Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Nick didn't have a lot to write this week because we talked to him for awhile on Christmas.  It seems like a lot of Mexico, at least where he is at, have gone on vacation.   It makes it hard to teach people when they aren't a lot of people around to teach.  He wanted me to  just write about our conversation with him for his email this week.  I asked him to at least send some sort of thought.  The below email is what he sent.  We were able to Skype with Nick on Christmas.  It was great to hear him and see him.   Christmas Eve was spent with a member and later on Christmas Day, he was going to another members home.  He bore his testimony to us, in Spanish and sounds great.  He struggled to remember words in English, so I guess the language is no longer a barrier.  He is starting to have a little bit of an accent.  Hopefully, in 19 more months, he won't lose how to speak in English, ha ha  He looked well and told us he had even gained weight.  It didn't look like it, but he seemed healthy to us.  Thanks to everyone who has sent greetings to him.  He might not get them for a few weeks.  

First, Merry Christmas and Happy New Yea,r everyone. It's weird that it's already 2014, the days are going faster and faster, I swear. 

This week, we really didn't have a whole lot of stuff. Everyone's left here and gone on vacations to the beach or something. 

But I guess the thought for this week is this. With  a new year starting and everything, the thing everyone is worried about is goals. Since I've been out, I've  kind of realized how really important goals are in life, and how much we need them. In fact I've even set goals for myself when i get back. (Learn how to juggle, sword swallowing, fire breathing...) (Nick is really funny isn't he?)

But the most important thing to remember is that we should never be afraid of these things. 

Yesterday I was reading the story about Peter and how when he walked on the water he was good for a little bit. Then the wind started to blow and he got scared and sank. And was like "save me!"
And Jesus walks up and says,  "Pedro... *sigh* . Why are you so scared?" 

And Pedro probably starts to come up with an excuse about the wind and the waves. But all it is really is is an excuse. 

But the point is, is that we shouldn't really have excuses for things, or be ever be afraid. 

"be not afraid, only believe" 

So, more than anything as my message this week is that I encourage you to try something, set goals, change the things that you don't like about yourself and more than anything, don't be afraid when you fail, to try again. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Being stressed in December

Nick wrote us little notes today and is struggling with his new companion.  Not the most obedient or uplifting.    He ended up not being like he thought he would and Nick is really trying to work hard.  He didn't go into details, but it's not been a great couple of weeks.    He could use prayers to help him through this.  He told Steve there must be some reason he was put with him and he was always going to try to be a good companion.   We're excited to Skype with him on Christmas.    Merry Christmas!

Not a whole lot has happened lately. We're slowing losing all of our lessons and investigators, and haven't had the opportunity to teach really because of all the Christmas parties and stuff. 

I guess the only lesson that really stuck out in my mind from this week, is we were searching the lists and found this random girl that was baptized in June, that had wed, and we had never heard of, so we called her and she sounded really nice. 

So we go to meet her, and she's like, here come to my house, so we go. She opens the door, it's just a concrete square with nothing in it... ¨you live here?" "well right now? no, me and my boyfriend are just renting it, were going to move in together" "how old are you and him?" "were both 18" 
He shows up, we go inside and talk some more. Basically they're both 18, haven't told their parents a thing, just plan on leaving one day with all their stuff. They work all day 6 days a week, just to pay for the rent. 
Not to be the Debby Downer.... but I feel like it's not going to work out.  Everything was just weird too, cause they offered us drinks, or to buy mayonaisse corn for us like they were parents that had lived together their entire lives... but hey whatever. We're here to help everyone. 

We taught this other lady that just tore all the members apart. One by one, and all of the reasons she had were good too. You could tell she was just hurt by everything and everyone. It was honestly really depressing,because no one should feel like that, or have that impression. Shes like, I know your church is true, I can feel it. But I don't want anything to do with it or with anyone in it because of how they treated me when I was there... Except you guys, you guys are angels... Thanks lady <3 

(I asked Nick about celebrating Christmas there)Christmas day means nothing here in Mexico, everyone just has a huge party Christmas eve, with dinner. I bought Martinellis from Costco to bring to Martas house tomorrow for dinner. We were standing outside of Costco with them and these two ladies walked up to us and were like, you guys in that religion can't drink those. 

us. they're non alcoholic 
them. it doesnt say that. 
us. yes it does. 
... We were just testing you... 


