Monday, September 29, 2008

Hey Mom and Dad,

The weather here has been really, really nice, sunny but cool. Things here are going as we say ¨mas o menos¨ which is more or less. We are having a really tough time finding people to teach. On Saturday we knocked doors for 6 hours and didn’t teach 1 lesson. I said a prayer in the street that heavenly father would put at least one person or family in our path that was ready to hear the message of the restoration. We worked throughout the day visiting members and less actives. As we ended the day we were walking home tired and a little discouraged. As we passed a gas station a man approached us and asked if we were elders, we told him that we were, he then asked us if we could visit him and his sons at his home and share with him our message because he has heard of our church years ago and likes it, also that he wants his kids to grow up correctly. I knew from the moment he called to us that heavenly father had heard my prayer and he answered it directly. I’m so grateful to have the knowledge of the plan of salvation and to be bringing this message to the people of Mexico!

On Wednesday we had a big problem which resulted in a huge fight between me and my companion. Here’s what happened...
My area is filled with gangsters whom like to say insults to us in the street. Our usual routine is to not say anything or provoke them, just let them pass. Well my new companion seems to think he’s pretty tough. The other day we were looking for a street in a certain area that’s not too pretty. 6 gangsters passed by us on motorcycles, they said things to us but we just let them pass, about 10 minutes later they passed by us again and said something, this time my companion stares at them, raises his hands and says things back to them like HE wants to fight. 4 of them got off the motorcycles, pulled out machetes and knives and ran towards us. My comp and I stayed where we were. We had our backs to an Internet cafe, I turned around and told the owner to call the police. The gangsters ran up to us and threatened to kill us, they told us that they were part of a certain gang and told us to watch out. After that they got on the motorcycles and took off. Afterwards I was extremely furious because had my comp not said anything, we wouldn’t have had a problem. But because he had to open his mouth he almost got us both killed, I really laid into him afterwards and I think he felt bad. I told our zone leaders what he had said and did, and I think they laid into him too. Other than that things are going ok here.

This Sunday two lady’s from California came here on vacation and they don’t speak Spanish (one of them has a husband that speaks) and I was talking to them in english, it was so hard!! I couldn’t speak my sentences without speaking some words in spanish, we were all laughing because I had to tell them forgive me for speaking so slow and badly. I realized that I think in spanish now!

Today we went to a really nice mall, they had a deal going on there, you can buy 3 suits for 200 dollars(2000 pesos) and they are really nice suits, but my suits are still in good condition so I’m going to wait till they wear out. I’m really happy with my new shoes, they are awesome. Things here are SO cheap.

Love ya mama, gracias por todo!! El hijo de la mejor madre,

Love El Elder Salazar

1. What do the kids in the area do for fun? Do they ride bikes, baseball, soccer?
--------Yeah they ride a lot bikes, and play a lot of soccer. I haven’t seen any baseball and a little bit of basketball.

2. What do the adults do for fun? Are there movie theaters.
--------There are two malls here and two movie theatres. Also, Leon isn’t too far away so a lot of times they go there to shop and hang out.

3. Does the Ward have a scout program?
--------No, scouting doesn’t exist here. When I told some members I was an Eagle Scout they had no idea what it was, ahahah.

4. What does the YM/YW do for activities?
--------This is a problem that our ward has, they don’t have any activities. Right now we are working with the bishop to establish activities.

5. Does anybody play guitar?
--------I don’t personally know anybody. There is an old man that sits in the street ALL day, he makes guitars by hand. He always waves to us but I haven’t had the chance to ask him about them.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hey dad,

The computers here are going reeeallly slow. Im sorry, I promised pics this week but the comps here aren’t working and we have to take off. But I promise next week...Also if you could let grandma and grandpa Salazar know I got their card this week, I will write them next week for sure. Also, please tell mom to tell grammy and grandpa Hicken that I will be writing them next week also. Tell all the family I said Hello and that I love them... thanks dad. Love Elder Salazar

Hey Dad, This Email is for you and mom....

We had changes this week, Elder Velez took off to another city, kind of like Irapuato, called Cortazar which isn’t to far. I received Elder Raya, who is from Mexicali. He transfered from Aguascalientes. He has a year in the mission field but doesn’t act or work like it. This week has been kinda rough. He is senior comp, but he doesn’t like to work which has been kinda tough for me since I have promised myself to be as obedient as I can and always work. So I have been a little down this week learning to work with someone different. Yesterday (Sunday) we had interviews with the president and he told me some things that have really helped me out, so I’m trying to love and serve him the best I can, and I am moving forward!!

