Monday, November 24, 2008

Hey mom and pops,

Mom: I got your packages!! I opened the card, you guys put a TON of stuff in there. Dont worry I am going to wait till xmas to open it up. My other comps also go their packages but we are all going to wait till xmas. Things are going really good here. I gotta keep this one short but know that I love and miss you. I hope you all have a great thanksgiving, and a HAPPY BDAY!!

Thats good to hear the fires are all out, it sounds like they were pretty bad. It has been FREEZING here, even in the day when the sun is out. I have been wearing two jackets and even bought a pair of gloves. Sorry the pictures didn’t get through last week, I don’t know what happened. I forgot my camera today but next week I will have some, we have 4 baptisms planned so I will have some good ones. Thanks for checking out my bank statement, I’m going to try to do what you said. At the beginning of the month we get 1000 pesos ($100) and the first thing I do is go to the grocery store, and I usually have about 700 pesos left over for the month and I budget it daily. Although, sometimes we have to buy gas to heat the water and cook which is 300 pesos, and my companion loves to go to Carls Jr. so that doesn’t help us, lol.

I had my interview with President Cox, it was great as usual, he tells me he is preparing me for the future. He says I will be a bishop someday, I usually just laugh.

Things have been kind of tough here lately, we are having a hard time finding new people to teach. The missionaries who have experience in the mission tell me that the farther we get into December the more Catholic traditions there are and the people are even harder because they focus on worshipping the Virgin Mary. The other day we were knocking doors and an older man let us in, we entered his house and sat down. As we were sitting down about to start teaching, his wife came out and demanded that we leave because they are Catholics, that we are a false church because we don’t believe in the virgin and she basically threw us out into the night in the freezing cold. It was kinda rough but that’s how some people are...

Well I gotta run, but everything has been going really well, I am having a lot of fun here with my comp and being in this area. I can’t believe how much time has gone by and how fast. I will answer your questions...

Love Elder Benj

1. What are the ward members like?
--------They are really good people and pretty strong in the faith, our ward here compared to others is huge, we have about 170 people that come to church,they are going to divide the ward soon.

2. Are you getting fed regularly by the ward, and how often?
--------Yeah we get fed everyday by members at 2:30 pm, except sometimes they forget, thats when we go get Carls Jr!

3. How is your apartment?
--------Its a pretty nice house, we keep it pretty clean, we have two rooms to study and we all sleep in one big room.

4. Do you guys do any cooking?
--------A little bit, only in the morning. We have a microwave which is nice, but im not too sure if putting something in the microwave counts as cooking, lol...I dont think so.

5. Tell us about your companion, and the Zone Leaders.
--------The zone leaders are Elder Dalton from Saint George utah, he has 20 months in the mission so he goes home very soon. Elder Hines is from Gainsville florida and he has about 16 months in the mission. Elder Hine’s mom and grandparents are actually peruvian. His grandparents actually live in Lima Peru. Before the mission he learned to speak a little bit of Spanish. They are both good guys, except when they eat my food!! Elder Lopez is from Tijuana he is a district leader here, he is learning to speak English and its coming along well. His Dad was just released as stake president there. He is the oldest of 3 boys. He’s a really great kid with a good personality, everyone we come into contact with really likes him. He is a lot of fun because when he was living at home he used to go to San Diego a lot and he likes to skateboard so we have a few things in common. Everyone in the house here is a lot of fun.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wow, those fires look extremely close! I bet its really affecting people in Southern California, I actually caught a glimpse of a few of the fires in LA County. I saw the pictures of the fires you sent, that’s incredible... I didn’t realize the severity. California really needs to come up a with a fire prevention/response program that actually works. Keep the windows closed!

This week went well. We had baptisms for 2 young girls scheduled, but both fell through so we were a little bummed about that. I have come to kind of a hard realization. Many people here promise us they will come to church and then they come up with an excuse to not come to church so it has been a little frustrating.

