Monday, March 25, 2013

Izalco Week 5

Hey Family!
     Well I'll keep you from waiting and tell you right now that the contacts came. Thank you so much! And in response to your question mom the next transfer is on April 17th. I came two weeks before the end of the previous transfer so for me this will be an eight week transfer. We had another crazy week. R A got baptized on Sunday and I got to perform the baptism which was way exciting. This email should have two of the pictures that we took before the baptism. We have two investigators with baptismal dates right now. One for the 31st and another on april 7th. A M is going to get baptized on the 31st, he is 82 years old and has been to a ton of churches. But he told us that when we met with him and when he went to church he felt ¨good¨ pointed to his heart. It was a testimony builder to me that the church is true and that the lord prepares investigators. He quit smoking and drinking 40 years ago when his wife died and now he lives in his house and is a carpenter. He is reading the Book of Mormon like crazy! In the past week he has read over 120 pages of the Book of Mormon. He is golden. The only problem is that he loves to talk! I call him the ¨Cavallo Loco¨because there is no way to keep him from going on some crazy long tangent. Our lessons with him average about 1.5 hours with the longest being 2 hours. We tried inviting him to a member´s house to try and shorten the lesson but we found out that the only thing more talkative than one Salvadorean is two! But he is awesome, hopefully I can send a picture next week. The other is Hemano U A. He is golden too, he turns 60 on Saturday and likes to talk as well. But he has a real love for the gospel and is amazing. Our lessons with him go way long as well but that's alright, I am trying not to get too caught up with numbers and worry more about teaching people. On Saturday (the 30th) we have a temple tour trip that we are really trying to get everyone to go too. I should be awesome I will be sure to take lots of pictures to send to you guys. 
     Dad we didn´t make it out to Tapalchucut this week. Almost all or our investigators out there aren´t keeping commitments or are never there. But hopefully we will head out there at least once this week and I can get you some coordinates. A member here looked at my blog and saw a photo or a street here and underneath it says a typical street in Izalco, that is about what half of izalco looks like, I have another picture I am going to send later that is what most of the center of Izalco looks like. Most of the houses here are painted really bright colors. Its different but really beautiful. 
     Thank you all for the letters that you wrote this week. I know its hard because I don´t really have time to answer  every question or to write you back personally, but thank you for writing in spite of that. I really do appreciate it, it means alot. From what It sounds like you all are doing really well, staying busy but doing well. School is almost over which is crazy to me! and things are warming up, we are getting close to the ¨winter¨ which is basically the same as summer but with rain. but I am kinda excited for it, I'm sure it will be alot more enjoyable because I have that drybag that Aunt Laura gave me make sure to give her a big thanks. We aren´t supposed to visit other websites so I haven´t seen Jake´s blog, if you could send me his emails that would be fantastic! Well best of luck to all of you love you lots! have a great week!

Elder Schriever

Monday, March 18, 2013

Izalco Week 4

What's poppin family?
     We went to a new cybercafe  today, I think its a little more expensive but there are a ton more computers and the connection is much faster and it's easier to sent pictures so I'm sure you guys will enjoy that. We get packages/letters every Wednesday because the zone leaders need to go to Santa Ana every Tuesday for a meeting with the president. 
    We had a pretty crazy week. R A (the guy that got married last week) was going to be baptized on Sunday but his mom got sick that morning and he had to take her to the hospital in Sonsanate. Kind of a bummer but next week it should happen. He was the first person I taught a lesson to in the field and he has changed a lot in the month (holy cow a month already?!) that I have been here. He has stopped smoking, cut his hair, and really has a love for the gospel. It is awesome to see a change in someone and to be a part of that change. We had originally had 10 people committed to go to church but all of them fell through except for 1 guy who we weren't even expecting to go. A lot of our really promising investigators had last minute emergencies. we will just have to work hard to overcome that. I have said it before and ill say it again, the people here are awesome so nice and so giving its really inspiring. the guy that did come is Hermano M, he is amazing, he is probably 70 years old, and he has committed to getting baptized on April 1st. He quit smoking 30 or 40 years ago when his wife died, and has been to a ton of different churches trying to find the truth. After he came to church he told us that when he meets with us and when he goes to church he felt something that he has never felt before and he wants to learn and feel that more. Miracles happen literally every day. 
    About once a week we hike out to this colón called Tapalchucut, its really far out there about a half hour walk to the northwest of our house. It is really beautiful out there. Ill try to send pictures of it sometime. There is a lot of coffee fields as well as yucca plants (kinda of a potato like plant) the other day we were hiking out to Tapalchucut and a member gave us a kakow fruit (that's how they pronounce it ) I'll send a picture, I couldn´t figure out what it was for the longest time, the part you eat, looks kinda like a maggot to be honest its these little nut things that have this white mucus like slime on them. I had to ask my companion how it was spelled to realize that it is Cocoa! Way cool. 
     Our cocinara cooked us this really weird dish this past week, its called Izote I think, its a flower that is dipped in a chili relleno like egg batter, I didn't have my camera unfortunately but it was really good, different but good! I'm sure you will be able to find a picture on google. Also chocobananoes, its a frozen banana on a stick, that is dipped in chocolate and then covered in nuts, cookie bits, or anything really. the frozen banana cools down the chocolate and the topping sticks, its amazing and they are only like $.25 so its not ridiculous.
     This part is more for Eli but I'm sure he can explain it to you. We were contacting and this lady let us into her house. we found out she was baptized like 12 years ago and hasn´t been to church in almost 11 years. we are gonna try and get her to come back. but we made the mistake of asking her what her name was. her name is Guadalupe and the minute she said that I was lost because I couldn´t get the Killers song ¡happy birthday Guadalupe! out of my head. but the lesson went well so all wasn´t lost. 
     I am gonna try and send some pictures now hopefully I can send enough for you guys, I remember I loved seeing Eli´s pictures. 

