Monday, September 10, 2012

El Musico

Greetings from Blue Hill everyone.

I really like translating literally. I never told you guys what Tuxpan means, it comes from some native language and means "The place of the rabbits"... I never saw any rabbits there... Anyways...

So I'm here in Cerro Azul with my new companion Elder Vazquez. As with all new areas and companions I've got to dedicate a good chunk of this letter to describing them both. Elder Vazquez is from Michoacan, Mexico and is a really laid back guy. He's tall for a Mexican and likes basketball. He's really nice and we have no problems. He teaches in a really laid back way too. As for Cerro Azul, like its name implies there are a lot of hills. It's a sweet little town nestled in the hills between Tuxpan and Tampico. It is the northernmost part of the Mision Mexico Xalapa and includes two major towns and a few other small parts. The two major towns are Cerro Azul and Naranjos. They are about 30 minutes away from each other and about equal in size. The chapel is in Cerro Azul and there is a house they rent in Naranjos for Sunday services there. We do divisions on Sunday mornings with two priests and one of us goes to Cerro and the other to Naranjos. Cerro Azul is bigger than Cazones was and I like it thus far. The members are really nice and they are good at working with us. Apparently our zone leader came up here a few weeks ago on divisions and scared them all and said if they didn't give us referrals then they were gonna close Cerro Azul again. It was closed and got reopened by Elder Sulzen about 5 months ago. So the members are pretty eager to help us. The only problem is that I don't really know the area yet. But I'm working on it. If you want to see what it's like in more detail, use Google. Our house is the best part of this area. We live in a nice spacious apartment and we have 2 climas. Climas are AIR CONDITIONERS!!! That's right people, I've been sleeping with a blanket and woke up a couple of nights feeling COLD!. I miss cold. But yeah that's pretty awesome. The downside is that we literally live on the freeway, so semi trucks going from Tuxpan to Tampico are passing by all night and its really loud. We also have a completely new zone basically. I'm still in the Tuxpan zone and I'm the only one left from when I originally got here. Guess that makes me a veteran here or something. The new zone consists of the zone leaders Elder Altamira and Elder Esquivél. Then you've got Elder Solis and his hijo Elder Gonzalez in Centro and you've got two fritos in Alamo who are Elder Hernandez and Elder Rodriguez and then you've got Elder Herrera and his hijo named Elder Compean. If you can't tell from the names, that makes me the only gringo. No more speaking English for me.

As for anything interesting this week, last night we saw two rottweilers fighting a young pit bull in somebody's yard. I yelled "Eyy sus perros están matandose" but nobody was home to hear me. They were literally trying to kill each other. The pit bull was holding off the rottweilers pretty well. We were gonna do something but then a mysterious Chinese man showed up and essentially told us to leave using hand signals. We got creeped out and left.

As for the missionary work, I was pretty upset when they closed our area because we had some great investigators and three young people with a solid baptismal date. I was worried they'd get lost in the system but my district leader Elder Herrera is now covering Barrio Tuxpan and Barrio Tenechaco and he found my investigators and they are getting baptized this weekend! They are named Jose, Sergio, and Angela. I wanted to go to their baptism but unfortunately I won't be able to because we are baptizing this weekend as well!

The guy who is getting baptized is named Esteban. He is a musico and he's pretty old but he's trying to get closer to God. His friend that referred us to him is Hermano Tonio. Hermano Tonio is a hippie essentially. He's gonna introduce me to a guy that's gonna make me a alligator skin scripture case. I freakin love small towns. Anyways Tonio told us that Esteban was a drug addict and has been to prison and stuff but about three years ago he got clean and has been looking to get closer to God. He came to church two weeks ago and this week to the weekly activity. He came again yesterday and Elder Vazquez and I went by his house and taught him essentially everything in one day and he is all set to get baptized this weekend. So yeah that's awesome. We've got some other potentials as well here. I'm hoping to see a lot of success in this area. And now I'm responsible for it because I'm the senior comp. Anyways I'm gonna get on sending some pictures your way. I love you all and I hope life is treating you well.

