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

Monday, April 27, 2015

Week 36 (Bario del Norte, Mexico)

This week has been great. We found out why that missionary in my district was sick. Before the mission he had problems with epilepsy and before the mission his medication dosage was upped and there was some confusion or they upped it too much and he became intoxicated. He had to stay in his house for three days and couldn’t work but he is back to normal now. 

Being district leader is fine, the only bad part is having to teach and give a lesson for an hour and half every Monday. But it hasn’t been too bad. And it was cool to see that I have been trusted with this responsibility.

That is so cool that Pulani gets to go to France, and that is crazy to hear that Nick already has his call and he is going to Argentina. There are a ton of people in the Argentine mission. I can’t believe Palmer has his papers in. 

I can’t believe the school year is wrapping up already the time flies so fast. I remember when I was at this point last year in school and it feels like just yesterday. 

Here we do have lunch appointments every day. The only difference is that we don’t eat with the same members every week. It switches up a ton and we only have repeats monthly. But I can’t complain about the food, it has been so good here in this area and a lot too. 

On Monday we found an investigator she is an older lady and lives alone her name is Maria Varasa and she has been pretty open to our message and listening. Lots of people ask how old we are and I always ask them how old they think I am and this lady thought I was 16 ha-ha.

On Tuesday we ate some crazy hot chile salsa. We had some soup and on the side we were given some chile. My companion really likes chile and added a ton to his soup and was dying because his tongue was on fire. I added a bit on a tortilla and it wasn’t too bad. So I added some more on the tortilla and was doing fine. It wasn’t bad until I started eating the soup which was hot and had water in it both of which make the chile even spicier. The chile was chile arbol, it isn’t bad when there is a small amount mixed in with other stuff but when there is as much as this lady put in it gets really hot. Luckily they gave us tons of horchata made from oats. It is a juice that is really good, and we also got a big bowl of ice cream at the end.

Later that day we were contacting and some guy in the street called us liars and said he didn’t want anything and walked off. And after that the next guy that passed contacted us and was really interested in the Book of Mormon. It is cool whenever there is an experience like that we always get blessed with a cool experience after. 

That night I went on divisions with Elder Anderson so he could get out of his house. (Where he had to wait with his comp who was taking a break on doctor’s orders.) We went and did some visits and all went well but it got kind of late and were at risk of getting home late. Luckily one of his investigators gave us a ride to his house where my companion and his companion were.

But they couldn’t take me and my comp to our house which was like ten minutes away because the guy was going the other direction where he had to pick up kids or something. So my comp and I started speed walking down the street in the direction of our house and we were going to get to our house really late still. We were talking and said we could use a miracle right there, and just then a member pulled up on the other side of the street and offered us a ride home. It was really cool we got talking and they said that they weren’t even supposed to be there, because they were on the way to the house of family but had turned around because they forgot something and they saw us and offered a ride. 

On Wednesday we found this teenager who actually came up and talked to us. We had a lesson with him and he was really open. The only thing that sucks is that we have not been able to find him the past couple of days. Also during the day we got called by someone that contacted us the other week and he wanted us to come visit him. We had a cool lesson with him and the spirit was really strong. It was really cool lesson and I like lessons like these because all the feelings of doubt, tiredness, questions on what to teach or share…all of these thoughts leave and the answers and scriptures and lesson plan just come to your mind, and the investigator just eats it all up. 

On Thursday it rained all day. We were soaked by the end of the day and there was no way to stay dry. The road flooded and we would get sprayed by passing cars. It wasn’t even a strong rain just a consistent drizzle. It only stopped that night when we returned to our house. The only thing that sucked about being in the rain is that no one is outside to contact.

The last couple of days have been really windy. And the heat has returned, the people say that the heat will get its strongest about the end of May. 

The other day we went to a less active and had a pretty good lesson and she gave us a ton of fruit. The fruit here is really good. We got guayaba, it is like a little golf ball sized fruit that is really good. We also got mangos, and they are so good. I will miss these fruits when I get back to the states. 

The pace of life is pretty different here. Anahuac was like a little ranch area very calm and laid back, here everything is a lot faster and busier. It is different but it I have really been liking this new area.

