Monday, October 15, 2012

First email from Puerto Rico Yippee!!!!

Hola Everyone!
How is everybody doing? I hope well! It is weird to not get Dear Elders anymore. It seems like it has been forever since I actually talked to you all, even though it was just a few days ago. Well I hope that school and work and everything is going well! I did get my package! they had it waiting for me when I got here. Thank you so much! That was totally awesome! I really really enjoyed it so thank you! Well it turns out that my house doesn't actually have a mailbox, so all of my mail will still have to go to the mission home. So I don't know exactly how often I will get it. So if there is something important, send it in email, and the actual mail I think I might get like once every three weeks is all.
Well I made it to Puerto Rico! It was a really long flight here from Texas but we made it haha. I was sitting between two older ladies the whole way and they were kind of funny so that was good haha. Puerto Rico is sooo much different from home! First of all, if I had only three words to describe what stands out to me the most about Puerto Rico, they would be raining, cats, and dogs. It has rained every day since I got here, and just about everyone here has two or three dogs in their yards, and there are just like packs of little dogs and cats that roam the streets. It is super weird, and it is always loud because everybody's dogs bark at us haha. It is also incredibly hot. Like crazy crazy hot here, and it is the cool season right now. I definitely am going to need a while to get acclimatized to the heat and humidity. Just about everything is in Spanish. So I really can't understand anything, because they sure do not speak Spanish like the Spanish that they taught me in the MTC. They can all understand me, but I can only understand about a quarter of them haha. So that has been pretty fun to get used to. My new companion's name is Elder Ortiz. He is from El Salvador and doesn't speak hardly any English, and he has a pretty weird accent there are a lot of times when we can't understand each other, especially the first day, but it is getting better now. He has only been here for two transfers, so as soon as he got done being trained, he started training me haha. He is a really nice guy though and we get along well so that's good! We are assigned to an area called Toa Baja, and we live in the barrio, Macun. There are two other Elders who are in our District and live with us. So far I have done everything by bike, but I think I will be getting my Puerto Rican driver's license fairly soon and then I might be able to drive but I am not really sure. The people here are pretty darn bad drivers haha so I am not really all that excited to do much driving, but it will be nice to have the option.
So a couple of fun experiences that I have had so far, my first lesson that we were going to teach was a lot of fun. We showed up to the lady's house, and she let us in and everything. And then just when we were about to start the police showed up and the whole family had to go with them. Everything was said in very rapid terrible Spanish so I didn't understand any of it, but it was awesome haha. Turns out that it wasn't actually police, it was some kind of social working or something, but they came in a police car so I thought the cops took them away haha. Then another fun thing, we went to eat at a chinese restaurant, and it turns out that Chinese food in Puerto Rico means fried chicken. So I had fried chicken, french fries, and some rice from this restaurant called Super China. It was delicious but not quite what I was expecting haha.
The food here is pretty good. It is very simple, just rice beans and chicken, but the seasonings make it really good. I have been fed by members twice already, and we have two or three more appointments set up with other members to feed us this week. The members are all really nice, and the people in general are really nice, it's just that pretty much only the members want to talk to us haha. Everybody else will offer us water or something, but not that many people want to talk to us. But even though they don't they are all very hospitable. It is definitely a foreign culture here though. I have seen only one white person who is not a missionary the whole first week that I have been here. It is super weird to be the minority haha.
So the area where we are living is supposedly not the best place to live. It is one of the few neighborhoods around here that doesn't have like bars and gates to get in. But I honestly have felt safe the whole time that I have been here. There have been missionaries living there for years, so the people are all used to them, and they are super friendly to us. It is probably not a place I would live normally, it's a little ghetto and kind of sketchy, but I really feel very welcome and safe here inspite of that. It is pretty cool how hospitable the people are to the missionaries here.
Well that's probably about all that I have right now. I am sure there were tons of other things that I was going to say but then forgot as I was writing this. If i remember them I will get them in a letter or something. Well I love you all and I miss you all. Please take care of yourselves and have a good week! Thank you for all of your support! Love you all,
Con mucho Amor,
Elder Searle
Not the greatest pic but I think he looks really happy

I think he looks like he is sweating like crazy. I think it will take some time to get used to the weather!

Wondering if this is a pic of his neighbors house or something

May or may not be his hmble new home???

