Monday, December 29, 2014

Prospero Año Nueva,!

Hey everyone! 

I hope you all had a great christmas, and that you all remembered the real meaning of christmas :) This was probs the weirdest christmas of my life but super funny! On christmas eve we were in the city and were going to eat with this family the familia pita, after my comp talked to his family. So we left the church around 7:30 to go there but when we got there, all the lights were off, and nobody answered the door! We called, but no answer, they stood us up on christmas eve those grinches! It was funny though, after that around 8:30 we went and got pizza from this place called econo-pizza or as my comp has rightly renamed it, econo-gas. typical mexico. We bought two large pizzas, a big grape fanta, and some cookies and played uno and ate until 12:30, it ended up being really fun we just told stories about family, stuff in the mission, cool scriptures, all that jazz. Good christmas eve.

Christmas Day I talked with my family and that was awesome! Shout out to mom and dad and tait, you guys are my main people. Hahaha during the skype with them this stray dog runs into the church, and into the secretaries office where I was talking and just starts eating my bag I was like "hold on, I´m in mexico gimme a sec" typical mexican stuff. After we were supposed to go eat with the same fam that stood us up on christmas eve but guess who wasnt home? the same scrooge family as the night before!! hahaha mexicans man, I love em. We ended up eating with the sister down the street and all was good, then we went to the stake center and played games with our zone, we taught them how to play rugby and that was a mess so we ended up getting back into soccer, typical mexico. then president got there with a cake, and ephraims rescue and we watched that and ate then went back to sleep at our district leaders house. Like I said, it was a weird christmas man! but way fun, and memorable none the less.



Sunday miguel and gina were confirmed and miguel got the aaronic priesthood. I cant believe seeing the change, miguel was coming to church in shorts and a t shirt and a base ball cap the first week, and yesterday he was in dress pants, dress shoes, a sweater, he was wearing the tie we gave him, he looked awesome!! Gina cried the whole meeting, we were feeling the spirit, it was all good in the hood.

Today we had to pack up our house and clean the whole sucker because we are moving tonight! we are going to the big city about an hour away so that should be interesting, this guy in the ward has a big van that he thinks we can fit all of our stuff in but if not we can just tie it on top of the roof. Typical mexico. 

Thats pretty much it for this week, I hope you guys all had a great christmas and have the hap hap happiest new year.

I know that this church is true, and I know that through diligence and obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel, we can live happily and feel the love of our Heavenly Father as his eternal children.

I love you guys and please,

Always remember to spay and neuter your pets.

-Elder Draper

Monday, December 22, 2014

Marriage, Baptisms, and Mexican Haircuts


Hello family and friends, can ya believe i have almost been out for 3 months and christmas is this week??? This week was the best week for a few reasons, one I got  NEW COMPANION Elder Garcia, from bogata columbia. he is seriously the best, we are working really well together which is so nice. we worked in perote this week and we will be here until the first of january,

We are trying to find a new house in altotonga so we can move next weekend and work there and here, we are the only missionaries in the mission working in two areas, which is way cool! we are working in altotonga because there isnt enough priesthood leaders to split the ward and open a house of prayer here in perote so we devided the area yesterday with the bishop and ward mission leader so that was good. We will work and live in altotonga but come to perote twice a week to work with joseline and alejandro for the next few weeks and then only once a week for references or stuff like that. Kinda crazy, we will have to take a bus when we come to perote it is about an hour in the bus that is so packed with mexicans its crazy, like there is probs 40 seats, and there are well more than 70 people on this bus, I will take a pic for next week.

Any way, this week was really good because we were planning on marrying gina and miguel! We went over to their house wednesday to pick them up to do their blood tests (you have to do that here idk why) anyway we got there and gina was crying and we were like shoot whats up? so we talk for like five minutes and then gina said something, miguel said something and crap hit the fannnnnn. they started fighting and it was crazy because we were just sitting there like um....scriptures...love one another...we were there for AN HOUR just trying to calm their sweet spirits. it was nuts man. I was trying not to laugh so hard, I only understood like every three words and it was honestly way funny me and my comp just looked at eachother like what do we do?? anyway, after an hour, they made up, kissed, and we got the heck out of there. What did we learn kids? Satan is real and doesnt want them to be baptized. Even crazier part, we went to drop their papers off at the civil registry and the judge is like you have to wait eight days and you dont have the right birth certificates. if you can get it to me in less than 20 minutes your fine for friday. so we hauled it over to miguel and ginas the mexicans were probably like why is the CIA running through the streets of perote? oh thats a funny part of being white and being here. people ask me if I am in the cia in america. jajaja anyway, so we made it anddddd they got married friday! but once again can you tell satan did not want them to get baptized?  oh fun fact and another satan thing we had to freaking pay the judge off to let them get married because she sucks, we both payed 300 pesos, which in reality is less than 30 bucks but it is a lot for us considering we live on 200 a week. all good though bc president reimbursed it.

