Monday, October 21, 2013

Going Bananas and Teaching like Crazy!

Hola mi familia y amigos!

Wow, this week has been so great!! Life is tough, but this experience is worth every doubt, struggle, and challenge I have had. I know I have said this before, but every single week just reinforces it. Monterrey Mexico is where I am supposed to be. And I can´t adequately express my thanks and my love for our Heavenly Father for giving me this chance. 

The Spanish is still super tough! I feel so disconnected. I want nothing more than to talk to the people and actually understand them! It is hard to do that when I have to have most of the words translated. But I have definitely seen improvement!!! I am just having a hard time being patient. I have always been good at connecting with people because I can get them to laugh. Either by jokes or me making a fool of myself. Well, ALL of the laughing is because of the latter reason. But at least they are laughing, right? For the most part I am just loving people laughing at me. Like when we contacted two ladies in the park. I started by asking if my hair was really as blonde as my companion said it was. That got them laughing and set a really good foundation to talk about the gospel. But when I went to shake one of the daughter’s hands, her being shy, didn´t want to shake my hand. I joked that that always happens back home. They just looked at me with a blank stare..... Yeah, that was awkward. I love making people happy and not being able to say something or saying something and it not making sense is tough. One of the things I find myself doing is thinking that it would be so easy to be on an English speaking mission. Every time I catch myself saying this I give myself a scolding because if God has enough faith in me to connect with the people of Mexico then why can´t I have that faith? 

Well, all of my and Elder Hernandez´s hard work has paid off!! 10 new investigators, 8 of which have baptismal dates! Going from just talking to people to actually teaching lessons has been an awesome change! Especially when you are giving a lesson and you know that the Holy Ghost is teaching them what you can´t and speaking directly to their hearts! And then after, realizing that their lives are going to be changed for eternity, gives you a fantastic feeling! I think that I am starting to experience just a little of the kind of love that God has for his children. Walking down the street after a successful lesson, I felt like I was on Cloud 9! My comp. probably was wondering what was in the water the investigators gave me, but it is the best feeling to feel the love of God for others through you! 

In our companionship study, we went over Ch. 9 in PMG. It made me think of Elder Ballard´s talk in General Conference. Everyone can be a missionary. You don´t have to have Christ´s name written over your heart to have Christ´s name written ON your heart. Think about all of the goodness and joy that has come into your life because of this gospel. Why wouldn´t you want to share that with others? So, I would encourage all of you to re-read Elder Ballard’s talk and sincerely think about and pray for opportunities to share this gospel. Love you all so much! Thank you for all the prayers and love being sent my way!!! I definitely need them! Hasta próxima semana!

-Elder Morris

Monday, October 14, 2013

I like my eyes just where they are thank you.....

October 14, 2013
Wow, almost 2 months in. That is insane!! This has gone by so stinking fast!!

On Saturday we had a family get baptized!! That was a way cool experience! I didn´t teach the family but my companion did so I got to know them really well. They are  really an amazing family!
Church on Sunday was great! I didn´t understand very much but it was the primary program and little kids mumbling scriptures and singing are pretty universal!  As I was looking around, I saw a mom with her baby. Then five minutes later it was on the other side of the chapel! As I followed the events that followed, I developed a unique and scientific name for what was happening, Pass the Baby. All the women wanted to hold the baby and all of them were willing to give it up to the next woman. Eventually the baby was returned to the mother, but I just thought it was funny how this baby was just passed up and down the pews.

I have come to understand that you don´t know how unique you are until you are the only one like you. It is like the Circus is in town everywhere I walk!!! All the little kids stare in wonder at me as I walk by. All the people we pass give me the weirdest looks, and I am pretty sure the only reason a quarter of the people we stop just stop to sit and get a better look at me. Hopefully they listen to our message. White skin, light hair, and blue eyes are a serious rarity in Mexico! My companion says that all the girls just gawk at how gorgeous a white, blue-eyed person is. I mean, I know I am pretty attractive already but down here in Mexico they treat me like I am not of this world!!  A little girl in the ward even asked if she could take my eyes out with a fork so she could keep them!!! If your into that kind of thing, good for you but my eyes are my eyes, I kind of need them!!

Our area was split when I got here and all of the progressing investigators are in the other area so me and my companion spend most of the day street contacting and walking around. It is SO tough!! The people that we do get addresses from never seem to answer their door. So every day seems like a really long day, and the Spanish is coming SO slow! It is hard to have patience and realize that I actually am progressing. But no one said this would be easy and I wasn´t expecting it to be so I am just pushing on!

We do a lot of work with the less-active in the area so right now we are working to reactivate a single mother. Her son is 9 and wants to get baptized so that is pretty exciting!! We only have 2 investigators so far. They are an older couple who seem really interested in religion so hopefully we can continue to meet with them. We have only had one lesson so hopefully they let us come back!!

