Sunday, May 22, 2016

6 months (April 14) and loving the work!

Hi Friends and Family,

We have had a great past couple of weeks. My Spanish is awesome and whatever I want to say, I can say it. But, within this last change, even though it was difficult for us to work together and get along, we still worked a ton. A TON. We baptized 4 people this last change! Irma Guadalupe, Aldo & Griselda Hernandez (we married them), and Esmeralda Acosta :) They are all so great. 

Irma Guadalupe got baptized yesterday!!!!!!!!!! :D the baptismal service was beautiful and awesome. Irma is a teacher who has family that lives in Utah! So I told her that     I´m going to keep in contact with her so when after the mission, we can catch up and talk about how things are going in Mexico! :) The Bishop told us "por fin. Ustedes terminaban el ayuno de bautismos aquĆ­ en Centro" (Finally, you've ended the dry spell of baptisms in our area" and our mission president sent us a text this morning congratulating us on our hard work :)

Aldo & Griselda were boyfriend and girlfriend when we found them. They have a 4 year old son named Jonas. At first it was fun to play around with him... But the poor kid has been spoiled rotten. He has little to no discipline; they let him do whatever he wants which gets annoying. Now he always "plays" with us, he takes his toys and shoves them in our faces when we aren’t looking. Then he punches us in the throat and.... In places where the sun doesn’t shine... But seeing their progression as we were teaching and how they dropped a lot of their bad habits was awesome! They are definitely strengthened as a family, and they have a happier home now.

Elder Koontz and Elder Martinez obtaining an application for a marriage license for Aldo and Griselda.
Aldo and Griselda got married!!
Aldo and Griselda getting baptized!
Esmeralda has been listening to the missionaries for the past 4-5 years. Every time she listened to them previously, there was always something that she didn´t like or didn´t understand correctly which made her not want to listen. But when we were talking to her these past few times, we answered all her questions and helped her understand what the other missionaries couldn´t explain. The sad thing is, she has 2 kids and she has such a confusing relationship with her "boyfriend." They have been together for a while, she is 26 and he is 43 or 44.... So there’s that.. But they always always always fight. They were only together because they have the kids. He is an inactive member of the church and has lots of problems with drinking, drugs and I believe a bit of a temper. But we had talked to him one night and he said that if she progressed to be baptized, he would quit everything. Drinking, drugs, everything. Talk to the Bishop, propose to her, and try to prepare to enter the temple with her to be sealed as a family. The sad thing is, they had a HUGE fight one night. Now they don’t ever talk. They haven´t seen each other in a few weeks now. The thing that broke my heart, was when I was standing in the baptismal font waiting for her to come in, she looked at me, then looked out at the people, then asked me, "Erik didn´t come?" At that moment, I knew that she loved him. You can call me a baby if you want, but I almost cried when she asked me. Later on after her baptism, we went and told Erik that she had been baptized. He was surprised, and said, "Really?" There wasn´t much to see, but I could sense something different about him after we told him. He looked down, and gave a very small smile. Then we continued talking as normal. Within the next couple of days when we visited him; he shaved, told us he hadn´t even touched a drink of alcohol, and told his dealer he wasn´t going to be buying anymore. He still tells us that he doesn´t want to talk to her and doesn´t want to see her. But I believe he is secretly changing all these things about himself so he can walk up to her as a new man and say, "Come to Daddy." haha just kidding... That would be weird. But I do still think that he is going to try and fix things with her.

Esmeralda got baptized!
Well a little more about me, I just got changes. I´m going to Poza Rica! I´m going to where Elder Jackson was again hahaha. His old companion is going to be my new companion. But we are gonna be in the same city! He´s just moving over areas. Also! Elder Heslop and Elder Coray are gonna be close too! So on PDays we can go over and play basketball, go to Peter Pipers Pizza, and hang out.

Well I´m gonna be here till about 6 o clock. We don’t really have anything to do on Pdays. We wash our clothes, play basketball, clean the house... That’s pretty much it. Then we write. Unless there's a time when we want to go to some type of historical site.

I´m reading the bible in Spanish. It’s pretty cool :) All of my studies are in Spanish. Unless I’m reading the ensign or some type of talk, those are typically in English. But all my books, study manuals, and everything else are all in Spanish.

A letter he wrote to Grandma:

Wow, I’m 19. And then in a year I am going to be 20! That feels so weird to think, let alone say. So I know you love seafood so I know you might get a little jealous when I tell you about this... In the area I live, its right next to the river. A salt water river that connects to the ocean. In one part of my area, everyone is a fisherman. So whenever we eat there, we always have crab, shrimp, and fish. Before, I used to not be able to stand any type of seafood. But now, it’s just so good. And apparently, now I know, "the right way" to eat shrimp, and crab. Oh, and when they cook it... They just cut the crab in half and throw it in the pot. The shrimp is even less work. They just catch the shrimp, let it die from lack of water, then they cook them. They put it in your bowl and then you eat! There are multiple ways to eat this stuff. You can take off the shell, or not. Simple as that. The heads just kinda fall off so you don’t really eat those, but really it’s so much easier to eat it with the shell ;) "Its fiber!!" Is what the people always tell us. Ugh I wish I would have taken a picture now. I was thinking about it while I was eating but my hands were super dirty. The only thing that makes it super weird when you eat the shell is the crunch :P Its sooo cool here though! We get that ocean/river breeze and it smells so fresh.

This past Sunday, we had 11 people in church with 8 people progressing to a baptismal date :) And that’s an awesome CTR ring that you got! I got a regular ring here that was pretty cheap, then the same guy engraved it for me at no extra charge. I had him put "CTR (infinity sign) MMX" on the inside of the ring. My companion and I are getting along a lot better, we´re getting to be more of friends. Hope you´re doing well at home! I really miss you and really I think about you often! I get so happy whenever I think about how you have gone through the temple. The process you went through and the progress you made to be able to make that sacred covenant makes me so happy. I ponder about that often and it just puts a smile on my face whenever I do think about it :)
¡Te amo G! :) <3

Investigator Omar and his dog Houston

Some of the contents of one of his Easter packages

6 months out on April 14!!  Burning of the tie...

How he burned his tie....not mom approved!!

                                                                 The burnt tie...

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