Elder Lawson's Adventures in Honduras

Elder Lawson's Adventures in Honduras
Heleman 13:4, "And it came to pass that they would not suffer that he should enter into the city; therefore he went and got upon the wall thereof, and stretched forth his hand and cried with a loud voice, and prophesied unto the people whatsoever things the Lord put into his heart."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

This week I was able to chat with Tyler over email back and forth because we both happened to be online at the same time!  I asked him a variety of questions and have included his answers throughout or in blue.

Hola amigos!  

How was your Thanksgiving??  I totally forgot Thanksgiving was this week until my mom told me on Monday.  This week went well!  But boy is it hot here, like 90+ degrees and humid as ever!  And I hear this is the COOL time of the year...I hear it's like 105 in March through May!  Choluteca Honduras is insane!  (A lot of bugs because of the heat, cockroaches, spiders and tons of ants in their house.  He said he isn't scared of them though.)

So despite missing out on Football, Turkey, Stuffing, Pumpkin pie, and Family, I actualy had a pretty good Thanksgiving!  It started out fasting, yup fasting!  I can now say I've fasted on Thanksgiving!  Here we fast every 15 days to add money to a fund for all the weddings since the people here are dirt poor and weddings are expensive!  But I broke my fast with KFC!  We went there in honor of Thanksgiving and it was soooooo nice to have some mashed potatoes!  I miss American food a ton.  We have a lady that cooks lunch for us everyday and it's always rice and beans and a little meat.  I don't really like it all that much and it's super hard to finish it all, but I did it this week!  There's a picture of me with my empty plate!  After eating and such we taught two really great lessons to investigators who seem really interested in learning more!  I think that's the happiest feeling ever, when investigators really care to learn more.  I love it!  So that's why it was such a great day!  (He is still losing weight. They eat at American fast food restaurants - Pizza Hut, KFC, etc. - twice a week but he said it is different than the fast food we have here.)

I really wish you could all see what I see everyday (like the Truman Show!).  It's truly jaw dropping.  First, there's trash EVERYWHERE.  It makes me sick.  And when people do have trash to get rid of here, they just burn it.  So all you people driving hybrid cars in the US, you're wasting you time because Honduras is killing the planet.  Al Gore would have a heart attack if he were here.  Another funny thing about Honduras is the people!  They are all super nice but super dumb.  We'll ask them questions and they'll just look at us.  We asked an old man the other day what the most important thing in his life was and he couldn't tell us.  We said maybe your family, your job, your house.  Still nothing.  Also there are some people that are nice and invite us in and then reject us the whole time!  Like I said, crazy and dumb.  One thing I can't get used to is public breast feeding.  Women here just whip out their boob when ever they like and start feeding their kids.  And they don't cover up at all.  Super uncomfortable.  Whether it be in a lesson, in Pizza Hut, in a park, and even in church!  I guess it's just part of their culture, but it's definitely not part of mine!  Like I said, It's hard to get used to.  And guys here either don't wear shirts or lift up their shirts.  It's so hot I don't blame them, but it's still weird.  We'll be talking to a man and he'll just randomly pull his shirt up halfway, showing us his big belly and leave it up.  Haha so weird.  And when people do wear shirts they probably have no idea what they say!  Our investigator was wearing one that said "I'm proud of my Liberty middle school cheerleader."  And a member was wearing a really dirty one that implied breaking the word of wisdom and law of chastity!  It was really funny because he probably didn't have any idea.  I'm in a pretty strong ward in a realy nice building!  Well when I say really nice it's comparative to here.  It's still a ton worse than the oldest buildings in Colorado.  And we ride the bus everyday to our area and usually walk home.  I love the buses here!  They're so crazy.  There's about 25 missionaries in my zone and there are 4 zones in the South, 3 in Danli in the East, and 4 in the city.  Only a few native Sister missionaries.  And EVERYONE stares at us all the time for being gringo.  But everyone is also super nice when we talk to them!  Haha funny story a teenage member of our ward was in our house the other day and he saw one of my pictures of Abby and said "Tan bonita ella.  Yo voy a robarla"  haha what a creep, but I guess it's a complement to her!  (Google translated this to: "She's so pretty.  I'm going to steal."  Abby just laughed, but it freaked me out!)

