haha...i have just entered not only what seems like a different mission, but a completely different world! this last week has been pretty crazy, the biggest change i have had in the last year or so.
Just like... riding a bike
February 13th 2012
okay, today is a big email day. because ive got big news!!!! changes again! i cant believe it. they say your last six months fly by, but i didnt really believe it entirely....but its true...i have not felt the last two transfers at all! the days are flying by and they are about to fly by faster because
IM GOING TO BELIZE!!!!!!!!!!!!
yup. its hard to believe but its true. :)
i dont have much else to say, this last change was probably one of the most difficult changes in the most difficult areas, but it really was a blessing because i have grown the most. my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is stronger than every and i feel my relationship with my Father in Heaven growing every day. i have learned to work with people that are very different than me and i am coming to accept the challenges of life without getting discouraged (aka no baptisms). every experience in the mission is for our benefit whether its success or ...nonsuccess...ive seen miracles in the challenges. it really just comes down to trusting that God knows best and it will all work out for our benefit. it really has been a blessing and now i am getting exactly what ive asked president for for the last three transfers!!! haha! now well see if i really wanted it :) i love you all and i hope everything is going well. write me!
January 30th 2012
why is my family so big?! i want to write you all every week...but time just doesnt cut it...i love each of you so much its impossible to write it out in words in an email.. its much bigger than 12pt font. and even though the majority of you dont write me often, or dont send cards, you really need to quit feeling guilty about it. because i dont feel bad. i know you love me. in every moment of my lifeyou have been there to support me. i feel the support without paper and ink. i feel it over thousands of miles and without telephone lines. even without photos or a computer. i feel your prayers in every moment that i have been here. and i thank you for them. i love each one of you so much. please quit telling me how much you suck. and how guilty you feel. i hope i am not saying anything to make you feel guilty and if i am im sorry, because i dont mean it. i love love love love love love love you,. and when the time comes you can all show me how much you love me in person....cause time is running out...FAST
January 23rd 2012
sorry! its been awhile since ive sent one of these and this ones not going to be very long...
this last week Elder L Whitney Clayton and Elder Nelson came to El Salvador. we had the oportunity to have a missionary meeting with Elder and Hermana Clayton. it. was.awesome! we got to meet witht he two missions and i got to see Hermana Wooten and Hermana Unger...it was definately a highlight. but the meeting was awesome. i know that ive heard general authorities speak before. but i have never learned so much, or been so interested in what they have to say since the mission. really. its like my entire being hangs on every word they speak! yesterday he came again to our stake conference. and President Cordon as well. it was a spiritual feast! we had an investigator come and after the conference talked with president Cordon for about 20 minutes...we still dont know what they talked about, but we are pretty sure it helped him a lot in his progression to conversion. speaking of Jairo. i have to tell you about him. about two months ago Hermanas Meza and Dalton taught him and he was impossible, one of those people who are too intelligent for their own good who just wanted to fight about prophets. they couldnt even teach one third of a lesson. then he went to church with his aunt last sunday and everything changed. he listens to us. he wants to know. when he prays, he talks and asks God. he reads the Book of Mormon. haha. the second time we taught him he told us he wasnt able to read much...just the introduction, the testimonies of the three, the eight, and of joseph smith, and first nephi until chapter 5...we just left him the introduction to read! his questions are questions of the soul! it is one of the most amazing experiences that i have had here. we are also teaching a girl named ingrid. our bishop gave her a book of mormon a while ago and she has read it all. and prayed...and has a testimony that its true! we are working with her to get her to church...other than that. not much is going on. i love my area, panamericano, chalchuapa, and i love my companion, hermana Meza...from honduras. all is welll...god is awake. i love you
January 2nd 2012
its probably a good thing i didnt have many emails in my box today (EN: Translation: Why did no one write me this week?) because i am writing all about the last two weeks...the last crazy two weeks!!!!! i dont really know where to begin entonces this letter will probably be a little scattered. sorry about that...
so here in El Salvador they dont really celebrate Christmas. i mean few people put up nativity scenes and even less people talk about the birth of Christ. however it is a time of party! Ataco is a party town, and if i werent in the mission i think it would be pretty much the coolest part of El Salvador. however i am on my mission and even though i still think its one of the coolest parts of ElSalvador, it is HARD to teach people when all anyone does this time of year in Ataco is work, and drink. i think the cantidad (not sure if this is a word in english or spanish, but im going to leave it) of drunks in the street doubles, or perhaps triples, in the month of December...and magically they all know us and want to talk to us...all the time. we cant walk down the street without someone yelling 'Elderes! Élderes! venga! necesito su ayuda!!!! quiero cambiar mi vida!' or 'Dios le Bendiga Angeles de Dios!' or 'Voy a ir a la iglesia este Domingo!!! 7am!' its pretty amusing.... one actually followed us for a while trying to give us hugs.....hermana Bonilla was a little scared...I turned around and told him he had to quit drinking and go to Church...he stopped following us.
anyway, back to the point, christmas adventures. the celebrating that they do do here for Christmas takes place on the 24th of Dec. they all have a big family dinner and drink and make merry, about 5 or 6 families invited us to dinner, but we could only accept the invitation to go to three...but im getting ahead of myself...here, we'll number the adventures...
