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,


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.  



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.   


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!