Monday, December 31, 2012

Making Papusas, Holiday Lull & Too Hot


Hello World!

I know that I said we were going to have P-Day on Wednesday, but they changed plans on us again, I guess our zone leaders couldn't make up their mind on that! Anyways I am here as normal! I was afraid that I would see an empty inbox because I said I wouldn't write until Wednesday, but fortunately many of you still wrote me!

Here is a random picture of how the pupusas are made! A family invited us over for a FHE with pupusas! It was great! Here is an action shot of Hermana Adela making one, then below is some flipping action on the flat iron grill!!



Sooo... not much has happened here since we last talked. These holidays it has been hard teaching our investigators, because who really wants to talk to the missionaries about the gospel on Christmas? So we really just spent a lot of time with the members around here on Christmas, and I imagine it will be the same today since its New Years Eve! This year has really gone by fast, so much has happened in what seems like such little time. Here in El Salvador it is strange because I feel like I am still in Summer, because it just keeps getting hotter and hotter every single month, until April when it hits the hottest point of the year! Mom, you sent me those snowshoeing pictures, that makes me so jealous because it's December and it just gets hotter every day, I showed my companion those pictures and told him that here in El Salv there is no such thing as cold, pointing to the picture and showing him what cold really is! When people say it is cold here, I just tell them that that is how the weather is at the peak of summer in Washington... if we are lucky! So after this whole mission thing I would love to live somewhere cold for the rest of my life, because I really miss the cold!

So  this week we have the temple trip in a few days!! Finally! It has been a while since we have been to the temple, it will be great to be there since it is something we only get to do twice a year now. I really feel bad for those missionaries who serve in places where there is no temple in the mission! I like how we have the temple here, since the country is tiny and everybody knows the new Mormon "castle" that was recently built, it is a great teaching opportunity for them!

Anyways, I really don´t have much else to report! I hope that you all have a great New Years! I miss you all and look forward to talking to you next year!!

Love Elder Joshua Vaughan!

Monday, December 17, 2012

U.S. Steaks, Sock War & a One Dollar Haircut

Hello Family!

Well this past week was a ton of fun at the Christmas party at President´s house! We ate a ton of food (yes, real food). He has some US steaks shipped in (because good meat just doesn't exist here) and we enjoyed a sock war in the house and lots of other fun games. In the other picture there we had to take pictures of "every-day events" that happen to us missionaries in the mission. So here I am being chased by a bunch of dogs! Its dumb but funny. Me and the guy in the green shirt (from Mexico!!) are the missionaries running from the dogs!  Another Photo from the Christmas party, the whole group that day (2 zones), my new companion, Elder Omontes is the Elder with the shiny name tag from the flash on the camera! And I am the Gringo with glasses! We had a lot of fun that day! More than anything it was a sweet break from this never ending job we have as missionaries, everything has been such a sprint since I entered the MTC in May 30th. 

 



A few weeks ago when I was still with Elder Tenecora, we were talking about how the life of a missionary has to be the hardest job in the world, other than fighting in the army of course. Because our job is literally non stop for two years, and we have to live "higher-than-temple-recommend-standards", which is so true, for example, a regular temple recommend holding member can go to the movie theater to see a nice film, but for us, that's just rebellious! But its a cool job being a missionary, there are things to experience that you just can't do anywhere else, its cool.

So next Monday (December 24) at 4 in the afternoon we are planning on calling on Skype. There´s a member in our branch that owns a cyber cafe thing, and will only charge us 50 cents for the hours, man I love how cheap things are here, especially for us all the members give us good deals. For example I get my hair cut for one dollar. Before at the USU barbershop I spent 13 or 14 dollars for a haircut! I might just die when I come back. 

So this month we are hoping for a baptism, German, the 15 year old "niño pastor". If he comes to church this week he will be baptized on the 31st, new years eve! We are excited for him, as he is excited too. The only challenge with him is that he works selling candy on the buses that run between here and San Miguel. So sometimes on Sunday he gets called in to work super early in the morning, so he just needs to come to church a little more and he will be good for his baptism! He is super excited, this kid always is "Machetting" (criticizing) all of the other churches around, but he likes the LDS church because he can´t find anything to criticize it, and the Bible completely supports the church. So hopefully it comes out well!! 

As of right now we are looking forward to the 24th to Skype home and all that. On January 2nd we will be going to do a session in the temple here, I am super excited!

Love Elder Vaughan

Monday, December 10, 2012

Trainer Transferred, New Companion & a Guy Named Kevin


Hello World,

Well this past week we had some changes here! I am still here in San Vicente, but now I have a new companion, Elder Omontes, from Lima Peru. Ok, not going to lie, this week with changes was VERY hard! First of all when Elder Tenecora left that was pretty sad because we are really good friends, he was sad to leave here! And, ok, I don´t want to talk bad about other people, but my new companion is not the same. It's hard because my trainer was really great, not perfect, but a really good missionary, and for that this change has been super tough so far.

Ok, good news. We found a member here in the ward who owns a cyber cafe, and he has cameras and everything for using skype. So I think that on the 24th we will be calling home (because in Latin America Christmas eve is more special than Christmas.), I am still not completely sure if we will do it that day or not. I would rather call on the 25th because on the 24th we are already going to be writing home in email and all. This week we will get things figured out for sure. I think my Skype account I made before the mission is "joshua.vaughan4". I think, The Jenni Domski could confirm that for you. If I can´t access that account, I will make a new one. No worries.

Tomorrow is a very exciting day for us, we are going to the President´s house in SanSa for a Christmas party, I am super excited. We are going to be there pretty much all day! I can´t wait! Then in January we get to go to the temple! Woooo!

So in the Liahona magazine from December of this year, there are 2 stories regarding the SanSa temple, and one of the stories in there is about a family with a young guy named Kevin (his story also is on a video in Mormon messages online). Anyways, I met Kevin this week on Wednesday at the changes meeting, he is a super cool kid. Well he is leaving on a mission to Mexico in 2 months, but he is serving here in SanSa for two months as a mini-missionary! I just had a short chance to greet him, but hes a really cool guy.

So that´s about all interesting this week! I am excited to talk to you all soon, I will let you know next week what day and time we will call! also, do you have a skype account, what is the username?

Ok, well it sounds like all is going very well back at home, Have a wonderful week!

Love, Elder Joshua Vaughan

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dull Week, Trio & Rolling with the Punches


Hello World,

So this week, not going to lie, was kind of dull. Nothing really stuck out to me. On the 30th of November, that was the 6 month mark for me since I entered the MTC. I am a quarter way done! It goes by so slow, but so fast at the same time! I think the thing that makes it seem slow is that I am still with my trainer, for such a long time, that it feels like I am still brand new in the mission and all. Well this Wednesday are the changes, I will probably find out in a couple hours who is going where and who is staying. I would guess that Elder Tenecora is leaving and I will be staying, with the slight possibility of me training a new guy. I really don´t like the Idea of ever having a big leadership position, because for many people they like it to have more recognition among the other missionaries, I really don´t care for that. But what I would like to do is train, I think everyone wants to train at some point in the mission, I think it would be fun! So that could be a possibility with the huge wave of new missionaries that are coming in this week!

So, for now we are going to be in a trio with one of the zone leaders until Wednesday, the changes, because the companion of this zone leader left this morning to go be the new assistant to the president, so for now we are stuck in a trio, which everyone who was ever a missionary knows that trios are super awkward!!

