Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Week 36 - I Can Dig Tropical, But This Is Outta Bounds!

Buenos Días from the devil´s sauna!
Well, we had a great week, as always :)  The keen reader of my blog may have recognized that it has been six weeks from the last time I was transferred.  Which means we got transfer calls this morning.  I´ll be staying here in Vista Hermosa, and my compy is heading to Oaxaca (a tiny little part of the state is in our mission.)  I´m not sure who is going to be my companion, but I suppose I´ll figure that out by tomorrow morning.
I´m not sure if you guys have heard of the stone that supposedly is an engraving of Lehi´s dream, but its here in Tapachula. 
Look it up on Google!  I´m legitly in Book of Mormon land!

Izapa Stela 5

Umm, I really don´t have to much to report so I guess I´ll answer your emails...
Dad -  Bienadventurado eres!  Few mortal eyes have seen the astonishing glory of the Beaches ward´s basketball team.  I´m glad you got to reflect on the glory days there for a moment haha.  

Are you getting tired of my incessant questions every week? 

Of course I don´t get bord (sorry the ´´e´´ and ´´l´´ on my keyboard hardly work) of your questions.  I don´t know what I would write in these emails if you didn´t give me some material. 
1.  Do you get to play the piano much?
-In this ward I play the piano every week. The members are pretty easy to please, someone told me I play like the organist during General Conference. haha. 
2.  Do you get to sing much?
-I try to avoid singing because words cannot describe the level of tone-deafness in this country haha.  Obviousy I sing in church though. 
3.  I have considered you to be very knowledgeable of the scriptures. How have you been able to use that as a Missionary?
-In terms of scripture knowledge  it certainly helps, but its not really all that useful to be honest.  No one has ever presented me a question that I can´t answer with a scripture, but usually I just tell them to pray and ask God if the Book of Mormon is true rather than bash. 
4.  Do you think your year at BYU made you a better missionary?
-Did my year at BYU help me become a better missionary?  Absolutely!  I learned so much there and love my memories that I formed there.  That said, with the lowering of the age requirement for missionaries, I would encourage every young man to serve as soon as possible.  Nothing compares to a mission. 
5.  What can we do to help you?
-I´m doing great. The only things you can do to help me are to keep writing me, help the missionaries out in the ward, and keep on rocking! :)  

hahaha I laughed out loud at the Karl Pilkington comments. (Here's what Rick wrote: I can report back on what Karl Pilkington had to say about Mexico. He said he quite liked it. He said it might be his favorite place. He said there did not appear to be any rules, that the people just did whatever they wanted. He liked that. He said the women we quite big. He admired that they ate whatever they wanted. Not like Suzanne, who wouldn't order the chips with the haddock. But then she would want to eat some of his. He said his only disappointment was that he didn't get to see any Mexican Jumping Beans.   Now, that is wisdom direct from Karl.) They are spot on. There are just no rules here. haha. They need to have a Top Gear special here.  They´re challenge could be to work as drivers for the combis and see who makes the most money.  It would be classic! haha.  

I don´t remember the church songs to popular music tunes, but I´m fine with it. haha.  You just gotta laugh at the ridiculous stuff Mormons do sometimes. :) Love you dad, have an a number one super winner week!
Mom - Tell RAD that they are bums, 4 days of vacation and they didn´t even write me.  haha.  No I can´t complain, I may have been less than 100% on writing to Roy haha. 

 (Andee-Dawn and Roy made us some authentic Mexican food last night.  We had pinto beans, (I made Spanish rice - supposedly a recipe used by Pancho Villa, but that's totally iffy) and what she called red chili, which is a little ground beef, browned and stirred until it's very fine.  Then you add some flour to the undrained meat, and add chili powder.  Then you add water and stir until it is a gravy like consistency.  We ate the three with tortillas.  Have you ever had anything like that?) 
-As for the food, I haven´t had anything like that.   It sounds really really good though. Down here poor people food is caldo (broth).  Throw in  a chicken leg and some vegetables eat it with tortillas.  It tastes pretty good (its what we eat about 50% of the time) but having hot broth in weather like this is pretty killer.  

