Monday, July 28, 2014

Maricela & Nely

Dang, I am super sad that I wasn't there for the Warren Maw show. Love that guy. 

Maricela & Nely were baptized yesterday! It actually was somewhat dramatic. The older daughter threw a fit and didn´t want to go and support her mom and sister. This got the dad flared up and he started making claims that it would tear the family apart and that Nely wasn’t ready because she didn’t act well (sweetest little girl I have ever met). Eternal credit to Maricela; she said that she had a commitment with God and was going with or without her family. All but the other daughter went. When we saw them Nely was crying and there was definitely some contention so we started talking with them and they all calmed down and the husband agreed to support her baptism. The other stress was that we had arranged to have someone go early to fill of the font and he did, but then an hour before the baptism a different hermano saw that the water was sort of (not really) dirty and emptied it. We got there and had to fill it and it barely finished 5 mins before the ordinance; but it did make it!  One of the highlights was that they had Eulalio share his testimony and he gave a rousing 2 minute hand-hitting the podium sermon. It actually was very strong, and he told me after that he was shaking he was so nervous to give it. I’m proud of him.   

I am so excited about that new exercise equipment. I don’t really fit my pants anymore; too many greasy tacos.

I’m stoked that my pops and Obo and are at Steiner. We have family tradition there. From Gramps and his buds throwing the counselors in the lake; Gregg pushing one in the lake and hiding behind dad, and I had my own mischief....

Thanks for the Gaffigan quotes!  ha

Yesterday was super hot and humid and I told my comp it would rain. We were in a lesson and large drops started falling slowly and then within 1 min it was as if there was a massive bucket that had been turned upside down in the heavens.  It doesn’t rain a lot here in Torreon but when it does.... It is nuts. It only lasted 20 min but all of the streets were completely flooded and water started entering the houses and cars. It was actually fantastic at the climax of the rain we were sharing the first vision with the family so it was super intense! Our voices rose with the sound of the rain.  

Maricela and Nely are getting baptised this week! Woot Woot. There seems to be more baptisms in the summer.

A woman seemed to not notice that I have been shaving everyday like a big boy and told me that I have a baby face. My comp died laughing and tells everyone....   haha punk. I am thinking about declaring war like I did with Cate after she pantsed me in public and was then hit by a barrage of pranks.

We went and taught a super Christian man. We sang a hymn at the beginning but he didn’t want us to think we were in charge so he said "my turn" and then we listened to one of his Christian songs from his Ipod.  ha 

One of the busses we were riding had a bad fuse so the driver hotwired it ever 5 minutes. He had it all worked out and apart from the sparks and near explosion, it was really cool.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Ants and a 3-legged Race

This week:

On Friday I had a baptismal interview with a man who is an ex-soldier.  But about ten years ago he became paralyzed in an accident. He is a salesman and knows his trade. At one point in the interview I rubbed my eyes because my contacts were dry and he took advantage and started trying to advertise certain products that he sells. Ha, apparently he does it with the elders every time he visits them. It was a very fun interview. We had it in his house, and it took us an hour to walk there. On the way we took a short cut via a way that we had never taken before and a huge farm was there that was hidden away from view by tumble weeds and brush - a fun green surprise.

We bought Bug killer and totally dominated them ants in our apartment.   Ha - it was actually a great victory. The problem was that the mosquitoes heard that the ants had vacated the real estate and they moved in. They particularly like the Latins. At nights they went almost exclusively after my comp and he was withering around while I was snoring away, and I woke completely refreshed and looked over and he looked at me appearing completely exhausted and I said "what?"   Ha – that is why you shouldn’t eat sugar before bed. 

We often get mail from the "church´s most wanted" list. I sent a pic of one of those emails I had received a year ago. Well, last week they moved next door to the elders in our District. Ha - they aren’t super dangerous but it says watch out. So, we will be watching out. They go to church and try to sell stuff to the members. They use the same names as before. The page says that it should be posted on the bulletin of the ward. It isn’t currently; but imagine walking into church and seeing your face on a warning announcement. I suggested in the ward council meeting that we blow it up huge and put in on a cardboard frame and put Christmas lights around the edge. 

We found a couple here. She is member but hasn't gone to church for 15 years. He was showing me how he used to stretch and do push-ups.  He didn't want to go to church and said several times that he would not go. Then I asked at the end of the lesson if we could take a photo together. He was so flattered that he said: "what time is church,"  and said he wanted to go. Sure enough walked through the doors Sunday.

We are buddies with all of the local kids here. This one in particular follows us around. We were going to the church for an interview and he wanted to go.  His fam is now listening to the lessons and his mom got pretty emotional. 

We had a three legged race during a zone meeting. My comp and I totally....lost. Yup last place. We actually fell and crawled most of the ways. A couple of champs we are.

Other crazy news: I had to start shaving every day this week.  Stinks.  Just my stash and chin though. 

This week I also found and ate my first wild banana! They have a lot of plants here but they are always super green. Meish is all like "wow, how  incredible. You ate a banana. I did that like everyday."  And i´m all like "wait a minute." (with Canadian Border Patrol accent)  

Well I got's to go



Monday, July 7, 2014

Her Sons

This week:

I had an interview with a fourteen year old girl that is member but they had lost her file in the church, which happens a bit, and so she had to be rebaptized.  What a sweet deal!   Free sin sweep. Get out of jail free card.  I tried to convince her to wait to until she was twenty because she probably hasn’t done anything in these tender 14 years; Just wait till you are in a Mexican high school...    (just kidding I didn´t really try to convince her to do that)     She was really mature but also a bit shy about being questioned by a twenty year old boy.  Interviews have been a fun part of these months.

