Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Doing Great! March 21st-April 25th

March 21st:
Hey Fam,
Well I know you`re anxious to know about changes.. I`m still here! which is good. And my companion had changes, which is also good. haha. They shipped him out to San Miguel haha poor guy.... he is going there right about the hottest time of the year.. we`re coming up on "Semana Santa", and it`s also just blistering hot that time of year here, but especially San Miguel. Well guess who they sent me? Does "chor sun ees okay he ess no sik" sound familiar? haha yup! Elder De Leon from the office. I was super surprised because he was only in the office for three months and they usually take them out when they are in there for a good 9 months or so! But yeah he has six months in the mission and is from Guatemala. My fifth Chapin(Guatemalan)! But yeah he`s a good kid. It`s pretty funny though, the house that the office elders live in is pretty much a palace compared to any other house in the mission. Pretty big, a washing machine, decent kitchen etc. So he came to the house and was pretty shocked, haha anyways long story short we are going to change houses. We`ve been looking around and haven`t found much so far but we might move farther away than where we are right now, which means we would have to change our cook. But there are some houses for rent by the cook of the other elders in my ward and she is soooo awesome. So we`re hoping that we can get one approved over there and change cooks. I`m scared to tell my cook that I have right now though, she is a return missionary with a very strong character.. haha everybody in the ward is scared of her. But yeah it`ll be good, she doesn`t cook very well, especially for breakfast she pretty much gives us nothing. So wish me luck!

It`s funny that Reese like`s Dora so much, because the little daughter of my cook is also obsessed with Dora! It`s so funny to see it Spanish because it`s the exact same idea, just her throwing in some English phrases. But yeah, other than that everything is going well here in Conacastes. Our investigators are doing well. We are teaching a guy whose son is on a mission who never wanted anything to do with the church but while his son has been in the mission a lot has changed with him and we`ve had some really cool experiences. I'm way excited for general conference coming up!!!!! I`ve grown a new love for general conference in the mission.

I can`t believe Mom and Brooke went to the lady gaga gaga concert..... haha yikes. Concerts are so sweet though, I love them. You finally got to see what it`s like at a crazy concert with literally no room to move! love it. But don`t know if I would have gone to lady gaga... haha especially with the crowd she pulls in. Well you had your experience, no more concerts like that! haha just kidding, kind of...
Well i hope everybody is doing well, tell everybody hi for me and thanks for all of their prayers and support!!! love you all have a good week.
Love Nick

March 28th:
Hey guys,
Well sounds like Utah is being its normal bipolar self haha. People here think it is SO cool that we have all four seasons. Its nice to live in a warm climate, but after a while It gets tiring... believe it or not snow sounds pretty sweet right now! But I'm sure I'm going to eat my words when I'm crying in November because it´s 50 degrees. I´ll die! Well everything is going well here, just getting used to my new companion. He´s pretty cool, and everyone thinks he is from the states cause he is really white and has a weird accent haha it´s pretty funny. Well we had a meeting with President Pérez on Thursday and he announced some new things that are going to be happening here in the mission. We are going to be recieving two new stakes in the mission that used to be part of the other mission. "la Libertad", and "Los Heroes". On the 26 of April la libertad will be ours (next change), and the next change will we have los hereos. But what that means is we are going to have to take out all the wards that have 4 missionaries in them (aka my ward) and just leave them with two so they can fill the new zones. The area will be huuuge! Anyways, knowing that, I pretty much know for a fact that my area will be closed down this next change and me and my comp will be outta here.

Also when the new mission president comes because of those changes the mission will be "mission el salvador, san salvador", and the west mission will be "mission Santa Ana, Belize". Pretty crazy! But it's good because that means that the work is growing and moving forward.
That´s crazy about the Ogden temple, are they really going to actually demolish it..? I can´t imagine that they would do that. I'm sure they will just remodel it a ton. But who knows I guess. The date for the temple dedication here is getting closer and closer, I'm way excited. I really hope the President Monson comes and talk to the missionaries, that would be unforgettable. I just saw the movie "the lords errand" about his life, you guys should watch it if you haven´t already, it´s impressive. Man one thing that I've really come to appreciate and gain a testimony of here on the mission is the divine calling of an apostle and prophet. So cool.

