Monday, January 30, 2012

January 30, 2012

Family! Always a good thing to be writing you guys. So I guess another week just went by and time definitley feels like it's picking up. And it's getting harder and harder to remember what happened all the interesting things that happened. But honestly every day is going by super quickly later and it's always like two hours later than I think it is every time I check my watch. I think I just got totally used to what its like to be a Missionary in Mexico. I seriously can't even imagine what it's going to be like to be living at home again..that's going to be a really interesting day. These days it's completely normal for people to just yell "Hermanos!" to us from the other side of the street. A lot of people here think they know English, so we definitely hear people yell "brothers!" all the time in this great Mexican accent. It'll be weird seeing Mexican people at home and not having them yell something at me. I think I miss might it actually, better enjoy it while I can, right?

So it's been another week full of knocking doors and not really finding anybody who's willing to listen to the Gospel. But as always, we're doing a great job finding and talking to the weirdest people on the planet. This area is full of them. Like I said, Independencia is kinda famous for being a hard area, but I still think we can find someone to baptize this change. Just gotta find them. Oh, and as you can tell by the picture, someone thought it would be funny to put a giant lizard on my jacket. I totally had no idea it was there until I turned my head and saw the thing looked straight at me. It looked a lot bigger when it was 4 inches from my face. So the Iguana is from our mission leader actually, who already bought it a leash and takes it on walks reguarly at the near-by park. Like I said, this area is full of interesting people...even the members. This last week was actually Elder Astete's birthday as well, which kind of ended up being a miracle. When the day came, neither of us had much money, and no members knew it was his birthday, so looked like it was just going to be another normal full-day of work, which is kind of a bummer on your birthday. But later on in the day we heard that it was actually the birthday of one of the coolest members in the ward, Hermano Bretado! Naturally, I invited ourselves over and we enjoyed some carne asada and a cake! It felt good to see my Peruvian buddy get sung to and everything on his first birthday in the Mish. It can be hard sometimes to be far away from the family for events like that, but the Bretado family came in strong that day. Oh and Mom, don't think I was being super lame inviting ourselves over, they totally would have invited us had they known it was Elder Astete's birthday! The Bretado's are kind of like the Youngbergs of my Mission...we can just walk in and use the bathroom and get a glass of water and sometimes Hermana Bretado gives us something to eat! I love those types of people in the world. Well, other than that nothing too crazy to report this week. We've been in a drought here in Durango for like 6 months, there's a little weather fun-fact for ya.

So how is everybody at home? All the babies are offically born right? Sometimes I lose track of who is pregant and who is not these days, but as far as I am concerned there shouldn't be any more new babies for the rest of my Mission, right? I finish 15 months in the Mission this week, which means I'm short 9 months in the Mission...thus making any new babies being born while I'm in the Mission impossible! But back to the Lakers, seems like we're just playing pretty average these days. I think I lucked out when it comes to the Lakers and Mission timing. They won back-to-back the two years before my Mission, played pretty average the two years I'm in the Mission, and this summer they'll sign some awesome new free agents and we'll be awesome by the time I get back. I think it's more than a coincidence I got called on my Mission when I did. Fits perfectly with the Lakers. So how crazy are Mom and Dad feeling about their mission call? I'm sure they'll love their 6 month stay in Barstow...they can bring us all back thermamotors when they get back. How could you guys forget that Barstow is home of the world's largest thermamotor? No just kidding, Nauvoo Visitor's Center is for sure calling Mom and Dad's name. Oh and speaking of Mom and Dad, since when have you been planning a vacation to Costa Rica? And you're leaving this Saturday? You guys are going on the coolest vacations! I guarantee the first vacation I go on with Mom and Dad when I get back will be to Corona or...Hemet. But I'm actually totally cool with that, I can travel to all the cool places in the world when my last son is in the Mish too. So anyways, anything else cool going on back at home? Let me know about it!

So the Church is just as true as it was last time I wrote you and man am I grateful to be a part of it. I think sometimes we take for granted being members of the only true Church in the world...there are tons of people out there who are super confused and would love to find our Church. I guess thats why I'm out here. Well I love you guys, and hope everything is going great back at home. Keep it real!

