always pray, always do your job 100%, and be obedient! Its a saying here in the mission is that if we want miracles, we have to have 3 things. Faith, Works, and Obedience. Its a magic recipe.  I'm excited to get to my new area and work hard! Other than that I don't have much news!  I'll probably have a lot to say next week though!!!

Hope all was well this week!
Love y'all!