Sunday, July 9, 2017

July 3, 2017

Answers to your questions...Best food, we had some fried fish that were good, Elder pacheco taught me how to suck their eyes and brains out. I made arroz con leche this morning, i used 3 liters of milk, which is a lot, but it was delicious. If you sent me recipes that dont need that many ingredients, or an oven, that would be really neat. We said a prayer before we went into the abandoned building to ask if it was a good idea, and we decided it would be fine, and it was. Its really hard for the members here to get to church because it is so far away, they used to have a house of prayer, but they closed it because the church is trying to consolidate its buildings, but our attendance is a 3rd of what it used to be because people cant afford a bus to get to the church. And the bus prices this week went up 2 pesos, which is a lot. That definitely isnt going to help our attendance. We had zone conference this week and i learned a ton of awesome stuff about how we can have more faith and how we need to push ourselves harder, do more. You probably didnt listen to the right birthday song, because the one we listened to was hecka festive. This week it started to rain. A lot. Instead of being really hot, I get the pleasure of being really wet, and still really hot. Haha so this week we contacted this guy and he was outside this house up in the hills and he mentioned like 5 times that this was his house, and if we liked his house and stuff, then he invited us in, but he had a stick that was like 8 feet long and says "this is my key" he stuck it in the window to open the back door, then he runs around and lets us in, so we go in and hes telling us hes not religious, never belonged to any church or anything. but the house had santitos and the virgen all over, and we asked if he believed in the virgin, and he said no, then looked around and got flustered and said "theyre my nephews". Then we finished the lesson and left and I say, " i dont think thats his house" and elder pacheco says "not a chance". It was way funny, so then later it was night and we see a guy climbing a balcony by our house, and we get closer and see he is cutting through the bars on the window with a hacksaw, and elder pacheco says "thats his key" in reference to the first guy we met. It was so funny. Not much happened this week, we are teaching a family of 5 and thats really cool. We had a good lesson with the 18 year old daughter, she is way smart and all scientific and isnt really sure if she believes in anything, but we taught her about prayer and it was pretty powerful. We are still working on carpetas and walking a ton, we havent found anyone new to teach in a quick minute. I love you, take care, thanks for the email. I havent gotten any packages or letters yet.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

June 26, 2017

AHHHH PREGUNTAS. my first birthday in mexico was just about the same as every other day in mexico. I never got grams letters, maybe tomorrow. Things are good, im loving it, my companion is awesome. The area books will take the rest of this transfer and then some to clean up, we have to consolidate the area books from what used to be 5 areas into 1 binder. Our zone only has 2 elders the same since last transfer, so we are being way obedient and its awesome. I am reading the book of mormon, with studying wherever i am led mixed in, read some new testament and doctrine and covenants and stuff. We havent taught the girl from the restaurant yet, we go back friday so hopefully we can teach her then. We are out til 9 again which is way awesome. Elder pacheco is a machine, i am learning so much from him. For service this week, HA! we got a call that an hermana needed help moving some stuff, so we plan it like a service project, we thought she was moving houses or something, we carried a walmart bag with some tomatoes and a piece of chicken like 6 blocks, but they called us they night before and were all worried so we thought it was going to be an actual service project, that was funny i guess. What worries me most? I think you should be careful not to ask questions you dont want to know the answer to momma :) Today we hiked in the rain, We hiked this mountain and explored some abandoned buildings and it was way fun. Elder Pacheco is awesome, this transfer is going to be great with him.  I have had parasites for a little while, which isnt the greatest, but they started getting worse, so me and elder pacheco took parasite medicine, its like draino, but for your body, so we slept at the church because our house only has one bathroom. That was fun because the church has air conditioning. We can stay out til 9 now, which is nice, the days we had to be in early i mostly just slept cuz i was pretty sick. But our house is so hot it was hard to sleep. Elder Pacheco is teaching me how to bailar trompo, google trompo, theyre these mexican tops but you do tricks and have wars with them, theyre way cool. I pretty much forgot it was my birthday, which was okay. We made an AC unit this week, we got a styrofoam cooler and cut i hole in the top and stuck a fan in the whole, then we cut another hole and stuck some pvc in it, then filled the cooler with ice and stuck our faces on the pvc and felt joy, that was pretty neat. Elder pacheco is a super good missionary, he asks crazy good soul searching questions and the investigators pretty much just teach themselves the gospel, its really sweet. We had a family home evening with some investigators this week, and i sang some taylor swift with their 9 year old daughter, i think were going to baptize her, and hopefully the mom too. Elder pacheco sang in portuguese which was sweet. Here people say "working like negros" and apparently its not racist, but it cracks me up when the members say it. Elder pacheco is teaching me slang in spanish so i am teaching him slang in english and its way fun, here they dont really have slang words, jsut phrases that rhyme and are funny. Elder Pacheco is also teaching me how to make peruvian food which is neat. Yesterday we went to a family home evening and they made pizza and it was so good, it was almost like i was in america, the best pizza ive had since i got to mexico, Then as we were leaving elder pacheco told them it was my birthday and they put on the birthday song, which is pretty sweet here, its called mananitas. And that was my week. Elder pacheco is way awesome, he always says stuff in english at the best times and its so funny. This week we got super duper lost, like climbing a hill in the jungle lost, nd he says "i testify with all my heart this is not the way that the hermana told us to get to her house". peruvians have this accent where they go down in stead of up at the end of the sentence and it makes it sound gangster, Its like marcus speaking spanish honestly. ill take a video of him talking. We walked a freaking ton this week, we are cleaning out the area books and walking around looking for people that half the time the address doesnt exist. Lots of walking, and its really hot, but lots of fun.

