Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm Staying

5/24/10: Life here is full of surprises. I am staying here in Versailles/Joyas and Hermana Bautista is being transferred to Chalchuapa to be Hermana Beckett's new companion. This is getting to be a familiar scenario: saying goodbye to everyone while they depart to their new destinations on the Coaster.
Jacquelin Amaya is taking Hermana Bautista's department pretty hard. She has been one of those special people we have worked with here.

Versailles Activity

5/22/10: This was a crazy Saturday. After Francisco's baptism in Joyas, we headed back over to Versailles for a branch activity. Three of our investigators are sitting in the forefront of the picture: Marleny, Dulce, and Derek. Marleny's brother Jorge, who is a returned missionary, is in the striped blue and black shirt.
We knew last Saturday that most likely one or both of us would be affected by transfers on Monday. We weren't together for too long, but we got along just fine.

100 Years Young

5/22/10: Meet Francisco Ayala, 100 years young. He will be 101 in October. His favorite seat is this tire outside of his house.
Francisco's baptism went without a hitch.
This is the first baptism in Joyas this entire year (which is very exciting for us but very unusual for the area here)

Getting to Know Joyas

5/20/10: I was finally able to take a few pictures of Joyas, the other area I am currently covering (along with Versailles). Joyas in very much out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by jungle-like vines and trees. This is a picture of a typical house here in Joyas.
Many of the homes here have their own wells like this one.
This is Hermana Dinora who has come to church and we are hoping to prepare for baptism. She is making pupusas in the back of her house.
Hermana Bautista is standing in the back of this same house. Notice the denseness of the foliage that basically make up the "back yard.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bad Hair Day

5/17/10: You may not be able to tell from this distance, but my new haircut is very uneven, a common outcome for a very cheap haircut. Luckily, my zone won't hold it against me.

A Day at the President's

5/10/10: We were invited to President Lopez's home to eat dinner with his family. Our zone was the highest baptizing zone in April plus every area in the zone baptized, so this was our reward. It was great to see the progress of the El Salvador Temple. It had been awhile since I had been able to see it.
President Lopez has this wonderful hammock hanging in his yard. Looks like paradise--no? Probably because it's been so very long since I've had a nice long nap......
We played this game called "Elimination" while we were there...
and also enjoyed some delicious food.
It's always great to see my "MTC" buddies. That's Hermana Schmidt on the left in the purple shirt.

Two Weddings and Two Baptisms

4/30/10: The marriage of Jacqueline and Moises de Amaya went without a hitch. We had a few nervous moments making sure we had all the necessary paperwork and the birth certificates from the other mission, but all worked out in the end.
Moises is a returned missionary and has already taught his family much about the Gospel. Jacqueline and their son Aaron were well prepared for their baptism which followed the wedding.
Bringing families together in the Gospel is one of the great joys of being a missionary.
Then just one day later Karla Jiminez (who I taught in Sensunapan) married Jorge Guevara who was a returned missionary in the ward there. I actually introduced them but am not planning on going into the matchmaking business full-time.Karla and Jorge are planning to be sealed in the temple in November which will be just over one year following her baptism day last October.

New Beginnings

4/20/10: My new companion is Hermana Bautista. She is a convert of two years and is from El Salvador (east mission side). She is very quiet but willing to learn and work hard.
Here is our new zone. Hermana Bautista and I are the two jewels in the crown!
4/24/10: Our branch participated in an awesome Stake Choir Activity. Here we are enroute on the bus. We ended up with by far the largest group there--about 30 to 35 people. When we did our branch's presentation, we almost didn't have enough seats for everyone in the choir section.

Expect the Unexpected

4/12/10: Frankly I was shocked when it was Hermana Beckett who was transferred out of Versailles and I was left to not only train a greenie but to cover double the area.
Hermanas Sing, Karl, and Beckett will all be leaving on the Coaster (minibus) as soon as it arrives.
It's good we took a bunch of pictures the day before transfers. Here is Hermana Beckett with Sara, a recent convert of Hermana Schmidt's.
This is the familia Zepeda. Hermano Zepeda is the first counselor in the Branch Presidency here i Versailles and Hermana Zepeda has done our hair on more than one occasion. She has her own salon.
La familia Sanchez recently moved here from Roy, Utah--Hermana Beckett's very own home town.

Smile Alexis--It's Your Big Day

4/9/10: It was wonderful that Alexis got baptized before either Hermana Beckett or myself was transferred to a new area. To see the fruits of our labors is the icing on the mission cake.
Alexis was baptized by Hermano Nefi Aragon, our branch's Elder's Quorum President.We told Alexis we wouldn't stop taking pictures until he smiled. Latin people have this "thing" where they don't like to smile in photos. You can see it took him a few tries before he finally gave in.

Changes, They Are A-Comin'

We know transfers are coming up, and it's highly likely that Hermana Beckett or myself will be transferred out (most likely me). We aren't letting up any on the work, though. My socks are literally worn out at the end of the day's walking here.
4/7/10: Our final district activity before transfers was a snack of nachos made by our district leaders and watching the movie "The Best Two Years."
Hermana Beckett and I clicked from day 1. How I will miss her!!
4/5/10: A couple of days before our district activity our zone got together for pictures and an activity. Definitely one of the hardest parts of the mission is the constant saying of good-byes.
It's good we are able to have fun together. All work and no play makes even a missionary less effective. Laughter is food for the soul.

It's Doesn't Get Better Than This

We are SO excited for General Conference here! It gives us just the spiritual boost we need. Here we are making sure all the electronic equipment is ready to go.
Two thumbs up! Bring it on!! Can't wait for all those great talks.
Jose Garcia's baptism on the 26th of March was the perfect precursor to Conference.
Baptisms always put the simpleness of the Gospel in perspective--it's about changing for the better and finding the desire to follow the Savior and accept the truth.

Keeping My Girlish Figure

All the carbo-rich, fried foods down here make exercise a must. I never played much soccer in Bountiful but am finding it a lot of fun playing with the other hermanas.
We really do play--not just pose for pictures. Can't you see all the sweat on our faces?We're only allowed to actually play soccer with the other hermanas, but the whole zone enjoyed taking this picture.

Something Fishy's Going On...

3/21/10: La Familia Angulo found out that neither me nor Hermana Beckett were seafood fans, so they were determined we would learn to like it. They made this HUGE batch of sopa de mariscos (seafood soup) and served us each a generous portion. They then sat back and enjoyed our reaction to these new taste sensations...
Maybe it's not so bad it you don't know exactly what it is you're eating.
We may have been slightly tentative tasters, but at least we gave it a good honest attempt and marched bravely on to places we had not been before...
Knowing someone is taking a picture of your reaction can be more than a little bit disconcerting--best to just concentrate on taking a little tiny bite.
Sometime's being a senior companion has its perks--like having your own personal taste tester (just to make sure I'm going to be able to handle it).
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