Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 25, 2011

Family! Man oh man has it been a weird week, I'm just going to kind of do this backwards. I am currently in the Mission Offices! No, I'm not dying or anything, relax Mom. But I told President in the weekly emails some of the things that were going on in my companionship, and the man took action. He just came and picked me up from the boonies of Mapimi and now I am here where the action is, the offices. Might be a chance I'll be working here pretty soon, at least that's what I am thinking because well, I'm here and not in some other place. Still kind of a mystery what is going on right now, but I am enjoying it. I now more or less live in a church building! With 6 other Elders, consisiting of all the office Elders and the Assistents to the President. Pretty classy, right? I feel like I am on the top of missionary society, to quote that opening song to that one show "Well, I'm movin' on up! To the East Side, to a deluxe apartment in the sky!" Hopefully you know what I am talking about, or that probably came out really weird. Also, I am totally in downtown Torreon! This is such a completely different vibe than where I was before, it's like going from the Lakebed to downtown LA. Before I didn't really like the city so much, I always liked visiting stuff for a day or two but never really wanted to live there, but this is actually way cool. To tell you the truth, I'm not really exaggerating when I say I was living in the Lakebed, so it's kinda like I moved forward in time 100 years which means yes, I took a warm shower this morning! I remember those showers I took after Scout Camp or High Adventure, but this was way better. I mean I haven't really been clean for months, so I was due. Even clipped my nails this morning, it was fantastic. So yeah, downtown is kinda nuts at the same time and I'm just not going to go into details because President specificially told us not to...but remind me to tell you some cool stories next time I see you. Mexico isn't quite as crazy as everyone thinks, but this definitely doesn't remind me much of Yorba Linda.

So life is good here in the offices, it's actually exactly like the show The Office. Everones got their desks and computers and stuff, and everyone plays pranks on each other and messes around, so naturally I am having a good time. Ready for some more exciting news? My official job right now is to make a map for the whole mission! I am the first ever Secretario de Mapas in the Torreon Mexico Mission, and probably will be the last because it was invented for me. We're getting a new Mission President in a few months, and President Clark wants to update a few things here and there (kinda like all those times we forgot Mom and Dad were about to come home from vacation, so we cleaned up the house super fast.) I'm glad to be apart of the clean up crew. Me caya bien (they fall well with me, which means I get along with them, how impressed are you?) with all the Elders that are here, so life has made a pretty big improvement. Oh yeah! Sorry I am writing this so late, the office Elders have P Day on Saturdays instead of Mondays, so I got special permission to write you guys today after we worked.

Let me do a little recap of the past few days, because they have been gone ones. After President picked me up, he let me stay the night in the Mission Home! I don't know why, but all the Mission Presidents in the world are given huge mansions for their times as Presidents, so staying there was awesome. I haven't slept alone in a room for 6 months, so that felt really weird, but to be honest it was super nice not having people snore like Bro Markowski during Fathers and Sons (you know what I am talking about Dad). In the morning me and President went running in this really cool park in downtown Torreon, not quite Central Park cool but dang close. Afterwards got a nice breakfast which I haven't had in quite a while, and off to the offices we went. Needless to say, it's been a crazy week, when I started it I never thought I would end up here but I'm totally glad it happened. Turns out my old companion has been giving President problems for his entire mission, and he didn't want me in that situation thank goodness. Dude was nuts. So short, so angry, kinda like how I imagine I was when I was 8 years old after a No Dice card. Anyone who was confused about that last reference go ask any member in my family, they will know exactly what you are talking about.

