Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Last Letters from the Mission Field - Returning Home!

This will be the last post on Elder Latimer's mission blog (we may post some airport pics). He is coming home today! He has served well and has been greatly blessed by his experiences with the people of Mexico!

Homeward Bound!

Virgin Guadalupe?

March 21, 2016

Whelp. This is my last epistle to the Latimers.

“Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: 
but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.”

-2 John 1:12

Whoo! I’m pretty stoked.Things went okay this week. We didn’t get to teach the mason this week. Pte Velez came with us but he was busy, so he came with us afterward to go teach and contact in the street that was pretty cool. We taught Roberto. He’s still kinda reserved, but we have faith that he´ll open us soon and get baptized. Also some people rejected us while we were contacting with Pte in the street. Then we get in the car with him and he says, "Elders, I’ve always felt that these people who reject us and won’t even say ‘hi,’ will someday be chasing after us wanting to talk... But by then it will be too late."

OOOH it was pretty tough, but I guess it’s true. Also we started teaching a kid who’s 19 years old from SLC Utah. He’s in a rehab center and his parents are recent converts in SLC and they want him to get baptized. We’ll see if he progresses this week.

When we were working with Pte Velez this week, we drove through some neighborhoods near our area that are a little bit less rich (we live in a REALLY rich area) and he’s like "Elders, whose area is this?" And I told him it belonged to another ward. And he says "Who cares! You guys take it!" ahha He was just like go ahead and rob it! So now were being pirates and taking all the booty for ourselves! But we haven’t had much success there yet. 
But it was hilarious because we were working in the area of the Elders that live below us. And they caught us stealing their area ahaha. It was hilarious, we rounded the corner and they saw us and we took off running and hid. ahah You should have seen their faces but later we came out and talked to them ahah. 

Things are great here. Pte Velez sent me a cool letter today. Telling me we should invite Roberto to be baptized March 26th and to share our testimonies with him. I’m pretty excited about that, hopefully I’ll get to see some more fruits before I die. Everything sounds great with the home coming and living with Blodgett! I’m super excited. Do you know if I’ll get released Wednesday night or early on Thursday?? Because I get in kinda late. Also do I have a subject for my homecoming talk? But everything sounds great. In Utah, I’d just like to do whatever, catch up on movies, visit temples, go see the cousins etc. 

But I’ll see you guys soon! Have a great week!

Love you guys!


March 14, 2016

Wow that looks like it was a crazy storm. I’m just glad that the tree fell away from the house. We had a super crazy interesting week!!! I have lots of stuff to tell you guys. The subjects of conversation will be 1. Mazatlan, 2. Masonry, 3. I forgot. But there’s lots happening here and I’m having a lot of fun.

First we went to Mazatlan! It’s by far the sweetest part of the mission I’ve ever been to (as far as purdiness goes). The ZL live 2 blocks away from the water and there’s tons of tourists which actually makes it a pretty difficult area. We walked all day and didn’t teach a single lesson. We did contact a bunch of references though. I actually had to contact one in English because she’s from Canada and doesn’t speak hardly any Spanish so that was interesting. 

We got a hotel and stayed for 1 day, and we woke up super early in the morning to go run on the board walk (it’s the longest one in the whole world). Also they have the tallest natural light house in the world. I highly recommend going there on vacations. I loved that area so much, but I’m glad I’m not working there because it’s really hard to find people to teach... Actually that’s how my current area is so who cares! ahah. 

President gave us a referral and we went and taught him at his work (he works for the government), but he’s super friendly and Catholic. He’s a very high ranking freemason haha. He had a huge black ring with the masonry symbol on it which only the master masons have and he’s also part of a higher order in masonry called Shriners hah. He was really open about it and told us a ton of stuff (it’s basically a lot of charity work and having a close knit support system). It’s basically a fancy union. Any who, we were teaching him and he says "wait a minute I got to give this guy his check so he can go home" guys walks in, he hands him the check and says "oh hey these are the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. I was telling them all about how I’m a mason and what not..."
Then no joke the other guy says "hey I’m a mason too!" It was crazy I think they planned it. 

