Monday, February 24, 2014

Back to Torreon

I am back in Torreon.  Change is good but I had a good run in Parras. Now I have a new area with new people and new views. But, we can smell the landfill every morning as the wind pushes the odor toward us.   

My comp is great. Like all my comps, he has faced some challenges in life but he is very solid. 

On my one year anniversary we taught 8 lessons!  I haven’t ever had 8 lessons in one day. 

I am buddies with one of the Zone Leaders and he is in our district. There is also a new guy from Idaho. His family owns a very large ranch and his family is big into rodeo.  He seems like a stud.

This morning I made rice mixed with eggs and French fries that I found in the fridge and my comp said they weren't his. I normally make my own salsa, but i found some natural stuff in the small shop outside our house and that is super yum.  The Cholula is good but it is hard to get out of the bottle.  You look like you are going crazy shaking that thing and two drops fall out.

Every Sunday they have a super long Mexi market on the street outside our apartment. We fell asleep last night listening to Spanish pop music.

Luke 14:28 has a comment for people that don’t finish building their houses.

Word of the week: abofetear. ha funny word

This week I saw some Mexican look-a-likes:
   -98 year old Halli Berry
   -Jafar in Aladdin when he dresses up like an old man in the jail
    -Our ward mission leader looks like Dustin Hoffman 
A hermana accidently sent me a message that said "hey cutie here ya go 898776384." she was embarrassed when she figured it out.

Before I left Parras, the mission sent us the furniture for Parras 2.  They sent 5 bed bases. haha what?!  We needed 2. To get them in our second story apartment I lifted one in the air while another Elder grabbed it from the balcony. Then I had to sprint up the stairs and help hoist it over the railing and into the house. Good workout!

Did you know “padre” is slang for awesome here. I agree.


Monday, February 17, 2014

One Year Down and Leaving Parras

I am leaving Parras in an unanticipated transfer. I remember in the mtc, or maybe a little after, reading Meisha’s email about leaving an area that she had been in for 7 months and I thought that would be an eternity. Well, she had me by one transfer but still it feels super weird to be out of Parras. 

On the bus to Torreon I was thinking back on the 6 months that I was there.  I figured mathematically that I more or less:

     -ate 1400 tacos
     -walked 1530 miles
     -talked to 1700 people about the gospel 
                   (from 30 second contacts to 2 hour lessons)
     .-received 850 emails
      -studied Spanish for 255 hours
      -went on 70 bus rides taking more than 2 hours
      -was attacked by 2 dogs (chased by many more)
      -stepped on 2 cactus

BTW - I stepped on that cactus with my shoes on and one of them had 6 or more barbs go completely through the thick sole of my tennis shoes.  Ouch - but only for a second. The awful ones are the tiny hairs. Remember when Will knocked me onto the cactus?

Because I will hit the year mark pretty quick here I was thinking about what I would do if the next President asked me in my final interview if I would stay one more year?. I think I would accept.  There have been 3 year missions in the past (Israel) and Lorenzo Snow served for 7 years I believe. I asked my comp what he would do. He said yes then no then yes then no. I think my spirit would say yes, but my body and mind would argue.  Maybe if I was called for three years it wouldn't be a problem - but in the moment that my mind was already at home.....  At the end of your mission, would you have stayed?

Last night we passed by the home of one of my favorite member families. They are 70 years old but the husband loves exercise and looks 50.  There were other members there and we chatted a bit with them then they said they had references that they wanted us to visit. While we took down the names they whipped up a Mexican dinner for us, and Hermano Solis pulled out a bunch of body building books that he has. Haha we looked through them then we started doing several of the ab and pushup exercises on the floor. He was super into it so I was having a great time. 

So, I will be in Torreon and my new comp is Elder Pachuca. He seems super cool. I was very surprised that I was being transfered. 

This past week there was a wine festival in Parras. They sent up floating lanterns and got drunk. 

Did I tell you about the woman that asked us to help her change her life? We asked her what needed to change. She said she needed to repent. We asked for what. She said that she had killed someone. ha yikes "say what....?" I asked how she did it. She told me with her mind - - she knows black magic.

Brain Stew - I think from Weasels - Yikers

That really is terrible about the dog attack on Brie. Poor girl! None of us need that in life. Will there be permanent damage?  I looked in Parras for pepper spray but didn’t find any. There were always plenty of rocks.
When people get in my face here I really want to answer like the Polynesian woman at mom’s work:  "Why you in my business?"