1. a 'Dog Story'
at about 3 in the afternoon we were visiting a less active member and as we were leaving, as in walking out of the gate, out of nowhere their dog bit Hermana Bonilla!!!! she yelped and jumped and the dog let go. at first she acted like it was nothing but as we were walking away i could see tears in her eyes, we rushed as fast as we could (we were stopped by a drunk man promising to change his life and go to church the next sunday) to the house of Hna Sonia, our recent convert nurse. we looked at the bite and it didnt look too bad, the bite didnt draw blood, but we were still pretty nervous. the Ataco Health Center was closed until Monday, so we were only able to clean it, when we went in on Monday the nurses were all freaking out about the bite and told us we needed to go get all the information about the dog, especially if it was vaccinated or not. when we went the owner told us that this dog was famous at the Health center because it always bites people! and that it still wasnt vaccinated!!!! there really isnt a crazy end to this story because after a week of watching the dog its behavior hasnt changed, which means it doesnt have rabies and my companion isnt foaming at the mouth, so i think and hope all is good...plus we got a good story and awesome pictures!
the people here in El Salvador eat...a lot. they have huge portions and if you dont eat the huge portions they make fun of you and talk about how you never eat anything. so like i said earlier we had a lot of dinner invites for Christmas Eve. and the Christmas dinner really is delicious. everyone eats different versions of the same thing. they are called Panes Rellenos! its french bread rolls filled with this cabbage salad mixture, cucumber, tomato, chicken, radish, and then on top they pour this delicious sauce that i still dont know what it is called. the first house was Monica Figueroa and her family. this family is going to get baptized! teaching them reminds me alot of teaching the familia Velasquesz. they are wonderful and a definately one of the families that if you dont eat everything on the plate it means you hated the meal! but they were first so it was all good :) next we ran over to Alexander, a recent convert, he gave us three panes rellenos each and then when we finished them gave us another. we felt like we were about to die! and we could hardly walk away from the house. when we got to the velasques family we told them that we couldnt eat another bite of anything for the rest of our lives, so they made panes rellenos for us to take home!!! haha...i was an adventure. oh! and then we passed by the Figueroa home to say goodnight because they told us to pass by before we went home...and they gave us cake!...thankfully they had put it on a plate to take home. ! pretty much i love ataco!
when we got home on the 24th, full to the brim with delicious food. Hna Bonilla went in the room to change and all of the sudden i hear 'AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!' , a really long and high pitched scream that only Hermana Bonilla can give...then she runs out and says 'hermana pappas! hermana pappas! there is a rat in my clothes!!!!!' a few days earlier when we got home there was a mouse in the house. but when we opened the door it ran away outside. Hna bonilla had been a little paranoid and tended to squeal when she thought she saw a rat. which happened often...so i didnt really believe she had seen a rat, but because i am a loving companion is started sifting through he clothes. im sure you can imagine after 6 months of living in this house my things arent really perfectly organized, and niether were hers, but i did my best to find the 'rat' after moving all of her clothes out of the room, shaking each item, and 15 minutes of looking i gave up, thinking she was crazy. after a few minutes of her hitting random items in the room with a broom handle she heard a noise coming from the fan box...she called me and stood on a chair while i moved all the items away from to box and i started hitting the box with the broom handle...after a few hits we heard a scuttling noise, i hit it a couple more times and this HUGE rat ran out!!!!!!! we started screaming and laughing. it ran out the back door into the sewer grate....we started laughing and then all of the sudden ran out of the sewer and into our bathroom!!!!! climbed up the wall and onto the roof and we havent seen it since....!!!...the best part.....i got it all on camera!
so you all know that Marlon got baptized about 3 weeks ago. it was beautiful. it was perfect. and he is on fire. he wants to go on a mission so badly and is visiting with us and going to get preach my gospel. his girlfriend wasnt happy about his decision to go on a mission, even though shes a member, and he started reading scriptures to her aobut the importance of it! and now she is okay with it. on Christmas Jose was baptized...it was a locura! because he didnt come to church in the morning and one of the members toldus that she saw him drunk on the 24th, like i said before the word of wisdom is THE sin of Ataco, so were a little worried, but we found him, he didnt drink, and he was baptized. he too is going to go on a mission. oh! and the picture....remember Alexis? from Sensunapan? when i saw the baptisimal pictures of Jose, i was reminded of Alexis...can you tell me why?
