Sunday, June 29, 2014

Transfer 4 Week 3 June 23 2014

This week was really quite good! Last P-day I went fishing with my companion and the other two missionaries in Zaragoza with us. We used Hot Dogs for bait, and it worked surprisingly well! Elder Vera started to fish, and he litterally caught a fish is like 30 seconds. Then it was my turn, and I caught one in about a minute. We got super excited and we thought that we were going to catch hundreds of fish! But then we handed the pole to Elder Hutchins, and he didn't catch anything for about an hour. Poor guy. Later, Elder Lopez caught a turtle. It was cool at first, but the hook was stuck and we couldnt get it out. so we cut the line and let it go. We decided to stop fishing for the day. Me and my comp went fishing again today, but we didn't catch anything. On the way home, we ran into one of our investigators. He is 17 and is named Arnoldo. He told us a better place where we can catch more fish. We are probably going to go next week.
This week we met a Sister from a town called Nueva Rosita. She was just kind of scouring the town looking for us, because she wanted to introduce us to some of her friends that live here. So on Thursday morning we went with her, and now we have 3 new investigators! One of them was Arnoldo that I mentioned earlier. That was super exciting! It amazing what can happen when missionaries and members work together.

I also learned more about the weather here in my area. Aparently, in january and feburary it gets pretty cold. Not freezing, but cold. Then it gradually gets warmer until June. And in June there is like one week or two where it is super humid and it rains a lot, and then after that, The Canícula starts. They actually have a name for the hottest 40 days here. It is going to be like 120 degrees everyday for 40 days! And it is super dry. Then it will gradually get colder until January. Luckily, we were given permission to buy a small air conditioner this last week. I might have died without it!

This week there was one day where it just dumped rain on us! I have never seen it rain harder! And when it rains here, all of the flying ants leave their nests. It was really weird, because there were literally millions of them everywhere! there were almost as many flying ants as rain drops! My companion told me that they bit if they land on you, and he wasn't joking! It was wierd because I have never seen a flying ant before. Except for in "A Bug's Life". Luckily we were able to take shelter from them in an investigators house.

Also, a member asked us if they could store some couches in our house this week while there daughter is looking for a house. We were super excited, but unfortunately, they also raised the population of our house to about 50, maybe more. Because they are filled with Cockroaches. Giant Cockroaches! Some of them could probably eat a dog if they wanted to. Waking up in the middle of the night because there is a cockroach crawling on you is not a pleasant experience.

But I am doing great! 
Elder Earl

June 16 2014 Transfer 4 Week 1

This week we started a new transfer, so it was super busy! On Tuesday, Elder Vera and I were in Allende with the other missionaries in our district. One of them was changed to Monclova, so we were there with Elder Hernandez so he would not be alone. Then his new companion Elder Tello arrived from Piedras Negras. And then later that day another missionary named Elder Lopez arrived. He will be serving in the other companionship that is in Zaragoza with me and my companion. All 6 of us spent the night in Allende because on Wednesday we had to go to Acuña so we could all be together as a zone for the first meeting of the transfer. Unfortunately things didn´t exactly go as planned....

On The bus ride from Piedras Negras to Acuña, the bus was stopped by the police. That actually happens all the time here. They usually just ask to see some form of I.D. and sometimes they check your bags and stuff. But this time there were two other guys with different uniforms. I heard them ask Elder Hutchins for his passport, and I got scared. Because all of our passports are in Saltillo with the mission offices. So I did the only thing that I could do and pretended to be asleep. Unfortunately the guy "woke me up" and asked to see my I.D. He actually thought that I was Mexican at first, but somehow he figured out that I was a gringo when I stared talking to him, 

Because we didn´t have our passports, they basically threw us in a prison bus. It was pretty nice, but the windows had bars. they took us to an office. And we waited there forever! like 5 hours or something. We had to answer some questions and sign some papers. And they had to take us to a hospital as well, I guess a doctor had to "clear" us or something. Then we were waiting in the office again for another hour or so, until they finally let us leave.

But they told us that we had to go get our papers. So I am pretty sure that Elder Hutchins might be going to Saltillo this week. I might have to go to, but hopefully not.

Other than that, this week was good. Well actually, that experience wasn´t that bad. They gave us two sandwhiches, fruit, chips, cookies and water, and we handed out like 5 pamphlets throughout the whole ordeal. 

Other than that, it was a normal week in Zaragoza. The World Cup started this week. So there is soccer stuff like crazy everywhere.

Elder Earl 

Transfer 3 Week 6 June 9 2014

This last week went by super super fast. I guess I will start with my adventure to Saltillo. Really, it wasn´t all that cool. I was on a bus for ever, and then I took a taxi to the mission offices. The coolest thing is that I got to eat Subway and Dairyqueen while I was in Saltillo, in a mall. Almost every other town in my mission, that has missionaries, has a bunch of American stores and Restaurants. Zaragoza has nothing. Saltillo has a bunch of really cool stuff. It is one of the largest cities in Mexico. Not anywhere close to Mexico City, but large. The other Elders from my district in the MTC went to Saltillo as well! That was super awesome! we have only been here for 3 months, but we already had so many stories to share with one another! We slept in Saltillo that night, and the next day we went to some place. I signed two papers, and they took my fingerprints. Then I took another taxi and then another super long bus ride to Allende, and then another to Zaragoza afterwards with my companion.