June 19, 2017

Hey momma, things are good around here. I didnt have time to read my journal today so this email might be a little lame, but elder pacheco is way cool and is teaching me all the slang in spanish, i use it with the members and they think its really funny, to get people laughing i tell them im from yucatan and when they dont believe me i tell them im more mexican than napal, they like it. Take care of yourself. This week was good, really hot. a bunch of dumbness happened, so we have a code thing in the mission for in case someone kidnaps you or something like that, and tuesday we had district class and the district leader from the other district didnt show up. so we were all a little worried, then we get a text that says come to the house, its urgent, so we call and he answers and doesnt do his end of the code, and he says ïm locked in my room, and dont know what happened to my companion" so we get the district president and go to his house and hes hiding is his room and out the window he tells us his companion is trying to kill him, so the district president made me go in first because apparently im the biggest. i thought they were getting killed but it was all for mongol. I almost killed them both. Then we had divisions because all the leaders went to guadalajara for a training so all their compaanions and i were together and i got some parasite and was dying and the were imposing all their mexican weird beliefs about health and i wanted to kill them all. thats about it, take care momma. thanks for the email. i love you. me and elder pacheco are working a lot in the area books which i like a lot, cleaning out old stuff. and we went to a fonda which is like a restaurant, but, mexican, and you sit with strangers, its hard to explaqin, but we sat with this 17 year old girl and she prayed on the food with us and was asking us doctrine questions and were going to go visit her at her house and teach her, its going to be awesome. That was neat, idk what else.

