Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 17 - Brownsville, TX

I will start with my week and try and answer all of your questions.

Monday: We went to go play Conch Soccer! The whole zone went to go play. It was so much fun! We took some sick action pictures. I will send them to you. Soccer is really fun even though I am not super good a it. But that was actually about all that happened that day.

We were late to working because we had to get a Elders bike but we got mixed up on where it was and was pretty much lost so there was a lot of time that was lost.

Tuesday: After District meeting we went to Pizza Patron. A pizza place where we got a Large pizza for $3.99. It was pretty good, I downed the whole thing. We got it on our way to Downtowns house to check out their 1,000 lbs of ties that they got on Monday. I took pictures of their house and of the ties. That was more ties than I have ever seen in my life!!!! We went out and worked on Bikes. It was a hot and sweaty day. But never the less I actually enjoy riding a bike. When I got home I am going to get one. But that night we ate with the Garza family for dinner. They gave me two giant plates that each had chicken wing and thigh. Not like KFC stuff but like cooked at home. Also like spaghetti with a green sauce and a bunch of vegetables. I was absolutely stuffed. Also an ice cream cone which almost made me go over the top and throw up. Good thing I didnt.

Wednesday: We went out on bikes again. It was also a hot and sweaty day. Usually it is always humid too. But we went to lunch with the Castillos. I had floutas with like pickled pig skin. Then I also had two tacos of bisteak (just steak) and also two tacos of barbacoa (which is like a mixture of cow cheek, tongue, and brain). It is good though, I like it. But later that night we were walking down the street to get our bikes when a lady asked for our help. She asked if we could help her get rid of some of her couches. There were three of them. What we did was picked them up and threw them over the fence to the side of the street. It was pretty cool. I have never thrown couches before! I wasnt able to get a picture though. We set up a return appointment with the lady but she wasnt there when we went back another day.

Thursday: That day I went on exchange with Elder Bawden. He is the district leader and also one of the Elders that is in our apartment. Almost absolutely nothing happened that day. We had a super crazy contact where we got in someones door and started teaching in like 30 seconds. We walked up and they were getting groceries from their car. They dropped something and so Elder Bawden just took stuff from her and followed the lady into her house. Then like their daughter came out and we just started talking. Seriously it took like 30 seconds. After it was over we just got back to the car and started laughing about it. Then when we were at our apartment for lunch a dude came to our door and asked if he could use our phone so he could call some people to come get him. He told us that he had just hopped over the fence that morning. He showed us a cut that he got on his hand from climbing the fence. He asked for a little food so we gave him some then he was on his way. It was pretty cool and interesting.

Friday: We went out and worked on bikes again. As usual it was hot and all. But for lunch we went to Sis Izaguierres house. I got a picture of what we ate. In the meat was green slices. That was actually cactus. Yummy!!! Yep...thats all. haha

Saturday and Sunday:........nothing. Nothing was just happening and we couldnt really find or talk to a lot of people.

 Alright so now I will try to answer your questions.
- Yes I got those two packages.
- Mission rules.
  6:30 - arise
  6:30-7:00 - work out
  7:00-8:00 - eat, shower, and prepare for day
  8:00-11:00 - studies, including personal, companion, and Spanish studies.
  11:00-9:00 pm is working.
  We take a lunch hour but not a dinner. Usually people will give us something
  or sometimes we are just stuffed from having lunch or dinner with some
  9:00-9:30 - planning
  9:30-10:30 - do whatever and prepare for bed.
- I am still living on Chaparral Street. This next coming week is transfers and so
  next Monday   I will be able to let you know if I am staying here or going
  somewhere else in the mission.
- On Sundays I go to the Spanish branch and also the English ward every week. 
  The English ward has all of the missionaries in Brownsville because thats
  the only English ward in the Brownsville area. Everyone here just covers
  the Brownsville area.
I am super super excited for Allison and Steven!!!! ITs just super cool. haha that is so awesome that Josh is back. I cant wait to see him again in just a little over 18 months.

