Monday, January 27, 2014

New town, New place

Nick asked if I would thank those who sent him Christmas cards and the cards from the Primary kids.  I appreciate all the love and support for my kids also.   He finally got some of his mail when he was transferred.  He is in a tiny town right on the border of his mission.  I googled it and it looks like a pretty little place.  He didn't say much about his companion.  He did say their are 4 elders in the town.  He spent 5 hours today, doing service for a lady.  They cut down a tree with a machete.  I'm sure Nick was in heaven.  

So this week, 

Turns out I'm  not still in Queretaro.(he means the city of,  there is a Queretaro state)I'm in San Juan del Rio, this little town in the middle of nowhere, where I'm the only American. 

Its weird though. I feel like everything is different here, the people especially, the people in the street actually say hi to us... 

But there are 32 people that we're teaching right now, well attempting to teach, we're literally always busy here. 

The ward is way nice though and they help us out a ton. This week was stake conference though, so I didn't get to meet a lot of the people. 

I really don't know what to say about this week though. I feel like I've never worked harder in my life than I have here in this one week, which is not a bad thing. 

I was thinking a lot lately about something my mission President said in a talk. He was talking about his story which I don't have all the time to write out but, the point was that it was a miracle that he ever returned to the church. 

And that made me think of the sheep story about the 99 and the 1 and how the shepherd leaves everything to go search for one lost lamb. 

And then I thought about my story, how I've been a member my entire life in this church.  For a good long time it meant absolutely nothing to me, it was just one of those things that I just did but didn't think a lot about. 

I screwed up a lot of things in my life too, just searching for a sense of happiness or belonging.. Honestly I always ended up just being depressed.

But then one day something changed and to this day I'm still not really sure what. But, there was a moment when I decided to change everything. Everything. 

Now I'm here. In Mexico. Trying to help people find that same happiness.  Trying to help them find... well something.  More than anything hope, hope that things can and will get better. 

Honestly I have no idea how I got here.... how I got to this point in my life. 

I know God knows us personally and he won't leave us abandoned in this world. 

Elder Arvanitas

Monday, January 20, 2014

I'm getting transferred

I was able to send email back and forth with Nick today.   He's sad he is leaving this area.  He's really grown to love the people.  But being a missionary means you don't stay in one place forever.  I'm sure Nick will try to keep in touch with all those who have blessed his life in this area.  Change is hard but it helps you grow. 

So I guess the biggest thing that happened this week is that I'm leaving...  (but not really) 

I'm getting sent to another part of Queretaro though, in Los Arcos. (The Arches, for the aqueduct) The area I'm going to is called Lomas. I've heard that it's a little ghetto. (which kind of sucks because Los Arcos is supposed to be the nicest part of Queretaro). 

But my new comp, all I know is that his names Elder D...., and he's from the Dominican Republic (they don't pronounce r´s there), and that he's a short kid. 

This week was normal for the most part. Taught some lessons.... 

I've just been thinking a lot about my past 4.5 months here. I've really met some of the best people, people that I'm never going to forget.  I think more than anything, I just wish I had more time. I don't feel like I've done enough, but sometimes you just have to have one thing.  Faith.  Faith that things are going to be alright, that the problems in the lives of others, even our lives, are going  to one day disappear. 

On top of that, something else I've learned is that just because we have problems and trials in our life, doesn't mean that we cant be happy. Sure were going to be stressed, and at times depressed, but what's important in this life? really? 

I like this one scripture, when Alma  is talking to his son, Coriantun. Hes "correcting him" and he says "Don't search for the riches and vain things of this world, for you cannot carry them with you" 
When we die, and I'm sure all of us one day will, what are we going to take with us? 

It goes back to something Brother Richards(shout out to Brandon) said one time, how relationships are the most important thing in this world. Relations with our friends, with our families, with our husbands and wives, and with our God. 

And so as for this week, it really sucks that I'm leaving. I don't feel ready at all, or that I've done enough here. And even though, sometimes I've disliked it here, and been frustrated with people other times, I've really grown to love them.  I know they'll be alright. 

Even though I probably won't see most of them again in this life, the relationships will stay. 

Saying goodbye to Selene and her family

Bowling with his district

Monday, January 13, 2014

A successful week

Nick's letter is incredibly short.  He did tell us that transfers are in a week.  He may or may not get transferred.  Maybe we'll get a longer letter.  