Right now the biggest challenge that we are having as a branch here is church attendance! Our investigators and the members really don´t recognize that church attendance is important, and it is such a struggle to get people to understand that. Everyone here always says "the church is us, in our hearts", biggest load of garbage in the world. Right now we have a good handful of people whom we are teaching, but the challenge with just about all of them is church attendance! So this week we will be teaching the importance of church attendance like crazy!

So.. As of now I am really looking forward to what happens with these changes, we were looking forward to them dividing our area in two, but yesterday the president changed his mind and we will Not be dividing our area this change, hopefully in the future we will see it happen! I guess the big thing this month is the Christmas phone call I get home, I am really excited for that! It really shouldn't be too hard to do the phone call, because here you can buy 30 minutes of talking time to the USA for 50 cents, super cheap! I just hope all the ads I see for that are true! What number do you want me to call when the time comes? let me know so I can have it ready!

Well it sounds like everything is going very well at home. I am excited to see and hear from Riley and Spencer on their missions! Although Riley has a few months to go until he leaves,  he will be out there soon enough! The mission is really tough, lots of hard things to deal with, but all you need to do is roll with the punches! Some things happen that are just out of our control and there is nothing much we can do about it. I have really come to love the phrase "it is what it is"! Because lots of times people freak out and complain a ton, when you just need to be patient and let the hard things pass by. Wow, these past sentences make it look like my life is terrible, I promise it is NOT! :) I mean, stuff happens like getting sick, people dying.. OK, maybe that one isn't too normal, but it is what it is! :) Things are really going here, tough... yes, doable... yes. Although I am only 6 months in, I would not trade this time for anything. I have learned so many things here that will help me on later in my life, in ways that I can´t even see.

I hope that you all have a great week back at home and good luck with all that you do!

Love,

Elder Joshua Vaughan

Monday, November 26, 2012

Top Ramen Thanksgiving, Multi-Zone Conference & Six Months

Hello Family!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving time for me (since I didn´t!)!! :)  So the zone leaders know a man named Romel, the only man in this city who actually knows how to cook, and made arrangements to eat a Thanksgiving dinner! All four of us were going to go and enjoy a nice meal for once! But in the afternoon on Thanksgiving I came down with an insane fever, so we went to the house and rested some. I woke up a few hours before the planned dinner only to have some fun vomit diarrhea combinations! Soooo for that we didn´t go to dinner, we ended up eating Top ramen for Thanksgiving!

As far as health goes, I am doing great! When I get sick, I just say whatever, let stuff come out that needs to leave my body and in the blink of an eye (or a day or two) I am back on my feet! Its just one of the sad facts of life here that one needs to accept!

So on Wednesday we went to San Salvador for a multizone conference with the Prez, it was cool. Here is a picture of my zone with the Prezi and his wife! After the meeting there they handed out letters and packages, I got my ballot about a month late :( and some other letters which was all super awesome!


So this week I am about to complete 6 months of being a missionary. I think it went by fairly fast! A lot has happened! I remember sitting in Provo(lone) in my first week just wishing I could get to this 6 month point in the mission, being able to understand the language and communicate and all that. And... here I am! almost at that 6 month mark! I really have gotten to a point where the speaking comes without thinking, only sometimes I have to think when it is a word I haven´t learned or used much!

So this week we have been working hard with a few investigators and a great family. Its hard to tell who is going to be able to progress or not, but this one family we are working with really has the desire to be baptized and they love the church and all that. This family of course has a lot of challenges to overcome, but we can help them and hopefully in December we will see a baptism with them!

Other than all that, I don´t have much else to report since a couple days were spent sick and all. Right now I am doing great and I am excited to continue working 18 more months in this great work! Good luck to Spencer who is going in to the MTC this week, he will do a great job! I have missed you all over this holiday week and hope that all goes well the coming week!

Love Elder Vaughan

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mute Kisser, Broken Chair & a Drumstick Sandwich

Hello world!

Well, another week down here, This week went much better than the last. First funny thing that happened, last Monday night a mute guy found us in the street tried communicating with us, but failed, and out of nowhere the man dove in and kissed my companion on the cheek. Soooooo hilarious!!!! We were just standing in the street when it happened and many people saw it, and right after he kissed him I started to walk away at a brisk pace in fear that the same would happen to me. But I made it out fine :) We were laughing all night about that! Then Saturday we were in the house of an investigator teaching and my comp was sitting on a plastic lawn char, and the two back legs snapped and he fell right off, funniest thing ever!! Lots of funny things have happened to my companion this past week!

 So this week we started teaching a cousin of Hermano Alberto (the brother of the guy who died), his cousin is named Luis and we are teaching his family now which is super exciting!! They already came to church twice which is sweet! Wow, really nothing else happened this week. It went by too fast with too few significant things happening!

Hmm.. well Thanksgiving is coming up soon, nobody here does anything for that holiday, just another good ol' Thursday here!

So here I attached a photo of me and my companion hitchhiking one day which is always super fun! Then I attached a picture of some sandwich that we eat a ton here! As you see there is a before and an after picture. The bread is filled with all sorts of junk and in the second image you can see that there were two whole drumsticks inside. Very interesting, but I like it! Lots of missionaries don´t like it!





Anyways, That was our week! I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving week!

Love Elder Vaughan

Monday, November 12, 2012

Funeral for a Friend, Election Thoughts & Earthquakes


Hello World!

This week was really more sad than anything else. So much happened that I didn´t want to happen. I guess I will start with the sad stuff. First off, remember that young kid I baptized a while ago? Well two Sundays ago in the night his dad´s brother (that would be his uncle, duh) was killed. His name was Fransisco, he had some ties to gangs and was drunk in the street (this guy is NOT a member) and a rival gang member killed him in a very gruesome manner with a machete. So their family has been devastated this week, the family was recently baptized less than a year ago and they are really struggling now. We were in their house almost every day this past week helping them with a million and one problems because the guy that died, he has a 4 year old son named Steven and they had to take care of all the funeral arrangements and take care of Steven. It was nuts. And when the funeral came, well we went to his burial and it was probably the saddest thing that I ever witnessed. I knew Fransisco a little bit, a couple times he would come help us with service projects, but never wanted to hear anything from us about the church. And at his burial it was terribly sad seeing his son crying as they buried him. It was so sad because he was a good guy, but just made some bad decisions. The family that are members tried helping him change by inviting him to church and all those things, but I guess it's too late now.

Then what makes all this worse is two of our investigators (drunks as well) knew Fransisco and one day told us they will get revenge on the murderer and all this garbage, so we had to drop them for obvious safety reasons. This is all just so complicated that we didn't have time or even brain capacity to think about finding new investigators by talking to people in the street and all that. Finding new people to teach was the last thing on our minds this week. Then what made it all worse was Wednesday night when a drunk guy (yeah everyone here is always drunk) let me know that Obama won again. I really can´t believe that people still vote for the man, I don´t even think he's man enough for me to call him a man. Then this drunk guy was rambling on about how Romney is terrible and he threw a million insults at the republican party, insults that I won´t repeat, I wouldn't even say them if I wasn't a missionary! And I hear marijuana AND gay marriage is legal in Washington now??? Wow did I ever pick a good time to leave the country!! Really the people here don´t like Romney (or any Republicans) for two reasons: one, Republicans have tons of money, and two, Republicans don´t want to open the US border. REALLY?? When the drunk was rambling on about how evil and rich Romney is, I asked him if he knew how much money Obama has, then the drunk... stopped ... thought about it for a bit... and that really just made all his arguments invalid. It's sad knowing that people look at a successful businessman as a bad option for Prez. Business owners are not evil, they are intelligent and provide jobs for many people, I think that's a pretty nice characteristic for a man to have right? Anyways, I could continue for hours on how ridiculous this whole Obama thing is.. but I will say one more thing: I am ashamed of the American people.

