Sunday, December 14, 2014

Jesus Christ is the gift

Dear Mama and Papi, 

First of all, I'm glad you think I look wonderful, because I've gained weight here in Champotón... Haha. I'm so glad to hear that the twins are home! Truly much faith was involved due to the blessings and also numerous prayers on their behalf. It is a grand testimony that our Heavenly Father hears our prayers and blesses us when we are obedient and exercise faith.

This last week was kinda low for work, but something that's getting me excited because of the results they give us is something that the church is using worldwide right now, which is something called "He Is The Gift". It's the church's reminder to the world about the true meaning of Christmas and of what the true gift of Christmas is: Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father in the flesh. I was having a bit of trouble getting in the Christmas mood too, because for me, Christmastime means snow, my Guess coat/blue scarf combination, the family (of course), and Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney. As you know, it's nearly endless sun out here, so it just doesn't feel too much like Christmas, however, when I put things into perspective, things started to change. Us as missionaries are doing a ton to promote "He Is The Gift" ("Él Es La Dádiva", in spanish.) because it reminds us exactly why we are filled with joy or should be filled with joy this season. The Christmas devotional last night really lifted my spirits as well and I just loved the spirit. (My face was filled with a smile as the choir performed. Ah...)

For you, mama, what you have with your friend that you're training at work is a golden opportunity to share this message with her, being that it is the holiday season. "He Is The Gift" is composed of three crucial steps: discover the gift, accept the gift, and finally, share the gift. We must first discover and understand what is God's gift to us. Jesus Christ is the gift, and it is through Him and ONLY Him that we can receive the blessings that await us in the eternities. After we understand Christ and His atonement, we accept Him as our saviour through baptism by a priesthood authority, receiving the gift of the Holy by the laying on of hands, and enduring to the end. When we are truly converted to Him, we then share the gift with others whom we love. With "He Is The Gift", we remind others of this, especially during this Christmas of 2014.

I invite you (and all who read this) to talk to your local missionaries about this and take part in a worldwide reminder of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They have special pass along cards right now that help immensely to start a conversation about this. (Which lead to a special site with a special video.) This might sound like a shameless plug, being that I'm a missionary, but this is truly an inspired opportunity that brings joy and a special spirit. Of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. Please say hi to Bishop for me, as well as Brother Edwards, Brother Crowther, and the rest of the ward, please. Ne'er has there ever been a ward family like them, and I love them dearly. Well, that's all for this week! Later!

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

PS, Para mi biejo: Feliz 12 de Diciembre!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The mission isn't a cake walk...

Date: 12/1/14 2:41:33 PM

Dear Mama and Papi,

I look pretty good in white, don't I? Haha. His name's Jarli (like Harley-Davidson) and he's doing pretty good so far! He's been having a pretty good time with the LDS Library app since it gives one access to pretty much every type of gospel material that the church offers. (Yeesh, sounds like a sales pitch. Haha.)

To be honest, we had a tough week. Appointments were canceled, folks weren't at home. Yeah, it was just a tough week. We took some time to talk about that in our district meeting today because all the elders (the Fab Four of us) in Champotón had a rather difficult week. What we've concluded as being a factor is that we're teaching more lessons than people and that our investigators aren't able to feel the spirit. Neither pair of elders had an investigator in church this week. Also, the attendence in general was way low. We're seeing that the branch is at a falling point right now, even in the branch council.

We've much work to do, but right now, I'm just trying to stay positive. Our plan of action right now is to visit families (active and less active) this week to lift them up spiritually and see what we can do for them. Tomorrow in the evening, we're going to put on a dinner for all the members of the council to let them unwind, but also to lift them up and get a better unity going on. Please pray that I can stay positive. That's my biggest weakness right now. (Mother, I think you of all people understand that all too well. Haha.) We have a couple of baptism dates, but we need to talk with those investigators because they're not keeping their commitments and won't make their date. It's a tough time right now, but I'm doing my best to stay sane. Haha.

The mission isn't a cake walk, but that's okay, because it was never meant to be that way. Something I learned from my wonderful mission president during a training meeting he had with us a couple weeks ago is that we need to thank God for the afflictions and problems and trials etc. that we receive, because if it weren't for these things, we would NEVER receive the blessings of exaltation. It just wouldn't be possible, because there must needs be an opposition in all things. I know these things are true and I testify of them in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Aw, please thank grandma for the money and tell her how much I love and miss her. Wow, you found Elder Wilcox??? That's great! He writes me every week. He's a good man. And yes, I did learn how to make pancakes. Haha. Empanadas are good, depending on what's in them. Oh man, I'm excited for my package. The pecans are a nice lil' touch. I'm not sure how it's going to work out for Christmas at this point, but don't worry, I'll let you know the details when they arrive. (And yeah, it's like a 2 hour difference, according to my watch.) Well, till next week! Love you all tons!

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

PS, Please wish Kohl a happy birthday for me. His birthday is on Friday.

We can't do it alone.

Date: 11/24/14 2:55:20 PM

Dear Mama and Papi,

Just to give an update, my voice returned. Haha. I appreciate the prayers on my behalf. It's almost gone. I think it came because of the slight change in climate. It's starting to get a bit more breezy and stuff, so people catching colds is pretty common. Yes, I'm taking my Cold-eaze as well, but I do need to take my vitamins. Thanks for reminding me. Haha.

Well, really, the one thing I have to report this week is that... WE BAPTIZED!!!!!!!

Been waiting two transfers (almost 3) for a baptism, but I am very humbled that we were able to baptize, especially since it was with my son, since it was around this time during my first transfer that I baptized with my dad, Elder W. (Well, actually, his name is Dave now, but you know what I mean.) Really, it just makes me feel good. Plus we had the opportunity to work with one of the assistants to the mission president, and that's always a nice fresh mix. Plus it helped us a ton.

My companion's mom is on FB. Look for a L L from Puebla. My district leader (my gosh, I can't believe I forgot to tell you...) is from San Pedro Sula. Neat, huh? Haha. Don't worry. I've learned more or less to be patient. Haha.

Thank you for the words of encouragement and the talk. I've been feeling loaded a bit, but a different perspective helps a lot. It's sometimes hard especially with the goal of the mission to baptize every week and to prepare them, because one really does wonder if its just numbers for them, but I've done a lot of contemplating and a good training with our president eased me a bit. While I still can't stand the pressure of it all, I understand more now. The goal we have is the goal the Lord has given for our mission because He knows just how important it is for these people.

There's so much iniquity, especially with the law of chastity. It's killing families and baptism is so so necessary for them so that their families can be saved. We can all reach eternal life, but exaltation can only be achieved together as a family. We can't do it alone. To end with the spirit of thanksgiving, I just want to tell you how thankful I am for this gospel as well as my family. I don't know just where I'd be without my precious family. While I miss them all so much, I'm so grateful that through the blessings of this restored gospel, we can be together forever, if we all desire it and do our part. To those who are still with us but have left the safety of the church, I still have hope and faith that you will realize just what you are missing. I say these closing words as a direct caution of love: without the blessings of the temple, following this life, there is no family, which is why we should do all possible to take advantage of these blessings while there is still time. I love you all so much, especially my small precious family of three. Till next week!

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

PS, The twins shoulda been born a day later.

Just gotta make the best with what's been given...


Dear Momma and Papi,

Well, another week has passed and I'm trying all I can to just think that I'm only going to be turning 17 or something like that. Haha. In regards to how this past week has went, it wasn't the best week by any means, however, there were a few gems amidst all the rubble. We've been experiencing difficulties in the area with our investigators. We have good investigators, but my companion and I have noticed that there's just something missing during the lessons. One investigator commented that she's grateful for our visits and stuff (because we met her during a time where she was looking to renew her faith) but that when we come she doesn't feel anything, that is to say, she doesn't feel what she feels in her church. I'll be honest, that killed my spirits pretty bad because it made me wonder if it was the same with other investigators. Needless to say, we had a training meeting this week with the zone and we learned how we can make plans and set goals in order to reach our vision that we have for our area. My companion and I sat down and talked about how we can become better so that all our investigators can feel the spirit and also have the desire to progress and be more that just listeners.

It's been a long and frustrating week, but I'm just trying to relax a bit and just focus on things day by day. Sometimes I think and wonder about the joy and happiness I've been promised throughout my mission. Not that I haven't experienced it, but in regards to times of sorrow or desperation, sometimes it just lasts far too long. But then I recall that this isn't the first time that I've felt like this and realized once again that if it wasn't easy for the Savior, it sure as heck won't be for me because the road to salvation is by no means an easy journey. Just gotta make the best with what's been given. Plus there's just a lot of pressure right now by my leaders for a baptism.

I'm gonna be super honest and say that that really just gets on my nerves sometimes, like alot, because I know that they're just wanting me to help reach the goal for excellence of the mission (which is baptize every week) and also because I haven't baptized in two transfers now, but I just don't know sometimes. Just feels like they're getting on my case. I love my leaders, but just, yeah. Just please pray for myself and my companion that we'll be able to baptize this transfer and that our investigators can progress.

