Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More Changes...July 25, 2011

Hey guys,
Well this week has been a little strange! We had changes on Wednesday. A couple nights before President called me and asked me about one of the areas of the sister missionaries in my zone and if it was dangerous (which it is). I guess the sister was talking to him at the temple saying that she wasn`t comfortable there. I told him what I thought and said that it would probably be good to put missionaries in there. Well changes come around and I was told that my companion AND I had changes.... President decided to put the sister missionaries in my area and move me to the area right next to me, area Jardín. My companion Elder Aguilar also had changes to another area, but in the same zone training a new missionary. He was a little bitter about it and it was a little awkward being his companion one day and his zone leader the next. haha my new companion is Elder Barrera from Guatemala. A real serious fella.... but a hard worker so that`s good. We have the exact same time in the mission so we will be going home together. It`s been a little frustrating have the sisters in my old area because a lot of the investigators that I was working with were really complicated situations like divorces and getting married and kicking husbands out of the house, really fun stuff. Sister Cabrera is training a new sister from Utah, Sister Jones. So pretty much all of this week has been us showing them the area and introducing them to members and investigators, we've had zero time to work in our area with that and the temple. So yeah all and all it`s been kinda stressful! The new house that we are in is the worst house I have been in the whole mission! haha we only have running water from 4 in afternoon to 12 at night. Suuuuper run down, so I'm thinking we are going to be looking for a new house. In the zone there are 3 brand new missionaries being trained so it`s pretty fun to watch. Poor guys... haha takes me back to the first days of the mission just not understanding a thing that anybody is saying. They are all good missionaries though they`ll be fine.

So that lady said that she saw me at the temple huh? haha yeah it was pretty weird she just came up to me and was like , "Elder Reid... is your mom named Holly?" so she was all excited and took a picture and said that she would send it to you.
Well the open house is finished. It was pretty sad to have it end, I`ll miss helping out there. On Thursday I was giving a tour and there was a couple in the group who jumped in at the last second. They asked a ton of questions the whole time and I was pretty much just with them the whole time answering questions and explaining things. When we got out we talked for another hour after teaching things and answered their questions. The guy told me that he has had a few spiritual experiences in his life and knows a lot about religion and the bible (actually a really smart guy). Anyways his said that he felt in the temple what he had felt during those spiritual experience. Long story short they gave me their number and I called the area that they belong to and sent the missionaries there. I would not be surprised at all if they ended up getting baptized! They took a picture with me and everything, haha they loved it.

So in total more than 166,000 people attended the open house. The goal was 120,000 so I`d say we did pretty well! They were soooo many people there on Saturday it was incredible. So I'm just hoping that I`ll have the chance to do a session before I go home.

Something really sad happened last week. Remember my companion Elder Merino? Well he was informed on Monday that his Mother died giving birth to a baby girl who also died. He is from here so he left and went to the funeral (conducted the whole thing) stayed for a few days, and came back to finish out the mission. He`s a real strong kid. I feel so bad for him, I can`t imagine having something like that happen, let alone while in the mission. So everybody is praying for him.

Well what else is going on, how`s the ward and everybody? Hey, what is a normal attendance at church there? I`ve had a lot of people ask me that lately and I don`t have any clue what to respond, haha. Well have a good week, love you all and thanks for all your support!!! Until next week.

