Sunday, April 24, 2011

15: San Jorge 6


We just finished up our first change.  My companion, Elder Gonzalez, got a call this week for information that they only ask people who go to Belize, and sure enough, he left for Belize this morning.  So I get a new companion on Wednesday, Elder Urbina, I think.  Also, Elder García, another elder who lives with me, is getting a new elder [companion] and Elder Stone is leaving.  They're all Latinos, and none of them can speak English.  So I'm going to be living with the Latins who can't speak English.  It's going to be so awesome.  I'm pretty excited to receive a new companion and learn from him. 

Elder Gonzalez was good.  He taught me to work.  We were always running to our appointments.  He also taught me to not be timid about asking people to be baptized.  We'd talk about it almost every first lesson.  He was a good companion, but I'm excited for a change.  I'm excited to be able to lead more and learn more from Elder Urbina.  As hard as it's going to be, I'm excited to live in a house with three non-English-speaking Latinos.  I should pick up Spanish so quickly this next change.

Right now we have two families who are really positive.  The family of Jorge Sanchez is way positive.  Jorge really wants to be baptized.  His wife Sonia and his daughter Rosa both love the church, and I think know the church is true (it's hard to tell, I miss a lot because of the whole language thing), they're just really timid about being baptized.  But we're going to try and baptize them this next Sunday.  I'm praying for it.

In San Jorge, there's always a member who is in some type of "apostasy."  There are a lot of strange beliefs in some of the churches there, and it's hard to teach the members that yes, it's okay to dance, sure, you can wear makeup, and yes, there is no problem with wearing pants.  It's over the top.

So this week was the Easter week, which is a big deal here.  Everyone goes to the beach this week and there are a whole bunch of sacrilegious Catholic processions and stuff.  Saturday I was on exchanges with Elder Brown, and we were in the middle of contacting someone on the streets when a huge Catholic parade started.  We had to run away and take a ten minute detour to get around them.

Also, I got to build an adobe house this week with Elder Brown.  They had it all...the mud pit with three little Latinitos mixing it, the dad up on the scaffolding slabbing the mud, then they were taking another part of the house down by breaking the wall with a machete.  It was so awesome.  I got to use a machete for the first time here.  It was so intense.  So yeah, I've built an adobe house.

Well, it's going good here.  The weather's nice.  The work is good, and the people are great. 
Honestly, a mission is worth it.  I'm growing so much from the experiences I'm having.  Say hi to everyone for me.  Tell them the gospel's true!!  Hope all is going great back in the USA.

Till next week,
Elder Bailey

P.S.  So I discovered something awesome this week.  It's called chocolatina.  If you think the chocolate milk at Costco is good, you should try this stuff.  It is so rico [rich].  It puts all other chocolate milk to shame.  Of course, it's really fattening too...but wow, it's good.

Monday, April 18, 2011

14: San Jorge 5


Second to last week of my first change.  It's been a busy one.  I've kept busy.

Yes, my really messy desk...
First of all, Wednesday was my companion's birthday.  We went to the house of Hermana Fernandez (the really good cook) for lunch and she had the whole dining room decorated.  I went with Elder García 15 minutes earlier and we dressed up as clowns.  Then we got to sing to him.  They sing the happy birthday song in English, but with a thick Latin accent.  So funny.  Then they sang some other song, then counted to 20 (his age) and let him blow out the candle.  Then, apparently it's tradition there that the birthday-er has to take a bite of the cake before they eat it...and usually someone pushes their head into the cake while they're doing it.  So awesome.  But Elder Gonzalez was really I held down Elder García while Elder Gonzalez took the first bite.  Yeah, it was a pretty sweet birthday party.  I think we need traditions like that in the states.  So awesome.  I don't have pictures of that, but Elder García does, so I'll try to get them for next week.

Also, I've got to be honest, I'm kinda getting fat...  Hermana Fernandez always gives us so much food (cause she loves the missionaries...I'm pretty sure she lives to feed missionaries), and here if you don't eat every single speck of food the cooks get offended.  You can't say no.  But wow, the food is so good here, especially the fruit.  The mangos here are unreal.  And the bananas are delicious.  Attached is a picture of me awkwardly hugging a banana tree.

