Colorado Fort Collins Mission

Colorado Fort Collins Mission
Colorado Fort Collins Mission

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bible stories: Eutychus and the drunk ones...

September 30, 2014

 Another week down! This is definitely the first week that I can say has gone by somewhat quickly. I'm going to try and keep this as short yet insightful as possible. 
     We thought (yet again) that we had figured out the sound of shots in the air, but it turns out we were wrong. Someone said there is a prison nearby here, and we thought that the gunshot sounds were the police firing shotguns into the air to calm the prisoners down. Then we'd make jokes when lots of shots would go off like "someone stole the last ice cream!" and stuff. But it turns out our teacher said that they are just homemade fireworks celebrating the days of Saints and stuff. A little anticlimactic, but still cool since they're homemade with gunpowder and stuff. 
     My terrible Spanish story of the week is when I was telling our investigator that we were going to share a scripture in the book of the drunk ones. Ebrios is the adjective drunk, Hebreos is Hebrews...So don't make that mistake. 
     Not only is my Spanish bad, my English is now getting worse too. It took me probably 3 minutes to remember "the word that starts with I and means something is going to happen no matter what". It's inevitable, by the way. Hopefully my mind will start thinking in Spanish soon.
     For some reason, there is a rule here that suit jackets are supposed to be worn in all meetings and for the duration of the meeting, even if, say, we have 600 missionaries packed into an auditorium with terrible A/C and lots of people crying and being emotional, which makes our bodies warm up a lot. We are told that the prophets couldn't even fit 1/100th part of the record into the Book of Mormon, so I think it's safe to assume a similar ratio applies to the Bible. You'd think they'd have paid more attention to that part about Eutychus falling asleep while some boring speaker was going off late into the night in a warm room and then he fell off the roof and died...but that's just me. I just think if you're going to have a rather monotonous speaker, let us take off our jackets so we can be able to actually stay awake.
    Speaking of staying awake, General Conference is this weekend. I'm totally kidding, I'm so excited. I can't wait to hear exactly what I need from prophets of the Lord. I'd love it if you could all send me the GC memes when they start coming out!

    At the devotional on Sunday, we heard an unreal rendition of If You Could Hie To Kolob, my favorite hymn, followed by an awesome talk by Elder Bednar. I can't really put it all into this email, but I'll try to another time. Long story short, he has a Book of Mormon for the major questions he's had in life just devoted to answering that question, and he has around 400 copies now marked up with revelation. Also, the characteristics of Christ summed up is that when we would turn in and follow the natural man, Christ would turn out and serve. Look for examples all throughout the scriptures. 

     I saw a picture in our building that I've somehow never noticed before. At first I just thought it was another pictures of some Nephites/Lamanites (because what good is a Nephite/Lamanite picture without a weapon!?), but then I realized what I was looking at. I was seeing 2 very young, teenage boys being embraced by their loving mother right before they went off to kill their fellow men in defense of their families. They were the stripling warriors. I've always imagined that they were like massive, Samoan men that were "18 years old", but this put it in perspective for me. We're told that some of them were very (exceedingly?) young. Consider 14 as a possibility. We're also told they ALL were wounded, and not just cuts or scrapes, in my opinion, but possibly lost limbs. All were wounded, but none were killed. Like them, what are we willing to sacrifice to defend and protect our eternal family against the enemy, Satan? Are we willing to give up something dear to us to show our devotion to God? Are we willing to put our trust in God, even though we may be young and the odds may be against us? Only the true and living God would trust the work of gathering lost souls to a bunch of 18 and 19 year old men and women. Who else would have the confidence to send teenagers out in twos? It really strengthened my testimony.
   OK, this is actually really long. I'm, sorry. I try to make it entertaining but also spiritual. Stay true to what you know, and I'll talk to you all next week! Here are some more pics for you all!

This picture is just too funny not to send.

