Monday, January 27, 2014

Week 75 - Is This Heaven? No, It's Coita!


Time is seriously starting to fly.  This is crazy.  Anyway, I am grateful for your emails,and prayers and such.  Things are going well - our investigators are awesome, as is my companion, as is my area, as is my district.  So that's good. 

I have been thinking a bit more about staying the extra transfer which has provided me some interesting experiences.  Obviously there are some apparent drawbacks - such as the long time before I can go  back to school, not being in Utah to see someone that I really really want to see, etc.  But every morning as I study I feel that I am making the right choice.  Everything I have ever read or listened to or taught says that missionary work is vital, life-changing and a privilege.  That we ought to put our trust in God and consecrate all that we have and all that we are to his service.  I don´t know what I´ll do when I get home but I´m sure it will all work out.  Plus, I've never heard anyone say, ´´my mission was great - I just wish I had gone home sooner...´´

Roy - I hope you are enjoying volleyball more than writing to your brother. :) ha.  Just kidding it's all good. Love ya.

Dad - You are way behind schedu.  haha.  It sounds like work is a bit rough right now, but hang in there - it will all be worth it.  Thank you for working so hard to support us.  I think I'll cash in on that hard work you do and buy myself some new shoes today haha. :)  You keep making it, I´ll keep spending it.  Just kidding.  Have fun with the rental - drive it like you stole it! ha. I love Mormon 6.  I´ve always thought it is the most poetic part of the Book of Mormon.  Oh ye fair could you?  But now you are gone, and I am left alone to mourn your loss.  Not even Shakespeare could write such a heart wrenching tragedy.  True indeed.  We can never depart. 

1. Compare and contrast your current missionary apartment to your last one.
     - my new one is better in every way.  It has a functioning bathroom, a gas stove, a couch, a chair to study in, a washing machine, it is not infested with cockroaches, it is clean, it is in a nice area, etc. 

2. Tell us what music you played in Church meetings this last week.
    This Sunday I played hymns number 40 ,120 and 26.  How Firm a Foundation, Jesus Once of Humble Birth and Come Ye Children of the Lord. In priesthood I played We Are All Enlisted

3. I know you can speak Spanish, but how much writing of Spanish do you do?
     A bit - I write my converts from time to time.  I write a letter to my Mission President every week, and a few other odd jobs.  It's really easy - I spell much better in Spanish than in English. ha

4. Describe the flora and fauna in your current area.
     Well, the city is devoid of nature.  But around us there are palm trees and pines and sawgrass and saint augustine.  Sound familiar?  haha.  Chiapas is very similar to Florida in that aspect - well, a very polluted, deforested, ruined Florida.

5. How many wild dogs did you see last week?
     How many emails do you have in your inbox at work...It's probably about the same number.

6. Did you ever get any sort of Christmas package, at all?
     Negative Ghostrider, the pattern is full

7. Since the answer the previous question is probably no, can you ever forgive us?
     Of course, but only if you send me grits in my next package haha.  I have a hankering.

8. How many investigators are currently active in your pool?
     We have a ton, but right now we have 9 progressing investigators - which means they are reading, praying, going to church, and keeping other commitments.

9. Do you have an Area Book, or whatever they now call it?
     Yes - updating it is the worst part of being a missionary.  haha.  That and weekly planning.

10. Who do you pick in the Superbowl, Broncos or Seahawks?
     I´ve been humbled.  I can no longer bet against Payton Manning - he´s just too good. Broncos 31 - Seahawks 13.

<love you Dad.  Have a great week.

Mom - Wow, you put some serious preparation into your talks and lessons. I'm sure it was wonderful.  That is an excellent quote.
(I sent him this by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. (MATTHEW 4:23) He then went on to say: "We know the Savior to be the Master teacher.  He is that and more.  And when He says the bulk of the harvest yet lies before us and that there are far too few laborers, We immediately think of missionaries and others,… who need to teach.  But the call is for a certain kind of teacher, a teacher who in the process heals. 

I believe Christ wants our teaching to lead to healing of the spiritual kind”. 

“Rather than just giving a lesson, please try a little harder to help that blind (young adult) really see, or the deaf (woman) to really hear, or the privately lame (man) really walk.  …Try a little harder to teach so powerfully and so spiritually that you can take that (young adult, man or woman) who walks alone, who is overwhelmed by responsibility, who weeps in the dark of the night – can you unleash the power in the scriptures and the power in the gospel and “cleanse” that leper, a leper not of his or her making, a leper made by those on our right and on our left and sometimes by us?” 

