Thursday, December 31, 2015

I feel obligated to put something about 2016 in my title DEC 28, 2015

Kyndal´s companion is waiting for her visa to go to the California Irvine mission!  Look for her. And if she happens to be in the ward at some point, send me a picture!

As the year reaches its end, I realize that I started my mission in the beginning of the year. Seeing some people say that they only have one call [phone call home] left, makes me think, "Didn't you start after me?" But, yeah, they did because they are sister missionaries. But still, I have two left. Wow. Time flies. It flies like a turkey right before Thanksgiving. (For those of you who don't think that turkeys fly, look it up. They fly fast.)  I hope you all had a great Christmas!  It was awesome to be able to call home once more. It was great to see everyone. It's a little bit of pressure being the first one to go on the mission from the cousins. But it's good pressure. 

On Christmas Eve, we went to the zone leaders' apartment and had a traditional dinner of pizza and chips. Then we played phase 10, Uno, and Risk.  Risk was last and the one that took the most time. Let's just say that I got 4 hours of sleep. πŸ˜ Then Christmas we got up and went to our areas. Nothing special. The Christmas time in which we think would be great to accept the gospel message, everyone is receptive to the spirit of the holidays so also to the spirit. Not really. There were about 20 people that I saw in the whole day. But then calling home gave me the boost I needed to survive. Thanks everyone for being awesome. It was cool seeing the pictures of friends on the mission with their families via Skype. 

Zone Picture

Samuel the Lamanite

Maria and Jose

The Star of the Show

Christmas Risk

#zonebluesteel and Elder Lugo

Christmas 2015

A Missionary Christmas

I skipped the sales after Thanksgiving, the thrill just wasn't there.
No pictures taken with Santa Claus, my decorating has no flair.
His presents are shoes, shirts and ties, two suits and fun.
I've bought him all white clothes because….This year, I'm giving Christ my son.

I've spent more time in the temple, my testimony stirred.
I've reread November’s Ensign, felt strength come from His words.
I pray more frequently. My tears are quick to run.
Abraham seems closer because, this year I'm giving Christ my son.

I wonder how those Lamanite mothers gave their sons to war.
Or how the pioneers chose Zion, their sacrifice was so much more.
My loss will be his presence. I'll miss his smile a ton.
For two years I will pray for him, I'm giving Christ my son.

I stare at his face when he's not looking. I memorize his eyes, their shine.
He's always hungered for the part of him that makes his soul divine.
The stories and lessons he always heard, His choice and mine are one.
I'll put my faith in God's hand, this year, I'm giving Him my son.

Past gifts have lost their glitter; I think I finally understand.
Christ's birth should be celebrated by giving Him a hand.
It's because I know Christ lives and reigns, that all his packing's done.
My gift has taken years to make, this year...I'm giving Christ my son.

I know there’s One who understands, the sacrifice I’m making. 
Who knows the gift I willingly give, the toll it will be taking.
For He has done it all before. Greater love—there could be none. 
For years ago God gave to me, His only begotten son.

The hands I washed, the hands I held, the hands I taught to pray;
Now knock on doors to find the ones who will listen to what he’ll say.
Because I know Christ needs him, until all the gathering’s done.
My gift has taken years to make. This year…I’m giving Christ my son.

Author Unknown

[Ryan comment: awww :)   ]

Christmas in a Can Dec 21, 2015

Did i talk about the Day of the Guadalupana?  Well...December 12th is the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Literally the Mexican version of Mary.  Look it up; there are like 20 different versions of Mary depending on the country. I don't get it. But this day and the two days before, people make pilgrimages to the Cathedral of Guadalupe.  Every year a bunch of people die because they aren't being smart, like crossing the intersection on a red light thinking people will stop because they have their Lupita roped to their back. Yeah, that day was interesting.  We are close, but not close enough to have to leave the area.  Some elders spent that day in other areas because they couldn't be in theirs. 

Woo Christmas!  Do you know what that means? That means anyone who is a missionary who doesn't have investigators is going to stay that way until January 8πŸ˜‘  Yeah, this isn't a good time to find people because no one is home.  Or they are home with 20 other people.  Either way, we don't get to talk to them.  But in other words it also means ward Christmas party!  That would have been a lot cooler if they started on time. We got to be there for 30 minutes because then we had to go home for it being late.  But it was good. Good food. Sorry, that sounded quite pessimistic.  But you know what I do have? CHRISTMAS MUSIC!!!! YEAH! it's great singing, playing the guitar, singing with my companion. And even better.... we can harmonize!  He is good at singing. I am grateful I have him for Christmas. :)  Oh and I don't know why I titled my email like i did.

Oh and this picture. I took a machete to the stomach.  

​ A machete is a type of food. It is a two foot long quesadilla. (A quesadilla is not a flour tortilla with cheese.)  A quesadilla is a folded thick corn tortilla with meat inside (or whatever filling).

