Monday, August 30, 2010

August 30, 2010

1. We got a ride in the back of a gas truck. These trucks drive from neighborhood to neighborhood with their loud speakers screaming EL GAAAAAAAAS! Followed by the trumpet sound just before you usually yell CHAAAAAAARGE!

2-3. The construction pics. The man thought it was just HI-larious that I was trying to use that sledgehammer. I love those pictures :P


Hahaha, ya, I´ve changed color a bit. There is another Elder from Utah that is in an area called Apatzingan that is in the same zone as Uruapan, and he is now blaaaaaaack with hair as white as snow. Apatzingan is like Utah in the summer...but hotter...and all year long. Not to mention humid. They never turn on their boiler, because the sun already makes their water to shower super hot. Someone has been there now for 9 months. Poor guy.

Thanks Mom, we certainly are working our tails off. We had 30 lessons this week, 5 every day, and had 8 investigators this week at church. We totaled up our numbers and found out we have talked to almost 1200 people this month about the gospel. In my time here in Uruapan I have invited nearly 6000 people to listen to the gospel. It´s a lot of work, but it is rewarding in more ways than I can describe, and it really forces one to grow into new areas they didn´t feel possible. I know that the mission is honestly the best thing someone can do for their life. I heard someone describe it like a 2 year fast for the rest of your life, and it´s really true.

That is something I miss here in Mexico, museums. There is the park here, but nothing else. The cultural centers are more like a room with a couple of paintings, which are nice and interesting, but not quite the same as we have in Utah. Sorry to hear that all your plans went kaput. I told Elder Rojas about the curse, and he didn´t really believe me. I said he needs to go to Utah one day and we´ll go camping.

Wow, Grandma´s birthday is soon? Well...for ideas from Mexico...the usual is carne asada with lots of drinking. The parties here are super heavily focused on dancing and music. The mexican people LOVE their music. Maybe people won´t have cars, some walls, doors, or other things, but EVERYONE has a super nice stereo. PiƱata? Yes, they really do have those here, I thought it was something we made.

Thanks Effie otra vez for keeping the blog all nice and updated. I can´t wait to see it when I get back! It will be such an awesome resource for ME to remember how my mission was. Honestly, this counts for all Christmas and birthday gifts for 10 years. Maybe 9. I need to do some calculations...

Thanks for being so generous Mom and Dad with the money, I know it isn´t easy. I have about 1000 pesos waiting for me in reimbursments, but they are being really slow to send it. I was wondering if I could charge breakfast to you guys, we barely eat anything in the morning, and don´t eat dinner. Usually missionaries are fine, but our area doesn´t have buses, pure taxis, so it is pretty expensive to get from place to place. I´m going to go buy food for the week, if it is too much, PLEASE tell me in the letter so I can pull it back. The last thing I want is to be more of a burdern here, and it isn´t a big deal, we eat sufficiently, I just don´t get really full when we leave the house. Honestly, if I spend too much I want you to let me know. Also, I need to get a new backpack...ya...I don´t like the idea either. I need one that is small, but the only small ones are supposedly super posh and cost a lot. We´ve been searching for a couple of weeks here and I might have found one here that doesn´t cost 300 dollars. No, I´m not exagerating, we found a bunch that were 300 dollars.

But our week has been great, and will be even better this week! We didn´t have a baptism though. We had 3 planned, but through various problems they fell through. But, we have one slated for tomorrow! Rogelio. He was a contact we made knocking doors, and he invited us to share our message. Throughout the process we found out that Rogelio, according to him, was a terrible father. He drank, beat his kids, and yelled like a fiend. He says that he has since repented from all that, but his wife left him with their kids to live with her parents. We´ve been talking with him now about how he can truly repent of his sins through a baptism that is valid before the eyes of God by someone holding the proper authority, and he is super excited. He studied the Bible a lot, so everything we said he said, Oh, ya, just like it says in such and such scripture in the Bible! He has made a lot of changes in his life, and has been talking to his wife about them. They want to be here for his baptism tomorrow, and now they are very interested in the church, to see what helped their father/husband turn his life around. I am so amazingly humbled to be blessed by God so much to see this family start to heal itself, and take the first steps towards being an eternal family. I have seen the effects of the Atonement take place in this man´s life, and it is miraculous.

Also, his Nephew, Jorge is ready for a baptism. The first discussion we had with Rogelio, Jorge came in half way through, and sat far away while we talked. Jorge has about 14 years, and seemed a little rebelious. When we started to explain the Book of Mormon, he came a little closer. We came by the next appointment, and told him we had a gift for him, his very own copy of the Book of Mormon! He immediately snatched it from our hands and started reading it. Since then he has gained a love for the scriptures, both the Book of Mormon, and the Bible. Rogelio says that he never read the Bible before, but now he is reading them every day of his own free will. I have seen young Jorge change from an insecure teenager that wants to fit in, to a son of God, filled with the confidence of the knowledge of who he is.

We also had a miracle yesterday! A couple weeks ago we were talking to some women investigators outside of their house, we can´t enter if there isn´t a man present of 18 and older. Someone called for our attention, and Elder Rojas left to go take care of him while I continued the lesson. Later he told me that this guy wants a Bible in English, that he knows how to read English but not very well Spanish. A couple days later we dropped of a Book of Mormon in English, pretty sure that is what he meant when he said Bible, and left. Yesterday we were by his house, when Elder Rojas remembered him and said we should go by his house. When we knocked the door we heard, "They´re here!" Uh-oh I thought. He actually wanted a Bible...this is going to be awkward. He starts running down the stairs with the Book of Mormon in hand, hurridly he tried to open the door, threw the padlock into the bushes, and opened the book to 1 Nephi 12, where it talks about the church of the Devil. He asked us, "Who is this church!?" We responded, well, we can come in for a few minutes if you like and talk about it. He enthusiastically responded, ya!
We went up to his room and started to talk with him and his aging mother, and he was asking us all these questions about what happened in these chapters and everything. We explain it all, and give a description about the Book of Mormon about how Jesus came here, and this event is recorded in the book, and he responds, "OOOOOH! I HAVE ALWAYS WONDERED THAT! WHY WOULDN´T HE COME OVER HERE!?" He already has a firm testimony in the Book of Mormon, and is so amazingly child like it is hilarious. I can´t wait to keep meeting with him and see him progress to baptism. In the United States he got in a car accidnet, and they had to surgically reconstruct almost all his face, but now he is grateful to God that he is fine, and that he can work again.

So, it´s time for, ONLY IN MEXICO!!!!!! (I think)
So, on almost every block here in the centro, downtown, there is a place where you can buy and sell dollars for pesos. In total there are probably about 1000 stores that do this here in the small part of the businesses. Before I came here, I didn´t think many people went to the United States, but I have been shown wrong time and time again.

Well, I think that´s all for this week. Talk to you all in 2 more months!


Elder Joseph Neil Newell

PS: That book cover is awesome! Way to go Dad!

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