Thursday, December 17, 2015

Dec 14 - Staying in Topilejo!

Hey all!!

Well first of all the big news is that the whole district up here in Topilejo, we are going to all stay together! Nobody has changes! These next transfers aren’t going to be for 7 weeks so I am going to be here in Topi until February! That’ll be 6 months, wow!

Also, about the mission, the big rundown is that we are going to have another stake! Right now we have 6 and they are going to add a 7th one! No one knows what the cause was, if they closed a mission or opened one or anything like that. Also, no one knows if the missionaries from the stake are going to come with it, or if they are all going to go to different parts of their own mission and everyone will be opening area there. Also, no one knows when it’s going down or anything, but it’s all good!

This week was a slower week! Hmmm...well I took a ton of pictures with members and investigators because I didn’t want to go without having pictures of them, but now I won’t have to worry the next time changes come around!

We didn’t really have any luck finding new investigators this week. One super cool lesson that we had was with the Family Ramierez. We found out that the Dad is a low key alcoholic and so we talked about why God doesn’t want that, and he just like started to cry, and we were like uh oh did we do something wrong? Then he left and came back with a big bottle of whisky and was like take it, I don’t want it anymore I AM DONE! It was super cool to see how the spirit touched his heart and was able to change him! So cool!! Also, we put a baptismal date with Salome so it was awesome to see that progress as well.

We got to see the temple dedication of the Tijuana temple yesterday and it was super cool! I have now seen 2 rededications and one dedication in the mission! Elder Uchtdorf gave an amazing talk and an amazing prayer, it was an incredibly spiritual meeting that I loved!

The pictures are the view from Topilejo, the setting up of the Christmas tree and the Family Ramierez!

Also, fun fact the highest part of our area called Parres is at 3200 meters above sea level or just a little under 10500 feet! Wow!!

Have a great week all!

Elder Stout

Friday, December 11, 2015

Dec 7 - Happy December!

Hey all!

Well first of all a very happy December and Christmas season to all! I know that the Christmas season will be an extra special one to be on the mission during because it’s just so easy to remember Jesus Christ during this time of year! This week absolutely went flying by! I am going to try and remember all that went down!

We had a super cool district meeting last week where we talked about the importance of talking with everyone. We played a game where I had a chocolate bar and I went and hid and everyone had to look for me, the 1st time they couldn’t find me. The second time I yelled and they all found me super fast. When we got to talking about it, someone said ´´well that was dumb, why didn’t you talk the first time, we couldn’t find you!´´ and I said ´´well, that’s exactly the point! There are people out there looking for the gospel that don’t know where to find it, and they aren’t going to find it because we aren’t opening our mouths! It was super cool! We also made a contest to see who could contact more people that would accept to listen to our message this week. The loser had to clean the whole house...Well today Elder Bojorquez and I spent the whole morning cleaning the whole house because Elder Bautista and Elder Pech beat us out 26-25! But, this week will be different!

Also, on Wednesday we had intercambios with our zone leaders and it was super fun! I was with Elder Crocket, and he’s just awesome! We had a great time in San Pedro 1, we had a super successful day, I learned a lot from the guy, he’s just awesome!

This Saturday and Sunday were cool too because we had out stake conference. The Saturday night session was pretty good but nothing amazing. Sunday literally was one of the most spiritual meetings that I have attended to in my life. The Hermana Mecham gave a super cool talk that focused on missionaries and members working together and kind of got after them for not looking to be the friends of converts more! We also had a 70 here with us, and he just gave an incredible talk on obedience. Pretty much the whole talk centered on the stupidity of disobedience to the commandments. He talked about how when we took upon us the name of Christ that we signed away our agency and that we cannot afford to come short on what He asks of us. He talked about how too many people think that its hard or that it’s a sacrifice to keep the commandments. Then he gave us a powerful illustration of the atonement of Christ and said that was a sacrifice, paying tithing is not a sacrifice. Just a bunch of super cool things about how really wanting to obey God is the only important thing!

