Monday, May 25, 2015

March - May Letters and Pics; HUMP DAY! New Area, a baptism and more!

Master Chef!

Service with a Swagger

With Kaleb (Elder Decker)!

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TheElder's Quorum President!

Sleepy Companion!

The Bishop and his Family

Burning the Shirt on Hump Day!

Brian's Baptism!

March 23, 2015

Dear Everyone:

This area is really awesome. There are no hills, over 50 members, the bishop and we have a ton of rich people in our area, so that’s sick. Because my other area was really, really poor. But there’s a rich neighborhood here so that’s nice. We taught a less active lady last night and when I was in her house I felt like I was in the US! It was awesome and it smelled exactly like nana’s house, I almost got trunky for a couple seconds. ahha.

My companion is really cool. We get along pretty well. He talks which is an amazing change. I’m pretty excited about this area. We’re sort of just finding new people to teach, because when I got here we didn’t really have any investigators. But I like finding people. I’m just super excited because I have never had more than like 6 members in an area before and here the whole ward is! It’s a small ward though of like 50 or 60 members.

Nothing really notable happened this week, just contacting in the street. ALSO THE CHURCH IS IN OUR AREA!!! This area is like a dream for me. It has all the things I’ve never had in the mission. So I’m pretty stoked. My companion doesn’t like bringing the bible with him when he works because he says its heavy, and I tell him that its apostasy. 

I took a picture in front of a government building here downtown in Culiacan, and a gigantic dog like is exactly the same as the beast from sandlot! It’s crazy. ahha. Sort of a slow week, so I’m not really sure what to say. That’s great that everyone is doing better. Sometimes I get worried about them. That’s awesome that Josh is excelling in Mcdonalds, haha, its kinda funny but does he cook or just work the register? haah.

Not a whole lot to tell. Everything pretty chill. Thanks for the spiritual insights. I really like them. I think I’ll probably finish the New Testament this change. I don’t really read it a lot, only like one or 2 chapters a day. But I have plans to read the Old Testament as well, but that will be a lot harder, but I’d like to get familiar with the stories.

I haven’t checked to see if it [the package] got here. Hopefully soon though because this backpack is starting to rip a lot. I’m glad everything is going well. ALSO something really cool, that guy who contacted us that was really interested in the church and we had that miracle of a first lesson, lives here close by, but in the sister’s area and they’re visiting him! So I’m stoked about that maybe, I’ll get to see him progress here.

Love you all. I hope all is well.

Elder Latimer

PS: I DONT HAVE TO WASH CLOTHES BYHAND ANYMORE!!!!!! We go to a laundry place and give them 100 pesos and they do it all! And fold and iron them and everything. I feel so spoiled!

March 30, 2015

Hi Everyone:

My package got here! But I haven’t opened it yet because the zone leaders still have it so I’ll open it tomorrow! Also I can just buy a backpack here so don’t worry about it. Thanks for all the awesome scriptures and insights. Just to let you know I apply them a lot in our lessons ahah so they help a lot! Thanks for always sending them. I like the one you sent a while ago in Alma 7, that says how Christ took upon himself our sicknesses as well, I’ve used that scripture like 5 times this week ahah.

This week was pretty awesome. We’re working really well with the bishop. He’s awesome and helps us so much and really excited to work with us. We set up some new plans for the ward to reactivate less active members in the really rich parts of our area so they can give us references in those neighborhoods because it’s impossible to contact in the street there because everyone is filthy rich and doesn’t hang out in the street like normal people. 

We found some super prepared people, one is a 14 year old kid named Brian. He accepted baptism and came to church, and we have another appointment with him and his family tonight so were excited about that. Another one is Roberto, we have actually never taught him but he just randomly showed up to church Sunday, and came with us to gospel principles, and the lesson was about baptism. And he just starts crying in the lesson, saying he wants to be baptized and how God saved his life when he had open heart surgery. It was really cool to see that, he also stayed all 3 hours and participated in every class! 

