Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Week 71 - I'm sexy and I know it


How`s life treating you?  This week was pretty amazing - alright really amazing.  Remember Roberto Alfaro?  He had been sick for the last few weeks and hadn`t been able to go to the chapel to get confirmed, so I talked with my mission president and he said if the bishop approved it, he could get confirmed in his house.  So we went on Christmas eve to confirm him.  2 days later - December 26th - he died.  Of course it was sad, but in reality he is finally able to rest from his excruciating illness.  The Lord left him here just long enough to do his essential ordinances, and then he let him rest.  It was a testimony to me that he knows us and is intimately involved in our lives. 

In other news...i´ve got nothing.  Things are going pretty well.  I´m happy, tired, sweating, and grateful for your prayers and letters.  Same as always. :)

It was great to talk to you on Christmas.  I still can`t believe that I speak English with a Mexican accent.  That's so cool haha.  The bad news is that I speak Spanish with an American accent.  I no longer have a mother tongue.  You all looked great and I´m glad you were able to spend Christmas together.  I can`t believe how fast the time went by, but it won`t be too long till Mothers Day. :) 

Dad - haha I hope your transfer in Norcross has been fruitful.  Bummer that the Cougars didn`t bring their A game.  I´m sure they´ll do better next year as I tell them what to do from the 44th row with a mouthful of nachos and some good facepaint.  I got to admit that I thought the Broncos were nuts for their contract with Payton Manning but they proved me wrong.

1.  What was it like talking to us?  Hard to understand our English?
      -A true pleasure.  No, its easy to understand English. 

2.  Do you have any tall buildings in your area?  What is the tallest?
      - not really.  There is one that`s probably about ten stories, but it is vacant.  The rest of the buildings max out at 4 stories.
3.  Do you have to climb many stairs?
      -almost never, but some people live on the second floor above a store or something like that.

4.  Does being close to BOM lands (at least as most people assume) have any impact on missionary work?
      - not really. I try to avoid the speculation and stick to the doctrine.
5.  What type of humanitarian work or service have you done recently.
      - we haven`t done anything on a large scale.  One of the nastiest things we`ve done recently is wash a woman´s dishes that she hadn`t touched in about 3 weeks.  The smell was so nasty and I came so close to throwing up. It took us over and hour to wash it all.  

6.  What are the three hymns that you play most frequently when you play?
     -probably Teach Me to Walk in the Light, and some of the sacrament hymns that we sing almost every week. 

7.  Do you get to talk to the Primary children much?
    - We´ve never gone to talk to them in the primary, but we talk with them in their houses.  They´re so funny and cute.  I love em.

8.  Remember how the Jax Beach Missionaries would teach a class at the church building each week?  Do you do anything like that?
     - no, no one here has ever had success with it. We have a hard enough time getting them to church on Sunday.

9.  What percent of your lessons have a member present?
    - about 50%. The goal is 100, but i`m happy if we have more member present lessons than other lessons.

10.  Do you make programs for your baptismal services?
    - umm, our bishop usually does it. nothing special, just some hymns some talks and some swimming.

Have a great week dad, I love you.

Mom - Ha I don`t think of myself as Clark anymore.  I think ´´Elder Roth.´´  If someone called me Clark it would be really weird.  Elder Bednar is my hero (well one among many).  I think it would be difficult to have intelligence without understanding, but can be done to a certain extent.  I think the Lord is more even more merciful than we sometimes imagine him to be.  And we must remember that of us it is required to forgive all men.  I try very hard to not judge the faults of others because I know that Lord has forgiven me of serious faults and know he will do the same with the faults of others. I love you mom!

Roy and Andee - I hope you enjoy your week in Kansas.  Its a shame you can`t go to Colby and eat some authentic Mexican food in Taco Johns haha. On an unrelated note - I realized after our Skype call that Roy`s question if I had gotten any good at basketball actually makes sense. haha.  My bad.  I thought it was one of Roy´s more delkish moments, but as it turns out I`m the delk.  Love you guys!

