It has been snowing here some, and has been pretty cold. I think the snow takes a lot longer to melt here, but maybe I just never realized how slowly the snow melted at home. I am fine though. It was a good week. Now for my notes.
Missions make you love office supplies, like every time we have free time, we just go to the bookstore and look at all of the pens and consider buying journals and stuff like that.
We heard in a talk about a missionary that was going somewhere and the temple president asked if he knew any Spanish and he said, nervously, I only know one word, "Aloha"...so there's that.
I finally learned tie clips aren't just if your cloth tag is ripped, but you can clip it into your shirt to prevent it from going in your soup when you stand up.
I haven't received your Christmas package yet, but anything you sent I'm sure is great. It is a little bit different here because I am in prison and can't get a lot of things. But when I am in the field don't send me anything that isn't homemade (not from a box either). You can send me puffed rice balls or cookies if you want or anything I ask for specifically, which might supersede the previous rule. I don't know what I will want when I get there, but I would rather have 1 package of homemade stuff, over like 4 packages of stuff from a box. I heard Tijuana is one of the only places where the mail is decent, so we'll see if packages are okay, I will try and find out and let you know, but if not, dont' worry. I can probably get a lot of the things like candy in Mexico for cheap, especially when I am close to the border, they'll have American stuff, and it would probably cost a lot to send it.
Aunt Celia, I like your idea that if we try to love each other, then the other commandments should fall into place.
Aunt Trudy, I agree about the snow and especially the cold, but I'm glad that I at least, don't have to drive in it. (Sorry you do). Last P-day everyone had a snowball fight and thought it was really fun, but I didn't because I am fine with being cold or wet, but not both.
You all including Aunt JoLyn are in my prayers. I sometimes pray that one specific family member will be helped and then I just specifically name a lot of names. "Might as well help them all (including me) while you're at it."
those classes sound awful, but i'm glad you're enjoying them. Thanks for informing everyone in your classes stuff I can only assume was like that idon't have multiple wives, just my great-great grandpa. If you do see my family, you can hug each other for me, which might be weird since we don't do extra-family hugs that much...hahah..
One elder had these chocolate chips from Guittard chocolate, they are pretty good, so if you see them, you should give them a shot.
We talked about imperfect tense in my class and it reminded me of Spanish class- Rosalía comía y Ali baba hablaba. Also a funny trick I learned is that in spanish you can never have le lo, you have to change it to se lo. So, "You can't le lo in Mexico."
We learned about Spanish pig latin called Gerigonza, which is kind of fun. Our teacher said that some people speak it as their first language, and I asked him how that can even happen and he said he doesn't know. But I am still skeptical, maybe you can find out.
The Hi-Chews Josh gave me last week say "Stay Active, eat Hi-Chew!" which is a funny thing to put on candy.
Mom, I can write a long letter because I take notes all week and then I don't have to think much; that's the secret.
Mom, I brought some single-use shoe shining things, but haven't used them. I bought a kit with 2 polish tins, cloth, brush for 9$ with my allowance and so far have only used it once.
Also, Mom, your use of Spanish at the end of your letter has been noted; Good work! Also, don't bother sending me stuff in Spanish that is google translated anyone, because the spanish characters get lost on DearElder and I can tell usually, and it just takes 3 times as long, and I sometimes get angry because I translate something wrong, then I go back and realize that it is completely a different thing, and so it is just hard. Thanks for trying to help though!
I mostly really like our Branch Presidency. They're pretty reasonable/nice/practical. When I was getting my visa, one sister said hers is really cool and would always tell them to relax when their teachers were crazy and not to worry about a lot of the stuff they say. But some elders said their president and his wife told them they're not Christ-like if their pants don't match their suit coat or chastised them about matching their socks to their pants (which I think is right anyway) and not their shoes (nothing I wear ever matches hardly). Also, that they have to wear V-neck sweaters even though with the new dress code, which recently happened, round neck (which I have) are fine (as a general guideline from the church).
Okay, I have a couple more things to type about, like my trip to Las Vegas and my flight plans and obedience and stuff, but first I just want to say that I love you guys and Eternal Family, Eternal Family, Eternal Family.
I am thankful that a lot of stuff works out and prayers get answered all of the time. And mostly good things, like having a nice Branch Presidency, happen here. But another example, even though I got up atand then and 6:00 today, I haven't gotten a migraine yet (also, they are going to give you a migraine Josh, it is not worth anything to have a migraine; I would not accept that money to eat migraine-y fast food and dip my hands in cold water and watch flashing lights and whatever else, but whatever you want). Also, my laundry came out slippery and like twice as heavy as usual, but I just dried it anyways, because I don't have anytime and it took two cycles, but it was alright. Is that okay or will the soap make my clothes wear out?
Anyways, I will tell you about Vegas first, I guess. I got up at 4, so that I could be at the chapel at, and then I had to wait there for a while for the shuttle bus, which took a bunch of misisonaries to the airport. Then our group of 11 got on a plane after waiting for a while and buying food at the airport McDonalds (speaking of which, sorry to the guy at the register that he said a parfait? when I ordered an oatmeal and then I said yes because it was loud and then made him cancel it later..but who orders parfait at 8 in the morning?). And then we flew to Vegas where this guy picked us up (who is an old man missionary) and we bought food at Del Taco and listened to him talk for 3 hours and then went to Mexico (I hear the consulate counts). and waited and they took our fingerprints and our picture and then put our visa in and then he dropped us off at the airport where we waited for 4 hours and then got home at . Our travel leader had never flown on an airplane before so that was kind of funny, because he was really excited. I have heard from everyone that the old missionary just made you want to go home and discouraged you. Which some of his stories were awful, about how 40% of return missionaries go inactive (so I just won't bother with that; what percentage of active young men that don't go on missions go inactive is also a valid point) and how this girl from his mission in Peru was inactive because she has a lot of bitterness towards the church because of an engagement she had with a missionary from his mission, so I mean that stuff is hard, but I don't let it discourage me, because at least it was kind of realistic, unlike everything else everyone says, which seems either to put all of the weight on each individual missionary and person, but life is hard and so we shouldn't get down, but just keep trying.
