Monday, December 28, 2015

First Christmas in Mexico

Well Christmas has passed, and it's almost the new year!!! This week I had the awesome chance to talk to the family through Skype and well it was amazing. I love my family so much and they are such a great example to me. It was funny to speak a little Spanish and well just see the snow.. you guys are lucky as it's like 90s every day here... It's only fun for a while and then you're sweating and yeah it gets old super fast... BUT we had some fun times this week I would like to talk about.

I have recovered from the chingunkuya and I feel great! As of right now we have people planned for this week for a baptism. It didn't fall through this last week as the family of the girl we are baptizing couldn't go so we waited a week. We also had a little branch Christmas party which was super fun. We had a little devotional where I was able to talk a little (woot woot) Spanish powers. Afterward we had some games and lots and lots of food! I've come to love this area so much and with changes this coming Sunday I don't wanna leave. There aren't many members and it's in the middle of nowhere. But the Spirit is the same and the people are awesome (:

To end this week we went to a city called Coyutla. It's a lot bigger than Espinal but it only has like 2 active members. It's an hour away from Espinal and it's part of our branch. Well this Sunday we went out there to give a blessing to an hermana that has been sick for 4 months... we went out with the branch president and his wife to meet her and then give the blessing. It's crazy how optimistic this woman was. After the blessing she only said this. "I was reading in the Ensign the other day and well there was a quote that said we can't change our circumstances but we can change how we view them and we can change our attitude about them." Wow how powerful it was to hear an hermana that has been sick in bed for 4 months and yet she still is looking for the good in life. So that will be my invitation for this week's letter. Is look for the good in every situation. Whether we like what happens or not we can learn and grow for the better.

I love you all and hope you had a safe Christmas and are going to have lots of fun for the new years! To end the letter, here in Mexico everyone does fireworks and well you know we got some to celebrate and here they are soo much more fun and super cheap. Love you all and keep reading and praying! Blessings are always waiting!

Love,

Elder Babcock

This river runs through Espinal

Espinal from up on the hill

El Chancho

Pozole, my favorite dish in Mexico

Christmas hijinks with the comp

The view of the Christmas Skype from home

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Chikungunya

Well yeah it was time sadly. I got chikungunya this past week and well currently still am suffering from it. For those of you who don't know what it is its a virus passed by mosquitoes and well it [stinks]. It starts by pain in the joints. And then that goes to the bones to the point where you can't move out of your bed. You also get these super nasty red bumps on your arms that itch and burn when they get wet.... so no showering (ew ew ew) and they don't go away very soon... and then afterwards you have a wicked headache and are always dizzy and it's hard to walk. Normally people can't leave their beds for two or three weeks and even then a month or so to come back to normal. yeah this is the thing i got. HOWEVER. I feel extremely blessed. Although yeah it [stunk] and yeah for a day and a half I couldn't leave my bed due to the pain of my bones. I'm already feeling better only 5 days after the initial pain and even then I was able to be out of the bed and working most of the days. Chikungunya va que huya.

Anyway I'm better and I have something awesome to say. IT'S CHRISTMAS in 90° weather woooo. It's like the movie Swiss Family Robinson with lights on palm trees and super tropical. It's pretty sweet. It's funny how the tradition here in my area for this time of the year is to make fruit punch. But real fruit punch with real fruits and using some that I had never known existed before. Like guanabana. Like what the [heck] is that? Nevertheless it's super yummy.

Anyway in this time gifts and music and snow.... (not for me) there's something really important about his time of the year. It's the new video that the church has and also the new cards we hand out in Mexico. In Spanish it;s ha nacido un Salvador... a Savior is born. Now we had a Christmas conference a last week and in this conference we had to give a small talk in our second language about this. Que regalo le dare a Cristo este navidad? What gift am I going to give to Chirst this Christmas. And that got me thinking. It's easy to give things to people who we live with, live by, even people far away in different countries. But how many of us give gifts to Christ during this time that we celebrate his birth? I'd like to leave this question for each and everyone of you. What are you going to do this Christmas or give this Christmas for Christ. We can never repay or give back all that He has done for us. It's impossible. But every little thing we give in turn makes us better people. It's kinda like the gift that keeps on giving (; like when you buy a bunch of candies for a party and then each a bunch hahaha not really (;

Anyway I love you all and spread the joy of Christmas and the birth of our Savior with everyone during this week (: I love and miss you all and expect a picture of my head in a computer screen with the fam on the 25th.

Love,

Elder Babcock

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas conference in Poza Rica

This week was amazing. Every week out here just seems to get better and better and you don't think it can top the last week and them boom! it happens. This week we had two awesome things, the first was the Christmas conference in Poza Rica (my old stomping grounds) with the president and another zone close by. The second part was getting to watch the cultural activity and then the dedication of the temple in Tijuana. The conference was really good and we talked a lot about obedience (as that's the first law of everything) and also about teaching with power and authority and by way of the Spirit, which is key in teaching for someone to be converted to the gospel and not just to the two young missionaries in their house. Afterwards we had some piñatas in the back and we busted the first one open and yes there was candy, but also like 200 pesos, and the missionaries where fighting over the pesitos and yeah it was super funny to watch. The second only had candy so it wasn't as fun :)

We recently found a lot of new people to teach and also have 4 people planned for baptism on the 27th. We are pushing for one of them to be baptized this coming Sunday but you know sometimes they just aren't ready and we need to help them out a little more. I honestly love helping the people here in Espinal, not just with the lessons and teachings but we also have been giving lots and lots of service lately and well through that we have received lots of new investigators.

But the thing I loved the most this week has to the be the dedication of the temple in Tijuana. Oh my gosh this temple is so beautiful and the three sessions were absolutely amazing. The spirit I felt in the stake center just watching the dedication was so strong and I just love the mission and all the awesome perks of being in Mexico like new temples (; The two apostles were Elder Dallin H. Oaks and President Dieter F Ucthdorf. The best part is they don't speak Spanish so they spoke in English and then someone translated. They both talked a lot about the joy that temples bring to our lives and how we should go often. It made me think back to my first time through the temple and being in the celestial room with my family the joy and peace I felt that day. I love and miss the temple so much. I would encourage all of you to go more often. It's the house of the Lord and what better place to feel closer to our Lord and Savior then in his house? They also talked about something else that I loved. That temples don't just bless our lives. But when we bring family names to temple we are blessing their lives too. Go to the temple this week! I love you all and I hope you all are enjoying the snow as its like 90s everyday here still.