Monica was not baptized this week. her parents Miraculously gave her permission, but she decided to wait until this month...which really was the best decision because it gives her and her family a little more time to prepare. both of us and her felt like the 22nd is a good day. but she is still on fire! and her family is opening up, not only did they feed us on Christmas, but on New Years too (fried fish! have you ever eaten just a fish...fried! with head, tail, and everything! its delicious!) and when the family is feeding you...their hearts are definately opening up!
anyway, i think thats it for time.i am a little sad today. we recieved changes yesterday, and i am getting transfered...and not to Belize. niether i nor hna bonilla could sleep last night. we are SO sad! i dont want to leave. i love my area, i love my companion. she is pretty much the best! not just a companion but a friend. we work well together and we are finding people...even president told our zone leader that he likes our companionship...why change a great thing? so what if i have 6 months in the area? whats one more? anyway. not my will....its all good! iknow i cant see the big picture...but yeah....all is well. we are in 2012! i just completed my first entire year of being out of the states, not speaking english. waking up at 630 or earlier (who thought that could have ever happened!) life is good. i love you. God loves you. Happy new year...
p.s. what do we talk about in church the entire month of December? CHRISTMAS!!!!! what do we do in church when christmas lands on a sunday...TALK ABOUT THE BIRTH OF CHRIST!!!!...what did they talk about here...fasting and tithing....there ARE some traditions that i miss :)
December 26th 2011
i have so filpping much to write and NO TIME!!!! i just wanted to wish everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS...ayer! and say i love you and i PROMISE i will send a llllloooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnngggggggg letter telling about all my christmas adventures! and more from new years....important things you should know...jose DID get baptized yesterday. and it was AMAZING!!!! carlos is not getting baptized. he fell into tempation and cant get out of it. we are still working on it. but we'll see...pray for Monica Figueroa, with a miracle her parents will give her permission to be baptized this week! miracles happen. this i know! i love you all and will talk to you next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
December 19th 2011
Me in a tree!
us in the back of a pickup
me teaching a viajita
me with little kids in Ataco!
BAPTISM DE MARLON!!!!
me with hna bonilla, we did a dance for the mission talent show
December 12th 2011
these last two weeks have been full of miracles....i cant believe i have beeen blessed to see and experience the things i am seeing and experiencing...i hope i will be able to remember it all...
Carlos- did i write about him? about two weeks ago Carlos found us in the street, he was drunk and started following us. there are a lot of drunks in Ataco and the majority are harmless...about three weeks ago one started running after us trying to hug us. we never feell in danger, but its always good to be careful. anyway,I half paused as my companion kept walking away, usually we tell the drunk me following us that they need to stop drinking and go to church on sunday, they usually reply, OKAY! and then go their way. i dont know how it happened, but i started having a conversation with Carlos. we set up an appointment for the next day and i told him if we came he couldnt drink. he told us the bottle in his pocket is his last one. we went late that day to try to find his house but couldnt find it. and imnot sure if we were really planning on going to his house the next day, but a story i read in the liahona kept coming to my mind about these one missionaries who did practically the same thing i did, didnt go to his house and then three weeks later found out the guy had actually quit drinking and was waiting for them...so the next day we went. he opened the door..clean shaven, with clean clothes and waiting for us. his mom came to listen, we explained a little bit more about the word of wisdom and he said that he is done drinking and doing drugs and wants to be a member of our church, no other. (!!!) since that day he has gone to EVERY meeting in the church, taken part in a service project of the quorum of Elders and is reading the book of Mormon every day. his mom cries every time he talks about how much he wants to change...and he has a baptisimal date for next Sunday....this is the biggest miracle i have ever seen...imagine if we had just treat him like nothing or didnt go to find him.
Jose- for months we have been hearing his name, a reference of one of the members that always says he will be interested, but never invite him to have a lesson. last sunday we were walking with this member and we passed a group of guys, as we were walking away he tells us that his friend was in that group...we called him over and set an appointment to talk with him. when we had the lesson he told us that it is time for him to join a church and he wants to join ours. (!!!) he came to church on sunday and we invited him to be baptized on the 25th...its really cool metaphorically speaking because his birthday is the 24th, so he'll celebrate his birthday on saturaday and he'll give his present to Christ on Christmas...we still have a long way to go before we realize this amazing metaphor, but we could do witha few of your prayers in the process, thanks!
other than that this last week has been filled with spiritually uplifting experiences, we are in the middle of 4 missionary training meetings aimed at helping us better our teaching. and its working. we are learning to follow the spirit and ask question and teach people, not just lessons. as we are applying these principles to our teaching we are finding a lot more success! its pretty amazing
anyway, i love you. God loves you. and not much else really matters!
