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, October 30, 2012

Happy Birthday to Kayla and Happy Halloween!

Helloooo everybody!

First off, Happy birthday Kayla! I hope you had a good one! And I still don't know if Kayla get's my e-mails so I'd love it if someone would let me know. Please and thank you :) Also, a very happy birthday to Dily last month. (It was last month right?) Also, Happy Halloween! Let me know what everyone does for the holiday! Over here they have Halloween too, but they also celebrate the Day of the Dead for November 1st and 2nd I think. That should be interesting to experience. Thanks a lot to Mom for the little Halloween decorations! They make me smile every time I look at them. :)

So this week was much better. I was able to contribute a lot more in the lessons. I'm starting to get into the swing of how the lessons go and I just start popping in whenever I can. It's a little tough at times because E. Duran likes to talk a lot sometimes, but it's all good. I'm feeling a lot better about the mission work overall. We got two new investigators this week. Now, a new investigator means that they keep a commitment and accept the baptismal invitation. So we've got two women named Siria and Veronica. We've got their dates for the 11th of Novemeber so hopefully everything will work out for them. We've also got an investigator that is sooooo close to baptism. She's living with her boyfriend though so they either have to get married or separate. We kinda hope they separate because the boyfriends kind of a lazy bum. Also, she tends to avoid talking about here occupation so we get the feeling that she may do something... how do I put it... something that she's not proud of. I won't take a guess because I have no idea. I'm really hoping she gets baptized soon because she's been an amazing investigator and I really think she's ready to make the covenant of baptism. We'll see what happens!

In other news, we became a trio this week. Yep, I've now got two companions. The new one's name is Elder Revueltas. He's got 21 months in the mission so his experience is a welcome addition. He's got a lot of enthusiasm which is usually good, but he can come off as one of those weird Mormons at times. He speaks really good English though. I guess he was introduced to the Gospel in England or something like that. The only downside is that we're staying in our same room. That's right, we now have three (count 'em, three) missionaries in our tiny room. We've got a bunk bed and another bed and that takes up most of the space. I'll try to take a picture of how our room looks. In fact, because I'm at the two month mark, I'll try to make a video. Anyways... The reason that E. Revueltas is with us is because his companion went home. Therefore, he's just with us until either the end of the transfer (a month) or until he gets a new companion in his area. I hope he gets a new companion mostly because we have no space now, but also because I don't think we're quite as efficient with three missionaries. This is because now we're spread over his area and ours, he's our district leader (which means he spends a ton of time on the phone), and he and Elder Duran... well they don't fight, but they don't exactly see eye to eye at times. Overall, things are good though. :)

Now I'll try to answer everyone's e-mails. I actually got a lot this week so bear with me. To Max and Kaz: I'm proud of you guys with your schooling. It sounds like you're both focusing. Keep working hard and enjoy your school time while you've got it. Trust me, life after school is just a liiiitle different. But that's not always a bad thing. ;) Also, that's super awesome about Max's deer. It makes me want to go hunting with you guys. If you've got some of that jerky I'd love to get some in Mom's next package. :) One last thing, I'm sorry Max for not writing directly to you. I don't have much time to write e-mails so I try to fit everything together in one e-mail. If you want though, I can write some hand written letters and send them by pouch mail. However, I hear that that takes forever. Let me know. I love the both of you. Be nice to each other and enjoy each others company! 

Ok, mom's turn. I figured that it had snowed already in Heber. The weather changed drastically over here this week. We had our first Norte which is just the wind from the North. It brings a lot of clouds and a little rain with it. It has been heavenly because it's been tremendously cooler. It's been overcast with a nice cool breeze so it's been real nice. As for Elder Dean: I haven't seen him at all since our first week in Veracruz. I'm sorry to hear that he's been sick. Also, he didn't seem to shy when we were companions. Quiet at times, but not shy. He's a good guy and I kinda miss him more than I expected. As to my health, I actually had degue as well. It only lasted for two days, but it wasn't fun. I had terrible headaches and a lot of achy pain in my bones. I still worked though and overall it wasn't too big of a deal.

