Sunday, January 25, 2015

Janauary 19, 2015 Missionary by day, false idol by night

hello all of you

well this week started out pretty great, after writing you guys last week, we went and visited the mercada, which turns out is like a shopping mall of wood and leather. kinda like a flea market but more mexican... so basically a flea market. Anyways, Ii bought a nacho libro mask, so i guess im a real mexican now.

we had a missionary return last week from paraguay, and he is the bomba punto se o emme. we worked with him a decent amount this week (he hasn’t found a job yet, so he has nothing else to do) we went on splits with him and the second counselor. i was with the ex-missionero (that’s what they’re called here, which I’m not a fan of, because ex always to have a negative connotation) for just over an hour, he was a bit rusty on his matehuala so, yup you guessed it, we got lost. but we found it, so todo bien, no?

we have been doing good this week as we have been finding a bunch of people that seem really apt to progress, we have been focusing on challenging everybody to baptism in the first lesson, and everybody is pretty receptive. our only problem is that nobody is going to church. with all the companionships the whole time I’ve been here, that seems to be the big challenge in this area.

this week we also found our first family to teach, it was a reference from another companionship. we went and started teaching the parents and their three kids (all 18 and older) just kinda wandered in and started listening as well. it was kinda weird to see, a whole family of adults gathered around listening intently to the words of two jóvenes like us. but such is the work of the Lord. they even accepted to say the closing prayer, which was good, except for the fact that they seemed to be praying to us (opened in the name of our heavenly father and said things like "and thank you guys for coming to teach us) so what do you know, im a false idol now.

yeah that’s it for this week, oh wait no one more thing. mom remember how you told me not to climb any roofs, well i did. we felt like we should go visit these old people a bit early, and we found them outside of their house trying to pick the lock because they had left the keys inside when they went to the doctor. so i scaled their wall and jumped down into their courtyard to let them in. see mom? my talent is useful. i helped old people. sick old people. I’m like batman... mexican batman... i guess that’s just zorro...I’m like zorro

there now that’s all.

Elder Z

("elder 2?" "no, it’s a z." "but that is what my daughter learned in school is the number 2." "it’s a z... for zorro." "oh, zorro? thank you zorro" "...that is more like it!" will get my reference)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Jan 12, 2015 machete to the face/almost in the hospital again

yeah im just going to spoil it right now and tell you all that no, the two events are not related, and yes, im still fine.

well we ran out of el es la dadiva (he is the gift) cards this week, which significantly affected our contacting, and meant that we had to focus on other things. this week was service. sure we always offer to help people with service, but i guess the lord saw what we were lacking and stuck us in the path of people who would accept.

the first one was just a lady who was bringing in groceries and wood from her car. we helped her with her stuff and then she invited us to teach her and her husband right there. i now understand the term golden investigator. you could see from their house that they had lots of money (but not from their grocery bags, im honestly confused as to why somebody with a car and that nice of a house was shopping at bodega aurrera... thats where poor people like us shop) but despite all that, they were super humble. they were super receptive, when they had questions it was never challenging, and they were willing to comply with everything that we asked them to do. "would you like to offer the closing prayer" "yeah sure" "oh come on hermana, its very simpl... wait did you just say yes?" "yeah" "oh, ok then" ...honestly, she made my opening prayer look pretty pathetic.

the other service we were able to offer was to some ladies who had a big wheelbarrow piled with wood. we helped them haul it to their house. there was one log that was too big though and was catching on the ground, so we asked if they had anything to cut it, they had a machete. so elder v tried to use the machete to cut it and on a back swing he whacked me in the face, cut a big gash right above my eye. it bled a lot but eventually it stopped, and it hasn't swelled up yet or anything so i think i should be fine... naw just kidding, he did tap me in the forehead, but no gash, no scratch, didnt even hurt. it did scare the heck out of everyone though and now i can say that i have taken a machete to the face (i have a lot of stories that sound really exciting when technically stated)