We have had some real progress with several investigators. We had been waiting for between 13-20 in church yesterday but in the morning the messages started coming in of the sick stomachs and inability to leave the house, etc. . We went to pick up a family and an old man to take them. The old man had spoken to his Christian neighbors after we had left and they had convinced him that the Book of Mormon was false and he had promised that he would go to church with them. As we were talking to him the woman left the house and stated that they would pass by in a few minutes to take him with them.  The other family: the parents are less active members and feel nervous and guilty because of the way they live their lives. They had left early in the morning to go shopping and had left their kids to tell us.  But we still had 6 solid investigators show up and one stood up and bore her testimony to the relief society. 

We had transfers in the mish here last night. Luckily we didn´t, but we told one señora investigator that I might be heading out yesterday to say goodbye in case and she said that she was going to cry at that thought because she thinks of us as her sons. I have built a lot of friendships in this area and really will miss it when I take off. 

I was reading in the Book of Moses of his confrontation with Satan and his splitting question: -where is your glory?  He needed to be covered with glory to even see God and then was left exhausted. Satan was nothing after that and easily seen. I had read and heard the passage many times before but it had new meaning after my months here. The filth of Satan is everywhere. Every street corner presents magazines full of smut, foul language, and explicit songs. Sin is unashamed. You don’t have to look for it, it comes to you. You don’t need altered eyes to see it; you need to alter your eyes to not see it. That alteration often comes in the form of looking the ground while walking.  On the other hand I have had to spend hours and hours every day studying, praying, analyzing and serving to have even a part of the glory of God brought to me so that I can really see what is His and what He wants. Without that light I will become complete blind, like many of the people that I try to serve every day. Blind to what really matters; blind to the spiritual architecture that is structured to make us happy and to the real needs of others including our own.

Me Tripping in Front of the Whole Zone
I just watched the Powell video. Out of all the families in the worlds, my family, as it turns out, just happens to be the best.

Love yáll 

catch ya next week

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

President Flores

My comp got tendinitis in his knee, probably because his single pair of shoes is well past its life span. His knee became swollen and has been bothering him for the past week so we called Hermana Flores and told her. She asked if we wanted to go to a doctor in our area or go to one of the mission doctors in Torreon. The local doctors are expensive and not always reliable so he chose to see a mission doctor. That meant we had to travel into Torreon. Before getting on the bus we went back to our house to get water and use the bathroom. On the way we saw the bus and took off running for it. My comp has seen one doctor before but he was confused on which one he was seeing. When we got there we found out that we were at the wrong place. We spent more than 2 hours backtracking trying to get to the right office. Nearly 4 hours later we hadn't had any water and we were dying and grumpy. Finally, we got some water and downed it like a couple of camels.

In the doctor’s office there was a member of the University Ward (my 2nd area). I recognized her but couldn't remember her name.  The doctor checked my companion’s knee and then decided to inject it with a pain-killer and some medicine to reduce the swelling. He was sweating bullets over getting a shot. The doctor teased him over how nervous he was. Because it took us so long to get to the doctor, it was too late to catch a bus back to our apartment. I was thinking about walking to the Fonseca’s home and asking for a ride but a man in the doctor’s office heard us talking and said he was going that direction. He saved us and we had a great chat. We even made it home before curfew.

This past week a man contacted us in the street and told us he wanted to hear our message. Fantastic – we went right to his house. (I have to admit I was a bit nervous). He told us that he practiced Islam and we had a great chat. I enjoyed discussing a religion that was completely new to me – new questions, new scriptures, and a new emphasis. He was very educated, knows 5+ languages, and a depth of knowledge of history. After talking for some time we needed to leave for another appointment.  Last night we went back and talked about languages, the church, and the Bible. He knew a surprising amount about the church. He had several Books of Mormon in multiple languages, Jesus the Christ, Preach my Gospel, quoted the Prophets and the Ensign, and he knew about the Temple. We were thinking: “Who is this guy?” At one point I asked him if he was already Mormon. He gave me a funny look like I knew something. Eventually my com-padre invited him to be baptized. Finally, he said “ok, I have to tell you that I was baptized when I was 17.  He told us a story about various unfortunate offenses as an early church member and occasional boredom in church classes (I have gained an appreciation for good teaching on my mission). He talked to some missionaries a year ago and became interested to return to the church only to have some additional negative experiences at church. He told us that he is now facing a decision because, after falling away from the church, he found himself looking for spiritual fulfillment. Through friends in France, he discovered Islam. He felt at home there because many of their beliefs are similar.  He contacted us to gain clarity on a few topics. We spent 4 hours with him talking about languages and religion. We will see how future conversations go.

The World Cup is on here. Too bad we can’t watch anything. We hear about it every day, all the time from the ninos on the street or shouts from inside houses as we pass by. When Mexico plays, it is absolutely the worst because nobody wants to talk to us. Mexico was playing yesterday during Stake Conference. It was great to see how many people showed up for the conference in spite of the big game. As we left the conference we passed by a restaurant that had the game on the TV and we saw the end as Mexico lost. I thought, “how unfortunate for those who skipped the conference for the game.” But, it would have been fun if they had been able to keep winning.

Stake Conference was fantastic. President Flores had us prepare a number and when he said the magic word in his talk, all the missionaries stood up to sing. It actually sounded quite good. The highlight of the conference was two talks given by the Stake President. He seems kind of quirky; like a mix between the personality of Martin Short and the Mr. Mom guy. But, he is a great speaker and has a real ability to keep people’s attention.

Our area is very dry with tons of abandoned houses. President Flores goes home today. He’s a great man and he has done a terrific job turning the mission around.