Monday, October 28, 2013

The Spirit, Amazing Tacos, and Sweaty White Shirts

Hello everybody!

Another week has passed by, and the weeks continually get a little better. It was good to see your pics from England Mom and Dad, looked like an awesome time! I wanna hear more about Cambodia, and PCDR though! The beginning of this last week was so cold and rainy. I was freezing for the better part of 3 or 4 days, not exactly what I was expecting but now it has warmed back up and it is back to being hot all the time.

I am starting to teach a lot more, as I am becoming more comfortable with Spanish. My main struggle so far has been understanding, now I am doing a lot better, and speaking is becoming my difficulty now, so I am going to have to focus on that. I would say the only lesson I have mastered in Spanish is the word of wisdom, I don't know why but I love teaching it and pounding it into people, so far I haven't had 1 person who has been having problems with the W.O.W  say that they wouldn't be able to promise to live it after my lessons. haha good stuff.

I really appreciate the members here so much, especially the ones who feed us. haha. The other night we were at the Hermana Eldas and it was probably  8ish and she went out and bought us each probably 15 tacos but by the time she got back we had to leave because we have to be in house by 9. So we went over the next morning and ate them all and they were just so dang good. And they gave me chocolate milk and I was like oh yeah. We ate with Hermana Concepcion this week again which is the hermana who gave us the awful cow tongue and stomach soup last time so I was deathly afraid walking up the stairs to her house, but she fed us potato pancakes, beans, and rice. Much better. Another member named Maria de la Luz has a food stand thing on the street that I think I have talked about before that we occasionally eat at that is just amazing. I love her pie de limon which is like a cookie pie thing that tastes like lime, I don't really know how to explain it but it so so good. Overall I am still loving the food. oh except for one experience this last week we had lunch with an hermana that was really good, but the dessert, or lack thereof. It was Jicama. It tastes basically like a raw sour potatoe in vinegar. I had a whole bowl in front of me. SO painful to get through, I don't understand how any person could enjoy that. haha.

So I went on divisions again last Friday and Saturday. I went with one of our zone leaders, who is Mexican. He actually made me breakfast in the morning and I was like, OH this is what its like to have a companion serve you. haha. No he was really cool and we had a good time. We walked an extra ton because he is new to his area and didn't really know where to go so we had a lot of back tracking and walking all over the hills. We brought with us for Saturday a little 10 year old named William who is preparing for a mission so that was cool.

So late Saturday night Elder Hernandez told me, oh I forgot to tell you, we are speaking tomorrow in sacrament. I was like, thanks for always being on top of things! haha jk no. So I quickly prepared a talk but turns out only Elder Hernandez was speaking when we got there, that kid. . . sometimes. . haha no its all good.

I had some interesting stories from Sunday. We were walking down the street when we stopped to talk to a recent convert, Evan, who is awesome. He used to be a pretty big gangster, not such a good guy. Some of his hold buddies still hang out in front of his house. An extremely drunk and high guy came up and started talking to me in English. He was from Miami and came to Mexico to escape the law for the 4 people and the police officer he has killed. He went off on how our beliefs are wrong, but then started talking about how he wanted Gods forgiveness, I told him that he could eventually receive it if that is what he desired, but didn't put too much effort cuz he was so drunk and it wouldn't matter what I said. But he really liked me, but NOT Elder Hernandez, he said all sorts of colorful language to him when he told him that we needed to go, but he said I was his friend and wanted to talk to me more. Good stuff. We were also walking through a apartment complex when I had the feeling to knock on this door, at first I didn't cuz I thought I was just physicing myself out but after we walked by again the thought came into my head to have the courage to do what the spirit tells you to do, so I told Elder H. that I think we should, and a lady answered and her family was over but she wants to talk to us another time, so I really hope that leads somewhere!

