HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALLIYAH!!!!
Im sorry that I can't be there for you and your birthday, but let's just say that I'm there in spirit. You are an amazing example for me and for your friends and for the rest of your family. And don't forget that you are a daughter of God. That's most important. A lot of my investigators here right now are about your age. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. The sad thing is that they are the only ones in their family that are interested. It's really hard to teach them, because they are so interested and wanting to learn, but because of their age, their parents make a lot of decisions for them still. Like instead of going to church, they have something else with their family. Or they don't have time to read their scriptures. Or they just don't have motivation to learn and progress. It makes me so grateful to know that I have a sister who has already progressed and grown so much in these past couple of years, spiritually, physically, mentally. You read on your own, you desire to learn and grow, you make good decisions. Thank you! Youre the best 1st little sister that I have!! Anyway, This email is specifically for you and to answer the questions that you asked me in your letter to me. Ready?
Here in the DR, it's muggy and hot. basically, it's pointless to take a shower because you are just gonna get all gross right after. and because of the weather, there are so many mosquitos and I get bitten, no matter how much repelent I use!! It's hardly ever cold here (to me anyway) so I have the fan blowing on me all night until the power goes out (which is very normal here). But I wake up a little sweaty.
The qualities I admire in my campanion are patience, organization, and strength, both physical and mental, to continue to press forward and preach. And she demonstrates these so well!
If I had to write an essay in Spanish, I would definitely need at least a month to write the first draft! It's still hard to learn, but it's ok. It gets better and better every day and I just trust in the Lord.
Here, it's ... not as pretty, but it could be worse. People have been taught that if you have trash, to throw it in the street. So there's tons of trash everywhere and when it rains, the trash clogs the gutters, so it floods (as it did a couple times this past week). I can sorta see the beach. My area covers from the beach up maybe a mile or two. It's a small area, but if we walk to the end, we are at the "highway", which is right next to the beach.
Hahaha, no we don't actually have tests here. But every day is a test, technically; a test to see if you are a different person than you were yesterday, if you apply what you learned yesterday to today, and if you are improving. I guess that's kinda a moral test, so to speak. And it's always a test to see how much of the language you know when you talk to the people ... gotta say, I ain't getting A pluses in that aspect!!
Similarities in the islands ... yes, there are many. The lifestyle here is laid back, like Hawaii, if not more so. The people here are about the same friendly. It's to the point where, if you say hi, no matter how mean looking they are, they smile back at you (which makes them not mean looking) and say hi back! The fruits here are very much the same. The best way to describe how this place looks is ... kinda the ghetto of Waikiki, add 10x more wires everywhere(and you wonder why there's rolling blackouts here), more trash, and more humidity.
The big sports here are baseball and basketball and footbol (aka soccer. football football is called footbol americana). You see kids just practicing baseball in the street with a ball and a pole or stick. As for basketball, it includes a hoop that's on the corner of the street, half court. People get really into it! I've though about trying to take the ball and shoot a basket, show off my skills and then I remember ... I don't got any with basketball!!
And my favorite hymn? That's hard. It changes every day. But right now, it's I know that My Redeemer Lives and I Need Thee Every Hour. The first, because my testimony is all I can really give these people at this point in their language and the lyrics are pretty much how I would praise my Savior right now, and how Im trying to. and the second, because, well, it's pretty self explanitory. Read the lyrics, and its like a prayer for me to the Lord. I sing it pretty often.
Anyway, that's all for now. I love you little sis! Keep being a good example! And don't let anyone get you down.Trials will come, people will say things, but remember: You are a daughter of God and can be a goddess. A lot of people don't understand the importance or magnificence of that, but I know that you do. I hope you do. Love you! Enjoy your birthday!!
Hermana Ho (Kamalei)
P.S. sorry it's so long. But it's the least I can do for you on your birthday :)