Also, this week we had another baptism! Her name is Lourdes. She is super nice. Something interesting about her is that she actually was going to be baptized a few years ago by some other missionaries. She had her baptism date set, but then a member said something that confused her, so she backed out of it. Elder Torres and I started teaching her again my second week I was here. We helped her resolve all of her doubts and we answered her questions. Luckily, the result was a strengthening of her faith in The Lord Jesus Christ and she finally agreed to be baptized a few weeks ago! Her baptism went really well. Her sons were super sad, because they wanted to be baptized with their mom. Rosendo is 6, so he isn´t old enough yet, but her other son named Emiliano is 10, and he really wants to be baptized. Unfortanutely, his dad wont give him permission. But we are working really hard to try and help him understand. But he doesn´t seem to really like to talk to us all that much. We will see what happens.

We also have Transfers this week. I have to say that I really had no idea what was going to happen this change. Last week, we got a call from one of the office secretaries that made me think for sure that I was going to be changed. But then, on Saturday my zone leader told me that I was staying in Zaragoza. He also told me that my two brothers in our zone, (Brothers are the missionaries who entered the mission field the same day as you) Elder Bradley and Elder Chablé were staying as well. But then, on Sunday night we got another call saying that the President was doing more last minute changes. So agian, I wasn´t sure what my fate was going to be. Then we found out that Elder Bradley was actually being changed to Saltillo, and that Elder Chablé was being changed to Piedras Negras. And finally today, we found out that I am being changed to...nowhere. Yep, I am staying in Zaragoza for another six weeks, maybe more. 

I am staying with Elder Vera. This is his last transfer in the mission and then he is going home, so next transfer either we are both going to leave Zaragoza, or I am going to be here for a total of 6 months! We will see what happens. Every companionship in my zone except for mine is changing this transfer. So it is going to be really different. I am glad that I am staying another change because I really do love the people here, and I really like my companion a lot. But I do want to serve somewhere else sooner or later.

Elder Earl

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Cambio Tres, Semana Cinco June 2 2014

This week ended up being pretty great. But really eye-opening. We travelled quite a bit this week because we had a conference in Piedras Negras. The conference was with Elder Johnson. He is in one of The Seventy, and he is the area President here. The whole time, he was basically scolding us. Something that I didn't realize is that my mission is actually really bad at getting baptisms. We average about 8 a week for the entire area. Which is almost an entire state! The whole thing really motivated me to become the best missionary that I can be.

This last Sunday was good. We had one investigator come with us. That was great! And two of the inactive families in our area came as well. I taught Primary. I have taught the whole primary lesson two weeks in a row now. Which is really great for practice. And it feels great to see all of the progress that I have made with the language.

Yesterday, I was told that I am going to Saltillo tomorrow. But just barely, while I was writing this letter, I learned that I am going today! Its something for my visa. So I need to go pack now. 

Elder Earl

Transfer 3 Week 4 May 26

This week went by super fast. And it was a little wierd as well.

On Tuesday we went on splits. So, my companion was in Allende all day with an Elder named Elder Jacinto. And I was with an Elder named Elder Herdandez in Zaragoza. It was the second time that I have been on Splits with Elder Hernandez. I had a great time. He is really funny, and he is learning English. So all day he speaks to me in English, and I speak to him in Spanish. And we help eachother with the grammar and pronunciation. We had quite a few lessons. And they were all very good. 

Then on Thursday Elder Vera and I went to Allede and spent the night there. And then on Friday in the morning we went to Piedras Negras because we had interviews with the Mission President. I was a little nervous, because I had never really talked to him before, because I couldn´t. And I wanted him to see how much my Spanish has improved. And, thankfully, it went really well. I understood everything he said to me. There was only one time where I didn´t know what he was saying. He was trying to explain to me that the interview was over. But I got it after not too long. And I finally got back to Zaragoza on Saturday. 

Because of all the traveling this week. We didn´t get to work quite as much in our area as usual. But we still had some good lessons. And we had one more investigator commit to baptism! Unfortunately, it probably won´t happen until the next transfer, so I may not be here to see it.

I also found out that within the next two weeks I have to go to Saltillo to get my visa extended. Which means an 8 hour bus ride. Which means an 8 hour nap. 

