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

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



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.