Monday, April 18, 2011

April 18, 2011 - Another P-Day!

Hello Hello Hello, everyone! How've you all been? It's great to write you all again. I think I should have a little more time this week (sorry again about last week) to write, so here goes! We're at a different "cyber" (internet cafe) this week, and writing a little later in the day.
First, here's a bit more down low on Hno. Carlos' visit to Houston. I talked to him yesterday, and he told me that he leaves on Wednesday to Houston (probably arriving late) and returns to Monterrey on Sunday. He has your number, and I also gave his sister (whom I suppose translated for you when you last visited?) the home phone and Mom's phone, so they can communicate when to bring by the package. I also told them that it would have "fresh things" so I told them to expect meeting up around Saturday or so. Hopefully they can coordinate when to meet up with you, like last time, but there's the low down. I also plan on giving Hno. Carlos my letter tomorrow or today, so be excited for that! : D
OK! So what's been up? I've been giving (and have coming up) lots of talks and stuff this past week. Yesterday was the Missionary week, when my companion and I and the ward mission leader give talks, and I talked about La Semana Santa (the Holy Week, or this week before Easter) and the Atonement. Here in Mexico the schools give two weeks off for this week and next, and it seems like a reasonably big deal! Yesterday there were several people we saw that were carrying around woven palm leaves and small bouquets (for Palm Sunday, of course!), and I expect there will be even more activity for Good Friday and especially Pascua (Easter). So yeah! My talk went pretty well; Elder Alegría told me that he understood it quite well! I especially was grateful for the opportunity to prepare and give it, as it gave me a witness that really Jesus Christ lives! : ) This week is Zone Conference, and we all have to prepare a talk for that (President will pick 2 missionaries to give them during the conference). AND next week I have the lesson in Gospel Principles on Gifts of the Spirit! Super lesson action! Not that I don't teach much to begin with ; ).
But I've been well. Just trying my best every day! I've also tried harder this week to be upbeat, happy, and supportive of Elder Alegría, as my senior companion and district leader and all that. It's actually kind of fun, because he is learning English (he's actually quite good, and he learned it all during the mission!) and he likes to spend P-Days only speaking English! It can be a little tough for me, because I'm so used to speaking in Spanish and I sometimes forget how to say things in English : D.  I've really learned a lot from him. He's a wonderful friend and a great missionary! He likes doing simple things like make my bed every day or shine my shoes : D, which is actually really cool. He also asks me about song lyrics (he likes to sing and play guitar, and he writes songs as English practice), or tells me about manga or anime or his plans for the future : ). He can be a little tough and straight-forward at times, but he has a lot of insight. I think he's a great companion.
Whew! I need a writing break. How about some photos? I do have to say, I'm a little annoyed by the person playing their death metal on the other computer behind me, but what can you do. My roommates before Elder Muñoz left (Elder Amador and Elder Elizarraraz are still here), A piñata that looks suspiciously a lot like me (but not; it was for 2 elders that left last transfer, which is it has 2 hair colors),  and me eating an elote. I probably shouldn't send any more, so the internet doesn't explode.
I hope you enjoy the photos! And I hope you know I love you SO SO much! You really are the best-est-es (?), and I love hearing from you every week. Good luck with everything that's coming up this week! AND JULIA, especial good luck on your college choice! I know you'll make the right one. I love you very much!
I think I'll close with this for this week. I look forward to talking with you all on Mother's Day! Be yo self, do yo thing, stay cool!
Love very much,
PSPS I'm not sure how the calls for Mother's Day will work, but I'm sure President will talk about it this week, and I'll let you know.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April 4, 2011 - This is the 181st Annual General Conference...

