Mexico, Veracrus mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Elder Horrocks will be serving in the Mexico, Veracrus mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Week 4 - Popped Ears and Naked Elders

Buenos dias!

I'm not sure what to say in this e-mail because things haven't really changed much here. I'm still learning a ton of Spanish every day and it's coming. I just barely heard a native talk in the hall just now and boy do they speak quickly! It was all I could do just to catch a few verbs here and there. I had the chance to speak with one of the workers here that served his mission in Veracruz. He was from Mexico so it wasn't too different for him, but he said that it's a beautiful place and that it's very hot. He said that in one half of the mission it's really easy to baptize people, but it's harder to keep them active in the church. With the other half it's harder to baptize but easier to keep them active. He told me that when he was serving they were having an average of 500 baptisms a month! That's insane! I keep hearing that because the church is growing so rapidly there, we will be mostly working with referrals rather than knocking on random doors. That's cool because referrals are usually at least semi-interested in the message.

Anyway, I think the thing that's going to be the toughest for me when it comes to Spanish is all the grammar. Remembering the words and stuff isn't too much of a challenge, but you have to conjugate them for each specific situation. This is how Spanish is different than English: In English we just have a ton of little words that we change the order of in order to convey our message. In Spanish, you have a bunch of bigger words that you change slightly depending on the situation. Every verb has an infinitive form, for example, correr. (to run). You take that word and change it in order to use it in past tense, or future or about half a dozen other forms. It also depends on who is doing the verb or action. Just in present tense you can have corro, corres, corre, corremos, correis, and corren. (Don't quote me on these. I probably spelled them wrong.) Basically, it's a ton of different endings to the verb that you have to remember. It's just hard for me to know what to use in a given situation. Well, that's enough of my little language lesson. Needless to say, it's a little confusing.

So there's an interesting story that happened yesterday. I've had a monster cold for the past three or four days and my nose has basically been either filled with cement or running like a faucet. (As I started typing this it began to run :P) So I'm blowing my nose and my right ear pops. It popped really hard and I got dizzy for a few seconds. For those of you who don't know, I ruptured an eardrum once and that's pretty much what it felt like. I thought I had ruptured another eardrum. So we head over to the health clinic, but it was closed. We ended up taking a shuttle over to the Intermountain Instacare Center. The doctor checked my ear and it hadn't ruptured but I had popped it pretty bad. Normally your ear is bent in towards your head, but I had popped it out the other direction. It also turned out that I have an ear infection in that same ear. So the doc wrote me up some prescriptions and we picked them up at Walgreens. Both for the doctor and at Walgreens we were waiting in line for quite a while. This whole ordeal took about two hours. When we finally got back, we had about an hour of class left. All the other elders were jealous that we got to get out of the MTC for a while. It was pretty funny. :) So anyway, now I'm still dying from this cold and I have to take some antibiotics for the ear infection. 

I don't think I mentioned another funny story that happened last week. If I did, then my mom can edit this part out and let me know that I'm a retard. Anyway, Elders Dean and Watson and I were all in the shower. Our other roommate was already dressed and stuff. When we come back, he's standing outside our door looking guilty. He said someone shut our door and he doesn't have his key. Having just come from the shower, none of us have our keys either of course. So here we are, three elders standing out in the hall in nothing but our towels. When the other elders on the floor hear what's going on they all get their cameras and take pictures! I'm not gonna lie, it was pretty funny. We started posing for them and stuff. :P So once they're all done taking pictures, Elder Robertson reveals that he had a key the whole time! He pulled a fast one on us! It was all in good fun, but he's going to have to watch his back now. ;) It's getting hard for me to remember what I've written in e-mails and what I've written to my family so I'm sorry if I'm repeating things that I've said.

This week I had the opportunity to read my scriptures a ton. Before coming here I wasn't a huge scripture buff, but I love them so much now! I'm trying to read the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Book of Mormon all at the same time. It's really fun. I just realized that tomorrow is the first day of August... it's weird that I've already been gone almost a whole month. It feels like it's been only a few days, but at the same time it feels like it's been forever. It makes sense if you don't think about it. I'm enjoying my time here, but I can't wait to leave. I'm trying my best to stay focused and do all that I can to learn the doctrine and the language. It's going to take a lot of work, but I know with the Lord's help I can do it. I love you all and I want you to know you're always in my prayers! The time we're apart will only be but a small moment. I'm already 1/24th of the way done! I just need to make the best of the time that I still have ahead of me. This church is true. If it wasn't, I'd have come home by now. I've never worked this hard in my life and I know that it's all for my benefit and the benefit of those I will teach.

