Monday, August 25, 2014

Week 13

Well I honestly do not have hardly any time to write this week, so I am going to make this as fast as I can, which might mean some very odd spellings and other errors, especially on a Mexican keyboard. Basically, this week was pretty darn cool, and a good week of growth. For all intents and purposes, Elder Spinoza is awesome, he is essentially my mexican twin, so he and i get along really well, and work really hard together. We started out the week filtering people, which is really hard to do, because it basically means you say these people will not accept the gospel, or will not come back to church, and you just do not go back to them. So we have been doing that, and have been honestly searching for chosen people (escogidos sounds so much better) which means a lot more contacting. I would also like to declare a moment of silence for our dear Elder Killpack, may he rest in his house. No one has been going to church back here, and I know that I could be doing something better to help them to come, but I really have not the faintest idea what, so that is bringing a little bit of stress into my life. (perhaps my teaching skills are poor, or we are not comitting them well enough, who knows, much stress, wow) Anyways, Santiago is as beautiful as ever, and we did a deep clean of the apartment, which means no more ants. Unfortuantely I lost my mission credit card (the machine takes it from you hear) so that also has beeen a little stressful out here. I just would like to bear my testimony of hrd work for a second, we were out contacting late at night, and we wanted to go back, but we decided to go knock on at least one more door, and it just turned out to be the escogido wed been searching for, I was so happy, and I could feel the spirit telling me she needed the Gospel.

I just want to congratulate Carly and Bradley on their engagement, that is really awesome, and I am hoenstly dumbstruck. (dont have either of their emails, would really rather like to hear about that one) I cannot believe how quickly things change, I am gone 3 months, and everyone has just moved along. Oh ya, its my cumplemeses this week. 12.5% there, woooh! Hahaha, at the end of this cambio, if I was an hermana, id be a quarter of the way there, hahaha. Anyways, I honestly love hearing the different stories from back home, it sounds like things are normal, but I honestly dont think things will ever be ¨normal¨ for me again, in the sense that I will not ever be able to think of things the same as I used to. Anyways, I just really want to bear my testimony of how important what we want is. Like honestly, when we want to do what God wants us to do, we are honestly so much happier, like I´ve really been noticing that. So many missionaries just are out here, but spend the whole time counting down the days until they go home, but in reality, they are right now, doing what God wants. It´s kind of like that whole enjoying the journey thing. That being said, I miss the beach...and running...and weight lifting...and fish...(is sound very Californian right there) oh well, in all honesty this place has become a home for me,and i am honestly really comfortable here, and am enjoying my work from day to day, despite the things I may miss. Santiago Tuxtlas is awesome. I love you all lots, and I miss you all tons. 
Hasta Luego,
Elder Standridge


The first two pictures are from June, when Kevin was in his first area.  This was his first companion and the first couple of baptisms he did.

The next pictures are from the area he is in now.  The one of the apartment is where he is living now, and the other two are of the area he is working.  He really is enjoying Santigo, Tuxtlas.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Week 12

Kevin is wanting updates on News/Politics/Current Events so if you have anything you find interesting in the news be sure and send him an email and tell him.  He loves hearing from everyone!!

Cambios here in the Tuxtlas!!!!

So this week was pretty darn awesome, we contacted nearly every single menos activo in the rama (there are nearly 250). We found some people on that list who had been dead for nearly 15 years, and we like went up to their kids and asked if they were there (that was not the most comfortabel encounter). We have some prospects for Baptism that are looking really strong this cambio, so I`m really looking forward to that. Unfortunately, this week elder Killpack is dying, so I will be receiving a new companioon (his name is Elder spinoza, and I know nothing about him). Oh, so this week we have found some pretty darn cool bugs here. we found a spider literally the same size as my hand and spins a yellow web, which I find awesome. Also, we found something I call an alacraña. The word for scorpion is alacran, andthe word for spider is araña, and there are these extremely poisonous bugs with the body of a spider and tail of a scorpion which is cool. I happened to find a scorpion in my clothes, which I found awesome, although I about scared a small mexican lady to death as I began shouting in English while washing my clothes. Anyways, now isthe end of my training, so from this point on, I am completely responsible for how my mission goes. I feel like I know what I am doing, I know how to navigate an area, teach, all that good stuff, but today I really just wanted to make a list of things I wished I had known before I left, given so many are leaving this cambio. 

