Monday, December 27, 2010

Feliz Navidad

¡Feliz Navidad!

The big news this week is that I got tranferred.  I have escaped the city and am now in the roots of my youth.... in Chalchuapa!  I am happy to be back.  I am actually not in Chalchuapa but in the same zone.  I am in a an area called Ciudad Real and the ward is called Barrio Tazumal.  It is in between Chalchuapa and Santa Ana. My companion is Hermana Izaguirre.  She is my ¨hermana¨ in the mission because Hermana Cash also trained her.  But we get along really well. She is also from Honduras like all but one of my latina companions.  I tried to attach a photo but the computer USB connection isn´t working. Sorry, maybe next time.

We had a big mission activity this week where everyone (but Belize) was there.  Every zone made a video so pretty much the whole activity we spent watching movies... some were better than others.  Christmas here is a lot different and so it didn´t feel like Christmas at all.  To me Christmas is staying at home with family and having dinner and doing something special together. But here it is just a party and a good excuse for people to get drunk. We went and visited a lot of members and ate dinner with a member´s house and there were a ton of people there.  We heard that in other missions they get the day off or have to go home early but not for us, we worked the whole day and we even contacted in the night.  But here, they don´t celebrate Christmas day but only on Christmas eve and they call the 24th Christmas.  Apostacy.  Everyone knows that Christ was born in April but we have to celebrate the 25th of December and not the 24th. Then on the 25th, everyone has the day off and everyone sleeps all day and visits their family.  We had a hard time finding people in their houses. So I got to go to church in my new ward yesterday.  Being here in this ward is something really special because they just finished building the chapel and are going to dedicate it probably in January.  I think President is blessing me for the 5 transfers that I had in the city:)  I feel so happy to be back in the campo and I am really looking forward to being with my new companion.  I know that we are going to be blessed.  It is strange to be back to the area because I see people that I know.  After church Carlos from Chalchuapa drove passed us (he was the guy that got baptized after I left the area but I got to go back for his baptism). I feel blessed because I can see my converts again and it just brings back good memories.  I am enjoying my time.  Thanks for all your prayers.  It was great to talk to you guys on Christmas morning.  I feel so blessed to be here and have learned a lot recently from the scriptures and thinking about Christ during this Christmas season.  I am so grateful that I don't cry anymore when I talk on the phone.  It is wierd to think that I might not call home again.  The next time that I talk to you might be face to face.

I love you!

Hermana Bush


Friday, December 17, 2010

Almost Christmas

Hola!

I can´t believe that it is almost Christmas time.  There is only one week left. It has been a pretty uneventful week. We are still struggling to get Clara to go to church.  She is so positive and wants to get baptized but she always has something happen on Sunday mornings.  It is kind of frustrating but I really love teaching her.  She understands everything.  The other problem that she has is that she is not married.  We can only put pressure but she is the one that has to talk to her partner which she does but doesn´t want to make him mad so she backs off.  We really want her to get baptized this week but I don´t know how much more we can do but be patient.

We are also teaching a man named Joaquin who is positive but he is going out of town for a week.  But he is about 55 years old and is taking care of his nieces children.  So he lives with two kids and it is so great to see how much he loves them and how much he cares for them. He has a son that lives somewhere else and is member of the church so he is interested in what we have to say, AND he is currently not going to any church.  That is the hardest part of this area is that every one is active in the Catholic church or an evangelical
church.  I have learned a lot about the evangelical churches here in El Salvador.   These are the churches that scream and speak in ¨ tongues ¨ and touch peoples foreheads and they fall to the ground.  In the 80s there was a civil war here and before there was only the Catholic church but with the war, the evanglical churches started springing up and they appealed to poor because they promised blessings of safety and riches and so they appealed to the needs of the people unlike the Catholic church which just did the normal service of Mass and didn´t appeal to the needs of the poor only the rich.  So that is why the evangelical churches have had so much success in El Salvador. Claudia was telling us that she attended a baptist church here which is part of the category of evangelical and she went to the states and went to the baptist church and it was totally different and things were calm and people didn´t scream  but just listened.  It is funny that the same church can be so different in other parts of the world.

This week we had a daughter of a less active member go to church.  She had been to church a lot years ago.  We asked her why she didn´t get baptized years back.  She is catholic but just goes to our church to
support her mom.  She said that are so many beautiful things about our church but she has just grown up with so many different beliefs.  For instance she believes in the Virgin Mary.  That is a big problem for us down here in an area that is mainly Catholic.  Everyone believes and worships the Virgin Mary.  We can try to explain worshipping idols but people have been catholic all their lives and don´t feel the need to change because they are happy.  Where we lived before, we lived right next to a big Catholic church that was called ¨La Trinidad de la Tierra¨ or ¨The earthly trinity¨ and then it lists Joseph, Mary and Jesus.  These are just a few of the examples of things that we see on a daily basis.  In fact Hermana Salazar from Honduras says that it is different here.  Where she is from almost nobody goes to church and now she is in a country that practically everyone goes to church or at least says they do.  But I think that it is great that it is so religious. There are so many more opportunities for members to share their testimonies because everyone talks about religion and everyone knows what church you go to. Sometimes when we contact people on the street we will ask them for a reference and then they start listing off the religions of every single house on the block.

So, I have a couple more Spanish Christmas songs for you:  Campanas de Belén, Burrito Sabanero and Ven a mi Casa Esta Navidad.  I hope that you can utilize one of those for the family band.  Hermana Salazar started singing Campanas de Belén and I barely know any of it and yet it is always stuck in my head!  So like I said last week, we have transfers this coming week before Christmas.  I don´t think anything will change with us but we never know.   We have had some great experiences together and I really do love my companion.

Thanks for everything.  We are enjoying our time and working our hardest.

Hermana Bush

Friday, December 10, 2010

The days before Christmas

¡Hola Familia!

I hope that everything is going well for everyone.  We surely have had a festive week.  I cannot believe that it is almost halfway through with December!  How time flies by.  I was just thinking that it is crazy how it is already the 7th of December and I looked at my agenda and today is the 10th!  I really can´t believe it. So, we have had something to do every day this week.  On Sunday we got to watch the Christmas devotional. We watched it with Claudia.  I don´t know if Claudia is going to progress more than she has.  She wants to be a part of the church but has so many problems with the doctrine.  It is so frustrating to see some one so close but will not accept everything.  And her friends have been telling her a lot of rumors about the church.  We haven´t dropped her but we have been thinking about it.  But it is sad leaving people that you have a good relationship with and they truely are people that you love.

On Monday we had an activity with all the sisters in the mission.  We got to play soccer together which was really fun and then we went to the house of President to eat lunch and then we got to decorate their house with the Christmas decorations.  I was priviledged enough to put the star on the tree since I am the tallest.  It was a lot of fun and then Presidente and Hermana Lopez gave us hair straighteners for a Christmas present.  Sometimes it is annoying to be a sister in the mission but other times it all pays off when the mission president gives you presents.  Then on tuesday we had a multizone conference.  Then with district meeting on Wednesday.  And then on Thursday we went to the house of President Lopez again as a district.  The zone leaders wouldn´t tell us why we had to go so we went scared that something bad was going to happen but then when we got there we ate a big lunch with sausage, steak, potatoes, avocados, and other stuff.  I hadn´t eaten so well for more then a year and then the 6 of us filled 200 ziploc bags with candy in preparation for Mission Christmas party.  It was fun and something different.  And then today is pday again!  We are having a little problems in the area because people leave town and then almost all of our investigators are sick.
Mom keeps asking me to look for native Christmas songs but there aren´t really any here.  I asked my companion if she knew any from Honduras and she didn´t either.  But the other day we were sitting on the bus and some older men got on the bus to play a song.  And they played this really cute Christmas song.  Unfortunately I don´t know what they said or what the song is called but they repeated the words ¨El arblolito lindo de Navidad¨  a lot.  Maybe you can find that song.  Other than that, the Christmas preparation is pretty much the same that it is in the states.  

We are working on trying to find new people to teach but this can be a very difficult task when you have to talk through an intercom or contact people by yelling through their ¨garage door¨.  We contacted an inactive lady who hasn´t gone to church for 15 years and we found out that she has now been baptized in 5 other churches and she is now receiving Bible study by the Jehovah´s witnesses.  If you get baptized in every church I guess you will be sure to have gotten a true baptism at one time or another.
In case anybody is worrying about my foot, it feels a lot better.  On saturday it really bad and when I looked at it, it was just a giant blister on the bottom of my foot.  But it felt good enough on Monday to play soccer:)

We are doing just fine.  Please pray for us.  We want to have baptisms this month and little by little time is just flying by.  We are working hard.  We have transfers in a week and a half right before Christmas, but I am pretty sure that we are both going to pass Christmas together in this area.
I love you so much.

