Hey everyone! :)
So here we are, hanging out in the cyber, listening to Journey and writing our letters. Haha. It's quite the experience. The walls are covered with posters of High School Musical, the Jonas Brothers, and Smallville. Miranda would be jealous. :)
I can't believe I've already been here two weeks! That seems just incredible to me. It really doesn't feel like that much time has already passed. I also figured out the other day that I had just finished the first tenth of my mission. Think about that - one-tenth of the way done! That's a little sad, because it makes time seem like it's passing really fast, and I love being on a mission.
This week has been amazing. Some ups and downs, but lots of fun. We're still preparing Benjamin - I think I mentioned him last week, but maybe not by name. He's 17 and his baptismal date is for this Saturday. He's extremely ready and excited for it. We've talked to him about serving a mission and receiving the priesthood (not in that order) and he said he's excited for both of them, which is really neat. Assuming all goes well - and I see no reason why it won't - he'll be baptized and confirmed this weekend. We're teaching another family - Maria, the mom, and her son Francisco - and we were planning to set a baptismal date for them this week, because they're really strong even after only the first lesson, but we never actually managed to talk to them. Maria has cancer, and from what I understand (and can see) it's pretty tough. She's no longer taking any treatment, just medication for the pain, and it honestly seems like death is right around the corner. The three or four times we tried to visit this week, she was sleeping, and since she has such a hard time sleeping, we didn't want to wake her. With her sickness, it's really hard for her to get around, so she hasn't come to church yet. We're trying to get some members to help us with that so that she can progress. Her son Francisco is 14 and he's just like his mom - open, eager, and receptive. We're going to focus on them this week and hopefully make that happen soon.
The sisters who were here before us left us a couple of investigator families that at the time seemed pretty good, but turns out... not so much. We have another family we're going to visit that might be pretty close to baptism, but otherwise, we're starting from scratch and building up our teaching pool. Which is still fine - there are a lot of humble people here, and we've had some really good contacts that will hopefully keep listening to us. I'll keep you posted as time goes on.
There was a little bit of a downer this week, and that's that I've been sick. I've debated whether or not I should mention it, for Mom's sake :), but it's really no big deal and I'm almost better now, so what the heck. Around Wednesday or Thursday I started feeling really weak, dizzy, headache, that sort of thing. On Friday I had a fever and some nausea and such as well. Also, I developed this weird rash on both arms - like thousands of tiny tiny mosquito bites. All of that together was a little worrisome, so we called the mission doctor and then on Saturday went to see a doctor here in the Stake with the Bishop of our ward.
He said it's most likely dengue fever. It's something caused by mosquitos and is pretty common in Tuxtla right now. It's not serious or anything. He gave me medication and stuff to drink. So far it's been working. I'm at maybe 80% capacity today and still getting better, so nothing to worry about, everything's perfectly fine :) - it just meant that we couldn't work Saturday or yesterday, which was kind of sad. At least I got a lot of studying done. Anyway, that's that. Again, don't worry, I'm doing great.
It's awesome that you could pull up my street and stuff. To answer's Mom's questions, neither the temple nor the mission home are in my area - where we live is right at the northwest tip of our area. And, sadly, we don't get to go to the temple until the end of our missions. We're here to do work for the living, not for the dead, apparently. Who knew? :)
I was going to try to send some pictures today - but it looks like this computer doesn't have the right setup. I have a cord that will work with my camera. For sure I'll figure something out for next week and send some home.
Our days are pretty fun! We're up at 6:30, take a nice frozen shower and get dressed, eat breakfast (so far it's been eggs or Frosted Flakes), and study until 11 - then we hit the streets. Most of the time we have appointments with people. If not, we contact or look up references and such. I like contacting a lot, but I love teaching people. It's a lot of fun and always a powerful experience. Around 2 we head to the house of one of the sisters in the ward. They have a schedule for making sure we're fed. We eat lots of chicken, rice, beans, tortillas, vegetables and fruits... those are basically the staples here in the city. So far it's been really great - only a couple things were a little so-so; most of the food is really tasty. We drink lots of juice and lots of soda... and water too, of course. You can't drink the tap water, but they sell 5-gallon jugs of purified water for less that 50 cents, so no big deal. I'm liking the food a lot so far.
The last couple of days have been interesting for the weather. It's been overcast, rainy, windy, and - dare I say cold? Not really cold, but not hot by any means. I love it. :) It's still humid, but not as bad. It's not even terrible when it's hot either. So far so good. (80's)
I'm sorry to hear about Granny Bown - tell her I hope she feels better and I'll be praying for her. And thanks, Mom, for telling me all about Halloween. That sounds like a blast. I'd like to see pictures of everyone's costumes and everything.
Dad, in some ways it does seem like another world, but it's very similar to South America, and even to the UK in many ways. After these two weeks, I feel right at home. Nothing so far has been too strange. I liked what you said about 1 John 4. I actually read that recently; I was studying conference talks about love and related scriptures. I really like that chapter, and everything you said about it - perfect.
I don't have a ton of time left right now - there were some issues with the computer and stuff - but I wanted to mention that I was reading in Mosiah chapter 7, and I really like what king Limhi says. I don't remember the verse, but he talks about how they are soon to be saved by the Nephites after a long time of struggling in vain. Then he adds, I think there will yet be a good fight to be had before then. Something like that. I saw that as a parallel to our day, and also to the struggle we all have with sin. We could fight forever and accomplish nothing without Christ. But even when we are assured in Christ and trust in Him, there is still fighting to be done. I could go into it more, but I hope you get the idea.
My comp said he didn't know about being related to Andrew Skinner - he asked his parents though, so we'll find out. I wish, again, I could comment more on everything - next week for sure. I'll come better prepared. :)
Mom, Dad, Miranda, Gabbie, Reagan, Nikka. I love you very much. I'm having a blast our here and working hard, but I'm always thinking of you and praying for you. Hope things are going well and I hope to hear from you next week and hear about everything you've all been doing. I love you!