Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Week 79 - :)

Today is a good day to be a missionary. Why? Because I had a record number of emails, and received a ton of good news (and not so good news - sorry about the kneecap Roy). I love you guys and I´m so grateful for your support. 

This week we are going to have a baptism! We are baptizing Marciano - a 96 year old man who had been Catholic all his life. He doesn´t hear too well so we have to shout in his ear but he´s really smart and he´s making a good choice. I´m pretty excited. 

Dad- Bummer about the US hockey team. They´ll do better in 4 years when I´m there yelling at the TV. lots of questions today :)

1.  What is the Spanish word for where you live?  Apartment, Flat, or whatever you call it there...
     Casa (house). There aren´t that many apartment complexes here - I lived in one in central, but other than that I´ve lived in houses.

2.  Tell us of an amazing spiritual experience this week.
    There are lots. But one that sticks out is from our District meeting. We have 2 new missionaries in the district (they´re both gringos - Elder Merrell and Hermana Westbrook). So we just talked about what every new missionary needs to know. About our spiritual experiences and how they can be happy despite the difficulties they will face. It was great as those of us with more experience told them of our love for the mission and the blessings we have seen. We also watched a video of Elder Holland in the MTC going nuts haha. It was similar to his talk in GC about Peter on the shore of Galilee from John 21. But it was a bit more intense. Peter, lovest thou me?

3.  Tell us of the most amazing food experience this week.
     Easy - Tlayudas. They are from Oaxaca. It's pretty much just a super giant quesadilla. One of them was filled with crickets - not bad. It won´t be replacing chicken, beef and pork any time soon, but it's good.

4.  Tell us of the most questionable food experience this week.
     Well...crickets. and a hamburger - those are always dangerous in Mexico. They really aren´t any good and generally lead to typhoid ha.

5.  Tell us if there is any place in your area that the Missionaries go to on P-Day for a cultural or sight seeing experience.
     Yeah! We´ve got the aguacero. 

and la sima de la cotorras. Check it out!

6.  Does the Ward building have Wi-Fi?
     Umm, I don´t think so. 

7.  Do you go to Ward Council?
     If we had it I would go haha.

8.  What is your shoe situation?
     Sad. The Eccos are spent but I know they can go the distance haha.

9.  Have you used all the clothes you brought, or are you still saving some for later?
     I´ve used and abused them all, with exception of the sweater.

10.  How long has your companion been out?
     He completed his first year a couple of weeks ago.

11.  What are your companion discussions like, i.e. How do the two gringos speak to each other in Spanish?
     Umm, I guess the same way two gringos speak to each other in English. haha. It's nothing too fancy. 

12.  I assume in learning the language, speed is key, in other words, keeping up.  How are you at that?  Are you able to have a speedy conversation, without thinking about it?
     I can keep up just fine. I speak Spanish with a bit of an accent and a less extensive vocabulary but it's really no harder for me than speaking English. 

13.  Speaking of language learning, I assume there is a time you switch from translating in your head, to just understanding the language. Is that true?  How long did that take?
      It's a bit of a gradual transition. As you learn to conjugate the verbs and extend your vocab you do less and less translating. I think I was speaking with translations after about 2 or 3 months here.

14.  What percent of the time do you think in Spanish vs. English.
If I read or hear English I think in English. If it's Spanish I think in Spanish. It's really amazing how well the brain can separate the two. Also sometimes I´ll read scriptures in one language and it will remind me of another scripture in the other language. It's cool. I look forward to talking to you in Spanish :)

Thanks for the email and I hope you have a great week! Love you.

Mom - I think I got her package (Sheila's) - I got a total of 3 but I can´t see the names on them. About my apartment I really have no idea. I´m good with Glenhood our anywhere that RAD suggests. I love you mom!

Roy and Andee - Well I´m pretty much out of time...I guess I´ll just make myself some shells and cheese haha. :) Congrats on the grad school offers. Hopefully Harvard and Stanford reply soon with good news. :) I love you guys!

Steph - Hey! thanks for the update. I promise I´ll write you next week, I´m super short on time. 

Ok. love y´all ha. 

Elder Roth

Wendy to Clark: I  "walked" all over Ocozoco looking for a basketball court. 
 This green house is right up the street...Is this where you live? 
 Clark replied: nailed it :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Week 78 - 2005

Hey family,

My address is 6 poniente y 6 Sur...I think. Honestly, no one in this state knows their address, and the streets aren´t marked. Some houses have numbers but most don´t - if they do have them they aren´t sequential. But anyway, it's a green house by a basketball court.

So I´ve got some news today. 

First: transfers. My compy and I are staying!!! yes! Best companionship ever. We are just tearing it up here and loving every minute of it.