Let's just say the reason they make plungers like that is because they
need to.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Krispy Kremes

September 23, 2014

Hola! That's my Spanish word I learned this week. Just kidding, yo se mucho mas ...(feel free to correct me). Anyway, this was another really long and difficult week. I don't know what I was expecting though. Like I said last week, we have to get creative around here when coming up with fun ways to stay sane. This week, everyone has been stealing spoons from the comedor and then trying to hide them in other elder's clothes without them noticing...We've also been continuing the Rock Paper Scissors for taking the trays tradition. One elder went 3 wins and 15 losses. That's almost mathematically impossible, but I witnessed it with my own eyes. He's now 10 and 17. One night we talked in British, Scottish, Irish, and Australian accents until only one person was left. The last thing we've been doing is singing ridiculous songs, like Take On Me, Beat It, 99 Red Balloons, Love Story... just a bunch of really pitchy songs with notes none of us can hit but we try. On another note (haha pun...), we usually sing a hymn or two a day. I love singing the hymns as a district. I haven't found anything that brings the Spirit faster than singing a hymn. Bruce R. McConkie said that music is the language of the gods, so take that as you will. One last thing about singing, it's really frustrating when I get a song stuck in my head that I haven't heard in literally a year and the lyrics are less than wholesome. Like I don't even like Lil Wayne, and the other song stuck in my head is by Katy Perry and it's virtually unheard of, so I don't know why they're stuck in my head in such a wholesome place. I don't know. Point is, don't put anything in your head that you'll regret. Like a tattoo, everything that we see or hear is forever imprinted in our minds, but not just the bad. Every good act, song, sight, or thought we have is with us forever somewhere in our soul, so fill yourselves with good. K, that's my spiritual, melodramatic bit for the week. 

I am over my illness, so thank you for all of your prayers! Never take for granted your body functioning properly. Just being able to go to class and try to learn Spanish is such a blessing. Speaking of gratitude, Mexico has no concept of breakfast foods. If it's food, it can be eaten for breakfast apparently. We've had tacos, chicken tenders, hot dog chunks in a thick sauce, and this thick tortilla and bean burrito thing...Breakfast is not my favorite meal here, so I have to steal muffins and keep them throughout the day for emergency meals.

One of my roommates said possibly the worst, most ironic and conflicting quote in the history of ever. He was talking about how he was in high school, how he had 3 girlfriends at the same time at 3 different schools, how he would cheat on girls all the time. Then he said "I was always respectful to girls. Other than cheating on them". He also said "I fessed up every time I did it". So a point about the atonement. He said he's not like that anymore. He realized what he was doing was wrong, and he wanted to become a better person. So he did. He saw that he needed a change in his life, so with the help of prayer and the Atonement, he changed how he was as a person. The Atonement is a beautiful thing, and we can all use it to some degree or another. Bad people can become good, and good people can become better. President Monson needs the Atonement daily, just like we all do. Let's utilize this great blessing.

The pictures I have are of a grove of trees here, 
2 huge moths we found down here, 

a greenish blue earthquake zone painted on the street (they're all over, there's like 50), 
this super ghetto bike that one of the workers has that looks like the one in Nacho Libre (which we quote all of the time), 
a week's schedule, 

 and of course, yours truly.

Thanks for the letters, and a very special thanks to the (very unexpected) package of Krispy Kremes I received from the Lemon family! 
Some of you have asked if all you need is my name, and yes, that's all you need. My district is 7A if you want to put that on, but it's not necessary. Thanks for your love and prayers! Talk to you all next week!
With love,
Elder Bacon

Saturday, September 20, 2014

This week was no bueno...

September 16, 2014

Hey everyone! This is super long, so don't feel like you need to read it all. I'll put bullets at the bottom for a quick sum up. I hope your week went better than mine! But seriously, this week was no bueno (see how good my Spanish is getting?). I'll get to that part a little later though. I'd love to get some letters or emails from you all! delivers me a letter that you email them for only $1, and email is of course free (but I can only read them on Tuesday), so if you can spare the time, I would love you forever. Also, apparently does care packages and maybe letters, but if it's as ridiculously priced to send me a package as the other site, don't bother.

So I didn't tell you guys very much about my companion. His name is Mario Roberto Gaspar de Alba, he's from Vegas, and though he has a Spanish name, he doesn't really speak it. If I had to describe him in one word, it would be goofball. He has so far ripped two pairs of pants, one while trying to return a hard shot in ping pong (shout out to Elders Abo and Hall, serving in Japan) and one while throwing his umbrella up in the air, stepping in a crack between the sidewalk and cobblestone, and slowly, ungracefully faceplanting. His first words were "I think I ripped my pants", and he did. Very much so.

He also has gone I think a record 2 meals in a row without spilling something on his shirt. Spilling on his shirt or tie is a daily, mealy, and sometimes multimealy occurrence. More about him... I'm usually a solo guy, and so is he, plus he doesn't like me very much because I tell him to go to bed at 10:30 like our roommates and he just refuses to, or when we try to plan a lesson he writes it in English and trades a massage for someone else to translate yeah. And his obedience to the rules Not like I'm a good example at all. Waking up at 6:30 is pretty nigh impossible, and I never call someone "elder" whatever, but nonetheless, his disobedience to some stuff is pretty blatant. I think the Lord is trying to teach me patience, and that's a lesson I really hate but oh so need.