Things are just really crazy down here.  But here's the best story of the week! We were sitting at the bus stop and a crazy guy came up and started talking to us in English!  He said he got in a car accident in the US and he was here because he had to lay low because some Germans wanted to kill him.  He then took a huge wad of cream and put it up his nose.  He told us that his Chinese brother doesn't like him and he wants to kill him.  We told him drugs were bad and he went off about how he agreed really intensely that drugs were terrible for people because drugs tickle the hairs that are inside your body and give you diareahhea.  Yeah I don't get it either.  But the best was when he told us that the Greeks don't believe drugs are bad and they are the reason for WW1, WW2 and world wars 6, 7, and 8.  I guess I've been on my mission longer than I thought...  haha

My companion is Elder Alec Sears.  He was at BYU at the same time as me and in the hall right next to mine! We went to a ton of the same parties and events!  Small world huh?  He's from Ventura, CA and I like him a lot.  I can't explain how great it is having someone I can speak English to.  He ran Cross Country in high school so we've got that in common too!  (They run laps around their huge yard every day to keep in shape.)  As for my two roomates they're both from Mexico and speak zero English.  One is from Cancun!  I don't know much more.  But they are really hard working and I like them a lot!  (So far no sightseeing on p-days and there are no ruins in his mission, but he did say some elders went to the beach nearby so he might do that.)

Thank you all sooo much for the love and support!  Thanks to Aunt Sarah and Uncle John for the letter!  It's the only one I've got since I've been here.  It takes like 3 weeks for mail to get all the way to me.  But the good news is I'm allowed to email people!  So feel free to send me emails, I get two hours in the cafe and it's only about 50 cents an hour, just don't overload me too much! tyler.lawson@myldsmail.net  Again I love you all and have a great last week of November!  

He's getting homesick and a little depressed thinking he will be there for 21 more months, so please be careful what you write.  It's best to stick with the boring stuff of life and ask questions about what he is doing instead to keep him focused.  I learned that the hard way.  Scriptures you found interesting, spiritual experiences, Ensign articles, etc. are all good things to talk about.  And keep it brief if you want him to have time to write back!  He will adjust in a few months and be able to handle all the talk of fun times soon enough.

Pray for my Spanish!  Because it sucks...  But, I'll get it!  The work is going great!  I'll probably have some baptisms here pretty soon!  (They teach about 4 lessons a day and have a goal of 25 contacts a day.  I assume the crazy guy at the bus counted as a contact?)

Elder Lawson

You may still write to Tyler through DearElder.com.  His mission is FREE for letters sent through the pouch system.  He would LOVE to get physical mail and DearElder.com is best for that.  Here is his address to send longer letters, Christmas cards, or packages to: (Christmas cards are only $1.05 to send.)

Elder Tyler Mac Lawson
Honduras Tegucigalpa Mission
Colonia Florencia Norte, Contiguo a SEARS
Entre Boulevard Suyapa y PriceSmart
Edificio Plaza America, 3er Piso
Tegucigalpa M.D.C. HONDURAS C.A.

I didn't understand this pic so I asked.  He said "It's a sunset you silly!"  He's already forgetting where we live.  Colorado sunsets can only be beat by California!

Elder Smith, Elder Sears, Elder Lawson, Elder ?, and the Zone Leader Elder Adams.  Of this pic he said, "In that picture are me and my comp and then 3 other random Elders.  The one across from me is my zone leader he's soooo cool!  I love him.  But he's a University of Utah fan so..."

Look Mom, I finally cleaned my plate!

Converting all those in the Lord's Kingdom.

Monday, November 19, 2012

First week in Honduras!!

Hola loved ones!!