You didn't answer my questions last week about how your shoes are holding up, and if you have ever had occasion to wear the boots yet...
-My shoes are doing fairly well so far, especially the Eccos.  In May the rainy season starts, and the roads are pure mud, so I´ll be breaking out the boots soon.  Thanks for the Kel update as always. haha  I´ll never forget my first days in the mission field.  To say they were joyful would be a lie haha. But its all good memories now, life has improved haha.  Keep on rocking!  You are certainly fighting the good fight.  Love you Mom. 
PS. Mother´s day is coming up! :)
Kel - KEL!!!! Big news this week!  I was riding in the combi and the Thrift Shop song came on.  I laughed so hard when I thought of you innocently looking up the lyrics.  Your analysis (the opposite of clean) is quite accurate.  And oh yeah, I´ve got a bone to pick with you! haha.  Were you trying to torture me when you sent me a card that I had to open on August 15, 2013!  How do you expect me to wait 4 months to read your letters! haha  Brace yourself because payback is coming :)  I love you Kel!  Words cannot describe how jealous I am to hear that David Archuleta is your zone leader!  I´m 98% positive that I love him more than you Aly and Lauren combined haha.  Don´t worry to much about your Spanish, you´ll be just fine!  I love you!  Have a smashing week!
Well time is short. I love you all.
Elder Roth

Monday, April 22, 2013

Week 35 - Everyday I'm Shufflin'

We had a rocking week this week!  Before I forget I´ve gotta tell you about our Bishop's method of street contacting haha.  On Saturday morning we went with him for about 2 hours.  As we rode around in his sweet 1989ish Mazda MPV he would occasionally stop and contact someone.  Here are some of the highlights.  (Stops and talks to a 10 year old kid.)  Hey, what's your name? (kid responds), (Bishop pauses for a second), wanna be a Mormon?  (kid just looks dumbfounded, Bishop drives away) haha.  Another one: asks some kids leaving the tortilleria.  ¿are there still tortillas? (respond) Bishop: ok, and how can we arrange for the missionaries to baptize you? haha. Classic stuff.

Anyway, just so you know my life is pretty much the funniest thing ever.  I´m living a cross between Nacho Libre and The Best Two Years.  Yesterday in a lesson (with chickens jumping all over me, as usual) they gave us some nasty, pero (dog) nasty water.  My companion asked the investigator to read a paragraph, we look at each other, laugh silently, and pour out our water on the floor right as he is finishing the paragraph.  We had to ask him to read another so we could have so time to compose ourselves and keep from laughing haha. That's teaching by the Spirit right there...

A totally sweet teddy bear in a members house.

I´m stoked to hear the Braves are dominating, when I can´t watch them... its all good though.  This is a bit more important than baseball. 

Well, on to answering your emails:

Dad: haha we moved this week to a new house, so the mid kitchen bathroom is no longer part of my nightmares.   We have a legitimate bathroom and everything now.  Most people have toilets without water tanks, so you use a bucket full of water to wash down your business haha.  Its really not to bad, as long as you don´t get splashed...ughhh haha. 

1. Tell us about the area where you live.  Is it in the town, on the outskirts, etc.?
-I live in a colony called Porvenir.  Its right on the outskirts of downtown Tapachula.  Its a pretty nice place to live, but words cannot describe my hatred for the hills and ridiculously inefficient road layout. haha. 

2. Tell us something you have learned in the last week.
-I learn so much everyday but I´ll try to pick something interesting.  My companion told me that his trainer (Elder Mabey) spoke so well that if you were talking with him on the phone you wouldn't know he wasn´t a Mexican.    So I´ve been working on trying to achieve that level of domination of the language.  Perhaps more than I ought to.  Well, the other day I had a dream (don´t go off complaining that I´m a visionary man haha) I talked with Elder Mabey and asked him how to speak better.  The only thing he told me was: repent, and teach by the Spirit.  Then I woke up.  Now I know for sure that the gospel is not taught in Spanish or English.   Its taught by the Spirit, or it isn´t taught at all.  There are so many examples in the scriptures that confirm that.  Moses and Enoch were both slow of speech and two of the greatest prophets the world has ever seen.  They knew how to teach by the Spirit, and they worked miracles. 

3. I know that your work is mostly with the poorer classes of people, those are usually the ones that are seeking a change, but are there wealthy people around too?
- yes but I don´t know where haha. I´ve seen some pretty expensive cars, but I´ve never seen a house to match it.  I don´t understand. haha.

4. Do you have an address?  If so, I can look it up on Google.
-I´ll get back to you next week on that one.

5. Do most people have cell phones?  You know the richest man in the world (or nearly richest) is a Mexican that controls the cell phones in Mexico.
-everyone has cell phones and the worlds worst pay as you go plan.  No one ever has money in their account, and even if they do they are too cheap to call us or respond to our texts haha.  I don´t blame them though.

pre eaten fish

post eaten fish. Pretty good, the gills are a bit sandy though haah

Mom - Holy moly!  I cant believe Kel is going to Chile today.  I can´t say that I want to repeat the first two months of my mission in Mexico, but looking back they made me better.  Man they were tough though. haha.  Good luck teaching Revelation.  As I recall Joseph Smith said it was perfectly clear to anyone filled with the spirit of revelation...guess that means I don´t have it. Because I understand a solid 7% of it.  Have a killer week! in a figurative sense. :)

Steph - The videos did not come though... bummer. But thanks for thinking of me. I hope Ty and Ry are doing well and driving you crazy!