Lastly, we had a super successful week in the district. We have been working super hard to reach the goal that President had put for us to teach 40 lessons per week and not going to lie, I honestly thought it was impossible, our first week in Topilejo we had 25 between the 2 companionships. But, this last week we got super excited in our district meeting and we were just like, yeah this is the week, let’s go! We ended up getting 81 as a district 40 from one companionship and 41 from the other! A branch in the middle of nowhere was able to find more people to teach than some of the big packed wards, that was awesome!

Pictures: Last week for pday we ran into Elder Herrera who is now an RM and got to eat pizzas with him! Elder Pech and I suffering the cold at the very highest point of the area. And, Cesar a less active teaching me how to fix tires!

Best wishes to all,

Elder Stout

Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30 - A week with President!

Hey all!
Well it sounds like you all had a great thanksgiving week! Just wanted to send another shout out and let you all know how very thankful I am for you that you all support me here in my mission, and that I love you so much!

This week we had three cool experiences. First of all on Tuesday Socorro got baptized! It was an awesome experience, it was kind of a low key baptism because well it was a Tuesday and so like literally no one could come, but she invited a ton of family and friends and it worked out super well. They all felt the spirit super strong, and we all did too. Also, President Mecham and Sister Mecham both came to this baptism and it was the first time they have come in my whole mission. There, like always seems to happen in Topilejo, were some pretty cringe worthy moments as well. First of all, the 1st counselor of the branch presidency did the ordinance and well he told us that he had literally baptized half of the branch so we weren’t too worried, until we opened up the doors for the baptism and it looked more like they were going to dance the salsa or get baptized Alma style (see Mosiah 18 23) we had to help him out for like 2 minutes to get the hands and everything right, so that was kind of embarrassing. Then, Socorro gave a very powerful testimony. But, the thing is she is a nurse so she has a different vocab than we have, and that added to the fact that her strongest testimony was of the law of chastity left my face pretty red after her testimony… But, the only thing that matters is that it was a spiritual experience for her and for her family members as well!

Second, on Friday we had a zone conference that was super cool! We talked a lot about love, the importance of the members, the Lords elect servants and our ability to open our mouth and teach everyone! I left super excited to just get to work and get it done!

Thirdly, this Saturday we had a zone attack in Topilejo. It’s something that we have been planning for a while that was President Mecham’s idea. The branch/ward puts together a list of all the people that they would like to visit and then all of the missionaries from the whole zone go to that area and we do divisions with the members of the ward/branch. So on Saturday it was our turn and it was super cool! We didn’t have enough members so I ended up going with President and Sister Mecham and it was incredible to see how President expressed his love to people that he had literally never met. We helped some less actives express why they aren’t coming to church anymore and we even found some new investigators together, it was super cool to be able to work with them.

Bonus: Yesterday we had the zone attack in San Pedro 1, my old area. So, I got to go down and I got put in a group with Estefan y Gaspar Lino from one of my favorite families ever. We also went and visited Alicia Garcia who sadly has fallen away recently because she started working on Sundays but it was good to be able to go and relive her baptism and try to encourage her to come back, it was a pretty incredible week!

Elder Stout

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Nov 23 - Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey all,

Wow I honestly didn’t even realize that it was Thanksgiving this week until you all wrote me about it. So I guess Happy Thanksgiving! I am so very thankful for every one of you. I am so thankful for the support that you are giving me to help me be a missionary, and that you are all putting up with me being gone for 2 long years. I am so thankful for the part of my life that every single one of you were (especially my family) in helping me become the person that I am today. I am also so thankful that I have been called to be the Lords missionary here and that I have this great opportunity to serve him and the people here. I am so thankful for our Savior Jesus Christ, and his gospel, and that it was restored to this Earth. I am thankful to be alive and well, and to be able to spread happiness to all people!

So, I don’t have a ton of time today not going to lie, because a few weeks ago President changed one of our rules and now we have free reign to go anywhere in the mission without permission. So, today we headed down to Xochimilco and it was a blast but the bus came back super slow so I won’t be able to have all of the time that I would like to write.

So, the really cool experiences that we had this week were first with Socorro. We had a super cool lesson with her where she just bore super strong testimony of all of the things that we have taught her. She has honestly progressed like no other investigator. It has been so awesome to see, it’s just been easy we literally just have to explain something to her and it all goes over super well!