It takes more than a scant knowledge of the scriptures and a superficial testimony to teach like the Teacher, and heal like the Healer.  Such blessings are reserved to those who truly follow him, who truly live His gospel and strive to be like Him.  That's what I try to do and that is what you succeed at doing. I´m glad you like that Elder Holland commentary.  I really like the natural man, natural resources one as well.  Love you Mom!

Andee Dawn - hahahahahahahaha Roy is so ridiculous.  haha.  To be honest I don´t remember My route Y id and all that. I´m like 94% sure that I wrote it down with the classes I want to take in Fall - Mom can check.  I´m so down to go visit you guys when I finish here.  I´m still hoping for Boston but I wouldn't be disappointed with Palo Alto. (which means high stick BTW) ha. But anyway - I´m glad to hear that you are enjoying Top Gear and school and surviving life with Roy ha.  It must be a party.  Love ya AD

Well, time nears it's eclipse.  I love you guys. 

Elder Roth

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Week 74 - :)


My cheeks hurt from smiling so much.  I seriously cannot believe how wonderful this place is.  Thanks for your letters and prayers.  So this week I have a favor to ask.  Due to a weird 4 week transfer we had a long time ago I can either finish my mission the first week of August or the 3rd week of September.  Obviously, if I stay I won´t be able to start at BYU in the fall - I´ll have to wait until winter.  But then again the mission is cooler than BYU. ha.  I´ve been thinking about it a little bit and have decided that I should stay as long as I can - until the mission president drags me to the airport. Can you make sure that I can defer my entrance in BYU another semester? pretty please.  :)  I´ll write you a letter about how I made the decision because it was a great learning experience for me. 

well I´ll get on to your emails. 

Dad - Both you and Andee mentioned Top Gear.  This morning I told my companion to "prepare to bask in the turbulence of my excellence".  haha.  I´m sure you´ll do great on the project you are picking up.  I can see that you made the decision with faith and I know that everything will work out fine.  We also had our lesson from the JFS lesson manual, but I was quite disappointed.  We drifted from the theme and it became essentially a dodgy doctrinal lesson.  Darn.  Anyway.  Its actually quite cool here - Friday I wore my sweater for the first time in my mission. :)

1.  Now that you have an American companion, do you speak English when you are together?
    Sometimes, but not a ton.  We speak a lot of spanglish.  We do all the planning, comp studies, and stuff like that in Spanish.  But sometimes at night we talk in English - we both need the practice haha.

2.  Have you heard about the big parade they do in o co zo co?  I think it is done on Ash Wednesday, so you might still be there when it happens.
      Yeah its called carnival Zoque. Apparently it gets pretty intense, I´ll be sure to tell you about it when it comes around.

3.  How has your understanding of different cultures changed in the last year?
     Well, I would say that Talmage Spackman hit the nail on the head perfectly when he returned from his mission in Mongolia.  The cultures change, but the people don´t.  I can appreciate Mexican culture, and Guatemalan, but the truth is that it is a mistake to classify a person by their culture.  There are smart people everywhere, as there are lazy ones, faithful and incredulous, humble and arrogant.  I really love these people for who they are individually - independent of cultural differences.

4.  How many missionaries are there in your Branch?  Just your companionship. The Jax Beach Ward is up to two companionships. One Elders and one Sisters.
    just a pair of gringos.

5.  Please tell us about an investigator..
      We have so many awesome investigators.  This week I´ll tell you about Darwin.  He used to have drug and alcohol problems but he overcame those. He works two jobs - welding and helping out in Alcoholics Anonymous.  Our last 3 lessons with him we have been explaining the plan of salvation, which he loves. He yearns for the peace that only repentance can bring.  He´s gone to church twice now and will be baptized the 15th  of Feb. 

6  Describe what you see as you look around from where you are sitting right now.  What does it smell like?  What do you hear?
     I´m in a dark corner haha.  It doesn´t really smell like anything.  The computers here are in little cells with seafoam green walls.  I hear the people selling stuff on the streets.  (I´ll have to imitate them for you next time we talk) and that's about it. 

Love you dad!

Mom - haha your Sunday School lesson sounds excellent :)  Just kidding that's a bummer.  But anyway.  Keep working out - it makes you happy.  I miss going to the gym, and swimming a bit, but it's worth the sacrifice to be here.  Last Monday I played basketball and my legs were sore until Friday haha.  I feel old.  I always love to hear about your meditations and reflections over the scriptures.  You are a great example to me.  I saw a video from Elder Holland this week that I think you would enjoy a lot.  He answers questions from a small group and has some really profound comments on the scriptures.  Perhaps you can find it on YouTube.  It's called "For Times of Trouble". (I was able to find a shortened version) I love you mom!

