Monday, June 16, 2014

1st Week in Mexico (Week 3)

Here is Kevin's letter from his first week in Mexico.  He is having a harder time then he lets on in the letter and would really love to hear from everyone.  You can send him a free letter through the "Dear Elder Pouch" mail and I know he would really love to receive as many letters as possible.  Here is the link to Dear Elder, you choose Pouch(FREE) on the left side and choose Mexico Veracruz, then write a missionary.
Thank you everyone for your support and prayers for Kevin, he really needs it right now.  Charlene

Well, this as certainly an interesting first week down here in Veracruz, and wow is it different than I expected. But there is a little story that goes along with all of this. So first off, I finished out my last week at the MTC as happy as could be. It is a wonderfully spiritual place, and I have so much respect for all of the people who serve there. Things are a little fuzzy from that long ago, but I´ll try and share some of my thoughts later. Anyways, it is soooooo hot down here in Veracruz, like I literally must be smelt from a half mile away with how much I sweat. It{s very green, but if you have ever seen a swamp, that about describes my city. I am in the rich portion of the city right now (which means the people earn about 10,000 dollars per year), and I cannot describe to you the complete and total state of poverty that is here. The smallest home that you can think of back home would be considered a rich person´s home here; and yet somehow everyone seems to have the nicest plasma screens I have ever seen in my life. Right now is the world cup, and so when Mexico plays, it is literally impossible to teach anyone. Missionary work down here is completely different than how you would imagine it to be. It basically entails visiting members all day and asking them for referrals, and then calling and visiting referrals. For every 5 referrals we get an investigator, and for every 10 investigators we get a baptism. So right now we are looking at about 2-4 baptisms coming up. I will only really talk about 2, one is named Juan and I helped give his second lesson, and he seems to really like me for whatever reason. He is living with a woman and they have a child together (like no one is married down here), but they are not violating the law of chastity because they really don´t like each other, she is using him for a place to stay, and he is using her to see his child. When we told him they should not sleep in the same bed together, he agreed, and so the next time we came by, she flipped the heck out, like yelling at us and telling us Juan would never change and stuff like that. I could really feel he spirit telling me to get away from her as soon as I could. The other investigator is an agnostic we are teaching, and he basically can accept what we are telling him, he just needs to have doubts answered. So my companion and I are just basically having him ask us questions and resolving the doubts that he has, and ever so gradually he is progressing. Down here, everyone works 12+ hours a day, 7 days a week, so it is really hard to get people to come to church. As far as the language goes, I am far from perfect at it, and I regularly have to ask what was just said, but I can communicate with everyone, and as long as they re a little patient and explain things in a little different words. Fun facts, Veracruz has the fastest Spanish speakers in the world and I really am not exaggerating in the slightest. This mission also has the highest number of baptisms in the world! 

The weather he is craaazy! It decides to rain every night, and when it does, occasionally the rivers over flood, and you will get water up to my navel, along all of the streets. The drivers here are also crazy, I have nearly died every single day on my mission because rules of the road simply do not exist down here. The streets are also crazy, while I agree that de Gamma was an important historical figure, naming 3 or 4 streets within a 1 mile radius after him is simply silly. My companion is a native named Elder Benitez, and I would be lost without him, unfortunately he does not speak a word of English. I was a little discouraged to not get to talk English at all, so I prayed for an investigator who would want to speak English. Within the minute, a one eyed man walked in the door, who go figure, only spoke English. Unfortunately he was a pastor from a nondenominational church, and wanted to try and convert the people (how he planned to do this speaking English I have no idea) and proceeded to tell me that Salt Lake was holding girls captives who could not escape. I decided that God has a sense of humor at this point, given the irony.

So some spiritual thoughts that I have had as of late. We must be Jesus Christ for our investigators if we want them to follow us. Our individual relationship with the savior is and must be the same as our relationship with the investigator. We want them to pray more earnestly, well Christ wants us to pray more earnestly. We want them to make and keep sacred covenants well then so must we. We have to love them as he loves us. In all things, our example must be the same as his is  for us. Second thought, why is it that everyone assumes this work will be so easy, when the work was never easy for Christ. People think well because I am keeping the commandments then I will be not suffer. If that is really a true statement, then we must ask why must Christ suffer. The salvation of  others is never easy, it requires sacrifice from each and every one of us. We have to remember who these people are, and do everything within our power to change their lives. I cannot describe just how much I miss home, I really love you all lots, and loving hearing from you guys.

Elder Standridge

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