So how is everyone else doing? Congrats Bevington on finally graduating after two decades of excelling in school. You told me that I was 8 years old when you started your stay at BYU, so get out of there for goodness sakes! My max, absolute max in Utah will be 4 years. Oh yeah, I keep forgetting Heather is from Utah and I should watch my Utah comments...nevermind! Utah is great, so much snow, and churchs, and home of my beloved Uncle Clay! I love it now and forever. Anyways, enjoy that trip out to Hawaii Kev and Rach, you absolutely earned it. I feel like I am missing some birthdays that went down as well, I feel like Joseph and Becky just had a birthday. Happy Birthday! From all of us from Mexico to you, make it the best one yet. Word on the street is that Lakes are tied 2-2 against the Chris Paul's. I still find it hard to not like Chris Paul, I think that dude is the man. No idea why, but I have always loved him since his days at Wake. Maybe my time in the mission is helping me love the Lakers opponents more or something, but I'm sure if I was watching the games with you guys I would love Chris Paul about as much as I loved the dentist in the month before my mission started. Or the doctor for that matter. But on the bright side, after all that work they did on me before I left, I feel like I beat disease. But back to the Lakes, they will win. They'll take the next two games in a row, get their heads back on straight, and cruise through the next round. This series will end in 6 games, Lakes will beat the next series in 5, then the next two will both go to 7 games. Calling it. From Mexico. Our team is weird, I get that, but once we get in the right mentality and realize what is at stake here, people will get back in their groove. Always have faith in Kobe people, always.

Well, sad to say I am going to have to make this one a little short because I am super tired. It's been a really...educational couple of days, and I really don't know what my future has in store for me right now, but I am trying to be optimistc. But no matter what I always know I've got you guys, and that means everything to me. Have a great week, take it easy, and appreciate the small things we've got all around us. One thing I realized, that if we're not happy, change it! So do what you gotta do to be happy. And be happy. Love you guys!

