Monday, December 30, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEARS

Buenos Días everyone! 
     From what I heard from everyone Christmas was a success, and that new years should be fun as well! This week has been pretty awesome for sure! On Monday the whole mission went over to Sonzacate to have a mission party. There was a talent show, games, and as well as a more spiritual part, talking about the birth of Christ. It really got me motivated to start working a little harder and searching for more people who need his love. There was a scripture that kept coming to my head the whole time. It goes very well with the scripture on my mission plaque (omni 1:26) It's from Heleman 3:35. It talks about the sanctification of your heart as you give it unto Christ. In that part of the scriptures the church was going through a lot of trouble and hardship because of the prideful members. But those who trusted in Christ took that hardship and used it to grow. Don´t know why but it just kept coming back to my mind this past week, especially during the meeting. 
     The Bishop also invited us over to eat at his house on the 24th. We had turkey, rice, bread, and wait for it ROOTBEER!! Here a can of rootbeer cost about a dollar which really thinking about it is a normal price. But here that's just ridiculous. It was so nice to get to drink some good ole A&W rootbeer again. The turkey was also really good, I ate so much I almost threw up, but it was totally worth it. He is also giving us dinner tommorow for new years which should be way good as well. Rest assured I am being well fed. We were being pretty carefull that day because mostly the Christmas tradition here is to get crazy drunk and walk around the streets, or go to the beach and drink there. The whole city just reaked of alcohol. But luckily drunk people can´t walk very fast so we were able to avoid most of them. New years eve is supposudly going to be worse, but we will be fine. The strangest thing was that no one was home on Christmas Eve. The streets were just empty, and no one was home. We ended up going and meeting a few less active famlies that live out in the jungle, about a kilometer outside of Campos Verdes. Which was pretty fun. Some very humble people. 
     Christmas morning of course we got to skype the family which is always a treat. Thinking back on it, its the second to last time that I am going to be able to do it. Baggy thought for the day. You all seemed like you were having fun, and doing well. No one cried either which was good. 
     in response to some questions that people had. While we have four missionaries here in the ward, we both have seperate houses. I would prefer to have four to a house, but that's the way it is. There are a total of eight missionaries in our district, four here in Campos Verdes, and four more in this place called Nuevo Lourdes. All gringos. Which makes things pretty interesting. We all get along really well and it makes P-days and district meeting really fun. This next Monday we are going to go to the Ruins that are really close to here in this place called San Andres, we already have the bus and everything. So just FYI I won´t write that day until later, hopefully around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. 
    Now that 2013 is almost over I have been thinking alot about what I want to accomplish in 2014. I don´t know about you guys but there are lots of things I would like to change, better habits and talents I would like to develop. I would like to challenge all of you to put high goals. And then work hard to reach them. A few of my goals include: becoming 100% fluent in spanish, exercise every day, and be able to do 100 pushups straight by the end of the mission, baptize more than 13 people and read through the bible and triple, in spanish, twice. I want to make the best of my time here, and realizing now that I only have another year to do it kinda scares me. Lets go! Okay I´ll talk to you all next year! 2014 here we come!!!
Elder Schriever





Monday, December 16, 2013

Hump Day and almost Christmas

Well family,
 This week I became the proud new father of my new mission son. He is Elder C. He is half Latin half black but from Farmington, Utah. And way cool!! I feel kinda bad for him because everyone thinks that he is from Honduras and probably wonders why he can´t speak Spanish fluently. Also his name is a slang word for friend in Spanish so everyone gets a good laugh out of it. But they still haven't quite figured out Schriever yet. Most members haven´t quite gotten it down but some are getting close. It's kinda crazy, Elder C. knew President H. before the mission, as a matter of fact he was good friends with his son and spent lots of time at their house. Pressure!! But we have gotten along really well and are having lots of fun. Hopefully we will have lots of success these next few changes if we are obedient and work hard. 
     We are having a kind of competition right new between the two districts in our zone. Our district is all gringos, and the other district only has one, a zone leader, who now officially renounced his gringo standing. So we are basically having a contest to see who can do more work. It makes things kinda fun and if it inspires us to push a little harder doesn´t do any harm. Every time we get out of a district meeting or anything like that we do a team break and yell GRINGO POWER! You gotta keep things fun. 
    This week was kinda rough as far as the work goes mostly because I wasn't there Monday or Tuesday because Elder M. left on Monday I had to go in trio in another area and so to start out we didn´t have many fixed appointments but now things are rolling and we have been doing well. The M. family has been somewhat hard to get a hold of but the lessons that we did have with them have been solid. We didn´t get to talk with C. this week either because of some problems that they are having but hopefully in the next coming week. F. C. is finally going to get a lighter schedule at work so he will hopefully be able to come to church this coming week! He had a baptismal date, but it couldn´t happen because he was to busy with work to make it to church. Now if that is figured out hopefully in the next coming weeks we will be able to see him baptized. It might be tricky though because he is like a small bear I don´t know if I could lift him back up out of the water! I guess there are worse problems that we can have. E. T.´s son is also doing well. He works at a cable call center and it's a little rough. The hours are long and there is nothing angrier than an American whose cable isn´t working! He speaks English really well. But when people talk really fast because of anger is is a little trickier to understand. There is also really bad traffic right now due to some road construction coming back from San Salvador so he gets home at about 8:30 every night. It doesn't leave much time for missionary visits but soon his hours should lessen up a little bit and he will hopefully be able to attend sacrament meeting. 
     M. V. (wife of the family we dug the well for) came to church yesterday! They are a super humble family, don´t have much like some of the people here, but they are super nice people. She can´t read really so it's going to be tricky teaching her. We will have to really break things down for her so that she can understand, but that's totally doable. Really the gospel isn´t complicated, its just the application that is sometimes a little tricky. 
    I am super psyched for Christmas. Hermano V. invited us over for Christmas dinner. His son is the head chef at the Hilton Hotel in San Salvador. So it should be amazing. I don´t know if anything can match dad's dinners but this one might come close:) We also have a misson party basically next Monday, over in Sonzacate. We get to wear normal clothes and I think that it is pretty informal. Should be a good time. For Christmas I am afraid we will have too many dinner appointments to be able to eat it all! I guess we will just have to suck it up and eat all of the delicious food that people give us. 
     It was great to hear from all of you, it sounds like this upcoming week might be a little rough with finals and everything but that's just the way things go sometimes, there are always ups and downs, occasionally lefts and rights as well. I just want to let you all know how grateful I am for all of your prayers and for taking the time to write me. I hope that this Christmas season is one of joy and happiness, it really is a wonderful time to remember Jesus Christ and all that he did for us. Without him there is really no hope at all. I love the line in Oh Holy Night ¨his law is love and his gospel is peace¨ really the whole purpose of the gospel is learning to love. We should try to share this love with all those who in this happy season, for one reason or another are down or having a rough time. It would be great if we could all make an effort to reach out to someone and help them feel of our Savior´s love. We will realize that as we do our own gratitude and happiness is so much more. I love you all and hope that this week is an excellent one. 
Take care,
Elder Schriever


