Saturday, August 2, 2014

Letter 36: Red Tomatos, Green Tomatillos.

Quióbole familia,

Quióbole is a pretty commonly used slang word here. A bunch of the common folk here are always greeting us withquióbole. It's a pretty funny word, and it got stuck on me these past few days. 

Well, this week is the last week of the cycle. I honestly cannot remember which cycle I'm on, but each one seems to end quicker than the last. Week 5 of each cycle is always the craziest week. Mainly because we are all running around making sure that everything is perfect for changes. We are receiving 13 new missionaries this cycle, and only 2 are leaving. President is opening up 3 new areas this cycle, and 7 the next! 

Right now, I have been wrapping up planning the schedules for Monday and Tuesday, as well as all the logistics for the changes on TuesdayOn Monday, we usually just do a little "meet-and-greet" with the new missionaries. The first bunch to arrive is always the latino missionaries (coming from the Mexico City CCM) and the American missionaries usually arrive in the afternoon (from the Provo MTC). We go and pick them up at the airport, take all their bags to a Hotel (where they stay their first night), and then bring them back to the office for interviews with the President. Then we feed them, I do all their immigration paperwork, and then they go back to their hotel and chillax until district meeting.  President changed the way new missionaries get incorporated into the mission, so that the new missionaries don't get so stressed out on their first day. On Tuesday, Elder Webster and I are usually running around getting the rest of the mission changed to their new areas and the Assistants and President are giving training meetings. Tuesday is thee craziest day out of the whole cycle. But I love it!

For the past 2 weeks or so, it has been a little hard for us to find new investigators. We have really been focusing a ton on our progressing investigators, and working with our recent converts, and we haven't really been finding a bunch of new investigators. We are contacting and tracting a lot on the streets, but a lot of the people we find just don't make the cut. By "the cut" I mean, that they are interested in our message, and ready to take a baptism. Here in Juárez we call the people that are ready to be baptised "escogidos", or "tomates rojos (red tomatoes)"

Quick tangent: Here in the North, people call red tomatoes "tomates", and the green tomatillos "tomates" as well. For those who may not know, the "tomatillo" is a common green chile here in Mexico and it doesn't really have anything in common with the red tomato (except the shape). This just drives me nuts because I never know what type of vegetable people are referring to. They even announce it as "tomates" at the supermarkets. 

Another quick tangent: This tomato terminology originated from a meeting we had with Elder Johnson (of the 70) about 2 months ago. He made the comparison of an investigator to a tomato. He said that when a tomato is ripe, it is red and ready for the pickin. He said that an investigator is the same. When they are fulfilling commitments, assisting church regularly, reading their scriptures, and experiencing a true conversion, they are as ripe as a red tomato. But sometimes as missionaries, we focus a lot on tomatoes that are still green and hard and not ready for the pickin'. So we should let those tomatoes mature, and leave them, because in the future they will surely be "picked" by some other missionary.

SO ANYWAY, we hadn't really been finding a bunch of red tomatoes. A lot of little, hard, green ones. Well, on Thursday we had our "tomato" prayers answered. As we were coming out of our lunch appointment, a white sedan stops and pulls up next to us. I was holding a copy of The Book Of Mormon, and this lady pointed at it and said "When do you guys give study sessions about that blue book?". We told her we gave them every single day, and were ready to give her one. She pointed out where she lived and asked us to drop by the next day. Well, we headed over the next day and gave her a nice little study about that marvelous blue book. She told us that her 2 sons in Texas had just recently gotten baptised in our Church, and this sparked a curiosity in her. She said that she had seen a few people walking around with ties on, but she wasn't sure if they "gave classes on the blue book" or if they were just Jehova's Witnesses. When she saw us holding The Book Of Mormon, she finally decided to talk to us. She loved the lesson, and accepted to come to church on Sunday with us!

I know the Lord hears our prayers, and he knows exactly when we need them answered. I love praying so much. I hope you all do to.

Elder Velazquez

Elder Velazquez and his care package!

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