Monday, October 29, 2012

93: Juayùa 1

HEY HEY Family!
I am writing you today from Juayùa, the prettiest area in the mission. Wow, seriously, I have so much to write to you this week, and not nearly enough time, so here we go.

So, the twentieth was my birthday. It wasn't so great of a day at first. We had been teaching this single mother named C. She was way positive, and progressing really fast. She kept all the commitments and had gone to church. We taught her the law of chastity and she admitted she was with another guy, and that she would talk to him. Well, the next day we talked to her and she said that she talked to him, and that he was going to get married to her, but that he would never do it if she went to our church. So, not thinking very clearly, she told us she was done. We tried to explain and everything, that was really sad. She's really missing out.

Well, it was kind of a bad day until 8. We went to the F. family house and had a fun little party with confetti and beans, eggs, plantain bananas, and cake. I know that sounds lame, but it was fun. That family is awesome.

On Monday I got changes. I said goodbye to all my friends then packed up. On Wednesday, I went to the changes meeting, and they sent me to Juayùa. I love this city. It's a touristy city, way up in the mountains, it's not hot here, and it's beautiful. The city is well kept (for being in El Salvador), and there are even trash cans on the streets. EVERYTHING is green here. It is beautiful. In the morning I went running with my comp and we found a really pretty view that showed all of Juayùa and all of Sonsonate and the ocean. It was awesome. So everyone says that Juayùa is a hard zone, but I think it's so awesome.

My first day here we got to know a family that had been going to church for 2 years, but could never get baptized because he had to get divorced. Well, they had just gotten divorced and told us they were finally ready to get baptized. Man, this family is awesome. They have really strong testimonies. So I was pretty stoked about that.

After that, I had interchanges with the assistants, and went back to Palmar, Modelo for two days with Elder Z...

Yeah anyways, then Saturday I got to go to the big Modelo activity that I had been planning with the stake and see all my friends. Cool. Then after I went back to my area and went to the wedding of the V. family. Good stuff. Good cake.

On Sunday, we had a baptism. It was cool, very spiritual. This family is definitely ready. Anyway, but I love it here in Juayùa. I'm really excited to work here. Elder Cade Larson's in my zone. That's a cool little guy. Juayùa is just so bonito. The only problem is our house is very messy, and there are a lot of huge spiders. Seriously, a ton. I've seen like nests of hundreds of them. Then when I went to take a shower a couple days ago and turned on the water, a cockroach came shooting out of the tube. But other than that, it's cool.

Love the mish. Don't get baggy.



Friday, October 19, 2012

93: Primavera 12

October 19, 2012

Wow. Hey family. So this was a cool week. Last P-day we went and played a game with flour. So we all got really white. It was messy, but it was fun. I was talking to Elder Gealta. Man, that guy is really baggy. Seriously. Haha. I was just thinking back on the good ol' MTC days. Long time ago, right?

So E. got baptized on Sunday. I baptized her. It was good. We baptized her in the morning so that she could get confirmed right after. It was a good little baptism and very spiritual. I sang the typical baptism Primary song in English and Spanish, so that was cool too. I really enjoyed this baptism. E. has got a cool testimony. Her husband goes to another church, so it was hard for her, but she really wanted to follow God and be clean. Now we are teaching the rest of her family (except the husband...with time).

Also, I found a really sweet family that went to church, but supposedly they're moving tomorrow. Way positive. We'll see what we do with them. Then there's C. She is super positive, but just has a lot of doubts about the doctrine because she lived in an evangelical church before. But we've had some pretty cool lessons with her, especially about the BOM. We taught her 2 Nephi 2 last time. She wanted to know why bad things happened to good people. So we explained to her a bit of the Plan of Salvation, Adam and Eve, and that we are here to be tried. It was awesome to see her face as she realized why. It completely lit up. Then we talked about eternal families, and she said that she had always wondered about that, because her pastor told her that they couldn't and she always believed that they could. That lesson was sweet, seeing how her face changed. She is definitely going to get baptized. I feel like it'll take a little more time, but for sure.

I've been working hard this week, we've had a lot of interchanges. I've found a lot of new people. When I went with Palmar II, we found 9 news in one day—two families, and they are WAY POSITIVE. They both committed to go to church.

Yesterday we went to the temple. We go twice a year. was so COOL. I learned more that time at the temple than I have any other time. It was awesome. I definitely received a lot of revelation. The temple is amazing. You just feel so good when you go there. It definitely helps you have a great testimony that the Church is true.

Well, I guess I'm going to be 21 now. Time flies, doesn't it. I'm old now. Dangit.

So keep reading your scriptures and take care,

Elder Bailey

P.S. Sorry I don't have pictures, but I'm kind of hungry. I'll send them next week.

Friday, October 12, 2012

92: Primavera 11

Hey family,

So as of now, I don't have any letters from you guys. I guess now that I have 21 months, there's not a lot to tell me. But I'm still going to give you an update of what's going on.

Wow, so cool. So last Friday, we went to President's house after writing. We had lunch and took a ton of pictures. It was so much fun. Elder Taylor, Elder Hobbs and I were joking around a was way funny. Good times. We ate chili cheese dogs and nachos. Good stuff. Then after that, Elder Fairbairn and I sat down at the piano and started jamming. He's a way good piano player, so I taught him a jazz base line, then we started messing around. It was so sweet. I haven't played piano like that in so much time. We played for like 20 minutes and didn't even feel it. A lot of fun. Everyone said it sounded cool.

After that, as a reward for baptizing 20 in August, we also got to see a movie in President's house, and you'll never guess what it was: Forever Strong. IT WAS SO COOL. I haven't seen a movie like that in so much time. They are awesome. After, of course President related it to the gospel, but honestly, I think it just made everyone kind of baggy. But it was cool. We had popcorn. It was a blast from the real life.