Ok, now I gotta answer Dad's stuff reeeally fast. The obedience thing was mostly just a few minor things here and there. Nothing too serious but we should've been doing them none the less. This week we were much much better and I think we were as obedient as we could have been. Elder Revueltas has been a big help for that. I already mentioned that I've contributed much more in lessons. I see missionaries from the states every time we have a zone or district meeting. Some of them are a little immature, but overall they're cool. We talk a bit when we can. You asked about our baptism and why the bishop baptized him. Well, that's because it's better for the investigators to be baptized by someone in the ward. This helps create a bond with someone in the ward rather than just to the missionaries. We don't want the people to become inactive after the missionaries leave. As for trips: we went fishing again today. That's been a lot of fun. We only catch little things, but it's fun none the less. I added some pictures of our "fishing poles" on dropbox. They're pretty fun to use actually. Also, we took a trip to a wax museum and a Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum. Both of them we're really fun and I added some pictures of them on dropbox. The Ripley's museum would've been a bit funner if I could understand all the little descriptions though. ;P No worries though. :) 

Ok,  should finish up now. I'll try to start sharing scriptures when I have time, but right now I don't. :( Just know that the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, have become very dear to my heart and I hope you continue to strive to read them as a family. If you need to skip forward, do it! I love you all! This church is true!

Elder Sean Horrocks

Teaching a lesson 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

It's already been seven weeks

My dearest family,

I'm glad you all had another good week. It's good to hear that you're all doing stuff as a family. :) Hearing about the family coming together and more about Dily makes me miss you all so much. I look forward to those pictures and more news. :) 

This week was a little rough. We tried to be obedient as possible, but we had some pretty big pitfalls. We had one investigator with a baptismal date, but he changed his mind the day before and said that he wanted to think about it more. Bummer... Also, I don't know if you remember me telling you about the investigator from Luisiana, but she and her husband were having trouble with their marriage. Well, it finally hit the fan and she's leaving him. Basically, we probably won't see her anymore, but at least Luis is still interested in receiving lessons from us. On the bright side, we have an investigator named Monse who is progressing really well. She said that she knows the Book of Mormon is true and wants to be baptized. We planned for her to come to church, but when we went to get her, they were sleeping or something. So we went to church, but Elder Duran went on splits for a sec with a young man from the ward and went to get her during the second hour. Basically, she got to attend the last our of church (Relief Society) and she seemed to really like it. The only thing standing in the way of her baptism now is the fact that she's not married to the boyfriend she's living with. Also, he doesn't really want to get married, probably because he's only nineteen. I'm hoping that things will work out with them. Either they need to get married or she needs to move out. :/ I guess we'll see what happens.

As a companionship we are doing much better. We're being more obedient (though at times we're not perfect :/) and we're trying to work hard. I've been taking a little bit more of an active role in things and it's been going ok. I help with the schedule and I speak more in lessons. The only reason I still don't do a ton is because I still have trouble understanding everyone. I can only understand about every other person and then I only understand about half of what they say. Sometimes there are Mexicans that are really patient with me and speak slowly and clearly for me. Other times they basically ignore me. The way I'm thinking right now is that this is the hard time. Once I can speak the language better and get used to how things work here things will be a little better.

I want to let you all know how important this Gospel is to me. I don't know if you fasted this last fast Sunday or if you have family home evening, but I would encourage you to do these things so that you may obtain the blessings that they bring. Also, I haven't heard how the reading has been going lately. I hope it's still going strong. Write me a little bit about what you all read and what you think about it. Personally, I've made a goal to read the Bible through front to back because I've never done that before. Right now I'm in 1st Kings and it's actually really interesting. I'm coming to love the Bible almost as much as I love the BOM. I'd also recommend reading Jesus the Christ. That book helped me a lot with understanding Christ and the New Testament. But... I digress... This Church really is the same church that Jesus Christ Himself established on the earth. I know that if we endure to the end, we can return to live with our family in Heavenly Father's presence.

I love you all and hope that if you are facing any challenges in your life that you'll turn to the Lord. Remember: Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you. This church is true! I love you!

-Elder Sean Horrock'

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sphere of Control

Hello once again my beloved family!