As for success right now, we are knocking a lot of doors. We challenged 5 people to baptism. 2 of those that we are teaching are very young and have one child. Their names are Jose and Maria. Jose is 17 and Maria is 19, they already have a one year old son and another baby on the way, we are trying to help them out with everything, they have close to nothing.

Last Monday I bought new shoes, they are really nice, I like them better than my Rockports. They were 500 pesos(50 bucks!). They are called Flexi´s, I have a friend here in my zone and he has had his Flexi´s for over a year and they are still in good condition, so I am happy. My other shoes developed a hole on the bottom and every time I step in water or it rains my foot gets soaked, so I decided to buy new ones. Well I will answer the other questions now, that I haven’t already answered.

Love ya, thanks for everything!

4. Is there anybody in your ward that speaks English, do you miss it?
........Yes, 2 people. I don’t miss English too much, although I have a new elder in my area that is American and we speak in English, it has been really weird! I have forgotten a few words, like translate. Sometimes when I speak in English I say words in Spanish, its been really weird... Also there are a lot of kids in my ward that are studying English so they ask me questions and I always try to help them learn and understand.

5. Is there any food from back home that you especially miss?
........Not really because we almost always ate mexican food at home! Although I was thinking of a 9 inch Togos roast beef the other day, with mayo, pepperchini, pickles, lettuce, and I was getting all worked up thinking about it...

6. Do you ever get homesick?
........Nope, sometimes I take a look at my photo books and it brings back good memories. Also reading emails every Monday helps me out a lot.

1. How's your new companion? How long has he been out?
2. Where's he from. Does he speak English?
3. Any baptisms coming up.
4. Is there anybody in your ward that speaks English, do you miss it?
5. Is there any food from back home that you especially miss?
6. Do you ever get homesick?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hola familia,

Our transfer ended this week, Elder Velez will be leaving. I will be in Irapuato another 6 weeks, ayecaraye! Tanto tiempo que no? I receive my new companion tomorrow. Things here are going good though, we are having quite a hard time finding people who are prepared to hear the gospel. We teach alot of lessons but people wont keep their commitments and come to church. But President taught me that "Its not the area, its not the people and its not the message...its the messenger." So I'm trying to find better ways to serve the people here, to understand what they need and are looking for specifically in their lives. Well I'm sorry I have been lacking on the photos and messages. But I promise more next week, today is our last day of the transfer and we are going to McDonalds to celebrate, whoo!! Love Elder Salazar

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hey Mom and Dad,

Enjoyed the pics! The other night my comp and I were heading home, we were passing through the field we always go through when I heard some really quiet "meows", I hopped over some barbed wire and found a bag of 3 baby kittens, someone had abandoned them. We took them back to the house and tried to feed them a little milk but they were so new their eyes weren’t open and they didn’t know how to drink, so we wrapped them in a t-shirt and left them in the field. The next morning one had died but two were still alive, that night all three were gone, so who knows... Actually as we were on our way here to the internet cafe we found two little puppys in the field so my companion and I are debating on bringing one to the house. But yeah things are good here, the weather has been really nice. All the kids here are back in school. School here has two sessions, morning and afternoon so it seems like there are always kids in street. Mom, there are a ton of rats here, also there are a ton of Scorpions =/! there is a family in the other ward in our building from California, they are the only white people! The husband is here working for a little while, his wife is president of primary and they have two little kids, I have yet to talk to them. But Imagine being primary president of children who speak another language! My shoes are holding up, they are slowly wearing away but they are doing good, they are waterproof and very comfortable. If I need shoes I can buy them here, Leon is famous for making and exporting shoes. My comp bought some really, really nice new shoes for 500 pesos, only 50 bucks! Before I come home I’m gonna buy a ton of shoes.

Well I gotta run, thanks for the Email, I look forward to next week. Love ya!

1. Do people hassle you because you are missionaries?

A. No, most people are just curious and ask us questions, mainly why we’re called "Elder" and why we don’t worship the Virgin Mary.

2. How do the gangsters on the street treat you guys?

A. They make stupid remarks all the time, it drives us nuts. There are a ton of young kids who think they are gangsters and they like to say stuff or try to talk in English. Sometimes they say cuss words in english but even they don’t understand them. We are really familiar with where the cholos hang out so we stay away from their areas.

