This is another blog update from the heart of Mexico! To start with, we want to make sure you all know that we are well. Of course, we get headaches and other aches here and there, like anyone else, but we are doing great! Truthfully, things are pretty much a routine for us by now. Sundays we have church and rest. Then during weekdays we spend the day at the office, of course. We arrive about 8:30 a.m. and are there until about 1:00 p.m., come home for some lunch for an hour and then back to the office until about 4:00 or so. Monday evenings is Family Home Evening with the other missionaries. That is held in the conference room of the Area Office at 6:30 p.m. and is always nice. We take turns giving the lessons and providing a treat. Tuesdays following work, Bonnie and I generally get a taxi and go shopping, then grab a bite to eat after we are back and then rest. Well, Bonnie generally exercises for 30 minutes or so. Oh -- and I do my exercise work outs on Tuesday early morning, the same on Thursday. Bonnie exercises most every day. And, normally on Saturdays we end up doing quite a bit of walking. Wednesday evenings Bonnie and the other sister missionaries are doing various English classes at the church, and us guys get to stay home and rest -- or write blog updates or such!
Thursday evening is our wash night. We are able to use the hotel washing machines starting at about 6:00 p.m., and we are always right there waiting so that we can get two loads in right away in two different washers. Sometimes we have to do a third. Now, this may sound easy but it is anything but easy and routine here! The machines (3 washers and 3 dryers) are all 1970’s vintage, or at least look that way! We honestly don’t know how they keep running. Truthfully, every machine has its peculiar behaviors. By now we have them all memorized, naturally, so try to work with them as best we can. After about 2.5 hours minimum and 6-7 trips up and down the elevator for various reasons, the wash is complete. But, that also means that a good portion of it is hanging around various items in the apartment so it can finish drying overnight. We even bought a special rack for that purpose not long after we got here. So, that’s Thursday! Then Friday -- well, different things can happen. Often Bonnie and I try to have a movie night and invite some others over. That’s always fun and a good distraction and change of pace for us all.
So, thus the weeks go by, one day following another! But, we are enjoying it tremendously and we are so happy to be serving here in the capacity we are serving, supporting a program that endeavors to help others improve their lives. I am going to end this portion of the update now. However, I am going to do something different, too. Following are two sections describing how the Self-Reliance Initiative has helped specific people. I prepare short ‘stories’ like this to send to Salt Lake periodically, to keep them informed. We thought it would be nice to put some here for you all to see. Then, in the picture section, you will see a picture of the individual. I think I may do this in the next several blogs. It will help you see what we are really involved with here. OK. The first of what I call “Success Vignettes” follows.
Success Vignette No. 10 -- 3/26/15
Other CAS offices in the Monterrey have had success similar to what was summarized in Vignette No. 9. Bro. Jaime Cerda Mares visited the Monterrey Anahuac Stake CAS looking for work that would provide economic stability to his family and also allow them to increase their level of self-reliance. He successfully completed the former “My Search for Employment” course offered by the CAS. Soon afterwards, he was also successful in gaining employment as a manager and promoter of a company called Natural Gas Company of Mexico (FENOSA). The CAS reported in March that in his new position as a manager, Bro. Cerda has utilized the Mitras, Valle Verde, and Morelos Stake CAS offices, in addition to Monterrey Anahuac, in searching among members of those stakes for new employees. They are needed to meet this company’s demand for personnel to work in the new colonies (neighborhoods) in the Monterrey area where the company is expanding. This has been a great resource for a number of members who were out of work. A picture of those contracted by the gas company is below. (see photo section)
Church members recently employed by Natural Gas Company_________________________________________________
Success Vignette No. 16 -- 4/8/15
This interesting, inspirational, and cute little vignette comes from the Bermejillo Stake CAS, with additional information provided by the Regional SR Manager. It first came to our attention prior to General Conference, and we placed it on the Mexico Self-Reliance FaceBook page. Since that time it was included in the CAS bulletin we received for April. Alma Castañeda is a 10-year old member in Bermejillo, Durango, one of some 6 or 7 very young members in the stake who, like many older stake members, have truly got on-board the new emphasis on self-reliance. Almita, as she is known by, has a business selling sodas, sweets, and chips and is attending the “How to Start or Grow My Own Business” group. She pays herself a salary, keeps business and personal funds separate, and pays a full tithe. The Regional Manager informs us that she is netting a tidy sum monthly! This is a great example of how even young folks are learning self-reliance principles at a very tender age. (I am adding here what I was asked not to send to SLC, and that is, Almita is averaging about $500 U.S. in profits each month!)
Almita selling chips and more!
Craig is enjoying the wonderful grapefruit here.
The grapefruit seem to be available year round.