Ok so if you havent understood me yet, GINA AND MIGUEL GOT BAPTIZED it was so cool, they were both so excited and funny, and after we asked them how they felt and miguel was just like ahh...super bien. clean. very different. all smiles and gina was just cry/laughing like wow this is a cool thing. The church is true!

Today I got a haircut and I was so fetching scared because it was this 600 year old viejito lady and her hands were all shaky the whole time but she didnt cut my ear off and Iron giant was on their huge television. we were there forever because well she moved like a 600 year old. we watched like the whole movie and it was a testament that my spanish is way better because I understood like the whole movie.

anyways, that was about it for this week! love you guys, and I hope you all have a great christmas, I know I will because I get to talk to my fam! send me emails, pics of your lives, I want to see what america looks like. mexico is kinda boring after a while ;)

Don´t spike the eggnog.

Elder Draper

Lastly a little trick we have here for getting references, we pick a name like jose luiz or alejandro or maria, because everyone in mexico is named one of those three names. we go to a tienda and ask hey we are looking for a guy named jose luiz on this street do you know where he lives and almost every time they are like oh well there is one in the blue house, the yellow one, and house number 6 oh and my name is maria, we ask them about their family and we end up leaving with like 18 references. it rocks.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Golden calf, Guadalupe, Drama, And Cambios

Querido familia y amigos,

I hope all of you had a fantastic week, and for the missionaries in the phillipenes, I hope you are drying up from the typhoon! This week was kind of nuts but it was good nonetheless. Monday after our pday we went to  our neighbor Daisy and juan carlos´s house. juan carlos went to college in the us so his english is almost perfect. I taught a lesson in english while my comp sat there and talked to the wife it was weird in my brain to hear both, understand both and try to not mix the words up! anyway, it was honestly way harder to teach in english than it was in spanish. I know why I am speaking spanish! anyway, I taught him about the first visión, and the bom and then did a question answer in english, it was cool. I also gave him one of the only english books I have, our heritage to help him increase his vocab, and also teach about the church LOL sneaky right?

 My district leader and I did divisions on tuesday and taught a family home evening to gina and miguel and man the spirit was way strong! we have been strugling on getting gina to get married asap so they can get baptized but we taught on the temple and eternal families and gina just was crying and was like yeah, now I know it is true and it is important. Lets get married this week. FLIP YEAH RIGHT?! then to put the icing on the cake, her Little boy emelio goes "mama, quiero tu y papa ser casada aquí" or " I want you and dad to get married here" and points at our pic of the temple! THANK YOU ADORABLE MEXICAN NIÑO. Gina Just starts crying and me and my companion are just tim tebowing in the middle of the room like yes yes that is right this church is TRUE! YES. haha it was good man. BUT we have to wait one more week because of Guadalupe.

This week was the week of Guadalupe, Guadalupe is the virgin that the catholics worship here and it was like Guadalupe day on the 12th. Basically Guadalupe is their Golden calf! everyone put lights and sirens on their cars, the busses, the taxis, shoots Fireworks at all hours of the night, and everything is closed, including the courthouse where gina and miguel can get married. The streets were filled with people chanting prayers, lighting torches and Fireworks, and just making noise, we didnt even get close to the central park in perote. We mostly met with less actives all day.

Church was good, one of our investigators, joseline came and so did her sister and brother in law who are members in perote, we drove in their sketchy car and that was....well sketchy. but we lived! it was cool, she was excited to go and liked it more than her member family did I think!

Now to the changes and drama from the week. My companion Elder abreu is 26 years old, and is one of the hardest people to work with I have ever met in my life. I really am struggling with him, but I have been loving him because he is my comp right? well yesterday night after church we went to lunch, and after lunch we went back to our district leader and his comps house so abreu could use the bathroom. Well the district leaders companion and my companion were like hey we are stressed, let us stay in perote tonight and I am like no that is dumb I want to go to my house and eat my peanut butter and sleep in my bed. So they convince the district leader it is a good idea so they leave and I am like no that is dumb man. anyway, our president calls last night to tell the district leader he was going to be with his comp for another 6 weeks, be patient, and love him! then he asks to talk to Elder maimo, his companion and he is like uh....he is asleep. so president calls my companion in perote, finds out that they did divisions, calls my district leader and goes "Elder, why did you lie to me? we will talk tomorrow." and hangs up. I was like DANG. glad I am an ignorant White guy. so presidente called this morning and was like uh youre retarded, dont do that again. and then tells me "Hey Elder draper, I am sorry that you got put in the middle of the worst of the worst" I was like, once again, DANG haha it was crazy. so we went to get our changes from our zone leaders and my comp is a junior companion, the district leader is a junior companion, I have a new trainer, and they probably are closing my área. DRAMA RIGHT. I know I was put in perote for a reason,and I have learned a ton, I am ready now to go to work for real though!

