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.

Friday, June 13, 2014

I wanted to throw my companion in the air!

Dearest Mother of mine,

Glad to hear all is well. I can imagine dad would love to hire Eden. Haha. I´m glad the package was able to arrive well. I was starting to worry about that, especially with my beautiful coat. Haha. Yeah, they gave us Spanish scriptures when we got to the MTC, so I have my own pair, all beautiful and highlighted. Haha. (Well, kinda, since I have to transfer all my highlighted scriptures from my english ones.) Please say hi to grandma for me and tell her I love her too.

Sweet mercy, alot of people here suffer from alcohol addiction. As I mentioned in my last email, that´s like the main thing we deal with in this area. It´s really depressing, however, on the flip side, to see how much the Atonement can change someone really is a beautiful thing to see. Just shows you the fruits of this gospel, such as with an investigator we have named Leo. We checked by his house on Tuesday just to see if maybe he was home, (since he went to work in another town over the weekend and he´s the one we thought was gone for good) and when I saw him through his window, I wanted to throw my companion in the air. We were having a pretty tough day, and seeing him home
just made my day because he´s reading the BOM, praying, he´s been 3 weeks sober (which is the duration we´ve known him and have been visiting him), and I just know he´s going to get baptized. (Him and his wife.)

So, despite all my ranting about my difficulties, there are some really good moments here. It´s just really hard, this week especially. We had a lot of apointments fall through and had to deal with this incident with this guy who´s been attending church in Merida but is in our area. It´s kinda complicated to explain, but in a nutshell, he´s actually in our authority as far as teaching is
concerned and the branch president wanted him to attend here before he got baptized and his baptism got postponed because of that and my companion´s had to deal with all this and it´s stressed him out really bad, especially because the guy got discouraged by all this and is taking a break from church to evaluate things. We´re just praying he´ll have a change of heart and that it´ll be alright. It´s just been
a huge cluster, but we had a really good zone conference today, so I´m excited to apply what we learned from President and Sister Garcia this week. The work is more difficult than I imagined, but there´s no doubt in my mind that the church is true. Hopefully this week will be better. Love you tons and I pray all continues to be well.

Love, Manuel

PS The Albrechts really moving to South Carolina? Btw, can you believe that last Monday marked two months since I started my mission? Haha.

(Also, the picture of me with the elders was at our zone conference. These were the elders who served in my area before me and it was fun to bond over the area together.)

This week was interesting to say the least...

 On Mon, Jun 2, 2014 at 4:52 PM

 Dearest Mother,

I´m glad we had that baptism as well. It was really special for him. And as for the other sister, we´re praying that her husband will be home one day so we can talk to him since that´s what the plan is. It´ll be interesting for sure. Aw man. I had no idea Elders Stringham and Chamberlain were still there. I hear Pasco´s real good to the missionaries, though, so I´m sure they´ll love it. They will be missed for sure. Aw man. I kinda had a feeling she´d pass away not to long after I left, but she´s with Heavenly Father now. She was real sweet and will be missed a ton as well. That´s way awesome about Roberto! He´ll fill in Brother Barker´s shoes well.

Well, in regards to this week, this week was interesting, to say the least. We had our first really rainy week. It´s rained before and stuff, but not like this. Oh boy. We were absolutely soaked. Haha. We went out to work after it had stopped raining, but it rained later and all throughout the day. The water in some of the streets got up to a little above our ankles. Our House of Prayer (since we don´t have a building for church due to a lack of enough tithing payers) got filled with water and we were getting the water out using these long squeegees. That was a lot of work. Haha. We had some good moments such as having a couple of good less-active lessons (one of which was a contact where we got the dad of the family to commit to baptism) but there were also some bummers. One man who was progressing real good named L... went away to the Cancun area to work. My companion made a small joke that we shouldn´t have given him a blessing because he got to excited that he went off to work. Haha. I just hope he´ll be alright/that it will only be for a short time. The other was with a less active we´ve visited before. His name is F..... and he´s an ex-missionary who fell victim to alcohol addiction for unknown reasons. He told us when we visited that he was bad because we ¨abandoned¨ him, which we didn´t because every visit, he was asleep. And then whether sober or drunk, he always tells us that he knows in regards to counsel we give him. We were even very straight with him in our chastisement during our last visit. (It was bold, but not overbearing.) And just overall, when he says he´ll commit to what we give him, he usually doesn´t actually commit. It´s just frustrating because he´s an ex-missionary and knows that what he´s doing is so wrong and that God expects more from him. I just always remember what Elder Holland said at the devotional he gave the Tuesday of my last week at the MTC. "I can´t fathom losing the shepherds." He´s a lost shepherd and it´s pretty frustrating. That´s the biggest iniquity out here and just seeing how many are being held down by alcohol addiction really just irritates me. I´m carrying on as best as I can, but sometimes it´s too much, such as with this man named M... P..., who´s addiction to this alcohol called agua ardiente is literally killing him since it´s cheaply made and it like 100% alcohol, or something like that. All the years of drinking it has caused some of his skin to come off and it´s just awful. I´m trying hard to be patient, though. It really is a hard area here, but if it´s where I´m supposed to be, than so be it. I´m doing good, though. Well, I´ll let you go now, but I hope all is well (and I´m glad to hear dad´s behaving) and I love you tons. Bye!


