Mailing Address in Mexico

Elder Oliver Philip Hulme
Guadalajara East Mission
AV. 18 de Marzo #3088
Colonia las a Aguilas
Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico
CP 45080

Sunday, November 24, 2013

November 18, 2013 - Waiting for interviews, robbed again

Hey kids. So it's just another crazy pants week here is Mexico. Sometimes are much better than others.
On Wednesday, I had my first second interview with the mission president (we have them every three months). We had to be there at 11:10am to be interviewed. We got there at 11. I don't know what happened with the planning and such, but we waited until 3:30 and didn't leave until 4. So that was SUUUUPER GREAT. We get lectured on not baptizing enough, but it's a little hard teach when we are waiting for interviews for 5 hours.

Then on Thursday into Friday, we had divisions again. This time I was out of my area again, with another native companion. I don't love divisions, because its real tough trying to learn a new language, area, and companion when you are with other companions all the time. We finished divisions on Friday at 2pm. The four of us went to our house to get Elder Jenkins's's's stuff, because he was with Elder Lux. When we walked in, the back door was wide open and it was a stinky pants like cigarettes. We got robbed, yet again. They took 500 pesos of Elder Lux, elder Jenkins' electric razor charging cord, (only the cord, not the razor), and our DVD player, with our copy of the District, (Thieves don't use too much of their brain). So that's that.

On Saturday, we had this huge event in the chapel that was from 9am to 2pm, called autosuffiency, it just had a bunch of booths teaching people about stuff like food storage and personal security, etc. That was a good thing, it was to help get the name of the church out there a little bit more...

Then on Sunday, we had a huge meeting with Elder Martinez of the 70, with all the missionaries from Morelia, Uruapan, and Areopuerto, and all of our/their mission leaders, bishops, and other people like YM/YW presidencies. He pretty much just grilled all of the members for not helping us as much. I feel like the members help us a ton. But someone felt they needed a'grilling.

Today, I have to go to Guadalajara again. I have to renew my visa. Why I couldn't do it when I was there last week... I don't know. Last night we did divisions once again so I slept in Elder Jenkins' house again. He is the one from Eden - super great. American companions are super fun, and probably not the best thing, because we just end up talking allll night. 

Honestly, between interviews, district meetings, mission meetings, 2 Guadalajara trips, 3 nights and 3 days of divisions, I have had about no time to do anything. I finished the Book of Mormon this week. That was great. I like that book more and more each day. 

Dad asked about my spanish. Spanish is good, yet tough, as a new language ought to be. There is lots of stuff I don't understand, but in my language study, I study my guts out because everything else I study, such as the scriptures and preach my gospel and all that does not apply if I can't talk with the people. I can talk with more and more people, but not all that well. Buuuuut when I think that I've only really been learning Spanish for a little bit more than 2 months, it's quite impressive what I can do. 

I love you guys tons, and you guys are the coolest. Things are great in Mexico, and I am loving it.

Elder Hulme.
If you are a thief, choose this place

Some of my favorite graffiti art

More graffiti art

One of my favorite cookies to buy

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013 - Dishwashers, Cajeta, Mr. Spirit, Do's and Don'ts

This last week has been really crazy. 

We went to Guadalajara yesterday, all the elders and sisters that have been out here the same amount of time as me had to go to Guadalajara. Yesterday after sacrament meeting we got on a combi, and rode to the central. The central is pretty much just your intermodal hub, where all the big buses that go places go. The combi ride was about a half hour, then we waited for a little bit for the next bus to Guadalajara, which took about three and half hours, we waited for a different kind of bus, and took that to the mission office. All in all total of the travel was about 6 hours. The buses that take us to Guadalajara are really nice. They have little tablet sort of things on every seat, and they have a whole bunch of movies loaded up on them. So that is what everyone does, except missionaries. They also have music we can't listen to and whole bunches of stuff like that.

