I spent all my time writing an email to a girl that is coming to this mission in a while so I'll have to just give you brief updates. I am still in Cuidad Jardin but I'm finally training! It is so fun and my new companion "hija" is Hna. Cano from Guatemala. She's a cutie and really great. More about her later. Conference was wonderful and inspiring and I got to listen to all four sessions in english. What a blessing. The prophet is true and so is the gospel. Mom, thanks for your email and even though you feel like you don't express your thoughts well, you never cease to inspire me. Really. And my card doesn't expire until July 2012. I love you all so much and I'm sorry I couldn't write more.
For more reading material you can read the email I sent to the girl coming out... here it is:
Congrats on being called to the greatest mission on earth. You are in for the adventure of your lifetime. Okay, first to answer a few of your questions.
1) Temple clothes – leave them home. They’ll rent them for you in Guatemala and Provo.
2) Long sleeved shirts - I have a couple and I hardly ever wear them (like never). I did serve in the coldest area of Nicaragua and in that area. I was always borrowing sweaters that were heavier than the ones I brought. If I were you, I’d bring a couple light sweaters that you can put on and take off as the weather changes during the day and one heavy one for when you get sent to Jinotega.
3) My favorite skirts are the ones that I can wear any shirt with, that are a little bit longer and a little bit wider. Longer because you are going to have to sit on all kinds of things out here to teach people including rocks and stumps and curbs of sidewalks that are low to the ground. And wide because it doesn’t restrict you when taking big steps and getting on and off busses. Basically bring clothes you feel cute and comfortable in. Think about doing yard work in Sunday clothes when making your choices… ;)
4) I wouldn’t bring boots but I would bring a rain poncho (something plastic and cheap will work just fine) and an umbrella that is easy to carry around with you for the rainy season.
5) Don’t worry about getting enough clean water. In every apartment there are big 5 gallon jugs of agua pura and the mission pays for them to be delivered. Also in the MTC you’ll get a water bottle that filters any water you put in it.
6) I brought my personal debit card and yes, there ATMs (cajeros) everywhere that you can use. You’ll get a debit card from the mission as well where you’ll take out your monthly misisonary budgit.
7) Medications – bring a bunch of tylenol or ibuprofen or whatever your preferred pain killer is. Also bring anit-itch cream or allergy medicine. Also diarrhea medicine and something for stomach aches. Really you can get pretty much any kind of drug here over the counter, like stuff you need a prescription for in the states. And everyone here will tell you about a million different drugs that will help with whatever you might be suffering with. But for that we have a mission nurse. I would also bring a nail clipper than can handle and cut out ingrown toenails. Don’t worry about being sick. You’ll feel yucky and you just deal with it like a champ and then it passes. The Lord really takes care of His missionaries.
Well as far as other stuff to bring, I love my mountainsmith bag. It has a shoulder strap and a waist strap. I would just get one size bigger though. I got the small one and the médium one would have been better to fit PMG more easily.
To prepare, read PMG at least once through before you enter the MTC and memorize the order of the principles in the first three lessons. Then just get used to making small talk and talking with everyone! It was hard for me to just go up to random people sitting outside their houses and generate a conversation. Talk to everyone. The faster you get used to talking to people and making conversation the better and more comfortable you’ll be on the mission. I don’t know how your spanish is, but I think I can say that it will be a struggle for you at first. The Guatemala MTC will help a ton. I’ll try to make a list of good phrases in the next few months to give to you when you get here.
Also if you are musically inclined, bring arrangements of hymns and other church music. They are always in need of musical numbers for conferences and church meetings. Um… suitcases. I have one enormous one and one small one. I wish I had two médium ones. And don’t pack them both way full before you leave. Leave yourself some space. And maybe bring a simple back pack as well. I’ve had to pack for just one or two nights because of staying the night with some other hermanas and I wished I had something small to pack clothes in for just a day. I left my hair straightener home, but I would bring it if I could od it again. It’s nice to be able to fix yourself up nice for the conferences. Oh, that reminds me. Have one or two nice outfits for the conferences, like a cute suit jacket and matching skirt. Something sophisticated. You’ll get sick of feeling grubby, and the conferences are your chance to look nice.
- Travel pillow (or room in suitcase for a real one)
- More garments than they tell you to bring (like16 pairs)
- Travel iron
- Little compass because the directions here are crazy
- Two laundy bags, one to keep dirty clothes in while your clothes are being washed. A lot of time we live out of our suitcases. There aren’t places to put the clothes.
- A wallet to keep in your bag and one to keep the rest of your Money and personal debit card in in the house. Okay, that is all I can think of for the momento and really all the time I have today. If you have any more questions, feel free to send me an email at Michelle.firstname.lastname@example.org. See you soon!