Monday, December 28, 2009

Jewish Church

This building has an interesting story. It's an old Jewish church built on the sand. The foundation crumbled, so now it's tilted at an angle. I hiked to the top of it, and am standing on a two inch wide wall, with nothing separating me from the drop. I couldn't help but think of the song "the wise man built his house upon a rock". 

Mount Chinchontipec

The volcano is the one I was telling you about---Mount Chinchontipec.

Costa Del Sol

Probably the most beautiful place I've seen besides Hawaii.

Costa Del Sol

This is more of Costa del Sol. Some dogs were playing while we were there. Some of the first dogs without some disease, so I had to take a picture.

Week 3 in El Salvador

28 December 2009

Okay. One thing I learned today: There is no right to privacy in El Salvador. Moroni Perez has his assistants sift through our letters, and yours, through mylds mail. If there is something you need to say only to me, you know my other account. I'm a full blooded advocate of the constitution, so I'm a little pissed right now that he would do that, and not respect us. I guess he has the right here, after all there are no laws here.

Anyway, Christmas was spent in Costa Del Sol, with a member. We drank coconut juice, and walked the beach, rode bikes, and hiked up to an old Jewish church. I hope you got the pictures of it.

The ward had a huge Christmas party.

Okay, funny story: I went on splits with Elder Guaranda. He's probably one of the stangest kids I know, but he's easy to get along with. The first lesson he fell asleep, while I was talking, and then in the second house also. In the second house- he fell asleep, and the lady kept talking to me. She was preaching about her Lutheran faith, and I didn't want to contend, so I just listened, and tried to understand the language. I didn't say hardly anything the whole time, because of my limited spanish. Finally Elder Gauranda woke up. First thing he says is "now, will you pray to know what we've taught you is true? It is important for you to decide for yourself." And then we left. I was laughing at that, but I can't believe the kid. The next thing is even worse: We started tracting. We could see the lady in her house, we knock and say hi, and she goes into a different room, and yells that nobody is home. E. Guaranda says "What?, speak up!"--so she repeats it. Then Elder Guaranda turns to me, and says "sorry" and explains that nobody is in the house right now, and so he moved to the next door. He was completely serious, so I was way confused. Looking back on it, it's sad, but I can't believe the kid--everything here makes me laugh. It's all ridiculous.

So we've painted a couple of houses while I've been here. They water down their paint, because they are too poor to buy another can. It's like painting brick with watercolors---it just doesn't work.

I feel so unaccomplished, because these houses that we finish all look like projects out of the Barney bag. But the people are thrilled, so I guess that's all that counts.

So I learned one thing. We were going to visit a family, and there was a friend in the house. She was Lutheran, and a strong advocate of her faith. She attacked the Book of Mormon, and Elder Gomez started to back it up with scriptures from the bible. I realized that the spirit of contention has to be with two people---it has to be a fight, a struggle. I sat back and watched, when I realized what was happening. Contention is two way. Both people have to have the spirit of contention. I've decided that if it ever happens to me--if they attack--I'll just say, well you know, this is what I believe, and this is right for me. I've learned to just be submissive.

So the girls her are so funny. We'll be walking a neighborhood, and stop somewhere, and the girls will stare, and fix their hair, and get all antsy. It's funny to be on the outside for once.

People always call me greengo, but the other day, someone yelled "ALASKA"---I guess word is getting around.

No, we don't have a mamasita to babysit us. We just go to all the members for their support.

So, the president is really serious about these gangs. He's using military force now. Bigger weapons, more guns. The capital is worse, everything is amplified there. The gangs have taken control of most of the police force. That's why nobody calls the police. If there is a problem, and they call the police, the gang will show up at their door, and take care of them. It's not that there is no law, it's just that it is not enforced, and everyone is scared.

Anyway, time to log off. See ya

A tower in San Vicente

Sunday, December 27, 2009

2nd Week in El Salvador

Sorry that I don't have much time to write this week, 'cause I got the bad computer again.

I'm doing better than last week. It was a bit of a shock having all the guys look at me like they want to kill me, and all the girls look at me like they want to rape me, and use me as a U.S. visa.

So, gross story of the week:

I'm still sick, right, and we don't own toilet paper, until next month, but it's ok, because my companion doesn't flush his toilet paper, he just leaves it on the floor. Long story short, I was able to find some semi-white toilet paper.

So everything is smaller here. The horses only come up to my nipples, the people come up to my chin. the only thing that's bigger is the bugs. I'm constantly trying to move out of the way so they don't squish me.

We had a spider in the house the other day. It was about the size of a tarantula, but it wasn't, and it was poisonous. We killed it, and the ants had eaten it by the next morning. This place is crazy.

It's actually smelling better now, because it rained and all the poop cleared out of the streets. It's so much more beautiful.

I might have told you, but there is a really cool looking volcano right next door. I'll have to take a picture sometime, when I'm not in such a poor spot of town.

So an interesting thing happened. The president ordered the police forces to shoot the gang members on sight. The police are now carrying fully automatic weapons, along with their shotguns. One guy almost got killed, because the police thought he had a gang tattoo under his shirt. They had him pinned up against a wall, with their guns out. The guy was clean though.

