Monday, March 31, 2014

My First Earthquake...It Was Great!

Hola familia!!

Wow tell me about it, what a week it has been for sure! Craziness all around literally, haha. I was so sad I couldn’t call on Tuesday it really made my day worse.  It was my CCM president who made that rule to not be able to call btw. How are you enjoying the snow?? haha.  It's nice and sunny here and every morning we get up to run and we can smell the ocean air which is way nice. That’s great to hear about the project you guys did! It really is so true there is a lot of poverty here and especially in Mexico so I am so grateful for all that we have in this life! How was Brian's b-day!? I wish I could have been there for it.  It sounds like the usual chaos moment in the Woffinden household, haha.  I miss those sometimes. I also am so excited for Conference this week. It really will be so good to be able to hear from the Brethren and to try to apply their teachings in our everyday lives. I pray I get to watch in English cause we might have to in Spanish, and that would not be cool, haha.

View from my early-morning run in Whittier, CA.
Well, here we go. I am currently in an area called Whittier, California.  It is the top of my mission and is a biking part obviously, haha. My bike they gave me is total crap, like literally no brakes and tons of issues so I am using a different elder's bike that he left behind. We are staying in a member's home.  We just have one little room to ourselves and 2 shelves for food.  My companions are Elder H, my trainer, and Elder B (the one from the blog I used to read back home), haha. However, we found out that tomorrow we are moving into a new apartment and Elder B is getting transferred, so it will just be Elder H and I. Well, they both speak fantastic Spanish which is good, but I feel like the world’s biggest idiot because I barely understand anybody here. I won’t lie, it’s hard being with 2 companions because they always leave me in the dust biking, haha. Trust me, I am pedaling my hardest, but they just have biking legs and mine aren't in shape for it yet, so it blows, ha. They both teach well together, but like I don’t feel like I'm learning a whole lot, and its really stressful. I get left out of lessons or just talking all the time, and everybody speaks Spanish, so I just look like a smiling idiot half the time, haha.

My scripture covers from Mexico.
Being back in the states is nice however, because everything is in English! The food is great here.  Well, we have been meeting with some of their investigators.  We honestly have had zero success this whole week. We teach T and J mostly, but it usually just consists of stopping by and saying what’s up at their house and them having to leave, so that’s a bummer. Last night we were visiting T and we got dropped off so we didn't have our bikes and the elders were supposed to come back and pick us up so we didn't have to walk home. But, surely enough, 8:40 comes and we are calling to get a ride, and no answers.  So after like 10 calls we just grabbed our bags and started the 5 mile walk home when we are supposed to be home by 9:00.  Yeah, we got home at 10:00.  But before that, we had dinner at the bishop's house, and he is a chef so it was some of the best chicken I have ever had. It was so good, and to top it off with a huge slice of cheesecake!  Ah, I about died. Then 5 mins. after that we get a call inviting us to a going-away party for some elders, and so of course, that means more cake and ice cream, etc. But, what sucks is we can’t say no to the food, so I ate it.  You know me being a calorie counter. I about died inside as I ate red velvet cake and ice cream, haha.

Okay, now for the big news, yes I experienced my first EARTHQUAKE ever in my life.  Okay, so it was Friday night and we had just gotten home and began to plan for the next day. It was about 9:15 and dead silent, when all of a sudden the loudest bang I have heard came from upstairs in the family room.  It sounded like a jet took off from our house, then the violent shaking knocked us out of our chairs, haha.  My companion LOST his mind and he had this look of pure terror and excitement on his face. He was running in circles screaming, WHHHHAAATTT? haha.  I was scared too, but seeing him was hilarious. It lasted about probably 15 seconds and glass and shelves, etc. were falling over in their house, then there was silence.  We got up and booked it outside to find this lovely drunk couple outside our house just making out and all that stuff, so we we’re like, sweet, and headed back inside, haha. We didn’t plan anything after that because we literally had our minds blown as to what had just happened.   We later had 4 more after shock quakes and 5 small ones the next day. We found out it was a 5.4 quake which is a decent sized quake, and I can now say I have finally been in one, so I’m pumped!  We are praying for more, it’s like we are adrenaline junkies,   haha.   We loved it. California is great though. It is warm, lots of palm trees so just looks exactly like the CCM, so I’m happy about that. However, I am struggling a lot being here mentally and shopping and seeing all the movie posters, and ESPECIALLY MARCH MADNESS games, wow it’s driving me insane.  But I’m doing okay overall, just need to continue to press forward and be positive.

