Sounds like you both had an incredible trip! I'm not gonna lie, I'm a little bit jealous. There is no other vacation better than a cruise, and way cool that you got to see some of the soon to be famous spots from the soon to be famous story, Sailing! Now I want to see more pictures! Also, thank you for updating me on the book. It really is crazy to think that it's all actually happening. Even with the news, it's still only the beginning of things. Who knows what will happen next? I continue to pray for you (Mom and Dad) and the book's success. To answer Dad's request for more information about Elder Ramirez, here goes:
Elder Ramirez is actually quite young, only 18 years old! In many Latin and South American countries, missionaries can go out as young as 18. His dad is an I can't remember, but he seems to do quite well, because based on the pictures I've seen, they're a very well off family, especially compared to the high poverty level of Honduras. He has his two parents (who both served missions I think, his dad for the least in Honduras) and a younger sister. After the mission (you're going to like this, Dad), he wants to study odontología and be a dentist! He has a lot of extended family in the United States, especially Texas, so he's toured all around the States, including Texas, New York, Orlando, and others. His dad also speaks English so that helps. Elder Ramirez himself actually speaks quite a bit of English as well, having studied for six years in relatively high profile bilingual school in Honduras. We are actually able to hold full conversations in English and he understands most everything. Pretty impressive. Also helpful when I can't think of a word and he helps me out in lessons. (To answer your question Dad, yeah his accent is a definitely different and everybody asks him where he's from, because it stands out. Compared to the chilenos, he has better pronunciation. Well, everybody does compared to the chilenos. But sometimes he uses unfamiliar Honduranian words and frases that catch me off guard). After the mission, he wants to study and play soccer for BYU, find a nice gringo girl, get married, and live in the states.
So that's about it on the normal life side. I think I listed a pretty good bit of his spiritual qualities in my last email.
I have to admit, I didn't think it would happen Elder Salas and I having had such a peaceful companionship, but Elder Ramirez has bugged me a bit. I don't think it's him so much as it is me being his trainer and having to answer a million questions and trying to strike a balance between experience and untamed fire. I have to say, I have a whole new appreciacion for the pacience Elder Salas must have had with me, because...it's tough. But I can use it to either do nothing and suffer, or learn and be happy. So I'm going to do the second. And this isn't to say that Elder Ramirez is a "difficult" companion or anything. Every good I said about him still stands. It's just a new experience for me, and one that every missionary goes through I know.
Aside from small differences between us (we've never fought or anything. the differences are small so I really shouldn't complain), we've had a pretty tough week this week. I'm still learning how to manage time well and plan our days for the maximum efficiency. (Another thing that Elder Salas did well that I have a new apreciacion for). Organizing your time and people as a missionary is hard, even with the planner! Also, we lost 3 baptismal dates with some of our investigators, one of which finally after 2 months of lessons for the first time admited to not believing in almost anything, including the Book of Mormon and José Smith and still thinks that we worship him. But she has informed us of the powerful emotions that she feels when we visit with her and when she prays, so we were at least able to help her realize that the Spirit is indeed trying to work with her. We're going to keep working hard with everyone, keep fasting and praying and having patience, and I know sooner or later they'll be ready for baptism.
On the good side of things, Aracely and Leo are still more than prepared. It really is incredible. They're getting MARRIED this tuesday and BAPTIZED this saturday! We were going to be witnesses for their wedding, but we don't have our Chilean carnets yet (the chilean ID), but we're still going to be present for it and everything. Also, they've asked Elder Salas to baptize them so he'll be coming to visit Carahue this weekend, and I'm super super excited for that. I didn't realize how awesome Elder Salas was until after he left. It always seems to work like that. Also, after their baptism, the branch is going to throw a huge party for them to celebrate their marriage and first covenant with the Lord. It's going to be incredible. And the same lady from the stake that decorated the Christmas program we did is going to decorate for it! I want to work super hard this week so we can bask in the beauty of what's going to be this Saturday afternoon.
Well, it's time to go. One of these days I'm going to try to write to everyone individually like I used to. But as always, thank you everyone for writing me. Your letters are always cherised by me and make me very happy. Be excellent to each other, and party on dudes!