Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nicolas Sparks

Mom you don’t think I know who Nicolas sparks is....!!?? Wow, I am offended. Going to the Carolina’s because that is where Nicolas sparks made his movies. Sweet! Why didn't I think of that..... In the movie October Skies, this lady is always talking about Myrtle Beach and painting a panorama of it. When you said that you went to the beach in the Carolina’s, I knew that you went to that beach because of this movie. ha

My new Mish President is fantastic. He is a good mix of funny and serious. He asked a sister mish in one of the training meeting if she ever felt attracted to the boys she saw on the street. She said no because "she is a missionary." His response was more or less; "well that’s not true, and it shouldn't be like that. You are not robots. You are adolescents; very good ones but you still are what you are. You don’t have to stop being yourself to be a missionary. You just have to dedicate yourself, work hard, follow the rules, and keep high standards. But you don’t have to enslave who you are."  It caught my attention because I have thought and talked with my comps a lot on my mish. I think I have found a good balance. At times I have probably been too serious and other times probably had too much fun. But I haven’t strayed too far from what I think has been that good balance. For example my comp and I studied super hard this morning then after a couple of hours we started to clean the house and I grabbed a tape roll and we started playing a game which continually transformed between soccer, hockey, and ninja badmitten, which he grabbed a shirt and I grabbed my towel and we started locker room whipping each other. Haha, we finished super out of breath and gasping with laughter. He got me several times solid on my bum.

I liked what you said about tearing down celebrity status. It made me think of Elder Cook’s talk where he was talking about Facebook." He observed that when using social media, we tend to broadcast the smiling details of our lives but not the hard times at school or work. We portray an incomplete life—sometimes in a self-aggrandizing or fake way. We share this life, and then we consume the “almost exclusively … fake lives of [our] social media ‘friends.’” “How could it not make you feel worse to spend part of your time pretending to be happier than you are, and the other part of your time seeing how much happier others seem to be than you?”    

So my President just called me and told me that he just booked my flight for the 12th of January.  

Monday, October 20, 2014


We had a baptism on Saturday.  His name is Lenny and is 9 years old. He got to his interview Friday 2 hours early because he was so excited and before the baptism he took my camera and was taking pictures of the room and the font(almost dropped my camera in the water) "so that he wouldn't forget a thing."   He has a hard life but is a great kid. The funniest thing happened.  He was baptized by a member and while they were in the bathroom changing together we were in another room sing hymns with those that had showed up. The member finished changing first and told Lenny that he was going into the other room and that "when he was done changing he could leave when he wanted," obviously just taking about leaving the room. But Lenny finished changing and left the church and ran home because he was so excited to go tell his neighbors or something. We in the other room had no Idea of this and because he was taking a long time I went to go check in on him and he was gone!   Ha - we checked all of the rooms and outside then asked some kids playing outside and they told us that he had taken off.   Ha - we said a prayer with the group and finished up.  They don’t confirm until Sunday anyways so it was fine.  

We have been doing a lot of service here. We went and cleaned out the back yard of an investigator of the other elders in the branch. We chopped up branches and cut out grass and weeds. The investigator walked around and told us all about her plants. She is super proud of them.  She looks like Catherine Zeta Jones. That explains why the other elder were so willing to do a big ol service project. =D The scary part of the project is that there were two pits about 4 feet deep. One elder cut the grass out of one pit and then we were looking it the muddy mess and black widows started crawling out.  I have seen maybe 4 in my life before that day, 2 of which were here in Mexico. But on Thursday we killed no less than twenty of them; male and female. They weren’t just in the pit; they were in the trees, and bushes and walls.  The two Mexican elders had a spray and every time that someone spotted one, they ran over like the fire squad and dowsed it with raid.  It got sort of sketch working so we, like Biff, "made like a tree and Got out of there."  After the work project, they fed us lasagna and a real salad. I say real because the normal salad that they use here includes shredded lettuce and tomatoes and lemons and no sauce. Ha Elder Kimball saw the meal and said real food! ha  I was crackin up.

This branch has some problems with gossiping and other challenges. There are many that can’t take the sacrament but they are trying to get back into full activity in the church which is noble.  I bore my testimony on friendship and showing love yesterday.  There is one older lady that I have really connected with here. She is super dramatic and gossipy but can get offended very easily - but she and her sister are funny cats. She gets really annoyed by some other members. A member stood up at the beginning to bare her testimony and the one that likes me stood up and left the room. Gosh. I didn’t know what she was doing.  Then she came back and I bore my testimony on showing love and she told me after that it hit her pretty hard. Ha, she actually is really humble in some ways. We had a lesson with her and her husband and she talked about how she was drinking coffee and not reading the scriptures.  We helped them make goals and she hasn’t touched coffee since and she and her non member husband are reading the BoM together every night. 

