September 29, 2014 The Song of the Righteous is a Prayer unto Me

Hey y'all.

This week was full of weird things. first we went on divisions with the zone leaders and while I was with on of them he had an interview with President Christensen. later that night he got a call from the president and his PARENTS. he has been having a lot of problems with his health recently (his knees are shot) and the final decision of all these talks are that he is going home in two weeks. he is from the same generation as I am so that means that he is going home at 20 months instead of 24. I was hard when an elder goes home early. also that same day I heard of another elder who went home early. also for knee problems. He lives in Woodinville (yes that Woodinville). you should ask my president for his address to go visit him. Hopefully he will be coming back but who knows. 

this week we also participated in a choir for a stake activity (see the letter to President Christensen for more info). It was nice to sing in a choir again.

President Christensen,

This week our recent convert invited one of his friends to come to church and he came!! It was really cool to see someone invite someone else to church. it can be amazing that someone who only has a month as a member of the church is quicker to invite people to church than people who have been members the majority of their lives.

I would like to thank you for the opportunity you gave us to sing as part of the stake activity. I really love to sing and it was really nice to have another opportunity after over a year of not being able to. I love just seeing the faces of the people in the audience and how they react to a few people expressing their feelings in song. I remember looking once at yours and Sister Christensen's faces and all I remember are your smiles. Thank you for letting us participate.

Elder Blanding

Elder Jason Blanding.

September 22, 2014 5 left

In 5 more months I will be home... I can't bear to think about it. things go way too fast out here. honestly I start to think about it and I start to feel bad. 

SOOOO. This week we had a zone conference. IT WAS AWESOME!!! I love zone conferences and this one was especially good. President taught us some awesome new stuff about how to teach with POWER. He also taught about the atonement but it didn't really have a whole lot of new information for me (he used a lot of things from the Infinite Atonement). The hard part is that I did the math and I only have ONE zone conference left in my mission. I realized this because in every zone conference they have the missionaries who are going home before the next one to give a short testimony and I saw people who should be one group before me to go home (should because they are going early because of BYU) go up. It gave me a creepy feeling when it hit me. 

We haven't been having a whole lot of success recently. It has been hard to find new people to teach and the majority that we have been able to find don't seem very interested. The area is a little hard but we keep working. We are also now well into the rainy season. It rains every day without fail. So it can be hard to find people in the streets. We are going to keep on trying and see what we can do to find more people.

President Christensen.

The zone conference was awesome!! Thank you very much. I learned a lot and I really want to practice a lot until I can really get a hang on the new stuff you taught us about "Enseñar con Poder." I do have a quick question for you though. I tried to use it a few days ago when we were on divisions but almost every time I tried to ask a question to know more the member started to speak and changed the subject before I could say anything. What can I do to have more control of the lessons in these types of circumstances? I can't just ignore what they say or tell them to be quiet and I feel extremely rude if I just try to cut them off by talking over them. I feel that controlling the lesson is one of the hardest parts of being able to put these new techniques in practice. If you can't keep the lesson on topic very long it would seem imposable to really get to the bottom of someones beliefs and, ultimately resolve them.

Elder Blanding.

September 15, 2014 HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!

Tomorrow is the Mexican Independence day.

this week we had the stake "Noche Mexicana". It was cool that we were able to go. My last one in Mexico... wow that is something I don't want to think about.  

This week we went to the hospital again so that my companion could get his knee checked again. we are going to have to go again this week. I hope that this is the last time that we have to go. 

The work is going ok right now. we are having a difficult time finding people who are really interested. We have found a few people these last few weeks but they don't seem to have any interest at all. One family for instance had been to church 4 times in another ward and then moved to our area about a month ago. The first time we visited them we put a baptismal date but since then we haven't been able to teach them even once... nor have they gone to church in either of the two wards. We put appointments with them and when we go by the next time they aren't there. We can't just start teaching them in the moment because there is never a man in the house. we could try to bring someone with us but that is really hard because we never know if we are going to find them or not.  I hope that this week we can get things done and find new people to teach who are really interested in learning and changing.

Elder Jason Blanding.

 "This picture is my district in the stake activity." Elder Jason Blanding is the blond on the right. 

"This picture is my district in the stake activity."
Elder Jason Blanding is the blond on the right. 

September 8, 2014 Boring Week

hey y'all.

the title about says it all. This week was relatively boring. We had to babysit a new elder who had just gotten here from the MTC so we got permission to go to changes even though either of us had changes. then on thrusday we spent the whole afternoon in the hospital because my companion's knee has been hurting him a lot and so he put an appointment to visit a specialist. we therefore lost a fair amount of time this week. we really are going to try hard this week to get more investigators progressing. we really need a lot of help there. we haven't really had anyone since J*.

Elder Blanding.

President Christensen.

This week was rather down. we had to go to changes because we were watching a new missionary making us lose some time. then my companion had his doctor appointment on Thursday taking up all day from 4pm on. from there on we were trying to make up for lost time but still weren't able to get much done. We are really going to get down this week to get things done. 

