Letter 9: "Ups and Downs"

Sonsonate, El Salvador
February 17, 2011

I wonder if I'm ever going to get used to the ups and downs of missionary work! The highs are so high and the lows get pretty low.

Last Sunday we had 7 investigators and church. This week we had 2. Luis's baptismal date got pushed back to this Saturday.

And Marlene and Kevin refused to see us. We don't exactly know what happened. At first is was amazing, she loved church and agreed with all the values. Then, two days ago, we went to see them and her mom said they were busy, we asked if we could help or come back later and she just said...no. No excuses even, just said no.

We don't know what happened, but we are hoping to find out this week. and then there is yesterday!

So I had my first baptism!!!! I'd send pictures, but i don't have any! This week we set the baptism for Mario and Ricardo on Sunday at 2 pm...

They came to sacrament meeting and right after church we went to find them, but we couldn't.

So we visited a few others and at 1:30 pm we went to their house... They weren't there. We had no idea where they could have gone. We went to the church. Not there. We sent a few of their friends to go find them, we finally left the chapel at 3:30 pm... They hadn't come.

We went by their house later, but still there was no one. So we went about the rest of the day.

Slightly discouraged... at 8 we went to a members house where we were informed that Ricardo had been baptized!?!?!

Apparently he showed up at the chapel at 5 and the bishop said that he would come back at 7 if he wanted to be baptized. So he did. Nobody told us! And the only people there were the bishop and two witnesses.

Hna. Bermudez was MAD! but I feel pretty peaceful about it. I think its sad that nobody was there to support him, but I'm glad he's baptized.

Mario is getting baptized on Saturday and we are making Ricardo dress up in white too so we can take pictures! :)

And here it is:

(First baptism on my mission)

This week we are going to focus on service. On Thursday we are going to spend the whole day finding people to serve and hopefully teach! I'll tell you how it goes :) Please keep us in your prayers! And our investigators, especially Luis and Mario!

About letters
On a side note...about letters. Sorry. Pouch only works and certain way and I'm not exactly sure what that way is...my address is (the one that works every time) is:

Hermana Cassandra Pappas
MisiĆ³n El Salvador San Salvador Oeste/Belice
Boulevard del Hipodromo 537
Colonia San Benito
Apartado Postal 367
San Salvador, El Salvador, C.A.
I love you. God loves you. what else really matters?

Letter 8: "Dirt, sweat, tears, trials, miracles"

Sonsonate, El Salvador
February 17, 2011

"Work, work, work"
Another week [has passed]! Can you believe it?, I've been here two weeks! It's slightly crazy and full of dirt, sweat, tears, trials, miracles...in essence, life. It feels like I've been here forever, and at the same time [it feels as if time] has flown by.

Everyday is work, work, work. I now understand how this could be the hardest thing I have ever done. I am more and more humble every day because my weaknesses are a plenty.

I know that God gave me everything I wanted in a mission, different culture, different language, warm weather (Hot! actually), the people are friendly...what I don't know is why the heck he thought I could actually do this..

I mean I will do this, I am doing this, but I have no idea what he sees that makes him think I can excell! haha!

Not gonna lie, this whole language thing is proving to be harder than I thought it'd be. Right now I just need patience and faith. A lot of both... fast! ( If you pray for anything please pray for that!)

Life with the investigators is great, hard, but great! Luis has a baptisimal date! Its for the 20th, but I don't think it will happen until the 27th... Hna. Bermudez says that the first date almost always falls through... I guess we'll see!

I think it's funny. The only person in my area (I'm pretty sure) that we could teach in English. and we just happen to find him. I definately don't think this had anything to do with us being good contacters!

Cool Mission Stories

Marlene & Kevin: Last week we contacted a woman named Marlene and her 8 year old son named kevin. They are amazing! Kevin always wants to find and read the scriptures and Marlene is the most accepting person I have ever seen.

Usually people freak out a little bit when we introduce the Book of Mormon, but she was just like "Oh, okay, this is 'scripture,' let me pray about it!" Then when she came to church on Sunday, the gospel principles lesson was about all 'The volumes of scripture' and at the end she was like, "Where can I get the book that has them all?" (The triple!)...

Um...okay! It's crazy!

I keep finding myself thinking that she has already been baptized and is just playing with us! We hope to get a baptismal date tonight! Yay!

I miss everyone so much!
I love the mission and if there is anything I don't love I know I'll come to love it in a few months! like the fact that I hardly understand anything anyone is saying!

Bah, I'll get over it. Please pray of patience on my behalf! I wish I could hug you all! but I'm a missonary :)

Be safe. Be happy. God loves you, I love you...what more do you need?(!)

until next week, Hna. Pappas

Letter 7: "I Love El Salvador!"

