Monday, March 28, 2011

March 28th, 2011

¨Guerro¨--I think means blonde or something, and I get called it many many times a day. Especially when we play soccer, they like to call me that. I think I will be weirded out when I return to the states and everyone isn´t staring at me. Haha, but it is fun. I still don´t feel Mexican in a number of ways. I am having my ups and down in Spanish, especially when I try to say a joke and then it just really isn´t funny because my translation ruined it. Or when I am trying to respond to my companion and he thinks I am just avoiding the quesiton...but its all good, we are learning :)
I am not very good at washing my clothes by hand. I hope to improve that within a few weeks.
Well well well, Yajalon feels like home. Really! I love it here. There are 26000 people in this little pueblito, and it is really great. I think I mentioned this, but it is in a valley--therefore we are almost always going up or down steep streets. There are more or less 15 active members, and then us, our investigators, and in-active members of the church. The Branch we are a part of is soliciting to become a Ward, and then we hope to soon solicit to be a ward too. Almost all the members here are somewhat recent converts too, so it is really cool to think about where Yajalon could be in like 10 years or so.
We had Zone Conference this week, where our Mission President gave us exactly what we needed. We realized we had been neglecting a good bit the duty of recording in the Area Book, so we are trying to change that.
We do Family Home Evenings here with all the members, inactives, and some investigators once or twice a week. Also, we play soccer once a week with all the people that we can invite. We are looking for whatever ways we can find people, and get ourselves familiar with all the people here--as still the Church is not well known here.
Yolanda Kim, Leonel Gutierrez, and Marcial are a Mom (65 years old or so) Dad (80 years or so) and a ¨son¨ (19 years old). They rent houses, and 19 years ago someone rented one of the little huts--had a baby--and left him there. Yolanda and Leonel found him, and raised him as their own. He has always had a few problems obeying and fitting in, having had many psychologists visit him to no avail. He pretty much plays soccer every day now, after dropping out of high school. But, we have grown to love them. He is preparing for Baptism, and his parents are close as well. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is more effective than any Psychologist: that through it we find our purpose in this life. He once asked us why he was born, and I know that the answer to that question is in the Gospel. Yolanda, a normally hard and stubborn lady, has been reading the Book of Mormon, and sweetly expresses gratitude for the way we are helping her solve her doubts. And Leonel, is hilarious. A sweet, old, and hilarious man that agrees with everything we say.
There are many people here in Yajalon ready to receive the Gospel. With obstacles such as alcoholism, and iglesia really far, and few members, we hope that we can help bridge the gap between where our investigators are at now with covenants with God.
I know that our Saviour Jesus Christ lives. I wish I could have been there to see His ministry, but I still know it happened. It is changing the way I view the world. I know that his example, his life, and his sacrifice can lead us back to our Father one day.
Elder Palmer

Monday, March 21, 2011

March 21st, 2011

I am going back to San Cristobal for Zone conference in 30 minutes. But wow, we are so stoked!
First off, it is so wonderful, finally, I feel like I am thinking about our area and our investigators before myself. I still have a long way to go in that, but it is nice to have dreams about them and be thinking about them often.
With my companion, it is sometimes a little difficult to communicate, because sometimes I am not looking to learn how to do something, I just want to communicate my thoughts. However, I am learning so much about trying to stay humble and go along with some of the laughs that inevitably come when I make errors or something in Spanish. But, I really am learning a lot from my companion. We are very different, and it isn´t quite as natural of a best friend type thing as it was with Elder Hercules, but we are developing and improving our relationship--focusing in on the work here in Yajalon. Really, we are way excited.
Church: in Ocosingo, an hour and a half away, and not cheap. We finally brought 4 investigators (two with dates for baptisms) and 3 less actives to church yesterday! It was such a success.  I will just say that the riding conditions to and from Ocosingo was mildly typical for Chiapas, Mexico, but would thoroughly not be approved by Mom. But, we are all good. With bringing that many to church in Ocosingo, we feel like next week (services will be here in Yajalon) we will be able to bring tons of investigators here! Here, another HUGE obstacle for the investigators is Alcohol. There are so many alcoholics, but we are working to overcome this obstacle for a couple of our investigators who are afflicted with this addiction.
Yajalon had 21 people in Ocosingo yesterday, and with that type of number, they are almost ready to be a Branch. We will solicit for a branch probably in a month or two, but until then, we should have permission to start next week meeting here in Yajalon. The members and us are looking for a building to have church in...that is another obstacle. We have almost no support financially for that, but it will be great to see what happens! We have few members--all of them relatively new members or reactivated recently--but we are grateful because they are all so stoked and willing to serve!
Little miracles happen every day here. Really, we can see as the Lord places people in our way. I am touched by the power and truthfulness of the scriptures, and the peace  I know comes from aligning ourselves with the commandments.
Elder Palmer

