Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pictures - February 22, 2011

February 22, 2011

Familia! Man oh man do I have a ton to tell you about. First of all, consider this your first ever email from Mapimi, Mexico. The place I now call home. You wouldnt believe it if you saw it, its a lot like the set of an old western. Which is one of the many reasons why I love it. As for our house, we live in the center of town, above a store! That part is pretty awesome, we can go downstairs and buy bottles of Sprite for 50 cents like its nothin. Second cool part about our place, its like over 100 years old! Im basically living in an old Spanish mission on the second floor. All our doors, and windows, and all those little things you can just definitely tell have been around longer than Juni Fischer has been a member of the Yorba Linda third ward. Also! We have a dog. Here name is Camilla, and shes nuts. Shes like 3 months old, and will eat anything. Seriously, anything. Well, shes technically not our dog, the lady who owns the store owns Camillas Mom, and so she feeds it and everything, but she lives with us. Im not entirely sure if thats against the rules or not, but I think its one of those things thats just better to not ask.We live right across the street from a giant Catholic Cathedral, which has lead to some very entertaining contacting. We have successfully memorized the Catholic schedule and make a point to be outside of it when anything ends. Good times.

Spanish is still coming, and even though Im learning a lot everyday, its just really hard! It was especially hard in the beginning, all of a sudden I couldnt really speak to people anymore. I had no idea what they were saying to me, and even if I did, I had no idea what to say back! Luckily, things are getting better, and I can communicate again. That is blessing I want all of you to appreciate, being able to communicate with peope. That, and showers. Im going on about three or so weeks of bucket showers, and trust me they are not nearly as bad as you would think. Ok, theyre not great, but still not too bad. You just pour cups of luke warm water, add a little shampoo in the mix, and your looking good for Mapimi standards. Were just surrounded by a bunch of little ranches, and I am pretty sure Ive already walked as many marathons as that Ultramarathon man guy. I kinda enjoy it though, the gentle breeze, the feel of the sun, I feel like I have gone back in time to be honest. The people here are super friendly though, and love missionaries.

As for my companion, hes a pretty cool cat from Veracruz, Mexico. Doesnt speak too much English, so its Spanish from here on out my friends. Definitely for the best, I really want to get this language down. But the truth is I have no idea what he is saying half the time, and usually just guess what he means. Im actually right more times than you would think, except it took me over to figure out he was telling me to turn out the light the other night. When I first got to the area (last week) I asked my companion, hey how many investigators do we have? Zero. Ay yi yi, the missionaries who were here before did not work the area like they were supposed to. But I am happy to say after my first week in Mapimi, we have 2 people on date to be baptized and a family of 6 were going to put on date tonight. I dont know how it happened, considering I cant really speak Spanish very well, but things are picking up. One of the investigators I am most excited about is a cool girl named Xoichtl. I know, try saying that out loud. You say it like this, Souji. We knocked on her door last week, and she has a baptism date! She is 14 years old and is pumped about the gospel, which is always great. I feel like this place has so much potential if you just find it. We do have the smallest ward in the history of man kind, we had a record setting 15 come to church last week. So far I have spoken every single week in church since I arrived, and I think thats going to just keep happening for the next 2 years. The members that are there, rock. Our bishop couldnt take the sacrament last week, and I am not really sure why, but whatever, we going to fix that.

How bored is everyone right now? So bored. Okay, how is everyone else? Happy Birthday to Benjamin, and I have the same advice for you as I did for Grandads 87th birthday, keep on truckin. Thanks to everyone who DearEldered me the other week, I get seriously pumped to see how everyone is doing. This is for Bretts kids, hey guys! Want to know about the gross things Ive eaten? Well, the other night I had pig skin, and the other day I had cow stomach! Doesnt that sound delicious? Wasnt too bad actually, well before I knew what it was. The key I have found is just not to ask, and eat it. It will taste better that way.

