Monday, February 24, 2014

…. and everything in between

Hola a mi hermosa familia y amigos,

Another good week has flown by. This week was back to the division life. Now that our district leaders are gone we are actually doing divisions again. We did them once with the zone leaders and once with Elder Jensen this week. I like divisions, it helps you learn a lot as you see how other people teach and study. Basically both our zone leaders are lazy butts so I pretty much taught one of them how to work. haha Divisions with Elder Jensen was also really good we found lots of connections. He played tennis for TimpView (2 doubles) the year they won state. So I watched his match, if only I would have known haha. Also his super good friend is the sister of a kid I went to Tonga with. So that was fun. 

Everybody and their dog here wants me to teach them English. One lady contacted me on the street and said if she doesn't learn English, she would never find a job. I said ok I will teach you, but only if we can share a message first. I am not patient enough to teach English though. I don't know this lady is kinda crazy though she keeps calling me her handsome baby. She thought I was like 25-26 but I told her I was 18 and she still doesn't believe me. She also told me I must have a really great mom to let her baby come to Mexico City by himself for 2 years. haha. . ya she's weird. 

We also have another crazy investigator lady. Its always an experience to try and teach her because she definitely doesn't live in the safest place. There are always drunk, drugged, high, and bothering us during the lessons. Kinda sketchy. One of them wanted my new bag but I was like um no. But she ended up being a little …..  pants and told my companion she doesn't want the lessons, she only wants to sin with him. Apparently she was giving him all sorts of signs in the lessons that I wasn't picking up on, but he never told me! Ah child.  She called us on Sunday crying to him about all this and he was like back off lady we're missionaries. I sent her a message that we can't talk to her anymore, but have a great life. So that was fun. 

One day this week President came to our house to inspect it. Ya I'm awesome and passed with flying colors. haha no it was good. He wants me to get a new bed bc it's kinda caving in but I thought, um no its comfy. 

We have of course been teaching lots of inactives. We taught this one lady the plan of salvation, and I'm pretty sure it was the first time she had ever heard those things. She was like wow really? Who were the Elders that baptized her. haha But it's frustrating bc I have been in this ward for 5 months and I still hear about members I don't know all the time. I think these next transfers they are dividing Carrera for 4 elders so that will help to focus on a specific part of the ward and know it a bit better. 

We had a great visit with Ofelia our investigadora. I have been so frustrated with her in the past with not keeping our commitments, not showing her faith, and lots of other things. Apparently when we were in divisions Elder Bocanegra taught her and she was saying that there is no evidence of the lamanites or nephites in the America's. So I went in and shared a pretty powerful testimony about the BOM and faith. I told her this doubts she has are not faith. There is never going to be a scripture that we can read that will give us all the answers. God has asked us to show our faith in knowing these things are true. We should always doubt our doubts before we doubt our faith. We are never going to know the truth of anything until we show our faith and our desires to receive the answers that God wants to give us. This lesson was a testament to me that when we teach the gospel, we don't need perfect elegance, we don't need to know the language perfectly or be able to answer every question, all we need to have is the spirit. At the end of the day the spirit is going to teach and bring the knowledge to the people, we as missionaries are only instruments in the hands of God to bring this spirit into their homes and hearts.  

We had a super awesome lunch with the Elda's this week. They made us bacon cheeseburgers, and fries. Then a lime cheesecake thing and strawberries and cream for dessert. So dang good. Every Thursday we eat with the Bishops wife whose food is just terrible. The Elda's said she just likes to invent things. ya um betta not. They told us to put their names for every Thursday so we don't have to eat with her anymore haha. 

