Monday, April 16, 2012

April 16, 2012

Dear Family,
Well, after a few crazy weeks filled with tornadoes, language changes, great food, not-so-great food, and a lot of change, I'm finally here in Mexico! Like I kind of talked about, it is soooooo different down here. Seriously, you step across that border between the US and here and you step back a longggg way lifestyle wise. But it is seriously incredible here! I'm just going to kind of recount the last week and a halfish.
So we flew into Monterrey and from there we flew through a lightning storm in a tiny, tiny plane to Tampico on a flight, during which the entire time I was pretty sure we were going down with that plane, as was my boy Elder Grill who was next to me, hahahaha. That flight was enough air time for me for the next two years ha. But we landed in Tampico, in a tiny airport, and immediately the humidity was unreal. Like, take Tennessee or Virginia humidity and just multiply it exponentially and put it with a very distinct smell of stray dog and carne asada, hahaha, very classic Mexico.
But President and Sister Call picked us up and took us to the mission home. Both of them are just incredible people, Sister Call is an absolute angel. That weekend we worked with Elders around the Tampico area and then last Tuesday we got our areas! There were nine of us that came in Tuesday, all Americans; the five of us from Nashville and the the new ones from a transfer behind us. All of the trainers were natives except one. The one American is my trainer. His name is Elder Rindlisbacher and he is awesome. This is his last transfer and he is a very obedient, hard working Elder. He is big into basketball and we get along super well. He is a great example, this is his last transfer so at the end of these 6 weeks, I will have had 4 companions and 3 of them will be home haha.
We have been assigned to the Barrio Francia in the Madero Stake. Tampico, Madero, and Altamira are three cities that make up the greater Tampico area, and we are right in downtown Madero. Like I said earlier, it is so different from the United States, there is so much poverty down here, its unreal. It really makes you give thanks for the way that you have been blessed when you see people living in cardboard, or when you see a family of 10 or more in a two bedroom apartment. The Barrio Francia is a very very small struggling ward. We are opening the area, so I'm very grateful that I've already have experience opening an area before. We had less people at church last Sunday than we normally had in our Spanish group in Lebanon, so we have a ton of work to do, but President Call is big on faith. I have been working on this since I've been here. Faith, it's such a powerful tool. It always precedes miracles, and I know that as Elder Bacher (that's what he has people call him because nobody down here could say his name haha) and I work our tails off and have faith, we will work miracles. We have already seen them this week. We had to find all new people since we got here so we have been contacting in the streets and at doors like crazy, and we have been praying to find a family to teach. In the last three days, we have found 2 and we have 3 full families that we are now teaching or have teaching appointments with. That has been a miracle as we have not had a ton of success this last week outside of these families, but all three accepted us and have listened to our message.  It's truly a blessing.
Also, to all of my friends going into the MTC soon and learning a language, SPEAK YOUR LANGUAGE!!!! I'm gonna be honest, I'm speaking really good Spanish and understanding probably 70 or 75% or what people say to me, and it's all because of the gift of tongues, I know it is. I'm so glad that Elder Parry and I did SYL in the MTC because it has put me in a good spot here. It's so hard to do, but SPEAK YOUR LANGUAGE all the time in the MTC, it will pay off, I promise. Now once again there's the challenge of not speaking English and I need to do better at speaking all Spanish down here haha. It's just so nice that Elder Bacher and I can have like our own language down here that only we speak, haha.
The food is sooooo good down here. Mom, it's like my dream meals a lot of the time. A lot of the familias will give us a plate of meat, with beans, rice and tortillas and it's sooo good, I love the tortillas.
That's so awesome that you went to the temple with Miles. I hope it went well, tell him to go back soon haha. It sounds like all is well back home. I miss you all and I think of you often. Love you all so much.
Elder Stockard


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