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

Sunday, November 24, 2013

La Cola de Caballo (Horse Tail Falls) 11/18

Hi family!

This week was pretty chill. There wasn't too much excitement. We bought a new iron because our other one died. And the branch is going to do a Christmas missionary activity where they're going to sing Christmas hymns while we give out Books of Mormon and pamphlets. I may have already mentioned that. Anyway, I've been helping with a bit of piano. It's coming along nicely. :)

Today was super crazy because we had yet another district activity. We have a zone leader in our district who will be ending his mission in three weeks and I think he's trying to get in as much sight seeing as he possibly can before he leaves. It was way cool though. We went to see another waterfall called "La Cola de Caballo" which means the horse's tail (or horse tail falls as I call it.) It's a bit more secluded than the last waterfall and it was way prettier. I'm going to add a few pictures of it so you guys can get an idea. We had to walk through some really jungley areas to get to the falls. It was pretty much awesome. We saw a lot of those lines of ants carrying leaves. I thought it was interesting because that's normally something you only see on discovery channel. :P We also had to cross two small streams on the way - hopping from rock to rock. My companion was scared or something because he had to prepare himself mentally for about five minutes each time we crossed. It was pretty funny. Once we got to the falls we took pictures and climbed up to a cliff right next to the falls for some more pictures. We got completely drenched from the spray off. It was pretty much the coolest district activity I've had here. The only bummer was that it took seven hours in all. (Mostly traveling) We traveled in trucks rigged up with a cover on back called "piratas". It means pirates. It was a really fun trip. Anyway, that's why we got back late.

I want you all to know that this really is the true church of Christ! No matter what hardships we pass through in this life, if we hold on to the end we will be rewarded. I know that families can be eternal. That's the great goal in this life.

I love you all and I'm glad to know all is well. Talk to you all next week!

Elder Sean Horrocks

1) Swinging from a vine.... like Tarzan!
2) Welcome to the Jungle!

More changes in the mission - 11/11

Hi family!

This week was fairly average, but there are a few tidbits of interesting things that happened so I'll try not to "scrimp on the details." ;)

We had a zone conference on Wednesday where we learned a bunch of new changes. They're trying to unite the mission field as a whole a little more so they're doing away with things that pertain to just one mission. Basically, before we had a mission theme and mission hymn and mission logo and stuff like that. Well, not anymore. I understand why they did it and I support the decision, but it's still kind of sad that we won't have anymore of those fun little things. It's all good though.

We also went on splits with the new zone leader, Elder Vaca, on Friday. I actually had a good time and learned a lot. We worked in my area of Santiago. He helped me to get excited about contacting again. Contacting was honestly my least favorite part of the work (and it's still not my favorite) but now I understand more about how it's a means to an end. If done correctly, it's how we constantly have work to do. As a missionary, that's what makes me happier.

I also had another breakthrough this week. Every week we have weekly planning where we set plans for the upcoming week. Well, I don't think I've ever had a very efficient one until this week. I felt that it went very well and it finally just clicked in my head. Hopefully I'll be able to keeping going with these news changes I'm discovering.

Yesterday was the Primary program during sacrament meeting. It was cute, but a little more interesting over here seeing as how the majority of the children are wild as can be. It was pretty fun though. :)

We're also practicing for a Christmas missionary activity in this branch. The branch members are practicing some Christmas hymns and I'm helping a little with piano. It's starting to come together. The idea is that they sing in the town square (where there are usually a lot of people) while Elder Araneda and I hand out Books of Mormon and pamphlets and set appointments with people. If it all comes together it should be an amazing opportunity. Fingers crossed! :)

In other news, my friends are writing me a bit more. DJ, Taylor and Addison all sent e-mails around the same time. I replied to all, but only Addison is writing me fairly consistently. Oh well, not to worry. I resigned myself a long time ago to the fact that I might not have friends when I get home. It's all good. I'll just have to bug my little brothers some more. ;)
I know this church is true. I hope that you all realize just how blessed we are to be members of the true church of Christ. I've seen what happens to a lot of the people who don't enjoy that blessing and let me tell you - not pretty.

I love you all and hope to hear about your adventures! Apparently you guys didn't do anything exciting for Halloween because no body wrote me about it. If you did do something I'd like to hear about it. Even if it was just watching scary movies and eating kitkats. ;)

Love you all!