​Say hello to Team Handsome.  Elder Lopez, Me, Elder Ibarra. 

​OK, I didn't win this time, but it was still good. 

​Mmmm sushi bar. This isn't even half of the plates.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Woo, It's almost Christmas! 12/14/2015

This week went fast. Getting to know an area is something I really don't like very much because I seem to always get an area where the elders did not update the area book, so I pretty much open the area. πŸ˜‘ I like this Zone. This zone has Tepito (the black market of Mexico City).  Don't worry.  It's not in my area but it's just kind of cool. And anyways we are protected. We got connections😎.  But, yeah, my area is really quite nice. It's clean. The streets are nice. It's like Mission Viejo in comparison with some other cities, but a lot bigger contrast. 
It's really weird. I'm the 4th oldest in the zone. (speaking mission age) Really it just means the zone is new. But, wow, I'm old!

What are you doing for Christmas?  (I'm asking because I want your responses, anyone who wants to.)  We, on the week of Christmas are going to the Temple in the morning, then we have a talent show\thing with president. I'm excited because this zone sings!  I'll be playing guitar, another elder a violin, another guitar, and a piano. I'm excited.

​New Zone! Once again, the tallest. Only two white guys, but like half the zone speaks English. Elder De la Cruz is on the right.

​I really like playing the guitar!

My area is a gem... 12/9/2015

Welp. I am no longer in Aguilas. πŸ˜’ I am now in Joyas (ahahha title joke). Federal District. It's quite a bit nicer, this area. There is a public service garbage truck that you don't have to pay, the sidewalks are nice, and we share the area with sister missionaries. The last one tells you a lot. Our area is nice, and safe. But really safe is relative. But yeah it's safe here. And also the area is small. I am now with Elder Lopez from Tijuana. 

I am excited for Christmas. Watching the Christmas devotional, and all the Christmas music is so greeat. It's just exciting.

Ok Doctor stuff. After like five times going to different doctors, don't ask me why because I don't know, telling me I need surgery, I don't need surgery, I need to take medicine, I don't need medicine, the final word is....   I don't need surgery.      Yet.   As I have heard from various doctors, this doesn't go away on its own.  But, eventually it will get infected.   And the doctor who had the final word said, "You don't need surgery. When it hurts and starts oozing, call me." πŸ˜• Uum.. OK, I'm not an expert, but I think it would be easier to cut something out before it's a problem. And before I am in pain and oozing. πŸ˜·    

I got the package! Thanks. I'm not sure if I was supposed to open these, but it wasn't wrapped, so I built them. πŸ˜Ž

Last Day with Zona Azteca

Merry Christmas!

I got your Christmas package. It is fun having rings to give out. [Mom comment: We sent him CTR rings, HLJ in Spanish.  The package sent by DHL ararived safely and in only a week.] The Legos weren't wrapped. Were they supposed to be wrapped?  I built them anyway. :)   

Oh, and I don't need surgery. πŸ˜‘ And I quote, "When it hurts and starts oozing, then call me."😧 

[Mom comment: Do you take a siesta in the middle of the day?]  Mom, I'm on the mission. Do I have time for a siesta?  The answer is no. As some missionaries say, you can sleep when you are dead... which in missionary language means when you go home.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Nov 30 Thanksgiving Feast

[mom comment about peacocks, pavos reales, their human like cry]  I have not heard their cry. It's not pavos reales by the way, because their name is pavoreal. Yeah he has three. He started with two, more get born and occasionally fly away.

I still have to check with the mission doctor. Hasta jueves. I guess they don't realize this can get infected and get a lot worse. But yeah I'll have surgery, but whether it is here or there is the question.

Conferencia de Zona Azteca
I'm always in the center. Maybe it's because I'm so important. Probably because I'm the tallest.

OK, now I've gotten the package from grandma and from mom. The package from grandma was only lost in the zone leaders' house for 3 months. It's something that you really don't know what is the most exciting thing to receive until you get it. Like poptarts. I was not thinking poptarts but I was quite excited to get poptarts.  [mom comment - sending food through was a great idea.  It looks expensive, but when you add in shipping and all the things you can't send into Mexico, it was actually a really good deal.  Use ElderHaggard as your code on checkout for a 10% discount.] 

These next 12 weeks we have a reading challenge. It's cool. Here it is if you want it.
 No. week
Book of Mormon

Preach my gospel
Nov 23- 29
Nov 30-dic 6
Dic  7- 13
Dic  14 – 20
Dic  21 – 27
Dic 28 –Ene 3
ALMA  1 – 20
Ene  4 – 10
ALMA  21- 42 
Ene  11-  17
ALMA   43 – 63 
Ene  18- 24
Ene  25- 31 
Feb  1- 7
Feb  8 – 14
Feb  15 – 21
OK, now that I have had Thanksgiving, I have a few things to Thanksgive.  Mom, thank you for raising me well and trying to get me to clean because you don't really notice how dirty the floor is until you have to sweep the floor. And Dad thanks for raising me well and making me tough. I'm really grateful for that, because "if it doesn't bleed, it doesn't hurt". And thanks Becca for being my sister. You're the best sister I have ever had. I love you all.

