Monday, January 25, 2010

1st El Salvador Email! January 25, 2010

Hello everyone!!

Well I´m here, I´ve made it! First of all, El Salvador is sooooo sweet!! it´s way pretty and green and tropical, and most of all super poor. More poor than I thought it was going to be. So I got off the plane and met President Perez and Hermana Perez, they are both super nice. President is pretty hard to understand because he has a bit of a lisp haha but he seems like a really nice guy. We then went to the church and we ate breakfast and got told a little bit about the mission and had interviews and doctor check ups. Then we went to get our temporary residencies which took foreeeeevvver so by the time we got back it was close to night time and we all got separated and half of us slept at the assistance house and the other half and the office house. I was with Elder Dennis and Elder Marchant so I was way happy about that. So then the next morning I took my first cold shower.. yikes! haha and then we went back to the chapel to receive our new companions and areas.

So you ready for the big news..? I have been assigned to Custatancingo, which is an area just outside of San Salvador. I love it! My companion is Elder Montoya. I have some good news and some bad about him. The bad news is he doesn´t speak a WORD of English... and he is from Chile and talks super super fast and doesn´t pronounce any of the S´s in words so its super hard to understand him. The good news is.. he doesn´t speak a word of English. haha so hopefully that just means that I will learn that much quicker. He is a pretty cool guy though and we get along pretty well so no worries there.

Wow where to begin with this week.. the first night we went tracting and taught 4 lessons (by we I mean Elder Montoya) on the spot in the smallest houses I have ever seen. They are made out of tin mostly and dirt.. it´s a huge wake up. It´s way sad the conditions in which these people live in.. I feel way bad for the little kids especially. So just a few experiences I have already had: The second day we taught a lesson to this guy who has like 8 dogs and one of them was sitting on the couch no joke like eating itself.. literally! I think it had really bad fleas. There are dogs EVERYWHERE here and they are all crazy mixes. I´ve seen some pretty funky breeds that I didn´t even know existed haha. Then we were walking back to the house a couple nights ago and this lady walked up to me absolutely smashed and started talking to me. I asked her how she was and she said "really bad" and I asked if she had been drinking alcohol and she was like "no, beer" haha I laughed way hard. Keep in mind that this whole time there was a cop sitting right by us and he could care less. There are pretty much no laws here, the only thing cops do is keep the gangs in check. So yeah she then stood up after a while and fell flat on her face... scared the crap out of me!! So we helped her up and told her to go back to her house and sleep for a really long time haha.

Well I wont lie to you guys this week has been really tough. I don´t understand pretty much anything anybody is saying... you always here people say, when you get to the country you´ll ask "what language were they teaching me in the mtc?" well yeah that´s exactly how I feel. It´s really frustrating sometimes.. especially just for keeping happy and positive ya know cause I literally don´t have really anybody to just talk to most of the day and vent. I was really withering down and getting pretty upset and then a couple days ago we went on splits with some ward missionaries and I went with a guy named William. He is the president of the elders quorum and has been a convert for 1 year. He is going to serve a mission in Honduras in a couple months. But most importantly he speaks some English! So we talked for a while and he is awesome. He really cheered me up and made me feel better about the language, he said I sound really good and I will learn the language really fast, I hope he wasn´t just trying to make me feel better ha.

So last night I had dinner at the Bishops house which was pretty fun. The Mom isn´t my favorite person in the world however.. she would ask me a question and I´d say I don´t understand and she´d just laugh.. yeah I almost smacked her. haha but they have a little eight year old girl named Jenny and she is way cute. She is learning the parts of the body in English for her school so she always comes up to me and points to my stomach and says "estomach!" haha it´s so funny. She loves having me ask her how to say parts of the body in English. So I love the package you guys gave me! Just when I was at my lowest low sitting in my room I remembered I had that tape so I listened to it and it got to me pretty bad. It cheered me up a ton it was so good to hear your guys´s voices and advice. Thanks so much!! So the food here is pretty good, and I haven´t gotten sick at all so that´s way good. hopefully it stays that way! Well I don´t have too much more for you guys but I don´t know what my home address is so I will have to just check next week so for now just send it to the address you have, I think they are pretty good at getting them to the zone leaders. I love you all and miss you. Thanks for all your love and support, hope to hear from you soon!

love Nick

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Last MTC Email! January 12th

Hey everyone! Wow.. I can't believe I leave in 6 days... I'm sooooo excited! I got my flight plans last Thursday, so here they are: I leave SLC at 7:47 PM and will arrive in L.A. at 8:53 PM. Then I'll leave LA at 11:55 and arrive in El Salvador at 6:45 AM Tuesday morning. So there ya go!! I'm glad I'm leaving in the night so I just sleep during the flight to El Salvador. I'm still not exactly sure when exactly I can call you guys but as far as I understand I can call you guys as long as I'm flying so maybe in in SLC and LA. I'm way excited! Are you going to send me a calling card thing? If not I think I can actually buy one here, so whatever is easier.

