Monday, July 13, 2015

The last letter......maybe

Nick didn't write last week so you haven't missed anything.  He's checked out of the whole writing letters.  So, this may or may not be his last letter.  He comes home in 9 days.  He's ready to come home, I think.  Thanks to everyone for your love and support and for reading these crazy letters for the last 2 years.  Nick is a man of few words, so they're an easy read.  

Hey I'm just signing on to send my letter to you... like last time. 

1. I'll look at shoes when I get back, forgot I still had the striped ones, 
2. Already made chicken piccata. As Chef Gusteau once said "Anyone can cook"
3. That means I want 5 guys coming home. 
4. The pastor meat in the centro doesn't look fantastic, but if you've already bought it, oh well. (we didn't buy it.  Steve just sent a picture)
5. To buy a mariachi sombrero or to not buy? you guys decide

So this will probably be my last letter in the mission. Next week I'm heading out to my first area in Fresnos to say goodbye to people. That's what i did last week too.

It's been a good two years though. What can I say.. 

Literally everything changed for me. Everything. 

Today my President just pulled me aside and said, 

"Were going to miss you. We love you. You served with your heart."

As far as the whole missionary aspect, I wouldn't consider myself all that great. Investigadors never really had a lot of confidence in me, my teaching wasn't all that great. I would get frustrated a lot too. 

But I want you guys to know, what I did do, I did it out of my heart.

I wanted to make you guys proud.  

I've realized that the most important thing in this life are relationships. The relationship we have with ourselves, with the ones we love, and with our God. 

I think all that's left to say is that I love you guys. so much. 

I would've never gotten to this point if it wasn't for you. 

I'll see you in 9 days. 


Nick was the cover shot for the Mission Newsletter this week!  ha ha

Monday, June 29, 2015

Trying not to daydream

No, I didn't not send Nick's letter last week.  He didn't write.  He said he's been trying to cram everything in, in these last few weeks.  He wrote really late today.  

It's been a good ending to my mission. I've been trying to go down "swinging". Not killing myself at the end of the mission and stressing myself out, but at the same time not passing the entire day daydreaming about the future. 

I do do a lot of daydreaming these days though. 

Fun fact. Every American that I've met here, (or even the ones I sneak behind and listen to) sound like hicks. They all have like... ugly American accents. I don't want to talk like them when I go back. 

I've been thinking a lot lately though. These past few weeks more than anything I've just been trying to not be frustrated with people. I feel like that's something that happens to a lot of missionaries that end their missions. 

I think what happens is they get so caught up trying to achieve perfection in every aspect that they lose focus on what's really important.

 It's not the aspiration of perfection that's wrong, but the moment when that goal goes from being something helpful and motivational, to something that only brings desperation, and frustration. 

To put things more simply. we may be asked to try to be perfect in this life, but the purpose of the invitation is not so that we follow behind focusing on all our imperfections and mistakes. 

Why we are asked to try to be perfect, has nothing to do with repayment, or a debt we have, but it is to help us to change. 

As my MTC teacher once said "We are not captives to our own decisiones, rather we have to chance to choose who we want to become every day"

....or something like that... it was a while ago. 

So that's the plan these days. To focus on being a good person. To love the people. Help my companion be better as he helps me. 

Life is good really. 

As far as the work.... We started teaching this old grandma and when she speaks English, she speaks it with a British accent. She spends her entire day making apple pies and Guava cheesecakes. 

She gave me some for my birthday, and I met her a week ago! 

I'll send pictures... sometime. Keep your hopes up. Love you guys, Bye! 

P.S. Happy Father's Day Dad!

Nick's companion (L) and one of the AP's(R)  Nice aprons!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Learning through Understanding

Nick couldn't send pictures again and said to just wait the 5 weeks.   We got his itinerary today and he'll be home around 5:30 on July 22nd.  5 more weeks and Elder Arvanitas will be stateside again.  

5 weeks. I'm gonna miss this place to be honest. 

Thursday,we went to my last leader´s meeting. (Consejo de lideres?)

We talked a lot about being self reliant, and how to become more eficaz. (I don't remember English anymore...) Our President also talked about how we learn when we are taught and we ponder the things... 