So I think that was it. But one more thing I wanted to ask for was more family pictures. But like fun things that the family did and like places we went. Thats about all I have for this week. I am looking forward to conference this week. Hopefully I can see it in English and get the most out of it. But its all good. So I will put pictures in another email. I will hear from you next week. I love you!!!

-Elder Dawson

                                             House pictures:  two study rooms.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Week 16 - Brownsville, TX

Well another week has gone by. They go by pretty fast. It seems like I was just here the other day emailing you guys. But so here is my latest week in the mission. Week 4 of my third transfer.

Monday: We had to take the car to Pep-Boys in the morning. Went for a oil change and getting a tire fixed. But while there they found another problem. Long story short we went at 7 am and didnt get our car back until about 12 pm. It was horrible. We were not able to get any ties because everyone else got to them first. We are always the first to get them because we are the closest. We mainly just went and played basketball at the church. That was my P-Day.

Tuesday: We had district meeting at about 12:30. After we went to a little restaurant that an investigator, of the other Elders we live with, works at. It is a super tiny place but it was super good. They just make hamburgers, sell drinks, and chips. Thats it. Super small place. So skip to that night. Elder Guillette and I were walking back to our car. It had been raining all day and so it had been wet and stuff. He went to go jump over a puddle to get to the car and his feet slipped when he jumped and so he fell in the mud. It splashed up on his tie, his pants, and his face. A couple spots got on his shirt. It wasnt super bad but it was super funny! Oh man, I was dying laughing. After that he cleaned up at the church and then had a lesson with one of our investigators Miguel. He is a boss guy! All he needs is a spiritual confirmation and he would be done for. Afterwards we went to Bro. Bocanegras house and ate dinner. I dont remember what it was but it was pretty good. I dont think there is a hispanic food that I dont like!

Wednesday: Castillo's!!!!! They took us to Rudy's again this week. I had another brisket sandwich, coleslaw, and peach cobbler. Really yummy! I like Rudy's a lot. The only other thing that happened on Wednesday was that we had a lesson with an Investigator. They are JR and Fatima. Super cool couple. Love having us over and teaching them. They just need an answer about the Restoration mainly. So great!

Thursday: We went over to Sis. Izzaguirres house that morning and ate Tamales. She made TONS of them. We didnt have a whole lot of time so we downed them. They are super good. You guys need to learn how to make Mexican food because I know that you would love it. The tacos they make here and so much better than tacos at home. haha I just absolutely love the food. That night we got more food from some members. They made hamburgers and gave it all to us to bring home and eat. So we did. They were yummy! Also that night we had had another lesson with Miguel. He told us that he was going to start bringing his granddaughter to church with him. Super Excited!

Friday: That afternoon for weekly planning the power went out. Later when we left the apartment (to pick up more food from a member) we saw that they were working on it down the street. The member was Jaine! She got us KiKi's again. I was going to take a picture of all the food but I forgot. She also got us a 12 pack of Root Beer a 12 pack of Coke, and two gallons of Blue Bell ice cream! Heaven!!! And that was Friday.

Saturday and Sunday: We sat down with a Dad and his two sons. They were really cool and they like us a lot. We invited them to be baptized and they accepted. They are excited to do it and come to church. We also made Biscuits and Gravy in the apartment from scratch. Well the biscuits from scratch but not the gravy. It was pretty yummy. We also had a district comp study. We all got together and watched the Elder Holland talk called "The First Great Commandment". Also read the talk “Becoming a Consecrated Missionary.” I want to invite you guys to watch the Elder Holland Talk, as a family. I also would like to invite you guys to read the Consecrated Missionary talk by Tad R Callister. You can do that separately or together as a family. This can also be for everyone else in the family. Like Grandma, grandpa, and everyone else. I think that they are super great talks and really inspiring.

So that was my week. But Its all good.

But I hope that you guys all have a good week! I hope work and school is all good. I love you a lot!

-Elder Dawson

Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 15 - Brownsville, TX

I will start with my past week.

