Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29th 2010

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!

HELLLOOOOO!!!!!

Sounds like everyone had a fun week! We also had a bit of sickneses going around. Elder Flores got a realllly bad cold the other day and we were shut in our house for the day. Our beds are on the second floor, right in front of a door/window and in that area there is a huge wind current and buses that go by outside of our house, combining to bring a whole bunch of dust into our room at night. We sweep it at night, and wake up to a floor covered in dust again.

Other than that though, we are really excited for how things are going! There is something called the Standard of Excellence in the mission, that is a set of goals we need to reach every week. 200 contacts, 20 lessons of a half an hour or more, 7 new investigators, 3 new investigators at sacrament meeting, and 3 new baptismal dates every week. If we do that, we have the promise we will baptize every week. It is the push of the mission to be able to complete it every week, but almost nobody has done it to this point, and only one companionship has been able to do it consistently. This week, we had almost everything by Sunday, except the hardest of all, 3 new people at church every week. We brought a family we´re teaching, but only the Dad was new. We visited another family in the morning and they said they would go after finishing some housework. We offered to help, but they refused. We arrived to the church with only one new, but we saw the husband of a recent convert in there that we had dropped a while ago, so that climbed on up to two! We instantly ran out, Elder Flores and I, to go find the other family and bring them there. We arrived, gasping for breath, and they explained to us that the Mom was sick. She tried to convince her kids to go, but they wanted to go together. So, defeated, we left back to the church. In the third hour, Elder Moberg, my first comp. here in Tonala, now an assistant, called us to see how we were doing. After having explained the situation, he said that this other companionship that is completing the goals every week pulled someone in off the street and taught him a lesson after church, and that if we could do that, it would count. We sprinted outside brainstorming who we could bring. We couldn´t think of anyone, so we decided to just bring someone out of the street. We contacted a lady with her kid who practically ignored us. Then I saw a worker walking across the street. I ran over and started talking to him, and invited him to Church. He said, "Are you kidding? I´m not presentable or anything!" "So what? What matters more to God, that you arrive with bad clothes, or not arrive at all?" "Good point!" So we excitedly ushered him into priesthood meeting and taught him a little bit during the lesson. He loved what he saw, and said he wanted to come back next week in a white shirt and tie like the rest of the people. We saw the blessings of the Lord upon us so greatly there. We had worked as hard as we could, done everythign in our power, and we thought it all was over. But we didn´t understand how much we really could do. The Lord aided us to come to an awakening deeper and more profound of what we can really do as missionaries, and completed His promise. I truly know and testify that if we have a commandment of God, he always prepares the way for us to complete said goal.

This family that couldn´t make it is really prepared. They asked us in the first visit, Why are there so many churches? Well we have an answer for that! They live in a really weird place though. We went looking for a direction one day, and saw a bunch of white houses that we had never seen before. We started walking to them, but they were completely fenced off with cheap chain link, or with small cliffs and vegetation. Eventually we found a small gate made of rebar in the side of a street, and we entered. Every house was white, but more than half had no one in them. There were dogs, like lions prowling on balconies on second floors, having claimed some of the habitations for their own. We looked a little further in, and saw that after one street, it was just pure walls. They never finished 90% of the houses, and they were covered in weeds, trees, and dirt. It felt like the Neighborhood that Time Forgot. We half expected a dinosaur to come running out of the jungle. But of the houses we knocked, half let us talk to them, and two are families that are really prepared. One is about to have a new kid, if she hasn´t given birth already on Sunday. The Lord truly guided us there, but it is a strange place.

Yikes, looks like Merlin´s leg is going crazy there. Hope he can finish his days peacefully. Pizza is good. Even better with Chorizo and Bacon. I found out that the Tenochititlan Market over there is a really good Mexican market. The daughter of the Bishop here went to BYU and bought there a lot. Something you need to see if you can make is called Carne en Su Jugo. Or, literally, Meat in Your Juice, WAIT! It actually tastes really good! It´s like a Beef broth with strips of steak or something, it´s a type of cow meat that is much more tender, and bacon, cilantro, onion, and salsa (hot sauce). You serve it with beans, cooked or refried, and tortillas. I usually eat all the broth first, then make tacos out of the meat and beans. It´s reaaaaaallllly good. You might look up Karna Garibaldi´s Carne en Su Jugo. They hold the world record for fastest food, and we eat there a lot for mission conferences and all that.

Geez Louise, sounds like Al has a rough time ahead of him. That is an absolutely huuuuuge District. And Hermanas too...that´s tough. You can´t talk too much about pure numbers, or yell at them, because then they start crying, and you feel awful. It requires a lot more tact and ability to talk than other Elders. It certainly has been a growing experience having to deal with Sister Missionaries. But they can do a lot of stuff that honestly, we can not do. They also usually have real desires to serve. There are not many, if any, sisters that came just because, "they´re supposed to." All have the desire to aid in the work.

