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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.
Tampico, located in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, received its name from Huastic origin, meaning “place of otters”. This is because the area is surrounded by rivers and lagoons with large populations of otters.
The Mexico Tampico mission has experienced much growth. It originated with one stake and has expanded to four. A temple was built and dedicated by Thomas S. Monson in May of 2000. The Mexico Tampico temple is the 83rd operating temple in the LDS church.
The most common food eaten in the Tampico area is seafood because the area is a sea port. The crab is a very well-known entrée in the area, and the symbol of the crab can be seen everywhere in the city. Tampico is also known for its fresh fish.
Tampico is home to the General Francisco Javier Mina International Airport (TAM). This airport mostly serves flights, to Mexico City and Monterrey, though it does have international services. Many people drive through the city, though taxis are often used as a safe form of transportation.
Tampico is a relatively safe city to travel in compared to other cities in Mexico. Just as in any other city, it is recommended that missionaries stay alert and use caution when in the city, especially at night.
Tampico is a humid area and can get hot. It is recommended that missionaries bring clothing to help withstand the heat.
Mision Mexico Tampico
Apartado Postal 241
89460 Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas
Straight from the Mexico Tampico Mission:
*What items were hard to get or not available?
“Most everything was there just more expensive. However no house has carpet except the presidents of course.”
*What did you eat the most of?
“Tortillas, eggs, beans, broth, cereal, hot dogs, tortillas, eggs, more tortillas and more beans. Now and then spaghetti, and the street food:)”
*What is the craziest thing you ate?
“Fish head soup. I think I ate a dog but not certain. The family told us the dog ran away but it was too weak to even move…”
*What was most surprising about the culture?
“Most shocking is how easy life can be and is (to an extent) for the people in my areas. Of course they don’t have the money or houses that any of us dream of, however they are relatively happy people.”
*What advice would you give to someone going to the Mexico Tampico Mission?
“Don’t force The Lord’s hand or go looking for spiritual experiences. Just do your job. Find people to teach, work hard, and have fun. The Lord will do the rest.”
*What do you wish you had known before you served?
“To truly leave everything behind. Girlfriend, friends, family, etc. It is the ONLY time you GET to focus on something 100%. When you get home you have too much to think about like school, job, career, dating, marriage, car, money, etc. on the mission it is only DOING THE LORD’s WORK!”
“When teaching a lesson don’t force your feelings. Speak and talk as you would. I’ve seen too many missionaries ( myself included at times) trying to cry at what they think is a spiritual moment like the first vision or the resurrection. Of course they are spiritual moments, but let the investigator and the spirit teach them that.”
**Did you serve in the Mexico Tampico Mission? If so we would love to hear your advice and your stories! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org**