Friday, March 30, 2012

It's gotta be the fruit

Well this week went by really quickly! I couldn´t believe it was already P day again!
We have been doing a lot this week! We are looking to have baptisms this upcoming Saturday after the conference session! I´m way excited for that. It is a mother and one of her sons. They came to church with us this week and really seemed to enjoy it!
I figured I would include just some other cool facts about Mexico. They have the best fruits! There are a lot more types here and they are SOOO GOOD! In fact some people just throw them at me cuz I love them so much. No...but literally someone pegged me with a lime this week! Weirdest thing ever!! I was just walking along and it felt like someone punched me. So i turned to Elder Peña and said ¨Hey qué hize!¨ which means...¨hey what did i do!¨ he turned to me and said ´What!¨. Then we saw a lime rolling down the road and started laughing cuz someone had thrown a lime at me! It left a nice little welt for a couple days hahaha.
We ate the greatest lunch one day this week! It was like a fried pepper with shrimp inside! I thought it was going to be the weirdest thing ever but oh my thing I have ever eaten in my life! I´ll try to send a picture of it.
The eating schedule is a little weird here too. They eat breakfast but don´t have lunch until 230ish but it is a really big meal. Then they don´t really have a dinner. I eat a little different though cuz I´m a little bigger than most the people here and I need something to keep me going throughout the day so I usually have breakfast, a small lunch type snack around 11, their lunch at 230 or 3, then another snack type dinner when we get home at 9 or 930.
The church buildings are like ours for the most part except they don´t have basketball courts inside though they do have a small cultural hall type thing. The basketball court and soccer areas are outside the building. It´s pretty neat! They also have a foosball game in the church so we like to go play that for like an hour every P day. I haven't seen the temple yet but hopefully we´ll get to see it sometime. It is in the other mission so probably not.
Hmmm what else is new or cool...
We have cold showers...that is always cool. Literally. They are so cold that I usually just take one every couple days or when I smell bad. Haha just kidding it´s not bad at all.

No bad food this week. We did have one thing that wasn´t my favorite. I´m pretty sure it was fried bologna? I just didn´t ask. Not bad just different. One lunch Elder Santiago said the meat we were eating was monkey. I just kinda smiled and laughed and prayed he was kidding. It tasted good though so I´m just going to keep telling myself it was normal. 

We have some really good music up here. I have fallen in love with Christmas music again. Taylor Swift and David Archuleta Christmas songs are the bomb. We only listen to the spiritually uplifting ones of course haha.

One day we had been listening to the Christmas music and at the end of the day I decided to sit down and read my scriptures a bit more. I was reading in the first chapter of third Nephi which is about just before Christ was born into the world. I read the part when Christ says to fear not for on the morrow he would be born into the world. The words of Taylor Swift´s version of ¨Silent Night¨ came into my head and I just felt so much peace. Even though it is the end of March and about 80 degrees down here the Spirit of Christmas came into my heart and I could just feel the love of the Savior. One who had created the earth was willing to condescend below all things and come down to the earth and suffer the worst of the worst by his brethren and through all of this he spoke not a vile word nor did he have a vile thought. When lifted upon the cross he cried unto our Father that He might have mercy on them for what they were doing. I just know the love of the Savior is so real and as we read the scriptures and turn to our Father in prayer we can feel the love they have for us.

It was a great week! Don´t get me wrong, there were those rough moments. You wouldn´t believe how many different emotions you pass through in a single week. I think I am beginning to understand why women are so crazy!! haha just kiddin ;) but it is because of that love of the Savior I can continue to endure and work hard as I strive to follow the example of the Savior.
Love you!! Have a great week!
Elder O´Brien :D

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Let's get busy!

Elders Pena, O'Brien and Santiago
Hey Fam!

Well everything is going great! I have been really busy! I had the hardest time understanding anything when I first got here because both my companions are Mexican. Their names are Elder Santiago and Elder Pena. They use a lot of the words I know but they just speak so fast I couldn't catch a word of it! It's still hard to completely understand them but I am getting a lot better! Though I do ask 创 Que significa创 and 创como se dice创 a lot. Those mean 创what does....mean创 and 创how do you say创. By the end we are always able to get the message across though.
with Elder Jones from Gilbert, AZ

Well like I said I am on the outskirts of Guadalajara. It is a giant city! It's really pretty poor out here. Everyone lives in these tiny little houses and a ton of people just own little stores either connected to or just outside of their house. 

