Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pictures - February 27, 2012

February 27, 2012

Family! So guess what, I am officially in a completely different place which seems really far from where I was. I guess I am now a resident of Zacatecas, Mexico! I am pretty much as far as you can be from Torreon at this point. In fact, my whole mission I have been moving farther and farther down Mexico. It's like different levels of the Mission. Torreon was level one and probably the easier to baptize, Durango was level two and it was a little harder over there, and now I'm in level 3, Zacatecas: the Catholic Capital of Mexico. No joke, apparently Zacatecas is like the Catholic Mecca of Mexico. Is that offense to say? I feel like I'm allowed to say it considering I've been in Mexico for over a year now. You guys should google maps Zacatecas, it's supposed to be pretty cool. I still haven't seen too much of it, but I'm looking forward to get a feel for the place.

I'll back up a little bit. The last week of Elder Astete and I was actualy pretty good, and we had some cool people lined up to come to the Church. Naturally they bailed on us. Rats. My main focus the last few weeks was just to strengthen the area, and I feel like I left it much better than how I found it, so not bad, right? It was a confusing last week of the change because we had no idea who would have transfers considering me and Elder Astete got there at the same time. Usually it's kinda easy to get a feel for who's leaving and who's staying, but this was a total mystery. But as always, the call came in late Sunday night, and now here I am in Zacatecas. My area is called Guadelupe and I know almost nothing about it, except for the fact we have a washing machine in our house, which is huge. Oh, my companions name is Elder Garcia and he is from some place in Mexico that I forgot the name of. He has about three months in the Mission, and I am his second companion. I guess I'm kinda old now considering I'm hitting 16 months this Saturday, thats kinda nuts. But it'll be nice to be with a dude who's fresh in the Mission who can help me keep going strong. But oh boy am I already tired, changes are always super tiring.

I'm definitely going to miss my last area, Indenpendencia though. It was my favorite area thus far even though it was super hard to baptize people. I feel kinda weird right now being in a whole different place, I feel like I really hit my niche in Durango...but time to start all over again. I guess I never really liked changes much in life, and the Mission is full of them, so I'm adapting. Hope you guys like all the pictures, the last one is a picture of Zacatecas I took right when I got off the bus. Oh speaking of the bus, they put three movies on! The first one was this terrible romantic comedy, and then it was this movie about trains with Denzel Washington, and the last one was The Tourist with Johnny Depp. Totally didn't understand it, but it seemed cool. Speaking of which, Oscars just happened, right? Sounds like it was a pretty boring year for movies minus HP. But still, gotta love Oscar Night at Abby manor. I should be around for the next one.

So how is everyone doing at home? Hope everything is going awesome as always. Well I havel like no time, but I'll fill you guys in next week. The Church is true, and that's awesome.

Elder Abbott

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pictures - February 20, 2012

February 20, 2012

Family! How is everyone doing? Another week just went by pretty fast in the Mish, and just like every week, I'm gonna do my best to try to remember what happened. The first thing that comes to mind is that I went running for the first time in months! We woke up at 6 in the morning to go running, and it was awful. Actually it was awesome for the first 5 minutes, and then suddenly not so much afterwards. I found out that day that even though I've been walking everywhere for the past 16 months, it doesn't mean I can run like I could before. I adopted Greg's philosphy of the "run/walk" within 10 minutes of the run. But still, it felt good to get out there and really stretch my legs again. I'll get back in running shape again when I go home, and can go running with the iPod. It makes all the difference.

