An interesting week

Dear Family,

This week was quite the interesting week. We had a ward activity on Saturday to watch Meet the Mormons with the members and they were all going to bring a friend. Most of the members said they would come, but when Saturday rolled around, not a single member showed up for the movie. They decided to plan another meeting at the same time after they said they would come. So there were some members there, but they didn’t come for the movie. They didn’t even talk to us or the investigators when they got there. Then on Sunday morning, we had a baptism of a members daughter. The baptism was a branch baptism though, so the branch president was in charge of it. He forgot about it, then blamed it on us when we got to the church saying that it was our fault things weren’t ready. I was just about to explode, but then I remembered how much Christ went through for the gospel and how great God’s joy is if even one soul is brought unto him. I decided then to forget about all of that and do everything I can for people here. We have a baptism tomorrow, so that is something that I am super excited for. Armando is 11 and has been going to church for years by himself even though his mom wouldn’t let him get baptized. We had a lesson with his mom a week or so ago and taught her the importance of being baptized. She accepted right there for him to get baptized and we have been teaching him everything he needs to know before his baptism. He is super excited for his baptism and was even more excited after attending the branch baptism. He is a good kid and will be a strong convert. We have been trying to reactivate a couple less active families here. There are tons and tons of less actives here in the branch. If everyone that has been baptized came to church, the branch here would be way bigger than our home ward. There is a lot of work to be done here. I think we are going to meet with the branch presidency to figure out a plan of how we can incorporate members into the mission work to help investigators and less active members to have a friend in the church, which will make them much more likely to come. Well I hope you all have a good week! Love you!

Love,

Elder Black

Grateful for the opportunity to serve

That is super awesome that your Spanish teacher went to the same mission as me Tanya. It sounds like you are having a lot of fun with your friends!  I am mostly adjusted now and feel pretty comfortable being back on a mission. There are still times that I feel like I´m not all the way adjusted, but they are becoming fewer and more far between. I like being back out here. We just have an electric hotplate, but it doesn’t really work that well. It is cheaper to go get pupusas here than to cook, so usually we get pupusas from one of the stands close to our house. My house is nicer than it was last time. It was gross when we first got there, but it is quite a bit cleaner now. The members here are really poor, so it is pretty rare that we eat at their houses. When we do, we usually buy some of the ingredients for them. There is no hot water here in El Salvador so we take cold showers. It´s hot here though so it´s actually kind of nice to get in a cold shower. There is actually a Laundromat here, so we usually just take our clothes there. I will probably get the Liahona with the conference talks so I’ll be able to study them.  Love you all!

Dear Family,

This week has been quite the week. I was on interchanges three days of the week. It was cool getting to know other missionaries a little bit better and being with other missionaries made the time fly by even faster. This week is going to be very similar. Today is P-day, Tuesday I have to go to San Salvador for immigration, Wednesday I have to go to San Salvador for a meeting with President Hintze, and Thursday I have zone meeting. Since my area is out in the country and far away from everything, I am going to be doing a ton of traveling. It´s going to be a crazy week. Unfortunately we only had one of our investigators make it to church on Sunday. Getting people to attend church is extremely hard here because of how gangs have the area divided up. Lot´s of people can´t come into the area where the church is. It makes things pretty difficult, but those people still deserve to hear the gospel. If we keep working hard, I know we’ll find someone who is ready to be baptized. I am really enjoying my mission so far. This past week I have been thinking a lot about how big of an opportunity it is for me to be able to come out and serve a mission and be a representative of Christ. There is a scripture, Alma 26:12, that Ammon says that he knows that he is nothing without God. Ammon was probably one of the greatest missionaries ever, but he knew that without our Heavenly Father, he was nothing. I have been thinking about that a lot and have realized that without God, I am nothing. But as I put myself in a position to do everything I can to come closer to Him, Christ´s atonement will lift me up to be the best I can be and help me to be a better missionary.

I hope everything is going great at home! Things are pretty good down here in El Salvador! Have a great week! Love you!

Love,

Elder Black

 

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Aaron with his companion with the mission president and his wife.

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Aaron with his companion in their apartment.

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An El Salvadorian hamburger.