Elder Abbott

Monday, April 18, 2011

April 18, 2011

Family! Alright, so I feel like I was just writing a letter to you guys literally a couple of hours ago, time is just the weirdest thing in the world out here. For example, are you guys ready for me to blow your mind? I am pretty dang close to finishing 6 months of my mission! I know! Crazy. I'm not really sure how I feel about it to tell you the truth, I mean, I definitely should know a ton more than I do. I finally know how all those guys felt when they said they wished they paid more attention in seminary. When you think about it, seminary was just a recipe for disaster, so incredibly early, sitting inbetween Drew and Rick, I remember about as much from Seminary as I do from my first trip to Disneyland. I blame myself though, my mind was totally elsewhere and not concentrated on those kinda things in that part of my life. And now I am officially one of those dudes who wished he paid more attention in seminary, wonderful. I guess I just kinda thought before my mission that my testimony would get me by and I wouldn't really need to drop much knowledge, not true! So I am doing my best to know the doctrine better (doesn't the word "doctrine" just kinda freak you out?) and knowing my stuff. It's like a double threat sometimes, people will be shooting bible verses at me, which means first I don't really understand the Spanish, and secondly even if they were speaking English, I still wouldn't understand. But that's okay, just break out the ol' testimony, it's the Kareem Dream, the unblockable shot.
So another week in the little Pueblo of Mapimi. I am becomming a total regular of the community these days, pretty sure I know everybody and everybody knows me. I never ever remember their names, because often times I don't understand their names (who decided it was a good idea to have 7 names?), but it evens out because they don't remember mine either. Elder Boot. Yep, that's me. It is cool knowing a lot of people, but to tell you guys the truth I think I feel ready for a change. Mapimi is kinda infamous for bringing out the worst in missionaries, and I am doing my best to not let it get to me, and to be honest I feel good about the things that are getting done. I will now relate another thing in the mission to the NBA. We're putting up good numbers, contacts, lessons and what not, but we're not quite winning anything (baptisms.) Right now, we're kinda like Monta Ellis for example, sure we can put up tons of points, but where is that getting us? We need to be more of a Derrick Rose, helping out the team (area) in lots of different aspects and getting the W's. I am definitely not the best missionary in the world, but I am doing the best I can and knowing Heavenly Father will make things happen, and we're seeing some results. That's right family, we have a fecha. This means that we are going to have a baptism! Kind of a big deal for Mapimi's standards, so we're excited. His name is Luis, and even though he sometimes mixes up Sacerdocio (Priesthood) and La Palabra De Saburdia (Word of Wisdom), he is a cool dude. Very humble and teachable and willing to learn, all gold for an investigator. I really hope this works out, baptism dates don't always mean a baptism, but I'm optimistic. I made kind of a goal before my mission started, I want to have a baptism every transfer, but I have a back up goal too in case that one doesn't work out, a goal every area! They make come out selfish and sounds like the baptisms are for me, but that's not true, I just want to be a good missionary and live up to the missionary you guys think I am. No pressure!
So life is still going on, and I am learning how to eat like an animal. I mean, when you eat at a Mexican's home, you gotta clean the plate, not a single scrap of food. I have definitely seen dudes just straight up lick the plate when their done. Relax Mom, I haven't done anything like that yet, but I have just learned to eat through the pain. Yes, sometimes I am actually full before I even begin a meal, but me and the lady giving me food both know that I have to eat everything, and then ask for seconds. For the first time in my life, I am starting to be legitimitely conserned about getting fat. I never thought this day would come, but I believe it is here. Thank goodness we walk so much in the heat, or I would come back like Jabba the Hut. Hey, I learned how to cook a really cool dessert! I just asked Elder Tarabilda if there is two S's in dessert, and he told me "Ya, because you come back for seconds." I felt like that needed sharing. Anyways, me and Elder TB are still destroying it in Basketball, clean sweep again the Family Castañada this morning, I'll tell you all about that family when I get back. Really glad TB is around this transfer, my companion is definitely that companion, you know? The one they warn you about before the mission, but whatever, things are still getting done.
So how is everyone doing on the Other Side? Congratulations Mike and Vicky! I am going to have another half Mexican neiece or nephew! How cool is that? I will make sure he knows his Spanish and plays some Football. I love to hear that we are just adding on to our already awesome family, the more the better for sure. He will be entering the world about the time that I finish a year out here, which means he will be a year old when I come home. Hmm....notice I said "he" I guess it's just hard to imagine anything else coming into this family of mainly dudes. Somebody in this family is going to have to represent the girls, and I get the feeling it'll be me or Marvelous. Marv could have like 5 girls and I could have like 6. Aw man, I don't want to think about it, who would watch Laker games with me? I refuse to live in a house where "The Bachelor" takes presidence over Lamar. Just can't do it. Or I'll just buy two TV's. But anywho, sounds like life is going good for everybody. Congratulations on the new house Gregorious, although I will miss the classic 4th of July parties outside the ol' apartment. I am really pumped to see it when I get back, but by the time I get back Greg should be living in a solid gold house, driving his rocket car.
Well, I definitely miss all of you, but I think I am going through The Change in the mission. Where I can't really remember much of home anymore and this just kinda becomes my life. No, I absolutely won't forget all of you's, but it's kinda weird to think that I used to live in a land where I could take a warm shower whenever I wanted, and I could speak English! That's just crazy. Well life isn't always easy, but I know it's always going to be worth it, and I still feel like the best of my mission is yet to come. I really appreciate all the prayers you've done for me, and all of the support I get out here. All of your emails mean a ton, and really help me out when I need it most. Keep em' coming family and friends. Well, the church is true, and I am forming a hard earned testimony of that. There's a lot of different emotions on the mission, but the gospel is always constant, and I am getting better on depending on that. Elder Tarabilda's Mom said something really interesting, it went something like this: "The Church is perfect, it takes 19 year old young men who are so wrapped up in themselves, and sends them to a foregin place with different people, and those young men can start to forget about themselves for the first time in their lives." Man, is that true. Not going to lie, life was pretty perfect before my mission and I was very much so wrapped up in my life, but now I am learning about more important things in life. The Church is true, have a great week, and I love all of you so much!
Elder Abbott