To make it more simple 

Teaching + Meditation = Learning

For example... I've spent a whole lot of time writing these letters every week for the past 97 weeks but what have you learned? Is there any certain letter that sticks out? 

All teaching is, is the transmission of information. The big problem with teachers these days is that most of the time they teach to remember the things, and not to understand them. They just try to skip past the whole meditation process and move through the lessons.

Lots of time this happens with missionaries too. 

So the big question... how can we help people think about what we tell them? How can we make them think about what we say? 

Through questions. 

If we don't ask the right questions, we'll never get the right answers though. 

And also, you have to avoid the whole manipulatism thing (there's no spell check okay... give me a break)

It's like if we go up to someone and ask them "if God has ever answered their prayers" it doesn't work! What happens to the people that see God as a big ball of gas, or as a tree, or that he's in everyone of us? 

And by asking that type of question were already assuming a bunch of things. That God has ears, that he understands our language, that he can speak. etc. etc. 

It makes a lot more sense in my head. It's the whole thinking it in Spanish, and then translating it part that makes everything confusing. 

Think about it though. Honestly. 

I gotta go though, love you guys,


Monday, June 8, 2015

Sitting at the bus station....

Okay, sorry my letter is gonna get there so late... (Nick wrote rather late again today)

To explain more of this, what happens is the last Saturday before the changes, everyone in Querétaro has the option to change their preparation day.

So we played soccer Saturday instead of today. Then yesterday we got the transfers for the zone (turns out I'm ending my mission here with  Elder Galdamez) but at 10:30, last night, they decided to tell us that instead of people traveling on Tuesday, they were going to travel TODAY. 

Long story short, we were up till 11:30 yesterday figuring out who's going with who, and figuring out all that stuff. 

That brings us to today... Where we sat in the bus station from 11:30 in the morning till 5:30.. It took forever. Ate some tortas, won some stuffed animals from the claw game and just messed around with my companion and a Guatamalan Elder. 

That's my life. 

Also we played a fun game where you make a lot of 1 syllable sounds and make your voice go up and down and it sounds like your speaking Japanese and everyone stares at you. I'm guessing for 2 reasons. 

They're either thinking "NO WAY an American and a Mexican speaking some kind of dialect"


"Look at these imbeciles... who do they think they're fooling?"

Most of the time it's the first one though (I'm guessing it's the 2nd)

We had a baptism on Friday, of Juan Sanchez. He's this 63 year old guy that runs marathons.. and wins them. He's been listening to the missionaries since I got to the mission, and it wasn't till now that he could do it. 

He was so excited, it was cool to see. 

As far as lessons, ehh... we're getting there. I'm hoping to be able to pick the area up before I go. I feel like an old man though. Everything hurts. Everything. But I'll pull through.

Love you guys, 

See you soon

Elder Arvanitas

Monday, June 1, 2015

What I've learned

Hey, yes you get a letter today...
Sorry I'm writing so late, my plans... really didn't work out. I was gonna write on the phone of the assistants but then there were problems with the internet and there was the fact that everything was Auto corrected to Spanish, and I just ended up getting frustrated. 

Other than that, how is everyone?
Lately I've been reading a lot of the New Testament. I'm trying to finish it in Spanish before I get back.
I got to this part, though, the other day where Pablo (Paul) decides to write about things that we should do and not do. He mentions how we should have "amor sin que sea fingido". Our love should not be pretended.
And so I was left with the thought "how does that happen" or "what is it like" and ultimately "have I been that way?"
I've come to that realization it's very, very easy to be selective with the love we have for people.
That a lot of the time, I've expressed the love I have, to the people, here in Mexico, whether it be members or random people in the street or whomever.

