Monday, December 30, 2013

Chaparrastque Volcano Erupts

Yes, the rumors are true, during our sacrament meeting the volcano (Chaparrastque) exploded a little, It had about 3 or 4 small eruptions throughout the day. But we were calm enough to finish out the sacrament meeting because it was the primary program. So after church, members who have cars helped us run to our house to gather a few belongings, then they took us to the terminal to catch our bus out of there!





Honestly, one of the freakiest things I have ever seen. When I stepped out of the church we could not see the volcano because the skies were completely black on one side. So we made like a tree and left. 

The only real route to San Salvador goes on a highway directly by the volcano, through the huge ash cloud and all. It was so intense, I almost felt like the people in the movie Dante´s Peak. From what we have heard there were only 2 casualties, one in a car crash, and one from a heart attack. So they were really indirect deaths because of the eruption. Around 5PM we arrived at the temple grounds where the temple missionaries had so nicely prepared us a big dinner, and then we all divided up into several groups and slept on the floor in other missionaries houses here in the capital.

Almost the whole eastern zone was evacuated, including missionaries in the zones San Miguel, Rio Grande, San Vicente and Usulutan. 

Honestly it was quite the scare for us, but we new we would be okay. Well, that was a crazy experience and all. Thankfully it wasn't a big deal like MT St Helen's was in 1980 where a third of the mountain was blown off, because that could have wiped out the whole city of San Miguel.

All is well though, I am great, just a little tired because we didn't sleep too well last night. But all is well. We are going to enjoy a relaxed pday here in San Salvador. We are staying in the house of one of my old areas when I was in the office, it is so weird seeing this place again.

Anyways, I hope you all have a great new years, mine will probably be spent here while we wait for the ash to settle, and I´m sure that upon arrival in San Miguel we will have a lot of clean up work to get done, haha. I just hope all the things in my house are not all covered in ash now, that would be a sad thing to come home to. 

Dad, do you think you could send me some sweet pics of mt st helens eruption, I think it would be interesting to see. Thanks


Love Elder Vaughan

Here's an email in Spanish that was sent to the missionaries (rough translation via Google follows below):

Queridos misioneros,
Cuanto les amamos. Cuando algo pasa como esta erupción del volcán de San
Miguel, uno hace una pausa, y agradece las muchas bendiciones que tiene.
También agradece las personas queridos en su vida. Estamos tan agradecidos
por la protección de todos ustedes. Dios nos dio unos milagros ayer. Escribí
a todos los padres por la cual tengo email.

(Carta a los padres )"No queremos preocuparles, pero muchos de ustedes ya
han oído de la erupción del volcán de San Miguel hoy. Todos nuestros
misioneros están bien. Hemos evacuado a las zonas de San Miguel, Usulután y
San Vicente a la capital para su proteccion. Todos están bien y seguros.
Hemos visto la mano del Señor en todo lo que ocurrió hoy. El Presidente
sintió que debía asistir a la iglesia en una ciudad cerca del volcán. Lo
vimos explotar. Pudimos llegar a San Miguel con tanta rapidez. Pudimos
contactar a todos los misioneros (70 de ellos) en el área de peligro. Esto
era un milagro, porque sólo unos pocos tienen teléfonos celulares. Pero,
porque ocurrió durante la iglesia, pudimos hablar con todos. Fue otro
“milagro” que el consejero de la presidencia de la misión estaba visitando
nuestros misioneros en Berlín (que son muy cerca del volcán. El los puso en
su coche y evacuaron a San Salvador, en cuestión de 10 minutos. Y los
misioneros del templo oyeron y hicieron una comida para todos. Fue increíble
su servicio a nosotros. En todo hoy, fuimos bendecidos.

Estamos muy agradecidos por sus oraciones . Por favor oren por los santos
que permanecen en las zonas afectadas. Oremos para que el trabajo misional
también será bendecido por este desastre - que los corazones serán
ablandados y más escucharán al mensaje.

Estamos muy agradecidos por sus hijos e hijas fieles. Hoy fueron valientes,
sin quejarse, y muy obediente hoy. Estamos muy agradecidos por sus
maravillosos ejemplos. Todas ellas estarán escribiéndoles mañana de sus
aventuras, pero queríamos que todos ustedes sepan que están seguros y sanos
y que Dios ha bendecido verdaderamente nuestra misión el día de hoy. Ustedes
quizás querrán también, ofrecer una oración de gracias. Cuán bendecidos
somos! Dios es tan misericordioso y nos ha bendecido mucho hoy. Estamos muy
agradecidos. Dios les bendiga a todos ustedes."

Muchos padres me han escrito. En Facebook, muchos de los misioneros
retornados, unieron con nosotros en la oración misional a las 8 (y están
orando por uds y los santos).

Dios quiere que usamos esto como una oportunidad de predicar y bendecir.
Cuando volvamos a nuestra áreas, podemos hacer mucho servicio. (tendrán que
usar máscaras, porque la ceniza será muy mal a inhalar). Pero estaba orando
de cómo podemos usar esto como una bendición en la misión.  Vino a mi mente
un idea. Leí, hace mucho, de un par de misioneros que hicieron “kindness
kards” (tarjetas de bondad). Acercaron a gente, le dieron una tarjeta, y
pidieron que escribieran un mensajito de estímulo para dar a personas que
los misioneros vieron que estaban deprimidos o que tenían grandes problemas.
Yo pensé que sería un buen idea hacer MENSAJES PARA SAN MIGUEL. Compran
tarjetas de índice (en el almacén) y cuando nos acercamos a alguien en la
calle, les pedimos que escribir un mensaje de aliento para los de San
Miguel, que han sufrido este desastre. Algo breve, pero alentador, para
darles esperanza y ánimo.  Lo llamaremos el proyecto MENSAJES PARA SAN
MIGUEL. Nos dará la oportunidad de hablar con muchos, hacer un servicio, y
encontrar al mismo vez. Mandaremos las tarjetas a San Miguel. Creo que será
algo bueno para todos.

Les amamos. Queridos misioneros:
“¿No hemos de seguir adelante en una causa tan grande? Avanzad, en vez de
retroceder. ¡Valor, [elderes y hermanas]; e id adelante, adelante a la
victoria! ¡Regocíjense vuestros corazones y llenaos de alegría! ¡Prorrumpa
la tierra en canto! ¡Alcen los muertos himnos de alabanza eterna al Rey
Emanuel que, antes de existir el mundo, decretó lo que nos habilitaría para
redimirlos de su prisión; porque los presos quedarán libres!  ¡Griten de
gozo las montañas, … proclamad las maravillas de vuestro Rey Eterno! …
¡Canten en unión el sol, la luna y las estrellas del alba, y den voces de
alegría todos los hijos de Dios!” (D&C 128:22-23)

Dios nos bendecirá. Regocijemos. Demos gracias a Dios por su protección, su
guía; por los milagros que hemos visto; por los milagros que vamos a ver;
por su infinito amor.

Les amamos mucho! Muchos están ejerciendo su fe en nuestro favor. Sonreímos,
y hacemos algo bueno de algo difícil.

