Monday, November 26, 2012

Week 14 - Another Great Missionary Week

Hello Friends :)

AHHH!!!! I'm so excited for you Mikele!  You are going to love Chile! (though me and my fellow Mexicans will relentlessly make fun of your accent).  Could life be better?  I submit to you that it could not!  You are going to be an amazing missionary!  I'm really proud of you! I'm so excited I can´t form multi-clause sentances!  Nor can I spell sentences!  AHHH!!!  YEAH!  Spanish is the best - I love how pretty much everyone I know from BYU is speaking Spanish!   Did I mention I'm excited!?

I hope everyone had a good week and an extra special Thanksgiving!  

Thanksgiving Greetings to all!

Thanks for the emails as always - I love the updates! We received our transfer calls this morning - I'll be staying here in Reforma, my companion is leaving to be a zone leader in Chapultapec, and my new companion is named Elder Martinez.  I'm a bit nervous because now I'm responsible for knowing where everybody lives and stuff but its should be alright.

This week was pretty good.  I went to an area called Capoya (to go to the doctor haha) and it was super cool.  You should look it up on Google maps and try to find the Cross of Tuxtla.  

Cross of Tuxtla

 The work is going well, the only problem is people's agency haha. Its tough not to get disappointed when things don't work out like you want them to, but that's how it goes. I read 2 Nephi 33 and Jacob 1 the other day. Both of them knew the ultimate result of their civilization, and lamented their downfall, nevertheless the worked as hard as they could. (Jacob 1:19).

And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day. 

Ultimately we just do our best and leave unto the Lord the rest (D&C 123 somewhere near the end - starts with let us waste and wear out our lives).

For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, ...who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—
Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—
These should then be attended to with great earnestness.

 One big problem here in Mexico is people who aren't married.  If it wasn't so tragically damning to their spiritual progress it would be pretty funny.  People have been together for 15 years have 3 or 4 kids, but they just aren't quite ready to make the leap haha.  Well we are working with a few of them and making good progress.  In one lesson we read The Family: A Proclamation to the World and essentially testified that they needed to change their life (in a tactful way of course). I have to admit I felt pretty legit declaring repentance so boldly haha. Its good fun!

Thanks for all the prayers on behalf of me and my investigators - both are doing quite well. I still have a pretty wicked cough but I feel fine and I'm just as fat as ever haha. I discovered this week that if every Sunday was the primary program church attendance would increase by 50%. Just saying - its an idea :)

Mom and Dad - good to hear that you enjoyed Thanksgiving. I'm pretty jealous of Mom's birthday present, that's so cool!  Thanks for the update on the sporting world Dad, I had no idea Notre Dame was tearing it up. To answer your questions Dad - I have given a few blessings. Usually I just do the anointing but I've done the sealing as well. Its tough because you give blessings in the Tú form, and as a missionary I almost never speak in tú, so I mess up a lot. but its all good. My language abilities have improved dramatically. I can understand almost everything and speak without thinking too much. My companion and I teach gospel principles second hour (Well, lets be honest, my companion teaches gospel principles and I offer commentary). I think in this coming transfer it will be more 50/50 though. And so far I haven't been asked to speak in church.

Roy and AD - Lucky! I love Toquerville! And I smiled just as big as possible to hear that you had the audacity to go back to that same Wendy's haha. Keep on truckin!

 Aly!! - Thanks for writing me! I'm so happy to hear that you are loving life! I can promise you that you will never regret choosing to serve a mission - I love it so much! I can also promise with almost as much confidence that you will not regret letting Senior-itis slip in just a bit. haha. Don't be a bum - but do. haha :) I love you!

I am still shaking with excitement about Mikele's mission call! Life seriously could not get better!

Well enjoy your week. I hope you are all as excited for Christmas as I am (even if its still flippin' hot here)! You know I'm kickin' it to some Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas music every night haha. 

Also enjoy the pictures - even though I look slightly like an alien in one or two of them!

I love you all!

Elder Çlark Roth

Monday, November 19, 2012

Week 13 - My Life as a Mexican


Thanks for all the mail this week, its always good to hear from you guys.  Sounds like everyone had a pretty killer week!  Thanks for all the prayers for my health.  I'm doing pretty good - don't worry.  The only real problem is that I've spent a bunch of my money on medicine and stuff and now I have to live the rest of the month on 200 pesos worth of food.  ha-ha.

We had a great week.  First of all we baptized hermana Alena which was awesome.  I always enjoy going to baptisms, but its something else when you get to see their life before and after they know the gospel.  And then you get to see all their sins, shame, and regrets washed away and they receive in return the Holy Ghost.  I'm so happy for her! 

Roy and Andee - I'm so jealous to hear that you got a foot of snow!  I would kill for that (on second thought, I'm pretty sure that's against mission rules).  Unfortunately, I must be honest - the bobby pins have not yet played an integral part in the success of my mission.  Don't worry though, there is still plenty of time.  Thanks for the sports update.  It does my heart good to hear about my Cougars :)  I likewise am doing my best Roy and loving it.  Baja.

