Well this week has been pretty neat. We had changes on Tuesday, and I'm now serving on the opposite side of the mission. My area is called Presas in the Zone of Tezontepec. I'm still a district leader, and I'm the youngest missionary in my whole district (in terms of time in the mission). My companion's name is Elder Niro, and he goes home in two cycles. I'm hoping I get to kill him (missionary terms) to get all of the stuff he doesn't want to take home with him ;)
It's been really interesting to see the stark contrast between the two areas I've been in thus far in the mission. Just about everything is the exact opposite. The people in the streets here say "buenas tardes" without us even having to say anything, the members absolutely love coming with us to our appointments, our investigators come to church (we had 6 at church on Sunday as opposed to the 0 or 1 we had almost every week in Valle Dorado), we receive references every single day from the members (one brought his girlfriend to church and said, "Hey Elders, here's a new investigator for you!"), there's no one who plays the piano but me (in Valle Dorado, all of the young men played the piano), the area is huge (like 10 times the size of Valle Dorado), and lots of other good stuff.
The only bad thing is that the area book is SUPER disorganized. Like, the missionaries that have been in this area in the past have been extremely frito when it comes to that. And so, task numero uno is organize the area book and get all of that in order. I asked the second councellor in the bishopric if he could get me a giant map of the area showing the ward boudaries and the different colonias in our area. I've been super lost this past week, so that'll help me out quite a bit.
What I've discovered in this week here in Presas is that there are quite a few investigators who have come to church more than 5 times but haven't been baptized yet. Nor do they have a date to prepare for. This is bad. I mean, it's good that they've been to church a lot, but it's bad that they haven't been baptized. Heck, they could be baptized this Saturday if they wanted to! All we have to do is find out why they haven't been baptized and then fix it. They're souls just waiting to be saved, and if I'm the humble servant of the Lord that needs to do it, then so be it!
As I mentioned concerning the piano, there is no one in this ward who plays. They sang the opening hymn acapela, and as they prepared for the sacrament hymn, I went up and asked if they wanted me to play. Of course, they said yes. I think I'll be getting a lot of time to practice/show off over the course of these next few months if I don't get changed :D
Overall, I'm just super excited to get to work here in Presas and see what kind of a difference I can make in this area and my district. There are a few things that I already feel need improvement, but bit by bit, I'll be working with everyone to make us all better missionaries and servants of the Lord.
Iré y haré,
Elder Mitchell Mark Groesbeck
Well this week was... rather strange. I wasn't sure if I was going to have changes or not, so I was telling people it was possible that I wouldn't be there for the next appointment. There were a few investigators that I just didn't even bother telling, but for our more promising investigators (like 3 people), I let them know. We're actually taking care of some new missionaries tonight because of the changes and such, and we have the best new missionary prank EVER planned. First, we're going to pick up a member (one of the young men) and tell the new missionaries we're going to visit a reference he gave us. Then we're going to head out towards the Camacho family. On the way there, one of the other young men will be pretending to be texting or something on his cell phone, and we'll tell one of the new missionaries to contact him. We'll tell him that we're actually headed to a lesson right now if he wants to join us, and he'll say yes.
When we enter the home of the Camacho family, they're going to pretend to be investigators (they're going to take down their pictures of the temple and such for the night and everything), and we're going to start a lesson. In the lesson, we'll proceed to give them every single invitation that we have as missionaries in very rapid succession, and they're going to say yes to every single one. We even talked to Hermano Camacho, and he's going to say that he had a dream where he "saw a pilar of light," and you know the rest. It's going to be the BEST!!! I'm sure the new missionaries will realize rather quickly that it's not a real lesson, but we'll see how it goes. They're new, so I'm hoping they won't know the difference. It's a little mean, but we're gonna have so much fun with it. Then afterwards, we're going to have a big Family Home Evening with them... because I have changes.