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pictures - April 11, 2011

April 11, 2011

Family! Always a treat to do a little emailin. All these P Days are really starting to add up aren't they? It probably feels like you guys get emails from me all the time, I am totally entering the old news part of the mission for everybody back at home. I could totally see someone in the ward asking Mom, "Hey Karen, how long has Tyler been out for?" "Who's that? Oh yeah! I don't know, a really long time." Ok maybe not that bad, but considering that one time I was mistaken for Sam, our dog, it could definitely happen. So a random story just popped in my head about Me and Mom that I don't think I told you guys, and this deserves to be told. I remember one day I came home from school, and Mom just looked at me and said there is a list of things I have to do in this exact order. There was the weirdest things on that list, like go outside, turn on the hose, turn it off, go upstairs and bring Mom a book from her room, and tons of other random stuff. Turns out the test was to see if I had ADD, and I can't even remember if I passed the test, but I like to think I did. I think that story popped in my head because lately I have had a hard time remembering things, all that extra space I had in my head has totally been filled up with Spanish and I can never remember where La Hermana Panchita lives so we can eat with her for example. But thats okay, someone told me that's normal for a missionary around my age, so I'm not worried. But anyways, life isn't too bad family, it's just kinda going right now, always work to get done around these parts. I know this probably won't be my favorite transfer I am going to have in my mission, but I am still trying my hardest to get things done and work smart. Definitely some bright spots of course, for example Tarabilda and I shot baskets for hours today, so very nice. Nothing quite like shooting baskets in the middle of Mexico, something really special about it. Our bodies are kinda quitting on us these days and we lost any sort of hops that we used to have, but happy to say my jumper is looking good. Okay, so thats probably not the first thing your interested about hearing from me in my email, but I thought you might like to know. I am trying really hard to remember what has been going on this week, and nothing too crazy is coming up. Oh ya! We had a really cool service activity a couple of days ago. We went out to Poanoas to help reconstruct this nice lady's house, but I kinda feel like we did more destroying than reconstructing. We went over there pretty early and before you know it we are just taking down walls. Plus the whole time, two of the ladies kids just slept through everything! Literally the walls around them were coming down, and there were sleeping like a rock, gotta respect that. So we took down a few walls, took down the roof, built a little wall, and then well, we took off. So I am still not perfect with my Spanish, but I was almost positive we were doing a good thing, and I hope it turned out that way. I think we might head back out there another day and actually do some building, unless they like their massive sunroof they now have (which pretty much means no roof). Still, it was really fun and the lady was really grateful, so I feel good about it. Building houses is actually not too hard in Mexico, its really similar to Lincoln Logs actually, my years of experiences with those really helped me out with this. I think it's kinda like the mission actually, you take down some walls which isn't always easy, but you build em back up even stronger. Greg, how much did you love that metaphor right there?
I am still a resident of Mapimi and doing my best to put it back on the map, but the people just aren't the easiest. Crazy nice and friendly, but really into their family traditions. Mapimi itself is super old and super Catholic, so I am still figuring out the nicest way to say "your family was actually wrong about all that and you need to change all of that right now." I am actually getting better at it, and I see a some potential in this little Pueblo. It's so weird, I have been there for about two months now and it just feels like home. Like I was born and raised in Mapimi all my life, hard to imagine anything else. But thats cool, I promised a few of the members there that I would live there after my mission, hopefully they knew I was kidding. Don't get me wrong, Mapimi is a cool little place, but it's hard to beat the Beach, Disneyland, Camelot, Concourse Bowling Alley (okay maybe not the last two).
So what has been going on with all of you?! Me and Tarabilda had a bet for March Madness, and I am happy to say that I won that bet. Thanks to UCONN, TB now owes me a coke, which I am triumphantly drinking as we speak. So nice. Seems like life isn't too much different "on the other side." That's what a bunch of people here say when I tell them I am from California, "Oh, the other side?" It's like they've wondered all their lives whats on the other side and have never found out, I try not to make it sound as cool as it is. A lot of our investigators think we take nice, freezing showers in California too, so keep it a secret. But anyways, what is new with everyone? Gregorious, tell me about the house! Does it have good size, how's the 30 year fix? There are so many random phrases like that I have heard from my brothers in my life, and I still have no idea what they mean. So Greg, how's the 30 year fix? I guess that's what you get being the youngest, and one of your oldest brothers served his mission last century. I actually talk about Vicky a lot around here, I tell everyone how excited I am to talk to her more in Spanish when I get back from my mission. And it's true, get ready Vicky, we will finally be able to talk more than just if I have a novia or not! And just so you know Vicky, Pues en la verdad, puedo tener muchas novias ahora, pero yo siento bien para despues, voy a decirle cerca de todo despues, yo voy a neccesitar su consejo, gracias! I feel like there's going to be another baby coming into the family, but I have no idea from who yet. People in the family who are due: Mike and Vicky, Greg and Devon, Mark and Heather. Here's my prediciton, Mike first, Marvelous second, and Greg never. Come on Gregorious, we need to be thinking about the next generation of Abbott basketball players! We're due for an Abbott NBA appreance. Which brings me to my next topic, NBA. Lakers apparently have been struggling a little lately, which I think means I need to work a little harder. When the going gets a little tough down here, I can just think of Fish or Lamar, and suddenly I find my legs. Don't stress about the Lakers, the Lakers are a playoff team and get a little bored during the season, wouldn't you after 20 years of so much basketball? This team can be so good when it wants to be, and it will be come this June, when Lakers win another ring. I will wear my Kobe shirt underneath my white shirt and tie for that entire week.
Okay, so I think this about all I have got for you right now. Just know that I am learning a ton, some lessons are really hard to learn, but I am glad I am learning them. I guess I just feel more prepared for life in general, just like all the little things that I need to do, like washing clothes better or something. The missions great because you can learn all these little things, as well as the big picture who I want to be kinda things. Still haven't got everything down perfectly, but I like to think I am getting somewhere. Thanks so much for all the support you guys are for me, probably means more than you guys know. Make sure to be happy out there on the other side, there's really so much to be grateful for. Man are we blessed as a family, we gotta make sure to appreciate it! Keep doing the little things in your lives that make differences, keep the prayers coming, keep reading the scriptures, and good things happen. If you take a step back and think about it, we are blessed every single day, we just gotta look a little harder sometimes. If you ever feel like sending your Uncle Tyler some wonderful American snacks, please feel free to do so. I love all of you, and definitely didn't appreciate you guys enough before my mission. Thanks for everything you guys are, and listen to Rock & Roll by Eric Hutchinson for me, it's been stuck in my head this week. Don't worry, I have hymns stuck in my head all the time too. Take it easy! Love you guys!
Elder Abbott

