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!

Monday, August 13, 2012

No Water, Being Tall & Thunderstorms

Hola!

Well another p-day is here already! Well not too much has happened other than the usual. The first of the week was really dumb because there was no water in our house and so we had to shower out of a bucket and dump buckets of water down the toilet to flush. It was no bueno, about 3 days without water. But now we have water, so all is good! I got to shower this morning which was great! Although there is only cold water, that is just a fact of life I will have to learn to get used to!

So the food is getting a little better, well no it isn't, I think my stomach is getting a little more steel plated! I still don't like the food too much! But every once in awhile there is something good that is really satisfying! I will come to get used to this food over time! Well our house is cool, it has enough room for about 6 missionaries, but it is only us two in there because President Glazier likes having only two missionaries in each house!

So the work here is pretty tough, lots of walking and getting rejected, but whatever, it is what it is! So we have set three baptism dates for the 25th of this month for Franklin, Ceci, and Maybelline. So we will all be working hard to follow through on that baptism date!! This week we also have gotten lots of referrals and we will be doing lots of contacting and many first lessons and hopefully some great new people to teach. So last night we were at the house of Delmi, an investigator, and we were following up to see if she had prayed about the Book of Mormon and all of that good stuff, she said that she recieved an answer to her prayer and she said that she needed to stay in the Catholic church, which is totally a bummer! She was a strong person and after many lessons she just pulls the Catholic card. It stinks. But no worries! We will go out and find many more great people!

So, Elder Tenecora is the District Leader and he had to go to San Salvador for a leadership meeting, so I stayed behind and went working with two other elders, one Elder from Colombia and another Elder Panama. It's really cool working with these guys from all sorts of different countries! Although I miss speaking English with gringos! And dang I feel so tall here in Central America. Back at home I was not really tall, but not short either, just an average height you know. But here I am HUGE! I'm always hitting my head on things and being taller than people! Its strange, but funny!

So Last night we taught a first lesson to a guy named Thomas, he has a tiny sewing shop in his home with his son. And it went really well, and we hope that we will be able to make some progress with him! I am definitely getting better at understanding Spanish, which was honestly a big challenge at first, but not so bad now! The gift of tongues really is something real, and it really has helped me communicate with people! I can almost always get my points and thought across in one way or another to people, with the exception of a few times when I am trying to tell my companion something cool or funny, I cant really get it across to him, and that is sometimes frustrating, but that will also improve over time! When we have meetings with the other missionaries it is always so good to speak English with them! I really do think its better to be set with a Latino because he speaks no English and it really helps even though it is the hard way to do it!

So this past weekend was the District Conference for all of the branches in San Vicente, and President Glazier and his wife were there for the meetings on Saturday and Sunday. It was cool to see them because they are always enthusiastic and they give good talks at meetings which is great! Our branch is called "The Espiga", I have no clue what that means, but we have a nice new church building in town and everyone here knows about it! Which in that building is where we do the emails on Mondays, in the family history room. And this church building is really nice and I love coming to it because it has got to be the nicest building in all the city!

So here we have whats called a Super Selectos, which is a grocery store and we can get stuff like fruit, cereal, milk, deodorant and all that good stuff. So really we have access to some good stuff here. So here along with the buses to get around, we have "pickups" which are literally pickup trucks with large beds and rails you can hold on to and they will take you around town for a quarter, and sometimes they cram 20 people on them, as they are really long bed pickups. And we take those sometimes and they are really fun actually, and we talk to people as missionaries do here and its really cool!

As far as weather goes it has been really cloudy, which is a nice break from the heat, and just about everyday it rained and rained like crazy! and every night there are these crazy thunderstorms. So it is really legit! I love the rain, but its annoying when were walking and tracting and stuff.

Well, I feel like I am forgetting a thousand and one things to say. If I remember them I will write it down and share them next Monday! Well it sounds like things are really great and busy at home! I miss you all a lot and I can't wait to hear from you all again next week!

Love,

Elder Vaughan

Monday, August 6, 2012

San Vicente, Nacho Libre Buses & No Salad

Hola!

Well I am here! First things first, my trainer is Elder Tenecora, he if from Ecuador. It is just the two of us living in our house! So that really forces me to speak all Spanish, this is actually tough typing in English because I have always been thinking in Spanish. Anyways, I am in the city of San Vicente, about an hour away from San Salvador! Well I guess I´ll start the story from the moment I left Guat.





So we got on a bus, then drove to San Salvador, nothing special, just a bus that the church hired to take us, no chickens or goats or anything. About three hours later we arrived in San Salvador to the house of President Glazier. Nothing cool happened on the drive there, sorry to disappoint! And that was Monday. We spent all of Monday and Tuesday at the Presidents house which is really nice, just for some beginning training stuff. On Tuesday we got to go to the temple which was sweet! It has got to be one of my favorite temples!! It was a really cool experience. While we were in San Salvador me and two other gringo missionaries stayed in a house about 4 miles away from the president´s house and the house doubled as a clinic of some lady, so I slept for two nights in a sketchy clinic! That was cool.




So, on Wednesday we had the exchange meeting where I found out who my new companion would be! And from there we walked out of the chapel with all of my luggage and we waved down a taxi who took us to a bus station about 5 minutes awyay, and the taxi rides are nuts, everyone drives like they're on a NASCAR track, no me gusta. Well when we got to the gas station it was insane, tons of buses and people all yelling and we had to find our way to a bus going to San Vivcente! Well no chickens on this bus either, but all the buses either look like Nacho Libre´s orphanage got ahold of them and painted them or Xzibit took them on MTV and Pimped their rides! We got a Nacho Libre bus, nothing special to report for the bus ride! Well the bus dropped us of in the centeer of San Vicente and we walked about a half mile to our home and began to work!







Well, the work is tough, it is so hot here and we do so much walking. We were supposed to have a baptism on Saturday but the kid disappeared off the face of the earth, so we will see what happens with that! Right now we are teaching a few investigators and lots of recent converts! It is going pretty well. It is so hard to understand what people say, but when it comes to me saying whatever it is that I want to say, no problem! Well I think by the end of this month we should have one or two baptisms.

Well, the food. Sometimes amazing, and sometimes as I am eating it I feel like throwing up. It just depends. Sometimes I just have no clue what I am eating, yuck. And sometimes its fairly good, and sometimes it is super delicious! We have a lady across the street that cooks our breakfasts and lunches, the breakfasts are the hardest to down, one day I literally felt like puking, I dont even know what it was!

Well as far as the place it is pretty poor, most of the houses have metal roofs and everynight it rains in the winter (yes it is winter)and we have seen some pretty sweet thunderstorms, because everytime it rains, it thunders! Me gusta. So there have been a few times when we are in a sketchy neighborhood and I feel like we need to leave (MS13, drunks, or whatever reason(seriously dont worry about this stuff, the missionaries have never had problems really with gangsters!)) I can feel those promptings that we need to leave, and well we do that! I know that we are protected from dangers, and all will be well! The biggest danger is me not being able to hold a meal down because I dont know what I am eating! Which I have been successful so far! The food is tough because it is so greasy and quite honestly not healthy, so I take my vitamins everyday for that reason. Everyday I just ask myself ¿how come we can't ever have like a salad?

Well, I am super tired and I have a lot to do! It is really nice hearing from you all as usual, sounds like all is great! I miss and Love you all!

Love Elder Vaughan!