Monday, April 26, 2010

That sounds awesome! Sad to hear about the Kindle...that^s a nice machine...maybe I can arrange for a quick 12 hour visit to Utah for P-day Sounds like John is having some hard times, hahaha, but when I get back it^ll be great because I^m going to have a whole bunch of games for him to play that I buy for like, 10 bucks since they^ve already been out for two years!

I^m actually surprised about Merlin. Sounds like he^s just really mellowed out.

Geez Mom, sounds like your gardening is still going strong. I told Elder Mata you could never live here, because no one has yards. It^s mostly your house, then directly in front is a dirt road or somethin glike that.

Yolanda is having success, yes, but she is still addicted. She^s been smoking for 50 years, so it is really really hard. She sais that the Book of Mormon and prayers to God have given her much more courage than she has ever had before. She actually asked us for help to help her quit smoking before we talked about the word of wisdom, because she has a son she doesn^t want to leave alone in the world. We brought some members by her house and she just loved to talk with them. She reminds me of grandma Newell in a way, she could talk for 50 hours straight if she needed to. But she has had an absolutely tragic, every visit she tells about some different part of her life that makes me want to cry.

Yikes, sounds like Dad has been working like crazy! That^s awesome that all his big projects (for now) are finished! Get some rest Dad!

Em^s going on a cruise? Huh? Gratz I guess!

I^m going to work harder to take more photos of Uruapan/myself for next week, I slacked off a bit this week.

We^ve been cleaning the house like mad too, since that was part of the deal. The other Elders before us didn^t clean the house for like, a year. So we have been going through all the crap they left (and treasure) and getting everything sparkling clean. I got a pair of super nice shoe trees from Men^s Warehouse that were in a corner But there was a ridiculous amount of dust in the air.

I do believe it is time for, THE MUNDANE THING OF THE WEEK!!!!! Trash isn^t a public service here. It^s all private, and at random times. So to let people know when they^re coming around, they hire people to walk around the city ringing bells. When you hear the bell, you bring out your trash, hand them some change (as far as I can tell there^s no system of measurement, just what they feel like it should be) and they put it in a truck and leave.

Well, I think that^s all I have this week. I hope everyone is doing well, and Los amo un buen!

Elder Joseph Newell

Our last class photo *tear*

My first couple days in Morelia. Elder Tyler snuck in a picture while I slept. I was buuuuuurned.

Elder Mata is on the left. In the middle is Elder Medina, he finished his mission on Monday.

Why you don^t give crazy Zone Leaders your camera. That^s Elder Ashton from Morelia in between conference sessions.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Joe's Letter

¿¡Como están!?

Espero que todos esté bien. A mi, estoy muy, muy, muy
bien! Uruapan es una larga muy bonita. Ya, I´ve seen one or two of
those photos, but we haven´t been able to walk around much. Just pass
through on our way to appointments. But Uruapan is a beautiful place,
tons of vegetation. Any direction you look there is a huge forest in
the distance.

I saw a sign for Twilight and immediately thought of you Mom. Yes,
it´s even a big deal in Mexico.

Sounds like you all have tons of work to do! I wish I was there to help.
Also sounds like Andreas doing fine, she´ll get used to being home. It
happens to every missionary. Holy cow, Laurel is taking drivers ed!
She´s getting so old! It seems like yesterday me and Alex were sick of hearing her scream at the top of her lungs while we were in their basement!
You´re awesome Laur!

I can´t think of much to write about Mexico, so I´ll just start
recounting things of mundane importance. You might call this, THE MUNDANE THING OF THE WEEK! Switches don´t exist in Mexico.
Like, at all. Everything is a button. Even toilets. Buttons. Also,
outside the houses are the power meters, since there are no such things
as yards, they just put it next to your door. This also means, the
switch for the power is on the street to. In Morelia the teenagers
thought it was hilarious to turn off our power while we were
gone. HAHA! It´s also kind of interesting because we can tell
if someone is just ignoring us or not.