Now I am going to go fishing

Elder Earl

Transfer 3 Week 3 May 19

This last week actually went really well. Except for one thing. I made the mistake of touching a nopal this week. It is a type of cactus. There are a few large spikes on them, so I thought I would be fine if I just grabbed it around the spikes. But aparently, there are like millions of little tiny spikes that you can´t see covering the whole thing. I was taking them out of my hand all day! And I kept finding more. You would think that someone would tell you that beforehand. But I guess you would also think that most people are smart enough to know that you shouldn´t touch a cactus.

We had a lot of lessons this week. And me new companion and I are becoming really good friends. 

Something kind of funny about Mexico are things called Mexicanadas. They are the things that people make that are super smart and useful out of stuff that they already have, so you don´t have to buy something new. Like a satelite made from a bike tire. This is the Mexicanada that I made this week. I am pretty proud of it.

It is a cockroach killer...

A new restaurant opened up this week in Zaragoza. Every other town here has everything you would ever need. McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut. But, there is absolutely nothing in Zaragoza. So I was super excited when I saw this.


But then I looked a little closer...I really did think that it was a Church´s at first.

This Sunday was great! The President of the Branch, President Casas, confirmed the two boys that were baptised two weeks ago, Ángel and Erik. And we finally got another one of our investigators to go to church with us. She told us that if she could feel the Spirit in the chapel, she would agree to be baptized. But the past three weeks she something had always come up so she couldn´t go. But she was there, and aparently she felt the spirit, because after Sacrament meeting she told us that she would be baptized! So we have two more baptisms coming up. Her and her son. 

So, all in all, I am having a great time. My tetimony grows everday. I understand more Spanish everday. My companion is great, but I think he is getting a little nervous. Because he only has one more transfer in the mission after this one. I think that he doesn´t know what he is going to do when he gets home. I am just glad that he still wants to work, even though he is almost done. 

Elder Earl

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Transfer 3 Week 2 May 12

I don´t really know what to talk about this week. I don´t even really know how to describe this week. Part of me wants to say that is was Great! But another part of me wants to say that is was less than satisfactory...I guess you can say that I am a little bit overwhelmed with the respnsibilities of a missionary. But then I think about all of the support and love that am recieving from my family and friends. And the amazing amount of love and help that I recieve from God everyday. It helps me to see the blessings of missionary work. It reminds me of a quote that I really like, ¨There is not one thing two people can´t do if one of them is The Lord¨. And I know that that is true. Because there is no way that I could be doing what I am doing without Him.

I don´t want to talk a lot about what I did this week. Rather, what I thought and felt this week. Something that I have been thinking about a lot is why missionary work is hard. There is not a missionary in the world who would say that his mission was easy. But when you think about it, missionaries literally have the Lord on their side. The Holy Ghost is always with them if they are obedient, and there are hundreds of thousands of people praying for them every day. You´d think that we should baptise everyday, and that we would never get sick, or injured. But, I don´t baptise everyday, and I could get sick or injured any day. Why?

It is because missionaries are working for the salvation of souls. I am here helping people understand who they were, who they are, and who they can become. I am here helping people to understand that they can live with their families for eternity. And I am here to help people learn how much God loves us, and wants us to return to him. 

What I am trying to say is that missionary work was never supposed to be easy. Because Salvation was never supposed to be easy. The reason we are on this Earth, is to progress and to learn how to return and live with our Father in Heaven. We live here by faith. This life would have no purpose, no meaning, if it were easy. Missions would have no purpose if they were easy. 

Yesterday, I got to talk to my family on Skype. I am so thankful for that opportunity, and I am so happy to see how well everyone is doing. I love you all!

And I would also like to congratulate my cousin Kendall who is entering the MTC this week.

Elder Earl

May 5 2014

Well, This week was pretty great.

Tuesday my new companion arrived into Zaragoza. His name is Elder Vera and he is from Mexico City. But, he speaks English. We basically only speak in Spanish, but it is really helpful when I don´t understand a work he says, or if I can´t get out what I want to say in Spanish. And, he is extremely hilarious. We get along really well. 

On Wednesday, we were travelling all day, because we had to go to Acuña for a zone meeting. I actually don´t mind travelling all that much here. We travel by bus, but all of the busses are really nice. Really large and comfy. I am like the tallest person in Mexico, and even I have more that enough leg room. So that is nice.

This Friday, we had a big activity at the church here. We had a movie, a dance, games, and food. We made Tostadas. That morning, my companion and I made salsa. It was really fun. Except for cutting onions. That sucked. This is a picture of my companion working.
Inline image 1
The activity was great! we had quite a few people there. And everyone had a good time.

This week, we spent a lot of time with the Morales Duque family, in order to prepare Erik and Ángel for baptism on Sunday. They are really smart kids, and they learned everything that they needed to really fast. Then on Sunday after Church, we held the baptism. Luckily, it went really smooth. Except for me slipping on the way in, and the water heater being broken, everthing was great! This is a picture of me and my companion with Erik, Ángel and the fam. 
Inline image 2

All in all, the mission is great. I am learning Spanish slowly but surely, and I am getting better at teaching every day. 

Elder Earl