November 28th 2011
One Year Gone!
in three days i will complete ONE YEAR IN THE MISSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i cant believe it. part of me feels like ive been out only a short while, the other part of me feels like ive been out an eternity. time doesnt work out here like it works in the real world...in fact i have somewhat complete forgotten the real world...i try to think of what i did before the mission and my mind draws a blank... I DIDNT DO ANYTHING!!!!!!
What Has Changed?
the mission makes a person feel so productive...we get up at 630 (at the latest, we have started getting up at 6 to go for a run or play basketball...) ...i remember when it was IMPOSSIBLE for me to get up before 10....30....(EN:Or noon-ish)we study at least two hours, sometimes more if we get dressed really fast....ive learned to take showers that are SHORTER than 5 minutes (i know, i know...A MIRACLE!!!)(EN: No, really, it is!), it could be because the water if FREEZING cold. we work all day, visiting people and trying our best to help people, and just be their friends. i am in bed by 1030 (not at 3am!) and i am asleep by 1045...
What makes me nervous...
i am slightly nervous (only slightly right now because i still have 6.5 months!) that when i return home i will slip right back into who i was. i realize that it wouldnt be the worst thing in the world, because i wansnt a horrible person. but to be so productive now and to not do anthing afterward scares the heck out of me! progress...that is the key. siempre necesitamos progression!
Line upon line
i have changed so much in the last year. day by day you dont feel the change...but week by week and month by month the little details change everything, until the person i am, is completely different from the person i was. and the person i will be is much better than the person i am...at least i hope so!
i love you all. i miss you all. i hope your thanksgiving was as wonderful as mine! im thankful for you!!!!
Philippians chapter 1 verse 3
and just for fun, chapter 3 verse 2
November 21st 2011
(Editorial Note: This is one of my favorite letters from Casey due to the blatant evidence of her loss of the English language. It makes me laugh! My sister has turned her life over to the Lord! I love the evidence of it in her language.)
Slipping through my fingers...
i really cant believe it, ANOTHER transfer is OVER!!!!!....my mission is quickly slipping through my fingers and i have no control over it!!!!!!! i guess i can just live it up and have all the awesome experiences that i can. this transfer i am.... ... ... ... ...STAYING IN ATACO!!!!!! yes that is right! i am not having transfers! Hna bonilla and i are going to continue giving war...is that a phrase in english?... Marlon has another date, its for this next sunday
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DANITA!!!! i am going to give you a baptism!...actually we dont know for sure because his girlfriend cant be there this next sunday so its either this sunday or the 14th of December!....we are still working like crazies ..although we went to the temple on friday...oh my gosh...i went to the temple a bunch of times before the mission and in the begining, but i never felt what i felt in this temple....it feels like home....i wouldnt mind living in the temple. and the san salvador temple is flipping amazing! it is so so so beautiful and there is a spirit that is indescribable... (word?) ...then today we had a baleadas party, baleadas are the food tipico in Honduras. today is the LAST pday of Hna Bermudez :( she is going home!!!!!!! so we got together with another zone to make baleadas...its not that i dont like my zone, but we get along much better with the elders and sisters of the other zone, so we just spend our pdays with them :) it was pretty much awesome. other than that nothing much is happening. i am aaaaallllll goood.
i love you all!
November 14th 2011
I am talking about me, dang it!
everyone is telling me that they want to hear about me and dont really know how im doing...but i feel like i am writing about me.
my experiences...i mean, how would YOU be if you were walking up a hill and somebody just asked you if they could be baptized?! yeah, there are hard days...or hard weeks, when people only just want to teach you what they know...or test your knowledge about the scriptures...or just invite you in because they dont want to be rude. and there are people that fight with you. and people that no matter how clearly you say 'repent and be baptized because you are going to el infierno if you dont' just cant understand.
i think i am losing all tact
i have to try not to offend people when they ask if what im really saying is that their church doesnt help them return to the presence of God. because am now trying to just make people understand...but they dont!!!! and its not my spanish that's the problem!!!!!!!!.
i am learning to be pretty darn blunt, which may or may not be a good thing :) but sometimes its fun...haha! the other day we were teaching a guy who likes to say he talks clearly (but he really just talks in circles about abstract ideas)....about the third or fourth time he repeated 'hna pappas, you know that i like to speak things clearly' i stopped him and told him 'no, you dont like to speak clearly, you like to speak very unclearly in circles!' his wife started to laugh hysterically and clap...BECAUSE SHE KNOWS ITS TRUE!!!!!!!!!
