Soldier in God's Army

Soldier in God's Army
Soldier in God's Army

Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Week

24 de Diciembre, 2012

Well it's Christmas week! I enjoyed a nice skype call with my fam, and now I'm getting ready for the special Christmas activities here in the zone. I'm still in a trio with Elder Harrison and Elder Garcia, and we heard that we might be in this trio for a few more weeks.

Well since you guys got after me for not writing long letters, I'll try and write a little more this week haha.

I've got 9 months in the mission now, and the time is starting to pass by a little faster. I feel like after I complete a year it's gonna start passing by a lot faster. The last 3 months have passed by way faster than normal, but I'm still trying to keep myself from getting discouraged here.

There are a few families here who really love me haha. The Smith Family is probably the biggest one of them all. They thought that I left this last transfer, and they were all really sad. Before the transfer came they gave me this sweet belt buckle with a huge scorpion trapped inside. I'm gonna be sportin that baby for the rest of my life after the mission haha. So they thought I had already left, and for a few days they were really sad. Until one day we stopped by their house, and Sister Smith got really mad and happy at the same time, reprimanding me because I didn't tell them that I didn't leave.

I honestly don't have much to say right now. I think I'll have more to say after the Christmas activities. They are going to be awesome! We're going to watch a movie of the world! We are gonna watch The Blindside! And honestly all the rest is a surprise. But I can't wait!

I miss the snow! In Utah, there's a ton. Here in Mexico there isn't any snow whatsoever. I just really wanna throw a snowball and build an igloo haha. I'm gonna have to wait for 2 years to do that.

As far as the investigators, we have a few that are progressing. Martina and Esteban haven't gone to church in a few weeks, due to sickness and stuff, but they need to start going again. They also need to get married so they can get baptized, and they can't to that because Esteban might have to get divorced first from a different chick.

There's honestly not a lot of work here. We have been looking for all the inactives and less-actives, and looking for investigators, but we aren't really finding anything. It's tough, but we just keep going at it. We have been walking more than normal, as we can't really do much more. But we'll find something, eventually. I just hope my next area has a bit more work for me.

Just so you know, it doesn't matter how many times you ask me, I'm not gonna be telling you guys about my scary experiences here, or about the drug lords, or the scorpions, or the corruption, or any of that. I'll tell you all after the mission, as anything I say will get back to my mom and she'll have a heart attack haha. Just know that I'm safe, and God's got my back. You can't have a better bodyguard than that haha.

Well I gotta go. I'll write more next week when I have more stuff to say haha. Love you guys! 

Short letter ... sorry!

17 de Diciembre, 2012

So this is gonna be a short one.... sorry, no time. Transfers came, and Elder Garfias left. I'm still here in Jardines, Durango. But I took pictures!
These kids are my favorite! They cried when they thought I was leaving this transfer, but then I didn't jaja!

Well I'm in a trio again, for who knows how long. My comps are Elder Harrison and Elder Garcia. And I already know them both.

I'm pretty excited for Christmas! The 2 zones here in Durango are going to get together with President Flores and we're going to watch a movie of the world! And eat a ton! And my connections have told me that we're going to Vias del Oeste again! It's gonna be pretty sweet. There is a ton of stuff planned!
Well, sorry but I'm out of time. This is probably the shortest letter I have ever written. Sorry!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Getting Ready For Christmas

10 de Diciembre, 2012

Well, I don't have much time today so it's gonna be a short one. The weather still seems fine to me. I don't know why everyone is getting all coated-up.

I almost have a six-pack. Maybe in another month or two, if I start doing sprints like crazy. 

We found a family of investigators that are already prepared for baptism. They were taught in Juarez, and have been looking for the church building ever since they moved here. Now they just need to go 3 times, get married, and get baptized.

We just found out that Christmas here in the mission is gonna be awesome!

Martina and Esteban are doing awesome. They have already started to pay tithing, even though they're not members yet. They are still working on getting married, but after that's all over, they can get baptized.

I can't wait for Christmas. It's definitely not like Christmas in Utah, but still. There are about 3 houses in our area who have put up a few lights on the roof. I'm gonna miss the snow, and the cold, and the decorations, and all the classical stuff in the U.S. during the Christmas season, but the spirit is still kinda here. They try haha.

Pues ya tengo que irme. No me vayan a olvidar en èsta temporada navideña. Màndenme cartas, ei? ¡Adios!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Emergency Transfers....Again!

3 de Diciembre, 2012

    I've got transfers! Pretty crazy. I haven't gone through a single transfer in the mission without an emergency transfer happening in between. I'm staying here in Jardines 1, and Elder Garfias is going to arrive in Elder Mullenbach's place. The craziest part of it all is that Elder Garfias has already been my companion before! In my first area (Guadalupe) he arrived as my second companion in the field after Elder Lopez left, and now he's with me here in Durango again. That pretty much never happens in the mission, so I'm thinking they're gonna move me too in 2 weeks. We'll see what happens.
    All of my companions have told me that they have had the funniest experience with me as their companion. I'm pretty sure the world revolves around me for that very reason, and things are always happens to me that never happen to others haha. I'll just share a few of them that happened with Elder Mullenbach:

1. A drunk dude on a bicycle came over in the street and started talking to my companion, when he suddenly snorted long and hard like a pig and asked "¿què hacen ustedes?" (which means "what do you guys do?"). My companion explained to him that we're missionaries, and this guy interrupted him by snorting even harder and longer and said "horriblemente guapo" (which means "horribly handsome"). I just started laughing and my companion got up and walked away really freaked out haha. I walked with him, laughing for the next 10 minutes.

2. One time we were looking for an inactive member, and E. Mullenbach knocked on their door. This really weird lady answered and started laughing when she saw him. But her laugh was freakish, like a mix between a horse's neigh and an elephant's roar. He asked if this inactive member lived there, and she (all the while laughing in that strange manner) said yes, but that he wasn't there. My companion shook her said and said see you later, and she wouldn't let go of his hand. She then pulled on his and said (in a really creepy, whalish voice) "hablame en Ingles" (which means "talk to me in Inglès".) He pretty much freaked out and jerked his hand away and just left haha. I laughed about that for about 20 minutes.

    So a white pit bull attacked us the other day. It was pretty funny. It just came out of nowhere and bit the heel of my shoe. I didn't know what it was at the time, until it started barking at E.Mullenback. It ran at him until E. Mullenback ran away, and then it came after me. I just stood my ground and cocked my fist back ready to punch it, and it shut up and ran away. All bark, no bite in these Mexican dogs.

    I'm still having problems with all the girls here. They won't leave me alone. And the house owner's son isn't helping lol. One day we went into the store and E. Mullenback was talking to his mom (the owner) about the Restoration, and this guy (Jorge's his name) says (in Spanish) "hey, Mister Riggs, it's true you speak Spanish, huh?". I look over and he's with a girl, pretty good looking, too. I responded "yeah, why?" and he looks at her with a face that said "told ya so.". So then he started to tell me that she was available, and looking, and I pretty much said "uhu...... so...what do you want me to do about it?" And then he just got uncomfortable and stopped trying haha. That is, until he tried for a second time last week when I was on exchanges with Elder Harrison. Haha. And this morning the owner of the house gave us a curtain for the big window we have in the house. Apparently a ton of the girls have been getting together every night and watch me as I take my shirt off and walk around the house without it (as a normal guy does when he's at home, as it's more comfortable in the natural form). So yeah, the girls here are pretty crazy. It explains why they always stare at me and laugh when we get home at night haha.

