El Salvador San Salvador West/Belize Mission Spanish Speaking July 2015 - July 2017

Monday, October 26, 2015

we are very blessed

This week has been amazing successful wise!!! Have 12 dates for baptism but I´m only counting on two because none of them can or will go to church, but at least they are accepting the truth for the most part.

So my companion tried talking to the president in English for the first time and I spent lots of time preparing him to do so, all we do is talk English in the streets and house. He knew almost none when I became his companion and now he knows so much. Usually people don´t go to Belize for their last change, actually, it is really rare. But for a person to go to Belize they have to know English and Spanish and my companion has never known English so he has never been to Belize, and this is his last change. Most Latinos don´t go to Belize but the president said he was really impressed and he can either go to Belize for his last change, or be zone leader, and he picked Belize! So I don't think I'll be with him next transfer but I´m so happy for him!!

Also I was walking down the street one day and thought about what it looked like and it reminded me of district 12 from Hunger games. It´s a little bit different though because the houses are even more poor than district 12 but they don´t have a scarcity of food..haha trust me. But so if you watch that movie just imagine the houses aren't even that good.

I have won the ant battle in my clothes, at least for now, but there are more battles. The water here has been shut off for the past 4 days in my area, except my house and a couple houses around...we are very blessed, but even our water is iffy. But it has been raining so much that my companion and I have been microwaving clothes to dry them, but that smells AWFUL!! haha!

Also this week I learned the slang voz form for El Salvador and it's pretty cool. For those of you who know Spanish it's even more informal than the tĂș form, but I have learned that I speak Spanish too fast, which I never thought would be a problem. But I like to speak as fast as them but with my accent they can't understand me when I do that haha.

Also I learned that the first baptism was really all mine, the guy before me just contacted him once but I helped teach all the lessons and get a date and everything so I feel amazing for that, just it felt too easy. I can really see the Lord´s hand in things. Like this new family just moved into our area about 5 days ago. We were walking but decided to change directions and ran straight into this family. They talked to us for a while and said they have been inactive for years, but with their new move they want to become active again and want us to teach their 11 and 10 year old children and see if they want to be baptized. It was so amazing!

Also, it started pouring so my companion and I ran into this random house because you can do that here, and later around 15 more people. They were joking around and said "preach to us the word of God" not really thinking we would...but, of course we wouldn't miss out on that opportunity so that was amazing!

But the biggest challenge and the biggest miracle has come from dogs. The past two days I have had SO MANY problems with dogs when really before I didn't have any, but it has been over 20 times in the past two days. Let's just say I'm glad I wear belts now and there are rocks on all the paths. My companion got bit on the shoe and we have been snapped at so many times I can't explain, and it's for no reason, they just see you and start barking and chasing you down and I'm terrified of them. But anyways, there were about 7 dogs and they aren't little dogs...at all. And we were surrounded in a circle like a movie or something and they were all closing in and we had our belts out but that just gets them more mad, then all of a sudden they all just stopped and walked away. I am so grateful someone up above loves me. But ya so that is even scarier than telling my mom I had my first kiss...haha. But anyways, so if any of you have any ideas about what to do in those situations I would LOVE to hear! and it would help me more than you could know!!!

Thank you all for all you do and btw I can throw a football farther than anyone here :)
Take care and have a happy Halloween :(

Monday, October 19, 2015

I am very blessed

So changes were this week!! But, neither me or my companion had changes..but all is going well. So the past two nights I have been dreaming in Spanish and about my mission, the very first time I have done that!! Every single other night has been English about home and I wake up and realize I'm not there... so this is good!

This week I have really missed air conditioning holy cow! I realized I haven't even seen a building with air conditioning in a long time and it has been HOT except the past 3 days because it has been raining non stop which I kinda like. And I heard in other missions in Central America they get houses with air conditioning... but anyways.

We have this maybe baptism but he married a girl and had kids with her about 10 years with her, but ever since 10 years ago he has been living with this other girl and has a family with her so it's kinda complicated so please pray for this situation!