We have an appointment with him this Tuesday so we’ll see how it goes. His brother got baptized in Mazatlan a few months ago which is what has peaked his interest in the church. He said "I heard that being a Mormon is the easiest way to return to God’s presence" and I just responded "You’ve heard right then." haha Not really but it would have been cool huh? But he seems pretty interested, he did talk A LOT about masonry and being a Shriner (they have a chain of non-profit hospitals in the U.S)

Also lastly, I had a cool experience! We got back from Mazatlan, and we were just pooped because we worked like dogs and it’s a 3 hour bus ride to get back to Culiacan. But we were sitting there in the bus station waiting for a member to pick us up and this lady sat next to me. And I was so tired I just said to myself "I’ll just sit here and think of what to say so I can contact her..." So I sat for about 5 minutes and then I got a prompting which basically sounded like this. "You idiot. You’ve already decided to talk to her just open your stupid mouth!" haha

So I just started talking to her and she got emotional and said that she had a really bad week and there’s lots of problems going on in her life, and she doesn’t know what to do. I didn’t really know what to say so I just gave her a pass-along card of the Resurrected Christ. Then she just starts crying and saying that she knew God was trying to help her and how that this was a sign etc. So I got her address and the missionaries are gonna visit her now.

It was a cool experience because I’ve always seen that promise fulfilled of "Open thy mouth and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance." I learned once again that I don’t need to plan what I’m going to say or how I’m going to help. I just need to speak and The Lord does the rest.

Also the son of a less active family that I had taught before in this ward got murdered. That was sad. I didn’t really know him that well but I knew his sister and mom. We went to a funeral service for him and they were obviously really sad, probably even more so because he died outside of the gospel. 

Things are great. I really don’t feel like I’m going home I think I’ll just be here forever. But all the plans sound great to me! I’m excited to see you guys! Tell me what you want from Mexico. I need to bring back cool souvenirs!!! Any who, miss you guys and hope you have a great week!!!

Love Elder Latimer

March 7, 2016

This week was pretty good. Normal as far as missionary work goes. We have an investigator Roberto, who is the dad of a new convert. He’s like 89 years old. His heart is softening. But not fast enough!! ahhah were making some progress with him. Also we found a whole family! The family Ortiz. They’re pretty great and hopefully we can start teaching them this week. 

We didn’t go to Mazatlan. We postponed it because they were gonna have their zone meetings but this Wednesday were gonna head down. And the zone leaders who I’m gonna stay with live downtown and 2 blocks away from the beach! So I’ll get some cool pics down there. 

Things are chill here. We’re going to the gym and working hard in our area. The progress is really slow due to the crazy amounts of money in our area. But I’m happy and I love my ward. Also that guy from Venezuela I told you about (the member), he came to church and had a great time. Also we taught his uncle, who is a free mason! ooh Very interesting. He’s pretty normal. Actually we just talked about charity. There’s actually a lot of masons here in Mexico. Pte Velez says it’s cool if we teach and baptize them cuz they’re obviously not bad people. (I suspect that president is a mason...) ahha. 

Dad what to you know about masons?? I’ve learned some stuff in the mission, but I don’t have a very clear idea of what they do.

I’m excited to be home. I was thinking an open house would be great on Thursday. I definitely want to see all of my friends. I’m fine with whatever. What day do we come back from Utah?? If Joe gets his call before I get home make him wait to open it!!! ahah Not really, but I hope I’m there for it!

Also about the classes, I think I could choose my classes but it might be hard. Joe and Tyler want to take the New Testament class with me, so I have to see when they’re gonna take it and with what teacher etc.  But I have to register at 6 am. That could make it a little difficult. I don’t know if you guys could register for me? Just pick the general classes I need, and make sure I have that religion class with Joe and Tyler. Or would it be better if I did it? Also it says I have to update my contact information and all that jazz or it won’t let me register could you guys look into that?

Also this week I was talking in English to an RM who served in Arizona. He says I have a Mexican accent, ahah. He’s like the 3rd person to tell me that this month. I’m gonna have lots of problems when I get home. 

I’ll write a separate email to Jonathan right now. I’m glad everything is going great back home. Hope to see you guys soon! Have a great week! Also do you think you could deposit some money on my card? I need to buy a few things, and also I need to look for souveniers  for you guys!!! Tell me what you want!!!

Love, Elder Latimer

February 29, 2016

Crazy week. We hardly got to work in our area. We finished our presentation and we had the leadership conference here in Culiacan on Tuesday and in La Paz on Friday. It was exhausting! But really fun.