Okay, so recently there was an earthquake in Guatemala this week, I didn´t feel it because I think it happened at night and I was asleep. But I have felt like about 8 tiny earthquakes now since I have been here. Who knows how many more have happened without me knowing, its normal here to feel short ones that last 4 or 5 seconds.

 So right now we have about 170 or 180 missionaries in this mission, but it really isn't enough. Elder Tenecora and I are so spread thin here. If you look on Google Maps at the city of San Vicente there's a main road that crosses the river Achuapa, the road running north and south, well we are responsible for everything on the East side of that street and the town called Tecoluca (a 20 min bus ride to the south). So we really do cover a ton of area. The other missionaries in this city cover the West side of that main road and including the town Apastapeque (to the North\NorthEast I think). Also the leadership in the church here is really broken, the leaders don´t follow up on their responsibilities. Three months ago we asked the branch prez to call a ward mission leader to help us, and we are still waiting for him to call one. So lots of times we are always trying to do what the leaders don´t do, and we also have to cover for the priesthood responsibilities such as bringing the sacrament to the people who are incapable of coming to church. Its really stressful, so that is why we want more missionaries here!!

Well... that's all I have got to share this week. I hope that you all have a great week!

Elder Vaughan!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day of the Dead, 80 New Missionaries & a Family Tomb

Hello World!

While the 31st of October was Halloween the people here don´t really do much. They like to pretend that they celebrate it, but they don´t. They call it the day of the witch, which is super lame!!! Who dresses up as a witch these days???? Anyways, we had the "Day of the Dead" which they supposedly honor all their family members who have passed away, I already am not a fan of the holiday. I found it very disrespectful and irreverent. The whole city was in the cemetery to paint all the grave stones and tombs bright obnoxious Easter colors, and we went to help a sister paint some graves. When we were in the cemetery the place was more crazy than Wal Mart on Black Friday. People walking around selling stuff yelling and screaming, climbing on tombs and trashing the cemetery. I really found it to be disrespectful, but whatever, not my family members who are buried there.

So this week... really uneventful. Here in the area "La Espiga" we are looking forward to lots of changes in the near future. My companion and I think we figured out why we both stayed here for another change. Last night we found out that in the first week in December we are going to have 80 new missionaries (already knew that), and the mission is going to open 26 new areas in December!!!!!! That is crazy. So what we think is going to happen, they are going to divide "La Espiga" area in two because it is really big (one and a half towns big). And both me and my companion are going to stay here when they divide the area to train the noobs!! I really lost some sleep last night thinking about all that stuff! Super exciting! It will be great because there are so many places we never have time to go to to work because we spend all day walking. So that´s exciting!!


Well... nothing else exciting to report. This may or may not be the shortest email yet! Oh yesterday our investigator "niño pastor" (his actual name is German) came to church and it was great! He knows more about the Bible than all the members combined, and all the young men in the branch are super slackers and he whipped them into shape! He is a really disciplined guy. He works selling candy on buses everyday to help feed his family (remember he is only 15 years old)! If and when he gets baptized he will be a super sweet missionary!! I attached a picture with him here. And yes, we have to wear suits every Sunday, its terribly hot! Anyways we are excited for him, we set a baptismal date for the end of this month!


So that´s about all we have got for this week! Also I attached a picture of the "Vaughan Family Tomb"! I wish that My name tag said "Elder Van" because that is the only way that they understand it! Anyways.. I hope you all have a great week. Love you!

Love Elder Vaughan!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Festival Gastronomico, Armadillo Dinner & No Change

Hola,

So interesting stuff first. Saturday night was the "Festival Gastronomico" The monthly food party they have here. I sure am in the right town, a monthly party with food!! So me and my companion ate Armadillo, how crazy is that?? Then our zone leaders ate Iguana, really strange! I attached some photos of our dinner! It was really good, tasted like chicken, but very hard to eat because the meat is super hard to rip off the bones! But it was really good,, but strange! I am also attaching a photo of the Iguana too, crazy! See those tortillas in the picture? In almost every meal in this country, we eat a million tortillas with everything, its terrible because they have no flavor and are super dry and nasty. When I tell people that we don´t eat tortillas in my country they almost die in disbelief!









So this week was the change meeting, but I had no changes!! I am still with Elder Tenecora in San Vicente, which almost guarantees me another 3 months here at least, which is fine because it is a great area! Me and my comp get along great, so I was happy with not changing! We have got a few great investigators who are progressing very well and hopefully will be baptized this November!

One of our investigators named Carlos (the whole world here is named Carlos!), who struggles with drinking, has now gone two weeks without drinking, and if he continues he can be baptized the 17th of November! It is amazing how much he has changed, in just one week he read all of 1st and 2nd Nephi in the Book of Mormon! Its crazy how much he has changed in the past two weeks! Other than him we are working with the "Niño Pastor" kid, he also has a baptismal date set for the 17th. I really think that they kept us together for another change so that we can focus on working with these people without the trouble of having to change companions and all that annoying stuff!


Mom, I am sorry to hear about your bad dream about me being hit by a car, until today I haven´t been hit my any cars, so that´s wonderful right? People here really do drive like idiots and it is dangerous here because of that. But don´t worry about that, we will be safe.

So I did get your package this week Mom!! It was awesome! Our stove broke, so we made a fire out of an old phone book to cook the popcorn the other day. It was awesome!! Thank you very much! 


I hope that I will get my ballot in the mail this week because I don´t want to return to an Obama nation in 19 more months. Which reminds me, tomorrow marks my 5 months in the mission!! One more month and I have got a half year done! The time really is starting to go lots faster here! It is great to hear from all of you, business is good, but stressful as always. I hope you all have a great week!

Love Elder Vaughan!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Training Period Ends, American Politics & Bus Jumping


Hello!

Okay so this has been my last week with Elder Tenecora, This Wednesday we have changes (my training period was 12 weeks). So either me or him will change, most likely him because he has been here in San Vicente for 6 months, and I have been here almost three. But who knows what will happen. We will see Wednesday! It will be slightly sad having a different companion because when you spend 12 weeks 24/7 with the same guy it is only natural that you become friends (as long as you don´t hate each other)! I still haven´t gotten a package from Mom yet, but I am 99.99% sure that I will get it when I go to the changes meeting in San Salvador on Wednesday, because they always have a ton of packages for everyone there!

So both mom and dad are telling me that I would be really interested in the politics now. And yes I am. Since I have been here I have come to appreciate my country so much more, because most Salvadoreños love America more than most Americans themselves. So many people here have USA pride for no apparent reason, they look up to people there and everyone wants to live there! So I hope I will be able to vote in time for the election, I sure will try!

So the title. "Bus Jumping". Why is that the title? Because I jumped off a moving bus on Friday and almost biffed it super hard. So what happened was me and my comp were on a bus going to Tecoluca to visit some less active members, and we decided to do our bus contacting en route. So as the bus was about to pull in to Tecoluca (super tiny town with one bus stop) my comp approached the front door of the bus to get off, and I approached the back door. As the bus was about 50 meters from the stop a lady in the back tried talking to me asking me questions, then before I knew it I saw my companion out the back bus window running and screaming "ELDEEEEEERRR!!!!!! as the bus pulled away (the next stop is many miles away). I yelled at the driver "¡A VISA A VISA!!" which means "STOP!" I think. So the driver said he couldn´t stop, and as I saw my comp about 100 meters behind so then I foolishly jumped out of the moving bus and almost biffed it on the concrete. But I made it out fine and we were laughing about the whole thing for about ten more minutes after! So I guess that answers Mom´s question of "what was the craziest thing you have done so far in the mission?"!

