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Apartamentos, perros, y el calor

I don't know what it is about mission apartments, but there's always something wrong with them, whether it's a cockroach infestation, mattresses without bedframes, a bathroom without a doorknob, a water heater that doesn't work, etc. In the apartment we're in right now, in order to turn off the light we have to unscrew the lightbulb half-way because there's no power switch. And to turn it on, we screw in. Maybe that's just the way apartments are in Baja California.

I think the street dogs actually like us less now that we're on bikes. But in the photo below of my companion on his bike, the dog running up to him is actually not about to bite him. He was friendly. I'm also sending some photos of the mountains here and our sweet missionary bikes.

We meet a lot of interesting people here. We're teaching a man who grew up in California and was deported at 26 years old. Several years ago, he was robbed of everything he owned by his pastor and now lives …
Recent posts

Freezing in Mexicali

I never thought I’d freeze in Mexicali, but the nights are actually pretty cold here. Not as cold as Utah, but still pretty cold.

The class division in Mexicali is a little more apparent than it was in Tijuana. Towards the center of the city, the houses are nicer (with air conditioning and everything) and there’s paved roads, soccer fields, palm trees, and such. Towards the outskirts things are a lot more wide open and spread out, all the roads are dirt, and the houses are more of tiny shacks. The size of our area is a little tough, because it's sort of hard to get people to church with the chapel so far away unless they have a car.

I’ve heard there are several different levels of fluency when it comes to learning a language, and I think I’ve finally hit the first. It doesn’t feel weird or hard to talk in Spanish anymore.

Last week we stopped in front of a gas station to look at our map when a crazy lady came up and started taking selfies with us even though her phone was broken. And…

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.

¿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…