Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hey dad,

I gotta keep this one short and sweet because president only wants us to be on the internet 10 minutes today, but I got your email. I'm going to see if I can talk to the family (you all) christmas eve but its hard here because mexican people celebrate christmas on christmas eve, a lot of the members aren't going to be home or they will be busy so its hard for me to find a tranquilo place with a telephone, if I do find aything out I will call you with a calling card. Here's the information for Xmas day...Like I told mom Mexico has a national calling code, Im almost positive its 020 (actually 52) but if you could please find out that would be great... here's the info 020-(444)-167-1683. 020-(444)-167-1683 I'll be expecting your call at 12pm here in SLP time which should be 10am your time(OC), if You guys dont call me by 12:30 I will call moms cell phone or yours at 12:35 to see what's going on. I cant wait to talk to you guys! I have so much to tell you, a lot of details, and like I said, if I find a way to call the house xmas eve between 7 and 8 I will do it, but If I dont call, just call me xmas day.

I love and miss you guys, right now its hard for me to type because SLP is cold and I can't feel my fingers! I love and miss you, I hope to talk to you all soon.

Love benj!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hey Mom and Dad,

The weather here has been nice and sunny! Friday was day of the virgin (Día de La Virgen de Guadalupe) here and the whole city was one huge party, everyone was drinking and praying to the Virgin Mary, so it made Friday a little difficult for us to work but it was quite an experience. Things are going well here in the mission, I’m enjoying the experiences and time seems to be flying by, I’ll be talking to you guys really soon by telephone, I still don’t know the details on how or were but I’m sure they will tell us.

I saw the pics dad sent me and the video, from the pictures and the video it looks like the party was HUGE! It looks like it was really fun though. I’m super excited for Nate and Jen. It looks like Nathans party went really, really well. That’s awesome that Jen said yes. I watched the video and everything, Jen looks like she was in total shock! I was thinking of Nathan Friday night, I told my companion that Nate was going to propose and he asked me "to Erica?" I thought that was pretty funny.

Today for our p-day we are heading out to buy a xmas tree for the house, they are super cheap about 200 pesos(20$) so we are all putting in 50 pesos. We had our zone conference with president, his ward back home sent us (missionaries) a bunch of donated ties, so president gave us a little booklet with pictures of every missionary in the mission and a tie, it was pretty nice. We all ate pizza in the conference.

Its funny you mention the holidays, reality hasn’t even hit me yet that I have been away from home 9 months and I won’t be home for Christmas, Lol. As for the Christmas call, I will definitely have more info about where and when next week so you will be informed. Well, I gotta run, we are heading out to buy our xmas tree! whooooo!!!!

Love benj

I have to run but I will now answer your questions...

1. Benj, Do you miss riding your dirt bike? Brrrp BBrrp (Chris Holmes)
--------Great question Chris, I do!! I sometimes find my self walking faster than my companion and cutting in front of him while making the sound Brrppp!! and he just laughs.

2. What do you miss most about being away from home, besides Sasha? (Clint Hicken)
--------Besides Sasha, I would say a Washer and a Dryer. I was explaining to my companion that a Clothes dryer is a miracle. You put your clothes in wet and wrinkled and they come out dry, wrinkless and they smell great. Washing and drying clothes here has been a real headace here, we have to do almost all our cleaning by hand. There are some places here where you can pay to have them wash and dry your clothes but it’s real expensive and of course we cant take our garments there.

3. Are there any tourist attractions in your new city? What kind of amusement and entertainment is there? (Ricky Salazar)
--------I still don’t know too much about downtown SLP, but I know they have a live Theatre where they act out Mexican history. There is a casino here, and some museums. SLP is actually really big, it’s comparable to Leon in size. Today we are heading downtown so I will try to snap some photos and find out what’s cool down here.

4. What's your favorite authentic Mexican dish/food so far? (Ricky Salazar)
--------My favorite thing to eat here I would say would be the good ol` carnitas tacos. I also really like some of the fish they make here, called Mojarra and they fry it but its different from what I remember in CA. Also they have a style of Quesadillas here called "Gringas" it is a quesadilla but with fruits, chillis and meat inside, they are really, really good.

5. Do your American companions and President Cox speak the language well?
--------As for American comps, some do and some don’t. I would say there are more Americans that speak bad Spanish than good. As for Pres. he speaks really well, he served his mission in Peru and he really has the language down. I have also heard the area 70`s speak Spanish (both of them are American) and they sound like they have been speaking Spanish their whole lives, they speak really well.