The one wonderful thing I have seen this week is some answers to prayers, and for that, I'm grateful. In regards to my birthday greetings, thank you so much! As much as I would love to spend this birthday at home with you and those whom I love, the love you send me is something that is felt even miles away from my beautiful, green, state. I appreciate so much everything you and dad have done for me throughout my life leading up to now. Thank you both for the love you've demonstrated me and also for all that you've taught me, regardless of how I reacted to certain teachings. Haha. Seriously, though, I love you all more than you can understand. I look forward to spending a ton more birthdays with you in the future. (As I increasingly grow older. Seriously, turning 20's gonna feel odd. Haha.) Till next week!

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

PS, A couple of photos. One with my son, Elder Lopez, and the other with a long awaited wedding invitation. I've been waiting forever for this! Had me a hoot pranking the other missionaries saying that my girlfriend skipped the "Dear John..." and sent me a wedding invitation as a breakup announcement. I'm terrible. Hahaha... Also, on a random note, we had the rule changed (slightly) in regards to music that we can listen to. We can now listen to any CD that has the church's approval on it, (It would have the church's logo on the back. There's a movie called Meet the Mormon's, so I'm sure that the soundtrack would be something.) so just some ideas for Christmas or something. Haha.

PSS, Sending the biggest hug ever as well, only bigger.

Friday, November 14, 2014

I promise I will do my best...

Date: 11/3/14 2:59:21 PM
From: "Manuel Santos"
To: "Isabel Santos"

Dear Momma and Poppa,

In regards to the week, I'm still nervous as all heck in regards to training because something that I've grown conscious of is that when one trains another missionary, you really start to see in what areas you're not doing so great/failing in. Not that that's a bad thing because improvement is always wonderful, but it's more so that I get nervous that there may be some shortcomings that I might not overcome as fast as I'd like. It's humbling, though, because the one thing that comes to mind that is of comfort are the ever so famous words of the Lord spoken to the Brother of Jared in Ether 12:27:

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble;and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

Overall, it's helped me realize just how much I need to improve and really improve my efforts as a missionary and also as a person in general, because depending on how I train my son, it will affect generations of missionaries to come. It is something I am greatly aware of and just pray that I may grow and improve immensely from this experience and work diligently to achieve these things. (Because as the scripture says, faith without works is dead.)

Something that I'm also continuing to learn is the importance of the spirit in absolutely everything. It's a super basic and important concept because without the spirit, we accomplish nothing of our purpose. I know that without a doubt because I know and have experienced the difference of doing things with the spirit, but also without. If others cannot feel the spirit that comes through us, it is because we ourselves do not have the spirit. Though I'm slowly coming along in those aspects, I am grateful to what I have learned in regards to those things.

I seriously appreciate the never ending support. You have no idea how good it just feels that others believe in me. To reference the Disney film Tangled , sometimes I feel like Rapunzel towards the beginning of the movie, because sometimes I have days that are the best in the world, but others that are just dismal at times. I know I shouldn't feel that way, but I'm human and let my emotions get the best of me sometimes, but that's where prayer comes in as well as just remembering my wonderful support team. It's just a blessing to realize that, and I promise I'll do my best. Well, that's all for this week. Hope everyone's doing well, that dad's not too grumpy, and that you're enjoying the beauty of Hermiston in the fall. (Seriously, I miss my beautiful fall weather. Constant sun is boring sometimes. Haha.) Love you tons!

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

PS, Thanks for the mission birthday greetings! Also, something else cool for my birthday would be Pilot g-tec-c4 pens in black and blue (preferably). I'd ask you for other things, but they're things that I can't have in the mission. Haha. Also, please tell Dan and Elizabeth hi for me as well! I find myself often relating stories about how wonderful they are and the wonderful experiences I had dogsitting for them with other missionaries. Please also just tell everyone in the ward hi for me and that I love them and keep them in my prayers.

There's a lot I need to learn from this...

Date: 10/29/14 12:05:11 PM
From: "Manuel Santos"
To: "Isabel Santos"

Dear Momma and Papi,

First of all, the trip was long... Haha. It takes about 4-5 hours to get from Merida to Champotón. We left Merida at 7 last night and got home a little before midnight because we had a long meeting yesterday, had to pick up materials for the other missionaries in my area, and also because the financial secretary was arranging tickets for us Elders traveling back to Campache that night. Needless to say, it's nice being "home". (Forgot to take a picture, but...)

My son's name is Elder Lopez and he's from Puebla, Mexico. He's 24 and he's way cool. (In my opinion.) He has a really humble spirit about him and he's very anxious to learn. I just hope I can be the example he needs. I know I'm pretty dang imperfect and I have a lot to improve and change, especially for these next 3 months, but I'm incredibly humbled and privileged to have this opportunity. (And nervous because how I train him will affect future generations of missionaries.) All in all, I think this is what I need. It just feels fresh and new and I do enjoy the change that training brings. Plus, it's just something I feel I need to improve upon and better my habits as a missionary because everything you do as a trainer has some kind of effect upon your companion. Really, all the life application that one gains as a missionary is incredible. I was seriously freaking out a bit because of the huge responsibility that comes from training because I felt a bit like a father awaiting a newborn child. Haha.

All in all, I just feel that there's a lot that I'm supposed to learn from this. It was definitely an inspired transfer to have me train during this time. Really, I can just feel it. We have a lot of work to do with the few investigators we have right now, but I personally I believe that during this time, we're going to learn together just what's been lacking for the progress of our fold (as in our fold of "sheep). Something that I was able to be reminded prior to returning to Champotón is the importance of teaching others the Atonement and how they can feel a need to repent and apply in their lives. I've learned that I haven't been loving enough because I haven't done too well in teaching others of the consequence of sin. At first I thought I was being too loving since I've been focusing more on the blessings of obedience to the gospel, but really, I haven't loved enough because in order to demonstrate love, you have to teach the consequences so that others see their ways as being offensive to God and to just avoid sin and iniquity like the plague.

In short, I've just learned that you can't sugarcoat repentance because it's such a necessary part of exercising faith in Jesus Christ that leads to a desire to enter the waters of baptism and be cleansed. Yes, you repremand, but it's done with love. I'm so glad that you've been feeling the joy of missionary work! (Even though dad gets in the way of it a bit. Haha.) Just continue to do what you can. Also, remember to preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words. (In other words, your example is everything!) I love you all tons and hope you're all doing well! Till next time!

Love Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

PS, Don't worry. I do spray my hammock because them lil' pests like to eat my feet sometimes. Also, in regards to asking about my birthday, ties are always cool. And this may seem strange, but stickers would be nice as well because they're fun to give to kids, but also because I like decorating the inside of my hymn book. (Adventure Time stickers or other fun stickers from movies or cartoons or anything'd be cool.)

There was just a lot of love for them...

Date: 10/20/14 2:17:08 PM
From: "Manuel Santos"
To: "Isabel Santos"

Dear Momma and Papi,

First of all, I'm way glad to hear that you've been able to go out with the missionaries. I hope you realize just how much of a help you are to them and how appreciated you are. That's something we haven't been able to have much of this week for various circumstances, so just know that every visit you can accompany them to is highly valued and appreciated.

I hope you know how jealous I am that you got to attend Leah's wedding (being that I've missed two weddings and a long awaited sealing session). Though I was never really able to give Leah my complete and total approval, she's married and stuff already, so please congratulate her (and Jay) and tell her I love her! (Send pics please.)

So, this week, I'm going to actually talk about how the work went this week. (Seriously, it's been a while. I haven't really talked about the work since my second transfer. Haha.) I feel really lame since I haven't baptized in two transfers (including this one since it ends this week), however, we do have a couple of really powerful investigators. Their names are H and his cousin E. They're both 19 years old and I just want so bad for them to continue in the gospel. First of all, I feel more connected to them because of their age, but they just have so much potential and are at an age where complete acceptance of the gospel will affect so much it's not even funny.

H is the boyfriend of a less active gal in the branch and at first we all wondered if he's continue listening just for her, but we've developed a confidence and baptism is something that he's seriously considering and praying for to see if it's what he needs to do. His cousin E is also way awesome. Like H, he asks some really inspired questions, participates a lot and is quick to understand the doctrine. We taught them yesterday with the family of H's girlfriend and put another appointment for tonight since they both live in the same house. They told us we could stay as long as we wanted and that we could watch a movie afterwards. We explained that as missionaries we couldn't, but I mention this because in that moment, there was just a lot of love for them and that nothing feels as wonderful as the confidence and friendship of those you teach. I just hope that the Lord permits me to be here to be at their baptism next month. (Since we're working for the 8th of November.)

Something else quick, we taught a less active lady named C. She's from El Salvador and has such a wonderful sarcastic and witty nature about her. She's in her 70's right now and is just a riot to be with. We've been helping her come back to church, and yesterday, we re-taught the plan of salvation with a member. In the end, we made plans and set a goal that she can get interviewed again to attend the temple in December with the branch and to start her family history work. Really, these experiences don't sound like much, but to me they are special and were the highlights of my week. It is truly a testimony to me of the importance of these restored ordinances of which we have here on the earth again. It brings my soul so much joy to have been able to see and feel how important these things are since you had the same opportunity to feel that as well with Leah and Jay's wedding. I hope dad was able to feel a bit of that spirit there on the grounds. Hope all goes well this week! Love you tons!

Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

PS, I'll have to see what I can do about the dental visit. Also, please tell Val hi for me as well! I had a feeling she'd be home soon, if not already. Haha.

I'm needed elsewhere at the moment...

Date: 10/13/14 2:36:12 PM
From: "Manuel Santos"
To: "Isabel Santos"

Dearest Momma and Papi,

Really, this week was pretty normal and not much interesting happened, (Plus, really the only thing on my mind that's surpassed everything is in regards to the exciting event this past weekend. Haha.) so I'm really just going to focus on everything you've told me in regards to this past week. Words cannot even begin to express the joy that is in my heart to know that you're finally sealed to your siblings, but also to your parents. I've been counting the days and could just feel that excitement grow and grow. What a blessing it is that through the restored gospel we have the sealing ordinances on the Earth again! Really, that is the goal we are all working towards; to one day be sealed as families in the temple of the Lord and endure to the end together.

Man. Sorry if this message is really short and lame, but just, I am so so happy for you and the rest of the family. :) I wish I could´ve been there, but I have simply accepted that I'm needed elsewhere at this moment. All in all, this just increases my testimony of the blessings of the restored gospel and of Joseph Smith, because if it weren't for his faith and diligence to the Lord's commandments, none of this would be possible and I wouldn't be expressing feelings of such absolute joy. I've been bragging about this to my district for a while now. This Saturday, we were at the church for an activity and I remember looking at my watch. Seeing that it was in the evening, both here and at home, I exclaimed humbly (kind of ironic to exclaim something in a humble fashion. Haha.), "Wow! My mom and her family are sealed now..." Truly, it is a blessing to live in such a time where the gospel of Jesus Christ and His church have been restored in their fulness. Just in closing, I love you guys. Till next week!

Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

PS, My p-days are different now. It's now only from 11- 6 PM and we work from 6-9, so I'll probably be emailing earlier now, so if I don't respond to anything else you email me, that's why. Tell Uncle Al and Tia Ana hi for me and that I love'em tons! (Also, picture of myself with one of my zone leaders (the tall one) and an elder who's in the other area in Champotón, Elder Meador. I'd send more, but the computer is slow at uploading photos.)

God is merciful, but also just...


Dear Momma and Papi,

First of all, thanks for remembering my mission birthday! It's a very sobering thought to think that I've already completed 6 months of my mission because one tends to evaluate oneself at these certain way points throughout a journey. In contemplating these things, I can see my growth. I can also see what I still lack. Quite frankly, I still feel there's a lot that I lack, and it will take many an effort on my part to become the missionary that I'd like to become: confident and filled with the spirit.

I had a wonderful opportunity last night to sit down with my companion and evaluate our efforts. We had a pretty bad week for work this week. Yes, some things occurred that was out of our control, such as being in Campeche all day Tuesday for interviews with Presidente Garcia but also because my companion was at the doctor's getting checked out for his sickness, but regardless of all that, we let the reality of our circumstances get the better of us. We were able to kneel in prayer last night and evaluate these things, and it was a very humbling experience. We're young and still rather inexperienced, but that is no reason that we need to allow that to be a hinderance. That's actually had me down quite a bit, but I'm ready for a change. The experience you shared with me is a huge reminder that faith is the principle factor in regards to receiving divine guidance and assistance.

Wow. Can't believe that it's already time to take the Hut down. The realization hit me this week that it's already October, (I turn 20 next month...) but it really doesn't feel like it. Haha. (Because too much sun and not a fallen leaf in sight.) I also enjoyed the thought that while I was viewing conference (what I saw of it...) that somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, a petite latina momma was also enjoying some spiritual nourishing. I'm always reminded of you whenever I listen to President Eyring speak. :)

I mention that I enjoyed what I saw of conference because over here, you watch it via the church's wifi, which can fail from time to time. (Also, myself and the other American missionary who's in my area tried to watch it in English and we had difficulties because of the wifi. I'm downloading them right now, so that's okay, I guess.) I absolutely love that the speakers get the option to speak in their native languages! I absolutely hate live dubbing, so it was refreshing to hear Latino brethren speaking in their native language! (Seriously. We ended up just watching everything in Spanish and it was really nice to be able to hear things as they were meant to be heard and presented.)

A personal favorite for me this year came from a talk that was given by a 70 Saturday morning named Lynn G. Robbins. Basically, he spoke of how as a church, we are never to lower our standards to the standards of the world. Now, normally these aren't my favorite talks because most are very cliche, (Please forgive the personal opinions. I'm human too. Haha.) and just don't, well, have the spice to turn heads and cause much needed personal reflection, but man, Elder Robbins really gave it to'em! (Us too.) I won't even bother quoting anything because it is simply just better that others watch it again or for the first time. (Watch, not listen, because I love how he talks with his hands.)

Essentially, what was the real taker for me this conference was the priesthood session. Sometimes it just feels really good when the brethren say things as they are because unfortunately, sometimes that's what it takes for me to change things. Haha.

And just a thought in regards to a different subject from last week of which I didn't respond to, it deeply saddens me to hear about my cousin. My prayers go out to my tia, however, I was listening to a talk by President Eyring entitled "To My Grandchildren" (A personal favorite) and he relates the story of a grandmother traveling to visit a grandson in prison. She asks God mournfully why this had happen. Her thoughts were this: “I’ve tried to live a good life. Why, why do I have this tragedy of agrandson who seems to have destroyed his life?” The answer she received was this: “I gave him to you because I knew you could and would love him no matter what he did.”

Sometimes love is something difficult to comprehend, but it really is part of our nature, and I know Tia is truly one who is filled with a perfect love. While there isn't much I can do, really all I can do is invite him to be humble and really take a good time to meditate the very reality of God and His son, Jesus Christ. God is merciful, but also just. For every action, there is a consequence, either for the good or the negative. If there is any sort of happiness that we are to achieve, it can only be done so through Jesus Christ. It is there, if we so desire. I close with Nephi's final words:

10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye endsof the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shallbelieve in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.

 11 And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him towrite these things, notwithstanding my weakness.

 12 And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day.

 13 And now, my beloved brethren, all those who are of the houseof Israel, and all ye ends of the earth, I speak unto you as the voice of one crying from the dust: Farewell until that great day shall come.

 14 And you that will not partake of the goodness of God, and respect the words of the Jews, and also my words, and the wordswhich shall proceed forth out of the mouth of the Lamb of God,behold, I bid you an everlasting farewell, for these words shall condemn you at the last day.

 15 For what I seal on earth, shall be brought against you at the judgment bar; for thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey. Amen. (2 Nephi 33:11- 15)

It is very simple and clear, and to phrase this more positively, Christ is our only advocate to happiness. These are things I cannot deny nor take back, for as Nephi, I too am commanded as a representative of Jesus Christ to preach these things. Of this I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

PS, the cable didn't work, but I actually didn't need it. When I mentioned I left my cable at home, I was referring to our house here in the area, but thank you for sending it! You never know when I'll need it! Love you tons!

PSS, Solo quierio dejar un mensaje para mi viejo. Solo quiero decirte que te quiero mucho y que todo va bien aqui. Lastima que nunca regreso el gato, pero asi pase las cosas. Tenga mucho cuidado cuando trabaja afuera para que no te lastimes mucho su cuerpo. Tu eres muy fuerte, pero no quiero que te lastimes mucho, especialmente con tantos medicinas y cosas asi. Cuidate mucho! Te quiero!

Tu hijo, Manuel

The Atonement of Jesus Christ is so real...

On Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Our Dearest Missionary Son,

We hope your week was good, and you were able to see the Lord’s hand in your labors, and his tender mercies when you needed them.

Your Dad and I are doing well. Your Dad still has his stomach pain, and saw the Doc. and she put him on another Med, and if this doest work she is going to send him to Seattle for more testing. So we will see what happens.

Well, I do have some sad news for you Kimmie is now on the other side of the veil. So as a ward family we are all in mourning. We love her, and we will miss her. This is where our faith comes in. I remember President Snell saying this is where we turn it over to the Lord, and the Atonement will take the sting of death away.

There is a viewing for the family this evening, and I will be taking a salad for them. The funeral is Tuesday so I will be going to it. If you feel incline to write something for any of them write it & I will give it to them in a card,

Jody is having tough time because the mission is not allowing them to talk to Josh so the only way to tell him about her passing is by email which I can tell you its tough. I got a lump in my throat when I wrote to tell you by email. I did tell her to pray hard before writing, and the words would flow. You might want to write a few words to Josh too.

Please say some prayers for your cousin.  I am sorry, so far this letter has had some sorrow, and afflictions, but that’s why is important to have the gospel in our lives so we are better prepared for the storms life brings us. I am so thankful for my testimony, and my faith in my Savior who I know will heal us, strengthen, and uphold us when we can no longer stand.

I am excited for general conference, and can’t wait to here the messages, and council from our Prophet, his counselors, and apostles.

Well, your buddies have gone back to college, and Brett’s sis Megan is going to Eastern OR in La Grande, and Hannah is at PSU.

I also saw an article where Rily the drummer for your band got together with some band & recorded a record. I thought you would love to here that.

Did you get your package? Ask Elder Velasquez if his family has facebook? It would be nice to get to know them. Thank you for the photos. You look great, and I share it on FB everybody says hi!