Love,

Elder Babcock

Monday, December 7, 2015

The importance of parents

What? A week has already passed by like time needs to slow down a little (; How's it going in the states? Here it FINALLY is starting to get cold. And well although it's not super cold, none of the houses have heaters so it's the same temp outside and inside. No more fans going on during the night. As for the work I love my new area, my comp, the people and the food. We recently found quite a few families and have started to teach them. One of them is an older couple who can't read. A grandma who is 103. Yikes! And then some other younger kids. And well it's funny how it doesn't matter who the family is there's people everywhere who just want to hear the gospel. The old grandma always cries during lessons and always says she can feel something different with us there. But that's all from my companion as he is a super good teacher. For only a little time in the mission he is a super good missionary and well we are learning together here.

Quickly explaining about today we went to these waterfalls in this town called Zozocolco. Yeah I know I couldn't say it at first either. But to get there we had to to go to another town called Coxquihui. (Kush-Kiwi) yeah I know it's pronounced funny. But it was super cool and super beautiful on the way there. Espinal is really in the middle of nowhere and for that the land is amazing and green everywhere. But yeah I'm putting some pictures of that in the email. Also quick note we almost got attacked by cows again. I don't know why but they don't like gringos.

Anyway what I wanted to talk about is something I was reading in my patriarchal blessing this week. I normally read it every morning or so because well it's amazing but this past week one part has been hitting me harder than normal. I'm going to quote it cause it's super short and well not very personal. It's talking about my family in this part "...they have taught you the gospel and blessed your life greatly. You have been blessed to be born to noble parents who have taught you about Jesus Christ through word and deed." And well this speaks for itself. My family and parents are awesome and have taught me so much. I'm who I am because of them and I'll never be able to thank them enough for that. But also I wanna talk to all the parents who might read this. Or maybe to the kids who need to know how blessed they are to have their parents. Parents play a HUGE role in our lives. One of our first teachers and one of our closest friends from start to finish.

This week I was reading my blessing and couldn't help but think about the prophets of the scriptures. How many of them talked about their parents, especially the blessings they had received through them. I have a couple examples (sorry this letter is going to be little longer than normal). The first is Nephi. He's an amazing example. First verse first chapter of the Book of Mormon. Who does he talk about? His parents. And the example that they had been. Nephi is an amazing example of love and obedience and well I'm sure a lot of that came from his parents. Next is Samuel the prophet from the Old Testament. More talking about his birth. I'm mad because I wrote a quote in my Bible but didn't write by whom in seminary waaaay back in sophomore year. It said "if I was asked to name the world's greatest need, wise mothers and exemplary fathers." For you people reading how important were/are your parents? We have all been blessed to have the parents we have. The list goes on and a on. The 2000 Stripling warriors, the sons of king Benjamin, Moroni, the sons of Alma, Enos. All completed amazing tasks and well are part of the scriptures for us to learn. And where did their examples start? Their parents. (I'm going to put the list of scriptures below for anyone who wants to read).

I'm so thankful for the noble, as my blessing puts it, parents I was given. They have taught me everything and then some. I miss them dearly and I would maybe give an invitation to all of you to maybe look at how awesome your parents are. They have done a lot, sacrificed a ton, I know we can all learn all learn a lot from our parents. Sorry for the ramble I just well love my parents and am so thankful for them. Stay safe and love your parents cause we only have this life and then all eternity with them (;

Love,

Elder Babcock

scriptures list: 1 Nephi 1:1, Enos 1:4, Mosiah 1, Alma 56 47-48, Moroni 7,8,9, Alma 36,37,38,39,40,41,42, 1 Samuel 1.



Monday, November 30, 2015

First week in Espinal

Greetings from Espinal, aka La Goma. I arrived on Tuesday in Papantla which the biggest city that's "close" by and even then it's 45 minutes and a good 50 pesos. My new companion for the next little while is Elder C. He's from Guatemala and is 22! And well he's my "son" (; partly. I showed up to find out that we already had some really cool investigators that want to learn and be baptized (every missionary loves these people), one of which we baptized this week! In the RIVER! The really cool thing about Espinal is that it's far away from everything. On that note the area is super beautiful and mostly untouched. Some small notes about the areas is there's lots of hills, a river and about 2,500 people living here. The next pueblo over is the next biggest with like 700 people and yeah it just gets smaller and smaller as you go further out. It's super green so my Christmas will be a green one.

As for the members there's like 40 or so out here. It's a branch so we don't have many. Our "church" is actually just a house that's been painted white and had lots of chairs and small piano that nobody knows how to play. Man I should have learned (; but in all reality I love it here. I needed a change and this is exactly what I needed. My companion loves to work and we get lots done every day. In my area it's just us two with the closest missionaries being in Tajin, which is like 30 km or so from the Espinal to really far in their area.

But now I wanna talk a little about the baptism we had this week. Her name is hermana Y. Her testimony is already so strong and you can tell she had been waiting for this message and thankfully to missionary work she was able to have it, way out in Espinal middle of nowhere (; Anyway we went to church and we had the services. After we announced the baptism and well all 35 or so members went! What a cool experience it was to be down by the river with the whole rama of Espinal singing hymns and then the baptism. The spirit was so strong and I really love this area.

On the way there I got to hold a crazy big lizard and on the way back the Stake President got his car stuck almost falling off a small bridge but we all helped him out (; I'm super excited for the adventures and fun times I'm going to have here with the people of this area. We have plans to go to some cool waterfalls next Monday and then one after that there's some more undiscovered ruins so we might go there (: MEXICO is awesome! Also go look up banda music cause that's all that plays in the streets and its super catchy (:

This week I finished the Book of Mormon in Spanish for the first time and man can I tell you that this book is true and although I didn't understand 100% of the words as its all in Spanish, the spirit and comfort and joy I have felt through reading this book is the same. No matter what the language the spirit can be felt by all. I would encourage all of you no matter how many times you've read the Book of Mormon, or maybe you have never read it before. Go get one and start now. I love this book so much and its helped me through the tough times, I know it can do the same for each and every one of you (:

Love,

Elder Babcock







Monday, November 23, 2015

First transfer

Whelp my time in Coatzintla is done. I'm going to be spending the next little while in a small, small, small town called Espinal. It's an hour outside of the biggest city Papantla and well there is nothing. No OXXO (Mexican convenience store)  no nada. Entonces, I will be learning to live the more simple life. Another cool thing about this journey south, I will be training or at least helping with the second part of training of my new comp. He's from Guatemala and well we are going to learn together about the work as I just ended my training. Anyway! My time here in Coatzintla has been amazing and I've met so many awesome people. Members and nonmembers alike. It's crazy to think some of the people I taught and didn't accept baptism are some of the kindest, most loving people I've met. They invite complete strangers into their houses and feed them and everything. And it's given me a new love for the people of Mexico but also never to judge a book by its cover.

