Sunday, April 23, 2017

April 17, 2017

I am doing good today, my stomach is messed up from something i ate yesterday i think. the heat isnt great, but theres nothing you can do. i do indeed have enough short sleeve shirts, my stretchy ones are a little smaller now, im getting fat from all this stinking rice and torillas. we dont really do any service ever which drives me crazy, i want to get my hands dirty and do stuff. its going fairly quick, the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days, its wild. its fun for the most part. the drunk people dont like us because were both american. I am getting to know the ward a lot better. Our mission leader is so cool and way solid. my spanish is functional, i think i have about maxed out for having a white companion, its like shooting yourself in the foot. i am fairly fluent, some things are still hard to say but i can say just about everything i want to. Easter?  Here it is called holy week and everyone just parties and shoots fireworks for a whole week and everyone doesnt eat meat and sunday was kinda just a ghost town, everything shuts down, all the stores and everything all weekend. they drink so much beer here it blows my mind. maria didnt come to church but we taught this guy florencio and he has some crazy stories, and we set a baptismal date in our first lesson with him, it was so cool. he seems way solid. We taught jose cruz to keep the sabbath day holy this week because his baptismal date is in like 2 weeks and he didnt come to church last week, and he doesnt have a job, he is a temp so he just goes whenever someone calls him with work, and last sunday he didnt have any food or any money and he got a call for a job so he went instead of coming to church, and elder stubbs was slamming him for it and i wasnt backing him up because i didnt know what to say. Jose asked about the ox in the mire and asked if no food and no money counts as an ox in the mire, and elder stubbs didnt understand and i didnt have enough faith to tell him he needs to go to church in that situation, but then he didnt come yesterday either. the book of mormon is written specifically for us. help them understand that. tell them to pray for a desire to read it (This last few sentences were written in response to what I should teach the young women about the importance of the Book of Mormon.)
Also this week, someone threw rocks at us from who knows where, they were hiding in the trees or something and it hit me in the head and it hurt, but i pretended like it didnt because i didnt want them to know they hit me. Also, i got a plant like 5 weeks ago and I put it in a planter outside our door and we named it abraham lincoln, or Abe for short, I watered him every day, and then this week someone stole him. I was so mad. Who steals a plant?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

April 10, 2017

Hey momma, whats kickin? This week was pretty wild. sometimes the ants get in my azucaritas (that means little suggaries, advertising is different here, theyre like frosted flakes) which isnt a big deal, but the lizards are getting wise around here, and on thursday i went to pour myself some azucaritas and a lizard was in my bowl of milk, it was very sad. we taught some good lessons, jose cruz decided he wants to get baptized so that was pretty neat. Well see if he goes through. Maria went to church again this week which was way super awesome because we have been working with her forever, and the missionaries before us for almost 2 years. We still walk a lot. today we went to cerra de la cruz again and elder martinez led us through the jungle and we got lost again, he calls it extreme p day. the ward mission leader is way awesome and today we went to his house and ate pozole. idk what else happened, nothing really. Im doing good. im always way hungry at healthy and getting swole from my half hour workout everymorning, i can do like 7 pushups now. I studied the allegory of the olive trree some more and read jesus the christ. we have this new investigator named karin and she has crazy ideas about religion, but everything she knows about religion she has just decided through logic, im excited to help her find the truth because she has tons of questions. in spanish cielo means heaven and sky, and she wants to know where in the sky god is, which is hard to answer. well see how it goes this week. were going to tepic this week for divisions wiht the APs, im not sure why. i think they think were disobedient because so much crazy stuff keeps happening to us (not really). we had some good lessons. my interview was good, we saw a kid that was like 9 trying to fight off a 17 year old, the kid had rocks in each hand trying to defend himself and i told the other kid to get out of here, because the little kid had some gnarly bruises on his ribs, it looked like he got kicked by a horse or something. and elder stubbs said we arent sposed toi get in the middle of stuff like that, so i asked president and president told me im not allowed to. which is stupid. we also got stopped by state police (here they put big turret guns in their trucks, theyre the people who mean business) and they talked to us and were way nice, but they all had their big guns out and were searching the hillside, so we left.
Heres some pics that really capture the ambiance of our room with mosquito nets and christmas lights. the other ones were when we got lost last week

