This week's subject line (Land abundant in women) brought to you by the meaning of "C" (town where is serving now) in the Nahuatl language.
Well, straight to the good stuff.
Tuesday was weird. Elder T also had special transfers--another missionary had to go home early so they sent him to his area in S, so atwe all met in the offices for the great exchange. I stayed with Elder T, we took my bags to his house and then went to district class. It was a relief not having to teach it anymore. After 9 months you kind of run out of ideas. Afterwards, we took pictures with everyone in the zone, since somehow the rumor had gotten out to everyone and they were all bummed. The sisters brought cupcakes and we had a little goodbye party. I was in U for about 7 months and made some of the best friends of my life there, it was sad to see them go. From there we went to our last meal, we ate in E and it just so happened to be with the C family that day. It was great, they were one of my favorite families in that ward. The son J was the assistant ward mission leader and the mom is the stake relief society president and had been with us on a lot of the excursions to T, so I had worked a lot with them.
From there we took a taxi to President Wagner's house to meet our zone leaders. It felt like just yesterday I was there being welcomed to the mission. When we got there, the council had just barely ended so they were all eating, so President Wagner took the opportunity to explain a little bit of the situations we were going to. He basically just told me that C is a great branch--there's a lot of priesthood and the members are great and that I was going to love it there. He said I was going to have a very young companion and that I needed to bring him up in the ways of the Lord. He then talked to Elder T, who is going into a little bit more of a complicated situation. Basically, he explained to us that he needed to send us to these areas because he needed somebody he could trust in both of them. He also happened to mention that in S a few weeks ago they had a sacrament meeting attendance of 95! It was at about 60 when I was there, so that's a BIG improvement.
When they had finished eating, we went with our zone leaders to bus station. My zone leaders are Elder U and Elder L and they're awesome. We took a bus from Guadalajara to M, which lasted about 4 hours. While Elder L slept, Elder U (who is from my generation) and I had a 2 hour long mega companionship study, which was awesome. We got to M at aboutat night, and when I got of the bus I could feel the heat and humidity. We went to the Zone Leaders' house and stayed the night there. When we got there I met my companion, Elder M. He's 25, from Veracruz, and is a convert of 1 year 8 months. He has 3 1/2 months in the mission and was still with his trainer when the accident happened, so I'm his second companion (Step-dad). He's new in the church and in the mission so I've got a lot of teaching to do, but he's a really hard worker and is really motivated.
The next morning we took a bus to C. It was about 40 minutes and passed right by the beach and then through the middle of the jungle. And then it stopped in the middle of the jungle and we got out in a little tiny town, which they tell me is C. I had never seen anything like this in my life. It´s full of coconut trees, banana trees, iguanas, frogs, lizards, etc. It is very hot and humid here, and this is winter. I'm sweaty and sticky all the time. Most of the streets are unpaved and made of sand. The silly person who designed this town put the centro right under the hills and constructed the rest all over them, so it's basically an all day hike that we do here. It's definitely a lot more of what you'd expect to see in Mexico--lots of poverty, but the people are very happy and friendly. Religion is more of a topic here--not like S and G where everyone is Catholic. There are a lot of Catholics but a lot more of other religions also, and people are more willing to listen. Our area covers three different towns--C, B, and M. B and M are right on the beach and there are a good chunk of members there, too. They're about 25 minutes away and we go once or twice a week in bus. Our house is in a 3 story building, the 2nd and third stories are ours. On the second floor we sleep, eat, and study, and on the 3rd floor we have a washing machine and a dryer! Can I just tell you how beautiful that is? The downside is that we don't have running water every once in a while (like today) so we have to save it in buckets to be able to bathe ourselves.
The members are AWESOME! There is a lot of priesthood and almost all the leadership positions are filled. There's a branch president, his counselor, secretary, elder's quorum president, his counselor,school president, ward mission leader (awesome!), full and complete relief society presidency, young women's president, young men's president, and primary president. There are two priests who will be turning 18 and leaving on missions soon and they're also great. there were 55 people in church, and we could barely fit everyone in the house of prayer. There's not a whole lot, but they work hard and do it well. There's lots of potential.
This week we were basically just trying to recover all the work that Elder M and Elder Y were doing before they had to leave. They hadn't baptized anyone, but they were getting close with a few. We were able to bring 3 investigators to church this week. V and M went and have gone 4 times now. The problem is that they're not married. They're about 50 years old and seem pretty converted, but it's going to be a long process so that M can get divorced to her ex husband and get married to V. But the Lord will provide the way. They even came to the Christmas devotional and liked it a lot. The other investigator was G. That's been a good name for me on my mission since I've aready baptized two of those, so hopefully she'll be the third. She lives in M and is the Branch president's first counselor's wife. They've been married for about a year and have a new born baby. She's been to church more than 5 times but hasn't felt a sure answer to her prayers yet and seems a little timid about getting baptized because her family is really catholic.
We also received a basketload of referrals last week (like 16) but when they give referrals in a little town like this, instead of an address they just tell you "You go down this street about 3 or four blocks, turn left at the star-fruit tree, pass by the store, go up the hill, turn right at the corner and on that street in about the 4th or 5th house is where the person lives. It's a white house with a black gate, there'll be a pitbull barking outside and 4 or 5 blue birds in the tree in front. Across the street there'll be an old man sitting on the side walk, probably drunk, and if you need help you can ask him, he'll know who it is." So we haven't been able to find them yet, but we've got a lot of work for this week. I feel like I've just been sent to this area to enjoy it, for however long I'm here. It's been an interesting adjustment but I need to learn to be a little more patient. Nothing the Atonement can't help me overcome. If there is one thing I've learned on my mission, it's that the Atonement is real. "I can do all things in Christ, which strengtheneth me." I love you all and hope you have a great week.
PS Yes mom we are using the advents. And thanks Grandma and Grandpa for the package, I got it this week.
PPS If anyone ends up with Anti monkey-butt powder after all the white elephant parties this year, I'd appreciate it if you'd send it on down. Thanks.