The major happening this week was that we went to Monterrey for a mission conference with Elder Rafael Pino of the Mexico Area Presidency. Like the Nuevo Laredo missionaries do every time we go there, we left Wednesday night on a very fancy bus (at least it's fancier than the Nuevo Laredo city buses) and stayed the night at a house that the mission owns. We had the 20 missionaries from N. Laredo and about 10 more from Linares plus the assistants to the president and the secretaries. When you cram 35+ missionaries into one house, things get crazy. But it was fun. There were campechanas (I'm feeling to lazy to describe them to you right now. Google it. Just know that they are basically extremely large deep-fried tacos).
The conference was about how important obedience is to be able to be a successful missionary. Also, Elder Pino described the difference between the pre-mission life and now. There are some things (going to the beach, watching a movie, or interacting with the opposite sex) that are perfectly fine for mermbers of the Church, but if any missionary did those things, he/she would likely get sent home. The expecations as a missionary are to live probably the highest level of consecration to the Lord that can be found in the world today. It's a big sacrifice, but we as missionaries can receive some of the greatest blessings as a result. Sorry, but I had to throw in a mission-bragging moment.
Another really quick bragging moment: I think I've become the official mission pianist, because I got assigned to play prelude music, the hymns, and a special musical number. Thank you, Jan Grow, Betsy Fox, and Shari Aston for putting up with me and teaching me piano for all these years.
So after the conference, we went home in another fancy bus. The bus was so fancy that it let me sleep a little.
Not long after we got back, a less-active member called us and invited us over for a fish grill. He apparently goes fishing on the Río Bravo almost every Sunday (that's why he's less active) and he likes to grill fish. I'm going to be one of those annoying people on Facebook who posts pictures about what they ate:
Annoying Facebook Person Moment over.
Another random food note: we at a Veracruzan member's house one day and she and Elder Garcia got into a very lively discussion about all the different fruits that they had growing up and all the awesome stuff you can make with them, like deep-fried green bananas. Apparently the climates and cuisines of Veracruz and the Dominican Republic are very similar. She pulled up pictures on her phone of an interesting fruit called la guanabana (it's really fun to say) and asked if we had tried it. My comp said that he loves it and had it all the time in the DR but hasn't had it since. I said that I had no idea what it was, and they both looked at me kinda funny and sadly as I told them that we don't have exotic tropical fruits in Utah. The funny thing is that the next day, we went to eat lunch at another Veracruzan member's house, and she also told us that we needed to try a guanabana. She said she actually had a couple in the house that she wanted to give us, but she couldn't bear to have uneaten guanabanas in the house, so she ate them. :) Anyway, a few days later, she brought us some. I didn't take pictures for some reason, but basically they look like the fruit from the Tree of Life in 1 Nephi 8 (at least on the inside without the seeds). It also tastes like the fruit from the tree of life, too. It's my new favorite fruit: its name is fun to say (GUANABANA!!), it's featured in the scriptures, and it's super yummy. I'll be lazy again and tell you to Google it for pictures and stuff. The whole thing was a rather awesome Mexican experience.
I suppose that I should talk a little bit about the work here, too. Monterrey and amazing food have kinda distracted me.
We stopped by Daniel's house to check up on him, and he's doing great. The bishop gave him a triple combination a couple weeks ago, and he's cruising along. He hasn't had a lot of schooling and reading is difficult for him, so we were a little concerned about how he would handle reading the scriptures, but he's doing great. He's almost done with 1 Nephi. He actually told us that "I'm a little frustrated because I can only read about 2 or 3 hours a day. I hope that's all right." We told him the 2-3 hours was awesome and that he's doing great. He also got interviewed to receive the Aaronic Priesthood! He's super excited! He could be administering the Sacrament in a couple of weeks! The only reason he hasn't been ordained yet is because the mission hasn't finished processing his papers yet, so he isn't on the books. We bugged the mission about that and reminded them to hurry up and they said that it would be done this week, so he will probably get ordained on Sunday. It was a great moment for everyone!
A random interesting note: most people here don't speak any English (which is kinda interesting because we're in a border town and a lot of people work in Texas), but when someone has lived in the States for a while, married an American, or worked there for a long time, they tend to speak pretty good English. This week, we have met a few people who have learned a lot of English. It's kinda funny because most of these people learned Texas English, so they have pretty Southern Southern accents. I have a feeling that when I get home, I'm either not going to be able to speak English, I'll speak it with a heavy Mexican accent, or I'll speak with a Southern accent. It's impossible for me to think in Utah English now. It's either Spanish, Spanglish, Mexican English, or Southern English. It's purty fun. :)
Anyway, not too much else ahs happened, so I guess I'll end. Thanks for putting up with this long email! Lots of love from the Deep, Deep South!
P.S. A photo of one of our favorite colonias. It just looked rather pretty the other day.