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