Monday, April 25, 2011

District meeting, new companion Elder Portillo on right

Gulf of Mexico

Elder Gubler with Branch Pres. Lozano family

Elder Gubler, Elder Vickery, and Branch Pres. Family

April 25, 2011 letter

Dear family,
Sorry about the short letter last week.  My new companion is Elder Portillo.  He is 21 and has been out for 20 months.  He´s the new district leader, but we had to travel today because the other Elders didn´t have enough money.  I attached a photo.  He´s the one on the right side.  We have 8 new investigators this week.  One of them has already been to the church twice so we should be able to baptize him in another week or 2.  The mother that we baptized is named Juana and her daughter is Deisy.  I don´t remember how old they are, but they are in their 50´s and late 20´s.  We found them while looking for a reference from a lady that said that her husband was possessed.  We found this nice family instead.  Our first lesson was only with the 22 yearold son.  The mother and daughter joined us in the following lessons.  We haven´t baptized the son yet because of his job.  He works 8 hours, has 8 hours off, and then starts working another 8 hours.  Hopefully he gets a better schedule so that he can have energy to go to church.  I haven´t checked the blog yet.  President Salinas said we use internet for myldsmail and nothing else.  I´ll check with him and see if I can have permission.  I am writing in my jounal.  Sometimes daily, sometimes not.
This last week we started out slow.  I woke up tuesday with a fever of 103.5  I called the doctor, and I bought some medicine that was able to bring down the temperature.  He also told me to only drink gatorade for that day.  I drank almost an entire gallon.  That night we passed by a member that works in the hospital and he told me he could get me a free checkup.  They looked and said I had strept throat.  I called the mission president´s wife to get permission to get the medice.  I feel a lot better now.  I also now know how to swallow pills.  We have a few new investigators and I think they will progress.  One of them we contatced 6 weeks ago and finally passed by this last saturday.  Her friend is a member and she had told her that she wanted to talk to the missionaries.  The friend forgot to tell us, so its a good thing we were able to pass by.  Another investigator that we have showed up the past 2 weeks with his friend.  He works on sunday´s so we´ll have to see if he can have sundays off.  Well that´s it for this week.  How´s the weather overthere?
Elder Gubler

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Recent baptisms

April 18, 2011 letter

Dear Family,
Last saturday I got to baptize a mother and her daughter.  Hopefully the picture will download before I have to go.  I put them really far under the water so I wouldn´t have to rebaptize them.  I have a new companion that is from Sonora, Mexico.  Im still in Champoton.  Elder Vickery is now in Merida with my new companions old companion.  Sorry this letter isnt very long.  TImes up.  bye.  Love, Elder Gubler

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hanging around after a hard day's work!

Champoton street scene

Elder Gubler and Elder Gubler

April 11, 2011 letter

Dear Family,
We only went to the Sunday morning session, but we had 2 investigators with us.  That was the only session that the ward got to watch also.  If we had a male investigator we could have gone to priesthood session, but we didn't.  The branch covers the town and the surrounding villages.  I don't know how well they do hometeaching.  I would say that there is about an equal balance of motorcylces and cars.  I saw 2 parents and 3 little kids all riding on the same scooter.  There isn't a central market here.  There are stores that have everything, but there are also stores that only sell one thing (meat store, fruit store, tortilla store, bread store).  I don't know at what time I'll be writing.  It all depends on whether we do laundry in the morning or afternoon.  Today we are washing with a member, so we go in the afternoon. 