Second: Release day. Well hopefully you will take this as happy news. My mission president talked with the mission department and they asked him to stop extending our missions. So... I´ll be going home on August 5th. I´m a bit disappointed, but mostly happy. It will be good to get back to school and such. 

Third: If you´ve noticed the title of the email is 2005. Why?, you ask. I will tell you. Yesterday morning I was reading a conference talk from President Monson given in 2006 called How Firm a Foundation (if you haven´t picked up on this yet, I am addicted to conference editions of the Ensign. I have one from 1981, one from 1992, 2001, 2003, and two for every year since 2006 :)) Anyway, he mentioned President Hinckley´s 2005 challenge to all the members of the church to read the Book of Mormon before years end. Then I realized that I accepted that challenge! On December 31, 2005 I finished the Book of Mormon for the first time. I prayed and asked God if it was true, and I got my response. That day has affected everyday of my life since then. 2005 was the year I gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon, of the Prophet Joseph Smith (that was the year we did the musical as well), and of the church. I have been so blessed for following the prophet. 7 years later the prophet sent me a mission call - the blessings have been beyond my imagination. Follow the prophet, he knows the way. I am grateful for living prophets. 

Mom - Haha I would kill a man for some legit Lumber City BBQ. I´ve had enough tortillas - they´ve lost their allure. Dad said you slayed your talk (I imagine thim saying it in this Randy Jackson voice.) It's definitely important to be patient with yourself and others. Discipleship is indeed difficult. Sorry for the short email. I´m short on time today.

Dad - How´s PVB? I miss mowing the lawn and eating cheeseburgers. ha. Any exciting news from the Olympics? Hoping the curling team is doing well :) 

How cool is that?  A Unisource bucket!
1.  What is one thing you like about transfers?
      Leaving Tapachula haha. jk. umm, It's always an exciting time. You get to know new missionaries and meet up with old friends. 

My Generation from the MTC
2.  Describe the smells where you are right now.
     Right now there is nothing too notable. You smell a good amount of burning plastic as you walk down the streets though, and exhaust too.

3.  What is your address?
       (See above)

4.  Did you  know that G&G Powell got a Vette?  It is always good to have a new Vette in the family.
     No, thats awesome. Send me some pictures!

5.  Tell us a true story about something good that happened yesterday.
    haha, true stories aren´t nearly as exciting. Just kidding yestday was fantastic. We had 3 confirmations in sacrament meeting. (In the baptismal service my comp and I sang Come Thou Fount. It was awesome!) Other than that things were pretty normal. I talked to some drunk guys on the street, taught some lessons, walked and walked and walked and walked, etc. 

Ceci and Daniela

6.  Now that it is the middle of winter, what is the cold season like in your area?
     It's starting to get hot again. In January it would get down to about 45 at night. I was loving it. But things have returned to usual. I´m sweating right now...

7.  What aspect of the Mexican Culture do you appreciate?
      They are truly friendly people. With a few exceptions people respect us and listen to us - even if they aren´t interested. They will give you all the food you can eat, even if that means that they don´t eat. They are good people.

My Favorite Possession
8.  I think I asked this before, but it has been a while ago, and maybe you have additional perspectives:  Was Karl Pilkington correct when he observed that the people in Mexico just do whatever they want to do?  Remember, that was one of the things he liked about Mexico.
     That is so true. Wanna eat pure sugar - do it. Wanna burn a tire in the street - go for it. wanna take a nap on the sidewalk - you got it. haha. 

9.  Tell us what happened at the last Missionary Meeting you attended (defined as more than 3 missionaries in one place)? 
    We had 2 this week. One with the mission pres, and a zone conference. We talked about obedience, goals, and 3rd Nephi 12:48 - Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect. President wants us to stop making excuses and start living up to the Lord's expectations. It was really good.

10.  What did you learn this week?
     So much. The most impressive thing was what I explained earlier about following the prophets. Just do it. 

Thanks for you emails I love you. 

Elder Roth

Monday, February 10, 2014

Week 77 - Your Face es Como un Burro.


Thanks for your letters. Life is good. Really good. I get to wake up at 5 every morning and make breakfast. It's the best! I get to go to bed by myself everyday of my life. Its fantastic! I love it! haha. Name that movie. :)

This week was really good. We´ve just been going nuts and talking to everyone and inviting everyone to be baptized haha. Our goal for baptismal invites this week is 40. :) I seem to recall that in The Best 2 Years Elder Calhoun did 99 in a week. I want to beat him haha.

Every week I have tons of cool experiences and funny stuff happens but for some reason I seem to forget about them all on Monday morning. Sorry about that. 

