So… another week down! Sounds like mom had a pretty busy week. It was a little bit busier than normal here too. We had what’s called a capacitation this week. Kinda like what dad has for his work but for missionaries of course. That made it really hard to work those days. It started at eight in the morning and ended at six. It also takes about an hour to get there and an hour to come back. It’s kinda funny that we have so many meetings there when we could have it in another building. But it was super good. It’s so crazy in the middle of that, a thought comes to you that this is all in Spanish and that I’m not in the states anymore. Who knew? Anyway, we have high expectations for this month. The district has kinda changed a little bit but now we have four areas. With all for this month, as a district, we project 26 baptisms. That’s going to take a lot of work, but it’s definitely not impossible.
One of the cool other moments about this week is that we have a pretty interesting guy for references right now. He is an older guy and can’t walk. He is in a wheel chair but always says, “I’ll do my part for the Lord.” He has the attitude that some elders don’t and should have. One of the houses that he led us to has 15 people living in it. It’s about the size of our house at home right now, probably smaller. But the crazy thing is what is it going to be like teaching? They are pretty excited and they asked for a little note so they wouldn’t forget when we are coming. ¨Convenient¨ that the only thing we had to write on for them was a Restoration pamphletJ. Anyway, that is going to be one of our focuses this week.
Also we have a pretty cool family living up the road from us. They are super poor. What happened is that they were doing well and living comfortably when their daughter got in a car accident. The cost of all the surgeries and everything forced the family to sell a lot of what they had. They had a car, TV in every room; two story house (which in Mexico is pretty big) and other commodities that made life simple for them. We really didn’t understand how poor they are now until we went there one time and they said that they didn’t know what they were going to eat tomorrow. We got an interview fixed with the bishop and the stake president. We’re supposed to find out at seven tonight what’s gaining to happen.
Part of the fun in the mission is that we got water! We really didn’t expect it but it came eventually how lucky for us. We still want to change houses because we have a lot of work in another place in our area. That’s one of the challenges of this area is that it’s huge. It’s going to take a lot of planning and organizing to get it all figured out.
Hey thanks for being there for me back home. Often times as a missionary, we see spiritual casualties of people who exercise their agency poorly. Other times, life just happens and you feel like you’re running through the mud because of all the plans that fell through. At the end of a hard day, it’s pretty simple to climb up to the top of the roof and look up and the stars and remember those nights on the trampolines. As a mind starts to wander off, the memories keep coming and coming and coming. Another hard part about my job is to see a family get torn apart or doesn’t see the need to be married in the temple. When I was asked to bare my testimony of the temple, the mirrors of eternity were right in front of me, along with everyone else that was there that day. As a missionary, it is very nice to open a small booklet and remember all the people who are waiting or praying for you back home. The comfort of realizing that life here on earth is not the end is unexplainable. That is how a missionary from Montana survives in the roasting hot of a busy city in Mexico. I am still realizing all the lessons I learned back home and how they have made me who I am. Thanks mom (and everyone else).
Oh yeah, a few photos
1. Christmas!!!! This was just before the opening!
2. This was the last photo of the district before changes this past week
3. The family that we completed in baptism
4. The dad and son that we baptized.
That’s all folks!
January 24, 2011
So just so everyone knows.... I’m a fifth of the way through my mission! 147 days! Who said it could go by so fast! That’s really been the crazy thing that I realized this week. Also a different thing this week is that Elder Brixey is starting his last transfer this week! That’s pretty crazy. So I got this transfer with him and then after... well let’s not think about that. Let’s focus one week at a time.
This week things have been pretty rough but not too rough (so don´t worry mom). We were planning on changing houses on Monday, but ended up not doing it. Afterwards we have really been thinking and trying to find a good house for us. Another member had a house that he would rent to us missionaries for cheap, but some druggies had broken though a window and left the house in pretty bad shape. There were needles and stuff all over the floor (I didn´t touch any of those). We did find a really nice house but it’s a little bit more than what we were planning. It’s not out of the budget but it’s still a lot. We want to move in to this house soooo bad. Its basically brand new and everything. Also it’s in the area where we want to work. There’s basically just houses in the area around the house and its where a lot of the busses pass to go to other places.