Sonsonate, El Salvador
February 10, 2011

1st Area
My assigned area is Sensunapan in the Sonsonate stake. We have a really small area and walk everywhere...which after nine weeks of sitting in a desk, I love it!

1st Companion
I love (LOVE!) my companion is Hermana Bermudez. She is actually from El Salvador! Her mission call would be like me getting a call to the Eugene mission! Pero she loves it!

(Hermana Bermudez is a hard worker, loves the people, loves the Book of Mormon, and doesn't speak two words of English!...)

1st day
It's fun...really! Its flipping hot! I never knew you could have layers of sweat...but you can, layers upon layers...you wipe one layer off and there are ten more...it's bad!

I didn't have OFF for the first few days so my legs are covered in mosquito bites (don´t be surprised if I get Dengue fever (sp?) Un chiste! (Don´t tell my president that I told you that :).

There are bugs everywhere! It is a good thing I'm not a germaphobe cause I would never be able to do, or eat, or go anywhere... or anything!

I love it here!

Its awesome! don't worry about me, I have everything I need, including OFF (Bug's Repellent) and I have an hour and a half to write now! YAY! pretty much I have the coolest mission ever. I even have cool mission stories!

Cool mission stories
Story 1
Saul: When I came to the area we didn't have any progressing investigators but now we have a couple and one of them is Saul, hes pretty much the most accepting guy ever.

He agrees with everything we tell him and he is really powerful. We have only been teaching a week (and by we I mean Hna Bermudez cause I can hardly understand a word he says.) but he is on the road to finding an answer! Yay!

Story 2
Ricardo: This one is actually pretty cool...this guy we tracked into. He is a hard one! No lesson stays on the right track for long because he wants his questions answered.

If he ever does accept the Gospel he is going to be really strong! But it's just a matter of him look for and receiving an answer.

During our second lesson with him he and Hna Bermudez were arguing over some really small and insignificant part about prophets and they were getting deeper and deeper into it and miraculously I was able to follow along...

I knew that there was no way we were teaching him anything if we didn't just stop so I said the most fervent and honest prayer I have ever said and then I took action.

I made everyone stop talking and told them to listen to me. Then I told him exactly our purpose and outlined the first lesson...IN SPANISH!!!!!

It was a miracle!

I mean it wasn't perfect Spanish but I got the point across! It was the coolest thing that ever happened to me!

Hna. Bermudez couldn't belive it either! I don't know if he felt the spirit, but I sure did!

Story 3
Luis: While we were tracking we found someone who spoke English...Luis. Not only does he speak English, but he has spent the last forty years living in California.

His kids are in the States, his wife died two years ago, he made some bad decisions which got him kicked out of the country, and now he is back in El Salvador for the last five months.

Then his mom died only a couple months ago...basically he is the most humble he has ever been.

Spanish is his first language but he has been Speaking English so long he feels at home in it. So when we knocked on his door he was so inviting!

It was amazing. I felt slightly bad because Hna B. couldn't understand anything. I tried to keep the lesson in Spanish, but he only responded in English. So by the end I was speaking English too... it was the first time since I've been here that I felt needed! Hna B. didn't like it at all, but I loved it.

I feel so cheesy cause I love some of these people, like... really love them, even though I can only understand 3/4 of what they say and more likely than not they wont get baptized.

But I really feel love for them! Its crazy! Loco I say! I hope everything is well and everyone is well...for those of you who haven't, write me! For those of you who have, thank you! ( and keep it up!)

I love you all...

-Hna Pappas.

"My Mission President"

February 05, 2011
San Salvador, El Salvador

El Salvador San Salvador West/Belize's Mission President

(Emna P. and Alejandro Lopez Mota)

Alejandro Lopez, 44, El Salvador San Salvador West/Belize Mission; San Cristobal Ward, Guatemala City Guatemala Mariscal Stake; counselor in the Guatemala Guatemala City Central Mission presidency; former counselor in a stake presidency, bishop, branch president, mission secretary and missionary in the Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission. Electrical engineer, engineer in Guatemala City Guatemala Temple. Born in Santa Cruz de El Quiche, Guatemala, to Enrique Omar Lopez Gil and Alicia Mota Villegas. Married Emna Patricia Medina Calderon, four children.

A ward Primary Activity Day leader, Sister Lopez is a former stake Primary president, ward Young Women camp director, welfare missionary in the Guatemala Quetzaltenango Mission, seminary teacher and member of the area and mission Primary training committee. Born in Guatemala to Ricardo Medina and Hilda Alicia Calderon Padilla.

(This is me with my Mission President, President Alejandro Lopez Mota, and his wife, Hermana Emna P. Lopez Mota)