This past Monday and Tuesday were really great.  We went to Merida so we could get our visas finalized.  We got to spend the night in the same house that we slept in the first night of my mission.  I saw several of the Elders that were in my travel group, and also one of my companions.  We spent the next day going to Walmart for visa photos (and eating and visiting while they got developed), going to the government building for our visas, and after that we got to relax in the mission office.  We got pizza and then headed back to our area.  While I was there, I met another Elder Gubler (in the photo)  He has been out for 14 months.  He's from Las Vegas.  His grandpa is Ronald Gubler (not sure of the relation). 
This Saturday we should be having a baptism for a mother and her daughter.  The son was our original investigator but he's drinking and can't attend the lessons or church because of his job.  A mother and her 4 children also attended church yesterday.  She was baptized when she was 9 or 10.  Just her friends were members.  She hasn't been to church in years.  We contacted her one day and we invited her to attend.  We're also working with a Catholic family.  They are a really interesting family.  The dad is 72.  He talks really really loudly.  He's always asking when we are coming to visit, isn't there when we show up, and when we come back a few hours later asks us why we didn't come to visit.  He has a ranch that he works on.  He gives us fruit from his ranch, and this week he gave us about a gallon of milk from one of his cows.    The daughter and her husband live by the church and we taught the daughter last week and she accepted to be baptized.  She also talks somewhat loudly, but not like the dad.  The first time we taught them together.  It was really loud, especially when the dad, his wife, and his daughter all were talking at the same time. 
Well that's it for this week
Elder Gubler

Machete missionary

Elder Gubler and local companion

Look close to find alligator!

April 4, 2011 letter

Dear Family,
I'm glad to hear that everything is going well.  I only got to see the Sunday morning session of conference.  The branch rented a bus and we went to the stake center an hour away to see it.  After the session we ate sandwiches and came back.  We'll get the conference address next month.  We should be having a baptism this week and 2 more the following.  It’s the family that we contacted, originally thinking it was the house of a man that was posessed.  If the mom is ready we can baptize her this Saturday.  Her daughter is the most prepared, but she needs to attend church at least 1 more time.  The son is pretty close, but he has a few problems with the Word of Wisdom and he works on Sunday.  Hopefully we can baptize them the following week.  The young family that we were teaching separated and moved out of their house.  We don't know where they are now, but we do know where the mom works.  We'll see if we can find them again.   The rest of our investigators haven't been home when we visit.  We are contacting more people so hopefully we should find some new investigators.
I finally got the chance to eat Tacos Al Pastor.  Its really popular in Merida but there aren't a lot of places here that have it.  Its basically a giant piece of meat that they roast on a spit and slice off pieces as it cooks.  They aslo put on grilled pineapple.  We were in a different area coming back from interviews and I stopped to get some.  The guy cooking was a member and gave me 2 eventhough I ordered 1.  It was really really good.  And they only cost about 70 cents.  The week before I had chile relleno tacos.  They were also really good.
This past week I have been sleeping really well.  I started laying sideways in the hammack and I don't feel as tired in the morning.  I've also started dreaming in Spanish.  I never thought the day would come.  Could you send me the numbers that they announce in conference (church membership, temples, missionaries...)  And can you ask the bank if I can use my wellsfargo card here to withdraw pesos? Thanks. 
Elder Gubler

March 28, 2011 letter

Dear Family,
For General Conference, we will go to the Stake Center about 45 minutes away to watch the Sunday sessions(Eddy sent the following info so we could look up his house on google earth).  We don’t have a house number, but we’re on street 28, between 27 and 29 [in Champoton].  We are about in the middle of the street, on the side closer to the ocean.  Our backyard is a little cement patio.  It’s surrounded by roofs.  I don't really need a dictionary.  I can say pretty much whatever I want.  I just need to work on my pronunciation and verb tense.  I still use the shoulder bag I brought, but I have sewed it several times in several places.  I think I'll get a backpack eventually.  Not very many people have computers.  Most people have DVD players.  We have videos that we can show, but we don't do it very often.  You don't need to send dearelders anymore.  I have enough time to read them when I write, as long as they aren't super long.  I haven´t gotten Grandma Gubler’s letter yet.  I've been using the magic tricks.  The kids really like them. 