I'm sorry I'm writing later than usual today. We had a long but very fun p-day. :) Today we went with the bishop to a beach. Originally we we're going to fish and eat there, but we ended up only eating at the beach. After that we went to a nearby pier and fished there. It was a ton of fun. :) Instead of normal fishing poles, we used little planks of wood with most of the fishing line wrapped around it. It was just the plank, the line, and a hook. The way you cast it was by whirling it around kind of like a sling and stones, then tossing it into the sea. We used pieces of fish as bait. All the fish we caught were just little ones, but I caught four. :) We threw a lot of them back and gave the others to some nearby fishermen. I got pretty toasted in the sun though. I forgot my sunscreen so... It'll probably fade to a nice tan at least. :)

I was still feeling a little down and troubled up until our drive over to the beach. I had a good conversation with Elders Rhodes and Soto (They're both American). They gave me some good advice about being a missionary. They said that we only have our own sphere of control. We can't control everything no matter how badly we want to. Therefore, we should simply focus on the things that we can control. Ourselves and our actions. After that, everything else will follow.

As for the week... we had one baptism named brother Regino. He's the father of a member that we've been working with for a while. The bishop baptized him and it was a nice service. I said a little about baptism during the service and afterwards we had some delicious tacos. :) I'm excited to see Regino progress in the church. Other than that, not too much has happened. Sunday was kind of a bummer because we invited six different people to attend church, but none of them showed. Oh well, that's one thing out of my sphere of control. People have their agency.

Thanks for answering my questions! I really appreciate it. :) Now I guess I'll answer the questions I got this week. The weather here is changing too, but not too much. It's generally cloudy or rainy more often which is nice because it's cooler. There are still some days where we sweat like dogs though. :P I'm pretty sure that my package wasn't opened and that I got everything you sent. I really like the little Halloween decorations and the treats. Thanks a million! :) Sorry, but I don't have any new pictures to upload on dropbox this week. I have more pictures for you to see, but the computer I'm using won't let me upload them today. Oh well... I took a couple pictures of the day fishing that I'll hopefully remember to send.

I got a random list of questions from someone who forgot to put their name in the e-mail, but I'll answer them anyway. The food is delicious for the most part. A lot of soups, tacos, and meats. A lot of the time they'll prepare chicken or pork in a plate with some sort of soupy sauce. It's different every time, but it's always good. :) As to what I'm doing: I'm basically just doing the average missionary stuff. A lot of studying, contacting and teaching. I'm pretty much used to the heat here, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I like it. :P Let's just say I miss not sweating all the time. ;) For the most part, I'm enjoying being a missionary. I have my challenges, and to be honest a lot of them seemed to have piled up these last couple weeks, but with the Lord's help I'm overcoming them. I'm trying to just calm down, take everything a piece at a time, and have fun. It's working out okay. :) The people here are generally very friendly though they don't really like to show emotion out on the street. A lot of people walk around with a scowl on their face until you say good afternoon to them or something. Then they usually smile and greet you in return. I can't really think of an instance where anybody has been intentionally rude or mean. It helps that my Spanish has been improving. I'm still far from perfect and my conversations are iffy at times, but I can generally communicate what I need to. Right now the thing I enjoy about the mission is teaching. I absolutely love it when I can teach someone and help them understand the importance of the Gospel. On the other hand, they only thing I don't really like his when I can't understand. It frustrates me to no end when I know what I want to say, but I don't know how to say it. However, that's happening less and less.

I love every single one of you and I pray for you each night. I know this church is true and that the Gospel changes and blesses lives. I love you!

Elder Sean Horrocks

Monday, October 8, 2012

Yay, General Conference!

My dearest family,

Well, week 5 in Veracruz has come and gone. It's kind of sad because I don't feel like we accomplished very much. I don't want to complain at all, but things are a little tough. I still can't contribute very much and half the time I don't know what's going on because my of my Spanish. Also, my companion is a great guy and all, but sometimes I wonder if he knows what he's doing. He doesn't seem too organized. Generally, the things that we plan go right out the window during the day. During lessons my mind often ends up wandering because I only understand about half of what is being said. And that's if I'm lucky. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to be here and I know that things will improve, but I figure I'd be real with you. I've been trying to be very positive (especially in my e-mails). On the other hand, the few days where I can understand the majority of what's said are amazing! We have an investigator from Luisiana that I get to talk to now and then. I like our lessons with her because she translates things I don't understand for me. When I contribute and understand what's going on, I love it here! I'm still excited to be here and to work. I just figured I'd let you know how I feel at times. Okay, enough negativity.

