Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Week 40: In which we reengage with the White Knight, we carry food for Rigo, and a dog eats a cow.

Only in Little Mexico...

Holy cow! What a week. Believe it or not, it actually did involve cows. It also involved goats, chickens, chickens on goats, killer puppies, and a horse. Actually, it involved all of those things and more, somehow squeezed into a single, incredibly interesting, afternoon.

First of all, I should tell you where I'm going to be transferred! I'm joking, I'm joking; transfers aren't for another 2.5 weeks. However, since you want me to write more in Spanish, I can tell you a brief story in Spanish.

¡Estabamos caminando este Lunes pasado, y vimos un perro que estaba corriendo directamente a nosotros! Teniamos miedo, por su puesto. ¡Pues, discubramos que era el mismo perro que estaba atacandonos en Mexico Chiquito (El Caballero Blanco)! Nos encontró y empezó seguirnos. De todos modos, alguien lo encontró, y pudíamos decirles donde vive este perro. ¡Entonces, pudíamos ayudar a ese amigo chiquito a regresar a Mexico Chiquito!
[We were walking this last Monday, and we saw a dog that was running directly towards us! We were, of course, afraid. Well, we discovered that it was the same dog that was attacking us in Little Mexico (the White Knight)! He found us and started to follow us. Anyway, someone found him, and we were able to tell them where this dog lives. So, we were able to help this little friend to return to Little Mexico!]

Anyway, Elder Fordham and I had a very interesting week. As far as the people we're working with, we haven't been able to contact Yolie and Nikita, and so we're concentrating our time more and finding new people. We do still occasionally try to find them, but it has gotten really hard. We're still working with Ana and Noemi, and they are really cool. Both of them are really interested in learning more, and have felt the spirit really strongly.

Now, I am going to treat you to an account of the afternoon of my birthday. It was... fascinating.

First of all, a little background: there is a really infamous basher here, named Rigo. A basher is someone who tries to argue with missionaries and prove themselves right with the bible. Basically, that's really hard to do, especially since there are a LOT of verses in the Bible, and there are many which contradict each other. While there are certainly some missionaries who like to engage in such *ahem* "discussions", they are honestly just a giant waste of time and only bring the spirit of contention. However, even though we avoid arguments, people still sometimes try to get us to engage or try to prove themselves right.

Rigo is one of these people, and is infamous not for his knowledge of the scriptures, but rather for being rude as he tries to argue with us. He sometimes seeks out missionaries to argue and engage us, so we generally try to avoid him. Many missionaries who have served here have encountered him at least once.

Anyway, with that background, let us begin. We started out by going down to the swamp (a homeless encampment). As we were there talking to people, Rigo pulled up in his truck with his brother. Immediately, I started out thinking how we could avoid giving him an opportunity to argue with us. However, it was too late. He was already there and out of the truck with his brother. Turns out, they had brought some supplies and food for the people there. In an effort to be friendly and avoid any arguments, we offered to help them unload their truck. They were both very intense people, but as we finished, they left and they didn't even try to argue! We were super happy.

After that, we went to a family we're kinda sorta teaching, and they have a random horse in their backyard. There's not even a real place to ride a horse, but they have one anyway! Later on, we stopped by a less-active family's house to study a bit. We sat in the back of their house, and a super cute German Shepherd/Husky puppie came up to say hi! It was super cute and fuzzy. We had a hard time not getting distracted, but it eventually wandered off behind this little shed. We followed it to see what was back there, and we were treated to a very interesting sight. There were 2 dead cows back there, in these people's backyard! One was only bones and completely skeletonized. The other didn't have a leg, but the cute puppy was going ham on the little stump that was left of the leg. We went back to studying, and after an hour of studies or so, the puppy came back, but this time with a lot of blood all over it's cute little paws and muzzle. We decided not to pet it this time. We went back to see the cow, and were surprised to discover that it no longer had a face! All that was left was a jawbone.

Finally, we were returning to town. We saw, however, one more sight. We were trying to visit a guy named Rafael. However, it was a bad, bad, time to visit. One of his goats had just given birth. We know this because Rafael was dragging it by its horns and there was a placenta dangling from it. Also, we went to the back, and saw something like 20 goats and a bunch of chickens. Some of the chickens were on the goats. There were two newborn goats, but one of them had sadly not made it. It was a very dead, very baby, goat.

Anyway, only in Little Mexico can you see all of that in one afternoon. Seriously, a goat giving birth. It was crazy, yo!

