Monday, November 24, 2014

Will You Keep Up?


So this was my first week of divisions.  Divisions is when me and my comp split and I go with one of the hermanas of another area and she goes with the other.  And let me tell you, it sure was an adventure!

My first division was with Hermana Garcia.  Hermana Garcia is 27 and a lawyer.  Already graduated from College.  Super, super intellegent and dynamic.  She was MY sister training leader when I first got to the mission.  I must admit, when I arrived I felt rather intimidated.  She whipped out her planner and we went to work. 

We ran from appointment to appointment and she whacked her way through 6 pretty much perfectly taught Preach My Gospel lessons.  She did it all.  I sat there feeling very inadequete.  And because of my nervousness, I stumbled my way through simple Spanish sentences and felt self-conscious.  It was a humbling experience for sure.

 Because of all the appointments we had scheduled, we never stopped for lunch and didn't end up eating until about 7 at night.  Have you ever tried to teach the law of chastity in Spanish while being stared at by a really smart lawyer, with no food in your stomach, and a small cat crawling up your leg?  I have.  And let me tell you this, it was no walk in the park. 

Then when we finally got to the food, the Hermana that was feeding us informed us that the food was really spicy.  I said a prayer in my heart and went for it.  OH MY GOODNESS.  The spiciest food I have ever eaten in my whole entire existence.  Even my Mexican companion was struggling.  We were sweating, and crying, and I couldnt feel my tongue or my lips, or my FACE for that matter. 

We got home that night tired.  My comp-for-the-day was satisfied.  I on the other hand felt very, very inadequate.  I prayed, "God, are you sure about this?  Why on earth am I a sister training leader? What on earth do I have to show and teach this sister?  She's got it ALL  and then some."
Then the answer came. 
" YOU need to learn from HER."
Oh. Duh.

Maybe I'm not a leader because I speak the most perfect Spanish and maybe I'm not a leader because I teach the most perfect lessons.  Maybe I'm a leader because I need to learn from these sisters and let them learn from me in return.  A mutual love and growth thing.

The next divisions I had with a Bolivian convert who might be the most darling thing that ever happened.  I got us sufficiently lost, but we ended up contacting up a storm, buying an ice cream, and laughing our heads off.  All in all, a great learning experience for us both.


We had a mulitzona this week.  The president talked a lot about what to do if we get kidnapped and yada yada.  Oh Mexico.  But after all the safety talk there was a really powerful message.  There was a really awesome quote that I failed to write down entirely but basically it said this,
"The Lord is speeding up the work, are you keeping up?"

It struck me hard.  Am I keeping up?  This work is going to go on with or without me.  Am I fast-walking when I could be sprinting?  Am I talking to EVERYONE or just the 5 people I have written down as my goal?  Am I using every minute?  Am I giving it 100 percent or 85?  Am I being good or great? It inspired me to pick it up and go hard. 
In the words of the Madsen Family suburban, 

 So my new found love of tortillas and frijoles is growing bigger and bigger everyday because my comp taught me how to make tortillas from scratch and they were DELISH.
Pretty sure Im opening up a taco stand when I get back. Prepare yourselves.

Monday, November 17, 2014



A lot more hills.  Woot.  And not so woot... depends on how I'm feeling that day.  Lots of awesome people and moto taxis.  The ward [local Mormon congregation] here is HUGE.   There's like 200 people that come every week which is actually rather sad because there are over 900 members.  Yep.  We've been visiting a lot of less actives lately.  

I'm also REgetting used to being starred at, and all the pointing and wide eyes.  A white person around these parts is a VERY rare thing.  A white GIRL around these parts is unheard of.  The other day a whole bus full of people rubber-necked to get a good look at the white girl.  We just laughed.


Has a balcony.  A view.  And a microwave.  WHAT.  Still haven't used it yet.  I have forgotten how. It's all just too fancy, I can hardly handle it.  Also, this house never runs out of water.  Double what. And it has a water heater.  Huh?  and a shower head that works.  And a toilet that flushes and a closet. Basically I live in paradise now.

NEW COMP [companion]

I am once again back with a Mexican and it feels so good!  Hermana Rivas is from a state called Cuahuila.  She is a VERY sincere and loving person.  We are going to accomplish a lot in this area, I can just feel it.  Two hard working and animated missionaries and a God that answers prayers is just a perfect recipe for success.

