Monday, July 7, 2014

Fireworks, Food, Futbol, Cletus, and Bug Bites

I loved this week!  I can't even explain to you how great this week really was.  So many great things happened and I'm just going to jump right in and hope I have enough time :)

4th of July Flag shirts sent from home.

First off, Thursday.  We had the awesome opportunity to be a part of a local parade.  Not for being recognized as missionaries like in St. George but because we volunteered to help out.  All we did was walk next to a float/semi thing that was throwing out necklaces and make sure no kids ran under the tires of the semi.  It was AWESOME to be able to see so many happy Iowans, as weird as they are.  Everyone was smiling and dancing and having a good time.  It was really funny when our investigators or members would see us walking down in the middle of a parade.  They were so confused!  Seeing all those happy people reminded me of why I love this area so much.  Everyone here is great and I love them.
Gilote Loco (crazy corn on the cob).  I FINALLY had it. 
 Its basically corn with mayo, cheese, and chile.  
and it is FANTASTIC!  For a while I only thought it
 existed in Nacho Libre but its real and I had to try some.

Then we had an awesome lesson with Leopolo (his name isn't actually Leopalda, I lied last week.) We showed up to his house and he immediately dropped what he was doing and came and talked with us.  There's no doubt in my mind that he is prepared by the Lord.  He has so many good questions like, "where do I go after I die?" or "What does a prophet do?"  We've got a lesson with him tonight planned and I'm so excited to go see him again.  

Friday was just as great!  We got invited to at least 4 different parties so we ended up just choosing a few and going to them.  We played all sorts of games, ate lots of good food, and were even able to teach a lesson about Faith to a neighbor of some of our favorite members, the Flores family!  Sadly, missionaries aren't allowed to light off fireworks but sitting there watching a bunch of Guatemalans and Mexicans and El Salvadoreans play with explosives was still a whole lot of fun!  I ended up just bringing the box that you sent me that had a whole bunch of random, dollar store, 4th of July stuff and giving it to some cute little El Salvadorean twins.  They say thank you :)

In other updates: 
The Briseno family is doing great!  They want me to tell you that they say "Hola".  Right now we've been really working with them to get them to the Temple.  They REALLY want to go!  They REALLY want to be sealed together for all eternity and to be able to receive the blessings that Heavenly Father has prepared for them.  I'm thankful for the opportunity I have to work with them and to help them as they prepare for those covenants.  I hope I can be around or close to the temple when they go through so that I can be there.  I love those crazy old people.  Seeing them "Every now and then" has been a real blessing for me.

Last cool story:
A month ago, President Lagunas brought his niece and nephew up from Mexico for safety reasons since the pueblito where they lived is super dangerous.  They were sealed as a family when they were REALLY little but could never go to church since the closest chapel was hours away so they were never baptized either.  Elder Shipley and I got the lucky opportunity to be able to work with them and help them enter the waters of baptism.  We finally had our first lesson with them yesterday after a month of trying. (They were never home, or everyone was asleep every time we tried).  They are soo ready!  We taught them the Restoration and at the end we asked them, "So what did you learn today?" and shy, 13 year old, Fernando spoke up and said, "If I want to come closer to God, I need to read the Book of Mormon and pray to my Heavenly Father and ask if its true."  I was shocked.  He hardly said anything the whole lesson up until that point because he's so shy.  His 10 year old sister Jenni did most of the talking.  Those two are so prepared for the Gospel.  I'm so excited to continue to work with them and help them towards baptism.

I love you!  Thanks for the support and the love.  Have a great week!
Elder Zack Paddock

PS These bugs here think I'm delicious.  I've got so many bites its ridiculous.
Look how big that thing on my arm is!  And look how big the bug bite is too!

We were talking at our car one day with Elder French and Elder Blanck when a tiny little bird smacked into our back window and then just chilled on our trunk.  We named him Cletus.

From email to Dad:
4th of July was SUPER fun.  I guess I never explained the "futbol" part of the Title.
We've started playing Soccer every Saturday now with our Branch and it'll woop me into shape pretty fast.  As hot and humid as it is out here, plus the amount of running soccer makes me do, I'm going to be losing the 15 lbs I've gained pretty quickly.  My 6 pack is already coming back :)

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