Sam and his MTC companion

MTC district

Guatemala City central plaza

cocoa fruit

stingray, rice, cucumber, potato and beet salad

typical bus in El Salvador

Monday, March 11, 2013

Izalco Week 3

Well family it's been another week, or so they tell me, it seems like only yesterday I was writing you guys an email. this past week was crazy to say the least. We had a baptism and a marriage on Saturday, and all sorts of meetings and stuff to do during the week. the baptism was really cool, I was the one that was chosen to baptize which made it was sweet. her name is C M, and she 40 ish with two kids. Unfortunately I am at a different cybercafe, and this one has USB connections instead of giving your card to the front desk, and I didn´t bring the cord, so no pictures... I'm sorry next week I promise ill make it happen. The wedding was awesome too, it was between R and P, P is a member but R isn´t and they have a two year old named M. R has really changed since I first met him. He has stopped smoking and really has a love for the gospel. It is awesome to see people change like that. He should be baptized this coming Sunday if everything goes according to plan. Mango season has officially started and I am loving it! I could literally eat them all day, here they have different varieties than in the states, and since they aren´t picked green to be shipped away they can be left on the tree longer, you can peel them with your bare hands! I need to pace myself and not eat to many, my companion ate five or six in one sitting yesterday, I only ate two because I don´t want to have an unfortunate encounter in the bathroom. I actually haven´t really gotten sick yet! one day I had a sore throat because I didn´t drink enough water but other than that i have been fine! which is lucky! 
     I'm finding out more and more that Izalco is a strange place, now that I can understand people a little better I realize how strange their questions are. Izalco is kinda famous for having "Brujas" or witches/prophetesses its a little different from what I'm used to. luckily for me elder N is a scriptural wizard and has gotten us out of a few jams They as the strangest questions and the answer is buries deep somewhere in Hechos (acts) 47. I have a lot of studying to do!
     In response to a couple of your questions. we have a lady that cooks us lunch almost every day except Monday and Sunday, and there is a lady that washed everything but garments. one day this week Hermana E (the cook) made fried stingray! it didn´t really look like anything supper different because it was fillets but it tasted amazing, I took a picture of the plate so you guys can see it. Sorry but you´re gonna have to wait a week to see it. 
    Anna- I totally understand what you mean, most of the time yes I have to translate everything from Spanish to English, and then what I want to say from English to Spanish. But more and more as I am becoming able to speak more fluently I don´t have to translate at all and I think of my response in Spanish. The other day an investigator asked me to pray in English, I had a hard time doing it because I am so used to praying in Spanish, and I even let a couple of Spanish words slip here and there. It lets me know that I am starting to learn Spanish when I can think in Spanish. The thing I really need to work on is vocabulary. Its kinda tricky here because El Salvador, and each region even has their own vocab for a lot of things. and words that are okay to say in some places are swear words in others, so its a little confusing. The dictionary I have is good for more complicated words, but for everyday speech its not what they use. So I carry around a little notebook and write down vocab words during the day and study them when I get a spare moment. It has really helped alot! 
     my goal for this week is to take some pictures of some of the buses here so you can see what they look like, we´re not supposed to carry our cameras around during proselyting hours so ill see what I can do. 
    I can´t believe that Bishop M is getting replaced! He is the bishop that I know the best and it will be sad to not come back to him as the bishop, please let him know that I'm doing great and congratulations for a wonderful five years of service. 
       FYI I haven´t gotten the contacts yet. I think packages are a little slow here. I'll find out on Wednesday if it came this week or not so I'll let you know in the upcoming email what happens. Almost all of the Gringo´s in the zone have contacts so I know that you can find solution here. So don´t worry about that. 
    So yeah all is well hope everything is going well Love you all! have a great week! 
Elder Schriever