Today was a really good day, we had a zone activity. We went to the church and had a little devotional then we played some dorky scripture chase games. Every round whoever lost got a plateful of this nasty foam in the face and a balloon of flour popped over them from whoever beat them. It was kind of fun but I got so dirty and sticky. We then played futbol. I really like playing here with them, mainly because I like being better than the Mexicans who think they are so good. haha no jk. Which reminds me all the Mexicans call me El Ganador, which means the winner or champion, but mainly because it is the only way they can say my name right. haha. EL GANador, pronounced a little differently in Spanish, that makes a different sound. Then some members came over and fed us carne asada. Super good, once again the members save my day. haha.

I get a little frustrated with the ward because we really can't do missionary work without the members help, especially here where we cant tract. But the members don't do too much good except for food. haha. I don't think they have ward council, and our ward mission leader isn't super interested in the work. I am really going to try to get this ward on track, without making it sound like I am trying to tell them how to do their job, which is what I am afraid I am going to make it sound like. But we have a good ward, Elder H. says Martin Carrera is one of the hardest areas in the mission to get new investigators, so it is good practice for me. We probably only had 25ish people come to church on Sunday which was disappointing, but we will try to get more there next week.

Daylight savings was nice, the extra hour of sleep was much needed, expect it is so dark so early now, which I don't love.

The week top 5,
1. Tacos and choc milk with the Eldas
2. The Zone activity today
3. food from Maria de la Luz
4. Sleeping in Elder Pauchars bed, on divisions, which was just so much better than mine, I'm pretty sure mine is the worst in the mission. haha
5. Lunch with Sarahi., she is a inactive exmissionary. One of her companions from Costa Rica was visiting so we had a really good lunch of enchiladas and ice cream and we talked for a while and had a good time.

Bottom 3,
1. Hermana Wendy´s Jicama
2. Finding out Arturo smokes cigars. . . ahhhahhhhhkjdfñlakjdsfñl, if only I would have taught him WOW instead of Elder H. in the past hahahah
3. Watching the drunk guy go off on Elder Hernandez

Ok, Mother, the package. I have been having a dire craving for special K bars, so if that is at all possible that would just be amazing. haha. um peanut m&ms, cookies like chips ahoy or famous amos or wedding or anything like that, just anything from the candy, chips, cookie, granola bar isles that you know that I like. Nutella like you know, sorry if I am not super specific, I really cant think right now. oh maybe some Mios, the Nalgene bottle with a wide screw off top,  chocolate, that stuff from England sounds AMAZING, tootsie rolls, ahh cant think.

And yes just send it to the mission home, maybe ask Elder Blotters mom if she has sent a package? The mission home does receive lots of packages I have seen in the office though, so that's a good sign.

I didn't have the chance to take any pics this week, but I will try to next week, with Me in them. haha.

Grandma, I hope you get feeling better, you are in my prayers.

Well I love all you guys so much! I will talk to you next week!

Love, Elder Elgan

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

2 months out

what the parks look like, here, cement with exercise machines, come on mexico, give a kid a slippery slide!

more pics of the area

Sent:Mon Oct 21 10:41:00 UTC 2013
Subject: City Life

Hello everybody, and family all over the world! Well I have officially made it two months. . feels like longer. haha This past week has been pretty good, SO much walking. haha Elder Hernandez walks at about a million miles per hour so that doesn't make it any better. I have a pretty good blister on my left foot. We still continue to teach a lot of less active members, with a few investigators in there.

So last Wednesday I think it was we woke up and Elder Hernandez told us we had to be at the offices pretty early in the morning, Elder H is kind of an airhead and couldn't remember when or why he heard this so I thought he was making it up so I didn't eat breakfast or anything and we headed off, I was thinking we were gonna just turn around and come right back, which wouldn't be the first time. They ended up taking all us new missionaries into the city to do more things for our permanent visas for most of the day. We had to ride about 5 metros, subways, to get where we were going, the nice part of town. Ah the nice part of town. I really feel more like I'm in New York when I'm there. But we did all of our visa jazz and came back and by this time I was starving and we went to Hermana Natys house for lunch, and oh how it didn't satisfy my hunger. It was the worst thing so far. It was enchiladas, but nothing like the enchiladas I know. It was just soggy tortillas in a nasty liquidy sauce with awful feet cheese on top. Awesome. Elder Hernandez left half of his food, and hes Mexican so that says somethin right there. haha. 

