Wednesday, December 9, 2015

2015-12-5 Who would say "pavo" when you could say "guajolote" instead?

[note:  as far as I (the non-Spanish-speaking mom) can tell...both of the words above mean "turkey." ;) ]

Ugh, writing's getting harder... I don't know what to say... Let's start with Thanksgiving.

Yes, I was able to celebrate Thanksgiving this year! I was not only reminded, but we had a really awesome lunch with the office missionaries and President Córdova's family (and a couple of other companionships that came in for various reasons and were invited to stay, and other maintenance, geneology, etc. workers that were invited as well. There was a lot of food, and I had pecan pie for the first time in a while. It was extremely satisfying! Thanks, Costco! And, especially, thank you to the Willinghams, the senior couple in the offices. You watch over us extremely well! They were the ones that staged and prepared the whole event. 

In other news, César and Lupe (& Co.) have gone both Sundays to church since we've met them, and they seem to be really happy! I love this family a lot, and I'm really glad we've been able to meet them. Due to some miracles (I haven't mentioned this yet, sorry--President Córdova has been telling us that this month will be a month of miracles, and so I've been trying hard to be worthy of them through work and faith) yesterday we were able to pass through a legal hurdle standing in the way of them two getting married, and so we're getting closer! Diciembre será un mes de milagros.

With Christmas approaching, we're also very busy in the offices. Getting ready for the zone conferences, preparing a couple of musical numbers for the ward Christmas dinner (Elder Gamboa, Elder Ribeiro, Elder Hackleman and I will be singing a couple of hymns with our ward mission leader, plus I'll be accompanying Elder Hackleman while he sings an arrangement of "O Holy Night." Not to mention I've been doing my best at playing Santa, trying to make sure everyone's Christmas packages get through customs, out of the post office, to the right address, and out of whatever other problem/hole they've managed to find their way into. I'm definitely learning a lot, that's for sure. 

Oh yeah! Don't forget to check out the website christmas.mormon.org. Or navidad.mormon.org. And then, after checking it out, share it! 

I know I'm not exactly consistent with sharing my ponderizing scriptures... Sorry, hehe. Here's my latest one:

"And now, verily, verily I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good--yea to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.

Verily, verily I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy;"

Always, but especially in these times approaching the day when we commemorate the birth of our Savior, we should put our trust in that Spirit. First, we may need to learn to recognize it. The Lord tells us how to do that. It's the one reminding us to do the right thing, to be humble, to see things how they really are, to discern, to be more like the Savior. If we've received that gift, the one that qualifies us for that companionship, and always when we do what we need to be doing, when we sincerely go looking for it, it'll be there. And then, once we've recognized that Spirit, we need to follow it. Find someone whose life you can bless. Lift up the hands that hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees. Help someone to discover, or rediscover, the Savior. It doesn't have to be through preaching. It doesn't even have to be through words. But once you've found that Spirit, spread it. It will fill your soul with joy, and the souls of all those with whom you come into contact. 

These are President Eyring's words:


I know that he can explain this much better than I can... Don't read it;  if you have the time, it's better to listen. And then after listening, set goals and act! He said that his purpose was "to increase [our] desire and [our] determination to claim the gift promised to each of us after we were baptized." I sustain this man as an apostle and prophet, and I testify that his words have helped me. 

Have a good week, everybody. I love you all.

Élder Rob Weatherford

P.Day Pictures...
... of Christmas tree sent in Christmas package.

... of Élder Weatherford with an old comp, Elder Anaya, whom he sent home that day. Knocked out his "best two years," now on to his "next mission." Ok, enough with the cliches...



... of Thanksgiving meal. Notice pie(s) in background. Notice smile on Elder Weatherford, Gamboa, and Ribeiro's face. Coincidence? I think not!


1. I don't know if you can see it very well... This is a kit of "ninjabread" my family sent me for Christmas. Hilarious holiday martial arts fun to ensue the P-day directly preceding Christmas. Pictures to follow...


2. Martinelli's! [I (Rob's mom) think this looks like a commercial for the Sparkling Cider company!]


3. President Córdova's daughter Pamela's whiteboard renderings of the office missionaries. 
[Note: On Elder Ribeiro's drawing, it says: You still owe me two Bubulubu's (Mexican candy). Don't pretend like you don't know what I'm talking about!] 


Élder Rob Waderfor

Friday, December 4, 2015

2015-11-21 Rain, rain, come back...



Shots of when we went running in the rain a few days ago... Really fun, and really wet! Our house is pretty near the beach, so most mornings we go out running alongside (not on, not along, alongside, hehe) the beach and stop at some exercise machines to work out. It's pretty nice, here, actually--along every such distance they put exercise apparatus (apparatuses? Really doubt it's "apparati"...) for anybody that wants to use them, like mini-parks they outfit for public health. Set-ups for sit-ups, pull-ups, squats, etc. We have an amazing view of the lighthouse on Sacrifice Island (if you were to guess why it was named that, you'd probably be right), and of course the sunrise as well. No complaints about the scenery!

This week we actually found a family to teach... they're former investigators, and the couple isn't married yet (what else is new in Veracruz?), but they seem super receptive. It appears they were dropped before because they had a hard time keeping their commitments, but it seems like the Lord's been working in the missionaries' absence, so I'm really hoping they'll be ready for us this time! The couple's names are César and Lupita, and they have four young children, ages 10, 6, 4, and 2. They're a handful to teach together, but they're super cute and the oldest, Gabi, is extremely bright (all of them, really, of course, but it's a bit more obvious in the ten-year-old, being older, than in the two-year-old :)). I don't want to get my hopes up, because there have been disappointments in the past, but I always have to remind myself that even if it hurts, if I don't get emotionally involved I won't be able to help them as well. And really, you (or, at least, I) can never help it. We just found them this week so we're in the early stages of teaching, but if you could pray for César and Lupita, I'd really appreciate it. 

Transfers are happening this coming week, so we'll be sending off two separate groups of missionaries and receiving a new batch fresh from the MTC. My comp has a few things he has to do but I'm the one who gets the brunt of the work when transfers come by, so it's been and will be a pretty full week. Not to mention the Christmas zone conferences that will be rolling around pretty soon... But with firm investigators we're looking forward to more effective teaching this week as well!

Oh, yeah, and it'll be Thanksgiving next week... To be honest, the holidays really pass me by here, at least the American ones. I don't think I even remembered about Thanksgiving last year until it was done. But this time we have four gringos in the offices (and a Mexican and a Brazilian), so maybe we'll actually do something to celebrate! Update on that next week...

Stay strong, stay safe, stay true, stay... right there, right like that until I get back. Stop changing so much. 