Monday, December 9, 2013

Training Part 3

    Well everyone this week has been a crazy week for sure. As the subject of the email says I will be training this coming change. And Elder M. will be headed off to Belize tomorrow. I don´t know quite yet if I will get a brand new Elder or if I will just finish the training of an elder like I did With Elder M. I guess we will find out on Wednesday! Because I am training and he is going to Belize we had to go to all kinds of meetings throughout the week which really got in the way of proselyting, which was pretty frustrating. We really need to work hard right now. The M. family has been having a somewhat hard time. All the churches here once they see that the missionaries are coming to someone´s house start to gossip about people, and tell people all kinds of lies about our church, this week it happened with two different investigators. It´s really frustrating sometimes, it reminds me of the parable of the sower. Where some fall into hard grounds and never take root, others fall on rocks etc... The M.´s this week got "macheted" about how the Book of Mormon isn´t needed and how our church teaches doctrines of men. We had to do damage repair for most of our visits, and only the less active grandmother came to church. Which in many ways is still a success. 
     The other example of persecution was with C. some members of the church she used to go to before confronted her about how she was going to church with the Mormons and having the missionaries come over to teach her. They came over saying "that we believe that Jesus Christ was re born in Joseph Smith and that we only worship him", and that we don´t celebrate Christmas, and then when she told them that we do, they started to tell her about how Christmas was Satanic, and all other sorts of dumb stuff. I am happy to say that she defended the small testimony that she has. She let them know that in her time going to church we only talk about Jesus Christ. It was great. And yesterday we finally got to talk to her husband. Who through a Mormon high school teacher, has read the book of mormon and doctrine and covenants. He actually knows a ton of stuff about church doctrine but has never told his wife. Hopefully we will be able to start teaching him as well. 
     Also the mother of a member, M. that we have been teaching came to church for the first time. She was been a Prophetica church her whole life, (ill tell you about the prophetica church some other time) but basically there are a lot of things we need to work on. She has been visited by several pairs of missionaries but this is the first time that she has ever been willing to go. It was great, unfortunately the talks in sacrament meeting were really boring and not well given but the Sunday school class was awesome so that was good. 
    Okay funny story time... so we were teaching this less active member, and we asked her if she had been reading the Book of Mormon. She told us that she had. We asked here if there was any part that called her attention, and asked what part. She spent a few minutes looking through Alma and went to Alma 31. She said " I like this part about how its describes these people praying, they go up on this tower raise up their hands and read this prayer. It's just beautiful! Listen to this, "Holy holy God, we believe that thou art God and we believe that thou art holy, and that you were a spirit and are a spirit, and will always be a spirit, that's just so beautiful! What is it talking about here?" I was genuinely a little freaked out as I explained that it was the Prophet Alma teaching the apostate Zoramites who were denying Jesus Christ and how they built this tower... etc.. etc... I think she was a little confused at the end. But basically we explained that the Book of Mormon has good examples and bad examples and that was a bad example. I laugh about it right now but I was a little worried at the time. 
     Well it sounds like its been super cold over there in Idaho/Utah, I'll make sure to soak up the 80 degree weather and eat lots of mangoes, avocados, and tangerines for all of you. Have a good one! 
Elder Schriever

Monday, December 2, 2013

December already???

    Well I still can´t believe that it is december already, it seems like it just got to be November! The Christmas season has finally come which means that in every lesson we are singing Christmas Carols, and when we are studying we are listening to Christmas Carols. We only have twenty five days and we need to make the best use of them possible! Most people here have never heard of the Christmas carols that are in our hymnbook. A lot of times this is the first time they have heard Silent Night, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, etc.. etc... But people really seem to like them. Its kinda cool to be their first experience with good christmas music!
    Thanksgiving was actually a really good experience! I was feeling a little bummed Thanksgiving night, mainly because I was so hungry! but then we bought a huge sandwich called a mexican Torta. super good, and after that I was feeling better. We also had a half mission get together on Friday with Sonsonate, and Sonzacate zones, So I got to see Elder Stoker and all of my good buddies over there. We had Turkey and mashed potatoes and President even showed us a highlight reel of the denver broncos, Oakland Raiders game, Aparently it was an "analogy on how we should work as a team" but I think it was an excellant excuse to watch a little bit of American football. No complaints here. Then we played a family feud type game. Zone against zone. We got dead last because they people that they used for the survey are all the senior misionary couples in Belize who don´t know anything about anything. But in the end its not that big of a deal. It was a way fun day for sure! 
     As far as missionary work goes this week was pretty good. We were able to teach lots of lessons, and the M. family came to church, as well as this woman named C. She is from San Miguel and has a very thick San Migelian accent. If you watch the Mormon Message from El Salvador about the temple. She talks exactly like those kids do- dropping S´s. http://www.lds.org/pages/mormon-messages#temple-blessings-in-el-salvador Here´s the link to the video. Its awesome to watch this video now because I understand exactly what they are saying and can pick out some phrases that mostly Salvadoraneans use. I remember before the mission when I would watch this video and think that I would never be able to learn Spanish. and now I listen to it and its just normal life, day to day conversations. It's cool to see how far I've come in that respect. Anyway she is super positive and has really enjoyed coming to church so far. We need to do a lot of work with the M. family but they are awesome. Hopefully they will get baptized by the end of December. 
    I am a little nervous about this next change. I would love to stay here in Lourdes, but I don´t think I will because this change will be the end of Elder M.'s training, and right now every available missionary is training. I guess we will have to see what happens but I´m not sure how long Ill get to stay here. Which is really unfortunate. Fingers crossed that I don´t leave. 
    Today for our zone activity we are going to San Salvador and going bowling. Now normally I am not a huge fan of bowling but I am actually really excited! It should be way fun! It also means that we won´t get to go to the ancient ruins that are close by but I am doing that for sure next week! I love to hear that you all are doing well and enjoying your thanksgiving break. I hope to have some pictures to send next week. Now that I have figured out sending them by word it will be lots easier to do! Well I love you all and miss you tons. Best of luck to all of you! 

