Monday, March 14, 2011

March 14, 2011 - A quick one today!

Hello Family! My apartment is planning on going to "Citadel" (a mall) this P-Day (also haircut; no time last week, because we played soccer. SUPER fun! I even had a few goals : D), so I don't have too much time to write today. I'll try to get in as much as I can. I haven't read your emails either, but I'll try to respond to your questions.

First, with the package! Sounds great; I'll give him the info. I'm not sure what his plans are, but I'll give him your cell phone and hopefully he can coordinate with you. I don't know if he speaks English (I hope so!), but I'm sure we can work it out. As for things I might need/like...could you send me some Yorks? The selection of mint-flavored anything is very minimal. It'd also be cool if you could include some Texas representation for the 3 other elders I live with (stickers, pins, etc); they were asking me about it and I thought it would be neat. And maybe some cereal? It's kind of expensive and not much of a selection here, but I know it's bulky, so don't worry too much about that. Other than those things, I'm doing quite well! Nothing else really comes to mind about needs or whatever.

Did you hear about the earthquake in Japan? I've been wondering about the situation for a while now, especially with Alex and his family. Are they over there? Are they alright? What's the damage like? What sorts of things are being done to help?

Things have been going pretty well. The work has been rough this week, with lots of appointments falling through and little progression. I've been very grateful for tender mercies this past week, for a great companion to work with and support me (and I him), and nice members who, although they don't always have time to accompany us or help us more than give us food, are really nice and supportive, especially our recent converts in the ward. We had a great Stake Conference this past week (Pres and SIster Walker gave talks, and they were really good! : D).

I've also had a few interesting food adventures this past week: Nutella breakfasts (on bread with milk and orange), french toast, "torta" of scrambled egg and banana, campechanas (again : d), brownies, "Blue Power Licuado" (smoothie with banana milk blueberries and strwaberry yogurt), SUPER delicious tropical granola I found, AWESOME "Nieve Jalisco Style" (flavored shaved ice kind of, but with "agua de frutas." hard to describe, but really good), Coca-cola in the bottle (really is a part of the culture here. Coke even has a returnable glass bottling program that's sweet), tostadas of avocado/tuna and potatoes/ceviche, CARNE : D, creme-filled pan dulce (looked like a bee abdomen), tasty beans (mashed with chorizo, kind of like your bean dip, Mom), fruit salad (with cream and yogurt, plus various fruits, like melon or banana or apple or raisins), and food with garlic (SUPER delicious, because I guess Mexicans don't use it very often, and you know how I feel about garlic : D), and yeah! : D

Fun story about Daylight Savings Time: Apparently Daylight Savings doesn't start in Mexico until April or May or so. However, I use my atomic clock as my alarm, and it automatically sets itself with the atomic clock in the US! So I woke up at 6:30 as usual, told everyone that it was 6:30 (everyone was like "whoa, thanks for telling us Elder!") and I was prepping the shower when Elder Muñoz came and told me it was still 5:30! So we ended up sleeping another hour. Kind of silly! : )

Well I better send this off so we can get to our comida (lunch). I love you all so so much, I really appreciate your emails, and I hope to talk to you soon! Thanks for the package, too!


Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011 - We don't need no stinkin badges!

