Monday, May 25, 2015

Mexican Sign Language



So here in the Itsmo everyone has a mango tree (or many mango trees) in their yards. We usually sit outside for lessons because no one has air conditioning, and being inside is just so hot no one can handle it, so we sit outside in the shade of the trees. 

The only problem is when a strong wind comes by, the ripe mangos come loose and fall. These are pretty big mangos we're talking about here and falling from a long distance. It's actually pretty hilarious because during lessons when a big gust of wind blows by everyone holds their Book of Mormon above their head and crouches down in hopes that a giant mango won't fall from the sky and take them out. One fell into Hermana Hancock's lap yesterday. It was pretty hilarious and mildly painful....
Oh Oaxaca, we really do love you.


There was a day this week that we had so perfectly planned I could hardly handle it. We had TONS of set appointments, members that were going to come teach with us, and great plan Bs. Every single dingle plan and plan b fell through. 

We walked. A LOT. In the hot hot hot sun. We sweated a lot. Contacted a ton. And just had a loooong day. At the end of the day as we hobbled into the house clutching our sweat rags (everyone here carries around a little wash cloth to wipe the sweat off their faces) we felt content. We fought a good fight. We had very few lessons, but we gave it our all. 

And that's what is so fantastic about the gospel! That my best is ENOUGH even if it wasn't much! Isn't that just the best? Your best is enough. Done. Thanks to Him. 


So we found a kid the other day who's parents are both deaf and mute and we keep running into him around town and he has been teaching us little bits of sign language. Fun fact: Mexican sign language and Sign language in the United States is different! So he taught us some basics and we finally found him and his mom at home the other day. 

We taught them a short lessons in broken sign language (and some made up sign language on my part) and the little boy translated the rest. It was a really powerful lesson. We taught a few basic principles, God and the family. 

At the end of the lesson the little boy asked to say the closing prayer. He stood and closed his eyes and signed and spoke a very simple and very beautiful prayer. It was probably one of the most sincere prayers I've ever heard (or seen) in my life. He asked God to help make his family eternal and to help him be baptized. 

As he stood there and signed the prayer he almost seemed to glow. As we all did the sign for the word amen we clasped our hands near to our heart and I offered a silent prayer of gratitude to God for these beautiful moments that I get to be a small part of.

*I love....the Book of Mormon

Monday, May 18, 2015


*we found another "happy" on the wall this week! It made us...well, happy. We also saw a black iguana run past before we took the that was cool!


We had a GIANT meeting with a ton of missionaries this last week. It was so much fun because after so much time on the mission I know just about everyone so it was great to see so many good friends. One of the great friends I saw was hermana Crystal! It was such a happy reunion. We only chatted for a bit because our bus was leaving right as the meeting ended, but she has come so far and is such a dedicated and powerful missionary! She is my hero. Easily the best red head I know. 

At the big meeting our mission president talked a lot about FAITH. It was mentioned at least a million times that fear is the opposite of faith, and if we really want to see miracles we've got to fear no man. It was great stuff. I took a TON of notes and ate it all up. 

I had been asked to prepare part of the training and share something on how to find new investigators. I talked on the topic of talking to EVERYONE. I love talking to everyone. In the bus, in the taxi, walking in the street, in the store, wherever and whenever! 

When I first got to the mission I would over think and doubt myself, "does God really want me to talk to that person? Or is this just me?" I was waiting for some sort of signal from heaven on who to talk to. Little by little I learned that in order to find prepared people it's a matter of trial and error and you've just got to talk to every living creature in your path, and God will help you out. Max once said, "think about it, there are very few people that God doesn't want you to talk to." Good point. 

We are all children of God and we are all eternally important to him. It was energizing being in front of so many missionaries and connecting with all of them. It was fun to watch them light up and participate and laugh along with me. It was a great multi zone conference.


Hermana Hancock and I gave talks in Sacrament Meeting. Hermana Hancock shocked everyone with her Spanish! She is progressing and learning so much! We practice SO much and we are saying a lot of prayers. She is awesome. 

Being a missionary is really hard, especially in Oaxaca. It's kind of like camping or backpacking in a skirt. She is taking it on like a champ though. I love her, and I am so thankful she is my companion. We laugh a lot together. 

In the evening a family came with us to visit people and brought their CAR with AIR CONDITIONING. I think the last time I was in a car that had seat belts and air conditioning I was in the United States. It was amazing!

It was so easy and FAST to get from place to place. When people rejected us or when plans fell through, we just hopped in the car and sped off to the next option. We were able to have the most lessons we have ever had in one day in this area. It was great. Cars are so awesome! 

*I saw Hermana Crystal. SUCH a joyous reunion! Love that woman. SO very much.

Monday, May 11, 2015



On Tuesday we had a district meeting and we accidentally got on the wrong bus. I didn't realize until we had completely passed our destination. We got off as quickly as possible and started wandering around and asking strangers where the Mormon church was. They all directed us little by little until we made it safely. Opening up an area means getting lost a lot.


A member took us out to pizza with ketchup on it (its a Oaxaca thing).  The members here are amazing.  So much love and support.


