Monday, December 29, 2014

2014-12-29 ¡Feliz Navidad!

Dear all:

Well, that was my first Christmas as a missionary. It was great to be able to Skype with family, and more family than I usually get to see at that!

(Rob's Mom says...here's a bonus shot of Rob's face on our computer on Christmas Eve!)
 

Actually, we unfortunately didn't get to do too many Christmas-y things. We definitely talked a lot about Christ, and la Dádiva (the Gift), but we spent almost all of Christmas Eve and Christmas out working. Which wasn't easy, let me tell you, because not a lot of people want to listen to missionaries during the holidays. We ate dinner on Christmas Eve with the bishop and his family, which was really nice (and the dinner was delicious), and we got to talk to our families. I'm going to say it again, it was really great to see you all!!

Let's see, where did I leave off... it's been a couple of weeks now.. Oh yeah! New companion! His name's Elder Anaya, he's from Texcoco, Mexico (the state of Mexico), and has been out in the field for a little over a year. He's also nineteen, and it's a lot of fun having him for a companion. Also, his English isn't that bad, so I have help during the English class we teach!

I'm attaching a couple of pictures... the first is a little old, Elder Cortez and Sister Jones (let's see if you can guess which one she is... yes, it's that easy) are no longer with us, but you can see our new zone leaders of the last transfer, Elders Charlton and Suárez. Be warned, kids, it's true what they say: if you don't quit doing that, your face will freeze that way. Don't see it? On the left. No, but seriously, they're both really fun and it's been nice to have another gringo in the district.
 
 The second is my new comp, Elder Anaya, who had to have an ingrown toenail fixed recently by our friendly neighborhood friend-of-a-nonmember-spouse-of-a-member gastrointestinal specialist/surgeon. That's right. We know people. Gotta love Mexico.


As for the work here... it's going really well. We've run into a couple of difficulties recently with a few investigators (family problems), but we're continuing to work with them and help them. In fact, this Sunday it's possible that every companionship in the district will baptize an investigor. It's going to take a lot of work, though, and a lot of prayer. Like Gordon B. Hinckley (I think?) said, we're going to need to get on our knees and pray like everything depended on God, and then get on our feet and work like everything depended on us. 

Another thing... we worked really hard this week to find people to teach, and we actually found a decent amount, the most promising being references from members, including one woman who's the friend of a member who couldn't meet with us for a lesson until the next week (we're going to meet with her in about an hour), but almost no one showed up to church. The people we passed by for told us that they couldn't, or they didn't answer the door. While that's disappointing, this woman I mentioned, Gudelia, who's not even officially an investigator, showed up to church with her friend. We only invited her in passing, and she actually came. That is practially unheard of for us. All because her friend went and brought her. So, what am I trying to say with this? Think of your friend. Yes, that one. Maybe those ones. That you once thought, "Wouldn't it be nice if they were Mormon? They could really use the Gospel in their life." Invite them to church. Even better, invite them to listen to the missionaries. Even better (this is what this member did), bring the missionaries with you to visit them. You'd be helping the missionaries, sure, but most importantly you'd be being a good friend, and a good member. Every member a missionary.

I love you all, and I hope you're all well. That's all for this week, but don't forget to write! I may not be able to answer everything, but I try to read what I get, and I love letters!

Elder Rob Weatherford

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2014-12-15 Sueño con una Navidad blanca (I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas)

But, no, it's not going to snow. I'm pretty sure I can say that for sure.
 
Let's see, what happened this week...

Well, for one thing, we had investigators in church! With one family especially, super special, the father came for the first time. I was super excited to see them! They said they would, but they've had trouble in the past, and we can't pass by for everybody, unfortunately. We're still working to find new people, which right now has been pretty hard. But, I have hope for this upcoming week.

On Saturday, we were able to attend and participate in a Christmas concert in Orizaba. There was a missionary choir that sang a little bit with a string quintet put together from the stake. There was also a member who just so happens to be a professional pianist, who also played. It was a fun time--there were both spiritual and "fun" songs, and we got to share "The Gift" video with everyone there.

I tried candied coconut for the first time this week. Really good!

No joke--I narrowly missed my third encounter with dog urine from the roof this week. I mean, come on!

I met a clown this week with my companion! We were having lunch with a member family, and they had a friend over, who just so happens to work as a clown. And I think he just came from work, because he was in full makeup with the red nose and everything! Oh, and it gets better... he gave me his business card when we met, and so I stuck it in my shirt pocket. Big mistake. You see, that is also where I keep my "Él es la Dádiva" (He Is the Gift) cards. Which just so happen to be exactly the same size. So, when we make a street contact later that day, when I pull out a card to give to this lady, I almost (I'm so glad I looked!) give her Moñito's ("Little bow tie") business card with his picture on the front and everything. I glance down, stifle a snort, casually slip it into my coat pocket, and pull out a different one. Luckily, my companion still had her attention, so she didn't notice. But my companion sure noticed when I gave up trying to hold back my laughter a little ways down the street.