April 3, 2017

 not a ton happened this week. we walked a lot and taught some. we had these investigators that we had to drop because they never came to church, we dropped em at the beginning of last week and then they showed up at conference yesterday which was way cool, the second talk of the afternboon session was talking directly to them..  i think things should start picking up here but who knows, i dont have tons to tell. On tuesday we rewatched the transition from when they changed the schedule so that was neat. i learned a lot more. i feel like in the mtc you dont even know what youre preparing for, if you sent me back to the mtc and told ne the same stuff i would learn so much more now. we are teaching english class so that was fun, we had 2 days this week where every single one of our citas fell, so that was frustrating. appointments i mean. there is this old guy that lives here and has lived here for 50 years and is a recent convert that helps us a lot, we are going to have him introduce us to his friends because he literally knows everyone. we decided he is the key to missionary work. conference was neat. thats about it. On friday and tuesday we had every single one of our citas fall, which was 10. 10 appointments fell. what thet heck. it was lame.  we got way lost in the jungle today and walked like 8 miles, that was fun, we were with our district leader. 

March 27, 2017

Hey momma, this week was wild. We hadnt had any new investigators in two weeks, and the week before that we had 2, so that was lame. We spent most the days walking around, looking through names on the ward list and the old investigators list, which isnt the funnest because its really hot here. so on friday after food elder stubbs said we should fast, he said he had never fasted besides fast sunday before on his mission because it is kinda discouraged because it is really hard to be a missionary without food and water, but we did it and prayed to find people. Saturday we got 4 new investigators, in one day, it was so awesome. Then sunday we got another one, and we asked if anyone else was home, and he said his daughter was but she wouldnt want to listen, then half way through our lesson she came and stuck her head around the corner and saw us so she came down and sat at the table with us and listened. it was so awesome, we got 6 new investigators in two days. That was way neat. but on sunday 0 of our investigators went to church which kind of sucked, but there were like 40 or 50 white people there because its sprinkbreakerthon around here right now. i dont really remember what else happened, elder stubbs left a pan of rice on the counter all week so it got way moldy and he didnt want to clean it so he just through it away, and he trhough away our only lid, which i didnt notice but im not thrilled about. I finished the book of mormon and am in 2nd nephi again. i also read the book "our search for happiness" be m russel ballard this week, thats pretty sweet. i also realized how much faith ishmael had in the book of mormon, four teenage kids came and told him to leave with his family and leave all his stuff to go into the wilderness for...ever, thats a lot of stinking faith, but nobody really ever notices that guy. not much happened this week

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March 20, 2017

Hey momma, whats going on. thanks for all teh updates. I got the package and the food is all super delicious, thanks so much. it was in decent shape. We had our follow up in guaDALAJARA and saw how are training is going and trained us some more. it was suuuuper good, our president is the man. we slept on cardboard so that was luxurious. i havent put up the mosquito net, we had to but a bunch of health stuff for a first aid kid type thing and now i am super poor, so i cant afford tape to put up a mosquito net, i have 200 pesos to live off until the end of the month, hopefully i can learn how to budget because that is like 10 dollars. i have a decent amount of bug bites, they get me in my sleep. the sun is hot, but i havent gotten too burned, theres a lot of shade in our area which is nice. i dont take any health pills. my allergies are fine but i got a head cold this week. we have a couple good investigators. the ward is way nice but i still dont know them super well, plus the ward is ginormous so its hard to get around everywhere. elder jimenez was fun. yesterday we ate with a guy that lived in fernley and knows english fluently and he knows things that dont translate the same from english to spanish and he taught me a ton. i wrote a whole page of notes. i really wish someone had told me some of that stuff 12 weeks ago. ill write you a longer one in a minute, but that should answer all your questions. I love you momma. and happy birthday, sorry i was a little late, last week was rushed, what did you do for your birthday?