Estefany - Do you like the Spanish version of your name?  The whole Skype call was a highlight for me :)  A Mexican Christmas can`t match the awesomeness of an American Christmas but it was pretty good.  I hope you enjoy Monster Jam and the BCS national championship. :)  That sounds so fun.  I`m short on time, sorry Steph. Have a great week. 

Love you guys.

Elder Roth

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Week 70 - Merry Christmas!

Hello dearest family,

I hope you are all doing well.  I am.  This week was good, but nothing too exciting to report.  I guess we´ll have a better chat on Wednesday.  How´s Christmas in Norcross?  Any chances of snow?  I see it as unlikely here in Tapachula seeing as it's still 85ish everyday.  I remember Roy saying that he never became fluent in celsius - nor am I.  Apparently it's easier to learn a second language than a second temperature scale. 

I´m looking forward to this Wednesday.  We have a baptism tonight at 6pm so that's a pretty good Christmas present for me.  I´m happy.  Hope my fellow Jax Beach missionaries are doing well. 

Dad - I´m happy that the Norcross project is going fairly well.  I´m still not sure about my skype arrangements, but I´ll figure it out soon.  I´ll probably do it from the chapel like last time (yep, the same chapel haha)  Comprendo. ha.  I want to go to Williamson Bros!! ha.

1.  What voice is your inner dialogue?
      - The voice of the late, great Bruce R. McConkie.  haha just kidding.  That would be sweet though.  I guess it's my normal voice - except when I read conference talks then I try to think of them I use the voice of whoever gave the talk. 

2.  What percent of time do you think in English vs. Spanish?
       - It depends. During the day it's almost always Spanish.  I study my scriptures mostly in English though, so in the morning it's English.  And when I sleep its German.

3.  How does the Christmas season impact Missionary work?
     - Well.  It's a bit tough because a lot of people go on vacation so the attendance and number of lessons taught tends to drop a bit.  But at the same time there are different opportunities to meet new people.  So it all works out.

4.  Does it seem like Christmas, since it is so hot and sweaty?
     - No. Christmas in the mission isn´t very Christmasy. ' But its all good.
5.  Do you drink a lot of water?  Bottles or bags?
     - a ton. mostly cups from 5 gallon jugs.  The people that sell water in the street sell it in bags, but I hardly ever buy it.  It's kinda spendy. 

6.  If you drank the tap water, how long would it be until you had an emergency?
     - I´ve done it once, but the deed was preceeded by a very fervent prayer. I was on exchanges and we didn´t have any water, and it was nighttime and I thought I was going to die.  I´m not really sure how bad the tap water is.  I only know that it comes out orangish.  haha.

7.  Have you noticed that the Brethren seem to be promoting using videos in lessons and talks?
     - I have. Its cool right? :)

8.  How often do you use videos in lessons?
     - Not very often.  A lot of people don´t have DVD players. (actually most of them do but they lost the remote control so you can only watch the videos in English).  Probably about once a week. 

9.  Not a question:  Tell us about a recent lesson or investigator.
     - have I told you about Mary yet?  She has been an investigator for a while.  When we first taught her we would extend the normal invitations to read, pray and go to church but she rejected them all.   ha. But we felt that we shouldn´t give up on her.  So we kept teaching and teaching.  After a little while she started to read.  A bit later she started to pray.  And finally we got her to go to church.  She´s progressing quite a bit now.  Hopefully things will continue upwards with her.

10.  Did you get any packages?
    - not yet

11.  Why did your Mission President take your iPod?
     - honestly it's incomprehensible to me.  He took everyone´s iPod but says that we can burn cds to listen to.  I don´t really see the difference, but I don´t worry about it too much.

12.  Did your hair ever grow back from that terrible haircut you shared with us?
     - after 2 long, painful months. I´ve cut it two more times since then actually.