Well this week has gone by pretty slow haha I've just been constantly thinking about El Salvador and the language and my new companion and all that so yeah I've been pretty impatient! But I'm down to my last 6 days and this is the last Email you will receive from me in Utah.. pretty crazy. I can't believe I'm going to live in a different country for two years, it's gonna be awesome! So every week we are supposed to write a talk in Spanish on a specific topic they give us and then every Sunday they randomly call on two elders to give their talks and Sacrament meeting, and guess what.... yeah I spoke on Sunday! Good thing I prepared a talk huh? haha it was way short and simple but yeah maybe I'll send you my talk for keep sake, I thought you'd maybe enjoy that. I'm sure it is loaded with errors so Dad cut me some slack haha.

I'm glad you guys liked my tape and videos I sent. That rock paper scissors thing was pretty funny huh? yeah just to let you all know, I came out the champion and still hold that mantel! We had a health and safety meeting last night about how to prevent sicknesses and how to be safe and all that stuff so that was pretty helpful. I think I am going to send you guys some stuff that I don’t want to take to El Salvador so expect that in the next little bit. Well I don't have much else to say sorry this is so short but I am going to talk to you guys on the phone in a week!! Love you all have a great week.

talk to ya soon,


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Year! January 5, 2010

Hey fam!!

Can you believe I only have 13 days left?! I'm so stoked. Dad you wanted me to tell you guys the exact date I leave, it's the 18th. That's a monday.. I hope that works out alright. I'm not exactly sure what time I will be leaving, but it seems that everybody has been leaving between 6-9 so yeah that's a good guess. I get my flight plans tomorrow so we will know for sure by then! I can't wait holy crap I'm getting butterflies just talking about it haha. But hey I'm pretty sure as long as I'm flying I can call you guys so like if I have a big layover in Texas or LA or something I can call then. So yeah I guess we'll just have to play it by ear.

Well nothing too exciting has gone on this week, just the same old thing! Thanks so much for the New years package!! I loved it! Martanellies are my favorite so good call on those. I took a few pictures that I will develop today and send to you guys sometime this week. Mom thanks so much for the bagels and the other package! I have definitely won the most package award out of the District haha but Elder Marchant is coming in a close second. So thank you I really appreciate it! I'll try and think of some stuff for you to send to take down to El Salvador but I've got a pretty good supply of fruit leather and there is this brand of Granola bar I really like that is in the vending machines here, it's called Sunbelt chocolate chip. I get at least two everyday no joke haha so yeah I think those would be good to take down there.

Dad I LOVED the ski video! Man that looked soooo fun. The basin looks just as good as ever. You guys better go a ton this year! It actually looked like there was a good amount of snow, that one video of Josh and Adam had like a foot and a half of fresh! so sick. And of course the food looked as good as ever haha Adam was lovin' that pepperoni. Josh Looks old without braces!! lookin good my man. Do me proud.

So there is a teacher here that went to El Salvador on his mission and got back like a year ago and we talked to him for like an hour! It was awesome, its sounds so sweet. Apparently president Perez is a pretty stricked guy.. but really nice. He said during the rainy season it pretty much rains everyday. He was telling us what areas were dangerous and what ones aren't as much. The city San Salvador can be pretty dangerous supposedly and an area called San Miguel, but San Miguel is also one of the sweetest places in El Salvador he says so I guess that's a little bittersweet if you're in that area. But seriously I'm really not worried at all about being safe, I know I'll be fine, so let's keep our figures crossed for San Miguel haha.

He says that there are areas that the houses are made purely out of cardboard.. how crazy is that! Oh yeah that San Miguel area is also the hottest area.. he says it is consistently upper 90's sometimes 100 with 100% humidity.. he also says that we will have maids that will do our laundry and cook for us just like your mission Dad so that's good! wow. Spanish is getting pretty intense. We've covered all the Subjunctive tenses and passive voice and stuff like that.. Well I don't have too much more to tell you guys but I'm gonna do a tape recording in a couple hours to send to you guys tomorrow or the next day so I'll tell you some more stuff in that. I hope you all have a great week!! I love and miss you all.

