"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

Monday, September 30, 2013

Good Bye Elder Ortiz and Tenosique

Hola Familia!
I have only three exciting things to share this week because the rest of the week was spent just wandering the streets of Tenosique trying to find people to teach. The first was an experience that Elder Ortiz and I had on Tuesday night at about 7pm. We had the chance to go teach Hermana Monica again at her house. We had planned to talk about repentance and the importance of the atonement and it turns out that she needed to hear it. While Elder Ortiz was talking, I was trying to think of something that would really hit home for her so that she could understand it better and how she could apply it to her life. When he was done, I cut in and said, in my best Spanish, "Hermana, we pray for you day and night, everyday. We think about you day and night, everyday. We want you to be happy everyday. Everyday, we plan a lesson specifically for you and you only. (at this point she started to tear up...) You have so much good going for you right now Hermana. You are loved, you are cared for, and you are ready to be baptized. This life is not easy, and I know you know that. This decision for me to come on a mission to Mexico was not easy. But look, I am here. I struggle with things just like you do. So does Elder Ortiz. We are no different than you are, but we are here, sent from God, to teach you about the Gospel. (she is bawling right now.) I don't know Spanish well, I don't know everything about the Gospel, but look, Im here, in Mexico. Why? because I KNOW THIS IS TRUE. (Now i start to cry a little bit)" The look on her face was priceless. She sat there for a solid five minutes just staring at the ground trying to think of something to say. It was amazing how strong the spirit was that night in her house. I was astounded at how well I said that. Granted, she knows a little English. so I could say some of it in English, but the fact that I said most of it in Spanish was insane. I am happy to say that she was finally baptized this last Saturday. It was incredible to see her afterwards. She seemed happy and very content with everything. Tuesday and Saturday were great days for me. I wasn't able to baptize her because it would be Elder Ortizs last baptism before he left, so I gave it to him. 

Elder Ortiz left on Sunday at about 2 pm or so. It was kinda sad to say goodbye, but overall, it was a good goodbye. Just a quick hug and a good luck to you was all that went down. Another Elder from Balacan had to leave to so his companion and I were companions for the day and for part of Tuesday until we get our other companions, and that leads me to the most exciting part. 

I am being transferred to Villahermosa on Tuesday morning. My new companion is Elder Gray, an American from California. He was an AP just before I left to go to Tenosique and was there the night that we were picked up at the airport. He is a nice guy and speaks really good Spanish from what I can remember. I don't know anything else apart from that, but the good news is is that I will be able to pick up packages and what not faster because the housing is really close to the offices and where all the mail comes. Elder Herrera is the new secretary to the president as well. I cant say that I am super stoked with the transfer because I was just getting settled in with things, the paint job, the people and the atmosphere. But Villahermosa does have some perks. It wont be in the middle of nowhere, and it will have the food that I am used to because it is close to the walmart and mcdonalds and subway. I don't really know what to think about it. I wish I could stay here for at least another transfer, but IDK whats going to happen with it. It seems like a good fit but who knows. I will definitely let ya´ll know how it turns out next week. 

Anyways, that's about it for this week! Things have been a little bit better. No rain at all this week, so its been really hot, but we weren't outside very much this week so it was good. I am trying my best with everything here. Its tough, and a huge struggle sometimes, but I am trying. I just hope time starts to fly by because days still seem like weeks and months seem like years to me. In the MTC it was exactly the opposite. I hope it changes to be this way soon. I love you all and wish you a happy week. I am praying for you all daily, and I wish you the best week ever. Thank you for your prayers and for your support. It is well needed. I love you all so much!
-Elder Proctor
Smile and Keep your Head Up!

PS- The picture is of Elder Ortiz, Hermana Monica, a boy who was baptized also who wasnt in our area but his family wanted Elder Ortiz to baptize him, and me.

Tenosique District

Paint job

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Week 5: Baptism, Rain, and Paint in Tenosique

Hey Everyone!
Sounds like everyone is staying busy even though things are winding down. It’ll kick back up again when basketball starts up, I promise. HAHA

I am doing well, not much different than last week, but I am hangin in there. The food is still a struggle and I have a hard time believing that this is the same church sometimes because Sundays are so different than back home. You have people doing things out of order during the meetings and I honestly cannot believe how the parents let their kids run up on the stand during the middle of sacrament meeting like it’s no big deal. They crawl all over me and hit me sometimes like its funny. The parents literally just stand there and watch.