Dad - So cool that you got to go see F1.  Its on TV here sometimes and I must admit its hard to avert my eyes ha-ha   Those pictures are great!  I bet you two were dying to get into one of those garages.  I have heard of Sergio Lopez - I suppose he should be my favorite ha-ha   I'm also really happy to hear you got to go on vacation and get to go see grandma this week :) have fun!

Mom - Glad you got to see Ty and Ry again - I gotta say I'm looking forward to that.  I can't believe they could scream like me - I don't know whether to be amazed or offended ha-ha    I've seen like 7 crashes since I've been here (not the aftermath - the actual crash).  I even saw the same collectivo hit two cars within 30 seconds ha-ha.

Mikele - Where are you going!? When are you going!? AAAAHHHHHHH!!!

The work is going well. We did indeed have investigators this week, including some new ones that members brought :)  Two stories from this week:
1. Yesterday (Sunday) we ate with a member after church.  Unfortunately our message didn't get to him so he didn't know we were eating with him.  So what did we do?  We hopped in his car (he is one of the few members with a car) and went to a Chinese restaurant to pick up some food.  ha-ha   BTW it was almost my first lunch without eating tortillas but before we finished he heated up some tortillas, so we had some Chinese tacos....And the streak continues!  

2. This one is pretty cool/humbling.  As you know the members here are pretty poor.  But let me tell you they are good people.  In the United States the Elder's quorums begrudgingly help people move; here we build people's houses.  We went to help for a little bit today on a service project, building a house.  Its a Monday morning - the project is from 7AM to 2 PM and its been going on for a few weeks now.  Out of our 100 person ward there were at least 12 Priesthood holders there building this house.  I was pretty humbled to think that in my little ward where some people struggle to find food to eat there would be 12 people on a Monday morning working for 7 hours to build a very poor member a home.  What do I know about sacrifice?

Well that's about all this week.  I love you all a ton, and I really mean that.  I have definitely learned to appreciate the blessings of my family out here, and I love to teach and testify that the gospel blesses families!

Elder Clark Roth

Monday, November 12, 2012

Week 12 - Loving it!


Thanks for the emails, they are always a highlight!  Things are going well here in Mexico!  In case you are wondering...I`m still sick :)  This week was pretty rough, but I was still able to get out and work so no worries.  I`m sure I`ll have fond memories of my first transfer, when I was sick the whole time.  haha. 

In response to some of the living conditions questions: you can drink the water here, in fact its a great way to loose a ton of weight really really quickly haha.  But since I`m happy with my figure, I drink bottled water.  Unfortunately though, it doesn`t come in bags like in Ecuador - we just by 20 liter bottles and carry around water bottles.  Our members treat us well - they make us lunch (which is the big meal here) everyday except P-day, and only once have we been stood up on a lunch appointment.  We make our own breakfast (usually Corn Flakes for me, but sometimes quesadillas, PB&Js, etc. - Nothing too exciting).  And we don`t really eat dinner... Usually I just eat an apple or something like that before bed.  (The good news is that fruit is super super cheap.  Bananas and Mandarin oranges are like 8 pesos for a KG.  Needless to say, I go through a lot of Bananas and Mandarin Oranges).  I haven`t had any tacos that really resemble US tacos.  Generally we have a plate of beans and some meat (they eat monkey here!) and then a pile of tortillas.  Basically anything goes as long as you have a tortilla in your hand, so I usually tear off a piece of the tortilla, use it to tear off a piece of meat, and then run it through the beans.  It isn`t the most refined form of dining, but it suits me just fine haha :)  We also eat a ton of soup, which would be great except its really hot here and there is no such thing as air conditioning.  A bowl of soup for lunch and you don´t stop sweating until your freezing cold shower the next morning.  And I sleep fairly well, despite my bed being only slightly more comfortable than a pile of rocks.  haha - its actually a perfectly acceptable bed...I guess. :) Seriously though, I love it here.  I hope it doesn´t sound like I´m complaining because I am so grateful to be here.

To be brutally honest, as much as I love the people and the mission, Tuxtla Gutierrez is certainly not what I would call pretty.  From my understanding, the rest of the state of Chiapas is fantastic, but here...not so much.  There is trash everywhere, the air is super polluted, and there is no green in the city.  That said, if you look for the beauty its there.  All the old VW bugs, how every 3rd car (perhaps not an exaggeration) is a taxi, how everyone is poor and has no idea that they are, people with gross teeth but great smiles.  I really do love it here - but you might call it an aquired taste. The mountains are pretty too :)

Mom - congratulations on slaughtering your week!  I love how you did the talk, that is so awesome.  I really try to focus on enduring to the end with my investigators.  I don´t want to baptize them into inactivity, I want to baptize them and see them in the Celestial Kingdom. 