While on the inside I'm still holding something back.
It's one of the grand weaknesses I've discovered on my mission. It's not easy for me to trust in someone else.
As Elder Holland put it (paraphrasing of course) that love isn't the kinda "dip one foot in the pool" to test the water type of thing. It's more of the "run and jump in together all at once" type of thing.
I hate that. But what I hate more is that I notice it every time I do it. It's so easy to put limits. It's like being a kid and separating your friends into 2 groups. The friends that I would invite to my house and play with, and the friends at school that are kinda cool, but I don't have that much confidence to let them come to my house.
I feel like I've lived a long life of hypocrisy and mediocrity in a lot of different ways. And after all this time.. I just want to be a good person, you know? Good missionary eh, ya my time has passed, but I can be a good person.
I had the opportunity to read about when I first started the mission this week, and reflect back. You wanna know something? Some of the companions I had at the beginning of my mission were the most ridiculous people I've ever met. I was frustrated all the time.
But I learned a valuable lesson. Not about patience, or obedience, or any of that. It was about having love not pretended. About becoming a true friend. About not judging people, or trying to be a perfectionist, or any of that, but about enjoying the time I have here. Being grateful for what I have.
Learning also to care about the well being of someone, more than the friendship I have with them.
Lots of good stuff.
That's my plan for this week. Thank you guys for everything you've taught me. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for that.
Love you guys,

Also fun bonus fact for this week.
So in Mexico, Star Wars is not that popular. But if you ever ask a Hispanic what the robot's name is instead of R2D2.... everyone here thinks it's Arturito. (like Arturo... but little Arturo. Artur-ito)

It's to the point where if you look up R2D2 and Arturito, the same thing comes up.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Short and Sick

Nick wrote late tonight and I don't think he had any time at all.  I don't think he's feeling well still.  

Hey so this week... A whole lot of nothing. I got sick on Thursday. But like with everything, I woke up after sleeping like 3 hours and my eye was all red. My lungs and throat hurt, and I had a fever. (not to mention all the mouth sores I had from eating jellybeans... It's been awhile)(I guess it means he got his packages) I think it's the worst I have been in all my mission. But after talking with two doctors and having eye drops, an inhaler, throat spray, and ibuprofen, I'm getting better. I figured I had to get sick at least one more time before I go home. But while I was walking to buy medicine, with my eyes closed for the sun, we passed like four old ladies sitting on the side of the road, with their cups begging for money, and I felt, well lucky. Blessed. Because they have to get sick, being outside all day, but they'll never be able to afford medicine or anything like that.

Other than that we're going to have a baptism this week of a guy that has been going to church for almost a year. He was just waiting for a an interview with our Presidente. 

Sorry my letters way short. I'll write a better one next time. 

Love you guys see you soon. 


Monday, May 18, 2015

Theory of Broken Windows


Not much to write about this week. We didn't have a lot of work, but we managed to find more people to teach. (We started with 1, now we have 5) 

Not going to lie, I'm gettin' pretty tired of writing these letters every single week. It starts to become monotonous.. 

What else, 

This week we started to change completely the way we teach people. Instead of solving people's questions, and talking with them using examples and everything, we started using more questions. 

To explain this simpler.. before, people would come to us with questions and doubts and we would  just answer everything. But now, when that happens, we just ask them deeper more personal questions, that require answers from inward thinking and meditation.

The only problem is that... no one thinks... 

Nah, I'm just kidding. They always start talking right after though, and then the lesson gets lost. We're working on it.

I stepped in mud. No fun. (He just got new shoes too.  Boo.)

It rained some. 

We talked about the theory of the broken windows with our President. Basically,it's a study that they did with two cars (1 in the Bronx, the other in Palo Alto, California) 

Needless to say the one in the Bronx was destroyed and robbed in hours, while nothing happened to the one in California. 

HOWEVER, when the psychologists broke 1 window of the car in California, in a matter of hours, it was robbed and destroyed. 

The point was that when someone sees a broken window, it makes the object look abandoned, not taken care of, useless- 

He invited us to take a look at our own lives, and own houses. To ask ourselves if we have broken windows. 

We cleaned our apartment that day. I was clean and organized before, at least in the mission eh, but I decided to be better and make a change.

No pictures, I'll get it fixed soon enough. 

Bye love you guys!'


Monday, May 4, 2015

Busy Day

No pictures again from Nick.  He's still having trouble with his camera.  Hopefully, he can send some this next week.  In the area he is in, the Mission President plays soccer with them every p-day.  Today was his first p-day with the President.  I think he's going to feel the effects of playing soccer tomorrow.  