Well, Carlos the guy who was baptised but not confirmed, well he ate a bad pupusa Saturday night and was in the hospital Sunday with food poisoning. So we talked to him and he said he would come to church this week (yesterday) to do the confirmation. But... he didn´t show up.. so I hope he is really sick! because if he isn't sick and is missing church and the confirmation for some other reason, that´s probably not good! So we hope that he will still be able to make it this coming up week!

Well, that was my week, were still working on teaching the same people as always and I am honestly not sure if our investigators are progressing or not, because its been tough this week. But all is well! As always I enjoy hearing from you all!

Love,

Elder Vaughan

PS: I felt 2 earthquakes yesterday morning.... about the 4th or 5th time I have felt an earth quake in 3 months here! But they are all fairly small and have done nothing! They are kind of exciting in a way!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fried Bananas, Friendly Graffiti, & an Unconfirmed Baptism

Hello World!

So this week went significantly better than the last week! Still hard and challenging and weird in many ways, but good! So remember that drunk guy I told you about? So we taught him a few lessons this week, one of them being the Word of Wisdom (of course). And the next visit after that one he told us that if he needs to stop drinking, he needs to stop doing everything that is bad, and he says that every time he does something little, such as swearing, or having a bad thought, he goes and prays for repentance! WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT???? A guy that has literally hit rock bottom has recognized that need for repentance on such a tiny level, that is really amazing!! He totally hasn´t stopped smoking, but he said that when he does give in to temptation, he feels super terrible (which is good right?). Anyways, that guy is progressing and we hope that he will progress lots more the coming weeks!

Okay, so this week we decided to do some more of our own cooking rather than buying pupusas or whatever. So one of the photos I attached is a picture of our dinner the other day. Fried bananas, fried platanos (yes there is a difference (I don´t understand though)), fried eggs and re-fried beans! That is honestly some of the most typical food here other than pupusas and rice or beans! Here in El Salvador, people cook with buckets of oil, when they fry eggs, you eat more oil than you eat eggs. I don´t know where the world got the idea that America is the fattest country in the world, because I have seen so many fat people here, its just crazy. Every meal is bathed in oil or grease, and the people pay for it when they get to their mid 30s. Anyways, we eat tons of rice, beans, bananas, platanos, eggs and pupusas! Oh, that other random picture is a shot of some more friendly graffiti that isn't gang related (at least I don´t think it is!). Me and my companion like hunting graffiti.



So the past few weeks we have been teaching a man named Carlos (name changed to protect his privacy), we taught him all the lessons but then two Fridays ago, he left to the USA, supposedly going to be there for 5 years or maybe more. He was planning on crossing the border in a manner that is not legal. We were sad to see him go (and leave his family behind) but he felt like he had to go to get a job (because the job market is bad here). So on Tuesday we were eating lunch where we normally eat at a members house on Tuesdays. We were sitting outside on the porch thing. As we were eating we saw Carlos walk down the street, he was supposed to be on his way to the USA by now. And we jumped out of our seats and ran to talk to him to see why he was still here! He says that the group he was going to cross the border with had gained a person, and could no longer take Carlos with them because a lack of space in their method of transportation. So we were able to carry out the baptism on Friday for him now that we have more time, because the next group leaving the the states isn't for another month. Before the baptismal service, Carlos told us that all the guys in his previous travel group were now in a Mexican prison, and that if he would have gone with them he would be in prison too! So he decided that he will not be leaving the country anymore because he realized what could happen to him! So the baptism went well and everything! Except he didn't show up to his confirmation, so hopefully we will find him this week and figure out what happened!

That´s about all there is to report for this week! Stuff is going great, I hate the sun, it is starting to get more hot here everyday! I really miss the daily overcast weather in Washington! I hope that you all have a great week! I love you!

Elder Vaughan

Monday, October 8, 2012

Alcohol, General Conference & Working Hard


Hello family and friends!

So this week was a very.. umm... interesting week. So first allow me to explain. So two Sundays ago we contacted a man and invited him to church, and he came with us and he had a great experience! He loved church and we set an appointment to go back and visit him. So we went to go pick him up for church and we got to his house, there he was passed out right on the concrete in front of the house, drunk as a skunk. Sadly, this kind of thing is something we see on a more than daily basis. One person who we thought would be a great investigator, unconscious in the street, its very sad. Before the mission I really didn´t hate alcohol, it was more of a thing that I never did and that makes people drunk, and that's all I thought of it! But now I really hate alcohol more than anything else in the world, it destroys people and destroys families, and it makes our work as missionaries super hard to do! 

Sorry for the depressing nature of this letter, but this week was tough, as we have a handful of investigators struggling with the problems of drinking, it is a MASSIVE challenge here. Another sad thing, Thursday morning a man in our neighborhood died  because of alcohol. (I tell you this parents because I trust you won´t call the prophet and demand he send me home because I'm in a sketchy place!) What happened is he was walking around drunk, stumbled fell and broke his neck on the sidewalk and died. Unfortunately we saw this man in his deceased mode lying on the ground as we were walking to the zone meeting in the morning. It is just very sad, the police came minutes later and cleaned up the mess. I can say with 100% confidence, that I will never let a drop of alcohol touch my tongue in my entire life. Its pure evil, destructive. It's sad.

So how about a happier topic? General Conference was great! I got to watch it with the gringo zone leaders in English which I was very happy for! The mission president encourages the Latinos who are learning English to listen in English too because that is the language of the prophets, untranslated. SO the conference was super good! When the prophet announced that 18 year old guys and 19 year old girls can now go on missions, everyone freaked out! It was cool, and we are excited to see more people coming on missions! It really is a great thing!! It is so great to hear that Spencer Wilcoxson and Jacob Thomas got their mission calls! I am very excited to hear more about their experiences! Good luck to you two as you enter the MTC very soon!

So it sounds like the presidential race is going great for the Mormon! Yesterday we were visiting a recent convert's house, and the lady asked me if I would vote for Obama and my response.. "NO HOMBRE!" which pretty much means "NO WAY MAN!" The lady laughed like crazy!! It was funny. I really don´t hear much about politics here, just what you guys tell me. Every once in a while I see something about Obama on the TV in peoples houses. So thanks for those little updates! 

A while ago I mentioned how the city of Tecoluca is part of our area and we go there once a week, when we went there this week we hopped on a bus, did our cool little bus preaching thing, and then hopped off before we got there. We walked a while down the road until another bus passed by, and we did the same! We hopped 3 buses to go a 25 minute distance! It was cool because we got a few references, and the passage was free! ;)

So I really am happy, healthy, and excited to continue working in the work of the Lord and all! :) We have a small handful of great people we are teaching, although some have issues with alcohol, we have the cure! ;) I am excited to work this week (how strange, right?) I think I hit that point when I am excited to go out and work! Even though it is hard, It is doable!

This week I got a package from Grandma Suzi, thank you very much! Me and my companion are going to enjoy that tuna cheese pasta stuff for lunch in a moment! :) And Mom, still waiting for the one you sent, which I will probably get when we have the change meeting in the capital in two weeks! I will let you know when I get it! It is great hearing from you all, and it is good to know that you are all doing great! I can´t wait to hear from you all next week! Have a great one! I love you all!

