Monday, June 19, 2017

The president called, but the plane crashed and everyone died.

This week was crazier than normal, I promise.

I suppose I should explain the subject line.

All the events of the past week have been swallowed up in two major events.

First, I got a call from the mission president on Wednesday night. I have been called to be the Materials Secretary of the mission. Basically my job will be to coordinate all the Books of Mormon, the pamphlets, cards, and other things that the missionaries use and get them to their proper zones. I will also be handling all the things like dishes, fans, and phones for all the missionaries. I'll also be helping the president and the assistants to check all the houses in the mission and make sure that they have everything they need. Basically, everyone wants to be my friend now. Also, it means that I get to use Excel. :) (I need to rearrange my priorities).

Anyway, I was supposed to leave Nuevo Laredo for Monterrey Thursday morning so that the current secretary could train me before he left (because the transfer doesn't end until next week), but I had a commitment for Saturday (see the other Major Event of the Week), so I had to wait until this morning to come down. I'm now writing this email from the mission office computer, about 6 hours after arriving in Monterrey.
(Note from Camille....  here is a picture Sister Bottomley sent. Her son is in the grey t-shirt.) Driving to Monterrey from Nuevo Larado....
I'm also moved from the edge of a small, Tex-Mex desert border town to the super rich center of a large, modern city. It's a bit of a change. We don't have bikes anymore, but the city has a lot of buses and taxis, and everything is close together now. For example, the church is about one block from our house instead of 9 kilometers. We're also a very short bus ride from the temple (which is where our stake center is located), so we will be able to go to the temple, for which I'm very glad because it's been almost 6 months without stepping inside one.

So Elder Garcia stayed behind in a trio with Elders Aguilar and Bottomley, the other elders in the ward, and they will be in that trio sharing areas until Garcia gets a new companion in 8 days. I'll also be in a trio with Elder Liddle (the current Materials Secretary) and my official new companion Elder Lopez (Executive Secretary) so that Liddle can train me until he leaves in 8 days as well.

Here we are in the office:

I would send more pictures of Monterrey, but I haven't had my camera on me for most of the day. Sorry, Mom.

Anyway, I had better tell you of the other major event this week: we went to Hawaii.

Just kidding. What really happened is that the ward (we're back in Nuevo Laredo for a moment) and the missionaries pulled off an activity called "Trip to Hawaii". Basically, we brought as many investigators as we could into the chapel and pretended like we were on a plane to Hawaii. Sounds pretty fun, right?

What happens is that we show a video in which the plane takes off, but crashes before reaching Hawaii and everyone consequently dies. If you are interested in the video, search YouTube for "Viaje a Hawaii SUD" and there are a bunch of videos that come up (apparently this is a popular activity to do here in Mexico). The one we used was a little over 7 minutes long. Don't worry, the audio is in English (it just has Spanish subtitles).

Anyway, after the video ended, various angels dressed in white (played by the ward mission leader and Elders Garcia and Aguilar) announced to everyone that they had all died and welcomed them to the Spirit World. We then showed everybody three rooms in the church representing the three Kingdoms of Glory: the Telestial Kingdom (decorated and populated by the Elders Quorum, which tells you something about the Elders Quorum), the Terrestrial Kingdom (by the youth), and the Celestial Kingdom (by the Relief Society, of course). For each kingdom, one of the angel guides gave a brief explanation of who was in each kingdom and what they are like (according to D&C 76). Since Yours Truly was playing the piano for a celestial choir, I only ever got to see the Celestial Kingdom (which tells you something about me (; ). Two very musically inclined families (who are actually all cousins) along with Elder Bottomley of the other area in the ward sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" while I played the piano. It was very celestial. :)

We ended up getting more than 50 investigators to come, which was great. We also had a baptismal service right afterwards, so that was good, too.

Anyway, so I'm in Monterrey now, working in the offices. This will be interesting.

I'm basically out of time now, so I'll have to end.

Keep things crazy!

Lots of love from Monterrey again,

Elder Jakob Schramm 

FROM CAMILLE: A member sent me all of the pictures of the "celestial world".  Jakob also sent a separate email with a few families he was able to say good bye to in Nuevo Larado. 

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