other than that we have been working with a guy this week on stopping his smoking habit. he is ready for baptism, but he has a problem with smoking and drinking, so we are working on helping him quit that and have set a goal for his baptism the 31st of this month. not gonna lie it was kind of intimidating to approach. im a 19 year old kid, i have no experience quitting smoking, i dont have a lot of life experience, i dont even have a complete grasp of the language, yet somehow it always seems to work out. i guess thats the genius of the whole missionary program, that the lord is able to take inexperienced young men and women and do all these amazing things (thats me bragging on the lords part, not mine) God has always had a habit of using flawed individuals to do great things, its cool to be able to experience that from a front row seat (or the stage, not really sure which one fits better into that analogy)

another example of that principle happened this week with another experience. we were at the church in a zone conference when a random guy comes into the chapel and asks if we could come visit somebody who was sick and wanted to make a confession, we said sure, but weren't really sure what was going to happen. he lived in our area, so we went to go visit the guy. he was an older man, about 70 years old, in bed, unable to move because of prostate cancer. he was in significant pain in his whole body, except his legs because he had lost all feeling in them. he couldn't move hardly at all except his arms and head, 1.because he didn't have the strength and 2. because there was even more pain when he moved. so we met with him and just kinda talked the first time. he doesn't have any family, and at this point he just wants to die. he met with us because he met some missionaries a while ago when he was well, but wanted nothing to do with it because he was living a very worldly life. he had made a change and with this he realized how little any of that other stuff mattered. as awful as his situation is, i honestly think it is a blessing. it has humbled him to the point that he is willing to accept the way to true and eternal happiness. that night we gave him a blessing and left. the next day we visited him again for just a little. the pain was significantly less, but we had him agree that we would get him moved to a hospital. we didn't return for him the next day, they called and told us that the pain was gone. still cant move himself but he is well enough to be moved to a hospital down in san luis. not sure what will happen from here, but no matter what it is amazing to see that we, as inadequate as we are, can bring peace to somebody with much more experience in such a difficult trial.

well, im just about out of time, and that's all i can really remember, so paz afuera 

Elder Gándola

Thursday, January 8, 2015

January 5, 2015 gps.o.s. (wow thats cheesy, sorry, i couldnt resist)

well this week was exceptionally normal. i cant actually remember most of what we did, and i dont have tons of time anyways, so this will be short.

first of all i got bitten by a dog this week... ok, well technically. we had gone into the sisters area to give a blessing, took a bus to get home, but it was the wrong bus so we ended up kinda lost (no thats not what inspired the name of the email) so we got off, orientated ourselves (or rather elder V orientated ourselves)and started walking back. but as we were walking , we walk past these dogs in the street, not big dogs, like shisus in one color (yeah im not well versed in my dog breeds) and as i walk past, the smallest one comes up and bites my calf, ok tried to bite my calf, it didnt rip my pants, scratch me, or even hurt, but i can still say i got bit by a dog. i just turned around and stared it down and it ran away like the little pansy dog tthat it is... dumb dog.

other that that, we had intercambios again. i was with elder M again, which was not a problem, but we were in my area. which was. yeah, remember that thing where i was awful with directions, yeah thats still a thing. luckily we had a map, so we managed to make it around fine without getting to disoriented. im not really used to leading (though i am a master at following from in front, dont ask how that works, i still dont know) so once or twice we would be walking down a street and started thinking, "where  are we going? i have never seen this street before... oh thats right, im leading, stink. but i managed to make it through and we had some awesome lessons, so all is good.

well thats it for this week, take care, be good, love you guys

elder gandola

December 29, 2014

well, its me again,

i would like to start by saying one thing, salmonella is great, you should all try it. sure it makes you want to die while you have it, and also after when you cant eat anything, but after that... you get superpowers. 
superpower 1: i can eat all the food in the world. Before i was sick elder velazco would always tell me that i needed to eat more. well, as soon as i got better, i can eat like twice as much as he can, and like 10 minutes later im ready for round 2.
superpower 2: picante no longer exists. before i was sick, i liked spicy things, but there was still a point where it was too much. now i can eat all the spicy things i want. people will tell me to be carefull because things are really hot, elder velazco even said that he cant eat valentina because its too hot... i eat it straight on bread and its nothing.
superpower 3: ...ok there is no more, but hey, its not like i was bitten by a radioactive spider or anything, you cant expect too much.

