Tuesday, July 28, 2015

All About Food 7/27/2015

So this week we visited an inactive family the Estudiantes and their job is chicharron and carnitas. We actually have five or so Estudiante families in our area that all sell chicharron. Chicharron is pig skin, and carnitas is really good pork. :P :)  Well, the family was separating the skin from the meat from the fat, and they taught us how to do it. My companion doesn't know how to use a knife. It was funny watching him... from a distance. Everything he does is with power. Playing soccer: not accurate, but a powerful kick; Pool: he hits the ball and it flies. But with separating meat, that just doesn't work. He was destroying the skin.  So if any of you have read The Jungle, you should see Mexico. ._. we were literally putting the meat in cardboard boxes on the ground.

When we visit our investigators Flor and Miguel, they work in a tienda so they normally give us something at the end. I saw banana chips and so I thought yeah I'll get those! I'm walking home singing in my mind, "banana chips, banana chips, yummy banana chips."  We got home; I opened them and ate one. Hmm... these don't taste normal. They were fried. Apparently I'm used to dried banana chips. Oh, well, fried is OK. *satisfied fat face* 

OK, now food for the soul. One of our investigators was talking to us about how she started to search for God. She was depressed and at the point of nobody loves me, and about to give up. She walked into her room and on her bed was a tortilla napkin, that was embroidered with: Dios te ama. (God loves you) She is certain that this napkin was not in her house, and why in the world would it be on her bed in any case? That was a powerful sign and she knew it. She started to go to church and try to get close to God. She looked into many religions because none of them seem quite right, not worshiping God, not following the commandments, etc.  I'm really excited for her to find the truth.

I know that God loves each of us, and knows us by name. There is always someone who knows how we feel no matter how bad our situation is, and that person is Jesus Christ. (Alma 7:11-12)  We can always pray and God will help, no matter how lost we are, how far we have gone. He always, always wants to help us return.  All we need to do is ask. Of this I bear testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

​So our fridge is really cold. I froze my eggs. I was trying to crack the egg and I was thinking, "Wow, this egg is really hard.  I didn't hard boil these, right?" At this point, I am dropping the egg from about 2-3 feet onto the hard surface we have, still not breaking. So i try to stick my thumb inside, oooOOoh.  It's frozen. So then I peeled it and cooked it slowly. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Dark Streets, Dogs, and Demasiado Rain July 13, 2015

This week we went with the Hermanas in their area to accompany them in their appointments. Because we can't do divisions with them, they usually don't get to have the experience like we Elders do to know other areas and other missionaries' investigators. So that is what we did, we went with them so we had 4 missionaries in the lessons. And for some reason their area gets much much more rain than other areas. It rained a lot, to the point at which, well, my umbrella only helped in keeping my head somewhat dry. With that much water, my waterproofed shoes and bag didn't stand a chance. The bag was better off; it only was a little wet inside. But my shoes, oh my shoes. the waterproofing kind of worked against me. It kept the water in. We were so wet that walking through 4 inch deep puddles wasn't really a problem.  But even before walking through the puddles, my pants were soaked up to the knees. it was pretty cold with the wind and all. Oh yeah when you think of Mexico, you don't think of rain, do ya? Well I do. It rains a lot. Mom, when we checked the weather for here, did it say 15 inches a year, or per week?

Brenda is one of our investigators, that I crossed the street to go contact. She just accepted a date to be baptized, and she has a really strong testimony. She has been going to different churches, searching. A few years ago, she didn't believe in God, but a situation that happened to her made her start to search for God. She went to different churches, but kept thinking "these churches say they follow God, but don´t keep the commandments." When we started to teach her, she came to know that the Book of Mormon is true, and saw that everything we teach is what Jesus taught, and it is all true. She has a really good testimony, but she doesn´t want to lose her family. She really wants to get baptized and so she talked with her family yesterday that she is going to get baptized. I hope it went well. 

Mom, I am eating healthy. This week I bought fruit. So for breakfast I have been having yogurt with banana and granola. Just wanted to let you know.

Beef jerky doesn't exist here. When I said that for the other foods, what I really meant was that they are really really hard to find. But beef jerky, doesn't exist. I realized the other day that I miss it. I dont know why I was thinking about it, but I was.   