Elder Jarman

foto 1. Me with Abdon. We saved his lost dog and Elder Hansen and I are famous for that now.
foto 2. Hermana Yadira and her kids. She is great.
foto 3. Almost the whole Cruz family. These people are the best.
foto 4. New house
foto 5. La capilla in Cerro
foto 6. Cerro Azul

Monday, September 3, 2012

Blue Hill

Heylo there family and friends.

I've got a lot of mixed feelings right now. This week we found 3 kids who are so great who want to be baptized and we actually got 4 people in church, and then they changed us...

We got the call for changes and they are taking us both out and closing the area. This is my second area and also the second area they are closing after I leave. For those of you at home who don't know that basically means I'm a terrible missionary. But I'm not letting it get me down. We worked as hard as we could and things were starting to look up. I'm sad to leave this area though. But I'm not going far. I've been transferred to Cerro Azul (Blue Hill) which is in the same zone as Tuxpan. It's a small pueblo about an hour away from here in bus. I'm going to be the senior companion there and my companion will be Elder Vasquez. He's from Mexico but I forget where. I think further south. It's a good opportunity but I'm sad to leave the ward here. There are a lot of people here who I truly love. Especially Jacinto, our 94 year old third companion. I'm trying to look at the glass half full by seeing that the mission president and the Lord have given me an opportunity to be the senior companion, but I sorta feel like a failure right now. I just hope they'll let me come back for when Federico eventually gets baptized. He's a champ. I'm giving him my copy of Principios del Evangelio today so he can continue learning while there aren't missionaries in this ward. He's gotta be more than half way though with the Book of Mormon.

We are going to say goodbye to all of our people today. I can't really remember what else happened this week other than the transfers. Sorry about this letter. Probably the worst one I've ever written. But the people need to know that it ain't all sunshine and roses. But everything happens for a reason. I'm gonna send some pictures now. I love you all and I promise I feel better than this letter sounds hahah.

Elder Jarman

1. Hermano Pacheco and his wife Emilia, our sweet old ward missionaries who are really old.
2. Hermana Nachita, she is just the best and she is the one who made chicharron. I hate chicharron.
3. This mask from a dance called la baile de los viejitos which I guess is really popular in some other part of Mexico.
4. Hermano Jacinto, the greatest man who ever lived. 94 years old and still a stud.
More pictures next week. We're still gonna visit the majority of our close friends today.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Everybody gets one

Aloha Fam

So first things first, I gotta say that I just read Jared Hyer and Kohl´s letters from Nicaragua and those things need to be published. So funny hahah. Nicaragua sounds a lot like Mexico but with worse food.
After last week this week had to be a good one because last week was kind of no good. This week went pretty normal except it ended with some great stuff.

As for anything new this week I went on exchanges with my district leader Elder Herrera. He's from Lima, Peru. He's never heard of Dad though. His family got baptized like 9 years ago. He´s a really laid back guy. We had a decent day and we saw a head on collision of two trucks. People streamed out of all the houses we had knocked on that street to see the crash. funny how when we knocked those houses, 5 year olds came to the door to say "know one was home".. They teach em young...

We had two great experiences this weekend where we showed up in the right place in the right time. We were visiting this referral we received from this old investigator who was worried about her brother getting metido in drugs. So we went to visit the family. As we are leaving we are on the top of this huge hill and I look across to this other huge hill and I see the house of an inactive family that we used to visit. I say to Elder Hansen, lets go visit Rubi and Alejandro. So we went across to go visit them and we get there and Rubi is outside and turns out that same day she and her husband Alejandro had separated. She was really sad and she talked with us and we shared some scriptures and watched a couple Mormon Messages and she seemed a lot better. Then we worked with another less active hermana and we got her to pick Rubi and her sons up for church the next day. First time she's been to church in like a year. So great. She said that every time shes going through a tough time somebody shows up from the Church. I honestly didn't feel any strong prompting to go to her house, but sometimes i think the Lord sends us messages with a passing idea, then in retrospect we can see the benefit. Then last night we decided to visit Hermana Yadira who is the Young Womens president and she's just the best. It was another perfect timing because her husband works out of town and all 3 of the kids were sick so we gave them all blessings and I gave her 3 year old a lollipop. Not sure if the lollipop or the blessing helped her more.