Long story short, I've been soo busy today... .We tried to do too many things at once. 

Every Sunday night we stay at the assistants house and just sit and watch them take numbers and talk to people from 9-10:50. Then we go to bed at like 11:30. Get up at 6:30 the next morning to go play football (soccer) with President at 8 am. 

We played until, 2... I'm pretty burned... and everything hurts. 

Then we went to Antea again (the largest mall in South America).. found some dope ties, bought another shirt, ate subway... typical mall stuff. Then we took a taxi and we barely got back to write a little. 

Oh, about the phone call, I'm gonna call you guys next Monday, at like 6:30 pm

About the shoes, I decided to buy new ones. The assistants are going to Leon today so I'm sending them with money to buy nice leather ones for cheap, cheap, cheap. 

As far as my area goes... It's so hard, but it's gettin' there. We have 2 parts. 

1.Centro (downtown)... all it is is stuck up rich people that really don't want anything at all. But we talk to them anyway in hopes that someone will accept, when after a 20 min talk they're like "nahh, I just wanted to ask things"
Also it's kinda hard to pay attention when there are group protests/advertisements for the election of the new Governor of Queretaro. Also the fact there are break dancers all over, and (once again) transvestites. Nothing like having a 30 year old man dressed up in a short mini skirt whisper "hey little white boy" to you... 

Nothing like america. 

2. Hercules. The ghetto. It has sweet graffiti all over though. But for the most part, it's a ghost town.. no one really wants anything. But we're gonna keep trying.

Umm in other news. Our ward has like 180 people that attend it. I haven't seen one so big in my entire mission. I got to share my testimony this week though.. Only the fact that everyone went over and when it was my turn it was 20 mins past the hour.

But in the 30 sec I had I shared my simple testimony about how the gospel has given me everything. And how I know I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my mom and my dad who taught me good things as a little kid. 

It's true. Thanks for everything really, I'm excited to see you guys next Monday. See you soon.,


PS  Oh... also happy birthday dad, what are you 50 now? See you Monday!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Unexpected Changes

No pictures today.  Nick is having camera issues.  Hopefully, he can send them next week.  

So turns out I'll be finishing my mission in Querètaro! They called me last night at like 9 saying I had changes to go to Arcos Querètaro. However, that i had to be there Monday at 8 am. to travel with Elder Lefavor because he was called to be an Assistant, in the same ward as me, and also as President. (transfers are usually on Tuesday)

Long story short... I packed all my stuff in 3.5 hours and woke up 5 hours later, and I've been here since 8 am.. I'm tired. 

For my companion...... Elder Galdamez! I was with him in San Juan del Rio and Celaya. We actually got to the mission on the same day. I mentioned him a while back in one of my letters saying he's from Chiapas and that his house is just pure waterfalls and toucans. 

For my house.. It's so nice, ridiculously hot, but nice. We have couches, an oven, CARPET. (I mean it's not the soft fluffy kind, but still it's CARPET), a dining table made of glass etc. 

Area..... all it is, is downtown Queretaro. As far as working goes, it kinda blows, but still it's downtown Queretaro. It's so pretty. 

It's funny how just everything can change in a matter of seconds. 

The best part is this though, 12 hours ago I was taking my last taxi ride in Celaya, heading out to the Central with my luggage. 

I felt sad. (no I didn't cry). But I felt a profound sadness having to leave everything that was my life for about a year. The desert, the cholos, tortas, etc. But most of all, the people. I learned to love Celaya and everyone in it. I'm going to miss it really. It's home. 

Queretaro is home too. Nothing can describe the feeling you get when you leave a "home" to go home. It's going to feel like that leaving Mexico. 

I really feel a deep love for this place. Sure it has it's defects, but love never is about finding something perfect, that meets every expectation. If that what your idea of love is, it's better to just stay home and never do anything with your life. It's about finding something that through all the problems and errors, is worth the sacrifice. 

And through the process of sacrifice, we grow, we change, and we become better.

I've seen it in my life. 