Funny story of the week, I eat a ton of eggs because they are way cheap and good. I eat like 5 a day. well this week I told an hermana that, and she makes us the spicest food I have eaten since I got here, eggs and beans with tortillas that seriously like burned my tounge. WELL. Lets just say I maybe got super sick the same night. Super Super Super, sick.

Anyway, I hope all of you have had a wonderful week! Don´t forget to eat your vegetables, make cookies for santa, and cook your eggs thoroughly.

Love you all,
-Elder Draper

LASTLY! Go read luke chapter two with your family, it is the story of christs birth and is way good.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Xalapa, Exchanges, and Ninis

Querido Familia and Amigos! 

Merry christmas season! The snow is coming here in perote haha just kidding its just cold. Wow congrats to the peeps who got their calls in the last little bit! so sick! We are doing pretty good here, tuesday I was in xalapa with elder wright and the rest of my district, we had to go on a three hour bus ride, but once we got there we hung out in the office all day, and got to eat real pizza! little sleazers! it was great, we went to the visa office and put down our finger prints and signed some papers and that was it, so we were in the office from like 11 to 7. We got to go to walmart, that was pretty cool! It was fun to see all the guys from the mtc. We take this super nice bus service when we travel to the office or for changes it is called ado, and they show movies hahaha it is like a game here to see who can see the best movie, we watched this awful british movie translated into spanish.

Fun random fact: here we use this word ¨planch¨ it means literally to iron but it is also when you use the scriptures or gospel to put someone in their place. It is also known as bible bashing.

Tuesday night elder wright and I stayed in altotonga on our district leaders couch and that was good. their house is kinda gross, super mc moldy. Anyway,wednesday me and my district leader did splits in perote and taught some really good lessons and got two new investigators. we are doing this thing as missionaries that I am sure some of you have heard about, it is called HE is the gift. it is this video on mormon.org and we have these little cards that we push, we give out ten a day and it is working really well, last week we recieved maybe 8 or 9 reffrences and this week with the cards we have recieved 35 since tuesday. crazy stuff.

 Wednesday I talked with my ZL because I have been kind of strugling with my comp, he is dead because he has like a month and a half left in the mish and has flight plans home, so he is super trunky and doesnt want to do anything. Elder Lopez talked to him and it has been a ton better since then. 

BAD NEWS. No house of prayer here in perote for a while. Our stake pres told us there is no money, so yesterday in testimony meeting my comp and I told the ward the reason that people couldnt get baptized is because they dont pay there tithing and to repent and pay today. PLANCH. We had gina and miguel come to church yesterday which is great, I think they will get married friday cross your fingers! if they do we will baptize them on sunday. we have another guy named alejandro that is an ancient investigator who couldnt get baptized about 3 months ago for some repentance stuff and we talked with him thursday and he will probably get baptized next week as well. we are stoked. 

Thursday we talked with one of our new investigators named hasan. he is dating a member here and so we started teaching him, aparently the old missionaries didnt fall him well but he liked me and elder barth. thursday me and elder abreu went over and hasan was quiet and abreu was like hey whats up man? hasan goes ¨tengo pena con tigo¨ basically you embarass me. THIS KID IS A DORK. he is fifteen and chubby and feo and the member is a cute sister like she is not an ugly person, but her whole family calls him a nini. ni trabajo ni estudio ni hace nada. or ¨he doesnt work or study or do anything¨ haha tomorrow me and elder barth are going over to teach him again to try to gain his trust a little more.
Funny story of the week, dont use google translate for homework. Its aweful, all these kids here have english classes and they ask me to check their homework and when I read it its just super scattered and makes no sense. they just type everything into google translate and man it is for real bad. dont cheat kids.  

Last thing before I head off, we got the stats back last week and my mission is the second highest baptizing in mexico, we baptized 233 last month! The lord is hastening the work, and we live in a time with so many blessings, I dont know if you saw but the main header for youtube yesterday was owned by the church it was the he is the gift video, and the advertisements you have to watch 5 seconds of before the video you want to watch? he is the gift. It was estimated that 78 percent of the world saw at least a glimpse of the video yesterday. The church also bought out most of the electronic banners (the five biggest) in times square that showed on repeat what? HE IS THE GIFT. It was supposedly seen in 160 of the 190 countries in the world. The church is true guys, go watch he is the gift. It makes me cry almost every time. OH and last thing for real, go search ¨gordon b hinkley final testimony¨ I watched it yesterday and it made me sob like a six year old girl. So darn good. anyway, love you guys, stay safe, don´t eat yellow snow.