So we had a pretty crazy Sunday. We had to talk in church and I gave a pretty decent talk about faith and service. At first I was like, um bishop those are 2 different things, which one? He said both. But I found ways to link them together and it ended up pretty good. Hna Lucy told me how bad my first talk was my first week (spanish wise) but how great this one was and how much my Spanish has improved. Our ward mission leader taught the Sunday school class on mission work. And made everyone give us 5 references of people they know that aren't members. We got 27 references yesterday. haha with lots more to come when people can find the addresses and what not. And. . We had a baptism! yippy ay eh cow pattie. (that's for you Julie). I gracefully submerged a very heavily makeuped daughter of God into the revitalizing waters of baptism. haha no it was the mother of a member Rubi (18 yrs old and is primary president). She has been waiting years for her mom to listen to the missionaries and get baptized so it was a really awesome experience for them both. The service was really good, we almost had as many people attend as went to church. haha She gave a really great testimony after a few minutes of silence because she was crying pretty good. It really was a true conversion that took place in her heart, and it made us so happy to see that. 

Today was a good day. We went early to the stake center in Centenario and played futbol with some of the zone. We went all out for about 2 hours so I was pretty exhausted after. We came back ate some fruit and juice (there is fresh squeezed orange juice right outside my door every day- just like Christmas morning :) ) then took a little nap. Then we met Elder Jensen and Jimenez for lunch at Panda Express then shopped at Walmart. Basically the day. 

Ok so here is my Elder Elgan wisdom for the week so listen up. Strength isn't something you have, its something God helps you find, little by little, everyday. Being here I see so many struggles in the lives of the people that 1. make me soo grateful for the life we have in Utah and the countless blessings God has given our family and 2. are always a testament to me that the people who always put God first, and rely on him for their strength seem to make it through with innumerable spiritual blessings. Boom

Once again everything at home sounds pretty good! That's too funny you guys are actually going to Moab this week. haha Some good outdoor time. Something that is just impossible for the people of Mexico City. Grandpa Elgan is 80! Well Gramps if your read this that's awesome, thanks for always being such a great example to me so that I could always have someone to look up to. Go buy yourself a sweet sports car or something and celebrate being the coolest Grandpa on the block :) 
Josh and Kayla, well you're those people now. haha. That will be an experience going to sell in Oklahoma for the summer, hope it all works out great! Mother and Father the cruise sounds awesome. I will ask for a temporary release  and will meet you guys in Venice, ok? Well hope you all have a wonderful week, love and miss you all.

Elder Elgan

Monday, February 17, 2014

6 Months, 1/4, 25%

My lovely new man bag

My Vday present from Elder Rodriguez. haha

Hola familia, 

Well another week has come and gone, and that means 6 months! Crazy. Well... in some ways it feels like I have been here forever and I can't even remember what home is like, but in others it seems like I just got here. But hey 3 more times and I am home. So hopefully the hardest part of the mission is over, the first 6 months. Now just let the time fly by POR FAVOR!!! haha no Lots of times I find myself missing home, or not enjoying the mission like everybody else says they do. But you are never going to enjoy the mission until you forget yourself. It really is such a great experience, you are never going to grow as much anywhere than you do in the mission. But ahh its hard. Lots of people will say they are just loving the mission and everything is just great but I'll say it how it is . . rough. But hey think about the story of President Hinckley when he was in the mission, he was frustrated and about to give up, when his dad told him to forget himself and go to work. But hey now the first 6 months is behind me, I know Spanish pretty well, I'm pretty experienced, I just need to forget myself and work harder every week. 

We had a really great week! It started off with a good district meeting with our new DL Elder Jenson. He reminds me soo much of Shawn Buxton. But we talked about this exactly, that the mission is hard, but we can't give up. Like it says in Mark 10 29-30 we will receive 100 times more when we return, and eternal life in the world to come. (I hope its the same in English haha) We taught 32 lessons this week. Well on our way to the 40-60. But hey that is pretty good to me, every week we are doing better. We will have baptisms this Sunday and the next one. 

We had divisions this week, and the companion of Elder Jenson (E Jiminez) came here and worked with me for the day. He is from the Dominican Republic, and usually those are the missionaries that you don't want to be your companion, but it was pretty good. 

