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!


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