This week we didn´t get to do as much because we spent 2 days in a conference to learn how to teach.  The family that lives across the street from us is doing well.  They have testimonies of the Book of Mormon and are praying daily as a family and individually.  The husband asked us how he can repent of his tattoos.  Before we left for our conference, we stopped by to say hi.  The following time that we went to visit, he told us that he had been planning on doing drugs that day, but because we stopped by, he didn’t have that desire to do it.  There is a part member family that is progressing again.  The parents aren´t members because they aren´t married.  Last week they told us that they didn´t want to investigate anymore, but this week the husband told us that he is going to stop drinking, and the entire family showed up to church.  We have another investigator that is doing well, but he went out drinking with his friends so we'll have to wait on his baptism.  That´s about it for this week.  I finally got some pictures sent. 

Elder Gubler

March 21, 2011 letter

Dear Family,
In case you want to look us up on Google Earth, we live on street 28 between 29 and 27, on the side closest to the ocean in Champoton.  Our house is the one that has a little tiny cement patio.   Its just to the south west of 2 houses that have big yards.  This last week we taught 12 lessons without a member, 2 with a member, and 3 to less actives.  All of them are in their homes.  We've been having problems with our investigators because they aren't keeping their commitments and some of them we can never get a hold of.  We do have one investigator who is reading and going to sacrament meeting.  He hasn’t been drinking since we asked him to stop.  We should be able to baptize him on the 2nd if everything goes well.  We finally got the 16 year old baptized.  We bought him a white shirt and tie.  I think his mom will follow, because she showed up to the baptism and wants visiting teachers.  We have other people that we need to get motivated.  We found a great young family that lives across the street from us.  They accepted everything and the dad said he was really glad we talked and listened to him.  He has drug problems but I think he can overcome it.  My dictionary is too big for my pocket.  But I was able to learn a few things from a native.  Elder Vickery and the other trainer in our district had to go to Merida for 3 days of conference, so I got to have this elder as a companion.  It was great having someone that speaks Spanish natively.  I learned a few more words and phrases.   

This past week has been pretty good.  It was especially wonderful having a native companion.  We were able to find a family in which only the mom is a member, but inactive.  The husband is pretty much in agreement with what we teach and I think we are going to baptize him and the 3 kids.  Im pretty sure I was led to the house by the spirit.  The only reason we found it was the following....We took a wrong turn onto a street.  As we were going down the street and I realized this, I thought maybe we took a wrong turn for a reason.  I turned arround and contacted a house.  It turned out to be a JW, but he was the first JW to pay attention.  We moved on, and I decided to contact a street that was a little out of the way.  There was a house that at first I was thinking we should pass by, but I noticed that it was green, just like JW´s house, so I figured we might get lucky again.  The mom of this family answered and we set up a return date...
I also had another great spiritual experience...We left the house and started walking to our next appointment.  We went almost 2 blocks when I had a feeling that the door was open in our apartment.  We turned arround and went back to our apartment.  The front door was closed, but the back door was open.   I was glad we went back, because when we leave it open, rats get in.  Also, because we were delayed with this, we were able to run into our appointment, who was going in the opposite direction of his house.  If we hadn´t turned arround, we would have had rats in the apartment and we would have not made contact with our investigator. 
Elder Gubler 

March 14, 2011 letter

Dear Family,
It is a mission rule that we eat 2 bananas every day.  There is quite a bit of food that contains vegetables.  Last Sunday we had a soup of lentils, potatoes, and tons of other vegetables, and slices of cooked plantains.  It was really good.  Watermelon season is coming and I think Elder Vickery said he was going to buy one.  They have this really good fruit here called Tamarindo.  I don't really know how to describe it, but you can look it up on the Internet.  It is really good plain, with chili powder, as a soda, and as a juice.  When I have the opportunity, I have a coconut from a member.  I cut it open, drink the juice, and then eat the flesh.  Ive been losing weight.  I dropped down to the next belt loop, but then I went back up because its more comfortable.  I stretch for about 15 minutes in the morning and then do pushups.  For the first couple of weeks I would put my books into a suitcase and do curls and tricep extensions, but then I stopped doing that when I used my suit case for a companionship exchange.  I’ll have to get back into that habit again.  I do sit ups every couple of days before bed.  I’m having lots of fun.  I’m not sure if we could hire a member [to do our laundry], but it doesn't matter.  As long as we can use their machine I’m happy.  We have more time on pday today :D  After we buy groceries and eat, we are going to go to the ocean and take pictures, and if we have more time we will ride to the top of the hill and get some really good pictures.  And after that if we still have time we are going to the branch president’s to have saborines (basically a homemade popsicle in a plastic bag)   

