Obviously we haven't had too much time on our hands to keep more up-to-date here, sorry for the wait for all two of you who may be faithfully checking in to see if we are still alive here in El Salvador;)
Day 4: After several tiring days we needed a slow day to rest and recover. We visited the local rich people malls and realized that we were severely under-dressed and unwilling to pay $75.00 for the same thing we could buy on the streets for under ten. We walked around, ate some tacos, and went back to our casa to take a nap before we went to buy some pupusas for dinner and fell asleep at 8:00 PM. (sleeping and eating: a very adventurous day indeed!) (Oh and we saw our first two iguanas in the hotel garden.)
Day 5: We woke up early, enjoyed a nice breakfast at our hotel and saw 5 iguanas in the garden! We knew it was going to be a good day! We headed west to San Lorenzo, a town in the mountains above Attiquizaya on the border of Guatemala and El Salvador. We saw the missionaries and lots more stray dogs. We even saw some happy little goats along the roadside eating grass in the ditch. We met with some members and I (Lynley writing here) got more opportunities to practice understanding Spanish spoken by people who speak way to fast. (I've understood quite a bit and have learned lots of random words)
We visited a sweet sister who immediately recognized Danny. She invited us inside their home and had a picture of Danny and his parents and Liesel on their wall (from their 2006 visit). The church members built them a home because they were living in a small tin shack. We than visited an older couple who live way up high in the mountains. They were the nicest and most devoted members. They were so kind and gracious. They had the most beautiful garden with lemons, papayas, yuca, corn, and lots of beautiful flowers and palm trees.
We than took a little excursion to celebrate the land of our good friend Ruth (Lynley's old roommate) and Lynley's brother Bob's mission. I was terrified that either the El Salvadoran or Guatemalan soldiers would shoot us down for crossing the border, as the only identification we carried were our driver's licenses and temple recommends. We walked across the rickety bridge while soldiers had their very large guns aimed directly at us. Danny insisted we pick up some rocks in Guatemala to commemorate our visit. I was more worried about returning back to El Salvador before getting shot and dumped in the dirty river. As it turned out the soldiers had put their guns at ease and were enjoying some tortas by the border to celebrate our return. We lived to see another day and many more stray dogs on the El Salvador side of the border. (I still think their were soldiers hiding in the bushes in Guatemala who weren't too pleased that we had entered their country on nothing more than a drivers license and temple recommend, and that we had stolen their precious river rocks) Thank you Guatemala for your hospitality and rocks. May the river wash 4 extra rocks to your side of the border;)
Then the rain fell, and fell, and fell. (as it has every day we've been here... Thank you again Guatemala for your tropical storm and the rain it has showered upon us) We drove through the mountains and clouds back to Izalco. Along with the amazing views of the mountainside, we also saw the same car pass us twice only to see it moments later pulled over along the roadside for various passengers to relieve themselves. To my great dismay, restrooms are few and far between here.(That's a subject for another day)
Anyhow when we finally reached Izalco we stopped to visit a sister Danny had baptized on his mission. Her son had passed away a year ago and we had a framed picture of he and Danny to give to her. His name was Andrew and he always loved Danny because Danny's middle name is Andrew. She told us about his passing and offered us some delicious pupusas while we visited. She and her family showed us all their photos and enjoyed the pictures we brought to share with them. (Every family we've visited has photos of Danny in their album) A few times here but especially during this visit I felt an increased capacity to understand the language and to share in the experience. My heart really went out to this sister and her family. It has been amazing and I have been very grateful for this blessing.
We visited another family and Danny challenged them to read the Book of Mormon every day. We are returning to visit them this Wednesday. Despite the rain and late hour we stopped again by the Menendez family who we had already visited. They shared some tickets with us to the Cultural Event celebration. The drive home was long, dark, and rainy. Danny does a great job navigating through the jungle here! This was a LONG but great day!
Day 6: We were again ready for a slower day. We went to another mall and yet again, realized it was out of our price range. We enjoyed a very tough piece of beef, stale tortillas, beans and rice. I decided to brave the milk in chocolate for the oh so elusive memory of chocolate covered bananas that I had enjoyed in my youth while visiting Hawaii. We ordered two choco-bananos and I realized that instead of a banana they had simply covered banana ice-cream in chocolate sauce. Danny enjoyed two choco-bananos (without the banana) and I enjoyed the blessing of avoiding an unnecessary tummy-ache.
We than went on the hunt for a real choco-banano, or some more members Danny knew in the area, whichever came first. We found a member Danny taught, who has since gone inactive. She sells food in front of the Catholic church but sent us to talk with her daughter Wendy. We had a great visit with Wendy and felt the spirit prompt us to ask if we could return with the Elders to visit her again. (We saw a little gecko in her window, not that has anything to do with this but it made me happy. We will be going back with the Elders on Thursday) Again, I felt a great capacity to understand the language and felt that I was being blessed with increased understanding. It was amazing.
We finished the day with more pupusas and another early night.
Day 7: Today we saw a beautiful native bird and more iguanas in the hotel garden. We enjoyed visiting the central market in San Salvador. Finally, something we could afford! We purchased some great things like $2.00 flip flops and shorts. We got some amazing sunburns on our necks too...those were free;) We purchased some delicious Anona fruit (there's really no way to describe the taste, texture, or amazing goodness. They have a soft shell and the inside fruit is either white or bright pink. The texture of the fruit is similar to a ripe banana and the flavor it somewhere between a papaya, lime, coconut, and banana. They are quite unique and oddly tasty. We'll have to sneek some through customs, or just take a picture;)
We enjoyed a nap and than headed to Santa Tecla for the Mission Reunion which went from 1:00 to 8:00. We arrived at 6:00 and apparently hadn't missed anything, although the other return missionaries had spent their whole day sitting there. (We preferred actually seeing the country not just the other few gringos who we can visit anytime in Utah) Danny chatted with a few other Elders and we spoke to his mission President and his Wife (the Youngs) We waited for the rain to stop and purchased some more pupusas for dinner again (like we have every other night here except for Sunday).
Stay tuned for our rambling recollections of the last few days. The cultural event and dedication were amazing!
Love, Danny and Lynley