Con amor,


Élder Rob Weatherford

2015-11-14 One more funny thing...


Elder Lind wanted photos with the clown on the wall. Funny story... that same day, there was a Youth Conference starting in the Tuxtepec stake, and even though it wasn't the stake center it was being hosted in Tuxtepec. A couple weeks later, after a stake conference, we were talking with a youth about the youth conference, and he happens to mention that the stake president gave him a ride there (our building's a little far out from his ward). He said that while they were driving, they passed two missionaries taking photos with a giant clown on a wall. He said that the stake president turned to him and said, "Just look at our hard-working missionaries."


*Awkward*

"Yup," we told him.  "That was us."  
[Author's note: Just so we're clear, we must have spent about 20 seconds taking those photos. And at that exact moment, the stake president drives by. That made my top ten most awkward moments in the mission, only made better by the fact that the stake president didn't tell us that himself...]

2015-11-14 MORE Animals...and something MORE important!

I mentioned the day we cleaned turtles, right? Not to eat... they were pets!

 

Here we are playing around after a Moctezuma ward open house with a prop our mission leader made for our room exhibit. Bottom photo features me and Elder Reyes, from another area in the Tuxtepec district.



Friday, November 27, 2015

2015-11-14 Re: How's Life?

I don't have much to say, I don't know if I'll make a group email this week, but here are a couple of pictures for you that I got from Elder Lind's camera (he came down this week for his visa) from our time in Tuxtepec. He had his camera that day and I didn't. We found these suckers when we were helping a less-active member move some stuff and chop some other stuff behind his house. There were three in total. The one on the right was around the size of my hand :)

































This one was the smallest, but he was funny, because he would literally jump around.




Here's Alejandro, one of our converts from Tuxtepec, and some neighborhood puppies their neighbors were giving away. They kept the one of the far right, if I remember correctly.



Love you all, lots!

Élder Rob Weatherford







2015-11-07 Another Day in "The Office"

So, this week has been extremely busy, but with very little proselyting time. Mission-wide leadership conference to prepare for, meeting the new temple president & Co. (his counselor, their wives) to do their green cards, zone conferences, renewing green cards of other missionaries, and a lot of other stuff, some of it unpleasant. And right now I don't have much time, so I thought I would send some photos that pretty much explain themselves from the a long-overdue photo shoot we did the last night we had Elder Espinoza (featuring Elder Espinoza, me, and my companion Elder Gamboa) here, before he was sent out to a new area to finish his last three weeks in the mission field. 




So we have a new assistant, Elder Hackleman from Nebraska. Pictures of him probably to follow next week. Enjoy...

Élder Rob Weatherford

P.S. Ponderizing scripture for this past week was 2 Corinthians 9:7:


"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."

2015-10-24 Re: Hello, Beto!

Here's a little Q and A with Rob:

Mom: (Kathy) How’s the office? What do you get to do in the way of teaching?  Do you like your new roomies?  Do you get any more musical opportunities here?  Think you will?

Rob:  The office is good... it's kind of sporadic, periods of hectic activity followed by periods of not much activity... sometimes it's a struggle, honestly, but it's helping me to really "try my testimony," or rather to stay obedient and focused when it would be so easy to lose that focus. So actually, I'm grateful for the opportunity, because I feel like it's helping me to fortify my character. As for teaching, we're in the process of that. Neither I nor my companion really know the area, and there wasn't anybody here (in terms of investigators) when I arrived, so the work's honestly going pretty slow. So we're focusing more on less-active members, with the hope that we can find people to teach through reactivation and retention efforts. And honestly, I still feel good about helping members reactivate--it's just as important as baptism, if not more important. And, of course, we contact in the street, but at times you really have to make yourself because often it's super unfruitful in the port, especially in these areas. But that shouldn't matter :) President Córdova told me once that there are two things that are the most important in our daily work: talking with everybody and finding the Lord's chosen/prepared people. Even if we're not succeeding with the second, it doesn't matter if we're doing the first. And, if we're doing the first, we're more likely to succeed with the second. In fact, what you told me in that email, the one where you mentioned about when Elder Morrill came back to your house, stuck in my mind. I've been trying to pay even more attention to the small things, even just the impression I give off.

Roomies--yeah, they're good guys. We all get along really well, but it's a shame because Elder Espinoza finishes his mission this transfer. But the rest of us'll probably be together for another five months. As for music, they've started asking me to play occasionally on Sundays, which is always nice. And there's a keyboard in the offices, so on P-day or down-time when I have to be in the offices I can practice a little. It's great!

Love you lots, hope everything's going well. Tell everybody I love them!

Élder Rob Weatherford

Saturday, October 10, 2015

2015-10-10 Weathy and Gamby (and Smithy... for two more days)

(Kathy says:  This week, I had asked a few questions, so he is answering.  The first paragraph is expressing excitement that his father's arrangement of "O Come All Ye Faithful" for symphony and chorus will be performed by Seattle Ensign Symphony and Chorus at Benaroya Hall in December!)

Hello! Going to save a little time here, and answer some questions in my public email.

Mom:  So, you’ll have to tell us all about your new position!  I know you will miss working with people to help them more directly—but know that you are serving in a way that keeps the mission going forward!  If you are missing being “in the trenches” a lot, talk to the mission president about that.  I’m sure he’ll understand!

Glad you’re enjoying the air conditioning!

People were asking me…are Elders Gamboa and Smith your companions? How does that work?  Are they the AP and some other assignment? 

I imagine you may have less time for photos, but try to send some anyway.

Do you still cook for yourselves?  Do you have meals with the Pres?  Are you living in the mission home? Do you have easier access to a computer for Skype purposes?

Rob:  Thanks for writing! Yeah, Dad told me. I'm so happy! Wish I could be there to hear it... 

Elder Smith was the old secretary to the president--I got here two weeks before the end of the change, and he's been training me. We've been wandering around as a trio, and this Monday he'll leave to a different area and leave me all by my lonesome self. With my companion, Elder Gamboa. Elder Gamboa (from Zacatecas, MX) is the financial secretary, and the two secretaries are always companions. There are actually two more secretaries, one for records and one for materials, and they're a married couple, so they're also companions. There are two assistants to the president, Elder Espinoza (from Sinaloa, MX) and Elder Ribeiro (from Brazil), that are also companions. We're not companions with them, but we do see them a lot, because we live with them and usually eat with them, when they're not traveling (doing splits with the various zone leaders).