This week was pretty much just like every other. We teach and contact and try our best. We didn't have any baptisms this week, but I think we've got two lined up for next weekend. They're both children of members. (Not little kids, mind you. They're parents are just members). I'm still learning a ton every day and I'm trying to speak more when I can. I love seeing how the Gospel can change people's lives!

I love hearing about what's going on at home and I love the pictures on dropbox! It seems like everyone is having a good time. :) Thanks a million for the package! It was perfect! I really appreciate all the pictures and Halloween things, especially the gospel quotes. Yes, I got to watch General Conference this week, but only the priesthood session was in English for us so I didn´t understand too much. Still, it was nice to listen to the prophet`s voice even briefly. I haven´t gained any weight here, but I haven´t lost any either. We haven´t really been exercising much, but we´re going to start doing that. (Well, at least I am.) I still get letters from Grandma and Grandpa Wortham, but I don´t get any from anyone else. I haven´t written a physical letter the entire time I´ve been here. E-mails work for me, but if you want to send a personal hand-written letter, I´d love to reply. Basically, if you want to have a more personal correspondence with me, you can write me a hand-written letter and I´ll respond with one of my own.

I´m glad the family is still trying to read the Book of Mormon together. Keep it up! If it´s boring, try to think of things to liven it up. I don´t know if you´ve been having family home evening, but I strongly encourage you to do so. Our family is already pretty close and I know we talk a lot a dinner, but I know there are tons of blessings that can come from family home evening. Dad should lead these, but everyone should take turns preparing a lesson and activity. Also, I´m assuming that fast Sunday is next week for you all as well. I want you to know how important fasting really is, it´s a way for us to receive just a little extra help. When the disciples were casting out devils and doing the Lord´s work, there was one devil that they couldn´t cast out. The Savior said that that kind of devil could only be cast out through prayer and fasting. Our sins can easily be likened unto devils. We need a little extra help to overcome some of them. Think of it this way: if we can deny ourselves the basic needs of our bodies to eat and drink, how much easier it will be to deny ourselves of sins. I promise you that anything you may be struggling with now can be overcome and fasting is often the path to do so. I know it may seem difficult, but if you fast for a reason it becomes so much easier. I challenge all of you to fast this fast Sunday and every one afterwards. Also, you can always fast for a little extra help when you need it. I hope you´ll take the opportunity and receive some added blessings.

I love you all and wish you nothing but the best! Keep moving forward in the Gospel! Don´t grow complacent! The devil doesn´t draw people away all at one time. He slowly leads them away inch by inch. Don´t allow him to do so! I know that this Gospel is true. I know that God is our Heavenly Father and that he knows and loves each and every one of us perfectly. No matter what mistakes we´ve made in the past, if we truly repent and rely on Christ´s Atonement we can return to live with Him in Celestial glory. This church is true. I write these words in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Have a good week! Don´t forget to spend time together and show others you love them! I love you all!

Elder Sean Horrocks

Elder Horrocks and Elder Duran

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Well that was fast...

¡Buenos Dias!

It feels ridiculous that I´ve already been in Mexico for a week! Right now time is moving along at about the same speed it did during my first couple weeks in the MTC. Every day feels like an eternity, but looking back every week feels like a day. I´m already one eighth done with my mission! That´s crazy! The thing that makes the days long right now is the language. Communicating myself in Spanish is still my biggest struggle, but I know that I am improving.  I´ve been able to contribute more during lessons and have a couple normal conversations with the members. I had one day that seemed to just zip by because I was able to talk a lot and contribute during the lessons. I know that the more Spanish I learn, the easier it´ll be to be here. Now I´m not saying that everything will be a breeze after that, but things will definitely be just a bit easier.