One of the cool things to see and feel is that the family that we baptized (still no pictures sorry) their house feels different; the good different. The wife really likes missionaries, so she signed us up for every Sunday to eat there with them. They are really funny. The kids in our area also are teaching us how to play with tops. They do it a lot different than with their fingers. They use a string and get them going really fast. Its hard to describe what’s going on when I still can´t do it. It sure gets the kids excited. And when your friends with the kids here, your friends with your parents.
We keep going to our little pueblo Telchaquillo but the work isn´t going as well there. The members have kind of slowed down since they haven´t seen any real progress. We could have one in two weeks though. She is super timid. Her name is Aresely. Also there are a few guys there than only speak Mayan so it’s a little bit difficult to teach to them. We bring a translator of sorts. He already served a mission so he knows how things should be said and what to do. One of the guys is named Maouro and has a drinking problem. He really knows that its bad and is having a hard time kicking the habit. He wants to just drop it completely but its really hard when his friends invite him to go drinking. He wants to lock himself in his house for a month and work at night when he has to work. He´s got a lot of heart, but its hard for him. We´ll try to do better with him and getting him friends. We might get to baptize in a synote! If you don´t know what it is, it’s like the underground well type things that the people use to use. Like Lamanite and Nephite people use to use! It’d be pretty cool to show if people wanted to come down and pick me up some day… but that’s a long ways away.
Really this week has been one of those about survival. There have been a lot of appointments and promises from people that fell though. There is an end to this though and it will be so sweet. One of the things that I was thinking one night and wrote down in my journal is my purpose. In English it says to ¨Invite others¨ but in Spanish translated it says ¨to invite to the people.¨ I like that one better because the Spanish one includes me too. What I am doing is helping me grow my faith, realize and change, and grow attributes of Christ. By partaking of the sacrament, and striving to be clean, I place myself on a different plane. Then when I am a lesson, I have the ability to listen to the Holy Ghost and teach with him as a companion. Then this has been the key to this week ¨Enduring to the end¨. It’s not over, and I'm not done. I still got a lot more work to do.
Love you all, and even when things are hard, don´t quit
1 18 11
So who said that it could be the middle of January already! I have a lot more time in the mission than I thought. I've almost got two months in Mexico. It seems like two weeks. But this week was a little different... we had a baptism! Actually two. The sweet family that I talked about for Christmas got baptized. The mom and one of the daughters already were members but the dad and the sons weren’t. I actually got to perform one too! It was cool to know that even though it’s not in English, it’s the same power, the same spirit and the same ordinance. The boy I baptized is named Fernando and he is nine. He didn’t tell me before, but he doesn’t like to go completely under water. Also the font was a little bit of a story. The pump, to pump out the baptismal water didn’t work so the water was just sitting in the font for two months. =( We started taking the water out by buckets but after a hundred and thirty buckets and only half way there, we thought that there was probably a better way to do it. Elder Brixey wanted to check out the pump so we went and got it fixed so we drained all the water out. After that was cleaning of some of the worst calcium deposits that I have ever seen. That was no fun. We finally went home at nine. The next day we filled the font and it took about three hours. It was a good service with about fifteen or twenty people showing up. The mom was super excited and you could just see that she was glowing. We had dinner with them Sunday after their confirmation. Sorry that there aren’t any photos this week. I’ll try to get them next week. One of the things that kind of worries me (speaking of photos) is that I still haven’t gotten my package with my camera and stuff. Any way that you can check up on that? It would put my heart at ease a little bit.
This week has been a little cold for us too! I know your saying how could it be, but when I woke up in our house one day it was either 10 or 18 degrees Celsius! That's with more humidity than Montana would ever have. No frost or snow or anything, but sure feels cold! Then in the day it heats back up. I think I'm getting accustomed to the weather here. I got a nice tan line from my watch and even though it’s January, my body is still tanning.
