Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tough to fill your planner here in Tuxpan

This week was pretty normal, and a little bit tough. It is a little bit tough to fill your planner here in Tuxpan, but we did have several spiritual lessons with less active members this week, and one real good one with an investigator, her name is Dora. She is an old investigator, and we decided to visit her again, I felt the spirit really strongly in the lesson, but she is just not quite ready to accept the Gospel yet, but she will be in the future. We ate with Victoria, a less active member, but she refused to let us teach her at the time. 

Dad, I will try to answer all your questions even though you said I didn't have to.  

  • The house is small. We have a bathroom, a room where we study, a room where we sleep, a kitchen, and another room, of nothing, where I sometimes do exercise.  We do have a fan, which is really nice, because sometimes it get really hot.
  • We still eat with the members every day of the week except Monday just like in Guzman.  The members feed us everyday just like in Guzman, it is just that each member has to feed us more often. We eat our big meal with the members and the other two on our own.  I eat crude oatmeal and water for breakfast and cookies for dinner.  We do not have gas, or hot water.  We have a stove, but do not have gas, or a tank for gas.  We shower with cold water, but it does not really bother me.  We do have running water, but it, like I said, is not hot, and it is not recommended that you drink it, although I have done it on several occasions in the past, and nothing has happened to me as of yet.
  • I have been doing between 500 and 550 push-ups 2 or 3 days a week for my exercise, and the other days, I have been doing abs and a ton of wall sit. My goal is to do 1500 push-ups every week.  A problem that I always have while doing push-ups is that I get really, really sweaty, and it drips onto my hands and everything, and then I am slipping around while doing the push-ups, and at that point I am usually really tired and everything as well. 
  •  I taught Sunday school but have gotten out of directing the hymns because I have been passing the sacrament. 
  • The area is dividing by a street called Jimenez, from that side of the street, like the center of town, and down from there is the area of the other Elders, and from Jimenez and up is our area.
  • We went to Guzman yesterday for the broadcast, which was really great, other than that, as I am sure that you can imagine, I never feel too motivated to come back to Tuxpan after having been in Guzman,.  But I felt a rather nice, loving, and warm welcome back to Guzman, the members were all talking about the rat killing story, and also about the cockroach eating video as well, I am not sure if you guys have seen that one.

30 people came to church yesterday, including 2 members of the District Presidency. I passed the sacrament for the second week in a row, and luckily did not make any errors this time, as far as I could tell. We taught the ex branch president and his wife on Saturday, and both of them came to church on Sunday as well, kind of. She came and was there for all 3 hours, and he came up to the door of the building, and then turned around and left without entering, we think it was because he saw the members of the District Presidency there, but it was definitely progress. 

Juan Manuel was another less active member who came to church, he is a nice guy, is gay, but does a nice job of not acting like it around us, other than his voice, but it is not horrible or anything. And Paty Castolo was the other less active member who came to church.  There were 18 people there when we started.  30 people does not sound like many, but when you are really there, it is LESS than you would think. I taught the Plan of Salvation in Sunday School, and it went alright. 

We have a small problem here that, like, not all of the things that we teach and are taught during Sacrament Meeting and the other classes is always true, if you know what I mean. One Sister talked yesterday, and I was frustrated because I did not understand all of her talk, but neither did Elder Cervantes, who is a Mexican.  But something I did catch, more or less, is that she was confessing some of her sins during her talk, which was something that I have not really heard before in the past, but oh well, we are all here learning together, I guess I said something last week that was not true as well, so I have got to work on it as well. 

I heard some bad, bad news about Lola yesterday, I asked President Gonzalez, the branch president there how she was doing, and if she was coming to church, and he said that she has not been coming, and that her husband, Francisco, does not want them to come to church, I felt angry, and frustrated, and wanted to go and visit them, but obviously could not. Lola's name is Ma Dolores Lucatero Toledano, or Toledano Lucatero, I am not sure, but maybe you could find her name on Facebook or something, and her daughters name is Maria Dolores and I would assume the same last names as Lola, although I am not sure, but I would love it if you could please do all that you can to contact her, it would make me feel a lot better if you could do that, thank you very much. 

We just started teaching a less active member this week named Juventino who was an alcoholic, but it seems like he is doing a lot better. His circumstances are really tough. His family is the poorest that I have taught in my mission, they live with a ton of people in a small, dirty house, and there are always drunk people there wandering around, often times people who are not his family members.  It is sad, but when we taught him on Saturday, he seemed really cleaned up and like he is a doing a lot better and really wants to change! We are teaching several less active members who I think will return to the church, I just think that they will probably take a little bit of time, and as you know, patience is not my biggest strength. 

I had a funny dream yesterday that I was dating Alice Eldredge, the girl that Bret is dating, and that her dad was Kelly Esplin, and that "We," me and Alice were playing baseball in the backyard, but it was mostly just me who was playing because she did not seem too interested in playing backyard tennis baseball.

I've got to go, I'll talk with you again next week.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Elderes vs. Rata

Ben's former zone leader and good friend, Elder Aguilar, returned home to Puebla, Mexico.  After going home, he posted this video of the time that Ben killed the rat, in the old church/house they were living in, in Guzman.