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April 4, 2011

Family! Has it been a long week, or is that just me? This has been in probably the top 5 longest weeks of my mission, and I have knocked on so many doors that if you feel my knuckles, they feel like doors. I dont really know what that means, but thats what one of my buddies told me today. I like to think thats a good thing when a missionaries hands feel like a door, means I am doing my job, right? Well family, we just had transfers last week, and we have a new companion, and its that guy. The guy that everyone says Oooh after they announce that he is your companion, the guy that has had problems with almost all of his companions, and the guy who is actually shorter than Cameron. Yep, we got that guy family. His name is Elder Limon, and has the worst case of Little Man Syndrome I have experienced in my life. But dont worry, I am happy to say things are getting better everyday. Sure it was a litte rough at the beginning, but we are making improvements. The first couple of days he kinda liked to verbally attack me for really weird things and I was just more confused than anything. So after one especially intense attack, I just sat him down, and I said OK, we are going to make a list of things that I need to change for you to be happy. One of those things on my list, My Personality. So still not so sure what this dude wants, but its actually been a little better ever since. Happy to say we are working, building up the friendship little by little, and I am still just learning a ton about life and people. But also, Heavenly Father cut me a very nice break. My best friend in the mission, Elder Tarabilda, is offically in my district. My district in the end of the world of the Mission and there is not too many of us, but Tarabilda got assigned in my district and its has been awesome. Its almost like Heavenly Father said, I understand you have had some tough companions, so I am throwing one of your best friends in your district. Me and TB absolutely destroyed in basketball this morning against the infamous Castanadas, the richest and cockiest family this side of Beremijillou.Thats right! He was the Pau to my Kobe. For so long I have battled the Castanadas in hoops every Monday morning, and usually they actually beat us. But now we got TB, and the behind the back passes and draining jumpers began. It felt good. I still get hammered everytime in the paint, seriously hammered, but my ability to make And 1s has definitely improved.

Socially things are getting better and better in the mission. I have a really awesome tight group of buddies, and all four of us are from California. Super cool dudes who I am thinking about living with in the future at ol BYU. They love a little Vampire Weekend, a little PTI, and I click with them really well. Always good times on P Days with those dudes, and dont worry, I am being nice to everybody. but they are like the new Drew, Rick, Daniel, and Braeden. Something about Californians I just click with better, no offense to any Utahians out there, Heather you rock! Well I am still in Mapimi, and still doing my best. I am a little worried about this transfer, the work is getting a little slower and a little harder to Mapimi to tell you guys the truth. How can everyone be ironing their paints, all the time! Thats the usual excuse, they cant hear our message, because that iron just refuses to wait. Well whatever, if we keep pressing on things will work out. Thats the beauty of life I think, do the things your supposed to be doing, and things will work out for you. They always have for me, this is clearly demonstrated by the Lakers winning two rings in a row, and a third on the row. Heard the Lakers are still tearing it up, which just makes me so happy and really motivates me to work harder. I always thinking about it today, Brothers, can you ever imagine a world where Tim Duncan is not playing NBA basketball? I definitely cant. By the time he retires from the NBA, I will have retired from whatever I am doing with my life.