Dad - Hopefully Bode can get something. He needs to redeem himself from his slalom run in 2010. Wow, working everyday of the year is pretty intense. I hope you can break that streak this week, and back to the good ole 904. I´m writing you a letter about the decision, so you may or may not get it before I get home ha. 

1.  Are transfers next week already?
     - Yes, I can´t believe it. I´ve been telling my companion that I´ll be going back to Tapachula jokingly. I hope I´m wrong...haha

2.  Have you seen any Destroyed in Seconds type of things, like with the propane tanks being refilled in a residential area.  It seemed like the show got a lot of material from places like where you are. Floods maybe?
    - haha. I haven´t seen anything too devastating. I´ve seen a lot of car wrecks. This Sunday was the most recent, the most notable was a combi that got in two wrecks within 45 seconds haha.  

3.  Tell us what you hear around you right now.
     - Some Mexican love tunes, some people arguing, ´´Sunday Will Come´´ by Elder Wirthlin, mototaxis, street vendors, etc.

4.  What do you do while your laundry is washing?  I think it is not in a bucket, but by a machine where you live?
     - The same thing I would do if I was at home - I eat. Don´t think that my washing machine matches up to the one we have at home. You have to fill it up with buckets of water and you have to squeeze the water out by hand. The cord lets out sparks, and plugging it in is a moment of tremendous fear every time. But even so it's one of the greatest blessings ever. It saves so much time. 

5.  Have you recovered from you stomach problems of last week?  I hope so.
     - Yeah, on Saturday I started to feel better. I´m feeling 100% now. No worries. 

6.  How large, geographically, is your area?  Have you been to all parts yet?
    -It's really big. From Berriozábal to Cintalapa and out to Villaflores. I´ve hardly visited any of the outer areas. Just Lucio Cabaños and Bonampak. 

7.  Do you ever think you will be in a bicycle area?
    - I don´t think there are any in the mission. There might be a few in Oaxaca - I´ll be sure to advise you if I ever get a bike. Of course it's possible that I´m in my last area right now. :)

8.  Tell us something that made you chuckle this week.
    - My companion. haha. He is so hilarious. It's tough to describe it over email - you just have to hear his voice. Everything he says makes me laugh. 

9.  As you meander about during the week, what is the predominate type of music you hear?
    - A soul numbing cry of drunken desperation. The bars always play really terrible music. ha. The other day a drunk guy sang to us in the street. It was a song called ´´Tragos de Amargo Licor.´´ (Swigs of Bitter Liquor). There is a version of it by Carla Morrison that is really good though (don´t ask me how I know that - just kidding - We heard it in a combi.)

Well dad, thanks for the weekly emails and the daily support. I love you!

Mom - Everyne has those moments. Don´t kill yourself over it, just learn from it. :) Perhaps it's a cultural difference, or it's due to the fact that we are foreigners here, or maybe it's just a general truth, but I have found that people, with few exceptions, respond very kindly to our efforts to teach them and invite them to join with us. I think you´ll find that to be true. I´m really glad you are praying for missionary opportunities. In Deiter F. Uchtdorf's talk Waiting on the Road to Damascus he says that we should teach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words. Then says, ´´opportunities to do so are all around us, do not miss them by waiting too long on the road to Damascus. I love that. :) Thanks for the insights and encouragement, you´re the best! I love you mom!

Andee - haha, that slope style guys sounds awesome. I think I´ll just wait for the winter semester to start my classes. As for where I want to live, and all of that - I have no idea. haha. I hope Roy´s interview went well - tell that bum to write me haha. Love ya AD. Have a fantastic week. 

I brought my camera so I could send you pictures but the computer isn´t recognizing my memory. I´ll be sure to send them next week. 

I´m going to include something that I wrote to Bishop Maughan as my testimony of missionary service. 

My Good Bishop Maughan,

Now that almost a year has passed since you wrote me I finally remembered to write you back. My bad. I hope all is going well back in my beloved Jax Beach ward. I´d like you to know that I think of you practically every day while I iron my shirt. I remember you saying in Tom´s farewell that you owe all of your blessings to your mission, including the habit of ironing your shirts every day. How true it is. There is not one principle of the gospel that I can think of that the mission has not clarified, or amplified, or planted deep within my heart. Especially the principle of consecration - anyone who thinks that ended with the United Order ought to go to the temple and give it some serious thought. God forever has and forever will require our all. This has been the best experience of my life. Help those young men get out in the mission. It will change them forever. Send them my love and my testimony that this is the Lord´s work. Nothing can compare.

The gospel is true. And I love you all.

