Sunday, July 25, 2010


Yes, those are awesome Mom, thank you so much! Geez our house is HUUUUUUUGE! Nothing to make you appreciate the US like living in Mexico for 4 months.

I´m sorry to hear about the recent passings of family, I don´t believe that I knew them, but it is sad still the same. But, it brings great JOY to know that I can know them one day! Yay for family!

Hahahahahahaha, I can´t believe that I have a relative that tried to burn down the Tabernacle, hahahaha, that´s great!

Geez Grandma! I can´t believe someone robbed all your stuff. It´s good to hear everything else is OK, but nevertheless, yikes. The nice thing is that in Utah, the police help with stuff like that. I know someone who has an abusive husband, but their family paid a judge so that they can´t get divorced. Good times.

Haha, that picture is great, and so awesome that you made, more or less, those clothes! Way to go. Glad to hear that Alex is doing alright, and that his family is nice and happy.

Well, for us this week, we had changes today, and it is looking like I´ll be sticking around for at least 6 more weeks here in Uruapan. Probably not more than that, but who knows, I might be here for a year.

This week was exciting, I BUILT A HOUSE! Kind of. No, OK; not really, but I did help tear out floor, throw a bunch of rocks into a ditch in an entirely manly way, and then tore apart some wood, using other wood, in a spectacular show of cavemanship. Then we built a roof. It was fun. The pictures are from a cliff nearby where we were. It was really, really pretty. We could see all of Uruapan. I hope the pictures capture it.

This week we also were talking with Bernardo, I don´t remember if I talked about him, but he is this guy that smoke and drank like crazy, and was drunk when he yelled to us. We started talking this week, and he has completely dropped smoking and drinking, saying, "Well it doesn´t make any sense for a bottle to stand between me and God. It´s just an object." YES IT IS.

We also had 104 PEOPLE IN CHURCH THIS WEEK WOOOOOOOOH! Finally this ward is getting excited to do missionary work! It´s been a loooong month and a half trying to get the trust of the ward back with Elder Rojas and myself, but it has finally happened! The ward Leaders are working hard to find new people to help bring into the church, and we are doing our part as well to go around to the member´s houses, ask for referrences, and bring them information. I have found that most people don´t complete with commitments, or don´t want to, because they dont know how, and it is scary and really easy to say I don´t want to do it. But when we are given the information we need, all of a sudden things become fun!

Also, I washed my own clothes last week. By HAND. That was a fun adventure in which I learned there is a reason that people invented washing machines. Thank you Mom for all that you do in the house! Having to live on my own and clean a house of two floors and work to keep it clean with just me and Elder Rojas, I cannot imagine what it is like to look after 4 screaming kids all trying to throw chocolate on the walls.

We´re working hard, and the area is starting to become an area that people want to be in, instead of the area where noone does anything. The Lord has helped us toooons, and we are very happy to recieve it. We are being guided to the people the Lord has prepared truly.

Last night we talked with this young father, Omar, that used drugs for most of his life, but his friend introduced him to the Bible, and prayed to God to help him through it, and now he is clean. When we came by, he told us he feels that God was preparing him to be able to recieve us, and that through this affliction he has a better family, and possibly something great on the horizon.

It is sooo true! God puts us in hard situations, but so that we can GROW from them! The Plan of Happiness isn´t just a name, it is the basis, the whole point! To be happy! When we follow the counsil of God, and do what we can to serve him, our neighbours, and ourselves, we grow into a person that we are proud of. I love this gospel. It works miracles in the lives of those who need it. It helps them to see who they really are, and why they are here, and how they can help others. I know it is true. I know that this is the true gospel of Christ, that he has placed on the earth for the blessing of the children of men.

PS: Alex! I hope he is doing OK, I didn´t have a letter forwarded from aunt Martha this week, but I´m sure he is doing great.

I think that´s all I have family, we´ll talk next week! ADIOOOOOOOS!!!!!!