Are you already listening to Christmas music?? We are!! hahaha, my companion put on Christmas music the other day and I was explaining to him that my mom listens to Christmas music from the 15th of October to the 6th of January.

Everything is going well here, President comes to interview us next Saturday so I think he will have my packages!

Love ya mom!

El Missionero de la mejor mama!
Con amor, El Elder Salazar

1. How are the Zone leaders to live with. Tell us about them.
--------They are a lot of fun, they are obedient but really fun to be around. We are always playing jokes.

2. What do the Zone Leaders do during the day?
--------They work, They do the same things as all other missionaries, only they are responsible for a few extra things like re-imbursements, handling problems with other missionaries and doing baptism interviews.

3. Besides Costco, what other shopping stores are there in San Luis Potosi?
--------There is a ton here, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, just about everything =D

4. How strong is the YM/YW programs?
--------In this ward they are very strong, they are always having activities, which is awesome because it keeps the members happy and coming along with the young kids.

5. Do the Missionaries go on splits with the ward members?
--------Yeah, every now and then. Usually we go with the kids that are preparing to go on missions, but we haven’t gone on any lately.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hey mama y papa, y familia, y amigos,

We had a baptism yesterday of a lady named Luz (its pronounced like LOSE) and we have her daughter scheduled for next Saturday. We are teaching two families right now that look like they will be baptized very soon.

My comp is doing well, we are working hard. Sorry about not sending pics last week. I promise next week I will have some more, I tried uploading some today but the comp here keeps freezing, its hard to find a computer here that actually works well. There is always something wrong, a key broke, a mouse that doesn’t work, a usb port that doesn’t exist, but that’s when you realize that you’re in Mexico. Things here have been going really good, we had kind of a crazy experience the other night, my comp and I were walking home at about 9pm when we stopped to talk to a man who called our attention, we were in a part of town that is a little bit more dangerous than others, as my comp was talking to the man, I notice on the 4th floor of an apartment complex a gangster was whistling really loud, I looked around but I saw nobody. I was really staying aware of my surroundings because its very dangerous at night, when all of a sudden two police trucks drive by with people in the back, they shined the light at the apartment building apparently looking for someone but the gangster hid himself very quickly, the police sped off and as they turned the corner about 6-7 other gangsters came out from hiding and took off running! It turns out the police were looking for these people, they were hiding the whole time and we didn’t even know it! But we made it to our house safely.

I’m very happy being here, our living conditions here in San Luis Potosi (po – toe - see) are really nice, I live in a house with 3 other missionaries which makes it really fun. We are all pretty clean (except my companion!). You should see how they manage their trash here in SLP, every day a horse pulling a cart passes and that is basically the trash truck.

This Sunday they are going to Re-dedicate the Mexico City, Mexico temple so we are excited to be able to see the broadcast in our stake center.

Well I gotta run, we’re headed to Costco! Love ya, thanks for all the love and support! Tell all the family I love and miss them, especially Nate, Justin and Ricky and Sara.

Love Elder Salazar

1. How's your new ward, is it more active than your last ward?
---------Yeah, It’s a lot more active. My ward in Irapuato had a count of between 80-110 and my new ward has an assistance 110-150, its really cool. We have 4 missionaries in this ward.

2. Tell us about your new Bishop.
--------He’s pretty young, about 30 years old. I don’t know him too well but he seems to be pretty good and means well. He served a mission in Monterrey Mexico.

3. Is bike riding allowed in your new area?--------No, ever since that missionary fell in Irapuato, the whole mission hasn’t been authorized to have bikes. But I would LOVE to have a bike because our area is pretty big.

4. Do the zone leaders have a car?
--------No, the only missionaries that are authorized to use a car is the president and his wife, and the assistants to the president because they sometimes have to take missionaries to the airport and things like that.

