Mondays are the new day for emails.
“Hola! Hola! Hola! So much to say! I’m so excited to share all the things that have happened over like the past week and a half! Well to start, I’m throwing it back to what feels like a year ago, but it was only last week. The Mexico CCM! So we got our plane tickets for El Salvador and my ticket read, “Tori Petterson”. Really now. Hah! No one can say my name . It’s hilarious! Which is fine, but I kind of need to get on a plane to El Salvador, por favor! So someone gave me a number in the States to call to get help. So I called America. I said, “America! Help a sista out!” The lady that answered said, “Hello. This is Jazmin.” Without thinking I said, “AHHH! JAZZY J!” Oh my. I thought it was my girl Jazmin Rivera, but it wasn’t. Aca-awkward. Anyways, she told me she couldn’t do anything about it and told me to pray extra hard that night. Okay, cool. I packed all my stuff up thanks to the help of the pro packer Hermana Nelson! I was carrying my backpack on my front side, a large suitcase bag on my back, and in each hand I had a suitcase. I was carrying fifty times my weight. Yikes! #WhatAWorkout #PackMule Goodbye bonita CCM! Here are pictures of the amazing Hermana Bair, my district, and Hermana M (the girl I flew with from Vegas, and had my first missionary experience in Dallas with).
Hello airport! Everything went perfect thank goodness. They spaced on my name and somehow I got through. #HappyDay In our terminal there wasn’t a McDonalds… NO. I have been craving a Big Mac and chicky nugs for six weeks! You can’t deny me the food I love! Oh Wait, apparently they can. And they did. #EstaBien So our flight was delayed for two hours. But as missionaries, that’s the best! More time to preach and teach! While I was eating lunch, I had the strongest impression to talk to this guy. Now what’s funny is that impression just lead me to get up and go. It never crossed my mind, “Hey. He doesn’t speak Spanglish like you.” Haha! I went with Hermana Hirschi. He was amazing! He was flying to Dallas for the first time, so we talked about that. He had actually had missionaries talk to him once three years ago. He wanted to learn more, and remembered he really liked what they had to say. So I get talking… struggling with my spanish and charades that I do. And he said, “I speak English too!” Haha! I taught him in English and he said, “You have the most beautiful English I have ever heard. Wow! Its so good!” Haha! What can I say? I’ve been speaking since I was born. I explained the Book of Mormon to him and how it is another testament of Christ. And we talked about the Bible. All that good stuff. He was ready for us for sure. It was an amazing first experience for me. Just what I needed to start my mission in the real world! Haha! We ended up talking to a lot of people! Passed out three Book of Mormons and tons of pass-along cards. Can I just remind you how much I love my district? Ahh, what amazing hermanas and elders. Everyone of us were up and talking! It reminded me of the quote, “Dare to be a Mormon, dare to stand alone…”
So right before we boarded I am not kidding the song Firework by Katy Perry came on. Ahhh! It was just a good reminder of why I am going, what my purpose is, and it reminded me that I am about to be a light and firework for the people of San Salvador! The plane ride was great, I sat with Hermana Hirschi and Nelson. We got there safe and sound! Went through customs, etc. And then the moment I had been waiting for. We walked out of the airport and there they were… MISSION PRESIDENT AND HIS WIFE! They had a huge sign and everything! They are so cute! I can’t get over it! So as I stepped out of the airport I gasped because of the sign, mission pres, etc. But then I was coughing/choking because I felt like I had just breathed in water! Haha! Holy humid batman! Hashtag forever sweating. Hashtag naaaasty. Weirdly enough I have easily adapted and it doesn’t bother me. The heat too, I am fine! Its like my body was made for this place! We got on the bus and Elder Mapusua, Saiz, Hermana Nelson, and I were singing to 22 by Taylor Swift. It reminded me of Fall 2012. Shoutout to #3309! The Hermanas stayed at the nurses house that night. I couldn’t help but think of Jessica Koegler. And how she is going to be an amazing nurse in San Salvador, just on the east side. #ElSalvadorCousinsRepresent
We had training the next day. We were right beside the temple. Oh my the temple! It is gorgeous! Ahhh! Tied with Las Vegas. I have two favs now! Although I love San Diego too. And Cardston. And Nuku”alofa as well. Okay I like them all, its fine. So that night we got to go to a baptism. Now I am going to share my first experience with this, but just know that this happens with EVERY single person I meet. Not kidding. There are first for everything, I guess I’ve realized that there are firsts I never knew would happen. Haha! So this lady comes up to me after the baptism and starts like rubbing me up and down. In confusion I just awkwardly stood there stiffly with a blank stare on my face. Haha! She kept saying, “You are so white! Everyone look how white she is!” Everyone stares at me with wide eyes. It’s like my whiter-than-sour-cream skin blinds people. And EVERYone tells me I look like Barbie. I do not look like Barbie. But hey I’ll take it. And the other thing people say is that my eyelashes are grande. There was a little girl who came up to me and pointed at my head and said, “Grande!” I was like, OKAY little girl, I know I have a big head, but… My companion goes, “She’s talking about your eyelashes.” “Oh.” Haha! Now I just assume when they point at my head and say, “Grande!” I trust they are talking about my eyelashes, not my big Patterson head. Oh and another experience with my whiter-than-white skin. We were teaching a lesson this week with a cute little girl named Bailey! Shoutout to Bailey Bennett! I miss you and hope you are LOVING BYU-I because its the greatest ever. So in the middle of the lesson she interrupts and says, “Now, seriously. How can someone be SO white?!” Haha!
