Monday, April 26, 2010

WEEK - 65 Neza/Pantitlan Zone (Senior ZL)

Hey everyone-

This week sure was different. Elder Miller (that used to be a secretary) was with us all week. His companion went home so he stayed with us all week. Another missionary is going home so he is going to have a companion from now on. So I had my first gringo companion- for a week!

Elder Galindo and I saw a ton of miracles this week! We have a whole family working towards their baptismal date for the 25 of April. The Lopez Cruz family is awesome! Hermelinda is the mom, Carlos is the dad, Lupe is their daughter and Abigail is their granddaughter. They went to see Elder Millers baptism on Sunday and liked it so much. They are ready to be baptized this week!

I think I told you last week about Claudia, the sister we were going to baptize on Sunday. She was all ready to go and then Sunday we went to her house and she wasn’t there! She wasn’t baptized this week, so we’re going to have to see what’s going on. When we were trying to find her yesterday we were using a payphone, when we found out the phone didn’t work we were looking for another one when a lady in a “tortilleria” (tortilla store) told us “Hey Elder I’ll give you five pesos if you want to call from the other phone!” We didn’t recognize her and forgot all about the 5 pesos and instead introduced ourselves. Turns out Yulirsa is Candi’s mom, Candi is a member of about 4 years but hasn’t gone in a while. Candi’s younger brother used to go to church with her but after a while they stopped going. We invited them to church and everyone went but Yurlisa. Yurlisa told me she has wanted to be baptized for a long time but couldn’t because she was living with her husband that didn’t want to get baptized. They are going to be baptized in a few weeks. You see how the Lord just blesses us?! Isn’t this the best work ever!

The internet café we’re using today doesn’t have a place to put the memory card so I guess I’ll have to send pictures next week!

We went to the Zone Leaders counsel this week. It was great! It is so great to be there with all the other zone leaders planning for the next cycle. President Bulloch wants EVERYTHING to be ready for when President Hicken gets here! He told us that when he got here it was really really hard for him. The missionaries were just really tough on him, and didn’t want to let him lead the mission. He warned us that Satan is going to try really hard to get the mission to disobey so that the missionaries rebel when President Hicken gets here. I know the mission will be ready for this big change. But I know President Hicken will bless our mission so so much! This is the best mission in the world. We are led by a man who honors our Heavenly Father and is led by the Spirit! It really is the best.

Answers to the “tips to make your letter better” (haha!)

“Describe the foods that you eat. What do you eat at each meal? How is it

prepared? Etc.”- Normally the sisters give us a bowl of soup- a lot of times its vegetable soup, or a soup they call fideo. A lot of times they give us rice that is the best! Then they give us the meal. We have eaten a lot of chicken- so much chicken! A really famous food and really easy to make is a piece of breaded chicken breast, salad and beans. They always serve it with a bunch of lime and salsa, and of course corn tortillas- they can’t eat without their tortillas!

“Describe grocery shopping. What is shopping like? How is it different from

shopping at home? What sort of things do you buy when you go shopping?”- Grocery shopping is different. There is a grocery store called “Bodega Aurrera” where we normally go shopping. A Bodega is like a storage place, and it literally looks like that inside! Its kind of set up like Costco, but not as nice. It’s like a big storage that they turn into a grocery store. We usually just buy cereal to eat for breakfast and cheap formula milk that they sell because real milk is expensive. It’s really not that much cheaper here either!

“Describe how, when, and where you do your laundry.”- Today we went to the Stake President’s house to wash our laundry. We stick in their washer and then hang it up in the house to dry. We usually do it early in the morning but because we left early today, we did it just now.

Trent, that is crazy about the volcano! I think you’ll be just fine though. We have a volcano right here and when it spits out a bit of ash nothing happens, so don’t worry! I can’t believe your’re heading off soon! I know you’ll do great! The Lord has prepared people in that area just for you to teach and take into the waters of baptism. You’ll do great, I just know it!