So how are all of you doing? Thanks for everything by the way family, man I cannot thank you enough for everything you do. The support and prayers and all that you do on my behalf really does make a difference. Like for example, everytime we are looking for a ride back to Mapimi from Gomez or somewhere, and we have something important we have to do, someone always picks us up right in the clutch! I attribute this to all of you. So thanks for all those little tender mercy things I experience all the time. So whats this I hear about a family secret about Mike and Vicky? Maybe I wasnt suppose to say that, but whatever, I am in a different in Country and totally out of the loop. What happened!? I smell another neice or nephew on the way, and if so, that is awesome! Can never have enough of those, bigger the better as far as I see it with this family. Only adding on to our Abbott basketball team, which will someday challenge the Youngbergs and the Francis family for Kings of Via Madera. Or maybe Mike and Vicky bought a new car, or got a cat or something, who knows. All I know is something is going down, and I have a right to know! So spill it family. But anyways, sounds like things are getting better and better in the home front. So pumped about Greg and Devs new house, oh speaking of which, Happy Birthday Devon! I know it was like last week, but better late than never, so Happy Birthday Devo! Did Greg ever tell you the story about the time I tried to light the candles on the cake for someones birthday, and lighted like 9 of the 10 candles, and got scared of the fire on the last candle and blew out the match and also all of the other candles I lighter? It took me forever to light the first 9, and afterwards I just ran outside. Man, I have so many emberessing stories, so many. And all of you pretty much know all of them, just one of the many perks of being the youngest in the family I guess. Well just so all of you know, I love hearing from all of you. Friends and family a like! I am pretty sure you get blessings for writing missionaries too, just so you know.

Well, life continues to keep going out here in Mexico. Its hard to imagine living in a world where people actually speak English and not eat tortillas with every meal. Man, we do have it pretty sweet in the US of A, definitely appreciate it, its not so much like that in other parts I am learning. Spanish is pretty natural these days and I am starting to feel The Change when I become pretty fluent. Definitely not the best at Spanish of all the Gringos, but I am doing the best I know how. Also, you should know, we have Sudoku on our cell phone in our companionship, and when we were waiting for a bus, I broke the record for fastest time. So we may have not had a baptism this week, but man did I shatter that record! Dont worry family, the baptisms are coming, Mapimi has been due for an explosion of baptisms for years and years, so I am doing what I can to make it happen. Have you guys ever heard of Chicharito? He is a native of Mexico and plays for Manchester United with Mr. Wayne Rooney, Mexico loves that guy. Check him out, he sounds pretty legit. I will bring back 40 Chicharito jerseys from Mexico for a family. How many do we have now a days? I lost count after Jackson, which was like 7 years ago, my bad. But hey, I love all of you guys and am so grateful to be apart of this family. Seriously, how awesome is the Abbott family? And by the way Jackson and Jacob, guess which of your Uncles just ate goat feet? Thats right! You should feel very proud of your Uncle, and enjoy your Macaroni and Cheese while you can!

The church is just as true as ever, and something that is reinforced in my life every single day of my mission. Heavely Father does deinitely work in mysteries ways, but he does work. Just keep doing our best, find joy in the journey, and enjoy life. There really is a lot to enjoy, so live it up. Can you guys believe that you can drive down the road and buy pizza for 5 bucks!? That totally blows my mind, aw man, the life I lived. So much pizza. Well I can eat all the pizza I want in a couple of years, for now, I think there is some Mexicans that need the gospel first. Take it easy family, and keep doing what you do. Listen to Graceland by Paul Simon for me, it has been stuck in my head all week, and I love it. Church is true, and I love all of you!

Elder Abbott