I can’t believe we will be talking on skype again in a couple of weeks. Seems like just the other day we talked on Christmas. The time flies so fast.

Love Elder Blanchard

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Week 35 (Bario del Norte, Mexico)

The first week here in Bario del Norte was great. It was cool to meet all of the members and people here. We are kind of rebuilding the area. The area is a ward and there is a bishop. The ward is really cool from what I can see so far. The members are really nice. 

The area seems to be doing really well money wise. Lots of rich people, or as we say here, chorcho. The food has been so good this last week. It is like I went to a different country because the pace of life is so different here. A lot faster and busier. In my other area it was very calm and not many people. 

My new comp is pretty cool and we are getting along really well. He has a ton of experience and I have a lot to learn from him. It is great because he wants to go out strong and working hard.

It was hard to say good bye to Anahuac, it didn’t feel real. I don’t know much about Juan or have any way to keep in touch with him. Last I heard still no job, but strong in the church still.

My new district is really cool. I am in charge of elders. Elder Vuyke (he has six weeks left too), was in Cuauhtémoc for some time with me and he was a comp to my old comp Elder Hansen, he is from West Jordan and played soccer there at that high school. Elder Sanchez is his comp and I’m still getting to know him, he has the same time as me in the mission and was actually comps with my comp right now.

Elder Anderson and Elder Garcia are the other two elders, we eat with them every day so I know them better. Elder Anderson is from Idaho and he has 9 months in the mission one transfer more than me and he is a really hard worker, he played football and rugby and he is really tall.

His comp is from Vera Cruz, Mexico too like my comp. He is 24 and has started the mission like 3 different times. He went the first time to go to MTC, got to the airport and waited for someone to come pick him up for 2 days. He didn’t sleep or eat or drink got sick and went home. Later he tried to go out into the mission field and was still sick from his first experience.

Now he started again and is in training and is being trained by this other elder. He ate a bad burrito in the airport before he got here and he has been really sick this last week. Throwing up and really dizzy. On Saturday he went to the hospital and the mission president called for his info and we think he might be heading home.

From what I know he is still in the hospital and the last I heard they were doing tests on his blood. Even though Elder Garcia was sick they still got a baptism and confirmation this last week which was cool. I also went to the area of Elder Vuyke and interviewed one of his investigators her name is Kenya and she is 12 years old and should be getting baptized this next Saturday.

When I went with Elder Vuyke there were some kids in the street and we played soccer with them a bit and contacted them. I guess the US and Mexico played the other day and the score was 3 to 1 for USA. While playing with the kids the parents who were selling corn dogs gave us each one for free. We then talked to a family who lived in West Jordan and who spoke English. Crazy small world.

My zone leaders are pretty cool. Elder Hogan is one leader. He was on the video chat when we talked on Christmas, and he lives in Herriman, he only has like a few months or so till he goes home.  His comp is Elder Burton and is from Canada and his brother has like 3 months in the mission and is serving in Switzerland. Yesterday we contacted a woman named Nicha and she seems really cool and open to our message. 

Love Elder Blanchard

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Week 35 (Anáhuac, Mexico)

On Tuesday we talked with this pastor guy and this other crazy Christian guy. They just wanted to bible bash and fight.  They kept saying our blue book, or the Book of Mormon, was another gospel and that we were wrong for having it. It was pretty funny because they obviously haven’t even read the Book of Mormon.  We then went to the church with a bunch of kids from the area of the elders and we all played some football with them and then we had the English class.

On Wednesday, I went to Cuauhtémoc on divisions and there were a handful of investigators and members that recognized me from other times I have visited them from way back in December.

On Thursday when I got back, during dinner, the member said that she was going to make me some pizza because the last two times she had done so I wasn’t able to be there. She told me she would make it for me for the next week but we told her that I might not be there either because of the transfers so she told us all to come on Sunday night and she would make us a pizza.

On Friday we had a lecture or training from President Chavez about talents and gifts. It was way cool, I forgot my little notebook but basically he started off by teaching the difference between a gift and talent.

A talent is something that we are able to develop through training and practice. And a gift is a gift from god that is based of worthiness and that is used to build up the kingdom of god. All of us have at least two gifts (I think there might have been one more), agency and the holy ghost.

