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.
A HUG FOR EVERYONE
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.
MEET THE MORMONS
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.