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

Photos:
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:

Fast
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

Monday, July 23, 2012

6 more weeks por lo menos


Buenas Tardes Familiars!
 
First things first got give a big shout out to the sister for turning 22! Congrats on being old! Hope you partied hard for me.
 
This week was another good one. Another fast one too. It was the last week of the change (transfer? they are called cambios here so when I say it in English I say changes...) The whole week I was messing with Elder Hansen and telling him he was for sure getting transferred and being made a zone leader and it was bugging him so much hahah. Because I know he secretly aspires to be an Assistant to the Mission President. But Saturday Night came and we're both staying here in Tenechaco. I knew I wasn't going anywhere but it’s cool that Elder Hansen will be staying here with me. We've got a lot of solid prospects.
 
This week we had 2 bautismos. Leticia is 13 and her grandma Maria Luisa who is 72. Her grandma has this super gnarly flesh-eating thing going on her leg. We wrapped it in a garbage bag and taped it up so she could get baptized. They are really great but were very tough to teach. They both are very easily distracted. Unfortunately only Maria Luisa got confirmed because Leticia left to visit some family on Saturday night and when we went by in the camioneta with Rogelio on Sunday morning she wasn't there. Kinda frustrating but she'll get confirmed next week. I get frustrated because the concept of commitments, appointments, and overall paying attention to time is very foreign here. But hey it’s all good. It’s just a difference in culture. They make up for it by just being overall nice to people. So yeah the baptisms this week were sweet! I’m gonna send the pictures. I’m also sending a picture with mud on my face. The climate here is messing up my face real bad. I'm all sunburned and splotchy and that great stuff and this dude gave me some mud stuff that is supposed to help. So that explains the other photo I'm sending hahah.
 
I made a note to describe our house in this weeks email. I've been living in it for 6 weeks now and I'm finally getting around to tell you what its like. We rent an apartment that is on the property of this super catholic family. We have a Giant Virgin Mary painting right outside of our house. The family is really nice. They also own a veterinaria and we live right behind it. A lot of mornings I study to the sweet melody of dogs screaming while they get neutered.... It’s interesting. Our house is really infested with ants and every once in a while we find a giant spider like the one I found on my bed in Cazones. They are so fast and they freak me out a ton. We have 2 bathrooms though which is sweet. It’s a pretty sweet set up.
 
I'm excited to stay in this area for another 6 weeks. I think we're gonna really see the work rolling. I'm finally grounded in an area for more than a month and a half! Hahah and I should stay for the next 3 months or so.
 
Also we've got a buddy in the ward who helps us with so much stuff. His name is Aaron Cruz (Jessica accept his friend request on FB). Aaron is the man. He got home from the mission about 4 years ago and he hangs out with us on p day and goes to lessons with us and brings us tortas every once in awhile and any other favors we need. He lives on a property with like his whole extended family and they are all members and they are the best!
 
So that’s this week for ya, before I go I just want to say that I love you all so much and I'm grateful for all the support. 
 
Elder Jarman






Monday, July 16, 2012

Greetings from Tuxbread!

Greetings from Tuxbread!

Pan means bread so I call tuxpan tuxbread sometimes. Not sure if I already explained that but as all my friends know I'm notorious for repeating stories...
Before I do anything else I gotta write the new address for the mission office so here ya go…

Elder Price Dix Jarman
Misión México Xalapa
Ave Arco Vial Sur #738
Colonia Lomas Verdes
Xalapa, Veracruz 91098

Alrighty now if you want to write me you can send me letters. Now for the latest in the Adventures of the Two lost Gringos in Mexico.

This week was another fast one. It’s impossible to describe time in the mission. It just goes fast. This transfer is already almost over. Elder Hansen and I should be sticking together because of the new mission president and chances are nothing will change. My mom asked for more info on Elder Hansen so here’s a short bio:

Elder Alex James Hansen from Murray Utah. Parents recently moved to Texas so I guess he's from Texas now? He is like 6 foot with brown hair and glasses. He graduated in 2010 but is only a couple months older than me. He likes running and manual labor and Disney music. He is slightly OCD and sometimes it's really funny. Overall he's a good guy and a hard worker. Our personalities clash sometimes but the best thing I've learned in the mission is that its best to just apologize to someone within like 5 minutes of offending them so we get along well for the most part. He likes to describe books and when we're walking from appointment to appointment and there’s no one in the streets he will describe the plots of entire movies in detail to me. He also explained to me the whole Eragon series in detail because I didn’t read the last two books. Now I don't have to hahah. So that’s Elder Hansen!