5. Any baptisms coming up?
--------Yeah we have a few. We have 10 scheduled for next Saturday.

6. Last week you said Elder Ditto only had 1 baptism, why so few baptisms?
--------Its hard to say, he hasn’t had much luck and he’s still learning to work here. The Mexico, Leon Mission is a little tough because in Guanajuato the Catholic church is really really big, so the people here are really, really closed minded. It’s not impossible to baptize, but our mission isn’t like Tijuana or Mexico City, where they baptize a ton in those missions. I’m really blessed to be here because they only send the strongest missionaries here.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Transfer to San Luis Potosi (SLP) and new Comp.

Hola mama y’ padre y' Familia,

I loved the pics of the Halloween party. That was a cool idea to hand every one the little sign, (Happy Halloween Benjamin) hahaha. I loved the pics of Kyle Brodowski and Grammy, and I even printed the pic of Leah and I’m going to post it up where we study. The party looks like it was a blast, that’s awesome. Our Halloween here was pretty cool, we bought some pizza and had
some fun in the house.

I have seen the blog, it looks great! I read all the comments but for some reason the blog always runs slow on the computers here in Mexico so I don’t post back, but I read them all!

I’ll tell you about San Luis Potosi (SLP) a little bit...

It turns out that I’m not with an American companion, I’m with a Mexican comp from Tijuana named Elder Lopez, he’s an awesome kid with 15 months in the mission. He’s a district leader so that means we are working hard here. My new area and comp are awesome. Except a block down the street is a big Pig/Cow slaughtering plant so it kinda smells, but it’s a very nice area. Also, my comp from the MTC, Elder Ditto is in my Zone! He’s had quite a tough time, he’s only baptized 1 person since we’ve been in Mexico and I think it’s due to crummy companions, but now he is with a very good one, so he is happy, and he’s doing very well. It was so great to see him again, he lives in my zone. He was so happy to see me. We live just outside of downtown SLP which is HUGE, I think it’s bigger than Leon but it’s awesome because there is a lot of stuff here. We have a Costco here. My comp has a Costco card so he can get me in, but he says with his plan I can buy a Costco card for 100 pesos (10 bucks) and it will still be good by the time I get home, so I am thinking of buying one.Our house here is pretty nice. Elder Lopez and I live with the Zone leaders which makes being in the house a lot of fun, we are all like brothers here, the zone leaders are both American. One is from Utah and the other from Florida. Poor elder Lopez has to put up with a lot of English in the house, but he actually can speak quite a bit. Our area is A LOT calmer, there aren’t as many cholos in my area which makes it nice. It’s actually kinda funny because there is alot of construction going on in my area, they are building new houses and stores, so there are parts of my area that look like Tustin/Irvine, everyone drives nice cars and the houses are all new. It’s kinda nice.

Well I’m gonna answer your questions now because we are headed to Carls Jr. for lunch. Whoo hoo! hahaha, well I hope you liked my pictures last week, I sure enjoyed the ones you sent from Halloween.

Thanks a lot mom for all you do! It helps so much to have a strong family to back me up. Well I gotta run! Things here are going good, I’m not drinking the water =D!

Con mucho amor,

Elder Salazar!!!

1. How was the trip to SLP? --------3.5 hours long but great.

2. What day did you travel? --------On Tuesday

3. Did you travel by bus? -------Yep

4. Did you get to spend any time in the mission home?
--------No, I arrived at the central of autobusses in the city of Leon about 10am, I saw President and Sister cox as well as a few other friends in the mission and at about 10:45 we took another bus to SLP.

5. How do you like your new companion, Elder Call?
--------I’m actually with Elder Lopez, he’s awesome!

6. Where's he from, what's he like?
---------He’s from Tijuana and he’s a really good guy, living in Tijuana he can cross over to the US whenever he wants, so he knows quite a bit of English and a lot about San Diego.

7. How's your new apartment?
--------Its a house with 4 of us living in it, its a little small but fun!

8. How does SLP compare to Irapauto?
--------I love it, there are parts of SLP even more dangerous than Irapuato but SLP is more beautiful and , its really green here. A LOT bigger. I love it.