Monday, January 26, 2009

Transfer to new area. Cardenas

Hey Mom & Dad,

This week went really well. We already had 2 baptisms. My new area is awesome; I am 3 hours away from my old area which makes a total of me being 6 hours away from Leon, Guanajuato. We had kind of a crazy experience on the way to Cardenas. We left Monday night at 9:00 pm, an hour into the trip our bus tire blows out and our bus lost power so we ended up waiting for another bus for an hour, which took us to a town called Rio Verde. We drove an hour and a half to Rio Verde, and from Rio Verde to Cardenas. We ended up getting to Cardenas at 1:30am and didn’t get to our house until 2:00 am!

My new companion is a really great guy. His name is Elder Verdeja. He has about 4-1/2 months in the mission. He’s a convert to the church and has about a year and a half as a member, he comes from the capitol of Mexico D.F. (Distrito Federal).

My new area Cardenas is AWESOME. It’s really beautiful here, it’s a tiny, tiny little town, I
would say no bigger than Bishop, CA, but more beautiful. There are rivers, hills and lots
of scenery. Also the people here are a lot more loving and receptive to the gospel. Our sacrament meeting is held in the 3rd floor of a Pharmacy building, this week we had a record breaking assistance of 57 people. Its very funny because there aren’t enough able adults (due to the amount of new converts) to run the auxiliary’s. last Sunday Elder Verdeja taught the Gospel Principles class and I was in charge of the primary. I bet you can imagine how it went... CRAZY. There are about 15 kids in the primary and I basically taught them about who Jesus Christ is and then I taught them why we should always be obedient. The kids were actually pretty good, but when I let them start to draw and write they went nuts. But it turned out really well. It looks as if I might be in charge of the primary from here on out till we find someone able to run it well enough.

Our baptisms went well, we have an outdoor baptism font and the only way we can heat the water up is by making a fire, putting water in a huge pot and boiling it, then putting it in the font. Preparing for our baptism service took from 8am in the morning to 1:00 in the afternoon, 5 hours!!

Good to hear things are going well at home, I really hope the economy picks up because it is affecting a lot of people here in Mexico, but as the world keeps moving so is the gospel here in Cardenas. I gotta run.

Con mucho amor,

El Elder Salazar!

1. What is the most common thing that families feed you at appointments? (Jake Clark)
--------We seem to eat lots of different types of soups, beef soup, chicken soup, and all soups have vegetables in them.

2. Do you have a favorite hole in the wall tienda that you like to grab grub on the go? (Jake Clark)
--------I’m still figuring out where the hotspots here are in Cardenas, but in my old area we had a nifty little joint where they sold Tortas de Lomo, it’s basically a sandwich. But they cost 15 pesos, you can’t beat that!!

3. What is the most enjoyable thing about being on a mission, that makes it all worthwhile?
--------Seeing people become happier, because that makes us happy and time just seems to fly by, everyday just helping people and seeing the results.

4. Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would do differently to prepare for your mission?
--------I would have liked to know the scriptures a little bit better, and also have worked jobs more in contact with other people. Because a lot of missionary work is talking/teaching by the spirit, some elders have this gift, people are drawn to them because they speak by the spirit and the people feel something different. This is something I am working on.

5. Is it hard to gather up all your stuff and go to a new area?
--------Yeah, for me it is. Because I get worried about my investigators and saying goodbye to some of the members/converts that I really had a good relationship with, all the while worrying about packing my stuff and getting ready for a new area, for me it’s a little hectic, but its exciting.

Mucho amor de Cardenas!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hey Familia,

Things are going well here. Yesterday we were supposed to have 2 baptisms but they fell through =(. Yesterday we had stake conference and it went well, the only problem we had is that there are so many members here that we ran out of chairs and space in the stake center! They are planning on making 3 stakes here in San Luis so it’s amazing to see how much the work is progressing here.

Also yesterday I found out that I am being moved to a new area. The new area I am going to is called Cardenas, it’s in the state of San Luis Potosi, but it is another two hours from where I am right now, its a tiny, tiny little town. They don’t even have a church building. We will all be meeting in a house, so it should be interesting. There is only about 35 active members. I will now be 5 hours away from Leon, in the farthest area in the mission. I’m super excited! I already know my new companion, he is a great kid named Elder Verdeja. He only has about 4 months in the mission but he is a very great elder.

Also, today I will be sending out a package. I included some gifts, pictures and letters to some of the family so I hope you enjoy. Before sending it I am going to try to burn a cd of all my pictures and send it to you. I hope sending it won’t be too expensive.

So as I was telling you about that dog last week, we have been visiting that family lately and that dog now follows us everywhere! He walks around with us all day, even when we are in appointments he waits for us outside. He usually starts to head home when he gets distracted and we lose him but its really funny, he’s a great dog!

That was really interesting to hear about supercross and especially the Mike Carona case. I started laughing when I read his quote about god. It truly is a miracle that he isn’t going to prison, he should believe in god. I cant believe grandpa will be released when I get home! I hope they wait for me, so he can release me!! I have to run, but expect some pictures of my new area next week, love ya!

