Elder Colton West

Elder Colton West


Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 46: Corbos and cumos and machetes, oh my!

Wow, what a week!  We have been busy.  23 lessons, 10 progressing investigators, 11 new investigators, 15 baptism dates, and 2 service projects.  But it's all part of the job.  Of course, it helps having a companion in his last change.  Elder Ramirez wants to leave this area in flames, and we're doing it.  My next companion and I are going to baptize like crazy!

So you're probably wondering what the heck is a corbo, and what's a cumo.  Well, it has to do with the service projects.  We helped some people here with their landscaping, Salvadorean style.  Down here, most people still mow the yard the traditional way: with a machete.  There are two reasons: one, most people don't even have a yard, and the few that do have at most 10 square meters of yard; and two, anything other than a machete is way outside of the budget of people here.  But because nothing can ever be simple, a machete isn't always a machete.  Here in Salvador the straight blade machetes that you see in movies and such are called corbos.  Salvadoreans almost never say machete, except when they are trying to sell one to a gringo.  There's also something called a cumo.  It's half machete, half sickle, and is way better for lawn mowing than a corbo.  Think 12 inch bamboo handle with a curved machete blade on the end.  Extremely effective.  And thanks to the fact that 90% of the service projects in my mission have involved macheteing something, I've gotten pretty good at using both corbos and cumos.

Anyways, both of our service projects were "landscaping" with machetes.  It's a good workout, that's for sure.

Now for the spiritual side of my letter...

President Vasquez has been doing a lot of praying and pondering to receive the revelation necessary to help us in our work.  This week, we saw the fruits of that.  President taught the zone leaders, and the zone leaders taught us, a new way to go about our "first contact" lessons.  He ahs asked us to start all of our lessons with a hymn.  Sounds a little weird, but it works.  Latter Day Saints already know all about the power of hymns.  For those of you who aren't members, ask your friendly neighborhood MormonMan to lend you a hymnbook, and read the introduction.   That will explain the importance of hymns far better than I can.

Following the hymn and an opening prayer, we come out swinging with doctrine.  We've been sharing John 7:16-17 to establish that what we're teaching is direct from the heavens, and from there share the commandments of repentance and baptism, and attempt to put a baptism date.  Different, but it works, because those who are prepared to receive the gospel accept, and those who aren't reject us.

Time's up for this week.  Have an awesome week!

1. Soccer with members and investigators this morning.  We won!
2. new backpack.  I'm the only elder in the mission with an American flag on mine!
3. I also got Salvadorean Air Force pilot wings.  Something else that no other missionary has on their backpack.
4. Zona Ilopango, the best (and biggest) zone in the mission!

Elder Colton West

El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission

Zona Ilopango (Ilopango Zone) the best (and biggest) in the mission!
(Elder West, back row, 2nd from right)

Soccer with members and investigators this morning.
We won!
(Elder West, front row, left end)

New backpack.
I am the only Elder in the mission with an American flag on mine!

I also got Salvadorean Air Force pilot wings!
Something else no other missionary has on their backpack!


  1. We found your blog and also found our son in the photo of the Ilopango Zone! Thank you for sharing the great letters from Elder West.

  2. Do you mind if we put the zone photo on Zach's blog?