I realized that I don't have as much fear as I should. Well I've always kind of known that, but when my companion from Ciudad Juarez, a place Mexicans think is dangerous, is scared of a street, and I am not, I don't know. Maybe it's just that I trust God. Well that, but mostly I don't have much fear. I am not really scared of the dogs, except for the ones that look like bears or wolves. But I whistle a happy tune whenever I am afraid, so no one will suspect I'm afraid.

​Baptized Angel this Sunday. His family doesn't have a Priesthood holder so I baptized him.

Daniel and his family. He got baptized 2 weeks ago, but I just got the picture.

Castles, Bacon, and Eggs July 6, 2015

I think this cycle might be a long one. I don't think my comp likes me. But as I have heard apparently he doesn't "fall well" with anybody. (to literally translate from the spanish: cae bien) It's kinda weird because he is sociable but not friendly. And he walks about as slowly as a jack rabbit. I think the farthest he's gotten away from me is about 50 feet. He doesn't like to walk and at these times I'm not even walking fast. I don't know how he does it because he is a good 6-8 inches shorter than me. 

The other week we visited Hna. Esperanza, and when we left she gave us a bag of galletas. (cookies) Whenever she gives us stuff, I feel bad because she has just enough for her son and herself, but she won't let us not take it. When we got back to the apartment at night, I opened the bag, and inside, it wasn't cookies. It was Wheat Thins! I love Wheat Thins! It was an excellent surprise.

This past Sunday Daniel got baptized! It was a cool experience and it was cool to see how happy their daughter Daniela was. There is a cool story with Daniela: I don't know how long ago, but she had a dream that they all, as a family, got married in a castle. Sometime later as they passed by the temple, Daniela said, "Look mami, there is the castle where we are going to get married!" At this point, no one had taught Daniela about temples or that we get married there. And Daniel was not interested in the church at this time. But now, in a year, they will be sealed in the temple, as a family, for time and all eternity.

On Thursday we had divisions, and when we went to the other area, we went in the metro. Then more people got on at the next station, OK this is a little crowded. Then at the next station more people got on. At this point I couldn't move. Two stations later and with even more people, we didn't have the ability to get off at our exit. We had to wait for 4 more stations, for the other side doors to open, then we could go back to the station we wanted.

This Fourth of July, I think I was the most patriotic I have ever been. I celebrated with bacon, eggs and pancakes. I was singing patriotic songs, and the armed forces songs, and I colored my schedule like an American flag. 'Murica.

This Sunday we had investigators attend church!!! including Flor and Miguel! I am so excited because I believe they now feel more comfortable with the idea of getting baptized.

I realized what had helped me so much with learning the language: scripture study and prayer. I started reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish three months before my mission and in the CCM, I only prayed in Spanish. That helped me a lot.


​Went bowling today. I haven't lost it yet.

Angels and Demons July 20, 2015

These last two weeks we played pool for Pday. It was pretty fun. 

Also we visited Hermano Lopez, the 2nd counselor  of our ward, and he was an anthropologist! We talked the whole time about the connection of the history, myths, and legends of the Nahuatl people with the Book of Mormon. The Nahuatl are the natives of Mexico. The most interesting parts are Quetzalcoatl and the origin of the peoples of the Nahuatl. I have the explanations in the photos. If any of you know my excited face, the one like Chris Pratt, I had that face pretty much the whole time we were talking about this. There are soooooo many things. 

You know I really like being a missionary. People for the majority are nice to us. I think that most of the the time they aren't, but it's enough that it feels like it. People in Mexico have respect for missionaries, for example in the northern states, the cartel protects missionaries. But here it is just being nice like giving us free stuff, and especially letting us in their homes, because we are strangers, but they do it anyway.

I really like Spanish. I still get moments of "Wow, I'm speaking Spanish." (I think I say that in every email) Its enough now that I can understand drunk people and little kids just as much as I do in English. which isn't much.

