Monday, January 28, 2013

Week 23 - Rippin and Shreddin

Hi there,
Welp, we´ve had another good week.  You´ll be pleased to know that the owner of the internet place is rocking out to some Bon Jovi ballads as I write this...haha these people crack me up.  I´m thrilled to hear about all the good tidings back in Amurica. 

Good job mom!  Dad said you totally slayed it (I imagine in the Randy Jackson voice from American idol...I always love it when dad gets in touch with his darker side haha.) 

Roy - you´ve exceeded even my expectations, I´m glad to hear the netbook is no more.  Now you can use it to play duck, duck, brick, or ring around the brick...ask Wills if you need any more information about games played with bricks. 

Dad - I´m so glad to hear that cursed tree is no more, hopefully the yard trash guys come soon so we don´t get charged with stacking lumber again in the neighborhood - we can´t afford any more of these grievous violations. 

Mikele - Finally! I´m sure happy you enjoyed the letters. I sent you another one last week, but I have my doubts as to whether it will get there before you flee...I mean leave SLC.
Dad´s questions for me this week were :

 1.  Have you had opportunity to sing?  Either in a choir or otherwise.
-I´ve sung a little bit.  When I was with Elder Reyes we sang in some of our lessons when children wouldn´t behave or it was otherwise difficult to teach.  Now with Elder Martinez we don´t sing much because he is literally the most tone deaf person I have ever seen.  And mercifully we haven´t had any choir performances...I really wish you could understand the suffering that is music in the church in Mexico.
2.  How much time do you spend tracting?  What is your door approach?
- Almost none.  We aren´t allowed to knock doors, and street contacting isn´t super successful (not to mention it is really hot outside).  For the most part we just talk to people on our way to lessons, or on the combi.  I try to change up the approach, but I almost always talk about the family and relate it to the restoration.

Elder Roth and Elder Martinez in Chiapa de Corso

3. What have you been doing for haircuts?
 -there is a little salon down the street from me that charges 35 pesos.  But my comp just bought a trimmer so I am going to (foolishly) put my confidence in him later today.

Well for a little update on the work:
We have an investigator named Maria (everyone here is named Maria). I think she is about 22 and apparently she had some problems with drugs before. She was a reference from a member of our ward. Our first lesson we taught the gospel of Jesus Christ (normally the 3rd lesson; consists of: through Christ we can be free from sin, faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end). We taught her with the sister who had given us the reference and has been her friend since she was 10.  She told us after the lesson that she had never seen her friend smile like that, she had never seen her so happy.  The word was delicious to her like it says in Alma 32:28,

 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. 
Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart,
 behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief,
 that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; 
and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—
It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good,
for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea,
 it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea,
 it beginneth to be delicious to me.

and the word of God had healed her wounded soul like Jacob 2:8

 And it supposeth me that they have come up hither to hear the pleasing word of God, yea,
 the word which healeth the wounded soul.

We invited her to be baptized and she said with a smile, ´´of course.´´

An Awkward Picture with Patsy

Oh and to answer Mikele´s question from last week: I kick it to a pink iPod mini, the very same one that Roy used on his mission, and if memory serves correct Wilford Woodruff also used it during his mission.  (in case that joke isn´t funny at all, i´m trying to say its really old.)
Well I love you all.  Thanks for the emails and prayers.  You rock my proverbial socks.
Con amor,
Elder Clark Roth

Looking back - Clark's best friend in the MTC -
Elder Murphey

An MTC original -
Elder Roth with the first Missionary
to serve from Nepal

Monday, January 21, 2013

Week 22 - What's Crackalackin!?

