Sunday, June 29, 2014

Q & A

In my email to Gabe last week, I asked him some questions about his mission, and he responded.  Here are my questions and his answers.


Q. Are there any sister missionaries in your mission?
A. Yes, we have tons here.  Actually, in a few months the sister missionaries will out number the Elders!! Isn't that crazy!!  I have no idea why.  There are a lot but hey, they're good workers.
Q.  Have you ever gotten to see Elder Vital and his mother there?  (Elder Vital was Gabe's companion while he was assigned to the Salt Lake City East Mission. He is from Juarez and returned home there in February.)
A. I have, actually.  I saw him pass by in a car and he yelled "Cassy!!".  That's what he calls me, haha.  He emails me. I haven’t like personally talked with him yet. I'm far away from where he lives. 
Q.  Have you gotten the letters and packages that we've sent to the El Paso address?
A. I have not.  I got one from Eva and Graham.  It takes longer cause we live farther away and when we go into Juarez we don't go to the mission office because it's even further away. Our district meeting is on the edge of Juarez with the other missionaries.  I reckon I'll get it soon. 
Q.  Do you have air conditioning in the place where you live?
A. Yes and no. If you count a fan as that, then yes. That's all we have. We have a bunk bed and I sleep on top. I don't use blankets any more.  It's warm enough to sleep without for the whole night. 
Q.  Is the water in your house OK, or do you have to drink bottled water?
A. The water deal - OK, so they have these, it's called "Water House" and yes, it's in English, haha.  We go and fill a huge blue garrafon, it's called, a big big jug thing of water and we fill it up and take it. It's purified water. If we take water from the tap we will get sick. It's happened a lot to the other elders. 
I like it here because we've got a lot of people from the church that are in lots of these businesses and help us.  For example, this guy, his name is Jorge, he speaks English.  He lived in the US for a while and his Dad is the patriarch. He works with the water stuff and he's in charge so we get it for free. It's like 8 pesos, so it's basically like 60 or so cents in the US. It's dirt cheap. Also, at the store here, well, a little tiny store thing, there's no word in English, I don’t think. But the owner is the family where we wash clothes, so she lets us get Gatorade for free and whatever we need. Also, the man in charge of the, like, idk how you say it, like governor or something guy, is Mormon and he controls lots of the police force and he's pretty high up there, so that helps a lot.  And like three people work in this government building that we can go to for maps and just tons of help. We got everyone for everything we need. The Bishop's wife cuts hair and she cut mine and it's so nice! FOR FREE!!!!! So that's some stuff. haha. LOVE YOU DAD!


Little by Little, Bit by Bit

Hey, everybody, how y'all doin? This week was a pretty goooood week. We actually have a couple baptism dates. So that's nice. 

First off, I have my camera but I forgot the thing to plug it in. Silly me. Oops. Well, I took a lot of pictures that are awesome!  I know Suzy will like them. 

How is everyone? I hope all is well. So, it is transfers and I'm actually still with Elder Brown. haha. We are still in  ******  and its getting better bit by bit. The members are helping more and we have more plans to work better and harder. Hopefully, we will have results soon. I am still very excited to be here in this area. I love it here. I really don't know what to say any more. The work is great.  I'm still learning a lot and memorizing things like crazy. Does anyone have questions for me or something they would like to know? 

Our investigators are well, little by little. It's a lot of work. We have a lot but few are really progressing. We are trying to bring the members with us every visit, to help us more. The problem is here now we have some teens as investigators and in the church we don't have any, well like 2. The rest are primary kids. The reason is because lots have moved from the violence or died. 

The other day the bishop and us looked through the papers of the ward.  We have like 300 members but like 40-50 come, or are active. TONS left.  They just fled.  And some died. So we don't know what to do. There are lots of less actives as well. And some more teens there.  If you have ideas for activities that the kids can do and come to the church it would help. We need ideas how to help them come to church. They aren’t motivated. They make up 1000 excuses to not come. 

Well, other than that, it's all good. We're gonna baptize!  I can see it!  I love you all a lot!  And I think of you and pray for you!  Good luck with everything!  Keep pressing forward!  Love everyone. No fighting.  AT ALL. Peace and reverence. And fun and laughing, too.   hahaha. Well!  Hope you all have a great week!

