MEXICO VILLAHERMOSA MISSION -- JULY 2012 - 2014
"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life." 2 Nephi 31:20

Monday, November 26, 2012

Brasil

This week, was an odd week. Many things happened, while at the same time really nothing. To cut to the chase, Mario decided not to be baptized. We had divisions among missionaries, so I don't really know what happened with all of that, but we will still be working with him hard this coming week.

So, while I was in divisions in Barrio (ward) Carmen, I got hit on. Again. That makes it a solid every time that it has happened when I work in that area. Except since we don't contact on the street any more, who were the culprits? That's right, none other than the Relief Society. They were convinced that I was brasileño, and they assured me it was a good thing. That's all I really have to say about that one, but I got a pretty interesting journal entry that day. Today a 14 year old girl said I have beautiful eyes. There have been lessons where I can't look at certain people because they just stare at me, and it's not because of my accent. At least I can't be too fat, or maybe its just the eyes that can't get too fat. And that leads us to the most interesting story of the week: Karen.

Karen is one of our investigators (9). She's a good little girl who is super excited to get baptized. The only problem is that she has the retention span of...something very small. I taught her a 30 minute lesson all about baptism. 30 minutes of just this: "Baptism is a convenant. A covenant is a promise with God. The promise you make when you are baptised is to help others." After 30 minutes she could finally repeat it all. We went back the next day and she forgot it all. Needless to say, I will be improving my teaching abilities this next transfer. BUT, she comes to church every week and even brought her super inactive mom this last week. She came up to say goodbye to me after church while I was copying down the list for Comida for the month of December. I shook her hand and said goodbye. Then she kissed me. It was super weird, even though kind of normal. Everyone kisses each other here (just on the cheek, ya know?) but still, as an Elder there is a giant X on my chest for that. Don't worry mom, I'm staying out of trouble. But it's not easy. 

While on divisions I got the chance to plan the day. Since we haven't had many investigators, my planning consisted of opening the ward directory and randomly choosing names I'd never seen before. Random, or guided? What resulted would be nothing less than biased to guided. I went with an elderly woman named Francisca. How old? Old. 90+, walker and all. She's awesome though. Hadn't been to the church for 5 years since her husband died. The first thing she said to me? "What a miracle you are here". She then continued to recite to us what happened over the last 5 years (many difficulties) and that during these 5 years she watched the missionaries walk by her house nearly every day. 5 years she just wanted them to stop to talk to her, but her voice was too soft, her body too frail, and she could never time it just quite right. So where is the miracle? Well, I'll get back to you on that. But know that she is happier and helped us find new investigators to teach.

Elder Andrade is getting transferred tomorrow. My new companion is named Elder Pack. I was the first gringo in this area for the last year (not quite) and now we will have two. We'll try not to get robbed too much. Hopefully he can learn to run as fast as me. So, I'll pick him up from the bus stop tomorrow and we'll hit the ground running. He will end his mission in 3 months, and I could quite possibly be with him for the rest of it. And so it continues, on the island.

Until next week,
Elder Andrews

P.S. Love you.

Oh yeah, also my camera broke. You'll be able to tell what happened from one of the pictures. So, before I spent 3 months worth of money for food I tore apart my camera and put it back together. It works now. Not really sure how.

Translations:

Barrio = Ward or Congregation
brasileño = Brazilian
Comida = literally "food," but in this case it means "lunch"
gringo = US Citizen/North American; this comes from the Mexican American War when the US Troops wore green uniforms and the Mexicans yelled phonetically in Spanish "¡Grin go!" meaning "Green, go away!"

Notes:

"Divisions" are when missionaries trade companions for the District Leaders, Zone Leaders, and Assistants the the Mission President can work with missionary companionships

It is very common in Latin America for girls and women to kiss each other--and men--on the cheek when greeting one another or leaving. Male missionaries are often instructed to not kiss any girls, while some missions allow this greeting for girls under age 12 and for really old grandma ladies (Francisca would certainly qualify).

It's worth noting that Caleb mentioned that he had the opportunity to plan the day. When with his trainer--or first companion that essentially shows him the ropes of being a missionary in his specific mission--Caleb starts out as the junior companion. His trainer is the senior companion. While it is preferred to have both missionaries contribute to the planning, this often falls to or is otherwise dominated by the senior companion.

Another picture of Mario?

Caleb doing laundry and writing letters.

Camera malfunction

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