We love you, and have seen the blessing in abundance since you have been on your mission so keep up the great work, and glorify your Heavenly Father!

Take care, and know we love you beyond eternity!

Su Mami y Papi ( el Viejo!)

Date: 9/29/14 12:21:47 PM
From: "Manuel Santos"
To: "Isabel Santos"

Dear Mami y Papi,

First of all, I feel bad for dad. The last thing he needs are more pills... Haha. Hopefully all turns out well because I'm sure he's growing tired of having to see so many doctors. (Though, the stories of how he treats them always makes me smile. Haha.) I was able to get my package this week and was really really greatful for all the wonderful food! I about died when I saw the cans of Nalley's chili at the bottom. Now I just to ask one of the sisters here to let me borrow a pot. (Because there isn't a pot here.)

This week was actually pretty lame for work because our numbers were really low in terms of lessons. We had a ton last week and just it felt really bad to see how low they were this week. I don't say this because of numbers, but because of less opportunities to teach. Plus my companion got sick, so I was worrying in those aspects. Yeesh. I feel like a parent... Haha. Regardless, we had a really good district meeting this morning and I feel many a desire to better myself. We were just able to talk openly about how we can help others keep the commitments we extend to them, because it's really frustrating when they don't and is absolutely depressing to work all week and have no one come to church, but I'm really exited to apply the things we learned today.

In regards to Kimmie, words cannot express the sorrow I feel for her passing. She is someone whom I will truly miss, especially just with her pure, raw, energy she always had. She was someone who I was always happy to see. I can honestly say that it feels like losing a dear family member. However, it is thanks to this blessed restored gospel that I receive my consolence.

As a missionary, something that I grow to learn more each day, as I apply it, is that the atonement of Jesus Christ is so real. At times, one tends to feel that during the present pain, there is absolutely nothing that can take it away, and bringing Jesus into the picture doesn't help too much because He's not there, but His love is absolutely eternal. He suffered so that He could heal us perfectly, and it is through His atonement that we can receive the peace we need but also that we may better and perfect our lives so that we may return to our loved ones one day. It is also through the blessings of the restoration that familes can be eternal. I marvel at such a blessing that our Heavenly Father has given us! I've heard the terribly sad perspective that once we die, we are no longer family, but what kind of a God would leave us with such a miserable fate? It is my sincere testimony that our loving Heavenly Father gave us this wonderful plan of salvation so that we could return to Him as families and to live in pure happiness for all of the eternities. Though I may not be sealed to my family at this moment, it is something that I do want to have one day and I know that such happiness exists because I know God lives, that He loves us, and that He actually cares about our happiness. These things I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. Please send my condolences and love to both the Blake and McDaniels family. I love you both tons and I promise I'll write dad his personal letter next week since I wanted to spend a bit of time with my note to Kimmie's family.

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

I know that this is all worth it...

Date: 9/22/14 6:33:25 PM
From: "Manuel Santos"
To: "Isabel Santos"

Dear Mom and Papi, (I'll send dad a personal letter next week. Pressed for time again.)

This week was a ton better. We had a really good week for work. It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows every day, but we were able to come home everyday and feel like we really tried hard to have success. Elder Velasquez is from Peru and he's from my generation. (We came into the mission at the same time. I have about a month more because of the MTC.) Wow. I can't believe that Robert's already home.Time really flew. It's the same over here. Can't believe I'm already going to be completing 6 months. Haha. Really, the only thing I can say in regards to this week is that working hard and being obedient are the only things that bring one true joy in the mission. You're obedient because you love God and recognize how sacred this calling is.  I am glad that everything's going well back home and I hope that you all have a wonderful week. Really, I love you both beyond all description. I miss you like crazy, but I know that this is all worth it and I hope you can see the blessings as well. Till next week!

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos


Sunday, September 21, 2014

I'm senior companion now...


Dear Momma and Papi,

This last week was actually pretty disappointing and long in many aspects, but also a good time to reflect and prepare for this new transfer. We had a really bad week for work this week. I was made senior companion the last week of transfers so that I'd be doing everything. (Because as I mentioned, in my companion's eyes, I didn't really do anything.) It was difficult because he was really relaxed and had less desires to work for this last week. I should have done more this last week, (because we had some instances where we where with members for hours because my companion kept talking and I didn't say anything hoping he'd be responsible but also because I didn't want to dispute or anything in front of the members.) but all I can do now is make up for lost time and work harder than ever have before.

My companion was transferred (as well as my district leader), but last night, we made up and apologized for all that happened. We talked quite a bit that last night and just went over what I need to do to better myself so we can pick things up, especially because I'm senior companion now. I met my new companion, Elder Velasquez, today and I'm looking forward for this transfer. I'm really nervous because there's a lot of stepping up and effort to put forth on my part, but it's all for my good and I just hope that I don't disappoint. Prayers please! Thanks for being proud of me, even though I'm not the greatest missionary in the world. It means alot. I'm glad the soccer people approved! Things are as they should be. Who's the young man, btw? I'm curious. I'll try to write Melissa. That's way tough. Man... Anyway, I'm a bit short on time today because of how the transfers came about and I have to head off to a district meeting, but I love you all just tons. You mean the world to me. Just wanted you to know that. Wish me luck!

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

PS Glad my package got here well. Thank you! Also, I'll try to send the picture of my tag later tonight or next week. The computer I'm using is slow.

Faith really is a hope for things that are not seen...


Dear Mami y Papi,

Just a small comment in regards to the conversion, that can be the hardest part with investigators sometimes. Ugh... Haha. It's difficult a lot because sometimes it's hard for us to help them see the importance of keeping the commitments we give them, including reading the Book of Mormon, praying specifically about the truthfulness of our message, etc. People here just work too dang much. Haha. (But seriously, though. A lot work 6 or 7 days a week and it's hard to help them feel and understand that they will be blessed for keeping the Sabbath Day holy. Lack of faith and too much worrying that they'll lose their job or something or that God understands. Something I've learned here is that that is a terrible justification for jobs that aren't public services like the local police, working at the hospital, etc. God will provide because I've seen a man in my first area ask for a change in days off and he was able to get Sundays off no problem.)

Oh man. I was just thinking about that yesterday that you'll be able to get sealed to grandma and my tio and tias now! :) That came to mind yesterday and it made me really happy and excited thinking about it. Hopefully it won't take 30 years, but regardless of the wait, I look forward to the time when it'll be our turn. (In regards to you, dad, and myself.) That's something I try to remain faithful and hopeful for, because at times, it does really seem like it's a rather far off goal, but I try to keep Alma's words in regards to faith in mind, because faith really is a hope for things that are not seen, which are true. It's sometimes something hard to think about (please don't cry or feel bad whatsoever) because I see all the families who I know are sealed together and want that myself, but I try to remain hopeful and not lose faith.

This week was pretty tough. I'll be honest. It's the last week of transfers, and I feel really bad that I want a new companion. I'm just honestly super stressed out because the casual obedience effects. Though he may not feel bad about things, I do, and if he does, he doesn't really show it. I guess I'm the only companion who's ever "complained" about stuff he does. I didn't want to do it, because I had hoped things would be a bit better after a zone meeting we had last week about obedience, but I sent an email to President Garcia telling him how I felt. (It wasn't the first time.) I really don't care if I'm considered chismoso for it (because all the gringos apparently do that with their companions), but I've just had it. Really, I guess this is the best way I could've demonstrated love because I did it for the both of us; so I can progress and show recompence for letting this go on too long and so that he can hopefully improve in those aspects and become a truly excellent missionary. (Es un bravo. Ugh...) Plus, I'm just tired of being told of how chafa (lame) I am. (Because I've made some mistakes during teaching or contacting because now I'm paranoid that everything I do is wrong.) I'm leaving it in the Lord's hands and I just hope that there aren't any hard feelings or that he'll be indifferent towards me. Hopefully the hat will be a good peace offering. Love you guys and hope you have a good week.

Love Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

PS Thank for for sending my package! I'll let you know when it gets here, but it may be a while since all mail goes to the mission offices in Merida, and since I'm here in Campeche, I only receive mail when we have zone meetings. (Because prior to every zone meeting, all the zone leaders have to go to Merida to receive instruction from President and Sister Garcia.) I'd gladly accept the keyboard, but I don't think I'll have room for it. :( But please tell Sister Peterson thank you, and instead, the Hymns Made Easy book in Spanish would be pretty good instead. I'm eating well. I didn't want to tell you this, but I left all my bedding things in my first area when I left because they were taking up a lot of room and we only sleep in hammocks in this mission. (All the homes have places to hang up hammocks, but we've no mattresses or anything for beds.) I feel bad because of the money you had to spend on those. I'm really sorry about that. It rains a lot, but don't worry. I'll be careful.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

We simply need to trust in Him...


Dear Momma and Papi,

This week was better in certain aspects and kinda mas o menos (more or less) in other aspects, but hey, that's just what happens sometimes. There's a lot of work to be done with the work here because our numbers were pretty low this week. It's kind of a bummer thinking about it because there are various factors that need to be changed in order to have more success, but just means I'm gonna have to push myself a bit more in helping my companion to be less casual in certain aspects, but I have seen some differences. He's actually pretty dang fearless and that's a way important and awesome attribute (because I'm rather timid), but at the same time, it requires that I need to improve myself rather fast because I need to keep up. At times it makes me feel pretty lame (especially because there are a lot of expectations from his part that I learn the area fast, for a good reason) but I'm learning to cope with my own feelings of inadequacy in these aspects. I need to improve a ton soon, though, since I'm in my fourth week here. I appreciate your testimony, mom, and I'm trying to do my best.