We had a zone activity Wednesday to clean the church in Centenario. haha it was pretty funny because I'm pretty sure we left it worse than we found it. We tried, but it is just so darn hard to clean things here. Everything is just permastained. haha We were wondering why the window cleaner wasn't working very good, come to find out it was some toilet grease something. woops, ehh you don't really need to see out of the windows anyways, its just cement. haha. So that was a fun experience. 

We had some good debates with some Jehovah's witnesses this week. My blood usually gets to about 211 degrees talking to them. One lady said "I have read the bible many times what could you possibly teach me." She said "I am in the one and only true church and you aren't". ahh it makes me so mad how blind she is. So I said "you have read the bible that many times and you still don't even know who your God is. . its not Jehovah that would be Jesus Christ." She didn't like that. haha. I try not to have the spirit of contention because the spirit will definitely not be there , but ah! some people. . But overall the teaching and the investigators are going really good.

Valentines was pretty good. (Dia de amor y amistad that is) Everyone had their lovers, families, and friends. . . ya I had my companion. woo. My valentines lunch was giant meatballs with egg in the middle, and black beans. mmm. straight protein. haha Dessert was mango with a pound of chile on it. Pretty gross actually. haha But just talking to members, it makes me realize how many things I have learned in the mission. tons. And still so much to learn. The Eldas told us to come over and they gave us hot cocoa, bakery goodness, and meranguis (no idea how to spell it) 

Sunday was a good day, a bit different. We left for church and ended up being about half hour late because of the crazy traffic. Some bus tipped over or something so sacrament didn't even start until 12:30ish because nobody was there. haha But it was good, we taught gospel principles again, and priesthood. Then we headed straight with some hermanas to their house to eat. It was a blood red soup of meat veggies and corn that is really good but potent for white shirts. The hermana gave us towels to wrap around our necks. Bocanegra got it all over him, and spilled his coke, and I walked out spotless. Ah I felt pretty good about myself. We had a meeting with our stake and our mission president. He talked about how they need to help us more especially with this crazy numbers for this year. 

Today was a good day. This morning we cleaned the house, bought food and lots of fruit from the tianguis (lots of banana papaya apples and grapefruit) Then we headed to downtown to Buenavista. The giant mall there. I bought myself a lovely shoulder bag. Its a nice bag but I'm not looking forward to the back pain. haha. So mother your gonna need to pay off my credit card gracias! :) (with my account of course) And that's about it for the day. It is getting SO hot here now, not loving it. But it could be worse. 

Sounds good at home. (whats home??) Dad I'm glad you got out of the frozen tundra of Maryland, that didn't sound like fun. Mother nice hair, but you know me I'll be honest I like your long hair better. But it does look much better than I was thinking from how you explained it. haha. And why no car decision? So Mom and Dad will probably be in Tahiti next week, that's cool, I'll be here. The Olympics sound fun, I saw bits and pieces from the tvs in the mall today. agh I miss snow. haha

Well family love you all soo much. Have a great week, and always put the Lord first.

Love your favorite missionary ever Elder Elgan

Monday, February 10, 2014

Catholics, Drunk Bishops, and A Broken Piano Bench

Goodbye to Elder Rodriguez

A pic of the pic they gave us at the Visitors Center

Mexico City Temple
Yermo, Aide and their children, Elder Elgan

Well hello again!

We had another great week here in sweaty Mexico. It was transfer week but nothing changed for us, but Elder Rodriguez did change to a different zone, but is still pretty close. haha We took them to the changes meeting because they had to take 2 taxis with all their suitcases and said goodbye. Many good times with that kid. haha It was also Elder Bocanegra's birthday on Tuesday which was good, we celebrated with the Elda's that night and they made us tacos dorados and twinkies haha. 

This last Wednesday was an awesome day. We met every single one of our key indicator goals. (Josh can explain more what that means) I am really noting a lot more success here lately. Also it is really just so obvious that everybody here has their time, and they are ready when the Lord has prepared them. We have a less active in our ward whose daughter is not a member and she never wanted to listen to us or participate in the lessons with her mom, but this last time she joined us and she agreed to baptism. Also we had an interesting experience with a drunk we found in the street. He called us over and I was a little hesitant at first but we went and he said I'm a Mormon. Come to find out he was ex bishop of a ward in this stake, ex branch president in Oaxaca, served a mission in Chihuahua, and was sealed in the temple. I couldn't believe it. He was crying crying and said he was in apostasy. He lost his family and is now living in a crappy car on the side of the road. So sad. It really shows that anybody can fall, and makes the importance of the atonement come alive in the lives of every person. 

