So here I am in Villa Altagracia, a kind of border town right on the edge of the mission. Its a jungle! With a bunch of nice mountains, a dirty river and a ward! The air is clearer, the weather a whole lot cooler and it rains A LOT. We got destroyed the last few days by the rain, we ended up having to walk out in it. I was sitting in a puddle in a few peoples houses that day haha, and my hair was extra spiky. Somehow our shoes are ok, they required some work to dry though with the fans haha. The prices are cheaper here (YES) so I of course bought more stuff to compensate for the extra money haha. I find myself really cold at night here, and I kind of shiver until I start working out. P90X is a great thing (props to Tony Horton). Other cool things about Villa, we are in a ward without young men, and a few young couples basically consist of the whole ward. Lots of less actives, there was a problem with retention earlier, but it seems to have been resolved. People are nice out here, and are a mixture of rich and poor. An american retiree lives out here in a little outskirt village who is a member, his house is super nice with a pool table and everything. He retired out here to get out of the city life. Life is pretty peaceful out here, although we have our work cut out.
So in terms of teaching people, we have some less actives who recently went less active. It seems that they kind of just fell off for either coffee drinking, or fellowshipping or theyre just goofy. Otherwise, lots of cool investigators who read the book of mormon, go to church and are fun to talk to. All of them are unmarried with the person they live with. Some of them have problems with papers, complicating the process. Mostly we went around and gave some law of chastity talks, and mostly got resistance in response. Although there is this one cool guy who has come to church a lot who is willing, but we dont teach his wife.... so that could be difficult. He said it was super interesting that I am a mixed culture baby, he thought it was weird to see a chinese guy, and even weirder that I was actually half british too. I tried to explain that not everyone is racist, I think he understood. Everyone always tells me wow those chinese genes are a lot stronger, eh? Yes, yes they are. Yeah, so the people are great, we are teaching a few. So, with all the good book of mormon reading and church attendance, I guess they just have to get baptized but it seems that this part is the most difficult. Everybody is still praying for an answer, when they really havent taken that final step, commit. We will see, a 14 year old girl has some potential, but shes still waiting for something.
We had a special conference broadcast for the caribean on sunday. Super awesome, Elder Packer and Elder Holland and Elder Andersen and Hermana Oscarson all spoke. Elder Holland and Packer impressed us with some spanish, and everyone knew that Elder Andersen already spoke it. Elder Andersen gave a super cool talk about faith, and explained how it really works. It should be based in Christ, it should be the focus of all our desires and it must have works. He explained that one should always move forward and never turn back. It was really cool and I hope that the unmarried couple who came to the conference really took that to heart and never turn back, even if their steps dont get there right away. Elder Holland talked about a bunch of things we can do to stay in holy places (good for the less actives especially) but I really liked the part where in his imperfectly spoken spanish bore powerful testimony. I found it endearing for the spanish speakers, hopefully they got over his accent and really felt his words. The whole center went dead silent when he started speaking spanish, so I hope Gods love for ALL people got to them there. There were other things, but I cant remember them all I have them written down somewhere. Oh, Elder Packer gave a cool testimony in which he stated about the saviour that he knows him, and that Elder Packer wishes he could give everyone his testimony of the truth, but all must come to their own faith in this great work. Anyway, it was super uplifting, lots of good advice on faith, holy places and especially the family, a struggle here in the Dominican. I hope we can do great things here in the villa.
Well thanks for all your love and support, keep the faith!