So we got to the mission offices and waited for a little. All this was a pretty good experience because I got to see all my old MTC pals - this was all fun. Once we were in the mission offices, we waited for a while and then we all slept in one of the houses of the secretaries. Eight elders and one bathroom is less than fun, but it all worked out. One of the secretaries was asking if anyone else was going to shower in the night, I figured I would ask him if he wanted me to shower at night. So I did, but I accidentally asked "do you want to bathe me," so that was a really good laugh. In the morning, we went back to the mission offices which were pretty close. We got to eat breakfast at the mission home.

The mission home is super killer nice, and we ate watermelon and cantaloupe and then this chili stuff with a crap ton of tortillas, and some beans. It was tasty. They had carpet and a dishwasher. This was the second room with carpet I've seen in Mexico, and the First Dishwasher. DISHWASHERS ARE GREAT APPLIANCES. But I've actually grown to not mind the lack of dishwasher. It also helps that the amount of dishes we have are pretty minimal as well. After we ate, and shared stories, we went to a chapel, and had a training meeting, woooooooo. It was a training meeting. Then we did the whole busing back and forth. We did tons of busing the past day, and we is exhausted. 

Next item of business. On Friday into Saturday, I had divisions with my zone leader. This is just where you work with them for a day. It was super awesome. Our district leader is Elder Jenkins, from Eden UT. He did the majority of the teaching, but I had 2 grand experiences with him. 1) We went to this partial-member family's home, and they call the grandma "grandma cookie." She is one of those super sweet old ladies who loves missionaries and loves to give them cookies. We were teaching the Gospel of Christ, and kind of focusing on repentance/the atonement. And before the lesson, we ate a ton of cookies and cajeta. Cajeta is love, it is just this caramel stuff, oh and a lot of the cookies here are just like graham crackers in circle form. So yeah, after devouring 2 packs of cookies and a whole jar of cajeta, we were talking about the atonement. I jumped on in there and shared my testimony of the atonement. It was an incredible experience, one of those where there is power behind the words, to where when the words are said, you feel it, and I hoped that everyone was feeling it as well as I was. The spirit was super strong, in so much that all could feel the spirit, despite my broken Spanish. 2) Next experience, we go to visit a drama queen, who conveniently owns a counterfeit clothing store. But we were talking with her and she was letting loose on us with all her problems. Eventually I jumped in with a little bit of a prayer lesson. I really like prayer and I really like telling people how cool prayer is. So we talked about prayer for a while and how it can help us with so many things, and once again that there Mr. Spirit was there. 

On Saturday we had a ward activity, Called "viaje a Hawaii" (trip or travel to Hawaii). It was for the missionaries to score some investigators. Pretty much we had tickets that we would give to members who thought they might have people that were interested in the church, and then they brought them to the activity. It went really well. The story was that everyone that attended, was going to Hawaii. Elder Lux and I, the pilots, totes crashed the plane and killed them all. There was a slide show and sound effects, the works, but when they died, we had an angel come out and took them to all the kingdoms of glory that were possible, starting with OUTERDARKNESS. We had rooms all decorated and it was actually really well-done. We have been planning it since the week I got here. So yeah, We haven't gotten to contact any of the new references because we have been in Guadalajara or on a bus, but time will come.

Those are the mega points of my week. Mom you asked about Maydena. Maydena is good, she is also a huge stressor..... Maydena wants to be baptized, but she is the breadwinner for her family and just barely got a job. She works always, and we are trying to find a time when she can be baptized, buuuuut, she works every Sunday, so she can't be confirmed. This is another problem, if you are a member of the church, and you don't go to church, you are inactive, sooooo, should we baptize someone who will INSTANTLY, be inactive? I DON'T KNOW. The bishop and our mission president say yes becauuuuse they want numbers, they want baptisms, they want those to increase. And I just wanna say, "Do you want numbers or true conversions? Because I'd bet you we could walk out into the street and say to some Tuesdays (homeless people), "who wants a free bath?" and we could get them some numbers. BUT ITS ALL GOOD. 