We are staying in teziutlan tonight again and in the morning my whole generation is going to xalapa to work on our visas. i guess we could get deported if it doesnt happen tomorrow so that is important. Oh also, today there was this giant freaking protest in altotonga for fresh water so we were worried about getting to xalapa. basically imagine that you had to get from lehi to provo, but three hundred people were sitting on I15 and that is pretty much our situation but it is going to work out, because we are leaving in the morning now.
Enjoy your week, I will talk to you soon!!

-Elder Draper

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving, Devotionals, and Dragons

Querido familia y amigos,

Hola! Wow today is my two month mark can you believe it? I am loving it here, we are struggling in perote still because none of our investigators can come to church but I talked to the stake president last night and it is looking like we are for sure going to have it for the 14th of december can you say merry christmas?? We are so excited because our investigators will finally be able to progress. We had kind of a crazy week, tuesday we were in teziutlan and I ate chicken feet with this giant mexican guy who hates gringos, it was pretty funny. he just made rude jokes about me and the other missionary from the states! fun fact, right now I can hear imagine dragons down the street, people here love them and blast their music alllll the time. 

How was everyone´s thanksgiving?! I hope all of you ate your hearts out and remembered the things you were thankful for. Our thanksgiving was good, It was my comps bday so I bought some little cakes and that was what we had in the morning after studying, he got some candy from this lady that loves the missionaries and also owns a candy shop down the road from our house. It was fun to see elder abreu blow out our "candle" that was really just a piece of paper rolled up and on fire that we stuck in the cake.
That is pretty much everything for the week! If you guys have the chance go check out mormon.org and watch the new christmas video it is super cool. I also read a great quote from president monson this week "despite what comes, this great cause will go forward." it is true man! nothing can stop the work of the lord. I love you guys, hope all is well. 

For lunch we had this mystery meat soup and crickets! crickets taste like pretty bad peanuts with legs. and for dinner instead of going out for tacos, I got way sick with the double headed dragon. If you don´t know what that is, lets just say I was very very sick!! hahaha it was goood though, I was fine the next day, I think it was either the mystery meat or the crickets. I think I have lost weight since I got here, we walk about 10 or 12 miles a day because our area is really spread out. I have giiiiaaaannnntttt calouses on my feet.

Last night was our christmas devotional and it was way good! we sang like 7 songs, watched some videos and heard some great messages. We had a ton of people there too so that was great, none of our investigators could go because it was too expensive for them to travel but a lot of misisonaries had people there and we recieved a ton of refrences as a zone. The devotional got over way later than we expected so we had to spend the night in teziutlan, and my comp comited us to move some people so we moved peeps from 10 until like 11 last night and that sucked. but it was all good!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Crazy Pedro, Botched Weddings, Satan, And Baptism #1.

Hola Amigos!

Wow I am starting my second month this week and holy cow it has been going by so fast. This week was kind of crazy and not so good but it had its high points. Pdays here are good, we play soccer in the mornings, and today I taught a bunch of mexicans how to play basketball. it was the funniest thing. We had fried platanos this week that were way good! they take the greenest bananas they can find, cut them into like one inch slices, fry them, squish em into a  little pattie and but salt on them. it kinda tastes like fried mashed potatoes and is way good, my comp loves them like cocaine.

The laundry we gave to the member last week is still in altotonga so I am hoping we can get them tomorrow at our district meeting. we will not do that again. we have to have members do it here or wash it ourselves bc the president doesnt want any random person who washes at the lavandarias to be cleaning our g´s. so I will probably wash them in the sink tonight. We ate mole for the first time this week and man mole sucks. it is this spicy chocolate sauce that they dump over tortillas and fried cheese with some chicken it is pretty aweful but not too bad. I got dared to eat a habenero today and I did, and that was stupid, is sucked so bad. I was crying for an hour and it literally burned my tounge to the point that it hurts. I wont do that agian! we eat a ton of bread here and tortillas bc it is filing, its hard to taste bad, and it is hard to get sick from bread. OH and there was a parade here this week on tuesday, we watched from our balcony and it was kinda fun to see all the people.

This week was weird, we go to teziutlan, about 2 hours away on the bus to practice songs for a christmas devotional on the 7th and it is way funny. latins cannot sing! me and this elder from penslyvania are the only ones that can hold a tune out of like 25 of us so we have 3 solos in the devotional out of the 6 ish songs. I see some guys from the mtc at the practice and that is pretty fun.