This week has been great.  At one point we had 9 investigators with a baptismal date.  We have to postpone their dates for at least a week though, because this week was stake conference in Campeche, and none of them went. (you must attend church at least 3 times before you can be baptized)  There is one of them that is doing really good.  He used to be an altar boy for the Catholic church when he was little, then he said he stopped going and lost his faith.  He likes what we  are teaching him and says that he wants to feel good.  He did his reading in the Book of Mormon and said he felt good after it.  There is a mom and her 2 kids in their 20's that we are teaching.  We first started teaching the son.  He showed up to church last week with his mom.  He really surprised us in our last visit when we found out that he has been marking his scriptures as he reads.  Right now we are helping him to stop drinking.  His mom and sister aren't as excited and aren't doing their reading.  We taught a young couple that had a baby 8 days earlier.  The husband has to work on Sundays so it will probably be a while before we can get them baptized.  We taught an older couple but they weren't home when we returned.  The family with the mom who said we represent the true church isn't doing too well.  We have only been able to teach one lesson to the son and his cousin, but at least the son is reading and he was our initial contact.  He wasn't there for our return visit.  The baptism of the 16 year old is happening this Saturday, and his mom joined us during a lesson for the first time.  I found that the best people to contact are dads that are holding babies.  So far they have been nice and accepted a return visit.  That's about it for our teaching pool. 

When we need a haircut, there are lots of barbers.  There is a member that we will visit next time.  I think he has clippers.
Mom asked about the oats and how I prepare them.  I just put milk  on the oats and eat it like cereal.  The water isn't that bad.  You can actually drink quite a bit (I don't) before its a problem.
We changed the list of families that feed us.  I’m a little sad that we lost our former Wednesday and Thursday lunch appointments.  They were always the best.  But our new list is good.  On Friday we had soup with pig skin in it, but it wasn't as bad as the first time (slabs of skin that was really smooth and rubbery)  It was in little pieces and it had some meat on it.  We also had some more skin, but it was fried so it was like eating a greasy potato chip.  She also made a really good garlic sauce.  You should try it (3 egg whites, lemon juice, olive oil, and a clove of garlic.  mix it in the blender until creamy).  Well that’s it for this email. 

Elder Gubler

March 7, 2011 letter

Dear family,
I spoke in Sacrament meeting on my third Sunday here on the topic of faith.  It went well.  I think they understood what I was saying.  The baptism had to be postponed because the boy isn't quite ready.  We'll have to have it in 2 weeks.  We haven't had anytime to have fun on pday because our entire day is packed with studying, washing, buying, and traveling to the district meetings.  But after today that is all going to change.  With the new transfer coming up I was hoping that Elder Vickery [Ed’s companion] could become the new District Leader so that we wouldn't have to travel almost 2 hours to get to the meetings.  He told me that wouldn't happen because they usually choose a DL from the same area.  Last night we got a call telling us that we would remain companions in Champoton, and that the new DL is my companion, Elder Vickery.  I was very excited to hear this.  This now opens up tons of time in our pday.  In the past we would have to leave at about 2:40 in order to make it to our meeting on time.  Now we just have to ride our bikes for 10 minutes to the chapel and be there by 6:00.  We don't have to hire anyone for food.  Every day of the week, except pday, there is a different family that is assigned to make us lunch at arround 2:00.  The list of families is changed about every 3 months I think.  Most of our meals are very delicious and very filling.  We take care of breakfst and dinner ourselves.  We eat bananas, milk, and usually oats and a few cookies for breakfast.  When we get back at night, I usually have oats or cookies and milk.
Laundry process:
(we do this in our little patio outside)
1. fill a bucket with water and pour a little bit of soap in it
2. swish it arround ( we use a 2 liter bottle on a broom stick)
3. scrub the clothes on a cement basin that has bumps
4. wring clothes
5. drop in a bucket of water and fabric softener
6. hang up to dry on a line
It takes about 1.5-2 hours
We can use the machine of a member if we want.  Last week we did, so we could have time to get haircuts.  This is the process for our area.  The area where I did a split is different.  They have a member that washes and folds their clothes.  They also go to the branch president everyday for lunch.  In the house that we spent the night in Merida, they have a washing machine.
This past week has been better.  We have done more contacts, and taught more lessons,  but we are having some slow times because the investigators are having trouble keeping their commitments.  But we have found a new person that so far is progressing.  We were trying to find the house of a man that, according to his wife, was posessedInstead we found a nice 22 year old man.  We taught the restoration, he accepted a baptism date for the 26th, and he showed up to church with his mom and stayed for all 3 hours.  He told us that he read the pamphlet that we left him and he accepted a return visit.  I think if we can get him to read the Book of Mormon he'll keep progressing.  The other guy that we are focusing on did his reading in the Book of Mormon and showed up to our English class, but not to church.  We also found some old investigators this week.  Apparently they had been taught by some sister missionaries (it’s been a while since we've had sister missionaries) and after they got transfered that was the end.  Hopefully we can get them to continue progressing.  That's about all I have for this week. 
Elder Gubler 

