Monday, 29 September 2014

1st Baptism

Hello Everyone,                                                                    September 29, 2014

          It´s wonderful to hear from you and everything that´s going on back home. Please continue to write me and update me! It´s about all the news I get here in Mexico, besides mission statistics and what not. Anyways, I am doing great here! My biggest challenge is still Spanish. I feel like once I can understand people and talk to them, that it will open up a lot of doors for me! 
          My pants are okay, for now ha-ha. I made a nice hole in the knee, but I was able to sow it up. It may not look very pretty, but it works. It hasn´t fallen apart yet, so I will keep my fingers crossed! 
          That´s awesome that Derek is a DL in the MTC. That reminds me of something. So when I was in the MTC, I found out that Derek would have been in the same zone as me. Because one day after gym time, this Elder walked up to me and said, "Elder Strate, are you from Canada?" I had never even talked to this Elder before and I didn't know him. So I said, "Ya...why?" Then he said, "You were supposed to be my companion! But then they changed it or something." Then I put the pieces together. Because the district that this Elder was in came a week after I did. So I told him that It was probably supposed to be Derek. I just thought that was kinda cool.
          Anyways, since eating the cow feet, I haven't been fed anything worse. We have tortillas with every meal and usually rice too. So, I made a mistake on the info that I said in my last letter about the baptism. The baptismal date for this lady and her family actually isn't for a few more weeks. However, we still had a baptismal service on Saturday night! We baptized a man named William. His wife is a member and they have two little girls. This is the first time that I have ever baptized anyone, and it was a wonderful experience! I got to perform the baptism! It was pretty cool. Except I had to do it twice because William's foot came out of the water the first time ha-ha. But that's okay. I will try to send some pictures of us with him, but right now this computer is not letting me attach any pictures. But I will do my best to get them to you. Anyways, it was a wonderful experience and I will never forget my first baptism!
          So, we met someone this week that I really like. His name is Arturo. He committed to baptism in our first visit. He has had some struggles in his life and he is really down on luck. He showed us a big scar that he has on his head from a surgery he recently had. He said that one of his "amigos" smashed his head with a rock. When this happened, it broke a big piece of his skull right off. The piece is about the size of my hand. So, he wasn't supposed to survive longer than a day after the accident. But he did, and here he is. He seems really open to the gospel and he said he really wants to change his life and get away from all the bad things that he has been involved with. I feel really good about him and I think he is going to take our lessons really well. I can already see him dressed in all white clothes ready to be baptized. I'm really excited for him. 
          Anyways, everything is great! I love you all so much, please continue to pray for me! I will try to remember all of you in my prayers too, but that's a lot of people ha-ha. Nevertheless I will try. One last thing, if any of you decide to come to Mexico...make sure you buy some sweet bread from the vendors on the street. It is soooo good!! Don't worry, It won't make you sick. The bread here is very sanitary, and it tastes awesome! Adios!

                                                                      Love   Elder Strate

Monday, 22 September 2014

Letter # 8

Hello Everyone,

     Sounds like lots of fun things are happening!! That´s great that John had his farewell. He will be a great missionary and the people of Africa are going to love him!
     Ok, to answer your questions. Our area covers one ward. It is called ¨Corales¨. We currently have like 20 people that we are teaching. Including a few member families. We have a baptism lined up for Saturday, so hopefully nothing changes! It is a family of 4 with a mother, two sons who are 14 and 6 years old, and a daughter. The mother is going to be baptized along with one of her sons and her daughter. Obviously the other one is till too young to be baptized! But I'm sure he will be when he turns 8. 
     In my area pretty much everyone is poor. No one has hardly anything. I have only seen one Mexican man that actually has a nice car and house. Other than that everyone lives in a house they just found, or made is themselves. Most of the houses that people make are made out of scrap wood, wire, leaves, garbage, and whatever else they can find. It's really sad actually. I have really come to appreciate those things that we take for granted every day. Like food, cold water, clean water, a safe place to live, and all of that stuff. However, the people here are really happy. They try to live their lives to the fullest! And yes some of the food here is a bit unusual. Earlier this week Elder Webb and I were fed cow feet from one of the members. I knew what it was when I saw it, but I still ate it. It actually wasn't that bad, at least I didn't think so. Elder Webb didn't agree with me haha. 
     Other than that, everything is great!! I'm having a wonderful time here. My biggest challenge is still Spanish. So please continue to pray for me! I need it haha. Anyways, I knew that Mexicans were short, but not this short! Most of them are only about 5 feet tall, maybe. Mostly under 5 feet. So Elder Webb and I stick out like sore thumbs as we walk down the street haha. Not every day in Mexico do you see two white people, one who's 6'4 and the other 6'0 walking down the street. Needless to say I think we are pretty safe haha. 
     Anyways, I love you all so much!! Thanks for everything! Stay awesome!