Andee - never complain about something being too Americanized  haha.  I wish Mexico was a bit more Americanized sometimes  haha.   :) It made me smile when you said that you will always support Roy in his callings.  That's what it's all about.  Thanks for that.  I hope your final semester keeps on rocking!  Love you AD

Roy - you are ambitious but rubbish   :) I hope you're enjoying your volleyball class.  I can´t help but remember the good times from our class 2 and a half years ago.  haha  I almost always woke up late.  Good times.  Your schedule sounds much easier than it has in semesters past.  Which major did you enjoy more?  I realized that I have no idea what I am going to do when I get back.  I guess I´ll think about that when I finish.  Love you bro.

Well thanks for your support.  I treasure your weekly letters.

Have a wonderful week,

Elder Roth

Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 73 - D & C 58:4


I am so, so happy right now!  My new area (pronounced oco so kwowt la, more or less) is so awesome!  Dad asked me a ton of questions about it in his email so I guess I´ll explain it all in that part.  If you haven´t read the scripture from the subject line it says, ´´after much tribulation come the blessings.´´  Well, suffice it to say that I consider the 7 months in Central and 6 months with my companion to be the ´´much tribulation´´ and my new area to be the blessing.  ha.  I´m in love with this place.  In fact, the first night I was here I was so enchanted by it all that I told my companion that I want to live here.  I´ve changed my mind somewhat, but I still really love it. 

I´ll get on to your emails:

Dad - Thanks for the sports update. It's cool that Florida State won, I´m sure my friends will be pleased. 

1. Tell us about your new Branch.  How many people?  Did you get to play the piano, etc?
     - It's awesome!  69 people went this Sunday, I did indeed play piano...and gave a talk...and taught priesthood haha.  The members are wonderful.  There are a ton of young women and they are all super committed to helping the missionaries.  They´ve given us a ton of referrals and are always asking when we can visit their friends.  We have a branch president, a branch mission leader, and an EQP (unlike Central haha).  There are 3 missionaries that returned in December and one more comes home in February.   It's so genial!!

2. Tell us about your new flat.
     - Another great difference from central.  We live in a house with a functioning bathroom.  I have a chair to study in, we have a washing machine (best invention ever), and many other improvements.  We even have a couch!

3. Tell us about your trip to the new area.
    - haha I was hoping you would ask.  Well, I left at 3 from Tapachula in an ADO GL bus. (they`re nice). 

 There are a ton of stops for immigration and all that, so it takes about 6 and a half hours to get to Tuxtla.  We arrived at 9:30.  I met my new companion (description upcoming).  Then we had to wait 3 hours until the next bus to Ocozocoautla (which is also called Coita BTW, that's easier to say).  So at 12:30 in the morning my comp and I hopped aboard the Rapidos del Sur bus

 (which is the preferred bus for the shady people).  We got home at 1:30 in the morning and it was probably about 40 outside (and inside the house haha).  I was so happy not to be sweating.  But yeah, that was my adventure this transfer.

4. What is the most interesting thing you ate this week?
     - I can´t think of anything too weird. I ate McDonald's for the first time on my mission.  It was really good.

5. Did you have any investigators at church today?
     - yeah we had 5. Our investigators rule!

6. What is the church building like?  I tried looking it up on the Church website, but it kept giving me problems, and I eventually gave up.
    - It's new, they dedicated it about 6 months ago.  It smells really good (like cedar). There isn´t a picture of it on, it just shows the land that it's built on.

7. How big is your area?
    - Massive.  If you want to get an idea, i'ts everything between Berriozábal to Cintalapa.  We pretty much just stay in Coita though.  It's about 20 blocks by 20 blocks.

8. How will you get around your area?
    - Walking and in mototaxis.   Those are sweet! They are little 3 wheel taxis with motorcycle engines and controls.  Look for a picture of them.

9. Describe the area?  On the map it looks like it is outside of TXG and kind of isolated.
    - It's about 30 minutes from Tuxtla in one of the city buses.  It's a bit far from everything but I like it that way.  We go to Tuxtla every week for a leaders meeting and to Cintalapa every other week for our district meeting. 

10. Tell us about your new Companion.
    - My compy is named Elder Shelley.  He is from Farmington Utah and is a riot.  Everything he says sounds like it comes from Brian Regan.  We get along super well and are just loving every second here. 

11. Are you happy?
     - This has been the best week of my misson. I am so happy!!

I could go on and on, but I will give you a break...

    - thanks haha :)

I did indeed guess my Braves hall of famers.  That's cool.  Everyone knows they deserved it.  Love you dad!  Have a good week!

