Monday, August 25, 2014

Aug. 25, 2014

WOW this week has flown by super faast! I feel like like I just typed yesterday. Well some of these things I have to say are the same, some days are really hard and some days are amazing! It is really hard for Elder Muñoz and I to communicate and it gets really stressful at times. I had the opportunity to go on splits with the district leader who is Elder Jimenez and he speaks English so it was so helpful! I was able to ask him questions that I had that Elder Muñoz couldn't answer. I stayed at his house for the night, haha the bed didn't have a frame so I pretty much slept on the floor which was not fun... there were a few ants here and there that would crawl on my sheets and I would feel them at night and it was very annoying! Well I am starting to get used to the bugs here and the houses. I feel so blessed that I have a family at home who has a nice home because it is SO different here. Well with David who said he saw me in a dream is doing good, were still teaching him and he is making good progress. With Nuria who didn't want to come to church is doing better! We talked to her and helped her grow her faith back, she is now confirmed and is coming to church which is such a blessing!  We have many investigators that we are teaching but I'm only putting the ones that are making the best progress. Well with Mauricio, he was a contact that we got who when we went to his house he was super exited that we came, he so many questions and what ever we told him he just got so exited, and the best part! he speaks English! Mauricio is 22 years old and he lives by himself with a little dog who likes my shoe.... a little to much, the dog thinks my shoe is a girl dog...... well anyways Mauricio came to church and we sat with him after he was exited to go to the other classes and after that he just followed us to our other meetings and than to our investigator later that day, he was with us all Sunday which I was able to teach him tons of stuff, we have become really great friends and he told me that he likes to be with us and likes it when we come over to his house because he feels happy when we're there, he says it just feels lighter and he wants that in his life. Well I'v had lots of great times but also hard times, I'm struggling with the language a ton and I cant speak it with is really frustrating. I also wont be able to upload pictures today because the computer I am using doesn't have a slot for memory cards, so next week I'll post pictures.  I'm  glad to hear that things are going good at home, and with the rain haha it rains here too everyday but not for long. Well friends and family I love you all and I miss you a ton! The mission is hard but it is also a learning experience. I'm happy that our lord has given me this opportunity to be here in Mexico with these people who don't have much. Its also really important to count your blessing and always remember that through the atonement of our savior our problems and hard trials can be healed. I´v seen it happen here and I experience it all the time. I love you all and keep me updated.  -Love Elder Portlock

Friday, August 22, 2014

 Aug. 19th

Hola Familia and Friends!

Ok! where to start! haha Well this week has been great! With ups and downs, to start of I'm writing today because we were having a big activity with all the missionaries in the Tuxtla area, we all went to Zoomat! It was awesome and there were lots of animals I had never seen before and the spiders! Holy cow! I would never want to see them in my house or yard! This week I got sick and I don't know what my body was doing! But during the day my stomach started to feel sick so we went home and as soon as I got home I started to throw up a ton! It was not fun! Then the next morning I was on the toilet for 30 min! with the runs! (sorry if I'm creating nasty pictures, but its the truth) I was miserable. haha.  I'm laughing about it now cause I feel fine now. I think it was the chicken I ate, we were at a investigators house and they gave me some nastly looking chicken that was cold but I ate it anyways cause I didn't want to be rude. There are so many bugs here! haha I always have to shake out my clothes and shoes before putting them on cause there's always bugs or spiders that like to say hi to me......some days I feel like I'm not progressing at all and they are very rough! The language is very difficult to speak but I have been learning a lot about patience here! My Spanish has improved though and when it does I get super happy! haha. My reading skills have been getting better but I still don't understand a thing! It's very frustrating! I have my first baptism here! it didn't feel very special to me though cause I didn't teach her anything, Elder Muñoz taught her before I came, but it was still awesome! The sad and devastating news was that the next day she called and said she didn't want to got to church any more! WHAT?? She said she didn't like the baptismal service, oh well, its sad because baptism is the gate... Well I'll still pray for her and visit and hope that she will change her mind. The area that I am in is so poor! WOW! And the other missionaries here say it gets even more poor in Tapachula and next to the coast, well there was one area where the houses were little shacks made out of metal boards! and Elder Muñoz and I crossed this giant water tube that stretched across a river! It was awesome and scary at the same time, if we misplaced our feet we would fall to our death, but I'm alive and here typing so no worries haha. I love talking to the kids down here! I can't speak very well and they think its hilarious! But they love to talk and learn English from me. Elder Muñoz and I are doing great, we get along with each other really well, but we can't hardly communicate which is really funny! Oh! And we were at a members house eating lunch and after we sung a hymn with them, after the hymn I wanted to say that this hymn we sung is not in the English hymn, hahah but what I really said was "this mosquito is not in the English hymn!" hahaha, The family and my companion had a  good laugh, haha well I finally met up with Hermana Hickman, I talked to her at the zoo and I told her I had been looking at her blog before the mission and told her how exited I was because of the stories she had and the pictures. it was great! Well I'll go for now and I can't wait to write back next week! Adios!

