Soldier in God's Army

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Finally in Mexico!

May 28, 2012

There is so much to talk about and I dont have near enough time to say everything I want to say. A lot has happened this week. I'll start with the MTC.

So I left the MTC with a bang. The Brother Free act went over pretty well. During our last Saturday at the MTC, I went in to the new district's room (as Hermano Free, with changed pants, belt, shoes, tie, hair, and even put on glasses - the usual Hermano Free look.) I left an assignment with scriptures and questions for them to answer on the whiteboard a few days earlier, and then on Saturday I went in and taught them for at least the 3rd time. As we were discussing the answers, one of the Elders raised his hand to answer a question, and then (as previously planned) my entire district barged in, cameras in hand recording the whole thing. Then I changed my nametag back to Elder Riggs, and they all just felt ridiculous for falling for it. It actually took this new district a while to figure it out. One of the Elders even came up to me and asked "So is Brother Free not here today or something?" He was fooled so hard that he still thought Brother Free existed and that Elder Riggs was pretending to be him because they looked so alike. Classic. Probably the most fun I've ever had.

So, here's something I didn't expect. I only receive letters every 6 weeks. All the letters are sent to the mission home, and after every exchange we receive them. This is due to the areas being so far spread apart. So don't get mad if I don't reply to any letters very quickly, as I probably won't get them for another 5 weeks. The address to send letters to is:

Elder Tyler Riggs
Mision Mexico Torreon
La Iglesia de Jesucristo de Los Santos
    de Los Ultimos Dias
Ernesto Brede #301 Col. Amp
    Los Angeles Torreon Coahuila 27148B

My companion is Elder Lopez. He has been here 9 weeks and is awesome. Even in the taxis he makes appointments for lessons with the drivers. We don't get to take taxis every where though. We walk (briskly) at least 7 hours a day, but usualy over 8. I am still getting used to it, as yesterday I found the 9th blister on my feet in the last 3 days

The traffic here is insane! If there are any regulations on the roads, they are definitely not enforced and nobody cares to follow them.

I feel like a giant here. Most people here are shorter than 5'4", and so I stand out pretty bad being the 6' tall white boy who weighs twice as much as most of them. There's actually a pretty funny story about that. We were walking in the streets and there was this pretty old lady sitting at her porch. I said "Buenas Tardes, Hermana!" and she replied "Adios Guerito", which means "Bye White Boy". So yeah, I am pretty sure white people are a rarity in these parts.

Graffiti here is worse than the black plague. I am not exaggerating when I say you cant go anywhere without seeing it. Some of it actually looks pretty good, but most of it is just dumb stuff drawn by wanna-be cholos.

So I haven't seen the drug cartel yet, but a few mornings ago we found some people across the street from our apartment getting arrested. I thing it was a drug bust, but I am not sure. Here are some pictures (I couldn't resist taking some).

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Here, the Secretaria de Defensa Nacional is seen commonly. I saw them, a ton of army-suited guys heavily armed and in a semi-armed vehicle. They go around checking every building on designated streets for drugs and drug dealers.

The language is coming along alright. Sometimes I get pretty frustrated when people talk crazy fast and ask me questions, but I dont understand a word they say. I can understand after I ask them to slow down and repeat.

The food is amazing here. We are fed really well by the members. There is nothing as good as Mexican food made by an Authentic Mexican. Seviche is one food I don't really favor though.

The area here is greener than I tought it would be. There are palm trees all over the place here in Durango. I have been assigned to the Durango area. Durango city in the state of Durango. It's not as hot here as in Torreon, and it is so much greener. One day this week it rained for the first time in over a year and a half. I guess I bring miracles wherever I go. Anyway, it rained so hard that we had to take a taxi home, and even in the 5 seconds we were outside after we got out of the taxi, we got soaked. It rained harder than I have probably ever witnessed in my life.

The sun is pretty strong over here. My hair is already turning blonde, and it has only been a week since I have arrived in Mexico. Yesterday, I forgot to put on sunscreen, and even though due to sunday meetings we were only in the sun for about 2 hours total, I got pretty nicely burnt like a marshmallow. Unfortunately, I cant figure out a way to apply sunscreen to my scalp, so it just keeps getting more burnt every day. I gotta find some shampoo with sunscreen or something.

Well, I gotta go as I am out of time, so just all of you know I am safe and doing awesome. Until next week!

Elder Tyler Riggs

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