    We're in the beginning of December here, and all the Mexicans are freezing, even with their parkas and huge coats on. I feel like the weather is perfect! I can just walk around in my normal short-sleeved white shirt without anything over it and I'm fine. I am guessing that by the reactions of the people here, it doesn't snow at all. I'm gonna miss Utah snow for 2 years haha.

    I had an interesting Sunday this last week. E. Mullenbach got sick and was puking all day and night and wouldn't let me sleep, and the Mission President's wife said we couldn't go to church, so Elder Olvera and Elder Harrison from Jardines 2 brought us the sacrament bread and cups.... unfortunately they didn't bring water, and we had completely ran out. I ended up taking the sacrament with some blessed chocolate milk! Pretty awesome. Best sacrament ever! haha

    Martina and Esteban (our investigator couple) are progressing like crazy! They have already committed to get married by next Monday, and have accepted all of the commandments and lessons very well. They have completely dropped everything that is against the word of wisdom and have accepted a baptismal date for the 15th of December! They can't wait to get sealed in the temple a year after that, and I am most excited about how they have so easily accepted that principle of the gospel.

    Well I gotta go, but I am pretty excited to get to work and start baptizing again. Elder Garfias is already here (I picked him up in the middle of writing this letter), and we have already gotten reacquainted, for the second time as companions. Until next week!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fried Cookies...Wierd!

26 de Noviembre, 2012

Well, we have had a lot more success this week. Not a lot of success, but still a lot more than last week haha.

So I'll start of with my biggest achievement yet. I completed 2 of my goals at the same time one day. So here's the story. We were searching for inactive members when we knocked on one of their doors. A lady answered and said she wasn't a member. I began talking with her and shared a short message opening the door to the kingdom of God by getting baptized. Within the 2 minutes of her opening the door, and my short message, I challenged her to get baptized, set a date, and she accepted (while we were still at the door!). We then set an appointment to go back later and left to look for more inactive members. So that was pretty awesome. One of my goals was setting a baptismal date within 5 minutes, and the other was setting a baptismal date at the door. I miraculously completed both! haha

Also, we have been teaching Esteban and Martina more, and they are progressing pretty awesome! We are going to teach them tonight, and they invited us to eat tamales with them for dinner! (of course, I said we could not resist). They even went to all 3 hours of church on Sunday and loved it! They asked for another Book Of Mormon because Martina wanted to read but Esteban was always reading the only copy they had. So now they're both reading and marking a ton in the Book of Mormon. I know they are gonna get baptized and be great members of the church. Unfortunately, I have the feeling that I'm gonna have transfers before I can see them get baptized. At least I can say I taught them! But I might not be able to see them take the biggest and most important step in their life. We'll see what happens.

The Quiñones family is also progressing. Sister Quiñones went to church on Sunday, and her son Erik is going to go next week. We have an appointment with them on Tuesday, so we'll see what she thought about Sunday.

Now for the funny things (and there have been an unusual amount of those happening lately):

First off, one night (as says my companion), Elder Mullenbach went to the bathroom in the middle of the night and went he went back to bed he heard me say, "entonces hermana, en sus propias palabras, por qué tenemos templos?", which translates to "so sister, in your own words, why do we have temples?". Apparently I even teach lessons in my sleep! haha

Later, I was in exchanges with the Forestal ward with another white dude named Elder Whaley. He came here and stayed with me. He's newer, so he's also funner. At 1 in the morning one night, the guy who his renting us this house came up and knocked on our door for 15 minutes straight. I don't know why he didn't give up after 5, but whatever. So I finally got up, and meanwhile for some reason this dude said in Spanish to his mom "I don't think they have a light bulb". I'm still not sure what that means. But I opened the door and he (practicing his English) said "Mister Rings! How you do man?" and basically I was a little ticked, as he woke me from my deep resting state. He later went on to say that he wanted to invite us to the grand opening of their little street store down the road and wanted us to offer a prayer and read something from the Bible..... and he wanted to do it at 7 in the morning.... I told him maybe and went back to bed, only to find that I was crazy tired the next morning... I'm still kinda mad about that.

This week to celebrate Thanksgiving, we fried chocolate chip cookies and rainbow cake batter pancakes in a pan on a portable gas stove. Awesome! Photos next week!

Oh, and as a grand finale: in case you were all missing me and can't wait 2 years just to see me and hear my beautiful voice, you don't have to! I just found out through my connections in the mission (and yes, I am hooked-up) that my generation, along with a few others, is going to finish the mission 3 weeks early! So home is closer than I thought! 

And seriously, who knocks on the door at one in the morning?

Well that's it for this week. Keep praying and writing. Honestly, I need all the help I can get right now. The mission is getting a little hard and I can't stop thinking about after-mission-life. Help me out please! haha

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mission: One-Third Accomplished

19 de Noviembre, 2012

Well I'm gonna complete 8 months in the mission on Wednesday. That's a
third of the way! Crazy.

Things have been going.... alright here. We have pretty much
completely run out of work, and it's getting pretty hard to accomplish
what we want to do. We have already looked for every Inactive member
in our area at least 3 times, and many have said they don't want us to
visit them. We have had a little success with a few people. Only one
of our investigators went to church on Sunday, and one less-active. So
we're getting a little discouraged.

Well, I haven't really got much to say this week as far as missionary work goes
work goes, so I thought I would talk a bit about the food! Up there in
the states, Mexican food is merely an imitation. Here is where it's
at! You got pre-prepared nachos sold at every corner of the street,
and they are pretty amazing.

The burritos here in Durango are.....actually called "Burrotes". Burro
means donkey, and burrito means little donkey.....Burrote means big
donkey lol and they are huge. Imagine a normal burrito tortilla. Lay
it flat, and put another one flat next to it. And then put another one
next to that one. That's about the diameter the the circular tortillas
for burrotes here. And they cost less than 2 bucks a pop! (20 pesos)

I completely forgot that Thanksgiving is this week! Crazy! They don't
really celebrate that here. But supposedly Independence day is coming
up, so we'll see about that. Christmas is one holiday we actually have
in common here with the U.S.! I'm pretty excited for it.

Well, I'm doing pretty good. I have lost a ton of weight. I've lost 45
pounds so far! My waist is at a nice 34 inches, and I have a 4 pack.
I'm working for the six-pack. Currently my next goal is to be able to
to 20 pull-ups in a single set. Right now I can only do like 5. Haha I
know, lame, huh?

Well keep praying and writing! I gotta go. Until next week!

Monday, November 12, 2012


12 de Noviembre, 2012

I'm still in Jardines, but we split the area in 2, and we took
Jardines 1. And well, I've got a new companion! His name is Elder
Mullenbach, and he's the new District Leader here. He's awesome and we
have been working crazy hard here. He's from Texas, and he's also
white.... we are one of the only two companionships of two white
americans in the entire mission. It's actually a pretty rare thing to
happen. He's got 13 months in the mission and just left the mission
offices as Financial Secretary. Despite the challenges we are having
with the ward and the members, we have had a ton of success this past
week. We got 19 new investigators in a single week! That's crazy! So
yeah, we've been working hard. Honestly, I've never been so tired in
my life.