Crystal

I want to give a special thanks to Sister Lewis who sent me a nice package.  It was very nice and we enjoyed opening it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Diciembre

Well this has been a very interesting week. I never told you guys but about a month ago something appeared on the bottom of my foot.  For a long time I was looking for a rock in my shoe and never found one. Then I found it on the bottom of my foot.  So I asked Hermana Clark when we were together and she said that she thought it was a planters wart.  So I told the nurse and then things got busy but I was finally able to go to the doctor today.  And he said that it wasn´t a wart but it was just dead skin underneath my skin that was just a ball and so it feels like a little rock.  He said that he could cut it out and so he did but then he said that it would just grow back and so he froze it too.  And now I am free of my little rock but now I have a whole in my foot and it hurts!  But he said that it shouldn´t hurt too much after the week end.  And I can still walk fine with a little limp. But I will adjust. Hermana Salazar said that I finally went to the ¨patologo¨ (for those of you who remember my story the other week). So that is what we did this morning.  It was a very thrilling morning out and about.  But it was enjoyable.

Our cook is named Jenny and she is also a recent convert from August decided that she wanted to go out with us and so she got a taxi and we went to my appointment and then we ate lunch at Burger King. Mom asked me about the Christmas decorations here.  Some people do decorate and it is really pretty but not nearly as elaborate as in the states.  But every time we walk past a house with Christmas lights or a tree, Hermana Salazar and I look at it longingly. So, today we also went to a store that is the same idea of a dollar store or really a place that sells cheap junk and we bought a little Christmas tree and some cheap lights that might break before we get home.  But now we can have a little bit of Christmas in our house.  Weather wise, it is still hot. I am surprised it is still hot too.  People had always said that December and January are cold months but I don´t know what they were talking about.  Sometimes it feels slightly brisk but normally it is just hot.

We have had some really great experiences this week.  I think I have told you about Clara.  She is an investigator that we have been teaching for a while that still hasn´t been able to go to church.  On Saturday we taught her and she accepted a baptismal date in December. She told us that she was talking to her mom about the church and invited her to go.  She said that she wanted to tell her mom that her church wasn´t true but didn´t have the heart to do it. Clara has only one problem....she isn´t married to her companion.  We told her that she has to get married first but she has really put her mind of getting baptized the 18th of December and I know that she can do it. And she was going to go to church on Sunday but then she had a fight with her boyfriend so she was going to leave him but then came back the next day.

So, things are coming right along.  We had a second meeting for the new missionaries and then we had a multizone conference and so I feel like we have been in meetings all week long but it is not true. We are excited for the holiday season.  Now we can decorate our little house.  Oh, that´s the other thing that happened this week is we changed houses.  We finally found a little apartment and we went to see it with the zone leaders and they signed for it.  So we are now in a cute little apartment that is a lot nicer.  We still don´t have a big mirror but we are surviving with little make up mirrors.  Well, I love you all so much!

¡Feliz Diciembre!

Hermana Bush

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving

This is Crystal's Letter for this week. For those of you who would like to send her a Christmas card, here is her address. It costs 98 cents to mail a letter to El Salvador.

Hermana Crystal Bush
El Salvador San Salvador West/Belize Mission
Colonia San Benito
Boulevard El Hipodromo 537
San Salvador, San Salvador
El Salvador

Well here I am!

I am writing really late today because we had a zone activity today. We went to hike the Volcán de Santa Ana. At the beginning of the year I hiked a volcana named Isalco and this volcano is in the same area but it is a little bit bigger. It was super hard and now I am super tired. So before the mission I was not the biggest hiker and things have not changed. But it was very beautiful and it has a big crater with water inside. We had a good time and I had a really good time taking a little nap in the little bus that we rented. This week we got to see Claudia finally and it was really exciting because she just praised you guys. She had a good time visiting my family and couldn´t say enough about the dog. I think it is funny that one of my investigators has seen my house and the dog before I have.

Many funny things have happened this week but this might be the highlight. Last Sunday all of our citas (appointments) fell and so we went out contacting. Some lady let us in after some weird guy was asking me if I speak English or Spanish. So this older lady went to church years and years ago with a friend. So I asked what she remembered about the church or Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon. So she began to tell us a very interesting version. According to her this is what happened: Joseph Smith was a young boy who liked to run in the morning and on time he prayed in a park and an angel came to him and told him where to find the plates of gold. So, he went to the airport to fly to Brazil where the plates were hidden. He tried to get them out of the ground but he couldn´t so he hired 4 men to help him get the plates out of the mountain. Well, there it is. It is a very interesting take on the prophet Joseph Smith. We explained to her what really happened and she laughed and laughed about her version and then afterwards realized it was a dream.

So, right now is the summer vacation in schools here and since we are in the city we have been fighting with finding people in their houses because a lot are leaving to go visit family or do some sort ofvacation. I hope that everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving yesterday. Our ward mission leader lived in the states for 20 years and his neighbor is a recent convert (Hermana Jenny) and so she made a Thanksgiving dinner which was delicious. She even made turkey with rice and bread and vegetables and french fries. It was very delicious.

We are working hard here in El Salvador. I love my companion Hermana Salazar. We get along really great and she laughs at everything I say which helps a lot. We took a lot of pictures today and some from yesterday but I will try to send you pictures next week. And yes, the picture that I sent last week is in front of our house. Hermana Ramirez always said it was the midget house because in one room my head almost touches the ceiling. We have a lot of positive investigators but they all have problems with something and with most of them it is the law of chastity. We are trying to organize a divorce some marriages or some other options.

I am so grateful for such great friends and family. I love my mission. I love the people and I love our investigators. After a year in the mission, I took some time to reflect my experiences and I am truly happy that I am here. So many people tell us each day that it is such a huge sacrifice that we make and yes it is, but it is worth every day. I love you all.

Hermana Bush

Oh, and by the way, I read Abby´s email about the cold and she says that it is hard and that she always felt sorry for me and Eli sweating in Norway. But right now, I can´t feel sorry for her. I got really

burnt today climbing the volcano. Everyone says that November and December and January are the coldest months but luckily for me it has been hotter than normal. I am just going to work on my tan.

I love you.

Friday, November 19, 2010

1 year down


Hola!

This week has been a good week. Big news! Yesterday I completed one year on the mission. It is strange that it is supposedly all down hill from here because I still feel new on the mission. I still have a ton of things to learn and I still don´t know anything. It is strange to be a girl and go home 6 months earlier than the elders. This week we had some really good moments. We had an activity with our district. We called people in our ward to do divisions with us and then we went out to contact. And it was a very successful activity. We found a lot of people and the great thing about it is that members don´t really like contacting so, they gave references of friends so that they didn´t have to go contacting for 2 hours. So, we had enough work before and now we have a ton of work. During this activity, we contacted a man that is a friend of a member. He said that he is Buddhist. That is not very common here so I had to ask, ¨Where is the Buddhist church here?¨ Then he had to remind me that buddhism is not a religion it´s a practice. Well, at least we had a good laugh about it. He is a very strange person but willing to listen and says that he is not against changing his life. We have to be careful because someone people only will listen to us because they are curious and not because they want to learn. We have to maintain the eye of a hawk.

Another funny thing happened the next day that I hope I can explain. We visited some people and the mom said that someone was a ¨patologo¨. I thought about it for a little while thinking what is a patologo. And then it came to me, the word ¨pata¨ is a foot of an animal so he must be a foot doctor. And so I asked if it was a foot doctor and everyone started laughing. I thought it was very logical and they understood where I got that. But then they clearly explained to me what a pathologist is and the worst thing is that I know what a pathologist is and I know Claudia (our investigator) is a pathologist and tests tumors to see if they are cancerous. Well, it was a good laugh.

