Elder Tingey's letters as he serves an LDS mission in Culiacàn, Mexico
Monday, January 30, 2012
When I sent Elder Mercado off from Mochis back in December, I thought it was unlikely that I would see him for a while, seeing as how he'd be boarding a plane to South America and staying there for a few words, preaching the word and whatnot. To my great surprise and pleasure, his home ward meets in the came chapel as Colhuacan! So I got to see my old companion off at his farewell talk my first week here, that was strange, but even stranger was meeting his family. When my companions tell me about their families and friends, they seem really distant and fictitious, so meeting the whole Mercado family has been surreal. I ate at their house, and I remembered that Elder Mercado mentioned that his younger brother plays guitar.
"Hey Limhi, you play guitar, right?"
"...do you want to play it?"
"Yes, definitely, yes. (Here I come, all four songs that I remember)." When I end up getting separated from companions, the stories of their family and friends become a big cliffhanger. Will Amy ever write Elder Crabb back? Find out... after your mission.
Our house here is huge. And, there's no water. It's been fun. To shower, we fill up buckets, carry them upstairs, wake up early to toss a heating rod in, and have nice warm showers. As for dishes, I just eat things that don't really require any washing. So many sandwiches. I fully admit that our big scary house creeps me out at night, and my fears that monsters are chasing me when I have to run up the stairs have returned. It's why I've always had the strange habit of jogging up staircases. The reason that we don't have water is because some hooligans - our neighbors - keep stealing parts of the plumbing from the roof to sell the copper (now at 90 pesos a kilo).
One thing that is really starting to weary me - and something that will not ever run out while I'm in Sinaloa - is the amount of drunkards that accost us in the street. There are tons. About 20 this week. Sometimes they're funny, but mostly we just have to carry a good bunch of Word of Wisdom pamphlets everywhere. One particularly tipsy guy approached us this week to tell us how proud he was of us. He was "shaking" Elder Sandoval's hand, and said, "...the world lacks-" when mid-sentence, a passerby interjected, "The world lacks you not putting your batteries in backwards." So, street contacting is weird.
We decided that this was going to be the week of miracles. We set a goal to have one daily miracle. So right down with the rest of our "key indicators" (how many lessons taught, how many referrals recieved, etc.) we had a daily counter for miracles. And it worked. Right after we set that goal, one of our investigators challenged another investigator to get baptized during the lesson. And she accepted! Cool.
I've finally had to start moving my belt buckle down a notch after eating a big meal. Fare thee well, eternally static girth.
Also, we walk a lot. Aren't there a whole bunch of unsold segways sitting in a warehouse somewhere? Do you think the church would be up for buying 50,000 or so for all of the full-time missionaries?
We saw a woman in the street trying to carry a cactus, so, street contact + service combo = new investigator. When we got to her house, her niece had locked herself out. So, once again, my "long arms" (relative to those of the little Mexican ladies) were once again used to break into a house with a broom. Seriously, it's like the fifth time that I've done that. It makes me have a lot less faith in how safe the door locks are here. And of course, she gave us some jalapeños as a reward.
Erick is going to be baptized this next weekend. He's a super cool kid from a recently reactivated family (who lives 2 houses from the chapel, come on). We were teaching him and his siblings the Ten Commandments. His younger brother, Elvis - yep -, is super funny. I feel like it's going to be hard to explain this jokes, but here we go. He always calls the Día de Reposo (Day of Rest) Día de Posoli (Day of... a Sinaloense soup dish). In the lesson, Elder Sandoval said, "How did they punish robbers in ancient times?" and Elvis responded, "Push-ups!" ...it's funny, alright?
Sunday morning, we're calling all kinds of people, riding around in a pick-up truck, waking up sleepy investigators, and trying to get everyone to church, but to no avail. Until we got to church, when we saw that six other investigators had made it with their member friends. Moral of the story, we show our faith by doing everything we can to get people to come to church, and investigators show up completely irrelevant of our efforts. One of those investigators is Blanca, who is what we call an escogida. She ran into a friend, another investigator, at church and greeted her by saying, "This is the true church!" We put a baptismal date with her yesterday and she has already signed up to help us out with lunch for all of the Mondays this month. She's progressing really well.
So, basically, it was a really good week. We've seen plenty of milagritos, and we're teaching a good pool of progressing investigators. I ended up having to recount the Senior Prank story again this week. It now ends in a verySandlot fashion, when I explain who went where on missions and whatnot.
In closing, if you want a self esteem boost, read Luke 12.
Picture 1: When you do service in Mexico, they give you jalapeño peppers.