Any way, this week we were suppoesed to have our investigators miguel and gina get married on friday morning so they could get baptized sunday but no dice because they didnt show up to get married! people here have no sense of being on time to something or even showing up. so they didnt get baptized. Our other investigators joel and lola and their family moved without telling us so we lost them wednesday and our other promising investigator juana dropped of the map today because of the following. We got her as a referal from this family gabby and ernesto, we go over there two or three times a week to visit with them and teach ernesto who isnt a member. well we couldnt find juana for nada this week and saturday we were over at gabby´s house and guess who was there? juana! it was great, we taught a lesson, and her little daughter sat there and talked to both of us during the lesson a ton. well today we talked to gabby and jauna told her that she didnt want to meet with us anymore because we had "knocked on her door at 1 in the morning and her daughter was scared of the guerro or white boy" which I will testify is a bunch of poopoo. so we arent teaching her anymore! Lastly, our investigator brandon doesn´t ever have time to be taught because he is more often than not, high as a kite on pot. so thats pretty cool

Saturday however, we talked to miguel and gina and set a new marriage date and they will be baptized next week. We called this number that was painted on the side of joel and lolas old house and asked their land lord about them and he told us where their new neighborhood was so we knocked doors and asked people in the calle about them for about an hour and found them! which is great. Then saturday night the elders in the area next to ours called and said that I would be baptizing a guy named victor the next day! Victor had been coming to church for 10 years but was never baptized so he met with the missionaries for a week, and I baptized him yesterday. Super cool! I am really loving it here and the work is going pretty well.

We are having right now a big problem with activity and getting investigators to church because the closest chapel is 45 minutes away and kinda expensive to take the bus that far for the people. so we have been working with the mission president a lot and the stake president and bishop to get a house of prayer here in altotonga where we can hold a sacrament meeting and teach sunday school. The stake president is fighting us on it because he thinks the members should sacrifice instead of the church paying to rent a building. SO, we are struggling with that a little, but I talked with president last night and he said if we cant have the stake pres help us out, he is gonna pull us out of perote. We´ll see what happens, and work hard in the meantime!

Now to address satan, and crazy pedro. Crazy pedro is this guy who walks around perote just kicking a corn cob. he is homeless, and yells grossero things all the time and man, it is pretty fun to see where we will find crazy pedro next. we see him every other day ish all in different places in perote, just kicking away at his corn cob.

 Next, there is this guy in our ward, who wont get baptized, meets with the jehovahs witnesses, and comes every week for one reason. at every single baptism, he sits front row and asks the person right before it starts "ya sure you want to do this? it is a big comitment...are you sure youre ready?" like 7 people have not gotten baptized because of this guy! he literally reminds me of satan. yesterday he did it to victor and the district leader grabs him, walks outside, and him and his comp basically told him in a cristian manner to shove it and quit being a korihor. I hate that guy.

Lastly, here is some scriptures I liked this week, go read Mosiah 2:22-25, Isaiah 35:3. they are super good! I came across a new personal mission scripture. It is in 1st corinthians 9:20 and it says "and unto the jew, I became as a jew, that I might gain the Jews" but I change the word jew to mexican as follows "and unto the mexicans, I became as a mexican, that I might gain the Mexicans" I am trying to dive in an be a mexican, but it is hard for a gringo! Everyone here just stares at me and looks like they have never seen a polar bear before! haha good times here in perote.

Anyway, that is it for this week, next week I will have 2 whole months in the mission! Love you guys, keep being gr8 people and God really will bless you. 

Your favorite Mexican,

-Elder Draper

Monday, November 17, 2014

FINALLY in Mexico!

WOW. Mexico is kinda crazy. This week has been super long, but so good! 

We left the MTC last week and that was great. We flew through mexico city and wow glad I´m not there, a city of 50 million it was nuts. It was kind of hard in mexico city. We changed airlines and had to print new boarding passes from the lady in broken Spanish but we made it! 

We spent the first two days at the secretaries house and in the mission office training. our mission pres and his wife are the best, she made like cafe rio for us the night before we left to our areas, way good. I got my comp! His name is Elder Abreu and is from the Dominican Republic, His Spanish is impossible to understand, he speaks sooooo fast. way faster than the Mexicans and he doesn't say his s´s which makes it even harder but I am learning really fast. 

I am in Perote, the coldest area in the mission. it is kinda like Utah in October all of the time. It is either too hot for a sweater or too cold for anything but a sweater and a coat, never just nice. and it changes four times a day between hot and cold. I like it a lot, the Mexicans hate the cold but it is like 45 degrees, so even at the coldest when it is misty, it isn't too bad. Oh here it doesn't rain, it just gets so foggy that you are just damp, its called Chipi chipi! 

