Elder Colton West

Elder Colton West


Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 9: Drunken Angels

This week has been a pretty awesome one for us.  For one, CHRISTMAS!!!   I got some much needed socks from my companion's mom (a missionary can never, ever have enough socks).  And a bunch of goodies from my family (peach rings!). Other than that, Christmas was a lot different than at home.  For one, Salvadorans celebrate Christmas on the 24th.  Don't ask me why, because I have no clue.  The other main difference is that instead of spending the day with family, the nonmember population of Ilobasco just have parties.  And at these parties they combine their two favorite past times, playing with fireworks and drinking.  Really intelligent, I know.  Between the bolos attempting to sing, and the fireworks going off every few seconds, I didn't get a lot of sleep on Christmas Eve. (Editor's note: "bolo" is slang for drunk person).

On the bright side, we got three Christmas dinners!  First off was chicken and rice at the house of an investigator of the other Elders.  Second was "panes rellenos" (stuffed bread, like a warm sub sandwich) from a member family.  And third was "baleadas" (I think that´s how it's spelled), a Honduran food that's kinda like a quesadilla with beans.  And then we took a cake to a recent convert!  He's a great guy, but a recovered bolo who didn't want to leave his house at all on the 24th because all of his friends were drunk, and he didn't want to have to deal with the temptation of alcohol.  So we went and spent a some time with him.  And he had fireworks!

We spent a lot of the rest of the week trying to make up lost time with lessons, because it's almost impossible to meet with people here on Christmas.  We've done a lot of walking over the last few days.  And by a lot, I mean probably 15 miles a day!  But all of the hard work has paid off.  We have two new investigators who will be baptized by the end of January, even if they don't know it yet!  One of them said that he wishes he would have joined our church a couple of years ago when he met the missionaries for the first time.  We've found some more very positive people that we're teaching right now.  And then there are the drunken angels.

We were out in Colonia Alcaine (a neighborhood on the north side of town) yesterday just before sunset.  We had just made a hasty exit from a member's home because her daughter was mad that we gave pamphlets to some of the kids (member's grandkids).  Crazy, I know, but people have their agency.  We were walking down the street on our way to go to another neighborhood about 10 minutes away, when we were stopped by an old man standing on a street corner.  He was probably 65 or so, and was hard of hearing, so it took a while to communicate with him who we are and what our message is.  While Elder Hood was talking to him, another man walked up in a cloud of alcohol vapor and told us to ignore the old man, that he's a drunk and that he isn't all there mentally.  Elder Hood told him "Este hombre es un hijo de Dios" (this man is still a child of God), and continued talking to the old man.  As we were writing down his name and phone number, an old investigator walked by.  Elder Hood and his old companion lost contact with him because he was in San Salvador for a couple of months. But he's back in Ilobasco now, and very excited to meet with us again!  When I turned around after saying hi to our new-old investigator, the old man had disappeared.  I know that he was probably just an old bolo, but in that moment he was an angel of the Lord, keeping us where we needed to be.  The other bolo was a temptation for us to leave, but just like the other temptations in life, he left when rebuked.  The Lord truly does work in mysterious ways!

Elder Colton West
El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission

Editor's Note: this is an excerpt from Colton's personal email to Cheyenne yesterday. I thought this was interesting info on his area and how hard they work so she shared it with me to post here:

A bit more about down here... Well, we live in the part of town aptly named "El Centro" (the center, which is exactly where it is). Our proselyting area (where we work) starts about a mile away in a neighborhood called La Palma. We have the outer neighborhoods on the west and north side of the city (La Palma, Alcaine, Jardines, La Elen, and a tiny part of El Siete). The farthest point we've been from our house is about 5 miles or so, on the far side of La Elen. And yes, we walk it all. So we're walking 10-15 miles on an average day. Unless we take a moto-taxi. I'm not even sure how to begin to describe those! I'll send a picture of one next week.

This week's pictures:

Us singing at the branch Christmas dinner.

Elder Hood trying to give a pass-along card to a cow!

This is Mish.  He lives with the member who put on a fireworks
show for us.  He hunts ants, plays with the straps of my
backpack, and sometimes tries to eat my shoelaces

Proof that my family loves me.  They sent me Sriracha!

Editor's pic! Skype call with our happy missionary!!!!

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