This week I had some super cool personal revelation. Leading up to cambios I really wanted to leave. Not because I don't like this place or my companion but because I just felt like it would be best to leave the galletas and well go teach some new people. This whole week prayers morning, afternoon and all asking about if I could go or should I stay. And then this Sunday hermano Pita gave an awesome talk during Elders quorum. It was ultimately about change and how it's something essential and that we need it in our lives to progress and learn. Although it was in Spanish I understood the message. And I knew after that talk I was going. I didn't need the leaders to tell me I knew. And who would've guessed it, the phone rings later Sunday, "Elder Babcock you're leaving for Espinal." And idk it's small but it was really unique and cool to me (: I'm really excited for all the things that are going to happen there and to meet my new comp and just start the work somewhere new.

Also for all you people who want a cool new Spanish word, chincuncuya. It's this nasty thing you can get from mosquitos and people like can't move for weeks from it. But yeah hope all is well in the states although I hear crazy things every day but yeah. Show your love to someone new this week (maybe even a non member(; ) and eat Thanksgiving pie and turkey for all us Elders in Mexico where it doesn't exist (; ADIOS!

Love,

Elder Babcock


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Eating armadillo

What a fun and wild week it's been out in Mexico. The first thing to note is that the language is coming along great. There's every now and then when I don't understand a couple words but for the most part I'm understanding pretty well. As with teaching, for every person that lets us in to teach there's a good ten or so that shut the doors or put better don't answer their doors and just peek through the blinds. It's sad, that some people just aren't ready for the gospel quite yet. But one day hopefully. Another sad thing in my mission at the moment is that my companion only has two more changes left. It's helped me in a funny way. That I kinda have to be the "mayor compañero" and work as hard as we can. It's helped me with the Spanish. I'm trying to get new investigators and well I wanna have success in the mission.

Today we had a really cool experience with food. We got a call from an hermano in the ward that wanted to make us food for today. Because normally p days we don't get fed. Well we show up and he sits us down. Doesn't say what the food is and just puts plates down in front of us with this weird colored meat. Like almost tan colored but brown too. idk It was weird. Not the normal yellow chicken or carne. Anyway we start eating and it was actually really good. And then he comes out with the shell of an armadillo and is like ever seen one of these before? And then he tells us that we were eating armadillo. Freaked me out a little but well it really wasn't that bad. (;

Last thing for this week. Here in Mexico they started selling these little Mexican yoyo top things called trompos. They are super cool and you can do little tricks with them. and well being the gringo that wants to be Mexican I got one and learned some little tricks. In American money they cost like $0.60 and it's like super expensive to the little kids. It's funny to see their faces when you buy them one as its like you just got them an xbox or something.

But life here is good and the food even better! I'm honestly happy, and I have much more joy and peace in my life here in Mexico. Not that I didn't have it in my life in my house, its a different type of joy and peace and I have only found this in one way. And that's through the scriptures and prayer. My challenge for all of you at home is if you don't read the scriptures daily to try it. Be part of the "Whimpy Verse Club" as brother Anderson always said. Say a prayer read some verses and I know from experience that your day will somehow be better than if you didn't do so. It's my promise to you! Love you all so much and enjoy the cold as its still really hot here.

Love,

Elder Babcock


Monday, November 9, 2015

Primary program in Coatzintla

The days are going by faster and faster and well I hope it doesn't go by too fast. This week included a very powerful zone class, divisions with my district leader where we were confronted by [representatives of another religion] in the street and had to straighten them out (no es cierto),
Teaching English, the Primary program and the best of them all--Mexican cheese!

It was early in the week when we had our zone class and our zone leaders are awesome. One is from Chihuahua and the other is from Spanish Fork, Utah. Both have lots of time in the mission and both are very passionate about the work. Elder R., the one from Utah, was talking to us about D&C Section 4, which is like our theme here in the mission field. But he was talking about how we have to serve with all our might, mind and strength that this isn't just a try and hope for the best thing, that we only have a little time to devote 24/7 to the Lord and we need to try our best to do so.

The very next day I was on divisions with Elder D., my buddy from Spring City and my mountain climbing friend. Together we set off to find some new people in my area. Now after meeting one person and almost to the door of the other person we were stopped by two [representatives of another religion]. And well lets just say we lost about an hour and a half of our time talking with them as they are closed-minded and well don't have the truth. But there was one time during our talk where right after Elder D. shared something I jumped in and shared my testimony about it before they could respond and well they didn't say anything for a little while. It was at this time we left them with a little pamphlet and gave them our numbers if they ever wanted to talk again. We haven't heard from them.

Next part of the week was teaching English to the youth. Wow. English is hard and I'm glad I got to learn it when I was younger. All the weird rules and everything. Phew it was a rough hour or so. This week in ward of Coatzintla we had our Primary program. Guess how many youth there were?... nope probably lower that what you guess. 11 kids! Yup only 11. However you might think that with only 11 kids the funny little things that happen during a Primary program wouldn't happen. Nah they still do and well it was great to reminisce a little about the ones back home. The best part of this one was the little girl who picked her nose at the pulpit reading her part, yikes! To end the week we had a small lesson Sunday night with a member and for our dessert she brought us out some cheese.... yeah cheese. It's called "ebra"? and it's almost like string cheese, just in a huge ball and haha it was good just a little weird!

Hope all is well in gringolandia and you are all reading your scriptures and saying your prayers! In my personal study this week I focused on the first couple chapters of 3rd Nephi and I really loved chapters 3 and 4. They talk about the experiences of the Nephites when they were fighting the ladrones de Gadianton.. (; and well I loved how it described them as ONE during this time and how although the Gadianton robbers were strong and fierce and had all sorts of power, it didn't have any power over them. I know if we are unified, as families, friends, a church in general that we too will be watched over and protected from the adversary.

Love you all!!!

Elder Babcock

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A baptism

What a week! The days are going by faster and faster. It seems like I'm studying in the morning and then boom it's 9 and we are heading home. The whole day is a blur and the work is going along great! This week we had a baptism. Camila is her name and we found her through her mom. Her mother is a less active who after a couple of lessons with us as well as her best friend.... the president of Relief Society.... is now very active and that brought up the question. Elders, would you want to teach and baptize my daughter? And well after a couple of weeks of teaching and such she was ready! Now Camila is super cool when compared to other 9-year-old girls because during our teachings and about invitations to read the Book of Mormon and pray she took them seriously. She has read all the way to Alma in the Book of Mormon and always wants to pray when we leave. She has been an awesome example to me of what people who want the gospel in there life can do once they have it.

Now for the last little part of my letter I want to talk about the Day of the Dead and my experience with that. Well for starters it's on November 1st and 2nd.  During this time everybody and even the stray dogs go to the cemetery. There are two types of foods that are very common at this time and that's "pan de los muertos" y tamales. Pan de los muertos is a type of bread they make only around this time of the year. And well personally I think it should stay that way. It was good but there is un chorro de tipos de pan aqui en mexico... and the bread of the dead just doesn't stack up against cream filled breads and piña bread. Now as for the tamales.. Wow. I have never had so many tamales in my life as I ate yesterday and today. In total about 15 or so. These people love their tamales and well so do i (; also they kinda but not really celebrate Halloween. On the 31st around the safe neighborhoods little packs of 10 or so kids with maybe a mask and sometimes nothing go around just screaming in the street asking for candy. Anyway life is really good down in Mexico and the weather is still hot as ever. Spanish is going great and well life goes on! Nos vemos!

