Monday, January 18, 2010

Lookout Point

Today (Jan 11) for a zone activity we all went to his special lookout point where you could see all of the city of San Salvador and the cities beyond, all backed up by beautiful volcanoes. It was awesome.
District Opico (from left to right): Elder Menchu (our district leader), Hermanas Portillo, Marroquin, Beckett, me, and Elder Gonzales
SALVADOR!!
This is our entire zone of La Libertad (the hermanas are definitely outnumbered).
Afterwards we enjoyed our favorite thing to eat--pupusas!!Pupusas put a smile on everyone's face--they are SO delicious!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

House with a View!

Happy New Year! The big news this week is that we have finally moved. We'd been looking for a house for awhile because the place we had been living was very small to house four missionaries who had very different schedules. (The hermanas we live with have to leave really early and return early in the evening because their area is dangerous to work in after dark.) The hardest thing was that we only had one bathroom plus all four of us were sleeping in a little room. Our new house actually has TWO stories! I still can't believe we have a house with a view (this picture is taken from the upper level window).
Sometimes we just twirl around or run up and down the stairs because it feels to weird to be in a place with so much space. It is actually about the size of a small condo in the states, but to us it feels like a palace!I love our cute bedroom--pink and girly...
And this modern bathroom is the best! I can hardly believe that we have a bathtub and a real shower! (Remember those pictures of the first place I lived in Sensunapan? What a difference!)It's so great to have a study area to call my own.
Forgive our mess--we were still moving in when this picture was taken--but isn't the kitchen grand?

Baptism of Carolina Liseth Rivera

Christmas night Hermana Beckett and I made a special Christmas dinner of these homemade pizza things that we make with pitas, but unfortunately we must not have cooked the pepperoni thoroughly because we both woke up Saturday morning with a killer case of food poisoning. We were barely able to make the baptismal service of Carolina, but everything went without a hitch and she was very happy.
Carolina is 12 and is a cousin of Marielos. So many of the people here who have gotten baptized or are preparing for baptism of a reference of this one family--about 15 in all. They are amazing.

Christmas the El Salvador Way

We have a little Christmas table set up in our apartment with the tiny tree, nativity, and ornament that mom sent and also some Christmas cards and a few other things.
Christmas here is celebrated mainly on the 24th. Our district got together that morning and made this special breakfast of French toast since it was the gringas turn to cook.
Just what I wanted: a CD of the Tab Choir!
On Christmas Day we went to a place called Nuevo Sitio which is at the end of the boundaries of our area. Marielos (our recent convert of a couple of weeks ago) invited us to spend Christmas with her family. This is a picture of her neighbor Maira (on the right) and Maira's cousin. We are currently teaching both Maira and her mother. We enjoyed a special Christmas meal of panes con pollo (bread with chicken) and then watched while they lit off a bunch of fireworks which is what they do down here. Gift giving is not such a big thing down here-instead families get together for a meal and then light off fireworks until early morning. There are also a lot of dances that go on. It was a beautiful, starry night and being surrounded by all the huge jungle trees and seeing all the fireworks going off everywhere--it was a beautiful night.

Mission Christmas Celebration

The whole mission got these sweet shirts for Christmas with the name of the mission on the back and the fact that we exceeded the mission goal to get 200 baptisms in a month (which we accomplished in October with 220 baptisms).
Hermana Beckett and I think we look pretty cute in these shirts.
These two hermanas live with us: Hermana Marroquin is on the left and next to her is Hermana Portillo.
Hermana Pasi is going to head for home at the next transfer, so here are her "posterity": I'm her first "daughter, the hermana to the right is her second daughter (Hermana Cash) and my hija (Hermana Beckett) is her "granddaughter.

This and That

Here are all the kids and the leaders in our Primary on the day of the Primary Program (Dec 20) This is a random picture showing the brightness of the cemeteries here.
And even here in El Salvador, Santa is a very popular man...especially at this time of year.

New Companion & Baptism of Marielos

Hermana Jiminez finished her mission and so I now have a new companion and am a trainer. My companion's name is Hermana Beckett and she is from Roy, Utah. She even went to Utah State before leaving on her mission (Go Aggies!) She is lots of fun to be around and has a great attitude and lots of enthusium. She is 5'9" so now I no longer hold the title of tallest hermana in the mission.
Marielos Adriana Perez Munox was baptized on the 19th of December. It was a really wonderful service. Her older brother (who gave us the reference) got very emotion, which is very unusual because he is not like that at all. His wife said he hadn't cried in 10 years. I love seeing families come together through the Gospel.
We had great support from her family and friends who came to the baptism.

A Trip to Joyas

On December 2 were were able to visit as a district some ancient ruins at a place called Joyas. The ruins were discovered by accident when a company was undergoing a construction project and hit into the ruins. As we sat down as a district and discussed the people who had lived here in ancient times, the Book of Mormon took on a whole new meaning for me. The Spirit was incredibly strong--as we teach the descendants of the very people who we read about in the Book of Mormon, we can feel their spirits "crying from the dust."
Here is a little taste of the beautiful nature of El Salvador.
This is our district standing just outside the ruins.
Then two days later we had an unexpected treat: President Lopez had all the zones where every area had had a baptism come to a huge lunch at this really great Chinese restaurant. I was able to see everyone from Sonsonate which was so exciting for us all. We love to get together and swap stories and strengthen one another.

Culinary Instruction

This last change as a district, we started this thing where every district meeting we would cook something from the countries of each one of us. When it was my turn, I made creamed eggs over toast. They thought it was the weirdest thing every, but they all absolutely loved it! My companion made this tostada thing from Guatemala when it was her turn.
In this picture we are making baleadas which is a typical food of Honduras made of tortillas, cream, eggs, meat, beans, and cheese.
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