Love you guys, 

Here is an online picture of the Arcos in Queretaro.  It's a pretty town.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Happiness is finding Root Beer

Divisions divisions divisions. .. 

Everything went well with Elder A..... He's a cool kid, one of the Elders that I really want to see when I get back. 

He got into the business of buying and selling cars from Auctions and bank impounds.. etc. 

It's been hot... Last year I was used to Pittsburgh weather so it was like eh, but now I'm just dying. (It's summer in Mexico and he was in a cooler place last year.  It's been in the 90's for awhile in Celaya)

Starting the diet of only eating fruit and drinking water (when I have the choice). Except for the fact that I found ROOT BEER today! A&W. It was a Christmas miracle... it's only been 21 months. 

I'm almost 20. That's like.. old. I don't want to be old.. I still have lots to do while I'm young. (Nick's birthday is in June.  If he thinks 20 is old, I must be ancient)

Ate Chinese food again.. Everything tastes the same. Also, you thought Chinese people speaking English was hard to understand, try Spanish! I didn't even know it was possible. 

I took a bunch of pictures this week.. just on other peoples cameras. 

.. I'm tired, like all the time. My shoes have holes, 21 months of sunburn and sleep deprivation. 

I had to eat cow intestine this week. That was a highlight. Then Elder A..... looks to his right and sees like a giant bowl with lettuce and bread inside, covered with beetles. 

the family asks "what are you doing?"

"oh just lookin' at your pets"

"We use them for medicine"  

Then they explained how they swallow them alive in water... How you have to start with taking 1 a day, up to 70, and then back down to 1.. 

... Witchcraft. 

I don't know what has happened to the world these days... maybe it's just the Mexican water... 

I washed my clothes with dish soap last night... 

It's all I had. 

.. That's all I could think of. Last week of transfers! I'm in San Miguel right now. I'll be in divisions until Thursday.... hopefully it doesn't rain... 

Love you!

Pretending to hitchhike.  What a dork!

Happy boy with his Cream Soda and Root Beer

Monday, April 13, 2015

Ramblings of a Missionary


Funny thing is that I'm writing this Friday morning. They give us time to write our converts now.. The only problem is... I don't have contact with hardly any of them. 

So while I'm waiting for my companion to finish I decided to start my letter.. 

Don't worry... Even Friday morning there's nothing that comes to mind... 

We got to see Meet the Mormons.  Something new.. 

This week we have divisiones coming up with Alamos.. Alamos is so ghetto. It's filled with drunk people and cholos. And their house is full of mold, with leaks all over. 

I'll let you know how it goes... 

We ate at a 3 dollar taco buffet today. The whole time was like "I wonder what sound this made a few days ago..." 

"quack quack.... or oink oink..... or meow..." (Oh Nick, the things he thinks about)

Fun fact, they found a bunch of Chinese restaurants in north Mexico using dog meat. 

You know when I'm going to eat Chinese food again here? nunca...(never) 

What else is good... 

There was no one home this week. You know I could probably walk a marathon when I get back... In the desert too. With cacti and everything. 

As far as the zone is going. No one has had a baptism for 7 weeks. But things are getting better. 

There's only 2 weeks left in the change.(transfer) Time goes by way fast. I'm where my trainer was when he went with me. It feels like yesterday. 

It was funny watching Meet the Mormons, seeing everything that happens before someone goes on their mission. For me it all passed by so fast.. I guess it was a lot harder for you guys than it seemed. 

What Sydney said today is true though. You get done with it all and it seems like a dream... That's about what I'm feeling right now. But then I think about the last time I've seen you guys and it's like, that was so long ago... 

That's all I got. Also Happy Birthday Syd! 

Here's a haiku. 

oh birthdays
no to Korea


Love you guys, talk to you later.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Interrupted an Easter Procession

First thing. 

I forgot it was Easter. I was too busy talking about Semana Santa and Pascua that I forgot to make the translation in my head that Pascua is Easter. And that Easter means that there are Easter egg hunts and a giant rabbit and dying eggs. 

Like I said before.... There are no real "traditions" here in Mexico. The most partying anyone ever does is to buy Corona beer and listen to Banda music. 

