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

Friday, December 21, 2012

A new house finally!

Hola mi familia!

I´m not really sure where to start this week. Not much has changed with how we work. We still contact a lot, but now we´ve got a lot of new investigators to work with so we`re focusing on them a bit more. We had five investigators in the chapel on Sunday which is pretty much awesome! It was a pretty good week, but there´s not much to tell about it. Also, I´m in an internet cafe that I can´t upload my photo´s again. Sorry! I really want to send them, but we keep going to stupid cafes. Hopefully I´ll be able to upload them next Monday. Some good news is that I receive a couple letters from friends as well as some e-mails. I got a hand written letter from my friend Megan from college, a DearElder from Jessica Horrocks, and I got e-mails from DJ Mahoney and Nick Romanick. They all definately put a smile on my face. :)

Now here´s the plan for the Skype that I´ve got. I´ll call you guys and we can Skype. Max says he´ll have his Skype up and ready so all I´ll do is sign in and call. I´m told that you want me to Skype on Christmas day at one o´clock (my time) so that´s what I´m planning on doing. I´ll make sure everything is ready on my end, just make sure it´s all good back home. :)

Now I´ll answer all your questions as usual.
Kayla: First off, glad to hear from you. :) The temple isn´t too far from where I live. We have to take a 45 minute bus ride to get there, but that´s not too bad. It´s quicker by taxi, but more expensive so we usually take a bus. We haven´t really visited any historical sites or anything, but there´s plenty of history in the streets (if you count ancient crumbling old apartments and houses). We did go to the Veracruz Aquarium, a wax museum, and a Ripley´s Believe It or Not museum a couple times. They were all pretty cool. They weather is generally still pretty hot, but occasionally we get "Nortes". This is just a bunch of North wind that usually brings rain with it. They´re nice cuz they cool the place down a bit. Here´s what we usually do on P-days: We wash our clothes, clean our house, buy food for the week and whatever else we need, write to our mission president and our families, get haircuts (if we need them), and anything else that needs to get done. We can also visit places like the aquarium or museums, but a lot of them aren´t open on Mondays. Also, we can play volleyball. Only volleyball.... kind of a bummer, but oh well. That´s pretty much it. Once again, I love hearing from you! ;)

Max and Kaz (Fred Flintstone?): You guys didn´t have any questions really, but I wanted to say hi and that I miss you knuckleheads. I love you guys and I´m glad you´re enjoying yourselves. :)
PS. I was the turkey all along!!!

Mom: I don´t think you really had any questions either, but thanks a million for the photos! I love seeing how the family is doing. :) Kaz looks old! What the heck happened! Any ways, I love you Mom. Happy birthday! I´m sorry I can´t be there to give you a huge birthday hug, but I´m sending you one in my head so take a moment and imagine that we´re hugging................................ That was a good hug wasn´t it. ;) Once again, I love you Mom. :)

Dad: Yep, we finally found a house. I guess this is news that everyone probably wants to hear, but I don´t have enough time to go back and edit my e-mail. It´s got three rooms, a small kitchen, and a smaller bathroom, but it´s all good. I´ll take some pictures when we´re all moved in. We should be moving in once we have electricity which will be Tuesday or Wednesday. At the very least, we don´t have to have the distraction of searching for a house anymore. Other than that I don´t think you really had any questions either. Just want to say that I love you and miss you. I can´t wait until I can see you and the whole family again. Love you Dad. :)

I actually have time to write today, but I don´t know what to write about... bummer.... I guess I´ll just bear my testimony. I know that this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and that he restored Christ´s church. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet called by our Heavenly Father to guide us. I know that only through the Gospel can we obtain true joy in this life. Especially during this time of the year, I want to invite you all to search for Christ in all things. If you´re not praying morning and night, do it. If you´re not reading your scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, do it. Take the time to be a blessing to others and I know that you´ll receive joy and blessings in return. I don´t know if you realize how hard it is for me to be away from the ones I love, but I want to all to know that it is worth it. The Gospel should be the most important thing in our lives along with our families. Don´t neglect to show your love to your family. You never know what you have until it´s gone. Being away from you all has shown me just how much I love you. I think about you all and pray for you daily. Enjoy one another´s company and when I come home I´ll enjoy it with you. :) I love all of you, both family and friends alike. I wish you nothing but the best in your lives. The church is true!