A little background info, just so you, the way we work here in the
mission has changed. We can't go tracting, knocking on doors anymore.
So meanwhile, the ward here hasn't been giving us referals, and we
didn't have any investigators whatsoever. So we couldn't do anything
other than search for all the inactive members in the ward directory.
So we were looking for this one guy, and his address must have been
wrong. We knocked on the door, the family said they were busy, we
asked them when we could come back, and we set an appointment. Before
leaving, I asked them how long it had been since they had gone to
church, and the response was "what church?". So a few days later we
went to their house with one of the priests (name's Angel) and we
taught them the restoration. And then they came to church yesterday!
Basically, we accidentally knocked on their door and accidentally
contacted them, and they ended up being golden investigators! Pretty
crazy. They're the Moreno family, and they're making a ton of

Other than them, we have a family of 7 investigators that we're
teaching, the Portillo family. One of the daughters is a recent
convert, and she recently moved back in with her family because her
husband comitted suicide. So it's been hard for them, but they're
really interested and are progressing a ton. They are happier and
happier every time we see them.

Also, we got a less-active member (named Arturo) to go to church on
Sunday! He arrived there himself, and left by himself. So that was

I heard about Clara (my second cousin once removed). That's sad that
she passed away, but I find comfort in the fact that we'll see her in
the next life, thanks to God's Plan of Happines.

I also hear Elder Alan Hawkins is doing awesome and having tons of
success in his mission! That's awesome. And also that Elder Kraymer
Eppich too! Momma Eppich sends me his letters through DearElder and
every few weeks I receive them all and get some good reading material
and inspiration that helps me keep going. It's gonna be pretty awesome
when all of us get back home as returned missionaries and can share
our experiences united like Alma and the sons of Mosiah!

Well I gotta go, but pray for me and write me!
Elder Riggs


5 de Noviembre, 2012

Well, transfers came again. And we have a few changes. But first
starting chronologically!

We finally found a house to rent! We were getting pretty desperate,
but we just kept praying and walking every street. We searched about
80% of all the houses in our area, and we asked every store (as there
are a ton of little ones in the streets) if they knew about a house to
rent. We finally got to one store who told us they were renting the
upper floor for exactly the amount of money we can pay! It's got 4 big
rooms, a great bathroom, and even a porch outside with plants and
stuff! And I'm gonna be living there, come Wednesday.

The Day of the Dead was a huge, awesome letdown. Nobody did anything.
Turns out pretty much nobody in Durango celebrates it in any way other
than closing the stores.

We did have a few changes this transfer. I'm still in Durango! Lol. We
split area Jardines in 2 parts. I'm going to one side (with the new
house) and Elder Olvera is going to the other. His new companion is
Elder Harrison, an american from Idaho who has 10 months in the
mission. We already picked him up, and will be with us in a trio for 2
days. Wednesday, my companion (Elder Mullenbach) will get here, and
we'll go over to our house with the porch. He will the the new
District Leader here.

So something pretty awesome happened on my Birthday that I forgot to
mention before. In the morning, Hna. Flores (President's wife) called
me and asked me how I was doing. The all of a sudden she and Pres.
Flores started to sing the happy birthday song. After, Hna. Flores
asked me to put her on speaker phone. Pres. Flores then said that he
wanted to thanks us for our great work in Industrial, and for making
such an impact there. He said congratulations, thanked us and
appraised us for about 3 minutes, said his goodbyes and hung up. It
was pretty awesome, as that almost never happens in the mission like
that! I felt pretty important for a few days! haha

Also, a few days ago a member couldn't feed us the day she was
assigned, so she gave us money instead! There is a Brazilian buffet in
our area called Gal Pao, so we went there with the money and ate. It's
pretty much like Tucanos. So they brought all sorts of meat and pizza
and meat desserts and meat and grilled pineapple and meat, all on
swords, and carved them in front of us and served us. These people
were accustomed to people who don't eat very much, so they didn't know
what they had coming for them. We timed it, and Elder Olvera and I ate
for 2 and a half hours without stopping (luckilly we didn't have any
appointments or references or anything else to do). The manager
actually got a little angry with us, and he told all of the waiters
and waitresses to stop serving us. After waiting for a while, the
manager asked us if we wanted anything else..... so we asked for more
sirloin, ribs, and grilled pineapple! He asked and we ordered and ate
about 15 more times until he stopped coming and asking us. So we got
up, paid, and went on looking for less-active members. And we still
didn't get totally full haha. But it was the best I have eaten in a
long time!

Other than that not much has happened since last week. I gotta go. so
until next week!
Con amor,
Elder Riggs

Monday, October 29, 2012

Area Jardines

29 de Octubre, 2012

Well it's being going alright here in my new area. It's called
Jardines, which means "Gardens". We haven't been able to teach a lot
this week, because next week, 2 more missionaries are going to arrive
here, and we're on orders looking for a house to rent for 1,200 pesos
or less per month (which is pretty difficult, because all the houses
here cost about 5 times that much due to the richness of the area).
We've pretty much been walking all day, every day the past week
searching. So far nothing, and we've searched almost every street in
our area.

We had a baptism Saturday! His name is Pablo. He's awesome. He is only
16 years old, and is already taking care of his entire family, because
his dad left and his mom is severely ill (mentally). He is doing
great. I'm positive he is going to be a strong member of the church in
years to come.

So, when we got here, the sister missionaries that lived here before
us didn't leave anything for us in the house. To heat the water here,
you have to use a gas-fueled boiler. We left 2 large tanks full for
them back in Industrial (we switched areas with them). We got here,
and the tank was completely empty. We can't even fry anything, as the
stove is also fueled by gas. We can't exactly take showers with the
water as cold as it is here, so being as genius as we are, we figured
out another way to heat the water. We fill a bucket full of water, put
an electric iron in it, plug in the iron, and wait as the water boils.
It's pretty effective. Genius, I know.

Today, being preparation day, we exercised a ton. There's a pretty
huge park close to our house, and we go there every morning to run and
use the playground for pull-ups, tricep dips, abs, and tons of stuff.
Today we straight up RAN for 40 minutes, with 20 sets of 20 second
sprints/dashes. It was pretty tough, but we got through it like men.
After, we did the P90X ab ripper. And after that we went to the zone
activity to play basketball and soccer and other stuff for a few
hours. So I'm pretty beat. As of now, I weigh 87 kilograms, which is
like 192 pounds. I actually had to go to a sewing shop to get my white
shirts resized! So far I have lost a total of 39.5 pounds, and I can't
believe I got so fat after high school! I'm staying in gold's gym for
sure when I'm getting back! Right now I'm working on getting a 6 pack.
I've got a 4 pack now, so we're getting there. All this walking to the
appointments really helps out.

We found out a little bit of why we had emergency transfers and what's
going to be happening in the next transfer (1 week from now, starting
Monday). We are here to learn the area the first 2 weeks. When the new
missionaries get here, we're gonna split up, so that each
companionship has 1 person who knows the area. More than that, who
knows. I guess we'll all find out next week. Kinda weird though,
because usually they only do the emergency-transfers-2-weeks-before
thing for a good reason, usually big reasons. We'll see what happens.
I'm gonna miss him. Elder Olvera has been a great companion, and we
get along great. He has 22 months in the mission, so he's goin home
after next transfer (in December).

