Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A baptism in the river, and a trip to Mexcaltitan

Monday November 25th

So, some of the highlights of this week were watching the parade, playing with a crab, having Gabriela´s baptism in a river, going to the island, and a cruel joke that a member pulled on me and my companion. What happened, is that Brother Manrubio, one of the faithful members of the branch who always goes with us to teach, called me and said that he had committed a serious sin and that he needed to talk to us, and so I got all freaked out and got into it a little with my companion and it turns out it was all just a joke and he invited us to eat Tortas and Sodas, but he called us at the 11 in the morning and he knew that if he just invited us to eat we would have said that we had lessons to teach. He is a really cool guy and he said that he only invited us to eat because, "le caemos bien."

The parade was in celebration of the Mexican Independence Day, which was the 20th of November. The Island is called Mexcaltitan, Tell Grandpa Happy Birthday for me! I do have photos from Gabriela´s baptism, I'll send them later. I bench pressed 255 if Jess is there, you will have to tell her sorry but big bro is still the strongest one in the house, but that she is a close second!

98 people came to church on Sunday, the most that have come in my time in San Blas, so that was pretty awesome. The bad thing is that none of our investigators came. I confirmed Gabriela and it was the first time that I confirmed a person in my mission, it was pretty awesome, I didn't feel like I did a great job, but it was fun! I have had the chance in San Blas to bless the sacrament, teach the youth, and teach the Gospel Principles class. Our area is the one that is farther away from the beach. We eat with the same members every week, and one of the poorer families feeds us 2 times a week, the 4 of us, can you imagine that! Speaking of that, that sounds fun that the missionaries ate with you guys last week, I´m sure that was fun for both you and them!

Sounds like you are keeping yourselves busy and that´s great. I wrote to Nate today and he wrote me a nice letter as well. We are going to have Thanksgiving with Sister Magdlena, the one who lived in the U.S. for a long time, she made us lunch this week, we had roast and it was pretty awesome, it was a little different for Elder Martinez, I am not sure how much he liked it. I did my normal exercise this week and did divisions with Elder Krambule. He is from Idaho and we talked in English the whole time, it was pretty awesome. We had a lot of success that day and I felt very relaxed for a change.

Thanks for the letters you guys wrote to me, they help me a lot and I always need them, and am grateful for them. In every one of my prayers I thank God for sending me to this earth to the family he sent me to. I remember one time, an elder said to me, "elder, you don´t know how lucky you are to have such a nice family," and I remember thinking, no, I have a great family, but a pretty normal one, but then I realized that wasn't true. I will give you a few examples from my companions of why I say that, and these things are between me and you guys. …...........Just a few examples, and the more I think about it I am more and more grateful for the family I have. I love you guys and am thankful for everything that you do for me. Thanks for all of the money that you have sent to me, and I will do the best that I can to spend it more wisely. I love you guys and miss you and think about you often!

Love, Elder Jarvis

p.s. I also saw some people playing baseball today and it made me a little homesick, and this week I contacted a guy who had a baseball helmet on, a lot of people here use those as motorcycle helmets as he was doing, and anyways, the point is that he actually knew something about baseball! His son is a pro baseball player here in Mexico! Can you believe that!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Toenail trouble and 91 came to church, a new record!

President Artigas with the ingrown toenail.

This is a picture of my bloody toenail after President Artigas took out my ingrown toenail.

He did it really well, he numbed me up a little bit, which hurt, but then when he took out the nail I did not feel anything. We took the rest of the day Monday off.  But we worked hard the rest of the week and had a good week. We had our zone class in Santiago and it went well.  Something funny about last week, after having my toenail taken out, Elder Martinez took out his hammock and put it up between 2 trees for me to rest in, but it wasn't too comfortable because I pretty much sunk to the ground.

It did hurt just a little bit when he injected me, but after that it hardly hurt at all.  

Me pulling the rope that lifted the pinata up.

