Elder Parker Thomas Alexander

Mexico, Torreon LDS Mission
June 30, 2010 - June 2012

Elder Parker Thomas Alexander
Mission Mexico Torreon
Apartado Postal 792
Coahuila, 27000 Mexico

This blog is updated weekly by Parker's family.

Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29, 2010

Happy Turkey Day!

Ok, so I've got to say that Thanksgiving was weird in a foreign country. It was a pretty fun day though and we worked hard. Only one member lady knew that it was Thanksgiving. They just call it the day of thanks here because there isn't really a translation for Thanksgiving. It was cool though. Sadly though, I did not have anything that even resembled Turkey. Instead, I had more cow udders. I've gotta say, guys. I'm going to eat everything when I get home no matter what it is. Ha! I'm even eating fruits and things regularly. As for the weather here, it's nice. It gets up to about 75 or 80 still in the day, but it gets way cold at night! It's been fun though. I am definitely eating good food and I'm enjoying that a lot!

Other than Thanksgiving, let's go through the week. So first off, Elder Lambert is here and happy! He has a really tough companion, but his Spanish is way good and I know he's going to be a good leader in the mission. It was funny. We have District Meetings every week with the zone and afterward we were talking (in Spanish because we are in the company of people who don't understand English) and he just stopped and said he had to talk in English with me because he had a bunch of questions for me about everything he's supposed to be doing. It was kind of weird because I realized I didn't know what I was doing either. haha. Anyway, we talked for a little bit and he seems to be doing really well and enjoying Mexico and everything. Speaking of district meetings, it was weird. My zone has a bunch of goofs in it and it's tough to get stuff done, so we had to talk to the districts about the importance of our calling and important stuff like that. It was strange to tell people what they need to be doing because really, I need to work just as hard as anyone else and more to be worthy of my calling and the priesthood. I do love how much I've learned these few weeks about myself, about who I want to become these two years, and who the Lord needs me to be. I have so much room for improvement, but I promise I'm trying to do my best. I have definitely felt the Lord lift me up in my times of need and my support always comes from your letters, talks, or scriptures. Thanks so much for all your support!

Alright, so moving on with the week: Oh, mom, you're gonna love this! There is a guy in my ward who looks like.... Johnny Depp! And when I say looks like, I mean he acts like him too! At least in the interviews I've seen! Fun, eh?

So, last night we went to a member's house and guess what we did! We wrote letters to Santa! So you all don't even need to worry about me because Santa will find me and it'll be alright! Sweet, eh?

Anyway, lots of love,

Elder Alexander

November 22, 2010

Hey guys! How are you all? I hope amazing because I'm feeling pretty good! It is a little weird right now to not be home for Thanksgiving because people here don't really know about it. haha. It is fun though. Christmas is beginning here and it's like 70 degrees or something. Crazy, eh? Anyway, it is pretty fun here. Elder Lopez is pretty cool and we're working pretty well together. We really don't have any problems because we just keep going and WE work. He's really funny and a little crazy which
really is ok because hey, I'm a little bit nuts too.

So this week on the 20th was the centenial of the revolution of Mexico which was cool. There were fireworks going on, special speeches, stuff like that. It was cool. (Oh and by the way, people really don't celebrate cinco de mayo. Half of them don't even know what happened then. I guess it was a battle of some sort. Who knows?) So that was cool and also, I went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders this week to learn a little bit more of how to teach better, contact better, and really just do everything better. It was actually pretty cool. I went with Elder Watson for 24 ours in his area
to work with him and Elder Quintana went to my area to work with Elder Lopez. It was fun and I did learn a lot. I learned that I need to work hard because I don't know very much! haha It was good though and we taught some amazing lessons with the Spirit and I can't even tell you how cool it is to just bare testimony of the Gospel and help people to resolve doubts or problems they have.

Ok, so I have to tell you the crazy thing I ate and there really isn't a nice way of going around it so..... I ate bull testicles.... Gross, eh? I don't really want to go into detail, but yeah, they didn't taste too bad and really it was just meat, but still.... yeah.....nuts, eh? We were with a family and yeah, they served it to us in a stew type thing. Can you believe it, we're outside burning with heat and they have stew and soup at every meal. haha.

Anyway, that's about it other than the fact that Nate has a beard!!!!! I definitely need to see some pics of that because I'm just not picturing it or believing it right now!!!! Crazy!!! I would love to be doing that charity thing too, but guess what.... I shave every day! haha It's actually getting to the point where I really need to because my neck and chin look bad in the mornings. Oh, and some other news, Elder Lambert's coming to my zone!!!!!!!! I'm stoked to see him and even though he only got here like 3 weeks ago, he's senior companion! How sweet is that? He's gonna dominate and it's gonna be fun to have him here!

