Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mexico Week 26 -- I Feel My Savior's Love

To all of my favorite people in the world!

We found some horses in the street this week! Grandpa, I thought about you! I started talking to the Señor about how my Grandpa also used to have horses and I rode them as a kid. We talked about the influence we have on the generations after us and sadly he lives far, but he’s got a pass along card!

This is one of the young adults in our ward that just moved out of young women’s. She wants to serve a mission in January! She is precious and we’re showing her the ropes!

We got home exhausted everyday this week, did our planning and then had some 30 minutes of rest and relaxation watching “The District”, or our training videos! Ha! Ha!  We really do like them!  We had popcorn, the foot cream, and can’t forget a coke and stuffed animal to snuggle with!

Also, this area is a huge tourist zone and they have Chili’s!  What do you know!  Sadly there are no pretzel sticks ;)

Fun Fact … People here put ketchup on everything!  Pizza, pasta, you name it. Megan would literally be in heaven.

This week we started having some success! We found some new investigators and our less active members are really starting to open up to us! A less active member told us that she got pretty mad at the elders before us. She was really struggling with some things and nobody from church visited her and then the elders stopped passing by too. She told us that she actually had no intention of listening when we started coming by but that she was starting to open up.

In Relief Society yesterday we talked about our responsibility to rescue. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. If you don’t know who you’re supposed to visit teach, where they live, who they are … ASK THE MISSIONARIES. They can help! These are people who once had testimonies. Maybe they made some mistakes, or maybe they got offended and don’t know how to come back, but the majority of them know they need the gospel. We can’t judge and say they don’t want it. We have to keep having faith and keep reaching out until we rescue every person. In the scriptures we read that without charity, we can’t enter the kingdom of God. Well, I think when we feel the pure love of Christ, we’re going to want to help him save people right? Or in other words, we literally can’t enter the celestial kingdom if we don’t participate in missionary work.

Wow, let that sink in a minute and then it will light a fire!

Yesterday, or Sunday, I was getting ready in the morning with my playlist of all of the Atonement songs. We have this picture of Jesus in our house and wow, I had the most amazing feeling come over me. He loves us. He knows we’re not perfect and that we do dumb stuff. He loves us anyways. I am coming to know Him more and more. We truly can’t comprehend the love He has for us. He just wants to be by our side every day.

This week I was really starting to think about Grandpa Jay. My patriarchal blessing says that I will have the spirit of Elijah and feel motivated to look for my ancestors. Now I know a lot of our work has been done, and I can’t quite work in this right now, but I can look to my ancestors. I just felt like he was with me, like he loves me and is watching over me and supporting me. I really want to read his patriarchal blessing actually! I love our Heavenly Father’s plan and I know that little by little He’s teaching us. I love this Gospel and the peace it brings. I love that families are the central unit of the Gospel and that we can be eternal. The more I see and hear here, the more my gratitude grows for you guys. You gave me the most amazing environment to grow up in. I love that you have always taught me that I can change the world and be amazing and that nothing or nobody can stop me!  You helped me to gain this confidence, and it is with this confidence and the confidence that the Lord gives me that I’m serving. I just love you guys lots.

Have a great week!

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Mexico Week 25 -- Go! Go! Go, Joseph!

To all of my favorite people in the world! 

In all honesty, this week was a little rougher. We are really struggling to find people to teach and visit.  We are walking .. walking .. walking for days! I have a great story that will make you all laugh! So I end up with these big blisters, one under each ball of my foot, right? One day we’re walking and they’re really killing me. All of the sudden POP! There goes one! Pus filled sock and I’m wimpering in the street, but we’re missionaries and so we keep going! About 10 minutes later POP! There goes the other one and I begin wimpering in the street again. Ha! Ha!  All I could think was que bueno que I wasn’t a pioneer!  Seriously, I think I would have died half way!

There is a WalMart in my area .. I have never been so excited to enter a WalMart in my life!!  Seriously, it is HEAVEN!!

My area is also so beautiful. The whole area isn’t like these pictures, but really, it’s beautiful! We also found some Mariachi band members today! 