This week has been filled with meetings and waiting around for people. For Christmas, each zone has to make a video so we have been planning that a little bit in the mornings. Then we also had to go to immigration so that Hermana Salazar isn´t a tourist. I thought about it and I have gone to immigration 6 times on the mission! That is a lot of times. And I hope it will be the last time. We are working hard with our investigators. Laura (the daughter of an inactive guy) is progressing but when we talk to her she just doesn´t understand the importance of our message. She doesn´t understand God´s love and that Jesus Christ is our Savior. It is frustrating because we can be the best missionaries but people have to convert themselves and they have to put in the effort to accept our message. Sometimes I just want to shove it down their throats and then I remember that every one has there free agency. We are teaching this lady named Clara and she is so great. We found her contacting but she had gone to church before with her ex boyfriend. We taught her the plan of salvation and it was great because she understood everything perfectly. Every investigator should be like Clara (except that she can´t go to church this week). It is so funny because there are so many emotions in the mission. Right now when I was thinking about investigators I was filled with every emotion: happiness, sadness,

frustration... Hermana Salazar and I get along really great. She loves to laugh and so she always laughs at my jokes or the dumb things that I say. She is really nice and a hard worker. We are continuing the work here in Miramonte. I love you all very much. And Happy Thanksgiving.

Hermana Bush

Friday, November 12, 2010

cambios

Hola familia!

One week more.  So here is the big news:  we had cambios (transfers) but I am still in the same place.  But I had to say goodbye to Hermana Ramirez and Hermana Clark.  Now I am with Hermana Salazar who is brand spanking new.  She is from Honduras.  She is just a small little thing too.  I am sure we look really funny together.  It is different to just be in the house with her because I got used to having 3 in the house.  It is also funny because I can hear the difference in her accent.  Most of the missionaries are from Guatemala and the accent is similar to that of here but she is new and so she still has an accent and still uses her Honduras slang which I don´t understand.  I never realized the difference in words between countries but they use a different word for ¨store¨ and ¨kid¨.  Pura catracha.  That means pure Honduranean.  She is my second companion from Honduras and only my third native companion.  How strange.  I have pretty much spent most of my mission to this point with gringas.  I also had to teach my companion about the money down here.  El Salvador uses money from the states and I just never thought that she wouldn´t know how to use it.  It really just never crossed my mind until this morning when we were going to ride the bus. I told her it was 20 cents and she was staring at the coins and then asked me how much they were worth.  It is kind of confusing because a quarter say ¨quarter¨ and doesn´t say 25 cents and a dime says ¨dime¨ and not 10 cents.  And it doens´t help that it is in another language.  I am glad that I didn´t have to learn a different currency.
Just a funny little story.  I asked Hermana Salazar if she had any pets at home.  And she said ¨Yes, my grandma.¨ I started to laugh and repeated ¨Mascotas¨ which means pets because I thought that she just heard me wrong but it turns out that her grandma lives with her and has pets.

This week has gone by fast because we have been in meetings almost all week and taking Hermana Salazar to meet the ward.  Last week we found a family and we are so happy about that.  The mom is the most positive.  She is 26 years old and had gone to church a long time ago with a ex boyfriend but she told us yesterday that she went and loved it but didn´t understand the importance of the Book of Mormon and now she realized that if it is true, then that means a lot of things.  She said that she wants this for her family.  They have two little kids and she wants her family to have a better life.  We are so happy and we are excited to continue teaching them.  We are trying harder and harder to work with the ward.  This email is kind of short but know that I love it here.  The members are great and they are helping us little by little.  Oh, another thing is that we are teaching this teenage girl named Laura.  She is the daughter of an inactive member.  The elders before taught her but dropped her because she never wanted to go to church.  We have been going with youth to visit her and she committed to going to church last week and she went!  She said that she liked it and that she is feeling her faith grow and that before we came she had absolutely no faith.  We are excited for her.
I love you all!  Thanks for everything.

Hermana Bush

Friday, November 5, 2010

carne y...

Well, I feel like I just wrote yesterday.  I am super excited for Mandy and her calling and that she finally made the decision to go.  I got to (not had to) give a talk in church on sunday and of course it was about missionary work and so I got to tell everyone that my sister got her mission call to Germany and as a bonus I got to call home.  Everyone was super excited for her too and thought that Germany is so exotic.  We have had some great experiences this week and some funny ones too but I always have a hard time remembering what they were.

Claudia (I wrote about her last week) and Daniela (her 8 year old daughter) went to church last sunday and they enjoyed it.  Claudia says that she considers this as a new beginning.  The only problem we have right now is that she doesn´t understand our message about authority and so she still doesn´t feel the need to be baptized because she was already baptized once.  But with time I hope that she can understand.  She is going to Washington DC next week and to Baltimore next Saturday and so it would be so cool if she could meet my family.  How weird is that?  Last week we were teaching her the plan of salvation and Claudia was super interested.  Hermana Clark started talking about the nature of our Heavenly Father and said ¨Nuestro Padre Celestial tiene un cuerpo...de carne y huevos¨.  Everyone started laughing so hard.  For those who don´t know, she said that our Heavenly Father has a body of flesh and eggs.  Luckily Hermana Clark is a good sport and doesn´t mind making mistakes and doesn´t mind when we laugh.

We are also teaching a 16 year old girl named Laura. Her dad is inactive and the elders taught her before but dropped her because she didn´t want to go to church.  But we have been going to visit her with people that she has really clicked with.  With Laura we see that her needs are friendship before she will want to go to church.  So she has been reading the Book of Mormon and has been making friends.  When we asked her if she would go to church, she sat there and thought for a minute and then said yes!  We were really excited and everything is set to go for this Sunday.  Laura is a very awkward girl who is very shy and so she always tells us that people tell her she is weird and she has lived behind this shell for her whole life.  But she is really cute and has started bonding with the young men and women from the ward. And she use to never pray but has started making a sincere effort to learn more.

This week was Halloween, Saints day and day of the dead and I saw absolutely nothing different!  How boring.  But the day after Halloween we went to visit an inactive woman and her kid.  She went on and on about how we should visit this other member family because one of their kids dressed up for Halloween and how satanic that was.  There are a ton of evangelical churches here and they are pretty radical about everything.  The women have to wear a white hankerchief tied around their heads to cover their hair and they have to wear skirts always and they can´t dance.  Some people here are surprised that we do dance, we wear makeup and we can celebrate Halloween. I wish that I could have seen the cemetaries on day of the dead because I imagine it as being very beautiful because the people decorate the grave stones with vibrant flowers.

Well, as always we are working hard.  This is the last week of this transfer and so we are waiting in anticipation for who is going to leave.  We will not be in a trio next week but we don´t know who will leave.  I will keep you posted for next week!  Thanks for every thing and I love you all!

Hermana Bush

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hermana Bush´s super duper semana

Well it has been a really great week.  Last week I told you that we got a reference when we went to the fireside.  So, we went and it was incredible all the things that happened.  We were on divisions.  I was with Hermana Clark and Hermana Ramirez was with a member.  We went to contact the reference and we rang the doorbell but no one answered so we went to ask the neighbor.   And while we were talking to the neighbor, a white pickup pulled up and the neighbor said ¨Here they are¨.  So we walked over and this lady and her daughter get out of the truck.  We talked to her and how we got their names and where we were from.  She said that at that moment they were just stopping at the house and they had to leave again but we were welcome to come back later that night.  So, when we were reunited in our trio, we headed back to the house.  The lady (Claudia) welcomed us in.  She is a doctor (pathologist I think is what it is called.  She looks at tumors under a microscope and says if the are malignant).  She has an office in her house and we sat down and we were getting to know her.  Claudia was very open with us.  She said that 3 years ago they were attending a church but dropped it.  They looked for a church for 2 years and then she got tired of looking.  So a year ago she prayed and said that she wasn´t going to look anymore but asked that God sent someone to her.  And she has been waiting for a year.  She said that she got really excited when she saw us contacting the neighbors but then didn´t think that we were going to talk to her.  She said that she knew that God answered her prayers.  She was crying and very emotional.  I have never been in a lesson so inspiring and upliftling.  It really was a huge testimony builder and faith builder that people really are out there.  Claudia is super positive.  She always has a ton of questions and that first lesson we left her with a ton of pamphlets and a Book of Mormon.  When we came back, she had read all the pamphlets, read the introduction of the Book of Mormon and the testimonies of all the witnesses and had started with first Nephi.  Really, I have never been in a more spiritual lesson. Claudia also had questions about the word of wisdom.  She doesn´t like coffee but asked why we couldn´t drink it.  Hermana Ramirez went to answer the question and said that coffee is really bad for you because if you think about it, it goes into your body brown and comes out yellow.  She said ¨where does the brown go?¨ Before she went any farther I had to say that I had never heard that before.  It is a really good point:) but I couldn´t let false doctrine go on.