Con muchísimo amor,
Pdte y Hna Glazier
Translated via Google:
Dear missionaries
How much we love them . When something like this happens eruption of San Michael, one pauses, and appreciates the many blessings you have.
Also thank the dear people in your life. We are so grateful for the protection of all of you. God gave us a miracle yesterday. Write all parents why I have email.
( Letter to Parents ) " do not want to worry them , but many of you have heard of the eruption of the volcano of San Miguel today. our missionaries are fine. We have evacuated the areas of San Miguel , Usulutan and San Vicente to the capital for his protection . All are well and safe. We have seen the Lord's hand in everything that happened today. the President felt that he should go to church in a town near the volcano. it we saw explode. We could get to San Miguel so quickly. we were able to contact all missionaries (70 of them) in the danger area . this was a miracle, because you have only a few cell phones. but because it happened in the church , we could talk to everyone. It was another "Miracle" that the Minister of the Presidency of the mission was visiting our missionaries in Berlin (which are very close to the volcano . 's put in your car and evacuated to San Salvador, in a matter of 10 minutes. AnTemple missionaries heard and made a meal for everyone. It was amazing their service to us. Throughout today , we were blessed .
We are grateful for your prayers. Please pray for the saints that remain in the affected areas. Pray for missionary work will also be blessed by this disaster - that hearts will be softened and listen to the message.
We are very grateful for their faithful sons and daughters . Today were brave, without complaining , and very obedient today. We are very grateful for their wonderful examples . All morning they will be writing to their adventures, but wanted you all to know that they are safe and healthy and God has truly blessed our mission today . you may also want to offer a prayer of thanks . how blessed we are! God is so merciful and blessed us much today. We are very grateful. God bless you all. "
Many parents have written me . On Facebook, many missionaries They returned , joined us in missionary prayer at 8 (and are units and praying for the saints). God wants to use this as an opportunity to preach and bless. When we return to our area , we can do much service. ( need to wear masks , because the ash is very bad to inhale ) . But I was praying how we can use this as a blessing in the mission. He came to my mind one idea. I read , long ago, a couple of missionaries who made "kindness kards " ( kindness cards ) . They approached people, gave him a card, and asked to write a little message of encouragement to give people viewed the missionaries who were depressed or had major problems.
I thought it would be a good idea to MESSAGES FOR SAN MIGUEL . purchase index cards ( at the store) and when we approach someone in the street, ask them to write a message of encouragement for the San Miguel , who have suffered this disaster. Something short, but encouraging, for give them hope and encouragement. We'll call the project MESSAGES FOR SAN MIGUEL . We give you the opportunity to talk to many, do a service, and finding at the same time . Send cards to San Miguel . I think it will be something good for everyone.
We love you . 
Dear missionaries :
" We must not go on in so great a cause ? Avanzad instead of retreat. Value , [ elders and sisters ] , and on, on the Victory! Let your hearts and rejoice with joy! break forth land in song ! Raise the dead anthems of eternal praise to the King Emanuel , before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them from their prison , for the prisoners shall go free Shout for joy mountains ... tell the wonders of your Eternal King! 
Sing together the sun, moon and stars of the morning and shout for joy all the children of God "( D & C 128:22-23 )
God bless us. Rejoice . Thanks be to God for their protection, guide , for the miracles we have seen , for the miracles we'll see ; His infinite love.
We love you ! Many are putting their faith in our favor. We smile, and make something good out of something difficult.
With much love ,
Pres and Sister Glazier

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Letter About Volcano

Letter received from Sister Glazier this evening... Josh has been serving in San Miguel. We are grateful to know he and the other missionaries are safe.

---------------------

Espanol abajo…
Dear Parents,
No need for alarm, but many of you will have heard about the eruption of the San Miguel volcano today.  All of our missionaries are accounted for and safe. We have evacuated San Miguel, Usulutan, and San Vicente to the capital for safety. All are well and safe. We felt the hand of the Lord in all that occurred today. The President felt that he should attend church in a city near the volcano. We saw it explode. We were able to reach San Miguel so quickly.  All of the missionaries (54 of them) we were able to contact. (that is a miracle alone, because only 3 have cell phones, but because it was during church, we reached them all.) Our missionaries in Berlin (who were very close to the volcano) just “happened” to have the counselor in the mission presidency visiting. He had them in his car and on the way to San Salvador in a matter of 10 minutes. It was all such a miracle.

We are so thankful for your continued prayers. Please pray for the saints who remain in those affected areas. Pray that the missionary work will be blessed because of this disaster—that hearts will be softened and opened.


We are so thankful for you faithful sons and daughters. They were courageous, uncomplaining, and very obedient today. We are so grateful for their wonderful examples.  They will all be writing you tomorrow of their adventures, but we wanted you all to know that they are safe and well and that God has truly blessed our mission this day, so that you, too, could offer Him a prayer of thanksgiving. How blessed we are! He is so magnificent. We are so grateful. God bless all of you.

Sincerely,
President and Sister Glazier








Queridos padres de nuestros misioneros,
No queremos preocuparles, pero muchos de ustedes ya han oído de la erupción del volcán de San Miguel hoy. Todos nuestros misioneros están bien. Hemos evacuado a las zonas de San Miguel, Usulután y San Vicente a la capital para su proteccion. Todos están bien y seguros. Hemos visto la mano del Señor en todo lo que ocurrió hoy. El Presidente sintió que debía asistir a la iglesia en una ciudad cerca del volcán. Lo vimos explotar. Pudimos llegar a San Miguel con tanta rapidez. Pudimos contactar a todos los misioneros (54 de ellos) en el área de peligro. Esto era un milagro, porque sólo 3 tienen teléfonos celulares. Pero, porque ocurrió durante la iglesia, pudimos hablar con todos. Fue otro “milagro” que el consejero de la presidencia de la misión estaba visitando nuestros misioneros en Berlín (que son muy cerca del volcán. El los puso en su coche y evacuaron a San Salvador, en cuestión de 10 minutos. En todo hoy, fuimos bendecidos.

Estamos muy agradecidos por sus oraciones . Por favor oren por los santos que permanecen en las zonas afectadas. Oremos para que el trabajo misional también será bendecido por este desastre - que los corazones serán ablandados y más escucharán al mensaje.

Estamos muy agradecidos por sus hijos e hijas fieles. Hoy fueron valientes, sin quejarse, y muy obediente hoy. Estamos muy agradecidos por sus maravillosos ejemplos. Todas ellas estarán escribiéndoles mañana de sus aventuras, pero queríamos que todos ustedes sepan que están seguros y sanos y que Dios ha bendecido verdaderamente nuestra misión el día de hoy. Ustedes quizás querrán también, ofrecer una oración de gracias. Cuán bendecidos somos! Dios es tan misericordioso y nos ha bendecido mucho hoy. Estamos muy agradecidos. Dios les bendiga a todos ustedes.

Con mucho cariño,

Presidente y la hermana Glazier

Monday, December 16, 2013

Trio No Mas, Working Hard & Psyched for Skype

Hello again!
Well this week was very interesting and disappointing at the same time. On Tuesday we went to President Glazier`s house for the Christmas celebration thing. That was really fun and all. Kind of redundant compared to last year`s celebration activities, just a bunch of deja vu and all that. When we got back on the bus to head back to San Miguel, President told Elder Caballero (our third comp) that he is getting changed, I don't know why. But I don`t care because now it is just me and Elder Wyatt in a duo again. That`s how it should be. I don`t know if you (Dad or Chris) ever had trios in the mission, but they are annoying. I hate them.
So this week was really lame. We worked really super hard. Harder than ever, and nothing happened. One of the more discouraging weeks of my mission. It makes us question ourselves if we are doing things right or not, which we are. It is just easy to doubt and be discouraged.
Part of the discouragement is that our investigators always move or disappear or other things like that! In the past 2 weeks two of our great investigators have moved to the states without warning. Hopefully some lucky Elders find them there.
The other annoying thing is how people like to reject us. I usually don`t get too bothered by being rejected, but this week was just not cool, an unusually large amount of people rejected us and it is annoying. But whatever. What matters is that we are working as hard as we can, doing everything that we know we should do, and things will eventually work out.
So the Skype call. We want to call on the 25th, but we are not positive. This week we are going to secure a location where we can call , since on the 25th the whole country will be on a nationwide hangover of epic proportions. So we may have to call on the 24th. We will see. Just be on standby on those two days. I will let you know on Monday to verify everything.
Well that is about all I have for today. Sorry my life tends to be very uninteresting, but that's the way it seems to be. I cant wait to call you all next week!

