Saturday, December 28, 2013

La Mansion de Madero


Aahh mer gersh – it’s blowing my mind that Meish is home.  You guys need to go on vacation and get her away from people. I bet they are swarming the girl.

I opened my email today and found 32 emails waiting me. I had to take photos and read them last night. I also got letters from Brian Anderson, Wayne Cushing, Mike Buehner, Bryan Motz, and Rachel Jones. That was very nice of all of them. 

Thanks for noticing the improved handwriting. It is getting hard for me to write in English. I keep inserting words that should have an accent and I forget words. But ya, my writing is better than before. I worked on it a bit in my first area when we planned because I didn’t understand a thing my comp or the people said so I couldn’t help much on the planning.   

I got your box! The backpack is great and we have already set up a ping pong table =). I really enjoyed the Clayton Christensen essay.

On Friday we went to Torreon to the mission home for a conference/fiesta with President.   We watched Despicable Me. Dad was right the first one was better. This one they did more physical humor for the younger age (and my comp who was crying laughing) but it was funny. After the fiesta it was weird being on the curb getting ready to leave. The last time I was there was when I first arrived in Torreon and I was standing next to my first comp.



This past week I was on an exchange in San Pedro and we stopped by the ward mission leader’s home because he was going with us to visit a family.  The ward mission leader makes and sells sausage and on their kitchen table there were several large cut up pigs. Meg would have loved it. I noticed the pig’s head apart from its body and thought “it’s smiling at me” (Christmas Story).  His son challenged me to an arm-wrestle. Apparently no missionary has ever beaten this lad. I was no exception.

We stayed that night with the Zone Leaders and two other elders. The Madero ZL’s live in a large two story house which we call la mansion de Madero. Unfortunately, there are only two beds in la mansion de Madero so we had the privilege of sleeping on the tile. Also, there were only two spare blankets – one for me and one for my companion. In the winter here, the air is cold but the tile is colder. My comp was apparently not bothered by either the tile or the cool air because at some point he opened a window and went back to snoring. Sleep was futile so I used finished Alma by flashlight.

The next day we went caroling with the zone. I walked with Elder Salazar (Singley’s last companion from Bolivia). We had a great conversation. He is very humble and very real. Everything he does and says is very genuine. We talked about Bolivia and his culture. He told me that they don’t eat anything spicy, so his first week here, especially his first bite of food was a complete surprise. He said he was caught off guard by “fire-food.”

We stopped by one very small house that was built out of adobe blocks, sticks, and palm leaves. As we began singing a small boy came out sucking his thumb. He stood staring at us – especially the white missionaries. His family welcomed us in with warm gratitude and love. The grandmother gave us all a gentle hug. The inside of the house was as humble as the outside. I have been thinking about that home and wondering: “what if that was my family and my house? And what if that was my first contact with the gospel and feeling the spirit? I wondered what I would think.

I am super excited to hear Mom and Meg talk in Spanish tomorrow.  I have heard that the Caribbean accent is pretty tropical.

Love you all,

Speen


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Elder Frito



It is so crazy that Meish is already heading home.  That went by so fast. It seems like yesterday that I was saying my last words to her in our living room with President Tingey.

We did a big ol hike this morning. At transfers they reopened the other area. My district leader is a stud and we are already super buds. He is from Guatemala and was a state champ wrestler. His baptism story is super funny. He worked in a Radio Shack type of joint and one Saturday two elders came in and bought 2 hours on the X Box. say wha! After several weeks of this they started talking to him and then teaching him. He was the only one in his family for 6 years and then he came on the mish. Last year his brother was baptized as well. He speaks broken English and said to me: “I got here, read the rule book and had a shock. Ha he said to me, "I’m so mad that I was baptized by Elder Frito (fried - or super dead)."   haha

This week he asked me what I thought we should do for a P-day activity. I said kind of joking, "Hike in Parras." He called me the other day and said that is what we were going to do!