So some funny teaching situations were that this one mom we were teaching, and she asked me, "So you live in the states? Have you seen Joseph Smith?" haha it was funny and we also had to explain to her that the Bible wasn't written in one day and ughhh, haha. And this week was the very first time I got rejected at the door on my mission. People in the states would die for that to only happen that often haha!

Also I am kinda changing, for those of you who didn't know me before, now I like reading, beans, writing, walking, running, and the guitar haha. But some bad things this week, I went out to wash my clothes and there were ants and ant eggs EVERYWHERE in my clothes, so much that I spent an hour trying to wash them all out and I couldn´t make a dent. But I left them in water overnight and it is a lot better now, just actually have to wash them. Also the ants were everywhere chewing holes in all our food.

But some cool things, I used the only scripture mastery I actually memorized in Seminary haha! Matthew 25:40 (see below). To teach though usually I use scriptures I wrote in the back of the Bible and Book of Mormon haha. And a tender mercy was I was jumping across a river and as I jumped both of my backpack straps snapped, but my backpack landed not even an inch away from the river. I am very blessed haha.

Also I was thinking about the differences of this church and my church at home besides building wise. First, we had graham crackers for sacrament so that was cool, you have to bring your own hymn book here because the church doesn't have any, over 3/4 the people here are less actives or recent converts so you say the word atonement or priesthood and they have no idea what you are talking about, and also it starts 30 minutes late and ends on time, opposite of my church at home haha.

Funny things I talked to a parrot and it was really cool. It sounds exactly like a human just it can roll it's R's so it got me mad haha! And also my companion was talking to this girl at a door and gave her a pamphlet thinking it was a restoration pamphlet. Told her to read it and pray about it to know it´s true and set up a return appointment and as we were leaving and she shut the door he realized he gave her a pamphlet about the law of chastity haha! So that will be awkward to go back. But besides that everything is going good!

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUSTIN!!!! For your birthday I'm going to buy a cake and I will give you it all if you come here, but if not I will have to eat it myself :/ You are such an amazing brother Justin and you are smaller than the rest of us right now but man you can fight!! I miss you and how much you made me so happy and made me feel so good and happy all the time, and how you were always there to just make me feel loved! You are such an amazing person Justin and I hope you have a wonderful birthday! I also hope middle school isn't treating you too bad! haha! Wish I could be there but I will buy something here to give you in two years! Just have a great day :) Love you lil J! Can't wait to see you again and do some fun stuff with you when I get back!!!

Love you guys and until next week!

We had a birthday for a less active and it was pretty cool!  Also, I got charged at by a cow but everything is all good haha!

Matthew 25:40 ~ And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Monday, October 12, 2015

do what matters most

This week went alright just felt really long. But I got cards on Wednesday so thank you all so much for the cards!!! :) Also the voice of Elizabeth Swan in Pirates of the Caribbean 3 is so annoying, haha possibly saw a part of that at a members house for dinner. Also I've been thinking about the quote "When you can´t do what you have always done you only do what matters most" and that really applies for missionaries not just the elderly :) I miss a ton of stuff but it is helping focus on what matters most.

We got 3 new investigators last week but no one will come to church and it is so annoying because you have to have someone go to church 3 times to baptize them, but they all work on Sundays (like everyone here) and so they want to be baptized, but never go to church. But something that has made me happy is when I walk by the church there are Latinos playing soccer there because that is the only field here, and they see me and yell at me to come over and change and like taking turns guarding me in basketball and it is so fun! haha Usually I can´t because I´m busy but sometimes I get the chance for a bit and that is really fun making them look bad! Just so glad they don´t try me in soccer haha! 

But Saturday was a hard day. First we were fasting, it was hotter than the hottest day in GA, and we were walking from 1 until 8, and not a single person let us in. We must have stopped by at least 100 houses, members, non members, and nothing. But it was a good day over all and my companion and I just kept singing "Don´t worry, Be happy" haha!

Also this really cool missionary I like, Elder Ramos, tore his knee a week or two ago and hasn´t been able to walk. The mission president said he might be able to walk later so he is still on his mission, but now he isn´t able to and they are sending him home this transfer, one before he was supposed to finish (he has 23 months) but they are still counting it as a full mission and stuff but I feel kinda bad for him. I went on splits with him one day and we couldn't do anything, but I figured out really like to play the guitar. :) So I practiced a lot and I really like it haha.

