Monday, February 23, 2015

The Kite


Just sitting around and waiting for a mototaxi when a cute lady walked up with cool sandals.  We started talking to her, and she saw our name tags (and my white face) and asked us if we were Mormon missionaries.  "YES!" we responded unanimously. 

"I think my boyfriend is a member of your church because he has some best friends that look just like you guys!" she said.  She then whipped out her phone and began showing us a bunch of darling pictures of a rough around the edges Mexican guy and two darling sister missionaries. 

"He always calls and tells me about his two best friends who are helping him learn about Jesus!  He keeps telling me that he wants to get married in one of your fancy churches or something." 

"Wait, the TEMPLE?" we asked.

"Ya something like that!" she said.

Then her boyfriend started calling her.  She answered,  "You're not going to believe who I'm with right now!  I'm with missionaries, just like your best friends!"

We wrote down her address and number, and she jumped into a mototaxi and disappeared.  It was so cool to feel connected to another companionship of missionaries so very far away.  Sister missionary pride.  I also loved the fact that she referred to the missionaries not as his missionaries but as his best friends. 

Being a sister missionary is the best.  God puts people in our path for a reason.  I just know it.  We're going to visit her this week and get her baptized so that she and her boyfriend can make it to the temple.  Together.  And all thanks to a loving God and 4 gringa missionaries.  Love it.


So as a Sister Training Leader I get to help a lot of hermanas and see how things are with them and their companion and their area and their investigators and all that jazz.  It's an amazing and a wonderful experience, and I love the opportunity to be able to reach out and help more of my fellow missionaries and fellow Oaxacan people, but sometimes there are problems. 

This week there were problems.  Big problems.  Disobedience, companionship issues, ward issues, and just about everyone looked to me for the answers.  Adults, teenagers, young people, everyone turned to the 20 year old kid from another country for the answers and the justice and the solutions.  I felt very inadequate and unsure.  But as I sat there, and people spilled their issues and problems, the answer came to my mind. 

"Tell them to ask ME what I think."  Here I was trying to hand these people the perfect answer on a silver platter when all they needed to do was ask God.  He's the one with the solutions and the answers.  He's the one who knows what's best. 

All I had to do was be the messenger, to remind them who REALLY has all the answers.  I'm not the message, I'm not the answer, HE IS.  All I've got to do is point them to heaven and help WILL come. It was cool to be able to be an instrument in the hands of God.  To give a reassuring hug, a word of encouragement, and remind people of something they already know.  That HE knows what to do and that if we ask HE will give us answers.  I know that he hears us and I know that he answers.  Always.


We had a multizona conference this week.  A TON of missionaries got together and president Madsen PLANCHED us (I'm not sure how to translate the term planchar, it literally means to iron something, but it also basically means that he spoke very strongly and directly) about obedience.

There are some problemitas having to do with that subject here in the mission right now, but I absolutely loved all that he had to say about it!  At one point in the meeting he had us all stand up. He then went through our daily schedule and all the things we are asked to do in a day and asked us if we didn't follow that time schedule or rule to please sit down.  After every rule and hour more and more missionaries sat down. 

In the end only about 5 or so were left standing.  Me and my companion were some of those few.  It felt good to know that I really was doing my best and giving it my all and being obedient to ALL the missionary rules.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not perfect.  Neither am I tooting my own flute, but I just felt such peace and motivation and joy to be standing there.  Being obedient is not following orders blindly or giving away your freedom or rights.  Being obedient sets you free. 

The mission president told a story of a father and his young son that went to go fly a kite.  The son asked the father how the kite stayed in the air.  His father asked him what he thought.  The boy responded that it was the wind or the air that kept it up flying.  The father told him that in fact it was the rope tied onto the kite that made it fly.  Thats not true, said the little boy.  The rope holds the kite back and doesn't let it fly as high or as great as it could without it.  Let it go then, said the father.  So the little boy did, and the kite fell to the ground.  Sometimes we see the commandments of God as limitations or rules.  But thanks to the rope (the commandments God give us) we can fly.  We are free and we can SOAR.  So be obedient ok?  Ok.  Let's fly and not fall.