Two days ago while we were walking a drunken man came up to us and told us he needed help. We took down his address and made an appointment.  We stopped by then next day and he let us in with great gratitude.  We began talking and then he went into the other room and we saw him take a sip of beer. We told him if he wanted our help he needed to get rid of that. He said, “ya anything.”  We went and poured it down his toilet. We then had an excellent lesson. He kept saying that he felt really down and that his life was falling apart. Toward the end of the lesson he told us that he had been seriously thinking about killing himself when he went to talk to us.  He came to us as a final plead for help.   He said that he had held the pistol ready but didn’t do it before. We spoke to him a bit longer, focusing on hope and love. He told us to come back this morning because he wanted to be more sober to talk to us. I told him to call me that night, whatever hour if he needed to talk. This morning we got there and he said that he had called me last night.   I looked and although he had written the number right he had been dialing it wrong.  He had panicked when I didn’t answer, but didn’t do anything because we had an appointment the next day. Can you imagine after not answering the phone if.....       yikes. But we got to sing hymns with him this morning and talk a bit. He was a lot better physically and emotionally after being able to just talk it out. I really hope we can help him.  

We also had the best first lesson this week of my mission. This was a reference from the baker that I sent you a picture of a few weeks ago. The baker went with us and we had a great lesson. The best part is that to the side of the room where we were teaching, this woman’s sons was watching a movie. You couldn’t hear it initially while we talked. But when we got to talking about Joseph Smith, and especially while I told the story of the First Vision, the classical theme song for the movie was a few notches higher. It was like a movie; perfectly timed music rising and lowering at the right moment. I can’t remember what movie was playing but I’ve been chuckling about it since.

Cate looked very pretty for the dance.  

Alright my parents - I have to take off. The next two weeks are going to be a great time. I am super excited to see my flesh and blood on Skype on Christmas Day.  That time works great for me.  

Love

Speen




Monday, December 9, 2013

Primary Program in Spanish



No transfers here! It will be Christmas in Parras. I will be able to get on Skype whenever it works for Meg on either the 24th or 25th. Let me know what works best for you.

Yesterday in church I got to see my first primary program in Spanish. There are 5 girls in the primary - three of which will graduate this year. Their numbers are small but they nailed it. The mother of one of the girls’ is less active and she looked very contemplative as she watched her little girl sing about the Savior and give a corresponding message. 
  
Last night we took Christopher to the Christmas program. I had invited him the day before and he accepted. Ha, I said to him "the prophets and apostles are going to speak." Oops, He thought I meant they were going to speak in the building here in Parras. The best part of the whole thing was that he got a better sense of the scale of the church. Before this, his sense of the church was two teenage boys and the 60 members here in Parras. When he saw the cameras pan across the inside of the conference center, he looked shocked. The laptop that they used didn't have a great popup blocker, so in the middle of one of the talks we got a Mario Bros. pop-up. Ha - but he really enjoyed it.



This morning we took him to the library to watch the Joseph Smith video and several of the new Christ videos.  I love these new ones.  The actor looks a bit like Christian Hales.  The last one had something going on with his chin and forehead. The new ones are serious and very well done. 

We often get asked about the polygamy issue. They say “you Mormons have lots of women and wives.” I laugh and say “nope – look:” (I show them a picture of the fam). “See, I only have one mom.” Sometimes they ask if my sisters are my other mothers. =) ha nope.  Then I say “but I love my mom and she does a ton for the family.  It would be just great to have a few moms just like her in the house. They laugh and always drop it.

Well, I have to take off.  

Love you all.   


Speen

Monday, December 2, 2013

Bread for our Friend


We were in another city for a zone activity today. A couple of weeks ago this man asked us to buy him bread. He was super drunk and telling us that he didn’t want wine, just bread. We bought him several sweet roles. My comp was joking around by saying that in a few hours he would have forgotten the entire experience, and looked in his hand and said "Why do I have bread.”

Well, he saw us the other day and asked us to buy more, so we did. He also said he was cold so we gave him a sweater that was in the house.



This tiled work of art is of Fransisco I Madero who was a revolutionist and Mexican President who was born here in Parras.  He was assasinated in 1913.

