Monday, January 31, 2011

Roosters, New Instruments and Warm Cream

Qui-quira-qui! Or something like that. That is the sound the roosters make in the morning. And there are lots of roosters here.

The dog dazer is mostly just for fun right now, because Elder Davis' bike pedal is broken. The dogs go nuts when you're on a bike, but they're not so bad if you're just walking. Therefore, we are paying them back by dazing them unmercilessly. I'm trying to train them Pavlov-style by raising my hand at them whenever I hit them with the frequencies, so eventually I'll just raise my hand and they'll run away and the Mexican children will believe in
my magical powers.

Yesterday, I managed to play hymns for people on: piano, guitar, contrabass and keyboard (accompanied by two recorders). So that was really weird. It's super fun to play piano for sacrament meeting. They haven't had a pianist in the branch yet. I played the Spirit of God, which everyone knows, so that was really loud. And I played a sacrament hymn that no one knew, apparently, so that was also pretty loud.

The food really has been good so far (except for this one thing: it was just a cup of warm cream and corn an a single tortilla chip; that was weird and I ate all of it) there's just usually way too much, and you always have accept and then eat all of it. Last night we passed three members houses on the way back home and all of them gave us lots of food.

I'm going to go ahead and send this and then attach more pictures to the next one.

picture is the city of Costa Rica! (It's not really a city, but don't tell the Costa Ricans that). I don't know our street address, but I can see the chapel on the picture. It's to

the east and a few blocks away from the train tracks. Our house is two blocks south of the chapel. And yep, we're surrounded by caña. Sugar cane. Apparently Coca-Cola owns the all of the surrounding fields.

The fields are really cool. We were teaching a lesson out in the coloñia of La Treinta (which is the somewhat separated portion out north of the main portion of Costa Rica) and ash started falling with the rain. Apparently they were burning a field, but I just figured the world was ending. It's nice being in such a small place. We work in half the city and the other copmanionship works in the other half. It seems much safer than my time in Culiacán. If you just say "buenas noches," they can't mug you anymore. It would just be weird.
We're trying to focus our efforts on finding people through the members referrals more than just contacting door to door. We are seeing lots of success from this method. Apparently transfers are in two weeks, so it's possible that I or Elder Davis will leave really soon.

As for writing me... We answer e-mails at a cyber and we have half an hour, so it's hard to read everyone's when I have a lot, but it's really nice to have a couple notes to respond to. I can print out e-mails here and read them later, though. So e-mail is probably the best way to contact me if anyone wants to do so.

Clothes: good. Still fairly white. That's how I can tell them apart from everyone elses when we wash them. Shoes: also good. They're doing better than my feet. I lost one pair for a week, but they were just under a bed. Besides being extremely disty, they're fine. I shine them on Sundays, and they look just as dusty once we've walked to the chapel. We leave our apartment for our first appointments at 10:00 a.m. after we finish our morning study. Then we work until two, for la comida. We go back out and work from three until nine or nine-thirty. It's awesome! We definitely don't take a siesta, but that would be nice. From what I've seen, that's somewhat of a false stereotype, unfortunately.

We went into Culiacán on Friday or Saturday to sign some sort of passport thing. My whole MTC district was reunited for about an hour and it was so fun. We're all having basically the same experiences, except Elder Brown has a stick and a bucket to clean his clothes. A lot of the other missionaries from my generation mentioned the difficulties they are having with their companions. Elder Davis and have had no problems and we get along really well, so I'm really grateful after hearing about how others are not having it so easy.

Pues, gracias.

Elder Tingey

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dog Dazer Working Well

Hello, hello.
We've been really busy for a week and it has been veryfun. We have a baptismal service tomorrow for a woman named Juana whose husband, Jeime was baptized a few weeks ago, so we are currently very excited for that. Yesterday we had District Conference in La Cruz with all of the branches in our district. Everyone in the two branches here in Costa Rica stuffed into a bus and we drove to the chapel in La Cruz for a broadcast, which I think was to all or most of Mexico. I'm not really sure. Elder Holland spoke at the end. It was really neat. He spoke some Spanish for the beginning of his talk; it showed a lot of humility to me because he doesn't really know Spanish, but he was willing to do his best to speak to all of the saints here.

The dog dazer works really well. It's awesome.

We offer service to everyone, but usually people don't accept. We offered help to this young guy named Cristian, and after explaining that we didn´t need any money, we helped him weed the planters in front of his house. It was really fun. His friends kept driving by and honking at us. After a while of asking questions and things, he said, "Aren´t you supposed to try to convince me to go to church?" Elder Davis said something about how we don't come to convince anyone, we were just offering service. Cristian said, "Oh, that makes me want to go even more!" We'll go visit him later today.

Mexico is a very loving place. People's families and friends are very important to them. A couple times, we've been teaching a very old person, and I think, "Oh, they must be pretty lonely; they're probably really happy to have someone to talk to," and as we are there, three or four family members will come through the house to visit or for various reasons. Few people are actually lonely or separated from their families from what I've seen. Everyone greets each other, saying good day, and then EXACTLY at noon they start saying good afternoon. It's really fun.