Monday, June 19, 2017

June 13, 2017

I got the package, thanks a ton, the sourpatch kids and the twix were bomb, good call, and the jerky too, mexicans had never tasted jerky and it blew all their minds. I liked the drawing, have you been practicing? i liked that their wasnt a note on it or anything, just random scriblles. Thanks for the protein powder too, my new companion is from peru and he is swole, hopefully he teaches me his ways and the powder can help. I think so, who knows. That cambio is in the rearview so were just going to go forward with it and get back on track. This week elder ramirez asked me my favorite last name and i said sommer, so he wrote elder sommer on tape and put it on his plaque and was elder sommer, the new elder to the zone and i had to lead him and train him and he acted really stupid and it was really funny and really frustrating, but it helped a lot to get me ready to show the area to elder pacheco. This week i learned if the senora is cooking in clay pots you are about to get some crazy delicious food. We ate some bomb mole this week. This week we had a contacting activity with the other district and all the young women from the district, the young women sang and we contacted, this guy was setting up some stuff to sell and was setting up speakers, so we asked him if he could wait qa little before playing music, and he offered that we could put our hymns on his speakers, which was way neat. and after, they set up a tiangis and set up a huge dance and music in the centro, because thats how mexico works, so you couldnt hear our hymns so all the young women went out and helped us contact, it was sweet. We met this familia who seem like members, and they used to be active but they fell away because of some apostasy going on, but they were never baptized, so we have been visiting them and they are way awesdome, they already know about the church and they seem like members. they are so nice, and they have a special sun thats 5 who cant talk but he is so funny. I bought an ipoid this week, in case youre wondering why i spent 1800 pesos on my card. On friday we saw a dog fight, it was wild. We were visiting a less active and eating breakfast and we hear all this barking and squealing like someone was dying, so we went outside and this pitbull had a little terrier by the head and was shaking it like a rag doll and it was bleeding everywhere, we threw rocks at the pitbull until it dropped it but we were too late, i felt like i was on the animal planet. Also, we had some pretty wild partys this week. the mafia is doing...spring cleaning, so we have to be inside at 6, which is awful because the way the moon and the tides and the time of month and the 46th parallel, a wormhole appears in our apartment which takes us to the surface of the sun. It is so hot. But anyways, because we had to be inside at 6 some other elders came over, because being in your house that long is way boring. In our boredom elder ramirez taught me how to machete and i macheted all the hill down below our house and it looks way nice. Our colony is on a hill so the houses are all just built on top of each other and you get around on stairs, theyre called favelas, people say theyre like the favelas of brazil, i havent looked it up, cuz im not allowed, but look up favelas of brasil and i think youll get a good idea of where we live. But were at teh bottom of the favelas so theres some hill below our house and some trees, we have a little yard thing, and i macheted it real nice. Then we played baseball with the machete and almonds, but i was the only one who could hit them, and the mexicans were all way impressed with my american baseball prowess, and then i showed them how you put your forehead on a broomstick and spin to get dizzy and then race, so we did that too. Then the night of transfers some elders from the outlying pueblos came to stay the night so they would be closer to the busstation because they had to leave at 3 in the morning. And since they had to leave at 3 we had an all nighter, we played uno and they told us funny stories of their area, because pueblos are always full of apostasy. Then we playerd hide and seek in our 1 room apartment, the seeker had to close his eyes and he had a stick to get around like a blind person and to feel around for us. it was so fun. I also finished reading jesus the christ last night, so i have officially read the entire missionary library and the book of mormon 4 times since i have been out. Elder pacheco my new companion is way sweet, he is district leader and is ready to work, i cant wait. it is honestly going to be like were opening an area because we wasted so much time last transfer we dont have tons of investigators, but im excited to get working.