We had one lesson with this guy who was so drunk he could barely stand. I mean this guy was WASTED! I don´t know which missionaries referred him to us but I wonder what they were thinking when they did! He had beer bottles EVERYWHERE! And not the U.S. size beer bottles either. Here in Mexico, they take their liquid very seriously. All of the soda and water are 3 liters. So, like soda, their beer bottles are at least 25-30% bigger. He opened 2 bottles in the time we were there!!! He was so drunk that he didn´t even realized that his first beer wasn´t even empty. That was pretty funny because my companion, a Mexican, could barely understand him and I was just sitting there trying not to laugh.

Another new experience is teaching my companion. He has only been a member for a year and a half so I do a lot of explaining the doctrine. Right now he is reading in 2 Nephi where Jacob is quoting Isaiah. I spent almost all of a companionship study just trying to explain a couple chapters. There are parts where I have no idea what is going on so I´m just like ´´Sorry, you´re asking the wrong Elder!´´

Every day is something new and something crazy! It is always hot and always exhausting but there are people out there who are prepared to receive this gospel, we just have to find them and talk to them on the streets!! 

Thanks for all of your support and prayers!! Hasta próxima semana!!! (Until next week)

-Elder Morris

This is our bedroom, small and comfy. We keep the air on all day so I sleep like a baby in my sleeping bag at night.


                                              This is my companion and his first companion/trainer.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

And you thought Utah drivers were bad!!

Wow. Mexico, right!? Who would thought!? I am just going to start with this has been the most humbling experience! After seeing the humble circumstances of the people here, I am truly grateful for the lucky circumstances I was born into. Well I am in Pedregal, Apodaca, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. My day is waking up at 6:30, exercise, 7:00-8:00 eat and get ready, 8:00-12:00 personal, companion, and language study, 12:00-2:00 contact and teach, 2:00-3:00 eat with members, 3:00-9:00 contact and teach,9:00-9:30 plan, 9:30-10:30 prepare for bed, and then rinse and repeat! We have no hot water but, the water isn´t too bad, I just take super quick showers. We are emailing from an internet cafe owned by members. We are an hour bus ride from the mission home. The members are great and feed us every day! We walk everywhere, everyday, so it is pretty tiring. I honestly don´t even remember our address. Somewhere in Apodaca. They said just to send packages and letters to the mission home but it is a 50/50 chance it will get here.

Well, my first thoughts of Mexico: Holy Crap, do all of the people speak that fast!? Do they even have any traffic laws!? Am I really that white!? Well, the answer is yes. 
The people talk SOOOO fast! It is like their mouth is a dam and they just let the water build up and then just let it all out at once! The only problem is the refill speed of the dam is like .0001 sec. It is SOO tough. I thought I could at least recognize some of the words in a sentence, but with them all jumbled and coming out at the speed of sound, it is kind of tough. That has probably been the hardest part. The language barrier is tougher that I would have thought. WAY tougher.

They do have traffic laws, but no one follows them! They have speed bumps everywhere to get people to slow down. People don´t follow any kind of common road laws! It is just shoot this gap, pull out in front of this person, ALL the time! It is pretty crazy! The first day I was here  we hailed a taxi, he literally stopped in the middle of the road, threw it into reverse, and backed up 20 yards to pick us up! 
And yeah, I know it is hard to believe, but I really am that white! Although I have gained a wicked tan in the last week, I still stick out like a white kid in Mexico!!! I have got some pretty weird looks passing people on the street. Way funny though! I have people all the time saying ´´how are you´´ from the window of a car as I am walking down the road. C´mon, really? I know I stick out a ton but at least give me the courtesy of talking to me in a language that I don´t know!!! Sheesh!

The people are so awesome!! I don´t know what they are saying a lot of the time but they are all so kind! And they feed you like there is no tomorrow! My first day here they fed us rice and a cut of meat. Then finished it off by giving us each a sandwich the size of a hoagie, just 3 times wider!! The people really know what it means to love your brother.

A family that has been receiving lessons from the previous missionaries are getting baptized on Saturday. They really are a choice family and have been thoroughly prepared by the Lord. When I first met the Dad, he told me in broken English, ´´Your name is Morris?´´ ´´Yes´´ I said. ´´I have had the name Morris on my mind for the past 4 days!´´ He said. I have no idea what that means but I am glad that he likes my name! Unfortunately, we don´t get to teach them after their baptism, the zone leaders will teach them. 
Well, I love it here! It is easily the hardest thing I have ever done, but I know that this is where I am supposed to be. I didn´t get much out of listening to the first session of conference in Spanish, but when I thought of how easy it would be to be an English missionary, I had a profound feeling that all will be alright and that there are people here who need me. Not just any missionary, but the shy kid from Centerville, Utah. I don´t know where they are or what they look like, but I know I am here to find and serve them.
Keep the faith, press on; President Monson gave the perfect talk about not being discouraged. I really needed that. I am glad that is one of the talks I got to listen to in English. Love you all and thanks a lot for the prayers and thoughts!!!!

-Elder Morris