We had the funniest lesson with a super old and really rude lady (we were just teaching her daughter though). We sang a hymn and she told us we suck at singing and that her bird sings better than us. Then she yells at her daughter that she doesn’t know anything about the bible and she’s knows everything. Then I asked her some simple question about the bible and she got mad and said she doesn’t remember. She also kept saying she is atheist but only believes in God, and I was like, ¨Hey you know that means you’re not athiest right?¨ and she said to me, ¨shut up I’m an atheist, I only believe in God¨ ahah 

It was a pretty great week. My companion is pretty cool we get along pretty great. We went fishing this pday with the bishop and his son and some other people, and also Brian our investigator came with us! It was awesome with fished with 6 inch pieces of pvc pipe as a rod and just fishing line and worms and I caught a pretty decent sized fish. I also got sunburnt ahha. But we had lots of fun. Also I have less than a year left in the mission becaus it says I go home March 28th. Don’t remember if I told you guys that already. 


Elder Latimer

April 6, 2015

Dear Everyone:

This week was super dead because everyone leaves to the beach. Usually there are tons of people in the street, especially at night. But this week, NO ONE WAS HOME. It was the slowest week ever. There were literally just dogs in the street ahha. We made a decent amount of street contacts, and it’s getting hotter than Africa here. It wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t walk in the street all day.

I’m co-senior companion right now. I think I’m getting moved to DL next change. That’s just my guess, because the comp is the DL and he’s been here for a while so I think I’ll move up next change. His name is Elder Thorpe. He’s from Payson, Utah. He’s a cool guy. We get along really well. We laugh a lot. He’s really quiet when we teach lessons though haha. He says he doesn’t like testifying ahha. But he’s an awesome guy. 

Our district is pretty cool. The zone leaders are in our district as well as a set of sisters and another set of missionaries. I think 4 of us are white, which is more than usual, for me at least. Things are really good, however some people are super negative here in the ward. They all talk about how bad it is then refuse to do anything to help change it. I’m hoping the bishop asks me to talk this month so I can address it. Also I’m getting closer to my goal of speaking with a perfect Spanish accent. People always ask me if I spoke Spanish before the mission or if one of my parents is Mexican ahha. I’m happy that the Lord has helped me learn this language. I love speaking Spanish. It’s so much fun, and it sounds awesome.

We had a multi zone conference this week. It was super awesome to see all my other friends in the mission, and to get to learn. It was really fun but lasted forever. I saw Kaleb there as well and we took some pictures together. General conference was also really good. I watched almost all of it in Spanish, so that sucked. I understood everything but it’s annoying knowing that I’m not getting the whole experience. But that’s okay, I’ll just download them on my usb. I was surprised that President Monson didn’t talk very much or close the conference. 

I really liked some of the 70s talks especially the one who said that a saint is a sinner that keeps trying to be better. I also loved President Monson’s talk in priesthood and Elder Holland’s on Sunday. I took a lot of notes. Oh and I’m almost done reading the New Testament in Spanish. I only read a little bit every day but I’m in 2 Peter. I’m also currently reading the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, which is an awesome book. 

Also I like from GC that they talk about obtaining an eternal perspective and to be more fully able to understand the atonement we must understand the fall and the creation so I thought that was really cool.

Brian, our investigator, is super awesome. He came to conference with us and wants to be baptized and serve a mission. He also went to EFY all last week so that was a great help. We just need to put a date with him. Trying to find new people is hard but I’m looking pretty hard. I want to find a whole family. 

That sounds like an awesome vacation. I miss family vacations. By the way, thanks so much for the package! You guys send the most awesome packages. The only bad thing about them is having to share the candy with my comp, ahha. Not really. I’m hoping I get sent to the Baja soon. I’ve been here in Culiacan for a while, and I want to take some awesome pictures there. I get jealous seeing other missionaries pictures there, like baptisms in the ocean, etc.

For my birthday, maybe some shirts, ties, new pants? I’m pretty set mostly. I love the new under armour garments. They’re so awesome! 

Dad good luck at work! Thanks for taking time to write me, and Mom thanks for the spiritual insights! I’m actually reading in the exact same part of the BOM as well. Love you all.

Elder Latimer

April 13, 2015

Hello family:

This week was pretty awesome, lots of fun, tons of really funny moments. I’ll make a list of them in a second. Brian is 15 years old who is super awesome. He’s gonna get baptized soon. It was gonna be this Saturday, but he missed church so he’s got to wait one more week which is a bummer. But it’s okay! 