Saying good bye to Elder Marshall and Elder Carr at the CCM.
How is everything at home?? Anything new!? Well, I miss you all so much and am so grateful for all your support! Thanks so much for the packages and letters!  Each one I get makes my day! Have a safe week and enjoy conference.

Love you all!

Elder Woffinden

Monday, March 24, 2014

I Never Thought I'd Say This, but I'm Really Going to Miss This Place

Hola familia!

I’m so glad you got my letter I honestly didn't think you would! It is so true snail mail is the worst, haha. And also mom I just want to let you know that your letters mean so much to me and I carry them in my coat pocket and bag just so I can read them when I need a boost so thanks again! Sorry I forgot to answer some questions last week I realized... well there is a tienda here at the CCM where we get to buy food etc., so it’s pretty nice. Also we never ever get to leave the walls ha. It was just a one-time deal [to go to the Mexico City Temple] which is pretty sad because I don’t know if I will ever see Mexico City again, but it’s all good.

How’s life back home? Anything exciting going on? I’m glad you guys got to go to the temple, and thanks for keeping me on the prayer role and in your prayers as well, I really need them!

Okay, well they are letting us email today instead of tomorrow obviously, but I forgot to tell you in my last email so I hope and pray you
My district with my favorite teacher, Hno. Trejo.
read this today. Well, to start off I have some bad news. My mission president actually said we cannot call home from the airport, so I will not be able to call home tomorrow morning. It was very hard for me to hear that because I have been looking forward to that for weeks now. But I need to follow the rules if I want to be successful, so I pray that it will all be okay. Also, ha so my teacher Hermano Trejo is coming up to Salt Lake for General Conference and he wants to meet you guys, so plan on a visit from him on the Saturday of Conference. I already gave him your numbers and address and I promise he isn’t some psycho coming to visit, haha. He is my favorite teacher here at the CCM, so I hope you actually enjoy meeting him, and Dad I told him you are fluent, so freshen up that Español, haha.

Hno. Ortiz. I love this little dude.
Well this week was a much better week for sure. The language is still tough, but I know that’s how it’s going to be either way in Cali, so I am just accepting that fact now, haha. On Friday we had in field orientation which is one class from 8:30 am to 8:30 at night with no gym time or breaks, just for meals that’s it, so it was so hard to sit all that time, haha. But they made it fun and interesting, so I’m not complaining. Yesterday was the Goodbye Assembly for my District and 4 others, and it was sad to realize that I made such good friends in only 6 weeks here, and now half of them left for their missions this morning and the other half leave tonight. It was tough saying goodbye, but I know they are all going to be awesome missionaries! Today we still have class but it’s going to be weird with half my class gone and just knowing that we have less than 10 hours left in Mexico. I never thought I would say it, but I really am going to miss this place so much! Every day here is so hot and I love it especially since I know I’m going to Cali with the same climate, so I’m stoked for that, haha. I’m nervous for tomorrow though just like everybody is because the language, not knowing what to expect, and also it makes the actual "beginning" of my mission. Being here I don’t really feel like a missionary because nothing changes and our investigators aren’t real, it just gets to your head now realizing that I am going to be with real people and real problems in less than a day. It’s pretty weird to think about, but I am excited for the challenge.
My district at the Goodbye Assembly...front row seats.  They're really going to miss us.
Thanks for the water skiing challenge that you compared in your email mom, it is so true! You don’t know what it’s going to be like until you put on the skis with a little duck butter and jump in, haha. The water is cold at times, but gets warm over time, just like a mission will be rough at the start, but continue to progress overtime. That’s at least what I like to picture it as going.

Elder Dougherty, a great companion.
I’m going to miss my companion. He really was a stud and I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to get to know him. I truly learned a lot form Elder Dougherty. He will be serving in Anaheim, California, so maybe I will see him along the streets of Cali, but who knows? Elder Wheten and I are the only two here that are going to be on the same plane to Phoenix and then to Long Beach, so I’m at least happy I don’t have to do it alone, haha, especially since we have been challenged to place LDS Articles of Faith cards and bear our testimonies tonight to random people in the airport, which I am honestly so nervous for, haha.  But either way, as long as they at least take the card regardless of understanding me or not, I count that as a solid placement, haha.

