Mexico, Mexico City South - Spanish Speaking

Monday, April 29, 2013

Bucket showers, boogers, songs, and puppies!

There is a first time for everything...

Yes. Do you want to guess? Okay. If you said bucket showers, you are correct. Dingdingding we have a winner. Yes. Yes. I had to do my first bucket shower this week. But guess what? It wasn't even that bad. I actually thought it was kind of fun. Do I want to do it again? No. I have no desire, actually. But it wasn't bad. lol. And it was only one day - so I can't complain. I guess all the water in Tyuheluaco just stopped coming or something. I don't understand.... BUT I am sooo lucky to have running water. Like, I feel so extremely spoiled. So I live at the bottom of the Hills in my area. The Hill areas are sooo poor. NO ONE has running water, except for a couple homes, and they only have it one day a week. When I found that out - I was just like wuuuuut  - how come I get water everyday except for when it randomly stops working? I don't know. But yes. It was a humbling and slightly fun because now I can say I did a bucket shower. I am sure I have plenty more in my future here in Mexico, but it isn't too common... knock on wood. I kind of am confusing myself right now. But the point of this was to tell you that I had a bucket shower and it was kind of cold and not enjoyable but it is now in my journal so that's fun. Oh yeah. Also just be super grateful that you have water whenever you want it. Not when you need it. When you want it. HA jerks. jk. LOVE you. En serio.

OKay so this week was like way better. It went fast like the past weeks. OH GOOD NEWS. I got your letter you sent April 2. SO that is just dandy. EERRR it took a month! Yes, it takes a month. I will be looking for my package soon. Anyways. 

QUE paso en este semana. Oh good stuff happened. So Tuesday night I asked M. to prepare to be baptized on May 11, and she was gung hoooo! I was super excited because I had the spirit during that lesson which helped my Spanish, she was understanding me well. I said a lot of good things that the Lord needed me to say, and it ended with a baptismal date!!! I mean I am stoked but she has had plenty of baptismal dates in the past so that was kind of lol worthy when my comp told me that this is common. But I am determinded to help/force her (jkjkjkhahahno) help her in this process. I am determined to teach her everything suuuper clear and great and yes. The rest of the week we were able to catch her at good times. But, yesterday we were looking for her and this guy opens the door who lives there (multiple people live behind these gates in seperate rooms or houses, it just depends) and he didn't have a shirt on, he had a HUGE snot booger hanging from his nostril blowing in the wind, and he was super drunk and peligroso. So we asked him if M. was home and he said no, no one is home... And we were like uhhhhh okay, thinking to ourselves "what about you...",but we didn't and just accepted the answer because we didn't want to get in a tussle with him. But I was so entranced by his booger I probably made a wierd face and he saw me and he got super mad and was yelling at me and so we starting like walking/running away and I was super confused because I didn't know what he was saying, but I found out after. I guess he wanted to fight me and was calling me a guerro which is a white person and told me to go back to the estados unidos and yeah. I feel really bad that I looked at his booger in a way that was percieved to be rude... and next time I will be more careful to not look at drunk people because ya. Close call, folks. 

This week we also talked to a family about the Atonement to help them with stuff going on in their family and in our favor they had a friend over who was not a member. She was from some other state in Mexico, but I guess she had talked to the MIssionaries like 10 years ago. She thought they were great people but nothing happened. ANYWHO, we were talking about the Atonement and asked a few questions to the non-member and she had amazing answers. She sounded so experienced in studying the Atonement and already had such a testimony about it even thought she hasn't read the Book of Mormon, which really expounds on the Atonement. She was soooo awesome and after she gave us her address so we could have missionaries in her area sent to her. It was super cool. I was jealous because I wanted to teach her and baptize her and have her in my Rama because she has so much potential to do so much good in the church. God is truly preparing people to hear this message. It was really great to see that first hand. 

Later that day we had a cita way up in the mountains where the dragons live, I think, so yeah basically it is super far and long and I am crawling by the time we got to the house. But this time we had another companion. It was a super cute little pup and he literally followed us up all the way to the house! I have picures. I couldn't believe he walked the whole way up because he is super small. But Yeah he did. Hahah, but then something sad happened. We got to the house and M. was like eww what is that and I told her it was a present and she didn't like my present and I had to say good bye to the little puppy. Pretty tragic. Now he is out there and lost probably. I think he was lost before, but still. So then we had a lesson with M. and she wants to get baptized and is so ready and has changed so much about her personal life. But she lives with a guy and they aren't married and NOW she doesn't know if she wants to marry him or separate and I was like uhhh why NOW? But she is going to pray about it. Hopefully she figures it out so we can baptize her and get her involved with a calling in the ward. 

Another cool story is this. I am planning a wedding. Who would've thunk it!? HA. This Friday is the supposed wedding and I am sooo stoked for this fiesta. So hopefully it actually happens. Because if it does that M. L. is getting baptized on the 11 de Mayo toooo! SO much potential. Baby steps. I feel have to be persistent with these people or else they will lose their momentum. So hopefully we talk to them tomorrow and see how everything is panning out. OKAY. 

