Monday, October 28, 2013

6 months down! (18 to go)

Finally! Just like what happens on a normal mission, I get to stay in an area with the same companion for more than only 6 weeks. It's actually good luck that I get to stay here at least another 6 weeks! This is a huge blessing, because first, I get to be with my amigo Elder S another month and a half, and second I get to work in an area that I just got used to and actually know how to orient myself and get around. Now that we know all the members really well it will be easier to work with them, too.

Another part I can't wait for about being here another 6 weeks is that I will get to experience the coldest cold Mexico has to offer. The days of proselyting in sarapes shall come. (Big Abram smile) Also, the stores here are beginning to sell gloves and hats! I will be staying at least until the week before Christmas, methinks.

Really, I am very grateful I can stay another six weeks. My life was starting to become highly irregular and it just added to the stress that everything was changing all the time. Graduate from high school, work all summer (literally), go to BYU 4 months, have a completely different 4 months the next semester, go to the MTC with 2 companions, go to Vegas with 2 more companions, survive another 6 weeks with even 2 more companions, get transferred, and then get transferred again! Second to how awesome Elder S is, I really wanted to stay here just to finally not pack up a suitcase and move again. And the blessing has come. I feel a lot more relieved just to know that I have a 'home' for another little while. Even though we're going to move down the street because the house we're currently in has demons, I'm just moving across the street.

So the house doesn't actually have demons, but some very odd things have happened. Now that I can't use my special curse to break technology my anti-tech waves are seeping into the environment. So far, my razor has come to life, our light bulb spontaneously exploded, the door just broke, the microwave turned into a time machine, the light in the bedroom randomly turns on at night, we have a hole in the floor, and objects in the house move around at night and end up in different places in the morning. Mostly the house is just old and the one across the street is new, doesn't have mold on the walls, and can be dedicated by us without having been used by previous missionaries who got kicked out months ago for not working. There's some random news for you.

Also, my glasses finally arrived! The squeaky wheel gets the grease. I called the place every single day for two weeks after the date they said they would be there to pressure them into getting the product to arrive in case the mission transferred me, and on Saturday they came!

Also, I found this week a family I would consider to be ''golden'' investigators! I was riding in the combi (the decked out van) and had a prompting to stop a little bit sooner than we usually did. I obeyed the prompting and walked about 30 seconds when a man called out: ''Hey, ministers! I have a question!'' Turns out he's the head of Alcoholics Anonymous for the whole region here and he invited us to give a 1 hour talk in November about the religious aspect of avoiding alcohol. To like 2 thousand people. Of course we said yes. (That is a lot of potential investigators.) We then gave him a 1 minute lesson about the apostasy and he said, ''I am going to your Church tomorrow with my whole family. When does it start?'' He came to Church with his wife and 2 kids all on his own! The closing hymn was ''I Am a Child of God.'' After singing the hymn, he told me, ''I know this Church is true just because of how beautiful this hymn makes me feel.'' Yes, that's called the Holy Ghost. We gave each of them a Book of Mormon and he asked if he could take home the class manuals as well. We meet with the family Thursday and I know it will go well for us.

Love you!

 Show message history

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Adventure to Yohualichan

Today for our preparation day, some members took us on a very exciting adventure.  We had to get up very early to get our usual laundry and shopping done, and then we were off to see the ruins!  We drove about 3 hours to find them, but we finally got there.  And it was awesome.  Our guide was named Valentino and he told us the history of Yohualichan, the ruins in the pictures. 
 There's this game all the ancient civilizations used to play kind of like basketball. Well, this is the largest field of the ball game in all of Mesoamerica! The walls are 90 meters long, which is the record length for any ruins yet uncovered.

 I was trying to hard to not get car sick...and then I took this picture and nearly barfed.  Luckily, I was able to fall asleep and the carsickness was gone.  If you look at a map of how to get here, you will see why I was so carsick.
So, people actually climb all the way up this pole and then dangle themselves from the top by a long rope and spin in circles. Yeah. Let's say I climbed high enough.
 An example of a Catholic prayer in Nahuac and in Spanish.  Many people up here in the mountain villages still speak only Nahuac.

I love serving here in the mountains of Mexico.  I love the people, I love the villages, I love the food.  The people here are so kind, generous and humble.

Mom, please bring warm chocolate chip cookies to the airport in 18 months when I come home.  I have missed them ridiculously.

Monday, October 14, 2013

El Dorito

 I realize I didn't ever send a picture of the dog bite! It's all better now, but this is what it looked like.

My Luchador name is ''El Dorito.'' It goes with my title Elder and my last name Dorrough, which is funny because 'El Dorito' literally means 'the cute little Dorrough'.
Sarape!!! It is quite warm and assuming I stay here for the winter I will actually get to wear it while I proselyte! So fun. At least those rules are lax!

Huipiles!!! I got one for Mom and one for Heidi.

If any other family member wants a sarape or huipil, they're about 20-30 bucks each. I am saving my own tourist money for future things, but if Dad or somebody wants one I'd just take out money or something. Considering the rate at which my clothes and possessions are disintegrating here, I have space in my suitcases to take them around. This is the best area in all of Mexico to get them!

 (The E means no parking.) ''Tires slashed for free.'' The sign made me laugh so I took a picture. Spanish is so silly.