Elderes vs Rata


Corretiza en la casa de Ciudad Guzman

Hitchhiking and teaching "apostasy"

We had a crazy experience on Friday night. Elder Mills had to go to Colima because he is district leader, and when he got back to Guzman with the zone leaders we had to go and pick him up there again. Again, because we had to drop him off there on Thursday night, the zone leaders should have gone back with him to Tuxpan this time, but they didn't. And, well, something different in Tuxpan, is that we hitchhike rides all of the time, and so we took a ride to Guzman, and then took a ride from an interesting man from Guzman to Tuxpan.  He said that he was going to drop us off at a certain place, but did not take us to that place, he took us way up into the mountains, and at this point, we were all pretty freaked out, and eventually we stopped him, and got a ride to a small town (Alista).  This at like 11 pm at the time, where we slept with some non member family that we did not even know for the night and then went back to Tuxpan on Saturday morning.

It was the four Tuxpan missionaries that were there, along with another young kid who lives in Tuxpan and is studying Medicine, and he was really freaked out. 

President Wagner knows that we were hitchhiking, past tense, we are not going to do it anymore, well just to lunch, which is about 10 minutes away, two times a week, and we basically have to hitchhike to get there, but other than that we are not going to do it anymore. 

This is sol, or sun, the daughter of the former branch president.  We have taught his wife a few times, and they came to the activity, well the mom and the daughter, and the dad is a really nice guy, me and my companion both find it hard to believe what supposedly happened, but who knows. 

We had a branch family home evening on Friday night.  It was a big success.  Elder Hernandez and Elder Cervantes taught a lesson about the Book of Mormon to the adults, and I played Musical Chairs with the little kids, and they understood me and I understood them! It was totally awesome!

My companion was testing my patience today because he was washing his laundry by hand and it was taking forever, and I was cleaning the house the whole time.  It was not as much that I had to sit around, I was cleaning the whole time, but it was a little bit frustrating because he did not tell me thanks or anything, sound familiar? I hope that I will not be bothering you guys for too long when I get back home, but for the time that I live with you guys before moving out I promise you that I will help you clean the house. 

Veronica is like 50 years old, but she looks older than she is. Her mom lives across the street from her and also is a member of the church, but it sounds like the elders forced her to be baptized. She still has the catholic thing up, but it is just there to be there, it does not mean anything.

I do not have the chance to hear about the people in Guzman much. 34 people came to church yesterday, but it was not a good day. The branch president had to work, and his 1st counselor had to take over, he is a cool guy, but well, lets just say that I realized how important good leadership is. We ended Sacrament meeting at 10 55, and we obviously start at 10. He asked me when I arrived to church to talk, and it did not go well.  First of all, I passed the Sacrament for the first time in my mission, and I forgot to give it to the first counselor first, and went to give it to a member.  Luckily, I went to give it to Hna. Castolo, possibly one of the few members who recognized my error and thankfully corrected me. Then, in my talk, I said apostasy (taught false doctrine?).   I told them that any sin could be forgiven through the sacrament, but that is not true, serious sins cannot be forgiven simply by continuing to partake of the sacrament (3 Nephi 18, 29 and 30). The classes were fine, we have a problem here, that, well many of the 34 who came were little kids, and many left after sacrament meeting.  I feel like we have kinda been thrown into the fire here, like we are the Ward leaders and I do not feel ready for that.

Even when I make stupid mistakes like speaking apostasy in a talk and mess up on the sacrament,  this week I really felt like I received a lot of help from The Lord during my personal scripture study and was able to learn a lot. 

I feel good, I really tried to be more patient and have and show more love this week, I prayed often for the pure love of Christ and I felt like those prayers were answered. We found several less actives members this week who are now once again Catholics.  One told us repeatedly how much he regrets being baptized in our church and that he even confessed it as though it were a sin to his catholic priest. 

But, the good news, is that we taught Oscar and Luz Maria, and we had a nice lesson with them about Faith. He is a member and she is not. She is really timid and pregnant, and they are looking for a new house. He is working for a mortuary right now, but sometimes has a hard time holding a job because he has heart problems.  They are really nice, humble people, we are going to go and teach them again in about an hour. She accepted the challenge to be baptized, but was not ready to accept a date as of yet. But we were able to gain a lot of her confidence, and they also went to the Branch family home evening that we had on Friday that was a big success. His parents are inactive members. 

This week, overall was a good one, it will be tough to baptize here or reactivate, it is very frustrating in general at times, but oh well. By the way, I have been sleeping better, I still do not sleep great, but it just does not bother me like it used to.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Veronica's Baptism and Farewell to Guzman Pictures

I am good, except I'm trying to send photos and it is not working.  I had to go to Guadalajara today for stuff with my visa and so I am not going to have a ton of time to write, sorry.

This is me and Elder Hernandez, and Veronica, who did get baptized this Saturday  and the sister missionaries who taught her too. 
One of the sister missionaries mom died this week too.