It doesn’t matter how many gifts we have just how we use them.  He talked about the parable of the talents. everyone was given a talent or gift based on their capacity. For us to receive more gifts we have to use what we have and multiply and grow it.

On Saturday we went to a park and played baseball with a bunch of kids who were investigators to get them to go to church on Sunday. It was pretty hot and my comp got a funny sunburn on his face because he didn’t get the sunscreen spread well. 

We have been working a lot with a bunch of kids lately because the elders found a bunch in their area because one got baptized and all of his friends wanted to as well. Seven kids have been baptized in the last three weeks.

On Sunday it was rainy and windy and we had a hard time getting everyone to church. I taught the last class and one of the people in the presidency of the branch extended me a calling as the gospel teacher, he said that I had been there so long that I needed a calling ha-ha.

We got called last night at 10:35 after we were already in bed about the transfers. I got transferred, Elder Babb in the other companionship got transferred and sister Dudley the one with red hair from Texas got transferred. I am now in Barrio Del Norte, I think it is in the southern part of the city. We are like 10 minutes from the mission house.

My new comp is from Mexico his name is Elder Rolon he is from Vera Cruz by the Gulf of Mexico. This is the last 6 weeks of his mission because he goes home at the end of this cycle. He seems pretty cool don’t know much about him yet though.

I have been called as district leader and from what I know I have one companionship of elders in my district. My house is two story and it looks pretty nice. It is just us that live there and we have a boiler that works so that means hot water. My old companion, Elder Maldonado my trainer, is now and assistant to the president of the mission I got to talk to him for a bit and it was cool to catch up a bit.

Love Elder Blanchard

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Week 34 (Anáhuac, Mexico)

On Monday we had our zone activity right before our district meeting. We played some soccer with a bunch of the guys. There is a guy from Spain that is in our zone and played that is pretty good, also a guy from Ecuador (my zone leader) who plays well too. It was fun to get out and play again. The only bad thing is that soccer is tough on my shoes. I think I will be buying a new pair some sometime soon.

Also, that day we talked to a missionary who was visiting Anahuac who served around thirty years ago, he told us a bunch about how the mission has changed. He also told us that he heard that there was a missionary who passed away in Argentina. He said that the missionary was from Utah. Pretty crazy. 

On Tuesday we went and helped an investigator in the area of the elders sweep out their front yard area. They had a bunch of garbage and junk around on the floor. 

On Wednesday we had an activity for Anahuac. We got a projector and a speaker and put up some Mormon messages and videos of the church in the chapel and invited people off of the street. 

On Thursday I wasn’t feeling very good. I had eaten something bad and got a stomach ache. 

On Friday we had an activity to celebrate Easter and also to celebrate 210 baptisms in the mission during the month of March. We went to a member’s house and had a barbecue. They made some stake. Some baked potatoes. We also ate some cake. We played a lot of soccer. They wanted to play and asked that I bring my ball, I did and it got popped on a fence but other than that it was really fun.

Friday was also the day of the Via Cruz. It is where they have someone dress up like Jesus and kind of act out the crucifixion. I am not sure exactly how they do it here. But we did get passed by a giant group of people doing this Via Cruz. They had some Mexican guy dressed up as Jesus. Another guy dressed up carrying a cross, a bunch more guys dressed up like guards, and then they were all followed by a bunch of Catholics smoking and drinking. From what I here in other areas. They actually beat and whip and hit the actor Jesus (who volunteers to do so) then they actually crucify the guy and nail him to a cross. 

On Saturday we watched the conference. We actually projected it in Anahuac this time. The first session we had 16 people or members show up. The second session 35 and then 13 for the priesthood session. All of us Americans went in the office and watched it in English on the computer. There seemed to be a lot of talk about marriage this conference.

It is crazy how much more you learn from conference when you are actually awake and pay attention ha-ha. The conference went by so fast. I remember before the mission I would go to sleep for what felt like forever wake up and the same guy was still talking. But here you blink and you miss the guy. It is also crazy that I have had two conferences now in the mission and two here in the same area. Today I completed 8 months in the mission (I think) and it is crazy how time flies. Transfers will be next week, we find out Sunday night.

Love Elder Blanchard