Que dice familia?
This week was crazy! I don´t even know where to start. I will try to fit everything in that happened this week, but I´m sure I´ll miss a couple of things, haha.
So I left for the bus station at 3:00 in the morning, Elder Carmona, Elder DeFreese, and Elder Vasquez came with me to drop me off. I was on the bus for 5 hours until I got to Veracruz, and then 3 more to get to the Tuxtlas. Too much time on the bus... ha it felt really good to get out and start working and walking.
The area I´m in is called Baxcaxbaltepec. Took me about an hour of practice to finally memorize the name. It´s pronounced Bash-cash-baltepec. We live in a city called Comaopan, and we are also in charge of some other small cities (when I say city its more like tiny little towns, called pueblitos in spanish) and one of them is called "Cerro de las iguanas," and I put a photo of the sign so you can see it, haha. It means hill of the iguanas. Kinda weird because we haven´t seen a single iguana yet...Love the names in mexico. It is really hot and humid here. I want to say that Poza Rica was a little bit hotter, but at a certain point, there isn´t really a difference, it´s just plain hot! We have a full house instead of a room, that is kinda nice to have some space. My companion is named Elder Herron, he was actually in my zone in Poza Rica. He is super cool, even though his is American (he actually lives 10 minutes away from our house, crazy huh? I think I used to run by it every morning in highland during the summer) he always speaks spanish, so I feel like our spanish is still improving even though we are two americans. He is a super hard worker and has 9 months on the mission, we are co-senior comps again. He actually reminds me a ton of John, not gonna lie, it´s kinda cool. :)
As far as the area goes, it is super super super green, its already rained a couple of times really hard. One of the pictures I put is a good example of how green it is. The other night it rained and afterwards when we were walking home, there were GIANT frogs EVERYWHERE just jumpin around every which way. I was going to take a picture but I left my camera in the house. The people are a little bit more humble than in Poza Rica, which is good. Elder Herron said that they baptized two people in 12 weeks and said the area is kinda hard. The problem in the branch. There aren´t enough people in the church to be a ward, so we have a branch. it is a weird adjustment to make from having two wards, haha. But there was about 20 people in church, the president of the branch is un excited and hasn´t come in a month, and we don´t have a second counselor, because there isn´t enough priesthood. The cool part was that in testimony meeting, the spirit was super strong and I just couldn´t help but smile because the church is true no matter where you go. But it´s going to be a tough here. When I got here, about half the members welcomed me with a smile. The other half were asking why the other mexican Elder had to leave so soon, and just saying how much they missed him, to my face and everything...kinda hard but within a couple of days I think I have gained alot of their confidence and things are looking a little better. Most of the members are pretty discouraged and down in spirits, we just gotta try to add lots of new converts and help the members get excited. I bore my testimony and just told everyone that we have sooooooo much we can be grateful for, that we are in the only true church, the only way to never ending happiness, and we just need to endure to the end to obtain it. We have so many reasons to be happy, even if the branch is kind of small, the church is true and it doesn´t matter how many members there are. So we are going to have two family home evenings every week with the ward and try to do an activity every week to get them excited, and give them a chance to invited less actives and non-members.
This sunday we had 3 less actives in church who hadn´t gone for like 6 years. Someone from the district (we don´t have a stake yet) showed up to priesthood and just chewed the heck out of the hermanos in priesthood.... We will see if any one comes back. He went off about how nobody was doing their responsibilities and this person needs to show up earlier and the structure of the classes is horrible and the home teaching is non existent and basically how if every wants their salvation they need to do better.... Are you kidding me?? We have like 4 people in priesthood, in total, (not including us) and he is worried about home teaching? The look on everyones faces was horrible. We had a chat with the hermano who chewed everyone out after church. So ya I was kinda discouraged when I first got here, the branch needs alot of work, and the Elder who was with Elder Herron wasn´t the hardest worker, so we hardly have anybody to teach right now.
But the truth is I´m really really excited for the challenge and I am glad I was in Poza Rica to learn alot about how to work in a tricky area. We are going to strenghten the branch alot, and Elder Herron is super excited to be co seniors so we can just get to work. We have lots of good ideas and I know we are going to learn a ton from this area, we are going to help lots of people: members, inactives, and the people who are searching for the gospel. We found a couple of new people on sunday so we started the week good, and we are going to work our tails off during our time here!
Thank you for the emails and prayers, I would recomend not feeding the phone to Kasey... :)
Love you all so much!!