Elder Schriever

Monday, November 25, 2013

Feliz dia de acción de gracias y un mes hasta la navidad‏

 In Dad´s subject on his email tried puting spanish versions of thanksgiving into the subject so I figured I would set the record strait, instead of Thanksgiviidad (I laughed a little that one was pretty good) its dia de accion de gracias, kinda long and boring, but thats the way it is. Today also marks one month until christmas which means that I am going to start playing christmas carols 24/7, I started a couple days ago but I have really been enjoying it. My companion has Susan Boyle´s christmas album so we have been enjoying that a lot. I love the christmas music I have, I need to enjoy it for the month while I can! this week we got to try sauteed cow udders! it was pretty good but not quite as good as the tongue! 
    Okay as far as investigators goes for the week we had a good turnout at church. A total of four came. One woman, C. is the neighbor of Hermano T. that he gave us the reference for, she is super positive and loved church. Now we just need to get in contact with her husband as well. Fingers crossed that everything goes well with him. I can´t tell you how many times I have had a positive investigadora that is kept from coming to church by the drunk/unreasonable husband. We are also teaching Hermano T.´son, who couldn´t come to church because of school but is progressing super well. When we went to visit him on wednesday he had read up to 1 Nephi 11! And he is still reading  ton! Pretty soon the semester ends and he should be able to make it to church! Hermano T. is going to talk to the bishop on tuesday and hopefully he will get a plan for getting all of his rights back. We are way excited for him because he is already helping us out with missionary work and I think if he had a calling he would really help the misionaries out. He had years of being ward mission leader back in the day. He is super pilas (literally bateries, but we use it to mean a hard worker) 
    Then there were three people from the M. family. They are super interesting. Half are members but went inactive for a like ten years and they have some fighting problems but they all went to church and we are going to start really working with the three that aren´t baptized to see if we can help them out. and we want to make sure that the whole family stays active. Lots of missionaries have tried in the past but we finally got them all back to church on sunday. 
    I think I may have mentioned it before but my companion is a huge biker, and it has kinda gotten me thinking when I get back I will want to build up a road bike, and mountain bike to start riding again. He worked at a bike shop for like 8 years so maybe when he gets back he could help me out. I think it would save me a lot of gas money when I am back at college. 
     This week we have gotten a ton of references from people the members have really been helping us out. Between leaving with us, and giving us references it has been super awesome. it just makes our life so much easier when they help us. 
     This week we might be going to go help a family build a bamboo champita. Should be really fun, and it might finally be time to invest in a machete:) We'll see if I actually end up buying one. They are like 5 bucks so it'll be a worthy investment. I think this week we have a mission Thanksgiving get together. They are doing two so I think I will get to see all of my old buddies from back in Sonzacate. I think that should be on thursday. 
    Well thats most of whats going on around here. sounds like you all are doing well and having lots of fun. Take care and love you all!

Elder Schriever








Monday, November 18, 2013

Lourdes Week 2

   Well everyone its been another crazy week. 
We had a few setbacks but also a few successes. and we have definitely seen the hand of the lord in his work. first of the setbacks. F. C., the guy that was going to get baptized on the 23rd isn´t going to be able to. He works at the Gatorade factory for all of central America and they decided to lay off half of the workers and work the other half twice as hard. He was lucky enough to keep his job, but he finally got his work schedule, and aside from working ridiculous hours, he has to work on Sunday and won´t be able to go to church until February. So that's a no go. We had two people in church though yesterday so that was exciting. It was Hna. M. and her son B., and these two adorable little twins who are two, so they don´t count as investigators yet. They are little devils but they are just so cute no one cares. They go around shouting swear words and it makes the mom really embarrassed, it really just makes me laugh, which is probably not the best response.  
     Now onto the really cool part. We had been getting a little skunked on day, by which I mean that all of the appointments had been falling and I was starting to get a little frustrated. We had just stopped at F.´s house but he was off working, as we were wondering what to do and walking back after less than half a block I felt like I should go and talk to this guy and dog on the street. His dog was running around like crazy and came up and barked a bunch at us. I started talking to him, and after a few minutes realized that he knew more about the church than your average person on the street. It turns out he served a mission in Guatemala, over twenty years ago, and had been active in the church for a long time. But about 15 years ago left and erased his name. But he wanted to start reading the book of Mormon again and we told him when we go to the temple this week we will pick him up some scriptures and a Liahona. A few days later we brought Hermano V. to come visit him, Hermano T. (the guy) said that he had seen him walking around with the missionaries and that he looked familiar. It was perfect, they had been in the same ward a few decades ago over in Santa Tecla and had both gone inactive, almost two years ago Hermano V. came back and challenged Hermano T. to do the same. He told us that he would start coming to Elder´s quorum activities and maybe in a little bit sacrament meeting. We are going to keep working with him. He said that he had seen may pairs of missionaries go by but had never talked to them, and they never talked to him. But because of some difficult personal situations I think that the lord has prepared him to come back to the gospel. It was an awesome experience and shows me that the lord never forgets about his children. 
      We left with some of the ward members yesterday to go visit some people that live out in the jungle. When I asked them who was the missionary that baptised them it was my old Zone leader who is about to go home, Elder G. I asked him to write a letter to each of them and encourage the to get back to church again. They live about 8km away from the chapel though, it was quite the hike to get out there. But if they are willing to come back they will be so blessed
    So this week we discovered this torta place that sells these tortas for 2.50 that are the size of a plate. Needless to say it will become a popular spot. Unfortunately it wreaks havoc on my stomach but I guess that's part of the sacrifice ;) i wanted to teach you guys some El Salvadorean slang that I have been learning. Every time I go over to our Cocinera I ask them about slang here are a few highlights-
Cholero- mule (sort of like a worker/slave) the husband of our cocinera always says to his son. Vos sós mi cholero( you are my slave), and it drives him crazy, super funny
Champimpiado- adjective to describe someone with a bad haircut. 
cholco- adjective for a person without teeth
Chachalaka- really talkative and annoying woman 
Well that's all the slang for now I'll try and learn some more good ones next week. Have a great week and enjoy the cool November weather! Love you all and can´t wait to hear from you. 
Elder Schriever


coolest old man ever, just didn't know where the camera was




Killer Bees, Cow Tongue and Outhouses... oh my!