So Saturday was a baptism for other missionaries in my Zone and so we went to that at 10 in the morning. Ten minutes before it started Elder Lopez and I arrived. Yes, and get this. Right when I walked through the doors an Hermano from my ward asked me to sing a special musical number. I guess I mentioned to him that I was in choir at BYU so he took that as a "hey i really want to sing special musical numbers at every baptism so just tell me five minutes before and I'll be good". But I can't really say no to anything as a missionary... So I sang Todo esta bien, which is Come, Come Ye Saints in Spanish. It actually went suuper well. I was pleased and felt lucky for that opportunity. Fun stuff. 

After the baptism Elder L., B., R. and I were on the micro and guess what song came on... CALL ME MAYBE. HA. It was suuper funny because we, as missionaries, naturally started singing along but replacing all of the words with missionary words like baptism, and Preach My Gospel, and Libro de Mormon. Everyone was looking at us wierd but secretly loved it, I think. But yes that is actually pretty common. American music ALWAYS plays on the buses, and I am ALWAYS on the buses going from cita to cita so I hear some great uplifting music such as California Girls, Toxic, Call me Maybe, and Gangnum Style eerday. No worries. I am holding up:)

Anyways that was my week. Oh wait, we had Stake Conference and it was crazy because there were so many people and no room and yeah it gave me a headache. But it was good. Afterwards a crazy little lady came up to me and was talking to me in really rocky english. I think she really wanted to practice. So she saw me crack my fingers and gave me a half hour lecture about how that is bad, but how I need to be massaging my hands everyday because it relieves stress and I should also clean my house because she said cleaning is good for the soul.  I told her I agreed and then she told me that cracking fingers gives people stress which gives you acne and she was referring to an American Elder with really fair skin and he has red and irritated skin,  I think... But she told me to be his friend and tell him that he should stop being stressed because his acne will go away and I was alll nooo you tell him! PS he isn't stressed. So yeah that was super interesting and fun and all. The people here sure are great. I am serious. I LOVE them. And I love Chinampas! 

I have an Hermana making my pants longer by unhemming them because she is a seamstress - for a living! She did a really good job and I am stoked about that. All is well in Zion #chinampas.

Love the letters from you guys. Thanks for everything. I am so glad you got the letters!! Hope you have a wonderful birthday pap! You are the BEST. Glad you enjoyed the letter. Love you all so much and I pray for you all the time. Thanks for all the prayers and support. I LOVE the letter you sent April 2. It was super heartwarming and good and yes. LOve love. Paz y bendiciones.

Con Amor,

Elder Macdonald

PS It's the Climb by my girl Hannah MONTANA is playing. Keep the faith, it's all about the climb. YAAAaaaaaAaAa. 

PSS Tell Boo and Rae I love them too and am proud of them! My clothes are working. My black shoes are more comfortable to walk in then my Eccos. SO I like the Bostonians. I think my clothes should last the year. I hope. Who knows. I am starting to see wear and tear on the back of my pants, but barely. I should be good for a little while longer. Time is flying by. Before we know it It will be Christmas. Ahhh. Haha. I haven't worn my Ray bans yet, but I will soon maybe. Who knows. I am not afraid to wear nice things here. People are not sketchy. They seem really nice and I haven't had any scary experiences except for the drunk in the email I just sent. But it RAINS alot here and it is starting to be the rainy season until September. sooo yeah. Find out if my shoes are water proof. I hope my backpack will be okay in the water. I carrry my umbrella with me every day because we never know if it will rain. I will love the diagram about the apostasy and the restoration because I have a hard time explaining the apostasy and understanding everything and explaining it simply. So yes try and send that soon! Love you so mucha and am grateful for your help and support. Oh and I haven't gotten the package yet. But hopefully this week or next. Who knows. Transfers are this Tuesday and we aren't changing. But I will be trainging in 6 weeks  - I am almost positive of that. So that shall be interesting. That is going to come soo fast. Love youuu. 

PSSS I forgot to write in my blog about my reading. Sorry! I read Matthew and Mark this week and just love it. So much. The similarities between 3 Nephi 11, 12, 13, 14, etc and Matthew 5, 6, 7, aka the Sermon on the Mount are sooo cool. I love reading about Christ. It is my favorite. Also read Alma 26:22. It is a great scripture to think about with missionary work because of the blessing I am promised for doing 4 things. The blessing is bringing souls to repentance or baptism or christ. It is super cool. But yes, I am really gaining a love for the scriptures. Like so much. Who would've thought. I hated to read before. But I never want to stop reading in the morning. Anyways. Love. 

Cute puppy

Cute elder

Our dog Scout's uncanny look alike in Mexico

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bueno bueno bueno

Okay thanks for the emails! I really appreciated them and enjoyed reading what has happened this week. 

