Monday, February 22, 2010

The life of 2 gringas

It was so great to hear from you this week.  First off I want to tell Abby congratulations on her mission call to Norway!  That is so exciting!

And I got your dear elders that you all re-sent from my last few days in the MTC.  Thanks.

I don´t have much time to write this week.  As a zone, we went to a volcano near Santa Ana and hiked down a mountain to the base of the volcano and up the volcano. It took so long!  I am exhausted because we were hiking for about 3 and a half hours (and as you know, hiking is not really my thing) but luckily I wasn´t the slowest person there. But, I have to admit it was pretty cool and it was so foggy around there.  They had been taking suggestions for a zone activity and I thought it would be fun to have a zone dance but obviously they didn´t go for that idea:)

This week has been pretty interesting. On Thursday, we got to go do service at a hospital in the zone leaders´area.  It was just a building and we were helping to clean it up.  The elders got to chop wood with machetes and the sisters got to clean windows.  We were bummed but we had our own adventure.  They have glass slats in the windows that can be turned to open the window or close the window.  It is hard to explain but I was cleaning a slat and it fell out of the window into the hospital waiting room and landed on a 2 year old kid who was breast feeding.  And then, he cried.  I felt so bad and the glass shattered on the floor.  It just wasn´t my day.  And the worst part was I can´t express to his mom my feelings.  It was an awkward situation.  But then, things got better because we got to wack at some wood.

Then on Saturday we had a baptism!  His name is Mauricio and he makes us so happy!  But we ran to the chapel in the morning to start filling up the font and when we came back, there was 2 inches of water on the floor of the church!  So we spent 2 hours that morning sweeping the water out.  My companion was really embarrased but I thought it was kind of funny just because I am the junior companion and so I didn´t feel as responsible.  It is so much easier to blame everything on you companion.

These last three days have been so exhausting because we have been walking so much and it was topped off by hiking today.  We have been working so hard to find new people who really want to listen to us.  A lot of people let us teach them and I think it is just because we are gringas.  But we have been having some success but the hard part is getting people to church.  People believe but they don´t want to do anything about it!  During lessons, especially when we are talking about the book of Mormon, I want to take my testimony and knowledge of it and shove it down the other people´s heads.  Too bad it doesn´t really work that way.  But I feel like I am learning.  I know that I know a lot more than I think I do but I need to put it into practice more.  I realized that I can only learn how to say things by trying.

I love you family and friends!  I am doing good and me and Hermana Cash are doing good together.  She says that she likes being with me because we don´t have a culture barrier.  Sometimes we are with people and one of us says something really funny and we laugh and everyone else sits there in silence.  Whatever, we know we are funny.

And this is the last week of my first transfer!  I am no longer going to be the newby!

Thanks for sending me all the pictures.  It was really fun to see!  I hope you are enjoying Maryland a lot and tell all the people about your favorite daughter in El Salvador.

Monday, February 15, 2010

One month here!

I am glad that you made it safely to Maryland.  I wish that I could just see the house!

This week has been a little bit more challenging than the other weeks!  It seems like this weel no one wanted to talk to us and we couldn´t find all of our investigators.  But, don´t worry.  We still have good attitudes and we still have fun every day.  There have been so many funny things that happened this week.
This week we were walking to the church and we met someone who Hermana Cash has taught before.  She talked to me before about him once because they asked him to say a prayer and he said "Buenas Tardes Dios" or good afternoon God.  What a weirdo.  So I was excited to meet him and I told him my name was Hermana Bush.  Then he said that I have the most beautiful name and that it sounds like music.  It just rolls off the toungue.  I was trying so hard not to laugh.  I have never heard anyone say that the word "bush" is beautiful. Then when we were leaving he said "Goodbye Creatures".

The next day we contacted a guy who went on and on about how I look like his sister-in-law.  Then five minutes later in the conversation he said that I look like Princess Diana.  When he finally let us talk we asked if we could visit him another day and he said "no" and then walked off.  Later on that day we contacted a lady who was selling some sort of melon on the side of the road.  We asked her if we could teach her another day and she said "the thing is I am 160 years old. I don´t need religion anymore"!  Our jaws dropped.  We asked her how old she was again and she said 160.  I think that we met the oldest lady on the planet.  And surprisingly she looked 100 years younger.  We had a good laugh about that too.

