Greetings from the land of the Mountain Kings! (Mountain Kings is a nick name for the inhabitants of Monterrey, which in itself means mountain king.)
I don't have words to describe this last week. Part of that might be because I am getting out of practice of speaking English, and part is because I don't think words exist to describe it. It was good, but it was hard. In the MTC we saw a talk from Elder Holland called "The Miracle of a Mission," in which he said that his mission meant everything to him, but that it was the hardest part of his life. In Salt Lake, I understood how the mission meant everything to him but not as much about how it was hard. Now I understand.
Don't worry, I am doing fine. I am healthy and happy. I love my companion, and the people here. I am a little overwhelmed with all the work to do, but I'm glad to be here doing it.
This week I have learned a lot about compromising. My companion is wonderful, and has some strong ideas. I also have strong ideas that are often different than his. This week we have done a lot of compromising, and I have learned that I am not always right, and that sometimes it is better to compromise to keep unity and good feelings.
I really do love it here. As Ammon would say, I desire to live here for a time. (Although not until the day I die--I do want to come home eventually). I've already noticed that some of my first impressions of Mexico were very wrong, mainly things that I didn't like (with the exception of the streets--I'm not sure I'll ever get used to those).
All the missionaries throughout Mexico right now are working on updating the records of the church. The records here are a mess and although the church has asked, nothing has been done about it. So the First Presidency has asked that the missionaries do it. We are visiting every family whose names appear on the records to make sure all their information is correct (names, dates, etc). We are supposed to finish by mid-November, which means we have to visit 10 famililes a day. It is a lot of work, but I enjoy it. I am helping to make the Lord's house a house of order. It is also a great way to find people to teach, both less-actives and investigators, both of which are important.
My companion and I have been asked to move to a house in our area that was not lived in last transfer. The last missionaries who lived there before were not the best and President Mendoza has asked that we regain the confidence and trust of the members and neighbors in that area. The house right now is a mess and it is going to be a lot of work, but I am ready to do what president asks.
* * *
[Y]ou [in California] might be interested to know that the same work you are doing with Prop 8 I am doing here. There are actually a lot more homosexuals here than I expected. My first day here, in fact, I met a lady who had been a lesbian but had joined the church. Her testimony was one of the strongest and most sincere I have ever heard. The gospel of Jesus Christ changes hearts and lives for good (by "for good" I mean for the better and for ever.)
Yesterday, Sunday, was wonderful. Sundays have always been my favorite day and that is still true here in Mexico. Church was great (and yes, I did play the piano). I feel the most happy and the least homesick when I am at church (not that I am usually sad or extremely homesick, but that what little of that I feel disappears in the church.)
By the way, if there are mistakes in this letter, they be the mistakes of a missionary who [in Monterrey] doesn't speak much English usually and who is not used to a Spanish keyboard (they are somewhat different).
Because of all that my companion have to do wtih our new house and everything, I won't be able to write letters to anyone for a while. Those of you waiting for letters, please forgive me and be patient.