It’s getting super hot already. I’m sort of hoping I’m used to it now but only time will tell. We taught a decent number of lessons this week, and contacted a lot in the street. I’m trying to find a whole family to teach, because it’s harder to teach individuals and have them progress. Also I may have some stories about animals this week.

But first ill list some funny experiences.

1) Roberto. Status: Investigator   Age: 47  Attributes: ex drug addict

This guy is super funny and awesome. He’s the guy who had open heart surgery and now wants to be baptized. He’s a little weird though from his past addictions. He has like tons of scars all over his body like someone stabbed him in every part of his body. Also he used to go to a local Christian chruch, so after everything we say he either says AMEN! or HALLELUJAH! or GLORY TO GOD! ahah so that’s nice.

But we taught him the about the word of wisdom (don’t smoke, drink, do drugs, etc) and he accepted it, and the next day we went to go do service early in the morning for a member that lives close to him. And he rides by shirtless on a little kid’s bike smoking a cig and yelling “HEY BROTHERS!!! GOOD MORNING!!!” ahha I about died laughing. Needless to say we taught him about it again.

And when we went over it with him again he was drinking a coffee, and right when we mentioned that he shouldn’t drink coffee either, he just said, “SHOOT THIS IS MILK!” ahha. He totally lied but it was funny so I didn’t mind.

2) Victor  Status: Less active  Age 25,  Attributes: Very chubby, lazy, RM

We went to go visit this guy and his family for a little bit. They’re really nice but he’s kinda lazy. It was so funny what happened though. We were sitting there in the kitchen with them, and he’s sitting there shirtless literally right next to the water jug, and he says, “Hey Elders do you want water?” And we’re like, “yea sure!” and then he yells super loud, “MAAAAAA!!!! THE ELDERS WANT WATER!!!!!” ahaha so lazy I about died laughing.

3) Hermano Acosta  Status: Elders quorum president,  Age: 65  Attributes: Old, but young at heart

Background information: The bishop owns a cyber cafe thing. So we always go there to see if he’s home or can come with us to visit people. So we walk in and this old guy is there like every other day playing call of duty killing tons of people. And always saying things like, “die you dog,” or, “freaking vatos.” 

I said to him once, “Hey you know you’re killing your own teammates right?” and he was like, “I don’t care. If they give me a gun I’m killing people. I’m from Culiacan Sinoloa!” ahah.

4) Chino  Status: Mentally handicapped  Age 45  Attributes: very strong

Chino is special and he likes to escape from home and hitch-hike a lot. Once he got like 200 miles away ahah. But he can’t talk really, and just makes grunts but he understand everything perfectly. 

But last week he escaped and wandered into a hospital and the people thought he got stung by a scorpion which is why he couldn’t talk so they took him in and gave him 2 huge shots in the butt ahhaha. 

5) Jose Status: Gangster   Age:45   Attributes: Drug addict

We started talking to this guy in the street and he was really friendly, and then he was like, “Check it out! Today I’ve wasted my whole day’s pay on alcohol, cigarettes, and a little bit of cocaine.” I was like, “why do you waste your money on that stuff if you know it’s bad for you?” and he responds picking up his 40 oz bottle of beer takes a big swig and says, “Well, I’m not planning on drinking water!

I have a lot more stories I know I’m forgetting them. But to answer your question mom and dad about my mission president, he’s pretty cool. I like him, but there’s a lot of missionaries here in this mission so I feel like I don’t know him as well as I’d like. But he’s pretty awesome and really helpful. I’m glad I’ll have him for my whole mission.

Also I attached pictures of my companion dead asleep during lunch. Also the old guy playing video games (please note his hat is also on backwards)

Also mom and dad that vacation looks super awesome! We see those little car atv things all over here! I wanna do that when I get back! Also I bought a backpack today, and I’m excited to hit the 1 year mark and talk to you guys on Mothers’ day!!!

There’s lots to write, but I’ll just leave it at that. 

Love you all! take care!!