That's really all I had for this week, there were a lot of other things that we did for Christmas so we didn't have time for a lot of stuff. But lately, I've just been feeling stressed with everything. Which, its December, everyone's a little stressed at this time. Just don't forget to think about what's really important in this life. 

On a side note, tried alcohol today. Jose Cuervo Tequilla, (or whiskey?) kinda tasted like floor cleaner and cyanide. I don't know who thought it was a good idea to give the missionaries chocolates filled with alcohol. But, I guess it's my fault too,  for not putting 2 and 2 together and figuring out that because the wrapper said Jose Cuervo, it meant alcohol.   

Elder Arvanitas

Monday, December 16, 2013

Do you have bathrooms?

This has been Nick's first full week with his new companion.  It sounds like he's had a rough week but one where he learns just how much Elder Cruz did.  I'm sure he has a new appreciation for him.  

So this week was probably the most frustrating week of my life. 

I'm  in charge of the area now, so I have to teach Elder D......... everything about the area, and until he learns it, he basically can't do anything.  Well I guess I didn't think it would be that hard but, it is. 

Tuesday was good though,  we had the baptism of Selene. Everything worked out for the most part and then Elder Cruz took off to go to the president´s house and then later to his house. So, I gave him a hug, he cried a little bit, and I guess I got a little teary eyed too. 

Wednesday-Saturday was all just a blur. It was a lot of getting lost, walking to nowhere, only to turn and walk right back. And for some reason no one was home. But it wasn't too bad I guess....

My companion for the most part is pretty relaxed during all this. Which I couldn't ask for anything more, cause its basically all my fault because he knows nothing about the area. We're teaching well together too. 

But yeah, that was my week. Here's a funny story. 

So we were walking down the street, arguing about whether the gas stations had bathrooms or not and I was like,  "Alright, I bet you right now that this oxxo (gas station) has a bathroom". Hes like, no, none of them do. So we walk up to it but for some reason it was closed, which is weird cause they're open 24/7. Next thing I know this guy pops his head out this little window and was like

 hey! you cant come in here
 I was like we just want to know if you have bathrooms.
No puede pasar! 
Just.. do you have bathrooms... 
... yes... 
Thank you. 

Then we walked away, and then it hit us that there were two guys in the store wearing street clothes, with the place locked down, and the workers just are standing there, while one guy was hanging over the counter. So they might of been robbing the place... And the only concern I had was if they had bathrooms. (At least he won the bet.  He is so like his mother. :))

But just a thought for this week. So I was reading the Parable about the master and the vineyard  and how he works all day in the vineyard and things are good. But, after a while everything just fails. He starts to cry, and asks himself ¨"What more could I have done?". "I've done everything.." then his servant replies and says "just spare it a little longer" implying just to "wait.." 

It's a lot of what I felt this week, and with my ward.  We work so hard here, and everything is still failing and a lot of the time, I don't know what to do. But, sometimes the answer is just to wait and things will work out. 

Elder Arvanitas

Selene's baptism
Some crazy graffiti.  They do love their soccer!

Monday, December 9, 2013

A new companion

This week.... 

Today!! I saw a building that was taller then 3 floors. I've never been more excited in my life.. Its been too long. Also there's a place with American imports, including Mountain Dew??? When I find it you bet I'm going to buy like 36 and sell them :) (I know he's kidding but sometimes, I wish I could smack him through the computer)

My new companion is Elder D........, he's way funny. Kinda reminds me of Levi sometimes, but a little less crazy. (For those who don't know Levi, he's a friend of Nick's who is serving his mission in Colorado right nowI'm excited though. He just doesn't know any English at all. So, we'll see how that goes. 