But yeah, I forgot to mention that because the area will probably be closed here next change that means that we are not going to move houses because president didn't want us to get a new house and then have to turn it in 4 weeks later.. makes sense. So yeah I guess we are just going to have to stick it out here for a while haha. Oh well, I'm not complaining... just mostly my companion. Well thanks for everything guys, I miss you all and always pray for each of you. I hope you are all doing well and doing what you should be doing! Have a great week talk to ya later.

April 4th:
Hey guys! so how`s Orlando? Sounds like you`ve had a pretty good time so far, thinking back to when we went to Disneyland made me laugh! Haha I guess I was kind of at a whiny age. So where have you guys been today? Another theme park? And tomorrow Harry Potter Land? Niiice.
Well this week has been interesting. I got a call from President Friday Morning and 6:30am on the dot, telling me that there was an Elder in San Vicent that was having some problems there. So they had to take him out, and I was going to go there in his place. He said I had to pack my bags and leave by 9 in the morning to catch the bus to San Vicente.... which means I didn`t get to say goodbye to anybody!! I was pretty bummed. So now I'm here in a place called Ilobasco, it`s pretty sweet. It is literally in the middle of nowhere. To meet up with the rest of the zone, I had to hitch hike here for an hour. I went in 4 different trucks haha. This town is pretty famous for tourist because there are a TON of souvenirs and cool shops. I`ve never really been in a little pueblo like this so its pretty cool. My companion is elder Carpio from Honduras and has about 3 weeks in the mission, so pretty much I'm training again! He `s a pretty cool guy, and is amazing on the piano which is sweet, I`m gonna have him teach me some stuff! But yeah I was a little bummed to have to leave Soyapango. The day before I left I had kind of a cool experience. All our appointments had fallen and we had nothing else to do so we starting knocking doors. We knocked probably 35 houses and nobody would let us in. We were about to finish and knocked on a lady's door who kind of looked at us weird but immediately let us in. We sang a hymn had a prayer and then I asked her if she had any questions for us and the first thing she asked me was "who sent you guys here?" I told her nobody, that we are just missionaries and this is what we do-go around talking to everybody about Christ, and then asked her why she asked that. She just kind of looked curios and said "nothing I was just wondering". So anyways we had a sweet lesson about the plan of salvation and set an appointment to come back. At the end she said that the reason she had asked me that at the first was because she had been going through some really tough trials with work and having to watch after her 4 year old son and she didn`t know how she was going to do it. So she was on her couch thinking and praying for help about how she was going to be able to through it all, and right that second we knocked on her door. Pretty sweet huh! So that was kind of a bummer to leave her, but I'm sure she`ll get baptized in the future.
Well you guys will have to take a bunch of pictures for me and send them. I hope you all have a good time, I wish I could be there! I`m glad you got the package that I sent. Did you get my plaque and key chains that were in the package too? One of them is for Amber.
Well be safe and have fun everyone! love you all thanks for everything you do. Talk to ya next week!
Love Nick

April 11th:
Hey guys!
Well sounds like the Florida trip was pretty shweeet. You guys are all looking good, thanks for sending the pictures, I'm going to load them onto my camera!
Well I´ve just been getting used to my new area and branch. It´s pretty dang different being in a branch instead of a ward. Yesterday at church I blessed the sacrament, bore testimony, taught the Sunday school for all of the youth, and then taught the priesthood lesson.. followed by a leadership meeting to try and get the branch going and assign people to visit some families. Pretty hectic! But pretty cool at the same time to be able to help out so much. This place is pretty cool, I honestly feel like I'm living the 40s. That´s what all the streets and little stores look like. We´ll have to visit here for sure when mom and dad come... Mom you´ll go nuts buying stuff! haha. But yeah I get along with my comp well, he is an amazing pianist. Insane. He can play these classical pieces that just leave my mouth open. He wants to study music at BYU when he gets back, but he can´t speak English at all so I'm teaching him. It would be way sweet if he could go! Well my cook is pretty good, we just have her for lunch and then a different sister makes us dinner for free which is always nice. But we are trying to look for another cook because at the end of this month she is going to move to Honduras. My apartment is huge compared to my last one! But still kind of dumpy, but there is a shared balcony above the house and I hung my hammock up there. Pretty sweet at night time! Yeah, to tell you the truth we still have no idea who our new mission president is going to be. The whole "to be announced" thing has been up there for a while which is weird because all of Central America has their mission president already assigned except for this mission. I´m guessing that they called somebody but he´s probably trying to work out some work issues, or something like that before he can accept. Just an idea. -But other than that everything is going well! We have a few people that we are working with right now and if everything goes well we should have two baptisms this weekend. Pedro and Idalia.

