Monday, September 3, 2012

Tropical Storm, Bloody Shirt & Dengue Fever


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!!!!


Elder Vaughan

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