Monday, April 29, 2013

Izalco- Week 10

Hey Family!
   Well we had a crazy week this week. We taught something like 34 lessons to investigators and 20 of them were with a member. Which was our goal! It was awesome to set a high goal and then work hard to meet it, very rewarding! But mostly it was thanks to the hard work of the members here. 
    This week we set two dates with this 65 year old guy named A F-E, and his 83 year old mom T F-E. Way exciting. A lives in a little corrugated metal house with most of his 14 children and some grandkids. All in all, about 30 people in this small little house. It's crazy! He works in a brick factory, where he works with some of his sons and sons in law. We are hoping to help them fix their roof before the rain really starts. But he is super humble and really friendly, and so accepting of the gospel. Two of the main problems with him right now are that 1. he can´t read and 2. he needs to marry his wife. But those things shouldn´t be to hard to overcome, we just have to explain things really simply and get him married! T also can´t read and smokes. Apparently she has smoked for all of her life! So we will have to see if we can get her to quit. We should pass by later today or tomorrow to check up on her. We will see how that goes. 
     We also have two other people that went to church and are both really positive, hopefully after a few more lessons we can set a baptismal date with them also. They are people that we found contacting, and it would be way cool if they got baptized. We were on changes for a couple hours yesterday so I didn´t get to be there but apparently she was looking to get baptized in another church when we knocked on her door. She went to church and loved It! Her name is I M. Her daughter J is really positive too. 
     There are a couple other people that we are hoping to help progress too but we always need to find more. Luckily the rain is a great help for contacting. Most people are willing to at least let us under their porch to escape the rain. I am going to send a picture of me in front of a canal when it was raining and after the rain stopped. It was incredible how quickly the rain came down.  And this is only just the beginning. May and June are supposed to be super wet. But that's alright I don´t mind a little water. I have my boots and dry bag and that's all that I need. We have been trying to think of different kinds of food to make this week and this week we discovered pigs in a blanket. We buy hotdogs and panqueque (that's how its spelled in Spanish) mix, you make a big pancake and instead of flipping it put a hotdog on one side and roll it up. eat it with syrup and it's a delicious breakfast/lunch/dinner! I did get the package you guys sent and loved every bit of it!  You guys know me too well.
     It sounds like you guys are going to have a full house this weekend but it sounds like a lot of fun! Be sure to tell everyone Hi for me! I can´t believe that you waited until I left on my mission to start getting into woodworking! I have tried to convince you guys we needed a bench on the front porch for years and that I could make it! Just save a few projects for me for when I get back. 
     I can´t believe that our ward is going to have 10-12 missionaries out by the end of the summer! That's awesome! Would you guys mind telling me who all is going out? Anyway I need to send some pictures, I hope everything goes well and that you all are having a good time. Love you all!

Elder Schriever

Monday, April 22, 2013

Izalco Week 9- "And the Rains Came"

      It was so great to hear from all of you! I'm sure you guys are all nervous about who my companion is so here goes: His name is Elder W, a gringo from Arizona. He is pretty tall and thin, and a hard worker. This past week we worked harder than I ever had. The days were packed! We got nine lessons in on two of the days and 8 on the others. It was nuts. He has twenty months in the mission so his Spanish is really good too which is nice. Elder N was transferred to an area called El Molino in Santa Ana as a ZL- craziness. 
       So as you can see from the subject, this week marked the start of the rainy season. Make sure to thank Aunt Laura for the dry bag, it has come in very handy! Normally it has rained for about half an hour to an hour every day so far. To me it seemed like it was raining hard but people tell me that its just a sprinkle here in El Salv. It really didn´t help us out on Sunday morning when we were running around trying to get people to go to church. People look for the smallest excuse not to go and the rain was a convenient excuse. But it was a good indicator of who really wants to go. In answer to Dad's question I normally only carry my camera on Sundays or when we have some sort of special reunion, which is when we need to wear "Manga Larga" so that's why all of the pictures are of me in long sleeves. Normally it is short sleeves for me and I love it. 
     One thing nice about the rain is that it packs down all of the dust that was there before. One of the pictures I am going to send shows my shoes and pants after a day of working, they get pretty dirty. A bit of good news is that this upcoming change for sure they are going to open Izalco II so we have to look for a house. But its good to know that our work has merited a new companionship here. Right now with all the new missionaries coming in they are opening up a ton of new areas. Possibly two in our zone this coming change. Oh and Elder R got moved to Ponderosa so now we are in the same zone! This morning we got together with some other companionships and played some basketball. It made me realize how out of shape I am! Yikes! Maybe I can talk Elder W into running in the mornings. 
     Elder W and I have discovered guacamole and hotdog sandwiches.The bishop's wife has been giving us avocados from their trees and they are amazing! I really wish you guys could try them! The rain I believe marks the end of Mango season because they start to rot so we need to hurry and eat as many as humanly possible, and find some other fruit to eat. This week the bishop's wife gave us fresh guanabana juice! It reminded me of years ago when we used to buy it from WinCo! Back in grade school if I remember right. It was way good. There is this other fruit called Maranon. I am not a huge fan but it's starting to grow on me. 
    Right now we don´t have anyone with a baptismal date but we are getting close with a few people. I will keep you posted for sure. Thank you all so much for writing me so diligently, I know I can´t answer you individually but I appreciate your sacrifice and will try to do what I can. As far as calling home in May I'm not sure if we will get to Skype or not. Elder N made it sound like skype was on Christmas and we called on Mother's Day. But truth be told, I'm really not sure. 
    Well I hope you all have a great week and that everything goes well! Love you all!
Elder Schriever

