This is the last email of my mission! How weird how time has flown by. I feel so strange because the mission has been my life for so long and now everything is going to go back to normal. This last week has been a good week. We had a multizone conference on Tuesday. As part of the multizona, the missionaries that are going home have to share their testimony. I have been surprised that I haven´t had the desire to cry because normally I am a baby. But I successfully bore testimony without crying:) On thursday we had a yucca festival as a stake activity. It was almost all day long. It was suppose to start at 2 but as we are talking about an LDS activity in Latin America, the activity started at 4. It was a fun activity because it was a missionary activity by the stake and we didn´t have to do anything besides greet people at the door. The had special dance acts to start and that was fun because Claudia Viana (my convert from Casa Blanca about a year ago) danced with her ward and we talked and told me how happy she is. Then after all the acts, we ate yucca! Every ward brought a different style of yucca. For those of you who don´t know, yucca here is like a potato but just a tad different. But it is a root just like a potato. Apparently Chalchuapa is famous for its yucca.
This week is the Semana Santa or Holy Week. But I don´t really understand Latin holidays because it seems like every latin holiday is a good excuse to drink and dance. Hermana Izaguirre doesn´t believe me that I don´t like to dance or go to discotecas and I can´t believe that she likes to do that. But we must accept our differences:)
They announced in sunday that I was ending my mission and they asked me to share my testimony and the whole ward was telling me how much they´ll miss me and how much I´ve changed their lives and how I am the best missionary they´ve met.... well, maybe they didn´t say all of that:) But the ward was really nice to me and they made me feel like I made a difference here. And people have been inviting us to eat and everything but we can´t just hang out all of the time. We have to work a little bit too. Hermanas Enas were both crying at church. Hermana Ena (2) had invited us to make tamales and so we learned how to make tamales. Hermana Ena (1) invited us over and surprised me with a fish dinner which was delicious. After the dinner we went to visit a couple that we have been working with for a long time (the husband isn´t a member and the wife really wants him to be) and they had bought me a little cake that we shared and that tasted really
The familia Hernandez Amaya (the family that the dad is excommunicated) invited us over to eat toreja wich is a special bread dipped in milk and then egg and then fried with a sugar sauce. It tasted really good and then later I realized it was almost exactly french toast. Needless to say, we have been eating a lot of good
stuff lately:) And I think being invited over a lot of places makes my companion happy that I am going home because she love to eat. Hermana Izaguirre is scared for the next transfer we have been together for more than 4 months and this transfer she is going to train. So, she is really nervous and she doesn´t want things to
change. But as I have learned in the mission, life is about changes. I am really going to miss the mission as it has been my life. I have learned so much and the hardest part about leaving the mission isn´t
leaving the lifestyle of a missionary or fear of another change but the hardest part is definitely leaving the people I have learned to love. But I know that when I go home, I am going to be with people I love even more. I feel like I have been diligent in my service and now I can say that Heavenly Father is pleased with my work. Now we just have to wrap up the next four days and I will be ¨home¨ again.
Well, I am sure that I am going to love Maryland. Really, I thought that by ending the mission I would cry everyday but that is not the case. It sad to leave the mission but I know that I can´t be on the mission my whole life and I have to move on with my life. I know without a doubt that this is the Lord´s work. I know that this is the church of Jesus Christ and that the church has been restored by a prophet of God. God is our loving Heavenly Father and Christ lives. How great it is to end the mission after celebrating the most
spiritual event of all mankind.
Time just keeps flying by! I can´t believe that I only have a week and a half left. It is very strange because my companion is more ¨baggy¨ (trunky as they say in most missions) than I am. It has been an interesting week. On Monday, we ate a big breakfast and since my companion made most of it, we ate it is the latin way: everything fried. After I ate I did not feel good. But we went throughout the whole day and we went to buy everything we needed. When we were at the grocery store, I felt terrible and all the food made me feel worse. When we finally got home, I ran to the bathroom and threw up. I think it was from eating so much fried things. The nurse told us to take it easy and on tuesday morning I felt just fine. But then on Wednesday I got a cold and on Thursday I could barely talk. But now I feel just fine again. Many return missionaries says that it is normal to get sick before going home because of all the stress. But I feel just fine again.
Yesterday we had 2 baptisms of Cindy and Jorge who are brothers. Cindy is 18 and Jorge 8 years old. Hermana Ena told us that Cindy was telling the whole world that she was going to get baptized and that she is going to be a missionary. That makes us happy. We were going to have 4 baptisms yesterday but that is another story.
Hermano Elmer has stopped smoking! He now has a week and a half of not smoking. We are so proud of him but he just thanks God saying that he knows that he was freed from captivity (Mosiah 7:33). So we were so happy. His wife said that she wasn´t ready to get baptized but Hermano Elmer and Pablito (8 years old) were good to go. They even had their interviews. But on Thursday night, Hermano Elmer called and thanked us for everything that we had done and that they didn´t want to continue receiving us. That was a terrible night. We had an appointment for the next day so we started praying and fasting to be able to know what to say and do. The zone leaders went with us and Hermano Elmer started to say how he didn´t want his wife to be obligated to the church and that they need to be united and how he was baptized in the Catholic church as a baby (and we have talked about this about a million times) and he was just so confused. Then his wife said that she has always been supportive and so if he wants to get baptized, then he needed to do it but the worst thing to do would to not get baptized just because she didn´t feel ready. Then we talked about the authority, baptism by immersion, the example of Jesus Christ, the restored gospel and so on. The spirit was so strong and at the end, Elmer said that he wanted to get baptized especially to be an example for his own family. It was such a great experience and we were so grateful that God heard our prayers and answered them. So we were so excited! When we went back on Saturday afternoon (they were going to get baptized on Sunday) Hermano Elmer had chicken pox! And he had a fever and felt terrible. It has been the week of diseases. So that is why they didn´t get baptized. It was not because they weren´t willing or ready, but because it is chicken pox time and everyone has chicken pox. Luckily I have already had chicken pox and so it doesn´t
affect our work. But we are planning on having the baptisms this weekend if they feel better.
