A SKETCHY BUS
The other day our leaders called me to let me know that we would be having a Zone Conference in the city. So we ran to the right corner of the neighborhood bright and early, we hoped in a taxi with about a million other people smashed in there. Then we hopped out in front of a giant grocery store and ran across several huge and very busy roads. Hopped on a giant sketchy bus and sat down next to some Mexican thugs (doo rag and baggy pants even exist way down here).
Somewhere along the way in that giant and crazily driven bus, I realized how crazy my life is right now and how incredibly normal it felt for me to navigate my way around a giant city in a foreign country in a language that 7 months ago I had no idea how to speak.
I knew how to direct the Taxi man to where we wanted to go. I knew how to hop on and off the sketchy bus. I knew how much we needed to pay and how much time it would take to get there.
To get to the meeting and back we caught 3 different buses and 2 different taxis. I chatted it up with the people on the buses in efforts to contact, and when we got back to our area and headed off to our next appointment I felt content.
I sure have come a long way. I used to get panicked when my companion would go to the bathroom because then I'd be left alone to talk to the people all by myself. And now I'm doing it! I'm leading, I'm teaching, I'm navigating, I'm contacting, I'm teaching. I'm being a missionary. I'm being a good missionary!
I am the very furthest thing away from perfect, but I'm TRYING, and I'm seeing progress. It's funny how sometimes my greatest revelations and epiphanies seem to happen when I'm smashed in the back of a smelly taxi, while the driver drives like a CRAZY person.
It's in those moments that I'm glad I'm a missionary. I'm happy to be Hermana Matesen, sitting in a sketchy bus, and making small talk with Mexican thugs. My life is awesome.
THE BITE IN THE BUTT
So there's a lot of mean dogs here in Mexico, and I've pretty much gotten down how to avoid them. I trained my comp, in my dog whispering ways, and just told her to look ahead and walk calmly and quickly away from wherever the dog is.
It's usually worked for me thus far on the mission, but the other day. in our efforts to contact a less active that chatted our ear off about yoga and the indians for a good half hour, two giant dogs came running out of who knows where, and I took off speed walking and Hermana Crystal got attacked.
OK, "Attacked" is kind of a strong word, but one of the dogs bit her. In the butt. I heard her yell when it got her and the mother instinct came out. I ran at the dogs and yelled as loud as I could. I threw a few rocks at them and then grabbed my comp and got THE HECK OUTTA THERE.
I was mad. I hated those stupid dogs. Then Hermana Crystal and I realized the humor in the situation and how a Mexican dog had in fact just bitten her butt and we ended up laughing our heads off for the next 15 minutes or so. Our lives.
So I've been to quite a lot of church activities in my time, but I had NO IDEA how truly difficult it is to plan and put on these sorts of things. We planned a Dessert Night and we were inviting EVERYONE and their dog to come. We got everyone committed to bring a dessert and to bring a friend. We had someone bring speakers for the music, someone bring a projector for the video, and someone bringing napkins and cups. We thought it out nice and good.
The activity was supposed to start at 7:00, but from my ´past experiences with Mexican parties I assumed everyone would show up at 7:30. I was wrong. We got there at 6:40 and there was already 8 people sitting outside waiting for someone to get there and open up the church and over half of those people were INVESTIGATORS!!!! We were pumped.
We jumped right on in and got all of them involved helping us set up chairs and tables. Then the bishop showed up at about 7:20 even though he said he would be there at 6:30... We were running around trying to welcome everyone, and at the same time were trying to set-up everyone and at the same time trying to figure out what we were going to do, and in what order... but in the end, we finally got everyone sat down and the projector set up and we turned on a short Mormon message called, Gracias A El. I think its called Because of Him, in English.
We showed it, and while it was playing I realized I hadn't really prepared anything to say afterwards. So the movie ends and I stand up in front of about 50 or so people and the words just came. I bore STRONG testimony. And then dearest sweetest bestest Hermana Crystal, who just moments before had been bitten in the butt, and who is not a speak-in-front-of-crowds person, bore the sweetest testimony ever. WOOT!
Then they dived into the desserts. We didn't even get to talk to about half of the investigators who came because so many showed up! We were going wild writing down addresses and phone numbers and getting appointments for the week. It was a success.
It was far from perfect, but in the end everyone went home full of cake and happy. I am happy. I want cake. There were a few nay sayers who had some negative comments to share with me afterwards (don't you just hate negative people?) and I kindly hugged them and thanked them for coming. Everyone else left happy and with a plate of Jello to take home. (EVERYONE brought Jello. Oh Mexico. I love you)
The next morning at church we had FIVE - let me say it again, FIVE INVESTIGATORS AT CHURCH. That, my friends, is this ward's [church congregation] new record. And I got to teach Gospel Doctrine [Sunday School class] again because the teacher didn't show up (surprise), and it actually turned out pretty well again!
Mario showed up. Mario who we've been inviting to church for weeks now finally came! He is listening to the Jehovas Witnesses and us, and he's in the process of deciding which is the best path for him. He told us when we come by it feels different.
I was so dang happy to see him I almost broke those dang rules and hugged the man. God is listening to my prayers! He is making miracles happen. Gosh Dang Mexican miracles.
*It rained. I threw on a mixture of colorful rain gear and then trudged through a muddy field and then found out the people we were going to visit didn't have time for us. At least I got to put my red rain boots to good use!
*Our Noche de Postres was a success!!