Monday, August 26, 2013

Week 53 - :)


I can´t believe its already Monday again.  The weeks just fly by.  This week was really good.  Not too long ago we baptized 2 girls and this week they went to seminary every day and wanted us to go to their house and teach them how to give away a Book of Mormon.  I´m thrilled by their sincere desire to follow Christ!  I love being a missionary. 

In other news, we had a ward conference this week, which was totally awesome.  The stake presidency came in and totally dominated our members. (In spanish the verb is planchar- to iron; I feel like there is a certain way to say that in English but I can´t think of it).  I really loved it.  Hopefully our members will rise up.

Dad - I´m glad to hear that the Braves are doing well.  ha.  It's hard to believe school has already started.  Who are the seniors this year in the ward?  Holy Cow, BYU is going big with their schedule.  They play Notre Dame and Florida State too, right?  I´m looking forward to not missing another football season after this one.  We have a transfers next week, you´re right on.  I´m predicting that I´m leaving, but who knows.  I´ve been in Tapachula for a little over 5 months.  I think that I´ll go to Oaxaca!  haha.  I´ll be sure to tell you what happens.  Thanks for the emails.  I love you dad.

Mom - I miss seminary.  I´d really like to take Old Testament again.  But this year is Book of Mormon, right?  Haha I love that you are on a first name basis with the service department at Tom Bush.  Its totally classic.  Which reminds me - how's the M3?  Sometimes I miss Otto - but he would never survive on the streets here.  They are so terrible.  I´m hoping Roy goes to school in the Northeast so I can go visit him and see the church sites when I go back.  I hope you guys get to go and see!  I love you Mom!

Steph - Its good to hear that Tyler and Ryan are still being awesome.  I miss those little guys.  I gotta say I´m pretty jealous of Tom´s trip.  I really want to visit Germany and Spain.  I laughed out loud when I thought of Tommy´s veintitres!  haha, so funny.  Your Neal A Maxwell quote reminded me of something I read in an Ensign not too long ago.  A woman talked about her Temple cleaning assignment, and was complaining that she was just there to clean things that aren´t dirty.  Then the janitor explained to the group that they weren´t there to clean things that don´t need cleaning, they were there to keep the Lord´s house from ever getting dirty.  She went on to explain that your life can be cleaned, but its so much better to keep it from ever getting dirty.  It was pretty cool.  Love you Steph!

Mikele - HEY KEL! It's so cool thaty we are both missionaries! and we speak Spanish! and we´re loving it!  I wrote you a letter last week and I´ll send it pretty soon.  I´m also going to send Mike a letter (I just got one that he sent to me in January! ha)  Hopefully it will get there before the second coming.  I´m totally down to go to Mexico with you someday, as long as that day is in December or January.  I don´t know how I have survived this heat so long. 

Well, I´ve got a few more minutes.  I hardly know what to do with out a list of questions from Dad.  But here are some fun facts for ya:

- My current area is 10 blocks by 10 blocks, one of the smallest in the mission. - - My previous area was probably one of the largest in the mission - we never actually found out where the boundaries were, but we were confident that we would never reach them.
- My trainer goes home next week. 
- When it rains really hard the water level in the streets goes up to my knees
- I only know of 2 other BYU students in the mission
- I estimate that I´ve spent about 7000 pesos in the combi so far on my mission
- I´m out of facts and time.

I Love you!  Till next week,

Elder Roth

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Week 52 - Good Afternoon Family

I hope all is going well for you guys.  I´m going really well, my companion and I are having some great success, and it wasn´t terribly hot this week!!!  I have exciting news this week.  I was teaching a lesson in a little neighborhood, and heard a sound that I recognized.  I tried not to pay attention to it, and just went on with the lesson.  A couple minutes later I heard, ``I am, I am... do do doo do do´´ - the classic song from Nacho Libre. Some little kid (who looked exactly like Chancho) was watching Nacho Libre

I could hardly contain my excitement ha. 

I`ve had some other unexpected experiences lately, for example when I was pooped on by a bird not once but twice during a lesson, or when I baptized a young man in green water because our font is a bit broken.  Good times, good times. (unfortunately the youth got sick after his baptism haha).  Life is always an adventure here in Mexico.

Thanks for the emails.  I gotta say that Thursday was a very ordinary day. 
I´m starting to realize how short the mission is though.  You gotta take advantage of every second!

