Monday, March 28, 2011

The US in El Salvador

This week has been good and bad. It started off with a very interesting visit to El Salvador from Barak Obama. He came to visit for 2 days and the whole world was telling me that my President was here to change the world. So I just replied and told them about how we ate lunch with him and then I showed Obama around San Salvador:) There were advertisements everywhere and none of us missionaries were allowed to take a bus to San Salvador for two days. We weren´t going to go any way. A little old lady that is an inactive member was showing us the newspaper and the back of every page had an advertisement for Obama. Then the little old lady started to talk
about how she remembers when the US went to the moon and how now the moon belongs to the earth and that the moon is about 5 times bigger than the earth. We tried to correct her crazy ideas but she has a lot of reason: she is older and has more life experience.

On Friday we had to go to San Salvador for Hermana Izaguirre to go to a dentist. The nurse put the appointment and the only time they had open was at 3:30 in the afternoon so we spent the whole day doing nothing. When we finally got back to Ciudad Real we had two quick appointments and that was a day. But she is happy because she doesn´t have to get her root canal redone but only has to go to another dentist to be able to fix the fake tooth that they made.

We had two baptisms this week: André and Ena. It was a not very well attended baptism because there was a temple trip to Guatemala the same day and most of the ward went. But enough people went that we were happy and we are determined to pay more attention to the announcements on Sunday mornings to be aware of activities that go on. André was happy to get baptized and his great grandpa came from San Salvador to do the baptism. Hermana Ena was also really happy. She is such a blessing for us. They both were actually. But Hermana Ena went to church alone with her little granddaughter and then started inviting all of her neighbors and friends to go to church. We hope that she can always be faithful. One thing about being in El Salvador is that I can´t guess the age of any one because they are so sun burned and so they look a lot older than they really are. I thought Hermana Ena was about 70 years old but she is 54! She is younger than mom and I couldn´t tell!

We have been working hard. The Familia Barillas is facing doubts. Even though they accepted a baptismal date, the dad continues with the same doubts about why he has to get baptised again. We have taught about the authority many times. One morning when I was studying, I thought, why don´t we stress baptism by immersion instead of authority. So we taught a good lesson about that and we asked the dad if he had more doubts. He said ¨no, it´s true. We need to follow the example of Jesus Christ in everything.¨ But then they say they will get baptised ¨si Dios quiere¨ or if God wants it. Of course he does! But we are struggling to get them to really commit to baptism but not feel too much pressure because I think they are feeling too much pressure.

We will continue to pray for them. I hope that everything is good on the home front.

I love you all!

Hermana Bush

Monday, March 21, 2011


So much has happened this week!  It has been a really great week. Last week at church a señora named Ena (not the one that got baptized in January) randomly showed up that isn´t a member.  We asked her who invited her and she said, ¨nobody, only God.¨  On tuesday we had a real adventure finding her house.  We have never been to that part of the area where she lives and so we were waiting at a bus stop where Ena and another member were going to meet with us to go to the house of Ena.  We waited for a half an hour and no one showed up.  And finally the member showed up (but the member was just going to accompany us and doesn´t know where Ena lived).  So we decided to go exploring.  We found a little colonia where a lot of people live but nobody knew Ena.  We only knew one thing about the house: that it was made of wood.  So we searched for about an hour and we finally found a house made of wood.  There was a lady bathing and we could just see her head and she said that her mom left looking for us and went to the bus stop.  So we go back to the bus stop and they said that a lady went there looking for us so we go back to the house and right before reaching the house, we run into Hermana Ena.  We were just going in circles with her.  She lives in a really beautiful area. There are fields all around and there are cows grazing in the fields and it was so beautiful.  And on top of that Ena loves the church and wants to get baptized.

We had another adventure.  We had to go the Santa Tecla on tuesday morning and we were coming back to Ciudad Real.  The bus stopped right in front of the church building which normally doesn´t happen and we were discussing if we should get off then or if we should wait till the real bus stop about a quarter of a mile ahead of us.  The bus was stopped for a long time and Hermana Izaguirre said, ¨well, let´s get off.¨ So I had one foot in the air getting off the bus and it starts moving.  I didn´t want to be in two places at once (the bus and the ground) so I jumped off of the bus and the bus went on with my companion.  I was completely alone for three minutes!  It was a strange sensation but we had a really good laugh.

Then we had another adventure.  One night when we came home, we planned and ate pupusas and then I went to put my plate in the sink. And as I did that, an animal jump from the sink and landed on the wall.  I was a frog about the size of a palm!  We screamed for a while and then we had to call some member children that live close to get the frog out and they were happy to do so.  Then they have been teasing us ever since because we are woosies and we didn´t want to touch the frog.

