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