Love,

Elder Babcock

Monday, October 26, 2015

Lessons from stake conference

Busy busy busy week. Lots of really cool things happening. This week was stake conference in Poza and also we had lots of new people to teach. Lots of new families as well as lots of less actives that we wanted to work with.

A little bit of numbers for you people back home about my stake I serve in. There are 5,044 members. Yeah I know woot woot. BUT like most of Mexico the problem is less active members. People get baptized and then just jump into the ocean or something. Of the members we have a whopping 803 active members. Yeah. The math the leaders did was like 16% or so. But idk because I have 2 years of no math so I'm gonna live it up as much as i can. (; but yeah that was a shocker to me and so in the stake conference they talked a lot about missionary work. Not just with full time ones but as members as well. They talked about how for a ward to have success in the mission field, it starts with a mission plan for the ward. Goals and plans to complete regarding less actives or new people. That's the bishop and ward mission leaders' jobs (; and then its up to us. The members and the full time missionaries to complete these goals and ultimately bring people back to the "fold" so to speak. They also talked a lot about leaders and how they can be success in their callings. I really loved one part of this. "Hay 4 principios de liderazgo." Catch all that? (;

Anyway they go 1) prepare spiritually. This is like the sunday school answers. pray, read the scriptures, ponder them. Fast, keep the commandments. 2) "participar en consejos." Basically talk with other leaders in your area about the needs of the people you are serving. Or that need help. I'm going to put 3 and 4 together as they sometimes go together but I love the way they pulled them a part to show the importance of these parts. 3) Serve others and 4) Teach the gospel. This is the part I love. It's easy, especially as a missionary to think that as I teach the gospel I'm serving others. Boom check off both the boxes. Let's go get some tacos al pastor and maybe some chicharones.

Although its kind of true in a sense. It shouldn't be the primary goal for serving others. In the field, having a companion, teaching people and helping them find a testimony of their own. It brings a new aspect to learning how to serve someone. It means my time doesn't exist anymore. My "relax time after a hard day" or my "lunch time" doesn't matter because we have investigators that need help or don't understand some part of the gospel or there's a member who needs a priesthood blessing or some member that just needs someone to talk because she's like 103 and nobody lives at her house. and honestly it sounds a little sad, that I don't have me time, but in all reality I haven't been more happy and filled with love like I am serving these wonderful people of Mexico.

Matthew 16:25 I love this place and the spirit I feel because of this marvelous work. I love you all and hope everything is well. I didn't get killed by the hurricane as its not even close to me. This week show your love to someone new by serving them beyond what you want to do. It'll be worth it I promise!

Love,

Elder Babcock

Found my favorite snack!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The rains came down and the floods came up

Well this week has been a great one! It rained pretty much every day, all day, and unlike the U.S. where all the water has places to go like gutters and drains, here it's more like the water goes where it wants to go. So most of the sidewalks and roads are flooded and it's difficult to get around. Oh and you get soaked no matter how many things you have to keep the water away.

But I want to talk about this last P-day and the hike we went for (Elder D. and me, that is.) The two gringos on an adventure to climb a mountain. It started early early, like almost 6 in the morning. We headed out the house and to a small dirt road by this little colonia named Jardines. On the way we got harassed by the street perros that I have come to hate. Dogs at home are nice and typically friendly, but all the dogs here are ratty and just plain mean. But anyways we made it to the small path we were going to take up the mountain. We had to maneuver through some barbed wire but after that it was almost smooth sailing. The path went up about 2/3 of the mountain and just as it was about to end we hit a road block...a herd of cows. Okay not just cows, bulls too. There were probably 10 total and the bulls had massive horns. Now as we walked closer the bulls did nothing, just stared at us. So instead of testing fate and trying to pass we took the route through the jungle to hack our way through and not mess with the scary cows. About two hours into the hike we were almost there. The path had stopped and all that was left was a small hill and then we would be there. The view from the top was supposed to look over all of Coatzintla, my area, Camineros, Olmecas, Quirasco, Troncones, and the division by Poza Rica; and then the area of elder D., Jardines, Morales, Kawatzin, Casas Geo, and some other small pueblos that I don't know the name of. But once we got to the top, there was no clear spot, only bushes that were a good 8 or so feet high. From the back, the view away from the city was awesome and I was totally fine with that. I tried to tell Elder D., oh well this was fun and the view of the back was awesome. but Elder D. loves his mountains and his views, so he hacked through the bushes and about thirty minutes later we had a small little view. A little more time and we could see my area. A little more and we saw parts of his.

Now I learned a pretty cool lesson from Elder D. Although he had lots of pesky weeds and bushes to deal with he knew what his goal was and he wasn't going to stop until he got there. Now sadly for me, I was content with the "half way" goal. The view was great. But through our extra efforts and determination we had an even better view just around the corner, just out of sight from where we were. The view we ended with was a thousand times better than what I had been content with. On the way down the hill we had encounters with the cows again and with some ticks. I hate ticks.

Hope everyone is doing well and is safe back home in the states. It's too bad the U.S. lost to Mexico last week because of that I had to eat two whole habeneros and buy some jovenes Coca-Cola. Much love and keep progressing!

Elder Babcock



Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The blessings of patience

This week was great (: Going into the week I knew that this Sunday would be when I found out about "cambios" (transfers) and also if I left the area or not. I didn't want to leave my area as I have come to know that he ward in Coatzintla is the ward with the most "mamas de galletas"... that's families that give you Coca-Cola or food all the time and will ask you to come teach family home evening or just stop and share a scripture for some food. But I'm super happy because I found out I will not be leaving. Our area will be the same and my comp Elder Reyes will stay with me. I'm soo pumped (:

Along with that I had a really cool experience with patience this week. There's this really cool "abuelita". She has family that are recent converts but she never gave much thought to baptism. For almost 3 months the missionaries have been teaching her. And when I got to the area Elder Reyes told me that we can go teach every now and then but that she wasn't interested. She doesn't progress and never gives anything a try. She's stuck in her ways and won't change. Well after a meeting with my mission president a while ago he read D & C 18.10.... I'm pretty sure I already talked about this scripture but its just an amazing scripture... anyway! Ever since this meeting I couldn't help but think we should teach her more. She's old. She doesn't work. Her family is always gone. She really doesn't have many people in her life. Well we finally started to go more. And guess what? She started to pray more. And then read the Book of Mormon. And then boom she was baptized this week! She shared with us that she had never wanted to be baptized because the missionaries were always just people trying to convert her. They didn't want to be friends or love her. Just as they say in the mission "numbers numbers numbers" but she shared that we had showed her that we actually cared and that through her tough times and not wanting to changed we still came and still showed her love and didn't just say be baptized. I know this was huge for me as the Lord has a time for everyone. And that we shouldn't focus on now now now now now. But on what's ahead. And when times are tough, or you can't see why you're putting in effort and receiving nothing back. Just know it'll all be worth it in the end. She is a very serious old lady. But Sunday she cried like a little baby and that touched my heart like nothing else.

