Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Week 49 - ZZZzzz


I´m tired.  Really really tired.  But that's ok.  This last week has been really good.  The work is going pretty well.  We´re trying to get some more participation from the members, which is a bit tough since we don´t have a Bishop or a ward mission leader.  But we´re trying to find the way and not make any excuses. 

As you may have picked up from my other emails, I´m pretty addicted to general conference talks.  This week I really enjoyed Elder Cook´s talk Personal Peace, the Reward of Righteousness and President Uchtdorf´s from 2011, Forget Me Not. Sometimes I feel pretty weighed down with all the work I have to do.  The mission goal is to baptize every week.  And I still haven´t figured out how to do it.  But I´m learning to just keep pressing forward.  The words of the prophets echo in my mind all day long, as well as the wise advice from Finding Nemo, ´´just keep swimming.´´ 

I am just as happy as ever, but never have I ever been so tired.  I´m not running on my own energy right now, it's coming from another source. 

Mom - Thanks for the update from Kel.  I´m glad to hear that some of my ridiculous traditions live on (the finger point in the car haha).  Your "Every Day I´m Shufflin'" comment made me chuckle.  That reminds me...in my planner I try to think of a new way to write in my study block.  Some of my favorites have been: get my nerd on, scratchin' the cerebro (brain in Spanish), and some others I can't remember.  My new compi is great.  His name is Elder Torres and is from Oaxaca.  He is super funny and teaches really well.  Sorry, I didn´t bring my camera this week, but I´ll send you a picture next week.  Love you!

Dad - Affirmative on the sweat rag, negative on the beef jerky. I´m sure it was enjoyed by the Mexican officials though.  Pobre Tim Hudson. that's a bummer. Woohoo! Michael D! Hopefully he gets called to the Mexico Tuxtla Gutierrez mission.  I call dibs on training him! 

1.  Have you gone to a restaurant there?  I know you can't eat from street vendors. But what about a sit down and get served place?
- I have indeed gone to a restaurant, but haven´t been too impressed.  I make better food in my apartment (and I do not make good food in my apartment...). 
2.  How long since you gave a talk in Sacrament meeting? 
I gave a sacrament talk 2 weeks ago, I found out that I would give it during the sacrament meeting haha.  It went pretty well though.  

3.  Are you asked to perform Priesthood Blessings very often?  Asked by a PH holder to go to see someone?  Go to a hospital to see someone?
- I give a lot of priesthood blessings, but mostly just in people´s houses.  I´ve got some pretty sweet Thomas S. Monson-esque experiences with showing up at the right time without knowing. 

4.  Tell us about your new companion. Are you the Senior?  Have you trained anyone yet?
- I am indeed the senior compi, but that doesn´t really mean anything haha.  We are working together well.  It's sad for me to say that I haven´t trained yet...I have wanted to for all of my mission, but that's ok. 

5.  Tell us about a zone conference. 
- Zone Conferences are kinda funny.  It's mostly just announcements that we´ve heard a 100 times before, then a bit of a lesson, and then we practice.  The conferences with the President are hilarious though.  He is pretty similar to you in his sense of humor.  Have an A number 1 super winner week!  Love you!

Steph - hahaha, typical Tom - employing misfits and criminals.  ha.  That's so great that you could do the temple work for Brenda.  I miss going to the temple to be honest.  But it won´t be too long till I´m there again.  Sounds like Tyler gave an epic talk.  You guys are awesome.  I can´t believe Cheyenne is still alive haha.  Que tengan una buena semana. (Tom can translate that for you if you need it haha.)

Andee - You win the most faithful sibling award haha.  Roy is such a bum.  ha jokes I know you guys are super busy.  Congratulations to Eayden!  and thanks for the spiritual thought.  It was a nice boost. 

Well I´m going to go home and take a nap.  Sorry for the shortish email.  I love you guys. 

Elder Clark Roth 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Week 48 - Do You Not Realize That I Have Had Diarrhea Since Easters? (A Quote from Nacho Libre)

Hey family,

Thanks for the emails!  I had a good week and all is well in Tapachula.  We got our transfer calls this morning and I´m going to stay here in Central, my companion is going to another area in Tapachula, and my new companion is named Elder Torres.  I don´t know who he is but I´m sure it will be a good 6 weeks. 

Thanks for sending me the pictures Andee.  You and Roy the best!  I´m glad to hear that Tim Lincecum threw a no-no dad.  That's pretty awesome.  If things don´t work out with my studies at BYU I´ll probably follow in his footsteps and be a professional baseball player.  $22 million a year is workable.