Guess what?!  I'm in Honduras!!!!  How crazy is that??  And gosh is it hot here!  So I left the MTC really really late on Monday night and arrived in Honduras around noon on Tuesday!  The flight in was amazing!  The whole country was just covered in a layer of clouds and gradually we descended untill we were flying straight through the clouds!  We then poked out of the bottom and there it was!  The great city of Tegucigalpa!  We flew by a big statue of Jesus on a mountian and then descended closer and closer to the ground.  We flew like we were going to touch the houses - we were literally no more than 100 feet above them!  We then did a really quick 90 degree bank turn and landed safely.  The coolest thing about the bank turn was it went right around the new Temple!!  It's so pretty.  I hope I get to go!  After landing we went through customs, met the mission president, and he put us with all of our luggage into a van.  We hopped in and away we went cruising through the streets of Honduras!!  The cars here are crazy.  There's really no rules on the streets.  No one stops at stop signs and its really a free for all with a ton of honking.  The next morning I got assigned my companion.  His name is Elder Sears and he's a gringo from California!  Thank goodness!  It's nice to have a comp that speaks English.  We got asigned to a "new" area near Choluteca.  Choluteca is the second biggest city in my mission and it's about 3 hours by bus south of Tegucigalpa.  (It's on the western coast.) I say "new" because it's really just an old area that was split into two because the work is just booming here.  Honduras is so poor.  Like I can't even describe.  I was on the bus driving down here and my mouth was just hanging open at all the poverty I was seeing.  It's really humbling.  We got to our house and the bus just stopped and we got all our luggage out and it drove away and me Elder Sears and my two new roommates who are both from Mexico and don't speak English were just sitting there on the side of the road.  We then walked up a little dirt street and there it was, home sweet home!  All four of us live together in a nice sized, 5 room house.  It has running water 4 hours a day and this week those four hours were 12pm to 4pm.  So I've been showering with a bucket all week!  Crazy huh?  After dropping off our stuff we immediately went to an investigators house to meet them.  They are crazy poor.  They live in a one room mud house with dirt floors.  Wow was it eye opening.  I really couldn't believe it.  This is real Honduras.  When people told me it was one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere, I didn't realize this is what they meant!  It's truely very humbling.  After that lesson we went back to the house and realized that since it went from being a two elder house to a four elder house, Elder Sears and I didn't have beds!  We resorted to sleeping on the tables!  Yep my first mission experience is sleeping on tables and showering with a bucket!  But that's what I wanted right?  The next morning guess what I woke up to?  A rooster cockodoodle doo-ing!  There are a ton of wild animals just walking around here! Including chickens, pigs, cats, and lots and lots of stray dogs.  It takes some getting used to.  So does the food.  I'm not really liking the food so far here, well I like it, but My stomach doesn't.  I really can't eat much or else I get super sick.  Remember that 5 pounds I gained in the MTC?  Yup.  Gone.  My favorite food is called tajitas?  Not sure, but it's fried plantians with salsa and sometimes meats and other things on top.  Like nachos!  Another funny thing about the food here is everything is in bags!  Drinks wise.  You can buy water bags for 2 limps (about 10 cents) or when you buy a soda they pour it into a bag!  It's pretty weird.  We have a lady who cooks us lunch everyday and does our laundry for 1000 limps a month.  That's about 50 bucks?  Not bad for like 20 meals and laundry!  The currency here is the limpira and it's pretty cool!  It's really colorful.  Today I bought a pillow!  That was pretty exciting.  Until now I've been using dirty laundry as a pillow.  haha!  Also today we played soccer and I got worked!!  Remember all that confidence I gained in the MTC?  Yup I've been humbled...  The latians are so good!  You want to know the craziest thing to happen to me though?  I was walking down a dirt road (all the roads are dirt) deep in my area and guess what I heard?  Opum Gangum Style.  hahahaha what?!?!  I couldn't believe that song has blown up so big to make it from Korea to the poorest corners of Honduras!  I can only imagine what it did to the US.  When I left on my mission it was still a Korean youtube sensation!  I couldn't stop laughing.  Like I was saying about the people though, they are just soooo humble and nice.  You'll walk by and they all just sit in front of their houses at night and you'll go up and talk to one of them and they'll actually listen!  People in America are just so snobby.  Haha mom you're going to have a heart attack when I tell you this, but kids here are given so much freedom!  Parents just let their kids run around in the streets and do what ever they like!  Every night we walk down the streets and I see 3 years olds lighting fireworks and throwing them in the street!  Today I saw a little kid younger than Dylan standing on a street corner by himself selling plastic cups.  Just stuff like that.  It's really crazy how mature the kids are here.  

