Setting High Goals

Dear Family,

We still live with another companionship and our house is just big for El Salvador. My companion and I are still getting along really well and I am really enjoying being with him. The remote area is a long ways from becoming a branch. It will become a group first, but I talked with President Hintze about it and he said they will help.

This week went by pretty fast….. again. My companion and I set a pretty bit goal for the month of March. We decided that we are going to do our best to have 5 baptisms. It is a high goal, but I know we can accomplish it. We have two baptisms locked down for next month so far and are working hard to lock down three more. We have a lot with a baptismal date, but we are working with them still on making it more solid. We have three more that are really positive though so I am feeling pretty optimistic about the goal we set. I am positive we can accomplish it.

This past week, my companion and I went to do some cleaning checks with President and Hermana Hintze. It was fun to go around with them and get to talk to them. They were really happy with our zone and how well we did with having all the houses clean. Ours took a lot of work! It was pretty bad! Haha.

We have had some pretty cool weather here lately. Not cold like your weather, but pretty cold for here. During the day it is pretty warm, but it’s pretty cold at night. Up on the volcano in our area it is freezing at night! We are going up there tonight, so I am going to be buying a jacket today! Luckily things like that are pretty cheap around here thanks to all the illegal knockoffs. Haha.

Our zone got a little bit bigger also. President put two more sister missionaries in our zone. They are really good! One of them just barely started her mission a couple weeks ago and the other one is about to finish, so she has a lot of experience. When President Hintze called me to ask my opinion about doing it beforehand, I told him yes, but I didn’t know how I felt about it. They are really good missionaries though, so it is going to work out great.

I hope you all have a great week! Love you!

Love,

Elder Black

Staying in Santa Tecla

Dear Family,

Well I stayed here in Santa Tecla for another change. President told me that he is probably going to be sending me to Belize after this change though, so I am coming to an end with my time in El Salvador. That means I am going to work even harder to leave my area better than I found it. My new companion is Elder Rivas. He is from Guatemala and has 13 months in the mission. He is a great companion and all of our lessons are full of the spirit. He has a desire to serve and is a great missionary.  I am super excited for this change to see what is brings. We have been working hard to try and find more people to baptize.

To answer your questions about understanding…. I understand everything now. Every once and awhile someone will say a word that I don’t understand, but that is about it. Even in those times, I usually can understand from the context. My Spanish has improved a lot with my last three companions being Latinos.

At church this past week, we had two investigators come. One of them, Carlos, was someone that we just found about a week ago. He is super positive and has been progressing rapidly. The other, Gladys, came for the third time. Her date to get baptized is on Saturday, but I don’t know if it is going to be happening or not. I’ll be praying that it does though. She really likes the LDS church, but she just doesn’t feel like she is ready to leave behind being a Catholic. She is an awesome investigator though and has progressed really well. I think we will be able to baptize her soon. I really want our investigators to progress towards baptism, not so I can have another number to put on the list, but so another one of Gods children can take that step in returning to His presence.

Today for p-day, everyone in the mission is deep cleaning their houses. There was a room in our house that was really bad. Our house is huge and it was in the part of the house that we never really went, so we never really worried too much about it. It was pretty bad cleaning it though. We still have some more cleaning to do this afternoon, but our house is looking really good now. I always kept the parts of the house that we used fairly clean, but the other half was pretty bad! Haha. Gotta love cleaning!

Well this week kind of just flew by…… I know, I say that pretty much ever week, but time kind of just slips out from under me here. I hope that you are all having a great week! Stay happy! Love you!

Love,

Elder Black

Teaching on the Side of a Volcano

Dear Family,

Haha it sounds like there is lots of cold weather back there in Utah. It is starting to get heated up here a little more. We are going into the hot months here in El Salvador. I don’t blame you for not staying the night for the winter campout dad. I can’t say I’m too big of a fan of those either. I really liked the comment of how we are not here so everyone else loves us, we are here to love everyone. I have been trying my best to do that. My companion has been a little challenging, but I am trying my best to love him and it has also made me a lot more of a patient person as a result. That is awesome that you won your basketball game Tanya! I’m glad you are having fun playing basketball. Also, tell Nathan to write every once and awhile. It’s probably been at least a month since he has written.

This week kind of just flew by. I was on interchanges a few times and was really busy with a lot of mission duties. I am pretty tired from how busy I have been, but it has been making the time go by extremely fast!