Momma Bear here are answers to your questions:
1. We are in a house, it has 2 bedrooms, kind of like a living room, which is where we sleep, the bedrooms are just used as closets, and a bathroom, and a "kitchen." I would send pictures, but I forgot my camera at the house, so that is good. 
2. We walk a bunch, use a bunch of combis and not as many buses on a typical day. Every day is different. We try not to use combis a ton because you burn through your money really quick, really really quick. But we walk a ton, but other areas that don't have combis walk more.
3. Oh gosh... do people have pets. One family has easily over 25 birds, and when we eat there you feel like you are in some sort of a zoo or birdhouse. It can be really beautiful, or reallllllly annoying. A lot of people have dogs. I am yet to see any sort of other pet other than fish. Some dogs are treated like Gold, some aren't. There is this one family that has THE NASTIEST looking dog I have ever seen. It a large dog, larger than Decca, with super long white fur. Buttttt, the dog was so old and so un-groomed, its fur was about six inches long, and the dog was sooo incredibly nappy that the fur had just turned into dreadlocks  - big dreadlocks about 3-4 inches wide - not kidding in the slightest. The beast is so putrid that the family doesn't  touch it. They use a broom to push it away from them. It was really quite gross, and comical simultaneously. Also we have lizards that live under our porch. I have yet to name them for lack of a great name, but one will come to me. 
4. I see butterflies. I have not seen any huge ones, but you see a few a day. I would like to see more, and more huge ones.
5. Yes we keep our doors locked and lock the gate. The gas thief did not get a way with the gas, but he moved it about six feet and cut the line. We have hot water now. Except, I like to think of our boiler as a pubescent girl/boy/teen. It decides when it wants to cooperate, and it just depends on your luck.
All of your family things sound super cool. Except for the poor person that crashed into Starfie, That dent will just add more character to Starfie... One cool thing about Mexico is the cars. People are really funny about stuff. They will drive a piece of crap car, with suuuuper nice rims, and suuuuper nice stereo system, and live in a terrible house, and eat nothing, but they have a really nice stereo system. PRIORTIES.

I'm super close to finishing the Book of Mormon. I like the famous quote that goes something like "if we don't learn from history, we are destined to repeat it." All the Nephites and Lamanites and Jarodites and all those cats never really understood that. They become righteous, then they start seeking for money and idols and fornication, and then they are sad, and then some amazing prophet comes along and teaches them to change, and then the next generation falls in. I want to be the kind of guy that can learn from my mistakes, and not fall back into them, a lot easier said than done.

I sure do love all of you guys and I hope all of your weeks are super duper. And if they aren't CHANGE IT. Also easier said than done. Also that is really great that Sandee has a baptismal date.

Love you all. Stay sweet. And stay strong, and remember who you are, and be polite, and always say thank you, and dab not scrub when you spill mole on your tie, and don't get ingrown fingernails, and don't eat food that gives you diarrhea.

---Elder H U L M E heeyullllme

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November 4, 2013 - 3rd week in Camelinas, kitchen, washing, and burgler