Friday, July 16, 2010


Wow, sounds like things are going awesome back home. That flash freeze is funny, sounds like fun. A NEW Dr. Who? Yikes...I already have a list of shows I want to watch when I go home...I don´t want to add more, because it is quite long. Can´t you just pull the pictures off of the email? Ya, the "festival" of San Pedro, all of the neighborhoods like, Magdalena, San Juan, Judas (Yes, they worship the man who sold Jesus into death saying that he will bring you money, so EVERYBODY has a statue of Judas Iscariot in their car/house) and others all happened this month, and we´re happy to see them go. It´s interesting to see that part of the culture, but with a lot of distance in between us. It is mostly just drinking and loud trumpets blaring in everyone´s faces. Not much "culture".

Geeeeeez Effie, that spider looks intense! Sounds like your new house brings all kinds of new adventures. That´s good! The second we are comfortable, the Lord finds ways to make us UNcomfortable. This way we can grow and become more like Christ. Of´s not always to remember it that way, but it´s true. It´s great you have so much time together now as a family, that´s something we see here in Mexico soooo much, is that the parents work all week long, and only rest one day of the week, and their different days. So the families are almost never in the same place at the same time. It´s really sad.

Alex´s questions:
Ya, those conversations were good times...I haven´t thought about them for a while, heh.
Yes, indescribable is probably the word to use. At least, in our vocabulary.
Weirdest food eaten? This week I am going to eat Menudo. It´s a soup made out of cow stomach that suppsedly has the texture of gum. So that´ll be fun.
There´s an area called Apatzingan that has temps up to 50 degrees celcius. It´s not quite that hot here, but it gets close to 40
No, we don´t bike, we WALK. Like men. In Mexico.

This week was kind of a bummer. We got kinda sick at the end, so we had to stay in for a day. Also, we didn´t get to contact many people, or teach much. We had about 50 appointments fall through. PEOPLE ARE NEVER HOME IN MEXICO AAAARARARARGH! But, we had two referrences from Armando, they guy that dropped drugs for that time, two daughters of his boss that were OK, but they came to church this sunday! And they loved it! Now we´re super excited for them.

We had this other guy contact us in the street this week, his name is Bernardo. He was with a bunch of friends drinking, so we passed by (We usually don´t talk to groups of drunk people, it almost never ends up good), and he yells, HEY! Just because we´re drunk doesn´t mean we´re not people! We go, huh? We start talking and he is this super golden guy that has had a bunch of problems in his life, drugs, alcohol, his parents got divorced when he was 13 or so, but he wants to get better. He said that he knows he can´t do it in the Catholic church, but he has seen the examples of members and wants to be like them, so we started teaching him and he is awesome! We talked about the Word of Wisdom with him and he said, Ya! That makes perfect sense! Beer is just a bottle, why should it stand between me and happiness with God? Honestly, there is no other option than this gospel is true. People change their lives so quickly when they choose to accept the testimony of the Holy Ghost. I have seen so many people leave behind stupid vices like this in weeks, when they have tried for years and never could! I know this gospel is true. It works miracles in the lives of those that follow it.

Thank you all so much for your support, know that my prayers are with you, and while I am physically far from home, I have often thought I was sitting in the living room talking with you all, and that that is just a hop, skip, and a jump away. By the way...

I HAVE SIX MONTHS IN THE MISSION AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I haven´t done nearly enough! Only 3 more of these periods and I´m HOME! If this is the time that goes by the slowest, it´s going to feel like I´ll be home next month!

I love you all so much, and thank God for giving me such a wonderful family free from so many of the problems of this world.

Les quiero muchisimo, y que Dios les bendiga.

Adios familia!

Elder Joseph Neil Newell

Having fun in the Capilla, waiting for a junta to start. It never started.

Hi from the road of the giant pits of construction that little kids play near every day!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 5th 2010


Sounds like things are calming down a bit, so that´s nice. Alex already turned in his papers!? YIKES! Alex! This is the BEST decision you can take in your life! Elder Holland said that if you don´t go on a mission for the people you will bring unto Christ, if not for the blessings you will bring to the family, DO IT FOR YOURSELF! You grow soooooo much on the mission! It´s honestly ridiculous. I´m such a better man than when I left. The mission refines you, helps you to know where you stand, with Christ, or with the other side, and what are you willing to do to stand by Him. Aiks, IM SO EXCITED FOR YOU! Be completely obedient, have faith in the Lord, and KEEP SMILING!