So in the last 4 months or so, that I've been in my area, we've had very little success getting people to come to church.  We pass by [stop by their houses?] for them, we call them the night before to remind them, we send members by to give them rides, we've prayed, we've fasted, but just about every single dingle week they don't show up.  And its been hard. 

We wake up super early and walk a million miles just to show up to an empty house or to have them tell us they actually can't go, even when the night before they told us they would.  It's been a trial of faith.  

This week we waited out front.  I prayed, a powerful prayer in my heart that the millions of people we invited would come.  AND SOMEONE ACTUALLY CAME.  Yes, they came 20 minutes late but they came!!  It's a couple and their young son and they looked so clean and fixed up and so happy to be at church!  We found them a few weeks ago helping them carry heavy bags of cement up to their house. 

They told us the second time we went to visit them that they wished we would come everyday because when we are with them they feel happy and peaceful and things go better in their day. During church their little son toddled around and hugged every child that he came across.  It was hilarious.

They were happy to be there.  They live in very humble conditions and they don't have much of a formal education but they can feel what we teach and that's the most important part.  Maybe they don't understand much of what he teach them, but they know its true.  Because they feel it.


We watched the movie Meet the Mormons today as a special zone activity.  If you haven't already seen it GO and LOOK FOR IT and WATCH IT.  Right now.  It was so cool to see a peek into the lives of so many inspiring members of the church from all over the world and all walks of life.  There are just so many amazing people out there doing amazing things and living amazing lives.  I'm so glad to be here living this life and getting to be surrounded by so many stellar humans.  Live is good.

*thanks for the packages! everyone hates me because I get so many letters and pacakges here on the mission. "Why does everyone love you so much?" an elder asked. haha I LOVE PACKAGES and LETTERS thank you thank you thank you

*me and one of my favorite hermanas at the multizona

*awkward family photo with my favorite people.
hermana Galvan from san diego and herman Mitchell from Roy Utah

*this is a tlayuda. It is delicious. And full of guacamole and frijoles and all sorts of other delicious wonderful goodness. oh Oaxaca, I love you.

*sister missionary pride

*we climbed a MEAN hill  and dodged several evil dogs to get to this view and the family of less actives that lives here.

*our little buddies. The one in the yellow shirt now knows how to pray all by himself. He prayed for us and our families and all the people who go to church with us.  His parents aren't all that into the message, but I hope that someday he finds missionaries and remembers the two Americans who taught him how to pray. 

Monday, February 16, 2015


*Me and a little old lady.  Her name is Catalina and she is 90 years old and still walks around like she's 20. She doesn't speak hardly any Spanish because she speaks an ancient dialect.  So cool.  Tons of people around here are like this.  I love asking them how to say basic things in their dialect and then writing it down.


So as Sister Training Leaders they are starting to give us more responsibilities.  The Zone Leaders called us late one night to inform us that we would be teaching half of a three hour training meeting that was happening in about 24 hours.  So that was fun.  

The mission is all about learning how to do things last minute, but at the same time teaches you to plan ahead and to be prepared.  We decided to spice things up and try to make it fun with the different subject we had been given to talk about.  We shared examples, asked good questions, told stories, and even used costumes and props at one point.  When we talked about using time wisely we read the scripture....

¶Behold, I will send for many fishers , saith the Lord , and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. 

We then talked about the difference between a hunter and a fisher.  I dressed up as a fisher and put on a sombrero and held a stick with a handmade cardboard fish tied to it.  My companion dressed up like a hunter and we made the point that a fisher waits for good things to come to him, but the hunter goes out and gets it. 

He goes and makes his dreams a reality.  No sitting and waiting around for him.  We applied it to the mission, but the thing of it is that it is super applicable to life in general.  So many of us sit around waiting for great things to happen in our lives but unless we get up and take some serious action nothing will ever happen. 

