Monday, December 19, 2011

Pictures - December 19, 2011

December 19, 2011

Family! Man, check out Baby Claire! Thats gotta be the cutest, and least alien-looking newborn baby I have ever seen. I'll be honest, I never really thought babys were supposed to be cute for the first couple of months, but Baby Claire just disproved that. Or maybe I just grew up and like babys a little more, who knows. So who is up next then, Kevin and Rach right? When is their baby due? Nobody tells me these things. I just keep getting random emails telling me that I have another nephew or neice. It's great! Welcome to the Family Baby Claire, I will be her favorite uncle by the year 2014. Congratulations Marv and Heather Abbo, this family is exploding and it's so awesome. I will have at least 10 kids. Just kidding, but I definitely plan on having some.

So it's been a pretty alright week in Independencia I guess. Still haven't really found anybody cool to teach, but at least we're narrowing down the people that don't want to listen to us. Gotta look on the bright side as a Missionary. Speaking of brightside, our Ward Christmas activity was pretty good times. Sure there was only like 15 people there, but man did we eat a ton. Before the Mission I have never even been offered a tomale, and now I am eating them pretty much everyday. So good! You guys probably already knew this, but it's a tradition here in Mexico to have some piñata action for Christmas, but probably what you don't know is how dangerous it is. Relax, nobody got hurt, but man were there many close calls. They blindfold the kids and adults, and they just destroy the piñata with this huge stick. The second candy comes out, the kids come running to get some while the other guy is still taking swings at the piñata like Manny Ramirez. Truly was a miracle that no little kids were smacked so hard in the face. Speaking of miracles, have I mentioned how many Scorpions we have found in our house? Everyone tells us to be super careful, because within 30 minutes after one stings you, you are dead. I don't know if I believe them, but I'm not taking my chances either. My companion found one in his shoe the other day, and I found one right next to my head while I was sleeping. Nothing like a Scorpion filled Christmas in Mexico. Next year should be a little more chill, I have definitely never seen a scorpion in Yorba Linda.

So this week, we have been trying to focus more in the less-active members because we're really not finding anything productive knocking doors. So far we have found some very interesting people, including a crazy lady that thought the old Missionaries drugged her and baptized her without her knowing about it. She literally screamed of terror when she say us...some of these people are so weird. Glad to say that that was the strangest experience so far, hopefully it doesn't get any worse than that. Half of the members went to the Temple in Mexico City this week, so looks like we might be on our own for a lot of our meals. Wah, wah, waah. But still makes me grateful to have a Temple so close back at home. I can't imagine how great it will be to visit the Newport Beach Temple again. Anywho, today has been a pretty solid P-Day. As you can see by the pictures, we continued the Abbott tradition of putting clothes on a dog during Christmas time. That Black dog follows us everywhere, and he is super nice and obedient. He apprently likes wearing the tie as well, because he tried to bite me when I took it off.

So needless to say I miss all of you, but that will just make next Christmas all the more magical. The way I sees it, is that this is my last Christmas in the Mission, so I'm just going to make the best of it. Sure nothing beats a Christmas back at home with everyone you love, but I'm sure my Mexican Christmas will be very...interesting. I'm excited about it. So this Sunday I will be making the call. I'll call Mom and Dad first in NC, and then when we finish, Dad can call Brett or Greg and give my number so we can do a Brothers conference call. But just so everybody knows, the number of the house from which I am calling is 618-812-7866. And the number of my cell phone here in Mish just in case is: 618-189-0170. I'm super pumped to talk to all of you guys. There is some serious NBA talks we gotta do. So CP3 is officially on the Clippers, and I am officially jumping on the band-wagon. Okay, so Lakers are still and always will be number one for me, but the Clips are still a home-town team and I'm a CP3 fan, so I'll root for the Clips over anyone else except for the Lakes. But I've still, Mark convinced me to have hope this year, we've got a quality bench in my opinion. I had to idea we picked up Kapono, and Troy Murphy, and that other PF, sounds pretty cool to me. Enjoy the first game of this season this Christmas, lets hope the Lakers finally win this year.

Alright guys, I better get going, but man do I love all of you guys. I have so many awesome memories of Christmas back at home. There really is nothing like Christmas at home, but just so everyone knows I'm doing well and trying to do my best out here. It's definitely a blessing to be part of Christ's church when we're celebrating his birth. I know he lives, and I could never explain how grateful I am for what he did for us. We can't really wrap our minds around it, but the Atonement really was the moment where all of his we're saved and given immortality, and a chance at Eternal Life. So make sure to remember what Christmas is about, and enjoy Muppets Christmas Carol and Mannheim Steamroller. You guys are the best!

Elder Abbott

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 12, 2011

Heya Family! How is everybody doing? How pumped is everybody to read another one of my emails? I'm pretty convined at this point they all are basically saying the same thing, but whatever. I think the reason they let us email once a week is just to pretty much let everyone know we are still alive. So there you go Family, I have survived another week in the Mission! So today is actually a huge day in Mexico, thats right, it is Virgin Maria Day! It's pretty nutso outside, so I don't think will be doing too much knocking doors today. Guess I can't get in the spirit of the Holiday, but thats totally fine with me. And to think, next Virgin Maria day I can spend with my family, it'll definitely be a day to remember.

So this was the first week of transfer part two in Independencia, and it was...alright. I probably shouldn't complain so much to you guys, but man is it hard to find people to teach around these parts. I guess I'm starting to understand why their wasn't a single baptism here for two years before we baptized Priscila. But I'm confident we'll find somebody, just gotta keep the faith up and keep on rockin' it, somebody will open their door. Needless to say we've been knocking a lot of doors lately, but I actually enjoy it believe it or not. You would not believe the people we find around here and the things they tell us. If you are knocking doors in Mexico, I guarantee there will be a truly hilarious/weird moment every 20 minutes. So me and Elder Astete just try to make the best of it and not stress ourselves out too much. I wish I could remember all the funny things that have happened, but I always forget them. Other than that nothing too crazy has happened this week. One of the members of our ward let us borrow his CD of Christmas songs, and it is so awesome. Totally changed the spirit of the apartment, it feels like Christmas! Sure it would feel even more like home with songs from Muppet's Christmas Carol and a little Mannheim Steemroller, but I guess that can wait tell next year. The things is, as a Missionary you really do kinda lose track of time and what Holiday it is, but I want to make my first Christmas in Mexico, and my last in the Mission, memorable. We've got a nice ward party to look forward to this Wednesday, and we have a few investigatores we're hoping that can come as well. Nothing better than Christmas magic combined with the magic of Missionary work.