Monday, March 4, 2013

Izalco Week 2

Whats good fam? 
       It´s crazy to me how fast this past week flew by! It seems like only yesterday I was emailing you all! everything here is good! its really hot which is probably weird to you all, I don´t have a thermometer and no way to chechk the temperature, but on a scale of 0 to really hot, its really hot. People tell me that Sonzacate is the hottest area in the El Salvador part of the mission. It is so good to hear from you all, even in the field it seems like I am in a little bit of a bubble, Mom had a list of things she wanted to hear more about so here it goes, Food. Pupusas are awesome! the only ones I have tried are bean and cheese, and chicken with cheese, but for some reason I can´t get enough of them! I try to eat them whenever I get the chance, lunch is the main meal here and we don't eat again until around 9! it amazes me that I can get through the day without starving. there is a lady that cooks lunch for us and it is always really good. Usually some form of fried rice, with meat, and a vegetable. they have this soda here called Kolochampan which I am in love with, its kinda like a banana creme soda, its amazing, not sure if they have it in the States. I also tried this fruit called Jacote and I am in love with that as well. Never heard of that one before coming here either.
       Transportation, we walk around most of the time. Izalco is really hilly and by the end of the day my calves are usually a little sore, but the Echoes are holding up really well. When we need to go to Sonzacate for Zone conferences or to write emails we take a bus, it only costs 23 cents to ride so its pretty cheap. They cram as many people they can onto the buses and then drive like maniacs, but I love it, its way fun. They are all painted bright colors kinda like in Nacho Libre, I will try to get a picture of one for next week. Sending pictures here is kinda sketchy. We write emails in a little cyber cafe and if you want to send files you give your SD card to the desk and they put it on the server. Everyone at the cyber can access your pictures and probably delete them if they wanted. I am not a huge fan of that. I don´t think that I will be able to use dropbox, its against the rules plus the connection here is to slow. 
      My companion is awesome he is a hard worker and is really patient with me, which is awesome, my spanish is getting better! Its a far cry from the first day I got here but I still have a lot to learn. but we will keep trucking along. 
      Living conditions in the appartment are pretty primitive, we have a pila that we use for washing clothes, dishes, and showers. It has made me really appreciate hot showers, and a washing machine or dishwasher. But I don´t mind it at all. Its actually kinda fun. 
     Ward- the ward here is awesome, pretty small but they are super helpful and really friendly. last week there were 100 people that attended sacrament meeting. and there are about 300 ward members.. ouch. We are gonna try our best to get that up a little bit. But honestly everything is going fine. I was glad to hear that you sent the contacts, Hermana C said that the mail here is actually really fast and secure. There are over 2 million salvadoreans living in the states so there is a lot of mail that goes between the two countries. So the contacts should be safe. Thank you so much, Ill let you know as soon as they get here. 
      As far as investigators go we have quite a few but only a few are progressing, we are gona try and get more people to attend sacrament meeting this week. A phrase in Spanish that I hate is "primero Dios!" Its what they say most of the time we invite anyone to do anything, it literally means "god first" but what it really means is "There´s no way im doing that but I don´t want to say it to your face" Its a rough translation but that's they best I could come up with, its a very meaningful phrase. We have a couple dates during the next couple weeks, and there is this one guy O V who ran into us on the street and told us that he wants to join our church, he has been trying to get with the missionaries for 6 months or something its pretty cool. we have only had one lesson with him so far but he seemed way positive! ill keep you guys updated on everything I can! In your emails let me know what you want to hear about, otherwise my emails will be just be random thoughts that pop into my head. 
       It is awesome to hear that you all are working hard on your goals, It sounds like everyone is making a lot of progress! just so everyone knows my P-day is gonna be mondays, normally ill write a little before noon I think, today I had to go to San Salvador to get my El Salvador ID, which was quite a trip, San Salvador is HUGE!! but still really green. anyway love you all very much have a fantastic week!