Letter 30: "People would just open up to us"

Ataco, El Salvador
September 12, 2011

"...to a whole new level"
This week was pretty laid back. No surprise baptisms!... but then yesterday we had a crazy experience... in the beginning of my mission in the MTC people said that people would just open up to us as missionaries.

So far in the mission that has proved to be true enough, after a few visits, if we ask enough question they open up and share their problems with us.

Yesterday however, we had a lady taking this to a whole new level.

We were teaching a less active who joined the church two years ago, Rafael. We invited his wife, Enna, to join us for five minutes and she did so reluctantly.

We asked her to choose someone to give the opening prayer and she got this horrible look on her face and told us that she knows nothing about our doctrine so we should just do whatever it is that we do and she will listen for the five minutes. (Whoops...)

Anyway, we started and we asked her a question about Christ and how she feels about him and when she responded you could tell that she just wanted to bite our heads off.

We were really trying to listen to the spirit and figure out what was going on with her and felt that we just needed to keep talking about Christ and his mission for us.

I tried again with another question to get her to open up and tell us the real problem... I don't remember the question, but I do remember that she started talking... and didn't stop...

I wont go into the details of her problem but seriously, for about 45 minutes... she went on and on!

I have never had a stranger talk to me about these things so personal!!! And she said at least three times during her rant that she has no idea why she is telling us stuff that her kids don't even know.

And that maybe God did sent us to help her... even though she blames most of the problem on the Church.... we'll see what happens, but it truly was an experience to remember. Please pray for her.

Temples (trivia)
Other than that, everything is pretty calm.

I hope everyone is doing well. remember, God Loves you, I love you, what else really matters?

...OH! cool bit of news...the temple dedication was the 21 of August! (cool tidbit, the Portland Oregon temple was dedicated the 20 of August 1989!) just in time for my Birthday week! :) and Pres. Eyring and Elder Christopherson had a reunion with the missionaries on the 19th!!! whoooooooo! Super exciting!

anyway, that is all...love you!

Letter 29: "Crazy... but great"

Ataco, El Salvador
September 5, 2011

"The rules of writing"
I really just realized I have eight months in the mission today!!!!!

I in the beginning....our president has changed... or rather clarified... the rules of writing. Our letters to him have become too short and we write too long...

So now to be completely obedient (because if I'm not how can I expect my investigators to be?) My letters are going to be much much shorter and/or I'm not going to write very many personal letters... we'll see how it goes :)

City of Ataco
I haven't written about Ataco yet, have I? Anyway, I got transferred to Ataco, Ahuachapan....

It is the COMPLETE opposite of Sensunapan. It is a small tourist town, it's cold, and it rains a lot... sound familiar? (Oregon people!)

The only difference is that they speak Spanish here! On the weekends it is packed with tourists (busloads of north americans) and is dead the rest of the week...

It is full of tiny touristy shops and there is no fast food nor grocery stores... I constantly have a stuffy nose and I am wet. ...I feel so at home here it's not even funny...

I love the ward. it's smaller than Sensunapan, 100 or so active members, of whom I still don't know all of them. But it's great.

The buildings are beautiful!!! And the people...well the people are Salvadoranian...which means they are nice... all of them are really nice....

Although something that is really nice is that about half the people that aren't interested wont let us in the door...

It makes it a lot easier to find new positive investigators....

"Speaking about investigators
This week was crazy...awesome but crazy!!!

If you look in our planners you will find that we did not plan on having any baptisms this week... but we ended up having two!!!! one was Saul.

Saul: He is 11 and last month his entire family was baptized minus him, because he didn't want to... he just didn't feel the desire.

But then he went to the temple and without any prompting from us told us that now he was going to get baptized... we set it for the second of August, but another kid was getting baptized on Saturday from a different ward,we invited him to as well, and he said yes!...

Then there was Lillian.

Her kid, Elias was baptized last month, she had wanted to before, but later decided that she wasn't ready.

We've been teaching her a lot and you can really feel the spirit in the lessons, so Saturday we brought our district leader, Elder Matamoros, and he did a baptismal interview, talked with her for a while.

And she decided to do it!!! The next day! It was crazy! But awesome! Lillian was so happy, and especially Elias.

Her husband is hard hearted and stiff necked, but we have faith he'll come around. We also found a lot of really positive people this week... like The Valasquez family!

The Valasquez family: The Hermanas from almost a year ago taught the husband, Mauricio, but the wife, Sonia wasn't interested. Now she is the one who found us!

She went to the temple with a friend and felt good, so now she is open to hearing our doctrine... please pray for them..and for us so that we know how to teach them!

All in all, everything is great. Crazy...but great.

The other night after the baptism it started raining so hard the street was converted into a river!

I have a video!!!... Anyway. I think thats all I got for this week... I love you all and hope you have a great week!!!!!!!!

Letter 28: "I thought I saw..."

Ataco, El Salvador
August 22, 2011

A friend
On Saturday we were walking and I saw this guy getting on a scooter and he looked exactly like a friend of mine... but chubbier... it was the weirdest feeling!!!! Because I thought it was him for over a minute! And then I realized that my friend was taller than me...and this guy was not.That was the only thing that convinced me it wasn't my friend.
I can't imagine the world just reading what my brain and fingers vomit out about the mission.

Spanish (More or less)
Other cool thing! I completely understand Spanish sentences...alright, I know I've been out 7 months and it's normal that I can understand and speak (mas o menos) Spanish...but I still am really proud of myself when I can understand.

I am deathly afraid that when I go home I'm going to lose the ability to do so... and I know my Spanish still isn't as good as it should be... in fact you would not be impressed... and you would machete me for not studying like I should be...

Live your life, don't waste it and don't forget what is most important....pray and read your scriptures every day!

"The San Salvador - El Salvador Temple Dedicated"

22 August 2011
San Salvador, El Salvador

"The fourth..."

The San Salvador El Salvador Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) was dedicated Sunday by President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the Church’s First Presidency. This is the Church’s fourth temple in Central America and 135th operating temple worldwide.

Prior to the dedication, President Eyring sealed the temple cornerstone, a tradition marking the end of construction and the beginning of the sacred work inside the temple.

May 1949 marked the beginning of the Church’s presence in El Salvador, when the first missionaries were sent there to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ among the people of Santa Ana in the western region of the country.

In 1952 Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a senior Church leader and later the worldwide leader of the Church, visited El Salvador and offered a prayer of peace and prosperity upon the nation. By 1986 Church membership had grown to more than 15,000. Today there are more than 110,000 Latter-day Saints in more than 161 congregations throughout El Salvador.

Also attending the cornerstone and dedicatory services were Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elders William R. Walker, Enrique R. Falabella, James B. Martino and Carlos H. Amado of the Seventy; and Sister Silvia H. Allred, first counselor in the Relief Society presidency and El Salvador native.

Sixteen thousand people attended two cultural celebrations Saturday that retold the rich cultural history of the area through song and dance.

Visitors walk grounds of the San Salvador El Salvador Temple after taking a tour during the open house June 28-July 23. More than 165,000 toured the temple interior and the grounds.

Prior to this weekend’s events, more than 162,000 people from many faiths were given a guided tour of the temple during a two-week open house.

Ground was broken for the San Salvador El Salvador Temple 20 September 2008. Before this temple’s completion, Latter-day Saints in El Salvador traveled to Arizona to attend a temple — an eight-day journey that required early El Salvadorian Latter-day Saints to make great sacrifices, often selling belongings and even homes to cover the travel costs.

Images of the San Salvador - El Salvador Temple