This week I had quite a few rico meals. That means delicious, FYI. I am practically fluent. lol. So one of them was with the familia B... They are in my ward and the dad is second counselor, I think. Anyways, the kids are soo fun and loco. They have two daughters about 9 and 7ish that remind me of Jamie and Ashley when we were that age. Haha I about peed my pants when I made that connection. I swear the older one is Ashley's younger, Mexican twin. They are the same person. She is hilarious. I took a picture with them so I will send that. Another really good meal was with their aunt who lives down the street. She is young and has one son about 3 years old. I think she is divorced. Her enchiladas were sooo good. They reminded me of the Kocherhans enchiladas. It was a nice reminder of home. But yeah  - if you were wondering about the food I actually do enjoy it. We only techinically eat one meal a day around 2, but it is sooo much food. It is definitely enough. I have cereal and fruit in the mornings before I study/while I study, and sometimes if we have time I will eat some fruit or crackers or some kind of snack before I go to bed. And the question I am sure you are all asking is "have you eaten flaming hot cheetos". Duh. If there is a will, there is a way. They are different here... I am getting used to them. I like them, but I can't decide if I like them more or less. Haha, it is such an important thing to contemplate, I know. 

This Thursday we had intercambias which is where the junior companions swich with the other senior companions in the same district. So, I was with Elder B.! It was my favorite day so far. He leaves in less then two months and is on fire as a missionary. I learned so much from him. Our first appointment was with an elderly couple, who are investigators. We went in to teach to them the Commandments. So these folks are quite the characters. The wife is ALWAYS right. She is always correcting her husband and he just sighs and lets it happen. So if she has to be right you can only imagine how this conversation went. Elder Beal started off asking them what the commandments were. So she started naming them off and was so convinced that so and so commandment was number 3 even though in the Bible it says it is number 4 or whatever. So that was interesting. Also, her interpretation of the commandments was slightly/ really different. For example, she just went off and was like "the third commandment is to sanctify our fiestas". I just about rofled. Elder B. and I were whispering in english to each other because they can't understand (that is a benefit to having a companion that speaks english) and he was just like "what the heck is she talking about... oh, here we go again". HAha it was soo good. But I kept my cool and was respectful. I swear. So then we went into the Bible and were reading each one and explaining it. We got to "thou shalt not kill" and Elder B. whispered to me to talk about the Word of Wisdom with this one. Never have I ever heard about those two principles going together so I was hecka confused. I felt really dumb and stressed because I had like a split second to think about what I was going to say so I just said "uhh idk" to Elder B. and that was right when she finished reading the commandment and looked at me in horror and said " *GASP* No CIERTO!?!" So I was freaking out and was like noooo nooo siiiiiii siiiiii cierto cierto muy verdadera. UHhh. Then I explained how my spanish was less than, well yes, good and I had only been in Mexico for 3 weeks. So that was a slightly close call to leading someone into apostasy. Then he explained the Word of Wisdom with this commandment and I loved it. He said that we should not kill ourselves with substances that are harmful to our bodies. How simple is that? Yes, and it makes so much sense. Okay. Then I explained the Law of Chastity and they were all gunghoe. Entonces, that was a very, very, very fun lesson and yes.  
Then we taught two more lessons that day. First, we read the last chapter in Moroni with a family. That chapter is soooo good and I love it so much. It was so easy for me to share my testimony about those verses in Spanish. I think they recieved it well and felt the same spirit I felt. I liked that family alot and that was the first family I feel that liked me. HAHA. So yes. Confession. I feel like so many families here hate me on a much lighter note because I don't speak Spanish and I can't talk to them, so I seem stuck up or uninterested in them. Yes. It has been a challenge but the language has improved drastically in the past couple days so it is getting better. For example we ate with a widow in the ward today and she and I talked ALOT. When I told her that I have only been learning Spanish for 10 weeks and that I have only been in Mexico for a month she was so shocked and nice. That made me feel good. 

This friday we have Zone Conference. I love when we have conferences because I see other missionaries and I feel like I can speak again. So funnny. There are 3 Elders from Mountain View in my mission. Well as far as I know. Elder G. is here! (As well as Elder B.) He graduated 2010 and was on the swim team with me! It was super fun to see him and catch up. He leaves in 4 or 5 months and had some great stories. Small world. Oh yeah about Kendall Brown, Corbin McAllister and Xan Villalobos being companions and in the same district... that is insane. HAha they are going to have a blast in the MTC. Oh, how I long for the MTC... Everyone that is about to go to the MTC, enjoy it while you have it. It is such an amazing place to LEARN the gospel through the spirit and incredible teachers, have fun, and make wonderful memories. There is really nothing like it anywhere and you only have it for a few weeks. After that you get thrown out into the mission and it is NOT the same thing at all. The mission is sooo great and hard and you learn so much but it is not similar to the MTC. So yeah don't hate on the MTC like some people. Appreciate it. OKay glad that is settled. Back to the conference. I am convinced that I have the BEST mission president ever. His wife is amazing too and I just feel so safe and blessed to have them as my parents in the mission field for the next 21 months. President Valadez is so goofy and great. He wears his pants so high and I love it. They are both so knowledgeable of the Gospel and so nice. So yeah I learned some good things. PS they dont speak English, but that won't matter in a month. Why? Because I will be fluent. Yes. I actually have to be fluent in two months at the least because then I will be a trainer. Oh bless that pour soul. I have the faith. 

