Monday, April 8, 2013

Holy Cow!! This week I arrived in El Salvador. My first day here was
my birthday!! Sorry to tell you this Mom, but I did not get the
package. I could be at the mission office, but I will not be able to
get it until next week I think. I did get letters from the Green
family, which made my day brighter (though it was already bright
because it was my birthday and I'm a missionary!). I have been here
for less than a week and I've already seen some...interesting...stuff.
The standard of living here is much lower than in the states, which is
to be expected. It is similar to what we saw in Kenya (though not the
villages, the city). I have seen drunk men passed out on the side of
the road, and have even encountered and spoken with a couple of them.
One of my first nights here, a man asked me for the time. I gave it to
him, and he started talking to me, but I could not understand him.
Within a few seconds, my companions and I were almost surrounded by
drunk men (gangsters, according to my companions) and we just said
good night and got out of there. It is SO HOT here. I seriously sweat
from 7am to 10:30pm. And I actually stink a little bit! But that is
because I ran out of deodorant in the CCM. But I have never stunk
before... Our house is pretty nice. I might get some pictures later.
My companions are Elders Garcia and Martin, both gringos (from texas
and utah respectively). The first day they tricked me and told me they
were from El Salvador and Spain, and they talked almost completely in
Spanish. That night they told me it was a joke. I like them though.
But they are busy a lot. They are Zone leaders, so they do a lot of
zone leader stuff and I just have to watch pretty much. They've had
one thing or another such that I havent had language study for the
past 6 days. Tomorrow I will resume. We have been teaching quite a bit
lately, but not as much as we'd like. Oh, and I got to annoint to give
a blessing in Spanish! That was exciting and terrifying. Apparently
this area isn't super dangerous. There is one neighborhood in this
area that is notorious though. They kill any gringos who go in there.
So, obviously and understandably, we don't go there. It's called Vaya
del Sol. Sorry to switch things up on you again Mom, but packages to
here can (and are recommended) to have a picture or sticker of Jesus
or Mary or the like. Things are different than I expected here. We
have cocineras that cook for us regularly who have been trained on
what we can eat and how it has to be prepared, etc. We have one for
lunch, one for dinner, and two different ones for Friday and Sunday
nights. We also have a sister who does our laundry. There are dogs
everywhere here. I have already stepped in dog poop twice (it was dark
both times) and I had to wash my shoes. Gross. Our house sometimes
doesn't have water in the mornings, so we have to 'shower' with
gallons of water that we have stored (we have like 30...). when the
shower is working, it is just a single stream out of a pipe, and it is
cold. I have already been bitten by a few critters, but luckily I am
feeling fine (one of them was a sketchy little yellow spider that I
watched bite me...). The people here, for the most part, are really
nice and friendly. But they havent been as open to listen to us as I
would have hoped (yet). But yesterday two families let us in and we
taught them very briefly. We are going to keep visiting them, and
we'll see how that develops. At times I get frustrated. My language
abilities are far below where I wanted them to be, but I haven't had
any opportunities to study, and most of the time when people talk I
can't even identify words to try to understand. But I know that that
will improve. At the end of my CCM time I felt that time was flying,
and that I would be home in no time. However, now I sit looking at the
next 97 weeks or so and it just is discouraging. Now time seems to be
dragging (even though the days are over before I know it). So I'm
trying to devote myself to the work that needs to be done so I don't
have to think about it. I'll have more to tell you in the future
hopefully. I love you all, and I'm grateful for your prayers and
support. Have a great week!!
(The pictures are a birthday gift from my district, my bed (my
companion is letting me use his disney mosquito net for the time
being; also notice how I am using a towel for a pillow...), and my

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