Elder Proctor baptized this young lady.
Anyways, nothing has really changed with the investigators this week. Hermana Monica is kind of stuck in a hole because her husband can’t get off work to come down to baptize her. She really wants to be baptized and she gets along with the ward really well, but she wants only her husband to baptize her and she doesn’t have the money, nor the time, to get him here. (He works in Arizona) We are doing our best to figure out a way to get him here soon because we don’t want her to lose that desire to be baptized. We are working hard with that situation. We got another investigator this week named Hermano Domingo. He is such a good guy. He is about 40 or so and he actually found us walking by his house one day and ran after us. He has a wife name Dinorah. Both of them have been searching for the answer to why they are here and where they’re going so we have been teaching the plan of salvation to them this week. We haven’t asked him to be baptized yet, but I am sure that this week, we will try to pop the question in there. I will let you know what they say. Other than that, this week wasn’t any different. We are working really hard with the ward to find more investigators. It’s tough when you only have about 50 or so people show up to church every Sunday. We are trying though.

We did, however, get the chance to paint the place this week. It was fun other than the fact that I had to pay over 700 pesos for the dang paint. I HAD TO PAY FOR IT. I am trying to stay positive and not say anything about it.

"These spiders are everywhere"
To answer some of your questions:
1 We have been getting a lot of rain, but no hard winds yet.
2 Shoes are good, I got a free pair from a lady in the ward, so I should be set for a while.
3 I have fruit every day to help with that.
4 I haven’t had any need for Pepto this week.
5 He won’t sell his hammock, so I am going to look to get one this week sometime. I could get one pretty cheap but I would have to buy it with my Chase card, maybe. Not really sure how that works.
6 I am taking them (Probiotics).
7 It takes three weeks for the packages to get here. So I haven’t gotten anything from anyone. I am going to try to send the tape recorder back sometime soon, but it costs about 100 pesos to send it back.
8 I will send them of us painting this week.
9 I will send pictures.
10 No one showed up this week to piano, but I am helping people with English every day. It’s pretty fun to hear them speak it because it’s terrible, but I probably sound the same to them when I speak Spanish.

Well that’s about it for this week. Life at the house is nice because I finally hung up my mosquito net and it’s working to keep them dang mosquitos off me during the night. The rooms look a lot better than before and they look a lot cleaner because of our paint job. I am happy about that. They did it totally different than what I am used to, but it is better than before. Yo aprendiendo mucho cadadia con el idioma y yopuedoentender mas que antes la mision y en la MTC.
In Palenque
I love you all so much and I want you to know how proud I am that I have a family like you behind me with everything. You all mean the world to me and I couldn’t have asked for a better family. Stay strong and keep your head up with all that you do. I am praying for you every day and every night. I think about you all every day and I hope everything is going well for you all. Please pray for missionary opportunities because we desperately need everything we can get here. I love you all and wish you the best week possible.

Elder Proctor
Smile and Keep your Head up

Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 4 in Tenosique

Looking over Palenque
Hey Everyone!

I hope everything is going well for you all. It sounds like life has been pretty busy for everyone and everyone is staying involved like I told them to! GOOD! I am glad to hear that things are going well for Grandma as well.  I will definitely keep her in my prayers this week and for the weeks to come. I wish her the best with the PT also. 

This week´s letter is going to be kind of short because nothing special really happened after we went to Palenque last week. Anyways, I only had one exciting thing happen this week that is pretty cool. I had my first baptism! Hermana Rosa is her name. She is the same Rosa that we had been teaching that had committed to baptism about three weeks ago. Even though the service was completely thrown together about an hour before it was supposed to happen, I was asked if I wanted to baptize her. I had to memorize the prayer in Spanish so that I could do it, and that was pretty difficult to do in about an hour´s time. But i did it! I had to say the prayer twice because I messed up a word, but I managed to baptize her only once! It went pretty well, and I was super happy afterwards. She seemed very happy also. Elder Ortiz and I celebrated afterwards with an ice-cream cone down on main street so it was all good. This all happened on Friday night at around 6. It was nice. 