Monday: We went to the house of the other Elders in our District. It is a legit house and it is really nice. I will have to take pictures while I am there next time. But we went over to have a nerf war. We first went to home depot to get two foot pvc pipes that were big enough to fit a nerf bullet. We would run around the house shooting them at each other. They shoot faster than any nerf gun that you can buy. We werent able to find the whistle darts so we used the regular. They were a lot of fun. The whistle ones would be super fun to play with!! Monday night we went and sat down with a family of 6. The Herrera family. They are super cool. They have been taught in the past and they know a lot. They have even been to a conference. But we are doing our best to work with them. We are going to teach them the restoration tonight.

Tuesday: That afternoon we had district meeting, then that night we went to the Ortiz house to have dinner with them. It was Chicken, rice, and beans. A classic Hispanic plate. But I really love it even though I eat it a ton. Once that was over we went to a members house to have a FHE, only one other person showed up and none of our investigators were able to come. But we had fun anyway. We had an activity together, and then we did a little missionary work with the members. Using a pamphlet that we have which is called "101 Ways to do Member Missionary Work". Its pretty cool.

Wednesday: We were up early and out the door at 7 because we had Zone Conference and we needed to be in Harlingen. We were able to listen to Pres. and Sister Maluenda, the AP's [Assistant to the President], and from our Zone Leaders. It was fun. We left Harlingen probably around 5 or 6 in the afternoon. On the way back we met up with the Castillos at Chickfila! Oh man it was awesome. I just really love the Castillos!!

Thursday: That day I went on exchanges with the other Elders in our apartment. That day I rode around on a bike. It was fun. I dont mind riding a bike. We visited a investigating family that they had just to check up on them and make sure they were still good for the lesson they were going to have the next day. But that family is super cool. The dad is a cook! He made them cheesecake once. But when we stopped by they gave us some Flan that he had made. It was Delicious!

Elder Newland and Alec

But that night, Elder Newlands tire popped and so we went to a gas station to put air in it so the slime in the tire would seal the hole. We started the air machine but then it stopped working. Then we went to a members house so he could help us fix it. After about maybe an hour or so we got it taken care of and then we were on our way to talk with a recent convert. As we were talking to her we were getting attacked by mosquitoes. Freak mosquitoes here are bad! You know how normal mosquitoes land on you then take off to find a different place to land? Well these mosquitoes are super huge and they land on you then crawl around. I had about 20-30 bites. I have heard a trick that keeps mosquitoes away. I havent been able to try it yet but another Elder says it works. Apparently you just take a dryer sheet or two and stick it in your pocket or in your sock. Thats all thats to it.

Friday: Friday we really didnt have a whole lot happen. We went and had lunch with the Ortiz's again. That night we went and had a follow up lesson with some people. We had left them one of the Gospel of Christ pamphlets to read. We asked them if they had been able to read it and they said "Yeah, we read it last night when we were in the tub together bathing," so in our minds we were like "Oh My Gosh". We just said like "Cool, thats great you read them, what did you learn?" It was pretty weird...

Saturday: We got food from Jaine. It was Chinese food. Yummy Yummy! haha and so that was about how Saturday went.

Sunday: After Spanish church a member (Sis. Nieto, the seminary teacher) gave us some food to take home to eat. We ate it all up super fast then we went over to the English church. After church we had lunch and then went to the Herrera family's house to set up a lesson for today. While we were there they gave us some cake that they had from a party on Saturday night, and also some brisket and shrimp! Holy Smokes it was good. The dad likes to cook a lot.

So now I am recording stuff for this week. But it is still a little hot here; it is more humid now than hot. We have been having rain almost every day for the last two or three weeks. This last week and this week we have been having tons of rain because of a hurricane that is hitting the cost down in Mexico. But yeah my knee is doing good. It still has a little scab but it will be gone soon. And for the font, I helped clean some. I actually didnt gag or anything, surprising now that I think about it and how I usually am. haha

I get Bens pictures every week. I logged on and there are about 10 or so emails from him. Thats so cool that Jessica will be coming soon. That doesnt seem like 18 months. Next month I will be hitting my 6th month mark! Wow, thats weird.

I am so stoked for Allison!!!!! Man, super happy. That is cool she will be going to the temple a lot. I cant wait to go to the temple when I get back. But yeah I have heard about Stevens neighbor. He sent me an email talking about it. That is really cool that he was able to baptize him. I am super excited for Steven too. We are all going to be speaking Spanish to each other!! That is super cool.

