Friday, February 22, 2013

New Area, New Assignment & a Third El Salvador Mission


Hello!!
Well I bet you weren´t expecting to get an email from me until Monday! So from now on out I will have my P-Day on Fridays, every week from here on out! Like I said the past week, we have had some changes here! I left San Vicente after being there for a good amount of time. My new area is in San Salvador in a "Municipio" called Mejicanos. But wait, there's more! The best part is that I was called to be the financial secretary for the El Salvador San Salvador Mission! This week has been so full of so many surprises and changes in the mission and the country!
The other big change that will be coming, the country of El Salvador will be getting a third mission!! That was new news to us on Wednesday! So here we will have the ES Santa Ana mission, ES SanSalvador West (which now will include Belize...I think) and the ES East Mission. I would explain physically how things would be laid out, but that is complicated, in Church News an article should come up in the next few days about this change! So in June the mission will be divided, and we don´t know who will end up in which mission!
So, more about my new job. I am with Elder Earl who was the previous "Financiero" and he is going to be training me this change how to take over his job. I would like to thank you Mom and Dad for the experience that I have had in the office with you. Yesterday we had to reconcile almost 3,000 dollars worth of reciepts and bills, and it was cake because I already know how that all works! So far this job is perfect for me!! Elder Earl is impressed with how fast I am learning and working. I am so happy and excited to be here, it truly is an honor, I guess. Because out of a mission with 230 missionaries, I was the one picked to take his place! Also, with the mission division coming up, we will need another financiero who will be in one mission, and I will be in the other. As to which mission I will belong, who knows which one I will be in.
So we are in the heart of the city, and I am loving it. It is such a huge change from San Vicente, so many things are different. The best part is that we get to spend the hottest hours of the day in the air-conditioned office, that in itself is a privilege! Also we have lots of great options for food every day such as Chinese food, Papa John´s, Wendys, you know... normal food! It is such a blessing. The office is in a neighborhood called "Escalon" which is pretty much the richest part of the country, I like it! Every morning and afternoon we commute from Mejicanos to the Escalon, it truly is not that far, but in the buses it takes like an hour. We will always have our P-Days with the assistants, so we get to go around with them in their pickup truck which only took us 5 minutes to get here to the office. After we write we will be going to go eat something delicious for lunch and then we will go to Wal Mart to do a little bit of shopping! I have never been so happy for a trip to Wal Mart!!!
So that is whats going on now! Lots of things are going on and I am as happy (and as busy) as ever! This is really such a great responsibility and I am so excited to be taking this on!! We have a never ending pile of work to do here in the office and we have a regular area to do missionary work in and we are held to the same expectations and goals as the rest of the mission. So really I am living a "two job life". But I really couldn't be more excited for this! The best part is I have my own personal office here (where I am right now writing you) and it is about the size of Dad´s part of his office and I have the huge mission safe and all the stuff of the mission. It is a great responsibility and I am so ready to take on this challenge!!
I hope that I will get to hear from you all next Friday! Have a great week!
Love Elder Vaughan

Monday, February 18, 2013

Changes This Week, District Conference & Feeling Prepared


Hello Family!

Well, this Wednesday are the changes. And yes I have changes! I only got to half train Elder Flores, which is really disappointing to me, but no worries, I will have other opportunities to train in the future. So we will see what will happen! Oh yeah, and when someone gets changed in the middle of the 12 week training period, its called an "aborto", yeah, I think you see why! I am actually excited to see where I will be, the fact that I am still in my first area I still feel like a n00b in the mission, so I guess I am ready to move onward to other things and other places!

So this week was pretty interesting, Friday we had a Zone meeting here in San Vicente and the President randomly decided to show up and we learned lots of great things! He went to the Super Selectos (the only grocery store here in town) to buy us all ice cream to eat after the meeting, and while he was there he talked to a man in the store and got a reference and gave it to us because the man lives in my area here. That was just cool because yesterday we found him and are teaching him! It is always really hard to tell in the first lesson if the person will be able to progress or not, but it would be sweet that in the future if he got baptized and all. I guess my comp will find out!

Also this week was the district of San Vicente Conference, that was really cool because it was the most spiritual meeting we have had in a while here in the church and we had several investigators there in the session on Sunday! It was really great! Then we got to introduce our investigators to President Glazier which was cool.

So I have been here for almost 7 months now, I sure have learned a ton since I first got here! I remember the first weeks when I couldn't understand half of the things the people were saying to me, and here I am now being a trainer and teaching someone else how to do stuff here. This time here has for me been a "trial and error" run for me. And by that I have seen from my trainer how to be a good missionary, and from the second companion how to persevere, and now I have had my chance to do things how I want. So now I feel really prepared to do great the rest of my mission!