Yesterday we went with Claudia to the church to give her a really short tour.  I think I told you how small the chapel is, so it really was a short tour.  She met a lot of members and we are going to a members house tonight with her to make pupusas.

Well, there was more that happened this week, but I don´t have anymore time left.  I love you all.

Hermana Bush

FYI from Judy: Amanda's mission call arrived in the mail today. We'll be opening it tonight. Crystal has permission to call and find out where her sister is going on her mission!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Welcome to El Salvador

Hola!

Well it has just been another week and so many things have happened. Well first things first, we received our new companion on Tuesday night. Her name is Hermana Clark and is from Washington (the state. Most people here don´t know that Washington is a state. They only know Washington DC). She is really great and is not shy at all. She is relieved that she doesn´t have to be the mission nurse now and can have time to learn more spanish. She said that she met Abby (my cousin) in the temple and Abby told her that I was with the nurse and so Hermana Clark just assumed that she would be my companion. It is funny that we are companions but not in the nurse´s position. So, I have been talking a little bit more english than I have in the last 3 weeks and actually it is starting to hurt my head to have thing in the two languages to talk to my companions. Yesterday at the end of the day I just didn´t want to say anything because I was tired of thinking in two languages. An interesting fact is that I now have had 4 gringa companions and all their last names have been one syllable and so is mine.

This week we had Elder Martino come talk to us! He is from the area presidency. There was a fireside on Tuesday night and then we had a multizone conference on Wednesday. The fireside was for members and so Presidente Lopez said that we could go IF we had an investigator. You don´t know how hard we tried to get an investigator. We looked the whole day and finally at six o´clock we were giving up but then in the last minute, we called a 13 year old boy who is the nephew of a member and he said he wanted to go! We were so happy and we ran to their house and we arrive at the fireside all sweaty but ready to listen. It was great because it was in the building of my old area and so I got to see a lot of my old people and my converts from Las Palmeras. It was a reunion. And I was really happy we went because I said hi to a lady and she said who are in the elders that are in Miramonte right now. And I was so happy because that is ME! She had a reference for us and she said we can contact them saturdays in the afternoon and they want to hear about the church because they think the church can help their marital problems. I am really excited to go tomorrow. It is fine contacting people but it is much better teaching people that want to hear our message.

At the multizone conference we had, I had to give the opening prayer and I was super scared. But now, I have given a prayer in front of a general authority. And then in the conference, Elder Martino asked Hermana Cash a question and called her my name! She said she was a little offended :) but I know she liked it.

So I think that I already told you but we are in the city and I would have thought that it is the area that we would have to walk the least but it is quite the opposite. There are a ton of buses in the area but no buses that just drive around the area, only through the area so there is no sense in riding any buses to get to our appointments. Sometimes I wish I could just fly or warp myself places because walking is such a waste of precious time. But it is good exercise so I will live with it.

I feel like I don´t have much else to say. But one thing that everyone should do is look up what the national bird of El Salvador looks like because I have seen 2 of them! There is a park in front of the bishop´s house and there are some of these birds. They have very strange looking tails and so I was really excited to see them.


Well, I love you all. Thanks for writing me. I am glad you didn´t forget about me in El Salvador. I can´t wait to hear where Mandy is going. I hope she gets her call soon because I want to know.

I love you all!

Hermana Bush

Friday, October 15, 2010

It´s a girl

So it has been a very interesting week.  We have been walking a ton! Our area is huge and there are no reliable buses so we end up walking everywhere which is fine by me.  We are still getting to know the area a little bit.  Our goal is to try to get Bishop to like us.  He is kind of a strange guy and his sense of humor is different than any other person.  So one day we brought him cookies and we have gone out to visit with him. On Monday I was thinking what else can we do. Then I remembered that we hadn't given him the progress report for the week because we hadn't made copies of it.  So we went out made copies and the last thing we did that day was stop by his house.  No one was home so we left it in his "buzón" or his little mailbox thing and left a sticky note so that he would look in his mailbox.  Little did we know that there was a meeting with the bishops of the stake and the President of the mission the next day.  So in the meeting, bishop told President how great we were because we took him the progress report and that he was really impressed that we left it at his house.  So pretty much we are great missionaries:) No, but really we are happy to know that the bishop respects us. Two days ago we went out with a member who is 19 years old and has said that things have happened in the ward and now he doesn't want to serve a mission.  But we went out and were trying to help him find the desire again.  So, naturally all of our appointments fell and we had nothing left to do but contact or visit members.  So I wanted to contact people but then the member would say that the man was crazy or that he is a drug addict.  Something like that so we wouldn´t contact. Finally I just wanted to contact someone so we went to this man that was washing his front driveway thing.  And what do you know, he was crazy!  He kept saying "man" in the middle and the end of his sentences.  He really likes the USA and would say "Viva Los Estados man" and then with another "Viva El Salvador man".  I tried to get him to appreciate Guatemala too for my companion but he just didn´t want to say it for Guatemala.  He would then list 10 different cities in the states and say "viva ..... man".  What a friendly man.....man. So, everyone that I wanted to contact was crazy and I gave up on the contacting for a while. We are having some success in the area but there is still a long way to go before we are going to have a baptism.  There are some positive people but they need to go to church.  So, we are still working hard. We are teaching this lady named Blanca and she is ready to get baptized but hasn´t gone to church yet.  She wants to get baptized but has to work Sunday mornings so we are trying to get her to go to church Sunday afternoon in the same building but it is a different ward.

So the big news right now is that we are getting a new companion tonight.  She is coming in the middle of the transfer and is going to come work with us.  We didn´t know till yesterday that she is coming with us and only this morning did we find out that she is coming today.  We have a lot to do because our house is only equipped for 2 people and we have to get another table and another thing to put clothes on and another bed by tonight, but everything is possible. She is a nurse too but she isn´t going to be the mission nurse right away.  She is going to get some mission experience before she goes to work in the office.  So, we are really excited. So a lot of things have happened this week and my testimony has been strengthened a ton.  I really know the truths of the message that we carry.  I know that through the gospel of Jesus Christ we can have more joy than we have ever experienced.  The church is true.

I love you all.

Hermana Bush

Friday, October 8, 2010

General conference

This week was general conference which was such a great break from normal life.  General conference in the mission is like having a little vacation.  I also heard that the priesthood session was really good.  Me and my companion talked about borrowing suits from someone and cutting our hair and going to the priesthood session but then  we decided against it.  It is weird because we have now been in our area for a week and a half but still haven´t gone to our ward so we still feel a little lost in trying to meet members.  But so many people have helped us so far in the area.  The old ward mission leader drove us around in his car to show us the boundaries of the area and it took an hour to drive around the whole area.  How crazy!  After that, we decided that we have a long way to go and a lot to learn about the area.  Working in the city is really different because there are no fine line as to boundaries.  Half of our area is bordered by the East Mission and then on the other half of our area touches 4 other areas in our mission.  But it is super confusing because they are just normal streets that separate the areas.  Me and my companion hope that one day we won´t just wander into the other mission.

This is my first time in my mission that I haven´t had church at the stake center.  Our chapel is supposedly one of the first chapels in El Salvador and it is kind of old.  They don´t even have pews.  Sacrament is in just a little room and they have to set up their own chairs.  We have church at 9 in the morning and the other ward that meets there has church at 1 in the afternoon.  I thought it is weird that they don´t stagger the wards better but apparently there isn´t enough room in the building for 2 wards.

So this week has been good.  We are really hopeful that our investigators are going to go to church on Sunday.  We have one lady that was so close to accepting a baptismal date but at the last second she decided that she wanted to see a baptism first so now we are going to be having field trip next week to see a baptism in another area.  Her name is Blanca de Martinez and for work she pushes around a cart around town and sells snow cones.  She is really sweet and has a real desire to learn.

This week we have met a lot more people of the ward.  One women is named Hermana Cunchita and she has a daughter that has down syndrome.  We went to go visit her and her daughter (8 years old) has a fascination with me.  When her mom was there she just wanted to sit next to me and pet my arm.  When her left the room for a minute, the girl just wanted to spit on me.  Every time I looked at her, she spat on me.  And, you know what, you think I would have learned but I just kept looking at her because the temptation was too strong.  I kept wanting to see if she was going to spit on me again.  I think that there is a really good spiritual analogy that can be made but I am still thinking about that one.  Tonight we are going to go work with our bishop and his wife to visit less active members.  We are excited because our bishop is so willing to help us and he likes contacting people.  So, it is a win-win situation.