Monday, March 14, 2011

Quick rundown. Here in Yajalon, I am showering with a bucket and washing by hand. That is an experience. Also, a native companion is really fun!

Our biggest obstacle is getting people to Church. Every other week, they have to travel to Ocosing (over an hour away) and in the process pay 100 pesos (which is a ton for lots of people!). So, that is hard, but we have talked with the Branch President and we should be able to start having meetings every week here in yajalon beginning march 27th!! That means we are on the path to making a Branch.

It is gorgeous here. I feel like I am in the Jungle, and a whole new world at the same time. Things are really going great.

I don't think I am going to write a letter to the blog this week so that I can try and put some photos up.

Love you!
Elder Palmer
snap shot of San Cristobal
With Fili (amazing investigator who will be baptized this saturday)
With Aremi (sweet lady who will get baptized this saturday)
With Irma at her Baptism in San Cristobal

I will send pictures from Yajalon next week. It is so pretty here!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 8th, 2011

What a week! I am in a different area with a different companion! Now,
I am in a little town that is called Yajalon, serving with Elder Lopez
(from Sonora Mexico). This area has only been open one transfer, and
so the people are not used to seeing missionaries--which in many ways
is such a blessing as they have curiosity. And there are literally no
foreigners here, so I still feel a little bit out place; sometimes, I
manage to forget and feel Mexican though. In this Area, many of the
people speak a language called Tseltal, which I will try to pick up a
few words here and there. Also, this area has what is called a Family
Group. They are not quite a branch, and every other Sunday meet here
for church (as a group of about 10-20 people) and the other in a town
one and a half hours away (with a legitimate Branch). So, we will do
what we can to prepare Yajalon to become its own Branch!

Back when I was with Elder Norman, he was interviewing an amazing
family for baptism. As we were waiting, I couldn´t help but notice the
little eight-year-old reading the Book of Mormon with a peaceful face
on--as his buddy played away on his little gameboy. I was touched by
how special an impact the Gospel has, even on an 8-year-old.

Also, another time, we were meeting with a young man studying
Archaeology. The Book of Mormon obviously was fascinating to him, and
he was a little taken back by the whole story of Joseph Smith and the
Restauration. He said how all of this is so new to him, and how he had
never even heard of it. I reflected a little bit on that, and was
touched as I thought that although these things are new for many--they
are so complete and so true.

It is beautiful here! I still haven´t found a place to buy something
so that I can put photos on, but I will look hard today and post
photos next week. I am so excited to be in this new Area! I have only
been in this area 1 day, and we have already begun to see many

Random thought: it is amazing how strong some of these Mexican women
are! They put like these bands on their head, and practically heave a
house on their back! Not really, but seriously I have been thoroughly

I really time and time again reflect on the Gospel (as that is what we
kind of reflect on all day every day) and I am touched numerous times
with how wonderful this plan is. I know that the plan of God, made
possible through Jesus Christ, brings happiness and peace--but more
than anything is true!

Much love from Yajalon, Chiapas, Mexico!
Elder Palmer