Thursday, September 21, 2017

Hello everybody!

Sorry that I have kind of slacked on the emails. I haven't had much time lately. We had transfers last week and I stayed here in hidalgo and My new companion is Elder Vargas. He is from Tijuana and is awesome. He is kind of crazy and it has been a pretty fun first week together.

From what my parents tell me, the earthquake that hit us down here has been a big part of the news back home, as well as the hurricanes in Florida and Texas. I'm sure you would all like to hear some pretty cool story from me being in the earthquake, but I slept right through it. I had no idea there was even an earthquake until I woke up and the phone had a bunch of texts wondering if we were okay. The other missionaries in our ward that live across the street felt everything and ran out into the street for safety, but my comp and I slept like rocks through the whole thing.

We have had a really great couple of weeks here. We are working with some really great people and have some good baptisms planned soon. In specific, we are working with a really great family. They have 3 boys and the mom and dad. They all come to church every week except the mom because she works. We are trying to figure out a solution for her to be able to come to church with the rest of the family. They are really great and have a goal to be sealed in the temple.

We are also working with a guy named Oliver. He is 20 years old and is the only one in his family who is not baptized. He is struggling with drinking and smoking and is really trying to stop. He has made a lot of progress in the past couple of months and hopefully he can make his goal of being baptized on the 7th.

I don't know if all of you remember Juan Carlos from my old area in Espartaco? He was the old guy who I met by playing basketball with him in the street and he also painted me a picture of a turtle playing soccer. Well, the missionaries from that area let me know that he was finally baptized last week! I was super excited to hear about him. When I met him he was smoking 14 cigarettes a day and was one of the most Catholic people I know. That was just a little testimony to me of how anybody can change and apply the atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that Christ lives and guides his church today, and there is nothing that he can't help us do.

Have a great week!

Elder May






Tuesday, August 29, 2017

First off, Lucy and Wendy were baptized on Saturday! We were pretty excited for them. It was a really neat experience and they were pretty excited. I had the opportunity to baptize the daughter, Wendy. Me and her are pretty good friends. They kind of scared us a little bit because they didn't show up to sacrament meeting until right before the sacrament. We didn't really know what we would have done if they never showed up. But they were confirmed and are officially members of the Church.

We have been working with an investigator named Hector. He is 13 and he is awesome. He is just kind of a quiet guy but he reads everything and he just gets it. After our last lesson I was about to leave a chapter from the book of mormon to ready until our next visit. Right before I told him what it was, his uncle (who is less-active) threw him under the bus and said "you know what? we both need to be better at reading. How about we ready the whole first book of Nephi before the next appointment" (which would be in one week). I thought it seemed a little crazy because we usually leave only one or two chapters at the most. However, Hector accepted it no problem. Yesterday we saw him again and asked him how his reading was going and he basically told us everything that happens in First Nephi. Needless to say I think he did his reading. We are still working on helping him come to church. His dad doesn't really like the idea of him coming to church but we are working on it.

We have also started giving English classes every tuesday and even teach english in some lessons one-on-one with investigators who can't came on tuesdays. I didn't know that so many people would be willing to learn english. I don't even know how to teach English but they like it so we keep doing it. We basically just throw some words on the whiteboard and have them write sentences with the words. It is a fun time.

I really love my new area. It is very humble and very exciting. I don't have time to tell you all the little details and stories that happen every day but there are very many. I feel so blessed to be in this area and in this mission. It is crazy to me how fast time is going, it really just needs to slow down.


--
Elder May

cathedral in coyoacán

I bought a poncho

I slept in an uncomfortable hammock 

Lucy and Wendy's baptism

the area

Elders of Hidalgo​​

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Hello everybody!

Once again we have had another great week in Los Hornos. For those of you who don't know what Los Hornos means, it means "the ovens". I feel like our area is appropriately named because it is so hot here. We are up in the mountains and the sun just beats on us all day. However, every now and then we get a random rainstorm. It isn't just a few drops either, the streets basically turn into rivers and no matter what we do, we always get soaked. It is fun though.