As for the work this week it went pretty well. We're preparing a 2 people for baptism this coming weekend. Leticia is a teenager and her 72 year old Grandma Maria. Maria talks so fast you would swear she does cocaine. And she doesn’t remember a whole lot so it’s hard to teach her but yesterday we reviewed the baptismal interview questions and looks like she'll pass. She loves church and talks about how alegria comes over here when she comes. Sweet! So if all goes well we'll have 2 baptisms Saturday. This past week was highlighted by a conference in Poza Rica where we met our new presidente, Presidente Lopez and his esposa! They are so awesome! Presidente Lopez is funny and he's super loving and I already think he's the best. If you want to learn more about him he's got a profile on Mormon.org I think. We spent essentially the entire day in Poza Rica because the conference started 2 hours late and after there were interviews. I hung out with Elder Sulzen on the bus ride back to Tuxpan. He’s a funny dude. Look up his band on iTunes and tell me if they are any good. (They’re called Negative Zero)

I wrote a note to myself saying to describe Sundays in this letter because they are so stressful. We leave our house 2 hours before church starts and walk to our ward mission leader (Rogelio)'s house and hop in the back of his truck. Then we go all around our area loading all the investigators we can in his truck. Then we get to church and try to pair them up with people from the ward to sit with and try to show them their classes after and I try to keep the niños from screaming by showing them pictures from pamphlets and its all really stressful. Your day of rest is my day of stress. And why do we do all that? So these people will keep the Sabbath Day holy and come remember their Savior in his house. The message for this week is KEEP THE SABBATH DAY HOLY! Rest from your labors and grow spiritually. Approach the sacrament with specific plans of how you want to improve yourself during the week and then make the changes. Then go home from church and find ways to study, serve, and get closer to our Savior. The church has infinite amounts of materials to learn and grow each Sunday and use that day to visit less active members of the church instead of napping.

That whole speech was also a speech to myself because before the mission I was terrible at that. So if I fall back into watching basketball after the mission, somebody show me this letter.

This week I will hit the 6-month mark on the mission. It’s pretty crazy. Don't really have much to say about it except for the fact that its happening hahah. My observations from the first 6 months of my mission are these. The world is a crazy messed up place, but it is full of a lot of good people. There is no such thing as a bad person, just people whose circumstances have caused them to move away from God. I am not the best missionary, but I'm also not the worst. Mexico is nowhere near as scary as some people think. Spanish is a pretty cool language. God expects us all to struggle, to fight, to cry, and to feel alone at times. He lets us hit our limit sometimes, and then some. But the thing is, if we go past our limit of what we think we can endure, then we set a new one, and a new one, and so on. He doesn't take hard things away most of the time. He lets us see that we can push through hard things.

To finish up I want to give a big shout out to my boy B Fish for the mission call to Spain! You're gonna be great man! Also gotta congratulate Zach Taylor for getting married here soon. Can't believe that one hahah. You'll probably have kids when I get home. Craziness.

Another week of walking a lot and not contracting any diseases. Today I'm gonna go see a guy about making me an alligator skin scripture case!

Hasta la pasta!

Elder Jarman

Monday, July 9, 2012

USA

And I'm proud to be an American! Where at least I know I'm freeeeee...

Been thinking about how the volleyball team used to sing that for warm ups. So true. Happy 4th of July!

