Monday, September 22, 2008

Elder Ropelato is still Braxton

Braxton is still just a crazy and adventurous kid, making fun happen. After some rain, Braxton and his comp were walking down the street and when the walks were narrow and his comp had to follow, Braxton would grab a branch from and tree so his comp would get wet. :) ("ah, good times")
(Elder Ropelato and Moreno)

His foot went through the floor of a taxi. A rug was covering it up so he couldn't tell there wasn't a floor until he stepped down. (conditions are great)

The Elders were assigned to pass out flyer's announcing an open house for a new chapel in the pressa. Braxton said there were like 3 thousand so they were busy. They just started handing them out to everyone. Then the missionaries got on a bus (there were 5 of them). There are people that always get on the bus and sell stuff, they yell to everyone and then walk down the aisles. So, Braxton thought he would try using that technique. He was the only one that isn't fluent in Spanish, but no one else would do it. (only Brax) Braxton walked to the front of the bus and explained about the open house and then passed out the flyer's. He said it was kind of crazy, but fun. Braxton thinks he handed out the most flyer's, because some of the Elders just stood there, but Braxton had fun regardless.

"So, Justin thought he saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa (while on mission in Italy)?" "There are a ton of buildings here that are leaning and what not. Okay, not as bad as the tower, but let's just say they wouldn't pass code in the US."

Braxton has been teaching a lady named Guadalupe, and she is getting baptized Sunday and is loving everything about the church. Braxton says it is really cool to see her excitement and love for the Gospel.

Here's a few pictures Braxton e-mailed this week. A few are action shots, can you guess which ones? (j/k)

(Man I love that smile!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Elder Ropelato is a "Teacher"?

Braxton was excited that he got to eat at "Burger King". He said it was was really good.(Someone was having a little party with a lot of balloons)

Every one wants to learn English and so Braxton feels so smart because he gets to teach them. :)He said little kids are always asking him questions and he is helping a neighbor with her English class. He loves it. He is even teaching piano lesson every Saturday. (say what?) Even though he doesn't know much himself, he is willing to share his knowledge with others. It is helping him with his Spanish too, because they didn't learn the words you need to teach piano. He is loving it! Good Times!

They had 6 investigators at Church on Sunday and Elder Rope says they are cool and they even have more that they are teaching. He loves sharing the Gospel. One lady, Guadalupe even asked for Braxton and his companion to teach her. :) (cuz he's so cute!) She loves going to Church and loves everything the Elders say. It is Great!

Spanish is coming along. It will still take some time, but Braxton said he can follow almost all the conversations, except the lessons in Church are hard to follow because they aren't talking right to you. It's coming along though.

Braxton likes most of the food. There is one item he's not a big fan of though and it's "a cactus leaf thing". It's slimy, green, and gooey.

Braxton has realized the importance of "Family". He didn't really realize it until we weren't right there for him. He loves explaining the importance of family to others. He is slowly figuring out how to get lost in the work and so everything is great.

Brax says the weather in Mexico is always great. However, he admitted he will miss the changing of the seasons. He loves being there though!

Being a Missionary is Wonderful!Elder Ropelato and the City!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Answer to Prayers

"Wow, what a turn around this week. Like the answer to my prayers all came. The mission is still crazy hard, but it's okay though and I'm loving it."

Braxton said that Alma 26:27 was him in a nut shell. So I though I'd share this scripture here. It says: "now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst the brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with Patience thine afflictions and I will give unto you success." It's awesome when the scriptures speak do us.

Elder Ropelato had a bit of a scare last week. While he was sleeping, it was around 3:00 am, a pet ferret got loose and was running around. Braxton wasn't in the mood for it, because he just wanted to sleep. A few of the Elders caught it though and put it back in its cage.

Elder Ropelato admitted to being a bit "home sick". He said things were just slow and hard and some baptisms had fallen through and he got just a bit discouraged. He did alot of praying and was blessed so much. Even his spanish took a huge leap and he is able to communicate with his comp better.

The Elders ususally share taxi's when they need to go places, like after meetings to get back home. Six will cram into a taxi (to save money) and when they hit the speed bumps the taxi will hit the ground. They think it's funny. After their last meeting the Taxi driver would only let 4 Elders get in at once. So, Braxton and Elder Cook put out their thumbs and got a ride. They were taken all the way home and Braxton thought that was cool, because it was for free.

Braxton thinks the way they do road work is a bit strange. They dig up the roads with picks and then shovel it into a backhoe. Now Braxton has worked with his grandpa alot with the backhoe and wonders why they just don't do everything with the backhoe. He thought it was funny.

