Saturday, April 27, 2013

April 22, 2013

Hola Familia!
I was pleasently surprised to open my email and have emails from other friends and family, it was fun to see some pictures from Sage and Hannah and just really fun to hear from Grandpa and Mom and Dad and Daniel. So thanks for all of you letters everyweek :) About my email, if you want to put it out on fb or the blog, go for it. I'm not guarenteeing that I can reply to everyones emails because I only have an hour online and I have to write a letter to President in spanish so my time is precious. Dad about the boots, yes if you send them to the address in San Ysdrio I will recieve them. It takes a while for me to get letters and packages because I only get them when we have zone conferences, but if you send them to that address I'm pretty much guarenteed to get them without anything being stolen. So I haven't gotten the other package yet but we have another conference this friday so I'm expecting to get it then. I haven't gotten any letters yet, but from what people have said to me in emails this week I'm guessing I should be getting several at the same time this week. I am constantly thinking of little things that I would like from home, so I'm going to tell you them but don't feel like you need to send a package with stuff just to do it. I can survive with things I can buy here, I just like some things from home better enough to ask for them :) (Deoterant - the same kind that dad uses and that I used at home, they don't sell it here. Razor blades - Gillete fusion, I just don't want to have to go through the trouble of finding them here haha).
This past week was really hard at first but then really really good. So we just haven't been having very much success with investigators or members or anybody so I was getting frustrated cause I felt like we have been doing something wrong. During weekly planning on Thursday, me and Elder Vargas had a really open talk and both expressed what we had been feeling the whole past transfer and he expressed some things that I hadn't realized and we are just on really good terms now and our lessons since then have been super good and we have been able to have the spirit more in our companionship. He expressed that he had been feeling bad because he knew that I have a big desire to do missionary work but we aren't allowed to knock doors so we are stuck if the members don't help us because other than catching people outside of their houses we don't have any way of getting new investigators other then through the miembros. We set a bunch of personal goals and companionship goals so we are excited to work on those during this translado.
I forgot to mention this like a month ago but I FINALLY CAN ROLL MY Rs!!! Like 3 weeks ago during language study I was trying yet again and I did it out of nowhere. I freaked out. :) Its really cool to me that even though its not a big deal at all, our Father in Heaven knows us and helps us out with little things like that just so we can feel His love for us, no reason more. Its been really fun to learn this language. I feel comfortable sitting and listening to someone speak spanish and I feel comfortable speaking in spanish, but my language abilities in both english and spanish are such that if I'm not paying attention at all then I don't understand anything. When before I could be thinking about something else when somebody is speaking in english and I could still understand. So its probably a good thing that I need to be more focused. But I'm learning more and more words everyday and am a little bit frustrated that nobody can explain to me certain aspects of the grammer, but I know that I just need to be patient and that with time and with the help of the Lord I will be able to understand them. ALSO, this week I started dreaming in spanish kind of. I have dreams where I'm with you guys and I'll go to say something and it will come out in spanish and I can't remember how to say what I want to say in english. So when we talk on mothers day don't make fun of me if my english is awkward. :)
Jacqueline the other day we were walking to the chapel to meet an investigadora there to teach and lesson and this tortillaria (a store that simply makes and sells tortillas) was blasting 22 by Taylor Swift. It made me smile and think of you :) Its been really fun to be here in Tijuana, where somedays I feel like I am in a completely different world and other days I feel like I am in the US. For example, the other day we were walking in the street and somebody in their house was blasting A Day To Remember and I was like hey I listened to that music! Also there will be times when we are walking through the streets and random people will yell stuff at me in english. Like a couple days ago some older gentleman was sure that we knew each other and was saying that he knew me and all and I was just really confused. But its fun to have people be like I can speak english and just want to practice their english with me, even though I can usually understand them better in spanish. :)
This week we met with our new mission leader in los altos and I'm super pumped to get things rolling with this ward. He is super excited to motivate all the different organizations and we are equally excited. We are meeting with our consejo del barrio this tuesday to put together our ward mission plan so things should get working here soon and we are super excited to see the results and the changes in the members of the ward as well as having more investigators. With our investigators right now - Byanca is still awesome and has a date to be baptized 11 Mayo and is continuing to already know everything we are teaching and asks crazy questions that we can't answer about dinosaurs and homosexuality and just stuff that I can't really wrap my mind around in english or spanish. Samuel has a baptismal date for 11 Mayo and needs to get married first. He didn't show up to church yesterday and didn't answer our calls or texts so we are going to stop by his house soon to see whats up. Maura y Jasmine - they came to church yesterday and loved it, they have dates to be baptized 2 Mayo so we are excited to teach them more. Armando is super awesome still, his girlfriend/spouse is hopefully going to get a good start on getting divorced this miercoles so we are hoping that they will be able to sort all of that stuff out that they need to so that he can be baptized.