June 5, 2017

Yes i am still keeping a good journal. I have been praying that we can work hard and be obedient and not die. Elder Ramirez is pretty cool, he taught me how to do a rubix cube, and he taught me a lot of spanish, and he knows how to sew pretty well. Transfers are sunday, president already told elder ramirez hes leaving. This week we had interviews with president and they challenged us to read the book of mormon and mark certain topics and to pray that we can atune ourselves to heaven and pray for personal revelation, which has been going pretty awesome. They also did an accounting to make sure we are doing everything we are sposed to that they can check, like if we have memorized what we need to memorize, and studying what we should and all that nice stuff. This week we made friends with a group of like 8 kids that were walking around with boxes on their heads with eye holes and mouth holes cut out pretending to be robots, that was pretty funny. We also went to a cocodrilario with a member, thats why i emailed early in the day last week, he offered to take us, 4 missionaries and him, in a 5 seater car, perfect. oh ya, and his famliy of 5, oh ya, and the neighbor kids. We had 12 people in a 5 seater car. We took a picture of us 6 in the back seat, with all the kids in our lap, and me holding the missionary handbook open to the page that says we shouldnt let kids sit on our lap. It was an adventure for sure. I held a 4 year old crocodile, and they dont have safety rules here so i put him around my neck, ill send pictures next week. Also, some fool secretary ordered put in an order of soy mormon pass along cards for 20,000. Little did he know it was 20,000 boxes, not 20,000 cards. They dont have room to store that many boxes, they are coming out of our ears, we have so many. Needless to say that cuate is no longer a secretary. He is now serving in the middle of nowhere as the branch president. After district class we made brownies and they were so good, and we had eggs left over so we played catch with them, they ended up all over everywhere but it was fun. Also, one day this week we were walking for a billion hours and we were tired so we sat down at a busstop and then elder ramirez sarcastically set out some pamphlets like the jehovahs witnesses do, and then we started giving them out and talking to people at the busstop, and contacting people in the cars at the red lights, it started as a joke but we got some good contacts and it was actually way fun. Our branch here in manzanillo is pretty rough, nobody comes, and nobody plays the piano, so the hymns are dry and nobody sings, and me and elder ramirez rotate giving talks every other week because nobody ever comes, but they always call elder ramirez to lead the music and me and him and Hno Pelayo are the only ones singing and i always break off halfway through because im dying laughing. Hno Pelayo is like 1000 years old. He lived in open union  with his wife for like 60 years, and they both went through the temple and everything, and have a bunch of kids that are strong in the church, but his wife died and everyone thinks they are sealed, but they were never legally married so they could never get sealed, and since the arent legally married he cant get married to her in the temple, but when you ask him how he is he says "not dead yet" which is pretty sad. BUT he doesnt really have vocal chords and so when he talks its like a wheeze, and when him me and elder ramirez are the only ones singing, its fairly comical. Also, we went and ate with this lady that has parrots and the parrot went on my head. I dont really have much else to say, let me know whats going on. Also, from now on, if you want to send me anything, this is the address of the offices, they have been having problems. 
Volcan Vesubio 5106
Col. El colli Urbano            ¾¾® Este SI!! :D
Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico
C.P. 45070

I love you, thanks for the update, take care of dad, hes getting old.

Baylee's letter

THIngs are sketchy around here, i dont feel like writing it all out again. Ask andrew, i told him, and i told dad some. Our branch is so dead, they dont have ward council so we cant coordinate any missionary work, the food is witht he sae people every week so we dont know most of the members. the attendance is way low, if you asked me to point out the branch presidency i couldnt, in our 2 branches i know 3 of the 6 branch presidency members, and i have been here for a whole transfer. One of them that i do know kills sea turtles illegal and sells them on the black market, we ate sea turtle. which on one hand is kinda cool but on the other hand is like...ummmm.  i feel like its 2 steps forward and 3 steps back every time. With president he talked to me about how hard the area is, and how he knows its hard. Plus its gigantic so we cant cover it all.

May 29, 2017

Hey momma. The girls name is clavel, her dad isnt around, her mom is
inactive because she works a ton and is never really around, her
grandpa is our ward mission leader, she was born with something where
she cant read or write, but shes 11, but she is smart, we teach her
the lessons, and then help her teach the lessons to her 6 year old
sister which is way fun, jesus christ is jesukito and joseph smith is
santo smitt. we should probably correct them on that but its funny,
and we tell them that the pictures of families int he pamphlets we
teach with are pictures of their grandparents when they were yound,
even though theyre little white children. My spanish is coming along,
i think people know what im saying every once in a while. Me and elder
ramirez are pretty friends ish i guess haha, were get along just fine,
but we arent like best friends either. I am realizing how close i got
with elder stubbs, he was a stick in the mud and i always messed with
him to tick him off, kinda like a brother or something i guess. SOrry
i dont have more to say, ask dad

