Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Second Chances

Buenas tardes familia!

Well it's transfer day annnnnnd I am still in the same place with the same companion. So I will be here with this wonderful ward for my birthday, Christmas, and New Years. :)
This was our zone
This last week was very tough. We were trying to get back on our feet because of the week that I was sick. All of the times that my companion left without me she got pretty lost or was taking ways super long and losing appointments. We lost a lot of investigators last week. I am not really sure what to say right now t be honest. My relationship with my companion has been difficult. She is very forgetful to the point where we let down a lot of members and investigators because she forgot to tell me about something that she was asked to do or an appointment she had made when she was out working and I was in the house.  

Elders are really weird. That's all I want to say. 

The last six weeks have been full of this. In appointments she wouldn't be listening and so when she was asked to talk or the conversation went her way she didn't know what to say. And just other things. I have been praying for a lot of patience and asking that God would help me see her as he sees her but it has been outright hard. Finally, last week on Thursday the whole mission had to stay in their houses for the whole day because of a holiday here in Mexico and there were rumors of things that could happen. Thursdays we do a weekly panning session for the following week. We finished our prayer and we both knew we just needed to talk. So there were tears and whatnot. I expressed how I felt and so did she. We both just understood better how the other was feeling. We were fighting against a lot of pride. The both of us for specific reasons. For this we haven't had the unity that we ned in our companionship and haven't been able to do all the work that we desire. 

We realized that we had the same goal but were trying to do it in two different ways. What it all really comes down to is that we knew one of two things were going to happen. 1. we were going to have transfers and we were going to have to learn from the experience so that it doesn't happen again with another companion, or 2. God was going to give us another chance to work together, in unity and in love so that we can help His children come to know Him better. I am so grateful that we got a second chance. Since we have talked things have been better. Although, on paper, the last 2 weeks of this last transfer didn't seem like success, they were really full of miracles, 
This is Elder Leija. He died today. (He went home.)
I am just saying. This is the weirdest and most uncomfortable
mission tradition. When and elder dies, we cut up his tie.
I don't want to know what the sisters do and thus far I
have not followed the traditions of the sisters that
I have been told about because they are so weird.
And the only reason I do this one is because if I don't they
start yelling at me in Spanish and I don't like it. 
It truly was a miracle that we were able to talk the way that we did and come to a mutual understanding. We have the same goal and we are looking forward to reaching that goal together, in unity and in love. Sometimes we are stuck with someone in the mission who, normally outside of the mission, if we didn't get along with them really well we wouldn't have to be near them. But this is the mission and it is one big learning experience. And I am grateful because I am learning to love people who maybe in normal life I would have just ignored because it wasn't a requirement to be with them. I surely pray that God will strengthen me in this so that after the mission I can see my brothers and sisters in this world as God sees them and that I will work everyday to not just ignore them but find the goodness in them and help them feel the love of God more fully in their lives. 

These would be the sweet scripture cases that I got.... yea.
You can be jealous! They also have scriptures on the inside...
and the scriptures are in Spanish, because I know Spanish... hahaha
We did have a lot of great things happen this week.... great things that unfortunately aren't written on paper and sent to our mission president. But the best thing is that this isn't our work or the mission president's work, it's the Lord's work and I can feel in my heart that He is so very happy that the Hermana Ruiz and I have been able to work out our differences so that we may glorify Him every day in HIS work. And I am even more grateful for second chances. And it helps me remember as well, the second chances aren't something new. Christ gave us all a second chance when He suffered and died for us. He teaches us that as we repent of our sins and mistakes, we can be washed clean by His blood, that we can start new and fresh. He loves us so much, and everthing that we experience here is for our benefit in one way or other.
Love you guys so much!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Typhoid and Stake Conference Talks

Well, I blew that cat out of the bag but sadly it is true, I have typhoid.. yay. haha More than a week ago, on Friday the 7th of November I woke up in the middle of the night like at 1:30 and was freezing cold and had the worst desires to vomit. I went to the bathroom thinking that I was going to vomit but I didn't so I tried to make myself vomit BECAUSE I would rather sit and vomit than feel like I am going to. It's like my biggest pet peeve when I feel like I am going to vomit but it never comes up... ok enough about that haha but yea. I didn't so I went back to bed and woke up Friday morning with so much pain in my whole body. Every muscle was hurting but it felt like it was almost in my bones. I had been hot and cold all night so I checked my temp and I never had more than 37.8 Celsius which is like 100 degrees F. So the instructions we have only say to stay in in we have more than 38 C.... So I took some stuff called paracetamol and left to work haha. I was taking this every 6 hours to help with the minor fever and body aches. It really didn't help haha. 