We went on exchanges with the zone leaders the other day and that was a great experience. I went with Elder Santos. Their area is pretty big so we had to take some busses to get around. I've mentioned a little bit how crazy the buses are here, but I have basically gotten used to it by now. A lot of times people will just hop on the bus and play their guitar or something for a few minutes and try to earn some money and then later hope off. Or they might try to sell candies or something. It is pretty common. However, on this particular day a clown got on the bus. If any of you know me well enough, you might now how much I don't like clowns. They are just weird to me. But this clown came on and started telling jokes and being weird and everything and I was just dreading because I knew he was going to say something to me. I stick out like an elephant in the room wherever I go and people love to harrass us "güeros"... Anyways, this clown started talking to me and saying some jokes about the USA and then started speaking some english to me and everyone was just laughing and watching to see what I would do. I Didn't respond and just looked at him and eventually said (in spanish) "sorry I don't understand english. I am from Russia" and everyone just stopped laughing and turned around as if I had ruined the whole thing. The clown just said sorry and went on his way harrassing the rest of the people. I guess sounding like a russian comes in handy sometimes.

We had some really good lessons this week. We are working with a man named Javier. He is in his 50's and has a wife and 3 kids. There is a drug here that is really popular called monia. It is basically just fingernail polish with some weird chemicals in it. Well, Javier has been addicted to monia for about 30 years and is now going on 8 days without his monia. We had him write down on a piece of paper the reasons he wants to stop drugging. He wrote down a lot about his family. He really wants his wife and kids to respect him. He told us a few days ago that he was at a party with his friends and they all started drinking and pulling out the monia and he told us he was about to join them but he remembered his goal and is still going strong. It is really hard for him but I have no doubts that he can do it. you guys should all keep Javier in your prayers.

We were also looking through the area book and thought we would go visit some old investigators. We visited a mom named Elivia and her son, Jesus, aged 15. The mom told us that she had just quite her job on sunday so she could start going to church again and bring her family. Jesus said that he wants to be baptized so that he can go on a mission. He really wants to go to Japan, and speaks a little japanese. They are both really awesome and very faithful. They also have a pet pirrhana that is HUGE and they told me one day I could feed it a live fish to watch how it eats. I am pretty excited for that day.

I love being a missionary here. Every day is full of new experiences that are changing who I am as a person. I am learned what it is like to serve and love people as the savior served them. We are currently teaching a lady named Xochitl. She works just about all day every day so the only time we can teach here is at 7:00 am every tuesday. she lives more towards the back of our area so we have to leave at about 6:25 am to get to her house on time. She is awesome too. I wish I had more time to tell you all about the amazing people I meet here every day. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers, have a great week!


--
Elder May

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

First things first.... Lucy got married! I honestly wasn't so sure it was going to happen. She changed her mind about 3 times just this week about wanting to get married. I was the one planning it and setting up the appointment with the Judge and everything and I didn't really know what I was doing. She seemed pretty unsure about it. I don't blame her though, I was pretty confused about the whole thing, but we got it done. I know how to plan a wedding now so the next time it will be a breeze.. I hope. We had to go out of the mission and into a completely different state of Mexico to do it. The judge we went with helps the missionaries a lot and it is a lot easier to go to him apparently. It was a pretty fun trip though. We went in the metro (subway), buses, and even moto-taxis (motorcycle taxi). When we got to the judge's office, we still had to wait about 3 hours. It was pretty long and boring. They are officially married though and should be getting baptized this week!

That was about the biggest thing that happened here this week. This area has been a little harder to find new investigators just because of how the people live up here. We really have to work with the members a lot more to find people to teach. The members here are really good though and give us referrals quite often.

