Monday, September 29, 2014

Still in Mexico

Not much has changed. This week was still pretty good! I walk like 7 miles a day so Dad, I know how you feel. My showers are still cold and it's still hot here. But I can't really complain because the food is amazing and I love all my investigators.

Dad, I sent you the address but if you didn't get it it's right here:

This is the new address for the postal box in El Paso, Texas.

1410 Gail Borden Suite B-4
El Paso, Texas 79935

*Do not send any more packages to the old addresses, because starting November 1st, they will cease to exist.
** Make sure your parents follow the following format when they send you packages:
                In the TO box have them write: MISSION: _____(YOUR NAME)____


I got that today so it's the right one. 

But this week I had some cool experiences. My first is I fasted this week to try and get a little bit of help with Spanish and right after I ended my fast, I went to teach an old couple, Manuel and Olga. And they are soo sweet, I love them to death. But once I got there Manuel said that I wasn't his friend because in the lessons I was really quiet, mainly because I can't really understand him when he doesn't have his teeth in which is most of the time.. But he said he wanted to help me learn Spanish! What a blessing to have help during lessons. Every time I got to their house he makes me tell him a story in Spanish and helps me when I need it. What an awesome guy and an answer to my prayers. 

The other thing that was cool is because we have this one investigator whose name is Alberto and he is 17 and speaks really good English so I love teaching him. I get along with him really well and have been through some of the things he has gone through like getting ready to graduate high school and dealing with the ACT and all the stresses of that. But he wants to get baptized soon which is awesome, but his dad is really strict and wants him to wait so that's frustrating. But the cool part is that we went outside wth him to talk and he said that he is having a hard past two months and needed help so I showed him a scripture and told him about how I have been dealing with leaving home for two years and it looked like it really helped him.

My spiritual thought is what I shared with Alberto found in Jacob 4:7 [Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.]  This scritpure says to me that we can't do everything alone and that we need to realize how much we rely on the grace of God in all things and how much he is with us even though things may be really hard. But I love you all so much and miss you tons and hope you all have a good week. And look for the Grace of God in all things.

Elder St John 

Picture of Elders Gonzales and Moya making tortillas.

Monday, September 22, 2014

First Week in Mexico

Elder Moya and Elder St. John 

This week has been crazy. Every day is close to the same. We wake up, study, and go visit members or investigators, then go to bed. The days all fly by. It's crazy how fast this one week has gone. Every day for lunch the members feed us. So I've had a lot of spaghetti and enchiladas and soup and its all really, really good.
I still can't really understand anyone here so that's frustrating, but then I realize that it's been like 7 days in Mexico and look at how much Spanish I do know. For example, I read and entire talk by Henery B. Eyring in Spanish today and understood all of it, so im really impressed at that. And usually when we are visiting members or investigators I can follow a conversation. The frustrating thing is that it seems like whenever someone is talking to me I forget all my Spanish. But other than that I love it here. 

Laguana Ward Chapel

Sunday was really cool, me and the other new missionaries to the Laguana Ward had to get up during sacrament meeting and introduce ourselves and that was cool. I'm the only person from America in my area so I had the shortest introduction. But after that the four elders in my area sang to the Relief Society and that was cool too.
Elder Moya is awesome. He speaks a little bit of English and that is really helpful because it's a lot easier to learn Spainsh when your companion knows what you want to say. One of the rules here is English in the house and Spanish in the streets and that's cool too because I get to help Elder Moya learn English.

Casas Grandes

SO, about Casas Grandes. Everyone here seems to be super poor. All the streets are dirt and all the houses are really small with cement floors. The water here is dirty but there isn't much else to drink. There are like a million dogs here walking around and if they start to chase you or come at you, you can bend down and they think you're getting a rock so they will run away. Umm there is a school here called Juarez Academy and they teach the kids English, so I can talk to them in a little bit of English, and whenever I'm with them they want me to speak in English so that's fun too. It's not really dangerous here, so Dad, don't worry. I'm safe, I'm still careful but it's safe here. Every one stares at me when I'm walking down the streets or in lessons, probably because I'm the only white person here. But I'm used to it now and it's just funny now. It's really hot here and in the winter I hear it gets really cold so I'm excited for that... But in a month and a few days it will be Dia De Los Muertos and that should be really cool. 