Yes, for the first time in my six months here in the mission field, I have changes. I have no idea where I'll be going or what's going to happen, but I'm super excited to find out tomorrow in the changes meeting. I'm also super nervous to find out... In my entire mission, I've only known Valle Dorado and the members/investigators here. Now I'm off to an entirely different world in who-knows-where to find completely new people to teach and baptize. Super crazy stuff going down in these next few days, but as the classic hymn says, "I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord." And that's exactly what I plan to do. I'll write next week on where I am, what I'm doing, and how the prank went.
Iré y haré,
This week was week 11 of Elder Gonzalez's training which meant that he had to take the initiative in every single teaching situation. Which basically meant that I could just sit back and relax for a week (not true). It simply meant that if/when we had a situation where we though, "what in the world do we teach this person," Elder Gonzalez had to be in tune with the Spirit to decide. There were a few instances where I had to jump into action, but for the most part, Elder Gonzalez did quite wonderful; I feel like it was rather similar to my 11th week in the field. He's definitely ready to train, and I want a grandson!
We had another baptism this week! Felipa (Emily's mother) was baptized on Saturday, making their family complete. One year from now, they can all be sealed in the temple! The only one left who isn't baptized is Emily's brother Daniel, but he's rather reserved and is always either working or in his room when we visit them. As such, I'm not sure he'll be baptized any time soon. Maybe with time and some nourishment by his family, he'll come around, but we'll have to wait and see.
Last Monday was one of the worst days I've had here in the mission field. We had a zone activity, and all we were told was that we needed funny clothes and nothing more. I decided my funny clothes would consist of my missionary attire completely backwards, so I did just that. What the Zone Leaders neglected to tell anyone was that our clothes would be getting dirty. Needless to say, when they whipped out the shaving cream, flour, and confetti and began dumping them all over us, I was not amused. I hadn't brought any other clothes, so I effectively had to wash them in the church bathroom sink while I borrowed the extra casual attire of another elder. Towards the end of the Zone Activity, we were all sitting around eating pizza when a huge gust of wind came through. I'm not sure why I was the only one this happened to, but the wind flipped my pizza box over, knocking my drink over in the process. So I was left there with orange soda all over my shoe and my 3 remaining pieces of pizza on the ground. Elder Ellis (one of the assistants) looked over at me and just said, "Elder Groesbeck. Today just isn't your day." He had no idea.
After writing that evening, we set off to work. To make a long story short, our appointments at 6 and 7 fell through. "That's okay," we said. "We still have the Family Home Evening with the Camacho family and Esmeralda's family tonight. That'll be fun!" We went to the home of the Camacho family a little early to make sure everything was good to go for the FHE, and then we were going to set off to go pick up Esmeralda's family. While in their house, we received a text message. Yep. Esmeralda cancelled on us. We certainly did NOT want to end the day without a single lesson, so Sister Camacho went a few houses down and invited a less-active member to join us for the FHE. Fortunately, he did come. We had a nice spiritual lesson and then began playing a few simple games. I taught everyone how to play Mafia, and in the middle of our first round, Sister Camacho came inside and said, "hey, where are your bikes?" I didn't believe her, as we had left them right outside, and we were in a privada (gated street). Elder Gonzalez walked outside first, turned around, and shook his head. Yep, the bikes were gone. I was straight-up mad at... well, the world. The only people that could have stolen the bikes were people specifically looking to steal something. Supposedly two guys in hoodies and baseball caps entered the privada and left with the bikes. The lady that saw them thought they were their bikes and didn't think anything of it until we asked her. Yeah, Monday was horrible.