Also, Sunday was awesome! Here in Jardines, we share the same building
with Guadalupe, my first area! I got to see a lot of the members
there, and there were so surprised to see me. Best of all, I got to
see Juan Nájera, who was my first investigator to get baptized in my
mission! He came dressed in one of my white shirts I gave him, with
one of my silk ties around his neck, tied just like I showed him how.
He was walking down the hall and I yelled "¡Juan!". He turned around,
saw my face, and cracked a big ol' smile. He said "¡¡¡Hermano
Riggs!!!" and gave me a big hug. We got to talking, and he is doing
awesome. He is a strong member, and strives to be active for the rest
of his life. That pretty much made my day.

Well I gotta go now. Next week I'll tell you a bit about the
traditions around here. And about The Day of The Dead.
- Elder Riggs

Emergency Transfers.....Again!

22 de Octubre, 2012

We got a call last night around 11:30 telling us that we have
emergency transfers. Elder Olvera is going to the area Jardines, in
the same zone. I'm going to...... Jardines as well! They changed us
both by emergency to the same area, as the same companionship! Pretty
crazy. Who knows if we'll both be here for the next transfer. It's
gonna be a little hard at first, as neither of us knows the area at
all. So I'm still here in Durango. So far its the Mexico Durango
Mission for me haha.

We baptized Chuyin (son of Jesus and Maribel) on Saturday, and Jesus
is going to baptize Maribel on the 3rd of November!

Manuel de Jesus also accepted a baptismal date for the 3rd of
November, we just won't get to see it.

Yesterday in the district meeting, Elder Ragland (district leader and
good friend of mine since the beginning of the mission) brought me a
birthday cake. It ended up being a big surprise. You gotta see the

Well due to having to move from house to house, I am out of time.
Sorry for the short letter.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Resetting Baptismal Dates

15 de Octubre, 2012

Well we had a good week this week. We didn't have any baptisms
(Alfredo is going to be baptized this coming Saturday, due to falling
short), but we did set a few dates. We had to reschedule some dates,
and others are going to be rescheduled this coming week.

The little boy who was with us taking pictures by the water tower got
reactivated Sunday, along with his mom. His dad will finish the
reactivation process next sunday if he goes. It has been great working
with them.

So Hermana Gema always gives us free tamales whenever we ask, and they
are the best I've ever tried. She is giving me a ton of her recipes,
including 5 different types of tamales, Pomegranate juice, a pear
dessert, and tons of other stuff. I'm pretty excited, especially for
her special pomegranate juice. That stuff tastes amazing. Also, she
invited me over to show me how to make tamales, so what did I do? I
took a video of course! Only Elder Olvera kept rotating the camara the
whole time.

We also tried the whole "Mentos in Coke" experiment. We didn't get the
big results we were expecting, but we had a little fun. I took a video
of that too. So enjoy!

We have been teaching Mariam (Monica's daughter) and she has been
going pretty well. She already accepted a baptismal date for the 27th
of this month, so we are gonna help her prepare for that.

Fam. Rios (recent convert family we recently baptized) has a daughter
named Zayra who recently moved back in with them. We have been
teaching her and set a baptismal date for the 27th. In our mission
right now, the investigators have to got to church at least 2 times to
get baptized. She didn't go this last sunday, so we are going to have
to set another date further ahead so she can go 2 times to get

Also, we recently had interviews with President Flores (or Pres.
Flowers, as some of us call him) and mine went really well. He has
been learning English lately, and in our interview he was floored by
my Spanish. He said my Spanish is really good, and that I almost sound
like a Mexican. He asked me how I achieved it, and I told him: I
study. He said I am doing really well in the mission and he's proud of
me. We pretty much talked for about 15 minutes.

Maribel and Chuyin are progressing really well. Jesus, their
Father/Husband (recently baptized by us) was going to perform the
baptism this Saturday. He met with the bishop and was supposed to be
ordained a Priest on sunday, but for some reason none of them when.
Hopefully we can figure it out so he can still do it this Saturday.

I recently discovered a crazy good pastry here called "Negritos". It's
kinda funny, because on the wrapper it shows a little black kid with a
giant afro, and Negritos literally translates to "Little Blacks" or
"Little Black People". Hilarious, racist, and most of all delicious.
It's like a Chocolate bar donut, but filled with Chocolate cream. Sold
everywhere here for about 6 or 7 pesos.

Well I got to go. You got a longer letter and 2 videos, so you can't
complain this week, right? Enjoy. Until next week!

Elder Tyler Riggs

P.S. My birthday is the 24th of this month, in case you want to write
a letter or anything lol


Monday, October 8, 2012

Conference Weekend

8 de Octubre, 2012

So this week has been pretty awesome! We set 6 baptismal dates, 1 for
this Saturday and 5 for next Saturday. This Saturday we're expecting
Alfredo. It was pretty tough setting the dates for the other 5. In the
end, we all knelt down and they individually prayed about whether they
should do it or not, and they ended up receiving an answer in the very
moment, and they will all get baptized on the 20th (Maribel wife of
Jesus, her son Chuyin, her sister Gabriela with her Husband and
Daughter Alejandro and Laura). Maribel is the one who asked us to
do something about her sick sister in law last week that was healed
 when we gave her a blessing.

We found a big water tower, climbed it, and had a little kid take a
picture of us (who we later found out is inactive and we are now
reactivating him and his family). I also took a picture of almost our
entire area, the mountains being at the edge (but still inside) of the

I also cut my own hair, and did a pretty good job. So far nobody has
said anything about bald patches, so I'm pretty sure I did all right.
I ended up using paper-cutting scissors on most of it.

We've started getting up at 6 to go to a park to exercise. It's pretty
much helping a lot. I'm now under the 200 pound mark, and I've got my
4 pack back. I'm going for 6 now, then I build up in strength again.

We had conference this weekend, and some of the announcements were
pretty crazy! 18 year requirement for male missionaries, 19 for
female! And my baby sister is gonna leave a month after I get back!
Crazy. I watched 2 sessions in Spanish, and the rest in English with
the rest of the Americans in my zone so we could practice our English
a little people. It was a little hard to speak English again, as it
was the first time I have done so in about 4 months. But it was fun.
One of the most powerful general conferences I have heard in my life.

Well that's pretty much it for this week. Sorry for the short letter.
No time now, but I'll make it longer next week. We should have a

Monday, October 1, 2012

2 More Baptisms!!

1 de Octubre, 2012
This week has been awesome! It's also been a little hard. The program in the zone here requires that every lesson with investigators has a member present. The problem is that the members are rarely available or don't want to come with us. So that's hard. We've had to postpone a lot of appointments. But we had 2 baptisms! Isabel and her daughter, Gaby, both got baptized. Isabel asked me to do it, and Gaby asked Elder Jordan (another Elder in our district) to baptize her. The bishop also assigned me to confirm Gaby Sunday.

Honestly, there's not a whole lot more I can say about this last week. I recently bought a pirated Adidas shoulder bag for 90 pesos, so that was pretty awesome. It works pretty well for me. We only found about 6
cockroaches in our house during the entire week, so that is definitely an improvement.

I found out recently that Elder López (my trainer) is now District Leader. That's pretty awesome. He writes me in English to practice.
I recently recieved a birthday package which included a bunch of glow in the dark stickers. So I put them on our ceiling in our bedroom in the form a a baptismal symbol, to remind us of our goal of at least 11 more by the end of this transfer.
Our investigators are doing well. I have seen quite a few miracles here. Maribel (the wife of our recent convert, Jesus) has a sister who was sick. Elder Macedo and I went over and they asked us to do
something. This woman was sick beyond belief. They though she was going to die. That day, we went over and gave her an anniontment and sealing (blessing of the sick with olive oil). She went to bed, and
when she woke up the next morning she was completely healed, as if she hadn't been sick at all. That made Jesus's wife open up a ton, and she is now listening to us and is letting her son, Chuyin, get baptized in 2 weeks. She will probably get baptized as well. I am convinced that was an oportunity God gave us to teach a lesson and gain another great investigator. He works in mysterious ways.