Okay, now for the good stuff. This precious señora is the mom of one of our less active members we found this week. She has Alzheimer’s and is literally my favorite. She reminds me a lot of working in the nursing homes when I was in high school! She always holds my hand and is always talking. Sometimes during lessons, she just puts her head on my shoulder. Her daughter is a member and literally loves to learn. She’s also a nurse! She took care of her dad until he died and now she’s been taking care of her mom.  She’s starting to get worse as the disease progresses and can’t go to church. She says all is good, but she just has this look sometimes like she’s just sad. It stuck with me all week and we need to really work and pray so we can find out how to help her! 

We found another less active member that also just needs a lot of help. She wants to come back to church and I honestly love working with those that have stopped going. They have testimonies, sometimes they just help to repent, or they need someone to listen, or they just need representatives of the Lord to help them out. I love it. 

The Lord always has a purpose. I have started reading the Bible and remember how the Old Testament always put me to sleep? Well now I’m kind of loving it! I have been reading about Joseph this week.  True confessions, I’ve been singing the Donny Osmond songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat! Ha! Ha!  It really helps my study when my brain breaks out in song part way through the scripture .. Go! Go! Go! Joseph, you know what they say! Go! Go! Go! Joseph, you’ll make it someday!

But really, there are some verses where we says to his brothers, you guys didn’t send me here (to Egypt). God sent me here, He had a purpose, you guys aren’t guilty of anything. God needed me here to interpret these dreams and prepare us for the famine. First things first, he spent two years (well probably more) in jail for something he didn’t even do. Can you imagine that type of patience? That type of long suffering? I feel like the Lord really worked on him there and helped him prepare for more of what was to come in his life. Then he’s face to face with brothers and completely forgives them, saying that they’re not guilty of anything. He looks for the hand of the Lord and eventually understood the plan. I think we should be more like that. He is my new hero! I really am going to accomplish my goal of reading the whole Bible in the mission! 

We visited another less active member. We have gone by there two or three times and they don’t receive us, or they’re not home or stuff like that. We had been walking for a long time and I just started praying.  Praying that they would open the door, praying that they would receive us. We knocked and after a long time, her son opened. Then about ten minutes later she came downstairs and was kind of mad because she had been resting and started telling us everything she didn’t like about the church. We started talking about our Heavenly Father and her whole face changed. She tells us that she felt hope like we had planted a little seed and told us when she would be home and everything. She tells us, it’s really a miracle you found me here today and even more of a miracle that we opened the door and I came downstairs. My son never answers the door, and I had no intention of getting up, but something made me get up. WOW! The Lord does work with us. 

I love you lots and you're always in my prayers!! Love you almost as much as the Lord does! 

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Going Native

Check out my classic Mexican dress!  Don't say it looks like a grandma because I love them .. Seriously, I want one in every color!!

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Now That's A Piñata

Please enjoy these sweet and huge piñatas we found! We started talking with the Señor outside that makes them and we passed his information on to other missionaries! We buttered him up good and so he let us take a picture! 

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mexico Week 24 -- Welcome to Tlaquepaque

To my favorite people in the whole world!! 

I love working with Hermana Malacara!  She is a little on the shy side, but she is super sweet. I am excited to work with her and watch us both grow as missionaries! I know that with love, perfect obedience, and diligence, we can really make a difference here. 

Last week in our first day in Tlaquepaque, we visted un hermano that was going to get baptized last week! He lives in a house of members and his sister is the Relief Society President. She was pretty upset that the missionaries had been transferred and I think we just kind of caught her in a rough moment.  Walking home that night, we literally thought everyone here was going to hate us! I remember feeling pretty overwhelmed and more than a little home sick for Cruz del Sur! Isn’t that a crazy?  Saying goodbye to them was almost like saying goodbye to you guys.  Instead of daydreaming about home when I let my mind wander, I’m thinking about them! The mission does crazy stuff to you! 

