Monday, December 31, 2012

Week 19 ¡Que tengan un feliz ano nuevo!

¿Como anda la vaina?  (This is a great phrase. vaina is literally a sword sheath, but really it just means whatever you want it to and anda means walks.  So it means "How walks the sword sheath" literally but really just means What's up? haha)
Anyway, things are good here in the 961. With all the Christmas festivities and stuff its been a bit hectic, but its all good fun.  I don't remember if I told you that I had already eaten two Christmas dinners before that massive sandwich on Christmas, but I did, and it was awesome.  The work is going really well, and that's nice.  Its way more fun when you have success.  To answer dad's question, the second 18 year old didn't get baptized, he's on vacation until the 8th, but he's got a date for the 12th - and he's super solid.  The people here are pretty awesome, I really enjoy working with them everyday.
Thanks for the emails as always.  Here`s my responses:
Dad - 1. The Book of Mormon isn't a problem at all.  The majority of the people are willing to accept it.  The problem we have is when people are so blinded by their belief in the Bible that they can't accept another book.  I describe them as people who believe in the Bible, but not in God.  (Not to be mean, its fairly true.  They won't pray, or read, and really have no concept of who God really is.)  Sometimes they like to bash but they are never very good - besides I stick by my principle...we do not bash, we do not bash, we do not bash.  But when we do - we win. haha.
2. Most of the investigators I have had aren't very involved in any church but some are.
3. The culture helps in that the people are very willing to listen.  It hurts in that they aren't married and don´t want to think that only one church is true.
4. No, we do it the old fashioned way :) (in response to Rick's question: do you use any internet contacting methods, ie Facebook)
5. Very few people show any hopelessness, they are for the most part happy people.
6. hahaha It (church) starts at least 10 minutes late every week, and ends at least 30 minute late haha.
Mom - Its certainly ok to feel overwhelmed. Neal A Maxwell said you can't expect your life to be both faith filled and stress free. That said the purpose of the gospel is to make us happy, not to make our hair fall out. I always have found what I need to hear during my study of the Book of Mormon. In fact several times I have written in the margin the date, and the phrase "exactly what I needed to hear."  For example when I had dengue, couldn't understand anyone, and the culture shock was killing me 1 Nefi 3:6 

Therefore go, my son, and thou shalt be favored of the Lord, because thou hast not murmured.

was exactly what I needed to hear.  Or when I felt that I was doing everything I could and it wasn't enough Mosiah 4:27  

And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.

was what I needed.   I can´t really answer all your questions - that's between you and the Lord.  But I know He´s made the bad Spanish of a gringo touch the hearts of the people, I know he´s comforted me when I thought I couldn't do it. And I know he will bless you with everything you need to be happy and successful with what he has asked you to do.
Steph - You are ridiculous haha.  Enjoy your new ride, throw some 26s on that. haha. Ty and Ry are my faves and I´m glad to hear they don´t mind me too much either.
Mikele - my little Christmas message to you was pretty weak. so I´ll try to beef it up here a bit.  As for the mission prep I´m confident that you are doing a great job.  I think the most important thing you can do right now is learn to recieve answers to your prayers.  As a missionary you have to follow the spirit in everything you do.  Before my mission I did everything I could to prepare and prayed that God would show me what else I could do.  I received little revelations about things to do, but more importantly I learned how to get these little revelations.  So thats my advice.  Also to work on your Spanish  - you can translate this: Te amo mucho y deseo que sea muy feliz. Oro para ti diariamente. Nos vemos en dos :) haha
Roy - Hope you feel better.
Don't have too much more.  I´m a happy little missionary.  Hopefully Mexico doesn't get too drunk tonight, but lets face it.  Transfers are coming up, so next Monday I'll tell you where I´ll be. :)
Élder Çlárkië

Monday, December 24, 2012

Week 18 - A Very Merry Mexican Christmas

Hi Family (and potentially friends, but lets be honest, who really reads this),

 I´m just living it up here in TXG.  Today we got to play some sports with the zone in the morning, which was fun.  It was also humbling, as I was reminded that I am one of the worst soccer players on earth.  Despite that I did manage to get a was an own goal, but I´m still counting it haha.  I´m pretty darn excited to talk to you guys tomorrow.  If all goes as planned it will be through Skype and to be honest I have no idea what time it will be.  Anytime after 4, your time.  We will be able to talk between 30 and 40 minutes, then its back to work :) 

Its always fun to read your emails, I really appreciate them.  I´m glad to hear all is well back in the US of A.  You will be happy to hear that things are going well in Mexico as well.  This week I had some new experiences.   I saw a dog get hit by a car for the first time (don´t worry, its ok) and I´m pretty sure the man next to me in the collectivo died on my shoulder haha.  Well not really, but he certainly didn´t appear to have to much time left.  I baptized a young chap named Cristian this week.  He is the one I met the first day of my mission.  That was really cool. Unfortunately the other one that was going to get baptized went on vacation about an hour before his interview.  He´s good though, he came to church this Sunday and still wants to get baptized.  Things are going really, really well.