The highlight of this week was that Federico came to church! Last week we were expecting 14 people and no one came. This week we were expecting 23 and 1 came! Federico is now about 20 pages into the Book of Mormon and he said its like he's discovering beliefs he already had but they are right there published. He won´t commit to baptism yet because he says he's old and he doesn't jump into decisions. But he liked church. It was so awesome to have him there. I'm praying I stay here next change so I can see him be baptized. Speaking of changes, this is the last week of the change and next week I should have a new companion and maybe added responsibilities. We'll see what happens.

Anyways, my letters are getting more detailed about specific events and less about the environment or culture because at this point I'm pretty used to that stuff. You might be more interested to read the adventures of Jear Bear or Kohl or all the other guys who are starting out because they will have better stories.

I love you all and I hope life is good for ya. Keep on the straight and narrow and don't do anything dumb!

Elder Jarman

Monday, August 20, 2012

Happy Hansen Birthday

This week was a week of milestones. Elder Hansen turned 20, I completed my 7th month as a missionary, Jess and Matt have now been married for a year, and Mom and Dad are gonna hit 25 years this week. I love milestones. Just ask Elder Hansen. He is getting sick of me pointing every mildly significant date hahah.

So this week we had some really good stuff happen and also some really disappointing stuff happen. Gonna try to use the ol' noggin to organize my thoughts here.

As for the temporal things, Elder Hansen turned 20 yesterday and on Saturday we ate with the Hermana Ibarra and she made us cheeseburgers and cake. I ate 4 cheeseburger and some cake. I physically thought I was going to die. I stopped about 4 times in the street and almost puked in the gutter. Gluttony is a sin and I was punished...

I also completed my 7th month this week. Its crazy how fast it is going. I keep getting more and more tired but I also am getting more and more used to being tired all the time. Every day things become more normal. At this point I can't imagine what just regular old life must be like. Somebody tell me what its like to "relax". Its a foreign concept at this point hahah. But it's good. Buildin the ol' character.

So the feria and the rains continued this week and getting to sleep was rough with the feria being right behind us. As for the rain it has been raining the hardest at nights so it doesnt affect us much. the water in the air just makes everything hotter though hahah. Not much other crazy stuff happened this week. We are trying to teach our recent convert Maria how to read. She's like 72 and is pretty loopy but we started reading the Book of Mormon with her and we just sit next to her and point to each word and she repeats it after. She said she felt happy while we read it. Crazy how she can feel the spirit even when shes not entirely sure whats going on. She now has the ability to recognize the word "Nefi" which is Nephi for those of you who struggle with cognates. I hope she remembers what Nefi is when we go over there this week.

As for the missionary work things are still struggling in our area.. We just can't get people to come to church. We had 14 investigators confirm to come to church this week, and we even called all of them on saturday AND sunday to remind them all and not a single one showed up... We were pretty bummed.. So we ate leftover cake. Silver lining I guess. As for investigators I told you all about Federico last week. We had a super great lesson with him this week. We invited the bishop and we went over there and he had read all the way to 2 Nefi 20. And he's making notes and cross referencing with the Bible. He said he basically knows its true but he hasnt felt the right moment to ask God yet.. I wish he'd just ask and get his answer confirmed. He didn't come to Church either though. I think he's afraid. He's my favorite investigator though. Aside from him we finally got a cita (appointment) with this woman named Ana and her 5 kids. Her husband wasnt home which stinks but we had a great lesson on the Restoration. She said her husband doesnt like this kind of stuff though which is chafa.. Without the support there they can't progress. I don't think he let them come to church this week.