Love Elder Vaughan

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Time is Near, Fireworks are Here & No Snow

Hello!
How are you all doing? This has been an interesting week here, I don`t know where to start... People here are starting to gear up for Christmas time. Although Christmas here is not even close to Christmas back home. People here celebrate with lots and lots of fireworks! More than anything this Christmas season makes me really miss Independence Day!
Yesterday we went to the Christmas devotional, that was really nice. At first I was upset that I had to see it in Spanish, then I realized that I speak Spanish, so who cares. It was really nice.
So if it snows there, be sure to send me lots of pictures, to remember what it is like. Several years ago it snowed here in El Salvador, only at the tip of the highest mountain here, really a once in an eternity experience. So there is no hope here for that.
So Yesterday I got slightly mad at the youth, we had an investigator, Kevin, in the young men's class, and the teacher asked Kevin when he was going to be baptized, and he mentioned that "he was baptized last year in another church" all the young men burst out in laughter at him. Here we have Sacrament meeting after the two other classes, so Kevin didn't even stick around for the Sacrament, I hope he didn't feel too embarrassed. Me and my comps had to "machete" the youth a little bit, or lovingly correct their actions. It is always remember to important to behave in church so that outsiders don't feel like.. outsiders!
Well that is about all that I have for now. I am sending out some mail today for you family, hopefully you get it soon. I am so excited for tomorrow because it is the Christmas party with President Glazier in his house, so tomorrow we will be waking up super early so we can be there at 8AM sharp! I am excited.
I am missing you all this Christmas season already, We are still working on finding where we will be doing the Skype call, so I will let you know the time and date, most likely on the 25th. I cant wait!
Here are some pictures...
The one is with E. Caballero, Wyatt and me with our ward mission leader and his son Chele who just left on the mission in Ecuador.

The others are of us messing around on a Nacho Libre bike. Coolest bike ever.





Love Elder Vaughan

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving, No Changes & a Buff Kickboxing Companion

Hello World!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving week! Not much really happened here at all, I don't even think I realized that Thursday was Thanksgiving! But this week went very well!
You may be wondering if I got changed or not. I didn't get changed, but there were some changes here. First off I was in the zone San Miguel, I am still in the same area, they just divided our zone, which is now called Rio Grande. This was the biggest zone in the mission, it included three departments San Miguel, Morazán and La Unión. So the zone was divided to accommodate so many missionaries here. It's pretty cool. There are seriously so many missionaries here now I don`t even know a fourth of them!
I am still here with Elder Wyatt, for our third consecutive change together, except this time we are in a trio with Elder Caballero from Argentina. Caballero means "Knight" or "Gentleman" Its kind of a funny name. He is a cool, guy. Definitely the buffest companion I have ever had, he did kickboxing before the mission, so he is buff.
Umm.. So we are still sharing the ward here with a couple of sister missionaries and things are slowly picking up. This week was tough because it was the gran Carnaval de San Miguel. It is basically the biggest party in Central America, comparable to the parties in Rio de Jainero Brazil. So everyone was out partying over the weekend, so things were slowed down a bit.
Oh, it has also been so cold here lately. These are the coldest weeks before the Summer starts. In the morning it gets down to 74 degrees, SO FLIPPIN COLD!!!!! It makes showering a nightmare in the mornings.
Well... I think that is all I have for right now. I am excited to get stuff done this change here, we have a solid 6 investigators who will potentially be baptized in the next 2 or 3 months here. Hopefully I won't be changed out of here before the baptisms right?
I hope that you are all handling the Cyber Monday orders alright, sell lots of junk! Have a good one!

Love Elder Vaughan

Monday, November 25, 2013

Early Thanksgiving Dinner, Potential Changes & Sister Missionary Assist

Hello family,

Well this week was pretty good. Things are really starting to pick up. We are really focusing on getting baptismal dates with our investigators to help them progress to the ultimate goal, you know. We have a lot of hope for December baptisms.

One of our investigators convinced us that this past Thursday was Thanksgiving so he made a huge turkey and all for us. So, surprisingly enough, we did have a Thanksgiving dinner even though it was a week early. It's really cool how some investigators can be so generous when we just met them this same week!

So this week is changes week, I really don`t know what to expect right now. I could be changed to a new area (which I would not like) or I could stay here (which I would really like). So we will see soon what is to happen with us here.

The sister missionaries that we share this ward with just had a baptism for a couple that Elder Wyatt and I found a while ago. They went through a lot for them to be able to be baptized and all. Lots of setbacks with a wedding paperwork and other things. It was super spiritual at their baptism. Great experience. 

Umm... well that is about all I have for this week to share!

I hope that you had a great birthday Mom! How old are you now? I ask because I always forget, people ask a lot and I really dont know what to tell them haha. I want to say 44 or something but I am not so sure. haha

Also I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving, have a great week. and good luck on Cyber Monday!

Love Elder Vaughan

Monday, November 18, 2013

El Salvador del Mundo, Zone Conference & a Department Store

Hello,
Once again it is p-day, Seriously, each week only feels like a couple of days to me, and I find it hard to come up with stuff to say.
OK, so this week was pretty cool. We had a multi zone conference. Our zone picture is attached here, but my comp was photo shopped out for pulling a goofy face in it. What a spaz. The conference was really good and motivational.

This week we are really hoping for a baptism with one lady who we have been teaching, and we have a couple more that are likely to be baptized next month. Sometimes I feel like I don't have many baptisms because I had bad luck in the office and some other areas I have had have been dead, and super hard to find people to teach in. But here in San Miguel things are really starting to pick up. We are slowly becoming the better area in our district, which is exciting since the past three weeks were really slow and all. But now we are on the rise, finding more and more people to teach.
 Also attached are some pictures from San Salvador a couple weeks ago. I had trouble sending them last week and the previous week as well. We are at "El Salvador del Mundo", the central plaza in the nice part of the capital. Hopefully these pictures load up alright, the net is kinda sluggish now.



That's about all there is for now. We only have 30 minutes to email now, they cut us down on our time for some weird reason.
Thanks for the money, I got a new suit and some new shoes, with some money left to spare. Walking into that department store felt like walking into a little piece of the United States. It was cool. Soon enough I will be back. But there are still many things to be done here!
I hope that you all have a great week. until next time.

Love, Elder Vaughan

Monday, November 11, 2013

Suit Shopping, Mucho Sisters & Imagine Dragons

Hello once again!

It sounds to me like things are going great. Lots of exciting stuff going on.

Thanks Mom for the Western Union help, everything turned out okay, and in a couple hours here we are going to go look at suits! I will take good care of this one so I can look like a sir when I come home.

Umm.. That's so cool that Ali Kelly is coming to this mission, that would be cool to see here when she gets here (and when I leave haha). There is a large number of sister missionaries in this mission now. When I first arrived in 2012, there were only about 8 sisters and 150 elders. Now there is probably about 50 sisters and 200 or more elders. There are so many missionaries for such a small country. about half of the wards and branches are divided between two companionship's, like ours is here. It is crazy having three missions in this country with more than 200 missionaries in each one, it is nearly impossible to not meet a missionary here. That is probably what it is like in many parts of the world these days.

Good job Dad on the elections. Its funny that you were challenged by another republican dude that has similar values as you do. Here in El Salvador, the Presidential elections are coming to an end. There are three main political parties in control the Republicans (
ARENA and Unidad are the party names) and the Socialist/Comunist party, FMLN. The sad thing is that ARENA and Unidad are both republicans, but they hate each other, allowing the communists to take control. If only the republicans could get along and get a hold on things. Its so sad seeing people resort to extreme socialism as a solution to problems. Poor people here in this country strongly despise the rich people, as if they were evil people. And honestly, in this country to make a lot of money, you have to be a flippin' genius, making money is hard work here. Half the Salvadoran population lives on an $8 a day salary. That includes housing, food, clothing, transport and all other costs. Sad.

Well, it sounds like business is getting better as usual. Nice work. We all know that that is not just good luck, that is skill.

Random side note, have you heard of a band called Imagine Dragons? Supposedly they are super popular now. I was in the MTC with the lead singers little brother both in Provo and in Guatemala, we just didn't realize how famous his brother was because the band wasn't big at that time.

