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