So the overall theme of this week is being frustrated that people won't come to church. We invite and we call and we pass by their houses and we beg and we plead and nada... Sometimes the most frustrating thing is other people's free agency. We've got high hopes for this week though and we are going to make absolutely sure that people are in Church this week.

So I just want to end by congratulating my wonderful parents and my sister and brother on their anniversaries. It truly is wonderful the way you guys love eah other and set great examples. Thank you for your examples to me. Maybe someday I'll have an anniversary too hahah. Keep up the good work! Jessica, don't get pregnant yet.

Adios errybody

Elder Jarman

Monday, August 13, 2012

USA RULES, Mexico is second, China two thumbs down

I'm running out of ways to open these letters. So... hey.

This week has been pretty eventful so I hope I can write it clearly so it gets full effect..

First things first gotta shout out to my country the USA for getting the most medals.  Taxi driver told us about that one. I'm stoked. Anybody who has seen me watch the olympics knows I am anti-China. USA USA USA. As well Mexico beat Brasil in futbol so I gotta talk trash to my cousin Dylan and my boy Brock. So your mission country is second best.. no biggie.... It was so funny. Elder Hansen and I were walking down the street Saturday morning to a lesson (that fell through of course) and it is silent as a graveyard. NO one is in the street because they are all inside watching the game. Then from both sides of the street every house erupts with screams of GOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLL.. And then children starting running around screaming. It was great. Then I yelled GOOOOOLLLLLL and the people smiled at me. Gotta score points with the locals.

In weather news, I've been told there is a hurricane going on down near Veracruz right now. My mom said shes concerned hahah. But the hurricane has made it so it's rained every day here. It rains mostly all night and then clears up. We havent been detained from proselyting at all. Just a lot of mud everywhere and wouldn't you know that its even HOTTER when its raining. I don't know if any of you have google mapped Tuxpan but we've got a really big river and there has just been mountains of garbage and fallen trees running down to the ocean. All of it caused by some hurricane that I guess is going on. Still looks like its gonna rain some more too.

In food news, I ate pizza for lunch twice this week. It was awesome. I am getting a little sick of beans tortillas and pollo.

The last of the temporal news is that the Feria (fair) is in town and the fair grounds are literally right behind our house.. And Mexican fairs down't close for 8 days. 24 hours a day. Mexicans know how to party. they party a little too much actually. So yeah Ive been falling asleep to a lot of noise. There have also been more drunks roaming around where we live lately. Tuxpan is kinda crazy right now with the weather and the Feria and Mexico winning gold.

Okay now for mission related news. This week I want to talk about a few investigators. The first one is Federico. He is like 60 years old and is a retired professor and he loves to read. He is really brilliant. Our lessons are just commentaries on what he's reading in the Book of Mormon. He read all of 1st Nefi between our first and second visit. The problem is that he won't pray. He says he hasnt seen anything contradictory in the Book and he feels like its true but for some reason he won't ask God for that confirming witness. He also won't commit to coming to church yet. people here hate commitment... urgggg

The next investigator is named Isis. We met her dad on the street one day and he gave us his address because he wanted us to come help his daughter with her English studies. She is 25 and speaks English pretty well and we've been teaching her in English. She is really smart too which is great. And she actually came to sacrament meeting this week!! We were stoked.

Those are the two investigators I am really excited about right now. We are really struggling in this area to hit our goals and to find people who are really ready to change their lives and commit. It's really frustrating but we're trying to just focus on the positive.