As for cooking for ourselves, nothing has changed. We eat lunch with members, and we're left to fend for ourselves for breakfast and, if we want it, dinner (but they don't give us time for dinner--if we're hungry, we fix ourselves something at 9:30, after we're done planning for the next day. It's always been like that, all over the mission). We occasionally get to eat with President Córdova, but only on special occasions. We went out for goat tacos yesterday with the assistants, President Córdova, and his wife to celebrate/mourn Elder Smith's leaving. We don't live in the offices, or the president's house, but our apartment is pretty decent. And yes, I think this Christmas should work out better than Mother's Day, hehe :)

The best part about this assignment is probably being close to President Córdova. He's open to chat (although he wants me to teach him English, but he has little to no time to practice), and he's a fount of wisdom. He's a great teacher, and I'm excited to work closely with him. 

Pictures should actually be a lot easier to do (we still have a full P-day, it's just a different day of the week). Here's one. Here's me and Elder Gamboa. In the background, you have... my desk! 

This second one was from my second day here. It was Elder Ribeiro's birthday. He's holding the cake. Then there's Elder Gamboa, Elder Smith, Sister Amaya (she had a sprained ankle, so she had to come in) the Willinghams (the other secretaries), and Elder Espinoza. 


Love you all!


Élder Rob Weatherford

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

2015-10-3 Weatherford and Gamboa... and Smith

Ok. First things first. I am no longer with Elder Lind. Elder Lind is in Tuxtepec. I am not. I am in Veracruz again. All right, that's out of the way--now I can continue.

We had a really good week... almost a week and a half ago. Saira told us she feels ready to get baptized, there was finally legal progress on Georgina and Nestor's wedding, and Jesus was going along really well. Oh, and Álvaro and Reyna finally went to church again! Reyna was even at the point where she was joking about her baptism... it's kind of hard to explain, but I'm sure the missionaries know what I'm talking about... that's when you know they're really considering the idea. So, we had Saira and possibly Georgina lined up for the last day of the transfer, the 11th. And then, Monday night, I get a call from the assistant. Special transfers! I'm going the next morning at 5am to the bus station to catch a ride to Veracruz! It's two weeks early so I can be trained to be the new Secretary to the President. A desk job! It's actually going to be really cool, I think, although my time in the field is going to be (extremely) limited. I don't know how it works in other missions, especially the States, but the biggest and most important part of my job is managing the visa, travel, etc. paperwork to make sure the foreign missionaries remain legally. I'm in charge of receiving those that arrive (and, of course, all their paperwork), renewing the visas of those that have more time in the mission, arranging the flights for those that are leaving, and a bunch of other stuff. I get to talk to people over the phone from all over North and South America in a variety of languages (well, English and Spanish... I don't know what I'll do when it's time to do it for the Brazilian missionaries...), visit a bunch (only a couple, actually, I think... but often) of governmental offices, and I get my own desk (!). It's a lot of work, actually, a lot of complicated governmental procedures I have to learn, and, of course, a lot of filing. And then, ideally, in the evening we can go out to work in our area. But, of course, the thing that excites me the most is the air conditioning in the offices :) 

The thing about this assignment is that it's a minimum of six months. When I get out of the office, the end of my mission will be in sight. That's a sobering thought. But I've been praying about it, and I feel good in knowing that if this is where the Lord wants me, it's for a reason. I'll push all the paper He wants me to, and I'll do it happily. 

It may not be on the mountain height
Or over the stormy sea,
It may not be at the battle’s front
My Lord will have need of me.

My battles are going to be more with government officials than with the hosts of Satan (hold the political jokes, please) for a few months, but I'm still a missionary, and I'm still where the Lord wants me to be.

I'm going to wait to write about Conference until I see all of it, but it's been amazing so far! It's always special, even if sad, to see new apostles chosen. President Packer, Elder Perry, and Elder Scott were outstanding men, but the work doesn't stop, and they're now resting (or maybe not... they're probably still hard at work in the Lord's service!) while others are called and qualified to take their place. And the work rolls on!

Élder Rob Weatherford


P.S. My P-days will be on Saturday, now, and not Monday. Just FYI.

2015-10-3 Don't worry, Mom...

*From Rob's mom, Kathy:  When I took him to task for not letting me know until after he was over the illness, here's what he said:
"Yeah, I've been good for a while. I just didn't write until after I got better :) But I did tell you!

Don't worry! It wasn't even that serious. Seriously, like I said, that sickness usually lays out people for over a month, but after I got the blessing there were a couple of rocky days, and then I pretty much completely recovered. And now... well, you'll find out in a sec when I send the group email, but I'm going to be a little more sheltered now for a while. Oh yeah, and my pdays are going to be on Saturday, not Monday, just today was a little harder to write because of conference and everything. Sorry about last week. It's been a little crazy recently."

So, there you have that.  Group Email next!

Monday, September 28, 2015

2015-9-21 Hump Day

*Sigh* So, last Thursday I turned one year old. We got together with another companionship today to burn my shirt. I have a video... I'll see if I can send it, but it may have to wait until I get back. 

What else has happened... I got over a bout of tropical sickness I had, a weird disease nobody here knows how to pronounce, not even the doctors--it's that new. But supposedly it's spreading all over Mexico! Chinconguya, or something like that. It's kind of similar to dengue, but you get weird spots all over your body, especially on the forearms, that gets worse when you're in the sun. Which, in Tuxtepec, is all the time. It was kind of funny, actually... I was feeling a little bad one Sunday afternoon, and then even worse on Monday, when I broke out in fever. On Tuesday morning, a few more symptoms added themselves on, and my comp started the chinconguya jokes. I laughed it off and told him it was the tail end of a cold combined with some dehydration. We were heading to the house of a less active sister to visit her when Elder Lind noticed and pointed out the spots on my arms. I was like, "Dang it. Ok, maybe it's chinconguya." And so we go in to visit the sister. She just happens to mention that she's been just getting over chinconguya, and casually lists off every single one of the symptoms I had. She's just talking, and I look over at Elder Lind, and he's giving me "the look," and I just start laughing into my towel (covering my mouth so the sister doesn't notice). and he almost loses it as well... So then we visited the local pharmacy doctor and got it diagnosed. There's not really a medicine for that kind of thing, you just have to drink liquids and vitamin C and you can take advil for the pain and fever. And stay out of the sun. Hehe. That last one's not really an option. We don't get to use hats, so I used an umbrella for a little while, but everyone associates that with the Jehovah's Witnesses here, so I didn't do it too often. But, I've passed through it, and super fast, as well. A lot of people are laid out in bed for a month, not even able to walk because of the pain, but my comp gave me a blessing that Tuesday night and we haven't even had to take a day off. And that was all a couple of weeks ago, and now I'm pretty much completely over it. I haven't even seen my leopard spots in over a week! So pretty much everything is fine.