He said a lot of stuff that I kind of agreed with and a lot of stuff that sounded like bologna. He also, said other stuff, like that before a lot of the sister missionaries were coming from dysfunctional or broken homes and how that was a real asset, but now both elders and sisters are kind of naive and how it will be hard with all of the stuff in Mexico. I like that he talked about disfunction as a bonus, kind of, but I don't know if functional families exist. I like ours pretty well though. I want to return to the stuff he said, but I am going to go on for now.
I don't have my final flight plans yet, but I think I will leavemorning, so maybe a call to the house at about 7 or 8 and I think it can be for awhile, maybe like 45 minutes, but I will see if there is even any limit on it, but maybe also the middle of the night. Send me a dearelder rightaway if you don't want me to wake you up early in the morning with a call. I have my visa now, so I should be going to Mexico. Also, please make sure that my debit card will work in Mexico (I think you already did, and if so, that is fine).
Now to obedience, then back to vegas. I believe in obedience, I think. and I actually rebel against just the idea of blind obedience, much more than specific rules. Just because we obery, doesn't mean we don't have to look for reasons why we might need to do that or say reasons why it doesn't completely make sense to us (but then still do it). I think that's completely fine. Speaking of which, it seems like some people here accept anything ANYONE tells them (who is not just a missionary) as a commandment from God (like a Branch presidency member's wife said we couldn't write in sisters' journals like year books, or, we received cleaning instructions for the night we leave, but it will be hard to get to bed on time if we wait until the night before we leave to do it all) and that one missionary said that God always provides a way to do all of His commandments and when we wanted to ask the Pres. of the Branch about the journal writing thing, he called us Martin Harrises. Then someone asked anyway, and he said it was completely fine, that was just a rule form her mission so she tried to enforce it, but they will let us know if it changes. Which none of the people in the above examples even have stewardship to give us God's commandments (unlike our branch president). and even if they did, I don't doubt there are sometimes errors or contradictions (like the book of mormon authors saying if there are mistakes, they are of men). So we should still try to obey and do all of them that we can, but it's okay to ask (maybe not repeatedly, under unchanging circumstances, when you aren't confused and it doesn't conflict with accepted doctrine like Martin Harris, especially when you're presiding authority is the prophet and God, or just to be rebellious). your presiding authority or admit that its impossible or difficult to shower, pack, brush your teeth, and clean the apartment and write in your journal for 15 minutes before. Sure, if those are commandments, then God will provide a way, but it might be questioning its feasibility and then asking whose in charge if we can go home a little early or do the cleaning another day, earlier. And I don't think God wants us to be depressed about not being exactly obedient. What do you think?
Also, is it wrong to lie to people when they ask if you're doing okay and you are depressed about ruining the group picture, because you forgot your lava-lava and the entire zone remembered, so you had to be in the back and they couldn't even see you so you just didn't bother smiling or looking at the camera, because that is kind of a personal thing, that they can't really change, much. Also, when people are always making comments about how you would be the one to look up to commit suicide in the dictionary (even though the context was that a missionary was using command tense to tell the others to kill themselves and I just wanted to know the appropriate way to say it) or that for serious pictures, not smiling comes naturally to Elder Powell. Why would anyone even say that? Whatever though, don't worry, I felt better after like an hour. I really am pretty happy.
Okay, I have four minutes left to tell you more about what he said in Vegas. He said that in Mexico a lot of bishops are trying to stop the import of Halloween, because they see how pagan it is and that ancestor worship is a big problem there because of day of the dead where they make the altars and they already have it overlaid with Christianity, so when they are baptized it all makes sense to them along with the genealogy chart. But I think that they should continue to celebrate those things and stuff, as long as they aren't praying or worshipping ancestors. It can be just like a memorial. Same with halloween, as long as we see it as a fun dress-up tradition and don't get interested in the occult, I think its fine. Like Christmas, we still have to remember what's really important. He says he thinks everyone here takes it too lightly though. He also ranted about Socialism some, not that I disagreed, I just thought it was an inappropriate way to do it. He also talked about the irradiated milk there, which I think is good. And how even people in Germany won't drink their water, because they think it's bad, but it's actually okay and a lot of countries have been working on their water systems, but no one believes them. But better safe than sorry.
He also said stuff, like it's rude to show you have more money than the president gives you and that our companions will already be living well above their lives before, which makes sense. So i will try not to spend too much extra money. He also said not to take pictures in public places, because the armed guards everywhere will freak out, even though it's legal, because its like you think it's a zoo. Also, some elders tried to cut through the parking lot and he got angry and said they were cutting corners and not showing courtesy because they aren't mexican (at consulate) and those weren't their cars, but I consider myself pretty conscience of stuff, and I didn't really think it was that bad, so hopefully my courtesy will be sufficient. It wasn't as bad as everyone acted, even though he spewed a lot of non-doctrine general beliefs. He was a little high strung, but I am not perfect either, even if he almost hit a girl with the van, and was pretty irritating. Hopefully, I can keep remembering that.
I am over again. Love you, talk to you, I Hope.
Kaden Elder Powell Kaden