Love Elder Vaughan!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chinese Food Cure, Bus Hopping & No More Shyness

Hello,

OOOKAY, so this week was interesting. So really nothing too notable... lets start with the worst news. So Friday morning I woke up at 2 AM vomiting and diarrheaing (yes, at the same time), and that was miserable. I think I ate something bad, but I have no clue what it would have been. Nonetheless Friday was no fun at all, but don´t worry as I am healthy now. Its actually a miracle that it took two months into the field to get this kind of sick, you know as a gringo in Central America. Every last Saturday of the month there is the "Festival Gastronomica", which is literally just a food party up at the tower park. People set up a tent and cook food and sell it, all sorts of cool things (that I didn´t eat) like armadillo, and normal things like pupusas. This evening I was still feeling a bit sick, but hungry because I ate nothing but white rice and Gatorade for two days. So we saw a tent selling Chinese food, we both saw it and were super excited to eat Chinese food here, because there just isn't Chinese food in San Vicente, there is a little bit in the capital, but none here. So we went and ate some Chinese Food, and it turned out the chef is an investigator of ours, who is also from the states, so he cooked really good food. After eating a plate full of stir fry, rice and won tons, my my diarrhea magically disappeared, so I guess Chinese Food was the cure!

So in this mission, we have a goal to talk to 140 people to find investigators, and this past week we have been doing terrible on that, so on Saturday in the afternoon we tried a new method of contacting people... Bus contacting. So here in El Salvador, there are people who hop on the buses to try and sell stuff and they hop off before the money collector comes around, which this method of selling stuff is perfectly legal, and it is a legit method of us missionaries contacting people! So what we do is we wait for a packed bus to come by, we hop on, we begin shouting who we are and a brief explanation of that we want to share a message, and we have to yell because these buses are so loud, kinda like monster trucks. Then we pass by each person on the bus and if they are interested we take down their info, then we hop off the bus when we see the money collector coming by! It is really nuts! We get like between 40 and 60 people in each round trip. It is super cool, and the references that we do get from the buses are good quality because the people don´t feel pressured into saying yes. So that was a lot of fun this week, we will probably use that method now and then.

So, today is day one of month 5 as a missionary. I really do feel like I have grown a lot since I first entered the MTC 4 four months ago! My Spanish skills sure have grown too! Yesterday I really realized that when I carried on a 45 minute conversation on my own with a guy after we had a FHE. This guy is an investigator, family of some members, and so he was there and he was really interested in hearing about my life in Washington. So at the end of that lengthy conversation I realized that yeah I really do speak Spanish now! That was a really big moral booster! Also this investigator supposedly has a girlfriend from Brooklyn who has the last name Vaughan, so that was interesting! These past two weeks I have really noticed that it is becoming a lot more natural to talk and listen to people, and teaching is so much easier!! I really have learned a ton, and I still have a lot more things to learn! Also, before the mission, I always felt like I had an element of shyness in front of people I didn´t know, but after being able to talk (yell) to 40 people in a foreign language on a loud bus, really that had to have scared away whatever remains of shyness I did have!

So these past four months have really flown by, just 5 more chunks of 4 and I am done! This will go by so fast, I can already tell! But now there is a lot of work to be done here! Sounds like things are going great at home (I think I have said that every email for 4 months now), but you are all doing good back home!! I love you all and miss you a lot! Have a great week!

Love,

Elder Vaughan

Monday, September 24, 2012

Climbed the Tower, Temple Trip & "It is what it is"


Hello!!

So another week, mostly average with a few cool twists! So the cool twists, first last Monday we climbed the tower here in San Vicente for the first time, it was a ton of fun! Such a pretty view!! I attached a picture from that which is cool! Our area covers from that street that the large catholic church is on all the way down into the jungle. I am glad we have finally climbed the tower, he have been wanting to do it for ages now!


Ok, Saturday was sweet. We had a mission wide activity at the temple (as you can see the pic of me and my comp at the temple). The activity was for all the non members and all the recent converts to get to know the temple and learn a little bit more about it! Which was great! Because of the activity some members may start to reactivate and a good handful of investigators had their interests perked and are now.. well more interested which is great! So we are hoping to have great things come from that!


I love the temple here, it is now on my list of favorites, I won´t number them because they are all houses of the Lord. For example, I really wasn´t too enthusiastic about the Guatemala temple because there's no windows. I don´t know, just not too interesting! But the temple here is just so epic compared to the other ones! And it is huge!!! Look how tiny those people are standing next to the temple! Its so cool. Also, it truly is a TON like the new Canada temple, its crazy how similar to the Canada one it is. Of course the one here is a million times bigger than the Vancouver one, but the layout is the SAME and the way it is furnished and all. Its so beautiful and we are glad that members and non members had the opportunity to learn more about it and see it!

Happy birthday Chris! You are now 21 right? You can buy beer now!!! But don´t ok? Enjoy something else instead!

So as far as the work goes this week, we are continuing searching and talking to people, it is tough as usual. But my new favorite quote is "It is what it is". That is what I tell myself when people reject us like crazy, or when we get soaked head to toe in a storm, or when I am just hungry and tired! Yesterday was tough especially, we talked to a ton of people, but they all rejected us hardcore. People telling us we are "perdidos" (lost), or people saying the Spanish equivalent of  "I don´t give a Da** what you have to say to me!" (that happened twice yesterday). Yeah, its real tough, but it is what it is and I know that my efforts have already payed off and will continue to benefit!

Other than that all is great! Pupusa count: 95, almost 100!!! So far all of the elders in my group from the MTC are keeping pupusa counts until the end of the mission... we will have some scary numbers... Anyways, I hope you all have another great week!! I love you all a lot! Talk to you next Monday! :)

Love, Elder Joshua

PS: Best of luck to Mohonri Dorff and Brandon Little in the MTC! You will be great missionaries! Good luck also to Spencer Wilcoxson and Riley Dufour as you prepare to get your own mission calls!

PSS: Mom. I can only think of two things in a package I want. Some skinny ties and some packets of crystal light or some kind of juice powder that I can throw in a water bottle because that sounds good! maybe like some gummy bears too, I don't know what else! I say skinny ties because they are so in style here and I only have one of them! Thanks Mom and Dad, I love you :)

Also the verse I want on my plaque is this one I think. Alma 37:6 and 7 if it talks about the "small and simple things" that would be the one! :) Thanks!!! Talk to you next Monday!!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Independence Day, Tamales & Pizza

Hello People,

So, I am going to be really honest and blunt here. In terms of the missionary work this week, it sucked. We only had 3 lessons with investigators (10-15 is average), nobody came to church, and we had to drop some investigators who are not progressing because they do nothing and its wastes our time. So in terms of the Mormon stuff this week, nothing cool to report, we hope that this week will go better. One big challenge here is retaining members. SO many people get baptized and think they're good, so they go inactive super fast. So we teach "Persevering to the end" at least a million times a week. In San Vicente there are enough members to make two stakes, but so many are inactive, and as a result we have one District, not even a single stake! ¡¡Super Chaffa!! So many times when random people we talk to, or drunk guys in the street approach us they say that they're already Mormon, which is hard to believe. But when we go back to the house, we look those people up and there they all are! Its crazy how many inactive members there are, its kinda sad! But that is also a part of our job here! Man the drunk guys here are so nuts, they all speak English and always try and teach us about God in the middle of the street, it's nuts.


