The Christmas Phone Call
Our family tradition on Christmas Eve is to have waffles with all of the fixings, ice cream, strawberries, syrup, whipped cream, bacon and eggs. So the whole family was over, Allan, Connor, Mitchell, Garrett, Me, Grandma Linda, Shelly, Mike, Cami, Kyle, Chris, and Heather. Clarke wasn’t there because he has the shingles. We were wrapping things up getting ready to open the “one gift” and the phone rang. It was 9ish and we were wondering who could be calling. And guess who? It was Spencer. I yelled in the phone and ask why he was calling. He said that he was calling to say hi. In his mission, members make arrangements to give the missionaries their cell phone to use on Christmas and then the missionaries buy a calling card to call home. So he was calling us on Christmas Eve. It was so good to hear his voice. I didn’t even get emotional because I was in such a state of shock! I took notes so here are some of the things we talked about.
When he arrived in Tegucigalpa, The Mission President picked them up around 1:30 pm and took them to Pizza Hut. He really liked him. Spencer thought he was a Central American version of President Peterson (our 1st Councilor in Stake Pres that is our neighbor and is a mentor to Spencer and Allan. He is now a Mission Pres in the Philippines.) They spent the night at the Mission Home and then were sent to their Areas. There were 27 new missionaries in his mission that arrived that same day. The seven “gringo’s” that traveled with him and 20 Latino’s were the new missionaries. He had to take a 4 hours bus ride to his area on the public “school bus” transportation. In his house there is him and his companion, Elder Guitz from Guatemala, and another set of missionaries, Elder Cizmas and Elder Esparza from Mexico. Elder Cizmas is the missionary that we read his blog before Spencer left and found out what Tegucigalpa was like. Spencer told elder Cizmas that his mom was stalking him. It was quite funny. They are in the area of Guapinol but they can’t leave there because it is too dangerous. It is a fishing village so when the fisherman comes back at night they all get drunk so the missionaries have to leave by 5 pm.
In the town of Monjaras, there are 6800 people that live there. He lives down the alley and around the corner from the LDS building behind the Catholic building. There is only one main road that goes through the town. There are no grocery stores only convenient stores. They have 2 five gallon jugs that they fill up at the local water store. They have to walk to go get it every couple of days. They use it for everything. They don’t use the water for anything. They also sell drinking water in “bags.” They don’t have water bottles there like they do here. He has a lady make lunch for them every day and then they go to members homes for dinner. Things he has eaten are rice, cucumbers, tomatoes, meat, tortillas, oranges (amazing), pineapples (really good), plantain, mangos (he’s waiting for them to get ripe because there is a mango tree in front of the church that they can pick the fruit). He doesn’t have a hot shower but he does have a regular bathroom with a normal toilet and shower. There just isn’t warm water. He got his Christmas package which I was happy to hear. His companion thanked me for the gifts. I sent ties, hackie sacks, caramels, puppy chow, an Ensign, and a paper Christmas tree with lights and ornaments.
For P-day they take an hour bus ride to the town of Choluteca. This is where they do their grocery shopping and go to the Internet Café. They have an area like the dirt mall in Rocky Point only way better. They always have tacos when they go to town. They use corn tortillas, habanero sauce and other chili sauces. They are really good. He bought oatmeal that he eats every morning. That is amazing because Spencer has never liked oatmeal. He likes going to Choluteca! He doesn’t have a pillow but he is getting used to that. He just takes some clothes and shoves them into his pillowcase and uses that. It is really hot there and sweats all of the time. An elder that just went home lost 30lbs just being there. He thinks he’s already lost 10lbs since he’s been there.
They are teaching a couple of families and will hopefully have some baptisms in the near future. They are in the highest baptizing area in his mission. He talked about “cake eaters” in Guapinol. These are 8 and 9 year olds that want to get baptized because they get to travel to Monjaras to the building to be baptized and then they get to eat cake. He doesn’t want to baptize cake eaters, only families.
By then it had been 1 ½ hours and he said he could call us back the next day. We told him that we went to church at 1 pm so call after that. And we said good bye. It was so fun to talk to him. He sounded so good and excited to be where he was.
Well the next morning, I got a call from him and he told me that he wasn’t able to charge his phone so he may not be able to call back. They were going to go to church and see if they could find another phone. But then they found another phone in the house that would work and it was charging. We all got up and started opening our presents and he called again. He got to listen to us open a few gifts including Garrett’s iTouch. He decided that it wasn’t that fun to listen to us so he was going to call us back later.
He then called us while I was making dinner. I had to turn over the kitchen to Grandma Linda and Lauren and they finished things up. He told us that about his dinner dates. They celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. They had 3 appointments, but one cancelled on them. They went to the first. They had rice, ground beef, peas, carrots, corn, bread, and chicken. He ate it all and had to. They walked to the next appointment and had to throw up on the way there so he could eat again. They had the same meal. It was hard to eat the same thing twice but he managed to do it and not offend the family.
He also told us about a Zone conference that they went to the 1st weekend they were there. They had to get up at 2 am to catch the bus. They had to take 2 different buses. It was about 6 am when they finally got to Tegus. They didn’t have breakfast for them and they were starving. They didn’t eat until lunchtime. There was little food and it was a little disappointing. They watched a few missionary movies all in Spanish and of course he slept through them all. Then there were testimonies all in Spanish and that was difficult to stay awake for, too. They did get to play ping pong. They had chicken and mash potatoes and gravy. They left at 4 pm to get back to his house by 10pm. It was a long day.
Our dinner was ready by then so I finally had to tell him that it was time. It was hard to have to tell him we couldn’t talk anymore. I started crying and I think he got a little emotional, too. We had a great time talking to him and it was so fun to learn all about his mission. I know he is going to be a great missionary and we’re excited to receive his weekly emails. I can’t wait for Mother’s Day, the next time we get to talk to him.