Today we went to the dentist for the last time for Hermana Izaguirre (we have been about 4 or 5 times) and while we were in Santa Tecla, we stopped by the temple. It is absolutely gorgeous. It was exciting to see it again and this time without scaffolding! So I am sending you pictures of the temple as is today. Here we are starting the ¨semana santa¨ or holy week. People always say it is the hottest time of the year, and it really has been hot here. Today has been a bit cloudy so we are trying to soak in this break from the son.
Yesterday we also had stake conference so I got to see a lot of people from my first area and they were all happy to see me. I will miss Chalchuapa and I have passed more than half of my mission in the stake. I still have one more pday left!
Time is flying by. It has been a pretty normal week. There is a family that is in our ward and the son and mom are recent converts and the dad is an excommunicated member from 10 years back and he is trying to be able to get baptized again. We have really grown to love this family. There are two other sons but one is 6 years old and the other is a baby. This family has no money and tuesday was the birthday of the oldest son. Hermana Izaguirre and I wanted to do something special. We bought a cake and some other things and we went to their house. Douglas (the birthday boy) wasn´t there yet and so the parents told us to hide in the bedroom. When Douglas got home, they asked him to get a diaper and he opened the door and we jumped out while blowing on those annoying horn things. He almost had a heart attack but was really grateful for everything as well as the family was really happy. During Christmas time, mom sent me some of those bracelets that have shapes to them that are apparently so popular. At Christmas time I hadn´t seen them before but now they are all over the place. So we gave him some bracelets. He told us that the kids at school wanted to buy them from him the next day. We were so happy to be able to make a difference to this family. They are really something special and are passing through a really difficult situation.
Other happy news is that Elmer Barillas now has 2 days without smoking! We are so happy. He had told us that he heard that the first three days are the hardest. So he has 2 down and one more to go (today). We are praying that this family will be able to get baptized. The other problem is the wife. She is a little bit more rebellious and says that she can´t quit drinking coffee. But she follows the counsel of her husband and he says that he is going to lock the doors so she can´t leave to buy coffee in the store.
We are finding many positive investigators through are recent convert Ena. She wants everyone to go to church and that is helping us a lot. We were teaching one of her friends that went to general conference named Rosa who is 22 years old. Rosa was telling us that she has never visited churches before and has never liked any one of them but she liked conference. She said that there is an evangelical church near her house and when people are having marital problems, they pray that either the wife or the husband will die and the other will be left widowed. Crazy El Salvador!
We´ve been having to go to the dentist recently for Hermana Izaguirre and that means that we have to wake up at 4:30 some mornings to catch the bus at 5:30 which means that I am really tired. While we were in the waiting room at the dentist´s office, I completely fell asleep and Hermana Izaguirre had to wake me up saying that she was done. Yesterday was an interesting day at church. It rained in the morning and so that means that many people don´t go to church. It is funny that we can be in a country that it rains half of the year. And this half of the year, people don´t leave their houses. But also for some reason the electricity and the water were out in the church and so the bathrooms smelled terrible and so we only had sacrament meeting. It was a very strange Sunday and we felt like we were in the twilight zone.
We are working hard for the baptisms of the familia Barillas and two other people (Cindy and Jorge) this week and only time will tell. I was talking to Hermana Izaguirre about the stress of the mission and the hard part about it is that are success relies a lot on the agency of other people.We are still working hard and I know that the Lord is blessing us for our efforts. We hope that we will soon see the fruits of our labors. I can't believe how fast the time goes.
I can´t believe that it is already April! Time is flying by. We had a little activity today with 3 other zones and about 5 Elders asked me when I was going home. But it is really strange to think that in less than a month I will be sleeping on the couch in the family room. No, I am only joking about that but really it is strange. People go through their whole missions (especially me because I was with the nurse) seeing other people going home and thinking how weird is that and I never thought that my time would actually come. But I still have 3 weeks left and we are hoping to see many miracles. We have found a lot of positive people this week and yesterday for the first session of Sunday conference, we had 8 investigators. So we were happy about that.
Everyone in the ward was so excited because we were going to watch conference in our new building over the internet. Which was all fun and dandy except for the internet problems that always pop up during conference. On Saturday morning we were so excited and we went to the church at 9:20 and no one was there. We waited 20 minutes and one person showed up. So we knocked on the door of the first counselor and he was annoyed that he had to go open the church and after everything, we got to start watching the conference at 10:30. But it is sad because the thing I like most is hearing where they are going to build more temples and worst of all, I didn´t get to hear that they are going to build another temple in Colorado! But, I am not from Colorado, I am from Maryland now:) But conference was great. I watched 3 sessions in Spanish and 1 in English. Everyone was teasing me about the talks about marriage and everything. One Elder said that in the priesthood session the prophet talked about not waiting. But I guess when I like to tease others, I have to be willing to take it too.
After conference I was so tired and I think that is because I watched it in Spanish and I have to concentrate a lot harder. But I learned a lot. We especially liked the talk by President Uchtdorf because it was perfect for our investigators.
We have seen a lot of miracles and we are seeing a lot of progress. Hermana Ena (2) is a really great missionary and is inviting a lot of people to church. On Tuesday morning we had a lesson with 5 investigators with her. And she really knows that the work must go on! We are working hard with the Familia Barillas. The dad went to the conference (the mom couldn´t because the son has chicken pox. Luckily I have already had that). The dad says that there is a lot of hope and that the spirit is illuminating their minds. Keep on praying for them.