Greetings from the land where it rains for 36 hours without stop and where the missionaries keep working in spite of the rain!
Last Tuesday it rained. All day. Hard. My companion laughed when I put on my rain coat and grabbed my umbrella in the morning. ¨That will help for maybe an hour, but then it won´t matter anymore,¨ he said. He was right. At first, I thought it was funny how he was soaking wet while I was nice and dry, but the dryness didn´t last long. Soon I was just as wet as he was, only I had the extra weight of a soaking wet coat to drag along too. Before my mission, I loved the rain. If I wasn´t a missionary, I´m sure I´d love the rain here too. It´s not that the rain stops us from working, but the rain really does make things harder. It is fun to walk around in the rain, to trudge through puddles up to your knees, to feel wetter then you would if you were swimming, but people don´t want to let soaking wet missionaries into their house and the few people who are in the street don´t want to talk because they are busy getting to somewhere dry.
The rain is gone now, though, and this week is supposed to be completely sunny. I guess you can take that literally and figuratively. Last week was tough for me in many, many ways. In the past few days, however, I have figured out some things that I need to change, and the Lord has helped me clear up my dark skies. Now the rain is gone, and I expect this week to be full of bright, warm sunshine (plus a lot of sweat).
This week my companion and I had a great teaching experience. We went to visit a 13 year-old boy who has been coming to mutual with his friend. When we got to his house, we met his mother and invited her to join us, but she coldly turned us down. Because of the small size of the house, however, she couldn´t help but here everything we said. After a powerful lesson about the Restoration, she came out and quietly asked us why bad things happen to good people. I could tell that this was truly a question of her soul (PMG, ch 5), and over the course of the conversation she explained that she had deeply, painfully personal reasons for asking that question. My companion gave a beautiful answer talking about the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation, and I bore my simple testimony. When we returned two days later to give her a copy of Elder Scott´s talk from last conference and a copy of the proclamation on the family, she was different. She told us that she had prayed and that she knew that the church was true. She still has a long road of healing and changing in front of her, but she has finally found the solution to somethign that has been causing her pain her whole life. Jesus Christ truly does have the power to change lives, no matter what that person has done or gone through. His gospel is what everyone in this world needs to find the purpose, peace, and happiness that so many people lack.
My third Sunday was great. Like I said before, I love Sundays at church. I feel peaceful and happy there, no matter how busy the week was. I think I have already become the official piano player for the branch, which makes me feel like I am back in Redlands, playing for the Lugonia Branch. For general conference, we will be going to the stake center for every session. Here in Mexico, the area authorities have encouraged that everyone go to the stake centers to watch conference rather than watch it on the computer (it isn´t on TV here.)
Today we did a lot of cleaning in the new house, but there is still lots of work to do. There still remain several areas that need cleaning, and next week we are going to paint the walls Sometime this week we are going to get new locks on the doors (we actually can´t lock our doors right now, so we left all of our valuable stuff in the old house temporarily.)
Unfortunately, I still haven´t recieved any letters. There were three letters waiting for me when I got here, from people who didn´t know that I was serving in Salt Lake. I´ve heard that the average time to get a letter [sent directly to Mexico] is 2 months.. . . .
* * * [I need] copies of a pamphlet called "God Loves His CHildren," or something like that. It is made specifically to help people who struggle with homosexuality. There are several people here who would benefit from that pamphlet. . . .
Here´s your update on Mexican culture for the week: every single boy from age 7 to 11 who I have seen (not an exaggeration), always has with him a toy called a trompo. It is kind of a mix between a yo-yo and a top. You wind it up on a string, and then flick it out and the top detaches from the string and spins on the ground. You then use the string to pick it up while spìnnning and to do various tricks.Another interesting phenomenon here in Monterrey is the handshake. From what I understand, it is unique to the Mountain Kings. It starts with a normal handshake, but then you detatch all your fingers but the thumbs, which you use to pivot your hands so that your thumbs are connected and your other fingers wrap around the bone connecting the thumb and the wrist. It is very popular among the men here, but I´ve never seen a woman do it.Thank you all for all you do for me.