Saturday, June 30, 2012

Professional Chefs, Call Center Aspirations & a Man with a Shotgun

Hey everyone!! It seems like everything is going wellish at home! And things here are going pretty well, the days are honestly really boring as all we do is sit in class all day everyday! Umm, although this beats the Provo MTC because we have professional chefs whereas in Provo BYU students cook all the food! So I like it here! Also we are allowed to leave the MTC grounds to go to the temple grounds and practice our Spanish skills with some of the random people we come across there!

Yesterday I met a few guys who are from El Salvador, in Guatemala to learn English so they can get a job at a calling center. They are putting so much into getting this simple boring job, it really puts things into perspective for me because nobody in the states would ever dream of working at a call center, where here that is these guys goal! So anyways, on Monday we are going to either zona 1 or zona 5 to go tracting... YEAH crazy!!! we will be going on splits with a Latino Elder and hopefully finding someone we can teach! I am very excited and very nervous! What a crazy experience that will be!

Hmm so last P-Day we didn't go to the market because there was confusion as to when the market people were to show up, so maybe we will go today! Also, at the end of week three here we all will be going to zona 1 (city center) where they have all the big Catholic buildings, huge markets and that! That will be a really cool experience, I don't plan on buying much because I don't want to carry around random stuff for two years. There will be plenty of opportunities in El Salvador to buy cool stuff too. We will see.

So the other day at the temple when we were walking back to the MTC, another elder bet me 10 quetzals (not even a dollar) that I wouldn't go talk to the gas station guard who was armed with a shotgun in his hands, so yeah. That's what I did! It was cool! He was a happy dude and It was cool talking to him!

Anyways, we only have 14 computers here for 130 missionaries, so my time is now up. I will send you all a letter to hopefully tell you more stuff there! I love you all a lot and look forward to hearing from you soon!

Love,

Elder Vaughan!

PS: I can't remember which day I leave to El Salvador, I will be flying there though, I will let you know more details next time and when I know more!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

AK-47 Rifles, Ruth's Chris Steak House & USU Beats BYU

¡Hola! Well the first few days here have been going pretty well for me! Learning the language is still crazy, especially where it is the only language spoken here! The craziest thing is how there are armed guards all over everything! The temple, zoos, gas stations, the MTC, everything has guards armed with AK47s and shotguns, its really intimidating haha! It is good though because they keep us safe...right? haha.

I don´t really know what all to say, the MTC here really is many many times nicer and cleaner than Provo! The Provo(logne) MTC was so boring in a way, and this feels more like a vacation home! And the food, lets say The food here is like unto Ruth´s Chris Steak House, and Provo's food is like Buzz Inn Steak House. That's kinda the difference in the food here! The food is mostly normal things such as steak and potatoes and spagetti and other normal stuff, except it all has this crazy Guatemalan twist, I love it! We all love it here so much more.

Also I am greatful for the opportunity to learn here where I can learn Español much faster and more correct (based on how they speak it down here). The coolest thing is that we get to leave the MTC grounds from time to time, which really helps the moral you know, like in Provo we never really left the MTC haha. For example today, sometime later we will have the opportunity to go to a market nearby and go shopping for some goodies! I am really looking forward to that!

And to get the local money I will just use the ATM here in the MTC, so no worries there! On Tuesday we will get to go to the temple (go inside it), we already have walked the grounds before! I am looking forward to that!

So my compañero es el Elder Barton, he is from Tooele Utah, and he is a student at USU as well, there are more USU students here than BYU, it's legit!

So another crazy thing is the traffic, there are so many cars and they all drive at least 50 mph down the streets here in the city!! They are all insane! I felt like I was about to die on the bus ride from the airport to here! Everyone is such a crazy driver! I can´t believe it! When people ride the bus they just stand right in the door of the bus while the door is open and is cruising at 50 mph, then when they get off, the busses dont even stop all the way (mine did though), so people literally jump off the bus while it is still in motion!

Anyways, unfortunately my time is up here! I will be sending out a letter as well, so keep an eye open for that in the next week or two, I don´t know how long the mail will take! It is great to hear all you have to say! I miss and love you all a lot!

Have a great week!

Love,

Elder Vaughan

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I'm in Guat!