Thanks for sending that info on the Sabbath. I really like the part that says that the church "kindly suggested that the scouting organization should change its Sunday policy." Ha - it may have helped a bit that the church is the largest supporter of the organization.  

Funny/sad story: Today we took the 7:30 a.m. bus to Chaves.  We normally sit in the back of the bus. I don’t know why – probably because there normally aren’t many on the bus. Today a woman of 40 got on just after us. When she saw us she went to sit next to my comp. I instantly smelled the stench of the alcohol that she obviously had been drinking. I thought I better talk to her, but it was a long ride so I figured I would give it a few minutes. After we started going she moved to my row and then looked at me, gave me a sad smile, then started to cry.  She said "help me." We began talking and then she said, "I’m talking with a friend right? Will you take it?" She then pulled out of her jacket a large bottle of Corona, and gave it to me. Later she gave me her cigarettes. We talked to her for a while and then sang her several hymns. We sang her to sleep. When she woke up she told us that she was done with the 20 year addiction. She lives in another area so I handed the reference off. 


 

These kids were staring so I asked them if they had never seen a white kid before. We then went to talk with their parents to see if they had any interest.  They are members! They were baptized in another city a bit back.  There are several families living together and lots of children. They were super excited that we passed by.   I am pretty sure that all those little ones will get baptized. I hope I don’t get transferred on Monday.  I want to stay here 3 more months.  This last week was the best I have had on the mission.


I followed Meisha’s idea of the thanksgiving journal.  
 

My favorite scrip right now. Luke 21: 19     "In your patience, possess your souls"

Mom, everyone loves the gloves you sent me. A few people have tried to buy them off of me.

I have to head out

Love you all!

Speen



 


Monday, November 25, 2013

Bus from Madero

 



So, this past week we went to Madero, which is about two and a half to 3 hours by bus to be with the other district in the zone.  The DL there is from the Navajo reservation. We got out of the meeting at 1:20, ran to where the bus stop was and found out that the bus had passed by five minutes earlier.  It is hard to know when to be there because there isn’t a station and there is no one to ask. It is just a dusty corner and it is a different bus from the one that had dropped us off. We waited for the next bus which came at 5:00 p.m. This was great because I had my Spanish workbook - so I got some great studying. One thing I learned this week is that they don’t capitalize the pronoun when it represents the Savior as in English.    

The bus dropped us off at the stop about an hour from Parras.  We entered the small bus station so my comp could go to the bathroom.  It was dark outside. I sat down and started to read and after several minutes I see this bus come hurling into the small town; he pumped his brake (not even close to a complete stop) and kept zooming on in the direction of Parras. My comp and I look at each other with confusion. I went to the woman behind the desk and asked "what was that?" She responded (never taking her eyes off the soap opera she was watching): "that was your bus." Ha what! Are you kidding me? She said, "it didn’t see anyone waiting so it continued."  That is because we are inside the station! 

Well, it was the last bus. So I was about to call a member and ask for a ride. But, out of nowhere I see my comp take off running towards the road going to Parras.  I took off in pursuit - laughing about my comp who was sprinting up this road. I thought he had gone crazy and was trying to run there. Then a small truck came whizzing down the road. My comp signals for a ride and they yelled to us to hop in. We crammed in the back with two other hitchhikers. It happened so fast.   I couldn’t stop chuckling. What a great guy is my comp. There was no hesitation - he just sprinted for some random vehicle. Ha I’m still dying.

A man asked me this week if I knew what day was the seventh day of the week?  I said “Saturday.”  He said, “Then why do you have your Sabbath on the first day of the week.”  Wow, excellent question. At first I thought, "oh no, I have no idea". I have always known that the Jews have their on Sabbath on Saturday and I have wondered why? He said that the pope had created the Calendar and he had seen a documentary on TV about this. Here was my answer: "it is less important what particular day we treat as the Sabbath and so much more about what we do on that day.  God gives us commandments for us to be happy through righteousness. He knows that it is necessary for us to take a day off and focus on the spiritual elements of life. The Sabbath day helps to support and elevate families and societies." I knew that this was the right answer and it got him thinking and he left it alone.   I did some research later and found that it was changed at the time of Acts. This was to mark the day that Christ rose from the dead. There is a great section on this in the Bible Dictionary.  I love teaching people that have studied.  Their questions make studying the next day very interesting.

