Dear Mom, Dad, Kenzie, Cami, and Livi
How is life at home? I have been told that it is mostly the same, Cami is experiencing the greatness and the difficulties of High School, Kenzie is a Senior and already staring at her adult life, Mom and Dad I understand that you both are doing fine and thank you for all of your support. And Livi! She is growing up, and being a kid. I received the package you sent for Valentine’s Day this week. I also have received the letter from the Cases and a second Letter from Sister Johnson, who lives in the Villas. Please remind them that if they wish to send more letters, it would be cheaper + faster if they sent it through the US mail address. How is the Ward doing? I am understanding that the structure of the organizations is at times a bit peculiar but has grown. I am interested to see the needs of our Ward are addressed from this perspective.
Elder Jiménez has been a wonderful companion and trainer for this past weeks. I do not have time today to describe him more, but this next week I will have transfers and odds are certain that one of us if not he both are going to be changed.
The Language is at a temporary standstill, but I am working hard in constructing the lessons, scheduling appointments, and keeping Elder Jiménez focused in this area. I can understand the people, I can learn new words, but I still fault fluency and connection in my sentences, much less the accent. As for the scriptures and the lessons, I can for the most part answer the random or the critical questions that are asked by my investigators. All I can do at this point is to continue to read the Book of Mormon in Spanish along with the Liahonas that we have to give away. And man! There were two stacks of old Liahonas from the previous year when I arrived here, and within the past month I have personally given away all but the two in my Hero’s Satchel! The messenger bag I carry around is very durable, at time a little small or big, but it serves me well. A member who joined us for a lesson with a progressing investigator referred to my scriptures as two pistols- in one hand the Stick of Judah, the other the stick of Joseph.
Sunday was one of the most successful days of the mission! And it is not because of the numbers. We left our apartment an hour and a half before church, waking people up and inviting them to church. It began a Little sketchy. When nobody came with us inside the chapel, but through our efforts the night before, that morning, the members, and the desire the Lord has sparked in this Ward we had five investigators and five different less active families assist sacrament meeting, and a few more showed up in the following hours. All of these names listed were just people from our half of the Ward, the other missionaries also had people arrive at church.
Alright, the list of food that I have eaten these past two weeks- Chicharon (fried pigskin), Birria (shredded pork or roast), mini tacos for 5 pesos, Menudo (if you want to know what that is, look it up), and panbasos. The chicharon is very tasty, and if it was not so caro I would buy some to eat in the evenings with the jerky Dad sent me. XD The birria is meat that just falls apart and is quite delicious with whichever kind of tortilla. The mini tacos I ate today, and even though they are cheap, I was still hungry after eating eleven with a soda. Yeah coach, I said soda, but here in this Mex-American clash of culture, the community live on punch and soda. Panbasos are, well, a mix between our French Dip, a sub sandwich, and enchiladas. And the Menudo is one of the many soups that they eat here, it is not extremely common. I liked it, but there are many tastier dishes and soups to eat for Comida. The Ward had been very nice to us, and they know us missionaries very well, especially My Companion Elder Jiménez. He will be transferred this upcoming week, but he has completed seven months within this sector and has honed his skills to the point of applying them once again in another part of Baja California.
I am grateful for this chance to be a missionary, and now after this first twelve weeks [in the field] I pray that I may apply all of the newly retained knowledge and work even harder to invite souls unto Christ. We were watching the Preach My Gospel Videos for Ideas on how we could help our investigators, and I realized that before my mission these videos seemed erratic, and jumpy, skipping from one investigator to a random Less Active member that may never appear again. And far too often the Field is just like this, and more. Extremely busy, very involved, and there is not a lot of time for learning what you missed before your mission. I am grateful for the lessons I have been taught in seminary, for my Sunday school teachers and everyone else who have supported my spiritual growth before my mission. Much like Mormon, describing maybe the hundredth part of the events that are happening, even within these stories I am glad to express the spiritual strength, humor, joy in being part of this army of spiritually armed brethren, bringing people up to the mountain of the Lord.
Until the following week, your Son and Brother,