My first day of work we all went downtown and had an open house where we had a little cut of the Christus in a tent then a bunch of tables set up with posters on them with information about Christ and the church. I was a bit hesitant about contacting people but after the first couple times I was doing it by myself for the rest of the day. I actually taught the lesson part with the tables 3 times with an Elder from Arizona but I taught it by myself twice. That was pretty cool! I told the people it was only my second day in Mexico so be sure to ask me a lot of questions so they could understand. Hopefully I properly told them that or I might have confused them even more! haha. 

We have been eating really good. Twice we have gone to buffets where you can buy all you can eat tacos to the equivalent of about 8 U.S. dollars. The tacos are WAY good too. Quite the deal! In one of my pictures I sent it just looks like a bunch of tin houses but we were actually at the top of what is pretty much a four story flea market. I am not kidding when I say you can buy anything there! Deifinitely a place where you keep a good hold on your wallet though! 

The Flea Market

There is a lot of graffiti everywhere! That was a surprise. I mean if there is a wall without graffiti it is a surprise! They take good care of the churches though! Have nice tall fences with locks so that no one can get in haha. 

Well we are hoping to baptize two young girls this week. Marta and Alexa. We are just trying to convince their mother to sign a permission slip that will allow it. She is inactive and feels her daughters aren't ready. We also got a referral this week to a woman and her family and we are going to ask them to get baptized either tonight or tomorrow for a couple weeks away! They are so ready so I am really excited to ask them!

My first day here we just went to the offices and stayed the night. We went on splits for a little while and I understood about 2 sentences of the entire time we were there! That scared me a little bit but the spanish is definitely coming quick! Learned a ton this week! 

The next morning is when we had breakfast and orientation with President Jesperson and his wife. They were great!  After breakfast and orientation we had lunch and got to meet our companions. Since then we have just been working hard to do as much as we can.

Funny story....we had dinner with the stake President and his wife on Sunday and it was great but we had beets......and we all know my childhood experience with dad and beets. I am not kidding when I literally spent a hour trying to properly proportion my intake of the other food to beets. No joke when the childhood experience with beets almost occurred again. I thought I was gonna throw up for sure! Those things are nasty!! Don't worry though I stayed strong!!

Well that should keep you entertained for a while haha. That's a very brief overview of my first week here in Mexico! Look forward to hearing from you!

Love ya!

Elder O'Brien

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Elder O'Brien arrived safely!

Dear Brother and Sister O'Brien,

We are pleased to let you know that your son, Elder O'Brien, arrived safely in Guadalajara. He looked great upon his arrival, and we were thrilled to welcome him as a new missionary in the great Mexico Guadalajara East Mission.

After he arrived at the airport, he and his group went teaching with missionaries for the rest of the evening.  This morning he came to the mission home where we enjoyed breakfast and getting to know him. Next, we provided an orientation about the mission and then he was assigned his companions. He is now on his way to his assigned area of Reforma, where he will begin his work as a missionary.  Reforma is an area in the city of Guadalajara, he is about 35 minutes from the mission home.

Your son’s new training companions are Elder Peña and Elder Santiago. They are two of the best missionaries in this mission and were chosen because of their obedience and success as missionaries. Both of them, as  Zone Leaders, will provide your son with the example and the training necessary to begin developing into an outstanding missionary.

We are so grateful that your son is serving here with us, and we thank you for the love and support that you provide him. We look forward to serving with him in this great work.

