Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Week 44 - I Sure Do Love America


What´s happening?  Things are going pretty well in my life...other than the fact that everything I own is pretty much destroyed, my apartment doesn´t have a fridge, I haven´t stopped sweating in the last 10 months, I have a massive tan line on my neck, and my backpack smells really really bad.  haha. I was about to say just kidding.   But that´s all true.  Don´t worry though, I am just as happy as ever and just loving every minute of my mission.

I was thrilled to open up my email and see 6 messages in my inbox, oh how I love to read your letters! 

Mom - My life is fantastic!  Unfortunately I still haven´t gotten the May edition of the Liahona, so I´m still pretty ignorant with regards to General Conference.  I´m not really sure why the ward doesn´t have a Bishop, and I´d rather not ask.  haha. Its a bit rough though - its tough to do missionary work with no Bishop and an inactive ward mission leader.  :)  I went on divisions with one of the zone leaders this week, and decided that he was ´´interesting´´ as well.  I´m pretty sure everyone is weird except me haha :)  I got 4 more dear elders this week, always a highlight, but I haven´t got your package.  I live about 6.5 hours from the mission home - but the zone leaders go once a month for a meeting with the pres, and that's when they bring us stuff.  haha  I´ve only been to the mission home twice in my mission, and one of those times was when I arrived.  I love you! 

Dad - We got to watch the Missionary Broadcast yesterday!  It was amazing to see all of the missionaries there in the Marriott center.  It definitely brought back some good memories of BYU :)  I am indeed the senior compi - I have been since I got to Tapachula.  Haha  the Sister doesn´t actually hate me.  We actually get along quite well.  And my companion is a good guy too.  He just says stuff in lessons that don´t really make sense and its painful to do street contacts with him haha.  I like him though and we get along just fine. 

1.  What types of experiences are you having with the local police?  Are there many?
- haha luckily I haven´t had too many experiences with the police.  They all carry assault rifles or shotguns and I thought about contacting one that looked a bit grumpy, but I got scared haha.  Other than that nothing too exciting. 

2.  What is the downtown of Tapachula like? 
- My part of downtown Tapachula is poor, dirty, and pretty funny.  The zone leaders have a rich area that's pretty darn sweet!  Tapachula is really an awesome city - I´d love to come back here.

3.  Do you still have your bucket?  Did you leave it behind in your last area?
- Buckets still play a vital role in my life. They are my washing machine, my chair, my toilet in poor areas, and many many other things haha. A good missionary never leaves a bucket behind haha.

4.  I watched a TED video on the impacts of automatic washing machines on people. Do you have anything to share about washing machines?
-hahaha why would you watch a talk about washing machines!?  ha.  I truly believe the washing machine to be one of mans greatest inventions.  I miss having a washing machine more than I miss having a refrigerator! 

5. Do you iron your shirts?
- Yes, i iron my shirts. 

6. RAD is visiting over the 4th of July and we will go on the boat  to see the fireworks. What kind of fireworks do you see there and on what occasions are they employed?
- They don´t use fireworks too often.  They have this one kind that makes a ton of noise without giving off any light.  When they go off I always think that I´ve been shot haha. 

What is one recommendation you would give a prospective missionary?
One recommendation for future missionaries - don´t get discouraged.  There are a million things that can get you down.  Missions are hard - but if you do your best, study like you should, love the people, and serve with all your heart.  You will kneel down to pray at night and not be able to find the adequate words to express how grateful you are for your best 2 years.

Andee-Dawn - Thanks for your weekly emails and your example to Roy. Maybe one day he´ll catch on and start sending me emails haha.  I´ve got an extra special phrase for your to use with Roy his week.  ´´Roy, dame una cubeta - Las cosas no sucedieron bien.´´  (Roy give me a bucket...things did not go well) haha.  You two crack me up!

Steph  - Thanks for the awesome canteen tie, now I won´t be soooo thirsty.  (I can only imagine how many times you said that to yourself when you found the tie.)  Keep on rocking!  I want pictures of the new house! 