A member in our ward has a woodshop and we passed by and found that he had a non-member assistant. He is twenty and has a girlfriend and a child. We spoke with him about repentance and baptism.  He is very humble and wants to have a secure life for his family. He is catholic, but as we talked about Christ’s baptism he said. "I wasn’t baptized like that." He accepted a baptism date afterwards.  


 

I wish I could write more and send more pics. But, I have to take off. I didn’t even get close to half of what I planned to write. This week was filled with stories and very memorable lessons; one of the best weeks of my missions.  


 
These little munchkins ask for food every time we pass by. We normally buy rolls or cookies for them. Their mom doesn’t mind if we buy her something too. =)  


 
This is the birthday party for our Hermana friend.  She is pint sized, super blunt, and incredibly generous; even in the very humbling circumstances in which she lives.  



A member is a baker with his brother. They both are very gentle and are very pleasant to be around. They gave us a bag of bread; but walking back to the house a pair of 30 year old women and a group of small children asked us for bread. So we didn’t have any when we got back to the house.   

 

 

 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Scorpions and Sticky Hands


Shopping
 
Those stories about the Philippines’ are something else. A large part of me wants to be there to see it. I loved that story about the 10 Sister missionaries who escaped. I am super jealous. What an adventure!
We had a great week. We normally write you in the library because it is free. But the library is closed so we are at a different site. The problem with the library is that it changes something on the memory cards. It did it to both mine and my companions - so we can only open the folder from there. Sorry, but no photos today.       

We visited the lady where we helped paint her numbers on her house several times. This week we asked her what she remembered from our discussions.  She said, look "I really don’t remember anything for more than a day."  That doesn’t help make a progressing investigator. But she has a 17 year grandson and he has an interest. Every time we go to teach her he sits on the steps and listens. She sits outside of the entrance to her house where she sells clothes. We sit on a stump to teach her. We invited her to church but she declined. But, she said that she would send her grandson.
We showed up on Sunday morning and he was waiting for us but he said he could only go for an hour.  I was hoping it was a good speaker so he would have a good impression. I remembered Megan’s story about bringing an investigator when the first hymn was Praise to the Man. The investigator listened to the words then suddenly stood and shouted mid song: "I praise no man" and sprinted out of the building.

Ha - of course our first hymn was Praise to the Man. But he stayed calm. The speakers’ were fantastic.  At the end of the meeting he asked if it would it be all right if he stayed a little longer. Yessss!  He is the first person that we have been able to get to attend church here. So, I was super excited.

I was planning on taking him to the adult Sunday school class because it is so good - but the youth forced my hand and wanted him in their classes. I think it went well.

The coat and gloves are fantastic. It was super chilly here last Tuesday & Wednesday, so I was wearing everything you sent me. The sweaters are great.  The day I arrived in Torreon, President changed the rules from us not being able to wear sweaters to being able to. When he started here, the mission was way too lax. He started a program called "Obedience Total." Part of this was that we carried a small yellow card everyday in our shirt pocket with the rules. He has really has turned this place around. We had a conference several weeks ago with the Seventies over Mexico and the Mission Presidents. They had a discussion about getting all of the missions synchronized. President decided to do away with the program. At the meeting we had a ceremony where we cut the cards. He said that they are going to back off the rules because the missiĆ³n didn’t need them anymore. He said, "I am giving you the gift of my trust; please don’t return to Babylon." So, the point of all this background information is that I can now wear these sweaters.  

We have had a few rules here that are unique and one of them is that we are not allowed to play sports with the members. My first comp was a Professional soccer player in Chile, (I have found out since that everyone here is a "professional" soccer player). They were playing as a zone and he blasted the ball at the goal. The ball slammed into another elders’ face, which shattered his glasses and he was bleeding pretty bad. This reminded me of the book "the chosen."