There's even a Holy War in Mexico City. Go Utes!
So Hermana Carlson in my district, she left this morning for North Carolina, she is literally one of the coolest people ever, haha. So for about 3 weeks now we have been having a "holy war" here in the CCM because she likes BYU and I like Utah, so we have been leaving tons of paper slips with either Utah or BYU on them and we hide them in each other’s bags or jackets or water bottles just whatever we can find. It’s pretty funny because sometimes I will be in a lesson and open my scriptures and a piece of paper will fall onto the floor or something small like that, haha. It’s just a way that we keep ourselves entertained here. Yesterday however, we sticky noted their casa patio and door with a giant U to kinda one up them, haha. It was fun, but then this morning as we were having to come here, there was a container by our door step with a note that said" GO BYU", haha.  They left here at 2:00 in the morning, which means that’s when they must have dropped it off, which sucks for me because that means I lost the war because I have no way of getting her back, ha. But it’s, whatever, I’m just glad it kept our whole district entertained, haha.
Last Sunday with our Branch Presidency.

The famous Mission Map.

I met Elder Johnson at the Salt Lake Airport on the way here.
He's now on his way to Ecuador. What a stud.

Well I won’t be emailing you probably until next Monday which I’m pretty sure is my P-day in Cali, so have a great week!! Stay safe and know I love and miss you all so much! You are in my prayers everyday!

Hasta luego familia!

Elder Woffinden (Superman)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Getting Ready to Leave the CCM

Buenos dias familia y amigos! 

Once again it is so great to hear from you all again!  Thanks mom for the advice for my bags, I’m still glad I can receive these talks even thousands of miles away. haha jk. I’m so jealous I missed Peyton's and Dad's b-days.  I really missed being home on both of those days cause I knew exactly what was going to be going on back home, but it's all good.  And yes, I am so glad I missed that St. Patty's day meal back home.  The smell still haunts me all the way down here in the Ciudad de Mexico.
B-Mount from our athletic field. Four fires on the mount just this week.
That is so crazy about Taylor, it truly is so awesome he is coming out here to serve! Tell him that it is NOT EASY and he needs to work hard.  Trust me, I am learning the hard way every single day here.   I'm so glad to hear that life is still going on and hasn’t stopped. Sometimes I think that there is no life outside these walls. haha.

Well I will start off by telling you something that happened to Elder Dougherty and I about a week ago, maybe a little longer.  So we were at TALL which is our online computer class and both of us were terribly
Check out the "Lego" houses on the hill behind me...pretty cool.
sick with either a bug or something. Either way we needed to go to the bathroom soooo bad so we left and were wandering the halls of this building we hadn’t really ever been in before. There was no power in this part of the building, haha but we found a bathroom and were stoked out of our minds! So after that we saw that we needed to get back to class it was about 7 pm and class gets out at 7:45 pm so we tried to leave, but realized that all the doors were shut and someone had locked them.  So we were locked in this dark little hallway with 6 locked doors.  We were trying to find a way out but couldn’t. So we just sat there and waited hoping some elders would find us.   An hour later they found us laying on our backs in this pitch black hallway, it was hilarious.  We gave this place the name "the Mines of Morriah" from Lord of the Rings because it really is just dark with tons of doors.  So now whenever we say we’re going to the bathroom, we say we are going to Morriah.  haha.

These purple trees are beautiful and all over down here.
Also there are fires here constantly. The mountains all around us caught on fire like 4 times this week and the people just let it burn.  No fire crews or nothing.  I just hope none of the Lego houses burn because it has gotten pretty close at times. Between the all night music parties and constant fireworks being lit off ALL DAY and these are the really loud ones that make a huge boom like the ones at the 4th of July fireworks shows.   I guess it is a Catholic celebration or something, but literally multiple times an hour these go off and echo in the classrooms.  Super weird.