AD - You are taking your exams as I write this I assume.  I hope they go well, I´m praying for you.  Thanks for the weekly update, its always good for a chuckle. 

Roy - Once again your class schedule has filled me with envy.  I think I´d go for numerical methods if I were you but advanced probability sounds pretty good too.  Take math 485 if you can!  I would be honored if you used one of my unicycles to injure yourself body and spirit playing unicycle polo! haha.  You have my 100% approval.  Wow!  How I am missing the BYU men's volleyball team!  ahh! haha 

Its all good. Have a rocking week!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Week 34 - HMMM Pancita de Res!

Its Clark.  Well, things are going pretty well in Vista Hermosa.  Unfortunately, we went to a different internet place today, and I am using the most pathetic keyboard ever.  But other than that life is pretty good.  Before I forget, I´ve got to tell you about what I ate this week.  Ready...Pig Stomach soup!  HMM! Haha its pretty disgusting, its a nice florescent orange color and tastes like...not good.
I´ll be honest, I´m a bit disappointed that no one made a comment about my scout camp comment last week.  haha.  I wish you guys could see how true it is haha.  At least 10 times a day I say to myself, ´´man, I wish my parents could see this.¨  Stuff like cows walking in the street, chickens jumping in my lap while I´m teaching a lesson, combis, etc.  My life is pretty hilarious. haha :)
So I suppose I´ll give you a bit of a rundown of my ward.  Its a lot different than my ward in TXG.  We have an attendance of about 70 every week, and probably have about 7000 inactives.  Our bishop has been bishop for 24 years now, and does a good job.  There are certainly some good members but there is a good bit of shirking as well.  (Roy knows the solution to the shirking problem...shoot the polluters) haha, I love prof Kearl.  Anyway, my companion and I are throwing it desires as they say in Spanish (échele ganas) and trying to change things up a bit.  Its a pretty big challenge really, and the work is suffering a bit here, but its making us better missionaries and we´ll just keep doing our best.
Andee - Thanks for the rundown. I´m glad to hear my boy ripped it up during basketball season. I´m so jealous you got to see Nate Austin, a real life dinosaur. haha. Keep on Rockin Andee!
Roy - I hope you´ve learned in your abstract algebra class how to prove that its impossible to solve that chinese checkers problem.  I read the proof last year and understood a solid .83%.  One of the only things I really miss here is going to the temple every week.  Its the best!  I´m glad you're enjoying John, I recently finished it (I read the New Testament when we are in a lunch appointment and are just waiting for the food.)  Its for sure good stuff.  BTW the scriptures are better in English, but don´t tell the Mexicans...
Mom - Keep on Rocking! I think I´ll always remember Elder Bednar's talk about The Tender Mercies of the Lord.  His story about the hymn selection was awesome.  I have always remembered Roy´s comment about the hilarious misquote, ´´I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.´´ haha.  He said in Matthew 13 the Lord says that his yoke is easy, and his burden light.  I think about that when times are tough.  Its certainly true that life isn´t easy for a disciple of Christ, but I know that the Lord strengthens the back that carries the load.  I love you Mom!  Keep up the good work!  And thanks for the Mikele update, a shortened version is certainly acceptable!
Dad - Thanks for your emails dad.  I had forgotten that Baseball season has come again...sad.  I love baseball.

1. Tell us about a current investigator.
-Right now all of our investigators are struggling a bit.  We have one named Noé David.  He is catholic, but knows its not true.  He said he was afraid to ask if the Book of Mormon is true because he doesn´t want to find out that he has been wrong all of this time.  haha.  But he said he would do it. Unfortunately he has been out of town for a little bit, so we haven´t seen him, but we should see him tomorrow.  He´ll be baptized no doubt haha.
2. What is your favorite food in Tapachula?
- uhh, hamburgers... a member bought us some hamburgers and they were so good. I´ve gotta admit that Mexican food is quickly loosing its appeal for me haha.