The other one was with the family Orozco Peña. I don’t know exactly what it was. But, while we were there we just started talking to them about all of the things they have learned and when they commented to us that they talk about all of these things after we go, a super strong spirit filled the air that they are truly applying the things that we are teaching them. That is all we want as missionaries that our message inspires people to act in their lives!

Well, it was a super successful week! I hope to have more next week!

Elder Stout

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16 - Eating Habaneros!

Hey all!

Well first of all what a bummer that it sounds like everyone was sick this last week, especially well right now! Bleh that’s the worst!! Actually it’s kind of funny because I was super sick last week too! But I will get to that later on.

So we had a pretty interesting Monday night last week. So Elder Perez was packing up all of his stuff and we were helping him, and then he reminded me that I had made him a bet that if he woke up on time every day that when one of us left we would eat a chile habanero (the hottest one here in Mexico) haha I wasn’t so glad that he remembered. But, a promise is a promise, and a deal is a deal and so we did it! We also roped in the Elder Bojorquez and Elder Bautista too, and it was actually super funny. I have a great video to show you guys in when I get home of the whole event, haha but for now pictures will do. But it was literally the hottest thing that I have ever eaten in my entire life! Wow, but now like nothing is hot so that’s pretty cool.

Work wise we had a great week. Socorro is still progressing strong and we might try to change her baptismal date because it’s going so well. She also introduced us to her friend Salome who is now a new investigator and she is also super awesome and super chosen! She lost her legs about a year ago so the gospel supplies her with a ton of hope! We have seen a lot of help from the branch to like help her to get to church and stuff like that because well she is in a wheel chair, but its gone super well and we are going to try and put a baptismal date with her this week.

Also, last night we found like two college aged kids named Andrea and Gerardo. They have A TON of questions and a ton of weird notions. Like to quote one that they told us, Gerardo said I think that the only real bible is nature man. Haha he reminds me of the Volkswagen bus from Cars. But they are super awesome and they are friends with Angel Linares from the branch so he has been helping us out as well.

So on Thursday this week we were doing our weekly planning and I just started to feel awful. Needless to say that I spent the rest of the day throwing up into a bucket so that was no fun! But at least it passed by in just one day. I still don’t feel 100% but little by little. The one bad part was that we had a leadership training from President on Friday but I still didn’t feel great so I had a hard time paying attention and learning. That was rough because he always gives such great trainings that I am usually hooked on every word, but this week I can only remember what I have in my notes.

Well, I think that’s a wrap this week from Topilejo! Have a great week!

Elder Stout

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Nov 9 - Staying in Topi!

Hey all!
Well the big news is that with the changes that we got last night, I am going to be here in Topi for 6 more weeks with Elder Bojorquez so no changes on our side. In the district Elder Perez is heading out which is a bummer because he was only here 6 weeks and he was always here to lighten the mood so we will see who the Lord sends with Elder Bautista for these next 6 weeks!

The other big thing that happened this week was Melany’s baptism! The super cool thing that happened with all of that is that Elder Hamilton baptized her dad while he was here in Topi and when it came up that her dad wasn’t going to be able to baptize her we thought about how cool it would be to have Elder Hamilton come and do the baptism. So, on his last Saturday here in the mission he got to come and baptize Melany! It was a super cool baptismal service, we had a ton of less active members there and they all told us that it helped them to remember their own baptisms which is kind of the whole point! haha so that was super cool! A bunch of them were crying especially Jose Luis, Melany’s dad and we just all felt the spirit super strong.

Then on Sunday Melany asked me to do the confirmation so that was a super cool experience. Also on Sunday, the three people who were supposed to give talks all didn’t show up. So last second Elder Bojorquez, Elder Perez and I all had to speak. This was honestly the first time I have given a talk completely unprepared but it was a super cool topic about covenants and their importance in our lives. I literally had the spirit teaching me as I was up in front giving the talk about how our covenants should literally be our guide and motivation behind everything that we do, so that was a cool experience!!