Mom - Is your life also similar to the book of Exodus?   haha. It could be worse  -could be like Leviticus.  I was wondering about Henry and Karen, there is a huge family here with the last name Trujillo.  The Gospels are excellent. Bruce R McConkie said something about how valuable they are to learn about the character of Christ - it starts, ´´would it surprise you...´´ I read it in Spanish so I´m not really sure how it goes . Look it up though.  I´ve wanted to learn Txotzil but that is looking unlikely.  It's cool that MD is learning a dialect.  I am healthy, happy, and all that jazz.  Don´t worry about me!  Love you Mom!

Andee - I´m going to kill your husband if he doesn`t start writing me.  haha. jokes.  I know he is busy, but thank you for being so kind as to write me every week.  haha.  I don´t remember that happening but I believe it.  My first two weeks at BYU were marked by lots of walking, trying to find buildings, and trying not to look like an idiot.  Both of those pursuits generally failed.   ha. I remember that I once walked for more than an hour looking for Cougar Copy which is only a block from campus.  Good times.  As a matter of fact, my companion and I are doing the same thing right now.  We get lost all the time.  Yesterday we were lost for about 30 minutes, so we had to climb a hill and look to see where the city was.  Good times.  I hope you are loving your last semester.

Time is my enemy.

I love you guys! 

Elder Roth

Monday, January 6, 2014

Week 72 - I Live a Charmed Life

The computer I`m on right now is really terrible, so I hope you don´t mind that this will be a short letter.  I hope you enjoyed your New Year´s celebrations.  My New Years was exceptionally dull haha.  The streets of downtown Tapachula were utterly deserted, we walked a solid 10 miles only to teach two lessons.  But that's how it goes sometimes, no worries.  Ya just gotta sing ´´pioneer children sang as they walked, and walked, and walked, and walked...´´ until your companion gets mad - that always spices things up haha.  just kidding.  I try not to bother my companion too much :)  Speaking of my companion, he won´t be my companion tomorrow.   "Why?" you ask. Because I got transferred!  Woo! I´ll be heading but up to Tuxtla tomorrow. I`ll be in a branch called Ocozocoautla. (don´t worry I can hardly pronounce it either.)  

The Road from Tapachula to Ocozocoautla

I´m super excited.  These last 7 months in Central have been good to me, but I´m ready for new challenges.  My companion humorously described the work here like the book of Exodus - lots of plagues, lots of blood and sacrifices, lots of walking, hard to understand, and full of miracles. I think that is the best description of missionary work I´ve heard.
Anyway.  Hope all is going well back in the land of my forefathers.  Enjoy your last semester Roy and Andee!  I´ll get on to answering your letters.
Dad - I´m so glad you are finally back in PVB.  Due to my computer's follies I can´t read your email as I write so I´ll do my best to remember what you asked me.  I hope you don´t fall asleep on your conference call again!  haha. How did the college football season end?  

4.  What are some of the tougher questions that are asked by investigators?

Umm, I can´t think of any really hard questions any investigators have asked me.  One of the only ones that really required a knowledge of the scriptures was related to 1 Nephi 4. "Why is God telling Nephi to kill Laban if he said thou shalt not kill?"  But that one is not too tough.  Open to any page in the books of Moses, Joshua or Judges and you´ve got your evidences that it has always been so.  To be honest I don´t remember the other questions, and this computer is really frustrating.  Sorry. Love you dad have a fantastic week. 
Mom - I hope the roofers don´t bug you too much.  I´m glad to hear that you had a good week in the temple.  I miss the temple - after these two years I won´t be leaving it again.  Thank you for your prayers.  30 minutes on the importance of scripture study eh?  It won´t be hard for you to fill the time, the trick is figuring out how to explain it in so little time.  On the title page of my Book of Mormon I have written several quotes that highlight the importance of scripture study. such as (paraphrasing): ´´no member of this church who has not read the Book of Mormon prayerfully can stand before God and be approved of him.´´ (Joseph Fielding Smith), ´´it's not the book that's on trial - its readers are.´´ (Spencer W. Kimball), President Benson has several quotes "there is a power in the Book of Mormon that will be begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book", and of course the classic quote from Marion G Romney (I think...) I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness. (it's a long quote buts it's fantastic.)  Now as for personal insights: I have too many to write.  President Packer spoke on its importance last conference.  All I know is that those books open a communion with God that is beyond value.  The scriptures will tell you what to do with your life, what to avoid, and they will give you the faith to do it.  No priesthood leader, teacher, auxiliary president, missionary, or member can expect the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost unless they treasure up in their hearts the words of eternal life.
Andee - I would do anything to be in that weather for a day haha.  I wish you and Roy the best in your last semester at BYU.  I´ll be missing you guys next year.  I love you guys!
Well dearest family, I hope you have a fantastic week.  Next week I´ll be writing you from Ocozocoautla!
Love, me,
Elder Roth :)