Julio Velazquez-Elder Tyler Blanchard
Po. Box 1486
Presidio, TX 79845

Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 28 (Anáhuac, Mexico)

On Monday we had zone activity and for the activity we watched the Saratov approach. It was a pretty good show. When we got done with the meeting and got back to Anahuac the power in the city was out. There weren’t any lights except for the cars that drove by. It was pretty cool to see it so dark. We had to go into our houses because there is a rule that says that we have to do so when the power is out.

Tuesday was a slow day, not many investigators were home. We found a few new investigators and they are really old. I can’t remember but one of the ladies is in her upper 80s. They seem pretty cool but I can’t understand the lady that is in her upper 80s she can barely talk. My companion and I taught the class of English that night and we went over the days of the week and reviewed some stuff.

On Wednesday we went with the zone leader to do the baptismal interview with Juan Manuel so he could be baptized this weekend. But it turns out that he has been smoking the whole time and he is at two every day. That was too bad to hear. We have been trying to find a way to make him comfortable with telling us the truth. 

On Thursday we got taught a lesson on revelation by our district leader Elder Perez. He is a really good teacher and he knows a lot. He is actually finishing his mission in the next cycle or next 6 weeks. We also got a reference from a member and the investigator is really cool, her name is Rosa and she is really open. The first lesson went really well and she seems like she will progress really well.

On Friday we worked again with the same member and she invited a friend over to her house so we could teach a lesson. Her friends name is Rebecca and her daughter’s name is Shaila they are both pretty cool and really open. The first lesson went really well and they accepted a baptismal date. Later that day we took our bikes to a member who said he would fix them for us because he had the right tools. 

On Saturday we had a bunch of appointments with the cool investigators that we had found this last week but we weren’t able to have lessons with any of them. Everyone was gone or busy and we weren’t able to talk with them. At the end of the day we found that the other elders had the same experience in their area just nobody was home. We went and picked up the bikes that day and they are almost back to normal. One bike is just stuck on a low gear and feels like it is more work than it is worth while riding it.

On Sunday we were out in the morning finding our investigators and inviting them to church. We called Juan Manuel at nine to remind him about church but he was already there. And church doesn’t start until ten thirty. He is a great investigator and he is on his way to quitting smoking and it has been real cool to see him progress. On Sunday we even had the lady in her upper 80s show up for sacrament meeting and we had a lesson with her after church later that night and she wants to get baptized. 

The elder that I told you about that speak sign language speaks the Spanish sign language. He and his companion had to learn it in his last area. It is weird that they have different languages in sign language.
Love Elder Blanchard

Week 27 (Anáhuac, Mexico)

This last Monday my companion wanted to try a Chinese place by our area. We went and the lady didn’t speak any Spanish (just like the Chinese workers at panda express barely speak English.) We asked her what the things were and I picked what I thought was orange chicken and what she had said was chicken…it turned out to be shrimp. I didn’t realize it was shrimp until I had it on my fork when we were in the bus on the way to Cuauhtémoc. I ended up eating it because I had already purchased it and I was hungry, it wasn’t too bad just tasted like fish sticks. I thought that I was going to get sick because we were already taking a gamble with that Chinese restaurant and on top of that I had ordered some fish.  I didn’t end up getting sick luckily. 

That Monday in our district meeting we got a cool lesson from our district leader. Our district leader is really smart and a great teacher. One thing that he pointed out that I thought was cool was that if we aren’t getting an answer to a prayer or something it is because the lord expects more from us, he is waiting until we do all that we are capable of before he answers. And also that the harder the commandment the bigger or greater the blessings. 

On Tuesday we did divisions and I worked with the zone leader in my area. As we were walking along the main street a car full of girls pulled up to us and they wanted us to get in with them and go for a ride. It was a pretty funny experience. Later on we went to a member’s house to take him on some visits with us. He is a youth and his name is Alex.

When we got there he was with a couple of his buddies and tending his little sister and we had to wait for his mom to get back from the store before we could go. While waiting we played basketball with him and his buddies. We used a speed limit sign as the hoop. while playing I had the ball and one of the kids tried to swipe the ball away and his hand went in my shirt pocket and it ripped the pocket off of my shirt. I looked pretty funny having to walk around after that with my pocket drooping. Luckily one of the elders is going to sow it up for me. That night Elder Babb and I taught the English class at the church. We read out of the book of Mormon taught them some greetings and how to say the letters of the alphabet.

