Ah, what a week. I've officially moved on from being in utter aw of the culture here to finding things I'm not extremely fond of. Before I begin, I still love Mexico and the people here, but some things have just begun to irk me a little bit. This one Elder Hixon and I laugh about all of them time, and it's sickness. The people of Pachuca (I don't know if it's all of the people in Mexico) think that if you aren't at the absolute perfect temperature, you WILL get sick. Whenever they open the door for us, they're always like, "Oh! You're so cold! You need a jacket so you don't get sick!" and even after we say no we're find and have our sweaters, they go into their rooms and pull out jackets for us. We have to flat out refuse them when it's time to leave. One time they also said something about not using a heater because it will dry out their throats and they'll get sick. AND OH MY GOODNESS WHEN IT RAINS!!! If you get a drop of water on you and don't take a shower, you're gonna get sick. Elder Hixon and I have decided we're going to use it as a contacting technique: "Hey, we're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and when it rains and we get wet, we don't get sick!" They'll flippin' worship us!
The other thing is "en ocho días" or in white terms, "in 8 days". Now, if it's Tuesday and someone says that, you'd think they'd mean next Wednesday, right? Because there are 7 days in a week, so that just makes sense. Down here in Mexico, however, that means next Tuesday. I don't know who in the flip came up with that, but it bugs the heck out of me. I'm sure I'll get used to it, but still.
Okay, funniest thing that happened this week came when we knocked on a random door. This lady appeared in the window, noticed it was us, and just got this face of complete and utter horror before retracting back from the curtains. You'd think we were Satan's minions come to set fire to her house or something, and I just started laughing my butt off. I turned to Elder Hixon and said, "something tells me she isn't going to open the door." We waited for a minute or so before deciding I was right and moved on. I'm sure that won't be the last time that happens out here, but it was so funny!
Investigator of the week: This week, an investigator of the week award will not be given due to the fact that none of our investigators will freaking go to church! Hence, our goal/invitation to all of our investigators this week is to get them to church. We just need to do a better job of explaining why it's important and necessary and the blessings that come with it. It starts at 8 in the morning, which is pretty hard for some people, but that just means it ends at 11, and they'll have the rest of the day to do whatever they want/need to do. We have a plan that we'll be sticking to, so hopefully it works...
Adventure of the week: There's been so much that's happened this week that it's hard to pick one adventure; we also didn't have anything happen that was like super duper awesome or anything like that. There were some major milestones in my Spanish missionary career that happened, though, so I'll write about those! First off, I need to explain a certain missionary term: The Harvesting Blessing. The people here are very supersticious, so we tell them that as missionaries, we'd like to share our message with them and leave a blessing in their home. They usually jump on the opporunity to have anyone with religious background to bless their home simply due to their superstition. Anyways, normally when we do this, Elder Hixon does it simply because he actually knows how and what to say and stuff. When we found a home that would let us in to do it, I thought to myself, "You know, I should really learn how to do these... I'll think about how it's done later tonight after we plan for tomorrow." Then, as Elder Hixon was explaining to them how we pray and stuff, he turns to me and goes, "Do you wanna do it?" "Uhhhhhhhh.......... Okay......." So I got down on my knees, and gave my first Harvesting Blessing. It was pretty neat, and I thought it went well; we have an appoitment with them this weekend, so hopefully that goes well.
The other neat thing that happened in my Spanish missionary career was my first annointing. There's an hermano in our Ward who was sick, and his wife was like, "Can you give him a blessing?" Fortunately, Elder Hixon didn't make me do the blessing part, but I learned how to annoint in Spanish. The blessing part will come eventually...
Despite everything, I really am loving it out here. I can feel my testimony growing every day, and I've learned that I absolutely love studying the Liahona in the mornings. There are so many great talks and articles in there that can be applied to everything. There was one article from this month in particular that I liked about baptism. The message was this: Baptism is not the end goal. Baptism is the beginning. When we are baptised, we begin a lifelong journey of constant conversion: the repetition of the first principles and ordinances of the gospel found in the fourth article of faith. When we do these four things constantly on a weekly basis, we are enduring to the end. This endurance to the end is the key to our salvation. Our baptism serves us nothing if we are baptised and then expect salvation to simply come and for our faith to grow on its own. We must constantly study the scriptures, pray sincerely, and renew our baptismal covenants every single week. We must make further covenants, assist in missionarywork, and persevere through the trials and challenges that are unfortunately part of this life. If we can do this, and it will not be easy, we are enduring to the end, and salvation and eternal life will be ours. I hope my challenge issued last week went well, and I appreciate the love, support, and prayers. Iré y haré.
Q&A with Elder Groesbeck
1. Describe a typical day.
I don't think I have time to answer this one right now; remind me next week and I'll do it first thing.
2. Do dogs chase you in the street? Do you chase dogs?
Elder Hixon does; he's terrified when they chase him. I either try to pet them or push them away if they're really mean.
3. I know you said the cars are fast, but is there a lot of traffic in your area? (As you can tell this is an area of concern for me.)
We live next to a highway, so yes, there's quite a bit of traffic at times; not like weaving through cars or anything, but just a lot of cars on the roads.
4. What do people in your area do for work?
People here do everything, from running a store to a restaurant to cleaning schools to teaching English.
5. Are you using your hand sanitizer?
Hand sanitizer is going to cause the end of the world. No.
6. Do both parents work or does one stay home?
Usually both of them work; sometimes the husband works two jobs.
7. What are the schools like? Do kids attend until the same age as here 17/18?
Schools are a little weird here; they're only there for like 4 hours, and they either start really early in the morning, or really late in the afternoon. But yes, people attend school until 18/19, and every school has uniforms.
8. What is family life like? Is it one-generation homes or do multiple generations live together? Meaning do grandparents live with their children?
Almost every home is a multiple generation home unless they're really smart with their money.
9. Do they have as many holidays as us? What are some of the holidays they celebrate?
They have a few holidays (today is actually one), but I don't know what sorts of things they celebrate other than Christmas and Día de los Reyes Magos (day of magic kings) on Jan 6th
10. What is one thing you wish you would have brought with you that you forgot?
I really haven't had anything that I've needed since I've been here that wasn't in my bag. Elder Hixon is pretty jealous of my drug supply* (thanks, mommy!) and I'm prepared for any weather!
*Disclaimer on Mitch’s drug supply: We only included what was listed on the packing list. I think what Elder Hixon might be jealous of is how I assembled into a neatly organized Medical/Fist Aid Kit and labeled everything.
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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 :)