I’m getting to the point where I’m just thinking about El Salvador all the time. I’m trying to stay positive about this last extra week and get the most out of it. I don’t need cookies haha, we get so much junk here it’s hard to resist. If you do send me anything, make it healthy!
I GOT MY VISA ON SATURDAY!! One of our branch presidency members (President Christiansen – I really admire him, I hope my mission president is like him) works here at the MTC pretty high up in the ranks. We were in his office just hanging out after lunch and I mentioned that I didn’t know what was happening with my visa. He made a call and got one of his people to work on it. This was last Tuesday I think. On Saturday, he came running into our classroom to tell me that everything was in and ready for me to travel!!! Seriously an answered prayer because this whole process usually takes longer. So grateful to President Christiansen.
Travel Plans: I leave the MTC next Monday morning at 6:50am but my flight in SLC doesn’t leave until 11:31am. We get to Dallas/Ft Worth, TX at 3:10pm (local time) then our next flight is at 4:55pm, getting to San Salvador at 8:25pm. We’ll have to drive to the mission home which will take a couple hours probably. El Salvador is in the same time zone as Utah, so that’s kinda nice. They allow us to call whoever we want when we’re at the airport, using the pay phones. We can buy call cards. Let me know when you’re free from 8am-11am Monday morning (Utah time) or during my layover in TX and I can call you guys! Also I will be able to email again on Saturday morning, so let me know before then.
Sunday night we had a great testimony meeting with the district and the Elders gave us priesthood blessings. It was pretty powerful. The next morning we got up REALLY early to see off all the missionaries in my district going into the field. Now it’s only Hermana Peterson, Elder Nasilai, and me and it’s kinda eerie how empty our room is.
Elder Nasilai and I met a Hermano from El Salvador and he said the greatest tip he could give us was what El Salvadorians automatically think of Americans. They see us as so high up and rich; when I’m introduced to them they will almost always assume I don’t like them. This hermano said that I needed to take care to tell them about my life before the mission, maybe show pictures of my family, and really try to make them see that I don’t see myself as superior. He also spoke at the speed that they will talk and I didn’t catch everything but I could understand him! Yay! He said my blonde hair won’t be that much of a problem. Another difficulty I didn’t think much about was the level of literacy in El Salvador. He said in our mission there won’t be many people who can read so it usually takes longer to teach them because they can’t read the scriptures or the pamphlets on their own time. I am getting crazy excited.
I’m trying not to picture Dad in skinny jeans, haha. Congrats to Ashleigh! That’s exciting! One of the things I don’t miss about being disconnected from the world is American politics. Yuck.
Tell Maddy she can email me too! I want to hear from all of them too every once in a while. I’ve heard that you can still do DearElders in El Salvador, that El Salvador is one of the countries that does it for free. That way I can save emailing time too. I love getting them!
Can’t think of anything else I need to say, other than I love the work I’m doing. It’s busy, exhausting, and really sad sometimes but the happiness and fulfillment is worth it. We’re teaching a woman named Amparo right now. She is actually a member of the church but when her husband died about 20 years ago, she says he didn’t feel any support or comfort from God or the church members so she went inactive. It’s so sad because she’ll sit there and tell us that she believes in the Book of Mormon and will bear testimony of the gospel but she won’t do anything because her heart is so bitter. I think she isn’t letting the Spirit enter her heart because I know the Spirit has been there during our lessons. Sometimes I want to (figuratively) smack her up-side the head because she is seriously risking eternity because she was offended so many years ago. If she had a real understanding and foundation in Christ and the Atonement/Resurrection, she would not have this perspective.
Also, the gift of tongues is real. I can’t believe I’ve come this far in Spanish in such a short amount of time. Remember how long I struggled with French? I’m so excited to get really good at Spanish. I can understand it mostly it just takes me a long time to form sentences myself. I can’t wait until I don’t have to translate things in my head.
I’ve also thought about how fast this month has gone. 18 months is really not a long time to give and it’s the only opportunity I’ll have in this life to give everything I’ve got. Every second counts!
Love you all so much,
P.S. Elder Nasilai says Hi again 🙂