Saturday, November 12, 2011
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
School buses from the US are constantly being shipped down here because they get too dirty for school kids. But city bus drivers are fine with them. Also, they don´t get confused with the school buses here. . . . oh wait. Mexican school buses don´t exist.
I would send more photos but Firefox is being difficult. The other photos were of a little kid I met in Navojoa (I was helping him pose for the camera when I told his family goodbye) and of the district. The photo is horrible, since there are a ton of people with their eyes closed and looking weird, but there´s E. Ramirez and E. Perez (in Etchojoa), E. Cruz (my comp), E. Mooney and E. Rivera (the other companionship in Huatabampo). Almost all of us are brand new in our areas. E. Cruz is the only one that knows the area, and everyone else is opening up their areas. It´s going to be a little different now, since we´re in branches instead of wards, and we have an even greater effect on the Church here. We´re working hard and we have the goal of making our branches the most united in the church district. But it isn´t a competition.
Mexicans don´t normally celebrate Halloween, but they do celebrate Día de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead) the first two days of November. I don´t know what´s going to happen, but I bet there will be even more people drinking than usual. Also, more food. That was not an implication that everyone in Mexico drinks. Although there are many people that do so.
Huatabampo is tiny and the furthest south in the mission. A few of the tiny villages we visit are almost on the border with Sinaloa. But it´s not as hot and the city is nice because we only have to walk about 5 minutes before arriving downtown. Okay, that´s an exaggeration, but it´s almost true.
E. Cruz has got to be one of the funniest Mexicans I have ever met. He´s also very driven. He broke his foot in the mission and has a limp because it healed the wrong way. But he still works. Good stuff.
I´m sorry for not having much material this week, but I promise more next time. I hope you´re all doing well, and I love you all.
Monday, October 24, 2011
The first photo is for Andre. I had to take the picture while walking, to avoid looking like a tourist, and that´s why it´s not that great, but hey, a reference to Superman.
The second is an old man that LOVES the missionaries. E. Villa and I visited him one time a few months ago, and he´s loved us ever since. He´s getting kinda old, but he´s awesome. I saw that he was sitting alone in sacrament meeting, so I went to go sit next to him. He greeted me, and shook my hand. And then he never let go (for Ryan--"never finish a handshake"--Andy). By the way, he has a FIRM handshake. He sat there the entire hour slowly moving my hand up and down while staring at the speakers and saying "Buenos días" every time that one of the speakers started their talk. He also said "Amén" every time someone said "en el nombre de Jesucristo," even if it wasn´t a prayer. My hand was entirely red by the end of the hour. But it was cool. I love this guy.
And I´ll miss him. And a lot of other members. Becuase I´M GETTING TRANSFERRED! Yeah! I wasn´t expecting it, but I´m going to another area in my zone to be a district leader, in Huatabampo, the southernmost area of the entire mission. It´s a tiny city, about half the size of Navojoa, and I´m going there with a few other new missionaries to help out. Haha, it was funny how E. Mila (he´s an assistant now) told me that I was getting transferred. I could tell he didn´t want to hurt my ego, but I´m good with it. Being a zone leader doesn´t mean too much, and I´m apparently needed in Huatabampo. Although I will miss going to Hermosillo every month.
I also felt like I did my part in Aeropuerto. I left the area stronger than it was, and we finished the transfer baptizing the young son of a formerly inactive family. His older brother got to baptize him, and they will NOT go inactive.
By the way, we only go to the temple if we baptize 5 people in a month. But I´m going to be honest--I´m not a crazy baptizer. And I will never baptize for a number. That is a sin.
But I really miss the Sacramento Temple. So awesome.
Anyway, adios. I´ll fill you all in about what Huatabampo is like next week.
Monday, October 17, 2011
We´ve been working super hard lately. Well, we´ve always worked hard, but now it seems like we finally have the investigators that can match our level of desire to learn about the gospel.
We´ve had a lot of members helping us lately. One is a recent convert, a guy our age, and he is GREAT. Members are much more effective missionaries than we are.
HELP THE MISSIONARIES
ALSO, NO TIME
Really quick. We got ready to study one morning, I had just stood up from kneeling and praying to begin my personal study, and suddenly, someone knocked on the door. At first I thought it was the Jehovah´s Witnesses again (haha, that happened my second week. It was interesting), but we opened the door and there was the 1st counselor of the bishopric on our doorstep in normal clothing. "Elders, I came to visit you two. Also, to invite you to breakfast."