Well we visited el hermano a few more times that week and he was baptized on Saturday! A ton of people from the ward came and it was such a pretty baptismal service. He’s somebody that truly had changed by listening to the stories and he was a little misty eyed and all in all, just a good night! Their family took us home after the baptism and his sister tells us, ¨You know, I was pretty nervous at the beginning of this week. My brother had changed so much and was looking forward to his baptism with the elders.  Then you two showed up! I think the Lord just has a plan and I need to repent!¨

We all chuckled a little bit and she started asking how things were going and if she could help with anything. I think the lesson of the week is just that we have to be like the Savior. We have to continually show love, be patient, and just love people even when they don’t love you back at first!  I think I’m going to like it here!  ;)

In all honesty, I was a little bad mad last week. Maybe even a little fired up with Presidente Camarillo!  Kind of thinking – HEY!  What are you all doing?  It just kind of hit me as the Lord softened me up that it’s all about His plan, not my plan. I realized that He can see more than me, it’s His work after all right? I know that He loves us and wants what’s best for us. We truly are meeting some incredible people here. Even though we get a little lost sometimes and get home absolutely exhausted, little by little we’re figuring it out and it’s all part of the Lord’s plan.

In his letter to me this week, my President said:  “Gracias por lo que hace por la obra. Aprecio mucho su actitud de ir y hacer lo que el Señor le manda. Al saber que debía enviar un par de misioneras a esa unidad, el señor fue claro al decir que eran ustedes dos quienes deberían ser asignadas. 

Gracias también por siempre preguntar si puede hacer algo por mi. Sin duda el Señor la ha bendecido con muchos dones y capacidades. Es evidente que Él desea hacer mucho por medio de usted.¨

I hope all of my Gringos can understand that, but it meant a lot to me and it just makes me want to work even harder for the Lord ... just to give Him everything I’ve got!

Okay now for some fun stuff!! 

My other birthday package showed up!! Wow, y'all spoiled me rotten! I love my new shoes and clothes and oh the pillow spray!! Makes me think of Tamsyn and the BYU days! The watches are perfect and I'm just all around spoiled!! Love y'all to the moon and back!! 

Fun Tlaq news...WE HAVE WALMART HERE! We went today and whew, I just love Walmart. We’re also right in the middle of the city here.  It’s absolutely beautiful!  Our area is on the smaller side and wow, I am loving it!  I want to bring y’all here after the mission!  We went city exploring today and I found the Classic Mexican dress.  I know!  I know they’re kind of for grandmas, but I love them. A little birthday treat for me ;)

Also, I am learning that I really do love chile. All of the hermanas tell me I’m turning into a Mexican because they tell us … Uh, that salsa is kind of hot. I put a little bit and then I try it and I think … Uh, not that hot, maybe a little more!  Ha! Ha! Turns out I’m a chile convert. 

We had a fun announcement this week! Even though the temple here is outside of the mission, we are going to start going as zones!  Our zone will be going September 9th! I am so excited!  I was actually just thinking about how much I missed the temple and wow! I am so grateful for a President that receives revelation for us and knows from the Lord what we need. He is just great and WE’RE GOING TO THE TEMPLE! 

I love you all lots!! I hope that you’re all happy and well!  Wow Mom, congrats on the new calling!  That will be so fun!! Plan camp after I get home eh? I can be your wingwoman!  Keep being righteous and creating our eternal family! I will be nerdy as ever when you see me next! You’re always in my prayers! 

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We arrived on Monday ... and Hermano was baptized on Saturday!  He has been working with the Elders for a long time and was so excited to be baptized!

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My new area is gorgeous! We are still figuring it out, but here is a little sample:

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Hermana Malacara

My new companion is Hermana Malacara.  She is from a town about two hours outside of Monterrey, Mexico.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mexico Week 23 -- Cambios

Dearest family!  Well first things first – I’m in a new area! I really don’t have much time because I just got here, but I have a new companion Hermana Malacara, and we are both new to the area!  Let’s just say we have some work to do!! I am super nervous and yet I just feel the Spirit super strong too!!

Also, thanks so much for all of the birthday fun!! I am so sorry I just don’t have time today, but thank everyone for me and know that I felt so loved!!

Okay now for the stories of the week.  So to practice my Spanish, I have been memorizing primary hymns in Spanish! I absolutely love it!! It is so cool to be able to sing them during the day. I love music!! I have tantas ganas to learn how to play the piano and actually understand music. One day right?