Hey I got to take off. Love Mondays! 

les quiero

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My Worship

That picture you sent of me on that dead tree at Lake Powell was funny. I too shudder when that memory flashes through my mind – me not knowing if a branch was waiting to impale me when I jumped into the water. Yikes - at least I would have died with a six pack.

Our friend the nurse made it back to church. All the members were super warm and excited that was back. He really is a great guy. Tomorrow we are going to pass by in the morning and teach him and his siblings that live here in Parras. He promised us gorditas de maiz con rajas (which I will definitely be making for you guys when I get back- my fav food). So, I am pretty excited!

The reason i am writing today is that yesterday we had a conference with the whole mission and Elder Christensen from the Seventy - a very good meeting.  

One comment he made that I really liked was a quote from President Hinckley saying "the only reason that God has us worship him is because he knows that through that process we will draw close and become like him." . . . . . or something like that.

I really liked it because this has been in my mind for a few months now and I have been trying to articulate the idea. Everyday I teach people that have elaborate worship rituals. I have wondered if these really help them draw close to Him or become familiar with the spirit. Several months ago the question came to my mind - what is worship? What does it mean to worship? I thought back to my younger years and I don’t think I was very good at worshipping.

When we invite investigators to pray at the end of lessons, we sometimes receive a 2-3 mininte chant of loud praises to the Almighty. I have never done that and I consider myself very religious. I am giving two years of hard service for my faith; so I wondered "why have I never shouted praises?” Why is that not part of our religion? I think the answer is that I have learned from my experience that the most important form of worship can be quiet or through daily obedience. Other types can be hollow and vain. 

Dad, I read your top 10 list of a life full of ArĂȘte several times this week.  The one that I really liked was #7 - "Treat life as a classroom." You have said that people take this life to literally. Without eternal perspective, failures and accomplishments can be blown out of proportion.

We ate with a hermano this week. They are always super nice to us but they have had some challenges. We always share a scripture after we eat and I decided to read with him the parable of the talents. I wasn’t trying to scold them because that’s not my place. But I wanted to see if I could get a discussion going with him. One thing I realized while reading this story that I hadn’t noticed before is that the one with 2 talents wasn’t focused jealously on the one with five but did his part. In time he kept doubling his share. What we do here in the world is a tiny little thing in comparison to the greatness of God and our own destinies are like a seed with incredible potential. If we never nurture our seeds, they remain tiny and almost useless. If we shut off our progression, we do ourselves a terrible injustice.  This brother got the hint and we had a good talk after. He said that we are to progress spiritually and it doesn’t matter if we don’t become successful in the things of the world. We talked about how balance was necessary in all things. The thing was that he had a "be good" mentality and not the crucial "get better."

You asked about my six pack – whether it still exists. Oh, the bod - haha I just have to remind myself that the mission will end one day and I will be able to exercise once more.

We are opening up another area in Parras, so we have had to find another house. I will probably stick around for a time to teach one of the two that are coming into the area.  

In other news, I have discovered guayaba - which has a lot of fiber. That is good.

My comp learned that Adam and Eve (and everyone else mentioned in the bible including those in Heaven) didn’t speak Spanish. The other thing with the comp is that because of his accent, all the natives ask him when he learned Spanish. ha

love you all 
gots to go


Monday, February 3, 2014

The Nurse

My comp got us a cita (appointment) with the nurse. Nick Anderson told me "sometimes you got to flirt to convert." =)

Thanks a Bazillion for sending the contacts. I will go to the mission home on my year mark (2/20) to fill out some papers so hopefully will receive the package then.

Did I tell you about the time I put a "spice bomb" in my last comps pizza?

The circus is in town - kinda lame.  

here: looking super awesome,  maybe next p day. we will see the times

We have a Manuel (I think he meant manual – but maybe not – knowing Spencer he was probably going for irony) to help us exercise correctly. =)

We had a district conference this week in Chavez so we slept over at the house of the two elders in San Pedro. Super fun! One elder (herr) is from Huntington Beach. Stud - spitting image of brother porter - so we were buddies before we started talking. 

We played soccer full field with the members this morning for three hours.  gosh that be fun

New agenda / calendar. 

We have a dinner appointment with the man nurse so I got to run.

Love you all.


How is Stefan doing? Super cold? Stefan is probably like Arnold Shwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze there in Russia.