Actually, it is not for 1000 days. It is just that 3 years times 365 days plus June 27 through June 30, 2008 equals 1098 days, and that is way too cumbersome to convert into a blog headline. Futhermore, our release date will not be determined until May or June of 2011. Therefore, 1000 Days sounded just about right, more or less. Having noted all that, we are humbled and thrilled (Pres. Uchtdorf would refer to the feeling as "joyfully overwhelmed") about having this marvelous opportunity to serve in La Mision Mexico Veracruz.

Con amor,
Pdte. y Hna. Pete and JoElla Hansen

Sunday, August 22, 2010

You saw Elder Hunt a couple of posts back. Here he is with his trainers, Elders Samayoa and Bullock, and his first baptism. He laid her under the water before she was ready and she came up gagging--mouth open, nose not plugged. He had the size advantage. It all worked. Nobody drowned.

These were my last two future missionary interviews before that responsibility was passed off to the new mission president. Elder Minquiz was called to Mexico Hermosillo and Elder Pucheta to Argentina Buenos Aires West. 25% of the 16 missionaries went sent out from Los Tuxtlas went to South America, and one was already serving in El Salvador.

But, at the occasional dinners in the mission home Mom hosts for the office, her rolls are always the biggest hit. Elders Yebra, Holman, and Ricks will attest to that.

Check this out! Sweet corn!!! This is not field corn which is fit for cows and horses. That is what they serve here, tough and starchy. No, this is the real deal. Is was sweet and tender. Check the label on the package. Tracy, CA. No doubt, this corn was grown in or very near to Brentwood, our town, and was shipped directly to us to buy at our Costco. Nice!

Elder Carter and baseball again . . . He took his Veracruz zone to a baseball field and played volley/baseball for a zone activity. They used a volleyball for the baseball. Everyone could hit it and no one got hurt. We went and watched for awhile. It was really fun. The quote on the wall is from Ty Cobb, famous old-time outfielder for the Detroit Tigers (1905-1928) and it says, "I have to be first, everytime, in everything." That is kind of how Elder Carter is.

The missionaries are Elders Lozano, Camacho, Petersen, Stewart, García Flores, Montelón, Teisina, Butler, Lopez Pech, Ruiz, Quintanar, Gutierrez Cadena, Villalobos, Heinhold and Sisters Garza, Cueto, Frausto, Pech, and Flores.

Speaking of Martinez de la Torre, the sister missionaries there came across a man who is a deaf/mute. Somehow, they were able to communicate with him and figured out that he wanted to take the lessons. So, they taught him. They wrote him notes and drew pictures and made him this little study book. He is able to read, so the Book of Mormon was a powerful revelation for him.

With that and a lot of help from the Spirit, Emelio was baptized. Elder Dunn, the zone leader did the baptismal interview. He told me that Emilio does not talk. He cannot say one word, but he does make kind of grunting noises. As Elder Dunn talked with the deaf man, and worked through the workbook, Emilio tried to answer but could only make odd noises. Elder Dunn reported that he understood, in his mind, every word that Emilio was trying to say. He heard words. The missionaries are Sister Anguiano and Calvillo.

Remember that girl who didn't want to get baptized because her school friends said that the missionaries would take them away to Utah to wife? Here she is getting baptized in the river. Her brother, the sprinter, was also baptized. Elders Taylor, Rodriguez, and Gonzales all dressed up for the occasion.

These missionaries had a bauti-strito (all in the district baptizing in the same week). They did not get together at the beach for the baptism but gathered there on preparation day for a photo shoot. They are Elders Camacho and Montelón, Sisters Garza and Cueto, and Elders García Flores and Butler.

The same week Elders Millan and Zaragoza baptized a family of four.

Elders Arnett and Rivera were teaching a family in Minatitlán. They were accepting the gospel well and had accepted a baptismal date. As the elders walked toward the home for a followup visit, they "caught" the grandpa and his 10 year old grandson sitting outside in the shade each reading their blue paperback copies of the Book of Mormon.

The next week they were baptized.

This is Elder Hunt. He is a big Samoan from Long Beach and most recently from Salt Lake. He is a GREAT missionary!!! He is pictured with his two trainers, Elders Samayoa and Bullock who is a fairly recent convert from Virginia. Look at the size of Elder Hunt's hands!

This is the generation board in the mission office. It shows missionaries organized by when they leave for home. It is the entire mission. The first picture is "before." The second is "after." "After" means that 73 missionaries have now been removed to be packaged up and delivered to the new Villahermosa Mission.

Sisters Calvillo and Anguiano were assigned in the Martinez de la Torre Ward and it was divided creating the new Plaza Verde Ward. These are the very first baptisms in the history of that ward. The interesting story is the man in the foto, Bro. Arcadio. The others are not his family. The account was written by Sis. Anguiano.

