Monday, August 26, 2013

Loving it

This week went by unbelievably quickly! It honestly feels like one day ago I was in the internet cafe writing... I know what Ezra Taft Benson means when he says that the secret to missionary work is work! Elder G and I did all we could do work as efficiently as possible, and the time flew!

My house is pretty much the funnest house ever. I took pictures of the various animals I have found living in it. The frog was in the sink and the scorpion was in the bathroom. Good thing Harvey McGill gave me that Benchmade knife, or I don't know what I would have done with the scorpion in the shower with my feet exposed. I just laugh at how awesome my house is. It's a true cultural immersion experience. It's actually really comfortable because it's spacey (because missionaries don't own items to clutter the house) and cool due to the windows and fans.

Last night slash this morning a tropical storm passed over Tuxpan - and I thought I knew what rain was. The sky was one giant waterfall and our door blew open because of the rain. Holy smokes. We had to stay inside a bit late this morning and wait out the storm, but it sure was neat to see! My Danner boots are coming in handy, that's for sure.

Seeing as now the minimum number of sacrament meetings before baptism has changed from 2 to 5, I am super excited for all the good this will do for the work. The new system is going to involve a lot more love and caring and actually doing what Preach My Gospel tells us to do. I look forward to learning more tomorrow at the Zone conference with President Lopez.

I really haven't been writing about investigators since I arrived in Mexico, you may have noticed... but hopefully after what President Lopez tells us tomorrow, that will change. Thank you for the advice to just love the members. Regardless of anything anybody anywhere along the line says, I can always share my love with the members. That has helped me immensely this week. I gave little Carlitos one of my nametags for him to keep. ''¡Hola, soy Elder mini-Dorrough!''

I'll attach some photos now. I can't wait to share with you what President tells us this week and how things change in the mission for the better.

The companion
This is the Taco-Mó eat tacos in a trailer as it takes you around thte city.  If that's not a fun Mexican experience, I don't know what is!
 This is the post-kill shot of the scorpion.  Yeah, my house is fun.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Another week

Abram didn't have much time to write this week.  He and his companion are getting along very well.  Abram absolutely loves Mexico and the Mexican people, and he loves the food.

"On a random note, beside my Spanish, what impresses the Mexicans the most is my ability to handle spicy food."  That's a trait from Mark.

He sent these two pictures this week as well:

This was definitely the best meal I have had in Mexico. My first white rice yet! The fish was perfect. And the mystery alien fruit was very silly.

Sometimes I remember that I'm just a physical copy of my father.
That's all until next week.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Feeling normal (finally)

(This photo was taken last March at great-grandma and great-grandpa's house.  They have a missionary map where they, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have served missions.  Abram was pointing to his mission, with his proud grandpa in the background).

This week was definitely the best week of my mission so far. Two companions is so much better than three. I live in a very Mexican house... The house has unfinished concrete and rebar sticking out for the floor and I have to climb a super ghetto ladder to get to the door. It's pretty much a second floor shack, but I love it. Half of the walls are just... open with some netting over them... so there's a cool breeze all night long. I actually have a desk to study, too, which makes a huge difference.

Elder G is a cool dude. He and I get along because we both believe in loving investigators and teaching with the Spirit, which are essential to conversion. He also likes to sing quite a bit, so we both sing the Muppets as we walk about in the streets. Fun times. In the house we also get along. So far so good. He's obedient and wants to work hard. He has only been on his mission for 6 weeks more than I have, which makes it funny that he's training me, but we just both laugh about it. He also appreciates that I can speak Spanish and communicate with him, because other gringos can't. He says he loves that I laugh at Mexican jokes and smile in lessons when the family says things that are funny, because no other gringo knows enough ''jerga Mexicana'' to really talk with a person. The missionary manual says to not use slang, but that is impossible in Mexico. It's just one big slang fest day in and day out. Spanish may not be the hardest language to learn to speak, but street Spanish sure is a different thing to understand.

Well, this week we had 6 investigators come to church, which is spectacular for Mexico. Beside chastity (free union is quite common here), the most difficult commandment for people to keep is Church attendance.  Fortunately, I learned that my last ward is an exception... with 11 percent attendance. The other ward in the same building has about 25 to 30 percent, which is still bad, but not absolutely pitiful. Anywho, the biggest difficulty missionaries have here is getting people to church. Having 6 different people come to Church was a miracle that was only accomplished by loving our investigators and giving them a reason to come to Church.

My 6-year old buddy C misses me. He made me a cute necklace that doesn't fit and gave it to me after Church. It has a blue star that he carved his name into. He also gave me a little besito when he said goodbye, which was really special. It's so simple... you just love people - genuinely love them as Christ would - and people love you back.

What else to say... It just hit me this week that I'm a missionary. I had basically felt like a tag along member in Vegas and my first six weeks in Mexico were... interesting. (By interesting, I mean, not good.) This week, I have my own desk. I have one companion. We actually pray for investigators and work together and make decisions together. I take off my nametag every night and think, ''I'm a real missionary. A real missionary.'' It's a neat feeling that I had been lacking these past three months, but I'm glad I finally have it.