Mikan - My jaw dropped to the floor when I saw that you wrote me.  haha.  I´m holding out hope that you´ll find a luscious Brazilian man on your mission and run away with him. :)  If not, I´ll keep my promise  haha.  I´m excited to hear that you are going to Brazil, you´ll totally love it!  As a matter of fact I can understand Portuguese fairly well, but the only thing I remember how to say is something about travelling in the mayonnaise.  Be sure to ask Brother Northrup how to say it - I´m sure it will come in handy!  haha your comment, ´´You're a sassy man, but you've got one strong testimony´´ cracked me up. I´m confident you and your fantastic attitude and undeniable testimony will work miracles in Brazil. You´re great!

Mikele - por que estaba a punto de morirte con los cambios!? que pasó!? Feliz 2 meses en Chile - estoy seguro que estás aprendiendo bien el español y la vida ha mejorado bastante. Sigue trabajando como loco! Te amo! Casi no puedo esperar más, quiero tus cartas ahora! haha. Pero pues, hay que aprender la paciencia. Nos vemos en 2014! PS. Me dio un buen de risa escuchar que comes lo que quieras haha. ESO! yo también. Siempre estoy comiendo, aun cuando no tengo hambre. Debe ser algo acerca de la obra que nos da ganas de engordar haha. Love you!

Welp the time has eclipsed. Love you all so much!

Elder Clark Roth

Monday, June 17, 2013

Week 43 - Elder...you're an imbecile.


What´s up?  Well, things are going pretty well here...kinda.  My new area is suffering, there are pretty much no investigators, our ward doesn´t have a Bishop, my companion is...interesting, and one of the sisters in the district hates me haha :) (but seriously I think she hates me).  It was a pleasure to read your emails this week as always, and thanks for the happy birthday wishes.  I hope you had a good Father´s Day dad.  And if I had one wish then it would be a happy happy birthday to Mikele from me...or a washing machine...tough choice haha. jokes. 

I´m learning a lot in my new area.  My companion doesn´t speak very good Spanish so its kinda up to me to do a bunch of stuff.  But its all good.  I´ve gotten a lot of positive comments on my Spanish which makes me feel good.

As usual I don´t really have anything to report, just the same old stuff.  One of the more interesting things that happened this week was when a crazy dude contacted us and told us that we were ruining the world.  He then made up some scriptures that don´t exist, and told us to call Obama and tell him to invent a tree that grows money. (If you happen to see him, please send him the memo).  He then proceeded to tell us that we have no authority to be there, at which point I took over the conversation using the famous MTC line for inspiration ´´we do not bash, we do not bash, we do not bash, but when we bash, we win.´´  Well, we won...haha.  Its fun to be a missionary.

Well I´ll respond to your emails...

Grandma Roth - Thanks for the birthday wishes, and I´m thrilled to hear that you read my emails.  I am happier than ever and God has certainly blessed me abundantly.  I hope you have a great week!  I can´t sign off without inviting you to read the Book of Mormon.  Its true and it has shaped my life.  Please read it and ask God if its true.

Carly - Haha I´m glad my emails are good for a few laughs.  My life here is hilarious.  The time has certainly flown by and I expect the upcoming months to flee just as quickly, and I´m absolutely positive I will be forever grateful for these 2 years.  I´m glad to hear you and Jared went to St. Augustine, not too far away from my old stomping grounds haha.  ´´Working is the pits´´ haha that made me crack up.  I´m glad to hear that your enjoying your ward and helping the missionaries out.  What I would give to have a converted, young married couple help us out.  It would work miracles here.  Enjoy the good life, and keep on rocking!  Love you!

Dad - You didn´t tell me that Bud is getting sealed!!  That's awesome!  I´m glad to hear your were able to watch some Miami Vice.  There are few if any days that pass by without me thinking, ´´I can dig tropical, but this is outta bounds´´ haha.

1.  Tell us about your new location, living arrangements, etc.
- I live in an apartment, its better than my last house by a little bit.  The best part is that there is a lavandería (what is that in English?) in the block next to ours so that saves me from waking up a 5 am to start washing my clothes :). 