Anyways, I want to talk about Yolanda. We were walking down the
and I was looking up some words in Spanish in my little pocket
sized dictionary we got at Barnes and Noble that I carry in my pack, and this lady in the street (probably about 50 or so) says, "Is that a
Bible?" I say, no, but I have one right here. And we start talking
about religion, and how upset she is at the majority of people in Mexico because they are content to just follow their parents and be
Catholics. She says they turn their eyes away from the truths of the
Bible. So we start teaching her the restauration and she starts talking about all these scriptures that testify of what we´re talking about and we just say, Ya! You´re absolutely right! We were really nervous for a bit, because she smokes, and she asked if the church could help her out financially. We responded by explaining what fast offerings were for,
and how the church doesn´t really do charity like that, and left a
pamphlet about tithes and fast offerings. Later in the lesson she says
that she really would like a blessing to help her quit smoking...we
hadn´t even talked about the Word of Wisdom yet. We responded, ya! Then on Sunday, she
comes to church, and asks if she can pay tithing if she isn´t a member. I thought...uh....really? But we introduced her to the bishop who
helped her out. She has a baptismal date for the 30th, and is an
absolutely amazing person. She has an absolute mountain of faith
(veeeeery common expression in Mexico, mountain of (thing)) in God.

Anyways, yesterday was pretty fun. We went down to Guadalajara to
sign my visa...but the bus was too slow, and we missed it. So we get to spend another 8 hours on a bus in 2 weeks! Yaaaaaay! So we had no
time yesterday to write, so that is why it is coming today.

Anyways, things are great here in uruapan. I hope you are all
continuing to do well. Adios!

Elder Newell (sorry, the pics are not in order---this is a fun game you get to play--Ariane)

1. The Morelia gang! Elder Tyler is on the right
2. That´s unfortunate...
3. A
typical street in Uruapan
4. Thought I was kidding?
5. Me getting bored at myself while Elder
Mata gives a baptismal interview.
6. Hey look who I found!
Well, I have some more time, so here are more pictures!
1. The
offices in Guadlajara. There were tons of cool birds there, I wish Mom
was there!
2. This dog in Morelia was huge! Like, 5 feet long! And
he was just laying on his back, chillin´
3. Our old room. On the left, with all the light? That was the door
leading outside. We all have to sleep in the same room, and that was
the only place that accomodated 4 beds.
4. Old kitchen. Not very
productive for cooking. Our stove was a hot plate. My new house is
much better, a full kitchen, stove, sink, the works! I never have
missed a microwave more in my life though...
5. Carmina, the first convert I saw baptized.

Also! Has
Jaesar or Brice turned in their papers yet? They said they were almost done with them when I left.



Tuesday, April 13, 2010



The new area is really interesting. Much more vegetation, in fact there is a National Park here, and we get to walk through it from time to time as a shortcut. It´s sweet, we go up to the guards, Hey, we have an appointment on the other side of this thing, and don´t want to have to walk all the way around, can we just walk through? Ya! Go on through! Something like that would never fly in America.
We are doing all we can to not knock on doors. The new way to do missionary work is working nearly exclusively through the Ward, getting referrals from them and helping others to have friends in the church they can turn to when we´re not around. We still contact people on the streets, but it isn´t the focus.
When we were contacting the other day, this lady in her 20´s stops us, "Hey, are you guys missionaries?" In English. I say, "Ya." "Can you guys meet with me?" "..." "I met with some other ones in Mexico City but I didn´t get it very well because they don´t speak English" "OH! Awesome, yes, we can absolutely meet with you!"
Turns out she is a student of religions and is fascinated with the Church. We explained the Book of Mormon to her and it´s origins and all the different peoples of the Americas, and how Lehi and his family were just one of the peoples there, and she says, "THAT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE!" She said that it answered a question she had for a while now, and that she´ll tell us the next time we meet when she can put her question into words. It´s definitely a testimony to me of this work. Had this change not happened she would have had two spanish speakers again and wouldn´t really have been able to be taught.
Those pictures are awesome! Mom you have lost so much weight!
Sounds like the garden is having some fun times! I told Elder Tyler a while ago that Mom couldn´t live in Mexico, there is no such thing as a yard. Quail! That´s sweet! I've always loved Quail ever since the cartoon Doug, where this kid´s super hero alter ego was quail man and he tied a belt around his head so it went up and in front like a quail feather.
But all is well here in Mexico. These people love they´re fireworks. All day, all night, BAAAAAANG! Holy crap! Elder Mata, was that a gunsghot!? That? No, that was just some fireworks. It´s intense.
As far as appearances go...I am apparently a very handsome man down here in mexico. They´re standards must be very low, or they are just momentarily stunned by someone who is not latino. Every time we´re talking to teenage girls they always say, You have such beautiful eyes! here´s the number of our offices if you want missionaries to pass by your house, ADIOS! My favorite was yesterday at church, one of them shook my hand...and then didn´t let go. I completely let go, look at my companion, he shrugs, and like 10 seconds later she says, Oh, sorry, your hand! Here, and she puts it on my bag. There you go. I say, Ya...thanks. Elder Reichert (one of the Assisstants to the president) warned me about that the first day, I didn´t listen because I´m really ugly. But it´s really silly down here.
Seeing as I am in Uruapan, the farthest point from Guadalajara, we´re not going to get mail this transfer I for writing letters! I hope you keep writing, just know that I´m not going to be getting mail for at least 3 more weeks probably.
Anyways, it seems like everything is going well up there in Utah, my best wishes to everyone, and I will talk to you all in a week!
Elder Newell
PS; I keep a bookmark in my hymn book for En la Judea, whenever I get a little homesick I sing that hymn in my head, remember the good times, then move on with the work.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Of Snow and Conference