3. What is different about Tapachula than TXG?
-the church isn´t as strong here. And its way humid haha.  Oh, there is green stuff here, like trees and grass which is a nice change.  In almost every other ways its pretty much the same :)

4. Where is your companion from?
-He is from Gomez Palacio, Durango, Mexico. He´s a hoot. haha. I love him and he is a fantastic missionary. :)

5. How can the Ward help the Missionaries?
-Visit inactives and reactivate them, befriend the investigators that come to church, ask the missionaries, they can help you (elder nelsons talk), give rides,share the gospel with friends, go with the missionaries to teach, read live and love Preach my Gospel, etc.  You guys are going a great job in preparing missionaries and supporting the ward.  Don´t be afraid to invite people to listen to the missionaries :)
Well time is running short.  I love you guys a ton.  Have a wonderful April 15, 2013; there will only be one in your whole life.  Smile, Laugh, and Keep on Trucking.
Elder Roth
PS. Sorry for the lack of pictures recently, I´ll make it up to you soon.  Bye! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Week 33 - Oh My Goodness!....


Well another week has passed.  Sadly I was only able to go to the Sunday morning session of General Conference and am therefore fairly ignorant to some of your references, but all is well.  Yesterday was a bit rough.  We have been working like crazy and doing everything we can to help people keep their commitments, and sometimes they just don´t do it.  In the ten hours that we had to listen to the voice of the living prophets, we could only get 3 people to listen.  But I know I did my best, and I´ll just keep doing my best.

Anyway, life is really good.  I discovered this week that sometimes I don´t pronounce the letter E like it should be pronounced, so I´ve been working on that in my language study.  I feel like my brain is going to explode haha.   But that's how it goes.  I had a couple funny thoughts on my walk to the ciber. First of all, someone asked me if I would be willing to live in Mexico after my mission.  Its a bit of a tough question to answer.  I mean I love Mexico, in a certain way it has become another home to me.  But when I´m a bit more cynical I realize that the living conditions are those of a slightly sub-par scout camp haha.  The second is that I wish there was a wonder here so that Carl Pilkington could come and give a good commentary of the Mexican culture. I assure you it would be hilarious.  These people crack me up haha.  I love em though. :)

I got 3 packages this week!!!!!  Thanks Mom, Amanda, Grandma, Randy, Sheila, and Kel!  I loved the letters and am enjoying the food, aloe, and  ridiculous stuff you give me haha. 

Well to respond to your emails:

Dad - I looked up ¨These Things I Know¨...wow.  I love President Packer!   No doubt that that man knows! 

Like he said a few conferences ago about Jesus Christ... "of him I bear witness; of him I am a witness."  Man he is awesome!

1. Where did you watch conference? 
- In our stake center, with air conditioning!!!
2. En Espanol or English? 
- In Espanish :) The only problem is that I don´t get to hear those voices that I love to hear.
3. Did the speakers that can speak in Spanish do so, or did they have random interpreters.
- Everyone that spoke in the session I saw had a translator.  I think Elder Scott does his own translation though.
4. Is it difficult to concentrate when their lips move one way but the voice is another? 
- No, but sometimes the translator speaks really really fast when they fall behind a bit. Then its a bit tough for me to understand.
5. What percents of your work: Investigator / Less Active / Part Member? 
- Umm it tends to change week to week. but probably about 57, 24.3, pi^2, and the rest with active members. 

your comment about your projects cracked me up! haha good luck, go slay it!

Roy - I emailed you every week you fool!  haha.  Well maybe not every week...haha.  I would I wish the same thing that happened to Marc would happen here hah.  Good luck with your classes, as I always say, make momma proud!  See ya in 2! haha :) 

Andee - T-bird should speak in the next general conference haha. Who wouldn´t get baptized after hearing such wisdom haha.  Thanks for being a more faithful writer than your husband haha.  I´m a big fan of that quote from President Uchtdorf  (btw - its really funny when they try to pronounce his name here) Have a great week! Love you!

Mom - Wow, that thought from your friend really impacted me.  One thing I have learned here in the mission is what going to church does and does not mean.  Being active in the church is not enough, we must be active in the gospel.  And even those who are active in both still have problems.  I´ve come to realize that as a member of the church (not a missionary, just a member) I have the duty of strengthening every single person I come across, whether they be active, inactive, ignorant, or apostate.  President Monson said, "Brethren the world needs your help. There are feet to stabilize, hands to grasp, hearts to lift, minds to inspire, and souls to save." (Hopefully that was a fairly decent translation).  I know that true joy is found when we do just that! 

Now a few questions for you guys - I´ll leave it up to you to see who answers.

1 Who won the national championship in NCAA football and basketball?
2. Did Tyler Haws play this season?
3. Can you send me an email from Roy´s mission?
4. Why am I so good looking? haha 

Well have a wonderful week.  I love you all so much.  Thanks for taking the time to write me and read my emails.  I pray for you everyday and know that  I´m exactly where I´m supposed to be. 