Aside from all of that, it has been a little bit of a drier week here. I have  been studying charity a lot lately. As a missionary, Charity is one of the biggest things that helps you in the mission. For me it is really easy to get frustrated when people don't keep their commitments we leave them. We have heard all of the excuses and I have to hold myself back from calling them out on there excuses. Needless to say, that is why I have been studying charity lately. I found a quite by President Monson that I really liked. It said "Charity, like Faith, requires action." We teach people a lot that to have effective faith, we need to act. But it wasn't until I read that quote that I had thought about charity in that sense as well. We have to work towards charity and exercise it, just like our faith. As we give to others and really focus on showing that Christ-like love, eventually it will become part of our nature as well. In moroni 7:48 it says that we should pray with all of the energy of our heart that we might be filled with this love, because if we don't have charity, we are nothing (something like that, I don't remember the wording in english). We are all representatives of Jesus Christ. We all take his name upon us when we are baptized. If we represent Jesus Christ, I think the best way to do that is to have charity and be kind to people. Christ was the perfect example and teacher of charity. I hope and pray that each of us can be a little more loving towards one another. In my mission I have really been able to see the difference it makes in some of these peoples lives when they feel like someone cares about them. I know Charity makes a difference in each of our lives regardless of our circumstance. Have a great week!

Elder May


Making Tortillas

Making Salsa

Riding in the Mototaxi

waited 3 hours in the judges office while Lucy and gerardo got married.

outside the judges office.

streets in my area

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Hello everybody, as you know I was transferred last week. My new companion is Elder Uhlig, another gringo. I like having gringo companions. My new area is in Colonia Hidalgo, and I love it here. We live in hidalgo, but really our area is up the mountain in Los Hornos. (the ovens). It is up there in the mountains a ways so we have to take a pretty steep hike every day just to even get into our area. This area is pretty poor too and it was quite a shock. Some of these people really just live behind a pile of rocks or under a blanket fort looking thing. It has been a very humbling first week here. It is pretty different than my last area but I already love it here.

There are a lot of really good investigators and met some really great people this week. We are working with an investigator named Lucy. She is trying to get married so she can get baptized and that has been a stressful time. I am basically planning the whole thing. I don't really want to get married anymore, it is a lot of work.

The members are really good here and for the first time in my mission I attended a sacrament meeting with more than 60 people. It was pretty great. There are about 200 active members and they are really great at giving us referrals. We were given two referrals last week and the both seem pretty golden and we are pretty excited about them.

I really like this area and am super excited for what this next transfer will bring. I expect to have a lot more stories for you all while I am here. Just as some background information, there are dogs literally everywhere. If you want a dog, just come to Mexico City and pick which on you want, they have all different breeds and sizes. The other day we saw a dog whose ear had somehow been torn off or something and somebody just taped it back on with skotch tape.

Have a great week!

--
Elder May
I felt like Po from kung fu panda climbing up these stairs

 the house of one of our investigators

los hornos

 Elder Uhlig and I

view of mexico city


Monday, July 31, 2017

We have had another really eventful week in this area. I learned that I have transfers today so that was really sad to hear. It was really hard to have to say goodbye to everyone yesterday. The members here are some of the greatest and most faithful members I have ever met. We had some appointments with some less active families who we have been working with and each of them gave us some food for my last day.

We had an activity for the youth in the stake that was really fun. We made a "mini MTC" for all of them. It was an all day activity and there were basically just classes that missionaries taught and the youth rated from class to class all day. My companion and I taught about goal setting and planning. It wasn't the funnest subject but we made it a good time for everyone. We had a lunch break at 1:00 and we all just got a plate full of tacos. Back home whenever there are ward parties the food is usually spaghetti or soups or something, but here it is always tacos guisados. Tacos guisados are basically just like 6 different types of tacos. They have tacos de chicharron (which is just pig skin. super gross), de mole, potatoes and sausage, rice and chicken, and beans. I like all of them except the chicharron. But anyways, everything was going good until someone stole someone else's phone. So us missionaries had to line up everyone and pat them down to try to find it. It took about 2 hours and we never did find the phone. It was kind of a weird twist to the "mini MTC".