I'm super excited to call everybody in two weeks. I already found great members who will let me use their phone to make the call. I'm thinking I'm going to call Christmas Day, but you guys need to tell me the time. Earlier would probably be better than later, like around 12:00 or so in the afternoon...but let me know. It'll be so good to hear everyones' voices again, and apparently there is a lot of riff-raff and scuttle-butt (as Mom would say) going in the NBA right now, and I need to be filled in. I'm keeping the faith that we won't have to lose the Handsome Spaniard to get fake Superman. I was counting on Pau to wait for me my whole Mission so I can see him in his glory when I get back. There probably are people who read that last sentence and wonder how we can love a team so much, but I've been surrounded by the Lakes for as long as I can remember, how can I not love them?

So still no new neices this week? I'll cross my fingers for the next week. I still haven't gotten a picture of Baby Bella yet, I gotta see what Mike's daughter looks like. Well I hope everything is going super well back at home and people are getting fired up for Christmas. Whats everyone asking for this year? Gameboy Pocket? Just make sure to "not put Gameboy Pocket in Pocket," like what the Honduran directions say. When is Jesus' birthday party planned for? I want to be a part of that too. I totally forgot what I put in the box last year, and I want to see if I made it happen after all. I've got a lot of things I owe to the Savior. I still can't quite undertstand everything that he did for us, but the more I am understanding, the more grateful I feel. What a cool Holiday Christmas is. All the people you love get together to celebrate the birth of the Savior. It's also a great opertunity to try to understand even better what his Birth meant. To me, it means that we can be happy forever as a family, and that is the most important thing to me. Anywho family, life isn't too shabby in Mexico, and I'm doing my best to take care of business down here. Make it the best Christmas ever, and tell me every trade that happends in the NBA. You guys rock. Talk to you next week!

Elder Abbott

Pictures - December 5, 2011

Decemeber 5, 2011

Family! How is everybody doing? How pregnant are Heather and Rachael right now? So pregnant. I was actually pretty excited to check my mail and see if I got any new neices, but no luck this week, crossing my fingers for next week. But anyways, changes just happened and my companion are staying together in the same area! So yeah, not the most eventful change in the world, but whatcha gonna do. It's been an interesting change, and definitely a super fast one. But I'll be honest, I'm a little nervous about this next one. I have spent a lot of time with my little Peruvian companion and my pacience is running a little dry on a few things, but thats when as a Missionary you gotta dig deep and not say anything. Don't get me wrong, Elder Astete and I actually get along way better than I thought we would, but the dude takes forever to get ready every morning. He's really, really clean...which I guess thats better than him being really, really dirty, but still. Sorry, I think I'm just complanining to you guys, I'm sure next change will go fine. My good buddy Tarabilda is still in another State, so looks like my chances of playing some pick-up ball aren't too good this change. But I can always work on my soccer-game. We really don't know what to expect from President when changes happen, that guy is full of mystery. But good news, my best buddies from the District are staying around for another change. It's always good times with them, so I'm excited about that. Especially considering that this change has not only Christmas, but News Years as well! Not that New Years will be interesting considering we're in our houses by 9:30 every night, but maybe we can use it as an excuse to go out to eat or something. Christmas will be cool though, a lot of activity plans are in the works right now, I'll let you know how it goes.

So for those of you who are keeping track, I offically finished 13 months in the Mission this week! Man, it really doens't feel like that long ago that I just got to Mexico, and now I'm one of the older dudes in the Misison if you can believe it. Tons of Missionaries have recently gone home, and even more have just gotten here the past couple of months, so suddenly I am one of the older guys of the Mission. The young guns in the Mission ask me how much time I have and when I tell them 13 months, they're like: "no way! That is so much!" To be honest I probably should know more than I do considering my time. But whatever, I am learning a ton and am super grateful for the things I am learning. Before the Mission, I guess I sort of liked to read the Book of Mormon from time to time, but know I seriously love learning about the Gospel. You would not believe the things that you find when you really study the Book of Mormon and the Bible, unbelievably cool things. I'm actually just about to finish the BoM again, I'm half way through Moroni, good stuff.

Hmm...I'm trying to remember any cool things that have happened this week. Basically the same ol', same ol' to tell you the truth. Lots of doors, lots of meeting really strange people, and lots of Catholics. We have people that we're teaching, but they're not really doing anything on their own, so I think we gotta find some more solid people. I just wish I knew where they are, still a total mystery to me. But it's all good, we'll find some cool people this week. Hey we actually got a chance to watch the Christmas Devotional last night which was super awesome. Although I get a little bummed when Elder Uchtdorfs voice changes to a loud Mexican guy translating his talk. But still fantastic messages and great music, definte Christmas magic there. Sure it made me a little homesick, but the way I see it it's my last Christmas in the Mission, might as well make the best of it. Plus I am super excited to talk to everybody. Here's the low down on that: I can either call Christmas Eve, or Christmas, it's my call. So you guys tell me whats best for you and I will make it happen. Hopefully when we can do what we did before and get the conference call on so I can talk to everybody. So let me know how you guys want to do it, and I'll make things happen on my end.

So how is everyone doing at home? All the Christmas Decorations are offically up, and the magic of the season is beginning. I'm very happy to say my buddy Elder Toone is going to lend me his Muppet's Christmas Carol CD to burn, now that is a gift that will keep on giving. Are the lights already up at Abby manor? I always thought putting Christmas Lights up was super stressful, if you slip that could be game over right there. Sorry, I didn't mean to scare anybody, but putting up Christmas lights was definitely a secret fear of mine. I hope everything is going great at home, and people are loving the Christmas season. Don't get too stressed about the presents (which I totally did before), and realize what Christmas is really about. Celebrating the birth of the person that made it possible that we can be together forever. That's what it's all about, and that's why I am so far away from all of you's. I love you guys, I know the church is true, and keep me posted on the new-baby patrol!