Tell Aubs to have a blast in Logan. Make sure she keeps a schedule and does her school work. I had a lot of friends who messed up their whole semester in the first three weeks. Also, read at least a chapter in the Book of Mormon every day. That's good advice for anybody but it's essential in college. Also, the Mexicans (both missionaries and investigators) love her pictures in the Mi Familia album.

Jakey... keep your eyes on the important things and not the temporary ones. Also, good job working hard this summer. Hard work is an essential characteristic.

Tell Joel to pick the nerd because nerds always pay off. Also tell him that clowning around is funny, but people who do it 24 7 and don't take anything seriously (especially missionaries) are not the ones who make close friends. Also tell him that Mexicans are incapable of pronouncing Harry Potter. ''Hungry poe-tare'' is always what they say and it makes me laugh.

I'll respond to Noah personally.

Savvy is a party. Whenever people see her picture of her blowing out the candles in the donut cake and her face while eating the classic rice and beans they always comment on what a fun sister she must be. That's right, she's a party.

Tell Zackary that I call him ''azúcar'' to the Mexicans because none of them can pronounce Zachary. ''Why do you call him that?'' Because he's so sweet!

I can't wait to get my packages and other letters from home. I'm heading down to Xalapa in 5 weeks because there are so many missionaries now that President does a group ''post training'' class thingy, so at the longest I will get them then.

I love you! Thanks to everybody for your thoughts and prayers. I seriously needed those prayers the past six weeks. Now they only add to my ability to help others. When Elder Nelson (Apostle) spoke at the MTC, he said all the ancestors of our investigators are at the lessons with us pleading with the investigators to be baptized so that they can do temple work they cannot do. That's a cool thought to carry around with you. We have people on our side, we just can't see them.

Many greetings,

Elder Dorrough

Monday, August 5, 2013


Transfers are this week! And guess what! I HAVE ONLY ONE COMPANION TOMORROW! YAHOOOOOO!!!!!!!! (You know I'm happy because I don't ever use more than one exclamation point.)

Just so you know, even though I had only been in trios, trios are really a super rare occurrence. This was the first time President Lopez had ever tried them and with only three companionships, and it basically failed so miserably that he has decided to assign people who need to be trained to people who simply have experience instead. Thank. Goodness.

My new companion is Elder G, whom I have mentioned in previous letters! President Lopez truly received revelation to put me with Elder G. He is in another ward in Tuxpan. I will just be taking a taxi over to a new house tomorrow to finally be a real missionary. No more third wheeling 24-7. After three months, I finally get to experience the life of an actual missionary in an actual companionship!

From what I've seen of Elder G, he seems pretty cool. He's the one who calls me Capitán América. After a week with just one person (for actually the very first time in my life), I will be able to tell you more about him. For now I'm just excited to finally be in my own area with my own companion! It will still be kind of weird, because most people have one ''dad'' (trainer) in the mission, whereas I will have had five... but I'm Abram.

I hope you got my few pictures last week. I love little C. I talked with his mom for 2 hours after Church yesterday and she basically told me her life story. She said that never before has anybody loved her kids like I do and that I won her trust the first time I met her and started playing with C and E. She was separated from her husband quite recently and is currently having a hard time with life, and was considering not even going to Church, but I have gotten her kids so excited to come to Church every Sunday that she has felt the peace of the gospel as she keeps keeping the Sabbath Day holy, even though she didn't want to. By just plain loving people and becoming as a little child, I helped a family from going into inactivity. That miracle alone made the past 6 weeks of frustration worth it. I had no idea what great work I was doing... I thought I was just having fun with C and E! She asked me to take C in my suitcase when I go home because he loves me so much. I am considering it. I also learned two fun Spanish phrases in the conversation: ''Irse de pinta'' means to play hooky, and ''pasar de moda'' means to go out of style.  Spanish makes me laugh.

I have had wonderful experiences healing the sick and afflicted in Mexico.  Truly, faith is power. Faith is power to heal. The closer I become to the Savior Jesus Christ, the more power to heal and serve I receive. I have seen miracles, and the incredible part is that the Lord permits me to perform them. Instant healings of both sicknesses and afflictions. Christ's power to heal is real. I have seen strep throat disappear, illnesses vanish, infected feet become whole. All it takes is faith to be healed, faith to heal, and the proper authority to affirm it.

I just came back from the beach! The entire zone has been super stressed out recently so we all just relaxed in the sand and played in the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. Elder B, a new missionary in the zone, told me his mom is reading my blog. I laughed really hard and assumed the Google search for Xalapa brought something up.  (Hello, Sister B!)

Anywho! Yet again, my companions waited until the end of the day to write so that we wouldn't have a lot of time. However, it will all change this week. I have learned a lot of things in Mexico recently that I had to learn by enduring six weeks of craziness, but I learned them.

I love you! In the following weeks, I will write more, I promise. I'll be a comp who is... not as interesting in some ways as my current ones.

Elder Dorrough