We are still working hard with the other people that we have too! Socorro looks like she is progressing the best here in Topilejo. She came to church again yesterday and is loving the gospel! She told us yesterday, I have been to a lot of different churches and I have left a lot of them feeling good, but never as good as I feel when I leave this church. I know that there is something different here. What a wonderful sentence to hear from someone to know that the spirit is truly changing their heart and opening their spiritual eyes!

Well I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Stout

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Nov 2 - Dia de Los Muertos

Hey all!!
This was a pretty good last week! It actually went flying by, so it will be kind of hard to remember the important things that happened but I will do my best! First of all, the biggest thing this last week was that we passed day of the dead here and we all survived. Up here in Topilejo it was actually a ton more chill than we all thought it would be. It was actually just like the states, they all just literally trick or treating and so it was just all a ton of little kids. not going to lie, being up in a small country mountain town we were all kind of hoping to see some like black magic or something, but nope it was all super calm.

This week was a little bit of a harder week work wise. It just seemed like we were walking a ton, but we also got some super good investigators this week. One was an hermana named Socorro. When I was intercambios with Elder Crockett she was outside laying cement and we were like what the heck is an old woman doing laying her own cement, haha so we ran over and we helped her out for a while, so she accepted that we would come by to teach her. So this week we went by twice and she just fell in love with the gospel she already has a date to be baptized and is progressing super well. She came to the chapel yesterday and even got up to bear her testimony on her very first Sunday!! Wow, that was incredible!

Also, we found a young man named Alejandro. His girlfriend is a member in San Pedro, small word! Haha but, he already has a super strong testimony of the book of Mormon from what she has told him, and his first question was just kind of like, so when can I get baptized! Wow, is the Lord putting people in our path or what??

The district is going great. I had intercambios with Elder Bautista this week so I got to go to the scenic Topilejo 2 area so I got a ton of cool pics up there! As you can see we also celebrated Halloween here! Hahaha nope just the pictures this year, but next year yes we will.

The investigators we have already have are progressing well but for some reason the family Ramierez just fell off the map and we have like no idea what happened to them so that was a huge bummer. But Melanie is still getting ready to be baptized. Her dad decided he would rather her be baptized sooner instead of waiting until he can do it. So we will see what ends up happening!

Next weeks is changes and for some reason the whole district thinks that I am going to be heading out. I really hope not but we will see! I am going to everything that I can to be able to get ready for the changes if we have them and leave a super strong area if needs be!

Well, hope y’all have a great week,

Elder Stout

Monday, October 26, 2015

Oct 26 - Hurricane???


So apparently it sounds like there was a hurricane?? I don’t know, everyone said something about it, but we never hear anything here haha. We did have a couple days where it was kind of windy, and the rain has carried on for a little more time than usual, but I had no clue that we were having a hurricane here in Mexico! Thanks for filling me in haha.

This week was a great week! Last Monday we had an awesome district meeting focused all on obedience, and it helped the district get super excited to do it. As a group we set a bunch of goals so that we can truly get better in that. Then, I watched as our whole district followed through this week! I watched as we not only became more obedient but as our whole attitude towards the importance of obedience shifted! It was super cool!!

So our investigator that is doing the best right now is Melanie Villanueava that we started teaching last week. She is super smart and just wants to follow through with everything that we teach which is awesome! She is super excited to be able to get baptized soon, and last night even asked me if I would do it! But we are going to try and get her dad worthy before her baptism (if possible) so that he can do it!

We had a bunch of success finding new investigators again this week! We found an awesome family, the Ramierez Family that are the parents and their 5 kids. We had a super spiritual lesson with them and they are just super ready for the gospel, they have passed through a ton of difficulties and they have had a ton of bad experiences with other religions but just from the beginning we have had a super cool connection with them. We are super excited to keep working with them.

Also this week I had a super cool intercambio with our zone leader Elder Crockett, he is a super cool guy and it was good to get to know him better! He is such an awesome missionary too who has so much enthusiasm for the work, I learned a lot from him example about how we can just always be super excited and give it our all!! I am going to work hard on applying those things that I learned from him this week!!

Well, that’s all from Topilejo this week folks,

Elder Stout

Monday, October 19, 2015

Oct 19 - Winter in Topilejo!

