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I've arrived in Tijuana!

I don't have much time to write, but I just wanted to let you guys know that I've arrived in Tijuana. I now have my companion, Elder U., and we definitely have a lot to do. I'm still getting to know him (it's sort of hard when I can only speak broken Spanish), but he is a first generation convert in his family and he seems to take the mission work very seriously. We have seven investigators committed to baptism right now. Apparently, before Elder U. arrived, the area was pretty much at a standstill. Earlier today we had a street contact accept a visit this Friday, and even though I only said one line in Spanish, it was still pretty cool.

I'm running on three hours of sleep right now because of the long plane flight. It's been a really long and crazy day and culture shock has already hit me a couple of times, but I feel calm. I think it's going to be a good first week.

Amor,
Elder Rice

Here's two pictures of me and my new companion:



Also, we're serving in…
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Una semana más...

Sorry about my miscommunication about the date I’m leaving the CCM. I’m actually leaving next Monday at 2 a.m. So October 9. I’m actually the travel leader for everyone going to Tijuana, including the Latino missionaries, which is a little difficult because they don’t speak very much English. Luckily, they’ve been very patient with the little Spanish I know how to speak, and I think I’ve been able to instruct them pretty well. I guess it’s good practice for when I leave to the field next week, because then I’ll really need to speak Spanish, and there’s a good chance I’ll have a Latino companion.

Keep up the robotics, Jacob! I always wanted to join that club, but I never got around to it. I didn’t get any pictures of Mexican birds this week, but I’ll try harder next week.

Joshua, keep up the good work. Maybe try out peanut-butter bars for cookie club and see what happens. I don’t know if those are technically cookies, but whatever. I’m glad to see you’re drawing in your sketchbook. That…

Emails to Mom, Dad, and Jacob

This week I'll post the three most detailed emails Nathan sent home, along with pictures:

To Mom

Thanks for sending Jacob's drawings. They’re awesome. It’s great that he’s practicing the piano. And also thank you for the earthquake details.

I understood that the package you send was through a service and I understand if you can’t send me packages directly from Utah very often. It was worth a try to ask, though. A lot of the other elders receive packages through a service too; they usually receive donuts or something like that. Actually, we’ve received so many packages in the past week that I think we’re having a little bit of a hard time handling it. So, I never thought I´d ask this, but please do not send donuts or other food items, because we are stuffed. At least not for another two weeks, because I leave the CCM on October 25.

Yeah, Mexicans don’t just celebrate la Día de la Independencia for only two days. Since I’ve started writing this email, multiple fireworks have gon…

Nathan’s second group email

Dear Everybody,

Thanks for all your emails and advice (especially Dad). I don't always have time to respond to each letter individually, but I always read them. And the advice really helps a lot.

The earthquake yesterday was a little bit of a weird experience. We were all sitting in the comedor (the cafeteria) when it started rumbling a little. The whole room (which is pretty noisy) went silent for about five seconds, a siren went off, the lights started flickering, and everybody immediately jumped out of their seats and rushed to the earthquake safe zones we’ve been told to go to in emergencies. The rumbling ended after about 40 seconds and nothing really happened, but it was still a little crazy. I’ve now felt the waves of two earthquakes in my life.

It rained a ton this week, which is good because Elder P. gets really excited whenever it rains for whatever reason. I also learned that he likes to play the piano, too. He can’t read sheet music anymore because he quit lessons when h…

Email to Mom

Elder P., Elder S., and I are starting to get along really well. I’m not sure that will stop Elder P. from going home, though. Elder P. met with the CCM president and received a priesthood blessing to know what to do. He’s currently fasting to receive an answer. I don’t know what he’ll do in the end, but he seems to really, really want to go home. The thing is, I feel more confident than ever that he would make a great missionary if he continued. Even though he can be pessimistic and unmotivated, he has a strong testimony, he always focuses on the investigator in our lessons, and he’s very sympathetic to those in need of help. It’s ultimately his decision, though.

There’s a large variety of food here. Tuesdays are always pizza night. I really like the tacos, though. They’re quite different from what you get at Taco Bell.

Thanks for the package last week! Maybe if I get to send you guys a package, I can put some Latino candy in it. There are these things called Bueno bars that I think…

Life in México

Dear Everybody,

The last week of my life feels more like six months. It's hard to communicate how crazy everything has been, so probably only Parker, Mom and Dad will understand.

Warning: my emails may have a lot of typos in them because the computers here are set to autocorrect to Spanish. Almost every word I type has a red squiggly line underneath it.

My trip here was fine. I got some Biscoff cookies on the plane, and they fed us pizza when we arrived at the MTC, or as they call it here, the CCM (Centro de Capacitación Misional de México). I met my first companion, Elder P., shortly after arriving at the CCM. Dad might remember him as the elder who shook my hand in the airport parking lot right before I left. He was extremely quiet at first, so I assumed that was just his personality. But as the first day passed, the stress wore on him, things got worse, until he suffered something of an emotional breakdown in the bathroom. I did my best to comfort him, and he agreed to see the…

Made it to the Mexico MTC!

Hey Mom and Dad,

This is just a quick email to let you know that I made it to the Mexico MTC safely. Everything's moving really fast, the Spanish keyboards are weird, I'm super hungry, and my next P-day isn't until next week. I won´t be able take any photos here except on P-day, so sorry, but my photos of the MTC will probably be pretty limited.

I'll send a longer message next week!

Love,
Elder Rice