Monday, October 28, 2013

08 - Coba 3

I am writing from an internet cafe, and it takes time to write letters on the Spanish keyboards.  The hammocks are comfortable.  They always serve two course meals and it is rude to refuse a second helping.  We really don’t have much time to exercise vigorously and I’m starting to gain a little.  The only way for me to return to the normal weight is to catch a bug, but that’s not a good way to go.  The city is dirty and not what I am used to, but the people are great and I’m adapting.

I’m out of time now and I’ll try to get in a little more next week, thanks.

Elder Bailey
A picture of the inside of our house

Monday, October 21, 2013

07 - Coba 2

Hey, so it’s been a week already.  The mission is hard work but I’m working my hardest.  So just to give you an idea of my area, Coba is a section of Cancun.  It’s very hot most of the time, but sometimes we get sudden intense rain for a few minutes a few times per week.  Everyone lives in small houses that are stacked side by side so it’s one big building.  Sometimes it’s hard to navigate around the city because all of the houses look identical.  But you can manage by memorizing the shops and graffiti.

There is a lot of poverty in the area, but as I may have said in the last email, because of the circumstances, the people are very humble and receptive to the gospel.  I’ll admit, speaking with the natives is hard—they all speak very fast and it’s hard to follow, but I’m still picking up a lot of Spanish from conversations with my companion.  Elder Gonzalez is an awesome companion.  He doesn’t speak much English, so I have plenty of opportunities to practice my Spanish.

The house that I live in is small, but meets my needs.  We don’t have beds to sleep in, but we do get some colorful hammocks!  In the morning we eat our own breakfast (Raisin Bran!) and the other meals are at member houses.  The food is very excellent.  I never imagined that there are so many more Mexican dishes besides burritos and salsa.  The food is very tasty and they serve a lot.  It’s polite to accept a second serving of everything, and every meal usually has two courses.  My favorite food so far is the empanadas.

The work has been going great!  We have a lot of investigators to teach each day.  Our schedules are always completely booked.  All of the contacting has to be done in the street between appointments.

The transition has been hard, but I’ve been called by God to this area and he always provides a way to accomplish the things that he commanded us (1 Nephi 3:7).  God knows of our weaknesses and has always provided a way for us to become strong and do what we need to do.  If we have faith in Jesus Christ, we will be blessed, and looking back, we can always see His hand guiding us and recognize the miracles that happen in our lives.  In times of strife or challenge, I invite you to turn to Jesus Christ and remember Him.  He knows what you’ve been through and will help you if you put your trust in Him.

So until next week,
Elder Bailey

*These are the hammocks that we get to sleep in.  Mine is the bright green one.  This was taken the first night, so it’s not at the house where I’m staying in, although both houses are very similar.

*My new companion, Elder Gonzalez, and his old companion, Elder Bigler

*President and Sister Kirkham

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

06 - Coba 1

Hey, I made it.  Sure, the security in Salt Lake City gave me a hard time*, but I made it.  I love the mission so far.  President Kirkham is an awesome guy.  He is very energetic and loves everyone here.  I don't have my camera with me right now, but I'll be sure to send pictures next week.  

I've been assigned to the area of Coba.  It's a section of the main city of Cancún.  There are three areas in Cancún, and about five more outside of the city.  My companion is Elder Gonzalez, he is a native to Mexico and doesn't speak very much English.  He has been helping me a lot with the Spanish.  My Spanish isn't that fluent, but according to the other elders, after a few months I should be fluent.  I haven't been here very long, but the area surprised me in many ways.  Most of the people don't have much, but because of their circumstances, they are very humble and have amazing faith and a great capacity to love.  They love you before you even greet yourself.  
Out here in the mission, one of the most important things to have while teaching is the Holy Ghost.  The Holy Spirit plays a great part in the conversion of the investigator.  It has often been referred to as the missionary's third companion.  True conversion can only come with the Spirit testifying in the heart of the investigator.  Every member should always strive to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.
Well, that's all for now.  I'll be sure to send lots of pictures next week. 

Hasta luego,
Elder Bailey  

*The security scanners picked up something on his hands and shoes; turns out, he had polished his shoes the night before, and some shoe polishes give off the same vapors as explosives.  They ended up doing a full-blown security inspection because of this.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

05 - MTC 5

In 4 days, I'll be out there in Cancun!  The MTC is a great experience, but it's out there where the magic happens.  The travel plans came in early this week and we will be leaving Monday early in the morning.  Our district will be traveling together along with an elder and a sister from the main campus.  So ready for it! My teacher, Hermana Mackay, commented how in Mexico they would say that we "have battery."  Can't wait to get there.  My Spanish may still be a bit rough, but I'm confident that I'll become fluent eventually out in the field.  You'll know when I stop commenting about it in my letters and if the letters need a little translation.

We had a couple of good storms here that tore some of the shingles from the buildings.  For service activities, we have been doing some cleanup work.
Like the shirt I'm wearing in the pic?  I borrowed the lava lava from one of the departing elders.  He is from Hawaii.

Conference was great!  The spirit and message that those speakers bring is awe inspiring.  There was a lot of emphasis on enduring to the end.  I can add my testimony, that as we continue through life, we will encounter many challenges and struggles, but if we remain true and steadfast and put our faith in Jesus Christ, everything will turn out better and how great will our joy be in the eternities.

My next letter will be from the mission field.  Stay tuned!

Elder Bailey

Thursday, October 3, 2013

04 - MTC 4

I've now been in the MTC for about a month, and have less than two weeks left.  I can't wait to go out into the field!  The MTC is a great experience, but it's going to be out there where we get the most.  
We just had a change of teachers yesterday.  Our teacher, Hermano Law, worked here at the MTC to the limit—which is 3 years.  He was an awesome teacher and I'm going to miss him.  I learned so much from him—not just the language, but also about being an effective missionary as well.
My ZRT (zone resource teacher) shared an interesting quote a few days ago.  "You become who you want to be by becoming who you want to be every day."  It reminds me of a talk by Henry B. Eyring about the word "someday."  I recommend everyone look it up.  We sometimes like to think that over time, the changes we want in our lives will come to us automatically, or that there will always be tomorrow to accomplish our goals.  The truth is that nothing happens unless we work for it.  Now is the best time to do and accomplish.
Well that's all for now.  Next week will be busy getting ready to head out.  General Conference is going to be awesome.  

Thanks for your support.

Elder Bailey

Oh and here is a pic.  I traded the tie from another missionary in my zone.  Like it?  I try to acquire a variety of ties in my wardrobe.

I've been working out during gym time—we've heard all the horror stories about missionaries gaining 30 pounds within a week.  But no worries, I've been eating the vegetables and drinking the water.  Actually there isn't much of a gym here on Wyview.  The only activities we can do are running, basketball, volleyball, and four square (I'm becoming a champ).  
The thermos is very useful.  They actually provided a plastic bike bottle the first day (although it doesn't keep he water cool) and a water purifier.  The purifier is a water bottle that you fill from any source.  When you want to drink, you squeeze the bottle and it will clean the water as it comes out.  It's a good expensive purifier that they provided everyone.
Be sure to send letters through DearElder.  Thank you for everything.  

Your Favorite Missionary,

Elder Bailey