Okay now for the serious side of things. This past week has been hard in fact probably the hardest week minus my first one here in the CCM. The language isn’t really showing too much results and we are all very frustrated and nervous to be leaving here in a week.  Yesterday we had TRC which I HATE! Ugh, it literally is the worst.  The first time we had it was the time I wanted to go home like 3 weeks ago because it was just a horrible experience with Leslie.  Of course, my companion and I got set up to talk to her again, but she had a different profile she was playing.   Anyways, my teacher told us that she is a less active member who doesn't enjoy church etc.   So we planned a lesson with the 10 minutes they give you to plan a lesson about the importance of church.   We go in and start to ask and get to know her and it turns out that she decided to change her profile, and become a fully active member.  She said that "the highlight of her week is church" my companion and I looked at each other with this look of terror because we had absolutely no idea what to say now, and we had to teach for 30 min.  At this  point we had been in there for about 3 minutes.   So yeah, bad news.  ha. We asked her if she is having any struggles or needs help with anything and she responds with just NO... we’re like okay...?? and bear in mind we barely understand what she says she talks so fast and uses words I
The running track.
 have never heard before, so it was just not looking to good.  We literally had nothing and it was so embarrassing we were mad, disappointed and just wanted to get out of there.  She asks to see our Libro de Mormon and so we hand it to her and she starts flipping through the pages not even listening to what we are trying with all our hearts to mutter out in the most broken Spanish we can form.   So I try bearing my testimony and so does my companion and we end and say usted entinede? and she goes huh?  She completely ignored what we even tried to say.  Well our time was up and we left the room and just left the building and went to the outside basketball courts where we both lost it.  I am not one to cry ever, but yesterday hurt and it hurt bad.  I was so mad and disappointed in myself that I just broke down and so did my comp.  We didn’t know what to do we just sat there for about 30 minutes talking about why this happened.  I was hurt because I had worked so hard to try to learn this language and the gospel and we wanted to succeed so bad, but we failed in the worst way possible and embarrassed ourselves in front of everybody.  We later talked to our teacher which was hard because he can’t explain himself in English that well and we can’t in Spanish.  So it was just a hard and long day for sure.   I’ll be honest I still don’t feel good about it today, and honestly I am terrified to go out into the mission field next Tuesday.  I feel so unprepared and can only hope the Lord can help me with this prueba.   But last night as I lay in bed, I had a thought pop into my mind and it was one of my favorite scriptures in Ether 12:6.  I don’t have my scriptures with me to write it out here but please whoever is reading this email take a look at that email and know of how true it really is.   It made me realize that I am being tested and need to show the Lord I can overcome this test by hard work and faith.

Well I'm sorry for the depressing email familia! Just had to tell you how I really am down here, but just know I love and miss you all and know you all are proud of me being out here.  I just hope I can continue to make you proud throughout my mission. Have a great week and next time we speak I’ll be in the USA!

Hasta Luego! Much love

Elder Woffinden aka Superman

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Days Are Going Super Fast, It's Insane!

Buenos dias famila y amigos! Wow another week already? The days are going super fast, it's insane! This week was a very interesting one full of ups and downs just like any normal week would be ha.

Like my new tie tac?
First off I would like to wish Dad a happy birthday coming up!! I won't be able to wish you one on your actual b-day but I can now haha.

We have only been able to travel through the city for a little bit and from the CCM to the temple it is about a 30 minute drive because there is so much traffic, and people are literally the worst drivers down here, like it's terrible.

Superman should have a Superman
pillow case, right? You should
see my jammies.
Dad how is the skiing? The snow good? I miss snow believe it or not and I have been gone for a month tomorrow! Feels like I have been in here for a year sometimes cause nothing changes ever.  Yeah the spanish has improved a ton! However whenever I go to the tienda (store) It is like I don't speak Spanish at all haha. They are impossible to negotiate with and talk to here. They just sit and point so I ask in the best spanish I can if I can use Google translate on their computer so they can understand me haha.

My roommate, Elder Carr.
Tell Bishop D what up! And that I miss working for him.  Seriously the CCM gets super boring at times.

The food here is getting worse everyday.  They are either running out of ideas or are just blending everything up and serving it on a platter cause I have never eaten so much pollo y beans ever. I'm sick of it. They made hot dogs on Sunday which I was so pumped for until I saw that they had like a radioactive redish color and they tasted like chicken so Im pretty sure they just dyed chicken red and called it hotdogs.  haha.

Elder Thomas, leaving for Ecuador.  He's a
great man, and he goes to the U.
Tell Annee I love and miss her and that she is in my prayers. I hope her horses are getting well. Also happy birthday to Peyton coming up! Wow 3 already thats crazy to think about!

Good luck on your talks in church! I have a talk story I would like to share as well today. So now with the
talk in church story. Every week we have to prepare a talk in Spanish on a random topic and we don't know who speaks, they just will randomly call you up to speak to the zone so it's pretty exciting. So of course I get called up second so I was just like, fabulous, my talk is horrible.  I just prayed to the Lord and asked that he would help me with my pronunciation and with my Spanish in general. My talk went well I thought, it
Elder Leech, one of the funniest guys I know.
I'm going to miss him.
wasn't too bad, but I didn't think it was good at all.   After Sacrament Meeting, Elder Thomas, Elder Ralphs and also the branch president and his counselor came up to me and were like, wow Elder Woffinden, you spoke fantastic! We understood every word and we're not just saying it. You sounded like you were fluent in Spanish! WOW is all I can say, what a blessing that God heard my prayer and helped me with my talk! I know the story isn't that exciting, but it really made me happy throughout the day.