I really want to try new things this change with the district. I'm trying to think of things I haven't seen done yet, plan them out and do them but I am still working on thinking them right now. The general form of things won't change but I do want to see if by trying something new and different I can help more.

Elder Blanding.

*38: People hold parties in the middle of the street because no one has room in their house.

August 25, 2014 Dressed in White!!!

J* got Baptized!!

That might as well be the end of my E-Mail because I can't really think of anything else to say.

I really can't think of anything to write.

President Christensen.

Well this week J* got baptized!!! There where quite a few setbacks (the representitive of the bishoprick showed up an hour late and the ward mission leader never did and forgot to tell us that he wasn't going to be able to come) so we didn't get started until an hour after we had it planned. the end result was what we wanted… J* got baptized. It is always nice to see one more of God's children take this great step to return to him. The best part is that this change I have gotten to see 5.

The district is still going good. I have seen a lot of progress in almost every part of the work. My goal for this week is that as a district we can make this the best week of the change. 

Elder Blanding.

*36: There are more dogs in the street than people.

 Elder Jason Blanding, far right

Elder Jason Blanding, far right

August 18, 2014 One month of Baptisms!!

This month has been full of baptisms!! The sisters in Camino Real 2 had another two baptisms!! This weekend J* should be getting baptized!! The sisters of Zavaleta 1 have a date for the 30th (it might change but right now they are doing everything so that it doesn't)!! It is awesome to be able to see so many of God's children making covenants with him.

This week hasn't been so good. We are finding the common problem of no one being home... ever. We can always find people in the street but that isn't the same as teaching someone in their house. We also had an interesting experience this week. we where walking down the street and an old drunk guy started calling for us to come over (he was in the middle of the street). when we shook his hand he had a grip like a vice (really, it hurt our hands). he basically made us help him home (he wouldn't let go of our hands). this would have been fine if he lived a few blocks away, like we thought he did. He didn't. He lived in the far corner of the OTHER WARD in the district. to not take up half a page with details; 45-60min later we finally got him to his house, missed our appointment and almost got to the church late for the baptismal interviews of Camino Real 2 (which were cancelled anyways and changed for the next day). Over all that was our day. helping this crazy old fart home and almost getting lost in the process. 

It was an interesting week. but over all everything ended pretty good.

Elder Jason Blanding (I now have no option I have to put Jason because Mike is also Elder Blanding now).

President Christensen.

So this week went OK. A lot of lessons fell through. I really don't like when we spend all day trying to find people in their houses. It is the hardest part about being a missionary... no one is ever home. I feel like sometimes we only manage to contact people who are literally never at home. We have had a little success here... we are going to have a baptism this weekend. he has had a lot of problems in the past and we think that it would be better if you or Hno Perez did the interview because we think that he might have been involved in an abortion in the past. He was going to be baptized a few months ago but when they had the interview he wasn't given the green light (we don't know why the information in the area book isn't very specific). We are really exited for him!! 

The district is still progressing well. The sisters from Camino Real 2 had two more baptisms this week!! The district might just baptize every weekend this month (other than the first week but there are 5 weekends this month). It has been amazing to be able to work in this district. Now I want to focus on helping the rest of the district find more investigators. particularly Camino Real 2 because they really don't have very many of them anymore (they just got baptized). It can be a little hard sometimes to really see what the cause of some of the numbers are and therefore decide what I need to focus on. I'm still have a lot to learn but I'm sure I will have it down by the time I'm done being district leader. Probably right as I finish but that is almost always how it works, as soon as I really figure out how to do something I am given another assignment. 

Elder Blanding.

*35: If one store is closed you can just walk another few feet and there will be another just around the corner (sometimes you don't even need to go that far).

August 11, 2014 Clean as a Whistle

So this week one of the companionships in my district had 2 baptisms!!  It was awesome!! one of the people who got baptized asked me to baptize them. It is always an amazing experience to be able to participate in a baptism. the spirit is always so strong in a baptismal service. when the person comes up out of the water you can just feel how clean they are. not even one spot. 

J* didn't come to church this week. It was sad. We changed his date so that he can have a little more time to be able to prepare. He really wants to get baptized. Every time we talk to him we can tell. all we have to do is help him get 100% ready. We really really hope that he will be able to get baptized before the end of the month. 

I don't really like being a district leader. It takes up all my time. Every night I have to make 1 or 2 phone calls to the district. That takes up a ton of time. I really hope I'm not a district leader for very long so that I can have time to relax at the end of a long day. But even if I don't like it every one keeps telling me that I'm a great district leader. This last week was a really good week for the district. As a district we went up in every single one of the key indicators (except one). I don't know what I did (I actually doubt it was me) but something happened in the district. We all had more success. This Saturday the same sisters that had the baptisms this week are going to have 2 more. They are going to have 4 baptisms in one 2 weeks. That is awesome. I really hope that we can get to the point where everyone is baptizing weekly.