Haha, I cannot believe you are going to a flash feeze, you have to let me know how it goes! Way to go Dad! I knew there was some stupid reason for that shaking! I can´t wait to hear how everything sounds when I get back! Did you buy Avatar? How did you like it? I honestly thought it was stupid...but that´s just me.

No worries about the pictures, when it can happen it would be awesome, but no hurry. I would love to go to Jump On It. Sounds like a lot of fun!

This week for us was really interesting. We had to drop almost all of our investigators, we had left over, so we were knocking doors like crazy! we had almost no appointments for most of this week, and so we were on our feet all day with virtually no rest time except for the food. But, we saw the blessings of our work! We found some people that are so super golden it´s ridiculous!

Familia Morales! This is a middle aged couple that have a tiendita and are very, very overweight. But we knocked their door and they allowed us to come in and talk for a bit. We go thorugh talking about the Plan of Salvacion, and while talking about the spirit world, the sister asks us, "Can spirits be here on Earth?" We responded, well, yes, but not in a hocus pocus way. She said, "Well, I ask because in times that were really hard in my life, I have felt the presence of my Dad a lot...and I was in the hospital last week and I thought I was going to die, I even told my son all the stuff he needs to do when I go, but I felt like there were two people standing behind my bed dressed in pure white. One of them touched my shoulder, and after that I was fine. My daughter says there was no one else in the room, but I know this happened." Immediately after we went something like :O. Catholics here don´t believe in angels in white or anything like that, so we explained what is possible that happened, and move on with the lesson. We tell them they need to pray to know if it is true, and she says, "Oh, I already know that you were sent by God." Huh? "Ya, I have closed the door on sooooo many people from religions previously, but I felt like I NEEDED to let you jovenes in the door and talk to me." It´s insane, we have had like, 8 people like that this week that bear their testimonies at the end, we are very, very excited this area is FINALLY going to grow! We saw the baptisms for the last two years and they were only 29. IN MEXICO! That number should be like, 70-80 or something. We want to change that, help the ward to grow in their faith and trust in the missionaries, and the Lord is blessing us to be able to do it.

I am so blessed to be here in Uruapan, to be able to see peoples lives really change, see families be healed, people leave behind self destructive vices, and move forward with a faith that is firmly based in Christ. I know this church is true. There is no other explanation than we have a loving Father in Heaven that wants us to be happy. People, by themselves, are unable to do the miracles I have witnessed. God lives. He loves us. Of this I know, and speak with the people every day.

Thank you all for being so supportive of me, throughout all my life. I have seen families without a good sucks. Our family wasn´t perfect, but at least everyone wanted to be better, and strove to have it. And now our family is awesome! I see these other people and think, wow, what if Dad was a drug addict, or a hopeless drunk. What if Ben was killed by gangsters when he was 16? THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE FOR BEING GOOD PEOPLE.

Well, I think that´s all I have for this week.

OH! It´s time for a special time I like to call, ONLY IN MEXICOOOOO!!!!!!!
I saw a restaurant yesterday while we were walking around Centro. It has the picture of Paris Hilton eating a burger, and a palm tree on the sign that says, "Afuera y Al Dentro Burger" which, translated, means In ´N Out Burger! Yep. They are trying to hit that immigrant that was deported audience hard down here. Only in Mexico.

OK, that´s all that I have this week.

Adios familia!

Les amo, cuiden se!

Elder Newell

June 28th 2010

There is this giant hole in the middle of a street here with construction, and all the rain turned this 20 foot deep hole into a cool waterfall.
A mural portraying the "viejitos" or old people. Every state here has a national dance, and Michoacan has the baila de los viejitos, and everyone wears a mask to look super old, and they basically stomp around with their canes for 10 minutes. Thought you might like it.
We get wet here.
This is my dog. His name is Fox. He wanders around a neighborhood, but he`s mine.
Well hello negrito dentisto.
We celebrated day of the dad and mom, and this is a dance the mothers did.


That sounds so awesome everyone! I hope you continue enjoying your time together, and play lots and lots of games for me! It`s weird, I`m at the point in the mission where I`m seeing things that I haven`t heard of before, like How to Train a Dragon or something like that by Pixar. I`m going to have a lot of stuff to get caught up on when I get back, I expect some form of list :P.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! Holy cow, I can`t believe that when I get back Dad will be almost 60! You`re welcome dad. Happy birthday Mom and Rowan! I hope you had good ones!