Elder Proctor's date at the Villahermosa Temple
As far as the questions that mom sent me, nothing has changed really. I am doing fine with clothes and such. We had a lot of rain here this week. It was overcast all week and we didn't have much sun, but today it is bloody hot. We are all staying by the fans because we walk outside for two minutes and are sweatin´ buckets.  I am doing fine with everything else. The only things that I need right now are small Spanish hymn book, and an English one as well. I got one at the MTC but I cant find it and we use it all the time here. La idioma is muy muy dificil pero yo puedo hablar in oraciones completos ahora. Me gusta mucho. Yo puedo entiendo mas cada dia pero cuando yo hablo, esta muy deficil. Estoy aprendiendo cada dia. I don't really cook anything because of how hot it is. I want the cold food here. Its too hot to eat hot food. We wash our clothes at a member´s house every Monday morning.  

Elder Ortiz and Elder Proctor at Mexico Independence celebration.
Today is the Mexican equivalent of our July fourth. Its crazy. People marching the streets. Gunmen are everywhere making sure riots don't break out and people are everywhere. Its really festive also. Green and red and white are in every direction. We eat at 2pm everyday with a member so we are never hungry throughout the day. The president said that we could spend some money to paint and clean the house this week so I hope that that will happen soon because this place is disgusting... 

Alright well that is all for this week. I plan to send some pictures if I can. I cant send alot because the computers aren't great with really anything. Send food and drinks if you can because I hate spending money on boxes of ritz crackers. They are expensive here. I am doing well though. Better than last week but still hangin by a thread. I still feel sick all the time and I have been using the Jon about four or five times a day... not good. But I am doing my best with what I have. I love you all so much and I thank you for the support that you all have offered me throughout this last month. It has, without a doubt, been the hardest month of my life. I am staying strong with it and learning more about this lifestyle each day. I love you so much and cannot wait to see you in twenty two months. Its gunna be amazing. I love you to the stars and back and then as deep as the ocean blue! 
Smile and keep your heads up!
-Elder Proctor

These are little buggies they can ride in.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Week 3 in Tenosique: The Temple and the Mayan Ruins

¡Hola Mi Familia!
How is everyone doing? Good I hope. I wanted to quickly re-assure everyone that things are going better for me. This week was a lot better than last week. Not by much, really, but it was better. I sat down with Pres. Morales on Friday after our zone conference and he gave me some advice with the food and some other stuff that has helped a little bit. I am slowly learning new things that have helped me a little bit so far. 

This last week Elder Ortiz and I didn’t have that much success with anyone because everyone is out of town before Sept. 16. This is Mexico´s 4th of July.  It’s crazy how much green and red and white you see down here. Everywhere you look there is a Mexico flag and then a Pochii horn right after. Those ittle three-wheeled cars re everywhere. I don’t have my camera with me right now or I would send a picture of one. They are so much fun to ride and they only cost 10 pesos. The money system is so simple down here it’s ridiculous. I am still struggling with the language and the food still sucks big time, but I can understand a lot more than I could when I got here. 

Like I said, we didn’t really have that much success this week because a lot of the members are out of town. I was assigned to be the English teacher and the piano teacher for the branch (ward) we are in every Thursday at 6. It’s pretty fun teaching them because they don’t really know anything. I am just teaching the basics of everything but they love to hear me play Pirates and All of Me because no one else here knows how to play the piano well. Won’t be surprised if they ask me to play in sacrament meeting here pretty soon.

We are still working with Rosa and Jose on their baptismal commitments. Rosa is having trouble with the Word of Wisdom because she drinks coffee a lot. Jose is doing just fine though. We did get a new investigator at the beginning of the week though. Monica. She is a native but she lives in Arizona. She is just down here visiting family for a little while. She is great because she doesn’t really resist anything and really understands what we are teaching her every time we get the chance. She is about 22 or 23 years old and is married. She wants to be baptized but she doesn’t want to commit to a date quite yet. Hopefully it will be soon. Other than those three, nothing has changed because no one has been home. We have spent a lot of time just walking around trying to find people. Hermano Renato is always home and we spend a lot of time talking to him when we pass by. He always calls me Elder Americano... HAHA. Hes super funny. Hopefully I can get a picture of him soon. 