Yo sé que esta iglesia es verdadera. La única manera en lo cual podemos regresar a nuestro Padre Celestial es por medio del Evangelio de Jesucristo. Sé que Él vive y nos ama. Sé que el Libro de Mormón es verdadero. Las familias son ordenadas por Dios. Amo a mi familia mucho y quiero a estar con ellos para siempre. Yo sé que podemos vivir con nuestras familias en el reino de Dios si estemos obedientes al Evangelio.

I love you all! :) Until next week!

-Elder Sean Horrocks

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Livin' out of a suitcase

Hi everybody!

This week was loooong! We had a ton of stuff happen that normally doesn't happen. First off, we visited the temple on Wednesday! It was the best thing ever!!! We went through a session and it was in Spanish of course, but at this point I could understand it well enough to know what they were saying. (Also, it helps that I've been to a few sessions before ;) ) It was such a blessing to have the opportunity to be in the Lord's House. The only down side was that we didn't get too much time in the Celestial Room. Oh well, no problem. The Veracruz temple is pretty small and the inside is fairly similar to the Provo temple. That's about as well as I can describe it to you guys without taking a ton of my writing time. Let's just say it was amazing. :) Afterwards, we had a Christmas dinner/lunch thing and a Christmas Conference. That was awesome too! We ate BBQ chicken with potatoes, spaghetti verde (it's like spaghetti mexican style), and a lot of French bread. It was a nice change. The Christmas conference was really great. We had our mission presidency speak to us on a couple different topics. I can't remember what they were now, but don't worry I wrote notes and still have them. That all happened on Wednesday. The day after we had to return for a Mission photo. Only half the mission was at the conference on Wednesday, but the entire mission was there for the photo. It was cool because I got to see Elder Dean again and talk with him for a bit. Apparently he's doing just fine. :) Last of all, last night we had a Christmas program in the Stake. We've been inviting people to this for a month now and we had a great turn out. Lots of less active members and non-members. We spent the whole time outside greeting people, but we got to listen to the music at least. Very nice. :) It was a lot of fun. :)

That's all the crazy stuff that happened. Every other day was spent contacting, knocking doors, meeting with people, and house hunting. We probably contacted about 125 people this week and that is only the people that actually listened to us! We've been working hard, but unfortunately we haven't had a ton of success yet. I'm not worried though. If we continue working like this, we'll get baptisms for sure. As for the house... we still haven't found one.... yeah so I've been living out of my suitcase for the week with the Elders in Uribe (the district right next to mine.) Overall, it's actually been fun because the elders are cool, but we really need to find our own house. The problem is that almost every house we see is too expensive to rent! We receive up to 2,000 pesos to pay for our rent, but every house that is actually decent is usually about 500 pesos more than that! I think it's because they're houses in the city. Anyways, we've found a couple that should be perfect for 2100 pesos a month. We got permission to pay a little more for our rent and we just need to check the houses out. We're hoping and praying to have our own house by the end of the day.

Now a little about this Sunday. We didn't have any investigators in church, but that's not for lack of trying! We asked everyone we talked to visit the church on Sunday. Oh well, people have their agency. Also, we didn't get a baptism this week. Kind of a bummer, but like I said, we'll get some soon. I was asked to give a quick five minute talk on whatever subject I wanted. I chose to talk on keeping the Sabbath Day holy because a lot of members around here don't do that. I think it went pretty well. I shared some scriptures and bore my testimony. It was decent at least.

Anyways, I'll try to answer e-mails now.
Max: I love hearing from you and I'm really glad that you're enjoying yourself in your body-conditioning class. :) I was getting a little round so I've been working out a lot more in the mornings lately. That plus all the walking we do should hopefully get me in decent shape. I do 3 sets of 50 crunches in the morning and do pushups until I can't anymore. Hopefully, I'll get a bit more into shape. Keep letting me know what you're up to and get Kaz to write me more often. I expect one e-mail a week from you two! I love you bud and can't wait to hear from you!

