Hello, my family and friends. It was just a fantastic week this week full of utter enjoyment.
Let me start this with investigators, and progress and stuff like that.
Sister G - We're going to baptize her very soon. She´s more faithful than some of the members... Super awesome lady. Just gotta work on her coffee addiction....
Brother M - He's progressing really well. They have plans to get married, and plan to be married by April. We´re praying that we can baptize him after conference.
That´s all we've got. Sister P really hasn´t talked to us, and we can´t get a hold of her. Oh well, we´ll see her later if the Lord says we need to help her out.
Okay, so, as you´ve guessed from the Subject of this email, I crossed, for the first time in 8 months, the border between the United States and Mexico to enter a world that I assumed I would only view from hilltops for the next 2 years.
I was thinking I was going to wait until the end of the email to describe it, but I don´t think you guys will read it very well because you´ll just be thinking about what I said about the U S of A. So, I´ll just get into it.
Whenever we have people from the States that leave, they have to go to San Diego. That means that the President must take them there in his car.
We showed up in the offices at 9, and the President was about to leave to go to the States, when he said he needed someone to accompany him. Elder L, the assistant, was busy taking stats from the Zone Leaders, and another Zone leader was not there.
That meant that I was the only person who could go with him.
"Me acompañe a la linea por favor Elder Carter?"
(Will you accompany me to the border, please, Elder Carter?)
I could barely contain my excitement.
Elder D gave me my passport and I shoved it into my pocket and just barely managed to stay calm as we got into the elevator.
As we got into the elevator, Presidente Carreón pulled out his iPhone and said:
"Tengo una pregunta, Elder Carter, quien es esta persona?"
(I have a question, Elder Carter, who is this person?)
He handed me his iPhone and I looked down at the picture, thinking that I was going to see a missionary that perhaps he couldn't recognize.
I looked down directly to see
My very own grandfather.
I was speechless.
The President then told me:
"Me dijo: I am Grandpa Carter"
(He told me: I am Grandpa Carter)
I could not believe my ears or eyes. It was so cool! And then we proceeded to talk about what happened. The President told me he spoke to Grandpa in ENGLISH! That is just crazy! The President doesn´t really speak English. I mean, he does, but not WELL, and not FLUENTLY.
We proceeded to talk about stuff about Grandpa and Dad and about my family.
As we drove to the line, he talked to me about how good it was what Grandpa did, and how he was really glad that there were people that are willing to help out like that.
Anyway, we drove to the Otay Border, and I walked across the border.
When we got into the office, one of the officers looked at us and began to say something like this:
"I KNOW WHO YOU GUYS ARE. I KNOW WHAT YOU DO."
I got really scared for a second, because
1.) IT WAS IN FREAKIN ENGLISH.
2.) I HAD NO IDEA WHO HE WAS
3.) I WAS SPEAKING SPANISH AND IT SCARED ME THAT HE INTERRUPTED ME LIKE THAT
And then he said:
That was about the closest I will get to cardiac arrest I think.
So I crossed with no problems. We got into the United States, and I kid you not:
The air just tasted better.
Not to be racist or anything like that. The air just felt better. I don´t know how to describe it.
Anyway, I meet up with the President at a 7/11 after asking for directions in English (weirdest thing ever) and then we drove to the airport.
During the whole time, we talked about many things, but I noticed a few things during our little trip:
1.) California is really green and pretty.
2.) The roads and everything are really clean
3.) People actually obey traffic laws
4.) Everything in Spanish that I saw, I understood.
So, we arrive at the airport and do what we had to do there, and then left.
As we were in the airport, I was talking in complete Spanish to the President and I have to say:
I felt pretty darn cool.
Not to say it like I´M SO COOL. Or anything like that.
I just felt awesome. Just the simple fact that I was able to understand Spanish and many others could not just made me super happy.
As we left, I began to talk to the President about the United States. He then listened to me talk about the differences I saw between Mexico and the US.