Anyway. That's about all I have time for now. Maybe next week I will share more details about the missionary work in our area. All else is well. I love you and have a great week!


Love Elder Vaughan

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lamanite Tribute, Sick Companion & Great Ward Mission Leader

Wow, I just have to say that the warehouse is pretty huge, I didn't realize that you had done so much stuff there in such short time... well I guess that I have been gone a while. It is so good to see all the progress that is going on there in these days. It is good to see that the business is prospering. Speaking of business, I was reading Mosiah 18, when the lamanites are controlling the people of Limhi and what not. The Lamanites put a 50% tax or "tribute" on the people of all the things they owned and gained. That "tribute" is still here in El Salvador. The gangsters go to all of the businesses and charge them an obligatory tax between 20 and 50%, and if you don't pay it you can be hurt or killed by the bad dudes. It's crazy. Even like the Burger Kings pay this tribute to the gangs because they have such control over the people here. its sad.
Well, that was random. This week has been alright, Elder Wyatt was sick this week, so it was hard to work when he needed a baño every 15 minutes. He is much better now so that we can get stuff done this week.
Right now we are just focusing on getting more investigators to teach. That is going great and our new ward mission leader is a great help to us here. Hes a sweet dude. He owns a huge cosmetics school with about 400 students and he makes bank. 

Well I don't have much time right now because we only have half an hour today to write.

I love you. Have a fantastic week!

Love, 

Elder Vaughan

Monday, October 21, 2013

Gavidia Ward, Rescue Trio & Metallica

Hello Mom and Dad,
I am not sure what email addresses you are currently using since you changed the company one, so I am sending this to all of them, hopefully you get this. 
I have been getting your letters, even though they were sent to the other mission office, I know the guys there and they are nice enough to send the stuff back to my mission office. Just so we are clear I am in the El Salv San Salv EAST mission, but I am sure you have that figured out by now!
The last letter I got from you was the one mentioning that you were expecting a container from China with product. I hope that all went well with that, and that you will be able to continue that in the future. I am kind of curious as to how the warehouse has changed since I have been gone! Could you maybe send me some pictures of it? I would be interested to see that.
So as of me I am still here in San Miguel, the place that is as hot as hell, right. Still with Elder Wyatt from Logan Utah. We are pretty much kicking butt here. When I got here the area was for the most part dead, in terms of investigators, none were progressing, and in terms of members, they did nothing. The ward we are in is called Gavidia. It has the lowest church attendance in pretty much the whole oriental part of the country, for a ward that is. On average 80 people attend a week on Sunday.
We share this ward with a trio of sister missionaries who are specifically assigned to the "rescue" of the inactive members. Although the sisters are still missionaries and teach the investigators they have along with the references people give them, their main focus is on teaching and reactivating the inactive members. So Elder Wyatt and I can now focus our all on investigators!
Lately we have found some really great investigators here by our own efforts (since members don't help too much). The other day we were teaching William, an 18 year old kid who in super big and buff, and loves  Metallica and what not. His mom was there asking us if Metallica was bad and the two of them pretty much broke out in argument between each other about it. We settled it for them by suggesting that he buy some head phones so that she doesn't have to put up with his music. On Friday, William introduced us to a friend of his who we started talking to and has obviously been prepared by God to receive the gospel. He was pretty much quoting the Book of Mormon even though he has never read it before. He's a cool guy.
We also know another friend of William, who's name is Bani, he used to be a crack dealer in LA and got deported for it, he is actually a really cool guy because he gives us more referrals than the members in this ward do. He's a cool dude.

So... I think that is all I had to say for now... yeah. I am probably forgetting something here... oh well... there's always another pday! I am pretty close to the end of the mission now, this is my 12th change, only 4 more to go after this!

Well I hope that you all have a great week, I love you!
Love Elder Vaughan

Monday, September 23, 2013

Flor de Jamaica, Logan Preemie & Thrift Shop

Dear Vaughan Family,

How are you all doing? I'm sure it's the usual answers such as "great" or "busy", those are great attributes for a family! I imagine that business is good. I really like the new company name, it makes you all sound like such sirs.

So P-Day was awesome. The Zone Leaders surprised us with a Disney movie, "Tangled" because we are an awesome zone, seriously. It was cool to see a movie besides all the church ones. We then played soccer for a bit.

After those fun activities we went to "Burrito Mexican Grill," the only Ameri-Mexi restaurant I have experienced in this country. I also ordered a strawberry lemonade, also the only straw-lemon I have had in a long time, seriously. It's been too long. Mom, please make me a straw-Lemon, I would appreciate it, I love you! I'll have to make you all some juices that we drink here, my personal favorite is called "Flor de Jamaica" which means flower of Jamaica. It's a red flower that you boil in water, add sugar and serve cold. It's awesome, you don't even know!

You want to know something cool? When Chris was sending me those blog entries last year around the start of the school year, he sad, "I met a lot of awesome freshmen, mostly 'premies'," and later said, "I went to 'The Taste of Logan' with a carload of buddies." Well, the cool thing is that my companion, Elder Geoffry Lincoln Wyatt was one of those preemies that was in the carload of buddies. Crazy right? Do you remember that guy, Chris? Tall, short hair, slight receding hairline? Ring any bells? Well, even if you don't remember him he kinda remembers you. Flippin nuts. Small world bro.

Well, things are going well here, the work keeps moving on. I really feel like I have learned a ton of new skills and stuff. Things that'll for sure increase the awesomeness of my life! I am so ready to kick butt when I get home.

Oh random. So there's supposedly a new song called "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore, some vulgar singer. And the song came on in the Mexican restaurant and we coulding stop laughing at the fact that the song swears a ton and was being played in a public place with children and stuff. Hilarious because only us Gringos understood it. You would never hear music like that in a family restaurant in the U.S. I still have that song stuck in my head, it's so dang catchy with the funky-sounding sax part.

Well, that's life. Imma hit the hay! I love you all so much!

Love,

Elder Joshua Vaughan

P.S.: I bought a machete today to cut our grass. It's awesome!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Challenge Met, Kick-Butt Spanish & Independence Day

Dear Mom and Dad,

Another week in San Miguel is done! The sun is blazing and time sure is flying by! This week was great! Our zone leaders challenged us to place five new baptismal dates with investigators, we got nine new ones, making 10 total potential baptisms within the next 2 months! We're excited for these next few months. We have some investigators who are really having to repent of big things, it is cool being a part of that. I like where I am at in my mission, I can teach with the spirit in the lessons, I kick butt at Spanish and we're kicking butt in missionary work. Not trying to brag, but my Spanish is better than most of the other Gringos here. Okay, I'm bragging, so deal with it ;). Don't worry, I'm usually humble, I just thought you'd be proud of my progress.

So yesterday was Independence Day here again. It's always Sept. 15th in most of Central America. People hardly went to church since there were a bunch of parades and stuff to celebrate the day's festivities.

I like this area, the people are so nice and give us a ton of good food to eat. We get well treated here! One of the things I need to improve on as a missionary is working out, exercising. Don't worry, I'm not fat. But my Papusa-Pack has grown a bit. I'll work on that one, okay? Well, I hope all is well in Gringolandia. I love you a ton, let me know how you are all doing, okay? Until next time.

Love,

Elder Vaughan

Monday, September 9, 2013

Transferred to San Miguel, Comp From Logan & Fire and Brimstone

Hello Family,

How have you been? So right now I am in a new area! On the fourth of this month I was transferred from La Palma to San Miguel. San Miguel is the second biggest city in El Salv, it is really ghetto and all. Oh, and it's hot as hell, literally. That way it's not a swear word because it is a literal comparison to the place called Hell. But really, people say it's the hottest city in Central America, tied with Panama City. In the first couple few days in San Miguel I drank 2 liters of water a day, no joke, my pee still would come out like applesausce. That is how much we sweat here! Another hellish feature is the dirt/rock roads, most of our area is dirty, rocky roads. The funny thing is most of the roads consist of black volcanic rock/sand that is so hot you can feel it through the shoes. So with the fiery sun and the black lava rock gives San Miguel that hellish "Fire and Brimstone" feel.