I love this work and the amazing things I get to be a part of. Be patient and everything will be all right.

Love,

Elder Babcock

Monday, October 5, 2015

Answers to prayers

This week was bound to be a good one. I went in with a lot of specific questions and I knew this was the week of answers. Of the questions, the first couple were answered in only a few days, and those were really cool experiences and it all was through specific prayers. Our MTC Pres. talked a lot about these. Just ask for something when you need help or an answer and then ask specifically for something to happen. Now you can't ask for like a million dollars.. come on stop being silly. But you can ask for certain things you have questions about and I testify that you can be given what you're missing through specific prayers and they really are a cool thing to have in your life.

The next part of the week was a conference with my mission president with all the other newbies, and that was really cool as well. He gave this awesome quote and I don't know if it was his words or someone else's, but it said "salir del barco y hacer algo imposible" basically it's saying get out the comfort zone. The norm. As in one of the talks don't be a Sunday Mormon. Do something crazy and out of the norm and I know it will be a miracle in small or big ways. Because in the field there's some of this everyday.

Now as for conference I'm upset... it was all in Spanish and no entiendo Español.... entonces I didn't really get much and I'll have to wait for the Liahona to enjoy all of it. But none the less the spirit I felt was amazing. Just being in the mission for a short 2 months I already have gained a stronger testimony of this work. How? The scriptures and the feelings I receive during lessons. 1) I barely understand the language. 2) I barely speak the language. However! 3) I always feel the spirit as if it were all in English. I know this gospel has no specific language and that I love the peace and joy this gospel brings to my life. I love you all and I'd challenge you to try a specific prayer. No half way do it. Do it sincerely. And I know it'll be an awesome experience (:

Love,

Elder Babcock






Tuesday, September 29, 2015

No water in Coatzintla

Awesome week. The start of the week was slow as Elder Reyes was sick and that meant lots of scriptures and church movies... for a day and half he was pretty much only in bed with "dolor de cuerpo." lol and although it was boring it allowed me to do a lot of reading.

My investigators are all progressing some faster than others and this week was planned for two baptisms. The days for the interviews came and one didn't show... the other did and this Sunday was gonna be the baptism.. and then Sunday morning she had something come up in Poza Rica and couldn't go.. we pushed it back to next week but the cool thing of the week was the missionaries who are in my district have been teaching this mother and her son. The mom was baptized last week and the son was being baptized this week. He went to all the activities and church as well where I got to know him and spend some good time talking with him. During his interview he asked if I could baptize him. So this Sunday I was able to have my first baptism who wasn't even my convert. Crazy and weird but it all happened from just talking and getting to know him during the church activities.

Today we went in to Poza Rica for a couple hours and that meant Walmart, Little Caesars, and lots and lots of little street side tiendas. Not much more to talk about but this week is General Conference and I know it's going to be a good one. New apostoles and awesome talks. WOOT HOLLAND.

My last thing to say is be thankful of where you live. Here in Coatzintla every couple months the city has a water shortage to the point where for 4 days.. our house has not had water. That meant no shower, no bathroom, no cleaning dishes... nada. Luckily we were able to shower at the other missionaries house but man let me tell you walking 20 minutes for a shower and the bathroom is bien chafa. Love you all and watch all of conference! Enjoy the pics (:

Love,

Elder Babcock



Monday, September 21, 2015

Two months down

Two months down. Wow! The time is flying by and I'm loving the work more and more. Nothing necessarily amazing happened this week, but even that it's been one of the best weeks. It started early with Mexican Independence Day. We had to be in our houses at 6 p.m. and with that time my district waged war in six continents with RISK, while outside there were parties and gun shots. We played RISK and drank "jugo de durazno". Throughout this week we have had lots of lessons and lots of contacting in the street and such. There are two investigators who we might baptize this week so look out for that! We had Mexican night both for the ward and our stake.. wow.. the songs, the dances. just wow. lol It's different.. but there was plenty of horchata and AC so I didn't complain too much.

This week we had a lesson with an hermana in the ward and she isn't endowed and only has one child who lives at home. Her husband isn't a member and he works for two weeks and then gets one week home, and then two weeks away again, and it's really hard for her. The other night she had my companion give her a blessing. She told us she feels alone and that there's no one there for her and that turning to the scriptures helps but only so much. Afterward I felt like I should pull out my Ensign from this last general conference in April. I didn't know the talk I was looking for I just knew it was Elder Holland. It was in English but we searched it on her TV and we started to watch this talk in Spanish. Afterwards she said thanks and we left. Not much. She seemed a little happier but not too much. Well! The next day she asked us to come in for a drink. Then she told me she had watched the talk a little more than 10 times since the first time, and every time it got better and better and that this talk brought peace to her through Elder Holland's message.

We also had a conference with our mission president a little while ago and he talked about D&C 18:10. ALL souls are great to God. Not just baptisms or new investigators and he talked a lot about how we should help the members too not just the people we can baptize. Anyway yeah this week was good and the Spanish is getting better everyday (: love you all and who is excited for general conference? Because two days of modern-day scripture sounds amazing to me (:

Love,

Elder Babcock



Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Week 2

This week has been awesome. There is never really any down time but I'm fine with working all day as the time flies. For Sept. we have 4ish dates for baptism and October almost 7. I'm loving the work and the Spanish is coming more and more every day. The gift of tongues is real, people.

We had a really cool chance to be a part of the rededication of the Mexico City temple. There were three hour and a half sessions of like mini-conference in Spanish. All the talks were centered on the temple and its importance. Elder Holland and Pres. Eyring were there and both gave 3 amazing talks about temples and their personal importance to them. Elder Holland talked first and his story was about how amazing temples are, when they aren't close or when they are being renovated. His story was about his son when he was getting ready to go on a mission. Their temple in London was being renovated and there was no other close temples. So his wife and son flew to Utah and decided to do his first temple session in the St. George temple. They planned so that his wife and son would start the temple session at 11 am in Utah and at this same time he would be home from work at 6 pm in Europe and would clean up the room and have his own little scripture study with the temple and his family in mind. He talked about how before 6, it felt like a normal day. But as he concluded his opening prayer at 6, the feeling of peace and love came over him as he new the at this time his son was starting his first session in the temple. He said while reading the scriptures he couldn't help but wonder. Was my son okay? Was he lost with what was happening? What if he got worried or made a mistake? And then the same calm feeling of peace came again. He knew that not only was his wife there, but that all the temple workers that day were his personal "angels" "sentinels" "guardians" and so forth that day. He said that one of his best temple experiences was a day he wasn't even in the temple. He said some days the temples are very far from us and we can't always go when we want to... but that we should keep our temple covenants close to us always so that when the temple is far physically, it's right with us always spiritually.