We received a reference from the visitors center this week, a lady named Aide. Her husband is a member and he took her to the VC. In the first visit she told us that she already knows the Book of Mormon is true, wants to be baptized, wants to be sealed in the temple and raise her family in the gospel. Um ya another person who has definitely been prepared by the Lord. We took her to the visitors center again on Saturday and we are gonna baptize her 9 march. She even said we when we invited the date that its perfect to her because the month of March is super special to her, and she found our she was pregnant with one of her kids the 9th of march. Coincidence? I think not. haha

The other investigators are doing really well as well. Royed is funny. He said he has lost all his faith and has to read the whole bible over again. I'm guessing just because what we are teaching him is so different than what he thought for his whole life was the truth. Our message is changing his perspective which is good I guess but still is progressing very slowly. Tera will be baptized in 2 weeks. She told us that she has already noted the difference this gospel has made in her life. So things have been going really good. It seems like in my first months here there was not enough things to do to fill the day, but now its like we don't have enough time in the day to do all the things we need to do! We taught 27 lessons this week which is pretty good for us, but still a lot of work to reach the 40-60 that is expected of us. ahhh we'll get there . . one day :)

There are just so many Catholics here. And everyone we teach has different perspectives and views about their church. They are all so confused and they don't even know it. Usually it is pretty easy to convert the catholics though bc once they realize how many errors and sins there are within the walls of their own church they embrace the true Church of Jesus Christ. USUALLY. 

The food this week-there was good, and there was bad. We ate some nasty deep fried ham rolls that just tasted like a soggy tongue. But we also ate some really good guisado (kinda just a meat and veggie stew but better) with melon and ice cream for dessert. I think yes. 

This Sunday was really good, Elder Bocanegra and I performed in Sacrament meeting. I played the Army of Helaman song that I played at Josh's farewell and E. Boca sang to it. It turned out really good. All of the members said we have to do that every week now bc it is so much better than a middle hymn. But when I went up and sat on the piano bench, it totally busted under my fat butt. hahaha. So I had to sit in a normal chair to support all my rolls :) whoops It really added to the reverence of the sacrament meeting. ha

It is really awesome here. We are laughing, having fun, and seeing miracles. It is REALLY hard but hey its better to go out and experience the hard things than sit there and not ever know what those hard things can do for you. That's your Elder Elgan wisdom of the week. 

Today was a good day, we cleaned the house, went to Walmart, ate at Panda Express, literally saw half of the missionaries there. Met up with Elder Rodriguez haha and got a haircut. That's just about all the highlights. 

Sounds like fun back home. Mom don't get too lonely while dad is traveling the world. So what is this new hair business?? I'm scared. I liked your dark extended hair. Send me a pic right now. haha. Are you my mother?? haha 

Well I hope you all have a great week, I love you all and think of you everyday. 

Elder Elgan

Monday, February 3, 2014

Oh, cómo me encanta este precioso ciudad (Oh, how I love this beautiful city!)

CPR training 
Elder Bernal just got a wee bit too close to my face, haha!

Goodbye District Morelos. Wooo!