Friday, May 26, 2017

May 22, 2017

Things are good. Today we climbed cerra de la Cruz and almost died, we seriously walked probly 12 miles. That's way too much. I am doing good, having fun, we baptized a little girl this week. We don't teach a ton. My boots are like 14 billion degrees so I don't wear them, I could by new shoes if I need to. I have not gotten your package yet, if you send it fedex I can get it in a week, and there is an Germans here in Manzanillo and the missionaries send the packages to her house so we get them sooner. President is coming in a couple weeks, so we'll hope it's here by then. We don't have a ton of people to teach, but the members like us, they always give us bunches of food. Our ward mission leader is crazy. He is trying to put more rules on us. He definitely doesn't have that authority, I don't want to offend him, but like...that's not your job. You are here to help the branch and help us. I ate a habanero this week, it was pretty hot, I have been practicing eating chiles, there is a technique to it (I'm not joking). Yesterday at church this lady came and we were talking about the plan of salvation and she was all hellfire and brimstone, it was hilarious. "What other names does the plan of salvation have?" Plan of happiness, plan of redemption, PLAN OF ETERNAL PUNISHMENT. "No hermana". "The sun is the celestial kingdom", "because that is where you burn for eternity". I don't think she really got the whole "God is our loving Heavenly Father" memo. Taking time to teach less actives isn't a problem, but what makes it a problem is when the less active is the branch president. We moved houses this week which was a pain in the butt and a lot of work. Our taxi we payed to help us was a jerk, so elder Ramirez paid him and told him he could leave, before we finished, and he said he wouldn't leave and started putting our stuff in his truck and we were telling him to stop and he didn't care and got all heated and was mad at elder Ramirez. So then we called a member, and he helped us, and he sells refrigerators so we gave him our old refrigerator and then after we got all moved he made is pay him. Like what the heck? Also, there is a member that people keep trying to rob, cuz...Mexico, so we helped him make a barb wire fence on his balcony, and I knew how to do it ish because I helped Tavin build fence, so that was a fun service to work with my hands for a bit, and it was nice to show them I know how to do stuff, because I always get the vibe his wife thinks I'm an idiot because I'm a gringo. We had a baptism so that was neat. We also had divisions with the zone leaders which was really cool, I learned a lot and it was way fun. Yesterday we ate octopus and the lady sells bread and stuff so we helped her make empenadas. The dough was shortening, flour, and sugar. And she makes sugar cookies with just flour, butter and sugar. They bake simple here, and it tastes different, still good, but different. That's about all I've got this week. Take care. I love you

May 15, 2017

Thanks Momma, I dont have much to say either because i told you mostly everything yesterday, but thanks for the support and the advice. I love you,

May 8.2017

Manzanillo is pretty fun, its super hot here, and our house is always a billion degrees and when we try to turn on a fan the breaker trips and we lose our lights. I learned sleeping on the floor is less hot than sleeping on a mattress. not cool, just less hot. We are looking for a new house, the secretaries said we have to move because our house is pretty awful. We looked for a few different houses but the zone leaders havent approved anything so far. There is a whole zone in manzanillo, i think there are 7 companionships here. The branches both had about 30 in attendance. The church is about half an hour away in bus. Elder ramirez speaks a little english, not enough to really communicate though, its easier in spanish. I have learned so much stinking spanish this week, being in vallarta was like shooting myself in both feet as far as the language goes. so far we havent really had any problems. the obedience is mas o menos, we are fairly obedient, just not exactly obedient. i just picked it up. We still get up on time and study and go out and stuff, we just dont work as hard as i would like. We have a couple people we teach, and a bunch of less actives. People here are nice, they are wayyy nicer and way more open with a latino companion, and they always give us food, so thats neat. Having a mexican companion is super cool on that plain, but they all just kinda assume i dont know spanish and ignore me, so thats not my favorite, but not a big deal either, if i wanted i could interject but it doesnt really bother me. I was pretty upset actually about leaving Vallarta, i didnt say goodbye to anyone really. It made me sad when Hermana Vicky was crying. We have an anchor point thing in our house in the ceiling so i hung a rope and have been doing TRX, so i should get pretty swole here in manzanillo. I learned how to make german pancakes in the toaster in vallarta so that was cool, but here we dont have a toaster, so that kinda kills my vibe. We have this one member whose name is chavo and he is a diver and sells fish that he kills with a spear. he's super cool, he decompressed too fast so he has like hydrogen in his joints or something now, so he cant walk very well, but he still dives. Also, there are these kids, like 10 or 15 that hang out in the ocean, theres this little drop off on the side of the road where the water is deep, and if you throw in coins they all dive down and fight for them, its like feeding the ducks but more exciting. also, one day we carried a fridge up a super ginormous hill, and then we carried their old fridge down the same super ginormous hill, that was really hard. People are a lot more open to ask elder Ramirez for service, maybe because hes latino, but i love it because service is my favorite, and elder stubbs wasnt very service oriented. I will pray for Grandpa, I have been praying i get to see him again, but its not looking super likely, huh? for my birthday i want everyone of you guys to write me why/how you know the church is true, and how you came to know that. and also probly money for/ a tablet. Much love. Respond to my chat so we can plan the video call. I love you momma

