Saturday, May 31, 2014

Wow. They do grow big potatoes in Idaho!‏

There was a new Elder that got to the mission last night, so we trained him this morning. And when he and his trainer left, the assistant (we only have one right now) and us went to play some ping pong in President Whitehead's house. After about half an hour, President came along and challenged his assistant (since he was destroying us - he won pretty much every single game). And then... well, you can imagine how it went with this picture:

Then we went to Zocalo again to see the fair, since it's the last day here.
And this happened:

You can see the "IDAHOAN" logo in the background. Interestingly enough, the USA booth has two stands for visas. I wonder why...

We also went to the North Korea booth. There wasn't much there. You could pay 15 pesos to get your name written in Korean... and look at pictures.

Life's been going pretty well. My scars hurt me again for a small amount of time today - weird, since the operation was 2 months ago and they almost never hurt anymore, even when I do stretch lying down - but otherwise, I'm feeling quite well. Not a problem to worry about here! ...Okay, that's a lie, but we've still got a lot of good stuff going on.

It's a good thing that I've finally come to be able to recognize the confidence people have in me - it helps me feel more confident in myself. There's still a lingering fear that I'll fall again into that deadly pit, but I came to the realization over the last week that I've I'm worthy, then I can draw strength from that. And it helped and helps me a TON.

With Christine's wedding, tell them congrats and I expect some leftover cake for when I come home. Just put it in the local TARDIS and I'll get it then. :D

Anyways, things have been going pretty well, as previously stated. We're looking for more investigators right now, but we're working on getting more. It's good.

And, if you're not confident in something, practice doing it, especially if it makes you uncomfortable, as that will give you the confidence needed.

Well, that's about it. Not much else happened.

Love you all and if you can, watch this. It's called Fantasy on Kingsfold, but it's really "If You Could Hie to Kolob."

Don't break rules, kids. Or adults. Especially adults.

Elder Newman

P.S. I crave a large vat of mashed potatoes for some reason...

Friday, May 30, 2014

From the Mission President

Dear Newman Family,
We are delighted to inform you that your son has been assigned to be District Leader. He is a great missionary and we are sure that he will fulfill his new assignment with great responsibility and diligence.
It is a great privilege to work here in the Mexico Mexico City West mission with your son. We thank you for all the prayers and support that has been given on behalf of your son, President Whitehead and his wife, and the mission.
Attached to this email, you will find a scanned copy of the letter that should arrive at your home within the next few weeks.
Elder Christensen

Saturday, May 24, 2014

IHOPe They Don't Ask that IHOP‏

Those were 204 well-spent pesos on IHOP's New York Cheesecake style pancakes and orange soda. We went to IHOP. IT WAS SO DELICIOUS AND PROOF THAT MY [credit] CARD WORKS (thank goodness, too - IHOP's pretty expensive down here. It's like... $40 to add two pancakes to the meal. I splurged today, but it was worth it. Really.) IT WAS SO DELICIOUS AND I'VE BEEN MAKING PANCAKES WRONG MY ENTIRE MISSION. [And yes, that's orange soda he's drinking with the pancakes.]

Now where can I get me some New York Cheesecake to bake into my pancakes...?

Anyways, how was this week? Well, one word sums it up: BUSY. RIDICULOUSLY SO. But that's okay; that made it more interesting. Running around, doing a [baptismal] interview (that was nerve-wracking, until it was clear that they weren't ready :( ), doing payments, trying to get the reimbursements page fixed, planning a District Meeting, getting some accidental payments arranged, and all sorts of interesting and fun stuff. I did get a blackberry tamale, however, so that made me happy.  The week was exhausting, and that's good. I learned quite a bit, did a lot, probably changed some amount. My shirts are way too big for me now, as you might be able to tell by the drooping nametag in the picture. And all the folds and how big my shirt looks. It still makes me laugh. I gave my first district meeting on Tuesday, and it went... pretty well. Nobody rebelled and brought out the torches and pitchforks, so that's gotta be good! I'm always ready to sleep and sleep well by the end of the day. I almost don't even have enough energy by the end of the day to eat! But, like I said, it's all fine and well.

So... in other news... stake conference was really good. I learned quite a bit. President Whitehead shared a story of a time where he was at a lunch with Elder Holland and his wife (did I mention that Pres. Whitehead is really good friends with Elder Holland - like to the point where, if necessary, President Whitehead has Elder Holland's personal cell phone number?), and Elder Holland was asked to give the prayer for the food. After about 30 seconds of silence, Elder Holland began to converse with the Lord - and I say converse, because that's pretty much how President described it. After hearing that - how a prayer, even though it be for food, should be a conversation with the Lord - I thought to myself, "Well... I've got something to work on." And then later I decided that I needed to do better actually getting new investigators (kinda difficult when you only work 4 hours a day in the field).