It´s weird to see the mission changing. Now having 10 months, things have changed a lot. Elder Tibbitts, my comp. from the MTC, is a Zone Leader now, as well as the Elder I trained, Elder Rojas. Elder Aguilar from the MTC is a District Leader, and with the other Elder I trained in my old area. The mission is truly a miracle. I remember our first day inthe MTC, all scared and not knowing what anything was or meant. But really I have seen the transformative process of the mission in their lives. They have become much better people, stronger in their knowledge of the Gospel, and in their abilities to follow it. We are still the same, but so different at the same time. Exactly who we were, but someone entirely different. It´s hard to describe. I know this church is the true Church of Christ. It´s claims to the authority of the Priesthood, and the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ are true and He is truly at the head of it.

I hope all is going well back home still, sounds like Em is doing great! Thanks for writing! Hope all goes well in school. We have an investigator named Julio that lived in Arkansas for acouple of years and is a super gamer. He is excited for Thor. So there´s one. I love you all, y que tengan una semana EXCELLENTE!

¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!

Elder Newell

video video

November 22nd 2010

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!

Hey, so, this week is also going to be a bit short, sorry. What happened is that we had emergency changes. I´m no longer with Elder Fuentes, and another Elder from the zone, Elder Flores is my new companion. So, I´m in the offices, and we had a chat with President on what needs to happen in the zone, and I am using one of their computers to write. Wanted to let you all know I´m doing great still, we´re at the point of completely changing everything in our area, we´re really excited.

Thanks to everyone who has written me, Em, Ef, Mom, Dad, other letters I have yet to read because their on paper and we haven´t gotten them yet! I hope you´re all doing great, and I PROMISE! NEW VIDEOS NEXT WEEK! LIKE, 5. I hope all is well and that things keep on going...well. You´re all in my prayers and I know this church is true.

¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

November 14th 2010

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!
If you don´t get the letter out on Sunday, no worries, the earliest I check the mail is at 12. Sounds like everyone is still doing great. Happy to hear the garden is still progressing. I can´t believe how big Ava and Myla are! That´s ridiculous! I think it´s time to throw a Mexican super-easy snack recipe your way!
MOLLETES:
So this is a little treat that Elder Fuentes and myself have been eating like crazy. The basic version:
2 slices of bread
1 can of refried beans
Cheese
Hot sauce
Just put the beans on the bread, butter it up first for more flavor, then put on the cheese and throw it in the microwave for 30 seconds. After the cheese is melted, pour on some hot sauce, and you´ve got a good treat. The more complicated way is with a type of bread called Bolio that is kind of like baggett. You could probably find it in the mexican markets, it´s super common. It´s like baggett, like I said, and you cut it in half, scoop out the bread to make a cup, then toast it. Then you put in the beans, and cheese, then toast it again until the cheese melts. It´s soooooooo good.
By the way, I got the retainer all taken care of, thanks so much for all the support Mom and Dad. I took a lot of money out, but most of that is in reimbursments. The actual retainer only cost 1000 pesos. A whole lot cheaper than we thought. I also had to buy a new iron. The Elder that had our iron had changes two weeks ago, and we really needed another one.
We´re still working hard here in Tonala, or as we say, Tonaranch. I´m going to have some videos ready for next week, so get ready!
This week was strange. We picked some old investigators of the other Elders, and started teaching them as a favor to the Elders, give them one last chance sort of thing. I have learned a lot of how important it is to speak wich clarity when teaching people about the Gospel. When there is clarity, the spirit testifies of that plain and simple truth. When you are embarassed, nervous, or otherwise confused while teaching, the person will not feel the spirit without much effort. These people didn´t understand what was the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Why we were there, or why they needed to follow Him. I remember an investigator that thought to violate the law of Chastity was to be in the same room as a girl alone...clarity is good. We have also found people who just weren´t ready when the other missionaries were there, but now are completely ready to accept the Gospel. For an example, an Elder that served in this area told us about a family that was really good, but never went to church. We went by, and the husband, who had always been "working" when the other Elders were there, was there with us. They explained he had been to prison the last couple of years, but now released and they want to hear the missionaries now. They could never go to church because they were visiting him in Jail, and were too embarassed or somethign to tell the missionaries. They came to church two weeks ago and are slated for a baptism this week. It has really strengthened my testimony that the Lord has his ways of preparing us to accept him.
Elder Fuentes and myself continue to make huge strides in our personal development, and when we fall we pick each other up again. I´m so happy to have a companion. I can´t imagine doing this without someone to help and support me. Elder Sill is also doing great. He looks almost exactly like Stephen Colbert...it´s kinda creepy honestly. We´ve become great friends, and are working hard to serve the Lord.
My time´s almost up, but I hope everyone back home is doing great. Thanks Aunt for writing all the letters! The stories about Grandpa were great, and have really inspired me to increase my level of committment! I love hearing about the lives of you and your family, and about how the gospel has influinced your lives.
I hope everything is well with everyone else, and that we can continue having success in our efforts of life.
¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!
Elder Newell

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 8th 2010

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!