Elder Abbott

Monday, November 28, 2011

November 28, 2011

Family! How is everyone doing? Guess what, I actually totally forgot that Thanksgiving happened until just now! How weird is that? I guess last Thursday was the first Thanksgiving meal I had eating Burritos, because that is what we ate. In all honestly I think I like Burritos more, but it's the tradition that counts. But that was in fact, my LAST Thanksgiving in the Mission if you can believe it, thats pretty nuts right? Well it's true, this time next year I'll be in shorts and a sweater, eating pretzels, and watching Sportscenter. Good times are ahead. But sounds like everyone had a great Thanksgiving, big props to H-Bomb for coming down despite being super pregnant, that is some serious family dedication. Thanksgiving is seriously a great time of the year, actually probably the best time of the year. The weather is pretty perfect, family gets together, and don't forgot the best of all, turkeybowl! I'm predicting that not a single Abbott attended this year, which is actually totally fine, it's not like they ever passed us the ball anyways. Guess we should stick with Basketball, but the Hulkamania shirts were always worth it. Oh and thanks for the pictures you sent Kev, I can barely recognize those kids! It took me forever to realize that the kid running around with Joseph was Benjamin, dude has grown a ton! Thats so weird, I specifically remember going with Kev and Rach to some baby store (I'm not sure why I went, I think I wanted to get lunch afterwards), and helping pick out super small shirts of Dinasours dunking basketballs and things like that. That was before Ben was even born, now he is running around that tree that will never grow in our backyard. I love all those kids so much, think they still remember I exsist? I bet 3/4 don't, but thats cool, I still remember all of them and am excited to get to know them even better in the future.

Man I wish I had more interesting things to tell you guys, but nothing is really coming to mind. There are still funny, weird, and random things that happen every single day, but I can never remember them. But just so you guys know, I'm definitely having an adventure out here. Oh wait here's one, the other day contacting we found tons of weird people. The first was the priest-kinda guy of a church of the Seventh Day (I think it translates like that in English), and he tried to give me a blessing so my feet would hurt less. About 5 minutes after that, we contacted a house full of Nuns. There are few things more interesting that knocking doors in Mexico. Anywho, we're still looking for more people to teach and baptize, but they're not as easy to find as we thought. Centro in Durango is like what Utah is for our church, but for the Catholic church, seriously a Cathedral in like every corner. But I am learning important things, especially like love and tolerance for other people and beliefs. Coming from the only completely true church, sometimes we get caught trashing other beliefs and cultures, and thats not cool. I'll admit, I have definitely done that here, but I'm trying to get better at that and love people regardless of their belefs and try to help them. I'm still far from perfect as always, but I like to think I am making progress. Kind of a bummer moment last Sunday, we actually had like 9 people committed to come to church, but guess how many! Wah, wah, waaah, but whatever, we'll get em' next week. Also here's something interesting, we are now teaching an 83 year old lady. Her name is Maria Elena, and she barely understands me, but she is actually progressing pretty well. If she ends up being baptized, I'll be sure to send pictures.

But yeah, life has been good lately. It's suddenly crazy cold down here, it got down to 15 degrees last night! Good thing you guys sent me that classy jacket when I was in Salt Lake, definitely coming in handy. I am definitely in the desert, this place seems to only have extremes of the weather. Either super hot, or incredibly cold. Makes me appreciate the greatness of California where it's great weather always, but like I said, always an adventure in Mexico. Personally I feel like I am learning tons and tons of things. The Mission is kinda like another baptism. We leave behind all the stupid things we did growing up, we basically learn, repent, and start our lives all over again as men. I'm making a point to learn as much as I can so I can become the best man I can. It's definitely a process, but I'm enjoying it, even though I still make silly mistakes like dropping the phone constantly, but whatever. Anyways guys, the Church is definitely true, and I know following the Gospel will make me the happiest and best person I could possibly me. And I am committed to doing just that. Hope everything is great back at home, you guys rock!

Elder Abbott

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21, 2011

Family! Don't have much time, but just wanted to let you know I had a good week. It took forever to send all the pictures, so hopefully those can give you a better idea of whats been going on lately. It's been a pretty normal week, knocked some doors, taught some people, ate some food, all good times. We've kinda been struggling lately finding new people to teach, these people are super, super Catholic! But we got a good game plan for next weeks contacts, definitely should get us into more houses. We're going to involve the Virgin Maria in our contacts, because they believe in her more than Christ. They actually believe there are tons of Virgins, including one who was born in Mexico named the Virgin of Guadelupe. I think it's crazy, but the people here are really crazy about it. So we're going to tell the people we want to share a message about the Father of You, Me, and the Virgin, our Heavenly Father who loves us very much. And then we figure as time goes on with the lessons, the people will understand that we shouldn't worship anybody besdies Heavenly Father, Christ, and the Holy Ghost. We'll see how it goes, wish us luck.
I wish I had more to tell you guys, it's been another super fast week and I can't exactly remember anything in particular that went down. We did go to some cool Musuem today, I thoroughly enjoyed as you can tell by the pictures. It's like a Discovery Zone type place, but more Mexican. For a group of Missionary these kind of things are actually super fun. We don't really do too many things like this, so when we ge a chance we make the best of it. Hopefully you like the pictures, and yeah I know I have even more asian eyes. It's just that I am so tired lately, hard to keep my eyes fully open during the afternoons. Who am I kidding, I was just somehow born with Asian eyes. It's a mystery we'll never understand. Oh also we gave talks again this last Sunday. I swear I give a talk every other week. So I finally started the "not reading my talk" technique, and just go off pure notes. It actually went super well, talks are way more fun when you don't just read it the whole time. I guess my Spanish has gotten to the point where I don't really need to think so much before I talk, just comes out. My companion says I sleep talk in Spanish as well, apparently last night I said "Hermana, puedo pasar a su baño" lots of times.
Hope everything is awesome back at home for everybody. Big ups to Kev for passing the Bar Exam, but it's not like we ever doubted that he wasn't going to pass. Kev was born a genius, just like I was born an Asian person, both of which are mysteries. I love all of you guys, and hope everyone has an awesome Thanksgiving. Don't worry about ol' Tyler, I got a nice Thanksgiving dinner planned out with the guys in the District. I'll let you guys know how it goes next week. So the Gospel is true as always, I'm still learning, but I know all of it is true. Keep on rocking and doing what you do, and I'll talk to you fools next week!
Elder Abbott

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pictures - November 14, 2011

November 14, 2011

Did Ron Artest really change his name to something like that? Dude is absolutely crazy, but I can grow to love World Peace just like I grew to love Ron-Ron. Anyways, hows it going Family! Sounds like everything is going super well back at home. When I take a step back it's actually pretty easy to see how my family has been blessed for my service out here. I mean think about it, Mike had his first baby girl, Mark found a job, Kev and Rach found a cool place to live, Greg found a cool place to live, Randy isn't balding as fast as we thought, we're having two more baby girls in the family, and Mom and Dad have gone on cool trips and Dad is still Emulex'n it up. Isn't that cool? It's been a very progressive year for the Abbott family, and I like to think I helped somehow.