This week, as always my letters not going to be as good as Sydney's.. 

But this week...  it was actually successful? 

Yeah turns out this week was pretty good, we've hit the 23 investigador mark again, and we had a baptism with this little girl who's 9!  So that was way exciting to see. 

This week though,  what we worked on was gaining the confidence of the members, just improving that relationship. 

I realized that really we're only here to teach the people, and help them for the short amount of time that were in each area. But as always, if you don't like doing something, and don't feel like its going to help you in anyway at all. There's no point in doing it. 

That is a lot of what we see here in Mexico with the people. A lot of the people are just really closed, and are friendly if you talk to them, but they don't go out of their way to talk to people and it's kind of frustrating. Even the Testigos do that!(I don't know what a Testigo is.  ???)

I guess the only story I remember from this week is that we were walking in the street, in the morning, with just nothing to do. We really had no idea where we should go so we just kept walking. 
This lady pulls up and is like, "Get in!" So we did. (she was a member in a different ward)  
She's like "I crashed my car with this kid a month ago, and I need you to go visit his mom and talk to her". So we did (its in the most ghetto area), her house was like half house, half garden. We sat in the garden part with the dirt floor and the lime trees and talked to her. She was nice to us. 

So that's life here. I know it was short, this week was pretty normal. Love you guys! Thanks for all the support that you've shown me while I'm here. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Do what you need to do!

Let me tell you how disappointed I am that I didn't get to climb a mountain like Syd and watch the sunrise at 8 o' clock in the morning... 

For the 31st we went and visited like 2 people.  People always try to be friendly on the holidays, but really they don't want you in their house. But, that's understandable :)   Decided to stay up till 12 o clock (well actually it was more like 2:30) though!... (I don't know how much fun you can have with just the two of you, stuck in an apartment)

Next morning at 6:30... ¨that was a mistake... why'd we stay up..." 
Its like the next morning after a sleepover with your friends, but instead of going back to your own house and taking a nap in your own bed for 2 hours, we couldn't. My eyes were just black with circles. But everything's fine now. 

(We didn't do a whole lot on the 1st either) 

Next day, we found this lady that we've been looking for for like 3 weeks. She just disappeared.. But, it turns out she's really depressed. She just talks about every time she quits drinking and drugs and tries to be a better person, she messes up and just feels like a terrible person... 

And I understand completely.(I think he means he understands messing up and feeling like a terrible person, not the drugs and drinking) We're going to do everything we can for her. 

This lady in our ward told us that we need to visit this lady (we're going to this week). But, she told us how she has cancer, and her 18 year old daughter just found out she has cancer too and that they don't really have a lot of time left. 

Made me think about what's really important in life, how really all we have in this life is time. We can use that to do an infinite number of things. But how really, the most important thing in this life is our relationships. Relationships with our families, our friends, and our God. 

Also I feel like this made D.......(Nick's companion)think a lot. There was this lady in Leon, he baptized, with cancer.  It took 4 of them to carry her in and just let her down in the water... He got a call 2 weeks ago that shes in the hospital. She doesn't remember a thing of  family or friends, just the missionaries, and that shes going to die soon.... 

But on a happy note, we found these new people that are just so excited about everything. The husband worked in a restaurant in Texas for 20 years, and just told us every story that ever happened in his life. Also, reminisced  about the days of being a dishwasher.... That really is the worst job ever. (Nick used to wash dishes for a job, he really hated it.)

And finally yesterday, someone started a rumor that we were partying with members till 1 in the morning on the 31st. So, we lost the trust of all the members. Something that my teacher in the MTC told me. "do what you need to do, where you need to do it, and when you need to do it" 

So since yesterday was testimony meeting, where everyone gets up and talks about what they know. I decided to get up and just simply expressed the love I have for everyone in my ward, for the things they've done for us, and the difference they've really made in my life. 

That I know God lives, and that he loves us, no matter what mistakes we have in life. That it's not dependent on anything. 

And now everything  is okay again. 

More than anything,  that's the message that I wanted to share today. 

Also tell Grandpa I hope he gets better with his fancy new hip. 

Elder Arvanitas
Mexican ice cream truck