Well, I've already got to go.

JavaScript is a pain.


Elder Newman

Saturday, May 17, 2014

I Did Bring My Camera This Time‏

So we went to Zocalo, because there's a multicultural festival over there at the moment. I say festival; I mean fair.

All those white tents are various countries, with a gigantic Mexican Flag flying over them, with the Zocalo - a giant and old cathedral - in the background. It was a pretty cool place. And there were some interesting experiences there, as well.

First has to do with us missionaries. We went there with the assistants, so we're three Americans and one Mexican and we're in Mexico. So, naturally, which booth do we go to to learn more about foreign cultures? The one labeled "Estados Unidos", or "United States."

..."We're the United States. Your argument is invalid."

...*ahem* There were cardboard cutouts of President Obama and his wife. (I almost wrote "Sister Obama" and then I thought "Wait...") I think I've seen more of him today than I have in my entire mission.

Second thing, before they even opened up. We were walking down the street, and they were having a little parade of all the countries. There was some pretty cool stuff there, and at the end, a mariachi band to represent Mexico. Everyone's pretty happy and excited with everything until the mariachis start playing their songs - and then everyone goes WILD. Cheering, whistling, etc, and I think to myself, "Huh... well, there goes THAT stereotype!"

It was pretty funny, though.

And last week I carved a turkey.

​Technique gets a 1.h, but hey, it was my first time.

And here's me eating a pupusa, a Salvadorian dish (You're going to have to look pretty hard to see it):

​...And there's the cathedral again. There were a lot of members over in the fair today, and they always wanted a picture with us. But that's okay.

Well, that's about it for right now. I'm exhausted, but that's good. This week was packed with things to do!

Finances, new missionaries, changes, running around doing errands, being a district leader over sisters, more finances, losing the mission card (oops), trying to get that replaced when Bank of America wants to know the 16 digits ("What do you not understand about I lost the card and don't know the number?") (I eventually got that resolved), trying to get payments setup correctly when IMOS doesn't work correctly, and so on and so forth. Busy week, but that's okay. I sleep fantastically at nights now. Which reminds me of something one of the Bank of America guys said - I basically said "There's been a lot of work, but that's okay. It helps me sleep well at night." He replied, "I wish it was that way for me," and then we stopped chatting because the problem got resolved or something like that. I don't remember. But it made me think afterwards - One, he could use the gospel in his life, and 2) Why would there be a difference? We both work hard at a desk, I sleep well, but he doesn't? Well, I came to the conclusion that it's got to be because of the peace that the Gospel brings to one's life. The peace and hope and joy; and when one goes to sleep, at least for me, that's when I reflect a bit. Without the gospel, I'm pretty sure those Reflection Sessions would be "DESPAIR BWAHAHAHAHA" Sessions, leading to sleepless nights and general worry and non-peace and non-joy. Whatever those words are in English.

I'll stick with the first and have a good night's rest.

And that's the end of my ramblings.

Love you all,

Elder Newman

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Score of the Week‏

Fun fact: this e'mail goes to 38 people each week.

So, to begin, here's some delicious:

​Why, yes, those are peanut-butter-filled pretzels. And yes, that it a lot of drinkable yogurt (6.7 pesos each, so it came out cheaper. Who doesn't love Costco?).

Also, Mom and Dad, I actually did have my camera with me in Zocalo... hehe... oops... (For those who aren't "in the know" if that's how some people say it in English, El Zócalo is the center of Mexico City, with el Palacio Nacional, a giant catholic church, a huge public square, some sketchy markets, and all sorts of really fun stuff!)

So, how are things going in the offices? Well, we're getting ready for some new missionaries to be coming in a week, so I've got to get all their money things arranged so their trainers don't hate me (getting them their emergency money, their medical cards, making sure that they've got some money on there, I just remembered that I needed to take some money off of one sister's card, etc. etc.)

And we're also teaching a really good investigator right now named Jesús. Yes, I need the accent there, otherwise I read it in English. He's accepting everything really easily, from Word of Wisdom to Tithing and from Joseph Smith to the Book of Mormon. We've just got to get him a little more... excited, I think the correct word would be. He's going to be baptized; he's said so himself. We just think that being a little more excited would help out a bit.

In other news, we've also got to find a house for some sister missionaries here in the ward, because President's looking to put some sisters here. The problem is... there's nothing available for rent that's cheap and good and... well, available more than anything. I mean, there is available apartments to rent out - that cost more than $10,000 pesos. That's the problem -  it needs to cost less. Like... $6000 pesos less. So that's been a thing we've been working on recently.

Well, gotta go now. I love you all and all your support that you give me (even if you just delete this email when you get it or say "Oh, Elder Newman sent an email. I'll read it later" and then forget about it, which I'm sure none of you do).


Elder Newman

P.S. JavaScript is still a terrible terrible thing.