The elders had a baptism this week and it’s the family that I met on the bus!! They asked me to lead the music and while they were changing, we sang some primary hymns that the kids picked. I seriously feel part of this ward. The pictures are with their daughter Vania who is the sweetest. She always says ¨Hermana!!!!¨ and gives me the biggest hugs. Their baptism was so beautiful.

I am pretty sure my heart will forever be with Hermano Contreras. We taught him a couple of times last week and Saturday night we taught about the Atonement. I saw him in white again, just like I did five months ago. I remember receiving an impression that I needed to say some things and have him repeat it. I remember thinking, ¨What are we in first grade? I’m not doing that!¨ Then it came again even stronger and I said ok. I made him repeat after me: “I am a child of God. He loves me. I can overcome all of my weaknesses through Him. I have faith. I will act.¨

Afterward he said, “Those really are true words aren’t they?” He promised to go to church the following day. And what can you believe....HE WENT. We got there pretty early in the morning and he was getting ready. Then he tells us that his mujeres are late and he’ll see us there. We were so scared to leave! We went to church and can you believe it, two confirmations, two baby blessings, and then they got there, so late, but on time for the sacrament. The Lord really wanted him to be there I think and worked some miracles. I felt the most incredible spirit and he stayed the whole three hours.

Afterward we ate with the Flores family and they are just too cute!  They had Frozen birthday surprises and made my favorite food and I was about to tear up! They even bought me this pink skirt that is so pretty!

So then we visit los Infante. They made me an apple pie to take home and sang to me in English and Spanish. They finish singing and then the phone rings.  Turns out Hermana Buttars and I were both getting transferred!  Here come the water works! Then Hermana Infante all teared up says, ¨Wow, time goes by so fast.¨ We get the message started and Hermano Infante says that he really wants to be in sacrament meeting with her and says that he’s going next week.  He hasn’t been to church in about three months. The kids start crying and now everybody’s crying for a million different reasons!

 Then they take us to the Contreras house – Talk about a HOT MESS for our last lesson of the night. One look at Hermano Carlos and there come the tears! I felt really bad at first because we didn’t go back sooner.  I felt so bad and then just this peace came and we started talking about faith. I mentioned the Lord also tries the faith of the missionaries with my new announcement. I thought of the song, “Adonde Me Mandes Ire” or “I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go”, and how the Lord isn’t asking us He’s commanding us. I don’t even know where it came from, but the spirit was so strong and I felt like the prophet Moroni or something, calling everyone to repentance!  Hermano Carlos, the Lord is commanding you to repent and change and live the gospel, listen to Him. Family, the Lord is commanding you to forgive your dad and husband and help him. I have never felt that kind of power throughout a whole lesson. We cried a lot and hugged a lot and I almost broke a mission rule and hugged Hermano Carlos but a handshake did the job. Hermano Carlos tells us he’s going to buy the juice I like and he’ll be right back.  Please feel free to enjoy that splotchy faced picture with the juice. He tells us he knows it’s not much but it comes from the heart and he didn’t know anything about us leaving, so he couldn’t get anything else prepared sooner. I started talking to him one on one and I was just basically pleading with him to use the Atonement and be happy. He looks me in the eye and tells me ¨I know the Lord sent you here for a reason and I promise you I’m going to change.¨ He never promises unless he means it. I love the Lord, I love their family with my whole heart. I just have to come back at the end of the mission.  Seriously, we have to visit … not an option.

I know that the Lord sent me here to Tlaquepaque for a reason. I know that I have a new companion to serve and more people to find! I know that He loves me and that He trusts me. He knows what He’s doing even though I’m really not a big fan of this whole transfers thing. That’s where faith comes in right?  I know He’ll be by my side as we figure out this new area and new ward and be completely lost for this week! Ha! Ha! Ni modo right? But really, I love the Lord, I trust Him. One day I will understand it all and I just have this peace with me. We are going to really lose ourselves working here!!

I love you all so much and thanks again for the birthday wishes! Be good and be obedient and keep praying for your sweet missionary!

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