So I tried to read a bit of the Mexican newspaper and looks like Melo went to the Nets? At least thats what it sounded like, totally not sure though. Why would he do that? Come on Melo, at least go to the Knicks! Play with Tom Tekulve! By the way, there are tons of Mexican Tom Tekulves around here, literally look just like him, but just Mexican. }

I hope everyone is doing good and enjoying life back in the States. I never realized what a charmed life I lived before my mission, our toilet actually flushed! But I love it here in Mexico, and have so much to look forward to. Keep the letters coming, and if you feel like sending your old Uncle Tyler a bag pretzels, dont hesitate! Everyone stay happy, the church is absolutely true, and is the only way we can be together forever. Dont forget that! Pray for Xoichtl and the familia de Cecelia! And Jesus! Jesus Gonzales. You guys are the best!

Elder Abbott

Monday, February 14, 2011

February 14, 2011

Family! Thats right, I have survived another week in Mexico. Always an accomplishment. And I think my body is finally getting used to everything, well I really hope so. I was feeling pretty confident when I first got here, I went like 4 days and was feeling fine! That is, until 2 days ago when my body just blew up. Everyone told me I was going to get sick, but I didnt believe them, well they definitely were right. I think I lost like 7 pounds in a night or something, no fun. But the beauty of that, is the fact its over! And thats kinda the official iniation into Mexico, and now that Ive gone through it, I should be done for a while. Im really excited to keep all of my food inside of me. I hate some Mexican fruit loops this morning, and Im feeeling fine! Take that, Mexico.

So how is everyone doing. Man, for the life of me I cannot figure out how to do question marks on these crazy computers. But thats okay, you guys understand what Im saying. So Happy Valentines day to everybody, and I hope the tradition of having waffles complete with a nice card and chocolate is alive and well. Which reminds me, I had pancakes the other day! They were so unbelievably delicious, and it tasted nothing like rice and beans! So enjoy your waffles family, and make sure to send Mom a card. Im still not exactly sure if Mexico celebrates Valentines day or not, it feels like a normal day. Well, I dont think Valentines day was really invented for missionaries anyways, so live it up those of you who arent missionaries. Waffles for all!

Its been a pretty crazy week here. I probably say that every single email, but the truth it is! Pretty much every week. Its really fun to wake up everyday having absolutely no idea what to expect out of it. Im in a new place, a new home, or meeting new people,or eating new food, every single day! Not to mention, Im not even in the United States anymore. First things first, we had a baptism this week! It was my first that I was finally able to see, and participate in. Now I can finally see what its all about, and its definitely worth it. Too bad the day we baptized Alberto, was when I was super sick. Hey Mom, remember that Countries festival thing we had when I was in sixth grade and I was super sick then too, but you made me go wearing a G'Day Mate shirt and cowboy hat...well it was kinda like that. Except I think I enjoyed the baptism a little bit more to tell you the truth. We have another cool girl set up to get baptized this next week, but sadly Im getting transferred today! I dont know where, but I do know I have to be at the mission office in two hours. Im pumped though, this will be my first time in a real companionship since the ol MTC. Trios are fun and all, but missionary work is actually a little easier to do with two people. Plus Im probably going to be with a Mehicano, which means my Spanish can get way better, which is way needed. By the way, WAY is a bad word here. Of course my companions didnt tell me that until yesterday, I wonder how many people Ive accidently offended. Ay yi yi. Its really amazing, Ive only been in Cuba, Gomez for two weeks and I feel so at home here. I know people on the streets, and Im really close with the people in the ward. We spoke yesterday in Sacrament Meeting, (I speak like every week!) and everybody was crying that me and E. Bouchard were taking off. Which by the way, Elder Bouchard is flying back home to Texas as we speak. I can totally see why I was supposed to be with these two guys for this little transfer. You could just see how hard it was for E. Bouchard to finish his mission and say goodbye to Mexico. Things arent the easiest right now, but I know I am going to love it here in no time. One thing I do love, is playing Basketball with the people here. I feel like Yao Ming. PS people absolutely believe me here if I say im half asian. Im going to for 100% next week, I think its going to work.