I forgot my passport when we went to the airport, but they let me on with a dinky little laminated piece of paper that had my name and picture on it ahha. Just imagine if I was a terrorist! But then we got to La Paz and President took us to a sweet buffet where we ate like piggies. They even had a little personal coat rack they brought to our table! ahah. 

Then we did divisions with the elders, it was great. I got to go with E. Alvarez, a really good friend of mine whom I hadn’t seen in a long time. It was great! We had a blast. Then we finished and went back to the hotel, but President still hadn’t gotten back so we took advantage of the situation and went to the beach! ahah We only got to be there for like 15 minutes before he called us but it was cool. Then he took us out to dinner it was fun. I love working with him. 

Then we had our conference. It was great. We learned a lot but it was exhausting. When we got back to Culiacan on Friday we were so tired and just about slipped into a coma. But we had fun! ahah I’m kinda bummed because we don’t get to dedicate as much time to our area as we’d like but were working hard so I feel okay. 

Time is passing by really fast. Also on Sundays we are in the offices all day doing the numbers and reports on all the missionaries in the mission, but some elder messed with the lock and no one could get in! We were outside for like an hour climbing on the roof and trying to break in. But we couldn’t, the finally called a locksmith today in the morning to open it. So we didn’t get any work done and have to spend all day today and tomorrow doing it. 

But I’m happy and everything is going well here. We’re working really hard but I’ve been really, really tired recently. I think dad is right. It’s the whole 2 years catching up with me. Also I wanted to know, who is gonna be there at the airport when I get in?? I’d like to see Ben and Ryan, Jeff, Alex, etc there, just let me know what you guys think! 

Also were probably gonna go do divisions with the elders in Mazatlan this week so I’m excited!!! But at the same time I wanna stay here and work in my own area, but it’s part of the job!!! ahha

I’m gonna look into registering and seeing what classes i need. I’ll see if I still know how to do it! I’ll let you guys know if I need help!!! I hope you all have a great week!!! Say hi to everyone for me! And give Joe a high 5 for going out on a date!

Love, Elder Latimer

February 22, 2016

Wow sounds like a lot of stuff is going on at home! I’m glad everyone’s doing well and that’s sad about Jonathan, but it seems like he’s better off without them in the long run. Hopefully he can find some friends that are more supportive.

Things are great here, everything is pretty normal, lots of work. We’re finding some pretty great people. We found this guy/kid named Manuel he’s 19 and is a member! He immigrated to Mexico from Venezuela and was gonna serve a mission but was unable to because of the problems in his country. So he’s leaving with his aunt and uncle (who aren’t members) and they’re really awesome and we have an appointment with them this week! He said were gonna get them baptized ahah.

It was pretty crazy this week because 3 elders came to stay with us for 2 days because they had to renew their visas. It was pretty crazy having that many guys in one house, but tons of hilarious stuff happened. It’s too much to write so you’ll have to wait until I get home. 

But one elder came with us to visit the investigators, he has more than year in the mission but he still doesn’t speak Spanish that well. But it was a cool experience because when he shared his testimony I felt the spirit pretty strongly even though the words came out clunky and there were a few grammatical errors. It just goes to show that the power in your testimony comes from your personal knowledge and conviction and not the volume of your voice or the words you use. 

Also we gave a blessing to Roberto (father of a new convert) he’s like 89 years old and hasn’t listened to us for a while but he’s really nice. Anywho we gave him the blessing and in the blessing my comp said that he would become for receptive to the teaching of the Savior. Then we were able to teach him a lesson and he came to church with us on Sunday! So that was great.

This week were going to La Paz! So I’m stoked about that. This time I won’t leave my camera in president’s car ahah. I would love to come back here on vacation. I don’t know how much you guys would like Culiacan. It’s a big city but it’s not that touristic. But that’s okay because afterwards we can go to Mazatlan, which is like 2 hours from here, and my converts have a house over there that they’d let us stay in. 

And FYI I have seen the beach! 

I’m pretty happy. Things are going well and I’m having lots of fun, And I’m really excited that I’ll get to see Alex. We’re gonna have blast, I’m sad to leave but excited to come home, lots of mixed emotions. 

Also we went to the "last supper" of all the missionaries who went home last change, it was awesome. We played ping pong and giant jenga! (it’s like 3 ft tall). It was fun but sad because I had a lot of friends that left last change as well so I’m all alone.... haha but I think that’s about it!