You totally pegged my apartment with the Google streetview.  I live in the pink building there. 

There is a Pentecostal church in front of us that always plays the funniest songs.  (for example, one that talks about the Holy Ghost and says that it smells like the Spirit.  (maybe its a shoot-off of Smells Like Teen Spirit))

Roy - It might have been me that you saw playing volleyball.  My district loved it and we pretty much always went out to play.  I never saw your car but I didn´t look too hard usually.  I hope you and Andee are enjoying the full house.  There are not words to describe my disappointment that you are using Python instead of C++.  You should send me a letter written in LaTeX!!! haha. The Book of Mormon is what its all about!  I´ve been going through writing a paragraph summary for every chapter about what I learn.  It's amazing how much that book teaches.  Love you brah! ha :)

Andee - I am indeed doing well and sweating a lot.  I hope your fam likes BYU, its definitely heaven on earth for me.  (I can´t wait to be in the snow again!)  I like your spiritual thought.  Its true - God hasn´t changed at all.  And there´s no reason there can´t be the same type of miracles in these days. (My good bud Moroni can back me up on that).  Love you!

Dad - Its a joy to hear that my Tom and Steven are doing well.  I sure do love them!  I´ve heard that they lied about the number of deaths during Hurricane Stan here.  And its pretty believable, because there are a few areas here that used to be neighborhood that were completely destroyed.  The tortillas from El Milagro are the best! 

1.  Tell us about one of your current investigators.
      -  Umm, tough choice.  Arón Cotoc.  He is a 13 year old who we´ve been teaching for a little while.  His mom still hasn´t given him permission to be baptized but she´s gonna crack at any minute.  He is extremely intelligent.  He read first Nephi 1 - 4, and gave to best summary of what happens that I´ve ever heard.  The other day I was going to ask him a question and I started to say, ´´do you believe...´´, then he cut me off and said, ´´that the church is true? - no, I know it!´´  It was pretty impressive.

2.  How many investigators in your current pool?
    - a ton. We are always running from visit to visit.

3.  What percent of the time do you speak English with your Companion?
    - 0. OK, sometimes we quote Nacho Libre, but other than that it's all Spanish.

4.  Is there any sightseeing/cultural appreciation you do on P-day?
      - I imagine that there is, but we never have time haha. 

5.  Have you seen that big yellow highlighted building in downtown Tapachula?  It is on all the tourism pictures.
      - maybe.  I only serve in a quarter of the city so I don´t know.

6.  Do you see Central Americans passing through on their way to El Norte?
     - yes...and they are hilarious.  They always talk to us in English.   One of them told us that he sold cocaine,marijuana, and Benadryl.  ha.  Another had the dirtiest mouth I have ever heard.  My companion and I were speechless. 

7.  How are you doing money wise?  Enough to survive?
     - easy. I can get by on 50 pesos a week (50 pesos is 4 dollars) if I have to.  I´ve never had any problems.

Mom - I love the talk ´´These things I know.´´ Presidente Packer is so awesome!  Luckily I´ve been spending a lot more time teaching than walking. Thanks for your compliment about my writing.  The only problem is that I can´t spell.  haha.  And as my Spanish improves my spelling in English just gets worse and wors and wurz.  I love you Mom! 

I hope things are going well back in the US.  I´m loving life here. 

Until next week,

Elder Roth

Monday, July 15, 2013

Week 47 - No Toachin of Dis Stone

Muy buenas tardes familia,

I am pretty sure a solid 95% of my emails start the same way.  But just to keep the tradition going: life is good, Mexico is awesome, and I am sweating.  This morning I found a gem while we were cleaning out our house - a 2002 conference edition of the Ensign.  Back then Elder Eyring was the newest apostle, Elder Maxwell orchestrated mind-blowing discourses and the Seventy was graced by the service of a young man named Dieter.  Good times eh. 

Thanks for the emails and news.  The titles of our emails always make me chuckle - especially Roy`s - Real smooth swag.  (did you know that smooth is an onomonopia? haha) 

We tried to find a street view of your pink building and maybe Mom found it.  Is there a tacquerita or something like that on the corner and V. E. S. or something like that as the name?  Then some weird building with a Quaker State logo on the opposite corner?  If so, that will be an amazing find by Mom.  The street names seem to get reused, so a simple search will yield multiple places with that name
.Unfortunately the pink edifice you encountered is not my apartment, you`ll have to look the other way. You might not be able to see if from the intersection there. (BTW that is the worst intersection ever - when it rains there is about an 18 inch deep puddle that engulfs the street).

