Monday, December 12, 2011

Dear Family
This week I have gotten settled into Tijuana a bit more. I admit when I got here and we drove in Mexico traffic (filled with lots of moments of excitement) to our apartment and walked into our apartment, the first word I thought was...dang. But that feeling quickly went away. Since the next morning we went out tracking and I saw the state of how most people live here in Tijuana. A lot of shacks put together by plywood, metal and any building blocks they can find. I had an awesome first couple of days. My espanol is starting to improve a bit. Yesterday at church at a Christmas devotional they were really impressed with how far I have come along in 4 days. My first day tracting and the first door I stopped at was a member of the church. He took us to his mom who was not a member and now she and some of her daughters are now progressing investigators. Yolanda has accepted a baptismal invitation in about 2 weeks so I hope all goes well. We have also been teaching a family, Gracia and Santo. They love their kids and are a pretty happy family, we invited them to come to church last Sunday but they were not able to make it. sister got sick. But they are still progressing so I have high hopes. People here are extremely nice. I don't do a whole lot of talking in lessons yet but I am starting to more and more. Elder Guevara my companion knows English too so he helps me when I don't know a word or phrase.Every person we have contacted we usually are able to leave a pamphlet or a card. If they're not interested they usually say no but complement us. Ward members are really nice as well. One family I visited on are second day was a family that was recently baptized but had not been very active. When we walked in the mom was upset because the family was suffering a lot of stress because her 25 year old daughter is very sick. There was a lot of conversation I didn't understand and a lot of tears. After they were comforted a bit they realized I was there and got really excited since I was from America and they wanted to practice there English. That's really surprising me about Tijuana, more people then I expect know English. If they don't know they at least know a couple words or phrases. A lot work in California and just live in Tijuana
Its hard to believe the amount of differences and similarities there are between Tijuana and The United States. If I had to choose a couple of words to describe Tijuana it would be dogs, music and noise. There are dogs and cats everywhere. Most families have a couple of dogs and there are dozens that just roam around the neighborhood. Also you will be walking one neighborhood and the houses will be about a middle class look and the next neighbor hood will be very poor. We were walking next to some shops and we came across this really high wall with barbed wire on top. I thought it was a prison or something but when I looked it was filled with really nice houses. The super rich just live in a fortress together. There is a lot of music that people blare, including American music.
I think my friends would be sad to know that so far Tijuana has not lived up to the infamy that they thought. There are some gun shots at night and police lights blaring but nothing for a cause of alarm. I have been told that all the fighting has moved down south.
I also met the famous elder Stuart Mayo, he is in my district and is really nice. But I did not tell him that I read his blog.
What the other missionaries tell me though is that in TJ one religion that is really popular (besides Catholicism) is something called Santa Muerte (holy death). Its sort of a cult that has grown in popularity here that is kind of a bit freaky. But still nothing here like the news makes it out to be. Yesterday the police officer who watches over are building block came by and gave us a bill for 20 pesos. I need to go get some more today. I couldn't help but think though what would happen if we one week didn't pay him...hmmm. nothing good that's for sure. The food here has been pretty good. The big meal of the day is lunch, every day we usually go to a members house for lunch. They drink a lot of Coca-cola and Fanta instead of water. I have always been very careful of the water I drink.
 Can you also send me some ear plugs or something like that? my companion snores. Loudly. I've been loosing some sleep. I would really appreciate it. I cant wait to call you guys on Christmas!
Love Elder Johnson

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