So it's been a pretty crazy week in Independencia, but I am super happy to say that we had the first baptism in this area in more than a year and a half! That's right, Prycilia made the decision to be baptized and it went super, super well. It was actually kind of a small miracle considering on Thursday she was starting to have second thoughts about being baptized. But Elder Astete and I got our praying on, and we actually did divisions the next day with the District Leader. So me and Mr. District Leader went to visit her, we explained baptism over again and what it meant, and she said yes! We even got her parents to give her the okay as well, which we thought would be a definite obstacle. So as you can tell by the pictures she asked me to baptize her, I wanted my companion to baptize her, but whatever. We had an awesome turnout as her baptisimal service, including her non-member family, and everything just went really well, way better than I thought it would. Just goes to show that if you do your part, El Señor puts the rest. We confirmed her last Sunday and now the family is wanting to know more. So we're hoping that good things are ahead in ol' Independencia. Besdies that nothing too crazy happened, now we just gotta find more people to teach. Easier said than done out here, but we'll do everything we can. You guys can check out a little bit of Durango in the pictures I sent. There are lots of huge Catholic Cathedrals, but it's actually a pretty area. Also I just ate Chinese Food for the first in forever, that was fun. The food really wasn't that good, at least compared to Panda Express, but still. Also actual Chinese people work there! How many times has there been Americans, in Mexico, eating Chinese Food? I imagine not too many, I like to think I am the first.

So anything else new happening on the home-front? Word on the street is that the NBA is not doing too well. Really when you think about it, I had the best possible Mission-NBA situation possible. First year fairly dissapointing without a ring, and now the NBA is basically non-existent. And then when I come back, Pau and Kobe will be well-rested and good to go. And how come nobody has sent me a picture of my new neice, Bella? I expect pictures of all the new babys, but not any gross ones, in fact maybe wait a couple of weeks to send me the picture. Don't get me wrong, I just think babys are cuter when they are out of their looking kinda like an alien stage. But I love them just the same. Also is Miles Joseph really turning 12 this week?! Dude, I totally remember when I was 12 years old, I was such a schmutz. Thank goodness Miles is Mr. Cool as always. Happy Biirthday Miles Jo, you the man. Okay Family, better get going, but sounds like everything is going well back at home which is always good to hear. Keep living the Gospel and doing what you know is right, and I promise you will all be happy. Guaranteed. I love all of you guys, have an awesome week!

Elder Abbott

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pictures - October 31, 2011

October 31, 2011

Family! How is everybody doing? I was super pumped to hear that I am officially a uncle to 15 kids! Welcome to the world Baby Bella, from me and all of your friends in Mexico. Mike has more than accomplised than what I told him to do when I was 9 years old..."get married, get a job, get an apartment." Totally in my face, because Mike is living the dream. Make sure to send me photos of my new half-Mehicano niece. I'll print the pictures out and show it the people here, they'll go nuts over her. I'm pretty pumped to see all my new neieces when I get home, and they all be like one years by then! I do my best to try to not hold a baby who is less than one year old, just too much stress going on. But I'll have no problem to hold baby Bella, Lamar, and Chewy by November of next year. Success!

So it's been a pretty quality first week in my new area in Independencia. Like I said me and my companion both just got here, so we really knew nothing going into it but we have learned a ton this first week. First of all, the area is super, super cool. It's a total, straight up city, so much different from where I started in Mapimi. The only thing is that it way Catholic here, in fact as we speak the body of the Pope who died a couple of years ago just got here to the city, and there is like a 6 hour line to go and see him. It's like waiting for Splash Mountain, but much less fun. But I guess thats a fun way to spend Halloween, checking out the Pope's body. People are pretty strange here, but I like them alright. This area is also the smallest I have ever seen, you can walk the length of the area in less than 30 minutes, so in that aspect it is pretty cool. It was always a bummer to have to walk like 45 minutes in-betwen appointments. The members here are really cool as well and we're eating well which is always a good thing. The only thing is that there hasn't been a baptism in this area in more than a year and a half, but I do believe we found someone who we're going to baptize in two weeks! I'm confident we'll baptize here, and we will be heroes in the Mission for baptizing in Independencia! Well, we'll see.

So my companion is a pretty chill dude. He is a super tiny, but very well dressed Peruvian man. He is one of those dudes that spends an hour in the bathroom every morning to get his hair right, but it's all good. We're working well together. You know how every 5th Sunday is when the Men and Woman get together for class? Well me and my companion gave the class this month about how we can work better as a Ward. I have given way more talks and classes in Mexico than I ever did in Yorba Linda 3rd. But thats cool, I would rather listen to a nice Anaheim East highcouncilmen anyways.

Oh, and Happy Halloween! Halloween isn't a super big thing here in Mexico, but the central part of town is all Dia de Muertos'd out and looks pretty cool. So what is everyones plans back at home? Going to hit up the whole trick-or.treating route? Consisting of Via Madera, Via Ceresa, Timberlane, The News Street, and then getting too tired of walking around and going back home? Man I have some magical memories of Halloween back in the day, easily in the top three best Holidays of the year. So make sure to take pictures of everyones costumes and send them, I want to check them out.

Alright Family, better get going, but are you guys aware that I will officially have a year in the Mission this Thursday? I can hardly believe it, but I guess I'll be on the downhill of the Mish. I have learned a crazy amount of things this year, and my testimony has been tested and grown a lot. The church is true, and living the Gospel with your family is the greatest happiness that someone can find in this life. I can't imagine how cool it will be when we can all be together after this life in the greatest circumstances ever, it'll be sweet. Lets keep working as a family to get there. Alright family, take it easy and remember to goof and gaff it every once in a while.

