Monday, September 26, 2011

September 26, 2011: Here and there and everywhere

Hola Familia!
  Well this week I really have no idea what to put as the subject. It's usually super easy to choose, but for some reason this week it is hard. It was a super good week. I did spend a lot of it outside of my area which was cool to meet new people and get to work with other missionaries. Sounds like for you all it went well. Thanks for all the photos you all sent. It is always interesting to see the kids and also the new hairstyles everyone is rocking haha. 
  Like I said I got to spend a couple of days in other areas. On Wednesday  I got to go and work with one of my Zone Leaders. It was fun working with him, but no one was home and when you aren't in your area time goes by a lot slower at least for me, but it is even worse when no one is home. We got invited into one house, but right as we sat down the lady started flipping out about the Sabbath Day and how it should really be Saturday. So we ended really quick and got out of there. We ended up that night having to go to this place called Apaneca. It is about an hour in bus, but has like perfect weather and is super beautiful. I have grown to love riding in buses. I may when I get back buy a bus pass and just always take buses, becuase they are just so chill and once you know the route it is so nice. So we got to take some sweet bus rides through the mountains and it was a super beautiful ride.
  The very next day I went to this place called Tacuba. It is also a ways away and I just went straight from one area to another. In Tacuba it was pretty fun, but we had to go all over. We went to this place called San Rafeal and it took half an hour in bus then an hour walking. Crazy long! It was good though. On the way back though we got on the bus and I entered and in the buses they are made for little people so I always have to scrunch my legs up into the seat if it is packed, But I got on to this bus and there was one part where one seat was missing. So I thought how sweet is that cause it makes more leg room. So I sat down and looked next to me and there was this white girl and I was super surprised (Cause there aren't many white people here). I asked her if she was a Gringa (American girl) and she was like "No..." I ended up talking to her for a bit and we started talking about the U.S. and then about the church. She said that missionaries had passed by before in this same year and that she had gone to church. I invited her to go again and she said we would. She asked me if we could come over to her house and teach her another night and I told her that I wasn't from that area, but that I would send the others over. I had noticed that everyone was staring at me (although that is not very unusual either cause I am a giant American), but it still felt weird. I got off the bus and the missionary I was with asked me, "How did that go?". I was like, "Really good, she is super positive and says she wants to go to church". He started laughing and then said, "Everyone here calls her Chicka Porno, she's a pornstar". I felt so weird, but we both busted up laughing because she had said she was so interested in the church. I then told him that they have an appointment with her that next night haha. But that pretty much explains the experience in Tacuba. 
   Here though by El Arco, everything has been going super good. This week we worked a TON with the members and we got to see the baptism of "Mama" Iris. It was sweet. We did a Family Home Evening in the house of the bishop and brought her and it went really well. She was super happy and is planning this week, with her daughter and the ward, to go to the temple and do baptisms for her grandparents. I am super excited for her. They are an awesome family and the night before she got baptized we went to there house late to try and find her husband to ask permission and when we got there he was so happy to see us. We started talking and we asked if it was alright and he was super supportive. I Love this family!
   Some othe investigators came to church and I can already see that October will be a great month for us. Although I will probably be leaving this area cause I already have 6 months. The bishop Sunday night invited us over for dinner and it was super sweet. I love this ward and it has a lot of members. 
   So I figured I should get a lot better at answering your questions. I am terrible at it, but I remember some of them.
Dad - The salsa here is a lot different. There is no salsa and chips type of salsa. The only type of salsa is like the salsa you put on to spaghetti. The salsa you put on to pupusas I think is a lot like that, but more watered down and spicy. 
Hilary - What do I think about all the time? This week I found out that my comp Elder Trump used to play Madden all the time. I realized in that moment he could become one of my best friends haha. So we got talking about that for a bit. We also got this week the Ensign and I was so super excited to get it and then I remembered that I think it was Kristin that once said that about a year through the mission I would start becoming excited for the Ensigns and start saying how much I LOVE the MoTab. That Revelation came true. The other day I listened to the MoTab come on and sing "Come thy fount" and I was like, "I LOVE THIS SONG". My comp totally laughed at me haha.
Mom - In the next package you send me you should send socks. Everything I have is good, but every single one of my socks have gigantic wholes. I bought new ones here, but they weren't very good. I ripped a whole in them in 3 weeks haha. So that would be sweet. I will also give that lady a call today. I will see if I can take her to a good pupusas place by my house. haha.
   But those are some of the questions that I remember for right now. I hope that this next week will be good and enjoy that weather. Sounds GREAT. Most of all though, ENJOY THOSE DOUGHNUTS!!!! I miss them. I ate a donut this week and the donuts here are terrible. I am super excited to see General Conference though. I invite you all to go and bring questions. I did that last time and it really is amazing how all of my questions got answered. I love you all and I will talk to you next week.
Elder Gillette
Ps I finally decided on a title.