I only have ten minutes here to write!! I am here in Guatemala and it is awesome!! Forgive my spelling, these keyboards are strange! The MTC here is really so much cleaner and nice looking than the Provo(logne) one! NO JOKE!! So, P-day is on Saturday, then I will have more time to write to you all! It was great talking to you all when I was at the airport! I love you all a lot and miss you! I can't wait to tell you all more when I have the time! This place is so insane and amazing! I love you all!

Love El Elder Vaughan!

P.S. I haven't met my new compañero yet, but I think he will be a native español speaker maybe! We will see! Just had to say that! Love you all, talk to you on Saturday!

Monday, June 18, 2012

El Fin Mensaje de Provo(logne) -- Last message from Provo(logne)

Hello!

So the past week has been idk, a blurr?? Anyways like I said before, each day feels like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day! We learn Spanish and teach investigators all day! The language is coming along much better, It is still stressful as ever, but I know that I will pick it up soon enough! So when we aren't learning Spanish in class, we are either eating, studying, or in some sort of a devotional or seminar! I swear, every single devotional and seminar we have attended has been focused on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which it is crazy how much we hear about it, but I know that it is important as it is our purpose as missionaries to bring people to Christ. My testimony has definitely grown since I have been here!

So to prove that I have actually been learning Spanish here (and not just picking my nose) I will commit you to baptism En Español:

¿Seguira el ejemplo de Jesucristo al ser bautizado por alguien que posea la autoridad del sacerdocio de Dios?

Well I can't really get the accent marks to work correctly on this computer, but close enough. What that sentence means is:

Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by somebody who possesses the priesthood authority of God?

Anyways, I am really amazed at how much Spanish I do know (and how much I don't know!) So I feel that going to Guatemala tomorrow will be insane, but do-able. So at the beginning of this week, an elder in our district went home early, Elder Griffin from Portland Oregon. He was struggling with health problems (he can't eat gluten) and the food here at the MTC was rough and he felt like he couldn't handle it in Costa Rica (where he was going to serve). It was really sad seeing him go because he was one of the few guys in my zone that I could talk to about something other than basketball! He is a great guy and was glad he was here for the time he was. It is also tough to say goodbye to all the other guys here in our zone as they are all awesome! But I know that I will meet plenty of great people in Central America! Although, I do admit, it will be nice to have the conversation among the Elders shift from basketball to soccer (most likely!).

The thing that I really don't get about the whole sports thing is that people cheer for teams for no apparent reason! For example, one elder says how he's a huge Miami Heat fan and how they are his favorite, bragging about how that team will win! I then ask if they have ever been to Miami or seen or met anyone from that team, he says no. To me, I liken the situation unto that of a dog urinating on a bush that is not his, and then calling it his own just because he released his fluids on it! It makes no sense to me! On the other hand if my father is cheering for the Denver Broncos, well that makes sense because he grew up near Denver, yes? Anyways, when people are freaking out because "OH YEAH THE THUNDER BEAT THE HEAT TODAY!!!!!" I just don't get why it matters that a team you have nothing to do with beats another team you have nothing to do with, to me its all a game. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy the gym time we have here to play a game of ball, or even before I was here I enjoyed being in them! Sports are great!

It's funny when we're all talking about our life plans and what we want to study or do after the mission, a majority of the elders say stuff along the lines of exercise science or physical whatevers and things such as that, then when it gets to me I say Computer Science (for those who don't know, it is one of the most divine professions a man can possess in this life!), they all are like "...okay... that's so cool...". I personally love it! At meal times when the whole table is bragging about how many protein shakes they chug on a daily basis, me and Elder Sheldon Brown (who studies physics), always talk about nerdy stuff like technology or nuclear reactors! Everyone thinks were so weird, I love it! Go science!!

That is so cool that Dad got to drive the Survivor guy in the parade! Mother, that is not childish or pathetic, its not everyday when you become personally acquainted with a person who was on live television! I think it is cool at least! I hope you all are enjoying the last of school, and things sound to be moving along very well at the warehouse! I wish I could be there to continue helping!