Elder Strate

Thursday, 18 September 2014

New Address

Elder Dawson F. Strate
Mexico Cancun Mission
Avenida Chichenitza s/n, Mz9, Lote 1
Colonia Benito Juarez
C.P. 77569 Cancun, Quintana Roo

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Map of where I am

Letter #7 Made it to Mexico!

Hello Everyone,

     Yesterday was my first day in Mexico! Ever since I got here, things have been kind of crazy. The moment I stepped off the plane, I started sweating. And I haven't stopped yet...I don't think I ever will. I've never been so grateful for cold water until now haha.
     Forgive me if I spell some things wrong or mess up, its hard to spell in English when I am speaking Spanish a lot. La lucha es real. 
     President Kirkham and Sister Kirkham picked us up at the airport along with two other missionaries. Elder Bigler and Elder Garcia. We spent most of yesterday in the mission home until about 8 when they assigned us companions, then we left to our houses. My companion is Elder Webb. He only has 12 weeks left in his mission. He is pretty awesome. He is nice and he is a good trainer. Monday's are actually our P-Days, but we didn't really get one yesterday so that's why I'm writing today. Anyways, Mexico is kind of crazy. It's a lot different than what I am used to that's for sure. Especially the weather. It's always hot, and the humidity is through the roof. And everything is dirty, EVERYTHING. I'm going to have to get used to that. I'm sending some pictures of the house that I live in, and some last pictures from the MTC. For those of you who are wondering, yes I slept in a hammock last night. It was awesome! And Dad, they had a blue and gold one, so that's what I chose. Gotta represent those Magrath colors!! Haha. 
     Other than that everything is great. We are teaching some investigators later today, so that should be good. The water here is no good. Unless we buy it in bottles or 10 gallon jugs at the store. Good thing I have my filtering water bottle! It helps a lot. 
     The culture here is very different too. It's not bad, just different. All the drivers here are crazy. People almost always run into each other with their cars. Like, inches away from accidents, no joke. I would hate to drive here, so I'm glad that we only walk! However, that means we always have to be cautious wherever we are walking. But that's not a big deal. 
     So, today is Mexican Independance Day, or something like that. So last night in the mission home, we had a fiesta! We had this soup called "Posole" and it was really good! President Kirkham also hired a Miriachi Band to play for us! It was a really good time! 
     Please continue to pray for me, I need it! Still help with Spanish and also with adapting to this new place. So, the area that I'm in is called "Benito Juarez". It is a city that is close to Cancun. It's an interesting place. Most of the buildings/houses have graffiti on them. Also, they are old and worn out. You can see chunks of buildings missing here and there. It's really interesting. Plus, there are dogs everywhere. Some of them are owned my the people, but most of them just wander the streets. Kinda freaky actually. I hope I don't get bit, that would not be good. Also, I'm pretty sure that my companion and I are the only white people in this city. For the first time in my life, I am the minority lol. That's okay though, by the time I get back I will probably be brown too. Either brown or red lol. 
     Anyways, I am having a great time! Please remember me in your prayers! Have a great week, I love you all so much! I'm so grateful for this opportunity to serve! May the Lord bless your lives, in everything you do! 

Elder Strate 
Elder Webb from Utah - my Trainer.
Our apartment

Monday, 15 September 2014

5 am Phone call

Best 5 am phone call ever! Usually it means something bad has happened when a call comes that early, but it was Dawson Strate calling us from the Salt Lake City Airport, as he was waiting to board a flight to Dallas and then onto Cancun, Mexico. Sounded great, shared his testimony in Spanish, made us cry and laugh. He shared his adventure so far for us and he's had the regular highs and lows while there. The frustrations of learning a language. The power of prayer and humbling himself to ask for help.  He's going to be fine. All the girls were up to chat with him so that was special. So proud of the decision he made to do this. He's being a great example to us all. Love you son.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

MTC Letter #6 Trip to Vegas!

Our District at the Provo Temple today.