Well as the subject of this email implies, this week was quite the adventure. but first i´m gonna talk a little bit about how the work is going here in Lourdes. As far as investigators goes this week was a little rough, everyone decided that they weren't going to church. we heard all kinds of excuses, some good some not so good, but in the end nobody came. frustrating. But the good news is that we had three members that came to church that hadn´t been for 4, 15, and 12 years. the first one was this guy named R., he was baptized four years ago but has never come back since. we visited him with the ward mission leader and he decided to come to sacrament meeting. I don´t really know him super well yet, he lives out in the boonies, and can only meet with us on Saturday. But is was good that he came back, we will keep working with him as much as we can. The second person to come back to church was Hermana V. she is the wife of this guy that we always leave with to go visit but because of some personal problems she hasn´t come back to church when he did almost two years ago. But this week she finally came, it was only for sacrament meeting but it was a good start. She really liked it and she said it felt super familiar and friendly. she has been to around three churches while she was inactive, but said that it has never felt the same. Hermano V. was super happy to have her in church. Also Hermano T. came, the guy that I told you guys about last week. He came and stayed for the whole three hours. It was a huge first step, and we started teaching his son who isn´t a member. He can actually speak English really well so sometimes we explain things to him in English. He felt good in church and connected with some of the members that he knew twenty years ago. I think it was a little awkward for him, and it took a lot of humility but he took the big first step. 
Okay onto the killer bees, cow tongue and outhouse pit...
    Our area is basically divided into two parts, Campos Verdes, and Lourdes. In between these two places is the pan-american highway and a bridge that you have to cross to get to Campos V. the bridge is about sixty feet tall over a small river. it is also infested with a huge killer bee nest. they haven´t been able to exterminate it because the bridge is so tall, but people have told me it is several feet in diameter. anyway so on both sides of this bridge there is just this little swarm of killer bees. Last Monday we were coming back from playing soccer, wearing shorts and jerseys. unaware that there were killer bees near we just casually walked through as we were about twenty five feet past the bridge I felt this sting in my calf, and I look down to see this bee stinging me. I swat it off not thinking anything of it. but it doesn´t stop hurting. my whole calf swells up and I have a three inch bruise, red spot from the sting.Yesterday is when My leg finally got back to normal, they also stung my companion in the Achilles tendon. Through his sock! it has basically started an all out war with the killer bees. there was a big group around this piece of fruit that someone had dropped, and I stomped on it, probably killing like 10 of them but then I had to run like crazy because they pursued me for about 100 yards. I think its time for a little more serious bee killing equipment. I took a picture of the bee sting but it doesn´t quite capture it. I will send it soon. 
     We talked to our cocinera about strange food, and she is all over making it for us. This week was cow tongue, when i first saw the raw tongue I had my doubts, especially with the taste buds on that thing, but after trying it I was sold. one of the best weird foods I have ever tried. super tender and great flavor. the only complaint would be the amount of grease on the thing but that is easily pulled off. With some fresh avocados, tortillas and tomatoes it was a delicious lunch and something I would eat again for sure. My companion tells me that Los Betos carries a tongue taco. it anyone has interest I highly recommend it! I took a couple pictures of the raw tongue and the plate and I will send it after I finish the email. 
     Two of the mornings this week we got to go help this poor investiagor family dig an outhouse pit. they are neighbors of the ward mission leader and hopefully we will start teaching them today. ground is great for digging. no rocks and mostly clay that can be easily broken up with a dig bar. A far cry from summer days spent struggling through a rock quarry trying to dig a sprinkler head. we got the hole about three meters deep at the end. we had to bucket the dirt out. it was actually super fun. I miss some good ole manual labor sometimes. getting out was a little tricky but with a rope and some foot holds it is possible. it really isn´t that wide so we could scramble out. It felt good to help them. I think they are going through a rough time right now. 
     Anyway that's most of what happened this week. Lots of stuff going on and we are staying busy. But I guess that's how it should be. Getting ready for mango and avocado season again its so close! but that also means its going to start getting hot. I guess you can´t have everything. Well Love you all and can´t wait to hear from you. talk to you next week!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lourdes 1

