Tuesday, March 18, 2008

100 Degrees and It's Only March

Dear Family & Friends:

This week was very hard. It was 100+ almost every single day. We are on bikes most of the time, so it was extra harsh, but we were able to push through. In our zone, we have a prayer calendar that has a day to pray for each companionship. Our day comes around every two weeks, and this Wednesday it was our turn. It was amazing! I was with another Elder working in our area, and his Spanish isn't that good, so I was freaking out. I was in charge and have only been speaking Spanish a few months, but anything is possible with the Lord's help. The day was amazing! I spoke the best Spanish that I have ever spoken, and I was able to understand a lot better than normal. We were able to teach a lot of lessons, including to this one lady that we randomly contacted on the side of the road. She said that she had talked to the missionaries about 10 years ago, and has some family that are members, so we were able to teach her and she seemed very interested.
Also, on a side note, I went up to this other lady and started talking to her in Spanish, and the first thing she said to me was, "I don't speak English." I had to try really hard to not laugh.
These were some of the highlights of the week. unfortunately everything has its opposite. We have been having a really hard time getting people to church because most people don't have cars, so we rely on other people to give them rides to church, and it doesn't always work out. If there's any one piece of advice I could give it is for everyone to find a way to support the missionary effort. I am surprised to see how much member involvement makes or breaks the missionary work. It would be great if everyone studied the "Preach My Gospel " manual and helped the missionaries by either finding people to teach, going with them to appointments, or fellowshipping new members and investigators. I don't think the members realize how much of an effect they have!
In other news we are still not moved into our new place. Each week we get closer and closer; this week we actually packed stuff in our car before we found out that we couldn't move in. Oh well, we joke that we could always go sleep on the train tracks.
Last week I was out with one of the other elders in our zone, and we were talking to this guy on the street for about 20 minutes. He had a lot of questions about the church and stuff. While we were talking to him, this other man came up to us and said, "Hey guys, I think I have a devil on my back, and I'm on cocaine, can't you guys bless me or something?" He said he wanted to quit. We set up a time to go by to help him out, but when we went, he wasn't there. Apparently Laredo is one of the biggest drug trafficking cities in the United States because its really easy to get across the Mexican Border and once you hit San Antonio, there are highways to pretty much anywhere in the U.S.
There are a lot of border patrol people down here, but all they do is block off the streets and race their expensive SUVs. There are also a lot of people who are illegal here, and we have been puzzled as to how they got here. How they could keep crossing back and forth? We finally got an answer from one of the members in our area. She said that it's really easy to get a three-day visitor/vacation visa. The visas don't have expiration dates on them, so you can go back and forth as much as you want. Another way is to pay a "coyote" about $10,000 to sneak you across, but that one's a little more complicated.
To everyone who sends me stuff, thanks! The mail guy doesn't come by our house everyday, so it take a while for us to get any mail, and it takes awhile for me to respond, but I will respond eventually and look forward to your letters and packages.