HELLOOO Everyone! : D It's wonderful to get to email you all again, and hear from you! It's a really nice day, and I'm feeling super great. I have a lot of interesting happenings that I want to get down, so I haven't read your emails yet, but I'll get to those in a sec.
First off, I FINALLY received the FIRST letter from Mom and Dad here in Mexico!! It looks like it was postmarked on the 7 of February, and I received it on 3 March. A little lame that it took almost a month, but I'm just happy to read your handwriting and hear how things are going. It was a tender mercy for me, especially about your contacting in Japan, Dad, and that missionary email on obedience that you included, Mom! Thanks a ton.
Second off, A cool thing happened yesterday. I was talking to the member family, the Ovayes, who lives next door, as they offered us some carne asada (yum! and super nice). Apparently, the brother of the wife has relatives that live in Spring, TX! We got talking about Texas and stuff, but then he told me that he was going up to visit on the 18th of March, and he offered to deliver a package to you all if I needed anything! Wow! He also mentioned that he could deliver something from you all down here to Monterrey as well. WOW! I thought it was super nice of him, and I told him that I would ask you all. What do you think? I don't really have anything to send home as of right now, but if you haven't sent the memory cards and stuff yet, maybe this would be better! Either way, that's really cool to have people so close that connect us! : D Let me know soon, so I can tell him and give him our address. Thanks!
Whew! That's a lot, and I haven't written too much on my week yet. Definitely the highlight of the week was my interview with President Walker! It was just really great. I went in with a number of questions that I've had for a while, and he really helped me feel much better about them and my work here. We talked about communication and working together for a common goal, working with the ward, church attendance, contacting, a little about Mexican culture . . . I really came out feeling so good, so full of joy, ready to tackle the work! I wish we could have talked more (and he felt the same, too!), but at the same time, it will tide me over until the next one (in 3 months). I hope I'm not making it out to more that it was, I really did enjoy it.
What else happened? We had exchanges on Tuesday (which actually have been happening a lot), when I led in our area with Elder Hurtado while Elder Muñoz exchanged with Elder Fletcher in Azteca. Leading the companionship is actually kind of tough, especially if plans fall through, but it's good practice. A lot of times you don't always feel you know what you're doing, but then you just do your best and know that the Lord will make up the rest. Elder Muñoz put me at point on Saturday as well, which was tough at times when I would get nervous or scared to speak, but he told me that I did well in taking initiative and striving to do my best. And that's what counts! We were talking yesterday about applying more what I've learned and what I am learning, and he helped me feel a lot better about my confidence and just trying things out, with teaching and finding and everything. Really, our focus and goal is the people, helping them to come unto Christ, and our skills and teaching just help us accomplish that. I did feel better though, and I look forward to giving it more of a try.
¿Qué mas? I was talking with Hna. Rivera yesterday (she serves us the comida on Sundays: "burros" = burritos and tostadas) about different Mexican foods, and I started thinking about different foods that I miss. It would be fun to expose the Mexican population to such wonderful things as Banana Bread or Funeral Potatoes or Jello Salad or Waffles (alas, I looked today for fun and couldn't find any waffle irons)! Could you maybe send a couple of your favorites, Mom and Dad? No big deal; just something fun to make on a P-Day or whatever. Also, I really enjoyed my fast and the sacrament this week! Really they are special.
It looks like we're wrapping up here. We're planning on getting haircuts and playing soccer at the stake center in a bit! I'm not sure if I'll have time for a letter, but I'll try.
I love you all SO SO MUCH and I wish you all the best this week! Keep in touch, and keep on rockin'. I'll try to send some pics or more goodies next week. I know the Lord is with us and helping us!
Lovin' you lots and lots,
psPS Check out Doctrine and Covenants 31; it really helped me when I was having a rough time this past week : ).

Monday, February 28, 2011 - Wow! It's March!

Almost, that is!

How is everyone? I'm emailing a tad late today, as we did laundry first. Actually, I don't have a whole lot of time : (, but I'll try to say as much as I can.
First, LETTERS I'VE RECEIVED!!! I received a pouch letter from Sis. Sunshine last Monday the 21st, sent on 31 Jan; a card and valentines from Grandma and Grandpa H on the 26th (sent on 2 Feb), and a letter (non-pouch) from Sis. Sunshine on the 26th, sent on the 7th of Feb. Kind of slow : P! I'm disappointed that you still haven't received any of my letters, and I haven't seen any of yours, but what can you do. On packages, Elder Amador said that they need to be sent to the mission office, and suggested using UPS overnight (for speed I guess). I've seen elders receiving packages from USPS (like you said, Mom), but I don't know how long they take to get here.
Thanks for the debit account info! And especially thanks for watching it for me; it helps me feel better about using it. I'd like to use it less if I can, so you don't have to reload it often. Soriana is the shopping center where we buy groceries and supplies and stuff; it's like a Mexican Walmart (though there are Walmarts here too : D) (and no HEBs are close. Rats!).
You needn't worry about the memory, I still have room for 1050 more pics or so. If I need more memory, I'll buy another card (thanks!), but I should be good until the package comes. Thanks a TON for the family tree! That's super awesome. The last photos I received were in the Christmas package you sent. 
And CONGRATS JULIA!!!!!!!!!!!!  That's super awesome that you got into BYU! I'm so happy and excited for you. I know whereever you choose will be great. Good luck with the tour and choice!
And thanks so much for your emails. They really help me out and lift my spirits! This past week has been a little tough for me (though with plenty of good stuff too!), and I've missed you too. I've thought a lot about you all, and I love you so much. I'm so grateful to be a missionary, and I'm so grateful for my testimony. I know what's in the past is in the past (as hard as that is), and that the future is a ways away, so I'll do my best to enjoy the present.
I hope you all have a wonderful week and I'll talk to you soon. I'll try to get off a letter with more happenings if I can.