President Christensen;

This week went well. We had a lot more success than last week. the district is improving a lot. I gave my first baptismal interviews on Thursday and then I was asked to participate in the ordnance. It is always an amazing experience being able to help someone make a convent with God and receive remission of their sins. 

This week the district as a whole improved in everything. It has been awesome to be able to see the district improve like this. I really don't think I have done very much to make this change. I have only tried to help the sisters to focus on always improving something. I believe that there is always something that can be improved and the only thing that I have been trying to do is help them find something to improve every day. 

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to help other people become better. 

Elder Blanding

[I’m taking out 1-30 because it is making these emails long and you have already read them.]

*31: Almost every computer has a virus.

*32: The Beetle is the most common car in existence.

*33: People ride around on backwards tricycles selling food.

*34: One day a store front will be empty and the next it will have a fully functioning Internet server (or whatever else they decide to put there)

August 4, 2014 17 again

17 months!! wow I have almost served the mission of a sister missionary. I feel like I still have so much to do and I only have another 6.5 months to do it in. everyone here says that the mission is 1 year and 5 minutes... I am almost halfway through the 5 minutes.

J* came to Church on Sunday!!! He really loves the Gospel, it has changed his life for the better. He is so far on track for his baptism on the 16th but we think he might still have a drinking problem so we are going to see what we can do with that this week. We are going to work hard with him.

not much more to say about this week. it has been busy but not busy enough. A district leader is always busy, never any time to rest. always on the phone at night (worse on Sunday) and never able to do anything that he wants to do.

President Christensen;

we are seeing progress in the area. It has been hard to get going because we still haven't been able to find the majority of the investigators that the other elders left for us. but we keep on working. we have already found someone that other elders had taught about 2 months ago and was about to get baptized but didn't pass his interview and therefor didn't get baptized. He is almost ready for baptism. we are going to do everything possible to help him overcome his problems (he had problems with the  law of chastity and drinking) for good and be ready to make the baptismal covenant. 

The district is doing good. everyone has investigators getting ready for baptism. we also all had at least one investigator in sacrament meeting this Sunday. I feel that this is one of those moments where we need to be happy with what we have accomplished but not satisfied. I am going to focus on helping the district work more with the members this week (not just more often but also more effectively). As a district the lessons with members present went up a lot this week and the references went up a little as well but I feel like there is still a lot that can be done to make it even more effective. 

Elder Blanding.

packing tips: Don't take to much!!! you really only need to give him 2 decent sized suit cases. It can be a pain taking 3 around, I actually have gotten rid of enough stuff I didn't need that I can put my little suit case inside my big one now (I still need a duffle bag to fit everything but that isn't that hard). he doesn't need to bring much clothing for exercise... just two shorts and two T-shirts (wash 1 use the other then switch every week). The rule of thumb is, "if you can do without it, don't bring it." he will also get Scriptures in Spanish in the MTC along with a big PMG in spanish. I would suggest that he buys a small English one to bring with him. I think that is about it. the good thing is that because he is in the States still it will be a lot easier to send him stuff.

As for BYU. my plan was to get in for spring, if posable. and work until it starts in April. 

I would love to come visit Puebla at least a few days. I may want to be here a whole week (one day per area... almost). I was also thinking that we could hit Cancun or some other big tourist spot while we are in the country (it may be a pain to get Visas so we might want to make the most of the trip).

oh and you will never guess... Some of the members of my last area know the Montiels. They grew up in Mexico City together with Sister Montiel. We found out when you accepted their Facebook requests and then we ran into each other this week at a stake activity (I am still in the same stake). small world. just tell sister Montiel that the Sanchez-Tapia family says hi. 

Elder Jason Blanding (I am going to have to put Jason from now on aren't I)

 

July 21, 2014 4...3...2...1

I have changes!! we are closing the area for sisters to come in. that means that I will have been in this area for only 1 transfer. If you lost track that makes it 4 in Alamos 1, 3 in San Pablo 1, 2 in Almacatla 1, and 1 in Manantiales 1. hence the 4...3...2...1 in the title. it also makes 3.5 of my 4 areas have sisters in them (the 0.5 comes from Almacatla 1 where we divided the area). 

I don't have much time to write because one of the members here took us to one of those Brazilian stake houses (the ones dad told us about where they bring the meet around on swords). It was awesome!!! I'll send a picture next week when I have time.

Elder Jason Blanding

President Christensen;

I would like to thank you for the great opportunity you gave me of being here in Manantiales. I have learned a lot that I will put into practice in the rest of my mission. I hope to be able to full-fill whatever assignment you chose to give me.

 

Elder Blanding.

1: You have to warm up their water every morning by turning on a boiler that is outside the house and fueled by a tank of natural gas that you buy off of trucks that drive down the street.

2: There is almost no such thing as a back yard. (or a front yard for that matter) because all of the houses are placed one next to the other.

3: A finished house is the exception rather than the rule.

4: You buy your bread out of a van that goes down the street blasting a really annoying song.

5: You can basically live within a block of your house. 