Elder Abbott

Monday, October 24, 2011

October 24, 2011

Family! Alright so I got some exciting news for alls of you...I have a new area! I definitely didn't see that coming considering I just had one change in my last area, but I guess President had a different idea. So for those of you who can remember the names of Spanish colonies, I was just in Insurgents, and now I just got moved to Independencia. I'm literally ten minutes away from my old area, but this one has a completely different vibe. Right now I am in the straight up city/capital of Durango and it is absolutely nuts. I have McDonalds, Burger King, and Subway in my area! Usually you had to take a bus for like 45 minutes to get one of those kinda places, but now Uncle Tyler will be eating McDonalds with all the richies of Mexico. It's true, you have to be pretty dang successful to be able to go to one of those kind of places. What McDonalds is for Mexico, is like what Olive Garden is for us. No kidding. So anyways in this area there are huge sky scrapers and Catholic's a way different vibe than anywhere else I have been. But the thing is is that apparently this place hasn't seen a baptism in over a year and half! Not to mention I am opening the area, which means me and my Junior Comp are both came from different areas and are brand new to the place. I'm not even sure if I know how to get back to where we live, definitely should be an interesting first couple of weeks. So my companion is a pretty young Missionary from Peru that I actually haven't even met yet to tell you the truth. I will be picking him up at the bus station in a couple of hours, I'll make sure to tell you about him next week. I have never ever lived with some guy from Peru, guess I can put that on my list of things I never thought I'd do, but happened in the Mission. Hey you guys should try to Google Earth my area, I feel like it would work. Just type in Durango, Durango and look for all the giant Catholic cathedrals. Then look for some guys walking around in white shirts, because that will be me.

It was a pretty solid last week in Insurgentes, my last area. I actually spoke the other day in Sacrament meeting, and it was probably the most boring talk ever. I was asked to speak about Patriarchal Blessings which I thought was kind of a weird topic. So I just made the best of it and studyed up on all those things I heard about, but never really knew what it was. Those words you here like Tribes, Abrahamic Covenant, Lineage, stuff that never really interested me too much before. So I guess I just got into studying that and wrote the worlds most boring talk talking about why Ruben lost his birthright for forever. I'll be ready to be a High Councilmen with you Dad in no time. But anywho, we baptized 4 people in total last change, not too shabby right? I feel really good about the people we baptized as well, all of them should stay active in the church and go on to become the respective Sis. Edwards and Sis. Jensens' of their ward. We also had these two awesome dogs that followed us everywhere we went and would literally wait outside for us during lessons and what not. Apparently these dogs have been following the Missionaries for forever, the members call them the "Perros Misionales," Missionary dogs. I'm going to miss a lot of the people from my last area, but I'm excited for this chance to do some good in this area. I feel like President is expecting a lot out of me this area and finally bring this area a baptism, so keep ol' Tyler in the prayers, family.

So how is everything back at home? Mom and Dad are officially back from the coolest trip ever, which means I hope everyone will be ready come Sunday to watch 700 slides of the trip. I would actually love to see all those pictures, should be a little more interesting than slides of Idaho Falls or something. Other than that sounds like everything is pretty chill at home these days which is always good. So did Jacob break his arm or something? I saw the pictures that he was in a cast, what happend to that guy? Too excited playing Mario Kart? Well keep me posted with everything thats going on family, we've only got one more year of this Tyler living in Mexico thing, so lets stay strong with the letters and pictures sending. Anyways sorry if this letter is kinda boring, the next one should be better considering I plan on getting totally lost every single day in this new place. But I love all of you fools and I'll talk to you next week!

Elder Abbott

PS - Forgot my camera, I'll send pictures of the baptism and everything next week

Pictures - October 17, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

October 17, 2011

Heya Family, it's been another quality week in ol' Mexico. Although I feel like Mom and Dad had a cooler week than I did. Have you guys seen their pictures? That looks like the greatest trip of all time. Even greater than driving 7 hours to St. George and swimming in that one cool indoor/outdoor pool. I'm not going to lie, I have some pretty magical memories associated with that one pool next to Grandad's place. Anyways, I may not be exploring Rome these days, but I expect you guys to be just as excited for my letter. It's actually been a pretty boring week to tell you truth, so I might not be the most exciting letter in the world to tell you the truth. So you remember me telling you about my foot? Well we went to a doctor later that day and it turns out that I broke the cartilidge in my foot? I'm not exactly sure how that works, but I was forbiden to walk all of last week! Basically the most boring week of my life actually, but me and Elder Toone managed to have some fun with it. Happy to report that I read half of the Book of Mormon! I started a tradition that I am going to read the Book of Mormon in English every night before I go to bed. I figured it was something I wanted to do after the Mission, so why not start it now? Also very happy to report Mom, that I finally finished that Lakers puzzle you sent me? Sure you gave it to me last Christmas, but the most important thing is that I did it and I really enjoyed it. Probably just goes to show that I have a lot of time in the Mission when I enjoy a puzzle that much. But it's all good. My Companion and I did divisions as much as we could so we could get some work done in our area, and even though I couldn't walk this week we had a pretty good week. We have four people on date to be baptized this Saturday, so everyone pray for Uncle Tyler that all four of these people will be baptized. I'll make sure to send you guys all the pictures next week.

So I don't have any super interesting experiences that happened, but I guess I can just share a little bit about where I am as a Missionary. So I'm getting dangerously close to that year mark and I guess I've just kinda been thinking a lot lately about everything. I guess what they say is true, the Mission does go by faster than you think it does, and apparently it goes even the second year. I'm starting to realize that I don't have tons of time here in Mexico, and I don't have tons of time as a Missionary either. I feel like the first year of my Mission was kind of about me growing and learning, but in this second year it's going to be all about sharing that with my amigos in Mexico. The first year of my Mission had a lot of challenges, but I'm coming out of it a stronger person and I've learned a lot from all the tough times. So my goal is make year number two better than year number one, and come home feelin' good.