Ok so really, this is the last thing... maybe. I feel old because this week I bought an Iron. Crazy! My comp's Iron wasn't working so I bought a nice $20 Iron to smoothe out those wrinkles. I feel like an old man. Oh and hey, just have a few requests of you.... I need the picture of me, mom, and Nate the day I reported to the MTC because I printed out the one mom sent and the resolution is really bad so if you could e-mail another one, that would be sweet. Also, there's a picture of Joseph Smith that I love and I found out who painted it and what it's called. It's "American Prophet" by Del Parson.... If you could encounter that somewhere and send it to me that would be awesome. Also, there's this picture of Jesus where he's smiling with his teeth and everything and I don't know what it's called. It looks like the normal one the church uses, but hes smiling and I would relly love to have that too. Also, I want to send a package of stuff home for you all, but I lack the funds here to do so, so if you could put some money in my account just so I can do that, that would rock!

Love you all sooooooo much and here's a little Spanish:

Mi familia: les amo bastante porque soy un miembro de la Iglesia verdadera por ustedes. Muchas gracias por sus ejemplos y la vida que yo tengo. les amo.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Durango, Durango

November 15, 2010

Well, my awesome family, I’m still alive as a district leader. haha

I’m doing pretty good, though. This area is way sweet and fun. There are some waaaay cool members. There’s this one guy who reminds me a lot of Enos so we hit it off right off the bat. The members here are actually pretty darn rich compared to everyone in Industrial. My Christmas is gonna rock so don’t even worry. We’ll be with an awesome family for Christmas and their house is the most American one I’ve seen here. Really, Durango is a lot more American in general. I went to Walmart today and I just died I was so happy! Haha. It was fun. I am pretty sure that Wikipedia lies because it’s not about 40% Caucasian.... there are a lot of really white Mexicans here though. Maybe they count that as Caucasian. Haha, it’s cool though. I think next Monday we're either going to McDonald’s or Burger King to eat because I haven't had a fast food burger in more than 4 months and I'm cravin a big Mac or a Whopper! There really is a bunch of cool stuff here though and our house.... dominates! Ok so I'd rather live in the cabin than my new house because it’s nicer there, definitely, but it’s cool. We actually have tile and a hot shower (sometimes). It’s cool though and really upper middle class here and rent’s like 100 bucks. It’s great!

Ok so a little bit about my comp. He’s a convert of 3 years and he’s really energetic and he pretty much bounces off the walls. It’s actually pretty fun. He’s a huge people person and so he likes to contact and stuff which is cool. He's from Coulican or something like that. I don't know how to spell it. ... Anyway, we're just going to keep on working hard and get baptizing!

District leader stuff really isn't that difficult. Once a week I have to give a training thing to my district and really I learned more last week than them.... ummm.... other than that, really all I do is call them every night to check up on them and then call the zone leaders to give them a report on the day’s activities. It’s lovely. haha. Really the only thing is that if the numbers in my district are low, I have to get on them and tell them to work harder. That means that I have to be working way hard too. That’s all. It’s cool though. Elder Lopez said something pretty cool: that I now have the right to receive revelation for my district to help them along.... pretty cool. I just gotta stay worthy to receive it!

That’s about it! I'm happy... And that’s really all, but wait... there’s more.... I guess with the us postal service, you can send me candy!!!!! not food, but candy!!! real American sour patch kids or something like that!!!!

Love you all!

Elder Alexander

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 8, 2010

"Crazy Times "

Hey my family! I hope you know right now how much I love you all! So, as the subject of this wonderful weekly e-mail states, there are some crazy times happening in the mission for me right now, but you’re going to have to make it through all the letter before you get to the good stuff, alright? Or just skip to the end.... either way.

First off, thanks for the e-mails this week and thanks for sending that package! You guys are good! So cool about Blakey and Elder Lambert! I haven’t seen elder Lambert or anything, but I’m sure he’s safe and sound. His trainer’s an American and he’s in Torreon. That’s all I know. haha

I’m doing good though. I was talking to one of my zone leaders the other day, Elder Welch, and guess what? He went to Weber for two years before the mish and loves it! How cool is that? I guess his grandpa was a professor of chemistry there and department head or something like that and he knows Preston really well too because he’s from North Ogden. He has 11 months in the mission right now so he’ll be back spring semester 2012. Cool stuff! I’ll get to hang out with him after and maybe take some Spanish classes with him or something.