Elder Roth

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Week 76 - Hi


Well, it's been a good week here en Ocozocoautla.  I can´t think of anything too memorable to write you this week.  We had a conference with President Cardenas which was pretty sweet.  And we found some really cool people contacting.  I just love this place. 

Yesterday was interesting.  My companion and I were both sick.  haha, I guess that's one of the dangers of putting two gringos together.  We went to church, then we went back home to sleep.  Then at 6 we had a meeting in Tuxtla so we got our behinds out of bed and treked on down, then back.  We got home at 10 and just collapsed into bed.  It was rough.  Despite it all though, I´m happy to be here.  I consider it the best decision I have ever made in my life - I love being a missionary.

Thanks for your emails.  I love them.  I love you guys so much.

Andee - I can´t believe Roy's swing lows swing lower than that V.  There is no way he wears that in public haha.  Your superbowl feast sounds like it was excellent.  I remember when I went over to watch a BYU game and we made chili with velveeta cheese - and we all felt so sick haha.  Good times. I didn´t apply for a scholarship - but I´m pretty sure it said something about all returned missionaries being automatically applied.  It would be awesome if you found me an apartment for fall.  I would love that.  Good idea Roy.  (You don´t hear anyone say that too often.)  Roy and his fixations.  To be honest its a Roth family tradition.  We are all easily entertained.  Welp, love you Andee.  have a rocking week!

WendyMom - as dad calls you.  ha.   Why did you go to a laundromat?  You should try washing your clothes in a bucket one of these weeks - you´ll love it ha.  That is the most accurate slogan ever. ( "MEXICO, you've got to live it to believe it". You just can´t understand how funny it is to live here until you do it.  Nacho Libre comes pretty close though.  This week I was browsing though a stack of thousands of Liahonas in my church building and happened across a conference edition from 2001.  I read a talk from Julie B. Beck back when she was 1st counselor in the YW general presidency about Patriarchal Blessings - it was pretty awesome.  There is also a talk from President Faust about them. They are awesome.  I read mine quite often - and I´ve learned a lot from it. Its definitely helped me out during the mission.  Hope you´re enjoying the drive home.  I love you! 

Dad - Sounds like a bummer of a super bowl. I hope you can get all your work done and be home by Feb 14. 

1.  Do you do any door knocking, tracting or such?
     - No, we aren´t allowed to knock doors.  We have to find a way to work with the members.

2.  How about street approach?  What is your method?
     - We do lots of that though.  Our goal is 140 contacts per week.  It's really simple - you just go up to the people and talk to them.  Whatever comes to mind you just say it.  You don´t go in head long and say, ´´hey we´re missionaries!´´  There aren´t too many white guys walking around in shirt and tie in Coita.  People know we are missionaries.  So we just talk to them, apply some gospel principle to their lives, and ask if we can visit them in their homes.

3.  If I had not told you, would you have been aware it was Super Bowl Sunday?
     - Yeah, people watch it here too.

4.  What is the best thing you ate this week?
     - Alta seltzer haha.  just kidding.  Probably some fried chicken.  It's a little different here though.  You eat it with beans and tortillas.  It's good though.

5.  Do you realize it is the dead of winter?  Does it feel that way?
     -haha, no and no.  It was a bit hot this week.

6.  What is your favorite Disney movie?
     - one of the hardest questions ever.  I love them all.  The first one that comes to mind is the Lion King though.  

7.  What did you learn this week that is useful?
     - We had a conference with the mission pres and he said, "if you learn to dominate street contacts you will be able to dominate any aspect of your life." That's quite a promise.  I´m not afraid to talk to people anymore.  I love doing it.  I can invite anyone to listen to our message or be baptized and I just don´t worry about what they are going to think or say.  I think that is one of the most important things I learned this week.  Also I made a list of things I have learned on my mission this week.  I´ll send you one.  There are hundreds of things.

8.  What will you do the remainder of the day?
     - Buy food, do my laundry, and rest.  We aren´t feeling too great right now. :)

Love you dad!

Roy - Hey big brother.  I hope you have a good interview this week.  For some reason I thought of the University of Michigan this week.  Weird huh.  I love the apartment idea.  If not I can work with some migrant workers and live in a van down by the river .  It's all good.  Thanks for answering my question about your preferred major. You won´t be surprised to hear that I have no idea what I am going to end up studying (and I don´t ever think about it). I'm sure I´ll change my mind at least 10 more times before I actually figure out what I am going to do.  ha.

In other news I got my Christmas packages this week.  haha.  Thanks for all the goodies and such.  And I'm sure you think you´re so funny sending we the trowel and the wipes and all that.   haha. It sure made me chuckle.  I love you guys. 

Elder Clark Roth