Well that's pretty much it. I wish I had more. We're expecting to have another 11 baptisms in the next 5 weeks, if we work hard. We'll see how it goes.

Well that's pretty much it. Sorry the letter is so short. Hopefully I'll have more to say next week.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Transfers and a Ton of Baptisms!

24 de Septiembre, 2012

We had transfers! Elder Macedo left, and I am gonna stay here in
Industrial. My new companion is Elder Olvera, who is from Veracruz and
has 21 months in the mission. So far he gets along pretty good with
me. He has been companions with Elder Wensel, Elder Seare, and now
me..... all of the Americans in my generation.

So 5 of our 7 baptismal dates were accomplished! Isabel and Gaby fell
through. They passed the interview and everything, but due to a few
problems, ended up not going to the actual baptism. We're gonna work
crazy hard to get them baptized this Saturday, along with Chuyin,
Jesus's son.

The Rios family and Arturo all got baptized. 2 of them asked me to
baptize them, so I did! The mom chose me mainly because she is kinda
really heavy and because I'm stronger than Elder Macedo haha! When she
went down in the water, her feet slipped out from under her and I had
to lift her entire body and weight up and out of the water and plant
her back on her feet. Luckily, the ordinance passed the first time
haha. Good thing she picked me, because I'm pretty sure Elder Macedo
would have dunked himself along with her in the water lol. Rene (a
teenager in the Rios Family) had a broken leg, so we baptized his with
his cast on, but wrapped up in a giant garbage bag. Leaving the
baptismal font, he slipped and landed on his broken leg, and rebroke
the bone. We called an ambulance and he is going to get operated on
tomorrow. That turned out to be a blessing for him, as they should
have operated the first time. Before his baptism, the bone didn't heal
right. Luckily, he rebroke it. If he wouldn't have rebroken it, they
would have never known that it hadn't healed right. God works in
mysterious ways, huh? Unfortunately, we weren't able to take a
picture..... but we have pictures of the signed and ready baptismal
forms (after they passed their interviews).

Just as a running total, I have lost 30 pounds so far. Pretty good, eh?

So far, I've saved 9 souls through baptism and confirmation. I'm
expecting to have another 3 this week, if we work hard, and if I work
off another 5 pounds.

So, another detail. I couldn't speak English to save my life. At least
not fluently. I can read it and write it, and I understand it when it
is spoken, but I myself can't speak it. I think I'm gonna have to
start practicing English at night to get used to it again.

Well I gotta go. Letters are always welcome, people.

Monday, September 17, 2012


17 de Septiembre, 2012

So this last week has been crazy! We ended the week with a baptism,
and we set a ton of baptismal dates. Jesus has been tough, and he was
like a wave, sure about it baptism and then unsure - repeating the
sequence many times over. But now he's baptized and he had a crazy
power experience during his confirmation. This Saturday, we're going
to baptize 7! All in one session! And 2 of them asked me to do it! I
finally have the chance to try out my church-approved white suspenders
for the ordinance! This week we worked our butts off getting these
baptisms (literally, I lost 11 pounds).

One of the investigators who is gonna get baptized this Saturday is
Arturo. He is golden. He accepts everything we say, and puts it into
action. He is pretty excited.
Another soon-to-be member is Isabel and her daughter Gaby. They have a
pile a problems, but Isabel never loses her faith. They have been
waiting (for various reasons) to get baptized for over 3 months.
The other 4 are investigators of the same family, Familia Rios. They
are all pretty much golden, and are all excited for their baptisms.
Working hard pays off!

So in my birthday package (which arrived early and I couldn't resist
opening), I got a man/missionary bib! Thanks mom! It pretty much saves
my ties and white shirts, as I spill all over every time we eat
something red. Proof that Satan is working against us haha. I love it,
and it even has a tie and a pocket where I can put my plaque, so you
can barely notice it. In this picture I am about to eat a crazy
delicious Mollete. Also, thanks for all the cow tails! You have no
idea how much I have missed them - almost as much as Mt. Dew!

This area is pretty green. There's a lot of pastures and fields, and
we get to cross them a lot of times, traveling from colony to colony.
The clouds here are in all shapes and sized, and it's a pretty
beautiful sight at times.

Expect good pictures and maybe a video next week. I'm going to do an
experiment with a few investigators today.

Monica is progressing really well. She is ready for baptism, but first
she and her member-boyfriend need to get married.....and he needs to
get divorced. Her daughter, Mariam, went to Jesus's baptism, a stake
activity, and all 3 hours of church on Sunday! She is starting to
progress a ton!

It's a completely different experience being a white guy here. The
girls go crazy, and a few times even try to grab me while walking the
streets - one actually succeeded in grabbing my bicep before I ripped
my arm away and ran. The drunks shout cursings and throw their beer
bottles from the rooftops, but luckily they have terrible aim haha.
For the most part though, aside from a few occasional things, I'm
pretty safe, and I know I'm protected by the Lord.

My companion, Elder Macedo, is from Pachuca (close to Mexico City). He
has 2 transfers left before he ends his mission. He told me that I
need to open up a little more, and I'm finding that a lot of the
council one of my uncles gave me (hint: Risky Business) is true. It's
hard to open up the emotional barriers I have. Since I was a kid, for
things that have affected me emotionally, I unconsciously distance
myself from others to protect myself. I never really realized how much
I do it until now, and I'm working on putting my shields down. God
will help me.

The church is true, Christ lives, and I'm in his work. Gotta go!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Receiving Answers

10 de Septiembre, 2012

This has been a great week! Monica (one of our investigators) said she
received an answer to her prayers and knows that the church is true,
and we're just waiting for her and her boyfriend to get married before
we can baptize her... which means they need to get divorced from their
previous spouses. Her boyfriend, who is a member, has been exercising
with us early in the morning. We've been going to a park, running,
using the playground as a workout gym, and playing a little basketball.
Today, after exercising, we went over to his (Alejandro's) house and
he served us a fruit mix with carrots, plain yogurt, and granola.
Crazy tasty, crazy healthy.

Familia Limones was a family of less-actives that we reactivated back
when I was in Guadalupe. While walking the streets here, I thought I
saw the grandson of Hna. Limones. I took a second look.... and it was
him! He and his mother got baptized a few years ago, but stopped going
because of anti-mormon literature they found on the internet. Elder
Macedo and I visited them in the instant I saw him (Ricardo, the
grandson) and we explained the reality of things to him and his
mother, Carmen. They both feel a ton better about the church now. Even
to the extent that they went to a ward activity as a family that very
night and had a great time.

This area is HUGE! We seriously need bikes here, just for the sake of
time. I attached a picture underlooking a mountain/big hill. From
where I was standing up until partway up the mountain/hill is only
about a fourth of our area. It's enormous, just imagine.

This Saturday we've got a definite baptism comin up! The other two
fell through, so we'll continue working with them. His name is Jesus,
and he's golden. He has completely changed his life around, from being
a drunk drug addict to leaving everything behind to follow Christ.