dirty shoes after walking in the mud all day

guacamole hotdog sandwiches

Monday, April 15, 2013

Izalco Week 8

Well family, 
I've got some news! The first bit is that I am staying in Izalco this change, the other bit of news is that Elder N is leaving! I don´t know who my new companion will be but I will find out on Wednesday! I'm kinda weirded out by the whole thing, But it was inevitable since I was getting comfortable with the whole situation. To live is to change, and to live well is to change often. I'll try my best to answer some of your questions, If I don´t get to all of them I apologize.
Food I miss: There´s honestly not a whole lot of food that is in the states that you can´t buy here, but there is food that's so expensive we can´t buy it. Specifically peanut butter, it costs $7-8 a bottle which is out of our budget. Also milk is like $4 a gallon so it's not something we buy all the time. I would say that I miss those two things more than anything. 
Food I eat often: we do eat a lot of beans and rice, but mostly rice. Beans take a really long time to cook and so we only eat them when a member can cook them for us. We eat a ton of mangoes, probably an average of 2-3 every day. They are really good. Surprisingly people eat them pretty green and ripe but a ton of people eat then when they are sour and hard. 
P-days: Normally we spend most of the day cleaning, getting food, and sometimes playing chess. There aren't a whole lot of activities to do here, but I am trying to find stuff to do. 
Typical day: Normally we spend about an hour or two knocking doors or contacting. Usually we have enough appointments to fill the days. Very few are fixed appointments, we normally just find a time that normally works for people and visit them then always. People here have pretty free schedules so it's not that hard. 
Ward: The ward here is supposedly pretty big for here in El Salvador, there are usually about 100-110 people in a sacrament meeting. The members are great, super supportive and friendly. But there are about 300 inactive members here so we have lots of work to do in addition to finding new people to teach. Normally all of the talks and lessons are covered but I normally prepare something just in case, it never hurts to be prepared. 
Language: The language is coming along pretty well, the people here don´t always speak really clearly, and sometimes when I'm tired I have a hard time understanding, but every day I learn a little bit more. In a few months hopefully I won´t have any problems. 

Well I think that's was most of your questions. I hope I answered them well enough for you all. This week was nuts, we had two days of interchanges, a trip to the temple, and a trip to Santa Ana for a follow-up meeting to the new missionary orientation. But it was a good week. We found a couple new families to teach and we they are both pretty positive. The temple trip was a huge help, the spirit was super strong and everyone that went loved it, they were all taking pictures which to me was a good sign. Hopefully we can find new people though because we can always use more. Anyway I hope you all have a great week and that everything goes well. Talk to you soon and love you all! 