Well another week has passed very rapidly here in Tuxtla.  You are indeed correct about the cold front we got here.  It was pretty hilarious, everybody was walking around in gloves and down jackets (I have no idea how they can afford those, but its true).  Unfortunately its starting to heat up again, but its all good, I´ll just be refined in the furnace of my affliction haha.  Well, I hate to break it to you but we broke the streak of 4 straight weeks baptizing.  Can I just mention how much I hate vacations...they are the enemy of missionary work ha.  But its all good, we should have 2 baptisms this week.
Today has been pretty good, you may notice that this email is coming in a bit late.  That's because I went to the mission house this afternoon to pick up two packages, one from Mikele and one from Amanda!!!!  We also went out to eat at Dominoes, which was awesome despite the lack of tortillas haha.  Its always a pleasure to read your emails, they´re always good for a smile.
Welp, I suppose I´ll respond to your emails because that's about all I´ve got ha.
Mamá - I love that quote from Neal A Maxwell (lets be honest I love every quote from him).

"We cannot have the results of the experiment with out performing the experiment.  
Some of us "give" only postage stamp "place" in our lives, 
and yet we expect the yield of an acre! 
"Place" means time, thought, and service.
In the process of building faith, wrote Alma, we must "experiment on the word" of the Master,
 giving "place" sufficient to experiment upon each essential "thing" the gospel requires of us.  
Out of such cumulative experience, comes the cumulative evidence."

 Its pretty much my goal in life to talk really good like him does (looks like there´s work to be done).  The food here...the food here is so good, I love it!  Although to be honest my obsession for tortillas is dying a bit :)  To be honest the food really isn´t that different from the food in the USA, just less varied.  Lots and lots of chicken, beans, tortillas, etc.  The thing I have grown to love the most is Mole.  The mole eaten in the USA is pueblan mole, here its different . I can´t really describe the taste, its just a bunch of pulverized chilies, but its not really hot.  I´ve only had two things that made me hope the second coming would arrive before I had to take the next bite (or drink as the case may be).  One is Pozol - if you want to try it just take equal parts dirt, cocoa powder and water and throw them in a blender, and the other was fried bananas with some nasty salty cheese - I won´t even describe that one. haha
Papá - Thanks for the updates.  Oh and I was going to ask who won the national championship of NCAA football.  Anyway, 
1.  Describe your daily diet - Breakfast - varies a bit. Could be oatmeal with pineapple bits, eggs and rice, straight up rice, very rarely corn flakes, stuff like that.  Lunch - We eat lunch with the members.  They almost always give us some form of chicken.  Beyond that its tough to say.  We eat very few vegetables though.  Dinner - we don´t really have dinner.  Usually I eat a banana or a mandarin orange, or if i´m feeling frisky (obviously I mean that in a mission appropriate way haha)  I´ll make rice when I get home.   
2.  Describe your study of Preach My Gospel - I study PMG a ton, it tells you everything you need to know to be a good missionary.  I spend 20 minutes a day studying ch. 3 (the lessons) and preparing for the investigators.  I´ll think about how to apply points to their needs, etc.  And another 20 minutes study an assigned topic from the mission - stuff like how to begin teaching, extending commitments, etc.  I also read it out loud to work on my pronunciation during language study. 
3.  Describe your companion - hahaha. Well, to be honest I really like my comp, though he doesn´t always work extremely hard.  He has improved a ton and taught me a bunch.  He is from Colombia and speaks Spanish really weird (people here always say ´´mande´´ when he talks, which is like I beg your pardon.) I´ve learned to understand him pretty good though.  He laughs a bunch, which I like.  And he always tries to talk to me while he´s laughing and its impossible to understand haha.  He´s about 5´4´´ on a good day and he's a pretty good guy. :)
4.  Describe  ride on a collectivo - The challenge of a lifetime...umm.   Imagine being in a tent with a bunch of very sweaty strangers on the hottest day in human history.  Then you pay your 6 pesos and the tent proceeds to roll down the side of a never ending mountain... that's pretty much how it is with regards to comfort, personal space and heat .haha. I always have to smile when I´m in one because its just the kind of miserable mission memory that I know I´ll treasure forever. :)
Roy - You are a delk.  haha.  I´m crushed to hear that abstract algebra is a drag but equally glad to hear that you love C++. Feel free to destroy the innards of the netbook, just wait for me so we can throw it off the JFSB together haha.
Mikele - Tú eres campeona!!!  Don´t worry about a thing, it will all be alright. I honestly think you will be the best missionary Chile has ever seen (even better than Mike haha).  I´m almost out of time but just know that I love you and believe in you.  PS. be sure to tell Satan so hard <3 haha. Love ya, bye.
Well, no pictures again this week.  So sorry.  They´ll be coming eventually.
Love you all so much! ¡que les vaya muy bien!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Week 21 - 'Sup?