We have one investigator getting baptized this week.  He is 48 years old.  We were talking to him this last week about church and then he said, "I don´t know if I can go to church this week.  I was reading the pamphlets and they talk about what to wear to church and I don´t have a shirt and tie."  That was easy to change. We bought him a nice white shirt and tie and he wore it to church and he looked so happy.  Even if he is the only person that I help here, it was worth it to see the smile on his face and he already has a lot of friends in the church. We also love him because he takes notes on what he reads in the Book of Mormon.
In church yesterday, a kid opened his mission call after sacrament meeting in front of the whole ward.  It was so exciting.  It was such a great moment to hear the letter from the prophet again and he started crying and so did some ex-missionaries that were there.  He is going to Guatemala City and he leaves in 2 weeks.  They don´t waste any time.

In church we had to give talks in both of our wards IN SPANISH.  I was so nervous but things went just fine and the time flew by.  Someday I will be able to speak Spanish fluently but that time is not now.
I want to answer some questions about being here in El Salvador.  Even though we don´t have a cook, we still can buy stuff that are cultural foods.  Sometimes after the day is done, we will buy pupusas from little stands on the side of the street.  There is probably at least one stand on every block.  They are everywhere.  The cheapest ones we have founds are 2 for a quarter but they only come with beans inside.  They are pretty good.  We ate tamales the other day while we were walking to one of our appointments and those were really good too.  Sometimes members give us somethings to eat like fruit.  We ate a strange fruit on Saturday called mariñón or marinión or something.  It was bright red on the outside and white on the inside and it was pretty good.

Yesterday was día de amor and we got a lot of creepers yelling at us (a bit more than usual).  We are always getting people screaming at us things like "hey baby" or "I love you".  I am so flattered.  My companion said that she is going to have such a low self esteem when she gets home because random people aren´t going to tell here how beautiful she is.

We do have someone who does our laundry but she can´t wash our garments.  So every pday I wash my undies by hand and  I don´t know how to, so it is always a fun experience. Pretty much I just rub soap on them and try to scrub and dump a lot of water on them and hang them up to dry.
I am so excited for Abby to get her call!  I can´t wait to hear where she is going.  I am going to be in anticipation this whole week.

Love, Hermana Bush

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bugs in El Salvador and everything else

Hello again family and friends!

It has been a great week and we are exhausted tonight which is a good thing.  It has been the hottest week so far here (out of the 3 I have been here). I wanted to tell you about some of the things here in El Salvador. The bugs are coming out little by little.  The other day I saw my first cockroach in our apartment and as I squirmed a little bit my companion sprayed it with chemicals.  Then right after that we saw a centipede in our apartment that was like 6 inches long!  I am really trying to not show my hatred of everything that flies that can land on me and bite me.  Oh and I hate spiders too.  There are a ton of medium sized spiders that have really thin legs and those don't bother me as much.  Dad, I know that you want to hear the bug update so there you go.  We also have a little gecko that lives in our house and my companion named him Rafa.

I can´t believe my family is moving this week.  It is strange and sad but it will be just another adventure.  I also don´t believe that it is cold and snowy where you are!  I can´t even imagine it because it is hot and sweaty here.  I actually already have a pretty cool watch tan and I didn´t start wearing the watch till I came to El Salvador.

My companion and I always laugh because we forget that we stick out in this country.  Sometimes we will be walking across the town and everyone will be stairing at us and I just don´t understand why.  And then I remember that we are gigantic white people.  We always get whistled at.  My companion said that she is going to feel sad when she goes back to the States and people won´t tell her how beautiful she is.  We also get a lot of people that try to talk English with us and we get a kick out of saying BYE BYE.  So whenever we can we say BYE BYE with the most awful and obnoxious gringo accent.