This last weekend we had exchanges. So for Friday night and Saturday I was with Elder Gillis, our district leader. There are 4 of us in our district, which are really the only other missionaries I ever see, sometimes those in our zone. So I packed my bag and went to his area for the night. It was so nice to be with someone who speaks English. haha. White boys unite. So on Saturday we went to lunch with a member lady in his area, and we found out her dog died the last night. They live on the 5th floor of a building and it fell of the stairs from the top and was killed. Not a very happy lunch. It was happy for us because she gave us steak and potatoes, but not for her. haha 

It has been raining a lot here, only in the evenings, but it feels so good when it does. All the Mexicans are freezing and always asking me if I am cold in my short sleeved shirt and as I am sweating I say to them I can assure you that I am definitely not. 

I really like Sundays here, probably my favorite days, Arturo was confirmed yesterday which was cool, Elder Hernandezs phone went of in the middle of the confirmation which was awkward. Last night we went to find an investigator but she wasn't home but her neighbor lady who answered the front gate was having a huge birthday party and invited us in and gave us horchata, and some sort of raw fish salsa on these crispy tortilla things. OH my so good. Our investigator came home, so we taught her, which was interesting. Her house is one room, probably 8 feet by 8 feet with no lights. Our only light was a candle in the corner, so we couldn't really see anything. Felt like I was in the times of old. haha.This lady use to be a nun so she was asking all these questions that I couldn't understand or answer with my Spanish, so Elder H did most of it. haha what else is new. 

So today has been a good day as well we ate the most amazing things for lunch, tortas, probably my favorite thing so far, probably because they are pretty American, it was pretty much just a panini with chicken, ham, pineapple, cheese, avocado, tomato, and some amazing chipotle goodness. We walked to Walmart which is a pretty good walk, in another area so I could buy some food that the stores in my area don't have, mainly peanut butter. haha. 

The Spanish is still very slowly coming, I am still struggling a lot with it. It is so hard to understand, but I seem to be picking it up a little more rapidly now which is good. 

So Mom you think highlands is bad when every time you knock on a door a dog barks? haha it is awful here. Every single house has 2 dogs 3 cats a parrot and an iguana I swear, SO many animals, its disgusting 98 percent of the time. 

I found out that the Mexico City temple is going to close in January until may of 2015, they are completely renovating it, and are going to rededicate it right before I come home. We should go this December before it closes.

Sounds like all the world travels are going good! Hope everything goes good, and I look forward to hearing about Britt and Trev's experience in Cambodia, as well as the honeymoon in PCDR. And Mom and Dad hope you continue to have fun in rainy England. 

Happy Birthday Brittany and Brandi this Sunday!! Love you both, hope you have an awesome day!

So I saw this quote in the mission offices the other day from Christ, I never said it would be easy, I just said it would be worth it. I certainly know the first part of this is true. haha, but I know all the struggles are gonna be worth it. 

Mother, some things to add to the packages list. Mainly Nutella and Peanut Butter. haha I can buy them here but they are so expensive and I could live of them both. I want a water bottle like the nalgene ones with the screw off top, I want more pictures of the fam and everyone!, sticky notes, granola bars, Archer farms trail mix, and chocolate, that you are gonna buy for me in England. haha jk. oh and also did Cathy's letter ever come?

Everything is good, and it sounds like everything is for you guys too, love you all, good to hear from you, happy travels, talk to you next week. 

Love, Elder Elgan

Monday, October 14, 2013

Living a Minority Life 

(Ben's subject line)

Some of the streets I walk every day

A random street

Nacho Libre style bike, they are everywhere. Wish they were motorized. Haha!

Hello Everybody!

Well another week has come and gone here in Mexico, man they sure go fast. I CANT BELIEVE Josh and Kayla are married! crazy! CONGRATS! Now all that’s left is the little runt Ben. Loved all the pictures. Everything looked amazing! Loved the fall theme colors and everything. The cardboard cutout was hilarious, glad I could be there. Max and Nixon’s outfits are probably the best things I have ever seen. Glad to hear everything went as planned. 