Con amor, Nick

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

4 Months Left! July 18, 2011

Dear Fam,

How`s it going guys? Sounds like everybody had a pretty good/crazy week, so that`s good I'm glad! This week has also been pretty hectic and busy for me, but for the most part good stuff. We are now in the last week of the open house so its going to be a crazy week there. I'm going to be there Tuesday, Thursday, and for the last day Saturday! It`ll be cool to be there for the last day of the open house. It sounds like you guys have been able to see some things of the temple and a little bit of the inside, it`s pretty small but way beautiful. I love it. As to be expected, some kind of bad things have happened with the temple and the people here. Earlier in the week to American pastors who are here to train other pastors came to the open house pretty much to just content and make a riot. They went through the tour and everything pretty quite, but then when they went to the reception room at the end where there is a refreshment and people to answer questions, they went to town. They started talking to two sister missionaries in my zone and pretty much ripped them a new one saying all this bad stuff about the church and trying to battle. The sisters did well though, they just answered the questions, testified and left it at that. It really just ticked me off though, I wish I would have been there. I would have told him a thing or two. It just so happens that a know quite a bit about their religion and it`s just hilarious that they can talk bad about the church and try to make people feel bad when their church has so much apostasy and false doctrine that is just so easy to prove with there own bible. And not to mention that THEY are the invited ones in the open house. And then a couple of days ago a couple trucks drove buy and egged the temple pretty badly. That almost just made me laugh... there`s a one way ticket to the telestial kingdom for ya. Also some dude spilled some version of his "holy oil" in the carpet of the celestial room. But all in all it all goes forward and nobody lets it get to them. Far more good things and experiences have happened than bad that´s for sure.
We have received so many references and good comments about it. In fact, the President of El Salvador, Mauricio Funes, went through Friday morning... yeah! It was really interesting, he said that out of all the religions of the country we are the ONLY church that has never gone to the government to ask for money or for favors or some sort of support like that. He said in fact, your church has done nothing but help the country and has given so much freely given service. So I thought that was pretty cool.

Well I have sad news.... I had interviews with President on Monday and talked to him about you guys coming to get me. Well, he pretty much told me no. He said that he has 2 manuals, a stake president manual and a mission president manual, and both of them say that it is highly discouraged that the parents come to pick up there missionaries. He then said "ya know I served my mission in Chile; 22 years later my son served in Chile... do you think I wanted to go pick him up?" I said "I imagine you did", he then asked "but do you think I did it?" ....."no"... haha and then he said "I hope that´s kind of an answer for you". I told him that Mom you were gonna write him an email to ask you about it and he said, "you can tell her" :) with a smile on his face. Soooo yeah I don`t know what more I can say. He didn't flat out say no, but if you came I would pretty much be flat out going against the counsel of my leader. And I mean we can always go back and make a sweet trip out of it in Central America. Also if I go straight home I would be getting home on Thanksgiving Day!!!
Well thanks for everything love you guys!! Tell the ward and everybody I say hi. I have 20 months in the mission today... scary. haha Talk to ya next week!
P.S. IM FAMOUS! Man being in the newspaper in Utah and I`m not even in the country... imagine when I get home, it`ll be front page!! haha jk Cuìdense!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Busy week at the Temple- July 11, 2012

Hey guys,

How's everyone doing? Everything is going well here, just another busy week with the temple and all of that. On Friday 11,000 people passed through! Insane huh? I'm not exactly sure what the total count is, but it's gotta be up there pretty high. On Tuesday I got to give a tour of the temple to a family from North Carolina who were here for business. It was way sweet and fun to be able to chat with them for a while. It was the weirdest thing hearing little kids speaking English haha, I can honestly say that it has been 20 months since I have heard a child speak English. They had a little chunky 4 year old son with really curly hair and EVERYBODY was just loving it, rubbing his head, pulling his cheek, the whole deal haha. I got to see once again a lot of people from my old areas which was way cool, including a little group that came down from Ilobasco and Pedro was there! He's still going strong.

Well today the zone has interviews with President Glazier for the first time. Yesterday My companion and I had a stake correlation meeting with him and the Stake President. He's a really good guy, I like him a lot and am excited to work with him. I'll ask him in my interview today about you guys coming down to get me, I'm sure he wont have a problem with it.
Well this next week we should have a baptism coming up. It's a wife of an inactive member that we are helping reactivate. They aren't married so we're going to marry them and baptize her. Her name is Daisy. They have a son who is an absolute spaz haha, if you could send some riddalin down here for the little guy I'm sure the parents (and me) would appreciate it haha.
So John and Joan Robison are home huh? Sounds like they did a great job on their talks, I wish I could have been there to hear it! They are definitely great people and I'm sure were great mission presidents. That's cool that a lot of their returned missionaries were there, and even cooler the joke and John made haha hilarious. I can't believe Adam Jones is going to be home so soon! I just still don't fill like I have so little time left, and I know that is how I'm going to feel when I have a week left. I'm pretty sure I won't believe it until I'm in our house... and even then I might have to pinch myself a few times haha.

