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Valentine's Day and Pájaros

To Mom
I’ll have to look into where you could send a package, because there’s a member of our ward who’s from Arizona who I’ve heard occasionally crosses the boarder to bring missionaries their packages.

Instead of Valentine’s Day, here they celebrate “El Día del Amor y la Amistad,” which is “Love and Friendship Day.” I’m not sure exactly what they do to celebrate it, though. I think it’s pretty much borrowed from the United States.

To Jacob
I think I promised you about five months ago that I’d send you some pictures of the birds I’ve seen in Mexico, but I never sent it. Well, better late than never. I’ve gotten to see some pretty cool birds, and these are just a few of them.

Recent posts

¿Qué pasa calabaza?

We had transfers this week, and they sent me to Mexicali to work with Elder Q., who’s from Honduras. The weather’s pretty good right now, because it’s still winter, but Mexicali has infamously hot summers. I’ve been told that it gets up to 45 degrees Celsius (or more), but the good thing is that the houses around here have fans and air-conditioning. I just got here, but I think the area of Mexicali I’m in is a little bit more upper-class than my area in Tijuana was. We went to Walmart today, and it felt like I was in the United States again.

I have a bike now! (And a cool bicycle helmet, too.) And don’t worry, because I didn’t have to buy it. All the bikes here are hand-me-downs that the previous missionaries pass on to the next missionaries that arrive. And if the bike breaks or gets stolen, I’ve heard they’re pretty cheap here. Elder R. told me he bought a bike for 400 pesos, which is about $20.

My new companion, Elder Q. found a Kindle with a touchscreen in the street markets here…

Comer o ser comido … por perros gigantes

Winter ended. It was a little chilly for about a month and a half, but now it’s hot again. And this is just January, so I think July is going to be tough. I’ll survive, but not by much.

The Mexico Tijuana Mission is one of the most successful missions in the world. There are few places where there are more people seeking truth and purpose, and there are few places where the church is growing faster. It’s easy to forget it when people don’t want to listen to us, but we really don’t have it so hard.

There’s a type of music here called “banda” that’s super popular and, to me, super weird. At least I thought so the first time I heard it, but it’s starting to grow on me. They play it everywhere: in taxis, restaurants, stores, on the street, etc. If you want to hear what it’s like, just look up “música banda Mexicana.”

Somebody left their front gate open and their two giant St. Bernards tried to eat us when we passed by their house today. I picked up a rock to throw and Elder R. started swing…

Short emails to Dad & Mom

To Dad:

Hey, good job with the soda! I haven’t had soda for a while, either, because we have a mission rule against drinking it. The carbonation doesn’t really help when we’re climbing hills and walking all day.

[Regarding his brothers' weird emails] Yeah, knowing Joshua and Jacob, their emails are just about how I expected they would be.

Interesting stories ... Well, last week we met a man who told us he’s a tree hugger (literally). We were talking to him on a staircase in front of his house, teaching him about the scriptures, and all of the sudden he asked us, "Did you know that the scriptures say that we should respect the trees?" And then he pointed at a tree by his house and said, "See that tree?... I love that tree ... I hug it every morning." I think he was a little half-drunk.

I’ve acclimated by now, but my first week here I had a nosebleed every day. A missionary from southern Mexico told me that happened to him his first week, too.

Elder Rice

To Mom:


Goku es mi héroe ...

My companion Elder R. has been asking me if I know any famous people from Utah, like apostols or David Archuleta or somebody. I told him I saw Elder Uchtdorf from a distance once. I think he was sort of disappointed.

I think I’m starting to have thoughts in Spanish, which is sort of cool. I still can’t speak super well, but I'm getting there.

A few days ago, we talked to a man in the street who told us he learned on the internet that Russia and the U.S. are planning on using nuclear bombs with 400,000 pounds of TNT to start World War 3 and that we need to spread the word to warn everyone. I don’t think he knows that nuclear bombs don’t use TNT.

Every once in a while, we do missionary exchanges which means that for one day we trade companions. Sometimes I get to do exchanges with another American missionary and we actually get to speak English for once. I had exchanges a little while ago with an American missionary and something that I noticed was that even when we were speaking Engl…

Bendiciones, cuenta y verás, bendiciones que recibirás ...

A member of our ward gave us a Martinelli's bottle for New Year's before my new companion Elder R. got here, so when he saw it sitting in our fridge he sort of panicked and I had to explain to him that Martinelli's isn't alcoholic. Apparently he'd never heard of it before and thought for a second that the missionaries here had been breaking the Word of Wisdom.

This week we baptized a man named A. He's a 53-year-old Baptist who honestly knows a ton about the scriptures. He asked us a lot of questions that I wasn't always sure how to answer, but he always was humble and listened to our responses in an understanding way. I think he's shown me a little of how to really be understanding and considerate of other people's beliefs. He's also built my testimony of the gospel, because after almost 30 years since his conversion to the Baptist faith, he made the desicion to listen to the Mormon missionaries and be rebaptized as a Latter-day Saint. I think h…

¡Feliz año nuevo!

We were walking through the store earlier today doing our weekly shopping and the store started playing some really intense EDM and dubstep music. People here like American music, but sometimes in ways you wouldn’t expect.

My new companion Elder R. arrived this week after an 11-hour bus ride from Guerrero Negro. (They are furthest south of the entire mission.) He’s a Yucatecan like my last companion Elder U., but he’s even shorter. He’s been in Tijuana 20 months, so he has a lot of experience and I’m already learning a lot from him. But more than anything, he’s humble and completely willing to work hard and serve people. He’s 27 years old (almost a decade older than me), which means he started his mission at 25 years old just before the cut off age. He really knows what he’s doing. A few days ago, we were contacting people in the street, giving out cards, and we started talking to a man who was waiting for his wife to pick him up from his work. He seemed interested in what we had to s…