Monday, July 28, 2014

Week 9 - All is Good with Elder Standridge

First off, I know haven´t said anything but congratulations to all of the kids who have gotten baptized recently, I really want you to know what an awesome decision you´ve made (there are quite a few 8 year olds with member parents who don´t down here) and that it will bless you for the rest of your life. Try and remember that day as best you can, because while you can do the temple baptisms, that is the only one that gets done for you (unless they lose your baptismal registration form and you have to be rebaptized, which unfortunately I must admit that if a leader in the mission is pressuring you to get a baptism this week is quite a blessing for the missionary) Well this was certainly just the most wonderful week, but it was certainly full of temptations. This week in Santiago there was a festival celebrating the apostle (if you don´t know Santiago is Spanish for James). I was really hoping to find some way to speak about Santiago 1:5 but after a lot of thinking about how to use the festival to help us, I found that my accountant brain really does not have the creativity for interesting activities to contact people (plus they´re generally ineffective anyways) so we worked fairly normally. I just wanted to talk a couple minutes about the cool things down here in Santiago. So Santiago is a fairly small city (although it is urban) even for the jungle area of the mission. It is right next to the larger San Andres which is where we have most Zone conferences and the like. It is beautiful and while most of the roads we walk on (because more people live near the middle of the city) are actual roads, about half are mud or dirt. The Tuxtlas (the jungle area of the state) really struggles for work in general, and for a good portion of the people the only time that work may be available is Sunday. During the festival people came from all across the Tuxtlas and there were stands of various candies and clothing setup all over town. Although since I´ve been here they've had a mixture of what I believe are shotguns being shot off into the air, and fireworks, which is cool except at like 4 in the morning. They also go section by section throughout the city, and the Catholics all walk around carrying an alter with the virgin marry and a banner, and singing this song really loud, which is great and all until you are teaching an investigator. It is pretty dry right now, which means it only rains two or three times per week, although occasionally it can get raining pretty hard (you have not lived until you have seen rain the size of softballs). As far as the festival goes they had some pretty awesome events, such as the climb the three story pole covered in grease (idk if that is how you spell that kind of story, English is fading), also the chase down the giant pigs (the pigs here are significantly larger than I am in length and width) also covered in grease. They also had some cool ones where four guys stand on top of this giant wooden pole 4 stories high, it has beams that stick out at the top. All 4 jump off simultaneously with ropes attached to their feet, and the tower/pole spins so that they are going really fast. Then right as the last second before they hit the ground, they flick their feet and land as if it´s nothing and walk off as if they had just been in one of the space saucer rides.
Unfortunately I was unable to see that particular event but everyone has toys of it and talks about it (duty called). Oh and they called norco ¨horsetown USA¨, it may not be in the US, but I think this place has them beat. They had a parade of horses (and they would dance and stuff). My companion and I crossed through the parade after watching it for a few minutes, went up, taught a lesson, came back, and people were still going by for the horses (everyone was in traditional Mexican dress and everything). There was a lot of cool stuff going on this week. Anyways beyond I want to talk a little bit about the work here and some of the things that i´ve seen in that regard.

I think I´m gonna go backwards from yesterday. So last night, something really sad happened. Everyone knows the parable of the good Samaritan, and to most of us it seems remote although we understand the principle. Well there is a homeless man who sits on a street corner and does not move because he is unable to walk. Occasionally people will toss him a tortilla in the street which he kind of crawls too, but he lives very poorly, and has to sit there through rain and lightening and dogs and everything. Anyways, my companion and I were passing by, and we saw him lying in the street for some reason. We didn´t know what he was doing there, and since we were a long ways away we just passed on by to an investigators house. I felt really guilty, and on our way back, he was still in the street so my companion and I walked up, and someone had roughed him up quite a bit, and he had no strength whatsoever. So my companion and I dragged him out of the middle of the street back to his corner, and bought him some bread and water. He was a little unconscious, through this, but what amazed me was that cars drove around him, people walked pass him, and everything (including us) and we were literally just like the levite in the parable. I wouldn´t have slept if I did not help him, but that really impressed me strongly. Next, we are getting fairly strongly pressured because we might get a cambio blanco (no baptisms for a transfer) which basically means you get called up by everyone in leadership to find out what happened. So we are under a lot of pressure right now to find a baptism in some form. So I´m stressing about that a little right now. At the same time we did divisions twice this week. Elder Killpack is the district leader here, so he did some with some of the missionaries in the zone, which means I worked with Elder Cortizar for the day. He was really cool, and we worked hard and everything, but as a whole in our area, we are having a heck of a hard time finding people more than once to teach, which means its hard to get them to church. The second time we did divisions was with the Zone leaders, an I went with Elder Lehikainen for the day, and that was really fun. He goes to UVU and is from Modesto so was super relatable (loves lifting and that kind of thing too). That was was just a really cool day to get to see how he worked in the area. Really just something special. Anyways, I doon´t really know how I am sitting with my training, but I hope good, I am trying best, but we shall see. At the end of this week we will have interviews with President which will be interesting as well. Oh and by the way, today was my cumplemeses, which means that I know have 2 months in the mission! Now that´s hard to believe. I am starting to forget some of the things from BYU as time goes on, I wonder what it will be like at the end of the mission.
Anyways, I love you all, and remember to go out and try and bring someone home to Father this week, there is nothing more important.
Elder Standridge

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