We had divisions the other day and when I got back to the apartment, in the kitchen, I see ash and burnt atalaya magazines (the magazines of the Jehovah's Witnesses) on the floor. Elder? What happened in the kitchen? Elder Nava: Oh yeah I got out of the shower and Elder Guerra was burning papers. Me: and? Elder Nava: There was a tarantula. Me: Oh OK.  
Apparently he couldn't just kill it so he had to burn it. He used perfume to light the tarantula. (Perfume applies to male and female scents in Spanish.)

YAY Christmas! I put on a Christmas tie the other day and I will not apologize. The Christmas season is so awesome, and I am very excited. We have a Christmas initiative which is where there is a video and we get a bunch of cards to hand out. 

It's a really cool video and there is one every year and Easter. 
​Look how cool this package is! Thanks Mom!

​Thanksgiving dinner in Mexico. Tacos.
​Post spider.
​Apparently A&W root beer has more calories in Spanish.

​Mexican food products have collectibles. Right now they are for Star Wars. (They are juice caps. I'm being healthy.) Yeah, that's why you're buying it. heehee

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

NOT Thanksgiving

Everybody is putting their subject as HAPPY Thanksgiving, so being the hipster I am, I didn't put that subject.

Well, not a lot to say this week. We contacted a soccer team that said they would come to church. That means 17 people that said they would come to church! Guess what happened. We had soooo many people that I didn't see in the church on Sunday. Yeah, this is kind of a normal thing for me. People saying they will do stuff: go to church, read, be in their house; then not doing it. Yeah.

But I have been learning more Christmas songs, singing. Because there is not a sign of Thanksgiving. I'll probably eat tacos for Thanksgiving dinner.  

Oh, and then there's the part where I'm going to have surgery. Woo. I'm excited. First surgery in my life. I'm not going to be able to sit down for a month. I think you can tell how excited I am. πŸ˜– 

One of our investigators has royal turkeys! (peacocks)

I got peanut butter, mint lifesavers and meringues. [Mom comment:  I guess food does get in by mail.]

[Mom comment: regarding the cyst on his tailbone]  I have been going to the doctor and I have to get it removed. Right now we are just waiting for the decision from Salt Lake. If I'm going to come home or do it here. I'll probably come home. I have mixed feelings about that from the two ends of the spectrum. NO, I don't want to leave.  I'm going to baptize people! And then, well, it would be nice to be home for Christmas. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

[Mom commented about Christmas and packages sent.]

There is a small fake tree in the apartment. 

Yeah, I hope i get the package. From the first one [that didn't make it past the mission office] to Brooke's package, I'm a bit annoyed, that they aren't getting here.

​I bought leather gloves for when it gets cold at night. I look like a murderer.

​ This is Pepe the Zebra. He is the mascot of the cereal that i buy. (A cheap version of frosted flakes)

What Christmas songs should I learn on the guitar? I know Mary Did You Know and Feliz navidad.

Mexico is Weird

I don't know if there are as many churches in any other part of the world as in Mexico. Some of them like to seem unified but they are not. There are about Eight Parroquin de San Juan Bautista churches in our area. Do you know what they are? Bible study groups. That's all. They have a pastor, but really it's just the person who owns the house. Don't get me started about Santeros. (People who worship saints)

Wow. I'm just going to vent for a bit. About Moses. Moses is Jewish. But not Jewish, because he is Mexican. [Mom comment: I thought Ryan was talking about ancient prophet Moses, but no, it's someone he is teaching]  If you didn't know, If you are not Jewish, and would like to be Jewish, you can buy yourself a Jewish bloodline. Wow. Soooo, Moses is Jewish-Christianic. What is Jewish-Christianic? Ok, basically it is Christians that follow Jewish rules. But they know that Jesus is the Christ. It's the only good thing about them. They know the law of Moses has been fulfilled but still keep the holy festivals, and other things from the Law of Moses. They baptize by immersion, but it has to be in running water. They take the sacrament, but only on Passover. They believe they have authority through the Holy Ghost because the prophets ended with John the Revelator. *takes deep breath* I believe you can see our dilemma. The thing is that the first time we met him, he said he was open to other ideas. (The future would tell otherwise.) We gave him a Book of Mormon and he said he would read it. He read some scriptures from it. The way he knows the Book of Mormon, I would say he looked up scriptures online from the Book of Mormon. One time he asked, so who were the first "Mormons"? I said Adam.  OK but in the Book of Mormon? (I'm pretty sure he was trying to use the fact that people were here before 600 BC.) I said, the Jaredites. *His face, priceless* Uhh, *goes to another topic* The thing that bugs me the most is that he refuses to pray and ask if the Book of Mormon is true. Conversation goes like this: Me:Have you asked God if the Book of Mormon is true? Him: I have my answer. *goes to John* If an Angel comes with another gospel you should not accept it. Me: Have you asked God? Him: No, because it's another gospel. Me: Well, ask God if it's a different Gospel. 

