This is kind of a test to see how well the mail works and how long it takes to get there, if it gets there at all. I've heard that it is easier to send letters than to receive, so I guess this is a way to see! So I'm writing this on Monday the 16th, I'm not sure when I'll get to sending it but I'll put that date on the letter before I send it.
So things are going good for me. I just got back from a bike ride through the rainforest. I was covered in mud because there was a ten minute downpour. This was really a downpour, we got as much rain in 5 minutes as Logan gets in a whole day of rain. I wanted to take my camera but I didn't because I didn't want to ruin it. There were a lot of cool things that I wish I could have shown you. Maybe some other time I can take some.
This place is super cool. There's the city right on the ocean with some little shack towns around about, then nothing but dense rainforest. The ocean isn't too much to look at, it's very dirty, there are a lot of cool rocks jutting out of the ocean.
I really wanted to talk about the people I've met in this letter. Most everyone on our side of town lives in little shack cul-de-sacs (which is a French word) There are aluminum fences along almost every road, it reminds me a lot of Oaxaca. Every so often is a door or gate that leads to a kind of courtyard where usually everyone in the cul-de-sac hangs their laundry to dry. There's about 5-10 doors around about the center, all to little "apartments" which are about 2 rooms, 1 with a T.V. and chair, the other with a bed. That's with the more poor side (Baduel) which is where I spend most of my days. I have gone to other towns that are a lot nicer, most of them follow the same courtyard layout but there are less buildings and they're bigger. We drive out to Bulutu often to pick up Amos, who is the only one in the Young Men's program in the entire country I think. On Monday (the night I started this letter, I've had to split it up) we drove all the way out to Degrad des Cannes, past this really old fort that I'm sure you (mom) will probably research. If you learn anything cool let me know! According to our map it's called "Fort Diamant". Anywho, we went out there for a family home evening with the family of Seour Cladinette, she and her family play volleyball and other games like that with us on Thursdays of Fridays. We try to invite as many youth as we can find to come, a lot are Amos' cousins and friends, but they've only been there once so we haven't taught any of them yet.
Wow, I got super side-tracked there...a lot, well something funny is that even with the poor living conditions everybody has a pretty nice car, and everyone and their dog has a scooter...Something I've noticed is that they all have the same type of car. A little compact car, with a hatchback, you almost never find a trunk in the back of the car, it always has a hitch or whatever you call those. Just look up Peugeot, Renault, or Citroen and you see 'em.
So this letter is taking longer than I thought, it's turning into more a journal now haha! It's Monday September 23 and I just barely got back from picking up that first "Greenie Package". Thanks so much!! It's great! So it looks like packages work, but letters must be a different story because I still haven't gotten my stuff to get me legally into the country. I have 90 days from when I got here, but it's taking a while. Elder Fraley got his and we applied at the same time, so I'm pretty sure I did everything right.
I have that picture of all the guys after Seminary graduation and it's cool thinking how everyone of them is in a different part of the world doing the same work. It's going to be real cool when we have the Alma 17:1-5 reunion and swap stories like in Alma 27:16-20. I just hope that it'll be like that, and we will all be proud of the work we've done and be able to say that we did all we could and regret nothing.
I know that this church is true and the work before me is/will be tough but like Nephi I have been born of goodly parents, both in heaven and on earth. I have you guys that taught me so much and have prepared me for this work, and I also have my Father in Heaven who has called me to this work and who gives no commandment unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. I also feel really connected with Alma on his mission. My favorite parts are Alma 5:44-46 where he bears a powerful testimony to his people before he leaves and then in Alma 29:1-9 where he states his desires or goals of his mission. That's what I feel like and want to be like. I know that this is the right thing for me to do. Something really cool that I've read in my scriptures often during my reading sessions is in St. John 2:1-9. Now this may not be how anyone else that read it saw it, but when I read it in verses 3-5 it talks about Jesus' mother. Jesus hadn't performed any miracles at this time, nobody even knew he could perform miracles yet, but his mother believed in him. When they needed a miracle she knew her son could do it, and to me it sounds like Jesus says, "But Mom! I'm not ready yet!" But with the pushing of his mother he accomplished the first miracle, even if it was only turning water into wine, but we all know greater things followed.
Now I know it's a stretch, but we are supposed to liken the scriptures unto ourselves...so I just want to thank you mom for pushing me! I love reading the letter from APTC and feeling the confidence you have in me. I haven't done anything particularly amazing yet and I don't expect to be performing serious miracles, but thank you so much for believing in me!
I love you all so much and I hope I didn't get too "gushy gushy" on you! haha