3. Who was the tall Elder in the picture taken in Abasolo?

A. The tall Elder is Elder Trejo, he’s from Chiuahua Mexico. He has about 3 months in the mission. In our ward there are 4 Elders, Elder Velez, myself, Elder Garcia and Elder Trejo. All four of us are working in Abasolo 2 days a week so we have been working a lot together.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hola familial y’ amigos!

First off thank you for all the love and support., and know that I’m thinking of you all. This week went well. This past Friday we went to a little town called Abasolo, it’s about a 30 minute bus ride out of our usual area. It’s really beautiful, we are trying to establish a branch there because there are quite a few members but none of them have cars so it makes it difficult for them to travel all the way into town to attend sacrament. So we are trying to bring the church to them, we will we be working in Abasolo (if our schedule permits) 2 days a week, Wednesday and Saturday. We went this past Friday and visited some of the members, we also visited a very very sick gentleman named Francisco, he was very loving and kind. Francisco has been bedridden for over twenty years and is still trying to figure out why heavenly father has dealt him this type of card, so we are going to try to visit him along with a member who takes really good care of him.

I had my first dog attack this Sunday...We were walking through our neighborhood on our way to church in the morning. We passed an older lady and her black lab, the dog saw us and didn’t bark, didn’t growl, nothing. As we kept walking all of a sudden something hit my legs from behind, it was the dog! He tried to bite me but couldn’t get a good bite, I took out my pepper spray and sprayed him, but he backed up out of range, I then threatened him with a large rock but he persisted!! I Lunged at him and scared him, he ran back to his home. What made me mad is that he attacked me for nothing, even worse; the old lady said nothing the WHOLE time!!! We are trying to work hard here, the members are strong but we know they can be stronger. We are working to help them get a temple here in Leon, I hope all is well at home. Remember to always include the less fortunate in your prayers, there are a lot. ------Love Elder Salazar

Hey mom,

The field in Irapuato is kinda tough right now but we are starting to open up a new area called Abasolo. It’s a tiny little town, you can think of it like Bishop. Mom, let me know who wins the election. Sounds like everything is good in The OC and with the family. Everything here is going good, And I got your package, thank you!!! I really really loved it, all the missionaries were jealous. ------Love Elderito Salazar

Hola padre,

Todo esta muy bien, aunque nosotros habiamos baƱando en agua frio!! Ayecaraye!! (Translation; Everything is good, although we are bathing in cold water”)

I got your package this past Thursday, thanks a lot! I love everything inside.

I will answer your questions ahora.
---- Love ya!

1. Are there homeless and beggars in Irapuato?
1A. Yes there are a ton, but they are a lot more friendly than the gangsters we deal with on a daily basis. The other night we were walking home and there was a drunk in the street as we passed him he said to us "You guys didn’t leave in the Airplane either??" My compaƱion didnt say anything but I responded to him "No we couldnt make it!" as we kept walking he said "well its alright, lets go in taxi, I´ll pay!" we were laughing all the way home. It was really funny. That same day in the afternoon we saw a drunk sleeping on the sidewalk, we came back a few hours later and he was juggling a piece of fruit and trash in the street and asking cars stopped at a red light for money. My comp and I were laughing really hard because juggling two things is easy!

2. What are the grocery stores like?
2B. There are a ton of little liquor stores that carry just about everything we need, but when we receive our monthly allowance of 1000 pesos, we go to the supermarket which is basically a WalMart. We actually were teaching the manager who is about Nathans age but he can’t come to church. Try looking up the supermarket its called "The Soriana". There is one here in Irapuato directly in front of the Church.

3. Are there any cats where you are?
3c. Yes, but very few.

4. Is there any open country/desert/mountains nearby?
4d. Yeah, there are some hills but they aren’t anything special.

5. Do you and Elder Velez play soccer with kids or each other?
5e. With kids in the street, no. But we have been trying to strengthen the relationship between our recent converts and members, and also attract less active members to come to church by having soccer night in the Church building every Friday.

6. Do you ever get to see Elder Ditto, or the other missionaries you came out with?
6f. No I haven’t seen them, but Sis.Cox tells me they are all doing good. Elder Ditto is doing well. I heard that Elder Callen who came with me has lost 20 pounds!