On Wednesday morning Elder Gallup (the zone leader I was on divisions with) and I went to do some service for some old little lady. We went to her house and chopped up some wood for her. Elder Gallup had worked on a ranch before the mission chopping wood and taught me some of the basics to chopping the wood. It was a cool experience. At one point when I picked up a thing wood out of the pile there was a giant spider and I almost hucked the wood. That night we got a call from a member who wanted a blessing because the next morning she was going to have an operation. We went gave the blessing and she rewarded us with some quesadillas and some tortas (it is like a sandwich with toasted bread and meat).

On Thursday there was a wedding from some investigators from the sister’s area. All it really consisted of was us going to a building and signing some papers with the couple. Pretty uneventful wedding. The sisters did make some tres leches cake that was really good though. That night we had a lesson again with the deaf and mute people. We went back with them because our zone leader Elder Gallup speaks sign language. He was able to talk with them and they really seemed to like being able to communicate with someone. It was a really cool lesson to be part of. And Elder Gallup taught me the alphabet in sign language and some other basic words. 

Thursday and around twelve is when it started snowing. It had been raining the entire morning and then it snowed for the rest of the day. If it hadn’t been raining there would have been a whole lot more snow. It was crazy seeing how much it snowed and also that it was snowing in Mexico. It was weird because this week has been really hot up until Thursday. 

On Friday we found the woman version of Juan Manuel. She is an older lady who lost her husband eight years ago. She has no job. Has no money and has no family close by. It was sad to see at first but I am excited to see the gospel change her life in the same way it has with Juan Manuel. Juan Manuel is still progressing and if everything goes as planned will get baptized this Saturday. We had a lesson with him and he said that his daughter was coming over to visit on Sunday and that he would be busy. He wanted to know if he could still be baptized if he missed this Sunday, we told him that he would have to wait two more weeks if he did. And he said what if I go for an hour because I really want to be baptized. It is cool to see his desire to be baptized. 

Saturday we found another cool guy named Julio Sota. We had a cool lesson with him. He has tons of really good questions, like how do I know if what the truth is because all of the churches say they do. Or where does your church come from what is the path it has taken through history. Just questions that are easily answered with the story of joseph smith. He also has a lot of doubts on the catholic religion because of their passed and because of them baptizing babies. He is really cool and I bet he will progress well. We had a lesson with him last night and it went longer than we thought because of all of his questions and we had to run to our house so we wouldn’t arrive late. We had to run for like 10 or 15 minutes and it sucks running with a giant bag. 

Today we have a zone activity and we are going to play soccer and watch a movie. Hopefully the movie is Meet the Mormons.

Love Elder Blanchard 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Week 26 (Anáhuac, Mexico)

On Tuesday we had a training from the president. He talked about the importance of not focusing on the numbers and remembering our purpose (inviting others to come unto Christ). And he talked about the importance of our teaching because it affects them for the rest of eternity.

We also got to hear from his wife and she always talks about health and the rules. She talked about the importance of making good eating habits here in the mission so we can eat well the rest of our life, and talked about the importance of taking care of our intestines.  

After the training all the missionaries from Anahuac (me, my companion Elder Babb, Elder Perez, Sister Aramburo and Sister Dudley) went to pizza hut and bought two giant pizzas, and some cinnamon rolls. We had a bit of pizza left over at the end and we went to go give the extra pieces to the little taurumara kids that beg outside of KFC. My comp handed them the pizza and they didn’t say thank you they just told him to give them his drink.

The taurumaras are very interesting, they always ask for money. The other week, we were in a house in a lesson and one little taurumara boy walked into the house and asked for money. He walked right up to me and got in my face not saying anything and had the bill of his hat pressed against my forehead. It was funny just because of how weird it was. 

Later on Tuesday night we went to Favella with a member who drove us (Favela is like a little ranch like ten fifteen minutes outside of Anahuac) to visit a recent convert and to visit a reference. The recent convert took us and showed us around her garden and was talking to us about the importance of self-sufficiency and growing your own food, she is really into agriculture. She also has this little museum in the back of her house with a bunch of things like mammoth bones, sabretooth tiger teeth, petrified wood and crystals and fossils and rocks I got to hold a meteorite that she had and that was pretty cool. After that we went to the reference and he was drunk out of his mind, and I couldn’t understand a word he said. 

On Wednesday, we were walking to our area that morning and we met the sisters, they told us that they saw our investigator smoking and that he tried to hide the cigarette when he saw them. We helped them carry their water jugs back to their house and on the way we saw the investigator (his name is Juan Manuel) and we talked to him a bit trying to encourage him. After that we went dropped the water jugs off at the sister’s house because we were going to visit the investigator later. 

