Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Baptism and New Area!

Guadalupe's Baptism!

Hurricane Watching


September 15, 2014

Dear Everyone:

This week was so awesome!

We got permission to go to the Mexican night at the stake center which is basically their 4th of July so it was a big deal. There was food and lots of traditional dancing, and singing. I have lots of videos but I think they’re too big to send right now. But Mexicans party differently than we do, we left at like 11:30 and our zone leaders where there until 12 or later! Ahha. When we left everyone was still dancing and partying. I don’t think they get tired. 

The next day we went and visited a less active family that’s super awesome. They’re almost considered active. But I’m really good friends with their son,Toto. He’s 24 and was a pretty hardcore gangster but he wants to serve a mission now. He was in jail for 4 years for grand theft auto and has been out for 8 months now. But he’s super awesome he taught me like 100 slang words so I can talk like a cholo now. But obviously I don’t talk like that here but when I get back home I will. 

We were talking about pranks we pulled in high school and stupid stuff we’ve done and it slowly escalated to him telling us about crazy stuff he has seen in the prison here. And the prisons are horribly corrupt. About 50% of the police are under the pay of the cartel if not more. But people have guns inside, tons and tons of drugs, xBox, and cell phones. So it’s not really a prison, it’s just a place where they put bad people. There are not really restrictions, and visitors are allowed to walk around the entire prison freely. So it’s very different.

He started telling us some of the messed up stuff he saw. He told us about how one time the police arrested some cartel members that are from a different state, so they’re the competition of the cartel here. And they brought them in, and he watched and heard them get tortured and decapitated in prison, and how a 14 year old girl who was visiting cartel members in prison watched, and he had to go in to the block of the cartel members and get her out. Then his mom started breaking down crying, saying that now she knows why Toto gets so angry and wakes up in the middle of the night screaming and why he punches walls, and struggles with drugs and alcohol, because she never had heard any of these stories. 

Then he started crying which was really surprising because he’s a pretty tough guy, and then they all started hugging and crying and saying they love each other and stuff. It was like a really hardcore episode of Full House. But it was really awesome to be part of that experience. We’re pretty close to them. They’re like a Mexican version of the McArthurs, and by that I mean that they’re an awesome family who we always hang out with. 

We had a lesson with Guadalupe, our investigator who is going to be baptized September 27th.  She has all the lessons and everything and is really ready and willing. She’s like 45 and sells candy to the kids from her front porch. She’s super sweet but learns a little slow, but she is super awesome! We started asking her who she wants to invite to her baptism, friends or family and stuff like that. She said it’s not important she just wants us to be there because were like her family. It was probably the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard. Then she asked me to baptize her!!! So I’m really excited for that, and a little nervous, because it’s the last day of the change, and I’m afraid something will come up and well postpone it, and then I’ll get transferred. But I’m praying that I get to be here long enough to do it. 

Things are super awesome here, and I’m super excited for my first baptism! There’s a hurricane here right now. It’s not hitting very hard here, but in Los Cabos nobody has power. ahah. But I think I’ll get transferred after this change, but nothings certain. Also my Spanish has gotten a lot better. When people guess how much time we have here people have been guessing that I have a year in the mission. So that’s kinda a confidence booster. 

Don’t send peanut butter. I can buy it here. I know its heavy. You should just send me cool stickers for my binder and my scripture cases. I like the Seattle ones that Josh has on his laptop. Also don’t let the boys download stupid games on my laptop please! ahha 

Love you all and hope all is going well! Take care!!!

Elder Latimer

September 22, 2014

Dear All:

This week was pretty normal and slow. We did have stake conference, which was awesome. Elder Villalobos of the Seventy came and spoke. He’s such an awesome speaker. Pretty fun. I also found the coolest pitbull with a little story behind it. 

Some recent converts of the sister missionaries live directly in front of us so we eat with them every Friday this month. She gave us a reference of her sister that lives in our area that has cancer. And all the directions are horrible here. The houses aren’t numbered in numerical order and a lot of the streets don’t have names. haha. But we were looking for her and were kinda frustrated because it was really hot and we couldn’t find the house so we stopped to rest under a tree for a few minutes. Right after we passed this old lady on her porch with this huge pitbull. I have this thing where I contact anyone that has a cool dog by starting to play with it. I asked her if it bites and she said no so I started to play with it and started talking to her. We talked for a little bit then I asked her name and turns out she was the person we were looking for! So that was cool.

