Hello Family and Friends!
So we are here in Altamirano! It is stinkin' hot. But no. Really. This is the greatest amount of heat that I have ever felt in my life and we are supposedly in the coolest months of the year. To just put an example out there for you to understand, it would be like walking around in the streets of Las Vegas during July in pants. Without air conditioning. We are slowly adjusting to life out here in Altamirano, Guerrero!
Impressions of Mexico!
1) I have made many comments about Mexican bathrooms but they continue to surprise me. In our new house, the bathroom is literally located in the little space that is underneath the staircase. My head literally almost touches the ceiling while I am showering.
2) The members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico have very limited talent in the music department. Vocal and instrumental. I have had the blessing to play the piano in Yautepec and here in Altamirano and the members are so grateful. It makes me happy to be able to serve them in this way.
So, Altamirano is a city located 4 hours outside of Iguala (the city where all the other missionaries of our zone are working). We are literally out here all alone. It is a little weird and exciting at the same time. The church here is really, really young. REALLY YOUNG. There is no chapel, instead we have a cute little house of prayer in the center of Altamirano (one of the few buildings here that has air conditioning!) The branch has an attendance of about 15 to 30 every week and Elder Millan and I have been called to serve as 1st Counselor and Secretary in the branch presidency. The city borders the state of Michoacan and our area is bigger than the entire state of Morelos. The city is actually really unique. The streets are super wide, clean, and the city is super tiny and surrounded by a ton of tiny pueblos. One more interesting fact. Two of the most active members in the branch are the McFarland family. I know what you are thinking. McFarland...that is not a Mexican last name. That is because Brother McFarland is from Provo, Utah and speaks very little Spanish, but his wife is from Mexico and they are the sweetest couple that I have ever met. I am so glad that they are here with us in the branch!
So this week has been really difficult. Just adjusting to something completely different and foreign. We had some pretty low moments this week, Elder Millan and I. Some pretty dark moments as a matter of fact. We have so much work to do here. The branch needs so much help. But I have no doubt that we are here for a reason. God wants us here and wants us to bless this branch with the talents and abilities that he has blessed us with. This week, I was singing the hymn "Because I have Been Given Much" and really thought about the words. I have been given so much. And it is the time to give, to bless, to lift up, and to build. It is the time to forget about ourselves completely and go to work. To love and serve. We both talked a lot last night and have come to the conclusion that we are just going to role up our sleeves and work our hardest and give it our all. Talk to everyone we see, challenge the less-actives bravely to return to church, and get the organizations and the branch presidency working again. We are excited now and are ready for this week!
I know that God puts us where we need to be. A lot of the time we do not like the answer. But I know that if we act in faith and follow his councils that he will bless us in greater ways than we can imagine. I have seen those blessings. I know that Christ lives and is the Savior of the world. His Atonement is infinite and eternal. His love and compassion are greater than I can understand. I wish to be more like him. I know that it is going to take a lot of work. But I know that each and every one of us can do it. I know that this church is true. I felt a lot of love during sacrament meeting this week. Even if the church only had 2 members attending on Sunday it is still the true church of Christ and it will roll forward, progressing, always.
I love you all very much.