Feb. 28, 2011 letter

Dear Family,
Everything is going great.  Elder Vickery and I get along fine.  Hes a good trainer, but I hope my next companion is a native spanish speaker so that I can really improve in the language.  Transfers are every 6 weeks.  This is the last week of the transfer, but I dont think Ill be going anywhere.  Missionaries usually stay  in the same area for a few months.  The mission president before the current one had some missionaries stay in the same area for about 8 months.  Elder Vickery has already been here for about 3 months so I might be getting a new companion next week.  Testimony is good.  Ive grown to enjoy this area more.  I dont think that we can print [incoming e-mails].  To email, we go to a little shop with a row of computers.  There is a printer at the main desk at some places.  Ill ask.  Each missionary is given the equivilant of 150 dollars a month for food travel, and personal items.  We withdraw all of it from an ATM at the beginning of the month.  I spend about 10 to 20 dollars a week on food and whatever else we need, and about 10 on travel to district meetings.  I had to squeeze a little bit the last 2 weeks because we had extra travel and needed to buy lights and reflecters for the bikes and cleaning/laundry supplies.  I had just enough money last week to travel back to Champoton.  Im going to start budgeting my money. 
I keep forgeting to write in my journal but I will try to make it a habit to do it right after planning.  The rat wasnt very big.  It was about the size of a large mouse.  District meetings are every pday.  It is very inconvenient because our entire day is full already.  We study until 11, handwash all of our clothes for about 2-2.5 hours [Eddy is gaining a new appreciation for washers and dryers!], buy our food, eat a quick lunch, and then take a 1.5 hour bus ride to the area of the district leader.  When we get there we email, then go to the church for the meeting, spend the night at their house, and leave the next morning.  I really hope that the next district leader is my companion or at least someone in the town thats about a half hour closer.  Im not exactly sure why we cant visit the ruins.  I think its something about looking like a tourist or having girls there.  The mission president and his wife are great.  He is a very spiritual person.  There arent very many people that Ive seen that have computers.  Some do though.  We set up about 123 chairs for church last week.  Id say we had about 90 people at least.  Sometimes we are almost full.  I don’t think I’ll need any packages for now, but maybe arround the time of my birthday.  I’ll send photos next week of the apartment and Elder Vickery.
On Saturday we are going to have the baptism of the 16 year old.  The 18 year old isnt going to church so I dont know what well do about him.  My asking for references has finally paid off.  This lady didnt want to listen but said that the people across the street would.  We taught the first lesson, and they accepted a return date which is perfect, because we will teach them at 3 on saturday, have them go to our english class at 4, and then they will go to the baptism of the 16 year old at 5.  One of the girls asked a question to the mom about if we are Jewish or something about that and the mom told her "no, they represent the true church"  Hopefully we can get them to progress.  I got to give 2 blessings this week to some less active members that werent feeling well.  Elder Vickery said we have to go now.  Pray for me and  the investigators.
Elder Gubler