And if you go real hard you just go straight for the 98% rubbing alcohol and pass out on the side of the street. 

We usually end up talking to these people weekly. 

2nd. Canker is gone. Life's better. 

3rd. You remember that scene in the Emperors New Groove where there tied to half a tree about to go down a waterfall......

Imagine this. Me and my companion, Friday night, looking at all these people sitting on the ground waiting for something. Massive, massive groups. And we didn't know why. 

Then we start hearing drums and see light up ahead. 

"No no, don't tell me. We're about to run into a huge group of Catholics" 


"Most likely carrying crosses."


"Bring it on." 

...Everything got silent and everyone stared at us. We couldn't escape their candles, their Virgin Mary's, their crosses and their penitent outfits for like 10 mins...(Steve has pictures of such a procession when he was in Italy.  I'm sure Nick and his companion were not what people expected to see.  ha ha)

At least the whole town knows my face though. 

As far as visiting people goes. No one is home... lots of walking around deserted streets. Seeing lots of Nopalis and dirt. We're still working though. 

Actually were going to have a baptism this week. Of a little kid named Joseph. I'll send pictures next week. 

General Conference this weekend....

I ate 1 kilo of peanuts. (they only cost 2$)(Nick wrote something else here we're not going to share but you can imagine what eating that many peanuts can do to your insides)

I really liked the talk about the Prodigal Son. I'm happy to be able to go back and change a bunch of stuff. 

Don't think I've changed too much though. I'm just a little more Spanish. 

Love you guys. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Another day in Celaya

Okay. What do you want to know about my life? Don't just say How's Celaya... ?

Celaya's been the same since the 80's... and will continue to be the same for another century or so. 

There's still a ton of vochos (VW bugs) and cobble stone streets that are veterans in shoe destroying. 

Long dirt roads that lead to no where. Nopalis (cacti) in every corner. Cholos (gangs) in every back alley. 

Where all there is for music is the Beatles or electronic. 

With the big water tower that's full of Cajeta.(Celaya is known for this, it's a caramel sauce similar to dolce de leche)

Where the ony thing to eat is sausage and pollo (chicken). And Root beer and Mountain Dew don't exist. That's Celaya for ya. 

Fun fact. In Mexico kanker sores last 3x as long.. you know why? allow me to explain.. 

We like to keep it simple here and eat 4 types of food. You got your rice, tortillas, some pollo and those frijoles. 

Now since it's so simple here, the food tends to get a little bland after 2 weeks of eating it everyday. (Imagine 20 months) So you have to eat it with other stuff. It requires 3 things in specific. 

Number 1. Pop. You get yourself a nice 3L bottle of coke and it goes good with everything. 

Number 2 Limes. There are lime trees all over the place. They cost like... 50 cents a kilo. You put it in your tacos, In carnitas, with your pasta, in your soup and when you really like it you just cut it in half and dip it in salt or sugar and eat it. 

And number 3. Chile. Because its mero mero Mexico, it's all there is here. You eat them with everything. Yes, even with pasta alfredo. 

And it's because of these things (see above) that my kanker won't go away.. even after a week, no matter how much medicine I put on it. 

On the side note. When you use mouth numbing medicine when you speak English, nothing happens, cause it's all sounds with your throat. But when you have to speak Spanish it comes out like "buenas diaghzzzzz" as you drool all over yourself. 

That's my life. 

As far as people were teaching... They're gettin there. 

But hey gotta go cut my hair for 2$ (the peso's falling in value. My dollar's worth more :)) And the lady is gonna wash it for me and everything.-

Love you guys. bye

Monday, March 23, 2015

Getting along in Celaya

Well. `nother week here in Celaya. 

... I should probably think about these letters a little more before I send them... (I think so too)

My companion. He's from Ecuador, from Quito. 

He made me rice with a tomato sauce and some meat. I didn't get parasites 

I like him. 



We went to Queretaro?

Elder Florez was still there, (he was supposed to go home on Wednesday, but his itinerary was changed). He shared his testimony for the last time in the mission. I don't think I'll ever see him again. 

I ate elote. (I found a picture of this online.  Nick didn't send one.  It's corn on the cob.)