Ok so now comes the craziness. I got a call last night at about 9:30 that I had changes, so guess what... I’m no longer in Gomez Placio. I’m in Durango, Mexico. Isn’t that crazy? I was up until about midnight packing all my things and yeah, it’s pretty nuts. It’s weird that I’m a 2 and a half hour bus ride away from Alicia and everyone in that ward. Nuts. Anyway, that’s not all the news. The other part is that I was made district leader and senior companion of an Elder who’s been here for 6 months. Can you believe it? I really do not know what I’m doing right now and not gonna lie, I have felt kind of scared at times since last night and I didn’t sleep, but I feel ok... The Lord has called me here to do this so I know I can. I’m going to work hard and I know the Lord has something he wants to teach me here. It’s like Nephi: I will go and do. I won’t try and die. haha. It really is pretty nuts though here and wow... It’s a big responsibility, but a big chance to serve. I’m going to be needing prayers and maybe some Rogaine for the hair I’m about to lose. haha I know I’m here for something, though... I just gotta figure out what it is and work my guts out.

Love you all tons and thanks for your support, I really mean it. I love you all and I will forever.

Elder Alexander

Pics of Durango, Mexico - Listed as "Victoria de Durango" on the map

The City of Durango, Mexico

Note from Cami: I found some interesting facts about the City of Durango.

From a travel blog:
One thing Durango has that Mexico City or Tequila or Lagos de Moreno or the Costalegre don’t have is a golden history as the place where many beloved movies have been shot over the course of the past 100 or so years. There’s even a Museo de Cine in town.

For obvious geographical reasons, many of those movies were westerns–John Wayne was here so often he eventually bought a local ranch which was ultimately turned into a movie set. The western main street (saloon, post office, jail, etc) that served as the set for many famous western movies is now an attraction called Villa del Oeste which. For 30 pesos per person, including bus transportation from downtown, you get a blessedly tongue-in-cheek “re-enactment” of western scenes played out on the dusty main street, plus plenty of beer, snacks and food. It’s cheesy but also strangely enjoyable and we ended up surprising ourselves by being really glad we came.

From a letter to Parker after sharing the facts above:
Well son, you know how much I love John Wayne, so you must be in good country, eh? This is the place where Chisum and The Sons of Katie Elder were filmed. Both incredibly good John Wayne movies....

It also well know for it's extreme sports: kayaking, mountain biking, rapelling and free climbing...because of the big, beautiful gorges..

Wikipedia says that 45 - 50% of the population is Caucasian. Is that true?

They have a Sam's Club and a Walmart there, plus a Subway and Applebees. Woo hoo.!

Another interesting note:
There are four meeting houses in Durango and eight wards.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

4 Months!

My Family!

I really cannot believe the speed in which time is flying by for me! I have no idea if it's passing as quickly for you all, but I hope so. It really has been so cool to be in the service of the Lord for the past months and I really cannot imagine what I would be doing right now if I hadn't chosen to serve for these two years. It's just crazy to me. It has been a crazy few months, but I'm doing my best to enjoy every minute of it because that's what I need to be doing! And thanks this week for the Happy halloween wishes. You know how much I love that holiday.(Parker was only kidding...) It's not nearly as big here though so it's alright. Tomorrow's the Day of the Dead so that's going to be a fun time had by all I think. It's just a lot more drunks. haha

This week was pretty nuts though. I got a big taste of Mexican culture becaused it was the Day of Saint Judas on Thursday and there were huge bits of idol worship going on. It was fun. There were worship dances going on in every corner and it was not the best day to have appointments because everyone was there. haha I did have some saint-blessed food though that one of the members was given. It was way good! By the way, I had more prickly pear this week and did not enjoy it. It was nuts though. It's a huge tradition here and people start dancing at like 3 years old sometimes and do it until they can't anymore. It's mostly young people in their teens or twenties though. Crazy stuff.

More news on Alicia, too. She and her fam are heading to Zacatecas because she wants to live in a more peaceful environment. Her heart's not doing too well still and it'll be less stressful down there. Also, her husband's going to be looking for a job down there. We did start teaching a 16 year old this week. ...He really is cool though. He's really independent and wants to change his life around. I think he'll get baptized!

That's really all that's happened this week. It wasn't too exciting. A little bit of sweat and tiredness, but other than that, good stuff!

Love you all sooooo much!

Elder Alexander