By the way, I am with Elder Wyatt from Logan, Utah. He is fresh out of his traning. Actually, he is the D.L. now, so I have the honor of teaching him how to be a good District Leader, when I have zero experience doing that. It's hard also because his Spanish isn't too good. It is so hard working with a comp whose Spanish isn't too great. Fun.

So, right now in my mission I feel like I am at the best part, where I am more than halfway done and I have many experiences that make everything easier. I feel like I have really gotten way better at teaching lessons with the Spirit. That has been hard, but I realized now that it is way more natural to teach with the Spirit. It's great!

It may be a while until I get your mail since San Miguel is really far from the mission office. Thanks for all of your help! :) I love you.

Love, Elder Vaughan

Monday, September 2, 2013

8.5 Months Left, Missing Carpet & Crazy Stories to Tell

Hello Family,

Hey, how's it going? Can you really believe that it's September...again?? At this rate I'll be back soon, only like 8.5 months left! Crazy how fast time is going! My companion, Elder Webster, is going back home in about six weeks, so if I don't have changes he will be the first missionary that I get to "kill". I am kinda jealous that he's going home because it would be so cool NOT to be in this country! I miss carpet. I haven't seen any carpet in a very, very long time, never thought I would miss that stuff! There are so many things I wish I didn't have to deal with or see. Like annouying drunks in the streets, or random dead guys in the streets.  Things like that make me not feel at home, even though I've been here a while! Honestly, I have seen at least one dead guy with almost every companion.

Even though I sometimes wish I wasn't in this country, I am more than glad to be helping in His marvelous work! All the crazy things about this place will just make crazy stories when I get back.

This country really is a dark and sinful place but I love seeing how the Gospel can be a light to the good people in this country!

Well, I hope that all is going great back at home with everything, I love you all. Have a great week!

Love, Elder Vaughan

Monday, August 19, 2013

Marriage, Baptism & WalMart

Hello Mom, Dad and whoever else,

Well another week has happened here in La Palma! It has almost been a month since I left the office, and things are pretty cool not being there! It was great and all, but being normal is nice. Right now we are spending a ton of time working to find new investigators and all.

This last Saturday, Jaime, one of our investigators got married to his wife and then baptized, that's the best part of being out of the office, the baptisms. I had some in my office time just not many. Now I have about 9 months to focus and get stuff done and all! I don't know the guy much, but it is always a happy occasion anyways! I hope that I don't have too many more changes in these last months so that I can really know and appreciate the people in the ward.

Oh, random thing, but we totally have a WalMart in our zone, which is the best thing ever for buying groceries on P-Day. I never thought that I would treat WalMart as a blessing in life, I guess I really have hit rock bottom here, huh?

That's life right now! It sounds like Vaughan Premier, Ltd. is going great! The new name is great and makes more sense too! I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love, Elder Vaughan

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

La Palma Ilopango, Morgan Comp & Normal Missionary Work

Dear Family,

It's really crazy to think that it is already August again, time sure is passing fast. I feel like the mission is already almost over! My estimated return date is May 15, 2013, so plan accordingly. It is a couple weeks early because of the divide in the mission and stuff.

So yes, I am in La Palma Ilopango, and I have been here for almost 2 weeks now. I forgot if I told you already, but my companion is Elder Webster from Morgan, Utah, actually from Mountain Green, close enough. It's cool because he knows Jessica Little just a little and some of my college roomates. Small world, huh?

I don't have too much to report now, this area is cool, and yeah, I miss the office, but it feels great to move on and be a normal missionary now! It's great to have a ton of time for missionary work! This month we should have a couple of baptisms...we will see.

I will try and send a couple pics of  "Lago Ilopango", a gorgeous lake in our area. The pictures don't quite do it justice.

I hope that you have a great week! I love you all.

Love Elder Vaughan

Monday, July 29, 2013

Hola Ilopango, Morgan Kid & No Email For a While

Hello,

Well I did have changes this week, I am in La Palma, Ilopango with Elder Webster from Morgan UT, cool huh? Morgan kid. Well I won`t be able to use my email for a little while. So I will from here on out resort to weekly handwritten letters, it will be fun because letters are more fun. Don`t be sad that I won`t be on email for a little bit of time, I will send you all letters on a weekly basis! I am doing FANTASTIC here and have never been better!!! This is the best thing that has happened to me on my mission. Expect letters in 10 days or so! Take care until then! :)))

Elder Vaughan :)

I love you all! :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

More on Socialized Medicine, Tying Up Loose Ends & Last Days in the Mission Office

Hello Again,
So this week was better than the last, in terms of earthquakes and dogs. So this week my adventure for finding the rabies vaccine has continued. Still so success. I went to the clinic one day do go through a consult, which I had already done beforehand, but they made me wait for hours to get a consult with a doc. The doc said that I should go get the shots, so when I went to get the shots the nurse in charge of them said they didn't have the one for rabies and that they would call me when they have it. So I have gone back a few times to check if they have it or not, and they haven't. Yay socialism.

You may ask, "Why don't you go to a private clinic or hospital for this vaccine?", great question. That would be because the government wants it to be only available in their govt clinics so that they can keep accurate statistics on when, where and how much of the vaccine they distribute. But it has taken them a week now to just get the vaccine to the clinic, and I am still waiting for it. But not to worry. I am 100 percent sure I didn't get rabies because the bite was just not even bad at all, just left me a big bruise.
So this has been the first time in my life that I have been on the receiving end of socialism, and it sucks. I have wasted hours (that I don`t have) in that clinic all for a vaccine that they haven't even been able to give me yet. The sad thing is that it isn't even available in any other private clinic, pharmacy or hospital. Dumb. I hope that I never again have to participate on either end of socialism because both ends, "rich" and poor, end up getting nothing great in the end. So yeah. Watch our for that obamacare stuff. sketchy.
Okay, so in other news, this week has been fairly uneventful. More being in the office and dealing with aftershock of the mission division. There are just a ton of loose ends to tie up and things to do to be able to help Elder Gonzalez, the financial guy in the other mission`s office. Fun stuff right.
So right now I only have about 2 weeks or so left in the office. It is exciting. I love doing the office work, there is something satisfying about getting stuff done here. The thing I don't like is having to be responsible in missionary work and the office. So once I am out in the field working as normal, I will be so happy to leave half of the stress behind and focus 100% in the missionary work. Naturally, as an office Elder, the number of lessons in a day, and baptisms and all those numbers that are typically used to measure a missionaries success, tend to be lower than other missionaries. It will be cool to kick that up into gear.
Well my comp Elder Andreasen is doing great in the office, he is ready to take on the office stuff on his own in a couple weeks. It is so weird because I feel like I just started in here. Time just goes by so fast.
So today being pday, we have a couple fun things planned like grocery shopping and eating lunch with President. So today may be fun.
Take care and we will talk next week!