Its starting to get hot here and I'm just constantly grateful that I am here in Tijuana and not in Mexicali. But with that being said, I'm probably going to be sent there in a couple transfers just to humble me or give me more patience or something. And a fun fact I learned about Mexicali this week - the desert right next to Mexicali is where the 2nd hottest temp in the world has been recorded. In mexicali during the summer it is regularily like 115 and gets up to 125. Ahh so hot. I don't know how hot it is here during the day but I'm always grateful for the nice breeze that we always coming off of the coast.
I am constantly so grateful for all of you as I go throughout my days here in Tijuana. I think of all of you often and am so very grateful for the family that Heavenly Father has blessed me to have and am constantly finding myself looking to your examples of how to act with others and how to be Christ-like. So thank you all. :)
Con amor,
Elder Crockett

Sunday, April 21, 2013

April 15, 2013

Hola familia!

Its been raining all day today and it a little chilly but I am loving it because this is only the 3rd time it has rained here and the constant sunny and 75 is getting a little boring. I'm not complaining about the weather but I do like a little variety. :) Thanks for all of your emails again, it was great to hear about the soccer games and choir competitions and ACT and work and church and all. As I'm sitting here now my companion just asked me if I know an "Elder Summers", cause Elder Vargas's parents live in Logan Utah and I guess my friend Jacob Summers from BYU is waiting to get his visa to argentina but in the meantime was reassigned to Logan and when Elder Vargas's parents were showing the missionaries in their wards pictures of their son (Elder Vargas) in mexico, Elder Summers was like hey I know him!! Haha its such a small world. :)
Yesterday we finally got a lider misional in Los Altos and we are super excited because he is on fire to get some work done.
One thing that I really had been thinking about alot this week is how I can be the person and missionary that Heavenly Father wants me to be. I've been thinking about that fad with all the christian churches around 5 years back when everyone had a "WWJD" bracelet. As we walk in the street to different appointments and as we just go about our daily stuff I've often wondered if I'm doing what Christ would do if He was in my shoes, because really as "Representatives of Jesus Christ" all missionaries should be doing exactly what He would do. I only have about 200 pages left in Jesus The Christ and I have really enjoyed learning more about the life of Christ and all of the things that He did during His ministry. I've often wondered how Christ would act walking from house to house or how He would teach His message or how He would show love for every one that He interacts with. Its definetly something that I need to think and pray more about to figure out how I can become more Christ-like, and I think its a good question to ask ourselves frequently throughout the day as we are faced with choices of how to act, or whether or not to smile at someone in the store, or whether or not to follow a prompting of the Holy Ghost : "What would Jesus do if He were faced with the same choice?"
Often times I think as missionaries, we either forget or get used to the fact that we are set apart as "representatives of Jesus Christ" and I think that we often don't realize the responsibility that we have because of that.