MyLdsMail is now run through Google, so I have all of the same limitations as I would with a G-Mail account; Dad, I received the e-mail and picture you sent, and I can respond in the same way, sending however many pictures at a time. Apparently DearElder is free. We pick it up from Culiacán twice or three times a month. I don't know if it would be better to receive mail through that or just read e-mails here in the cyber. Also, I can't go to any other websites, so I'll only send pictures through attachments.

We have lost of success teaching. Many people are helped as we work all day to invite them to come unto Christ. We just taught the Word of Wisdom to two of our investigators, Elizabeth and Roberto; it's really cool to see how applying a gospel principle to their lives can help them and their families.

The first day I arrived here, I washed off a spoon to eat with at our house, and I was searching around for a bit for a towel. Elder Sanvisente, who lives with us, gave me an old t-shirt that was in the kitchen and said, "Welcome to the mission!" That same experience has basically been repeating for a week in different forms.

For "the food" (lunch) everyday, the Sisters in our branch take turns preparing us a meal. Mexican food is REALLY good. I think a Café Rio or Chiptole burrito would feel out of place here. I don't know anyone in the branch yet, so every meal is an introduction. Elder Davis always has them a play a game where everyone takes a turn asking me a question. He always ends the game by saying something like, "And the most important question of all... Can you play the piano?" I'm beginning to think I was sent here just because there wasn't a ward pianist. I'm excited to play for the sacrament meeting next Sunday and I'm really glad I bought a simplified hymnal before I left the MTC.

Elder Tingey

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mexico here we come!


I don't even know what to say. Many, many things have happened and are happening. I am currently in Mexico.

When we were in route, I was very happy that I managed to talk to everyone at least once. Those phones were really hard to use. But traveling with my whole MTC district was very fun. On the plane ride between Mexico City and Culiacán, I talked to a guy named Francisco in the back of the plane for the entire time. He has been learning English and I have been learning Spanish, so we were able to talk about a lot. I told him who we were as missionaries and why we were here, and he asked if we had a website where he could learn more about our church, and I gave a card, and he wanted to know more about the church so I taught him for two hours and read some scriptures and gave him a Book of Mormon. Hewas very interested and said he was going to try to find the church buildings in Culiacán and Mexico City (where he lives and works, respectively) through So that was really, really cool for my first teaching experience. The other Elders from the MTC were sitting in front of me, eavesdropping excitedly the whole time.

President Cantú met us at the airport in Culiacán. He is great and speaks very powerfully. He talked to us a lot about how we are a baptizing mission and a couple things to be careful about while we are here. This mission is the best one, apparently. I believe it. We had dinner at the Cantús house (which was SO good) and then we slept in the house of the Elders who work in the mission office.

The next morning (after being woken up by two Elders yelling and wearing Luchador masks) we had some orientation and interviews with the president. The interview was very strong and spiritual; President Cantú explained that in my mission, I bend my will in order for the Lord's light to reflect of me and onto others. He is quite amazing.Then we started working. And it is awesome!

Mexico is... so cool. People are doing stuff. I can´t even believe that people have called the police on us for playing music too loud. That´s ridiculous, because every house is just blasting banda music (of which EVERY song is the same). Lots of people are in the streets talking and being friendly. America seems really boring relatively. The culture is very religious and the people are really open, so everyone we talk to is pretty interested in our message. I committed a young man who was also 19 named Javier and a young mother named Magdalena to baptismal dates in their first lessons with us on Saturday and Sunday; those baptismal dates are the 29th of January. President Cantú spoke a lot about how people are "escogidos" or chosen, and it's amazingly true.

Church was exactly the same as our home ward, except a little smaller, a little more off-key (okay, a lot more off-key (when the notes were high they really weren't that close)) and a little less air-conditioned.

This morning I came to my area. I'm in Costa Rica, a ranchito close to Culiacán. My companion is Elder Davis from Bakersfield, CA who also went to BYU. He has been here a year and a half and is a Zone Leader. I've only been here a few hours so I don't know much about the area yet. I know we have bikes and we don't have hot water. Our house seems really nice, but we won´t really be there much.

Spanish is really fun. The pizza here doesn´t have tomato sauce. Stoplights are suggestions. Lots of things are surprisingly similar; we just went grocery shopping and that was exactly the same, save the amount of tortillas available.

I'm doing really well, and Mexico and has been super fun so far. Dad, if you have any good ideas for attaching pictures, e-mail me. Thanks!

-Elder Tingey

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mexico here we come!


So, we're leaving tomorrow morning at 6:00 and flying from Salt Lake City to Mexico City, waiting four hours, then flying straight to Culiacán! We're all very excited and currently making preparations to leave. I should be able to call for a while in the airport tomorrow. And I will likely be sending a box home with some things.