Mom: The package I got had wrapped gifts in it as well as the soap and deodorant. The earliest one says to open on the 14th. I don't know if it's a large or medium package. I haven't received anything else yet. I didn't take a picture, but we're at a crappy internet cafe this week so I couldn't upload any pictures anyways. Sorry! I took a picture of me and my companion and everything! I'll get it to you next week. Don't worry about my funds. The mission gives us enough to buy most things that we need. I just use my home funds to buy food on P-days. Not a ton mind you, just a burger from Carls Jr. or something. Basically, I have enough but it's nice to have my back-up funds at home just in case. Like I said before, the mission pays for our apartments, but we don't have one right now. I'm trying to take more pictures! Sorry if I don't take a ton, but we've been pretty busy! I'll try to do what Dad said and take at least ten a week! I love you Mom and I love reading your e-mails! Keep me updated on what's going on! Love you!

Dad: Here's how my day-to-day activities go. [We get up and study and prepare for the day. Then we got out and do what we planned for the day. This usually entails visiting investigators, contacting, door knocking, and visiting members. It really just depends on the day. We eat lunch at 2 then continue working until 8:30. Then we head home, plan, shower, write in my journal and go to bed.] Sorry if you wanted more details. I'm trying to write as much as I can in as little time as I can so if you have more questions, be specific! :) I got my suit pants let out a while ago. They're not perfect, but they're better than they were and it was done for free so that's awesome. Also, I found a black suit coat that a missionary left behind that is just a little big but matches my other pants perfectly. I'm going to see if I can get it adjusted and use it. My new camera works fine and is actually better than the one I lost. It's a cheap Nikon but it's pretty good actually. There isn't anything in particular that I need, but I'll let you know if something comes up. For now I just want more sweets in my future packages. ;) I haven't had any opportunities to play the piano these past weeks. My ward has a decent piano player so I don't play in the meetings or anything, but if my next ward doesn't have a player I'll probably do that. It'll be a nice opportunity to brush up my skills. As far as my safety goes, my area is pretty safe. As long as we follow the mission rules there shouldn't be any problems. Don't worry, we've got the Lord on our side. :) I'm glad the Grandpa Max is doing okay. Let him know that I love him and that he better be around when I get back. ;) I love you Dad and I always look forward to hearing from you. I'm glad that you've taken the time to do service with the boys and be a blessing to someone in need. I'm proud of you Dad and I love you!

Well my hour to write is up so I just want to say that I love you all and that this church is true!
I love you with all my heart!

-Elder Sean Horrocks

Monday, December 3, 2012

I got a new companion for Christmas!

My beloved family,

Boy today has been a good week. It went by really quick, but we sure worked hard. I'll guess I'll go straight to talking about the thing you all want to hear about: my new companion! His name is Elder Westhoff; he's from Escalante, Utah; he's a true blue country boy; he loves peanut butter; and he's an awesome worker and missionary. I'll try to see if I can remember to take a picture with him for you guys. Basically, I'm extremely grateful for my new companion. I don't want to bad mouth Elder Duran, but let's just say some of his actions lead to unfortunate consequences. One of these consequences is that we've been searching for a new house to live in. Apparently, we were only supposed to live with the bishop for two weeks while we searched for another house. Oops! That was news to me. Once we found this out, we immediately moved out into my district leader's house. That's where we've spent the week. I uploaded a couple quick pictures of that house and the street around it. Hopefully, that will give you a bit of a feel of how my area is. Anyways, during the week we've been searching for a house and we've found one that seems to be perfect and it's really cheap. We're swinging by today to take a look at it and if it's good we'll rent it. We're only hoping there's no catch because it seems almost too good to be true. Either way, we should have our own house by tomorrow. Those are the big changes that have happened lately.

We've also had some changes in the work. We've been contacting people on the street and knocking doors like crazy! We've also been asking EVERYONE for references. It's been awesome! Boy am I tired at the end of the day though. Elder Westhoff is about a head taller than me and he likes to walk FAST! The first day was a little rough, but I've gotten fairly used to it by now. Once we get some new investigators we should do a little less walking. The cool thing is that although I'm tired all the time, I'm happy. :) I feel like we're finally doing the work the way it should be done. I'm trying to learn all I can from my companion so that I can keep working like this throughout the mission.

