Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Elders of Laredo

Hermanas of the Zone

Eating an "Elote"

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Miracle Family Gets Baptized

Hello everyone
On Wednesday we were able to teach our miracle family. We brought along a recently returned missionary , who just got back from Russia about a month ago. He is really awesome and right as we were leaving, some guy called him from Russia and he had this whole conversation in Russian. I am so grateful to be learning Spanish! On Thursday I was on exchanges and I ended up having to go to the hospital to keep an elder company. He had come down with pnuemonia and so we all took turns looking after him. I feel really bad for him because he sounded like he was really bored and couldn't really do anything other than just lay there. Friday was interesting. In the morning we saw a mouse run through our living room, so we spent about 45 min chasing it around and turning over furniture to try and catch it. Elder Pike ended up smacking it with a bottle of bleach and killed it. This is the second mouse that we have seen since we moved into our new apartment. Then on Saturday we had a lesson with this lady and Elder Caywood invited her to say the closing prayer, but he forgot to tell her to say it out loud, so we sat there for like 30 seconds before we realized that she was saying it in her mind (her lips were moving) so I signaled to Elder Caywood to say something, but he didn't want to and neither did I. So we sat there in awkward silence for more than 5 minutes until she stopped moving her lips. It was pretty awkward and funny. Sunday was by far the best day ever! We had the baptism for a family of four we called the "miracle" family planned, but they didn't show up for church, so we called them and they said an emergency had come up and they would be late. Five minutes before church ended they showed up, just in time for the baptism. Elder Caywood baptized the parents and I baptized the two sons. When the father came up out of the water, he gave us all a thumbs up! It was an amazing experience to be able to see a whole family get baptized together. Remember, this is the family we found when we locked our bikes on a street sign and went around to a few names that we had, but nobody was around. We had about 20 minutes before our next appointment so we decided to go back to our bikes and figure something out. When we got back, I noticed an apartment complex that I hadn't seen before, so I said, "Hey let's go check it out since we have time." My companion said that he had always wanted to try there because he never had before. So we went to the second level where we saw two open doors, and the second door we saw the husband and he said, "Hey you guys are the mormons, right?" and we said yes. He said, "Hey my sister is a member (in another part of Texas) and she told me to go to church a few months ago, but I didn't know where it was. I knew you guys would come by eventually, so I've been waiting here for you!" At that point we pretty much fell off the balcony. We set up a return appointment, and 5 weeks later now they are baptized. They were awesome. They didn't have any problems with anything and always asked us a lot of questions. It has been an awesome experience teaching them! Well, I have to go, but I'll try and send some pictures ASAP!
Love Ryan

Friday, April 25, 2008

Future Missionary Cousins Wish Ryan Well

Mi espanol es bueno

Hello everyone:
This week was pretty good! We had Zone Conference this past Tuesday. It was awesome. We are focusing on Chapter 10 of Preach My Gospel about developing our teaching skills, and it is one of my favorite chapters to study. My Spanish is also coming along great! I decided to start doing my personal studies all in Spanish, and I was surprised at how much I can understand when I'm reading. Now I'm just trying to work on understanding what everyone is saying when they speak. I can usually get the gist of what they are saying, but my goal is to understand everything by the end of the transfer. Speaking of this transfer, I believe at the end of this transfer we get to call home for Mother's Day, which is very exciting! Two days ago, I had something called an Elote (Ay-Low-Tay), which is a very popular snack around here. All of the ice cream type trucks around here sell raspas and elotes. An elote is corn, cheese, chili (like a spice) hot sauce, and mayo, all mixed together in a cup. Pretty much the worst combination of all time, but I wanted to try one before I left Laredo, so I bought one. I have a picture of it, and I'll try and send it home today. Other than that, the work is still going strong. We have a family of 4 that we are baptizing this weekend, so I will definitely get you guys some pictures of that! Have a great week!

Love, Ryan

Saturday, April 19, 2008

It's Been Five Months

Love Thy Neighbor

Hello Everyone:
This week was so-so, we had transfers on Wednesday, and I'm still in Laredo with Elder Caywood. Only one elder in our apartment got transfered, Elder Fellows. He was replaced by Elder Pike who came from Corpus Christi. He's from Santa Barbara, and my companion is from Napa (San Francisco Area) so we sit around and talk about California and how much we miss In-N-Out.
Funny story. Remember me telling you about the kids that left all of the notes at our door step? Well, they struck again. We had just gotten home and they started throwing rocks at our door and running away, so we turned off all of our lights and went to the window to see if we could see who it was. When we figured it out, I signaled to my companion to open the door as they were coming back to do it again. When he opened it, the kids stood there all stunned and one of the kids said, "What's your name sir?" and my companion said "Why? You're still going to throw rocks at our door!" and the kid was like, "I uhhh just wanted to welcome you to the apartments!" There are so many kids that live in our apartment complex. They are always running around outside and writing stuff on our dusty car. The raspa truck (like a Mexican snow-cone) comes into our complex at least two times a day.
Our new member hasn't yet been confirmed. She said that she was going to move to Monterrey this week for good, but said she would come to church before she left to get confirmed. She wasn't home when we went by before church, so she is probably gone. Oh yeah, I don't remember if I told you or not, but the Saturday before conference we were about to leave and we heard this knock on our door. I opened it, and it was two Jehovah Witnesses going door to door. They just looked at me for a second and then looked down at my name tag, and then proceeded to do a door approach on us. We were nice to them of course and laughed afterwards because people mix us up all the time, and they must have been so surprised to see us when the door opened.
Four inches of snow in Seattle? It's in the 90s and 100s around here. Send some cold weather this way! Well I hope you all have an awesome week! Write soon.


Monday, April 7, 2008

The Hot Streets of Laredo

The Power of Example

Hello everyone. This week was a hard week, but it had its high points, including conference this past weekend, which was amazing! I had heard people say that conference (worldwide conference of the LDS Church held twice a year) was 10x better on your mission, but I never expected it to be that wonderful. I especially liked Elder Jeffrey Holland's and Elder Christofferson's talks. It was also interesting to see the Solemn Assembly and to be able to sustain President Monson (as the new Prophet and President of the LDS Church). I don't know if Matt or any of the boys told you what President Monson said during the priesthood session. Basically he was talking about the power of example and how one time he was at a Stake Conference and he saw this little boy on the front row mimicking the way he was sitting. So he changed his position, and so did the boy. He then said that he looked the boy squarely in the eyes, and then wiggled his ears. (While he was telling the story, he wiggled his ears too)! He said the boy gave his best effort but couldn't do it and then poked his father next to him and pointed at his ears and at President Monson. When the father looked over, President Monson looked up at the pulpit and pretended like he was listening to the speaker the entire time.
The other elders in our district had a baptism yesterday. It was a miracle because the guy showed up at the last possible second for his interview and baptism, but he said that this was something that he really wanted to do because he wanted to change and become a better person. Many people have written me and asked me what it is I'm teaching here and what members of the LDS church believe. So I asked that this blog have a link to more information and to have posted the LDS Church Articles of Faith, which spell out what we believe. (See the bar to the right of this blog for more information.) Transfers are this Wednesday, so I'll let you know. Also, thanks to everyone for their words of encouragement, too. It's great to get letters from home.
Love, Ryan