Sam is already taking off! Wow! If you could send me his information that would be great. I’d like to email him or write him. Uruguay is awesome! I think he’s going to be in President Bullcoh’s son’s mission too! He’s a zone leader there right now and is teaching them a lot of the traditions we have here. That will be fun!

Today we went to the Zocalo. They have an exhibition right now on the history of Mexico- it was awesome! It made me proud to be a Mexican! Haha Next week we’re going to see if we can go to Teotihuacan because Elder Galindo used to be in that area so he knows where we can find all the stuff they sell but a lot cheaper! Ifyou want something more of what I have sent you I’ll be able to find it really cheap. We had a fun preparation day, and now back to work!

I just want to let you know I’m so thankful to be here. I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else! President Bulloch inspires us to do the best we can. Today he told us “Do the best that you can” and I plan to do that. I want to work so hard so that they have to carry me off of the plane! I want to be tired everyday from working so hard! I love this Church, I love this work, I love the people that I’ve been called to serve.

-Elder Rasmussen

Ps- Elder Galindo is going to send a picture of me, President Bulloch and Elder Galindo doing a sign with our hands. It’s the “Neza” sign because Nezahualcoyotl means “hungry coyote”!! So we took a picture with President Bulloch and then I suggested we do the Neza sign, he said yes and we did it right there! It was really funny!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

WEEK - 64 Neza/Pantitlan Zone (Senior ZL)

at "DairyQueen" in the big City D.F.

We had some BIG changes this week! We went to the changes meeting and when President Bulloch called the Zone Neza/Pantitlan he said, “Elder Rasmussen, you are going to work with, and your companion is going to be a Zone Leader and District Leader, Elder Galindo” Elder Galindo from Cuernavaca is my new companion, I already know him because he’s been one of our District Leaders for a while. He’s AWESOME! He’s a new zone leader so that means I’m “training” a new zone leader. Then President made some other changes. He told us that I was going to Elder Galindo’s area, and that they were going to put a new companionship in my area. So I changed from Palmar! I’m not there anymore, I’m across the street in the “D.F.” the Federal District- the REAL MEXICO CITY! It’s really different even though it’s just crossing the street.

Elder Galindo, Elder Nicholas, Elder Hilario at Chilis in D.F.

We have all new District Leaders in our zone too. Elder Tanner trained an Elder named Elder Acuña, and Elder Acuña trained Elder Hunt (one of the new district leaders in our zone), so Elder Tanner told me his “grandson” is in our zone. I have a really good feeling about this cycle! We are going to help the districts a lot this cycle. I think the biggest way we can do that is if we put the example as zone leaders. I know we’ll do great because the District Leaders are really excited! Elder Bertin was just called as a new zone leader too in the zone right next to mine, La Perla. Elder Tanner is in Aragon, right next to me as well, actually our areas touch. Elder Spencer is in my zone too!

Aprons for "Cow Tail soup" (imagine how messy that is . . . or once was !!?#! . . ) I wonder if the sister knew from experience that Elder Rasmussen needed an . . . Apron??

The other day the funniest thing happened. Wanna know how SMALL the world is?? We were in our area and my companion said that this one place had the BEST tacos al pastor! I couldn’t wait to try them, so I bought one real quick (it really was the best!). As I was eating everyone was surprised that I was a gringo and eating tacos. One of the guys came up and asked me “Hey where are you from?” I told him I was from Mesa Az, and he said “HEY! That’s my town!” I guess this guy worked in construction, and so I thought I’d just ask him if he had heard of “Image Roofing”, he looked at me with a smile and said “YEAH! I know that! My brother knows that company!” I didn’t get to meet his brother, but maybe he even worked for Dad! Dad, did you ever think I would meet someone that knows Image roofing in Mexico City?!?