Hey all,

So first of all, winter has arrived to Topilejo! Oh my gosh it is so cold!!! One member told us that it hasn’t gotten above 45 yet this week, we are just freezing to death, but its way better than the heat that I was in 6 months ago in Iztapalapa! But seriously we are all bundled up every day. On top of all that, for some reason the rainy season that was supposed to end in September decided to come back and so that made the cold a little bit worse. But, its only gonna get colder so woohoo!

So, after all that happened with the health of Elder Riggs, well as far as I know he is still here in the mission. We went down to the offices on Wednesday and he right now is in a trio with the assistants so that he can go to the hospital whenever he needs to for checkups and stuff like that, and its still not a 100% sure if he is going to stick it out here or not, but the odds are looking a lot better than they were a week ago. This Wednesday I received my new comp, Elder Bojorquez! He has about 4 months in the mission, he got here on change after Elder Hilario, and he actually started in the district right next to me in Iztapalapa so I already knew him! He is super awesome, he is from Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, and is a convert of only a year and a half and the only member of his family. He has a super strong testimony and i am super pumped to work with him!

This week we had a lot of success finding new investigators again. We did a ton of contacting because Elder Bojorquez loves to do it, which is super awesome because it has been a long time since I have been with a comp that likes to contact. So, we found some new people. The two coolest ones that we found were two part member families. First of all, there’s this guy named Carols Orozco who is less active and we just found out that he has cancer, so we went to visit him and see if there was anything that we could do to help him, and while we did that we got to know his wife Edith Peña and she is super awesome!! She accepted baptism with a date in the very first lesson, and seems super excited. Her husband is an amazing man too with a strong testimony that really wants to come back to the church.

After that, we were contacting this week and we found a man crying on the side of the road and it turned out to be Jose Luis Villanueava who is another less active, he has made some bad decisions recently and opened up for help. We ended up going to his house and teaching his family and his daughter has also accepted a baptismal date. So, we are loving it right now up here!

This last week we had our quarterly interviews with President Meacham and I had an awesome one. We talked for a long time about the importance of revelation and how we truly need to do all that we can to serve the Lord because this is literally our only shot to do it. I just love talking to him because he shares my excitement for missionary work, and sometimes it just makes me really sad that not all missionaries can feel this same way and love the work. But, I know that President Meacham will be able to help all the missionaries in our mission to increase their faith, obedience, and diligence!

Well, I hope that you have a great week!
Elder Stout

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Oct 12 - a slow week


So I am getting really tired of saying this, but once again, not a lot happened this week because my comp was sick all week again! Bleh, its super hard sometimes. I just want to be out working and helping people, and the Lord keeps sending me challenges like this. I know that my comp has nothing to do with it, and that it’s not his fault, but I just want to be able to have a week again where I can finish up and be like Yeah, right on! I feel like I used every minute to the max this week! But, I just really haven’t felt that way for a while.

I mean literally nothing happened this week, we weren’t even able to go to church yesterday but the other elders brought us the sacrament and everything. I was able to read a ton of conference talks and learn some pretty awesome things! I have learned to love some old talks by President James E Faust, they are awesome! We had the cool experience of being able to go and meet with President this week to talk about my companion’s health and I had an awesome talk with Sister Meacham, she is an awesome lady, and super spiritual. But, she’s also super funny haha she like didn’t sugar coat anything about the mission, it was more of like what is that elder thinking or we are having problems with this and stuff like that, but it was honestly a pretty fun couple hours just to chat with her, and here all about her family and stuff like that. I really love President and Sister Meacham! I know they were called of God to be my mission president and mission president’s wife! It was really cool to receive a super strong testimony of that this week.

I also had multiple opportunities to share with Elder Riggs my testimony and I really realized for the first time in my mission, how much it has really grown in one year. I truly know that God has a plan for every single one of us. I know that He loves us. I feel His love every day. I know that even though we are small and insignificant compared to Him that He cares about every single one of us individually. I know that prayer is a direct connection to our Heavenly Father, and that He answers us! I know that. I know that we are and will always be in debt to Him and our Savior, Jesus Christ and that we need to put forth our best effort every day to be able to try and pay it all back. That is my mission in life, to deserve the Atonement. I have so many other things that I have come to know in my life, but all in all, I know that this is the true Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that true happiness comes through this and only this.