But one more story, the piano guy I met, we were teaching him the Restoration then randomly, out of no where (he is old and kind of gets side tracked a bit) said "Elder, is Joseph Smith in heaven or hell" and we said he was in the spirit world waiting to be judged and then he yelled and said no Joseph Smith was in hell, after a while of talking my companion and I started packing up but something said "Don´t close your book Elder" I looked at the Spanish scriptures and decided to read a verse. After reading the verse we talked for another 30 minutes and it was all positive and he was agreeing for the rest of the Restoration and even gave us 20 lemons from his backyard...haha :) So that was cool! I am going to send a poem shortly,

BUT WAIT!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BEST FRIENDS IN MY LIFE!!! GABE I LOVE YOU SO MUCH AND WHEN WE HANG OUT I AM SO HAPPY!!! Thank you so much for liking all the things I like and making music, playing games, food, everything!! GA was so fun because of you man and I hope you have a great day young man!!!! Wish I could be there and hope to see you in about 3 years!! If I had more time I could write forever about you but thank you so much for being in my life and helping me enjoy life while still living the gospel! Stay you man!!!

A smile on my face is the only makeup I've got
I helped with everyone elses problems, but mine I forgot.
I think I took care of them all, but I´m not entirely sure
Forgetting by helping others seems to be my only cure
Preaching repentance, telling other people it´s easy
but have I been forgiven? not knowing makes me queasy
The spirit shoots out of my mouth to the people whom I speak
But when I´m praying to my Father, my words seem very weak
Up on the pulpit, people say I look like I have 100% spiritual health
Just sometimes I wish I could see. I just can´t see myself
Why do I feel like I´m struggling but people look up to me?
what do these people find in me that I can´t seem to see?
I look down below, and think other people should be up here
Thinking that I´m going to be a disappointment is one of the things I fear
I talked to the mission president, feel a little more at peace.
Why can I puzzle other lifes together but mine I can´t find a piece?
I know how to answer other other peoples questions, the answer is always on my mind
but when asked how I´m doing, I don´t know? that wasn't on the study guide
I don´t know what to do so I´ll just keep on being the leader
Teaching other people to believe, and I´ll keep trying to be a believer
Leading by example isn't what I really should do
If only people knew about my past, more sins than a few
"Remember them no more", Why can´t I do the same?
How do I make others feel better when all I feel is pain?
I got home that day and decided to look in the mirror
Saw the name tag on my chest. This time I didn't feel inferior
That day I realized everyday just try to do my best
Even if I mess up one day, God will help me do the rest
If I rely on Him, He will work through me
He went through everything. He overcame Gethsemane
With Him on my side there is nothing I can´t do
He told me not to worry, just try, I will work through you
I´ll put the words in your mouth when you need them, remember they are mine
Don´t worry about being the best, you are because you are humble, now is the perfect time
The testimony which you have born has cleansed you from your past
Stop worrying about yourself. That should always be last
Keep being a leader, keep helping other men
You are serving me when you do this as well as them
Your pains shall be but a small moment, keep pushing on
Your challenges and afflictions will shortly be gone
People say that I am coming, but I have already come
Inside your soul and inside your heart have I already come from
Keep preaching my gospel, hang on there dear friend
Keep being you, and you will receive so much joy in the end
The next district meeting I had fire in my eyes
I said full of the Spirit "alright listen up guys..."
That day I felt His love and I know I did my best
I know God is here. His spirit took care of the rest
Many are called, few are chosen. I was chosen to be leader
Because of my sacrifice and humility, and I have faith in my Redeemer
Through losing myself I found myself and now I know who I am
I am His brother. He is my shepherd. And I am His lost lamb
Now I find others, other lost sheep of this fold.
This is my calling, this is who I am, this is what I've been told.
I look in the mirror, and now I see more than my reflection.
I see Jesus Christ beside me. Now I don´t see imperfection.