13.  How often do you shave?
     - everyday. mission rules.

14.  How hard is it to follow the Mission Rules with exactitude?
     - no. it's easy.  All you have to do is decide to be obedient.  There is a cool quote by president George Albert Smith in which he says, There is a line of demarcation well defined between the Lord’s territory and the devil’s territory. If you will stay on the Lord’s side of the line you will be under his influence and will have no desire to do wrong; but if you cross to the devil’s side of that line one inch you are in the tempter’s power and if he is successful, you will not be able to think or even reason properly because you will have lost the Spirit of the Lord.”  It's true.  Obedient missionaries are hardly even tempted to disobey.

Love you dad! 

Mom - haha your take on Roy's shenanigans is  always funny.  ha.  Count your blessings.  We don´t have any choir at all, nor special musical numbers.  It's a bit of a bummer.  Based solely on the fact that I have no idea who Julie Andrews is, (and the fact that Carrie Underwood is pretty) I would have to say that Carrie is the winner.  ha.  Talk to you in two days!  Love you!

Andee - How do you do it?  I wish i had to ability to fall asleep anywhere like you do.  I hope you enjoy your Christmas in Norcross - though I´m sure it's not what you were expecting.  Was your stuffed baked potato the size of a small infant?  Because Roy bought one once that was larger than a football.  I eat mostly black beans.  I could probably count on one hand the number of times I´ve had other types of beans.  after 6 years Roy finally noticed haha. what a goober. :)  See you Wednesday?

Roy - If you bowl a 200 tonight I will pay your first year of tuition in grad school ha.  I´m predicting a solid 76, with 4 gutterballs. 

Well my weeks are exciting, and my emails are boring.  Sorry about that.  My mind always goes blank when I sit down here in the cyber.  I love you all! 

Elder Roth

Monday, December 16, 2013

Week 69 - A Wonderful Week

Hello my dear family,

It's hard to express how much I appreciate your weekly emails.  This is tough work, and it would be even harder without your support.  I hope all is well back in the land of the free and home of the brave.  Things are going well here in ye ole Mexico.  My life is pretty legit haha.  Every week has its ups and downs, but this week we had an incredible experience.  We baptized Roberto Alfaro, and let me tell you, it was amazing.  Roberto had been catholic all his life and had rejected countless missionaries before us.  About 8 months ago he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and is quite weak.  In his agony he has been trying to get closer to God.  He let us teach him and after a few visits he said, "Elders, I´m not sure if it's possible, but I want to be baptized in your church."  We were quick to dissipate his doubts and assure him that he could indeed be baptized.  Well the day finally came, and although it was a physically excruciating trial he was determined to be baptized.  It took me three attempts before I could get him submerged (oops...) but he came out with the biggest smile I´ve ever seen.  After he changed he bore his simple testimony and talked about how good he felt.  I could hardly contain the tears; more than 7 decades of sin washed away, more than 8 months of agony had served its end, and after 84 years of life, Roberto Alfaro is once again as clean as a newborn babe.  I will never forget this Saturday.

Dad - I had forgotten that I´m going to miss the winter Olympics.  Dang.  But  I´ve got better stuff to do anyway.  Hopefully USA hockey can avenge its tragic loss to Canada 4 years ago.  Is Bode going to compete?  haha. 

Here are a couple of questions:
1.  Did you get the picture of Mom and the Molcajete?
      - Yeah. that's awesome.  I can assure you that I have eaten nothing of the sort. 
Azteca Molcajete

2.  What type of animals do you see on a routine basis? 
      - rabid dogs, nasty cats, cockroaches, ants, birds (lots of birds as pets - they are so annoying), the occasional squirrel, lots of iguanas, armadillos, I think thats all.

3.  Any rare types of animals you see occasionally?
     - perhaps iguanas would fall into that catagory

4.  How many investigators did you have Sunday?
     - yikes, a bad Sunday to ask.  Only 1. 

5.  For investigator teaching, what percent do you use the Book of Mormon versus the Bible?
     - I use the Book of Mormon more, but it's fairly equal.  The big difference is that we leave commitments to read the Book of Mormon, but almost never to read the Bible.