2.  What is it like to have an English speaking companion?  What percent of the time to you speak E vs. S when you are just speaking to him?
- Having an English speaking companion is a bit rough.  We speak in Spanish 100% of the time, but I miss my last companion. haha.

3.  Do you know your address?  If so, please send
- I don´t know my address but I´ll be sure to tell you next week.

4.  Did you do anything to celebrate your new decade of the 20's?
- Yesterday I ate cake with some members, if I didn´t have the date written at the top of my agenda I would have completely forgotten it was my birthday. 

5.  What is the new area and Ward like?
- What is the new area and Ward like? - Yikes!!  I´m not sure if the President is punishing me or showing trust in me, because this area has been treated very poorly.  There is a ton of work to be done.  But that's what I came here to do after all.  Hopefully we can get the area healthy again before I leave. Have an A number 1 super winner week! :)

Andee-Alba - that's dawn in Spanish.  Its a pleasure to hear the Spanish is coming along.  Estoy para servirle, and que tenga una bonita tarde might be of use at some point.

How have you come to know Christ better throughout your life and mission? 
- How knoweth a man the master whom he hath not served?  When we lose ourselves in the service of others we come closer to God.  I know Christ better now because I have developed more charity though service.  My heart hurts when people sin and I rejoice with others when they do what is right.  One of my favorite scriptures is John 15:14 - if you keep my commandments, ye are my friends. 

Roy - Haha I´m glad to hear that nerd bootcamp has treated you well.  I´m loving the mission.  I´d like to hear a little bit about what your mission was like. Could you send me a few thoughts when you have time?  Por fa! :)

Mom - I´m certainly enjoying every tortilla.  Sometimes in the morning when we leave the house I feel a bit hesitant and tired, but I just go out and work like crazy.  And every night when I say my prayers I realize how happy I am and how much I have to be grateful for.  It's a crazy life I live.  Thanks for the Kel update.  Sorry I´m almost out of time.  I love you!!

Kel - TQM means te quiero mucho (for others who read this quiero is like love, not want...wouldn´t want to be sketch haha).  Pues casi no tengo tiempo. Espero que tengas una buena semana. Gracias por tu carta, me gustó bastante. Hasta 2014 :)

Well, have wonderful weeks.  I´ll talk to you next Monday.  bye bye


Monday, June 10, 2013

Week 42 - Cambios


I hope life is treating you well back in the land of the liberty and life.  Here in the land of captivity and death (just kidding, I love Mexico) things are going well.  Dad correctly predicted that we were going to have transfers this week, so here is the rundown.  My companion is going to train a new American...¡pobrecito!   And I´m going to an adjacent ward here in Tapachula.  In fact, my area is barrio central...that's right!  I´m working in downtown Tapachula! :) My companion is Elder Hastain, he´ll be my first American companion, so that ought to be fun.  I´m pretty excited for the transfer!

Thanks for the happy birthday wishes, before checking my emails I had forgotten that its my birthday is this week!  I´m gonna buy myself a cake today to celebrate!  haha.  In other news, umm, well everything is pretty much the same.  If you haven´t realized yet, the life of a missionary is incredibly fulfilling and meaningful, but there´s not a whole lot of variety.  But its the best! I love it! (Nacho Libre voice) :)

Emails, Emails, time to respond to emails...

Mom - You are a champion! I am amazed that you could give a 90 minute lesson on Revelation 1-3 without knowing beforehand.  (I was going to say without preparation, buts that obviously not true - you´ve got a lifetime of preparation going into those lessons.)  I hope all is well with the tropical storm, those are always fun.  Ohh that reminds me, look up Hurricane Stan 2005.  It totally destroyed Tapachula and killed a ton of people.  I very much enjoyed your insights on President Uchtdorf's talk.  

(Here's what I told him:

I'm teaching President Uchtdorf's talk Four Titles from the Priesthood session of April conference at institute.  One thing he said that really stuck with me, and perhaps could be a help to your investigators is this:  "Satan would rather that you define yourself by your sins instead of your divine potential. ....don't listen to him"  I think for myself, I fall into listening to him way too often.  I always focus on what I do wrong, or don't get done, rather than remember I'm a work in progress, and I'm trying. 