I'm sad I don't get to go to the temple in this mission for two years.. but I know that the peace and love we feel at the temple is here with me in Xalapa as I keep and think of my sacred covenants I've made. I love this gospel and I've seen families become closer here in 2 short weeks by the lessons taught to non member families. President Greer believes missionaries have 5 purposes: find, teach, baptize, reactivate, and get them to the temple. I know that the temple is the best place on this earth we can go to be close to God, but whens it's far away physically, it doesn't have to be spiritually (: now Pres. Eyring gave an awesome talk too. But it was on temple marriage and that's not on the mind until July 2017 :) Anyway I love you all and Xalapa and specifically Coatzintla is awesome (:

Love,

Elder Babcock

Monday, September 7, 2015

Weekly recap from Coatzintla

Wow! First week in the mission has been one for the books. It started in Xalapa in the mission office with lots and lots and lots of paperwork. After that came the mission house where I got my companion, Elder Reyes. He's from Sonora, Mexico. He's super chill and also our district leader. He's quickly become one of my best friends and we get along really well. We spent the night in some huge apartment for the assistants and then in the morning we left for our area. My first area is Coatzintla, and it took me like four days to learn how to pronounce it. Anyway it's a small town just south of Poza Rica. It's hot... super hot. Like 90s all day as well as 80%+ humidity.. Everyone here carries little wash cloths to wipe their faces and hands because everyone just sweats so much.

In my area we have had lots of success in the past and that's continuing right now! We already have four planned baptisms for this month of September and another two for October. My first day we didn't do many lessons but the second and third I only helped a little. Giving my testimony at the end or sharing a small scripture. But on my fourth day we had this new investigator, he's 15, lives like 2 miles from the city and his house has like maybe two rooms and tarps covering the open roof.. We sat on little stepping stools as we taught him and this was the first lesson that I started. Through the bad Spanish I could tell he understood and about 45 minutes later we began to explain baptism and why it's important. I gave him the invitation to be baptized and who would have guessed it he said yes. We have lessons with him every other day until then but I'm super excited to get to know him and continue to help him with progressing in the gospel. 

The members here are are amazing, especially "cookie mama". Anytime she sees us or we go and teach a small lesson to here. "Elders want some Coke?" "How about some bread for the road?" "We just finished cooking a chicken want some?" "I bought two kilos of bananas take some" I swear if it wasn't so hot I'd be like 20 pounds heavier because of her.. Besides that there's not much else. Everyday is wake up study for a couple hours and then go teach the people of Coatzintla. The food is amazing. Haven't had a weird meal yet but I'm sure that's soon going to change. But the members are so nice and friendly and everything is super cheap so that's nice too. 3 liter Coke=$1.75 full sized hamburgers=$1.20 its a dream come true (; expect the perritos... hijole. Every street has like 10 stray dogs all of them a different breed and everyone is more nasty and dreadlocked than the last. It's sad.. I used to like seeing dogs. 

There's so much more but it I'll wait until next week. Love you all tons (: and thanks for all the amazing examples you've been to me. The people in Mexico don't know about the gospel that has so completely blessed me and my family and friends so much, and I'm so glad I get to share it with them so they can experience this joy as well (: ALSO I HAD ELOTE (the corn from Nacho Libre) AND IT'S AMAZING. It's like $.75 and I eat like one a night.

Love you all!

Elder Babcock

First apartment

On the way to a lesson
Elder Reyes & Elder Babcock


Monday, August 31, 2015

Xalapa

I made it! So the whole trip started last night with about 2 hours of last-minute packing followed by lots and lots of goodbyes. I got to sleep around 12 and had to wake up at 3:15. We went to reception around 4 and then loaded up our luggage and such into a little bus and headed to an airport for buses. It was really different and weird but there was also McDonalds so that's a win at 5 am (;

From there we got on the bus and the road trip started. It lasted about 5 hours but only two of those were spent sleeping. I spent the other 3 hours with my face glued to the window looking outside or occasionally reading the Book of Mormon. Xalapa is so beautiful. It's called the "city of flowers" and I can see why. Everywhere we go there's lots of really pretty flowers. We got off the bus and next thing we see is President Greer and his wife waiting with open arms to take us to our home for the time being. They are both really really friendly and I'm super excited to get to know them more as the years go by.

I thought the bad driving in Mexico was only in Mexico City but I was wrong. It's a miracle there isn't a crash every couple seconds as people go crazy on the roads. We got to the mission office which is in a small little corner strip mall and it's really nice. There we had lunch and got some mission business taken care of. I don't think I get my comp until tomorrow and then I won't start teaching until Wednesday but I can't wait. My Spanish is still slow when compared to the Latinos, but I know after a little while I'll get the hang of it. Don't have much time so I hope everything is well. I love you guys!! stay safe!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

On to Xalapa

My district got an awesome week to leave on as we have had two devotionals this week and still another two on Sunday (: On Tuesday it was a video of Elder Holland talking about missionary work and how as missionaries in the PMG (Preach My Gospel) era we need to be better missionaries than them.....uhhh better missionary than Elder Holland,... i wish (; But it was really a cool experience to hear him talk about how with this book we teach people not lessons, which is the opposite of how he taught as a missionary.

Other than Tuesdays and Sundays there isn't much to talk about as it's all the same. But on Wednesday we had the amazing experience to hear from Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife. I'll start with what his wife had to say. She talked a lot about charity and how it's something we don't just acquire but that we need to pray about and for. And that us going out into the mission field we will have no success unless we completely love the people. She said "when your invitations are rejected and the saddness you feel is not for yourself, but for your investigators who are rejecting the gospel, that is when you are a true missionary." I loved that because I think I'd take it to easy on people who don't keep commitments or continue to progress in the gospel. But as Elder Holland said in his talk "this is eternal salvation we are talking about" so I'm definitely excited to go and bring others to know of the truth in Xalapa.