Okay so last thing. There is the guy named F. who is twenty years old. He is the guy that contacted US in the street. Anyways we were able to find him! It was tough because he moved and every house we went to said he was at the house we were just at and yeah, super struggleful. But we found him. He is pure gold... he has every perfect question that an investigator could have, and he has the perfect desire to know the truth! We asked him why he was interested in us and he replied saying that he feels like something is missing in his life. He has attended a bunch of different churches but they don't have every answer he needs. Obviously we had the perfect segue into the Restoration and the First Vision. It was fun to talk about Joseph Smith and how he had the same questions and desires as F. It really struck him. So we only had time to talk to him for a little while and then give him a pamphlet. But we are meeting with him tomorrow. I was so ready to teach him everything that night and baptize him the next day! It was soo exciting. But patience is a virtue. So we will teach him the lessons starting tomorrow and I will let you know how it goes! 

I wanted this to be on the blog. Thanks so much for emailing it to me. Love it so much. 
“When our hearts are broken, we are completely open to the spirit of God and recognize our dependence on Him for all that we have and all that we are.  The sacrifice so entailed is a sacrifice of pride in all its forms.  Like malleable clay in the hands of a skilled potter, the brokenhearted can be molded and shaped in the hands of the Master…Those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit are willing to do anything and everything that God asks of the, without resistance or resentment.  We cease doing things our way and learn to do them God’s way instead…There is yet another dimension of a broken heart – namely, our deep gratitude for Christ’s suffering on our behalf…When we remember the Savior and His suffering, our hearts too will break in gratitude for the Anointed One.  As we make the sacrifice to Him of all that we have and all that we are, the Lord will fill our hearts with peace.  He will ’bind up the brokenhearted’ and grace our lives with the love of God.” Elder Bruce D. Porter

 Okay so about the volcano. There is one right above me.... HAha but my companion said it isn't active and I haven't seen smoke or gas come out yet. But if it did blow, I think I would drown in lava because that is just the way that goes. The longer computer time we have is because my district leader said he got instruction from my mission President. So yup. The Lord is blessing the missionaries right now to be allowed to write friends and family. It is always the perfect boost of energy for the week. On Sundays we greet and say hi to people. This Sunday I had the opportunity to pass the sacrament! It was my first time in years! Super fun. But yeah we also teach a class for the teenagers. My companion never tells me what we are going to be teaching so it is rough. I will make sure to remind him we need to plan the lesson together so I can contribute. Haha. A quick shout out to Dallin Larsen! Good Luck bud and I know you will be great. Remember the Lord is with you! Try to learn as much as you can in the MTC! Hillary Owen also! Good luck and you are going to be an amazing Hermana! 

I am so glad that Andrew had a wonderful Patriarchal Blessing. Nice work Patriarch Higginson! Super cool! I love having my patriarchal blessing on the mission. It sounds like the family is doing great things at home! Love you Mom and Dad - thanks for the letters! Love you sibs. Keep working hard in school. You have one more month!! Si se pueden! I think that is all. I will send pics now. LOVE you all and I miss you! 

Con Amor, 

Elder Macdonald

The MTC crew at immigration last week

His "address" on his gate

Notice the dog hatin' on him...

The family in his branch (Jamie and Ashley)

"A weird tree with fake squirrels.  I need to meet these people!"
His house

The fridge

With the Assistants to the President

Monday, April 15, 2013

April 15, 2013 Becoming like Christ

Okay first things first... Birthday shout out to SAMUELIA OSSYPOSSY. If I had your email maybe I would write you a personal super nice email, but since I don't have the pleasure... neither will you. Just kidding Sam. I hope your birthday is wonderful and I thought about you today. I also thought about how you probably laugh when you think of me in these situations down unda. Ps Samuelia Ossypossy is Sam Oslund. Okay the next one is fur my seester Katie. I'll write you something in a few minutes. But happy birthday you old fart!

Next. This week was SO much better. All I needed to do was hang in there and have hope that this could get better. So Tuesday morning we went down to the subway and met up with a bunch of other Elders and a couple Hermanas to go to do immigration stuff. It was a glorious reunion to see Elder B., Elder G., Elder W., and yes... Elder D.! He came down to Mexico a week after us because the doc said his knees are fine. Seriously, I was extremely happy. When we all saw each other we ran and hugged like we hadn't seen each other for years. I just started cracking up instead of talking and asked if they hated it as much as I did. (disclaimer, i dont hate it) And yes. They did. Haha. LOLOL it was hilarious because we could just laugh about how pathetic we all are. But... in all seriousness we could express how this is the hardest thing we have EVER done. Ever. They all felt just as lonely as I had felt, just as homesick, and just as miserable day to day in the beginning. But they also had had glimpses of glory. They too had felt the spirit when bearing testimony, etc etc. So it goes without saying that it was not fun to say bye again. We had to go back to our companions that we can't talk to, and to situations that are nearly out of our control. But we didn't finish all the immigration stuff, so we will see each other again in a week or two. Woohoo. Anyways. It was a mighty tender mercy to be able to talk to people that are going through the exact same thing as me and find comfort in that. We agreed that we are all learning to rely on the Lord for everything. God's plan for each of us is perfect. And if I wasn't going through this, I wouldn't have a testimony of that. 