We still haven´t had any baptisms yet, but I think that´s mostly because I´m so new. I´ve spoken with some of the other new English speaking elders and they´ve had about the same success. The main investigators we have right now are Regino, Monserrat and Mauricio. Regino is practically a member in my eyes. He lives his life like a member and makes it to church and ward activities when he can, but doesn´t want to get baptized for some reason. (I´m just a little more in the dark because I don´t understand about half the conversation) He´s got a daughter who´s a member too. We´ve been inviting him to a bunch of activities and family home evenings in order to hopefully get through to him. As for Monse and Mauricio, they live together and are fairly new to the area. Monse is a 26 year old young woman and Mauricio is only 19... Kinda interesting, but they´re really cool.  Mauricio isn´t always around for the lessons, but we teach Monse a lot and she seems genuinely interested. I can definately see both of them eventually getting baptized. They have a neighbor from Luisiana named Candi. She grew up with a member father, but wasn´t baptized. She has a strong desire to go to church, but her husband makes it hard. He drinks a lot and doesn´t let her do to much. I´ve been praying that we´ll be able to find a way to help Candi come to church. Any ways, it´s been a lot of fun.

Now for answering the e-mails. First off, I have a little more time to write than I expected so don´t worry about trying to keep your e-mails short. Pack em full of everything you want to say! I´m glad that the dropbox is working. I´m still trying to upload all the pictures I have. It may take a while so bear with me. Regarding your question about the water, don´t worry. NOBODY drinks from the tap, even the natives. Everything comes from a garrafon (jug). One interesting thing here is the milk. It tastes a lot more sugary than in the states and it usually comes in cartons or boxes. Apparently you don´t need to refrigerate it until you open it which is nice. I´m sorry to hear the ward being split has been a bit difficult. Just remember the church is true. :) Go make some new friends :) Thanks for sending the pictures of Provo Canyon. They really put a smile on my face. :)  And yes, my ornaments and decorations survived the trip. I don´t have much room right now to put them up, but I´ll try to find a spot. ;)
I´m excited to see how the firepit structure turned out! I wasn´t aware that you´d bought a new kennel for Major. See if you can send me a picture of him in his new kennel.  I´ve gotten to play the piano a couple times after zone meetings and stuff, but I´m kinda sad because I´m already forgetting songs. :( Oh well, it´s not that big of a deal. We´re usually too busy to worry about that anyways. I bought some decent boots for about $40 US. I only need to wear them when it rains a ton so hopefully they should last a while. I shopped around a bit to find them so I think they´re decent. Finding necessities isn´t a problem. We have a Mega (a Walmart of sorts) nearby that I can get basically anything I need. We´re actually going to Costco today to buy some food in bulk for the next month or two. I´m thinking of buying a blanket and pillow to have with me because right now we´re using the bishop´s stuff. Things with my companion are doing fine. I´d say we´re pretty good friends. He gets on my nerves now and then, but that´s to be expected when spending 24 hours a day with anyone. Sometimes he doesn´t seem to serious about the work, but he seems to be trying and that´s all I can ask. I think the main problem right now is that we´re both fairly new. I only have one month here and he only has about five. Overall though, things are good. :) I´m learning a lot and I can communicate much better than I could before. However, like I said, the language is still the biggest obstacle. All the members are friendly with us of course, but generally the people here are friendly too. Sometimes they´re a little too friendly. :P Being a white boy in Mexico is... interesting at times. The girls here love us, but unfortunately gays do too. I´ve already been called after by groups of girls a couple times as well as had two different gay guys hit on me. Can you say uncomfortable? Overall, it´s not a problem. I just hope the girls here have the same taste in guys as the girls from the States. ;) Any ways, the weather hasn´t changed too much, but it´s been raining a bit more recently. It´s rained a couple time each week for the last three weeks. It´s nice when it doesn´t rain a ton because the days are so much cooler. If it rains a ton, however, the streets turn into rivers and even with an umbrella we usually come home pretty damp.

I think that´s pretty much it. I hope to hear from Kayla sometime. Also, I´m excited for that package. It hasn´t gotten here yet. I think it takes about three or four weeks usually. I hope it wasn´t too expensive to send! Be sure to have the boys keep writing me now and then. Keep me updated on what´s going on over there! :)

I love you all a ton and think about you every day. I´m extremely thankful for the opportunity of being a tool in the Lord´s hands. Some days are difficult, but I´ve already grown a bit and I know that I´m learning things that will bless my life as well as the lives of my loved ones. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored by the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord´s prophet on the earth today. This church is true. I love you all!

Elder Sean Horrocks