Last Monday I ordered a hamburger. The meat on the burger was a piece of beef jerky… BEEF JERKY….. Needless to say, I was thoroughly disappointed in it. I ordered two and only ate one! I´m still a tad bit upset about it…. Haha just kidding.

Appreciating the Mission

Dear Family,

That is awesome that you have been playing tennis so much Nathan! Keep practicing hard and you will be a great player! I haven’t had any cow stomach and I have only run into one person I knew from when I was here before and it was at a meeting. I am far away from where I was last time. Hopefully this experience does help me to be more understanding when people are going through tough things. I have a journal here and can get another one if I need to so I should be fine. Also, tell Tanya to write me. I haven´t heard anything from her in the last two weeks!

This week has been a tough, but good one. I am still getting used to being a missionary again, but I am loving it so far. I have a lot more of an appreciation this time for my mission than I did last time. I have matured a lot since then. The people here are great and I love teaching them and getting to know them. This week we found a few positive investigators. We had three in church and have about three more that I know are starting to gain a testimony that the things we are teaching are true. I know that as we continue to teach with the spirit that they will want to progress and learn more and more. We have had some success with talking to lots of people on the street and are trying to work with the members here in our ward to find more people through them. There are some people that are very willing to help us out in finding new people. It can be a little difficult here sometimes though. We had about 40 people at church in our branch yesterday and I was told there are about 300 members, so we have a lot of work to do. Since we are new in the area, we have to rely on the members a ton since we don´t really know where very many of the less active members live. I am hoping that we can find a lot of new investigators also, since a lot of the less actives are part member families. I think we will be able to have some success in this area, but it is going to take a ton of work. I´m glad I was raised in a family that taught me to work hard because you definitely need to have a good work ethic in the mission field. I am working hard and I know that blessings will come because of it. I hope you all have a great week! Love you!

Love,
Elder Black

Getting Adjusted to Mission Life

Dear Family,

This week has been pretty crazy getting back into the swing of things being on a mission. It feels surreal to be back here on the streets of El Salvador. It is very different than it was last time though. I am in a very rural area that is a ways away from the capital. It is nice to be away from the crowds of people. My area only covers a part of the town of San Julian. It mostly covers the rural areas all around it. The people here are nice and friendly for the most part so it has been pretty good. My companion, Elder Cuevas, is from the Dominican Republic. He is a very good missionary and has already taught me a lot. He knows the scriptures very well and frequently uses them during our lessons. He is a ´pretty relaxed person and likes to have a good time.

Elder Cuevas and I are both new to our area, so we didn’t know anyone here, but we are quickly getting to know people and working to find new investigators. There are a few part member families here, so we are starting to work with them. There are two kids that are ready to be baptized, but their dads have said no. Their moms are members and want them to get baptized. They come to church every week and they want to be baptized too. We are going to work with those families to help the fathers see the importance of their children being baptized with the correct authority and the true happiness the message will bring. It would be amazing if we could also help the fathers see the importance of it in their lives also. The people here are great, and I love being around them.

This week has not been the easiest of weeks, but once I get adjusted, I know it will be great. It is an easier adjustment than last time though since I already speak Spanish. I have prayed lots and fasted twice this past week to have a greater desire to serve the Lord and to become a better missionary every day. As I did that, I have been adjusting faster and faster to life in El Salvador. This week actually went by fairly fast. The days were long, but the week was fast. Its kind of crazy to me that it has already been a week since you dropped me off in the airport. I think that in a couple weeks, I will be fully adjusted to missionary life in another country again and things will go from good to great. I am glad I made the decision to return to the mission field. It has already blessed my life, and I hope that as I continue to strive to be a humble servant of the Lord, I can bless the lives of others. Coming back to finish my mission has made me realize that sometimes we need to take the path that is harder because it will change our lives for the better. Leaving everything behind for a second time when I knew how hard a mission would be was the hardest decision I have ever made, but that decision has already changed me for the better. I know these next 15 months will not be the easiest months of my life, but they will definitely be the most rewarding.

I love you all and I hope you have as good of a week as I am going have out here in the mission field!

Love,

Elder Black