The other day we started contacting a lady sitting outside of her house, the next thing you know she had us sitting down in chairs and fed us fresh cooked fish, tostadas, bean soup, fancy cheese, and a dessert.  She didn't even know our names and there she was feeding us a feast on her front porch, all the while we are trying to relate food to The Restoration and trying to move the conversation back to Christ.  It was very hilarious, it was very Oaxaca.


It was a Wednesday. It was very, very HOT and humid.  I hadn't slept well because of the intense heat, and I was feeling less than motivated and little sorry for myself.  But we headed out on time and got to work because the best medication for disanimo is hard work. We contacted one of the first people we saw and started talking about who we are and what we do and all that jazz.

I'm not sure how it came up or when but she somehow ended up telling us that she had just lost her 4th baby a few months ago.  She had 3 miscarriages and the fourth baby was born and only lived for 9 days and then passed away as well.  As she told us this there was such a calm and strength in what she said.  I asked her how she did it, how she does it.  Her answer was her faith in God. "He is with me." she told me.  I agreed.  She also told me how there is always someone who has it worse. Someone who is going through something harder or more painful.  But that if we believe in God and have faith in him we can be strong.  

A line from one of my favorite hymns came to mind as she spoke to us.  "Finding strength beyond my own..."  I immediately stopped feeling sorry for myself.  I found strength in the testimony of a stranger.  She didn't accept an appointment because of her work schedule, but we left her a pamphlet. Later that day, when we passed by, we saw her outside reading it.  Faith in God gives us strength beyond our own.  So believe this week and be strong.

*happy 5 de mayo! and happy birthday Emma Rose!
*awkward family photo before going out to work. love my companion. So much.
*sweaty. all the time. sweaty.
*seeing an occasional English word is always a HAPPY thing.

*hahaha the funniest pictures I've taken in WEEKS. I woke up the other morning and my lip was HUGE. Some sort of insect bit me in the night. Thats nice. We had a good laugh about it. The swelling went down and by the time we went out to work it was practically all gone. Oh Oaxaca, I 
still love you.
*i love you and i am soo thankful for you everyday. Thanks to YOU and your faith in Christ I am here and I am happy. Thank you for being my best girl.
*be sure to tell Emma I love her. Tell her who I am. Tell her she is strong and brave and that I love her and we pray for her a lot.
[photos of Emma and Ruby's Mother's Day call, from us to Ru]

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


*writing in my journal by the light of my headlamp...
My new area is like 15 minutes from the ocean and it is HOT and HUMID and WINDY.  Haha.  we walk around sweating buckets and then a big gust of wind picks up all the dirt/dust/garbage from the street and blows it right in our face!  We just laugh.  It really is super awesome though. 

EVERYONE (including us) has a mango tree in their yard so we get to walk around eating freshly picked mangos all the time.  We can't see the ocean from our area, but there is a lot of sandy streets so that's fun.

My companion is the best human being ever.  Turns out we actually kind of knew each other before! She had found my blog a while back and had started reading it and had actually written me a few e mails asking me questions and making comments about my experiences! 

Her name is Hermana Hancock and she is from northern California.  She is super darling and positive and her Spanish isn't even that bad!  It's been great to work with her this last week.  Adjusting to missionary life is always rough, but she is handeling it like a champ.

When they dropped us off at our house I couldn't believe my eyes.  It was so dusty, dirty, moldy, and full of trash it looked like no one had lived there in years.  There were cobwebs and spiders on EVERYTHING and the hermanas who lived there before us had left their dirty dished mountained up in the sink and all the dishes were growing mold.

Also, the sink was growing something too...there was mouse poop all over the tables.  A half eaten cup of noodles was left on the floor, completely molded over as well.  The bathroom.  Oh man, I can't even tell you about the bathroom.  And all the light bulbs are burned out, except the bathroom and one light bulb in the kitchen...Good thing I brought my head lamp because it's helped us out a lot this last week. 

Just imagine the dirtiest and scariest house on the planet and that's our house.  Plus there is a mango tree out back and all the mangos have fallen on the ground and are rotting so that smells pretty bad too, and it attracts a lot of bugs and other animals. 

Our neighbor warned us about tarantulas and bats that bite.  I thought she was kidding.  She wasn't. But on the bright side, we haven't seen any yet and we're working on cleaning them up little by little. 

And there was no water so we had to carry big buckets of water from a reserve tank in our yard to bucket shower.  My poor brave little companion was very strong about the whole thing.  We've been working on cleaning the house and getting rid of all the trash the other hermanas left behind for us, but we both decided that we're going to be trying to find a new place to live.  I'm not sure how...but we'll keep asking around.  It's a great contact starter actually. 

We've gotten lost a lot...but the members are so very supportive and loving!  We've found some of the investigators that the other hermanas were teaching before and they are so golden.  We loved getting to know them!  We also met a kid who speaks sign language and he's been teaching us a little.  I feel so lucky and blessed to be in this area and to be with the companion that I'm with!  It is not easy but I know that God has a plan for us here!

Hurrah for Israel. Hurrah.

*selfie with my darling companion. I love her. A lot.
*us, when we got to the house. Sweaty, and freaked out.