Love you all, and hope you have a fantastic week!

Elder Adams
[Questions from Editor Mom]

 I hope you are having a great week and enjoyed your last few days of being a teenager. Wow. Can you believe it? (Stop it, already--you are making me old!) - Yep, I loved it.

Have you received your Spanish quad? Dad called, and they said they would get it in the mail ASAP and that you should send the other two back with the label that came with the English quad you got. - I have received it... they sent 2. I'm not quite sure why. I now have only 2 return slips (that I know of), 3 Spanish quads, and the English one.[Note: Mormons include 4 different books of scriptures in our canon.  When published as a single volume, it is often called a "quadruple combination", or a "quad".  We had a set of Spanish scriptures (a "quad") sent to him for Christmas.  When it arrived, he noticed some pages were torn, so we had a replacement sent.  The replacement got lost in the mail.  So we had another replacement sent.  But they sent English scriptures instead.  So we had another replacement sent.  Apparently, they sent two replacement Spanish scriptures.  In this picture from last weekend's stake conference, Ben is triumphantly holding his new scriptures aloft.]

[Note: Elder Fordham challenged us to see how much we could find out about him on the Internet.  We were able to send Ben a fairly detailed biography of Elder Fordham and his whole family.]
Is Elder Fordham freaked out that Dad took his challenge seriously? - No, not really.

How are your health and energy holding up? - I am alive, thanks!

Funny stuff? - Big email. Plenty.

Anything you want to hear about from the home front? - Uh, are you all alive? How are you doing? I don't know, there's probably something less lame, but I can't think of it of the top of my head.

Did you know that there is no way to say "I love you" in Swiss German? You have to be creative. - Huh. Cool! 

So, Ben, if I could have only one son through all of eternity, it would be you. - Aww, thanks! I'm glad, 'cause you're stuck with me. Thankfully, I am also glad to be stuck to you.

How was your birthday? When did you find time to open your presents? Tell us about it.  - I opened my presents that morning during exchanges, because I have the patience of a gnat. Also, it was a really interesting day. 

Is Brenda still on target to be baptized tomorrow? We are praying for her. Is she connecting with the members in her ward? - She's technically on track, yes, and passed her interview, but something felt a little off. We're still not exactly sure why, but both of us and the Bishop felt a couple of days after the interview. We're going to talk to her about pushing it back today, partially because there's pretty much nothing planned right now for it. It shouldn't be that rushed, in any case. She has really connected with Bishop and his family, and has also connected with a few other members of the ward. Crystal is absolutely great, though!

Have you managed to chow through all of the Christmas goodies? - What did I learn as a Boy Scout, Mom? You should know me by now. Leave no trace, Mom, leave no trace. ;-D

We saw pictures of you at zone conference.  How was zone conference? - Interviews and Zone Conference were fantastic!

Plans for getting a haircut? I don't know if you know, but the rule is that your hair should be above your ears. It's important not to go to zone conference or interviews with longish hair. (Just a note to the wise.) - I know. I've been really, really desperate for one for something like 2 weeks. I just always seem to run out of time. I'm going to try again today.

[Notes on photos below:  Last week was the occasion of two large gatherings Ben attended.  First was Zone Conference, where 50 or so missionaries gather for a day of training and instruction.  Then on the weekend was "stake conference", where members of multiple congregations in a broad area gather for church meetings.  The mission president's wife was generous to take pictures of the missionaries at both of those gatherings and post them on her blog.]

[From Zone Conference:]


[The mission president's wife has a hobby of encouraging missionaries to write brief notes to their moms, and then holding them up for a photo which she then texts to the missionary's mom.]

[And here are a few pictures from stake conference on Sunday.  The mission president is on the right.]

[The Yakima missionaries get new planners every month, and they have a tradition of decorating each one.  Here, Ben has decorated his planner with a map of his assigned area.]

[The mission president's wife also has a tradition of asking the missionaries different questions when she sees them at their regular interviews with the mission president.  This month, she asked them to describe some good qualities of their companions.  She then posts these with a picture of the companionship on her blog.]

Elder Fordham:  Elder Adams is Funny.  He’s a silly guy and he tells great jokes.  He’s a great story teller.  He’s always telling stories.  He’s also very articulate.
 Elder Adams:  Elder Fordham is super knowledgeable and understands the scriptures.  He is not afraid to correct others or give advice and he is refreshingly straightforward.  Elder Fordham is a fun and entertaining person; he can have amazing conversations.

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