How is everyone doing back at home? Halloween should be in full swing by now, which means all the nieces and nephews are probably going nuts. So what is everyone dressing up as this year? I guarantee at least one of my neices or nephews will be a pumpkin, classic baby costume. I also guarantee Sister Youngberg will be dressed as a pumpkin as well, now that is a classic costume. So tell me the truth, is the Via Madera Halloween Street Party dead? If so, I plan on bringing it back in the future. I remember being super, super excited for that Street Party and it never disappointed. This will be my first Halloween, or Dia de los Muertos here in Mexico. I'm pretty curious to see how it all goes down here, or if it's even a big deal, I'll let you guys know all about it. Also this week is the last week of the change and I'm really hoping that Elder Toone and I don't have changes. We get along well and we both have similar goals in the Mission and we're trying to work towards them. I'm hoping President gives us one more change together so we can keep up the success here in Insurgentes, and get better as Missionaries.

Okay Family, better get going. I'll try to have some more interesting stuff to write about next week. But just so everyone knows, life isn't too shabby down in Mexico. I hope everyone is doing really well back at home and wants to send their Uncle Tyler some of their left over Halloween candy. All of you guys are awesome, the Church is true, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a 100% successful guide to happy and eternal families. You guys rock.

Elder Abbott

Monday, October 10, 2011

How's it going Family? Another action-packed week in ol' Insurgentes, Durango. Do you want to hear about it? Of course you do, my letters are always super interesting, right? Okay so maybe ol' Tyler's letters are getting sort of boring, but whatever, I'm pretty sure it's a commandment for you guys to read and enjoy my letters. So first and foremost, I am happy to report that he I got my very first baptism here in Durango. That's right, Fanny held off the temptation to drink Coffee and was baptized her last Saturday. This lady is a total stud, she let us just dump all of her coffee down the toilet so she wouldn't be tempted to drink it. So just goes to show, if you ever any form of an addiction, just flush it down the toilet and all is well. My companion baptized her and the whole service was pretty awesome. Check out the picture I sent, she brought a super good cake with the words "Padre Celestial Gracias," you guys can probably figure out that Spanish, but it means "Thank you Heavenly Father." Can you imagine a cooler Investigator? I don't really like to choose favorites, but I think she was the most prepared person I've been able to teach. Plus that cake tasted really, really good. I think every baptism should involve a cake afterwards, we would definitely get more members out to support the new converts. I think I'm going to make it a tradition.

So that was definitely the highlight of the week because other than that is was kind of a slow week. I think I might sort of broke my foot actually, it has been hurting me really bad for like the past two weeks. I've been working and walking on it since, but I think there is something wrong with my foot. President told me to go get some X-Rays tomorrow, so that should be fun. Getting X-Rays in Mexico is definitely something I have never done before, everyday is an adventure out here. I'll let you guys know the status of my foot next week, so be excited for next weeks letter. So this area and Ward is really starting to grow on me. It's so much better to be in a Ward rather than a tiny branch with 10 members. Being in a Ward guarantees you'll get some quality food everyday, you can bring investigatores to activities, and the members give you people to teach! Plus, tons of members either own or work at a restaurant and they give us pretty amazing food for free everytime we pass by. That is something just wonderful as a Missionary. The whole Mission is having a big focus on getting the members work with us in the Missionary effort while I think is a really good idea. Looking back, I had tons of friends from school who would have been pretty perfect investigatores if I told the Missionaries about them. I never even really thought about it before my Mission, but I guess I never really understand just how important baptism is before my Mission either. So I guess my invitation for you guys is to invite some of your buddies to church with you. Probably a lot of your friends are already members, but invite the ones that aren't to church and let the Missionaries loose after that to teach them. Promise you you won't regret it.

So Mom and Dad are in Italy right now? That is so nuts. So let's review, ever since Tyler left on the Mish, Mom and Dad have been to both Australia and Italy! 90% of the vacations I have taken in my life have been either to Utah, or Idaho. Come on, those are probably in the top 10 most boring States in the Country. But thats okay, in all honesty I have had really good times in both of those States throughout my life. But still, I think I'd prefer going to Italy to tell you the truth. Mom and Dad deserve it though, raising 7 sons. Dad has been working hard for double my lifetime. So Mom and Dad if you get this letter in Italy, live it up and enjoy every second of it, you deserve it. Also, got the video Brett sent of Jackson, Fish, and Joseph dancing to that song on the Garfield Halloween special, so wonderful. I'm more than sure than we danced it up to that song as kids too, it's nice to see that some things never change.

So anyways, life is pretty good in Durango, Mexico despite the fact my foot is kind of dead. I hope everyone is doing super well back at home and enjoying the blessings of living the Gospel. I love how simple that is, just live the Gospel and follow the commandments best you can, and you will for sure have a very happy and fulfilling life, and you'll be with the people you love for forever. Thank goodness I went on a Mission, not sure if I would have really come to understand that otherwise. Sure the Mission is super hard, and there are for sure days when you wake up and really don't want to be a Missionary, but I know it's all going to be worth it in the end. Until then, I am just trying to do the best I can to helps out in this great work. I love all of you guys, keep the prayers of for old Unco' Ty Ty, and everyone send me pictures of all the kids' Halloween costumes. Some of the kids gotta continue the traditions and dress up as either a Ghost Buster, Indiana Jones, or Roger Wilco. And somebody should do that somewhat scary costume that Mom and Dad did when I was a kid. Me and Mom pigs, Dad, butcher. Good times. Alright, have a good one foo's.