This week I went on splits with my District Leader, Elder D. He's the bomb. He made the remark during the day that of the two gringo Elders in Mexico who can actually speak Mexican, they're right here. He learned Spanish just here in the mission and he learned it by total reliance upon the Holy Ghost. He has a softer voice so when he speaks in Spanish he just sounds like he's from a south part of the country. Because I learned from my Norteño friends everybody thinks I'm from Obregón because of my accent... which is funny. I'll have to ask Alejandro and Alejandra where their parents are from. Anyway, he's a convert of just a year before the mission, but man is he a convert. It was THE BEST to just talk all day in him with English about random gospel things. That's what I did all day before Mexico and it felt good to have a 24 hour period of that again. The scriptures and Apostle's words really are just more special in the first language.

We had a blast at our party/family home evening this Friday. 20 kids showed up and only four adults did. So, we had a blast. It was actually when I was on splits with Elder D, and the talk about just relaxing and following the Spirit sprouted from the family home evening. We played random games like no other with all of the adorable Mexican children. It was so stinking fun to just serve people like people. It reminded me of stories of people coming from Europe to see the prophet Joseph Smith expecting some stern old man like Moses... and when they saw him running around in the grass playing ball and goofing around with all the children, the new converts didn't actually believe he was the prophet! Yet that characteristic is exactly what made him Brother Joseph.

My favorite thing I did was cut corn for a family. We showed up to teach and I felt to ask instead, Can we help you in the field? The lady hopped right out of her seat and grabbed us two machetes. Off we went! We spent three hours just chopping and piling corn stalks to be gathered later on. I love good old fashioned hard work. It feels so satisfying and the time just flies! Going about the rest of the day preaching in dirty clothes is fun, too. Plus, we have now gained the trust of the lady.

I want to send several pictures today, so I'll leave the letter here. I love you!

Elder Dorrough

Monday, October 7, 2013

This week in Teziutlán

Yes, I got the pouch mail! I actually got about 10 a month ago and 10 more this week. The thing is that the mail only comes once a month to missionaries who aren't in Xalapa. Sister Eliason always times her cards perfectly. It makes me laugh because they're always the most recently sent yet they always arrive with the older mail. It's like she's spying the mission offices and writing accordingly. It makes me laugh.

The other packages arrived with all their contents in order! Just put la Virgen de Guadalupe on the box and we're good. The Piano Guys books also came. That Jon Schmidt is hilarious. His sidenotes... yes, he is a human being. Feel confident in sending more goods to your son who so eagerly awaits them. ;)

Yes, that was definitely the best General Conference ever.  Even President Monson said so. Period. Every single talk. I loved it.

It really was a conference of warning. I can't wait to study the Liahona magazine when it gets here. I also appreciated the repeated use of 'Not only... but also...' by Elder Cook. It made me smile because seemingly nobody but Mr. Pierce and I ever follow that rule.

Basically my whole week was focused on General Conference and arranging a Gringo room so that I could watch it in English. Even the Mexican Elders who don't understand a word of English say it's better in English. Apostles just have magical voices.

In other news, this week President came to a zone class we had. He came to do interviews afterward. Mine was pretty short - I just asked that I stay in my area at least another transfer. 'I have 8 companions in four areas in 2 countries in four transfers. I would like a little regularity in my mission and to stay here at least a little bit more than a transfer.' He told me I will stay as long as he gets results.

The culture here is quite fun! Members are used to things taking a long time so they just take hours out of their day to help us. It's fun hiking around with helpers finding houses in random places. The whole place isn't totally rural, but a lot of inactive members live way out in the backwoods and we've got to go find them. I really am grateful for America's highway system and road management. Even though I still might complain that the freeway is too narrow when I get back, I'll be grateful that at least I have a place to drive. Or a thing to drive! Nobody has cars here. We go around all day in decked out 15 passenger vans that serve as big taxis. Fun times.

I love you! Enjoy the pictures!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's raining, it's pouring

Don't worry about sending me gloves or anything! When it gets cold enough for me to need them, they'll be available and I'll just get some here. I'm making do with my warm jacket. The people say it isn't even cold yet... I hope I stay all winter to get the full adventure out of this place.

There's been a whole bunch of stuff going down with the schools here, too! Apparently the government wants to privatize all schools but the teachers don't want that because then they have to work 6 years longer, or something. Just what I've gathered from the strikes in Tuxpan and way out here in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes they even block the roads!

Thank you incredibly for the Danner boots. 5 months in and they're still intact. They are also totally waterproof, as my picture of me walking through the flood will show. What a great purchase, especially for my new rural area!

Things that I like about my new area: The members. Here in rural country where only one member owns a car, the people are all so patient and don't expect things to just instantly appear. 'Hey, would you like to walk 45 minutes with us to a lesson?' ?Sure, why not?' And off we go hiking in the mountains! The Branch President is the bomb. He is only 28 and he says he wants to feel like a missionary forever, so sometimes he spends all day with us. He really loves Elder S and me because we work hard and love people.

My comp... is the greatest. We have laughed so stinking much. He's a real human being who loves people and knows how to teach because he is actually converted to the Lord.  We let the Holy Ghost do all the work.

We got absolutely lost the other day and ended up in Teziutlan way far away without knowing how to get back to our villages. We decided to go to a certain point and just wait. Not one minute later, we hear a car honking -- the only member in our branch who has a car just happened to pass by us exactly as we were waiting where we felt we should wait. He drove us back to Atempan. That miracle is an evidence that the Lord always guides His servants, even when they are not aware of it. Truly, the Gift of the Holy Ghost is constant companionship.

We did get our money! We still lack a cell phone which makes working a lot harder, but hey, we're in the middle of nowhere. ''Es México. No pasa nada.'' I have said that about a million times

recently, and I love it.

Photo time! If you have questions, respond fast.

I love you!
I hope John Denver's "Christmas for Cowboys" comes true with wide-open cornfields and hot chocolate.