Maybe a fish or two might pass by, but wouldn't you rather have a bear?  Or a deer?  Or something large that hunters hunt?  It's the same with blessings and our potential as children of God, and as human beings.  

We can accept the fact that we are average or good enough but wouldn't you rather be above average? Wouldn't you rather be great?  I know I would.  This week we really applied that scripture and we've been giving it all we've got.  We talk to EVERYONE, and we don't waist a minute.  We are hunters, not fishermen.  What will you choose to be this week?


Easily the craziest Valentines Day I've ever had in my life.  We started the day ending divisiones with our darling hermanitas who we love so very dearly, and we headed back to our area.  My poor companion was just about dying of stomach pain because just about every house they went to the day before gave them something big and fattening to eat and she was suffering the consequences. 

We headed out and taught a few lessons and then headed to the house where we were going to eat. We had to walk down a SUPER long dusty dirt road for a good half hour before we got there and once we got there the food wasn't quite ready, so we started checking out their yard and looking at all the animals they had. 

They had some goats and a very cute chicken romping around the patio.  I wanted to take a picture with the chicken (the chicken is like a member of the family, it has a name and everything) and then I passed the chicken to my companion so that she could have a cute chicken picture too, but then out of nowhere the rooster/husband of the chicken we were holding attacked my companion!!  YES my companion got attacked by a giant evil rooster chicken. 

It scared me so bad I almost dropped the camera and then we had to go and clean up my companion because the rooster got dirt and feathers all over her.  Then we ate the food and had some coconut flavored jello for dessert (thats a new flavor) and headed out to look for a reference. 

My companion was still dying of stomach pain but managed to hobble her way to the next street over to knock a door or two and ask for help finding the street where a reference lived.  The first door we knocked was just some random house that happened to be nearby and the kids who opened the door looked really surprised.  "Wait, are you guys Mormons?" they asked.  "Yep!" we responded happily. "Were mormons too!" they said back. 

Out of all the houses we could have knocked, we just happened to come across a house where 3 less active families live and we invited them to church and they came!!  Super awesome.  So after we found them, we headed out again and at this point hermana Mitchell was just about to fall on the ground and die, but then she announced that she needed to go to the bathroom NOW and there was no one who we knew who lived nearby so we contacted some random lady standing outside and asked if we could use her bathroom. Haha 

Just imagine living out in the middle of nowhere Mexico and having two white girls in skirts show up on your porch asking to use your bathroom.  Her reaction was hilarious.  She almost told us no but then she saw my poor companion all hunched over and in pain and she said yes.  So we were about to walk into her house and I tripped over a rock and went down HARD just about taking out the cute little old lady that just told us we could use her bathroom.  I thankfully caught myself relatively well but it still kind of hurt (more my pride then my body but....its fine). 

Then later on that night as we were walking along again, I fell AGAIN, but this time I went down even HARDER and scrapped my knee up pretty bad and twisted my ankle, but we couldn't go home because we still had appointments and everyone thinks that sister missionaries are big pansies and it didn't really hurt that bad and it wasn't bleeding too much so we kept going. 

We made it to the appointment which was nearby and the hermana cleaned my wound pretty good and we taught her a lesson [missionary lesson].  Then we had to go home and we ended the night making no-bake cookies! wooo. 

All in all it was one strange Valentines Day.  Getting attacked by roosters and using strangers bathrooms and falling a million times.  But it all ended well with no-bake cookies and listening to efy music. 

My ankle was a bit bruised, but doesn't hurt to walk on.  And my knee is a little scrapped and bruised but as long as I kneel on one knee I'm good to go!  Valentines Day in Mexico is a Valentines Day I will never forget.

*me and Luisa the chicken


No, not the rapper but the animal.  So we randomly ran into my convert Alejandro this last week and invited him to church, and on Sunday we showed up to the church and we found him sitting outside ready to go!  Turns out he had to move for his work situation and is now living in our ward's [congregation's] boundaries! WOO! 