So on Tuesday we had a multizone and I got the package you sent mom! Loved it as always. Especially the video! Reese is getting huuuge. It´s insane that she is walking and everything and screaming all over the place haha. Pretty dang cute. So how´s the rest of the fam doing? The Jensen drama sounds hilarious, hahah Kirsten would pull a prank like that! How´s Grandma and Grandpa Reid? and Grandma Kirkbride? Tell them I say hi and hope they´re doing well. Well love you all I better go now. Talk to you next week!!!

April 18th:
Sorry Im writing a little late today, we decided to play soccer first thing in the morning today and write later because it is unbelievabley hot right now. But yeah everything is going well in my area, im really enjoying it. When I first got here three weeks ago, we starting working with the Melendez family which consists of Pedro, Rosa, and Claudia. They are all great but Pedro, 19 years old, is the best and has been progressing the most. We had been teaching him over the past couple of weeks and put a goal for baptism with him for the 16th of April. We watched the movie The Testaments and he loved it, super powerful. The next day he had his baptismal interview and passed! Everything was all good and he was ready to go. We visited him on Thursday and he was having a lot of second thoughts and doubts all of the sudden. We couldn`t figure out what his real fears were for not wanting to be baptized. Well we came back the next day, but he wasn`t there and we couldn`t get a hold of him.... the day before his baptism. That night I got a hold of him super late and he had gone to the beach with his friends. He told me that he wanted more time getting to know the church and he wasn`t ready and not sure. I told him that we were just going to stop by the next day in the morning to talk and try and resolve some of his concerns. Well we showed up and there he was waiting for us, which almost surprised me! We starting talking about his doubts and concerns and trying to get to the bottom of the real problem. I knew he was ready and that he knew the church was true, and this was something that he needed to do. Time wasn`t going to help, he just needed to have faith and act. Well turns out that his uncle had been feeding him a whole bunch of lies about the church and saying we don`t even worship God and we are just a sect fallen off from the Johovas Witnesse... that really got me going. So we started throwing out scripture after scripture clearing his doubts. He explained that that`s why he wanted to investigate more so that he could learn how to be able to defend himself before he got baptized. We explained that he needed the gift of the holy ghost to be able to really learn and understand the "meat" of the gospel; that waiting wasn`t going to help, but actually make things worse. More time waiting would just put more doubts in his head and block out the feelings of his heart. When God talks to us we can`t wait to act.. if we do the impressions will leave. We explained how he should think about his future. Earlier he had explained his desire to be a missionary someday and how cool it would be, so we starting talking about the blessing of a mission. How sweet it is and how it chnages lives. We explained that all these blessings could be his if he just decided to act and claim them. That he wasn`t a boy anymore and that he needed to start preparing himself for the rest of his life, and the church is the way to do it and a mission makes and shapes you into the man God wants you to be.

