Tuesday, July 31, 2012

La Paz, Perla and Jesus

I don't have a whole lot of time due to some adventures wading through cyber café technology from way back when, so I'll speed things up with a photo adventure!
Emptying a filling the baptismal font in each area is like arriving to a new island on Myst. So many knobs, levers, switches, buttons, hatches, buckets, cockroaches. We successfully emptied cleaned and filled it only by calling the stake president for tips.

A little girl asked me my name at lunch, and as we were leaving, I saw this on their marker board. It represents Mexican hospitality well.

Perla and Jesús were baptized and confirmed! It was great. They're now the majority of the active Primary. In the last lesson we had at their house, Jesús wasn't around when we started. Halfway through, his little sister found him inside a bucket of water nearby with the lid on because of the heat. We made him read a chapter of the Book of Mormon as punishment for unpunctuality. (Joke. The Book of Mormon is true and entertaining! Read it!) The kids and their mom are now active in the church.
I did divisions with Elder Webster, the only other Las Veganite in the mission! We successfully named 38 Vegas casinos together. We ended up doing divisions two nights in a row due to baptismal interviews, which is super irregular, but it was fun. I went to a ward missionary activity in his ward, where we watched "the Restoration" and had trivia questions. Afterward, we ended up explaining about the sacrament and baptism and invited everyone at the activity to baptized. It was cool and a strong spiritual experience.

We recycled the water! Just doing our part. And then we started to spray it at each other. And then we remembered that it's dirty font water.

 It was a good week. I also did divisions with Elder Vasquez, my fellow "rockero." 
I almost can't focus because this cyber is also a gym and there are genres of music playing that didn't exist when I left America. The Gospel is true!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Book of Mormon and Bible support each other

Elder Tingey in La Paz

Well, la Paz has been interesting so far. My first lesson was with a
German woman recieving a pedicure. The rest of my lessons have been
with Mexicans.

I ran into Elder Bueno from Michael Shaw's mission. Turns out the
thing about the missionaries wearing giant sombreros in Tijuana is

Evan Lipman, fear not. Your letter is on the way. Ammon Chung, do I
have to write you even though you are now in America?

The ward and bishop seem great. They haven't had a pianist for a good
while, so everybody was content on Sunday. I'm really excited to work
here. We have a baptism next weekend: the Ríos family. The parents
converted about ten years ago and became less active, but are now
coming back into full church activity. Their kids, Perla and Jesus,
are going to be baptized next Saturday. Brother Ríos showed us
pictures of the sister missionaries who taught them when they were
baptized, and referred to them as his "madrinas," or godmothers.
Funny, funny apostasy. We watched the animated scripture cartoon of
Lehi's dream with them. I did not remember it being that intense
(people fall off cliffs and buildings and die), but it had a good
message, and I think Perla, Jesús and Lizbeth (five years old) will
remember it (in their nightmares).

I did divisions with Elder Vasquez and Elder Petersen. We sang many
things. We taught many people. We had a lesson with one of their
investigators that was pretty cool. With many investigators, it's a
struggle to discover what their doubts are in order to resolve them.
She was really frank, like: Behold, my doubts, Solve them please. Her
first doubt was, "For you guys, the Book of Mormon is like a Bible,
but for me it's just not a Bible." We read Mormon 7:9 and explained
how the two books of scripture are written to support each other and
allow us to understand the Gospel more clearly. She had a bunch of
doubts about going to church, but we helped her resolve them as well,
and the Spirit was really strong. And then she went to church on
Sunday! Woohoo! Also, at the end of the lesson, a mango fell out of
her tree and almost hit me, so I ate it.

Mexican graveyards are crazy

Elder Ovando

Monday, July 16, 2012

Iguana and Guavas


Now I'm in a different state! As of this morning my area is Pioneros
in the city la Paz and my companion is Elder Ovando from Chiapas. I'm
pretty pumped. It was weird to get pulled of El Dorado so suddenly. We
had some great investigators making really good progress. But I'm
ready to work here in my new area and make some miracles happen!

One of my last acts in El Dorado was getting the mission bike stolen
when I left it in front of a store. Dang drug addicts... But they left
my companion's bike alone which was right beside mine. It's because of
my sweet pegs. I borrowed another bike from a member, which also
didn't have brakes. I changed my technique to just making sudden right
turns when a car is going to hit me.

We had an investigator in El Dorado whose name is Àngel. He's a boxer.
One of our last lessons was with him on the grass in front of the
church. We taught the plan of salvation, and the Spirit was
particularly strong, sitting under a tree next to the chapel. Towards
the end of the lesson, Elder Amaller asked, ''What do you have to do
to arrive well to God's presence?" Àngel said, "Well, get baptized,
keep coming to church, go on a mission." Alright!