Mom - I`m glad to hear Roy and Andee had a good time in Florida.  I remember quite well the night I couldn`t find the M5 in the parking garage (of the Orlando Airport!!) haha.  I got home at like 4:30 in the morning haha.  I had to sing at the top of my lungs just to stay awake on the drive home.  It's a miracle I made it haha.  I`m so pleased that you commented on my de-worming story haha.  It was awesome!  ha.  I haven`t lost any weight, in fact physically I`m pretty much exactly the same. (the phrase from Jeremy Clarkson`s comment in the Hammerhead i Eagle Thrust (an episode of Top Gear) comes to mind...you can`t improve on perfection!) haha.  Good idea about the patriarchal blessing.  I got your package!  And the Mexican immigration officials were kind enough to save me the trouble of having to unwrap everything.  How thoughtful.  ha.  I`m loving the peanut butter!  I love you!  Hope you have a great week!

Dad - I`m glad to hear the Braves are doing well.  I wish there was 5 Guys here!  I need a burger!  The de-worming is a mission tradition.  And all the experienced missionaries tell the new ones horror stories about what happens.  It's a good time.  Kevin Newton!  I`m so proud!  That's awesome.  I`m 100% in favor of sending the gravity boards to Provo, although it will surely not be long before Roy has a broken face. 

1. How friendly are people, in general?  If you walk down the street, do they look at you and say Hi?
The people are quite friendly, there are almost no rude people here.  Most people will say buenas tardes if I say it first, if not they just stare at me and I pretend not to notice.  

2. Do you know that the Church now publishes an official mini version of Preach My Gospel?  I don't know if they have it in Spanish yet, though.
-I do indeed have an official mini sized Predicad mi Evangelio - it is my most prized possession :).  

3. Have you been to the Lavenderia, or Washateria or whatever it is called?  Do you have your suit dry-cleaned? (that one was a joke)
I took my clothes to the lavanderia today because I just didn`t feel like spending my entire day washing.  I really need to dry clean my suit but as you guessed there is no dry cleaner here. It`s smelling a bit rank. I love you dad!

RAD - wow!  Congratulations on your calling Roy. 2nd counselor in the bishopric is pretty sweet.  What apartments does your ward draw from?  I`m grateful for your example.  Serve well - find the lambs, feed the sheep. :) Andee you rock!  I wish someone made me lunch...oh wait the members do that.  But its not the same!  haha.  Have a great week!  I love you both...but Andee to a lesser extent haha.  (If that sounds terrible hopefully Roy can explain what I`m referring to).

Mikele - I did indeed have a rocking 4th of July   I`m proud of you for serving and hope that all is going well.  I got your letters!  and they totally rocked!  I love you.  I`ll try to write to you soon, but I hardly ever have time.  P-days are not at all days of rest.  So this week I thought I should send you a few little tips for your Spanish.  There are a couple of things that I wish people would have told me while I was still a new missionary.  First of all, the r is obviously very different.  Check and see if you're saying it right in front of d`s, n`s, and l`s.  Those are the hardest ones.  Also check and make sure that you have the a e i o u right in every word - preocupado, ultimo, copiar, for example.  The s/z is a bit softer and they shouldn`t resonate throughout your sentences.  Try to keep your tongue flat (don`t make a U shape).  Also, I`m not sure how they pronounce y/ll there, but try to put enough emphasis on it for it to be heard.  For example,  ahì and allì should should different.  Wear your companions out asking for help and be patient.  It's tough.  But the gift of tongues is real and teaching by the Spirit will always beat teaching in perfect Spanish.  Have a great week!

I hope you like the title of my email dad.  I thought of that this week and i`m really proud of myself for remembering to include it in my email.  Thank you all for your prayers and your support.  I am truly a happy missionary. 

PS. How are my fellow missionaries from the Jax beach ward?  Tom`s about to hit his year mark, and Steven is an old old man.  haha, well kinda. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Week 46 - Southern Boy


I´m glad to hear the Atlanta trip was a great success.  Boiled Peanuts, NASCAR, Williamson Bros., Arrowhet.  Brings back good memories.  The only thing that could make it better is some Lynyrd Skynyrd and a six pack.  haha. I´m proud to be a southern boy, kinda... haha.