Elder Abbott

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January 23, 2012

Family! How is everyone doing? Always good to do some writin'. I think I'm honestly running out of catchy ways to start my emails. How wonderful were my emails at the beginning of the Mission? So entertaining, but spiritual, got a few laughs. But the thing was is that back then the weeks went by a lot slower, and it seemed a lot more stuff happened. Now it's really hard to remember what happened in the week. Something interesting/weird/cool happeneds every single day pretty much, and you would not believe how much people ask me to give them things. Being in the Capital of Durango, there is definitely a lot of crazys in the street, and every single one of them wants to talk to me and ask me for things. Today one guy asked me for my clothes, the other day some guy asked for a hug (denied!), and the some other guy asked me for some "dimes." Strange, stange people in Mexico. But you gotta love them, well at least I have to. And I do. Alright lets see if I can remember things that went down this week.

It was the first week of Me and Elder Astete's third change here in Independencia, and it was....not bad. But not so great either. We're still looking for people to teach, and not having much luck. Everyone in the area already recognizes us because we've knocked like every door, so it's sort of awkward when we find that person we've contacted like 5 times already. We're trying our best to not get our spirits down, but man is it hard to find people here. But I gotta believe that if we just doing what we do, somebody will open the door. But hey, we're actually rockin' it with the less-active people belive it or not. But I think it has a lot to do with the schedule change of the church and now we start at 12:00 in the day. It is a battle to make this people wake up on time and come to church. Speaking of church, I have to prepare another talk this week! Totally forgot until just now. I'm talking about how our attitudes shape out our outcomes, I like the sound of it. I'm just going to have to translate it into Spanish. A litte bit a bad news is that Tony, our recent convert, is really struggling all of a sudden. Some of his buddies tempted him to drink, and he fell for it. He is really hurting right now. He'll be alright though, could be a great learning oportunity for him. And some good news, we bowled again today, and I won! My fingers are killing me. Still worth it though.

So how is life back at home? Kev has officially completed 30 years?! Dude, that is totally old! Big ups for Kev, now that he an old man with two kids and all. I just entered my 20's, and Kevin just left it. Sunrise, Sunset...Anyways, what else is new back at home? The Lakes are still stinkin' it up? Don't worry, Chris Paul or Dwight Howard will be on our team before you know it. I heard that Randy Francis just got his mission call! Where is he going again? St. Louis, right? Well thats cool. Yorba Linda 3rd has been a Missionary Machine. Also we win Church Basketball every year. Best ward ever. Well from the sound of it, everything is really laid back back at home, and thats awesome. I think so much of life is just perspective, and you just gotta enjoy it as it goes. I'm way excited for the days when I have my own family, and my life is totally boring. It'll be great! But gotta take care of business down here first and foremost. The Church is true, I know it because we can learn so much from it. Think about it, we have the Book of Mormon, the Bible, the words of the much straight-up knowledge! Heavenly Father wants us to understand as much as we can, and we learn all of it our church. And that's great. I love you guys, I love the Gospel,'s to another week of knocking tons and tons of doors. Remember to golf it, and then frolf it.

Elder Abbott

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pictures - January 16, 2012

January 16, 2012

Family! So yep, changes have already come and gone and....I'm exactly where I was before! Which the exact same Peruvian and everything. I've never ever heard of anybody staying as companions for more than 2 changes, but me and Elder Astete and going for the three-peat. We're making history. I honestly thought I was going to get moved to a different area, but I guess President had different plans. I'm cool with it though, Elder Astete and I have already gotten used to each other, and we know the area like the back of our hand, so no complaints. Besides usually it's a little bit awkward when you first start with a new companion. You don't know the first thing about each other, but you both know you'll be spending every waking moment together for who knows how long. It's also a little weird coming into a new area that you don't know, with the members you don't know, and all that. So Elder Astete and I are going on our third change together, in my fourth change in the zone...thats a whole quarter of the Mission! But I really do like Durango much more than Torreon, so I'm glad I get to stick around for a little while longer. Only thing thats a bummer is we only get letters like once a change, or once a month or so because we're so far away from Torreon, but I think it's worth it. Besdies it's not like tons of people are writing me still after 14 months. Actually believe it or not I just got a very nice Christmas card action from the Young-bloods and the Tekulves'. Two classic families in my life. Nothing better than growing up in Yorba Linda 3rd, so many classic memories.