But that has to be balanced with another thing he taught (from the same talk)  "Although we recognize that none of us are perfect, we do not use that fact as an excuse to lower our expectations, to live beneath our privileges, or delay the day of our repentance, or to refuse to grow into better, more perfect, more refined followers of our Master and King."

He also used two phrases you're familiar with.  He counseled us not to wait for a particular calling before becoming fully engaged.  He also counseled us to rise up to our true potential.  What great mottos!!   There is no doubt in my mind we have living apostles and prophets.)

We´ve been trying really hard to get people excited about their future life of discipleship, and to stop worrying about their past life.  But Satan´s a jerk and he´s always saying just the opposite.  Its definitely a battle.  Their changing the scripture masterys!!  no!!  haha, no its all good.  Its exciting to see the changes that are going on in the church.  The Lord is no doubt gathering an army.  Sorry about the lack of pictures.  The problem is...that I don´t take them... haha.  I´m afraid my camera will get stolen (not afraid,; fear is the opposite of faith)...I have faith my camera will get stolen if I carry it around with me, so it just sits in the house.  I´ll see what I can do to liven things up a bit. 

Dad - haha, your emails always crack me up.  Your fixation on The Great Gatsby is so classic Richard Roth...and Clark and Roy and Brett for that matter.  I hope all went well with your church affairs, it always seems to work out just fine :)  As for your questions...

1.  Ethnicity - what types do you see there.  Is there prejudice there against any one group?
- There are a ton of Central Americans here, and also a ton of Chinese, believe it or not.  There´s going to be an increase in the number of gringos downtown from 1 to 2 when I finish moving haha.  There is a bit of prejudice against Guatemalans, but most people are pretty chill about it all.

2.  Do people really want to work more?  Or are they ok with a slower pace.  We Americans are pretty driven and some folks think that is weird.  But studies show the central Americans are some of the happiest people.  I think they don't take things too seriously.
-No. Nobody wants to work more.  From what I can tell Tapachula is very different from Central America.  The number of baptisms here is astonishingly low for a Latin American country and the church is really very weak.  (Well the members anyway).  To be honest the people don´t seem that happy.  I don´t want to speak ill of my friends, but the people here are pretty iniquitous (is that a word?) and wickedness never was happiness. (Alma 41:10)

3.  What are some of your current favorite scriptures?
-I have tons. I love Mosiah 2:41 and I use it a ton in lessons.  I´m also a big fan of Matthew 11:28 (i think)...come unto me all ye that are heavy laden (I can´t recite scriptures in English anymore.)  Juan 16:33, Mosiah 3, the whole chapter haha. The book of Mormon (as in the book within the book...Inception!) and others.

4.  Have you been able to study any of the current General Conference Talks?  How are you keeping up with current events in the Church?
-This Sunday we ripped off a Liahona from someone at church haha (not really, but kinda) so I´ve been able to read a tiny bit of the general conference talks. As for how i stay up to date - i don´t haha :)

Andee - I´m excited to hear the spanish is rolling along.  A useful line from Despicable Me might help you out sometime, ¨¨tu cara es como un burro¨¨ haha.  After having seen what I have seen here, I have promised to the Lord that I will never miss a month of home teaching.  A failure to fulfill such an important calling can only be due to a lack of understanding.  I love what Gordon B. Hinckley said, that our responsibility in our sphere is as important as his was in his sphere.  Nobody could imagine a prophet not taking his calling seriously, yet we laugh and make jokes of a failure to fulfill our assignments. It's sad. 

Mikele - Me imagino que ustedes ya tuvieron cambios. Espero que te esté yendo bien todo. El segundo cambio es mucho mejor que el primero, y todo van así mejorando. No he escuchado nada de tí ultimamente, pero está bien. Sé que estás trabajando bien! Nos vemos en 15 meses, sale? Paz, Amor, Bautismos! Adiós!

Well time is short and Mexicans are shorter.  Have a great week.  I love you all.

Elder Clark Roth

Monday, June 3, 2013

Week 41 :D

Whats Up

Things are rocking and rolling here in Tapachula as always.  I´m pleased to hear that everyone had a pretty rocking week.  Happy Anniversary Roy and Andee!  You´ll be pleased to know that I´m sweating like crazy right now, and word on the street is that its freezing in Chile.  I´m so jealous!  haha. 