Do we need to start planning when I go to the dentist and to buy some new clothes etc? Let me know of anything I need to do before I go back to college. ALSO! I need to choose my classes right???

Any whoo that’s about it! Thanks for writing! Have a great week! Love you guys!

Elder Latimer

February 15, 2016

Things are great here, it was a crazy weekend though. On Friday we organized all the changes. We go into president’s secret room where he does the changes and we put them into the church’s missionary system called IMOS. Then we print it out and call all the zone leaders and give them the changes. It’s kinda complicated because I think we’re the only mission in the world that does transfers in airplanes. 2 missionaries lost their flights (but it wasn’t my fault hehe). 

It actually wasn’t that hard. Mostly it’s just verification and organizing the missionaries so that they’re never alone. But it’s awesome because I run around in a suit with my comp in the airport and with President. We went and picked up the new missionaries and had breakfast with President and his wife. We had eggs, chile aquiles, beans and waffles! It was sweet!

Also my 2 sons (E. Lindeman and E. Mendez) are both district leaders now and E. Mendez is training! So I have 2 grandsons now! We took a "family picture" together it was great. We basically lose our whole p-day doing the changes but it’s okay. Also a new Elder from the U.S missed his flight and so he got a new one and he gets here at 12 at night and we have to go pick him up ahah. 

My new comp is E. Gonzalez. He’s from Mexico City and is super chill. I think we’ll get along great. He’s like 26 years old but doesn’t look like it ahah. 

Things went great this week we taught a new family, the Castro Padilla family. They were a reference from a recent convert. We did FHE with them then they invited us over to their house and we taught them it was a great lesson. They’re a great family and their kids are awesome as well so hopefully we’ll see some progression. They have some marriage problems (she’s bipolar and things her husband is cheating on her) but President can give them some counseling ahah. 

Also the convert (Maria) who gave us the reference of the family lives with her dad. He’s like 89 years old and always drinks, but he’s super polite and really nice. He didn’t want to get baptized because he felt he was too old to change so he stopped listening to the elders a few months ago. 

But president wrote me and said "Elder, win the trust of her dad and you’ll see soon enough that he’ll stop drinking on his own" and it was crazy because 2 days before she told us that out of nowhere her dad grabbed his liquor bottles and smashed them in the backyard! ahah They started giving him horrible nightmares so he stopped drinking! I think the Lord is preparing him. 

We have leadership training in 2 weeks I think, so well go to the Baja then. I really hope that we stay there for a few days. I think president will be merciful and let me go to the beach ahah.

People do celebrate Valentine’s Day here its almost exactly the same. The pope is in Mexico so everyone’s excited about that.

My companion didn’t really die ahah. He kept working until the end (kinda) ahah. When we did weekly planning he started writing down what he wanted to do at home that next week ahah, but he helped a little bit! And then after we finished I said "okay what do we do now?" and he was like, “Well, we can go out and work.... or! play soccer!” ahah. So we played soccer for like 5 minutes in the house.

Also my converts the family Lizarraga showed up to our ward and gave me a mini pool table as a belated Christmas gift ahah. It was sweet, now we have become mini pool sharks. 

Things are great here. I’m loving life! Also E. Clayton from the Q of the 70 is going to Cabo... I’m not sure if were going as assistants. I don’t think so.... but I hope we get invited!

Also we ate like pigs this week. On Saturday we ate with a family and they gave us carne en su jugo (bean bacon and carne asada soup), hamburgers, machaka (dried shreaded beef with potatoes), and cake! Later that day Maria took us to eat tacos dorados and they were huge. Then we ate with them again on Sunday and we ate shrimp quesadI’llas and shrimp tacos with seviche and more cake!!! It was crazy, then we had breakfast today with president and we have dinner tomorrow with the missionaries who are going home! Lot’s of food

Everyone is getting married and it’s sad but I’m okay with that. I still have lots of single friends! Send me a picture of Emily’s fiancĂ©, also I heard Kelly Moya is pregnant?? Crazy world. Also the presidential race sound horrible, but I guess it’s just a sign of the second coming ahah. 

There’s lots to write and share but I won’t share all of it because I’m lazy. Sorry if I didn’t answer some of your questions. Oh but that’s sad that I won’t see Alex. What a gay boy. But the good thing is I’ll be at Jeffy’s wedding!! ahah  miss you guys and hope you have a great week!