Glad to hear from you as always. I'm loving Mexico. We had an awesome week this last week.
As far as our celebrations here, well, they were pretty uneventful. On Halloween, we were in meetings and appointments during all the night time hours, so we didn't really get to see many costumes. And then I couldn't really tell what was going on for the 2-day celebrations for Day of the Dead. All three nights there were trick-or-treaters with pretty lame costumes. They would just put a boring mask on or paint their face with whiskers. So honestly, I don’t even know what goes on with Day of the Dead.
The food in Mexico is absolutely splendid. I have forced myself to like spicy food. I hated it before, and now I've tricked myself into loving it. You asked about our cooking situation. It is pretty pathetic. Today I purchased my own cooking pot with my personal money, because the offices wouldn’t reimburse it. We have a mini fridge, a camp stove, a sink, 2 forks, 1 spoon (no knives), 2 bowls, 3 cups, a small frying pan, and my new blue pot. But it’s all good, we survive.
We wash our clothes out back. We have a sort of washing station where we fill up a bucket with water and soap, put in our clothes to soak, then we put an item on the scrubby part of the table and scrub away. Yes, I hand wash all of my clothing, then we hang it up to dry. The clothes get clean, but they are not at all soft. But it’s all good.
There are cybers around, right now we are in Camelinas, which is near the chapel and there is a cyber, which is just like a room with computers.
Elder Lux and I have been teaching quite a bit. We have one investigator --Maydena H. who we have been teaching tons. She is doing very well. Our other four investigators we have been trying to teach a lot, but they keep on bailing, which is frustrating. When we invite them to church they just say "we'll see if God wants me to go to church on Sunday." So pretty much they want it to be spelled out in their Cheerios that morning, "Go to church". But it’s all right. All of our investigators are listening to the lessons and are very interested. My teaching is improving a ton. I can teach in Spanish surprisingly well, but I have tons of room to improve. The people talk so fast and when they repeat themselves they say it even faster.
Hmmmm what have I learned this last week? I learn a ton. I finally feel mostly comfortable with all the parts of our area. If I know who we are going to visit, I can pretty well manage to get us there.
Elder Lux is the best. Before, he was studying to be an accountant but that is not really what he wants to be - he doesn’t know. He likes soccer, and just being a good dude.
My purpose of being a missionary more or less is just enhanced, I don't think it has completely changed. Its like if you have brownies, then you decided to add some mint frosting, then topped it all off with some Andes mints or something. You get the point. Right now I'd say my purpose, is... And this struck me pretty hard while in the MTC, is this: In Moses 1:39, God states his purpose, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. And I figure my purpose is to help fulfill God’s purpose, and that’s what keeps me out here. I'm out here serving, devoting everything I got to help out the Creator. It’s crazy how much my love for our family has grown in the past little bit. Mom and dad worry so much about us hooligans, and they want the best for us, God is our Heavenly father, he worries for us he hopes the best for us, and I want to make my God proud. In one of our devotionals in the MTC, Elder Baxter said, "You leave your families for a little bit to help others be with theirs forever."  I think that is incredible. That is the other thing I want to do: Help - help everyone. While in the MTC, I decided to study at least 15 minutes a day on charity. And it made me want to be more charitable, and I try to do more charitable acts every day.
Mexico is so rad! I love it here, it is honestly fun. As far as the cars go, there are very, very, very nice cars, and there are some of the largest pieces of junk you have ever seen. Something must have happened with Volkswagon here in Mexico because there are tons and tons of Volkswagons, super cool old ones and super cool new ones. DONT LET STARFIRE DIE!!!! I love Starfie. I need to write Simon and tell him to take care of her.
The diversity of people that we work with is great. We work with people who have very, very nice cars and pretty much make bank, and we work with people who work their butts off all day long and make 100 pesos (less than ten US dollars) a day. It is so humbling, we are so blessed. Also the area that I'm in is a very large city and has really civilized part. My area has kind of three neighborhoods in it: Santa Maria, which is a beast of a hill and is quite a bit more poor, then we also have Camelinas, which is a flatter part of the city. The transportation here is super fun. The Combi's (pronounced cahmbee) are these little vans that have seats for 16 people, but you can cram about 22 in there. They drive recklessly, as does everyone here. They all have a different color and each color a different route. They are always running and rarely do you ever have to wait more than 5 minutes, so that is the best. Also, it is a good way to contact people, but my Spanish is not all that great yet, so I get really, really nervous.
Oh man I can't believe I almost forgot to share this story, this is a fun one:
The Burglar
I'm asleep, I love to sleep, who doesn't at 3:30am? Elder Lux wakes me up, and I'm so incredibly confused, saying, "como? como? que? mande?" He is shusshing me, so at this point I’m just confused. He is continually looking out the window and over his shoulder. Then, Elder Lux runs over into my room, which is just a closet, and turns on the light. I'm just lost, so I just sit there in my bed. He runs back, is looking out the window, I say "elder que esta pasando" what is happening? He tries to explain this to me. A man threw some rocks at our window to see if anyone was awake or home (of course I slept through that), then he intruded into our gate. I will send photos of the house, but we have somewhat of a side where you can walk to the back. This person had opened the gate and gone to the back. After Elder Lux turned on the light, the man ran away. But a few minutes later, he returned. I'm freaking out and just praying my guts out for safety and comfort. After the guy returned, Elder Lux turned on more lights, then the guy ran off again. At some point, while in the back, the savage of a man cut our gas line in attempt to steal our gas tank. This stunk because for the next two days we had to shower in freeeeezing water, easily the coldest water I've ever showered in. We now have more safety precautions for the house and don't worry, we are safe. It was a thrilling experience.
You and Dad are the best people I could ever ask for in my life. I love you all so much. Also, could you send some more photos of the family? Some people want to see photos of my family but I don’t want to tamper with the photo albums I have. Thanks for all you do for me.