Is that all? No, but I won't go on much more. His main points of discussion are: There aren't prophets now, but we are all prophets; The real Church of God keeps the Sabbath day holy. Based on the prophecy of Isaias, that Christ will die in the middle of the week, therefore Wednesday, and Jesus resurrected on Saturday and the Sabbath is still Saturday. We can plainly see in English that the prophecy says in the midst of the week, not the middle, so it can be any day Monday- Friday, and we happen to know it is Friday

Please don't waste your time looking for scriptures. I have used them. And they are clear as day, but he won't accept them. 

So I got a package from Brooke. Thanks, Brooke!  I'm sure there were more cool things inside.

I said in my emails that you should put Jesus Stickers or Virgin Mary stickers right? I wasn't joking. It actually protects the  package a little better.

​This is how a package arrives through the Mexican Postal Service, clearly opened and missing things.
[Mom comment: In defense of the Mexican Postal Service,  their rules say "no food" so if someone sends food, they take it out of the package.]

Lamanites and their secret combinations. I was a little perturbed. 

Tres Cerezas

[Mom comment: What can we send for Christmas or birthday?]  We have a dvd player so I can listen to cds and I only have one cd, but I might buy a speaker and a usb so I can download christmas music.

This week Carolina got baptized! We had a last minute scare because she didn't tell us that she smoked, but now she doesn't so it's ok. This time we put resistor heaters in the baptismal font so that it would heat up, because it didn't last time.  Right before the baptism, I took out the resistors and it smelled warm. So I thought it was warm.  I didn't check any further. Elder Nava and Carolina found out when they stepped in the water. Hint: It wasn't warm.

Oh, my heavens. Do you realize that I have been on the mission for nearly 9 months!?  That's enough for a baby to be born. I left in February. It's November. It's almost Christmas. Wow!

Do you get the subject now? I won again! (It's a slot machine.) Yay! Mom isn't happy I won again, but I did! I'm in Mexico.  On Friday I got bit by a dog. Luckily this dog knows me. So it wasn't bad. I'm pretty sure he was just trying to grab my pant leg. But he was angry because I woke him up. The picture looks worse than it is, and the picture isn't bad. 

​This week was a good week for 8 reasons.

​Alma 17. I know not everybody is there but there is only so much distinction you can do with little drawings. So really it includes everyone. [Mom comment:  I'm guessing these must be drawings of friends.]

​Verizon: Raising the Bar. Carolina´s Baptism!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Culture 11/2/2015

Ok, well, this will be short because I've only had half a week since the last time I wrote. 

The past week we went to Templo Mayor, the least destroyed ruins in the city of Mexico. Even this one has a sewer pipe running through it because apparently they didn't know it was there. There were a lot of cool things, but not that cool as other things I have learned of the symbolism. They didn't really explain anything of symbolism. And we also went through it pretty fast. Cause nobody seems to enjoy these things like I do.  I would have spent four hours if I could and read every plaque.  But, oh well.  I did like the artifacts. 

Here Halloween is almost nothing.  It still is known, but Dia de los Muertos is a lot bigger. Day of the Dead is pretty much like Halloween, but prettier. I really like the Katrina, she is like the symbol of the holiday, and she represents generally those who are being remembered. There are offers to those who have passed away, the things that those persons liked, and Pan de Muerto (bread of the dead), which is pretty good. I would buy it more but it's kind of expensive. Well, expensive for a missionary, 10 pesos.

Oh, I love Mexican Culture. It's so beautiful. And strong. Like the cultural celebration I loved and Dia de los Muertos.  Because it is Mexican. And they are proud of their culture. Just watch The Book of Life if you haven't seen it. 

There was a lot of tlaloc stuff, and also for Huitzilopochtli (that one I did learn the story, it is similar to the story of Zeus and the Titans).

​No, this is not a kindergarten art project. These knives were used for sacrifices, mostly human.

Mictlantecuhtli God of Death. The part missing shows the souls he has swallowed or hell.

​Elder Hay (Hi) and a member that came with us. The Temple is below.

Our Halloween. An investigator has a hair salon, and it was Halloween, so why not?  And in the picture as well is her niece.  I was singing the Hey song (what's going on). That's why my mouth is open.