Love E. Latimer

February 8, 2016

This week was pretty chill. Nothing too new. I’ve been slacking a lot on keeping a journal lately because I’ve just been exhausted. I’ll just print out the emails I send you guys and tape them in my journal. 

We had our weekly meeting with Pte. Velez, it was pretty good. A branch is struggling in Loreto in the Baja. It’s a really, really pretty area and he said he wants to go over there with us to work! I’m hoping will go that will be an awesome experience. It’s really awesome to work with President. This week will be a little crazy because the change is ending and we have to organize the changes. I don’t think it’ll be that difficult but we’ll see I guess!

My comp is going home this week so he’s the first one I’ve "killed" in the mission. He’s a great guy and I’m gonna miss him. But I’ll be home in 7 weeks. Kinda crazy to think about. But I’m still working hard. We’re looking all over the place for new investigators. After being in this area I think I got a sense of what it’s like being a missionary in the states. 

We had a good FHE with Hna Maria, a recent convert. She invited 2 families from her neighborhood, it was awesome! Her friends loved the message we prepared and we were able to put appointments with them. We taught the nature of God the Father and Jesus Christ. We showed the Mormon message "Heavenly Father and Earthly Father" 

Our investigators aren’t progressing but the good thing is that were finding some new people. Hopefully we can find some more. I really wanna have some more baptisms.  

Also we went and ate a sushi called "the Impossible." It’s huge and weighs like 3 pounds and it’s about as long as my forearm and as wide as the palm of my hand. It was pretty sweet, but there is a better one in another part of the city that were gonna eat later. ahah. 

Mom you need to get me the information so I can take the Spanish tests here in the mission! But all is well here. 

Sounds like everyone is doing great. I miss you guys. Oh and dad you never sent me the picture of your new car!

Things are normal here, not too many crazy stories, just hard to find people who are willing to progress but I’m working hard and having fun. How many days will we be in Utah for???

Love, Elder Latimer

February 1, 2016

HELLO! First off, dad, you should totally do the lip sync to the napoleon dynamite song. I feel like that was an inspired idea from The Lord. 

This week was pretty normal, we actually worked a decent amount in our area so that’s fun. We did lots of divisions. I got to go back to my last area in Nuevo Culiacan and visit a lot of people. It was great because I found out the family that we found and taught and put baptismal dates with is getting baptized on Feb 12th! So I’m stoked for that, and another investigator we had who couldn’t get baptized because he needed to get divorced and married first, is finally getting baptized! So I’m pretty stoked!

I got to work with E. Tapia (my old comp) in my area when we did divisions, it was great being with him again. He’s a great guy. Yubal didn’t get baptized. He received his answer to know if the BOM is true, and he says without a doubt he knows it’s true. But he wants to wait for his wife so they can get baptized together. So keep praying!

There’s so much stuff to tell and I don’t have a whole lot of time. It’s great working with President. You learn a lot of stuff. It was really exhausting this week but we’re finding new people. I got depressed today because we went to go eat a special sushi that weighs like 3 pounds and is the size of my forearm. But it was closed... hopefully next week.

Also I don’t know if I told you but the Virgin Guadalupe appeared in our breakfast last week. It was a miracle. I’ll send you a picture of it right now. 

Seeing the schedule, I think I’d like to go to go to conference. It’s tough cuz I feel like I’d want to stay home and see Ryan and everything, but it’ll only be 2 days so I’m fine with it, plus it gives me time to see him for 2 or 3 days.

That’s awesome that Joe is finishing his papers! I have to be there when he opens them!!!

Also today the Elders got locked out of their apartment so we stole a huge ladder from the top of the building and brought it down and climbed in through the window to unlock it! It was sweet. I felt like Tom Cruise! Also I cut an elder’s hair to day, and I was using the clippers and I touched his hair on top of his head with my finger and said "ELDER!! NO IM SO SORRY BUT WE CAN COVER IT UP" 

He freaked out and didn’t know what to do it was great. Also we played soccer today and I accidently hit him in the spot. Then when he was recovering I kicked the ball really hard at the wall and it came back in hit him again! ahah poor guy! He was doubled over for a few minutes while we died of laughter. Things are great here, thanks for all the support!

Also you’re killing me little by little every time you write me and ask me about coming home and making plans etc. but it’s okay! I keep working hard!

Also President said I could take the Spanish test here in the mission!!!!! So send me the info I need to take it!!!

Love you guys. Have a great week!

E. Latimer

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