This week was a little bit tough because Elder Brixey had a meeting for two days in Merida. That means we did splits with another Elder who his companion went to the same meeting (the meeting was for district leaders, trainers, and zone leaders). The Elder that I was on splits with is named Elder Gonzales. The interesting thing about him is that he has less time than me! That kind of put me in the place of Senior companion (don’t worry, my head didn’t inflate). A few more bites of humble pie or how I would do things differently next time. Also this week I had my first interview with President. It was pretty short in that I'm a newbie, and don’t have a whole lot to say. One of the cool things, (I don’t say this to boast) but President told me that I had been blessed with the gift of tongues and that my Spanish was above normal. I thought of all the days in the MTC or the first few weeks in Mexico and wondered a little bit. The reason why I think this is important is that it’s a gift of the spirit. If I wasn’t doing what I was suppose to, I wouldn’t be blessed with this gift. The trick with this now is that I need to use this gift to teach and help others. Still, a pretty cool chit chat with President.
Not much of a crazy funny story to talk about this week. We haven’t had water this whole week...but we are planning on changing houses. Where we want to go would be a whole lot nicer, because one, it’s close to everything else that we want and two, is that the water never runs out. Another cool thing is that we might get a washer! That would be nice and save a little bit of headache on pdays. But who knows. We keep pestering the people and I feel bad but we really need to change houses.
Hope you know that I love you all and I see how the gospel blesses and completes families. Don’t stop being good even though I’m not there. I know your praying for my success because I can feel it. Love you all
P.S. One night I was sleep talking in Spanish and I invited a person to be baptized. They didn’t accept. =(
January, 10 2011
So just to bring you all in a little closer, I had a dream this morning that I was with you guys. It was close after I got home. One of the things I remembered is that I asked mom if there was anything to eat (that part was in Spanish). The part that everyone remembers right before they get up is that I said, “It’s been two years already?” and mom started to tear up and said, “Yes, son it has been.” Just to give you all a new sneak peak in a few years. Time is weird in the mission too. I remember writing in the MTC that the time there was so weird. My companion is going home in a few weeks. I feel like I should be going home with him. But at the same time, in two weeks, I’ll have been in Mexico for two months. Then on the other hand, I’ve learned so much. Really kind of weird. I don’t know how to explain it.
Anyhow, the week has been suuuuuuuuuuuuper crazy. We have our progressing family that (cross your fingers or knock on wood or both) are going to get baptized this week! If all goes well it should be at one on Saturday and it’ll be a boy and his father. They are really embracing the gospel and ready to do it. Also in church was another lady for her first time. It’ll be really hard but really sweet if she gets baptized because she and her husband are catholic in “their own way”. The husband is a welder too, so I get to learn a whole bunch of new welding terms, again in Spanish. :) In the same area, we found a family that could be pretty sweet. I don’t remember if I told you about it or not, but the first contact we had was with the daughter who is about 18 or so. While we were contacting her some lady came up and chewed her out big time for something (we still don’t know for what). After that we tried to continue on contacting and she started crying. When we asked if she wanted to listen to the message she said an affirmative “yes.” She had a throat infection though so we came back a couple times in the week and left a Book of Mormon and a pamphlet. The family read the chapter and the pamphlet! Normally we have a hard time getting people to read what they are supposed to even when we explain to them. We finally got a time with all the family and set a baptismal goal with all of them. The parents said they felt comfortable but still wanted to study more. :) The bad news with that one is that they didn’t come to church this week :[. Other news is our little pueblo in Telchaquillo really could use its own missionaries. The people there are really ready for the gospel. We got a reference to another sister and she accepted her baptismal date. She said, ¨I hope I can follow continually¨ (that’s the translation but what she said was even better). She’s really timid and shy. So humble circumstances too. She doesn’t have power in her house. We did have a lot of people who used their agency correctly and went to church this week. Blessings from patience and hard work.
So mom, I still haven’t gotten the other package with my camera or a letter from anyone. Hopefully they should be here this week.
A couple fun adventures from Mexico:
We might be moving! Our house is actually even compared to missionary standards rather small. Usually there are two rooms, a front room, a bathroom and a kitchen. We only have one room so we study in the front room. Also another reason why we are switching is that over half the time this week, we haven’t had water! Usually it’s not a problem we just fill up five gallon buckets outside from a well type thing but even that has dried up! So we are switching hopefully....
Another thing is I threw up again.... this time I was in a moto taxi (like the one I sent a picture of). I was spewing out the side while we were driving down the road. I hope I don’t have a bug or something. I get stir crazy after a few hours. Well I got to write a few more letters. I should have an interview with president this week so hope that all that goes well.
Miss and love and think about you all a lot!