I really liked your comments on ways to bring meaning to life. I have thought a lot about that in my mish, and I have been able to teach it a lot.
I’d say:
  1.             Proactively looking for and following God
  2.             Uplifting Interpersonal relationships
  3.             Continual individual progression

Here it is super easy to fall into the trap of criticizing the people. There is less education, an anti-progressive culture and a pinch of poverty (prob not as much as megs and meish had).  But criticizing thoughts are so negative and mainly inflicts harm to the critics view of life. I have tried a lot to become friends with them rather than think bad about them for their habits. I kind of have to tell myself that they aren’t going to be my wife, or compañion or child so I should just enjoy the experience for the experience.  

The book you are reading as a fam has 184 pages. At 25 pgs a month it will take more than seven months. I will be done with my first semester of school before that.  I’m excited to read it.

Elder Kimball

Hey it’s going great here in my new area. My comp is fantastic. Humble, intelligent, hard working, driven but also relaxed, athletic and we are going running in the morning, spiritual and not boring, so pretty much the complete deal, I think I am going to marry him. But we actually really do get along great, and I have already gotten on the good side of several member families which makes think a lot more fun and easier.

We have a kid here name Lenny that will be baptized on Saturday. We passed by their house and the mom was in the bed and was wriggling around like she was going through an exorcism.  She has nervous system problems but normally moves around fine with crutches and is a fun spirit. Well I didn’t know that so when I saw her it freaked me out. My comp was also nervous because she doesn’t normally do that. It turns out that she was taking super strong meds that were messing with her.  She started throwing up and then rolled over in it, getting it in her hair. Yuck. We had to move her so that she was leaning over the floor. We had to clean the throw up off the floor with folded news paper.  haha yumm. We gave the meds to her son and told him not to give them to her. The next time we got there she was a completely different person; happy and alive.   They are super poor but the son is very intelligent. 

We went and ate with an older couple that are a good time. At one point though, they turned on the air conditioning that was full of cat hair and dust, and within thirty seconds I started to feel that allergic reaction that always starts in the back of my throat and then my nose and within a short time I started to not be able to breathe.  That hasn’t every really happened to me but it was sketchy because it almost closed completely off. I had to go outside and sit down on the curb. The wife felt bad but they were also crackin jokes which was actually pretty funny.

We helped an old woman sweep a street corner, which turned out not to be hers. She just goes around sweeping hoping that people pay her which they do. We made an appointment to pass by her house the next day. When we got there it turned out to be a huge mansion!  =D   she showed us around the house which looked like it was haunted.  She is part of the Light of the World church that is a Christian church that was started by an ex missionary from this city about 60 years ago. That missionary made himself an apostle and it is actually pretty strong her in mexico, especially in Guadalajara. Their church looks like it comes from power rangers.  She told us that she can see the colors that people send off. Red means that they are diabolical. Blue means that they are in the grace of God. Yellow....   ha we didn’t have colors apparently so who knows what that means.  We finished the tour and we chatted a about general conference and invited her to go.  We finish off and asked if we could say a prayer.  WE went over to a carpeted section and we kneeled and she prostrated herself and started to give praises in the normal Christian way. It was like she had read the bible dictionary with the list of the names of Christ:  lamb of God, The great one, Master.....  well she had the list memorized and shouted them off in praise.  ha the prayer went over 10 minutes.  She got up super calm and after like nothing had happened.  ha but she was super nice and I enjoyed the chat.

There is one older lady that is half German. They are member and we became friends super quick.  She calls me Elder Guapo because she can’t say Christensen haha.  We helped them paint a room one night and all of the grandchildren ran in to help. They grabbed brushes and quickly made a huge mess of the floor, haha it was nuts. I was dying laughing.  

Friday, October 3, 2014

Try to identify the Mexicans?

I love missing Lake Powell trips....but glad that it went great for you guys.  

It looks like I will be coming home on the 29th of January - so don’t plan something for that day. 

That makes me sad for Reed, but I definitely would have taken advantage of that open question time. 

The craziness was that last night we had the transfer calls, and both my comp and I are being transferred!  They are closing many areas because of the large group of missionaries finishing their missions. But that meant we had to get everything ready for the other missionaries in the area next door that were going to eat our area; lots of people to call. We had 8 people getting ready to get baptized very soon - so we are hoping that the new elders visit them and that nothing falls through the cracks - but that is how it goes.

My old comp and I are sitting in the same internet cafe an hour from the old area with our new comps one either side. We were called to the same district.  The area is called San Pedro. It is the city where that earthquake happened and that wall fell on that car if you remember. 

We went to the mission offices this week which is always super fun and disorienting because it is all big buildings and city life there and we are used to neighborhoods. President is replacing the male missionary secretaries with female full time ones that are from the ages 30-70. They are pretty cool gals, but somewhat overwhelmed since they have only been there a few weeks. My comp asked one how she felt and she immediately started baring her testimony in the Young Women General Board voice saying how she has felt the spirit so strong and she knows what she is doing is right.....aka she is pretty stressed, but they were all great and will get the hang of it pretty quick.