Mom sent me a pair of sticky hands in the box I just received. The other night when we got home I was a bit restless. We normally wrestle on such nights and while changing my clothes, I saw the sticky hands, and laughed. I took them out of the box, threw one to my comp then baited him and hit him in the rear. He laughed and took the bait and swung back. We ended up having a super epic sticky hand battle with full on overhand tennis stroke type swings by the end. We ended up on the floor on our backs laughing and out of breath. 

We also went to the Bishops house and made the brownies you sent. We then took them to an elderly lady that invited us to her birthday party. She is of very humble means and was super excited. At the party they found a scorpion.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pizza and Slot Canyons


Carson may have been able to put a dent in that pizza if he hadn’t eaten a large sandwich beforehand. The zone leaders had to help him out.

Sorry for coming on late. This week someone told us that there was a slot canyon in the mountains near here.  So, of course we had to check that out. It took a while to get there but it was fantastic. At one point we had to turn around because we hit a pool of water. No beavers as far as I could tell. I didn’t really know the ruling on that water situation. Since missionaries can’t go swimming and we couldn’t hike through it, we headed back.

Crazy about the Philippines! 10,000 people. That’s incredible.  I am so relieved that Meish is alright.

When we got on the computers, the Hermana that we baptized in my second area needed some advice so I wrote her a largish email. We are trying to get her connected with the church in her area outside Mexico City. I gave her links to the Mormon websites and we are working on connecting the missionaries with her.

I got your box this week with winter gear. Thanks a billion.  

Mom asked about my Spanish and my comps English. I love studying Spanish. My comp can pray in English and he knows a few other words but that is the extent of his English.

Sorry for coming on late and for the short note. I have to take off.   Love you

Speen 

 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Halloween in Parras


 
The work is picking up here. We received a reference this week from a member. The address they gave us led to a small hardware store; so I called the number. The woman that answered told me that she speaks English and confirmed that she had spoken to the family to talk to us. She told me that she doesn’t understand death and why it happens. We like that kind of question.

On another day we were walking down the street and a man shouted to us to come over.  He asked us several doctrinal questions about Adam and Eve.  He knows his Bible so he was fun to talk to.  We started to do a question and answer thing with him.  He would ask one question and we would answer, then we would discuss it. Then we would ask.    

While I was studying this week I saw a list of the 12 original apostles of Christ.  I realized that I hadn’t reviewed the list completely before. There is a section in Jesus the Christ that talks about each one individually; so I read it a few times.  The next day a Christian man came up to us and we talked with him about our beliefs.  He said, "I have talked to your missionaries before and your counterparts didn’t even know who the original 12 disciples were. Can you tell me?"    I almost laughed and said yup. We continued talking. We talked about the next life and he started to show some interest.


 after playing soccer with the district

I was listening to the Joseph Smith papers this week. There was a segment on Emma Smith and her staying rather than going with the saints. It seems like this was the wrong choice. Why do you think she made that decision?

Hard to believe I got my mission call over a year ago.  My comp grew up on a city on the beach. He has only been to mountains a couple of times in his life. The hike I took him on was 4 hours. Oops. He was pretty dead.  Last week we started on one and within five minutes of climbing the hill my comp tripped and completely ripped his jeans.  So, no hike for us today.

Halloween is awesome here. They do these dances in the streets for the muertos. The men dress up in loin cloths with palm leaves and they paint their faces as skeletons. Then they do these crazy coo doo dances with huge drums. We had dinner with an investigator family.

Part of the halloween celebration
 They make these on the ground with crushed flowers. They are 8 feet long

 
We have a zone meeting on Tuesday, and then a meeting with President on Wednesday in the same city. My comp and I are going to sleep at the zone leaders apartment; on the floor like my man Edmond Dantes.


On exchanges with Elder neilson

Zone conference
 I got a letter from the Hinckley family. Give them a bunch of thanks. 