So, my travel plans for tomorrow. Like I said in the previous email I sent all the times and stuff for flights. I know we will be leaving the MTC at 4:30 heading to the airport! So once we are through security and have found our gate, we are then allowed to make the calls home! So probably around 5:30 (4:30 Washington time). But be ready for whenever! I will first try by calling Dad's cell phone and if that fails, Mom's cell phone. The order is random, I just picked that so that you would know where to expect the call to come in at! There is no time limit given for how long we can talk, as much time as we have, also depending if we have to share the payphones with our group of 10 people, I don't know what the situation will be! So be ready for a long OR short call!!! I have a calling card to pay for the call, and when I do laundry today I will get some quarters for backup just in case!!

I am looking forward to calling you tomorrow evening! It will be great to hear from you!

Love,

Elder Vaughan

Monday, June 11, 2012

Groundhog Day, the Pantry and the Police Station

Well, I am trying to upload pictures here to this email, but the MTC has nazi computers, so I don't think I can send pictures home from this dumb machine. I don't even have that many pictures anyways, maybe when I have access to a non nazi computer in Central America I will send you the pictures! One thing this place lacks is free agency, but I guess its okay because we're missionaries and all! I can't believe how little you can to with these computers, you know windows explorer, or whatever that program is that you use to view your files? Well these computes don't even have that, I didn't think that was possible! Anyways, I might just have to wait to send back pictures, unless you all know some special way I can get them home!

So I have been asked what the one hardest thing I have had to overcome here is, well really nothing is. I feel like Tom Hanks (or whoever that was) in Groundhog Day. Everyday I wake up, play basketball for 45 minutes, go eat, learn Spanish, eat, learn Spanish, eat and learn more Spanish really. Being a missionary we just study, eat, study, eat, study, eat and sometimes teach. When were teaching in Spanish the doctrine is so simple to begin with that it's not even that hard, and since those in El Salvador aren't very educated, we get to keep the doctrine simple. Its great. I lost track of how many lessons we have taught in Spanish now (we haven't done any in English), probably 7 or 8? I don't know. I hear that all the English speaking missionaries have to teach super deep doctrine, which is great for me because I don't know much to begin with sooo yeah.

So Aunt Staci sent me a package with food, which I am grateful for! There's this Mongolian missionary on my floor of the residence halls who always comes and talks to me (his English is just about as good as my Mongolian), and he always eats that caramel corn Staci sent me! He loves it! Also Mom sent me a package, we have so much food in our room everyone calls our room the pantry, its the best way to live! Also thanks to the Thomas family for that card they sent me! I forget what day things happen on, like I said before, Groundhog Day.

Soo sometime this week I got all my travel plans, they are as follows:

June 19, 2012

Delta Airlines
Flight # 1211
SLC to LAX
Leave at 8:15 PM
Arrive at 9:20 PM

Delta Airlines
Flight # 457
LAX to GU(Guatemala City)
Leave at 11:59 PM
Arrive at 5:54 AM

(I don't know what time zones these arrival and departure times are in)

So we will be leaving the MTC around 4:30 PM (Utah time). After we are through security and at the gate, I can use a pay phone and call home. So be ready, I will call. I will buy a calling card here at the MTC for there because if you pay debit/credit on the phones there, it is literally between $20-$50 a MINUTE. So I will buy a calling card here so it will be significantly cheaper the phone. Umm.. Luggage, I will try my best and keep my bags at a reasonable weight you know, and whatever the charges are I will throw on my debit card! I think that's all the important info I need to share as far as travel goes!

So in our travel group there will be 10 of us going to the CCM in Guat and then moving on to El Salv, there is another group of 11 who are leaving that morning but are serving in the Guat mission. So yeah! A few days ago I got to go on a field trip to the police station here in Provo(logne) to get background checks or whatever so we can go to El Salv. Thanks for raising me well and helping me keep a crime free life, there is another elder who went with us to the police station who cannot go because when he went to BYU he beat up a kid and did some things that I probably shouldn't discuss as a missionary, so I'll let you all use your imaginations on that one! So yeah, sad to be him! He won't be going to El Salvador.