Now for Elder Christofferson (: he talked about missionary work and how its a privilege to serve in this time where there isn't major wars keeping a large number of young adults from going on missions. And how while we are serving we need to be direct but loving. He talked about how the Savior was direct in all his dealings but still was able to show perfect love for his "investigators". He shared a story of the CCM President Tenorio who woke one day to the sound of someone trying to get into his house. He walked downstairs and turned the lights scaring one of the burglars but another waited and then continued to try to get in. At this point President Tenorio yelled out "hands up" and amazingly he put his hands up. And then he said "turn and face the street" and he did so. He slowly opened the door and put his fingers in his back as if it were a gun. And walked him out to the street where his neighbors came out and the police came. All this time he hadn't realized this man had no shirt and very torn pants. At this time when the cops were about to put him in the car, President Tenorio's wife came out with a button down shirt and said "we should give him a shirt, it's cold and he might want something to wear." This is where he stopped.... this man had just tried to break in to their house and possible steal or injure their family within... and yet the first thing on her mind afterward was to run upstairs and grab one of her husband's shirts to give to this man who didn't have one... he almost broke into tears when explaining how much love this women had for him... we need to have this kind of love. The kind that when we are spit upon or yelled at or who knows what else I'll encounter in Xalapa. but after all this I'm going to have to show love for the people no matter how I'm treated.

He shared a lot more but my email is already really long so oops... (; hope everyone is doing well and sorry about the lack of pictures. Next week will have a lot as tonight and tomorrow will be the times we take lots of pictures. The last thing I want to end with is about my ties I brought. It seems weird at first just wait a second (; so I brought a lot of ties. And most the people I'm rooming with don't have too many. We decided to do a little trade where everyone grabs some ties and then we trade them and write little messages to each other. Well it comes time for me to offer ties up and I literally grabbed this black knit one my brother gave me (love you bro) this whale tie I have (shout out to Conner Baldwin) and then this nasty tie that I traded with a Latino Elder my second week in a believe. Other than that I offered pretty much to anyone who wanted. Now in my room most the kids have really cool ties. But some of the other Elders came over with like four ties saying this is all they had but that they would trade them anyway. I had them all pick one out and then wrote little letters to them on the back and then snuck them into their room when they were out. One of the Elders came in holding the tie and said "Babcock.. umm did you leave this in our room?" and I told him it was for him and to read the message I wrote on the back. Within a couple minutes he came back with tears in his eyes and all he did was walk in and hug me... and then said thanks and I love you and left.

And I've come to feel that cool clothes, cool ties, cool shoes, it's just cool. It isn't until something has meaning until it becomes special to someone. When he put that tie on for lunch and walked around he had nothing but the biggest smile and a light in his eyes I havent seen in a while. That tie was cool. To me that's all it was. But once he received it, it became special to him and I love making a small change like that in people's days (: im hoping I can serve the people of Xalapa in the same manner (: love you guys!! I leave for Xalapa on Monday in the morning so the next time you hear from me I'll be in Xalapa baby! love you guys tons and miss you all (: go away! read some books!'

Love,

Elder Babcock

Off to Xalapa on Monday

 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Last regular week in the CCM

This week is the last regular week in the CCM. Next week we have devotionals Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday as well as in-field orientation. The field is creeping up on me and I'm so pumped to get out to Xalapa and change some lives and be able to eat true Mexican food because this "comedor" Costco food with beans and rice just doesn't cut it for me.

We are officially the oldest district in the zone now as well as yesterday we had great-grand children. Most from Cali and a couple from Hawaii, however only one from "la fabrica" (that's Spanish for "factory" and it's what the Mexicans call it when you come from Utah). Yo soy de la fabrica. The Spanish is coming great and the teacher our teachers is even better. I finally feel like I can communicate everything I want to in Spanish and not be held back by the language.

Two days more and I will have been out for a month and it's crazy to think that. It hasn't felt long at all and I actually feel like we just got here. My comp and myself get along great and we spend hours upon hours studying together and preparing lessons. One of the best parts of this week was finding Tarzan in Spanish on my flash drive and listening non-stop during our computer time. Me encanta (;

Besides that not much has happened this week. Today we went to the Mexico temple open house. It's the largest temple outside the U.S. and let me tell you I've never been in a temple with escalators to get around. It's an awesome temple. We toured the inside and got to take pictures all around it. I really hope in Xalapa we can venture over to Vercruz and visit the temple because the spirit you feel there is truly amazing. I'd encourage all of you who read this to attend the temple as often as you can and do so with friends and family. Don't take having one or even ten so close for granted.

For the rest of my P-day jugaré futbol con los latinos. They never want me on their team until I score three times and then they all argue over who gets me. And if you think arguing in English is funny it's tons better in Spanish. Love you all and stay safe (: Only one more week and couple days until el campo está mío. Sorry about not much to write but it's difficult to do things that are worthy to write about in a maximum security place like the CCM. Hold tight, knuckle white!

Love,

Elder Babcock







Thursday, August 13, 2015

Week 3 recap

So this week went by too fast. It seems like the days just blend together and that not much happens even though every day is a 16-hour day.. I'm loving the language more and more each day and getting better as well. Its gone from Spanglish in class with some Spanish and some English to almost all Spanish. This week I started my journey of reading "El Libro de Mormon" en Español. At first it was hard. In fact I read the first chapter of First Nephi like 4 times before I finally started to understand it. But as soon as I got past the first chapter it's coming more and more easy each time. I have the Spanish and English versions open to the same spots and I read Spanish. Once I find a word or phrase that's not familiar to me I either look up in a dictionary the meaning or read the English one to get the gist of the sentence. It's a very slow process but it's amazing to see that I can finally understand probably 80% of the words I'm reading. It's amazing to see what's possible with faith, a lot of obedience, and oraciónes (that's "prayers" in Spanish btw).

Every hour or so during language study we get 10 minutes to play futbolito (fusball) which gets intense sometimes. Teachers join in and let's just say some of the teachers are too good at this game. Like lobbing the ball and heading goals... it's crazy. This was our first Wednesday without getting new Elders in our zone, which is good because our zone is the biggest in the CCM with 52 people. Sacrament meeting is always awesome and I love my zone tons. One of my new best buddies (he went to BYU but I still manage to love him) ran track for BYU. This "kid" is over six foot extremely athletic. Can pick up any sport and just "run" with it.... hahaha he's a runner... if you're wondering why I'm talking about him I'll let you know in a second. We have been eating lots of meals together, hanging out on P-day and even going to devotionals together. He's been having a difficult time with why he's out here. Like why he gave up the girls and the school and the job for this. He was struggling with the language and just not having a good time. A reason why he was struggling was because this super human among men was a couple hundredths of a second away from national records in high school track and also the same away from Olympic times. This guy is fast. So you can see why he was struggling with being out here, let alone leaving your family and girls and school and of course. more girls..