-Elder Sean Horrocks

P.S. We went to visit a waterfall today. :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Everyone Loves Ramon! 9-9-13

Hi family!

First thing´s first, we had a baptism this Saturday. Jesús Ramón was baptized by my companion and confirmed yesterday (also by my companion). It was a nearly perfect baptismal service. We had some really good speakers and the ordinance went well. My companion began the prayer wrong, but quickly corrected himself. :P After the baptism, Elder López and I sang a special number. We sang "Más Cerca Dios, De Ti" (Nearer My God, To Thee) while a sister played the piano. It really brought the Spirit into the room. I didn't notice until I sat down, but a lot of people were crying a little. Apparently, Jose Del Angel recorded it and is thinking of sending the video to that family member the Mom knows in Utah. Maybe Mom will get a chance to hear it. :) Anyways, to make a long story short, the baptism was a success. :D

I feel kinda bad when I write you guys because I can never remember the special experiences that happen during the week. I usually write them in my journal, but I don´t have it with me when I write. Nearly every day we have some sort of experience that testifies that this work is true. One comes to mind right now.

We visited an inactive family yesterday. Turns out they had a pretty rough time this week. An elderly lady in the family was accidentally trapped outside in their tiny back patio when the door shut behind her. No one was home to let her in so she was stuck outside for twelve hours. She´s fine, but it was a rough experience for someone of her age. Also, her brother who lives on the second floor had everything stolen out of his car. Basically they were feeling pretty cruddy when we came by. They expressed to us the desire to return to church and do what the Lord wants them to do.  We shared a scripture with them and they continued to share their gratitude. They thanked us for our persistence and told us that we always came by exactly when we were needed. It was a small experience, but it helped me to realize that the Lord really guides us to where we need to be.

Dad - You asked about my current companionship. It´s going great! Elder López and I are good friends and we work well together. He´s taught me a lot and he´s a hard worker. I´m really grateful for the time I´ve had with him.  We always joke around in the apartment. He´s a lot of fun. :) He´s from Durango, Mexico. It´s in the upper middle part of the country. Sorry I´m not too specific with our daily life. It´s just fairly repetitive so I don´t think about it much. We usually have appointments and when we don´t we fill the time up looking for people that we already have met in order to see if we can teach them something real quick. As we walk to lessons we usually contact a few people in the street. We do that until the end of the day. Of course, each day is a little different, but that´s how they generally go. 

I love you all and hope all is well.  Thanks for all your e-mails! Talk to you next week!

Elder Sean Horrocks

Mixing things up a bit - 9-2-13

Hi everyone!

This week was... normal. We didn´t have any baptisms, but we´re finding a lot more people to teach. It´s taking a while, but little by little we´re filling up the tanks. The weather has been hot as usual. 

I have some interesting news. The work is going to change quite drastically. Now every investigator has to come to church at least five times before they can be baptized. That makes the teaching process A LOT longer. There´s going to be pros and cons with these changes, but the good news is that more of the baptisms will be true converts instead of just numbers. The work might be a little harder, but it´s going to yield better fruits. With this change the missionaries are supposed to be staying in the same area for longer now. We´ll see what happens there. I think this is my last transfer in this area, but who knows?

One stupid/funny story: my companion got yelled at for something dumb. We were teaching an inactive member whose husband isn´t a member. We were just finishing up when he came home. Now normally he´s been very friendly towards us, but this time was different. We asked if we could help them with anything before leaving and he just starts pointing at my companion and yelling about how he needs to say his name when someone asks for it. Apparently, the last time we passed by we had knocked and he had asked who it was. I can´t remember exactly what my companion said, but it wasn´t his name. So, weeks later, the guy is freaking out about it. It was hard to keep a straight face. It was one of those moments where you really want to hit somebody. My companion and I both looked at each other like "...Really?" It was really childish and kinda ticked me off. It surprises me how people can be sometimes.