Dad - you nailed you next calling.  Thats really exciting!  Enjoy strengthening the ward, they´re in good hands. 

Mikele - Its always fun to hear about your adventures.  I want to go to Petra!  Truth be told, I haven´t sent you a letter yet but I have every intention of sending one soon (These first few P-days have been really busy because I´ve had to do immigration stuff, but I should have a little bit of time now).  As for mission prep, I don´t have any great secrets.  You are already well prepared (really, really well prepared), just keep doing what you are doing.  My only thing is I wish I knew preach my gospel a little better. Its a bit tough because until you start your mission its tough to apply a bunch of the stuff, but I recommend a good study of chapter 1,2,4,5,and 10. The more closely you can follow what it says in PMG the better missionary you will be.

The work is going really well!  We have two solid baptisms lined up for this Saturday  and another for the following Saturday.  We are also working with a guy named Alberto.  I love him so much!  haha.  Most people don´t really talk with me much, but he is constantly asking me questions and just being a really nice person (he always starts with RUTT (his attempt at Roth). Last night he made us Hamburgers after our lesson.  He is progressing fairly well, he really has the desire to follow Jesus Christ.  I really hope I get to work with him some more!

I´m loving my mission (which fyi in Spanish is misión, which if you make two works is mi sión, which means My Zion).  It really is my Zion.  The other day I was riding in a collectivo (search YouTube to see if there is a video of someone in a collectivo, it should be quite a sight) with like 18 people jammed in.  It was so hot, the road was unpaved, and I was really sick, in short completely miserable.  Somehow though, I just had a smile on my face that I couldn´t wipe away. :)  So aimless story short, I love my mission!


Elder Clark Alan Rutt

Monday, November 5, 2012

Week 11 - I Love You!

¡Hey Oh!

¿Cómo están?  Thanks as always for the emails, I love getting updates.  All is well here in Mexico, I´m loving it.  Right now I´m sitting in some dude's house (which he uses as a internet cafe of sorts), sweating my little heart out, listening to some dubbed TV show that a dude is watching.  Its really a different world here.  Its really fun though.  To respond to your concerns about my health, I´m doing pretty well.  I´ve got a pretty good cough going right now, but I feel fine.  It turns out that I had Dengue.  And it turns out having Dengue is really really miserable.  But I´m fine now, no worries.

The work is going well, we´ve got some really good investigators right now.  Alena is a young woman who was invited to church by her friends and loves it. She has kept every commitment and is really great.  We also have Alberto, who lives here for work while the rest of his family lives up in Northern Mexico.  He´s having a tough time being alone, but he is progressing well.  We have some others who are rocking right along too.  Its frustrating when people flog us or don´t keep commitments, and its really important to not get discouraged.  When its a bit tough I just try to remember the good that I´m doing.  Perhaps not everyone I see will be baptized and endure to the end, but already I´ve taught maybe 150 people how to pray, maybe 60 about the Book of Mormon, and probably another 100 that God has a plan for us.  
I´ll just keep doing my best.

We went to Chiapa de Curso to do a bautismal interview. 
It ended up being a late night, so we slept there. 
This is a picture of me at about 6:45 AM, 
as we are making our way back to our Area. 
Looking rough.

A sweet canyon on our way home from Chiapa de Curso

We have really limited guidance from the Mission President on how to spend our time.  Its pretty much up to us to decide how to spend it all.  We spend a bit of time with less actives and part member families every week.  My basic rule is that I will do whatever I can to strengthen the Reforma ward.  And I think working with members, active or not, is a great way to do that. 

Can I just say that I totally pegged who would be the next Bishop! haha. 
That´s exciting! It must be weird without a calling Dad, maybe you can pick up one of the 74 that Mom has ;) haha

Its really good to hear that the BMW infatuation is still going strong, I´ll trust whatever decision you make.  Have fun speaking at stake conference mom, haha.  I´m sure you´ll kill it!  Now that I can´t really go to the temple anymore, I really miss it.  I´ve listened to The House of the Lord a bunch on my iPod  which only adds to my desire to go haha.  Any word on my fellow Jax Beach missionaries?  I would love an update on Tom, Steven, and Jason.  Also I did send more than 2 letters to Mikele (probably 4 or 5), I don´t know what the deal is there.

My shoes are holding up well, but I´m confident that everything I have will be thoroughly thrashed by the time I come home.  I really wish you could see how dirty everything I wear is by the end of the day, maybe I´ll send a before and after picture of my clothes. 

I hope you enjoyed Halloween, we had a pretty killer Day of the Dead here haha (not really, it was disappointing at best).  

Just an average lesson

Enjoy your Birthday on Sunday Dad!  Just a fun note for the Carly Ray Jepson fans out there.  I heard Call Me Maybe for the first time in Mexico today, and it made my life.  Words cannot explain how much I love that song!  haha. But seriously. 

Well, I guess that's about all this week.

I love you!

Elder Clark Roth