Elder Abbott

Monday, October 3, 2011

October 3, 2011

Hey Family! Man it's been a really fast week, and a lot of interesting things went down so I'm going to do my best to remember all of them. But first and foremost, does anybody know what today is? Today is the third of the months, which means Elder Abbott has just finished another months in his Mission! That's right, exactly 11 months ago I was hanging out with Kev around BYU feeling really weird because I was already set apart as a Missionary, and later that afternoon Rach dropped me off at the MTC. Is that just me, or does 11 months seem like a lot of time? It's all gone by so quick, but at the same time it does seem like a long time since I've been home, so I don't really know what to think. But as the time goes by in the Mission I can tell I really am learning a lot of things. Not just things from the church (I've at least tripled my knowledge of the church since I started my Mish, but thats not saying much, I really didn't know anything before), but I am also learning just life things. Honestly from the things I've learned so far here, I feel much more ready to start my own life and be successful. Don't get me wrong, there is a still tons of things I need to learn how to do. For example, and maybe Mark can relate with me on this, I have never, ever changed a diaper, I'm not looking forward to the day when I have to learn it. But it is a good feeling knowing how to do little things like that, guess I'm just becomming a more well-rounded dude.
So anyways, what has happened this week? So Fanny wasn't able to get baptized last Saturday because she drank tea a couple of days before. Wah, wah, waaah. But that's okay, she explained that there literally was nothing else to drink, and she felt about it and promised to never do it again so her date got moved for this Saturday. No worries. We also had Zone Conference this week which was very educational and very, very long. I did learn a lot though and I got to see Tarabilda for the first time in a long time. We had a combined Zone Conference and he is in the Zone right next to me, so it was good times to see him again. After Zone Conference (do you like how many times I've said Zone Conference?), two really cool things happened. Firstly, all the companionships now get portable DVD players and all these videos to watch and study, I thought they were kidding when they first told us about it. But nope, we've got a little DVD player in the house and Elder Toone and I enjoy a nice Church approved movie a few nights a week. Second cool thing was getting letters and packages and what not. Big ups to Marv and Heather for sending me some seriously delicious snacks, and a giant picture of Urkel. What more could I ask for for my Birthday? Marv and Heather, you guys rock.
Another great part of the week was visiting Jose. Jose lives with his older brother Edgar who is around 35 years old, member of the church, and one of my favorite guys in the ward. Well anyways we went to visit Jose the other day and Edgar had a bunch of cardboard and we asked what he was doing. He told us that he was building a computer. I thought he was just joking, but his face was definitely not kidding around, that man was determined to build a computer of pure cardboard. I asked him if he had any plans or anything, and he handed me a piece of paper with just a hand drawn computer on it. The people here in Mexico are kind of crazy, but I can't help but love them. Anways, the highlight of my week would definitely have to be General Conference. President gave us permission to watch all 5 sessions with or without investigators (before we had to have one to go). I watched 10 hours of conference over two days, and it was pretty awesome. I'm at the point of my Mission where I'm just grateful to be sitting down, and it's even better when I get to listen to the Prophet and the Apostles. I never appreciated General Conference back in the day, but now I really do love it. The things they say are the best possible advice we can receive that always makes us better and our lives happier. They definitely focused a lot on Missionary Work, it felt cool to be doing exactly what the Prophet and Apostles want me to be doing.
So that pretty much was this week. I hope everything is going great back at home and everyone is living it up. I miss all of you, but I know for sure I will see all of you in not too much time, so I'm just going to make the best of my time in Mexico. And hey, can everyone remind me one more time who exactly is having babies within a couple of months and if they're girls or boys? Marv is having a girl, Kev is having a girl, and Mike is having a girl too, right? I'm calling it right now, the next 10 Abbott babies will be girls and our finally will finally be sort of evened out. Okay guys, better get going, but I love all of you and want to hear from all of you's. Keep on truckin' family.
Elder Abbot

Monday, September 26, 2011

September 26, 2011

Family! So another exciting week in Durango, the land which is still pretty much stuck in the Old West days. I have seen so many legit cowboys walking around that could easy be put into a Clint Eastwood movie. I feel right at home, I guess I have a connection with the cowboys. But anyways, things are still going well down here and I am really, really liking it. The weather is a miracle, the hottest day here in Durango is like the coldest possible day in Torreon. It's like going from Palm Springs to Newport Beach, but not quite as fancy as Newport Beach. And there isn't a temple either, but it's something like that. The people here are super friendly too, everyone is always up for a little chit chat and hardly anyone does anything, so they always have time! Perfect situation for a Missionary. So let's see, what kind of interesting things have gone down this week? Well for starters, pretty much all of our investigatores are straight up cholos. One of them just got out of maximum security prison in Arizona, his name is Jose, he's a great guy. Sure I have no idea what he did to get into jail, and I don't think I want to know, but I do know that the Atonement works for everybody, so who am I to judge? So we're teaching a lot of those types of guys, but we also are teaching one of the most classic should-be-mormon types of Grandma's. Her name is Fanny (it doesn't sound as funny with a Spanish accent), and she totally reminds me of a Relief Society lady. In fact she will be teaching our Wards Relief Society how to cook something this next weekend, is that an awesome investigator or what? We will actually be baptizing her this week! She will be Relief Society President in no time, I'm callin' it.

Me and my companion have pretty good times every single day out here. There is always something to laugh at when you're two Grigo's walking around together in the middle of Mexico. The people definitely do a lot of strange things, but I love em'. One of the only things I don't love so much would be the tons and tons of stray dogs in the street. I swear they've got it out for Missionaries, but they're keeping me in shape with all the running away we do these days. But don't worry, Elder Toone and I have a plan, we bought dog treats today. We will be turning our greaest enemies in Mexico into our greatest allies, I'll keep you posted on how our relationship goes with the stray dogs of Mexico, don't worry. I have been eating pretty good lately as well. Turns out Elder Toone is an awesome cook, and we somehow have an awesome kitchen, so everything works out! The deal is that he cooks, we eat, and I clean. I've become a pretty mean dish-washer these days, and I'm actually starting to enjoy it as well believe it or not. For all of you's that have dish washers in your house, you don't know how good you have it, now that is an amazing invention. I have definitely gained a greater appreciation for little things like that, dishwashers, washers and dryers and all that. We can take care of those types of things faster and better, and have more time to do interesting things! "Moon Pies...what a time to be alive..."

So this week we have Zone Conference, you guys pumped up for that? It should be pretty cool actually, word on the street is that every companionship is getting little portable DVD players? Apparently the Church came out with these like Missionary training videos, and we are now supposed to study them. I'm down with the idea, eat a little Frosted Flakes in the morning with a church video? Sounds pretty nice if you ask me. I'll let you guys know how everything goes. But anywho, how is everything down at home? Seems like everyone is in baby-preperation mode, and that is always exciting. So many tiny baby clothes, with tiny hangers, good times. Well everyone keep keeping ol' Uncle Tyler posted on whats going on back at home, I'm always interested to hear it! Okay so I better get going family, but before I finish lets see if I have any good missionary words of wisdom...well the Church is still definitely true. I love all of you more than I know how to say, and the Church is all about me being happy with you guys in this life, and forever afterwards. And I can't really think of anything else I would want more, besides Lakers picking up Dwight Howard or Chris Paul. Hey brothers, what in the world is going on in the NBA? Was there even a draft this year? Give me the details. But anyways, the Church is true, the Book of Mormon is for sure the word of God, which means everything else is true. Have a good week family, love you guys, and talk to you next week!