So, I've decided that I know nothing at all. Sometimes I can help in the lesson, and my companion ends up repeating what I say, or I have no clue. People from Guatemala are so much easier to understand. The accent in El Salvador is slurred, so it's hard to pick up on.

I'm getting to know the members, but still I'm completely lost in my area.

They call me the baby missionary. Hopefully I can pick this up soon.

I don't think I'll get time to draw while I'm here, at least not until I get the scriptures and language down. There is no down time. I'll see what I can do though. I'm probably gonna take Tom's classes again when I get back.

So I swear there are no laws in this country, except against the gangs. There are also very few mission rules. The Mission president says we can listen to Metallica, as long as it is uplifting to us. On Sundays we watch movies with members, while having dinner. Movies like Polar Express and Terminator. I didn't even think it was allowed to do that, but all the missionaries in this mission do it.

So everyone here wants to become like the United States. There is a huge movement. Music, cars, technology, but only for the rich. I'm starting to love latino Rap, which i have to say is way cooler than US rap, because its mixed with salsa and latino brands of music.

For the people that can afford it here the cars are all tricked out. LEDs spinners, you name it. They like Hondas and toyotas, and half of them have huge radios, like the size of speakers on our tv in the living room, and the speakers are strapped to the tops of the cars. And what's funn is they all spend more money on cars than their houses. They blast spanish rap, and music from the states. Everyone here loves their music.

I'm fine, I just say this stuff cause its new and its hilarious. Keep feeding me back my friends comments. I like to hear from them. Tell Matt I got his letter---I guess they do forward dear Elder, but it takes a while. Tell him thanks--now I know for sure you are all alive up there. I'll try to send more pictures, but I don't have much time today, and these computers are older than me, so I'll try to figure this out again.

There are tons of these little furballs around, and tons of chickens and turkeys, and dogs. Animals everywhere. I saved this cat from my companion. [Referring to a picture]

The second is of one of the bridges in Zacatecoluca. It's made out of old pieces of doors and windows.


One of the bridges in Zacatecoluca. It's made out of old pieces of doors and windows.

For Kendra

There are tons of these little furballs around, and tons of chickens and turkeys, and dogs. Animals everywhere. I saved this cat from my companion.

Peeling Corn

My first morning in El Salvador. I sweated the paint off the mattress.


This place is so weird I'm not in Kansas anymore. El Salvador Day One:

The humidity punches me in the face. There is razor wire at every house and a guy with a 12-guage shotgun at every other. A guy is walking his pet cow, and the cars are going a minimum of 80, and taking ninety degree turns at 45 mph. Everyone either has a sledgehammer or a machete, and music is always blasting in the streets. This place is lagitimo, but I'm not sure that this is spanish.

Kendra wouldn't like my companion. He curvestops kittens. He hates cats, calls them sucio or dirty, because they always rub on his leg and messes up his pants. His name is Elder Gomez. I like him though, but he's a native so i can't really talk too long. I'm in the area just south of San Salvador, it's called Zacuatacoluca, and there is a family that supports us really well, the Baraona family. The've got a 14-year-old boy that goes on splits with us, his name is Henry. The food is terrible, I´m sick, and trying to hold down my gag reflexes. They have awesome fruit drinks though. I'm so dehydrated all the time, and when I say I'm thirsty, they give me this hot sugary milk with some kind of rice in it.

I am the baby in my zone. Everyone else knows spanish. I had to give a talk on Sunday, and I also did my first baptism. His name is Javier Guiermo Barahona Escobar, but around here everyone just calls him the chill-dude-with-the-long-hair. Baptisms are hard, because latinos have two first names, and two apellidos, or surnames.

My spanish is improving, and I can mildly communicate with everyone, but I can´t pick up conversations yet.

Another english elder told me that north americans are just sidekicks to the latinos, we don´t do a lot for a long time, 'cause it is so different.

This place is so beautiful, but at the same time it is completely filthy. People just piss in the street, and there is trash everywhere, and everyone is cool with it. There are always chickens and dogs in the street, and billions of ants. Where I am, it's a jungle, and small town. There is a pretty big volcano, and lots of little streams we have to stone step across. Right now it's mostly dry, except the sides of the roads where the sewage runs. Very hot. I don't know what I'll do if I am sent east, because there is a desert in the east.

I can't drink the water, but they have this stuff called bagged water that is clean. Basically a ziplock, that you have to bite the corner off of, and its crystal water.

So I heard if you send something for Christmas, it will get here at Easter, but I could just be misunderstanding.

Sorry I forgot the address to the mission home. You might have one, but I'll get it to you next week. I'm so lost all the time.

Contact information

Corey’s contact information:

Pouch services through SLC. Letters can only be single sheet, tri-folded and taped shut (no envelopes.)

Elder Corey Day

El Salvador San Salvador East Mission

POB 30150

Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150


Mission address: If sending packages, Corey says it’s safer to put Christian stickers on the front:

Elder Corey Day

El Salvador San Salvador East Mission

Centro Comercial 105 Local #204

Paseo General Escalon #105 Ave.Sur

San Salvador, San Salvador

El Salvador

You can also write him through (it's free!)