Hawhahaha, that all looks like soooo much fun! Looks like the costmes wereall out this year! There is also a lot of foodhere that is...less than great. Especially in the really poor homes. But they seem to be the ones with the most generosity , and that never let you leave without eatin something. The people here are honestly super nice, and friendly, andhumble, andgiving. Sounds like Alex is really having some good time too. If you`re comfortable, you`re not bein a missionary. Our nations definitely seem very simillair. Even the people look similair.

But the Lord has His ways of making us grow. Our first week to get the goals of 20 lessons and 200 contacts, we needed 3 and 60, the second week, 3 and 100, then 5 and 60, and this week was 5 and 114. We got them every time. It requiered workin until the lastsecond, but we got them with the strength of the Lord. Honestly it is amazing what we can do if we embark fully in the service of our Lord, and allow him to mold us into the people we can really be.

I have an appointment with the doctor in an hour for my retainer to get it fixed, thanks Mom and Dad! Also I am planning on cooking a fake thanksgiving dinner for some members in the ward, and use it as an excse to get them excited for missionary work :)

Not mch to report this week, and not much time, but we`re doing great, I have some videos to send but...I don`t have the camera with me. Sorry! Oh, new companion, Elder Sill. We are in a trio now! He is American, from Las Vegas.

I hope everything is going well over there, and that we are all still etting along well. Hope Em is stil doin well with her group at UVU, and getting some more schooling and all! Aso that Thor is doing well, and that Dad`s book keeps cimbing up! They said I can read it when I get home. I`ll be in the airport reading it :) Effie and Mark, hope all is wel with you

¡ADIOS MI FAMILIA!

Elder Newell

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November 1st 2010

¡HOLA MI FAMILIA!

Halloween was something interesting here. Nobody really made costumes, just bought a bunch of reaaaaaalllly grotuesque masks for their kids and let them run around the city. Congratz on the realization of THRILLER!

All of your costumes looked really great, way to go Jen on winning the prize! I laughed pretty hard when I saw the arms for the Dalek, because it is probably what they used originally to make it. I have seen those skeletons, but I didn´t know they had a name/story.

I think I might be starting to send a lot more videos, because I almost don´t have time now to write much :(

I got the letter, I´m going to be sending it by fax to the number it says, and also by DHL home so it gets there fast. I am still in the process of getting an appointment, we´ll see how it goes.

Don´t worry about my feelings when it comes to Merl. If it´s his time, it´s his time. I know I´ll get to see him again. If Joseph Smith gets to see his favorite horse in the afterlife, I better get to see my dog!

Sounds like Christmas is going to be a blast. Let me know what happens so I can live vicariously through your emails.

I cannot believe so much time has gone by. We´re about to hit the 10 month mark, which is almost 1 year, which is half of the mission, which is a lot of time!

Well, we are really trying hard to put the example for the zone, me and Elder Fuentes, working hard to meet all the goals that have been set. Goals like, 20 lessons, 200 contacts, 7 new investigators, 3 people at church, and 3 new baptismal dates. We were one of the only two zone leaders in the mission to get it all this week. We´re happy, but still not very happy. We didn´t baptize anyone this month, and the zone suffered for it. We feel super bad, but at the same time are super excited to move forward to find those the Lord has prepared to recieve his Gospel. AAAARGH NO TIME! I hope the movies and pictures can satisfy your curiosity here, OH! Real quick answers to questions I can remember off the top of my head!

No we don´t have a car, we are in charge of Tonala, and a good chunck of Guadalajara, We almost never have contact with other Zones unless we have the monthly meeting with President, with the other Zone Leaders, no we don´t get a lot of sleep because usually we are fixing things in the Zone, and no, we do not have horns.

I hope everything keeps going well over there, have an excellent week!

BYYEEE!!

Elder Newell

A baptismal service for the stake we had.
Elder Fuentes showing off in front of a cow standing in garbage. I was going to get a picture too, but it started walking away when I tried, and it was a really big cow.

Being bored on P-Day with Elder Fuentes

Practicing for a spot in a Gatorade commercial, right after having taken a swig of it.



video video