Elder Latimer

April 20, 2015

This week was pretty great. I hit the 1 year mark obviously, April 16th, but because of my visa and crap I really only have 11 months left. Crazy to think about. I feel like I just got here. Brian did come to church. He’s super awesome. He’s gonna get baptized in 2 weeks. Also I know a bunch of kids here named Brian its weird.

Pretty decent week. Burnt my shirt, but my comp took blurry pictures but that’s okay. Bishop took us out to eat (again). He always wants to eat with us which is good and bad because sometimes it’s too late and we say no, but then he insists and insists and says we’ll insult him if we don’t. ahha. 

Yeah it’s pretty hot, but i would recommend not sending food for my b-day. Most of it I can actually buy here, and I think even though it’s more expensive here. It’s cheaper than shipping it all. I would like some ties and new shirts. Most of my shirts are yellow.... so that would be nice ahha. But don’t worry too much. Also I don’t need the Ensigns. The mission gives them too us but thanks though! 

We finally made brownies!!! ahha but only one batch. But me and my companion ate them all in one day ahha so were afraid to make more. But they were really good. E. Thorpe and I get along really great. I don’t know if I told you my companion’s last name in Spanish means stupid, or foolish, haha so people usually laugh at him for it. But it’s okay he likes it. 

That sucks about your ankle mom. I don’t think you’ll ever get out of that boot. I really like that St. Peter joke you told. Haha. It made me laugh. Also HAPPY BIRHTDAY!!! I know it’s not for a few days but still. I hope you have a great day. I’ve got stuff to send you guys for Christmas and past b-days and stuff but I always forget about it. You might have to wait a whole year before you see the stuff I got for you guys. 

I’m jealous that you guys are going too Europe. I wanna go there. Not a whole lot of stuff has happened this week, I spoke in sacrament and talked a lot about supporting the prophets and our leaders in their callings, and I actually used that scripture that mom sent from 1 Cor. so that was a cool coincidence. I think I actually am more comfortable giving a talk in Spanish than English. I also finished the Bible in Spanish a few days ago! 

You guys should send me a BOM in Portuguese, because the bishop’s son is going to Brazil on his mission, and he showed us his Book of Mormon in Portuguese, and I understand it when I read it, so I think that would be cool to study in my free time. 

I’m glad everything is well. I can’t wait to play all you guys at Madden again. I remembered the other day when I beat Jace at Madden and he had to call me “dark lord alfa panther z” for a whole week ahah.

We might have to leave one of our investigators, Roberto. He’s really cool and nice but he sort of has a serious drug problem. We’re gonna help him with it as much as we can though. But the past 3 times weve gone to his house hes been high on heroine. And Sunday we went there and he was all normal, then went to the back of the house for like 10 minutes and came back super high, and I could see the 2 needle marks in his arm too.

So that’s kind of a bummer. We’re gonna try to teach him when he’s sober so he can understand it. It’ll be a slower process for him, I think. But things are good here. Having an awesome time. I have a few funny stories from this week, but there more of “you had to be there” moments.

Miss you all! Love you guys

(if i forgot to answer a question or something, or you want to know something else and i forgot to put it in this email tell me)

Elder Latimer

April 27, 2015

Dear Everyone:

I’m still here with Elder Thorpe. Things are going pretty good. Bryan didn’t come to church this week but he should still be able to get baptized this weekend so were excited for that. Roberto kinda had a bad week. He was shooting up a lot, we think. Also we passed out in front of his house once and we was sleeping with a joint in his mouth, then we called out to him, and he threw it out of his mouth and said, “IT’S NOT WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE!” ahha. It’s gonna be a slow process with him.

It’s kinda tough with Roberto. He has strong desires to get baptized but the drugs are gonna be an obstacle. He asked me at church yesterday when he was gonna get baptized, it was kinda sad because he really wants to. The good thing is though that he has a nephew who always goes to church too, and who wants to get baptized too, so we could be seeing a couple more baptisms here very soon.

My companion had to go the hospital to poop in a cup this week so that was pretty funny. 

Time is going by really fast. I really wanna get out of this city though. I wanna go to Mazatlan or Los Cabos so I can see some cool stuff, because all I have ever seen is the city, and I’ve never ever seen the beach. So I hope I’ll get sent there soon.

