This week was good, really good. The past three days were like p-day. I loved General Conference. It was like a feast. Although during the Sunday morning session we lost signal for an hour, and missed 4 talks. Sad but I will read the conference edition this next month. During the Priesthood session we also had problems. One of the stake guys asked me to translate for a guy in Utah so he could fix the receivers. We just piled into a room, ate, took notes, sang, and enjoyed listening to our prophets and apostles. After the first and second session Saturday, Elders Meyer, Barrera, and Barnet and I went to Applebee’s. I had a nice fettuccini with grilled chicken – really nice. Oh, and mozzarella sticks.
I loved listening to President Uchtdorf. I forgot my journal today so I cant give direct quotes, but I loved what he said about the why of the gospel. We do many things in the church that may seem small and without much importance, things that we do everyday of our lives, and they become more of a habit to do, rather than an action with reason behind it. The “why” is what brings holiness into our actions. As we take the sacrament we could be thinking about normal stuff or we could be thinking about Christ, how we are going to improve this week, and the actions we will take. This makes all the difference. As we make this change, and are living more coherently, in an awakened state, we find the Holiness, and gain the prize of the constant companionship of the spirit. I also loved the talk about the Church vs. the Gospel and how the church is a tool to apply the gospel and gain our eternal reward. It kind of goes with the “why” also. We can be living in the church, doing what we are supposed to do, but without the why or the development that comes through the refining process of active, and proactive church attendance, we will never achieve our goal. I definitely liked the Saturday sessions more. Sunday was good, but I was snoozing a bit the last session. I will talk more about my notes and what I learned next week when I have my journal. All I have to say is I wish that there were more sessions in conference. We also went out to Baskin Robbins after the priesthood session. It was there that I remembered that I really don’t like ice cream. Luckily we were in a double duty Baskin Robbins/Dunkin doughnuts store. I just ordered a slushy.
We have changes in 2 weeks. I will finish training Elder Sac and he will stay and I will go. 6 months in this area – I would like something fresh.
This last week, I was in the back room studying, when I heard someone say, “gringo” outside. This caught my attention, so I went into the other room to the window where it is closer to the men talking outside behind my house and overheard them planning how they were going to break into our house. They were going to go up the wall by my window and use the wooden side door to break in. I wasn’t too worried because the Lord protects us and we just pile metal church chairs on the door every night, after we finish brushing our teeth. (Btw our peela is always swimming with dead cockroaches. DELISHUSH)
Because I am a gringo people automatically bump up their prices. Four Latinos can ride in a taxi for 60 limps, but 4 gringos is like 100 limps most of the time. Drives me crazy. Just to have fun with it, when they say an outrageous price, I say something higher, like I am trying to barter in their favor. In the opposite direction that I should if I was a normal human being. Ha. Most of the time they just get confused and I go try and find a better taxi.
This last Sunday after conference we returned to our area and went to visit a family that is only home on the weekends. He was shoveling gravel, so we asked to help him, but he dint want help. I was still determined to have a lesson, so we taught him a bit on his porch. After we asked to help again, and he said yes. Persistence is the key here. I asked to help about 12 times before he said yes. We ended up moving about 120 cinder blocks into a back room and helped him move his gravel to a better place, closer to the construction area. We were sweating like dogs but it was good. After that we went to talk to a girl we are teaching that lives with her sister, who is a member. The girl is 15 and pregnant. We have a baptismal date for the 21st. We walked in and chatted for a bit. The hermana offered us fish soup. I kindly declined saying that I have allergies. The fish soup here will get me sick, so I’m just going to stay on the safe side, with an easy way out. It is partially true, because I get sick when I eat tuna. She had just served the soup for my companion, when the lights went out. It was raining when we came, but it had gotten worse, and then came the thunder and lightning. They have a metal roof (like all houses here) and it was just like a million people pounding on little drums. Anyway the power went out and the Hermana grabbed a candleholder that holds three candles. She lit them, poured the wax in the holder and put it there until it stuck (like on beauty and the beast). My companion then had the genius idea to take out his hand sanitizer and start lighting his hands on fire. It is really cool. I have done it at scout camp before, but that was years and years ago. You just soak your hands in the gel, touch the fire and your whole hand incends blue fire. Once the alcohol is burned up it starts burning your skin and we prudently and promptly put out the fire by a wave of our hand. We played with fire and then when the lights came back on, taught a lesson and left. It was really enjoyable.
The buses here are a party. It’s like going to Disneyland. They just pack all the people into the busses like a bunch of cows. This last p-day I was hanging out the door there were so many people. It is dangerous but fun. Lots of sweaty, stinky, people, all squished into a bus – I mean squished. There is not space to put another person. It’s a blast. We wait until the 5:00 rush to head back, just so we can do it.
This week is Semana Santa, or Easter. I don’t understand a lot about it, just a lot of catholic tradition and vacationing. People leave and visit family and Friday people stay in their houses. As part of the tradition they just stay there all day, even if they aren’t catholic. They have different traditional foods they eat. This week is fish soup, head, tail, fins, everything, and torejas. Torejas are pieces of bread dipped in beaten egg white and put into a big pot of honey and milk. They are pretty good. They also have yote, or pumpkin soaked in honey, that they bake. It is going to be a real challenge to work because most people wont be home or they will not want to talk with us. Sallritetho. We will work.
I love you and miss you all! Have a great week and keep it reel – go fishing.
Love your elder,