HAPPY NEW YEAR
My new years celebration consisted of eating a bowl of cereal and going to bed to the sound of crazy Mexican music and loud exploding noises. My companion waited up until midnight. I didn't. Haha, I started off the year doing what I do best. Sleeping.
This week I had divisions with a red headed Guatemalan. Yep. Her hair is natural, and she is a Guatemala native. She's pretty awesome. We spent the day laughing and talking and contacting and teaching the gospel.
At the end of it all she thanked me. "I thought all the capacitadoras (sister training leaders) were all the same. Serious and scary. But you're different! We had fun and I still learned a ton!"
It was true, we both learned a ton and we both had fun. That's what life (and divisions) is all about. Learn a ton and have fun.
During the week, the Zone Leaders called us and let us know that one of the hermanitas in Etla had suffered a death in the family and was feeling down. We went to action and made her a poster and a breakfast, grabbed a bus, crossed a crazy busy street, caught another bus, walked through a wild Mexican market and made it to their house as a surprise.
There were a lot of hugs and love. We then shared a special message about our divine missions and the difference of one. The spirit was almost tangible and tears filled all our eyes as we talked about the people we were becoming and the changes we were making. We talked about the example and the influence we have on our future families and all the amazing people we've met here in Oaxaca. We ended with a group hug and headed out. Back to work.
Being a leader is such a great opportunity to serve.
SETTING OUR SIGHTS ON THE TEMPLE
Me and my companion set a goal to take everyone and their dog to the temple this change. We've been inviting mostly less actives and recent converts to help them visualize and feel more excited about making the temple their goal.
And with us as their ticket we get to take them into the waiting room and one of the temple presidency always comes out and shares a little message. This last week we took with us a less active and a recent convert.
The temple is the best. Every time we go it renews my desire and conviction to always have my life centered and focused on the temple. The temple represents forever. A little piece of heaven. Eternities changed. Salvation gained. Forever families. I love the temple.
The best thing about the Oaxacan temple is its location. It's in the middle of a super commercial area with a ton of stores and shops and cars and craziness. But the second you step through the gates and onto the temple grounds the noise melts away and the craziness stops and there's just an overwhelming and almost tangible feeling of peace. Just a contrast. I will always have a special place in my heart for this tiny temple.
NOCHE DE HOGAR
We had a family home evening with some teenagers to try and animate a less active into coming back to church. We talked about the temple. We set goals and shared our hopes and dreams for the future. We laughed. A lot. And we felt the spirit. A ton.
I love my jovenes! I feel like they're my little brothers and sisters and that I've got to do my part to look out for them and be their friend and set an example. So many good kids. All over the world.
Called some future investigators to see when we could teach them only to find out that they were, in that very moment, moving. We asked if we could help and they said "WHY NOT!" So we ran on over and helped them move their few belongings into the back of an old Mexican truck. "Hop on in!" they said. So we did. They handed me a GIANT catholic idol of baby jesus to hold on my lap and off we went.
So here's the thing about being a white girl in the south of Mexico. EVERYONE STARES and points and double takes and giggles and just about everything else. But put that white girl in the back of a truck, holding a giant ceramic baby jesus and now THAT is something to stare at.
Everyone who saw me stared and laughed. And I laughed right along with them because it was, in fact, HILARIOUS. Oh how I wish I could've gotten a photo.
When we got there. we helped them unpack their few belongings and sang a hymn and had a prayer with them. The spirit filled their new rented room and we left feeling content for having done a little good and for having laughed so very much.
I ATE A WORM
I ate a worm this week. At least, I think it was a worm. It kind of looked more like a maggot to me. It was cooked and thoroughly covered in chile powder so I decided to eat it. I ended up eating 2. One with my pistachio flavored jello and the other plain. It was a 100 percent Oaxacan experience alright.
Today as a special zone activity we went ice skating. And I got to wear pants for the first time in a year. It was strange to wear pants in public. I felt very....normal. It was a miracle I got my body to fit into my tiny pants. Serving a mission in Mexico means getting fat. It's unavoidable. Tortillas and meat everyday does that to a person.
The Americans spent the majority of the time picking up the Latinos from off the ice (where they had fallen) and it was an afternoon of laughs and soggy bums. We have awesome zone leaders.
*sights set on the temple
*Our Etla visit
*me and the redheaded Guatemalan
*noche de hogar con los jovenes
*eating a worm with pistachio flavored jello. SO Mexico
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*eating a worm
*the first time I've worn pants in a year. It was a struggle getting them on. Mexico has this way of fattening a person. [this picture did not download]
*selfies with my beaten and bruised companion. I'm pretty sure she fell more than all of us put together. But she smiled the whole time.
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*a small video of me and Hermana Crystal cleaning the baptismal font for the baptism of Alejandro. I'm sending it to test out sending videos. Does it work?