Monday, January 25, 2010

¡My first week in El Salvador!

It was a great week and it was fun to be able to talk to everyone on Monday night. Leaving the MTC was sad just because I was leaving everyone at the MTC but it is finally nice to be doing the real work! The first day when we landed was really strange and we had only gotten about 3 hours of sleep on the plane. We got in about 7 in the morning and our mission president and his wife were just waiting there for us with big smiles on their faces. They are so nice but they only speak Spanish so we couldn´t talk much. They fed us breakfast and lunch and then we went out contacting. I went with Hermana Stout (from the MTC) and then Hermana Schmidt who has been here for 1 year. It was so scary and we had to take a million buses that were crowded with people. But it was a good experience to break me into the mission and I am glad that day is over. Hermana Schmidt doesn´t speak Spanish very well and she wasn´t conjugating her verbs and I was relieved when a missionary told me that she is famous for her terrible Spanish.

The temple that is being built is in my mission! So that is exciting and it should be done in December or January.

So, what you have probably been waiting for. My companion´s name is Hermana Cash and she is from Sandy, Utah. She has only been out for 6 months. Her Spanish is better than mine but we are both definitely still learning. We are working in two areas: Chalchuapa and Casa Blanca. We are about fifteen minutes away from Santa Ana. Both of our areas are huge and so we have to do a lot of walking. Hermana Cash said that our mission president must really trust us because we it is a lot of responsibility for two gringas who can´t speak Spanish. We have already walked so much and I already have blisters on the bottom of my feet. By the end of my mission I am going to have well-calloused feet. Both of areas actually have ruins in them. The more famous ruins are in Chalchuapa and they are called Tazumal (or maybe Tazumel). We get to walk past them almost every day and it is really beautiful. I am probably going to make my companion take me there next p-day.

So my first day the areas were very interesting. I can´t really understand what people are saying to me and I only know so many words. But one day I know that I will be able to understand. The first day we decided to count how many times people commented on my last name and in just one day I got 35 comments. Everyone wants to know if we are related to President Bush. I think I should just carry a sign around that says "Even though I am white, I don´t know President Bush". But for now I don´t mind saying that I am not related. In 18 months I might get annoyed.

There is so much work here to do! We have 6 baptism dates and 1 baptism on Thursday. We are teaching this man named Eduardo who was a drunk (they call them bolos here) but he wants to change his life. He is about 65 years old and he really likes to talk but most of the time I can´t understand anything. There are a ton of people here that are missing most of their teeth and with them, I can´t understand anything. I like talking to the people who have a full set of teeth.

On Friday we went to the church and there was a man there named Everardo and he asked us "How can I be a member of this church?" Me and my companion were in shock. He has already read some of the Book of Mormon. We started teaching him and he had so many questions. We taught the Restoration and the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chasisty. He said that he didn´t drink or smoke because he thinks it is bad for him. At the end, we asked him to pray about the things we had taught him. He looked around the room as if he was hiding something. And then he said, "Well, I will but the thing is I don´t have any doubt." Our jaws dropped. We don´t know where he came from but we decided that he is a spy from the First Presidency to see how we are teaching things. He wants to get baptized on February 13. We taught him again yesterday night and he had questions about the sacrament but he has so many questions that it seems like he is already a member.

I got to play the piano yesterday in church and one of the investigators thought it was the best thing ever. I think he is converted just from my piano playing because he talked about it for 10 minutes.

Oh yes, and when we were walking around a poorer area someone was talking to us and they asked me if I am from El Salvador. I think that my height and my pale skin gave away my true nationality: El Salvadoranean. We got a good laugh at that.

My Spanish is coming along. It will take a long time for me to feel comfortable but I know that I am blessed that I can say things that I want to say. My companion always tells me that I am doing so well so it is nice to have someone to encourage me. And I am not worried about being able to speak Spanish because I know that that will come and there is nothing that I can really do besides practice.

Just an FYI: we don´t have a cook here and my companion says that is rare but they fired their cook because she was ripping them off. I don´t really mind either because we can make stuff in our apartment.

Well, there are so many things to say but this email is already really long! I am happy to be here. It is already really hot and the natives say that the hottest month is March right before the rainy season. I really like my two areas because part of the area is a little pueblo and then we have outskirts of the town that are more like the country with people that live in houses made of sheets of metal so we have like two different worlds. It is really fun.

I love you all!

Hermana Bush

Thanks for emailing me all about your lives. That is exciting to be almost ready to move! I can´t believe it is happening all so fast but it will be nice to finally get it over with. I can´t wait to here from you next week!

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