I've found part of the reason that my companion is the way he is. When things go lame, it affects him, which can lead to him being upset or not wanting to plan when we get home. It's frustrating, but I'm learning to be more bold during those times as well. Just need to get through to him/try not to get angry.  I'm glad dad kept his cool. It's amazing to me how much he's changed in those aspects because of how he can be. Haha. I really miss genuine fall weather. I'm sick of so much sun. You get bored of the lack of variety in climate. Haha. It's amazing how the time has gone. Feels weird that everyone's starting school and stuff. Makes me feel kinda old... Haha. (Seriously. I turn 20 in a few months.) I know this email was kinda weirdish and I'm sure you'd prefer to here more stuff about the area, but there are just times where I need to just type the thoughts that are on my mind at the moment. I'll try to send some pictures today. Just to end with a spiritual thought, this is something I read this week from 3 Nephi. "13 O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?

 14 Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me."

In these verses, Christ is speaking. I've added an emphasis at the end of 13 because of something that really struck me hard in regards to the Atonement. We know that Christ suffered all manner of our afflictions so he could know exactly what we feel in those moments, but He did so so He could also know just exactly how to heal us. We simply need to trust in Him and truly become converted in His gospel. He is the light and the way and we find absolute solace in this. These things I know to be true because of how much I've felt this here. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

PS Those Bic razors were nice, so a few more of those, please, as well as shaving gel and pre shave. (Because I've been using both. Also some Oxy pads to wash my face, please. :)

Changes are truly occurring...


Our Dearest Son,

Hello! How are you?

“De manera que, el que la predica y el que la recibe se comprenden el uno a otro, y ambos son edificados y se regocijan juntamente.” D&C 50:22

The Spanish missionaries spoke in sacrament, and quoted this wonderful scripture, and you came to my mind. I can see & feel your growth in the wonderful uplifting letters you write. I believe because as you have shared the gospel you have been blessed with a richer understanding of the gospel.

The Elders Hanson & Carter shared with me they went to the Tike Hut, but your Dad didn’t allow them to pay, because he to had a son on a mission, and wanted to him to be treated nice wherever he went!  Oh how my heart jumped for joy when they shared this little act of kindness from your dad. You remember how he gave us a bad time when we did not want to charge the missionaries. This all goes back to the scripture I quoted.

With all my heart I hope you are having a wonderful week, and if not please press on with all your might, heart, and strength. The Lord will not only lead you to those needing the gospel, but also prepared them with open minds and hearts.

Sending all our love & prayers on your behalf & companion’s.

Mom & Papi


Dear Momma and Papi,

Sorry for the wait. Haha. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for the advice and the encouragement you've given me. It's seriously helped and brought me peace to read the things you've sent me, and the story you told me about dad and the missionaries brought a smile to my face. Changes are truly occurring. The training we had today was really helpful because it seems I'm not the only one who's feeling some weight on my shoulders. I wrote Presidente Garcia last week and he told me to write or call him if my companion continues to be disobedient. He really does have a good heart, but if I have to, I will. I had Josh give me some good advice in regards to that. We did learn some really good things that help strengthen the relationships within companions, so I really hope that those things will be put into practice. I'm mainly going to be working on being bold, but not overbearing and also being more charitable to my companion, so more service towards him. I have more hope for this coming week, so I just pray that all will go better. It really was an inspired meeting that we had today and I know without a doubt that all within this church are truly called by God in their respective callings. We were all truly prepared to come to this Earth at the time that we did and that no matter what Satan puts in our path, we can always conquer him. To quote Hermana Garcia today, "We've already won the first battle, because we're here. (On this Earth, because we chose to follow God's plan.)" These things I know to be true and I testify of them in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

Recognize the Will of The Father's and Not Our Own

Dearest Parents,

Wow. You beat me to mentioning the 4 month mark. Haha. But yeah, Sunday marked 4 months and I feel that a lot has happened since, time has flown, and that I myself have really grown as a person, but also as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Aw. Sounds like you're having success in your new calling. That was indeed an inspired experience you had and the young women couldn't be any more blessed to have you teaching them. :) That actually does feel weird (because it's always weird for me to hear about folks I've known for ages getting hitched), but like you, I am happy they were sealed in the house of the Lord.

Well, as for what happened this week, well, I wish I could remember more of what happened in this past week, but the reason that it's not as fresh in my mind is because we found out Sunday the results of transfers, and well, as of yesterday, I arrived in my new area in Champotón, Campeche. Yep, I'm gonna be hanging here in the state of Campeche for a bit, which is ironic because at least 50 times a day, Elder Wilcox would start out stories in the following fashion: "Elder, one time in Champotón...", so yeah, it was his favorite area. Haha. It feels really weird to be here, but if it's where the Lord needs me to be at this time, then so be it. I'm praying hard to adjust fast because I still miss my old area and my companion. My new companion is named Elder Alverado and he's a paizano! He's from Honduras. He's a good guy, but I might have to be patient with him because he seems to like fun, but a little too much. I was told I might have to be patient with him, so patient I shall be.

I would send pictures, but I forgot my cable. (Again...) I'll send some next week, especially of the sea, because here, we have a few of the sea. Ah, it really is beautiful. Anyways, my spiritual message just comes from my current challenge of just adjusting and confiding that this is where God wants me right now. To confide in Him is everything because we recognize the will of the Father's and not our own. It really is trusting in you parent and recognizing that He knows what's best for us. It's something I've struggled with, but I know it's something that's been such a blessing. Till next week! Love you tons!

Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

The Mission Isn't Sunshine and Daisies...

July 28, 2014

Nuestro querido Missonero Hijo,

Thank you, for your words of wisdom & testimony of the living scriptures. We are delighted, and feel very much blessed they are at our reach. How wonderful it is to hear you are not just reading in Spanish also comprehend with ease. What a blessing, and a blessing you will have for eternity.
I am reading Jacob what a genuine loving prophet he was. His voice to me sounds like a powerful trumpet which we need to heed.

Sunday was just simply wonderful at church. Sacrament was wonderful a new seasoned couple spoke. They come from Umatilla their name is Bro. & Sis Raft. Their talks were on the prophets of the Old Testament. She spoke a lot of Noah. Did you know it took him 120 years to build the ark? That’s more then I will live! He spoke a lot on Moses. Some people think he just left & went to the desert, but he was actually running away. I want to go back & reread about these wonderful powerful prophets. The ensign this year picks a different one each month.

Sunday school is different & better. Bro. Javior’s wife has been called to teach our Spanish Sunday school. She spoke about how inadequate she feels, but she found a scripture in the bible which talks about Heavenly Father does not want or has made us to be weak coward people. I can’t remember where she said the scripture was. We all told her we knew she was the perfect person for this calling, and she is! We all support her. I mention the scripture where Nephi say “ I will go I will do …..& one Elder mention the won which I love about HF will let know us know our weaknesses to strengthen us.

We also have an investigator who loves what he is learning, but his wife is not sure because she has been raised Seventh Day Adventist. He has a lot of questions, and invited me to go with the missionaries when they come to teach him & his wife. I will & can’t wait to be invited.

Dad says Tia Ofelia called the other day. The missionaries were walking in Puerto Del Toro, and they were at her house! One of the Elders is from Merida & the other from Idaho. She wanted to know what town in Yucatan you were at, but Dad didn’t remember. Can you see the blessings of your mission? Little seeds are being planted everyday.

We went to Rene’s house for Toval’s birthday party. I shared the last letter you wrote with Crystal & she got teary eye, and said “you must be so proud.” I said “in the most humble way I am.” She also mentioned the missionaries come to their home so I will have to find out which ones English or Spanish?

These are the highlights of our week! We love you beyond words & prayers are said on your behalf & Elder Wilcox daily!

All our love Su Papi y Mama!

On Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 4:48 PM, Manuel Santos wrote:

 Mis queridos padres,

Pues, there goes another week. In thinking about how fast time has gone since I entered the mission field (I'm coming up on 4 months since I entered the MTC, btw. Haha.), it's rather probable that those 120 years that it took Noah to build the ark could've gone by relatively fast. (Maybe. Haha.) Aw man, that really makes me happy to hear about how things are going in the ward with my favorite spanish group in the whole world! (Seriously.) I had no idea Hno. Javier's wife was baptized! Please tell him hi for me. That's really wonderful to hear about his wife teaching the class. And in regards to hearing about the seeds being planted within my own family, just, I don't even know how to express how wonderful that makes me feel. Wow. (Btw, the name of my area is Tixkokob, but I'm in the last week of the transfer/of my training, so we'll see what happens this Sunday night when we find out, especially since Elder Wilcox only has one transfer till he goes home after this week.)