Well family,
Like the email says I just got transferred to Lourdes, its really not that far from my old area to be honest. But a different zone, a brand new zone at that Zona Arce, just got created this change. The funny part is that there is an area in my district that borders an area in my old district. so geographically wise its very close. However Lourdes is a much wealthier place, its a little town right on the Pan-American highway. There are all kinds of pupusarias, panaderias, and all kinds of other -ias. There is a mall in our zone that we are allowed to eat lunch in as well. Pizza hut, KFC, and Burger King! 
     The ward here is super strong, an average attendance of about 150 people, almost double the 80 of izalco. There are alot of members who are really willing to work. There is this one member named V. who has left almost every night with us. He is an awesome guy, and speaks English really well. our bishop is a really loving man and seems like a really good bishop. which is always really nice. Our area, once again is huge so it looks like it'll be lots of walking, but I've gotten used to that. I figure right now we walk around 8 miles a day, its definitely taking a toll on the shoes. One of the young men here is about to leave on his mission to Nica, Managua Norte. So maybe he will get to meet Jake! it would be pretty sweet. He is a really good guy, he was serving as a mini-missionary in my old district. The other elders already have a guy with a baptismal date for the 23rd of November, its good Karma I guess for leaving a date in my old area. His name is Fransisco, and he is super hard to get a hold of because he works 24/7 at the Gatorade factory here in Lourdes, but we´ll get a hold of him when we can and make sure he gets baptized. when we taught him the word of wisdom he accepted it without question. 
     Elder S. seems to be doing pretty well too, I called him yesterday and R. C. got baptized and confirmed, sad I wasn´t there to see it but the important thing is that it happened. Right before changes President talked to the zone leaders in Sonzacate and I quote "you guys are going to hate me, but it´s the lords work" hahaha the changes over there were ridiculous, a bunch of their District Leaders are medio chambónes so it should be interesting. 
     It turns out I´m really not training, just finishing up the second half of training. My companion´s name is Elder M. a Bountiful Utah native who loves basketball and biking. He is 6 foot four so he kinda dwarfs me, but I dwarf everyone here so its turns out okay. He is a super nice guy and we are going to do work here. It seems weird to me that its already close to Christmas time, if it weren't for the decorations that people are putting up I wouldn´t believe them. people are putting up Christmas lights and trees, its like 70, 80 degrees though so it just doesn´t fit for me. Its weird to think that after this change I will hit the year mark. It really doesn´t feel like its been that long, but that's what the Calender says, and I believe it. The time really has gone by faster than I could every have imagined. I am having more fun than I thought I ever would on the mission as well. 
    As far as the district goes its almost all gringos, which always makes things interesting. one of the zone leaders told me that right now in the mission if you aren´t a zone leader you are A training, or B being trained. its makes sense because everyone in my district is in training, the same with almost every other district and zone I have talked to. Its astounding the number of missionaries that are coming in. about 30 each change, the mission is growing so fast we will soon pass 250 missionaries I am guessing. The lord is for sure hastening the work. 
     We had the mission temple trip for investigators this past Saturday, it turned out really well, but it was super stressful getting everything running smooth. We get to go into the temple on November 12-15 as a mission, I am super excited, I can´t wait to go into the temple. President Hintze is also planning a thanksgiving meal for all of the missionaries on the 28th or the 29th, He really is awesome. After the temple trip we did he was walking around giving everyone fist bumps, it was the weirdest thing, giving my Mission president a fist bump, but it was pretty cool as well. I am so glad I got put in his mission, he is awesome. 
      My goal for today is to figure out a way to install a pull up bar in the house. I will send a picture when I get it set up, it will be super ghetto but will have to work. Push ups and sit ups only go so far. I will also need to exercise more, there are all kinda of bakeries and really good places to eat here, everywhere. It will be a good place to practice self control. 
      Unfortunately I didn´t get a chance to finish the woodcarving, hopefully I will get to work on it in the future. A member family gave me this huge woodcarving of this Indian though, It didn´t even fit in my suitcases, I am not quite sure how I am going to get it home yet. Right now i put it in storage (assistants house) so that I don´t have to lug it around, but its a pretty sweet carving. Maybe I will try to start some other projects here, since I will probably be here for another 3-4 months. anyway hope you all are doing well and starting to get geared up for the Christmas season. Love you all and wish you the best. 
Elder Schriever

Monday, October 21, 2013

Last Week in Izalco?


     First off thank you so much for the package! We have been loving the Vocal Point CD, especially ^Reedemer of my soul¨but really the whole album is amazing, the flash drive is being put to good use and Rodrigo loves the $2 bill. It made my week getting that package. The fruit by the foot and gushers were also equally awesome. it was a huge throwback to my childhood.
     Well everyone it looks like this week might be my last here in good ole Izalco. President basically told me I have changes but more on that later. The good news is that the baptism/wedding went smoothly. It took most of the day because we had to set up most of the stuff, make decorations, go run to get the cake. But in the end it turned out well. President and Hermana Hintze even came by to see it. They really like to visit baptisms I guess. J and L looked super happy, and H seemed way excited for her baptism next week! It´s been super nice to see some fruits of the labor sometimes it felt like I was just working and working and nothing was really happening. I am super grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to teach them and help them along in their eternal progression. 
      I got a chance to talk to President a little bit and his exact words were "I'm not gonna say anything but take lots of pictures." It's gonna be really hard to say goodbye to everyone, eight months has really given me time to get to know almost everyone here in Izalco. the first move I imagine is always the hardest, but I am sure I won´t understand what its like until after I try it. I am especially going to miss my companion, Elder S. an awesome guy and an awesome missionary. It's been super fun to be with him.
     I am writing so late today because we had another zone activity, we took a bus to this really far out town and took a four hour hike back into these waterfall. It was so beautiful. It was really a childhood dream to hike through and tropical jungle and see a 60 foot waterfall. Easily the coolest p-day activity we have done. The waterfalls were super high and mist was spraying everywhere. It almost reminded me a little bit of hiking in Oregon, but a lot more hot, humid and with tropical plants and spiders everywhere. One of our zone leaders swing on some vines hanging off a ledge tarzan style, it was pretty cool but a little sketchy, not too sketchy though.
     We have been staying super busy for the most part with investigators and visiting members. It's really just non stop. But it really is one of the most rewarding experiences I have every lived. The mission really is a refiner's fire that purges all of the junk out of you. I have learned so much and hope to learn much more in the future. I can´t wait to see what the next chapter in the mission will bring. Hopefully good things.
Love you all and hope you have a great week take care!