So now that I have mentioned teaching I am sure you want to know more about that! And about my zone, area, and companion! Well I want to start with… MY COMPANION IS AMAZING! Holy cow. I lucked out on an amazing trainer! Her name is Hermana Ontiveros! She is SUCH a powerful missionary and I am so blessed to be in training under her wing. Guess who my Zone leader is… ELDER REYNOLDS: #VegasRepresent What a small world! And Elder Saiz from my CCM district is in my zone too! Its so nice having familiar faces! Its weird not having Hermana Nelson as a comp, I feel like I’m looking around for her all the time! Shoutout to Momma Nelson, your daughter is safe and sound and has an amazing new comp! PS I miss Hermana Hirschi like nobody’s business. It’s all good, we are both praying we’ll be comps in Belize. #PleaseComeTrue Oh also, fun fact. Both of my comps names have been Ashley/Ashlee and they both say, “WAHOO” all the time. So if I come home thinking my name is Ashley and I say “WAHOO” a lot. Just let it be. Haha!
Our area is, wait for it… Ayutuxtepeques. What a name! I still can’t say it. Oh man, I love being a missionary. It’s so fun! We are some of the first Hermanas back in this area because of the insane crime. But no worries, all is well. The Lord is protecting me, and I know I am here for a purpose.
I never thought I’d say this but I love waking up at 6:30. Nothing better then a full day!
My companion has been out long enough she didn’t know what twerking was. Haha! #LoveIt
My comp has told me about the rat and tarantula that live in our aprtment. I hadn’t been acquainted until this morning. Hello rat! There I was scrubbing the floors, and I see him. I felt like Cinderella big time.
Let me tell you more about the apartment and the town.
So the town is great. All the houses are colorful and close together. It’s like a San Franciso/New York feel. Two of my favorite places!
There are vans that drive around blasting music and one day it was Michael Jackson. I’m sold. I love it here. Haha! Nothing like strutting down the street to Billie Jean.
There’s a parrot that lives by us who says, “HOLA! HOLA! HOLA!” It was cute at first. But not at one in the morning.
Pupusas are where it’s at. All day everyday. Not kidding.
There are tons of sad and diseased dogs around here. Being me I want to adopt them all and love them forever but I can’t. Speaking of dogs. I had a sad realization this week that dogs know more Spanish then me… One day. One day. I’ll be as smart as a spanish dog.
Our apartment is great. The guard at our apartment is the happiest guy I’ve ever met. He grabs our hands and shakes them insanely up and down for five minutes saying, “Hermanas! Hermanas! Hermanas!” Haha! That’s always the best. So in all honesty, I have always wanted to live in a small janky aprtment! It’s all about the experience you know? I love it. Home sweet home. The shower is a pipe out of the wall that just shoots direct water… Cold water. I’ve gotten used to it weirdly enough. Nothing like a cold water shower at 7 in the morning.
As far as laundry goes. I don’t ever want to hear anyone complain about putting in a load. Because honey boo, I wash my clothes with one of those old fashioned washing boards. It’s great! Haha, I love it really though. All for the experience! Im learning a lot.
So we teach at least ten lessons a day! Hermana O and I go to work! I am at a point where I understand about 80 percent of what is being said, and I can speak about 10 percent. I am trying my best! Everyone here is impressed with how much I understand and how much I talk. So thats cool! I am putting myself out there! We taught one lady who told me, “You have to watch this video because it reminds me of you.” “La tenchis – Do you speak Englsih?” Haha! I do tend to say, “Si!” a lot when I don’t know what is going on. Which works for about 90 percent of the time. Haha! I have volunteered myself countless times to pray in front of large groups of people. I have said yes to the question I get a lot, “Are you from Utah?”. And I have said yes to , “How long have you been here?” “Yes.” Haha! The other day we were eating at a menos activos house and she’s the best! I swear, if we keep eating there, I am going to have to roll back home to Vegas. The proportions are insane! I thought of my brother Cam! These are the proportions he likes. Jay too actually. Anyways, I had finished my insanely large plate of pasta and then I thought she said, “Did you like the pasta?” So I vigorously nodded my head and said, “Si! Si!” She actually said, “Do you want more pasta?” Oh no. Good thing it was fast Sunday and I was starving afterwards.
Being the white girl in town I get a lot of cat calls. Let me just say, fellas, listen up. RESPECT THE BADGE. #Mhmm #ZFormationSnap
Sunday was yesterday and it was great. Bishop came up to me and spoke complete English. I didn’t realize that though. I thought, “Today is the day! My mind is translating perfectly in my head! Hallelujah!” He walked away and I said to Hermana O, “I understood EVERYTHING he said! Yay!” “That’s because it was in English.” “Oh.” Haha! That day will come I know it. I bore my testimony, it was good to let the people know con Dios, todo is posible and that I am here to serve and help them!
Again, teaching has been great. I have met some amazing people and have already see people change their lives. We are working with all sorts of people. People with alcohol problems, money problems, and so on. One girl we are teaching is a cute 18 year old girl. We started teaching her this week and she has already said she wants to be baptized. One week out and this?! Amazing! What an amazing responsibility I have. I represent Christ through Him I can bring happiness and peace to people’s lives. Everyone should be a missionary. It is true happiness.
That’s not even half the stories, but time is short. No worries I have like 80 something emails left to go! I will be emailing Mondays instead of Thursdays now, so I hope I can make your Mondays a little bit better. Love you all, miss you all, and hope you are doing amazing. Keep your heads up, God loves you!
P.S. Quote of the week: “Try and keep trying until that which seems difficult becomes possible and that which seems only possible becomes habit and a real part of you.”