HOLY COW, crazy week this week! So much has been happening! I guess its just Ogden/Buenaventura branch's way of wishing me goodbye, because tomorrow I will be traveling to the country fields of HYRUM, UTAH - which covers from Brigham City to Logan, Utah - I GET A CAR!! WHOOO!! And I'm serving with Elder Muro, we'll see how he is, I only met him once for a few minutes. But then again, that's how Elder Minson was, and we had a blast together. Kinda sad I am leaving him and this branch, but I'm also kinda ready to leave. I've been here for FOUR MONTHS! Crazy. I didn't burn a tie or anything in honor of my 6 months out, sorry, but we were kinda busy doing a 1000 things... such as:
Wednesday morning we were going to Chantal and Carlos's house to see if they'd bought the marriage license finally - Carlos had been asking to be paid (he's built 2 houses and not been paid yet), but they still hadn't been able to do it yet. We rode up on the bikes... and the house was deserted. NOTHING inside. The night before everything was there, but by wed morning, NOTHING. We are teaching some family of theirs, and they are panicked - they can't find them, haven't heard a thing. The only thought they have is immigration caught up with them. The Migra. It's so scary, people just disappear in seconds. Its so crazy. We'll never see Carlos, Chantal, and their son Andrew again. Deported most likely. They're in jail probably right now. It's insane, they were so nice, changing their hearts... we suspect Carlos' boss didn't have funds to pay him, so instead he called immigration and got them all deported after using them. Sad. Not uncommon. But sad. I know people come here illegally, but once you talk to them, you understand more why they did it. It's still wrong, but its better than what they were going through. But yeah...
On a positive note... we were talking with our zone leaders, trying to figure out how to overhaul this branch some, and we decided the lifeblood of a branch or ward is the youth - and the youth prgram here is a little sickly.... SO Elder Minson had a sweet idea: when he was in high school, his friends would meet up at someone's house every sunday and watch church movies or something, play games, and bake cookies: Cookie Night. We decided we wanted something to do on the weekends too, so we started our first Noche de Galletas here. We invited all the youth to come over to a member's home, and, without all the leaders and church dress and all we watched the Restoration with them, talked about it, baked and ate cookies, and played a sweet game involving smashing your face into a mountain of flour and digging a penny out with your nose (I won). It was awesome, and instead of the 4 people we were expecting, FIFTEEN showed up - AND 2 nonmember friends. We're doing it every Sunday here now... well, SOMEONE will be doing it every Sunday... but way fun. I think the youth will change beacause of it - less active youth decided to come, just to see what it was. Next week we're involving pinatas (we learned how to make them at a members house, sweet!)
BTW, Mexican seafood is usually not safe. A family went all out and made us a dish with bits of fish, clams, crab and octopus in it... they probably skipped a few meals to afford it, and the husband is in pain when he works... felt bad, because it made me way sick all weekend and I like had a fever and etc. Got better, but yeah... Mexican seafood...
Man, Dad and Jeff, stop having problems, sheesh! Back pains? Teeth? Ears? Crazy... Jeff, you're going to have Senora Johnson?? Good luck. Make it fun, and don't go crazy - she's from Nicaragua, and nuts. Tell her I finally went on my mission, and I know Spanish now - I'll try to think of some fun stuff to tell you to say to her. Stealing the sombrero in her class is a must... and good job escaping Glass Castle, that book was awful. All about drunk fathers and abuse and junx like that...you'll be better off in Honors.
Actually, when I read that book I rejected it because I didn't want to believe the world was that messed up. But I'm understanding that more, this week. We've had a lot of experiences, finding out about people being abused by husbands, husbands being terrible because they're drunk... I've never been around drunk people before, but they're psycho. Last night we were teaching a lady and her drunk boyfriend walked in, thought our member friend who came with us (a 50 year old man from Mexico, super nice) was some bad guy he knew from 5 years ago, and he tried to punch him in the face - broke his glasses - it was pretty bad, we managed to get him off ok (our friend was totally cool with it, understood) and we were going to leave but then the dude was going to attack his girlfriend (our investigator), so we stayed and distracted him for an hour because he liked us, thought we were hermanos en Dios and hugged us a lot, made us hold his hand to prove we were men of God, etc... drunk people are crazy.
The situation turned out all right, and everyone made it to their respective locations ok, but it opened my eyes. I became thankful for things like the Word of Wisdom [our code of healthy living--like abstaining from alcoholic beverages, smoking drugs, coffee, tea, or other addictive substances, that kind of stuff], the guidance to live a clean life, being privileged to be born into the Church of Jesus Christ, for good parents that are righteous, for a good safe home... I feel like I've lived in a dream life, and I'm opening my eyes to how the rest of the world lives. Satan indeed has many chained down by addiction, ruining lives. It helped me see more that I'm not just bringing people a better doctrinal understanding, but teaching them HOW to live, bringing them to Christ and His way of life. I always figured that was such a given, but people really don't know how to live the commandments and be happy. Their lives are a living hell. Think of how FEW of His children do what's right, - - how much is He counting on US to bring the rest to Him? We really are the hope of Israel, we need to bring others to Christ and the truth. There's so few of us, NONE of us can afford to be less than our best effort. Eye opening experience, at least... oh, we got a cool quote from the Zone Leaders yesterday - called "The Fellowship of the Unashamed" - Elder Henry B Eyring read it once, might not be originally by him, but its a sweet quote. A declaration of being a disciple of Christ and not looking back or giving in for anything. The decision is made, the dye has been cast. Cool. Reflected kinda how I've been trying to feel this week - become dedicated to this cause completely.
So yeah, asi es (that's how it is). Sounds like everthing is going good over there in Virginia, and school is ready for the kids even if they're not ready for it (I was starting BYU a year ago!!!) Oh! I got the shirt Heidi! SCHWEET!! I love it! Thanks! Congrats to Jacob Magura and also Rhianna... I thinks I gotta go, packing will be fun... I have so much stuff... but yeah, I love you all, the gospel is true. Thank you mom and dad for all you do, and for not drinking and such - hope all is well with everything, and we'll talk next week from HYRUM.
Love, Elder Chris the Thelin
PS: Birthday? um, the only thing I could think of is a USB drive for pictures? ... and maybe some cd's (can't have burned ones, have to be churchy and I'm going to be driving a lot - 30 minutes between apts)... probably could send my EFY cds in my room? Would be perfect! I don't really need or want much though, so, yeah! Whatever! I don't need anything for my birthday, really!
PPS ...the wall fell down. A giant whirlwind was blowing across Mongolia and started thrashing the little group. In the confusion, they couldn't see much. "Where are you??" cried Heidi. "Hold on to something!" cried Holly. "AHHHH" cried Amy. When it cleared... the trees were gone... and so were Luke, the platypi, and Tippy and Tanny. Gone. "What're we gonna do?" said Amy. "The Platypi are the only ones that know Chris" said Heidi. "Well, lets go search for them! I want Tanny and Tippy!" said Holly. So, they crossed the wall... and went to go search...
PPPS. ..HAPPY ANNIVERSARY GRANDMA AND GRANDPA !!!!!!!!! LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!x59