Early in the morning of December 29 we lost our Internet and all connection with the outside world. Apparently, it was weary after all the Christmas pressure and decided to take a five day vacation. Since we woke up that morning and the world was apparently still in existence, we knew we had survived the Mayan Calendar threat and still had to pay all of our bills. We were, however, left with the USA on the brink of the “fiscal cliff,” no elected officials in town, and no way to know if America had become another Greece or not.
After many calls to the Carlos Slim telephone monopoly, we were finally informed that we were at the very center of the massive Internet failure and no one knew when we would be reconnected. We resorted to quick checks of email in the McDonald's parking lot every couple of days--not a great way to work on the Internet.
Finally, on January 3, 2013 (truly an auspicious date), the green lights appeared once again on our router and we were reconnected to the vast spectrum of humanity. Imagine our relief to find out that the USA did not go over the edge of the fiscal cliff and it is rumored that it will survive to spend another $10 trillion before we finish our mission! Whew!
New Year's Eve the air in Monterrey was full of smoke. Up until midnight the smoke was from the thousands of asados (barbecues) happening around the city--beef never smelled so good! At midnight the smell changed from savory to gun powdery when the entire state of Nuevo Leon erupted in fireworks and fire crackers. There was some formidable noise in the city--it felt like we were in the middle of a WW II movie set on D-Day! While walking in the park the next morning we passed what was left of someone's rockets--as you can tell they are not the little things we shoot off!
Parties are serious business here. They start early and end early--early the next day that is. The one on our street went all night, ending about 7:00 a.m. As that one was finishing up, another one started up about 8:30 a.m. We feel that we have seriously started 2013 with a bang.
Here is today's trivia question: How old is this baby? You will have one week to submit your entries via email or in the comments section and then the truth will be told.
Ward change (John):After visiting with our stake president and our mission president and seeking a different opportunity to serve, we have decided to start attending the Barrio Central (Central Ward) in our stake. The ward is down in the city center. The bishop has not been a member of the church long, but he is very committed and full of energy. He has one counselor, an incomplete relief society organization, a few primary-age children and fewer active youth. The unit has had many challenges over the years, chief being a tendency of members there to join the church, better their circumstances and move to a more desirable part of town. No one has played the piano since April. The members were all virtually in tears Sunday when Linda played the prelude music and hymns. Music makes such a huge difference in peoples’ worship. I know it does in mine, and having a piano or organ is a key part of the worship experience. The ward we’re leaving in Campestre has several pianists, including members of the bishopric. There are two ex-temple presidents, several ex-mission presidents, current and past Stake Presidents.......you get the picture. We are looking forward to worshiping with these great people in Barrio Central and learning from them. A few are returned missionaries, so there is a good experience base among the small group. We were reminded of our previous experience in Mexico City where we attended an outlying ward in Xochitenco.
One thing we noticed right off when we first walked into church last Sunday: The place was spotless, including the bathrooms. Such is a reliable indication that the people that do attend care greatly about their building and each other. We were discussing the scripture in Alma 37:5-6: “And now behold, if they are kept they must retain their brightness; yea, and they will retain their brightness; yea, and also shall all the plates which do contain that which is holy writ. Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” I really think Alma nailed it when he stressed keeping the plates bright. It is such a metaphor for success in the church and in one’s personal life. When things are clean and nice and orderly, great things can happen with the people involved.