6: Instead of a police force to control speeding they just put speed bumps every 100 meters on all of their main roads. (even the freeway has speed bumps).

7: No one has personal computers. Instead they go to the nearest Internet server to do anything and everything computer based.

8: You can't buy a vacuum in Mexico. partly because no one ever has carpet.

9: Wooden houses are for the poor people and cement is for the rich. (a wooden house here is basically like a camp shack, 4 walls and a roof)

10: Pizza is delivered by a motorcycle.

11: Fresa (strawberry) is a slang term that can be interpreted as posh, rich, really nice, or just anything upper-class. not just a very tasty fruit. 

12: Being 30min to an hour late is normal...

13: A Piña (pineapple) is a slang term for a good looking woman. not just a delicious fruit.

14: It is virtually imposable to buy Root Beer. [I found a place where you can get it... but it is super expensive for a missionary budget.]

15: Milk is sold in boxes and doesn't need to be refrigerated until after you open the box. The expiration date is usually for next year.

16: When there is a World Cup game on in the which their country is playing the whole city seams to shut down. you can also always tell if a goal is scored.

17: A doctor hits your stomach a few times and because it hurt says that he needs to operate

18: Average people know more than the doctor about what a sick person should or should not eat... or  at least they think they do.

19: Nobody buys DVDs in the stores... they all just buy the pirated ones you can find on almost every street corner.

20: Owning a car is for rich people.

21: Squeegees are used to clean the floor.

22: The best way to make a dog stop barking at you or chasing you is to bend down. (no really they are accustomed that when someone bends down they are going for a rock to hit them with)

*23: The public transit thinks they own the roads and that every one else has to give them space.

*24: The car horn is connected to the gas pedal of the car in front of you.

*25: If the road has no posted speed limit it has none (not a real law but they treat it that way).

July 14, 2014

Hey all. This last week was a little hard. We didn't have the success we would have liked to have had. No one came to church ;( it was sad. this means that a few of our baptismal dates fell through but yesterday (the day they fell through) we readjusted them to give them more time. I really hate that it is so hard to get people to church. We try and we try and we try but they still don't manage to come. This week we are going to go hard on getting people to church and putting more baptismal dates with people. I hope I get to stay a few more changes because I really want to be able to get some baptisms here. If I have learned anything these last few weeks it is that being bold when it comes to inviting people is the only good/effective way to get anything done. If they don't have a goal to work towards they won't move forward... ever. For anyone who is reading this that hasn't gone on a mission yet (or is currently serving one), everyone of your MTC teachers, your trainers, your mission presidents, PMG and everyone else is going to tell you to be bold when you invite people to repent and come unto Christ (read also be baptized, part of true repentance). They are not just saying it!!! It is the best, if not the only, way to do missionary work. It has taken me almost 16 months to really gain a testimony of this. I hope you don't.

 

So onto less interesting things...

The way I found out about the end of the world cup was funny. We went to a member's (less active) house because he was going to do divisions with us and when we showed up it must have been less than a minuet left on the second over time. Germany was up 1-0 and all we could hear (the member had the game on) was the announcer yelling that any second now the ref was going to blow the whistle and Germany was going to win the world cup. By the time the member finished getting ready the game had ended and the announcer was just shouting that Germany had won its 4th (I think) world cup. It was funny because we had been wondering who was going to win or who had won the cup and we just happen to walk into a house where it was being watched right as it was finishing.

Insanity is killing... I don't think I have ever worked out so much in my life and I haven't lifted a single weight. literally the name says it all. I don't end up sore anymore (or throw up) but I am always exhausted after I finish.

My companion has been given doctor's orders to lose weight so he is on an extreem diet. today he weighed himself and has lost 3kg (about 6.6lbs) in two weeks. He still has another 13kg to lose (28.6lbs) but he is on his way. He is doing insanity with me (we got it because of him) and although at times he can't keep going he is at least trying his best (which is really all that Insanity asks). I still have another 52 days to go until I finish the 60 day program so we will see what happens to my body at the end (I took a picture of myself before I started and will take one when I finnish the 60 days).

 

President Christensen;

 

This week we didn't have all that much success. We tried our best but sometimes things do work out as we hoped they would. We weren't able to get anyone to church but next week we should have a few more. 

Elder Hernandez is still working hard. He has had some difficulty due to his health and his diet (he is always hungry because he is eating so little now) but he is working through it. I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to work with him this transfer. I have learned a lot.

 

Elder Blanding

 

1: You have to warm up their water every morning by turning on a boiler that is outside the house and fueled by a tank of natural gas that you buy off of trucks that drive down the street.

2: There is almost no such thing as a back yard. (or a front yard for that matter) because all of the houses are placed one next to the other.

3: A finished house is the exception rather than the rule.

4: You buy your bread out of a van that goes down the street blasting a really annoying song.

5: You can basically live within a block of your house. 

6: Instead of a police force to control speeding they just put speed bumps every 100 meters on all of their main roads. (even the freeway has speed bumps).

7: No one has personal computers. Instead they go to the nearest Internet server to do anything and everything computer based.