We had the chance to go to the temple in Villahermosa on Saturday. It was way cool. They don’t have the new movie down here though so it was funny to hear the older one in Spanish. It makes things a lot harder to do, but I managed to do it. I also was able to be in the Celestial Room all by myself for about 15 minutes. What an incredible experience. I just sat in the chair and cried the entire time but it was one of the most memorable moments that I have had here so far. 

Today we spent the day in Palenque. This is where all of the Mayan ruins are. This was incredible also because I have never seen this type of stuff before. I took a lot of pictures and will try to get them to you by next week at the latest. It was bloody hot there but it was still really cool to see all of these things preserved in the way that they were millions of year’s ago. 

If you plan on sending packages then send it to the mission office. It’s not safe to send it here. Send me anything you possibly can, soda, books, recordings, letters, money, food, or anything that you possibly can get your hands on. I need as much as I can get here. The food is still a struggle and it’s pretty expensive to buy the things that I like at the store. I’m doing the best that I can with what I have but its difficult living off Ritz crackers every day.

Thank you all for your support through this time in my life right now. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you all. Even though this is tough, I know that it is blessing our lives. That is all I ask for and it seems that that is happening. I love you all so much and wish you the best this week. I will send pictures next week (we didn’t get back from Palenque until about an hour ago and I couldn’t go grab my camera chip/reader in time. We have been rushed all day.) Please don’t be afraid to write me or send me whatever you want. I dont care what it is. Just send it. I cherish that stuff because I don’t have the comforts of home anymore. I love hearing from you all. Te amo mucho y no puedo esperar hasta yo puedo ver ustedes otra ves. Les quiero mucho familia! Te amo mucho!
-Elder Proctor

Smile and keep your head up!
Isaiah 40:31, 1:18- check these scriptures out when you can. I love em. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Week 2 in Tenosique

Hey Everyone,
I made it another week here in Tenosique, Tobasco! There wasn't much that really happened this week other than we committed a part-member family, Rosa y Jose, to baptism and to live the Word of Wisdom and to live the Law of Chastity. It was a great experience to watch this young couple commit to live these commandments and then to see them accept the invitation to be baptized was awesome. They live in such a small home with Rosas mother who is a member. They have two children and are barely making it because she has some health issues that disqualifies her from working. Her husband, Jose, has to work everyday to support the family. Apart all of that, they seem super excited to be baptized on the 14th of September. The only thing is that they had already committed to baptism once before with the Elders that were before us. So, we only had to make sure they still had the desire to be baptized. We didn't really do that much, but still, it was nice to hear them say that they still wanted to. 

We have other investigators but haven't really had the chance to meet with them this week because they are all so busy with work. We did, however, meet with a less-active member named Renato. He is an older man, about 50 or 60 years old. His eye-sight is not very great and he cant see very far away. He owns a little shop on the side of the road and he manages it all by himself. I have no idea how he does this, but he is a very funny man. He loves to talk and when he addresses me he always calls me Elder Americano because no one here can pronounce my last name. HAHA. Its pretty funny. We invited him to come to church yesterday and to our surprise, he actually showed up with a cane in his hand and a baseball cap on his head, dressed in a polo-shirt and khakis. He is a funny guy! I will try to get a picture of him if I can. 

Those are the only two right now that are making progress. The others are so difficult to meet with because of work and such, but we are doing our best to find times that work with their schedules. Everything is very different here and it continues to amaze me at how simply these people live with the very little that they have. Its a very different kind of life-style and it takes a lot of getting-used-to but at the end of the day, I am become more and more grateful for what I have back home. The electronics, the food, the cars, the schools. It could be worse. I wish  you all could be here to witness this with me because it is truly eye opening. 

Anyways, I hope everything is going well for you back home. I hope Powell was a nice get-away for all of you also. I wish I could have been there. You'll have to send some pictures. Keep strong with school and stay busy. Time will fly by I promise. I love you all so much! I could not have asked for a better family by my side. I know you'll support me through anything. You guys are amazing and I cannot wait to see you all again. 
-Elder Proctor
¡Yo quiero mucho!