Sorry this e-mail was a little rambly. Just know that I love you and that I'm doing well.

Elder Sean Horrocks

Sean 7-12

 In Front of the Provo Temple

 Our District

Being Guys!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

You've gotta throw it

Buenos dias mi familia y amigos!

I'm doing amazing here! Time has just been flying by! It feels like I was just writing and email yesterday. Every day has been better than the last and I expect things will continue in this pattern. :) I can't decide if this is supposed to be week  3 or 4 because the weeks at the MTC start on Mondays, but we got here on a Thursday. So technically I've been here for about two and a half weeks. However, we are starting our fourth week out of the nine that we have scheduled, so I'll be half way through the MTC in a week and a half!

I want you all to know that I miss you tons and I think about you daily. Now, I don't think about you so much I get homesick, but it does make me crave more letters from people. My family has been pretty good about writing me consistently, but this last week I had about four days where I got no mail whatsoever. What's up with that?! Jesus said if ye love me, keep my commandments. Well, I say if ye love me, write me letters! I don't mean to complain, but I've only gotten three letters from friends now and two of them were from the same person. I won't die without letters, but they sure do brighten up my day and they can sometimes be that extra bit of motivation. Even dumb little messages from DearElder make me happy and it's not that hard to use, so stop being lazy and write me. ;) Neverthe less, I love all you guys!

Some of you have been wondering if we've gotten any general authorities over here for our devotionals. The answer is... not really. We haven't been visited by anyone that is a household name, but we've had some amazing speakers. My favorite speaker so far was Jenny Oaks Baker. If I remember correctly she's the grand-daughter of Dallin H. Oaks. It was awesome because she's one of the best violinists in the country and she played for us. She'd give us little bit of here talk and then she'd play a song. She played about five songs for us and they all brought the spirit as well as her messages. I loved this speaker because music has been such and important part of my life and she was able to relate a lot of spiritual topics to music. It basically made my week!

I know some of you are begging for pictures and I'm sorry but I can't attach any through my emails. The plan is to wait for my SD card to be filled then I'll mail it back home. If it isn't full by the time I leave for Mexico, I'll send it home anyways. I usually and up taking a bunch of pictures on Sundays because we take walks to the temple. Last time, we did a lot of "tagging" which is where you take a picture of something with your nametag in it. I love nature pics so I took a bunch with the gardens and trees and stuff up there. Of course I also took a few with the temple. :) Speaking of the temple, we actually haven't gottent he opportunity to go yet. :( The temple has been closed for deep cleaning or something like that. It should be open by next week though so hopefully we'll be able to go. Keep your fingers crossed!

As far as every day activities go, things are pretty much the same. Every day (except Sunday and Tuesday) we have six hours of class. Our schedule turned out so that we usually have three hours before dinner and three hours after. For the first week or so, we only had one teacher, Hermana Arroyo, and she is awesome! After that though, we found out that our "investigator" that we had been teaching was actually our second teacher! His name is Hermano Piperato. Hermana Arrroyo is from a Spanish speaking family and served a Spanish speaking mission somewhere in the states (I can't remember where exactly). She's about a head shorter than me (which is saying something) and she's really fun to be taught by. Hermano Piperato is flipping amazing! He's from California I think, and he's a convert to the church. He was baptized when he was 18 and served a mission a year later! He's the funniest guy because he'll be teaching a lesson and through in words like "naaaaasty sick". He's also got this thing where when you fist bump him, you "throw it". If you've got anything in your hand when you fist bump it, you've got to throw it. Now we're always trying to fist bump eachother and force each other to throw things... It leads to some pretty funny things happening.

Even though Hermano Piperato is now our teacher, we still teach Luis (the investigator he plays). We also started teaching Maria, Hermana Arroyo's investigator. It's challenging, but a ton of fun. We've been able to take notes in with us to help us know what we're trying to say up until now, but now we can only bring our scriptures and Preach My Gospel into the room with us and we can't even read from the Preach My Gospel! I did my first lesson without notes yesterday and I think it went fairly well considering. It's been pretty cool to see how Elder Dean and I have been growing in our abilites to plan and teach. I'm excited to see where we go from here.

Funny story for the week. We were teaching Luis and Elder Dean asked him why he thought we were here on the earth. Luis explained that we were here to grow and what he thought God did with us. He said that to God, we are all in a little box. If we're bad, He flicks us into the trashcan and if we're good, we get to sit up on His shoulder. I couldn't help but bust out laughing because Hermano Piperato was clearly messing with us. It was too funny!

