Monday, June 23, 2014


I'm writing today while team Mexico is playing in the world cup.  The streets are empty.  The entire city of Xalapa is watching the game.

I sure am glad the family could have a fun time in Seattle. Bummer about Dad and his foot. I hope he gets better soon.

It's always so fun to hear how the family is doing. I can't wait to get to know everybody again in 10 months.

This week we saw a wonderful blessing from the Lord. We went to eat with an active member, his wife, and their 9 year old daughter. After talking with the daughter for about 20 minutes about her vast collection of Monster High dolls she showed us, the dad told, ''Hey, Elders, my daughter's not actually baptized. Would you like to baptize her for us?'' After we picked our jaws off the floor, we were like... ''Of course!'' He then said that he had gone inactive for a time and was just waiting for some good Elders to come in and have his daughter baptized. ''Me caen bien. La pueden bautizar, si ella quiere.'' And she smiled really big when she said that she wanted to get baptized. Talk about seriously undeserved blessings. The Lord's hand is in all things. We were just hoping to eat some tasty food and look what we found. Tonight we're doing a family home evening with them and we'll teach them basically a lesson a day so she can be baptized on Sunday. What a miracle. Maybe she'll get baptized in a Sunday more, but we shall see. In any case, we're seriously astounded at how the Lord prepares His children.

Being in Mexico for the world cup has been super fun. Whenever the games are on the streets are dead. A ghost town. Walking by the houses and businesses you can hear the same channel playing on every TV set - el mundial. Currently Mexico is playing and the game decides everything for them so the whole city is crazy. From what I've heard France, Belgium, and Holland are dominating in the world cup right now. Mexico currently playing just needs to tie and will advance to the finals.  Also, the Tazo toys I told you about - some special Tazos have come out recently that can snap together and form a soccer ball. I already have mi pelota armada with 12 tazos. I'll only be in Mexico for the world cup once!

Goooooooooolllll Mexico (queue the fireworks in the street)

I sent my Danner boots to get repaired with a member who fixes shoes. The heel part of the sole has been wearing down recently so he repaired it glueing the matierial of airplane tires as a replacement. I'm pretty sure that will last me for a while.

¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡Otro GOOOOOOLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (queue more fireworks)

In just one week I will have a new mission President. Who knows how he'll be, but I look forward to meeting him!


That was quick, and this city is very happy.  Until next week.

The streets of Xalapa:

Monday, June 16, 2014

4 seasons in one day

Well. I don't have a lot of time today but we'll bust out something here.

I'm still having a blast. Elder G is the best and we always get along well every moment of every day. The rest of my district is also super fun and we're seeing a lot of blessings in the work which have been missing from the Macuiltepetl ward for some time.

This week we found a family of Africans! It's a mom and dad with two children, ages 6 and 9. They moved here 6 years ago from Nigeria, planning to go to Canada but the Mom had the child in Mexico so plans changed. The father says his sister just got baptized in the church and she it telling him that he should, too. I'm hoping and praying that they will be able to come this Sunday. What a miracle that people from all the way across the world ended up here so we could start to teach them. And in English, too! The 6 year old girl doesn't speak English but the father wants us to teach him in English, so that's a unique thing we've seen.

I also had an interview with President Saucedo this week. It went well. ''Wow. You really do speak Spanish!'' He's only here for two more weeks and then President Greer will take over as the permanent mission president.

Aaaanndd... the weather in Xalapa is quite ridiculous. Today it almost flooded and then out of nowhere a scorching sun came and dried it all up.  It's 4 seasons in one day.

I'm glad things were able to work out miraculously at Reynolds so that so few people were hurt physically. As you say, emotional scars are harder to heal from, though; I have also learned on the mission that emotional trials are definitely the hardest of them all.

I love you all.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I love Xalapa

Don't worry, I washed my hands after picking up this bird that couldn't fly.

There are already several missions in Mexico that use iPads and computers and all sorts of things but here we don't because we think we're efficient enough already so why change.