Feb. 21, 2011 letter

Dear Family,

This week has been about the same as last week.  But we did find a new lady to teach.  It will be hard though to get her to church because she goes out of town every weekend to buy clothes for her store.  We helped a newer family have their first FHE.  I remembered an activity that our family did a long time ago.  We made boats out of foil and put pennies in them.  I decided to do the same activity with this family, and then tied it into Nephi's boat and the instructions that he followed.  We went to a small village this week to find some less actives.  We talked to a family that had about 100 chickens running arround their yard.  We tried to find 2 other people but they weren't there.  Then we visited with a very active family and helped them plant a palm tree.   While we were planting it, an entire herd of about 60 sheep ran down the street to their pen.  The family bought us coconut ice cream.  It was really good, and it costs about 60 cents for a cone.  I'll have to buy more of that if we go back.  We got some really good meals from members this week.  The branch president's wife made us really good fried chicken and the next day a different family made us huge fried shrimp.  We had a fun experience with rats this week.  A rat had eaten through a screen, got into the kitchen, and ate some of my companion's oatmeal and some of his soap in the bathroom.  We thought it had left so we shut the window.  The next night we woke up to something moving around in the kitchen.  We turned on the light and saw a rat trying to get out the way it came in, but it couldn't because we had shut the window.  We opened the window and the rat went out.  We shut it again so we wouldn't have anymore rats.  The next day and the day after I noticed that there were teeth marks in my soap and there were some droppings on an issue of the Liahona.  We bought some sticky traps from the store and laid them out.  Last night while we were studying we heard the noise of a rat running arround stuck to the trap.  It ran under the fridge, managed to free itself, and then started trying to escape.  It jumped on my companions suitcase, jumped to the refrigerator cord, fell, tried it again, got to the window, and jumped back down because it was shut.  We opened the window, and it did the same thing and got out.  I don't think we'll have any more rat problems.  I'll probably be emailing later in the day for the next few weeks because we leave earlier for our district meetings, so we email after we travel.  Say hello to the cat and all of the animals for me.
Elder Gubler

Feb.14, 2011 letter

Dear Family, 
This week has been pretty good.  We have an old investigator that has a baptism date.  He couldn´t get baptized before because he had to work on Sunday but he´s changing jobs so now he can go to church.  Yesterday we talked with an 18 year old boy named Angel.  He talked to us for a long time about all of his doubts and questions about churches he´s gone to.  He hasn´t been baptized into another church so he won´t have the question of why he has to do it again.  That has been a problem with quite a few people.  The church would be perfect for him.  We didn´t have time to teach him so we left him with a Book of Mormon.  We also taught an older couple.  They were taught before and they listened to us and accepted to be baptized, but they aren´t really understanding much.  We´ll see if they read and go to church.  The 16 year old wasn´t at church yesterday so we´ll go by tomorrow and see what happened. 
I had some really good food this week.  The branch president´s wife made really good hamburgers.  The family that fed us the pig skin last week made us Sunday lunch.  It was alot better than the pig skin.  We went into their backyard and knocked down coconuts.  We made fresh coconut juice.  It is just like the ones in Costa Rica but they were yellow instead of green, and they were free.  We also had rolls with shredded pork. 
For the weather reports, just let me know which days it will be raining.  We have between 11 and about 3 to write.  We get just under an hour to email home during this time.  There is a different address for pouch mail.  Its some address for the church office building with my mission name on it.  My companion said that it gets here about as quickly as a regular letter.  The letter address is on my facebook page.  It takes a few weeks for dear elders to go through the mission office.
I saw a tiny snake cross the street one day.  I saw 1 dead scorpion at a members house.  There are quite a few ants, spiders, and other things in our area.  I see a few everyday in our house.  The floor is all tile so it´s easy to see them.  The home situation here is really interesting.  Some people live in little huts, some live in huge houses, and a lot of people live in houses that start out small and get added onto.  The people buy their house piece by piece.  They start out with a little room, save some money, add on, save some money, and add on some more.  There is a family here that lives in a 2 room hut and they are building their house right next door.  Pretty much every house is made of cinderblock.  We only work in town.   There are some small villages but we don´t get out there very often because we have to pay for transportation. 
The area is safe.  There aren´t any drug dealers as far as I know.  I like sleeping in a hammock every night.  I don´t have a net, but there aren´t really any problems with mosquitos.  I haven´t seen any Americans here.  There was 1 in a bigger city that was traveling.  I don´t think there is anything touristy here.  We aren´t allowed to see ruins.  Its been a rule for about a year now.  We study until 11, eat lunch arround 2, and tract for the rest of the day until 9.  The chapel is an actual building.  You can see in on maps.  Elder Vickery´s bike is fixed.  It needed new gears.  The bike shop here is really cheap.  We go to internet cafes to send our weekly e-mails.  I´ll try to send pictures next week.  We don´t take siestas.  Ask Rachel if she updated my facebook.
Elder Gubler