Mom it sounds like you had a great birthday! Sorry I couldnt be there for it. You guys sound really busy with all the trips and Joe’s graduation and Mr. LHS. But it sounds like things are really good. Hopefully it will warm up soon over there so you guys can get the boat in the water!

Things are kinda slow here. Nothing super noteable has happened this week. We’re still looking for new people to teach more consistently. The members are pretty helpful so that’s awesome. I got a really bad migraine yesterday so I went home to sleep for half an hour and I blacked out until like 8 o clock. So that sucked.

The mission is great though. I’m having a great time but it’s going by really fast which is sad. My trainer is going home this week so that’s a bummer. Seems like we were just together. But I’m trying to make the most of the time I have here. It’s crazy that Jordan and Jared are already going home, just 11 more months for me though. 

Not sure what else to write, but thanks a lot for the spiritual insights! I always use them in my lessons throughout the week so keep them coming!

Elder Latimer

May 4, 2015

Hello family! This week was pretty good. Brian wanted to postpone his baptism another week because he wanted to have gone to church 4 times, so this week he’ll get baptized, which was really good because he was having trouble repenting, but we helped him recognize answers to his prayers and now he recognizes them so he’s super excited to be baptized!

Roberto is doing really good actually. There’s one member who is actually his neighbor and she always says that he’s not gonna get baptized and just likes to gossip, I won’t go into more detail. But you should have seen her face when he showed up to church Sunday in a freaking white shirt and tie!!! Turns out he’s not using hard drugs, but he still is smoking, but is leaving it behind little by little. He’s actually progressing a lot and is really excited about his baptism. He and I are becoming really good friends. He’s an awesome kid he reminds me a lot of Joe and Tyler. 

We went and took pictures at the botanical gardens as a zone for Sister Velez for Mothers’ Day. But don’t worry mom I took some pictures for you too! It was really fun. It was kinda a hard week as far as numbers go. But we found a whole family! They have a lot of money, and all want to get baptized!!! And the mom loves us. They invited us to eat a huge dinner of carne asada tacos! We have another appointment with them Wednesday.

It was really funny when I first called them to put the appointment (because they were a reference from other missionaries) and the mom answers and I tell her that I’m a missionary and I was looking for Wendy (her daughter) and I just hear her yell over the phone, WENDY!!! THE MISSIONARIES!!!! QUICK GET OVER HERE!!! Haha. They’re an awesome family and they learn really fast which is awesome. There’s lots to tell about them, but I’ll write more later.

We had a pretty cool spiritual experience this week. I gave a blessing to a member a little over a month ago. She didn’t tell us the exact reason why she needed it, just that she felt bad and wanted one. So we gave her the blessing and it was great, but I didn’t think much of it afterwards. But Sunday she told us that she had been struggling with depression for a long time, and she’s a nurse so she knows the symptoms, but after the blessing she said she hasn’t felt any of the symptoms, and feels totally better! So that was cool.

The area is kinda tough in terms of teaching a lot of lessons but we have really good investigators.

You guys sound like you’re doing really good. That video of Joe playing the piano was awesome! He plays really well and doesn’t even look at the keys! 

Tell Jace happy birthday and that hopefully now that he’s a little older he can stop being such a little girl! Ahah. But not really. When I get back I wanna come back here with the family on a vacation to Mazatlan or Los Cabos so I can show you guys around! I’m hoping to get transferred there soon because I’ve been in Culiacan for a year now.

Also that’s still cool that you guys are going to Europe. I’m still jealous. I’m really excited to talk to you guys this weekend [Next weekend]. Things are great here. I miss you guys. Also pray that I get transferred to Cabo San Lucas. ahah Just kidding, but not really. 

Love Elder Latimer

May 11, 2015

No Letter because we SKYPED with Jake on Mother’s Day!

May 18, 2015

Dear Everyone:

Thanks for all the support you guys. We had a super crazy week, lots of spiritual experiences and A BAPTISM! Bryan finally got baptized, it was super unorganized because the zone leaders changed our zone meeting to the day of the baptism so we were scrambling to put everything together, but everyone got there like an hour late so it turned out okay. Thank goodness of Mexican Mormon standard time.

