Thursday, January 26, 2012

Justin's first letter from Matamoros, Mexico

OK, Justin has finally sent his first letter home from Mexico and we finally get to find out where his first assigned area is.  To that I’m freaked out would be a complete understatement.  As most of you know, having faith is not my strength so I don’t know what I’m going to do. The whole “Be still and know that I am God” verse keeps flying through my brain, but again, not my strong point.
Justin has been assigned to work in a city called Matamoros, in an area of that city called Bagdad. Matamoros is about 10 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the east; 10 miles from the U.S. border just across from Brownsville Texas; about 160 miles south of Corpus Christi Texas—just to give some geographical context.

Add your prayers to mine, that Justin will be watched over and protected. As I am not the most “religious” guy in the world, I’m hoping that all of our prayers combined will be enough to call down blessings and safety. 
Justin talks positively and is excited to be where he is. He is already demonstrating a love for the city and for the Mexican people and I’m as proud of him as any dad could be. I’m incredibly blessed to be his father.
Please, in addition to the prayers and positive thoughts and energy, please don’t forget to send him letters. Receiving letters from home is such a great treat when you are serving a mission. You can continue to use and the letter will arrive to him in about a week—and it’s free.
Peace and love to every one of you.

Well it is my first week in Mexico and already there is a lot of success and much more work to be done! I am in the area known as Bagdad in Matamoros, Mexico and there is a lot of work to be done. But the good thing is that we already have 9 baptismal dates on the way for the coming month of February! That is so exciting that many people want to draw nearer to God and his gospel on the earth. And we also have 19 investigators. The thing about the Matamoros is that there have been many missionaries here for the past 20 years I believe and some investigators that some missionaries had have kind of been left behind because they weren't following with their commitments. But we have come in contact with some of those people and it's amazing that now they want to change. The church is growing rapidly in Mexico! I heard that there are 2,600 missionaries in Mexico right now! Crazy, right? And there are a lot of good people here. Matamoros is a poor town with people always looking for jobs, but they are good people. And it's crazy that I am like 10 minutes walking distance away from the USA. My mission companion is Elder Hoyos and he is from Peru. He doesn't speak English at all… but he is very humble and he is a great trainer for the mission. And my Spanish has grown in the last week so much alone. I can converse with people pretty easily now. It’s just the conjugations now that kind of get in the way. Our house is probably the biggest one in the whole mission and I wouldn't really be surprised if it was in Matamoros. It's like 3 stories and it's pretty clean except for the bathroom. We shower with cold water here too… Haha. And the church building is actually pretty nice here. Oh and did I say that there are like billions of dogs here! Well food is pretty good here, a lot of humble people. We find people every day, and there are actually a lot of Catholics here and the thing is that they really like our message (the majority of them), and they say that we are probably the more faithful because we preach the gospel and all Catholics do is go through the motions, but it's tradition here and that's why they don't want to convert, as much as they feel like it's right.
Well much love and keep in touch. Remember on the letters; make sure they're as flat as possible! If there is suspicion that it's money, it will be taken. And packages, always decorate them with crosses, Saint Mary and just religious stuff because the postal office won't touch it at all due to superstition of messing with packages for a religious cause ;). Well I love you all and I hope everything is going well for everyone. Keep in touch!
Elder Justin Powell


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