-elder hulme

Friday, November 1, 2013

October 28, 2013 - 2nd Week in Camelinas, near Morelia

Greetings from Mexico! Things in mexico are good. A super huge rainstorm just hit and poured out tons and tons of rain for a few minutes, then it changed into just a really large amount of rain. Speaking of the weather, the weather is a bit odd; this last week for 2 days in a row, it was absolutely freezing- I could see my breath outside, and it was just chilly chilly, probably nothing to what you guys are feeling in utah right now. 

Mom, thanks for the update, with all the stuff that happened in the past week, it sounds like you guys did a ton and had tons of fun. I'm assuming that the Costco/Winco/mall trip was for the Germans to purchase souvineers and food to take back to Germany, or that you just wanted some help getting groceries. Mom, you and Jette doing the zipline and then driving the Alpine loop sounds similar to our mini family vacation that we did just before I left. Also I'm a bit jealous of you guys getting to play in Provo Canyon while the leaves are a-changing. Probably shouldn't tell you this, but at this time of the year, usually this next week (because the end of term is always near my birthday), me and Jonny, or me and my friends, would end up skipping our class after lunch when it was nice and sunny and warm and either go hike in the canyon or drive the Alpine loop. GOOD TIMES. 

The weather here is different. Right now it is always changing, but from what I have heard, October-February is cold, March-May is hottttt, June-August is rainy, and September is lovely. I've been experiencing quite a bit of lovely, with some cold and some rain, but it is all good. 

Thank you for all the birthday wishes and love. This birthday was a little bit more odd, and yes it is easy to forget. I remembered in the morning, but I decided to wait until night to open my gifts. THANKS SO MUCH! They are all so great, but easily my favorite is the pictures... they mean so much to me. I am yet to figure out what I will do with the brownie mix because we are without an oven and any sort of vessel large enough to mix that up. I'll figure it out. 
The past week, the streets of Mexico have exploded with the little skulls for Day of the Dead, which is a different holiday than Halloween. I'm really excited to see how they celebrate all that in the next couple of days. Today we were walking and I stopped at a little cart to see how much one of the large skulls cost, my clumsy self accidently kicked the table, and knocked one of the skulls down. Moral of the story: I got to pay for a candy skull that I didn't get to eat. Oh well, life is good. 

Tacos al pastor are awesome, and we ended up eating at the same place for the same tacos the next day. This week a member fed us this awesome seafood salad. It had -surimi- which i am still trying to figure out what that is. But it was super tasty. Also on my birthday Elder Lux bought a tres leches cake, and it was super tasty (nothing like yours mom), but it was really good.  Also, on Thursday, I ate something that did not agree with my stomach, needless to say, the bathroom and I became good friends.

One day while in the MTC, I remember thinking about how much I have always enjoyed getting counsel from Mom, Dad, and Xander. I look up to you guys sooo much you have no idea. This week I was reading in Alma, chapters 36-42. It consists of alma giving counsel to his sons Helaman, Shiblon and Coriantum. I really enjoyed this. I think in 38 or 39 Alma tells Coriantum to counsel with his brothers, and this reminded me of all the awesome chats Xander and I have had. Man I love you guys a ton.

Mom you asked about how we cannot just go around knocking on doors. It is true, and I know that a lot of missions are doing that. In Mexico, it can be a little tough when our appointments fall through or lessons end early, and we have a little bit of time that we have no idea what to do with. We do our best. 

All is well, Mexico is super pretty.

With love ---Elder Hulme