I LOVED the package! Thanks so much! The picture of you guys at Dis is just great, and I loved the recording too! Having my picture there made me laugh so much! You guys are creative! If that’s what it takes to get mom to be in a picture do it! The cinnamon bears were great! (I still have a few more left), the honey comb is definably something you cannot find here! The magic trick is a lot of fun, I practiced with my companion right now, he says its really cool it should be fun to use that with the kids here, they really really like the magic tricks! I’m saving the hot tamales! Haha, and the girl scout cookies were great too. Thanks so much for the ties, I’m going to give one to my comp. It was a great package, thanks so much!

Okay, well sounds like everyone saw that video of me at the tacos. It’s kind of a funny story, every time there is a new Elder in the Zone they take them to these tacos called “Tacos Relajados” (Relaxed Tacos). The salsa is made completely of HABANERO! It isn’t spicy, it BURNS! When we got there everyone said “okay the tradition is that you have to eat at least two!” You can see that I ate the first one just fine and then all of a sudden I felt the burning down my insides! I was hiccupping a lot, which made it difficult to finish the second one. By the end of the second one I couldn’t feel my face! (Is that bad??) Dad, you told me to eat salt next time, and I did do that! I ate salt, sucked on a lime, and drank soda but nothing helped! It was so spicy I bet Uncle Bryan would cry! Elder Hilario got a good laugh out of that and insisted on showing the video to everyone! But hey, they were pretty spicy! I was sick for a whole week after, but I can’t complain because I was the one who ate the habanero sauce that burns intestines!

Trev & Elder Hilario . . . ADIOS ! ! ! !
We played soccer with the district leaders today. It started to rain so we played in the rain! That was pretty fun. Tomorrow we are going to go to the District classes in the zone to help the new district leaders. Uncle George told me in his recording that he didn’t know what a zone leader does. We are in charge of the 18 missionaries in our zone, we have to make sure the District leaders are doing their job, and helping the missionaries out. We really don’t have that much contact with many of the missionaries, so that’s why we have to go visit their district class. This Wednesday is the Zone Leader’s counsel at the temple square. It should be great!
Trent, I hope you like your present! It’s way better than mine! I would recommend a cheap case to put around it so that it doesn’t get ruined. And don’t worry, It will fit your Spanish scriptures, because they are a little bigger than in English.
Well, all is well here in Neza/ Pantitlan! We baptized a lady named Patricia and her son Angel yesterday, I forgot my camera so the missionary who took the picture is going to send it to me later. She was a miracle! She was an old investigator that the missionaries here had decided to not teach anymore because she wasn’t progressing. We visited her and used President Bulloch’s “Baptismal Invitation”, and she accepted to be baptized! It was a miracle. The mission is FULL of miracles, everyday we see them. Trent when you get to the field, always remember that it is great to visit “antiguos investigadores”.
Elder Galindo an I get along great, and we’re ready to work hard together! I love you and hope everything is going well there. We only have a few more weeks with President Bulloch! We’re going to miss him a lot, but I know President Hicken will be just as great! The mission is strong, and ready for a change of mission President without rebellious missionaries.

I KNOW this is the work of the LORD! I know there are miracles everyday in this great work. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be here in Mexico. I know this is where I’m supposed to be. I know that mission calls are inspired. I know that if we obey, and “work exceedingly” the Lord will bless us with much fruit, and he will protect us.
Con mucho amor,
Elder Rasmussen

Monday, April 5, 2010

WEEK - 63 Neza/Pantitlan Zone (Senior)