.... yeah, there are hard times...
but its like what president says, very rarely we remember the pain. we forget pain quite easily. and really the only pain comes from wanting everyone to accept and live the gospel...they dont know what they're losing, but we do...and so it hurts
...but i've been thinking about the scripture in Corithians 15 40-41...it says that there is one glory of the sun. one glory of the moon...but there are many many stars in the sky. its sad, but God knows that the Majority of his kids arent going to make it to the celestial (or even the terestrial (no idea how to spell that)) kingdom. and its sad...i just hope that me...and my family make it there.
i just want everyone to know that i love the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!! ITS TRUE!!! i love the plan of salvation, because there really isa purpose to us being here on earth! we DID exist before we got here...we WILL exist after this life...and there is a plan. its important to realize that this life really is small...REALLY small...its so short but what we do here has eternal significance
...i really dont know what i believed before the mission, because every day its a new realization of what i know and what i believe. i feel like i never knew this stuff before, even though i professed that i did...i believed it, sure...but now i know it!!!!
i am happy. i hope that tells you something. i have never been happier in my life. because i know. and the hard stuff. really doesnt matter, because the hard stuff always...ALWAYS...has an expiration date.
I love you all and hope you too are happy. i miss you but even that wont last too much longer...
November 7th 2011
This week was pretty awesome. we lost a few days because of the whole Hermana Estrada foot fiasco, but we worked hard and saw some miracles!
miracle number one: on thursday we have noche de hermanamiento at the church (night of brotherhood?) at 7pm...but this thursday we had a super long lesson that we didnt get out of until almost 8...we debated for a few minutes if we should or shouldnt go to the church and in the end we decided to go. about thre quarters of the way up the huge hill to the chapel this kid comes over and tells us there is someone on his cell phone that wants to talk to us...uh huh, sure!....needless to say we were VERY untrusting so finally after a minute of trying to convince us unsuccessfully to take the phone, he put it on speaker and a girl named jessica started talking to us and told us something along the lines of: "missionaries! my name is Jessica and this kid holding the phone is my boyfriend, his name is Marlon, and he wants to be baptized as soon as possible! he has a Book of Mormon and is reading it as well as Principles of the Gospel, he is going to church on Sunday and i just need you to call me to tell me what day his baptism will be so i can get off work! is that okay?!"...she paused and I actually said "are you kidding me?! is this a joke?!" she assured me it wasnt....we have a baptisimal date for the 24th of November!
miracles numbers 2-6: on Sunday we usually leave the house around 630 to wake everyone up for church...do missionaries do that in the states?!?! anyway, EVERYONE said they couldnt go, or that they were sick, or just didnt open the door...we were pretty down when we went to the church at 730...but de repente! Carlos came again! very surprising and also Fernando (he wasnt awake when we passed by in the morning so we had given up on the idea that he would come) Marlon came...and then when i had thought that i had seen all the miracles for the day Sabrina came...with her husband!!!!!! (carlos)...in order for you to really appreciate that miracle you need to hear the backstory...
Backstory of Sabrina and Carlos:
we contacted sabrina last week. when we were giving her the first lesson at the end she told us that about eight years ago she was praying to God to find the church that he wanted her to be in...she was praying and praying and praying and one night she had a dream and in the dream Christ told her that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints was his church...and for 8 years SHE DISMISSED THE DREAM AS NOTHING!!! even though she knows that it was the answer!!!! but there is something that is holding her back and we dont know exactly what it is...anyway. we wanted to teach her husband too but she told us that Carlos likes the things of the world and he has told her that he knows hes going to Hell, but hes okay with it...hmmm....anyway on saturday we talked to him and i was pretty blunt telling him that hell isnt pretty and we read the story of Alma the Younger...he didnt seem too interested...BUT THEN HE CAME TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY!!!!!!!!?!?!?!...we are a little confused. but i guess well see what happens...so in your prayers please include:
i love you all i am all good and i am loving life...the rain has gone and everyday is BEAUTIFUL!!!! i miss my family...but i.love.el.salvador!!!
November 1st 2011
The Craziest Day Ever!!!!!