Elder Schriever












Monday, October 14, 2013

Izalco Week 30 something

Well everyone we just finished another crazy week, 
      It has been a super stressful week. J. and L. have their baptismal date set for this Saturday (the 19th), but out of the blue J. decided to change his last name, a lengthy process that takes about two months, and would mean that he wouldn´t be able to get married and therefore baptized for another two months, so until December. His fiancee is pregnant and due in November which would complicate things even more. I fasted harder than I ever have before, my companion as well. When we went there yesterday to talk to them about it L told us that they decided to put God first and worry about something small like that later. It was an answer to our prayers and I think of it as a miracle
      So this week we have to hurry and plan the wedding and make all of the arrangements for the baptism. But that's a good problem to have as a missionary. They are going to be a huge help to this ward as well. They have already given us a reference to another really positive family and yesterday J. asked us where he could buy the missionary pamphlets so he could share them with all of his friends, we told him we would have a stack of 25 for him today! He is going to be a great member-missionary and will help the elders here a lot I am guessing. He has already left with us to visit people and was sharing his testimony and everything. They are going to be great! I will be sure to send lots of pictures of the wedding baptism. 
     The week after that this guy named R. C. should be getting baptized, he is a 24 year old and we met him through a member over in Sonzacate, He says he will get baptized on the 26th and is reading the Book of Mormon and going to church. Hopefully everything goes smoothly with that. Right now I am doing my best to look for new investigators, with almost nine months here in Izalco I have a feeling that this change will be my last here. I don´t want to leave the next missionaries with no one to teach and basically having to start from scratch. Right now they would be left with a bunch of people with some church attendances but super positive people not really. so this week the focus will be get the people baptized that we have committed to baptism and find some new positive people so that Elder S. and his new companion will be able to continue right from where we left off. 
     We are writing super early today because we reserved a soccer field here in Izalco and we are going to go play soccer as a zone. Most likely it will be Latinos vs. Gringos again, in which case we may or may not lose. We won last time, but our gringo zone leader last change played soccer and was a beast so we´ll see how it goes this time around. Elder S. played soccer in high school as well so he will be key, really the only thing I have on the Latinos here is my size, they are all short and thin so I have to use my size to my advantage. Either way should be a great way to get some exercise and also to relax a little bit. Sometimes push ups and sit ups just don´t cut it. Right now we have a bunch of cool guys in the zone so we need to take advantage of our time together, its almost over. 
    We´ve been having some problems with the missionaries in one of the areas of my district. President is going to come and do interviews for all of them today. It's been pretty frustrating and has made me pretty mad. There is nothing that sets me off more than a disobedient missionary. I would say I am very patient with almost anything else, but once someone messes around with the churches reputation, and the Lord's work I take things very seriously. Hopefully it will all get smoothed out today with President. Anyway that's mostly how things are going on my end of things. Working hard and enjoying every minute of it. I didn´t get to hear from a lot of you but I guess that's what I get for writing a little earlier in the day, hope everything goes well and love you all! 

Elder Schriever

Monday, October 7, 2013

Conference Weekend


 Hey everyone!
       I hope you all got my letter last week, I got an email back saying that it didn´t send to some people. Hopefully it got through to at least some of you guys. I loved general conference, fortunately we got to watch it in English. we all crammed into the family history room and watched it over the Internet on some of the computers. it was a little slow so I missed some cool facts right at the beginning of the Saturday morning session, like the new temples. But did get to hear that as a church there are now 15 million members. pretty cool stuff. right now i´m downloading the audio of conference so that I can listen to it when I have soom spare minutes.  Some of my favorite moments/ talks were 1 Elder Dube´s shouting you never look back! and just the whole talk, a wonderful and powerful message to never dwell on past failures or successes but to press forward and serve the lord with all your heart might mind and strength. It was very applicable to missionary life. 2. elder Hales (if I remember right maybe elder oaks) talk about how gods law is different from civil law, and how even if something is legally allowable it can still be a sin. 3. Elder uchtdorf´s talk about "come, join with us" I always enjoy his talks he is one of my favorite speakers 4. elder Eyering´s talk from the Saturday afternoon session (someone told me they enjoyed that one as well) a wonderful talk about how we can help bring others to Christ through our prayers, faith and example.
       This week was awesome for the work here in Izalco, J. and L.C. both accepted a baptismal and wedding date!!!!! and went to almost all of conference, we are going to go talk to them again tonight but it sounded like they really enjoyed conference. another small miracle was the familia C. 
he has been a member for twenty something years, but inactive for the past fifteen, she was never baptised after an elder told her in the baptismal interview that she had to read the whole book of Mormon before getting baptized. when we first started visiting them she would go run and hide in the far corner of the house, but she has really opened up, and finally after months of prodding they finally went to church. she seemed to have enjoyed it. we will try and keep working with them both.
     something weird that happened just this morning was running into a church group from Florida in the supermarket. they are down here on a service trip to a sister church in this little canton. they just got here this morning. we were walking by and this white guy said "hey guys" we both just kept walking because lots of people here know a little bit of English, especially the drunks. but then we saw a whole group of gringos with their phones and everything walking around. we talked to them for a little bit, they were super nice and really good people. It was weird getting to talk to people from the states again. and cool to see people that care. They were super surprised when we told them that we were down here for two years, I think they were alittle taken aback. but it was still pretty cool to talk to them.
    today as a zone we are getting together and playing dodge ball and ordering pizza hut. I am pretty excited, it should be way fun. Elder S. has been coming along really well with his Spanish and teaching abilities. he is now participating just as much as I am and it is a huge relief for me. Its hard training a gringo and for about 6-7 weeks doing the majority of the teaching. but he is getting to be really good. We are already making plans to room together when we both get back to BYU, he is someone I would have been friends with outside of the mission. great taste in music, loves sports. if its any indication modest mouse is one of his favorite bands. so its inevitable that we get along. it´s crazy that its already October, this change has flown by so fast and i really don´t want it to end. I have a lot of time here in Izalco but I really am comfortable where I´m at. I know the area super well, and I have an awesome companion. but that probably means that its time for me to change. I guess we´ll find out in a couple of weeks. Hope school is going well for you all and that you all have a great week! talk to you soon!
Elder Schriever