Well I guess that's all I really have time for.  I haven't gotten any mail yet and it looks like I'll probably only get mail every 2 weeks or so, but I hear dearelder is the best way to do it!  And it's free since I'm in a pouch mission.  So do that and hopefully I'll get some mail before next monday!  I've got a lesson tonight with an investigator that we found on Friday!  His name is Erik and he's super interested in the gospel!  I hope he gets baptized!  My Spanish is not very good, actually it's terrible, but I'll get better!  I just can't understand anything anyone says!  Oh that reminds me of my first contact!  That first morning after waking up on the table and showering with the bucket, we got on a bus to ride to district meeting and an old man sat down next to me, so of course I said "hola" to which he said "spanish spanish spanish."  I had no idea.  I then proceeded to tell him I was new to Honduras and I was a missionary and I invited him to church!  He said more Spanish and then it was our stop and I had to leave.  I didn't understand a single word he said, but at least I got my first contact on my first day|!  Wooo!  

I love you all!  Pray for me to be safe and pick up Spanish!  Hope to hear from you soon!  Sorry no pictures, the computers here are really slow, I'll work on sending some next week!  

Elder Lawson

After he sent this email all the pictures started coming in, but there were no explanations so I did the best I could.  He was still online so I asked him why he asked us to pray for his safety, he said "you just never know" but that he wasn't scared or anything.  He does have a mattress now and he said he was at an Internet cafe writing the email.

Tyler with his companion, Elder Sears (I think) and his Mission President and wife.  Look how TALL Tyler looks!  He must b so happy about that!

Water in a bag.

Saying goodbye to Elders Pruel and Chapman

Sleeping on a TABLE!!

Eggs, beans, plantains, tortillas and some kind of meat?

I assume this is his house?

Looks like he's gotten into the "swing" of things!

I have no idea....

Shoes worn out in the service of the Lord.

We asked if this was his possible Thanksgiving dinner!  I assume it is his alarm clock.

"It's all about the money, money, money...."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Free at last, Free at last!!! (LAST week in the MTC)

Buenos Dias!!
Wow it's been a great week here in the beautiful country of Honduras!  haha PSYCHE!  I'm sorry so many of you thought I was leaving last week!  I thought I made it clear that my flight isn't until THIS monday night.  SORRY!  But I'm super excited!  I'm starting to get really tired of doing the same thing everyday at the MTC and having the same arguements with my companions and it'll be super duper nice to be back in the real world!  Today in the cafeteria a worker's cell phone started ringing and it was playing bye bye bye and now it's totally stuck in my head!  It's the first non-motab song I've heard in 2 months!  It's crazy how sheltered we are here in the MTC..  It's super weird being away from all worldly things!  So you know that thing where your leg kinda twitches or something and you think it's your phone vibrating and so you check it and it was just nothing?  Well that happened to me the other day and it was super awkward reaching into my empty pocket to find no phone..  It's actually super weird to ever think I had a phone or watched non chuch movies/music!  It all seems so satanic to me now!  haha
I've realized that my testimony of this gospel has grown sooooo incredibly much since I've been here.  I love it so much!  It's amazing what taking the worldly things out of you life and filling it with Christ and his teachings can do!  I'm so greatful I have the oppertunity to share this amazing gospel with the world in just 5 short days!  I can't wait to get out there and tell them that they have a loving Father in heaven and he loves us!  And how I know that if we do all we can to turn towards the savior and live like he did, we can one day have happiness beyond imaginable!  Just think of the song "I'm trying to be like Jesus" it's so simple and we've learned it since childhood.  Just try as best you can to be like Jesus Christ.  I know that if we keep the commandments that our Father in Heaven has given us and be worthy to recieve blessings, he will pour them out to us!  Whenever anything troubles you PRAY.  Whenever you have big decesions to make, PRAY.  Whenever you feel like giving up, PRAY.  Our Heavenly Father will answer our prayers and give us the help that we need!  I know it and I can't wait to go tell all of the people of Honduras these great truths! 
Thanks to Mom, Dad, Abby, Dylan, Aunt Taryn & Elyse for the letters and package!, Grandma, Aunt Sarah & Uncle John for the letter and package!, Elder Slik, Sister Hekking, and Kylie for the letters!  I really do love them! 
If any of you have any last minute advice or things you want to tell me you can still write a "dearelder" to me before monday at 12 noon and I'll get it on monday before I leave!  If you don't write it now I probably won't get it for a few weeks! 
I love you all!  Thank you soooo much for all your love and support!  My next letter will be from Honduras!  AHHHH!!! 
-Elder Lawson
PS - I attached a bunch of random MTC pictures!  Hope you like them! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Almost There! (Week 8)