V-day Package

The pizza party for E. Rodriguez at Vips Restaurant today

Hello Dearest Family,

Well another week has gone by here in the lovely Carrera, its starting to warm up quite a bit and come out of winter which I'm not loving too much. haha. April and May are the hottest months here then the rains start in June. Wooh. It was the last week of the transfer. But I will still be staying here with Bocanegra to finish his training and then I'm pretty sure I will leave in 6 weeks. I will have 7 months in the mission and still be in my first area. haha. Time to go. Our zone is going to change a lot, most are leaving (including Elder Rodriguez). We still have tons more coming into the mission. I think we are going to have 250 missionaries in our tiny mission. Too many! haha The next change I think there will be 4 elders here in Carrera. On Saturday our district leader and his companion went home bc they finished their mission. About time, they were soooo dead. Ha I will never die in the mission. Work until the last day! Our last district meeting was interesting, we learned CPR and emergency things so that was just great fun. Elder Bernal just got a wee bit too close to my face. haha. (hay fotos) 

This week we had a lot of lessons, was really good. My ZL even said wow when I told him my numbers Sunday night. yeah I know. We are working hard to achieve those new numbers, but there is still a ton of improvement to be made! Haha I don't think I will ever be settled with my numbers though. It kind of stresses me out though, lots of people have told me ok just calm down don't be stressed out because I don't like to waste any time and everyone always thinks I'm in a hurry. I'm trying to calm down, even today Elder Rodriguez said you need to have patience! haha. No, but its allll good. The work has been really good. Ofelia, Royed, Marlen, and their family all have baptismal dates for 2 March. Tera also has a baptismal date for the 26 I think of this month. She couldn't go to church yesterday and we visited her last night and she said I just had a bad feeling all day. . hmm I wonder why :) No she is progressing amazingly. We didn't have much luck knocking doors this week, one night we started and after 6 doors in the face I was like umm no. Not right now. haha. I don't like knocking I feel like I'm salesman and I hate it. We found some new investigators this week. . one day Elder Bocanegra had to go to the bakery (triste gordito) and while there this family came up to us and said could you come by and share a message with us? I said um yes the baptismal font is right over there lets go! haha. 

The Spanish is coming along really great. Lots of peeps have told me that I'm fluent and some that I don't even have an accent but I know they are lying. It takes so much time to learn a language! ahh! But I am pretty comfortable with Spanish now, and I am getting pretty good at understanding the scriptures, which is the hardest part. haha. I really see my progress when I talk to some of the new missionaries who just got here, because they make me cringe which is a good sign. haha

So I got the package! Yay! Loved it, definitely a lot of love in that box. Haha,  Loved all the valentines from everybody. And all the candy. mmmm I think yes. I'm fat though. Next package p90x? I think so. Haha, jkjk. I ran into an old missionary from the zone. He said Elder Elgan! Then patted my stomach like I was fat. I was like you shut your mouth! haha I am the same! He said no. Ahhh I don't care. I wish I could run. . so bad. No haha I am a little fatter but not really that much. Loved the movies only one problem, the Other side of heaven doesn't work here. It is in a format that only works in the US and Canada and not with Mexican players. sad. Also all the music is in a iMac format that wont play on the speakers here. But it is all good and Elder Bocanegra is literally a computer genius and is changing all the formats and what not for me. Also I think the USB is too advanced for the speakers here. haha but its all good we are figuring it all out. Loved all the pics! Liked to see the wedding that was cool. Sadie looks like she is about 9 years old in some of those pics and Nixon looks a ton older too. I barley recognize Ellie in her 2 birthday pic at the house. Haha,  Max looks the same :) Speaking of is the new baby going to be Lincoln?? 

This week was slightly different which was nice. Friday we between weekly planning, meetings with our ward missionaries and a pizza party with some of Rodriguez's members to say goodbye we only had 3 hours to work. Sunday was all right, but we didn't have any investigators in church which made me sad. I got an awwwful headache in church, cuz of fasting. Dang fasting. Hardest commandment for me. I'm serious. haha. Today was really good as well. Tomorrow is Elder Bocanegras birthday. (my kid is older than me). So today We went and ate at a restaurant called Vips and bought oreo cheesecake and ate it while watching the Joseph Smith movie. haha Tomorrow we have a party with the Eldas planned. Woo!

Well sounds like you guys had another good week, of course your doing all the car shopping when I leave. haha. SO from the email sounds like the decision is a LFA? I would probably be pretty ok with that. Hope you all have a great week. I love you all soo much!

Elder Elgan