But man, that is about all I have done this week.

This is for the ward:
"Hey Everyone, I hope that you all are doing great today. I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for all of your support and love. I miss all of you and all the fun I had back there. You guys are the best and I am happy for everything that you have done for me. All my leaders and friends. One thing that I am super excited for when I get back is that (1) I will be able to speak Spanish, (2) I am going to be best amigos with all of you Spanish Members, and (3) we are going to make Carne Asadas together!!!! Oh man you have no idea how awesome that would be. Thank you for everything! You guys are the best!! I love you!!"

 So yeah, I hope you guys have a great week! I will see you next week! I love you lots!

-Elder Dawson

This is just like a suburban that is Jacked out of its mind.

                                             These two are just what our chapel is like.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Week 14 - Brownsville, TX

I will first start out by telling you my week.

Monday: I went to Chick-fil-A!!!! It had been like 5 months since I have last had chick-fil-a. It was really yummy. I got the #2 meal with a large fry and the new cookies and cream mocha shake. The shake was okay. Not the greatest but still good. I had missed Chickfila.
At the church we played basketball and poisonball again. We started with poisonball.
In the first five seconds I got a huge rug burn on my knee. It didn't hurt as bad when I was
This is about two days after the rug burn.
playing. But I have been taking care of it. We actually had a little bit of time extra so we played Zarahemla in the apartment. it was a lot of fun. That night we found 4 new investigators. Miguel and Bonita. Husband and wife, but we haven't had the opportunity to sit with them again. The other was Hugo and Marcos. They are friends. But they are pretty cool. They have some good questions and want to learn more. We haven't gotten to talk to them for a week but we are having a lesson with them tonight.

Tuesday: Since it was Labor Day Monday we email on Tuesday. Afterwards we had lunch at a members house. Gustavo Hernandez. It was pretty good. Elder Guillette got a big stain on his shirt. It was pretty funny. But we later cleaned it. We went cowboy hat shopping after lunch with the members. Elder Bawden and His companion elder Newland have permission to wear hats. Elder Newland has a skin condition where he burns super easy. He can even burn through his clothes.

Wednesday: We had lunch with the Castillos again. We went to a place called Taquito Express. All you can eat tacos. I ate 18 tacos. Another elder ate 25. He holds the record for I think the zone. I know that I can do 25 but I know that my stomach would hate me for the rest of my life. I would be super stuffed. We were able to get 2 member present lessons that night. We had 4 planned but two couldn't come. Being a missionary I now know that members are super super important. We had raspas that night. They are pretty much snow cones but better. The ones we got were natural flavored. I had a mango one and Guillette and a pina (pineapple) one.

Thursday: Not a lot happened. It mainly rained. We had lunch with the Marquez family. I don't remember what it was called but it was a super good soup. Later some members dropped some food off for us at the church - giant container full of spaghetti. That night we went to a members house and were having a lesson. When we were done they gave us some tacos. Man I absolutely love Hispanic food!!!!!

Friday: Nothing happened either. It rained all morning. We went to the Olveras house and had lunch. And that night we went to another less active members house and mowed her lawn. The same one as the pictures before when I was mowing.
Saturday: We had lunch with the Torres family. I think they are one of my favorite families ever. So funny and they can talk English…thats partially why I like them. haha We had more tacos there and she mad a boss Chocolate flan cake. AAAGGHH! It was amazing. I loved it. I am trying to get the recipe because I know that you guys will love it! I know that you will be making it a lot when the family gets together.

That night we had a church tour with an investigator and a member. But when we went to go prepare we walked in the church doors and smelled sewage. It was stinky. We looked in the bathrooms and they were fine. Then we looked at the had a pool of sewage. It had rained every day this week and so all the water made it back flow up the pipe.
Well, you know what this is. GROSS!!
Sunday: Well none of our people came to church. So we are pretty bummed about that. But that morning we got there and Elder Guillette and I went to go clean the font. The water was all gone. But there was just a dry brown layer left. We had to clean it so the other elders could have a baptism. We got all the stuff out scrubbing it. Then we put soap in it and scrubbed more, then filled it for the baptism right after church. Only like 3 other people besides us knows that the font was full of poop just a couple hours before ;)

So that's my week.  Alright so to answer your questions.

