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 .
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.
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 ?
- 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, Hondureños, Salvadoreños, 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!!!!!