Monday, September 19, 2011

September 19, 2011: Dìa de independencía

   Well, sounds like this week was a fun one. I am glad to hear all of the kids are doing good. Story looks like such a happy baby. I am glad that Basil is a good brother cause all of the kids here are super crazy. One time a lady asked me why the kids she sees that are from the states are so relaxed all the time. I was thinking that was a lie cause I feel that the kids from the states are super crazy, but then I watched and there really is a bit of a difference. I learned this week that it is the way you raise your kids though. It was a funny lesson I learned this week. 
   That was kind of a random thought, but hey... CONGRATS TO KC! I am super stoked that he passed the BAR. I hear it is super hard. Now I bet finding a job will be super easy. It also sounds like the 10k that Gen and Krick did was fun. I don't know how you always find the most random runs ever. I just remember when you did the one where you all ran in like business clothes. What was it called again?
   WOW and I can't believe football already started again and even more that BYU got totally dominated. Poor BYU, but good luck to U of U. Are they officially part of the PAC-12 now?
   This week was a fun week. We got to do a lot of stuff and we really worked our tails off though. I was super happy cause we were with members almost the whole week and why I liked that so much also is cause they offered us dinner a lot too haha. I have been having fun in this ward, because I think after all the time I have been here which is over 5 months, I have been able to get to know some really great people and build some sweet friendships. The bishop invited us over for dinner and he knows how much I love pupusas and we went over and made pupusas locas with him. He did it cause he knew I had completed a year. It was super nice and super fun. His family is super fun. He has a little 2 year old girl named Sophia and she is super adorable. I was trying to get her to say ¨Elder Gillette¨, but she would just say "no, no, no". Finally I realized I had a sucker and I said (While holding the sucker in my hand), "What's my name?" She looked at the sucker like in a trans and said in a total monotone voice "Su nombre es Elder Gillette". and she said it exactly. It was the funniest thing ever. Most people say my name a little different, but she said it so exactly that we all busted up laughing. 
    We also were invited by one of our members (Hermano Dueñas) to go and eat some hot dogs with him. He used to live in the states and loves talking to us in English. He teaches an English class and sometimes we get to talk with his students. But we made them in the house of one of our Recent converts Iris, because him and her mom are super good friends. So we got to eat some hot dogs and chat for a bit. After we had a lesson and it went amazing. Iris's mom (mama Iris) accepted a baptizmal date and she really wants to go back to the temple and will probably go the next time our ward goes cause she wants to do the work of her grandma. It was sweet.
    Here though it has been raining a TON! One day we were out with a returned missionary named Elvis, and at about 6 it started to pour while we were out in the middle of no where. I had lost my umbrella that week and my comps broke that day and we were left out in the hurricane. The streets were flooded to my ankles. It was crazy. We were soaked completely. We finally got to the house of the investigator we were going to visit and they were stunned at how wet we were. I had them take a picture after we had dried off a bit. Luckily I had my camera and my books in a plastic bag and they didn't get soaked. 
    It was a good week and in the end a lot of great stuff is happening. We found out that the couple we are helping to get married (Kevin who is 19 and Irnilda who is 18) are going to have a baby. We went over there and started helping them make tortillas and they told us. It was a bit suprising, but not super... It's El Salvador.
   It was a bit sad this week cause We have been teaching an investigator named William for about 2 and a half months. He has been a great friend and super cool, but this week we went and he had just super changed. His brother Walter also kind of went off the deep end. We told them that we aren't going to visit anymore, cause it isn't helping them anymore and we can't make them do anything. It was a humbling experience and I will still pray for them.
   Mom, you should send me the name of the lady that is coming and what part of Ahuchapan she is from. I know a lot of Ahuchapan and maybe I know family. Also I can't believe Bishop Wadsworth was changed. That seemed quick. Was his time already up? Also... Who is Ron Hunt? I am so bad right now with names. I guess I will get to know him when I get home. You will also have to let me know about all the bishop and stake president and all that stuff when you move, cause the mission needs all that stuff. 
  Other than that it is good to hear that Porter is playing flag football and doing good at it. I hope everyone else is doing great and I love you all. I hope all goes well in your weeks and know I pray for each one of you individually every night.
   Tell Grandma and Grandpa Gillette thanks for the letter. It was an amazing story and I have read those points before and they are great. 
    One question before I go. Have you all recieved any of the hand written letters I have sent?
    Well that is it and I will talk to you next week. Love you all.
 Elder Gillette