He came up to us and told me that he bought me a Valentines Day present. He handed me a big bag, and I looked inside and saw a cute little stuffed animal with a bow on it.  Then that stuffed animal started to move and breath.  It was a puppy.  Alejandro bought me a puppy.  

I thanked him very much, but explained to him that as missionaries we're not allowed to have pets. He was very understanding and said that he would take good care of her for me and that all I had to do was pick out a name.  I named it Ruby. haha. 

We then didn't know what to do with it because church was about to start so we just took it into Sacrament Meeting with us.  It was hilarious.  It whined a few times during the prayer and everyone started looking around to see what was making the funny noise.  Then, after a while, the poor thing was crying.  Alejandro took it out of the bag and put its cute little heart patterned puppy sweater on and it fell asleep on his lap.  

Then, after Sacrament Meeting, the dog peed on the floor.  Cool.  The whole situation was just so awkward and funny, I could hardly control my giggles.  A baby pitbull, just hanging out in the church. 

It was great to see Alejandro again and he was so excited to show me his baptism pictures that he has on his phone and talk about how he went to a family home evening last week and has been learning more hymns.  It was a crazy Sunday, but it was full of some good laughs.  Love that crazy Alejandro and the cute dog he gave me, even though I had to give it right back to him.

*me and the baby pitbull

*This is where we study.  My desk is the one on the left.  Full of pictures of my favorite people and favorite scriptures and favorite pictures of Christ.  It's where I spend most of my time, if I'm home.

*Our apartment is super fresa (fancy).  The room on the right is where we sleep.  The room on the left is where I keep my clothes and stuff to get ready in the morning.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Hard Work

*a little peek into my world


So I would like to apologize in advance for the bad grammar and messy typing.  This keyboard that I'm using right now is about a million and one years old and its super stiff and sometimes the keys stick....So anyways...this last week was awesome. 

Me and my new companion, Hermana Mitchell, killed it this week.  We gave it all we had.  We talked with every single last person we saw.  We were bold.  We were loving.  He had fun!  We practiced and applied new things, and we basically just turned our area around. 

Last week we had 18 lessons, 4 new investigators, 5 lessons with member present.  This week we taught 34 lessons, had 15 new investigators, and taught 11 lessons with members present.  It was a great feeling.  We invited everyone to baptism in the first lesson.  We gave everyone a Book of Mormon.  

We used every last second, and we gave it our all.  Not just with our actions, but with our heart. We're feeling hopeful about these next few weeks.  Looks like God is finally starting to answer all those pleadings.  

He is in the details. Leading and guiding us to the people who are ready.  It wasn't a perfect week, but it sure was a good one!  We also worked a lot with the young women [ages 12-17] in our ward [congregation].  We invited them to come with us and it was fun helping animate them to serve missions too.  We were able to show them that the mission is hard but also very fun.  Love them.


So we were searching for the address of a contact we had made the previous week and we ran across a really friendly lady.  We asked if we could use her bathroom because no one we had gone to visit all day had been home and we were dying.  She let us in and before we left we asked if we could share a message.  She accepted and we sat down and started getting to know her a bit first.  And get this: SHE LIVED IN CAPITOLA FOR 12 YEARS. 

What in the world.  Her son, who was also 20 years old, was born in San Jose aaaaaand a ton of her family still lives in Santa Cruz.  I couldn't believe it!  SUCH a small world.  We asked if the missionaries could visit her family in Santa Cruz and she said YES, but she doesn't know their addresses so we're still waiting on that.


I once again organized and carried out the dessert night activity.  I had all the things assigned out to different ward [congregation] members and about half of them didn't show up, so that was kind of stressful.  We had 40 people signed up to bring a dessert and about 20 showed up and half of those 20 showed up an hour late.

We played games with desserts like putting a spoon in your mouth and putting jello on it and doing a race.  Also a hanging donut that you have to eat without hands.  It was all sorts of craziness, but in the end a ton of people showed up and we left with 5 or 6 references and 4 appointments. 