It sounds like Reese is getting so huge! Man its so weird to think that I have never even seen her, and she is walking, saying words, and giving attitude haha, I cant wait to get those videos! Well sorry a little short this week guys but all that is going on lately just seems like a big blur and I cant remember what happened this week or if it was the last or a month ago haha, but love you all thanks for all your support!!!! Behave yourselves and live the gospel!
Love Nick

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Temple Work- July 4, 2011

All the Zone Leaders and the new mission President and his wife

Nick in front of the El Salvador Temple after the first open house

Dear Fam,
Well this has been a pretty crazy week, it feels like I just wrote you guys yesterday! Things are going awesome with the temple open house. It has only been open for two days and we've already had 24,000 people pass through! The goal is 100,00. The mission is receiving a ton of references for the missionaries. Last night I was up until midnight writing down references that the office was giving me for the zone and calling the missionaries to have them contact them. Way hectic! They want us to contact the references that we receive within 24 hours of receiving them, so it's pretty crazy. Well Tuesday we had the zone leader meeting the new president and his wife. They are both great people. I'm excited to be able to work with them. President Glazier is a lot more spiritually emotional than President Pérez, which I think will help the missionaries a lot. His wife is just a classic mission president's wife haha. Sweet lady. Soft spoken, kind, energetic, worries about everyone. I can't remember if I told you guys this, but her father was actually the mission president of Uruguay when she was thirteen, you were probably just a little guy though dad haha. But it was a good meeting. We set some goals, talked about the needs of the mission and how are zones are doing. My zone is doing really well right now, I think everyone is going to baptize this month!!

So Saturday I helped at the temple for the first time! It was an awesome experience, soooooo many people went through. The best part was that I got to see a lot of people from past areas and a few converts! The temple is sooo nice I love it. Part of the day I was standing outside the door of the celestial room directing people where to go, so I got to see their reaction of when they came out. I saw quite a few people come out crying. There is a chandelier in the celestial room that supposedly has 10,000 crystals in it. It's HUGE! We are having more people that expected coming to the temple so they are going to be needing more help, which means I'm going to be spending more time there than I originally thought. I'm way excited, I'd help there everyday if I could haha.

We have an investigator who is a girlfriend of an inactive member that we have been teaching for a bit now. Before she was super cold and didn't really like talking to us, just did it because the member wanted her to. And the member never wanted to get married, despite the fact that they are living together. Anyways, they went through the temple on Saturday and I visited them Sunday. She was totally different, really nice, and we committed her to baptism at the end of the month. The member is totally willing to get married now and wants our help to do it! We are also going to be having a baptism this weekend if all goes as planned.

Well I'm going to send a few pictures of the temple. Love you all thanks for everything! les extraño mucho!