Sorry, I can't figure out how to rotate this pic.  This is him with his companion, Elder Ortiz from El Salvador :)  I think they will be friends forever.  They just look like they will get along. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012


On Monday, October 8 Maveric left the MTC and headed to Puerto Rico.  His flight left Salt Lake City at 6:00 am.  We did not receive a phone call from Salt Lake and we were a little disappointed.  However, as soon as he got off the plane in Texas we got the call.  Best Call Ever!!!  As soon as I heard his voice I broke down.  At that moment I realized just exactly how much I have missed that boy.  We were able to talk to him for quite a while and it was wonderful.  Dave and I both took the day off work and the girls missed school so we could all talk to him.  It was a blessed day!!!  That is, however,  the only time we heard from him.  There were no more calls.  We tracked his flight online and made sure it landed safely in Puerto Rico.  Whew!!!  The next couple days were tough for us.  We just wanted to know that he was okay and that he found the right people once he arrived.  We received an email from President Alvarado, the mission President, and he told us that Maveric arrived safely and he has already been placed with a companion and they are busy doing the work.  We feel very blessed knowing that he is okay.  The only way we are able to handle this is through prayers and faith.  We believe full heartedly that he is doing the right thing and we are so very proud of him.  But, it definately is hard to have him gone.  I ask my Heavenly Father every day to watch over and protect him and I believe that those prayers are being heard and answered.  Thank you to all of you for your prayers as well.  It truly is appeciated.   I love you all!!!  Monday is his P Day so I am hoping for an email.  I will make sure to let you all know how he is doing.  Also,  I am hoping to get an address so we can start writing to him:)

Last Email from the MTC

Okay, I know it has been way too long since I updated this.  I have included the last email we received before he left the MTC.

Hey everyone!
How is everything going? It sounds like there has been all kinds of excitement there lately! It kind of sounds like the whole Homecoming thing was a little bit ridiculous! But it sounds like Kylie is doing alright with it which is the most important thing. Good job Ky, I am very proud of you and I love you a ton! I am sorry that your homecoming experience wasn't what you wanted it to be. Other than that though it sounds like everyone is doing alright. Thats good! I am so super excited to talk to all of you this Monday! All I can say is my flights better not be messed up timewise or something cus I really want that whole layover in Dallas! haha.
Things have been going good here. I have really enjoyed being a zone leader and I am going to be kind of sad to leave that behind. I have had so many more opportunities to help out new missionaries and help them get over the shock and the hardness of getting here. It has been really really good for me because I have been able to see how I can actually help a real person to learn and to grow instead of just my teacher who is pretending to be someone else! So I have really enjoyed that and I have been really thankful for that! It has been an incredible opportunity and it was definitely worth losing what little free time I had haha.
I am super pumped to get out to Puerto Rico! I don't really feel like I am 100% ready by any means, I still have days where I really struggle with Spanish, but I am super excited and eager to get there! I am definitely going to miss my district from here at the MTC though. I have really been blessed with a good district and I was able to make some really good friends with some of the other Elders. But I am excited to meet all kinds of new people in Puerto Rico. And I am also way excited to be fully immersed in Spanish. Even though I struggle with it pretty badly sometimes I really do love the language and I am way excited that soon i will be somewhere where I do not have much of a choice to speak in English. It is going to be so awesome! I have learned a lot in my time here at the MTC and I have definitely enjoyed it, but I am also definitely ready to move on to the next chapter of my mission! It is pretty crazy to think that I am already done with a twelfth of my mission. The time has really gone by fast, and from what I hear from everyone else, it will go by even faster when I am in the field. Before I know it I am going to be writing my last email from Puerto Rico haha, that is pretty crazy to think about.
Once again thank you for all of the support that you have all given me. I really do appreciate it all so much. It would have been a lot harder to make it through 9 weeks in the MTC without all of your letters, and the packages, and everyone's thoughts and prayers. I can't tell you all how much it means to me. Thank you all so much!
Well my email time is just about up, which means it is time to go and get my clothes out of the dryer and then head back and start packing most of them up! I can't wait til Monday when I get a chance to talk to you! I am really looking forward to it! Hope that everything goes well and that you are all happy healthy and safe! Love you and miss you!
Elder Searle