Hello lovely family. yes i am writing on tuesday! yesterday was the Craziest day EVER!!!!!
remember about a month ago when i wrote about how Hermana Estrada sprained her ankle, well, its been bugging her still so we FINALLY made an appointment to get an Xray, we left early in the morning hoping to just get an ankle brace and return before noon...until they found out that it wasn't a sprain...it was a fracture!!!! she had three small fractures in the little leg bone (i have no idea what its called). so they sent us back to Ataco to get clothes and return to Santa Ana, however on our way back to Ataco the car we were in blew a tire...thankfully we were pretty close to a car shop and less than an hour later we were back on the road. we made it back to Santa Ana in time to break a piñata with the Hermanas there...p.s. the house of the nurse has three bathrooms and hot water....i was half tempted to sprain my ankle just to be there for a week...kidding!...anyway...Hermana Estrada is in bed for 7-10 days. no walking, no working. Thankfully! there was a trio in Santa Ana and i am back in Ataco today with Hermana Bonilla...she has four months in the mission but only two weeks in El Salvador because she is from Columbia and had trouble with her visa. She was serving in one of the missions in Columbia and now she just got here only to have emergency transfers...she says the culture is completely different, she can hardly understand the accent here because 'the people here dont speak spanish they speak slang' :) life is crazy, its wierd to have a different companion but i think it will make me work harder...Hermana Estrada and I were too comfortable with eachother.! :)
the rain has gone and now the days are beautiful and happy and the nights are flipping cold...i just bought a blanket today because i sleep with two layers and a blanket and still wake up three times a night with cold. but its all good. i love you all and hope you have a great week! ill write more on monday (Hopefully!!!)
October 24th 2011
What a week! i know i say that every week, but every week its true...nothing really happened this week it rained and rained until about wednesday and then the weather took a 180 degree turn and now it is bright and sunny and warm....which is just great except that i bought three sweaters last week...but its all good cause everyone is saying that even though it isnt raining anymore (and wont rain until next year!) the weather is about to get really cold...anyway, i doubt you all want to hear about the weather...
Write Me More, Please!!
(EN: Okay, that is not really what this says... but it is what it means!)
due to recent occurances in the mission we are now only allowed 45 minutes to write people...and can only write immediate family...this means that i can still recieve emails, but that all my responses to everyone but my immediate family will have to be through snail mail... ;) i love you all and will talk to you in approx 8 months... :D
me me me. i am all good. today we went to tour a power plant that sucks water from the center of the earth turns it all into steam makes electricity and the pumps the water back down to the center of the Earth. pretty cool. the best part was that we had to wear hard hats! but then afterward we took a little hike to see some hot springs and just to prove that the Lord protects us from danger but not our own stupidity (technically we are not allowed near ANY water) one of the elders took a step where the earth was just a thin shell over boiling sulfur water...his foot was covered and now he has 2nd degree burns all over his foot. and it started blistering and...yeah, it was gross...we are going to see what happens with that....there are just some experiences that the only good outcome is a cool story...
Thoughts on Revelation(s)
this week i have been studying revelation. mostly because even though i love the book of mormon and thinking of all of the fulfilled prophecies in it is really cool i always think it would be even cooler to read about the future beyond our time...and then i realized that is pretty much what the book of revelation is all about!!!!!!!! so i started reading it...i still dont understand all of it, but most of this week i have been thinking about the second coming and everything thats going to happen...im pretty excited about it, the only thing is that we need to prepare...this life is all about preparation. its easy to get caught up in what we call life, the little things that distract us. but really if we always keep our eternal perspective and prepare for the future we will be okay! ...but at the same time living in the moment and doing all the good that we can...i always laughed at the part of the hymn that says 'then wake up! and do something more, than dream of your mansion above...' because who really just thinks about living in the celestial kingdom all the time...until this week when i have been living in that thought...anyway the point is dont get distracted by the little things that happen in life (or the seemingly big things) keep the eternal perspective and do all the good you can, for yourself and for other people.
Me Me Me
i keep getting emails that say i dont talk about myself very much. i feel like all i do is talk about myself. i am great, my comp is all good...i am still with Hermana Estrada, she reminds me so much of trish its not even funny...we've been together three months and still have a month more at least. i love her to death, but i hope we have changes this next transfer because i want to go to Belize...please pray for that! (yes, it is a completely selfish desire) i love life and cant imagine going home ever....i know the culture is completly different, but i have forgotten a lot of the US culture and am scared to go back...whew! i still have a while left...alright..i really have nothing else to write. i love you all and will write...next week!