Elder Castleton

Sunday, June 15, 2014


As promised, Gabe sent some pictures of his new area and the house where they live.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fasting in the Heat

So this week has been pretty good. Lots of work. It is sooooo hot here. It's in the 100's!!!  We fasted Saturday and Sunday, well, until lunch and I'm not gonna lie, it was hard. But not as hard as I thought it was gonna be. It was 104 yesterday and Saturday was 97. We were walking in the middle of nowhere and it  got pretty bad. We sang himnos and kept praying for strength. I fasted for dad. 

The members give us lots of ice cream but it's different. It's like ice cream on a stick. It's soo good. They say it doesn’t exist in the United States, only in Juarez. One tasted like cake frosting mixed with raspberry. It was sooo good! Our neighor gives us them.  She's awesome.

I've noticed there aren’t really many brown people here. I'm pretty brown here now.  I'm more brown than most people in our ward. They're all white, haha.  Like some would look like Suzy or you, Mom, or Eva. It's crazy. They say the border here its lots of tall Hispanics and they're white and more south they're brown, hahaha. 

Sometimes I think that its all about baptising but that's not all why I'm here. I have seen how the Lord works with everyone and it gives me a testimony builder. Also, there are so many less active members in Mexico.  President Oaks said it but I can't remember the exact percentage, but more than half the members in Mexico are less active. There is lots of reactivating.  I have seen lots of things on my mission already,  how the church is.  It really makes me know and understand that this is really the only way back and the only true church. I've met hundreds and hundreds of people in like 4 or 5 months I've been here. It's crazy. I know that God is real and exists. I know that there are angels here and people awesome as the 3 Nephites.  I'll share those stories when I get home. :)  I am just so grateful to be a member of this church. I keep praying for everyone at home. We are getting closer to having a baptism but its just a tithing problem for this guy, haha. Can I help in any way for you guys? I love you all. I hope you have an awesome week!

Elder Castleton


Hello! How is everybody!? Good! Muy bien! This week was pretty good! Getting a better feel how this place is. It is pretty green, well more green than it was in the city. Yea, we have had more fun with the members and we're all laughing with them and playing with the kids and today we went over to a member's house and did laundry and they're so awesome. She is so nice. We played frisbee with the little kids and the kids all speak English. They go to the school in Fabens, Texas. Most of the kids here speak English. The parents, no, only like 3. 

We're trying to have a better relationship with the members and love them and serve them. We had a big fiesta Saturday and the members put on skits and plays and we invited investigators and less actives and it was so much fun!  Some guys dressed up like women and did funny skits, like acting out real life things. Like one dad was this drunk cowboy at home, sitting there and he has his big sombrero and the mom comes in and it was a man acting her out and there is this song that goes with it and she's like hitting him with her purse and making fun of his big belly, haha. It was just funny. Mom, I know you would have died laughing. And Daria, too. We had lots of food, too. It was awesome. 

Thanks for all your prayers. I can feel the love from you all. Even though it was just horrid here, there is a lot of good and we're trying to focus on that and have the people see the good. Mom, you're right about the story and how it applies to the Book of Mormon. I actually am typing and there is a fight going on outside this instant. HAHAHA, peace, people, peace! haha.  Can't go 5 mins with peace, haha, jk. 

(Note:  This is the part of Kathy's email that Gabe is responding to - "I have been thinking about the war there. It reminds me of the destruction just before the Savior appeared to the Nephites after His crucifixion. Many people had died and there was fire and destruction. The Lord appeared to the people and told them he would gather them as a hen gathereth her chickens. The more righteous part of the people were spared. It seems similar to your experience. The people had a hard time hearing the Savior's voice.  You guys are the Savior's voice to the people. The first thing he teaches them is not to have contention. Heavenly Father introduces his Son. It is such a beautiful passage of scripture and I thought of you and the people there as I read my scriptures.")

So we have also noticed that these towns are so small, it takes like, well,  where we live like 10 mins to cross the whole town. haha.  And the other towns, some are a lot longer, but so many, so many empty houses. Lots of people left, so all the people in the lists we have are gone and left. So that was a bummer. So now we are looking to the members for help.  My companion and I are making goals and plans to have more success here. We found a scorpion in our house, haha, that was freaky. I love working in this area. The people are pretty loving.  Some of the kids though, man, are crazy. We just were passing a canal and these two kids were tossing this dog puppy in the water and we're like "hey, careful!" and they ran off.  But all is well. I hope you all have a great week!  Keep praying for those opportunities to serve!  

Elder Castleton