Things are going quite well here.  We´ve improved the area drastically and we´re confident there are good things to come.  I truly love missionary work, and am glad to see the great surge in the work.  This is, in every sense of the phrase, a life changing experience. 

As always, my life is hilarious.  To illustrate the point, let me share with you a brief experience.  This week they gave us some pills to ´´deworm´´ us.  I´ll try not to be too graphic, but suffice it to say it worked very well.  haha.  For the first time in months my stomach feels normal.  Life is good haha.  Also 1 question: Is it a sin that on fast Sunday I always look for the biggest piece of bread and the fullest cup of water during the sacrament?  haha.  I think it gives God a good laugh.

Well on to your emails:

Andee-Dawn - Sounds like the tubing experience went well haha.  (I have a bruised right leg and knee, bruised chin, bruised sternum and broken capillaries on my left wrist.) haha.  I´m glad you liked the South.  I´m not sure if Roy or Dad had the nerve to tell you, but there was a time that we were quite fixated with NASCAR.   I could still probably name all the drivers...haha.  Thanks for the pictures.  I´m amazed you got Roy into a v-neck haha.  And I´m digging your watch.  That is an intense spiritual thought haha.   ("Some find it difficult to withstand the mockings and unsavory remarks of foolish ones who ridicule chastity, honesty, and obedience to God’s commands. But the world has ever belittled adherence to principle. When Noah was instructed to build an ark, the foolish populace looked at the cloudless sky and then scoffed and jeered—until the rain came.
Must we learn such costly lessons over and over again? Times change, but truth persists. When we fail to profit from the experiences of the past, we are doomed to repeat them with all their heartache, suffering, and anguish. Haven’t we the wisdom to obey Him who knows the beginning from the end—our Lord, who designed the plan of salvation—rather than that serpent, who despised its beauty?")  True, though.   Just like is says in Ether 12:26 (i think) ´´fools mock, but they shall morn.´´  Indeed Dwight Schrute's life changing phrase applies to us all, ´´Don´t be an idiot.´´  Have fun in Orlando! 

Dad - I´m pretty jealous that you got to eat at the brothers.  As for the Quest thing, I´m not entirely sure what it is, but I´ll do my best to provide some half useful advice.  I think its important that they suffer to some degree.  Obviously you can´t send them out there to die, but if they are to appreciate what others did they have to feel in some small degree what they felt.  They need to learn to apply what they learn to their lives.  They need to understand that their trials are different and the way in which we suffer has changed.  Nevertheless, as we put God´s will before ours, and suffer with patience, we leave a legacy that changes the face of all generations who follow.  I also recommend that you do something similar to what we did - give the youth some time to go be alone and write what they feel.  And I certainly recommend the chopping off of as many chicken heads as possible  haha. 

1.  How are things in your Ward?  Who presides?
          - good. The former first counselor presides, which I don´t understand at all, because without a Bishop there is no bishopric. But I try not to ask questions haha.
2. Has the rainy season started?  What's it like?
           - yeah, it started in May and will continue till November.  The weather here is similar to Florida, just a bit more hot, more humid, and the sun is stronger.  On days when the weather is really rough it's akin to how one feels after mowing our yard in the middle of a summer day.  It messes with your brain!  haha.
3.  Tell us about Tortillas-
           - It would take years to express all of my thoughts haha.  Well, they have sustained me for the last little while and I appreciate them for that.  The ones here aren´t as good as the ones you can buy from the mexi store in Jax Beach.  Fun fact: you can make a drink out of them by burning them and then simmering them in water.  I haven´t tried it and if things go well it will stay that way haha.
4.  Does the Ward use the standard Himnos book?  Do you get to help?
         - Yep, we use himnos. Its got a few songs that don´t exist in English. like Placentero Nos Es Trabajar, Si La Via Es Penosa, Por Que Somos, and a few others.  (in English: Its a Pleasure For Us To Work, If The Way Is Full Of Trial, Weary Not, and Why Are We). I play the piano, and they treat me like a celebrity for it.  haha. 
5.  Now that you are in the inner city, are there differences to your daily routine?
          - Not much.  My area is pretty small so I hardly ever ride in combis.  And I walk the same roads about 12 times every day.  But its pretty much the same.  If you want to look it up my area is from Central Norte to 18 Norte, and Central Poniente to 19 Poniente. 

Have a good week, love you dad.

Mom - Sounds like a pretty sweet museum.  I´m certainly grateful that no meteorites have ever hit our house.  ha. My address is 5 Poniente between 16 and 18 Norte.  It's the big pink apartment. :)  I love you, and hope you have a killer week!