We've had some great spiritual lessons this week, even though we don't have that many investigators that are progressing. We're still visiting the Serena family (I sometimes have a hard time letting things go), but because of sickness and some other problems they've had a lot of difficulties in going to church. There's another investigator we have, Jesús, who's really solid, but his path to baptism is going to be super hard. We know we were sent there to help him, though. It was an inspired street contact. But it wasn't actually him. Let me explain... We passed a woman walking in the street with her young son carrying tortillas to her house to eat, and Elder Lind felt prompted to contact her. She didn't seem that interested, but she gave us her address and a time to pass by. Flashback a few weeks earlier when we were searching out an address that other elders gave us as a reference. We didn't end up finding it, but I felt satisfied with the effort we were doing in contacting those we could in the area we were looking in. I had mentioned to Elder Lind that sometimes the Lord puts us in a certain place at a certain time to find someone who we maybe didn't even know we were looking for. So (fast forward again to a few days after the contact), when we pass by the house at the time the woman told us to pass by and she wasn't there, we stayed and knocked on the neighbors' doors. The first one we knocked on was Jesus'. He told us he was busy cleaning his patio, and so Elder Lind offered to help. He didn't believe us at first, but when he saw we were serious, he let us in. We cleaned for a while, and then he asked us if we wanted to talk inside. We of course accepted, and we had a really intense chat. Let's just say he's been through a lot in the last few months, and really needs the Church. Since that time he's been progressing well, even if he has a harder path than most. There's also another investigator, Saira, who also has a hard path ahead of her, but who's finally started to progress.

At times I start to think a little bit about my mission being half over, but I try not to do that too much, just focus on the work and area and people at hand. And that helps. I still have a ways to go, both in time and in self-improvement that I need to do. But I have had many experiences here with a lot of special people that have helped me, members, non-members, and missionaries. I'll miss this area when I go. But not the heat. Unless I go to Tierra Blanca...


Con todo mi amor,
Élder Rob Weatherford

2015-9-14 Walterflord y Lind (because HIS name is pronounceable)

Nobody came to church this Sunday because no investigators were allowed! I don't know if they showed it in the states, but I doubt it... But I'm pretty sure all over México they showed the rededication of the temple in México City. We got to hear from the Temple President and his wife, from Élder Benjamín de Hoyos, the same one that came a few months ago to give us a training, and then from Élder Holland and Élder Eyring. I really liked what Élder Holland said. He quoted President Young when he was asked about if he (President Young) believed they would have success with the Salt Lake temple after having to abandon other attempts. He essentially said, "I don't know and I don't care. What I do know is that the Lord wants us to be here, doing this right now. So I'm going to do it." The actual quote is better, but that's what I got out of it. There's a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, with pretty much any topic you care to name. The Lord's standards and expectations are being pushed farther and farther to one side, and at times we wonder if we can really do what He expects of us. Or if it's even worth trying. I could be questioning if I'm making a difference, if I'm even changing myself, if I'm living up to what the Lord expects of me in these two years. Those are the thoughts most prevalent in my mind, but any person can and does put in their own worries and thinks about those things, time and time again. 
The Lord allows us to have doubts. True bravery isn't not having fears. It what you do with those fears, what you do with those doubts, that matters. I hope I can have the faith of President Young, I hope we all can, as we do what the Lord needs us to do, what we need us to do. Also, I'm really excited to be able to go to the temple again in a year. I've missed it a lot. And, of course, I've thought maybe that's one of the reasons we're not allowed to go... Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I believe in Christ, and every day I'm a little more amazed at the love He shows for me. I don't really understand the Atonement still, and I probably won't every really be able to comprehend it. I know I don't deserve it. But He's still trusted me to go around and tell people about it, to be able to experience it as well. Like Elder Holland said about sending a bunch of kids out to preach the Gospel: "Bad business decision, divinely inspired." Every calling is an opportunity to give service, and every calling is badly needed. 

Doctrine and Covenants 81:5

Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.

Those hands may be mine that are hanging, those may be my knees that are shaking, but when I lose myself in service to my fellow beings I'm losing myself in my God. And that's what I need to do--lose myself, my will, in His. That's when the miracles happen.

Con amor,
Élder Rob Weatherford


P.S. A couple more pics from waterfall day. Comp selfie, and First Vision photo. "I saw a pillar of light..." 



Thursday, September 10, 2015

2015-9-7 Walterdorf y Link

Note from Kathy:  a little organ humor between father and son...Things that make church organists laugh: Rob: So, Dad, how are you liking being the church organist again? Stephen: I like it fine, but it's frustrating how much people talk during the prelude. Rob: Just slip in more reeds (reed sounds). When your teeth are vibrating, it's hard to talk. Kathy: Watch out, Finn Hill Ward!  And now we return to your regularly-scheduled letter from Rob...


New change, and we're still together!

Stuff that's happened since the last time...

The whole mission went to Veracruz to listen to Elder Cristofferson (!).

New investigators coming out of the woodwork. Some good ones, too, although we're struggling with the ones we had.

Went to an area called Jalapa de Díaz to visit a cool waterfall with an old friend from Orizaba, Elder Suárez, and my comp and Elder Suárez's "son" (the missionary he trained), Elder Reyes. Elder Suárez actually just finished his mission. Man, I'm old. Actually, I turn one year old on Saturday!


My comp found a picture of Parley P. Pratt from way back when and told me I looked like him. We put it to the test.




P.S. The title of these last few emails have all been names we've actually been called by people. Enrique likes to called Elder Lind "Link," and "Walterdorf" was an eight-year-old named Michelle. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

2015-8-31 Re: oh my darlin', oh my darlin', oh my darlin' elder-boy

{note:  some of this letter is in answer to the family's letters, so I left out that part. :) The rest is in answer to my question about practice before the big event!}

As for practice beforehand... not really. As far as the hymns, we just sang Praise to the Man and Called to Serve, so I didn't really need to practice those two that much. And I had about 45 minutes of playing prelude in front of the entire mission to warm up before Elder Cristofferson showed up, so that was fine. As for the song, however... that was really the Spirit, I'm pretty sure. The two missionaries that sang, Elder Larsen and Elder Castañeda, wanted to do a vocal arrangement of "Because I Have Been Given Much," but the thing is, they didn't have any music. I got bussed out a day early to be able to practice with them (I had no information whatsoever beforehand), but we only ended up getting about an hour and a half. They had a CD with the arrangement they wanted to do, but it was all guitar and vocals, with a lot of changes from the original hymn. We talked it out, and we just practiced with me playing the hymn normally. But they asked for something a little cooler, so I essentially ended up making up an accompaniment in less than an hour that we performed the next day in front of an apostle without another practice session. So that was something a little new for me. Dad knows that I haven't written anything before, let alone on the fly like that. So it was pretty much the Spirit, because God didn't want bad music for Elder Cristofferson. I'm not saying it was a masterpiece of arranging or anything, just mostly working with arpeggios of the chords and a steady ripple (quick notes, not sure what to call it) rhythm, but I think it turned out decently. They messed up more than I did! Hehe... But seriously, it ended up really well, I think.