So this past Saturday, the 15th was Independence Day here in El Salvador! I think that most of the other countries in Central America have the same Independence Day, can someone check with Dr. Google on that for me? Thanks. So Saturday was a big parade festival cool thing going on in town, and since nobody was in there house we got to go to the parade thing and contact people and watch the parade! It was so cool! I am attaching pictures from it! They had the military (fully armed with heavy machine guns, bazookas, ghillie suited snipers, it was legit. Also all the schools marched down the street with all the marching bands and lots of cool people in costumes and all that good stuff! So that was really exciting! I attached some pictures of the parade.





So later we had an activity at the church where they had typical foods from each of the Central American countries which was good for the most part! Lots of tamales (every Latin American country claims the tamale to be their "typical food", I think they're gross! More boring than gross really). We went to the activity because we had invited some investigators to come, but as aways, nobody showed up! Which is so frustrating! People here take no shame in lying, they lie like crazy!!! You can call someone a liar and they take ZERO offense to that, but if you say "tú madre" they will put a bullet in you. its interesting. Ok, they really don´t shoot you if you say "your mom", but they get so offended, not that I tried it, because I didn't! For example, about a week ago we tried to return to an investigators house for a second lesson and the man and his wife were sitting on the front steps, when he saw us approach he walked in the house. We talked to his wife to see if the man was available for a lesson and the wife said "he's not home now, he just went to the store", right after we saw him walk right into the house! I was so stumped, how could you lie so obviously and have no shame or whatever! People are crazy!

Sorry if this letter seems short, I feel like every other missionary in the world writes an epistle giving an account of every step of every day of the week. I just say what I find to be the highlights of the weeks. By the way, pupusa count update: 76. that's pretty impressive for six almost seven weeks! Anyways, I am ready to enjoy a good p-day, we have lots to do because the last two weeks we had to spend p-day as a zone which is lame but still fun! By the way, last Monday after I wrote home from San Salvador in a cyber cafe, we went to Pizza Hut. Most satisfying meal I have had in months, including the food in the Provo MTC, the food there just made me feel fat. Anyways, in Pizza Hut me and Elder Ledezma (Panama) shared a huge pizza, 8 buffalo wings and a pitcher of colachampange (don´t worry, that's not champagne, its a soda they have here in El Salvador, so good!). I was so satisfied and happy after Pizza Hut!

So, It sounds like all is well back at home! I love hearing from you all, as usual. Have a great week, I love you!

Love,

Elder Vaughan

PS: Theres also a couple photos here with the kid, Alejandro I baptized! wooo! Also a random picture of the volcano with some super legit clouds, thought that was a cool thing to show. This is the ugliest pretty country I have ever seen! By that I mean, the whole country is your garbage can, but somehow its pretty at the same time! This is a cool country, I love it and hate it! :)



Monday, September 10, 2012

Bloody Cow Hearts, P-Day Soccer & 4 a.m. Birthday Bands

Hola!

Hello once again! Well this has been another interesting week, tough, but slightly more rewarding! So cow hearts. I was in a house of a recent convert teaching them, and I didn't understand the dialogue before this happened, but the mother of the family brought out a cow heart!!! A freaking cow heart!!! what the crap!!! Apparently they eat them here!!! It was bigger than my head and dripping in blood, I felt like puking. So sick. Third world countries like to eat weird things, its weird. Anyways, I feel like there were a million other things to say this week, but they all escaped my mind.

Anyways, right now we are all in San Salvador because we had a soccer game against the Ilopango Zone, I don't know who won, but I scored two goals, which was super awesome. I really forgot that I have some small amount of skill in soccer, a skill that I thought was long gone! So that was super fun. And now we are in San Salvador writing in a ciber, because we won`t have time when we return to San Vicente later this afternoon. So on Wednesday marks my 6 weeks here in the field, my first transfer done. I really feel like I am starting to get into the groove of things and understand Spanish better! I really feel like that is becoming stronger!!

So Saturday morning at about 4 AM, we were abruptly awoken by a mariachi band outside our house! They were playing music for some one's birthday in a neighbors house, and I don't understand this tradition of playing music really loud at 4 am for a birthday. I would be upset if anyone did that for me, the band played like 5 full length songs and I got gypped out of a solid 30 minutes of sleep! People here really have no sense of when they are making too much noise at the wrong hour. I miss the sound ordinances we have back in Marysville WA!!

This week I have definitely seen more progress or "success" as you could say it, we didn't baptize any new people or anything. The good thing is, we are starting to see more and more people who have been prepared by the Lord to be received into the church. So one man, Roberto, we came into contact with him one day in the street and he let us in his house to teach him. When we finished the first lesson, we extended the baptismal invitation (without a specific date), and his response went as follows(translated of course): "Yes. So when is the soonest I can be baptized?". That really kinda blew my mind because we are so used to indirect answers from people with such questions, but we know that this guy really has been prepared to hear what we have to say!

One happy thing about this week, is we stopped doing breakfasts with our cocinera because those were just terrible, cold refried beans the consistency of water, spongy cheese that contains more salt than the Great Salt Lake, and eggs that were fried in a swimming pool of grease. Seriously, people here cook with so much grease, it is so horrible (you can see the grease on so many people here too). I thought America was bad with eating greasy foods, try the food here, worse than any Big Mac you ever ate. So for the breakfasts I eat cereal and milk with whatever fruit I have, and since Latinos think cereal with milk is so weird, my companion eats sandwiches. It is so much better making our own breakfasts, we would usually have to sit in the cocineras house for 30 minutes to wait for our plate of cold beans and cheese. So I am doing better in the food dept.

Saturday we had a baptismal service for a kid who just turned 8, his parents are recent converts. The Andrade family, they always have us over for FHE every Monday at 6:00, its awesome. So I got to perform the baptism (doesn't count towards mission numbers, but I got to perform it), which was a great experience! I think the kid (Alejandro) wanted me to do it because I always talk with him about The Avengers and other super hero stuff, so for that he really likes talking with me! So this family is really great! They are super poor, they live in a shack house kind of thing. At night it is illuminated with candles. And every time we go over they try and offer us food, whether it be pupusas or beans and rice, they always give us something, which I appreciate so much!! I know beans aren't exciting, but when a family like this gives it to you it is the most delicious dinner ever! They are so great to the missionaries, even though they don`t have much they always want to give!

I guess that sums up the notable events from the week. I would attach photos, but I didn't know we would write in San Salvador so I don't have my camera stuffs. So next time I will have some pictures to share! Thanks for all the letters and emails I get from you all! I am happy to hear all is good at home! I miss you all a lot, and look forward to hearing from you again soon! I love you!

Love

Elder Joshua Vaughan

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tropical Storm, Bloody Shirt & Dengue Fever

Hola!

Well another very interesting week just happened here! And really? There was an earthquake?? I didn´t know that! I felt a very tiny one a couple weeks ago, because apparently they happen here a ton, lots of little ones! So really, I wouldn´t worry about the earthquakes here if I were you, well be good! I did hear about some big tropical storm here named "Isaac" that passed through Central America, but I really didn´t take notice of anything unusual because it rains almost every night here super hard with thunder and lighting and all that good stuff. Last night the rain was a little bit more nuts than usual, at about 8:00 we were eating a nice dinner of pupusas across the street from our house and that´s when it started dumping buckets. The street literally turned into ankle deep water, and we live on a slight hill, so the water was cruising down the street like a river. So when we ran the maybe 10 or 15 step distance from the pupuseria to our house, it appeared like we just came out of a river, well, we did. So really during the daytime hours it usually doesnt rain, sometimes, but most of the time it is really sunny and hot, then in the evening it cools off with a nice raining. I usually hate the heat, but really I don't care anymore, "Es lo que es" (it is what it is), anyways, when I come home I know I will be begging for a sweater when I step off that plane! But once you get past the heat this place really is beautiful, except on garbage day when everyone chucks their bags of garbage in the streets in order to be collected later, but all the dogs tear in to the bags and it is a mess! Other than that this is really a nice place, in terms of nature and stuff at least!

