Monday, April 28, 2014

Bugs, bugs, bugs

First Happy Birthday Grandpa! If you were turning 82 here everyone would sing you a song about maƱanitas (little mornings) and then chant "que le muerda" until you went to take a bite out of a cake, and right when you get close someone would smash your face into the cake! It's fun really... 

Lately though, we've had a problem with an abnormal amount of bugs getting into our house. So I've taken the time to talk about the 5 main bugs that we seem to always find in our house. 

Ants... They're everywhere... they're not like the ones in PA where they're all big and black, but are more like a millimeter long. Somehow they seem to find every crumb on the floor. And when they do... well they always bring friends, so when we get home at night we end up having to kill like 20 ants that have all circled around one tiny piece of food. 
    We found where they're coming from though... So we decided to carry out operation "mata las hormigas"(kill ants) and filled their base with toothpaste... 
    Yeah we didn't think that one through very well, they just found another route... 

Crickets... I can't sleep with these things at night. Somehow they always end up in this one spot outside of our bedroom window on top of the bars (All the windows have bars. That's gonna be weird when I get back!) 
    But then I have to go outside at like 11 with a bucket of water and splash the window till you see it climb out and jump like 10 ft in the air, and then kill it. I'm getting too old for it.... 

Cockroaches...  I have no idea how these guys make it in. They're fast though!! And they scare the crap out of me... I stepped on one with bare feet the other day.  They've become more and more common though... I started a pile in our back patio today (When I say patio I mean cement square with a thing to wash clothes) 

Wasps...  so we have a hole in the top of our bathroom to let out steam. I'm not sure whose idea it was, but it's a little counter productive because all it does is let in leaves and sticks and dirt... but these giant wasps always fly in through it and terrorize our house while were gone. 
     One day we watched them and noticed they always fly above our cupboards,(there's like a 2 inch gap) and then leave.
     So we looked up there and yeah... they're building a nest... 
     Now we leave the bathroom door shut every time we leave. I'ts always a fun game every time we get back, and we really have to use the bathroom  Who opens the door first? Because most of the time there's a wasp waiting on the other side... 

Black Widows... I thought they were only a myth before I got here... but yeah we've found 2 outside our doors in the past month. They're scary and big. I hope they don't get in.. 

To solve this bug problem we decided to buy Raid, the heavy duty stuff, and we sprayed our house.... 

and.... I forgot to wash my hands after. and then ate. and then got sick... Thursday was a bad day, but I'm okay now, no worries :) (He said he took some medicine and he feels fine)

I'll keep everyone updated though on how it goes. 

As far as investigators, I had a cool experience this week. I was reading, and it talked about how we should invite people to pray about having "missionary experiences" with their friends. 
    But when I read that I was like hey! I want to have a missionary experience. So, I prayed about it. 
     The next day the first lady we went to go see wasn't there.. So we knocked at her friend's house. 

"good morning, were looking for your neighbor"
"Hey you guys talk about the word of God?"
"come in come in!" 

Then we met her family and she bought us an apple soda, and now were teaching her. I love being a missionary. I know this stuff is true. 

Elder Arvanitas
This is a family in Nick's ward that feeds them every Sunday.  One of their daughters is wearing his companions name badge.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Holy Week

Semana Santa!(Holy Week)

Honestly I had a ton of hopes for this week. But...... everyone's on vacation. This week was a lot of just walking and empty homes. 

That's okay though cause there was still all the traditions that they had planned for this week. 

Friday is the start of it where everyone decorates with dark purple and white and make shrines and everything. Also there's huge groups of people that walk around while one guy carries a cross. Apparently it gets really intense in other parts of Mexico, where it ends with the guy hammering nails through his hands, and hanging up on the cross for 2 hours or so. 
    Probably not the best way to show respect but yeah, traditions... 

SaturdaySaturday of Glory. It's the day where everyone throws water at each other. People dump buckets of water out their windows to get you wet... "Supposedly..." 
    All that stuff used to happen then the police came in and yeah, you know, ruined everyone's fun. So no one got wet that day.... Except Elder A....., because I threw a bucket of water at him after lunch one day :) 

Sunday. Nothing happens. I feel like this is the day when people just get back from there vacations, and stay inside all day cause they're all hungover. 

But that was my week. Except for the fact I didn't see anyone carrying a big cross, and I didn't get wet. Mexico's changing a lot, and a lot of people are moving away from that traditional catholic background here.  A lot of people we talk to just say they're "creyentes" or believers and nothing else. 