We have a sister here who always gives us tamales free, whenever we
ask. Pretty awesome. Pretty savory.

Mia, the 3 year old daughter of one of our investigators, was pretty
scared of me when I first got here. Then I gave her a Spanish CTR ring
and now she absolutely loves me. She pretty much uses me as a human
jungle-gym. It's a little overbearing at times haha.

Look at the photos. I'm not lying when I said we have a problem with
cockroaches. We find at least 10 a day in our house.

I have no time, and I gotta cut this letter short. Sorry! More next week.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Emergency Transfers

3 de Septiembre, 2012

There is a lot of big news for this week. We had emergency transfers,
and I got moved from Guadalupe. Thursday night, Elder Garfias, Elder
Ragland (we had exchanges for 3 days with our District Leader) and I
were in the house talking. Around 11 at night, our zone leaders called
us and said that we had emergency transfers, and that I was leaving to
the other stake here in Durango. They told me to pack up my things
cause I would leave in the morning. I pretty much didn't sleep much
that night as I was packing up everything I owned and deciding which
things to leave behind because I didn't have much room. So I arrived
here in the ward Industrial in stake Durango de Valle. My companion is
Elder Macedo. He's crazy tall, and we get along pretty good. We had a
baptism Saturday, name's Victor. We've been working crazy hard and
have set a lot of baptismal dates in the last week. This week we have
two coming up. Next week we have another two. The following week we
will have at least 5, maybe more. I can't wait. I feel like we´re
having a lot of success here. The area is huge! It takes at least an
hour and a half to cross the entire area, but that's walking fast (our
definition of walking fast is basically a good paced job for most

So I finally posted sent a picture of how we do laundry here. You have
a bucket, water, soap, and a broom handle with half a coke bottle
attached. It's actually pretty effective. After washing in one bucket,
you wring out each article of clothing one by one and soak it in a
bucket of soapless water. After thoroughly rinsing the clothes out,
you wring out each article again, and you hang it up to dry in the

Before leaving Guadalupe and before finding out that I was going to
leave, we ate dinner with Hna. Mejia, who is like our mom. Our
District Leader, Elder Ragland was with us on exchanges. After eating,
he went to use the bathroom. When he came out, he said he needed a
plunger..... I thought he was kidding but he was pretty serious. He
was to shy to ask Hna. Mejia for a plunger and asked me to do it. I
told him that it would be better if he asked, as I'm usually too
direct and don't use tactics at all. He insisted, so I went over to
Hna. Mejia in the kitchen and said loudly with my hands stretched
forth "Hermana, we've got a problem!!! Elder Ragland needs a plunger."
Elder Ragland (normally afro-american brown) turned straight red,
Elder Garfias burst out laughing, and Hna. Mejia's son stared with his
jaw dropped, forkfull of food almost in his mouth and asked "uh... for
the bathroom?". I said yes, and he came back with a plunger. While
Elder Ragland was unclogging the toilet, we didn't realize what Hna.
Mejia was doing. After he fixed his problem, she came running in the
house with a bucket full of soapy water and a towel (we're not exactly
sure why, to be honest). Elder Garfias and I just burst out laughing
and Elder Ragland tried to explain to her that it wasn't necessary.
She left the bucket there and we were about to leave when we
remembered another thing that we were going to ask for. A week or so
before, Hna. Mejia's daughter showed us that she makes homemade,
special ordered stuffed animals (and other stuffed things). She showed
us an awesome Jigglypuff (from Pokemon) and it was so real! So after
fixing Elder Ragland's problems, he and Elder Garfias asked for a
pillow in the form of a Book of Mormon. Elder Conde asked for a Taz
(from the Looney Toones). I asked for a Blastoise (also from Pokemon)
with it's mouth open and it's tongue hanging out. I'm gonna have to
retrieve it from Guadalupe one way or another.

As far as this transfer goes, neither of us knows is one of us is
going to stay for the next transfer, or if both of us will stay, or if
we will both leave. Who knows but God and the President.

The nice thing about our house here is that we have a microwave!
Pretty awesome. We also have to working fans. In Guadalupe, our house
was on the second floor, so we rarely found cockroaches. Here in
Industrial, my second day here I was ironing my shirt. After
finishing, I started to put it on when I found a monster-daddy of a
coachroach in the sleeve and shouted "¡¡No manches!!" and whipped it.
Unfortunately, I launched the cockroach directly into my open suitcase
full of clothes. It scuttled away, burying itself in my garments. I
then had to search for the cockroach, throw it out of my suitcase,
chase it down into the next room and splatter it across the floor. The
next day I found 3 more. Pretty exciting, huh?

I should receive all my letters this sunday. I haven't been able to
receive any for about 2 months because the Leaders haven't gone to
Torreón and our mission president hasen't come to visit us for a long

Well, I gotta go. Hope to hear from you all soon!

Chastisements and References

27 de Agosto, 2012

Sorry for last week. I spent my time on the computer translating an
Ensign article (not available in Spanish) and typing it up to post in
the church. Hopeful it will be worth it and will compel the members to
start working and giving us references.

Since I haven't written in 2 weeks, there's a good amount to talk
about this week.

We're still a Trio, haven't had any changes. Now we're thinking we'll
probably be a Trio for the rest of this transfer. We'll see how it
goes. My companions' names are Elder Garfias and Elder Conde.

So I started up a new work-out in the mornings. Every day I do 125
push-ups in 4 sets, with my perfect-push-ups (makes it harder). We
have a barbell made out of a steel bar with big ol' concrete blocks on
both ends. So I use it to do 125 barbell bicep curls in 4 sets as well. Then
I have this crazy ab-workout where I do 2250 crunches (in 3 sets),
mixing up straight crunches and side-twist crunches to work my obliques.
Pretty crazy. I've been doing this for the last 3 weeks. Next week
I'll make it harder.

So far I have lost about 25 pounds here. I only weigh 205 lbs. I'm the
lightest I have been since Junior year in high school.

Remember Memo and Vicky? Elder Lopez and I dropped them about 8 weeks
ago. We just picked Memo back up. Turns out, during the entire time
that we weren't teaching him, he was still reading the Book of Mormon.
He read it in about 2 months, the last half in less than a week. We're
just waiting for him to start coming to church again so he can get

Antonio went to church this last Sunday! We are working with him and
are getting him ready for baptism.

Francisco got baptized the 11th of August, and the picture is
attached. I also took a few pictures with the families here including
Families Medina, Moncada, and Ruiz. Also, Oscarín and Oscar's crazy
powerfully modded "Sustang" are attached, along with pictures from the
last district and zone meeting, with pictures of the Zone and

Last Sunday was awesome! we got 5 new investigators in one day!
Chayito (reference de Hna. Moncada) and a few others were references.
Something else awesome happened. Eusebia is one of the new
investigators. She felt like she wasn't alright with God, and she was
walking in the street when she saw the chapel. She felt like, for some
reason she didn't know, she needed to attend the church. She found out
when the services were and went the next Sunday, and now we're
teaching her and she is progressing pretty well.

I have had the privilege of seeing the complete conversion process for
2 of my investigators. Juan and Francisco both started off with me
teaching them the first lesson, until they had all the lessons,
completed every commitment without failing once, got baptized and
confirmed, and just recently had the Aaronic Priesthood conferred upon
them. I have seen them both bless the sacrament now. It has been a
pretty powerful experience with them.