Okay, so that was awesome. Ummm. Then conference. WOW. I love conference. The first session on Saturday and the Priesthood session were definitely my favorites. President Uchtdorf's talk was my favorite. You've just got to enjoy life. It's way too awesome to waste being angry. Definitely learned a lesson from that. Remember O? The 17-year-old who got baptized about a month ago? Man, well, he had been waiting 2 years to get baptized. But he was wild, and a little prideful, so it got to him. Not even a month after, he got really angry and said he was never going back to church. He won't talk to any member, nor even look at us. Last time I saw him, he was going off to some evangelical church. Sad story. So why did that happen? He was prideful. He was angry at people for things they didn't even know about. They didn't act or do things the way he wanted, so he got angry. Bishop, members, us, stake president, he was angry with everyone. I really just don't understand it. He had the strongest testimony. He was powerful. But pride kills us. It doesn't let us change. Conference only helps us if we can look inward.

There was another inactive who went to conference. He had like 8 years of not going to church, so we visited him. Man, it was sad. We asked him what he learned, and all he did was start critiquing every one of the members. He could not see the good in anyone. He complained because between sessions, the members invited him to eat with the ward, but he said that they gave him a small piece of chicken, and that that's not very Christlike to give a small piece of chicken to a visitor. I thought that was so stupid. This sister had bought and made food for 30-ish people with her own money, and he was complaining because she gave him a piece of chicken. The members in our ward are so good. I have learned so much from them.

So really, I think I learned and realized an important lesson from these two stories. First of all, the gospel is for introspection. It's to look inside ourselves and see what we need to change, how we can get better. Pride and anger are so bad because they inhibit us from doing that. Then you just see the bad in other people, and Satan gets you. Two, you have to see the good in everything and everyone. If you have a bad thought or judgment about someone, you have to also think about something good about them. See how you can see the positive side. Sometimes it's necessary to see the negative, but you'd better not just be looking at that, ever. President Monson talked about that in the Priesthood session when he said that we need to see people not as they are, but as they can one day become.

Well, E. didn't get baptized Sunday because she was drinking a ton of coffee, but has been clean since then, and WILL get baptized this Sunday. We had six investigators in conference, and it is a pretty sweet family. We've been working with them a lot, and they are really close to accepting a date.

It's a lot of fun being with Elder Hobbs. He's my first gringo comp outside of the office. I feel like a legit, ideal, PMG missionary. We teach way sweet lessons, follow the schedule, run, work our butts off. It is just so awesome being a missionary.

Our zone had 29 missionaries in conference, and we have been putting a ton of dates. We've gone up from 6 to 15 since Sunday, and we're going to go put some more today. ¡Sweet!

On Wednesday, I went to Palmar II with Elder Taylor. (I love that guy. We had been in so many swim meets together, but never met each other. I don't know why, we have so much fun together.) Anyway, so we went up to San Jorge, my first area. Wow, that was weird. Blast from the past. I saw a ton of my first converts. San Jorge was closed down as an area a while ago because almost everyone went inactive. So now it's just part of Palmar II when they want to go up there. My first convert, N., from my fourth day here in El Salvador, is one of the only 3 people active from that area. She pays every Sunday to go to church, which is a huge sacrifice for them. So a girl from a couple houses down was having a lot of problems, and asked if she could live with N. She told her that yes, but only if she went to church with her. So the girl went to church, liked it, and now is going to get baptized. N. is very simple. She's firm. It's awesome. That made me feel good.

Well, the mission is awesome. Today I am completing 21 months. Wow. Well, take care.

Friday, October 5, 2012

91: Primavera 10

Hello family,

Hope everything is going well back home.  This week has been great.  My comp and I have been working way hard, and it feels so good.  We've taught a ton of lessons, and have taught a lot of people: some positive, some not so much.  I realized I've definitely gotten a lot better as a teacher.

Elder Hobbs has been awesome.  He's like the first comp who really plans with me, and we've come up with a lot of cool ideas.  We had our zone meeting on Wednesday and it was so sweet.  We planned really well, and a lot of the missionaries said it was one of the best zone meetings they had had.  Once a month, we have a 2.5 hour zone capacitation that we teach.  So Wednesday we taught for 2.5 hours, and it was a way sweet.  We also have the most effective comps studies that I have had in all my mission.  We learn a ton and set up some really good lessons.

We've also been having a lot of fun.  We have to cook lunch because we don't have a cook.  Sometimes we just get tacos, but most of the time we cook.  I usually just cook the normal Salvadoranean meal:  beans, eggs, cream, and bread.  I'm pretty much pro now, just so you know.

This week I've been on interchanges to the areas of Las Aradas and Piramidal.  They were very effective interchanges.  I was able to show them how to work hard and have effective lessons and always be talking to people and finding news.  I went with Elder S., a Mexican in Las Aradas, and Elder G. from Orange County.  Elder G. is on his second change in the mission, and has improved a ton.  He's a good teacher, I was really impressed.  Also, his Spanish has gotten very good as well.  It's cool to see the improvement and growth of the people in my zone.  The interchange with Elder S. was a very fun change.  He was a lot of fun.  I showed him how to work harder, and he set some goals to improve.  The other person who has improved a lot is Elder L.  He's a missionary from Dominican Republic and this last change his comp, Elder Taylor (from swimming), has helped him a ton, and he is improving a lot.  His is a good teacher, I was really impressed.  

We have a baptismal date for this Sunday.  Her name is E.  She's pretty tight, but I'll tell you her story AFTER her baptism.

Well, today we have a lunch with President because we met our goal of 20 baptisms in August.  So I don't really have a lot of time to write you.  But I hope everything is going well, and that everyone is still going to church.

Take care,
Elder Bailey