Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Week 45 Layco District, El Salvador (Zone Leader)--May 30, 2016

A week in the life as a zone leader

so i have now finished a whole week as the zone leader of layco. elder gallardo and i are new to it (though he had a week and a half head start) so we still dont quite feel like we are zone leaders haha. pretty much we just have more numbers to do more than anything. but its fun. this week we had a little multizone so its always good to see other missionaries and receive counsel from president. this week we were really busy and really working hard to find people to teach and get to know the area. we have been determined to set ourselves to strive for and reach the standards of excellence set by our mission president. we were able to accomplish several points this week and now have the drive to change how we work so we can improve in other areas. setting goals is great. one great satisfaction of working is being able to set high goals and reaching them. and then, we can keep working to improve so that we can really reach our potential as missionaries, workers, members, parents, friends, or whatever really. and, even when we fall short of a goal, we can then have the chance to reflect and start again even better. setting goals is a great way to master self discipline. as i have gone out to set and reach goals in all of my time in the mission, it has made me come to realize all of the times in my life before where i wasnt able to quite accomplish what i wanted because i wasnt properly setting or striving for goals. mostly, i just went through the motions of working and hoped for the best. i may have wasted a lot of great potential in many aspects of my life. for that i am grateful to now be learning how to become the best me. and in all this self discipline and potential-reaching, there is nothing more important than relying on the Lord. Remember the scripture in Ether in that we all have weakness, but that all of those weaknesses, every single one, can become a strength if we just rely on the Lord. thank you all always for your love, prayers, and support. i hope you all have a great week!

Elder Abilez

Pupusa Count: 2 (Woooooooooo!!!)

zone leader trio!
staircase selfie

i collected all the state quarters...

despedida para hermana ramos
workin with fernando

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Week 44 Layco District (Again!), El Salvador (Zone Leader)--May 23, 2016

That Was Unexpected

So this week was a bit nuts. I have some bittersweet news for all of you. My time with Elder Kaufusi and being there in San Julián has been cut short. On saturday in our morning english class we suddenly received a call from the assistants and so i quickly handed the class over to kaufusi to go answer. I got emergency changes. And so i was called out to be a zone leader in another zone. And, by an ironic twist of fate, I am back in Layco. So now I am here in the area Central with Elder Gallardo as the zone leaders of layco. Gallardo is from orange county and hes actually 24. he came to the mission a little bit after me so ive known him for all of his life. the area is super good and has been progressing a lot lately so we are excited to continue this work here (he is actually new to the area as well) so saturday right after the english class i left and had no time to say bye to anyone but a few members and javier and catherine. we were all pretty sad but we understand how these things work. this weekend was actually stake conference here in layco so i have already been blessed to be able to see just about everyone from here, including my convert gerson. it was great catching up with him. its a bit overwhelming to just suddenly become a zone leader. also strange considering all of the great plans we had in motion for san julián. i was really wondering about all that that has happened and funnily (is that even a word?) i found a humbling answer in one of my favorite talks from the october session of conference. elder renlund spoke in his talk about his calling to be an apostle. i wish i had the actual issue with me to quote exactly what he said because he definitely is more eloquent than a 21 year old kid from california who only speaks spanish now...but anyway, in regards to his apostolic call he said that his older brother had called him when he once was called to be a bishop (or maybe stake president, again i wish i had the issue) and admonished him that his calling most likely had nothing to do with anything that he had done or achieved, but rather that the Lord had something planned to do through him. elder renlund then continues to say that the circumstances are probably similar or equivalent in his calling to apostleship. and now, I, as the sudden new zone leader, can say the same. I know that this call that I only just received to have this leadership responsibility has nothing to do with what I have achieved or done. I can name numerous missionaries in this mission that are more deserving or qualified to hold this position. But in these last few days i have tried to keep my thoughts in the fact that I am here so that the Lord can accomplish some work through me. And perhaps, to also teach me a lesson. We all know I have a lot more learning to do. In any case I have a great amount of feelings in regard to these changes in the mission; anxious, excited, sad, humbled, confused, surprised, happy. but we all need to magnify our callings in the church no matter how big or small, and that is what i plan to do with mine for however much time i have to stay here. love you all so much!

elder abilez

pupusa count: 0...........some people in layco said i lost weight while i left, others said i gained. i, however, feel the same

we bleed blue! (kaufusi and i made custom dodgers jerseys and shared with the familia baires. unfortunately kaufusi and i never got the chance to take a picture together with em or to show the backside...)

Elder Gallardo and I! as of about 2 minutes ago...

quick goodbyes with the mancia family (below) and the familia bonilla avila (javier and catherine) (above)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Week 43 Izalco District, El Salvador-May 16, 2016

Now What?

