Soldier in God's Army

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

More Like A Mexican

June 11, 2012

First, to answer some questions:

1. My specific area is the Guadalupe area of Durango, Durango, Mexico.

2. Yes, I'm safe. But even if I wasn't I wouldn't say in these emails
that anything dangerous is going on for the sake of not giving my
mother a heart attack. I can share such stories after the mission.

3. Every month we receive money, and we go to an ATM with our credit
cards and take it all out at once, so we don't have to pay the
withdrawal fee multiple times. I think it should be enough to survive
each month.

4. On P-Day, we wash clothes, shop for food, study, eat, clean the
house, exercise, sometimes reunite with the District to play sports of
some kind, and e-mail. We don't usually e-mail until the end of P-Day
around 5:00 PM in our time. At 6:00, we go back out to work and teach.

So, Viki and Memo didn't get baptized. They ended up being out of town
that saturday and didn't notify us. But they did go to church
yesterday, and we have an appointment to meet with them Tuesday, and
then me and Elder Lopez will determine whether or not they are ready
to get baptized this week or whether they will have to wait until next
week.

We have a new investigator! Hermano Veloz gave us a reference to a
friend of his named Amadelia, and we were going on splits last Monday
so I was going to teach her while my companion was teaching someone
else. The lesson turned out really well. After I got to know her for a
bit, I felt that I needed to teach her the Plan of Salvation. I did
so, and committed her to read the entire pamphlet after we left. I
also taught her how to pray and got her to end the lesson with a
prayer. We are going to teach her again at 6:30 tonight and invite her
to be baptized.

I had my first companion exchange on Wednesday with Elder Levie, and
it was pretty good. One of his investigators got ahold of anti-mormon
literature. After they were talking a bit, I asked if she prayed
sincerely about the things she was taught. She said yes, but I'm not
so sure. I then told her, and I still remember exactly what I said
(but they seemed to not be my words, so I'm sure they were from the
spirit), " Hermana, siento que usted está buscando respuestas en las
palabras de hombres, pero usted tiene que buscar respuestas
directamente de Dios. Si usted está buscando por errores para probar
algo en contra de la iglesia de Jesucristo, usted va a encontrarlos y
nada más. Pero si usted está buscando la verdad y sinceramenta quiere
recibir una respuesta, usted va a recibirlo, encontrar la verdad, y
saber estas cosas por si mismo." She seemed to realize that she was
going about the investigation process all wrong, and I believe she
will try to find out the right way from now on.

I'm still getting darker. I have a pretty good tan line where I wear
my watch, so we'll see how that looks in 2 years.

So my companion and I are a pretty funny sight. He is really dark, as
he is from Veracruz, Mexico and he has been in the field for almost 10
months now. He is probably about 5´2", so we really stand out. He
calls me "The Thing" from Fantastic 4, because I am not accustomed to
the small sized of things here, like the cars and doorframes and
especially houses. Every day I hit my head on a doorframe or cieling
at least once. So yeah, I'm still getting used to being here. My feet
and legs are definitely used to it now though. I can walk the same
speed as Elder Lopez and my feet don't hurt by the end of the day
anymore.

So the Spanish language is coming along. I can finally understand just
about everything that is said by the people here, and I can express
just about everything that I want to say. Right now I'm just working
on expanding my vocabulary. I get a lot of practice here, as nobody
knows English. Some think they know it thought. A few days ago, we
were walking on a dirt road and this guy pulled up beside us in his
truck and offered us a ride. We said no thanks, and he drove on. As we
kept walking, we turned the corner and he was stopped and he was out of
the truck. He was about to walk in to a store when he saw us, and
looked at me and said "Hey! My amigo!" Then he talked to us, half in
Spanish and half in English, saying he lived in Washington State for
15 years and he knows English. He gave me his business card and said
that if I wanted to eat he would feed me and we could talk about the
word of God. I'm pretty sure we won't go eat at his house, but we
passed him on as a reference as he does not live in our area.

Just like my Meximerican friend, many people have been greeting us
lately. My companion, Elder Lopez, says he only ever gets so many
greetings when he is with an American companion. It seems like on the
streets someone honks their horn and waves at us every 3 minutes.

It seems like there are just as many stray dogs here as there are
people. Some of them are a little viscious, and my companion is pretty
terrified of them. I told him you just need to show them who's boss
and that you're not afraid, because they can pretty much sense it.
We've had a few experiences where I've had to show him this. A few
days ago a huge german shepherd start running after us and I just
looked at it and walked on by and it stopped. I think the best
experience with this was about 2 weeks ago when we were walking on the
sidewalk and a pretty big black lab started running straight at Elder
Lopez. I was walking behind him to the side, so I turned around and
braced myself, ready to get bitten and then beat it, but then it
stopped. We stood there staring at each other for quite a while, and
then it just walked away back to it's house.

So, in Ley (the grocery story next to our apartment) every time we go
in there, Last Friday Night by Katy Perry is playing. Without fail we
hear it as we are shopping. So now I always have that song stuck in my
head during the day, every day. It's kinda funny how most of the music
here is in English, yet the people here can't understand what they are
listening to.

One nice thing about being a missionary is all the free food the
members love to give us. Most of the members (there are about 90 in
our ward) make money by making and selling food, such as fresh potato
chips, watermelon, and stuff like that. Last week, we were contacting
knocking on doors (or metals fences, rather, as every door is guarded
by fairly large metal fences/gates) and we came across an outdoor
store that sells frozen desserts. As we were walking by, a man came
running out telling us to wait, and he gave us a reference (his
father, who was in the hospital). We later found out that he is a
member, and so is is whole family except for his dad. His brother
owned the frozen dessert store, and offered us some dessert. It was
crazy hot, so I had no choice but to accept the offer. They made this
thing that started off with snow in a big cup, then they put
strawberries and cream in it, some kind of strawberry syrup, and milk.
So good.

Also, every day here, one of the member families feeds us lunch. Here
in mexico, Breakfast is small, Dinner is medium-small, but Lunch is
pretty much a feast. So far I haven't had anything too weird to eat.
The weirdest is probably Chicharón, which is pig skin. I didn't really
like that too much, but I ate it anyway. My favorite food so far has
got to be the taquitos. The hermanas here really know how to cook. The
best plate: Taquitos, guacamole, salsa verde, refried beans and
mexican rice, and Chile Relleños (stuffed peppers), with a glass of
mango juice. I have started to get pretty good at eating with
tortillas. If you don't use a tortilla to wrap the spicy food in, your
mouth will get burned, especially with the chilis. I'm probably gonna
have to relearn how to use a fork after my mission.

As much as the mission brings blessings, there's a curse that comes
with it as well. My face has been growing hair faster than my razor
can keep up. Lately I have had to shave 2 times a day to keep a
missionary-shaven face. Plus if I don't shave the second time in the
day, the next time I try to shave my razor won't cut very well and I
have to trim it first, then cut. So yeah, you can expect that I'm
getting a little razor-burnt on my face. It's worth it though!

I have noticed that when I work hard and lose myself in the work, time
really flies by. This week flew by so fast, it seems like just
yesterday I was here writing the last e-mail.

Well I gotta go preach and teach and serve, so until next week, !Más Alla!
Elder Tyler Riggs

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