Happy Birthday Nichole!!! Love you tonnnsss!!

Everything still goes great here. Just the same long, hot, tired days. haha The nights get pretty chilly which is nice. Honestly most of our lessons are with less active members. There are SO many of them here cuz they all get baptized so fast. Sometimes it frustrating how little they know and have been baptized, like this one lady couldn’t even name one of the 10 commandments and she was baptized last year. ahhh. We do have a few investigators but it sure wouldn’t hurt to find a lot more, but the only way we find new ones is through member references. 

So. . yesterday I had my first baptism! It was so cool. His name is Arturo Vivanco Gaytan. He is a pretty funny dude. We didn’t think we were going to be able to because he didn’t attend church yesterday because we couldn’t find him. weird. But, we got permission at the last second, and scrambled together a baptismal service. I had to memorize the prayer in Spanish in like one minute and was afraid I was gonna forget, but I didn’t. haha. But ya a super cool experience!

The food here is great! However, there is a lot of orange and red food and a lot of white shirts. haha. Thank the heavens for tide to go. We eat with the members once a day at 2 o clock. They feed us a ton. It is usually super spicy something. haha I’ve never had my mouth hurt like this before. But I love it! I didn’t have anything super great or very bad this last week, which I guess is good and bad.haha. However, there is a churro stand  outside our house that is pretty darn amazing. 

It rains here about every evening around 7 o clock. I love it when it does, because it cools off and feels much better. 

Church for the first time yesterday was good, there is a church in our area but for some reason we get to go clear over who knows where for our church building at 8. Not gonna lie, the Mexicans are pretty bad singers. haha I guess I was expecting singing like the members in Tonga, but ah it is hard not to cringe during the hymns. There is only one girl who can play piano in the ward, and she’s not the best. haha. I will see if I can help her out in the weeks to come. We had to teach the gospel principle class, and by we I mean Elder Hernandez, it went good. The ward is pretty small and lest the active members. We had the whole ward on a bus back to Carrera. 

So if you go on google earth and type in Martin Carrera, Mexico City that is my area. I don’t know the address of our house, but it is on the main road that runs east to west in the middle of town. We are kind of on the east sideish, right by a store called Farmacia de Dios. [pharmacy of God[ I obviously don’t know how to use a spanish keyboard, they are very different. haha. But it has two white doors, and on street view of google earth it has orange paint stuff on it. We were on google earth with Arturo the other day. haha. 

Today I got Kayla’s dear elder. I don’t know when she sent it but it was when I was still in the MTC. So it will take me a while to get them, but you can still write them. Mother tell Stacie Gomm and Deanne Chambers thanks so much for the letters they sent me!

Well our family is gonna be all over the world this week! haha love it. Josh and Kayla have so much fun in Punta Cana! I have only heard amazing things about it. Mom and Dad have fun in England! I guess Mom you will be going on all of Dads trips with him? haha. And Britt and Trevor have fun in Cambodia! That is crazy. I want to go there someday, that is going to be such an AWESOME experience. And I’ll just be here in Mexico sweating, walking, working, eating tacos, and having the time of my life! haha

Well I loved hearing from you all, love you all tons, and I will talk to you next week! I will try to send some pics now. 

Love Elder Elgan

Monday, October 7, 2013

1st Week in Mexico City!