We had a fun week this week, we had an activity for the little kids and about 40 of them came, some of them members and some of them investigators.

so in the activity, we were the 4 elders and the 40 little kids, and no adults, the Relief Society had an activity at the same time, so it was a little bit really hard to control all of them, but it ended up being really fun, 

Gabriela is going to be baptized on Friday and came to church again on Sunday. She is doing really well, the only thing that she needs to do before being baptized is begin to read the Book of Mormon. She has to take these pills that make her tired and then it is harder to read.

91 came to church, the most that have come in my time in San Blas!

Another cool thing about this week is that Elder Martinez and I almost reached the Standard of Excellence, which is like goals for a week for the mission.  The funny thing is that we almost reached it, but afterwards,  President Wagner lowered the standards for the 1st time.   I think that only one companionship reached the first standard of excellence and they only reached it one time.

On Saturday, the branch president´s daughter, our relief society president, Cynthia bought us tacos, and I accidentally stuck my finger in someone else´s tacos, but the lady put the tacos right in front of me, so I thought they were mine, haha.

This is a picture with Sister Magdalena. She was one of the first people to join the church here in San Blas. She if from Mexico, but lived in the United States for a very long time. Her husband passed away 14 years ago. He was from Switzerland and spoke 5 different languages! She obviously speaks fluent Spanish, but also has an accent from Europe that is really cool. She likes to eat at Golden Corral and says that her english isn't that great because her husband told her that she had to speak 100% spanish with their children so that they would learn spanish.

We had our zone class in Santiago and it went well. I did divisions with Elder Montano who is here in San Blas as well. We all thought this painting outside of a store in Santiago was pretty funny.  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Transfers come and go, and 89 at church in San Blas!

November 11, 2013

We had a really nice Sunday yesterday. 89 people came to church which is really good for San Blas, and 10 less active members from our area came. We had a fun experience this week. I went to Villa Hidalgo, a small town about 45 minutes from San Blas, the other 2 elders in our district are there. The week before, I had gone there to do a baptismal interview, and the man did not pass because he had smoked on Saturday and we had the interview on Wednesday. His wife is already a member, and he was really disappointed.  We went again this Wednesday to do the interview again and this time he passed, he had not smoked for about a week and a half. G... works for Banco Azteca and works on Sundays, but just leaves for an hour to come to church. On Friday, we ran into a less active member in the street who also works for the same company but here in San Blas and we told him what Gerardo was doing to make it to church and he ended up coming to church as well, the one that lives here, and his wife as well. His name is Edgar, and his wife is Andrea. They are a really cool family, the elder who baptized them was Elder Bitter, who was an AP in the this mission and we also saw him when I arrived in Mexico and he was heading home to Texas.  They have a little daughter that is about a year old and I often shake her hand and hold onto it for a second and she doesn´t really want to let go of my hand either and her parents always say things like, "nope he´s got to finish his mission first" and then they realize that I am a lot older than her and they say, "nope, you'll have to wait for his son" sort of things and they are really nice.

Many members accompanied us this week and I think that was why so many less active members came to church on Sunday. I think that a visit of 15 minutes from one member to another is worth more than one of our hour long lessons, when they can see that the other members really care about them, that seems to help them more than anything else.   The tough news of the week is that Silvestre, Bere´s husband does not want us to come over there anymore and they are not going to get married anytime soon. Neither of them came to church this week. Gabriela came to church, she has now been 5 times and wants to be baptized, and could be baptized this Saturday, but she has to go to Vallarta on Sunday and would have to wait more than a week between her baptism and her confirmation and that is not a good idea, so she will likely be baptized the next Saturday.

Gordon Reid wrote a nice letter to me this week.  We continued to run at the soccer field, there are a ton of dogs there, that usually just fight within themselves, I have gotten used to the dogs here and have realized that they don't tend to attack me, but this week, I started to feel very fearful of them once again and one of the dogs started barking at me, so I had to pick up a rock, but luckily did not have to throw it at him. I have still been doing my push ups as well, and am still just a big person, I still have my arms and have packed on a few in the stomach area. A member yesterday said that I look like a Mexican boxer, his name is "Canela" or "Canelo," so that was a nice compliment.

