Tuesday, May 5, 2015

First week in the field!

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: First week in the field!
Date: Mon, 4 May 2015 15:01:35 -0500
From: Brett Hogg <brett.hogg@myldsmail.net>

Well first to finish up the CCM.

     The Friday before we left we had "infield orientation." It was a long day of classes and workshops that made it hard to stay awake. That was when we had the demonstration with the 414 area codes. We heard a story from Elder Bednar, where he shreds a couple of missionaries looking for referrals. Try and see if you can find that one somewhere, don't have much time to write it out. (I have been looking and can't find it - yet!  I'll keep looking. I saw some entries in blogs of others who've seen it and it looks really interesting!  Basically he tells the missionaries that he won't trust them with his family/friends unless they are going to genuinely take care of them.  The work isn't about numbers - it's about people.)

     Then we had one more day of classes and took a bunch of pictures. On Sundays we always watched a movie/video. It was the long Joseph Smith one (in which Elder E-B and his brother are extras in, as kids!). After the film, they played a slideshow with pictures of the missionaries who are leaving, then everyone sings Till We Meet Again in Spanish.  (Para siempre Dios este con vos) Everyone else leaves and then the people leaving have a testimony meeting thing. Almost everyone bore there's and people were crying. I bore mine.

I found this version on YouTube.  Beautiful!

     After, we headed back to the class to celebrate with the cider! It was awesome and everyone liked it. Then we all gave blessings to the sisters then to each other later. We went to bed and woke up to Mexican man banging on our door to get up and we were already pretty late to reception where we were supposed to meet. So were all freaking out and throwing our clothes on, and hes still shouting from the first floor that if we miss our ride to the airport, we would have to pay for a Taxi, and to get to the airport it would be like $70, and how were going to miss our plane. BUT, we all made it. Got through the Mexico City airport and onto our plane. (When I spoke to Brett on the phone briefly that day - he said that the driver was crazy... and was glad to make it to the airport alive!  haha)

     Then when we got to Houston we drank from a bubbler (for my non-Milwaukee friends - that means a drinking fountain), breathed some fresh American air, and understood everyone we talked to. Including Mom and Dad! That was awesome. When we got to Dallas I tried calling Scott's school but the number I wrote down wasn't working, but that would have been awesome.

     Eventually someone from the mission found us and loaded our stuff into the mission pickup. The President and all the APs (assistant to the presidents (usually there's 2 or 3, but he had 5 because 2 were about to go home)) all showed up on the shuttle thing and the APs were all very huggy and telling us that they love us. That's something we all had to get used to. The president and his wife were really cool though and said they appreciated having us there and asking us questions and stuff. Then we drove to the Temple and took pictures and talked a bit about it.
By the way!! I get to go this Thursday!!!

     Then it was off to the nearest chapel to have some orientation stuff then off to presidents house for dinner, pie, and Family Home Evening. He then gave us cool rings, called PRO rings. Stands for Pray, Read, Obey (a little cultish I know, but ill explain another time). They're cool rings. Then we spent the night at the assistant's apartment. They had a room with bunk beds just for when new missionaries spend the night.

     The next morning we went to the transfer meeting. We heard some of the out gong missionaries sing, then we all sang 3 hymns (including Praise To The Man and another one about Joseph Smith I think), it sounded really cool. Then the way they do transfers, after we here some people talk is that they have a projector in the chapel and just through up the the changes zone by zone. They have your picture in the district you're in (I know its confusing but ill explain another time), and the people being transferred's faces show up next to her new companion's and in the district/zone you're new in. Well the 5 that didn't have pictures next to their theirs were trainers. When they through the picture of the zone up with the changes everyone freaks out. Afterwords, all the new guys and all the trainers met in a room and they asked us to guess who's with who, by standing by it. The only English speaking elder knew right away. Elder M and I got ours switched, but none the less,  Elder H is my Trainer and first companion in the field! Hes been out 11 months and is from Washington state. Hes super cool.

     This is Elder H's 4th transfer here, which is long, so he thought for sure he was getting transferred and not his last companion. Im his 5th companion and hes only served in 2 areas (which is rare for being out almost a year). He assures me we have the worst apartment in the mission (and he served in Oakcliff). We have a closet we dont open. Like you said, Grand Prairie is my first area and its right in between the Fort Worth Mission border and the border of Dallas proper. 

Elder H also assures me its one of the ghettoest areas in the mission, but the best place in the mission to learn Spanish.
I found it with Google Earth. :)  I love technology.
Pretty humble place - but they don't need much.

He and the Latinos here just yippidy-yip-yip back and forth and Im just trying to keep up and understand. I'm not used to being around white guys that speak better Spanish then me. We bike everywhere and I'm the only new guy that was sent to a bike area. Its something I really have to get used to because by the end of the day everything from the waist down is sore. He also warns me that white people are the rudest. Latino people at least give us the time of day. And they're just the best people. We have dinner every night from a member and one was with Mercadies who is a new member (who's confirmation I got to stand in on while Elder H gave it!) and she was always making sure we had enough and once saw my plate was empty and popped right up as fast as she could and got me more. Then we had dinner with Norma (who posted the picture on the FB page, and yep, that was her house and that's the whole Grand Prairie district (there are English elders that cover that area plus a bunch more but I think they are in another district). At one point all the Elders were talking and not eating and she yelled at us to keep eating, it was awesome. She calls us her children and Elder H her "pollito."
I'm on the FB page with this super nice lady.  She calls the missionaries her foster kids... she feeds them EVERY Sunday!  She is the mother hen and the missionaries are her pollitos (little chicks.)
    We meet the coolest people out here too. Of course there's some bad eggs, from the stories I hear but mostly people here are really cool. We dont have much time today on the computer but next week ill fill you in on more stuff. Just know the work is great.

My sweet burn line. Its a lot easier to see in person.

See you next week!
(He means that literally!  We get to Skype for Mother's Day!!!!  I CAN'T WAIT!!)
Elder Hogg

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