So in our area here, there is a town called Zacatecoluca (legit name, right? say it 10 times fast). Well we go to this town usually once a week on a Friday or a Saturday, this week we went there on Friday to visit a couple members of the church. Our method of transportation to Zacatecoluca (tecoluca for short) is a 35 cent bus ride, about 20 minutes away. But on the way back to San Vicente from Tecoluca, the buses only come by every 30 minutes. So to save some time we are allowed to hitchhike, yes, hitchhiking is a legitimate means of transportation here for us! We just stand out by the street and stick our lovely thumbs in the air and eventually some kind soul in a pick up truck stops and we hop on in the back of the truck and relax for a nice speedy and free ride back to San Vicente. Its really a lot of fun riding in the bed of a pickup, although it is a risky thing, its worth it!

Now lets talk about some interesting people. First, Santos Merino. Lots of people here have religious names like "Santos" because this is a religious country (hence the name "El Salvador", (Para ellos que no hablan Español, "El Salvador" is Spanish for "The Savior" (you're welcome!))) Anyways, this Santos dude, we contacted him on the street one day and this week we came to visit him. He is a strange brew of Catholic and Evangelic, and we came to visit him and he already knew everything about our church, and well every church in the world! The last thing we talked about was that he doesn't believe in modern day revelation, and that it all ended with the apostles. The ironic thing is that earlier he told us a story of one day he prayed to God and that God directly answered his prayer (which would be modern day revelation right?). Anyways, this man offered the final prayer, and during the prayer he whipped out a little vial of consecrated oil and stepped towards me and anointed me and gave me a blessing that I could go forward and preach with the power, authority and revelation of God (I know ... this guy's logic really isn't fitting), then he did the same to my companion. I tried so hard to not laugh, I almost burst out laughing in my prayer because it was just so strange!

Okay, lets talk about some more interesting people! So yesterday we were out contacting people in the street and this clearly drunk man approached me (they always do that) and started blabbing off to me in English, when people here get drunk they suddenly are capable of speaking some amazing English, it truly is impressive! Well, this guy, named Will, started blabbing off a story to me about how his life is super chaffa (when people start telling their life story it usually ends in a pleading for some money or for some food), anyways Will showed me his hand, there was a big chunk of flesh literally just gone from the palm of his hand! He said he fell over and I guess that happened to his hand somehow! Anyway, he started crying because his wife left him (I wonder why...) and he just cried like a baby (I felt slightly bad). So he approached me and gave me a big hug, patting me on the back (with the bloody hand), in my head I was very angry at this man, had he no common sense???? Anyways I ended up with a bloody shirt at the end of the day (photo attached), no worries, I managed to scrub it all out! With the drunk guys ("Bolos"), you just gotta roll with the punches, and if you invite them to church it counts as one of our daily 20 contacts we have to do! The Bolos are really nearly harmless, they just cry and beg for money, and give bloody hugs, I sure hope that doesn't happen again!


So now our best guy we are teaching is named Carlos Gonzales (The whole world here is named Carlos or Juan), he is a, well I don´t know how to put it... He is a B.A. biker guy who we talked to in the street a couple weeks ago. I don't know if I have mentioned him before, but he came to us wanting to raise his new baby in a church where his kid can have a good religious family and grow up in a good situation that Carlos did not have. Which is really great! We taught him one time and we had invited him to come to church but he didn't show up. Yesterday, about 30 minutes into the sacrament meeting, we heard a Harley Davidson bike pull into the church parking lot (as we all know these motorcycles are all super loud and annoying!). So we nearly ran outside to greet him, and not only Carlos came, but on the bike was his mujer (woman) and his newborn son! It's wonderful that he came to church, and hilarious that he takes his family around on his Harley! He is a great guy and excited to learn more!

So that pretty much sums up my week. Also there has been a minor outbreak of dengue fever, so we all had to go to Wal Mart and buy mosquito nets to sleep under at night, but no worries, we are all good! Usually I would avoid a WalMart in the States, but when we had a meeting in the capital on Wednesday, and the president commanded us to go to walmart to buy the mosquito nets. I have never before enjoyed a WalMart trip like I did on that day! It felt like I was back in the States for a moment, the we walked outside, back into a third world country!


Ok, as far as packages go, the mail system here is pretty reliable, I expected it to be really bad, but it truly is reliable! We only get mail once a month, just because thats when they hand it out and all. If you happen to have any stickers of the Virgin Mary, slap a few on any packages you may or may not send me, because here Mary is more important than God or even Jesus Christ. But if you don't have any stickers of her, Jesus stickers will do!

Well all is well here and it is great hearing from you all! I miss you all a lot, but I am enjoying the work here. This month starts my 4th month as a missionary (2nd month in the field!) I love you all, talk to you in one week!!!!

Love,

Elder Vaughan

Monday, August 27, 2012

Baptisms, Bat Attack & Chaffa

Hola!

Well this week has sure been pretty tough, but pretty great at the same time! I guess it was tough because it was hard finding people to talk to, and so many appointments we had set fell through which is really disappointing! But on the bright side, on Saturday we had two baptisms! Ceci and Meybelline, two 13 year old girls who have friends in the church! So we were supposed to have a third kid, Franklin show up, but he didn´t, I don´t know why, this week we will have to go and see what is going on with his life! Anyways, the baptism was really great, I will attach some pictures! The branch president, President Josúe Peralta did the baptisms, and he is here in the photos. President Peralta is really cool, one day his wife made us pupusas and they were super good. In his house he has a picture of the Denver temple, I don´t know why though, he just says he likes it a lot, so he has a picture of it! I thought that was really cool!

This week was honestly pretty uneventful other than the baptisms we had. It has been a bit tricky finding new people to talk to and teach. We have a few cool families we are trying to work with, but it has been tough meeting with them when we have had appointments set, nobody is home! Which is discouraging! We do so much walking sometimes, or always. I am jealous of those missions that have bikes and cars! So there are 2 missions in El Salvador, mine, and the Santa Ana - Belize mission, and they have two departments of this country and all of Belize! Sometimes I am jealous of those missionaries who are in Belize because they have bikes, speak tons of English, sounds pretty cool! Anyways, this place is cooler because we have the temple and they don´t!

So there are a lot of people here that actually do speak English as they have family in the states, or they once lived there or whatever reason! So many times I get to speak English with people which is so awesome! I spoke English with several people this week, I love it because Elder Tenecora knows next to no English and he has no idea what is going on, and he just looks at me and asks what just happened, I simply say "Bienvenidos a mi mundo!". Well I say it in a nice friendly way of course! Me and him get along great, he teaches me a lot of stuff and we work hard!

So in the attached photos, first is the church building here with a cool shot of the volcano in the background! Although this town can feel so dirty and polluted, sometimes the scenery is pretty! Next is a random photo I took of my companion last P-Day, I don´t think I have ever shown you all what he looks like, so here's a random photo I have of him (green shirt). Next is just a picture of the baptismal font and the room where we held the baptism. We only filled about half the chairs as the service was held at 10 in the morning because the girls had to do something else later in the afternoon! It was a good service and I got to conduct the service which was a cool experience! Next is a picture of President Peralta with the two girls and his son. The next is a picture of Meybelline with her mom and sisters! Next would be me and Elder Tenecora with Ceci, Meybelline, and the family of Meybelline! I know it may be hard to see the whiteness of my skin as I blend right in with the wall behind me, sorry about that inconvenience!