Sorry, time's up!

Love you, and miss you!

Élder Rob Weatherford

2015-8-24 Re: Hello!

I'm sorry Mom, today's letter's going to be disappointing. We took a trip out a little far today for P-day, and we're in a ciber with horrible internet and literally no time... Sorry! I'm doing fine, I got some great photos, and I'll write more next week about how I got to listen to Elder Cristofferson talk to the whole mission and play the piano for him...


Haha leaving you with that cliffhanger... No, it wasn't that important, President Cordova just asked me to accompany the hymns we sang, and a special musical number that two other missionaries sang. But it was fun, and I played for more time (prelude and postlude) that day than I have in a year! I'm safe, and well, and working. I get along great with my comp, there's still tons of Nutella left over, and I'm really glad to hear about John and Caleb. If you've heard anything about Scott Ockerman, as well, let me know! I haven't heard anything for about a year... hehe.

Love you lots!

Élder Rob Weatherford


P.S. I'll send some Christmas package ideas in the next email :)

2015-8-17 Güerofor y Lindo, Semana 4


Important happenings... Baptism, zone conference, preparation for a "mission conference" with an apostle this Saturday (Élder Cristofferson's coming!), and mole (traditional Mexican dish, not the lovable furry lawn pest). 

Fernando and Alejandro got baptized yesterday! I stuck in a photo of them with the part of the ward that stayed for their baptism... a significant part of the ward, actually. The bishop's the one kneeling in white; he baptized Fernando, who's standing right behind him, and Alejandro's standing to his left (stage left--the one without the tie). We took the picture, so we weren't in it...

The last one is a picture of me with a Nutella jar that my wonderful family sent me. I appreciate it. I really do. It's SO EXPENSIVE here, it's just not worth it.



Con amor,

Élder Rob Weatherford


Rob and the Birthday Packages...






Oh.  Yeah.  and Elder Lind.  :)

Monday, August 10, 2015

2015-08-10 Leatherford and Wind, Week 3

Transfer's already half over! Wow... So, Fernando and Alejandro are all set to be baptized this Sunday, as long as they pass their interview, and the Serena Alejandro family finally went to church! I think they liked it... they had to leave a little early, so we couldn't really chat, but we'll see them tomorrow. It was a little funny--the bishop has been stressing to the members the importance of greeting visitors, and a literal horde descended when sacrament meeting ended to welcome them. And the family's a little shy. But I'm sure they felt the love, even if they did look a little scared at first... hehe. Fun stuff... today we attacked the dirty area under our sink. Years of missionaries (by the looks of it) had been leaving Liahonas, books, dishes, random bags, etc. under there are not taking them out. It looked super bad. When Elder Lind started pulling stuff out, we discovered a ton of cockroaches that had been hiding there. Good thing for us that's nothing new for missionaries in Mexico; otherwise, it might have fazed us. We took care of the ones that first scurried out, and then we got an idea, based on the new spray deodorant Elder Lind had bought a week before, and the matches we just happened to have... I don't think I can upload the video, but I can say that we possibly might have stunned/killed about ten cockroaches and a lot of ants with spurts of fire this morning. Compañerismo divino. (note* spanishdict.com says this means Divine Companionship, or Divine Teamwork ;) ) Sorry, today was a little busy, and I don't have a whole lot of time left. But all is well, and I'm feeling hopeful about this week. My comp bought a hammock today. With much love, Élder Rob Weatherford

Monday, August 3, 2015

2015-8-3 Weatherford and Lind, Week 2

Ok, so, first of all, Enrique got baptized! Passed his interview on Tuesday, baptized on Thursday. When we ask people who they want to baptize them, we always put emphasis on the members, especially the ones that were involved in the teaching and fellowshipping. But, when we asked him who he wanted to do it, he looked at me, and said, "You're the one that started all this, it makes sense for you to finish it." I had a flashback to six weeks previous when Elder Tirado and I knocked on his door. He lives at the end of a little pathway where they are about six houses. We knocked on every other house and either no one was home or they didn't want to talk to us, but the last house we knocked on, Enrique's, he accepted the invitation to talk. And now, after all that time, he finally was ready for that decision. That was a lot of worry that I'd had that's been lifted.
 



Now, we're working with Fernando and his son Alejandro to get baptized this month. He's a friend of a less active member that she brought to an activity we invited her to, and he's progressing great! Interesting story, he's actually a member of the church the bishop attended in his youth... The plot thickens! The story's actually pretty intricate, but I won't get into that right now. The point is, he and his son are progressing well. The other family we're teaching, la familia Serena Alejandro, didn't come to church... We had a lesson during the week in the church to show them around and help them feel the Spirit there, but they still didn't come. We're going to have to help them, if they can progress, to attend. But, if not, maybe other missionaries down the road will be able to help them. I think so. But the truth is, I want it to be us :)

Elder Cristofferson's going to come visit on the 22nd of this month! Our mission president's been sending us his talks to study to prepare ourselves.

Ok, that's all for now, folks!

 

Con amor,

Élder Rob Weatherford

P.S. Those of you that want to add your prayers to our cause, please pray that the Serena Alejandro family can come to church, and like it, and that we can iron out the details in Néstor and Georgina's marriage soon. Much appreciated! 

2015-7-27 Weatherford and Lind, Week1

First up, a note from me, Kathy: 
Me: Sometimes, spanishdict.com just doesn’t work for me.  “Echarle all the ganas”…throw all the wishes?
Rob:  Haha echarle all the ganas. It was joke, kind of. "Échale ganas" is like "work hard" or "give it your best," and so I'm going to "echar" ALL the ganas. It really doesn't translate literally, and even less when I made weird jokes in Spanglish. Sorry :)

In case you were wondering...

Now, on to this week's letter...


¿Quiúbole? Haven't heard that one in a while, actually...

Starting Week Two of Gringolandia, Tuxtepec style. Seriously, it's a very different experience with an American companion. We made nachos this week. Who'd have thought, a traditional Mexican food that I hadn't had a single time in ten months in Mexico?