This week went by crazy fast too. We had some success, although not as much as Brock. Shout out to the homie on his 5 baptisms! We had 1 though, so still solid. Erick got baptized this week and he seems so stoked to be starting his new life as a follower of Jesus Christ. He's a good kid. But getting him baptised was craziness. So he passed his baptismal interview and everything and it wasn't until after when we were starting his paperwork that we realized he doesn't turn 18 til the 30th even though he'd told us at the beginning that he was 18. So we needed a signature from his mom which wouldn't have been a problem except for the fact that she was on a vacation in some pueblo an hour away.. and out of our area and our zone too I believe. I was on an exchange with our district leader Elder Valdez and we got permiso from the zone leaders to go track down his mom. So we took a bus full of rancheros out to this rancho and found his mom and she was sick and she signed the paperwork and then we ate some fruit that I forgot the name of that we don't have at home and I sucked on some sugar cane.. Then we came back and yeah. After the whole fiasco he was able to get baptised no problem. That was really the highlight of the week. We found a couple more people who are really ready to be baptized, but we have the same problem that Brian has in Taiwan.. People who are part of some other faith but don't go to church or anything and think they are too old to learn, grow, change, come closer to Christ, etc... They have no idea why they are a part of their church and they don't understand the Gospel and they refuse to try to learn.. It is very frustrating to see people reject something before they even know what it is.. Not sure if I already mentioned this but our area is really tough.. Since January there have only been 5 baptisms and Elder Hansen and I had 2 of them.. We're hoping to turn that around though. We've got some great people we're working with and we're trying our absolute best to help these people. But everybody comes with their own sets of challenges.. The fact of the matter is is that we can't do it. Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can truly help these people. We just have to show them how by the Spirit. It's a tough gig sometimes though. When we explain repentance to someone plain and simple and testify of the blessings that come through that change of heart and coming to Christ and they look us straight in the eye and say they don't want to repent. It's tough.

This week was another one of personal growth and seeing growth in others. Most of the time I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing but I do it anyway and things seem to come out alright. Learning a lot about putting my trust in the Lord. He's got it all figured out. There is a plan to everything. My dad wrote me something a couple weeks ago that won't leave my head. He told me that whatever I go through out here its just for my good because the Lord is preparing me to be the man he wants me to be for the next 70 years.. I love that. It's all about the preparation. But we can take that a step further and say that the Lord is preparing us all during our lives here for who he wants us to be for eternity. Let's get prepared people, so that when we meet our Savior and our Father in Heaven again, we'll feel comfortable and happy in their presence. It's never too late to change for any of us.

I love you all and I really love agua de piña.

Elder Jarman

Monday, July 2, 2012

Danza Cuduro Josefina

¡Buenos Dias Buenos Dias!

Holy crap this week went by so fast. Time is really starting to fly by. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was sitting in this ciber writing you guys. Now I gotta remember what happened this week.

This week was a week of hard work. Lots of contacting and new investigators. We found 12 new investigators this week and we set baptismal dates with 11 people. That sounds great but setting a date is one thing and actually seeing them have the opportunity is another. We've got a lot of faith though and we're gonna work hard to see these people really come unto Jesus Christ. The most frustrating part though is even when we work our absolute hardest it still only covers a tiny percentage of what needs to be done. They have to exercise their agency to read the Book of Mormon, pray, come to church, and truly have a repentant heart. I just wish I could do that for them hahah. I've seen how much this gospel has blessed my life, and I just wish they'd take it a little more seriously. People here don't like to commit to much of anything. But hey thats okay. We got a wondeful text message this week from our recent convert Gaby. She is on vacation in Xalapa right now and is attending church there. She was so golden oh man. Super cool to see somneone really accept Jesus Christ. So yeah we have a lot of hopes for the coming weeks. This weekend Bertha couldn't be baptized. Her situation (vague I know, but it's her life so no details) has gotten worse and we haven't seen her in a few days. We're worried about her. But we'll find her this week and help her out. Someday it will work out. This weekend coming up we should have a baptism with a young man named Erik. He is a prime example of the power of the word of God. He started reading the Book of Mormon and he just can't get enough of the gospel. He is really stoked for his baptism and to leave his past life behind. His mom and sisters are slowly coming around as well. They used to hide when we came by but the other day we played kickball with them for a rato (a sec?) and now they kind of listen in on the lessons but refuse to participate. We're hoping through his example they'll all open up more. So yeah we're stoked for Erik.

I'm sending pictures with this email. Hopefully Jess has a chance to post them somewhere where people can see them. Mexico is super cool. I hope everybody likes my gelled combover. It's a mission rule to have a visible line in our hair so we GO HARD with the hair gel. Yeck hahah

As for other interesting things this week, the mission split. We went to Poza Rica on Saturday for a conference to say goodbye to President and Hermana Treviño and their family. They are truly great people. I didn't have a chance to get really attached but they are wonderful and I'll miss them. After the conference we ate Chinese food. YES. So good. 

The mission split yesterday and President Lopez and Co. should get here by Thursday I think. I am excited to meet him and see what's gonna change and stay the same. As for now who knows who's in charge of us. ANARCHY!! Just kidding...