Hello Everyone,

     This past week has gone by really fast! I guess that's because I am so excited to leave. 
So yesterday I made a consulate trip to Las Vegas to get my Visa. I had to wake up at 4:00 am...that was We didn't get back until 10:00 last night, so I was pretty tired. Even though it was a really long day I'm glad I went because now I can go to Mexico! 
    I did receive the package mom. Thank you, It is greatly appreciated! And I also got the sweater. I love it, and it does fit! 
    Today has been kinda hectic trying to get everything organized and ready to leave. I still have some packing to do, which hopefully shouldn't take that long. Thanks for everyone that signed my yearbook! It's nice to know that people still remember me haha! 
    This morning we went to the temple for the last time here at the MTC. We did a session as a district, and it was wonderful!! I love the temple, and I am sad that I don't have one in my mission. That's probably the first thing I will want to do when I get back. 
    Anyways, I have had a wonderful time here at the MTC but it's time for me to go! Thanks for all the love and support everyone! And hopefully my next email will be sent from Mexico!! 

I said goodbye to some amazing Elders earlier this week. I'm going to miss them!!

Pics - Elder Halldaway,  Elder Ulrich,  Elder O'grady 


Elder Strate

Dad - can you send me the link to the blog you made for me? I can't remember what it is and I want to look at it. Thanks!

Miranda - You should definitely continue to play the piano for as long as you can. I have had a few chances to play here at the MTC, but I still wish that I'd practiced more. I have come to greatly appreciate the skill of playing the piano. I would encourage you to keep playing. Then maybe by the time I get back you will be better than me! You will definitely be better than Derek haha. But only if you keep up the good work. I know it has been hard with your head and all, but please keep trying!! It's always easy to take the easy road out of things, but trust me, it's worthwhile to take the harder road. You may not see the effects of it right away, but in the long run it can benefit you a lot! I'm so grateful to have such a wonderful sister like you! Keep working hard in everything you do!(except growing cause I don't want you to be taller than me lol) I love you lots! - Dawson (aka Donny) 

Saturday, 6 September 2014

MTC Letter #5 - Travel Plans

Hello Everyone,

     This week has been awesome! So many good things have happened. Our district got our travel plans yesterday!! Yay!! Those of us going to Cancun fly out at 6 am on the 15th. I'm super excited!! Except we have to be ready to leave at 2:30 I probably won't get any sleep that night haha. We fly to Dallas, Texas first. We are supposed to arrive there at 9:40 am. Then we fly from Dallas to Cancun at 11:10am. Scheduled to arrive in Cancun at 1:40 pm. I'm so excited, can't stop thinking about it!!
     I have also seen and talked to some people I know here at the MTC. At the Tuesday night Devotional this week, I saw Dennis Campbell from Taber who I played basketball against. I chatted with him for a bit, it was a good time. He is going to Viginia! Exciting! And another great surprise this morning. When Elder Ward and I went to the laundromat to start our laundry, I saw Ben Thomson there!! He is going to BYU. I talked to him for a few minutes. I was so happy to see one of my friends from Magrath!! He said he just sent in his mission papers. Jeez, it feels like I just sent my papers in! Time really does fly. We also went to the temple again this morning. We did sealing again. It was great. I mean, every visit to the temple is great! I'm going to miss not being able to go when I get to Cancun. Hopefully they will do a special trip with the missionaries to attend the Merida Temple.
        Also had some fun activities during gym time this week. We played bump yesterday, that was pretty fun!! 
          I have also heard of another nickname for the MTC that I find quite funny. "Make Them Cry". Haha. It's the truth. I am pretty sure everyone in our district has cried at least once, including me. But that's okay. Sometimes it can be really frustrating here. Not anymore for me, I have moved past that stage, at least here in the MTC I have. 
        I was really sad yesterday though. We taught our last lesson to Marco, who is an "investigator" here at the MTC. He is so awesome. Even though we only taught him for 8 lessons, I really got to know him, and I love him so much. We have really developed a good friendship. I got a picture with him so you all can see him. I hope some day after my mission, I can come back to visit him. Jeez, if I am already getting emotional about leaving my investigators, this won't be good when I actually get to Mexico! Haha.
        I'm so grateful for this opportunity I have to serve the Lord. May he bless all of your lives with love and comfort. I love you all!! Keep in touch!

Elder Strate

Getting our travel plans and me with Marco.