Buenos Días Hermanos y Hermanas!! 
Guess what I got this week!?!?!  My travel itinerary!!  Ahhhh!!  It's so exciting!  I'm finally getting out of here!  Haha!  (I actually don't hate this place, I just feel trapped sometimes.)  I'm so excited to go to Honduras though!  I leave here on Monday "Tuesday" night at 1AM and fly to Atlanta.  I get there around 6AM and leave for Honduras at 10AM!!  I get a 30 min call from the airport, so mom let me know if you'd rather me call from SLC around 11pm on monday or from Atlanta around between 5 and 7AM Tuesday morning.  haha I know those are two terrible options huh! 
On other news, Happy 8th birthday to Elyse last Saturday!!  And I hope you enjoy your baptism tomorrow!  You're just like all the people I'm going to baptize in Honduras! 
Ok so now for some world news, what's this I hear about a hurricane?  I had no idea there was a storm happening.  I hear the subways in NYC and flooded??  Craziness.  We don't really get any news about anything here at the MTC but our Branch President mentioned this storm in church on Sunday so I thought I'd ask you for more details!  And how's my boy Mitt doing?  Election day is this week!  I can't wait to hear about it! 
So how was everyone's Halloween?!  Mine was actually pretty awesome!  In the top ten of my life for sure!  But I've only had 19 so that's not saying too much....  It was our second to last week here so we got the privilage of hosting!  Basically that's where you pick up the new missionaries and bring them to get there books and tags and stuff!  It was really fun!  All my buddies and I were just being goofs and making the new elders feel welcome!  I think I'm hosting again next week and I'm really excited because Tyler Peacock is coming!  I'm going to try my best to find him and host him!  The earlier he comes the better and if he tells me what kind of car he'll be in it'll be nice and easy!  Needless to say I'm really excited to host again and to see Elder Peacock.  So Wednesday night in honor of Halloween, I had the great idea to all take loads of hair gel and slick our hair to the side!  I attached some pictures!  It was a brilliant idea and we all looked hilarious!  That night at the dorms we went trick or treating and some elders in my zone made a spook alley that was soooo funny!  There was an elder in a full bunny rabbit suit, nuff said.  haha
So this week we were getting dressed and a button fell off of Elder Preul's jacket and he was bummed and then I said "Our beds aren't made, we eat the same food everyday, OUR JACKET BUTTONS ARE FALLING OFF!!"  To which he replied, "So I want to go some place where we know someone who can get us some real investigators!" I responded with "Let me tell you about a little place where the trees are lush and green and the investigators instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrono, and little place called HOooodurrraaasss!"  Haha, It was hilarious! 
Also I thought of a great christmas present!  A soccer ball!  If somehow a soccer ball could make it down to Honduras, I would absolutley love that!  :)
Thanks sooo sooo soooooo much to Dad(x2), Dylan, Mom(x2), Grandma and Grandpa(x2), Aunt Sarah and Uncle John, and Elyse for the letters this week! 
Elder Lawson

Halloween "costumes"

Slicked back hair for Halloween

Travel Itinerary!