The way we work in the mission is changing. Before, the mission put a lot of emphasis on street contacting and knowcking doors to find new people, but apparently things are dangerous in Mexico and the whole country is being changed. We are now focusing more on meeting with members and finding referrals and finding new investigators that way, because apparently we are going to hit a point where we will no longer be able to knock doors or contact in the streets. They are preparing us for that day now by changing the way we do things. It's really different and its like starting from zero but in the long run it will be way better and the converts will stay active in the Church better.

So yeah thats the jist of this week. It was another quick week and lots of good stuff happened. The trick is to always find the good in a day and just forget the bad. The truth is that the majority is less than good things that happen but at the end of the day or the week we gotta try to focus on what happened that was good. We see so blessing so much more clearly that way. And as well the tough stuff starts to be a lot easier to bear. They say that a lot of young missionaries are going to be put into leadership and responsibilty positions sooner than normal because our mission is new and they are sending lots of new missionaries next change. Hopefully they don't throw me anything to drastic, or worse, not throw me anything at all hahah. Til next week, I love you all so much! Enjoy your air conditioning!

Elder Jarman

Monday, August 6, 2012

Not sick, just acolorado

Ho-Lee-Crap it has been so hot this week. The sun is the enemy.

Uhhh I mean, Hello Family and Friends!

So yes it is very very hot and the sun is really strong. We learned the word for "dog days" which is like the end of summer. It's called calicula. Thats what we're in, and it's really hot. I can't wait for winter. 

So this week was slightly uneventful. We worked hard but nothing too crazy happened. We found 14 new investigators but only 3 came to church. And they aren't married and don't have the means to do it right now so things are kind of bleak with them. We'll keep praying and working though. I ate chicharron again this week, and I don't think I've mentioned chicharron but I don't like it. It is made of pig skin and I think it's really gross. So yeah thats chicharron... We also finally met up with our ward missionaries and they now know what their calling means and that they need to do it! Hahah they are all the elderly couples in the ward who can barely walk. We went to give this one couple a training on how to contact their neighbors and friends. It was hilarious. I remember when they taught us in the MTC and we were about the same. Sharing the gospel for the first time is hard. But teaching 70 year olds to knock doors was some great entertainment. Also, we're now in the 3rd week of this change so I guess I better describe our zone. We are the smallest zone in the mission. 5 companionships. Elder Hanson and I are now the only gringos. Elder Carmona and Elder Altamira are the zone leaders. Elder Carmona is the skinniest dude who ever lived and looks about 11 years old. Elder Altamira is pretty funny. Then we've got Elder Reyes and his companion Elder Solis. I don't really know Elder Solis yet but Elder Reyes is hilarious. He prefers to be called Elder Kings. Then we've got Elder Vasquez and Elder Lascares. Elder Lascares is gonna get a dude to make me a alligator skin scripture case and Elder Vasquez is really tall (for a mexican). Then we've got my district leader Elder Herrera who is from Lima, Peru. Really quiet and plays piano. His companion is Elder Villegas. He's from Tijuana and is very very loud and funny. Everyone asks him if he's from the north as soon as they meet him. Apparently Mexicans from the North are like him..

So yeah, this morning we helped our convert Gabi move houses. She is super solid and progressing well in the gospel, but she moved into another ward. We packed so much stuff in the bed of Rogelio's camioneta. It was nuts. Gabi's roommates have pugs. I hate pugs.

So thats this week. I'll make sure and pay more attention this week so I have some crazy stories to tell next week. Gotta give a shoutout to Anne Capener for sending me a Fourth of July package. The treats were awesome and I'm proudly repping the american flag on my desk. USA!

I love you all and I invite you all to read the talk from this last general conference by Elder Scott (I think) about personal revelation. It's very cool and it totally works. The steps are:

Pray to find scriptures to answer your question or doubt and pray to understand them
Search for and read scriptures pertaining to your doubt or question
Ponder and write down your conclusions
Pray again and ask the Lord to tell you if you found everything he wanted you to.

Do it! Totally works.

Love you all!

