Sunday, April 19, 2015

It's not Taco Bell

April 19, 2015
I knew that the food here would not be like Taco Bell and it isn’t.  I guess what has surprised me is that each region of Mexico has its own type of food.  Therefore, a lot of the food I expected is not available where I live.

I expected a lot of beans.  No beans here – or at least very few beans here.  If you are eating at a restaurant and order some, you will get a small bowl.  Refried beans (frijoles) are even harder to find.

I thought all of Mexico ate both corn and flour tortillas.  Nope.  Although you can find flour tortillas in the grocery store (small little display with one brand), most of the tortillas are corn in this region.  You can order a “gringa” (white girl) at some restaurants which is a fried flour tortilla with meat and cheese.  Delicious indeed, but it is not the normal meal around here.  Corn tortillas are warmed on a stove top and not deep fried.

Rice – don’t know how it is here since I haven’t had any, except in rice pudding.  Spanish rice?  It’s probably popular somewhere else in Mexico.

Guacamole – it’s usually runny without a lot of flavor except for the hot part.  They use a lot of water in the preparation.  We have found some “American” guacamole at one restaurant and we savor it whenever we can!

Tortilla chips are for mixing with salsa and scrambled eggs – called chilaquiles.  I run into flavored Doritos at convenience stores but few are dipping them into salsa.  Meanwhile, salsa is runny, very hot, and seldom makes it into my system!

The food here is great – but it is not Taco Bell!  That’s alright with me.  I was never much of a Taco Bell fan anyway!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

April 19, 2015
Beauty is an interesting and cultural thing.  This is most apparent living as a North American in Mexico. (Side note> Mexican’s consider themselves “American’s” also - therefore we are North Americans)

This is not a very integrated society.  I see very few cultures other than Latino.  Occasionally at tourist spots, I will see other races.  However for the most part, I see very few.

You are considered more attractive here if you have lighter skin.  What an interesting contrast – I would prefer if my white skin would tan and get some color to it.  Here you see umbrellas protecting one from the sun while in the states you find people trying to tan themselves with various products or tanning salons.  I guess it’s all in the eyes of the beholder.

I stand out down here not only for my light skin and blue eyes, but for my gray hair.  I seldom see gray hair on females.  Most of the hair is dyed very black regardless of the age of the woman.  Women’s hair is kept long, mostly without bangs, until you are quite a bit older.  I guess shorter hair is for “older” people. 

So what really is beauty?  When we all reach a perfected state, will we have different colored eyes and hair?  Maybe by that state we will be able to look past our physical exterior to see the true beauty within.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Perfect Storm of Illness

April 12, 2015

This was an unusual week.  It was like the perfect storm of sickness!  Here is what we did last week.  We were present at all of these things – and this schedule does not include the four days of interviews.  Wow – no wonder we are tired!
·         Elder J. R. was admitted to Cami Hospital with a severe infection in his food.
·         Hermana A. L. had a tooth ache and we took to the dentist
·         Elder J. L. was admitted to the hospital because he couldn’t keep food down.
·         Elder J. L. released from Cami Hospital
·         Elder J. R. released from Cami Hospital
·         Elder J. S. taken to Dr. Francina to check on procedure on toe
·         Elder C. A. taken to Dr. Francina for a procedure on his toe
·         Elder T. G. taken to Dr. Francina – fear he has another hernia, needs ultrasound
·         Elder B. H. taken to Dr. Francina – needs surgery for a benign tumor in chest
·         Elder R. M. taken to internist for test results – he is gluten intolerant
·         Elder D. G. comes down with chicken pox
·         Elder A. G. sees plastic surgeon to repair bad scar on face
·         Elder D. R. sees plastic surgeon to help repair burns on hands
·         Elder T. G. gets his ultrasound
·         Elder T. G. gets results – needs surgery
·         Elder B. H. has a successful surgery removing benign tumor
·         Hermana R. W. is admitted to Cami Hospital with dehydration and diarrhea.

Today we still have our Hermana in the hospital.  Elder B. H. was released from the hospital today (5 hours to get the hospital and insurance to work together) and is at our home, and 2 Elders have also joined us for a dentist appointment in the morning.  May we sleep in tomorrow?

Friday, April 3, 2015

"I killed someone"

April 3, 2015
From Keith's journal
     Occasionally, as Mission President, I have to do “special interviews” of investigators who want to be baptized.  These include those who have been involved in abortions, same sex attraction/relations, and even murder.
     Those who have committed a homicide, in order to be baptized, have to be cleared by the First Presidency of the Church in order for the permission to be given for them to be baptized. 
       Recently I was asked to interview an 85 year old gentleman who wanted to be baptized, but had been involved in a homicide 50 years ago.  During his baptismal interview, he told my missionary,  “I killed someone 50 years ago!”   So, they called me up and I scheduled an interview him.    
        This man is suffering from terminal cancer, has listened to the missionary lessons, has attended church, and wants to be baptized.  
        Fifty years ago in a small village up in the mountains, some men came to his house and kidnapped his sister.  It was a very traumatic incident for this man and his family.  
      He took off through the mountains and valleys, trying to track down the kidnappers and his sister.  After searching for many days, he caught up with the kidnappers, but very unfortunately, they had, just moments earlier, killed his sister.      
       He said he was in a rage, and began hand to hand combat with one of the kidnappers, while the others fled.  They fought for a long time, and eventually he killed the man who ended the life of his sister. 
       He said the local “law” arrived as the combat came to an end.  He explained it all to the law officer, who then told him to just leave!  He took off and never looked back. 
       I submitted this case to the First Presidency a month ago, then received a letter back from them granting permission for him to be baptized! Amazing!! 

      He was baptized just a few weeks ago!!  His wife has been a member for a very long time.  Hope he lives long enough for them to be sealed in the temple!! 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April Fools Day

April 1, 2015

Our missionaries pulled a real good joke on the President for April Fools Day.  He is doing quarterly interviews so he was in the La Perla Stake.  These interviews are done one on one.

Elder Munoz just arrived 2 weeks ago so we don’t know him as well.  Our assistants talked a young man in the church into putting on Munoz’s white shirt, tie, and name tag.  He goes into the interview.

As he walks in, Keith thinks: “This kid doesn’t even look familiar – have I ever seen him before?  I must be getting old.”

Keith: “Elder Munoz, it’s good to see you again.  How are you doing?  How are things going?
Munoz: “It’s going great.”
Keith: “You have braces.  I don’t remember you coming with braces.  You’re not supposed to have braces here.  When did you get them?”
Munoz:  “Just got them last week.  A sister put them on for me!”
Keith:  “WHAT – you can’t do that!  Did you ask permission?”

At that point, a bunch of Elders burst in laughing.  They got him!