We had 9 investigadores come to church. 

Taught a guy while sitting on a bucket full of dirty water. (the only thing on my mind "if I shift a little to the right, I'm a dead man.")

What did we do today? 

Ate tortas "los angeles" (couldn't find a picture of this exact thing.)

Passed by Centro. 

Did a little bit of cleaning. I didn't want to overdue it or anything. 'Ill have you know I've become a master at mopping and washing clothes by hand though. 

Things that I can do that I couldn't do before my mission... 

-Clean a shower with a broom
-Wash clothes with a bucket of water, bar of soap, concrete slab. 
-Light a boiler
-eat chiles.
-make salsa.
-heat tortillas without burning my fingers (Actually I still burn them, it's just less)
-Peel a mango
-make water with fresh fruit
-walk a 10k in church shoes (speaking of shoes, they're full of holes and tiny rocks, but that's okay, they just have to last like 3 months. (more like 4 months.)

I just wanted to share my testimony though. There will come moments when we face trials that we will start to doubt. I've learned that the opposition is necessary. That God permits that Satan has power. 

Because it's how we grow. 

Love you guys, 


Monday, March 16, 2015

Still in Celaya!

Nick wrote his whole letter in Spanish.  It was a punishment to me for sending a picture of our freshly grilled steaks with the caption "wish you were joining us for our parasite free steaks"  Guess he thought that wasn't very funny.  I sent it to a friend to translate it and Sydney did the same.  Both translations are below.  Choose which one you like.  

Me da un buen de flojera para escribirles esta semana.. 

Okay, lo que pasó con los cambios...  6 semanas más aqui en Celayork, pero Elder Aposhian se va a Irapuato. Recibo E. Villacis. Es de Ecuador creo, tiene 5 meses en la mision. No lo conozco. 

No puedo creer que tan rápido esta pasando el tiempo! Me falta que.. 4 meses. Y el ultima mes ni cuenta! 

Esta semana... Me lo pasé bien. Allí en la ciudad de Güeros. Tuvimos experiencias bien padres. En 3 días encontramos 7 nuevos! Es lo más que he encontrado en tan pocito tiempo en todo mi misión. 

Ahora entiendo porque todo el mundo odia las turistas. Son bien ridículos la verdad. Todos son groseros, y se creen mucho porque tienen dinero. A la goma. 

Pero la verdad.... no llevamos a cabo mucho. toda la semana estaba lloviendo. Pero fuertisimo.... Y no tenia mi chamarra en San Miguel. 

Creo que no hay nada peor que caminar todo día con calcetines mojados.

Que más... 

Tenemos consejo de lideres en Querétaro esta semana.. ummm

Algo que he estado estudiando. 

Me di cuenta que si las personas no tienen el deseo de aprender cosas espirituales, o si los deseos no son correctas, jamas lo sentirán. 

Que Dios no se manifiesta a las personas que se sienten en la oscuridad. Sino que espera hasta que las personas empiezan a buscarle y tomar pasos de fe. 

También el nivel del espíritu depende mucho de los deseos de las personas. (por eso no aprendí nada en semanario, nadie tiene ganas de aprender a las 6 en la mañana)

A donde voy con esto. Que muchos veces me siento que intento a convencer las personas a escucharnos. Pero no debe ser así. No puedo quitar el albedrío de las personas. Si ellos no quieren, no voy a perder mi tiempo. Lo que yo tengo es especial. 

... es tan difícil a tener una conversación normal... 

No sé como lo hice antes. 

Mis zapatos están rompiendo. Pero ya ni modo, que se aguantan 4 meses. 

Oh! Cuando estuvimos en San Miguel, un hombre vino a nosotros vendiendo estos mascaras. Preguntamos cuanto quería por ellas. La primera cosa que nos pregunta "Speak spanish or inglish" 


"ciento cuarenta entonces por hablar español, ¿ingles? two hundred" 

y justamente llegó un americano que no hablaba español... y lo compró por 200 pesos. 

Ya es todo. 

Los amo. 

Cuidanse mucho. 