So at this point I really have gotten over the things that are kinda "chaffa" (a word describing things that just suck), such as the sketchy food, big bugs, dirty stuff and ect. I really have come to accept those things as facts of life, because they really won´t change here, I still have a solid handful of months left to finish(although I already have a solid 3 behind me!). Well last night as we were eating our pupusas and getting ready for bed a bat flew out from our bathroom and started flying around the house. It was hilarous because that bat made us act like two 5 year old girls. It was so hilarious, but freaky. That would be an example of the "chaffa" things in life that we just have to accept as a normality!

As Chris mentioned in his blog, his apartment in Logan Utah now is no palace, but it is better than any other place he stayed in Africa! I can relate to that feeling so well! My standards of what a "nice house" is have changed so drastically! Sometimes I will say "¡Que bonita esa casa!", then moments later I just mentally slap myself in the face and say "what the *swearword* are you talking about?? That house is a piece of junk!". I will definitely appreciate whatever living environment I am in after this mission so much more!

I feel super lame because I really don´t have anything else special to report! Once again this morning I flushed the toilet with a bucket and showered with a bucket too. Every time I flush with a bucket I think of Chris and probably how he had to do that so many more times than me! Anyways, it sounds like Chris and Jenni are doing great in their first days in college! They will have tons of great experiences there, I am excited to hear more!

I apologize if my emails are ever repetitious our uninteresting, sometimes I can´t think of any cool or notable things that happened! Well the other day I officially had the worst drink ever invented on the face of the earth, I just remembered it because Dad mentioned a fantastic sounding drink that he invented. Anyways, this drink is called "atol chucco". Atol is a hot drink made from corn, which is actually pretty decent. the part "chucco" literally means "filthy". So this drink had atol in it (which is fine), about 3 tablespoons of hot fiery sauce, lemon, lime, avocado juice, beans, and some other fluid like a cream or milk that I could not identify. Yeah, definitely the worst thing I ever tasted. Those ingredients all separate are really good, I like them... but all in one drink... that's just blasphemy.

Anyways, All is well, my eye infection is now nonexistent, and I am ready to enjoy this p-day! Gonna do some cleaning, maybe write some letters, buy some food at the store, a haircut and maybe some futbol!

Mom asked me in what ways I think I have grown. Well I would say my perseverance, not giving up on something so easily. Which is a skill that I know will help me later on in life, and that it is an attribute that I somewhat lacked. I actually miss doing homework for Computer Science (im a dork huh?), in Spanish computer science is called Informática! I think that sounds so much more legit! Last night I actually had a dream that I was at USU with Chris and we were doing Computer Science homework up in the Comp labs in Old Main... I sure am a strange kid, sorry you had to hear that!

It is wonderful hearing from you! Sounds like everything there is awesome! I am excited to hear more about Chris´ and Jenni´s experiences at college, it feels like it was yesterday when I was just starting school at USU. You two will sure have a blast! Anyways, I will talk to you all next week! I miss you all a lot!

Love,

Elder Vaughan

Monday, August 20, 2012

Eye Infection, Counting Papusas & MS13

Hola!

Well another week done! This week was rough but at the same time good. Rough because, well on Thursday night I got an eye infection (supposedly from the heat, sun, and humidity. Lots of gringos have had this problem here!), and It was super red and I couldn't really go outside because, well I really couldn't see in the light! It was super dumb, so I spent all of Friday and most of Saturday indoors trying to recover. but please don't worry, I am fine now! Seriously! My eye really doesn't hurt anymore and I am capable of working! So STOP WORRYING! Oh yeah, so btw I gave up on wearing contacts, because well, this place is somewhat filthy and well I can probably avoid future eye problems if I don't use contact lenses, no worries, all is good!

Ok so we are hoping to have a baptism this Saturday with 2 hopefully 3 people, the third girl is really a flake and we don't know if she really wants to be baptized, so we will see what happens! So we are hoping that all will go well with that as planned! I am excited!

So the food, Yeah, I am getting a lot better at downing the food here! I am really probably making it sound terrible, which sometimes it is, and sometimes it is pretty good! Just about every night we buy Pupusas for dinner, we can buy 3 for one dollar, which is a sweet deal! I like them, they aren't exactly healthy, but they taste good! I attached some pics of pupusas, we usually drench them in salsa and you eat them with your hands! You just rip a piece off and eat it, which actually is really hard because they are so stinkin hot after they have been on the grill! So far I have only had 28 pupusas (yes I am keeping score, all the gringos are doing it), some of the elders that came in to the country at the same time as me are already in the 40s, so I really haven't eaten too many in comparison! Some missionaries get up to 1,000 or 2,000 by the end of the mission, which is nuts!! Anyways, we will see what happens! We only eat the pupusas with bean and cheese, because the others with port and stuff really do damage to the gringos! The rules here are so strict with what we can and cant eat, its good but its tough. We cant eat fish, anything from a pig, no pupusas with meat, no Coca Cola or Pepsi, no cabbage and no strawberries! Sometimes its tough because we have to reject food from people (its especially tough when the person is poor because they don't have much), and in the MTC I heard that theres a lot of fish here, but when we got here they said we cant eat it! Theres one situation in which you can drink a Coca Cola, and that is if you get parasites, which I don't want... but if I do get some parasites, I will be more than happy to drink a Coca Cola!

So this past week we have been teaching a few new people, the people are really great, but it is tough teaching people who are Catholic or Evangelico, because they really try and teach us when we are trying to teach them. We did find a cool family the other day and we taught them once, and I fell like it is promising with them! So we will be working with them and a few other people pretty hard this week!

So I realized I haven't really sent many pictures home that I am actually in, so I will try and take more photos in the coming weeks for you! Attached here I put a couple pictures of the pupusas and my legit cases for my scriptures and my hymnbook! So that stuff is cool, after the mission I want to try and make some pupusas because they really are pretty good!




So this last Wednesday we went to San Salvador to do some immigration stuff for me, which was cool. And I ate a cheeseburger at Wendy's which was heavenly! And this coming up Wednesday we have to go to San Salv again for some meeting, so that will be interesting! When we go to the capital we take these buses that are actually really nice and have movies and music (its all in Spanish so I cant understand it anyways). so yep!

So people are asking what things I would like to get in a package. Well its tough to say really! I really don't know, really anything that's cool snacky food, I don't know. There's really nothing that I really really need right now. If something comes to mind later on I will let you know.

So Dad mentioned stuff about a war that was going on here in the 1980s, and a bunch of crazy stuff. I really don't hear much about that stuff, really the big thing is the gangs, which aren't really even too bad. As long as you mind your own business you will be fine. It's actually a rule that we CAN NOT teach anyone who is part of or ever was part of MS13 without special permission from the mission president. Really the most that the gang people do is "ay, gringo, de me una cora!" ) give me a quarter. And that really never turns hostile or dangerous in any way, if they don't leave us alone, we just have to throw them a quarter and they leave. So honestly, no big deal. We are always safe here! I have had probably 4 or 5 people ask me for a quarter, but I never give them one, we just say sorry and move along. So yeah!

Well it is super exciting that Chris is headed of to school this week, as well as Jenni! They are going to have great experiences! And its too bad that Jesse hurt his ankle and cant do tennis for this moment. Kind of a bummer, but you will heal up soon dude!

Well sounds like all is well back at home, It has been great hearing from you as always. I hope you all have a great week! :) I love you.

Love, Elder Vaughan!