6.  Have you been able to listen to any uplifting music lately?
     - a bit. Presidente Cardenas stole my iPod about 8 months ago but I watched the Christmas devotional, and we have a disc of music in the house.  I miss my iPod though.

7.  What types of plants do you see around you on a daily basis?  I am assuming it is mostly concrete, but who knows?
    -it is mostly concrete. in fact I rarely see plants haha. There are some mango trees scattered about though.

8.  What is the air quality like?  I don't imagine the anti-pollution laws are as stringent as in the US.
     - it's not too bad here because its flat, but Tuxtla Gutierrez is a valley so it's terrible.  Most days you cant see from one side of the valley to the other.  I´ve developed a certain ´´green´´ sentiment after seeing how terrible unrestainted pollution really is. 

9.  What percent of the missionaries in your missions are American?  Mexican?  Other?
     - it's probably about 40, 40, 20. There are lots of Guatemaltecos, HondureƱos, SalvadoreƱos, and Peruanos.

10.  What do you consider to be a good P-Day?
     - one in which I play soccer or basketball. Simple. 

11.  Tell us about a particularly interesting experience you had this past week.
     - Roberto´s baptism is the winner. 

Love you dad, I hope you have an A number 1 super winner week.  Thanks for working hard for us.  See you on the flip side ha.

Mom - I´m glad you´ve been able to preserve the true meaning of Christmas :).  I love Christmas.  Unfortunately it's still unspeakably hot here, which takes away a fun side of it for me.  But I love being at home, making caramels, decorating the tree together, drinking eggnog even though nobody actually likes it, and just being together.  I feel the best gift we can give to our Savior in this season is gratitude for the chance to be united as a family eternally. Christmastime always reminds me that families are meant to be forever.  You say that none of your kids want to live near your, but NOT SO.  You don´t want to live by any of your kids!  haha.  just kidding. :)  I have come to know more fully just how good life in Ponte Vedra Beach is.  I wouldn´t mind being there again.  I look forward to seeing you too.  I hope you're still rocking your sweet glasses. :)  Love you mom, see you in 9 days!!

Andee - hahaha, I actually thought of Roy saying "shut up old man" this week. I was walking in the street and just randomly burst out laughing.  Funniest moment of my life.  Also this week I dropped my cell phone and said ´´shoot´´ just like that night ha.  Hope all is well with finals.  I look forward to being a text message away from your antics as well.  You and Roy make my life better!  Be sure to dissuade my father from his android excitement.  As the pastor said to Joseph Smith, ´´mark my words, nothing good will come of this.´´  ha.  I´m glad Angels We Have Heard On High makes you think of me.  You´ll be pleased to know that it's a Mexican favorite.  The tone-deafness is driving me crazy.  Imagine it - Glo-ooo-ooo-oo-oo-ria. It's the worst  haha. Well AD, have a stellar week.  And tell Roy hi for me.  Love you, but less than Roy does.  :)

OK, well time has flown by.  I love you all.  Merry Christmas!  Talk to you in a week!!!!! 

Elder Roth

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week 68 - Shreddin and Rippin

O beloved Family,

It's always a pleasure to hear from you.  Every one of you made me chuckle.  I´m glad to hear that things are going well in Florida and Germany - and I´m super jealous about the snow in Utah.  You guys are awesome.  This week was really good.  We baptized my favorite investigator ever, Fransisco.  We found him a couple weeks ago as we were looking for his sister, a former investigator.  He´s been solid from day one.  And now he´s baptized!  Life is good.