E. Arvanitas. 

Translation 1

I'm just going to wing it writing you this week. 

Okay, here is what happened with transfers...I''ll be here 6 more weeks in Celayork, but Elder Aposhian's going to Irapuato. I get Elder Villacis as my companion. He is from Ecuador, I think, and he's only been on his mission for 5 months. I've never met him.

I can't believe how fast time flies.  I only have 4 more months, and the last month doesn't count!

This week went well out there in the city of Gueros. We had some good experiences. In just 3 days, we found 7 new investigators. That is the most I have found in such a short time, in my whole time as a missionary.

I understand now why everyone hates tourists. They are so ridiculous. All of them are rude and they think they have got it made, because of money. Ridiculous.

Actually, we didn't do very much because it rained all week, really hard, and I didn't have my rain coat in the city of San Miguel. I don't think there's anything worse than walking around all day with wet socks. 

What else? We had leadership meetings in Queretaro this week.

Here is something I've been thinking about lately. I realized that if people don't have a desire to learn about spiritual things, or if their desires are not pure, they will never feel it. God doesn't appear to those who live in darkness. Instead, He waits until people begin to search for Him and begin to exercise their faith. Also, our spirituality depends so much on our own desires, which is why I didn't learn anything in Seminary. No one has any desire to learn at 6 o'clock in the morning.
Where am I going with this? Many times, I feel like I'm trying to convince people to listen to us, but it shouldn't be like that. I cannot erase the pride of others. If they do not want to listen, I'm not going to waste my time. What I have is special. 

It's so hard to have a normal conversation. I don't know how I did it before.

My shoes are falling apart, but it doesn't really matter, because they only have to last for 4 more months. 

Oh, when we were in San Miguel, a man came over to us selling some masks. We asked him how much he wanted for them. The first thing he asked us is if we spoke Spanish or English.


"Okay, then it's 140 pesos for those who speak Spanish. If you speak English, then it's 200 pesos."

Then, it just so happened that an American tourist shows up that doesn't speak Spanish, and he bought it for 200 pesos.

That's all I got. I love you guys. Take care.

E. Arvanitas. 

Translation 2

okay here it is.

I feel really lazy writing to you guys this week.

Okay, what happened with transfers. 6 more weeks here in Celayork, but Elder Aposhian went to Irapuato. My new companion is E. Villacis. He is from Ecuador I think and only has been in the mission for 5 months. I don't know him.

I can't BELIEVE how fast the time is going!!!!!!!!! I have... 4 MONTHS LEFT!!!!!!! And the last one doesn't count!!!!

This week went well here in the city of white people (gueros). We had really cool experiences. In three days we found 7 new investigators. This is more than I have found in this little time in my whole mission. 

I now understand why the world hates tourists. The truth is they are ridiculous. They are rude and they believe they know everything because they have money.

But truth is we didn't get a lot done and all this week it was raining...but very strongly!!! And i didn't have my jacket in San Miguel.

I believe there is nothing worse than walking the whole day with wet socks. 

What more,,,

We have leadership meeting in Queretaro this week...ummmmm

This is what I've been studying.

I learned that if people don't have the desire to learn spiritual things or their desires aren't right than they aren't going to feel anything.

God won't manifest himself to people that sit in the darkness. But only will wait until the people begin to look for him  and take steps of faith. 

Also the level of the spirit depends on the desires of the people. (for this I didn't learn anything in seminary. Nobody has the desire to learn at 6 in the morning) (emily comment: that part made me laugh a lot) 

Where Im going with this is that many times I feel that I am trying to make people listen to us. But I shouldn't be like that. I can't take away their agency. If they don't want to listen, Im not going to waste my time. My time is what is very special to me.'s really diffilcult to have a normal conversation.....
 I don't know how I did it before

My shoes are falling apart but I'll endure it for another 4 months.

Oh!!! When I was in San Miguel a man came up to us selling masks. He wanted to know how much we wanted for them. The first thing he asked us if we speak spanish or english.


"140 for speaking Spanish. English 200 pesos"

Then arrived an american that didn't speak Spanish...and bought it for 200 pesos. 

And that's all.

I love you!

Take care everybody!