However, with all the work we did, we didn't get a baptism this week. I don't know if I told you guys but it's actually a mission goal to baptize every week. So far I've been falling flat with Elder Duran, but I think that will change with Elder Westhoff. We've got a lot of new people that we're teaching so I'm not worried about getting baptisms. :)

In other news, we'll be going to the temple on Wednesday December 5th as a zone. I'm super excited! I can't wait to be able to visit the temple again. Actually, Elder Duran and I took our recent convert to the temple before he was baptized. (Not inside, just in the waiting room.) And it was awesome. I took a couple pictures and put them on dropbox. In other other news, I receive one of my Christmas packages this week. I don't know if it was the first or second of the two, but it had soap and deodorant. I guess you guys just think I stink or something! How rude. ;) I love all the packages I receive as well as all the letters from Grandma and Grandpa Wortham, Although, I receive the letters about two weeks later than they are written. For example, today I received letters from the 17th, 18th, and 25th of November.

I also really love it when I receive e-mails from everybody. Even when they're just short little things, it's nice to hear from you all. I like hearing about what's going on back home. It's awesome that everyone is staying in good shape and exercising at home. I'm certainly getting my own exercise with my new companion! So far I always receive your e-mails, we usually don't write until at least after ten o'clock so don't worry about it too much. I would love to receive a picture of the family around the Christmas tree. Be sure to take lot's of pictures of Christmas and send them to me! I have one other request as well. Can you send me either the New Era or Liahona that has the General Conference talks from October 2012 in English? I don't even have them over here in Spanish yet, but either way I like them better in English. That reminds me... I got the chance to see the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional yesterday. It was too short! We got to see it in English and I LOVED it! When it ended I was like "...What?! There has to be more!" I hope you all got the chance to see it. Also, I'm extremely thankful that Grandpa Max is doing okay. I was praying for him all week and I'll continue praying for his  swift recovery.

During this Christmas season I just want to stress the importance of family and service. Ever since I left for my mission, it's hit me really hard just how important my family is to me. Sometimes we let dumb things get in the way of spending time with the ones we love. I know I did. I challenge you all to take the time to be a blessing to those around you, especially your family. Small acts of kindness here and there can go a long way. I know that we're a close family, but one thing that I've been regretting is not spending more time with all of you. Take the opportunities you have to give service to one another. Help Dad with the yard work or help Mom to cook. Make your brother's bed or slip a little note of appreciation into their backpack. I don't know why this just popped into my head just now, but I distinctly remember hopping out of bed early in the morning to say goodbye to Dad as he left for work when I was younger. At the very least, I always tried to wave goodbye from my bedroom window. I'm not sure why, but I felt that I should share that experience. I just really wanted Dad to know that I loved him. I think that small and simple acts like that can go a long way. I don't know if Dad remembers that or not, but I hope that it brightened his days when I did that. To show our family that we love them we don't have to do something huge. I testify that if we show them our love in small ways every day, that more and more love with be cultivated within the family.

I love you with all my heart and hope that you'll take the time to be a blessing to someone this Christmas season. Not only then, but always. I'm thankful for the opportunity to show my love to our Savior through my missionary service. I can't wait to get back home and see you all again, but until then I'll work as hard as I can for the Lord. I testify that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God to restore Christ's Gospel to the earth. I know that Thomas S. Monson, his counselors, and the twelve apostles are all called of God. The Church is true!

With all the love I possess,

-Elder Sean Horrocks

Finally a baptism!

Hola my dearest family!

As my title says, we finally got a baptism this week! It was the investigator that I mentioned wanted to wait another week. Well, he got baptized and he's awesome! He's already doing his own missionary work by trying sharing his testimony with another investigator we had. I had the opportunity to perform the ordinance too. It was a little awkward because he's older and he couldn't really bend back like that very well, but it all worked out and we felt the Spirit. :) It feels good to finally see a little success. :) Hopefully with my new companion Elder Westhoff we'll be able to baptize every week. Oh, that reminds me...

We're having our transfers tomorrow and we finally know what's going on. I'm going to stay here in 5 de Mayo and Elder Duran is leaving for an area right next to mine (but in another zone). Like I said, my new companion's name is Elder Westhoff and he's from Utah. He's got almost a year in the mission and I'm told he's a good worker. Hopefully that's true and we'll be able to work well together. Either way, I'm planning on turning over a new leaf for this next transfer. I want to take a more central role in what goes on, because I've decided that I don't like relying a lot on others. I think that's pretty much all that's new about this week. Though, as a random side note, I finally cleaned our bathroom today. Naaaaasty, but it had to be done.