8: You can't buy a vacuum in Mexico. partly because no one ever has carpet.

9: Wooden houses are for the poor people and cement is for the rich. (a wooden house here is basically like a camp shack, 4 walls and a roof)

10: Pizza is delivered by a motorcycle.

11: Fresa (strawberry) is a slang term that can be interpreted as posh, rich, really nice, or just anything upper-class. not just a very tasty fruit. 

12: Being 30min to an hour late is normal...

13: A Piña (pineapple) is a slang term for a good looking woman. not just a delicious fruit.

14: It is virtually imposable to buy Root Beer. [I found a place where you can get it... but it is super expensive for a missionary budget.]

15: Milk is sold in boxes and doesn't need to be refrigerated until after you open the box. The expiration date is usually for next year.

16: When there is a World Cup game on in the which their country is playing the whole city seams to shut down. you can also always tell if a goal is scored.

17: A doctor hits your stomach a few times and because it hurt says that he needs to operate

18: Average people know more than the doctor about what a sick person should or should not eat... or  at least they think they do.

19: Nobody buys DVDs in the stores... they all just buy the pirated ones you can find on almost every street corner.

*20: Owning a car is for rich people.

*21: Squeegees are used to clean the floor.

*22: The best way to make a dog stop barking at you or chasing you is to bend down. (no really they are accustomed that when someone bends down they are going for a rock to hit them with)

 

Elder Jason Blanding

July 7, 2014 "Insanity!!! (don't worry nothing is wrong)"

[Editor's note: I asked about the earthquake in southern Mexico and he replied: "I heard about the earthquake it was a bad one. Luckily it only hit Guatemala and Chiapas."]

 

Right now my legs are sooooooooo sore. I started an exercise program called Insanity today and the name says it all. IT IS INSANE!! We started to day (my companion and I) and we both ended up super sore and we both threw up. It was awesome and I will consider it a triumph if by the end of the 60 day program I can do it without being super sore or throwing up.

I hope that the subject of this E-Mail isn't quite as startling as the others were. But hey they got the result I was looking for (a startled mom) but not quite for the right reason.

Congratulations to Kray on finally doing something right and getting married.

To read about this week's miracle see my letter to president.

President Christensen,

This week we had a miracle. we found a family of 11 this week and they all look really exited. One of them came to Church on Sunday and has a baptismal date for August 8th. It is awesome to see when we are lead to people who are ready to hear the gospel. the work can be difficult at times but when you find someone like this it is amazing. we are going to be focusing a lot on them these coming weeks to be able to help them all come unto Christ.

Elder Blanding

1: You have to warm up their water every morning by turning on a boiler that is outside the house and fueled by a tank of natural gas that you buy off of trucks that drive down the street.

2: There is almost no such thing as a back yard. (or a front yard for that matter) because all of the houses are placed one next to the other.

3: A finished house is the exception rather than the rule.

4: You buy your bread out of a van that goes down the street blasting a really annoying song.

5: You can basically live within a block of your house. 

6: Instead of a police force to control speeding they just put speed bumps every 100 meters on all of their main roads. (even the freeway has speed bumps).

7: No one has personal computers. Instead they go to the nearest Internet server to do anything and everything computer based.

8: You can't buy a vacuum in Mexico. partly because no one ever has carpet.

9: Wooden houses are for the poor people and cement is for the rich. (a wooden house here is basically like a camp shack, 4 walls and a roof)

10: Pizza is delivered by a motorcycle.

11: Fresa (strawberry) is a slang term that can be interpreted as posh, rich, really nice, or just anything upper-class. not just a very tasty fruit. 

12: Being 30min to an hour late is normal...

13: A Piña (pineapple) is a slang term for a good looking woman. not just a delicious fruit.

14: It is virtually imposable to buy Root Beer. *I found a place where you can get it... but it is super expensive for a missionary budget.

15: Milk is sold in boxes and doesn't need to be refrigerated until after you open the box. The expiration date is usually for next year.

16: When there is a World Cup game on in the which their country is playing the whole city seams to shut down. you can also always tell if a goal is scored.

17: A doctor hits your stomach a few times and because it hurt says that he needs to operate

*18: Average people know more than the doctor about what a sick person should or should not eat... or  at least they think they do.

*19: Nobody buys DVDs in the stores... they all just buy the pirated ones you can find on almost every street corner.

 

Elder Jason Blanding

June 30, 2014 "A Hospital Visit!!!"

[Editor's note: Missionaries when you are writing home and you have "Hospital Visit!!!" in the subject line and you know that your mom will be using her phone to download your email and it takes a while to download the body of the email...you just made your mom visit the hospital herself! I had a heart attack when the rest of the email wouldn't download!]