We got some new bikes and just have to pay for the old ones. Needless to say, we leave our bikes in no place unattended now without both of our locks hooking them together in different places. If anyone else is going to steal our bikes, we're going to make it as hard as possible for them. We actually went to the Camacho Family's house last Wednesday afternoon, and before knocking on the door, we hooked our bikes up the Brother Camacho's table saw outside. When we knocked, they all came outside and laughed, and then Brother Camacho walks out with a giant loop of telephone wire and said, "All right, time to hook up the bikes!" Yes. 'Twas quite funny. They're a great family, and if I get changed this next week, they'll definitely be the thing I miss the most about Valle Dorado. We're planning a giant FHE with them next Monday night (as it will most likely be my last night here in Valle Dorado), and it's gonna be awesome.
We've started this week pretty well thus far; we had a couple of pretty good lessons yesterday, despite the pouring rain and the rivers we rode our bikes through. I'm just hoping to get the 40 lessons again to finish strong this cycle. We've only missed one week thus far in getting the 40, so I want to go 5 for 6. Challenge accepted. Irè y harè,
P.S. I don't know why the accents are backwards over irè y harè; this computer has been doing that this whole time, and I don't like it -_-
Q&A With Elder Groesbeck (Questions by Aunt Diana Woolley and Family)
1. Favorite meal you've had that someone has cooked for you. Describe it. (Aubrie)
Enchiladas verdes y fresas con crema. Need I say more?
2. What is the weirdest name of someone you have met? (Jake)
We've met a lot of people with names I've never heard before, but now I don't even think about how weird they are; it's become something normal to have to ask for people to say their names more than once.
3. What is your favorite thing to do in your free time? (Micah)
Sleep, sleep, and sleeeeeeeep
4. Has your favorite color changed ? (Lauren)
5. Who is your favorite Disney princess? (Aubrie)
It's still a very close tie between Rapunzel and Jasmine.
6. Who do you miss the most? (Diana)
I'm not one to pick favorites, but probably Mac.
7. What do you like most about Mexico? (Micah)
Hands down, the food. Everything here is super fresh and tastes way better.
8. What is your favorite video game? (Tyler)
I'm a missionary; I don't play videos games. Although, we do have Sudoku on our cell phone...
9. Do you wish you were going to Samoa with me? (Jake)
No, I'm pretty good being a servant of the Lord down here in Mexico. The food is way better, and I reap many more blessings from the Lord.
10. Do you drink the water in Mexico?
Yes, but it has to come out of a very clean 10-gallon jug.
11. At this stage of the game what would you rather have- a new bike or a new brother? (Scott)
That's a tough one. I'll have to get back to it when I have more time to think.
12. What is the best stereotype of Mexican women that you've found to be true? (Scott)
I've discovered something called the popcorn effect in Mexican women. They're very attractive until they have children. They they explode like popcorn and never return to normal.
13. Why is there no question 13? -Mitch
14. What is the Mexican pronunciation of Mitch? Scott is Escott. (Scott)
No one down here knows my real name, but it would be Meetch.
This week has been pretty neat. Filipa (Emily's mother) officially accepted her baptismal date... for this coming weekend! :D We have so much to do and no time to do it to plan. Our ward mission leader left for Mexico City like two weeks ago and still hasn't come back, so once again, we have to plan everything for the baptism. Fortunately, there aren't as many things we have to teach Filipa this week as there were for Emily in the week before her baptism.
In other news, I had two more people try to kiss me (on the cheek) yesterday, and one of them was a member! She was like 9 years old, but still. Fortunately, I was able to daftly avoid her sinful lips as I explained that we don't do that as missionaries. The other was the daughter in a family of investigators. We met her for the first time yesterday, and we were already sitting on the couch when she walked in. She shook my hand and then leaned in, but having experienced it earlier that day, I leaned back a bit and quickly explained that we can't do that as missionaries... right has her cheek hit mine. I've had it happen to me plenty of times before, but this time, I failed! I was on the couch and couldn't lean back any further! It's not my fault!