Well this week sure will be interesting, who knows where I will be. The biggest zone in the country is San Miguel, by that I mean that it has the most missionaries than whatever other zone. Wherever I go, I do not want to go to San Miguel because it is supposedly the hottest area in all of central America... and the worst part is, we are in summer right now. So wish me luck! Well, have a great week!

Love,

Elder Joshua Vaughan

Monday, February 11, 2013

The "Japan of Central America", Tap Water & Cow Guts


Hello World,

Okay, so this week was somewhat interesting to me. Nothing too big or crazy, just interesting. As far as the week went, a fairly normal schedule, only on Friday we were in Ilopango (San Salvador) for a multi zone meeting with the president. It was pretty cool, there are always things I learn that help me improve my work as a missionary and make me more motivated me to do a better job each day! Those meetings happen usually every 2 or 3 months, I'm not exactly sure. 

I actually love going to San Salvador for meetings because I like seeing the city because it is insane. El Salvador is the most densely populated country in all of Central America, it is super tiny and there are just a ton of people here! So for that I like to think of this country as the "Japan of Central America". San Vicente is not that big, and for that it is a calmer place and for that it is much easier to find people to talk to and all that. But in San Salvador the way things are just blows my mind. The houses are all so tiny and so packed together and the streets are crowded with hundreds of buses  Here there are not any of those sound ordinances or pollution guidelines on vehicles, so all the buses are super loud and pollute like crazy. When I was in Ilopango on Friday the sky was grey from all the bus pollution, fortunately its not like that in San Vicente because there is only one bus route and nobody goes anywhere.

So we are still here without any water coming out of the tap. When Chris came home from his mission I remember him being amazed that water actually comes out of the tap every time he opens it. Chris, I can totally relate to that feeling now! About twice a week in the early morning the water comes back, so we always leave the tap to the pila opened so we can have water to bathe with. As far as drinking water, the only Central American country with safe tap water is Panama (because the  gringos who dug the canal also set up the water system in Panama while they were there). So here we aren't supposed to drink the tap water, but I know I have drunken it a million times, its unavoidable, but when it's us in the house, we buy 5 gallon bottles of purified water to drink. Many times the people offer us a "fresco" which is their homemade fruit juices, and that is almost always made with tap water, so whatever. 

So this week we are teaching a great family that is super excited and all. We think that they will be able to be baptized soon enough. The other day we were in a lesson with them and the little girl was told by her mom to go feed the pigs. So the girl got up and brought out a bucket filled with cow guts. Everything from intestines to hearts and kidneys, she had it all. She just spilled all the guts on the ground and the pigs went nuts. It was like one of those things you see when sharks go nuts eating a piece of meat, but these were pigs. Probably the gnarliest thing I have seen in a while. So it turns out that the dad of the family works at the nearby slaughter house, so he gets to take home as many of the cow guts as he wants to feed his animals... interesting. As far as teaching them goes, all is well, they are accepting very well all that we teach and hopefully will follow through with the goal baptism date in march!

So that's about all I've got for now to share with you. I hope that you all continue having a great week.

Love,

Elder Joshua Vaughan

Monday, February 4, 2013

No Water, Pirates & Obedience

Hello World again,

Well this week was pretty good, definitely much better and more eventful than the last! So this week we had planned a baptism for Saturday, so that morning we went to the church to fill the font and there was no water in the church, like, really there was no water anywhere in the whole city because the water company "ANDA" has been doing some hardcore cleaning and maintenance in the water system, so all week we have had no water and we won't have some water for quite some time. In our house we have this thing called a "pila" its just a huge cement box behind the house that we fill with water so we can "shower" when there is no water, its pretty sweet. So with the baptism we had no water to fill the font. All day we were running around talking to all the people we could who could possibly help us find a place or fill the font for the baptism. So with the help of the District Prez (we're too small to be a stake) he made a million phone calls (which here you pay per minute on the phone, phone plans don't exist) to many members and other people he knows to help us find a solution! After about an hour of phone calls we remembered that there is a less active sister who lives 2 blocks away from the church who has a swimming pool! So after all morning and most of the afternoon we finally found the solution!

I would totally send you some pictures of the baptism and stuff, but the computers here in the church have viruses and our branch president is blaming us for using our cameras and USB drives, I really don't believe it since all the members here use this place as their personal cyber cafe to download pirated music, movies, PlayStation games and etc. Here in this country the people live off of pirated media, original copies of movies, music, and games just don`t exist. Its funny. I have explained to people that the church doesn't support pirating, but nobody believes me and it is the only way to obtain media here!

Anyways... Although this week was eventful... nothing else comes to mind that I would like to share with you.... Sorry for being lame. Well, this week should be just as great, we don't have any more baptisms planned this week, but we have some wonderful investigators and families we are teaching. It seems that right now the members are helping us more than ever with the missionary work, and I know that the level of help we receive is directly connected with the level of obedience that we live.

Well that's about all! I am excited to continue working this week! I hope that you are all having a great time as well!

Love Elder Vaughan