We had to drop Thalia again. She wasn't progressing. In the last
lesson, we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We explained every step
thoroughly, with a little extra focus on repentance. I invited her to
be baptized, and she said yes. And it was totally normal. Then I gave
her the date and invited her to prepare herself for that date, when
she said no and suddenly burst into tears and cried for about 10
minutes. After that we tried to figure out what was going on, waiting
in silence, asking questions, but she just sat there in silence. So we
ended with a prayer and left, saying that she can tell us when she
wants to continue. We didn't think she was going to go to church last
Sunday, but to our surprise she went. More than that, she said the
closing prayer in the Gospel Principles class without hesitating! We
have no idea what's going on in her head. Any ideas? My other
missionary friends: Elders Hawkins, Eppich, Andersen, Morris, Denney -
any suggestions or ideas for what we can do?

Last Friday we had a Ward Family Home Evening, in the which we
received another 6 references, 5 of which have turned out to be new
investigators. I can't wait for the success we're going to have with

I got to give a talk again this last Sunday. I didn't find out until
late the night before, so I pretty much had to wing it. Luckily, I'm
now speaking Spanish fluently, even enough to improvise an entire
talk. It actually turned out pretty good, and pretty powerful, and
lasted about 12 minutes. First our ward mission leader gave a talk and
pretty much chastised the entire congregation for not working and
giving references. Next I talked, then Elder Conde, then Elder
Garfias. Hopefully after all that, the members will start helping us
out a bit more.

Well I gotta go again, but I'm pretty sure this next week will bring
success. Until Next week!

Monday, August 20, 2012


13 de Agosto, 2012

So a lot has happened this week. We finished of this transfer with a baptism, and with it we ended our companionship. This week's story will start off chronologically:

Oscar (a member and husband of investigator Thalia) is a pretty good mechanic. He knows just about everything there is to know about cars. He took a classic Mustang, took out the engine, and cut a big ol' hole in the hood. Then he took a V10 engine out of a pick-up truck and somehow rigged it up to his car. On top of that, he attached a supercharger to the engine. It's crazy! The hole engine pops out about 1.5-2 feet about the hood of the car. After a few more modifications, he named it "The Sustang" for super-mustang. It's crazy fast, crazy powerful, and crazy loud. We were walking to his house one day for an appointment, and he found us on the street, picked us up, and gave us a ride to his house to teach Thalia. It felt like a rollercoaster ride. One of these days I'll take a picture with it. Maybe this week.

I finally have orthotics! I can walk without pain. It just takes a little getting used to, as the part of my foot in the arc has never touched the ground before as they are doing now. They should last about 3 months, considering how much we walk. As for my shoes, I had to throw them away (obviously). I bought some Flexis and now I'm walking without problems.

Next: A man contacted us recently on the street, and told us he has a big problem with alcohol and wants to change. We have taught him 2 lessons of the Plan of Salvation, and he is really interested. His name is Antonio, and we're hoping to set a baptismal date with him in the next lesson.

Francisco got baptized! And Juan is still really firm in the faith. He bore his testimony at the baptism of Francisco, and said he knows the church is true. It feels good knowing that we're now reaping the fruits of our labors.

Lately, we have been working with a less active family, Familia Limones. They haven't gone to church in about 6 months, so we have been visiting them and challenged them to share the gospel with somebody. We had 2 extremely powerful experiences with them, and Rosio (the 25 year old daughter of Hermana Limones) cried both times. They are both extremely sensitive to the spirit and we love them so much. Then, this Sunday, they both went to church! It was awesome. We're going to continue helping them and supporting them.

Well, Elder Lopez and I have transfers. I have been assigned to stay here in Guadalupe (Durango, Durango, Mexico) while Elder Lopez has been assigned to go back to Torreón. We're gonna have a Trio here in Guadalupe. Elder Condel has already arrived and we're gonna pick up our other companion in half an hour. It's gonna be interesting. I don't know how we're all gonna fit in our tiny apartment home. I guess we'll see. I'm guessing President Flores wanted both of these Elders here as companions, but since they don't know the area he wants me here to help them got to know it. That's just my stipulation, nothing more. But if that's so, it's probable that I'm gonna leave this area next transfer (6 weeks).

So that's the news for this week. We'll see what success brings us this coming week, eh? Until then, tata for now!

Elder Tyler Riggs

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lots Of Walking

6 de Agosto, 2012

So if you didn't believe me the first time I told you we walk a lot in this mission, check out the attached pictures. I've completely busted my pair of shoes. I started using them went I entered the MTC, but those first 2 months don't really count as we sit in desks all day. So pretty much in 2 and a half months I completely tore up my shoes. They aren't even attached to the soles. Pretty awesome, huh? The rubber on the bottom also has huge holes, and you can see completely through in 4 different places if you remove the in-sole. 

My feet are doing better. They still hurt when we walk, but I fight through the pain. Last Tuesday we ordered custom orthodics, and tomorrow (Tuesday) they will be ready so we're gonna go pick them up. After that, hopefully my problems will be solved.

We have another baptism coming up this Saturday! Francisco has been to church 2 times, has all the lessons, and is really firm in the gospel. He said lots of his friends were persecuting him and telling him this church isn't true and a bunch of stuff, so he went to his house and prayed, and felt really strongly that it was true, and he had a great conversion experience. 

Maria de Jesus went to church as well, but she was scheduled to operate today, and will have to recover in her bed without moving for about 3 months, maybe more. She will have to wait to get baptized then. She really wanted to last Saturday, but the rule is 2 weeks of going to church before baptism. The Assistants to the president said it would be better to wait than to make an exception to the rule.

We picked up an old investigator this week, named Thalia. Her husband, Oscar, is an active member. They have 2 really young kids, and they all come to church almost every Sunday. The problem with Thalia before is that she refused to pray, whether it be as a family, with the missionaries, or even personally. We think she might have been afraid or something, who knows. Last week we went to their house and taught a lesson on Obedience and Loving God (and how we show it through prayer). Finishing the lesson, we started to ask Thalia to pray when Oscar interrupted us and said to his 2 year old son Oscarin "come here Oscarin, your momma's gonna say the prayer". When Oscarin came, we all folded our arms (including little Oscarin), closed our eyes, and waited. 5-10 seconds of silence later, Thalia started to pray, and when she finished, Elder Lopez and I felt like we had hurdled a 100 foot high wall. Finally, Thalia is progressing! She went to church yesterday, we have an appointment this week, and we're gonna set a baptismal date with her in that appointment.

Saturday, with family Ayala (a recently converted family), we learned how to make gorditas! I'm definitely gonna make some when I get back to the USA. Not only did we make them, we ate some as well... and they're Magically Delicious!

This is the start of the last week of this transfer. We still don't know if our companionship is gonna change or if one or the both of us is gonna remain here in Guadalupe. We're gonna find out Sunday. If we have changes, Monday morning is the departure time.

I hear USA is winning in the Olympics! Everyone here tells me "your country is winning....where is Mexico in the competition?". 

Also, I'm thinking of buying a Man-Bib. Every other day or so I spill some kind of sauce or something on why white shirt. I guess I still haven't learned to eat messy food. It'll be a little ridiculous, pero creo que valerà la pena.

Well that's about it for this week. If you want more, ask questions. Until next week!

Elder Tyler Riggs

Monday, July 30, 2012

Primer Bautismo!