Have a great week all!
Elder Stout

Monday, October 5, 2015

Oct 5 - General Conference aka Christmas

Hey all!! So this was a great week!

So first of all an introduction to my new comp! It is Elder Jay Riggs from Pleasant Grove Utah! He just barely got here to the mission, so I am here in Topilejo with a greenie, but he is super awesome, we get along really well and I am excited to have this opportunity to be with him! He doesn’t speak like any Spanish so that has been something that I have had to get used to, but he has gotten a ton better in just a week, so I am super pumped to see what we are going to be able to do here together!

This week there wasn’t a ton to report. A lot of showing Elder Riggs the area and training him too. It’s a lot different to have a greenie that doesn’t speak Spanish, it’s like another cool add on of a challenge, but through the help of the Spirit, his progress is going to be super-fast! We didn’t have a ton of progress with the people we are teaching this week which is a bummer. I am teaching more investigators than I have in my whole mission right now, but no one is progressing very well which is super frustrating because in other areas it’s like I didn’t have very many, but they were all doing well so it kind of made up for it which is hard! It’s frustrating, but I was talking to one of the other elders from another branch, and he told me that in our areas sometimes it’s just like that, and that’s when we really learn a lot about ourselves, and the Lord and grow a lot as people so that was super cool!

Then we had an awesome general conference this weekend! I loved Elder Hales talk! I loved Elder Lawrence’s talk! I loved Thomas S Monson’s Talk! I loved Carole M Stephens talk! I loved Vern G Keetch’s talk! I loved Neil L Andersons talk! And I loved Elder Stanfil’s talk!! Haha I loved conference as a whole!!! Oh and Elder Durrant’s talk too. A lot of really cool talks on obedience, faith and how we can grow them both in our lives. I really hope to be able to apply these things to my own life, and put a special focus in helping all of the people that I am teaching to apply these inspired words to their lives as well!

Elder Stout

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sept 28 - Welcome to Disneylejos!!

Hey all!

Well to start off the big news is that Elder Andablo is going home Wednesday! So tomorrow I will have a new companion! I am excited for the opportunity to stay in Topilejo for another change but I honestly cannot believe that i have already been here one change!! It’s crazy!

So there’s not too much to report this week because sadly in his last week Elder Andablo got pretty sick so we didn’t have much of an opportunity to work. But there were two cool Mexican adventures this week worthy of an email note! First of all, this last week started the Topilejo Festival, that goes for almost 3 weeks! Its like a bunch of live bands and carnival games in the streets all day every day! We call it Disneylejos because there are ALWAYS fireworks going off, a bunch of people screaming, and you can take free pictures with Mickey Mouse (that’s actually just what a drunk guy told us his name was, but I think it almost counts)! Haha but we have been keeping super safe, don’t worry. We have had to come back to the house early almost every day this last week, and probably will have to continue doing so next week too, it’s hard to not be working, but I know the Lord wants his servants safe, so it’s alright.

Also, we went to the coolest little town the other day! We had to go to the dentist so that Elder Andablo could get some work done before heading home, and we headed to a little town that’s like built on top of a lake, it’s like a really run down version of Venice! Haha it’s called Xochimilco! I hope that at some point of my mission I get to go over to this area, because it was just a super cute little town! It reminded me a lot of Jackson Hole, and I literally fell in love with it at first glance!

So that’s pretty much all that happened this week, I know a pretty lame week! I will have a lot more to write next week because I will have a new comp and we are going to hit the ground running with him as soon as we get back up to Topi!!

Love and miss you all, hope you have a great week!!

Elder Stout

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sept 21 - One year down, one to go!!!

Hey everyone!
Well, I was glad to read that it seems like everything has gotten back to normal more or less back with you guys on the plat!

This week we had another super successful week! The first really cool thing that happened was that on Tuesday President Meacham came to our zone training, and he is just a spiritual giant, I love every time that he talks to us, it’s so awesome! He just taught us again about the importance of obedience and how it’s really helping ourselves to be obedient. He just delivered the message with such power and devotion, just every time that he speaks, he inspires me to be a better missionary and person. I feel like it was really the message that our district needed to hear because I have been a little worried lately with the devotion to the work of the Lord, and the obedience of some of the members of my district, but I think this really helped them.

