Tuesday, April 8, 2014

First Week in Mexico March 24 2014

Well. I am in Mexico now. I have a lot of stuff to talk about. On Monday, I left to to Salt Lake Airport and took a plane to Houston. I was super excited to find out when I called my parents that I was going to be able to see my sister McKayla at the Houston airport. It was a great experience. And I am extremely grateful to have been able to see her. It was definitely a tender mercy from the Lord. My second plane to Saltillo was really great. It was really small. I couldn't stand up straight in it. I talked a lot to the man that was sitting next to me about the Church. He was really nice, and knew a lot. But he also had many questions that I was able to answer. He said that he really respected what I was doing, but when it came down to it, he refused the Book of Mormon I offered him...three times.

The Mission President, his councelor, and the Assistants to the President picked us up at the airport. My first thoughts when I met my president were, "He is really short" (he is literally like half the size of me), and "What language are you speaking?" (because it was definitely not the same Spanish that I learned in the MTC). But seriously, everyone here speaks super fast. I probably ask people to slow down like 50 times every day. Even my Native Companion says that the people who live here speak really fast. He is from Mexico City.

The first night all of the new elders slept in the AP's house. It took us about half an hour to walk there. There are 4 new elders from the United States, and like 8-10 from Mexico. It was a strange night. 

The next morning we walked back to the mission home. We had a lot of classes and stuff. Then we met our trainers. My companion is really awesome! His name is Elder Torres, and he know no English at all, except for Fat, and Ugly. Which are about the only two Spanish words I knew before I entered the MTC. He is 22 years old, and has only been a member for 2 years. He was actually engaged before he came on a mission, but they called it off, and then he decided to serve a mission. He is an awesome missionary! and he wants to be a Seminary Teacher after his mission. He has been out for 3 months. 

The next thing I learned was about my first mission area. I have to admit I was a little bit scared the first time I heard about it. It is a fairly small town called Zaragoza. It has been closed to Missionaries for 2 years, but I am helping to re-open it. There are only 14 active members in the town, but there are many many inactive families here. Our main priority is reactivation. It is a difficult area to serve in especially with my limited Spanish, but I really love it. The people here are really humble, but I will talk more about them later.

In order to get to Zaragoza, we had to take an 8 hour bus ride to a town called Allende. We spent the night there with two elders both from Mexico. Luckily one of them knew English, so I wasn't completely left out of the conversations. The next day we were driven to Zaragoza by an extremely nice Brother. Then we set up our stuff in my new house. I love my house. It has humbled me a lot. The floors are cement with rocks sticking out of them. Perfect for praying! The neighbors are great! (Giant Spiders) and I never have to worry about using all of the hot water, because I get an entire bucket for myself! I know it sounds like I am being sarcastic, but seriously I do love it here.

Like I said, the people here are really humble, and really nice. Not one person has refused to speak to us. And we have had lots of success here as well. In the first two days we were here, we already had three baptismal dates set! Mostly the children of inactive families who have since turned eight. Yesterday was District conference. (like Stake conference). We asked the inactive family members to go to church with us next sunday, but we told them about the conference. We did not excpect them to go, because not many families have enough money to travel to Acuña. which is where the conference is held. But, Two of the inactive families actually showed up for conference as well! I know that the Lord has been preparing this town for us, and I know that he helps me every single day, all day long.

I need to tell you about my first attempt at a street contact. So I went up to this man, introduced myself, and then offered him a pamphlet about The Restoration. I couldn´t understand him, becasue he talked too fast, but I was still trying to give him the pamphlet. He kept saying I don´t know, so I thought that he just wasn´t sure if he wanted it or not, so I was trying to encourage him. But, my companion then explained to me that he was actually saying that he doesn´t know how to read! so that was a great experience. But he did agree to let us stop by and talk with him, so we will see how that goes.

The food here is really great. There has only been one time that I couldn´t hadle the spiciness very well. But I downed it anyway. The family was amused. I also tried donkey meat. It tastes like cow. 

But ya. I am having a great time here. I learn more Spanish everyday, and I love missionary work. I love trying to talk to the people here, they love to joke around with me. I feel really tall here. little kids stare at me on the street all the time, because I am a giant. 
Elder Earl
President and Sister Rodriguez

My Companion Elder Torres

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