I felt so incredibly awful We went to a meeting where our ward mission leader told me "wow you look awful, and pale. what happened?" I didn't know I was pale until then haha. Saturday was the same and it was rainy and cold at night time but we had the baptism so I just did everything I could to get through it. (That included a lot of makeup so I didn't look so pale haha) and it wasn't that hard because I was just so happy for Rosie! Sunday it got worse though and we ended up going home an hour early. On Monday we did nothing so that I could rest. I basically slept that whole day. When we got up to write you guys I was feeling better but when we did this I also had to start getting ready to leave and work and whatnot and I started feel super bad and lightheaded and body achy again so I finally called the mission president's wife. She got mad because she said I should have stayed in on Friday if I knew I had the flu so we didn't leave to work Monday. On Tuesday we had a zone conference in the morning with all of the other missionaries in this area so we went and it was awful. I felt really bad so after we went and ate and then we went home. Wednesday we tried to leave, we went to one appointment that was super successful buttttt I felt awful again and so we went to a member's house who lived by. I stayed with the members there and my comp left to work. 

I was suffering from the same stuff this whole time. But it would be weird because sometimes my upper body would hurt more than my lower and later my lower body and it just switched off and on like that. Finally the members made me call the mission president's wife again. (I found out this week that I am really stubborn and don't like to stay in the house.) She sent us to the hospital and it came positive for Typhoid. Yes, I got the vaccine. No, I do not know why I paid 50 bucks for it if it wasn't going to work at all haha. I was advised to stay in the house for another 2 days. So Thursday and Friday of this last week I was in the house the whole day. Some members stayed with me so that I could rest and my comp worked but we found out that she still has not gotten used to the area because she got lost and couldn't find streets and lost a lot of time and a lot of appointments. When she came home on Thursday night she also informed me that the stake president called her and told her that I was "invited" to give a talk in stake conference on Saturday night. Sooo I spent most of my day Friday preparing that talk. 

We left Saturday but I still felt pretty bad but I woke up yesterday and felt a lot better. I woke up today sore again in my body and I am still have a lot of headaches but on the way up right?! I am taking my medicine and all sooo yea. So I spent a lot of time last week in the house. It was really boring but I read a lot and I hope to never ever get sick again. I know it sounds like my "symptoms" are really up and down but that's what they told me that happens. It's just wonderful haha. 

On the other hand, we have transfers next Monday so we will see what will happen. Things have been crazy here with all that is going on. We have about 200 missionaries and about 175 of them are now all in one state instead of two. We are just pushing along though! But since it's the last monday of this transfer we have to clean our house really good and send in pictures. Well, turns out that Kim isn't really sure of how to use soap in powder form to clean the floors here in Mexico. But that's ok, it was funny and we got a great picture out of it!

Sorry that this email isn't so full of spiritual experiences but the most spiritual experiences I had this last week were in my dreams haha.

I love you guys so much! Thank you for everythingggg!!
Also, today marks 8 full months that I have been living in Mexico! SAY WHAAAAAT?!
Oh yea, and I cut my hair today.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

We Stand for Game Point

I HAVE TO GIVE THE BIGGEST SHOUTOUT EVER TO MY FAVORITE VOLLEYBALL TEAM EVER!!!! CONGRATULATIONS TO THE ISU VOLLEYBALL TEAM FOR BEING THE REGULAR SEASON CHAMPS!!!!! I am soooo stoked for you girls, you have worked SO SO SO hard for a long time to earn this! You girls ARE THE BEST! Now get that W as CONFERENCE CHAMPS AGAINNNNN!!! AND THEN KICK BUM IN NCAA PLAYOFFS AND JUST DO ITTTT!  I was totally already repping you girls today as you will see in the picture that I will upload! AND JUST USE THE FIREEEE (hahahahahahaha I know some of you might not get that last part but it's embarrassing and I am not willing to share about it haha) SO YEA :)   Wow, that's a big shout out but well deserved! I love my Bengal girls!

 Anyway haha we also had a "big win" here in Mexico. I shared with you guys about one of our investigators Rosie, a 17 year old girl who is a rock star. Well as a review, Rosie is a rock star haha. Since the say we started teaching her she has been strengthening her relationship with God with full force. Her parents are divorced and when it came time for her to get baptized she had permission from here dad (who was willing to sign the baptism form) but not here mom. As we talked to her she made it very clear to us that she knew that this Gospel was real. She had the desire to make her first covenant with God through baptism but was afraid of her mom. Her mom said that she could do whatever she wanted but did not support it and would not sign the form. She waited for three more weeks. She even told us that she knew that she was avoiding an answer from God. We were never upset but we just tried to help her understand that it is important that we do what God asks us to do despite the adversity that may come. We fasted with her. then she again fasted on fast Sunday and gave a very large and beautiful testimony. She had two interviews with two different elders and both of them came out had been crying for the spiritual experience that she had with her. She has expressed to us the spiritual experiences that she is having through her scripture study in the Book of Mormon. The majority of these experiences are experiences that I am currently having in the mission. She is just a super star. Well in our weekly planning about a week and a half ago we knelt down to

pray in what we could do to help her to do the right thing in the sight of God. We cam up with a kind of "PS I love you" idea. For about 8 days leading up to a potential baptismal date we and other elders and sisters in our district chose our favorite scriptures about courage and choosing to do what God asks and things like that from the Book of Mormon and the Bible. We were given such excellent scriptures. The instructions were that she would read the envelops of scriptures that corresponded with these specific days every day and pray in regards to them and for the
 faith and courage to the right thing. As these days went on Rosie's testimony grew and grew. Finally, Saturday night, she came to church ready to be baptized. It was incredibly spiritual and in the end she gave her testimony.