Elder Schriever

A tree here that has flowers! I have no idea what it's called but it's pretty cool. There are others with yellow flowers too.
Santa Ana Temple

This picture is of me in front of this super old huge tree here in Izalco I think its called a ¨sabu¨ tree or something like that. I don´t know If you can tell how big it is from the picture but there are some people standing somewhat close that you can use to get the scale. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Izalco Week 7

Well family another week has flown by! 
      It seems like only yesterday was Monday. For the majority of this week we were trying to get as many people to go to conference as possible. It really is one of the best opportunities we have to listen to the prophet and apostles and strengthen our testimony that they have been called of God to help us come unto Christ. We had over 15 people that said they would go, but in the morning almost all bailed on us, except two. It's saddening when people don´t want to listen to the gospel because I know that It can really help their lives now and in the future. But we will keep looking for new people and try to do the best we can to help people go to church and keep their commitments. After the Sunday morning session we had the baptism of U A (picture to be sent soon) it was awesome to see. He really is a remarkable person. A couple days after we first talked to him he hurt his spine really bad, he served in the Salvadorean military during the Civil War, and I think he hurt his spine originally then. But now he is almost completely better and really has a hunger for the gospel. He is going to be a huge help to this ward here. The thing that they need the most is priesthood holders. There aren´t many worthy Melchizedek priesthood holders here, and it's hard for the few that there are to keep up with the need for blessings, home teaching, sacrament, etc... but we´ll keep trying to find as many people as we can. This Saturday we have a temple tour trip, I can´t wait to go visit the San Salvador temple! I've seen lots of pictures but this will be my first trip in person. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures. It will be a great way to finish out the transfer. This transfer we are supposed to get 30 new missionaries, and they are going to open 12-14 areas (supposedly) we are hoping for Izalco II because Izalco is ginormous, but we will see what happens. Izalco has 26 cantones or small little pueblos that are about a 30 minute walk away, right now I only have been to one! There is a lot of work to be done! But the there is a definite sense that the mission work as a whole is speeding up.
     Unfortunately the only option for me was to watch conference in Spanish, I understood most of it and took pretty good notes, but unfortunately some of the finer details were lost to me. But I remember specifically feeling the spirit really strongly when President Eyring was talking, I noticed a lot of emphasis on mission work and families. It was a really good conference in my opinion. 
     Everyone here is talking about how the United States and North Korea are having an argument, and they make it sound like they are about to start World War III, could somebody please tell me whats going on with that? 
     We are living with about 4-5 geckos in our house and this week I finally was able to take a picture of one, they make a almost cricket like sound sometimes during the night, it's kinda cool! Please ask more questions! I'll try my best to answer them but a lot of times I'm not sure what to write! Well I'm gonna try to send some pictures. Love you all and have a great week!

Elder Schriever

Monday, April 1, 2013

Izalco Week 6

Well Family, it's been another crazy week in the mission. Easter wasn´t really that exciting, Izalco has a huge world famous Easter celebration but we were on the other side of Izalco and were nowhere near it, but if you google "Izalco Semana Santa" you should be able to find pictures. It was on TV here. There was also an overnight parade through the town where everyone was playing trumpets and banging on drums, people here are lighting off fireworks 24/7 but I'm getting used to it and I can normally just sleep through it. A M was baptized this past Sunday but won´t be confirmed until the 14th because of Conference. Way cool. Right now we are trying to find new people to teach because we only have one investigator with a baptismal date. But asi es la lucha (so is the fight). Today we went to this park called Cerro Verde, I will try to send some of the pictures, it was right next to the volcano Izalco so it was pretty sweet. We can only do one zone activity each transfer so that was it for about a month but it was pretty sweet. So far I have used the water purifier that the church gave us, but I will probably start to use the one you bought me soon, the water bottle the church gave us takes out sediment, but leaves a weird aftertaste. 
       It's crazy to me that its April already I am still trying to figure out what happened to march. But April should be awesome. We have General Conference on the 6th and 7th (we watch it in real time here apparently) and a week later we have a temple tour trip planned for investigators, should be way sweet! I don´t know when we will get to go to the temple as a mission but I do know that it's twice a year. It sounds like everyone is doing really well on your end! congrats to Eli for getting into the flagship program! That should really improve your Chinese! Hopefully you´ll be there when I get back but we'll just have to see how it goes. Congrats to Anna for starting to wood carve and going to California for an orchestra trip! It sounds way fun! Shout out to Maddie for being an amazing harp player! Sounds like you're getting to be famous! I haven´t heard from Esme from a while so... I´m not sure what to congratulate her for but keep on keeping on Esme. Hope everything is going well and that you all are doing well! 
Talk to you all later!

Elder Schriever