Feb. 7, 2011, first letter from Mexico

Dear family,

I saw all of the people you mentioned in the MTC [4 boys from our Stake].
I got into Merida at about 6 o´clock on Monday.  President Salinas and his wife and a few missionaries met us at the airport.  We went to a house that 3 missionaries that are serving in Merida live.  His wife made us sandwhiches, we got hammacks, and we went to sleep there.  The next day we went to the mission home.  It is very nice.  We ate a really good breakfast, and then went to the stake center next to the temple and got some instruction.  We got our companions, ate pizza, and then Elder Vickery and I bought tickets, got on a bus and went first to Campeche, bought more tickets, and went to Champoton. 
We are the only missionaries in town.  It used to be 2 areas but now its only one.  The weather is really nice, except we  got a lot of rain on Friday and we got really muddy.  I can say almost everything I want to say in Spanish.  As far as understanding goes, some people I understand just fine, and others I don´t have any idea what they are saying.  There is a recent convert in the ward.  She’s the only one I know that speaks Mayan, but she speaks Spanish too.  A lot of people are short.  This week has been kind of slow, but it was better than the one that my companion had last week.  A lot of people think that believeing in Jesus is all that they have to do, so it´s a little difficult to help them understand.  I don´t know how long missionaries have been here, but its a pretty good branch.  The chapel is really nice too.  It’s way better than what we visited at Costa Rica.  There is a baptism next week for a boy about 16 years old.  He´s been taught before my companion came, and then my companion taught him for about 2 weeks.  Other than that we don´t have anybody that´s golden, but we´ll keep trying.  We tract a lot, and don´t get very many referrals.  There are 6 families that are assigned to make us lunch every week.  So every Tuesday we go to the branch president, every Wednesday we go to the Gamboa family, and so on.  We eat bananas and whatever else we want to make for breakfast, and usually don´t have dinner, but sometimes get invited for dinner too.  I got to have a wonderful dinner of Pig Skin with the  Gamboa family.   I put it in a tortilla with rice and swallowed it as quickly as I could.  I ate octopus with a different family on Saturday.  It didn´t taste bad at all, it was just different.   Every meal I´ve been to so far has consisted of tortillas and stuff to put in them.  The branch president’s wife made some really good meat with tortillas for my first lunch here.  We have bikes, but my companion´s bike broke on saturday, so we walk for now.  Elder Vickery is from Emmett, Idaho.  He has been out for 13 months.  We are the same height.  A little kid in the street called us twins.  I´ll send pictures soon. 

Elder Gubler

Snow, my district, and Provo Temple

MTC language class time

Rare sunny day in Provo

Newly minted missionaries

Ready to preach

MTC district, I'm the tall guy in the back!

Name tag

This is where we're going!

Mexico Merida mission map

Watch out for those snowballs Elders!