As far as lessons go this week, there weren't a lot. But this week everyone should be back so I will have lots of stories I'm sure... 

Love you guys, 

also Happy Birthday to Sydney. 

Elder Arvanitas

This was Nick's response to my letter:
Did you hear about an earthquake in Mexico City? We didn't feel it.. so that was lame. 
Sorry about the Koreans.(I told him about the ferry so he would understand Syd's letter) 
And the Grubers.(we found out our dear neighbors are moving :() 

also I forgot it was Easter until right now.. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mostly pictures

I'm  kinda out of things to talk about this week. It was a lot of walking around in the heat looking for every person that we had in our lists. I'm exhausted... 

So its just a picture week... 

I asked Nick for a thought or an experience.  Here is what he gave me.  

This week we had a day where a bunch of our appointments fell through. And we didn't really know what to do. So we ended up going to the local grocerie store to get something to eat for dinner, and also pick up deodorant for my companion. 
It was about 7 minutes into our search for deodorant when I saw it... 

and at first I didn't believe it... I had to look twice.... 

Soriana Brand Root Beer. 

That's when I realized that miracles really do exist :) 

Steve asked him if the family from the funeral ever came back to church.  Also, he told Nick we see a change in him as do others who have told us.  

Yeah they never came back. Oh well. 
That's cool that people see a change in me. I'm trying to be better.  

It's all due to my mission president though. He's going to be an Apostol one day, I swear. Everything he says you can just tell it's exactly by the spirit. These sister missionaries had an investigator that refused to be baptized so, they introduced him to our mission President. 

He shared with this investigator the scripture in the bible about don't cast your pearls before swine, and told the guy he didn't want to be baptized because he wasn't taking it seriously. 

He got baptized a week later.. 

crazy huh? 

It's hot and air conditioning doesn't exist here. 

Hiking to the mountain they climbed several weeks ago.  

A church in Tequisquiapan

Food they bought with the money somebody gave them.  

Having some McDonald's with Elder M......

Some weird graffiti.  

Nick says this is how they go to church.  Weirdos!

Add caption

Monday, April 7, 2014

A new way of teaching

Well since Syd went with the cop out (is that a phrase?) and just decided to send pictures this week, I guess someone has to step up and actually write a real message. (Oh Nick, someday his sister is going to smack him for these comments.  He'll never learn. )

I guess the biggest thing that happened so far, happened last week. We got instruction that everyone that we're teaching needs to have a date to be baptized, and if they don't, then we just have to accept the fact that they're not ready at this point in their life, and leave them for other missionaries  to go back at another time. 

 So this week was all about putting dates with people. 

Something that  I want everyone to know, that when we do these things it's not about just having someone extra in the church, or about getting more money or donations in the church. It's not that at all.  But, it's actually about changing someone's life. 

Imagine this.... We walk into your house and we're like hey here's a pamphlet!  Maybe we bring a little boy with us so you let us in. (that's a joke... we don't do that..) 

But then were like "Hey! Wanna be baptized this day?" 

What are you gonna think? 

"Who the heck are you and why are you at my house?... go away." 

I mean, why would you listen to us if you didn't feel like you were missing or needed something in the first place? You wouldn't. 

Sometimes though, we find those people who truly do need us, who are at their breaking point in life, where they're just "done" with everything. They're exhausted, in pain, ready to give up on everything because they can't feel happy anymore. 

You can't feel happy when the only thing you can focus on in life is how many things you've screwed up. 

We met a lady like this this week. 

She has had a problem with basically everything on the list. alcoholism, drugs, an abortion, etc. etc. 

When you look in her eyes, you can see that she's just lost the light she once had. She's at that point of giving up, where she's lost what seems to be all hope. 

One thing.  If any you ever feel like this, know that hope is never lost. We can always start over, new. 

That's what were doing with this lady right now. She has a date to be baptized in May. 

Well, we're going to do everything we can so she can be on this day. Because, in that day when she's baptized, she's going to make a covenant with God. In doing this, I know she'll be clean from all the things she's done wrong in this life. 

And for once, she'll feel clean, free from all that pain and the light that once filled her eyes, will return. 

I promise, this change that we, as missionaries, get to see in the lives of people is the prettiest thing in the world. 

And, I feel like the luckiest person in the world that I get to be a part of it. 

Love you all! 

Elder Arvanitas