Hello Everyone!!! I hope you all are doing swell!
Before I write what's been up the past week, I want to apologize about the shortness of my emails of late. I know it doesn't leave you much idea how I'm doing. We write emails at the internet cafe of a member, and he prefers that we only write for an hour (to write President Walker, read at least part of your emails, and write you all). I'll try to make better use of my time, but I'm sorry that you have to suffer. I love you all TONS and I am so happy to hear from you all every week!
I'll try my best today and next week to get a letter written, so I can send it out with Carlos when he goes up to Houston in a week or so! That way you don't have wait 2 MONTHS (gross!) for this letter : ).
Conference was really really good. They set up a TV in another room for the English elders, and I really enjoyed it. SO many good talks! And we took a trip to Carl's Jr (hawaiian grilled chicken salad and choco malted crunch malt; strange that the majority of the words there are in english) for lunch on Saturday (Hna. Rivera brought us tacos and jicama for lunch on Sunday, and we ate together in a room in the church). There was so many good talks! I like what was said about the Rome temple; sounds intense! Also got a little trunky : P, with all the talk about families and marriage and things. Just save it til after the mission! But seriously, I'm really excited to get the conference issue (we get it here in english too), so I can reread them and apply them to my mission.
As Elder Alegría is new in the area, I've been in the lead, which has been kind of exciting. As I mentioned to President Walker, We've been meeting a lot with members and less-actives to try and start strengthening the ward, as it's still somewhat small and lacks somethings like activities and home teachers that we feel could really help.
Guess what! In honor of our Hatfield Men family tradition, I got ice cream for my roommates and I, and we ate it last night in memory of you! It was quite tasty : D, fresa (strawberry) and nuez con almendra (maple nut, I think).
We also had a wild time after transfers, as there was a load of new missionaries that didn't have their visas, that had to stay in our house! They were about ten in all, news and their trainers. Our house is quite large, and we have extra mattresses for just this kind of event, so it went pretty well. They went around in our areas and contacted people, which helped us out too. The cool thing is that Elder Funke, Elder Muñoz's old companion, was among them! He got a free day to contact and meet people in his old area, a really rare opportunity. It especially helped his recent convert Hno. Bernardo a lot, esp. with Elder Muñoz leaving. I also liked getting to know Elder Funke a little more; Elder Muñoz talked a lot about him, and he really is a cool guy.
Fiddlesticks I'm sorry family, I don't have much time left. I'll try to get in a little about Elder Alegría. He's from Queretaro (near Mexico City), has a sister there and a mom in Canada (cool, huh?). He plays guitar and likes to sing and compose in English (all learned on mission). Also really likes anime and drawing cartoons/manga and stuff like that. Wants to go to BYU after the mission, either as an actor or doing something with graphic design/drawing. Also knows a lot of self-defense. Has an interesting conversion story: was actually inactive for quite some time! has about 18 months on his mission, really liked serving in Matamoros. I've gotten along with him pretty well! He has a lot of similar philosophies with missionary work (like working with members and asking inspired questions). I hope that I can learn a lot from him and work well with him these next days and weeks.
That's it for now! I think we'll have time for letters later today, so I'm excited for that. Again sorry about the lack of info; I really do love you all, and I thought of you a lot during Conference. Please keep strong in the faith! I love you so, and I know the Lord is blessing me and you.

March 28, 2011 - Feelin' HOT, HOT, HOT!

Hello All! How are you?!? I'm excited to hear how everything's been going! It's getting hot hot hot here in Monterrey! I'm even sweating a little as I write you : D. For example, yesterday it was about 36 deg Celsius (or 96 deg F) during the day, and it was 91.5 deg F inside our house last night as we went to bed (at least we have fans)! Ugh. I'm definitely drinking lots of water and putting on the sunscreen. No bad sunburns yet, thankfully (I hope. We don't have many mirrors in the house).
So the big news from this week is... TRANSFERS! And Elder Muñoz is leaving! He's the new zone leader in Nuevo Laredo (on the other side of Laredo, TX), along with Elder Almaraz, a good friend of his, so I think that should be good. I'm stickin' here in Moderna, and my new companion is Elder Alegría, who will also be our new district leader (I keep thinking of that other Alegría, if you know what I mean ; ) ). I don't know much about him, except that he's coming from working in Matamoros (I think) and he has about 18 months under his belt.
So WOW! It's pretty exciting. I'm sad to see Elder Muñoz go; I still feel like there's a lot I could learn from him, and that I didn't take full advantage of that : /. On the other hand, I am excited for a change, to meet Elder Alegría (I hope he's a cool person and a good elder), and to see what he has to offer. It's interesting to be getting into the "rhythm" of different elders, since I'm used to so few. Wish me luck!
Also, THANKS A TON FOR THE PACKAGE!! I got it on Tuesday, and it was great! It was also fun talking to Hno. Carlos; he was surprised by how tall Dad is (He's like, what, 2 meters??) and also his knowledge of French cars, namely his Puegot (?). There's a lot of those here, as well as Renaults. But I digress. I enjoyed most of all the pictures. It was wonderful to see you all, Chicago, Christmas, Brazos Bend! Thank you for those. And for the cereal (that granola is SUPER chocolatey! Thanks!) and the MINTS!! The Thin Mints were well received! And the postcards (I loved Julia's : D) and the Toblerones and all the SWEET Texas swag! I gave my roommates a few postcards and things, and they enjoyed them. AND last of all, the great posters of the Temple and the First Presidency! I really enjoyed all of it, and I really appreciate you putting it all together. I may have a few things I will send to you/ask of you this April, if it's alright with Hno. Carlos, but I'll let you know a bit more down the line.
Phooey I don't have much time left. I love you all a ton, and I hope you have a great week. I'm super excited for GENERAL CONFERENCE, and I hope you'll be able to watch it all (it'll probably be in Spanish for me : /; at least I can read the Liahona next month for better understanding)! Keep the faith and rock on! You're all in my thoughts and prayers, and I'll talk to you soon.
Hey Dad! Thanks a lot for the email! I loved hearing about Steph and Matt, and I'm glad that they're doing well and that you had a good talk with them : ). And thank you so much too for the advice you gave on the appointments! It really helps me a lot, and important to remember : D. I love you so much, I love hearing about all that goes all, and I hope you have a great week. I'll be missing you and Sam during the priesthood session! Enjoy some ice cream for me (I don't think I'll be able to, because in Mexico the members fast during conference)!
Hey Julia! I'm glad to hear your trip to teh Y went well! I love you a lot and know you'll make a good choice. By the way, a couple of elders have asked me: ever thought about going on a mission? Think about it! Good luck with the college choice and school and all that!