October 17th 2011
this week was definitely interesting...it rained and poured ALL week...in fact it is still raining and pouring. its flipping cold and i only have one thin sweater (because who in the world thought that i would need more than one in El Salvador!!!). i am buying a coat today. :)
Because of the weather i feel like it is Christmastime....i am driving my companion crazy because all i want to do is sing christmas songs, give service and drink hot chocolate, apple cider. and soup... every day i burn my tongue more! the last thing we want to do is go tracting outside!...but we do....however the people in Ataco are not like the people in Sensunapan and more often than not they tell us that they arent interested and perhaps we can come back when it stops raining...and then they shut the door....youd think this would make us sad and discouraged but for the last week i have had a inexplicable joyful feeling...i think it has to do with the Christmas cheer i am feeling two months too early!....all is well!
in other news we had a baptism friday! Fernando...do you remember about Alexis in Sensunapan. he's a repeat! he is amazing. just takes everything as it is and knows its true. i am so grateful that i got to be his missionary!
please pray for our investigators we have a family that needs lots of prayers they are in a difficult situation that is going to take time to fix...more than anything they need patience and motivation...but their kids are getting baptized at the end of the month! (we hope!!!)
i love you all and hope all is well...stay safe!
October 3rd 2011
this week was definitely a pday week...on Wednesday we had a multizona and we in Santa Ana all day and then with General Conference....usually by the end of the week i am in desperate need of a pday, but today i feel completely rested and ready to work!!!...but we get a pday anyway :)
highlights of the week:
WE HAD THREE BAPTISMS!!!!!!!!!!!
Katherine was baptized Wednesday! after the multizona we had to run back to Ataco (not literally), the multizona ended at about 430, the baptism was scheduled at 6 and it takes an hour and a half to travel back to the area. we got the the church at 615 and we started it at 630...a miracle!
also....LA FAMILIA VELASQUEZ!!!!!!!!! milagro de milagros!!!! it was soooooo beautiful and everybody was crying and they were sooooooo happy! it was really special. this baptisimal service made it to the top of my top baptisms list, well, all baptisms are top...but you know what i mean...
General Conference....I can not believe that six months have already passed by since the last General Conference. can not believe it. but how awesome was it!?!?!?! i cant choose a favorite talk, there are so many! but of the ones i think i needed most were from Barbara Thompson about recieving personal revelation. and then President Uchtdorf....oh my gosh...it was Marvelous! about the two extremes that satan plays in our mind, that we are something, and then that we are nothing. but the reality lies in between, that we are of great worth because we are children of God, but at the same time we are nothing, we have weaknesses and in a moment its all over. we have all power and at the same time we have no power....talk about profound. there was another...oh! the Gift of Choice!!!! i loved that about how really there are two choices, and it is not for us to decide to have a mix of both, it doesnt work like that. and President Eyring about the Baptisimal Covenant! especially because thats kind of our focus as missionaries. there was so much knowledge, it was a spiritual feast! and there were so many things that help me now as a missionary and things that are to help me in my life. after hearing President Monson's talk, when we were back in Ataco i could litereally feel a bubble of protection around us. how awesome is it that we know how to be happy and safe, if we so but choose. this world really is increasing in iniquity at a rapid pace and the gap between 'us' and 'them' is growing wider and wider. and if people would just open their eyes and ears, they too could find real peace...i feel so blessed to have been spoon-fed this knowledge and taught to look for truth rather than just accepting what i've been given. this morning i was talking to an old lady on the bus. we started talking about religion (obviously) and she informed me that she was Catholic, that no matter what she was taught to not even listen to other beliefs because going from one church to another is playing a game and that is NOT right. in fact its the worst thing a person can do. sadly, this is the idea of the majority of the people here...i was born this way, i am going to die this way, and there is nothing you can say to make me change my opinion. people see others searching for truth and look down on them because they are playing with God. i am so thankful that i was taught to not just 'be Mormon' but to search for truth. and there is truth in every person that you meet. I am thankful that my parents allowed me to go to the Bible Study of the Church down the street, and the take part in celebrations of other religions and cultures...experience is what this world is all about and if we close our eyes, our ears, our hearts, and our minds to everything but what we've been taught since childhood we miss out on a lot. a whole lot. so this is my challenge of the week. be open. try something new. learn something from somebody else. open your mind. open your ears. and listen! :)
I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week!
September 26th 2011
The dice in the air
this last week is either numbered one of the best weeks of my mission or one of the worst....the dice are still in the air.