First experience: Roberto.

This was a really crazy experience, We hadn’t seen Roberto for a few days because he got sick and had been in the hospital and we decide to pass by his house to see if he’s back. His mom said he was home but couldn’t talk because he’s sick. So we just asked if we could go in and just say hi and see how he is. And she said yeah, and we go in and Roberto is on his bed just crying his eyes out in horrible pain. We look at his legs and hands and lower body, and they were like 3 times their normal size. His kidneys had stopped working and weren’t processing any water which caused the major swelling.

He said he hadn’t been in the hospital for 4 days because he couldn’t pay for it anymore. So we immediately gave him a blessing, and took him to the hospital. We had to carry him out of the house like a baby, because his legs and feet were so swollen he couldn’t walk at all. And the whole car ride he was just crying and praying and asking for forgiveness, he actually thought he was gonna die . But we were able to get him to the hospital and get the papers organized so he could get medical care.

The hospital we went to was horrible. They put us in the bottom floor, where it was just one giant room with lots of beds and people trying not to die. There were people that were literally gasping for life, some just waiting to die, and others with just minor injuries. It was a horrible place. But it was cool because when the doctor was asking Roberto for his information, he asked him what religion he claims, and he looks at us and says, “I’m with those guys. I’m a Mormon.” So that was pretty cool. His mom told us yesterday that he had a heart attack in the hospital, and they’re going to move him up to a better floor soon. It was a pretty sad experience overall. 

Experience 2: We were just walking in the street and I was on the phone talking to our mission leader. And some lady calls out to us and asks us to come in and give her mom a blessing (neither of them, nor anyone in the house was a member) and so we go in and her mom had just got out of the hospital and was still really sick. But because like Roberto she didn’t have enough money to stay in the hospital longer. And the lady wasn’t really that good in the head, and didn’t fully understand what was going on.

But we gave her the blessing and afterward she like started praying out loud thanking God that he had sent us to her and tons of other stuff. And her daughter started crying and thanked us. It was really cool to see and be a part of, were gonna go back there today to see how they are and hopefully start teaching them.

Experience 3: We had a family home evening with literally a group of super old guys. It was actually really nice. But it was just hilarious. All these guys that were well over 60 or 70 years old were all super stoked to have the family night. We were walking in the street and they drive up with our ward mission leader in the truck and just yell out, “GET IN WERE HAVING A FAMILY HOME EVENING!!!”

They were all so excited, and were like, “We’re gonna got get brother Fortunato, Ruperto, and Rigoberto! And it’s gonna be awesome!!” It was super hilarious. Me and my companion just were busting up laughing, and starting singing the “That 70s show” theme song ahah. It was a lot like this.

But that’s about it. Actually there’s so many more but too sum it up its just ridiculous Mexicans talking crazy and trying to speak English ahha. They are more of “you had to be there” moments. 

I got the package you guys sent me! It was awesome! Thanks you guys always send the best packages!!! I started reading the BOM in Portuguese and I understand it all. I just need to learn how to pronounce it. ahah. I don’t know how to speak it obviously but it’s very, very similar to Spanish. 

That’s too bad you guys have to postpone your trip, but that’s cool that you’re getting reimbursed for it. I’m glad everyone is doing well. It’s crazy that you guys are taking out the seadoos again, it seems like you just put them away! I enjoyed the birthday cards they were really funny, especially the card from Jace. I really like the oil vial, the BOM, the fan, the ties, well basically everything. The other Elders get jealous because I always have packages ahha.

Also I got a package from Libby and the youth with a cool pillow case they made so I’m using that as of now! Tell Sister Murray I say thanks and that she’s awesome!

But thanks so much for the support you guys are such awesome parents that always help and encourage me. I feel very blessed to have you guys as parents. You guys should send Jonathan’s movies to me, or tell me where they are on youtube so I can see them. It is crazy that Jordan and Jared are getting home so soon. I’ve still got 10 months left but time is flying by. 

Thanks for everything, and as far as investigators go were kinda still looking for new ones because Roberto is in the hospital and Bryan got baptized and this family were teaching can’t see us that often but were still looking!

Love Elder Latimer 

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