This week was definitely the most mexican week so far (in a good way). We went to guadalajara last monday night, and where we stayed didnt have beds but they were accommodating enough to give us cardboard to sleep on, all that did was slide across the ground when i moved during the night and woke me up, so that was neat. the owner didnt pay the water bill for our meter this week,(we think, he says its a problem with the pipes, because he has water, but whatever) so weve been out of water for a bit. the owner set out a hose though, so if we need to dishes or shower or go to the bathroom, you get the joy of going and filling a bucket. showering out of a bucket is fun. not. I ate cow tongue this week and it tasted like normal beef, but it looked like a tongue. i also ate pig brain tamales and those were way good, they wrap them in banana leaves here instead of corn husks. The people that made us the tamales also kill iguanas with a slingshot and eat them, so i got to hold an iguana at their house. (it was alive, they just caught it and let it go because they werent hungry). later on we learned killing iguanas is illegal, so shhhhh. we met with rocio a lot this week and she made us fried shrimp and it was sooo good, she works a lot, she is head chef and works from 10 am to 10 pm so we meet with her in the mornings and she usually makes us breakfast. there is a reason she is head chef. Maria and Marta didnt come to church again, and we spent all week trying to explain why they have to get baptized again, they still dont get it so its frustrating. we contacted all week long, just walking around talking to people, but that gets old. we have been really trying to be guided by the spirit while we contact. we are getting better i think. thats about it. oh, transfer calls were last night, me and elder stubbs are staying together. we also played this game at our follow ups with all the new missionaries and their companions and all the office missionaries so it was like 40 people and i thought it was going to be on the busquejos but it was actually on the reference questions, so i hadnt studied them a single time. they narrowed it down and so everyone got out slowly and everyone was crowded around to watch, then when it got to the final four hermana clayton (presidents wife) made the people clear out so she could see, and elder stubbs is short so he couldnt see who was still in, and when he saw i was still in he was dancing around and freaking out because he knew we hadnt studied them a single time, but i kinda just learned them as the game went and ended up winning 1st, it was so funny, elder stubbs was dying. and then on my trophy paper for winning my name was spelled wrong, i was so mad. but that was fun.

March 13, 20017

So this week was madness. tuesday we went from district class straight to divisions, and for divisions i went to a little pueblo called las varas up in nayarit with elder jimenez. we got to the house and nobody has lived there for a while, and the windows dont have glass or screens, so the pidgeons decided to live there. when they were flying around it knocked all the papers and everything everywhere, and then they pooped all over everything. we dropped our stuff off and went to work. the mattress were way nasty and there werent any sheets or blankets or pillows, but i layed down for a second and then woke up in the morning. oops. i was expecting to be exactly obedient and go by the schedule and do all our studies since i was on divisions with the zone leader, but instead we just cleaned up pidgeon poop all morning. i walked around on the roofs until i could find a couple stray nails and i used a brick to pound them into the cement to hang a poster over our window so the birds cant come in anymore. we didnt get back to our area in vallarta until 8 that night, wednesday was normal. thursday we had to leave at like 7:30 to go the district leaders house and we spent the night there which was fun. in the morning we got up at 4:30 to get to the bus stop because we chartered a bus to Tepic for our zone, but the bus never showed up, so we had to take a city bus to the central and all buy bus tickets to tepic. then we had a health conference in tepic and they gave us mosquito nets because i guess dengue is breaking out in some places. then we didnt get back to vallarta until 11:30 that night, and we slept in coapinole with the district leaders again because it was 11:30 and our area is an hour more south. so saturday morning we went back to our area and did some stuff, sunday was good, then this morning we were working out at like 11:00 and someone called us and said "hey, youre leaving to guadalajara in three hours so go get packed." we havent had any time in our area lately to teach our investigators, which drives me crazy, and we are going to be in guadaljara until wednesday. so that was my crazy week. hopefully this week we can teach some people and get some people at church. we have a kid that we tracted into, his mom is in jail and his dad works almost always so he never sees him, but his grandma is a member and i think were going to baptize him, hes been to church 3 times. we had a couple other investigators at church, and on monday we had FHE with a less active family and then they came to church so that was way awesome.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