It's officially week 11 of 12 in Elder Gonzalez's training. The best thing about week 11 is that he has to take the initiative in every teaching an planning situation for the week. I feel like I don't have to do anything! I'll just be following him the whole time. Whatever he wants to teach, I follow and testify. I feel so... unneeded... Ah well, I guess that's the point of having children. After a while, they have to spread their wings and fly without you. *sniffle* it's so beautiful :')
Changes are coming up in about 2 weeks, and I'm actually REALLY scared Elder Gonzalez is going to get changed, and I'm going to be stuck here in Valle Dorado for another cycle. It's not that Valle Dorado is bad (we're actually getting some pretty good progress with some investigators); I just need a change of scenery. and investigators... But if the Lord needs me to stay here, I s'pose I'll stay and keep working. No matter where I'm needed for changes, iré y haré.
Q&A with Elder Groesbeck (questions by Mark and Karene Groesbeck)
Did someone really ask Elder Bednar where the sword of Laban was?
That was his example of a bad question to ask. I don't know if he's actually been asked that before.
Have you learned any good salsa recipes (or salsa dances)?
No. And an even more fervent no.
What are 3 important qualities that missionaries should have?
Humildad, paciencia, y diligencia
Now that you have been out for six months, what's something you wish you could go back and tell your pre-missionary self?
Woah, hold on, now. I don't turn 6 months until the middle of next week! I would call myself a frito for not doing all of the things I should have to prepare for my mission.
Do you have any funny stories you haven’t shared? If you do, please tell.
I have a few stories from this week that I'll actually be sharing in the blog post. I normally share the funny stories that would make sense to everyone. Elder Gonzalez and I have a list of jokes we have between ourselves, but they really wouldn't make any sense to anyone else.
Do you have any missionary rituals/games with your companions? (i.e. like when you knock on doors)
It's actually pretty funny when people straight up lie to us and we make them feel dumb. For example: "Oh, you live by yourself in this house with two stories?"
or "No, I'm here alone and I don't have the keys to open the front gate." *two seconds later* "Hey, Rodolfo, are you gonna come eat?"
Do you have any goals that you'd like to share?
Keep working and wait for more miracles.
Are you getting fat or skinny?
I think I'm about the same when it comes to fat, but due to the fact that I've never really done exercises in my life, I think I've put on a bit of muscle.
What's your favorite Elder L. Tom Perry memory?
"If you don't keep raising the bar, how will you ever know your potential?"
We are in Rome right now. Do you want us to send you any holy water from the Vatican?
That's okay. I already know how to make holy water. All you have to do is boil the Hell out of it :D
There was no letter this week because Elder Groesbeck had no time.
Q&A with Elder Groesbeck (questions by Karene Groesbeck)
1. Does your companion wear deodorant?
He actually sprays on some kind of cologne in the morning to the point where I have to say, "¡ya! ¡ya! ¡Eso es demasiado!"
2. Do you still play the ukulele? (shhhhh)
I still have my ukulele playing skills, but I unfortunately have not a ukulele to play :(
3. Have you lit anything on fire or blown anything up lately?
I start the boiler to heat up the water every morning... and I use the stove to cook...
4. How often do you say “That’s pretty neat”?
At least once every day.
5. Do you act out or improve for the people you visit?
We do practices in the mornings, so... yes, actually.
6. Do you remember when I hit you in the leg with a bowling ball?
Yes... yes I do. Good times
7. Are your calves swollen from riding the bike every where?
We don't have a whole lot of hills out here to rid up, but I do have buns of steel from riding everywhere.
8. Have you found a 2 person bike to ride around town?
Hahaha. I've been looking, but I haven't been able to find one yet.
9. Why haven’t you found a 2 person bike to ride around town?
Ask the people in Mexico why they haven't made one for me yet!
10. What kind of skills have you learned? nunchuck skills?
Bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills, Spanish skills, missionary skills. Girls only want husbands with great skills!
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This blog is edited by Elder Groesbeck's amazing, beautiful, younger sister Aubrie. I will post any update I get. Enjoy :)