I am glad that you got my pictures, I will go look for the memory card and see what I can do.  I will have to try to make another copy of it.

Thanks for everything.  I am really happy to here from all of you.
I love you
Hermana Bush


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Transfers

Well, like I mentioned last week, I got transferred.  My new area is Miramonte in San Salvador.  And, like I mentioned last week that might be happening is...we´re opening an area.  I am with Hermana Ramirez from Guatemala. She was with Hermana Cash in Las Palmeras with me and Hermana Woods and we both got transferred together.  It is funny because we come from the same area and we have the same time on the mission so most of the questions people ask us have the same answer.   It really has been an adventure.  I thought my last area was city but I was wrong.  In our area we have malls and a mountain of fast food restaurants.  We really live in the city now.  Our ward is relatively small for a ward.  Wards are supposed to have an attendance of 100 people every sunday but ours is struggling at 75 people every sunday.  So, I had no idea how hard it was to open an area but now I know.  We had transfers on tuesday and a bus picks every one and drops every one off at their stake centers.  But the bus dropped us off at the mission office and then left and Hermana Ramirez and I just stared at each other and said ¨What do we do now?¨ After 5 minutes the zone leaders came with a member from their ward who dropped us off at our house in a car and then they said goodbye and left.  So again we were left with the same question.  So we were flipping through the area book and found the phone number of the bishop and had some interesting calls with members.  Pretty much nobody knew that the Elders were taken out of the area so when we come around it is always a surprise to somebody.  We have gone around part of the area with some members and so little by little we will learn more about the area. Yesterday we planned to go out with a young woman and we waited for her but she never came so we decided to go out and we were just walking around our own neighborhood and we got lost. We walked around and we had to ask a taxi driver how to get out of the area.  But we are fine and we had a good laugh about it.  I am glad that I am with the companion that I am with because she doesn´t care what we do or if we get lost, we can always laugh about something.  So even though we don´t know our members or have any investigators, we can still have a good attitude.  In our district, there are 8 missionaries and only one was here last transfer.  Our ward has been struggling for baptisms and they have only had 1 baptism since May. So, we have a lot of work ahead of us.  So, everything is just great here.  My companion is little but she has a crazy goal to gain weight in the mission.  She has already gained 20 pounds but is thinking she should stop because her stomach was hurting last night.  Our area is huge and none of the buses around our area are reliable so we walked a lot lately which I enjoy.  Before the mission going on walks was not my favorite past time but I think I might like it now if I could go on a walk at a leisurely pace.

Oh, one funny thing.  Before transfers I was asking President Lopez (of the mission) where I was going to go and who was going to be the next assistant.  He said I was very curious and told me to make 3 guesses which we did.  Then I said that he would be sure to tell me.  So on Friday night, President Lopez called and told me who was going to be the next assistant.  It was super funny.  I thought he was just joking about telling me but he is a man of his word.  He told me later on that once he decided who it was going to be he called the assistants, then the elder and then me.  How funny.  At least I know that President likes me, right.  But now I will be out of the loop again since I am not going to be in the office and I won´t see president as much (even though we are now in his stake).

I don´t feel like this email was very informative but I don´t really have anything to say.  We are working hard but still trying to know the area which we don´t know at all.  It is always an adventure leaving the house.
I love this work and I love being here.  Our bishop told us that some missionaries got caught up in the gossip of the world but all we need to do is preach the gospel.  I really know that there are people here waiting to hear our message.  We just have to have the faith to find them and fight for them.

I love you all so much!

Hermana Bush


Friday, September 24, 2010

Going to the zoo!

This week has actually gone by really fast and really slow at the same time.  So much has happened this week.  First of all, last week I talked about Luis.  He is 17 and the brother of my other recent converts in the ward.  We were going to have his baptism last week but someone told us that he smoked.  So after a long time of investigating and talking to Luis, we are ready to go with the baptism TODAY!  We are really excited.  When we went to talk to Luis, he looked at us straight in the eye and talked about how the last time he smoked was a month ago and that the reason he wants to get baptized is to show that he has truly repented of his past deeds.  He was really sincere.  We also had our the Elders talk to him and they also had the same impression. So, everything is a go.

Last week we found a kid named Douglas and we have visited him a couple times now and he also has a huge desire to become more spiritual and to learn about the gospel.  We also found out that his cousin once removed (or something like that) is our ward mission leader who got home from his mission at the beginning of this year.  So, we have had some great lessons and his mom is really nice too.  Douglas has a baptism date for October.  We have had a good laugh about that because Douglas is 16 years old and so we just keep saying that we are on a mission to fill the young mens program in Las Palmeras.  One teenager at a time.  The real reason is because the familia Osorio loves to do missionary work.  The grandparents always invite the friends of their grandchildren to go to church and then they give us the references.  When the members help us in the work, the work is a lot easier.  The tricky part is inspiring members to do their part.

So guess what!  Today we are going to the zoo with our zone!  The pday of the zone is on Monday but they changed it this week so that we could go to the zoo all together.  I am really excited about it.  I here that the zoo isn´t very good especially because the one elephant they had died last week!  What are the odds.  Luckily for me, I know what an elephant looks like and so I won´t miss out on too much.  At the zoo they have a ton of monkeys and hippos and other things I think.  To get inside is only 75 cents and so we´ll see how great it is.  I am just excited because I won´t break my record of going to the zoo once a year.
Other news this week is that we have cambios (transfers) on Tuesday and I am probably going to get transferred. We talked a little bit to President Lopez and he asked if Hermana Woods is ready to be by herself as the nurse and we both knew that she is ready.  It is sad to think about leaving Las Palmeras because it is here where I learned to love the people.  I really do love the members and my converts here.  But no matter where I go, there will always be powerful members and people who will love the work and the gospel.  I will give you all the gossip about me.  So when we talked to President he said that there are three sisters coming and no sisters are leaving the mission so an area will have to be opened and by the sounds of it that responsibility will fall on my lap!  I am super scared.  He told me that I am not going to go far.  A month ago he talked to us about maybe putting sisters in the Santa Tecla ward and so I thought that I was going to go to Santa Tecla but then he said that I might be sent to Zona Los Héroes in San Salvador to open an area (there is only one zone in the mission in San Salvador.) I don´t like being in the dark.  I don´t like not knowing where I am going especially because I don´t feel like I can tell people I am leaving when we don´t know for sure.  But where ever I go, I know that is where I am suppose to go and change is always a growing experience. Oh, another thing that was weird is President said it could be my last area! How weird.  I still have a long time left on my mission but when I look at all the sisters in the mission, I am one of the older ones! There are 22 or more sisters in the mission and only 5 have more time than I do in the mission.  Even though, I don´t have a year yet, the mission really does fly by.

We have had a good week and are expecting good things to come for the area (even if I am not going to be there).  It is amazing the spirit that can be felt when someone willingly accepts the gospel.  When I look at my converts in the ward I feel so happy. The gospel changes lives and there is nothing better than seeing someone choose to follow what the Spirit tells them.

Thanks for all your prayers and all your support!

Hermana Bush

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Birhday Sister Bus

Well, here I am safe and sound!  The gangs have dispersed and there hasn´t been a major gang threat since last week.  Well, I had a good birthday.  It all started last Saturday when 2 of the young women took us out to eat shakes.  There was an ice cream shop near their house and so we ate and read 3 Nephi 11:)  Then, my companion and the other hermanas that we live with surprised me with a cake at night time.  It was so beautifully decorated with the words ¨Happy Birhday Sister Bus¨.  Needless to say we had a good time joking about that and clearly was not written by a native english speaker.  (If you didn´t notice birthday and Bush are wrong).  But the birthday celebrations were not over.  On Sunday afternoon we went over to the familia Gutierrez (Jorge and Antonio were baptized in August) and they made us lunch which was really delicious and they also bought a cake.  And then right after we went over to another family´s house and they made me a cake too.  So, we just enjoyed the day eating cake. The best part was that it was all tres leches cake and so I enjoyed my soggy cake.  But really, I don´t like it when everyone wants to celebrate me and it just feels kind of awkward, so I am glad that my birthday is over.

The day of independence of all of Central America is the 15th of September and so this week they had a lot of activities and all the kids were out of school Wednesday and Thursday.  Here in El Salvador they love fireworks and they are always blowing them up so I thought it was ironic that their independence day is probably the only holiday that they don´t do fireworks because in the states it is the only holiday that we celebrate with fireworks.  But the definition of fireworks is a little different because here they are just things to blow up that make a loud bang noise.