Well I think we had a pretty good week. We're kinda fell back into "who are we going to baptize now?" mode now that Tony has already gotten baptized. Tony is doing awesome by the way, he goes to every single church function possible. He already talked to the Bishop about serving a Mission and is already saving up money to do it. Not bad, right? Sadly we still haven't found a place for him to live yet, but we're staying optimistic and so is he. But honestly the past week was just pretty much spent knocking doors and not really finding anybody. To tell you the truth I'm pretty sure we've already knocked all the doors in the area, so I guess we are just going to start all over, as if we just got here. I know it's not a big deal or anything, but I'm going on 6 consecutive changes with baptisms. I'm getting cocky, right? I'm like Kobe scoring 40 points for 5 consecutive points. Just kidding, I think I just get lucky with people. There are Missionaries who are wayyy better teachers than I am, but I guess it's not really us doing the teaching after all. Anyways, hopefully next week I'll have some cool investigatores to tell you about, but for now, we're still knocking.

So Mom and Dad's Mission papers are actually in? No way! I'm still calling The Nauvoo Visitor's center, I would love to work out there for a couple of changes. Maybe Mom and Dad and me could change for a little while. Mom would love it out here. But seriously, that is so cool that Mom and Dad are taking iniative and making it happen. As long as they're home by the time I am, I am all for it. You really do learn a ton as a Missionary, and also go through tons of tests as well, but thats how we learn right? Oh! Welcome to the world Baby Evie! Man, I am totally losing count of neieces and nephews I have. I seriously feel like every P-Day I end up having a new niece. It's great! I can't wait to meet all of them in a couple of months. Congrats Kev and Rach, sounds like everything is coming up Milhouse. How are the Lakers doing? Sounds like we're pretty average, but hey, thats better than terrible. As long as we make it to the playoffs anythings possible. Kobe is still going off right? The dude is unstoppable, he'll be drilling 3's until he is 80 years old. Is everybody loving Coach Brown who looks like a giant slug in the NBA video games? Sounds like he is taking great care of Pau and Bynum, and we both know those guys are huge for the team. I still belive in the Lakers.

Anything else new going on at home? Sounds like good times. Besides that lousy serial killer who is killing our homeless people. What a jerk! Good thing we got em'. Besides that weirdness, you gotta appreciate the peacefulness of where we live. It really is nice... definitely a different vibe than whats going on in Mexico these days. Hey! We actually went bowling today believe it or not. Suddenly I know how to bowl for the first time in my life! It was pretty fun, except for the fact that it broke within half an hour. Whatcha gonna do. Personally, I'm going to try my best to dig a little deeper this change and do a god job. I guess I've been having a few problems not worrying about things back at home in all honesty. It really is a stressing thing. I'm going to try to do my best to do de-stress myself and just focus on my love for the people and my love for the Gospel. My goal is to start, and make some serious progress reading The Old Testament in English every night. Little things like that help a Missionary get into a better groove.

I really do love the Gospel, and I love all of you so much. I'm at a point in my Mission where I'm definitely tired, but I gotta keep going. Thanks for all the support you guys give me, I know it makes a huge difference. I hope everything is great for you guys back at home, and everybody finds joy in the Gospel. We have the restored Gospel so we can be happy, it's really not that complicated. I also know the Gospel is even better to live as a Family, which makes me miss you guys, but I still feel your influence out here. I can't wait to live the Gospel in my own family someday. I think living the Gospel with your family is as close as we can get to heaven. Good things are coming Family. I love all of you, and remember to take it easy. Go Lakers!