 1. No one knows the language if they are not native, its okay, they learn.
2. You have to really want to be here and be happy that you are here, if not, 
you are going to have a miserable time (just read the fourth missionary talk, I really found it helpful and inspiring)
3. Your companion is like a temporary spouse, so you have to get along, and you should remember that you need their agreeement to do everything, so don`t lone wolf it.
4. Just cuz your trainer is a trainer does not mean he knows everything or is perfect, they will make mistakes, be really stressed, and break rules too.
5. Your mission President is perfect and does know everything. When I say everyting, I mean he knows if you got up 2 minutes late this morning kind of everything, and he makes inspired calls. 
6. Humility is fundamental to happiness, period.
7. If you are going outside the Us, learn to fumigate your house using a spray can of raid (close all the windows but a very small one, and then spray it everywhere before you leave, and you will not find any cockroaches for a couple months).
8. Learn to wash clothes by hand, if serving outside of the US.
9. All those scripture mastery scriptures, ya, you might want to know those, like really well.
10. Jump ropes will keep you skinny and in shape. (if you do not excercise, you will come back with a potbelly)
11. If you eat too much Mexican food, you start looking more and more Mexican (your hair stars turning brown, things like that).
12. Preach my Gospel has the answer to every question, you just have to study it long enough. 
13. Just because you wake up happy in the morning, does not mean the rest of the world does, in fact he vast majority of the world wakes up about as happy as ifthey had just walked through a rainstorm and stepped on a thumbtack. 
 I love you all lots, and I pray for all of you, hasta luego!
Elder Standridge

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week 11 ~~ WE GOT PICTURES!!!!

) ¡¡¡¡¡¡Buenas tardes!!!!! This week has been one of my absolute favorites of the mission so far, it was just so much fun, and I am really enjoying my time down here in Santiago. Some interesting stories to start. So that guy who drinks like a fish was a priority this week because he was one of the few who came to church, and so we decided to visit with him a ton. Well anyways at the end of the week we go to pick him up, and he`s sitting there and tells us he hasn't been drinking (he has the bottle in his hand and refuses to put it down) I was really tempted to hit it out of his hand, but I didn't. I`ve discovered also this week that I have a really big pet peeve against machistas, it just really irks me for some reason. We were teaching this one family and the mom got an answer (wow some words really just down sound the same in English) that it was true, but the Dad really likes the Jehovah´s witnesses. So the dad told us if we wanted to come by and talk to him we could, but that we were not allowed to speak with his wife. I was pretty irked about that, and occasionally we will really chastise people (only if it will improve the situation), and I was tempted to, but I knew it wouldn't help so I just let it go. Next interesting moment was with a pf in our area. We had been working with him, but so are the Jehovah´s witnesses (for some reason they are popular down here in Santiago), anyways, he had been unsure about the answer that he got from the spirit. So we gave what I felt was one of the most spiritual lessons I've given, and then prayed with him, and he said that he saw a picture in his mind, then proceeded to describe 3 Nephi 11 to me before having read it. So the spirit was basically just slapping this kid across the face bautizate, bautizate, but he then told me he wasn't sure if that was a response; we tried to show him that both were, but he didn´t believe us. Oh well, I really wanted to help him, so that was sad. There was also a drunk that we met who I think we will go visit. I only mention him, because this guy really touched my heart, he like walks up to us and talks to us, and says that he drinks because his wife yells at him and beats him, and no one says that they love him, and thats why he bought a ton of milk for his grandkids because when they get stuff they hug him and tell him that they love him. I just wanted to give the poor guy a hug. Needless to say we will be going back with him later.

Interestingly this week, I really realized the importance of how humble each of us are about what we have and who we are. The most fundamentally defining characteristic of humility is that it is not competitive. In mission words, that means that we do not strive to be a trainer or a district leader or and asistente o nada, we only try to do our best to do our job, and then serve those around us, but we should never covet any position. This applies at home too. Why in the world should we want to be humble? Who could possibly love a competitor the way that they need to love another person. A lack of humility leads to anger, frustration, and sadness. Whether or not you believe in the Gospel, humility is one of the most important virtues that we can have. You know one of the greatest philosophical problems that we have is how do we put value judgements on things, it really is a problem, because if we say that God does it, then God could just change it if he wanted too, which means that there is really nothing about the thing that makes it good or bad. If we say that there is something inherent about doing something, like for example murder that is wrong, well then what is it. (this is Elder Standridge doctrine which means its probably wrong) I honestly think that the commandments and rules and value judgements that we are given from God might perhaps lack this inherent quality of good or bad, but may just be what brings God happiness. For example God finds the feeling he gets when he is not angry pleasing. Because we are Gods children we also find the emotion we call happiness pleasing. God has just given us commandments to help us learn what will make us happy, so that we do not get trapped by a dumb decision. But in all honesty, it does not matter one bit if I am right or wrong. I know I am happier when I keep the commandments, and that is all there is to it, what other reason do I need. We can sit and meditate about complicated doctrine and ideas all day, but how much better our time can be spent thinking about how to help someone else to go to church, or to make a covenant with God. Another interesting thing I found in the scriptures this week is that patience is fundamental to developing hope. D &C teaches us that we cannot develop hope without patience because we must be willing to wait however long we need to to receive the Lord`s blesssings in order to actually have hope. We should also remember that hope is one of the big 3 we all need to develop to return home to father. 