The Elders from the area of Hacienda told us a story the other day: They have an investigator who is very intelligent and has been studying a religion. They love this investigator because he understands lots of the principles of what we teach without them teaching him, and he is not crazy at all. At the end of a lesson, he pulls out two wooden sticks and gives them to the Elders. He says, "I have mine and my wife has hers, I want you to have these, imbue them with your power." The religion he has been studying is Wika. At the end of four years he will be a Mage. o_o 

*disclaimer* Magic is not something to be messed with. It is only the power of Satan, and cannot be used for good. These Elders only have wooden sticks and nothing else.

Another story from our mission related to that: There was an Elder who had injured his knee and he knew of one of these mages in his area. He went to him and his knee was "healed." Later in an interview with the president of the mission, the President asked, "How did your knee heal so fast?" The Elder responded, then the president said, "I could tell. I could see from the door that there are two demons holding your knee in place." He then rebuked the demons and immediately the elder´s knee broke. 

See? not to be messed with.

On another subject, I really like that we do exercise every morning. I am going to come back ripped. Just to let you all know. Since we don't go to the gym anymore, I have learned a bunch of body-weight exercises.

​The two bent sticks symbol is that of Quetzalcoatl. And the cross is their conception of the universe.

​I think this is the most interesting. There are seven tribes of the Nahuatl, and seven that are described in the Book of Mormon.

I win. I have the most interesting mission. How many missionaries can say I have a book of scriptures that talk about your ancestors, to their investigators? Me, that's who.

Oh, and also the place where Quetzalcoatl lives means "El Lugar Dos" or to say that two Gods live there. Eh? God and Jesus. Very interesting.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Deaf will Hear through the Power of God

We found a golden family the other day. I believe they will be baptized by the end of the cycle. In our first lesson we talked about Lehi's dream, and before we explained it the father said "like when I heard your message and wanted my family to hear it too."  They have a perfect desire to hear the gospel, and tonight we will invite them to be baptized. Also a great thing is that the kids will be 8 in August (they are twins), so maybe the dad can baptize them.

There are so many things that I haven't written because they have become normal for me. They are those things that the world would see as coincidences. But we know these things are the influences of God. It is a thing we need to remember, to recognize these "coincidences" as the work of God, to give thanks to Him when these things happen. For example, the things that happen almost daily: investigators arriving just when we arrive; or opening the door just when we thought they weren't there, even though they didn't hear us knocking; Giving just the right pass along card to someone; and many other things.

RIP Electric Razor 12/25/2013 - 6/28/2015 
There was a tragic fall about two weeks ago in which his head was damaged. In this fall, the damage looked to be only external and he still worked well doing all the things he would normally do. But under the surface there was internal damage. His heart did not function the same and led to his death. Yeah, so I don't know how to shave with a normal razor. But I guess I will learn since my electric razor died. 

Yesterday, we were walking down the street and we saw some kids with some fire crackers. They were across the street from the investigators we were going to visit. And when we knocked on the door my comp said, "Watch out!  I turned around to find out they were not firecrackers but they were M80s. I was deaf for a good 10-15 seconds. They had thrown one at us!  How rude. I don't know if I had a righteous fury in my mind or if I had lost the spirit, because I was definitely thinking about scriptures, but I was mad. Ha, First! I believe I am the first of my friends to be physically persecuted.
Today we played kickball for our Zone activity and It was very fun.  

Second Cycle

I'm still in the same area. I just walked and took the metro to a meeting place to meet my new companion. No, I didn't report it because they didn't take anything. The comidas with families are good and healthy, and we have those every day except Mondays.

I think the people that know most about the problems in the ward are the bishop, relief society president, and the missionaries. I think that we are mas o menos in the same situation. It's the place where we are and we are there until the president (or bishop) changes us. My changes will be more frequent, but that makes yours a little easier because you can get used to it and know how to work with the sisters in the ward. It's a great thing that I pray so much, because it helps me a lot. I can pray for patience and all the things I need every hour or more.

​This is a thing we do in Mexico. I don't know if in other missions they do this, but we cover our agendas in photos. This was my second cycle. 

​And this is mine this cycle.

I think you guys should get to be friends with the missionaries more. Because I hardly knew the missionaries in our ward and don't remember any of their names. I dont know if it's harder to get a spot with the missionaries on the list, but here there are some families we eat with almost every week, and we are friends with them.

Oh, and if possible, could you put the song from Nacho Libre (religious man) on my blog, like a background song? :) That would be great.