Wow, it has been a crazy week. But I did make it to the wonderful Mexico City! It was good to talk to all you guys on Monday, sorry you had to wake up so early but I hope it was worth it! haha It was such a weird feeling flying out of SLC, I flew out at just the perfect time as the sun was coming over the mountains, it was way pretty but it was just too weird to think that I wouldnt see those mountains again for 2 years. Everything went good with the travel, flying into Mexico City was INSANE! haha I guess mom and dad, you know what that is about. This place is even more massive than I imagined. It just goes on and on, and I was expecting one main area of skyscraper  city area, but it is like that everywhere. Somehow i finagled a window seat, exit row, with nobody in the middle so I had a pretty good view. We landed and the AP's picked us up, and brought us to the mission office, right next to the temple. The temple is beautiful, and I think the only clean thing in all of the city. haha. We met President Anaya, and I really like him a lot, he is going to be a really good mission president. His wife is really nice to, but she doesn't speak a word of English. We left our suitcases at the office and packed a bag for the night, and spent the first night at the Anayas house. There house is very very nice. It is was out of our mission boundries, which is why it is so nice. haha. Pretty much the entire thing is made of marble. The part of the city where the Anayas live is very nice, there is all sorts of really nice houses, and tons of nice cars, not what I was expecting. This city is very hilly, and every time you come to the top of a hill, you can see nothing but city on rolling hills for as far as you can see. Anyways, Our first Mexican dinner at the Anayas was a lasagna type thing, corn, a pile of very white lettuce that mom would have loved, and chocolate cake. It was quite good. All 19 of us spent the night at the Anayas in the bunk house in the basement.

 The next morning we had a "traditional" Mexican breakfast of homemade tortilla chips covered in a saucy salsa, eggs, beans, papaya, cantaloupe,and a berry cheesecake. Not bad at all. We had a training after which consisted of having a cold, wet paper towel on our stomachs the whole time to help with the digestion of breakfast? haha. Then we came back to the offices to get our trainers. My trainer is Elder Hernandez. He is from Zacatecas, Mexico and is as Mexican as they come. haha he doesn't speak ANY English! Its awkward. haha. The only words he can say are "come" and that's about it haha. Our area is Carrera. It is a 10 minute taxi ride north of the temple. Apparently it is the poorest in the whole mission, excellent place to start. Our apartment. haha oh boy. It is small, dirty, and Mexican. It is probably a average-nice house for the area. I will try to send pics. The first night we went out and taught. By we I mean Elder Hernandez, and I sat there with a blank look on my face. haha I didn't understand ANYTHING. MTC Spanish sucks. haha jkjk. I love the little Mexican kids here so much, even though they make fun of my Spanish. haha They are all so freaking cute, and it kills me that we are not allowed to hold them, or let them sit on our laps.
The next day we took a taxi back to the offices, did some thing to get my real visa, and some training things. My breakfast consisted of fruit loops. haha. The milk here is boxed, and for some reason I like it so much better. haha. One great thing about our apartment is that we have hot water. We had our first meal with an member which was this spaghetti soup thing, rice with a fried egg on top, and more rice and hunks of pork. We taught 3 new investigators this day, oh I mean Elder Hernandez did. We taught a guy named Arturo, that had been taught before and has a baptismal date for this week. And I will be baptizing him! haha. There is so many ups and downs of emotions that I am feeling here. It always seems like around 1:00-3:00 I get frustrated, homesick, and think there is no way I can do it. But then for the rest of the day is usually feel just the opposite. The driving here is ridiculous. It will be like a 2 lane road, and they will make 5. I could never drive here without getting killed. haha.
After each day, I feel like I have walked the Vegas strip 10 times, I am so tired. It is so hard to stay awake until 10:30 haha. We have a lot of study time where I am being trained, so we usually don't get out of the house til noonish. It is pretty fun to try to teach Hernandez English, it is so hard for them to pronounce English words. haha. Nobody is ever home here, about 9 out of the 10 doors we knock on nobody is home. We are get to do any tracting, it is all with members, investigators, and less active members, we get new investigators through references. The thirds days lunch. ohhh, it still haunts me. haha A really nice member fed us not very nice food. haha it was basically a bloody extremely spicy broth with huge chunks of tongue floating in it. Taste buds and all. Awful. haha and I was expecting the tortillas here to be good, but I don't particularly enjoy them. BUT. . the tacos, oh yes, I think so. The street taco stands are amazing. Love them. Could eat at them everyday for the rest of my life. haha.