Conference was amazing huh?! I agree with President Monson that it was definitely the best Priesthood session I have ever been too. (the Word program changes the words to Spanish, sorry!) I especially liked President Eyring and President Uchtdorf’s talks, can you send those to me if you get a chance? I was able to see conference in English. The high council member in charge of the screen set up a room just for the “gringos”, I was able to take good notes. And I’m so glad I was able to hear Pres. Monson in the first session! That was hilarious! Our investigators really enjoyed the conference too. Everyone here is really impressed by the choir! I think those were some of the best songs they have sung in conference! “This is the Christ” Was amazing!
This week we didn’t have much time to work in our area again! A lot of funny things happened this week though. We went to the doctor last Tuesday and the doctor saw the open wound on my companion and asked “Who's cleaning this for you?!” When he said he was cleaning it by himself, the doctor got mad and said “NO! Tell your companion HE has to do it!” I guess the surgeon left it open so that it won't get infected and we can clean it out better. So all this week I’ve had to get a gauze and clean it out! We are the definition of the “Divine companionship” now! With all this time together we’ve become like brothers.
We’ve had a lot of time to talk and get to know each other. Elder Hilario is going to have changes this cycle, everyone here in this Ward is going to miss him a ton. He has really helped me and taught me a lot. He has a lot of time as a zone leader and taught me everything I need to know. He’s from the north and everyone from the north has a reputation for telling things the way they are. Last night he told me “When you got here your Spanish stunk! Now look at you!” There's a phrase in Spanish that says “no tengo pelos en mi lengua” or, “ I say things directly”. That’s what he told me when he said that to me! Haha. He also said that my teaching has gotten a whole lot better since I got here. I told you I felt like I was being trained again! Anyways, we’ve had a great time together. We’ve seen so many miracles this cycle that I’ll always remember.
I sent a message to the Reyes family (Sara, Sergio, Jessica and Baulio). They are so excited to enter the Temple! They went to all the conference sessions at the Stake center and sent me a message saying they were so grateful for the things they learned. They sent me a letter I don’t think I told you about. They wrote me and told me that elder Martinez and I got to their home right when they needed all the blessings Heavenly Father has ready for them. They thanked me for our persistence and helping them to be baptized. This family is really special, and I know December 6th is going to be a great day!

Do you remember Beatriz, Gonzalo, Pablo and Ariel from Pachuca? I talked to Elder Spencer (He’s been in my first area for 7 months). He said they are so excited to go to the Temple, and are going to the preparation classes! They should be going in July or August, I’ll let you know.

Well Ricardo wasn’t baptized this week. We were able to visit his sister and his brother. They both accepted their baptismal date for this week. We also have an investigator named Karina that went to conference. When we talked with her she said she really enjoyed it and feels good about her baptism this week.
There’s not much going on. Neza is awesome! Just a little about the area, it is sooo BIG! We have to take a bus called a “micro” to get from end to end because otherwise it would take hours to get across it. We use a lot of money just on transportation to get t the appointments on time. The drivers of the buses are really crazy. In Mexico they don’t believe in stop signs. They put a ton of speed bumps EVERYWHERE so people have to slow down. The micro drivers just speed up and go over them. Going against traffic is normal too. But nothing happens to them because they know they have a bigger bus than everyone else! Haah, I love México! To be able to find new investigators we have found that the best way is to contact so we spend a lot fo our time contacting everybody in the street. That’s hard to do because in any given hour in any street a hundred people pass by within 5 or 10 minutes!
Our zone is doing better. The missionaries seem excited to work hard. We visited their district classes two weeks ago and shared this quote by President Joseph Fielding Smith.”
“[Missionaries] were to remember . . . one important duty which they were to fulfill and that was to be sure and bear testimony in every instance. If they performed their labors sincerely, humbly and diligently bearing witness of the restoration then it would be more tolerable for the heathen in the day of judgment, than for that house which rejected the message. If no warning had been left, however, then the judgment would be pronounced against the servant who was expected to deliver it. . . . The elders who delivered the message were also to be judges in the day of judgment against those who rejected their testimony. Missionaries of the Church should realize this fact. They are sent to warn the world and when they faithfully do their duty they will stand as witnesses against those who reject them, but if they fail to perform their duty, then those unto whom the message should have been given, will stand up as accusers in their turn, and the unfaithful servants will be condemned.”
I know it made me want to work harder and share the gospel with EVERYONE! This is the Lord’s work, HE is at the head of it! I know Trent will be a great missionary. I know Sam will be too. As long as we remember what Pres. Smith said, we’ll be set!
Con mucho amor,
Elder Rasmussen

Ps- I can't wait to eat some PEEPS!