So how is everyone else doing? Yes! Question mark! I figured it out. Alright. So like I was saying, whats new with everybody? Brett, I got your cool Valentines email thing, and is it just me or do your kids look way older? Ive only been gone like 3 and half months! I cant imagine how everyone is going to look in another year and a half. Greg will have full blown Mountain Man beard. Randy will be Cue Ball Johnson. Miles will be touching the ceiling with his head, and Caleb will be starting for the Packers in the 2013 season. I was thinking about it the other day, when Cameron or Jacky or whoever is my age, Im going to be Mikes age, which doesnt seem old at all. Its been such a blessing to see these kids grow up. Did I sound like a lady from Relief Society or what in that last sentence. But I love all of those little guys. But I want updates on everybodys life! Mike, I think its fly season soon. Have you put up your zip lock bags of water yet all around the house? MArvelous, just want you to know that Im praying for you as much as I can for you to find some work. No worries bro, I know youll find it, and Itll be awesome. Even if its in Wisconsin or whatever you were saying. If you move to Wisconsin, I will visit you once every 20 years. But itll be the best visit ever.

So another thing about Mexico, is that white people are very good looking here, no matter what. This is something that hasnt worked to my advantage in Mexico, so much unwanted attention from the creepiest ladys. My tan is coming back though which should help me blend in with everyone else, which is definitely a good thing. By the way, I plan on having legs of steel by the time I come home from Mexico. I think ive walked as much as the pioneers walked already, and lot of it feels just like being lost in the desert. But its also very, very cool. Its a total adventure out here. So in to imporant matters. Dad told me that there was some talk of the Lakes getting Melo. Could it be true? Would it even work? This might be totally old news by now, but that would definitely pump me up. The only down side is you know that Bynum will play like Kareem once we trade him and Melo will look older than Ron Ron. Whoah, I just sneezed so big that the entire computer place just said Salud in perfect unison. Mexico is a weird place, but I really like it.

Well, I better get going, some of the neighborhood kids want to play some futbol. But I love all of you, and I know the church is true. Reading the Book of Mormon can seriously change your entire day, I promise. Its got so much good stuff in there, so wherever you want to read, just read it and youll love it. Keep doing all of your thing, and pray for Mexico!

Elder Tyler

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pictures - February 7, 2011

February 7, 2011

Hey! Man oh man have I got a ton to tell you. Let me start by saying Mexico is just crazy, seriously, crazy! But it´s also crazy fun, so it works out. I´m not even sure where to start with everything, so this letter is probably going to be super random, but that´s okay. I´ll try to remember as much as I can about everything, but no promises, you wouldn´t believe how much has happened in less than a week.

So it all started on the airplane. Our plane to Torreon seriously could have been a model airplane Miles would get for Christmas, my head definitely touched the cealing. It was kinda like being on a roller coaster for two hours, but not as scary as Snow White´s scary adventure. Mark knows what I´m talking about. So when we got there, it was like we passed through the space time continuem and went back in time, and also everything was in Spanish. Everything! Even the people! So our mission president picked us up and took us out for some authentic carne asada tacos, which were delicious. Actually I´m pretty sure i actually told you guys about this, so I´m just going to skip around. My companions are pretty cool dudes, one is a Mexican native named Elder Macedo who is taller than I am but younger than I am, and the other is Elder Bouchard. He´s a blanco from Texas, and this is actually his last week in the mission. So the rest of the week is kinda going to be Elder Bouchard victory parade, but no worries, we got two baptisms this weekend. Bam!

Mom, next time your looking at timeshares, don´t buy any in Gomez, Mexico. Because that´s where I am, and for some reason I just feel like you wouldn´t like it too much. I actually love it, the city is so alive around here. Everyone is out on the streets, playing soccer or selling delicious, but sketchy food. Our place is very cozy, by that I just mean super small. But we´re one of the lucky ones actually, we have a toilet! But you wouldn´t believe the amount of spiders around it, such intense bathroom trips. Our house is about as big as the sheds outside in the kennel next to the lakebed, and we fit three dudes in it. I don´t mind it actually, we have fun. Sadly we don´t really have any running water, so I take as many showers as I did when I was 10 in the summer. But that´s okay, because everyone here is dirty! Mexico is awesome. It´s kinda like living in the lakebed for two years, actually looking outside, it´s exactly like living in the lakebed. Abby might not love it here (riding in taxis and buses is just terrifying, I can´t figure out how people survive driving, but the key is to just to not look out through the driver´s window and enjoy the ride, Mom would plotz) but Cam Cam, you´d love it. There as so many dogs running around! There´s one right next to me right now in fact, and I have never seen him before. Everywhere you go there is just tons of random dogs running around, and some are friendly, and some are not so friendly. But turns out, in running a short distance, I am offically faster than a dog. I´m also way faster than drunk dudes, which is nice. But definitely most of the people and dogs here are very, very cool. Friendliest people I´ve ever met.