Love Elder Vaughan

Monday, July 15, 2013

Balancing Act, Officially Divided & Gangland

Hello!
Happy 4th of July! I hope you all ate a ton of food and blew some stuff up for me! Yesterday was a normal day here. Here the Independence Day in most of Central America is the 15th of September, so maybe that day will be slightly more interesting for me!
As an office missionary a big challenge is balancing the time in between the office work and the missionary work in our areas. I think finally this change we are starting to work super effectively. In the past week we have received a ton of new references and new investigators. It is difficult balancing the time between the two places because the work is never done in the office, and it is definitely never done in our area either. So we are excited to be working with all of these new investigators we are finding.
So we were going to have a baptism this Saturday, but we decided that they are not quite ready. Maybe in the future weeks they will be ready to be baptized.
Right now the mission is officially divided and we are working as two separate offices. Now we are looking for a new office location for our mission. We are still in the same office, but the problem is that it is outside of our mission, so to get here everyday we have to leave our mission boundaries. The challenge is that all the safe areas are located in the other mission, so we haven't been able to find any good, safe places for the new offices.
Unfortunately the East mission (that I am in) has some of the most dangerous parts of the country such as Soyapango, Ilopango and Apopa. Those places are sketchy. My area is about medium on the dangerous scale. Some areas we don´t even go because they are infested with members of the 18 gang. They are rivals to the famous MS. I feel super strange talking about them now, its like Voldemort, you just don´t talk about the gang names here. Anyways, our ward mission leader lives in the heart of MS territory and he can't come to appointments with us because our side of the area is pure 18. So yeah, for that, it can be hard finding members to come to appointments and such.
But don´t worry, my area is super safe compared to others. Just hope I don´t go to Soyapango. There is an area in that zone called "La Campanera", the Elder´s house in that area is covered in MS13 graffiti on all the walls, super sketchy. I never want to go there!
Other than the dangerous areas that my mission has, I think it is a sweet mission because we have all of the east zones like San Vicente, Usulutan, San Miguel and La Union, over there are some of the best wards and staked in the country, it is where everyone wants to be! Other than the fact that San Miguel is the hottest city in the whole country. It would be cool to go there!

Well, that´s all for now. I hope that you all have a great weekend, Talk to you next time!

Elder Vaughan

Friday, July 12, 2013

San Marcos Earthquake, Dog Bite & Socialized Medicine

Hello people!
Well, its Friday again. Time is kind of passing by fast here. It is so weird to me that my time in the mission office is already closing to an end. It feels like last week when I first got to the mission office and all that. But I am ready to move on! I have until August 7th to train Elder Andreasen in the office and all that, then from there I will be a normal missionary in some other part! This change is short (only 4 weeks) which is weird, but I will be here training for 6 weeks with Elder Andreasen. So I will have changes two weeks into the other change!
Well, last Sunday there was an earthquake here in El Salv., a 5.6 on the scale, and the epicenter was in San Marcos, like a 5 minute walk from my house here. We were probably in the worst place possible for the earthquake, in those 6 story tall cinder block apartments that are falling apart. But nothing happened. Just a good shake that gave us all a good scare! It was really crazy because I heard all of the buildings shaking before I could even feel the movements. crazy stuff.
So this week has really been a crazy mix of unfortunate events. First was that small quake. Then two nights ago a dang dog bit my leg. We were in this neighborhood on the side of a big hill, that has a ton of small passageways going up and sideways and wherever. Me and my comp were climbing up a solid stretch of 300 stairs and then 6 wild dogs appeared in the middle of our path and started barking. In my mission I really just don´t get scared by dogs because in my experience they have never bothered me, until now. So I ignored them and kept walking upwards. Once I passed them one of them snuck up behind me and bit the back of my thigh. I immediately turned around and almost punted the pooch down the stairs, but it just ran off.
Yes, now you are wondering if the dog has rabies. I doubt it. But just to be precautious and all that, I went this morning to the local clinic to have a consult with the doc and maybe get a rabies shot. So we went. The government in this country is highly socialist. The service was terrible. terrible. terrible. There were about 200 people waiting in the clinic to be attended to, and in the one hour I waited, 2 people were attended to. So, do the math. The medical services are free there (socialism remember?) so that is why I was instructed to go there. But after I write we are going to find another place that will do it whatever the cost may be.
But yeah. It is really almost 100% positive I don´t have rabies because a doctor checked me up yesterday and the fact that my pants nor my garments were punctured, and that the bite is small, it really is not possible. But I will go for the shot just to be sure right?
I hope that doesn´t freak you out. I am fine, I´m not foaming at the mouth or hallucinating either. I am great! :) Umm.. so yesterday we had interviews with President Glazier, which I always look forward to. At the start of my mission I used to be nervous for them, but now I kinda look forward to them because he always teaches me great stuff to help me out!
Well that's my week! It has been crazy but exciting as usual. I am happy for pday. I don´t know exactly what we are going to do yet. but we will see.

Love Elder Vaughan

Friday, June 28, 2013

Sad and Excited, Training a New Secretary & Learning Sign Language

Hello!
So maybe in past weeks my emails have been kinda dull, because I felt like things were actually getting kinda dull here in the mission. But things are starting to get more interesting.
Wednesday was changes day, and I found out that I am now training a new financial secretary this change, and then the next change I am done with the office! I wasn't expecting to leave the office this change, which makes me kinda sad, but I am super excited at the same time!
First off, its kinda sad because I felt like I fit in well in the office, both with the people and doing the work. But I am content moving on to being a normal missionary. Sometimes in the office I just don´t feel like a missionary, it just feels like work which is weird. When I was first starting in the office I was so happy to spend the hottest hours of the day in an air conditioned office rather than walking around in the hot sun all day, but I am kinda excited to go back to the whole walking around all day thing, like a normal missionary!
So right now I am training for a period of 4 weeks (this change is only four weeks) and then I will be out of the office. It is crazy how fast time is going by. My companion is Elder Andreasen, from Redlands CA. He is doing great so far. This morning we had a meeting with the financial guy from Guatemala and my companion was participating and talking in the meeting as if he had been here for a long time. It was cool. So that meeting was all about getting us ready with our new bank account and transferring all of the files and what not to the other mission. Technically our mission (El Salv San Salv East) is the new one so we get all new stuff, which will be fun.
Since it has been changes week it was naturally hard to dedicate a lot of time to our area, but for this next coming up weekend we set a baptismal date for those deaf people we are teaching. It is super cool. We are learning the sign language well enough to teach them the lessons and all.
Well, that´s my week. Umm, stuff around here is always busy, but that's good, I am ready to enjoy my last weeks here in the office. I hope that you all have a great week!

Love, Elder Vaughan

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fever, 501 Things To Do & P-Day Not So Much

Hello again,

Well, another week has happened here. This week was not so hot since I kinda had a fever for a few days, but whatever. On top of that we have been super busy getting ready for the division in the mission and all that. Nothing too exciting going on. I am just exited for the division to be made already!

Like I said in one of the previous emails, we have been teaching a couple that is deaf, and we have been learning some sign language to be able to teach them. Since it has been hard to learn we haven´t been able to teach much, until now. A couple days we taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which was a super spiritual lesson. They later on expressed their desire to be baptized and all that. We are excited for this chance to teach such a great couple the gospel.

Um.. well being in the office, having our pday on fridays is difficult because there are always 501 things that interrupt our pday activities, as if it were any other normal day. This morning we had to go to a zone meeting, so we spend a solid 2 hours of our pday in that stuff. It is just funny because at the end of each pday we don't even feel like we had a pday!

This next week is changes, the last changes meeting before the division, meaning that wherever the missionaries end up, is the mission they will continue in forever. So this week will be kinda.. well not stressful, just pretty intense. I am excited to see what happens.

Well I hope that you all have a great weekend. Talk to you next time!


Love Elder Vaughan

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mission Division Business, Time at the Temple & Work is the Greatest Remedy

Hello,

This week has been busy just like the last! Just a lot of time being in the office, I feel like there isn't much to report.

The thing that is keeping us so busy is the division in the mission. We have so much stuff to do. I have to do a lot of financial janitor work in the mission finance junk so that it is all pretty for the new mission. Hopefully this will be a somewhat relaxed P-Day for once.

This week we have been at the office pretty late taking care of all this stuff, which is not to exciting. But I kind of enjoy being busy here. It feels good to accomplish things.

Every six months we get to go to the temple, yesterday was that day. It was super awesome being there. The best part was the silence that is there in the celestial room. It is the most quiet place I have been in a long time.

Here is a cool quote that our mission president shared with us, that I find to be very true:

"If you are poor, work. If you are burdened with seemingly unfair responsibilities, work. If you are happy, work. Idleness gives room for doubts and fears. If disappointments come, keep right on working. If sorrow overwhelms you and loved ones seem not true, work. If health is threatened, work. When faith falters and reason fails, just work. When dreams are shattered and hope seems dead, work. Work as if your life were in peril. It really is. No matter what ails you, work. Work faithfully-work with faith. Work is the greatest remedy available for both mental and physical afflictions."

