My internal clock is officially completely broken. It's already week 12, the final week of my training. I hit my 3-month mark this past week, which means my mission is already an eighth of the way over! I have far too many people to save, and absolutely no time to save them! In the words of Boxer from George Orwell's Animal Farm, "I must work harder!"
Everyone keeps telling me that after this cycle I'll be a district leader and trainer (just because all of our leaders are leaving next week). I really don't know if I'm ready for that, but I shall except President Egbert's/the Lord's assignment with my head held high, and perform to the fullest of my abilities. My prayers will certainly become much more fervent if that does happen... I can't even imagine...
Okay, funny story for this week. A few weeks ago, I mentioned how it was getting on my nerves a little bit that everyone thought we were gonna get sick when it rained. So this week we visited an investigator named Carlos who's 16 years old. We asked him how he was doing, and he said he'd been a little bit sick. Upon asking him what happened, he responded--and I kid you not--"The other day, I was taking a shower, and the water got cold for a few seconds. Ever since then, I've just been feeling sick." I'm sorry, but seriously, Mexico? The only reason any of you get sick is because you're so darn worried about getting sick! After we left, I asked Elder Hixon if I had actually heard him right. He just looked at me with a face that said everything it needed to.
Speaking of sickness and rain, Elder Guerra got pretty sick this week with what they call "The Tornado". To put it in as few words as possible to keep from conveying graphic images, it's when you have diarrhea and throw up in the same sickness. It sounded pretty greusome and I'll be praying fervently that I never get it. There has also only been one day in the past two weeks that it hasn't rained at least a little bit. Many times it's raining while the sun is blistering hot outside, which just makes it really uncomfortable heat-humid combo.
By far the best part of this week came in the form of 120 semi-bilingual school students. There's a brother in our ward who teaches English in a private school, and about 8 weeks or so ago, he asked me and Elder Hixon if the two of us and the other white Elders (Elder Stucki and Elder Jenson) wanted to go to his school and give a speach/devotional of sorts to the kids. We wouldn't be allowed to talk about gospel stuff (church and state and what not), but it would give the kids a chance to see us, recognize us as missionaries, and spark some sort of interest in the religion. Anyways, we finally got permission from President Egbert and got to do it this week. I felt like a celebrity! You'd think those kids had never before seen a white person! My segment was on tips to help them learn English better, and I pretty much let them teach it. I just asked them what they did to learn English faster and went from there. Then, after we had finished with the speaches and everything, and they were released to go to class, they all came running up to our table and asking all sorts of questions (What parts of the world have you been to? Do you want to learn a 3rd language? Do you have a girlfriend? You know, the usual). We couldn't get them to leave and go to class! I don't know how the missionary work will benefit from this, but at least the kids won't think we're the guys that steal children; supposedly that's what some parents tell their kids... But yeah, super cool experience that I would do again in a heartbeat.
For the past 2 weeks, we've been studying a talk called The 4th Missionary as a mission. Super great talk; you should look it up. Anyways, it talks about how if we really want to be exemplary missionaries and reach our full potential out here, we need to leave behind "all of our nets" and devote our whole heart, might, mind and strength to this work. We can be exactly obedient and get lots of baptisms, but if we don't devote ourselves fully, our mission doesn't serve us at all. If we're going to be devoting 2 years of our lives to this, why not let it change us? The talk applies to missionaries specifically, but it can also apply to church members in general. We can be really good members, attending our meetings, doing our home and visiting teaching, and following all of the rules placed before us. But if we don't give our whole heart to our work and really want to do it, we'll be in a constant battle of our will against that of the Father. In the end, the way of the fourth missionary, or in the more common case, the fourth member, is easier. We find ourselves much happier and can more easily devote ourselves fully to the work. Having said all of that, that is my goal not only for my mission but for my life. It won't be easy at first (that's a given), but the blessings will be truly wonderful and it will be worth it. And THAT is a promise from God that is found abundantly in the scriptures. I encourage you to keep that in mind, and as always, iré y haré.
Q&A with Elder Groesbeck (questions by Candice, Will and James Groesbeck)
1. What do you do for exercise?
Elder Hixon and I are still adding one push-up every day, and we'll hit 100 by the time he leaves. We did 92 this morning. They're pretty tough to finish, but we turn on some sweet pump-up gospel music to help.
2. What is the biggest animal you've seen? (From James)
I've seen some pretty huge dogs; some of which I swear have thighs bigger than my head, but I usually don't have much time to get a good look before we book it away from them.
3. Would you like to visit us in San Diego again? (From Will)
At this point, a nice trip to San Diego sounds like the most wonderful thing ever. Maybe for Christmas in two years I'll come over there ;)
4. What is your favorite part of Preach My Gospel to study so far?
I love the chapter on recognizing the Spirit. As a missionary, that's everything. It's not only vital for us to understand how the Spirit works, but we need to teach our investigators how to recognize it as well.
5. What is an expression the locals use that they did NOT teach you in the MTC?
Usan un buen de dichos aquí que no me enseñaron en el CCM. For example, the words "un buen" which pretty much just means a LOT. There's also "de hecho", which literally means "of done", but translates to "in fact" or "actually".
6. Did the Mexicans celebrate St. Patricks Day?
On the calendar I bought down here, it has St. Patrick's Day on it, but nobody said anything about it on the actual day... so I'm not really sure...
7. What is your favorite thing to eat there?
I actually love enchiladas verdes. And then when they throw in some strawberries, bananas, and cream for dessert. Ugh, I can't even handle it. I've grown to absolutely love all of the Mexican food, though (except flan... I can't handle that stuff), and that'll probably be the thing I miss most out here.
8. What is your favorite thing to drink?
The thing about "water" here is that it always has some kind of flavoring. They think they're being rude when they offer us water and don't have the flavoring. They're always like, "We're so sorry we don't have any juice! Is pure water okay? We're so sorry!" It's actually quite funny. My favorite, though, is called Orchatta. It's like this cinnamon milk stuff, and it tastes awesome!
9. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the cleanest, how would you rate your apartment?
Nothing here in Mexico that I've seen is a 10. Our house used to be like a 7, but then Elder Guerra moved in. Elder Hixon says he's the most disorganized companion he's ever had, and our cleanliness dropped down to like a 4, despite our best efforts.
10. What do the kids like to do for fun?
Fútbol, fútbol, y más fútbol. I haven't really seen them do anything else but that and play video games... We played soccer with them last week and we do divisions every once in a while, but I've pretty much only seen/heard them talk about that stuff for fun.
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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 :)