Me and Veronica, as you can see I am bigger than the majority of the people here, haha.
(Notice the sign above Ben's head)

One of the last visits with my favorite family in Mexico. Lola has not been to church in 2 weeks.

Me and the Bernal family, this hna. went with us to teach people all of the time.

me and elder Aguilar, you will have to look for him on Facebook because apparently the members of Guzman say that he put a video on Facebook of the famous rat killing incident. Also, Mom it would be great if you could talk to Lola on Facebook and try to encourage her a little bit, what are your Facebook names?

Last moments with the Diaz Lopez Family. 

We have also found many less active members this week, but none of them came to church on Sunday, the attendance was 31 this week, one better than last week, although many of them were little kids. 

I talked and talked for too long, if you can believe it, in Spanish. 

2 kids that I absolutely love, Juan Manuel, and his brother Jose Antonio.  Juan Manuel is the older and taller one, they are the ones that did come to church, but never could be baptized because there Dad was not ok with it. 

Me and Ivan,.

We are teaching a family here, Juan and Cecilia, they are awesome, we had a really great lesson with them about a week ago, but yesterday they could not come to church because the JWs came over to visit them. that did not make me really happy.

Ivan, Joahna and Ivans mom, Joahna is awesome, one of the girls that it is easiest for me to talk to.

We moved into our own house this week, we have our mattresses and nothing to put them on.  The house is super small and super hot, I received Bryce Perkins letter this week that was cool. 

We found a few people to teach this week, the majority a little bit interesting, but I cannot complain, people to teach is people to teach.We taught several cool people this week including a part member family, but we have to pass by for them to accompany them to church I think. 

I did not exercise on Saturday because my companion hurt his back and could not and so I did not either, and I did not have time to today, and so I am feeling a little bit down, but this week will be a good one, I have 4 minutes left.   I love you guys, tell Nate I said congratulations!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Not in Kansas anymore

Tuxpan is the little tiny place where the missionaries are in charge of everything sort of a place.
I feel a little bit like saying, well, we are not in Kansas anymore.

Most importantly this week I got sick, I got pink eye and it kept me down Saturday.  I took some medicine for the pink eye, but just for a little bit, it healed up really quickly. It was kinda funny what happened.  I woke up on Friday morning and my eyes were feeling a little bit puffy, but I did not do anything about it, and we went out to work as we always do.  But as the day went on they got worse and worse, it was like this sleepy sand stuff in my eyes, but really thick and gooey. And so in the afternoon we went to the doctor, who did no tests, and just for looking at my eyes, very quickly determined what I had, but the medicine did not help too much. We continued working of course, I was not about to go home and rest or anything, but then, an ex mission companion of President Wagner and ex mission president as well, found us walking in the street, and called President Wagner and then took me home.

The next morning when I woke up, my eyes were so bad, that they were closed shut, I could not open them. And so when I woke up, I pridefully thought that I could make it to the bathroom walking blindly. And so, I started walking and ending up in no mans land, and turned around and went back to bed, this was Saturday morning. And Saturday ended up being one of the best days of my mission, I just studied all day long, for like 7 hours, and learned a lot and felt the spirit very strongly, which was something that I desperately needed.

I directed the hymns yesterday in church and 30 people came, and several left after sacrament meeting, but we had 2 good lessons in the afternoon, and felt the spirit very strongly, 3 of the 4 investigators that we taught accepted baptismal challenges, and 3 of them were men, many escogidos!  I do not know how to direct hymns, it was quite the crack up.

It is much smaller than Guzman, we have very few active members to work with, and the majority of the less actives members either:

1) do not want anything to do with the church

2) Are dead

3 Do not, or supposedly do not, live there anymore

We are living with the other elders for the moment.  The house is fine, but very dirty.   Elder Mills is from South Sevier, he told me he was from Monroe and then quickly started to explain where it was, but I told him that I knew where it was.  His companion, Elder Cervante,  was already here.  Elder  Mills is new here just like me and my companion. We have a little bit of an uphill climb here because the old branch president was excommunicated for stealing the members tithing money and not living the law of chastity. And because of some not so great missionaries in the past.

Well, I have had the feeling that my debit card might show up.  Up until now we have been living with the other Elders because the money for the rent on our new house was on my card that was with the zone leaders.  And anyways, the point is that we have been living with them and have not had the chance to unpack all of our stuff, when we unpack all of it in the coming days, maybe it will show up.  If not, next Monday maybe you should cancel it. I feel really bad, and I know that I have got to better my common sense, and not forget and lose my things so easily.

Other than the card, I am really excited and happy right now. Saturday was one of the best days of my life, I had been feeling quite guilty and was really looking for the spiritual confirmation that I am worthy to be here and it came, and it was absolutely indescribable.   I do not want to talk about it too much in detail, because of something that Elder Packer says in PMG, he talks about how the really spiritual experiences that we have, do not come along very often, and that we should be careful when talking about these experiences, but the point is, that it was an awesome day.

Veronica was not baptized, she drank coffee this week, but she came to church yesterday and should be baptized this Saturday.

Love you guys,
Elder Jarvis