Anyways... this week was pretty normal, which I decided is good. I am getting accustomed to the life of a missionary. I actually enjoy walking up and down the stupid mountain that is so near me. Haha. We had a cool experience where this twenty year old guy came running after us and asked us who we were and what we were about. That made my whole week. It was a testimony to me that we were in the right place at the right time for the spirit to work on someone. Super cool. We are going to teach him this week. We also were looking for a family and while we were predicting which house was which (because in Mexico there is no system of adresses. I think they pick their favorite number and street name and paste it on their front door. en serio) and meanwhile practically 47 dogs starting barking at us and were really annoying and loud and I couldn't help but "baaahh" (this is a dog training tip we learned from the trainer we hired for our new puppy) at them. So I did and as I did a lady popped her head out to figure out what all the commotion was for and she saw me. It was suuupes awk. But I went up to talk to her and we gave her a pamphlet and our number. She was a super smiley Christian lady. I couldn't tell if she was interested or just nice... I will let you know if she calls. But regardless it was super fun to introduce ourselves and give our message to her.

So remember when I broke our toilet top? Well after that happened I thought our apartment was as bad as it could get. Ha. JOKE. My companion opened the fridge and the top piece snapped off so now we have to literally hold the door any time we need something from the fridge. Quite comical. But this morning we cleaned our casa and my comp deeep cleaned the bathroom and now it doesn't look like it came from a horror film. I was extremely pleased and grateful. I have come to the conclusion that our house is really nice compared to what we could have... So yeah I am becoming accustomed to this place. I also really like it now and yeah. So my first opinion of it is no longer valid. Haha. 

This week I started to read chapter 6 in PMG (Preach my Gospel). In spanish... And it was remarkable. This is the chapter on Christlike attributes. I realized why I was so stressed and unhappy at the beginning of being Mexico. It was because I wasn't trying to be Christlike. I was constantly thinking about myself and not of others. I was focusing on the negative and lacked patience. So I am really going to work on all of those attributes in this next week. First, I will work on patience and dilligence. I lack a lot of patience with my companion when I should just love him and be so grateful for his patience with me. I am so annoying and ask him twenty hundred and fourty seven questions that probably make no sense. I also need to work on dilligence in the work. This week I started to work with dilligence and the days flew by. The work is so much more enjoyable when you actually work with all of your heart. Funny, huh? I learned so much from the spirit while reading this chapter. So I am challenging you, family and friends to read this chapter and contemplate it. Decide what you can work on in your own life, because we all can try to be a little more Christlike. He is the perfect example. We are suuper lucky to have such a role model. 

Well I love you guys so much. I show my picture-book to the families here all the time. I love the pictures I brought of you and my friends. It is fun to show other missionaries and investigators where all my friends have been called. Oh yeah, your question about laundry. We have a washing machine that is owned by the owners of our house. It is super interesting. Haha. I dont think it cleans. But it soaks my clothes and I pretend that is enough. We hang dry all of our clothes on the rooof. It is fun. The weather is actually beautiful. It is pretty warm in the afternoons, but there is always a nice breeze. June and July are the hottest times and also I think the most rainy times. So we will see. It isn't too hot though. I loved what you said about the pioneers and temples, mom. I took so much for granted. My whole life I have lived ten minutes or less from a temple. These people live two hours away, and some people live in countries that don't even have temples. So yeah, be grateful for that temple in Mesa, and Provo. It is such an amazing opportunity to do temple work at such a convenience. 

I am so glad the musical was a success. I knew it would be. Nice work MVT kids! OH YEAH. CLARA I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU. Spokane and spanish. What a blessing. Haha. Okay, well I am going to read other emails and send pictures. I think about you guys all day eerday. Love ya.

Con amor, 

Elder Macdonald

His roof top in the morning (where he hangs his laundry)

He is allergic to cats: )

Taco break

Before the jump

What are photos without a jumping shot?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Okay wow. First of all thanks for the great emails. They made me super happy and helped me feel comfort. Also, sorry for my email last week. Haha- it was extremely dramatic and bipolar and everything and I lol´d so hard all week thinking about my dramatic email. It will be especially funny in two years. But I am glad people could appreciate what I, as well as many of my friends, are going through. This is freaking tough butt. No lie. Sometimes I would wonder why am I here... then I quickly remember my Savior and what he went through. I remember my testimony of Him. It is amazing how much my testimony has grown since the MTC. It is truly phenomenal actually. It also warms my heart thinking about all of my amazing friends that are serving, and waiting to serve. How fun it will be to reminisce on our experiences together after this... 

So yes, everyday is really, really hard. It depends on the time of the day too. Days are extremely long. long. long. long. But everyday there are so many tender mercies that keep me going. Like this week we gave a quick lesson to a young woman and her Grandma. After the lesson we gave her a blessing because she was sick. I have no idea what she was sick with, but I know the blessing worked because I had faith. It is really that simple. Yes, it is God's will over all, but I have faith that that blessing, if nothing else, strengthened her testimony. The spirit was super strong. It was my oil too! It was a very spiritual experience. 

