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."
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