I have eaten more in the past couple of days than I have in my whole life! Everybody wants the opportunity to feed the missionaries, and we take every opportunity we can to eat. It´s a perfect concept. I´m getting used to the culture here, and how just everything works. Mexico may be close to the United States, but I might as well be on the other side of the world considering how different it is here. I didn´t know until after I ate it, but I did eat pig skin the other day, and it was delicious. I´m glad they didn´t tell me what it was until after. But also, remember those really good quesedillas they give you while your waiting for food at the El Torito grill? Well, we eat those at pretty much every single meal. Also, I totally forgot when I came here that they have completely different money! I think I´m figuring it out though, and I am currenly walking around with 1200 pesos in my pocket. I think that´s a lot. But no worries, I put my money in my missionary handbook, which is in my shirt pocket, and my wallet is empty! But I still carry it around just in case.

Spanish is coming along not too bad and I´m trying to do my best with it. It´s kinda hard to suddenly not be able to communicate with people, but I know it´ll get better. I´ve gotten way better at understanding Spanish, now I just have to work on the talking back part. I definitely believe that the hardest part is the first month or two in your area, because I don´t really know what´s going on too often, but I´ll pick it up.

So cool story real quick. Last night we were walking back to our place, and we saw this lady crying all by herself. We went to go see what was wrong, and she told us that her car got stolen and her husband ran after the guy who stole it. We prayed with her, and right after we finished praying, when asked her if she wanted to try calling her husband on our cell phone. Her husband didn´t pick up the first time, but the the second try he did! And apparently he got the car back! The lady was crying pretty hard, and started crying a lot harder after and gave us a hug. I know I´m not supposed to hug girls, but I wasn´t going to be like get out of here! So we walked her back to her family because she was kinda scared, we weren´t in safest part of town, so we made sure she made it back. So long story short, prayer works fools!

Alright, so hopefully everyone made it this far in the email without zoning out. Oh and by the way! You can send me DearElders here for free! And I get mail every week, so from now on if everybody could just stick to DearElder so I can spend my computer time typing and not reading, that would be awesome! I expect a letter from everyone, every week! And if you don´t feel like typing, copy and paste a nice letter from Mike Wilbon or Bill Simmons, I love them too.

Ok, so I better get going. I miss all of you, but this is definitely where I´m supposed to be. It´s hard, but I know it´s going to be satisfying. Plus, it´s fun. I love all of you, and you are all awesome. It´s incredibly nice to have so many family and friends behind you in doing something like this. Church is true, aight?

Elder Abbott (Ah-boot)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

February 3, 2011

Hey! So I made it. I am officially in Mexico, and it is loco. Its totally like being in one of those westerns that I love you, except every where has pictures of beer. And soccer. But thats okay, Im going to change that. I can keep the soccer, but it seems like Corona is the Country flag for this place. We got in last night, and I flew on the worlds smallest plane. There was some really fun turbulence coming out of Dallas, and it was seriously like being on a roller coaster for 2 and a half hours. Our mission president picked us up and he is a way cool guy. Not very many older dudes make me honestly laugh out loud on purpose, but this guy does and I love it. For example, this morning at breakfast, he just kinda looked a me for a second, held up his glass of milk and said: this, this is a cow! Love that man. So last night we ate a little hole in the wall Mexican restaurant, well obviously, everything here is a Mexican restaurant. It was so unbelievably good, and also I drank Horchata! I have a new appreciation for that Vampire Weekend song. The weather feels so good here, it was like 5 degrees my last day in SLC, and now its like 60! It feels just like home, and I am very excited. This computer is a spanish computer, and so is the keyboard, so it thinks that every single thing Im typing is spelling wrong. So many red squiggly lines underneath every word. So today isnt P Day and Presidente Clark just wanted me to let you know Im alive. So hey, Im alive. Lets see if I make it to next week, I have a good feeling though. I love all of yous, and plan your next vacation to Torreon Mexico. Its going to be the new Hawaii, only more much more dusty and crazy hot. So I guess Im done speaking English for a couple of years, so wish me luck with that, and yeah, love you guys!

Elder Abbott