Elder Abbott

Monday, September 19, 2011

September 19, 2011

Family! Man it's been a really fast and slow week all at the same time. Part of me feels like I just got here to Durango, and the other part feels like I've been here for a while now. Well obviously got a lot to tell you guys, and don't have much time, so I'm going to try my best to remember everything. First and foremost, the weather here is absolutely amazing, I have barely even sweated! After having sweated continually for like the past 5 months, the colder weather feels awesome. It's a little on the hot side today but nothing compared to how hot Torreon is. It rains here pretty much every single day, and it rains super, super hard. Not sure if you can see it really well in the picture I sent, but we got pretty drenched on the way back to home one day. This is the kinda place where the streets get majorely flooded and people start paddling in their boats. Okay the last part isn't true, but it does rain pretty hard in Durango. Well to be completely honest, Durango is just better in about everyway. It's less hot, cooler, less desert-y, and prettier. Also it's pretty good times with my very first white companion. Elder Toone is a great guy and I'm lucky to be with him. They actually put me with him to help him relax if you can believe it. Apparently he had problems with getting overly stressed and so they put me with him to help him relax and have fun while we do the work. I feel qualified for the assignment, I guess I have kind of reputation for being a laid-back guy, which is cool with me. That's not to say that I don't work, I just know how to enjoy what I do I guess. Not to mention Elder Toone is a master cook and makes delicious breakfast and dinner everyday. How incredibly awesome is that? He made brownies last night. That's how awesome it is. We both have a lot in common and we have a good time doing a little chit chatting.
As for the ward, I really like it. At first I definitely did miss everybody in La Rosa, but now I'm getting used to everybody and really enjoying it. We don't have a ward quite as big as La Rosa, but that's what we are here for, to get more people in the church. The Sisters in the ward give us food every single day, and it's delicious 95% of the time. Sometimes it's something really weird, but still not too bad. We should have two baptisms next week, and even more in the following weeks. We have a lot of people we are teaching and they all seem to be progressing really well. We had 7 investidatores in the church last week! Pretty sure thats the most I have ever had, so I'm happy with it. I still have a lot more to get to know around these parts, but so far so good in Insurgentes (my new area).
So hope everything is going really well at home for everbody. Now I'm going to ask a favor from everybody that I really hope you guys follow through with. This may come out really cheesy, but I want to hear how everybody in this family got their testimonies. Doesn't need to be some huge, miraculous moment or whatever, but how they slowly and steadily got their testimony. If you guys could write me about that I would love it.
Anyways better get going. But the email Brett sent of Kevin traveling back in time to be his own Santa Clause made me laugh so hard, and so did Greg's family night blooping story. Man I love this family. Okay everybody, take it easy, have a quality week, and talk to guys next time.
Elder Abbott

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pictures - September 12, 2011

September 12, 2011

Family! Oh man do I have a ton to tell you guys. Consider this your first letter from the great Mexican state of Durango! That's right, this letter is actually not coming from La Rosa if you can believe it. We got the transfers last night, and I said my goodbyes and now I am in a completely different state in Mexico. For those of us who know a thing or two about Mexican geography, before I was in the state of Coahuila where Torreon is, but now I moved down south more to Durango. Check a map, it's true, I know my Mexican geography. So today I woke up early, got to the bus station, and after a really long bus drive I am here! The drive was pretty epic though, a few of my buddies came with me down to Durango and we had a good time on the trip. The bus was actually really, really nice. It kinda felt like being in an airplane or something like that, even gave us never ending free Sprite, how great is that? So this new place I am at is called Surgentes and it is way different from where I was before. Durango is actually green! I haven't seen anything really green for months, so it feels great to be in a place that isn't nearly as dry, or hot. I've literally been here for like 30 minutes so officially I am still getting to know everything. Next week I should have some more interesting things to talk about. But here is some interesting companion is a Gringo! It's true, they put me with another white dude, and I am really excited about it. I still don't know him super well, but his name is Elder Toon and I am pretty sure he is from Utah. Go figure. Oh I also got to see our house too, and it's actually pretty nice! Easily the best house I have had in the Mission, it's the first house I have had with a kitchen.
So let me tell you a little bit about my last week in La Rosa. Jose and his Mom took me and my companion out to eat at the Mexican equivalent of Home Town Buffet...Sirloin! It was pretty good, but not great. But thats the thing with the buffets, may not be the best food in the world, but your for sure going to leave full. I definitely did. But honestly other than that nothing too crazy happened during my last week. It was harder than I thought it would be to say goodbye to everyone actually, never realized how close I got to everyone out there. Everyone asked me if I am ever going to come back and I had no idea what to tell them. I mean I love the people here, but I think if I take a vacation in the future it would be Hawaii and not the Mexican desert. So I said my goodbyes to everyone, everyone gave me their addresses and everything to keep in contact, and yeah, time for a new area. My time in La Rosa really was something special for me, I learned a ton. But as much as I loved it, I think I was honestly ready for a change. I was tired of being so hot all the time, I finally understand how Mom must feel in the Summer.
How is everyone doing at home? September 11th was last week, and I almost forgot until somebody reminded me. Turns out it was a massive event here in Mexico too. I still totally remember that day, I was in....3rd grade? Or maybe 2nd grade, not sure, but I remember our teacher starting to cry and trying to explain to us kids what just happened. Then I remember coming home and seeing Mark watch the news, and Mark never watches the news so thats when I knew something crazy went down. Definitely a day I won't forget anytime soon. Being here in Mexico has really made me appreciate how incredibly awesome our country is. We really are blessed to live where we do and enjoy the freedom and protection we get from the law. The police here are terrible, just a bunch of schmutzes. But anyways, I definitely feel grateful to be a Gringo we pretty much got it made in the shade back in the US of A.
Okay family, think I gotta cut it kinda short this week because it's a little late. I'll tell you everything about the new area and companion next week. Apparently right now we are going to eat tacos with some members, this area is already being good to me. Hope everything is going really good at home, the church is true, and I'll talk to you guys next week!
Elder Abbott