We (our district) came up with an analogy the other day about coming to the CCM and I guess the mission in general. We are all born again. As in we all become babies or toddlers. We draw on things when we're born, we are trying to learn a language, we are able to speak but a few simple words, we occasionally throw tantrums, we can never be alone, we have to wear a helmet when we ride a bike, we sing all of the time (seriously, come thou fount basically echoes these halls 24/7. It's awesome), we are always in need of a nap, we all desperately miss our dear mothers, and we have little to no control over our bowels (at least in this MTC). Maybe this is what Christ meant when he said we need to become as a child?

About this week being no bueno, I've been sick since Thursday. I basically had a smorgasbord of symptoms. The first day I was achy, the second was having an entirely new bathroom experience (which I am still having problems with. "I almost spend more time in the bathroom than out.  It's horrible. And the toilet paper is like in high school, the sandpaper you can see through when you hold it up to a light. All I want in a care package is some wipes), then I had a headache. I'm basically on a forced fast right now. But like I said, I guess the Lord is teaching me patience. I've still been able to go to class, which I am truly grateful for. 

When I first got here, there was like 1 or 2 attractive girls, but those missionary goggles are really kicking in. I probably have a 2 or 3 point curve going right now. About the highest level of flirting allowed here is "hey, can you hand me that ping pong ball? Thanks" "Dude, we totally held hands for like, I swear, 3 seconds". That or giving out your missionary email. I don't know, it sucks, but I guess it's only 2 years, right? Because of the no flirting, I would say 90% of our free time is spent talking about our bathroom experiences and schedules. Again, becoming like a child, don't judge. But think about it, we can't talk about girls, sports, classes, or music, so that's really all we have left. I feel bad for the Hermanas, but at the same time I don't care. The things we have to have fun are getting ridiculous and desperate. We do rock paper scissors over who takes the trays. One elder is 9 and 1, and one went 0 for 7. Making bets on stupid stuff like that is now our expression of fun. 

Today is Independence Day for Mexico, so sleeping last night was rough. I think their firework regulation rules are strictly "none", so that's fun listening to mortars and cannons go off all last night. I loved how in sacrament meeting we could hear fireworks and police sirens going off every 2 and 20 minutes during testimonies. Good thing today is P-Day. Also, it's my mom's birthday, so wish her a happy birthday if you can. Can I just say I didn't think I would miss my mom as much as I do? I keep thinking back to the last hug and wishing I made it last longer and more meaningful. Love you mom.
(Below is a 5 second clip of his district singing happy birthday to me in Spanish.  PRICELESS!)

On 9/11, we sang our national anthem. For the first time, I'm glad I'm going stateside. I'm so grateful that I get to eat american food (The Chick-fil-A and cafe rio cravings have been absolutely unreal), to be in a place that is so well off, to have electricity and clean water, and just to know that I'm safe and free. No more police sirens every 20 minutes. 

Sundays are the best. They remind me why I'm here. I basically hate the week until Sundays and Tuesday, and then I'm good for another week. The devotionals are incredible, and church is so spiritual. My friend Kendelle said that during my talk it felt like "a bowling ball landed on her chest", and that's how it has been for me on Sundays. I'm calling it, Shawn Cates will be an apostle in 40 years. He's the director of operations here, and his talk was unbelievable. I'm talking almost Elder Holland level. I love being the only one, out of the guys and the two sisters, who cries. That's always masculine. Speaking of which, I have been called one of the girls here. Just like college. All because I told one hermana her hair looked nice, because it did because she curled it all cool, and because I'm always cold in class, and because I mentioned I wanted to get married. Whatever, I've never gotten along well with guys anyway. 

One last note. The weather is always the same. Not too hot or cold, humid, and there is a thunderstorm almost every day. For once, I haven't been too scared by the lightning/thunder (yeah, sad, I know). There are times when there will be a low rumble of thunder for a straight 30 seconds without any ground lightning. It's so cool. Anyway, I hope you are all doing well! Again, I would love to get letters or emails! for only $1. Love you all, and stay strong!