Anyways, we have been really focusing on menos activos here, and that means that we do a lot of helping people to work with Family history work. The temple and missionary work are the same work really, in the mission we are helping people to accept saving ordinances, just like people do in temple work. When people begin working on family history and temple work, their hearts really do turn to their ancestors, and they are really more converted to the gospel because of it. I am really trying my best to take care of the people down here, but trying to convey to them how much the gospel will change their lives is hard, they just dont believe me. But I guess, at the end of the day, I know how important this work is, and I will keep sharing that until someone believes me. I love you all lots, you are in my thoughts and my prayers always. 

Elder Standridge
P.s. I really do like hearing from news back home so keep sending me your emails, I love getting them and will try and respond as best I can

Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 10

Well this was certainly the week of growing
experiences. So to start out, we have been focusing more on just how important Church is this ewek here in Santiago, and boy oh boy you have no idea how fragile this church is down here. We stoppped visiting with the actives this week so that the menos activos would show up to church, and bang this Sunday not a single active member showed up except for the branch president. Well, just goes to show why you need to have chispas in your work, because there is so much to do here!

That being said, abunch ofmenos activos came and they all have nonmember family, so we are hoping to bring them back and hopefully get some referencias that will help us in the work, but the importance of a stable branch cannot be overstated. So this week we had an investigator who is a perpetual alcoholic who hasn´t progressed for years, and I wanted to kill him (what we call it when we stop visiting someone), and we actually did, but as we were walking down the Street one day he ran up to us, bottle in hand (I saw the bottle and it said 30 percent alcohol content, and I thought the fact he could run to us was really rather impressive), and said that he really wanted to come
to church tomorrow and would see us there. He turned out to be one of only two investigators that went to church, so we have decided to really try and work with him to help him break drinking, but I cannot overstate how hard of a time he has with it.

Okay so really interesting event number one, on thursday we have planamiento semenal which means comp inventory. And  we started talking, and my comp looked me in the eye, and said you know what my problema is with you, you really just do not care about these people. I admited that was probably true, and he said look Elder, your Dad is not a member right, well  how would you feel if you were trying to teach him instead of one of the investigators, because maybe these people do not mean that much to you, but someone feels about each of
them (and I might add our Father in Heaven feels quite more strongly so) how you feel about your dad. I realized right there that if I want to be a missionary for anyone, I have a duty to remember to be the missionary that I would want teaching my Dad. It was just a pretty cool experience for me.

Cool Experience 2: So yesterday, the Zone Leaders made us go to some leadership training thing because my comp is a district leader. So while he and the other district leader in the zone talked with the zone leaders, I went off with another missionary to one of the Zone Leader´s recent converts. He said that Satan had been really working hard with that family since their baptism so he really wanted Elder Hirschi and I to work with them. So we are walking along and I´m like
I could probably navigate to that house, but you know if I take a taxi I could get some contacting in afterwards, so we took a taxi over. We knocked on the door (which here means yelled buenas noches) and talked with this 17 year old boy and told him our Zone Leader sent us and asked if we could help him with anything. He said yes, and brought us back to a bedroom with his girlfriend/mother of his child (just pareja here) she had just tried to commit suicide with a knife and we walked
in just in time to stop her from doing so witha  pair of scissors. At this point you need to understand that Elder Hirschi while he can understand Spanish it takes him a long time to say anything. So I sat there with this woman trying to show her why what she was doing would make her so very unhappy and talk her down from what she was doing. I got her to sit up and agree to meet with the Branch President, and then I called the Zone Leaders and they came running to the house asfast as they could with the Branch President. For the first time in my life as I talked with her, I got a chance ot see what it would be like to be a Bishop, and I must say that would be a very
very hard job. Needless to say, I find it really funny that I just
happened to get sent to that recent convert family, atthat time, just happened to take a taxi to get there, and just happened to know what to ask the boy so he would take us back to the back room.  Between these and various other eperiences I´ve been having here, I have been really thinking about the role of following what we feel is right. I find that whenever Itend to sin or make a mistake, I know that I should not be doing whatever it is that I am doing, and that I should do something else. I can feel it inside me, telling me it´s wrong. I really feel that a lot of times that the Spiritis telling me things, talking to me, but the only question is, am I willing to take the will of the Lord over my own will, regardless of what I see the consequences as being through my own logic. Just something to think about, I love you all lots.

Elder Standridge