Well, this is how this past week went. Oh wow. While there were some real nice moments (Including one where we gave our investigator Leo a blessing and I was able to bless his house. I seriously felt like the spirit gave me a hug. Haha. It was that peaceful.), it was a lot of trial as well. A lot of plans/appointments fell through, we tried to teach a couple of less actives who've traded the gospel of Jesus Christ for Alcoholic's Anonymous and have become really stubborn (both for different reasons), and a couple of our investigators started drinking again. (Which is rather normal since they've been drinking for many many years, but it's discouraging nonetheless.) Plus, we had kind of a freaky moment last night when we ran into a less active who claims he wants to return to church, but then he goes walking around town (because he doesn't really have a place) drinking. We have never found him sober. But anyway, we had kind of a freaky moment with him last night in the middle of town where we found out that he participates in self-harming (there are scars all over his left arm) firsthand and that was kinda traumatizing. (Don't worry, about any of this, though, because we're safe and we're being watched over by a loving Heavenly Father. He made that promise to King Mosiah with his son's and I'm confident he's doing the same with us here.) Poor guy's crazy and we're not going to talk to him for a bit, but yeah, it's been a tough week.

Really, the mission isn't sunshine and daisies, but it is a time where you learn about what's really important and just how important it is to truly live the gospel and seek to understand God's will so that misery such as I've seen can be evaded. Really, my spiritual message for this week is a rather simple one. Just try to seek and understand the will of the Lord. It's difficult, yes, but it's always for our benefit and for our blessing. As stated in 1 Nephi 9:6, "But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen." It's something I've been working really hard to try and understand as well. It's a lifelong process that takes a huge amount of faith, but it makes everything so much easier. These things I know to be true and I leave them with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. That is all for this week, but I miss you guys so much. I wish I could give you a big, long hug, because Lord knows I could use one, but I send you all my love and my prayers. Till next week!

Love, Elder Manuel Antonio Santos 

PS, Something I've forgotten to tell you for a bit (Mom), something that helps the missionaries a lot is if when they see you or you go with them, you have someone in mind that they could visit. My invitation for you is to think of someone before you see them next. Perhaps every week you could try to think of someone. You'll do wonderful! You're my momma for a reason! And also, something way cool is that one of the youth in the branch went to EFY (Especially For Youth) in Merida this week, and while he was a good kid before (we have the same music taste, haha), he came back with a huge testimony and is just a new person. We're taking him out with us twice this week and that really does get me real jazzed and happy.

We Are Truly Seeing Miracles!

Dearest Mother and Father,

The successes are something we are very grateful for here. We are truly seeing miracles here and I am seeing and tasting of the fruits of our efforts. As I've mentioned week after week, the work is by no means easy and the days are indeed long, but when things work out, it just feels absolutely wonderful. Haha. Oh dear. I don't blame dad for getting a bit unhappy to have his "friends" from Tropical-Sno say hi, though, since I feel the same in regards to competition. Haha. But I'm glad you were pleasant for the businesses sake. And I'm glad someone else enjoys your Diablitos. Heaven knows I did not. Haha. Glad you're running a tight ship at work! In regards to the food, I do show my gratefulness for it.

Their actually aren't really any poor folk out here. Really, those who are poor are mainly the borachitos, but unfortunately for them, they made unwise decisions in living a life contrary to God and falling victim to the natural man. But anyway, most folk out here just work a ton, and by a ton, I mean 7 days a week. They really just need to keep the Sabbath Day holy and they would receive the blessings they need, but most don't have that confidence in God or believe that He'll justify it all because they have to work or they won't be able to eat, etc. but really, it's just a matter of excersing a bit of faith with the intent of obeying. That's something real hard to try to get people to understand, but we try our best.

But yeah, Yucatan really isn't known for it's food, but the fruit is delicious. If only you could taste the mangos and bananas. Haha. And also, the panaderías here are my best friend. Going back to the topic of walking, we walked a ton again and actually got a bit of heat exhaustion yesterday (mainly my companion, but we're totally fine now). A lot of plans were falling through again, even though we were trying to be really obedient and follow the council we received from our zone leaders (who received the counsel from President Garcia) in regards to making two backup plans per appointment, but we had a dang big miracle (in my opinion) occur towards the latter end of the week.

First, we visited a family which were a reference from one of the hermanas in the branch that we had set an appointment earlier in the week. We shared the message of the Restoration with them and also we introduced the Book of Mormon. We also invited them to baptism. Out of the 4 present (the husband, wife, and the husband's parents), it was the husband and wife who understood it pretty well. They thought it was a pretty interesting message and they didn't accept baptism immediately, but they did say they would investigate more and read and pray about the Book of Mormon and our message, so here's hopes that they do! We also met with a family who were old investigators and committed them to baptism. Just need to see if we can get them help with their financial situation, and I think they'll be good to go! We only had two investigators at church this week, and that was a bit discouraging, but we did have those two miracles occur, so for that, I'm grateful.

Something I'm really loving in myself that I'm seeing grow continuously is my love of the Book of Mormon. It is truly a treasure for me and I love reading of the prophets and the rise and fall of the Nephites. (That sounded a bit dark, but it really is so important because it is from learning from their fall that we can learn how we as families and members of the church can prevent such a tragedy from occurring. For more on this subject, look up Ezra Taft Benson's talk (as read by President Hinkley) Beware of Pride. Way powerful stuff.) I don't know if I've mentioned this, but my comprehension of the Book of Mormon in Spanish is way good now (since that's pretty much all I try to read in) and I see that as such a blessing. At the moment, I'm reading in Helaman and am learning of Nephi's ministry as well as the rise of secret combinations and corruption within the Nephite society. I also re-read a bit of Jacob this week and I find it to be absolutely powerful. He was truly a one of a kind prophet. His words may be hard and direct, but there is such a powerful spirit when he preaches in the temple.

Just to sum everything up, the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It is not  a work of fiction. There is no way that a young man without much formal education could go and write something so profound that not only testifies of and supports the Bible, but also gives the reader who reads and prays about it the absolute surety that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, and that His gospel and priesthood have once again been restored to the earth. I know these things without a doubt and often chastise myself for being so unfaithful to my scripture study prior to the mission, but I know now that this is something I do not want to be without for the rest of my life. We teach so much of the Book of Mormon because the world really doesn't know what it is. That doesn't mean we neglect the Bible, because yes, Mormons believe in the Bible, but without the Book of Mormon, we don't have the fulness of the gospel. That is why it is so important. I extend my invitation to those who have not read the Book of Mormon to read it and pray about it as well, with real intent. It truly is a blessing and a treasure to me and I know it will be also to those who read it and apply the lessons it contains. But as they say in Reading Rainbow, don't take my word for it. (In other words, read and pray about it!) That is my testimony and I share it in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. Till next week, love you! (Also, good for Pedro!)

Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Letter #2 Kraft Macaroni and Cheese...such sweet bliss

On Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Our Dearest Son,

So how are you? We hope all is well & you are working hard things are progressing with the people in Tixkokob.

Your letter last week was simply marvelous, bold and to the point. Our loved ones needed to hear it, as well as myself . I feel you were definitely inspired to write the words you did. You reminded me of Mini President Holland.

Well we are having some sizzling weather. We went to Weston/Athena for the Colonian games. While we were this young man stop by & says “first what is your last name?” I said "Santos". He asked if we were related to Manny? I said "yes he is our son."  He said his name is Luke, and he was your younger brother from Trek. He says to tell you he sends a BIG HELLO! I said you were serving a mission in Mexico. He seems like great young man. That of course was the highlight of our day there.

I just got a called from the pool saying they are having trouble with the ice machine so I need to go over there & get it so Dad can have a look at it.

I am so excited you got your package! I also saw this member of the church who knows you he says his daughter Hannah is on a mission to Mexico city & they know you. He also mentions a place you can send packages, and will not take so long. When I find out what it is I will send more goodies so let me know if you need anything. How are your shoes holding up with all the walking? Remember to keep them clean.

Love su
Mami Y Papi!

Well, I didn't realize you had responded, so I'll respond to this one quick. First of all, I appreciate being compared to Elder Holland. Haha. If you think he's bold in conference, you should hear him
outside of the Tabernacle. Haha.

Oh man! Ah, I love Luke. He's a way good guy and was such a help to me during trek. If you remember how he looked, he was a big'un and for me, he was my ox. He was an ox for our whole family, actually. Haha. I'm glad Oswaldo's with you.

So, the brother who you met is named Kevin Christianson. (sp?) He's probably one of my favorite people in our whole stake and is just a really great guy. His daughter's serving in Mexico City and
I ran into her at the MTC on her first day because I was hosting new missionaries that day and she accidently called me Manny. That was an enjoyable experience because I had to think for a sec because nobody at the MTC knew me by that name. Haha. As for my shoes, they're doing just fine. I'm actually saving the other pair for when these one's wear out just so that they'll stay in good condition. Oh boy, more goodies! Elder Wilcox and I have been having a good time with those. We enjoyed a lovely American meal of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese last night. Ah, such is sweet bliss. Anyway, hope you guys have a wonderful week. Love you!

 Some kinda Mayan dish an hermana in our branch made for us 
(oh man,after the mission, I'm not gonna eat eggs probably for the rest of my lifeish), and more importantly, a donkey....