Anyways... we had another zone activity today. We played a little volleyball and ate pizza and stuff. Three other elders and I also played a game called three hit kill. You have to bounce a soccer ball (or hacky sack) in the air three times with your feet, catch it, then hit somebody with it. I haven´t played it in a long time so it was a lot of fun for me. :)

It was interesting about those Jehovah s Witnesses. We spoke with a family of them and most of them were really respectful. They expressed their disagreements and ideas without being rude. Then out of nowhere comes this lady who was flat out mean. She just started citing a bunch of Bible references and telling us that we´re wrong. She barely even let us speak before she was going off again about how wrong we are. Unfortunately that´s how a lot of the Jehovah s Witnesses are around here. They´re the classic example of someone with a beam in his eye trying to pull the mite out of his neighbor´s eye. (I may have paraphrased. I don´t remember what words they use in English.) They may try to preach the gospel according to the Bible, but they don´t teach with love at all. Instead they´re very contentious  Aside from that, they´ve changed their Bible. It´s not even called the Bible, it´s called the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. It drives me nuts. Anywhoser.... that´s enough bashing on other religions.

I know this gospel is true. There is way too much evidence supporting it. I don´t think any other church could progress as much as ours if all their missionaries were dumb 18/19 year old. Apart from that, everything just fits. Those who study the Book of Mormon and the Bible with real intent cannot deny their authenticity. All of that aside, there is no greater proof than an answer from God. If you haven´t done it already, I invite you all to pray for a confirmation that the Book of Mormon is true. Even if you have done it and received an answer. Ask for another confirmation. When we know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true, everything else falls into place. We can know of a surety that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Christ´s true church.

I love you all and I can´t wait to be with you again. Count your blessings and be a blessing for someone else.

With all my love,

Elder Sean Horrocks

Monday, May 27, 2013

I'm gonna explode!

Hey there everybody,

Another week has gone by and I'm pretty used to my new area now. I still get lost all the time, but that's why I have a companion. This week has been very slow when it comes to the Lord's work. We are receiving almost no references which makes it pretty hard to find new people. We've been trying to think of other ways to ask for references and get the members excited about the missionary work. We're going to try to put them into practice this coming week. We're also brainstorming more ideas for better ways to contact people. We're going to try talking more about the importance of family and look for more opportunities for service. I think we'll be able to find more people this way, but I guess we'll never know until we try! I let you guys know how that goes next week.

This Sunday I had the opportunity to give a short talk during sacrament. I chose to talk about the Atonement because it's one of my favorite subjects to study. I fumbled here and there with my Spanish, but I think I did well overall. At least half the congregation seemed attentive and I know at least one sister was taking notes, so it couldn't have been that bad.... I hope. :P

Other than all that, it's business as usual. The members feed us a ton over here. I'm usually so full that I don't eat any dinner at night. Walking around the rest of the day is tough with a stomach full to bursting. Another downside is that it makes me really sleepy. The good news is that I won't ever go hungry over here. :)

There's not much else to report lately. My companion and I are still getting along well. No problems there. I do have a slight infection in my throat right now which is a bummer. I'm taking some antibiotics for that. Oh, and I've thought of something you can send in my next package. A new white shirt would be nice. I was eating a hielito (basically a Mexican otter pop) and I accidentally ended up with red juice all down my shirt. Basically, unless I can discover some magic mexican stain remover I won't be able to use that shirt. Oops. :P

It's sounds like everyone's having a decent time back home.

Mom - I'm pretty jealous that you guys get to eat so many different kinds of food. Mexican food is good and all, but sometimes it destroys my digestive system. Plus, eating the same kind of stuff for nearly a year kinda makes me a little tired of it. Oh well, only a little more than 13 months to go! I like what you wrote me about obedience. It really is one of the most important things we can do. If we are obedient we are doing what the Lord expects of us. It's something we all have to work on. There's always room for improvement. I'm also really glad that you're enjoying your work. If you enjoy what you do than it's not that much work is it? I always love hearing from you Mom. Have a great week! Love you!

Dad - I mentioned what we've been doing lately. The branch members are generally very nice. There are a ton of stores is this area. We've got a bunch of supermarkets and stuff really close by along with various fast food restaurants. Like I said we get fed a lot so I don't really buy too much. Just some sandwich stuff and cereal for the mornings. Even if I'm not too hungry I try to eat something for breakfast. I personally haven't done any cooking, but that's mostly because we only have a tiny little electric stove. It's been so hot lately that I'm fine with cold stuff anyways. I'm glad that you guys are always taking the time to do things as a family. That's the kind of stuff I miss the most out here. A lot of the time, the simplest things make the best memories. :) I always appreciate your e-mails, Dad. Keep letting me know what's going on at home. I love and miss you!