As many of you probably don't know or care, the Mexican presidential elections were yesterday and at like 6 pm we got a call from our zone leaders that we had to go straight home. Apparently somewhere in the mission there was some kind of something and they decided that all the missionaries needed to be inside. Who knows what happened but civil unrest is always cool. From what I heard today it sounds like Peña Nieto is gonna be the next president. Mexico is getting a nuevo rumbo as his slogan says.. I personally would have voted for Josefina. SER MUJER EN MEXICO VA SER DIFERENTE: LA MUJER TIENE PALABRA. Their slogans are so cool here. I especially loved how they sent cars driving around with speakers on top bumping classic Mexican pop songs but with the lyrics changed to have their name in it. Josefina changed Danza Cuduro to have her name in it hahah. I don't thnk copyright laws are really strict here. But what do I know.

This week I've been thinking a lot about trials. I think of the story in First Nefi 7 where Nefi's brothers tie him up, and rather than praying that he is freed, he prays for the strength to free himself. There's a great talk written by Bednar in the January (I think) Liahona or Ensign about that.. How much better is it to recieve the strength to push through trials rather than just have them be taken away! Much better! Because then we get double blessings. We will overcome that trial (so the trial goes away, there's a blessing) and as well we can learn and grow so much! We were not put on this earth to have it be easy. We were put here to learn, grow, and prove our devotion to the Lord. We can't learn and grow without getting hit in the face with trials a lot of the time. So my invitation to anybody reading this is to embrace your trials, love your problems, and echarles ganas (never quit? not a literal translation there). We can overcome any problem that comes our way.

I hope this letter finds everybody well and I hope you know I love you all. 

Sale pues bye

Elder Jarman







Monday, June 25, 2012

Let's get down to business to defeat the huns

What up fam! (and friends)

First things first, gotta pedir perdon for not writing anything about Father's Day last week. So much craziness was happening in my life that I forgot you guys have lives too. I gotta give a shout out to my dad. Literally the greatest example in this world. NO man treats his wife the way my father treats my mom. I've never seen anyone serve more willingly in the Church, to his neighbors, or to his family. I literally have never met one person who doesn't like my pop. That's a tough thing to do in this world. I just want to say I love him and that I want to be just like him when I grow down (cause I'm taller than him hahah).

So this week we worked our butts off. We were all over the place teaching and contacting and trying to do as much good as possible. The area I'm in has only had 4 baptisms in the last 6 months. And I don't think it's for lack of work, but for some unknown reason. The only thing I know is that it's gonna change. Elder Hansen and I ain't never gonna quit. So along with being a great guy Hansen loves to sing and he has tons of Disney song lyrics printed out, so you already know we start our comp study with a hymn and also singing the classics from Mulan, Hercules, Goofy Movie, and Little Mermaid. We live beneath our dueña (landlord?) and behind somebody else and its very close quarters and they probably think we're insane but yeah we sing real loud to get pumped.

No baptisms this weekend but we're teaching some really solid people. We're teaching this young mother named Bertha who truly wants to change and be better. Shes all set to be baptized this weekend except for circumstances outside our control. I won't get into details but it is possible for her to be baptized this weekend if we get a miracle. PRAY FOR SOME MIRACLES! We found a lot of great people as well this week and got to give priesthood blessings to people who needed them. I feel the spirit very strongly when I get to give a blessing. Love that stuff! As for interesting things, it's rained almost every day this week and we've gotten real muddy and real wet. We had to sprint home one night in the rain and there were rivers of water up to our knees in the streets. It's crazy.They say it's pretty early for the rainy season. Hopefully I get to experience a hurricane. We got up at 5 this morning and ran halfway/took the bus halfway to the beach and watched the sun rise. I got sweet pics that you all can see in 18 months because I never have time to copy pictures onto here.. blahhh. Also the elections are coming up here and if I were a Mexican I would vote for Josefina just because she's a girl. I think Peña Nieto is gonna win though. I think the members like AMLO... hay que votar!