We are really happy because we are still teaching the Familia Barillas and they accepted a goal.  We told them to put a date for their baptism themselves and gave them a pen and their calender.  Then the mom said¨well then we have to do it before Hermana Bush leaves!¨ So they chose the 16th of April.  We are excited and animated to see them progress more now that they have put a baptismal date.  The dad is still smoking but before he was smoking 8 a day and now it is 3 or 2.  But he does want to stop and we have been trying to help him make a plan to stop.

We went to the dentist this morning in Santa Tecla for Hermana Izaguirre and in order to do it, we only had to wake up at 4:30.  And now we have to go back on Tuesday or Thursday.  We can´t wait.

We are really happy with the progress of our investigators.  I hope everything is going well on the home front.

I love you
Hermana Bush

Monday, March 14, 2011

I don´t like making up titles

I can´t believe that it is pday again! Time sure flies by. And the big news is... we don´t have transfers. I was kind of surprised because we thought for sure Hermana Izaguirre would be changed but no. I have never been with a companion for 3 transfers but I guess there is a first thing for everything. I kind of like having transfers but I realized that I am happy to not have any change because we already have a good relationship and we know how each other works and we can just work really hard this transfer without having to adjust to anything. So many things have happened this week and one of the was not the baptism of Karla. We were sad about that but I had already had the feeling that her dad was not going to give her permission. But we are still going to work on it. Her dad is nice to us even though everyone says that he is a bomb ready to explode. So, maybe we will be able to see her baptism someday.

Despite that, we had a really good Sunday. I have already written about the familia Barillas. They are so wonderful and are still progressing. They told us this week that they weren´t going to be able to go to church because they were going to go visit family. But on Sunday we passed their house early in the morning and they said that they didn´t go to see their family and they were already getting ready to go to church. The dad smokes and this week he said, I am trying, but I can´t quit smoking. He continued to tell us that when he goes to church, he doesn´t want to smoke at all on Sunday but he gets really antsy and his nerves start shaking. Even though he feels like he can´t do it, I saw a lot of hope because he has a sincere desire to quit smoking and that is the first step. And he knows that the church is something special and he feels peace when he goes. We love this family and we are going to do everything we can so that they can be faithful members. Yesterday at church, Jaime blessed the sacrament and we were so happy. He is the wierdo that got baptized in February. We know that he is strange but we love him so much. We feel like he is our baby and that he is growing up. On Saturday he went to the single adult activity and he helped the cook make enchiladas. So we feel like the ward is friendshipping him and making him feel needed. He said that from blessing the sacrament he felt. Our little baby is growing up so fast:) and now he is not so wierd.

Dad asked about Roberto. Well, there is not much to say about him. He disappeared this week and then showed up Saturday night ready to go to church on Sunday. He is so strange. In district meeting we were telling them about him and the zone leaders didn´t believe that we had an investigator stranger than Jaime but yes, we do. But Ciudad Real is really full of strange people. There are tons of good people and tons of wierd people.

Yesterday we had another blessing. The bishop interviewed a member who was inactive but now always goes to church who had a 10 year old son. He randomly asked ¨And your son is baptized right?¨ And she said.... ¨No¨. So, we have a new investigator! And he is going to get baptized the 26th of March! We felt blessed. And the best thing about it is that he is already an active member and just didn´t get baptized when he turned 8. So we visited them and they are really excited about his baptism and his great grandpa is going to come from San Salvador to do the baptism. So, that is about it with the investigators.

We are starting into the hottest months of the year and recently insects called ¨langostas¨ having started appearing everywhere. If anyone knows, I am terrified of almost every creepy crawly thing. And these langostas aren´t an exception because they are gigantic grass hoppers! Just thinking about them makes me cringe. When we were talking with the familia Barillas, the dad was telling us that one landed on him when he was working. I get shivers thinking about it. I love El Salvador but it would be a better country with out langostas. And this week I also got to try a new delicousy.... Tongue. I knew that people ate tongue but vaguely. So Hermana Ena (that got baptized in January) cooked us up some toungue. I also got cringes thinking about eating toungue. I don´t know why but I am not terribly adventurous with my food. But it did taste really good. She said that the next time she is going to cook us pig ears. Mmm, I can´t wait.