That`s something I really appreicate about Utah now, festivals and stuff are safe. Here in Mexico, they are the most dangerous places. Everybody drinks like an elephant, even kids, and they are all crazy with alcohol and pictures of Christ`s death all around them, we try and avoid them whenever we can.

I`m sure it would be waaaay more economical to buy them down here. Like, a pair of nice shoes down here is something like 400 pesos if you look around, or like, 30 or so dollars. And I`m happy you don`t think Im overspending because...I need to spend a little more...for an umbrella and a new backpack. This one has held out valiantly for 6 months almost (CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT!?) but it`s starting to tear apart. We`re going to the holy land here, Wal-Mart. It`s outside of our area, but we have permission to go there today! WOOOOOOOOOH! I`m going to buy peanut butter, cereal, fat free milk, OOOOOH I`m excited. Especially since we didn`t take almost any taxis this month, so I have a bunch of extra money from the mission to be able to EAT in the mornings.

Elder Rojas is still doing good too, we said that if we catch our companion not smiling, they owe us pan dulce, or sweet bread thing that everyone sells here. So we`re keeping really busy, and really happy.


Well, as you can tell from picture 6, I was able to get really close to a giant hole in the middle of a busy street. Basically, there are no safety laws here. Kids play around this thing all day, and nobody cares. Only in Mexico.

However, I love these people. They have the potential to be so amazing! I can easily see a member of the 12 or prophet within the next 10-20 years being from Mexico. The members here are so strong, it`s crazy. The Stake President said something interesting, that the reason that there aren`t many GAs from Latin America is because not many go on missions, but he wants to help change that and encourage the youth to consider a mission.

Anyways, I love you all, I miss you, I know the church is true, and wish you all the best of luck.


Elder Joseph Newell

June 21st 2010


Aicarai, sounds like you are all tuckered out! Hope you all enjoy returning to home and resting for a bit. That story is hilarious, I wish I was there to see it all, hahahaha.

Ya, Alex is honestly having a super hard mission so that I can see it and not complain, and tell others to do the same. One of the areas in the district is having a super hard time, and I told them, hey, at least your not in the borders of Thailand where they had 0 of everything last week. They responded, 0!? How is that possible!? I said, I have no idea, but count your blessings. Thanks Al!

Congratulations Mark for graduation! Bet you´re super excited to move on with the next part of your life/education! I want to see that picture, sounds delicious. Tooth cake.

Well, I hope all of your Fathers Day went well. For us, every single person we know as we walked by, Elderes! Ven y comer tomales de elote con nosotros! Or, Elderes, tomen refresco, no tengan prisa! Aqui esta pazoli, coman, coman! I literally vomited descreetly in the house of an investigator because we just had waaaay too much food, and we can´t say no or they get offended.

Also, I forgot my camera, but the rainy season is here! I have a picture of us before we bought umbrellas, where we were outside for like, 2 minutes, and I am dripping wet, and the streets are now rivers. It´s pretty intense. But at least the heat is mostly gone now. The problem is that there are a lot of dirt roads, and dirt+rain=dirty clothes. And shoes. My poor, poor shoes. But I´m super happy you bought me such great ones Grandma and Effie, and Dad! Waterproof has saved my life.

Armando Sisneros is still doing awesome. He told us one day this week, I want nothing to do with drugs or alchohol anymore in my life, he stood up, went in to his room, took out all of his stuff, and dumped them in a water basin. He is going to work with us in the evenings to stay even farther away from them, and take lessons on how to paint from his neice. This gospel is amazing! I found out that he actually distanced himself from his family so that they didn´t have his example in their lives, and that his wife also kind of hates him...but he now has a hope to see them again. I know that this gospel is true. It changes lives! I see it in the eyes of the people we teach, those who are searching for something they know is out there, but have no idea where. ITS RIGHT HERE! I want to scream it from the rooftops, that you don´t have to worship a dead God! He LIVES! He is waiting for us to come unto him and feel his presence, but we have to take the first steps to go there!

Armando also introduced us to his nieces, one who was critically depressed, and didn´t leave the house for 4 months. Now I can see that she knows she has something that can help her. She has hope in her eyes, and smiles and laughs. I am so amazingly privileged to be here in Mexico, and help these people discover the hope that their Father in Heaven wants to give.