I like hearing about your travels. "We have fewer children home now.  Let’s see how many continents we can visit." hahha - incredibly jealous.  Go on a lot of hikes for me.  

It is getting chilly here. Tell Will no mas "hot agua" for me either - but it really wakes you up. 

I have to take off.  Love you all.  

 

 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

If I Marry a Girl from Here

 



Washing Clothes
 
Family

It is sad to hear that 15 years of elementary Halloween parades now come to an end.

Today is San Judas day. All of the kids are firing of these bomb-like fireworks. hahah we are teaching a war vet he says he wakes up to the explosions and he feels like he is back in the war and within 5 seconds he is under his bed with his knife.  

If I marry a girl from here she would know how to handle a gun and ride a horse. A couple of years back there was a woman here that walked around town with double holsters and was not afraid to kill. She was faster than all the men on the draw so no one dared to stand against her.   Fun fact: The movie "the wild bunch" was filmed here in Parras. The Texas man wanted me to get him a copy of the movie.  

My incredible parents; thanks a bazillion for the box!

 

I loved the articles you sent in the box. I loved the paragraph in the one where he rejects the concept of a God that puts billions of us in a world where a huge majority endure mainly pain and sorrow.... punishing those who don’t believe in him (a majority of which have never even heard of him) all without shedding a tear. When I read that paragraph, I thought of Neal Maxwell’s quote: "there goes another beautiful theory, murdered by a gang of facts."     


 
Yes, so we didn’t have cambios.  My comp is still in his training so it will be probably in 4 weeks. This time in Parras has been definitely my favorite part of the mission. My comp is a stud. I’m super close with the D.L. Carson was in my zone so I have seen him a bunch and parras is incredibly pretty. Also, I now understand how to speak and do this work so that helps a  bit =) ha.   


 

We have been teaching a woman (and her grandson) that reminds me of Nanny McPhee. We helped her paint her adress. She still has some fire in her and she is pretty deadly with her cane.
 

I sent you a picture of me with one of my favorite people here.  


 
 

 

So, I learned this week that for manual labor they make about a dollar an hour.   when my comp heard the usual pay of high school kids in the States, he was pretty shocked.

Wills letter was so great.


 

Chesire Cat:
Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where –" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
"– so long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.
"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

 
Pretty good advice for some afternoons here  =) ha 

 

 

Monday, October 21, 2013

P-day Hike



We had an excellent week this week. Last week I reported to you was one of the longer weeks of my mission. Not that it was bad, it just went really slow. My comp said the same thing I did. But this week went incredibly quick and well.  

We have interviews tomorrow and then transfers on Thursday; so I’m crossing my fingers that the next guy is solid.  My comp right now is a stud. I would be very pleased if he was left with me. 

So Meish will be home for the holidays?  That is fantastic.  

Mom said she had a conversation with the mother of a girl headed to Meisha’s mission about hygiene and other stuff. If anyone asks about hygiene for Elders coming to Torreon, here is the list: WEAR DEODARANT - yep that is about it.

 

Last week - to finish off our Preparation day we went up and climbed to that church. It was incredibly beautiful and what a view. I kept thinking that it would be a perfect spot for a temple. Ha like in Emperers grove when he slams his giant palace on top the tiny house at the summit of the replica hill, shooting confetti and shouting"Cusco Topia, Yeahh me!" We will do the same.  


 

After hiking to the top of that hill last week, we looked out and saw the beautiful mountains that were just calling us to hike them. We had planned on hiking there in the past, but every Monday it had rained heavy or we were in a different city. But this morning we woke up early and headed out.  The mountains were in camel back formation - one small one, then a small valley, then a bigger one, valley, followed by a mount Olympus sized mountain.  We bush wacked our way through the desert brush until we found a small trail.  We couldn’t attempt the hills until the sun was up because of the rocks so we went up to see the sunrise from the monastery.  


 

While we waited for the sun to rise we took a ton of photos and had a killer time.  My comp was tempted to ring the bell.  =)  You can see the rope to the bell just above my head.   haha that would go over well.   