May 2, 2017

Gerardo doesnt have a family, he lives in a little cabana by the river. There is a member that goes and reads with him and he think he is teaching him apostasy, but at least he reads i guess. Jose did not come to church, and maria is not a member. Rocio had a baptism date but she had to work for 2 weeks without rest so we couldnt go meet with her for 2 weeks and when we went back she had got a new boyfriend that she didnt have 2 weeks ago and they are living together now, and she decided she knows what we teach is true but she doesnt want to do what God wants her to do right now, and she acknowledges it, she told us she isnt going to do what God wants and that she is going to make bad choices. it was rough. Ya, he is from Puebla. Elder Ramirez has been here fpr 3 transfers already. I took a bus 5 hours to guadalajara and another 4 hours to manzanillo. The new house is small, you can only use 1 thing at a time or the breaker trips, we cant use the fan and have the lights on, or use the fan and iron, or iron and have the lights on, weve already tripped the breaker like 9 times, so we are moving this week which will be lame. There is a tiny kitchen and a tiny bedroom, and we study in our bedroom. Also, this weekend was dia de nino, the biggest party so far. why dont we have that in the states? im pretty sure the people here just make up reasons to party. We also met this guy Jose Luis and he is pretty cool, but speaks apostasy by the boatload. He said the reason he found us was so he could teach us the word of God...We also started teaching this kid named Chilili, he lives in Mismaloya, this little colony in Vallarta thats out in the jungle. He is 10 but he has a motor boat that he knows how to drive and tourists pay him to take them out the the arches in the ocean, he has grown up in the water here so he knows all the little secret beaches and stuff hidden in the cliffs, he makes bank, and hes 10. He showed us how he has to put his legs on the side of the boat and use his whole body to move the motor and steer the boat. Manzanillo is fun so far, we havent done much yet, we are over two branches, it should be fun.

May 1,2017

Hey Momma, transfers are this week, I am in manzanillo now, I was pretty not thrilled when i found out i was leaving because I really loved everyone there. There is this old guy named abelino, Maria's father in law, and we teach him and his wife with Maria, they arent members. But abelino has bad legs and walks up this giant hill every day to get home, the hill is so steep kids sit in plastic crates and slide down the hill, and he walks up it every day with two canes, but he is slow getting around so we went and said goodbye to them, and maria wasnt home which sucked, but i said goodbye to martha and just assumed he wasnt home and we left, and when we got to the bottom of the hill he got outside and yelled, "guerro, Dios le bendiga" from the top of the hill which is "white boy, God bless", everyone calls me guerro. But it was really awesome, seemed like a solid end. I am in Manzanillo now, its a super industrial town, its a big port of just docks and giant tankers and cargo ships, its pretty cool. my companion is Elder Ramirez, I feel like im already learning bunches more spanish. Ill let you know more whats going on tomorrow, just letting you know im alive. Also, my shaving cream was in a pressurized can and it exploded in my bag and everything is covered in shaving cream, so thats neat.