Carly - Wow!  2 emails in 2 weeks!  Life doesn`t get much better than that! I`m thrilled to hear that you`ve had a proper southern experience.  Its the best, right?  Perhaps now you can understand why I`m the way I am.  ha just kidding.  I sure do love my boiled peanuts, high school football, and pecan pies though.  Have a great week!

Dad - There are about 7000 questions in your email but I´ll try to hit them all. 

I told Michael Daniels that I would get some suggestion for him, from you.  So, what can I tell him?  He leaves for the MTC in 90 days.  Knowing what you know now, what should I tell him so he can be better prepared for a mission to Mexico?
- Advice for Daniels - watch Nacho Libre as often as possible, don`t worry too much about Spanish, and  who you are is far more important than anything you´ll ever say.  Think about what you want to be able to tell investigators (testimony, promised blessings, spiritual experiences, etc.) and live in such a way that you can declare with honesty that you know those things are true.

Ahh man! I wanna go see the new temple film!  I remember Roy telling us about the Isles of Jersey and Guernsey and how the missionaries that go there are forgotten by the mission.  Well in this mission Tapachula is Jersey. We live without any of the privileges that the rest of the missionaries enjoy. But its all good.  ha.

You inner dialogue...Spanish or English?  What percent?
Dreams...Spanish or English?
- I think mostly in Spanish - but it depends what I`m doing. I dream exclusively in Spanish.  This morning I was reading something  aloud in English and I feel like I have a weird accent.  I`m still a more capable speaker in English  but Spanish isn`t really a challenge anymore. 

I was talking to President Mauerman, of the San Jose Branch.  I was talking to him about the corn on the stick concept.  He says they put mayonnaise on it, and also some sort of cheese.  But that is one of the street vendor foods that you cannot eat, right?
- The corn on a stick from Nacho Libre is one of my biggest temptations ha. Every time I pass by a guy that sells them the natural man in me says, Attack!  ha.  But so far I´ve held up.

Do you miss swimming?  Obviously, you would not be doing it anyway, but do you ever think about swimming?
- I certainly do miss swimming.  But luckily with all of my sweat and the crazy rain, I generally walk around completely drenched, so its kinda similar.  I think the first thing I'll do when I get home will be jump in the pool. :)

Does it seem like two years ago that you first checked into May Hall?  Fond memories?
- I realized that its been 2 years since I started at BYU.  The time sure has flown by.  I cannot explain how much I enjoyed that year.  It was pretty similar to 4 Nefi v 1-13 for me ha.  I look forward to going back when I`m done here.  I can honestly say though, that even though this last year has been infinitely harder, it has been the best year of my life so far.  Happy is the man that can say that every year. 

Please tell me a little about your last Saturday and Sunday.  What was it like?  What did you do?
- My last Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday we worked a ton and taught a bunch of lessons.  Sunday we went to church, went to eat and then went with a member of the ward to find some new investigators.  We taught 2 new people and the lessons were super good.  Sunday nights we give our report of the work in our area.  Then I popped some popcorn and read the an old Liahona. Its always a satisfying feeling to finish a week.

Love you Dad!

Mom - You did not tell me that Jake is getting married!  But that's awesome! and it reminds me that I want to learn Portuguese ..but I digress.  Moses and Abraham are so awesome, though not often used in missionary work ha. wow - 2 Bentleys, a Porsche 911 turbo S, and 2 Maserati´s.  You won´t be surprised to hear that I have not seen any of those in the last year, let alone in a 2 mile stretch.  Teaching in Tapachula is great!  The people are a bit ignorant (not to be rude, that's just how it is) so we have to teach super clearly.  It took a bit of an adjustment for me to be able to tell them the unadulterated truth.  But now its pretty easy.  I love you Mom!

Steph and Roy - Sorry I`m out of time. Thanks for your emails.  I´ll be sure to write you next week.  Love you!

Pictures -

My companion and I at Izapa
 my pathetic bucket

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Week 51 - Hello Family

What a pleasure it is to read your emails every week.  Its always gives me a nice boost.  This week went quite well.  We had a couple of baptisms, which is always nice ha.  As you may notice, this email is coming a bit late this week. That's because we went to the ruins in Izapa with President Cardenas.  It was good fun, despite the fact that my lower neck changed from snow white to beet red in the twinkling of an eye. 