Que se cuidan mucho!

El Elder Salazar

1. Do they play the piano or organ in sacrament and primary? (mom)
--------There are very few people here who know how to play the piano here,but in my ward we do have a member who can play. In primary they usually play a CD that has the music on it.

2. Was it weird to hear all your old primary and sacrament songs being sung in Spanish when you first got on your mission?
--------Actually it is! But now Im used to hearing them in spanish, =D.

3. Are the traffic laws enforced as much there as they are here? (mom)
--------Kind of, not really. There aren’t really any laws that are strictly enforced here, but of all the police work I do see going on here, usually it’s traffic enforcement.

4. What is the wierdest thing you have had to eat while in the mission? (Jacob Clark)
--------Tacos de Ojo! We all went out to eat some tacos one time and we all tried Tacos with cow eye. It’s a taco mixed with meat and cow eye, it wasn’t very tasteful. You can still see the pupil of the eye in some tacos.

5. What is the most beneficial thing you learned from Brother Lee's mission prep class? (Jacob Clark; giving a talk on benefits of missionary prep class)
--------Great question. The most useful thing I learned in Bro. Lee´s class is as he says "Find the quickest way to the grove". No matter what the situation, what time or where you are, you can always testify that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ, that he truly was chosen as a prophet in these last days. Sometimes people aren’t interested in the message, or they want to fight over doctrine but if you just testify to them about what happened in the grove they will feel the impact of your testimony, contention will leave and they will feel the spirit and recognize that you are a true representative of Jesus Christ.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hey mother y padre =D,

My b-day went well, we actually didn't do anything special lol...but it was nice, I just ate myself some cake and put myself to work. It was nice. Last Wednesday I received about 5 cards, 1 from gramma y grampa Salazar, 2 from gramma y grampa Hicken, 1 from aunt Shelly and family and 1 card from the Olsen family in gg6th. I know I really need to get some cards out, but it is very hard here to send mail, the banks won’t mail them for us. I plan on sending a package(s) home next Monday, when I do I promise to write letters to all of the family. I was talking to President Cox on Wednesday and they don’t even write/mail home. The only time they write/mail home is when they send packages.

Everything here is going well. Right now in the mission we have been talking a lot, about sacrificing more, basically going the extra mile. This is the last week of our change. There is a good possibility that Elder Kay or myself will be changed but we won’t know till next Sunday. Yesterday (Sunday) we baptized two daughters of one of my converts, the baptism went really well. I had my first opportunity to confer the holy ghost =D, usually we let the bishop do it but he asked me to do it this time. Yesterday a member gave us a ride to church, we got in the car and started driving and as we were driving I realized a beagle was racing us outside the car! He followed us really far! It turns out the dog belongs to the car owner and whenever they leave home he follows them running, finally when he gets tired or distracted he just heads home. They said sometimes he doesn’t come home for 1-2 days but always comes home. I had fun talking to them about Skippy and sharing all the funny stories, but then I got super trunky thinking about Skip, lol. But things are going good here, I Just got over a really bad cough so things are even better.

Well I gotta run, but I love ya! No estoy tomando el agua entonces no te precoupes!!(Im not drinking the water so dont worry!) =D

PS: Big shoutout to Grammy and Grandpa Hicken, Grandma and Grandpa Salazar, Aunt Shelly and Uncle Leif and family, And the Olsen family from GG6th ward. Thank you for your love, support and money! LOL, but honestly thank you! Love elder Salazar

1. Will President Cox be your mission president the whole time you are on your mission?
--------Yep, I go home in March 2010 and he goes home in July.

2. Your hair looked pretty good in the Christmas tree pic, are you using gel in your hair? Is it hard to get gel in Mexico?
--------Thank you, yes I am. President made a rule that we have to part our hair, I actually don’t mind it. Myself and the zone leaders are always having competitions to see who can get the nicest part. Gel is easy to get here, I use a gel called Monkey Snot. It works really well.

3. Do your American companions like the food there?
--------Yeah, almost all of us do. We have a few things we don’t like but the majority we do like.

4. How do people drive in SLP compared to New York or TJ?
--------They drive ok here, Mexico puts speed bumps EVERYWHERE. So it’s hard to drive fast or crazy because you can wreck your car. New York is definitely crazier.

5. What do you like most about SLP?
--------Downtown is really beautiful, also that we live in a big valley, so the surroundings are beautiful.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Turning 20

Hey mom and dad,

Good to hear from ya. I enjoyed the email, sounds like things are going real well. Thats awesome everyone is doing well and the family is united. There are a TON of disfunctional families here, if they all could find just one hobby that could bring them all together things would be happier here. Thanks for the Supercross update!