Love Nick

Friday, January 1, 2010

Merry Christmas! -December 29th

Hello everyone!! Well one Christmas down one to go. It was a unique and awesome experience. Alright so here's how the day went: We all woke up and got into our Christmas attire (the sweet new pjs you gave me) and opened up our presents. Thank you SO much for everything it was so awesome!! I love my watch and videos and all those letters it was so fun to read all of them. Please tell everybody that you can that I appreciated it a ton and wish I could write all of them back! Mom thanks for everything that you did to make the twelve days of Christmas, Im sure it was way more complicated that you would think to get all the packages in on time and in order and all that so thanks a ton it definitely made for an awesome Christmas. So then we cleaned up all of our stuff (I have some pictures that I'll send you soon) and got ready and went to the Christmas devotional where L. Tom Perry spoke. It was pretty sweet but he for a good part of the time just had his family go up there and read a part of the scriptures talking about Jesus and Christmas so we didn't even get to hear from him a ton but it was still sweet! We then went to lunch where L Tom Perry actually came and ate with us all in the cafeteria so I thought that was pretty sweet! He had like all these security guards around him and stuff it was nuts.

We then went to this talent show type thing where Elders and Sisters sang or played the piano or just whatever. They were all so good I was way impressed how much talent there was! This one sister sung a song called 14G..? I think that's what it was called. Anyways she sounded exactly like Kristin Chenowith it was sweet. But yeah there was a bagpipe and some Polynesian guys did a sweet song. There was an elder who made up a song about waiting for his visa (elders going to Brazil have been having a way tough time getting there visas so some of them have been here for like 15 weeks!) so yeah that was way funny everybody loved it. So after the fireside we just had a sack dinner in our rooms and had the semi final championship round of Rock Paper Scissors! I haven't told you but yeah we've been having some intense matched of rock papers scissors haha it's so funny how into it we get. (can you tell we're getting a little restless) but I have a video of me playing elder dennis so I'll have to send that to you!

Then later that night Greg Olson spoke to us. If you don't know who that is, he's a famous painter for the church and has a ton of really famous paintings of Christ. It was actually one of my favorite firesides that I've been to while at the MTC. He talked about some of his experiences with painting the savior and just about his life it was awesome. Look up a bunch of his work he has some incredible paintings. So yeah that was about it! It was nice not to have to worry about all the little stupid things that Christmas sometimes come with and just be able to focus on what really matters, so it was awesome. I definitely won't forget it!

Last Tuesday Neil. L Anderson came and spoke and it was also really awesome, he gave a really good talk on how all things in life that have the most value are paid for up-front, and that's what we are doing here at the MTC. It was way motivating because after you are here for a while you it's hard to really focus on what you are going to be doing in a few weeks and it feels like you are just going through the motions and you don't really get to see the results of what you are doing like through investigators and things like that so yeah it was awesome to hear that perspective. So on Christmas eve we had a big devotional thing just with the presidency of the MTC and guess what? I guess our first counselor of the MTC actually converted Thurl Bayley while he was a mission president in Italy. How sweet is that?! so he showed a video about that story. His name is president Clegg. And other missionaries who are converts got up and shared their conversion stories so yeah it was awesome. At the end of the meeting we did a way funny version to the song "12 days of Christmas". So I want you guys to sing it out loud its way funny it goes: "The MTC gave me, 12 hours of class, 11 loads of loads of laundry, 10 new commandments, 9 outbound calls (the RC), 8 hours of rest, 7 lukewarm showers, 6:30 wake up, fiiiiiiive houuuuurs of gyyyym!!!, 4 chocolate milks, 3 new companions, 2 hair cuts free, and a rock solid testimony." haha it was way funny they like had different sections of the crowd stand up and do their part and then during the rock solid testimony part everyone would stand up, so yeah it was pretty entertaining. I took a short video of that also so I'll have to send it to you sometime.

So there ya go I made it through Christmas! Can you believe I only have 20 days left in here?! And then it's baptisms and 85 degrees baby!! Im soooo ready to leave. I like it here but I'm getting very itchy to leave. We should be getting out flight plans next Friday, I can't wait! We'll have to see what route I'll be taking.. I'm guessing we'll fly into probably Dallas and have a huge layover and then to El Salvador. So yeah I'll keep you posted on that! So I taught my first lesson in Spanish last Wednesday to a lady who BARELY spoke any English, and it went pretty good! I was surprised how well it went actually it was a confidence booster that the lady could somewhat understand what I was trying to say, although it was very simple and planned out and a lot just memorized haha but it's all good. Well I think that's all I've got for this week but I'm writing you all letters today so expect those in the mail in the next few days!

Thanks for all your letters and support and make sure to tell everyone else thanks so much! Tell Grandma and Grandpa Reid I got their letter and thanks a lot.

Alright Love you all have a good week hope to hear from you soon!

 Love Nick