Well, I think that´s all for this week. I´ll send pictures next week, I promise!

Adios familia!

Elder Joseph Newell

June 14th 2010

One of our baptisms this week. Her name is Karla, the little girl. Her dad (an active member) finally consented for her to be baptized
A bad picture of all of the elders in Uruapan traveling to a camp out with the sacerdocio of the ward as a reward for our good work.
Elder Rojas!
Hi Elder Tyler! We met up in the offices, he finished his mission and is home now!
Adios Elder Mata!


Well, this week has just been a little intense. As you know from my last letter, I was in Guadalajra this last week to pick up a new companion. New. As in, just left the MTC. Elder Rojas. He`s a native from Caretaro(sp?) and is an awesome missionary already. We`re working super hard.

But it`s awesome to hear that everyone is so happy at home! Sounds like the house is all busy again. Way to go for learning Photoshop Brae! That`s crazy that Than`s growing plants! I`m not going to recognize the guy when I get back :P.

I can`t believe that computer! A terrabite!? That`s insane! Sure is a good thing that when I get back that computer will be so worthless you`ll just give it to me, right? :P

By the way, sorry I had to withdraw so much money this week, going to Guadalajara is expensive, and we won`t have reembirsments for a while. I was also told that now that I`m senior comp, I need to have a backup of 1000 pesos, about 65 dollars to be able to take care of things if I have to.

Well, like I said, a lot happened this week. Elder Rojas and I returned to La Quinta in Uruapan, where the following day I got a call from our Zone Leader, Elder Cardenas, saying that President wants me to be District Leader...I said, "ok..."

So my second transfer, I went up to senior, am training, and am district leader, and have no idea what I`m doing. But it helps me to rely on the spirit more. We have had awesome success this week, because neither have any idea what we`re doing! We depend on the Lord, and he has guided us.

We found this guy that met with missionaries before, Armando Sisneros. He does drugs, heavily, every day for the past 20 years almost. He has gone into rehab facilities, but could never stay clean. He lost his wife, his kids, and his house because of this, and now lives with his parents. Now, he has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, of Jesus Christ, and of the power that God has to help all mankind. He told us yesterday in the capilla, that for the first time in who knows how long, he hasn`t used drugs for a whole day, and that he wants to stay that way. It is such an amazing privilege to be able to be here, and to see how God can help these people change their lives into something they can be proud of. Even more miraculous, it is only after one week of visits! This man had no power to overcome his vices for 20 years, and in one week, the gospel of Jesus Christ has helped him start to make himself clean from outside substances.

Well, time is short, so I`m going to leave it there. But know that I love you all, God is with us, and that I am so happy for you all being together at home.

¡Adios mi familia!

Elder Joseph Neil Newell

June 7th 2010

That all sounds awesome! Sorry, but I have to do this pretty quick. What´s up is that I´m in Guadalajara right now, I just picked up my new companion, which means, I´m training! We got a call on Saturday night telling us that Elder Mata had changes and that I would be training, I came to the offices on Sunday, and went through his orientation today. We´re just about to head back to Uruapan. He is a mexican by the name of Elder Rojos. He seems awesome, a solid Elder. I am extremely humbeled by this amazing opportunity of trust and love the Lord has given me. It will be amazing to see and help another Elder progress, and to grow myself as well.
We had interviews with President Jesperson a week ago, and he asked me how I felt to lead. I told him I have no idea about forms, my spanish still is lacking, and I have only one change in the mission, but I feel like I can teach and follow the Spirit. I expected to be senior companion or something...I honestly thought Elder Mata was joking when he told me I was going to be training. President Jesperson greeted me today with a huge smile, laughing, and said, Surprise surprise! Yes. Yes it was.
Well, I will have a lot more to write about next week, and a bunch of pictures too, but time is very short right now.
Sorry, I love you all, the church is true, and God leads this work.
Elder Newell

May 31 2010


That´s so awesome, thanks ton for the pictures! It´s great to see everyone is doing soooo well! Not to mention that mom played a game! Sounds like the world turned on itself hearing what happened with Al in Thailand and with Mom playing games...I just don´t know what to believe anymore.