I know that this church is true. I know that if we stay true to the Lord, He will help us through all our difficulties. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Only through Him can we stand guiltless before God.

I love you all and wish you nothing but the best! Have an amazing week!

Elder Sean Horrocks

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Is that a mermaid in your swimming pool?

Hi everyone!

Well, it's been a week since the transfers and it's been a lot of fun so far. I know you mostly want to know about where I'm at and who I'm with so I'll start there. :)

My area is called Costa de Oro which means Coast of Gold or Golden Coast. However, I don't know if that's true because I've only seen a very small bit of the beach around here. To be brief, let's just say I'm in probably the wealthiest part of the mission right now. A lot of the neighborhoods around here are nothing but mansions and I'm talking "holy crap I'm gonna get lost in here!" mansions. My second day here, my companion told me that mini coopers come in the cereal boxes around here because they're everywhere. Most of the area is actually businesses. We actually have a Walmart and the Costco in my area. Unfortunately, Costco is banned so I won't be going there. This area is very different than from what I'm used to after Carlos A. Carrillo. I went from small farm town to big city. It's cool though.

Our apartment is pretty small though. It's only a little bigger than my first house in the mission and that's only because it has a kitchen area. Overall, it's nice though. There's no cockroaches and it's fairly clean. (Although we do have a little line of ants marching from the window to the trash can.) It's nice that it doesn't get too hot during the day because it's a ground floor apartment. Plus, the weather is slightly less hot over here being so close to the coast.

My companion and I are getting along really well. His name is Elder Cárdenas and he's a hoot. He's four or five inches taller than me and is from Monterrey, Mexico. He's actually got a six weeks less than me in the mission, but he's been in the field longer due to my time in the MTC. My district is interesting in the fact that it's just us and three sister missionaries in the neighboring area. I bet our district meeting tomorrow will bit just a little different because of that.

The area has been a little slow this week when it comes to the work. Because the people are so well off financially there aren't many who want to listen to us. However, the branch members (yes, it's only a branch of about 60 members) are really cool and willing to work with us. I feel that if we work closely with them we'll be able to find the people who are prepared for the Gospel.

As a side note, it's also a fairly large area so we've done a lot of walking. :P

That's about all the news I got so I'll get to answering your e-mails.

Mom -  The internet cafe we use does have better computers, but today all of them are taken. It's not too big of a deal anyways because I haven't taken any pictures yet. I'll be sure to take some this week though and send them all to you. :) I love you tons mom! Don't worry, only a little bit more than a year left! You'll be hugging my guts out before you know it. :) I love you Mom. :)

Dad - It's funny that you mentioned the temperature. You say it's in the high 80's outside? My companion has a clock with a thermometer and it says it's about 87 degrees inside the house over here. Outside I'm sure it's a bit higher. Let's just say I've gotten used to sweating... all the time. It's all part of the experience though. It's fun. :) I'm glad Grandpa's birthday turned out good. I wish I could've been there, but there's always next year right? Um... and the year after? I think we actually had the same lessons in church as the one you taught. I sure would've liked to have heard it. The temples really are tremendous blessings. I sure hope you and Mom are taking advantage of all the nearby temples. Can't wait to hear more news from home! I love you Dad!

I want to share my testimony of this Gospel. I know that Christ lives and that He atoned for the sins of all mankind. I also know that He truly was resurrected and visited the Americas. I know that we are members of the true church of God restored to the earth. I promise you that there are blessings to be received for each commandment that we keep. Remember, with sacrifice comes blessings. I haven't asked or heard about how you're doing with reading the Book of Mormon. I hope that you're still persevering with that. I testify that we receive the Spirit of the Lord more abundantly in our lives when we read the scriptures. I pray you'll take the opportunity to receive these blessings in your lives.

I love you all and hope everythings going well over there. Remember that it's through the Gospel that we find true happiness. :)

With all my love,
Elder Sean Horrocks

P.S. In case you're wondering about the title of my e-mail. Yeah, there's a member here with a swimming pool that has a picture of a mermaid at the bottom of it.