Add caption

Farewell to El Dorado Pizza

Melquiades and District

Most of the branch

Elder Sotito
The famous Taqueria Moreno.  They ever let me wear an apron and hold the big knife.
We contacted a house and Elder Amaller asked if he could take some of their guavas off their tree and proceeded to jump up in the tree and harvest some guavas.
Paletas de litchi.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Unknown Pokeman Sighting

 Salvador Dali's "Deconstruction of the Perception of Elder Tingey's Efficiency" (Having a bike break isn't so bad, because it means we get to go to Federico's bike workshop. He looks like one of those 1930's strongmen guys who are shaped like triangles and just tells us stories about his feats of strength, arm wrestling, and when he made 20,000 pesos just by people betting that he couldn't lift stuff while he fixes the bikes.)

New Fruit of the Week: Yaca. Rating: 4/10 Maybe one of the weirdest things I've ever eaten. It's... good, I guess.The guy who sold it to us said it has 8 flavors, but it mostly just tastes like bubble gum. And I'm against bubble gum. Supposedly, it's from India.

I expected the butterflies that come when I go out of my comfort zone to go away as I had more time in the mission. They haven't, but I've come to like the feeling. On Sunday morning, we were riding around town trying to round people up for church in the morning. We rode past this super buff guy on crutches. One hundred meters down the road, I couldn't shake the feeling to go back and invite him to church. We shook his hand and asked if he had already met the missionaries. He said, "Yeah, but I'm %100 atheist." We invited him to church! He didn't make it, but maybe the impression had a purpose that will come to light further on. Or maybe I was just supposed to have some butterflies in my stomach.

I've started to recognize why church is so rad. I love going and doing my best to apply the lessons and become better each week through what I learn. I try to take out my scriptures and mark it each time a speaker or teacher uses one. People who talk to me in class drive me crazy! Hopefully, the investigators who come can have the same edifying experience.

Today, we're going to go see some crocodiles! Take care.

Unknown Pokèmon sighted!

The Disrict: New Addition = Elder Rodriguez
 Luís Roberto's baptism!



Monday, July 2, 2012

Baptism by Mud

Baptism By Mud
Another great week. Itzel was baptized! Her mom and her sister both came to the baptism and confirmation. We almost had to baptize her in a nearby river (which has crocodiles - for real) due to a rupture in the pipe. Our ward mission leader saved the day by getting water from... somewhere... I'm not sure what water "de la sistema" means exactly, but I do know that it was super green. But it worked fine for the remission of sins and whatnot. Itzel is super strong and should go with the branch on their excursion to the temple in Hermosillo this month.

Lawyer Guitarists
We went with Elder Soto to see this lawyer-judge guy about a divorce for one of his investigators. He had a sweet guitar up on the wall behind him, and when I asked him about it, he just took it down and started playing a singing. ..yep. It was awesome. There were two older guys hanging out in the office as well. I took a video, you can see it eventually. But he played us "el Corrido del Dorado." (Supposedly can be found on YouTube). The corridos is a music genre that's compared with rap, because it generally has narcotics trafficking themes, but sounds nothing like rap at all. But this one was about El Dorado and mentions litchis and all of the neighborhoods we work in. And then I played and sang "la Oración del Profeta." Hoorah. The old guys liked the corrido more. 

Following the Spirit, Even When You Don't Really Want To
Coming back from San Joaquin, I attempted to change gears, and my shifter got ripped out and pulled into the spokes. So I couldn't really pedal. Luckily, a guy in a truck passed by right then and took us straight to Federico, our bike repair guy. For the rest of the night, we were on foot. For the final hour of our day, we had planned to contact a reference from a branch member. As we were leaving, I thought, "Why are we going here? It's probably the furthest colony in our area. It's going to take a half hour just to get there." But we went. We knocked at that house, and no one was home. It was already pretty late, and we probably could have just started walking home, and would probably have arrived justifiably early. I looked over at a neighbor's house and saw a family just getting home and going in their door, and used the Elder Tyler Tingey technique, thinking: "They'd probably be cool members of the church." We went and knocked on their door, and with a simple contact, the woman who answered received us really well. Once again, I thought, "Just put an appointment for another day, it's already pretty late." However, I asked -unwillingly - if we could teach them right then. The words just kind of came out. The lesson went great. The mom, Urania, said that the missionaries had gone out to her ranchito when she was really little, and they taught and sang hymns and gave them coloring books and stuff. We set baptismal dates with them, and had an overall great lesson. When I was tempted to give less effort, the Spirit gave me a little kick so we could find that family. 

