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Snapshot of Mexico – Spanish is the official language of Mexico. Mexico is an ethnically diverse country, with many people being descendents from both indigenous groups and European immigrants, though the southern part of the country has significantly higher levels of indigenous peoples than other areas. These southern and central regions are also home to several indigenous languages, such as Nahuatl and Yukatek Maya. Over 80% of Mexico’s population belongs to the Roman Catholic church, with attendance rates at about 47%. Many Mexican towns and cities have their own patron saints, which are celebrated with yearly feasts. Both Spanish and indigenous influences can be seen in art, architecture, and music. Mariachi performing groups (bands using singers, guitars, trumpets, and other instruments) regularly perform at festivals and restaurants, and many folk dances and traditional music are still practiced. Rock, pop, and other music styles such as norteña and ranchera are popular today. Soccer is the most popular sport in Mexico, though baseball is also popular. Lucha libre wrestling and bullfighting are also popular events. Mexican cuisine is based on the staples of corn, beans, and chili peppers, often used with meat, cheese, and other herbs and spices. Traditionally, the main meal is eaten during the afternoon. A soup is served first, followed by a meat dish with sauce and salsa, along with tortillas and beans. Street vendors are also quite popular, selling tacos, quesadillas, tortas, roasted chicken, and other dishes. Bacon-wrapped hot dogs are another popular street vendor food. Cuisine varies in different regions, with flour tortillas, burritos, cheese, and beef being more popular in the north, while tropical fruits and tamales are more commonly used in southern cooking. Seafood, morisqueta (a sausage and rice meal), and carnitas (deep-fried pork) are more commonly eaten in western Mexico.
Leon is a city in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. Leon recently reported being the seventh most populous metropolitan area in Mexico, so there are many, many people to be found to teach in the Mexico Leon Mission. The Church is continually growing in this area and the Mexican people are always willing and excited to talk about religion.
The Mexico Leon Mission is almost located right in the middle of Mexico, just Northwest of Mexico City.
City Motto: “El trabajo todo lo vence” (The work overcomes everything)
**Did you serve in the Mexico Leon Mission? If so we could love to hear your advice and your stories! Please contact us at email@example.com**
The Church is constantly growing in Mexico. The people of Mexico are extremely humble and faith oriented. They have a strong and wholesome faith that is based from a powerful testimony. At times, member referrals and assistance can be difficult to acquire. However, your ability to work with and encourage members to aid in missionary work will come from your ability to focus on the testimony and love they have for the Gospel.
Food: Mexican food consistently includes rice, beans, and tortillas, along with some kind of meat i.e. chicken, beef. Other interesting dishes include, “cabeza de res” (cow head), “lengua” (cow tongue), and “menudo” (cow stomach) all of which are usually put on tacos.
Chicken and rice are common in your meals along with a typical side of lettuce topped with tomatoes and cucumbers.
Desireables: Whether you looking to stock up before your mission or simply get packages including the following items. Here are a few things that other missionaries wished they had while in Mexico:
American candy (Skittles, Starbursts, chocolate, Swedish fish, etc.)
Quality American meals (lasagna, pizza, burger, etc.)
Random: In Mexico, cough drops are sold in stores as candy. And most of the other candy has chili mixed with to give it a little spice!
Missionaries in this mission do A LOT of walking. So, it is important that you have really good shoes that will last through a lot of wear and tear. There are several mini buses that have a specific route, which can be taken to facilitate travel to certain appointments; however, this is not something you will want to do too often.
Due to the location of Leon, theft and car jacking are the most common problems experienced by foreigners. Although many people consider Mexico to be dangerous, the real danger lies in states that are closer to the border (where drug trafficking is more of an issue). Missionaries that refrain from carrying large amounts of money and wearing flashy jewelry rarely run into problems while out in the field.
Drink lots of water and stay away from eating food off the streets until your body has acclimated.
¿Que Tal? —– What’s up?
¿Como le va? —– How’s it going?
Más lento por favor. —— Speak slower please.
¡Provecho! —– Eat well (like bon appetit)
¡Que suave! —– How cool/That’s cool!
Suit coats are rarely if never worn during your mission. Typically suit coats are only worn on Sundays and Zone Conference.
Wear quality shoes. You will be walking everywhere. Your shoes should also be able to endure flooding during typhoon season.
Umbrellas are optional. It depends on your preference. Many missionaries just brave the rain along with the locals. Females usually use umbrellas. Umbrellas can be purchased at the local “mercado” (open market).
Light weight sheets and a pillow case is all you will need for bedding. Bring sheets that are good quality but are also very cool to sleep in.
Small hand sanitizer bottles are essential to pack and use constantly. You can find these at local drugstores in the mission.
Bring a small, lightweight proselyting bag. While proselyting, you will only be bringing small Books of Mormon and a few other items. A “fanny pack” style bag that has a shoulder strap and a waist strap is a very good option.
The best way to send letters is through the postal service. Once a missionary arrives in the field, pouch mail (Dear Elder) can take several months to arrive. However, in the MTC pouch mail is the best option.
Typically the best way to send packages is through a fixed-rate box. Packages can take a few weeks to a couple months (so send Holiday packages very early in advance).
Rumor has it that boxes with religious stickers placed on the outside often pass untouched through customs.
Straight from the Mexico Leon Mission:
*What items were hard to get or not available?
“peanut butter, swedish fish, cinnamon bears”
*What did you eat the most of?
“rice, beans, tortillas, chili”
“Rice, Beans, Tortillas”
*What is the craziest thing you ate?
“menudo (stewed cow stomach)”
*What was most surprising about the culture?
“Just how laid back the people are.”
*What advice would you give to someone going to the Mexico Leon Mission?
“Have thick skin.
*What do you wish you had known before you served?
**Did you serve in the Mexico Leon Mission? If so we would love to hear your advice and your stories! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org**