On Wednesday was also the day of the dogs.  Pretty much every dog that could, wanted to kill us.  There must have been something in the air or else we just smelled bad, but almost every dog barked at us.  We really did almost die.  We were contacting from the ward directory and we needed to knock on a house.  There was a dog in front but we thought we see what happens.  All of a sudden the dog ran at me barking ferociously and so naturally I booked it, running as fast as I could.  I thought it was going to rip my leg off but then it stopped running after me and turned to my companion and took off after her.  The neighbors came out and tamed the dog, we knocked on the door and left, hopefully never to return.  And the day ended when we were walking home and two chihuahuas tried nipping at our heels.  I have never been so scared of every single dog on the street.

Well, just for family information, my companion started singing a song ¨the trumpet, the trumpet goes do dodoo.....¨ I started singing along and I said ¨How do you know that song?¨  And she said that she grew up watching Magical Musical Mansion!  We had a bonding moment talking about Wee Sing but it was a pity because that is the only Wee Sing movie she saw as a child.
So, we were suppose to have a baptism today for Luis (17 years old and brother to Alejandro and David).  I talked to the Young Men's President last night to remind him of the baptism and then he said ¨And he passed his interview?¨ So comes out that, one of the young men saw Luis smoke last week!  Our hearts dropped.  I don´t know how much we could do to help him understand and we don´t know why he doesn´t say anything ever when we ask him specifically if he drinks and smokes and he says no.  Luis knows and still chose to smoke.  But we just have to talk to him.  The young man said that he occasionally sees Luis smoke with his friends.  So, we still haven´t been able to talk to Luis because he is studying and so he doesn´t have time till 1 when we can call him on the phone.  This has just added a lot more stress to our day.  But so is the life of the missionary.  Really there is nothing more stressful or rewarding as a mission.  It is definitely true what it says in 2 Nephi 2 that we must experience the hard ships to understand the joys of the mission.  I know that Luis is ready, just making stupid decisions.  So we just got to put the smack down:)  We have a good relationship with him and so I think that we just have to have a good chat with him.

So, we are still enjoying our time here.  And we know that through trials we learn.  I don´t think that I have ever had as much patience than I do now.  I really have been blessed and that I just hope that I can help make a difference here on my mission.  The church has blessed my life so much and I just want to give everyone the same blessings.

Thanks for everything

I love you!
Hermana Bush

Friday, September 10, 2010

Good old El Salvador

Thanks for all the emails family!

It has definitely been an interesting week.  Well, you probably don´t know what is going on in El Salvador right now, and honestly I don´t really know either because we don´t get to watch the news or read the newspaper.  But something has happened this week.  That probably sounds scary, but don´t worry about me!  On Tuesday we were suppose to go the second meeting for new people and their trainers but on Monday night, our leaders called and said that we were not having the meeting because there was going to be a strike (huelga) of the buses in Santa Ana and so people wouldn´t be able to get the capital.  But then on Tuesday afternoon they called again and said that we had to enter the house at 6 o´clock and we were not to ride any buses.  Then the same thing happened on Wednesday and Thursday.  So, apparently the gangs here are attacking the buses.  Don´t worry about me because Santa Tecla is pretty low key.  Really all the dangerous areas of El Salvador are in the other side of the mission and we are just being precautious over here in the West.  But it has been just a different atmosphere.  In fact the weather on Tuesday felt like Halloween.  The air was crisp and there weren´t many people walking around.  It felt a little eerie but now it feels back to normal.  So, all we have really heard about is that the gangs have burned some buses but no where near where we are and all the people in Santa Tecla say that there is nothing to worry about around here.  And hearing the natives say that means something because they are worry warts.  So, we have been able to enjoy more study time at night to read the scriptures and it has also been pretty relaxing.

It doesn´t seem like much else has happened this week but I do have one funny story.  Yesterday we went contacting and so we were knocking on doors and we turned a corner and knocked on the first house.  It was kind of a bigger house and it had a doorbell intercom so it is a richer person.  But as we waited we were waving at people across the street and saying hi.  But no one answered and so we started walking away.  Not before long, Hermana Woods turned around and said ¨Oh, I didn´t realize...¨ and I turned around and above the house is a huge sign that says ¨Iglesia Cristiana¨ and continued to give the schedule of church meetings.  It was so funny because we must have looked so funny: 2 sister missionaries knocking on a door under this huge sign for another church.  Well, we had a good laugh.

This month seems like the month of birthdays (including mine).  A guy that got baptized in January turned 21 on Wednesday and so we went over to celebrate with their family (and the majority of them have been baptized in 2009 and 2010).  We ate donuts and we gave a Triple (Book of Mormon, D&C and Pearl of Great Price).  He was so excited about it and it was really fun to see.  I love giving presents to Latinos because they are more gracious because they don´t get presents very much.

To answer Mom´s question, the culture is pretty similar to the US but there are differences.  For instance, they listen to US music but the majority is Spanish pop music.  And no matter where you are there are woman carrying big tubs of things on their heads.  That is my homework this week, to figure out the difference in culture.  Hermana Woods has been commenting on differences but I feel pretty much used to everything by now that it doesn´t seem different.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes.  I am going to try to send pictures home this week.  I have to find time to write letters today.  And again, don´t worry about me.  We are not in any danger.  I just wanted to tell you what had happened this week:)

We are working hard and enjoying our time in the mission.  I love the gospel and I love to see people come unto the truth!

Love

Hermana Bush

Friday, September 3, 2010

Baptizing and contacting

¡Hola familia y amigos!

I am so glad that it is pday because we are exhausted.  I don´t know why this week has felt like a lot of work, but it was.  I got my big package and I really really wanted to open all the presents inside but I decided to practice my patience and try to wait till my birthday.  It is hard to do.  We had two baptisms last week on Saturday.  I am sending you a picture with me and Hermana Woods with the other sisters we live with and the familia Gutierrez.  This picture also makes it look like the mom got baptized but she didn´t.  Antonio and Jorge got baptized and they are so great.  Jorge is the older one and he is reading in the Book of Mormon every day.  Jorge is a little strange and when we first started teaching the family, we thought that he just wanted to talk to the gringas.  Hermano Gutierrez invited us to go out to eat at a Chinese restaurant on Wednesday to meet his son that lives in San Salvador and plays the cello for the symphony.  So we went and it was fun but the best part was that the son told Jorge that he looks a lot happier and has some sort of light about him.  It is great that other people can see the difference that the gospel is making in his life.

So, this week we have been trying to find new investigators and it is not going so hot.  Yesterday, we decided to go contacting door to door because we don´t do that much and we were hoping to find someone.  So, we contacted for 3 hours and finally someone wanted to talk to us.  It was this man who has received the missionary discussions before and was really good friends with some of the missionaries.  So we were talking to him.  His name is Jaime and he is a little slow.  He takes a long time to think about things before saying them.  So I was having this good time talking to this guy and my companion was getting really antsy and wanted to leave really bad.  Finally Jaime went into his house for a couple minutes and turns out that she thinks Jaime is drunk and I think he is just a little slow.  On further examination, we decided that he is slow and then my companion was fine talking to him.  But it is funny that the two different circumstances can get confused.  Who knows.  We´ll find out on Saturday when we go to teach him.

We went out teaching with some members that are in young womens this week and we were walking in this fairly rich neighborhood and out of one house comes this little old lady that has huge white dreadlocks.  We have talked to her on the street before but I was surprised she lived in such a nice neighborhood.  She let us into her house and the members did not want to go in.  She had taken the discussions before and knew about everything and was anxious to listen to us.  Then she talked to us about justice and mass and who knows what.  After the lesson, the members informed us she was talking about tarot cards, so I don´t think that we will try too hard on visiting her again.  She was so nice but the members said she is a witch.

We still have a baptism date for the 11th of September.  His name is Luis (brother of Alejandro and David) and he is super smart and down to earth.  We went to their house and played commandment jeopardy.  He already knew all the commandments.  One of the questions was ¨What is the law of chastity?¨ David said, ¨basically no sex¨ but then Luis looked at him and said ¨Well, actually it is way more than that...¨ and continued to explain the importance of the law of chastity.  So pretty much, I think he is ready for his baptism.
So, you guys told me about those people throwing fireballs in El Salvador.  I wish I could tell you that it was so cool and that I knew all about it, but I don´t.  I had no idea about it till you wrote me.