Elder Dougherty and I are doing great with our investigators as well. We don't even go in with any papers, notes or anything, just the scriptures and faith that we can have the spirit and it all works out. The teachers who play investigators make up fake lives to act out, but what we have found out that it is most of the time their own personal conversion story or somebody they know in their life, so it's so great to have that experience and to practice it everyday. Hermano Trejo and Hermana Valquez say we speak great and really listen to what the investigators needs are, which is the true purpose of missionary work.

Sleeping here is impossible haha especially on the weekends. They have raves, literally techno music blaring all through the night and our casa is right by the wall so we hear everything. It's terrible, plus the majority of the time I really enjoy the song because it was on my phone back home.  haha.

I hope everybody is well and enjoying themselves back home! I love and miss you all a ton. 2 weeks from today I leave for Cali. I'm very nervous, but also excited.
My District, District 5B.
Our oldest district left for Ecudaor and 1 to Colorado and another to Cali late last night. They were all awesome missionaries and such great examples to me personally! I know I'm not the best missionary and I struggle everyday with doubts and frustration and temptations, but I'm glad to have had examples like District 5C to help me in my stay here! Btw I am in District 5B if you were wondering mom or anyone. Well have a great week and stay safe! Love you all so much! Hasta Luego.


Elder Woffinden

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A trip to the Mexico City Temple

Mi Familia!! It is great to hear from you! I love reading your emails every week. Yes it is still hard for me being disconnected from the world, aka cell phones instagram, facebook, all that great stuff, but I actually really enjoy the peace of mind.  Where do I begin.  First, I would like to thank you all for your love and support it really boosts my confidence each day.

Today we went to the Temple!! It was awesome and is so beautiful, its crazy. We were all stoked out of our minds to be able to get out of the prison walls. Haha, jk  Mexico City is very very poor and a guy told us that for every square mile there is about 13,000 people which is insane!  The temple is incredible even though we could only go to the visitors center since it is closed.  I am so thankful to be able to get out and see it.  I was starting to think that we were not going to be able to go.

Mexico City Temple
Jason, his companion and roomies

Temple Excursion

Mexico City
Mexico City
 Tonight is Costco pizza night!!  The highlight of my week.  American food is too good plus it made me miss the days of working at Costco in St G. haha.   On Sunday we had our first fast and testimony meeting out in the field. We fasted from 1pm on Saturday to 1pm on Sunday it was so hard.   I bore my testimony all in Spanish to our whole zone, it was awesome! The spirit was so strong in that chapel.  I am getting really good at being able to hear what everyone is saying but speaking I am still shaky, but I am slowly, very slowly improving. So during sacrament meeting we had all the windows down because there is no AC here.  While they were starting the sacrament, we start to hear music playing loud throughout the city.  It took a second for me to recognize it, but once I did I started to laugh.  ha   It was SANDSTORM a song that my friends and I used to love back in our clubbing and high school days. haha   It brought back so many memories.  Let me be clear, it was dead silent in the chapel, and the music was blaring.  haha  So all the elders were just trying not to laugh it was too funny.

Hey..."I am talking to YOU!"

We had a devotional with Jeffery R Holland that night on a broadcast.  My favorite apostle.. he is literally the  He spoke with such power and passion.  I just loved every minute of it!  The apostles are just too good.. love their words, and I am so stoked for conference! SO yesterday Elder Dougherty and I had the best day of our mission so far. We taught Fabian and another elder some lessons. We both spoke so well, and we truly listened and were able to understand almost all he said it was great!  We got him to pray and he said he would begin the Book of Mormon.   We hope he reads it..   Even though he is our teacher, it still feels like a real investigator.

How are things at home though?  I have a quote I found in preach my gospel that really spoke to me. I would like to share it with you in hopes that it can help you as well.  It says, "life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature. There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all. Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of PATIENCE is required"- President Thomas S. Monson.
That spoke to me like nothing I have ever heard because let’s be honest, I am the most impatient person in the world haha so that helps motivate me to try to be better each day.  I’m not perfect and nobody is.  Believe me, I still have temptations here like I did back home.  It’s just how we respond and how we act upon them that truly matters. I hope you all like my pics I send home.  It is kinda hard deciding what to take pictures of.

Well I love you all very much! Thanks for all you do for me I can never repay you for it. To my friends back home, love you guys keep up the good work in whatever you do with school, work etc.  Mi famila, Yo se que familas son eternal! Yo se que Dios es nuestro Padre Celestial y es amoroso. Yo se que Jesucristo es el Salvador y Redentor del mundo. Estoy muy muy agradecido por mi familia y mis amigos en mi vida. Yo se que Thomas S. Monson es un profeta del mundo hoy en el nombre de Jesucristo amen. Love you guys! Look forward to your next email stay safe and know I love you!

Elder Woffinden  (aka) Superman