The view down the road
Also, I baptized Pichi Pichi yesterday.  His name is Agustín.  He used to be a teacher, then he got way into drugs, got hit by a truck, and attempted suicide.  I remember the first time I met him a few weeks ago, we were walking to the Tinoco family's, and my companero said, "Do you want to meet a crazy person?"  Then I met Pichi Pichi.  He is so funny.  His arm doesn't work, and his voice is very raspy because of the crash, but he's so much fun.  He likes to dance, make faces, and mess around.  He's so happy.  So at first, I just thought he was a really crazy person.  Then last week he came to church, and was singing, and I realized he could read and write.  After talking with him for a bit, I realized that he was actually really intelligent, and wanted to be baptized.  So we taught him the lessons, and I got to baptize him yesterday (adults have to attend church two times before they can be baptized).  Honestly, I felt pretty normal after, but he was beaming with glee.  I asked him how he felt and he said "marvilloso."  It was a pretty cool experience.

We also got two families to come to church this Sunday:  the family of Jorge and the family of Edwin.  Both of them are very positive, especially Jorge.  He freakin' loved church.  I hope we can set a date with him this week, but he can't read, and he's pretty simple minded, so it's going to take a lot of teaching.  I'm pretty excited.

Today we got to go to Lake Uatepe as a zone.  Of course, we couldn't touch the water or walk over it on the dock, but it was a pretty cool view.  Honestly though, it was a pretty painful trip.  I just wanted to swim.  That water looked so, so tempting.  Wow, I miss not wearing clothes (and swimming).  I took a picture of the lake from the road.  Of course, if you look directly down from the road you can see what a lot of what El Salvador really looks like.  There aren't any trash cans here.  People steal them and sell them.  So instead, everyone just throws their trash on the ground.  How beautiful.

E. Delgado..basically a pro
Also, the zone leaders ordered t-shirts for the zone and let the hermanas pick them out.  Bad idea.  They're bright pink and say Modelo (our zone) on the front.  Kind of a little...well, yeah.  But Elder Delgadito enjoyed taking modeling poses in it.  So here's a picture of my zone.  Also, I learned this week that you can basically add -ito or -ita onto any word to make it smaller. 

So I've got one more week left of my first change.  I can understand Spanish now when they use words I know.  I can speak sentences that make sense to me, but a lot of times I just get blank stares when I ask a question.

Well, those have been my adventures this week.


Elder Bailey

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

13: San Jorge 4

Bueno bueno!

It’s been a busy week.  We finally got some good investigators.   We have Luis.  He’s a cop.  He was chasing some gangsters a few days ago, and they drove off a cliff into a crater.  Luis ran after them and when he looked over the edge he saw one of them with his head split.  He was pretty shaken about that.  So my companion gave him a Book of Mormon and told him that if he’d read it and pray he’d feel better.  I didn’t really do anything because I was kind of confused and didn’t know what was going on. Luis didn’t go to church, but we’ll keep working with him.

Other times I understand really well.  I get frustrated with the language sometimes, but everyone keeps saying that I am doing way well for un mes [one month].  There are just some people that don’t pronounce their words really well. 

We also found a huge family.  At first they weren’t that positive.  Then the Bishop (Bishop Montenegro) came and taught the second lesson with us, and they became positive.  Even the old women that just wanted to argue said that that message was bonito at the end.  The bishop is a dang good teacher.  I learned so much from listening to him.  So the family came to church, but they’re still going to take a lot of work to get them baptized.

Also, we have Argustin.  He can’t really talk because something happened to his throat.  But he’s actually really intelligent.  He committed to be baptized yesterday after church.

Really, I’m pretty sure most the people in San Jorge are crazy... but they still need the gospel.  Also, the drunks are always entertaining when we’re waiting for the bus.

I also got to do intercambios [exchanges] with Elder Delgado yesterday.  He’s our other zone leader.  He’s from Peru.  He’s really short.  He also is a powerful teacher.  He’s very organized and I learned so much from working with him.  Also, we decided that we’re going to go climb Machu Picchu after our missions.  But of course, I’m just starting and this is his last change.