So hey, I guess it was Valentine's Day last week. I didn't realize it until it was night time, and like 15 people tried to sell us roses. I finally asked one of them why in the world I would need a rose being a Missionary and all, and they told me it was dia de San Valetine. It took me a second afterwards to realize it was Valentine's Day (like every other day around here is some Saint's day). So how was everyones Valentine's Day? Valentine's Day breakfast is one of the greatest things of the year, especially when it's waffles, they just taste better that day for some reason. Pretty sure I ate Froot Loops that morning, and I actually remember them tasting especially good. The magic of V-Day. Other than that, nothing too crazy exciting this week to tell you the truth. We're still kinda scrambling to find investigatores, and we still have no idea where the heck they are. This is the last week of the change, and whether I get changed up or not, I don't want to finish this change without leaving some good opportunities. So that'll be the name of the game this week, finding some people who will listen to us. It'll be good times. Oh, today my companion bought Monopoly Deal in Spanish. Who knew it existed in Spanish? I definitely didn't, but we found it this morning, and he bought it. We've been having Monopoly Deal tournaments almost every night since I got it for Christmas. Such a great game, it's playing Monopoly, but it doesn't take four hours to finish it! Win-win situation.

It rained totally hard here a couple of days ago. You'd think more people would have let us into their houses with it pouring rain and all, but still not that much luck. The main people who let us into their houses are super old ladies who probably like have no human contact and just want to talk to somebody. It's great and all, but I think we're looking for people who can actually get to the Church on Sundays. Don't worry Mom and Dad, I will be visiting you all the time in the future! But knowing you guys, you'll probably be in Mission Temple Presidents in Africa or something. That would be awesome actually. Even though we didn't really have anybody new in the Church last Sunday, it was cool because the Bishop of the Ward was telling us about all the good we've done over the past four and a half months. He said something along the lines that we "restored the faith of missionary work in the Ward." At least thats the way I understood in Spanish. To be honest, I was feelin' like we didn't accomplish everything that we could have over these last three changes, but it was really nice to hear that what we did right got appreciated. Gotta love that kind of validation as a Missionary.

So what has been going on at home these days? Are people getting sort of pumped up for March Madness? Make sure to send me a bracket soon so I can get involved. I hope BYU loses in the first round and Ricks College makes it to the finals. I'm callin' it. So how goes the Mission preparation stuff Mom and Dad? You have to buy so many white shirts and pants before the Mish. I can't tell you how many pants I had to try on at Kohl's a month before the Mission. Hopefully your enjoying it as much as I did, Dad. But I'm super excited for you guys, you can do a lot of good in the great state of Pennsylvania. We got swap stories at In-N-Out when I get back. Other than that, sounds like life is pretty tranquillo back at home, and thats just the way I like it to be. Keep the emails comin' Family, I know I've been gone for forever, but even the boring stuff is totally interesting to me!

As always, I'm learning a lot about the Gospel and becomming more and more grateful for my knowledge of it. There are so many fools out here who have no idea what to do with their lives, and even though I've still got lots of things to figure out, the Gospel is always constant. Still not sure what I'm going to major in, or what I'll do for my career, or who I'll marry, or if Jeremy Lin will still be playing good this time next week, but I know I'm always going to do my best to follow the Gospel. I'm looking forward for whats around the corner. Anywho, the Church is true, and that's great. Have a great week, keep it real Family.

Elder Abbott

Monday, February 6, 2012

February 6, 2012

Family! How is everyone doing? Man I've got a lot of things to talk about, but I think it would be appropriate to start with...Super Bowl! So I managed to see the last 5 minutes of a re-run of the game in a supermarket this morning...it was fantastic! I was totally hoping the Giants would win, and my buddy Eli came in in the clutch. Just like Mark said in his email, we know how it is being the younger brother (especially me), so it's always good to see the younger brother come out on top. Eat my dust Peyton! There are few things more exciting than a hail-mary at the end of the Superbowl, even more exciting for when you're an American Missionary in Mexico and you get to see it. I am officially 2/2 in my Mission Superbowl predictions, Packers and the Giants. Also I was right about UConn last year in March Madness, let's see if I get lucky again when March comes up. I really do love sports. Nothing better than watching the Superbowl, or the NBA Finals, the World Cup, Wimbleton Cup (send em' home!), the Stanley Cup, or even the World Finals of Baseball. I love it all.