Mom - Unfortunately I know of no such service, nor do I know of missionaries here who need it.  I´m sure if you talk to a bishop or stake president they can hook you up with some names and addresses.  Its good to hear that you are enjoying the company of the "eww grosses".  ha.  Your new car is so sweet! so now it's M3 and 330?  Facsimile 2 is so legit, right?  ha - I spent far too much time trying to decipher what 9-22 mean haha.  I got to watch the First Presidency Devotional as well, and was likewise disappointed with the closing hymn.  But what can you do?  I really really liked Far, Far away on Judea´s Plains though.  I haven´t gotten any packages yet, but President Cardenas is making the journey down on Wednesday so he´ll bring it if it has arrived. Congrats on the new car, hope it serves you well.  Love you mom!

Daddio - Your report of the car situation made me laugh out loud haha. Hopefully you won´t end up carless. 

On to some questions:
1.  Are you taking good care of your grinders?
      - Of course.  haha. 

2.  Do you know that Florida State is the number 1 team in the country and will play #2 Auburn for the National Championship?
      - I had absolutely no idea.  That's cool though.  NO one plays football like the southeast. 

3.  How many investigators did you have at Church today?
     - None because today is Monday.  But yesterday we had 5.  The members helped us out by inviting them and bringing them.

4.  Are you and your companion the only missionaries in your Ward?
     - Yes. Vista Hermosa (the ward I was in before) has 2 sets - elders and sisters.  But dividing a 10 by 10 block area would be a bit tedious.  ha. 

5.  Did you know they got over 9 inches of snow in one storm in Provo, and it did not get above freezing for a couple of days?
     - Roy and Andee sent me the report and pictures.  Did you know that I am sweating as I write this? 

6.  How shall we arrange for your Christmas call this year? Do you remember the home phone number?
    - I´ll Skype you again.  Of course I remember the home phone number ha. 

7.  You read Jesus the Christ.  What other books are you allowed to read?
    - We can read the Standard Works (Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) Jesus the Christ, Our Search For Happiness, True To The Faith, and Our Heritage. I´ve finished them all - except for the Old Testament.  I´m in 2 Kings. (but I only read it at night before bed.)

8.  How is you missionary sun tan coming along?  Arms nice and dark?
     - Worse than ever. It's seriously embarrassing. my arms and face aren´t really darker than before the mission, but the rest of my body has attained a glow above the brightness of the sun. 

9.  What does a missionary have to do, to need to have his toe nail removed?
    - In the case of my companion, run down a muddy slope, slip, kick a tree, and break your toe nail.  haha  That happened in his previous area, he had to get it removed again because it was infected.  Gross ha. 

10.  Want me to tell you what a molcajetes is?  It is a stone bowl.  We went to this really cool authentic Mexi restaurant in Norcross. I ordered this dish where the bring you food out in this molcajetes. It was heated up to about 1,000 degrees, so the stuff was boiling while it sat in front of you. It had cactus leaves in it. I think they were called nopaleras. It was good.
      - Right you are.  I had heard the word before but I forgot what it was. Sounds good.  I´ll tell you about all the funny stuff we eat on Christmas. 

11.  Tell me something interesting about your prayers this week?
     - Not technically a question but I´ll answer anyway :).  I try to focus on giving thanks rather than asking.  Doing so has made me realize more of the blessings that God bestows upon us each day.

Have a good week back it Atlanta.  I hope all goes well.  Love you dad.

Steph - Only Tom, only Tom. (BTW, I loved the gross wordplay).  Fransisco was baptized.  Estefany will be baptized the 22.  and Sabel is not the steph´s dad.  It's so so good to hear that Ryan is keeping the tradition of incessant thirst alive.  He´s a good kid.  ha.  I´m impressed that Tom can run 20 miles like that.  ha.  Especially when he only mentally prepares for  a 15k.  Have a good week.  You're a champ.

Roy and Andee - Time is short.  Thanks for the pictures Andee, I´m so jealous.  I know things like that would happen in the YSA ward - it warms my heart to hear of such delkhood.  Have a good last week and own your finals. You too, Roy.

And yes mom I got the debit card, thanks. 

Bueno.  Love you all.  Talk to you next week. 

Elder Roth 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Week 67 - OBISPO!!!