The work is going pretty well.  As of late we haven´t exactly been racking up the baptisms, but we´ll just keep on chugging along.  We´ve come across some great families and we have high hopes for the future.  In the mean time there has been no shortage of good spiritual lessons, ridiculous crazies, heat stroke, and everything else that makes the mission the best 2 years. 

As always I appreciate the emails!  They´re always good for a smile.

Mom - Thanks for the Mikele letter and the updates.  I´m glad to hear the Bimmer got some good use this week.  I´m glad to hear you adopted my philosophy of no A/C, it prepared me well for my mission.  Your paragraph about dogdy doctrine cracked me up.  There´s just nothing better than good old fashioned ignorance when it comes to the doctrine of salvation.  haha.  I´m sure if Bruce R McConkie was alive he´d have some beatdowns to lay out haha. (here in Mexico we call it Plancha, which means iron - when the investigators don´t progress we gotta break out the irons haha.)  We have quite a few new missionaries, but I expect we´ll get a ton this transfer.  I love you Mom.  Have a great week!

Dad - I can´t believe Jeff and Michael graduated already!  Time flies.  Haha Poor Elder Peterson.  One of my zone leaders from my old zone hated tortillas. I don´t know how he survives because my estimate of 25 a day wasn´t an exaggeration.  And when you eat with the poor members its even more, up to 40 I would guess haha.  I think the scripture is found in 3rd Delusions 2:16, right after the chapter about the astonishment in heaven when we saw we lived in the dispensation of the fulness of times.  haha. 

1.  You have mentioned that everyone has a TV. What do they watch?

True indeed that everyone has a TV, even the poorest of the poor.  They watch soccer and telenovelas and pretty much nothing else.  I gotta admit those novelas can be pretty entertaining haha, not really.  

2.  How do you pay your Fast Offering?  Just to the Ward?

We pay our fast offering with a tithing slip, just like at home. 

3.  Where did you get that cool fish dinner that you took a photo of?  Restaurant?

The fantastic fish dinner was  from a lunch appointment with a member of the ward.  Its probably the best thing I´ve eaten in my entire mission. (although my Bishop in Tuxtla deserves honorable mention for his tacos, and thanksgiving dinner (he served his mission in the United states and makes a lot of american food.)) 

4.  What do the locals think of Americans and the US in general?

I'm pretty sure they just think about us being rich and proud.  They don´t have a particularly positive attitude in general.  That said they´re pretty accepting of me.  Love you dad, keep on rocking!

Roy - Wow!  Who knew you could rent puppies!  Almost as good as buying a bullet and renting a gun haha.  I´m glad to see the creativity (that reminds me that the biggest regret I have regarding my mission is that I didn´t bring my be creative shirt).  The work is going well.  I look forward to comparing our missions when the time comes.  How´re the grad school apps going?  I´m thinking you´ll be living in the northeast when I come home, or maybe California, we´ll see.  Hope all goes well.  Love you bro.

Andee - You are forgiven.  Keep on chugging with those 9 credits.  That sounds that the kind of punishment I would put myself though.  Be sure too get out of there before the EFY kids come haha.  I will sweat it up just for you!  Love ya Andee. 

Mikele - I´m sending you a letter today, hopefully it will get there by Christmas!  I´m proud of you for serving the Lord.  Those first 2 months are certainly not the most fun, but its all gets better.  You´ll be fine.  I can´t believe its been a whole year since we´ve seen each other.  One more of those and then hopefully it won´t ever happen again.  I love you! Keep on smiling and being a good Sherpa haha.  (You could after all make a good analogy between being a missionary and a Sherpa).  You´ll be pleased to know that I´m still waiting to open my one year card, but no promises that I´ll go the distance.  haha jokes - I can make it.  Mucho exito.  TQM. ps. acabo de darme cuenta de que podemos hablar en español. :)  Hasta 2014 :)

The time is far spent, there is little remaining.  I love you all.

Elder Clark Roth