... And that's how you measure time on the mission. From all the members I have talked to, they say the first year is like climbing a mountain and the second is like sliding down it.
I sure love my grandpas. I proudly carry the Breinholt (It is Abram's middle name) name with me still and I will forevermore. I am very glad the past year I had the opportunity to hear so many of great grandpa's stories. (Note from Mom--Abram's great-grandpa passed away last week).
This week was a very unique week for me. A member of Barrio was assaulted and killed on Tuesday night as he was working as a taxi driver. I don't know the whole story, but it was a very ugly way to die and leave behind 4 kids and several grandkids who all live in the same house and didn't get to see their dad come home. The funeral was the next day at the church and the Zone Leaders asked me to play the piano an hour before, the hymns during, and a postlude after. I testify again of the power of music. When I arrived at the church, I saw several dozen people distraught and weeping and afraid. I started to play the piano, and gradually fewer and fewer people were talking. Eventually as more people entered, the mood in the room turned into complete reverence as I softly played the hymns I felt were appropriate to help the people. The atmosphere for the whole funeral changed entirely, from focusing on the death to a joy and hope for the life after this one --and the whole funeral became totally different. I am grateful God gave me the gift of music, because music changed the lives of an entire community this week simply because I was able to share my talent.
We spent 3 hours moving the family of that member today. It turns out somebody high up in the Taxi slash drug hierarchy sent some guys to kill the member and last night they found the house where his family lived. It was an emergency service project to move the family for their safety. Things are a little scary here sometimes.
As a total change of mood! In fact, regard these as two different letters entirely.
I love Mexico. The culture here is such that almost everybody is very open and friendly in the streets. ''Buenas tardes'' are always responded warmly. Where else in the world do people still say good afternoon to each other?
I also like the Mexican flag. I went on splits with the district leader this week and he told me the story behind the eagle devouring the snake. Even though it was designed by some very apostate people, it's still a neat symbolism of good overcoming evil! I have so far a flag, a wallet, a rubik's cube solved so it has faces of green, white, and red flowers (boy aren't I nerdy), and a patch the army wears with the flag on it. Fun times!
I'm also collecting these toys called ''Tazos''. They´re basically plastic circles with a picture (of a movie or cartoon) on them, and kids play with them in the street by throwing them on the ground and flipping them over. It's hard to describe, but a really fun game. Each bag of chips here has one tazo, and my collection is... over 220 so far. I haven't eaten that many chips, though. Don't worry. ;) It's just that the kids here share any extra tazos they have. The children are all so sweet.
Mom, you rock. I was afraid to ask you to send me things because I saw other people with the USPS packages saying shipping was 60 bucks flat... but I forgot my mom makes the smartest purchases in the world. After seeing that it's actually not that expensive if you hacer compras inteligentes, I kind of want to ask for a package every month or so. It's super fun waiting for them and the time goes by faster! I love the CDs you sent. Also more art from my siblings. I smiled so much when I saw the painting and the wallet. If you could copy the sheet music for the Minute Waltz and also get the music for John Schmidt's song on the Piano Guys 2 (track 6, I think, with a piano solo,) I would be most grateful. I have an hour after Church each day that I stay in the chapel and I can play piano during that time! Also, Sour Patch Kids! I miss American candy. I still don't think chile on sweets is a good idea. :P Thanks for teaching me how to be smart about buying things. My comp laughs that whenever we buy groceries all I do is a whole bunch of math in my head. ''This weighs this much and this costs this much'...' but because I do it that way, I have more money to spend!
There's your random collection of Abram thoughts for the week!