Anyone that owns a cool dog here is just asking to be contacted. I think like 40% of my street contacts have been through dogs. So that’s awesome!

We still don’t know about changes because there was a hurricane in Los Cabos. So president rounded up all the missionaries over there and put them in La Paz (other part of Los Cabos). We heard we might have changes 2 weeks after the change but who knows? We went to the offices today, and I get along pretty well with the office workers. They’re super funny and one of them told me I’m gonna be an office worker next change. And that freaked me out because I don’t wanna work at a computer, but afterwards he said he was messing with me. I sure hope so!

Everything is going pretty great here. We have a couple more baptisms lined up in a few weeks so I hope I stick around for one more change to see them get baptized. And everything is going great for Guadalupe. We showed her and her crazy neighbor (the crazy lady just comes over uninvited that President Velez said we shouldn’t teach her anymore but its whatever) the restoration movie. And the streets are really loud here and there are no noise laws here so people just blast music all day long. But we got to the part where Joseph Smith rebukes those guys in the jail for talking about killing Mormons, and the whole street went totally quiet. Ahaha. It was super cool. 

There’s not a whole lot to talk about this week. We did find a half dead mouse in our house. I say half dead because we have this stuff in the air in our house that kills cockroaches, but it doesn’t completely kill mice all the way. So we poked it with a broom and it would like breakdance and walk really drunkenly. Then we picked him up in a dustpan and he waddled out of it and fell and died on our floor... His name was “German.”

I also found a really little gecko during our planning session. I named him “Jerard.” Then let him go in the house so he could kill bugs. Then the next morning I found him dead and shriveled up because it’s so hot ahah. Sad day. 

Not a whole lot of new stuff going on. I have a lot of cool videos but they’re too big to send… so that sucks. I hope everything is going well! Tell the McArthurs and the Litchfields I say “hi!” So glad the Hawks are still good! But they’ll probably be mediocre when I get back but who knows! haha 

September 29, 2014

This week was pretty awesome and really busy. We were running around like crazy doing everything. We bought a cake for Jose because it was his birthday so that was awesome, and we had the baptism! So that was pretty cool. 

It was really funny because I guess here in Mexico people like splash themselves crazy with water before going completely under to avoid going into shock or something like that. But she randomly started doing that in the baptismal font, then inhaled a bunch of water and started coughing like crazy. Ahha. It was weird but the rest was really awesome! And I have two nice sets of scriptures because they give you nice ones in the MTC. So I decided to give them to her and I marked a couple of scriptures I liked and gave them to her with a note on the front page.

Also I got transferred to a new area called Libertad. I’m still in Culiacan, and I’m opening a new area! Were kinda lost right now because we don’t have a house, cell phone, map, and very little reference and members in our area. But were gonna work hard. I’m with Elder Zuniga. He’s from Florida but his family is from Honduras so he speaks Spanish perfectly. We’re gonna live with the other Elders for a few days until we find a new house. 

Elder Moya told me I’ll probably train someone soon so hopefully I’ll get to train Kaleb when he gets here! Well see but President Velez usually has the trainers chosen 3 changes in advance so who knows. 

We went around the area saying goodbye to all of our good friends, but we only got to see Toto and Guadalupe, which was kind of a bummer because no one else was home. But the family of Loisa Beltran (tjey live in front of us and are recent converts) Invited us over for dinner and made a little banner thing for me and Hermana Ramos because we were leaving the area. 

It’s pretty exciting to be opening an area though, I’m moving up in the world over here. I’m kinda glad to have a new comp though. Elder Moya is really cool but he’s a slob and never cleans up. So I ended up doing all the cleaning but hopefully Elder Zuniga is different. 

Both Bryce and Kaleb emailed me so that was nice to hear from them, You should tell Madison Fleming to write me too. I haven’t talked to her in a while. Also keep bugging Ryan to write me ahah and Jeff and Alex.  and Ben. 

But that’s all that’s going on over here! Glad you’re all doing well. Also the Hurricane hit really hard in Los Cabos but here nothing big, just rained hard for a day or 2.

Love, Elder Latimer

October 6, 2014

This week was pretty weird, but it was fun. My comp is a “pocho,” which means he’s of Latin descent but he is basically a gringo. He spoke Spanish before the mission and he’s from Florida.

We did get to watch General Conference live in the stake center, and we got to watch it in English, but when the Spanish speakers started we ran to the sacrament meeting room to listen in Spanish. My Spanish is getting really good. When I tell people how much time I have in the mission they always say, “but you spoke Spanish before didn’t you?” So that’s a good sign I’m getting better. 