We had a few more great lessons with Byanca this week so she is progressing really well and its over half way done with reading the Book of Mormon so we are really excited about that. But, nothing comes that easy. Her mom is super super against the idea of her being baptized, to the point of sending texts messages to Byanca's member friend Alejandra that say really mean stuff. I'm not sure what they have said, but they say stuff mean enough to make her cry, as we found out in the middle of one of our lessons this week. But Byanca has a baptismal date of 11 Mayo so we are working towards that and are praying hard that her mom will have a change of heart and that she can be baptized with out her mom getting super mad. But she said she is going to be baptized despite what her mom says cause she is 19 so she doesn't need her permission but we are going to try to get some members from the ward that her mom knows to go try and calm her down a little bit about it all.
Also, last friday night we went over to Armando's and Miriam's house to meet their friend Maura. We taught lesson one and both Maura and her daughter Jasmine (15) accepted baptismal dates so we are super pumped about them also. It was kind of difficult to teach that lesson though because everytime I would start talking, Jasmine would bust out laughing and blushing and she said it wasn't my bad spanish sooo she is a 15 year old girl and my companion said that she is going to get baptized because of my blue eyes. So maybe I should buy some brown contacts so I can blend in better and actually teach lessons. :)
On Saturday we went to Miramar ( the area to our west) to do a service project as a zone and it was fun but really hard work. This family in the ward over there lives pretty much right along the side of a dry river bed that floods everytime it rains and they needed us to make a ramp out of dirt so that they could drive their car up into their yard. It took about 3 hours of 12 of us using picks and shovels and hoes but there was a ramp there that worked great when we left on saturday night. I'm not sure about now cause I'm guessing that river bed is full of water and half the ramp is gone, but it sure looked good on saturday night. :) All the pictures that are attached are from that night. One picture is with me and Elder Vargas and the two sisters is our zone, one of them was getting transfered so she wanted a picture with us. There is a picture of our whole zone and the family that we did the service for and then there is a picture of the sister giving all 10 of us elders a ride home in her van so we were pretty packed. It was a long service project and I was really dirty at the end of it but it was really good and fun.
Estoy muy agradecido por cada uno de ustedes y por sus ejemplos en mi vida.
Con amor,
Elder Crockett
ps - Hey Dad I know before I came out here I decided not to get any boots cause I didn't think I would use them, but we can wear them as everyday shoes if they are conservative and having seen some of the other areas around here I think I'm going to want some. If you have time and wouldn't mind, can you look for some conservative blackish hiking boots? Size 9.5W. Let me know if you see any online that look good or if I should just keep my eyes out here to buy some. Thanks! :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 8, 2013

Hola familia!
First off I want to apologize for how awfully this letter is going to be typed wise because I got the unlucky computer with the spanish keyboard and it doesn't have the same punctuation.
Thanks so much for the package!! I got it at our zone conference that we had and it was really fun to get music and special k bars and all. So thanks. I can't figure out how to put a smiley face on this computer so know that I am smiling as I am typing this and that everything isn't super super serious haha. But Elder Vargus is obsessed with the special k bars so if you could send the recipe next week that would be fantastic! And I love all the music that you sent me also!! Its been really fun to have it on shuffle and have a song come up that I didn't realize was on there. The only complaint that there has been is after we had it playing for a while Elder Vargas said "no tiene musica de navidad?" hahaha. I'm not sure why he wanted christmas music in abril but we are both enjoying it lots so thanks!