Elder Portlock

The crazy pipe bridge


These spiders are everywhere

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 11, 2014
Hola Familia!
Hello, I hope all is well back home, its been such a great week! Very different for sure! I have definitely had a lot of culture shock here! Well Monday was crazy! We all stayed at the mission home with tons of elders! There were 10 new missionaries that were native and then all the new trainers came over so in the upstairs room we all slept there. The first night I didn't even get a pillow or anything to sleep with! I found a little bed with no sheets and just layed on it till the next morning, We didn't have enough time to get ready for bed. The next morning we had 30 min. to grab our stuff and head to down stairs where we had a lot of instruction. I didn't know anything! Haha, it was all in Spanish! After instruction I got my new companion and my new area! My new companion is Elder Muñoz! He is from Ecuador and he doesn't speak English at all! Its extremely hard to communicate! But it's also fun! We left instantly to our new area, we are in Tuxta Agilas, its not in the main city its off to the side. Wow! I've never seen a place like this before! Its so poor here! And most of the roads are all dirt rocky, and there's up and down hills everywhere! After we got to the apartment we put our stuff down and went to work. We stopped at this house and started teaching the family, I don't understand at all what people are saying and I can't even talk! But I can bare a simple testimony of what we're talking about. It's not much but it seems like its very effective. Wow! I am loving it here! It's very difficult to get used to because I am not used to this place and this kind of living. (mom and dad, thank you SO much for providing so much for me! haha!)  well on Sunday, we had one of our investigators come to church his name is D.... I hadn't seen him before cause he was taught before I came. But when he greeted me he froze and then told me " I believe in God, I'm Baptist, its hard for me to believe in Joseph Smith, but before you missionaries came to my house I had a dream with you in it, you're the missionary in my dream!" He wants to learn more and its awesome! So I sat with him during sacrament and Elder Muñoz sat with another investigator. During sacrament he pulled out his iphone and we talked though google translate and I was teaching him the entire time! It was amazing! ...One day we were eating lunch at a members house and we started to hear a lot of noise outside, I didn't understand what was going on but the members were telling me to move over to the other side of the house and stay there, afterwards they said a big fight was going on and they didn't want me to get hurt! It was crazy, Oh! and there are dogs EVERY where, they are all stray dogs and they don't touch people because they are used to humans, and if anything, the people throw rocks at them, its pretty sad. ... well the showers here are cold , and the water barley comes out of the faucet.  It's very different here! And the traffic. Wow. I feel like I'm going to die every time I get in a taxi or combi (combi is a small bus that a thousands of people all get in at once, its full!) And it seems like there is no such thing as a seat belt or traffic laws, people speed and maneuver their way through the streets as they please. The people here are way nice! And all my investigators so far really want to learn English so I try to teach them some. Most of the lessons we have I don't say much haha! And I barley understand but the people understand and help me. haha. I am seriously the biggest gringo haha! Not only are we missionaries who wear white shirts but I'm American with blonde hair, I stick out very well here. Wow! Lots have gone on and I wish I could say more but I need to hurry up.
This is so crazy here mom! I miss ya like crazy and sometimes I wish that I could come back home... but I know this is where I'm supposed to be and I have faith. I do love the people here and I love this experience. It's awesome! I'm really experiencing living poor here is such a poor house! The people here barley have anything! It's so sad, well tell the family hi for me! 
Well family I miss you tons! And I think about you all the time, Living here really makes me grateful for the house I have, the family I have, and the things I have. I am living on very little here! I love you all, stay strong and Ill talk to you all next week
Lots of love! Elder Portlock

My house

This was a huge cockroach! it was flying around the house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mi casa

An average road

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hola Familia

Well, I have arrived here in Mexico Tuxtla Gutierrez!  Wow, what a day.  First off, I don't have a lot of time to say everything because I need to get ready for bed now.  Next week I'll be able to write more.  But this place is crazy!  Wow!  Huge culture shock!  And the drivers here are crazy and people don't have rules here.  They drive where ever they want, they walk wherever they please.  The streets are filled with people trying to sell you stuff.  When we first arrived, the president was there along with the AP's.  We then went to Walmart and got food for dinner.  At dinner we had some good taquitos that were very tasty.  There were a lot of elders and they all speak Spanish and only Spanish.  There were about 5 gringos that were all fluent.  And then there's Elder Rowland and I, the only English speakers.  Ha ha.  It was hard trying to talk to people.  I get my new companion tomorrow, and my first assigned area tomorrow.  So I'll let you know how things are next Monday on p-day.  I love you all and take care.  I know with our Savior Jesus Christ we can all get through trials we face in life.  Hasta luego!

Love, Elder Portlock

Sunday, August 3, 2014

OK, so I finally got my travel plans.  I leave the MTC at 9 p.m. on Sunday night.  Crazy, huh?  My flight leaves at 1:06 a.m. and I will arrive in Atlanta Georgia about 6:40 a.m.  I then leave Atlanta at 9:47 and should arrive in Mexico City about 12:17 p.m.   I'll leave Mexico City at 2:10 and should arrive in Tuxtla about 3:50 p.m.  It's so crazy to think about!  I'm so excited.  The MTC treated me well. I guess my P-days will be on Monday from now on, so I don't know If I'll email this Monday or if I will have to wait till the next Monday.  I don't know if I'm ready, I'm just going with the flow.  I have a piece of paper that says I'm flying to Mexico, so I'm just going with it.  Ha ha ha.  I am going on an adventure!  Here are some last pictures from the MTC.


Pillow room