Thanks for the questions!

Editors Note: Please take the time to wish Benjamin a Merry Christmas on the comments page.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hey Mom, and Dad,

It’s really good to hear from ya this week.That’s too bad about Elder Wirthlin, an elder called us the other day and told us he had heard Elder Wirthlin died but I didn’t know for sure till I had read your email,

Things are going well here, we baptized two people last week and the baptisms went really well. Sunday was the last day of our transfer and President wants Elder Lopez and I to stay another change here, so that means another 6 weeks here, which includes Christmas and my b-day. But I’m happy, i’m enjoying SLP and Elder Lopez, we get along great, and we are working hard and we are teaching lots of people right now. Elder Ditto is heading to Leon tomorrow, so he is very excited.
In the mission we didn’t do anything special for Thanksgiving but in our ward we have a return missionary who served in Illinois and speaks english really well. She experience thanksgiving for the first time and loved it, so for Thanksgiving she invited us to her house to celebrate it. She didn’t make turkey but she had really nice chicken. She made mashed potatoes (which I haven’t had since the MTC), gravy, corn, green beans. It was really special for me at least because I saw the hard work she had put into it, to make it feel American and I really thanked her. Her mom ate with us and was telling me how boring American food is because there is nothing spicey, I thought she was pretty funny.

I don’t think I told you but the last week of November our rent contract ended and the owners don’t want to renew the contract with us, so we had to find a new house. We found another house a little bit bigger which is nice and today we moved everything into it, so today is a little bit hectic, but things are going well here. The people are getting more and more Catholic as Christmas gets closer. The 12th is day of the virgin and people here go really crazy. Well I gotta run because we gotta get back to the house and get ready, but I love and miss you guys like crazy. I got the other little package you guys sent. I laughed at Nathans picture, the elders say it looks like me, lol.

Love ya!

1. Are there any Americans in your ward/area?
------- No, I havent spoken with any americans(other than my companions) since I left irapuato.
2. Do many Mexicans speak English where you are now?
-------- There is one I know of, she is really nice her name is Katherina, she served a mission in Illinois and returned about 6 months ago, she speaks very well.
3. What kind of industry or work is there in your area?
-------- In my area there is a big building called "El Rastro". Its where they kill cows and pigs all day, everyday. Im not sure how they kill them, but it smells really really bad and sometimes we hear the pigs`final cry just before they die. There is a huge meat market in our area so I would say that is the big industry here. Everytime my comp and I walk by I tell him "Elder lets ask for a tour! I wanna see!" we see hundreds of cows and pigs heading in by the truckload and we know they arent coming out alive.
4. How may wards are in the stake you are in? What is the stake called?
--------In my stake there are 8 wards, and our stake is called Benito Juarez Stake. We cover one half of San Luis Potosi, there is another stake in the other half but Im not sure how many wards are there.
5. Are people there decorating for Christmas? (moms question)
--------YES, everyone has trees and lights, since they obviously dont celebrate Thanksgiving here people go from halloween straight to christmas, from what I have seen, Mexicans loooove Christmas.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Please read this to the family at the thanksgiving dinner, its my "What I’m grateful for list"...

I am grateful first off for a family and loving parents, who has filled their home with gospel principles based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. Whom has always influenced me to be the best I can be and never settle for anything less,always go the extra mile.

I am grateful for my brother Ricky and sister in law Sara because they teach me to work hard and always stand up for what is right, and stand up for yourself.

I am grateful for Justin, who by his example teaches me to work hard. I always think of how Justin would have been as a missionary, I know he would have baptized 100´s just by how hard he works.

I am grateful for Nathan, who shows me how to be patient and thoughtful. As missionaries here we get rejected everyday, we get shouted at and cursed at, and I am grateful to have been taught patience.

I am grateful for Grammy and Grampa Hicken, and Gramma and Grampa Salazar and the many positive examples they have set for me.

I'm grateful for all that I have. I am grateful for my knowledge of the restored gospel. For the book of Mormon, and the Bible. I know that heavenly father speaks to us through prayer and these books. I am grateful to know that my family is eternal, I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet, he really did see god and Jesus Christ, he heard their voices and kneeled in their presence....

Last but not least I am grateful for Sasha the cat, whom when I am bored I can always bother and rough up.

Love benj...