30 de Julio, 2012

Juan got baptized and confirmed! But you'll have to wait for that, as I am going to tell last week's stories in chronological order. So here we go:

After I wrote the last letter, we went to a family home evening with an inactive family that hasn't been to church in 5 years. They haven't let the missionaries or ward members go past their gate since their conversion, but we somehow made it all the way through their door, and they even made us Mexican pancakes! Pretty exciting. We took a photo together and it's attached. They have 5 kids. We're working with them little by little to get them back to church.

Last week we had a really weird storm. Half of the sky was blue and bright, and the other half was covered with dark clouds. These clouds kept rumbling without ceasing for about 2 hours. Pure thunder, no lightning. Really weird. It sounded like my stomach before we eat lunch with the members. It did eventually rain a little bit, but not as much as we were expecting.

Maria de Jesus wasn't at her house when we went to interview her for her baptism, so she will have to wait until after her operation. Juan got baptized though! The first time the ordinance was said wrong, and Juan also forgot to plug his nose. The second time it was said right, and he almost didn't go under the water. All was under the surface except his mustache, and the Member baptizing him had to force him down....and Juan still didn't plug his nose! So he was under water, and everyone could hear his gurgling under the water. Everyone got a good laugh out of it, and Juan was baptized and then confirmed the next day in sacrament meeting. It has been a pretty special experience with Juan. His mother accepted the gospel and got baptized about 25 or more years ago, and ever since then has been trying to help Juan accept it, and now he finally has. They are both really happy, and I know it meant a lot to her.

Francisco, the friend that Juan brought to the second lesson, also has been taught all of the lessons. He has been to every appointment with Juan since the first lesson with him, and he also went to all the church meetings yesterday! That means he only needs to go this week and he will get baptized next Saturday as planned. He is also pretty excited. He has already read a lot in the Book of Mormon. He's almost done with 1st Nephi. He loves reading in the Book of Mormon, as he told us.

Update on my feet: just as my left foot was healing up, I injured my right foot in the same way. And shortly after, due to putting most of my weight on my left foot, I reinjured it also just a little. We went to see prices for special in-soles today, and I expect President Flores or his wife will tell us to go order them tomorrow. After that it should be the end to my problems. But it's all been worth it, especially with Juan's baptism.

Spanish is going really well. Nobody believes me when I tell them I only have 2 months in the field. I can pretty much speak fluently and naturally without translating anything in my head. Right now I'm just working on expanding my vocabulary. So far pretty good! I love getting compliments on my Spanish.

Gotta go! Keep me updated!

Monday, July 23, 2012

¡¡¡2 Bautismos!!!

23 de Julio, 2012

This week has been crazy! I can't believe that I already have as much time here in the field as I completed in the MTC. It doesn't seem like I've been here for 2 months already....which means I have completed 4 months.....a sixth of my mission in total. Crazy. The next transfer comes up pretty soon, in 3 weeks.

So we've got 2 baptisms coming up this Saturday, the 28th! One is Maria de Jesus, who I've already told you about. The other is Juan. Juan is an old investigator that was dropped because he never went to church, therefore he wasn't progressing and couldn't get baptized, neither did he want to. Recently, Juan suddenly started showing up at church! He has gone every Sunday for the past 4 weeks! Last week, we picked him up as an investigator again, taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I invited him to be baptized. He was hesitant, but we invited him to pray about it that night and sincerely ask God if he should get baptized on the 28th. The next lesson a few days later, we approached his house and his friend, Francisco, was with him. Juan told us that he invited Francisco to the appointment, and they were both really excited. Juan said he received an answer to his prayer and is excited to get baptized. We also invited Francisco, who read (together with Juan) the entire pamphlet of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, along with a good portion of the Book of Mormon. We invited him to get baptized as well, and he accepted. His baptism will probably be the 11th of August, as we have to reset the date because he didn't show up at church yesterday (you need 2 weeks in 1 month to get baptized). So yeah, if all goes well I will finally have some baptism pictures for you next week!

So the new missionary program is now in effect. I've already knocked on my last door, presented my last Book of Mormon. As of right now, this program isn't in effect for all the missions. As far as I know, only for 5 missions in Mexico. If it goes well, maybe more missions. I'm not exactly sure all the reasons for the program. Maybe for safety, maybe because the normal method isn't working well enough, who knows. Probably both.

Today, we had a multi-zone activity with the Mission President and his family! It was crazy fun! We went to a theme park kind of place called "Viejo Oeste", which translates to "Old West". It was pretty fun. We took tons of photos, and there was an audience-interactive performance...and I got to participate. President Flores, Elder Hernandez (an elder in my district) and I were chosen to participate. The first thing I knew, a woman about my age in an old-western dress hooked her arm around mine and led me to a designated area to wait..... I hadn't come into contact with anyone of the opposite sex for 4 months and had no idea what to do, so I stood there like a rock. I kept asking the mission president's wife if this was against the rules. Rather than answering me, she just kept laughing and taking photos. Pretty much freaked me out, as this girl held me tight for the entire 30 minutes or so of the performance.

Sorry the letter is so short. We don't have much time today after the activity, and we have a lesson really soon. But there's lots of photos! Next week hopefully I can say more. Until then, peace out family!

Monday, July 16, 2012

An American-Mexican

16 de Julio, 2012

Wow this week has passed by fast! First off, earlier on this week I took the challenge of eating a raw habanero pepper. A little background about this pepper: it's medium sized, yellowish orange, and is the spiciest pepper of all the natural pepper (the exception is the Ghost Pepper, which is genetically altered). So we were eating dinner in the home of a member, and there was a basket of habaneros. My companion said I should try one, not really thinking I had the guts. So I took one, and he started recording it. He said just to eat the tip, but I bit off all but the stem. I chewed and chewed, and nothing happened. 5 seconds after swallowing, it was like someone put a hot coal on my tongue. I downed about 4 glasses of the served beverage, a ton of salt, and a tortilla and after about 20 minutes of suffering, there was only just a little bit of pain still in my mouth. And now I can say I'm a Mexican. Attached is a video of proof.

Not that I'm expecting anything, but just so you know, you can't send homemade food in packages. Only factory-sealed food will pass the border, as they inspect everything. Yeah, that means I can't have Mom's homemade Christmas sugar cookies for 2 years.

So far I have lost about 7 kilograms (according to the scale last Monday). That's like 15 pounds. That's a kilo every week! Right now I only weigh 215 lbs, so yeah, I'm lighter than I was in high school. Pretty soon I'll have a 6 pack for sure haha.

The rain has been crazy! It rained every day last week.... 7 days in a row! And when it rains, it floods. Attached is a picture of me with some palmeras in the rain. I'm loving it.

So I finally got sick here. Today I was bed ridden all day. The movie Alien kept popping into my head and the part where the Aliens are born by exploding out of the stomachs of the humans after they are I was kind of expecting to give birth to an Alien in the same fashion. Maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but seriously it hurt that bad for about 10 straight hours. I'm almost good now, but yeah.... I'm so glad I have my Excedrin.

So we've got a new Missionary Program starting up pretty soon. We're not going to all. No knocking on doors, no contacting in the street, nada. We are only going to work with less active members, and when we receive references from members we teach them, but only with a member present in the lesson. The whole way of missionary life as we know it is going to change!

As far as the work, it's going better. We had 6 less active members attend church yesterday, and 3 investigators and 3 recent converts. We are working with Maria de Jesus and her baptism date is set for the 28th of this month.

Yet again, I gotta go!

-Elder Tyler Riggs