The Commons at Izapa

As you might be aware, Thursday this week I complete a year in the field...sad.  ha.  So I thought it would be good to reflect upon some of the lessons I´ve learned out here.  First of all - just be obedient.  There is no other way to be happy.  I knew that before my mission but now I understand better.  Second, You can have whatever you want.  I love to teach this principle.  If you want to go to the celestial kingdom you can.  If you want to baptize as a missionary you can.  If you want to change your life you can.  You just have to be willing to make the sacrifice required.  Also, excuses are the nemesis of progress. 

In Matt 5:48 Jesus commanded us: Be ye therefore perfect.  I´ve learned to take that commandment very seriously.  I believe in a God who gives commandments that we are capable of keeping.  Obviously we aren´t perfect right now, but we would do well to make that our goal and work towards it tenaciously.  Expectations are everything. 

Roy - haha, I´m proud of you for finding a way to blame it on me...well done ha.  Man, I don´t ever want to graduate BYU, its the best!  But anyway, I liked your experience in Wimbledon.  Believe me that I feel the same all the time.  I´m starting to understand the words of Paul a bit more when he talked about glorying in his weaknesses because when he is weak then he is strong.  I´m just not good enough on my own, but have found that the Lord has always rewarded my true effort. 

Carly - I´m amazed... Yeah the police are super sketchy here.  This morning we were walking to the chapel and about 85 police officers passed us going the other way.  I just thought to myself, I am soo glad I´m not going to see what they are about to do haha.  Working like donkey´s eh? here we say trabajando como negros (working like blacks) but I wouldn´t recommend using it in Florida  ha.  Thanks for the email!  You´re the best!

Mom and Dad - sorry to combine you but I´m a bit short on time and you ought to be one flesh right?  Anyway, I´m so proud of Michael D. -  Chihuahua! Everyone here makes fun of them but that's ok! ha.  I´m glad to hear that Quest panned out well.  Your story reminded me of President Monson's story about the cultural event for the Kansas City temple.  You just do the best you can and its always enough.  As for the grass, I totally understand.  I have a goal to model my future home after the temple.  The temple is the most beautiful place on earth but it is exquisitely simple.  It doesn´t matter how rich or poor you are, you can have a clean house, filled with the spirit of the Lord, if you put in a bit of effort.  I´ve been in some poor homes that were far more heavenly than any house on PV Boulevard.  That reminds me - we had an awesome sacrament meeting.  A very sick member gave a talk somewhat similar to Bruce R McConkie's last talk.  He said, "I´m not sure if I will be here next Sunday, but I want you to know, that I know with certainty that Jesus Christ lives.  I trust in him.  I cannot wait to see him."  It was amazing.  I am convinced that some of the most powerful spirits are housed in the weakest bodies.

Sorry I don´t have time to answer all your questions, I´ll try to next week. 

A to the D - hahaha.  When you said that Roy would never get to anything dressed or fed on time an image of a Roy showing up to work in his underwear flashed across my mind.  haha, I too.  I´m quite convinced that if he didn´t have you, he´d be a shaggy man indeed.  Hahaha Roy with his "I am a man of constant sorrow" strikes again.  I forgot how funny that kid is.  When I go home we´ll have to do some shenanigans again.  Thanks for bringing back memories of PDBio 120, that class was the worst ha.  But we got through it. Have a rocking week. 

Well in 15 minutes I start proselyting again, and I still haven´t washed my clothes, cleaned the house, or bought food.  This week might be a bit rough ha. I love you guys and hope you have a fantastic week.  When I email you next week I will officially be an old man in the mission. 

Elder Roth

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week 50 - I'm Running Out Of Clever Titles


This week was pretty awesome.  Unfortunately I forgot my camera again, sorry about that.  My companion is totally awesome, I love him.  We are really getting things going here in Central.  We taught an awesome lesson yesterday to a young man named Arón.  He has all the lessons, understands everything well, and finally has the permission from his father to be baptized.  But he is a bit hesitant.  We´ve taught him a couple times about the need for exact obedience in the exact moment, but there is still something that bothers him. So this time we just went in there and bore our testimonies of the vital need to be baptized and promised blessings.  The spirit was so intense.  Then we said,´´Arón the spirit is here, ¿can you feel it? You could see a physical change in him, and he asked, ¿you guys feel it too?  Then we testified,´´everything we teach is true. You are ready.  Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized? ...yes.  WOHOO!  He´ll be taking a swim this weekend!