last Monday after playing softball with another zone my companion was messing around and fell and sprained her ankle really badly, so badly that she had to be off of it for one entire week! this last week we had 3 baptisms scheduled and a ton of work to do! so everyday we had to find sisters of the ward to stay with her and sisters to leave with me to teach...difinitivamente it was a week to remember. God had a huge part to do this week and he came through (surprise!!!) I was able to leave and visit people everyday sometimes i had to talk the entire lesson but other times a returned missionary could leave with me and take part in the lesson. in one lesson i had a sister from the ward that didnt have any experience as a missionary and a recently returned missionary, our ward mission leader...it was really weird because the lesson played out like he was my comp. bouncing back and forth teaching the plan of Salvation....i kept expecting to hear Hna. Estradas voice and then i would hear his...WEIRD!!!!! also our neighbors have like three families living in one house and they have a ton of kids, and they helped us EVERY day to watch Hna Estrada after school. a blessing straight from God. on Wednesday Hna Estrada and I were both going insane me from stress and her from having nothing to do in the house all day...she read half of Alma in one day...we read chapter 6 in preach my Gospel, especially about patience....we decided this really was the test of the week. the ultimate test of the week happened yesterday when i arrived at the house of Alex, Alejandra, and Katherine without my comp. to pick them up for church (the three that were going to get baptized) when alejandra answered the door she told me that only she was going and that the other two didnt want to go to church and didnt want to get baptized..!!! (the day before i asked them all how they felt and they all said yes!!!!!) i prayed harder than i have ever prayed in my life and went in to talk to Katherine and Alex, i started talking to Katherine when her mom told us that she was not okay with the baptism now and that they need more time and......yeah...... we read scriptures together, prayed, talked and cried and in the end Alex and Alejandra came to church. we talked some more and after church brought their mom to the church to talk with the elders while me and two recent converts went to work things out with Katherine....after testimonies and scriptures and hyms and prayers we found out that the real problem is that Kathrine didnt want to get baptized with her sister....that was it!....so we changed her baptisimal date to wednesday and we all went to the church and Alejandra and Alex were baptized and their mom felt the spirit and started to cry and now she wants to get baptized.....!!!!!! how awesome is that!!!!!!!!?!?!?!?!?!?
it was either the best week of my mission, or the worst...i guess it just depends on how you look at it....
September 19th 2011
Hola Family and Friends...
not much to say this week. ...we had the baptism of Abigail yesterday!!!!!! it was beautiful! and we are working hard to complete with the other five...every baptism is a miracle and every miracle needs prayers to happen! please pleas please pray for our investigators...i love you all and hope you have a fantastic week!
September 12th 2011
"Hello Beloved Family and Friends!"
We have six baptismal dates!!!
i want to thank each and every one of you for your prayers for me and for our investigators...BECAUSE WE HAVE 6 BAPTISIMAL DATES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO! yup yup yup. its pretty exciting. our lìder misional gave us a thought yesterday that i cant to share with you all because, true confession, i havent written in my journal in over a month...or two...and i dont want to forget this idea, because its really good....ready?
Christ can do everything. nothing is impossible for him. for us, walking on water, healing the sick, moving mountains, are miracles. it is impossible for us to do these things with our own power. but not for Christ, to do these things is as easy for Him as it is for us to breathe. He can do everything. However there is one thing that is a true miracle for Christ and that is when somebody has a change of Heart. when somebody decides to repent and change their own life. this is a miracle for Christ because he will not, he cannot, obligate a person to change. He cannot make a person repent. so everytime we witness a change of heart in somebody's life, everytime we have the opportunity to witness a baptism, we witness a true miracle for Christ. How beautiful is that!?! I know that the work that i am doing is the best work one can have the opportunity to do. to help people change thier lives... i witness miracles everyday.
Miracles right and left
Especially right now i am seeing miracle right and left. we are teaching the Velasquez family and they have accepted a date! the 26th of September! Sonia is all for it, this is the date that she felt when she prayed about it. Mauricio is still a little shaky, he needs prayers, he is putting forth effort, yesterday we passed by to see how everything was to go to church about 45 minutes before and he was still asleep, i didnt think he was going to come, but he did! and they go to every single church activity during the week if they are not working, and we visit them at least three times a week (if not four or five) they are awesome! so please continue to pray for them. Also their kid, Abi...she was going to get baptized with them, but she wants to go to the Temple on the 24th, which means she needs to get baptized and confirmed this week...so she is!
In your prayers
Alex, Alejandra, and Katherine, also need prayers. they are ages 11, 12 and 13. they are always in the house the two older kids dont go to school and thier mom is ALWAYS working. they have too much time on their hands. we are visiting everyday and trying to help them, but they are finding it difficult to change. they go to seminary and all the other activities. I know that this could really help their family and also thier mom. thank you for your prayers!
And sick... again... again...
in other news...there is no other news...i got sick again :) and i dont even know why! i dont eat from street vendors and i wash my vegetable with bleach...but that is the life i guess...i got a blessing and by the end of the night i was better! thank goodness for the Priesthood, works miracles (for us, not for God)
Information from home
I just recieved a mountain of information from home. 'the restaurant,' or rather my family's restaurant that has been part of, i mean, has been our life for the past 17 years is closing in two weeks...and Trish is going to have a baby...A BABY!!!! there will be 6 baptisms here within the next two weeks...the only thing that will not kill the climax is if the world were to end in three weeks...