Hey-o. Welcome to m' mission blog. If you're interested in keeping in touch with me via mail, check out my address(es) on the right side of the page. If you're too lazy to do that, go ahead and read the posts below.Hoo-rah!
We had a Zone conference this week, which was awesome. I miss getting spiritual nourishment from leaders every week, like what we had in the MTC. We all learned a few things, including raising the bar in obedience (like waking up at 6 instead of 6-30. Ha, way ahead of you Pres. Velez--I´ve been up at that time the past month), working more with members (we started doing more of that this week), and 8 simple points in improving lessons. I could go into detail, but I won´t. Not enough time.
After the conference, E. Cancino and I stopped in at an open air burro (also known as burritos in the US, but better and cheaper) stand, where we both ate two awesome burros. I then promptly ate 2.5 jalepeños, one of which was eaten in one bite. E. Cancino told me he has never met an American who can eat as much spicy food as I can. Boo yah.
Anyway, a spiritual experience of the week. We finally had an investigator attend Sacrament Meeting with us this week (YEAH! GO VICTOR! WOOOOOOOO!), and it was amazing. As we took the sacrament, I asked Victor (the name of the investigator, if you hadn´t already picked up on that) how he felt. "Más tranquilo" is just a part of what he told me. In other words, he FELT THE SPIRIT TESTIFY. ¡YEAH! Gah, I love that man. I hope he comes next week as well--I´m pretty sure of that.
Anywho . . . you know, if there are people praying for me, I have a request. Instead of asking for blessings for me, ask for blessings upon all the convert missionaries, like E. Cancino. I can´t imagine how hard it would be to not have a family supporting me, and it makes me admire the missionaries that serve regardless of that even more. Like Dad. Thank you.
And I want to write about 3 things this week, if I have time. The first is that I had my first baptism! Although it was an 8 year old girl, and not a convert. But you know what, it was the first time I baptized someone, so I´m happy. The actual ordinance was awesome--the water was cold, since the chapel´s boiler wasn´t working too well, and Karla (the 8 year old) was shivering as she entered the font. I was cold too, and I was definitely not warm. But immediately after the actual ordinance, and she came out of the water, the strangest thing happened. It was as if the entire font had immediately heated up--I was no longer cold in anyway. I didn´t feel hot, but warm and fuzzy, like the cliché feeling of . . . whatever that cliché feeling is related to. It was awesome.
Numero dos. I talked in church yesterday! Yup, around 13 minutes in Spanish with only 3 days of preparation. And for some reason, I didn´t feel nervous at all. I don´t know why, since my Spanish todavía falta mucho (or it´s still missing a lot), but I wasn´t freaked out. Maybe because the ward here is so much smaller. I talked about the different motives of various missionaries--the Apostle Peter´s was presumably his love for Christ and his desire to obey him (John 21:15-17), and the sons of Mosiah had the motive of knowing the feeling of having an eternal perspective as both sinners and redeemed men (Mosiah 28:3). I also talked of my own motives--but I don´t have time to talk about that. Anyway, I talked about the motive that all people should have to share the gospel of Christ, and I was trying to incite the members to be a little more active in member missionary work. I hope I made some kind of difference, even if I only have 4 weeks of Spanish experience to back me up.
The third thing is that the types of people here are the same as in the U.S. There are bad people, and there are good people, but wow, the good people are GOOD. Unlike Americans, they´re more likely to give up money to do something nice, instead of the average person in the states. Including me. For example, a man working in a pizzeria gave us a free pizza with everything on it just because I was curious as to how it would taste.
I got to go to the Hermosillo temple with the rest of my zone. Wow, that was interesting. And a bit confusing with all the Spanish. But it was cool.
Other than that, let me explain my letters from the past couple weeks. I have wasted absolutely zero time in my mission (I don´t count SLC, since I worked mentally even when my companions didn´t allow me to work physically), and if I have been less than my best, it has been because I am just not accustomed to it--and that happens to every single new gringo missionary. Or at least, that´s what I´ve understood from the other missionaries here. Their first weeks were hard too, but it seems like something clicked this week.
I was listening to a GC talk while exercising in the morning, named "Your Mission will change everything," by an authority I don´t remember. It was a great talk, and it reminded me of the words President Hinckley´s father had for him: "Forget yourself, and go to work." I´ve heard that phrase many, many times, but for some reason, this time, something happened. I accepted it, or something. I don´t know, but it made an impression in a way different than ever before. Like I said, something just clicked.
That day was the best day I´ve had in the field. I stopped thinking and started doing. It felt amazing. As I told E. Cancino (but in Spanish), "Today, I feel like a missionary." Then, again, with my hands raised to the sky, "I AM A MISSIONARY!! GAH!! YEAH!"
And I don´t know if I mentioned this before, but E. Cancino is the only member in his family. He was baptized when he was 16, and left on a mission just two years later. That would be so hard--he´s a better man than I am. And Dad, you were too. I don´t know if I would have that kind of strength. But thanks for going on a mission, Dad.
Love you all. I´m out of time, but things are getting better, and it looks like I´m getting stronger. Adios!
Av. Garcia Conde #301 Col. Pitic Hermosillo, Sonora CP 83150
And please put as many Christ/Virgen de Guadalupe stickers on it as possible. That way, the Mexican postal service will be less likely to share my stuff.
Alright, about Mexico. Yes, the food is awesome. Yes, I will probably be fat when I get home (I only get to eat two meals a day, so I have to gorge myself at member's homes. And they normally serve nothing but fatty meat and fried stuff. Although it tastes INCREDIBLE). We have no washing machine, but we get to use a member's each week. Although it seems like none of them have dryers. Lots of jarring rides in buses stuffed like sardines. Relatively cool weather (60s-70s in the winter), and lots of talk about how the summer is atrocious. Oh, and Elder Roberts is serving in Obregon right now, with a gringo trainer.
The language is really, really tough. It's incredibly frustrating when you can't communicate with people. Although I'm understanding a lot more lately. And I kind of expected that part to be pretty dang hard.
The work hasn't gotten any easier, but it seems like I've gotten a little stronger. I want to become accustomed to being a missionary NOW, but that's kind of impossible. Which is why I've been focusing on patience a lot lately, since my diligence has picked up (my bout of epilepsy has passed). But any tips would be awesome, since I want to fully become a missionary as soon as possible.
What I mean by that is that I've known what it means to be a missionary for the past few months, and even before I left. I prepared myself as much as I possibly could, and I was rewarded for it. But the thing is, it doesn't matter how prepared anyone is, the mission will be hard, and everyone needs to fully become a missionary instead of putting on a plaque every morning if they really want to do something great. And right now, even if I know that I'm doing everything I'm supposed to, something's missing. I don't know what it is, but I plan on finding out.
(By they way, I don't feel like I'm not a missionary, becuase I know I am, and maybe I'm comparing myself too critically to returned missionaries that have already ironed out most of their flaws, but I just want to get that point as fast as I can)
In other words, read Elder Bednar's talk on "Becoming a Missionary," since he can explain it better than I can. Also, I'm runninng out of time. And if anyone has any tips on fully becoming a missionary and making one's eye single to the glory of God, please tell them to tell me. I want to fully become a missionary as fast as possible. Oh, and hug Grandma for me. And the nephews and nieces. Tell 'em I love them, too. That includes both Grandmas. And get the picture to Zoey, please.