|Here is Mike at the airport on his way to Mexico. Dan and Christy's friend, Quinn, ran into him and got a picture for us!|
This is the most overwhelming thing I have ever done. I can't even describe the feeling I have right now! It's crazy out here!! So we got here on Monday and right when I got off the plane I couldn't understand anything!! I thought my spanish was pretty good when I left the MTC. It was so funny because there was an Asian girl on the tram and elder Murdock and I were listening to her and I leaned over to elder Murdock and I said ''Good thing we don't have to speak that language.'' I thought she was speaking Mandarin...turns out she was speaking spanish... I'm screwed hahahaha Talk about culture shock! I thought that was just kind of a cliche word but it is crazy here! I miss the States so much!
I think I said the wrong thing to the mission president in my meeting with him on Monday. I told him that he can send me anywhere and I may not know what I'm doing or I may not know the language at all but I will serve wherever he thinks is best for me and I will work my butt of in whatever area I am called. Turns out that I am serving in the second largest area in MEXICO...and we don't have a car. I am serving in the city of Guadalajara, in a branch called Buenos Aires. I got called to the Guadalajara mission but that's just where the mission home is. Luckily I am only 30 minutes from the mission home. Elder Murdock is 6 1/2 hours away!! Someone was saying that he won't get mail for 3 months!! I hope to be getting mail like every 2 weeks! Anyways, I have never seen anything like this area...or even imagined!! It is very poor and there are thousands of dogs. They just sleep on the sidewalk and we have to walk over them. There are TONS of bugs here!! I wake up every morning and have to kill like 20 bugs on the way to the shower.
My companion is Elder Silos. He is a native and doesn't speak english, so just imagine what last week was like. I carried a dictionary on me every day all day. It is super frustrating but I am learning lots! My companion is awesome, he was the trainer for another missionary about a year ago and he said that it takes about 3 months for me to get fluent in this language. Even though I don't understand him, he is super patient with me and he has been out for 17 months! I told my companion on the first night here that I don't care if I know the language or not, I am going to work as hard as I can and you got the language down so we're a good pair! He was laughing because it was TERRIBLE spanish but as you read on you will see what happened with my hard work and his speaking ability ;)
Elder Silos and I were walking down the street a couple days ago and there was a kid probably about ten years old just pants down to his ankles peeing in the middle of the street! hahahaha It was so funny! Very rarely are the roads paved here! I had the worst blisters everyday last week because everything is rock and I have been walking everywhere. Everyone here thinks it's super funny to mess with me and speak as fast as they can. I have no clue what they say! My most used words this week have been: Mande, Como, Mas Despacio, No entiendo, so de estados unidos y so americano entonces no entiendo nada. hahahaha Look it up (haha I'm giving you homework!)
As for meals, I usually have one or maybe 2 meals a day! The schedule here is crazy! I'm hungry but I would rather work and teach instead of eat haha. I sometimes snack in the mornings and at night when we get back to our house, but mostly I just have a big meal at 2:30 at a members house. It's super awkward because I'm THAT missionary who doesn't talk, not because I'm shy but because I don't understand anything and I am just starving hahaha
The busses here are crazy!! They just squeeze people in them and there ends up being like 100 people in them...no joke! I hate busses because I don't feel safe at all but sometimes we need to go places that are like 7 miles away and we don't have time to walk that far haha! I am the only American on the bus and I really don't feel good on the busses. I have to hold my backpack in "running back mode" because I feel like everyone wants to steal all my stuff. I just tuck it and protect all my stuff haha. The bus drivers drive like twice the speed limit. They are nuts! I feel like f you can put the pedal to the metal you are hired for that job!
The first lesson I had we talked about the Word of Wisdom and it was my turn to talk. I shared a scripture in 1 Corinthins that talks about how your body is a temple and you shouldn't harm yourself with these substances. I held up a picture of a temple and I said that temples are "sucio" (dirty), and I meant to say "limpio" (clean). And I just kept teaching until my companion nudged me and took over haha he said that temples are "limpio". hahaha he knew what I meant but it was just super funny!
The first couple days of my mission experience out here in the field I felt super discouraged and depressed because I couldn't understand anything and I felt super dirty in this city. I decided that I was going to stay here for 22 more months and that I needed to change my attitude! I started trying to think positive about everything. Ever since then, things have started go get better! Heres an awesome story for you guys!
On Saturday in the morning we taught 2 investigators named Rosario and Denisse. Rosarrio is the mom of Denisse and Denisse is 12 years old. We had taught them previously throughout the week and we felt good about the lesson we were going to teach that day. At the end of the lesson I felt the prompting to ask them to be baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and they both said yes!! They are going to prepare themselves to be baptized for October 19. Then after this, we went to another investigators house named Cicilia. We extended the invitation to be baptized on Friday and we wanted to follow up with her to make sure everything was okay and to see if she had received an answer to her prayer. She told us that she said she felt comfortabale with everytrhing and she is preparing to be baptized this weekend. It was awesome! It was such a good but super long day and I was ready to go back to the house. We started walking back to our house because it was about 8:00 and the person we had just taught lived like 3 miles away from our house. As we were walking back, Elder Silos gets a phone call from two other elders in our district saying that there is an investigator that is waiting for us near the church. We were super pumped so we started running to get there as fast as we could. As we got there, she and her brother approached us. She told us that she was a member and she just wanted to know where the church was. I was not real happy that we ran 3 miles to show her where the church was! Bu we walked her to the church and then she asked if we would walk her and her brother home. As we walked them home, I got punced in the chest by this guy on a motor cycle. His friend was driving and he was on the back. The guy on then back stuck his fist out and I tried to dodge it but the were going like 30 miles an hour at me. It hurt sooooooo bad! But I had to keep my cool because I'm a missionary! Anyways, as we finally got to her house, her whole family was there. We then started talking to them and they told us that 3 kids in their family have not been baptized yet but that they want to!! WOW! What and experience! On Saturday I learned that if we do what the Lord wnats us to do and continue on the right path that he has set for us, he will perform miracles in our lives. When I got punched I felt super discoraged and angry, but on Saturday I learned that when times get tough, I need to remember that God has a reason for everything and that I must stay worthy to receive his promptings.
I was talking to Elder Silos later that night and he has been here for 4 months and he said that he has only had 2 baptisms in his time here. We got 6 baptismal dates planned last week! That is so awesome! Now I just hope they all follow through and do what God wants them to do in order to be baptized!!
I love you all so much!! Keep sending mail because I seriously value it more here than money! I love hearing from you guys!! I hope you are all doing well! Every Monday, my companion and I go to the computer lab early in the morning to print off all our emails so that we can respnd to your guys' questions in our emals. But I can only be on for 40 minutes so I need to type as fast as I can! My 2 fingers are hurtin RULLLL bad right now! If only I knew how to type like a normal human being. Mitch you need to learn how to type correctly and not like me! hahahaha
My current address is:
C. Juan de Dios Cordoba #14-B
Col. Valentin Gomez Fanas
Hopefully you can find it on google maps. My house is pink hahaha
Love you all so much! I am workin hard and doin well! Hope you all are as well!
Elder Mike Payne