But, jokes and nachos aside, this was a good week. We saw a few miracles from the Lord, I think designed to keep our faith and efforts up, including a surprise decision by Enrique. We had divisions with the Elder that would do his baptismal interview to see if he would be ready, but the interview didn't even happen. He's ready, and has a testimony, but still wanted to wait for an undefined future point to get baptized. This happened last week, and so we just decided we'd keep teaching and helping him to have spiritual experiences with the Book of Mormon. He'd shied away from the baptismal record form (sorry, not sure what it's called in English) in the past, and so it was a huge surprise when on Saturday after the lesson he said, "So, are we going to fill out the form or not?" It sure took me by surprise. And then, yesterday, we passed by with the bishop to help address his needs and concerns. And we set a baptismal date for this Thursday! If all goes well with the interview tomorrow, he should get baptized this week! 

And even though we found out we need to update Georgina's birth certificate, hopefully that should be the last obstacle to her getting married! I hope... and pray...

Ok, sorry, that's all the time for today. Keep praying, or start it you don't, and read the scriptures!


Élder Rob Weatherford

P.S. They told us today that Élder Cristofferson's going to visit the mission in August... We'll see how that goes!

2015-7-21 Transfers!

Ok, sorry, I know, it's not Monday. We had transfers yesterday, which took up a lot of time, so we got permission to write today.

I'm still in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, in the Moctezuma ward. Elder Tirado, however, has "gone the way of all the earth," or rather, the way of all the missionaries, and is currently residing in another area. And I'm with a gringo again! Elder Lind, from Burley, Idaho, is my companion, and he has just one transfer less than I do. He's actually from the same generation as my other gringo companion, Elder Dawson. This transfer should be fun! I'm excited!

This week we're going to do all we can to tie up legal complications for the wedding. Prayers would be appreciated!

This past week we were still looking really hard for new people to teach, and even though we were meeting a lot of people, we weren't finding new investigators. People weren't interested, people weren't able, people were a little crazy, the usual. Also, something that happens a lot here is that the parents get their kids to lie for them. We knocked on a door one day when we could see an adult man sitting on a couch with his back to the window. We didn't knock on the window even though we had seen him because that would be a little weird, so we pretended that we hadn't seen him and knocked on the door. But when we knocked, I saw him stiffen. He did that "I'm-going-to-move-real-slowly-so-the-motion-won't-catch-their-eye" thing and slid off the couch. Keep in mind the window is really near the door. I roll my eyes at my companion and knock again, giving him the benefit of the doubt. Nothing. Jeffrey R. Holland tells us, knock three times. I knock again. The window slides open a tiny bit and a kid, maybe six years old, says, "My dad's not here!" Again, I give "the look" at my companion. "Are you sure?" I ask him. "Uh-huh!" he says. And then, inside, we hear another voice, maybe three, four years old, "Dad, dad!! They want to talk to you! Dad!" Ah. The innocence of childhood. I had the desire the desire to do what another elder told me he had done once in that kind of situation: tell the kid, "Tell your dad that lying's a sin!" But in that situation, he told me, the kid said, "Ok!" and ran back inside. And the elders left hurriedly.

Another time, we knock on a gate that has a view of the house to the left, a shed directly in front of us, and a car in front of the shed. There were also clothes hanging in between the car and the shed. We could see a man standing in front of the shed, partly hidden behind the clothes, but clearly in view. When we knocked on the gate, a girl came out of the house and asked us what we wanted. We asked her if her parents were home. She walks through the clothes to talk to her dad, and we clearly hear, "Diles que nadie está." (Tell them nobody's home.) And then, what made me lose it (I didn't burst out laughing, but I definitely snorted back a chuckle), her reply, "¡Pero papá, me da pena!" (But dad, do I have to? It's embarrassing!) The dad said something else, more quietly, and then the girl sticks her head out through the clothes, yells, "No está nadie!" and then we see her hide behind the car. Yeah. She hid behind the car.

Another one: We knock on a gate where we see a woman out back, and a man sticks his head out of a window, sees us, and yells, "Nobody's home!" Then he hesitates, rethinks the absurdity of that statement, and yells, "We're busy!" And then sticks his head back inside. 

But, we keep working. There are a few promising new investigators, and we still hope to get Néstor and Georgina married. Elder Lind and I are going to echarle all the ganas (that's right, all of them) this week, and we're not going to stop. I hit ten months on Friday!

This scriptural thought might be a little stronger than usual, but it's something I was meditating earlier this week, and even though I'm not sure why, I feel like I should share it. It's probably more for those that are in the mission field right now, but it applies to us all. As a mission, our president has placed some high goals for us to reach. In this area, I was having a lot more trouble reaching them. My initial reaction was more along the lines of, "Well, for other areas it's easier, but for this area I don't know if we can reach those kinds of numbers." But, in that moment, I started thinking about a scripture in Doctrine and Covenants:

29 But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.

I hope I wasn't keeping it with slothfulness, but maybe my heart was a little doubtful. The attitude that we often have, "I don't know if I can do that, but I'll try," is something that weakens us from the beginning. Maybe we're not going to succeed perfectly. But we can commit ourselves, and if we do that the Lord will help us. If not, we will be damned. Our progression will be halted. There won't be growth or improvement. And when I read that scripture again, I kept on reading:


29 But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded,and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.

 30 Who am I that made man, saith the Lord, that will hold him guiltless that obeys not my commandments?

 31 Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled?

 32 I command and men obey not; I revoke and they receive not the blessing.

 33 Then they say in their hearts: This is not the work of the Lord, for his promises are not fulfilled. But wo unto such, for their reward lurketh beneath, and not from above.

So, that's even stronger. The goals our president gives us are to help us expand our vision and help us stretch, but they're not impossible (1 Nephi 3:7). If we receive these commandments, like any commandment, with a doubtful heart, we're not going to be able to receive those blessings. For many, that's a stumblingblock: "I did this, and nothing happened." That leads to resentment, anger, frustration, and a loss of faith. Like Alma says, it's not because this wasn't the work of the Lord, a "good seed," it's because we didn't take the care necessary to really bring it to pass, or because we didn't persevere. We gave up. Don't give up. Keep working, keep stretching, whatever the commandment may be, and you'll receive the blessings the Lord has promised. Who is the Lord, that has promised and has not fulfilled? Whether it be for missionaries, or members with little time in the church, for investigators or those members with decades in the Gospel, for whatever kind of promise He makes, He always fulfills.

I hope everybody's doing well. I am, and I love you all.


Con amor,

Élder Rob Weatherford

 

Monday, July 13, 2015

2015-07-13 "Does the Pope know about this?" (Not you, Jeff. The other one.)

