Monday, October 27, 2014

Tacos al pastor y Fanta....y limones gigantes

What a crazy week for you at home indeed! 

My week was a little less crazy... I am actually out of ideas as to what to write. Toward the end of your mission you do start running out of ideas of what to write a lot easier. Only two more months until Christmas! I look forward to skyping the whole family again.

A will be getting baptized this Sunday! He has progressed very well and keeps all the commandments we teach him.  He is truly an incredible man and I am blessed to have met him and teach him.

Yesterday the other elders in the ward baptized somebody... and the doors to the font wouldn't open up, so nobody could see the baptism. Because we're in a chapel we have to go to another chapel to baptize and we didn't have the key. That was interesting.  We will have things all figured out for next week for our baptism.

We returned the fish alive, no worries.

 The city of Naulinco as seen from Xalapa.
 This is the lucky little guy I gave the Hot Wheels car to.  What a treasure you (Mom and Savanna) found at the store.  Thanks for sending it to me to give away.  Mexican fútbol team Hot Wheels!
 This is a lime.  I didn't believe it, either!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Feeling better

I'm entirely better thanks to the gallons of electrolites I chugged. Also the fact that I rested all day.  I think I just was severely dehydrated, and some fluids and rest were all that I needed. 

Woah... your record has been ruined... but at least you goofed up the date in advance and not after the ACT had already been administrated. I'm glad Jake is doing so well in school. (Note from Mom: I sent Jacob last weekend to take the ACT on the wrong day...)

That's a hilarious story about the tortillas chips! ¿Cuáles son los totopos más ricos? Here I'm not exactly sure, everybody tends to eat a lot more tortillas than tortilla chips. Still, how funny to ask the Mexican family and ignore you altogether. The good news is that when it comes to cultural comments, it's difficult to offend Mexican people. Personal comments obviously impact them a lot, but culturally to them everybody is the same.  It's a little detail of Mexico I will miss a lot in six months.  (Note from Mom:  at Winco I was buying cilantro and so was a cute Mexican family next to me.  A white lady came up and asked the Mexican family (and not me) what their favorite brand of tortilla chips was and on what aisle to find them. I couldn’t believe it.)

Six months is a whole lot shorter than two years... man, in three months, I will only have three months left. That is so weird.

Brother A told me I should write a little book called ''Mis tropiezos culinarios'' (my cooking stumbles... or something... I'm not exactly sure how to translate that) when I get back home detailing all of the things I ate in Mexico and how those foods have eliminated my fear to eat anything. I think it would make for at least a fun blog post! 

A is progressing super well. I'm so happy to have found another prepared person in my area. If President hadn't closed the 3rd area in this ward, we wouldn't have been able to teach him, but we got the part of the area where A lives. What a super golden investigator! He accepts absolutely everything the gospel asks of him with such joy and professionalism I can't believe he's a real person. He has gone through many sad experiences recently and realizes that if he had kept all the commandments since the beginning then he would not have any of the problems he currently does. If everything works out well, he will be baptized this Sunday. If not, maybe sometime next week or next Sunday.

Apart from him, we're still having trouble finding people who want to learn and change, but I'm happy knowing I found the people the Lord put there for me to find.

We currently have a fish in our apartment. We asked an inactive sister at her doorstep if there were anything we could do to help her and she said,''Yes! give me one second.'' She went back into the house and came out with a little fish tank in hand. ''Could you watch my fish for a few days?  They're going to fumigate my house because of a rat infestation and if I leave the fish here it will die.'' Well, even though technically we're not allowed to have animals in the house... we did ask if we could help you... so... we'll take your fish. We're going to return the fish today. 

You have no idea how big of a hug I am going to give you when I come back, Mom. I could almost feel that moment while pondering one night this week. It was so special. You and Dad really are the best parents ever. If I learned two things on the mission: 1, I have the best parents ever. I'm so glad I have always treated you with love and respect. 2, Everything works out in the end. The Lord sometimes asks us to pass through trials that we can't understand but we have to take the leap of faith and realize that all things to Him are one eternal round.

My cute little friend loves Harry Potter so much that she wore her cloak to church this week.
 After soccer this morning.
 Do you like my Paris-St. Germaine jersey?  I found it at the market here!

Feeling sick....

What an excellent week! I look forward to all the Portland adventures I will do with you guys when I'm back. 6 months 15 days and counting...
I'm glad Jake is doing so well with European history. I'm also glad that the office is doing well! That's an answer to many prayers. 

Today I went on a little first world adventure, as well! Elder V and I went down to Plaza Crystal, the biggest mall in the mission, and walked around taking a look at everything. It reminds me of home... even all the store names are in English... We went to McDonald's for lunch for the fun of it.
Okay, today I am feeling really sick. I felt a little off when I got up and we went to go play soccer right away. Bad idea. Next time I will refrain from playing... especially from playing so hard. I felt completely out of it. After hot chocolate, some powerade, a banana, and a trip to get a peek at first world life again, I'm feeling a little better. Nonetheless if I stay the same tomorrow I'm not getting out of bed. Rest is the best medicine. No, I didn't drink bad water. I'll make sure to buy lots of electrolite drinks and rest up a lot this week. Fortunately every house in the mission is well equipped with medicine for every need. I already took fever medicine. Tonight I'll ask Elder V for a blessing and with that and the power of prayer I'll feel better in no time. Lesson learned: if you feel bad, don't play soccer. I hope I'm just extremely tired and not feeling well. That would be ideal.
It feels great being in the coolest city in the mission for six months. The Lord blessed me dearly to be in Xalapa all summer. Veracruz gets very hot and humid, except Xalapa, so I'm a lucky dog to avoid 100 plus degree days like the ones I had in Tuxpan.