A short but sweet letter this week.  Promise to send something a little more exciting next week.  Stay tuned because there is ALWAYS some sort of adventure going on here in the south of Mexico.

*sunrise sunset (#fiddlerontheroofforlife) My new apartment has a balcony and we get to see the sunrise every morning. Its pretty dang awesome.

*me and my new comp.  Hermana Rivas from Coahuila Mexico!  She's going to teach me how to make tortillas from scratch tonight.  She's pretty much fabulous.

*the view from a members home.  MUCH cooler in the day time get the picture.

*back to the hills....
Its climbs like this that make me wonder how on earth Im still gaining weight.
Its the tortillas. 
Las tortillas tienen la culpa.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Last Song

*Alejandro got dipped...not in chocolate but in the waters of baptism..


Alejandro got baptized on Saturday.  It also happened to be his birthday.  He was so darling and showed up early with his Book of Mormon in hand (he carries it with him everywhere.).  As we sat there and told him how very excited we were for him he began to cry.  Tears of excitement and joy spilled over, and we sat there together and just took in the moment.  

We met Alejandro the 25th of Agosto.  He was a reference from the Elders in El Centro.  They found him [by] contacting.  They sent us his number and we got a hold of him the next day and began teaching him.  He was golden right off the get go.  Truly prepared to receive this message.  He was eating it up.  Every word.  Every lesson.  Every hymn.  Each lesson, it just clicked more.  You could see it in his eyes. 

Then the 8th of November he was baptized.  When we first showed up he didn't even know who God was.  Now he is one of the most faithful members of the ward.  And all in about 2 months.  Miracles. Tender mercies. 

How very lucky and blessed I am to be able to help people turn their lives around.  It's not us.  It's Him.  We just get to be lucky enough to be there.  Oh how I love Alejandro. 

*we love him.

*more baptism guy. ever.


They called us last night to tell us the shocking news.  BOTH of us are being changed [transferred]. They are sending Hermana Crystal to the coast with Hermana Mamani (the bolivian) and they are sending me to Guelaguetza (still don't know how to spell it...) as a SISTER TRAINING LEADER. Um what? 

That's a big responsibility.  I remember so very well all the Sister Training Leaders I've ever had and how very much I've looked up to them, and how very much I've learned from them.  It's a scary task, but at the same time it's just another opportunity to love and help more people.  I hope I can be the kind of leader that people can really look to for a loving example. 

Every change I choose a theme to live by, and this change was "Uno por Uno..."  I think that translates to "One by one.."  In third Nephi 11:15, when Christ came to the Americas, He descended from Heaven.  I imagine it was somewhat like Justin Bieber coming out onto the stage at a major concert.  The people swarmed in masses to come see and know. 

And He [Christ] accepted them ALL one by one.  Uno por uno.  Why didn't He just hold out his hands nice and high so everybody could get a good look?  Why didn't He just greet the important leaders or the righteous?  Wasn't he worried about time?

But the thing is, He is Christ.  He cared and he CARES about every single last one of us.  One by one it says.  Person from [to?] person.  So that they could know for themselves.  So they could feel it.  So they could understand.  And nothing has changed.  He is still the same.  He loves us and knows us and cares for us one by one. 

Not just the leaders or the rich or the perfect.  He knows us.  He knows you.  Your name.  Your strengths.  And your weaknesses.  And wants you to come and to know for yourself.  Maybe I will never see the living Christ and touch the prints on his hands in this earthly life, but He still calls to me daily to come unto him through my ACTIONS and know for myself. 

I want to be a Sister Training Leader that helps and cares for the individual.  One by one.  Uno por Uno.  Look up the verse, and read it, and then think about what actions YOU need to take to feel and to know. 

Also, when we heard about the big changes [transfer] we began to call our converts and investigators. We told them we loved them, and we wrote text messages to those who didn't answer.  Then we cried.  Big fat tears.  Because we love them.  Oh how we love them. 

It's like leaving your child.  All we do all day and all night is pray for them.  Plan for them.  Teach them.  Think about them.  Study for them.  And then we have to leave.  And its like a dagger to the heart. 

German sent us a really sweet message. And our investigator Emma told us she would never forget us and promised to keep reading the scriptures and praying.  Oh how I adore these people.  My heart.