Another week in Tuxtepec, Oaxashington. And the transfer's almost over! That one really flew by... 

Enrique's still progressing, but right now he's the only one. Well, and Georgina, really she's totally ready but like I said, marriages are really hard here. Got to keep looking for people to teach! If you want to add in the Serena Alejandro family to your prayers ( a family we found last week), that they'll feel the desire to go to church and get baptized, that couldn't hurt. They're a "golden" family, situationally at least, and they're really nice, but we need to see if they can find a desire to progress. If not, we're going to have to drop them and keep looking, and that would break my heart. But, that's what happens sometimes when people use their agency. I also know that I can't even imagine how God feels when that happens, if I feel like that after just meeting them and teaching a couple of lessons. I "stand all amazed," at times, not just at the love that God has for me, but also for the trust He puts in His missionaries. How many times do we as missionaries, or we as members of His church, disappoint Him with what we do, or what we don't do? I really want to be worthy of that kind of trust, both as a missionary and in whatever other kind of... "mayordomía" (can't remember how that one translates...) that He gives me, not just in the Church but in life as well. In missionary work, the salvation of souls is at stake. And actually, in life as well. Every member a missionary.

So yeah. This week's been mostly looking for people to teach, and fighting to retain those we have. Quote of the week: We found a family when we were out contacting, and at first the dad, an older gentleman, told us firmly that he was Catholic and there was no point in talking with him. We chatted briefly about the message, though, and he let us in to talk with him, his wife, and his daughter-in-law. We talked about the Restoration and shared the First Vision, and then asked them what they were feeling. The daughter-in-law said, "I don't know, I feel kind of a peaceful, calm feeling, really strongly. Is that what you were talking about?" "Yeah, it is." And then the señor, completely seriously: "Does the Pope know about this? I mean, about Joseph Smith and everything?" I was almost literally speechless. I think I managed to choke out something about how it was probable that somebody had shared it with him, but that I wasn't sure. The truth is, I don't know what I said. I was trying super hard not to laugh.

Ah, sorry, I don't have anything else to say. Here are some pictures of wacky fruit. The first one's called maracuyá, and even though it looks really disgusting, it tastes really good. I made a fruit smoothie.
 
The second one's called "baina" (I think that's spelled right), and it looks like a snap pea the size of my forearm. Inside, there are seeds with a cotton-like covering that you eat. It tastes super sweet, but it really is the consistency of wet cotton.

 
We also eat a lot of mango. 

That's all, folks!

Élder Rob Weatherford

2015-07-06 Chaquistepec Q&A


Ok, I know it's been a little while... Where to begin...

In the picture, my comp, Elder Tirado (Fun Fact: translates to dropped, thrown-out) de Tijuana, is on the far left. I'm on the far right. In the middle, the man holding the baby and his wife in the striped dress just got baptized (my first Sunday here). He's Oscar, she's Nayelly, the baby's Gael, and their "tremendo" son (Note: Doesn't translate to "tremendous" as in "great." More like, a "tremendous" handful) is Oscarín. He's the one that always shouts when we arrive, "The Mormons are here!" They got confirmed the next Sunday, and they're still going strong! 

The only problem is, they were the only investigators that the other missionaries had, so we had literally nothing. So, we've been looking! And we've been finding, little by little, which is good, and there're a few investigators with promise. The truth is, I've kind of avoided talking about investigators in the past, because there have been a lot of disappointments with people that can't or won't progress. But, I don't know, I feel like I should talk a little bit more about the work here. Our four investigators with the most promise (and, therefore, in need of prayers :)) are Enrique, Eduardo, Georgina, and Margarita. Enrique was a contact that we made a few weeks ago who accepted us and so far everything we've taught him. He's been to church, and although he's having a bit of trouble looking for a job that'll let him keep the Sabbath day, he's progressing well. Eduardo is the boyfriend of a member in the ward who's been attending with her for over two months, but only accepted more recently talking with us. He's got some doubts, but he's got the desire to resolve them, so that's fine. Georgina's husband and two of her kids are already members (all three recently reactivated), but she hasn't been baptized because she and her husband aren't legally married, just living together. First the wedding (extremely complicated and expensive here), then the baptism. But she's solid, and apart from some other familial complications I hope they can get sealed in the temple before I finish my mission. Margarita... probably the most difficult of the four. Her husband is a member, for a long time inactive, who one morning just showed up for church and asked that we visit his wife. If that's not the Lord's hand in something, I don't know what is. He actually had been inactive for a long time, but had a powerful life-changing (life-threatening, actually) experience that made him decide to go to church again and put his life back in order with God. His wife, Margarita, is really nice, and she listens to us, but she has a lot of personal obstacles to work through before she'll feel ready to attend church with us. She's progressing, but it's slow, and everything's complicated by the fact that they live really far away in a ranch that's 30, 40 minutes out by bus from the area we usually work. The ranch, Paso Canoa, doesn't have cell service, and they don't have a phone, so that also doesn't help. Also, if you don't catch the 7:00 pm bus (that sometimes passes by at 6:40, as we found out) there aren't any more buses to the main town until 5:00 the next morning. So we have to visit them earlier in the day. But because she's progressing more slowly we have to visit them less often. So it's more difficult. But it's worth it, if she's progressing toward the temple with her husband.

Ok, time for some Q&A with my mother...

How are you doing? Well, thanks :) Seriously, well, even if it is too hot here. The sun's a lot more strong, here, too, which doesn't help. But I've gotten used to it. Health-wise, well, mental-wise, tired (nothing new, there), spiritual-wise, learning more every day, wise-wise, still no, unfortunately.

How are you feeling? See above post... Tired, hot, but good!

What do you love about your new area? The ward is supportive, which is always a good thing. The ward councils especially I like. Also, the iguanas, and the wacky fruit. 

Anything not-so-great? Well, the people aren't always nice to us, but you kind of have to get used to that...

Having fun with your new companion? Yeah, once we spent more time together I think he opened up a little more. Also, he reminds me of someone... Ask David, I told him.

What size is your new town? It's actually a few towns... Kind of. It's the smaller, almost rural part of Tuxtepec, but it also includes a huge area that we rarely ever visit because there aren't members there, and those areas are usually a little more dangerous, and it takes time to visit places by bus. I don't know square mileage, sorry, and would be really bad at guessing. I would say, what size? Medium. Medium size.

What’s it like to grocery shop there? We go downtown! To a different area, where there are Costco-like stores. The peanut butter costs way too much to buy, though, although recently I've been craving Nutella more.