So, since I have been here, I have never heard of so much talk of basketball in my whole life!!! All the guys are all talking about basketball non-stop!!! I don't compehend! Its really just insane that they can talk so long about these BBall players and stuff. What really amazes me is how many teams and players they all know the names, jersey #s and records of... and yet nobody remembers that 'Vaughan' has an 'a' right before the 'n'!! Especially since I wear my name on my shirt all day, seriously, It isnt that hard to do. Anyways! Life is good, the Spanish is good! And yes I saw sister Coon the other day in the cafeteria and said hi to her! Hmmm... I know that right after I log out I will forget 100 things I still need to mention... Oh well! Have a great week!

Love,

Elder Vaughan! (The elder who lives in the pantry and knows nothing about basketball)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Drinking from a Fire Hose

Hello World!

I have been doing great, as Dad said in a DearElder letter to me, the MTC is like drinking from a firehose! Oh how right he is!!! Lets just say that the English speaking missionaries are so lucky!

On Friday (2nd full day) we taught our first 'investigator' (probably an actor) EN SPANISH!!!!! Holy swear word that is one of the hardest things I have ever done! Just imagine teaching someone the gospel in a language you don't know, especially when you're a noob like me and don't know the content of the discussions very well! Our investigator's name is Sergio (pronounced serhio) he is supposedly from Argentina and knows Spanish and ONLY Spanish! Flippin nuts this is!

It is very stressful learning the language and everything, but when I look at how much I have learned in just a few days, it truly is amazing! Tomorrow afternoon around 4 or 5 we have our third discussion with Sergio, we're going real slow and are still on lesson one, it is really tough because we know what we want to say but we don't know how to portray our thoughts and feelings en Español.

So I did send a short letter home the other day and I don´t know if you got it yet or not, I am sending another for Mom and Dad today!

So my compañero´s name is Elder Derrick Jorgensen, he is from Idaho Falls, Idaho and was a fellow Aggie up at USU! So he's a pretty cool dude... er Elder. We get along so far well and things are good with us. On Thursday I was chosen to be the Senior Compañero, which really ins´t too special when in el CCM (Español for MTC, pronounced "el se se emmay").

My Spanish teacher whom we spend between 3 and 6 hours a day with is from El Salvador, El nombre es Hermano Sanchez. E. Jorgensen and I are the only two elders in my district to go to El CCM en Guatemala after 3 weeks here, there´s one other elder in the district next door who will be joining us. I look forward to leaving Provo, this place is like unto a prison. So yes, I just got back from a temple session, it was good, other than the fact it was in Provo(logne).

So, like I said, this place is like a prison, everything about El CCM is very prison-like, its sad. Actual prisoners get more outdoor time than us elderes (yup that's no typo, thats how to say elders en Español). So the travel office here in the CCM says that my "Estimated departure date (for El CCM en Guatemala)" is June 19, which I think means it may change. I do not know my address there yet, I will still have the same old access to email I hope, and who knows how long letters take! I will try and find out as much info as possible to help you all out!

So you know how women are notorious for being super self-conscious about their appearance? Well I feel like men are even more so than women. I am so SICK of hearing these big, fit, healty, buff elders say crap like "uugh, I'm so small I wish I was bigger" or "I'm only 6'1", I need to be taller." Like what the crap dudes, man the crap up! Seriously though, men can be so annoying like that.

So I can already say that being en el CCM is the hardest thing I have ever really done, the Español is so frustrating because we all just dove right it literally 5 minutes after I was dropped off here on Wednesday! I have had a couple days where I have felt really stressed out and felt like this was impossible, and sometimes I have thought things like "Why the swearword am I even here???" But I have been doing better, the key is by goal setting and always having the spirit with you. In the DearElder Dad sent me he quoted John McCain (You know, the one guy who would have made a better Prez than that Barry punk?) He Said something along the lines of "courage is not overcoming your fears, it is having the something to something... "******DAD, HELP FINISH THE QUOTE, I FORGOT IT EXACTLY AND I DONT HAVE THE LETTER ON ME. THANKS :). Oh how true that statement is!

["We are taught to understand, correctly, that courage is not the absence of fear, but the capacity for action despite our fears." John McCain]

Also I took a few pictures yesterday at our temple walk, I don't have my camera on me now sadly, but next week I will send them, maybe even with some more pictures I take this week! Thanks to all who have written me letters or sent me one using the DearElder, I like handwritten ones and the DearElder ones, use whichever you prefer! :) As any form of communication is great!! I love and miss you all!!

Love,

Elder Vaughan