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

Friday, April 19, 2013

Elmer's Baptism, Bad Papusas & Time Flies

Hello World!

Well another week down right? I am just so close to the halfway mark! When I complete the first year I will have to sing at the top of my lungs "I'm HALFWAY THERE, WHOOOAAA!" You know, like the Bon Jovi song

Dad, it sounds crazy that you´ll be in the bishopric again in our ward! I'm sorry to hear that you wanted something less time consuming, but the Lord knows that´s what your good at, being bishop or counselor, so as we say here "¡déle con todo!" which means give it your all!

I bet you are pretty excited to have Mom around in the office everyday once she finishes school at AHS! That will be cool having her there all the time. 

I also heard about that bombing in Boston. That's just stupid. People here in El Salvador love the USA, everyone wants to live there, but many people now are thinking that they are better off here because weirdos aren't shooting children in schools and theaters nor setting off bombs in public. Really sad. 

Dad that is kinda funny that you mention Americans wanting to move to Belize, I was just talking about that yesterday with one of my office comps from Chile. Belize is such a relaxed place where nothing much goes on, so I guess its a great location to escape.

Well this week was much better than the last. We had another baptism with a 20 year old dude named Elmer. He was baptized on Saturday and is probably one of my strongest converts to this day. When I was in San Vicente I baptized a guy who went inactive right off the bat. But this will be cool because Elmer is planning on serving a mission and everything, So we are super happy and excited for him!

Last Friday after writing emails and all that we went to a place called "Los Planes" (Yes, the plans), to eat the supposedly best pupusas in the country (world). But they just gave us all diarrhea  After the pupusas we went to "La Puerta del Diablo" which was a cool mountain like thingy, I don´t have my camera right now, I will have to send some pictures next time!

As far as all the office life, its great, super busy, but its great. Time flies a hundred times faster here in the office, its weird  I just don´t feel like I have too much to report this week. All is well, life at home seems pretty crazy! I hope that you all have a great week! :)

Love Elder Vaughan!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Prioritization, Rooster Heads & General Conference

Hello World!

Well like last week, this was another pretty stressful week for me, but I think I managed to get a hold of things here! It just took me a while to get used to not having Elder Earl (the previous Financial Secretary) around to help order me around. I have really been developing my skills in prioritizing. The sad truth with my job is that there simply is not enough time to do all of the things that need to be done, so we do some serious prioritizing and we have to let some tasks be forgotten about and never resolved. But that´s okay.

So from the pictures you sent me it looks like Jesse is totally in style according to the style of the El Salvador young people. I would say that more that 50% of the young men here have those faux-hawk things that Jesse is currently sporting! Jesse would fit right in here! Here they call that kind of hair a rooster head, its funny!

So conference went great for us here. In the stake center in Cuscatlán we watched it, we had a set apart room to watch it in English for all those who were interested in that! That´s so cool that you all had the chance to be there, who would have known that an African guy would be in my seat at conference! After the Priesthood session of conference we were invited to eat dinner at President´s house with all the other office missionaries. Here I will attach a picture, somehow I always end up in the back of all the group pictures, whatever. We had a nice dinner. In his house he always gets imported meats and shops at Price Mart, the Costco equivalent, so the food is always super good!

 So tomorrow we have a baptism planned for Elmer, he is such a great young guy. Although he is one of the rooster heads he is planning on going on a mission ASAP, so far he seems that he will be one of my stronger converts in the mission. Honestly I haven´t had the best of luck in terms of my baptismal numbers, but I don´t let that get to me! The fact that I am now in the office means that it will be even harder to baptize since time is so short for us. Its funny because I always joke that I was called to El Salvador not to baptize, just to do the church´s finances! :) But yeah, now were doing finances and baptizing! So I am content!

I am so excited for today, we are going to go do some cool stuffs. We are going to eat lunch at the supposedly best pupuseria in the world, so we will see. And after that we will go to "La Puerta del Diablo", that should be cool. I will have to send you some pictures next week!

So that´s about all that I have to report for now. Sounds to me like everyone had a great week, I did too! I hope that you all have a great week.

Love, Elder Vaughan

Friday, April 5, 2013

Bills, Contracts & Fry Pan Wake Up Call

Hello world once again!

So this past week has been the most stressful week of my mission so far! Mainly because it was changes week and us as the office missionaries, it is our responsibility to make sure everything is ready for the changes. That includes in finding the houses in the new areas we are opening, and I have to make the contracts and make all the arrangements for signing the contracts and making security deposit checks. Also we have to buy and deliver all of the things (beds, chairs, tables, fridges, etc.) to the new areas. And on top of that we are missionaries.

So I did have changes this week, I am not with Elder Glenn and Elder Earl anymore. Now I am training another elder to be a financial secretary which is crazy. Elder Glenn was going to be the other, but I guess he just wasn't a good fit for being in the office so now I have to train another guy and I haven't even had much time to get stuff learned. Yesterday was the most stressful day of my mission because everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. People in this world are just so impatient. I am responsible for making the payments to the companies that make the beds tables and chairs. And we owe them 960 dollars for an order made in February (before I got here), so yesterday they called and were yelling and whining because they didn't have their money. Then on top of that I had the mission doctor calling me because she never got paid from the last change (because Elder Earl didn't get it done beforehand), she was wanting 920 dollars. So just dealing with all these people and trying to make everyone happy is very stressful.

I am going to attach a document that is one of the contracts that one of the house owners made (I usually make them, but he wanted to make his own) and understanding all that legal language has been such a challenge in Spanish. So here I attached the document in English and in Spanish. It is just such an ugly made document (people aren't well educated in computers here). I also am going to attach one that I made (more beautiful). It is pretty cool! And there are a ton of contacts that I have to keep track of, there are about 210 missionaries in this mission (it changes every week) so you do the math, there are a ton of contracts to keep track of and monitor.

So this crazy week has left me with almost no time for working in our area as missionaries. One of the other perks of being an office missionary is that our house is the mission hotel. it is a fairly big house so we always have the missionaries who are just arriving to the mission and those who are soon to leave sleep there, yes all of them. The other day the brilliant idea came to me that I could have fun when waking them up! Many of them have to wake up in the early morning to catch flights. So I decided to do something I learned from Dad, that is.. hit a fry pan with a wooden spoon as hard as I can. It is hilarious! I decided I would have one of the other Elders record it on camera, the reactions are pretty funny to me!

Well that is pretty much my week! Crazy, stressful, but rewarding! I hope that you all have a great conference weekend in Utah! Conference is great for us missionaries because it is a form of rest from all of our duties! I love you and have a great week!

Love, Elder Joshua Vaughan