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Livin' the gringo life ...

Welp, they put me with another American! That’s right ... I didn't think it’d ever happen, honestly. My new companion is Elder T. He’s from South Carolina. It’s sort of weird how similar we are to each other, even though we come from opposite ends of the country. I guess we just both come from the same U.S. pop culture bubble.

We baptized a man named A. on Saturday. A. showed up to church one Sunday out of the blue when we first met him. His visa had expired four months previously, so after living in the U.S. for 40 years he had to go back to Mexico. But before he left, his American girlfriend recommended that he go to a Mormon church and gave him a Book of Mormon. When we started teaching him, he had already read up to 3 Nephi and by the second visit he was in Moroni. His conversion was honestly already well under way. We just helped him along the way.

Happy birthday, Joshua!!! Drive safely. “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Latinos have an entirely flipped view about …
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¡Ahí viene el verano!

Hey guys. Happy summer to Joshua and Jacob! Make sure you set some good goals for yourselves this summer to get some cool things done with all the spare time. And keep up the good work Parker! “Don’t let the flame die out!”

A lot of people here study English. It’s a very useful language (and the United States is literally right next door). It hasn’t happened very many times, but every once in a while someone asks me how I learned English, if it was hard for me, or how long it took. Usually I answer saying “Honestly, I don’t remember.” And they think for a moment before they realize the weirdness of what they asked me.

I have good news for Jacob, Joshua, and Parker. Banana-juice and watermelon-juice aren’t just mythical drinks from Avatar. They totally drink them here (and they’re actually pretty good).

One of the things I appreciate more and more every day that I’m a missionary is the home I grew up in. I think I always took it for granted, but it really is an incredible blessing. We’re…

Two baptisms, an apostle, and missionary tips

These past two weeks we had two baptisms. R. and L. were baptized. R. is a 9-year-old girl whose parents are getting reactivated. She had never been to church before, but decided she wanted to get baptized when her parents started taking her, and her mom asked us to teach her. L. is a 16-year-old and the only member of the Church in her family. She actually comes to church every Sunday by herself in an Uber. Her conversion is an example of the power of the youth in the Church and of what happens when you share the gospel with your friends. Hopefully the rest of her family will follow her lead.

Two weeks ago something really awesome happened. The apostle Elder Stevenson celebrated his 39th anniversary with his wife by taking a trip to Tijuana. And which ward did he decide to go to on Sunday? The closest one to the temple, which just happens to be the ward my companion and I are in right now. He and his wife gave talks in sacrament meeting. They had translators and security guards and ev…

My New Area (and Mexico Genealogical Records Celebration)

FAMILY EMAIL
Sorry for not writing a group email for a while. I hope that Dad’s having fun hanging out together with the high priests and that all of you are doing good with your ministering assignments. I wish I could hear Mom perform her soprano solo. I heard Inigo’s gaining weight. Make sure to play with him so he doesn’t get too lazy and fat!

Elder P., my companion, is from Colombia, and apparently in Colombia they talk super quiet. In our discussions with investigators, sometimes I feel like we’re almost whispering. But that’s just the way he talks—at least when he wants to be serious.

We’re teaching some pretty cool people right now. I. is a 60-year-old woman who’s lived a really long, hard life. When Elder P. and his companion before me first found her, it was late at night and she was at the point of throwing herself in front of oncoming traffic. They were able to calm her down and visit her in her home the next day. Since then, she’s been coming to church for about a month and s…

Emails to Mom and Dad

Email to Mom
I received the cake mix and the frosting! Thank you!

Yeah, the members usually take it easy on the Americans with the spicy food (usually), but I'm actually getting used to it. Actually, one of my new favorite Mexican things is a spicy powder called Tajín. You put it on fruit. It sounds weird, and it is at first, but it's actually way good.

On Easter, people here traditionally abstain from eating meat, except for fish. One of the desserts I got to try is called capirotada. It's like a moist fruitcake with nuts.

General conference was great, and I felt the same way.

With your friends on Facebook, well, having doubts is normal. It's the natural opposite of faith. One of the ways we can combat the negativity that we face is sharing our testimonies—maybe make a post about your favorite talk and why you liked it. We can't always resolve other people's doubts for them, but we can always share a little bit of our faith.


Email to Dad
Yeah, I read a little about t…

¡Aguas, la salsa está picante!

Hey, they sent me back to Tijuana! I escaped summer in Mexicali by the hair of my neck. And guess what! The Tijuana temple is in my new area! I can literally see it from my new apartment! I don't have any photos yet, because I just arrived this morning, but my new companion Elder P. says it helps a ton with missionary work.

When Americans think of salsa, they think of something like a tomato sauce that you eat with tortilla chips. When Mexicans think of salsa, they basically think of hot sauce. The spiciest salsas you find in a Mexican restaurant in the U.S. are pretty much average in Mexico. Even the kids eat spicy here. And you'll find hot sauce at every table, pretty much wherever you go. It's like salt and pepper here.

In the same way the American perception of Mexican food isn't exactly accurate to what Mexican food is actually like, I think the Mexican perception of what Americans eat isn't entirely accurate either. I think the general perception is that Americ…

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 …