This last week was both really good and really tiring for several reasons. I felt like I hardly had time to study or anything because constantly had meetings or appointments in the morning and it was just kinda crazy. We had last minute exchanges last thursday so I ended up in Libertad, and became so so grateful for our area. Everyone had always said that our area was super flat and had zero hills for Tijuana but I figured everyone was just talking to talk but I was proved wrong on Thursday. Lets just say I got in a really good work out all day thursday walking up and down hills. I was with Elder Barretts companion, who is also a trainee and has less time than I do in the mission cause he was only in the MTC for 2 weeks down here in Mex. Elder Tellez is awesome though and it was really fun to know that even though both of us were really inexperienced, we were still able to teach some really good lessons and be able to teach with the spirit. So that was a fun experience. Then on Friday we had a zone conference and it was really really good. President Carreon and Hermana Carreon both gave really good lesson dealeos and I learned alot. The mission has a tradition that at the first zone conference that new missionaries are at with the president, they stand up in front of everyone to bear their testimony. Elder George and Elder Johnson from my district in the MTC were there also and it was really fun to listen to them bear there testimonies in spanish. I'm constantly amazed that as I turn to the Lord for help through prayer, that almost instantly I can notice a difference. With the whole mini testimony meeting, I was kinda nervous to get up and speak in spanish because Elder George and Elder Johnson had gone before and hadn't done too hot with their spanish. So I said a little prayer and it was really cool to feel the spirit and have that help with the language that I asked. Also later me and Elder Vargas were called up to do some demonstrations and I guess my spanish is coming along cause later in the conference when we had a kind of break out work in groups President Carreon came over and said that my spanish was really good so everybody was giving me a hard time that I'm going to "subir" cause President complimented me.
Also General Conference was really really good. It was kinda hard to understand the stories that the speakers would start with but I was able to understand pretty much all of the doctrine stuff. It was really weird in the Saturday afternoon session that the choir was from BYU and that it was mens chorus and womens chorus combined, so I recognized like all of the guys. But it was fun to be able to lean over to Elder Vargas and be like hey I was in that choir haha. We were really excited that some of the speakers were really straightforward about the need for members to start putting in more effort in regards to missionary work so hopefully we can see some results from that. The sunday before, a youth about my age in Palmeras brought her friend and we taught the first lesson to her, se llama Byanca. She had a bunch of really good questions but said that wasn't sure that she really believed in God. We gave her a Book of Mormon and challenged her to pray about it and figured it out that we would meet again thursday morning. We really didn't know what we should teach her for the second time but we prayed about it and prepared a lesson about the atonement and went to go teach. We started talking with her and it turned out that she had read up to 2 Nep. 31 in 3 days and had prayed and recieved an answer that the Book of Mormon is true so we were super excited about that and it was perfect because chp 31 talks about baptism and we just read that chapter together and talked about it. She accepted a baptismal date a week out, but she was really hesitant because her mom told her that she didn't like that she was going to come to our church, but that if she really wanted to join and be baptized she needed to wait 6 months. So we told her to pray about it and talk to us when she came with her friend to conference. She came to all 4 sessions of general conference and loved it. She also told us that because of some of the things that speakers said, she knows she needs to get baptized on May 4th so that she has a little bit more time to learn and prepare. So Byanca is awesome and has a lot of potential so we are excited to teach her more this week.
We don't have a lot of other investigators that are progressing and sometimes its frustrating because we will have a really good lesson with someone only to have them bail on our next appointment and then not answer the door since. So we are really praying and trying to work more with the members that we will be able to find some more investigators that will progress and that we can teach more than just the first lesson. Also we have lots of investigators that have been taught all of the lessons and really like the church but they aren't married so they can't get baptized and they don't have the desire to do something about it to fix their problems so that is always a little frustrating that sometimes we can't do anything more to help them progress other than keep loving them and give them more opportunities to feel the spirit and to know they need to change.