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 12, 2011: Dìa de los Farolitos

Hola Familia!
   So I thought I would start out by first saying... yes I have officially completed a year. SWEET! It went by super super quick and I am a little worried that the second will go by even quicker. No offense I want to see all you, but I still have a lot to learn. There was definitely a LOT of extremely hard parts in the first year, but there were parts so much better that compensate for the bad.  
   This week though was a lot of fun and I feel like we did a ton! I am really starting to enjoy the mission a lot. This month of September is the month of the independence of El Salvador. So we every day there are marching bands from the various schools playing. Here if you play in the school band it is like someone playing on the football team in the U.S. I love it though cause we will always be walking and just see some marching band walking down the street playing some sweet song. My comp is always super confused, but I absolutely enjoy it. 
   This past Wednesday was this day called El Día de los Farolitos. That just mean day of the Little Lanterns. So everyone puts these little lanterns everywhere and a lot of people will make like towers and stuff out of the lanterns and some will make sculptures. This day originally was started by the Catholics, but has just turned into the most popular festival here in Ahuachapan. There were tourists everywhere and the streets were filled. We had to avoid all of the partying going on, but we got to see a couple of the sculptures that the had put up. I took a picture of one, but it is a terrible picture cause I tried to hide my camera as I took it. It is the police station and they put up a lot of lights and they had a little stage with some guy singing on it. It was weird cause all the houses had these lights up and in the end I realized that it looked a lot like Christmas. haha. 
    Thursday of course was a crazy day too. We went to one of my converts houses (Iris) and we ate some tomales with her and her family. (Her mom is actually a really postive investigator and knows everything and this week finally went to church.). It was fun and they told me they would make me them cause I was completing one year in the mission. So we had a fun time over there and took some pictures with them also. After we had finished working we had decided we were going to keep going with me tradition. I don't if I have told you all that everyone month that I complete in the mission I buy that many pupusas. So when I completed 3 months I ate 3 pupusas. When I completed 9, I ate 9 pupusas. Thursday I ate 12 pupusas. It was glorious. I loved it. We then ended the night by doing what every missionary does when they complete a year. I burnt a shirt, but don't worry dad it was one of the shirts that had a hole int the bottom part and was super dirty and missing 2 buttons. So I thought it was alright. That night reminded me of when we got the letter from Kristin when she completed a year. I still for some reason have that picture burnt in my head of her with the shirt she was going to burn, but something happened where she couldn't burn it. It was a lot of fun though.
   On Saturday we had a stake mission activity. I am not going to lie the activities that the Salvadoreans put on aren't very good... unless you tell everyone that there is going to be a piñata involved, but unfortunately there wasn´t a piñata involved so not many people came. We had a contest to see who could make the coolest temple out of a bunch of random stuff. It actually turned out to be pretty fun. I atleast brought one of my recent converts (Rosa) to the activity and her son Victor and they both loved it. They actually ended up winning. haha.
    Other than Those thing just keeping up with work as usual. I have finally started working out in the mornings again and that has actually helped me to feel a little better. I finally weighed myself again this week. I have gained 5 pounds since I last checked about 6 months ago. At least I am not going down anymore!
    As far as our investigators go, we are going with the same people and this week we had to start really getting on them, cause a couple were startin to really slack off and the commitments. One of our investigators that I spoke about last week (Roberto) is doing amazing. Like I said last week that the 3 months or so that I have known him he has been a drunk, but he went this whole past week without drinking. It was a miracle. Our lessons right now are so much better and he really is progressing and reading. He is a great guy and we are hoping to do a family home evening with him and his whole family and bringing the bishop too.
    Also like I said "Mama" Iris (the mom of the recent convert, we just call her "mama" to not get her confused) she also went to church which was such a big step. It was awesome to see that after all this time of going over there to see her finally take this step and go to church. She loved it and everyone after went up and talked to her. She said she wants to go back next week also. 
   Well I love you all so much. Now it is less than a year til I will see you all again. i am going to send a different email with all the pictures that I have from this week cause there are a lot. Love you all and talk to you soon.
  Elder Gillette

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September 5, 2011: 1 Year


   Well this week was a super week. We got in a ton of great work and best of all I feel like I am becoming a more intelligent worker. I am getting better at working with the members and with my comp and especially how to work the area.