Here are some highlights of the week:The other day we were walking and we saw this old man and a teenage boy running around the front of the house trying to catch their rooster.  At church we were counting how many people came and there were 95 people and one iguana.  Someone had brought their pet iguana and it was just sitting on his shoulder during sacrament meeting.  Yesterday, we went to teach this 20 year old named Erika.  She is very curious and wrote a list of questions about the Book of Mormon.  We brought a recent convert who is 23 years old.  He likes to talk and we were actually trying to be match makers.  But in the middle of the lesson, Erika leaned over to the member and hit his arm!  She had killed a mosquito on his arm.  It was so funny and we couldn´t stop laughing.

Now, on to the work.  We had high hopes for so many people but people have a hard time going to church.  None of our investigators with a baptismal date were home so we could take them to church so we were a little mad.  Whatever, they have their own agency.  I think I told you about Eduardo.  He is a drunk 70 something year old.  He really wants to change and he hadn´t drunk for 2 weeks.  He also loves to read the Book of Mormon and when we went to visit him, he memorized the names of the 8 witnesses of the Book of Mormon.  We were so proud. But the next day, he got drunk again.  Apparently this was his 4th chance to stop drinking and so we have to leave him. We were so sad. We are also teaching his neighbor and he said that Eduardo has been a drunk for more than 30 years.

Tomorrow we have a meeting in San Salvador for all the new missionaries and their trainers.  We have to take the bus (which I don´t really like) and it is about an hour and a half.

Oh, and my Spanish is coming along still.  I can understand a little bit more of what people say but so many people speak Qualiche which is their slang here and so when they speak that I can´t understand anything they say.  But it just needs time.

Thanks for everything family and for all your support!

Love you
Hermana Bush

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Enrique's Baptism Day

Here is a picture of Hermana Bush, Hermana Cash and Enrique, the little boy who got baptized, and his family.

Crazy El Salvador

¡Hola familia y amigos!

I have been here for two weeks now! This week went by so fast. The weather has been pretty hot and sweaty and the people here just say to wait for March and April. My alarm clock has a temperature reader on it. We come home for lunch and our bedroom is 95 degrees! But, it is hotter in the bedroom that it is outside of our house.

We had some really good experiences and some really funny experiences too. One of our investigators is named Everardo and he reads the Book of Mormon like crazy. He also loves to read the dictionary behind the Book of Mormon. This week he had questions about plural marriage and the tribes of Israel. He asked if all the members in the United States all come from one tribe. Luckily I am the junior companion and so I let Hermana Cash answer those. Sometimes it is hard for both of us to be together because neither of us is fluent. I assume that she can understand everyone. After long conversations I ask her what happened and sometimes she has no idea and so we just smile and say ¨Que bueno¨ or ¨lo siento¨. It is pretty entertaining sometimes. We told Eduardo to start reading from the beginning of the Book of Mormon and the next time we saw him he was talking and he said something about the 3 witnesses and Oliver Cowdery and I understood him and my companion didn´t. I was so proud of me and I had to rub it in my comanions face a little bit. But, that was the only time I understood something that my companion didn´t.

We had our first baptism last week for a ten year old boy named Enrique! He is so cute. When he was confirmed in church on Sunday he had the biggest smile and it made me so happy to be here.

We saw the grossest thing the other day! We went to visit a less active member and her son was there with him. He was wearing a cast but it looked fine from the angle we saw him. When we saw him face on his leg was literally bent and gigantic. I can´t really explain how gross it was. He was drunk and got ran over by a bus! A lot of people die here from getting hit by buses when they are drunk. It is a bad combination.

Yesterday we went to go visit a recent convert. Her husband was there and another small family was just leaving but they let us teach them. We talked about prayer but things got a little out of hand. The recent convert and her husband look like witch doctors and they started talking about visions they had had. They also don´t have teeth so they are hard to understand. Her husband kept saying that he saw a white cloud. And the convert said she had a dream that Christ appeared to her in a dream and he was talking to her and pointing to the baptismal font. But she didn´t understand anything that Christ was saying because he only speaks English. That is what I got out of the story. The other man that was there had a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon but I don´t know if he just wanted to fight about it or learn more. We will see.

There is so much work here in these two areas and everyone is willing to listen. We have had so many good lessons and people are willing to accept the gospel. We are going to have another baptism this Saturday for a 17 year old boy named Jonathan. He was hesitant but then he had time to think about it and he told us he wanted to get baptized! We were so excited.