Work seems to be the solution to everything in life. I hope that you all have a great week working and all that. Cant wait to talk next week!

Love Elder Vaughan

Friday, June 7, 2013

New Mission, Ex President's House & Craziness

Hello,

So this week has been very busy (believe it or not). On Monday two missionaries from the Santa Ana Mission came over to our mission to prepare the office for the new mission. I know this may be confusing to you as to what is going on. To keep it simple, this week a million missionaries were here in the office trying to make all the necessary preparations for their new office. Almost every day this week we have been in the office until 7 PM, then the 1 hour in bus to get to our area, and one hour to do some missionary work. It has been crazy. My patience has been tried with these new office elders from the Santa Ana mission because they all are commanding us around in everything that we have to be doing which I don´t like. But that's okay. Now they have their own office and our finally off our backs!

This week we will hopefully dedicate a lot more time to the missionary work in our area. Right now we are teaching a family who lives in a fairly nice house. This week after the second lesson with them the lady told us that the house used to belong to an ex president of El Salvador! That blew our mind. And the ex president was her brother in law! I really love that kind of history, and it is cool knowing these kind of people here!

Ummm... I really cant think of much else to say, we have just spent a ton of time in the office this week!! This week we will get outside more for sure!

It really is exciting being on the second half of things here in the mission. One random thing I just remembered is that with the change of missions and all that, the change schedules are changing a lot, so the thing is that those who are in my mission will most likely be going home three weeks sooner than planned. Which means I may or may not be home in mid may, rather than the first week of June! So that's kinda cool, to have more time in summer to get back to a normal life and all, although my mission will be cut short a few weeks. That's okay.

Well that is all I got for now, I hope that y'all have a great week with all the craziness that is going on! Talk to you all next week.

Elder Vaughan

Friday, May 31, 2013

Downhill From Here, The Kowloon of El Salvador & Praying in Sign Language

Hello Family,
Yes, one year down! I guess I am not so green anymore! It will all be downhill from here!
So like I said last week, I had changes once again! I am now in a place called Los Lencas. It is located in the southern area of the capital. So yes this change does mean that I am going to stay in President Glazier´s mission. There are good and bad things about being in either of the missions, so I am content for whatever happens!
So this week has been very interesting for me. My new area is very different than the last ones. Just in case you lost count I am now in my fourth area! This area in very interesting in many ways. One of the neighborhoods that we work a lot in is called "El Modelo", ironic, because it is not a good model of how people should be living. Let me explain. They are some 6 story apartment buildings made out of cinder blocks and cement. In 2001 there was a huge earthquake and the government declared El Modelo to be uninhabitable. So after that all the people abandoned the apartments and the govt took out all the water and electricity lines so that people wouldn´t be tempted to live there. But, people who wanted a home decided to enter these abandoned homes. They set up a scrambled network of illegal water and light lines so that they could live there. So now El Modelo is a place where a couple hundred people call home.
It gets better, El Modelo is located in a bunch of trees and the buildings are all close together, so it is very easy to get lost in there. We refer to it as The Labyrinth. It is one of the most unreal things I have seen here. Have you heard of or seen pictures of Kowloon Hong Kong?? It reminds me of that a little bit.
Right now we have a couple investigators who live in El Modelo, and the best part is that they are deaf! So that means I am learning some sign language to teach them! My companion Elder Muñoz knows a little bit, and in my one week here I have learned enough to get around. Each Saturday the investigator teaches a free sign language class in the church so that all can learn, and be able to better communicate with him and his wife, as they are both deaf. Last night after teaching them about prophets, they asked me to say the prayer, or better said, do a prayer with my hands. Probably the coolest thing ever, even though it was super short and basic. I knew enough to do a decent prayer.
Well as I was starting this letter the power suddenly went out so we decided to go to TGI fridays and eat real fast. Then all of the sudden we had to take care of a few missionaries who have visas that expire today (Elder Muñoz is the migration/travel secretary) so we ran around for a while taking care of stuff. Fun day. But here I am now!
Oh.. the flying ants. The other day we woke up to find a ton of huge ant like creatures with wings everywhere! We later figured out that they are called "Sonpopos de Mayo", they only come out in may. really freaky things. Every step we walked on the street we crunched a couple of them.
Well that has been my week. Sounds like all is normal back at home. And by normal I mean, not. I hope that you have a fantastic weekend! Can´t wait to talk to you next week!!

Love Elder Vaughan

Friday, May 24, 2013

Moving Again, Best Friend & Crazy Stories to Tell...After the Mission

Hello once again!
Well if you read the title, I have changes again! About an hour ago President Glazier called me telling me that I have changes today! That means that I will be in the east mission now, not the west Belize mission, which is kind of a disappointment. I am not quite sure what the reason for the change was, he just likes to make lots of changes in the mission. So I will still be here in San Salvador working in the office and all, I will probably be in the office for a lot more time.
I am actually kind of sad about these changes because I just got to the area and was still meeting all the members and stuff. So now I get to start from zero again. In the following week I am sure that we will see so many changes with everyone as President decides who he wants and where!
So yes, this does mean that I will be in the East mission with President Glazier, which is cool because I will finish the mission with the same president that I started with! Another cool thing is that the east mission is so much bigger, is has some larger cities in the east like San Miguel and Usulutan. So with this change it looks like I will get to see more places other than San Vicente and San Salvador. The west mission is honestly really small, just the capital, a few other parts and Belize.
The other cool thing is that my new companion is literally one of my best friends here in the mission, so I am pretty excited for that part!
This week I had an interesting experience as we were walking down the main boulevard, but I should probably save this story for another day... after the mission. I am sure after the mission I will have a ton of crazy stories to tell. I was just reminded this week that this really is a dangerous country and that we need to always be as careful as we can! Don´t worry though, absolutely nothing has happened to me. The worst that I have had happen to me in the mission was Montezuma's Revenge, if you know what I mean.
Well, all is well here, crazy, busy, kinda stressful. But well. I will probably spend a lot of my p-day packing and moving again! I hope that you all have a great week!

Love Elder Vaughan

Friday, May 17, 2013

Covering Two Areas, New Mission & Skype

Hello,
Well this week I did have changes! Right now I am serving in two wards, Miralvalle and Miramonte. That means I am covering two areas, and being an office missionary, I have half the time to do it. Just when I thought the mission couldn't get more stressful, it did. Right now it is really hard writing because people wont stop calling me! Everyone always has problems with everything on pday, and they all have to call me. Before being in the office I always thought having a cell phone as a missionary would be great. To me it is a curse. I love working in the office, I just hate when everyone has problems and I have to magically fix things.
Well I am with Elder Del Val, he is the migration secretary, and we are working, just us two in the two areas. We don`t know anyone or anything here. It is crazy. We know that there is a lot of work to do, but we don`t know where anyone is. So that is super stressful. And the two areas combined are GINORMOUS!!!! We are slowly starting to figure out this place and all that. Yesterday we found an investigator who is super awesome. So far I like my new areas because in general the people have more money. Although it is still El Salvador and is a sketchy place, behind the razor wire the people have some really nice houses!!
The stake I am in is called Los Hèroes, which is the temple stake. Yesterday we went to a zone meeting, which means we got to go to the stake center on temple grounds and all that. It is really cool being here in the temple stake! Also, that means I will be in the El Salvador West Belize Mission. Geographically its a really small mission, includes a good chunk of Sansal and a few outer towns and Belize. So I will probably spend most of the rest of my mission in the capital here. I am good with that! Also, I will be with the new Mission President when he gets here. His name is Prez Hintze, I am kind of imitated because he used to be on the financial head of the church, yes the whole church on a worldwide level. So I imagine that when he gets here he will want the finances to be perfect. So these weeks I will be working hard to make sure everything is well organized and running well.
That is about all that I have to share for now. It was really great talking on Skype for Mother's Day! I hope that this coming up Christmas will be the same `ol situation with Skype access and all. In fact it is possible that I will still be in the office, maybe, maybe not. We will see. I hope you all have a great weekend! Love you.