Good story from this week: We were walking and I heard someone say: “Hey, you’re a Gringo. You speak English? I am used to cat-calls in English and lots of swear words (why is it that the only words teenagers know in other languages are the crude ones). Well this man was from Texas. I had a good talk with him. He was a mechanic and opted to go to Iraq for a year about 7 years ago. He was in a convoy that had a fifty percent chance of making it. They were attacked and an engine fell on him. He has 3 herniated disks and should be in a wheel chair, but lives here because the climate eases the pain. We spent some time with his family and he showed us a lot of pics from Iraq. Yikes. But it was way fun to talk him and his wife.           

Meg and Meish sound excellent. I got to head out.

Speen
 

 
 

 
 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cheetos



Hey, so I really don’t have much to report from this week. We walked and then kept walking and then the week ended =).    An elder has a pedometer and we measured how far we walk on average. Our area is bigger so we average around 12 miles per day but we have hit a 15er. We knocked on one house and nobody answered. Turning to leave we ran into a boy that was heading into the house.  We asked if his father was home. He said yes and went in to tell him that someone was at the door. He came back and innocently said "my dad says that he isn’t home."    Ha - we walked away and then I looked back after fifteen steps to see the dad take off out the front door. Do they think we are the police?    

We actually have some solid families that we are working with. "You can tell a man not by his answers, but by his questions." I love the questions that real investigators give us:“I being born as a Mormon, raised by Mormon’s, growing up with Mormons; I just have a different perspective on life than many.” Try as I might to guess what questions I will receive, there are some that blow me away and completely change the way I look at certain aspects of the gospel.


 

There hasn’t been a baptism here for a year, so we are trying to work on that. We are working with a couple and are trying to help them get married. She has been coming to church for 2 years but we need to help them get through the marriage process. She doesn’t really understand what the lawyers are telling them. The lawyers are in a different town and it costs 15 dollars to go there (which they don’t have). We have finally gotten the members involved so hopefully this month we will see it happen.  There is some really good leadership here - Some very solid folks.     

I am just about to finish Jesus the Christ by Talmage.  He provides an angle to the Gospels that completely unmasks the Jewish culture at the time of Christ. Chapter 40 is a pretty solid grilling on the apostasy. The wording in many of the teachings and experiences he relates is unclear to me and had me confounded. But much of it brings great clarity.

 

Also, I have downloaded and am listening to The Joseph Smith papers which is a TV series from the Mormon Channel. It is a group of historians that dig through the life, times and details of the Prophet. It is pretty comprehensive and sucks you in. 

And that would be the life of your kid. We eat, we sleep, we walk, we gospel it up at every possible opportunity, and then the alarm clock rings =).  

The Chemistry student we baptized in my last area is solid. =)  best find ever.              

I received a letter from the Daniels. Tell them thanks for that. 

Also, thanks to your parents for their letters. I owe them a long one next week.

I have to head but thanks for writing me.  I get pretty excited for Monday mornings



 

 

Monday, October 7, 2013

General Conference, Short Ceilings, and Paper Mache


One of the many things I loved about General Conference

A Hermana in our Ward sent a very concerned message to us that we should be attending conference and that we were completely letting her down. We had gone to watch conference with all the elders in our zone. Conference was incredible. All the Americans piled in an office together to watch it in English, mainly to hear the actual voices. This was completely worth it just to listen to Elder Dube. The other elders said that the Spanish interpreter had a really high voice. We slept over with the zone leaders one night and the district leaders the other night.  

The buildings here are built for smaller people. I have a bit of scaring on my head now.

I won't tell you what this is
 

 These are made out of paper. Incredibly impressive.  They use glue and slices of cardstock
 

We experimented cleaning the bathroom with Coke. We heard that it works and we don’t like Coke. It actually did work. . . . some.

Mom said the next Hobbit is coming out. Oh John Thorton - why aren’t you real?    
 
I gotta go but I will give you a good update on our area next week. So good to see the photos you put on dropbox. I kind of forget about the outside world here.
Also have your listened to "the Joseph Smith papers" podcast? Very good!
Speen