Okay, I am really trying to remember things. So the members in our rama (branch) are great people but their knowledge of the Gospel is so extremely simple. In some areas that is great- simple testimonies of Jesus Christ are easy to build on. But these people are less than motivated to truly use the Atonement in their lives and CHANGE certain things that are not in line with the commandments of God. For example... almost everyone we teach are families. The mom is a member living with a man who is not a member and kind of active. They are not married, ever, because they have had previous marriages and divorces are a big hassle to obtain . So they aren't married and we have to tell them to get married so their husband can get baptized, and then the wife has to talk to the bishop because she isn´t supposed to be living with a man unless she is married to him and yayaya it is super difficult to get them to truly undertsand the importance and why the doctrine behind it is important. Aye aye aye. Also, they are super accepting of our testimonies and everything, but they don´t "get it". I am really emphasizing "get it". Haha. It is frustrating too because I am literally saying all I can say. Haha. SUCKS TO SUCK. Meaning me. Because I can't speak to them and say half of the things I need to. So I just trust that the Spirit will bear testimony of the other stuff that I couldn't say. Haha. I gots da faith.

There is a family we teach and I like them a lot, but they have an 18 year old daughter who flirts all the time with my companion. I don't give her the time of day and pretend like I don't understand her so she won't talk to me. I really can't undertand her anyway. She speaks really mumbly spanish and like swallows when she talks. But, it is super frustrating because we go over to that house and just hang out and I get super ancy and frustrated at my companion because we aren't preaching. That is why I am here. But I am trying to love my companion and not get frustrated. I also can't boss him around. One - because I don't know how to in spanish, and two - because I am younger. But mainly because I can't say what I need to. I try to constructively fix stuff, and it has gotten better. So yes, when we are out teaching new people or giving lessons I couldn´t be happier... but when we are just there talking and not getting stuff done I feel really frustrated and that is when I get home sick and blah blah.

But really this week was ten times better than last. So hopefully this next week is even better. I can feel myself adjusting to the differences of this culture and becoming more accustomed. I was so excited for Conference this week because I had felt so alone and often in dark places. I wondered why the heck am I feeling this way if I am on a mission? Well, it is because I am human and stupid, and it is going to be a hard couple of months, but really Conference answered so many of my questions. I have never loved Conference so much. It was amazing ahh. I can hardly wait for the next one in six months. But some highlights for me was when a sister (Elaine Dalton) said "where ere thou art, act thy part". It really stuck out to me because often I find myself not acting how I should. I am sometimes pitying myself and feeling alone because of the language barrier, when I need to be talking to people all the time. I need to be the annoying gringo that speaks horrible spanish so I can start learning so that I can become that annoying gringo that speaks amazing spanish. I need to be more outgoing. My district Leader is an amazing example to me. His name is Elder B. Everyone just loves him here. They all love him because he loves them and makes them feel like they are worth something. So I really worked on that when we were at Conference. Before and after sessions I would come out of the closet where we watched the english version(me and 2 other elders) and just shake hands with people. It is really simple. It is also hard, but it has to be. So I am just accepting that. I have had it sooo easy my whole life. So I am embracing the fact that this will be a hard few months. Other talks I loved where Pres. Utchdorf, Pres. Eyring, and President Monson. I love them all so much. Their priesthood session talks where on fire!. I have like 20 plus pages of conference notes in my notebook that Mack gave me. It will be great to look back on them here and there. I don't remember other things right now that are specific. But basically every talk had something in it for me. This church is amazing. it is so organized and awesome to help people like me who feel sorry for ourselves. Haha. But really I just learned that I am here for a reason and I am going to work as hard as I can. No regrets. I am going to embrace the challenging parts so I can say I really improved and did work with the spirit.

Okay before I forget... Birthday shout outs to three supa fly chickas. Lia JJJOHNSON, Debdeb dyches, and Ashtrusselpg@byu. I miss you guys and hope you had great birthdays. Ashlyn and Debbie, email me your mission emails before you head out to the mtc so we can keep in touch.

Okay so today was freaking awesome. And I have the pictures to prove it. My district and I got permission to go to Centro aka Downtown. And it was beautiful. The architecture was fantastic. We had to go to get a few things but after we shopped we went to an art museum. Bella Arte. It was sssuper cool. We got Burger King. And then we went to a Cathedral. Fantastic. SO today I was in Mexico, New York, and Germany. Pretty cool, huh? In the Cathedral we ran into a couple of LDS couples who were touring. They were from Utah. His wife was hispanic and he served his mission down here. It was fun to talk to them for a little. They were super nice and wished us the best of luck. Today was like a vacation. 

Seriously. But it is time to get back to work and start loving the people more and more. It is hard to express that love in few words. But I need to practice and just get better at it. I really have improved. I undertsand so much of the conversations now. Talking is the hard part. So.... time to talk like a caveman. Oh child, this will be fun. Thanks for all the prayers. I love you guys so so so much.  I show everyone my pictures of the fam and my friends. I tell them where all of my friends are serving. It is fun. I love muh fam da most. 

PS emailing is not limited anymore. aka I have as much time as I want. HAHAHA WUUT? en serio. This is unreal. But today since we went downtown I don't have much time because we have a district meeting and everything is so far away. Ugh. 