Heyyyy! Changes were this last week! And we didnt get changes! kaufusi and i are gonna keep working together here in san julian and we are both stoked about it. We are making a lotta plans to be able to improve the work in this area. the members are excited to help us out and are always asking us when we are gonna have another activity in the church so its good to see that they wanna support us. our focus right now is to work smarter and more effectively. we have a few families and a number of people to focus on specifically so that they can also be baptized in this change. javier received the aaronic priesthood yesterday so that was a great experience! This past weekend we decided to do a little more exploring in our giant area. we had a couple of references for some people that live in a town called Cuisnahuat. We just call it Now What. Its especially funny cuz we missed the bus to go there on saturday and we just stood there for a second and finally said, Well, Now What? Luckily we were able to still make it there for the day. The town is way bigger than Ishuatan (but smaller than san julian) and like 5 times prettier too. it was super cool and we met a lot of cool people there. didnt find the references though...overall we are looking forward to making san julian a strong, spiritual area for missionary work. kaufusi and i have been talking a lot and have realized that no matter what happens in the mission, the most important thing always is the people. the people that we meet and especially the people that we bless with the gospel. a lot of missionaries try to focus just on the numbers. how many lessons we got in a week, how many invitations we make for baptism, or even just how many people we baptize. but if i have a day where we only sat down to teach even just two or three people in the whole day, but if those people felt the Spirit and felt a desire to change to make their lives a little bit better, thats real success. thats better than a high number. when i come back home i will never remember the numbers. i will never find significance in having the highest number of contacts in the mission. but i will remember the people who blessed my life. and i will remember the people who changed their lives as well. we are all God´s children. For that purpose, missionary work is the most important work we can be engaged in. I love you all and hope you all have a good week!
Elder Abilez

Pupusa Count: Last change total - 34
                       Grand Total: 394
                       This Change: 0 (we dont eat that many pupusas here...)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Week 42 Izalco District, El Salvador-May 9, 2016

Dude, Where's Our Area?

Hey happy mother´s day yesterday! or tomorrow if youre a latino! as youre all probably aware, i was able to talk to my dear family yesterday and of course it was a great time. i also got to meet kaufusi´s family and he got to meet mine so now we feel all excited to be reunited after the mission. but this week was great! We went out to many far lands to meet new people and had the help of a few members to contact some less active members we didnt know before. the members here are really great. on saturday we had plans to go to this far town called cuisnahuat to contact a few references we have had for a while. however, we missed the bus and werent able to go. luckily, there was a bus about to leave to another far town called ishuatan, which we also have never been to. we had no other set plans for the day so we decided to set out and explore. it was this tiny little bus that was too short for the two of us and it was super packed. we started going down through a few areas we have visited beforehand but then the bus began to make its way up this mountain on a slightly windy road. we were passing over valleys and other hills and mountains. it was super beautiful. finally elder kaufusi, about 20 minutes into the bus ride, turned to me and said "dude where are we?" haha we had no idea where we were going. after about 30 minutes we began to see houses and i suddenly was filled with this great desire to just speak with all of them. the thought came to my head about how all of these people in this far out town have never ever seen missionaries at their home. for probably all of their lives they have never had the chance to hear the gospel. although there are missionaries all over the world, there are so many places like that that is just so remote and so far from hearing the gospel. i know that it is our duty, not only as missionaries but as members of this church, to truly bring the world His truth. although the success we experienced in that little town was few, we know that we have performed our duty to reach out to all of God´s children. I hope all of you are doing well and have a great week. Thank you for your support always!
Elder Abilez

Pupusa Count: 33 (our cocinera keeps making us pupusas for lunch and ive almost died twice because of it. in a bad way)

pineapple hat! (btw that pineapple was suuuuuper good)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Week 41 Izalco District, El Salvador-May 2, 2016

The Wedding Bells Rang!

We did it! Catherine and Javier got married and baptized on saturday! It was so awesome and a bunch of members came to support and they were so happy to have finally reached this goal. After the baptism Kaufusi and I just sighed and congratulated each other because there was a lot of work involved haha. But we are still just so happy for them. Now we are teaching them about the temple and especially getting them ready so they can do temple baptisms in a month. they will be such a great eternal family. on sunday we got to confirm them and also carmencita was better so she too got confirmed. everyone was just so happy this whole weekend here in san julián. this week i was reading in a liahona that had a lot of youth messages about missionary work. but honestly they were great messages for all of us, not just youth. a lot of it talked about success as a missionary. because what does it mean to have real success? the fact that we were able to baptize this family this week shows that we definitely had success. but success isnt just getting someone to accept the gospel when youre a missionary. success as a missionary comes when your desires are in line with the Lord´s and youre truly doing His will. When you are bold enough to talk to someone about the gospel, when you work without fear of judgment or anything else, or when you strive to always do your best, that is real success as a missionary. we all can be successful missionaries if we just try. Now, how many of us (and i hope its a good majority) pray for missionary experiences? Even more important, how many of us, then, act upon the soft promptings of the Spirit to be able to accept these missionary opportunities? I, unfortunately, before the mission was one of those people that prayed always for missionary opportunities but never once did i really do anything. thinking and reflecting now i can see all of the lost chances i had to be able to really bless the life of one of my friends or even a stranger if i had only been bold enough to be a successful missionary. even now in the mission there are times where i regretfully feel that i couldve have done just a little more. but we dont need to be that way. we can truly accept the promise found in D&C 18 where the Lord says that we will have great joy in bringing Him but only one soul, and even more so when we bring unto Him many souls. I know that we all have the chance to be successful missionaries so long as we are diligent in seeking out the opportunities and acting upon the Spirit to help a child of God in need. I know that this work is true. And, as the prophet Joseph Smith once counciled that when all is said and done, the most important thing is to share the Gospel. I love you all so much! thanks for all your love, prayers and support always. have a great week!
Elder Abilez

Pupusa Count: 25

IF YOU LIKE DRINKING HORCHATA! (those are the real lyrics of the song...) 
We rescued a butterfly!

Why so serious?

And named him roger

He was a companionship's best friend

Then he die

Viking funeral for Roger