I love you guys so much and I just want you to know that I love being here.  I am happy and we are working hard.  Already the mission has flown by and I just want to cherish every second that I am here.  Hermana Woods and I are having a good time together.  I know that the gospel is true and I know that Jesus is the Christ.

I love you
Hermana Bush

Friday, August 27, 2010

baptismal dates and marriage dates

¡Hola Familia!

It has been a really different week. Nothing much happened because we had multizone meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8 in the morning till 4 in the afternoon.  Salt Lake started a new program for missionaries to help us teach the doctrine of Christ.  There are 8 lessons and so we went to the meetings and reviewed all 8 lessons.  I really enjoy it except for the point when we do practices.  I have never been a huge fan of practices even since the MTC.  I don´t know, I have a hard time pretending that other missionaries are investigators but yet I know that there is true benefit in practicing.

So we are having 2 baptisms tomorrow.  They are the kids of familia Gutierrez.  Jorge is 17 and Antonio is 13.  Antonio is super cool and he has his mind completely made up that he wants to be baptized.  We are still nervous about Jorge because he is more rebellious but yet he has changed his life and he believes everything and wants to be a good person.  The mom and her kids are from the campo and they came to live in the city with the mom´s companion.  But they still don´t have much money but I just love the family.  The mom still has a hard time with praying from the heart and not doing a recited prayer but the other day we told her we wanted her to pray and speak from the heart.  So she started giving thanks for everything.  She gave thanks for her cows and goats in the country and then all of us started giggling but we kept it in pretty well.  They are such a humble family.  They are also very white too.  It is strange because Jorge is tall and white and he looks like he is from the states and so it is really strange to talk to him in Spanish.  There is also an Elder in our zone who is from Costa Rica who is white with blond hair and blue eyes and he can't speak any English but I like to bug him and talk to him in English as if he could carry on a conversation.

So we still have another baptismal date with Luis (17 years old and the brother of Alejandro and David that were baptized in July).  But he didn´t go to church so we had to change his baptismal date.  So we hadn´t seen him for a couple days after he didn´t come to church and we just wanted to talk to him and see if he really wanted to get baptized or was just saying okay because we were there asking him.  So, finally we found him in his house and Hermana Woods and I pulled him to the side.  Then Hermana Woods said, ¨Luis, realmente, en verdad, ¿Usted quiere casarse?¨  So she just said, ¨Luis, really truly, do you want to get married?¨  I busted up laughing.  Luis did too so it was all okay.  And Hermana Woods laughed too.  It kind of broke the ice and then we ask the really question if he wanted to get baptized.  So I think that I might have to keep my eye on my companion and all those latino men:)  But Luis said that he really does want to get baptized and he believes in the Book of Mormon and believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet.  So he is going to get baptized in September.

Nothing much more has happened.  We are happy to be here. I love my companion and we get along great and we have a great time together.  We feel really blessed.  I don´t know if I have ever told you this but President Lopez told us that Las Palmeras is one of the hardest areas in the mission.  Before he has had the assistants in this area and zone leaders and he said that most brave have cried to him more than once because they were in this area.  So, we are just counting our blessings.  I know that it isn´t anything I have done personally but the Lord is blessing this ward with some success.  In all of 2009 they had 10 baptisms and we already have 15 and with the other sisters in the ward, we have 4 baptism dates.  So, we are going to double the baptisms they had all of last year.  But I really love it here and I am learning to love the people.
Here is a weird note: the meetings we had were with almost half of the mission.  There were 8 sisters and after Hermana Cash (who has 13 months on the mission), Me and Hermana Karl were the next ones with the most time on the mission (with 9 months).  How weird is that.  There aren´t very many old sisters in the mission now, just new ones.  Crazy.  I still feel like I left the MTC yesterday I am thinking I might feel that way for the rest of the mission.

Thanks for everything and I love you all so much.

Hermana Bush

Friday, August 20, 2010

¡nuevo cambio y fotos!

¡Hola otra vez de El Salvador!

It has been a crazy week because we have to house the new sisters that came into the mission and the old sisters that are leaving the mission.  Pretty much that means that we have to do a lot of waking up early and going to meetings.  We feel like this pday is  a well deserved pday.  Everything is going great here in El Salvador and Hermana Woods and I are really looking forward to this transfer with our new roommates.  We get along really good and her Spanish is really great too.  She definitely has the gift of tongues because she can say a lot of stuff and only went into the MTC with 2 years of spanish in High School.  We make a good team.  She can speak a lot but has a hard time understanding spanish over the phone with is totally reasonable because she is new.  So sometimes I talk on the phone and translate to both sides: english to spanish and then spanish to english.  I think it is kind of fun.

So last week we got to go to Tazumal and that was super exciting.  It is not very big and it only took us a half an hour to walk around it but I thought that it would have been really silly to have worked in that area for more than 4 months and then to have never gone to the ruins.  I wanted to go there so bad and now all my dreams have been completed.  The baptism was really great too and I am so glad that we were able to go.  Carlos finally got baptized.

Well, right now we have 3 people with a baptism date for the 28th of August.  They are all really great.  We are teaching the family called the Familia Gutierrez and they are so funny.  The dad is the one that has studied all the religions and cultures of the world.  They have 3 kids and one is only 4 years old.  The other day we went to their house and the Dad said that they have been thinking about baptism as a family and they want the kids to get baptized.  So we asked the kids (who are 17 and 13) and they love the church and they want to do it.  The 13 year old boy is especially cool.  He is reading in the Book of Mormon and he had a dream.  He was in the jungle and he was being attacked by big snakes in different places and in one of the places I was there and I helped him to kill one of the snakes and then in another place we were there with 3 other missionaries but he didn´t know who they were and we were helping him kill snakes.  He said that was an answer to his prayers and he knows that this is the right path. I think that I have already told you but here in El Salvador, people have more dreams and they really believe in the dreams and they interpret them all.  I wish I had dreams that were more than forgetting to do my homework.

So we have two new roommates now: Hermana Cash (my trainer) and Hermana Fuentes who is from the other mission in El Salvador.  They are both really great and I am looking forward to the time that we have together.  Hermana Cash trained me when she had only 3 transfers here and guess what, now she only has 3 transfers left in the mission which counts this transfer.  It is crazy how time flies.

I completed 9 months in the mission on the 18th of August.  Time has really flown by.  And now I have successfully ¨killed¨ 2 people (that just means I was there last companion).  I am scared because now I am the senior companion and that means I have more responsibility.  I better not mess anything up.  Hermana Woods is really great.  I am glad that I got to be with a new person that came already trained from the MTC:)  Now that Hermana Schmidt is gone, we have a lot of responsibility but we can also focus a more on the missionary part of the work because before it was more important that Hermana Woods learned the nursing stuff.  President told us that another nurse might come in October but I think that President would send her to the field first before being the nurse. 

Just know that I am happy to be here.  I love the ward and I love El Salvador.  My testimony grows each day.  Hermana Cash always says that if we feel comfortable, then we are not growing.  There is no growing in a comfort zone and there is no comfort in a growing zone.

I love you all.
Hermana Bush
The pictures are of me and Hermana Woods at the ruins in Chalchuapa: Tazumal, me with a whole bunch of piñatas (our recent convert´s wife makes piñatas), the same wife of our recent convert making us empanadas chilenas, and finally the Hermana Woods, Hermana Cash, me and Hermana Fuentes (they are the new sisters in our ward with us and our new roommates).


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hermana Bush Brady :)

Hello!

I am writing a day late because we had interviews with President yesterday and so we had to change our pday to today.  It seems like so much has happened here in El Salvador this week and yet nothing much has happened at all. Last pday we went bowling with the zone.  It was a lot of fun and I was whooping everyone with my top score of 86.  Actually I got 2nd place because my district leader scored an 87.  Watch out, we might start a bowling team. But it was really fun and it was nice to get out of the missionary rut.  Today we have exciting news.  Carlos Mojica, an investigator from Chalchuapa, is getting baptized today and the zone leaders invited us to go to the baptism and so we are leaving to go down to Chalchuapa at 12 and we are going to go to the ruins and then go to the baptism.  I am really excited.  Carlos told the Elders that he wanted me to be there. . That made me feel good because as a missionary you learn to love the people you  teach but you don't really know what they think about you or if you really have made an impact in their lives. Another cool thing about Carlos is that he read the whole Book of Mormon.