I'm doing good here. I don't have blisters and I haven't gotten sick and I sleep really well. I'm always well fed and everyone here is super nice. I can't send you pictures because I dont have my cord but next week you should get a lot! Sorry for no pics but I'll try to make up for it. Also I don't know my address yet, but what's cool is that I was told that all our mail is sent to El Paso, Texas so it won't go through the Mexican post at all so you can actually send me stuff and not worry! When I get the address I'll let you guys know! It should be next week!
I love and miss everyone a ton and think about and pray about you guys a ton.
Love, Elder St John
P.S. I found an awesome scripture when the language was getting me down. It's Mosiah 23 verse 10.  [Nevertheless, after much tribulation, the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers, and has made me an instrument in his hands in bringing so many of you to a knowledge of his truth.] 

Love you bye.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Viva Mexico

So I've been in Mexico for about two days now and I've been in Juarez for about one day... Long strory.

So Monday morning at 4:30 we woke up, drove to Salt Lake and flew to Houston, Texas which was cool because I haven't flown  in forever. But Houston was cool but actually hot.  We left from Houston to Monterrey, Mexico and that was a weird flight. I had to fill out immigration papers on the way there and that was really weird. But we made it to Monterrey and it is beautiful there. After we got off the plane we had about an hour to get to our next flight. But we had to pass through customs first and that took like 30 min. Wo we were all in a hurry and ran to baggage and got our bags. I found all of mine but one. So I assumed someone took it for me because I was the last one to pass through customs. Turns out no one did so it was lost! Luckily the Monterrey, Mexico missionaries where there to be picked up the same time we had our layover. This means that like four experienced missionaries were there along with their mission presidents, so I had a lot of help and finally found my bag. I had five minutes to get to the plane and by this time the rest of my travel group left me in a hurry. So it was just me and the mission president and another missionary. We ran as fast as we could to the gate and it turned out that I was too late.  :(   So i missed my flight. Luckily the Monterrey mission president was nice enough to buy me a ticket for the next morning and let me eat with them and sleep at their mission home. So my first night in Mexico was in Monterrey and I had lasagna for dinner.  That is exactly how I planned it.

The next morning I woke up and took a taxi with two other missionaries to the airport. They dropped me off at my flight and then I was alone. In Mexico. And I didn't understand anyone. But I made it out alive. So I got to Juarez, met my companion (Elder Moya) who is from Mexico City and speaks a little bit of English. And then I took a four-hour bus ride to my area which is called Casas Grandes. 

It is nice here. Really poor and run down but everyone here is super nice and the weather is ptretty much like Utah--really hot and really cold. 

Our house is just me and Elder Moya and it doesn't have air conditioning or heating just a fan and windows, I really like it though. Also there is no hot water so cold showers cada dia which I'm fine with. I figure I better enjoy all the cold while I can.

Anyway I don't have my address yet and haven't taught anyone or have anything cool happen. The language is coming and I'm happy.  Also, Spanish keyboards are hard so sorry for the spelling.

Elder St. John

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


A picture with the hermanas from another district in our zone.
Left to right (Hermana Schultz, Hermana Swan, Hermana Dennis,
Hermana Perry, and Hermana Westmen).

Last time at the temple.

So this might be my last email sent from America for two years. I leave for Mexico on Monday morning and I am so excited. We got our travel plans on Friday and that was the best thing ever, they changed our plans though, so I got new travel plans, but all they did was give us another flight to skip over an 11 hour bus ride so that's a blessing to not have to ride in a hot bus in a suit in the middle of Mexico for 11 hours. 

So my travel plans go like this: 
Wake up at 4:00 am to be at the bus by 4:30 then we leave at 5:00 to the Salt Lake Airport where my flight leaves at 8:09 to the Houston Intercontinental airport. I should get there at like 12:00 and then I leave at 2:00 to go to the Monterrey Mexico airport. I get to Monterrey at like 3:00 and then I fly to Ciudad Juarez at 5:00 and should get there at like 6:00 or something like that...  so if I call you it will be between the arrival and departure times. 

Trying to make sure I fit in when I get to Mexico.

Anyway this past week has been so amazing. SO much has happened. 

Wednesday: We skyped members and taught them which was cool. I got a new teacher to replace Hermano Arnold who was moved on Monday, and me and Elder Fillmore had a street contact with two BYU students and told them to pray every day in Spanish even though they only spoke English so they were very impressed. 

Thursday: we had service in the morning and that was fine, we cleaned the apartments. Then I had class and it was a pretty normal day.