Costa Rica Reunion!
This was the second Sunday that I've consecutively played piano at funeral services for members of the El Dorado district. A member of the branch in Costa Rica passed away, so everyone from Costa Rica came to the chapel in El Dorado! It was awesome! (Clayton, todos le mandan saludos y le felicitan por haberse comprometido.)

All is well!

This is the estetica that we lived in for my first four months!
I used to walk past this everyday.
Zone El Dorado

Itzel's baptism


This was a complicated week.

Tuesday: Divisions. Elder Ames came to Colhuacan with me.

Wednesday: Divisions. Both Elder Sandoval and I went to Mirador for most of the day. I went with Elder Peterson all the way out to a little ranchito outside of Culiacán called Tepuche. It has three streets and one big Catholic church.

Thursday: Yep. Divisions. Elder Lopez came to our area for half of the day, and then we went and got lost for the other half of the day in his area. Mostly I just learned a bunch of Mexican "riddles," like:

En casa de Chi, 
Mataron a Ri.
Vino Mo,
y dijo, "Ya." 

The answer is Chirimoya. My interest in Mexican riddles has declined.

New fruit of the week: Tejocote. Rating: 1/10. With Tony´s: didn´t even bother. It tastes how I imagine erasers taste. Actually, they might make erasers out of tejocotes.

Also, we had Erick's baptismal service after a stake conference on Sunday! Yay! His whole family made it - including future investigator/future brother-in-law of Erick, Jesús). A bunch of members made it out too, and it turned out well.

I learned this week that it's all about attitude. Thursday morning, I didn't feel good. I had just gotten off a nauseating bus, hadn't slept well, wasn't pumped about the complicated day, and generally just had a few things to complain about. But, we had a moment to study, and I just washed up, read some scriptures, said a prayer, and decided to change my attitude. I felt better, and the day turned out really well. It's a simple, but often very difficult action for me to just shift gears and change my expectations for the day, but it goes a long way.

Litchis 10/10

My mission is the best! This has been one of my favorite weeks thus far. It was great. New fruit of the week: Litchis. I don't know if I explained the supposed origin of the bizarre, eclectic fruits of El Dorado, but briefly: Some time ago, there was a war in China, so all of the Chinese nobility sent their kids here during the war. Eventually, all of the Chinese kids went back, but they left chicos and litchis. Rating: 10/10. It's the best thing ever. They're super sweet, so much so that the first few I had were kind of overbearing, and then I became completely addicted. I could eat a cold kilo of lichis straight and not be satisfied. They are the lotus flowers of El Dorado. And it's among the strangest looking food around.

Instead of taking the time to explain the Great Apostasy, I've been thinking it might be better just play "Violet Hill" for my investigators.

This week, we've been allowing the Spirit to fully assist in the work, and the results have been awesome. We've utilized the "specific prayer" tool often. We've really been busy. Simply trying to get all of the investigators fellowshipped is a boatload of work. In the district, we had the baptismal service for Silverio and Ramona. It was
fun inviting people: "Hey, a ninety-year-old guy and his 10-year-old great-grandaughter are getting baptized!"

We've been focusing our efforts on an investigator named Itzel. Her sister, Aketzally, is a super strong recent convert from the time when I was in Costa Rica. Her example for her sister has been key in Itzel's conversion. On Saturday, we recieved a message informing us that Itzel decided that she wants to be baptized this coming Friday. Woohoo! So we announced the service in sacrament, where we had a solid group of investigators. I was asked to speak, and so I told the story about eating moths on the Catalina Island trip and related it to the voice of the Spirit.

One of the elderly sisters from the branch passed away Sunday morning. We went with many of the ward members to the wake and had a very powerful moment as we sang a few hymns around the casket in the gloomy weather.

Everything is great! Congratulations to Jacob for graduating like a boss (that means you don't have rules anymore). Oliver, Angry Birds is HUGE here too. No idea why. Trev-sauce and Eric: kudos for completing!
I'll see y-all when we live in Budge again (joke). Family, love you guys. Friends: also. Continue doing the simple but necesary things. Never cease to read, pray and seek the guidance of the Lord.

The monstrous might of the Triadillas

The monstrous might of Elder Amaller!
Them's be fightin' cocks

 Bringing investigators to church. They only made it like three
blocks and then we called for a ride.
Knocking mangos out of the tree after church. (That's Melquiades!
He's my friend, fellow English-speaker, and El Dorado guide. For about
fifety percent of my time here, I've just ridden on the pegs while he
pedals my bike. Totally the man.)
Elder Soto being as legit as legit can be.