but yeah, other than that this week was actually pretty crazy. we spent a lot of time monday and tuesday preparing for a branch activity we had in a random street. we watched el es la dadiva and another christmas mormon message, had a few messages, and sang some christmas hymns that we prepared (ok in all honesty the hymns were musical apostasy, but i dont think anyone here knows the difference, so we´re good) all in all it was a good activity. though i will say that my favorite part was setting up. you know how in the states nobody lets you ride in the back of their truck because its dangerous and its a church activity and they´re responsible for you and all that junk? yeah thats not a thing here. its more like, "hey, lets load some chairs and tables and a white board in the back of a truck, then throw like 5 people in there and drive around!" ... i like traffic laws here better.

After the activity, riding in the back of a truck

then wednesday and thursday we were celebrating christmas. the 24th is the big day here, but during both we mostly just ate a lot, which made me (and my stomach) happy. we did a lot of eating this week. monday i discovered panaderias (bakeries) where they sell freshly made food of the gods (bread) for like 3 pesos... thats like 20 cents. mom, you told me not to celebrate christmas with just a sandwich, dont worry, i celebrated with a bowl of trix (im still mad at those stupid kids in the trix commercials "silly rabbit, trix are for kids." let me ask you a question, when is the last time you have seen a kid eating trix? thats right never. kids, trix are for adults and rabbits, go home) haha but i had more as well, we got to go watch frozen (in spanish =( ) as a zone at the church and we all brought snacks, so i was well fed. ( i forgot that watching frozen is a dangerous thing to do, i still have the music stuck inside my head)

Our Christmas Tree-We got it when a donkey dropped it.
but yeah, the 24th was definitely the more interesting of the two days (besides the whole talking to family stuff) it started out really interesting really early. i woke up in the morning with a light in my face (the flashlight on elder v phone) and him asking, "elder, esta bien? como se siente?" "...bien" i thought that i had overslept or something, but i looked at the clock and it was 1 in the morning. then without another word he just went back to sleep, but he left the light on, lying on his bed, shining right in my face. i waited like 3 minutes, but it didnt turn off, so i went and shoved it under his pillow. needless to say i was very confused. i found out the next morning that i had been talking in my sleep in english, and he was tired and confused, so that was what happened.

other than that, we just did the normal stuff, teach people, contact people, kill goats. yup, we killed a goat this week on christmas eve. went to visit a member and there was a goat tied to a post, he went over to it and brought it over to us. i though, "oh, he’s showing us his goat." than we started tying up its legs and i though, "oh, i guess we are murdering his goat." so we killed it, skinned it and chopped it into cuts that he would sell to people. in all honesty i wasn't sure that my stomach would feel great with it, but it was fine, it was actually kinda cool (and i mean that in an interesting kinda way, not in an im a sociopath that enjoys killing things kinda way) it was almost disturbingly casual. there was a half skinned goat hanging from a tree, its stomach hanging from another, and we were just sitting around eating cookies and drinking soda.

then this saturday president came down for interviews. they went fine, mine was pretty short, and afterwards he said he wanted to have a zone meeting on sunday. we were all scared because we though he would iron us out, but he was in a pretty good mood, didnt say anything negative, and told us that he wanted to go up to a hill and dedicate this land. i didnt even know that was a thing. but this morning, we all went and had an awesome breakfast with him and then we all went up to a mountain, and he dedicated the land that the people would be able to receive the spirit and the gospel. it was a really unique experience.

where we dedicated matehuala 
yeah, thats my week, this one should be normal though (until the new year) family, you may have already heard some of that, but i dont remember what and i want a written record of it anyways. but anyways, im doing well, take care, do good stuff.

elder gandola