WEEK - 62 Neza/Pantitlan Zone

Hey Everyone!
Well we had quite a week! On Tuesday Elder Hilario noticed he had a sharp pain on his rear end. We called the doctor and he said it was probably a cyst. We went in early on Wednesday, and Doctor Brunt (the mission doctor) decided it would be better if we took him to the hospital that the church contracts with. The surgeon took one look at him and said “We’re going to start surgery at 2:30, go down to the Emergency room and we’ll get you in right away.”
It was kind of funny, they took my companion in to get him ready for the surgery and when I said “Hey! I have to stay with him!” They sent me away! I said “You don’t understand, I HAVE to be with him!” And they said “okay that’s nice, just wait outside and we’ll call you in”…They never did! Doctor Brunt stayed with me for a little bit, but then had to take off. I think he noticed that I hadn’t eaten the whole day, so he gave me 200 pesos to eat. That was really nice of him, because I didn’t have any money because we weren’t planning on spending the night in the hospital. It was funny, while my companion was in the surgery President Bulloch called me to ask what was going on. I told him that I was alone and that I was thinking about how I was going to eat. He told me it was fine to go get something to eat by myself. I asked a nurse where the closest Burger King or McDonalds was (there are a lot in Mexico City!) she gave me a funny look and said there was a place called “Sanborn’s” across the street and that that was the cheapest place! The hospital is in a really nice part of town and, so that was the cheapest place to eat! Its like a really nice restaurant at home, like Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill. It was so weird being alone! I called Elder Tanner so I could feel like I had a companion! haha
When I got done eating my companion was in the hospital room asleep. They gave him one of those shots that they give the ladies when they’re going to have their baby, what's it called? Anyway they numbed him from the waste down and put him to sleep to do the operation. He has a big hole on his back side where they took out the cyst now, and that’s what is hurting him. We spent all Wednesday night in the hospital…awake! The nurses were coming in about every half hour to check on my companion so that kept us both awake all night. My companion couldn’t sleep and got bored, so was acting like he was Darth Vader all night. It was pretty funny.
We got back home on Thursday at 2, and have had to be in the house ever since. My companion can’t go anywhere because it hurts him too bad. I was able to do divisions with the members in the ward for about three hours, but that’s it! We didn’t baptize Ricardo this week, but we are going to help him so he can be baptized this week. I know it may not seem like that much, but it sure is a lot of time for us.
I got a letter from Cody, Megan, and Mercedes Sedillo. Tell them thanks for the letters, and that their letter is in the mail!
I forgot to tell you about the conference with Elder Ochoa! He is an awesome speaker. He talked to us about having the faith that there are elect in our area that are anxious to find the gospel. One of the biggest things that impacted me the most, was that he said to get rid of excuses for good, because they are the perfect weapon of Satan. He also told us that the excuses are contrary to the atonement of Christ. Wow! That really had an impact on me, and I hope it affected the missionaries. He said that he has a hole in his tongue from biting his tongue every time he wants to give an excuse. That got me thinking and I realized that when we give excuses we are saying that the Atonement of Christ isn’t good enough, that we aren’t doing everything so that He can help us. In a missionary sense, if we give excuses we are saying that we don’t have the faith to find new investigators , or even baptize. He spoke with power and authority and it was great to hear a General Authority speaking to the missionaries about this, because it is something that every missionary needs.

Nothing really new is going on. Next week are changes, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to see some of the Elders from my generation. Thanks for the letters! I really appreciate it. This is the Lord’s work! I’m so thankful to be here in the best mission in the world!
Con mucho amor,
Elder Rasmussen