This week has been the fastest of my mission thus far and also one of the hardest. There came a point where I literally had to just stop, sit on the curb, and start praying.. And you know what, in that moment, comfort didn't come right away. I had to get up, dust off my butt, and keep knocking every door in sight and talking to every person. But later, comfort did come, the Lord did provide, and here I am another week longer trying to help everybody I can. My achilles heel in the mission has been patience. Everybody knows I'm not exactly a patient person, and that is something I want to change. I'm learning to turn negative experiences into learning experiences so that there never are negative experiences. It's a rough process and I couldn't really put it into words if I tried but I I truly feel like I'm taking steps forward. That's what's so beautiful about what Jesus Christ did for us. He saved us from ourselves, and we can CHANGE through his love. It comes step by step and piece by piece but if we seguir adelante we do see progress. Just gotta say, don't quit. Never Quit. Echele ganas. Being a life champ is more important than being a state champ (did I just say that??)

To answer a few questions that have been posed...

Yes a dog has bitten me already, but it tried to get my ankle and only got my shoe. I don't have rabies yet.
I can eat spicy food now no problem, today I ate a coconut with chile on it and it was delicious.
When little kids see me they point and laugh and old people look scared. I'm the Godzilla of Mexico. I try to smile a lot so they don't get too freaked out.

But yeah that's about it. Hope everybody's doing well and loving life. Mexico is real cool. Sale pues byeeee


Elder Jarman

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ladies, don't wait for me...

Miss me?
So yeah it's been two weeks but that's because of some craziness that's been going on. Where do I start... I´ll try to remember everything that's happened.
So in Cazones two weeks ago we had a sweet talent night and I did some nice line dancing and sang Jumper by Third Eye Blind while Hernandez played guitar. Then I did a rubik's cube and everyone was pretty amazed. I got sweet videos. you can all see them in 19 months when I get back. Speaking of, I finished 5 months today. Still not sure if it's going fast or slow but it's definitely going hahahah. Also in Cazones a week and a half ago we had some craziness. As you know Ezequiel and Guadalupe got baptized 4 weeks ago on a sunday so they needed to be confirmed the following Sunday. But then they couldn't come to church because she's pregnant again and was sick. So not yesterday but last Sunday they were gonna get confirmed. Guadalupe did get confirmed but Ezequiel couldn't because we went by on that Friday before and he was running around drunk out of his mind swing a machete at dogs and then he tried to choke Hernandez... I swear we taught him the word of wisdom.. But the next day we went by and everything was tranquilo and he is working with the branch president now to fix things so he can get be baptized and confirmed.
So then last week transfers came and I'm guessing due to all the drama from going to Veracruz and all that they decided to change things. I got transferred to Tuxpan, Barrio Tenechaco and Hernandex was supposed to go to Martinez de la Torre Tezuitlan. But then last Monday he got called to Veracruz. I went with the zone leaders (why I couldn't write last week) and Elder Hernandez got sent home. Apparently some things came out about what he and his old companion did. I don't know details, but all I know is that it was incredibly sad.. I've spent this whole week feeling like I failed him in some way.. I wish I could express the way I feel on the mission better in words.. But it's a trip.. that's all I can really say..
So now I'm in Tuxpan, Tenechaco with my new companion Elder Hansen. He's from Murray, Utah and he was in the MTC the same time as me. He's got one more transfer in the mission than me. Straight up I was surprised that they'd put two young gringo greenies like us together but the mission president and the Lord know something I don´t. My comp is a super good guy and we speak spanish about the same level. Speaking of, I feel really great about my spanish.. The only people who are hard to understand are the little toothless old ladies who tell us we don't know about La Virgen de Guadalupe because we´re gringos. So yeah we´re just a couple of white boys lost in the city and it's pretty cool. We have a really strong ward here though with some great great people.
We had a baptism this weekend as well for a girl named Gaby. She was super esogido (elect)..  her heart was so open and touched by the gospel. She was baptized only 2 weeks after meeting with the missionaries the first time. I got to teach her right on the tail end and then see her be baptized. Great experience. This area hasn't had much success. Just 4 converts in the last 6 months, but all that's about to change..
If I had to describe the way I've felt these last two weeks it would be a lot of ehhh and a little bit good. But that's okay! Who says life is easy? Who says a mission is easy? It's not. But the people who receive hope and light from the gospel sure do appreciate it. My goal is to just love the people more. Love them like Christ would. I go through mad mood swings on the mission. I feel like everybody at home thinks I´m just doing so well but straight up it's a struggle. But it will be a struggle that's worth it. That's the faith that I have.
Ladies, Don´t wait for me, I got my first Mexican haircut today and I sweat all day and I smell and I'm gettin real ugly. That's the price to pay to serve others though!!
Hasta la pasta
Elder Jarman