Two letters this week! Letter #1

Pictures of Merida


Dear Mom and Papi,

Phew. Well, this week was kinda rough. We were really low in lessons because the majority of our plans fell thorugh up until the evening. I'm not sure if it was because of the world cup (And yes, I was
rooting for Argentina. Oh well...) but either way, a lot of things were falling through. We walked, and we walked, and we walked, but aside from all the walking reports, I do have a few wonderful things
to report. Something I forgot to mention last week (as I spent my whole hour and a half of email with my personal note to the family, haha) was that we had our largest church attendence, especially with
the 4 investigators we had at church. That was so nice to see them all there at church. AH! Plus, we had a baptism this Saturday too. Our investigator, M, finally got baptized after 12 years!!!
Unfortunetely, I missed it because I had to go on emergency splits with one of my zone leaders, but what's important is that it was finally able to happen and also that she was able to be confirmed a
member of the church the next day.

Speaking of that Sunday, we were able to have 4 investigators at church again, but two of them were
different. We started teaching a man named J. R. who's situation was very similar to our other strong investigator, L. We found him walking home and he was very sad. He was drunk (We have a knack for helping out the "borachitos" here. Haha. Seriously. You never know who'll be a golden investigator.) and in his own words describing the experience, "Yo soy muy triste!" (I am very sad!) because of how alcohol had affected him. Well, we started talking to our new, sad friend and set an appointment. We came back and he was stumbling home right at the time he showed up. (Despite the alcohol, that's precisely why he came home at that time. He remembered us... *sniff*) We tried teaching a bit, but booze makes him kinda dramatic and teary and sad, but in the end, we prayed, left a Restoration pamphlet and a Book of Mormon, committed him to stop drinking, and set up another
appointment. We weren't sure just how receptive he was to everything because of his state, but we decided we'd see how he was next time.

All I can say is wow. We came to our appointment, and he was expecting us and was 100% sober. He had read the pamphlet and a bit of the Book of Mormon in between visits and just his whole countenance had changed. He's a really chill and less dramatic man when he's not drinking. Haha. We
had a really good lesson on the Atonement and committed him to baptism and to attending church. We came to pick him up for church so we could all walk together that week, but he wasn't home. We were a bit sad because he seemed like he'd be a progressing one. We came back for our other appointment with him and it turns out that he was gone because of a funeral, but he said he'd come the next week. Along with him, we committed his "wife" (Well, here there are a lot of "union libres"
(literally meaning free union) and he's in one of them, however, you find a lot of olderish couples actually aren't married.) to come too, even though she attends another chruch. (Not the Catholic, though.) His 10 year old grandson was also there and we were able to help him understand that we can change and become better in this life through the Atonement because he did not understand that. We gave him a Book of Mormon and we hope we can visit with him more because I can tell that he's a really good kid who has a good belief and faith in God.

In regards to Sunday, J. R. was there with his wife and they were able to attend sacrament meeting. Ah, that really is such a good feeling. It made up for having to find out that morning that the branch president needed us to speak in sacrament. This is the second time we've had to do this, but I find I'm getting good at more or less giving a talk on the spot. It's kinda fun, actually. Haha. I spoke on how church attendance can help us find others to teach through being able to receive personal revelation at church and that the only way we can do that is if we truly take advantage of the time we have at church and really try to get something out of it. I hope my message was retained because we really need more folks to teach. Oh! And I received mail from the Routsons! Ah, that was really nice to hear from Pa Routson. They're good folk.  Please tell them I love and miss them and hope they're all happy and well. No ward or branch can ever replace the love that I've felt in Hermiston ward! Well, that's about it for this week. Anyway, send everyone my love, especially Pedro when you see him next or any of the guys. I miss my group of fellas. Till next time, bye!

Love Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

This past week has really been something else...

July 8, 2014

Dear Mami y Papi, (Para que ya puedes dejar ser celoso. Haha.)

(Sorry for not responding till today. They switched p-day to today for this week because we had a meeting this morning.)

Wow. This past week has really been something else. First off, we traveled way too much. Haha. On Monday after district meeting, we got back to Tixkokob and a few minutes after we got off the bus, we got a call saying we had to go back immediately to the mission offices because I signed my immigration document in black and I guess they only want blue ink here (not that I don't mind with the lovely color choice), however, we had just gotten back, so the extra trip to and from Merida was less than wanted. And then I had to get photos for my meeting at the immigration office later that week and that took two hours for that to get done. Long story short, we got back to Tixko at 8 and there went another p-day. We haven't had a normal p-day since I arrived. Haha. Speaking of the meeting, we had to get up early for that (by early, I mean earlier than we normally wake up, which is 6) so we could get to my meeting early, which we were supposed to. It wasn't exactly a week for sleeping. Haha.

Back to the topic of traveling, I believe it was Saturday, we pretty much walked the length of Tixkokob maybe twice or so because of where our lessons were for that day as well as the location of our lunch appointment. However, I think I'm starting to remember where stuff in town is. Back to the important spiritual stuff. Quite a few appointments fell through one day (which can happen quite a bit here) and we had about 20 minutes till we had to go to our last appointment for the day. I had the thought to go to the town center and see who was in the little park to go and contact. We met a lady and her 3 kids who would've been good had it not been for the fact that she lives with a very catholic mother-in-law who's unacceptting of other faiths (surprise, surprise), so that was kinda eh. However, walking out, I saw a man sitting by himself and I felt we should talk to him. (Especially because it's easier for me to talk to them when they're by themselves.) We found out that he was having marital problems and that he wanted us to visit the church and have us visit him because he's just way down on his luck. Oh man. That made us way happy to find someone so receptive. We ran into him a couple days later, however, he was a bit drunk. His wife had left that day and he waited for her to come back (with the kids, I think) but she never came, so he got drunk. We talked to him, had him just let everything out, and set an appointment. Stuff like that really bums me out, but with the gospel being the biggest blessing a family can have, I'm super motivated to teach him, because that really took a lot out of his desire to live.

Not too long before, we made contact with a less-active, J, who we were helping ditch alcohol, and he was doing really good too. We lost contact for a few weeks because of his work, but when we found him this week, he was drunk. He's currently in debt and will potentially lose his home and (at the time) was out of work. What's worse is (and this is a bit heavy here, but heavier things were said which I will not mention, but this needs be mentioned at his request so that all may know) that he tried committing suicide. He showed us his wrists where he tried to cut them. His mindset in regards to life are at the point where he doesn't want to live anymore (due to his wife leaving him many years ago, his financial situation, daddy issues, and just complete loneliness since all his friends are at the bar, where he shouldn't be) and as he described another really heavy and humiliating situation, my heart just broke. It's absolutely awful how Satan will take pain and affliction and just kill whatever little hope is left remaining. That being said, something that he told us that he wanted us to tell our friends and everyone is that God had saved him. How did that happen? Well, when he had gone to cut his wrists, he tried, but failed due to the knife being way super dull that it just left a mark. It didn't even really break the skin. While things may be hard now, he recognizes that God saved him, especially because that wasn't the first time either. We talked to him that night, made an appointment to come see him, helped get him happier, gave him a hug, and left. I really hope things will work out better this time, since he was able to get some work again. This is just a testimony to me that we will only remain in misery unless we humble ourselves and allow Christ to take that burden, which He has already paid and suffered for. Even for those who may find themselves comfortable in their situations, without Christ and His restored gospel in our lives, we will never receive the true happiness we need in both this life and the next.

The Book of Mormon prophet Alma taught that this life is a probationary time for us to repent and prepare to meet God. (See Alma 12:24) Are we really preparing for that by the way we are living right now? Are we successfully enduring to the end or merely walking just outside the edges of the straight and narrow path (the only path) that leads us back to God? (See 2 Nephi 31) Is it an easy way to live? Not always. Is life supposed to be easy? Of course not. But there is one comfort that we have, and that is that the one way we can truly achieve success and happiness and joy is to live in accordance with the commandments of God. Of course we're going to make mistakes, but that's why Christ died for us. That's why He suffered in Gethsemane and bled from every pore and was crucified for us. He did all this to know exactly how you would and will feel to be far from God and in sorrow and pain and everything. The atonement is there. It is a very real thing. You just need to truly believe Christ and believe that "with His stripes we are healed." (See Mosiah 14:5)

To truly know if these things are true. And I invite you to read the Book of Mormon again and to pray of it's truthfulness, with true intent. (Which means to act on the feelings and impressions you receive), I do this out of all the love that is in my heart. I've seen the unhappiness that comes form living outside of the teachings of the gospel here. Though it may seem fine, that's just how Satan works. Please pray about my words. That's all I ask. I bare you my testimony of the truthfulness of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

 Elder Manuel Antonio Santos

 PS I did get my package this past week. Aw man. Thank you!!!!!!!!!! Love you tons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Little by little things are picking up...

The huge/old Catholic church in the center of town...

