Glad to know all the family is doing well. I remember how excited I was to come back home after just 4 months... I can't even imagine 2 years...
How the mail works here is we only get it once per month when the Zone Leaders or somebody goes to Xalapa to get the mail at the beginning of the month. So if a package is sent usually 3 weeks before the first week of the next month, I get it then. Otherwise I wait until somebody goes to Xalapa again. The good news is my brownies made it this month even though you sent them on the 21st! So I hope I can get them before this transfer ends in case they transfer me, which I hope they don't. But you never know!
It has been a pretty fun time here. Yesterday I gave a talk in Church that the Branch President told me about a grand total of 5 seconds before I was to speak. I decided to share my feelings about not only reading the scriptures but also feasting upon them and the necessity thereof. Afterward, the Branch President got up to affirm my words. He said Mexico suffers from a horrible disease – ignorance. He continued to explain that the reason people here still worship images of an invented deity many years after the Spaniards left is because they simply don’t read the Bible. And members of the Church will really come to an understanding of all things simply by actually reading the scriptures.
In my talk I apparently was also too colloquial (I was never taught formal Spanish, sorry) and used a ‘strong but not vulgar’ verb when describing how people should be reading their scriptures in compared to how they just plain don’t. The President also commented on that afterward and told me ‘’If your skin weren’t so white, everybody listening would think you’re a Norteño from the way you talk.'' He commented to probably not use the verb ‘tragar’ (which I think means to swallow in an animal-like context) from the pulpit again, but he laughed about the whole matter because I’m an American so it's whatever. In March of this year Elder Richard G. Scott (who went to Argentina for his mission) gave a talk in southern Mexico and used the word ‘stupid’, which is vulgar in Spanish. Everybody got shocked, but the point got across. The members said I did the same thing, so there you go.
Something fun I did this week: Hitch-hiking! That’s right, because when your mission is ‘coda’ (cheap) like mine, you have to save money somehow. So far we’ve made good friends with the whole police station here in Teteles so they give us rides when we need them. I taught them how to say ‘’We’re the cops’’ and ‘’Put your hands up’’ in English and they’re all giddy about it. One of them is going to give me one of his police jerseys as a souvenir. How cool is that? We also accidentally hitch-hiked to a Church Conference with an Area Seventy on Sunday. We thought the van was a public transportation combi, but it turned out it was just a regular family in a 15 passenger van. They said they’d give us a ride anyway because they were going to the supermarket that’s right next to the Stake Center and because people in Mexico are all really nice to white boys in ties. Of course, we gave them a copy of the Book of Mormon and we’re going to talk with them later this week. I like handing out that book.
Our FHE parties on Friday nights are also turning out to be a lot better. A few weeks ago one of the members stole 150 pesos from an investigator and everybody freaked out, a family went inactive for probably all eternity, and nobody came to the next two FHE parties. However, by the power of prayer, the investigator started coming back to the FHE parties and for the first time came to Church on Sunday! It’s a major accomplishment to bring somebody to Church in this area because the Sabbath day is an unknown concept to the people here. Sunday is party day, apparently. Anyway, we’re having a lot more people come to play random fun games with the Elders on Friday nights.
One of my investigators has asked a special favor: He is collecting all the US States quarters and he was wondering if you could help me finish his collection. Massachusetts, Delaware, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nebraska are the only ones he is missing. Also any of the random territory quarters you can find. Be on the lookout and when you send them, hide them amidst cookies or something! He is one of the coolest dudes I’ve met in Mexico. He worked in the circus for 8 years in the states so he speaks English pretty well and he also has a nerdy foreign currency collection. He says if you are able to send the quarters that he’ll reward me. He already gave me several very old Mexican coins from the era before they changed their currency with the economic crisis in the ‘90s, which I appreciated a lot in my nerdy foreign currency collector way I do.
I love you! Talk to you next week!! So close to Christmas!