Anyway, Cool Story! Our first day here we dropped my bags off at the apartment and went out to work, and literally 100 yards or less from our house this family of four stops us, says they have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, they just moved but were taking discussions, and want to be baptized, they are getting married this week and baptized on Sunday, also we do baptisms on Sunday here, kinda different. 

Perote is super poor and the people are willing to be taught but our biggest problem is the word of wisdom and law of chastity. We also have a hard time getting people to church because we meet in Altotonga, a 40 minute bus ride that costs about 35 pesos each way which is a lot for these people (about 3 dollars.) but we are going to have a casa de oracione where people will take the sacrament and learn. we start that in the second week in December, I also start teaching English classes then as well, that should be interesting. right now we are teaching five new investigators and a bunch of less actives, the biggest problem is less actives here. Our ward has 800 people in it but about 45 come to church. We are focusing our Missionary efforts on getting people to the temple and enduring to the end rather than just baptisms.  Speaking of baptisms, Elder Abreu, my comp has baptized 72 people here. He leaves in February! Crazy. 

The work is good here. Another fun thing the Mexicanos cannot drive, they drive like mercielagos fuerra de infierno here. like 70 miles an hour, pass on a one way, no stop lights, we are lucky to be alive after a week. 

Church was good, I had to talk which was fun, the bishop just came up and was like hey can you give a 6 ish minute talk "Sure Bishop con gusto seria un plesur! haha I talked on faith, bread and butter of missionaries. anyway, sorry this was kind of all over, we don´t have a ton of time! 

Miss you guys, love you all, stay safe, read the book of mormon! Hasta la vista!

(edited by Jason Draper - something about the computers all being in Spanish(jajaja))

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Last Week in America

Hello everyone! This week has gone by so quick and has been pretty similar to every other week here at the MTC. It's pretty repetitive here but its good, we learn so much every day. My spanish is getting a lot better, we teach about 20-30 minute lessons three times a day to random "investigators" from all over. We did have halloween here last week and that was fun, I said bye to elder horton and elder ashman the other day because they got their visas and are headed off to the brazil MTC. We got flight plans saturday! We leave monday morning at 6:00 and fly from here to dallas, to Mexico City, to veracruz. We are so excited to get out of here, as great as the MTC is, it's time to get out of here and teach the people in Mexico that are waiting for us! Tonight is our last lesson with Hermano Argyle, we are having a tie trade with him and listening to mission stories, I'm way excited. He is an awesome guy and cares about our district a lot, we will miss him for sure. My main man Elder Schaeffer left this week and got to Peru before I even left the MTC, what a spaz. I saw Sorella Puzey a ton this week and took a picture with her this morning as she was heading up to the consulate for visa stuff. 

My companion and I went to the temple and did initiatories this morning, we had the opportunity to meet the temple president, he was such a nice guy and talked with us for a few minutes. If you have a temple near you which is every person who reads this with the exception of a few missionaries, GO TO THE TEMPLE. It is the best way for any person to receive the personal revelation they need in their life, if they know they need it or not. 

Elder Horton and I talked for about 15 minutes last week about Portuguese and Spanish, and they are almost the exact same. He taught me basically how to bear my testimony in portuguese and that was neat. The coolest part of the MTC for me has been hearing the different languages. In the last six weeks I have heard testimonies in the following languages. Russian, Ukranian, Albanian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Spanish, Finnish, Portuguese, Swedish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Tahitian, Samoan, Dutch, Tagalog, Cebuano, and German. Talk about the gift of tongues. This place is amazing, missionary work is crazy cool, and to quote President Monson "No force in the world can halt the Work of the Lord". 

If you want to read a cool section of scripture go read in Joseph Smith History...I think it's verse 31....not for sure, but it is the angel Moroni appearing to Joseph Smith. He quotes scriptures from Malachi, Isiah, and others. Go read those because they are prophesyings of the prophet Joseph Smith bringing in the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Lastly, I want to leave you all my testimony that I know that this Gospel is the only true gospel on the earth. I know that you can learn more from studying the Book of Mormon than by studying any other thing. I know that Christ came, He died, and on the third day, He rose again. I know that we will live with our Father in Heaven again. I know that families are eternal. I know that through the atonement, all weak things can be made strengths. I know that Joseph Smith truly saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet and Jesus Christ is the leader of this church. I love you guys, I miss you.

Next time you here from me I'll be a regular Mexicano!

Hasta luego!