"He was to be baptized on a Friday. He finally came to his interview but he didn't come to his baptism. I believed in him and in God. I knew that he would do it, nevertheless, I was a little worried about what we should do that he might be baptized. We looked for him on Friday afternoon but didn't find him. I trusted in God. That night I prayed that Father would show me what to do. I knew that He would reveal it to me. Through my dreams He has always helped me. I didn't dream anything all night long, but, I woke up at 6:15. It was time to get up at 6:30 and I thought I would just lay awake. But, sleep overcame me. It was those 15 minutes that Father required to tell me what to do. I saw Hno. Arcadio. I saw that we needed to visit him early in the morning. I saw exactly the words that I had to tell him that he would be ready to be baptized in a few hours. When the alarm sounded I told Sis. Calvillo that we needed to hurry and leave not later than 8. I told her what had happened and what we had to do. When we got to his house, he was just about to leave. We got there on time. We talked with him testifying exactly what I had dreamed that we should say to him. He committed and he did it. He is a very good man. I love God. He never abandons us even though it is late."

Speaking of Elders Gil and Robertson, they had a pretty good June. These pictures makes us smile. In the first one, everybody is ready to go. In the second one, one of the guys looks kinda not excited. One of the ladies seems to be thinking, "Now where did I put that towel?" We presume that they were not all baptized at the same time . . .

Our missionaries constantly help people get married. Elder Gil and Elder Robertson stand with this couple outside the Registro Civil in Teziutlán. We have heard of rates to marry ranging from 1900 pesos to 39 pesos. Why the difference? It may be that there are certain, uh, extra charges to expedite or overlook inaccuracies in records. I am not accusing or judging. That is what the locals say. This couple is holding their marriage certificate. Now they can get baptized.

So, she was.

Friday, August 20, 2010

And then Elder Quintero showed us his foot to the ear trick.

"X" is for Xalapa! That is why their hands are crossed. That same week, Zona Xalapa had a bauti-zona. That is when each companionship in a zone baptizes in the same week. The missionaries are (front row) Elders Kraft of PA, Ramirez Arambula, Sanvicente, Ramirez Montoya, Sierra, (back row) Elders Solano, Watkins, Gonzalez Ochoa, Angulo, Nazario, Ramirez Martinez, Valdez, Haro.

Bauti-zonas are pretty hard to come by, but there were four in June, 2010. Three took place in la Zona Teziutlán, all in the same month. These are the missionaries.
Elders Castillo, Quintero, Gil Jimenez, Castro, Canseco, Goodworth (Shelley, ID), Sisters Anguiano and Calvillo, Elders Parker (Orem), Gonzalez Ojeda, Trujillo, Robertson (Oklahoma City), Lizama, and Dunn (Louisburg, Kansas but he claims Texas).

After we bought the cigar boxes we went to a baptismal service with Elders Rosales and Elrey.

In Sihuapan they grow tobacco and make cigars. So, we stopped to by some. Just kidding! We stopped because as we had driven by several times we noticed this little cigar stand across the highway from the cigar factory. We also noticed that they sold cigars in wooden boxes. That is what we wanted. Cool cigar boxes from Los Tuxtlas. So we stopped.

The little handicapped guy on his ATV told us he would sell the boxes without the cigars. They were handmade. (So were the cigars.) They had burned into the lids something about San Andres Tuxtla. He sold us the wooden boxes. One was 60 and the other 45 pesos. Do the arithmetic. That is a good deal. We told the missionaries about the boxes and they went there a couple of days later. He wouldn´t sell to them. Maybe they were underage. Or maybe he got in trouble for selling boxes and not cigars.
We were running out of time. This part of the mission was going to belong to the Villahermosa Mission in just three weeks. So, we got up on a Saturday morning, our theoretical preparation day, and drove to Los Tuxtlas via Monte Pio. We had never been there but had heard from missionaries that it is beautiful. They were right. We saw some very nice iguanas, tiny fishing villages, and children playing along a beautiful coastline.

(Some of these look really good if you click on them.)

Our bananas are still growing!

We dropped off Elders Fast and Gil at the end of a dirt road so they could continue on their way to an appointment.

While visiting in the south, I decided to trim the extended sideburns of a missionary so that the new president wouldn't have to worry about that either. I liked it.
We continued going south to visit missionaries and inspect apartments, replacing bad mattresses and bedframes so that the new mission president would not have to fuss with all that.

Elder Castro and Elder Preston from Santa Rosa, CA worked together in the Coatzacoalcos Ward.

Elders Decker from Utah, Chan, Kohlieber from Simi Valley CA, and Luna de Leon live in the same house in Minatitlán.

On the other side of Minatitlán are Elder Fast from Lancaster, CA and Elder Gil Salamanca. They are holding open the bathroom door of their apartment.

In San Andres Tuxtla, Elder Elrey from Tucson, Elder Gumeta, Elder Bowen of Draper, UT, Elder Moeller, Tucson, and Elder Rosales. They are all about the same height as you will note.

Elder Sierra, Elder Watts from Sandy UT, and Elder Sifuentes were zone leaders in Coatzacoalcos.

Elder Robinson from Hooper, UT and Elder Weaver from Odgen which is near Hooper, were companions in Acayucan. They live above a lady who collects puppies from ranchos and sells them. There must have been 20 of them in the enclosed cement-floored entry area to the apartment. Were it not for the incessant barking and odor, you would hardly know the dogs were there.

We are going to miss these missionaries.

After seeing those dead bananas, we got in the van and headed south. Boy. I'll bet those bananas are getting ripe fast!

I am pretty sure that this is one of the reasons that I am not a fan of banana bread. They make it from these things, right?