I know most of my letters and emails haven't had many spiritual thoughts in them. I honestly think that is because I just don't know how to describe everything that I've been feeling and learning here. I get to feel the spirit every day here. Words can't describe what and amazing experience that is for me. What I can do, however, is bear my testimony. Sorry, but I'm going to attempt to do it in Spanish. Let's hope Google translate will understand.

Yo se que La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias es la iglesia verdadero. Yo se que Jose Smith es un profeta y el tranducio las planchas de oro por el poder de Dios. Yo se que podemos vivir con nuestras familias en la vida eterna. Yo se que Dios ama mi. Yo soy agradecido por my familia y mis amigos y la influencia ellos hacer en mi vida. Este es el Evangelio verdadero. En el nombre de Jesucristo. Amen.

I want to to know that you're all in my thoughts and prayers. Buenos suerte!

Elder Sean Horrocks

I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet and tranducio the gold plates by the power of God. I know we can live with our families in eternal life. I know God loves me. I am grateful for my family and my friends and influence them to do in my life. This is the true gospel. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Elderes! Que tal?!

Hola mi familia y amigos!
I just wrote a detailed letter to my family so I'm not sure exactly what I should write so forgive me if this email is a little all over the place. I'm still having an amazing time! The spirit here is so strong sometimes I can barely believe it. I guess I'll just try to explain a little bit more about life over here. First off, our air conditioning does not work. It gets way hot in our room at night and it feels even worse to me because I'm on the top bunk. I feel like I'm sweating all the time :P However, it's all good. I figure it's just extra training to get us used to the weather in Veracruz. The guys in my district are all the coolest! We're able to feel the spirit and still have fun at the same time. It really feels like we're all just one big family over here. The elders in our zone are all pretty cool too. I don't know all of them, but the ones I do know are nice guys. Our zone leaders are hilarious! Their names are Elder Scofield and... get this... Elder Luvin. It makes me laugh because he's a really affectionate guy. They have a tradition of coming around to all the rooms at night and giving everyone hugs. It was really weird at first, but we all quickly warmed up to it. It's not quite the same as hugging your mom, but it helps. ;) The food is delicious! We get stuff like salmon, steak sandwiches, gyros, and stuff like that. I leave every meal feeling stuffed because I just don't want to stop eating! I'm trying to slow it down a bit because I don't want to gain a ton of weight before I even leave Utah. :P When it comes to the showers... let's say they have personality. Every shower is different. On our floor, out of six showers, we have one that doesn't get warm water, one that doesn't get cold water, and two without actual showerheads. Not only that, but whenever someone flushes the toilet, the temperature boils! We find ourselves jumping in and out of the water a dozen times through out a shower! It's all kinda fun though. :) You here a toilet flush and you immediately jump out. You know who is new here when you here a squeal come from a stall over. :P
As far as the language goes, it's coming along. I can understand a lot of what our investigators say, I just can't put together all the sentences that I want to say. It can be frustrating at times, but I know it's all for our benefit. One of our two teachers, Hermano Piperato, once said to us "The more you sweat in preparation, the less you bleed in battle." If we prepare ourselves during our study time, we end up doing much better during the actual lesson. Likewise, if we work as hard as we can during this life to live the doctrine of Christ, we will have almost nothing to worry about in the life to come. I'm really enjoying the more and more the study time we get. Although, we end up in that classroom for about seven or eight hours every day, it's always a spiritual experience and I know I learn a lot from it. Hermano Piperato is convinced that we will know more Spanish by the end of our MTC stay than he did at six months into his mission. I'm not quite that confident, but I do think that we will be as ready as we'll need to be. One part of our lesson from yesterday really stood out to me. Hermano Piperato showed us a video from a project done by the New York Times and can be found on their website. It's called "One in 8 Million". It looks at the lives of average people living in New York. It's pretty cool, but the one we watched was amazing. It was about a man named Joseph Cotton. He's a grandfather who often babysits his "grandbabies". I don't have time to go into detail about it, but I encourage everyone to watch this video, but while you're doing it, look for one specific thing. Look for similarities between how Joseph treats his grandchildren to how our Heavenly Father treats us. Doing this was an amazing spiritual experience for me and I know it can be one for you too.
This will be my random stuff paragraph were I try to fit in everything that I haven't said that may or may not make sense. First off, I would like a couple things from my family if possible. Send me about eight pair of my normal socks that I usually wear. They should still be on my bed so long as you haven't sold all my stuff already. :P Also, you know those little pictures that grandpa Max posed for? If you can look online for a place to buy minature versions of those pictures and send some to me, I'd really appreciate it! The weather these past couple days has been nice because it hasn't been so hot. We've been getting some rain which is always nice. Although, it did mean we had to do our gym time indoors (which of course just isn't the same). My district and I have all been playing a ton of volleyball and it has been a blast! Sometimes we get a little carried away though and we end up screaming like maniacs. :) It's nice to have that time to release some energy though. Also, regarding my strange subject line: it was something that one of the teachers on our floor said once and now we go around saying it whenever we see each other. Try imagining us saying it in a slightly higher pitched voice and sounding really excited. Also, imagine us bugging our eyes out like a bunch of wierdos and you'll get a good idea of how it goes. It pretty much means "Elders! What's up!" It's just a fun thing we do now :)
If you're reading this, it probably means that you love me in some way, shape, or form and I just want to let you know that I love you too. I know that this gospel is true and that I am right where I'm supposed to be. I've never felt this sure of anything in my life. I have a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I know with a surety that Thomas S. Monson is our living prophet today and that he recieves revelation from our Heavenly Father. This is the true church of Christ. I love you all and wish you the best in your endevours.
Nos vemos mi amigos!
Elder Sean Horrocks
P.S. Some of the elders have taken to calling me Elder Horcrux (like Harry Potter) or Elder Lorax. :P