-Elder Draper

                                                        Elder Martin and Elder Draper

                                                                  MTC District

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Week 4

I can't believe how quick it has gone by. I fly to mexico in flippin 11 days! so nuts. anyway, this week was cool last pday we went to the temple in the afternoon and man alive the temple is a good place. I had the most profound personal revelation I have ever had in my life. Just go to the temple, it really is the house of the lord. and the Lord answers our prayers you guys. we play volleyball constantly here, I kick butt. just saying. half of our branch left monday for their missions and we had a great last weekend  Oh we got new guys this week too! four sisters, and four elders. they should be good. I was way bummed when the old group left, they are going to be good misionaries and really helped me in the last month of me being here at the ccm. 

      This week we taught two new investigators victor and isela! victor is from houston, doesn't believe in god, christ, or the scriptures, and thinks god is vengeful. he also speaks really quick spanish. MAN! it was rough the first lesson, but we taught another one yesterday and it was way good. His question was "if we are commanded in the ten commandments not to kill, why did the lord command nephi to kill laban?" good question right? flippin hard to answer in english let alone spanish. but it was good, we talked about obedience and modern revelation, if pres monson  came out at general conference and said it was a commandment to only eat coffee and a lot of red meat, the word of wisdom would be partly nullified, and that would be the new commandment. again, hard to explain a little but good nonetheless. 

       We also skyped with a member in monterey mexico, not too far from where we are serving and had about a 30 minute lesson on faith with her, so fun to speak to natives. She bore such a beautiful testimony of her faith in the attonement and Jesus Christ. We heard from the primary general president sunday night, she spoke so eliquently and simply only as the primary president could :) I am learning a lot here, a ton about charity and how god answers prayers. If i pray for charity, god blesses me with opportunites to be charitable, same with patience, virtue, happiness, all things. I love the gospel so much, it is so true, if it wasn't true, us dumb missionaries that couldn't speak the language would have messed it up a long long time ago. the lord is hastening his work. from 1830 to 1947 the church gained a million members. since then we have gained 14 million more. I know that my redeemer lives, he loves us and answers our prayers. I love you all and miss ya, read your scriptures, haz lo justo, and always repent, we are a bunch of sinners ;)

Your amigo and friend,
Elder Draper

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Week 3

Hey guys, this week has been good, we got moved up to main campus because a kid on west got ebola which was crazy...just kidding haha jk thats the joke here because it's like we are in quarantine. This week has been eventful, we heard Chad Lewis of the Philadelphia Eagles speak on sunday which was very good. He spoke on letting our light shine to the world, as members it is our duty to do the work of the lord by living his gospel daily! be good examples everyone. Tuesday we heard from Elder Godoy of the 70. He spoke on the attributes of a good missionary, go read alma 24-26 they are super good chapters and apply to how to be a good missionary. He also gave a good unintended message, he is from brazil and really kinda struggled with english in his talk but it was way good and everyone felt the spirit, so it taught all of us learning a language that it's not important to be able to speak perfect, just keep the spirit with us. Good lesson to learn. We moved wednesday morning to main campus, it is pretty different up here but I like it. I saw elder horton this week which was fun. we are going to the temple today i'm stoked, elder moulton worked at the temple for two years and always has some weird fact for us at the end its way cool. Oh cool thing I learned this week that helped build my testimony of jospeh smith and the book of mormon. So in 2nd nephi, nephi quotes Isiah a ton. if you read it however, it is different from the bible because the bible leaves out part of the translation from isiah, the part that was from greek. The book of mormon however has the greek part that is from the original text of isiah. What does this mean for us? It means either the book of mormon is true, or Joseph smith learned complicated greek poetry really quickly. Just something cool. anyways, miss you guys! Keep the faith, stay the course, the Lord is on our side!

-Elder Draper 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Week 2

Hey everyone, hope life is good out in the real world! I can't believe its been two weeks, I only have one year and 50 weeks left can you believe it? ;) this week was super fast and I don't even remember everything that happened totally but there were a few highlights I want to mention. First of all, one of the elders in my district has been ooing and awing over this girl and wanting her to write him so bad! It's super funny we get the mail every day and he is bummed every day. well we got sick of hearing him talk about it so I wrote a letter to him from the girl and when he went to the consolate the other day I put a stamp on it and put it in the box for him. inside it just had a little paper with the word "gotcha!" on it! Oh man I haven't laughed so hard in a year. He was so stinking excited for it and took a picture with it and goes "did i ever tell you how beautiful her handwriting is?" (my handwriting...) ah man it was golden. We had two devotionals this week the one on sunday was super super cool!! we heard from the president of the media department of the churches missionary sector, the guy who is in charge of those videos like "because of him" and the mom one, anyway he talked to us and showed us some crazy cool stats (mormon.org is in 20 different languages, and that because of him video was viewed in like 180 of the 200 ish countries) but the coolest was he showed us the churches new video they are releasing for christmas YOU GUYS IT MADE ME FLIPPIN CRY IT IS AWESOME! I can't wait for you all to see it. Our speaker last night was elder lawrence of the seventy and he spoke on satan's influence and how to overcome it. super cool, favorite quote was something Heber C. Kimball said he used whenever he got a bad thought "Mr. Devil, Shut up." Had the opportunity to go to the temple this morning, guys go to the temple it is a good place to be. Other than that kind of an uneventful week, we got two new investigators Carlina and Paco, pretty good so far, spanish is coming along. I would love to hear from ya'll! I miss ya, the church is so stinking true! Miracles are real, and God knows us so well. Oh also we played soccer yesterday and I'm gettting reeeeaaaalllll good. on another note, I have gained ten pounds.