Meet any interesting people? Every day. It's the interested people that are far and few between. So many stories, so little time... Suffice it to say that there are a lot more prophets and apostles here than I think Jesus is aware of...

Will you finally get to play piano in your new area? Not really... Well, in priesthood they usually ask me to play the opening hymn. So that's something! But it's ok.

I've eaten new fruit, heart of chicken, and have been extremely disappointed to learn that iguana season is over. But, we did see and kind-of help a family of strangers in the street to trap an iguana (a medium-sized one... I'm not sure how to describe size... Like a weiner dog, but longer. It's tail was about the size of my arm, it's head the size of both my fists together). They're going to eat it, but they didn't invite us :(

I saw a pig the size of a shetland pony, and learned that the end piece of a loaf of bread is commonly called "la suegra." The mother-in-law. ¿Por qué? ¡Porque nadie la quiere! Sorry, not as funny in English.

I hope everybody's doing well, health-wise, spiritually-wise, and wise-wise. I love you all, and would love to hear more about how each of you are doing! Sorry, I know, I know, take out the beam first... But I would like to know!

Con amor,

Elder Rob Weatherford

Friday, June 12, 2015

2015-6-8 Quick Change!


Ok, so here's a story. Sunday afternoon, I get a call from our leader, who tells me that I'm leaving for Los Tuxtlas the next day. NO, just kidding, I'm actually staying.
Seriously, Elder? You're sure this time?
Nope, he's still kidding, he still doesn't have that information. So we wait. Later that afternoon, I get another call. Yeah, I'm leaving. For sure. To a different zone that's still in the port. Area that's called Las Palmas, Reforma, close to the temple in Mocambo. I get his promise that this time he's telling the truth. And everything's good, when we get to the house I pack up my stuff and say my goodbyes. Fast forward to this morning. Here I am, at the bus station where we all meet for the companion exchange, thinking I'm just going to have to take a ten, fifteen-minute taxi ride to my new area.
Oh, oops, actually Elder, you're going to Tuxtepec.
Oh, haha Elder, very funny.
No, really, here's your bus ticket. 

So there I am, an hour later, riding alone on a three-hour bus trip to Tuxtepec, Oaxaca. Area called Moctezuma. Really hot, and humid, and very "pueblo." But I like it, and I'm excited to work. We're neighbors with the bishop, and live about a thirty-second walk from the church. 
 
Well. Today's been a little unexpected, to say the least. My new companion's name is Elder Tirado; he's from Tijuana and has just finished his training. We're going to work hard, and I'm going to see if the "oaxaqueños" are anything like the "jarochos."


Elder Rob Weatherford

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

2015-6-1 Ugh...:)


Well, things have been heating up here in 5 de Mayo ever since I learned the Spanish equivalent of "Slug Bug." And the fists began to fly. Seriously, there are A LOT of Volkswagon Beetles here. We started on Wednesday, just on the way to lessons and in between contacts, and here's where the score stands:

Elder González: 35

Elder Weatherford: 68... Nope, I literally just saw another one after I wrote that. 69.

But we talked about it, and after P-day finishes we're going to stop taking count. It wasn't detracting from our work or anything, but it's better to not even have a chance of distraction from finding the people the Lord's prepared for us. 

70.

Transfers are coming in a week, so I don't know if I'll still be here next Monday. Honestly, I think it's unlikely... so I guess we'll see! We've seen some results with our work with less active members, but we're fighting hard so that progress doesn't stagnate. 

71.

I love you all, a lot, and hope everything's going well. I could use your prayers in my personal efforts to change, to become a better missionary. I guess I could just use some strength. Strength of will, strength of character, spiritual strength. Physical strength, I'm still holding out, don't worry :)


Thanks, and with love,

Élder Rob Weatherford

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

2015-5-25 More Q & A

Dad asked, "What's the best and worst meal you've eaten there with members?"

The best and the worst meal...that's a hard one.  I think the one that stuck out the most to me in a good way was really simple... A fifteen-year-old member that runs his own hot dog stand in Cuidad Mendoza made us pork tacos one time when his mom invited us to eat with them.  I don't know what he did, but they were DELICIOUS.  Just meat, pico de gallo, lime juice, and green salsa.  But amazing.

The worst meal... It's not that it was bad or anything, but it was the most difficult meal, definitely, also in Ciudad Mendoza. I've never been a huge fan of Jell-O, but I can enjoy it on occasion. In small quantities. And here, it's super popular, both water- and milk-based. But one time, after eating a large meal, this sister practically wheels in this gigantic cake of Jell-O with fruit chunks. She then proceeds to carve off a slice practically the size of my head (Ok, not THAT big, but literally about the size of both my fists put together) and slaps it down in front of us. AFTER I'm already stuffed. I had some trouble there, I'll freely admit. But I finished it!

Oh, ok, other experience, on New Year's Day, when a family invited us to eat "recalentados" from the night before. The leftovers of New Year's are a big deal here. They served us something they called "romeritos" which has a really strong flavor, like mole ("MOL-ay" a traditional Mexican dish with a similarly strong flavor), and as I mentioned, I think, I was a couple of days in recovering from a stomach virus. That probably ruined that dish for me forever, and I had to politely decline from finishing.

Other favorite foods... We eat everything they give us, so a lot of my taste buds have been converted to the Gospel of Avocado, something they always said they would never do.  Seriously, though, I love it now.  One time a family here made us paella, that was super good, even though it's not exactly a native dish.  I think I mentioned before, I've tried gringas al pastor, even if it was only one time, and they were super good... Every once in a while, they'll give us carrot soup.  It's like a cream broth, and it's delicious!  What else... Stuffed jalapeño peppers... they scoop out the innards and add in a meat/vegetable combination.  Mmmm...

Matthew wants to know about your fave foods as well.  And he wants to know if everyone there wears sombreros, and if the radio plays Mexican music (insert his vocal imitation of a mariachi band here.)

Well, Matthew, unfortunately not everyone wears sombreros.  But there are a few!  And even more in other areas where it gets even hotter, and the sun even stronger.  As for the radio, yes.  Haha, not that I would really  know, because we can't listen to the radio, but there are often people blasting music in their homes, or from their cars, or walking around with their phone and speakers.  there's one house we pass by often (we've already contacted there) and almost every day, in the evening, they're blasting music inside, cumbia, bachata, reggetón, and there are about six kids, most under the age of seven, out dancing on the sidewalk.  It's super funny, and really cute.  Mariachi actually is more popular than I thought, even though we don't hear it often in the street if it's not live.

More experiences to come next week! Stay safe, stay strong, stay spiritual. 

Con amor,

Élder Rob Weatherford