PSS funny comparison about the micros aka the busses. They are totally like the night buses in Harry Potter 3. I died. Because they are rompin all ooeer da town. 

PSSS tomorrow I have to go to immigration but guess what?! My MTC buddies will be there toooo. I hope. So I am so excited to see them and find out their situation. Haha. It will be so great to lol. I hope that have had it hard too. In a kind way, so we can reminisce. Lol, reminisce. It has been two weeks. Two weeks have flown by. Ah. Weeks go by fast but days are long and hard. My patience has been tried. I decided my area is like da pits. But apparently not. So who knows. I don't know what else so I will send this and then answer some more questions.
Con Amor,
Elder Macdonald

What do you eat besides the comida from branch members?
Every morning I eat cereal and juice and bread. And they feed us good tacos everyday. Sometimes I get snacks from venders because they are everywhere. I had hot cheetos. They are extra hot here... Haha. But yeah the food is better so don't worry. I don't think I will die of anorexia any more.

How is your money situation?
I have so much money from the american dollors. Pesos are so cheap so it transfered over nicely when I first got here. I am good on money. We have a card from the mission and get a certain amount every month. We only spend money on transportation. Max is 50 pesos a day. So no biggy

Did you buy a blanket?
I have my sheets and then my blanket and there is a big heavy blanket on the bed here. So no. But I don't need one.

Where are you using a computer?
There are computer internet cafes on every street. We are pretty close to my house. So yeah. that's all.

What is the pill you took for diarrhea and who gave it to you?
In the houses we have backpacks from Sister V.(Mission Pres wife) . They have all these pills for any scenerio. If we are sick, even a headache, we call her to find out what we should take. I have been super healthy. 

Have you had more problems with your stomach?
No, my stomach has been fine.

Elders from his District in front of the Museum

Gorgeous cathedral in downtown Mexico City

Monday, April 1, 2013

Okay first of all, I love you guys so much and miss you so much. I have never missed you so much before. Yes, I have been so homesick. Probably because we talked on the phone so long and also probably because Mexico is loco. 

So my first email to you was super positive and stuff. Well, that is because it was the first day... haha. It was a great first day. The tacos were super good. I loved the assistants and office workers and their house (KEY). Yes, my house is crap. More about that later. 

So we went to the Stake Center and had a meeting with all the District and Zone Leaders and then we got our companions. My companion is Elder L. He speaks like 2 words of english. At first I freaked out. I still kind of am. But we are able to communicate more. The first day I understood NADA. I was really confused and wondered if I even learned spanish in the MTC. Straight up- joke. Haha... I was super depressed to say bye to my other Elders from the MTC... mainly because they speak english. But I hope they are doing great and I can´t wait to see them in 5 weeks. Who knows, I might see them this week for General Conference. I am so excited for that. Anyways...

The first day was absolutely horrible. I hated it so much. I felt sick to my stomach. My area is soo ghetto and my house was sooo dirty. I had a legit panic attack. I instantly thought to myself..."what have I gotten myself into - i want to go home NOW". But don't worry. It is getting a lot better. So my area is huge. It is the most south east part of my mission - Chinampas. SO much walking. I thought I was going to die. Oh yeah. And because we only are fed one meal at like 2 or 3 in the afternoon. It is called comida. The first meal I had looked super sketchy so I freaked myself out. And the lady told me they were ojos - eyeballs. I was going to puke. But they were eggs. It turns out the food is actually good down here. It is super different. I didn´t get sick all week until this morning. Yes I had through flow, aka diahrrea. I thought I got a worm. But I took a pill and I feel a lot better. So no worries. 

The second day was better because in my personal study I was reading in Mormon 8: 37-39 and it talks about how we need to stop caring about material and earthly things and have charity and love and serve and give and everything that really matters. It was such a tender mercy. I really realized that I have been so blessed with an outrageous amount of unnecessary and nice things. AND I get to return to them in two years. Most of these people don´t have showers... they have to do bucket baths. Some do.. but that is not the point. The point is they live such humble lives. I had NO IDEA. What a reality check. WOWOW. God knows me and knows what I needed to become a more Christ-like person. So these two years are going to be hecka tough but I am going to try and be positive about it. 

I think the easiest way to do that is to love my ward or in this case a branch - rama because it is so small. I was so blessed with great people here. They love and care about the missionaries so much. And there are so many of them that need to be strengthened, so that is our goal I think. It is hard to understand a lot of the lessons, but I am so much better than I was on Wednesday. Seriously. The gift of tongues/interpretation of tongues is realsie. Anyways... 

Saturday was Santo Sabado so I guess they have a tradition of water wars. It doesn't make any sense. But yes, I am a gringo aka the target. So we were walking to an appointment and suddenly we were surrounded by a bunch of Mexican teenagers yelling GRINGO GRINGO GRINGO and they were throwing water at me. We ran away from them, and never got to the appointment. The important part is that we didn't get too wet. lolol. So yeah. That was really interesting. 

We travel on buses here. They are called meecros? I have no idea how they are spelled. But they are freaking LOCOCOCOCOCO. I mean jam packed with people sitting on people. Hot and sweaty and nasty old buses. And I am pretty sure they run over people all the time. Don´t worry, I won't die. But they do what they want when they want. 

