All packages are to be sent through the U.S. Postal Service. They do seem to arrive intact within 2-4 weeks.
Elder Daniel Blanchard

Mision El Salvador Santa Ana

Apartado Postal #142

Santa Ana, El Salvador, C.A.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 17 (Campestre, Atiquizaya)

Well one week down of being a trainer. Definitely one of the longest-hardest weeks of my life. But it is slowly getting better. This week was also a little frustrating with our investigators. We had five who had baptismal dates for the 17 de deciembre but none of them had any attendances to church. This meant that it was necessary for them to go to church this week. Well 2 have work every Sunday which means they can never go. One had his birthday this Sunday so he was with his family and couldn’t come. Two have a comprimiso with god where they can’t leave their house until 12 on Sundays. Which they are praying to see if it’s ok, but still haven’t received an answer. It was super frustrating having that happen. 

But one the bright side, we already have a bunch of people who say they are going to come next week. And this week we have a lot of lessons with people we contacted this week. So we have a lot of fresh meat.

This week for thanksgiving we had a party with a couple of the zones. We made ornaments that had ties and our name tag for the Christmas tree in the office. After that we all had to get flu shots. Then we ate. The food was so good. We had turkey mashed potatoes, potato salad, and some broccoli salad which was really good too. It was so nice not eating rice and chicken for once. Then they had pumpkin pie and vanilla ice cream which was amazing. It was the most food I had eaten for a while.

Something cool that happened this week was a small tender mercy. We had to go to Santa Ana twice this week which is an hour and a half bus ride. On Wednesday we had to go for his papers so he could be legal here which we had to be in the office at 7 am, we left our house at 5:30 and had to stand the whole time is a bus that is the most crowded I have ever seen, and the only windows open on the bus were the ones in front of me and my comp, which made it really cold haha. My comp had to go to San Salvador which is another hour an a half. All the news went there together and the trainers stayed to have interchanges for a few hours. I went with elder price my old ZL from Arizona who is really cool, to his area in chalchuapa which is a super dangerous part of the mission. Well after a few hours of being there we had to take a bus back to the office which should have only taken 20 minutes but took more like 45.

Then from the office we went back to our area. The point is we did a lot of traveling that day and were exhausted. Well we had appointments in a part of our area called Nuevo Amanacer which we usually need to take a bus through a jungle for about 15 minutes to get there. Well we had appointments for 2, 3 and 4 o´clock and we need to leave there by about 5 because the buses stop going there pretty early and to walk back in the dark from there is really dangerous. Well we returned to our area at like 4:30 and we decided to still go there because we have an investigator with fecha who we needed to visit because he needed to go to church to maintain his date. 

And the next couple of days we couldn’t visit because we had appointments. Well we decided to go and to not wait for a bus because sometimes you can wait for more than an hour for them and we didn’t want to waste time and the bus would pass us on the road but in case it didn’t we wanted to already be walking there. Well the buss never passed. It took us 40 minutes to walk there, and it is always inclining gradually. I love to walk fast. My companion struggles to walk fast but that’s another story haha. But He was dying on the way there. 

Well we end up getting there and we have a quick lesson with him and we find out it’s his birthday and he can’t come to church. So basically we went there for nothing. Well the lesson ends and by this time it is like 6 and basically completely dark well we asked a member there if there would be another bus coming and she said maybe, but also that she would not recommend walking back cause its really dangerous. 

Well we decided to start walking back because there was still a tiny bit of light. Well while we are walking a bus passes us and we get super excited and wave it down, but it doesn’t stop. We figured it just wanted to go drop the people off and then come back for us. But then we talked to a lady passing us by and said that bus was going to stay in Nuevo Amanacer. So we didn’t know what to do. So I start praying in my heart because first of all I’m exhausted and don’t want to walk twenty miles, and also cause I don’t really want to get shot. I wanted to know what we should do. Well I felt like we should keep walking a little further, but then we came to a point where I felt like we shouldn’t go further and that we should say a prayed out loud. 

After the prayer I felt that it was ok to continue walking so we walked a little more down the pathway where I felt the impression to stop and wait. So I did. Then two people passed and I felt like we should follow them. So we started to follow them, and then from a little further down the road where another road joins it we see a light and hear a car coming, so all four of us start running because we think it might be a bus. It wasn’t, but it started a conversation with the other two people. The bus hadn’t stopped for them either but they showed us s spot where we could wait for a bus from either Amanacer or a different area so we wouldn’t miss it. 

A bus ended up passing and we made it home safely so that was cool. It just helped me learn that first of all, sometimes we just need to stop and pray so that we can be in tune with the spirit, and that we need to follow the promptings without hesitation even if you doubt they are promptings. Because I honestly didn’t think  they were promptings at first but the more I started listening to them the stronger they got. I bet we would have made it safely without this experience because the bus would have passed us in the street walking back, but this experience helped us feel confident and comfort in our decisions so that we were never worried.

But yeah this week has been super long. A lot of our lessons our investigators are on complete different Sides of our area, so all this week we have been walking a ton. My comp is dying because I try to walk super-fast because I don’t want to be late, but he has super short legs. And is kind of fat (It’s not bad to call people fat here). So there’s always a huge gap between us and I always have to stop and wait for him. He will get used to it soon though, and probably lose a lot of weight.

Also to add to our walking we have the no water problem. All this week we didn’t have water in our Souse. Only two 5 gallon jugs of pure water for drinking. So all this week when we needed to use the bathroom we had to walk 10 minutes to the chapel. Also to bathe in the morning we had to walk 25 minutes to the house of the elders of another area in our district. Which they had hot water which was super nice, but it still sucked. We still don’t have water. Everyone says we are supposed to see falling water today but this morning we had none. Hopefully when we get back there’s water.

Yeah but with all this walking, teaching all of the lessons and trying to plan everything and be on time to everything is physically and mentally exhausting. Luckily it’s getting better though and my comp is starting to get a little bit more comfortable in the lessons and is starting to say a little more. I feel bad because he feels bad that he doesn’t know stuff and is getting frustrated with himself. I keep trying to get him to stay positive and we do a lot of practices. 

When we are walking I try to get him to give me the lessons. I think he’s getting sick of that haha cause I always correct him when he says false doctrine, and he says a lot. Like his first couple of days he was teaching that 2 angels appeared to joseph smith in the first vision, and that Joseph wrote the book of Mormon. That prophets are the authority of god(not people). It’s funny though because like the first day we were here went contacting and had some weird lessons and were rejected a lot by people who already go to another church. 

So I was explaining to my comp the situation we have in this mission, how it is different than other the other missions because there is a ton of religion here and everyone actually goes to their church and are active there. I also described the place as being full of apostasy, and I guess my comp really liked that description because every day since he has talked to someone from the mission or a member about how much apostasy there is. But yeah he really is overwhelmed and I am trying to help him as best as possible. Luckily I am really patient. 

Everything is going good here though. Yeah the thing you sent me was the right thing. I should be in the pictures. I am in the bottom left Connor sitting down in the picture outside. I see the people in my district quite a bit. We haven’t done anything for pday for thanksgiving, just the zone party. Haha I don’t have too much hope for the singing. He thinks he is a really good singer haha. I think I am just gonna stop singing hymns before the lessons.

Everything is going good though, Hope everything is going good back home too. Take pictures when it snows. I miss cold weather.

Love Elder Blanchard

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