Roy - I love Barbara Jeans!  And nothing compares to the brown stuff haha. :) actually to be honest everyone just wants the whipped cream.  Have fun with Andee in Orlando.  I hope its a bit cooler there than it is here, but I kinda doubt it. 

Mikele - How´s life?  A quick story that will certainly put a smile on your face. In a district meeting I asked a new American, ¨que es caridad?´´ next thing I know he is explaining that we can´t live in union libre and everything else about the law of chastity. I was going to try to play it off without embarrassing him, but the other missionaries couldn´t contain the laughs haha.  caridad (charity) vs. castidad (chastity).  Gets them every time.  haha.  Hope things are going well and that the Spanish is coming along nicely.  I love you and know you are an amazing missionary!  Have a great week and baptize baptize baptize!

Well, time flies when you're writing to your family. I love you!

Elder Roth

Monday, July 1, 2013

Week 45 - Hi

Querida Familia,
Its always a pleasure to read your emails, thanks for sending them.  Life is good, it always is.  This week was pretty good, we´ve improved quite a bit, which is gratifying.  Obviously its the Lord´s work, not mine - and the success is the Lord´s not mine.  But it always feels good to see the rewards for your hard work.
I´ve got a couple of funny experiences for you this week.  One of them happened this morning when I walked by the bathroom to see my companion brushing his teeth with MY toothbrush.  I did a double take and he definitely noticed that I saw him.  No words have been spoken.  Needless to say that toothbrush will be discarded soon. haha.
Also I fell down so hard this week.  The cement here is poorly made and when it rains (which is everyday) it gets super slippery.  Well, I tried to hop over a puddle and it went very very poorly.  I got super dirty and had to go home a change.  I took a picture but its hard to see the mud.  I had a bruise on my hipbone but it feels better know haha.

Puddle - 1  Clark - 0

Roy - Thanks for your email haha.  What a great song.  haha.  That reminds me that one time in Tuxtla I was riding in the combi and Africa by Toto came on.  I couldn´t wipe the grin of my face. haha.  Have a fun week with Mom and Dad - and watch out for arrowhet! haha.  Love you Roy.
Dad - Oh how I love baseball!  I´m totally stoked to see that movie when I come home.  I´m glad you enjoyed your time in Provo.  I´m going to send a picture of me from the MTC because I saw it this week and remembered how beautiful Utah is. I love it!

Elder Roth at the Provo Temple

1.  Describe where you are sitting right now, typing this letter.
   - In an internet café. This one is air conditioned and the computers actually work.  Its a nice change haha.  I think my companion and I are the only 2 people here not on Facebook.
2.  What do you eat that most resembles Mexican Food that is found in the USA?
    - The tacos al pastor that you order are pretty authentic. other than that its pretty much all different. haha.

Clark said "This spider is the size of my face"

3.  Describe how your Testimony has changed since you have been in Mexico.
   - It hasn´t changed much.  I know the same things I knew before - Jesús Christ lives and is the Savior of the world, Joseph Smith was a prophet and restored the fullness of the góspel to the earth, and the Church of Jesús Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only church on earth that has the priesthood authority of God.  What has changed is my ability to live what I know.  I know how to exercise faith now, I know how to get answers to my prayers, and so much more.
4.  If you could magically have one particular food item appear right in front of you now, to eat, what would it be?
   - Williamson Brothers BBQ - no doubt.
5.  Are you following the Mission Rules with Exactness?  :-)
    - Of course haha.
Have a great week with the family.  I love you dad.
Mom - Glad to hear the Bavarian (forgive my spelling) Money Waster is living up to its name haha.  I miss my cars haha.  Not really but kinda.  Have fun at the Suns game...have I mentioned that I love baseball!  :) Haha  I´m definitely going to blame Tom for the pool fiasco. haha.  I´m glad to hear things are going well for Brett and Linh.  Its a relief to hear that you miss me haha, just kidding I wasn´t too worried that you had forgotten me.  Don´t envy my companions too much.  haha.  Love you mom!
Steph - Haha, you´ll be glad to hear that I´m wearing your tie as I type this email haha.  Its totally sweet!  Haha  yep same bucket!  jk jk haha.  Love you!

Elder Hastain is on the bucket

Mikele - I hope things are going well in Chile. I love you!
Well I guess thats all for this week. have a good one!
Love you,
Elder Clarkie