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 :)


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