 

Hey this week we went to the hospital!!! my companion was feeling bad and so he called the mission doctor and she told him that in the morning (this was at about 9:30-10:00 Tuesday night) he should take his pressure and if it was high to give her a call. the next day we did just that and the person with which he took his pressure told him it was high so he called the doctor again. she told him to go to the hospital... right away. we quickly went home to get a few things just in case they made us stay over night and went to the emergency entrance to the hospital (that is where she told us to go). after the first check they told him he needed to see another doctor so we went to him. He didn't even test him or anything, just asked his symptoms and hit his stomach a few times, and told us he was going to have us stay over night to be able to operate on my companion. we basically told him to suck it because we weren't going to just give in to an operation that easy. instead we went back to the emergency and had them do the ultrasound the other doctor wanted (luckily my companion hadn't eaten for almost 6 hours). there was nothing.... we finally got home at about 9:30pm (we went into the hospital at about 12:30-1:00PM. It was a real pain. In the end they just told him he needs to go on a diet and they gave him a few medications to take.

See my letter to President Christensen to see the miracle of this week.

 

President Christensen;

It was really nice to be able to have the zone conference this week. I always learn a lot during those conferences.

This week we almost didn't work because we spent all of Wednesday in the hospital, Thursday in the zone conference, Friday planning/coordination meeting/a ward mission activity that fell through because 45 minutes after it should have started we still didn't have anyone there other that the members that were going to run the activity and on Sunday we had the training meeting in the stake. Put all of that together and we worked about 2 or 3 full days this week. There wasn't much we could do about it because they were all things that we didn't have control over but it was still frustrating to know that we didn't do almost anything this week. This next week we are going to put in the batteries and do everything we can to make up for last week.

We did have a really cool experience on Sunday. One of the members here (Antonio Baez, the first speaker in the meeting last night in the stake center) called us during the food and asked us if we were going to visit anyone before the meeting in the stake center. He accompanied us for the second visit to one of our investigators and helped us put two baptismal dates, one of which we hadn't taught yet but just invited to come listen to the lesson because she happened to also be in the house at the time. I realized that putting a baptismal date in the first lesson is not only possible but actually helps the investigator have a goal to be working for. He then, on the way to the meeting, told us of some of the things he learned/did in his mission and it helped us see a lot of things we can do better. After this experience I will try to place a date with every person in the first or second lesson (first as a rule and the second if I see that there are circumstances that would effect when they could be baptized). I'm just sad that I hadn't really learned this lesson earlier in my mission (it seems that I am learning so many things now that I wish I had known 15 months ago).

Elder Blanding

 

1: You have to warm up their water every morning by turning on a boiler that is outside the house and fueled by a tank of natural gas that you buy off of trucks that drive down the street.

2: There is almost no such thing as a back yard. (or a front yard for that matter) because all of the houses are placed one next to the other.

3: A finished house is the exception rather than the rule.

4: You buy your bread out of a van that goes down the street blasting a really annoying song.

5: You can basically live within a block of your house. 

6: Instead of a police force to control speeding they just put speed bumps every 100 meters on all of their main roads. (even the freeway has speed bumps).

7: No one has personal computers. Instead they go to the nearest Internet server to do anything and everything computer based.

8: You can't buy a vacuum in Mexico. partly because no one ever has carpet.

9: Wooden houses are for the poor people and cement is for the rich. (a wooden house here is basically like a camp shack, 4 walls and a roof)

10: Pizza is delivered by a motorcycle.

11: Fresa (strawberry) is a slang term that can be interpreted as posh, rich, really nice, or just anything upper-class. not just a very tasty fruit. 

12: Being 30min to an hour late is normal...

13: A Piña (pineapple) is a slang term for a good looking woman. not just a delicious fruit.

14: It is virtually imposable to buy Root Beer. 

15: Milk is sold in boxes and doesn't need to be refrigerated until after you open the box. The expiration date is usually for next year.

16: When there is a World Cup game on in the which their country is playing the whole city seams to shut down. you can also always tell if a goal is scored.

*17: A doctor hits your stomach a few times and because it hurt says that he needs to operate

 

Elder Jason Blanding

[He sent a picture but it is of his companion in the hospital and I know as a mom I wouldn't want his companion's mom posting a photo of my son on the "table."]

June 23, 2104

oh OK. you did put that you were the sweeper but I didn't realize that was actually an assignment. I thought you were just being sarcastic or something.

oh I think that Mexico is winning the game right now because we can here it in the internet we are in.

So this week is going to be really busy. We already have appointments every hour up until Friday!! we are at Monday and we literally have not one hour without an appointment. it is a really cool feeling. I love being busy. The only problem is that we can't really focus on anyone. I really hope that we can find a way to get the ward involved so that people are in constant contact with someone form the church. I really hope we can make this work.

I can't really think of much else to say about this week. just what I wrote in my letter to President Christensen

President Christensen;

This week we have been starting to see a few miracles. We have found 2 people this week that look like they could progress really fast. We just need to be able to find time to visit them... our agenda is already full up until friday. I wish we could do more devicions but the few members we have in our side of the ward are always working (finding 2 adults that have the same time free has proved imposable). We are trying all we can to find a way to manage the agenda so that we can visit the people we are teaching more than once a week (something very important if they are to progress). We may just need to have the members visit all of our investigators during the days we can't. It is hard to work with only half of a ward.