This week we went up and did a family home evening with a group of members and their friends that live up on the volcano that is in my area. It is quite a ways away, so it is hard for the members to come down to the city for church activities. Most of them live in pretty humble circumstances also, so it is hard for them to pay for the bus. There were 26 of us at the FHE and I think about 7 were nonmembers. They are trying to start a group (an extension of the ward) up there so they can stay there on Sundays also. They have been really faithful in trying to bring everyone they can to their FHE to show that they have enough people to be able to do it. I think it would be awesome. Our bishop is going to propose it to the stake president and if they can get it worked out, they will have church meetings up there. I think that would lead to a lot of baptisms. I think there are lots of people there that could be baptized, but it is just a huge trip to come into the city for them and they don’t have the means to do it either. I hope it works out.

We are starting to have some success with some more of our investigators too. We have a few more that are progressing really well towards getting baptized. One of our investigators hadn’t been answering our calls for about a week and a half, so we thought he was just ignoring us. He was one of our most positive investigators though so it was kind of weird. We finally found him the other day and he had just been in Costa Rica and his phone didn’t work over there. I think he will be a baptism soon.

Well I hope all is well in good old Utah! Have a great week! Love you!

Love,

Elder Black

Cecelio’s Baptism

Dear Family,

It sounds like you guys had a pretty good week! That is so awesome that you got to go to the temple open house in Provo. It looks really pretty. We will have to go on a temple trip there in December. It sounds like the mission prep class went really well. I wish I would have focused a little more on preparing for my mission before I left like they are doing. It is going to bless their lives a lot!

This week was a good one! We had the baptism of Cecelio on Saturday. He is super positive still and is going to be a very faithful member. He even went up and shared his testimony in church after he was confirmed. I think he is probably the most solid convert I have ever had. He is super excited to get the priesthood and to go to the temple and do baptisms. He was telling everyone in his testimony how much the gospel has changed his life and that he doesn’t know why he didn’t decide to get baptized earlier. He is one of those people that Heavenly Father definitely prepared. I really didn’t do much at all. He just accepted everything that we taught and the spirit told him that it was all true.

We had our zone meeting this past week and talked a lot about being diligent and obedient. We have had a lot of problems with those two things in our zone, but the missionaries worked hard this week after the zone meeting and we brought 23 investigators to church as a zone. That is the highest number of investigators in church this zone has had in an extremely long time. For bringing that many people to church, President Hintze is paying for us to go to Buffalo Wild Wings to eat as a zone today. 

We also went on interchanges with the assistants to the president on Wednesday. I went to their area and worked with Elder Bingham. We have gotten to be pretty good friends here on the mission so it was a lot of fun to work with him. I learned a lot of new things about how to be a better missionary and am trying to apply everything that I have learned to become a better missionary every day. My goal is still to become a consecrated missionary and I am getting closer and closer to meeting that goal every day. As that has happened, time has been going by faster and faster. I feel like yesterday was the beginning of this month.

Well I am loving my mission and having a great time! I hope you are all having a great week too! Love you!

Love,

Elder Black

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Cecelio’s Baptism

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Aaron with His Companion

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A Crazy Week

Dear Family,

This week was a pretty crazy one. One of the missionaries in our zone had an emergency change to go to Belize, so I had to be in a trio for a few days. The crazy part of that was that we had a lot of baptismal interviews to do that were around the same time, but in different areas, so I had to go with other missionaries for awhile and we had some members help us out with making everything happen. It was kind of stressful, but we got all the interviews done and we had some baptisms in our zone this week. The one down side of that was that my companion and I didn’t spend a lot of time in our own area. Between working in 2 areas because of the trio and having to do so many baptismal interviews, the week kind of just passed by without really noticing. We did get a few good things done in our area though.

Speaking of baptisms, Cecelio is going to be getting baptized on Saturday. He has been extremely positive and has accepted absolutely everything we have taught. He is already living the word of wisdom and is excited to pay his tithing. I have never seen anyone so excited to be baptized before. He is probably the most positive investigator I have ever had on my mission. We took him to the temple and talked a little bit about the temple. He is excited to be able to go to the temple too. He studies all the material we leave for him to study and has even been studying the Teachings of President Hunter book that we have for priesthood. I am super excited that we are finally getting a baptism after lots of hard work for so long.

Other than that, I don’t really know what else to say about this week. It was kind of just over before it started. I feel like p-day was just a couple days ago, but it has already been a whole week.

Well I hope you have an awesome week! Love you!

Love,

Elder Black