I am doing pretty good. Just doing the work. Working my hardest, and having fun. But our mission president is cool. We are going to have Zone Conference this Wednesday in Harlingen with the Harlingen zone. But I still haven't heard anything about visas. Not even anything about tourist visas. So I have no idea.

Santiago and Ashley are doing good. The ward is doing pretty good with youth. There is a good number of them here. The primary is good. Marquez who we ate lunch with is the primary president.

So the Chili. Holy Smokes its good. You could probably look up how to make it.
Everyone just makes it a different way. It is mainly just peppers that are blended up. Like a guy told us he puts jalapenos on the grill to gets juices going and then he sticks it in a blender and its done. It mainly goes on tacos but its just up to you.

So I am absolutely stoked for Allison, Steven, and Uncle Van and Aunt Wendy. That is super cool that there are going on one too. I am sure that you guys cant wait until Jared is gone so that you can go.

So when we get a chance we are going to go shopping in the downtown area. It is a bunch of street stores that area really cool.

So I think that is all. I will send another email with pictures. I hope that you guys have a great week. I love you!!

-Elder Dawson

A tie that Allison sent me when she went to the temple.
Super awesome tie!

A sign that was on the door of a house we visited the week before.
 But we don't think it was intended for us. When we talked to the
guy he said some other missionaries had come by earlier. We
are pretty sure that it was the JDubs (Jehovah's Witnesses) 
because they are the most common.  But so we think they came
 back again to his house during the week and the people then put up the sign.

This is the Brownsville Elephant. People just drew a face on it

Just a cool thing that was hung up outside of someones house we visited.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week 13 - Brownsville, TX

[Editor's Note: We got Alec's email on Tuesday instead of Monday. I was stressing...thinking he didn't send anything because he was on his way to the airport for Argentina, so I was very relieved to get his email. No worries though it was because if there is a holiday on Monday, they don't email until Tuesday].

So I have two weeks of things to tell you so I will get started.

Week of Aug 19 to Aug 25:
Monday was the regular. Except we didnt go tie digging. We went and ran some errands and mainly went to the church to play sports. We played volleyball and poison ball. Poison ball is super fun. I think I already told you about it cause the first time was when I got the teeth in my elbow.

Then Tuesday. That morning we broke one of the mirrors in the apartment. We were throwing balls around at each other goofing off. Then one of the balls bounced off one of us, hit the floor, then hit the mirror. We were like oh crap! But it was super funny. Earlier in the afternoon we had district meeting. One of the elders was sharing a little lesson and he used the example of a trust fall. He had some of us come up and catch someone. But the elder that was doing it decided to just fall. So he pretty much fell to the ground because no one was expecting him. It was super funny. He was okay cause it was a soft fall. After that we ate at Sis. Izzaguirres house. She made us some Calamari. I dont know if thats how its spelled but it was a bunch of like octopus leg things. The taste was good but it was just weird because it was super rubbery.

Wednesday there was a thunderstorm early in the morning around 2 am. It was super loud and I couldnt sleep for a long time. I think I was able to fall asleep almost around 4. It stunk. Later that day we sat down with the Mar family. Well the mom and daughter. They accepted a baptismal date. They were super cool and wanted to make changes in their lives. But ever since then we havent been able to really get in contact with them or at least sit down with them. The mom goes to Matamoros a lot. OH! we also ate with the Castillos. We went to a place called Rudys. It is like a BBQ place. I had a brisket sandwich, cole slaw, and peach cobbler! HOLY SMOKES it was super good. I really miss the coleslaw and I absolutely loved the Peach Cobbler.

Thursday we found a lady named Italia. She was living at her parents house right now because her husband is out of town working and she decided to stay there. She has had a couple of problems in her life and wants to be able to change some things. She really like the message that we shared with her. She also accepted a BD date. But we havent seen her since. Wont answer calls or anything. It stinks. She was so cool. That day was also when we had exchanges so we had another elder with us. We also got food from Hermana Flores, the Branch Presidents wife. She made us these really yummy sandwiches with avocados, ham, tomato, and lettuce. Super Yummy.