He and I had a really nice little chat as we passed through San Diego.
To be honest, it was a great experience. I feel just so much happier about everything now.
Alright, so I´m sure you have a million questions, so I´ll try to answer the biggest ones:
1.) Did you have to translate for someone while you were there in California?
No, I didn´t get that chance.
2.) Did you go anywhere besides the airport in San Diego?
No. Just airport and back. No stops anywhere.
3.) What other things did you get to do in San Diego?
Really what I described was about it. Sorry. I didn´t throw my nametag on the floor, scream I´M FREE and go home.
4.) Why did the President need someone to accompany him to the border?
He normally has other North American Elders go with him to the US.
Alright, so if there are any more, just shoot ´em to me. I´m willing to answer them all.
Outside of that, what else happened....
I talked with the mother of an Elder on the phone a couple days ago. She told me she was reading my blog. I was amazed, but then she described me and I was like, WOW!
She proceeded to tell me that she was looking in all the other blogs about missionaries in Tijuana and that MY experiences helped her know what her son was going through a little better.
It was really cool to know that I was helping her without even really trying.
It also made me think....
Does MY mom do that?
Now that I think about it... That´s probably all Mom does. She probably knows more about this Mission than I do right now. But hey, that´s a Mom´s job. She´s gotta send me the stuffy nose pills when i get a stuffy nose. That´s how a Mom works.
So thanks Mom, for taking care of me even though I´m thousands of miles away.
Also, to that mother who reads this blog, thanks for being so supportive of your son. You have no idea how much it means to us as missionaries to know that there are people that are willing to give all they´ve got to just see us baptize 1 person. We really get discouraged sometimes, but with the support we receive, we just power through it knowing that we can´t fail.
Okay, so... there´s that... What else?
This email is really long this week because I have a TON of time to write it. I hope it´s super awesome for you guys.
Alright, I´m gonna talk about Elder L for a little bit.
Elder L is quite possibly one of the greatest missionaries this mission has ever seen.
I have never met anyone who does what he does.
He single-handedly can make people baptize better.
Not only does he baptize every week, but he knows everything.
Like, I remember talking with him one time about who was a good missionary and who was bad. He said this:
"There are no good missionaries. Everyone is a bad missionary. Everyone. But Christ was a perfect missionary, which means if we want to baptize everyone, we have to be like Christ. That's why Chapter 6 exists. That´s why the word "love" is mentioned so often in PMG. That´s why I say it´s more important to love the people than to teach well or speak well."
He says stuff like this all the time. He's just an absolute genius. I honestly don´t know where he learns this stuff from. I just don´t understand where he learns it, but he knows stuff like that. I would say he´s probably done more for me on my mission in 1 transfer than my entire mission has done for me so far.
No one really likes him. To be honest, many people think Elder L just planches (there´s the word again. Remember that it´s "to destroy someone´s religion" or as i think about it, "punish") everyone. Really, he does. But he is super humble, he loves the people, is very patient, and above all, he has more faith than almost anyone I've seen.
He told me that he saw another Elder just baptizing a ton and said to himself:
He has nothing that I can´t have.
And then he just went and baptized a bunch.
He said he had a goal of baptizing 13 people that transfer, and he did it. He baptized a total of like, 15 (I think. I don´t remember well right now).
So, I am now resolved to just do what he does. He told me that he just did his work. He just contacted a ton and just did what he was supposed to do.
This transfer, he will be going somewhere else, or, in other words, leaving as an AP. He leaves as an AP and becomes a District Leader, training 2 people.
He has set a goal that he is going to have 5 baptisms every week.
I want to be that missionary.
So, I´m just gonna work. That´s just it. The Lord says he´s gonna put people in my path, then that means I gotta talk to everyone to find them, because I never know who they are.
That´s what´s happened this week.
Alright, I gotta get going. This is way too long.
Take care everyone. Next week is going to be the miracle week. I´m not going to accept failure.
Be safe and BE HAPPY. (I gotta work on that....)