Things are rocking on as always here in the TX Gizzle.  This week we baptized a 15 year old girl named Patsy.  It was pretty sweet.  She had been taught by the missionaries for a long time, in fact I met here the second day I was here, and she had already been taught pretty much everything.  (I have now baptized a person I met my first day and a person I met my second day) :) Her brother Jacob was baptized when he was 8 but has been inactive pretty  much his whole life.  He was reactivated a couple months ago, and when he came home for Christmas break (he goes to college in D.F.) he helped Patsy a ton.  He´s a great guy.  He had to go back to school on Thursday (which we found out Wednesday night), so we did the interview and the baptism just a few hours before he had to leave.  Good stuff.
Dad - I´ll do my best to paint you a good picture.  I´m sitting at a little wood desk that my legs don´t fit under, sweating like crazy.  The rooms is about 10´x 5´ and there are four of these little desks with computers.  The owner is playing some INXS (don´t speak).  My companion is sitting next to me and next to him is some dude doing who knows what haha.  It smells like a very sweaty garment that has had some febreze sprayed on it.  And just for a bit of extra money the lady that runs the place also sells figurines of the virgin Mary...classic Mexico. 
I would have to say I have less human leader guidance than I expected. The zone leaders are great, I love them!
Since I´m in Tuxtla I hardly travel at all.  The farthest I have gone is Chiapa de Corso which is about a 30 minute ride in a little bus.  All the other meetings I have are in Las Palmas which is about 20 of the best minutes of you life in a combi. The only other place I have been is Chapultapec, where the temple is, about 20 minutes in a taxi.  For example though, my first companion was transferred to Tapachula, which is about a 7 hour bus ride from here, and we also have the southern part of Oaxaca in our mission which is several hours away.
The law of tithing has not presented the slightest problem for us thus far. Everyone seems willing to live it.  We make sure to explain the blessings very well though.
Most of the locals have finished la prepa, or high school.  There are some poorer people that are fairly uneducated because they had to work or something like that.  And a fairly large percent of the older population can´t read.
Farewell Otto, sad day.  He was a good car... :)  
Mom -  I´m a big fan of Philemon as well, though I might die if I had to give a 40 minute lesson on that one page.  During my p days I have been reading through the Old Testament and remembering the good ole days of freshman year seminary.  I don´t remember how much time we spent in Leviticus but it couldn´t have been much, its pretty strange.  The good news though is that I know which animals to kill and dip in blood and rub of the corner of my ear in case I get leprosy... good to know.  haha.  Glad to hear that Tom is rippin it up and that Jason has finished strong.  Can you get me an update on Steven? thanks! :)  I love you!
AD - Í´m so jealous of your weather.  It is sooo hot here.  I had no idea how powerful the sun is here.  If you aren´t standing in the shade you are only 3 minutes removed from certain death...well maybe not, but its hotter than Zimbabwe!  Haha that reminds me of the game we played in Toquerville - guess who just burned the ___ out of their tongue haha.  It´s always good to hear a T-Bird quote, keep ém coming haha.  Enjoy school and remember..´´KILL!´´
Sorry for no pictures again this week.  I don´t have a cable to hook up my camera, but I´ll buy one today i guess.  I´ll want you to see my investigators and everything.  But don´t worry...coming soon.
Per dad´s request here is a little Bio of one of my investgators:
José - José is 18 years old (I forgot how to say that in english for a minute). He is friends with Luis who was baptized two weeks ago.  He wears skin tight taper jeans and plays electric guitar in a band.  He´s probably not a person you would expect to be ready for the gospel...but he is.  He works all week so we can only teach him on the weekends, which is a bit of a bummer but he is always willing to give the time that he can to listen to us.  He keeps all the commitments, but is full of questions and little doubts.  We usually explain the answer, which doesn´t help too much, and then explain that it will all clear up in the future, all he needs right now is a testimony of the restoration.  He is totally awesome.
Well that's all I´ve got time for.  I love you all a ton.  Thanks for writing me,
Hasta Lunes,

