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.
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 10, 2012
Monday, September 3, 2012
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.
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
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!
Monday, August 20, 2012
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.