The MTC has been really, really great. Yesterday we had the opportunity to "host" new missionaries; we help them with their luggage at the car and then take them to their residence, get their books, take them to their classroom and basically show them around a little bit. As I was helping the missionaries, I had to talk a lot about why the MTC is so great and why they're going to enjoy it for their 3 or 8 weeks, and it helped me realize why I enjoyed it here so much (for my TEN weeks). Also, it was kind of funny to see all of the crying families at the curb. While we have been here, we've had fantastic teachers, and I have learned a lot while I've been here. I'm taken aback by how much I've learned. And it's just been super fun. And now my whole district is leaving together after we lost the first six one by one.

I think one of the reasons that we stayed here for an extra two weeks was for Elder Holland's talk at the devotional on Tuesday night. This was the last devotional for our old MTC presidency, and the first for the new MTC presidency. So basically, we stayed at the MTC so long that we outlasted the Presidency. Elder Holland is awesome. He spoke without a prompter and without notes and went farther overtime than any other speaker has, and it was so great. One of his main points was the importance of loving Christ, because we, especially as missionaries, can't really do anything if we don't love Christ enough to have faith to do His work. He spoke quite a bit about that development of the missionary program in the last century. The result is represented by Preach My Gospel, which is a great, great tool. He said that Preach My Gospel is written to convert the missionary before they preach to and convert others. Through Elder Holland's words, I realized the importance of following the Spirit in teaching. We teach according to the needs of the investigators, and we aren't always capable of knowing what they need, so we must rely on the Spirit.

Apparently Elder Colton Jacobson is here, and I'm trying really hard to find him. I've seen a few others that came in this week (Elder Heath Sanford, Sister Maura Jackson), and it's really fun to see people I know. So hopefully I manage to catch Elder Jacobson before I leave.

I feel very blessed that I'm able to learn Spanish. I know that I'm doing the Lord's work preparing to serve the people in Mexico. I know that the true church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ have been restored in our day through the prophet Joseph Smith, and that we have a living prophet today. I know that Jesus Christ atoned for us so that we can fulfill God's plan and return to live with him. I'm very excited to testify of this, in Spanish, in Mexico, tomorrow.

Thanks for all the beef jerky while I've been here in Provo! I will call tomorrow.

-Elder Tingey

Friday, January 7, 2011

Week 9 Update


We're going to Mexico, turns out. They got visas for just a few of the Mexican missions: Tijuana, Chihuahua and Culiacán. they are holding us here at the MTC probably until next Thursday of Friday. We will make a personal appearance at the Mexican consolate next week and then we´ll be going straight to Mexico on a day when Presidente Cantú can pick us up. Yay! I'll be able to call at the airport I believe. I'll probably send some stuff home in the meantime. Also, they just throw away Dear Elders once I'm gone - because they have no postage - so if there's any important information in those once I'm in Mexico, I won't get it.


Elder Tingey

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Missionary Training Center Week 9


So, the MTC is pretty complicated right now. We haven't recieved reassignments yet, but we've heard that the rest of the Mexican missionaries who were recieving reassignments got them back on Wednesday! Yay! So we're hanging out a bit for the time being. And apparently if you're here for too long, you start to get the short end of the stick on everything. We are now sharing a mailbox with a brand new district who we don't even know, and they get LOTS of mail, so we're always excited to see a full mailbox, but are then disappointed when we only have one letter. And our teachers left. That was kind of sad. But we're having a lot of fun and just learning Spanish still, waiting on reassignments.

I saw Elder Jordan Henrie and Elder Austin Holland from our stake this week! And apparently Elder Colton Jacobson is coming in next Wednesday, so I'm kind of hoping that I'll be able to see him as well. It's funny to see "new" missionaries and feel oh so much more experienced after being here for a tiny amount of time. Harrumph! I'm able to give some good advice to those who are here for there first day because I was in their position very recently.

I was sent technology that I had never even seen before, which was really weird. Apparently these newfangled iPods were out before I left, I wasn't aware. It sure is small, and has amazing screen resolution. It's really cool. A bunch of us really enjoyed the picture slideshow that it has. Thanks for that.

Elder David Stewart Baxter of the Seventy spoke to us on Tuesday and it was AWESOME. He was very Scottish. He just testified of true doctrine for forty minutes and was extremely powerful. He spoke about parts of the Nicene Creed, and would just say, "We do not follow this doctrines because they are false." It was very blunt and logical and I enjoyed it a lot. For me, I can feel the Spirit very strongly when the Gospel is laid out in that manner and analyzed. My testimony has been greatly strengthened of the power of the doctrine in the scriptures. If preach according to the Spirit and testify of what I know, the truth of my message is evident.
We talked to this Mexican Hermana from Mexico City about our mission. She said that she visited Culiacán once and she was robbed by the police. So we're really excited. She also said that all of our watches will be stolen. One of the teachers in our zone served in our mission, and he assured us not to worry. He lived in Culiacán for a year and only got robbed once! And he was forced by a drunk cop at gunpoint to back to his house and sing until the cop's wife put sleeping pills in his beer. But good things happened on his mission too. We've set a district goal to be in Mexico by next Christmas.


Elder Tingey