March 21, 2011 - Come, come ye saints!

No toil or labor fear; but with joy, wend your way! : D

How are you all doing this fine day? It's Monday/P-Day again, a bit cloudy here down south, and I'm feeling happy and glad to write you all. Actually, the sun is starting to peek out a bit.

Thanks so much for sending that package! I'm excited to receive it, and I'm so grateful that Carlos was willing to do that for us. I've met him a couple times, and he seems like a nice person. I'll let you know if there's anything else I need in the next couple weeks; there might be a couple things. And thanks for the info on Japan, Dad! I'm glad to hear that Alex and the missionaries are OK : ).

Yeah! As you can maybe tell from my President's letter, the past week was pretty low with la obra misional. We had a lot of trouble with our appointments, people forgetting or just not being home, this or that or the other. It can be hard at times, especially when I would just like to teach and help someone, but so many things pop up that nope. I don't know; I'm not sure how to explain it. I don't want you all to think that things are bad or I'm down or anything; it just wasn't a very good week for proselyting.

On the other hand though, I'm really starting to get in synch with Elder Muñoz! I realized that I still have trouble with confidence and really just teaching the doctrines of the Restoration and the Gospel, while I've been focusing on teaching to people's needs and teaching by the Spirit. AND, Elder Muñoz is an awesome teacher of doctrine! I'm sad it took me so long to realize, but I want to try and learn from him how to teach all the doctrine and things I should teach that are in my head but hard to put out in Spanish, in a way that is clear and simple and understandable. I think, as Elder Muñoz described it, I was trying to run (and trying to explain to Elder Muñoz how I like to run) without really knowing how to walk yet (or at least I've forgotten some, as I did spend 2 months in the MTC). : D Like you said, Mom, just give myself time to learn and do it!

I also have gotten closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ this past week. I've been having a little trouble with confidence and feeling able to do the work, not really enjoying it. But then I had an experience that really showed me that Heavenly Father loves me, is proud of me, and that despite my weaknesses, if I do my best He will testify of me through His Holy Spirit. It's something I never want to forget, and something for which I'm so grateful! Really it made all the tough stuff from the past week worth it.

So what else has been up? The trip last week to the Citadel mall was fun; I actually found a new foil and cutter block for my razor (picked that up quick; I couldn't find my model in the US)! Elder Muñoz got a new pair of shoes, I checked out the Rayados jerseys (I want to pick one up. The Rayados are the local team here in Monterrey (with 4 champ titles!), but the jerseys are WAY expensive: like $60-70 dollars, or 898 pesos!! I think I'll wait on one of those : D), and got some ice cream (they actually had Mint Chocolate Chip!! YES). I also had 2 exchanges last week, when my companion and the companion from another area switch places (I think I've talked about those before).

Hey I guess I don't have too much time left. BUT, I do want to answer a few things! GOOD LUCK with your trip to BYU, Julia! I hope you enjoy your visit. It really is a nice campus, and I hope you get a good feel for it. Just take your experience and what you've heard from everyone (and get the Lord's opinion, too) and go for it. 

I only have a few minutes left! I LOVE YOU ALL A TON! I hope you have a great week, and I look forward to talking to you all soon.