 I´ll give you a short answer to you Christmas program question, and then we can expound more tomorrow.  We did not have a traditional program and thank goodness for that.  I truly cannot explain to you how tone deaf this country is.  Singing is so terrible! haha.  Well kinda. 

Exciting stuff is happening.  I was wondering when Elder Rodrigues was going home. I´m happy for him. Also I can hardly believe that Tanner is getting married, but congratulations to him.  I wish the people here would just get married! haha.  We could get like 20 baptisms this week, if people would just get married... 

Mikeley! (in Christopher´s voice obviously) - Oh my goodness, you´re endowed!  If you were here right now you would hear me singing, <<Oh Babylon, oh Babylon we bid thee farewell>> haha.  Good Times.  I´m glad you loved your experience at the Jew. (BYU Jerusalem Center)  And I´m super glad you are home for Christmas with the fam.  ¡Disfrútalo! (Enjoy it!)
PS. my dad did indeed send me a picture of you all at the Cheesecake factory. If I wasn´t a missionary I would comment on how beautiful you are, but since I am, I guess I won´t ;)

 Well I guess that's about all I've got. Les quiero mucho! (I love you all very much) 

Elder C. Alan Roth :)

Week 17 - ¡Hola Hola Hola!

Greetings from Tuxtla Gutierrez.  We had a really good week this week and if all goes well, this coming week will be even better.  The best thing to happen was after a year and a half of investigating the church, an 18 year old named Luis has finally got his parents approval to be baptized.  The service will be this Friday.  A year and a half´s worth of missionaries prayers has been answered :)  We´ll also have a baptism on Saturday of another 18 year old named Cristian. I met him my first day in Mexico and have been teaching him ever since. Hopefully they will both be on their mission before I come home. :)  Pretty cool huh?  Also as a funny story, I ran into a girl who speaks English and was trying to make an appointment to teach her family - and I just couldn't do it.  She would talk to me in English and I would respond in Spanish.  So unfortunately I can no longer speak English, and I´m really not very good at Spanish is tough haha :)

Thanks for the slew of questions, it makes me feel important haha. Well here we go:
1. I have used the leatherman a time or two.  I´m really glad I have it.
2. I´ve only played the piano twice since I´ve been here.  But I think I might get roped into playing a song this week that I have never played before - yikes.
3. I don´t really know to be honest if we can go to the temple with our converts.  But our Christmas present from the president is a temple session.  As a matter of fact I get to go tomorrow!  I´m pretty excited.
4. Our ward has indeed had our Christmas Program.  In typical Mexican fashion it started an hour and a half late, and we had to go home before anything really happened.  (they were kind enough to send us home with a bit of food though) :)  To be honest, the programs we have had in our ward have been more enjoyable to me.  I love singing songs with the ward and everything.
5. Again I don´t really know of any set policy regarding number of service hours.  It is certainly encouraged though, to do some service.  For example this week we helped Luis scrape paint of our his walls for an hour and a half in an effort to gain his mom´s approval (IT WORKED!!!).  Our mission is pretty loose in regards to additional rules.  We are pretty much on our own to figure out how to use our time wisely; which I like.

I´m not sure if Dengue is common among TGZ missionaries, but I doubt that I´m unique.  The thing that is different than I expected about living in Mexico: tough to say.  I thought poverty would be different.  Life is no less enjoyable here, in fact its hardly any different.  People are people - the ones that want to be happy will be happy, those who don´t won´t.  Some people work hard, some just do the bare minimum.  Its really exactly the same.  As to what people think of me being an american...I don´t really know.  They all think I´m super rich and want me to give them stuff.  Everybody I pass in the street says, ¨Hey Güero!¨and everyone stares at me in the collectivo.  And drunk guys cannot resist the urge to talk to me.  
Oh and everybody tries to speak English to me, and they are really bad at it haha.

I did indeed recieve the package, but am still waiting to open it.  Though I did drink one of the hot chocolate packets with a bit to much tongue has been rubber all week. haha.  I also got a letter from Mikele and Jace in case they are wondering :)

I´m glad to hear you´ve had an enjoyable vacation.  I love Utah!  But I´m also just loving life here in Mexico. (despite the fact that sweat is running down my face as a sit here writing this ha).  Being a missionary is the good life.  Everyday the days seem to go by faster and faster.

I love you!

Elder Roth

Monday, December 10, 2012

Week 16 Shreddin' Waves & Stylin' Babes

Hi there,

It´s Elder Roth.  Well, things are going pretty well here, no complaints.  ¡Big News!  For the first time in a solid 6 weeks I feel confident in saying that I am not sick!  Wahoo!  I´ve been enjoying my Christmas season here (despite the fact that it has failed to snow ha).  I´ve watched Joy to the World like 5 times before I go to bed, and I listen to a ton of Motab Christmas Music haha. Thanks for the emails! 