Our week went well this week, we brought a family of 4 to church sunday and a girl, so we had 5 in total. If everything goes well this week we should baptize 4. Elder Kay and I have been doing really well, its weird having an american companion but its alot of fun because we both talk about the states. I have had a cough this past week which has made it hard for me to talk, Im losing my voice. Also yesterday morning I was taking a shower and elder hines lit a smoke bomb and threw it in the bathroom, it was funny but didnt really help my cough. Today we went to costco which is on the other side of SLP, but its fun. I love going to costco because they have alot of american food which is hard to find, like MICROWAVABLE CORNDOGS!! Also its fun because there are a TON of gringos(americans) shopping so I feel like im back at home.

Its hard to believe that tomorrow is my bday, its also elder hines´s bday this week, I believe the 10th, so next monday we are buying a piƱata to break open. Also, the man we baptized last week bought me a bday cake! Ill put a picture in so you all can check it out.

Well I gotta run but I love you all very much, Im super blessed to be here in mexico, far from home, but have a loving family that supports.

Love ya! ADIOS!

1. Tell us about your new Companion? where does he come from, and what is he like?
--------His name is elder Kay, he is from Alpine Utah. He has 15 months in the mission and is a really good elder. His spanish is ok but he knows how to work really well, hes good with people. In high school he play basketball, polvaulted and ran track. Hes alot of fun.

2. Do you miss Elder Lopez, your last companion (does he have the same name as your companion in Irapauto?), and what area is he going to?
--------I do miss elder lopez but Im not sad because I know Ill see him again soon, we had alot of fun together. He was really really easy to live with. Elder Lopez went to Celaya as a Zone Leader. Celaya is about 55 minutes from Irapuato.

3. How many missionaries are in your new zone. How often (if ever) do you all get together for zone conference? Do some have to travel very far to meet?
--------I dont have a new zone, just a new comp. But in our zone we have about 18 missionaries. We see each other every monday because we have District meetings in the same building. There are Two zones in SLP,we see the other zone only when president comes for zone conferences.

4. Do your companions tease you because you speak with a mexican accent? Do any of the other missionaries speak like that?
--------haha, no they dont really make fun of me because elders who have a good accent usually can speak better. There are a few other american elders I know that have a very good mexican accent. My next goal is to grow a mexican mustache =D

5. How is the winter weather there like?
--------It has been hot and cold, it doesnt get very hot, but it has gotten very very cold. I saw the front of a newspaper about 3 weeks ago that said. "SLP ranks 3rd in coldest parts of mexico". So it has been quite cold. But with a good jacket and some gloves, it doesnt hurt the work.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Hey dad,

Loved talkin to you guys xmas! I was a little bummed that the phones were kinda crummy the 24th but the 25th made up for it. Im glad everyone enjoyed their xmas, I enjoyed mine alot it was really relaxing, which is actually kind of surprising when you're a 40 hour car ride (or hundreds of miles) from your house on xmas. I'm glad you guys didnt burn the tamales! Our new years went well last night, we spent it on the roof watching all the fireworks go off, as most probably know, mexican fireworks are ALOT more exciting than american =D! A tree down our street actually caught on fire which was very cool, but was quickly put out. To end the week in a very good way, we had a baptism on Friday of a man named Ulisses, everything went really well.

I actually have some surprising news, I have a new companion his name is Elder Kay, hes a really good guy, he has about 15 months in the mission and is from Alpine Utah. Him and Elder Lopez traded areas in the mission, I have no idea why pres changed them. Well I have to run, but I love all of you, and I thank you all for the nice words you all wrote me. Im low on time today so I dont have any pics, but Im going to burn a CD of all my pictures and send it to you with my package that way if I dont send pics you can put some on the blog.

I will now answer your questions.

1. What's the local hangout for kids? (Clint Hicken)
--------A. The street! Also, internet cafe´s. But really, all the kids play in the street.

2. Any PlayStation's or x box? (Clint Hicken)
--------A.Yeah, they also have here Playstation/Xbox Cafes, so the kids go alot there. Heres a funny story...Elder Lopez and I were knocking doors one day and a little kid answered one of the doors I knocked, I asked him If his mom or dad was home He answered: no, they are gone to work. I told the kid "Thats too bad we are giving out free Xboxs!...But we need your mom or dad to sign for it." He then shouted for his mom, thats when Elder Lopez and I kinda ran off, we had a good laugh. The little booger was lying!

3. Have you done practical jokes on your companions? (Ricky Salazar)
--------A.Great question ricardo, we do. One of the most common practical jokes we have been doing lately is spray pepper spray in the bathroom when someone is showering or using the bathroom. I dont know how many people reading this have been pepper-sprayed but I can testify that it is terrible!! You cant see and you cant stop coughing for a good 15 minutes, but it sure is funny.

4. Did the ward or stake have a Christmas program?
--------A. We did, the stake choir came 2 weeks ago and sang christmas carols, they did a really really good job.

5. What did you do for Christmas eve, and Christmas day?
--------A. Xmas eve we actually worked till 8pm, but this day alot of people invited us to eat, so we ate alot of food and played alot of UNO. Xmas day,I talked to my family, and just relaxed. Elder Lopez, Elder Dalton, Elder Hines and I all went to the local mall and walked around. To top it off we ate burger king, went home and played more uno!

Love you all, thanks for everything!