With love and gratitude,
Presidente and Hermana Jesperson

Here is where to send letters:
Elder Jacob O'Brien
Misión Mexico Guadalajara Este
Aguamarina #3292
Col. Residencial Victoria
Zapopan, Jalisco
Mexico C.P. 45089 

Friday, March 16, 2012

He made it!

hey fam

well i´m here in mexico. i´m not sure exactly how to use this computer so that´s why this won´t be very well punctuated. well i will be serving in the area called reforma. it is just west of guadalajara. i hear neither of my companions there speak english so that will be a party and a half haha. it is really hard to understand people here because they talk so fast but i´m excited to learn so i can talk like them. so far we have just been in the mission office and with the assistants, the president, and his wife. we have been eating really well at these really good taco places around town. never knew mexican food got this good haha. maybe i´ll gain a pound or two here. well i am doing great so far and i will be able to send you a real email on monday. i´m not sure what time or anything but monday is our p day. well i´m doing great, excited to be out here and i know the lord will bless me as i am obedient and serve with an eye single to the glory of God. talk to ya later


elder o´brien

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Off to Mexico

Just a short note tonight.  We got to talk to Jacob this morning for quite a while.  He was up at 2:30 this morning getting ready to go.  He flew out of Salt Lake this morning to Los Angeles and called us from LAX.  He had a 4 hour layover before flying on to Guadalajara.  Everything is good with him, maybe a little nervous but he sounded good.  It's been nice to talk to him as much as we have over the past few months, and now we have to wait for Mother's Day!  We will anxiously await emails and pictures and will post more as soon as we hear from him.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hello, Spokane! and goodbye!

Here is Jacob's email from March 5th

 It's definitely hard up here cuz there are a lot of people that don't want to listen but it's made me look back to how strong of a testimony I have and strengthen it even more! One awesome activity that we have been doing here is reading through the entire Book of Mormon again and marking: 1) Every time a reference to Christ is made 2)Characteristics of Christ 3)The direct words that Christ has spoken. It's amazing how much you are able to learn from this activity! Though it gets difficult in the Isaiah chapters haha. None the less I love it!

Well to update you since last Monday:

Monday: Flew to Phoenix and grabbed some lunch. Flew to Spokane. On the plane I discussed religion a bit with a gentleman. He accepted my pass along card which was awesome! At the airport we met the Mission President and his wife. They were so great! We got to spend the night at the mission home with them.

Tuesday: We met our trainers. My trainer's name is Joshua Wheeler. He is from Tucson, Arizona and is teaching me a lot. My other companion is Elder Uri Saucedo. He is from Mexico City so I get to practice my Spanish with him a lot which is quite the blessing becuase we are in an English speaking ward. We went out that first day and had a tour of the church with a non member. I didn't even have time to prepare which was a little scary but I feel I did really well. She didn't accept the invitation to be baptized but we meet with her again this week. We also taught a couple other lessons. I also went tracting right off the bat. I got turned down the first couple times but then we found a very elderly woman named Emma. She was great! She accepted a church tour also but got sick. We're going to drop by again this week to see her and hopefully she will be able to go this week!

Since then I have been giving a lot of lessons. Mostly to less active members but we got quite a few of the less actives to attend church this week which was amazing! It is such a blessing to see results from all your efforts. We have two investigating families and one other investigator. The one is named Jake and he is pretty much all ready for baptism but his date isn't until the 7th of April. He is so funny! He was taught the word of wisdom before I got here and he keeps some beer to see if he is even tempted and he says he never has the desire to go open one. He likes giving us elders a hard time! The other families have a long way to go but I will be challenging one of them to baptism this week. I'm way exicted to do that! I know I was meant to come up here also because I am so well able to relate to the people up here. I am able to share experiences from my life that I know can bless theirs.

Well I guess I should tell you where exactly I am huh? Haha sorry. Well I live in a little town called Spirit Lake, Idaho. Yeah back in Idaho. YAY! haha. Try to find that on google maps! haha. It's tiny! A slightly bigger town next to us is called Rathdrum. That is where the church is! It's pretty cold, lots of snow but all is going great! Got up into the 50's this week! It felt great! 
Not sure how much longer I will be up here but there's that for ya!

I'm loving it! Learning a ton! Getting fed well! I'm so glad I got to come here before Mexico. Really got to know how to be a great missionary in English so I can use all my knowledge is Spanish. Exicted to get down there but I love it here also!

We received another surprise phone call from Jacob on March 8th.   He was leaving the Spokane Mission and going back to Provo for a few days.  His visa was finally getting finished and he should be headed for Guadalajara by Tuesday.  Very exciting!