This week there was a huge carnival in the middle of our area and I was always super confused, but then I understood that it was only for this Easter week. SO thank heavens that is done with. So many crazy, drunk, smelly people. I love them, but they smelled. And so much smoke everywhere. I will probably die of lung cancer. NBD. Anyways, I hated my area at first but I am growing to love it for the people. It is super safe here, so don't worry. The people are so nice and mind their own business. 

I really want to work in the office or be an assistant to the president because they have such a nice house. HAHA. But yeah, I am an organized person, and God knows that. It is up to him I guess. But maybe pray for me? Ha, maybe not? Idk. But in all seriousness I would love to be an assistant and greet the new missionaries and work with the president because he is such a great guy. I probably need to learn Spanish first. I am getting really good at understanding, compared to last week. Anyhoo. 

I don't have much more time. We went to a Costco like store in Mexico and bought a bunch of cleaning supplies and stuff. NO joke. Our house was freaking nasty and there are bugs everywhere. But I have been cleaning every morning so it is getting better. I was cleaning the lid to the toilet tank and it fell and shattered. God is very ironic and probably is laughing at me all the time because that was not very nice. I will have a good laugh once I am done using that bathroom. But seriously. I was trying to do a good thing and clean and then I Broke it. Que en el mundo. Irony is not funny when you live in my house. Haha jk. I am getting more settled and used to my surroundings so I am not as stressed and unhappy. I am actually really starting to love it. I get home sick in the mornings when I am not occupied. Our family trip to Hawaii in two years sounded like heaven a few days ago. But I am really starting to be okay and realize I only have two years to make a difference in the lives of others and become a better person. 

We had a lesson last night with a member family but the mom and dad aren't married, and he isn't baptized, and she needs to get a divorce with her ex husband so she can marry the current man in her home, so he can get baptized. Anyways we were at the dinner table, and we were giving a lesson on the Proclamation to the Family. It was like a 3 hour lesson (this family speaks Asian Spanish) and I had no IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON. But the spirit testified to me that I should share a few thoughts. One about Ether 12: 27 how if we submit our will to God, then through our weaknesses we will be made humble and strong. So Yeah, I think I did something right. Then I also talked about how the atonement was NOT easy for Christ so why should it be easy for us. That really connected to them. It was all the spirit. The spirit really taught me because I need to apply those principles daily and remember my purpose. So yeah. It was super cool and dandy and got me excited. My district leader is Elder Beal and he speaks English. We have a meeting with them after this. OKay I love you guys more than anything and I miss you and appreciate your prayers. Keep praying for me and my invesitgators and my companion. We all need them. The church is true. Be grateful you were born in America with clean tap water and other amazing things. Ahh. Love ya. 

Con amor,

Elder Macdonald

PS -- I think I cry every time I share something gospel related in Spanish. It is so weird but I love it at the same time. It probably just happens because I am an emotional wreck right now. I cant wait to be in the groove of things and have Mexico feel like home. It is getting better, but sometimes I feel trapped in a strange land. haha. omg. I can't wait to come home and have a glass of ice and tap water. I miss clean tap water. I have been so humbled this week. 

Honestly. It is NOT fair how blessed I was to grow up in your family in America. Honestly. I am crying again. Holy crap. Pray so much for me. omgomgomg. I can do this. I can do it. I can. Don't be worried for me. ugh. 

I hope you get some pictures. About the mailing thing. just email and I will email as much as a can. I didn't email much to my friends. We are 15 minutes over an hour right now. I think we will have an hour and a half eventually.. who knows. 

I honesTLY LOVE YOU GUYS. Oh my gosh I wish I could've appreciated you more when I had you. haha. I hope my hard work here blesses you all. I hope you stay strong in the gospel. This Mexico place is making me rely on the Lord because He is the only one that understands my Spanish. oh my heck... I know without a doubt this church is true. I can finally say that. I think because if it wasn't true there is NO WAY in heck I would be here. I just need to transfer the love I have for you guys to the people here. I am venting like a mad man right now. You can put this on the blog if you want. I don't care. People need to know this is hard. I was NOT expecting this. But then i think about my friends from the MTC going to Honduras this week and I weep for them. At least we have hot water showers. That keeps be believing that my house is nice. I am careful what I eat and drink. I will never gain weight here. I have probably lost ten pounds actually, probably 7. haha.

 Okay. SOSOSOSO hard. But I know that Jesus Christ felt all the pain and hardship that is swimming in my head right now. I am so grateful for him because he can succor me. It is so good because I need him. My companion probably thinks I am a crazy cry baby. Oh my gosh. k gtg.. I love you again aginaagiagain. Adios fam. Tell people I will try to email them back, but I don't have much time. Feel special. I love you so much more to email you. Okay ugh. I need to go. Bye bye. Seriously. I am so stoked for Mothers Day in a few weeks. Pray that I can learn the language because in 12 weeks I will probably be training some poor soul. Oh my heck! 

love love love.

elder macdonald

Elder Macdonald's Mission President

I think this his apartment is in here somewhere!

He looks like a giant

Matt's companion