Monday, September 30, 2013

Wake Me Up When September Ends

Well everyone it's been a great week, 
     First of I just want to say I am way excited for General Conference. We have been working like crazy to make sure that a lot of people come, it really is a great opportunity to listen to the prophets and apostles and recieve guidance in our lives. One thing we have been pushing as a mission is going to conference with a list of five written questions, I invite all of you to do the same, we read in Mosiah 2 that when King Benjamin called all of his people together he didn´t do it so that they would treat lightly his words, he did it so that they would open their hearts, ears, and apply the message into their lives. So make your list and pay close attention to get the answer in one of the talks. 
     This Sunday was awesome! We had five people in church and despite a few boring/poorly written talks they really liked it! J. and L. are pretty determined to get baptized now, they had some doubts about getting baptized two times but now they seem to be okay with it. We are hoping to set up the wedding for sometime after the 9th of october. Pretty exciting stuff. We also had this guy named R. C. and D. It is nice actually having people that want to learn and are willing to apply the teaching into their lives. For the past several months I have been trying to get people to just do the most basic commitments and they wouldn´t follow through. It makes the mission work a lot more enjoyable. One of the zone leaders, Elder G. came and did interchanges on saturday and sunday morning. It was a pretty cool way to do interchanges I am hoping to start doing that with some of the other areas in the district. With General Conference this week we are going to just be inviting people like crazy all week, but I guess thats just part of the fun. The ward is providing a pickup ride to Sonzacate to watch the conference, I will make sure to take a picture of the way overloaded sketchy El Salvador pickup ride for all of you. 
     This week Elder S. and I had a pupusa eating contest, (terrible idea) unfortunately he won, I kinda backed down at the end because after ten they just started to taste really bad and I didn´t want to repeat the Big Jud´s experience.  He got twelve in  :( we will have to try it again sometime. One of the problems was that when we told the lady we wanted 30 pupusas she told us she was almost out of frijol, we didn´t think much about it but when you are eating ten of them the cheese and corn just turns into a huge gut bomb. But we will have to try it again some other time. Our goal was to finish all 30, but it didn´t happen. next time when they actually have a few more beans, it will hopefully go down easier. 
   Today I am hoping to make some dumbells out of steel pipe, milk jugs, and concrete, should be pretty ghetto but they will work. If not it will be more pushups and situps in the morning. Sometimes the floor gets wet from all of the rain and pushups and situps get a little tricky. On saturday morning it rained like crazy. There were a bunch of streets that looked more like rivers than streets. My boots kept my socks dry for the most part, until the it got really deep and then it didn´t do much good. I need to send an update on my shoes, one pair is getting wrecked, I am probably going to get the soles replaced soon. Here in El Salvador they don´t throw away anything. They repair and make it work until there is literally nothing left, be it shoes, TV´s, microwaves, even cars. So I shouldn´t have any problem making these shoes last me the whole two years. It doesn´t help either that a lot of the streets in Izalco are really rough and tear up shoes. After nine months my shoes look like they have been through the mill. Well anyway I hope you all have a great week and that everything goes really well for you all. Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Take care, 
Elder Schriever

Very unfortunate looking dog and puppy

Papusa: 1 Elder: 0

San Salvador Temple

Monday, September 23, 2013

Izalco!


Hey!
       Not much news as far as changes go. The whole district didn´t have changes. I am gonna get another change here in good old Izalco. I was talking to one of the new missionaries that came this week about how long missionaries normally stay in their areas. He said that President told him normally 5-7 months but there is one missionary that will have nine months after this next change, and that he was probably going to get moved after that change. I think he was talking about me. It's crazy to think that I will have had nine months here, it really has flown by faster than I could have ever Imagined.
    This week went really well. Elder S. and I were commenting on how we felt like we worked pretty hard this week. At the end of the day my head would hit the pillow and I would be out. I have never slept so deeply in my whole life, barely any dreams and it feels like the minute I close my eyes I am opening them again. Even if there are rainstorms during the night I didn´t wake up. Yesterday morning we woke up and left the house at about 7:15, we spent a little under two hours running around inviting everyone to church. All of our investigators weren´t home or said they were sick, one was in the hospital so I guess it's an okay excuse. We passed by J. C.´s house and he wasn´t there, and so we were a little frustrated. There were also a bunch of less active members that had promised to go to church and never showed up as well. We made our way slowly to the chapel and went up to bless the sacrament. The whole time I was feeling rejected and a little disappointed. But after they passed the sacrament J. walked in, and he brought his girlfriend as well! It litterally made my whole week. They have been coming to seminary on Tuesdays and Fridays and then they finally came on Sunday as well. It was an awesome moment. We are going to teach both of them about the Law of Chastity on Tuesday and hopefully start to get their marriage planned. Should be way exciting. We have a few other people we are working with but J. is by far the most positive and progressing the fastest.
    Other than that not much happened this week. We didn´t run into any crazy drunk people, see any dogs fighting,which was maybe the strangest thing of all. We had to go to San Salvador for Elder S.´s immigration stuff and we had to go to the main mall to get some pictures taken. I felt so out of place. It was so clean and so nice. There were stores like North Face, Nike, Starbucks, just like a normal mall in the states. But after being on the dirt and rock roads and in the jungle it felt really weird. We both felt really baggy after going through it wasn´t very good. We also have to go back to San Salv again today to finish the papers, it's gonna take a bunch of our p-day but its gonna be nice to get to sit on the bus and read.
   Elder S. and I ordered some scripture covers a few weeks ago and we are hoping they will come in the next couple weeks. Normally the people here carve the leather with chisels. These ones are burnt. They are more expensive but look exactly like the pictures. We saw a few examples and they were amazing. Hopefully before conference they will get here. I will be sure to send photos when they come. The guy lives in some place called Soyapango, I think it's in the other mission, but he is going to make bank.
   I just went to megabotique, and I bought a bag of ties for 50 cents. There were a few gems, a donald trump tie, a wembly, and some Jos A. Bank ties as well. But by far the best of them all was the peruvian style llama tie. Pictures sure to follow next week. I also bought this really cool woven blanket from Guatemala. I forgot to take a picture of it but it is also really cool. Very colorful and has pandas on it! 
   Well sorry it's a shorter letter this week but there really wasn´t a whole lot that went on. I'll try to have a more exciting email next week. See y´all later. (Texan accent)
Elder Schriever



lemon from the Garrizano family!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Changes???