Friday we got food from Jaine. She gave us 3 pizzas and about 50 wings, 2 twelve packs of coke, and 2 gallons of blue bell ice cream. She is the best person ever. She really loves us so much. She is great! That night the English ward had like a little potluck and some of the missionaries played music. The missionaries were super good. They played piano, sang, and played guitar. Everyone loved it.

Not a lot happened with Saturday. Then Sunday came. Really the only thing that happened was that I gave a talk in Spanish church. I had been asked to give a talk on the 15th of September but here its ward conference on that day. So on Saturday night I was called and asked to give it the next morning. AAAAAHHHH! I was freaking out! I didnt have really anything ready. I pretty much pulled out all the Liahonas that we had and went through them. For my talk I read parts of one of the general authority talks and shared my thoughts and testimony. I guess it turned out all right but thats about it. 

Week of Aug 26 to Sep 1:
Monday morning we had to drive up to McAllen for Elder Guillette to do something. On the way back we had to drive through another rainstorm. Also our washer broke. It was horrible. The clothes would wash but then the water wouldnt drain. So we had to ring out the clothes and stick them in the dryer for a long time. Then we had to siphon out the water. We went to the church and played some more poison ball. That was pretty much it for Monday. Not a lot happened when we went out to work.

Tuesday we had transfers and we got up that morning to take Elder Jones and Elder Torres to the church. Elder Guillette was staying to still be my companion. Elder Jones companion was staying and was going to train. That night we didnt have any success at all. Just a hard day. But a little bit before we were going to head back to our apartment Elder Guillette and I were walking down the middle of the street and this guy starts yelling at us. He was sitting in a chair outside his house door. We couldnt hear what he was saying so we went up to his fence.  His speech was slurred because he was pretty drunk. But we were able to make out "Im calling the cops". So he pulled out his phone and took about a minute to call 911 and started screaming at the phone "los mormones los mormones". We were like cool, and just turned around and kept walking.

Now Wednesday, we had district meeting. When we got back Elder Bawden was feeling super sick. So he called the senior missionaries in our area to see if he could hang out with them so his companion, the new missionary, could go out and work with us. So that day we went out in a trio to work. The only thing that happened or we saw was a smashed dog in the road. Super gross. Blood and guts were everywhere. I took a picture.....but I wont send it. haha. But anyway that day it rained a good bit. We went and ate with the primary president and her husband. They are in the Spanish ward. It was a soup that was super super super good. I dont remember what it was called. I will have to find out. That night we found a girl named Nidia. She is a mom of three kids. She really wants to come to church and also so that her kids can grow up in a church. She wants to be an example. We had a great lesson with her and set up another one. We were going to have it at the church and with a member to fellowship her, but we havent been able to find her since. Wont answer our calls or text either. We have no idea where she lives because people have told us a lot of different things.

Friday we had weekly planning. For part of weekly planning we went to Home Depot to get some white boards that we were going to use. So the four of us in the apartment got in the car, went to home depot, bought two 12-foot whiteboards for $12 each and went back home. We just put them on top of the car and each of us had a hand out the window holding on to them. It was pretty funny. The house isnt too far from the store, so it wasnt bad. We had lunch from the Olvera's. They had us just meet them at McDonalds. They just bought food and had to leave so they could pick up their kids from school. Bro Olvera is the YM president and the 1st counselor in the Branch presidency. Sis Olvera is the YW President. They are super cool. Spanish ward members also.

Saturday was just a tiring day in every way. We were trying super hard to talk to people and to make sure people were coming to church the next day. We had a potential of about 5 or so people coming. Then Sunday came. NO ONE CAME TO CHURCH!! Man it was horrible. It was just a bad day. That night we didnt see success either. We were just ready to crash on our beds and get ready for PDay.

But anyway so I have to go. All my time is gone now. Used it all of updating you. But I will answer all your questions next time since I dont have much. I love you bye!!

-Elder Dawson