After that we went looking for a reference that we got from a member and we found a less active member that is really nice. Her husband is catholic and actually pretty cool and we think he is going to progress fast. They gave us some juice and some pancakes with jam on the way out. The pancakes looked so good but we couldn’t eat them because of the rules so we took them over to Juan Manuel, that is when we found him smoking. He tried to hide it when he saw us, then he threw it away, we then had a lesson with him on the word of wisdom and commandments and the atonement. 

That night the sisters called us elders because they had a 'rat' in their house. They called the district leader but we had to go because there has to be four elders to be able to enter their house. We walked over there and found them huddled together scared to death of the 'rat'. We went over to where they said it was and we found it under a bucket and in a sticky trap. The zone leader, that was there with us because he was on divisions with Elder Babb, stuck a broom to the trap and chased the sisters around with it and then threw it away and we left.

Thursday not much happened. I worked with the zone leader in my area. He is a big soccer fan and loves the Italian team, he is from Ecuador he is one of the people who played soccer with us the other week. 

Friday we took some medicine (I think it is called Veerox) to cleanse our systems of parasites. 

Saturday we went to a bakery and bought some doughnuts. I bought an empanada filled with pineapple jelly and a classic doughnut bar filled with flan, and a French bread roll. They were all really good the bakeries are so good here.

After that we went to meet with Juan Manuel. We went to his house and he wasn’t there we called him and he said he was at the park. We were worried that he was smoking or something but luckily we found that he hadn’t smoke since the last time that we had caught him. He said he felt horrible and sick because he hadn’t but he was happy because of his progress and the encouragement we gave him. He was talking with a couple of old guys sitting on a railing and we got talking with all of them and invited everyone to church. Even Juan Manuel was inviting and trying to get them to come.

After those guys left we sat and talked with Juan Manuel. We got talking about fruit and he took us to a store to buy us some grapes because we said we liked grapes. I felt bad and didn’t want any because he is really poor and doesn’t have a lot. But he insisted. He bought my comp a mango and both of us like 5 oranges and then a candy bar thing. It was really cool to see his charity, and my comp said that ya it was tough to take his stuff but he will be blessed a ton for it. 

On Sunday we went for Juan Manuel to bring him to church but when we got to his house he wasn’t there. We called him and he was already on his way to the church. we ended up catching up to him and he wanted to buy us a soda, he didn’t because we told him we couldn’t drink it as missionaries but it was cool that he was so willing to share. He still hadn’t smoked and was even feeling better, it is really cool to see that he has gone for so long without smoking because he has been smoking since he was 14 and he is like 50 something. He is progressing so fast and it has been cool to see how happy he has been.

Glad to hear that the weather is so good for you guys over there. We have been dying of heat during the day, the sun is crazy strong already and it is only February. 

Love Elder Blanchard

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 25 (Anáhuac, Mexico)

I can’t believe that I have been in the mission for six months. A 1/2 year in the mission is crazy, it feels like I just started yesterday. The weeks are going by crazy fast it feels like I was just here writing. The time in general is just moving crazy fast.

Thanks for fasting for me, I may not have the highest numbers but I do love the mission and am having lots of fun. We fasted this week for our investigators. There is one in particular who is in a pretty rough spot in life. He has no job so he is never able to buy food and he has no family that lives here close to him. He was always really sad. When we first met him we told him that he could change his life if he wanted. And we said one of the ways is going to church. He has come to church the past two weeks. Yesterday he went to church and later we found out he got a job. It is really cool to see the gospel changing this guy’s life and happiness it is bringing him. 

Fasting has been going well here in the mission we have seen lots of miracles for example yesterday with that guy finding a job. At one point we were fasting 2 or 3 times a week because our zone leaders asked the zone to do so. We found out later that we weren’t supposed to be fasting that often and actually we are only supposed to fast once or twice a month.

We still have appointments to eat with members every day, well every day but Monday. We eat on our own on Mondays last week we went to subway and we will probably do that again today. The same members do feed us every day. It is actually pretty good usually, just it is kind of boring right now because it is cold and everyone makes the same soup called caldo. Last week we did divisions and I worked in Cuauhtémoc for three days and I got to eat really well. We had this toasted bread with beans on top with melted cheese that was way good. We got that with tortillas of flour and also like burger meat mixed with potatoes and Chile and we got a dessert of ice cream. Another day we got pizza burritos and soup. 

I am getting along really well with my companion. He is really cool, and I am learning a lot from him too. I also get along really well with the other two elders next door they are really cool too that is Elder Babb and Elder Perez. Today we all made breakfast together breakfast burritos, eggs, hotdogs, and rice. I am getting along well with the zone too we just aren’t with them much. 

Sorry I don’t have pictures this week, and I spent a lot of my time today downloading talks and Mormon messages to my usb.

Elder Blanchard