Elder Ropelato and his comp are getting free pop by collecting the bottle tops that are left in the road. The caps say free Sprite and so they pick them up and redeem them, and Braxton thinks that is just wonderful

They found a really cool family that seems very interested with lots of questions. Braxton is excited to work with them.

For p-day the Elders went rock climbing and had a blast. Braxton is understanding the conversations better when they eat at people's homes. He says the people are hilarious or maybe it's his own imagination that is going crazy. Either way it's enjoyable.

This week he signed his letter with: Elder Ropelato IV and "I love being a Missionary"

PS - The candy in Mexico isnt any good and Braxton teased us by reminding us that we can talk to him in person at Christmas. (funny boy)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New Area "Ticoman"

Last week when Braxton was writing home he lost everything on the computor and his time ran out so we got: "Well I just wrote a huge letter and went to sent in but it got deleted and I'm now out of time, so I'm alive and all is well. I'll try to write it all again next week. Love ya'll and I love being a missionary!"

This week we got a letter with an update for the last two weeks. Elder Ropelato said that on his forth day in the mission it rained all day ("like no other") The Elders live with members on the bottom floor of their house. It rained so hard that the drains couldn't keep up and it flooded over the front step and flooded the apartment. Braxton was living out of his suitcase because the apartment was so small and because it was on the floor everything got soaked, books, clothes, everything. He did have his scriptures with him and had just put his pictures on the desk the night before. :) He said it was miserable at the time. They had to get the water out with buckets and it wasn't fun having everything soaked, but he did say it was funny now and just part of the mission experience. He also opted for the floor instead of the couch. He said the floor was just more comfortable.

Braxton says the food is okay and they have a sweet bread that is amazing. For all that know Braxton, bread is a favorite food of his. He'd eat it all the time as a snack.

The mormon standard time is a little different in Mexico. Braxton says you take mormon standard time and and then double it and then you are in Mexico. He say's that the Mexicans are never on time, but they get mad if the missionaries are late for lunch. :) LOL (he's said they're still cool about it though)

They have small buses called micros and the drivers pimp them out with black lights and crazy sound systems but the buses themselves are crappy as can be. Braxton thinks it's awesome though.

Braxton has played the piano in sacrament (happy moment for mom) and said that the sad thing about it was that it was the best sound there was. The members sing really loud and off key. But even that is cool to Brax. :) (at least the members sing)

Braxton got really sick one night and the next day Jeffery Holland was coming to speak. So Braxton tried to hurry and shower and have his comp, Elder Robinson, give him a blessing. Then he gave Elder Robinson a blessing, but had to make it quick because he got sick and as soon as he ended he turned his head and lost everything. Elder Robinson cleaned up the mess for Braxton (what a great Elder) . Braxton wasn't able to go listen to Elder Holland, he stayed with the member upstairs. Braxton has learned that the only working medicine is "Coke". If he eats on the streets he needs to drink a coke with it and that seems to help him from getting sick. (funny, he didn't drink coke before his mission)

Funny stuff: People just steal electricity and the wires are everywhere in a big mess and hanging down like head level. Probably not the safest thing, but oh well, it's Mexico.

Braxton claims he is a pro now at crossing the streets. He says: "you just have to time it right. It's just bad when cars slow down, because it messes up your rythmn and you have to like suck in."

Elder Ropelato is now in Ticoman. Braxton said that Ticoman has the biggest hill he has ever seen. His comp takes the longest route to where ever they are going. Braxton doesn't say anything of course because he doesn't know where they are going or how to get any where but when they do get to where they need be he can tell they have went in big circles to get there. He thinks his companion is great though. He is 27 and lives in Southern Mexico just above Guatamala. His name is Elder Cruz and Braxton says he is good.
(this is Elder Cruz)
They use cement for everything in Mexico. Even the telephone poles are made of cement and they don't even use cement trucks. Everything is done by hand.

Braxton saw a newspaper the other day for the first time since being in Mexico. In the paper was a picture of four decapitated bodies. It was pretty gross. Braxton's new zone leader was actually reassigned to Braxtons mission because the mission he was suppose to go to had like 4 or 5 white peoples heads washed up on the beach and the mission President said that only natives should go there. (ya think?) Braxton said not to worry though because we would be able to identify him by his thumb. :) (good thing he has a crooked thumb) Then he reassures us that the mission really is safe and there is nothing to worry about. :) (okay)

They have English classes every Saturday and Braxton is in the advanced class teaching with Elder Cook. Basically they just practice talking and so the Elders have given the class the English Pamphlets of the Gospel that they got in the MTC. The class reads them and then they talk about the Gospel.

Braxton ends with: "I love being a missionary, but it is flippin hard"