Elder Joshua Vaughan

Friday, May 10, 2013

Packages, Baptism & Filth

Hello World.

So first off, thanks for the package Grandma Suzi. That was really great of you! Me and my companion are enjoying everything that was in there. And thanks Mom and Dad for the package as well. Me and my companion are enjoying that one as well. On Wednesday we will both be transferred to a new area (always working in the office) just a new area that is closer to the office. We hope that we will have a oven there to bake the b-day cake! And if not we can always make pancakes!

So this week we did have a baptism, for an older sister named Magdalena. She is a great faithful lady. It is funny because all of us missionaries joke around saying that she is more holy than us Elders!

So yeah, like I said, on Wednesday Elder Gonzalez and I will have changes to a new area to accommodate the division in the mission. We will be in a new area called "Miralvalle", well that's what we think at least. Being there will make the daily commute to the office much shorter. This area includes the richest neighborhoods in the country. It is where the mission president lives as well as the prez of El Salv (Mauricio Funes). So yeah, a big change from ghetto SanVic to here.

Well this Sunday we will be talking on Skype yet again!! I hope you have questions for me so that I can have something interesting to say. Dad told me that he and Chris went to Vegas for a couple days. He said that at the end of the two days there they were more than happy to be leaving that dirty place! I guess you can now somewhat understand how I feel here in this place. It really is so full of filth. Literal filth (garbage dirtiness) and sinful filth. Setting aside the nastiness of the gang activity here there is a ton of sin going on here. So many women are stuck raising families on their own because of unfaithful husbands, or maybe they didn`t even get married in the first place. With all the junk in this country, the church and all the good stuff the gospel gives us is a real piece of heaven for the people here. Whenever I catch a glimpse of the news its only talking about two things, one the violence and gang stuff, or two, the migration laws in the USA. The news is really depressing here in this country. You would probably be shocked if I were to tell you what the daily homicide rate is here. Whatever, it is what it is.

So I am excited for Mother's Day to talk to you all. I am sure that I will have more things to say when the moment comes! I hope that you all have a great weekend, I will see you soon!


Elder Joshua Vaughan

Friday, May 3, 2013

Our Little House, Rainy Season & Bowling


Hello again!

So yet again it is P-day. Thinking back on the week, I can't think of much to say, it is just kinda hard to remember what has been happening. Well this week we moved, I didn't have changes yet, we just moved to a new house nearby. Where we were living before we were in the mission "hotel", where all the Elders come and stay the night when they are just arriving or leaving the mission. So as a part of all this mission division stuff, we are getting a new "hotel" and a new office, and all sorts of new stuff. So I am still working in the ward San Ramón, but now living in a tiny house because soon us office missionaries will be transferred to a new area and in San Ramón there will be regular non-office missionaries. Anyways, for a couple weeks we will be living in this tiny house for a while.

Remember one time how I said that San Salvador is like the Japan of Central America? Well we are now living in one of those neighborhoods ("colonias") that is super crammed together and all the houses are super tiny. Its kinda cool, but not really. The worst part is that I am back to taking cold showers, no more heated shower for me! But it's nice, the small house is easier to clean. If your are interested to see where I am living and all that, on Google Maps search "Residencial Granada San Salvador" that´s where we're at!

I assume that on the 15th we will be moving to another area called Miralvalle, which is really close to where we are now. President Glazier really likes surprises and thus he doesn't keep us in on the loop of what his plans for us are. My honest best guess is that I will be in the mission El Salv San Salv West Belize. Don't ask why, that is just my best guess from the rumors and stuff that I hear.

So last night the rain came back. Since October we have been in the dry season, and yesterday we had a huge rain storm. And we got caught in the middle of it last night, it was super fun. We were trying to get to an appointment we had, and buckets of water started falling and the craziest thunder and lightning ever! So when we got back to the house we were soaked head to toe. Pretty cool. Its nice to finally see a change in the weather here after all this sun and stuff!! I am going to have to look for my umbrella, it is probably buried in my suitcases.

Well tomorrow we have a baptism planned for a lady Magdalena. She is really great. The best part was how we have seen her testimony grow through her faith and her commitments that she has kept! She has progressed a lot and we are excited for her!

Ummm... that´s about all that I have to share this week. Pretty soon we are going to eat at TGI Fridays. I am kind of excited. Oh, and last week we went bowling. Here are the pictures:




I hope that you are all ready to have a great week again, I can´t believe that the school year is coming to a close yet again! I love you and well talk next week!

Love,

Elder Vaughan

Friday, April 26, 2013

New Old Clothes, Baptisms & Gourmet Burgers


Hello once again!

So here are some random pictures. The top one was from a few weeks ago when we went to "la Puerta del Diablo" which is a cool mountain type thingy. The next one is a shot of San Salvador from a distance, its hard to see really because the air is so polluted. Next is a random picture of me... with a garbage can head. And I don't remember if I ever sent a pic of the office, so there is is!





I think I blinked again because somehow today is p-day! If I don´t stop blinking I will be home pretty quick! Anyways this week was pretty crazy. There´s a lot of stuff going on here, preparing for the mission divide, and all that stuff! In the house where we are now living there were 5 of us Elders, but now only me and my companion are there. The others are now living on the other side of San Salvador where the new office is supposedly going to be. So on top of the office work and the missionary work, we had to move a ton of stuff. And it's not like just a few suitcases and stuff, in the house we had tons of big things. Anyways I am tired.

Yesterday was a super cool day! Elder Hall is the guy who manages the Perpetual Education Fund here in El Salvador, he is going home on Monday. So he stopped by the office yesterday to drop off a bunch of stuff that he is not going to take home. Among those things were like 10 white shirts 2 suits and a ton of ties. So I got a few of the shirts and the suit. I was really happy about the suit because my suit pants ripped a few weeks ago and I was contemplating buying a new suit here, but I decided to wait. I guess being patient paid off! The suit is brand new, Elder Hall says he bought it and used it only once! The only problem is that the pants are slightly big for me, but I can send it to a tailor´s shop to cut it down for maybe 2 bucks. That's a good deal!

So the fact that the other missionaries in our house moved to the other side of the capital, we inherited their investigators and their baptismal dates. So in the next few weeks we may have two or three more baptisms!

So far in my mission I haven´t been baptizing a ton, I've baptized a small amount, and now being in the office makes that even harder for me. I guess that after being in the mission for almost a year I should be a little better or something at this. But my favorite quote in the world is "it is what it is". So whatever, its not all about the numbers and all. What really bothers me is how many missionaries measure success by baptismal numbers and the put notches in their belt like a bomber puts tallies to mark its kills. That kind of bothers me because you can´t really measure success like that. In my mission I have reactivated inactive people like twice as many times as baptisms, but there is no number that we use in the mission to mark that one. For all those who have been or are missionaries know that the purpose is "invite people to come unto Christ", it doesn't say who, just people whether they be members or not! Some of my greatest joys have been with the families that are already members and we help them reactivate and stuff.

Anyways, I am content here in the office because it is a kind of work I understand well. I liked studying computer science before the mission because it was all systematic, there is a set pattern of completing things, there are rules and laws in computer science. In missionary work it's not so set in stone the "right way" of doing missionary work. I guess that is also why I struggled in Psychology class, too complicated for me. 

Last p-day was sweet, we went to GBC (Gourmet Burger Comp.) and ate some 16 dollar burgers. Really good. When I come back from the mission I will have to take like a 1 year break from cheeseburgers... or more..

Well sounds like all has been going well this week for you all, I hope you all have a great week. Well talk to you in another blink of the eye!

Love, Elder Joshua Vaughan