Also, something so great happened yesterday. There are a few very difficult things that are going on in our ward. We are very close to the family of the second counselor in our ward. He is basically our bishop right now because we don't have a bishop and because our first counselor's wife is pregnant is basically never around. He expressed to me in about my third week here that he has not fasted truly since his mission, almost 10 years ago. Since I heard this I began to uhhhh kindly force him strengthen himself to do it. Finally, this last fast Sunday he did it and gave a very strong testimony. Yesterday he expressed to me his gratefulness for the work we have been doing in this ward and to me specifically for the way that I worked with him in every chance that I had to get him to fast. For the things that have been going on in our ward, the fasts he has been able to do have
been a huge source of strength for him. He expressed to us that we have truly brought converts to Christ into our ward, 5 very strong people and lovers of the word of Christ. I teared up because I felt very humbled. I have felt very guided in my time here in this ward. I feel like I have been tried in so many different ways since I have come here and that because I have tried to stay as true to Him as possible, He has blessed us with people who really are converted to Him. These people, the missionaries, the members, the investigators, have been the biggest blessings in my life. I am constantly humbled and inspired by their desires to be more Christ like and to understand this gospel. They are even leaving to go out visiting people with us and are an extra special spirit in our lessons. 

I am so grateful to be here. I am grateful to know the people that I know and to have had so many difficult but rewarding experiences. There is no other better work in this world that the work of helping people to come unto Christ.

I love you all so much, thank you for everything.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dia de Los Muertos


You guys I can hardly remember what happened the past week! It just literally flies by BUT I have birthday shoutouuuuuts! Sooooo Happy Birthday to the best imitator of Velocipedes (I am sure that I spelt that wrong) EVER Ben Anderson! Keep the Dinosaur Club ALIVE & KICKIN! And to my bestestest friend ever Kelsie Colombini!
These are some of the kids of the Lozada family. They are
members of the church that are a huge support for us
and their kids are BEAUTIFUL! The fathers of these kids are
twins and are excellent church leaders!
You are SO OLD! But don't worry because I will be SO OLD next month too! And it's all ok because we still act like we are 5 years old anyway! I love you guys! 

This week started the famous "Dia de Los Muertos" or "Day of the Dead" here in Mexico. I remember learning about it in my high school Spanish classes but to be able to actually experience it is UNREAL. It is such a beautiful tradition! People who have lost loved ones set up alters with food and candles and incense and pictures and all sorts of them. Then they has flower petals leading from the outside of the houses to the alters for the loved ones who have passed. Our chapel is on the same street as the graveyard so Sunday when we left church we saw like HUNDREDS on people in the graveyards
celebrating with their family! Both dead and alive! It is a really beautiful tradition! The people who live below us have a little alter dedicated to a little baby girl but other have huge, but I mean HUGE alters! It has been really great! And we are eating alot of pumpkin for dessert! Yum!!
This is a picture of the alter that our
neighbors that live below us have. 

Hermana Ruiz and I have been trying to work super hard. It's been a bit difficult because although she has 6 months in the mission she does not feel comfortable with the work. We have been having to practice a ton, I do basically all of the paperwork and planning. I feel like I am retraining her. We have been a bit stressed because we are not having the results we want BUT I also have a lot of hope because every trial has a rhyme and reason and I have been praying that the Lord will help me understand the reasons for these trials. 

One of our miracles is named Josue. This young man is a "wayward" brother of a recent covert in our ward named Max. Three weeks ago Max left for the mission! Josue has attend church off and on for about a year and we are now teaching him. He literally loves to learn this stuff. The first time I met him was about 1 month ago and he seemed so very quiet and serious, he felt guilty listening to the gospel because he has been in some pretty bad thing But NOW, there are no words to describe it. He is a new person. He told us yesterday that he really looking forward for a clean slate through baptism
Picture is of the flower petals that some houses
leave outside leading to their altars.
and wants it to be a surprise for his family. He truly has a light about him and his whole countenance has changed!

You guys. I love the mission. I can't even express it. It is the best learning experience ever and I love working with the people. This week I will be completing HALF of my mission. I have been a missionary for 9 months on the 5th of this week!! HALF. whoa. where has the time gone? I have been thinking about extending my mission service for another month and a half. I will have to receive permission from my mission president first, so we will see. 

Thank you guys for everything! You guys are the best!

Con amor,
Finally, me and my comp Hermana Ruiz from Durango, Mex. 

Picture is of the four of us today eating pizza!
We share the ward that we work in!