Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sorry if I haven't already mentioned, I am in Apopa. It is a pretty
nice area, but according to members, it is one of the top 3 most
dangerous departments in El Salvador. I wouldn't have thought that
from what I have seen. First off, I have to correct myself. The
sketchy neighborhood is called *Valle* del Sol. Still super sketchy.
Anyway, I have really loved being here. It is funny to hear stories
about past missionaries and such from my companions. There are quite a
few 'missionary myths' that I have heard of. I'll share one. According
to my companions, there is a parasite that lives in still water that
'can swim up your pee stream' if you pee in standing water. I figured
I would just keep quiet about the impossibility of that happening.
That way the myth can live on. Things are way different here. We ride
buses occasionally to get around. They are JAMMED packed at times.
Like you have to squish like sardines to fit in them. Also, we use
change here. I have never carried so many coins around with me in my
life. There are coins I have never even seen before here (and they are
all USA currency coins!). Dollar bills are less common than the
sacagawea dollar coins even. AND there is a sister missionary here
that I met at EFY 6 years ago! Someone tell Taylor Fisher that Hermana
Amber Stratton is serving in my mission. Crazy. And tell Scott and
Britt that I have written letters to their family, I just haven't had
time to go by the post office. Another thing that blows my mind is to
hear stories about 'wicked' missionaries that used to be here.
Apparently there was a group that called themselves the Gadianton
Robbers. There were 2 Zone Leaders who would arrange exchanges so that
wicked elders could go to movies or to the beach. I have been shocked
to hear what some missionaries have done. But now there is a good
group here. President Glazier really changed things when he got here.
We have 2 baptisms scheduled for this saturday. One of them is a 10
year old named Emilio. He is so smart and mature for 10 years old. And
his family is awesome. His parents need to get married before they can
get baptized, but the husband doesnt want to. I have had several
children in families that have prayed for me by name because I am new.
Their prayers have been so sweet and sincere, and I am amazed at the
power that even children have in prayer. Tell Cole and Sky happy
birthday for me! And to get their butts reading the Book of Mormon
like they promised me! We talked to a drunk man in the street the
other day, and we got his address from him. We dropped by, and we have
since taught him with his wife and two daughters! He and his wife have
baptismal dates now! I have been hoping and praying so hard that they
would accept the gospel. They need change in their family, and the
gospel is exactly what they need. We teach with members as often as we
can. One of them is named Baudilio. He is an old man, but he is crazy!
He is hilarious. We were teaching the law of chastity, and he told our
investigator that when you look at a woman with lust, you should know
that if you look at her 'with the cameras the doctors use to see
inside of you', you would see that there is just a skeleton. But the
woman that God gives you to marry is a real woman. I have a story for
you guys! The other night, we had dinner at a member's house. After we
finished eating, she offered us mangoes. I took one, taught the other
missionaries (there are 5 of us that eat together) our cool trick for
how to eat mangoes (with the criss-cross cuts) and ate half of the
mango. It was so delicious! As I cut open the other half, I saw a
worm. A WORM IN MY MANGO. Obviously any appetite I had before was now
gone. I just prayed that I wouldn't get sick from the half that I did
eat. Also, my neck has been getting a crazy rash from my shirt collars
because I sweat all day and it rubs. But it has been better in the
last few days. I had pupusas for the first time on Wednesday! but it
doesnt really count because we had pupusa burgers. My companion Elder
Martin was celebrating 20 months here, and he made burger patties and
we ate them in between two pupusas. It was good, but it tasted like a
hamburger. But we are going to eat pupusas tonight with some members.
My appetite has been kind of weird here though. I don't eat breakfast,
and when I do eat at member homes, I get full really fast. Like really
fast. But it has been getting a little bit better. I am dropping
weight though I think. Another story! We were walking the other day
and we saw a man who only had one day trying to catch his horse with a
rope. It was just walking in the streets. We asked him if he needed
help and he said that he did. He told us that it had escaped a week
before and he finally found it. But it was super hard for him to walk
with his crutches and catch it. So we tried to help. The horse ended
up running from us, and we chased it halfway across town! We finally
cornered it in a fenced off mango grove, and we went and got the man
(he had fallen far behind during the chase). Because the horse was not
as scared of him, we let him use the rope to catch the horse once it
had nowhere to go. He caught it, and we got his information.
Unfortunately, he lives outside of our area. Another cool story. We
were waiting for a bus, and a car pulled up and offered us a ride. We
all felt pretty good about it, so we accepted. The man was really
nice. He said that he had seen us around, and that he respects what we
do here. He dropped us off exactly where we needed to be, and we got
his information to teach him. Missionary work is so cool. But I've
been missing home lately. I keep thinking about life before the
mission, and about life after. Two years seems really long. But the
past 8 weeks have flown! I'm changing my attitude and trying to
concentrate on the work and that has been helping. Don't worry too
much about me, I am doing just fine here. Love you guys!!

Elder Briggs Andreasen

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