Update! June letters

Nick with President and Sister Perez and their daughters

Nick's recent convert Pedro and his family
Elder Merino, Elder Jolley, and Nick

June 6th:
Well this week has been pretty good, and pretty busy. We`ve been trying to get a marriage worked out and it`s been a pain. They both had been married before and their spouses both died so we have to go and take out papers for both of them proving that there spouses are dead (weird) and then renew there ID`s (both of them have been expired for four years now) and then print off their birth certificates. After all of that we can give it all to the lawyer and get them married and the wife baptized! So we`re hoping for a miracle and that it can all work out before this Saturday so we can have the marriage and the baptism the same day. It was pretty sweet yesterday in testimony meeting a lady was saying how much faith she has in missionary's giving blessings. About a month ago she asked us to give a blessing to her son because the doctors told her that he was probably going to lose his right eye. So we did the blessing and I didn`t really hear much about it after. But yesterday she said in her testimony that he didn`t lose his eye and that it is starting to heal! Pretty sweet. And then Pedro got up and was saying how sad he was cause possibly me or my companion might leave Wednesday and how`s his grateful for all we have done for him. So nice and spiritual everything good and then........ this 15 year old girl got up and dropped everybody`s jaw by saying a really bad word and confessing some of her latest sins. hahaha I`ll miss stuff like that. But yeah other than that everything is going well and we`re just waiting to see if me or my companion get`s transferred on Wednesday. We should find out tonight or Tuesday morning. I also had my last interview with President Pèrez which was good. He gave me some good advice for life and finishing out strong my mission. President Glazier get`s here on the 27th, coming up! It`ll be interesting to see what things he changes or if things stay the same and just how he goes about everything. Seems like a good guy though.

June 13th:
Oy! So this has been a surprising week for me. We were waiting for the calls about transfers to see who was going. I was obviously thinking that my companion would be leaving, seeing how it is his first area and he has more time than me in the area. Well when the calls came I was told I had a changes and he was staying! My companion had pretty much already packed his bags haha. Well later that night the phone rang and it was President Pèrez letting me know that he had called me to be a Zone Leader. Didn't expect that! We chatted for a while about what I needed to do and what my responsibilities would be and how I can take advantage of the opportunity to as much as possible. I was pretty sad to leave Ilobaso, I liked it a lot and had some good converts and friends there. Not to mention this week I was supposed to marry a couple and get them baptized! But oh well that`s how the mission is, at least the missionary that took my place is happy I'm sure haha. But yeah I`m a zone leader now of zone Cuscatlàn, in the area of Buena Vista. It`s a pretty sweet area but It`s right in the capital pretty much. I'm about 10 minutes away from my first area in Porvenir! I`ve been tempted a couple of times to go over there and visit some people to check up on them, haha. It is however nice to be back in an actual ward, and a pretty strong one in fact. I`m actually in a threesome companionship right now, Elder Jolley and Elder Merino, because Elder Jolley is ending his mission in two weeks for school, so they just kept him here instead of sticking him somewhere else for just two weeks. He`s from Utah and way cool, I already knew him before so it`s been way fun to be with him. Elder Merino is from here El Salvador. I`ve already had my plate full the first week dealing with quite a few problems in the zone that I was lucky enough to inherit, but we`ve finally got them all worked out. I'm definitely going to grow a lot I can tell you that much. Especially in the sense of real life application. It`ll be challenging but good, and help me finish out the mission strong.

June 20th:
Well this week has been really good, just getting in the swing of things with all the new stuff I have to do. It's not too different than being a district leader, just that I have a cell phone, more meetings, and in charge of a lot more Elders. It's pretty cool though! Elder Merino actually had changes on Tuesday (long story) and they sent us Elder Aguilar from Costa Rica. My first "tico" companion so that's pretty sweet. He's a cool kid, a little on the hyper side but a good worker. He also speaks English pretty well! But yeah we have just been dealing with all the stress of the end of the month coming and having to help the zone meet all the baptismal goals and that kind of stuff. This is Elder Jolley's last week in the mission! We're trying to help him not be too baggy... but it IS his last week haha. No he's great though still working way hard and going out strong, definitely one of my favorite companions. It's pretty weird "killing" a companion though, I can't imagine how I'm going to feel my last week here.
Well right now we are working with 4 complete families which is awesome. la familia Echeverria, Acosta, Colorado, Parrilla, and then a couple other people. All of them have to get married but that's cake. I'm pretty sure we're going to baptize a ton this coming month! On Tuesday we had the farewell meeting with President Pérez. It was really good and he gave us a lot of good advice. He gave us five points of how to be successful financially and then five points how to be successful spiritually. I haven't really had a way close relationship with him, but it really is going to be sad to have them leave. They had their whole family in the meeting and all their daughters got up and bore their testimonies about there experience here and all of that. Most of all I'll miss Sister Pérez, she's a pretty incredible lady. So in exactly a week from now President Glazier will get here and then a couple days later there will be a meeting with all the zone leaders and him. I'm sure he's going to need a lot of help and support the first couple of months to help and get things going and help the transition be smooth. I'm excited though, change is a good thing once and a while! I'm also getting really excited about the open house and dedication for the temple coming up, ahh I can't wait. That's pretty much been the main focus in sacrament meeting for the last couple of months and there is a huge focus on bringing investigators to the open house. I think tonight some members are going to take us to see it and eat afterwards :) That has definitely been one of the things I've missed most on the mission, being able to go to the temple. I didn't get to go a ton of times before the mission, but enough to know that it's unlike anything I had experienced before. Hopefully they will let us go once and a while! I also hope that the members here take advantage of it and go regularly. Elder Aguilar was telling us that the temple in Costa Rica has a hard time, mainly people willing to be temple workers and people going on regular bases.