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

First Week and Still Kicking!

Hi everybody! I'm doing just fine here in the MTC and I'm learning a ton. There's about six hours of study time a day so I'm picking up the language pretty quickly. We got the chance to teach an investigator the second day we were in here. Boy was that scary! It was tough to prepare a lesson in a language that we barely knew, but it turned out alright and it was fun. We've been doing lessons with the same investigator every day since Friday and I think we've been getting better and better! Overall, the classes have been challenging, but it's all been for our benefit. Also, the devotionals and other meeting we have are all muy bueno!

I'm not even sure where to start with how to describe the boys I'm with. We are set up in a district of twelve elders. We do all our lessons and stuff together and they're an awesome bunch of guys! There's our district leader Elder Neilson (not related to the ones in Heber), his companion Elder Davis, Elder Pernound (pronounced Pernu and probably spelled wrong), and Elder Laws, Elder Andrews and Elder Dahlin, Elder Nish and Elder Healey, my roommates Elder Watson and Elder Robertson, and my companion Elder Dean and I. Oh boy, these elders are simply hilarious! Elder Davis has a talent with gas and Elder Nish is such a jokester. Nearly everything that comes out of his mouth is BS, but in a good way. :) My companion is pretty cool, we get along just fine and I think we teach pretty well together. He is from Houston, Texas. Also, everyone in my district is going to Mexico except for four elders who will be leaving in a couple weeks for the MTC in another country. (I forget which.) Overall, I'm very happy here. :)

It was so nice to get letters from the family already! Luckily, they keep us far too busy to get homesick very often, but I must admit I got a bit homesick when Kaz told me you guys were finally baking cookies. I expect to receive a few soon. ;) Also, tell Max and Kaz to start doing stuff with each other. They need to just go out and have some adventures this summer. We jumped into the language and gospel study with both feet and I definitely haven't been bored.:P I have had a chance to go to "Market" (as they call it) and I picked up a couple things. I should be able to get nearly anything else that I have forgotten and if not I'll let you know. Sadly, I've only gotten letters from the family so you should have Kayla or the boys get on my facebook and ask for letters. That would be much appreciated. Also, some hand written letters from the family would be nice too. :) I can only email on my preparation day, but I can write hand written letters whenever I have time so send me some.

I'm not very good at telling people what they want to know so if you have any questions, include them in the email from the family. If you're not part of my family you'll just have to write me a letter. ;) I'm so thankful for the opportunity to be here and learn the beautiful Spanish language not to mention learn more about the Gospel and myself. I'm thankful for all my friends and family that have supported me over the years and I wish all of you nothing but the best!

In regards to my expenses. I spent exactly $20 with my debit card in the bookstore for supplies and stuff that I forgot. We are allowed six dollars a week on our tarjetas (cards) that will compile if I don't spend it. I'll try to use that as often as possible. If you have questions regarding my address, ask my mom because she has just about everything written down. Sorry this email is a little jumbled in its order, but we only have thirty minutes to write and I'm trying to make the best of my time. I love you all and can't wait to talk to you at Christmas. One last thing is that the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days. Everyday seems slow but looking back it wasn't that long. I'll be back sharing stories with you all in no time!

I have a strong testimony of the Gospel and I know that this is where I'm supposed to be. I'm thankful for all the people that have had a positive influence in my life. :) I'll try to include more spiritual thoughts next time because I'm out of time!

Love you all!
Elder Horrocks