Ah, yes... transfers. I'm staying here! I'll remain in Mendoza, but Élder Cortéz is moving on to be zone leader Córdoba, about a half hour away. So yeah, this will be my first transfer without my trainer. I'm now a "full-fledged missionary." The work goes on! And I realized, I just turned three months old! I was set apart three months ago yesterday. It feels like a lot longer, but I hear that the time starts to go faster. All right, now I'm rambling. I'll miss Elder Cortéz, but I wish him well in his new assignment, and I get to meet my new companion tomorrow!

Until next week!

Love, 
Elder Rob Weatherford

2014-12-15 Something I've noticed...

Kathy:  I kind of think maybe Rob didn't exactly intend for me to post this, but I think it's good for those who I know are keeping up to see.  He won't be too mad!  ;) 

You know, I'm pretty sure the missions are in a drought of leadership. They're sending more and more greenies to the front lines. You should see the poor sap who just got called as our new district leader to replace Elder Cortez! Seriously, though, this is happening more and more. I guess this is what the general authorities meant when they said that we need to prepare more and more early for a mission. Really goes to show the importance of seminary! Anyway, I love you all, and I can't wait to talk on Christmas!!

Love,

Elder Rob Weatherford

P.S. Remember that poor sap I mentioned? Yeah, that's me.

Monday, December 8, 2014

2014-12-8 Christmas is Coming!

Greetings and salutations from... No, don't worry, I'm still in Ciudad Mendoza. Transfers don't happen until next week! And, they come a week early because of Christmas. Which isn't a problem, unless you consider that it cuts my training short by a week. But don't worry, I haven't considered that.

This week's been pretty busy, with surprise divisions happening and everything, not to mention the approach of the end of my training. Because my comp's the district leader, I get the opportunity to do divisions with one of the zone leaders, and it's always a great experience. I also got to manage the phone! Ah, phones. How weird it was to have one in my pocket again.

We had a people come to church today that haven't been able to before! The father had to work, but the mother of this family (I love going to visit them--they live in humble conditions, but they seem really prepared to accept the gospel) was able to come to church with a couple of her kids. Not many of our investigators have been going to church, so that was really nice to see her take the plunge and have a good experience.

There's actually a lot of activity going on in Mendoza right now. The Day of the Virgin is approaching, and so for a couple of weeks before there are lots of people in the street with lots of loud instruments. The "parades" are called pilgrimages, I believe, and from what I understand they involve more travel than a normal parade. But I really don't know too much. There's also a lot of Fireworks, but not the kind I'm used to. These sound more like gunshots, and there's just a loud flash. They're called "cohetes" (rockets) and they go off at all times, both day and night. This morning I was woken up by one of the pilgrimage groups marching down our street with drums and trumpets, at five thirty in the morning. Finally, they passed, and I settled back down for my last hour of sleep, when *BOOM* someone sets off a cohete. They take their Day of the Virgin very seriously.

And yes, Christmas is coming! I can't wait to talk with you all on Christmas. I'm also really glad, Dad, that Bishop Caussé was able to hear your arrangement in Stake Conference! All I need now is for ME to hear the arrangement.

I love you all, and hope you all have a good holiday season! Don't forget to check out christmas.mormon.org! Or navidad.mormon.org.

Élder Rob Weatherford

Saturday, December 6, 2014

2014-12-1 Thanksgiving! Wait, Thanksgiving?

Yeah, definitely forgot that this Thursday was Thanksgiving. I remembered last week, but not writing it down was a mistake. It's not like there's anyone in the country to remind me, so it completely skipped my mind. It was a good day, I guess.

We just had a really great stake conference this weekend! Our mission president was there, and a seventy--Elder Jorge Sandival. I took a lot of notes and learned a lot, especially in the priesthood sesión on Saturday. Strong testimony combined with a thorough knowledge of the scriptures, not to mention apostolic authority--it's a really special experience. On the way to the first sesión, however, I'm pretty sure I got peed on by a dog. Again, from the roof. It was probably the same one. It wasn't in torrents or anything, but I got sprinkled on. I thought, "Oh, it's beginning to rain," but nope. Not a cloud in sight. That's when I smelled it. Yep, I'm pretty sure it was dog urine. Ah well.

And, speaking of things falling on me, I got hit on the leg with something on the bus. I looked, and a large screw had fallen from the ceiling. I looked at my comp, and we both laughed. Those buses are literally falling apart.

If you haven't seen the He Is the Gift video, I recommend it. It's really short, but it helps remind us what Christmas is all about. Check out christmas.mormon.org, and learn more about the Gift. No, not das Gift, Dad. That's what the street vendors sell (pause for laughter from those that speak German. And that appreciate my humor). (Note from Rob's mom:  For those of you who *aren't* German speakers, "das Gift" means "poison" in German.  ;) )

Everything's going well, I love you all, and can't wait until Christmas. Won't forget that one!

Elder Rob Weatherford