Friday: I had my last lesson with my first investigator Mercedes and it was incredible. We taught her about prophets and answered any question she had for us and the lesson went all around pretty well. After the lesson though, was amazing. Mercedes told us how she had two other companionships teach her before and after us and she said that we were the only ones who could answer her questions, and that when she went home after their lessons she was tired and only wanted to watch TV and stuff like that, but after her lesson with me and Elder Engberson, she said that she was happy and peaceful and that the rest of her day was better. She also said that she has been asking God a lot of questions lately and that every single question had been answered through her lessons with us. We told her it was our last lesson with her, but she wanted another one so we scheduled one with her for yesterday, we couldn't find her where we had planned to meet so I hope we find her some other time this week. But anyway I thought this was amazing, and after I walked away from that last lesson I looked at Elder Engberson and said "That's why we are here". It really is, and it only made me more excited to go and have experiences like that in Mexico. 

Saturday: We went exploring around the campus and found an apartment that had a room that was stacked to the ceiling with pillows and I had never been so happy, I had only heard rumors of this place but now I know its real. And it's incredible, probably the 8th wonder of the world if you ask me. At night we had a testimony meeting and it was really spiritual and I loved it. 

Sunday: Fast Sunday was hard, I was starving and had lots of meetings, but we had Mission Conference and that was awesome and I took tons of good notes. We had a good Sunday Night devotional and that was all for Sunday.

Monday: Monday started off pretty rough but ended really well. Classes where fine, we didnt see Mercedes and that was a bummer, but I was able to read like 30 pages in the Book Of Mormon (the first day I got to the MTC my branch presidency challenged us to read the whole Book of Mormon cover to cover before we leave the MTC and I'm on like page 502 or something so I'm almost done) but that was pretty good. But the coolest part of my entire week had happened once we got back to our apartment to go to bed. Elder Engberson was having a rough week and so he asked for a blessing, and he asked me for the blessing. This was scary because it was the first blessing I've ever given, but I read through how to give bessings in the Missionary Handbook, put my hands on his head and opened my mouth (D&C 33:8) and it was filled. I don't really remember what I said, but it wasn't too long, but right when it was over Elder Engberson hugged me and said that when I gave him the blessing it sounded just like his Patriarchal Blessing. So that was crazy, but I it was really cool to give my first blessing and have that as a result.

Its been a long and crazy week but only one more till I'm out on a new adventure. 

Love you all and I'll talk to you soon!

<3 Elder San Juan

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week Four at the MTC

This has been an awesome week!

We have like 5 investigators so I'm teaching lots of lessons now, which is awesome, I love teaching lessons. We have this one investigator named Mercedes and she is awesome. I always feel the spirit so strong when I'm teaching her. 

So this last Wednesday day we got two new districts in our zone and its the zone leaders' jobs to introduce and welcome the new districts which was awesome! Except we forgot about one of the districts so they sat in their class room alone for an hour.. but it's okay because the next morning we got to welcome them. 

This past Thursday I got to go to the Mexican Consulate to get my visa approved so I got to go to Salt Lake. That was really fun but it also made me a little more homesick because it was so familiar to me. It was actually really weird walking past the Bee's stadium as a missionary. But on the way there and back I got to talk to a bunch of cool people and I even hung out with Spider Man for a little bit.

This week has been kind of difficult for all of us with the language, we keep learning harder and harder things so its rough, but the gift of tongues is definitely real even though its getting harder I know I wouldn't be this far without it. Also on Friday night we found the most amazing thing. There is this room right across from our apartment that is full of vending machines and microwaves and ovens and it is heave. We call it the "Holy of Holy's". 

Sunday was fine this week, lots and lots of meetings, but Sacrament was really good.  Sitting in that meeting after that long week of stressing about the language and about actually leaving to Mexico soon should have been really stressful, but while i was there I felt that everything was going to be alright. 

Hermano Arnold's last day teaching us was on Monday so that was kind of sad but he just moved to a class right below us so I'll still see him. Elder Fillmore got a frisbee in a package so at nights we play frisbee for like 30 min. before we go to bed which is the funnest thing you can do in the MTC. But speaking of keeping yourself entertained, we have a list of goals on our white board in our classroom and someone wrote "ape no kill ape" on it for some reason, it made Hermano Arnlod really mad so naturally we decided to write it all over every white board mirror and light in our class room. 

Umm that's about it for the week. I can't really think of anything else... Thanks for all the letters and emails and thanks for the package Dad! It was much needed. 

Love you all and I'll talk to you next week.

P.S.  If you want to know what one of my MYC teachers looks like and see how perfect he is, go to YouTube and search wearewoodwardavenue on YouTube and watch the sky full of stars YouTube video. It's Hermano Mecham playing the piano and singing.  I'm not allowed to watch it but he told us about it.