But this week on Monday, the church by the offices got robbed. (don't worry I've been assured's normal) The guy climbed through the roof and on top of the ceiling Styrofoam tiles and dropped down into the offices there and stole  5 computers. I was pretty impressed to be honest that he did it. The police came and all (we were there the next morning for a meeting) but, I doubt they'll do anything about it. 

But this week our numbers sucked. Literally terrible. But that's okay, guess I have to be grateful for the people we did teach. We just spent most of it preparing for the activity that we had Saturday, this huge talent show. The only problem is, our ward doesn't have any talents. The whole country of Mexico is tone deaf I swear. But that's okay :) 

The activity turned out, 100 people came. But, the people didn't bring a lot of food.  The mission President came.  I wasn't expecting him. Then he walked in and everyone was like, "ohhh booyy." But it was alright. I played Hallelujah(the song in the movie, Shrek) while the other elders came. It was a pretty relaxed week. We visited lots of members for the activity. 

I was talking to this one guy at the activity though. He's depressed all the time with everything, but he's trying really hard.  In those moments, the best is really just to express your love for them.  I told him that he meant a lot to me, and that he's been a huge influence while I've been here to become better. He almost started crying.. Then  he talked to me about Jehovah Witnesses for 20 mins.

 Today i spent the morning with Elder C..., he's coming back tomorrow. He's coming back to baptize S.......   I just talked to him about how sweet its gonna be to go back and see his family and everything. I'm excited for him. He's ready, along with all the other people leaving. 16 of them. 

Elder Arvanitas

Where the guy came through the roof of the church

Elder C...'s last morning.  

As a shout out to Sydney, they ate lunch on the floor.  

Elder M......... and D.......

Nick and Elder W.... who is going home

Elder H......., who is Nick's Zone Leader and going home too

Nick and Elder D........., his new companion.  

Monday, December 2, 2013

Being sick is no fun

This week. 

It was pretty normal for the most part, at least for the first 3 days. We started house shopping a little bit.(I'm guessing they are looking to move.  I'm not sure.  He didn't elaborate) We found this 78 year old lady that just talked to us for 20 mins straight while we ate papaya. Papaya is by far the worst tasting thing in all of the world. But she was really nice,she just needed someone to talk to. 

I honestly don"t remember a lot of our other lessons that we had until Thursday. We're getting better though, at teaching, and right as Cruz is about to leave. (Nick's companion is done with his mission this week)

Thursday, Thanksgiving. At 6 we went and practiced in the church for our talent show that were having for the ward this Saturday, Elder Cruz's last one. We invited president and his family, so it's kind of a big deal. (He means is mission President)

But after, we had changes, and I was with Elder Sanchez. But before we all split, since it was Thanksgiving, we went out for Tacos. 

Well, that was a mistake, I got sick... Next morning I felt alright, but then it just hit me while we were teaching this guy. All of a sudden I got really hot, and so sure enough 20 secs after we left, I puked all on the street... right in front of this guys store. (We knocked and were like, hey... Sorry) 

But after, I felt great, but the lady that we went to go see for lunch, gave E. Sanchez a whole chicken and told me I couldn't eat any. Well of course I wasn't gonna pass up chicken for lunch, so I ate anyway.... 

That was a mistake too..

We were in Selene's house and I was laying down while Sanchez taught her, and in about 30 mins I puked all over her floor.. I felt really bad. But they (Selene and her mom) made me rice, and tea out of leaves in the front of their yard. 

I still felt like garbage the next day, but then I went to the Pharmacy and got some Meds really easily, and I'm great now :) I just  have been really out of it since. 

Sunday, set up a Christmas tree with Familia Castillo. Probably the first time I've had fun decorating. Kinda regret not doing it more, earlier. (Nick used to complain every year.  I'm going to hold him to this)

Then today, went to the largest mall in South America. The only problem is its still under construction, and there's only like 10 stores open. But, it felt just like the States... That happens sometime.... then someone talks in Spanish and its like, oh yeah.

Elder Arvanitas
Decorating the Castillo Family's tree

They let  Nick put an A for Arvanitas in the center of their tree.  ha ha