Elder Jarman

Monday, July 30, 2012

Even the hospitals have chickens everywhere

Happy new week family and friends!
So this week wasn't too exciting because I got sick and then Elder Hansen got sick. As I wrote my letter last week I was feeling a little under the weather, but that night it got worse and I had a fever and wasn't feeling too great. So Tuesday morning we went and found the hospital and I didn't know how the medical system was here (or anywhere really, my mommy always handled that stuff) so I just went up to this lady and said Buenos Dias yo soy un misionero de los Estados Unidos y no he ido al hospital antes aqui en Mexico, entonces no sé que hacer, pero estoy enfermo. ¿Que hago?.. And from there she helped me get a consulta and then we ran into the Stake President's sisters and they helped us find the lab and I got blood drawn and then the Stake President showed up and took us to another doctor to read the analysis. That doctor said everything looked fine (they did the blood test to see if I had typhoid or the genga or some other bad disease) and he said I just had a throat infection. Then he hooked it up with free meds! And I was told to rest 3 days. So I rested 3 days while Hansen did divisions with some guys in the ward and on my third day of rest Elder Hansen started feeling sick. So on Friday we went to the hospital again and that’s where we saw that THE OLYMPICS WERE ON TV!!! I totally forgot those were coming up. Needless to say I wasn't mad that we had to wait a couple hours for a consult because then I saw some archery and cycling out of the corner of my eye... I want to ask the mission president if we can take a few weeks off to watch the Olympics because its like the only time I get really patriotic. Every time Elder Hansen and I see that the Olympics are on in someone’s house we yell USA USA USA! (china cheats they send niños).
So yeah other than that the week was pretty slow. We have like no one to teach right now so this week will be  lot of knocking doors and chasing ladies down in the street. But last night we had a casa abierta in the church and 3 people came. None of them live in our area but they were solid and we're gonna pass them on to their respective Elders. One of them was funny. His name is Humberto and he wants to start a basketball team with me (this guy is like 60) and he wants to play ajedrez (chess) as well.. Cool guy.
As well this week Hermano Bastian (member) made me the best horchata ever. I love horchata. I've forgotten to mention in previous letters that I've fully embraced Mexican food. I eat chile and drink horchata and agua de jamaica and I've eaten 10 fruits at least here that I had never seen or heard of before. I use tortillas as utensils sometimes and all that. Slowly becoming Mexican little by little.
The best thing that happened this week is we bought a gas tank and hooked it up and now have hot water! I know it’s hot as crap here but I still love to wake up and take a hot shower. Had my first hot shower in 3 months. Its heaven. I don't know how I'll go back to cold showers again, but when I change areas later on its almost sure that I will go back to cold ones.
So that’s it really for this week. I don't feel sick anymore and I'm ready for another week. Time is flying by. I can't believe its gonna be August. Now I just need to use this time in the best way possible.
Before I go I want to share a thought. This week as I was sick I started to just feel lethargic and not wanting to do anything. As I got physically better, that feeling of laziness lingered and I didn't like it. I couldn't quite shake it though. I didn't know where my motivation had gone. So on Sunday I went to church and I asked for forgiveness during the sacrament and I took the sacrament consciously asking our Father In Heaven to motivate me and help me be better. Today I woke up feeling ready to get to work this week. I love the sacrament. Every week we have an opportunity to take all our worries, shortcomings, and sins and drop them at the Saviors feet. He takes them away and we are promised his Spirit to be with us once again. We MUST fill up our spiritual tanks each week. The only way we can truly improve and put off our shortcomings is through Christ. The way we receive that each week is by renewing our covenants and remembering his sacrifice. Take the opportunity this week to enter sacrament meeting with a shortcoming in mind, something with which you need to be better, and ask for help. Then partake of that bread and water and watch the Lord wash you clean and give you a chance to be better that week. I know church will be a different experience if you do it.
I love you all and I love Jesus Christ!
Elder Jarman