Sorry there's no pictures this week. I took quite a few and made a video for you guys, but we're at a crappy internet cafe this week in which I can't really upload my pictures. Sorry! You'll just have to wait another week. :/ I'll try to take the kinds of pictures that Mom asked for.

He's the part where I answer everyone's questions again. Mom first: I recieved my Thanksgiving package this week which I think means that it took about three weeks to get here. Thank you so much for that! I love all the little notes from the family and the inspirational thoughts! Also... OREOS!!!! I'm looking forward to enjoying the treats you sent. ;) It got here in good shape so I don't think you need to worry too much about that. Thanks for the lap quilt from the Relief Society. I'll make sure to give it to somebody soon. :) As for my health, it's good. No problems this week. Hopefully there won't be any in the near future. For my migraine I just took IB Profen which worked just fine. Exercise on the other hand... hasn't really happened. Let's just say Elder Duran isn't exactly a morning person. Hopefully my next companion will be a bit more active in the mornings. Also, I plan on getting a jumprope for a little bit of aerobic exercise. Hopefully, that will help me trim of all the fat I've gained. (And yes, I've gained a lot... ;P) Hope that answers all your questions!

Now for Dad's questions: I was invited to spend Christmas with some members in my area which is awesome. They're probably my favorite family in the ward (besides the bishop's) and they cook amazing food so it should be cool. However, I don't know if the President has specific plans for the missionaries on Christmas or not. I guess we'll see what happens. I don't think that you guys can call me, but I know that I can call and/or Skype you guys. We should probably start planning a time to do that now so that we don't miss each other on Christmas. I'm going to ask around and see what's going to happen because I don't even know if we work on Christmas or if we take a day off. You also had another question about my conversations with the President. Basically, we e-mail him every week telling him about how the week went. That's about the extent of our conversations. It's an opportunity we have to talk to him about any problems we're having or doubts we have. We also have interviews with him now and then, but I've only had one so far so they can't be too frequent. He's an awesome guy really. One thing that helps is that I understand him more now. :P But yeah... he's a little tough on us when he needs to be, but he's generally very friendly and actually pretty funny. If you've got more questions about Christmas or the President, let me know! :)

Now, I finally got Kayla's letter on the 20th of November so I'm going to write a little section to her too. Don't worry about the lack of letters. I understand how life is. ;) I saw the pictures of Dily that Mom's been sending me and she's so big now! I'm a little bummed that I'm missing out on her cuteness, but I'll just have to make up for lost time when I get back. :) It seems like all the letters and stuff sent to me take a while so if I were you, I'd just write me a weekly e-mail. I'll try to answer any questions you have just like I answer everyone else's. :) Love you sis!

Max and Kaz: I know Kaz didn't write me this week, but I just wanted to say hi! I'm jealous that you guys are playing Halo 4 and Assassin's Creed 3. I saw some kids playing halo 4 in the internet cafe last week and I know what you mean by it not feeling Halo-ish. Oh well, what do you expect from Microsoft? Anyways, I love you both and hope you're spending some time together now and then. Go outside once in a while! ;) Love you!

I also want to take the time to thank Grandma and Grandpa Wortham for the letters they've been sending me. I really appreciate them, especially the stories about Grandpa's life and the inspirational thoughts and scriptures. Oh, and I don't play the piano in any meetings here. They have someone who does that already.

I think that's all... I just want to take a moment to share my testimony. I know with all my heart that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Through obedience to the Lord's commandments, we receive blessings in this life and lay up blessings in store for the next. I really want to stress the importance of reading the scriptures to you. The Book of Mormon and the Bible are like letters from our Heavenly Father. They contain guidance and strength for every aspect of our lives. We can receive answers to prayers and help in our lives from reading the scriptures. I hope that you'll take advantage of this amazing gift from God. I know that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father together with our families for all eternity. The church is true.

I love you all and hope everything is going well. I hope everything goes well with Grandpa Max's procedure. I'll keep him in my prayers! I know he's not exactly computer-savy but see if you can type a quick message from him. :) Keep reading the Book of Mormon, keep attending church, and keep praying. Pray at least five times a day: When you wake up, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and before bed. I miss you all a ton and can't wait to see you again! I love you!

-Elder Sean Horrocks