Awesome. The first time anyone has visited ME in almost a year, and he arrived with a breakfast invitation.
Great week. Many blessings. I have to go now. Praying for you all.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Speaking of work, these past few weeks have been much different than the past few months. I´ve always worked all day, every day, but the first months were still kind of tough. I didn´t waste time, I never have, but I have never had the desire I have now to keep working ALL day. I wake up anxious to work. It´s awesome. The only downside is that time goes by faster.
But we´re finally having more success here in Navojoa. The first person in almost half a year got baptized on Saturday. Let´s just say that the person we gave a blessing to a few weeks ago was healed and eventually accepted baptism. Their life is also noticeably improved.
But I will tell the story of how we got delayed for a while. On Saturday, we got to the chapel to clean and fill up the font. We started cleaning but soon discovered that there was no running water in the entire chapel. We found a water (. . . I don´t remember the word . . . valve?) and opened it up. We went back to fill the font. No water pressure whatsoever. Nada. The font had filled up about 1% after an hour.
People started arriving and we had to tell them that we would have to go to the other chapel to perform the baptism. We went, and had to clean the font there that for some reason attracts crickets and cockroaches. Gross. But the water was clean. We cleaned EVERYTHING, a LOT.
The font was filled. At the last moment, the person that was going to get baptized changed their mind. Then they changed their mind again. A member of the Bishopric wasn´t there to preside, so we had to wait a little longer, with me worrying the entire time about another change of opinion on baptism. The Bishop arrived. With almost no one there, we started the service. They were baptized after I had been going nuts and preparing the service for 6 hours.
That was the first weekend in a while that I just wanted to sit down and yell like crazy until it all stopped. But it all worked out. Gah.
Pte. came this last week for another Zone Conference. We´re having those pretty often now. He talked a lot about E. Scott´s conference talk, "The Tranforming Power of Faith and Character." It was awesome. I would say more, but time is running out. I´d recommend that talk for everyone.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
How some people travel when they can´t afford bus tickets.
The shoe horns are awesome. I can smell my shoes now. And the Odwalla bars too. Although I didn´t get to enjoy the Chocolate Walnut one. That deserves a story.
We went to an OXXO (like a Mexican 7-11) to ask for change for the bus. There was an old homeless man out front. We went in, went out, and went to the nearby bus stop. I sat there for a moment, thought, "Na, I obviously can´t give him money, because he´ll buy beer or tequila, and I don´t have anything to give him." I then remembered the Odwalla bar in my backpack. My mind went through a split second of "no, yes, no, yes, ah, but they taste so good and I haven´t tried that one yet and it´s the only one I have" followed by one part of my mind telling the other, "You`re an idiot. Give it to him."
Oh, and I guess this could also be characterized as the whole angel on one shoulder, devil on the other thing.
The devil part than said, "Na, he deserves to not have anything. He´s a drunk." The angel part then pulled out the big guns and completely destroyed the other part by using King Benjamin´s address from the Book of Mormon. It was like the angel-stereotype-thing recited every verse in my head. I pulled out the Odwalla Bar, walked over, and gave it to him. Things that like that are becoming progressively easier to do. I like it.
Want to know how to say cheesy, corny, or melodramatic in Spanish? Cursi, pronounced cour-see. I can use that a lot here.
The meeting with Pte was awesome. I don´t miss homework, but I loved being a student again.
I also unfortunately missed a lot of Conference because we didn´t have any way to watch it on Saturday, and we spent Sunday preparing a baptismal service for the other elders in our district. But we´re just about to sacrifice a few hours of P-day to watch a few speakers. Elder Holland is first on the list. I love that guy.
Let me tell the story I wanted to tell the last week. We´ve been teaching someone recently. They love the Book of Mormon, but has had trouble lately with the fact that they can be completely cleaned of their sins. Apparently the feeling of shame was just too much.
We prepared the lesson, with every scripture of the Book of Mormon that speaks of Christ´s infinite Atonement. Apparently the Bible had given them faith in Christ, but not enough. We read the scriptures. The Spirit came. It testified. Their heart was softened. Tears came to their eyes. "Do you really think I can be cleaned?" Their voice was pained, but there was some hope there. I looked them in the eyes. "Yes. And it´s just not me that knows that. God knows you can do it. And you do to. You just don´t want to accept it." They looked back down. E. Cheron testified, then I did. At the end of the lesson, their faith had grown enough to believe in an infinite Atonement. Yeah. Good stuff.