He accepted, still with a few worries, but he accepted. We baptized him later that day with his mom there at the service. After the baptism when he was changing we asked him how he felt and he said with a huge smile "incredibley happy!" My comp asked on a scale of 1-10? and he said "9.5... ok maybe 10 but I just don`t want to accept/admit it!" haha. After the baptism he hugged his mom and they both cried for a good 4 minutes just hugging, it was awesome. He was confirmeed yesterday in church and the immediate change in him was awesome. He made comments in Priesthood meeting that made everyone speechless! He was so excited after church and just kept saying "you guys were right about everything" "I'm on cloud 9 right now I can`t even explain it!" Then later that day Elder Rivas from the 70 had a little meeting for the district to talk about the upcoming temple, so we took Pedro along. The meeting was awesome and Pedro said after "I`m completely absolutely convinced" with a huge smile "I had no reason to wait, I was just wasting time!" In the course of 24 hours he went from being shy, timid, and unsure about things, hesitant to leave behind 20 years of Catholic tradition and beliefs, to energetic, excited, and as happy as I've even seen anybody. Willing to do anything asked of him. I can`t wait til he serves a mission! I almost gaurentee he will. So yeah it was a good experience!

Sounds like everything is going well at home! Sounds like the weather is starting to calm down. It`s been so hot this week it`s a joke. Where I live is like 98 percent catholic... its insane. This week is holy week so there are a bunch of parade-type things that they do in the street. It's pretty much just a huge group walking around carrying a crucified Christ singing a weird song.... It makes me want to kick a dog every time I see it. haha. I can`t believe I'll be calling home soon! weird! The last phone call. Today I have 17 months in the mission. whaaaat?! Well have a good week everyone, love you all thanks for eveyrthing you do! talk to ya later.
Cuidense mucho.

April 25th:
Hey Fam,
How´s everyone doing? Sounds like you all had a good Easter, I´m glad! Here in El Salvador, and I'm pretty sure anywhere else where Catholicism is big, the whole week is important. "Holy Week". Pretty interesting.... haha. During the whole week they do something called "vía crucis" where there is a whole big parade of people following a crucified Christ while singing some sort of weird hymn and having the pastor praying. I had to go right through the middle of one of those to get to where I was trying to go and all of the sudden everyone knelt down to do some sort of prayer, and me and my comp were the only ones left standing... in the middle of a group of like 200 people.. going the opposite direction. haha it was awkward to say the least. And then some guy was in my way so I said excuse me and tried to get through and he just looked up at me and said "you´d be better off staying" in the most condescending, cocky way. I almost hit him in the face. haha the Catholic church.. bless their hearts. But yeah and then on Friday they do these huge paintings in the roads. And then Saturday on my street past a huge group of dressed up Roman soldiers with a man leading the group screaming "Wanted! Jesus of Nazarth!" and then the whole group chants "Wanted! wanted!".... haha I tried to get video but my camera was dead.

Somebody asked me the other day why we don´t wear the cross in our religion. And I pretty much just answered him by asking why they focus so much on the death and crucifixion of Christ when he was resurrected and that´s what we should be focusing on. That´s a big difference in our religion. It seems like they focus and worship a dead God and Christ, when we worship a living God and Christ. Anyways that shut him up real quick :) haha. But yeah other than that it was pretty good week. We have changes on Wednesday, but I'm pretty sure that me and my comp will just stay together being that I just got here a month ago.

So guess what? I know who my new mission president is. His name is David Glazier!! GRINGO! Haha I'm not sure where he is from but the president just sent us all an email saying that he is going to be the new mission president. His wife is named Beverly. So yeah, he´ll be coming at the end of June. Look him up for me and give me a little background on him!

This week it rained a couple times super hard, so it looks like we are finally entering winter here! I love the rain, except that´s when all the bugs come out. There´s a bug called a sonpopo that is a GIANT ant with wings. You´d love it haha. But yeah other than that the rain is good, is cools everything down. Well this week we will be getting the new areas of La Libertad, which is a big part of the country. Hopefully I'll get the chance to head over there before I finish! We´ll see though. Everything is going well with my companion and all of that. We have been making some killer breakfasts lately. There is a dish called Baleadas in Honduras that is the main dish, like Pupusas here. They're pretty much like breakfast burritos if you ask me haha, but my companion will swear to the death that it´s not. Well have a good week everyone thanks for all your support! love you all.