 PS Sounds good. Also, the cyber cafe we´re at is playing Barry White over these speakers and it made me laugh. Haha.


The guy in front of the green house is my companion and that´s our house. 


Also, the man is Jose, which was the first person I got to see get baptized.

With our Zone leaders after going on splits with them.

Querido Papi,

Pues, quería tomar este tiempo para decir feliz cumpleaños. Ya estas muy viejo, pero esta bien. Espero que todo esta bien.¿Como esta el negocio? Mami dice que la venta esta bien. Todo va bien aquí. La cosa mas difícil es la lluvia y también ay gente que son difícil para enseñar porque no quieren dejar de tomar, pero la mayoría de los cosas están bien.¿Como es el tiempo? Aquí es muy caliente, pero casi me acostumbro. Espero que todo esta bien. Te quiero mucho.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

This week has been interesting...

Hey! Thank you so much for the talk. There were some real good scriptures there and it was of consolance. You really always do know just what to do. Haha. I´m glad to hear of all the blessings that are happening at home, especially with the horse. What a scare that must have been. This week has been interesting. We had a baptism this weekend for a real cool man named Jose. He´s way solid and it was just great to see him start his journey to return to Heavenly Father´s presence. Unfortunately, we had to postpone a baptism for a sister that was supposed to get baptized this weekend too because her husband (a rather awful misogynistic man) backed on his word and said if she got baptized, he´d kick her out of the house. As much of a child of God he is, quite frankly, his hypocrisy makes my blood boil. We´ll be talking to him sometime soon to see what can be done. Aside from that, we really did have a wonderful experience. We started teaching a man named Leo we met in the street (my comp knows him) and started teaching him the Atonement because he decided he wanted to change his ways for good and he really is progressing. We came for another lesson last Saturday and he was real sick. We gave him a blessing and within the next few minutes, he was up a bit and we talked a little bit. He really wants to change and through the gospel, I know his faith will increase, if he acts in faith, because without it, he has know where else to go. That was a miracle,though. And then there was this. We saw him merrily riding his bike the next day. Just, wow. Now we just need to get him to church so he can prepare for baptism. Well, those were the main highlights for the week. Love you so much and can´t wait for next week´s email!


PS I´m not really sure all the DearElder´s will come to Merida since
they´re mainly for the MTC. Plus, mail doesn´t come here, but it goes to the mission office in Merida, and we don´t go there often. Just thought I´d let you know. Also, I´m doing good on supplies, but I´ve realized how much I miss Oreos, Sour Patch Kids, and other American treats. Haha.(Especially since I can´t have Coke or Pepsi because mission rules.) Btw, could you send me an SD card please? I´m starting to run out of room.

This is the letter Manuel was referring to and you can click on the link to read the talk his mom sent him.

"Dearest Son,

I went to thank you so much for the birthday wishes! Thank you for thinking of me it means  a lot.

You, know its okay to feel somewhat inadequate since you have barely been in Mexico for one week. Even the greatest men in high government offices, and in the church have felt like that at one time or another. That's why I copied this conference talk from President Holland when he was first called to be an apostle of the Lord. It was April of 1994. I was two months pregnant with you so I found it very interesting, and maybe you can find some solace in his words.

All my love,


Letter from Manuel's Mission President

Dear Santos Family,

We are pleased to inform you that Elder Santos has arrived safely in Mérida, Yucatán. We express to you our gratitude that you have prepared such a wonderful missionary. My wife and I feel very honored to have this great missionary in our mission. We will be anxiously taking care of his health physically, as well as spiritually. Trust in the Lord that He will protect him in this great work. Remember when writing, to encourage and express the feelings that the Spirit puts in your heart. Explain to him the spiritual progress that you are making while he is serving the Lord, and ask him to share with you some of his spiritual experiences. Be positive and help him focus on the mission.

These 2 years are very important for him as a missionary, future father, and leader in the church. He will have great experiences, many challenges and temptations that he will encounter for afflictions, but just as the Lord comforted Joseph Smith by saying these words of comfort “all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for their good,” he also will learn from his own experiences.

Encourage him to press onward and support him in the difficult times. The life of a missionary is not easy, and one should not think it is, but by trusting in the tender mercies of the Savior, He will make our burdens light.

We love you very much, and please have confidence that your son is in the best hands, the hands of the Lord and that He has assigned us to this mission at this specific time so that we can care for him. He will be our son and as our son we will love him and will be mindful of all his needs. Our Redeemer promises great blessings for His missionaries if they are faithful, endure to the end, and keep their eye single to the glory of God: “And any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry, neither thirst.” D&C 84:80

We send you our sincere greetings and a big hug.

President and Sister García
Mission Mexico Merida