*it's a message from German.  It  says "we are never going to forget you guys."


So before you think I'm talking about the Nicholas Sparks book or the really awful Miley Cyrus movie, just know that was not my intention.  

As we waited in the big bus stop where everybody meets up for changes, I felt a tap on my shoulder. And I turned around to find ALEJANDRO.  He just happened to be walking past the bus stop and saw us.  We shook his hand a million and one times, took pictures, and talked about all our good times together. 

He whipped out his Book of Mormon (carries it with him everywhere still) and asked if we could sing one last song together.  He loves the hymns.  Every lesson we have with him we sing, at the very least, 2 hymns. 

So there we sat, in the middle of a busy crowed and loud bus station, and we sang.  With everyone starring on - we sang.  And you could just feel the love.  It was almost tangible.  It's a moment I'll never forget.  It was our last song. 

And we watched him walk away smiling and waving.  Oh how I remember him when we first found him.  Sad. lonely. Insecure.  And the man we saw walking away today was someone completely different.  He glowed.  He smiled.  He shined.  I love him.  And I know God led those Elders to contact him and that we were a part of his life for a reason.

*love. when Alejandro found us in the bus station


German blessed the Sacrament this week.  He showed up in a white shirt and tie (a BIG deal for him), and I definitely fogged up a bit when I saw him.  Love that man.  So very much.

*district. he "last supper" at our last district meeting.  Love these kids.  So much.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Chicken Salad Sandwich


Alejandro is our investigator.  He is hilarious.  On Sunday he showed up to church, and in the middle of fast and testimony meeting he stands up, walks up to the stand, and gives the most darling and sincere (not to mention powerful) testimony I've ever heard.  Then in gospel principles class when the teacher was getting to know everyone asked Alejandro,
"Are you a member?"
"Yep," replied Alejandro.
We all paused.
"Wait, no your not!" shouted someone from the back of the classroom.
"Oh ya, I'm not, I'm an investigator." Alejandro responded cheerfully.
He's so golden he even forgets he's not a member. 
So darling.

Hermana Crystal and I were talking about it the other day, and we decided that our investigators are like our children.  All we do all day is work for them, think about them, pray for them, plan for them, laugh about them, cry about them, and talk about how adorable they are and how much we love them. It's the best.


We felt an impression to go see a less active that never comes to church.  We sat down and asked how she was.  It was dia de los muertos so everybody was remembering and honoring their loved ones that had passed away.  Her mom died about two years ago and she needed a listening ear. 

She launched in and talked for about an hour and a half to two hours.  We sat and we listened.  We nodded.  And we laughed.  And we cried.  We probably said about two words the whole time.  She talked things out and in the end she came full circle and came back to the conclusion that she needs to go to church.  We nodded.  She then asked us to come by for her Sunday morning because she was going.  

Sometimes as human beings we think we need to talk to people, give them the answers, tell them how it is, find the solution for them.  But, sometimes we just need to listen.  Nod.  Smile.  Hold a hand. And maybe even cry a little.  And in the end they get there on their own because its not us that 's bringing the message.  It's not us that's changing lives.  It's God.  We're just along for the ride.


The wife of the president of the mish invited us to lunch at her house.  AMERICAN FOOD!!  She fed us chicken salad sandwiches and crepes and I almost cried tears of joy.  It did however feel very odd to eat without a tortilla.

As I sat there at a table full of beautiful sister missionaries I was struck.  Every single one of those women were just such amazing people.  From different countries, situations, personalities, looks, opinions, but all of us were united as one.  All best friends. 

They all glowed with the light of Christ. What an honor it was to stand around the piano with them as our mission president's wife played hymns and we all sang together.  Women united to fight for right. Women trying to be like Christ.  I felt so very privileged to count myself as one of them.  We laughed and we sang and we took a lot of silly pictures.  Oh how lucky I am to serve a mission. How very very lucky.

*me and a GIANT bread that our members make in a wood burning oven. They sent us home with a mini version of this piece. It was still hot.

*double chinning it hard core.  Eating nothing but fried meat, beans, rice, cheese, and tortillas can do that to a person.  Is anyone else out there gaining the poundage or is it just me(xico)?

*there's the iguana that was in my clothing last week.