June 27th:
Well I lot to tell you this week! I've got some great news, remember how I said that we weren't going to able to participate in the open house for the temple as missionaries? Well On Thursday I got a call from the assistants saying that all of the sisters missionaries in the mission are going to be helping in the open house and 24 Elders.... out of the 180. And me and my comp are gonna be there! I was so excited I can't even tell you. So we had a special meeting yesterday in the church right next to the temple that they have built. It was sooooo nice I felt like I was in Utah again! haha. Nice seats, air conditioning, good sound system, nice lighting, everything. Some representatives from Utah came along with Elder Rivas from the area seventy to explain to us what it is that we are going to do and how we need to do it. Pretty much there are going to be three assignments for us. One of them is in a room where all the people are going to pass through as pretty much a "welcome to temple" type thing. I'll talk for a bit explaining a few things and then show a video of the temple, which is incredible. Then there is obviously the part of being a guide in the temple, taking the people through. Then after there is a refreshments room and a place to ask questions and write down comments and say if you want the missionaries to come visit your house, that kind of thing. We will all pretty much be rotating through these different assignments. It starts on the 1st of July and goes until the 21st. Between those dates I will be there 7 times pretty much all day long. I can't tell you how excited I am it's going be so awesome! Well they wrapped up teaching and showing us what we needed to do and all of that and then somebody made the comment of if we could go through the temple.. well the guy in charge went around talking for a few minutes to some people trying to pull some strings, and then asked my president and his wife if they had gone through together yet, which they hadn't. Well long story short, they let us go through!!!
We were one of the firsts to be able to go through the temple being totally finished. It is absolutely incredibly I can't even explain to you. When you first walk in, there is about a 10 foot painting of Christ with two little girls at his side. One a Nephite, and the other a Lamanite. They are holding onto his white robes and he has a bit of a serious look on his face. It is one of the sweetest paintings I've ever seen, and it was made especially for the El Salvador Temple. The temple isn't super big, but it is so nice. It is very personalized to El Salvador. In the session room the walls are painted with scenes of El Salvador and all over the temple is the national flower of El Salvador, the Izote. I could explain it to you all day but I don't have that much time haha. Anyways it was an experience I'll never forget. My first day of working there is this Saturday. I'll give you plenty details! It was so cool how it's not even dedicated yet and how strongly you can fill the spirit.
Well Elder Jolley went home this morning, he is probably in the air right now in fact. I really enjoyed being with him and I learned a ton, he's a great guy. He definitely ended the mission well going to the temple yesterday haha. Also this morning, we had a surprise farewell for President Pérez and his family. It was pretty sad but pretty cool. They are an exemplar family and we'll all miss them. The new President arrives tomorrow and will officially be the new president at 7 pm.
This week is going to be crazy. Thursday we have a Zone Leader council for the first time with President Glazier. Friday we have a multi zone meeting with about 5 zones. Saturday I'll be working in the temple. Time is going to start to fly more than it already has!
Well sounds like everybody is doing well at home, I'm glad. Just stay busy everybody! I feel like everybody is going to be so different when I get home it's going to be crazy.