The 4th day we went to the mission offices again and it took us 3 taxis to get there. Due to Eld. Her. forgetting his name tag, and awful traffic that we could walk faster than. We did some more visa stuff, and greenie training. We ate lunch at the bishops house, which was more spaghetti soup, rice, and what I still am unsure of. I am thinking it was squid. not sure. She gave us SO much it was hard to eat it all. I understand a little bit more of the language everyday, but I still only understand maybe 30 percent of what people say. I can talk ok, but understanding is the hard part.
General conference was really good! It is like Christmas here when it rolls around for the missionaries. We took a bus over to the town of Centenario to the chapel there for conference. Us white peoples got to watch it in English in a little room in the back of the church. I was very happy about that. haha. In between sessions we bussed back to Carrera and at lunch with a member, Hermana Elda, it was really good, It was tortillas cooked in like a black bean puree, with cream on top, it was surprisingly good, looked bad, but tasted good. We went back to Centenario for the afternoon session as well which was great. I liked Elder Ballards talk of the Articles of Faith, I will memorize them in Spanish soon. We ate some tacos outside the church, which gave me heartburn, but oh so worth it. We brought an investigator to the priesthood session, Evan. Conference is just so much better as a missionary. haha.
Yesterday conference, not quite so good, why? I had to watch it in Spanish. ah. I didn't really understand it, and it is so easy just to day dream when you don't understand nada. In between sessions my district, me and my comp, and Elders Blanca and Gilles, went to lunch at a members house. She fed us mole chicken-pronounced like guacamole but definitely not the same thing- and lots of rice. But the dessert, oh the dessert. It was my first real dessert I have had besides at the presidents house. We had papaya, chocolate truffles, and these amazing peanut butter cookie things that Brandi would have loved. haha IT was so good, so good in fact that we lost track of time and missed the first hour of the afternoon session. haha oops. But I got to watch the last half in English which was awesome, because us whiteies snuck out and found another TV to put on English. haha.
Today was a good day, it rained all day. The weather is quite nice here, and little hot when you are walking around in it all day, but cant complain. We went to lunch at burger king, which was just so much better than in the US. It is like the nice place to eat here. haha For laundry, we take it to a lavanderia, give them our laundry, they do it and we pick it up tomorrow. The best part of the day was cleaning the house, oh how I enjoyed that. It was sooo gross, the piles of dust and dirt I swept up were just awesome. The kitchen and bathroom are pretty sub par, but they are decent, and I cant complain. you know those bad bathrooms on house hunters international that we cringe at where the shower and the toilet and the sink are basically one? ya, its like that.
Lots of walking here, when we have to go anywhere kinda close, but not walking distance, we take the bus, which is 4 pesos. If it is farther than that, like the temple/mission offices, we take taxi, which is about 30 pesos.
I cant believe Josh and Kayla are getting married this Saturday. Came so quick, now I definitely feel like the shrimp of the family. haha. It is just gonna be so different when I come. back. Good luck with everything though! I'm sure it will all go great, all the pictures and everything were awesome! Good luck Josh and Kayla, thanks for being such great examples and friends to me! Love you guys.
Oh, so you can still do Dear elders! they print them out at the mission home, but I will only get them when my district leader goes and picks mail up, which cant be too often.
Well I cant think of anything else to say, but I know there is much more, mother, I know you are probably sitting at the computer waiting for this to come in so email me back with any questions!
Love you all!

Elder Elgan

Thursday, October 3, 2013

We received this email and picture from President and Sister Anaya

Bienvenida a su hijo a la mision Mexico Este

The Church of Jesus Christ of Later Saint Days
Mexico East Mission, Mexico Ciy ,
September 30  2013

Dear Brother and Sister  Elgan

               We want to express our deepest feelings of gratitude to you and at the same time notify that you son,  Elder Elgan  has arrived in the mission field with good health and a sweet spirit of love and service.

                     We are to your service and we know that the Lord fill you of blessings for all the work that your son is doing in this great work. 
             We recommend you for the strenght and health to him,  write him by e-mail every week , so it will help him to be in contact with you  and your words uncourage him to follow every day working faithfully , we hope these words can be full of  optimistical and faith
            If in some ocassion you desire to say him some familiar matter, don´t feel you can´t do it, but call to the mission office or mission house but not directly or if he has our permission  

President and sister  Anaya
Mexico East Mission. Mexico City