So I still haven’t really gotten sick.  That’s good.

Friday night we were grabbing some pupusas for dinner when it started raining.  Wow, does it rain here.  We were running up the path to our was basically like running up a river.  So awesome.  Then I was telling Elder Brown about it and he said that was nothing, and in the rainy season it’ll be up to my door.  I’m so stoked for that.  Maybe I’ll have to swim to get home.

We also had the APs staying over at our house for a few days.  Oh, which reminds me, in a month or so I will no longer be serving in the El Salvador San Salvador West/Belize Mission.  I will be serving in the El Salvador Santa Ana/Belize Mission.  We won’t have San Salvador anymore...or the temple.:(  So our offices are going to start moving soon to Santa Ana.  Don’t send me any packages for the next couple weeks because I don’t know what the address is.  However, if you do end up sending me a package, I am dying for a frisbee and can’t find a good one here.

Anyways, the AP, Elder Hosmond is awesome.  He reminds me of my oldest brother.  We got to study a bit with them, and I learned a lot.
We learned about love.  Honestly, you just have to love everyone you’re working with.  If you don’t love, you’re not going to get anywhere.  Everyone has good qualities and bad, and we always need to focus on the good, not the bad.

Really, I´m just learning.  My companion’s not really a people person, but is still a very persuasive teacher.  Also, there’s a lot of stuff he doesn´t know, so I’m teaching him a lot too.  I never thought I’d end up teaching my entrenedor [trainer], but we can do a lot better.  Same thing in real life.  If you focus on the bad qualities of people, they’re going to get to you.  Just deal with them and focus on the good, and things can work out.

So all’s well down here.  I’m happy to be in El Salvador.  I really hope I pick up this language quickly.  I’m learning a lot.  My zone’s great, my Spanish is improving, my area’s full of crazies, and the work is great.

Elder Bailey

Monday, April 4, 2011

12: San Jorge 3

Wow, I'm already halfway through my first change.

So my Spanish is getting better.  I woke up Wednesday and suddenly could understand people. Mostly—at least the words I already know, which is mostly about the gospel.  So all I can really talk about is the gospel, which works out most of the time.  Also, the guanacos (El Salvadoreans) speak a kind of slang...kaliche.  So I'm pretty sure most of the words they use aren't real. I don't really like it that much.  It sounds kind a ...lame.  For instance, everyone says as a filler word.  What a dumb word.  Honestly, they sound like Hispanic sheep.  I really hope I don't start saying that.

So Wednesday we had a lesson with Nedi, and it turned out he was having a lot of doubts.  It was pretty cool because I was able to use a scripture and have him answer his questions.  Then we gave him a blessing.  It was pretty sweet because the next day he came with us to teach and taught a pretty sweet lesson about the exact thing I had taught him, then gave us hugs after.  How cute.  But seriously, it was a pretty cool experience.

This keyboard is terrible.  Also, I just ate some food that's not sitting well, so this letter's going to be short.

General conference was awesome.  I think it's like ten times better when you're on your mission.  Saturday morning we had breakfast as a zone and the zone leaders made it.  Elder Brown cooks good eggs (I only said that cause he's sitting right next to me, and I have to make a good impression), and the gringos were able to watch conference in English.  President Monson's priesthood talk was awesome.  Especially because we were exempt from it as missionaries.  But there was definitely a strong emphasis on families.  And that is totally true.  The fact that this gospel can bless families is a big part of the gospel.  Trust me, we teach it every day.  So naturally, that's going to be the thing that Satan tries to destroy the most.  People need to strengthen their families by doing gospel related activities, because the best way to come closer together as a family is by turning to God.

Well, I've had a lot of cool experiences with contacting too.  A lot of people don't like it.  I think it's a lot of fun!  That's all I've got for now.  My English and Spanish are both terrible now.  I'm trying new foods and having new experiences every day, but most importantly I am helping people come closer to God.

Till next week,
Elder Bailey