Elder Blanding

1: You have to warm up their water every morning by turning on a boiler that is outside the house and fueled by a tank of natural gas that you buy off of trucks that drive down the street.

2: There is almost no such thing as a back yard. (or a front yard for that matter) because all of the houses are placed one next to the other.

3: A finished house is the exception rather than the rule.

4: You buy your bread out of a van that goes down the street blasting a really annoying song.

5: You can basically live within a block of your house. 

6: Instead of a police force to control speeding they just put speed bumps every 100 meters on all of their main roads. (even the freeway has speed bumps).

7: No one has personal computers. Instead they go to the nearest Internet server to do anything and everything computer based.

8: You can't buy a vacuum in Mexico. partly because no one ever has carpet.

9: Wooden houses are for the poor people and cement is for the rich. (a wooden house here is basically like a camp shack, 4 walls and a roof)

10: Pizza is delivered by a motorcycle.

11: Fresa (strawberry) is a slang term that can be interpreted as posh, rich, really nice, or just anything upper-class. not just a very tasty fruit. 

12: Being 30min to an hour late is normal...

13: A Piña (pineapple) is a slang term for a good looking woman. not just a delicious fruit.

14: It is virtually imposable to buy Root Beer. 

15: Milk is sold in boxes and doesn't need to be refrigerated until after you open the box. The expiration date is usually for next year.

*16: When there is a World Cup game on in the which their country is playing the whole city seams to shut down. you can also always tell if a goal is scored.

Elder Jason Blanding

June 9, 2014

CHANGES ARE UPON US AGAIN. AND I HAVE CHANGES!!! 

The first time I have been in an area for less than 3 changes. Thank you for letting me come here to Almecatla 1. It has been awesome and I have learned a lot about how to be a better missionary. I wish I could stay another change or two. I really like it here. I hope that I will be able to fulfill my next assignment, what ever it may be. I am so nervous about where I will go and what will be my new assignment. 

It was funny when we got the call from the Zone Leaders about the changes. Elder Graff (who has been here 3 changes, 1 more than me) thought that for sure he was going to have changes. It was to the point that he was saying goodbye to all the members and investigators we have here. I had told him not to say bye before he knew for sure but he ignored me and kept doing it all week. So when the Zone Leaders call Saturday night he answers the phone and they ask him who he thinks is going to have changes. We already knew that two of the sisters in the district were going to have changes (one is going to train and as one of the leader sisters she can't do it in the area so she was going to have changes and the other sister was tolled by President Christensen in that morning because her companion is going to have a special assignment and they always advice/ask before hand). Elder Graff answered that those two sisters and then said that he thought that he was going to have changes... They told him he was right about the two sisters but wrong about himself. I have the changes and he doesn't. His reaction was super funny. He was so surprised. This is a perfect example of counting your chickens before they hatch.

We have seen success here these last two weeks. We have had people in Sacrament Meeting every week. We haven't had success with the divisions but I have learned a lot about how to organize things so that even if things don't go as planned we can still manage to attend to all of our obligations. I really hope that I can put into practice all the things that I have learned here during the rest of my mission. 

It is always so hard to say goodbye to people you have known for months and now are not likely to see for almost a year and even then only once more. I really hope that I like my next area even more because it will take away from the sadness of leaving such a good area.

So Dad has asked me to start commenting on things that surprises(ed) me or that I find interesting about Mexico and/or Puebla/Tlaxcala (the other state in the mission). I may have mentioned some of these things before but I will make it a list to keep track of what I say so I don't keep repeating myself every few months. I will just copy the list and add to it (putting an * before the new ones) every week.

*1: You have to warm up their water every morning by turning on a boiler that is outside the house and fueled by a tank of natural gas that you buy off of trucks that drive down the street.

*2: There is almost no such thing as a back yard. (or a front yard for that matter) because all of the houses are placed one next to the other.

*3: A finished house is the exception rather than the rule.

*4: You buy your bread out of a van that goes down the street blasting a really annoying song.

*5: You can basically live within a block of your house. 

*6: Instead of a police force to control speeding they just put speed bumps every 100 meters on all of their main roads. (even the freeway has speed bumps).

*7: No one has personal computers. Instead they go to the nearest Internet server to do anything and everything computer based.

*8: You can't buy a vacuum in Mexico. partly because no one ever has carpet.

*9: Wooden houses are for the poor people and cement is for the rich. (a wooden house here is basically like a camp shack, 4 walls and a roof)

*10: Pizza is delivered by a motorcycle.

Love;

Elder Jason Blanding.

June 2, 2014

We also had a great weekend here. (I will elaborate in the official E-mail. this is only to respond to the things in this E-mail)

I didn't really want you to buy a new snuggy (or spend any extra money, only if it fit in the box). I put mine in the boxes with the rest of my stuff (it is a blue one). for future reference when I ask for things like a stuggy or something like that, that are wants not needs. I don't want you to send extra packages than what you would have sent other wise. it is expensive to send stuff here to Mexico so I don't want extra packages. one every 6 weeks is more than enough.