Elder Abbott

Monday, January 9, 2012

January 9, 2012

Family! How is everybody doing? So Christmas and New Years and everything is officially over back at home, right? Back to School...Back to work....Wah wah wahhh. Janurary was always kind of a bummer, it's the beginning of the longhaul to Summertime. The transition this year wasn't really too hard for me considering we never really stopped working, I guess it's a perk of being a Missionary. No vacations, so you never feel the back at school/work bummer. Gotta look on the brightside as a Missionary. So yes, it's been a super fast and good week for me,Tony got baptized! Check out the pictures! The week of a baptism is great, it goes by super fast, and you get to choose the Cake that the Relief Society President makes. Win-Win situation. So the whole week was pretty much Baptism preparation time. Filling a Bautisimal faunt is so much harder than you think it is. It requires lots of buckets, pacience, and a really sore back. When I first came to Mexico, I thought filling up the faunt would just be like filling up a bathtub, just turn on the hot water and you're good to go. Not true in Mexico. But hey, everytime we have a baptism, my back gets that much stronger. Always a brightside.

So the baptism itself went really well. We shared the baptism with the Elders from another ward, so there were tons of people! I couldn't even get a seat. Just goes to show, if you publisize a baptism right, you'll get tons of people out, it's just like a movie. It really was something special to see so many people support Tony is his baptism. A lot of his buddies from the park came as well to support him, or maybe they just came for the cake, either way definitely a missionary opportunity. Elder Astete was super nervous beforehand, it being his first baptism and all (not to mention with a handicap guy). This is how we did it: We put a char in the baptisimal fount, and then we had three guys in the faunt to help Tony into the chair. It only required 3 attempts before we got him all the way under. It was pretty funny actually, he was so out of breath after the 3rd attempt, thank goodness we got him all the way under. It was great to see how happy he was after his baptism, you could just tell it was as if a huge weight just lifted off his back. Not sure if I've already told you guys, but his Mom was always a faithful Member before she died. Tony said he could feel the presence of his Mom more than he has ever felt since she passed away. Pretty cool, right? After the baptism, I actually didn't get to eat any cake because they were so many people there, Tony's friends downed that cake so fast. Classic dudes. The next day his confirmation went super well, and you could see a definite change in him afterwards. Just goes to show that baptism actually is something awesome. It just depends on how seriously you take it. I've seen baptisms with people who felt pretty much the same afterwards, and I've seen people who have really prepared themselves and it was a huge event for them. Happy to say for Tony, it was one of the biggest events of his life. I really wish I could remember my baptism still, I probably didn't even know what was going on. But thats where the magic of the Temple comes in, we can experience baptism all over again for people who have been waiting for it for years! Man I miss the Temple, it'll be one of the first places I go to when I get back. After In-N-Out of course.

I honestly don't have much to report besides that. It's the last week of the change so I'll definitely have more news next Monday. I'm feelin' like I'll have changes and who knows where I'll be headed. Thats the thing about transfers, you seriously have no idea where you might end up. Our Mission is huge, it covers 3 Mexican States, so there is definitely a lot of variety of types of areas. As much as I loved my time in the little Mexican Ranchos, I think I like staying more in the City. A lot less dust. I'll keep you posted for what happens. Elder Astete has actually been an underrated companion in my opinion. At the start he definitely seemed weird, but we grew on each other and we've actually had a lot of fun. He doesn't really have many friends in the Zone, and isn't really a big fan of the Mish in general, but I like to think I've helped him. He's helped me in a lot of ways actually, I feel like I've been the best Missionary of my Mission lately. We've definitely seen the success in one of the hardest areas in the Mission. Can't complain with two baptisms if you ask me. We'll see what weird-o they stick me with next week. Just kidding.

So how is everyone back at home? I was thinking, we just need Mark and Heather to move down to Southern California and we'll have almost everybody! Except for the North Carolina Abbo's of course. I hope I make enough in the future to live in Southern California. How cool would it be to be like within a couple of hours of everybody in the family? Or better yet we can complete the dream of having everybody live on Via Madera/Via Ceresa. Greg and Devon can live in Bro. Freeman's house. Thanks for all the pictures Brett, I cannot believe how much these kids are growing. It's actually kind of scary. The pictures of Jeff's wedding was a total trip for me. I cannot believe that dude is straight up married! I remember playing Nintendo 64 with that kid. Tell him congrats for me. Well Family, I think that's pretty much all I've got for you's this week. The Gospel is the key to happiness and peace, I know it for sure. Keep doing what you do, I love all of you guys.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pictures - January 2, 2012