Guess what! guess what!! WE HAVE A BISHOP!!!!  Yeah baby! and he is amazing.  He has served previously as Bishop, Stake President, Counselor in the Temple Presidency, and High Counselor over missionary work.  I`m so excited!  We also got a new ward mission leader.  And our zone had 3 times the average number of baptisms this month.  not too bad eh?  I´m a happy little guy.

This week was really good.  Unfortunately however, my comp got one of his toenails removed and hasn`t been able to walk for the last 2 days.  And let me tell you, it is really hard to find enough people to stay with each of us during the day so that he can rest and I can work.  But we did a pretty good job of it.  This week I finished Jesus the Christ.  It's really good.  When I get back I want to read Elder Talmage´s other books. 

Mom - I`m glad you had a good week in Atlanta.  I haven´t tried any Yucatecan food,  but I´m sure its good.  Have a great time with Steph and the boys.  I´m grateful for you mom.  You´re so wonderful.  Travel safely.

Dad - It's good to hear that you finally got a day off and that things are going relatively well at work. 

1.  What ages of people did you teach this week?
      - Just about everything.  We have Estefany, 9.  Sabel, 22.  Fransisco, 48. Roberto Alfaro, 81.  And just about everything in between.

2.  How many copies of Preach My Gospel do you have?  What languages?
     - One in English.  A big one in Spanish, and a mini in Spanish.  I use them all about equally and my notes are strewn about in all 3.  It's a bit of a mess.

3.  How many times did you speak English this last week?
     - More than usual.  We have a new hermana in the district from Provo, Utah.  She is so hilarious, and her Spanish is so...not that good.  ha.  So I talked to her in English a bit.  Other than that I didn´t speak much in my mother tongue. 

4.  How reliable is your electrical service in your flat?
    - You can count on it to be terrible.  So I´d say its reliable.  ha.  Nah, just kidding.  There is nothing wrong with it, it´s just that if you run two fans at the same time you loose some power.  And if you use the iron the room goes dark ha.

5.  How many times did you play the piano this past week?
    - In Sacrament meeting.  In a lesson with someone that had a little keyboard that was impossible to play, and last Monday after we played soccer.

6.  Describe the room you are currently sitting in?
    - The same one as always.  Paint stripping off the wall, a sign that says no pornography, and today it's especially hot. :)

7.  As you walk your area, what type of music do you normally hear?
    - Everything.  Mariachi,  I´m Sexy and I Know It, 80`s rock in English, alabanzas (the highly apostate songs of other churches), the music they play in the bars (which you can only like if you're hammered drunk), and some other stuff.

8.  Was there any recognition of US Thanksgiving?  Did you even know it was this last Thursday?
     - No, I actually forgot until about 8 pm.

9.  Do you know what a Molcajete is?
     - no idea.

10.  How can we help you?
     - help the missionaries at home. 

Love you Dad, hope you have a great week and that you can go home soon. :)

Andee- hahahaha.  Roy and my Dad have the gift of making any song ridiculous.  I laughed so hard at your title.  Yeah! Cougars eat Wolves!  haha I`m glad you enjoyed the BYU basketball game from outer space ha.  Have a good family home christmas tree.  Maybe next time you can make it a family home send clark candy (haha just kidding, I don´t need candy.  Everyone here has diabetes as is)

Roy - 1000 bucks!  That's so much.  I´m sure it will all be worth it.  If not you can always come and live in Tapachula - life here is pretty cheap.  I´m still hoping for MIT.  ha.  That way you can walk in the footsteps of the great James R Kearl. :)  Have a good un! 

Steph - Your boys are going to have the standard works memorized before their mission if they keep going at this rate!  Have fun in Florida!  I bet it's too cold to swim by now, but throw Ty in anyway ha.  Jokes.  Hope all goes well for Tom in Euroland.  Love ya.

Well my family.  Time runs short once again.  I love you all so much.  I feel the deepest gratitude for your support and love.  I know that the gospel is true. 

Elder Roth