Hasta la vista baby,

Elder Roth :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Week 32 - A Slammin' Semana Santa (Easter Week)


Welp, we had another great week here in Tapachula...kinda haha.  No seriously it was good, but missionary work can be pretty tough some times.  We had an investigator named Ángel, who has had a rough life.  He is addicted to drugs, and worships some kind of idol, but he accepted us and was keeping all of his commitments and progressing really well.  We passed by his house this Sunday to go to church with him and he told us that he didn´t want us to come anymore.  He said that he either had to choose between following Christ or following his idols and that he had chosen his idols.  I walked away with tears in my eyes and felt pretty devastated.  But that's how it goes sometimes.  Luckily the rest of the day went pretty well.  Its a roller coaster ride for sure. 

I´m glad to hear that you enjoyed your Easter Sunday.  You might be surprised to know that there is absolutely no difference here on Easter Sunday.  The whole week is called la semana santa, but by Sunday it seems that no one really cares anymore.  Pretty sad. 

Wow, I sound really whiny!  Don´t worry about me, I´m doing better than ever and loving life! :)  Its a joy to be a missionary.  (That reminds me...there is a hymn in the Spanish hymnbook that doesn´t exist in English, its called Placetero nos es Trabajar [Its a Pleasure for us to Work] and it totally rocks.) anyway...

Well I´ll get on to your emails :)

Dad - 
1. From the map it looks like you must be in the southernmost district in Mexico, true?
 - There are two stakes in Tapachula, Mexico and Izapa. I´m not sure which one is farther south, but either way I am in the deep south haha. 
2.  What Ward are you in?
- My ward is called Vista Hermosa. Its pretty awesome.
3.  Have you seen the Pacific Ocean?
- Negative. They told me that its about 45 minutes away.
4.  How are you finding investigators?
-We work a ton with the members to get referrals (that is the hardest word to remember in English).  We also contact in the street and do some activities like movies in the church. But I think I´ll try to get a bit more creative and follow the example of Kel´s MTC teacher. haha (his different contacting techniques (he served in Spain) included walking around neighborhoods and asking people where Juan lived (because you could always count on a Juan living on any given street), sitting next to a native on the bus, pulling out your Spanish PMG, BOM, or a pamphlet and asking them to help you read it (basically play dumb but then you get caught if they ask if you can come over and teach them and then they figure out that you do speak Spanish, like really well. Ha!)
6.  How hard is it to get to know the Ward Members names?
- Its a bit of a challenge here because everyone has really strange names haha.  I´m starting to get them down though.
7.  Walking, bus, collectivo, other?
- A ton of walking, a bit of collectivo, and when we´re lucky we ride in the bed of the members trucks.
8.  Out house?
- no, in house. Thats why the house smells something fierce. Its really pretty funny.  If Roy were here we would definitely mess with each other on the can all the time, given that there is no door, and it is connected to the kitchen. haha, I´ll send you a picture one of these days.
9.  Have you been eating well?
 - Yes! Mexican food is so good!
10.  Where will you view General Conference?
-In our stake center. We get to go to the the Sunday sessions only though :(

Mom - I can´t believe you only have 3 more institute lessons!  Wow the school year has flown on by.  I´m glad to hear that you guys are enjoying Sabine.  I´m a bit jealous haha.  And I can only imagine the pride that has filled your heart upon being the daughter of a genuine show car champion from the bustling metropolis of Toquerville.  That´s going on the tombstone for sure haha. :)  Thanks for the Mikele update. I love you!

AD - Thanks for writing me!  Tell Roy he´s a bum haha.  Jokes.  My bike advice would be one of the sweet tricycles that they have in Nacho Libre. If you want I can buy you one, there are millions of them here.  haha.  Thanks for the Elder Bednar quote, I always enjoy your spiritual thoughts.  Have a good one!

Steph - Ty and Ry are the best.  They might even be connected at the delk. (if you don´t know what that means, feel free to ask Roy :) ) I´m jealous to hear you bought a house with a pool.  To be honest I miss swimming, and being here in Tapachula isn´t helping haha.  Keep up the good work with the quotes for the kids.  That's awesome.  Teach them - yo sé que Dios me ama :) (I know God loves me) Have a wonderful week.

Well, have a fantastic week.  I know this church is true and that the atonement is real.  I know that there is unmatched happiness to be found when we put off the natural man and serve the Lord with all our heart.  I would that you should consider on the blessed and happy state of those who keep the commandments of God. (Mosiah 2:41)  Its the only way . I know it.

I love you all.  So much.  God be with you,

Elder Clark Roth