I really enjoyed all of conference but there were a couple of talks that stuck out to me. I really really really loved President Monson's talk about obedience, and how that as we are obedient we can recieve all of the blessings that we could ever want simply from being obedient. I also really enjoyed how there were several talks about the Priesthood, and how important it is in everything we do. In our zone conference last friday Hermana Carreon asked us that if we needed to paint a door frame blue, but wanted all of the walls to stay white, would we leave a bucket of paint and a brush to a 5 year old to do the job? Of course we all answered no, and then she told us well this is what God has done. We have so much divine potential that we don't recognize and because of it we are going to mess things us in this life, but God trusts us with His great work nonetheless. He not only trusts us with ourselves, but also as missionaries He trusts us with the salvacion of all of those around us are we are responsible to teach and share the gospel. This analogy coupled with the analogy used in conference by Elder Uchdorf about how when a child falls down while learning to walk, the parent doesn't yell at the child for falling down, but instead applaudes and is extremely happy when they get back up. I love both of these example in regards to how our Heavenly Father sees us and sees our divine potential to really grow and become perfect and we are admonished to do. Even though I couldn't understand everything said in conference, the spirit was so strong and I was able to learn so much. It was really neat to hear the translators choking up during talks because it was touching them so much. Super super cool stuff.
Its so much fun to read your emails and to hear about the things that are going on in your lives. If I have any word of advice for Benjamin, Jacqueline and Daniel preparing for missions, don't wait to start really really studying the gospel. The quicker you learn to really love the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, you will be able to grow so much. It wasn't really until I left for BYU that I started really loving the read the Book of Mormon, and no matter what language it is in, it is a truly powerful book that can teach us so much about the life of Christ and can bring the spirit into our lives more powerfully than any other book. Also, don't hesitate to share the gospel with anyone. The most they can do is say no, and really everytime somebody says no is one step closer to them saying yes. Our investigator Byanca, had been invited to church by her friend for some 5 years and finally she said yes and now is just eating up everything we teach her. So don't ever hesitate to invite someone to church or to invite a friend to listen to the missionaries.
I love all of you and are so grateful for the examples that you are to me. I am so blessed to have the family that I have and thank our Father in Heaven everyday for each one of you.
Elder Crockett

Friday, April 5, 2013

April 1, 2013

Hola familia!
Fue muy divertido para leer todos sus correos. Ahh my head is going crazy right now for several reasons. I had to read your emails a lot slower than normal because as my spanish is getting better and better my english is slowly getting worse and worse and I can't read quite as fast anymore. Half of my thoughts are in english and the other half are in spanish and its just a tad confusing when I can't find a word in either language to express my thoughts. For example, in lessons or just talking with my companion in spanish I will have been talking for a little bit and then out of nowhere a random english word will fly out and I don't realize it cause I'm just saying what I'm thinking. Oh well, all of the elders here who are american say that for the first 4 months or so you grow to be able to speak spanish fluently but you lose your english and then after a couple more months it comes back. So if my grammer and english continue to get worse and worse in my emails, don't judge until you have learnt another language. :)
It was really fun to read an email from each and everyone of you! I don't have time to respond about every little detail about the trip to MI but it sure sounded like a bunch of fun! Thats really really cool about Steven's mission call too, tell him congrats from me! Mom thanks for letting me know about the package! I have a zone conference this next friday so hopefully it gets here sometime during the week so that I can recieve it friday but if not, I get it whenever our zone leaders go to the mission offices again. Which actually should be in a week from the following monday because its transfers and one of our zone leaders is done with his mission so maybe I will get it then. So the amount of time it takes for me to get a package will vary greatly, especially if I am in an area outside of Tijuana, but I will take any treats you want to send, especially chocolate stuff, cause they have american chocolate here but I don't want to buy it and all the other candy here is covered in chili and is kinda nasty haha.