Talk to you soon!

-Elder Draper

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Week 1!

Wow it's been a week here at the CCM (spanish for mtc) its flown by so fast I can't even believe it. So wednesday was a blur, right after I got dropped off I went to the book store and got all of my study materials, which is a lot, but we went from there over to west campus where we live. Main campus is for every language except spanish and spanish speakers are at west campus by ourselves, which is good because I can speak spanish with everyone. Anyway, we dropped our bags off in our apartment and then went to our first class. We walk in and no kidding he just started right in with spanish, so we were all like "uhhhhhh......HOLA" it was nuts but it was cool to see the learning from the begining to the end of the class. My companion met me there, he is also from lehi, Elder Martin and he is seriously great, the funniest guy in our district. Oh, my host was companions with elder ahquin so that was cool, I saw him first thing when I got there it was fantastic. Our district is good we all are going to Xalapa on the same day and live in the same apartment together. We do a community prayer every night in spanish and sing our spanish hymnos together. anyway wednesday was cool because we met the whole mtc presidency and their wives who are the nicest people. Thursday we started morning classes with our actual teacher, Hermana Boza she is from Lima, Peru and her english is about as good as our spanish. She looks like a 12 year old but is 34....kinda, she was adopted in peru and they lost her records so record wise she is 34 but she is actually more around 25 but she doesn't know for sure, funny story. We also met with our branch presidency. Friday we had class again its pretty much the same thing every day, three class sessions of 3 hours each with lunch and dinner in between. Got my packages friday THANK YOU FAMILY ITS GOOD! Friday we taught our first lesson with our first investigator michael, from argentina. He doesn't speak english, we did ok but our spanish kind of crashed and burned. Saturday we went up to main campus for conference it was so amazing!!!!!! I LOVED IT SO MUCH THE CHURCH IS TRUE YOU GUYS IT REALLY IS. Jorg Klogenbarg and Elder holland were my favorite talks I loved the quote he said by Mother Theresa "What we do is but a drop in the ocean, but if we didn't do it, there would be one less drop in the ocean." If you didn't see the MTC choir from priesthood session go look up the missionary medley it brought me to tears, so good. Sunday session was so good and it was so cool to see TWO talks in spanish, we were so excited every time there was a talk in native languages the whole auditorium full of 2000 missionaries just rumbled with excitement every time. I saw elder matua sunday, we talked for a long time in between sessions it was good talking to him, he is doing great! On a side note I'm glad I'm not speaking mandarin. Sunday night we had a devotional with Vai Sikahema, who played at byu, the packers, and the eagles, and now is a stake president and NBC sports caster. Super funny guy that taught us a ton. I was so tired on monday night I wrote like 3 lines in my journal so I don't really remember what happened other than we taught michael the second lesson and it went so good, the gift of tongues is so so so real. I can pray and testify in spanish no problem now. Yesterday like 20  elders and I went up to salt lake to the mexican consolate and we got our visas pretty much, the lady there told us as long as we don't do something stupid we should be able to leave on the right day.Today we went to the temple for Pday and man I love the temple, so good, and we can go over to brighams landing on pday to get cheese burgers and drinks with caffeine it was solid. Anyway, that was the week. Oh I met a guy yesterday on the train that was going to work out at the gym on 13th and 9th I think thats your gym dad, anyway I didn't baptize him so that was a bummer but it was a good talk nonetheless. Miss you all, Love you all, heres my spanish testimony

Yo se que jesucristo es el salvador y jose smith fue una profeta y yo se que el expiacion es verdadero y el libro de mormon es verdadero. Thomas S Monson es el profeta verdadero y la iglesia de jesucristo as mas verdad que todos iglesias en el mundo. Yo amo este evangelio. En el nombre de jesucristo amen.

-Elder Draper