We made yummy french toast. Rob and Steve sent me letters so I want to write them a thank you.

Try to identify which ones are the Mexicans?

Willy Wonka Shades

We found an oldish woman (45) a couple of weeks ago outside of her house, and she told us that she didn't want to listen. We started talking about life and pretty soon we were sitting under her lime tree teaching a lesson. She is supér laid back and wears these Willy Wonka type shades because she has a lazy eye.  We joke around a lot with her which she likes.  She hasn't gone to church yet because she is leery of commitment and thinks that she will be signing herself into a lot of work if she goes.  This week her son came out and joined us in the lesson. We knew him because we had played a short game of soccer with him and his buddies. Good kid!  He is 11 years old and understands the concepts we teach much better than many adults (it is interesting to see the differences between children who are studying and the adults who work in manual labor jobs).   When we asked the mom things like: "what changes have you seen in your life when you have tried to follow God?" She would say "well I used to beat my kids all I do is yell at them; isn't that right boy?!"  Her boy would nod his head and say yes. My comp and I were bustin up´. Then in the prayer the kid said "help us to get to church this week with these hermanos, and if we are convinced by what we learn there help us go every week." Then the mom would start shouting things for him to say like "pray that you will be a better son for your angelic beautiful mother."   I tried not to laugh but then I heard my comp stifle a giggle and I was shaking. I had to plug my nose to keep from laughing. 

This week I had exchanges with an elder from the south of Mexico. He is a humble guy; a bit shy but very dedicated. He seems somewhat serious, and is all about the work but definitely not overbearingly. Unfortunately the members sort of took it wrong and in my first few weeks quite a few members were talking bad about him to us. Though I didn't really know him I stood up for him. In the exchanges I became really grateful for that decision as I got to know him. He turned out to really funny and a solid good hearted kid. I felt like I could be myself with him and he opened up a lot. Since then he has opened up a lot more with the district and jokes and talks with us. 

We have been teaching a family of 4+ people. Father, daughters, grandmother, uncle cousins... The group changes a lot but there is always someone that wants to listen when we pass by. The story is actually quite something. The father became divorced with his wife this spring and it tore him apart. He began to drink large quantities of heavy liquor and spiraled into a darkening depression. He lost a lot of weight and desire and hope of the future.  Just as he was hitting rock bottom his uncle from a city north of here randomly called to check in on him. The uncle is a bishop there and turned out to be an answer to his prayers. They talked for hours and the uncle drove down here to contact the missionaries himself. The man that we are teaching doesn't talk much but he is sincere and follows through. In the exchanges this week he opened up to us and then we talked about the atonement of Christ. After the lesson, my companion for the day told me that he had felt the spirit so strong that he almost cried.  This family showed up at the baptism of the family I had interviewed and felt desires to do the same. The zone leaders interviewed them after the baptism. The grandmother had doubts and wasn't sure if she wanted it. The other three were set on going through. It turned out to be a great thing because the grandmother really connected with the ZL and felt the spirit and decided to go forward. Unfortunately, she and her son both had some word of wisdom issues - so we have to wait a bit but they all left with goals in mind.

There is an older man that we contacted several weeks named Don. He is a lively spirit but has funny mixed views of religion and science; the result of growing up in the dominant religion. He goes around during the week fixing all of his neighbors electrical, plumbing....etc problems and cutting their grass free of charge. He was showing us his tools and then the kids that were playing soccer in front of us passed the ball to my comp. He went in to play. Don and I sat down on the back bumper of his car and started chatting about the meaning of life and his view of it. It was actually a really fun conversation but then his neighbor called him over to see if he could make a quick fix of something. I joined in the soccer game while we waited for him.  Heck of a good time. After playing a bit we said first team to three. We got it tied up 2 to 2 and then Don jumped into the game and the ball got to him. He awkwardly kicked it towards the goal and by some miracle it went in. We were dying. Everyone ran to him and cheered him. We had to take off but he gave us a box of cereal to eat for dinner. It was great because it helped us connect with him, and honestly my comp and I both need a tiny bit of sports every now and then.

There was the normal Torreon, flood the streets and everything else in 7 minutes, rain several times this week. We got soaked. And there is small tumble bush (remember Powell =D ) forest behind our house and it flooded so there were tons of mosquitoes. We had left a window open and as we entered the house one night we saw in horror that the walls were covered in mosquitoes. We made scary movie music with our mouths. We then grabbed a sandal and looked at each other (and it was like that moment  in Lord of the rings when Aragon looks back at the army and says dramatically "for Frodo" and then runs at the enemy hosts. Then we just started running around slapping the walls with the sandals and grabbing the ones in the air.  At the end we stood in the middle of dead bugs everywhere and it was like that moment in Mr. and Mrs. Smith when they are in the shopping center and they look at each other after killing everybody and everything is destroyed.  My comp was Angelina.