Summer will be over before we know it. That I also look forward to because honestly last summer was the longest and most miserable of my life. Then in the winter time started to go by normally and spring flew past me. Maybe it's just the mission time warp or possibly

Anywho, onto the fun stuff. I finally got my birthday packages! Even being in Xalapa the mail just sits around forever in the offices before it gets to me. It's a lot more secure to send it there than to my address, though, because they're always there to receive the mail but if it gets to my house when I'm not there (most likely) or I get transferred for some reason (and with a change in Presidents in 20 days who knows) I'll never see it again. So keep sending stuff there, even though it may take a bit longer to make it to my hands. Tell Grandma and Grandma great a million thank yous for sending cards and candy. More than the package is the love and concern I can feel. I know they are thinking about me and I know I am in their prayers.

I've basically learned my area now. It didn't take so long. I'm in the biggest neighborhood in Xalapa, but my entire area is only that neighborhood. For that reason ever since the tiny ward started dividing itself into tinier and tinier areas the missionaries have had a harder time taking many investigators to church because in an area so small where everybody works on Sundays it's hard to find people who want to listen and change, but I have faith that they are there somewhere. We just have to find them. And we will.

I'm going to forward you an email from an investigator I had in Teteles. It's the family I gave the nativity set. She and her husband couldn't get baptized because they aren't married and the husband isn't divorced from his first wife whom they can't find... I hope that made sense. Anyway, the missionaries had passed by before but they didn't ever really go to church because the husband wasn't interested. Since Elder S and I passed by we gained the husband's confidence and got the whole family to go to church and the husband to stop working on Sunday. They went to church every Sunday I was there. Their daughter just turned 8 years old and got baptized. The mom tells me thank you for bringing the gospel to her family, softening the heart of her husband and for helping them to be happy for so many months in a row. I know that sometimes we may not see the results of our efforts immediately, but the Lord uses us as instruments in His own hands for His own reasons and everything works for good in the end.

My district is tons of fun. I'll take more pictures with them this week and tell you more about them the next.
On the roof with Xalapa behind me.

 Get that corn out of my face!

How they collect garbage here.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

First week in Xalapa

 I'm glad everything is going so well for the family. Savvy's party sounds like it was quite a blast. At this point in the mission neither the mission nor home feels very real, but when I see you guys in the airport and remember my old world again it would be such a tender mercy to know everybody is doing well.

First week in Xalapa - fantastic. The Macuiltepetl ward is the first ward to be established in Xalapa and all the other ones have branched off from this ward in recent years. It shares the same name as Macuiltepetl, the giant hill in the center of the city. The ward is smack dab in the middle of Xalapa. Walmart, McDonald's, shopping centers, malls, all the rest of the things I haven't seen for a long while. A huge change from the other areas I have had. My favorite part about my area is because it's in the middle of the city all the streets are like graph paper - horizontal and vertical lines and very easy to navigate. I think this will be the quickest I'll have ever learned an area. Because it's right next to Macuiltepetl hill it's not quite as flat as I was hoping, but compared to Papantla nothing will ever seem steep again.

The ward isn't the downtown part (downtown is in the corner of the city), it's more like the ghetto suburban area of the city. It's the most dangerous part of town, but compared to what I just went through in Papantla I couldn't possibly imagine it being any scarier. My area is also quite small and makes it even easier to learn. As a sign of how old the ward is, it still meets in the same house of prayer the church started with here who knows how many years ago because the ancient members here don't want a chapel. After saying hi to the Bishop he said, really excitedly, ''How cool! I've never had an Elder from Spain before!'' I was sad to disappoint him. ''I'm not from Spain...I'm from Oregon. It's where they filmed Twilight (the only connection Mexicans have with Oregon)'' ''Oh. Then why do you have such a heavy Spanish accent?''

My favorite part of Xalapa - the climate. It's not hot and it's not cold. It's Oregon weather. Cloudy cool with a lot of rain. It's quite fun to walk around all day without sweating or shivering all day in 6 layers like my past areas have been. From polar opposites to right in the middle.

Elder G is awesome. He is hilarious, he knows the scriptures, and he wants to work hard. He is always happy. 

Our new mission president is going to be an American. President Greer, I think from Arizona. I have no idea who he is but I know he's not going to make us memorize lessons and he's not going to impose the exact same rules of his past mission on a different mission in a different time, so it should be good. Plus he's an American. Now all of our zone conferences will be in English... looking forward to it.

This is what the cops wear here.  They look like they are from space.

8:00 and it is still light.  This is the cemetery looming in the background, with the first semi truck I have seen in almost a year.
 My companion makes the best silly face.