Starting today I officially have around 91 weeks left in my mission... not that I´m counting. Every week we have crazy experiences and it really makes the weeks fly by. My companion is a strong proponent of working hard on the mission but having fun at the same time. We call people to repentance, baptize the masses, and then go out to get ice cream. I think it´s a pretty good approach to missionary work.
On Tuesday I got to experience my first true intercambio (exchange). I would be staying with another companion in a different area for 24 hours teaching all of his investigators and staying in his apartment. As per tradition, the greenie gets to go with the Dominican who can´t speak a lick of English. My dream come true. His name was Elder Natera and despite the language barrier, we actually had a really great time. Although it was a little stressful at times, I actually learned a lot since I was forced to speak Spanish all the time and couldn't rely on my companion to translate for me. It was also nice to see a new area of Las Caobas and to learn how another Elder teaches lessons.
Our investigators are doing alright, not as great as last week though. We lost Edwin because his dad wouldn't let him get baptized and at 16 you have to have parental consent. We lost Angela as well because she wouldn't go to church or express any real desire for baptism. Santa told us that she was eager for baptism but refused to marry her husband legally. She ended up divorcing him and is now progressing even more rapidly towards her baptismal date. Joan and Andrelis on the other hand are not legally married and have never even discussed that option. We got them talking about it and we think they are willing to "seal the deal", but the process to get them married legally could take another millennium so I'm not getting my hopes up about baptising them anytime soon. Our non-spanish speaking Haitian friend Peterson is still itching to be baptized and still knows just about as much english as a broomstick. Luckily he picks up the principles well enough and we were able get him a Creole copy of the Book of Mormon to help him understand in his native tongue.
After we taught Peterson and were getting ready to leave, his mom made us sit down again and served us an interesting purple drink. I used to get nervous about the drinks the members served us because of the strange colors, but it´s really just the strange variety of fruit they have here. Everyone here drinks juice like it´s liquid gold and some of the fruits they use I honestly couldn´t name in English. This particular drink tasted peculiar but was bearable...until my companion asked for the ingredients: water, ice, sugar, grape soda...ketchup...and coffee flavoring (she assured us it was just flavoring). Our casual lesson with an investigator had suddenly turned into an episode of Fear Factor. We took deep breaths and planned on staying up all night with stomach cramps. Luckily, we walked away with only a gritty, sour taste in our mouths and contorted expressions of disgust.
Our newly baptized investigator Oscar has been leaving with us almost every other day now and is now planning on serving a mission. This week he graciously offered to give me a haircut, which of course I had to accept (for a poor missionary, anything free is impossible to walk away from). He got out his electric razor and sheared me down in his cramped, cement apartment. At one point he was using a razor to trim my sideburns and said: "Don't worry, I don´t kill people anymore now that I´m baptized." Comforting.
This morning we had a nice little surprise waiting for us in our living room. I woke up at 6:30 as usual and was sitting at my desk trying to wake myself up when I felt a bug on my foot. I looked down and it was a little maggot, which tend appear if we don't take out the trash the night before. I looked under my desk and saw a couple crawling around so I stood up to go get the broom and sweep them out the door like usual. I got out of my chair and saw an ocean of maggots squirming across our living room floor. I knew it was bad when my companion, a seasoned veteran in my eyes, started freaking out. It was bad. We swept them up in hoards and dumped them over the railing for the wild chickens to peck at. It took us around an hour to finally get rid of the majority of them and then we thoroughly mopped the floor. On the bright side, I was finally awake.
For our preparation day today we hiked over to the Ruins. Apparently this was where Christopher Columbus lived way back in the day. It was a very tropical area right next to a lake so we got a lot of great pictures and cooled off in the strong breeze that was blowing over the elevated landscape.
It´s amazing how we have the same schedule every week and yet we have so many crazy things happen. Hopefully next week we can get more investigators and do more insane stuff. Still haven't gotten deathly ill and I still have my arms and legs, so I'd say I'm doing pretty good at this point. Next objective, find a Halloween costume.