Earthquake? No, we didn´t feel a thing. Is everything OK over there? Tha´s crazy that you´re still getting snow! We´re burning up in this cyber here in our sunday clothes (no suit coats thank goodness). Ya, I had heard that before Dad, they mentioned it a couple of times at the MTC in talks. Pretty cool eh? The firsyt time I heard about it the speaker then immediately said, "Now I bet you wish you sent in a bette picture, huh?" And I just thought...yep...

I remember hearing a talk from Elder Oaks, but I don´t remember much about it. I remember he told a story he didn´t want anyone to tell his wife, and that he was freaking funny, but nothing else.

Anyways, life here in Mexico is good! I will be sending home two weeks of journal entries today! Sorry I didn´t get last weeks out, we were super busy. I also don´t think I will be able to send home pictures today, my camera firewire port is not fitting the cable, so I´m going to find mine and see if it fits or not. Sorry.

I don´t really have a lot of time, but life has been good. We have a great ward here, full of support and love for the missionaries. They are almost all striving to be missionaries themselves, and share this great word with their trusted friends and family. This week we saw the fruits of some of that labor, Carmina, a referral from this elderly Hermano Huerrera. She was baptized Saturday, in between conference sessions. She has such a powerful testimony.

Elder Ashton just got a phone call about transfers...and doesn´t seem happy...I guess somebody went home. That´s sad. It is distressing to think of the eventually thousands of people that will not come to know of the Gospel because of that...but we can´t focus on those sorts of things! Crap. I guess someone got sent home through disobedience, and now things have to get mixed up. Myself and Elder Armstrong are getting sent to Uruapan...tonight...bleeeeergh. Guess I´ll be with an Elder Mata, a District Leader there. Aaaaargh, I was just getting used to here....Oh well. I have faith that these changes were inspired to be of the most help to us, and to the people of Mexico. Well, I´m running out of time now. I gotta get going.

I love you all, I know this church is true, and that it is the tool of such great happiness in this life for those who listen to it, and eternal life hereafter.

Os amo!


Bienvenidos a Mexico!

So, I got off the plane fine, we ended up getting into Mexico at around 9:30. Were at the mission offices right now, which are quite nice. When we got off the plane we all just said...this is just California. You got us on the wrong flight!
Anyways were going to be assigned to our trainers in just a couple minutes, and our areas, but Monday is P day, so Illl be writing you again then. All is well here, Sister Jesperson said that if she had any one person to take with her to a deserted island, it would be Aunt Martha, theyre all so awesome here, Mexico is fantastic. We ate at the place that has the guiness book world record for fastest serving time, and it was amazing. Everything was spicy. Los frijoles, la carne, los tortillas, todos son caliente. Y tienen salsa caliente tambien!
This place is beautiful and I love it, Ill send more detailed reports on Monday.