March 6, 2017

I wanted to bear my testimony but their wasnt time. lots of people bore their testimonies which was good, we had an investigator at church, he has now been 7 times but he doesnt think he is worthy yet, the mother of his kids hangs around and is bad news and i think he is trying to stop drinking. The teaching is going alright, nobody is progressing much, and we are having a hard time finding people. we have about 8. I am reading the book of mormon every transfer, i read as much as i can when we get home at night so that i can study other stuff during study time, i am learning about how to recognize the spirit, and just getting to know the book of mormon. its pretty much my only entertainment around here. we are in a ward, it is an hour and a half across our area in a bus, and their is another little pueblo in our area about 2 hours away in the jungle, we might go their some time, im not sure, we heard the luz del mundo is snatching em up. look up that church, idk what it is but it is way popular and wayyyy apostate. some stake president said he had personal revelation that he was supposed to be the prophet, and he told the church that and they said none of them had that revelation so he started his own church. their baptismal font is outside the temple and its on the back of 12 oxen. they have a temple here. we want to go out their and teach people the truth before they get into the wrong stuff, because this church is way contentions. me and elder stubbs are buds now, we got to know each other a lot, i still kind of want a latino companion, it would just help me so much to learn more spanish. you should look up a list of spanish words i can memorize because i already memorized the whole book that they gave us in the MTC. we went on divisions this week with the district leaders in their area and people are also way nicer when you are with a latino. this week we have to go to guadalajara which is 5 hours away and tepic which is 4 hours away, so that will be a lot of long bus rides. this last week we ate with a member that has a vacation home here and is american and we went to this suuuper nice restaurant overlooking the ocean. she brought her friend, he was 86 and from england, he told us about growing up in the bomb raids during world war two, and he was a spy for MI:6 in austria and russia during the cuban missile crisis, apparently england cared about that too. it was pretty cool. not that much crazy stuff happened this week, just the normal crazy that happens in mexico. One night while i was on the phone with our district leaders giving the report i saw a spider on my sleeve, and so i was trying to shoo it off of me and it ran up me sleeve into my shirt, it was super scary, i freaked out a bit. One night we got home and there was a note on our door from one of our investigators saying she wanted us to stop by, and the day before her 4year old son had stabbed someone in the eye at school so we thought it was going to be something about her having to pay a lot. we get there and her boyfriend that doesnt really like us answered the door and said "please give her something good tonight, shes crazy". so then she came out and was telling us how she thinks hes gay. she said she has caught him cheating 3 times and she has forgiven him but she cant have him being gay, cuz thats a sin. She proceeded to explain that he was out with the gays doing cocaine all night and all morning, and "what else would he be doing with they gays" (but in spanish). She doesnt want him being gay cuz thats dirty and could get her and her kids sick. She asked me what she should do and i couldnt find words. Elder stubbs handled it well, he said that he didnt care if it was gay straight or whatever, if someone cheated on him they could have a good life because he would leave them. I had no idea what to say. He said it was the weirdest situation of his mission. it is kind of bad because we want to teach her, but we arent her counselors. and her husband doesnt really like us anyways.  I love you.

the Chat:
I asked him what the most difficult and easiest part of missions were, and when he felt the spirit this week.
"it is easy to sleep, hard to do just about everything else, we walk up a lot of hills which is hard. probably harder than expected. waking up is hard. it was cool when one of our investigors said she knows the church is true because of us, the spirit just hit me really hard letting me know the church is true,because if two fools that dont speak the language can show someone its true than it has to be, right?"

Received this on Sunday March 5th:
Koenig family-

My sisters and I are here in Puerto Vallarta on vacation. We had the chance to quickly meet your son at church and wanted to send you a quick picture. He seems happy and is being trained by Elder Stubbs from Provo Utah. He already had some serious Spanish skills for just entering the field!

Happy Sunday!

Kind Regards,
Kate Barlow