We’re still living out of our suitcases in the house of the other Elders, but they’re really cool and it gives me someone to talk to someone. But it sucks living out of a suitcase. But we did find a house in our area so well be moving in this week. My area is a Pueblo, which means it’s like a lot of houses close together and its pretty dangerous from what other missionaries have told me. But I’ve already made a couple of friends who are “cholos” ahah. It’s not too hard because my cholo friend in my other area taught me all the slang in Spanish. So I use it with them, and they trust you more when you talk like them.

There’s a member family here that is AMAZING. They don’t have a whole lot but they’re like the most awesome members ever. They help us so much, and always try to feed us. They told us whenever we don’t have anything to eat or if other members can’t feed us, that we should ask them with all the confidence in the world to eat at their house and they will always feed us. The dad also gave us his work schedule to see what hours he can come visit people with us! He also has like 1000 hilarious stories, and cool little tricks that he teaches us. 

Also the picture below is a LIME! It’s like the size of a bowling ball! I’ve never seen a lime that big. They have so many cool different types of fruit here that we don’t have in the US. There’s so many stories I have that I want to tell, but I don’t have time. I have like 1000 hilarious short stories ahah.

I’m glad everything is going well! Also in Conference I thought President Monson was gonna give us some crazy new doctrine because everyone kept talking about the importance of following the prophet no matter what. I’m sad conference is over. It felt like I was back home watching it.

I don’t like it actually takes that long for stuff to get here, so don’t worry. Usually we get our packages in our zone meetings because the zone leaders will go grab it all from the offices and bring it to the meeting for us. So I’ll probably do that. 

Miss you and love you all! 

Elder Latimer

October 13, 2014

This week has been kinda nanners. Lot’s of really weird stuff. It’s really fun living with 4 Elders, but I would like more space, and a place to put food. And my package got here! Thanks so much for everything it was awesome!

This week was crazy. We were walking in our area to an appointment and we see a bunch of smoke like a house is on fire. So we get closer to our appointment and our investigator is outside screaming "Elders! Elders! Help me!!" aahha. She tried to set some trash on fire and lit up this whole plot of land where a house should be. hahha. So we spent like half an hour putting it out. ahha. 

We have some decent investigators, and all the kids here know us already so that’s good. ahha they always come out and want to hang out with us when we pass by so that’s kinda cool. It’s still kinda tough here because we don’t have any materials or anything or a cell phone. But we’re working hard, and I think were gonna see a lot of success soon.

We had a weird experience today. We took a taxi with all the Elders in our district to go bowling, and the cab driver asked if we could say a prayer with him after he dropped us off. So we said, “Okay, why not?” Then he was like, “I’m gonna stand in the middle of you guys and pray.” Then he started praying to the grim reaper or something weird like that. It’s like the Saint of Death that all the drug dealers worship ahah, so that was kidda funny.

Also I’ve been getting kinda worried because my big toe on my right foot has been hurting a lot lately. Like when I step on a rock wrong or side step or things like that. It definitely feels like it’s the bone and not a muscle. I don’t know because I know you both have that same problem. 

Also I started talking to this one guy who works in a little store in our area. We talked a little about the U.S and Mexico. And he started saying how corrupt the government is here and that’s why Mexico sucks. Then he was like "look at all this trash in the street, the government doesn’t do anything about it!" I was SOO tempted to say, "Oh does the government drive by in front of your house every day and chuck a bunch of trash in the street and speed off?" ahah But I decided I shouldn’t say anything. But it’s true, everyone here just throws their trash in the street, then they talk about how dirty Mexico is, ahha. 

We also had a shaving cream fight during divisions, ahah. 

Here’s my letter to Jace: 

Hey are you a girl or something? I’ve learned so many crazy tricks here in Mexico. I’ll have to teach you all of them when I get back. You would like it here there’s lots of kids your age that are always playing outside and the candy here is super awesome and cheap. I’ll have to send some home for Christmas! Tell me how you’re doing!

My Letter to Jonathan: 

Hey man! How are the Seahawks doing? When does the new Madden come out? How’s XC? What’s your best time? I hope everything is going good. There are some crazy people here, and like a thousand dogs in the street. Some of them try to attack us so we have to throw rocks at them a lot, haha, but a lot are really nice. Hope you’re doing well!