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

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