We have a really positive family that we are teaching.  There is a mom, dad and 3 sons (ages 17, 13 and 4).  The mom said that when she had here first son, she always wanted him to be Mormon and serve a mission.  Kind of a strange request but it works for us.  The whole family is going to come to church tomorrow.  The 13 year old is cool too because he reads all the pamphlets and is reading in his Book of Mormon.  The mom has her strange rituals and every night she prays for guidance and then opens up the Bible randomly and read a bit.  So she did it with the Book of Mormon.  She prayed to ask if the things that we were teaching were true and if we were truly messengers of the word of God.  Then she opened the Book of Mormon and read Alma 18:30-35.  She said that was an answer to here prayer and now she knows that it is true.  The dad is a little more difficult and he believes in all religions and has done a lot of research about world religions.  He believes everything we say and says that the last thing that Christ said on the cross were words in Quiche (the ancient Mayan language).  He said that Christ said words in this language and no one could understand what he said.  I thought that was interesting although I had never heard that theory before.

We are also teaching the brother of Alejandro and David who were baptized in July.  His name is Luis. He is great and he a baptism date for the 28th of August.  Woohoo!  He is so cool and he has been to church once.
We went to the dentist this week.  I have one filling and it started to feel funny.  I thought that I had a popcorn kernel stuck in my teeth but finally I realized that it was my filling.  So I went to the dentist.  He said that I had some cavities but I don´t know how much of that I believed.  Health care is super cheap here and it cost 20 bucks to see the doctor and to change my filling.  When we went to the dentist they need to know your whole name and we tried to tell them that we only have 3 names.  They didn´t believe us so we gave in and everywhere I went I was known as Cristal (because they spelled it wrong) Ann Bush Brady.  It made me giggle.

So this week are transfers. And as expected, I am staying put.  But I am really excited about transfers because Hermana Cash, my trainer, is coming to work in Las Palmeras!  If you didn´t remember, there are 4 sisters in our ward.  Hermana Woods and I are still going to be together but the other two sisters are both leaving the area and Hermana Cash and a relatively new Latina are going to be in the other part of Las Palmeras.  We all share a house so I am really excited.  Hermana Schmidt is leaving the mission soon so after this week we will be back down to two in the companionship.

I love you all and I am really loving the mission.  I love my Savior and I know that church has been restored again to the earth.  I know that there is a living prophet.  I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and is proof of the love of God for all the people on earth and is proof that the gospel has been restored.

Love you!
Hermana Bush

Friday, July 30, 2010

The New Girl

So there are a couple of big newsy things this week.

First of all, the last week we have had 3 baptisms and 4 confirmations! We were so excited.  I am going to send you pictures of the people that got baptized. Here is a picture of Hermana Schmidt and I with our District leader and his companion who came to our baptism with us.  Then is a picture of us with Victor and his wife and their member friends. And then David and Alejandro and familia  and finally a picture of Nestor with us and his family.

But last Saturday, Nestor (married to a member) and David and Alejandro (Brothers and friends of members) got baptized and it was just so great to see them get baptized one right after another.  It was a great day.  The friend of David and Alejandro is a Priest and so he was able to do the baptisms and then our district leader baptized Nestor.   Last pday we bought all 4 of our baptism ties.  Alejandro and David wear tight pants and so it was fun to look for ties and to decide with ones they would like and so naturally we got them the ties with a bit of purple and pink in them.  But last Friday we went around to each one by one and gave them the ties we had picked out for them and they were all so appreciative and they all loved them.  We wrapped them up like a present and all 4 of them didn´t want to rip the wrapping paper because they said they wanted to keep it as a memory.   But Alejandro jumped up and down and ran and gave us hugs.  We aren´t allowed to hug boys and so it was a little awkward.  But it made us so happy.  Victor opened his and almost cried.  The great thing about the people here is that they are always so grateful.  They are also so giving.  When they offer food or something to drink, they expect us to take it and they get offended if we say no.  But the baptisms turned out great.
They other news this week, the new nurse came!  It all came by surprise.  President called us on Sunday morning during church and said that the new nurse would be arriving from the MTC in Guatemala on Monday.  And that is exactly what happened so now we are in a trio.  Her name is Hermana Woods and she is from Arizona.  She has worked as a nurse for a year so it is good that she has some experience.  Her Spanish is already pretty good for her first couple of days here.  She talks really choppy but it is a great start.   We have a baptism tomorrow of Sharon.  She is the 12 year old daughter of inactive members and so we have been working with the family and the mom loves church.   We are excited that our new companion can have her first baptism during her first week of the mission.  We felt a little bad because we just had a big baptizing fest before she came but luckily we still have Sharon.  Sharon is a great girl and we always end up helping her with her English homework.

So the other fun thing that happened this week was that Hermana Cash´s (my trainer) companion got dengue and so they came to our house for a couple days while Hermana Schmidt helped nurse her back to health.  So Hermana Cash and I got to do divisions for 2 days.  I loved being with her again especially when she said my Spanish was great:)  But the strangest thing happened.  When we were together we saw Mauricio (our recent convert from Casa Blanca that went totally inactive and  ran away from us twice).  It was so strange that out of all the times that Mauricio would be in Santa Tecla in our area, I happened to be with Hermana Cash because her comp was sick.  Coincidence?  I think not. We had a great time together and we tried to give Mauricio a pep talk to go back to church.  I don´t know what happened to him but it is hard to give in to the fact that he has his own agency.

So, we have some really positive people that we are teaching and really the members are helping us a ton. I have learned on my mission that missionary work is nearly impossible without the help of the members.  Remember that every member has a reference for the missionaries.

I love it here in El Salvador.  Really, every day I think of how much I love the people here.  There is no where I would rather be.

I love you all!
Hermana Bush

Friday, July 23, 2010

Loving the work and the people?


Hola!

This week has flown by and dragged along at the same time. It has really been an interesting week. We had a baptism last Sunday night! We were really excited that it actually happened because there were a ton of bumps along the road. We were planning on having the baptism on Saturday and but that morning a member called us and said that there was some youth activity in the church the whole day and that there would be youth running around hooting and hollering. We thought about it for a long time and decided it was best to change the baptism. So Sunday we went to church and we were so excited to have a baptism that day and we showed up and there was no water in the church. El Salvador is strange because the water will go out for days or a week and there is nothing that we can do about it. The church does have a cistern that hasn´t been used for ever so it wasn´t a shock when we tried to use it that it was broken. So, we decided to go to another capilla in Merliot (neighboring city). And luckily Victor Molina was cool with whatever we said. And he got baptized and bore his testimony and it was so powerful. He is a good convert. The next time we talked to him he said that when everything was happening to change the time of his baptism he thought that maybe he just wouldn´t do it. I am so grateful that he went through with it and he said that he is glad too. He has a wife and two children that do not want to hear anything about the church but Victor says that he prays that one day they will change and want to go to church with him.

So last week I wrote you about Walter. We have been teaching him for more that a month and we thought he was so close. But let me just say, things have changed. This week we went to visit him and we shook hands and the moment my companion turned around he handed me a note. I didn´t read it and at the end of the lesson he told me that the note was just for me and not for my companion and then my stomach dropped. So when we were out of sight of his house, naturally Hermana Schmidt and I read the note together. And Walter wrote me a little love note! I am still disturbed by this because he probably just goes up to my shoulder. But the note just said that he has liked me since we met and he is always thinking about me and he wanted to tell me in person but never had the opportunity because my companion is always around. Then it ended with he wanted to know what I thought. This happened on Tuesday and so we haven´t gone back. I still get a little barfy feeling when I think about it. Well, we decided that he probably just wants a green card. But it makes things really awkward because he lives on the ways to everything and he lives in his car shop and so he is always fixing cars when we pass. So, that has been really annoying.

Another annoying thing that happened is they said that the new nurse won´t come till transfers week in 3 weeks. I was really excited to have the new nurse come early so that Hermana Schmidt and her could have nurse to nurse talks and I would just sit on the outside like a spectator. But doesn't seem like that will be happening anymore. Now I am scared for the welfare of the missionJ

So we have three baptisms tomorrow! Two are teenagers and brother (Alejandro and David) and the other is the husband of a member. We are really excited. Baptisms are great but they also bring a lot of stress having to plan everything and making sure that every one comes. It is harder too because our Ward Mission Leader doesn´t do anything. But the great thing about this ward is that there are a ton of people and so we have ward missionaries and they are really helping us in the work.

Thanks for all your prayers. We are working hard and loving it here. Hermana Schmidt and I are having a great time together.

Con Amor

Hermana Bush