So now I only have one transfer left. I have been thinking about what I have learned on the mission. Yesterday we visited a member and she is really opinionated. The home teachers knocked on the door but she told them to come back when her family was home. So naturally we asked who were her home teachers and then she started to talk about one of them saying that he was the ugliest person she had ever seen and it is obvious why he isn´t married because no one wants to marry someone is so ugly and went on and on and on. She says things like this all the time. But when I thought about it, I realized that this is one thing that I have learned on the mission: the love God has for everyone. I doesn´t matter what we look like, God loves each and every one of us unconditionally and that is how we should love too. Mandy also wrote about that in her letter. That God loves us and that everyone needs the opportunity to hear the gospel in order to have true happiness. And even then, if we don´t change our lives, the gospel is in vain. Jesus Christ suffered for us but we have our agency to choose between eternal life or captivity. When we know the gospel and don´t change our own lives, we are not applying the atonement of Jesus Christ in our lives and we don´t really know Him. I know I am not perfect but I know that we are all children of God.

I am so happy to be a missionary. I know that I am called of God to bring about this marvelous work. And I am even more happy because we are going to play kickball today!

I love you so much.

Hermana Bush

Today I almost left the house without my nametag. How embarrassing. I don´t want to be like every other pedestrian.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Keep on trucking


First off I want to tell Isaac that I am excited for him especially because he wants to go there (Hong Kong-Mandarin speaking)!  When I got my mission call, someone in the ward told me to choose a place that I wanted to go.  I wanted to learn another language but I didn´t think that I would.  So I thought, I want to go out of the country but probably to a place that speaks English.  So I thought about all my options and I decided to go to Australia.   And look, here I am in El Salvador.  But I am happier here than I would have been in Australia.

I am sending you a photo of Jaime´s baptism.  He is in the middle of his parents. Well, life keeps going on.  I can´t believe that it is already March. This is the last week of the transfer and like always, every one is talking about all the gossip.  I am pretty sure that I will be staying here for my last transfer but like always, you never know.  We have had a really good week.  We put 2 baptismal dates with our investigators.  One is named Karla.  She is 15 years old.  She lives here in Ciudad Real but all of her aunts and uncles and grandparents live in Santa Ana and all her family on her dad´s side are recent converts from last year.  We have been teaching Karla off and on.  She has always wanted to get baptized but had never gotten permission. But the other day, we went and her mom said, ¨I have been thinking a lot about Karla´s baptism and if she wants to get baptized, she should get baptized.¨ So she is going to get baptized on Saturday!  Really we only need permission from one parent but we need to talk to the dad and everyone is scared of him because he is always mad.  We´ll see how things turn out this week.  We also set a baptismal date with Roberto.

He is crazy too.  Really I think that everyone in Ciudad Real is a bit crazy.  But Roberto has such a desire to learn.  No one likes to visit him with us because he talks non stop, but I can see that he has a good heart under it all.  He is a bit doubtful and really not sure what he wants but he accepted and we are praying that he can have a strong conviction.

This week Elder Falabella from the seventy came to visit us.  He is in the area presidency here so he has strong ties to the missionary work here and really helped us understand our purpose. I got my package this week and that was exciting.  I had an epiphany. Here in El Salvador it is mango season.  Last year I tried mangos and I didn´t really like them but then mom sent me the dried mangos that I love from Costco, and I realized that I like dried mangos, why shouldn´t I like eating mangos?  So, it still isn´t mature mango season and sound the mangos are going to be ripe and I will have to try them again.

This week we have met a lot of interesting people but none are quite as interesting as our neighbor that lives in front of us.  She is 67 years old and seems very nice and very loving and then she started to tell about 6 months ago, she was living in Apopa (in San Salvador) where all of her family lives and her nephew tried to kill her.  Poor thing.  She is diabetic and walks with a cane and she recounted a grousome (I don´t remember how to spell that) about how she made breakfast for her nephew one morning and then he went mad and started hitting her in the head with a meat hammer.  But luckily for her, she started to pray during the attack and all of a sudden he let go of her and she ran outside where her neighbors helped her.  I am so glad that I am not in San Salvador.  The part of San Salvador that is in our mission is safe but the other side sounds really scary.  But even despite all the things that happen to people here, they still have great faith.  A lot of people think that their trials are punishments from God but this lady is so grateful to be alive and is so grateful to be able to keep on trucking in this life. There is another member that have a disease and we were talking with her the other day and she said ¨I don´t know what I did but I must have sinned a lot so that God is punishing me with this disease.¨  But I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have.  God is a loving God
and a just God, and we need to learn from our trials.  And sometimes bad things happen to good people.  That is life.

We are still working with our family that we have.  This week the mom didn´t go to church but only the the dad and the kids.  And they haven´t accepted a baptism date because the dad honors his catholic baptism as a baby.  But we are hoping to have a breakthrough this week. I am really struggling to think of things to tell you this week.  It feels like time have flown by but nothing has happened!

Sounds like everyone is doing fine.  The work goes on everyday.  I love El Salvador and I love being a missionary!

Hermana Bush