Monday, January 7, 2013

Week 20 - Its a Party in the EUM

Life is wonderful.  We got our transfer calls this morning and Elder Martínez and I will be staying here in Reforma at least another 9 weeks (we have an extra 3 weeks this transfer, don´t know why...).  I´m pretty excited to stay here, things are going so well.  Luis got baptized this week, which totally rocked.  We also set a few more bautismal (his Spanish is showing!) dates with some super awesome investigators, so I got that going for me, which is nice (in the Bill Murray voice).  haha.  It was a wonderful surprise to open my email and have 10 unread messages!  You all rock!
Sorry I haven´t sent any pictures lately, I´ll try to step it up.  So here´s my little answers section.
Mom - glad to hear you got a good cry in, (I told him I saw Les Miserables) to quote one of my MTC friends, ´´I cry every half hour on the hour.´´ haha.  Good times.  I´m also thrilled to hear that you are reminded of me when you listen to Call Me Maybe haha. Things in good ole mejico are pretty much perfect, I couldn´t ask for more. I love you!
Dad - The oatmeal drink is called Atole.  The key is equal parts milk and sugar haha.  Sorry to hear about the oyster situation, that is truly a tragedy.  I still eat a ton of bananas but not so many mandarin oranges.  I´ve kinda realized that the fruit here isn´t very good, but its really cheap so I can´t complain.  I have a card from the mission and go to a machine across the street from my house (to access money).  Everything is cash here, in fact my first companion had never seen a check before I showed him one.  It has only rained once while I´ve been here, but I still get soaked daily in my own sweat (...better than someone else's sweat I suppose).  About half of the roads are paved and half aren´t but there is really no difference, they are all garbage haha.  I´m pretty clueless about what goes on outside the mission (and inside it for that matter).  I know Obama won reelection and there was a shooting in some elementary school, that's about it.  On P-days we clean the house, write our emails, buy food, do errands, wash laundry (which takes forever), and then with my extra time I read the scriptures.
Roy - That is the dopest schedule of all time haha. Drop some volleyball in there and you´re set :)  I´m super jealous of your winter, though I must say this week has been relatively cool.  Keep on rockin´and tell Andee hi for me!
Mikele - Your letter made me laugh so much haha, we have some good quotes between us haha, and by that I mean we are completely ridiculous.  I gotta say that 7.8% understanding of the Spanish ward is pretty good for the first time, I was probably hovering at about 3.6% my first Sunday here.  I had to eat a ton of mints during my first few weeks to stay awake in sacrament haha.  I have not gotten your package, and from the looks of it you have not gotten my letters...don´t worry they´re coming.  Or they are being read by some sketchy Mexican ..who knows.  Your scriptural insights are fantastic!  You are going to be such a good missionary!!!!  I´m so excited. I love you!
Carly - Wow, I can´t believe anyone reads my blog haha. You totally rock!
Lauren - haha you crack me up. I´m glad to hear your loving Spanish class, I certainly did not haha.  Keep on rockin!
Jace - Thanks for writing me, I´ll sure try to fulfill your request haha.  I´m in an area called Reforma, Tuxtla Gutierrez Mexico.
Aly - Ahh I hope you go to BYU!  Its the best!  Your email cracked me up, you are so funny.  Love you too!
So that's all the time I´ve got. Sorry for not sending pictures, next week for sure!  I love you all!
Your favorite missionary,
Elder Roth