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 (:


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!


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.


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!


Elder Babcock