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.


The Bowden's said...

Hey Elder Benj!
So good to hear that you are doing so well out there! We are all so proud of you! Sorry to hear about your bad situation on the street...Greg now you...hopefully those individuals will stay away. Just always remember that the Lord blesses and watches over his missionaries. We will keep praying for your success and safety.
Take care and keep up the great work!
Mark, Cindy and the guys

Jeff Trader said...

Elder Salazar,

Yikes!! Gangsters. You are smart to ignore crazy people; lets just hope your companion gets the clue too.

Scott and I were released from the Bishopric last Sunday. In some ways it is sad because we have had so much fun together; Scott, Ron and Ben are truly remarkable people. Bishop Bowring is our new Bishop; he's great! He has a super sense of humor. In his comments during Sacrament meeting he was cracking old people jokes. Brothers McGinnis and Olson are his Counselors. It has been a blessing to be a part of folks' lives as Bishop - many people have been very good to me. I do admit, there was significant time pressure to get it all done; getting it all done was impossible and so the choice was always what I was not going to do. I think I learned a couple of things while Bishop 1) Love is never wasted, even when it is not reciprocated. Just as one example of many, we had a young boy years ago in the ward who came from a horrible family situation. He recently wrote to us from prison. He said he felt his Heavenly Father's love while in our primary and now wants to get his life together and make amends for all of the hurt he has caused others. I am sure nobody in our primary who taught him thought they could do anything for that little boy because of the rotten family situation and they may never know their simple act of letting our Heavenly Father's love shine thru them would have a future impact. 2) Faith in the Lord and obedience are critical - being a disciple really does require a complete surrender of our will; our will is the only thing we can give to our Father in Heaven that he has not already given us. Some day I hope to reach that level of complete surrender.

Take care of yourself and be safe.

Jeff Trader

dbanagas said...

Hola Elder Salazar,

If half of this shows up somewhere else, sorry. I left the site to look up a word and when I came back my comments were gone.

Anyway, sorry about all the drama going on in your mission. Let me know if I need to bring my Sig Saurer down and be your bodyguard :) Just kidding.

Ah the fun of companions huh? I was talking to my sons and they said right around the 6 month stretch, the good lord wants to test you a little. Just to make sure you are serious in His service. And after hearing your story about your prayer and the guy at the gas station I would stay you are most definitely being watched after because of your faith.

You know by now that our awesome Bishop Trader has been released. Wow, seems unreal. His spirit and teachings will be missed. But I think I can get him out on some hikes now...oh yeah !!! Of course, but the time I write you again, I'll probable be released...go figure.

Bishop Bowing is going to be a great Bishop. His sense of humor is amazing. He relates to young and old. And he GOLFS !!!

Well, I miss you. Your priests quorum misses you. We are going to write you at our next priest quorum meeting so look for our letters :)

Take care,

Brother Banagas

ps. If you ever want to email me personally I am at

sarahhicken said...

Elder Benjamin,
You know you are doing something right when you start thinking in Spanish. You really are an example to us of loving the people whom you serve. Even when some of them are not so easy to love.
We love you and keep up the work.
Cory, Sarah, Emma and Drew

william said...

Hi Elder Ben:
Bishop Trader has already written you that as of last Sunday, I am your new bishop. We missed you last night at Volcano Burgers following the priesthood session of conference.
Are you able to receive conference in some form?
Elder, are you sure you want to give your mother a heart attack with your descriptive account of your run-in with the gangsters?
Keep up the good work and stay out of trouble.
Bishop Bowring