I have a couple of things that I left at home thinking that I wouldn't want that I do want now if you could send them eventually when you send another package. There are some backpack clips that I took off my backpack that are in my closet I believe that I want, and also there is that watch that Erik gave me that is in my closet that I wouldn't mind having. I don't think it will get stolen - the whole hype about Tijuana has actually turned out to be rather disappointing. I'm guessing more missionaries get mugged in Chicago or New York because the only missionary I've heard of thats gotten mugged ended up losing like 5 pesos and they didn't want anything else. So I don't think I'm going to come home with a bunch of crazy stories like I thought I was going to, which is good and bad. Can't decide which. :)
The work here is going well but at times is a little frustrating. So we have two wards and really before had only been working in Altos but this last week started to work more in Palmeras. The bishop in Altos was called the week I got here so he is on fire and is super awesome and helps us out a lot and the bishop of Palmeras avoids us and it took 3 fallen through appointments to catch him at his house to teach his family a lesson so he is a little bit harder to work with. Up until last week neither of the wards had ward mission leaders so it was hard to know who to work with in the wards but yesterday both wards got them so we are super excited for that. When I first got here, the members were really kinda hesitant about talking to us and giving us referals, and I think its because the missionary before me here that was with my current companion, this was his last area so he was super dead and would boss all the primary kids around so I don't think he was very trusted or liked haha. But slowly I think the members are starting to trust us more because for the last two weeks teenagers have brought there friends to church and pretty much walked up and said "here teach my friend!" and also we have had members invite us over for food with a less active part member family or such.
Our mission president has really wanted us to focus on getting the members involved in the "obra salvacional" so we have been teaching the active families of our wards the missionary lessons and have been asking them to invite friends to attend the next time we are going to come over and teach. We have had a couple of families actually do it and we have one really solid investigator named Samuel right now from one of the lessons. He is the boyfriend of a less active member who are living together and so hopefully we can get them married and get them both strong in the church. Mom asked about my days and how they are so here it goes: Wake up at 6:30, walk down to the back side of our apartment to start our boiler so we can have hot water, do exercises (which consist of push ups and actually doing the streches/exercises for my back), eat breakfast (which I bought cereal last week so for breakfast this past week I ate the mexican version of frosted flakes), personal study, companionship study, study designated parts in preach my gospel and sections from the "district" series about how to be a better missionary in lots of different aspects, and language study. That all finishes up at 12, then we usually have an appoitment or go and look for old investigators or less actives til 2, at 2 we eat with a member, and then the rest of the day is teaching lessons and walking around looking for less active members or active members to set up appointments right now. We don't do alot of tracting or knocking on doors, its just mostly walking from appointment to appointment. I figured in my head this morning we usually walk from 5-8 miles a day but I'm not exactly sure how much. My shoes are holding out well, I absolutely love one pair and hate the other so I'm just going to wear this pair out first.
I am really excited for conference this next weekend. And even though I'm sure I won't understand 100% of it, I'm really excited to learn and hear the living prophets and apostles speak about the things that we need to hear. If eventually when the conference addition of the ensign comes out, if you could send me a copy in english that would be awesome. :) Hopefully we are able to get some of our investigators to come with us to the stake center a little bit away to watch with us.
Earlier this week I had to go to the mission offices to sign some paper for my visa and Elder Solorzano, Elder George and Elder Johnson were all there also from my district in the MTC and it was really fun to catch up for a couple minutes. Afterwards I was talking with my companion about all of them and talking about learning spanish and he said because I have a pretty good grasp on spanish right now and that I'm good at teaching clearly, there is a chance that I could be training a new missionary after the next transfer. So if I didn't have motivation to study spanish efficiently everyday I sure do now that I know there is a chance that I will be a senior companion is 8 weeks. I am constantly reminded of the need to rely in the Lord everyday in everything, and the days that I do that always go so much better than the days that I don't. I know that as we humble ourselves to rely on Christ and His atonement, that we can not only be happier but also be able to accomplish the things He has in store for us that we can't do without His help.
I'm really grateful for the opportunity that I have to be out here sharing the restored gospel of Christ. It's not the easiest thing to do by far, especially learning a different lanuage but its totally worth it. Just when I feel a little comfortable about understand everything that is going on, somebody will ask a question to me and I will not understand a single word of it. So its definitely a work in progress :)
I hope that all of you are doing well! Les amo y les extra├▒o!
Con amor,
Elder Crockett