We got a big announcement, that from now on in our mission we will only be allowed to listen to music from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, so if you guys could please put a ton of music from them on my dropbox account because my music library went from like 300 to 50 in one day, but I am really happy because I know it will help us focus on the work even more!

Another cool thing that happens this week was the 16 of September! So everyone in the states thinks that 5 de Mayo is the independence day of Mexico, but it’s actually in September! There was a bunch of cool things all over the city and a ton of fireworks sounding literally all the time, we kept thinking people were shooting at us or something! But, we didn’t get to enjoy it  much because they didn’t less us go out to work during that time because a ton of people just get totally wasted and during their independence day some people don’t really like gringos, but it’s okay! They eat a ton of corn here to celebrate, but they eat it weird! Its corn on the cob with mayo, cheese, and chili! 
Last but not least, the thing that we saw this week was the hand of the Lord guiding us to his elect. We had one of the most successful weeks of my whole mission in finding new investigators! One of them is a pretty strange situation, the hermana Elpidia Rodriguez. She got baptized like 5 years ago but she never went to church to be confirmed so she never officially became a member of the church, and she needs to be baptized again, so that’s super weird! I hope we will see a ton of progress with them so I will keep you all updated!

Well, that’s all for this week!

Elder Stout

Sept 14 - Bday week and mission "hump day"

Wow, so this was a super packed week!

First of all, like I said, last Monday we headed to the center of the city and it was super cool! Awesome to see that there are actually some touristy things here in Mexico so maybe someday I will come back and visit it! We spent all day out there, it was super cool to see a bunch of old historical sites. I don’t know what most of them meant because we were just missionaries wandering around the center aimlessly. But, it was super cool! We even found an olive garden there to eat, so I didn’t even miss out on the bday tradition!

The cool thing that happened in the work this week was finding the Alvarez family. So me and my comp were walking one day and we ran into some drunk guys (way more common than it should be up here in Topi) but usually I don’t like to talk to drunk guys. My comp on the other hand loves it. So he literally starts like Southern Baptist preaching them, screaming at them to repent and quoting the bible and stuff, and I was just kind of saying oh boy to myself in my head. Until the next day we were walking by the same spot, and saw one of the dudes more sober. He told us that he really liked what he heard and wanted us to pass by. We passed by last Saturday, and we taught him, his 2 sons, and his daughter in law. They are super ready to receive the gospel and it was a super powerful lesson with them. They accepted baptism and everything and we are super excited to help them change their lives.

My birthday was awesome! My comp bought me a little cake in the morning and later on in the day two women from the branch both bought me a cake and so I was super stuffed that day! They sang me happy birthday in Spanish, which is a song really different, that I didn’t even know existed so it felt even weirder than the awkwardness of happy bday at home, and I even got to participate in the Mexican tradition of the mordita! That’s where you take a bite of the cake before anyone else, but you take the bite straight from the cake. haha, the only thing is that everyone else that’s there trying to take advantage of it to smash your face in, haha so that happened to me twice, but I guess i am more Mexican now! It was awesome!
The last thing from this week was the temple dedication. Saturday in the night time we got to go down to San Pedro to watch the cultural celebration and it was super cool! Cooler than that was staying the night in the house of San Pedro 1bis (my old house) and seeing everyone from the ward! The coolest to see was Abigail Romero Lira, she was the hermana that got baptized my first week here when I was with Elder Lewis. She literally started cry
ing when she saw me and I almost did the same, she told me how hard it’s been these last few months, but how she really wants to get sealed to her husband in the temple soon, and how much it helped her to see me again to remind her of her baptism. It was super spiritual to be able to talk to her, and everyone else again, and see that I really did help people when I was there!

Then yesterday the temple was dedicated by Henry B Eyering and he was here with Jeffery R Holland, they gave some awesome talks about the sacrifices of the temple, and how important it is. I really hope President lets us go again soon!

Well, I hope you had a good week, I love and miss you all!!

Elder Stout