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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.
The church has been in the Monterrey Area since 1922. Religious persecutions of all kinds took place beginning in the late 1920′s. It wasn’t until the 1950′s that the first district was organized. The actual mission, the Mexico Monterrey West Mission, was formed in 1994.
Presently, the mission consists of twelve stakes and two districts. In Monterrey, which is in the state of Nuevo Leon, the mission includes six stakes. The rest of the stakes are in the state of Coahuila. Three stakes are in Saltillo. Two stakes are in Monclova. Piedras Negras has one stake with the two districts about an hour away from it to the south Nueva Rosita and to the northwest Acuña. Both Acuña and Piedras Negras are border towns with Texas.
Be prepared to eat lots of tacos, enchiladas, mole sauce, atole, tamales, and pozole. Mexicans also use the main ingredients of beans, rice, peppers, tomatoes, chili peppers, habenero peppers, and onions in lots of their dishes.
There are several bus lines in the area, and there is also a small transit station which has about 40-50 stops.
Monterrey is one of the safest city in Latin America and Mexico. Missionaries should have no problem traveling both by day and night. However, as with all large cities, use precaution and common sense. Always follow mission rules and remain with your companion.
Calle Chiapas #2202
Col. Roma Sur
64700 Monterrey, Nuevo Leon