But then on Tuesday night we watched a video that I had seen before but he hadn't or at least not in a while. It was about a rugby player who was going to be selected for one of the best teams in the world. but, he gave up this chance to serve an LDS mission. My friend was watching and thinking oh my gosh, this is exactly like what I'm going through. After the two year mission, this rugby player became one of the world's greatest rugby players and he knew that had he not served a mission he would not have gotten close to that. Right before this video this Elder asked for a blessing from me. He had had a really tough day and just needed some help. In my blessing I felt the urge to tell him that he would receive an answer to the questions he had about being out on a mission. And this was just 30 minutes before the devotional..... it was amazing after that blessing to watch him sit in the auditorium and watch this video. He looked at me and said I know this is the answer you talked about in your blessing.. and now since then he has had the time of his life. He's doing amazing at Spanish and still dominates in the court, field, or table. This was truly an amazing experience to have and I'm glad that because of the increased sensitivity to the Holy Ghost while surrounded by all people with my common goals morals and standards I was able to give him an experience that most likely kept him from leaving the MTC.

I love the Spirit that at the place and this was a huge strengthener for my testimony (: hope all is well and "save me piece of that corn, save me a piece of that corn for later."

Love,

Elder Babcock

Sunset at the Mexico MTC
 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Hola!

Second P-day (: the days are starting to blend together and they are all the exact same. It seems like just as I lay down and finally get some shut eye my alarm goes off and its time to start the next day. I really love the language and am having an amazing time learning and applying it as we teach practice investigators everyday. It's now August, which means it's the month that I will leave for the field! I'm so excited to get out to Xalapa and be able to actually change some lives. On the 2nd of August, we had a 24 hour fast along with a District fast and testimony meeting. Its amazing to see how fast people can not only learn and begin to understand a language, but be able to stand up and testify in a different language what they know to be true in the gospel (me being one of them). After having the district sacrament meeting and ending our fast, we had a goodbye devotional to our older part of the district. Its a tradition to sing ´God be with you till we meet again´ in Spanish of course. I said goodbye to my ´grandparents´ of 13B and even though I had only known them for two weeks, they were the first to introduce my district to the CCM and I had some really cool bonds with them. Especially one who a golfer for BYU Hawaii.... the only thing keeping us from being brothers was the fact that he didn't go to the promised land of the U of U for school (;
 
The Spanish is coming along great. I'm picking it up really fast and its awesome.  My comp is super cool. He taught me how to solve a Rubiks cube. My schedule is wake up at 6:30 go to study time at 7. breakfast at 8. classroom language or doctrine study until 11:30. gym until 1. lunch then study time and then TALL, a computer language learning software until 3:30, and then classroom stuff until 6:30. dinner then and then classroom work until 9:30. then we head home and have personal study or get ready for tomorrow.
 
We were extremely lucky to take part in a devotional by Russell M Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He talked about how we need to become ´epistles´ of Christ. In other words a writing or account of the life of the Savior and that our job as missionaries is to share that account with everyone we meet. I cannot wait to go to Xalapa to share all I know with the people. From what I've heard so far is that it's hot, humid, rains everyday, and that the work is changing so many lives down there. I did hear the other day of a missionary who recently left the CCM to go to the Xalapa mission, and while trying to teach was spit on. Now at first it scared me. In fact it terrified me that I was going to be in a place where I'd be considered an outcast or that I would be as this Elder, mocked and spit on... and then I realized, even if this did happen, I wouldn't be alone. My older brother and Savior Jesus Christ will have gone through what I'm suffering and then more, and more, and more. Whenever I thought about all that Christ went through and all that he did for us, it gave me comfort in realizing I'm not the only one with tough times. In fact when I'm at my lowest it's Christ that carries me through my difficulties. I had a really good talk with my branch president about this and was the one who helped me realize that its not missionary vs  the world, even though it may feel like that at times.
 
Today, Thursday, we went into Mexico City and had a really long scary drive to have visas extended or something.. I really didn't know why we went, just that I got to go out of the walls of the CCM was enough to get me interested. The hour and half drive through the city was life altering as people in Mexico don't care about right of way... after taking care of things in the city, our bus driver took us around the city to take pictures of cool statues and buildings throughout the area we were near. Anyway its been a great week, and I love this place. It may get a little repetitive... but I know that it's the right place to be and that in 3 weeks it will be the start of the best and hardest 2 years of my life!
 
Love,
 
Elder Babcock
 
P.S. I became friends with an Elder who just left. His suit had holes in it he, his ties stained and his shoes worn. Yet he was the happiest and most loving person. Right before he left the CCM we switched ties. Seeing his face light up when he got the tie made it all worth it. The tie is the red and blue paisley one. Although I loved the tie, seeing him get excited over it was 1000x better than wearing the tie myself. We wrote each other messages on the ties and then we said goodbye. Anyway that's all.

 
The complete district


Downtown Mexico City for visa extension

Thursday, July 30, 2015

First week

What a first week! It started with flying from Salt Lake to Mexico City with 91 other elders. After landing and getting my beef jerky and hi chews through security, the 91 elders and myself packed onto two Mercedes buses, yeah that's right, rode to the CCM in style. After we got there it was a busy day. From orientation to language classes it was chock full of work and lots and lots of Spanish. The Mexico City MTC, called the CCM, used to be a pretty rad school for los niños de Mexico. It's triple the size of Provo and we have less than half the people here. It comes fully equipped with lots of basketball courts, a soccer field, a baseball field, a track, a huge gym with volleyball and ping pong, and best of all....a mini soccer court outside where during gym time I play for Chokis (Mexican Chips Ahoy that are soooooo goood). My nickname is now Elder Wonderstrike as I've scored some the best goals in my career and they love fighting over who gets me on their team. I love this place. The people the food.... definitely the food. The food is amazing. I love it . Costco pizza every Tuesday and burgers and fries every Wednesday. Other than that it's either a tortilla, rice and beans, or something weird that happens to taste really good. A lot of the people here have been getting sick with the ´CCM Two-step´ anyway I haven't been sick yet and also really enjoying everything here. The weather stays around 80 every day and the humidity isn't bad at all.

Throughout the first week my companion and I have been teaching an "investigator" about the Gospel in Spanish and although at times it's tough I know that through the gift of tongues my district is already one of the best at Spanish. My "children" arrived yesterday... two from Virginia and two from South Carolina. Two are going to Salt Lake South and the others to Alabama and Georgia I think. We live in these cute little houses that can hold up to 20 elders. Each room has two bunk beds and mini little closets. But just enough room to have a good time. If you can't tell I love this place. I cannot wait to serve the people of Mexico. There is a little store here and everything is so dirt cheap. My comp dislocated his knee before our first gym time and he had to get two injections from a very old dude who didn't speak a lick of English. Besides that everything is going great and I'm loving the language. Presidente Suaste is sooooo awesome. He is so funny and yet one of the most spiritual men I've met here. I love you all and please keep safe!

Love,

Elder Babcock
The District
 

Elder Babcock & Elder Felix

 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Estoy aqui!

I got here safe! I flew with 91 other elders. Just writing a quick email to tell you I'm here. My P-Day is on Thursday, but not until next week, so you won't hear from me until then I think. Love you guys lots! Hug hug, kiss kiss, little hug, kiss kiss, little kiss. Adios.

Love,

Elder Sammy J.