I was actually about to suggest that we come back some time for a visit after I get back. I know of a few really cool places to visit and there are also a few that I haven't been able to really go to because they are closed on Mondays (Los Fuertes for example). I will start to make a list when I can find the time. 

As for the BYU stuff. I remember that awhile ago I sent some drafts of some of the essays that they ask for. I think it was back when I was in Alamos with Elder Swensen. look about a year ago in your E-Mail because It has already been over a year since I got here to Mexico.

here are some pictures that I have been meaning to send for a while but I kept forgetting the cord for my camera.

1: mother's day photo
2: my lovely socks... they all seamed to get holes at the same time.
3: this one I just took today of the peach cobbler that Elder Graff and I made today for a district breakfast (it ended up as more of a lunch). It was really good but not quite as good as if it had been made in a dutch oven over hot coals.

PS. if you want to come to Puebla with me bring something for car sickness because we are going to use the public transport and it can get pretty bad at times.

PPS. have dad get the Hot Tub 100% ready for when I get home because I will really need it.

 Elder Jason Blanding on the right.

Elder Jason Blanding on the right.

 Elder Jason Blanding's holy socks.

Elder Jason Blanding's holy socks.

 Yum!

Yum!

It can be interesting to see how one moment you can feel like everything is turning out wrong and the next that everything is going your way. that was how it felt from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon. 

On Saturday we had an interesting experience... we were running behind because we had planed double appointments. we hoped that we would be able to do divisions with the ward to be able to attend to both of them. but we ended up not being able to do the divisions. as a result we were running all over the place to get to all of the appointments we had but we would have to go early to some and late to others to be able to accommodate all of them. we showed up to an appointment with a family that had committed to coming to Church last week but never showed up. 

We knocked on the door (about an hour late for the appointment) and the brother answered. He didn't let us come in (not because we were late, that is normal here). He then told us that he and his wife did indeed arrive at Church (obviously after the meeting had started or we would have seen them) but that they didn't go in because some members who were out side offended them by "sweeping them from head to food with their eyes" (that is about the best translation I can think of) and they got offended because they felt that they were judging them because they didn't come dressed right (he wasn't warring a white shirt and tie). for this reason they didn't even go into the meeting but instead just turned around and went home...

We spent a good 15 minuets trying to figure out what really happened and help him see that he was judging the book by the cover and he should give it one more chance. in the end he basically told us that they weren't interested anymore (but was very clear that it was nothing against us two). I have a feeling that more than anything they had gone to Church with the wrong attitude. They were looking for any reason to just turn around and go home and when they saw the members in the parking lot looking at them they felt that they were judging them for how they were dressed and therefore decided that that was a good enough reason not to go in.

This whole experience just made me upset for the rest of the day and into Sunday morning.

The happy ending to this story is that on Sunday 6 investigators and 2 less active members came to Church. They were two different families (the less actives are actually family of one of the investigator families that came, kind of funny).

Elder Jason Blanding.

 Elder G

Elder G

May 26, 2014

If you can I would love if you included my snuggy in the package (if there is space of course). The houses here have no insulation (it literally doesn't exist, everything is made of brick or block and there isn't even room for insulation) and can get a little chilly in the mornings. I've been using my fleece blanket but that doesn't really leave much room for me to move my arms or use my hands.

oh and if you were going to send me some more lemonade mix don't bother. I still haven't opened the last one you sent me. 

Hey all. 

So this week we have been working hard. We had a special zone conference this week and also the District Leader training meeting so that meant that we lost almost two full days. I hate when we have to lose so much time because of travel. We didn't have as much success as we would have liked and no one came to church but there is always next week. I really want to know what it is that I'm not doing to be able to have more success. There must be something I haven't done yet.

well I can't really think of more to say right now. after over 14 months it all begins to become the same. day after day, week after week and month after month. 

Elder Jason Blanding.

May 19, 2014

so this week will be a short Email because we haven't had much time to do almost anything today. I hate it when this happens but it does at times.

This week we had a fair amount of success. we found a ton of people to teach. almost 20 people!! the only problem is that we haven't been able to get members to go with us in any fashion. We have had divisions planned every day this week but then the members haven't shown up for one reason or another. we are trying to think of a way to resolve the problem but the only thing we can think of is to arrange them ourselves (the ward mission leader arranged them this week so we aren't sure where the mishap was). we hope this will resolve the problem. 

At times it can be hard to be a missionary and easy to feel discouraged. I know I've felt that way at times. The one thing that I have found that gives the necessary energy to keep on working is knowing that there is someone out there waiting for YOU and only YOU. If you think that way then you will always have the energy to keep on working, keep on talking to people and keep on helping people come unto Christ.

The C M family came to church this week!! it was awesome!! they are so much fun to teach. We explained the commandment of keeping the Sabbath day Holy this week and committed them to come to church... and they came!! I love seeing people come unto Christ.  

Elder Jason Blanding.