This week we found the most golden investigator I have ever met. His name is A, a 48-year old lawyer. The Lord has truly been preparing him to receive the gospel. He's also one of the few people I have taught in this area who is just so ready to learn all about the gospel. Just like M, A is a lawyer, which made Elder V and I laugh a little bit. Let's just contact all the lawyers in our area, then!
Want money?
Funny graffito on a loan afiche we spotted.

My collection of World Cup Coke bottles.

Monday, October 6, 2014

More from paradise

It's actually true - when the mission starts winding down, time goes faster. What a blessing I'm experiencing.

Elder V and I had a fun week, as usual. We're still struggling to find interested people, but that doesn't bug me. I think that's why President is keeping me here for so long. He knows that I'm totally fine with just working hard and doing my best - I don't need to see "results" to be happy.  I have been able to love the members and get to know them in such a great way because I have been here so long, and that is such a great blessing to me.  I absolutely love this ward and the families I have been able to fellowship and serve during my stay here.  I am a happy person.  I am in Xalapa, Mexico and that is something to be happy about.

One member got quite offended this past week. The second time something like this has happened on the mission. Elder V and I were talking together in ''tú,'' as we always do. She told us to stop doing that and to talk in ''usted'' because that's what the rule is. She had never told us that in the 5 months I've been in Xalapa. We told her quite jokingly (because we always joke around with that sister) that the rule we actually have is to use ''usted'' when it is culturally appropriate (because that is the actual rule) and that talking to another person of one's own age in ''usted'' is actually culturally inappropriate. Elder V and I continued conversing in ''tú.'' We have no idea what happened in her brain that night, but now she's extremely angry at us and won't talk to us or let us into her house. It caught us totally off guard because we always joke around with her like that and she jokes around back. Last Friday I guess she was fighting some kind of internal battle and our innocent comments pushed her over the edge. I'm so sad about the misunderstanding, but that's alright. Hopefully she will realize there was no harm intended at all. Don't worry. Las cositas así ni sueño me dan. (Things like that don't affect me at all.) Just thought I'd share a random story with you about how people can choose to be offended. (See Elder Bednar's ''And Nothing Shall Offend Them'')

Speaking of Elder Bednar, General Conference was a blast. I love watching it in English, so I set up the Gringo room again and we starting watching in English. When it was announced that there was going to be a talk in Chinese we were all totally surprised. When the translation dub began, one Elder commented, ''So this is what the rest of the world feels like...'' I agree with you, I think the 70 who gave those talks in other languages did it to show the other cultures that they are important and to show that the gospel is the same worldwide. The 70 who spoke in Spanish do have excellent English skills. Elder Gavarret visited the MTC while I was there and that awesome Puerto Rican doctor is basically American.

For the two Spanish talks we simply pulled up Canal Mormón and started watching the talks in Spanish. I wanted to do the same for the Portuguese talk, so we tried it, but the other 4 gringos didn't understand any of it and we changed back to the dubbed translation. Spanish and Portuguese are so similar! It makes me laugh how similar they are. I guess I'm just able to hear through the accent or something. I understood about 95% of the talk in Portuguese. The translation for the Chinese talk was super cool. In any case, I loved the fun addition to conference.

Thanks for the yummy treats with French packaging!
 My little friend showing me Los Voladores in her school workbook.
 I found the greatest América souvenir of all time at the market.
 The best haircut place in all of Mexico.  Well worth the $3.70.  It is the most I have paid for a haircut in Mexico, but nobody does a better job.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Six more weeks in Xalapa!!!

Woo-hoo!!!!! You're never going to guess what transfers are!!!! Exactly the same! I'm staying with Elder V another transfer!!!! Ya-hooooo!!!!!!

It was absolutely unexpected. I had actually already packed my bags. I'm so excited: 1, being in one area for four transfers. That's a typical amount of time for a missionary to be in an area but it had never happened to me. Now it will! 2, being with Elder V for another transfer is going to be so fun. 3, more time to live in the coolest city of the mission!

Turns out I will be 6 more weeks with my Salvadorean companion. Quite excellent news! He is doing better about his dad's death. When he goes back to El Salvador he wants to study civil engineering. The nerds who plan out bridges and roads and all those things.  He is super smart.

What a stressful week for you at the office! At least things could all get figured out.

Dad sent me the pictures of the lawn - it does look significantly better than it did last week. I miss the good old northwest forest we have right behind our house.

Oh, Savvy boo... I remember that was the first week I spent away from home, too. Now here I am for 104 consecutive weeks away from home.

What other news do I have for this week...

One of the ward members brought his family to church last week... and nobody in his family is a member! We had three investigators at church Sunday thanks to him. 

I'm still so happy at transfer news that I can't even think of what else to write! Oh, yes. A few weeks ago you asked me what to say in Spanish if something went bad. Two Mexican idioms in use are ''Te chupó el perro'' (the dog sucked you) and ''te cargó el payaso'' (the clown picked you up). You can change the object pronoun however you'd like to give it a different meaning. I've been meaning to write those for a few weeks but I always forget.

Until next week.