Friday, April 28, 2017

April 24, 2017

I think it was something i ate last week that made my stomach sad. and yes i did have a bump. My garments are getting small. and i can do like 60 pushups now. We didnt see jose cruz a single time this week, and he didnt come to church. Florencio lives with a member so the member helped us in our lesson this week and we taught him about the book o fmormon. he works every day but saturdayand sunday, so we dont get to teach him tons. We are teaching this guy Gerardo who is way solid and lives in a cabana, i didnt really know what a cabana was when he told me, but when i saw it i understood, its a little bamboo house he made down by the river, its rad. Awkward experience...a testigo de jehova was telling us we dont believe in God, and we didnt want to argue but we kept trying to tell her we believe in God and she was getting mad. i guess that was awkward, idk, everything is awkward. We taught a good lesson to Lupita, she is a less active with a sad life. Elder Stubbs is safe and keeps me from getting killed, like this week someone offered us a ride, and i said , sure, its hot. and elder stubbs said probly not a good idea, and i said, ya...guess not. This week was good, i read all my journals today and wrote down noteworthy stuff, so maybe my email will be better. We went to visit this inactive guy and he pretty much just hated americans. he was telling us about how terrible arizona is, but in america everyone has AC while there are people in sonora passing out in the streets from the heat. and we bombed japan and germany in world war 2 and that was bad, and when the english came in colonial times they killed all the indians instead of mixing with them, he was crazy. and the reason he fell away and doesnt read the book of mormon is because the names are all in english...?¿?¿? i dont even know. Also, in english class this week we taught everyone how to sing I am a child of God in english and they were so terrible i had to try really hard not to laugh but it was super cool too. afterwards a member with a really nice truck and a really nice sounds system and he only had one seat in his truck so me and elder stubbs were all smashed in and the member starts playing "i dont f with you" by big sean on full blast, and it was so loud he couldnt hear us telling him to turn it off, i wouldnt suggest looking up that song, just know it says more swear words than other words it was so bad but so funny. Also, one day we were in the colonia de carton (cardboard colony) its out in nowhere, its not even on the map, and we met this family and they offered to show us a shortcut to bugambilias, another colony, so we went with them. we were just scaling straight rock, the path they took us was overthis rocky pass that looked like thunder mountain in disneyland, and the wife got tired so the husband just left her at the top and went down with his kids. On divisions me and elder shehee went and did service with that family, i hope we can start teaching them. We also met another crazy guy that talked about how michael jackson and john lenon sold their souls to the devil and how the catholic bible says syria is going to get destroyed like sodom and gummorah, and tons of other crazy stuff, like how if you fold the 5 dollar bill a certain way it has donald trumps face with the iluminati eye, it was weird, and he wouldnt let us leave forever. another crazy guy told us he knows more about the book of mormon than me and elder shehee combined, and that he was atheist, and i invited him to pray and he told us he prays to the devil, and i asked him how he is an atheist if he believes in the devil, because if there is a devil their is a God, then he got mad so we left. Now time for the cool spiritual stuff, so we have an investigator and her grandpa moved in with them, and whenever we pass by he just yells "im catholic", from the couch no matter what. "excuse me, is sara home?" "WERE CATHOLIC", so after like 3 times of that we prayed he would have a softer heart and he came out to talk to us, which was a first, and he was nice and told us we could go back another day. Then, we were taught by an investigator that jumping the border is like conversion, you hop the fence and run through the desert in the dark, trying not to get bit by snakes,and then when you see the lights of the highway you know you are close, you just have to get to the highway where they have someone to pick you up. its like runnng through the dark with sin looking for the true church, and the true church is the highway. that was a nice new perspective. Also, Maria came to church for the 4th time this week, General conference straight changed her heart. Its so cool, we are also teaching her in laws but they arent quite ready, but her niece is always running around in with all 500 of the other kids that lives there. but i guess she has been listening, she is only 7, but when her uncle that raised her gets too drunk to function she sits with him and reads him the book of mormon to try to help, if baptismal dates right now, which is crazy awesome.

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