Wow, that chinese food sounds good. The food is almost always the same here. Rice, beans, meat. Every day. I´ve had cheese like, 3 times since I´ve been here. That was probably my biggest shock food wise. I was expecting cheddar to fall from the sky, but I have yet to have any. There are some interesting cheeses in Mexico though, the most popular is something like feta mixed with mozarella, taste and texture. It´s weird, but good. That and they put hotdogs in everything. Eggs? Hotdogs. Beans? Hotdogs. Pizzas? HOTDOGS!

A hike up the mountain? Sounds good. I´ve honestly lost a lot of weight since I´ve been here. Walking for hours on end doesn´t really bother me that much. Just as long as the sun isn´t too extreme.

I can´t believe it´s still snowing! That´s ridiculous! I´m so jealous. People always ask me, is there a lot of snow in Utah? I say ya, it snowed last week according to my parents, but it should start warming up pretty soon. I´ve been saying that for like, a month now.

As far as things go in Mexico, all is well. My Spanish is at the point where I can hold my own in a conversation without very much trouble. Maybe a word here or there that I don´t know, but I can at least understand the gist of the sentence.

This week we had some amazing miracles happen to allow us to baptize 2 more people this next week. We were desperate to find 2 more people to baptize to complete our goal, and all of our investigators fell through for various reasons, so we looked in the area book for former investigators. We found a couple and decided to go visit them during the day. They weren´t there. Elder Mata said that he had searched for these people before a bunch of times but never found them. So we go through the day wondering what we will do, doing all we can to serve the Lord righteously. We get to about 9:00 when we had an appointment with a young couple who are awesome, but they were sleeping when we went by so we had nothing else to do for the night. We start walking home and we had one more contact we needed to make before the day ended, so we decided we would contact this lady walking towards us. We start talking and we find out she was one of the formers we went looking for, and that she had prayed and knew the church was true, and wanted to be baptized! We met with her family yesterday, and now her sons are in teaching. They both drink and smoke but are super interested in the gospel, and we´re really excited to be able to help another family leave behind such stupid vices of the world.

We also had another investigator, a 9 year old by the name of Karla. Now, Karla´s Dad is a fully active member, but he didn´t want her to be baptized. He said she isn´t ready because she still fights with her sisters. We have been teaching her (and him) for the past 4 months or so with little to no success. We and other Elders had explained all the doctrine, all the promised blessings and consequences, and his response was always, I understand, I don´t want her to be baptized. We decided she would be our 3rd baptism, and prayed and fasted our guts out for the Lord to help open his heart. We made a lesson plan all full of possible scriptures we could use to convince hm into agreeing, and they were pretty harsh. We got in the lesson, and a spirit of absolute love prevailed, and we completely abandoned our lesson plan and taught by the Spirit. At the end he agreed it was the best thing for his daughter to be baptized and recieve the gift of the Holy Ghost.

This gospel is true. There is a God, and he is very active in His work. I truly cannot say enough to praise Him. I feel like I understand at least a small part why Grandpa Newell´s favorite scripture was what it was.

The field is white, already to harvest, and it is my extreme honor to be counted among the servants of the Lord, and to serve the people here in Mexico.

The people are awesome. Even though there are many weird, and stupid things, the spirit of the people is one of work, love, and family. Well, that and crosses, EVERYWHERE. My favorite is that all the busses have playboy bunny stickers all over the place, and then a bunch of crosses hanging right next to them. But everybody loves their family here. It´s great to see people on weekends having huge cookouts with their families in the street.

So, you all thought it was gone, but it is time for the triumphant return of, THE MUNDANE THING OF THE WEEK!!!!!!!
Speed bumps. Their everywhere. The cops can´t control people driving (cars are crazy down here. You will often see four wheelers just driving down the street by a 12 year old.) and everybody loves to go really fast, so they put speed bumps down every 30 feet to control people´s speed. This presents some problems for police and ambulances however, so they all drive around in super tricked out hum-vees that just bounce right over them, skipping about 10 feet every time they go by.

Well, I think that´s all I got this week. MORE PICTURES NEXT WEEK! YAAAAAY! WOOOH! APPLAUSE!

Les amo familia, para siempre les honraré y servir.

Elder Newell