January 2, 2012

Family! How is everybody doing? Well, it is officially 2012, kinda hard to believe I know. I fully expect to hear the question, "is the world going to end this year?" at least a million times before I go home. It's the Aztec's fault that everyone here in Mexico thinks that, these people are so superstitious. But it's alright, I think that might lead to a whole lot of baptisms this year, at least in Mexico. 2011 was definitely the most different year of my life, and the hardest, but I'm confident that I'm coming out of it much stronger than I was going into it. I guess that means I'd call it a successful year, I'm happy with it. I'll be honest, it's kinda weird to think that I'll be coming home this year, but it's also comforting and makes me want to take advantage of the time I've got. Don't get me wrong, still got a ways to go, but only having 10 months left is a whole lot different than having 24 left when I started. Things are starting to feel more downhill, and I feel like I'm becomming a better Missionary too, so win-win situation. How was everyones new year? I actually drank some Martinelli's as well this year believe it or not, well a cheap mark-off brand of Martinelli's, but it still tasted really good. What are everyones resolutions for 2012? I think everyone should dedicate theirselves to sending more packages full of candy to me on the Mission. I mean think about it, I will be the last Missionary of this family for at least 10 years, gotta take advantage when you can.

It's been a pretty good week. Tony is still progressing super well and everything should be good to go for his baptism this week. We're super lucky to teach this dude, just accepts everything so fast with so much faith in it. Sometimes I feel like I'm learning more than he is when we have our discussions. I'm really happy that he choose Elder Astete to baptize him, it'll be my companion's first time in the water. But actually I will be in there too, to help get Tony into the water, but still, Elder Astete is doing all the work. No luck yet in finding him a place to live, but he does have a pretty nice situation in the park if you ask me. Nice bench underneath a tree, tons of blankets, lots of people come to visit and chat with him. Whereas our house is super cold, dirty, full of scorpions, and weird neighbors...not sure which situation is better actually. I'll maken sure to send the pictures of Tony's baptism next week, should be a great day. Hey, you're never going to believe what happened the other day! I was flipping through the new Liahona for the month of Janurary, and who had a giant article about them in the middle of it? None other than Brother and Sister Craig T. Olson. It had pictures and everything! It was an article talking about Senior Missionaries and all the cool things they do. I saw the picture of Craig T. and I just couldn't believe it, that's the guy who has filled so many of my cavities! And now he is in the Liahona. Pretty sure the article is only in the Mexican Liohonas though, because they have a secition in the middle dedicated to Mexico, and thats where the article was, but I'll make sure to bring it home with me.

Hey, I totally forgot about this, but thanks Kev and Rach for the fanstastic Christmas present! I've already eaten all of the candy, and I'm going to try to explain Monolopy Deal in Spanish to my companion tomorrow. Should be fun. It really was a solid Missionary Christmas for me, I'm so glad I have such a cool family. So I've been thinking about it, and I think I've got some good New Years Resolutions as well. My goal is to just finish strong in the Mish, have a happy and productive last ten months, and just make the best of it. And by the time I get home, to hopefully find a job for a month or so, and be good to go back up to School for the Winter semester. Also for the Lakers to win the championship. It's gonna be a good year. Oh, another funny thing that happened this week. I showed a few pictures of the family to some members, and they found one of the Happy Brothers pictures, and they said, "do you really smile like that in the United States?" I said, "just my brothers."

So how is everyone doing back at home? I'm actually liking the look of the Lakers more and more from what I am hearing. I say we still got a chance this year. So how many weeks tell Baby Evie is due? Will that seriously be the 32nd member of our immediate family? That's awesome. I was looking at the old pictures on the digital picture frame you sent me, and they are so great. I saw the pictures of Family Camp when we all did the Family Numbers thing. I feel good about my standing as Number 9, still in the top 10. But all those pictures just reinforce that I couldn't ask for a better family. I miss all of you guys, but here I'm starting to understand better what it means to have an Eternal Family. There's nothing more I want in this world, than to be with all of you's for forever, and the family I'll have. This Church and this Gospel is the way to make that happen, and I'm glad to be paying my dues and serving when I have been given so much. Hope all is well with you guys. Love you!

Elder Abbott