The branch President here is going to take out my ingrown toenail here in a little bit and I will make sure to take plenty of pictures of that. It is one of the same toenails that I had taken out before. Yesterday we had transfers and nobody in our district was transferred.   A family of 10 that the other elders are teaching also came to church yesterday. Our investigators who came were Juan, Gabriela, and Ruben. Juan is the husband of a less active member, Alma, who also came to church yesterday, and Gabriela is the sister of Isabel who is member here. Ruben is the husband of Ofelia, a pretty much active member. The less active members who came were, Andrea and Edgar who I have already talked about, The Santos Sojo family, a family of 7, the parents and 5 kids, 4 girls and one boy. They have been members for a long time, are ostioneros and normally do not come because one of their daughters is handicapped and that makes things a little bit difficult. Also, Alma came, and Moises, a middle aged man who fishes for a living just like just about everyone else here in San Blas, Ofelia also came and a few others. Some of the new investigators who we found this week were Eva, who is a police officer, she works here and lives in a little town close to San Blas. She is like a guard and we went and taught her with Brother Manrubio while she was on duty and luckily nothing happened while we were teaching her. She works 24 hours and then rests 24 hours. Also, Nina, who is a substitute teacher and sells ice cream. We taught her a couple of times this week.   We have to contact 10 people a day in the street, and only about 5,000 to 10,000 people live in San Blas, so I am thinking that pretty soon we are going to know everyone in town.

Yes,...the branch president  is a doctor, he is pretty confident in his abilities as well, he says that he can do pretty much anything, he seems like he knows what he is doing. We always joke about the doctors here, saying things, "Well, you scraped up your knee, so I guess well just have to cut your foot off," like, what does that have to do with anything? They are an awesome family, we wash our clothes in the washing machine that they have at their business and they feed us a ton. This morning I wanted to buy cookies and Sister Artigas was not going to let that happen, she said "No, we have pan," and she also made us chorizo, juevos and pie.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A little hurricane, and the package made it!

Yes it is raining here and there is a hurricane warning close by,  but not for San Blas.  

We had interviews with the Wagner´s this week and the package arrived!  Thank you so much for sending it, it feels so nice to wear nice clean,white clothes! And I enjoyed and quickly ate all of the candy as well. Thanks for the last consoling letter you wrote to me last week.

It was pretty fun when I started my interview with President Wagner, he started off by saying to me, "Well tell me about your life" and I proceeded to tell him about the same time as the last time we talked, about struggling with feeling guilty, and he told me, "Don't worry about it, you´re worthy" and I asked him, “how do you know that?”  and he said, "I can see it in your eyes, maybe you don´t recognize it, but you have a light about you" and that was really nice and helped me out a lot.  

I had a good week this week, I feel kind of crazy because I have not been sleeping well, but I keep exercising, which is kind of the equalizer.  It was funny this morning, we woke up and it was raining and I still wanted to go running of course, but my companion said that if there were charcos, or puddles, we weren't going to run.  Of course there were puddles, so I just exercised in the house, but it was fine.

Yesterday Bere came to church, her husband did not because he had to work. She told us she smokes, so that stinks, but she does have the desire to quit smoking.   Many less active members did not come to church yesterday and we are going to visit them this week. I wrote Lindsey a nice letter last week and she wrote me a nice one back this week. We found several new investigators this week.  One of which was Viviana, my companion found her wallet and we returned it to her and came back to teach her on Saturday. We had a good lesson, taught the Restoration, it was good, it just stunk because she was pretty immodest  and is attractive, and I just think sometimes, why do people do that?  But I guess that is just the usual these days, I don't think it just a Mexico thing.   I talked to Nate for the first time in a little while, he told me the food there is not great, no surprise there, but he seems to be doing really well!

Oh and Sister Wagner gave me a nice compliment this week, when we have interviews, we talk with both of them, and he always asks us if we are exercising, and she asked me if I was exercising, already knowing that I do, and then said, "Not like you can tell".  I think she meant it looked obvious that I am still exercising.   That was nice.