Nov. 23, 2010 to Jan. 25, 2011 Excerpts of letters from MTC

We are only allowed to speak Spanish, with the exception of P-day (once a week they have “preparation day” in which they do laundry, e-mail home, relax, etc), after 9:45pm, and at interviews/meetings.  Other than that we can only speak 50 words of English a day.  I am starting to remember my Spanish, and sometimes speak in Spanish during our English time without realizing it. 
And let dad know that 8 years ago when he thought that the cow had broken the sprinkler in the pasture, it was me. 
I'm enjoying the MTC (Missionary Training Center) a little more now.  There are less and less people at gym each week, so there is less waiting in line to play volleyball.  I figured out a pretty good system for eating.  I have grape nuts and toast for breakfast, soup, salad and bread for lunch, and the dinners for the most part are edible.  As far as classes go, we don't really have culture or religion classes.  We just work on different things in Preach My Gospel (missionary handbook) and on the language.  My Spanish is coming along well because we are only allowed to speak Spanish most of the time.  My companion and I got to practice teaching someone who was pretending to be an investigator of the Mormon Church.  He spoke really fast and really quietly, but I was able to understand most of it.  I spent 2 hours making a visual aid for the Plan of Salvation lesson, and it makes teaching a lot easier. 
12/26 (this was after we let Eddy know we had traded in the mini van (his name for it is “Crappy”) for a 2011 Chevy Equinox
THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU.  I was so happy when I pulled back the corner of my letter and saw "Crappy" and "Equinox"  You picked out a good color.  Can you send me a few pictures?  What features does it have?  (OnStar, Nav, power seats)  Is it a push button start or a key?  Tinted windows?  My companion's dad has a huge wheel business in Huntington Beach.  He said we could design our own wheels.  I think having chrome spokes in the shape of Tina would look good.  [For those who don’t know, Tina is a large stuffed animal llama which is practically part of the family]
We got 650 new missionaries, so it's very crowded.  Everyone is getting Christmas packages, and people are literally giving all of their food away.  I got both of your packages, and a package from Rachel. 
At last Sunday's fireside we had Ted Gibbons come and do a role play of Willard Richards and we got to learn a lot of details of the last couple days of Joseph Smith's life.  It was really interesting.
The elder that got moved to our district got his visa so he left yesterday and I'm back in a trio.  We got to have a really neat prayer experience before he left.  He had lost his belt and we were looking for it for 2 days.  It was Sunday night and he was leaving the following morning.  We knelt down and I said a prayer.  Within a minute my companion found the belt. 
I got to meet my second cousin here, Jacob Gubler Frei.  He is Aunt Jewell Frei's grandson.  I was a host for new missionaries and I saw his name on a paper.  And that same day Aunt Linda sent me a letter telling me about him.  I went to his classroom and said hi to him the next day.  Hosting is really fun and my district has been assigned again to do it tomorrow. 
I talked to one of the teachers that served in Merida and he is also going to give us a list of the Mayan words we will use.  He said that he taught parts of some of the lessons in Mayan.  Tonight the MTC presidency is getting changed so there will probably be a lot of apostles there. 
This is probably my last email to you from the MTC...because next week I should be calling you from the airport on my way to MEXICO.  Our permission from the Mexican government came in last week so I should be going to Salt Lake this week to be getting my Visa. 
Last week we got to have Elder Holland come again.  He gave another really great talk about the missionary program.  On Sunday we had a fireside with the new MTC presidency.  They are really good.  Today our district went to the temple together for the last time, so we all went to the same session and had breakfast at the temple before hand.  It was the best breakfast I've had in a really long time (Belgium waffles, biscuits and gravy, and an omelet).  The weather was really nice today, but nothing near as nice as it will be in Mexico.
I found out that the missionaries going to Merida are going to the consulate tomorrow.  My trio is the only ones from our district going to the consulate.  Hopefully I'll be in Mexico before Sunday.
Until I leave, my district has free time all day.  We had to leave our classroom and teachers for the new district coming in.  It's a good thing that I get to leave soon.

Elder Gubler 

Proud family--We'll miss you Ed!

Extended family at farewell