We also met with a family of investigators and had a pretty good lesson with them about the restoration. They are really nice and love us. They are also one of the richest families I have seen here. They wanted to give us some shrimp for lunch so we let them. They were really big shrimp and I thought it was actually pretty good. I am usually not one for seafood but I really liked it. My companion had never eaten shrimp before and didn't know how to eat them so he just ate the whole thing--legs and all. It looked pretty gross but he seemed to enjoy it. When we left and were walking down the street he all of the sudden just started to throw up all of the shrimp we ate. It was pretty nasty but funny at the same time. I didn't feel sick at all so it must have been because he ate the legs and everything with the shrimp.

I am really sad to have to say goodbye to this area. I have come to love so many people and have made so many memories. I am also very excited to get to know more people and learn more about Mexico. I know the work is the same where ever I go so I am excited to find out where the Lord needs me to serve next.

Have a great week!
--
Elder May
 the teanguis where they literally sell anything you can think of.



service with the member who fixed my teeth

shrimp

more shrimp

the bishop and his family

Miliar family. the little boy next to me gave me about 9 hugs
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

mini MTC


Friday, July 28, 2017

Well, I told you all last week that I would have more stories for you all in this letter. I was faithful to that promise and I don't know if I will have time to tell all of the things that happened to us this week.

On friday we had exchanges with the only companionship in our district. I went with Elder Grimshaw and we went to his area. Elder Grimshaw and I get along great so it is always a party when we get to go on exchanges. We had a dinner appointment with a guy who gave us T-bone steaks, grilled pineapple and pasta. It was the best thing I have tasted in my whole time here. I have really missed a good steak. They have steak here but it is like paper thin and they don't even season it at all. Its not bad but it is nothing compared to a good T-bone. We also wanted desert so we walked about 10 feet from that steak place and found a crepe stand in the street. You can seriously buy anything you want in the streets.

While I was on that exchange we taught a lesson to one of their investigators named Jose-luis. We talked about the word of wisdom and how important it is to take care of our bodies. He told us that he used to be almost obese and told us about how he lost so much weight. He told us that he ate nothing but pineapple for 6 months and lost half of his body weight. It sounded pretty effective to me so I might put it to the test one day.

We were walking down the street yesterday and a police officer walked up to us. Any of you who know my history with the police know that I do not have good luck with them. They just don't like me for some reason. I was a little nervous when he came up to us and started talking. But it turned out that he was a member from another ward and he wanted us to visit a lady who lived near by. I was pretty relieved. We met the lady and her name is Dolores. She is crazy. But she is also really funny. She has about 3 teeth in total and loves to talk. She was excited to see us and hopefully we can begin teaching her more.

We have been working with an amazing family who we met by playing soccer with their kids in the street a few weeks ago. We have invited them to church a couple times but have never come. We ended up knocking on their door one night and they told us that they had almost no money and were working to be able to help their little kids. (they have 3 kids. Giovanni is 8, sebastian is 4 and natalia is 2). They were so humble in the way they told us about their situation and I couldn't help but feel so much love for the people before. I shared with them one of my favorite scriptures in 3Ne 13:13-33 and we talked about how putting our trust in the lord will bless us more than anything we can do in our own power. It was a really spiritual lesson and what made it even better was that they all came to church yesterday! I have never been so happy to see some investigators at church before. It made me so happy because I know how much faith it must have taken them to not work yesterday. The kids all loved it at made friends and Manuel and Cecilia both said they really liked it as well. They are reading the book of mormon as a family and giovanni has his own book of mormon and has been reading on his own as well. These past few weeks we have seen so many miracles in the work and it has been amazing. I know this is the Lord's work and with his help, nothing is impossible. Have a great week!

--
Elder May

a mariachi guy let me play his accordion

the T bone steaks with Elder Grimshaw

a really good burrito shop