    First of all I would like to say Happy B-day to Kels! Crazy she is already 17. BLOWS MY MIND. I can't even imagine how much she has changed. Sounds like from the e-mail kels sent me that it was quite a crazy week for her. That is a lot better than my 17th birthday. Let's see what happened.... OH YEAH! EVERYONE FORGOT MY 17TH BIRTHDAY! haha that was the year that Asher was born. I didn't realize it at the time, but it was a great birthday present haha. I am glad though that Kels had a better 17th birthday than mine.

     This week though we got to do a lot of great stuff. We put our goals at the beginning of the week and we worked super hard to achieve them. In my mission I have had a harder time getting members out and working with us. I think it was my fault though cause it was always a lot easier not to try as hard, but the results never went as well and so it has been one of my goals to really get better at working with the members.

     Right now we are still working with the same investigators, but we did have a break through with one of them. I have explained I believe many times about Walter. We are teaching him and his brother and they both went to the temple and have both been going to church, but something hadn't clicked. We had been praying a lot and trying to teach everything and this week we decided to start over and teach the first lesson and emphasize on prayer and daily scripture reading. We found out that he hadn't really read The Book of Mormon and also hadn't really prayed. We left the commitment to do them both and for the next two days he forget, so he said. Finally Friday we went by and we prayed and we started talking about his progress and he said that he had finally read. That he read and really liked it and ended up reading 12 chapters in The Book of Mormon and after prayed. He said he knows it is true. We talked and in the end we started talking about goals with him and we all put daily goals and weekly goals. He said he wants to read 2 chapters everyday and stop drinking coffee. He also wants to do service 3 times a week. At the end we asked where does he want this to lead to and he said, "Baptism". So we put the goal with him and his brother for the 25th of this month. It was a great lesson and the spirit was so strong.

     There is another investigator named Roberto who is about 50 and lived in The United States for like 15 years. He is always drunk and his wife makes pupusas and whenever we pass they give us free pupusas. So we started talking to him and he was quite the interesting guy and we invited him to church this week. Yesterday during church in the middle of sacrament he strolled on in. Not drunk and I believe it was the first time I had not seem him drunk. He said he really enjoyed it and after sacrament meeting like 4 members came up and already knew him. We talked to him after and he said he won't drink again and that he wants to come back next week. It was such a miracle.

     This week though we got asked by the Relief Society to go and show them some recent converts so they could know and visit them also. So we brought them around and it went super SUPER well. There is just something different to an investigator when someone who is living in the exact same situations bares testimony than when some nicely dressed whiteboy bares testimony. It was sweet.

     One of the ladies we visited had her husband pass away about a month ago and he had planted a lot of corn and she is about 60 and now has all this corn and it takes a lot to take care of it all. We invited to go and help her and Thursday in the morning we went out to the "Milpa". They gave us machetes and we did what is called "Doblando". Where you cut off all the leaves and then cut the stock to prepare to seed the beans. My comp was loving all of this cause he is still pretty new to all of this and it was his first time working out in the field with a machete so it was an experience for him We did that for about 4 hours in the morning and it was sweet, but I was sweating so bad. There is also this stuff in the corn leaves that if you are sweating it causes you to itch a ton, so I got a nice rash that night, but it has already gone away luckily.

      Well it was a super fun week and I really learned a lot, but this weekend we had to plan for this next week and I realized that this week.... I complete a year in the mission. I can't even believe it. The mission has already gone by so fast. At times I will catch my self thinking, "Where was I a year ago?", but this week I will reply, "Oh ya, in the mission". It is really awesome to look back on all that I have done though and all that I have learned. WOW, When I think about the change in a year ago til now it is.... GRANDÍSIMO! The good thing is though is that I still have another year. It will be good to see all of you in a year, but I still have a lot I need to do.

      Well enough with that thought. I love you all a ton and I hope everything keeps on going great. It has been getting hotter here and in Elders Qourum yesterday all I could think about was going for a swim. Then Jof and Kylie sent those pictures of them swimming. It looks super nice haha. I would love to go for a swim at about 2 in the afternoon when it is super hot and humid.

     I always pray for you all and I have been reading a bit in doctrine in covenants and I really am liking a scripture in Doctrine and Covanents 130:20-21. That whenever we recieve a blessing it is through our obedience. I love that and it is true. Doesn't mean we wont have trials, but we will have the help of God getting through them all. I really like that and I thought I would share that thought.

    Love you all and Have a great week.

  Elder Gillette