Also Every Pday today I play the piano, One person on the top, one in the middle part, and one on the end and we make up a song with randoms chords and free style sing and it is so fun! Tell Nick and Justin to practice so I can do that with them haha!

WAIT CAN SOUTHWEST FLY TO BELIZE NOW??????? CAN WE GO THERE ALL THE TIME AFTER MY MISSION?????? And where exactly is the airport and Dad´s schedule...heheheeh Kidding!!!

Monday, October 5, 2015

conference was so amazing!!

Hey guys I hope all has been well for all you! I´m gonna be kinda jumpy but I hope you all get what I'm trying to say.

First of all, conference was so amazing!! (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/?lang=eng) And so cool we got 3 amazing new apostles :) It was a great conference and what made it even greater was I got to watch it in English with 4 other gringos and tons of food and snacks and we ordered pizza on Saturday :) Even though I miss the molten hot lava cakes my dad usually takes me too I tried to make up for it haha!

Also Jeffrey R. Hollands talk about Mothers...wow. I could just imagine my mom bawling her eyes out and I was trying very hard not to do the same. My mom has carried me for over 18 years, much more than the 9 months she had to. She definitely has divine love and this mission has made me see that so much more clear.

Also, I started reading books and I opened the Jesus is the Christ Book and realized it was my dads from his mission! It was so amazing having something from his mission for me and a really cool golden A bookmark :)

I heard the "let it go" song from frozen in Spanish which is "Libre Soy" haha so that was cool! Last week after emailing I kicked a soccer ball over the fence and in a group of the backyards of these houses and businesses so the Latinos were very mad at me so I´m gonna try not to do that this time haha! But the Good news is the gringos were happy because we could play basketball instead!

My companion and I aren't having much success and we need to work harder, but I had some very cool experiences! And bad ones haha! Our water pipe in our house broke so our house was kinda flooding so we spent 4 hours one day calling people and getting that fixed and it didn't help that it was pouring rain harder than even in GA!

I had the wonderful opportunity to help catch the chickens and roosters and carry them across a house into another cage outside in their other side of the yard. Holy cow that is so hard and when they peck you that hurts and there is no where where you can grab a rooster or chicken where it can´t peck you. And they were so dirty and ughh hahaha it was cool and fun though.

Also a guy came up to me talking fluent English and said he wasn't a member of the Church but he hates this place and Spanish and wanted an English book and asked if he could have a book of Mormon in English. He said he got kicked out of the states for drugs and crimes which he made clear he still does but wants to read the Book of Mormon haha so that was interesting.

I had the worst food I have had yet. The person I baptized pulled out all of these sea turtle eggs and we tried them. Just how we ate them was so gross. It´s like taking an egg you are going to make scrambled eggs with, but you don´t heat it up or mix it. You drink it straight from the egg and I threw up in my mouth but luckily/unluckily I kept it in. It was the grossest thing I've had here but pretty cool to say I've tried!

Also if anyone wants an idea to be for Halloween, be a missionary! You will be so scary people won't even open the door haha and then I won't feel as bad because I won't be collecting candy either haha! But candy is crazy cheap here.

But I hope you all have had a great week! If any of you have any questions please ask!! :)

I love you all and hope you all got as much from conference as I did!
-Elder Austin

I might have broken someones finger because they were playing goalie and all the Latinos dared me to try and make a goal from half court. None of the Latinos did and when it was my turn they were joking like "Is this your first goal" I kicked the ball HARD and it nailed his finger (possibly broke it whoops) and went straight in!!! hahaha Can´t wait to play soccer with you J!

Oh! Also, we were arguing and Bible bashing about the Bible and gift of tongues with some random investigator haha! (I know you aren't supposed to do that) and I was talking really fluent Spanish and it was really cool and showing him that the gift of tongues was learning languages fast. Then at the end he offered a prayer and said "this is what the gift of tongues is" and started in Spanish, but in the middle of his prayer he started shaking and saying all these random words and phrases and yelling for like 5 minutes! haha it was really scary but all is well! :)

Do you ever see or hear from your mission president? 
We Email him once a week but that´s about it.