Well fam sounds like you all had a good week.
    The big news with changes is........I don´t know yet. They normally tell us Sunday night but the assistants were in Belize so hopefully we will find out tonight. I am predicting staying for another change at least. The chambres that have been going around (rumors) is that they are going to split the zone into zona Sonzacate and zona Izalco. That would be craziness but at the same time kinda cool. I guess we´ll (when I say we´ll I mean I´ll) find out in a couple days. The big news in the area is that we almost have a baptismal date, set for the 19th of October,  J. C. He agreed to the date but he will need to get married so we are a little hesitant to get to hopeful. We are going to talk to him about it later today. So if you guys could keep him in your thoughts and prayers that would be great. Elder S. did the baptismal invitation and did great, super direct and it was the perfect moment. We had gone into the lesson planning on teaching the plan of salvation. But he asked us a question about when Christ came to the Americas. So we read 3 nephi 11 with him. It's when Christ first comes down, and gives the priesthood to Nephi, and gives the commandment to be baptized. The spirit was to thick you could have cut it from a knife. We hadn´t really planned it but Elder S. just invited him and he said yes. After months of trying and trying and having no one say yes it was a huge moment for both of us. I was super happy, Elder S. as well. I am actually hoping that I stay here another change, I have really gotten close to the investigators and members here and it would be hard to say goodbye. I know this place so well, and at times I feel like I have talked with everyone. But I have only seen a small percentage of all the people here. So we will keep looking, teaching, and hopefully baptizing.
     Yesterday was the independence day for El Salvador, along with most other Latin counties. We only had sacrament meeting and only 52 people showed up (about half as many as usual) It was kinda frustrating, but that's how it goes. Literally no one was at their house because they all left to go watch the parades that they do, it was a little rough but we managed to find a few investiagors to teach inside their houses. We wanted to stay as far away from the parades as possible. In sacrament meeting we sang the national anthem of El Salv. It was pretty sweet but I really just wanted to sing the star spangled banner, oh well.
     This week we had a ward activity. It was a lunch of sopa de pata (cow foot soup) but they also threw in a couple more exciting parts as well. Mainly tripe (not actually bad) and the actually cow foot. Along with cow nerve (great taste weird texture) I got a bunch of pictures so I´m sure you guys will all enjoy my Eli-style food photography. The food that we have been making at home has gotten interesting as well. We have started making our own hamburgers once we realized that we can make them for about a dollar apiece. When the bread ran out to make our famous bean and egg sandwiches, we turned to pancakes. So that became a refried bean, egg, pancake taco. Surprisingly good. Try it sometime. Elder S. is a really good cook, and likes to cook so we don´t eat out anymore and we save alot of money that way. I have always been a fan of making my own food, cleaner and cheaper, but most of the Latins don´t like cooking themselves so they prefer to eat out. It's all good. 
    This week Elder S. broke our faucet (well it was already broken but he finished the job) so the pipe was just spewing water so we had to shut off the valve into our house until we could fix it. It turns out the pipe had broken just outside of a joint, and that it was threaded. we chipped away a tile and found out that the pipe went strait back into the cinder block wall. so there was no way to cut it and throw on an elbow like we hoped. So in true BriCon fashon I cut out the broken pipe from the fitting, filed down the threads and applied excessive amounts of PVC cement to seal the new joint. If I remember right it's a trick i learned from Mark, make sure to tell him thanks for me that.  It turned out okay, and then I threw some cement around the whole thing to finish it off. It felt great to have a little project and apply my construction skills. I took some pictures of before and after. The best part was when I could actually take a real shower this morning. It felt wonderful after taking a bowl shower for two days.
    Make sure to tell everyone hi for me. I love you all and hope you have a great week. I'll let you know how changes go as soon as I find out.

Elder Schriever



We were contacting this guy and he had a gazelle horn or something, made into a horn we had to take a picture with it. my goal was angel moroni but ill let you guys be the judge of how it turned out.


cow foot soup
cow nerves

Monday, September 9, 2013

Last Week Before Changes


Well fam another week has come and gone,
   It was good to hear from all of you and to find out that you are doing well. Starting to get into the reality of the school year but doing well. As for here things are going as usual. Running around trying to find new people to teach and trying not to yell at people when they don´t want to keep commitments. The usual. It's super strange to me that this change is almost over. It has passed by super fast. This past week I was on interchanges with this area called San Julian, and president had left his suit coat at an activity there. He swung by at like 9 o'clock and knocked on the door. We were super sketched out until we opened the door. Needless to say it was a huge surprise. We also had interviews with president on Friday. It is always a great chance to get to talk to him. He is a super nice guy, very patient but at the same time a little quirky. He always makes all kinds of sports analogies. I never thought my mission president would say ¨what's up¨to me but he does.
   Today we was the zone activity. We were going to go paintballing in Izalco (I couldn´t believe it existed here either) but unfortunately it was closed, because the local government was charging them too much to run it. Bummer but the crazy thing is that President Hintze gave us permission. Needless to say he is basically the best mission president ever. So instead we played soccer as a zone. Gringoes vs. Latinoes. Surprisingly we killed them in the end. It was 9-5 and I scored a goal and had two assists. It was way fun but I didn´t realize how out of shape I am. I haven´t run like that in forever. During lacrosse season I could just run and run and barely get tired but here after half an hour I was tired. We actually have been running in the mornings but it's not quite the same. I guess there will be time for stuff like that after the mission.
    Today we are hoping to buy these things called truncos. They are these wooden tops with a metal point. But the really cool part is how you spin them. You wind them up with string and throw them overhand if you can get them going they spin like crazy. They will spin for minutes even on a dirt road, you can pick them up with your hand and pass them from hand to hand. They are super cool and cost about $.50 or $.75. I'll be sure to let you guys know how it goes. We are also trying to look for a new house. The one we are at is pretty small, and when it rains water leaks from the roof and makes a huge puddle in our bedroom. It's kind of a pain. We found one that we are going to go look at today, supposedly it has like 6 rooms and was recently refurbished and the location is sweet. Hopefully it goes okay. Hopefully we will make the move this week.
    This past week there were a few earthquakes, they were small ones but it was still kinda cool to feel the earth shake. Apparently it was like a 6.7 from Guatemala. Who knows. Elder S. didn´t notice either of them it was pretty funny. We were contacting and everyone ran out of their house screaming, you could see the telephone poles swaying too. But nothing was damaged. So that was good. There has been a weird absence of rain this week, supposedly September is the rainiest month of the year but I haven´t seen it. It has barely rained at all. But actually as I´m saying this the thunder and rain are closing in here in Sonsonate. I will most likely get a little wet.
    This week we went kinda far away to look for a street contact that we had made a few days before. We mixed up two roads and ended up knocking on another person's door. It turns out it was a member who left the church almost 15 years ago. It was a small miracle to me that we found her because it's a place I don´t usually go. We talked to her and we are going to try and bring her back to activity. Just a small story that the Lord never forgets about his people and will guide missionaries to them in one way or another. I really want you guys to invite the elders over for dinner this week. I´m sure they would appreciate the food and a chance to talk to you guys again. I was on lds.org looking at our ward page and I can see who they are, I felt a little like dad stalking on me in college. I could also see some of the missionaries that we have out as a ward right now. We gotta get some more out there! Anyway hope you all are doing well! And that this coming week is going great for all of you. Love you all!
Elder Schriever





22 missionaries in a 15 passenger van