As always there was a nay sayer.  A less active that decided to come up to us afterwards and tell us all that he didn't like about the activity, and that he would have done it differently.  He rambled on for a while and let a stream of criticisms and cynical things out of his mouth. 

We just nodded.  I then politely interrupted, "Thank you so much for your suggestions hermano! You have a great night!" and we left him standing there in his little cloud of negativeness.  

I think my before-mission-self would have made a rude and clever come back.  Something sarcastic to get back at him for being so rude.  But I didn't.  I didn't even feel a desire to.  Well...maybe a little. But all in all it was a success!  

We brought together at least a hundred people or more, and we found the most darling little old people I ever did see.  One of them had no teeth and a sombrero.  The other only had one eye.  I sat down by them and grabbed their hands and thanked them for coming.  They had such twinkly little eyes (or in the case of the wife "eye") and they were just so thrilled to be inside a Mormon church.

We have an appointment with them this week.  As I explained to them who we are and what we do as missionaries, I mentioned that we came from very far away to share what makes us happy.  "I know," said the tiny little old lady.  "I can see it in the light in your eyes."  I love little Mexican people.  A lot.

*the elder without glasses is the one we sent a package to a while back!  The one who sent us a picture of the temple!  He came up to me the other day and told me who he was and how much the package meant to him, and to tell you guys thank you!  So darling mom.

*me and my new comp at church.
She doesn't look like a fellow gringa but she is.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Contacting it Up


This week was full of a lot (but i mean A LOT) of contacting.  Lots of appointments fell through. Lots of people weren't home and lots of people just straight up told us that they were done listening, or that their schedules are just too busy to meet with us anymore. 

Instead of getting down on ourselves or throwing a pity party we decided to make it fun.  We decided to contact but in creative ways, asking funny questions, pretending to be lost, finding the biggest or fanciest houses and knocking the door.  We found A LOT of very interesting people. 

One of my favorites was an artist. We knocked his door, and when he opened it up it was like opening the closet door to Narnia.  His house was like falling into Alice in Wonderland.  Every inch of the ceilings were adorned with very brightly colored fake flowers.  Every inch of the wall was covered with a painting of a woman.  All the furniture was hand made and wooden and rustic looking, and everything was covered in a thick layer of dust.  It looked that no one actually lived there.  It was kind of spooky. 

We started chatting and explained who we were and what we do.  We asked about his family and he told us that he just lives with his mother who is more than 90 years old!  WHAT.  We went in to see her.  She was so tiny and so frail.  At first I wasn't sure if she was actually alive or no.  But then she spoke.  She told us her name, and we asked if we could sing a hymn, but her son said no.  Nothing about religion in his house. 

As we left I felt sorry for them.  They seemed so locked up and far away from everyone.  They seemed sad.  I so badly wanted to help them understand or help them see that our message could change their lives and help them in their trails and problems.  But the answer was no, so we left and continued on in our adventure. 

As we left the room of the tiny little super frail old lady, I saw a giant pile of medications.  Pills, creams, syrups, just about everything you could imagine, and the word crossed my mind HEALING. We all need to be healed in one way or another.  Physically, emotionally, spiritually.  So many seek the answer in a pill, a book, a website, in just about a million other ways -  "answers" to their problems. 

What they need is Christ.  He heals.  He helps.  I was reading a talk about healing the other day (It's called Healing = Courage + Action + Grace , go read it right now).  It talked about how healing hurts, but that the hurt helps us become better and stronger. 

On my mission I've seen and felt a lot of hurt and a lot of healing.  And just like it says in the talk "I have come to realize that my Savior cares more about my growth than He does about my comfort."

Sometimes we ask why God lets us hurt.  He lets us hurt because He knows that it will help us become better and stronger and more capable of giving love & healing to others.  It helps us become more like His son, Jesus Christ. 

So when the people reject, when we contact all the day long, I just think that the Lord must really care about my growth.  I know that he has people prepared for us, we've just gotta go and find them that's all.

Love you all.  Christ LIVES and He heals better than anyone I know.  Let Him in and let Him help you,ok?  Ok.