On Mon, Jun 30, 2014 at 1:06 PM,

My Dearest Son,

How are you? With all my heart I hope you are well or at the very least better. May you know my heart is at peace, and so even tho I am not there to take care of you without any doubt I know you are in the Lord’s hallow hand, and you will be very well taken care of as well as protected. We hope you have seen the miracle you & your companion need but most important the people in Tixkokob need. I read an article in the Oct 2013 “Hastening the Lord’s Game Plan!” What an exciting man he is. His name  is Elder S. Gifford Nielsen. He is exciting to listen to. He also talks about the members getting involve. This Sunday is fast Sunday so maybe this is your chance to bare your testimony, and talk about how they need to help by inviting friends & neighbors especially if they want that chapel they desperately need. I will be fasting for you & Elder Wilcox & the people there. I bear you my testimony I know you need to be there you will have a big impact there but always on the Lords time clock not ours. You are an amazing young man, and you are strong so move forward with the amour of God, and like the Stripling warriors you have been taught by God fearing mother who wax strong in faith in our Savior who is behind this wonderful labor of love. I do so in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

We are seeing blessing in abundance here because of you. Last night I  fell asleep watching TV, and when your Dad hopped in bed he woke me up. I immediately remembered I had not said my prayers, and I said it out loud so I knelt & your father decided to join me. So we knelt in prayer last night together (misty eyes) before going to bed that has never happened. It was wonderful so my amazing Missionary Son continue working hard so one day we can be sealed as an eternal family.

Love you forever

  Some funky but rather tasty fruit.

Dear Momma,

Oh wow. That´s all I have to say in regards to your experience you had with dad. I can't even begin to express the amount of shock and awe that came upon me, but it is an incredibly humbling feeling as well to see all the wonderful changes that are occurring. I really appreciate all the love and support you and dad and everyone have been during the duration of my time here so far. It really is a blessing and a huge relief for me. It's the little things that keep me going. Haha.

I appreciate the advice and I will see what the spirit indicates to me as I share my testimony this Sunday. I know for sure the branch president is really fired and enthused to get more member-missionary work going, especially because during the third hour of church this week, we analyzed President Uchtdorf's talk, "Are You Sleeping During the Restoration?". We also talked a lot about that during zone meeting today. Really, that's a big thing and things are picking up since we were able to go out with the branch mission leader, Genaro, this week. He's a bit of a less active because he works Sundays sometimes because he's a mariachi, but also, in regards to going out, he's kinda shy, but we've helped him out and he's grown a lot, so we have at least a weekly outing with him to look forward to now. Little by little, things are picking up and just overall, this week's been a ton better. Elder Wilcox and I made a goal this week to improve our talking to everybody because a lot of the time, it's been hustling to the next lesson, but we committed to really contacting every person we came into contact with. What a blessing that was. For me personally, that helped with my confidence, but also, it just helped us have a better week, even if not everyone we talked to was interested. We have some potential one's, though, and that really makes me happy and peps me up quite a bit.

What also was a big thing for us this week were the following two situations: so, our investigator, M, who we've been meeting with at her mom's place weekly, had an improvement in her situation. (Since she's the lady who's husband won't let her get baptized even though he's got a lady on the side and is just awful and yeah.) He's calmed down a bit and it's looking like she could potentially get baptized soon and might be calm enough to where we could talk to him. He just needs a change of attitude. We're holding out for a miracle! The other thing that happened was that we had two of our investigators at church. (Including M, because she hasn't been able to go to church for a while. It may be a little number, but for us in our hard little pueblo, it's a big deal. Haha.) That just felt way good. And our investigator L was the other who attended, finally! He's just been progressing well and had a huge desire to go to church, but something big always happened every Sunday. He just had some way bad luck, but he finally got to go this Sunday! I'm excited to see how he liked it.

In regards to me, I'm getting better. My health has improved quite a bit, and I feel it's from faithful work, but also from the prayers of others. I've felt the blessings and it puts me in a much happier mood without it. Haha. But for reals, it helps me stick things out a lot better as I combat various feelings of negativity and feelings that just go against the work at times. I'm so grateful I have this opportunity to serve and for the growth I've seen in myself from doing so. It's way hard to be without my wonderful family (Especially when sick and stuff), but the time is way worth it. I know without a doubt I need to be here. I'm not completely sure why specifically this mission still, but little by little, I'm seeing why, and that faith is what I'm holding on to.

Also, something that I was thinking about this week quite a bit was that I really regret being such a brat at home and not showing my love or my gratefulness far more than I should have. I sincerely apologize for that. Like, just thinking about that, I was seriously a brat and was a pretty bad and sassy headache quite a bit. I also really regret that it took going on a mission to realize that completely and want to change that, but I can't change the past. I hope you know how much I love and appreciate you and dad for all that you've done for me. For wanting the best for me, for providing for me, for just trying to keep me happy, and for being loving as heck, even when I was arrogant and didn't want to acknowledge it or show it back. I just love you guys so much. And yes mom, you're right, about everything and stuff. Haha. On that note, I'll let you go, but I'm always praying for you and hope you have a wonderful week.

All my love,

A happy dog named Tori who belongs to one of our investigators.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I've found that out here teaching is my greatest joy...

Hey Mom,

Hope all is going well at home. Sorry for emailing early this time. We have transfers today and because of a few transfers in our zone (including the transfer of one of our zone leaders), our p-day
schedule got switched up a bit today. These past few weeks for us have just been weird. Our activity here has been pretty low, as our plans have fallen through quite a few times. Our numbers for our weekly reports have been low since no one seems to be available when we show up to teach. It's just really weird and kinda discouraging, but I think the World Cup might have something to do with it all. Oh, the accursed World Cup. Haha. And not to scare you or nothing, because I promise I'm okay, but I have been a bit under the weather. Nothing serious, but it's made me bitter because I do want to work, but it gets in the way at the worst of times. We're probably gonna talk to the mission doctor to see what he can give me and I think I'll be back to health in little time.

Zone photo taken last night (6/15)...

Myself with Elder Santana from my zone who got transfered this recent transfer...

....and a Mickey Mouse pancake my
companion made me today...

I've found that out here, teaching is my greatest joy and despite not enjoying all the aspects of serving in this difficult, little, pueblito, I do feel the joy that is found in teaching others the gospel. There really is nothing like it, especially with seeing others progress. This past week, (as well as the past few weeks) I was reading in Alma and had the opportunity to read Alma's conversion story and there was something interesting he said that I really liked. Following his repentence/conversion to the gospel, in verse 24, he says this:

"Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost."

To me, that just really shows the correllation between conversion and the desire to share the gospel with others. I've been able to see that with myself during this short little time I've been on my mission. (Coming up on 3 months, btw.) It really is just something else. I just pray that things will get better here. We need a miracle. Bad. We're getting a bit better with the habbits of the members. There's just something about the Sabbath that folks just don't get here. (And by here, I mean all of Mexico.) Plus, there's just progressing investigators, of which we have only a few of, however, they are promising. We just need a ton more new investigators this week, and progressing too, because we met some this past week, but they're not promising whatsoever. It's really difficult to take a drunk man's word that they want to change, (though, sometimes they're legit in their desire and do change. It's something we've seen...) because most of the time in visiting them when they're a bit more
sober, they're just kinda indecisive and uncommitting, but yeah, that's just where we're at right now. We do have a ray of sunshine with our investigator J, though. He's only got two Sundays to go
till he can get baptized and he's really psyched. We're hoping that following his baptism, we can lay his wife's misconceptions of the church to rest and hopefully start teaching her. Please pray that we
can have a miracle, because we just really need one. Hope you have a wonderful week and I love you tons.


Pathetic sandwiches because we needed groceries... 
(mine had Hershey's in it, while my companion's had a bit of tuna a canned refried beans) 

Goku from Dragon Ball spray painted on a wall...

and a peacock on a roof...

PS I realize I haven't really mentioned much about the food and stuff here, so I'll just talk about some notable ones. So, first, I'll just give my general opinion on stuff. Yucatecan food. Hmm. Well, let's
just say my preference will always be with northern Mexican cuisine. Haha. You have no idea how much I miss pinto beans (Because they eat black beans here and pintos are only found in cans, already refried.) as well as yours and Dad's tacos, enchiladas, meat, sweet mercy, everything. Haha. I wish I'd remember to take food photos, but alas, I always forget. Haha. I had the opportunity to eat a Yucatacan tamale the other day. It's pretty much what I expected. It was big, wrapped in banana leaves as opposed to corn husk, and instead of chicken, it was made from eggs and chaia (sp?) leaves. It was, um, okay, but yeah. Haha. Then they eat a lot of soup here. It doesn't make too much sense
to me because it's already hot and humid here. Haha. So, I'm a firm believer that less is more and when it comes to Yucatecan soups, for them, more is more. Like, there's one soup I've had twice that just too much. There's a bit of broth and then it's loaded with carrots, zucchini, onion, potato, a wholly cooked drumstick (for some reason, they like to throw a whole chicken drumstick in their soups. It makes me miss dad's chicken soup because I realize how much I liked it. Haha.), beans, and a couple pieces of fried banana. I'm probably missing a few things, but that's essentially how it is. Ai yai yai...Haha. However, they do have fried bananas here, and that warms my heart like no other. Then yesterday, I had some interesting enchiladas. They used molé for sauce and it was filled with egg. (Btw, I got to try hard boiled egg here. It was okay.) Well, it was also interesting. It was one of the few things my companion didn't like, and he's cool with pretty much everything. Haha. I felt the same. The food here is just different, and finally since I've actually had molé, I can honestly tell you, I don´t like it. Haha. Anyway, that's my little food report.