Dad - My sleeping quarters are pretty nice.  Our house is two stories (don´t imagine a nice house haha) and we sleep upstairs.  My bed is a normal matress, made for a Mexican (translation its about 5 ft 6 inches long) haha, but other than that its pretty standard.  People have a bunch of different jobs, but the majority of them either have some home business (a little store, internet, etc.) or work in construction.  The Elders Quorum is absolutely classic EQ.  Nobody brings the manual except the teacher, the lessons are rowdy, but they´re all good guys who just want to go home and eat haha.  I do my personal study in Spanish (I don´t have any problem understanding it unless its Isaiah haha) - sometimes i´ll look up scriptures in English though, especially if its in the Old Testament. 

This one will get its own paragraph. "How do people respond to the Book of Mormon?"  We get a variety of responses to the Book of Mormon, almost all fairly positive.  It seems to always make sense to the people that God talked to the people in the Americas as well (and why wouldn´t it), and I think it sparks their interest that it is a history of their ancestors.  Whats more interesting is that nobody that has ever read even a paragraph of the Book of Mormon has told me that they don´t think its true.  Not one person.  They don´t all keep their commitments or anything but they can´t deny that its true.

Mom - the title of your email cracked me up! haha I love Elder Lambert!  I also laughed when I read that driving in the snow made you tired despite the fact that you weren´t driving.  Classic haha!  I can say that actually doing stuff is much more fun than talking about doing stuff.  I´m doing my best here - I´m confident that the Lord is pleased with my effort. :) 

Steph - If only Tommy had taught me Spanish before I left!  haha.  I'm glad to hear that Ty and Ry are so awesome!  haha.  Good to hear that Tom is tearing it up as well, and you are showing that Primary who´s boss!  I´m excited to talk with you guys on Christmas :)

I really appreciate the support and encouragement I receive from your emails every week.  For 19 years you have taught and nurtured me in the truth and light and now I get to work with people here, trying to do the same. Everything I teach them is something that you taught me.  You don´t understand the impact you are having on the lives of countless people here in Mexico, most especially me. Thank you.
I love you so much,

Monday, December 3, 2012

Week 15 - Peace, Love, Tortillas

Dearest family of Mine!

 Wow - the M3 looks stunning!  Enjoy it.  Its good to hear that you are traveling and having fun adventures, you deserve it.  After all those years dealing with me and Murphy you are finally free haha.

 If I were to give this week a performance review Michael Scott style I would say that it was...adequate.  Suffice it to say that I have a new companion and things are a lot more difficult than they used to be.  But it just brings opportunities for more blessings.  I'm really being tested in my Spanish now (I pretty much do everything a missionary does - ask for directions, call members, teach classes on Sunday, talk with everyone in the street).  So that's a good opportunity to grow.  I used to hate talking on the phone, now I have to do it in Spanish...I think I'll be cured of my hatred by the time I come home. 

Let me answer a few of your questions right quick!   

Roy - if you're in the market for a tropical disease man up and go straight for Malaria :) Cool test - I want to know how much horsepower I produce! haha 
I'd guess a solid 1 third of a half of a dozenth. (or 1/72 i guess) 

Mom - I'm feeling good, but I still have a bit of a cough.  No worries though. Roy got tuberculosis ..I get dengue.  Its tradition. (reminds me of my favorite ESPN it fun - NO! but is it important??) haha.  As a matter of fact we will be Skypeing on Christmas day. At least that's what I heard, I´m just a lowly junior companion, I have no idea what the mission plans are.  I don´t need a mosquito net right now but thanks for asking.  Where I sleep is fairly bug free.  It hasn't rained the entire time I've been here believe it or not.  My clothes are doing well, including shoes. I´m doing my best to protect them.  I haven´t worn the boots yet but I´ll be ready should I be called into combat :)  No mexi ties yet, I spend all my money on medicine haha.

 Dad - Our main finding method is referrals and working with less actives.  But we also contact in the street a fair amount. There isn't an equivalent to the high street here, the only busy place is the stops for the collectivos but its tough to contact there because the people come and go so fast.  My new companion is from Colombia.  With the whole first transfer thing it doesn't really matter. Unless its your first day or your last you are just somewhere in the middle :)  People here are very receptive.  They love to listen to the word of God.  That said, relatively few are actually willing to keep commitments and actually live what they believe.  In regards the the marriage issue its pretty similar to every other excuse to avoid living the gospel.  There really are obstacles (money, immigration papers, etc.) but the people who want to do it will find a way, and those who don't will find an excuse.

 We are working with an investigator right now named Luis.  He is 18 years old and a high school student.  He studies on Sunday (schools are weird here) but he skips some of his classes so he can come to church.  He said he has been to a lot of churches but only in ours has he felt like it was true.  He is quite a guy.  The problem is that his mom is super anti Mormon and doesn't want us to visit him.  We are going to try to talk to her (and baptize her haha :)) but its a bit of a bummer situation.  We're doing our best though :)

 This week we got to go to the First Presidency Christmas devotional!  It was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life!  This week was really hard to be honest, and I have felt pretty beaten down.  But in that one hour meeting, everything I needed to hear was said, and not by the speakers or choir.  I know the gift of the Holy Ghost is real.  I know it.  God answers prayers and he loves us.  No matter how hard our trials he waits with open arms to succor us.  The gospel is true.  Its all true.  Every word.

 I love you so much.  Know that I´m working hard and trying my best every single day.  Be good :)