On to more important news...Mom and Dad are going on a Mission! That's pretty coo-coo blank, but I'm super pumped for them. The Pennsylvania mission? Mom and Dad will get a little east-coast flavor, and their first assignment will be to strengthen the Scranton Branch. I've never been to the Pennsylvania area before, but it sounds pretty awesome. Mom told me there are some old civil war sites in their Mission, they will for sure love that kind of thing. Just gotta hope it's in your area, or you gotta ask the Zone Leaders for permission Mom and Dad. Just become buddies with the ZL's and they don't really care, it's always worked for me. So this April Mom and Dad will be in the MTC, get their name tags and everything, that's awesome. Remember to go to dinner early on Papa John's Pizza Night (Friday), Missionaries down pizza like nobodys business. I ate like 6 pieces every time. It's super cool that Mom can get the inside view of MTC life considering they've sent all 7 of their sons there. So congratulations Mom and Dad, make sure to get all of your shots and dentist stuff taken care of, it's an essential evil that ever Missionary must go through.

Anyways, it's been a pretty good week! Somehow we finally found people to teach, which is big news down here. If everything goes according to plan, we just might be able to baptize 4 people this change! This week we found Iriana, Olga, Raul, and Vicente, and all of them want to get baptized. The only thing is that everyone except Vicente (he's Raul's 8 year old son) has word of wisdom problems, boo-urns. So they gotta drop everything cold-turkey pretty much to be ready when their baptisimal date comes up. Iriana is first up with her baptism this Saturday, cross your fingers she doesn't crash this week. It's pretty interesting thing helping adults quit their addictions, me being a 20 year old kid who has never even touched a beer before, but the Lord makes it happen somehow. So we're really happy we found them, not having investigatores is the worst as a Missionary. It's like when Dad tried to retire, he had nothing to do all day except mow the lawn, and went just about crazy. Same deal when you can't find people to teach as a Missionary. But it's good to see our hard work payed off and we can some potential baptisms coming up. Nothing is for sure, but just gotta keep the faith up, and let the Lord do his thing.

Other than that, nothing really comes to mind of cool things that went down. Oh! I reached 15 months in the Mission a couple of days ago, now thats no number to sniff at. I officially am 9 months down in the Mission, one pregnancy. From what I've heard from all my Sisters, a pregnancy goes by quick, so I gotta take advantage of all the time left I got at this thing. I gotta admit though, I'm feeling pretty old...like Glass Joe in Super Punch Out. My knees sometimes feel like their going to give out from all the walking we do, but at least now I can say I got a better feel for what the Pioneers went through (sort of). Hmm what else new happened...our neighbor who lives below us had her baby! That's right, so now we'll have a new born baby right below, seperated by paper-thin walls. I'm sure I'm going to feel your pain Kev, Mark, and Mike...so much crying in the middle of the night. But it's all good, I guess I'll be a Dad someday too, better to get prepared sooner than later right?

So how is everything back at home? Who is going to take care of Abbott manor when Abby and Papa leave for their Mission? Sam will finally be the man of the house. He's waited for this moment for like 10 years. I notimate Heather and Mark to come down to southern California, and Mark can ratch it on up with Mike and the Hartford guys. So what else has been going on lately? Keep me informed!

So life is pretty good out here as a Missionary. I've felt the Spirit so many times confirm to me that this Church really is the true Church of God on earth. Sure I've never seen anything crazy miraculous, but it's the little moments that make all the difference if you look for them. I think it's normal as a Missionary to have some nerves about whats going to happen in the future, but I am determined to give everything I've got to God and Christ's church as long as I live. This world has got lots of trashy things in it these days, we gotta be as close to the Church as we can in order to overcome all of it. Well I guess that's my peace for the week, but just want to let all you know how much I love you. I love this family more than anything, and man am I gratefult to be a part of it. Well sir, in the words of Sir Hiss, "you've heard his mightiness, move it creepy, move it creepy, get lost!"

Elder Abbott