Bullet points for you lazy, lazy people:
My companion is a goofball and we don't get along as well as we could.
Spanish is hard, and I don't speak it well at all, but I'll get there
I've been really sick this week, but still able to go to class.
Those missionary goggles are kicking in, and finding things to talk about and have fun is pretty hard now. My creativity is improving a lot though, on the bright side. 
I miss America, and today is Mexico's Independence day.
Sundays are the best. Ever. After P-Day.
The weather here is awesome. Lots of thunderstorms and not too warm or cold, humid days.
Love you all!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Letter 9/9/14

Hey everyone! I somehow successfully made it through my first week at the CCM. It has definitely been the most difficult but most rewarding week of my life. We woke up at 6:30 the next day and were in class and being oriented all day. Our teachers and everyone else speak Spanish to us almost 100% of the time. It's only English if we ask questions, during devotionals, and when we are in our casa (apartment) or at lunch. We also taught our first investigator on the third day we were here, the second day of actually trying to learn Spanish. That didn't go so well, since I know basically nothing. My companion, however, understands most Spanish but doesn't speak it. His name is Mario Gaspar de Alba. He's like 6'5", so I look like his woman in all of our pictures together. I'll be sending out pictures later tonight and responding to any emails I get back by then, around 4:30 or 5 your time. 

So funny story. I bet some of you have heard the difference in Spanish between pecados and pescados (You need to repent of your fishes vs sins), but I had another pun that some of you might like. One of the guys in our district asked if the store sold earplugs, and then he asked how to say earplugs in Spanish. Our teacher responded with what we thought was "tampones", so some of the guys started laughing a little. Our teacher didn't know why we were laughing, so we asked what the word he said was and said we thought he said "tampones", and then he burst out laughing and did an impression of sticking some "tampones" into his ears. The correct word is "tapones", so you can see we weren't just hearing things totally wrong. 

My Spanish is not super great. It's incredibly frustrating to want to share the Gospel with our investigators and not knowing how to communicate how I feel. It's like I want to share something so badly but am not able to do so. I had a really cool experience yesterday though during our lesson with her. The lesson went alright, and I was able to say a few things in Spanish. At the end I asked if we could have a kneeling prayer. As soon as I started the prayer, I felt like the Spirit punched me in the chest it was so strong. I was able to still say the prayer thankfully. It was such a powerful feeling. My companion said afterwards that he definitely felt it, so our investigator had to have. I also got a priesthood blessing from a guy in my district, Elder Bingham (He was in Helaman Halls in the Toolshed, and I swear I've seen him before, so maybe some of you that lived there know him). Anyway, his blessing was so powerful. That was the high point of my week. This week, again, has been so, so, so difficult. I've wanted to go home to the things I miss so many times, but everyone says to just make it to P day. Last night I realized that the CCM is still going to be incredibly difficult, but it is also going to be incredibly rewarding, worth it, and spiritual. It's amazing that  a place can have such extremes of both positive and negative feelings.

The food here I think is really good, but everyone says you get sick of it. I hope that's not true. I have had fruit almost every meal (mom, you're welcome), and the bread here is also divine. I love the apple juice that you know is just straight from the tree, grown right here in Mexico City. The graffiti here is also awesome. It's such a ghetto outside of the CCM. I'm also pretty sure I have heard some gunshots, and police sirens go off about every half hour or so. That makes sleeping a little harder, but it's also cool, so it works out. Also, if you know of anyone that wants my emails or you do because you're reading this on the blog my mom is going to set up sometime, just send me a short email saying so. Oh! About letters. I can only check my email for an hour each week, so please please please write me letters through It's like, but they deliver the letters everyday instead of once a week, and its cheaper than sending it from the states anyway. I can also read them all week, so I cant really explain how badly I want some letters. You can also send me packages of stuff like KrispyKreme and stuff, but it's ridiculously expensive. I'm craving chocolate and candy so bad, so ya know, you should send me some when I get back to the States. Guittard chocolate chips and sour patch watermelons are divine. Just sayin. And I will love you forever. But really just getting a letter every now and then would help so much. I uploaded some pictures, and you can probably figure out what they're about. The last one is the sickest picture I've found in the CCM. It's like Teancum or that other guy about to stab the Lamanite king as he is sleeping. There are random lego hand towers and some ghetto cities around us. Well, I think I've covered pretty much everything, so I hope you all are doing well! Please pray for me! I really need it. Love you all!

PS.  Sorry it's so ridiculously expensive to send stuff through that site. Letters only will be fine. They are only a dollar, and I would love those more than food. Or people can send me letters the traditional way.