Dad - I call dibs on mowing the grass when I get home, I miss the smell of fresh cut grass.  We´ve been without a Bishop for about 4 months.  The first and second consejeros conduct, which makes no sense.  But who knows.

1. What have you learned by learning to speak another language?
- Learning to speak Spanish has been a great experience.  I´ve learned a ton. First you learn humility, and fast.  From there its just a matter of never giving up.  It really helps me personally in some of my deficiencies in communication skills haha.  I´ve learned to ask for help, to not be afraid of messing up, and just talk to people about anything.  Its been really cool.

2.  As you walk down the street and look at signs and businesses, can you read and understand everything?
- I don´t struggle at all with grammar or understanding, what I´m working on is building a bigger vocabulary and my accent.  My companion has given me some nice compliments and he´s really helping me to speak like a Mexican.  I love it! 

I am sitting on the sofa in my bedroom.  Do you have a sofa in your bedroom?
- I certainly do not have a sofa in my room, nor a chair.  I study sitting on a 5 gallon bucket.  (seriously!) ha.  Wow, I was wondering when Josh finished his mission.  I can honestly say I am not jealous of him at all.  I don´t ever want to finish my mission.  His advice is my advice for all the other missionaries that I know.  In missionary work there is no substitute for work.  Just keep working. 

3.  How did your Seminary experience prepare you for your mission and how does it serve you and others now?
- Seminary has certainly benefited me out here.  The scriptural knowledge is useful, and the memories are wonderful.  Most of all though, its the conversion that takes place as a high school student wakes up at 5 am everyday to study the scriptures.  Consistency is the key.  

4.  Do you still have your bucket, or do you leave it when you move and get a different one when you get to your new place?
- haha I love all the bucket based questions.  The buckets stay in the house when you go.  Only a selfish missionary would steal another mans bucket.

5.  When you prepare your own meal, what do you make?
- I hardly spend any time cooking.  When I make myself a little 10 o'clock snack its usually tuna salad, or an apple and peanut butter.  For breakfast I usually eat cereal with yogurt and a peanut butter sandwich. 

D&C 121 - 123 are so intense!  I´m glad you are enjoying them.  Thanks for the email and the prayers, and the million other things you give me.  You remain in my prayers as well.  I remember Roy asking for your conversion story during his mission.  You wouldn´t by chance have a copy, would you?  Love you Dad.  Thanks for everything.

Mom - There is no shortage of humidity, but we do indeed lack the air conditioning.  Instead of the windows being covered with condensation its my body that's covered in sweat when I wake up.  But that freezing cold shower is always a nice/horrific way to cool off.  I´m doing super great!  I´m way less tired this week than I was last week.  I am healthy and just doing great! 

In terms of interesting wildlife there isn´t a ton.  We have iguanas by our house and the other day I killed 5 cockroaches in the shower, but that's about it.  The mission is a strange cross of extremely demanding and difficult, and really easy.  Perhaps easy isn´t the right word, simple.  All I do is wake up and do as much good as I can until I go to bed.  I read a talk by Elder Perry the other week.  I´m not sure how the title would be translated.  Perhaps, Be It Done With Simplicity.  Its about just doing the basic things and letting the rest go.  Dieter Uchtdorf's Of Things That Matter Most is good too.  I live with almost no stress.  Its awesome!  I hope I can keep it that way.

Well thanks for the mail, its always a treat to come and read.  Oh, I almost forgot.

Carly - I would be truly amazed if you are still reading these.  haha.  But anyway.  We have a new sister in our district named Hermana Zúñiga that looks exactly like you!  The only difference is that she isn´t taller than me haha.  I´m convinced that you share ancestors.  Hope things are going well back in Florida.  Have a fantastic week!

ok.  um.  oh! 1 more interesting story.  Yesterday my companion and I were walking to a lesson and saw a dude running towards us.  We didn´t really think much of it until we saw a police officer hop out of a speeding taxi and chase him.  The guy slipped when he tried to turn a corner and pretty much gave up.  The police officer ran up and kicked him in the throat as hard as he could, and knocked the guy out.  It was soo crazy. I will never run from a Mexican policeman.

PS.  If you ever feel the need to let out a bit of anger, Amanda - consider becoming a Mexican police officer.  ha.